Nordics Teams 2016 – GC Powerlist
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Nordics Teams 2016

  • Industries

  • Powerlist

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A.P. Moller – Maersk Group

| A.P. Moller – Maersk Group

A.P. Moller – Maersk (also known as Maersk), is a Danish conglomerate operating in a number of sectors, but primarily shipping, transport and energy. The company, which is the world’s...

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Aberdeen Asset Management Denmark

| Aberdeen Asset Management Denmark

Described as being ‘key in creating robust systems and procedures’ for real estate transactions leading to a decrease in reliance on external legal counsel, senior lawyer Jacob Kruse Rasmussen heads...

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| Ahlstrom

Ahlstrom, a producer of fiber-based materials, employs an enthusiastic legal department which is led by executive vice president and general counsel Ulla Bono. The team is renowned for their ability...

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| Aibel

Aibel, a global turnkey oil, gas and renewable energy company, has an impressive legal team that has helped the company achieve its corporate goals. The energy market has been through...

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| Akastor

Akastor, an oil service investment company that also specialise in industrial holdings and real estate, was formed in 2014 following the demerger from Aker Solutions. Headquartered in Norway, Akastor’s lean...

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Altia Corporation

| Altia Corporation

Thomas Heinonen, general counsel, heads an innovative and diligent legal department at Altia Corporation, a Nordic frontrunner in the wine and spirits sector. Heinonen has overseen rapid developments in the...

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Amec Foster Wheeler Energia

| Amec Foster Wheeler Energia

Energy and utilities

Amec Foster Wheeler Energia is the Finnish arm of British multinational company Amec Foster Wheeler, operating in the design, manufacture and installation of steam boilers and other equipment for the...

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Arctic Securities

| Arctic Securities

Artic Securities’ legal department supports the growth and expansion of a diverse business; being relevant in all aspects of the company’s significant endeavours and providing practical legal advice to the...

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Arla Foods

| Arla Foods

The Arla Foods’ legal function has become a valued partner to the business as it has made a significant reduction in spend on external advisors. The department has been at...

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Atlas Copco

| Atlas Copco

Atlas Copco is one of the largest companies in Sweden, and a specialist in the manufacturing of industrial tools and equipment. Atlas Copco has a well-experienced and versatile legal department,...

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Bankernes Edb Central (BEC)

| Bankernes Edb Central (BEC)


Alice Grünfeld, head of legal at Bankernes Edb Central (BEC), describes her team as ‘a trusted advisor involved in all aspects of the company’s activities’. The legal department at BEC,...

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| Bestseller

Bestseller’s legal department is regarded by peers and clients as a ‘competent, progressive and innovative unit’. The group of 20, headed by Malene Gulstad Heslop, has operated tirelessly in order...

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| BillerudKorsnäs

The legal department at BillerudKorsnäs, a Swedish pulp and paper manufacturer, is widely regarded as a young, dynamic and versatile organisation. The team is praised by sources for being a...

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| Bisnode

Bisnode is a Swedish corporation specialising in the provision of digital business, marketing and credit information. Led by group general counsel Peter Bergson, the Bisnode legal department currently consists of...

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Bladt Industries

| Bladt Industries

The legal department at Bladt Industries, a global steel contractor, is widely acclaimed for being a highly qualified and specialised in-house team. In under two years, Bladt Industries advanced from...

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BNP Paribas

| BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas continues to be a prominent figure in the European banking market, as revenues increase across all operating divisions despite increased regulatory scrutiny. As additional requirements continue to be...

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Boliden Group

| Boliden Group

Boliden Group, a Swedish mining and smelting company focusing on production of copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver, is supported by a legal department of five. Led by Eva Rydén,...

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| Cargotec

Cargotec, a leader in the production of cargo and load handling solutions, has a legal team that is well integrated into the operations of the wider business. The legal team,...

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Carlsberg Breweries

| Carlsberg Breweries

Carlsberg Breweries, the world’s fourth largest brewery group, is supported by an in-house legal team that is described by nominators as ‘progressive and competent’. The team is led by Ulrik...

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CASA Entreprise

| CASA Entreprise

CASA Enterprise is major Danish construction and property development group, with a reported turnover of DKK 1bn in the last fiscal year. Recent corporate growth has been supported by the...

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Cembrit Holding

| Cembrit Holding

‘The most important thing is to produce solutions, support the business and not create a barrier or bottleneck. You have to be able to use your tools and make it...

