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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Ireland > Commercial, corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Commercial, corporate and M&A
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
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A&L Goodbody’s substantial offering includes practice head David Widger, head of M&A Mark Ward and managing partner Julian Yarr. The team handled deals in the international market for Irish inverted companies and was also highly active in the domestic M&A space; in one example of the latter Widger and Richard Grey advised Sumitomo on its €751m recommended takeover offer for Fyffes. Other names to note are insurance specialist Eithne FitzGerald and Matthew Cole; Cole acted for Brookfield Renewable Ireland on the sale of BRI Windfarms 3 to Greencoat Capital.

Arthur Coxhas good cross-border expertise (in particular linking European deals with US clients), and good expertise in various sectors’. Recent highlights include Stephen Hegarty acting for Fyffes on its €751m takeover by Sumitomo, and Geoff Moore and John Barrett advising Allergan on all Irish law aspects of the $40.5bn sale of its global generics business to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Pádraig Ó Ríordáin is ‘able to distil complex legal issues’, Maura McLaughlin has ‘a technical and practical’ approach and John Matson is ‘a super client relationship partner’. Practice head John Menton and chairman Ciarán Bolger are the main contacts.

Maples and Calder is recommended for ‘difficult and sophisticated work at the highest end of the spectrum’; in one standout transaction practice head Edward Miller, who is ‘a very reassuring presence’, and the ‘technically very strongPatrick Quinlan advised Fleetmatics on its $2.4bn takeover by Verizon Communications. Private equity is another area of expertise and the team regularly acts for clients including MBK Partners and MML Growth Capital Partners. In other highlights, Colm Rafferty and Deirdre MacCarthy assisted Movidius and its institutional shareholders with the sale of the business to Intel.

Mason Hayes & Curran’s ‘business acumen and ability to give practical advice is impeccable’, and the team is active across a range of sectors including technology, life sciences and energy. Martin Kelleher acted for the majority shareholder of Sam McCauley Chemists on the sale of the company and its 32 subsidiaries to Carlyle Cardinal Ireland, and also assisted Information Services with its acquisition of Enterprise Registry Solutions. Corporate head David O’Donnell and commercial head Philip Nolan are ‘absolutely excellent’, and Frank O’Flynn has ‘a keen eye for detail’.

Matheson showcased its strength in the technology sector with the ‘insightfulFergus Bolster, Madeline McDonnell and Alan Chiswick advising Oculus VR on its acquisition of Infiniled. The team was also highly active in sectors such as life sciences, and food and drink: Chiswick, who is ‘excellent at negotiating share purchase agreements’, Ciaran Healy, Patrick Spicer and George Brady advised AMP Capital on its acquisition of a 78% stake in enet. Practice head Robert O’Shea has ‘deep experience in working with US companies’, Emma Doherty shows ‘meticulous attention to detail’, and Brian McCloskey is also recommended.

McCann FitzGerald’s ‘great experience and judgement’ ensures that the team is a popular choice for major cross-border deals. Conor O’Dwyer, who is ‘very good at helping US clients risk-assess legal options’, acted as Irish counsel for Cardinal Health on its $6.1bn acquisition of a patient care business from Medtronic; and in another significant matter the ‘very considered and pragmaticRory O’Malley advised Gaelectric Holdings on the sale of Gaelectric Northern Ireland to CGN Europe Energy Green Power. Other senior lawyers are practice head Alan Fuller, ‘exemplary adviserDavid Byers, Valerie Lawlor, who is praised for her ‘in-depth knowledge’, and David Lydon.

William Fry’s ‘excellent execution skills’ reflect the fact that this is a key practice area for the firm; both managing partner Bryan Bourke and former managing partner Myra Garrett are part of the team. Practice head Shane O’Donnell, who is highly regarded in the market, is advising Linde on its proposed merger with Praxair, and the ‘superbStephen Keogh acted for Coldridge on the sale of Redbrook Ingredient Services to Frutarom. The sizeable practice also includes David Fitzgibbon, who is ‘very good in front of a board of directors’, and the ‘well-preparedMark Quealy. Ken Casey left for Hayes Solicitors.

Beauchamps’ ‘responsive and informed’ team is led by the ‘authoritativeShaun O’Shea, who has ‘excellent contract drafting’ skills; O’Shea advised Inventum on its purchase of a majority stake in Joule Group. Enterprise Ireland is also a key client. The ‘straight-talkingEdward Evans and the ‘hugely knowledgeableEmer Moriarty Crowley are additional contacts.

ByrneWallaceoffers full, efficient support on time-critical projects’ and regularly advises clients including MML Growth Capital Partners and Aminex. Practice head Feargal Brennan assisted the shareholders of Joule Group with its sale to Inventum. Neil Keenan provides ‘excellent guidance and comfort in sometimes difficult situations’ and Gerry Beausang has ‘a good understanding of commercial factors’.

