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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 > Employment > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Next Generation Partners

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Anne O'Connell Solicitors

Anne O’Connell Solicitors is a boutique firm specialising in Employment Law, also known as AOC Solicitors. It was set up on 1 February 2017 and continues to grow and expand. The Firm was ranked for Employment Law in Ireland by Legal500 within its first year. In 2018 and again in 2019 AOC Solicitors was awarded International Client Choice for Employment Law in Ireland. It also won the ACQ5 Global Awards for Employment & Benefits Law Firm of the Year in Ireland; for Customer Law Firm of the Year (Employment & Benefits) in Ireland and for Employment & Benefits Lawyer of the Year in Ireland for both 2018 and 2019. The Firm won Leading Specialist in Employment Law 2019 – Ireland in the 2019 Corporate Excellence Awards.

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A&L Goodbody handles a variety of complex contentious and non-contentious matters in the employment area, including boardroom disputes, regulatory investigations, industrial actions and corporate immigration. Team head Duncan Inverarity and associate Ailbhe Dennehy advised NJJ Group on the employment law aspects of its €3.5bn acquisition of a majority stake in eir. Michael Doyle was promoted to partner in May 2018 and Aifric O’Dea joined the employment department in an internal transfer. Johanne Duignan moved to Ledwith Solicitors in March 2018 and Karen Killalea departed in November 2018. Ciara McLoughlin is now with DLA Piper.

Renowned for its ‘first-class service’ and for being ‘commercially astute’, Arthur Cox’s ‘highly professional’ employment team ‘understands the needs of a corporate client in a practical business environment’. Solely focused on the employer side in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, healthcare, education and entertainment, the team covers the full gambit of employment law, advising on industrial actions, whistleblowing claims, senior executive disputes, unfair dismissals, collective redundancies and outsourcings, as well as on the employment law aspects of acquisitions. ‘Exceptional’ and ‘vastly experienced’ practice head Séamus Given helped the Irish Farmers' Association fend off complex, high-profile breach of contract and defamation allegations made by its former director general. Other team members include the ‘always responsiveKevin Langford, Cían Beecher and the ‘excellent’ Louise O’Byrne.

Byrne Wallace impresses with its ‘understanding of the client’s commercial needs’, thereby guaranteeing ‘continued successful outcomes’. The team acts for several of Ireland’s largest employers, with a particular focus on the public sector. Team head Michael Kennedy is known for his ‘strong experience of industrial disputes’; some of his case highlights included advising on an employment injunction, a whistleblowing matter and a boardroom dispute. Michelle Ní Longáin, who ‘combines detailed employment law expertise with a wealth of practical experience of industrial relations’, is acting as lead counsel to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the implementation of a set of new HR policies, which were drafted by the firm. Loughlin Deegan, Emmet Whelan and newly promoted partner Deirdre Lynch are also acting on this matter.

The ‘incredibly pragmatic and commercial’ Mason Hayes & Curran ‘operates with high degrees of expertise, efficiency and proactivity’. The team represents a variety of public and private sector players, and acted on a number of significant sexual harassment and protected disclosure cases. Melanie Crowley is ‘second to none in the employment law space’ and advises clients in the technology sector such as Dropbox and Facebook. Ian O’Herlihy defended Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board in precedent-setting injunction and judicial review proceedings. Other key team members include Ronnie Neville and ‘highly recommended’ senior associate Orla O’Leary, who is not only ‘highly reliable and trustworthy’, but also ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Very strong in advisory and litigation matters’, Matheson’s internationally oriented employment practice is ‘going from strength to strength’ and is considered a ‘go-to for anything which could reach the High Court because it has the depth, experience and resource to look after these types of claims’. In addition to handling major High Court cases, whistleblowing claims, industrial actions and workplace investigations, the team has particular expertise in European Works Councils and Brexit-related employment issues. ‘Absolute standout adviserNiall Pelly acted for fashion retailer Forever 21 in a sensitive high-profile collective redundancy. Department head Bryan Dunne provides an ‘excellent level of service’, and Russell Rochford is also ‘excellent’. 'Very experienced' litigator Geraldine Carr was promoted to partner in January 2019.

The ‘very user-friendly’ team at McCann FitzGerald has ‘very deep and comprehensive knowledge of employment law’ and ‘excellent strength in depth’, and is known for its expertise in senior executive disputes. Recent highlights include team head Terence McCrann, who has a ‘wealth of experience’, acting for Independent News & Media in the increasingly active area of investigations, advising the special sub-committee of the board on an investigation and related employment matters. The ‘very responsiveMary Brassil advised Italian insurance company Generali on the employment aspects of its sale of Generali PanEurope. Stephen Holst, who was promoted to partner, has a ‘friendly and straightforward style’.

William Fry ‘will go beyond the brief to ensure that its advice is practical as well as legally sound’. The team acts on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters, from advising on senior executive dismissals and the impact of GDPR on employment arrangements to assisting with workplace investigations. New practice head Catherine O’Flynn, who has taken over from consultant Boyce Shubotham, advised Edwards Lifesciences on the employment law aspects of the company’s newly proposed manufacturing plant, while Alicia Compton resolved a case for Boots regarding the statutory definition of dismissal. Louise Harrison and the ‘approachable and practical’ Jeffrey Greene were promoted to partner in May 2018.

Valued for its ‘depth of knowledge of employment law’, Eugene F. Collins’ team is ‘very well experienced’ and handles a mixture of contentious and non-contentious matters, which includes assisting the firm’s corporate department by providing advice on the employment law aspects of transactions. ‘Efficient and self-assured’ practice head Maura Connolly advised Tifco on collective redundancies. Immigration specialist David Cantrell and ‘very calm’ associate Tríona Sugrue are also key members of the team.

