Arthur Cox

Ireland

IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate

Arthur Cox is one of Ireland’s largest and oldest law firms. Founded more than 100 years ago in Dublin, where it is still based, the firm now employs 530 legal professionals across its headquarters and offices in Belfast, London, New York and San Francisco. 

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is one of Ireland’s ‘blue-blood’ law firms, with a legacy of representing the state, with which it still works regularly. The firm has a large and group of technically proficient, business-orientated transactional lawyers for all areas of legal work covered by the rankings.

In banking the firm is strong in lending, debt restructuring and regulatory work and often mandated by banks.

The firm is adept in all areas of securities work, but especially good in structuring bonds, derivatives and securitisations. 

The funds practice acts for Irish domiciled funds and some of the high-profile American asset managers on re-domiciliation and the establishment of AIFs, UCITs, ETFs and sub funds.

Within the corporate practice, M&A is a stand-out area. Publicly listed companies and private equity firms and funds regularly instruct the firm on high-value cross border deals.

In the projects area the firm is especially experienced in advising on the development and financing of large-scale energy infrastructure but has also done notable work supporting transport and public services developments using the PPP model.

The firm’s restructuring team is experienced in working for liquidators, receivers and examiners on deals for both domestic and multinational entities.

Sectors where the firm has expertise and is particularly prominent include banking, energy, pharmaceuticals and technology. 

 

Key clients

Among its clients in banking are Aer Lingus, GA Telesis, ACIA Aero Leasing Med Sea, Grupo Lomex, Greenlink Interconnector, Highfield Solar, Sub-Fund Valley Healthcare and Starwood.

Among its clients in capital markets are Strongbridge Biopharma, Dole, European Sustainable Growth Acquisition Corp., Live Oak Acquisition and Oaktree Capital Management.

Among its clients in corporate and M&A are Applegreen, Linesight, Permanent TSB, KBC Bank Ireland, Cross Rental Services, European Sustainable Growth Acquisition and Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

Among its investment funds clients are Citadel Advisors, State Street, Baillie Gifford, Universal Investments, Morgan Stanley and Alter Domus.

In financial services regulatory it advised Permanent TSB, Hg Capital and Montagu.

Among its clients in project development are National Broadband Ireland, BAM/Live Nation, Land development Agency, Coillte, Energia Renewables, Highfield Solar and Intel.

 

Research period review: 32nd edition (2021/2022)     

During the research period the firm was active in all areas of corporate law and project development.

In asset finance the firm advised all sides of the table on the full range of corporate and financing transactions. It assisted with transactions in various industries, most notably in aviation as well as banking.

In banking and finance the firm advised both the borrowing side and the lending side on direct financing, refinancing, acquisition financing and project financing. Its project financing practice consists of assisting mainly the borrowing side and also the lending side on the financing and the refinancing of projects in various industries, especially in energy as well as in transport and telecommunications industries.

In capital markets it advised on debt, equity and structured finance transactions. On debt it assisted issuers and clients in underwriter roles on bond issues, including green and sustainability-linked ones, and notes issue. On equity it advised issuer and initial purchasers on IPOs and share offerings. On structured finance it was active in advising both issuers and underwriters on NPL securitizations, ETC-securities and asset backed securities issue and transfers, and CLOs.

In corporate and M&A it advised all side of the table on acquisitions and joint ventures in various industries, including construction and materials, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, and technology and telecommunications.

In investment funds the firm acted mostly on behalf of asset and investment managers on fund formations, including multi-fund QIAIF umbrella structures, article 8 and article 9 funds and Irish ICAVs, and on acquisitions of shares in companies from various industries.

In financial services regulatory it had a prolific record in advising financial institutions, banks and private equity funds on AML-compliance, establishment of payment services branches, licences applications for financial services, and on various corporate and banking matters.

In project development it advised mostly concessionaires, project developers and sponsors on projects and PPPs in a versatile list of industries, especially in energy, and also in social infrastructure, and technology and telecommunications.

