IFLR1000 Reviews


Solicitor’s governing body: Law Society of Ireland

Competition authority: Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Financial regulator: Central Bank of Ireland

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction: Banking; Capital markets: Debt; Capital markets: Equity; Financial services regulatory; Investment funds; M&A; Project finance; Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

The Republic of Ireland is one of two countries which form the island of Ireland. While, after around 800 years of foreign rule, the Republic gained independence from the UK in 1922; Northern Ireland has remained part of the sovereign state, albeit with devolved powers through the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Republic has a common law legal system which derives from the constitution enacted in 1937. As an EU member state, it has adopted all the trading bloc’s treaties and recognises most of its legislation as Irish law.

As part of its EU membership, the Republic permits EEA qualified lawyers to practice the law of their jurisdiction in Ireland on the condition they do so under their name and have adequate indemnity insurance. Lawyers with EU qualifications may requalify to practice domestic law by working in the country for a continuous three year period or through the traditional route of bar examination.

Foreign firms are free to establish an office in Ireland and advise on their home law or international law, needing only to comply with the usual formalities for a foreigner opening a business in the Republic. EEA based firms can advise on local law if working in association with a local firm or lawyer. 

Despite the limited restrictions on foreign firms opening in the Republic, the make-up of the legal market, which is largely concentrated in Dublin, is predominantly domestic. Those international firms that have entered the jurisdiction, include Eversheds, which has had a presence in the country for some time; Dechert; and off-shore firms, Maples and Calder and Walkers. Among the domestic advisers, there a number of venerable firms, but five in particular have historically vied for the roles on the country’s most significant financial and corporate mandates.

Today those firms, A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, Matheson, McCann FitzGerald and William Fry, have more competition from local and international counterparts in certain areas. Of the other Irish firms with a commercial focus, one that is certainly pushing hard to join the elite, unquestionably with a degree of success in both the corporate and finance areas, is Mason Hayes & Curran. In the funds space, Dillon Eustace has one of the country’s leading practices, as does offshore outfit Maples and Calder. Another firm heralding from the Caymans, Walkers, which has a far more focussed offering than Maples in Ireland, has also made inroads into the funds market and has a good asset finance practice.

Several firms with offices in Dublin, which were in the past only recognised for specific work, have developed more consistency across a number of practices recently. Dillon Eustace and Maples and Calder are both good examples of this trend. The former has enhanced its ancillary practices in addition to the core funds group to service its financial services clients, and the latter has built a strong corporate practice to complement its finance team.

The type of work on offer for firms in the Republic is diverse and the leading firms reflect this with full-service offerings. In terms of reliability, funds work - unaffected by the crisis as it was, with all the assets involved located abroad - has become the mainstay of many a Dublin adviser. Corporate work, including financing, represents another good revenue stream thanks to the country’s favourable environment for business. 

The country is home to the European headquarters of some of the world’s biggest companies, Facebook, Amazon and Apple included. Principally this is driven by the country’s business-friendly approach and enticing tax regime, which includes a relaxed transfer pricing system and low corporation tax on profits. This, in particular, has encouraged high levels of FDI and, before the crisis, helped transform the Republic into one of the wealthiest countries in Europe.

Ben Naylor - Editor

Financial and corporate
A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody is strong across the board. The firm counts leading financial institutions and international corporates among its clients as features prominently on high-end work. 

In the banking space work on acquisition and development finance and corporate lending are key strengths. The firm also advises banks on large NPL disposals. The asset finance team advises international airlines and leasing companies on innovative securitisations along with financing and portfolio acquisitions. 

The firm's equity practice is known for its work in the IPO space for both the issuers and global co-ordinators on deals on the Irish and international stock exchanges. In the debt space it services domestic and international issuers, arrangers and underwriters on bond issues, private placements and the establishment of bond programmes. Lately the firm has seen an increase in debt capital issuances from US issuers. 

In the structured finance and securitisation area, its work on RMBS products and ABS mandates in the aviation sector for the issuers, servicers and sellers count among its strengths. 

In financial services regulatory area, US and UK financial services has been increasingly engaging the firm on authorisation applications from the Central Bank of Ireland as part of their Brexit contingency plans. Tracker mortgage investigations and enforcement cases have also added to the team's work. 

The firm advises UK funds and asset managers on the launch of their UCITs and QIAFs along with ICAVs, unit trusts, ETFs and money market funds. 

The firm’s M&A team is active across the board and advises private equity firms on large cross border mandates. 

Project developers often mandate the firm's project team to advise on both the development and financing of windfarm and solar projects. 

The restructuring and insolvency team continues to advise the special liquidators of IBRC on the largest liquidation in Irish history. The firm has also been engaged to advise the administrators on the restructuring of high profile retail companies.

David Berkery from New York office of Milbank joined the firm's finance practice recently while Walkers hire Kerill O'Shaughnessy brings funds expertise to the firm. The financial services regulatory team also expanded with the arrival of Patrick Brandt from Skadden Arps Sale Meagher & Flom.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Ardmore Securities €1.2 billion RMBS 

•Bank of Ireland $500 million 4.5% MREL compliant bond issue

•Goldman Sachs acquisition of €1.9 billion loan portfolio 

•HANetf white-label ETF

•Iterum Therapeutics Nasdaq IPO

•KKR €1.397 billion acquisition finance 

•Oriel 330MW offshore windfarm 

•Osmotica Pharmaceuticals Nasdaq IPO

Client feedback

"Well organized, experienced and understood the likely issue that might arise and responsive." Banking 

"The firm was a lead legal adviser in a financing package comprising existing and new lenders each with bespoke documentation requirements. The transaction involved multi-faceted contemporaneous negotiations between the parties and their respective advisers in multiple jurisdictions. A&L Goodbody were instrumental in ensuring that this objective was achieved. ALG highlighted the decision to be maintained by the borrower and maintained focus throughout the transaction." – Banking

"Responsive and delivered pragmatic advice to legal problems." – Capital markets: debt

"A&L Goodbody are an approachable and responsive firm. They are forward thinking, pragmatic and solution-focused with their advice." – Financial services regulatory

"The firm always provides a consistently good level of service." – Investment funds

"Personable and professional approach." – Investment funds

"A&L Goodbody were excellent, providing thoughtful and commercially-focused advice on tight timelines. We were impressed with all levels of the team across all relevant disciplines involved in the matter." – M&A

"A&L Goodbody are excellent in all respects. You could not ask for better professional expertise, commitment, or client service." – M&A

"We have been working with the team at A&L Goodbody for the last 10 years and are delighted with the services they provide. They have been a very important contributor to the overall growth of our business." – Project finance

Adrian Burke

"Responsive, accessible and good problem solver." 

