Blockchain: Piecing it together

Blockchain: Piecing it together

The proliferation of blockchain technology has led many sectors to re-examine traditional ways of doing business, even if the platform remains shrouded in the fog of confusion and hype. Nowhere is the potential more apparent, or the sector more traditional, than in the negotiation, creation and execution of contracts. If the blockchain evangelists are to be believed, the manner in which parties contract will be changing radically in the not-too-distant future. But while a number of high-profile success stories illustrate the potential of the technology, it is clear that there is a long way to go if it is to ever live up to the rhetoric.

To understand blockchain and the value that it may bring to business, think of how an ordinary business transaction works: there is an agreement and exchange of goods or services between parties. Each party will have their own ledger, which records the transaction. But because the ledgers are held independently, there is scope for discrepancy between them – be it through error, disagreement or fraud. Traditionally, this was mitigated by introducing a third party to the transaction – usually a bank. Continue reading “Blockchain: Piecing it together”

Client profile: Anna Cosgrave, graze

Client profile: Anna Cosgrave, graze

The self-confessed fitness freak and head of legal on the allures of in-house law and healthy snacks

‘I took the right decision for me,’ says Anna Cosgrave, head of legal at healthy snack brand graze, on her move in-house. ‘My husband – who is also a lawyer – and I needed one of us to be a bit more flexible and to take the lead with our children during the week. My office is a 15-minute drive from home and I leave work on time, almost without fail. Work/life balance is extremely important to us while the children are young, but – make no mistake – I am still very ambitious.’ Continue reading “Client profile: Anna Cosgrave, graze”

In-house: Eversheds brokers Dyson sole adviser deal alongside fresh FSCS appointment

In-house: Eversheds brokers Dyson sole adviser deal alongside fresh FSCS appointment

Eversheds Sutherland has added to its suite of sole adviser relationships with a deal for Dyson’s global privacy mandate.

Eversheds has been a leader on sole adviser mandates since its first in 2006 with Tyco, a relationship which continued after the security provider merged with industrial company Johnson Controls in 2016. The firm’s sole adviser role for Dyson’s global privacy work will run for a three-year term. Continue reading “In-house: Eversheds brokers Dyson sole adviser deal alongside fresh FSCS appointment”

In-house: Skyscanner GC takes flight as Balfour Beatty and National Grid make senior hires

In-house: Skyscanner GC takes flight as Balfour Beatty and National Grid make senior hires

The chief legal officer of high-profile travel metasearch engine Skyscanner, Carolyn Jameson, is stepping down after nearly six years in the top job, while UK infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has turned to Tesco for a new general counsel (GC) ahead of the upcoming retirement of incumbent David Mercer.

National Grid, meanwhile, has hired former Gowling WLG head of energy Derek Goodban as UK GC, replacing Rachael Davidson. Continue reading “In-house: Skyscanner GC takes flight as Balfour Beatty and National Grid make senior hires”

In-house: prominent Centrica GC Dawson to retire as ZPG legal head departs

In-house: prominent Centrica GC Dawson to retire as ZPG legal head departs

The long-serving general counsel (GC) of international energy player Centrica, Grant Dawson, is set to retire after more than 20 years, while the rising star GC of property company ZPG, Ned Staple, has also left.

Dawson, one of the most prominent names in the in-house community, said this week (17 December) he will retire from Centrica on 31 March 2019. He will be replaced by deputy GC, Justine Campbell, who will sit on the company’s executive committee and board. Continue reading “In-house: prominent Centrica GC Dawson to retire as ZPG legal head departs”

From monkey to organ grinder – assessing the modern in-house team

From monkey to organ grinder – assessing the modern in-house team

Sabine Chalmers was concerned about coming back to the UK. Absent for more than two decades, most recently in the US as chief legal and corporate affairs officer at drinks giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, she had built a reputation as one of the leading lights of the general counsel (GC) community. But when she first left the UK, the GC role lacked stature, particularly in contrast to the US. ‘I was concerned about how a UK role would compare to the experience I’d had in the US.’

But she did return in 2018, to one of the most senior legal roles in the UK – BT group GC. ‘It’s been encouraging and interesting because the role of the GC has grown. They sit at the top table and report to the chief executive, they have the compliance and company secretary hats: that’s great for the function.’ Continue reading “From monkey to organ grinder – assessing the modern in-house team”

The MBA all-stars: training and development for GCs

The MBA all-stars: training and development for GCs

In-house legal teams have become more sophisticated over the last 20 years but, according to many general counsel (GCs), the pressure to widen their skillsets over the next decade is intense.

For Pearson GC Bjarne Tellmann, the roundedness of the modern in-house lawyer starts with the training they receive, but he laments a hole in the market. He sends his trainees to receive mini-MBAs or ‘executive MBA-style training’ from a range of institutions, including Deloitte University. Oxford and Harvard also provide mini-MBAs. Continue reading “The MBA all-stars: training and development for GCs”