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm advised debtors and creditors on mostly debt restructuring, business restructuring, and also on examinerships and insolvency proceedings. The restructuring and insolvency team was active in a broad and versatile range of industries, ranging from aviation, consumer goods and services, and insurance to energy and transport.

There were recent staffing changes across various departments.

In asset finance, Andrew O’Connor, a counsel in asset finance and investment management was internally promoted, and Kathleen Garrett, a partner in aviation and asset finance, left for Reed Smith. Sarah O’Sullivan, also a counsel in asset management and investment funds has moved.

In corporate and M&A Suzanne Kearney was internally promoted to a counsel while Ciarán Bolger and Stephen Hegarty, both retired as partners. Declan McBride, a counsel, moved in-house.

In financial services regulatory Sarah Thompson, was hired as a partner from Kirkland & Ellis, and Brendan Wallace now works at Bank of Ireland.

The project development team saw most change. In projects, construction and energy, Niamh McGovern was internally promoted to a partner, and three associates were recruited, Olivia Abell form DLA Piper, James Downey from William Fry and Niall Donnelly form Baker McKenzie.

 

Deal highlights: 32nd edition (2021/2022)

Arena Aviation Capital/Kennedy Lewis Investment $1.5 billion aircraft leasing joint venture

Bank of Ireland €5 billion acquisition of KBC Bank Ireland banking business

Causeway Consortium €718 million Applegreen

Celtic Roads Group €240 million debt restructuring

Concord Acquisition $750 million private placement

Dole $400 million IPO

Echelon Data Centres €850 million project financing

Frontier Issuer Designated Activity Company €6.3 billion asset-backed securities issue

Nordic Aviation Capital $8 billion restructuring and Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection process

SIRO Fibre Roll-out €620 million project financing

 

Client feedback: 32nd edition (2021/2022)

Asset finance

"Responsive, efficient and helpful."

"Very responsive, efficient and flexible."

"Very responsive and attentive service. Ability to quickly understand the issues and provide advice on them. Ease of engaging specialist lawyers to advise on specialist issues, like restructuring and insolvency issues."

"The firm provides a team of high-quality lawyers which cover every aspect of Irish law. The teams are responsive, experienced and practical in dealing with the range of issues that arise from managing our Irish platform."

"The firm is extremely responsive and are, needless to say, experts in their field. Their aviation partner has a great knack for breaking down complex legal points and presenting them to non-legal folk in our business in a clear and concise way. "

"The firm is attentive, professional, deal-focused and competent. They can be relied upon to significantly contribute to deal processes and closings. "

"The firm has vast industry knowledge and expertise. "

"The firm has significant depth and talent when it comes to lawyers."

"Technical excellence and market knowledge."

"Responsiveness, quality of advice, efficiency."

"Responsive, good knowledge of the industry, make a real effort to understand our business and business needs."

"Partner-led engagement. Responsive. Efficient."

"Local company and pleasant to deal with."

"In-depth knowledge of the relevant area of law, commercial approach to transactions and responsiveness."

"Highly responsive to queries, team always engaged/understand out needs, very pragmatic, extremely knowledgeable and all around a pleasure to work with their team."

"Highly organised and efficient. Advice was provided in a calm, crisp and clear manner and always on time."

"Highly experienced, dedicated and hands-on team of professionals. Very knowledgeable and with commercial sense as well. "

"Excellent sector knowledge and technical abilities."

"Excellent knowledge and very experienced on all transactional matters."

"Excellent firm."

"Responsive, always available and extremely helpful. "

"They are very responsive and add value in their review of documentation. Genuine interest in the wider context of the deal. "

"They helped in structuring complex transactions which gave us the opportunity to do additional business with our clients. "

 

Banking

"Excellent advice both strategic and detailed. Practical, efficient, creative, very pleasant individuals, technically very competent, managed the other side very."

 

Banking and finance

"Very competent and experienced, excellent judgement both legal and tactical, efficient, effective, hard working, very pleasant to work with."

