Jonathan Watmough, Managing Partner, RPC
Increasingly I realise just how easy some of us in private practice have it compared to general counsel (GC) and in-house lawyers.
Law firms and their lawyers are inclined to be change resistant. Professional experience has conditioned them to be sensitised to the potential downsides arising from a course of action in preference to embracing the likely upsides. And even when they do accept that change is inevitable, often it’s a painfully slow process to effect – it’s hard enough to halt the progress of a supertanker, let alone change its course.
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Welcome to our inaugural GC Power List: a collection of 100 of the most interesting and influential in-house lawyers in business today.
This report provides a snapshot of some of the most powerful legal advisers to companies across ten key business sectors. In compiling this report, we spoke to an array of leading law firms that specialise in each industry sector and canvassed the opinion of hundreds of partners. We have not ranked individuals in order of preference, or provided subjective views on ability, but simply identify ten lawyers in each sector that every private practice lawyer should know.
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Paul Jenkins QC
Her Majesty’s Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor
The Treasury Solicitor’s Department
Much of The Treasury Solicitor’s Department’s work consists of highly specialised public law, legislative work and providing advice to ministers. Most of this is done within its huge in-house team of 1,000 individuals, including 800 lawyers. However Paul Jenkins QC, one of the most high-profile lawyers in the country, does use a wide range of external law firms for other work, from claims handling of personal injury through to major commercial projects. TSol is currently in the process of reviewing its 48-strong panel of law firms, which has been ongoing since the end of 2011.
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General counsel and solicitor
HM Revenue & Customs
Anthony Inglese oversees a large team of 400 staff, of which around half are lawyers. He has historically used private practice solicitors for litigation and commercial work but has reduced this considerably to cut costs over recent years. However, external legal spend at HM Revenue & Customs currently stands at around £20m, with any spend on law firms being first approved by the Attorney General.
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Director of governance and democracy
London Borough of Lambeth
Mark Hynes is proud of his 40 lawyer-team; particularly the way he says it has embraced new technologies and cultural change, which has reduced costs, increased output and improved staff morale. He loves the political environment the public sector offers and enjoys working alongside politicians and council officers on a wide range of issues.
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Director of legal and democratic services and monitoring officer
Birmingham City Council
David Tatlow heads the largest local government legal department in Europe, comprising 235 individuals, including 126 lawyers. It’s the equivalent of a medium-sized law firm and returns around £12m in turnover on average.
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Director of governance and law
Kent County Council
With 130 lawyers, Geoff Wild heads up one of the largest teams of local authority lawyers in the UK operating as an in-house trading practice. He looks for proactive dynamic entrepreneurial lawyers in his team that can demonstrate local government lawyers are not second rate compared to the private sector.
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Head of legal and democratic services and monitoring officer
Worcestershire County Council
Praised by one private practice partner for his ‘deep-rooted desire’ to help his organisation deliver for the residents and businesses of Worcestershire, Simon Mallinson has always worked in the public sector and says he enjoys the large variety of work the Council offers, which takes him back to the days when he was a trainee solicitor doing different seats. ‘The difference is the buck now stops with me,’ he says.
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Director of legal and governance services
London Boroughs of Barnet and Harrow
Hugh Peart joined the London Borough of Harrow almost 20 years ago as a principal solicitor in the borough’s childcare law team. In October 2012, Barnet and Harrow officially merged their legal teams under Hugh’s leadership to form ‘HB Public Law’ with an aim to slash the councils’ legal spend by over £3m.
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Director of legal and democratic services
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, North West Legal Consortium (NWLC)
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council is part of the North West Legal Consortium, set up in 2006 as the first combined consortium of barristers and solicitors. Jayne Hammond has served the council for over a decade and currently heads a team of 22 lawyers.
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