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Are London firms eyeing a move to Dublin?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 16/08/16
A number of Magic Circle firms have been registering solicitors in Ireland so they can continue to practice European law following the UK’s official exit from the European Union. Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), Freshfields, Hogan Lovells, Slaughter and May and Allen & Overy are among a growing number of London based firms who have submitted applications for lawyers to join the roll of solicitors in the Republic of Ireland in response to the UK’s decision to abandon the trade bloc.

Slaughter and May has funded one of its Brussels-based competition partners to join the Irish roll, while Eversheds has accelerated plans to launch Eversheds Consulting, its consulting arm, in Ireland since the vote was announced. The Law Society of Ireland says it has been receiving about 30 queries a day from UK solicitors since the result of the EU vote in late June and already this year 319 English solicitors have been added to the register, up from just 70 in 2015 and 186 before Britain voted to leave the EU.

Under current rules solicitors who have qualified in England can undergo a two-step process that allows them to practice in Ireland, and therefore provide advice to clients across Europe and hold the right to present cases before various EU tribunals including the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. A statement from the Irish Law Society, confirmed what many will have expected “We have learned from informal discussions that the motivation for this move has been a concern to protect their status as lawyers qualified in an EU member state and the rights that such a status confers.”

Recent reports have also confirmed that Pinsent Masons is searching for office space in Dublin that is large enough to hold between 50 and 100 lawyers following a review of their Irish operations in the wake of Brexit.

The long term implications of the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU are yet to be seen, and any challenges faced by law firms will depend on the nature of the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU. However the legal profession is resilient and will undoubtedly find ways to adapt and ensure London remains Europe’s primary thriving legal hub.
Tagged In: UK
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