Interview: John White, Beauchamps

30 Mar 2020 | 03.00 pm

Interview: John White, Beauchamps

'Increasing charge-out rates is not something we currently envisage'

30 Mar 2020 | 03.00 pm

Beauchamps recorded a year of growth in all areas of the firm last year, according to Managing Partner John White 

What were the growth highlights for Beauchamps over the past year?

The firm has seen positive growth across all areas of the business up until the current quarter, especially in our traditional core strengths of banking, commercial property and corporate. 

We have also become a market leader in the social housing sector, working with all parties across the range of services required to deliver many landmark housing projects, including an 81-unit, mixed tenure development in Galway; a 94-unit housing development in Lucan; a 138-unit project in Finglas; joint ventures between housing associations and county councils; and supporting NARPS and Respond Housing Association. 

We are immensely proud of the integral role our award-winning team, led by partner Fidelma McManus, is playing in helping to increase availability of housing stock, an issue that is more important now than ever.

How would you currently gauge business sentiment and optimism in the legal sector?

There is no doubt we are living in highly uncertain times, with the dual macro threats of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic requiring a highly flexible approach to working and business strategy. Indeed, businesses have and will need to continue to evolve quickly during these changing times. 

At the moment our entire team is working remotely, and with effective video conferencing and regular online meetings, teams and practice areas are working well together. Real human tragedy is at the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the nature of the uncertain economic threat it poses clearly requires considerable caution for any business.

How much of a competitive threat are new players arriving from abroad in the legal sector?

The Irish legal sector is sophisticated, as are the clients.  It is too early to notice any significant impact aside from creating more competition than ever for talent. It is also too early for anyone to predict the same consolidation that happened in accountancy happening in the legal market in Ireland, or indeed in Europe or the US.

Given pressure on salary overheads, what scope is there to increase charge-out rates?

One of the things Beauchamps is known for in the market is its traditional value for money, with a first class service but at reasonable rates — that won’t change. There is a huge amount of competition in the marketplace and clients generally look for alternative fee solutions beyond hourly charge-out rates.

We believe that we operate lean teams so we try to keep costs for the client low. Increasing charge-out rates is not something we currently envisage.

What is it about your legal teams that give the firm a competitive edge?

We actively foster and recruit lawyers for their positive character and ability to co-operate with each other, as well as their ability to provide practical and clear advice to clients. While we retain our objectivity as advisers, we commit fully to achieving our clients goals and aims.

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