"They think thoroughly through a transaction and address all issues anticipated to be raised in a proactive manner."

"Listen and reflect. Give commercially practice advice. Open to explore contrary viewpoints."

"Integrity. Honesty. Consideration. Concern."

 

Capital markets : Debt

"Very experienced and significant market talent."

"Super-knowledgeable and responsive, market leaders, and add much more value than their limited local counsel role would suggest."

"Fantastic service, they are really top of their game and know that market inside out. "

"Excellent firm with very proactive and diligent lawyers."

"Excellent client service and responsiveness – they are in my view the leading Irish firm. "

"Their people are outstanding – knowledgeable, experienced, understand client's needs, etc. They have a thorough understanding of the process and guided the company to achieving an excellent result in terms of documentation, timing etc."

 

Capital markets : Equity

"Trusted advisers. They understand our business and our priorities. They are committed to our success. They have deep expertise, availability and good humour."

"The firm is very knowledgeable and responsive and they keep us up to date with proposed changes in the law and regulations."

"The firm displays an incomparable combination of expertise and creativity in providing legal advice, particularly for a company with a complex governance structure and capital markets structure like ours."

"Incredible depth and breadth of expertise at their fingertips. Very quick response time and creative in finding solutions to complex situations."

"The firm was fantastic – highly approachable, technically excellent, extremely responsive, with a very clear understanding of the client and client's needs. "

 

Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

"We have worked with the firm on a wide range of transactions in the Irish market and always find the team to be excellent, they are always pragmatic, commercial, highly responsive and solution-focused. "

"The structured finance team at the firm is second to none in the Irish market. They are exceedingly knowledgeable and take the time to explain their advice."

"The firm provides timely and commercially aware advice which is important to facilitate smooth execution of our transactions."

 

Financial restructuring

"The firm is extremely responsive, strategic and thoughtful in providing advice on complicated issues. They are collaborative and work well to balance the interests of multi-faceted issues involving various jurisdictions of law and competing interests of creditors. "

"Clear setting out of alternatives, identification of pros and cons. Strong understanding of the market and stakeholder interests."

 

Financial services regulatory

"They are knowledgeable and to the point. They give solid advice and recommend practical solutions."

"Positive and pragmatic approach. Delivered within agreed timelines."

"Good technical advice, while pragmatic in interpretation."

 

Insolvency

"Very commercially minded insolvency lawyers. Super service and timely turnaround of advice."

"Commercially focused combined with strong technical legal knowledge."

"Clear advice, strong depth of team."

 

Investment funds : Real estate funds

"Fund industry expertise. Speedy response. Clear advices."

 

Investment funds : Registered funds

"The legal advice from Arthur Cox is always accurate and understandable. More importantly, their industry and business insight and experience are invaluable to a US firm doing business in Europe."

"Responsive, business-friendly, depth of expertise."

"Excellent, efficient and reliable."

 

Investment funds : Retail funds

"The firm are very proactive and knowledgeable. They are responsive and have a substantial amount of experience in the ETF sector. They provide an excellent service and we view them as one of our key advisers in this area."

"Technical knowledge of regulatory approval process."

 

M&A

"Very responsive in area of M&A, always practical, good knowledge of the business and the market trends."

"The firm works hands-on and is very helpful in giving us assistance in jurisdictions we are not familiar with. "

"The firm has provided excellent legal advice on a number of M&A transactions and corporate restructuring. It has the right expertise across all levels, resources transactions appropriately, works well with lawyers in other jurisdictions and is extremely client-focused. "

"Strong expertise in the relevant field. Show empathy and understanding, no arrogance at all and very collaborative. Great partner to work with and successfully complete complex projects."

"Provided valuable insights in regulatory and Irish law specific matters, and drove the employment law workstreams of the transaction."

"I found them extremely responsive and keen to meet transaction requirements. I felt we were treated as a priority client for the full duration of the transaction. "

"For me this this was the first time acquiring an aircraft through a share purchase structure and it was clear that the firm had a lot of experience in this respect. They guided us through perfectly. On all documents that required their input their turnaround time was impressive. "

"Flexibility and availability, expertise in different fields."

