GC Powerlist Ireland 2017
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GC Powerlist > GC Powerlist: Ireland 2017
The Legal 500 by country
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For 29 years,The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world.The GC Powerlist is the latest publication fromThe Legal 500, turning its attention to the in-house function, and recognising those corporate counsel who are driving the legal business forward. The latest edition is theGC Powerlist: Ireland, which identifies an array of the most influential and innovative in-house counsel working in the region...read more
We have canvassed opinions from law firm partners and in-house counsel across Ireland, to identify corporate counsel that have been instrumental in changing or forming opinions within their company or industry; developing brilliant technical solutions to complex issues; creating innovative structures to ensure that the in-house function is driving the business forward; or providing a business working model that other corporate counsel should follow. Our team of experienced researchers assessed the nominations, speaking both to general counsel and nominating lawyers to finalise each list. TheGC Powerlist: Ireland features not just information on why that individual has made the list, but also comment from those in-house lawyers about how they have helped shape innovation in the legal industry.
If you have feedback on theGC Powerlist: Ireland, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either in Ireland or global), please do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope that this listing will stimulate debate around the role of the in-house lawyer and help corporate counsel with possible improvements and efficiencies in running their departments.
GC Powerlist: Ireland 2017
(listed in alphabetical order; click on an individual to view an expanded biography)
Head of legal
EMEA Personal systems, supply chain, customer services and support and procurement counsel
Head of legal
New Ireland Assurance Company
General counsel and company secretary
AXA Life Invest
Head of legal
Bank of Ireland
Director of legal services
Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
Head of group legal and compliance
Head of legal UK and Ireland
Capita Asset Services
Chief legal officer
Miriam Caley (née Dorn)
Head of legal Ireland
Executive vice president
Group counsel and senior director
Director of legal services - local compliance
General counsel, Northern, Central and Eastern Europe
Head of legal
Senior corporate counsel
Deputy general counsel
Chief administrative officer, general counsel, executive vice president and company secretary
Group head of legal
Electricity Supply Board (ESB)
Head of legal and regulatory affairs
Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)
Regional counsel EMEA and India
Group general counsel
Allied Irish Banks (AIB)
Head of legal
Pepper Finance Corporation (Ireland)
Head of legal leasing
Head of legal
International legal counsel and company secretary
Head of legal affairs
Chief legal officer
SMBC Aviation Capital
Head of legal services
Head of legal
Director of legal services
Head of legal
Head of legal and compliance
Head of litigation
Senior corporate counsel
Company secretary and head of legal
VHI Group Services
Group general counsel
Legal Counsel & Company Secretary
Head of legal and corporate affairs
Deborah Elizabeth Hutton
EMEA head of legal - CFS
Head of legal
Chief counsel and company secretary
Liberty Insurance Ireland
Group company secretary
Head of legal
General counsel Ireland and head of EMEA privacy, senior legal director
Chief legal and regulatory officer
Executive vice president and general counsel
GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS)
General counsel for Europe, Middle East and Africa
Antoine Mac Donncha
Head of legal unit
Department of Finance
Vice president and general counsel
Element Fleet Management
General counsel and head of legal services
Legal director EMEA and company secretary
Dell Financial Services
Chief legal officer
Virgin Media Ireland
Head of governance and legal
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII)
NBC Global Finance
Vice president, head of legal
State Street Ireland
- Declan McPhillips
Head of legal and compliance
Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)
Associate general counsel and EMEA head of legal
Head of legal and deputy commisioner
Office of the Data Protection Commissioner
General counsel and company secretary
UDG Healthcare plc
Regional general counsel - EMEA
Chief counsel business and public sector
Head of legal
RSA Insurance Ireland
Regulatory and competition counsel
Senior legal counsel
Global head of group legal affairs
General counsel, head of legal and compliance
Vice president and associate general counsel - head of legal for Western and Central Europe
Group general counsel
Associate general counsel, commercial
Head of legal affairs, corporate and institutional services
First Names Group
Head of legal
Audrey Marie O'Sullivan
Head of legal Ireland
Senior attorney, head of legal
Head of legal and regulation
Bord Gáis Energy
Head of legal affairs
An Garda Siochana
Executive vice president, general counsel and MD
Group general counsel and company secretary
Paddy Power Betfair
General counsel and risk management leader
Head of legal and compliance
Western Union Payment Services Ireland Limited (WUPSIL)
Veolia Environment, branded as Veolia, is the global leader in optimised resource management. Active in three main service and utilities areas – water management, waste management and energy services – Veolia is Ireland’s leading environmental services company and provides a range of energy, waste and water solutions to customers across the country. Jennifer Adams joined the company in 2011 as a legal counsel in its Dublin office, her first in-house role. In 2014 she was promoted to head of legal for Veolia’s Irish operation. Described by a colleague as a ‘solution-oriented strategic thinker’, Adams is now regarded as a valued advisor to the company. Adams has been educated at University College Dublin and King’s College London and previously worked as an associate solicitor at LK Shields. On what has motivated her throughout her career, Adams had the following to say: ‘One of the best things about being an in-house lawyer for me has been having the opportunity to work closely with people with a broad range of skills sets and perspectives on a number of diverse and exciting projects. I have absolutely enjoyed the challenge so far’.
Described by a nominating source as ‘an excellent lawyer’, Margaret Ahearn – an inclusion of the inaugural GC Powerlist: Ireland – has spent almost a decade at multinational American company Hewlett-Packard in both its International Bank and the Hewlett-Packard International business, where she is the current EMEA Personal Systems, Supply Chain, Customer Services and Support and Procurement counsel. During her time at Hewlett-Packard International Bank, Ahearn was shortlisted for the bank’s ‘Winner’s Circle’ list, which recognises exceptional performance across the business. Ahearn obtained first class honours in the Irish Management Institute’s Leadership diploma in 2014. She began her career in private practice, spending 10 years at Hanahoe & Hanahoe and reaching associate level, before joining Hewlett-Packard Financial Services in 2009.
Head of legal at New Ireland Assurance Company, Valerie Barlow is recognised for her commercial focus and solution driven and practical approach to legal issues. She began her career in the legal department of AIB Bank and spent many years after working in the financial services industry with her early experience adding value to a variety of roles. Barlow took up her current role of head of legal in April 2016 having worked as a senior lawyer in the legal team in New Ireland Assurance since 2010. Prior to that she worked in private practice at Irish business law firm Mason Hayes & Curran for three years. Barlow prides herself on developing the lawyers in the legal team and cites has been one of the highlights of her career is, ‘witnessing the development of other lawyers on the legal team whom I mentor and coach on a daily basis and impressing upon them the importance of being commercially focussed as an in-house lawyer’. Since joining New Ireland Assurance she has focused on achieving the early resolution of disputes in all cases whilst ensuring a full and thorough investigation for the company from the outset. Barlow has encouraged the legal team to be ‘open and frank’ when providing reports and recommendations on issues identified in the business, accounting for her success as a team manager.
As the current general counsel and company secretary of life insurance business AXA Life Invest, Alan Boland is part of the senior leadership team reporting to the CEO of the company in a ‘very effective’ relationship where there is a ‘common value to drive the business and an openness to challenge one another’. Operating with a ‘commercial and pragmatic’ mind-set, Boland is a keen innovator with regards to the risk management of the business, along with his team Boland launched a ‘regulatory watch’ process whereby the legal function identifies and analyses new developments and ensure they are appropriately delegated through-out the business. Currently involved the transfer of one of the company’s books of business, this has required multiple applications being filed with courts and regulators in a number of jurisdictions. It has also involved providing instructions to and managing the input of external counsel in those jurisdictions. Stating that the ‘approach to regulating in Ireland changed dramatically between 2005 and 2011’, the pace of this change forced Boland to ‘be ahead of the game’ in the industry, and combined with the ‘extremely complex and sensitive’ process of closing products to new business in 2016 show examples of foresight and seamlessness. Boland has spent over seven years at AXA after spending almost a decade at Irish law firm William Fry where he presided over corporate and regulatory insurance advice and transactions.
A highly experienced general counsel, David Boyle supplements his professional expertise with journalistic efforts; he has been an editor with The Irish Law Times journal since the year 2000 and thus provides the benefit of his immense corporate legal knowledge to the profession as a whole. Boyle’s in-house legal career began in in 2006 with Canada Life, and his time with the company was an extremely successful one. Boyle rose through the ranks to the position of general counsel for Ireland over the course of seven years until, in 2013, he took on his current role as general counsel of Irish Life. His move coincided with Irish Life being sold by the Irish government to the Life Group, and Boyle has had a significant impact on the streamlining and amalgamating of the processes of Canada Life and Irish life during the course of the merger.
One of Ireland’s traditional ‘big four’ banks, Bank of Ireland offers a wide range of financial products including savings, loans, mortgages and deposit accounts. Following a two-year stint in private practice at Arthur Cox, Carol Browne was invited to take the helm of the legal department of the bank in 2015. Since then Browne has been providing full legal support to the bank’s corporate and treasury, manufacturing and strategic operations and has made significant progress in improving the legal unit’s internal organisation. Browne is among the most experienced solicitors and banking executives in Ireland, with her 35 years of experience in the financial sector and demonstrable and proven track record of implementing industry change. Between 2010 and 2012, Browne served as general counsel and company secretary at Lloyds Banking Group in Ireland, where she led the Irish legal team to successfully deliver a cross-border relating to the company’s Irish banking business. Prior to that she served as head of legal at the Irish business of Bank of Scotland.
Úna Butler is credited as one of the top Irish public sector in-house lawyers, having consistently demonstrated her understanding of competition and European law. She joined the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission shortly after its inception in 2014, which followed the amalgamation of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency. In charge of the legal department of the commission, Butler has since played vital role in improving markets to the benefit of consumers and businesses in the country and has pushed important changes within the Irish merger regime. Prior to her arrival at the commission, Butler worked at the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) for three years. Before that she worked at law firms Philip Lee Solicitors and McCann FitzGerald, where she specialised in EU law, competition, procurement law and market regulation.
Head of legal and compliance at DCC, Darragh Bryne stands out for his dedication to the DCC group and pioneering work in the compliance field. Byrne joined DCC in April 2012 as head of compliance and in January 2016 his role expanded to covering management for legal as well as compliance. In 2017 he has overseen the company’s deals with Esso’s retail petrol station network in Norway and also DCC plc’s plans to announce the disposal of its environmental division. Byrne also led the agreement with Shell Gas (LPG) Holdings BV to acquire its liquefied petroleum gas business in Hong Kong and Macau based on an enterprise value of £120m. Prior to this role Byrne served as legal director for Tesco Ireland. Byrne was awarded ‘Compliance Innovator of the year’ by the European Counsel Awards 2017.
Capita Asset Services is the UK and Ireland’s leading provider of business process management and integrated professional support solutions. Since joining the company as head of legal, Tom Byrne ‘has efficiently grown the legal function in tandem with the recent growth of the asset servicing business’ according to one source. Another key feature of his tenure that demonstrates his value to the business is ‘being instrumental in tender wins on large projects’ for Capita Asset Services (Ireland). In particular, Byrne led the legal team when advising Capita on its agreement with ACC Bank (now ACC Loan Management) in relation to the servicing by Capita of a loan book with a par value in excess of €2bn.
With a portfolio of aircraft valued at over $4.5bn, Goshawk is a world-class specialist in aircraft leasing based in Dublin. Having gained significant in-house legal experience with regard to aircraft leasing and sale and financing transactions during a four and a half year spell at Avolon Aerospace Leasing, Peter Caley joined Goshawk in November 2015 as chief legal officer. He is considered a specialist in asset financing with a particular emphasis on aircrafts and leasing work and since joining Goshawk has demonstrated expert skills whilst handling numerous transactions for the company. For instance in July 2017, Goshawk completed the largest US Private Placement by an aircraft lessor when it completed its second issuance of unsecured notes to institutional investors in the US private placement market. The deal was launched as a $100m senior notes issuance however strong market demand resulted in a final issuance size of $566.5m. In 2017 alone, Caley has also worked on aircraft deals with some of the world’s most important airline companies such as Etihad Airways, Aeroflot, and American Airlines. Before moving in-house, Caley had a successful decade-long private practice career at law firms Reed Smith, Clyde & Co, White & Case and Denton Wilde Sapte.
Healthcare company Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group (UHG). Whilst UHG has been in Ireland for almost 20 years, its Dublin presence has expanded recently and its in-house legal team is no different. Miriam Caley, head of legal and a former associate at Matheson and Freshfields Bruckhaus Derinnger, explains the pace of growth at the business: ‘From having no lawyers and no legal department in Ireland, we now have grown to a team of five within six months, which has been very intense’. A significant portion of recent work for the team has been in relation to the imminent arrival of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), compliance to which is a must for the company. ‘As we are a big data company, preparation for the GDPR is as important for us as it would be for Google’, Caley says. Having transitioned relatively recently into in-house legal work, Caley comments on the major differences between in-house and private practice work, and what someone who does this can expect. ‘The variety of knowledge needed and the ability to network can be tricky at first: when in private practice, you aim to be a specialist in a legal area, in my case private and public M&A. Now I am required to know enough about various areas of law so that I can make an informed decision when to get into the detail. As Optum is an international healthcare company, healthcare law and looking across jurisdictions is relevant, too. The variety of legal work in-house means that no day is the same and every day is exciting and challenging at the same time. Ultimately, I think the ability to tap into different legal subjects very quickly and the ability to make relationships both within the business and externally are important skills an in-house counsel should have’, Caley sums up.
