THE FIRM This corporate practice continues to maintain its leading reputation. It is the go-to firm for some of the most complex, high-value deals on the market, particularly on the corporate finance side. A recent highlight was acting for Allied Irish Banks on its acquisition of the EUR9 billion deposit book of Anglo Irish Bank. The practice has a firmly international outlook, recently re-opening its New York office.
Sources say: “A&L Goodbody is a firm that is focused on getting the deal done and being practical and commercial at the same time.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Eithne FitzGerald heads the corporate finance team and is acknowledged as a leading light in the sector. Her clients single out her “attention to detail and ability to achieve results in a tight situation.” Paul White is another leading corporate partner, advising Irish Life & Permanent on several significant mandates relating to the banking crisis. John Given focuses on corporate finance work and is highly regarded by sources. He advised Morgan Stanley and Barclays on the financing of the USD1.1 billion takeover of Skillsoft. Mark Ward is an M&A specialist and is highly regarded by his clients, who say he is “very impressive and excellent at communicating his point.” Department head David Widger is praised by clients for his ability to coordinate his team on complex transactions and for “focusing on getting the deal done without compromising.” The “capable and affable” John Coman has a broad corporate practice and leads the firm's inward investment team. Sheena Doggett has recently been appointed head of the firm's corporate practice in London. She has over 20 years' experience in the area and is focused on M&A, private equity, foreign direct investment, corporate restructuring and corporate governance. Managing partner Julian Yarr specialises in corporate finance, M&A and private equity.
Since publication, John Given has moved in-house.
THE FIRM With 22 partners, this firm's corporate group offers almost unrivalled strength in depth and is widely acknowledged to be in a class of its own. The standout highlight for the team has unquestionably been its advice to the Irish government on the recapitalisation of the country's banking sector, with the firm's work on these mandates praised from all quarters. The team's traditional corporate work continues apace for an enviable client roster that includes Dublin Airport Authority, Aer Lingus and Paddy Power.
Sources say: “Arthur Cox is one of the pre-eminent firms in the corporate sphere. It brings commercial judgement and acumen that is hard to find with any other firm.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Pádraig Ó Ríordáin has been the driving force behind the firm's advice to the state on the fallout of the banking crisis. Clients say “the thing that stands out about him is his commercialism and solution-focused approach. He never leaves you with a problem.” The “indefatigable” Ciarán Bolger wins praise from all sources for his “quick mind, good judgement and commercial acumen.” Colm Duggan is equally well regarded. He heads the department and has a wide practice focusing on M&A, joint ventures and corporate finance. Chairman of the firm Eugene McCague is particularly specialised in corporate governance issues. He is considered to be “technically smart and strong, and able to give outstanding legal advice in a commercial context.” Brian O'Gorman specialises in M&A, capital markets and private equity. He recently represented Greencore in the EUR116 million disposal of a business across three jurisdictions. Michael Meghen focuses on M&A and joint ventures and is highly rated by market commentators. Geoff Moore has an active corporate governance and finance practice, leading the firm's team on Lloyds Banking Group's merger with Bank of Scotland. Stephen Hegarty has considerable expertise in securities and also advises on share schemes and M&A matters. Elizabeth Bothwell is “fantastic – she is technical, thorough and commercial,” say clients. Colin Byrne has a general corporate practice, focusing on sale and purchase of companies as well as general corporate finance matters. Paul Robinson is a “creative and resourceful” lawyer whose practice encompasses M&A, private equity, corporate migrations and MBOs. Mark Saunders is a strong corporate generalist, advising on M&A, structured finance, restructurings and joint ventures. The group continues to benefit from consultant James O'Dwyer's huge experience and expertise.
THE FIRM Sources are in no doubt that this group is indisputably in the top tier of corporate/M&A practices. A recent highlight for the team was its advice to William Grant & Sons on the sale of three brands to Campari. International work is a core strategy for the team. The corporate department includes the firm's international business group, which is dedicated to offering corporate counsel to multinational companies including Google, L'Oréal and Dell.
