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Interview with Mark Feeny, partner at Brabners Chaffe Street LLP

What is your role at Brabners Chaffe Street?

Head of the Private Client Department and a member of the firm’s management board

What’s the best thing about your job?

The people We have been very fortunate in having a steady stream of young lawyers who have come to us or have been trained by us and have a real passion for this area of work, backed by committed support staff who have a real concern for delivering the best possible service.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

Continually having to refresh the way you approach your work to reflect client demands, technology and competition, but on the rare occasion you get it right it can be the most rewarding.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?

I was articled to my late great uncle Alcuin Feeny who was a much respected old style private client lawyer. I became a partner in Brabner Holden in 1988 and was inspired by Lawrence Holden for his vision and enthusiasm and Michael Brabner for his immense patience, business sense and integrity.

What’s the most interesting case you have dealt with?

I have been involved in two reported chancery cases in the last 5 years the most recent involved new areas of Trust law coupled with significant tax and jurisdictional issues. The judge found in our favour on all issues  but when I got the order back from the court, I found that counsel had forgotton to put in the tax provisions  which left us with only 2 days before a tax limit expired to get the order amended otherwise we would have lost a  £1m tax saving.

Is so-called “Tesco law” just talk or set to fundamentally change the legal market?

We all have to accept that the way legal services are delivered will continue to change, and if it is not Tesco’s it will surely be someone else. Areas of work which were once seen as the preserve of private practice solicitors applying sharp intellectual skills will be tomorrows commodity operation. Whilst I may feel a personal sadness in the way certain work has been dumbed down to give the public a cheaper entry point for a particular service, there will always remain areas of legal practice where the demand for cutting edge or truly bespoke tailored service will remain.  If you do not want to compete with Tesco, the challenge is to identify your services or the way you deliver them to remain at the profitable cutting edge.

Which person outside the legal sector do you most admire?

Simon Barnes -  a gifted sports journalist and fanatical ornithologist, if only he were an Evertonian as well!

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