During her career of over 11 years at the aircraft leasing company Aircastle, Sarah Clarkin has been at the forefront of commercial affairs for the company, participating in complex aircraft transactions alongside multi-functional transaction teams. During the last few years alone, Aircastle has undertaken hundreds of transactions, over half of which were closed by the Dublin legal team. Clarkin has been instrumental to the company’s exponential growth in Ireland recently and has expanded her team to adequately cope with an ever-increasing workload. In 2013 she played a key role in Marubeni Corp’s acquisition of a 15.25% interest in the business. Clarkin’s past career features 10 years of experience as an associate at McCann FitzGerald.
Marlene Connolly successfully led the cybersecurity company, Forcepoint’s US and international teams through a number of transformative transactions, such as the Raytheon acquisition due diligence, completion and integration in 2015, the Stonesoft acquisition from Intel and integration, and the company rebrand from Raytheon Websense to Forcepoint in 2016. Operating with limited resources, Connolly has kept the teams motivated and focused on delivering exceptional results on time and within budget without facing staff turnover or litigation. ‘This taught me the value of true leadership and integrity in recognising and rewarding the team players who “dug deep” with many competing demands and personified the qualities of loyalty, collegiality, professionalism and tenacity’, she says. ‘As I have built the international legal team over the past 10 years in Forcepoint from a “greenfield” site, I recognise that recruiting, rewarding and retaining the right talent is key. To me the team “fit” and individual positive attitude is more important than any knowledge or experience gaps that might exist and can be bridged with the right attitude and support’. Constantly striving to ‘do more with less’, Connolly and her team have rolled out comprehensive training to Forcepoint’s sales divisions in the EMEA and Asia Pacific regions via in-person and video conferences. Prior to moving to the company, Connolly worked at the telecommunications company Meteor, where she sharpened her skills to be a truly business-oriented GC, while also introducing scalable, low-cost, improved practices and template documentation. She started her legal career at the telecommunications company eir Ireland, where she spent seven years and led the Eircom mergers and acquisitions legal function to successfully complete significant corporate transactions including the Meteor Mobile acquisition in 2005. She also worked on eir’s initial public offering in 2004 that raised $360m equity and project managed eir’s exit from various non-core businesses in 2002.
With over 25 years’ successful track record of legal support for leading local, regional and global organisations, Brian Connolly has become a highly respected and experienced lawyer in the region. An incredibly proactive and ambitious individual, Connolly has taken on a variety of managerial roles at Accenture, locally and globally, leading the Irish function through a period of substantial growth. Connolly admits that a key ingredient of his success include his adaptability in the in-house role; being able to anticipate challenges, reacting to change swiftly and adding overall value particularly as the company has gone through huge changes in terms of size corporate structure, range of activities and level of complexity since 2008. Connolly has continually added value at the top table, proving his competence and adding his opinion to critical corporate strategy. No stranger to large commercial transactions, Connolly was always involved in all large-scale corporate activities, sitting on the leadership team and providing the technical legal aspect as well as supporting the compliance and regulatory side of the business. Upon joining Accenture in 2000, Connolly was the only lawyer. Proving himself to be a true asset to the business, the team has now expanded to 26 local and global roles: ‘I’ve had to learn to manage teams who engage in a wide variety of work and who don’t all serve the local market. Pulling that together and learning to do so has been very interesting and rewarding’. Prior to his time at Accenture, Connolly had a stint as legal counsel at Deutsche Bank, as well as a spell with KPMG, a captive insurance manager, and a bilateral Ireland-Germany trade organisation.
Nikki joined Schneider Electric in January 2008 as associate general counsel EMEA. Through her proven dedication over the years, in May 2013 she was promoted to vice president and general counsel for Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The global energy management leader continues to invest heavily in Europe, and Conran plays a vital role in its ongoing success, according to sources. Heading support across Europe, she has featured in some of the biggest transactions in the company’s recent history. Widely respected for her technical understanding, management and communication skills, she is firmly embedded in the strategic decision-making process and is also praised for her contribution to corporate governance. She has a background of supporting renowned multinational technology corporations, having served as the legal director at TIBCO Software and as a senior attorney at Microsoft. She also enjoyed a four year spell as international general counsel at Ascential Software IBM, a leading developer of relational database software.
Leading a relatively small but strong team at one of Ireland’s leading forecourt and retail convenience retailing chains, Maria Costello serves as Topaz Energy’s head of legal. Under her leadership the legal function has had particular success in handling competition law matters when supporting the expansion of the company’s business. Her most notable work involves leading the acquisition of Esso Ireland by Topaz Energy Group, and also the subsequent sale of Topaz to Alimentation Couche-Tard in 2016. These deals posed the legal team with a number of obstacles that had to be dealt with in a particularly tight timeframe. Due diligence was completed on 150 properties, and a Competition and Consumer Protection (CCPC) mandated requirement to divest three Esso sites together with a 50% interest in a fuel terminal in Dublin Port to two competitors was successfully achieved. In the last two years Costello has further advanced the legal function by implementing a comprehensive claims management training workshop for all retail site managers. This has led to a significant improvement in how incidents are managed from the time of occurrence and strengthens the company’s position in the event of litigation. Working closely with the CEO and senior management on a one-to one and daily basis Costello adds tangible value to the business.
Legal adviser to Valentia’s management team, Cian Crosbie, has had a varied but extensive career path. After completing his legal practice training he subsequently worked in Australia with a national law firm before returning to Ireland. On his movements Crosbie reveals: ‘The contrasting experiences were excellent and led me to my current role as general counsel with Valentia Technologies, which I have held since early 2013’. Crosbie takes pride in the growth, development and success of the legal team in a tough industry and challenging markets internationally. In the midst of this environment a highlight of his career is developing and leading a team that is professional, relevant and central to the success of a fast-paced international medical software company. Crosbie adds, ‘we are consistently challenged to add value to the wider Valentia organisation whilst maintaining standards, ensuring compliance and performing functions required from a legal team’. On a personal level Crosbie has played a central role in Valentia’s efforts and success in scaling its business internationally at a time when Valentia has needed to substantially scale its business over the past four years across several international jurisdictions. As Crosbie puts it, ‘achieving this in a structured and efficient way has proved challenging at times but we have overcome these by working closely with local partner organisations, advisors and clients to ensure that we have succeeded so that the business achieves its objectives the correct way’. Under Crosbie’s leadership the team have successfully navigated obstacles to achieve intended outcomes for the business within challenging timeframes.
Neil Culkin joined Google as a real estate corporate counsel in January 2013. Initially he was based out of both their New York and Dublin offices, working with Google’s real estate and workplace services team and advising the company on a broad spectrum of legal issues related to its real estate portfolio. Since November 2015, Culkin has been working as a senior corporate counsel based in Dublin, servicing Google’s EMEA operations. Prior to moving to the IT sector, Culkin was senior associate at Matheson for over eight years. During his time at Matheson, Culkin formed a strong working relationship with one of the firm’s biggest clients, ACC Bank and was sent on secondment there to assist the bank’s in-house legal department on an extensive range of legal issues. An area of special praise throughout Culkin’s career has been his expertise in commercial real estate, property law and real estate transactions.
Corporate and commercial legal adviser Orla Cullen has accumulated premium private practice and in-house legal experience over the course of her 15-year professional career. Cullen currently serves as the deputy general counsel for IAC Applications, a company that has formed one of the world’s largest distributors of utility applications, with its products downloaded more than one million times a day across desktop, browser and mobile devices. As an operating business unit of tech giant IAC, it has been ranked by Fortune magazine’s annual standing of the world’s most admired companies in the internet services and retailing sector for many years. Cullen supports the company’s general counsel – who is based in New York – by providing specialist advice to the IAC Applications business on corporate, commercial, IT, IP, privacy and employment matters. Cullen has advised on complex technology transactional agreements for various mobile, browser, desktop applications and online marketing transactions, whilst staying abreast of the ever-evolving Irish and EU data protection laws. Cullen is also behind supporting and advising on matters associated with new product development, looking through web and software documentation, including End User License Agreements (EULA), terms of service, privacy policies and other consumer-facing agreements. Cullen has served on the board of directors of the European headquarters of IAC Search & Media Europe since March 2016. She has also enjoyed successful spells at Bank of Ireland as a commercial legal counsel and associate director for KPMG Ireland.
Diarmaid Cunningham developed a reputation for excellence during the early days of his career, when he worked for law firm A&L Goodbody for 10 years as a private practice lawyer. Having developed strong expertise in M&A deals, corporate law, joint ventures and re-structurings, Cunningham was in a perfect position to move in-house and joined the contract research organization ICON as its general counsel in 2009. Over the next few years, he expanded the legal department and improved its quality of service by hiring high quality personnel. Now the team operates as a truly unified and sophisticated global function that employs an abundance of talented and dynamic legal professionals working across Dublin, the US, Holland, Argentina and China. In addition to serving as ICON’s general counsel, Cunningham now oversees client contract services, human resources, facilities and procurement departments in his role as chief administrative officer. Since 2013, Cunningham has been seconded in the US to broaden his knowledge of ICON’s US business, but maintains a strong focus on Ireland and is expected to return to be based in the country in 2018
Heading a 52-strong team, Alan Daly is credited for integrating the legal department into the business more comprehensively than ever before. Since his arrival in 2011, Daly has built up the legal team to support all areas of the business, and make the function completely self-sufficient in a number of practise areas whilst ensuring compliance with EU rules. Daly is credited for transforming how the legal team in ESP functions, and says it operates today as ‘a small law firm within a company’. Daly also notes that, although he inherited the legal team, it took some time to gain the trust of the legal function. Thanks to Daly’s open and transparent management approach he has influenced his legal team to communicate in more effective and informal ways than previously used, and adopted an open-door policy to encourage overall team cohesion. On these significant changes, Daly says ‘building a sense of purpose and togetherness and collegiality has been hugely positive’. Amongst his most integral changes, introducing core specialisms into the team and promoting greater knowledge-sharing across the organisation stand out. The overall result, Daly argues, has been to reposition the function from ‘service provider’ to ‘trusted advisor’.
Known as an excellent ‘litigator, lobbyist and lawyer’, Marie Daly joined Ibec (formerly the Federation of Irish Employers) in 1991 as an employment lawyer. When the Federation of Irish Employers merged with the Confederation of Irish Industry in 1993 to become a broader lobbying organisation, Daly became a member of highly significant groups such as the Company Law Review Group, the Pensions Board, the Business Regulation Group and the High Level Group on Business Regulation. In 2005, her efforts and expertise were rewarded as she was appointed as Ibec’s general counsel. Since then Daly has been ‘witness to the development of key policy and legislation, most notably in employment, company, pensions and accounting laws’ in Ireland. Daly qualified as a solicitor in 1987 and initially worked initially in Dublin Corporation’s law department before joining the Federation of Irish Employers. Giving advice to her general counsel peers, Daly says ‘attend the breakfast briefings given by the law firms on up and coming topics. They can be invaluable’.
Originally from Los Angeles, Sanaea Daruwalla’s background in assisting tech firms and startups saw her ideally placed to take on an in-house legal role for content intelligence company NewsWhip upon moving to Ireland in 2015. The company’s product is an ingenious one; it uses technology to gather content from across the web and social media in order to identify which stories are gaining traction, an obviously invaluable resource for its clients. Daruwalla explains that she built the legal function at NewsWhip ‘from the ground up’, as it did not exist before she joined: ‘Soon after joining, I put in protocols to ensure appropriate sourcing of content from the web and third party APIs, which meant a lot of copyright and IP work. I was also closely involved in our Series A financing, and worked on business plans and legal documentation’. On top of this, Daruwalla looked to create a function that ‘was compliant but also efficient in terms of the business model’. A large portion of her work is focused on protecting the company’s IP, which is at the centre of the business. ‘Getting the company’s IP in order was paramount, and one of the biggest projects I was involved with upon joining was a pending patent that I was able to resolve and get granted within about six months’. Daruwalla is currently working to avoid any potential pitfalls that incoming updated data protection regulations are likely to pose given the company’s operations. ‘I am keen to go through a thorough data protection audit, as almost every company we work with provides us with some level of personal data. We are working on our internal processes and with other companies to make sure that we are in perfect compliance before the law is rolled out’, says Daruwalla.
Elizabeth Davis joined PwC Ireland in 2014 as its general counsel. An experienced in-house lawyer, Davis joined PwC from Mercer Ireland where, she was its first general counsel and established the legal function. Davis then went on to become Mercer’s chief legal counsel EMEA, where she developed a legal strategy to support the wider Mercer EMEA business. During her time with Mercer, Davis managed a number of significant pension litigation matters and introduced a streamlined contract system resulting in both efficiencies and improved risk management. Davis’ time as general counsel with PwC Ireland has been shaped by her work on the formation of the legal department. Davis says that like any client relationship, trust is key to being an effective in-house counsel. ‘PwC’s reputation is built on excellence. I see my team’s role very much as guardian of PwC’s reputation and, by association, PwC’s clients’ reputation.’ Davis says that having a strong understanding of global litigation and regulatory systems, gained in her previous EMEA role, has been invaluable when considering PwC’s international business. Having the general counsel as a member of the PwC Ireland leadership team has embedded the firm’s legal function as a key part of the decision-making agenda. This has been hugely beneficial, says Davis: ‘PwC is constantly developing innovative solutions to help solve client issues. Part of my role is ensuring that any commercial decisions are thought through from a legal and risk perspective from the outset.’ Davis says having a thorough understanding of PwC and its clients’ businesses, and contributing to the firm’s long-term goals, is a very rewarding aspect of her in-house role. ‘To be a successful in-house counsel you have to know your client inside out and you can only do that by getting out there and engaging. Communication is key. Ask questions, talk to colleagues, not just about legal issues but about their roles and the issues facing their clients’.
