In-house Lawyers Committee

In 2015 the Society set up the In-house Lawyers Committee (ILC) as a committee sitting with in the Society's governance.  The ILC continues the work of the In-House Lawyers' Group (ILG), which was established in 1973 as a non-regulatory, independent committee of the Society. 

The ILC represents, supports and promotes the interests and status of our members working in-house in Scotland and beyond.

For more information please contact the Committee Secretary, Fraser Hudghton by email or on 0131 476 8132.

Graeme McWilliams (Convener) - Standard Life Aberdeen

Graeme is Legal Counsel, Commercial Legal with Standard Life Aberdeen, Edinburgh, where he has worked since 1988.  Graeme joined the In-house Lawyers Group committee in 2012, was appointed ILC Convener in July 2016, and as such, is also a co-opted member of the Law Society Council. 




Jennifer Bairner - Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

Jennifer works for the Crown Office Procurator fiscal Service, and is currently on an extended leave of absence from the In-house Lawyers Committee.

David Boag - Glasgow City Council

David is a solicitor in the Litigation & Licensing Section at Glasgow City Council.

He has broad experience in civil litigation, with a particular interest in licensing and education matters – in a previous life he was a teacher.  He graduated with an LLB from the University of Strathclyde in 2007, having previously obtained an MA in Social Sciences from the University of Glasgow and his PGCE from the University of Strathclyde.

Working within the court team of Scotland’s largest local authority has given David an understanding of just how many areas of responsibility such an organisation has. David says, “Education, social work, licensing, collection of Council Tax, environmental health and cleansing are just some of the areas that a local authority has responsibility for. Providing legal support and advice to these distinct service areas means being an in-house lawyer with the council is never dull!”

He also tutor on the Civil Litigation course within the Diploma at University of Glasgow.


David Bryson - Baillie Gifford & Co

David is Senior Legal Counsel with Baillie Gifford & Co, an international asset manager based in Edinburgh, and is a member of the In-house Lawyers Committee.

David has extensive in-house experience having worked in the asset management sector in both legal and governance roles. His principal areas of work have included fund structuring, dealing with regulatory issues and providing commercial advice.

David is Co-Vice Convener of the ILC, heading up the Committee's Engagement Sub-Group.

An experienced mentor having participating in the Law Society of Scotland Career Mentoring Programme, he is also a keen if slow runner in his spare time.

John Forsyth - Lloyds Banking Group

John is a Senior Manager in Legal and Regulatory with Lloyds Banking Group.

He also sits on the Society's Council


Tel: 07824 320 663


James Honan - Financial Conduct Authority

James works for the Financial Conduct Authority in London in the Wholesale Banking Enforcement team.  In simpler and less hyperbolic terms that means his team conducts investigations and builds cases against the likes of investment banks, funds, PLCs and senior management individuals for alleged breaches of the FCA’s rules and/or the criminal law.  This can include conduct such as market abuse, insider dealing or breaches of the rules in the FCA handbook for example.  The teams are typically made up of lawyers, accountants and ex law enforcement.  James says, "I try to kid myself on that I’m a corporate Batman but caring colleagues insist that Robin might be more apt!" 

James' previous experience includes working in-house at a bank and as a criminal prosecutor with COPFS.  He trained at Maclay Murray & Spens. 

He joined the committee to learn more about the work needed to be done to help in-house lawyers and to work with lawyers from a broad range of industries.  There’s a breadth and depth of experience on the committee and everyone is very friendly. 

Thembe McInnes - Whyte and Mackay Ltd

Thembe is Legal Manager at Whyte and Mackay Ltd and she has recently joined the In House Lawyers Committee.

Thembe trained at Morton Fraser and qualified into a civil law role before she was offered the opportunity to move in-house in 2011. As well as dealing with commercial contracts, her role is to provide legal support, training and advice on the variety of executive, management and governance issues that arise in a fast paced commercial environment.

Thembe is Co-Vice Convener of the ILC, heading up the Committee's Education & Careers Sub-Group.