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ConocoPhillips Norge

| ConocoPhillips Norge

The five-strong legal team at ConocoPhillips Norge, the Norwegian wing of the multinational energy corporation, is led by senior counsel Elin Roedder Gundersen who has over 15 years of experience...

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Coor Service Management

| Coor Service Management

Coor Service Management is a market leading organisation of integrated facilities management and industrial services in the Nordic region. The company specialises in facility management services that enable organisations and...

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The legal department at COWI, an international consulting firm which specialises in engineering technology, environmental science and economics, is praised by peers for displaying an advanced degree of professionalism and...

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Danish Agriculture & Food Council

| Danish Agriculture & Food Council

Established as recently as 2015, the legal department at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council has already proven their worth to the business via their ability to convert complex legal...

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Dansk Supermarked Group

| Dansk Supermarked Group

Dansk Supermarked Group is the largest retail group in Denmark, holding 1,400 stores across four brands: Føtex, Bilka, Netto and Salling. The retail giant has long recognised the value of...

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Danske Bank

| Danske Bank


Described by a nominator as a team of ‘highly competent cooperation partners, who consistently exercise a high-degree of professionalism’, the Danske Bank legal department, comprised of 160 employees, is led...

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Danske Bank (Norge)

| Danske Bank (Norge)


Recently undergoing a restructuring effort, the Danske Bank (Norge) legal team was previously managed via two separate entities; one of which reported directly to the group legal counsel in Denmark,...

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Danske Commodities

| Danske Commodities

Danske Commodities, an international trader of energy-related commodities, has an experienced and robust legal department. The team comprises of 13 members who are divided into three sub-teams covering compliance, legal...

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DHL Express Sweden

| DHL Express Sweden

With a global network in 220 countries and regions worldwide, DHL is a perfect example of an international company. Consequently, the legal team has a breadth of responsibility of which...

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DNB Bank

| DNB Bank


Norway’s largest financial services group is supported by prudent legal counsel from a team led by group general counsel Audun Moen. DNB is a long standing institution that provides innovative...

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A complex merger between Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and Germanischer Lloyd (GL) in 2013-14 saw the in-house legal team of DNV GL win huge amounts of praise from colleagues and...

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DSV is a Danish transport and logistic company that provides air, sea, road and rail solutions to customers across several jurisdictions worldwide. Legal support to the company is headed by...

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ECCO is a Danish retailer with a long tradition of footwear and leather manufacturing, with a global presence and 2015 turnover that exceeded €1.2bn. Their in-house legal team has been...

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Ekokem Corporation

| Ekokem Corporation

Ekokem, one of the leading circular economy companies in the Nordics, provides environmental management and material efficiency services. Hilppa Rautpalo supervises the legal department of Ekokem in the Nordic region,...

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| Electrolux

The legal department at Electrolux, one of the largest international home appliance manufacturers, is deemed to be an integral part of the organisation. For a number of years, the department...

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Electromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS)

| Electromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS)

Norway’s Electromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS) is a company at the cutting edge of the oil and gas exploration and research market, and provides invaluable geophysical services that allow oil companies to...

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Elekta Instrument

| Elekta Instrument

Elekta is a Swedish company that provides radiation therapy, radiosurgery, related equipment and clinical management for the treatment of cancer and brain disorders. As legal facilitators of such a groundbreaking...

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| Elenia

The legal department of Elenia, the Finnish utility company, is widely regarded as a well-run and proactive function. General counsel Teemu Hovi describes the role and responsibilities of the legal...

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Entra Eiendom

| Entra Eiendom

Since 2013 Hallgeir Østrem, executive vice president legal and commercial, has led the legal team at Entra Eiendom, one of Norway’s leading real estate companies. In a drive to reduce...

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| eQ

The legal department at eQ, a Finnish conglomerate that specialises in asset management and corporate finance operations, currently consists of three lawyers. The team is widely acclaimed for being a...

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| Ericsson

Ericsson is a global frontrunner in the communications technology field, and one of the largest companies in the Nordic region. The proficient and highly qualified legal department consists of 160...

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| Europris

The legal department at Europris, Norway’s largest discount variety retailer by sales, is considered to be a highly flexible and talented function. The team has recently structured and completed the...

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EWOS Group

| EWOS Group

EWOS Group, one of the world’s largest suppliers of feed and nutrition for farmed fish, has seen numerous transactions in recent years that have required a huge amount of counsel...