Brian McDermott

"Brian is extremely knowledgeable and has a strong understanding of our business."

Enda Hurley

"Knowledgeable, responsive and focused on solutions."

Dario Dagostino

"Dario has excellent knowledge and experience with the Irish and European regulatory environment. Dario provides pragmatic and concise advice and guidance and has excellent attention to detail."

John Dallas

"John is extremely knowledgeable and thorough and complements this well with a commercial, pragmatic overall approach."

Niamh McMahon

"Excellent in managing complex transactions and multiple work streams."

Richard Marron

"Richard is a very able lawyer, who is responsive, commercial and takes a sensitive and pragmatic view of the assessment and management of risk. He is a great communicator and is able to break down complex issues quickly and develop innovative solutions to problems. A pleasure to work with."

Ross Moore

"Ross is an excellent and dedicated lawyer. Extremely knowledgeable and very thorough in his approach."

Seamus O 'Cronin

"Calm, knowledgeable and good team leader."

Stephen Carson

"Stephen is knowledgeable and personable."

Arthur Cox

Arthur Cox is one of the leading corporate firms in Ireland and is strong across the board. 

Its banking practice covers full range of services and acts for lenders, borrowers and alternative lenders on financings of acquisitions, corporates and projects. In project finance the firm is active on windfarm financings.

The firm’s debt capital markets team regularly advises banks on bond issues and securitisations mandates covering the likes of RMBS and CLOs. It also advises non-banking institution as issuers on debt issues. In the equity space it acts for Irish-listed companies on public offerings, private placements on rights and shares issue. 

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. 

In M&A publicly listed companies and private equity firms and funds often seek out the firm’s services on high value sales or acquisitions across a range of sectors. 

The firm’s project development team is very strong on PPP projects. It often advises project developers and construction companies on the development and financing of social infrastructure projects.

The firm’s restructuring team also has capabilities on all three stages of insolvency having worked for liquidators, receivers and examiners on restructurings of both domestic and multinational entities.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Applegreen €360 million acquisition of Welcome Break 

•Aryzta €790 million rights issue 

•Barclays acquisition of Lloyds performing mortgage loan portfolio 

•Barclays €4.9 billion RMBS

•Clanwilliam €200 million financing 

•Hearthside $1.07 billion acquisition of Greencore Group 

•N7/N11 Arklow Rathnew PPP 

•Republic of Ireland €3 billion sovereign green bond issue 

Client feedback

"Very strong; the advice received was clear, helpful and always provided in a timely manner." – Banking 

"Very impressed with the quality of the advice and the work product. The advice was provided in a timely and commercial manner that was very helpful." – Banking

"Strong performance with a focus on solutions and action-oriented." – Capital markets: debt

"Arthur Cox provided outstanding client service during the entirety of the transaction and helped advise on all Irish aspects of the offering. They have excellent expertise in this area and are a trusted resource." – Capital markets: debt

"Trusted partners providing excellent technical advices and sensible solutions." – Capital markets: equity

"Offers a full range of skilled practitioners. No-nonsense approach. Well connected and easy to deal with." – Financial services regulatory

"This is the most experienced investment fund team in Dublin. There are no obvious weaknesses." – Investment funds

"Highly professional & efficient." – Investment funds

"Tara O'Reilly co-heads the team and is very highly respected within BlackRock for her expert advice in the Funds and ETF space." – Investment funds

"Excellent; the scope of their practice across all asset management and financial service fields is impressive." – Investment funds

"Arthur Cox provides top-notch advice in the area of fund formation and regulatory compliance.  They are highly knowledgeable regarding UCITS regulation and their client-management is second-to-none." – Investment funds

"Highly competent and commercial lawyers negotiated and performed due diligence on a number of very intricate, complex and emotive aspects of a very complicated transaction." – M&A

"Having used several Irish law firms, I hold Arthur Cox in the highest regard. I find their work to be consistently good across the whole range of their practice areas." – M&A

"Arthur Cox has proven time and again to be extremely knowledgeable and incredibly responsive to our client needs." – M&A

"Consistently strong work, commercial and personal approach." – M&A

"Strong legal ability, understanding of briefs, and strong negotiations with stakeholders." – Project development

"Very strong sector knowledge and very responsive to my queries." – Project finance

"Arthur Cox provided excellent service and advice across all business areas. On the construction side, the team was led by Niamh Burke, whose experience and knowledge was unrivalled in the market. Niamh has, very sadly, since passed away. The project finance team was led by Alex McClean with some assistance from Grainne Hennessy. The project finance arrangements involved the European Investment Bank and a consortium of three commercial banks. A huge amount of work was required to have mutual agreement of terms across all lenders and Arthur Cox dedicated a huge amount of time and effort to getting the deal done. Special mention to Charlotte Upton, associate, who was extremely knowledgeable on project finance matters and a pleasure to deal with." – Project finance

"Arthur Cox provide excellent service. They are diligent yet pragmatic and respond quickly and appropriately to all queries and issues." – Project finance

"Fantastic! Intellectual rigor, thoughtful, collaborative and great service. Kathleen Garrett is exceptional - a great partner who rolls her sleeves up and is intimately involved in the work." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Very strong commercially focused advice. They get to the heart of the issue quickly and provide robust sound advice. One of the leaders in the field in Ireland." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Arthur Cox (in particular John Donald) provided us with excellent assistance on a couple of financial services firms' resolutions. Arthur Cox provided very strong, practical advices, which were required urgently. Arthur Cox showed a good understanding of our needs and a willingness to work with the urgency required but equally in a way that did not create unnecessary work or complexity. They also very effectively dealt with the counter party. Overall, they delivered an excellent service in all the matters they advised us on."- Restructuring and insolvency

Aiden Small

"Very energetic, affable and can come up with innovative solutions."

Charlotte Upton

"Excellent in all areas."

"Charlotte has a very strong technical skillset in project finance law. She is also extremely obliging and delivers a very high standard of work against challenging timelines."

"Charlotte's work is always 10/10. She is extremely diligent but listens carefully and understands where there is value for us as a client in pursuing issues and/or accepting certain positions. I get to work in various jurisdictions so although I cannot compare Charlotte to other Irish lawyers I use I can compare her across jurisdictions and the comparison is extremely favourable."

Cian McCourt

"Cian quickly understood what we needed and assembled the right team for our transaction. He made sure the firm interacted well with everyone on the deal. He excels at client relationship management."

