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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. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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A&L Goodbody¬†acts for both domestic and international clients, including US inversion companies such as Endo International and players in the Irish property market such as Cairn Homes. Highlights included¬†head of corporate David Widger¬†advising Euronext on its ‚ā¨137m acquisition of the Irish Stock Exchange;¬†Matthew Cole¬†acting for Cushman & Wakefield on its acquisition of Sherry FitzGerald's commercial property arm; and Richard Grey¬†assisting private equity fund Volpi Capital with its equity investment in Version 1. Head of M&A Mark Ward¬†is¬†also recommended. Eithne FitzGerald retired.

Arthur Cox's 'very focused and yet also very amiable' team handles large Irish M&A transactions and flotations of Irish companies, as well as advising on complex private equity transactions.¬†Chairman Ciar√°n Bolger¬†acted for Mater Private Hospital on its acquisition by InfraViaCapital Partners; Maura McLaughlin¬†advised Hanover Active Equity Fund on its recommended cash offer for software provider Escher Group Holdings; and Stephen Hegarty¬†assisted Total Produce with its $300m acquisition of a stake in Dole Food Company. Geoff Moore, P√°draig √ď R√≠ord√°in¬†and John Matson, who is a¬†'star',¬†are also noted.

The team at Maples Group stands out as being 'extremely responsive and practical minded, with high levels of technical knowledge'. It is particularly strong in the life sciences and technology sectors; 'great counsellor and tough-edged negotiator' Colm Rafferty and senior associate Sinead Garnett advised Advanced Manufacturing Control Systems on a series of acquisitions, and the 'outstanding' Deirdre MacCarthy assisted Nuritas with a Series A investment round. Patrick Quinlan 'works through issues with a quick mind and a reasoned approach'. Edward Miller leads the practice.

Mason Hayes & Curran counts blue-chip international corporates and Irish businesses such as Groupe Adéquat and the NTMA among its clients. Its sector specialisms include technology, energy and food and drink products: corporate head David O’Donnell acted for Blue Face on its merger with Star2Star; Justin McKenna advised the founder and CEO of Lily O'Brien's on its sale to Colian Holding; and Liam Brazil assisted NTR with the acquisition of the Aeolus wind farm project. Martin Kelleher, head of commercial Philip Nolan and Frank O’Flynn are also noted. Robert Dickson joined from Matheson.

Robert O’Shea leads the practice at Matheson, which has a strong track record of advising on cross-border M&A deals, particularly in the technology, food and drink, life sciences and private equity sectors. Highlights included George Brady, Fergus Bolster and Brian McCloskey acting for private equity firm Star Capital Partners on its acquisition of cash logistics business GSLS, and Madeline McDonnell advising frozen bakery company Aryzta on its sale of gourmet food supplier La Rousse Foods. Ciaran Healy and Patrick Spicer are also recommended. Alan Chiswick moved to Zurich Insurance.

McCann FitzGerald's 'responsive, knowledgeable' team has extensive experience in the financial services, private equity, energy and pharmaceutical sectors. Conor O‚ÄôDwyer¬†assisted private equity fund manager Pollen Street Capital with its acquisition of Vision Blue Ireland, and practice head Valerie Lawlor¬†acted for Greencoat Renewables on its acquisition of Lisdowney wind farm. In the retail sector, Alan Fuller¬†advised Merlyn on its ‚ā¨60m acquisition by Norcros. David Byers,¬†David Lydon¬†and Rory O‚ÄôMalley¬†are also recommended, along with the 'quick-thinking, pragmatic' Garreth O‚ÄôBrien.

The team at William Fry handles domestic and cross-border corporate transactions and has acted on landmark deals in the Irish marketplace: practice head Shane O’Donnell advised two industrial gas companies on a merger of equals, and Eavan Saunders acted for an insurance company on the Irish aspects of its acquisition of an investment company's insurance business. In the healthcare sector, Barbara Kenny and David Fitzgibbon are advising a pharmaceutical wholesaler on the acquisition and financing of a healthcare distribution company. Managing partner Bryan Bourke, Myra Garrett and Stephen Keogh are also key contacts.

