Philip Lee to hire more than 50 lawyers amid Dublin HQ move

Jonathan Kelly predicts another strong year for M&A activity in the Republic next year

Corporate law firm Philip Lee plans to hire at least 50 lawyers next year as part of a "significant expansion" plan that will see it move to its new headquarters in Dublin.

The firm, whose clients include the HSE, Microsoft, Airbnb, Dominos, Mainstream Renewable Power, Disney and a number of international and local financial institutions, currently employs more than 70 lawyers across its head office in Dublin, as well as offices in London, Brussels and San Francisco.

Its total staff count currently stands at 158, led by managing partner Jonathan Kelly.

The firm will move next month into a new 2,500sq m (26,910sq ft) headquarters on Burlington Road, Dublin. The lease deal was the largest such agreement negotiated in the Irish commercial property market in the second quarter of 2021.


“Our 50 new lawyers will be deployed across most practice areas of the firm, further broadening the depth and scope of expertise available to our clients in Ireland and internationally,” said Mr Kelly. “The firm’s new office is a much larger space that will accommodate our expanded team both now and into the future, with the capacity and adaptability to embrace in-office and hybrid working.”

Mr Kelly took over as managing partner in September last year, succeeding Philip Lee, who had set up the eponymous law firm in 1993. Mr Lee remains a senior partner with the business, which was named Corporate Law Firm of the Year at the Irish Law Awards in October.

Mr Kelly predicts another strong year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the Republic next year, particularly in the pharmaceuticals, green energy, technology, life sciences and financial services sectors.


The value of M&A deals in the first nine months of the year alone topped $90 billion, almost five times the value recorded during the same period last year, according to financial markets data provider Refinitiv. The deals included AerCap's $31.2 billion purchase of GE Capital Aviation Services, and Icon's $11.9 billion takeover of PRA Health Sciences.

“We also anticipate further consolidation activity as private equity firms continue to pursue opportunities in Ireland. We are targeting significant additional recruitment within the corporate department to meet with our ongoing rapid growth and pipeline,” Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly sees so-called green leases, which contains clauses on how buildings are occupied and managed in an environmentally and socially sustainable way, will become a more important feature of the commercial property market in 2022, as real estate firms and corporate tenants seek to lower carbon emissions.

Hot topic

The Philip Lee managing partner also sees data gathering and protection remaining a hot topic next year.

“If the previous 18 months have taught us anything it is that the regulation of data is crucial in understanding and managing the risks facing the world. Covid tracking technologies in their various incarnations, both in Ireland and other jurisdictions, have had their challenges, but the management of data has been central to understanding, managing and dealing with the threat posed by Covid,” he said.

“We believe that 2022 will be the year in which we begin to face up to the tough decisions around how to collect and use public data while at the same time protecting everyone’s privacy. Will the solutions that evolve pave the way to harnessing that data without regulatory resistance or will they delay the delivery of data-driven progress and hinder the growth of the industries developing the solutions?”

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times