Our Very Important Professional this month is Ian Mylrea, Pensions Partner, at Brabners. Brabners has been continuously practicing law since 1815. With 78 Partners and over 350 staff the firm offers a full range of commercial advice including corporate, property, litigation, sports and employment.
We spoke to Ian about his role, why he got into law and some of the biggest achievements of his career so far.
As Head of Pensions at Brabners, how would you describe your role?
Fun, interesting and challenging.
What does 2018 have in store for you?
Having started largely from scratch 12 months ago, we now have a pensions team which is comparable in size to most other pensions practices in the North West, acting for a diverse client base, including a number of well-known global corporations, in relation to pension schemes with total assets in the £billions. The plan is to continue to develop and grow the practice over the next 12 months and beyond, with the ultimate aim to become a top-tier pensions practice and the best in the region.
Why did you choose a career in Law?
Having spent five years working for KPMG and Merrill Lynch immediately after graduating, my role became increasingly involved in the legal aspects of matters, which meant I was increasingly working with external lawyers. I eventually decided that I wanted to switch from client to adviser and so took the decision to retrain.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I’ve always liked the intellectual aspects of pensions law, which is one of the more ‘black letter’ legal disciplines. However, what I really enjoy is finding commercial solutions to legal issues. It’s all too easy to regurgitate the law to clients; what is more challenging (and important) - and what I think we do well - is to find commercial solutions that actually help clients.
How would you describe your career over the years?
It’s all gone very quickly. Having trained and qualified at DLA Piper, initially knowing very little about pensions, it’s been a case of hitting the ground running at every stage of my career.
Can you tell us about one of your greatest achievements in your career?
There are the obvious things like becoming a partner (and career progression generally) however I think the standout moment was winning my first big client (who is still with me five years later).
What career advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?
“You are every bit as good.” It’s all too easy as a junior lawyer to think that you are inferior to senior lawyers and partners; that their levels of knowledge and expertise are unattainable. That’s not the case. They’ve just been in the game for longer and, in some cases, are better blaggers.
Watch this space to find out who will be our April VIP!