She says, “I look forward to challenging myself and the other members of the ILC to ensure the committee remains effective in engaging with and supporting in-house members across both the private and public sectors”.

Sheekha Saha - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Sheekha is a solicitor at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. She also sits on the Society's Council, as the elected member for Kirkwall, Lerwick, Portree, Lochmaddy and Stornoway.

Sheekha is Co-Vice Convener of the ILC, heading up the Committee's Governance & Professional Practice Sub-Group.

Email: or

Tel: 07725 620 825

Maria Elena Sanz Arcas - Scottish Power

Elena is a corporate governance solicitor at Scottish Power. She is a member of the In-house Lawyers Committee.

Elena is dual qualified in Spanish and Scottish law, having spent time working as a solicitor advocate for the international law firm J&A Garrigues S.L.P. On moving to Scotland in 2011 to take part of the European Lawyers Association Programme, she spent time at Burness Paull & Williamsons and also gained experience of the Scottish Court system. Elena is also Secretary to the Scottish Power Foundation.

Norma Shippin - Central Legal Office NHS

Norma is Director of the Central Legal Office and Legal Adviser to NHS Scotland.

She graduated from Edinburgh University and did her traineeship at W&J Burness.  She has worked for the NHS for over 20 years.

Norma provides legal advice regarding all aspects of NHS law and practice. She also advises on a wide range of ethical and mental health issues. She is accredited as a specialist in medical negligence.

Sharon Wares - The Highland Council

Sharon is a solicitor with The Highland Council

She did her traineeship in private practice in Edinburgh, after graduating from Edinburgh University.  After qualifying, her first real job was working for Inverness District Council.  Sharon was very conscious when she first became an in-house lawyer that she only had experience in conveyancing.  She now also deals with data protection, freedom of information, copyright, the council companies as well as road orders. Sharon says, "When I answered the advert to become an in-house lawyer I knew it would be varied but I couldn’t have imagined that twenty four and a half years later each day working for the Council would bring so much more to learn."

Sharon is passionately interested in education. She helped mentor a colleague through the Law Society exams and when she was asked to clerk the district court in Lochaber she passed a PG distance learning course in District Court Practice and Procedure. She also passed an LLM in IT and T at Strathclyde University on information law so that she could give advice on then new Data Protection Act 1998.

She is currently learning Gaelic... the Highlandshave taken root. She feels very lucky to live and work in such a beautiful part of the country.

I feel very passionately about the In-house Lawyers group because it has allowed accessible high quality CPD education to members including members in the rural areas so important when a lot of members are remote from the central belt and also as so many members will work for cash strapped organisations particularly in this recession. 


Vladimir Valiente - Midlothian Council

Vlad has worked as an in-house lawyer since 2007. He has worked for three local authorities (previously Moray Council and Aberdeenshire Council) and is currently working as Principal Solicitor for Midlothian Council. His role as Principal Solicitor involves managing the Court Team and deputising for the Legal Services Manager. He also has experience of working for the COPFS as a Precognition Officer.

Vlad is the Communications Officer (Office Bearer) of the Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators (“SOLAR”) Executive Committee. SOLAR’s main objective is to represent local government interests (from the legal and administrative perspective of its members) at national level and promote sound administrative and legal practice within Scottish local authorities.

In addition to the above, Vlad is the Senior Tutor (Public Law and Administration) at Aberdeen University and a Tutor (Human Rights) at Glasgow University in the respective Diplomas in Professional Legal Practice. These provide him with the opportunity to tutor the next generation of lawyers whilst encouraging them to consider in-house opportunities.

Vlad has experience of providing legal assistance and decision making at high level within the above mentioned Councils, SOLAR and as a Director of a Refugee Charity (Refugee Survival Trust).

Vlad is very much looking forward to utilising the experience and skills gained as a local government in-house lawyer to work and assist the In-House Lawyers Committee’s achieve its objectives. Vlad will be able to represent and put forward the local government/public services perspective.