Conor McCarthy

"Conor is a trusted advisor for us. He always delivers what we need and understands our context.  He is technically excellent and helpfully practical."

Dara Harrington

"Dara is the brightest legal mind in the industry."

"Excellent knowledge and service."

"He is our main client contact and provides excellent service."

Grainne Hennessy

"Very strong performer - excellent industry knowledge and ability to provide clear advice."

"Very impressive performer with a clear understanding of the general issues and very deep understanding of the sector."

Ian Dillon

"Ian is truly excellent, super responsive and incredibly knowledgeable of the industry."

John Barrett

"John provides excellent client services on all aspects of corporate and finance work. He has excellent project management skills and is able to timely drive task completion on budget."

John Matson

"John is the best counsel with whom I have worked with at any firm. He is very knowledgeable and well connected, has a pleasant and calm demeanour and offers an unusually high work ethic that meets all our needs on time and on budget. He is top notch!"

"Extremely responsive, measured and consistently provides practical and commercial advice."

Kathleen Garrett

"Kathleen Garrett is exceptional - a great partner who rolls her sleeves up and is intimately involved in the work."

Maura McLaughlin

"Maura is our trusted source of sensible advice, technical expertise and practical solutions."

Niamh Mcgovern

"Excellent client and negotiating skills and excellent knowledge."

Phil Cody

"Phil Cody provides excellent knowledge and expertise in capital market transactions and debt financing. He is able to provide timely advice and interface well with clients and cross-border colleagues."

Robert Cain

"Responsive, commercial and understandable."

Tara O'Reilly

"Really superb lawyer with vast experience."

"Tara draws on her extensive experience in providing advice in the structuring, establishment, management and sale of UCITS and AIFs in Ireland. She is thorough, reliable and commercial in the advice provided on regulation, compliance and corporate governance requirements. Tara has particular expertise in ETFs."

William Day

"Strong commercial and responsive lawyer who focuses on getting the big issues resolved quickly.  Strong lawyer to have beside you in difficult situations."

Maeve Moran and Paul Robinson

"Excellent lawyers who negotiated various complex and highly emotive matters in a highly regulated business with multiple jurisdictional stakeholders. Commercial and pragmatic at all times, and quality oversight, advice and stewardship of the deal on matters way beyond legal in substance."

Dillon Eustace

Dillon Eustace specialises in funds management and advises more Irish domiciled funds than any firm in the country. Work for its large client base of asset managers, funds, and private equity firms accounts for a lot of its overall activity across all practice areas. 

In the banking space the firm typically advises investment funds and private equity firms in obtaining liquidity facilities from the banks. However, international banks such as Deutsche and top local Irish banks such as Allied Irish Bank also call on the firm's banking expertise to advise them on acquisition and real estate development financings. 

In the capital markets space the firm is stronger in debt with notable expertise on convertible bond issues, where it advises both investors and issuers. In the structured finance and securitisation space the firm advises on the establishment of asset backed medium term note programmes and subscriptions to RMBS notes. 

The financial regulatory team often advises on the regulatory aspects of transactional mandates across the board. It also advises its individuals and firms on investigation by the Central Bank of Ireland. 

In the funds space the team's ability has attracted work from Japanese and Indian asset managers on the establishment of QIF and UCIT funds aimed at the Asian market recently. 

In M&A the firm has cross border experience advising private equity and investment funds on acquisitions across a broad range of sectors. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm typically acts for custodians in the restructuring of Irish and multinational companies. Work on the liquidator and examiner side is also common for the firm.

During the research period the banking team lost its department head Conor Houlihan to the newly established DLA Piper in Dublin. Jennifer Fox from the funds team joined Walkers while head of compliance and regulatory Breeda Cunningham left the firm to work in-house. Joining the firm is new partner Keith Waine, who joined from Barclays Bank to head the financial regulation team.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Basta Parsons and Basta Holdings examinership

•Centric Health acquisition of 15 general medical and dental practices

•Edina Power Services acquisition financing

•FBD Insurance €50 million convertible bond issue

•Polar Capital UCIT fund

•Roundhill Capital Irish QIF

•Seniors Money acquisition finance

Client feedback

"Firm's work was excellent from initial engagement to the end. Partners remained the key points of contact throughout and always made themselves available. Excellent understanding of the transaction and the bank's requirements, quick turnaround times and ability to work to tight deadlines. Advice offered to Bank was well explained and key commercial and legal risks involved in the transactions were well considered." – Banking 

"Partner-led therefore of very high quality. We find them very commercial and the solicitors acting for us in recent transactions speak highly of them. We also find their pricing competitive." – Banking

"We have been very impressed year on year with the banking team at Dillon Eustace. They are knowledgeable, considerate and very responsive. The quality of the lawyers is consistently very good. They have strong commercial approach. Their approach is practical and very client-focused. Dillon Eustace provide a top-quality offering and are always committed to getting the deal done efficiently." – Banking

"Dillon Eustace are a relationship business and have an excellent ability to understand clients' requirements and act as a business partner to deliver results in their best interests. Further, Dillon Eustace excel at driving the legal process, in particular where there are multiple interfaces with bank, solicitors, vendors etc." – Banking 

"They are very good - responsive, accurate, good value. Overall, very easy to deal with and an easy choice for repeat business." – Banking 

"I have found Dillon Eustace very good to work with. The team have been very approachable and easy to deal with as well as clearly being very knowledgeable in their respective practice areas. It is clear that the team have a good understanding of current market trends and take a commercial approach. I also found the team to be proactive and willing to work on their own initiative." – Banking 

"Firm are very strong and proactive in their management of transactions on behalf of the bank. They continue to provide advice from start to finish, and always get the deal done in a timely fashion, which alleviates all pressures from the bank." – Banking 

"Excellent, responsive and efficient." – Capital markets: debt

"Very strong on funds and banking practice." – Investment funds

"I am very pleased with Dillon Eustace. They act for us in four areas: fund set-up / management, tax, real estate and financing. In all four areas, they are very good and we are pleased to recommend them." – Investment funds

"Extremely competent and conscientious work undertaken in an accelerated timeframe. They managed the launch from start to finish dealing with a number of complexities in a practical and competent manner throughout." – Investment funds

"A go-to-firm, technically very strong but also, extremely practical and commercially focussed." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Since we began working with Dillon Eustace we have been struck by their commercial approach to matters and understanding what the client's value drivers are. This comes through in the advices received, which are both practical and informative. There have been a number of protracted matters where they have come up with innovative solutions, which ensured that value was maximised for the client." – Restructuring and insolvency

"We rate Dillon Eustace very highly as evidenced by our continued retention of them for some of our most complex and difficult cases. I would consider their advices very practical and would highlight their responsiveness as a key strength." – Restructuring and insolvency

"The quality of work undertaken by the firm was top-class. Advice was excellent and delivered in a thorough and responsive manner. It included both legal and pragmatic commercial considerations at all stages. Service included advice from a number of departments including restructuring, conveyancing, banking and environmental." – Restructuring and insolvency

Donnacha O'Connor

"Very responsive and commercial, great network and good relations with Central Bank."