With over 24 years of experience and qualified in three jurisdictions, Caroline Dee-Brown has been the general counsel for The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) – the regulator for Irish internet, television, radio and all other sectors in the telecommunications field – since 2009. A reliable and collaborative legal professional, Dee-Brown defines her input as being a ‘thought leader and trusted advisor [to] senior management and the legal team building the framework to lead the team to high performance defining and demonstrating the value of the legal advisors to the rest of the organisation’. Developing and operating a matrix management of lawyers within the business, Dee-Brown takes an integrated approach labelling internal lawyers as being ‘embedded advisors’ in order to avoid being seen as a ‘separate “ivory tower” within the organisation’. Such an approach has paid dividends, as the ComReg legal function is promoted and acknowledged as respected critical thinkers by colleagues, and are encouraged to be thought leaders and trusted advisors with commercial acumen. Dee-Brown is keen to ensure she is at the forefront of not only important strategic decisions within ComReg, but advocating for legal reform at a national and European level – enabling her to contribute toward the development of law and policy in the wider telecoms sector. Providing this outstanding support has been achieved in a context of often difficult market conditions that have led ComReg to undergo change; during Dee-Brown’s stewardship of the legal team the Commission has had five different commissioners, acquired three significant additional roles and come through the financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures. Dee-Brown states she has been ‘required to deliver increased efficiencies in delivering the legal function during a time of austerity. This has required use of my skills to deliver and ensure innovative, thought leadership consistently across the organisation. The development of influencing and negotiating skills to drive consensus has been key’. The rapidly increasing developments in the relevant markets within the sectors ComReg regulates have also added challenges and opportunities. Operating within ‘dynamic innovative markets’, Dee-Brown has forged ‘stronger work relations internally and increased liaison with lawyers in other national and international regulators’ for broader and more informed decision making, a testament to the innovative approach Dee-Brown takes in the development of policies and laws related to electronic communications regulation.
As part of the management team based in Xilinx’s EMEA headquarters, David Dobbyn has a central role in supporting Xilinx’s regional business activities. Upon joining Xilinx in January 2012, Dobbyn was responsible for legal and compliance matters relevant to the EMEA region. Having reshaped the regional legal function, his scope of responsibility was extended in 2015 to include India, which he claims has given him an ‘entirely different set of interesting challenges’. Prior to joining Xilinx, Dobbyn trained and practiced for a number of years at a top-tier law firm in Ireland where he handled a wide range of technology and M&A work for large Irish and international clients in diverse sectors. Dobbyn also gained experience through legal secondments at Dell, Norkom Technologies and Meteor Mobile. These experiences had a significant impact on his professional development and long term career choices: ‘I was given great scope, relative to my experience level, to handle a fascinating range of business and legal issues. My secondments taught me how to deliver legal guidance as a credible business partner in a very dynamic commercial environment’. Dobbyn served as chairman of the general counsel forum at the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland for 2015. As a founding member of the Forum in 2014 he views it as a very useful avenue for senior in-house lawyers to share experiences, discuss challenges and learn from each other.
Founded in 1966, AIB is a financial services group that operates primarily in the Republic of Ireland and the UK. Group general counsel for the company since 2012, Helen Dooley began her legal career in 1992 and is one of Ireland’s most experienced and talented general counsel. Over the course of her 25-year career she has worked in senior legal positions at a number of high profile institutions such as A&L Goodbody, Hewlett-Packard Financial Services and EBS. Today Dooley leads around 150 AIB lawyers in a legal function that she has designed to be as closely aligned to the business as possible by determining the strategic and operational priorities for the department. She also advises AIB’s board on a range of issues including corporate governance matters. Recent activities Dooley has been involved in for AIB have been diverse and include securing €60m via the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland’s (SBCI) €150m Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme to support the working capital needs of Irish farmers and SMEs engaged in primary agriculture and, separately, providing €3.5m in funding for a new season of the internationally acclaimed TV series Jack Taylor. Dooley graduated in law from University College London in 1990.
Nominated during our research process for her outstanding contribution to the market leading consumer finance business, third party loan servicer and asset manager, Lisa Doyle is head of legal for Pepper Finance Corporation, an asset management group founded in 2012 with 1,700 global employees and over €36bn in assets under management. Doyle provides comprehensive legal support with regards to all aspects of the company’s business that is chiefly concerned with the provision of home loans commercial loans, equipment finance and consumer finance, requiring expert knowledge of financial law. Doyle is currently preoccupied with steering Pepper’s Irish business through a time of change; the Pepper Group has recently agreed to a takeover offer from KKR for approximately $655m. Before assuming her role at Pepper, Doyle spent over five years in the legal department of Dublin based Ulster Bank, including two years as the head of legal for RBS Capital Resolution in Ireland.
AerCap has over 1,500 aircraft owned, managed or on order as of June 2017, making it the largest independent aircraft-leasing company in the world. The company is headquartered in Dublin, listed on the New York stock exchange and has a significant presence in Singapore and the Netherlands also. Vincent Drouillard is head of legal leasing, and given the immense and growing AerCap order book takes on a high level of responsibility. He is an expert in aviation and aircraft leasing legal matters, having been involved in the industry since 2003 after a three year stint as an associate with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. He spent over a decade with International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) from here, eventually progressing to the rank of vice president and head of legal affairs for EMEA until ILFC merged with AerCap in 2014 to form the company’s current enormous operation. Given AerCap’s ambitious growth plans spurred on by increasing numbers of airline passengers globally, Drouillard is looking at an active upcoming period. As such, the leasing legal team is looking to add new, top-level legal talent to its ranks in order to support the company’s ambitions.
With a total career with AIB spanning almost a decade-and-a-half Carol Drury has amassed a wealth of knowledge into the company’s operations, and has been engaged in a number of senior positions in legal teams around the AIB group. From 2003 to 2012 she worked with AIB Capital Markets, eventually rising to the position of head of corporate legal and securities services. Making the move to Allied Irish Banks proper in 2012, Drury was head of corporate and business legal services (including enforcement) for three years, before moving into her current role of head of legal for retail and the National Asset Management Agency and restructuring legal teams. As such, since 2014 Drury has been involved with the restructuring of the bank’s assets; from 2011 to 2017 the bank was gradually nationalised. In June 2017, the newly nationalised entity participated in a capital-raising IPO which raised €3bn for a total company valuation of €12bn. Drury’s excellent performance on this and many other significant projects while with AIB mark her out as one of the leading in-house legal counsel in the sector in Ireland.
Orla Dunlea was appointed in September 2014 as International Legal Counsel and Company Secretary at Endo. Since that time the Irish operations have significantly grown from a small employee base of 3 supporting the branded business in a serviced office space to a bustling modern office of nearly 70 employees providing supply and quality operations support across the branded and generics portfolio of products. Praised for her ‘solid and extensive’ experience in international corporate law, as well as her expertise in handling issues surrounding EU corporate structures, employee relations, compensation and corporate taxation, Dunlea is according to a colleague ‘one of those people who seems to get two days of productivity out of every day’. To tackle significant pressure put on her company, in the form of increased competition, downward pressure on stock prices, increased regulation and a highly litigious environment, Dunlea has provided integral support to simplifying business processes and operational execution. In addition, Dunlea maintains a good working relationship with the CEO, directors and senior management, and is able to provide long-term strategic advice to Endo’s exciting product portfolio, with a focus on the future. Prior to her current role, Dunlea was general counsel for Critical Path and Openwave Messaging, both US software companies with a presence in Ireland. At the start of her in-house legal career, she spent four years doing defence litigation for Hibernian and Aviva. When asked to share career tips to fellow in-house lawyers, Dunlea says, ‘you should understand the business first and then give your advice based on that understanding. As with everything in life, the people and relationships are key’.
With over 25 years of experience in all aspects of commercial law, Ursula Earley is responsible for establishing the legal function at Inver Energy and making it a key part of the business. This has been a very rewarding process for Earley, who says, ‘It has been exciting establishing the legal function and setting up processes, record keeping and checklists.’ Earley joined the leading, national independent fuel distributor in 2015 as general counsel. Prior to this role she held various in-house positions, serving as general counsel at MetPro and as head of legal at multi-utility energy company Bord Gais. Reflecting on her previous in-house roles Earley says: ‘In those roles I learned that one of the most important functions of the GC is to manage the process carefully – it is always a delicate balance between ensuring the transaction runs to the scheduled time lines while at the same time managing the legal risk.’ Before moving in-house, Earley enjoyed successful spells at a number of private practices, namely Arthur Cox in Dublin, CMS Cameron McKenna in London and Hunton & Williams in Warsaw.
Another segment of Ireland’s booming air travel support industry, ARI now has a truly international presence, around 3,000 employees and over $1bn in revenue. Emily Ennis, its head of legal affairs, says she ‘jumped at’ the opportunity to work for this multi-national duty-free retailer: ‘I knew the company had substantial operations in the Middle East, New Zealand, Canada, Cyprus and other countries as well as Ireland. The role has always turned out to have interesting twists especially regarding cross-border work’. Ennis names three recent projects in particular as ones that she has taken particular pleasure in, and these highlight the international nature of the role. ‘A significant standout moment was a recent contract we won in Oman to provide services for a new airport terminal in Muscat. This was a complex and lengthy negotiation that has given me a heightened sense of the commercial and legal sensibilities in the region’, she explains. ‘In Auckland’, Ennis continues, ‘we won a contract to run a new international airport on which I was the executive legal lead to help establish the duty free business, which provided me with a thorough understanding of the nuts and bolts of our operation; I was very proud to get this across the line’. Finally, Ennis mentions a €54m buyout deal of a JV partner in Cyprus: ‘This deal forced me to balance legal risks with all other inherent risk in the business in a structured way to close the deal. It included risky and complex finance arrangements that had to be navigated, and was a great example of finding a successful solution to a complicated business challenge’. Ennis has achieved a lot while with ARI, and continues ‘to build and expand the function’ to this day. It is a challenge that she relishes thoroughly, with Ennis believing that in-house work provides ‘a fantastic career’ for business-minded lawyers.
Owned by a group of major Japanese financial organisations (Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company Limited and Sumitomo Corporation) the scale of SMBC Aviation Capital’s global airliner leasing operation is truly vast. All in all the company has 668 aircraft owned, managed and committed, with a recent company highlight being the delivery of the first cutting-edge and brand new Airbus A350 XWB wide body jet to Asiana Airlines in 2017. Catherine Ennis has been chief legal officer of the company since 2002, was added to the board of directors in 2004 and became company secretary in 2007, and has presided over a massive expansion of the company’s assets. She is an expert in aviation leasing; in addition to the virtually unmatched experience of the industry she has accrued with SMBC Aviation Capital, she was previously employed with Airbus Finance Company Limited and GE Capital Aviation Services. With GE, she was part of the team that brought the first aircraft portfolio securitisation to the market. Ennis is one of the leading experts in her field globally, and her efforts have undoubtedly contributed hugely to the immense and continuing success of SMBC Aviation Capital over recent years; the company announced in 2017 that pre-tax profits grew 48% to $346m in the 12 months ending March 31st.
Deirdre Fagan is one of the most experienced and well-respected general counsel in the insurance sector in Ireland, having been employed by global insurance giant AXA’s Irish subsidiary AXA Insurance Ireland since 2006. The company is one of the largest insurance businesses in Ireland, and has around 850,000 car insurance customers in the country alone. Fagan’s over-decade-long experience as a senior in-house counsel in the insurance industry has seen her support a number of significant company operations, and recent months have been no different. AXA is in the process of downsizing its branch operations in Ireland in order to improve efficiencies in the Republic; despite this, AXA will still have the largest branch network in the industry. Fagan’s ability in supporting such a significant company’s business endeavours successfully for an extended period of time mark her out as one of the top in-house counsel in Ireland.
Sylvia Fagan has led the legal team at innovative technology company Ding since 2011, through a period of constant growth and change. Ding’s service allows users to top up mobile phones remotely, and is commonly used by people living or working abroad to instantly top up mobile phones of friends and family back home. Fagan goes into the frenetic pace of working in the Ding Offices: ‘The volume of work that crosses our desk can be surprising to new members of the team, but this is a good thing as new challenges that emerge on a day to day basis allow us to exp and our skills. The work is constantly evolving and it has been interesting to see first-hand and be part of the development of so much innovation. In particular, we have seen great enhancements to the mobile app platform and we are working alongside many others in shaping new products in a way that works to prevent rather than cure issues down the line’. Fagan seeks to improve the legal team’s efficiency as much as possible, an endeavour which is a constant process: ‘Alongside enacting a lot of process improvements, we work to reinforce a compliance culture. We are also constantly looking to eliminate risks based around external factors that might impact the business, including regulation’. Fagan has a highly successful track record of supporting the cutting-edge operations of Ding, and this trend looks set to continue into the company’s next chapter.
A leading global diversified building materials group with a market capitalisation of around €27bn, employing c.87,000 people at c.3,800 operating locations in 31 countries worldwide, CRH is the largest building materials company in North America and the second largest worldwide. The company is headquartered in Dublin and recently hired Niamh Flood as director of legal services. Flood enjoyed a sterling 12 year private practice career first at McCann FitzGerald between 2005 and 2011 and then at Arthur Cox from 2012 until May 2017. Despite joining in CRH as a director of legal services in June 2017, Flood is already involving herself in various activities concerning the international building materials group.