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| Experian

World leading global information services company Experian provide data and analytical tools to clients around the world. Employing approximately 17,000 people across 37 countries, and with a 2015 revenue of...

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| Femern

Femern is a Denmark-based planning company that is responsible for overseeing an ambitious project that will create a tunnel to connect Denmark and Germany across the Fehmarnbelt. Involved in this...

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Ferrostaal Topsoe Projects

| Ferrostaal Topsoe Projects

Ferrostaal Topsoe Projects (FTP) is a joint venture providing holistic solutions for industrial projects in the petrochemicals, refinery and environmental technology sectors worldwide. The legal team at FTP is headed...

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| Finnlines

Finnlines’ legal department is the largest in-house legal team in Finland’s shipping sector. The Finnish conglomerate specialises in “roll-on/roll-off” and passenger services across the North and Baltic Sea. The legal...

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| Flügger

Flügger is an international conglomerate headquartered in Denmark with 12 subsidiaries located throughout Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia. The company specialises in designing, producing and marketing decorative painting, wood protection,...

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The 14 lawyers that serve the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) are tasked with providing a solid legal foundation for the civil authority whose mission is to deliver defence logistics...

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Gasum Group

| Gasum Group

‘In Gasum Group, the legal team play a very strategic role’, describes vice president, legal affairs and human resources Kristiina Vuori, who together with Tiia Pellinen forms the Finnish integrated...

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| Get

Get is a cable TV operator and internet service provider, which has the second largest customer base in Norway. In 2014, Get was acquired by Danish company TDC in a...

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Grundfos Holding

| Grundfos Holding

The Grundfos Holding legal department has undergone drastic alterations in the past two years. The team implemented a strategy designed to make its service more customer-centric and its advice focussed...

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H & M Hennes & Mauritz

| H & M Hennes & Mauritz

Via close cooperation with various other departments within the organisation, the legal function at H & M Hennes & Mauritz (known internationally as H&M), a Swedish clothing retail company, provides...

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Husqvarna Group

| Husqvarna Group

The Husqvarna Group is a global frontrunner in the production of outdoor power products for forest, park and garden care. Husqvarna is also the European leader in the garden watering...

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ISS Group

| ISS Group

Founded in 1901 in Copenhagen, the ISS Group has grown to become a world leading facility services company offering a wide range of services including facility management, cleaning services, support...

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Keskinäinen Eläkevakuutusyhtiö Ilmarinen

| Keskinäinen Eläkevakuutusyhtiö Ilmarinen

Keskinäinen Eläkevakuutusyhtiö Ilmarinen, a Finnish statutory pension company, has in-house lawyers that are considered by internal and external sources to be ‘business partners who act as trusted advisers on a...

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Kesko Corporation

| Kesko Corporation

Described by one source as having a ‘busines- minded approach with a value-adding mind-set’, the legal team at Kesko Corporation assists the Finnish retailing conglomerate by providing hands-on legal solutions...

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KK Wind Solutions

| KK Wind Solutions

Allan Gabriel Zandberg is group general counsel for KK Wind Solutions, who employ a compact team of two lawyers to assist the company’s business operations in numerous ways via a...

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Københavns Kommune

| Københavns Kommune

Britt Engdal Hansen is the head of division at the legal department of Københavns Kommune (the City of Copenhagen), which is the largest of the municipalities constituting the conurbation of...

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KONE Corporation

| KONE Corporation

The KONE legal team is viewed within the industry as a top class department. Juhani Ristaniemi, senior vice president, general counsel EMEA and Asia Pacific, leads one of the largest...

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Kongsberg Gruppen

| Kongsberg Gruppen

Christian Karde leads the legal department at Kongsberg Gruppen, a global leader in the provision of high-end technology systems and solutions to clients in the oil and gas, merchant marine,...

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| Kvaerner

The legal department at Oslo-headquartered engineering and construction company Kvaerner is staffed with five lawyers and one compliance offer, and is led by senior vice president legal and general counsel...

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| Lantmännen

The legal department at Lantmännen, a Swedish agricultural cooperative, comprises of nine lawyers. The team is widely known for its dedication to various M&A transactions, the effective use of an...

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Metsä Group

| Metsä Group

Metsä Group is a leader in bioeconomy, utilising renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests; the Finnish organisation reported sales equating to €5bn in the last fiscal year. Group general...