Jamie Ensor

"Jamie is an excellent lawyer.  He is responsive, commercial, accessible and technically very strong. I thoroughly enjoy working with him and feel that he always has the bank's best interests in mind." 

"Jamie is a savvy operator and excels in finding practical and commercial solutions to difficult issues. He is very responsive, approachable and easy to get on with on a personal level. He is ably supported by a strong team."

"I have completed a number of restructuring assignments with Jamie. The thing that strikes me is that no matter what is going on, he is unflappable. He provided in-depth legal and business analysis on my proposal which made me realise he was at the top of his game. He has excellent practice development skills and is very responsive."

John-Hugh Colleran

"I found John-Hugh to be excellent, particularly in his knowledge of the sector involved and the risks associated with same. John-Hugh provides comprehensible explanations and appropriate solutions. He has an excellent work ethic and a desire to get things done. He is a skilled negotiator, readily available and well respected by his peers."

"I am very pleased with John Hugh's work. He is proficient, responsive, and I value very highly his advice."

"John-Hugh is a trusted business partner and the solicitor of choice for us. He is extremely good to deal with and very sharp from a legal perspective." 

"I found John-Hugh excellent to deal with. Clearly very knowledgeable and experienced in banking and finance, with a lot of current market experience. He is also a clear communicator and very approachable."

Keith Robinson

"High working ethos and strives for excellence. He is excellent on commercial transactions."

"He provides practical advice and is very engaging on general matters in which informal advices are required." 

"Keith is a huge asset to us within the bank and myself as a relationship manager. He manages transactions from start to finish, and is extremely good at problem solving under strict timeline, which always occur within a complex real estate transaction. He also keeps within quotes and delivers within timelines, which helps the bank continue a client relationship."

LK Shields

LK shields is a strong Irish firm that is active across the board. During the research period it was especially active in banking and finance and M&A practice areas. 

The banking team advises on both lender and borrower sides. It is particularly strong in property finance transactions where it advises domestic property funds and investors on acquisition and development financings. In recent years the firm has picked up for in the alternative lending space advising pension funds and alternative funds as lenders. Aside from financing in real estate, the healthcare and technology sectors have also kept the firm busy with financing transactions. 

In M&A the firm's corporate team often works in conjunction with the banking team. Recently it saw notable mandates in the healthcare sector where both teams advised on acquisition and the financing aspects of the transactions. The firm has acted for multinational corporations and private equity firms on acquisitions in Ireland across real estate, healthcare and the technology sectors. During the research period it also acted as Irish counsel to the sellers on the sale of shares in Top Oil, which was one of the largest private company deals in Ireland in 2018.

On December 2018, the firm merged with boutique firm Kilroys Solicitors which bought in a new corporate partner, Joanne Griffin. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Carechoice €160 million refinancing

•Celtic Linen €9 million acquisition financing

•Cignal Infrastructure €65 million refinancing 

•InfraVia Capital Partners $578 million acquisition of Mater Private Hospital Group

•Irving Oil acquisition of Top Oil

•KKR £6 billion acquisition of Unilever's spreads business

•October Investments €47.5 million debt restructuring

Client feedback

"Straightforward, practical and to the point." – M&A

"The firm has a high-calibre staff with strong client focus and practical support." – M&A

"We have been very happy with the level of service and responsiveness. Their advice has been practical and commercially focused." – M&A

"Lk managed a difficult process with great skill and ensured a successful outcome." – M&A

"Gerry and Jennifer handled everything in an extremely professional manner and gave me a huge amount of confidence going through the sales process." – Project development

Gerry Halpenny

"Gerry is a thorough professional and gave me huge confidence in handling the sale of my shareholding in what was a very acrimonious transaction."

Jennifer McGuire

"Very strong practical support with good communication."

"Jennifer is very easy to deal with and understands our business and imperatives well. She takes a commercial approach and appears to value our feedback."

Marco Hickey

"Works to instructions."

Gerry Halpenny & Jennifer McGuire

"Very commercial and steer clients through complex problems with ease."

Maples Group

Formerly Maples and Calder, the firm recently merged with its fiduciary services arm, rebranding itself as Maples Group. The firm is recognised for its strong funds practice but is also strong in corporate, debt capital markets and structured finance work.

In the banking and finance area the firm's expertise lies in syndicated and bilateral financings involving acquisitions, loan portfolio sales, projects and real estate. On the borrower side it advises funds in cross border financing and refinancing transactions. On the lender side it advises top Irish and international banks on acquisition, real estate and project financing. The asset finance practice advises lessors, international airlines and financial institutions on acquisitions and financing of portfolio and fleets.

In the capital markets area the firm has notable strength in CLO transactions where it advises the issuers and managers. Often mandated by asset managers and financial institutions, the firm also has experience in ABS transaction in the aviation sector as well as MBS experience for a mix of issuer, arranger, servicer and seller. Multinational entities also mandate the firm to advise as issuer side Irish legal counsel.

In the funds space the practice advises large number of unique asset managers covering a wide range of funds products in both the retail and alternative funds space. The funds practice advises international clients on the establishment and authorisations of ICAVs and UCITs platform. It also advises UK funds on the restructuring of their businesses.

Its M&A practice is strong and active in the technology and healthcare sectors, typically advising on a mix of sales and purchases of Irish and American entities. The firm also sees M&A work involving North American and UK private equity funds either as their advisors or across the table. 

In the restructuring and insolvency space the firm is capable of handling large multi-jurisdictional restructuring, liquidation and examinership mandates with experience advising a mix of debtors, custodians and liquidators. 

