Bank of Ireland hires new UK general counsel

The Bank of Ireland has hired John Bennett as general counsel to its UK subsidiary, succeeding Jan Karpinsky who retired earlier this year.

Bennett, who formerly worked as transactional head of legal for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS’) wholesale division, now reports to the Bank of Ireland’s group legal services head Gabrielle Ryan. 

The bank currently uses a global panel, of which Allen & Overy and Herbert Smith Freehills take the bulk of instructions. However, it also employs a number of mid-tier and smaller firms to its separate UK panels, with firms including Osborne Clarke and TLT picking up regular work. 

Bennett said: “My imminent objective is to get my arms around the panel structure.” He insisted there are no immediate plans to change the make-up of the panel, but said he expects to “take a fresh look” at its set up. “A key priority is to get the panel working better for us, ensuring value for money.” 

He continued: “At the moment, firms are engaged with a mixture of people from the in-house and wider parts of the organisation. I want to get the in-house team more involved.” 

The Bank of Ireland currently has a 17-strong legal team in the UK, while the wider organisation has about 60 lawyers in total. 

In the UK, the bank has a joint venture with the Post Office, enabling it to sell its products in over 11,500 branches under Post Office branding.