With the recession biting law firms right from the start of the year, 2009 has in many ways been the year of the general counsel.
Companies have not been immune to the ravages of the economy, but that has only served to empower in-house counsel to take control and demand better value for money from their advisers. As always,The Lawyerprofiled a leading general counsel in every issue published this year. Here’s a reminder of some of them
”We have to be non-political in our work but politically aware, and conspicuously so.”
Edward Solomons, general counsel at the Metropolitan Police Service, speaks openly about working inside a “goldfish bowl”.
”Socks and sandals aren’t out of place here.”
Head of legal at the Met Office Nick Benson on the “gifted but schizophrenic” organisation behind the UK’s number one conversation-starter.
”We’re very keen on decent homes, green energy and an improved environment. We also want to maintain a high level of employment post-Olympics. We want the legacy.”
Gifty Edila, general counsel and corporate director, legal and democratic services at the London Borough of Hackney on the huge task facing the understaffed borough in the run-up to 2012.
”Given the high profile of the club, we need to make sure we’re on the back pages for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons.”
Fresh-faced Manchester City FC general counsel Simon Cliff on his new job. Two months later the club signed Emmanuel Adebayor and the controversial striker saw to it that the club made it to the front pages for all the wrong reasons for weeks after.
”With Harry Potter everything happens in real time. You have to move swiftly.” Abu Deeb, general counsel and company secretary at Bloomsbury Publishing, on protecting the most sought-after book of the decade.
”That’s the craft of the government lawyer. You don’t stay in the same area and specialise ever more deeply. You move around, broadening and deepening your knowledge of the essential bits of law you need as a government solicitor.” Valuable insight from 30-year government lawyer Anthony Inglese, now general counsel at HM Revenue & Customs.