Preview of In-house Lawyers Group's AGM and symposium with keynote speaker Robert Armour

Most in-house lawyers probably feel they have to be good in a crisis.

Probably few however have had the breadth of experience of this year’s keynote speaker at the In-house Lawyers Group’s AGM and symposium. Robert Armour stepped down in July from his position as general counsel and company secretary of British Energy Group plc, the electricity generator which operates eight nuclear power stations in the UK. His 20 year tenure at the company or its predecessors saw two privatisations, overseas acquisitions and disposals, three restructurings including a partial renationalisation, and the successful sale of the business to EDF Energy in 2009.

In his post he was responsible for government relations, communications, legal, commercial regulation and governance.

Along the way the company went to the Competition Commission, defended its actions to the FSA, fought off corporate raiders and was involved in groundbreaking commercial litigation. As compliance officer for a company that was both the fastest riser and fastest faller on the FTSE at various times, he is well placed to talk about the key role in a crisis of the in-house counsel, who can be pivotal in piloting the organisation’s course to safety.

A partner in Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie before he joined the electricity sector, Armour is currently Scottish consultant to EDF Energy.

He was awarded “In-House Lawyer of the Year” in 2005 by The Lawyer magazine, and an OBE for services to the electricity sector in 2007.

His talk, though, is only the first in a series of quality presentations at an event sponsored by legal firms Brodies, Burness, DLA, McGrigors, Pinsent Masons, and Shepherd & Wedderburn.

Gary MacDonald of Pinsent Masons will speak on Financial Services Regulation, discussing how the changing face of regulation will impact on the way the public and private sectors interact in the future, the less obvious ways in which regulation may make an impact and what that means for affected businesses.

Shepherd & Wedderburn’s Rhona Harper then covers “Procurement Pains”, and whether relief will be had from the Remedies Directive. She will suggest practical ways that public bodies can avoid challenges under the directive, and some tactics to manage challenges if they occur.

Following the traditional address from the Law Society of Scotland’s Vice President, the afternoon session will feature Brodies’ chairman Joyce Cullen on the in-house lawyer’s dispute resolution options, with a survey of innovative steps available in the Commercial Court to speed up resolution of disputes there, alternative methods of dispute resolution, and also a look at what is in the Gill review.

Russell Bradley of DLA Piper then considers trends and practices in reducing employee costs; Colin Hume from Burness turns to IP and how to secure it within your business through employment contracts (and ensure you are not running on others’ rights); and McGrigors’ Tom Stocker concludes the day by taking on “Business crime and commercial fraud” – current obligations, proposed changes, and regulatory practice.


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