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THE LEGAL 500 AWARDS

The Legal 500 Awards > UK > 2014 UK WINNERS

In-house winners: comments and photos

To download a PDF of the complete UK awards commentary text, please click HERE.

BANKING

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Richard Given, HSBC

Richard Given has been deputy general counsel at the global bank, HSBC, since September 2011. He oversees the worldwide legal and contract management teams responsible for key supplier relationships. Richard is interested in the way that legal teams can deliver value for their businesses and as a result of this has radically restructured his department at HSBC to work across disciplines. A number of in-house lawyers have praised the way that Richard has reconfigured the legal department and his commitment to the use of technology to deliver legal services more efficiently.

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Virgin Money, led by Andrew Emuss

As one of the challengers shaking up the UK’s banking landscape Virgin Money has a similarly innovative approach with its legal department. The legal department was instrumental in the merger with troubled lender Northern Rock, taking it out of state subsidy. Since then the legal team of 20 lawyers has been working on a wide array of projects culminating it its flotation on the stock market earlier this month. However, it’s not just deals and finance for the team as part of the bank’s overall strategy is to overhaul how banks do business and are seen by the public.

 

EMPLOYMENT

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

David Mercer, Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty has been under close scrutiny over the past 12 months, with offers for a takeover coming from Carillion due to the weaker market position the company has found itself in. Peers have been quick to point out that David Mercer’s (now part of the company’s executive leadership team) handling of the internal employment and restructuring issues have been ‘impeccable’ under pressure from internal and external market forces.

 

 

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Diageo, led by Siobhan Moriaty

It’s no secret that Daigeo has had to undergo a major restructuring, and the employment aspects of that were potentially damaging. Feedback from the market was full of praise for the way the legal team at Diageo has handled these issues, with the minimum of problems and bad publicity. In just over a year at the helm, Siobhan has also undergone a major panel review to ensure the external firm roster is lean and cost-efficient.

 

 

 

 

ENERGY

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Grant Dawson, Centrica

Grant has received many accolades in the years since Centrica demerged from British Gas, but the simple truth behind this award is that he continues to lead the way on how successfully he works in tandem with the board and management committees. The past year has seen Grant at the forefront with two billion pound acquisitions, plus his stepping down from the successful leadership of the GC100 group.

 

 

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

EDF, led by Eric Thomas

Managing external counsel is key to the success of landmark projects of the magnitude of Hinkley Point C. The EDF team has tackled the numerous regulatory, environmental and planning hurdles one would expect from the development of a facility targeted to provide up to 13% of the UK’s electricity, utilising a veritable roll call of the best energy teams in the UK. Longstanding legal partner Herbert Smith Freehills and Clifford Chance are just two of the firms that have relied on cohesive, concise instruction from one of the largest in-house energy teams in the world.

ENVIRONMENT

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Celia Gough, Veolia

Celia Gough is chief legal officer and company secretary at Veolia, where she oversees all legal and compliance issues for the company. Celia won praise from in-house peers for her focused and diligent leadership of the legal team at a time of change for the water industry in the light of regulatory challenges in the UK as well as global issues such as climate change and water scarcity. Celia is also a strong advocate of diversity in the legal profession and has been active in Inspiring Women the charity which seeks to give girls in education more information about the range of career options open to them. (Pictured: Mark Hedderly, Veolia.)

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Bristol City Council, led by Shahzia Daya

Bristol City Council is at the vanguard of environmental work, and has been for several years – even before it was awarded ‘European Green Capital’, a mantle it will assume in 2015. The legal team was widely commended during our research for its leading edge work in support of council projects in areas such as wind turbine, tidal energy and transport.

 

 

 

FINANCE

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Tim Hailes, JPMorgan

In the past 12 months, Tim has been responsible for global regulatory reform, following a period of increasing fines, for the financial services giant. The increased pressure on the company since the GFC has raised Tim’s profile to be one of the key drivers of risk reputation in the banking world. Tim has also been a strong advocate for LBGT both within the bank and through the wider legal community, and for seven years was Chairman of the London chapter of PRIDE.

 

 

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Credit Suisse, led by Maria Leistner

During the course of our research, Maria Leistner’s team has been widely praised by peers and private practice lawyers for its ability to deal with all issues in a calm and effective manner, especially at a time when the legal resources of the institution have been under greater pressure and scrutiny. Workplace diversity advocates have also highlighted Maria’s ability to balance work and home life, and the positivity this brings to the entire organisation is seen as a key driver to a better working environment.

