Squire secures Pinsent Masons Dublin founding partner for Ireland launch

Pinsents also confirms departure of second founding partner, reportedly for K&L Gates’ own launch in the city

Top 50 US law firm Squire Patton Boggs has added Dennis Agnew, a founding partner of Pinsent Masons’ Dublin office, to launch its own base in the city. 

News of Agnew’s departure follows reports last week that a fellow founding partner of Pinsents' Dublin office, Gayle Bowen, was set to join K&L Gates to launch a funds-focused office in the city. 

A Pinsents spokesperson confirmed their departures, adding: “We wish them the very best for the future.”

Agnew will join Squire as managing partner of its Dublin office, the launch of which was described as a “milestone” in the firm’s global expansion by Squire’s chair and global CEO Mark Ruehlmann. 

Agnew specialises in cross-border M&A for both industry and private equity and currently leads Pinsents’ transactions team in Ireland, having joined the firm in 2017 to as a founding partner of its Dublin shop from local outfit ByrneWallace. 

“In a post-Brexit world, Ireland continues to emerge as an important center for business activity spanning several key areas of our global practice, including private equity, tech and life sciences,” said Squire’s global managing partner for clients and strategy, Steve Mahon. “Our Dublin office will open up new opportunities for our firm and benefit clients who are already doing business and planning investments in Ireland.”

Squire said its new office would launch at the start of next May with Agnew expected to lead the recruitment effort in Dublin. It will be the fifteenth European base for the Cleveland, Ohio-based firm, which, according to law.com had revenue of $1.14bn in 2021 against profit per equity partner of $1.52m.

News of Squire's launch comes hard on the heels of a similar move by K&L Gates, which, according to Financial News, has secured fellow Pinsents Dublin founding partner Bowen for its own Ireland debut, alongside funds partner Shane Geraghty from Irish firm Dillon Eustace. 

Bowen has led Pinsents’ Irish asset management and investment funds practice since stepping down as the firm’s Dublin office head last year.

For its part Pinsents has grown its Dublin base from 10 to 70 over the past five years and the team is currently advising on some major mandates including AIB’s corporate power purchase agreement with NTR. The firm added partners Neil Keenan and Gerry Beausang – ByrneWallace’s head of corporate and head of capital markets respectively – to its transactional services group in the city earlier this month, having hired employment partner Deidre Lynch from the same firm in August. 

Squire's and K&L Gates' moves continue a sustained period of invesment in Ireland's legal market by international law firms in the wake of the UK’s 2016 Brexit vote, thanks to its status as a hub for business in Europe and an English-speaking jurisdiction within the EU. 

Recent Dublin launches by international firms include the UK’s Addleshaw Goddard merging with local firm Eugene F Collins in February and offshore law firm Ogier’s merger with Leman Solicitors in March. 

Other prominent law firms to launch there since the start of last year include Dentons, Ashurst, Hogan Lovells, Bird & Bird and Simmons & Simmons. 

K&L Gates did not respond to a request for comment. 

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