For international tax boutique Milestone 2011 has already been an eventful year.
The two-partner firm recently launched an office in Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), capitalising on a longstanding relationship between co-founder and managing partner Miles Dean and Vivian Nathan, the senior partner at Irish accountancy boutique Roberts Nathan.
“In the past 24 months we’ve been looking to expand the scope of the corporate and funds work we handle,” says Dean. “Ireland may have had its difficulties, but the IFSC is still important.”
Tax, says Dean, can be “an emotive subject”, which means that the crisis years were not easy for either Milestone’s clients or the firm. The firm launched in mid-2008 and Dean admits that it was a difficult time.
“In November 2008 almost every deal we were working on was pulled,” recalls Dean. “We had to cut our costs and axe anything surplus to requirements.”
Two years on and things have changed. Last year the firm picked up a small role on the merger of British Airways and Iberia thanks to a relationship with aviation boutique Gates and Partners.
“Businesses like ours depend on relationships,” admits Dean, pointing to a range of mid-tier law firms as well as accountants and other tax advisers that refer work on a regular basis.
Currently around 50 per cent of the firm’s work is related to cross-border corporate transactions such as reorganisations and restructurings, incentives and M&A, with another 30 per cent being generated by private client matters.
“In the next couple of years I’d expect us to add up to three extra fee-earners but keep the structure fairly flat,” predicts Dean. “We operate on the basis that it will be me or [co-founder] Andy [Murray] plus one other fee-earner on a case.
“We never want to spend more time managing the business than solving cross-border tax issues. That’s what we enjoy.”
Managing partner: Miles Dean
Number of partners:Two
Number of equity partners:Two
Number of lawyers:Three
Number of fee-earners:Five
Number of offices:Two
Locations: Dublin, London
Main practice areas:International tax law (covering corporate, finance, investment funds, private client and real estate)
Key clients: BHP Billiton, Iberia, Gryphon Emerging Markets, Maersk Oil and Gas