Leading firms have been able to consolidate their positions in terms of both market share and prestige in wake of UK decision.
Brexit was supposed to herald an influx of British law firms to Ireland, keen to maintain a foothold within the EU.
But more than five years after the seismic vote, the invasion has not materialised. If anything, leading Irish firms have been able to consolidate their positions, both in terms of market share and prestige.
The latter is reflected in the Sunday Independent’s first annual list of the best law firms in Ireland.
Irish operators dominate the list of the top 75 firms, as voted for by lawyers in a survey by business data firm Statista.
Just 10 foreign-headquartered firms make the grade and most already had a foothold in Ireland before the UK voted to leave the EU.
But the firms selected by their peers to make up the Best Law Firms 2022 list aren’t just the multinational law firms and traditional big beast corporate law firms of the Irish legal sector.
Also included are well-established criminal defence firms, and smaller boutique practices dealing with areas such as family law, employment law, immigration, personal injuries, medical negligence and personal insolvency.
Some 1,084 legal professionals took part in the survey and voting for one’s own law firm was prohibited. Unsurprisingly, the “big seven” Irish firms in terms of estimated annual turnover all feature — Arthur Cox, A&L Goodbody, McCann FitzGerald, Matheson, William Fry, Mason Hayes & Curran and Dillon Eustace.
Geographically, Dublin dominates. Of the 75 firms, 61 have offices in the capital, 13 have offices in Cork, four in Galway, two in Limerick, two in Kildare, two in Wicklow, and one in each of Monaghan, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon and Tipperary.
Some firms on the list, such as personal injury and medical negligence specialists Callan Tansey, commercial dispute resolution firm Holmes, and banking, commercial and employment law firm Ronan Daly Jermyn have offices in several counties.
In compiling the list of the 75 best firms, Statista recorded the various fields of law in which each practice was commended by voters.
Commercial dispute resolution was the most common area of specialisation where a commendation was given, featuring for 22 out of the 75 firms.
The next most prevalent were banking and finance (19), commercial property (18), employment (18), and personal injuries and medical negligence (14).
Four practices commended by voters for their specialisation in criminal law also made the list.
They were Dublin firm Michael J Staines & Company, whose clients include MMA star Conor McGregor, Dublin firm Sheehan & Partners, which has represented former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Cork firm Frank Buttimer & Company, which acts for Ian Bailey, the former chief suspect in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case; and well-regarded Limerick firm Darach McCarthy
Three firms commended by voters in the area of human rights and immigration made the list. These were Berkeley Solicitors, Blasco Solicitors & Notary Public, and KOD Lyons.
Other practices commended for niche specialisations included Gartlan Furey and Aileen Keogan Solicitor and Tax Consultant (inheritance and succession), Philip Lee (media and entertainment), Noble Shipping Law (maritime and shipping) and Anthony Joyce & Co (personal insolvency).
A full list of the 75 firms and the specialisations they were commended for can be seen in the table on page 5.
In addition to voting on who should be included in the list of best firms, participants were asked a range of questions, the answers to which give a unique insight into challenges and developments shaping the sector.[Click for more info]