Beauchamps specialises in the energy, pharmaceutical and healthcare, and leisure sectors, among others, and is particularly active advising start-up and early-stage companies. Recent highlights include practice head Shaun O’Shea and Máire Cunningham advising iNua Hospitality on the establishment and acquisition of a portfolio of six hotels, and Edward Evans assisting House my Dog, a dog-sitting company, with its recent equity crowdfunding. Emer Moriarty Crowley is also recommended. Other clients include AMC, Enterprise Ireland and the Western Development Commission.

Byrne Wallace stands out for its 'great depth of technical expertise' in the private equity, energy, technology and healthcare sectors in particular. 'Outstanding' practice head Neil Keenan advised Mainstream Renewable Power on a $50m fund facility used for its equity investment in two wind farms, and Gerry Beausang, who is 'personally incredibly committed to each engagement', assisted MML Growth Capital Partners with a significant investment in Irish tour operator Travel Department. Feargal Brennan is now managing partner. Sharon McCaffrey is also recommended.

The team at Eugene F. Collins 'gives clear and valued advice' to clients including Marks & Spencer, Maxol and Vodafone. Head of corporate Deborah Kelly is particularly active in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors; she recently advised a multinational pharmaceutical company on the Irish law aspects of its disposal of its medtech business. Leonora Malone is praised for her 'outstanding advice on complex corporate merger issues', and Nicola McGrath for offering 'practical and timely solutions to all problems encountered'. Gavin Doherty was promoted to partner. Garrett Miller is also recommended.

The members of Eversheds Sutherland's team 'make it their business to understand their clients and the industry in which they work'; clients include international companies such as Virtus Health and Irish businesses such as Clanwilliam and Cairn Homes. Lee Murphy acted for Pimco Funds Ireland on the sale of its interests in Citywest Properties, and Gavin O’Flaherty assisted Blue Insurance with the sale of the majority of its share capital to Covermore Insurance. Gerard Ryan heads the practice; he is described as 'a different class of solicitor, a down-to-earth genius'. Sean Ryan is also noted.

At LK Shields Solicitors, 'there is strength in depth across the team'. Gerry Halpenny¬†and Jennifer McGuire¬†are singled out for their 'outstanding reputation and ability'; Halpenny advised InfraVia Capital Partners on the¬†‚ā¨500m acquisition of acute healthcare group Mater Private, and McGuire assisted Independent News & Media with the establishment of a joint venture with Caltray. Managing partner Emmet Scully¬†was active in venture capital and private equity transactions, including acting for Ndevor Systems on an investment by Susquehanna Growth Equity Fund. Richard Curran¬†heads the team.

Jonathan Kelly¬†and Andreas McConnell¬†lead the 'efficient and knowledgeable' team at Philip Lee. Kelly advised Allied Irish Banks on the financing of Greencoat Renewables' acquisition of a portfolio of Irish wind farms and the company's subsequent IPO, and¬†McConnell assisted Sublimity Therapeutics with a ‚ā¨52m equity investment by a consortium of international investment funds. Eoghan Doyle, who is noted for his technology and data protection expertise; 'outstanding' consultant Ita O‚ÄôSullivan; and the 'exceptional' Andrew Tzialli, who joined from Sheridans¬†to head the firm's London office, are also recommended.

The members of the Ronan Daly Jermyn team are 'strong as a unit and their various areas of expertise interact well together'. The practice is noted for its specialism in the technology and life sciences sectors; practice head Gillian Keating advised SensL Technologies on its sale to ON Semiconductor, and Diarmaid Gavin acted for Agilent Technologies on its acquisition of Luxcel Biosciences. Dublin-based Bryan McCarthy, the 'technically strong' JP Gilmartin, who is based in Galway, Sinéad Corcoran and newly promoted partner Sean O’Reilly are also noted. All partners are based in Cork unless otherwise noted.

