The independence of the in house lawyer - a warning from history

Anthony Philpott, Solicitor and Legal Counsel, Bovis Lend Lease Ltd, UK

I recall that my strict adherence to Solicitors Code of Conduct by describing my employers as “my client” , in the conduct of written correspondence on behalf of my employers, addressed to solicitors representing the opposing party in a construction dispute, became the subject of much merriment, amusement, hilarity and down right ridicule at the Christmas office party. The “sing-along” across the dinner table echoed the words “my client said to your client, and your client said to my client…” in the same way that “a partridge and a peer tree” would be sung at that time of year. I joined in the spirit of mocking the apparent absurdity and pretentiousness of referring to my employers as “my client”, even though I knew I was strictly complying with my professional rules. The question that this raises is however a serious one.

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United Kingdom Management Construction February 2009 Vol. 2, No. 6, Winter 2009

Anthony Philpott

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Anthony Philpott has been in the law for over 30 years. He is included in the Legal 500 as one of 200 hundred in house lawyers in the UK. Anthony Philpott is a solicitor, former barrister and member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He holds the MSc in Construction Law and Arbitration from King's University London and has a BA Hons Law Degree. He specialises in Construction contracts and has disciplines in Employment, Commercial Property and Banking.

Bovis Lend Lease Ltd

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Bovis Lend Lease Ltd is a multinational Project Management and Construction Company with main offices in London, Sydney and New York.

United Kingdom Management Construction February 2009 Vol. 2, No. 6, Winter 2009
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