Co Kerry native and Browne Jacobson partner Anthony Nagle said last night that the opening of the firm's Dublin office was the realization of a long-cherished ambition and dream of at least 15 years.
In August, the British firm added a Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2, presence to its existing suite of offices in London’s Square Mile, Nottingham, Exeter, Manchester, and Birmingham.
The Dublin office, led by founding partners Jeanne Kelly and Ciarán Markey, will focus on both contentious and non-contentious IP and data-protection matters.
The firm employs almost 1,200 people in total and is known for its inclusive culture.
Partner Ciarán Markey told the launch party at Lennan’s Yard in Dublin’s Dawson Street (9 November) that Britain and Ireland have far more in common than separates them.
Markey said the firm was excited about the possibilities for a firm across both jurisdictions, facing out across the Atlantic and internationally.
Bridge to the world
Markey said Browne Jacobson was excited about the possibilities for a firm across both jurisdictions, facing out across the Atlantic and internationally.
"That bridge to the world is a key ambition for us in Dublin," he said.
Partner Declan Cushley said that the 180-year-old Nottingham-origin firm's first move out of England was an extraordinarily proud moment.
"We were quite clear that this wasn't just another dot on the map for us. We wanted a truly integrated 'UK-and-I' capability that would service clients both domestically across these two islands, and also internationally," he said.
Partner Jeanne Kelly (small picture) said that Browne Jacobson was regarded as a standout firm for its commitment to social mobility.
Castlemaine, Co Kerry native Anthony Nagle told the gathering that it was really special to be part of bringing something home to Ireland.
Nagle will continue to serve his London-based clients, while developing the Dublin presence to enhance the firm's overall offering.
European tech hub
British firms now want a Dublin presence because there is a "proper tech market" here and the capital city is now a European tech hub, Nagle explained.
With his fellow Irishman and partner, Derry native Declan Cushley, Nagle pushed forward with the Dublin office as a separate legal entity.
The newest office now has eight lawyers and a staff of ten, with a focus on technology, media, and telecom (TMT) matters.
Partner Jeanne Kelly explained that a pent-up demand from British clients looking to do work in Ireland drove the move.
"We are going to act as one team," added Nagle.
"The clients don't see the boundaries. We are going to resource deals from the two teams and act as one joined-up team, with everyone on the same calls.
This avoids instructing another different firm in Dublin, as previously happened on large British-origin deals with a Dublin dimension.
"Dublin is like a pinch-point for tech services coming into Europe from the US," said Nagle.
"We want to provide the 'UK-and-I' advice - Dublin lawyers have the edge because they are still in the EU," he explained.
"Many US clients want to 'bless', or adjust, their products for use in the EU and the UK at the same time," added Jeanne Kelly.
Nagle plans to sell Ireland hard to US-based firms and to explain the incentives for doing business here, and then offer structuring and incorporation services in the Irish capital.
Nagle is a specialist data lawyer, and can also offer IP protection and data-service-agreement advice, in Ireland, Britain and the EU.
"That's what the opportunity is for us. We can join all that up," he said, envisioning a streamlined link between the US, Dublin and London.
Nagle specializes in guiding clients through highly complex outsourcing projects, very often upgrades to large legacy computing systems.
Getting the service description initially nailed down could take six months of work, he explained, after which it's turned into the legal language and risk-mitigation of a robust contract.
"It's about knowing how to set things up, breaking down a risk profile of payments against tasks," he says.
Browne and Jacobson clients include construction behemoth Mace and insurance giant Hiscox.
Technology and data collection is now a massive factor across all sectors, Nagle says, with enhanced legal requirements that drill down into how to write watertight clauses.
For example, in the era of flexible work, new-build offices have desk sensors that track usage, offering managers hard data to inform leasing decisions.
Such data is anonymised, yet highly valuable, so firms need guidance on how to safely collect it, he says.
Centralized data collection on construction industry health-and-safety matters also leads to better decision-making through predictive analysis on personal-injury claims, Nagle explained.
The motor-insurance industry also gathers valuable data on driver behaviour, often selling it back to motor manufacturers after cleansing.
Large health-sector clients also possess valuable data that can be extracted and sold to pharma manufacturers, Nagle added.