Lisa Broderick of DAC Beachcroft examines the key problems and priorities for Irish clients, as well as the firm’s recent international growth and adaptations post-Covid
DACB Dublin is part of DAC Beachcroft LLP, an international law firm with over 2,800 professionals and a legal network advising across the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and North America.
The Dublin team prides itself on providing clients with the full benefits of the advice and representation of a local, Irish law firm of experienced Irish lawyers who have full access to the wider infrastructure and support of a major international law firm.
For this feature, Lisa Broderick, partner and location head of DAC Beachcroft’s Dublin office, talks to us about the competition within the Irish legal market, the challenge of recruitment, the firm’s plans for growth, and why all lawyers now have an ESG focus.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for Irish market, and what is the impact of this for your clients and your firm?
Cyber is classified as the top risk to the majority of businesses, and we are seeing the impact of this through the support we provide for our clients.
There has been a number of high-profile data breaches and cyber attacks across various sectors, which have made this area, quite rightly, a boardroom issue. Businesses are recognising the severe consequences should the worst happen, particularly from a reputational and financial standpoint.
This means we have seen significant growth in our data, privacy and cyber practice area in Dublin. Our 24/7 cyber response hotline, which provides clients with access to our specialist cyber and data risk lawyers, IT security experts and experienced PR consultants, has had an uplift in calls.
As businesses become more cyber-savvy, there are also increased instructions to assist businesses in preparing for such an event through on-site bespoke training and planning sessions.
While the risk of a cyber-attack and a data breach is increasingly front of mind for our clients, we expect that this area of our business will continue to grow.
What do you think is the main challenge of Dublin’s increasingly competitive legal market, and how is your firm responding to it?
The main impact is on the employment market and the competition for talent, which is fierce.
We work hard to offer our people a different proposition, where they can take on quality work for excellent clients, while working in a culture in which our people can find more enjoyment both when they are at work and in life outside work.
It’s also important to us as a firm that we demonstrate our commitment to making sure that everyone at DACB feels that their voices are heard and they have the same opportunities to help make a difference.
As a result, we are very fortunate to have very committed and engaged colleagues who enjoy working with our firm. However, the highly competitive recruitment market remains a key challenge for all law firms.
What have been your firm’s strategic priorities over the past 12 months?
International expansion, which is based on client need, is a key pillar of DACB’s strategy.
As our clients’ needs continue to change, we are seizing opportunities to adapt and respond to their requirements, and futureproofing our business in the process.
In recent months we have launched a new office in Argentina and two new offices in Italy, in Milan and Rome, where we have also welcomed a top-ranked Italian team of three partners and five associates.
We now boast a presence in 23 jurisdictions around the world, showing our credentials as a truly international firm with ambitious plans on a global platform.
What is the business’s strategic focus for the next year?
ESG – environmental, social, governance – is a strategic priority for our firm, and we aren’t alone. In one of our recent client listening programmes, our clients told us about the growing importance of ESG within their own businesses. There is already a lot of work we have been doing in this area. In 2022 we launched our ESG strategy, which outlines our firm’s ESG commitments and what our key sectors are doing to support clients on their own ESG journeys.
We have also appointed a head of ESG for the global firm, and launched an internal ESG training series to enhance the capability of our firm’s lawyers in supporting clients. ESG considerations impact almost every decision and activity across the sectors in which we operate and the changing landscape is one of increasing regulation and litigation, which is why we are so committed to investing in our lawyers, so they can continue to navigate clients’ ESG concerns, commitments and ambitions through the delivery of our legal services.
How has business or working life at DACB changed post-Covid?
In terms of work, we have seen increased activity and interest in our offering following the impacts of lockdown. Areas of our business that are engaged in litigation have been extremely busy with the significant increase in the number of matters being dealt with before the courts, clearing the backlog from when many were closed.
The way we work has also changed. We launched DACB’s Flex Forward policy in Dublin and in the UK in 2021. The origins of this policy weren’t a direct result of Covid, but rather it provided an opportunity to build upon our firm’s already existing agile working approach.
This policy offers different types of dynamic, location-based working – office-focused and hybrid – and introduced the concept of Gliding Your Time, which provides a more relaxed approach to working hours. This gives us maximum flexibility in how we orchestrate our working day, guided by three principles: meeting client demands, collaborating as a team and delivering the outputs of our roles.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Broderick, partner and location head of the Dublin office
Three Haddington Buildings
T: +353 1 231 9600