Legal Business

The Royal Bank of Scotland

  • Group general counsel: John Collins.
  • Team headcount: 400 lawyers.

It has undoubtedly been a difficult few years at The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) but the bank’s former group GC, Chris Campbell, maintains that
the work the team has done stands above any other bank in the UK. ‘The world and his dog are aware of the difficulties RBS has had over the last few years
and most of these involved the legal team,’ says Campbell. ‘We have had some enormously complex and innovative legal issues – enforcements, regulatory matters, litigations and disposals.’

And for all the challenges facing the bank, RBS has sustained its reputation for having a robust team with a strong bench of highly capable lawyers. Prominent figures in the team include the astute head of litigation William Luker and senior counsel M&A/corporate Scott Gibson, who was cited in our 2014 Rising Stars report.

Major recent mandates include The Citizens Bank listing on the New York stock exchange, which in September last year raised $3bn in an initial public offering, as well as a £1bn sell-off of the majority of its remaining stake in Direct Line insurance. Following its £20bn government bailout in 2008, the British banking giant is also fighting off two large claims: one involving an action against the bank’s former chief executive Fred Goodwin relating to a rights issue in April 2008, and the other comprising a group of 313 claimants across a number of UK and international financial institutions and pension funds.

Praising the team on its performance, Alan Nelson, an IT partner at CMS says: ‘Amid a turbulent time for the bank, this team has embraced the challenges it faced. It has sought to realise greater value from its panel and deliver better services to its internal clients. It has greatly improved its stakeholder relations, which will make the legal team a far more integral part of the bank.’