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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

Irwin Mitchell recruits French desk lead

Irwin Mitchell recruits French desk lead


The appointment supports the firm's international growth strategy

Irwin Mitchell has bolstered its international growth strategy with the appointment of Catherine Palmer as its French desk lead.

Palmer is a bilingual lawyer with strong senior management and board experience. She qualified as a solicitor at Slaughter and May and has worked at leading London law firms throughout her career, as well as spending 14 years as general counsel of international luxury brand, Joseph Group. Most recently, she was general counsel for KellyDeli Group where she led a team of five lawyers who advised in over 11 jurisdictions.

Palmer has held a number of non-executive director roles and is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the French Chamber of Commerce. In 2019 she was named ‘in-house lawyer of the year’ at the Inspirational Women in Law Awards.

Palmer will be UK-based and drive forward the firm’s strategy of supporting domestic clients on their operations in France and French-speaking jurisdictions, while helping to win English legal work for clients based in those countries.

Irwin Mitchell’s head of international, Bryan Bletso, said: “Irwin Mitchell’s international growth strategy includes a policy of promoting certain jurisdictional desks where the firm has deep experience in advising clients from particular parts of the world on English law matters. These include desks concentrating on servicing clients from amongst others the United States, Germany, India, Middle East and Israel, while also promoting its strong international private client and family desks as well as its market leading international serious injury team. 

“France is a major jurisdictional desk for the firm and I’m delighted Catherine has agreed to join Irwin Mitchell as we continue to strengthen our international networks. She’s extremely well connected in Anglo French circles and has some really exciting ideas for how we can take our French desk to the next level.”

Bletso added: “Despite the economy facing numerous challenges, the level of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK remains high. According to our latest UK Powerhouse report, France was in 3rd place for job creation in the UK on the back of FDI. This demonstrates not only the importance of attracting investment from overseas, but also the appetite for and interest in the UK that exists across the Channel.

“Catherine will help us support our existing clients and play a big part in helping us attract UK work from businesses based in France.”

Palmer commented: “Irwin Mitchell has been active and has a strong reputation amongst the French business community in the UK and I am looking forward to building on its success in the coming months and years. We have some exciting opportunities ahead and I’m very keen to increase the visibility of Irwin Mitchell even more whilst getting to know more businesses based in France via the law firms in our networks.”

Irwin Mitchell is a member of numerous strategic international networks. It joined First Law International (FLI) in October 2018 and is also a member of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council – a network of around 100 business and government members from around the Commonwealth.


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