United Kingdom 2018: The Team Elite – Page 2 – GC Powerlist

United Kingdom 2018: The Team Elite

Aviva

| Aviva

Insurance

The strength of leadership in the highly-regarded in-house team at FTSE 100 insurer Aviva is consistently praised, even as the team saw significant change over the last year. And it...

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BAE Systems

| BAE Systems

Real estate

‘This is, you will be pleased to know, a very, very, heavily regulated industry,’ defence multinational BAE Systems group GC Philip Bramwell says. ‘We have, from the boardroom down, no...

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Balfour Beatty

| Balfour Beatty

Real estate

It feels an age since global infrastructure group Balfour Beatty announced its seventh profit warning in a couple of years, had its chief executive quit and was in the midst...

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch

| Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Financials

Ask any financial services institution’s in-house team to name their main challenge of recent years and many will point to what the team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML)...

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Barclays

| Barclays

Financials

Freeze the regulatory environment of today and Barclays group GC Bob Hoyt believes the 740-strong legal team would still have a lot of work to understand and safely operate the...

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This year we return to the team format of the GC Powerlist, our flagship annual report chronicling the elite of the UK’s buy-side legal community. This team perspective inevitably takes us closer to state-of-the-legal industry ruminations than the editions focused on individual excellence.

Glancing at this year’s report, the second team-focused edition after the first in 2015, many long-term shifts in the profession have marched on regardless through the era of New Law and techfuelled disruption. Teams at leading companies are still accumulating more resources, skills and infrastructure to expand their empires. General counsel (GCs) at leading bluechips operating heavily in the UK are often fielding teams in the hundreds and have expanded substantially over the last three years, despite more pressure for efficiency. ‘More for less’ is a convenient fiction for GCs, but a ‘lot more work for a moderate increase in budget’ has less of a ring. …read more

It is odd that it is often claimed that demand for legal services is flat in Western economies, a conclusion reached by looking at the revenues of large law firms in the US and UK. In a highly regulated and complex global economy, demand is obviously robust – it is just that it is being increasingly met by providers other than law firms. It is now common for the 50 teams highlighted in our report to spend more than half their very substantial budgets internally, with Shell and Barclays particularly focused on driving efficiency.

In truth, as yet the impact of technology is primarily felt in conference circuit rhetoric rather than changing how teams operate. Nevertheless, the clearest shift since our last team report is a new willingness to bring in a handful of senior operational staff from business services backgrounds in areas like tech or procurement, or at least shift lawyers into senior operational roles.

In-house teams have been far too conservative in investing in business skills. That tendency – though obscured by spurious claims of clients driving change – has materially held back the advancement of the legal industry.

As such, the very recent rise of the legal chief operating officer promises a sea-change in the industry and the prospect of fundamental shifts in buying behaviour of the clients routinely spending £25m-plus annually. Early indications where such professionals have been deployed is that they hunger to shake things up and secure immediate results. Crucially, ushering in such professionals has done much to calm the entrenched turf war in major plcs that pitted procurement and finance against legal, and did much to frustrate constructive change.

But we are not here to nitpick. This report is primarily a celebration of the ascent of in-house counsel. Over the time that I have covered the legal industry, the in-house community has gone through a revolution and is now increasingly seen as a career of choice for many of the UK’s most talented commercial lawyers. There is no hyperbole to say such teams – along with the best US counterparts – lead the industry globally. The 50 teams here – highlighted after weeks of research by my colleagues James Wood, Tom Baker and Hamish McNicol – are exemplary. And the revolution is still in full flow.

Alex Novarese

Editor-in-chief, Legal Business and The In-House Lawyer

Sponsor Message

RPC

RPC logo

The best teams are founded on diversity. And by diversity I mean diversity of thought, diversity of experience and diversity of leadership, as much as anything else.

If ever there was a time to reflect on the importance of diversity – in all its forms – in the era of #MeToo, #TimesUp and the gender pay gap, that time is now. Irrespective of whether studies show that greater diversity delivers greater performance – they do – ensuring we run balanced teams and organisations that offer equal access and equal opportunity is simply the right thing to do as human beings.

