Law firm Squire Patton Boggs debuts M&A-focused Dublin office

  • Dublin outpost launches Monday under managing partner Dennis Agnew
  • M&A partner George Kennedy also joining from UK firm Philip Lee
  • Office opens with initial focus on private equity M&A and corporate advisory work

April 28 (Reuters) – Global law firm Squire Patton Boggs on Monday became the latest law firm to set up an office in Dublin, with the Irish capital continuing to attract international law firms to its shores.

The office will initially focus on cross-border M&A, particularly on private equity and corporate advisory work, managing partner of the Dublin outpost Dennis Agnew said in an email.

The 1,500-attorney firm said the office is commencing operations from Upper Mount Street in the city’s central business district Monday with corporate partner George Kennedy joining Agnew in Dublin from UK-firm Philip Lee.

Kennedy has “deep connections” in the corporate finance and investor community in Ireland and will help attract cross-border and Irish M&A matters to Squire Patton Boggs, Agnew said.

The firm in November announced its plans to set up a Dublin office to be led by Agnew, who previously headed up the Dublin M&A practice at international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Squire Patton Boggs’s international private equity clients have expressed an “increasing interest” in acquiring Irish targets in recent years, for which it was collaborating with an Irish law firm, Agnew said.

The firm now plans to handle this work from their Dublin outpost.

“Having the one firm providing strategic joined-up advice makes sense for our clients and networks,” Agnew said.

The firm is “actively” looking to hire lawyers in Dublin to expand its Irish cross-border corporate practice, the firm’s EMEA managing partner Jonathan Jones said in a statement.

The Irish economy has been bolstered in recent years by an “unprecedented wave” of foreign direct investment, particularly from the United States, Agnew said.

Just over 10% of Ireland’s workforce is now employed by multinational companies, particularly big technology and drug companies attracted in part by a low corporate tax rate.

Ireland’s domestic economy weakened late last year but still posted the fastest growth in the euro zone for 2022 and is expected to expand again this year.

While Brexit was “a blow” to parts of the country’s economy, Ireland has a diversified set of trade partners, and provides a “strong platform” for companies to grow in the European Union, Agnew said.

International law firms have followed their clients into Ireland, establishing a strong domestic legal market in the country, Agnew said.

Ropes & Gray and K&L Gates set up Dublin outposts in the first quarter of this year, while Armstrong Teasdale and UK-firms Bird & Bird and Addleshaw Goddard broke into the Irish legal market last year.

DLA Piper, which launched in Dublin in 2019, said in November it is doubling its 100-lawyer workforce in Ireland to meet growing business demand.

A Philip Lee spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kennedy’s departure.

Reporting by Nimitt Dixit

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