Dillon Eustace¬†has notable strength in the healthcare sector; practice head Lorcan Tiernan¬†and senior associate Catherine Hicks¬†advised a leading primary care provider on the disposal of its 50% interest in a group of clinics, and Tiernan also acted for Beechfield Nursing Home Group on the ‚ā¨33m sale of three nursing homes. Media and real estate are also sector specialisms. Adrian Benson, who advised Dundalk Town FC on its sale to US-based consortium Peak6,¬†is another key contact.

Ken Casey leads the practice at Hayes Solicitors, which counts domestic and international companies such as Unilever, Primark and Bank of Ireland among its clients. The team is particularly strong in the media, retail and advertising sectors, and also acts for several high-profile sports personalities and professional bodies. Managing partner and head of commercial David Phelan, Joe O’Malley and Laura Fannin are also key contacts.

The 'very capable corporate advisers' at Walkers¬†specialise in¬†handling domestic M&A transactions, joint ventures and shareholder agreements, and acting as Irish counsel to international clients.¬†'Excellent practitioner and adviser'¬†Brendan O'Brien¬†heads the team; he acted for Iceland Seafood International on its ‚ā¨13.4m acquisition of a majority stake in Oceanpath, and assisted LRC Group with the Irish law aspects of its ¬£600m acquisition of a portfolio of hotels, including one in Dublin. Senior associate Eoin Ryan¬†is also noted.

Whitney Moore's 'efficient and responsive' team counts technology, medical devices, renewable energy and manufacturing companies among its clients; recent highlights include practice head Cillian Balfe advising the shareholders of facial recognition software provider Totalemotion on its acquisition by a Florida-based technology company, and Therese Rochford assisting Storm Technology with its acquisition of Ciall Systems. Balfe is 'a great people person', who is noted for his 'excellent blend of professionalism, personal touch and expertise'. Rochford is 'very experienced, and has good legal and commercial sense'. Brendan Ringrose acts for publicly listed companies based in Ireland and North America, including Glencore and Dalradian Resources. The firm 'delivers a quality service at all stages', according to its clients.

At Adrian Burke & Associates, managing partner Adrian Burke has been active in the energy and healthcare sectors in particular, and acted for a number of start-up companies. He advised ACR Healthcare on the acquisition of a nursing home.

The team at Holmes O'Malley Sexton is particularly active in the M&A area. Highlights included practice head George Kennedy, who is based in Dublin, advising Silverbay Investment Holdings on the purchase of National Flight Centre, an Irish company specialising in training pilots, and assisting the O'Shea Family Partnership with its investment in 50% of the equity of property developer the O'Malley Group. Limerick-based associate Shane Costello is also noted.

'Excellent communicator and listener' Gríana O’Kelly leads the team at Lavelle Solicitors, which is noted for its 'quality of engagement and ability to understand the business environment clients operate in'. The team acts for a range of Irish companies, as well as advising international clients on setting up holding company structures in Ireland. O'Kelly recently assisted Ireland-based Interfax Communications with its $37m sale to US company Upland Software. Associate Aoibheann O’Shea joined from Byrne Wallace.

McDowell Purcell's practice specialises in the food and drink, retail, energy and real estate sectors, among others. The team advised Galetech Energy Developments on a wind farm project in Carrickallen, Co Cavan, and a food company on shareholders' agreements and management incentive schemes. Feilim O’Caoimh leads the team.

Corporate boutique McEvoy Corporate Law is noted for its 'personal service and ability to listen to clients and react to their requirements'. The team is led by name partner Bernard McEvoy, who 'brings decades of experience and is always accessible, very astute and very thorough'. In a recent highlight, McEvoy and senior associate Inez Cullen acted as Irish advisers on the £14m reverse takeover of Eqtec Iberia; he and associate Rebecca McEvoy also advised the shareholders of Casserly Transport on the sale of the company to a third party.

OBH Partners is particularly active in the mining and resources sector, and regularly handles seed and venture capital investment matters for investors and start-ups. Recent highlights include practice head Orlaith O’Brien acting for Minco, an AIM-listed Irish mining company, on its takeover by Canadian company Dalradian Resources. In the food and drink sector, Susan Noone assisted Carlow Brewing Company with an investment by Spanish family-owned business Hijos de Rivera. Edel Conway is also a key contact.

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