Fieldfisher braces for Brexit with Irish merger

by Sol Dolor27 Apr 2019

Fieldfisher will open in Dublin in May as the UK’s legal sector braces for Brexit.

The firm said that it is bringing in top-20 Irish firm McDowell Purcell, which is led by managing partner JP McDowell. The 120-year-old firm has 16 partners and 50 lawyers.

McDowell Purcell is known for its regulatory practice. It also specialises in renewable energy, banking and finance, data protection, litigation and dispute resolution, employment, commercial property, insolvency and restructuring, and environmental and planning.

Fieldfisher, which can trace its roots back almost two centuries, has more than 1,500 people working across 24 offices. The firm has been expanding fast, growing its revenue to £207m in 2018, up by 118% in five years.

Michael Chissick, Fieldfisher managing partner, said that Ireland was the last piece in the firm’s international growth strategy. Fieldfisher is now in all the key commercial centres across Europe, he said.

“Ireland is also one of the most successful economies in the EU. It is primarily an export-driven economy dominated by services including technology, media, and telecoms and financial services – both of which are key sectors for Fieldfisher,” he said. “Its corporate tax rate is the second lowest in the EU which, together with a young workforce, good infrastructure and English speaking population, makes it an excellent investment for us. And of course with Brexit on the horizon, it will also help us to continue to deliver services to our European clients.

“Our US clients, and tech companies in particular, regard Ireland as a business-friendly EU jurisdiction. A large percentage of our client base has Irish operations and has used Ireland as their EU HQ when expanding across the EU markets,” Chissick said.

McDowell said that his firm has always looked at innovative ways to succeed and grow. It also has a strong relationship with Fieldfisher, which he said it has worked closely with for a number of years.

“This merger is a natural fit for us. Fieldfisher is the firm to watch at the moment whose values, dynamism and increasing focus on alternative legal solutions are in line with our own principles and vision,” McDowell said. “The merger will allow us to provide clients with new product lines and process-efficient services, and to compete more effectively with the global firms that are now establishing a foothold in the Irish legal market. We are looking at developing our offering in technology, finance and life sciences and will be announcing new hires in these areas in the coming months.”

The Dublin office will be Fieldfisher’s 25th. The London-headquartered firm also has offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Belfast, Birmingham, Bologna, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hamburg, Luxembourg, Madrid, Manchester, Munich, Milan, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Turin, and Venice.

Michael Chissick and JP McDowell