"Extremely responsive. My 'go to' local counsel in Ireland for all corporate and finance matters. "

"Client-focused, very professional, exceptional advice."

"Well resourced at the appropriate levels, informed, very approachable and provide excellent legal advice. Very helpful in managing international law firms and stress testing views, as necessary. Trusted business advisers. "

"Trusted advisers. Understand our business. Committed to objectives. Deep experience, valuable experience, availability and good humour."

"Very responsive; consistently high quality of advice and strong understanding of all angles of issues that arise; pragmatic and solutions-focused."

 

PPP/PFI 

"Stakeholder awareness. Commercial awareness. Time management and prioritisation.”

"Not afraid to get off the fence."

"in-depth knowledge of the project."

 

Private equity

"They are our law firm of choice for Irish law matters and we use them wherever we can. We primarily use their corporate team – they know our business inside out which allows them to tailor their advice to our needs. They are experienced, reliable and always provide a calm presence when it is most required. "

"The firm takes the time to learn about our particular business model and appetite for risk and devise creative practical solutions to the problems that we face in our particular industry."

 

Project development : Energy

"Excellent up-to-date knowledge of case law."

 

Project development : Infrastructure

"Commercial guidance in a legal context, step into the client's mindset and provide steady, unbiased guidance. Explain reasoning for taking different views and positions very well and in context. "

"Broad industry knowledge of current, relevant hurdles. Clear and plain advice relating to complex technical matters. Personable and supportive – the lawyers work well together internally, where one practice area can support another, for the benefit of the client. Non-legal guidance and support, being available as a sounding board is quite valuable and much appreciated. "

 

Project finance

"Quick execution, profound knowledge and expertise."

"Excellent up-to-date knowledge of the planning and development legislation and of all recent case law in relevant cases."

 

Restructuring

"They were responsive, knowledgeable and a great part of the team."

 

Elisabeth Bothwell

"Hands-on, expertise."

 

Aaron Boyle

"Very pragmatic, always finds a solution."

"Extremely pragmatic."

"Availability. Reliability. Effective engagement. Solution-oriented."

 

Glenn Butt

"Provides timely and commercially aware advice which is important to facilitate smooth execution of our transactions."

"Very responsive and knowledgeable, excellent technical lawyer but also a good people person."

 

Robert Cain

"Listens, reflects, then advises. Commercial and articulate. Patient and calm."

 

Phil Cody

"Phil Cody stands out as exceptional. His breadth of knowledge combined with his commercially astute approach is invaluable. He is incredibly responsive and proactive and always takes the time to explain the legal implications of each possible course of action."

"He knows how to get deals done – he's all over the detail but also very commercial."

"He is a first-class DCM and derivatives lawyer. We have always found him to be great value for money, in particular on cross-border transactions. "

 

Cormac Commins

"Clear, knowledgeable and efficient."

 

Jacinta Conway

"Excellent case law knowledge and experience with wind energy projects in Ireland."

"Excellent up-to-date knowledge of legislation and case law, well-considered communication and negotiation positions when required."

 

Sarah Cunniff

"Depth of industry, client service skills, strong team of associates, very responsive."

"She is very knowledgeable and experienced. She is always proactive and fully understands the needs of our business."

 

Laura Cunningham

"Very knowledgeable, responsive, pragmatic and flexible."

"Very engaging and approachable. Also super-capable and really good professional advice."

"Understands our business. Builds strong rapport with me and my team."

"She is very responsive and reliable; she has excellent technical legal skills and understanding of the aircraft leasing industry."

"She does an excellent job at negotiating deal structure and substantive points, while helping shepherd deals to closing. "

"Responsiveness. Quality of advice. Efficiency."

"Extremely enthusiastic and engaged. She has a strong 'can do' attitude. Very well connected industry and strong client relationship management skills."

