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Jeremy Barnett | Independent General Counsel

Jeremy Barnett is a Barrister and has advised small to medium sized companies for 20 years on a variety of legal and regulatory issues. He has been retained as 'Independent General Counsel' and offers the same service to start up companies in IT and Green Technology, as a way to secure high quality advice without where a full time appointment is not yet justified.

An Independent General Counsel [IGC] is a lawyer who performs the services of General Counsel for a company on a contract basis, not as employee of the firm. Many start ups and growing technology companies recognise the need for laywers to give advice on regulatory, licencing and contract matters, but find the cost of a full time appointment to be prohibative. Having a team member who is 'on retainer' is a way to keep overheads at a minium whilst having consistent and speedy advice on hand to deal with drafting and meetings.

Originally General Counsel handled internal and administrative issues. Since the 1980s, however, the general counsel position has become increasingly prominent in multinational companies, often directly advising the board of directors often together with outside lawyers.  General Counsel however sit 'at the same side of the table' as the Directors whereas law firms often take a stance which is independent of the interests of the Directors. General counsel are now often among the most highly paid executives of major American corporations, and prominent American government lawyers and law firm partners are often hired for general counsel roles at prominent companies.

Similar trends are also being seen in the United Kingdom and other countries. Start up and smaller companies however find it difficult to justify the appointment of a full time General Counsel, although there are a number advantages of having a commercial/regulatory expert as part of the team who can deal with new products, regulatory approval and other general legal issues.

General counsel often have broad roles encompassing assessment of risk, crisis management, compliance reporting management and public policy advocacy

The benefits of using Jeremy's IGC service are;

  • experience in dealing with regulators ( OFT/FCA, Information Commissioner, FRC, Ministry of Justice, Trading Standards, HSE, SRA)
  • IT knowledge (Jeremy was visiting professor of Law Informatics at Leeds University for 5 years) in data protection, distributed and cloud computing
  • Climate Change and Green technology, specialist in energy storage, FIT/solar legal issues, Smart Grid and CCS technology
  • Product safety - toys, electrical, prams, puschairs, fireworks and Food Safety
  • Environmental / Health and Safety.  Defence of numerous companies relating to fatal accidents, explosive materials, waste and packaging ( essesntial requirements) regulations.    

JB can also assist with the appointment of other professionals including solicitors, barriesters, accountants and other experts who have the necessary experience and flexiabilty to act for new and start up companies who face varied and often complex challenges in growing their business and raising finance.


Jeremy has long standing relationships with a number of commercial and professional clients he has represented over a number of years.

Click here to see the testimonials that they have provided.

Case Studies

Partnership A: This is a firm of solicitors who had a major practice in Personal Injury work. They faced challenging new regulation in respect of the banning of referral fees that could materially affect their business model. JB advised on the proposed new legislation, the likelihood of regulatory action and the possible steps that could be taken to change business processes so as to ensure compliance with the new regulations.

JB also gave advice as to the business model in general. As a result the partners decided to invest in a new source of work, by engaging staff and designing a marketing campaign. Both the existing business model ( as altered to ensure compliance) and the new workstream are now functioning well, ensuring the continued success of the firm.

Client B: was the CEO of a successful company who faced a trading standards prosecution in respect of their main product line which had recently been released on the market.  A number of years after the company was incorporated, the CEO became involved in shareholder litigation and instructed JB to act as IGC, to assist with managing the litigation, including the instruction of solicitors and counsel.

Client C: is a University research group, funded by 4 northern universities that specialises in international Climate Change. JB has worked with the ceo and team members on various projects including data protection for cloud storage, advice on EU procurement rules for CCS demonstrator project, Infrastructure financing and as a speaker at an academic conference on the circular economy.

Client D:  is a company in the north of england who conduct busines in Europe and the Far East. JB was asked to assist in the raising of finance to expand the business. He introduced and worked with an experienced non executive director who has raised funding on AIM for small and medium businesses and prepared a business plan that was used by the directors to raise the funding required.

To discuss such an appointment please call 0844 2722322 to arrange a meeting, either in Leeds or London.  JB will be happy to consider working on 

  • a fixed fee basis or retainer
  • a 'call off' basis ie an agreed maxium number of hours per month that can be called off by the client whenever necessary.

 to allow priority advice by email, attendance at board/client/regulator meetings as and when required.

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