Bank of England (BoE) general counsel (GC) Sonya Branch puffs her cheeks as she ponders how much work Brexit has created for her team. ‘It has been absolutely vast,’ she says.
About 65% of the UK central bank’s legal team, which has grown from 90 to more than 150 since she joined four years ago, has been involved since the mid-2016 referendum in reviewing about 10,000 pages of legislation and tracking 39 statutory instruments, to which it has contributed drafting. ‘The total count was 6,000 pages of binding technical standards, 6,000 rules that had to be changed, as well as 4,000 pages of secondary legislation,’ she comments. ‘That’s just having a regulatory framework for the UK financial services sector that’s fit for purpose on the point of exit.’ Continue reading “The Client Profile: Sonya Branch, Bank of England”
I didn’t plan a career in law. At school I did those career survey things twice and on both occasions it said I should become a fashion designer.
I have been a bar manager in a country house hotel and then a golf club bar. Great fun. Taught me the concept of keeping people in the line happy. I always say to junior lawyers: ‘Make sure you respond quickly to clients.’ It doesn’t mean you produce all the work in half an hour, as long as they know someone is looking after them. Continue reading “Life during law: Dominic Griffiths”
My mother is Irish and my father English. They were first-generation immigrants. I was born a year after my mother’s arrival in Australia.
Perth was a fantastic place to grow up. We were close to the ocean. A very outdoors environment – you’d cycle to school. Fantastic as a child. Continue reading “Life during law: Shane Gleghorn”
I have always been attracted to public service. A number of my colleagues from my time at Gibson Dunn had gone on to serve as solicitors general in state attorney generals’ offices. Those offices provide unparalleled opportunities, such as the chance to argue appeals and challenge areas in which the federal government has exceeded its powers and placed onerous regulatory requirements on the state. So I was very grateful to have been offered the opportunity to work in the West Virginia solicitor general’s office.
In 2017, I became the general counsel (GC) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). I am primarily responsible for two components – reviewing Commission rules and orders to ensure they are legally sustainable, and defending those actions in court. I also oversee units that deal with fraud and bankruptcy issues, as well as various internal issues like employment matters. In West Virginia, I supervised four or five attorneys at any given time. Now, I oversee a team of more than 70 lawyers, so I’ve had to focus a lot more on learning how best to allocate my time and how best to delegate. Continue reading “Tom Johnson, Federal Communications Commission”
Chicago-born Christine Dekker’s decade-long run as legal counsel for McDonald’s has seen her relocate from the US to Shanghai for work in 2014 on a gamble that paid career dividends, ultimately earning her the role of general counsel (GC) for the UK and Ireland three years later.
As vice president-GC for the restaurant chain’s Chinese market, Dekker had played a prominent role in handling the sale of a $2bn equity interest in the China and Hong Kong business to strategic investors. In Shanghai she ran a team of 23 lawyers but also found time to travel to smaller Chinese cities, not to mention visit the odd local potato farm. Continue reading “The Client Profile: Christine Dekker, McDonald’s”
‘Before university I spent a year working in India in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, teaching English, maths and personal hygiene,’ Hugh Pugsley, general counsel (GC) for HSBC’s UK banking and insurance businesses, casually slips in at the end of the interview.
Although his days of reading the complete works of Hector Hugh Munro (‘Saki’) to indulge his love of travel books are behind him, he admits: ‘I still love being transported into another world’. Continue reading “The Client Profile: Hugh Pugsley, HSBC”
My mother was always convinced I was going to be a barrister. She used to watch TV dramas involving barristers. My father, a much more practical man, was desperately trying to convince me I should do a subject that was useful. So I went into the law and really enjoyed it.
I started at Edwards Geldard, one of the ‘big four’ in Cardiff. I joined the IP group because I loved the tech side. Contentious and non-contentious surrounding tech: being paid to do what I enjoyed seemed amazing. Continue reading “Life during law: Jeremy Drew”
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”
My dad was born in Kashmir and was in the Pakistani Air Force, posted to Turkey. India and Pakistan were separating and he decided he wouldn’t go back. He moved to the UK and met my mum at night school. She worked in a biscuit factory when I was a kid and was all about, ‘You’re going to do better than this.’
I didn’t start working life as a lawyer. I’m Asian and started in retail – freshly-squeezed orange juice and health food products. My dad wasn’t impressed. He was first generation here and said: ‘This is a fantastic country with great opportunities, I did not come here for you to be another Asian shopkeeper.’ Continue reading “Life during law: Leona Ahmed”
‘I wrote my own resignation letter twice in the first six months,’ Matt Wilson, Uber’s associate general counsel (GC) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says. ‘I didn’t hand it in either time, but it was close.’
A frank, but not surprising, admission. Wilson has, in the view of one peer, had one of the most difficult jobs in the GC community since he became the ridesharing company’s first domestic UK lawyer back in 2015. Continue reading “Client profile: Matt Wilson, Uber”