Employment at top legal companies rises by 7pc
THE country's law firms are expanding. Employment rates of solicitors at the country's top 20 legal firms grew by 7pc to 127 last year, confirming a strong year for the country's largest legal practices.
According to figures collated by the Law Society, the top 20 firms represent only 1pc of the State's law firms but employ 22pc of the country's solicitors.
The figures, published in the current edition of the Law Society Gazette, show that the top 20 firms employ 1,983 solicitors of the 8,947 solicitors with practice certificates at the end of last year. The numbers employed by the top six firms total 1,247, with the top firm being Arthur Cox last year where the numbers of solicitors employed at the firm increased by 12 from 246 to 258.
Arthur Cox's revenues were boosted last year by €19.46m concerning its contract with the Health Service Executive.
According to the Law Society survey, 18 of the top 20 firms employed additional solicitors in 2013.
The firm with the largest number of new solicitors was A&L Goodbody, which employed an additional 22 solicitors last year bringing the total number to 246 – only 12 behind the numbers employed at Arthur Cox. The figures show that the third largest firm in terms of solicitors employed, Matheson, employed an additional six solicitors last year to a total of 238.
The only firm in the top five to record a loss of solicitors was McCann Fitzgerald with its number declining by three to 184 while at the fifth largest firm, William Fry, numbers increased by 13 to 174.
Numbers at the sixth largest firm, Mason Hayes & Curran increased by 14 to 147.
Numbers at the 'Big Six' total 1,247 are in contrast to numbers at the next 14 firms totalling 736.
Eighteen of the top 20 firms are based in Dublin with Ronan Daly Jermyn from Cork and the Limerick-based Holmes O'Malley Sexton the only non-Dublin-based firms.
Firms that featured in the top 10 include Byrne Wallace; Maples and Calder; Dillon Eustace and Eversheds.
The figures show that 43pc of firms have just one solicitor, with no less than 82pc of firms having three or fewer solicitors.
Firms guard profits they make, however last month Mason Hayes & Curran confirmed that it increased revenues 8pc to €48m last year.