 

 

 

HEALTHCARE

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Paul Newton, BUPA

Paul has been at BUPA for 17 years, and is widely respected not just for his own capabilities, but also for his management of the wider BUPA legal department (in 2013, The Legal 500 recognised this, naming BUPA as the winner of the Healthcare team award). With a hefty legal spend, Paul is also adept with cross-border work, with lawyers in 11 locations overseas. He keeps a keen eye on cost, according to external counsel, but is smart enough to look at what value is added, rather than the price, ensuring the best legal service from the premium firms he instructs.

 

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, led by Mike O’Connell

There has been a steady increase in healthcare claims in the UK, and this has put the legal departments under increased scrutiny and cost pressures. Our researchers were repeatedly told of the efficiency of this legal service, upheld as a capable and productive manager of claims. Both in-house and private practice peers also heaped plaudits on the team for its sensitive handling of medico-legal matters.

 

 

 

INSURANCE

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Robert Robinson, Amlin PLC

After a successful career as trial lawyer in the US and then opening and running Lord Bissell & Brook London office, Robert Robinson took a change of direction when he stepped into his first in-house role at Liberty Syndicate Management. In 2007 he took on the general counsel role at FTSE 250 insurer Amlin. During the last few years Robinson has overseen a raft of mergers for the insurer and navigated the increased regulatory landscape for financial institutions. Over the past year Robinson has radically reorganized his legal department as a centralized function to drive greater efficiency and cohesion.

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

RSA, led by Derek Walsh

With a team of 100 under his management, Derek’s role at RSA is a varied and challenging one. He has been at the forefront of reputational issues, an area that many GCs are beginning to have to learn about, and the speed with which modern legal departments have to move at. A successful rights issue in early 2014 has drawn hugely favourable comments from inside the business and from peers in-house. His record on diversity, with 66% of his leadership team female, is to be applauded and ‘is something I feel very passionately about’.

 

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Galit Gonen, Teva

In the past couple of years, Teva has been under increased pressure from rising litigation cases and costs, including the complex issues resulting from the purchase of Cephalon in 2011. Although the company has taken some hits in recent times, peers are unanimous in congratulating the skillful way that Galit has led the European team through the litigation. She has been working in-house for Teva since 2007 and has been general counsel since 2013, and gained a doctorate on the subject of secondary patents in the pharmaceutical industry in 2009.

 

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

BskyB, led by James Conyers

The BskyB legal team has faced a range of issues in the last few years – some driven by the various acquisitions it has undertaken. On the IP front it has been at the front line of IP developments. In 2013 it won a case against Microsoft over trademark infringement relating to Microsoft’s SkyDrive. The six-year legal battle the company faced against pub landlady Karen Murphy over the use of a Greek decoder to show premier league matches was a headline grabber and one that pushed the boundaries of how courts think about IP issues.

 

 

LITIGATION

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Will Luker, RBS

As head of litgation at RBS, Luker has seen an increase in litigation, due to an increased appetite from the US regulatory authorities and investors to take on the banks in the wake of the GFC. During our research, the bank’s efforts to use alternative dispute resolution has been noted by private practice as a smarter option in a period of increasing litigation costs. He has been at RBS for eleven years, and is a member of the legal executive management team.

 

 

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

ICAP, led by Duncan Wales

UK-based ICAP, the world’s largest interdealer broker, attracted much attention when it was charged by the European Commission (EC) with facilitating breaches of European Union (EU) competition law by a cartel, which fixed yen interest rate derivatives. Standing out from a crowd of international banks and brokers that included UBS, Deutsche Bank, RBS, JPMorgan, Citigroup and RP Martin, which admitted wrongdoing in exchange for reduced fines, ICAP boldly rejected the EC’s accusations. It continues to argue that it has not breached any applicable EU competition law and is determined to defend itself against these allegations vigorously. Moreover, ICAP is taking the fight to the European Ombudsman; it has complained about EU regulatory prejudice during 2013’s financial benchmark rigging probe, the antitrust case that it refused to settle with the EC via an EU Libor accord.

PRIVATE EQUITY

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Simon Cresswell, Apax

Simon Cresswell joined European private equity behemoth, Apax in 2010 as its first ever general counsel. He moved in-house at probably the time of biggest change and consolidation for the private equity industry which was feeling the effects of the global financial crisis which slowed both fund raising and deal making down. His appointment also coincided with most concerted raft of global legislation aimed at the industry post Lehman. Cresswell has won praise from other lawyers in the field for his well thought leadership of the fund manager’s legal function. Apax is one of the largest European private equity houses with funds of over £30bn in combined value.

