Irwin Mitchell recruits founder of RPC in-house venture as first-ever general counsel

Irwin Mitchell has hired Bruce Macmillan, the founder of RPC’s Centre for Legal Leadership (CLL), as its first general counsel.

Macmillan has left RPC after just over two years, during which time he was central to the establishment of CLL, which provides coaching, mentoring and career support services for in-house lawyers.

Prior to joining RPC in January 2016 he was managing director of his own firm, MAC Law, and senior vice-president and senior commercial legal counsel at VISA Europe, while he has also held in-house roles at the Legal Services Board, Dell and Cable & Wireless. RPC had also worked with Macmillan prior to 2016 while he was running MAC Law.

Commenting on the appointment, Irwin Mitchell group chief executive Andrew Tucker said: “This is a great appointment for Irwin Mitchell. Bruce is incredibly experienced both in the role of in-house lawyer and at executive management level, and we look forward to working with him as we build our business further.”

As well as serving as GC at Irwin Mitchell, Macmillan will also sit on the firm’s board and its risk and audit committees.

He added: “This is a fascinating role for me at a fascinating time for the business and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

CLL, which was launched in March last year, is one of a number of new ventures set up by RPC in recent years, alongside RPC Consulting and RPC Perform.

However, RPC Perform – which was launched in May 2016 to provide management advice to GCs – was closed down following the exit of director Julia Chain, while the firm’s accounts show that it took out more than £5m worth of bank loans during 2016-17 to help fund RPC Consulting.

Macmillan will be replaced at the helm of CLL by RPC director of brand and talent Clint Evans, who will retain his current job title.

The firm is now looking to enlist more support for CLL, and is planning to appoint five to 10 general counsel to help with the running of the centre. While RPC would remain the lead sponsor of the business, the firm is looking for additional leadership from prominent corporate counsel.

The business will continue to offer three core services to in-house lawyers – recruitment services, educational support and discussion groups about career development. However, going forward, the key emphasis will be on knowledge provision and there will be less of a focus on recruitment services.

The CLL team also includes Paul Bentall, formerly GC for nine years at the Financial Ombudsman Service, and Peter Giblin, a specialist consultant and visiting professor at Cass Business School in London.

RPC was contacted for comment.