08 Sep 2021

Ogletree Deakins looks to Belfast for new immigration hub

Office launched in partnership with Invest NI expected to create 78 jobs for Northern Irish economy


Ogletree Deakins, one of the US’ biggest employment law firms, has launched a legal support office in Belfast in partnership with economic development agency Invest Northern Ireland.

The firm intends to grow the office’s team to 78 mainly paralegals over the next three years using a phased approach. They will work in tandem with its US-based immigration practice group to handle H-1B visas and PERM labour certifications, along with a host of time-sensitive work required for its high-volume business immigration clients.

Invest NI has offered £312,000 of support towards the new jobs, which are aimed at graduates and those with one to three years of paralegal experience. They are expected to generate annual salaries of £1.78m for the Northern Irish economy.

Matt Keen, managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins, told the BBC that Northern Ireland's “strong pipeline of quality graduates and strong staff retention rates” were a key part of the firm’s decision to set up shop in Belfast.

The firm’s global mobility practice already houses more than 100 immigration attorneys and hundreds of paralegals and other professionals. Revenue for its business immigration and global mobility services has risen by nearly 60 percent in the last five years and the team in Belfast is expected to provide additional needed support for its expanding practice.

Invest NI CEO Kevin Holland commented that Northern Ireland “has lots to offer potential investors–skilled and dedicated workforce, great place to live, excellent infrastructure–to name just a few. We are delighted Ogletree Deakins has chosen to locate their new centre here, joining a number of other leading firms.”

Among them are Listed top 50 UK law firm Gateley, which acquired Belfast-based reputation management and media law boutique Paul Tweed in March. Lewis Silkin also announced last month that it had combined with Belfast-based employment law specialists Jones Cassidy Brett.