Saturday 15 December 2018

A&L Goodbody beats Arthur Cox in race to be largest law firm

Law Society boss says British invasion of solicitors has not materialised

Law Society director general Ken Murphy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Law Society director general Ken Murphy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

A&L Goodbody has become Ireland's largest law firm by number of practising solicitors, according to new figures compiled by the Law Society of Ireland.

Tied in first place with Arthur Cox last year, A&L is now 19 practising solicitors ahead of Arthur Cox in second, with 293 in total.

Matheson is in third place with 268, while McCann Fitzgerald is fourth with 247.

Overall, the number of practising certs issued cumulatively by the Law Society grew 3.5pc - to 10,461, up from 10,098 at the same time last year.

The percentage growth at the top 20 firms lagged slightly behind the overall growth figure at 3.4pc. The top 20 firms make around 24pc of the total number of practising certs issued.

"There is some evidence in the statistics that, in 2017, the firms towards the top and bottom ends of the size ranking were tending to expand while the firms in the middle were not," Law Society director general Ken Murphy writes in the new edition of the Law Society Gazette, published this coming week.

The society has also started compiling data on the number of certificates issued to British firms on foot of the Brexit vote.

Freshfields Buckhaus Deringer has by far and away the largest number with 86, but Murphy writes that the firm has made it clear that it has no intention of establishing itself here.

Pinsent Masons, which is in third place with 16, has recently opened a Dublin office however.

Murphy wrote in the last issue of the Gazette that since the vote, it had become clear that there was no 'invasion' of Ireland by British law firms.

"While very large numbers of England and Wales solicitors had indeed taken out a second qualification by applying to join the roll of solicitors in Ireland, they were not doing this for the purpose of establishing practices here," he said.

Murphy said that instead the primary motivation for many was to "maximise their status as EU law practitioners when, in the future, Britain will no longer be a member state," adding the Law Society had held meetings with a large number of these solicitors.

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