Hackney legal chief falls foul of overhaul

Borough solicitor at the London borough of Hackney Meic Sullivan-Gould has lost his job.

Sullivan-Gould was only promoted to the borough solicitor role from a position as deputy head of legal in 2005, but has lost his job as part of a management shake-up led by chief executive Penny Thompson.

Thompson took over as chief executive in January 2005 and has already made a number of senior management redundancies, including former legal director Claer Lloyd-Jones.

The council issued a statement to The Lawyer that said: “Meic Sullivan-Gould has left Hackney Council following a successful secondment to the Five Boroughs 2012 programme team and the presidency of the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors (ACSeS). After making a valuable contribution to Hackney, Meic is moving on, by mutual agreement, to pursue other projects.”

Sullivan-Gould was unavailable for comment, but is believed to have signed a confidentiality agreement as part of a generous leaving package.

The acting borough solicitor is Amanda Kelly, formerly a principal at Hackney. The borough has launched a recruitment process for a permanent successor, but sources close to the council believe the legal team is likely to restructure, with the new borough solicitor role likely to encompass less executive power than at present.

Sullivan-Gould’s departure could lead to a review of Hackney’s legal panel, which was launched in 2003, although the council has not yet confirmed this. The current panel comprises Bircham Dyson Bell, DLA Piper, South East firm DMH Stallard, Nabarro, London firm Sternberg Reed, Weightmans and Wragge & Co.

Sulivan-Gould will continue as ACSeS president for his full term until the next AGM on 15 November 2007. The Five Boroughs 2012 programme has not yet appointed a replacement chair.