Ireland 2017 – GC Powerlist

Ireland 2017

Adrian Kelly

General counsel | Airsynergy

Energy and utilities

One of the co-founders of Airsynergy, a privately owned renewable energy product development and licensing company founded in 2008, Adrian Kelly is a distinguished lawyer who also acts as the...

#GCPowerlist Ireland 2017

Alan Boland

General counsel and company secretary | AXA Life Invest


As the current general counsel and company secretary of life insurance business AXA Life Invest, Alan Boland is part of the senior leadership team reporting to the CEO of the...

#GCPowerlist Ireland 2017

Alan Daly

Group head of legal | Electricity Supply Board (ESB)

Energy and utilities

Heading a 52-strong team, Alan Daly is credited for integrating the legal department into the business more comprehensively than ever before. Since his arrival in 2011, Daly has built up...

#GCPowerlist Ireland 2017

Alan Johnston

Chief counsel and company secretary | Liberty Insurance Ireland


The Irish arm of US multinational insurance firm Liberty are assisted in a legal and commercial sense by chief counsel and company secretary Alan Johnston, from a base in Blanchardstown,...

#GCPowerlist Ireland 2017

Anna Morgan

Head of legal and deputy commisioner | Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

Public sector

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner is an independent national authority tasked with enforcing data protection legislation in Ireland. With nine out of the top 10 global IT companies...

#GCPowerlist Ireland 2017

Editor Message

The economy of The Republic of Ireland has carved out an enviable niche, boasting a diversified, up-to-date knowledge economy that is strong in imports and exports and is extremely business-friendly thanks to a low rate of corporation tax. The Irish success story has not all been plain sailing, however. The ‘Celtic Tiger’ period of extremely high pre-2007 growth was cut short by the global financial crisis, and necessitated downsizing and cost-cutting methods by many Irish companies – as well as economic stagnation. Nonetheless, Irish business proved its resiliency by returning to economic growth in recent years and the prognosis for enterprise in the country going forward is highly promising.

The role of in-house legal counsel within this story is significant. Many GCs and other internal counsel featured in the GC Powerlist: Ireland were involved in reorganising and rebuilding their companies in the wake of the financial crisis, and all of them have contributed to the successful operation of the businesses that have been responsible for the country’s return to economic health.

The rise of Ireland as the base for European headquarters for many large, multinational companies has meant a raft of new opportunities for local GCs, particularly in the area of technology, where Ireland is regarded as a global leader. Other areas are also particular specialties of the country, with aircraft leasing, aviation services and agriculture being just some examples of industries that it excels at. As such, Ireland is a fertile and rewarding country in which to operate as an in-house counsel, and the hugely talented individuals featured in the GC Powerlist: Ireland 2017 bear this out. These are the best, brightest and most innovative in-house counsel in the country, all of whom have made an indispensable contribution to the companies they work with, and they join the illustrious ranks of our GC Powerlist: Ireland alumni, both GCs and teams, who all continue to push the role of in-house forward.

I would like to express my personal thanks to our sponsors, McCann FitzGerald, for supporting this publication. A special mention must also be made to all the in-house personnel who spoke to us during the course of the research for the GC Powerlist: Ireland, and the research team who completed the project, led by senior research analysts Sara Mageit and Joe Boswell.

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Sponsor Message

McCann FitzGerald

McCann FitzGerald logo

McCann FitzGerald is delighted to continue its support of the GC Powerlist in Ireland, recognising as it does the breadth and depth of legal talent that play an increasing important role in many of Ireland’s most successful businesses.

The environment in which lawyers operate is dynamic and ever-changing. Increasing workload and risk, the demand for delivery of more legal services at less cost, limited availability of qualified legal resources and increasing use of technology are just some of the drivers in today’s highly competitive market for legal services. These changes place serious demands on all lawyers, both in-house and in private practice, to constantly evaluate how they deliver their services and to figure out how to respond to the demand for increased efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of legal services.

Innovation has been the key to ensuring that McCann FitzGerald responds to these changes. Technology is having a transformative effect on all businesses and the legal services sector is no exception. The choice is to drive onwards and to progress, or risk becoming irrelevant – that is why we have put innovation at the heart of our strategy.

Building on the successful launch of the Data Investigations Group in May 2016 – a state-of-the-art model for the management of high-volume document review and reporting that can deliver cost savings of up to 40% for clients – over the last year or so we became the first Irish firm to invest in complementary artificial intelligence software from two of the leading global providers – Kira Systems and Neota Logic. This investment allows us to explore ways to create products and services that offer value for McCann FitzGerald and our clients, such as the development of smart advisor apps and document automation services.

These investments are tangible proof of our commitment to utilise the newest technologies as a means of improving services and delivering increased value to clients.

At the same time as these changes are occurring, in-house legal teams are being called on to take a leading role in advising businesses, and to have an expanding influence in areas such as risk management and business strategy. They are seen as thought leaders and experts within their industries, with the insights to drive and create business opportunities and influence decisions at the highest levels.

Private practice lawyers have a strong role to play when advising in-house teams. It is important that they too have an understanding of the economic and business landscape that their clients are operating in. They need to be on hand to offer expert counsel within their area of expertise, and work closely with their in-house counterparts to navigate through the changing business, regulatory and legal environments. There are a wealth of opportunities for private and in-house legal teams to collaborate, allowing them together to give expert advice to their business, and ultimately to drive further growth and create significant business efficiencies.

McCann FitzGerald is excited by the developments in the legal sector and the evolving role of in-house counsel. As a firm, we seek to enable your progress through the provision of strategic legal counsel on the major business and commercial issues of our time, delivered through a culture of high performance and high integrity. We look forward to further developing our partnerships and collaborations with corporate counsel. These partnerships enable businesses to benefit from the insight that McCann FitzGerald has obtained over many years in working with clients across a range of diverse industries.

On behalf of all the partners at McCann FitzGerald, I wish to extend our sincere congratulations to all those who have been included in the GC Powerlist: Ireland 2017. Recipients of this accolade come from a broad and varied range of sectors, from banking and financial services, to retail chains and consumer brands. This prestigious recognition highlights the hard work, strength and innovation displayed by corporate counsel across Ireland, and also emphasises the increasingly important and expanding role of corporate counsel in today’s business environment.