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First international law firm opens office in Dublin post-Brexit

Pinsent Masons pinches lawyers from Matheson, Walkers and Byrne Wallace

With revenues of £382.8 million (€434m)in 2016, Pinsent Masons is one of the 100 largest firms in the world by turnover, employing nearly 3,000 people worldwide including over 1,500 lawyers. The law firm also has an office in Belfast, following its merger in 2012 with local law firm McGrigors, and the move will bring the number of Pinsent Masons lawyers across the island of Ireland to 12 partners and over fifty lawyers.

International law firm Pinsent Masons is to open a Dublin office to “disrupt” the local market and to focus on the financial services and technology sectors. The London-headquartered firm has pinched three senior lawyers from local law firms to run the new office.

Gayle Bowen, a partner specialising in investment funds and current chair of the Irish Funds Legal & Regulatory Committee, joins the firm from Walkers; Andreas Carney, a partner who specialises in outsourcing, data protection and IT, joins from Matheson; and Dennis Agnew, a partner who specialises in corporate law, joins from Byrne Wallace, where he set up and led the firm’s New York office as well as practising in Dublin.

The new office will target work initially from the 50 of Pinsent Masons’ top 250 clients who are present in Ireland, and Richard Foley, senior partner of Pinsent Masons, said its vision is to be recognised “as an international market leader” in the five global sectors in which it specialises.

Brexit incentive

Coming on the back of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, Pinsent Masons’ decision follows that of international law firm Kennedys, which has opted to more than double its office space in Dublin in recent months. A record number of UK solicitors were admitted to practice in the Republic in the first six months of 2016 due to concerns over Brexit, with some of the UK’s biggest law firms, including Freshfields, Hogan Lovells, Slaughter and May, and Allen & Overy, all reportedly registering solicitors locally.

According to Mr Foley, Dublin’s status “has only become even more significant in the context of Brexit”.

“The feedback we’ve had from our clients as we developed our Ireland strategy was that they would welcome a disrupter coming into the market and our reputation as an innovator is therefore of significant interest to them. They want a firm which understands their sector, can support them in an integrated way across multiple geographies and – above all – won’t simply provide the same old services in the same old way,” he said.

Top 100 firms

With revenues of £382.8 million (€434 million) in 2016, Pinsent Masons is one of the 100 largest firms in the world by turnover, employing nearly 3,000 people worldwide including more than 1,500 lawyers. The law firm also has an office in Belfast, following its merger in 2012 with local law firm McGrigors, and the move will bring the number of Pinsent Masons lawyers across the island of Ireland to 12 partners and more than 50 lawyers.

Pinsent Masons in the latest in a line of international law firms that have entered the Irish market in recent years, including Dechert, Walkers and Maples and Calder.