John Ryan is head of the U.S. offices of Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP), Ireland's largest law firm, with offices in Dublin, London, New York and Palo Alto, California. Originally from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, he currently lives in Manhattan.
Why did you come to the U.S?
“I relocated to the U.S. in early 2011 as part of a significant expansion of MOP’s international offices. Our focus as a firm is on advising international companies and financial institutions doing business in and through Ireland, and a significant proportion of our clients are based here in the U.S.”
Matheson Ormsby Prentice recently celebrated its 15th year in the U.S. How did you first get involved with the firm?
“My background is in corporate tax, principally in advising international corporates on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, and inward investment into Ireland. Fifteen years ago we were the first European law firm to establish an office in Silicon Valley, and we opened our New York office in 2003. As an Irish law firm, we only advise on Irish law and so are not in competition with U.S. law firms.
“We have always been very active in the U.S. and continue to commit significant firm resources to this market. To copper-fasten our presence both here and in London, last year we expanded our offices in both jurisdictions, and I came out to the U.S. to run our offices from New York.”
What is the biggest attraction drawing foreign direct investment to Ireland currently?
“There’s no one single factor at play. Instead, it is a combination of factors including the skilled workforce, legal and fiscal stability, the overall tax infrastructure, and the fact that Ireland is an excellent gateway to access the EU internal market. Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the Eurozone, 2011 was a record year for Ireland in terms of the number of new FDI projects, and we as a firm advised on the lion's share of these.”
Your firm recently released the findings from “Investing in Ireland – a survey of foreign direct investors.” What is this?
“As a firm focused on advising international companies, it is important for us to help to lead and shape the debate around investing in Ireland, to understand the needs of international business when making investment decisions, and to gain a greater insight into how Ireland can better compete for such investments. As part of this, we engaged the Economist Intelligence Unit to survey senior decision makers on their views of Ireland, with some very positive results emerging. For example, the multinationals who took part in the study plan to invest around €7.5 billion in Ireland over the next three years.”
Living and working in New York, have you noticed an increase in the amount of young people relocating here?
“According to a poll of emigrants who have left Ireland since 2008, only 12% have relocated to North America. In such a big city, the increase wouldn’t be as visible as it might elsewhere, however the Irish diaspora has always been very strong in New York.”