As a qualified tax consultant who formerly worked in tax for a number of years, Colin Fuller is well placed in his role as head of legal for Rabobank. Fuller explains that he left his rewarding career in tax to fulfil his passion for the commercial support side of legal business while still retaining his tax competency by joining Citibank as legal counsel. After practicing successfully here for some time, however, Fuller found he was ‘missing the transaction side’ of his day to day activities, which meant that the offer of a position with Rabobank made perfect sense when this was forthcoming. In the ten years since, Fuller has taken part in some truly cutting edge deals. ‘At Rabo’, he explains, ‘what I really enjoy is the innovative style of transactions that we do, which we often win awards for both in and outside of Ireland’. Fuller describes his leadership style at the helm of these projects as ‘hands on but informal’, and goes into how he ‘regularly sits down with the business in order to take ownership of projects in order to keep as much work in-house as possible’, to ensure he and the legal team have as much positive impact to Rabobank as possible. This is important to Fuller, as he believes that ‘as an in-house lawyer, you have to add value that an external lawyer cannot’. To do this, he explains, one should ‘understand your business and keep communication open with people – for instance, through keeping technical legal jargon to a minimum – and try to be flexible and minimise surprises’.
Established by the Irish government in 1991 following the privatisation of Irish Sugar, Greencore is a fast growing, international convenience food company and the world’s largest sandwich manufacturer. Praised by sources for her extensive business knowledge, commercial acumen and strong expertise in the food sector, Jolene Gacquin was the ideal person to take the helm of the Group’s legal and compliance function in December 2016. During her short period in the role, Gacquin has already impressed with notable reliability in handling issues across the Group’s UK, US and Irish operations. Gacquin has been at Greencore since the start of her career. She joined the company as an assistant to the secretariat and subsequently worked as a deputy group secretary for over six years. In addition to her role at Greencore, since 2015 Gacquin has also served as a board director and company secretary at the Galway Simon Community, a charity that helps homeless people in the west of Ireland.
Award winning Sarah Gallagher took up her current role as legal director at Tesco in August 2012. Gallagher previously served as director of commercial legal services at telecommunications provider Eircom. In recognition of her in-house work, Gallagher was honoured as one of the country’s most powerful women at the Women’s Executive Network’s (WXN) Leadership Summit in Dublin in June 2014. Gallagher’s role in supporting the work of one of the most successful supermarket chains in Europe mark her out as a leader in her field.
An experienced financial lawyer of 19 years, Noel Gaughran draws attention for his handling of high-stake litigations since the 2008 global financial crash. First working for the Bank of Ireland from 1998 to 2006 and then joining Ulster Bank in 2007, Gaughran was previously the head of legal – retail and corporate for Ulster Bank and took over the role as head of legal – litigation in January 2014. An aspect of his role that shaped him as a legal professional involved coordinating the restructuring of the companies in the Ulster Bank in advance of the application of the UK ICB rules to bring Ulster Bank within the ‘ring fence’. Providing focused commercial advice to the project team to enable the transfer of the First Active business to Ulster Bank and the surrender of First Active’s banking licence was also a significant feature of is tenure. Emphasising the importance of learning within his team Gaughran has trained his peers to have an in-depth understanding of and work hand-in-hand with the business so as to be an enabler of client success; ‘clients want legal advice which is strategic, commercial and cost-effective and lawyers need to find a way to provide that advice on a daily basis’. Gaughran has shown a great deal of flexibility and adaptability especially in the face of the fundamental changes Ireland’s financial services industry has undergone since the 2008 crash. Becoming a business partner in all aspects of his role, Gaughran continues to be a key part of the Banks’ strategies.
Commercially focused technology and IT lawyer Michelle Geraghty joined HubSpot in February 2017 but is already well-acquainted with its faced paced, ever-changing and exciting environment. Coming from Afilias, the world’s second largest internet domain name registry, Geraghty concedes transitioning to the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform required some adjustment which was initially challenging, given the fast pace and size of the company. However, with over a decade of in-house experience to her name, her move to HubSpot is ‘without doubt the best decision [she has] made in her career’, and one that has already been transformative, highly stimulating and insightful. In her previous role as the EMEA Legal Counsel, Geraghty provided commercially focused legal advice to senior management on a broad range of issues including contract law, employment law, and commercial negotiations. At HubSpot, the scope of her role has been expanded to cover both EMEA and APAC where she supports the Sales, Services and People Operations functions. She is also the Globalisation, Localisation and Data Privacy legal business partner at HubSpot. 'Supporting HubSpot's international reach has been hugely rewarding, most recently with the opening of our Berlin office this summer'. The office in Berlin joins HubSpot's EMEA headquarters in Dublin as the second office in the region and seventh office globally. 'With this growth comes the challenge of finding innovative and effective ways to scale the provision of legal support to the relevant teams in a dynamic and ever-changing environment, but it's a challenge that excites me and keeps me on my toes'. Michelle began her in-house career at Investment Technology Group and later moved to ION Trading Ireland before joining Afilias.
Described by a colleague as an ‘experienced lawyer, who brings a calm head to analysis and decision making’, Tara Glynn joined the legal department of VHI Group Services, Ireland’s leading private health insurer, in 2016 following 16 years of experience in the banking sector. She serves as VHI’s company secretary and head of legal, a role that sees Glynn manage a relatively large team of bright and highly competent legal professionals. In her previous role at Rabobank Ireland, Glynn has made significant changes to internal processes in an effort to heighten efficiency. She has also received credit for motivating staff when dealing with the recent financial crisis. Prior to Rabobank, Glynn was employed at ACC Bank for 14 years, 11 of which she served as head of legal and corporate secretary and three years as head of human resources.
Stellwagen Group provides various services to the aviation, shipping and defence infrastructure sectors. A lawyer with over 25 years of experience within the industry and private practice, its chief legal officer Nigel Goldsworthy joined the company in 2016. Goldsworthy has previously held a number of senior roles at Rolls-Royce plc, most recently as head of legal and company secretary. Prior to that, Goldsworthy spent over 10 years in private practice with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells. Goldsworthy is also a director and owner of GCHub, a web application that enables in-house lawyers and law firms to streamline processes in order to save time and cost.
Aer Lingus is the flag carrier for Ireland, with its 52-aircraft fleet presenting a symbol of the nation around the world. It operates a mixed service of both short and long-haul flights utilising narrow and wide-body jets, with the long-haul service primarily between Ireland and the Eastern seaboard of the United States and short-haul within Europe and North Africa. Laurence Gourley is legal director for this highly prestigious airline, and understands the company’s operations perhaps better than anyone, having spent 19 years in the role prior to which he practiced with Van Bael & Bellis of Brussels. Gourley has supported a number of innovations by the company during his time there, and recently Aer Lingus has announced some exciting new business endeavours. It has recently entered the low-cost, long-haul market by offering no-frills Ireland to United States service for under €200, a dramatic decrease in price for their customers. The company has also announced its busiest ever winter schedule, including 350 extra transatlantic flights.
Distinguished lawyer Marie Griffin leads the legal department at AIG in Ireland, a department which is part of the wider AIG European Legal Group. Prior to her current role, Griffin spent half of her career at legal firm Arthur Cox, and then as head of tax and legal for Postbank Ireland. Griffin admits that she was hesitant to move to an in-house role, however later realised that the transition from private practice to in-house was the best decision she’d ever made, giving her a great deal of professional fulfilment: ‘It’s been a great choice and I have felt challenged every single day. I have magnificent colleagues and it’s been a fantastic life experience. I get a lot of joy from my work’. In 2013 Griffin was instrumental in a transaction that has been recognised as one of the most innovative in Europe and the first of its kind which involved the transfer of an insurance business from Ireland to Bermuda, a transaction which many peers in Ireland have since asked her for advice and guidance on. As head of legal in Postbank, Griffin was also part of the process to close the bank, an event which she admits has equipped her with the resilience and skills she uses to this day. Amongst her achievements, constructing a trusted relationship with her business colleagues stands as one of them with Griffin adopting an open door policy to ensure a collaborative and close working relationship.
During the last nine years, Jim Harper has had a number of varying responsibilities within the Irish and EMEA legal team of the international insurance group Zurich. He acted as an Ireland interim general counsel for approximately 18 months, headed up the European Legal Board (a network of senior lawyers throughout the EMEA region) for two years and led the legal team involved in successfully transferring Zurich’s European non-life insurance business to an Irish based carrier. The latter project proved to be an excellent learning opportunity for Harper to understand the EU insurance and regulatory environment. ‘Effecting the creation of the head office in Dublin and then watching it grow and develop provides a tangible output that I look back on with pride’, he says. Harper also currently serves as company secretary for Zurich’s pan European insurer which has its head office in Dublin and 13 branches across the EU, holding this position since April 2014. Working as company secretary to the board of Zurich’s primary European carrier has given Harper a seat at the boardroom table, thus giving him the opportunity to contribute, provide advice and present on a variety of topics. ‘It has also given me a unique insight into the key commercial drivers and risks and helped me develop a top down view of the company’s operations,’ he adds. Throughout his time at Zurich, Harper sought to develop frameworks, approaches and documents to enhance the workings of the legal team and create efficiencies for the future when similar issues or repeat procedures are required. He says, ‘this ensures a consistent approach can be achieved in a more efficient manner, and thus enables more efficient use of resource. Trying to upskill and develop team members also improves the knowledge of the team more broadly, ensures people perform to the best of their ability and minimises key-person dependency’. To deal with a period of unprecedented regulatory change in the European insurance industry in recent years which involved the introduction of the Solvency II legislative framework, Harper and his team have tried to work closely with the business to firstly ensure requirements are understood in good time and have designed appropriate frameworks to deliver on regulatory compliance or processes. In addition, the establishment of a legal and regulatory developments forum has provided a basis for tracking items by the legal team that are relevant to the business. It has also helped ensure the provision of forward looking advice and pragmatic solutions to new challenges. Prior to joining Zurich, Harper worked in private practice in London, spending eight and-a-half years with law firm Lovells (now Hogan Lovells).
Prior to joining Panda Group, an organisation involved in the UK and Irish waste management and utilities sector, in March 2017, Richard Henry served as Irish head of legal at the leading soft drinks company Britvic. During this period Henry worked as a lead legal advisor for Britvic’s international launch of a new product in India. ‘Entry into the market was quite complex and had its transactional genesis via an M&A opportunity to merely a distribution arrangement with local Indian large national partner – a consequence of this entry strategy meant a new route to market and ultimately creation and establishment of Britvic’s Indian subsidiary company, distribution agreement, co-packing agreement and around 20 procurement agreements’, he states. Advising on all aspects of this entry was a hugely demanding and rewarding task for Henry, as the deal touched upon key internal and external stakeholders in different specialisms. Henry’s recent career move from a public to a privately owned company has been, in his words, ‘challenging and rewarding in an equal measure’, as he has to be able to be more re-active to the demands of the business, which could change daily. Henry is a strong believer that legal should have greater responsibility for and input into other functions and is dedicated to implementing this view into Panda’s legal function. ‘I also emphasise the need to create and drive economic value for the business,’ he adds. ‘This is something that the owner of the business is very keen on and my team are cognizant of the need to create and develop business opportunities as well as drive efficiencies and savings’. When asked about characteristics he likes to see in in-house lawyers, Henry says, ‘GC’s and heads of legal need to be trusted business advisors. They need to be numerate and develop reputations as business-savvy advisors on a range issues and strategies, and often simultaneously hold non-legal positions in their companies. Generally, the crème de le crème GC is a fully functioning member of the senior leadership team who “just happens to be a lawyer”’.
Highly regarded general counsel for the flagship Irish retail group Dunnes Stores, Robert Heron leads a versatile legal function that is well respected by peers. Dunnes Stores’ business is divided into two different retail operations; supermarket stores and clothing stores across the UK and Ireland, employing approximately 18,000 employees. In 2014, Heron joined Dunnes during a period of high-profile senior appointments. Prior to his current role Heron was a partner in the corporate department of Irish law firm Matheson from 1995 onwards.
Deborah Hutton outlines how, after completing her academic studies and qualifying as a lawyer, she considered how she could ‘combine passion for an area of expertise with legal and industry work’, in order to embark upon a truly rewarding career. Deducing that this would be best sought in investment legal work, and she moved to ‘a top tier law firm for investment funds’, when the opportunity arose. In private practice she specialised in investment funds and asset management for over six years. Ultimately she was placed on secondment with Citi which eventually led to her move in-house. She has been involved in numerous complex financial projects and regulatory initiatives with Citi since joining them in 2012, and is now EMEA head of legal for Custody and Funds Services. She mentions a number of highlights from her time with Citi. ‘Alongside leading strategic and regulatory projects’, she explained, ‘I also worked on a large merger, and seeing that go smoothly was a highlight, as has been working with regulators in over 50 jurisdictions on various regulatory and industry developments’. Hutton has overseen a number of internal developments to how her team has operated over her time with Citi, and details how these changes have had a positive effect. ‘As well as creating a closer dynamic between the Belfast, Dublin and London teams’, she explains, ‘in terms of information and knowledge-sharing there is an increased focus on being interconnected globally “one team”. Overall, there is increased engagement between all parties and greater sharing of expertise’. Hutton believes that the technical expertise she amassed as part of her private practice career set her up ideally for when she moved in-house, and would urge young aspiring in-house counsel to take note of this: ‘You have to get your technical skills right from the get-go as an in-house lawyer and it is hugely beneficial to work with experts in their chosen fields and to continue to learn from them and others as you progress. As well as this, you have to be more of a self-starter, learn how to communicate effectively, seek out development opportunities and – above all – be respectful to your colleagues’.
