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A long-time coming: Shepherd and Wedderburn lands in Dublin amid Brexit uncertainty

Shepherd and Wedderburn has become the latest firm to set up shop in the Republic of Ireland in response to Brexit.

The new office, announced today (22 July), has been launched in a bid to protect European client business and will be led by Paul Carlyle (pictured), the Scottish-headquartered firm’s head of media and technology, alongside media and technology partner Joanna Boag-Thomson and Gordon Downie, head of regulation and markets.

Carlyle told Legal Business the Dublin move had been on the table for a long time following growing demand for client work in the Irish market over the last six years and as a consequence of the Brexit referendum in 2016.

About five partners from the firm will conduct European intellectual property and competition matters from the Dublin office, although nobody will immediately be based there: ‘We’ve not moved anybody permanently,’ Carlyle said.

He added that there were no immediate plans to make new hires. The firm claims to have clients active in more than 120 jurisdictions outside the UK.

Shepherd and Wedderburn managing partner Andrew Blain added: ‘Our ongoing focus is on our clients and ensuring they continue to receive European legal advice of the very highest quality, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.’

The Dublin opening follows a similarly small opening in Singapore in March which focuses on the telecoms, energy and utilities sectors. It also comes after a string of firms opening offices in Dublin, which most recently saw Clyde & Co launch there in May.

In the 2018/19 financial year, Shepherd and Wedderburn’s revenue rose 4% to £55.7m and profit was up by the same percentage to £22.8m. Over the last five years, the firm has grown turnover by 45%: following the trajectory of fellow, but larger, Scottish independents Brodies and Burness Paull.