Global mobility has had a positive impact in terms of increasing the talent pool of available legal professionals, with qualified lawyers seeking opportunities in the Irish market in areas like asset management, technology and data protection.
Employers in the legal profession view global mobility in a mainly positive light but are not yet taking full advantage of it. Many law firms and other businesses are still focused on getting qualified Irish solicitors even if the role in question does not require this, particularly in the case of commercial contract roles. Likewise, these companies are aiming to retain their employees in Ireland and so are not encouraging them to travel, transfer, etc.
Due to the regulatory matters involved in the role of the solicitor, companies seeking this title are generally looking for one who is qualified and is practicing in the UK or Ireland. Lawyer or counsel titles often mean that these roles are more open ended as to the jurisdiction of qualification and many times are more commercial roles which require less knowledge of local legislation. However, not all employers follow the above rule of thumb and they use these titles interchangeably.
In terms of emigration, most Irish legal professionals who relocate do so to London, as it is close in proximity, the regulations are similar, the market is highly developed and salaries are generally higher than in Ireland. Brexit has somewhat lessened this movement due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of EU citizens’ eligibility to work in the UK, however it has definitely not eliminated it.
In terms of seniority level and experience, there is no general trend for the legal sector in regards to global mobility. It occurs at all levels across the board. Many legal professionals who practice in countries where salaries are generally lower than Ireland (such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, etc.) often seek to relocate here to work. This includes many junior lawyers, and there are also examples of senior lawyers as well. During the recession, many Irish legal professionals moved abroad and have by now built up a strong portfolio of experience allowing them to move home to Ireland where job opportunities are much more abundant than before.