Significant matters – Spring 2019

Leading GCs push law firms to improve diversity efforts

A group of 65 general counsel spanning major companies from the UK and Europe has collectively signed a letter urging law firms to improve their diversity efforts.

donny-chingAmong those to have lent their support to the statement are Shell GC Donny Ching (pictured), Vodafone group GC Rosemary Martin, Unilever’s chief legal officer Ritva Sotamaa, Anglo American group GC Richard Price and BHP Billiton group GC Caroline Cox.

The European in-house campaign mirrors that of its transatlantic counterparts: In January, more than 170 GCs from US companies signed a similar open letter demanding a greater private practice
diversity focus.

Network Rail completes long-awaited £70m panel review

london-1128803Dentons, Addleshaw Goddard and Eversheds Sutherland have been appointed to Network Rail’s legal panel until 2024, on a contract worth £70m. The review was the first under group general counsel Stuart Kelly, who took the top role in 2017, and was led by Network Rail route businesses GC Dan Kayne. Kelly described the tender as the rail company’s longest-ever panel review process.

The roster is expected to cover a full range of services to support the 26-lawyer in-house team on its corporate functions and route businesses between 2019 and 2024. It was last reviewed in 2013, when Eversheds Sutherland, Addleshaw Goddard, Bond Dickinson, Dentons and Maclay Murray & Spens were all appointed. The latter then merged with Dentons, taking the number of firms to four.

Eversheds wins Dyson sole adviser mandate

Eversheds Sutherland added to its suite of sole adviser relationships with a deal for Dyson’s global privacy mandate on a three-year term. The Eversheds team was led by partner Liz Fitzsimons, pitching for Dyson’s privacy work across 82 jurisdictions. Supporting partners include Paula Barrett, Ros Kellaway, James Hyde, as well as the firm’s global privacy team.

Eversheds has multiple sole adviser mandates, including with Johnson Controls, Turkish Airlines, the International Air Transport Association and Severn Trent. The firm has been a pioneer of sole adviser mandates since its first in 2006 with Tyco, a relationship which continued after the security provider merged with industrial company Johnson Controls in 2016.

Slaughters, HSF and KWM miss out
as eight appointed to FSCS panel

Eversheds Sutherland, Addleshaw Goddard and Clifford Chance (CC) were the three new firms appointed to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) legal panel.

The FSCS, the UK’s statutory compensation scheme for customers of authorised financial services firms, first created a legal panel in 2015 as it sought a more structured approach to recouping investor losses.

Eight firms were appointed to the panel, which is divided into three lots and runs for three years, with a potential one-year extension. Bevan Brittan, Burges Salmon, Dentons, Burness Paull and Trowers & Hamlins were all reappointed to the panel, while Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith Freehills and King & Wood Mallesons were not reappointed.

Addleshaws, Bevan Brittan, Burges Salmon, Burness Paull, CC, Dentons and Eversheds were appointed to the core legal services lot, worth about £12m, while Addleshaws was appointed to the Scots law lot, and Trowers HR and employment.

Heathrow lands on seven firms
in slimmed legal roster

Heathrow Airport has completed an overhaul of its legal panel, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Allen & Overy among those re-appointed to a reduced roster.

Heathrow has slimmed its legal panel from nine to seven firms and restructured it from 11 sub-panels to a main general approved list. Pinsent Masons, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and Eversheds Sutherland were also awarded spots, alongside City outfit Towerhouse and Thames Valley practice Owen White.

The panel will run for three years, effective from the start of 2019. The review was led by Heathrow chief of staff and general counsel Carol Hui.

Herbert Smith Freehills, Brodies, and Morton Fraser were among the firms to lose their panel spot. Blake Morgan, meanwhile, was not appointed to the position its legacy firm Blake Lapthorn won in 2013, when Heathrow last reviewed its panel..

Moves that matter

Sky has promoted Claire Canning to the role of general counsel for UK and Ireland, following the promotion of Vicky Sandry to group general counsel upon the retirement of incumbent, James Conyers, this summer.
Canning, the company’s director of legal for content and commercial, has more than 20 years’ experience as a commercial lawyer in the media industry, having been a partner at Olswang, (now CMS), before joining Sky 13 years ago. She will report to SKY UK and Ireland chief executive Stephen van Rooyen, and takes up the role 1 July 2019.


The chief legal officer of high-profile travel metasearch engine Skyscanner, Carolyn Jameson (pictured above), has stepped down after nearly six years in the top job. Jameson was a GC Powerlist-regular but stepped down in April, planning to take some time out before deciding her next move. Jameson’s remit expanded following Skyscanner’s £1.4bn acquisition by Chinese online travel giant Ctrip in 2016. She and her team of 12 lawyers worked directly with the parent company on any of its M&A work outside of China. She was also directly involved in Skyscanner’s purchase of Chinese search company Youbibi in June 2014.

Balfour Beatty has hired Jonathan Lagan from Tesco ahead of the upcoming retirement of incumbent David Mercer, who has held the GC role since mid-2015. Mercer’s role expanded to include company secretary in April 2016.
Lagan, Tesco’s legal director of finance, corporate and technology, leaves the supermarket giant after nearly a decade. His previous experience includes stints in private practice at Shearman & Sterling and New Zealand firm Russell McVeagh. Tesco, meanwhile, replaced Lagan with property legal director Faye Goss.

National Grid hired former Gowling WLG head of energy Derek Goodban as UK GC, replacing Rachael Davidson. He joins the FTSE 100 electricity and gas utility company after nearly two decades
at Gowlings. Davidson left the position vacant last summer to become GC at subsidiary company National Grid Ventures. Goodban will now be involved in National Grid’s legal panel review due this year.