And I’m saying this as a white, male, middle-aged leader of a City law firm in the full knowledge that, as a sector, we have a very long way to go. Like other sectors, we’re rightly being held accountable by our people, by the government and by the media. Critically, we’re rightly being held accountable by our clients, too.

As clients of City law firms like RPC, those represented in the Powerlist are playing an increasingly leading role in ensuring diversity doesn’t just rise up the agenda, but stays there.

What particularly struck me about the list of topperforming legal teams showcased in this year’s Powerlist was also the diversity of organisations represented, from start-ups to established players; technology companies to retailers; and UK-headquartered operations to sprawling global giants.

The business issues that these companies face will be many and varied. It stands to reason, then, that the greater diversity in the teams advising them, the more commercially-valuable the advice they will be giving. It’s about being able to consider commercial challenges from a range of viewpoints – the broader the range, the more complete the advice and the better the end result.

And, increasingly, in-house lawyers are having a major influence on the ultimate end result: the bottom line. Over the six years we have been involved in the GC Powerlist, my perception is that the role of the in-house legal team has become progressively more critical to the successful running of businesses. The in-house lawyer has moved on from being the moral compass to becoming an indispensable business adviser to the board. A growing number are achieving that coveted seat at the table.

That’s never more apparent than in a crisis situation – such as a major cyber incident – when, more often than not, the GC and their legal team are at the heart of managing the response. Caught in the maelstrom, that’s no doubt a challenging place to be. But it’s a significant opportunity to demonstrate commercial value, too, not least when your share price can rise or fall on the basis of the decisions you make.

So, having a strong sense of leadership and the right team around you is absolutely key. And, in my experience, balancing a shared sense of purpose with a good degree of autonomy helps to drive the high-performance culture we all strive for. But, running through it all, is communication – if you don’t have open and fertile lines of communication then, at best, you’ll have pockets of high-performing individuals. Great communication is fundamental to great leadership – and both are fundamental to great teams.

This publication is a list of truly great in-house legal teams. Congratulations to all of those who have been featured.

James Miller
Managing partner Tel: 020 3060 6517
james.miller@rpc.co.uk

Cornerstone Research

Cornerstone Research logo

Cornerstone Research supports the world’s leading law firms and corporations in their most complex matters. For more than 25 years, we have provided economic and financial analyses and expert testimony in thousands of disputes, arbitrations and regulatory proceedings.

Clients rely on us for clear and objective assessments. Our experts – both within the firm and externally – include leading academics, authorities on a range of industries and former senior government officials.

Today’s legal environment poses growing demands in terms of both data and analyses. Clients not only need to quickly extract intelligence and useful insights from traditional sources, including financial and transactional records, but also from non-traditional sources, such as emails and social media. Our ability to categorise and analyse these data sources efficiently and effectively is crucial.

Cornerstone Research has 700 staff in offices in London and throughout the US. In Europe, we focus on competition cases, international arbitrations and matters in the financial services sector.

The depth and breadth of our experience, combined with our extensive expert network, provide clients with an unmatched level of consistent high-quality work and effective support.

Peter Davis
Senior vice president
Tel: 020 3655 0910
pdavis@cornerstone.com

Fox Rodney Search

Fox Rodney Search logo

The role of a general counsel (GC) has developed substantively over the last decade due to increasingly complex regulation, technological advancements and globalisation. GCs now bring more to the table than just their legal expertise and act as strategic legal and business advisers to the chief executive and executive leadership teams. Recruiting and developing the right talent has become harder and even more critical than ever before.

GCs are now viewed as the go-to advisers for chief executives and boards of directors on laws and regulations, as well as public policy, ethics and risk. In addition, GCs now possess broad financial acumen and commercial understanding, leading them to also participate in senior leadership discussions on complex business problems and to provide innovative solutions. The GC has become a principal member of senior management teams and offers advice not just on legal matters but in helping shape discussion and debate on broader business issues.

Among in-house senior lawyers, individuals that stand out have deep financial understanding, including the ability to read balance sheets, interpret profit and loss statements and have the ability to collaborate and develop close relationships with finance departments. Senior lawyers who aspire to become GCs must expand their business knowledge, gain diverse financial acumen and develop strong leadership skills. Joining crossfunctional strategic projects is an example of how legal talent can learn about other areas of a business and develop a broader organisation-wide understanding.

