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When alternative business structures were introduced by the Legal Services Act 2007, new opportunities opened up for the innovative provision of legal services. Sophie Gould talks to Archana Makol, Chief Counsel at BT and Director of BT Law Ltd, about her experience of setting up and running an ABS alongside an established global in-house legal team.
Tell us a bit about your background and career to date …
I qualified as a lawyer in 1992 and started off in private practice. I joined BT in 1998 as an accident at work defendant litigator and worked in that area for a number of years. Around 10 years ago, I moved into heading up the Insurance team in Sheffield,
as it was then known. It was an opportunity to broaden my experience beyond just doing personal injury work, work with other parts of the business and be involved with more commercial litigation.
I am also now a Director of BT Law Ltd, an ABS and wholly owned BT subsidiary. BT Law involves a small section of the overall legal community at BT and only deals with liability and claims matters.
The BT Legal team is a worldwide in-house function comprising around 400 people. My team – now known as the Liability claims team – sits within the litigation part of that function and is made up of 73 people. It’s from
my team that we draw the BT Law function.
How does the claims function at BT work?
BT is unusual in that it manages its own claims function. Many corporates outsource this area, be that to a third party administrator or panel lawyers, or leave it to their insurers to manage any claims. At BT the legal team has always worked closely
with its internal insurance and finance teams to help manage these risks.
Over 15 years, we have
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Since joining LexisNexis in 2009 Sophie has worked on developing our legal and business content for the in-house legal community. She also runs various networking and mentoring groups for in-house lawyers and works with schools to promote social mobility within the legal profession.
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