Law as business in the UK and the third legal community
Michael Butcher, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Veolia Environment UK Limited, UK
Two hundred years or so ago the industrial revolution and explosion of commerce lead to the legal profession of the attorney or solicitor joining that of the bar. The last century saw the global arrival of the limited company as the prime vehicle of business and with it, in growing numbers, the employed lawyer. In the UK the roles of in-house business lawyers have over time become significantly different from those of barristers working in chambers or solicitors working in law firms. They have become a third legal community. In this article I set out some of the wider background within which outside counsel and law firms are managed – in passing making some observations on the way of the civil law and issues arising in the USA – both traditions having treated their in-house lawyers very differently until of late.
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