The quality of leadership is one of the most important predictors of the success of an in-house legal function. The combination of career experience, characteristics, competencies, values and motivations determine an individual’s ability as a successful leader. The most critical competencies required of today’s strategic legal adviser are organisational awareness, ensuring accountability, collaborating by building relationships across the business and having the courage and gravitas to challenge chief executives and boards, when appropriate.

Overall, when appointing the next GC, it is important for organisations to look beyond legal expertise and consider broader business and industry knowledge, as well as ethical values and cultural fit.

Corinne Lennock
Senior consultant, legal and compliance EMEA
Tel: 020 7337 2722
clennock@foxrodney.com

Safelink

Safelink logo

Legal departments and law firms are under increasing cost pressures and it is no longer about doing more with less; it is simply a question of efficiency: top-quality output with less cost, fewer people and fewer mistakes. This leads the enlightened to the hot topics of business and digital transformation, which go hand in hand with technology and raise the issue of digital trust.

Automation of processes, secure and instant collaborative working and artificial intelligence provide huge opportunities for increasing efficiencies and quality, and creating the transparency that engenders trust in the client/provider relationship. Coupling this with the inherent security advantages of such technologies, a firm awareness of the associated risks, and adherence to an ever-changing regulatory and statutory landscape, gives the opportunity to create an environment of digital trust.

Safelink provides a highly secure means of increasing the efficiency of smart delivery of legal services to, and by, in-house legal departments and law firms, while adding strength to GDPR positioning.

Providing tools that encourage the building of trusted relationships between law firms and their clients or internal legal departments with their panel firms requires flexibility and attention to the specific requirements of the relationship. The trade-off between security and convenience in the technical age is ever-present when considering issues of digital trust, and customisable tools that give absolute security and the flexibility to meet specific reporting needs can be hard to find. Tales of woe that appear regularly of data breaches and malware issues beg the question of who or what will be next?

At Safelink, security is at the heart of the delivery of all our services and is woven through every part of the system. Coupling that infrastructure with the ability to customise tools to the degree that will simplify the delivery and receipt of legal services strengthens the bond between client and legal service provider. While we do not pretend to offer the panacea to all these issues, we listen hard to what our clients are telling us and work hard to deliver well-thought-out software that makes sense in the hands of the user.

Harry Boxall
Director
Tel: 020 8798 3140

Yerra Solutions

Yerra Solutions logo

Legal departments and law firms are under increasing cost pressures and it is no longer about doing more with less; it is simply a question of efficiency: top-quality output with less cost, fewer people and fewer mistakes. This leads the enlightened to the hot topics of business and digital transformation, which go hand in hand with technology and raise the issue of digital trust.

Automation of processes, secure and instant collaborative working and artificial intelligence provide huge opportunities for increasing efficiencies and quality, and creating the transparency that engenders trust in the client/provider relationship. Coupling this with the inherent security advantages of such technologies, a firm awareness of the associated risks, and adherence to an ever-changing regulatory and statutory landscape, gives the opportunity to create an environment of digital trust.

Safelink provides a highly secure means of increasing the efficiency of smart delivery of legal services to, and by, in-house legal departments and law firms, while adding strength to GDPR positioning.

Providing tools that encourage the building of trusted relationships between law firms and their clients or internal legal departments with their panel firms requires flexibility and attention to the specific requirements of the relationship. The trade-off between security and convenience in the technical age is ever-present when considering issues of digital trust, and customisable tools that give absolute security and the flexibility to meet specific reporting needs can be hard to find. Tales of woe that appear regularly of data breaches and malware issues beg the question of who or what will be next?

At Safelink, security is at the heart of the delivery of all our services and is woven through every part of the system. Coupling that infrastructure with the ability to customise tools to the degree that will simplify the delivery and receipt of legal services strengthens the bond between client and legal service provider. While we do not pretend to offer the panacea to all these issues, we listen hard to what our clients are telling us and work hard to deliver well-thought-out software that makes sense in the hands of the user.

Bob Storey
Managing director, legal solutions
bob.storey@yerrasolutions.com