The Irish Legal Landscape: Megan Shannon

The legal landscape in Ireland is changing. With the introduction of more international firms to Dublin, the hunt is on for top legal talent, and firms are doing whatever they can to attract and retain key staff. In this ‘candidate driven’ market, legal recruitment consultants can no longer rely on LinkedIn or Job Boards to source the right people, a strong personal network sets consultants apart.

With a background in Law and over 6 years’ experience sourcing for legal roles, Megan Shannon has the best legal network in Dublin. Megan previously studied law and acquired irreplaceable hands on experience that allows her to fully understand what a firm is looking for and where they need to look. We caught up with Megan to see what the legal market in Dublin is like at the moment and what a client needs to do to attract the right talent.

“I am an Associate Director at Mason Alexander and Head of Legal Recruitment. I spend my days helping my clients find the right legal talent to join their teams. The Dublin Market is ‘candidate driven’ at the moment which means that lawyers have a lot more choice, so a lot of the time my role is actually acting on behalf of candidates who are looking for the next big thing in their career.”

What kind of roles do you and your team work on?

“Anything from Legal Executive/Paralegal opportunities, which can be really good for people who are not qualified but considering a move into the legal profession, up to Partner level hires and everything in between, such as Newly Qualified Solicitors, Senior Associates and in-house legal counsel.”

What kind of clients you work with?

“I work with the Irish top tier firms based here in Dublin, I assist them in hiring talent in Ireland but also hiring for their offices around the world, such as London and New York. I also work with the international firms, smaller commercial firms and general practice groups. I work with companies also – large plc’s, banks, tech companies, brand new FDI clients – anywhere that would need to add a legal mind to their team!”

Are there any hiring trends that you are seeing at the moment?

“A big hiring trend at the moment is commercial acumen. It is great to see companies invest in their in-house legal teams but what they require is well rounded lawyers, to not only carry out the technical work but also to be able to present information in a comprehensive way that will aid the business as a whole.

In terms of private practice, the same can be said. A lot of interviews centre around culture fit just as much as technical abilities – firms are more open now than before, so a certain “fit” doesn’t mean one thing. It’s all about what the new hire can add to their working life – can they work with them and do they get on?”

Could you share any insights into the legal industry in Ireland?

“Ireland is going through a very exciting time in the legal industry. Some of the recent trends I have seen are:

  • Changes and movement are more frequent than ever before, movement is certainly at the highest it has been since I became a legal recruiter.
  • It seems that Private Practice are continuing to grow out their departments particularly in areas such as Tax, Banking & Capital Markets, Insurance and Corporate M&A.
  • Dublin is continuing to grow as a tech hub, and with that, skills such as data protection/IP/IT as well as general commercial contracts experience is huge for a move in-house.
  • Similarly, the law firms are beginning to develop client focus positions for lawyers who want more of a client management/project role. Rather than pure fee earning.

In general, it is a really interesting time for lawyers, there is more choice than ever before and an array of different kinds of opportunities. Underlying all these trends is a growing need to work to suit lifestyle rather than working to support your lifestyle.

I’m always available to take a call or meet someone for a coffee if they want to discuss the market and opportunities that might be out there. Even if something doesn’t happen right away, if I know that someone is looking, I’ll be that extra ear and eye on the ground.”

Megan Shannon

Associate Director – Head of Legal