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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 the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

A&L Goodbody regularly handles complex, high-profile contentious and non-contentious insolvency and restructuring matters. Clients include the major local accountancy firms, banks and loan purchasers, and the team is also experienced in advising on all-island insolvencies. Managing partner Michael Neill heads the practice with strong support from newly promoted partner Sam Corbett, who specialises in contentious mandates, and associate Ross Kane, who acts on consensual enforcement and restructuring transactions.

Practice head(s):Michael Neill

Other key lawyers:Sam Corbett; Ross Kane

Testimonials

'A&L Goodbody is very responsive and very well respected in the wider business community. The team is always willing to give up time, from junior associate right up to partner.'

'Sam Corbett has a great technical knowledge of the industry; he is very personable and extremely well respected in the restructuring community. Sam is probably the go-to solicitor for any insolvency case in Belfast.'

'A&L Goodbody has technical expertise across a range of service lines and offers a broad range of services.'

'Sam Corbett has excellent technical knowledge and is very responsive to queries. You know when you engage with Sam you will get an excellent service, the right answer and an adviser that supports you.'

Key Clients

Ulster Bank Limited

Bank of Ireland UK plc

Santander UK plc

PwC LLP

KPMG

Ernst & Young LLP

Cerberus Capital Management

PJG Recovery

AIB Group UK plc

Ennis Property Finance DAC

Work highlights

  • Acted for Johnston Press plc and its Northern Irish subsidiaries in relation to the administration of the group and a pre-packaged sale of the entire business and assets to the group's bondholders.
  • Advised EY as administrator of McErlain's Bakery (Magherafelt) Limited (trading as Genesis Crafty).
  • Advised Northern Ireland Housing Executive on the compulsory liquidation of Carillion plc and the sale of multimillion-pound housing executive contracts that were in place following the collapse of the construction firm.
  • Acting for Endless plc as purchaser in relation to the Northern Irish aspects of the pre-pack administration sale of American Golf
  • Advising Vaughan Group in relation to the restructuring of debt with its lenders.

Arthur Cox Belfast's team 'understands the client's business at a fundamental level' and 'frequently goes above and beyond'. The team acts for major domestic and national insolvency practitioners, financial institutions, directors, lenders and creditors in complex, high-value insolvency and restructuring matters. Kieran McGarrigle heads the practice, while Stuart Mansfield focuses on lender and creditor-driven restructurings and insolvencies. Newly promoted partner Colm McElroy's 'experience and knowledge are invaluable'.

Practice head(s):Kieran McGarrigle

Other key lawyers:Stuart Mansfield; Colm McElroy

Testimonials

'Arthur Cox has extremely engaging staff and is a pleasure to work with.'

'Colm McElroy has a great understanding of the commercial requirements of transactions whilst always being conscious of the legal  requirements. Colm is able to explain any legal issues in an appropriate manner but more crucially he endeavours to put forward suggested solutions for the client.'

'It is the practicality of service delivery from Colm McElroy and the Arthur Cox team that sets them apart. The time Colm has taken to understand our business and build relationships ensures that he understands the bigger-picture commercial position and ensures his legal strategy aligns with this where possible.'

'The team is very up front and very easy to contact and get a hold of. There is also a great mix from partners right down to trainees within the team.'

'Colm McElroy is a great partner within the team at Arthur Cox. He manages difficult cases, and he is always on top of the work and always willing to contact you immediately if the need arises. He is very well assisted by his entire team.'

Key Clients

Ernst & Young LLP

Bank of Ireland

Arthur Boyd & Co

Special Liquidator of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited

Marathon Asset Management LP

Power NI

HNH Partners Limited

KPMG

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Work highlights

  • Advising Ernst & Young as fixed charge receiver on the management and sale of Downe Retail Park in Downpatrick, County Down.
  • Acting for Bank of Ireland on the administration of one of Northern Ireland’s leading precast concrete trading businesses due to difficult trading conditions.
  • Advising KPMG and Arthur Boyd & Co in their capacity as joint supervisors of Presbyterian Mutual Society Limited in relation to the wind-down of its loan book.  
  • Acting for the special liquidator of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) in relation to the winding up of each of the substantial number of subsidiary companies which it holds.
  • Advising Marathon Asset Management LP, a landlord of various retail parks in Northern Ireland, in connection with two of its tenants (Carpetright and New Look) entering into a "landlord only" company voluntary arrangement.

