US law firm firm Ogletree Deakins acquires Belfast office

Announcing the office opening for Ogletree Deakins are (from left) Caroline McKillen, director at McConnell Chartered Surveyors; Katrina O’Leary, Belfast office manager at Ogletree Deakins; and Linda Robb, Belfast site lead at Ogletree Deakins. Picture: Kelvin Boyes/PressEye

OGLETREE Deakins, one of the world’s largest labour and employment legal companies and the newest entrant to Belfast’s international law firm cohort, is relocating its global solutions centre to the Cylinder Building at the Gasworks site.

The US employment and immigration law firm - which has more than offices throughout the US, Europe, Canada and Mexico - announced plans in September 2021 to create 78 jobs by opening a support centre in the city to provide administrative and paralegal support.

The 10,329 sq ft office, which was acquired on the client's behalf by Belfast property consultancy McConnell Chartered Surveyors, will be Ogletree Deakins’ first permanent premises in the city.

Originally opening with 25 paralegals, it has since grown to a team of more than 75 business professionals who work in a variety of roles.

Members of the Belfast team work in tandem with Ogletree Deakins’ US-based immigration practice group to handle visas and labour certifications, along with time-sensitive work required for the firm’s high-volume business immigration clients.

“When we launched in Belfast in 2021, we started in a serviced space in order to better understand the market landscape and maintain a level of agility and flexibility,” said Ivan Sim, director of infrastructure and real estate for Ogletree Deakins.

“With the success of our Belfast operation, it was time to ‘hang a shingle’ and provide a productive space that represents the professionalism of our firm and the talent we employ in Belfast, while supporting our projected growth over the next several years.”

The acquisition also signifies a renewed interest in the flourishing office sector, which has seen a real change of pace since the start of the year, with some high profile moves from professional services firms across the city in the past number of months alone.

Caroline McKillen, director at McConnell Chartered Surveyors, said: “We’re delighted to have supported Ogletree Deakins in the acquisition of their new offices in Belfast, which is a further vote of confidence in the city's office sector, which has seen a number of big transactions in recent months.”

Employees will move into the Cylinder Building later this week to the first-floor accommodation, with a push for open plan, collaborative workspace and a view to growing its Belfast workforce in the coming months.