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RSC names new general counsel

Posted by: Laurence Simons 31/10/13

Gadzooks, and indeed forsooth - the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced that interim general counsel Marina Zain will be handed the position on a permanent basis.

Ms Zain spent six months in the role after succeeding actress and general counsel Caroline Barnett who took up the "dream job" in 2008, reports the Lawyer.

She is something of a corporate high-flier, having previously worked at British American Tobacco between 2006 and 2009 and in the risk management field with Commercial Edge, where she was legal director.

The RSC is a registered charity and one of the UK's most prestigious cultural organisations, with more than 1,000 permanent staff on its books.

One might wonder, however, what kind of legal controversies such a benign group could be plunged into, and this is reflected by its relatively parlous law team - this is simply composed of Ms Zain and one colleague.

The pair handle the RSC's mixture of commercial contract, IP, company and charity and litigation and property work.

Speaking to the Lawyer about taking up the role, previous incumbent Ms Barnett expressed her enthusiasm about the varied and exciting atmosphere offered by the position.

"The ¬position was a way of putting ¬together the two parts of me in a ¬creative ¬environment. If you work in-house then you have to be ¬passionate about what you do: in a theatre company that does Shakespeare, I have the perfect job," she declared.

At one point, Ms Barnett had to deal with a defamation reading on new play Breakfast with Mugabe, having been warned that Zimbabwean 'security advisors' were set to attend the initial performances.

While not everyone working as an in-house lawyer can get involved with Shakespearean theatre, this does illustrate one positive about the job - because of its breadth, professionals can often get involved in an industry they feel personally passionate about.