The team at Carson McDowell stands out for 'the breadth of experience, the commitment of individual lawyers and the expertise across sectors'. It advises major banks, insolvency practitioners and corporates on contentious and non-contentious matters, and has experience handling cross-jurisdictional insolvencies and personal insolvencies. 'Strong insolvency practitioner' Darren Toombs leads the team jointly with the 'technically very strong' Sinead McGrath. The team was bolstered by the appointment of two new associates.

Practice head(s):Darren Toombs; Sinead McGrath

Other key lawyers:Shane McVeigh; Oliver Tighe

Testimonials

'Carson McDowell has a very strong team. It is well regarded and one of the few firms to be able to deal with the most complex, difficult and high-value cases.'

'The team is technically astute with a strong commercial approach to every assignment.'

'Darren Toombs is a calm pair of hands for difficult circumstances with a very commercial approach - he is a trusted adviser.'

'Darren Toombs is very approachable and willing to think laterally to offer solutions.'

'The team is responsive and knowledgeable, provides sensible practical advice, and doesn't sit on the fence.'

'The team is very friendly, with competitive prices, value for money and very easy to work with.'

'Darren Toombs is very commercial while retaining the legal position. He works in partnership with his client, and does not just provide the legal advice but provides overall strategic advice.'

Key Clients

KPMG

Grant Thornton

Keenan Corporate Finance

The HNH Group

Brodies LLP

Sports Direct

Herbert Smith

Browne Jacobson

VW Financial Services

BMW Financial Services

Work highlights

  • Advising Sports Direct on the Northern Irish aspects of the acquisition of House of Fraser from the administrators of the business.
  • Acting as agents in Northern Ireland for Browne Jacobson LLP to assist NRG2 / Radius Plastics Limited with its application to the Bankruptcy Court in Northern Ireland for permission for several directors to be permitted to continue in their roles as directors of various group companies following director disqualification proceedings in England.
  • Advising Gibraltar-based Castle Trust Group as a security trustee on the sufficiency and enforceability of security given in relation to £3m of loan notes issued by Charis Wealth Management to various individuals essentially as an investment opportunity.
  • Acting as agent in Northern Ireland for Brodies LLP to assist Oil States Industries (UK) Limited in a claim against Lagan Building Contractors Limited (in administration) and associated parties for £15m.
  • Advising KPMG on the validation of its appointment as joint administrator of McGrath Brothers Engineering Group Limited.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin has recently expanded its client base to include a number of international corporations, advising on complex, high-value corporate insolvency matters. The team's clients also include domestic and regional insolvency practitioners and financial institutions. The firm is also noted for its debt recovery practice. Practice head Jeanette Donohoe is 'definitely the go-to person for company and insolvency matters in Belfast'. Associate director Caitriona Morgan specialises in personal insolvency.

Practice head(s):Jeanette Donohoe

Other key lawyers:Caitriona Morgan

Testimonials

'The team is excellent. The lawyers really know their stuff and the subtle differences between Northern Irish and English company and insolvency law.'

'Jeanette Donohoe is outstanding: she is very client focused and supportive of the team, and also deeply knowledgeable in her area of expertise.'

Key Clients

Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals

Tridos Bank NV

Pepper Group (trading as Engage Commercial)

HSBC Bank Plc

Bank of Ireland (UK) Plc

AIB Bank (UK) Plc

McCambridge Duffy LLP

Danske Bank

Begbies Traynor LLP

Ulster Bank Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in seeking recovery of clinical study files held by Bio-Kinetic Europe Limited (in administration).
  • Acting for Triodos Bank NV via the appointment of RSM Ireland as fixed charge receiver in respect of recovery from a Northern Irish debtor owing £1m.
  • Acting for Ernst & Young as administrator of Cloghogue Enterprises Limited (in administration), the owner of a large commercial business park in Newry.
  • Representing Begbies Traynor as trustee in bankruptcy of the bankruptcy estate of a local celebrity, Hugo Duncan.
  • Advising Bridgestones Limited as administrator of Bangor Blue Properties Limited (in administration).

