Name: Ciaran Boyle
Organisation: First Quantum Minerals
Role: Manager – Legal
Trained at: Dentons
Year qualified: 2011
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I vividly remember being somewhat bemused (terrified) when in my first few days as a trainee a partner in the financial regulation team seemed put out by the fact I could not, despite the heritage implied by my name, understand the Irish language sections of an Irish regulatory authority website. Despite being pretty certain the website would have an English language version, I was too nervous to speak up so just apologised and returned to my desk!
On a more serious note, I remember taking a moment during an all-nighter working towards closing on an M&A deal in the energy department (which I was keen to qualify in) where, amidst the atmosphere of tension and haste, I realised I had arrived somewhere I had spent several years trying to reach. It gave me a quite relaxing sense of perspective and satisfaction amongst the chaos, and it’s something I have taken forward ever since.
What is the wisest thing anyone ever said to you (and who said it)?
“The karmic forces are strong”, was a pearl of wisdom I received from Humphrey Douglas at Dentons, the partner I shared a room with on qualification. Taking the time to help people where you can is not only just the right thing to do, it often pays dividends in the future.
Who (for better or worse) has been the most influential person in your career? Why?
I have never had a mentor as such in my legal career, and for several years that bothered me slightly, but I have come to realise that one of the keys to improving is to analyse all of the people around you – junior, senior and peers. You can learn from the strengths and weaknesses of everyone around you. Having said that, I learned a huge amount from Ray Witt Jr during my time at King & Spalding. Ray taught me to challenge preconceived ideas, and that with a commercial outlook and intellectual curiosity lawyers can add more value than we think both on legal matters and commercial issues.
Outside of work, while it sounds clichéd, my parents have been inspirational. Their work ethic (including working nights for much of my childhood) has motivated me to make the most of, and be thankful for, every opportunity that has come my way.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
Generally speaking, I wonder if too many young lawyers approach their careers with pre-conceived ideas of what they want to do or specialise in. By all means focus on practice areas and industries that you are passionate about, but within that framework I’m convinced it’s better to take the opportunities that actually present themselves, and make the most of them, rather than chase after than the ones you though might materialise.
In terms of moving in-house, the key piece advice I would give is that when you first make the move, spend as much time talking and listening to as many people in the business as you possibly can. Not only will this give you invaluable insight into the various clients you have within the organisation and what their needs/preferences are, but it will teach you about the culture of the business itself. When it comes to in-house practice, understanding that is at least as if not more important than legal knowledge itself.
What’s your best friend from law school doing now?
I’m fortunate that there is a fairly large group of us that are still in touch. Most are still in law, although not many in private practice. More importantly we are still close enough to be attending each other’s weddings and children’s’ christenings rather than talk about work!