Brexit and the Irish Legal Market

Since the UK Brexit vote passed by referendum to a 52% majority , we have all been flooded with information predicting the possible outcomes it will have on people, the markets and individual countries. Taking a look at the legal market in Ireland, a few common questions keep coming up. Generally they are (1) should I (a UK lawyer) register to practice in Ireland? (2) what will be the impact for law firms in Ireland? and (3) what will it mean for lawyers already practicing in Ireland?

Whilst an actual Brexit may not happen for another few years (Article 50 ‘exit clause’ under the Lisbon Treaty needs to be triggered first), concerns are still valid. The response to these concerns will depend on the terms of the exit agreement with the UK and in particular, what access the UK will have to the single market post Brexit. And put simply, no one knows what that will be.

  1. For UK solicitors, many will be seeking ‘professional solace’ in Ireland. The Law Society of Ireland reported over 186 applications from English and Welsh qualified Solicitors looking to be admitted to practice in Ireland in the pre-Brexit months. This soar in applications is cited as preparation by UK solicitors for a possible Brexit. EU and Competition lawyers were the largest number of applicants. According to the Irish Bar, a small number of barristers have also recently made the switch to become a solicitor in the pre-Brexit months. Clifford Chance, a global law firm based in London, reported that it had already applied for Irish registration for all of its English qualified Competition law partners prior to the referendum to ensure that their lawyers can continue to work on EU related matters. The process is straightforward for England and Wales or Northern Ireland qualified solicitors to practice in the Republic of Ireland. It involves an application for a Certificate of Admission from the Law Society of Ireland and a payment of a fee. More information can be found on the Law Society website: https://www.lawsociety.ie/Public/Foreign-Lawyers/Cert-of-Admission/
  2. For law firms in Ireland, it is widely reported that Brexit will mean a guaranteed increase in workload as international companies consider shifting operations or even re-domiciling in Ireland. And this makes sense – Ireland will be the only remaining English speaking, common law based country in the EU and Eurozone. Ireland is likely to become the gateway for foreign investment from countries that share the same legal background. Furthermore, top tier Dublin law firms have suggested that Ireland may be well suited to accept business coming from the UK especially due to our infrastructure, cultural similarities and favourable tax arrangements.
  3. So what does this mean for lawyers already practicing in Ireland? It seems that legal uncertainty following Brexit will bring more work for Irish lawyers. Firms will need to advise investors, financial institutions and companies on the changes happening and Irish lawyers will need to work with clients making contingency plans in the run up to Brexit. In the aftermath of Brexit, clients here and abroad will need advice from lawyers who can advise on EU legal matters meaning more work for Irish qualified lawyers

Mason Alexander continue to work with Dublin’s top tier law firms who are currently seeking lawyers to join the following departments; Corporate (M&A), Banking and Competition & Regulated Markets. If you want to know more about what is happening in the Irish legal market at the moment, please get in touch with me by phone or email following the details below and I would be happy to provide an update on a confidential basis.



Megan Shannon, Legal Recruitment Consultant Ph: 01-685-4414/ E: m.shannon@masonalexander.ie

Mason Alexander is a leading Irish recruitment firm, delivering permanent, temporary and contract appointments across a range of dedicated functions and industries. For information on legal vacancies in Dublin please click the link to our website www.masonalexander.ie