Significant matters – Autumn 2017

Unsettled Lloyds legal team reports to finance

The legal team at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) now reports to the bank’s finance team after the group’s latest reorganisation, which also saw the departure of chief people, legal and strategy officer and ex-Linklaters managing partner Simon Davies, after less than two years.

The move has shifted responsibility for the legal and strategy teams to LBG’s chief financial officer George Culmer, with group general counsel Kate Cheetham reporting directly to him.

The changes, which were implemented from 4 September 2017, will also see Cheetham attend the group’s executive committee. António Horta Osório, LBG’s group chief executive, said the changes were fundamental to prepare the group for its upcoming strategic plan for the 2018-20 period.

LOD launches ‘Secondment Solutions’ for law firms

New Law brand Lawyers On Demand (LOD) has launched a service to provide lawyers specifically for secondments to law firms for their clients, a shift from LOD’s core model of providing short-term placements direct to in-house teams.

The service – dubbed ‘Secondment Solutions’ – will see LOD’s existing lawyers sent out on secondment under the banners of the client law firms, meaning that firms will not have to use their own permanent staff to meet demands from core clients.

According to LOD co-founder Simon Harper, Secondment Solutions has already been trialled with a few firms, including DLA Piper, for ‘quite some time’. Aside from major banks, Harper said that clients from the TMT sector have already used the service.

Sainsbury’s selects 11 firms for its ‘legal community’

UK supermarket giant Sainsbury’s Group has appointed 11 firms to its new legal panel, including Linklaters, Addleshaw Goddard, Dentons and CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang. TLT, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Lewis Silkin, Winckworth Sherwood, BLM, Mason Hayes & Curran and Shepherd and Wedderburn also made it onto the roster.

The panel, which was last reviewed in 2014, previously included Bond Dickinson, Croner, King & Wood Mallesons, DWF and Gowling WLG.

The roster, known internally as the ‘Sainsbury’s Legal Community’, will cover jurisdictions in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland – which is a new jurisdiction following the group’s acquisition of Argos. The panel is typically reviewed every three years.

Eversheds Sutherland launches bespoke web service for start-ups

Eversheds Sutherland is the latest firm to target the lucrative fast-growth, start-up industry with its launch of ‘Eversheds Disrupt’ – a product providing web-based, bespoke legal advice to start-ups and fast-growth companies.

ES Disrupt, which is wholly funded and owned by Eversheds, will target start-ups before they have specific legal issues, selling individual documents providing legal advice on matters, including funding and company formation, hiring, corporate compliance and trading contracts.

The idea for the offering came from Eversheds Sutherland trainee Jocey Nelson, who had worked at tech incubator Techtopia before joining the firm. ES Disrupt was also the winning entry in the law firm’s ‘CEO Innovation Challenge’ in 2016.

Government drops seven in panel revamp

Magic Circle firms make up the bulk of the government’s new finance and complex legal services panel with seven law firms left out as part of a reboot of its legal services framework.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance are part of the new panel advising on finance, refinancing, capital markets, corporate transactions, projects and regulation. Dentons, Ashurst, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Hogan Lovells and Simmons & Simmons will also sit on the Crown Commercial Service advisory group, which will replace the finance and regulation panel when this expires in January next year.

Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Burges Salmon, Mills & Reeve, Nabarro (now CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang), Pinsent Masons and Squire Sanders (now Squire Patton Boggs) were on the previous panel but have not been named this time around.

The contract began on 21 August and runs for two years, with an option to extend for up to 24 further months.

Santander and HSBC finalise adviser rosters

Spanish banking giant Santander has appointed a host of firms, including Slaughter and May, Ashurst and Reed Smith, to its UK legal panel for three years. Eversheds Sutherland and Taylor Wessing are also on the new roster, following a review managed by Santander subsidiary Aquanima.

Meanwhile, Eversheds also made it onto HSBC’s UK legal banking panel, alongside advisers including Addleshaw Goddard, Simmons & Simmons, CMS Cameron McKenna, Dentons and Pinsent Masons.

The UK review follows a global shake-up in December last year, in which existing HSBC panel members Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Norton Rose Fulbright were joined by US leader Davis Polk & Wardwell.


Brexit costing government £3.7m in legal fees

The government department for exiting the European Union (DExEU) has spent £3.7m in legal costs since it was set up last summer, the second most significant area of expenditure for DExEU after overall staff costs of £14m.

A government report, published in July, revealed that DExEU cost taxpayers £1.2m in legal fees for the cases brought against it, including the main dispute over the triggering of Article 50, which formally initiated the UK’s withdrawal process from the European Union. This includes half a million for the claimants in the case, including Gina Miller.

Moves that matter

  • Shell has appointed Sarah Morton as its new UK head of legal, replacing Michael Coates, who has taken up a new position as associate GC for Shell’s global upstream business. Morton, who is also an associate GC for Shell’s downstream northwest Europe business, takes up her new role after nearly six years as Shell’s managing counsel for global litigation for Europe, Middle East & North Africa. Prior to joining Shell, she was an associate at US law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.


  • Alistair Asher has been replaced in his role as group GC at the Co-operative Group by the former Dixons Carphone group GC Helen Grantham. Grantham took up the role in July after joining the British consumer as interim group secretary in January 2016. Asher will continue in a new role as Co-op director of strategic projects for the business.
  • Claire Chapman has departed the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) after almost five years as GC and company secretary. First appointed in 2012, Chapman was responsible for DMGT’s legal and regulatory, M&A programmes, contacts, corporate projects, effective governance and board management. She also led the group’s governance, risk and compliance network and chaired the group’s corporate responsibility committee from November 2013.
  • Snap Inc has named Michael O’Sullivan as its new GC after former legal head Chris Handman stepped down from the role in July leaving an interim GC in place. O’Sullivan joins the California-based parent company of social media camera application Snapchat after spending over 20 years at US practice Munger, Tolles & Olson.
  • Christine Cordon has departed her role at luxury travel company Secret Escapes to become head of legal at venture capital business Arts Alliance Ventures. Cordon served as GC for Secret Escapes for just over a year, where she managed legal, compliance and corporate governance matters. She joined from banking start-up Osper, the prepaid debit card seller, and formerly held positions at Barclays Investment Bank and Goldman Sachs.
  • The PA Group, parent company of the Press Association, has appointed legal counsel Louise Irwin as its new group GC and company secretary, replacing GC Stephen Godsell who left for The Guardian Media Group earlier this year. Irwin, who trained at Dechert, was previously legal counsel at the Press Association for almost five years.