Sources say: “It is a responsive, commercially minded and business-savvy practice.” “We have huge confidence in its integrity.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Tim Scanlon is unanimously regarded by interviewees as one of the finest corporate lawyers in the market. He heads the financial institutions group and has expertise in public takeovers, private acquisitions, disposals and restructurings. Corporate head Patrick Spicer is highly recommended by clients, one of whom said he is “one of the best legal advisers we have had in any jurisdiction. He was a valued member of the whole team for both his legal knowledge and commercial judgement.” Robert Heron focuses on corporate advisory work as well as privatisations, mergers and takeovers. He was instructed by An Post on its acquisition of Postbank Ireland. Robert O'Shea is also focused on advisory matters and heads the firm's US business and inward investment groups. His clients value his strong technical ability and responsiveness. Stanley Watson advises on M&A, venture capital and MBOs, and has recently been appointed head of the firm's London office. George Brady is a transactional-focused lawyer. He recently led the Goodbody corporate finance team on the USD90 million acquisition of Trintech by Cerasus. Fergus Bolster is highly regarded by market commentators and has a wealth of experience in the corporate sector. Pat English is praised by his clients for the way in which he “can answer any question and resolve any problem that we have.” Having spent two years based in the firm's New York office, he specialises in advising overseas clients on establishing in Ireland.
THE FIRM This formidable corporate practice is universally praised for the quality of its service. Singling it out from many of its competitors, it takes a sector-specific approach and is noted for its expertise in the energy, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Recent highlights include Aercap's disposal of 20% of its share capital and Allied Irish Banks' sales of shareholding valued at over EUR5 billion. The group is distinguished by its exceptionally strong, deep client base, which includes GE, Independent News and Media and Intel.
Sources say: “McCann FitzGerald provides a fantastic service – we see it as an integral part of our team.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Barry Devereux heads the corporate finance team and is a “calm, reasoned, considered individual who gets to critical points quickly.” David Byers is lauded for both his excellent technical skills and his easy manner with clients. He recently represented BAE Systems in its EUR217 million acquisition of Norkom Group. Department head David Lydon is held in high regard by market sources, who say he is a “first-class lawyer who is not only an expert in his field but also incredibly sensible commercially.” Alan Fuller focuses on energy, M&A and capital markets, and is regarded as an “exceptionally good, calm and commercially minded” lawyer. Appreciated by clients for his “sensible and helpful” approach, Ben Gaffikin heads the firm's private equity and venture capital group. He recently advised Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank in relation to the restructuring of Arnotts Holdings. Paul Heffernan has a broad practice with expertise in M&A, corporate governance and corporate restructuring.
THE FIRM This superior corporate practice played a significant role in the establishment of NAMA and NTMA but also remains strong in traditional M&A work. A recent highlight for the team was its advice to Irish Electricity Supply Board on the EUR1.2 billion acquisition of Northern Ireland Electricity. The team has notable expertise in advising clients in the technology and financial services arenas.
Sources say: “William Fry is fabulous. It understands the issues clients face and ensures transactions progress smoothly.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Myra Garrett is an experienced corporate lawyer with particular expertise in M&A and IPO transactions. Her clients say “she has a commercial acumen and pragmatism that is unusual to find in a lawyer.” Owen O'Connell advises on M&A, investment and trading matters, and was recently instructed on 123 Money's sale to RSA. Bryan Bourke heads the department and wins enthusiastic praise from clients, who say “he is shrewd, strategic and understands our business. He always makes sure we avoid pitfalls and that all eventualities are covered.” Firm chairman Alvin Price is a hugely experienced corporate lawyer whose practice covers the full range of corporate and commercial matters. Held in high regard by sources, Ken Casey is a corporate finance specialist whose expertise spans both public and private transactions. Stephen Keogh specialises in venture capital and private equity, advising BiancaMed on attracting funding and international interest. He recently became head of the firm's London office. David Fitzgibbon is an active corporate and capital markets lawyer, with experience in advising on corporate governance and compliance, M&A and company secretarial matters. Clients say he "assesses the information and clearly steers us in the right direction." Brendan Cahill is a member of the firm's foreign direct investment group and is recommended for cross-border M&A, shareholder disputes, corporate finance and restructuring. Shane O'Donnell focuses on corporate finance, private equity and corporate recovery. His clients credit him as being “young and progressive with a good business head. He is a clear thinker and a good worker.” Brendan Heneghan continues to maintain an active practice and was instructed by McInerney Holdings on the EUR32 million sale of its subsidiaries.
THE FIRM Despite a turbulent market this firm has maintained a steady flow of impressive M&A mandates. It was recently instructed by PJ Brennan on its disposal to Beckman Coulter UK, and is recognised by market commentators for its expertise in renewable energy and natural resources.
