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Shoosmiths enters Northern Ireland through takeover of insolvency firm McManus Kearney

The second LB 100 firm to announce a move into Northern Ireland this week, national firm Shoosmiths has confirmed plans to merge with Belfast firm, McManus Kearney.

Shoosmiths, which has 11 other offices in England and Scotland, said it ‘was prompted to move into Northern Ireland as a commitment to providing truly national service for clients’ of its recoveries services group.

Specialised in domestic debt and insolvency matters, McManus will rebrand as Shoosmiths from today (1 December) and its two partners, Mark Frances Kearney and Jason Byrne, will remain at the firm’s Belfast office alongside 14 staff.

Shoosmiths chief executive Claire Rowe (pictured) said the merger was motivated by client demand and ‘our wish to have a commercial presence in Northern Ireland’ as a result of work the firm undertakes in recoveries and commercial financial services.

Waine Mannix, Shoosmiths’ head of recoveries services, said the group has worked with McManus Kearney ‘for a number of years, sharing places on clients’ panels and through instructing the firm.’

Shoosmiths’ partner Stephen Dawson, who leads the firm’s financial services advisory team, will also lend his support to the growth and development of the new office. He already lives in Northern Ireland.

The firm is in good stead to make key investments, with revenue modestly rising 4% to £107m for the 2015/16 financial year, down on the firm’s double digit growth last year of 10%.

On Monday (28 November) fellow LB 100 firm DWF announced it had secured a merger in Northern Ireland with Belfast firm C&H Jefferson. Known to specialise in commercial property and disputes, for its reputation in professional negligence, the 20-partner firm officially joined DWF, giving the latter 12 offices as well as offices outside the UK in Brussels, Cologne, Dubai, Dublin and Munich.