Interview: Richard Martin, Ronan Daly Jermyn

06 May 2020 | 09.00 am

Interview: Richard Martin, Ronan Daly Jermyn

'We pride ourselves on being a great place to work'

06 May 2020 | 09.00 am

People, technology and diversity are key facets in law firm success, according to Richard Martin (pictured), Managing Partner of Ronan Daly Jermyn 

What were the highlights of your firm’s activity over the past year?

At RDJ we are committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best people across our practice and business services groups. Over the past year we have made some outstanding hires and grown our team to more than 260 people across our Cork, Dublin and Galway offices. We are particularly pleased with key hires to our Regulatory and Constructions teams during the year.

RDJ has made significant investments in smart technology and business management solutions that have allowed us to automate and standardise once manual processes with built-in workflows, as well as provide enhanced budgeting and dynamic reporting tools. The introduction of an entirely new technology provides us with the capability to deliver faster, more efficient and cost-effective legal services.

We chose multiple leading solutions from industry leader Thomson Reuters for this practice and financial management transformation because of its powerful financial and practice management capabilities. It enables us to streamline and optimise processes for all our service lines, improve efficiencies and make day-to-day tasks easier for our teams. 

RDJ recently partnered with the Irish Centre for Diversity to support us on our continuous improvement journey around diversity and inclusion. We are currently working towards the Investors in Diversity – Silver level award.

The firm is also a participant in the 30% Club, a collaborative, business-led effort to make real change in Ireland, aiming towards increased female representation in senior management. The composition of RDJ’s senior management team is now 30% women.

We are more conscious than ever of our impact on our environment and of the need for each and every one of us to take steps towards making the way we live our lives at home and at work more sustainable. As a firm, RDJ is committed to develop environmentally friendly practices throughout our day-to-day business activities and to minimise the production of waste and reduce our energy, water and paper usage.

We have undertaken a number of recent initiatives across the offices designed to make our work practices more sustainable, to reduce the use of single-use plastics and to reduce our carbon footprint. These include moving to a ‘paper light’ system of working and providing Keep-cups to all staff in an effort to reduce the purchase of single-use cups. Both our Dublin and Cork offices are designed to LEED gold standard, recognised as the benchmark of green building standards.

We pride ourselves on being a great place to work and place a high priority on creating a culture of health and wellness. Our wellness programme, started in 2018, promotes healthy living through classes and events focused on good nutrition, fitness and mental wellbeing.

It’s been a huge success with our employees and fantastic to see the programme grow across our three offices. Over 60 employees participated in a recent Couch to 5K programme. We also have active cycling, running, walking and spinning groups.

What areas within the firm have you been focusing resources on?

Cyber and information security together with data protection is an area of increasing risk and importance for all businesses, organisations and government entities today. Security breaches can be high profile, cause enormous damage to public trust and confidence, and ultimately result in significant direct and indirect financial loss.

Our cyber response team has seen a significant increase in the number of clients experiencing successful security incidents over the past 12 months. We have expanded our team and now offer security incident response on a 24/7 basis, which is supported by our already well-established claims handling and management and reputation management services.

We were also delighted to welcome regulatory specialist Brian Hunt as partner to the firm in 2019. Brian is a talented lawyer with extensive knowledge of the regulatory market in Ireland. His arrival will enable us to better support our existing client base who require specialist expertise in that area.

What are the main issues that have affected business sentiment in the legal sector of late?

While up to now our perception of development and change has been influenced by Brexit, competition from new entrants to the market, and alternate providers of legal services, the impact of Covid-19 has become the overwhelming issue in terms of concern for our sector.

What is your key differentiator from competitors in the legal sector?

At RDJ, our clients see us as a key part of the decision-making process in their own business. This is due to the effort we make to understand, in considerable detail, not only our clients’ business but also the sector in which they operate. Without such an understanding, it is not possible for us to deliver the services that we do in a way that is directly relevant to their decisions for their business.

Half of our partner appointments over the last 10 years have been of lawyers who have come from industry or who have been seconded to industry. It is very important for us that our lawyers understand what it means to be a consumer of legal services every bit as much as a provider of legal services. The consumption of legal services by these partners in industry gives them a unique perspective of what client service really means.

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