Sources say: “An excellent firm that is responsive, active and easy to deal with.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Head of department David O'Beirne is recognised as “an excellent lawyer who is easy to deal with and focused on helping clients achieve their aim.” He advises on M&A transactions as well as MBIs and MBOs. Abigail St John Kennedy specialises in capital markets, corporate finance and M&A, and is praised by clients for her calm, constructive negotiation skills. Sean Ryan is highly recommended for his expertise in the corporate and competition spheres. Francis Hackett has recently become a consultant but remains an integral part of the team with his vast experience in commercial, corporate and regulatory law.
THE FIRM This firm remains a force in the corporate sphere, offering clients significant expertise in the waste management sector, where it acts for Veolia. It is also notable for its involvement in the energy, IT and media sectors. A recent highlight for the team was its advice to Alpha Newspaper Group on its acquisition of the Newry Democrat.
Sources say: “It punches above its weight in corporate and commercial matters and always offers commercial and sensible advice.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS One of the department's leading lights, Gerard Halpenny is commended as a “practical and outstanding” lawyer. He is active on many of the team's most significant cases, including Olympus Biotech's acquisition of Stryker. Emmet Scully heads the business department and has a wide corporate practice which includes expertise in venture capital and private equity. Richard Curran is regarded as “a commercially minded and responsive lawyer,” and continues to develop a strong corporate finance practice. He acted for the Oasis Group on its recent acquisition of a UK company. The team benefits from the presence of firm chairman Laurence Shields, who is considered to be “a sharp and practical lawyer.”
THE FIRM Corporate/M&A is a core area of focus for this firm and it has forged a strong position in the market. A recent highlight for the team was its advice to Avolon Aerospace on its initial capital raise of USD1.4 billion. The group is noted for its expertise in venture capital and technology work, demonstrated by its advice to Aepona Group on its USD10 million fund-raising.
Sources say: “Maples and Calder will find a commercial path through matters other lawyers will often bicker about.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Andrew Doyle is credited by sources with developing a high-quality corporate team, and also enjoys a strong reputation as an excellent transactional lawyer. The department is headed by highly acclaimed corporate finance specialist Edward Miller. He is appreciated by clients for his “fantastic breadth and depth of knowledge and clear, concise and straightforward advice.” Colm Rafferty has notable experience in advising growth and technology companies on all aspects of corporate law. His clients say he is “an absolutely superb corporate lawyer – he always tries to understand the whole situation and strike a balance between the legal and commercial demands.”
THE FIRM This eight-partner team offers clients comprehensive corporate advice and expertise in renewable energy and life sciences. It was recently instructed by Mylan in its acquisition of Bioniche Pharma Holdings. The group's client roster includes a healthy combination of domestic and international companies, including La Crosse Global Fund Services, Dragon Oil and Everdeal.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Firm chairman Paul Egan is recognised for his wealth of experience in the area. Commentators say: “Apart from being exceptionally easy to deal with he always nails the issue.” Liam Brazil has a broad corporate practice with a focus on advising on renewable energy, particularly wind farm projects. Justin McKenna is recommended for his takeover expertise; he is an adviser to the Irish Takeover Panel and represented Dragon Oil in a USD1.3 billion proposed takeover bid. Gerard Ryan's practice encompasses acquisitions and disposals, venture capital, joint ventures and shareholder agreements. Head of department David O'Donnell is highly regarded by sources, and recently played a lead role in LaCrosse Global Fund Services' acquisition of Bank of America Merrill Lynch's alternative fund administration group. Martin Kelleher's practice focuses on a blend of corporate and IP work, and he has considerable expertise in the life sciences sector. Peers consider Niamh Callaghan to be an excellent lawyer. Her practice ranges from M&A to securities to corporate restructurings.
THE FIRM This firm takes a strongly sectoral approach to its corporate practice, providing a full range of corporate advice to life sciences, pharma, renewable energy and media and gaming companies. A standout mandate for the team was its representation of RoundTable in the sale of Bioniche Pharma for USD550 million. The firm wins praise from clients for its forward-thinking and commercial approach.
Sources say: “Beauchamps is a customer-centric organisation with the right balance between legal and pragmatic advice.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Shaun O'Shea “gives clear and practical advice and has a strong eye for detail.” He has extensive experience of working with pharmaceutical companies. Máire Cunningham has a wide corporate practice with a focus on venture capital, private equity and corporate restructurings. Clients praise her “first-class, quality advice and fantastic responsiveness.” John White heads the corporate and commercial department and has a diverse practice that ranges from M&A and corporate finance to competition and employment. Mark Pery-Knox-Gore is noted for his expertise in advising public sector bodies on a range of corporate and commercial matters.
