Make the Move: Ireland to London  

Written By:
Charles Brasnett
Associate Consultant
Just as lawyers work cross-border with clients and work closely/alongside colleagues in other offices worldwide, we work in every major legal jurisdiction. A good portion of our overseas work at Sonder is in Ireland. We recruit for the leading Irish law firms. With this said, most of our work there also involves moving Irish lawyers to Sydney or London, the latter being the most popular move for several reasons:

1. Money  

There is no getting away from the fact money is a significant motivator and factor. Top US firms in London are paying NQs up to 2.5x the amount an Irish NQ would get at a leading firm in Dublin. Beyond compensation, however, there are multiple advantages for Irish lawyers moving to London. There is the chance to grow personally and professionally and, of course, relish living in one of the world's largest cities.  

2. Prestigious Reputation  

Perhaps second only to New York (although this is up for debate), London is the world's most prestigious and developed legal market. An array of world-recognised firms can boast a history of success and are proven breeding grounds for some of history's best and most famous lawyers. Gaining experience here will put you at the top of your career.  

3. Firms Want You!  

Irish lawyers are highly sought after by London teams with a good reputation amongst partners for their professionalism, relationship-building skills and teamwork. Many Irish lawyers have progressed their career by moving to the London office of leading Irish law firms like A&L Goodbody and Matheson.

Other leading firms with the most Irish lawyers by headcount in the City include, Maples Group, Fieldfisher, Kennedys and Taylor Wessing.  

Popular specialism include, transactional ones such as Investment Funds, Finance, Capital Markets and M&A. However, we have also placed Disputes/Litigation Associates into top firms in London and Australia too, although these can be tougher due to being over-subscribed at the NQ/Junior level. I must stress this isn't to be dwelled on too much, whenever we speak to candidates our message is always the same, there are always opportunities for strong candidates with strong motivators.

4. Home From Home  

Love your Irish roots? Well, you won’t feel too far from home in London. Ireland to London is a well-trodden path, with the latest census registering around 175,000 Irish people living in London. This is, of course, made up of people with numerous different professions; however, the London legal market has always had a strong affinity for Irish-qualified lawyers.  

If you are craving a proper Guinness - just catch a 45min flight home!

5. World-class experiences  

London basically has it all. Arts and culture, a fantastic food scene, diverse neighbourhoods, sports and entertainment, history, huge green parks, and a well-connected transport system – essentially all the elements you need to have fun and grow your legal career. Major events that may seem out of reach in Ireland will be very accessible in London.  

Interested in a move?

At Sonder, we've had great success placing qualified Irish lawyers in London and are always keen to stress the positives and negatives. There is no escaping from the fact that the hours and expectations will increase in line with the monetary benefits. That isn't to say Dublin-based lawyers don't work hard, far from it, but there is a notable step up, and we are always keen to discuss work-life-balance with lawyers before targeting firms. As your consultant, I will be fully transparent about their demands, but also the power they have to take your legal career to the next level.

Take a look at our London market snapshot for the latest salary rates and practice areas in demand and for more information on what a move to London could look like for you, please get in touch for an overview of the market and opportunities.