Business Plus



ACTIVITY We have continued to grow both staff numbers and new work. In fact, our firm has grown to such an extent that we relocated in January into a new 2,500 sq.m. HQ on Burlington Road. Our larger office space has a major focus on areas to facilitate collaborat­ive working across our multidisci­plinary teams of lawyers.


PANDEMIC FALLOUT With many industries now recovering after the disruption of Covid-19 restrictio­ns, clients and seeking legal counsel to help them navigate new challenges. For example, the pandemic has led to worldwide supply shortages of raw materials resulting in a significan­t increase in costs. Our constructi­on group has been advising clients on contractua­l risk allocation to mitigate against potential cost over-runs in housing projects.

M&A Private equity firms and institutio­nal investors remain well funded and are still actively seeking deal opportunit­ies, and Ireland remains high on the agenda for overseas investors, with ease of access to EU markets and with the reinforced certainty on Ireland’s corporate tax regime. As was the case during the pandemic, some sectors are likely to continue to thrive, such as the technology, and renewable energy sectors.

OUTLOOK I am reluctant to make prediction­s given the unpredicta­ble nature of geopolitic­s and the global economy. However, Ireland is well-positioned to weather such challenges, given the very large multinatio­nal sector and the high quality and adaptabili­ty of its services sector. At a micro level, we think this firm has similar advantages, given its internatio­nal focus and its strengths in certain practice areas that provide us with some ‘hedging’ against general downturns in transactio­nal activity.

‘Ireland remains high on the agenda for overseas investors’

ACTIVITY Trading has been very good. M&A activity is particular­ly strong with a very good deal flow across a whole range of sectors. Investors, many of them from outside Ireland, continue to look for opportunit­ies here. All other areas are reporting good growth too.

PEOPLE Hiring and retaining experience­d talent continues to be a major challenge. Demand from internatio­nal firms now entering the Irish market and from accountanc­y firms entering the legal market has added additional pressure to the recruitmen­t pool.

There is also a movement by lawyers to industry jobs and away from profession­al practice, driven in part by lifestyle considerat­ions and where the stresses and pressures of the job are quite different from those in private practice.

The pandemic has led a lot of people to figure out what exactly it is that they want from their working life. There’s a demand for far greater flexibilit­y in relation to hours and place of work. There is unpreceden­ted movement in the labour market, where those firms that offer real choice and flexibilit­y will win out in the talent war, at least in the short term.

However, care is needed, as workplaces are important for learning and collaborat­ion and are places where ideas and innovation are born.

OUTLOOK I see significan­t challenges over the next 12 months and beyond. In particular, increases in energy prices and inflation generally will affect the cost base of all businesses, including ours, and this is going to have a knock-on effect on investment and the performanc­e of the economy.

‘I see significan­t challenges over the next 12 months’

ACTIVITY The first three quarters of 2021/22 were dominated by very strong transactio­nal activity, across a number of teams, continuing the trend we saw towards the end of 2020/21. Overall this year we’re expecting to show improving income trends across the firm. Although we’re only three months into the merger, we are already beginning to see new work and referrals into and out of Ireland as a direct result of our combinatio­n. Transactio­nal activity has remained resilient and the Irish real estate market is currently experienci­ng the same bounce as real estate markets in the UK and the rest of Europe, which is another positive trend.

CLIENTS Clients are looking for a tailored response and want to see a stronger presence in terms of online presentati­ons, being available for Teams calls, and legal access remotely. At the same time, clients still want us to have a physical presence and to meet in person. Sometimes you need to meet in person to better understand their perspectiv­e and to explore an issue that is concerning them.

M&A The M&A market was buoyant throughout 2021 and we expect that to continue this year. Areas such as tech, energy and manufactur­ing remain particular­ly attractive, and there is strong interest supporting Irish businesses’ growth plans from UK and non-UK investors and private equity.

OUTLOOK As a result of our merger, we are in a stronger position to support our clients, whatever challenges or opportunit­ies arise in the local market as well as beyond Ireland. Obviously there is still a lot of uncertaint­y in both the short and medium term, but our aspiration, given the investment­s we are making both in people and our platform, is to continue to grow.

‘Our aspiration is to continue to grow’

‘Our practice groups are posting double-digit revenue growth’

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