Irish Qualified Lawyers coming Home

Chris Rafferty, Recruitment Consultant01 March 2021

Since the 2016 Brexit referendum, Ireland has seen an influx of international law firms entering the Irish legal market, eager to get a piece of the Dublin pie. Fast forward five years and now could be a very lucrative time for Irish qualified lawyers to come home and continue their legal careers. With my time spent working with Irish law firms and helping them with their legal hires, I look more closely at what the future holds for the market in Ireland.

The success of the ‘Big Seven’
The ‘Big seven’ as they are known in Dublin, made a combined revenue of almost €800milion last year. Which is no wonder the likes of Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons, Kennedy’s, DAC Beachcroft, DLA Piper, Fieldfisher, Dechert, and most recently Dentons, have all decided to set up shop in the city. A welcoming and much needed shake-up to the Irish market, as many Irish lawyers would say.
In order to grow and compete, the new entrants had to pluck the finest homegrown Irish talent away from the top-performing national firms. This has led to a high demand in the return and the resourcing of Irish lawyers who left for England back when the economy crashed in 2008.

Commitment to Ireland
Since the recession of 2008, a significant hole has been left in the Irish legal market. But despite that, there are pressures on the Law Society of Ireland from other EU jurisdictions, to not become a ‘backdoor’ jurisdiction for England and Wales solicitors after Brexit. The Irish law society announced at the back end of last year that solicitors on its roll will need to physically practise in Ireland – or demonstrate that they intend to do so – in order to obtain an Irish practising certificate.
Of course, this is not good news for the more than 4,000 England and Wales-qualified solicitors who have successfully gained admission to the Irish Roll of Solicitors since the Brexit vote in 2016.

What next for Ireland’s legal market?
With this announcement from the Law Society of Ireland, comes the hope for the return of Irish qualified legal expats to try and uphold the power struggle between the international big hitters, and the national ‘Big Seven’.
From my experience working with Irish law firms over the last eighteen months or so, there is significant demand for legal specialists in these fields: Banking, Real Estate, Corporate M&A, Construction, Employment, Funds, Regulatory and IP. With regards salaries, they are very competitive and lucrative, with enough appeal to bring home talented Irish lawyers. For example, NQ salaries at €70,000 and a 4-5 PQE lawyer practising in Dublin, can expect a salary of at least €100,000 plus bonuses.
So, what is there not to like about the prospect of returning home to your roots, and to see your family regularly? You get to work in a thriving Irish legal market as well as being on a generous remuneration package.

If you are a qualified lawyer in Ireland and would like to discuss the possibility of returning home, please get in touch with Chris Rafferty at Interlink. Alternatively, if you are already living in Ireland and you are looking for a fresh move to a new law firm, email Chris to discuss your options – chris.rafferty@interlinkrecruitment.com


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