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A Q&A With Kamila McCarthy

March 14, 2024

Dublin Partner Kamila McCarthy continues to grow her corporate practice with clients across Europe, and this year she is targeting her home country of Kazakhstan for further development with partners in Ireland. She recently discussed her practice and her plans for growth in 2024. 

To get started, how would you summarize your practice? 

I work primarily with large and international clients as well as domestic clients that have an international base. I’m very comfortable with having daily contact with a lot of CEOs, directors, and shareholders and advising them on the structure of their company, restructuring, reorganization transactions, and/or M&A transactions. I also do various commercial agreements depending on the client’s needs.  

I have a small litigation practice as well, and that tends to come from larger clients with whom we have an established relationship, and they just call me and ask for help. 

I also work with and have an interest in data protection and data privacy laws. I advise current clients on their obligations under the data protection laws in Ireland and the GDPR. I would often review, draft, and advise clients on their data protection and privacy policies as well, so it’s a nice way to provide extra value for our existing and new clients. 

What was your personal motivation to practice Corporate law? 

I always loved litigation, but at my first legal job in Dublin I was asked to mend a few clauses of an agreement and ascertain the risks, and from that, I discovered that I loved drafting. To come up with innovative ways of qualifying the risks for clients while at the same time trying to work with both parties was very exciting for me.  

It’s different every day. You’re dealing with high-value transactions, and you have to be creative. You have to be able to deal with the pressure and I’ve found that I work best under pressure with deadlines and a strict approach.  

Being originally from Kazakhstan, can you share your story of adapting to life in Dublin? 

We moved to Ireland in 2000 when I was 14 years old. My native language is Russian, so after the Christmas break when we moved, I was dropped into school with no real experience with English. It was sink or swim regardless, so I had no option but to pick it up quickly. I finished school on time, then continued to a university just outside of Dublin. As part of my undergraduate degree in French and Philosophy, I studied for a year in Aix-En-Provence, in the South of France where I practiced my French and then completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Law which led me to progressing with my career in Law. 

We have been in Ireland for 24 years and while I have not yet been back to Kazakhstan, I plan to do so later this year. 

Regarding Kazakhstan, how are you looking to develop ties between there and Ireland in your practice? 

Right now, I’m interested in developing business relationships with clients from Kazakhstan and vice versa. Over the next year, I aim to focus on building and expanding a stronger connection between Kazakhstan and Ireland. I think there are great opportunities because Kazakhstan is one of the largest and richest countries in Central Asia and it’s known for oil, gas, ferrous metal, and mineral production. It is the ninth largest country in the world bordered by China, the Caspian Sea, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Russia. 

Given that the UK has exited the European Union, there’s a big gap in the market because a lot of people used to base themselves in London. Ireland has a very good corporate tax system, and it’s an English-speaking country with easy access to the US particularly given that we have a large and established US base which will be attractive for many Kazakh businesses looking to expand into both Europe and the US. I see a huge potential in terms of our ability to service these multinational businesses and establish connections. 

In February 2024, I had a very encouraging and productive meeting with his Excellency, Mr. Magzhan Illyassov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan who was visiting Dublin to present his Letter of Credence to the President of Ireland. We discussed at length the potential opportunities between Ireland and Kazakhstan and agreed to keep in contact with a view to strengthening the links and developing business relationships between the two countries. 

You do quite a bit of work with startups as well, how are you looking to develop that portion of your practice?  

I’m trying to do some pro bono work with startups. I’ve thought of this for years as it is a type of support that I would like to offer startup businesses when they are trying to get off the ground. I understand that it can be a difficult, daunting, and financially burdensome process for individuals and I aim to offer a couple of pro bono hours as initial advice to open the door and then ensure they become clients as they grow. Often, the management of these start-up enterprises tends to remember the helping hand in their time of need which in turn pays off with their loyalty as they grow. We have a lot of big clients who started that way and I’d like to continue that trend. I’ve recently attended some entrepreneurial events with many investors and business owners but very few attorneys, which is an effective means to promote our firm and learn about these businesses, innovative trends, and establish new connections. 

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