Eoin Moynihan is Managing Associate of Global Legal Solutions. Eoin based in New York, pulls no punches when he says, we are the most cost accessible blue-chip trusted legal advisory platform operating globally. We deliver the highest quality of legal support at the lowest possible price point achievable by building efficiency into everything we do. Our strategic focus is on solving the 80% of legal requirements common to all businesses, regardless of law, language or location.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
I would like to help law firms and in-house legal departments around the world increase their profitability and lower their overheads while making them better prepared to deal with any sudden spikes in demand for their services.
What are your biggest challenges?
I just relocated to the United States last year, not too long before the pandemic hit and everything was shut down. Getting out and meeting people is obviously impossible now and this has made it a bit more difficult for me personally to expand my professional network here in New York and beyond, as much as I would like.
Speaking to both lawyers and decision-makers in other industries is vital to helping me to understand the challenges they’re facing at the moment and how we can best position ourselves to be as useful a resource to our clients and potential clients as possible.
How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?
We were perhaps better positioned than many in our industry to carry on with business as usual in a remote environment as we were already leveraging technology to allow us to efficiently collaborate on work regardless of location. Pre-COVID, I was already working, on a daily basis, with cross-border teams in our offices in Italy, UAE and Singapore to get our work product perfected and out to our clients in a way that actually leveraged the waking hours available in each of our respective time-zones. Our quality control system involves passing a draft from one team member to the next so that we end up with a rigorously tested piece of work produced in less time than would have been possible if we all had to sleep at the same time.
Nothing has changed there. What has changed a little is the way we pitch to new potential clients. With many of our potential clients, we were already pitching on video calls that featured team members around the world but sometimes one or more of those team members would be physically at the client’s location. Now that ‘pressing the flesh’ is a thing of the past, at least for now, we have to be able to build that rapport in a 100% remote environment. Again, this has been less of a transition for us than many others in our industry as many of our clients were already located in a different country than our lawyers. One of the benefits of this is that now all our potential clients already understand this way of working and demands for lawyers to fly in for physical meetings have now disappeared, which has actually made us more productive.
We’ve also launched a series of webinars to keep our clients and potential clients informed on emerging legal issues and developments in legal technologies.
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
In terms of immediate challenges, some sectors of our industry have seen dramatic changes in demand. Lawyers working in restructuring, insolvency and employment are particularly busy at the moment. Conversely, many general commercial disputes lawyers like myself are slowing down as some clients are tightening their belts at the moment and may not necessarily want to prioritise spending money on commencing new legal suits when there’s no guarantee of a successful outcome at the end. Many businesses, particularly in heavily-affected industries that rely on the international flow of goods and people, are keeping an eye on the statute of limitations for their claims and waiting it to see if their revenues recover or whether their adverse parties look financially healthy enough themselves to be able to enforce against.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
The legal industry is notoriously resistant to change and it can sometimes appear to adapt to societal advances with some hesitance. In a way, the pandemic has actually forced many stakeholders in the legal industry to modernize in order to survive. It has been great to see courts, arbitral tribunals and mediators around the world go virtual and get disputes resolved remotely over video conference. This technology has been there for a long time and many lawyer have being crying out for courts and tribunals to let them use it to advocate for their clients’ cases but, in many places, it took a pandemic to make it happen.
Most law firms with any international footprint have had underused advanced video-conferencing hardware lying around in their conference rooms for years but now that everyone else has joined the party, people are realizing that all you need is a laptop with a webcam, a cheap headset and a stable broadband connection to do about 90% of what lawyers used to do in person.
Beyond just remote hearings, there are some very exciting developments happening in legal technologies that are going to be complete game-changers for law firms and in-house legal departments.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?
I am a major proponent of remote working and our firm has always been completely supportive of our lawyers working remotely, before that was cool. Since the pandemic started, everyone has jumped on that bandwagon, which I think is a win-win all round. I would love to see working from home being a mainstream option for lawyers even after this pandemic ends.
Working from home isn’t for everyone and some people just prefer to be in a formal office space so I’m not advocating getting rid of offices. It would be nice to see more people having the option to come into the office a few days a week and work from home a few more days. I think more people are beginning to see now that collaborative work as well as the mentorship and training of junior team members can actually take place remotely if everyone works responsibly and expectations for everyone’s level of availability and participation are clearly defined.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
Success to me is being able to make a living doing something that motivates you and in which you feel personally invested. There are many people who are content to go to an office every day, come home at 6pm and get paid at the end of the month and as long as they are able to provide for their families, they’re not particularly concerned with what they’re doing in that office all day. I can certainly understand that.
I would find myself getting bored and restless if I wasn’t really interested in what I was doing. I like winning, I like being right, I like using rules to get what I want and I like figuring out how to solve problems for people. As a litigation/arbitration lawyer, this is what you do (or try to do) all day every day, so it’s easy to stay motivated.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
Don’t be discouraged by early failures. Keep refining and improving what you are offering and with persistence, success will come.
What have been your professional highlights over the past year?
It has been an eventful year in my professional life with the highlights including a relocation to the United States, admission to the bar of a U.S. federal court and winning a long drawn out commercial arbitration in Dubai for our client against a large well-resourced Middle Eastern company.
What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?
In the last year or so, our group has expanded to include a presence in Kazakhstan, Oman, Spain and Thailand. I’m looking forward to building on that growth over the next year and collaborating with my new colleagues to serve our clients.