We are delighted to welcome Martin Donoghue to the Lawrence Stephens team. Martin brings with him a wealth of expertise and experience which will add immense value to our clients and the firm as a Read more...
We are delighted to welcome Martin Donoghue to the Lawrence Stephens team. Martin brings with him a wealth of expertise and experience which will add immense value to our clients and the firm as a whole. Specialising in the fast-paced technology sector, he also plays an integral role in broadening our practice.
As Martin is starting his new role in lockdown, and given how Zoomed out we all are, we thought that we would conduct a good old fashioned telephone interview to introduce our latest lateral hire! In conversation with fellow Partner Steven Bernstein, Martin talks on his vision for joining the business, below.
Martin, why did you choose Lawrence Stephens?
Lawrence Stephens stood out to me for a number of reasons. We’ve shared a number of mutual contacts over the years, and in this time I’d come to know of them as a firm that is well known, trusted and respected in the field. In fact they have been highly recommended on a number of occasions by those they have worked with.
They have excellent credentials, and operate a practice I believed my own entrepreneurial practice of clients would fit in perfectly with. Their creative approach and ability to take risks also very much mirrors my own approach. On top of all that, they’re a very friendly and approachable team!
Can you tell us a bit about your experience prior to joining us?
I qualified as a Solicitor in 1990 and began my career as a general litigator before moving onto my employment practice in the latter half of the 1990s. I then moved on to a corporate practice, working on mergers and acquisitions and other corporate matters. It was here I made lasting connections in the technology and cryptocurrency industries, which influenced my current focus greatly. I now focus primarily on both corporate and employment matters in the crypto and fintech spheres.
What sectors or areas do your clients typically preside in?
The majority of my clients are technology based. They include, but are not limited to, a number of start-up entrepreneurs (with many looking to sell their businesses on), booking platforms, property portals, cryptocurrency exchanges and traders, security technology firms, cybersecurity clients and Bitcoin ATMs. On the other side of the coin, I also work with a number of retail outlets and restaurants.
How has COVID-19 affected your client base?
Fortunately many of my clients have not seen a negative impact on their businesses, and in fact some have been able to see ways to adapt their tech offering to a COVID and post-COVID world. I have even managed to attract a number of new clients during the lockdown.
What approach do you like to take with your clients to achieve the highest level of service possible?
I’m always on their side. Representing a client is not about saying no and giving up when obstacles stand in the way, but finding the right solutions that will work best for them. To achieve this, I take a very analytical approach to briefs, to ensure all possible avenues have been explored and communicated.
On a more personal level, I believe it’s incredibly important to be approachable and demonstrate calmness with clients. The human touch should not be underestimated in law, and it can so often help facilitate critical decision making. I like to take the time to really get to know clients, their interests and what makes them tick. It all starts with making a great first impression and always being there for them. Also, having a sense of humour always helps!
What areas of the legal sector are you most interested in?
I have both a professional and personal interest in technology, and in particular the ways disruptive technology is being governed. This includes the regulation of the tech and crypro fields, and the range of ways the establishment seeks to respond to new innovations in the tech world.
What challenges do you anticipate for the sector over the next year?
Many tough decisions will have to be made over the next year. With people so used to working from home, and increasing levels of adoption of technology, the legal sector will have to take a closer look at exactly how legal services will be provided in the coming years. For example, if we were to continue working remotely, firms across the country should soon be assessing the levels of value they bring to their clients, and the ways this may affect their pricing structures.
The next challenge for firms is to be actively forward looking, and able to determine where their value lies in these next challenging months. The ones that figure it out the soonest will be the ones that will succeed.
What has been the proudest achievement of your legal career so far?
I spent some time working pro bono for Mind, a leading mental health charity. There, I worked on a case concerning a caretaker who had recently lost his job. By no fault of his own, the circumstances he found himself in had significantly affected his access to his pension, and I fought hard for him to obtain it. Winning this case is my proudest achievement to date, and serves as an important reminder of the need for the human touch in law.
What quality of yours are you keen to bring to Lawrence Stephens?
Primarily, my knowledge and contacts in the technology field. Over the years I’ve developed an understanding of the ways entrepreneurs – and particularly young, start-up entrepreneurs – tick. The sector has transformed over the past decade and ways of working have changed massively. Things like a flexible and casual approach are valued more than ever before, and I’m hoping to bring these insights to my practice at Lawrence Stephens.
What would you like to achieve at Lawrence Stephens?
I’d like to spread my focus and expand my practice even further. By introducing my existing clients to the firm, I’m also keen to play a role in expanding Lawrence Stephens’ network and seeing these synergies in action over the coming months and years.
And finally, where do you think that the market is heading?
As the economy begins to reopen, I think the tech market will be focused on identifying potential growth opportunities, as well as continuing to adapt to our current circumstances in ways that will allow companies to provide the correct level of service.
With regards to the legal market, I think there will be likely discussions on exactly how law firms are set up post-COVID. With so many of us used to working effectively from home, should large firms be cutting costs by foregoing a slick office in favour of flexible, remote working?
Whatever the next months have in store for us, forward thinking will be imperative to our success.