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United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > Overview > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Although Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom, its Northern Ireland Executive and the 108-member Northern Ireland Assembly operate with limited autonomy under part-devolution. The province has its own distinct legal system.

Economic recovery has been the driving force behind many of the Assembly’s legislative and policy reforms, although growth remains modest. As part of these efforts and its wider strategy to reduce the dependency on public spending, the government took the decision in late 2015 to reduce corporation tax from the UK-wide 20% rate to 12.5% in a bid to attract greater foreign direct investment. The change is due to come into force in 2018.

Law firms have noted a rise in M&A activity, driven in large part by the sale of distressed loan portfolios and private equity investments. Although the overall value of deals in Northern Ireland throughout 2015 increased, although the number of deals did decrease.

Standout firms include Tughans, Cleaver Fulton Rankin and Carson McDowell LLP, which merged with defendant insurance firm McCloskeys Solicitors in October 2015, strengthening the firm’s disputes capability. Other key players include A&L Goodbody and Arthur Cox Belfast, both of which have historical origins in Dublin, and Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP, which benefits from the firm’s footprint across the UK and globally.

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