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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 > Healthcare and life sciences > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare and life sciences
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Cliona Christle and David Widger lead the team at A&L Goodbody; clients range from hospitals and clinicians to large listed corporations and emergent biopharmaceutical companies. Christle leads the healthcare side of the practice; she is acting for Baxter in a product liability claim relating to the swine flu vaccination. In the life sciences sector, Widger, Ronan Lyons and New York-based Alan Casey were active in M&A transactions and corporate restructurings, advising Prothena Corporation on an innovative collaboration agreement with Celgene and Nabriva Therapeutics on its redomiciliation from Austria to Ireland.

At Arthur Cox, Colin Kavanagh is active on the life sciences side; his recent highlights include advising medical device manufacturer CR Bard on the Irish aspects of its acquisition by Becton Dickinson. In the healthcare space, product liability specialist Isabel Foley is defending TÜV Rheinland LGA Products against claims that it inadequately conducted assessments of the product conformity of breast implants, and Joanelle O’Cleirigh is acting for clients such as the Irish Blood Transfusion Service on a range of matters. Senior associate Ciara Farrell is noted for her regulatory and compliance expertise.

The team at Byrne Wallace is noted for 'its superior level of knowledge, appreciation and understanding of the pharmaceutical industry'. Colin Sainsbury, who is able to 'sort through the complexities of cross-border transactions and to navigate the nuances of Irish corporate law', leads the life sciences side of the practice; he recently advised Amryt Pharma on an in-licence agreement for novel gene therapy treatment from University College Dublin. Newly promoted partner Brendan Gavin and 'stand-out' senior associate Catherine Dowling are also noted. On the healthcare side, Sinead Kearney ('a true innovator and very effective advocate'); Olive Doyle ('a thoughtful, expert practitioner'); and Marie Kinsella are key contacts.

Mason Hayes & Curran's team is 'direct, knowledgeable, flexible and can always be relied on'. On the healthcare side, Kevin Power handles high-profile clinical negligence litigation; he also represented Allergan in product liability litigation. Martin Kelleher leads the life sciences practice; his recent highlights include advising Sam McCauley Chemists on the sale of the company and its 32 subsidiaries. The 'responsive and helpful' David Mangan, who acted for KCK in Mainstay Medical's 2018 placing, and senior associate Conall Geraghty ('excellent at handling difficult negotiations') are also noted.

Matheson is 'the go-to practice for complex, high-profile and sensitive cases', with 'an agile team with exceptionally strong insight into clients' needs'. Tom Hayes leads the healthcare and life sciences group; he and 'legal supernova' Rebecca Ryan, who is praised for her 'innovation' and 'warm intelligence', specialise in defending clinical practitioners against medical negligence claims, as well as handling product liability litigation. Michael Finn focuses on the regulation and commercialisation of medical products and devices and on disputes in the life sciences and medical technology sectors, including contentious IP matters.

William Fry represents a number of leading global pharmaceutical companies and is noted for its strength in large-scale litigation in the life sciences sector, particularly patent litigation. Laura Scott leads the life sciences side of the practice; she recently acted for a global pharmaceutical company in Commercial Court patent revocation proceedings. On the healthcare side, Fiona Barry and Sinead Keavey represented a medical professionals' organisation in a series of clinical negligence cases, in addition to acting for medical practitioners in fitness to practise inquiries.

The team at DAC Beachcroft Dublin is noted for its 'knowledge, conscientiousness and commitment to the client'. Key areas of work include defending medical sector clients (ranging from doctors to cosmetic clinics and pharmacies) against clinical negligence claims, representing insurers in professional liability cases, and providing regulatory advice to professional associations. Consultant Niamh McKeever leads the practice; she is singled out for her 'expertise and wise counsel'. Gary Rice is also highly active in this area.

Tony McGovern heads the life sciences practice at Eversheds Sutherland; he advised on a number of high-profile transactions in the sector, including acting for an inhaled treatments developer on the acquisition of the nebuliser division business and assets of a German company. The team also handles matters including development agreements and clinical trials. Aisling Gannon leads the healthcare side of the practice, advising private hospitals, nursing homes, primary care centres and public sector bodies on contentious and non-contentious matters.

The team at Hayes Solicitors is known for its expertise in clinical negligence defence, as well as its strong record in professional discipline work in the healthcare sector. Practice head Mary Hough specialises in high-value catastrophic injury claims; other recommended lawyers are Caroline Crowley, Louise O’Rourke and Kevin Dunne, who heads the healthcare regulatory team. The Medical Protection Society, the State Claims Agency and Dental Protection are key clients.

Kennedys' team is 'always available for discussion, minus the legal jargon, with a common-sense approach to cases' and has 'a wide breadth of talent that extends in a meaningful way to a number of jurisdictions'. Practice head Joanne O’Sullivan, who is qualified in the UK and Ireland, is known for her expertise in medical negligence defence and inquest cases; she is 'keen to strategise well in advance of trial to ensure the best results possible for her clients'. Senior associate Grace Keegan, who joined from Matheson, is praised for her 'client-specific, clear and concise advice'.

