Meeting the Barden Team…Bernardo Pina

Meeting the Barden Team…Bernardo Pina

Bernardo Pina is a Partner with Barden’s Legal Practice. He is an expert in recruitment within the legal, company secretarial and data protection markets. He partners with and supports a variety of companies and clients across all industries, both in the private and public sector, with a particular focus on in-house legal roles.

Bernardo is a qualified lawyer, having qualified in Portugal through a top tier law firm in the countryBefore joining the world of recruitment he practiced in-house for 4 years with IBM and Parexel, two of the leading  multinational companies within the technology and healthcare sectors.

We caught up with him recently to learn a little bit more about him…

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal and moved to Ireland at the start of 2013.

Where did you study?

I studied in Lisbon, Portugal.

What did you enjoy most about your time studying?  

 Not much! Although I did enjoy the freedom and the camaraderie during the study periods.  I’ve always enjoyed getting a group together. We’re privileged in Portugal with the weather, we’d get a group together and head to the Algarve and study. Believe it or not we were pretty structured bringing our books to the beach and got quite a bit done!

How old were you when you had your first paying job? And what was it?

I was 24, it’s probably a bit late for Irish standards! I was a call centre operator and did sales selling Citibank credit cards. I didn’t enjoy the sales side of it too much that I transferred more into marketing surveys and customer service calls. I was saving money for a trip before starting my traineeship as a lawyer.

Where did you work before joining Barden?

I trained in a top tier law firm, as a lawyer, in Portugal and went in-house early in my career. I went into an investment bank in Portugal and then moved to Ireland and worked as a legal counsel in IBM. I then worked for a few months with Parexel before deciding to move into the world of recruitment and worked with Morgan McKinley for 4.5 years.

Why did you choose to work with Barden?

Firstly the reputation in the market. Barden has a reputation of having really good clients and really good people and I wanted to be part of that. We also share similar values and the same approach to recruitment.

I also knew some of the Barden team, including Jonathan Olden and Kiara Daly, having worked with both of them before. I kept in touch with Kiara and knew about the company and learned how it worked well for her. I am a bit cautious and risk adverse and having the knowledge from Kiara, before making the move, was great.

What’s the best thing about working here?

In the short time I’ve been here it’s clear that the people do really live up to the values Barden talks about. It’s not just a logo or talk. Barden really is advisory first and truly puts people at the centre of its approach.

It’s not just about the fees and commercial success. It’s about adding value and providing excellent service to the clients and candidates. This approach comes back in the form of commercial success and great partnerships with great clients who really trust in our service. It’s refreshing.

Can you tell us a bit about your role?

I specialise in the legal market. My typical assignments would be roles for qualified lawyers at all levels of seniority, from newly qualified to head of legal or general counsel.

I also work on other roles such as paralegals, company secretaries, legal project managers, data protection professionals, etc.

My niche is more in-house recruitment rather than private practice (although I do also work with this side of the legal market). My own background is in-house so it’s the area that I naturally gravitate more towards.

What was most surprising to you about Barden?

The level of trust in me from the start, it was one of the reasons I moved. I felt I would have it but it was confirmed once I moved. It’s total trust. I am left to my own devices, but totally supported. I have the freedom to determine the shape of the legal practice and to identify what’s the best approach in any given situation and run with it.

The level of partnership with clients has been really refreshing too. It’s a testament to the quality of service that Barden has been providing to its clients throughout the years and It opens the door to opportunities that up until now I thought would not necessarily be accessible by recruitment firms

What three words/phrases best describe you?

On a more personal level…

Introverted…but not in a shy way that people usually associate introvertedness with. I am not a big crowd person. I recharge and get my energy from a bit of alone time.

Empathetic…I am the type of person who can empathise with others well.

On a professional level…

I am quite organised, and this also falls into my personal life.

Who is your role model, and why?

It has to be my mother. I have always been in awe of her, but even more so now as a father myself. Her dedication to her children, the sacrifices she has made throughout our life and the love and support she gives us is amazing.

 Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?

The whole moving to Ireland, knowing no one here and making a career for myself, while pivoting my career along the way. I think I achieved a certain level of success professionally and personally which makes me quite happy.

Have you a favourite saying or quote? What is it?

I think a lot about the Nike logo…just do it. It comes back to my organised nature. I try to avoid procrastination as much as possible. Adulthood (and fatherhood!) typically means endless “to do” lists and it is easy to push it out and  procrastinate. So I try to do it as I think of it!

Glass half full or half empty?

It might be slightly surprising to those who interact with me but I think I am more half empty…I have a bit of a pessimistic nature. It makes me work harder and drives me.

What’s your favourite…

Colour…green. I’m a big fan of Sporting Lisbon and they are green!

Singer/Band… The Beatles. My father used to translate the lyrics when I was very little and it really stuck with me.

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

My go to is always home…Portugal. I am lucky it’s almost a holiday destination.

We go to Brazil on a yearly basis too. I have a really good friend there and my wife’s brother lives there.

My dream trip would be Japan… I have this fascination for their culture. It looks so different to us, the city and the countryside. I’d love to see the cherry blossoms.

And finally, who would win a fight between Spiderman, Batman or Wonder Woman?

Spiderman! He’s my favourite, I don’t think anyone could catch him!

About Bernardo…

Bernardo Pina is a Partner with Barden’s Legal Practice. He is an expert in legal careers. If you are considering your next move when it comes to your career, or looking to build a world class team, reach out to Bernardo at to see how he, and his team, can help.



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