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Dublin-headquartered firm A&L Goodbody opened an office in Belfast last week, while rival Dillon Eustace opened in Cork.
A&L Goodbody has launched its new Northern Ireland outpost with three partners who left Dublin rival Arthur Cox last year (The Lawyer, 20 March 2006).
The three - Peter Stafford, Mark Thompson and Patricia Johnston - formed corporate and commercial boutique STJ Legal last March, but are now merging with A&L Goodbody.
A&L Goodbody managing partner Paul Carroll said: "The move reflects a growing trend in the marketplace in which businesses and clients are effectively ignoring the border and increasingly need an integrated service for what's becoming an all-island business market," said Carroll. "For many years we've worked with existing relationships in Belfast, but we felt it wasn't going to be the future and so wanted to set up ourselves."
The office will focus primarily on corporate, construction and infrastructure matters.
Dillon Eustace has opened a new Cork office as part of a major growth strategy to expand across Ireland. The move is being driven by banks and financial services companies opening in regional cities outside Dublin. The firm anticipates recruiting as many as 100 more staff across Ireland in the next few years.
The firm is also responding to staff's desire to relocate to regional centres outside Dublin for quality of life reasons.