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LEGAL WEEK (UK): Shell head joins breakaway in-house group: “Shell’s UK general counsel, Richard Wiseman, has signed up to The In-House Lawyers’ Association (IHLA)providing the breakaway in-house group with a major coup.” ( 21 April 05  


Legal Week Reports


Shell’s UK general counsel, Richard Wiseman, has signed up to The In-House Lawyers’ Association (IHLA), providing the breakaway in-house group with a major coup.


Wiseman is one of the most high profile lawyers yet to commit to the IHLA, which broke away from the Law Society’s Commerce & Industry (C&I) Group last October.


Wiseman has been campaigning for in-house lawyers without practising certificates to be recognised by the Law Society and cited the fact that the IHLA is open to all in-house lawyers as a reason for his decision to join.


He said: "The C&I group only includes solicitors, while the IHLA can have any [lawyer working in-house]. The Law Society is waging an outrageous campaign to persuade some in-house solicitors to sign up for practising certificates. It is wrongly [and] aggressively pursuing people."


However Wiseman, who was elected to the Law Society’s council after standing against the C&I’s official candidate, insisted his decision to join the IHLA should not be viewed as a snub to the C&I Group.


He said: "I am broadly in favour of anything that improves the understanding of in-house lawyers, but I am not participating in the battle between the two groups."


The IHLA was set up by London C&I chair Antony Armitage after a dispute with the C&I Group over the group’s governance. It has already recruited almost 200 in-house counsel, including lawyers from companies including KPMG, HSBC and BT.


Law Society chief executive Janet Paraskeva defended the Law Society’s right to collect the practising certificate fee from in-house solicitors.


"The cost of regulation is properly borne by all members of the profession," she said. "In-house lawyers are regulated through the employed lawyers code."


Author: Tim Newbold

Source: Legal Week

Start Date: 21/04/2005

End Date: 28/04/2005


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