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An Overview of the Irish Legal Market

If you are a Lawyer and considering returning home or relocating to Ireland, there has never been a better time. The shortage of top calibre talent is increasingly becoming a major problem for Law Firms as the economy continues to grow. Along with the uncertainty of Brexit, large international Law firms are also establishing a presence in the Irish Legal Market; to date Pinsent Masons LLP, Simmons & Simmons, DLA Piper, Lewis Silken have opened offices in Dublin. Demand for specialist experience in the fields Banking, Commercial Real Estate, Corporate M&A, Construction, Employment and IP law continues to grow steadily, while the number of requests for experienced investment funds lawyers and financial services regulatory lawyers dramatically increased. The demand for in-house lawyers is also on the increase with the main areas of growth being in Aviation, Pharmaceutical, FinTech and Funds. Experience gained in Top law firms in the UK and overseas is highly regarded in Irish Law Firms.


Some law firms may have their own specific competencies when hiring law graduates. The top law firms require a minimum grade of 2.1 honours in an applicant’s primary degree.

However, some key skills are generally considered essential by all commercial law firms, such as solid analytical and evaluative skills, excellent written and verbal communication skills, a global and commercial mind set, and, above all, passion and resilience. A legal graduate will need to be a team player and to succeed in the demanding world of law must be motivated, determined and driven.

Visa & Work Permit for Foreign Lawyers:

If you are a qualified lawyer from outside the Republic of Ireland and you would like to practice in the Republic of Ireland jurisdiction, please see below the steps you will have to follow.

Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT)

The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test, referred to as QLTT  is a conversion test that allows lawyers qualified in countries outside the Republic of Ireland, to qualify as solicitors in the Republic of Ireland.

Are you eligible?

For details of a list of countries and provinces covered by the QLTT regulations and more information about the qualification process, please see

England/Wales/Northern Ireland Lawyers

Solicitors who have qualified in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, are not obliged to pass any subject in the QLTT. However, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Admission.

EU Member State Lawyers

All Other Lawyers

All other lawyers (not qualified in the European Union) are required to undergo the Standard Solicitor Training Process – please see


The remuneration packages vary from firm to firm . The typical salary will include generous base salary plus discretionary bonus  Standard benefits include a relocation package, health insurance and pension.

Salaries in the legal sector continue to increase in 2019, in particular for recently qualified solicitors up to mid-level associates in the law firms. Many firms are offering significant bonuses in order to retain and attract strong talent.

Download the Keane McDonald Salary Survey


Work / Life Balance:

As the competition for talent is increasing , we are seeing a lot of firms competing to offer a healthy work/ life balance by offering flexibility where appropriate . As with all Top Tier firms across the globe, long hours will come with the job. Mid-Tier and In-House opportunities tend to have a better work/life balance.


Keane McDonald is an International executive search and selection firm focusing on legal appointments.

At Keane McDonald we have a dedicated team in Dublin lead by Mia Barry. Mia will guide you through the process of relocating in a professional, discreet and competent manner. To discuss any of our advertised vacancies or to have a general chat about opportunities in Ireland please contact Mia on+353 1 6087713. Alternatively you can reach Mia by email, Absolute discretion and confidentiality is assured.