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Actis, led by Paul Owers

Actis emerged from what was the Commonwealth Development Commission (CDC) in 2004. Its remit is to invest responsibly in emerging markets and its portfolio companies span Asia, Africa and Latin America. The legal function in Actis is one of the most established in the community under the leadership of Paul Owers who joined the CDC in 1994. Over the years Paul has gathered together a legal team that sources described to us as one of the ‘most solid in the industry’. While contending with the increased raft of legislation that has been a feature of the industry in recent years, the legal team is also a key part of the balancing act that keeps Actis investing profitably but also investing responsibly.

PUBLIC SECTOR

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Mark Hynes, Lambeth Council

Our research confirms that Mark Hynes is a towering figure in local government, having worked in the public sector for over 20 years, since leaving Eversheds in 1990. He’s been director of governance and democracy at Lambeth Council since 2005, and has overseen great changes in the team – flexible working and IT advances, a reduction in external spend and growth in numbers in-house. But budgetary pressures necessitate a business brain, especially for the beleaguered public sector, and Mark is no stranger to strategic thinking, having attained an MBA and a post-graduate diploma in business excellence. He is also the immediate past president of Lawyers in Local Government; further evidence of his commitment to sharing best practice among local government legal teams.

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council, led by Jill Coule

Jill Coule’s team is recognised by commentators for the leadership role it assumed in the formation of the North West Legal Consortium a few years ago, and its ongoing status as lead authority. Under the guiding hand of the council’s legal team, the consortium has entered into an innovative, pan-regional procurement framework to meet the external legal needs for a range of public bodies, and plans further collaborative working.

 

 

REAL ESTATE

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Vivienne King, Crown Estates

With a property portfolio worth around £9bn, the legal work from the estate is highly sought after. Earlier in 2014, the law firm roster was reduced to just two key firms in an attempt to make significant cost savings. Vivienne oversaw a successful pitch process, which came with some specific demands regarding seniority. She has also overseen a shift in the portfolio with the investment into renewable energy projects, including a £350m joint venture with Oxford Properties. (Pictured: Rob Booth.)

 

 

 

 

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Tesco, led by Adrian Morris

The decision to give the award to Adrian’s team came before the recent revelation from a whistleblower about the quarter of a billion profit overstatement, adding more pressure to the legal department. Our research had previously highlighted the restructuring and strategy of the company’s property assets, that the team has been involved in following a difficult few years, especially with the ever-changing nature of retail property. (Pictured: Charlotte Leigh.)

 

 

TAX

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Ken Hardman, British American Tobacco

This award is in recognition of Ken Hardman’s 20 years as head of tax at BAT. Hardman has been at the forefront of much of the litigation against HMRC, this year winning at both the Court of Appeal and the CJEU. Ken has been an innovator and leader in the industry - the first to pay an FID (foreign income dividend) and first to reconstruct for EUFT (eligible unrelieved foreign tax). Widely respected by his peers, his retirement will be a loss to the company and the industry.

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Amazon

In the face of increased pressure on corporates to change their tax structure on the basis of media hype, rather than facts or business reasons, Amazon has stood firm. At the forefront of criticism, it has refused to bow down, and is clear on what constitutes avoidance and what constitutes evasion. Amazon’s tax team have streamlined and maximised the company’s business case.

TECHNOLOGY

INDIVIDUAL OF THE YEAR

Jonathan Pearl, Sony Europe

Jonathan has been singled out by in-house counsel and private practice alike during the course of our research as one of a small number of GCs who truly have a healthy interaction with the board, and is able to talk to just about the legal risks, but also the wider business implications. His team management skills have attracted praise for demanding his lawyers ‘spend time on the shopfloor’ to get a wider experience of the business (and life), rather than focusing just on the legal issues.

TEAM OF THE YEAR

Yahoo! UK, led by Simon Citron

Yahoo! has been been front and centre at ensuring that diversity means more than simple gender or race, but over the past few years has actively pushed the agenda for social mobility, and promoting the options that are available at an in-house level. In an era where private practice has traditionally been seen as the primary starter to a career in law, the in-house team at Yahoo! has been bucking the trend, and also encouraging the notion that legal should be a greater part of the business.

The Legal 500
United Kingdom Awards 2014
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