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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 > Insurance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Insurance
  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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A&L Goodbody’s strength in the non-contentious space is demonstrated by Laura Mulleady and practice head James Grennan, ‘who always knows the answer’, advising Liberty Group on the legal and regulatory aspects of the business transfer and merger of Liberty Insurance and Liberty Seguros. The team also advised insurance companies intending to transfer their business from the UK to Ireland as part of their Brexit contingency planning. On the contentious side, Liam Kennedy is defending a subsidiary of Smith & Nephew against product liability claims arising from orthopaedic hip implant devices. Sinead Lynch and senior associate Emma Martin are also noteworthy names.

Arthur Cox impresses with its ‘quality of advice’ and ‘understanding of the market and the regulator perspective’, with the ‘always reliable’ Elizabeth Bothwell providing ‘very practical and useful’ advice on the non-contentious side. In a recent example, Bothwell advised Swiss Re on the Irish aspects of MS&AD Insurance Group’s acquisition of a 15% stake in Admin Re. David O’Donohoe handles insurance-related litigation; he and Joanelle O’Cleirigh regularly defend solicitors in negligence actions, among other matters. David Strahan is recommended for ‘his professionalism and meticulous attention to detail’.

Service is ‘exceptional’ at Mason Hayes & Curran, where the ‘defining feature is incisiveness’. The team represents major insurers in professional indemnity and D&O insurance claims, as well as catastrophic injury claims and coverage disputes. ‘Tenacious’ new practice head Rachel Kavanagh, who ‘is one of the most pragmatic and dedicated solicitors’, has ‘an exceptional team around her’, comprising of ‘standout’ Ailbhe Gilvarry and newly promoted partner Deirdre Munnelly, ‘who provides a quality service time and time again’. Associate Laura Keane is also highly recommended.

Matheson is valued for its ‘depth of knowledge and experience in all issues affecting the insurance business’. In the insurance disputes area, Sharon Daly, who is an ‘exceptional operator’ and regarded as ‘a leading coverage practitioner in Ireland’, is acting for AIB in a high-value coverage dispute. April McClements is the other key insurance litigator. The ‘dedicated’ Darren Maher and ‘excellent to work with’ Gráinne Callanan, who was promoted to partner in January 2019, lead the way on non-contentious matters, acting for the likes of Aviva and Monument Assurance.

McCann FitzGerald’s Darragh Murphy, who leads the firm’s non-contentious practice dealing with regulatory and transactional matters, and Paul Heffernan are assisting Generali with the restructuring of its business, acting on the sale of sections of the Generali Group’s pan-European life insurance business as well as on the sale of Generali PanEurope. On the disputes side, Roddy Bourke leads the team, which exhibits particular strength in matters relating to policy interpretation and coverage issues. Helen Kilroy handled a number of professional negligence claims, including for AIG. David Hurley is the other name to note.

William Fry has an ever-expanding client list in the non-contentious regulatory sphere, with practice head John Larkin, Naoise Harnett and Eoin Caulfield acting for new client Phoenix on the acquisition of Standard Life Aberdeen’s insurance arm, handling the dialogue with the Central Bank of Ireland. Larkin and Harnett also assisted Beazley, Chaucer, Volkswagen and Sodexo with new Irish authorisations, as well as advising Beazley and Chaucer on Brexit contingency planning. The Medical Protection Society, Dental Protection and the Veterinary Defence Society are key clients when it comes to contentious work, where Fiona Barry is the name to note. Associate Niall Campbell is also recommended.

DAC Beachcroft Dublin's core focus is on defending insured claims. The injury risk team, which comprises James Colville, newly promoted partner John Sheehy  and new senior associate Rachel Gilroy, acted on a number of personal injury insurance fraud cases. Noreen Howard and legal director Louise O’Reilly lead the non-injury risk team. The team also advised on policy coverage disputes. Katie da Gama retired from practice in April 2018.

At Dillon Eustace, contentious head Kieran Cowhey is particularly adept at handling aviation and product liability matters, but his caseload extends to advising insurers on professional indemnity for solicitors, accountants, construction experts and insurance brokers, as well as advising Irish banks on D&O insurance coverage issues. John O’Riordan acted for RSA Insurance Group in several High Court cases resulting from a fire in a restaurant, which were settled on favourable terms. Andrew Bates handles insurance regulatory work.

Eugene F. Collins’ ‘overall value proposition is exceptional, with strong service delivery’. ‘Resourceful, tactical and extremely knowledgeable’ practice head Garrett Miller has ‘excellent subject matter expertise’ in the non-contentious regulatory insurance space. Terry Leggett and David Cantrell deal with contentious matters, advising solicitors and insurer underwriters on professional negligence.

Eversheds Sutherland has a strong contentious practice with expertise across a number of areas including the healthcare insurance space, where Aisling Gannon excels in defending medical negligence claims. Stephen Barry defends insurers and insured in the construction sector, while Jim Trueick specialises in professional indemnity matters relating to solicitors, accountants and architects.

