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The broadcasting and communications regulator Ofcom has embarked on an aggressive recruitment drive to boost its in-house legal capacity to deal with policy issues. In particular, the regulator is facing a rising number of decisions which are appealed to the Competition Appeals Tribunal.
The increasing workload has created a need for both more lawyers and a wider range of expertise.
Ofcom currently has around 20 lawyers in-house headed by general counsel Polly Weitzman, the high-profile competition expert who joined in 2003 from Denton Wilde Sapte. It is understood that lawyers can be assigned to Ofcom projects touching on any area of policy, including telecoms, television or radio broadcasting and radio spectrum.
The latter is expected to be a particularly busy area of work this year as the Government moves towards new spectrum awards.
Weitzman told The Lawyer that the regulator would be keen to recruit a mix of experience and backgrounds for the team. "The initial Ofcom team was primarily public-sector based, as the lawyers came from the legacy regulators," she said. "Now we're looking to introduce lawyers from both private practice and in-house to give us a different mix of expertise."