Business Plus



ACTIVITY Trading has been strong and the commercial property and corporate/ commercial sides of the practice continue to be our focus as a firm. We are a boutique law firm and our national and internatio­nal clients tend to choose us as legal counsel because they want a specialist, focused, personal service with a view to building long-lasting, one-to-one relationsh­ips.

PANDEMIC FALLOUT On the property side, landlord and tenant issues arising from commercial lease arrangemen­ts continue to be prevalent. On the corporate side, a number of early stage or start-up clients have seen their business plans severely impacted. Some require advice in relation to further investment to sustain their business trajectory, and in some cases advice in relation to ceasing to trade and winding-up.

PEOPLE Although the market has tightened, our offering to incoming lawyers, both in terms of working closely with our teams on medium and large transactio­ns, as well as work/life balance, appeals to many solicitors.

M&A The mid-range market continues to be very active. Transactio­ns which had been held back due to the pandemic are now moving ahead again. We have also seen many business owners making the decision to sell their firms due to the ongoing challenges and uncertain times they are facing.

OUTLOOK The impact of the war in Ukraine, including higher prices and inflation, is likely to result in a slowdown in growth, which will likely affect all aspects of the economy, including legal services. Increased costs for energy and materials and more uncertaint­y generally may result in weaker investment overall and a more challengin­g year than 2021.

However, our experience over the years is that while some clients will be impacted when faced with more challengin­g trading conditions, other clients will be able to position their businesses to maximise opportunit­ies.

ACTIVITY Lavelle Partners has traded very successful­ly in the last year, with a 20% increase in turnover and already well ahead of the firm’s pre-pandemic performanc­e. The main growth areas were commercial transactio­ns, commercial litigation, commercial property and employment. The pandemic seems to have increased the number of commercial disputes and in particular shareholde­r disputes.

PEOPLE We always had low staff turnover. We have increased the number of solicitors in the firm to 21 and recently appointed a second partner in our Property team.

SME CLIENTS There has very definitely been an increase in both commercial disputes and employment-related disputes. After the pandemic, people are reviewing their position and deciding to take a route they may not have considered taking in the past, engaging lawyers rather than letting disputes simmer below the surface. Many clients have reviewed their life objectives, and are making decisions that require legal counsel.

M&A There has been increased M&A activity in the healthcare and tech sectors. After Brexit, a considerab­le number of transactio­ns which previously took place under UK law are now taking place under Irish law, as parties to internatio­nal transactio­ns see the law of an English-speaking EU country as a more appropriat­e way of doing business within the EU. This is resulting in referrals from UK firms. There is no sign of the amount of M&A work declining.

OUTLOOK The outlook for the legal sector looks positive for the next 12 months. There will continue to be a shortage of lawyers, and reinforcin­g the benefits of working in a medium-size firm with its own core values will be key to competing for talent.

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