As little as five years ago, the consensus was that Ireland was a mature legal market. In a failed experiment, UK firm Masons (legacy firm of Pinsent Masons) had packed in its projects and construction boutique after a mere six years, citing fierce market competition.
Certainly, despite the construction boom, the Irish legal market was an unlikely place for an international firm to launch: it already had its Big Five — Ireland’s Magic Circle — plus several more entrepreneurial firms sitting below them getting ready to pounce. With a population of less than five million, it was inconceivable that a newcomer could threaten their domination. Who would want to move into such a tightly held monopoly? Nobody seemed surprised when Masons moved out in 2004.