Nearly half of top Irish law firms approached for post-Brexit merger or acquisition

Nearly half (44 per cent) of Ireland’s Top 20 law firms have been approached by a UK law firm in the past year with regard to a possible merger, acquisition or strategic representation arrangement following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The finding is one of many in Smith & Williamson’s annual legal survey, which found that Brexit, growth and the economy were the key issues for Irish law firms in the past 12 months.

According to the survey, most Top 20 firms are currently executing a Brexit strategy, while 97 per cent of others do not have one in place. Most firms see Brexit as either an opportunity or threat to their firm.

Other findings from the survey include steady growth in the legal sector, with 67 per cent of firms reporting increased revenue growth and 62 per cent reporting increased profits in the last 12 months.

Aside from the burning issue of Brexit, the study found that the key issues which face legal firms over the next 12 months are maintaining profitability; managing cash flow; pressure on fees; the economy; and recruitment and retention of staff.

Paul Wyse, managing director at Smith & Williamson, said: “We are in a period of uncertainty about Brexit and many firms are concerned about the impact it will have on their business.

“Two thirds of the Top 20 firms are executing Brexit strategies and there are also concerns about increased competition from UK firms setting up operations in Ireland.

“An increasing number of firms outside Dublin are reporting negative Brexit impacts but only three per cent have Brexit strategies in place.”

The survey was conducted by Amárach Research during September and October. A total of 115 law firms across Ireland - a range of large, mid-tier and small firms - were canvassed for their opinion.

Tags: Brexit

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