Brexit: Freshfields tops Ireland’s lawyer transfer list

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By Thomas Connelly on

A record-breaking 1,347 new solicitors will be added to the Irish roll by the end of the year


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has had more lawyers than any other City firm register in the Republic of Ireland in the wake of the Leave vote.

According to the Law Society of Ireland, the magic circle giant — which recently revealed its London offices will be moving into a brand new skyscraper — has seen 117 of its top legal minds added to the Irish roll.

But the Anglo-German outfit isn’t alone. Eversheds has had 86 of its lawyers transfer, followed by Slaughter and May with 40, and then Hogan Lovells with 34.

Described as a “tsunami of new solicitors”, the Irish Law Society revealed 1,347 new names will be added to the roll by the end of the year, a whopping 275% increase compared to 2015. And with an administration fee of €300 (£250) per lawyer, this is one tsunami the society’s bigwigs are presumably happy to see.

Ken Murphy, the society’s director general, suggested somewhat unsurprisingly that the recent influx of solicitors wishing to cross-qualify was a direct result of “Brexit-driven transfer decisions”. Continuing, he said:

This they have been perfectly entitled to do since the mutual-recognition regime between the two jurisdictions was first put in place since 1991. The single word that dominates all assessments of the potential impact of Brexit is ‘uncertainty’. So far, the Law Society of Ireland has no knowledge that any of the England-based firms intend to open an office in this jurisdiction.

Earlier this summer, and prior to the referendum vote, several City outfits were already taking steps to register their EU and competition lawyers in Ireland over fears the United Kingdom would no longer be an EU-registered country. Following a surprising win for the Leave side, precautionary measures appear to be quickly developing into solid plans of action.

City law firm Brexit transfer list (number of lawyers)