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In House Champion - Duncan Hope

What is your role and day to day function at Irwin Mitchell?

I am a Partner in our national Commercial Litigation team based in Manchester. I work with a variety of clients on strategies for reducing risks to their business caused by disputes, and potential disputes, in their commercial relationships. Often this will involve working with in-house lawyers on strategies to avoid or resolve disputes at an early stage to achieve the objectives of the business. This can also involve more formal processes, including court proceedings. In my experience, an area that in-house teams/businesses have found particularly effective for dispute resolution has been mediation.

How have you utilised any in house experience to shape how you support in-house teams?

Earlier in my career, I spent 6 months on secondment with the commercial team at a large outsourcing business. I appreciated external legal providers who acted as an extension of the in-house team and who made me feel that the clock was not on every time I wanted to discuss a legal query. The experience helped me to recognise the importance of giving clear, concise and relevant commercial advice that recognises the effect/importance for the particular business. Businesses want commercial solutions to problems in line with their commercial objectives, not a list of potential options.

What are the big issues coming across your desk?

The protection of company information as well as ensuring businesses have the right work force, are key concerns for all successful businesses. One of the issues that I am advising on regularly is post-termination restrictive covenants in contracts of employment and steps businesses can take to ensure that departing employees do not capitalise on any confidential information gleaned during their employment.

Which Clients do you regularly advise?

I provide legal advice and guidance to a wide range of clients across a broad range of sectors, including manufacturing, technology, retail and finance.

If you could work in-house anywhere, where would it be and why?

I am interested in technology and how it plays a key role in how we now live our lives. My ideal in-house role would be working for a pioneering and innovative company such as Google.

Published: 24 July 2017

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