Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland.

Simmons & Simmons, a London-based firm that expects to open an office in Ireland within the next few months, is actively hiring partners for the 2018 Dublin launch.

The American Lawyer‘s London affiliate, Legal Week, reported in October that Simmons & Simmons was planning to launch in Dublin, having recruited former Mason Hayes & Curran partner Fionan Breathnach to head up the office.

Now, the firm has hired Niamh Ryan and Elaine Keane from A&L Goodbody, where they are partners in the asset management and investment funds group.

Simmons & Simmons said in a statement that it expects to open in the Irish capital in the next few months and aims to build the office to 10 partners, with about 40 people in total over the next three years.

The Dublin base will represent the first new office for Simmons & Simmons since 2015, when it opened in Luxembourg. Before that, it launched bases in Munich and Singapore in 2013. However, it has also shut its doors in locations such as Rome in 2015 and Abu Dhabi in 2016.

Ryan, formerly head of A&L Goodbody’s London office, has been with the firm for eight years. She trained at McKeever Rowan Solicitors and joined A&L Goodbody as an associate in 2010. Ryan focuses on the establishment of regulated funds in Ireland and related regulatory advice,

Keane joined A&L Goodbody almost five years ago from Dublin-based firm Maples and Calder. She works on advisory and regulatory aspects of the Irish funds industry.

In the wake of Brexit, Ireland has been positioning itself as a suitable alternative to London for accessing the European market.

“Brexit presents Ireland with opportunities for asset managers and others wishing to be certain of future passporting rights into the European market,” said Simmons & Simmons’ head of financial services Richard Perry. “Ireland is a leading European investment funds jurisdiction and has proved particularly attractive for the establishment and servicing of alternative asset funds.”

Simmons & Simmons’ head of asset management and investment funds Colin Leaver added that having a presence in Dublin enables the firm to enhance its client offering. “The Dublin office also provides a strong presence for fund formation and regulatory advice in the asset management and financial institution sectors,” he said.

An A&L Goodbody spokesperson said the firm is sorry to see Ryan and Keane go, but it wishes them well.

Last year, Legal Week also reported that the U.S. firm Covington & Burling was awaiting regulatory clearance from the Irish Law Society to launch a life sciences and technology-focused office in Dublin, while Pinsent Masons opened in Dublin with the hire of three partners from local firms, making it the first international firm to open in Ireland after the Brexit vote.