2011 Round-up – In-House moves: Pastures new

The in-house sector saw some major movement in 2011, with many private practitioners choosing in-house roles and vice-versa

Clare Canning
Clare Canning

 It has been a busy year on the in-house circuit. In moving from private ­practice to in-house roles, Standard Bank Offshore got the ball rolling when it appointed Mourant Ozannes’ Lionel Woodward as its first legal head (18 January), while advertising law ­specialist Marina Palomba joined ad agency McCann Erickson in April ­following a year-long spell as a ­partner at Reed Smith.

Mayer Brown litigation partner Clare Canning was appointed global general counsel at Ernst & Young, ­succeeding Trevor Faure, who was appointed global leader of E&Y’s legal services sector (20 September). In October, financial litigation partner Wilson Thorburn left Ashurst to take up a new role as head of litigation for Emea at JPMorgan (12 October). He was shortly followed by ­construction partner Alex Cunliffe, who left Ashurst to join engineering giant Bechtel (22 November).

In the US, Hewlett Packard ­appointed Drinker Biddle & Reath ­partner Gregg Melinson as deputy general counsel and vice-president of global government affairs (8 August). ­However, the biggest move of the year came in October when US firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher announced that it was losing five partners and around 15 associates from its New York office to ­longstanding client Bloomberg (31 October).

House calls

In the world of in-house moves, Torus appointed Chartis deputy general counsel José Ramón González as ­general counsel (25 April), while in May Carne Global Financial Services hired Roisin Cater from Ensign ­Mutual Funds (9 May). 3 hired Xavier ­Mooyart from rival operation ­Everything Everywhere as legal chief for its ­competition and regulatory arm (23 May).

In July, Petronas Energy Trading took on its first in-house lawyer, Nailesh Rambhai, who joined from Coventry Building Society (11 July). Christian Graville left RSA Insurance Group to become the new European legal director at Assurant Solutions (11 July). Auction house Christie’s appointed BBC legal head Nicholas Eldred as group general counsel (31 August).

RBS Insurance appointed RSA legal director Humphrey Tomlinson as general counsel (20 September). HBO Central Europe hired Gordon Finlayson from Orbit Showtime ­Network (OSN) as general counsel. Helen Samaha, formerly group legal director at Virgin, replaced him as general counsel at OSN (3 October). In November, BBC Worldwide ­appointed Martyn Freeman, ­formerly group head and director of the organisation’s legal and ­business affairs, as general counsel (10 November).

Staying private

In private practice coups, Rosenblatt hired Cathy Ley from the London Development Agency as a partner to head its projects, construction and infrastructure team (25 April).
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan picked up outgoing Novartis general counsel Thomas Werlen as a ­partner.

Werlen has been replaced at Novartis by former Bär & Karrer senior partner Felix Ehrat (3 October). In November, Reed Smith hired Channel 4 head of legal for governance, ­regulatory and trading Nick Swimer as a partner in its London media practice (7 November).

Meanwhile, Christophe Lefort left Bouygues Travaux Publics to join ­Herbert Smith’s energy and ­infrastructure department in France (2 December).

Top teams get their just awards

The RBS Group won this year’s In-house Banking and Financial Services Team of the Year gong at The Lawyer Awards 2011, ­beating off stiff competition from Man Group and Capital One (Europe).

Meanwhile, the coveted title of ­In-house Commerce and Industry Team of the Year went to Shell Upstream ­International, with United ­Utilities Group and ­Premier Foods coming in second and third places ­respectively.

The Glasgow Housing Association pipped Kent Legal Services/London Borough of Waltham Forest and Legal Services Lincolnshire to the post and was awarded this year’s In-house Public Sector Team of the Year. Everything Everywhere also emerged triumphant, beating 3 and The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to pick up the award for In-house TMT Team of the Year.

At the individual level Liz Kelly, general counsel at Nationwide Building Society, was named this year’s In-house Lawyer of the Year.