A construction law specialist, a skill honed during his time with Arthur Cox, Darren Isaacson gained his first taste of in-house legal life when he was placed on secondment with Vodafone during his traineeship. ‘It was great to see the contrast in the way you give advice in terms of collegiality and practicality’, he recalls, ‘and there was a real difference in the commercial aspect of the role and how you interact with people. I liked the idea of being part of the business’. In order to broaden his commercial perspective, and with an eye of possibly returning to an in-house position, Isaacson took the proactive step of completing a professional qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants as ‘a grounding in finance and accounts is essential to fully appreciate the commercial environment that businesses operate in as well as the mindset of people within it’. When the opportunity to move in-house with electricity utility company ESB came along in 2011, he took it. When working on projects in ESB ‘I saw my role as being not only part of the legal team but also a part of the project team’, he explains, ‘and as I progressed there was a real sense of being able to add value over and above a purely legal context, and take on increasing responsibility’. Since moving to his current role in September 2016, which he describes as ‘phenomenal’ and considers a personal career highlight, Isaacson has taken charge of improving the contract review, negotiation and education processes, as well as seeking to gradually increase the scope of the role, for instance in the area of data protection. He goes into why he believes the job has been such a success since moving here: ‘I pride myself on explaining legal matters in a manner which can be understood by my colleagues, and I have been able to put my stamp on the department, to the point where the function has grown beyond what was possibly anticipated on day one. I interact with colleagues at all levels and in different functions of the business on a day to day basis’.
The Irish arm of US multinational insurance firm Liberty are assisted in a legal and commercial sense by chief counsel and company secretary Alan Johnston, from a base in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Johnston leads the legal team as head of legal with responsibility for all of Liberty Insurance Ireland’s legal matters, and complements this position by being a member of the Liberty Senior executive team and company secretary in addition to being legal adviser to the Board of Directors. Beginning his role at Liberty Insurance Ireland in 2015, Johnston provides a mixture of commercially focused and solutions driven legal advice which is dispensed to all business units and is primarily concerned with the relevant aspects of insurance law. More specifically, Johnston advises on broker agreements, MGAs, advertising agreements, sponsorship arrangements, settlement agreements, investment management agreements, non-disclosure agreements, third party vendor contracts, IT and technology agreements. Johnston is also at the forefront of the regulatory curve in the industry, including the Solvency II directive, the Consumer Protection Code, the Central Bank Corporate Governance Code and engagement with the Central Bank of Ireland. Johnston is a dual qualified lawyer having been admitted in Ireland and England and Wales, and before moving to Liberty spent 15 years in private practice at Irish law firm A&L Goodbody.
As group company secretary for C&C Group, a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributer of branded beverages in Ireland, David Johnston has worked on transforming the legal function into an integrated part of the business. Discussing the changes he’s made in his current role, Johnston says: ‘I’ve tried to change the department so it’s more internal client focused and is closer to the business rather than being viewed as an internal law firm.’ Under his leadership the legal team won the in-house legal department of the year award for 2013 at the Irish Law Awards. Johnston attributes his excellent leadership qualities on his previous experience as group general counsel for Paddy Power which saw him managing the acquisition of the Australian sports betting company Sportsbet and the integration of the legal function into the Paddy Power Team. Leading on from this process, Paddy Power became the first online betting company to receive an accreditation from the Nevada Gaming Commission, an accomplishment which has shaped Johnston’s professional experience tremendously: ‘They all helped me to look at how best to manage legal teams both on a local and international basis and how to manage complex multi-jurisdictional projects and issues.’ As a member of the Executive Committee he works very closely with the CEO and the rest of the management team to promote further integration.
There was no in-house legal function at Heineken Ireland when Orla Joyce joined the international brewer in 2014, initially on a part time basis and subsequently as the full-time head of the legal department. In her three- year careers at the company, Joyce has already made waves, receiving wide praise from external nominators for the steps she has taken to codify processes and build a sophisticated legal function. Previously, Joyce was employed as a the only senior legal counsel at Irish Water, where she guided the business through the various significant legal challenges involved in its establishment and was involved in the state’s privatisation of the water industry. According to Joyce, ‘the setting up of Irish Water has been one of the biggest national projects in the history of the state and one that was extremely challenging and rewarding’. Prior to Irish Water, Joyce briefly worked as a senior lecturer at The Law Society of Ireland and Griffith College Cork. At the start of her career, she spent nearly 17 years at the leading corporate law firm A&L Goodbody.
CarTrawler is global vehicle hire business, and having built the CarTrawler legal department from scratch upon her appointment to the role of head of legal in 2010, Kearney assumed her current role as general counsel of CarTrawler in November 2014 and presides over a legal function deeply embedded into business activity. Helping CarTrawler oversee all aspects of its business in a legal sense, including successfully guiding CarTrawler through two private equity investments. Kearney has taken a hands-on role throughout the business’ rapid growth, reflected in her appointment as board director to CarTrawler’s reinsurance subsidiary. Challenged by the rapid nature of growth of the business and sector, Kearney has overseen a large amount of activity related to international M&A transactions. She has been particularly praised for developing a comprehensive and innovative contractual framework, which has revolutionised this aspect of business processes. She has also introduced biannual training sessions across marketing, partner management and supply management teams. Smith has also introduced fundamental compliance frameworks, including one for anti-bribery and corruption.
Emma Kearney is a highly experienced lawyer in the IT sector, who plays an influential role in Yahoo!’s EMEA operations. Employed by the global internet giant since 2014, Kearney has developed a technology-savvy team of lawyers with a cross-border remit, capable of understanding the technicalities of the dynamic and ever-changing internet sector. Apart from showing strong leadership and organisational skills, necessary to foster such a well organised legal function, Kearney has shown remarkable adaptability in supporting Yahoo!’s ever changing portfolio of products and services. Her previous career features in-house stints at Websense and Vodafone and a private practice role at law firm Coughlan, White O’Toole.
One of the co-founders of Airsynergy, a privately owned renewable energy product development and licensing company founded in 2008, Adrian Kelly is a distinguished lawyer who also acts as the company’s general counsel and is at the forefront of the renewable energy generation industry in both a legal and commercial sense. Dealing with all legal aspects at group level, Kelly is heavily involved in the compliance, company secretarial and IP affairs of the company which, owing to the cutting edge technological aspects of Airsynergy’s products require innovative legal solutions. Kelly plays a central role in the business’ growth and strategy and has a key involvement in all strategic decisions. A previous inclusion in the GC Powerlist series, Kelly is known within the legal community and wider energy industry for his industry knowledge and entrepreneurial drive, and his tenacity and nous will be key for the relatively new entrant in the market in achieving its goal of revolutionising the entire energy industry.
‘Versatile and solution-orientated’, regional counsel Richard Kindred has been with Diageo for over five years and has gained broad experience in that time working in Ireland, Canada and Nigeria in various roles with diverse teams and issues ranging from marketing and sales to supply chain, compliance and data privacy. In his current role he leads the provision of legal advice to Diageo’s International Supply Centre (ISC) which brings together all of Diageo’s spirits and beer production operations in Europe and includes the production of world renowned brands such as Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Baileys, Smirnoff, and Gordon’s comprising over 70 production sites and more than 4,000 employees. Kindred concedes: ‘I pride myself on effectively partnering with the business to deliver required outcomes and providing fantastic advice and leadership on key issues’. Kindred is praised for being very pragmatic, solution focussed and for fully understanding stakeholder and business needs. He is described by peers as ‘a really strong team player, with really good views and opinions on all business issues’. Kindred previously worked for two top commercial law firms in Ireland before moving in-house. Since joining Diageo he has worked in Diageo’s sales, supply and global functions across multiple jurisdictions. This has involved managing a wide range of complex legal matters, developing successful working relationships with key stakeholders as well as providing leadership and guidance on challenging compliance issues. Kindred takes pride in leading and coaching junior lawyers and forming part of a number of successful leadership teams responsible for business performance.
Ryanair needs little in the way of introduction, as it is one of the most prominent and famous Irish companies globally, particularly within Europe where its low-cost, short-haul service has gone a long way towards revolutionising air travel in recent years. They have over 300 aircraft in operation, all Boeing 737-800 aircraft which allows standardisation in maintenance and training; this allows the company efficiency in operation which keep costs low and increases safety. Juliusz Komorek has been chief legal and regulatory officer since 2009, and had been employed by Ryanair since 2004; prior to this, he held a position within the European Commission’s directorate general for competition. He has, therefore, significant experience of governmental and regulatory matters from the regulator’s perspective. Komorek’s skills in this regard are particularly important given the sector that Ryanair operates in. Airlines are, for obvious reasons, very tightly regulated in terms of the operational side and any transgressions are guaranteed to lead to harsh penalties and significant reputational damage; when customers are trusting your company with their safety, it is especially important to ensure the company adheres as strictly as possible to prevailing regulations as much as possible.
Hailed as one of Ireland’s brightest legal talents, Ronan Lennon made his move in-house in January 2017, taking up a general counsel position at the Irish healthcare, technology and services business Clanwilliam Group. At present, Lennon deals with legal challenges encountered by the Group in a ‘thoughtful and composed manner’ and seamlessly provides advice to the Clanwilliam’s portfolio of companies, which includes Clanwilliam Health, Medical Management Services, Claimsure Sláinte, Bluespier International and Epic Solutions. Prior to moving in-house Lennon was a corporate and commercial solicitor at Eversheds Sutherland Ireland, where he impressed with his work in their media and advertising practice area. During his short experience in-house, Lennon has already received applauds from nominators for his ability to form synergies with commercial colleagues to effectively resolve day-to-day issues and implement vital strategic initiatives.
Ireland is a global centre of aircraft leasing, and the sector is a huge success story for the Irish economy, with it contributing around €4bn in revenue in 2016. GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) is the largest aircraft leasing and financing company in the world measured by size of fleet, with over 1950 aircraft worth tens of billions of dollars on their books. John Ludden is executive vice president and general counsel for this Irish-American business and is based at their Shannon Airport offices. His performance with GECAS has been rewarded by an ever-expanding portfolio, as he describes. ‘I guess the highlight of the role for me’, he says, ‘involves being given increased responsibility. Originally it was chiefly aircraft leasing, but now I am involved with some M&A activities, corporate restructuring, and we also moved 300 aircraft from the US to Ireland with various companies’. Aside from these personal highlights, Ludden has also had a major positive impact on how the GECAS legal team as a whole operates: ‘one thing that we focused on has been professional development of lawyers. To do this we revamped our professional development programme, make sure the legal team are kept up to date with occurrences in the market and tap into the global knowledge-base of the entire GECAS legal team’. Ludden believes that when providing a recommendation to the business, this should be ‘backed up by hard analysis and legal rationale’. He is adamant that this is the key factor in an in-house individual succcesfulyl adding added value to a business. ‘When you give an opinion’, he says, ‘stick to it, and be there for the commercial team as much as possible’.
To meet the demands of today’s mobile consumers, US company OtterBox has evolved to become a leading seller of premium protective cases for smartphones and tablets. As the company’s general counsel for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Claire Lyons handles legal matters from the OtterBox regional offices in Cork. Since joining the protective casing company in 2013, Lyons has overseen the release of numerous products to markets in EMEA, including a new line of audio and charging accessories in 2016 which was a new venture for OtterBox and is commended for achieving dramatic improvements in work quality and efficiency within the legal function over the past five years. Lyons joined the company after lecturing on intellectual property law at Griffith College Cork for one year and as a specialist in the field of IPR, she is well placed to protect OtterBox from copyright infringements and competitions law matters. Lyons was a solicitor at Solvotrin Therapeutics between 2010 and 2012 dealing with a range of legal matters including IPR, employment law, commercial contracts, company law and commercial property transactions. She obtained her bachelors of civil law and master’s degrees from University College Cork in 2005 and 2007 respectively, and also has a diploma in intellectual property and information technology law from the Law Society of Ireland.
Joining the Department of Finance as the only lawyer in 2009 in the aftermath of the worldwide crash is testament to Antoine Mac Donncha’s resilience as a pioneering in-house counsel in the public sector. Mac Donncha says: ‘I am enormously proud of the work I have been involved in over the last five years in particular. I have not just had a front seat while the state’s history has unfolded, I have been on the stage, albeit in a supporting role’. Under Mac Donncha’s management the legal team has now expanded and is involved in all legislation brought forward by the department, integrating legal expertise in the policy formulation framework of the department. On external challenges for the legal function MacDonncha admits: ‘Ireland weathered an unprecedented crisis in 2012 and has succeeded in normalising our access to sovereign debt markets and emerging from the financial crises’. Amongst the highlights of his career Mac Donncha established the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) in 2009 which took over €65bn loans from Irish banks and liquidated the IBRC. Mac Donncha was also central to the negotiation of the loan agreements Ireland entered into with external lenders in 2011.
