RBS’s Campbell seals rejig of in-house legal capability

Former Dundas & Wilson managing partner Chris Campbell has completed his six-month overhaul of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) UK and Irish in-house function.

The revamped 140-lawyer team, headed by general counsel Miller McLean, now includes a ‘virtual firm within a team’, reporting directly to deputy general counsel Campbell.

The latter division, called Specialist Services, features 15 lawyers. The new creation will provide advice to group legal and can also be called in by RBS’s divisional teams.

Campbell joined RBS in September last year and spent his first three months reviewing the role of the in-house function. From December 2005 he began the implementation stage.

Under his review the number of management units in the in-house team has been reduced from 10 to six, but it is Campbell’s group, which provides services to other parts of group legal itself rather than relying on external firms, that catches the eye.

“This is not about increasing or reducing headcount in-house,” said Campbell. “It’s about efficiency.”

Campbell’s attention has now turned to the bank’s panel review. The formal invitation to tender is set for July, although it is understood that RBS’s current panel firms will be formally notified of the review ahead of that time.

Campbell refused to comment on specific changes, but sounded a warning for panel firms when he said it was important that the panel did not become “ossified” and that there was “always scope for change.”