Today found me in the wonderful city of Dublin working with a great group of senior associates and partners from the local Pinsent Mason LLP office. We spent the day looking at the impact of international cultural differences when working as an international lawyer at a global firm and how cultural fluency is one of those intangible ‘value-adds’ that help differentiate the outstanding lawyer from the good lawyer.
I’ve found it really interesting that we are being asked to deliver more and more cultural awareness training programmes in Dublin these days. Although I love Dublin and always really enjoy running training sessions there, I find this development slightly worrying from a UK perspective. Why are we seeing increased levels of interest from our UK clients in Ireland? It must be the Brexit effect surely? More companies are looking to locate into Ireland as a Brexit hedge which gives them a solid EU presence in an English speaking country – and why wouldn’t they?
What wories me even more is that if UK companies are doing this, surely inbound investment from places such as the USA, Canada, India etc. will follow suit. For decades many international companies have seen the UK as a bridgehead into the EU but it looks increasingly likely that Ireland will take over that mantle. I suppose the only issue is whether Ireland will be able to handle the demand going forward. Wage inflation in Ireland could eventually impact on all of this as more companies chase a limited pool of skilled workers – but we are a fair way off that point at present.
Anyway great to be back in Dublin and I even found time for a pint of Guiness at the airport.