‘Crisis accumulates for years’ – a fascinating insight into the roots of risk

Stefan Stern assesses a new book on how institutional weaknesses let corporate risk wreak havoc. If you found the events of 2016 unsettling you may wish to look away now. For the foreseeable future. Brexit means Brexit, apparently, but no-one seems able to provide much more detail than that as yet. A new US president …

Getting there

Transport and infrastructure has long been viewed as one of the less glamorous legal practice areas, best suited to lawyers with the patience for ploughing through the minutiae of statutes. But with ever-increasing public and political scrutiny and a rush of private investors looking to park their money in safe assets, it has become one …

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.

Profile: Piers Le Marchant, JPMorgan Chase & Co

‘The fantastic, wonderful part about being in-house is working with massively stimulating people. There’s this misconception that you outsource talent. You don’t.’ So says Piers Le Marchant, chief compliance officer for corporate and investment banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

A buyers’ market

In-house teams may have grown in size and stature over recent years, but their external adviser panels are definitely shrinking. As a result, law firms find themselves increasingly at the sharp end during adviser reviews (see box ‘Cutting back’, below), with clients pushing for better rates, greater efficiencies and added extras.

A private function

Unlike their private practice counterparts, in-house private equity (PE) lawyers prefer a low profile. Or, as one private practice partner puts it: ‘PE is a murky, sharp-elbowed world. In-house lawyers like to stay out of the limelight.’

Northern Lights

The professional life of a public company general counsel in Scotland can feel isolated at times. As a member of a small club, opportunities to plug into the professional networks that their peers in the South East of England take for granted can be limited. ‘We do get a sense sometimes that we are a …


In 1994, a young South African lawyer named Kevin Gold was sitting in his office at central London practice Bayer Rosin flipping a coin to decide the future of the firm he ran. ‘Heads or tails… Olswang or SJ Berwin…’ A third, lesser-known firm was also at the back of his mind: Mishcon de Reya. …