THE FIRM This firm has a comprehensive corporate group, offering diverse expertise across a range of sectors. It continues to be recognised as one of the leading life sciences practices and is the firm of choice for many pharmaceutical companies, recently acting on Azur Pharma's acquisition of the worldwide rights to Prialt. The corporate group also benefits from the firm's multidisciplinary green economy group, servicing the team's strong clean-tech client base.
Sources say: “ByrneWallace is an entrepreneurial, forward-looking firm and that makes it our natural business partner.” “It really understands what matters for pharmaceutical companies and takes a lot of pressure off us.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Colin Sainsbury is highly recommended for his life sciences expertise. Clients say “when we want to work with someone who really knows what the pharma industry is about, we choose Colin.” Feargal Brennan has a wide corporate practice, heading the M&A, private equity and venture capital teams.
THE FIRM Sources agree that this firm retains its position in the marketplace, with the team winning praise for its client-focused and service-oriented approach. It recently advised Solar Pioneers on a multimillion-dollar investment in a solar energy project. The group has a diverse client roster, including Johnson & Johnson, Vodafone Ireland and BMW.
Sources say: “There is a real service ethic at the firm. You always know that it will do exactly what needs to be done and that is very reassuring.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Olden's practice encompasses a broad range of corporate and commercial work, including M&A, venture capital, capital markets and partnership law. Sources consider him to be strong both technically and commercially. As head of the M&A team, Gerard Coll is regarded as a “great guy to work with – he always anticipates what we need to know.” Eileen Grace is recognised for her capital markets expertise. Nicola McGrath focuses on M&A, employee share schemes and corporate restructurings. Deborah Kelly is a “personable, proactive and accountable” lawyer whose practice encompasses corporate finance, restructuring, private equity and joint ventures. Anthony Collins recently retired from the partnership to become a consultant. He is lauded for his ability to “communicate clearly between both parties and take the matter forward to a conclusion.”
THE FIRM This corporate-focused firm traditionally excels in AIM-related matters and has continued to develop its practice in the area. The firm advises clients from a cross-section of sectors, including mining, venture capital and agriculture. Interviewees value the wide range of corporate expertise offered by the group, coupled with its partner-led service.
Sources say: “McEvoy provides us with quality, timely and creative advice and its team is dynamic and responsive.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Orlaith O'Brien focuses on private equity and venture capital. Clients say that “she is knowledgeable, user friendly and an excellent communicator.”
THE FIRM This star regional player continues to demonstrate that it is more than capable of matching up with the leading Dublin practices. In response to challenging market conditions it has developed particular expertise in the pharmaceutical and energy sectors. A standout mandate for the team was its advice to the Irish Gas Board on large-scale investments in renewable energy companies.
Sources say: “It is pragmatic and practical, and its advice really adds value to our business.” “Its lawyers are bred to take a commercial approach to matters.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Adrian Wall heads the corporate team and is “a practical, business-driven lawyer who understands the different requirements of different sized transactions.” He is regarded as an excellent all-round corporate adviser. Diarmaid Gavin is appreciated by clients for his “calming influence and considered, diligent approach.” He has particular expertise in Irish and European competition law.
THE FIRM WhitneyMoore fields a three-partner corporate team that wins effusive client praise. It has a broad corporate practice spanning M&A, IPOs, private equity and corporate governance. The group's notable expertise in the energy and mining sector is demonstrated by its recent advice to San Leon Energy on a USD100 million private placing by Macquarie bank.
Sources say: “WhitneyMoore is highly capable and ethical, and always has an eye on its client's needs.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS The corporate team is led by Thérèse Rochford. She has an extensive practice that covers AIM flotations, finance, M&A and corporate governance, with particular experience advising mineral and resource companies. Stephen Walker complements his broad corporate practice with niche expertise in advising clients from the waste, waste to energy and healthcare sectors. He is appreciated by his clients for the way he “really looks after us, keeping us informed of changes.”
of Venture Legal Services continues to develop a strong corporate practice, advising on corporate/M&A, corporate finance and venture capital, with particular experience of advising on IT and IP issues.