AN IN-HOUSE lawyer with J D Wetherspoon has been promoted to its top legal job.

Rosalyn Schofield has been appointed director of legal services and company secretary at the Watford-based company which operates 101 pubs.

She takes over from Christina McLellan who is returning to private practice but will continue to do consultation work for J D Wetherspoon.

Because the company specialises in converting old buildings into pubs, planning permission and licensing feature heavily in the work of its three lawyer in-house department.

Schofield says: “We do all the planning and licensing in-house but not all of the conveyancing, where we tend to supervise outside solicitors.

“It's unusual for the company to do what it does. We have to persuade planning officers and magistrates as to why we should be granted planning permission and a licence. To do this you have to have in-depth knowledge of the company you only get by being in-house.”

The company aims to treble the size of its estate by the year 2000, but Schofield says the legal department has no plans to take on more lawyers.