Professional services firm EY is imposing “no cap on recruitment” as it adds legal services to its expanding multidisciplinary offering, says Alan Murphy, who is heading up EY Law Ireland.

Centred in Dublin, this new legal offering will also have regional hubs in Cork and Galway. The new legal practice will integrate professional with legal services initially focusing on digital, tech and commercial, corporate M&A, employment and real estate in the Irish market.

In recruitment terms, this venture will create openings at all levels within EY. EY recently recruited three experienced associate partners with over 50 years’ collective experience – Mairead Finlay (real estate), Deirdre Malone (employment) and Adam Synnott (corporate M&A).

The firm intends to appoint up to eight section leaders between now and early 2022. There will also be many junior opportunities, with significant graduate recruitment underway and a strong possibility of a graduate programme seeking applicants during 2022.

“We don’t have any cap on recruitment,” said Alan Murphy, head of Law, EY Ireland. “We are hiring the leaders first. We are focused on finding the right people. Four senior leaders have already joined and we have another senior associate joining within the next four weeks, with two more section leaders joining after Christmas.

“We will have seven or eight section leaders in place by early 2022, and we’re also building up a team of junior solicitors. Sometimes we find that graduates just out of college get a better grasp on the future of law before we do ourselves.”

Alan Murphy joins EY from Eversheds Sutherland Ireland, where he was managing partner; he also served as chair of the firm’s European offices and was a member of its global board. Alan is also ranked as an eminent practitioner in Chambers Europe and has been a recommended individual since 2006.

“I am thrilled to have joined EY and to be leading the build-out of EY Law Ireland,” he said. “I strongly believe it represents a unique proposition for the Irish market. It is differentiated by its multi-disciplinary offering, its global scale and its depth of local industry expertise.

“As we build out the practice, my initial focus will be on working closely with clients and my counterparts from other markets across the EY network, while also actively recruiting more senior roles with relevant sectoral experience to build out an exceptional team of legal professionals who can meet the needs of our clients, now and into the future.”

While the new EY Law Ireland practice has been in the planning since well before the pandemic, its choice of starting sections are clearly industries that the new practice believes will have demand for a strong legal input as part of EY’s multidisciplinary professional services.

EY’s move also points to signs of growth for these sectors of the economy, as well as indicating a growing internationalisation among companies operating out of Ireland.

Deirdre Malone, associate partner in employment with EY.

Deirdre Malone, associate partner in employment with EY.

“Our clients are saying that they want EY to complete the service offering with law,” said Alan Murphy. “One client said they are dealing with six different practices, between Ireland and overseas.

“As our clients evolve, as their partner we are evolving with them. Our clients are becoming more internationalised. As a provider of services, we must follow that trend.

“If you take the example of a company dealing with a cyberattack, they want a rapid response. They want a service covering everything from dealing with key stakeholders, customers and perhaps regulators, as well as taking actions relating to digital and systems. The response will require a legal input from the outset.”

Mr Murphy also outlined how integrating the new legal practice with EY’s other disciplines enhances the offering across tax advice, the navigation of property deals, funds advice, sourcing private equity, intellectual property, cyber risk and data privacy.

EY’s decision to create regional hubs for EY Law Ireland is also a response to client demand for integrated services. Clients say they want a local point of contact for EY’s legal services.

Frank O’Keeffe, managing partner, EY Ireland, said Irish organisations are facing an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment. He said EY wants to be at the forefront when it comes to helping clients to navigate their existing and emerging business issues.

“Introducing EY Law Ireland to the market is a natural next step for us as a firm,” Mr O’Keeffe added. “Not only do we have incredibly successful EY Law operations elsewhere in our global network, but this new proposition aligns closely with our exciting new strategy that is all about serving our clients seamlessly where they need us most.

“We are excited to bring what we believe is a truly differentiated service offering to the Irish market and no one is better placed to lead our new offering than Alan. His extensive leadership experience both globally and locally will be key to our success as we build out our EY Law practice in Ireland over the coming months and years ahead.”

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