Jonathan Watmough, Managing Partner, RPC
Increasingly I realise just how easy some of us in private practice have it compared to general counsel (GC) and in-house lawyers.
Law firms and their lawyers are inclined to be change resistant. Professional experience has conditioned them to be sensitised to the potential downsides arising from a course of action in preference to embracing the likely upsides. And even when they do accept that change is inevitable, often it’s a painfully slow process to effect – it’s hard enough to halt the progress of a supertanker, let alone change its course.
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Paul Jenkins QC
Her Majesty’s Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor
The Treasury Solicitor’s Department
Much of The Treasury Solicitor’s Department’s work consists of highly specialised public law, legislative work and providing advice to ministers. Most of this is done within its huge in-house team of 1,000 individuals, including 800 lawyers. However Paul Jenkins QC, one of the most high-profile lawyers in the country, does use a wide range of external law firms for other work, from claims handling of personal injury through to major commercial projects. TSol is currently in the process of reviewing its 48-strong panel of law firms, which has been ongoing since the end of 2011.
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Director of governance and democracy
London Borough of Lambeth
Mark Hynes is proud of his 40 lawyer-team; particularly the way he says it has embraced new technologies and cultural change, which has reduced costs, increased output and improved staff morale. He loves the political environment the public sector offers and enjoys working alongside politicians and council officers on a wide range of issues.
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Head of legal and democratic services and monitoring officer
Worcestershire County Council
Praised by one private practice partner for his ‘deep-rooted desire’ to help his organisation deliver for the residents and businesses of Worcestershire, Simon Mallinson has always worked in the public sector and says he enjoys the large variety of work the Council offers, which takes him back to the days when he was a trainee solicitor doing different seats. ‘The difference is the buck now stops with me,’ he says.
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Director of legal and governance services
London Boroughs of Barnet and Harrow
Hugh Peart joined the London Borough of Harrow almost 20 years ago as a principal solicitor in the borough’s childcare law team. In October 2012, Barnet and Harrow officially merged their legal teams under Hugh’s leadership to form ‘HB Public Law’ with an aim to slash the councils’ legal spend by over £3m.
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Director of legal and democratic services
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, North West Legal Consortium (NWLC)
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council is part of the North West Legal Consortium, set up in 2006 as the first combined consortium of barristers and solicitors. Jayne Hammond has served the council for over a decade and currently heads a team of 22 lawyers.
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Director of mergers
Office of Fair Trading
Sheldon Mills’ responsibilities include the day-to-day delivery of the Office of Fair Trading’s merger caseload, management of the mergers group and representing the OFT externally. Mills heads a team of 35, including eight competition/litigation lawyers. The OFT does not have a legal panel as it doesn’t instruct law firms, but it does deal with a range of firms that require M&A transaction clearance.
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Executive head of legal and democratic services
London Borough of Sutton
Sutton’s legal panel is part of a wider consortium led by the London Borough of Bromley and set up in 2010. Around 26 firms provide counsel for various outer London boroughs, the Corporation of London and five district councils in Kent.
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Group general counsel and company secretary
Margaret Coltman was only appointed to her role as group general counsel and company secretary in July 2009 but has a very impressive background, including more than 22 years as an insurance partner at Norton Rose.
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General counsel for Europe, Asia and Latin America
Rhic Webb is described by his external lawyers as ‘a very strong lawyer who has a very good eye for detail’. He says that increasingly his time is spent in corporate matters, as well as ‘the nuts and bolts of insurance and reinsurance issues’.
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