The Law Society of Ireland Shutterstock; David Soanes
Hogan Lovells is to open in Dublin joining a procession of international law firms to set up shop there in response to Brexit.
The office will be the firm’s 17th in Europe and will initially focus on practice areas with strong EU law connections such as financial services and regulatory and competition law.
However, the move will also allow the firm to work more closely with Irish-based clients in the fund management, banking and insurance sectors, all of which are significant industries in the Irish capital. Dublin has been lobbying to attract business from London in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU.
Before Brexit, most international firms with major London offices were content to serve the Irish market from the UK. However, last November the Law Society of Ireland ruled that English and Welsh-qualified solicitors who had gained admission to the Irish roll prior to Brexit as a means of maintaining EU access were required to have a physical base in Ireland to exercise those rights. Controversially, the same rule applied to Irish-qualified lawyer practising in London.
While Hogan Lovells already has a substantial footprint across the EU, an added attraction of moving to Ireland is the link between Irish courts and the European Court of Justice now that Ireland is the sole common law jurisdiction within the EU.
The office will be led by antitrust partner Chris Hutton, who said: “Putting clients at the centre of everything we do is a strategic priority for the firm, and having a presence in Dublin is about doing just that. Hogan Lovells opening an office there is welcomed by our existing clients, and also presents new opportunities. I am excited to head up the firm’s new offering in Ireland.”
The new office is a significant milestone for the firm’s outgoing EMEA chair, Marie-Aimée de Dampierre, who is due to replace Leo Von Gerlach as chair of the global firm in May.
Last week Ashurst revealed it would be opening in Dublin, initially as a base for its five-based London EU competition law partners and their teams although it said it would “consider additional services in the future in line with the firm’s growth strategy”.
And in December, Burges Salmon opened a Dublin subsidiary office to allow its intellectual property practice to continue its EU trade mark offering.
Even before Brexit, Dublin was proving to be an attractive destination for a number of UK firms, including Kennedys, DAC Beachcroft, DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Simmons & Simmons and Fieldfisher.
Last month, Hogan Lovells made a series of hires in London to strengthen its corporate and litigation practices, including a team led by the highly-regarded litigation partner Kevin Lloyd from Debevoise & Plimpton.