Sunday 25 August 2019

British law firms target Irish mergers due to Brexit

Six out of 10 of the country’s top law firms were approached by a UK law firm in the last year with a view to a Brexit-related merger, acquisition or strategic representation arrangement. Stock photo
Six out of 10 of the country’s top law firms were approached by a UK law firm in the last year with a view to a Brexit-related merger, acquisition or strategic representation arrangement. Stock photo
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Six out of 10 of the country's top law firms were approached by a UK law firm in the last year with a view to a Brexit-related merger, acquisition or strategic representation arrangement, according to the latest Smith & Williamson Irish Law Firm survey.

The seventh annual survey also found that while 55pc of all law firms are more concerned now about the potentially severe and lasting impact Brexit will have on their business than 12 months ago, almost eight in 10 have not prepared a Brexit plan or strategy.

Paul Wyse, Smith & Williamson Professional Services managing director, said that the lack of Brexit contingency planning indicated the Irish legal industry is not prepared for the impact Brexit will have on its business.

"The findings highlight an increase in the sector's concerns about Brexit with many firms admitting they remain uncertain about what form it will eventually take," said Mr Wyse. "Our hope is that Irish legal firms will take the time to revisit their Brexit plans".

As a result of Brexit, a number of leading UK and international law firms, including Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons and DLA Piper, have opened offices in Dublin.

The new openings have aggravated a war for top talent and driving above inflation wage increases.

Talent and recruitment was identified by some 80pc of the top 20 law firms as a major issue in the survey conducted by Amarach Research of 123 large, mid-tier and small law firms.

Cyber security remains the biggest headache for the legal sector, with 36pc of all firms stating they had been subject to a cyber attack in the last year. In the same period, almost 70pc of top tier firms recorded a cyber attack.

The sector continues to enjoy strong growth, with 69pc of firms reporting an increase in revenue and 60pc showing an increase in profits.

Irish Independent

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