During the research period head of finance Nollaig Murphy announced his retirement from practice while partner Aaron McGarry left the finance team to establish his own boutique. Funds partner Carol Widger also left the firm to join Dechert. Restructuring partner Alan O'Sullivan joined from from Hayes Solicitors.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Advanced Manufacturing Control Systems €100 million funding round

•Avolon $768.4 million ABS

•Bain Capital acquisition of €1.45 billion Pireaus Bank's NPE portfolio

•CVC Cordatus Loan Fund XII €409 million CLO

•KDAC Aviation finance $722.5 million ABS

•LDI Solutions Plus ICAV

•Neuberger Berman AIFM

Client feedback

"The firm has excellent deal management skills, responsiveness, market context and commercial nous. They are one of the most, if not the most, experienced firms in this area of late and have an enviable array of clients. One of the things lacking in the past was a broader bench of juniors but this has been remedied lately in spades." – Capital markets: debt

"Excellent work - their experience is very telling and they have a very good sense of the Central Bank's attitude towards a host of issues." – Financial services regulatory

"They provided excellent service - they were responsive, helpful and great to work with." – Investment funds

"Excellent throughout." – M&A

"Excellent support - well coordinated and pragmatic view on getting documents in place and finalised." – M&A 

"Very supportive of the business during quite a testing time, highly commercial, excellent availability, very practical and extremely knowledgeable." – Restructuring and insolvency

"I would rank the firm's restructuring practice very highly - certainly in the top tier of insolvency advisors in Ireland. They provide a good level of service across a range of restructuring and related practice areas." – Restructuring and insolvency

"The work undertaken by Maples was of high quality and professional." – Restructuring and insolvency

"A very good restructuring and insolvency group." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Maples provide an excellent service. They are very responsive. I really value their strategic input.   Their drafting, both letters and pleadings, are top quality." – Restructuring and insolvency

Callaghan Kennedy

"Very dynamic individual with excellent legal skills which are deployed in a commercial way. Very responsive and adds great value on any transaction he is on."

Karole Cuddihy

"Karole is a brilliant lawyer. He is clever and diligent. He's the man I want beside me for a difficult fight."

Paddy Quinlan

"Excellent support - very helpful and managed his team well to a good conclusion. Developed an excellent relationship with the lawyer on the other side."

Peter Stapleton

"Possibly the best in Dublin."

Robin McDonnell

"Highly commercial, always available, very practical, excellent relationship management, leading knowledge and has the ability anticipate problems."

"Good technical knowledge yet practical and commercial with a wealth of experience to draw on."

"Experienced, high quality and professional."

"A diligent and technically competent lawyer who is very client-centric in his approach."

Mason Hayes & Curran

Mason Hayes & Curran is a full service law firm with strong reputation in the project space and loan market.

The banking team advises a mix of large international and Irish banks on acquisition and development financings. In the project space the team advises both lenders and developers on the financing of renewable projects. The firm also often advises on some of the largest and innovative NPL sales and securitisation mandates. 

The capital markets team also sees work from issuers, trustees, arrangers, managers and shareholders across a range of mandates including placement of shares, public listings, EMTN programmes and notes issues. 

The firm's financial services regulatory team often supports its transactional counterpart on their ongoing transactions. The team is also closely linked to the funds practice and they often have corresponding mandates. 

The funds team has varied capabilities but it is often highlighted for its work in the formation and structuring of UCIT funds. 

The firm's M&A team specialises in technology, healthcare and the food and drinks sectors. It advises well-established corporations on a mix of cross border acquisitions, joint ventures and mergers. 

The firm's restructuring team is active on the insolvency cases of some of the largest retailers in Ireland. 

During the research period the firm strengthened its corporate practice by hiring Robert Dickson from Matheson and William Dillon-Leetch from McCann FitzGerald. Former Hennessy O'Shea lawyer Daragh O'Shea also joined the firm to lead the DCM team. Banking and financial services partner Ronan Armstrong left the firm to become an in-house lawyer in Societe Generale and Investment Banking.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Arklow Bank wind farm

•Knockalough 33.6MW wind farm

•Lone Star Funds and Start Mortgages €1.3 billion acquisition of Permanent TSB NPL portfolio

•National Broadband Plan

•Nomad Foods €225 million acquisition of Green Isle Food

•Project Edison

•Project Glenbeigh – sale of €1.3 billion Permanent TSB non-performing residential mortgage loan portfolio

•Smyths Toys acquisition of Toys R Us business in Europe

Client feedback

"MHC have a superb team that work on the development finance transactions. Their key strengths are their knowledge, experience, commercial sense and understanding, approachability and ability to project manage complex transactions." – Banking 

"Overall, MHC are a very professional and reliable firm who have successfully acted on a number of transaction over the last number of years. MHC have the ability to liaise with the client and customer and manage wide range of requirements with one key point of contact. Strengths include reliability, consistency, professionalism, enthusiasm and ability to meet deadlines." – Banking

"Top quality! Micheál Grace is pragmatic, down to earth and can make complex transactions work. Very impressed." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"We found them very helpful and responsive. The team was very easy to deal with, and they provided clear and concise advice under appropriate timeline." – Financial services regulatory

"Responsive, pragmatic and good sense of regulatory expectation." – Financial services regulatory

"Mason Hayes and Curran provided an excellent service, responding quickly to emails and providing excellent follow up advice." – Financial services regulatory

"Commercial, focused and practical advice. The firm could benefit with more active marketing in London and New York." – Investment funds

"Very good in fund launch space." – Investment funds

"Full specialist coverage across all aspects of renewable energy in Ireland. Their strengths include the team and their market knowledge and risk assessment." – Project development

Conor Durkin

"Exceptional. - Always delivers on time and under budget."

"Good Knowledge of fund law. Very helpful and very responsive."

Janet Cafferkey

"Nice demeanour - very proficient. Overall, a pleasure to deal with."

Karol Fox

"Karol Fox acts as partner on a number of complicated deals. Karol takes a lead role in the transaction and manages all work streams including communication with customers and their advisors. He manages all work streams within his own firm which ensures he is the key point of contact and is accessible at all times."

Micheál Grace

"High quality, availability and very solutions-oriented. I really like working with him."

Rowena Fitzgerald

"Rowena was very responsive. Her advice was exactly on point. When the transaction started to move at pace, she moved at that pace. We were very happy with the quality and professionalism of the service offered."

"Smart, easy to work with, good at discussing problems and working towards pragmatic solutions."

"Rowena provided excellent advice on complying with the requirements of PSD2 and relevant anti-money laundering legislation."

William Carmody

"In addition to Will's excellent legal knowledge, he understand issues from a commercial and risk perspective, which is so important for the bank. He is efficient, proactive, a problem solver and is a pleasure to work with."

Eoin Cassidy and Deirdre Nagle

"Expert determination on legal strategy in relation to planning and construction work streams. Strong understanding of regulatory law and ability to enforce same."


Matheson is a full service law firm with strength across the board. 

