Sarah Nelson Smith, Yum! Brands


In many ways it was ideal preparation. Before embarking on a legal career, Sarah Nelson Smith took a post-law school gap year working as a holiday rep in the popular Greek retreat of Halkidiki. It was an eye-opening experience, figuratively and literally, welcoming holidaymakers at unholy hours and dealing with bizarre questions and gripes.

Rushad Abadan, Standard Life Aberdeen


Rushad Abadan always knew what he wanted to do with his life. ‘I always fancied the idea of being a lawyer, even at school. I was one of those people who was very clear about their career path early on. Happily for me it worked out.’

Neil Murrin, trainline


The train puns were inevitable, but it took longer than expected. Towards the end of my conversation with the general counsel of online ticket retailer trainline, Neil Murrin, he says: ‘It’s a matter of getting people to join us on that journey.’ And adds: ‘Getting people on the right track and all that.’

Mark Maurice-Jones, Nestlé


Unusually for the current UK and Ireland general counsel of Swiss multinational and famed KitKat creator Nestlé, Mark Maurice-Jones’ career started in teaching. Armed with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Cambridge that he was unsure how to utilise, Maurice-Jones opted for a year-and-a-half-long stint in Hong Kong teaching maths, physics and chemistry. …

Mark Cooper, Cadent Gas


Within a month of Mark Cooper joining National Grid (NG)’s in-house team in 2015, things became very busy very quickly. UK general counsel Rachael Davidson told him that one of the businesses he was looking after – NG’s gas distribution network – was going to be sold off.

Profile: Alice Marsden, Thomas Cook Group

Many in-house counsel will say that the attraction of the job comes from having greater influence on their business and this is also true for Alice Marsden, group general counsel of Thomas Cook Group. However, the real draw for her comes from sometimes getting to have an altogether more personal impact.

Profile: Margaret Cole, PwC UK

‘I would never have taken a role where I wasn’t sitting at the top table. I make sure I have influence in how a firm goes about things,’ notes veteran litigator Margaret Cole, PwC’s UK general counsel and chief risk officer.