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SBV Consulting – Legal Operations and Legal Bid Support

Sarah Barrett Vane profile picture - SBV ConsultingBackground: I qualified as a lawyer in 1996 and worked in private practice – primarily Eversheds – before moving in-house in 2001, where I held positions in both the private and public sector. In 2007, whilst a lawyer at the Legal Aid Agency (Ministry of Justice), I moved sideways into legal procurement and contract management.

Royal Mail: in 2009 I joined Royal Mail to carry out the company’s first legal panel review. In 2012 I moved to work directly for the GC as Director of Legal Operations. After a highly fulfilling 5+ years, I left the company to pursue freelance/interim work full-time from January 2018.

The Royal Mail legal team underwent an almost total transformation between 2012 and 2018, including the IPO in 2013. Under two GCs the team won the following awards:

  • The Lawyer Awards 2014: In-House Commerce & Industry Team of the Year
  • Legal Business Awards 2015: In-House Team of the Year
  • Legal Week Innovation Awards 2017: In-House Innovation
  • FT Innovative Lawyers 2017: Innovation in Operations
  • Legal Week British Legal Awards 2017: Legal Department of the Year, Commerce & Industry

Experience: my broad range of experience makes me well-positioned to advise in-house legal teams and law firms on both operational aspects of their practice and procurement work.

Sarah Barrett Vane IILPM Legal Project Practitioner certificateI work with in-house legal teams, law firms and other legal service providers, helping them to understand each other’s needs and work together more successfully and collaboratively. I keep myself up to date with relevant developments in the legal market place to ensure I am well placed to advise you on the most current trends and practices.

Legal Project Management: in 2018 I attended a three day legal project management course with Antony Smith. I am globally certified with the Legal Project Practitioner (LPP) certification. I am a strong advocate of utilising legal project management methodology in the planning and delivery of legal services, and have written articles on this topic.

SBV Pricing Masterclass CertificateLegal Pricing Masterclass: in February 2020 I attended a four-module online programme offered by the Buying Legal Council, the international trade organisation for legal procurement. The lecturers on the programme are acknowledged leaders in their fields – Richard Burcher and Richard Stock. Although I am very experienced in this area, there are always new lessons to be learned, and this programme brought me completely up to date with modern thinking and alternative practices around legal procurement strategy, RFP content and evaluation methods, AFAs and price negotiation, and legal project management/scope of work.

Legal Process Improvement: in November 2021 I attended a two day legal process improvement course, again with Antony Smith. I am now globally certified with the Legal Process Improvement Professional (LPIP) certification. This course delved into Lean/Six Sigma processes, tailored to the legal sector.  This further qualification has enhanced my knowledge in this area and given me more tools to work with when advising legal teams how to work more efficiently and effectively.


Some of you may be wondering where the idea for the bespectacled Basset Hound came from. Let me enlighten you.

I have always loved dogs and very much wanted a dog image as part of my website, so began searching for inspiration. I came across a rather fetching photograph of a Basset Hound wearing spectacles.

His handsome looks and intellectual pose appealed to me – and so Hector the Basset was born! I like to think he will add a certain gravitas to the proceedings.

Please note that my actual real life dog, Arthur, is a feisty Westie (with no gravitas). He knows nothing of Hector.

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