Dublin old hand absorbs niche practices

One of Dublin's oldest firms, 13-lawyer corporate practice Orpen Franks, has acquired a niche private client and a commercial practice, to bring it into the top 15 in the country.

Four-lawyer private client firm Reeves – at 295-years-old reputed to be the oldest firm in the country – and two-lawyer commercial property firm Tweedy & Co will be absorbed into Orpens.

Reeves partner Reginald Roper said the firms were reacting to client pressure to specialise and he believed the only way for the firms to do this was to merge and achieve a “critical mass”.

“It's going to be in the medium range – we will not be charging mega bucks,” Roper added.

Orpen Franks, like Reeves, established in the 18th century, has a prestigious client base – including Glaxo Wellcome, Shannon Homes and Dunnes Stores.

Managing partner John O'Donovon said the move was a response to the booming Irish economy, which had fuelled a growth in the size of the firm's rivals.

Reeves' private client list includes the Gaisford St Lawrence family, descended from the Earl of Hove. The family has lived in Hove Castle, Dublin for over 800 years.