Damian Maloney believes that ‘there is a certain amount of confidence you need in order to practice as an in-house lawyer’, and if so his career successes so far show that he has this in abundance. After a six-year stint in private practice, Maloney took on an in-house role with Oracle as a senior legal counsel for EMEA where he amassed a wealth of corporate legal expertise in an in-house setting. He moved to logistics management company Element Fleet Technology (an Ireland-based start-up and subsidiary of the larger Canadian firm Element Fleet Management) in July 2016 and has relished the opportunity to build a top-quality team from the ground up. ‘One of the great highlights of my career has been being afforded the chance in my latest role to get under the hood of the software development projects as part of a three member leadership team. To grow something from where we had an empty office and no policy or procedure to fitting it out, hiring staff and experiencing all aspects of starting a business along the way has been incredibly rewarding’, says Maloney. Now, the company is well-established, and Maloney goes into its complex business operations: ‘We act as the vendor of IT services within the group, and work with the company’s product management teams and what the needs of their customers are. We are set up very independently in Ireland and interact with North America as a customer’. Maloney feels his skillset makes him well placed to play a key role in taking the company forward too. ‘The marriage of corporate legal, structuring and IT’, he concludes, ‘suits the company’s current legal needs very well’.
Credited for driving an ethical and inclusive culture at Nestlé, Mark Maurice-Jones has been responsible for aligning the legal function with the business and shaping the business agenda. Initially Maurice-Jones studied chemical engineering at university: ‘I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do as a career so I went to Hong Kong and taught for a year and a half and then came back to the UK and retrained as a lawyer’. Ever since, Maurice-Jones has become an invaluable asset to the Irish legal community. After qualifying as a lawyer he started at law firm Lovell White Durrant (now Hogan Lovells) as a UK and EU antitrust specialist and ended up qualifying as a competition lawyer doing a wide variety of contentious regulatory work. After this role he had a short stint at law firm Herbert-Smith Feehills. Although Maurice-Jones enjoyed the work he did in private practice, he wanted to have more of an international career, admitting: ‘I wanted the opportunity to work in different jurisdictions and get close to the business and saw myself more as a corporate professional as opposed to a specialist’. This realisation led Maurice-Jones to joining American multinational personal care corporation Kimberly-Clark in their EMEA department where he spent 15 years including spells as head of the EMEA legal team as the associate general counsel, a time he describes as a ‘fantastic experience’. In May 2014 he joined Nestlé as general counsel and head of legal services, UK and Ireland. Since starting at Nestlé, Maurice-Jones has developed a compliance programme which is focused on driving a culture of ethics and transparency: ‘I talk about doing the right thing. Less about following process and rules and more about encouraging good behaviours around transparency, creating a culture of doing the right thing. That talks a lot to leadership behaviours, which is something the business is very keen to improve and has given me a conduit to drive the business agenda at Nestlé.’
Catherine May has amassed over 10 years of international financial experience and in her current capacity set up the financial services business of Dell in the EMEA region. Establishing this involved applying for a bank license and designing, planning and executing a heavily regulated business in Europe. May admits: ‘It was hugely rewarding to be involved in the establishment of a business that has such importance both geographically and commercially for Dell’. May was initially only responsible for legal matters in 18 countries, including corporate governance, treasury, transactions and litigation. Due to the expansion of her role to cover Asia Pacific and Japan in 2016, May now has responsibility for all legal matters across 30 jurisdictions which has led her to adapting the legal and risk support model to business operations across the jurisdictions. In order to regulate all operations May has established a program of metrics to ensure that legal work and legal resource is aligned to the needs and the risks of the business. Used to holding ultimate responsibility for legal matters at top companies, prior to her current role May was appointed chief European counsel for CIT Group at the relatively early age of 32 and only 12 months after joining as in-house counsel.
With several years’ experience acquired working in the in-house legal market for energy companies, Kevin McCarthy is the chief legal officer of Brookfield Renewables, a Candian headquartered energy company that has power producing facilities in Ireland acquired from Bord Gáis Energy’s Irish wind business in 2014 and is Brookfield’s first operating platform outside the Americas. Providing commercially focused legal counsel spanning all of Brookfield’s operations in Ireland, McCarthy is an expert in the applicable energy sector legal fields that include property law, IP, contract negotiation and corporate law. In addition to his background at energy companies SWS Energy and Bord Gais Energy, McCarthy spent almost a decade in private practice at law firms Landwell Solicitors and Donegans where was able to accrue his vast knowledge of commercial and property law.
During his eight-year tenure at Ireland’s leading telecommunications company, Peter McCarthy has led many of its defining projects and transactions. Joining Virgin Media Ireland in 2009, McCarthy’s role has expanded and developed over the years and in February 2017 he was appointed legal director for Virgin Media Ireland managing the Irish based legal team. The re-brand to Virgin Media was injected with new energy and dynamism, McCarthy reveals; ‘It paved the way for more recognition of the legal team as an integral part of the business.’ Most recently, he negotiated Virgin Media (then UPC)’s ground-breaking agreement with telecommunications and internet service provider 3, which made it Ireland’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services provider. McCarthy has also sought to simplify processes for stakeholders in how they instruct and liaise with the legal team. This has helped reduce the time it takes to market new services, projects and contract turnaround. ‘I am a firm believer in legal working with and adding value to the business rather than being perceived as a “blocker” (within reason of course!)’. McCarthy’s strong commercial focus was reflected in his selection for an internal leadership development program. He also played a significant role as a company-wide consultant aiming to improve internal processes and employee satisfaction. Heading a small legal team, McCarthy worked alongside corporate teams to roll out a comprehensive contract-management system.
Responsible for managing and improving Ireland’s national road and light rail networks, TII was created in 2015 after the Roads Act 2015 provided for the merger of the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) into the National Roads Authority. Since TII’s formation, Edel McCormack has been the head of governance and legal. In fact, McCormack was property lawyer at the RPA for two and a half years before the merger and that NII chose to retain her services demonstrates the high level of trust and confidence they have in her proven legal skills. Features of McCormack’s time at RPA include entering into agreements in order to secure the provision of railway infrastructure and the acquisition and development of land adjacent to railway works. Before working in the public sector, McCormack was an executive education programme manager at University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School between 2011 and 2012. Her professional legal career started in 1997 at O’Donnel Solicitors, a law firm she remained at for nine years, and she has had further spells in private practice at firms such as Ralph McMahon Solicitors and Access Legal.
After a rewarding private practice career, Ian McLaughlin moved into the Corporate and Treasury in-house team at Bank of Ireland, a position he recalls fondly as ‘a really good role with prominent transactions and a lot of face to face time with senior bank executives’. In 2014, and now equipped with an excellent capital markets legal skillset as well as highly valuable experience of top level in-house legal work, he moved to NBC Global Finance (NBCGF), the then newly established Irish subsidiary of National Bank of Canada. McLaughlin points out how his role has been a highly positive one both in terms of enjoyment and broadening his skillset. ‘The skills I developed at Bank of Ireland on the transactional, regulatory and compliance side are very useful here, particularly as NBCGF’s parent company is a non-EEA bank so much of what the team has done here represented a ground-up exercise; it is rewarding to have made a contribution to a start-up equity finance business, taking a leading role in the MiFID authorisation process and establishing trading support, corporate governance and regulatory compliance frameworks. As well as this, I am surrounded by very talented people; we have to accomplish business objectives together and fostering good working relations with people is essential’, explains McLaughlin. In terms of finding the right people to bring into his team, McLaughlin highlights that: ‘You have to learn and understand the business. I sit in an office next to that of the CEO but am no more than ten metres away from the trading desk and make sure to understand its operations and the other supporting functions. Having a good idea about financials – definitely something lawyers are often not great at – is a must, as is getting across that you are approachable and being humble enough to ask colleagues to explain something again so there is clarity about what is expected’.
Darren McMahon has spent over ten years at American international financial services firm State Street, and provides legal support to the company’s global services business in Ireland and the Channel Islands. Managing the legal team and providing an extensive amount of knowledge in the areas of mutual funds and collective investment structures, McMahon’s ability to wear different hats within the business is commended. It is no surprise, therefore, that he is a member of the State Street Ireland Management Committee. In terms of legal practice areas, McMahon oversees the provision of general legal advice on matters such as corporate law, M&A and regulatory affairs and is embedded in the company’s office network via his work on cross border projects. Having previously undertaken legal roles at noteworthy financial companies including Bank of America, Zurich Capital Markets and Cardinal Asset Management, McMahon is experienced in dealing with the aforementioned legal issues along with mitigating regulatory challenges from domestic and foreign regulators. With an in-house career spanning over two decades, McMahon started his legal career as a private practice lawyer at McCann FitzGerald in 1993 after qualifying as a solicitor in Ireland.
IFRU is the governing body that manages rugby in the island of Ireland. With rugby being one of Ireland’s most popular sports and with the Irish national rugby team being one of the sport’s most historic and successful sides, Declan McPhillips holds a glamorous and distinguished position in Ireland’s in-house legal market as the IFRU’s head of legal and compliance. McPhillips played a pivotal role in agreements which led to the redevelopment of the country’s national stadium in 2010: the IRFU set up a joint venture with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) to co-own the new stadium and reached a ten-year agreement with insurance company Aviva to sponsor the redevelopment in exchange for exclusive naming rights. He has also managed the IRFU’s numerous sponsorship deals with companies such as Aon, PwC, Guinness, Vodafone and Aer Lingus. In 2017 he led on lobbying efforts regarding the resale of tickets in Ireland following a consultation paper issued on the matter by the Competition and Consumer Policy Section in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Philip Merrils-Dearn joined the global social media company Twitter in April 2016. In his role as associate general counsel and EMEA head of legal, Merrils-Dearn is responsible for providing a full legal and commercial service for the company’s businesses in the region, which cover 80 countries. A current focus of his is simplifying and accelerating Twitter’s contracting cycle to support broader growth and business development initiatives into new uses for the Twitter platforms. The biggest change Merrils-Dearn has initiated within his legal team is ‘making sure that the team focuses on complex items and removes unnecessary work by introducing LPO services’. He says: ‘One thing GCs are asked to do is provide more with less. Some of the innovations I have deployed over the years have given real change to the way in-house lawyering is done, by taking away the low end work, enabling the complex work to stay in house and providing career development. This includes tool development and strategic deployment of LPO services’. Before joining Twitter, Merrils-Dearn spent nearly 15 years with Hewlett-Packard: ‘I took part in a variety of roles starting as a junior and working my way to senior roles in EMEA. I led significant worldwide projects including negotiating a deal with the Bank of Ireland, which at the time was the largest IT outsourcing agreement in Ireland in terms of revenue and number of transferring employees’. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of London in 1992 and 1993 respectively. Currently providing advice to Twitter’s executive management on local, EU, US and global issues, Merrils-Dearn will continue to play an integral role in advising Twitter’s business on the impacts of new EU legislation and the implications of Brexit in the foreseeable future.
The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is an independent national authority tasked with enforcing data protection legislation in Ireland. With nine out of the top 10 global IT companies and many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and financial services businesses now located in the country, the range of issues the office deals with has expanded dramatically. Anna Morgan has led the legal department of the organisation since 2016 and has already impressed with her capabilities in providing high quality legal advice in a dynamic environment, playing a crucial role in advising on the application of data protection law. Morgan’s previous experience features positions at law firms Philip Lee and Landwell Solicitors.
Damien Moynagh currently serves as the general counsel at UDG Healthcare plc, a leading international provider of services to the healthcare industry, employing almost 8,000 employees and operating across 23 countries including the US, Japan, the UK, Ireland and Germany. Taking on the new role as a general counsel at UDG Healthcare gave him the opportunity to gain invaluable experience working with a successful FTSE 250 company focused on accelerating growth through M&As in the US, continental Europe and Japan, regions where he had practiced as a corporate lawyer with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Maples and Calder. Prior to his current role, Moynagh served as a COO and general counsel at Sysnet Global Solutions, a leading global provider of information security assurance and compliance validation services. In his short time at UDG Healthcare, Moynagh has transformed the legal team from one made up of divisionally-based teams to a centralised Group function organised on a regional basis. Speaking on this change Moynagh reveals; ‘The objective is to ensure that all parts of the business are equally supported and that the knowledge base within the team is widened such that all lawyers are able to support all aspects of the business, while at the same time motivating and broadening the team’s experience.’ With his execution-focused mind set, Moynagh has become a core part of the UDG leadership team and, with his team, a true enabler of its organic and inorganic growth.
For the last three years Orla Murphy has served as the regional general counsel for Synopsys, a provider of electronic design automation and the world’s 15th largest software company. In this capacity Murphy advises on software development and consumer-facing agreements using her outstanding technical understanding to approach all matters. Throughout her career Murphy is credited with demonstrating strong skills in corporate law and a deep knowledge of her clients’ businesses. Before her current role, she served as corporate counsel – M&A at Thermo Fisher Scientific, a world leader in serving science. Prior to that she worked in private practice for Dundas & Wilson as a senior associate from September 2006 until December 2012. Murphy also served as a senior associate for MacRoberts for three years and associate at Arthur Cox for four years.
Ruth Murphy has served the majority of her in-house career with BT Ireland, joining the telecommunications giant in March 2004 as a commercial lawyer and working her way up the ranks over the years. In 2012 she was promoted to senior commercial lawyer and having excelled in the role was promoted to chief counsel two years later. Murphy assumed her current position in April 2016 and in this capacity has been heavily involved with each element of the business, having input into all key decisions that the business makes, whether it is strategic, customer or employee related. Leading a team of six lawyers across Ireland to support the business and to act as problem solvers, Murphy has trained them to be excellent advisers able to support all aspects of BT’s Irish operations. Credited for moulding the internal structure and creating the close relationship with the business, the legal function has been described by the business as ‘the core of everything [they] do.’ Prior to her in-house role Murphy served as a commercial solicitor at Eversheds Ireland.
