The Life of a Sole In-House Counsel

Italo Cerullo, Head of Legal Affairs, Nonwovenn , UK

As I come up to my sixth anniversary in the role of Head of Legal Affairs with Nonwovenn, a specialist textiles manufacturing company in Somerset, UK, I have found myself increasingly thinking about what are the key skills and attributes required to be a commercial in house counsel in a modern, thriving UK business. In this paper I shall try to identify the particular skills set required to shape such a role in an SME and, I hope, shine a light into what has been achieved in this very bespoke role, and what have been the objectives, challenges and hurdles to overcome in what can be a lonely, but also a hugely rewarding, role.

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Management General February 2019 Vol.12, No. 46, Winter 2019

Italo Cerullo

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Italo Cerullo is a highly experienced UK commercial lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in both in-house roles and private practice. Having trained and started his career in the City of London in the 1990s with CMS Cameron McKenna, Italo embarked upon a highly successful 11-year career in public relations, marketing and business development. In 2007 he relocated to Somerset, UK. He returned to legal practice and enjoyed spells in private practice with major law firms Womble Bond Dickinson and Foot Anstey in Exeter and Bristol. Having worked in-house on secondments with Lloyds Banking Group in Bristol, he then joined textile manufacturing company Nonwovenn (formerly BFF Technical Fabrics) in Bridgwater as Head of Legal Affairs in February 2013, becoming their first ever in house lawyer.

Nonwovenn

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Nonwovenn is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of nonwoven technical fabrics and textiles. With operations in two sites in the UK, it manufactures technical nonwoven fabrics for global markets as wide and diverse as paper fabrics for coffee pods and coffee bags, medical and surgical pads and wound dressings, automotive oil filtration and engine noise reduction and fabric pouches for agricultural growers. The specialist products are used in the food, medical, agrotextiles, hygiene and cables and telecoms markets. The fabrics (which are composed of fused fibres, rather than woven ones) is used in anti-microbial, flame retardant, biodegradable and acoustic control. We have large multinational companies across the world as our customers in industries as diverse as motoring, health and medical, agricultural and food, drinks and FMCG companies. The group has manufacturing bases near Bristol and Manchester, UK. It includes three group subsidiaries specialising in various industrial sectors. Firemark, one of the UK’s leading fire extinguisher maintenance companies, is an associated group company handling several hundred customers across the UK. Pallet Hotel is the group’s warehousing business with several thousand square feet of warehousing space.

Management General February 2019 Vol.12, No. 46, Winter 2019