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Squire Sanders & Dempsey is lining up with Ireland's Brian O'Donnell & Partners in what is believed to be the first ever alliance between a US and Irish firm.
Cleveland-based Squire Sanders is establishing a "best friends" policy with the Dublin practice, which was founded by managing partner Brian O'Donnell in June last year after he left William Fry, the fifth largest law firm in Ireland.
A partner at a rival firm says: "When Brian left Frys he always said he would do something big with a US firm.
"This is the first alliance with a US firm I have heard of, although some Irish firms have very small US offices."
Squire Sanders managing partner Tom Stanton says: "The nature of our arrangement is that we will be best friends, which is a preferred provider arrangement. If we have any choice we will direct work to Brian O'Donnell."
Squire Sanders has referred work to three other Irish firms in the past but Stanton refuses to disclose which ones. But the US firm will only consider using its other contacts in the future if clients request that work is not referred to Brian O'Donnell.
Stanton says: "Clients sometimes have something to say about best friends."
Stanton adds: "We have US clients elsewhere in the world who have an interest in Ireland, especially with its strong economic growth. We are anxious to have a good relationship with a firm that could help us with those opportunities."
He adds that this alliance is an alternative to setting up an office in Ireland or entering into a full merger with an Irish firm.