Tughans has experience acting on complex and high-profile insolvency and restructuring mandates, particularly those with a multi-jurisdictional element. The practice advises on a range of matters, from corporate restructurings and the use of schemes of arrangement and voluntary arrangements, to corporate insolvencies. Toby McMurray leads the team.

Practice head(s):Toby McMurray

Other key lawyers:Nadine Brennan

Key Clients

KPMG

Bank of Ireland

KPMG

Grant Thornton

Keenan Corporate Finance

Bank of Scotland

Bank of Ireland (UK) Plc

Upstream Working Capital

Westland Horticulture

Work highlights

  • Advising KPMG on all aspects of the administrations of four Lagan Construction Group companies.
  • Acting for Bank of Ireland Dublin in relation to a high-value case against property developer Anson Logue.
  • Acted for KPMG in relation to its appointment as administrator of Waste Systems Limited, a Northern Ireland-based company involved in the production and supply of a large-scale waste-processing plant.
  • Advising Grant Thornton in its capacity as receiver of Tir Eoghain Limited.
  • Acting for Keenan Corporate Finance as administrator of flooring specialist Acheson & Glover Precast Limited.

Elliott Duffy Garrett has 'a very strong insolvency practice'. The team handles contentious and non-contentious insolvency and restructuring matters, advising financial institutions, accountancy firms, insolvency practitioners and property firms, among others. The 'very competent' Christopher Duffy heads the team alongside Kevin McVeigh, while consultant Michael Wilson is 'one of the most highly regarded insolvency lawyers in Belfast'.

Practice head(s):Christopher Duffy; Kevin McVeigh

Other key lawyers:Michael Wilson

Testimonials

'Michael Wilson has knowledge and industry experience which marks him out as a true market leader.'

'Christopher Duffy has very strong technical knowledge and focuses on the detail, while still retaining good commercial instincts.'

'Elliott Duffy Garrett has a dynamic and vastly experienced team, capable of drawing upon a range of expertise and knowledge.'

'Michael Wilson and employment partner Ian McFarland offer a high standard of professionalism and great availability and input.'

Key Clients

Northern Bank t/as Danske

Keenan Corporate Finance

BDO Belfast

HNH Group

Ennis Property Finance

Feniton Property Finance

Premium Credit Limited

KPMG

McKeague Morgan

Work highlights

  • Representing a lender and receiver in a multi-party High Court action.
  • Advising a liquidator on realisation of assets and retention of title issues.
  • Advising Keenan Corporate Finance as trustee in bankruptcy on the realisation of assets.
  • Acting for Keenan Corporate Finance as administrator on all aspects of the administration of construction firm David Patton & Sons (NI) Limited.
  • Representing a receiver and lender in the contentious realisation of the interest of the trustee in bankruptcy in the estate of the bankrupt.

Mills Selig is particularly noted for its strength in personal insolvencies. The team also acts for insolvency practitioners in relation to company receiverships, liquidations, voluntary arrangements and administrations, and advises financial institutions on enforcement procedures. Clients include major local banks, accountancy firms and businesses. Practice head John Kearns and senior associate Richard Craig are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):John Kearns

Other key lawyers:Richard Craig

Key Clients

Bank of Ireland

PKF-FPM Accountants

Keenan Corporate Finance

Cavanagh Kelly Accountants

Gildernew & Co., Accountants

Liz McKeown & Company

McKeague Morgan, & Company

Hannaway & Company Accountants

Arthur Boyd & Company

O’Hagan McGlinchey & Co., Accountants

Napier Solicitors advises on personal and corporate insolvencies, representing debtors, creditors, insolvency practitioners and company shareholders. John Gordon specialises in contentious insolvencies and advising high-net-worth individuals; Brigid Napier has expertise in company and individual voluntary arrangements and manages the debt recovery department; and Maria Glover focuses on personal insolvencies.

Practice head(s):John Gordon

Other key lawyers:Brigid Napier; Maria Glover

Millar McCall Wylie LLP regularly advises on corporate restructurings and company voluntary arrangements, as well as appointment-related issues. The practice is led by Damian McParland, who specialises in debt restructuring and pre-pack administration, while Simon Fleming focuses on the commercial property aspects of insolvencies.

Practice head(s):Damian McParland

Other key lawyers:Simon Fleming; Neil McCreadie

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