One in five Irish solicitors works for the country's 20 largest firms
There has been a 5pc increase in the number of solicitors practising at the country's 20 largest law firms.
Big law firms were the first to feel the benefits of Ireland's economic recovery.
Many smaller firms, particularly in rural areas, say they are experiencing very little economic bounce.
Data from the Law Society Gazette shows that some 2,294 practising certificates were issued to the 20 largest firms in Ireland for 2015.
Working solicitors must get a practising certificate every year. It is professional misconduct and a criminal offence for a solicitor (other than one in the full-time service of the State or a solicitor solely engaging in conveyancing services for a non-solicitor employer) to practise without such a certificate.
The number of solicitors working at the top 20 firms represented 23pc of all practising certificates issued during the year, indicating that just over one in five solicitors works for a top 20 firm.
This is despite the fact that the 20 largest firms represented less than 1pc of the total number of all firms in Ireland.
Some 18 of the top 20 firms (90pc) are based in Dublin. Others include Cork's Ronan Daly Jermyn and Limerick's Holmes O'Malley Sexton.
Separate data from the Law Society's annual report 2014/2015 suggests that more than half of the entire profession works in Dublin.
Munster has the second-highest proportion, followed by Leinster (excluding Dublin), Connaught, then Ulster.
A total of 9,707 practising certificates were issued by the Law Society to the solicitors' profession in 2015.
This was an increase of 4pc on the 9,323 issued in 2014 and represents an increase of 13pc on the 8,571 practising certificates issued in 2011.
Arthur Cox had the most practising solicitors of any firm at the end of December 2015, some 289, an increase of 20 on the year before.
A&L Goodbody was the second largest by practising solicitors, with 260, a decline of two on 2014.
Matheson was third, though its numbers dropped by 20 during the year to 245 practising solicitors.
McCann FitzGerald, Mason Hayes and Curran, William Fry, Byrne Wallace and Maples & Calder were fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Eversheds and Ronan Daly Jermyn rounded out the top 10.
Some 322 new solicitors were added to the roll in the year to the end of October 2015.
Females now outweigh males in the profession, at a 51pc to 49pc ratio.
Sunday Indo Business