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Modern Times Group (MTG)

| Modern Times Group (MTG)

‘Today we are considered as business partners as much as lawyers’, describes head of legal Rikke Sonne. The legal department at Modern Times Group (MTG), a Swedish digital entertainment company,...

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MT Højgaard

| MT Højgaard

MT Højgaard is one of the leading construction and civil engineering companies in the Nordic region with a portfolio ranging from smaller projects to extremely large and complex construction works,...

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| Neste

The legal team at Neste, a Finnish oil refining and marketing company, provides a combination of legal and local support across several jurisdictions, as well as assigning lawyers to undertake...

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Nexans Norway

| Nexans Norway

Nexans Norway is an international leader in cables and cabling systems. The company reported improved operating margins in 2015, and continues to expand across the country. The organisation boasts a...

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| Nilfisk

Nilfisk is a Danish company that supplies professional cleaning equipment in industrial, commercial and consumer markets. With 5,500 employees globally and with sales companies in 45 countries, Nilflisk requires several...

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NNE Pharmaplan

| NNE Pharmaplan


‘The legal team is today considered a trusted business partner by the entire organisation, which the team considers as its most important trademark’, says Charlotte Bertelsen who leads the legal...

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| Nokia

Multinational communications and information technology company Nokia was founded in Finland over 150 years ago, and it remains headquartered in the city of Espoo. Legal support from Finland is led...

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| Nomeco

The increasing level of legal complexity surrounding the business of Nomeco, a pharmaceutical products wholesaler based in Copenhagen, has necessitated the growth of the legal department from two employees to...

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Nord Pool

| Nord Pool

‘The role of the legal team is pivotal in shaping the future market environment in which Nord Pool is going to operate and expand in the years to come’, states...

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Nordea Bank

| Nordea Bank


Populated with a number of highly renowned and high profile senior counsel, the legal department at Nordea Bank continuously strives to ensure the company is well protected and prepared for...

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Nordea Bank Merchant Banking – Finland

| Nordea Bank Merchant Banking - Finland


Nordea’s Merchant Banking function in Finland is supported by a legal team made up of lawyers that allow the company to develop new financial services and products, even in the...

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Nordea Merchant Banking – Sweden

| Nordea Merchant Banking - Sweden


The Nordea Merchant Banking legal team in Sweden is headed by Maria Kronström, and supported by Michael Persson and Martin Wigforss who act as co-heads of a team of a...

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Norsk Hydro

| Norsk Hydro

Norsk Hydro is one of the largest aluminium producers in the world, with operations in 80 countries around the world. The Oslo-based legal team includes 12 staff that report into...

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Novo Nordisk

| Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company at the leading edge of the sector, is one of the largest companies in the Nordic region. The highly trained and well organised legal...

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| Nykredit

Leading Danish financial services company Nykredit are counselled by a legal team of 38 professionals – 24 lawyers and 14 non-lawyers. The team is led by three senior lawyers; head...

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| Onvest

The Onvest legal department remains a key and highly respected figure within the family-owned Finnish organisation, which specialises in building services, steel, real estate management and investment. The team, led...

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| Orkla

Orkla is a vast consumer goods company, with 2015 turnover of over NOK 31bn ($3.76bn). It maintains a small but highly experienced legal team, all of whom have between 10...

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Oslo Børs

| Oslo Børs

‘Our aim is always to be best within securities law in Norway’, states Øivind Amundsen, executive vice president – primary market and legal affairs at Oslo Børs, the Norwegian stock...

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Pareto Securities

| Pareto Securities

With the largest fixed income team in the Nordic region dedicated to high-yield bonds, Pareto Securities holds an important place in the investment banking market. The legal team at Pareto...

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| Pöyry

Pöyry, an international consulting and engineering company, is supported by a legal team widely acclaimed by peers and clients as an extremely competent and versatile function. Referred to by key...

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Rockwool International

| Rockwool International

2015 was a challenging year for Rockwool International, the world’s leading manufacturer of products and solutions based on rock wool with operations in more than 35 countries across the world....

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Rovio Entertainment

| Rovio Entertainment

Best known as the creators of the Angry Birds franchise, global entertainment media company Rovio Entertainment is served by a dynamic and effective legal team headed by Minna Raitanen, general...

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Royal Unibrew

| Royal Unibrew

Patrick Plucnar, group general counsel, leads a team of eight at Royal Unibrew, a regional beverage producer with significant market share in large parts of Northern Europe and the second...

