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DLA becomes latest firm to make post-Brexit Dublin move after lengthy consideration

DLA Piper has made good on a long-pondered office in Dublin as the firm eyes increased business in Ireland post-Brexit.

The firm said today (15 May) it was opening an office in Dublin with the hire of William Fry corporate partner David Carthy, who heads that firms foreign direct investment and life sciences and healthcare groups. He will lead DLA’s Dublin office, for which an opening date has not been confirmed.

Financial services, technology and life sciences will be a particular focus for DLA’s new office, with Dublin seen as a key global hub in those sectors. A year ago, the firm had downplayed speculation it was in the advanced stages of a Dublin launch.

DLA co-chief executive Simon Levine said the financial services, technology and tax sectors would only gain importance in Dublin given the context of Brexit, with the firm expecting more institutions to expand or develop presences there.

He commented: ‘We have been evaluating Dublin for some time and through consultation with our clients, a number of whom currently operate in Ireland or are looking to, and our partners have decided now is the right time for DLA Piper to enter the Irish market.’

DLA senior partner Andrew Darwin added: ‘We very much look forward to welcoming David to the firm where he will build our Dublin office as an integrated part of the global firm, providing first-rate legal and tax services to the firm’s clients operating in, expanding into or exporting from Ireland.’

Darwin told Legal Business: ‘Dublin was a market the firm had thought about for many years, without ever finding the right moment to move. Brexit had been the catalyst to take another look and was the additional dimension which tipped the balance of the Dublin business case.

DLA was already talking to more potential lateral hires and Darwin was confident the firm could attract more talent.

He added: ‘We only wanted to do it if we could find the right person. It’s taken quite a lot of effort and has been an interesting exercise getting to know the market a bit more.’

The firm has been actively hiring partners to its global tax practice, recruiting a trio of tax partners in Paris from Reed Smith earlier this year. It has also seen some high-profile departures, however, most recently losing three real estate partners in London to US firm McDermott Will & Emery.

DLA is the fifth firm to open in Dublin after the Brexit vote, following in the footsteps of Lewis Silkin, Simmons & Simmons, Covington & Burling and Pinsent Masons. Lewis Silkin was the most recent launch in March this year, while Pinsents was the first, post-Brexit referendum with its June 2017 launch, although it says the decision to open there was made before the UK voted to leave the EU.