Matt Dunn is a Partner in Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP a midsize New York City law firm with approx. 90 attorneys which has been headquartered on Wall Street since the 1800s.  In an interview Matt revealed that his firm has a broad array of practice areas (corporate and transactional, regulatory, employment, intellectual property, litigation, etc.), and many international clients, regularly advising foreign companies looking to expand their business activities into the US and providing a wide range of legal services in support of such companies.  We take pride in providing comprehensive legal services and senior level attention to all clients and matters, large and small.  In addition, the firm’s vast contact base allows us to introduce clients to prospective business partners, sources of financing, consultants, and other useful contacts.

You can visit the Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP website here

What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

As a down-to-earth litigator who represents clients in legal disputes, I take a practical, proactive approach and use my strategic thinking skills to engage in zealous advocacy for my clients. I concentrate on core values and essentials that translate into excellent client service delivery, such as hard work, efficiency, responsiveness, thoroughness, and attention to detail. I fully understand the importance of crafting smart tactics and resolutions that best further the interests and business objectives of those I serve.

What are your biggest challenges?

No one case or client is the same.  Each case has its own unique facts and way of unfolding and each client has unique motivations and goals, thus it is important to carefully tailor legal strategies to optimally address the circumstances of each conflict and client.  It is often challenging to counsel clients and provide them legal risk assessments and strategies in a way that balances the costs, severity of the threats, and the need for the client to minimize distraction in pursuit of business opportunities and success.

How has your business strategy been adapted in the context of the Covid-19 crisis?

The most immediate impact is that I have been working from home and dealing with clients and others remotely.  This creates challenges in terms of meeting new people and networking and has meant more video conferencing.  Working from home has not impacted my ability to do quality work and provide high value services to clients.  It does, however, require me to manage the distractions that come with having two school age kids attending at-home school lessons. 

Tell us something interesting about the business.

My practice focuses on litigation and dispute resolution. I represent clients in state and federal courts, advising organizations and individuals in complex litigation matters, including breach of contract and commercial tort litigation, trusts and estates litigation, employment disputes and restrictive covenant litigation, maritime and international transaction disputes, intellectual property actions, and product liability litigation. I handle all stages of litigation and advocate for clients in trials, arbitrations, mediations and government agency investigations, and also advise clients in pre-litigation matters.  I represent companies that do business in a variety of industries and locations across the country and the world, and also help early-stage and foreign companies in connection with business formation and operations in the United States.  In the cyber security and data privacy arena, I serve in an advisory role, counselling clients in the security risks and consequences they face under the always-evolving regulatory frameworks.

Tell us the about the biggest risk you have taken in business. 

While I am fairly risk averse, it was a risk to enrol full-time in law school 5 years after graduating college and after serving on active duty as an officer in the US Navy.  While other friends from college were well along on their career paths and professions, I went back to school for 3 years before starting a career in the private sector.

Tell us about the worst day you’ve had since you started in business. 

The worst day I have had in my legal career was being in downtown Manhattan for an interview on the morning of Sep. 11, 2001 and witnessing first-hand the World Trade Center attacks and aftermath.

If you were starting your career again, what would you do differently?

I would have started networking and expanding my contacts at an earlier stage.

How can IIBN members help your business?

I have been involved in the IIBN, as a member and director on the Board of IIBN-NY, for several years.  It is a great network for meeting business professionals who may be in need of services that I or my colleagues can provide, connecting me with professionals that can help serve my clients, helping connect others who may have a business synergy, and learning about different industries and current business issues at events and presentations.

How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Being based in NY, I have not been heavily impacted by Brexit. But I have been monitoring how it impacts clients in the US and in Europe.

How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

My definition of success in business is having satisfied clients and helping those clients achieve their goals.  Success is also about having meaningful business and personal relationships, spending time with friends and family, and having a healthy work-life balance.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

Start networking early.  Get outside of your comfort zone every so often.  Work hard and do the right thing.  Show people that you care.

What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

In the past year, my most notable highlight was successfully negotiating a settlement of a years-long multi-party complex litigation matter.  I have navigated the challenges of working remotely during a pandemic while being busier and more productive than I was pre-pandemic.  As a firm, we celebrate and take pride in our clients’ successes, which is the focus of our annual year-in-review publication. See Here

What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020/21?

I am hoping that the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control and the global economy recovers.  In the meantime, I will continue to look for ways to help organizations and individuals deal with their challenges.

Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

Carter Ledyard is planning to roll out a new brand and website this year.  We set out to develop a new website that honours our history and reputation, and accurately reflects the modern law firm that we are today.  We rewrote our content to go beyond a list of what we do but rather engage the reader by talking about how we practice law.  We believe this will lead to better engagement among clients and prospects.  Ultimately, though, we want to continue helping clients achieve their goals, just as we have done for over 160 years. 

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