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In 2015 a major new project was launched to research and engage in-house lawyers on the role of the General Counsel in the context of Ethical Leadership.

The project is led by Professor Richard Moorhead, Professor Stephen Mayson both of UCL Centre for Ethics and Law (CELs), Paul Gilbert of LBC Wise Counsel and Dr Steven Vaughan of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER).

The project has attracted the interest of the SRA and we believe it is the first time this important subject has been systematically researched with in-house lawyers at the heart of the conversation.

In 2015 the first phase of the project was to undertake an online survey of in-house counsel. The full results of the survey will be published this year along with the commentary of in-house lawyers in conversation with the project team.

This therefore is your invitation to attend a roundtable “town hall” conversation and to be part of the debate. The meetings will be held in March, April, May and June. Emerging themes from the survey will be shared, but crucially we want your views to be heard. Each conversation will be under the Chatham House rule so we can all speak freely without attribution. It is a unique study and your insights are vital for the research.

There is no fee to attend any roundtable meeting, we simply want you to come. It does not matter your sector, the size of your team or your seniority. Your views matter as an in-house lawyer today, so please be heard. Meetings are schedule for just two hours and hopefully at times that are not disruptive for the working day.

  1. 7 March, 8am to 10am, Sheffield at the offices of Irwin Mitchell
  2. 7 March, 5pm to 7pm, Birmingham at the offices of Irwin Mitchell
  3. 9 March, 5pm to 7pm, Manchester at the offices of Irwin Mitchell
  4. 10 March, 8am to 10am, London at the offices of Irwin Mitchell
  5. 10 March, 5pm to 7pm, London at the offices of Irwin Mitchell
  6. 20 April, 5pm to 7pm, London at the offices of Bevan Brittan
  7. 21 April, 12.30pm to 2.30pm, Leeds at the offices of Bevan Brittan
  8. 26 April, 8am to 10am, Bristol at the offices of Bevan Brittan
  9. 26 April, 5pm to 7pm, Bristol at the offices of Bevan Brittan
  10. 11 May, 4.30pm to 6.30pm, Birmingham at the offices of Bevan Brittan
  11. 2 June, 6pm to 8pm, London at the offices of Norton Rose Fulbright

In order to secure your place at the table, please reply to Tina Harris or Paul Gilbert indicating which meeting you wish to attend. They will then write to confirm your place and full venue details.

You will not be added to a mailing list by registering your interest.

There is growing evidence, research and some anecdotal commentary to suggest that the role of GC is under increasing pressure and that the professional ethical boundaries are not as elegantly drawn as may be helpful for our increasingly sophisticated world of work. While it seems fair to assume that no one relishes more regulation, and more regulation of in-house lawyers/lawyers may be inappropriate anyway, it is interesting to note that there are no qualifications needed to be a General Counsel, no commonly accepted guiding principles for the role and no requirements on business to create an environment in which it is appropriate to employ in-house lawyers. In addition the types of GC role vary dramatically from strategic executive consigliere to transactional specialist. As a result the expectations of business of the GC role vary widely as well.

This initiative therefore is not a call for new or more regulation. It is however a call for in-house lawyers to come together (sometimes with other stakeholders) to debate the role of the General Counsel, its ethical framework and then to suggest the principles that could guide the role. We are certain that in-house lawyers know best what the tough issues are and how they manage them. This is therefore a facilitated forum for debate, a place to offer and share insight, to share resources and help shape the needs of the General Counsel as well as serving the interests of the profession and of business.

Please be involved. Please pass the invitation on to colleagues, friends and contacts who are in-house lawyers as well. Please be part of the debate.