The heart of Dublin
Thanks to a strong economic recovery, an ever-expanding local footprint of US tech giants and a Brexit dividend, Ireland looks set to thrive. But what about its law firms?
Next year, Dublin will celebrate two centenary landmarks: in 1922, the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) was born and Ulysses was published. Follow Joyce’s narrative trail around the city of his birth and it forms a geographic question mark. “If I can get to the heart of Dublin, I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world,” he wrote. The heart of modern Dublin, much of which Joyce would fail to recognise, is an international 21st century city – as encapsulated by a recent Irish Times headline: “Global tech giants make a 3.6m sq ft impression on Dublin cityscape.”
Barry Devereux, managing partner of McCann FitzGerald, provides a tour d’horizon. “Our adjoining building is Facebook’s European HQ,” he says. “Google has had a massive expansion: 700,000+ sq ft on Barrow Street – people now call it Google Street because they own most of the real estate there. Facebook are building a new European headquarters: a huge development in Ballsbridge (Allied Irish Bank’s former Bank Centre, which incorporates 725,000 sq ft of office space, capable of accommodating 7,000 workers). Last year, Microsoft opened their global flagship campus in Dublin, which holds 2,000+ people. It’s absolutely out of this world in terms of technology and design – apart from Seattle, the building they’re most proud of. Look at their footprints. These are their European headquarters with 2,000 people in Microsoft; Google, 8,000; Facebook, 7,000. They’re here to stay.”
The benefit for lawyers comes in the work they provide, spread between Dublin’s elite law firms. “What work will they deliver?” asks Devereux. “They have very big in-house legal teams, well-equipped to answer data, privacy and technology issues. It’s real estate, litigation and employment where we see the most traction.”