Qualifying in 1994 and with RSA Ireland since 2011, James Murray was required to prove his mettle as an internal counsel very quickly upon taking his first in-house role with concrete company Ready Mix/Cemex in 2007. ‘I joined Ready Mix just as the Irish construction industry collapsed’, he recalls, ‘but I actually remember this period as a career highlight, as this baptism of fire was great in terms of career experience’. While with RSA, as the first dedicated in house resource for Ireland, Murray feels it has been ‘really a matter of creating the RSA Ireland legal department from scratch’, and that ‘going from constantly referring to external counsel to looking after matters yourself and minimising internal legal cost’ was required in order to establish the legal department in the minds of the company. The business environment is often an unforgiving one, and Murray has worked in companies who have had their fair share of ups and downs throughout his career in business. His recipe for dealing with downturns and other negative external factors is a simple one: ‘Lots of hard work and the ability to put in the hours are absolutely key. When you are in the middle of crisis management there is no substitute for this. Aside from that, you must stay close to the business and make sure you are always offering value over and above any external counsel’. Murray extends this advice to other in-house counsel who would look to emulate his success in the future: ‘It’s all about getting immersed in the business. In-house relationships are crucial and you have to get in there and build relationships from the start in order to gain trust around the business. Let people understand the in-house legal function is there for them, and that an in-house legal team can make their life easier’.
Gemma Neylon is an in-house lawyer with a formidable academic record. Since 2011 she has been general counsel at OpenJaw Technologies, a company that transforms travel companies into travel retailers through its unique platform t-Retail. Her skills proved invaluable to the company in 2014 when Neylon supported OpenJaw through its $41.2m acquisition by GuestLogix and then again in 2016 when TravelSky Technology, a state-owned Chinese global distribution system, bought the company. ‘This process included liaising with the IDA (Industrial Development Authority) in Ireland and working to integrate OpenJaw’s legal affairs seamlessly with those of TravelSky’, recalls Neylon. Over the course of her time at OpenJaw she has been involved in successful incorporation of new subsidiary companies in Poland and Hong Kong, and is currently in the process of incorporating their newest subsidiary in Dalian, China. Before joining OpenJaw, Neylon spent almost six years at leading Irish law firm Mason Hayes & Curran. Neylon’s notable academic achievements include receiving the UCC Conway Kelleher Tobin Prize for Excellence in Technology Law in the final year of her bachelor’s degree, receiving first prize in the Law Society 2008 Negotiation Competition during whilst completing her Law Society Professional Practice Course and being awarded first class honours for MBA at University College Dublin, Smurfit Business School in 2016. Highlighting the significance of this most recent award on her current role, Neylon says ‘the MBA has given me a more business-oriented perspective from which to view legal problems, allowing me to define solutions that are aligned with the goals of the organisation’. Neylon is also a qualified European trade mark attorney, lectures on intellectual property, commercial law and technology law at the Law Society of Ireland and is a member of the Law Society Curriculum Development Committee.
Having previously been recognised as one of Ireland’s premier in-house lawyers in the GC Powerlist: Ireland, with her legal team also being included on the GC Powerlist: Ireland Teams in 2016, Linda NiChualladh is the regulatory and competition counsel for An Post, the state-owned provider of postal services in the Republic of Ireland. Such accreditation is typical of the way in which she is a well-regarded expert in providing a specialist legal perspective on a wide range of company matters. NiChualladh is a renowned expert in data protection law and occupies a position at the forefront of industry conversations surrounding domestic and international postal communication regulations, Irish and EU policy and privacy by design and data retention and security laws. NiChualladh is also involved in affairs that necessitate the knowledge of cutting edge regulation in the sector, on all traditional national and international business offerings and digital products and services to all companies within the Group. An Post is currently diversifying into new business areas including financial services, social enterprise, and public service delivery, and due to her serving the company for over a decade – and her excellent skill in doing so – NiChualladh is well-placed to lead An Post into the future.
During his legal career, ‘excellent lawyer’ James O’Rourke has amassed significant in-house legal experience in the pharmaceutical sector and now is the most senior lawyer in Ireland for Perrigo, a leading global healthcare company and international manufacturer of private label over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Before he joined Perrigo in March 2017, O’Rourke served as senior legal counsel and company secretary between 2014 and 2017 at Concordia International (formerly AMCo), a diverse healthcare company focused on delivering its portfolio of legacy pharmaceutical products and orphan drugs to patients in more than 100 countries. He also gained significant experience in the healthcare sector whilst working for Norbrook Laboratories, a leading global provider of veterinary pharmaceuticals, between 2012 and 2014. Committed to academic pursuits also, O’Rourke is a lecturer on commercial contracts, dispute resolution and anti-bribery and corruption management at the Law Society of Ireland. He has obtained numerous post-graduate qualifications from the same institution including diplomas in corporate law and governance (2009), in-house practice (2012) and intellectual property and technology law (2014).
Quoted on the London & Irish stock exchanges and earning revenue totals of €6.1bn in 2016, Kerry Group provides a large and innovative portfolio of taste and nutrition technologies and systems for the global food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. As global head of group legal affairs of the extremely successful company, Martin O’Donoghue is a highly regarded member of Ireland’s in-house legal community. After spending approximately €1bn on acquiring firms to expand its portfolio in the past two years, Kerry Group plans to continue targeting acquisitions in developing markets. O’Donoghue’s skills in conducting cross-border M&As, business strategy and management were integral in achieving those recent deals and will continue to play a part in the company’s foreseeable future.
Serving as the general counsel and company secretary for Vodafone Ireland, Sarah O’Gorman leads the commercially-minded legal team supporting the business, ensuring risks are dealt with and enabling the company to carry out its aims in a legally safe and compliant manner. During her time in this position she has been able to lead on the launch of a number of Vodafone Ireland’s new technologies including Ireland’s first 3G network, DSPA+ technology as well as the launch of HD Voice, a call clarity enabler. Under her management and further demonstrating her capability to guide business strategy and boost results, Vodafone Ireland recently upgraded their national network and today their services are used by 2.2 million customers, allowing them to report significant service revenues despite the regulatory and market pressures associated with the sector. Prior to this role O’Gorman served as a commercial solicitor for BT Ireland and had a five-year stint in private practice as a commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution solicitor for A&L Goodbody.
Emmet O’Grady has had an exciting in-house career to date, which included a long and successful tenure with Paddy Power. Here, he was significantly involved with laying the legal groundwork for the infamous stunt that saw Danish footballer Nicklas Bendtner reveal the Paddy Power logo on his shorts after scoring a goal at the Euro 2012 competition (indeed, O’Grady lists this high-profile endeavour as one of his career highlights). Now, he is engaged as General Counsel and Head of Compliance for Storyful, the global leader in social insights, news and user-generated content for media partners.. O’Grady established the legal function at Storyful in 2015 and now feels it is a mature and high-performing part of the business. ‘Prior to my joining’, he recalls, ‘and as with many SMEs, legal issues were managed by the CFO. As revenues and complexities grew a specialist was needed. Compliance is a big deal here, especially as we are now part of the News Corp group, and we have been able to inherit a lot of expertise from other News Corp companies’. Now well established as one of the most innovative GCs in Ireland, O’Grady goes into what he thinks has contributed to his success over his career. ‘I think the most important thing for any lawyer going in-house is to really understand the business. Get your hands dirty and look to get to know the business as much as possible. Your colleagues will really appreciate this, which pays dividends down the line when negotiating contracts or advising on new products, for example’, he advises.
The global insurance provider MetLife has made significant investments in Ireland in the last few years and has expanded in the country rapidly, adding new products and services to its portfolio and growing its workforce. In addition to providing legal advice to MetLife’s Irish business, John O’Halloran leads a legal team of approximately 25 lawyers who cover 12 jurisdictions in Western and Central Europe. Hailed for his ability to work ‘in synchrony’ with business teams and senior management, O’Halloran has made significant impact on the direction and method of expansion plans in the region. Prior to adding Central Europe to his responsibilities in January 2015, O’Halloran worked as MetLife’s head of legal for Western Europe. His previous career features a four-year stint as a solicitor at McCann FitzGerald and a five-year tenure as head of legal services at the Irish League of Credit Unions.
Since being formed in 1997 out of the merger of Avonmore Foods and Waterford Foods, Glanbia has developed into a global nutrition company which sells or distributes its products in over 130 countries and boasts an annual turnover of €3.6bn. An employee of the company since 2002 and group general counsel since 2006, Michael O’Hara has been involved in various activities that have assisted Glanbia to grow exponentially during the course of his time there. Examples of key projects worked on include overseeing the strategic acquisitions of Amazing Grass in the US and Body & Fit in the Netherlands worth €181m in total. More recently, O’Hara played a vital role in the sale of a 60% stake in Glanbia’s Dairy Ireland subsidiary to Glanbia Co-op as part of a strategic initiative that ‘will bring together Glanbia Group’s Irish dairy and agri-businesses under single ownership and will enable Glanbia to continue to focus on its two growth platforms of Glanbia Performance Nutrition and Glanbia Nutritionals’, according to an official source. During his 15-year association with the company, O’Hara has demonstrated his business-oriented approach by taking on a number of roles for the Group’s subsidiaries. These have included serving eleven years as chairman of Glanbia Enterprise Fund, a venture capital JV with Enterprise Ireland, and O’Hara bearing ultimate responsibility for managing the Glanbia Estates’ property portfolio in Ireland. He graduated in law from Trinity College, Dublin in 1984 and has an MBA from University College Dublin. O'Hara is also a CEDR Accredited Mediator.
Coming from a private practice background, Peter O’Neill took up his in-house role at Facebook five years ago, which he describes as a refreshing move into a dynamic environment. As one of the earliest members of the Facebook Ireland team, O’Neill leads a team of contract lawyers who support commercial advertising deals for the sales organisation across EMEA, LATAM and APAC. Prior to his legal career, O’Neill completed a masters degree in philosophy, but then changed direction to study law. He worked in the IT law departments of two large Dublin firms, focusing on privacy law and commercial contracts, which served as an excellent foundation and basis for his current role at Facebook. O’Neill finds the wide multjurisdictional breadth of the current work to be highly rewarding, in particular negotiating deals across a diverse range of countries, which requires insight and flexibility of thought. Giving advice to other in-house counsel on how to operate such an environment, O’Neill emphasises the importance of ‘being open minded and collaborative in your thinking and willing to consider carefully the positrion of other people on the other side of the negotiating table’.
First Names Group is a leading provider of trust, fund real estate and corporate administration services around the globe. Described by a colleague as an ‘experienced business leader’, Jennifer O’Riordan has been a driving force behind the group’s legal department. Apart from providing excellent legal advice to the business in Ireland, O’Riordan has also acted as a trusted advisor to senior management on strategic business projects and transactions. Prior to being promoted to the position of head of legal affairs, corporate and institutional services, O’Riordan worked as a legal counsel focusing on risk and compliance. Before that she worked at a number of leading law firms, including Fitzgibbon O’Riordan, William Fry, Michael Houlihan & Partners and Holmes O’Malley Sexton Solicitors. She started her career at Enterprise Ireland in 1998.
Training and practicing successfully for many years with Arthur Cox, where she reached the level of senior associate, Orla Ormsby decided to move to in-house work because she wanted to balance legal protection and risk with the needs of the business as part of a collaborative effort. Joining pensions consultancy company Invesco Ireland in August 2015, Ormsby has seen a steady expansion of her role since then, and she now has a much broader set of responsibilities compared to when she started. She has earned this extra responsibility by improving the legal function significantly during her tenure. This was highly important, as the area the company works in is in an ever-increasing state of legislative and regulatory complexity, and as such Invesco is always looking to head off any potential reforms or regulatory challenges that may exist in the future. Overall, Ormsby believes the transition from private practice to legal work is a big challenge, but one that is worth it for anyone looking for a rewarding working life.
SIRO, a startup business owned by telecoms giants ESB and Vodafone, aims to bring high speed internet service online across Ireland, especially smaller rural areas and so bridge the ‘digital gap’ that exists between these places and Dublin. Audrey O’ Sullivan, general counsel, explains that she was the ideal fit for the role when she was approached to take it on: ‘How I got here was a combination of having the right qualifications, the right experience, keeping up to date with current technology and the legal developments around this, and maintaining deep contacts and relationships among the profession’. Indeed, her prior experience with BT and WorldPay provided O’Sullivan with valuable experience in the telecoms and IT sectors respectively, as well as a number of career highlights. ‘During my time with BT’, she remembers, ‘a particular highlight was working on building a mobile network for 3 back in the early noughties, as this was a very large contract which allowed for a lot of useful learning opportunities’. Alongside this, ‘going from a very large multi-national to a startup was extremely interesting as it highlighted to me that the characteristics of working in a large company or in a small one are essentially the same; these are based around great working relationships first and foremost’. O’Sullivan was afforded the opportunity to build her own legal function at SIRO, and has taken a progressive approach that is in keeping with the culture of the business. ‘I always wanted to grow the legal team organically, as this helps to introduce savings and the knowledge base to grow. I decided to onboard external legal advisors only for niche work, and utilised alternative legal firms such as Axiom for any other work’. O’ Sullivan is very keen on the different solutions that alternative legal providers can provide a business, and looks to avoid classic fee arrangements as much as possible: ‘I do challenge external advisors in terms of cost models, and stay away from hourly rate as much as possible in order to keep legal spend low for the business’.
