The Luck of the Irish: Fieldfisher Confirms Merger with Irish Law Firm

May 13, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Fieldfisher has merged with Irish law firm McDowell Purcell in a Brexit-related move.

What does this mean?

This merger has given Fieldfisher 16 new partners, 50 lawyers and a key Dublin office. It also makes Fieldfisher the first city firm to merge with a local Irish firm.

Michael Chissick (Managing Partner at Fieldfisher) highlighted the importance of this merger: “Ireland was the last piece in our international growth strategy and we are now in all the key commercial centres across Europe…with Brexit on the horizon, it will also help us to continue to deliver services to our European clients”.

What's the big picture effect?

With Brexit looming, many clients want to be assured that the law firms they choose are able to work regardless of an impending exit from Europe. This merger could mark the beginning of a landslide of mergers in which firms expand towards Ireland. These mergers would mean law firms maintain relations with their EU clients by establishing a new European presence. Fieldfisher is joining firms such as DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons and Simmons & Simmons in Dublin, and we will probably see more names joining that list in the near future.

As a Brexit deal is constantly being pushed back, law firms have increasingly more time to take such precautionary actions. Indeed, many solicitors in the UK have already been admitted to practice in Ireland since the Brexit vote.

This may result in a race to Ireland as firms seek to establish a base there, potentially saturating the market. The Irish legal market is primarily made up of “homegrown” firms, therefore there is a lot of international space to play with. However, leading Irish firms have strong relationships with multiple London firms. Some may be hesitant to commit to a merger which narrows their business exclusively to just one English firm.

This is undoubtedly a strategic move which puts the interests of the firm and its clients first, a move which is very likely that will be followed by others.

Should London law firms be expanding to Ireland? Will Brexit give them a comparative advantage?

These are just some things to consider…

Report written by Harina C

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