"Easy to approach, attention to client's wishes, strong communicator and very pleasant to work with. Has strong commercial sense as well, sees the bigger picture."

"Excellent to work with both for me and my team."

"She is a good communicator and meets deadlines perfectly."

"She is incredibly flexible and accommodating. She is extremely professional and conscientious."

"Extremely responsive and very capable of summarising complex points. Very good relationship manager."

"Extremely responsive, helpful, reliable and willing to get things done. She is a very knowledgeable and experienced lawyer."

 

William Day

"Combines commercial acumen with technical legal knowledge."

"He knows his stuff, is commercial and responsive, and I have confidence that he will jump on it whenever I ask him for help."

 

Caroline Devlin

"She is a proven problem-solver. Her communication skills are excellent. She is also very commercial and her knowledge of asset financing is unquestionable."

"Creative, innovative and strong business and market knowledge."

"Very pragmatic, great problem-solving skills, outstanding client management and a pleasure to work with."

"She has seen it all before and never gets stressed when something new is thrown at her. She is pragmatic, professional and is able to understand our business and consequently offer advice that is tailored to our needs."

"Excellent sector knowledge. Problem-solving, finding innovative solutions."

"Diligence. Depth of consideration. "

"Very professional, responsive, and her expertise in her field of law."

"Very professional and responsive."

"They helped in structuring complex transactions which gave us the opportunity to do additional business with our clients. "

 

John Donald

"He is proactive, thoughtful and detail-oriented. No question or issue is too great for him. He manages thorny issues and adversaries and supporters tactically and collegially. "

"Gives clear, unambiguous advice. States the hard truths. Recognises the shortcomings in situations."

"Very clear communicator providing decisive, commercial legal advice."

"Commercially minded lawyer with extensive insolvency experience, bringing innovative solutions to complex problems."

 

Kenneth Egan

"Class act."

 

Aisling Kelly

"She is excellent – she proactively solves issues as they arise, presents solutions and is generally a pleasure to deal with on all sides of a deal."

"Hugely knowledgeable. Super personality, which makes her very easy to work with. Excellent attention to detail, delivers on time and budget."

 

Fintan Kerins

"Very responsive and adheres to deadlines. Genuine interest in understanding wider context of deal. Very pleasant and easy to deal with."

 

Cormac Kissane

"He is a very practical and well-versed lawyer in his field. Service, technical expertise and knowledge is second to none. We worked with him and his team to a very tight and focused deadline which we achieved due to the expert advice we obtained from them."

"He brings extensive knowledge and experience and is exceptionally strong in regard to client management. He is creative and is always looking to bring new ideas to make improvements for each of his clients."

 

Ruth Lillis

"She worked on a number of transactions and wider projects for us. She is very well organised, adept at covering not just her specific area but a range of areas providing coherent and first-class advice. She provided counsel on an important refinancing transaction which took place during the Covid pandemic, obtaining the result we were seeking."

"She is an excellent and very talented lawyer, diligent and professional and above all delivers in terms of the client's needs and timelines."

 

Connor Manning

"Accessible, tactical, solution driven, excellent delegator and team manager."

"Very seasoned and knowledgeable lawyer, creative with finding solutions and identifying the core of the issue being addressed. Very accessible and responsive."

 

John Matson

"Very extended expertise in his core field (M&A) but also in adjacent fields (regulatory, gdpr, etc), and knows when to bring in experts. Good manager of his own team and the client. Kind and friendly, which results in willingness from all employees within client to work with him and involve him. Can rely on him to give correct and unbiased advice."

"Extremely responsive, very commercial, finds solutions not problems. "

"He is calm, experienced, practical and able to get things done efficiently and properly. He is always available."

 

Conor McCarthy

"Excellent communicator, very responsive. Provides service that is akin to driving a ferrari... excellent, in the best hands and a pleasure to work with."

"Trusted adviser. Understands our business. Committed to objectives. Deep experience, valuable experience, availability and good humour."

