Publicis gains UK legal function with Harbottle hire

French advertising giant Publicis Group has launched a UK legal function with the appointment of Elizabeth Kiernan as its first UK legal head.

Kiernan joined the company from Harbottle & Lewis, where she specialised in advertising and media work.
As first reported in The Lawyer (17 November), Publicis has been looking to create a legal post in the UK because of its rapid expansion in the jurisdiction.

It is understood that the appointment will enable Publicis to handle routine legal work in-house so that it can slash the amount of legal work it outsources.

Publicis currently farms out most of its legal work, and although the group is not wedded to a particular firm, its principal corporate advisers are understood to be Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith. The former firm advised the group on the acquisition of troubled advertising agency Cordiant, while the latter advised on its takeover of Saatchi & Saatchi.

Kiernan will report directly to Michel Karam, the director of the group’s shared services, and indirectly to Publicis’ general counsel Russell Kelley.