London law firm Lewis Silkin in new Belfast tie-up

Forde Campbell director Mathew Forde
Forde Campbell director Mathew Forde

LONDON-headquartered commercial law firm Lewis Silkin has snapped up Belfast practice Forde Campbell as part of plans to increase its technology, intellectual property and media law footprint in Northern Ireland.

The acquisition, completed for an undisclosed sum, brings Lewis Silkin’s Belfast headcount to 25 across two offices, and complements its existing operation in Dublin.

It also follows London-listed top firm Gateley acquiring Belfast reputation management and media law boutique Paul Tweed for £2 million in 2020.

Founded in 2006, Forde Campbell is one of the north’s leading advisers to start-ups, major UK and Irish companies and overseas investors on issues ranging from IT contracts and data security to trademarks, trade secrets and reputation management.

Its directors Mathew Forde, Rory Campbell and Katey Dixon will now join Ciara Fulton (partner and head of office) and Adam Brett (partner) in Lewis Silkin’s local practice as partners, with the regional firm now consisting of five partners and a wider team of 20 in Belfast.

The acquisition follows the launch of Lewis Silkin’s employment and immigration offering in Northern Ireland when it joined forces with Jones Cassidy Brett in 2021, and the continued growth of the firm’s Dublin office.

Together, the practice provides clients across the island of Ireland with seamless access to best in class advice regarding their most critical business assets – their people and ideas.

Giles Crown, joint managing partner of Lewis Silkin, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Forde Campbell to our portfolio.

“It has established a well-earned reputation in the market as pre-eminent advisers to high-growth-potential enterprises in Northern Ireland, sharing the passion we have for creative, innovative and brand-focused businesses.

“This is an exciting time for Lewis Silkin in Ireland, as the addition of the Forde Campbell team follows our launch in Northern Ireland last year with our specialist employment practice, and establishes a market-leading intellectual property, commercial and technology practice, building on our centres of expertise in Dublin, the UK and beyond.”

Mathew Forde added: “Northern Ireland is on the rise as a real centre of innovation, with a thriving start-up community and significant investor interest, and as the business landscape continues to evolve legal needs are becoming more complex, and often international in nature.

“Joining forces with Lewis Silkin is an exciting next step for us as we continue to help our clients thrive in this dynamic environment.”