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| Saab

Swedish company Saab is an aerospace and defence company that is well known for serving the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions from military defence to civil security....

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Sandvik Group

| Sandvik Group

Åsa Thunman is the executive vice president and general counsel of Sandvik Group, an engineering company based in Stockholm with a 2015 revenue figure of SEK 90.8bn ($10.6bn). Comprising around...

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Scatec Solar

| Scatec Solar

‘The most important value added is that the team know the business model in depth and can provide fast and commercially sensible advice’, explains executive vice president and general counsel...

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| Securitas

Securitas is a global security services firm that provides a range of solutions to security challenges, including consulting, investigating and on-site security work. Boasting around 300,000 employees and with total...

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| Siemens

Siemens, a global organisation that develops high-tech and innovative solutions for industry, energy, cities and healthcare, has a team of nine lawyers to support operations across Denmark and Norway. Since...

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| Skanska

The legal department at Skanska, a global construction and development company headquartered in Sweden, comprises of knowledgeable individuals who are well-acquainted with the organisation’s key processes and significant developments. Senior...

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SOK Corporation

| SOK Corporation

SOK Corporation, a subsidiary of Finnish retail cooperative S Group, operates in the supermarket space in Finland, as well as the travel and hospitality industry in the Baltic countries and...

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Solör Bioenergi Holding

| Solör Bioenergi Holding

Energy and utilities

The legal department of Solör Bioenergi Holding, a bio-energy provider, has made a significant mark on the company’s operation despite only recently being created. Formed along with the joining of...

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Sony Mobile

| Sony Mobile

‘The focus is always on the business and finding business solutions to facilitate strategic directions’, says Åsa Ericson Hedström vice president legal and compliance at Sony Mobile, a mobile telecommunication...

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| Spectrum

Svein Staalen leads the legal team at Spectrum, a well-established and growing company that provides the global oil and gas industry with seismic data from its various locations in Norway,...

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Headquartered in central Stockholm, SSAB is the hugely successful Swedish-Finnish materials and mining company formed in 1978, which specialises in processing raw material into steel. As a global business, SSAB...

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| Statkraft

Statkraft is Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, the largest producer of power in Norway and the third largest power producer in the Nordic region. The company has carved its...

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| Statoil

Group general counsel Hans Henrik Klouman leads the legal and compliance department (LEG) at Statoil, a frontrunner in exploration and oil and gas production, and the leading operator on the...

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Stora Enso

| Stora Enso

Stora Enso, a leading provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wood and paper headquartered in Finland, is supported by a legal team of 40 employees, including 25 in-house corporate...

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Swedbank Norge

| Swedbank Norge


Swedbank is a full service bank headquartered in Stockholm that caters for companies and private individuals. The bank is known to have a strong legal team across the Nordic region,...

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SYBO Games

| SYBO Games

The legal function at SYBO Games, a mobile game developer company located in Copenhagen, provide business peers with clear, concise and valuable commercially-minded advice. General counsel Signe Toft believes that...

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Takeda Pharmaceuticals

| Takeda Pharmaceuticals


Reporting to Takeda’s group general counsel in Japan, the emerging markets legal team of 30 professionals is led by Torbjörn Hallberg, vice president and general counsel emerging markets (EM). The...

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| Teboil

General counsel Mikko Laaksonen leads a highly proficient and knowledgeable legal department at Teboil, a Finnish organisation that specialise in the importing, marketing, sales and distribution of oil and energy...

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| Telenor

Norwegian telecoms giant Telenor is a global frontrunner in mobile operation, communications and IT, and the largest company on the Oslo stock exchange. Executive vice president and chief corporate affairs...

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Total E&P Norge

| Total E&P Norge

Total E&P Norge, a specialist in the exploration and production of oil and gas, continues to be an increasingly prominent figure on the Norwegian Continental Shelf and runs one of...

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United Bankers

| United Bankers


United Bankers’ ability to continuously thrive amidst a difficult economic climate can be in part attributed to their dynamic and versatile legal department. The legal team at the Finnish investment...

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Vaasan Group

| Vaasan Group

‘In-house counsel must be hands on with daily business as well as have a clear vision about the company’s future’, says Tuula Rainto, general counsel at Vaasan Group, a Finnish...

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| Valio

Valio has been a prominent figure in the Finnish dairy market for over 100-years, producing cheese, powdered ingredients, butter, yoghurt and 85% of Finland’s milk. Part of the company’s continued...

