03 December 2019

Allen & Overy, Linklaters and Eversheds lead race to register UK lawyers in Ireland ahead of Brexit

Record year for admissions to the Irish Roll of Solicitors with applications up 163% in 2019

Allen & Overy (A&O), Linklaters and Eversheds Sutherland have admitted the most lawyers to the Irish solicitors’ profession in the scramble to protect EU access rights ahead of Brexit, new figures have revealed. Figures published by The Law Society of Ireland on 28 November reveal that 2019 was a record year for admissions to the Irish Roll of Solicitors from the jurisdictions that make up the UK: England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In the period from 1 January to 12 November, 1,817 new solicitors from England and Wales had their names entered on the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland - a 163% increase on last year’s tally of 690. 

It was also a record year for overall admissions to the roll after it exceeded 20,000 for the first time. Around 20% of all the names on the Irish Roll of Solicitors are now lawyers who originally qualified in England and Wales. 

Tide abating

However, Ken Murphy, director general of the Law Society, said the tide of applications had slowed with just 100 pending applications compared to an average of more than 200 up to the summer.

"This may reflect the Brexit extensions, or the confirmation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales that reciprocal admissions with Ireland will continue, post-Brexit," he said.

A&O is the top ‘Brexit transfer firm’, with 297 lawyers now on the role, followed by Linklaters with 259 admitted solicitors and Eversheds Sutherland, with 165. 

The highest-ranking US firm is Latham & Watkins, which is placed fifth, with 161 admitted solicitors, while Google UK is one of two companies to appear in the top 20 ranking, at 16th place with 38 admitted solicitors, ahead of BNP Paribas, which is ranked 20th with 32 staff on the roll.

Insurance policy

Joining the roll is a straightforward process for UK-qualified solicitors and is regarded as a sensible measure by UK law firms in case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

It is believed admission to the roll will protect legal professional privilege in the EU and the right to appear before the European Court of Justice.