Ireland has to be the number one choice destination for UK lawyers and law firms who need to retain the benefits of EU membership.
Ireland is the Emerald Isle for beleaguered UK lawyers due to the common language, the ease in which lawyers can be registered in Ireland as practising solicitors, and lower tax rates applying to individuals.
How about setting up shop in Ireland? Won’t that involve months of paperwork? Not so far as the Law Society of Ireland are concerned – they do not require you to apply for prior authorisation.
It all seems (from my admittedly brief review – please undertake and rely on your own thorough research) refreshingly straightforward; just send a few particulars to a Nicola Darby including your business name and address, date you ceased previous employment, your financial year, professional indemnity insurance information and details of an approved accountant.
Here’s my six step summary to setting up shop in Ireland – please allow for me having missed many crucial things:
1. Review and apply the rules and regulations regarding legal practice in Ireland.
2. Persuade your workforce that life in Ireland will be great. Here’s a summary of the pros and cons– the main pro seems to be the pubs, but I have heard the price of a pint is steep.
3. Register your lawyers to practice legally in Ireland.
4. Take advice on the most appropriate business form to adopt.
5. Find new business premises in a hopefully stunning location.
6. Once you are established in Ireland with your grateful workforce, you may face regular flying back and forth to the UK to see clients.
But what if we loose the right to live and work in Ireland under the freedom of movement for workers provisions?
As current law stands, that would leave UK solicitors with the right to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit, which is open to all professionals who are not on an ineligible profession list and who earn more than 60,000 Euros a year. At present it looks like solicitors are not on the ineligible profession list, but of course that could change if large numbers of UK solicitors bail to Ireland.
Another option is to wait to see if Scotland are successful in their push for accelerated independence from England and Wales, potentially retaining membership of the EU. In which case your regulatory board would be the Law Society of Scotland.
Two wonderful potential new locations for your law firm/business – perhaps the EU exit might not be so painful after all?
Observations on any shortfalls/gaping holes in any of the above reasoning is welcome – please use the comments facility below. Also suggestions on alternative destinations are welcome – Portugal is both cheap and hot?