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Valmet Corporation

| Valmet Corporation

Valmet Corporation’s legal department currently consists of 24 employees, who have evolved from a support function to a key business partner working in a very proactive manner alongside management. Valmet,...

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| Vattenfall

One of Europe’s largest energy producers, Swedish-owned Vattenfall produce electricity, heat and gas with an enduring focus on efficiency and stability. Vattenfall’s legal department, led by Anne Gynnerstedt as senior...

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VKR Holding

| VKR Holding

VKR Holding is a holding and investment public limited company whose object is to create value through financial investments and ownership of undertakings. The company employs a total number of...

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Volvo Car Corporation

| Volvo Car Corporation

Volvo Car Corporation is one of the largest corporations in the Nordic region and a globally-known brand in the automotive sector. Maria Hemberg, general counsel and senior vice president, leads...

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VR Group

| VR Group

Cited by internal sources as a team consisting of ‘lawyers with excellent legal expertise, communication skills and a business mind-set’, the VR Group legal department has been at the forefront...

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Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics

| Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics has a proficient legal department, which consists of seven lawyers and one jurist. The team operates on a virtual basis with four colleagues based across Europe, two...

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| Welltec

As a producer of high end equipment for the oil and gas industry, Welltec has felt the effects of low oil prices over the past year. This has forced it...

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Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding

| Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding

The recent past has seen personnel changes in the legal team of Norwegian global maritime industry group Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding, including the appointment of current chief legal officer Morten Aaserud....

For 29 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. The GC Powerlist is the latest publication from The Legal 500, turning its attention to the in-house function, and recognising those corporate counsel who are driving the legal business forward. The latest edition is the GC Powerlist: Nordics Teams, which identifies an array of the most influential and innovative in-house teams working in the Nordic region.

The GC Powerlist is a series of publications, highlighting the most influential in-house lawyers in business today.

To put together the list, we canvassed opinions from law firm partners and in-house counsel across the region, to identify corporate counsel that have been instrumental in changing or forming opinions within their company or industry; developing brilliant technical solutions to complex issues; creating innovative structures to ensure that the in-house function is driving the business forward; or providing a business working model that other corporate counsel should follow. Our team of experienced researchers assessed the nominations, speaking both to general counsel and nominating lawyers to finalise each jurisdictional list. The GC Powerlist: Nordics Teams features not just information on teams that have made the list, but also practical tips for fellow in-house counsel to follow to maximise their interaction with their businesses.

David Burgess
Publishing Director


Bech-Brunn logo

A big congratulations to all the legal teams selected for this year’s GC Powerlist Nordics Teams. Everyone on the list has in their own special way demonstrated an innovative approach to the legal function, which is decisive in a time where we experience a change in the role of the legal counsel.

At Bech-Bruun, we are pleased to be able for the second time to present the GC Powerlist Nordics Teams together with The Legal 500. We want to congratulate both the legal in-house teams which were nominated and the teams which made it onto the list.

Legal work is undergoing constant change. Not only in law firms, but also in companies’ legal departments. We hear this from our clients and we experience it ourselves to a very high degree in Bech-Bruun, where our clients, in addition to broad legal expertise, to a higher degree demand more in-depth insight into business strategies and financial understanding. This new focus builds new expectations for our skills as legal specialists. At the same time, it forces us in a positive way to turn our focus inwards and take a closer look at our current way of handling tasks and how, with new perspectives on our work, we can create the decisive value to match the needs of our clients.

If we turn our attention towards Danish businesses, we can also see considerable change. Not only do many in-house lawyers experience increasing demand for new skills such as business understanding and strategic insight1, we also see considerable changes in the capacities of legal departments. In the past ten years, the number of in-house lawyers has increased dramatically2 . In 2004, 400 lawyers were employed in Danish organisations. In 2015, this figure had increased to almost 1,500 lawyers. And there are many indications that the development is continuing – and justifiably so. A well-run internal legal department creates huge value for the business.

But when the legal department is undergoing changes, innovation will be the key factor in being able to continue to add value to the overall business. It may, however, in many cases be difficult to ensure the proper innovative thinking and to know how precisely this is to be ensured. Especially when this development makes demands for entirely new skills outside the traditional field of expertise. This may make it necessary to carefully consider whether and how the legal department may through innovation and development be able to strengthen the department’s contribution to the company. How does the legal department maintain its active role in the value creation? How does one ensure that the legal department has the right composition and is properly prepared to work with new fields of expertise?

