Enterprise winners

From AI to ESG and the Post Office scandal to corporate crises, this year’s Enterprise GC event covered all the hot topics for in-house lawyers on the front lines.

Photographer: Kris Humphries

On 29-30 April, more than 200 senior in-house counsel gathered at the Hilton London Wembley for the seventh annual Enterprise GC event.

The event – which was sponsored by Walker Morris, Luminance, Lex Mundi, SSQ, EY, Taylor Wessing, Trowers & Hamlins, Cilex, Flex Legal, Winston & Strawn, Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis – saw two packed days of dynamic sessions, panel discussions and networking, bringing together top in-house professionals and speakers from broader business and academic communities to discuss the evolving role of GCs.

Sandra Wachter, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Sandra Wachter, professor of technology and regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford, kicked off the event with a timely and engaging keynote on bias, ethics and risks relating to artificial intelligence, questioning whether AI can be trusted and what in-house lawyers need to know when adopting such technology. She highlighted the limitations and risks of large language models and AI-powered chatbots in legal and financial analysis, stressing the need for responsible evaluation and use of these technologies.

Following this, Taylor Wessing partner Christopher Jeffery and counsel Martijn Loth hosted a panel featuring Daniel Jarman, head of ethics, compliance, and insurance at Deliveroo, and Caroline Stockwell, head of legal at Amicus Therapeutics, which centred around the practical applications of AI in business, including operational efficiency and bias reduction, stressing the importance of robust governance and ethical frameworks.

After a short networking session and coffee break, participants then split off into various round table discussions encompassing topics such as enhancing the role of in-house legal teams in IT projects, the strategic role of in-house lawyers, maximising legal team efficiency, and how GCs are shaping corporate strategy.

In the last session before lunch, Michelle T Davies, global head of sustainability at EY Law, led a panel on regulatory considerations around supply chains and greenwashing. The panel included Mark Maurice-Jones, general counsel (GC) and compliance officer at Nestlé; Dr Linn Anker-Sørensen, director and global
lead of sustainability regulatory at EY Law; Melissa Strong, head of insurance, pensions, and investments litigation at Lloyds Banking Group; and Anthony Kenny, assistant GC at GSK. They emphasised the increasing importance of sustainability disclosure and transition planning, underlining transparency, robustness, and collaboration.

The afternoon kicked off with an in-depth panel on cross-border legal risk management, hosted by Eric Staal, vice president of global markets at Lex Mundi, who discussed emerging challenges such as lockdown impacts, political talent shortages, and cyber risks. Panellists including Graham Cox, programme director at Boundaries Edge Ltd; Katarina Nilsson, vice president of people and culture, communication and SHEQ at Epiroc; and Graham Vanhegan, chief legal officer at The Weir Group, shared insights on dual sourcing, crisis management, and agility in global crises.

L-R: Christopher Jeffery, Taylor Wessing; Martijn Loth, Taylor Wessing; Stephanie Lopes, Volt.io

Additional round tables included an AI workshop with Taylor Wessing and a popular Legal 500-led session exploring concerns and challenges facing today’s GC.

The day concluded with two final panels – Grace Haselden, commercial director at Luminance, and Sam Al-Ani, legal counsel at Rightmove, discussed AI’s impact on document management and commercial processes, followed by a discussion moderated by the Legal 500’s head of global research and reporting Georgina Stanley, who talked to Maaike de Bie, group GC and company secretary at Vodafone; NatWest lawyer Lisa Ardley-Price; and SSQ’s Laura Field, who offered practical tips on navigating in-house career development, advancing to senior roles, and transitioning beyond legal positions.

Day one ended with a gala dinner featuring live music, a three-course meal, and networking drinks at the hotel’s Sky Bar.

Day two shifted from AI to ESG, with Jennifer Nadel, co-director of Compassion in Politics, delivering a keynote on the vital role of compassion in politics and ethics. Using personal and historical examples like the Grenfell Tower fire, she emphasised the urgency of embedding ESG principles across society and urged collective action to bridge the moral gap and foster a compassionate world.

Ben Bruton, Winston & Strawn

The day’s first panel, moderated by Ben Bruton, partner at Winston & Strawn, explored dispute resolution as an opportunity for growth and innovation. Panellists Sam Shadbolt, legal director UK & Ireland at AkzoNobel; Charlotte Digby, legal director at LEVC; Amrik Kandola, commercial mediator at Ask Mediation Ltd; and Dominic Hennessy, senior legal counsel at London Metal Exchange, emphasised proactive engagement, early legal involvement, and collaborative mediation, concluding that these strategies enhance business resilience and competitive advantage.

After a coffee break, two additional panels were held before lunch. Legal 500’s Ben Wheway and Legal Business reporter Holly McKechnie led an interactive session on what in-house lawyers expect from their external advisers and what their intentions are for the year ahead, drawing on the results of the Legal 500’s vast referee research database.

Another session, moderated by SSQ’s Laura Field, featured Taylor Wessing partner Siân Skelton; NatWest’s Lisa Ardley-Price; and Mandy Kaur, legal director at PizzaExpress. They discussed how GCs can enhance social mobility in the legal profession through outreach programmes and inclusive recruitment, calling for unity and collaboration to foster diversity and inclusion through mentorship and proactive support.

Jennifer Nadel, Compassion in Politics

Following lunch, three panels were held. The first, hosted by Chris Bones, chair of Cilex, focused on in-house ethics with Jeremy Barton, partner and GC at KPMG; Dr Karen Nokes, lecturer in Law at UCL; Peter O’Keeffe, head of legal group and EMEA at Dr Martens; and Lara Oyesanya, GC at Zepz. They discussed ethical challenges and lawyer behaviour in corporate scandals such as the Post Office case.

Legal Business City reporter Elisha Juttla, then hosted a panel on crisis management with BA GC Andrew Fleming and Awaze GC Rupa Patel, who discussed how they had navigated crises such as Covid-19 and cyber incidents, highlighting the value of preparation and effective communication.

The final panel of the event was led by Simon Edwards, corporate and commercial partner at Trowers & Hamlins, and Natalie Hunt, assistant GC, group functions and employment at Johnson Matthey, alongside a trio of Gen Z legal professionals – Phoebe Clements and Jasmin Chiu of McArthurGlen Group and Lucy Gün of Coca-Cola, who contributed to an eye-opening discussion on the career choices of junior lawyers and what they truly value and expect from a modern employer.