"He is extremely knowledgeable and delivers practical legal advice. He is adept at quickly understanding the commercial and operational issues faced by a fast-paced company such as ours and delivers to-the-point, objective-driven advice and solutions to the problems we face. "

 

Cian McCourt

"As both our relationship partner and lead partner on most of our matters, he excels at understanding our overall needs and objectives and recommending alternatives and solutions to achieve our desired results. He is a great communicator and is incredibly responsive. He is an asset to his firm and has become a trusted adviser to us. "

"Secure on deadlines, problem-solver, seeking compromises."

 

Chris McLaughlin

"Very responsive and knowledgeable."

 

Maura McLaughlin

"Trusted adviser. Commercial and practical. Supportive and available."

"Very responsive and facilitating. Thorough well-thought-out legal advice, taking account of client needs and legal parameters."

"Excellent technical knowledge with a strong ability to apply this pragmatically and in a practical manner. She has excellent judgement and is a trusted, reliable and highly valued adviser to us."

"She is unusually attuned to the individual client she is interacting with and pitches her advice and level of detail in precisely the right way. She is technically excellent (which I would expect from someone at her level), but her project and team management, clear articulation of complex areas and broad understanding of legal areas outside her own are exceptional. She is very low ego and relatable and very well liked and respected by both the lawyers and commercial colleagues. "

"She is excellent at all aspect of her role. She is a highly trusted adviser, makes excellent judgement calls, and is clear and reasoned in her approach. She is both technically excellent and excellent at managing the client's needs, understanding precisely what is needed and providing it in a very low-key, low-ego way. She has also proven to be unflappable – and very adept at diffusing tense negotiations! Her intellectual intelligence is matched by her emotional intelligence. "

"She provides an excellent service to the company. She is extremely knowledgeable about both the company and the sector, consistently shows sound commercial judgement and provides excellent legal advice. She is particularly strong in dealing with situations where there may be challenging personalities on the other side of the transaction and is extremely professional in bringing out the best solution for her client in a non-aggressive but highly effective way. She is top class but low ego! I really enjoy working with her and rate her really highly. "

 

Maeve Moran

"Extremely competent, thorough, polished and felt well represented as a client. "

 

Rob Murphy

"He is the go-to person for all aircraft lease issues, including in a restructuring context. An industry titan. "

"Have known and worked with him for a number of years. He is always clear and concise with his advice which is also delivered on time."

 

Kevin Murphy

"Kevin is one of the best attorneys I have worked with in any jurisdiction on any matter. His legal acumen is second to none. His business judgement is invaluable. He always puts the client first and provides honest input as to what he feels the best course of action in any matter will be. He is extraordinarily responsive and effective in moving matters forward. Since he has experience as a senior attorney in both the US and Ireland, he is particularly skilled at articulating the differences between US and Irish requirements and helping US-based clients to navigate the Irish fund landscape."

"He is one of the best attorneys I have worked with in any jurisdiction on any matter. His legal acumen is second to none. His business judgement is invaluable. He always puts the client first and provides honest input as to what he feels the best course of action in any matter will be. He is extraordinarily responsive and effective in moving matters forward. Since he has experience as a senior attorney in both the US and Ireland, he is particularly skilled at articulating the differences between US and Irish requirements and helping US-based clients to navigate the Irish fund landscape."

 

Orla O'Connor

"Excellent strategic approach to the management of the assignment, reflecting her deep experience. Detailed, comprehensive and practical advice. Has an enthusiastic and very competent team working for her, very approachable and pleasant to deal with."

 

Brian O'Gorman        

"Knowledge, practicality, client focus, attention to detail."

 

Niav O'Higgins

"Personable and supportive, has a wealth of industry knowledge. "

 

Tara O'Reilly

"She has in-depth technical knowledge of exchange-traded funds in Ireland. She is excellent at finding solutions."

 

Stephen Ranalow

"Readily available and very responsive."

"Readily available. Well-researched advice. "

 

David Vos

"Strong knowledge of sector. Good commercial insight. Very good communicator with clear advice."