Lewis Silkin adds Northern Ireland heft with second Belfast tie-up

Deal secures UK firm's third office on the island of Ireland and adds tech, IP and media strength

Rory Campbell, Katey Dixon and Mathew Forde

Lewis Silkin has joined forces with Belfast boutique Forde Campbell in a bid to beef up its local technology, intellectual property and media capabilities in Northern Ireland. 

The tie-up brings the London-based firm’s Belfast headcount to 25 and marks its third office on the island of Ireland, adding to its existing presence in Belfast and Dublin.  

Forde Campbell directors Mathew Forde, Rory Campbell and Katey Dixon will join the firm as partners, alongside existing partner duo Adam Brett and Ciara Fulton, who heads the office, to bring the firm’s Belfast partner count to five. 

The new addition to Lewis Silkin’s physical presence in Belfast comes just a year after it first opened in Northern Ireland by combining with employment law specialist practice Jones Cassidy Brett last summer. 

Founded in 2006, Forde Campbell’s clientele includes local start-ups, major UK and Irish companies and overseas investors. The firm advises on issues including IT contracts, data security, trademarks, trade secrets and reputation management.  

“Northern Ireland is on the rise as a real centre of innovation, with a thriving start-up community and significant investor interest, and as the business landscape continues to evolve legal needs are becoming more complex and often international in nature,” Forde said, adding that the combination was an “exciting next step” for the firm’s regional growth. 

Giles Crown, joint managing partner of Lewis Silkin, said Forde Campbell’s reputation as a market-leading IP, commercial and technology practice will complement its existing hubs in Dublin and the UK. 

“Forde Campbell has established a well-earned reputation in the market as pre-eminent advisers to high-growth-potential enterprises in Northern Ireland, sharing the passion we have at Lewis Silkin for creative, innovative and brand-focused businesses,” he said. 

Lewis Silkin is not the only UK firm to have expanded in Belfast through a local tie-up, with listed top firm Gateley also acquiring local reputation management and media law boutique Paul Tweed for £2m in 2020.

International firms have also looked to the Northern Irish capital, with Ogletree Deakins, one of the US’ biggest employment law firms, announcing last September that it was launching a legal support office in Belfast in partnership with economic development agency Invest Northern Ireland.

A number of prominent UK firms have also opened a Dublin outpost in the wake of the post-Brexit restrictions on UK-based lawyers practising EU law from Ireland without having a physical presence in the country, including Burges Salmon, Ashurst and Hogan Lovells.




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