Another law firm comes to (Belfast) town.

I recently wrote about how DWF, an international law firm, has arrived in Northern Ireland and established an office here through a takeover of Belfast-based firm C & H Jefferon. Today, I have discovered another law firm will make the trip across the Irish Sea.

Northern Ireland law firm McManus & Kearney, which specialises in debt and insolvency, has been taken over by English practice Shoosmiths in the latest in a wave of mergers between Northern Irish firms and English firms.

McManus & Kearney is based at Montgomery Street in Belfast, and was founded in 1990. It now will become Shoosmiths’ 12th office in the UK. The office will henceforth be known as Shoosmiths, but partners Mary Frances Kearney and Jason Byrne will remain at the practice. The 14 staff currently working at the practice will also remain there after the merger.

Shoosmiths has offices in Birmingham, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Reading, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Nottingham, Southhampton, and Basingstoke. This week saw the firm open a new office in Leeds. The overall practice had a turnover of £102m in the year to the end of April.

Shoosmiths’ Chief Executive, Claire Rowe, said of the Northern Irish merger:

“our opening in Northern Ireland is symbolic of our commitment to our clients across the UK and ensuring our award-winning commerical and recoveries services are the very best on offer.

“The move was motivated by client demand and by our wish to have a commerical presence in Northern Ireland as a result of he complex work we undertake in recoveries and commercial financial services.

“It is a pleasure to bring Shoosmiths to Northern Ireland, through a well-known, trusted and successful business such as McManus & Kearney.”

Mary Frances Kearney, who established the firm with now-retired Gerard McManus, said:

“We have known of and worked with Shoosmiths for a long time. It’s a terrific cultural fit.

“The firm’s reputation in the recoveries market is exemplary and Shoosmiths as a whole has an unsurpassed reputation for client service.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Shoosmiths after working very hard to build our successful business over 30 years and look forward to playing a part in building Shoosmiths’ presence in Northern Ireland.”

Shoosmiths’ partner, Stephen Dawson, lives in Northern Ireland and it is believed he will also assist in the development of the new office.

I wonder if there will be more news to come regarding mergers between Northern Irish firms and firms elsewhere? This week saw two stories about mergers; evidence of the strength of the Northern Irish legal market.




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