Eugene F. Collins has the capacity to handle ‘larger M&A work’ and the practice handled a number of significant deals in the hospitality sector including practice head Leonora Malone advising Ardan Advisory on the acquisition of a stake in the Mercantile Group. John Olden is ‘a calm and able negotiator’ and Garrett Miller is ‘knowledgeable and experienced’.

Eversheds Sutherland’s ‘proactivity in presenting solutions to challenges’ ensures that the team is a favourite for significant domestic and cross-border deals. ‘Top-class’ practice head Gerard Ryan acted for Lifes2Good on the €150m sale of its haircare business to Church & Dwight, and Sean Ryan advised Independent News & Media on the acquisition of Celtic Media.

LK Shields Solicitors’ exposure to international transactions was enhanced by a number of key client wins including Alltech and Aramark. The team particularly impresses for private equity work with Gerry Halpenny advising Infravia Capital Partners on its acquisition of Carechoice, and managing partner Emmet Scully and Richard Curran also active in this space.

Dillon Eustace’s ‘professional and prompt’ team has expertise in a variety of sectors, including tax-based deals, media, financial services, healthcare and real estate. Practice head Lorcan Tiernan and Catherine Hicks handled a number of matters for Centric Health, including advising on the acquisition of Primacare.

Sectoral knowledge and coverage is strong’ at Philip Lee, where practice head Andreas McConnell has ‘real commercial acumen’, start-up specialist Eoghan Doyle is ‘very capable’ and consultant Ita O’Sullivan is ‘practical and on top of things’. Jonathan Kelly advised HGGC on the acquisition of a majority stake in Davies Group.

Ronan Daly Jermyn has particular expertise in the technology and healthcare sectors and in one highlight the team advised Infiniled on its acquisition by Facebook. Key figures include ‘customer-focused’ practice head Gillian Keating, who divides her time between the firm’s Cork and Dublin offices, Cork-based Diarmaid Gavin, who is ‘an excellent business partner’, and ‘exceptionally talented lawyerBryan McCarthy, who is based in Dublin.

At Whitney Moore, the ‘outstandingCillian Balfe took over as head of practice from Therese Rochford; Balfe acted for Simtech Aviation on the sale of a controlling interest in the company to a private equity fund. Rochford, who impresses with her ‘thoroughness and knowledge of the law’, remains a key figure. Brendan Ringrose handles listed company work for North American plcs.

At Adrian Burke & Associates, name partner Adrian Burke and senior associate Barry Lee are ‘pragmatic and good at explaining things in simple terms’. The practice regularly assists energy sector clients with commercial contracts and also has expertise in the healthcare sector where it acted for ACR Healthcare on the acquisition of a nursing home.

Flynn O'Driscoll has particular expertise in the motor, healthcare, leisure and technology sectors, and in one highlight practice head Patrick Flynn advised TJ Carolan & Son on the division of its business. Alan O’Driscoll and David Ryan were also highly active.

At Hayes Solicitors, ‘clear and precise’ managing partner David Phelan handles a mix of transactional and corporate advisory work for a broad range of clients including Unilever and Primark. Joseph O’Malley, who ‘grasps complex issues quickly’, advised Newsaccess on its sale to Mediawatch. The practice is now led by Ken Casey who joined from William Fry.

Holmes O'Malley Sexton’s team is led by the ‘outstanding’ George Kennedy, who is based in Dublin; Kennedy advised the shareholders on the sale of Barringtons Hospital to Bons Secours Group. In Limerick, senior associate Shane Costelloe impresses with his ‘work rate and attention to detail’.

At Lavelle Solicitors, practice head Griana O’Kelly undertakes a full range of corporate and commercial work for clients such as Corlytics and Interfax Communications. Managing partner Michael Lavelle is the other name to note.

McDowell Purcell’s ‘reliable’ team is led by the ‘very personable and knowledgeableFeilim O’Caoimh; O’Caoimh advises corporates on a range of commercial agreements and in one transactional mandate acted for Hibernia Services on its purchase of Inspired Software and Services.

At recently formed corporate boutique McEvoy Corporate Law, name partner Bernard McEvoy and associate Inez Cullen are ‘consistent, supportive and proactive’. As well as handling mandates for Chinese investors, the team also assisted with a number of fund raisings. Associate Rebecca McEvoy is ‘prompt and straight talking’.

OBH Partners has a good track record of handling cross-border work in the mining and resources sector for clients such as Anglo-African Minerals. In the food and drink sector, the team assisted Teeling Whiskey Company with the sale of a minority interest to Bacardi. Orlaith O’Brien has ‘good project management skills’ and Susan Noone impresses with her ‘drafting’ of corporate agreements.

Walkers is ‘strong on law, hungry and competitive’. The team is headed by Brendan O’Brien, who stands out for his ‘professionalism and business acumen’; he acted for the management team of the Extraspace Group on a phased management buyout.

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