The UK arm of US employment law giant Littler is set to be the latest international law firm to open in Dublin since the 2016 Brexit referendum.
A string of UK and US law firms have opened offices in the Irish capital since the Brexit vote to try and retain access to the EU legal system and mop up an expected increase in work in Ireland after the UK leaves the EU.
Littler’s UK arm GQ Littler has hired employment partner Niall Pelly from local firm Matheson to spearhead a new base in Dublin, sources in the Irish legal market told Financial News.
A spokesperson for GQ Littler said: “We are always looking at new opportunities, but we do not comment on speculation.” Matheson did not respond to requests for comment.
Littler has 79 offices worldwide staffed with more than 1,000 lawyers. Its revenue in 2019 was $590m, according to data from AmLaw. GQ Littler joined Littler in 2018.
The Irish legal market has traditionally been dominated by domestic players such as Matheson, William Fry and Arthur Cox, but since the Brexit vote, a series of UK, US and international law firms have opened in the country.
International giants DLA Piper and Dentons, UK firms Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons and Lewis Silkin and US firm Covington & Burling have all opened in Ireland since 2016.
A decision by the Law Society of Ireland this month to prevent lawyers with an Irish practising certificate from practising law unless they have a physical presence in the country has made the need for law firms to have a base in Ireland even more pressing.
More than 4,000 lawyers from England and Wales had joined the Irish roll of solicitors since 2016 as a way of retaining access to the EU legal system post-Brexit.
In 2019 Magic Circle firms Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer registered 297, 259 and 162 solicitors, respectively.
Law Society president David Greene told Financial News last month that it was important for the UK legal sector for the EU and UK to reach a deal before the end of the transition period.
“Then we would have something at least we can work off. Even if it is a Canadian-style agreement for which there would be very limited provision of services. At least we would have something to provide a launchpad for further negotiation,” he said.
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