Interview: Declan Black, Mason Hayes & Curran

03 Jun 2016 | 01.54 pm

Interview: Declan Black, Mason Hayes & Curran

'We are an ambitious, entrepreneurial firm'

03 Jun 2016 | 01.54 pm

Declan Black was head of Mason Hayes & Curran’s litigation practice until being appointed Managing Partner in April 2014. His experience includes many high-value contractual and tortious disputes, commonly with an international component. He also represents financial institutions in complex insolvency matters and fraud-related litigation.


In 2015/16, what aspects of the firm’s growth have pleased you most?

Actually it’s the broadly based nature of the growth that is most satisfying. We remain a very well balanced firm. Special mention perhaps should go to our technology practice where we advise nearly all of the big brands and many Irish corporates on privacy issues and to real estate which has developed a bespoke platform for new developments.


Which departments in the firm have you been devoting more resources to?

Our resources aren’t pitched at departments. Rather they are targeted at business sectors where we excel such as technology, financial services, energy, healthcare and education.  We have market-leading teams in these sectors and our understanding of them makes our advice very commercially relevant to clients and also allows us to anticipate legal issues which may affect those sectors


Cyber security is a growing issue for corporates. How can law firms like MH&C help?

We recently launched an app, Cyber Security for Directors, the first in Europe specifically to address this issue for clients.  Like most risk issues, a degree of legal protection can be achieved by well-structured contracts but a culture of vigilance works best. When an issue arises, there is often a multi-agency reaction (e.g. Gardai, Data Protection Commissioner, a Regulator, foreign agencies) so good legal advice is then key to investigate causes, manage communications, identify third party liability and generally to avoid compounding the issue.  Our App provides a useful ‘one-stop-shop’ for information that clients need to be aware of in this complex area.


How does Mason Hayes & Curran go about hiring and retaining the best legal talent?

We are an ambitious, entrepreneurial firm with a truly intense focus on client service. We are also modern and progressive in our approach to both the delivery of legal services and how staff can work best with clients. There is both opportunity, flexibility and accountability and that’s appealing to a lot of people. Most joiners get intelligence on the firm from people already working here and that’s the best way for candidates to assess whether or not they would fit in.

We also identify new talent internationally and recently recruited Graeme Bell of Akin Gump as a partner to lead our London Office.  We also have lawyers from the UK, US, Israel and India and this diversity brings great benefit in perspective and knowledge for clients.


Do you anticipate that the Legal Services Regulation Act will have any impact on the way your firm operates?

Certainly not in relation to transparency on costs. I think all of the larger firms are good at that and we make it a priority. The impact of other proposed changes will depend on market appetite. For example, if the market had really wanted solicitor advocates instead of barristers in high value litigation, it could have driven that change since the early 1970s.

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