In the banking space the firm advises large domestic and international financial institutions and corporations on a syndicated loans, acquisition and project finance, real estate and refinancing transactions. Its asset finance offering includes work in transport and aviation sector. It advises airlines, asset managers and leasing companies on financing, leasing and portfolio acquisitions. 

The aviation sector also engages the capital markets team on complex asset backed securitisation mandates. The team's strength in securitisation is further highlighted by their work on CLOs where they advise foreign asset managers on their European deals. It also advises on innovative and rare securitisations in Ireland. In the equity space the firm is noted for its work on IPOs for issuers and financial advisors. It is also active on the placements of new shares and rights issues. 

The funds team advises international asset managers on the establishment of Irish funds and structures including UCITs, AIFs and ETF. Its global client base includes some of the largest US asset managers. 

The financial services regulatory team advises international banks and asset managers on Irish regulations assisting them on gaining authorisations from Central Bank of Ireland and other regulating bodies. 

The M&A team is strong private equity transactions. It advises US and UK private equity firms on acquisitions and sale of Irish companies across various sectors. During the research period it was active in the technology and oil and gas sector advising PE firms and global companies on both buy and sell side. 

In project development the team is active in PPP projects. One of its ongoing projects include advising the winning bidder on the country's largest infrastructure project in the telecoms sector. On the financing side, the firm has been representing international investment banks and domestic commercial banks on the financing of residential, energy and education sector PPP projects. 

The firm's restructuring team advises custodians and international entities on cross border restructuring mandates across various sectors. The firm also represents banks as creditors on bankruptcy and insolvency issues.

During the research period, the firm hired Liam Flynn from an international financial institution to join the financial services regulations team. The corporate team saw the departure of Éanna Mellett to rival Irish firm while Padraic Roche joins the team from life-science investment company.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Allied Irish Banks €10 billion EMTN programme 

•Cadogan Square CLO XI €534 million CLO

•Grangegorman Dublin Institute of Technology PPP

•Greenlink Interconnector

•Hibernia REIT €400 million refinancing

•Kestrel Aircraft Funding $379 million ABS 

•National Broadband Plan

•Nomad Foods €225 million acquisition of Green Isle Food

Client feedback

"We have been very impressed with both the quality of work provided by Matheson and their overall responsiveness. We know we can rely on them for quick turnarounds and they will go above and beyond as needed." – Asset finance

"Very strong and in-depth knowledge of the aircraft finance market coupled with a deep understanding of commercial considerations." – Asset finance

"As ever, Matheson provided a very professional service which ensured that the transaction was closed on time. Advice given was commercial in nature which aided understanding and quick answers." – Banking 

"Generally excellent law firm and certainly my firm of choice in Ireland. Very strong execution and always willing to lead transactions at an early stage and as such always tend to win the mandate subject to fee." – Banking 

"The firm is very professional and provide a great service and attention to detail." – Banking

"We take great comfort in being represented by the Matheson team. Client service is exceptional with quick response times and an ability to prioritise urgent matters." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Excellent professional firm." – M&A

"Matheson M&A Group is one of the best in the country, in terms of expertise, experience and responsiveness. The Group's strengths, centered around the excellent George Brady, Fergus Bolster and Patrick Spicer, are its ability to deliver on the largest public and private M&A mandates. The firm could improve by strengthening its support for those three lawyers." – M&A

"Garret Farrelly and Owen Collins supported us on a recent transaction. They provided excellent legal support in all aspects of the transactions and have good insights in the Irish energy market." – M&A

"They've been very responsive and proactive." – M&A

"Matheson's work has been really excellent - they are professional, very responsive and provide very high quality service." – Project development

"Pragmatic, very experienced in the Irish market, connection with the new ISEM and kept timelines and fees within budget." – Project finance

"Timely delivery of legal services and kept within agreed fee cap." – Project finance

"Very high quality." – Project finance

"Professional, reliable, knowledgeable and forward looking." – Project finance

Brian Doran

"Very good knowledge of the sector."

Ciaran Healy

"Excellent! Very professional & knowledgeable."

"Ciaran provides solid advice in a friendly manner."

Conor Blennerhassett

"Very high quality."

David O'Mahony

"Excellent lawyer that has become very familiar with my particular sector (Food & Agriculture) and the associated financing structures. Very responsive and always willing to give advice at an early stage prior to the deal actually progressing thereby positioning the firm for deals that do materialise. No negative points to highlight."

Donal O'Byrne

"The very best!  Somebody who advises based on our business, recognizes the reality of situations and is always available"

Donal O'Donovan

"I have worked with Donal for a number of years and find him very reliable, commercial and professional."

Fergus Bolster

"Fergus Bolster's is the standout lawyer in Matheson's M&A Group and one of the very best in Ireland. He is knowledgeable, responsive and solution driven. He knows how to assess risk and counsels in clear and understandable terms. Along with George Brady and Patrick Spicer, he is what differentiates Matheson from the chasing pack."

Garret Farrelly

"Garret was the client relation partner. He has an excellent knowledge of the energy industry and is always responsive and able to find solutions."

"Garret has deep industrial knowledge and a great value proposition to the client."

"Very high quality."

"Garret and his team's work has been excellent. He is very much up to speed on the latest market and legal developments. He delegates tasks appropriately and manages his team very well. His direct advice has been valuable to us."

George Brady

"George Brady is clever and able to come up with practical solutions to difficult problems. He has a wealth of experience in public and private M&A."

"George's work has been really excellent. He has provided valuable M&A advice to us on share purchase, joint venture and shareholder agreements."

Owen Collins

"Excellent upcoming lawyer."

"Owen did a great job in a very timely and reliable manner."

Peter O'Brien

"Experienced finance documents lawyer."

Rory Kirrane

"Very strong communication skills alongside an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the legal matters as well as commercial considerations. We take great comfort in working with Rory."

Stuart Kennedy

"Stuart is always responsive and makes himself available as soon as possible. His reviews are always thorough and from legal and commercial perspective."

"Stuart is a one of the most attentive partners that I have had the pleasure of dealing with. He is very responsive and we know we can reach him whenever required, even if it is just for a simple question."

Garret Farrelly and Owen Collins

"Garret Farrelly and Owen Collins supported us on a recent transaction. They provided excellent legal support in all aspects of the transactions and have good insights in the Irish energy market."

McCann FitzGerald

McCann FitzGerald advises leading domestic and international clients on some of the largest Irish transactions with cross border elements across all practice areas. 

The firm has a strong banking and finance team that advises leading domestic and global banks on property finance involving acquisitions and development. It has one of the largest asset finance practices that advises global leasing companies on acquisitions of portfolios, leasebacks and financing transactions. 