At Bech-Bruun, we acknowledge that the current market is influenced by changed requirements for the legal services we provide. We know that value-creating consulting is no longer based solely on legal specialisation and a high level of expertise. In addition and to an equal degree, such consulting is based on an in-depth understanding of our clients’ businesses and markets. In order to respond to the development in the markets, we have launched a number of internal initiatives and change processes designed to contribute to strengthening our employees and the advice we provide in a number of important areas. This is ensured, among other things, through education designed to provide us with real and in-depth understanding of our clients’ businesses. And by creating a structure designed to ensure that we cooperate to a much higher degree across practice groups to obtain the best possible use of our resources to the benefit of our clients.

We also know that many in-house lawyers want to respond to this development by, among other things, becoming better at showing how they create value to the business. Consequently, we are really pleased to be able to offer new and exciting courses in our Academy Client programme again in 2017 focusing on the new skills demanded by many in-house lawyers as well as to once again offer our high-level General Counsel Programme focusing on how general counsel may become fully prepared for the new changes and challenges.

We are looking forward to working with the many new possibilities resulting from the changes – and not least to continue our good working relationship with the many in-house lawyers we work with on a daily basis and naturally also to meet the ones who we have not yet had the pleasure of working with.

And once again; a big congratulations to everyone on this year’s GC Powerlist Nordics Teams.

Castren & Snellman

Castren & Snellman logo

When the The Legal 500 called and asked whether we would like to be involved in the GC Powerlist, it wasn’t hard to answer yes. Throughout my long career, I have served as the right hand to many general counsel, and I have a great respect for the work they do. It feels wonderful that now, through the GC Powerlist, we will be able to shed light on the great contribution general counsel make to the success of the companies they serve.

The world is changing rapidly. The companies that were on top at the start of my career looked very different to the ones on top today. New companies are being started every day, and they are growing and going global at an increasingly rapid pace. The tough challenges – and hot opportunities – in companies today include compliance, governance, privacy and data security.

It has been a long time since general counsel could be satisfied with just looking after their own back yard. Being a general counsel today calls for an wide understanding of the business of one’s own company as well as of the megatrends that will unavoidably alter the landscape companies operate in – whether they like it or not. Curiosity and enthusiasm for new things are more important traits for lawyers than ever, regardless of whether you are an attorney or an in-house counsel.

My experience is that the best ideas are created by innovating together, by joining forces to create a vision. Co-innovation has brought an entirely new twist to my own work. It is a great feeling to see the spark of enthusiasm in your client’s eye and to have helped feed their curiosity towards the future.

The opportunities of digitalisation – a megatrend that is affecting businesses across the board –is an area for development that is shared by both law firms and in-house teams. According to Radiant Law’s recent study, more than three-quarters (78%) of general counsel lack separate budgets for process and technology services, despite exactly the same percentage identifying a ‘compelling need’ for them. Nonetheless, two-thirds of GCs had invested in process or technology with an external supplier in the last two years.

The same trend can be seen in law firms. We are digitising our operations and have turned a keen ear to the thoughts general counsel have about how we can find entirely new ways of doing things in the future.

Finally, let me congratulate all of you who made it onto the GC Powerlist. You are rock-solid trailblazers in your field!


Selmer logo

During my career with the Boston Consulting Group I have worked with executive management in a wide range of businesses and it is evident to me that there is an untapped potential for in-house legal teams, as well for law firms, to accompany legal expertise with commercial insight and business understanding. There are noticeable differences in how in-house legal teams are applied and perceived across corporate entities. In some organisations they are truly trusted strategic advisors to executive management, in others they play the role of a back-office function.

Lawyers are educated to become excellent legal practitioners, dismantling legal predicaments and identifying potential risks. However, being an in-house lawyer implies helping executive management find practical business oriented solutions. Creating value in such a corporate environment requires the ability to combine legal frameworks and commercial understanding. Unfortunately a considerable number of lawyers are not comfortable in this arena.

At Selmer we have a clear strategic ambition. Our lawyers must not only be outstanding legal practitioners, they must also be excellent commercial advisors. Of this reason we have invested in an internal Financial Analysis and Transaction Support Department that supports Selmer’s lawyers with valuable financial and industrial analysis, helping our teams to quickly get up to speed on the commercial context of each assignment and to develop insightful solutions optimizing value add for every client. We recruit from the industry, we focus on business skills in our talent development and we have a unique business committee that assists our teams.

