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Not all legal document management problems require complex solutions, but they do need the buy-in of the business. Sophie Gould talks to Ingrid Cope, Senior Legal Advisor at Pernod Ricard UK and The Lawyer’s 2016 In-House Lawyer of the Year, about how developing a simple yet innovative contracts app benefited the whole business and highlighted the importance of cross-functional collaboration.
Tell us a bit about your background and career to date…
I have been an in-house lawyer for about ten years. My background is in fast-moving consumer goods. In my first in-house role I was responsible for competition law and litigation across Europe and also for a number of significant UK businesses. Prior
to that I was in private practice as a contentious competition lawyer. I have been fortunate enough to work across a range of different roles: private practice, regulatory, and now in-house.
I had always planned to go into private practice initially. You get very good training and high quality work. I really enjoyed my time working at law firms, but there does come a point when you have to decide what your career path is going to be. I became
a competition lawyer because I am very interested in the world of business and markets, so going in-house was a natural transition for me.
Now, less of my time is spent on legal drafting, and more is spent assisting to devise strategy and provide commercial advice. For example, when the business is developing its strategy to increase sales, I help to mitigate the legal risk around that in
an effective way.
What is the role of your team?
I manage a small team that looks after the Pernod Ricard UK and Pernod Ricard Travel Retail EMEA businesses. I have one lawyer who helps me primarily on privacy, marketing, digital and e-commerce. I also have a team member who looks after the duty-free
channel, which includes cruise ships, army bases and diplomatic missions.
Our UK customers are divided between the on-trade and the off-trade. The off-trade is where consumers purchase alcohol for consumption ‘off’ the premises, and includes the major grocery retailers but also, for example, wholesalers who sell
to the impulse channel. In the on-trade, where consumers purchase alcohol for consumption ‘on’ the pre
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Since joining LexisNexis in 2009 Sophie has worked on developing our legal and business content for the in-house legal community. She also runs various networking and mentoring groups for in-house lawyers and works with schools to promote social mobility within the legal profession.
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