The firm's capital markets practice cover all areas of work in debt, equity and structured finance and securitisation for domestic banks, international financial institutions, and corporations. Its debt practice covers range of bond issues and securitisation mandates for issuers, underwriters and investors advising on innovative transactions in Ireland. Its equity practice advises on IPOs, shares listing and fundraisings for publicly listed entities and underwriters. 

The financial services regulatory team advises banks and financial institutions on licensing, establishing lending platforms and banking structures in Ireland.

The funds team’s expertise lies in the establishment and management of different types of funds including UCITs, ETFs, AIFs, hedge funds and REITs among others. Its knowledge of ICAVs makes it an ideal firm for managers and international firms looking to establish Irish vehicle in the country. 

The M&A practice also advises publicly listed companies on buy and sell side transactions. In private space it work for domestic companies on various sectors and private equity firms keep the team busy. 

The firm's projects team has wide-ranging capabilities but is especially active in social infrastructure and road projects advising public bodies, lenders, project developers and contractors. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm acts on multinational restructurings advising a mix of custodians and distressed companies.

During the research period the projects team lost Claire Lenny, who retired, and Jenny Mellerick, who joined Central Bank of Ireland. Corporate partners Ronan Molony and Maureen Dolan also left the firm. Joining the firm as consultant was public procurement lawyer Barbara Linehan from Pinsent Masons. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Cairn Homes €277.5 million financing

•Grangegorman Dublin Institute of Technology PPP

•IPL Plastics TSX IPO

•Lakeland / LacPatrick merger

•National Paediatric Hospital development

•National Treasury Management Agency €3 billion sovereign green bond issue

•Orix $2 billion acquisition of a 30% stake in Avolon Holdings

•Urbeo Residential Fund ICAV

Client feedback

"The service has been excellent. Joe Fay's team are acting for us, and they are commercially very astute, very responsive and overall doing an excellent job." – Asset finance

"Excellent, best in class and an in-depth knowledge of the market." – Asset finance

"Highly knowledgeable, responsive and client-focussed. Best in class though they tend to be expensive." – Asset finance

"Excellent! Very good strength and depth. Excellent partner-led service delivery, which results in considered positions being put to clients and negotiations on the points that matter to materially assist the commercial negotiation." – Asset finance 

"Very satisfied with the support, efficiency and experience." – Asset finance

"Very positive, pragmatic and sound advice." – Banking

"Very good project management of transaction." – Banking 

"Overall, excellent service and advice provided. Was able to manage ongoing changes in the deal structure and complex structuring of the deal including complex inter-creditor arrangements. The firm also displayed flexibility and the ability to manage multiple stakeholders was evident." – Banking 

"Very knowledgeable across wide field of financial services and capital markets." – Capital markets: debt

"Responsive and deep knowledge of AIB and covered bonds." – Capital markets: debt

"MF have a very experienced team to easily navigate the largest and most complex transactions.  They are highly skilled lawyers and excel in areas that are technically difficult against other counterparts. They are very thorough and have an exceptional attention to detail. They make you feel very prioritised and valued and they are always available. They will understand your organisation, its stakeholders and the role of internal legal counsel and will work hand in hand with the internal legal counsel." – Capital markets: equity 

"Very reputable firm that consistently delivers reliable and considerate advice to their clients. Some very experienced partners in the roster that have a near unrivalled depth of knowledge of the Irish legal framework for executing ECM transactions. Good emergent class of new partners recently added as well on the corporate side. As regards ECM work in the Irish market, I would view MCF as the pre-eminent firm here." – Capital markets: equity

"Strong team with broad experience and able to handle a complex transaction structure. Overall assessment would be good." – Capital markets: equity

"I feel the firm is a very competent, with specialised lawyers for most fields of business. I would also like to highlight the ease in which they can include other offices in various countries for the benefit of their clients." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"The work quality at McCann Fitzgerald regularly meets or exceeds expectations and the team are very easy to approach and suggest creative solutions to any predicament put before them even in complex financial transactions which we deal with. Our work relationship is very strong and we would recommend them without hesitation." – Financial services regulatory

"Excellent. McCann are always very responsive and provide accurate and pragmatic advice." – Investment funds

"Very professional. Highly skilled practitioners who provide trusted advice on some of the largest transactions in the Irish market." – M&A

"Good. They did well negotiating with a very difficult counter party." – M&A

"Very knowledgeable, partners are accessible and responsive to client requests. Advice is from the relevant subject experts, is direct and to the point " – Project development

"McCann FitzGerald have the necessary expertise in-house to deal with complex planning and environmental matters and go about their work in an efficient and professional manner. Senior personnel within the firm are readily accessible and respond to their client's needs promptly and unambiguously." – Project development

"Full spectrum legal advice backed with in-depth relevant experience, strong practical advisors, and extremely diligent and mindful of the risks we bear as a public authority." – Project development

"Leading Irish law firm. Extremely deep knowledge of the Irish market, stakeholders and commercial approaches. Good engagement at senior levels across multiple legal disciplines." – Project finance

"Excellent partners with deep and pragmatic knowledge of contract forms and project finance. Good support functions." – Project finance

"Very high level of professional service with full consideration of all risks associated with legal action being proposed in advance." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Very client friendly, practical and commercial advice." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Work done to a high standard, very commercial approach taken and advice given was clear and concise." – Restructuring and insolvency

Aidan Lawlor

"Aidan has a very experienced team to easily navigate the largest and most complex transactions.  He is highly skilled, experienced, and very thorough and has an exceptional attention to detail. He is very hands-on and responsive in a deal. He invests time to build a proper and lasting relationship with his clients and is very personable."

"Dedicated and hardworking legal advisor."

Brendan Murphy

"Brendan is a very commercial, pragmatic lawyer."

"Brendan is a good lawyer and a hard worker. He is responsive and liaises well with me."

Catherine Deane

"Catherine provides a partner-led service and ensures that only quality responses and advices are given to clients and in correspondence with counterparts. She has developed a great team who share a common passion for excellence in client service. Always available and ever charming with the end goal always in mind to ensure that the assignment is completed as efficiently as possible."

"Very good to work with, skilled, experienced and efficient. Also has a good sense of humour."

Colm Fanning

"Deep PPP and project finance experience."

"Excellent commercial understanding, pragmatism, contract knowledge and problem solving."

Eamonn O'Hanrahan

"Overall, excellent service provided. Experienced, knowledgeable, solid provision of advice, ability to deal with evolving and complex deal structure and strong management of multiple stakeholders."  