Robert Owens, head of legal for Ireland at Danske Bank, mentions two projects that he recalls particularly fondly among the other successes he has had with the company since joining in 2009. ‘In terms of highlights’, he explains, ‘one was managing the change in business model from an Irish bank to a cashless retail bank, where I was involved in negotiating with a provider and managing the transfer of that business. Another would be that we were one of the first banks to offer mobile apps in Ireland, in around 2011, which required me to display my expertise in digitisation and dealing with tech in banking’. Managing the business model change required Owens to think on his feet and develop a versatility that he looks to continue within the legal function, prizing ‘flexibility and openness to change’ particularly highly. ‘The effects of the Irish financial crisis were particularly keenly felt’, he recalls, ‘and led to the winding up of part of our business. Managing legal affairs through a time of exceptional change to the strategic direction of the bank as a whole involved decentralization and reorganising the team to attach lawyers directly to business units’. Owens, always looking to tailor his legal advice as much as possible to the specific needs of the business, advises other in-house legal counsel to know their businesses inside out. ‘I would like to see a move on the part of in-house counsel to be more of a business partner’, says Owens, ‘as there is a need to really see as much of the business as possible. Alongside this, proactivity in terms of dealing with problems and as much partnership as possible with the business mark out the best in-house legal teams’.
Microsoft has a significant operation in Ireland and hosts several business units in the country involved in software development and testing operations, finance, human resources and sales and marketing. Having been in her role of senior attorney and head of legal at Microsoft Ireland since June 2016, Rebecca Radloff supports the Irish arm of the company, which includes handling matters for Microsoft’s EMEA operations centre, its Irish subsidiary, its internal sales and Irish government affairs divisions and its policy and regulatory compliance area. In addition to overseeing legal support of day-to-day activities of the company across these areas, Radloff advises executive level management on business strategy and complex legal issues. She also acts as a lead attorney for key strategic cloud transactions in regulated vehicles and manages Microsoft’s Irish legal team to deliver a support model that can scale across the larger EMEA region. Prior to moving to Ireland, Radloff served as an attorney covering Central and Eastern Europe from Microsoft’s Munich office and before that she acted as a business consumer sector attorney supporting Microsoft’s advertising and online organisation. She kicked off her legal career at the law firm Graham & Dunn.
Ed Riley drew particular acclaim for his role in Dublin based aircraft leasing company Avolon’s IPO on the NYSE in December 2014. ‘This was the culmination of the first four and a half years of Avolon’s growth and was the largest ever IPO of an Irish-founded company’, Riley claims. With extensive experience in the industry, Riley has amassed a total of 16 years working within the aeronautical industry in a legal capacity including roles as senior legal counsel at Airbus and senior vice president, commercial negotiation at RBS Aviation Capital. He joined Avolon in 2010 and created the legal function and oversaw the aviation specialist’s global business expand spectacularly, to one comprising 126 aircrafts with a $5.6bn net worth. Heading a compact team of eight, Riley’s management skills are praised as much as his legal knowledge. He has developed a function capable of excelling whilst operating amidst an environment involving a high amount of technically complex transactions. Riley was featured in the The Legal 500’s inaugural GC Powerlist: Ireland and is a graduate of Durham University.
Bord Gáis Energy provides gas and electricity to over 680,000 customers in Ireland. Joanne Ross, head of legal and regulation, has been with the company since 2011. She describes that she has been able to create and sculpt the legal function throughout her time in her current role, as the internal legal function was not well established upon her joining. ‘When I joined Bord Gais Energy it was just being set up as a separate business division in Bord Gais Eireann so I got the opportunity to build a really strong internal legal team and to define, with the team, what we thought was the best model to use to support our business. I did a lot of work to make sure the team understands the business inside and out, centralised the appointment and management of all external lawyers, and put a lot of effort into engaging with the key people our business on what the legal function’s role is and how we will work together’. In 2014 she got the opportunity to play a key role in the restructuring of the Bord Gais Energy which enabled its privatisation and sale to a consortium of three buyers. Ross remained with the supply side of the business, which was acquired by Centrica plc and has since played a key role in the integration process. She feels that in order to provide the most effective legal advice possible to their clients, ‘law firms could do more thinking on how to deliver certain sorts of services more cost effectively. With discovery and due diligence, for instance, you can spend very significant amounts of money and it can be difficult to justify the cost as the value add is not always very tangible’. As well as this, she believes private practice firms are now ‘less likely to give secondees to in-house teams, which is a shame as these can be the best way to deal with short term capacity issues for the client and can provide really good client insight and experience to the secondees themselves which I think is a valuable development opportunity’.
Nominated for his excellent legal work in the Irish public sector, Kenneth Ruane is the current head of legal affairs for the Republic of Ireland’s police force, An Garda Síochána. With over half a decade spent at the force, Ruane dispenses legal advice directly to the most senior people concerned, holding the distinguished role of legal advisor to the Garda commissioner. A lawyer with large amounts of experience, Ruane began his current role in 2011 after almost 13 years as a state solicitor at the Irish Chief State Solicitor’s Office, providing solicitor services to the attorney general and a variety of government departments.
Having led the Irish operation of the global aircraft leasing company, Intrepid Aviation, Thomas Schmid has built a team of highly skilled professionals who have become known internally for their great sense of camaraderie in supporting future growth. To improve speed and efficiency of work within the function, Schmid recently brought a senior lawyer and a highly experienced contract manager to the team. ‘As a result our processes are far more robust, not only in terms of entering new contracts, but also in terms of the management of existing arrangements from aircraft leases to vendor agreements and contracts for the provision of corporate support services’, he says. Recently Schmid’s team experienced a significant challenge in the form of an insolvency of one of its largest airline customers, which resulted in the in the repossession of 7 aircraft, which were laid off for a significant period whilst a new lessee was identified, leases were negotiated and the aircraft reconfigured. Whilst the insolvency was a highly complex process and put significant strain on the business, through a very integrated approach across all the various disciplines within the business, Schmid and his colleagues successfully achieved a positive outcome following a two-year process. Whist at his previous employer, CIT Aerospace, Schmid moved internalised most of the legal work to generate a far more efficient and responsive process in addition to saving on significant costs. He started his in-house legal career at TUI Group in the UK, where he was involved in a mix of aviation regulatory work, commercial contracts and aircraft leasing.
The Irish branch of global pharmaceuticals company Pfizer has employed legal director Rory Sullivan since 2006. As part of his role in providing general commercial legal support for all of Pfizer activities in Ireland, Sullivan was involved on the acquisition of Wyeth in 2009. ‘This was a highly complex deal operating in different environments and involved a significant increase in the Irish footprint’, recalls Sullivan. Since then, he has worked on a number of activities for the company to maintain its strong performance in Ireland. Internally, Sullivan moved his legal team on to matrix-working due to a reduction in size in order ‘to ensure that the whole team has knowledge of all parts of the business (to allow continuity provide support) and to ensure full development of individual team members’. Before joining Pfizer, Sullivan held senior legal positions for GSMA and 3Com where he was general counsel EMEA for almost five years and worked on the establishment of a joint venture in China. ‘This taught me the intricacies of working in a large cross-matrix international negotiation in a highly complex deal and I really enjoyed working in China’ he says. From 1992 onwards, Sullivan spent eight years at the Chambers of Alastair Wilson QC, a specialist IP chambers in London, and was a legal assistant in IBM’s patent department between 1989 and 1992. He graduated from the University of Oxford in 1989.
Paddy Power Betfair’s Edward Traynor is praised by sources for his outstanding expertise in corporate governance, employment law and dispute resolution, alongside his problem-solving skills and his ability to maintain a productive relationship with senior management. Having joined the company shortly after the merger between Paddy Power and Betfair in 2015, Traynor contributed to the successful integration of the two companies and provided stability during a seminal period for the new company. Previously, Traynor accumulated substantial telecommunication sector experience, having overseen the in-house legal function of Vodafone in Ireland for four years. Over the same period, he held directorial positions at Fónua and Netshare Ireland. Prior to his venture into the telecommunications sector, Traynor worked in private practice at law firms Eugene F. Collins and McCann FitzGerald.
Suzanne Tucker joined EY Ireland in 2003 and has been working there as general counsel since, adding responsibilities for the firm’s risk management function since January 2016. She was the first solicitor appointed to EY’s business in Ireland and has single-handedly crafted a strong and efficient legal department, which is now a core support function to the business. Highlights for Tucker over the past decade include situations where as a result of careful and determined management of very fraught legal cases, the best possible outcome has been achieved. Tucker is also known for navigating EY through the turbulent times of the 2008 recession, where her team encountered increased regulation, particularly in the provision of audit services. ‘These challenges have been overcome by determination, education as to the issues, relationships both internal and external and attention to the firm’s core business’, she says. Following her qualification in 1992, Tucker spent the first three years of her career working as a commercial and property lawyer in CIE. She then spent four years as an in-house counsel at Irish Life & Permanent, followed by a four year period at ICS Building Society. ‘Value your skills, have confidence in the advice you provide, be commercial but not overly’, Tucker advises her peers.
Part of the American multinational financial services company Western Union, Western Union Payment Services Ireland Limited (WUPSIL)’s line of business focuses on the operation of payments services. Feidhlimidh Wrafter has held the dual role of head of legal and compliance since 2013. In fulfilling the legal side of his role, Wrafter is the key adviser to WUPSIL’s board and senior management regarding all governance, legal and regulatory affairs matters in order to mitigate and manage risk across all 30 EEA jurisdictions in which it operates in. Recent challenges Wrafter continues to help the company overcome include the implications of Brexit and the increasing competition and digital trends within the payment sector. ‘Each of these has been proactively managed through briefings and consultation with business management to ensure the business is supported as it makes strategic commercial decisions to minimise risk to revenue and growth’, says Wrafter. The compliance element of his role has seen Wrafter establish and manage a regulatory compliance function ensuring WUPSIL’s payment services licence obligations and commitments to the Central Bank of Ireland and European regulators are adhered to. To handle the latest regulatory developments in anti-money laundering, Wrafter designed and implemented sophisticated compliance programs. ‘Individual projects and compliance programs have been established to proactively address each of these in order to ensure we are ready to meet new requirements as they come into effect’, says Wrafter. Before joining WUPSIL, Wrafter was at IBRC (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) for one year as senior counsel and head of legacy in charge of on the most significant public interest litigations involving address ongoing litigation involving the capitalised bank. Prior to that, he established his career as a litigation and dispute resolution and financial services advisory expert at leading law firm A&L Goodbody between 1999 and 2001.
McCann FitzGerald is delighted to continue its support of the GC Powerlist in Ireland, recognising as it does the breadth and depth of legal talent that play an increasing important role in many of Ireland’s most successful businesses.
The environment in which lawyers operate is dynamic and ever-changing. Increasing workload and risk, the demand for delivery of more legal services at less cost, limited availability of qualified legal resources and increasing use of technology are just some of the drivers in today’s highly competitive market for legal services. These changes place serious demands on all lawyers, both in-house and in private practice, to constantly evaluate how they deliver their services and to figure out how to respond to the demand for increased efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of legal services.
Innovation has been the key to ensuring that McCann FitzGerald responds to these changes. Technology is having a transformative effect on all businesses and the legal services sector is no exception. The choice is to drive onwards and to progress, or risk becoming irrelevant – that is why we have put innovation at the heart of our strategy.
Building on the successful launch of the Data Investigations Group in May 2016 – a state-of-the-art model for the management of high-volume document review and reporting that can deliver cost savings of up to 40% for clients – over the last year or so we became the first Irish firm to invest in complementary artificial intelligence software from two of the leading global providers – Kira Systems and Neota Logic. This investment allows us to explore ways to create products and services that offer value for McCann FitzGerald and our clients, such as the development of smart advisor apps and document automation services.
These investments are tangible proof of our commitment to utilise the newest technologies as a means of improving services and delivering increased value to clients.
At the same time as these changes are occurring, in-house legal teams are being called on to take a leading role in advising businesses, and to have an expanding influence in areas such as risk management and business strategy. They are seen as thought leaders and experts within their industries, with the insights to drive and create business opportunities and influence decisions at the highest levels.
Private practice lawyers have a strong role to play when advising in-house teams. It is important that they too have an understanding of the economic and business landscape that their clients are operating in. They need to be on hand to offer expert counsel within their area of expertise, and work closely with their in-house counterparts to navigate through the changing business, regulatory and legal environments. There are a wealth of opportunities for private and in-house legal teams to collaborate, allowing them together to give expert advice to their business, and ultimately to drive further growth and create significant business efficiencies.
McCann FitzGerald is excited by the developments in the legal sector and the evolving role of in-house counsel. As a firm, we seek to enable your progress through the provision of strategic legal counsel on the major business and commercial issues of our time, delivered through a culture of high performance and high integrity. We look forward to further developing our partnerships and collaborations with corporate counsel. These partnerships enable businesses to benefit from the insight that McCann FitzGerald has obtained over many years in working with clients across a range of diverse industries.
On behalf of all the partners at McCann FitzGerald, I wish to extend our sincere congratulations to all those who have been included in the GC Powerlist: Ireland 2017. Recipients of this accolade come from a broad and varied range of sectors, from banking and financial services, to retail chains and consumer brands. This prestigious recognition highlights the hard work, strength and innovation displayed by corporate counsel across Ireland, and also emphasises the increasingly important and expanding role of corporate counsel in today’s business environment.
GC Powerlist is a trading name of The Legal 500 Series and Legalease Ltd, and operates in multiple legal jurisdictions worldwide.