What is your role and day to day function at Irwin Mitchell?
I'm a Partner in our national Property Litigation team, which acts for clients based all over the UK and works closely with other teams throughout our national network of offices.
I focus on managing client relationships and supervising work to ensure that the best possible service is provided to our clients. This regularly involves working with in-house lawyers to deal with property litigation matters that are outsourced to us.
A lot of our work involves managing national property portfolios for investors, corporate occupiers and retailers. The focus is always on risk management, in terms of looking ahead, advising on the legal options available to protect, or dispose of, an interest in property, and ensuring that the correct steps are taken at the best time. This doesn’t always have to involve court proceedings, and may boil down to simply ensuring that a correctly worded and timed notice is properly served.
How have you utilised any in-house experience to shape how you support in-house teams?
My experience of working with in-house lawyers throughout my career has provided a valuable insight into what is important to them. For example, I always ensure that we clearly define at the outset of an outsourced instruction the extent to which the in-house lawyer wants to be kept updated as to progress – particularly where we are taking instructions from another part of the business.
I’m also conscious that budgeting for outsourced work is always key for an in-house team, so it’s vital to agree a clear and consistent reporting pattern in relation to costs.
Finally, I find that most in-house lawyers welcome the opportunity for training on areas of law that they are not familiar with or on new developments in areas that they deal with. I always look for opportunities to offer in-house training or invite in-house contacts to external seminars that we organise or have access to.
What are the big issues coming across your desk?
The type of property litigation matters that we deal with tends to remain fairly consistent, but I increasingly find that clients want, and need, to be on the front foot – planning ahead and taking the necessary steps early to avoid issues arising, rather than reacting to issues at the last minute. Good forward planning by the legal team with the client is crucial to effective property portfolio management.
Which clients do you regularly advise?
My clients consist of a broad range of investors, developers, property agents, corporate occupiers, retailers and educational establishments, operating mainly in the property investment, retail, industrial, office and education sectors.
If you could work in-house anywhere, where would it be and why?
I’ve always had a passion for music, so my dream would have to be to work for a business in the music industry. Why? To increase my chances of getting a selfie with some of my music idols of course!
IM Connect Spring 2018
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