Clark Hill, a rapidly expanding Am Law 200 firm that has its roots in Detroit, has gone international and opened its first European outpost in Dublin.
The firm quietly opened its Dublin office last year. The new locale now consists of four partners, including its most recent addition, former Kerman & Co partner Joan Yu, who works from Dublin and London, according to Clark Hill’s website. While Clark Hill does not yet have an office in London, its new Dublin base is now home to several of Yu’s former Kerman & Co colleagues.
Heading Clark Hill’s Dublin office is Daniel O’Connell, a former managing partner at Kerman & Co who moved to Dublin to help set up the London-based firm’s first Irish outpost in 2013. O’Connell joined Clark Hill last summer alongside former Kerman & Co partner Sean Nolan. The duo were joined by former McKeever Solicitors banking and financial institutions partner Maximilian McGahon, as well as A&L Goodbody bids manager Susan Ahern, who now serves as senior director of business development at Clark Hill.
Clark Hill has been on a steady path of expansion since 2013, the year it first cracked the Am Law 200 rankings. That year, the firm merged with Thorp Reed & Armstrong, a 100-lawyer shop based in Pittsburgh, and also absorbed construction boutique Fox & Associates in Phoenix. In 2016, Clark Hill made inroads into Chicago after acquiring seven-lawyer litigation shop Martin, Brown, Sullivan, Roadman & Hartnett.
Last year, Clark Hill moved westward after merging with Morris Polich & Purdy, a nearly 100-lawyer firm with offices in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. That combination created a nearly 450-lawyer firm with 16 offices across the U.S. The move into Ireland marks the first international outpost for Clark Hill.
“With an increasing number of International companies shifting their focus from London to Dublin, and with Ireland’s strong economy, being in Dublin allows us to better serve our clients who are making investments there and throughout Europe,” said a statement from Clark Hill managing partner John Hern Jr. about the firm’s Emerald Isle opening.
In the wake of Brexit, Ireland has been positioning itself as a suitable alternative to London for accessing the European market. At least three major law firms, Covington & Burling, Pinsent Masons and Simmons & Simmons, have confirmed plans to open offices in Dublin after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union in the summer of 2016. Fieldfisher, another large U.K. firm, set up shop in Belfast in November amid plans for another potential future office in Dublin.
In addition, many large firms with a substantial presence in the U.K. have sought to register their lawyers on Ireland’s roll of solicitors in order to continuing practicing EU law.