Dublin's entertainment and media lawyers.

20 minutes with Simon Carty in The Parchment


07.04.13 Posted in Law Awards, Media Coverage, Mrs Brown's Boys by

The Parchment is the quarterly magazine of the Dublin Solicitor’s Bar Association. After our win at the Irish Law Awards 2013 they did an interview with Simon Carty, which we have reproduced below. Please click to zoom on any if the images below. Or at the bottom we have pasted in the text of the interview.

When did you Qualify?

1998 

If you hadn’t become a solicitor what would you have done?

Either a vet or a priest. I didn’t have science for vet or the patience to be a priest.

Have you any funny anecdotes from your time as a trainee/apprentice?

My first settlement negotiations in the Four Courts.  I mentioned the figure I wanted to achieve to settle for my client. My opposite number who calmly looked at his file, looked at me and said I must have the wrong file, closed his file and walked out of the Four Courts leaving me alone with my clients and a salutary lesson on how to negotiate i.e try not to mention a figure and never over promise.

What type of practice do you have?

It is a general practice but in the last 2 to 3 years via our association with BOC and Mrs. Brown’s Boys we have seen ourselves concentrating more and more on the specialised area of media and entertainment law.

Give one example of efforts you have taken to market or develop your practice since the onset of the recession.

Bill Gates is famous for saying “if I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” Following requests from the media we started to provide insight into issue affecting the entertainment industry, which led to overhaul the website for SEO and start providing articles for the new and old media.

What was your most memorable moment in practice?

I have many but the most recent being when we won International Transaction of the Year at the Irish Law Awards for in recognition of the work I have done for Mrs. Browns’ Boys. In doing so we beat some very big firms such as Eversheds and William Fry

What do you think is the biggest challenge currently facing the solicitors’ profession?

The problem these days can be that with the internet the public now huge access to their own legal information and, therefore, endeavoring to present members of the profession as experts has become much more challenging.  When people surf legal issues on the net (and whether rightly or wrongly) often believe they can garner the information necessary to make the legal decisions they once needed a solicitor for.  This may not have such a profound effect on large companies, but for smaller practices dealing with clients on a one-to-one basis can often be challenging, especially when they think they already know the course of action they need to take. So solicitors now need to provide  special skills in order to show that the information they possess, and the decision making skills they have, are special and worth paying for.

Do you have any embarrassing moments in practice?

When you work with entertainers your always the straight man in the suit, so they’re always trying to embarrass you. Anyone that knows me will know that it is very easy to do. I’m quite shy naturally, which suits me as my clients are the stars, but I tend to get very embarrassed whenever I have to do photos of filming – I prefer to be behind the camera.

Who has or had the greatest influence on your professional career?

Brendan O’Carroll – he has changed the course of my practice and career but I have also seen him interpret contracts and enter into negotiations from an angle that is unique.

Most significant development in solicitors practice since you qualified?

There are two significant developments:-  

1.               The growth of the indigenous law firms to almost “Leviathan” status.  The legal sectors in other  cities  tend to be dominated by multinational companies, but Dublin’s which is dominated by indigenous practices, so Ireland is very unique, and the reliance of Government and large institutions on these huge practices is definitely a modern phenomenon and a legacy of the boom years 

2.               The issue of privacy. There is a generation now who see nothing at all wrong in putting all their personal details on the internet, whether it is Facebook or Twitter, for the whole world to observe; yet somehow they are surprised when they find their privacy has been breached.  It has appeared in the last 10 years that nearly everybody under a certain age has lived their life with some form of public attention.

Social Media: are you a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn user and do you find them beneficial to your business/personal life? 

I have all three, though I rarely use Facebook now.  I try to use LinkedIn for professional networking and find its main use is reviewing the profiles of people you are dealing with, who I haven’t yet met.  I use Twitter for mainly personal use; I find it quite addictive and I am not sure if it has been of benefit to my personal life – in fact it may have had a detrimental effect!

Where were you and what were you doing when you first heard about the September 11 attacks?

This question always surprises me and it seems more appropriate to be on a FBI checklist than part of a Parchment interview!  I was with a client who was a sub-contractor negotiating collateral warranties for his product with a contractor on a large development.  The television news was playing in the background and both parties were more interested in the quality of the build of the twin towers as they collapsed and how they reflected the negotiations.  I always remember thinking at the time it showed how insular people in Ireland became in the midst of a building boom.

2013; will this be the year that Ireland starts to recover or is there more pain to come?

It is important to be positive. It is now 5 years since the collapse and probably 7 years since the slowdown began.  The real issue is the remaining high level of personal debt, but also that the last few years may have robbed people of their entrepreneurial spirit, so even if the economy does pick up it is important that people can contribute to the economy.  If they have personal debt to discharge, or have concentrated on discharging personal debt, they may feel reluctant to take on more risk and this may harm the growth of the economy.

If you were Minister for Justice for the day, and had three wishes granted, what would they be?

This is an opportunity to change laws you don’t like. Have a think

1.               It would be helpful if trainee solicitors had exposure to working or training in the public sector, even for a short time say, in The Revenue Commissioners or The Land Registry for example. It would encourage better understanding of how both sides operate and help develop contacts on both sides too.

2.               A streamlining of the drinks’ licensing application and approval process because it currently uses up a lot of resources and time of the applicants and both the Gardai and the Courts. There has to more sensible and simplified process.

3.               As the legislation arising from the X Case is before the Dail I believe it should reflect the need for the choice for termination in the event of fatal foetal abnormalities where the baby will not survive. I think it is unfair that women are forced to go to either go the UK or otherwise undergo the full-term of a pregnancy when they know the baby will not live.

What would be your dream holiday?

Spent with my family without the pressures and stresses of work or time in London in Barna, the beautiful seaside village in the just west of Galway city

Describe the perfect night out?

A night out at a Mrs. Brown’s Boys Live show such as the upcoming O2 shows which take place in December in Dublin.  Tickets are still available!

Simon Carty is a principle of Simon Carty Solicitors the entertainment and media law firm based in Dublin.



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