Legal Business

Ireland: Tracking Dublin’s Young Tigers


Ireland is breathing a little easier again. With more than five years of economic turbulence battering both businesses and reputations, the nation has finally managed to hoist itself out of recession. Having officially exited its €67.5bn bailout programme in December 2013 – a move described by finance minister Michael Noonan as Ireland being ‘handed back her purse’ – this summer also saw the Central Statistics Office announce economic growth of 2.7% for the first quarter of 2014.

While the situation is still deemed perilous in many parts, with a mammoth public deficit, a woeful property market and high unemployment, a sense of confidence is returning to Ireland’s legal elite. And such is the battle-hardened resilience of the young lawyers that made partner around the time the economy crumbled – including those at Arthur Cox, McCann FitzGerald, A&L Goodbody, William Fry, Matheson and others – that a crop of up-and-coming individuals are emerging as the next generation of stars to define Ireland’s legal market in the years ahead.

Legal Business

Partner promotions: Watson Farley; RPC; TLT and McCann FitzGerald unveil numbers


Top 50 UK firms Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW) and RPC have unveiled their latest partner promotions, making up 13 and three lawyers respectively, as top 60 firm TLT and leading Irish firm McCann FitzGerald both announced today (7 May) that they have promoted four lawyers.

WFW’s 13 promotions – which is a significant increase on last year’s figure, when just four lawyers were made up – brings the total number of partners to 133.

The new partners have been promoted in eight of the firm’s 13 offices, with three apiece in London and Hamburg, two in New York, and one each in Athens, Bangkok, Paris, Rome and Milan.

Promotions were made across six practice areas including the 389-lawyer firm’s energy and projects group, real estate, corporate, maritime, finance and disputes.

Managing partner Lothar Wegener said: ‘I congratulate these 13 outstanding lawyers on their promotions to the WFW partnership. In addition to highlighting our confidence in these individuals as practitioners, collectively this group of new partners underscores the ongoing strength of the firm as a whole, and the confidence we have in our respective practices.’

Meanwhile, RPC promoted three new partners across its insurance and reinsurance disputes, insurance disputes (professional indemnity) and competition practices. Last year, the 311-lawyer firm made up just one lawyer.

‘When we appoint new partners at RPC we’re welcoming them as genuine owners of the business, with a real stake in our future success. That’s the reality of an all equity partnership. So, naturally, the bar is set that much higher,’ said RPC’s managing partner Jonathan Watmough.

Maintaining a steady hand is TLT, which promoted four of its associates to partnership – the same number as last year – across the 250-lawyer firm’s corporate, disputes and banking teams, within its Bristol and London offices.

The promotions take the firm’s total partner headcount to 96. In addition, TLT promoted 20 solicitors to associate, up from 2013 when that figure was just nine.

TLT’s senior partner Robert Bourns said: ‘These promotions, both at partner and associate level, recognise the drive by individuals to identify client need and deliver in a way that clients find supportive and valuable – getting the job done. Their commitment to understanding and matching the clients’ business needs and the whole firm’s legal expertise, together with their flexibility and responsiveness make the difference.’

All partner promotions went into effect on 1 May 2014.

Outside of the UK, leading Irish law firm McCann FitzGerald today announced the appointment of four new partners, with one in banking and financial services; two in dispute resolution and litigation; and one in real estate, bringing the total number of partners at the all-equity firm to 70.

Legal Business

Ireland’s lucky number seven: Irish Treasury appoints septuplet of firms to its legal panel


Thanks to the economic turbulence that has plagued the Irish nation since 2008, Dublin’s largest firms continue to collect hefty recession related work post financial crisis, including most recently an appointment to advise the government’s asset and liabilities manager, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

The NTMA, which is responsible for borrowing on behalf of the Irish government and managing the national debt, has appointed Dublin-based Big Five firms A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, William Fry, McCann FitzGerald and Matheson to its general legal services panel alongside Mason Hayes & Curran and offshore funds giant Maples and Calder.

In recent years advising on Ireland’s debt has been particularly lucrative. Traditionally, Arthur Cox has been recognised as the state’s go-to firm, having led on many of Ireland’s headline bank restructuring deals, including the NTMA’s transfer of €15.8bn of deposits and assets from Irish Nationwide Building Society to Irish Life & Permanent, and from the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank to Allied Irish Banks (€12.2bn).

However, this latest panel announcement comes as the government is under serious public scrutiny over legal fees, particularly in relation to its controversial bank guarantee scheme, which has landed the Irish tax-payer with over €64bn of debt.

Following a parliamentary question published in mid-July, finance minister Michael Noonan revealed that since 2011 the government has paid Arthur Cox around €5m for advice on the scheme including fees this year so far of €981,012.

Noonan also revealed that the state has paid out more than €960,000 to Matheson since last year – a sum it says was for ‘advice on transactions undertaken by the Minister in relation to Irish Life.’

See the September issue of Legal Business for an extensive insight into Ireland’s legal market

Legal Business

Litigation round table


Trends in international commercial litigation were to the fore in the second Legal Business round table in conjunction with McCann FitzGerald. From the globalisation of disputes to rising levels of disclosure and tougher regulators there was plenty on the agenda

There has arguably never been a better time to be a litigator. Although the much-anticipated tsunami of litigation has not hit the market, there has been a discernible rise in disputes, which more often than not require a litigator to keep them out of the courts.

Legal Business

Status quo


The past ten years have brought unprecedented change to the legal profession. As we enter a new decade, Legal Business and Dublin’s McCann FitzGerald hosted a round table discussion of some of the key issues affecting firms now.

As we leave behind one of the most tumultuous decades in the history of the legal profession, the overriding message from some of the industry’s thought leaders is keep calm and carry on. At the end of 2009, Legal Business and leading Irish law firm McCann FitzGerald gathered nine legal experts together for dinner and debate at the Gherkin. We wanted to hear their views on how the legal market will shake up in the next decade, particularly while we’re still in the jaws of a global recession. The responses were assuredly unflustered; the mood was anything but pessimistic.