About Ann Page
Our books, Managing External Legal Resources and The In-House Toolkit were based on over 60+ years experience as in-house lawyers. Whilst Richard (Tapp) and I worked in very different organisations, we were both dedicated to delivering a first class legal service.
Following the continued success of our books, and having trained/coached nearly 7000 lawyers in leadership and management, I have therefore set up this site specifically to provide support via blogs, training and coaching to in-house lawyers.
In-house corporate background overview
I actually trained in-house with Citibank, at a time when it was very rare to do so, whilst I was managing a small debt collection litigation team. So I started my leadership and management experience at the beginning.
My next role was with Crest Homes (part of the Crest Nicolson Group p.l.c.), where I was in charge of a larger team, with my legal work still firmly routed in the property field.
I then joined Next p.l.c., as Group Legal Adviser, where my role was 50% and 50% everything else! For the next three and half years my legal knowledge and experience grew and grew.
I moved back to financial services briefly by working for Santander Bank (formerly National and Provincial Building Society). My longest in-house post was also my last one – Head of Legal for The Co-operative Bank plc (13½ years). During that time I was also very active within my profession which, culminated me becoming Chair of the Law Society Commerce and Industry Group and recognised as a Top 100 lawyer.
In-house detailed experience
At Citibank, where I trained to be a solicitor I learnt about secured and unsecured lending, litigation and insurance matters and expanded my property knowledge with Crest Homes.
At Next p.l.c.. I was responsible for assisting the Managing Director and Board Members on all major contracts, joint ventures, corporate restructures during my time there. I was heavily involved with the finance company with advice on Consumer Credit Act and regulations current at that time. I also provided legal advice on leasehold law, employment, software contracts, intellectual property law, contract and consumer disputes, supported by a small internal legal team and external lawyers.
At the building society I managed a small team of lawyers focusing on financial products and services.
As Head of Legal at The Co-operative Bank, I was responsible for leading and managing the provision of legal services with a team of around 20. Team highlights were that my 2 key managers were accepted on to the Bank’s leadership programme, as well as providing two people with training contracts to become fully qualified solicitors.
The budget under my control was around £1m per year and during my tenure I always delivered savings. One year I was able to provide a significant contribution to the costs of my department because I had drafted in two key outsourcing contracts that if there were any amendments, the other side would pay the Bank’s internal legal costs.
My contract team and I always supported the Board and Senior Management by providing commercial legal advice in tight timescales. This involved in all high value contracts and acquisitions from the beginning; and introduced and rolled out a Supplier Acquisition Management (SAM) programme.
My commercial team and I were responsible for all regulatory compliance and product support including the launch of the Smile internet bank in 2000. This was against the background of being involved in year 2000 computer concerns at the time.
I also initiated an internal Group Compliance Forum which, included senior business and compliance managers as well as liaising with external regulatory bodies and providing guides/reports to the Board.
We also supported the Bank’s Corporate Affairs Department in Brand Protection and Reputational Risk. I was also involved in the International Co-operative Banking Committee; and was one of the founder members of the Co-operative Law Committee.
I also managed a discrete litigation unit, which handled matters from debt recovery work to Court of Appeal (with external advisers).
Major Professional Roles
Law Society Commerce and Industry Group experience – Top 100 Lawyer Award 2002/3
Before becoming chair I was actively involved with the Group on a local level and we produced 7 competencies for in-house lawyers.
When I was chair, I initiated a number of firsts as follows:
1. Making the Group more member centric by setting up a quarterly newsletter, bulletin board and an electronic survey system as well as visiting all the regions and holding member meetings. I set up member benefits including discounted training by top law firms via CLT (Central Law Training) and access to lawyer locator.
2. Increasing the professional standard profile of the Group – we worked with government departments on various topics of (such as Sarbanes Oxley, Rule 4) the day and lobbied for inclusion of in-house lawyer interests as well as promoting pro bono work by way of a booklet and being a part of the then Attorney General’s Committee. During this time we also built lasting relationships with the legal press.
3. Setting up a robust framework – for the future development of the Group given the professional changes imposed by the Law Society and setting up an permanent office with an Operation Director; and continued to employ law graduates to support our activities. I also augmented the size of the board and committees with senior in-house lawyers as well as doubling the geographical regions within the group.
4. National Financial Sponsorship – DLA were the first national sponsors of the group
5. Scapegoat or Saviour Consultation – I initiated the first corporate governance consultation with the full support of Simmons & Simmons following the Enron scandal. This encompassed 25 business sectors and 200 lawyers. This led to setting up a specific corporate governance committee tasked with producing guidelines
6. Reconciling the Irreconciling – whilst this guide was finally published in 2005 the ground work for this was started during my chairmanship; and Wragge & Co,I and Deepak Malhotra authored this guide.
I was also a member of the Law Society Council Membership committee and Head of Business Affairs for the Institute of Paralegals for a number of years since leaving the bank.
I am therefore delighted to offer training and coaching for lawyers, which combines my skill sets and a career. I also have wide knowledge of the issues facing the legal profession which I take into my public and private training days. I continue to have a wide knowledge of the issues facing the legal profession as a whole and the in-house sector in particular given my training and consultancy work as well as being part of the General Counsel Research Club.