Advising international and national clients in industry sectors such as technology, retail and energy, Eversheds Sutherland is valued for its ‘strong insights into industry trends and best practice’. ‘Excellent’ team head Joanne Hyde, who is considered ‘a real expert in employment law’, delivers ‘pragmatic advice’. Margaret Gorman focuses on the education sector, but also acts for public sector bodies and advised the Health Service Executive, a new client, on day-to-day employment law issues such as bullying and harassment claims.

The team at Hayes Solicitors ‘works very well together as a unified whole’. ‘Extremely responsive’ practice head Breda O’Malley ‘has an extremely comprehensive knowledge of all TUPE-related issues and wider employment law’; she and ‘extremely clear and concise’ consultant Gill Woods recently advised the Citizens Information Board. With ‘a good understanding of human behaviour’, Anne Lyne is ‘truly an expert in employment law’, particularly in the education space, where she is representing two teachers in an equal pay case which the Labour Court referred to the European Court of Justice.

Providing ‘relevant and appropriate advice’, Ronan Daly Jermyn is praised for its ‘excellent public sector experience, with a critical understanding of the third-level education sector’; David McCarroll is defending National University of Ireland Galway in interlocutory injunction proceedings. ‘Incredibly supportive’ Cork-based practice head Jennifer Cashman, whose ‘legal knowledge is encyclopedic, including relevant case law’, advised some major players in the life sciences sector on various employment matters. On the non-contentious side, Deirdre Malone advised Landmark Media Investments on the employment aspects of the sale of its media business, which included redundancies.

LK Shields Solicitors is said to be ‘excellent at building that trusting rapport from the outset’, thereby giving clients the feeling that they are ‘working with the right people’. ‘Exceptional’ practice head Aoife Bradley specialises in contentious matters and advised employers and senior employees on a number of termination matters. TUPE specialist Jennifer O’Neill is another key member of the practice. Susan Battye is now with Walkers.

McDowell Purcell’s ‘well-organised’ team is ‘very efficient and most importantly responsive’. The ‘easy to communicate withBarry Walsh is valued for his ‘subject knowledge’, and his recent caseload included TUPE work and acting for Maynooth University on a number of non-contentious and contentious employment law matters such as recruitment and promotion claims. Julie Austin is also a key contact.

Clients rate 'strong boutiqueAnne O'Connell Solicitors 'very highly'. The firm provides strategic employment advice to employers and employees on contentious and non-contentious matters. Name partner Anne O'Connell 'is an extremely experienced employment law practitioner' and 'a true expert in her field'. Her recent highlights include advising on the employment law aspects of a commercial contract dispute between Doyle Shipping Group and Stena Line.

CC Solicitors acts for companies, insurers, trade unions, charities and healthcare providers on a range of employment matters, including sexual harassment and bullying claims. Name partner Colleen Cleary and senior associate Regan O’Driscoll are both dual-qualified (UK/Ireland) and conduct their own advocacy, with Cleary convincing the Labour Court to issue a binding recommendation improving the terms and conditions of employment for 999 workers.

DAC Beachcroft Dublin's caseload includes a mixture of contentious and non-contentious work, with practice head Barry Reynolds advising employers on TUPE, restructuring, unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims. The team also advised on redundancies and an age discrimination claim arising out of an outsourcing exercise.

Acting mainly on the employer side, Philip Lee provides contentious and non-contentious employment advice to some major public clients, but also had some client wins in the private sector. Practice head Patrick Walshe is praised for his ‘invaluable insight’.

Whitney Moore offers 'high quality expertise' under the leadership of its practice head John Lynch, who is 'full of integrity' and is 'rightly sought-out widely'. His recent work included acting on a number of matters pertaining to senior executive severance arrangements. Emma Richmond, the firm’s 'very personable' corporate immigration expert, supported a vehicle glass repairing company's HR department in reviewing all HR documents and implementing policies and notices to guarantee GDPR compliance. The team 'talks through your options on employment law issues' and 'raises areas of concern that you may not have thought of'.

Beauchamps advises on all areas of employment in the contentious and non-contentious space. Former practice head Dermot Casserly is now with DWF, where he is an employment partner. Sandra Masterson Power, who has experience in handling unfair dismissals and industrial relations matters, and Mark Heslin now head the department.

Cork-based JW O'Donovan Solicitors is praised for its ‘quite simply superb’ quality of service. Practice head David Pearson acts for employers and employees, and represented semi-state body Bord na gCon in judicial review proceedings relating to alleged failure to follow statutory procedures and natural justice in the implementation of disciplinary procedures.

The ‘practical and solution-focused’ team at Lavelle Solicitors operates mainly in the contentious space, with ‘reliable and professional’ practice head Marc Fitzgibbon, who is described as a ‘good listener’, advising on exit agreements for senior employees.

At Maples Group, senior associate James Scanlon advised domestic and international clients on a range of employment law matters including GDPR, redundancies and restrictive covenant enforcements, as well as bullying and harassment claims. Karen Killalea joined as practice head in 2019.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s recently opened Dublin office has a ‘responsive’ and ‘proactive’ employment team, which delivers advice ‘in a timely, easy to understand and apply manner’. Practice head Paul Gillen advised on a number of TUPE matters. ‘Knowledgeable’ associate Ciara Ruane joined from William Fry in January 2018, and is noted for remaining ‘calm under pressure’.

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