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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 > Pensions and employee benefits > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Pensions and employee benefits
  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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The team at A&L Goodbody is rated ‘very highly for the quality of its advice and its people skills'. Head of pensions David Main, David Francis and newly appointed partner Chris Comerford advised numerous trustees on defined benefit plans, as well as dealing with the pension elements of corporate transactions such as Euronext’s purchase of the Irish Stock Exchange. In the incentives space, Keavy Ryan and senior adviser Rosaleen Boyle advised the Pepper Group on the incentive aspects of the cross-border acquisition of a controlling interest in Pepper by way of a scheme of arrangement by a subsidiary of KKR.

Arthur Cox advises public and private sector companies, semi-state bodies and pension scheme trustees on the full gambit of pensions law, from benefit redesign and funding negotiations regarding defined benefits to advising on the impact of GDPR on pension schemes. In one highlight, practice head Philip Smith advised the trustees of the Golden Pages defined benefit scheme on the wind-up of the pension scheme. Catherine Austin is the other key contact; she acted for several major corporate entities on post-acquisition pension rationalisations. Sarah McCague was promoted to of counsel in June 2018.

Eversheds Sutherland has been involved in some major trustee work for new clients, but also long-standing ones, with practice head Peter Fahy advising the trustees of the Friends First pension scheme on their response to Aviva Ireland's acquisition of Friends First Life Assurance. Fahy also advised 2 Sisters Food Group on the pension aspects of the sale of its Green Isle pizza business to Nomad Foods, and together with senior consultant Fiona Thornton advised the Construction Workers Pension Scheme on the introduction of mandatory pension benefits in the construction sector in Ireland. Ian Devlin joined William Fry in October 2018.

The ‘fast’ and ‘very responsive’ team at Mason Hayes & Curran has ‘an exemplary knowledge of pension legislation’. Stephen Gillick regularly advises on the pension aspects of corporate acquisitions and disposals, such as assisting a private equity fund with the sale of a hotel portfolio. Practice head Peggy Hughes has experience in acting on a broad range of pensions-related matters; recent highlights of hers include advising an employer on an internal project related to the client’s staff defined benefit pension scheme.

In addition to cross-border pension work, Matheson has been highly active advising various trustees; practice head Brian Buggy and senior associate Jane McKeever acted for the trustees of the Danske Bank (Ireland) pension scheme in relation to Ireland’s first collateralised annuity buy-in. Deirdre Cummins is another key team member.

Despite Maureen Dolan having retired from practice, the ‘very available’ team at McCann FitzGerald continues to ‘provide expert knowledge’; ‘service levels have not dropped in any way and in fact may have increased’, thanks to newly promoted partner and practice head Eleanor Cunningham and associate Clementine Farrell, both ‘subject matter experts’ who ‘bring to the table a caring personality, a desire to help’ and ‘a can do attitude’. Cunningham advised Enva on the pension aspects of its acquisition of Greenogue Investments, Rilta Environmental and ClearCircle Environmental NI. On the employee benefits side, Cunningham advised a semi-state body on the creation of a benefit scheme for employees who transferred from local authorities and the civil service.

William Fry impresses with its ‘highly engaged and customised advice’, which makes ‘for thoughtful and efficient discussions and planning of the next stages’. Following the departure of Liam Connellan to Byrne Wallace, Ian Devlin, who joined from Eversheds Sutherland, took over as head of pensions. Pension specialist Michael Wolfe advised The Irish Times on the pension aspects of its acquisition of the Irish Examiner newspaper titles and other media assets of Landmark Media Investments. The 'standout' Maura Roe and newly promoted partner Louise Harrison  are advising German-listed company Linde on the share incentive aspects of its $79bn merger with Praxair.

Byrne Wallace’s pension team, which benefits from the support of the firm’s employment and corporate departments, has been bolstered by the arrival of Liam Connellan from William Fry as the new head of pensions. Other team members include Neil Keenan, who advised a number of clients on executive share option schemes. The team also advised on restricted share schemes and cross-border pension schemes affected by rule changes and contracts.

Led by Aoife Bradley, who is ‘excellent in the areas of corporate and employment law’, the team at LK Shields Solicitors handles contentious and non-contentious pension matters. The team is representing 729 pensioners in litigation against the state over its unlawful assistance in reductions made to the IASS pension scheme (the main defined benefit pension scheme of Aer Lingus and daa). In the transaction space, associate Gillian Dully advised the Reihill family on the employee benefits and pension aspects of their sale of Top Oil to Canadian company Irving Oil.

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Legal Developments in Ireland for Pensions and employee benefits

  • 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”.
    - Dillon Eustace

Legal Developments in Ireland

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • LANDWELL Bulletin: Managing in a Downturn

    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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