McCann FitzGerald's strengths in the life sciences sector lie in product liability and IP matters. Practice head Roddy Bourke is acting for German pharmaceutical company Grunenthal in a matter concerning claims relating to the thalidomide drug and is acting for GlaxoSmithKline in a series of claims stemming from the swine flu vaccination. IP expert Fiona O’Beirne is acting for originator pharmaceutical group Gilead in two Commercial Court actions brought against generics companies. David Lydon and newly promoted partner Shane O’Brien are also noted.

Ronan Daly Jermyn's healthcare and life sciences team stands out for its 'breadth and depth of practice' and 'knowledge of the sector and stakeholders'. In the healthcare space, Galway-based Padraic Brennan and Imelda Tierney, who are 'highly specialised and impressive', are noted for their work defending public and private hospitals against medical negligence claims, particularly in catastrophic birth injury cases. Cork-based Gillian Keating leads the life sciences side of the practice; Diarmaid Gavin advised Genesis Automation on an equity investment by a specialist investor in European healthcare; and Galway-based JP Gilmartin 'can bring an excellent efficiency to transactions'.

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Legal Developments in Ireland

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
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    As we are all well aware this is the most turbulent climate for business both nationally and internationally, that any of us have experienced. We have therefore focused this bulletin on areas where we believe we can help you take decisive steps to manage the issues that are required to get through the downturn and be properly prepared for the future.
  • The Companies (Amendment) Act 2009

    The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2009 (the “Act”) was signed into law on 12 July 2009. The Act provides for signifi cant changes to company law compliance and enforcement. It gives increased powers of search and seizure to the Offi ce of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (“ODCE”) and expands disclosure obligations with regard to transactions between a company and its directors (including specifi c changes for licensed banks). The Act also relaxes the requirement that at least one director of an Irish company must be resident in the State.
  • New Rules for Acquiring Transactions in the Financial Sector

    In line with EU-mandated requirements, Ireland has introduced new rules governing acquisitions, in whole or in part, of certain regulated financial institutions.
  • Irish Merger Control: Review of Key Developments in 2008

    A 47% Year-on-Year Drop in the Number of Deals Notified: Reflecting the global decline in merger activity, the number of deals notified to the Competition Authority fell to 38 in 2008, a 47% decrease from 2007, when 72 deals were notified, and a more than 60% decrease from the 2006 peak of 98 notified deals.
  • European Communities (Takeover Bids (Directive 2004/25/EC)) Regulations 2006

    The EU Takeovers Directive (2004/25/EC) (the “Takeovers Directive”) has been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Takeover Bids (Directive 2004/25/EC)) Regulations, 2006 (S. I. No. 255 of 2006) (the “Takeovers Regulations”). The stated aim of the Takeovers Directive is to strengthen the Single Market in financial services by facilitating cross-border restructuring and enhancing minority shareholder protection. Many of the provisions of the Directive are already contained in the existing Irish regime for the supervision of takeovers set out in the Irish Takeover Panel Act, 1997 (the “Act”), the Takeover Rules, 2001 (the “Rules”) and the Companies Acts 1963 – 2005, which will continue to apply. The Takeovers Regulations cater for those areas not already dealt with in the existing regime or areas of the regime that needed to be adjusted as a result of the requirements of the Takeovers Directive.
  • Establishing a Retail Fund in Ireland for sale in Japan Fund Structures and Features

    The issuing of securities of offshore funds for public sale into Japan is governed by a combination of the Securities and Exchange Law of Japan (the "SEL") which is enforced by the Japanese Ministry of Finance ("MOF"), the Law Concerning Investment Trust and Investment Company of Japan (the "Investment Funds Law") which is enforced by the Financial Services Agency of Japan ("FSA").Establishing a Retail Fund in Ireland for sale in Japan Fund Structures and Features
  • Equality before the Law

    Employment Equality legislation in Ireland is to be found in the Employment Equality Act 1998 as amended by the Equality Act 2004. This legislation is extremely detailed but in effect makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against a person on the basis of gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, and membership of the traveller community. These are referred to as the “discriminatory grounds”.
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Ireland

    The enforcement of judgments between the EU member states is regulated by the Brussels I Regulation (44/2001, OJL 12/1, 16 January 2001) (“the Regulation”). On the 22nd December 2000, the European Council agreed the Regulation to replace the Brussels Convention on Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments 1968 (“the Brussels Convention”). The purpose of the Regulation was to bring the law contained in the Brussels Convention into the main body of EC Law. The Regulation was implemented in Ireland by Statutory Instrument 52 of 2002, European Communities (Civil and Commercial Judgments) Regulations 2002, which came into force on the 1st March 2002.
  • E-Discovery

    Unlike the United States, which is leading the way in relation to e-discovery and where the disclosure of electronic data has become standard procedure, as of yet there is no standard protocol or practice direction issued in relation to e-discovery in Ireland. Despite this fact, Irish lawyers are beginning to appreciate the invaluable nature of electronic data which can be retrieved and used in commercial litigation.
  • Disclosure Requirements with respect to Company Particulars

    Directive 2003/58/EC amending Directive 68/151/EEC (the “First Disclosure Directive”) became effective on 1st April, 2007 having been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Companies) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 49 of 2007) (the “Regulations”).

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