Information and advice about in-house solicitor roles might seem hard to find, which is why we interviewed in-house corporate solicitor, Barny Jenkins, at the Noe Group.
Read on to find out how he got into corporate law, why he chose an in-house position and his tips for securing yourself a similar opportunity.
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After finishing a degree in politics at Newcastle University, I completed my post-graduate diploma in law and the Legal Practise Course at the College of Law in London.
I then trained and qualified at Marriott Harrison, a niche corporate law firm based in London – the firm also has expertise in banking and finance, dispute resolution, real estate, employment and technology.
The firm appealed to me for the quality of its clients and its size – which meant that I was able to learn first hand from working closely on transactions with partners from the firm.
Was your aim to secure an in-house position?
Whilst I always had ambitions to move to an in-house role, the opportunity probably came sooner for me than I had planned.
I advised Niu Solutions, a client of Marriott Harrison, on an acquisition of a technology company and shortly after was approached by the client to move in-house with them to set up a legal team.
At the time I was only two years PQE but Niu Solutions was implementing an exciting buy and build strategy and so the opportunity was too good to miss out on. I was at Niu Solutions for eight years as its General Counsel – eventually overseeing its sale to CSI Technology Group before moving to join Noe Group.
What are the main benefits of working in-house as opposed to for a law firm?
For me I really enjoy the variety and breadth of work that you undertake working in-house; no day is the same.
Whilst you cannot be expected to know everything about all areas of the law, it is enjoyable to gain experience in them whilst building strong relationships with external advisers who assist where required.
I have also enjoyed the opportunity to broaden my experiences beyond the legal work that is my primary role – I have been fortunate to hold board seats in the businesses that I have worked, which has given me the opportunity to be involved in strategic decisions to grow the businesses.
I have to also admit that, for me, I enjoy being on the client side of transactions!
What drew you to NOE Group in particular?
Noe Group is a family-run investment and asset management group with over £2.5 billion of assets under management. The group only began trading in August 2017 following a demerger from BMO Global Asset Management.
I joined the group before August 2017 as its General Counsel to assist with the demerger and the set up of the group.
The role at Noe Group appealed for many reasons – the ambitions of the group makes it an exciting place to be and this, together with its values and culture, makes it an enjoyable place to work.
What kind of cases do you work on day to day?
Noe Group is an investment company specialising in large real estate acquisitions to smaller technology investments – this can mean that I work on large corporate or asset acquisition to smaller private equity-type investments in start-up technology companies.
Typically this will involve working with external law firms and so the management of those relationships is an important part of my role.
I am also responsible for the smaller day to day legal issues that arise whether they be for our clients or for Noe Group – these can range from employment law matters to matters relating to dispute resolution.
What are the most challenging parts of working in-house?
For me, the biggest challenges are managing expectations with key stakeholders in the business who do not have a legal background. It is important that you articulate legal process and procedures, so that stakeholders can understand and appreciate the time required to complete matters.
I would also add that it is important not to spread yourself too thin – it is important that you can to recognise the work capacity that you have and to utilise external law firms where required, whilst always managing the legal budget that you have.
Can you give us some tips for graduates applying for training contracts at in-house legal teams?
Firstly, you need something that stands out on a CV when applying beyond the grades you have. I think it’s important to have secured relevant experience working in the types of business that you would like to pursue in an in-house role, especially if you’re seeking to become an in-house corporate lawyer. Commercial awareness is also very important.