What is your role and day-to-day function at Irwin Mitchell?
I lead our Commercial team, which is spread across our national offices. Our team works closely with in-house lawyers, especially on commercial contract, IT, regulatory and data protection issues. My day-to-day role remains that of a commercial/IT lawyer – seeking to understand our clients’ businesses and, from that, helping them to put in place the most appropriate complex commercial arrangements to suit their risk/benefit profile.
How have you utilised any in-house experience to shape how you provide support to in-house teams?
For the last ten years (both at IM and my predecessor firms), I have always spent part of my time supporting the firm itself on Commercial issues. As such, a part my role has always been to act as an in-house lawyer to my own firms. This has given me a great understanding of the difference in role between private practice and in-house lawyers and a great empathy for the issues in-house lawyers deal with on a daily basis. As a result, we have designed our Commercial services to wrap around in-house lawyers and to provide them with the support they need to meet the competing demands on their finite time.
What are the big issues coming across your desk?
At present, there is one key issue that arises on a daily basis and that is GDPR. Businesses of all sizes are becoming aware (at different speeds) of its impending arrival and the need to prepare for it, and we are heavily involved in a number of GDPR compliance projects. Fortunately, we have a brilliant data protection team to handle those projects and help clients through what is likely to be a busy year from a data protection perspective.
If you could work in-house anywhere, where would it be and why?
Space X – the legal issues arising from implementing a mission to Mars would be fascinating.
Published: 13 October 2017
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