Legal Business

SSE

  • Director of legal services: Liz Tanner.
  • Team headcount: 63 lawyers.

2014 was a busy year for the legal team at this renewable electricity and gas supplier, which appointed a new director of legal services, reorganised its in-house legal department and oversaw the appointment of the energy provider’s first ever legal panel, consolidating almost 30 external law firms into a panel of seven. Firms including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, CMS, Addleshaw Goddard and Osborne Clarke made the final cut.

Following Liz Tanner’s appointment as director of legal services, the in-house function was reorganised and the team is now split into different capabilities, closely aligned to the demands of the business. These include infrastructure and real estate capability, data protection, commercial and litigation.

Big mandates for the team include undertaking a major asset disposal programme with an estimated worth of around £1bn, as well as progressing a large and diverse portfolio of improvements to economically regulated electricity networks. This includes the £1.2bn Caithness-Moray subsea transmission link to provide increased network capacity required for electricity generation from renewable sources, in line with legally-binding international targets.

One partner at an SSE adviser firm comments: ‘They genuinely are industry leaders. They are extremely good at what they do and we find it a really rewarding relationship because we learn as much from them as they do from us. They are an entrepreneurial team and it’s an entrepreneurial business.’ He adds: ‘Part of the reason for doing the panel review was that they really wanted to focus on panel firms that could provide services to their core business areas seamlessly. They want to build longer term relationships with their panel firms.’