In terms of growth, if not number of fee earners, Dublin firms Dillon Eustace and Matheson Ormsby Prentice head the Republic of Ireland Top 25 table.
Dillon Eustace has added 12 fee earners, including two partners and four assistants. And MOP, which is headed by Heinz supremo Tony O'Reilly, has gone up 11 fee earners, including three partners and eight assistants. Mason Hayes Curran is third in terms of growth with eight fee earners, while O'Donnell Sweeney has gone up five.
MOP's growth in particular and its strong showing in mergers and acquisitions work reveals that it has now entered the ranks of the heavy-hitters.
Traditionally, the top four firms have drawn a distinction between themselves and second tier firms. This distinction is becoming blurred and the top firms have hardly grown. A&L Goodbody dropped five fee earners, while McCann Fitzgerald added just one. Arthur Cox, rumoured to be opening in London, has stayed the same size, while William Fry has dropped two fee earners.
Andrew Beer of Ivor Fitzpatrick & Co says a number of assistant solicitors in the the top firms are now moving to the medium-sized firms as larger firms are making fewer partners.
London MOP partner Stanley Watson says the firm is doing well “on the back of the Irish economy”. He attributed the growth to a good domestic market and referral business from UK and US firms. The firm was also planning a move to new offices twice the size of its current space.
Mason Hayes Curran spokesman Declan Moylan says that his firm is still hiring lawyers and is looking for Irish lawyers with experience of work in the City of London.