This mind-set will continue to be one of my primary focus areas as a new Managing Director of Selmer. I am confident that our passion and emphasis on building additional commercial strength will enable our lawyers to add even more value when teaming up with general counsels in the future.

GC Summit Vietnam 2024

The Legal 500’s second GC Summit: Vietnam built on the success of the 2023 gathering to provide an even more informative, illuminating and rewarding agenda of sessions for the country’s top in-house legal minds. With almost 200 people in attendance, including general counsel of large MNCs and Vietnamese companies and backed up by the key law firms of the countr,  this was the most significant gathering of the Vietnamese legal community in recent years.

The event commenced with opening remarks by Joe Boswell, followed by Hong Le of GSK, who eloquently outlined the challenges and opportunities awaiting in-house counsel in Vietnam. Le’s insights set the tone for the day’s discussions, highlighting the importance of adaptability and strategic legal counsel in navigating the evolving legal landscape.

Throughout the day, attendees were treated to a series of engaging panels and presentations, covering a wide range of topics vital to legal practitioners in Vietnam. First up was Tilleke & Gibbins’ wide-ranging session ‘Pressing issues facing general counsel in 2024. Moderated by Michelle Ray-Jones and Chuyen Hong Huu Le of Tilleke & Gibbins, the discussionprovided valuable insights into the evolving role of general counsel amidst transformative technological and regulatory changes. Panellists from Novartis and Nestlé Vietnam shared their perspectives on data privacy, managing legal budgets, and harnessing AI for legal efficiency.

Practical guidance on sensitive employee terminations was up next alongside Russin & Vecchi. After an introduction by Nguyen Huu Minh Nhut, Dao Thi Ai then offered practical strategies for managing employee terminations ethically and effectively, safeguarding both company reputation and employee rights in the process.

Mark Fraser and newly announced partner Gwendoline Brooker of Frasers Law firm then moderated a discussion on ESG matters in Vietnam. Noted leading in-house counsel Minh Vu of Haleon and Tran Long Ha of AES fed in to the discussion, which provided thoughtful analysis on ESG principles, emphasising their growing importance in Vietnam’s journey towards sustainable development. The various implications for legal teams of local and international businesses were also analysed.

Pham Duy Khuong and Nguyen Tien Hoa of ASL Law then provided invaluable insights into compliance with new regulations on personal data protection, IP law, and global minimum tax, crucial for businesses engaging in M&A, both from a buy and sell-side perspective.

Minh Duong and fellow panelists Duc Tran of Credit Vietnam and Hao Tran of BW Industrial Development then shed light on the elevated view of risk management for modern general counsel in their discussion, emphasising proactive crisis prevention and effective crisis management strategies as well as liaising effectively with business leaders.

A panel featuring experts from LNT & Partners, including managing partner Hoang Nguyen Ha Quyen, along with in-house counsel Le Anh Tuan of FWD Insurance, explored the intricacies of data protection regulations in Vietnam, offering practical guidance for ensuring compliance and safeguarding sensitive information in the digital era. This session led to an extended Q&A with the audience, who were keen to learn from the experts on-stage.

Dr. Oliver Massmann of Duane Morris Vietnam then took to the stage and, in his own inimitable and highly energetic way, provided insights into conducting business compliantly in Vietnam based on his extensive experience over multiple decades. He outlined the factors that are crucial for companies navigating the local legal landscape when organising deals and getting them over the line.

The conference concluded with a freewheeling session on the banking and finance outlook in 2024, offering predictions and insights from various perspectives, including private practice and corporate viewpoints. Moderated by partner Ho Thuy Ngoc Tram of Frasers Law Company, the panel benefited from the viewpoints of two highly experienced legal counsel. Thuy Ngoc Tram of Cathay United Bank gave a thorough overview of the banking and finance landscape in Vietnam, while Yin Ee Ong of Warisan TC Holdings, who flew in from Kuala Lumpur especially to input to the panel discussion, spoke of her experiences in setting up Hong Leong’s Vietnam branch in her prior career.

The GC Summit Vietnam 2024 was a roaring success, and generated hugely positive feedback from attendees in the post-summit drinks reception. The Legal 500 will be back in Vietnam for our GC Powerlist 2024 edition in Q4 this year. If you are a leading in-house lawyer who would like to be considered for inclusion, or know of one who should be, you can get in touch with to make a nomination.