The Legal Business Awards > Categories > GC of the Year

At a glance

2019 Winner

  • Lucy Vernall

2019 Shortlisted

  • Spencer Davis | Daily Mail and General Trust
  • Mark Gregory | Rolls-Royce
  • Bjarne Tellmann | Pearson
  • Matthew Wilson | Uber

Previous Years

Select a year below to download a .pdf of the previous winners and nominees.

GC of the Year

The winner of this award will be a UK-based general counsel (or those in the most senior in-house legal position) who has truly led the way for their business in 2019. Key factors influencing our judging panel include board profile, outstanding strategic thinking, superb communication skills and the extent to which individuals have the support of their teams in delivering exceptional value to the wider business to help it move forward.

2019 Winner

Lucy Vernall

Funding Circle

Vernall wins plaudits for leading on the fintech company’s September 2018 IPO, managing a team of 32 that came together on this landmark transaction, as well as advising on day-to-day regulatory matters in a complex commercial environment. Despite this, Vernall is noted for her calm demeanor and ability to go over and above the confines of the GC role to make an impact on the business.


Spencer Davis

Daily Mail and General Trust

Davis last year saw the introduction of a global legal advice panel, and the breaking of a 97-year-old duck as a result. He observed the company could make considerable cost-savings by overhauling its attitude to external advisers and dedicated 2018 to correcting this, slimming down a flabby roster of 40-50 preferred firms to a list of just eight.

Mark Gregory


2018 was a very busy year for this GC, dealing with the back end of a global criminal investigation, massive internal restructuring programmes and high-profile issues with its Trent 1000 aircraft engine. But on top of that, Gregory has been charged with improving efficiency – having to reconfigure his team in the wake of a company-wide restructuring affecting 4,600 jobs.

Bjarne Tellmann


As the general counsel and chief legal officer of Pearson, Tellmann has managed to cut more than 40% off the in-house legal department’s fixed costs in the last few years and is confident he can get a further 20% reduction in the next two. His 170-strong legal and compliance team is down from about 220 when he first joined Pearson from Coca-Cola in 2014.

Matthew Wilson


Widely regarded as having one of the toughest gigs in in-house law, Wilson has risen the ranks since becoming the ridesharing company’s first UK lawyer back in 2015. He has managed a raft of high-profile legal and regulatory setbacks since, most recently in litigation relating to Uber’s London licence and a separate battle over the employment classification of its drivers.