Covington & Burling is set to become the second major US law firm with a base in Dublin, in a move prompted by the UK’s impending exit from the European Union (EU).

The US firm is planning to launch a life sciences and technology practice in the Irish Republic but is currently waiting for regulatory clearance from the Irish Law Society.

To staff the new base, Covington is hiring local lawyer Maree Gallagher, an of counsel at Irish firm Beauchamps who also runs her own food and life sciences focused-firm, Maree Gallagher Associates, in Dublin.

Covington’s plans come after fellow Am Law 100 firm Dechert established a funds-focused Dublin office in 2010 with the hire of William Fry partner Declan O’Sullivan.

Covington is planning to create a separate partnership in Ireland, with London-based EU life sciences partner Grant Castle and technology partner Daniel Cooper as the founding partners.

Both Castle and Cooper already hold Irish practising certificates and are registered on the Irish roll.

Covington has already received its first Irish mandate, acting for US pharmaceutical firm PTC Therapeutic in an appeal to the Irish High Court against a decision by the Irish Health Service Executive in connection with the funding of drugs for rare diseases.

There has been significant speculation around the possibility of more international firms entering the Irish Republic since the UK’s vote to leave the EU last year.

Earlier this year Pinsent Masons opened in Dublin, with the hire of three partners from local firms, making it the first international firm to open in Ireland following last year’s Brexit vote.

The local market is abuzz with rumours about which firm will be next to open, with global giant DLA Piper also expected to enter the market.

Earlier this year DLA Piper senior partner Juan Picon told Legal Week: “Post-Brexit, there will be more institutions looking to have a presence in Ireland, so opening there would be consistent with our strategy.”

While the Irish market is traditionally dominated by the ‘big five’ firms – A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, Mathesons, William Fry and McCann Fitzgerald – international firms to have entered the jurisdiction during the past decade include Eversheds Sutherland, offshore firms Walkers and Maples and Calder, and insurance-focused UK firms DAC Beachcroft, Kennedys, BLM and DWF.

In addition, a rash of UK firms have moved to register lawyers on the Irish roll of solicitors as an insurance policy against Brexit. Earlier this year it was reported that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has the 11th most solicitors registered on the roll in Ireland, despite not having an office in the country.

Covington declined to comment.