Legal Business

BG Group

  • General counsel: Graham Vinter.
  • Team headcount: 82 lawyers.

Cited as popular with its commercial partners, the legal team at FTSE 100 oil and gas company BG Group also receives high praise from external nominators. A near 6,000-staff energy company operating across more than 20 countries in five continents, the in-house team runs a slim external advisory panel and last year shaved the roster from four firms to three, dropping Allen & Overy (A&O) and Herbert Smith Freehills in favour of Clifford Chance, which won a place alongside incumbents CMS Cameron McKenna and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Having in recent months taken part in guiding the business through a transitional period pending the highly publicised appointment of the company’s new chief executive, Helge Lund, major mandates for the team have included the recent US$5bn sale of its Australian gas pipeline network to APA Group as part of an ongoing review of its business in the wake of slumping oil prices.

Widely recognised as a heavyweight among in-house advisory and lobbying groups is BG GC Graham Vinter, who last year succeeded Centrica legal head Grant Dawson as chair of the GC100 group, which brings together the most senior legal representatives from over 80 of the UK’s FTSE 100.

Vinter, who joined BG in 2007, came with impeccable credentials, having long been established as one of the City’s top projects and energy practitioners in a lengthy career at A&O. One partner at a Magic Circle firm gives high praise to Vinter, describing the GC as a ‘brilliant legal mind’, who is ‘strategic and a great manager’. BG Group’s corporate chief counsel Howard Landes is shortlisted for our Rising Star of the Year Award 2015 (see ‘Making their mark’, page 51). Daniel Silver is BG Group’s head of ethical conduct and compliance.

The partner also credits the team as a whole, commenting: ‘The industry is challenged by falling energy prices, increasing geopolitical risk and continuing environmental concerns, leading to the legal team being front and centre of the long-term and major capital investment decisions of the group. In many areas of the business the in-house team has far greater industry and specialist legal knowledge than their outside advisers.’