In Limerick-based Robert Kennedy (who heads the practice) and Donal Creaton, Holmes O'Malley Sexton has two partners with substantial experience of defending personal injury claims, including claims involving injuries of the utmost severity, acting for the likes of Liberty, RSA Insurance Group and AXA. Kennedy and his team recently acted for Zurich, reviewing a high number of personal injury files which were previously handled by a different firm of solicitors. Michael Murphy, Anna Owens and Pat McInerney made partner.

At Kennedys, the ‘first-rate’ Andrew McGahey, who ‘always gives measured and astute advice’ in addition to being ‘an excellent negotiator’, is the new head of insurance, having joined from Mayer Brown International LLP's London office in January 2018. In a recent work highlight, McGahey assisted an insurance company with adapting its public and general liability insurance policies for Irish law. On the contentious side, Joanne O’Sullivan is focused on the healthcare sector, defending clinical negligence claims, while Marian Brennan has expertise in casualty claims. Noel Devins handles professional indemnity cases and Daniel Scanlon is particularly adept at dealing with defamation claims. The team was further bolstered by the arrival of several solicitors from Matheson.

Ronan Daly Jermyn’s strengths lie in advising insurers on casualty and liability claims, professional indemnity and coverage disputes. The team enjoys an excellent reputation in the contentious and non-contentious healthcare sector, where it advises private and public clients. Managing partner Richard Martin, Fergus Long and John Buckley are based in Cork, while Jamie Olden leads the Dublin office, which was strengthened by the arrival of litigation partner Peter Lennon from Maples Group. Lennon focuses on aviation liability, including passengers’ claims.

Tara Cosgrove leads the team at Beale & Co, which provides ‘timely and concise advice’ to clients who appreciate ‘the ability of the solicitors to make legal advice easy to understand’. The mainstay of the practice is defending professionals - engineers in the case of Sarah Conroy, but also architects and solicitors - and their insured against professional negligence claims. Employers’ liability and public liability are areas of increased activity for Niamh Loughran and newly promoted partner Martin Browne.

BLM is highly engaged in the defence of personal injury claims; in a recent highlight, Anne Staunton successfully acted for Aviva in disproving a claimant's allegations that he had sustained a serious back injury while lifting heavy objects at work. Senior associate Garrett Cormican is very adept at defending professional indemnity claims, especially in the construction space. Rhona McGrath and senior associate Sinead Connolly are the other names to note. Gavin Campbell is the practice head.

Comyn Kelleher Tobin is prominent in the healthcare sector, where Eamon Harrington and Yvonne Joyce, who recently joined from Hayes Solicitors, defended the State Claims Agency on numerous occasions. The team also handled some professional negligence claims against solicitors. New partner Daniel McLoughlin joined from Jim Eustace & Co Solicitors and is another noteworthy addition to the team. Diarmuid Cunningham leads the practice.

Insurance litigation boutique Corrigan & Corrigan defends public and private sector clients. Name partner Michael Corrigan advises on all aspects of insurance-related litigation, including professional indemnity claims and coverage disputes.

Under the lead of Mary Hough and Joe O’Malley, the team at Hayes Solicitors is highly specialised in healthcare litigation, representing the State Claims Agency and the Medical Protection Society in a high volume of cases. The healthcare team has been bolstered by the arrival of a number of new solicitors as well as the partner promotion of Martha Wilson. Caroline Crowley, Louise O’Rourke, Stephen McGuinness and Matthew Austin are the other key contacts. Hilary Muldowney left for the State Claims Agency.

LK Shields Solicitors has a ‘very knowledgeable team’, with Shane Neville and Ciaran Markey defending solicitors, accountants and engineers in professional negligence lawsuits. Michael Kavanagh is the practice head. New partner Ian Lavelle joined from Weightmans LLP in November 2018.

McDowell Purcell provides ‘very commercially focused insurance defence work’ across the board, covering professional negligence, public liability, employer’s liability, D&O insurance and personal injury claims. ‘Standout’ practice head Killian O’Reilly and associate Mark Kelly are ‘excellent’; they are ‘knowledgeable and competent and their advice is very clear and helpful’.

At Byrne Wallace, dispute resolution expert Jon Legorburu and senior associate Paul Fisher jointly lead the practice, with Fisher advising on insurance and reinsurance matters, including the regulatory aspects. Consultant Louise Holmes acts for retail clients in the defence of personal injury claims and employers’ liability claims. The team also advises on health insurance policies and liabilities in the healthcare sector.

Following Peter Lennon’s departure for Ronan Daly Jermyn, Robin McDonnell and Nicholas Cole took over as heads of Maples Group’s insurance team, which is representing the joint liquidators of Quinn Insurance in a €1bn professional negligence action against PwC. The team is also involved in a number of coverage disputes.

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