- Group general counsel: Andrew Whittaker.
- Team headcount: 320 lawyers.
Lloyds Banking Group (LBG)’s corporate, and corporate real estate team in particular, received high praise from the wider legal market for their progressive and imaginative approach – the former, led by Hugh Pugsley, GC, group legal, for having the ‘ability to navigate a complex business and influence decisions through timely and commercial advice’ with a team of ‘bright and engaged lawyers’ and the latter, led by corporate real estate counsel Lesley Wan, for engaging effectively with panel firms and internal teams to support delivery of first class service to clients.
With an annual legal and regulatory spend of £400m, general matters dealt with by the legal department, led by group GC Andrew Whittaker and deputy GC Kate Cheetham, included an extensive law firm panel selection process in 2014 with an emphasis on a smaller number of core firms that advise ‘across the piece’.
The corporate team holds a track record of delivering complex projects, including last year’s £660m disposal of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), and the recent separation and flotation of a 25% share of the TSB business. Senior corporate lawyer Caroline Rollestone-Brown, a former partner at Maclay Murray & Spens, who now reports to Pugsley, is cited by an external source for ‘leading the corporate team’ on the disposal of SWIP, on which Linklaters also advised, and ‘demonstrating outstanding project management skills and first-class lawyering’.
The corporate real estate group has been proactive in producing standard forms of short loan agreements to assist in transacting deals more efficiently and also to provide pro forma legal opinions for all panel law firms to use.
Last year saw three of LBG’s legal team make it into our GC Power List Rising Stars 2014: corporate real estate duo Kumar Tewari and Sarah Batty, and the bank’s HR head of legal, Rebecca Priestley, and the team was widely recommended this year.
LBG’s relationship director global corporates UK, Allan MacKenzie, describes the team as ‘collaborative, informative, dedicated, hardworking and supportive’, adding it is ‘an invaluable support to the relationship teams. The team provides brilliant support to us in executing all transactions’.