Interview: Michael Jackson, Matheson

26 Apr 2019 | 05.38 pm

Interview: Michael Jackson, Matheson

‘Our approach is always to invest in our people and our values’

26 Apr 2019 | 05.38 pm

Matheson has six offices in Ireland and abroad, with the San Francisco opened in 2017 and Cork office in 2018. The firm has over 650 legal, tax legal and business support professionals, and added 17 solicitors through 2018. Matheson recently announced the appointment of ten new partners across the business, bringing our total number to 96 in over 30 legal practice groups. Forty five per cent of partner promotions in the past three years have been women, and last year Matheson was named the sixth most diverse law firm in Europe by The Lawyer magazine.

 

How would you describe Matheson’s USP?

Broadly speaking, the Matheson USP is our focus on being the law firm of choice for internationally focused companies and financial institutions doing business in and from Ireland. We have expanded our footprint to six offices globally with the opening of our San Francisco office in 2017 and Cork office in 2018. 

Our transatlantic and European reach allows us to support the growing needs of our international clients with operations in Ireland, and also our Irish client base accessing international markets. At a time of unprecedented uncertainty due to Brexit and other global factors, this strategic focus has become particularly relevant. 

Alongside this, I would say that the Matheson approach is always to invest in our people and our values – in particular to work collaboratively across our practice groups and to nurture a client-first service ethos. 

At the beginning of this year we announced the appointment of ten new partners in the business, bringing our total number to 96. Talent is at the core of our offering to clients, and we believe it is what gives us the competitive edge. 

We have designed and implemented customised training programmes, working with leading universities and business schools including INSEAD, Judge Business School in Cambridge and the Irish Management Institute, to provide our people with access to learning and development opportunities relevant to them and their clients’ businesses throughout the whole of their career in Matheson.

At Matheson, it is also a priority for us to continue to provide legal guidance and insight to clients on Brexit, concerning the direct and indirect consequences and potential impacts of the UK’s departure from the EU on their business. We anticipate this will be an area in which we will continue to be busy, navigating the national and international complexities and impacts on our clients’ behalf – across key sectors including financial services, ICT, food and beverage, agri-business, pharma and life sciences.

In the past year, what areas have you strengthened with partner appointments?

At the beginning of 2019, we announced the appointment of 10 new partners across a range of industry sectors, bringing our number of partners to 96, operating in over 30 legal practice groups. These appointments reflect increasing client demand and our growth in response to that, right across our corporate, commercial real estate, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, finance and capital markets, employment, tax and commercial real estate teams.

All of our new partners work with a range of large domestic clients operating in key sectors of the Irish economy in addition to the firm’s multinational clients with operations in Ireland. I am also pleased to say that half of our 10 new partner appointments at the firm this year are female, and 45% of partners promoted over the last three years have been female. In June last year, Matheson was named the sixth most diverse law firm in Europe by The Lawyer magazine.

How challenging is it to maintain profitability when salaries are rising? 

No matter what business you are in, growing and maintaining financial performance is always a challenge! It is crucial that we balance our investment in cost efficiencies and effectiveness across business practices and procedures with excellence in client servicing and value. 

While many efficiencies are underpinned by technology investment, which includes for example automation and AI, it is increasingly important that investment continues to be made in our people. We believe that attracting and retaining talented lawyers, and developing relevant expertise, is not only critical to delivering valuable results for our clients, but also for the firm’s continued growth.

Regarding client fees and pricing for legal services, Matheson has appointed a dedicated Director of Pricing Strategy. This enables us to offer bespoke pricing models to meet the needs of our clients across industry sectors – and to drive the essential value proposition which Matheson provides for its clients. Our clients are also willing to recognise that quality service and advice on complex matters calls for different pricing models, and focus more on value than on price.

It is possible to deliver efficiencies to clients through the use of technology. The ability to combine both technology and expertise brings a whole new scale and range of value add to clients, for example the speed at which contracts can now be researched and reviewed can provide clients with savings on time, allowing lawyers to identify material issues more efficiently and allowing for deeper engagement from our lawyers with clients on issues which matter most to those clients.

What was the rationale for opening your Cork Office in September 2018? How has it been going?

We have had great feedback from our clients and from our Cork-based team! We opened our Cork office to support our growing domestic and international client base in the Munster region. 

Cork is a growing city which has proven itself to be an attractive location for FDI, for international financial services and importantly, a location for ambitious Irish companies that want to grow their business. Cork is set to become the fastest growing city in Ireland over the next 20 years and our decision to open a new office there is recognition of that future growth potential.

Our new office increases our proximity to our already significant range of multinational and domestic clients located in the Cork and wider Munster region – spanning the life sciences, healthcare, ICT, biotechnology, agri-food, professional services, cybersecurity and financial services sectors. 

Clients in the region have access to an experienced Matheson team in the firm’s Cork office, and can also avail of the full suite of legal services and expertise of Matheson’s Dublin, London and US East and West Coast offices. We envisage that our Cork office will continue to grow over time to meet our clients’ legal needs in the region, and we also look forward to continuing to attract the top legal talent from Munster to Matheson’s Cork office.

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