International Firms

Number of lawyers in team: 5

Legal directory rankings: 4

Q&A with Keystone Law NI Director John McMahon, who joined in 2017 when his Belfast-based law firm McMahon McKay merged with Keystone

What influenced the decision to merge with Keystone Law?

We didn’t consciously go looking for an English law firm to merge with but once Keystone was brought to our attention, we were immediately attracted by what they had to offer. This was both in terms of the number of lawyers, and the expertise that they had, and also the back-office support that Keystone offers.

Does Keystone Law NI work in the same way as Keystone in the UK does?

A very important aspect for us was the ability to retain our own autonomy as a small law firm here in Belfast, and the Keystone model was perfect for us to be able to plug into. We obtain all the benefits that any other Keystone lawyer obtains, but we also maintain our own autonomy in our practice in Belfast.

How has the practice in Belfast grown since merging with Keystone?

Since we first launched, when we were basically a two-man practice, our client capabilities have increased dramatically. This is because we’ve been able to grow and expand in terms of numbers and expertise, both inherently within the Belfast office and also drawing on the expertise of our Keystone colleagues in England. We have achieved my goal which was to attract good senior lawyers from other firms and other businesses. The Keystone brand really helped us to attract those people and expand the business.

Do you require much support from the UK team?

In terms of support, Keystone Law provides us with all of our back-office support, accounting, marketing, 24/7 IT support and the provision of stationery. There is also the additional support we get from the legal professionals within the network.

What would you say to other firms interested in joining Keystone?

I would suggest that they analyse their typical day in the office and look at how much time they spend on the non-legal, back-office or administrative work. They should question themselves on how much more profitable they might be if they were able to concentrate on doing the legal work and not have to worry about the other stuff.

To watch a video interview with John McMahon, please click on the play button.