"Outstanding lawyer. Extraordinarily committed to safeguarding our interests and the wider public's interest. Combines his deep knowledge of the law with insight into human and corporate behaviour to provide practical solutions to problems."

Gill Lohan

"A new addition to the partnership in McCann FitzGerald, Gill is very thorough and dedicated in her work.  She has great manners with clients."

"Gill is able to quickly arrive at practical solutions to highly complex issues. She is very responsive and has strong communication skills."

"Recent addition to the partner rank at MCF. Very impressed with work to date on ECM transactions. Good technical knowledge, excellent work ethic and good attention to detail. Would be the go-to-firm to understand the multitude of legal work streams involved in a transaction. Work conducted in a friendly and professional manner."

Hugh Beattie

"I found Hugh to be a very pleasant person to work with. He is very knowledgeable and experienced in structured finance transactions. He leads the client in the process and understands commercial decision-making. Also I find that Hugh makes an effort to get to know his clients which makes a difference when he advises on long-lasting procedures."

"Hugh is the partner in charge of the team we regularly liaise with on our transactions. Hugh is very accessible and approachable. We would definitely say he is a strong asset to the firm."

Joe Fay

"He is very responsive and has an impressive negotiation style and knowledge. He is also very commercial. I would definitely recommend him."

"Highly knowledgeable, personable and service-orientated with an in-depth knowledge of the aviation finance industry."

"First class practitioner in aviation finance. Highly knowledgeable, responsive and client-focussed."

Kevin Kelly

"Very knowledgeable, always accessible, responsive and develops strong business relationships."

Lisa Smyth

"Very client friendly and responsive. Good at problem solving."

"High quality, practical and commercial approach and able to foresee issues and suggest solutions to problems."

Mark White

"Excellent - always responsive and pragmatic."

Michael Murphy

"Highly knowledgeable and very responsive."

Michelle Doyle

"An excellent lawyer with expert knowledge in all planning matters. Utterly professional, readily accessible and works easily with the project team for the benefit of the project development."

Roy Parker

"Excellent lawyer, expert in many fields and very supportive." 

"Strategic view was very good. They are responsive and accessible."

Stephen Proctor

"Diligent, clear communicator, provides excellent advice and solutions."

Tom Dane

"Excellent attention to detail and advice that seeks to deal with the issue at hand expediently."

OBH Partners

OBH is a business law firm that advises corporate and private clients in both domestic and cross border transactions. 

During the research period the firm was active across wide range of sectors including mining, real estate and retail. Among highlights, a mining sector transaction saw the firm advise Australian listed company on the acquisition of AIM listed mining company. 

Daragh Bohan from Mason Hayes and Curran is the new financial services partner for the firm beginning April 2019. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•BWG acquisition of 4 Aces

•Cork docklands development project

•Newfield Resources $23.6 million acquisition of Stellar diamonds

•Ovoca Bio $6.2 million acquisition of Ivix


Walkers is notable for its strength in asset finance and structured finance and securitisation practices. 

The asset finance team covers multi-practice work in the aviation sector and advises global leasing companies, airlines, investment firms and financial institutions on securitisations, creation of investment platforms, leasing, joint ventures and acquisitions and sales of aircraft portfolios. Elsewhere the banking and finance team specialises in real estate finance primarily acting for the lenders, but it can act on the borrower side too. Fund financing is another one of the firm's specialism where it advises global asset managers and international banks on both lending and borrowing sides. 

In capital markets, its securitisation offering is one of the strongest in Ireland and often advises on innovative and complex structures. Advising a mix of arrangers, listing agents and issuers the firm has worked on CMBS, RMBS, CLOs, synthetic products, auto loans securitisations among others. 

The firm has been strengthening its position in the funds space and has established a strong practice in the area capable of taking on some of the largest asset managers and investment firms as its clientele. It covers all aspects of the funds work including establishment and structuring of UCITs, ICAVs, AIFs and so on. 

The firm's M&A practice advises international and domestic companies on joint ventures and acquisitions across the technology, insurance, aviation and real estate sectors among others. During the research period, it also picked up several mandates on the funds space where it advised global asset managers on acquisitions of funds administrators. 

The firm's financial services regulatory team is a developing practice that advises financial services provider on recent regulatory developments such as MIFID II and PSDII. 

The firm's restructuring and insolvency practice, although not exclusive, acts for liquidators in insolvency cases involving funds, banks and domestic companies.

During the research period the firm hired Nicholas Blake-Knox from PIMCO and Jennifer Fox from Dillon Eustace to join its funds practice that had seen the departure of Kerill O'Shaughnessy and Emily Davy to A&L Goodbody and Prescient Funds Services respectively. Former Arthur Cox lawyer Niall Esler also joined the financial services regulatory team as consultant.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Airborne capital / LetterOne joint venture

•Apex Group acquisition of Custom House

•Apex Group acquisition of Ipes

•Castlelake €800 million acquisition AirAsia aircraft portfolio

•Castlelake CLAS 2019-1 $867.6 million ABS

•Kantoor Finance 2018 DAC €235 million CMBS

•LRC Group acquisition of Hilton Garden Inn

•SCF Rahoituspalvelut VII DAC €665 million ABS

Client feedback

Very pleased with the level of knowledge and support received during the transaction - very professional and obliging service." – Asset finance

"The team at Walkers Ireland is professional and responsive. They are leaders in their filed and aware of market standards, which makes them an effective advocate for their clients." – Asset finance

"Excellent, practical and balanced. Andrew Traynor is a trusted go to-person for our team in respect of our prime brokerage entity in Ireland." – Banking

"Walkers is incredibly responsive and helps us solve difficult issues. They are just enjoyable to work with and always meet our crazy deadlines." – Banking

"Couldn't have done it without them. They were incredibly responsive and above all, thorough. There were a lot of moving parts in this transaction and they were instrumental in keeping the documentation in order." – Banking

"The team was excellent, providing clear and concise advice, within a very tight timeframe." – Capital markets: debt

"Excellent legal and communication strengths focused on clear and concise provision of information to assist in the clear understanding of the restructure and its impact." – Capital markets: debt

"I have worked with Walkers for several years and have generally found them to be competent, reliable and effective in the advice given." – Capital markets: debt

"Excellent client service delivered to the point and on time within budget." – Capital markets: debt

"Walkers provided first rate advice that was commercial, tailored and responsive. They have an excellent understanding of the markets in which they operate and deploy that understanding brilliantly. The integration with their listing colleagues and corporate services is seamless and is a real added value on transactions." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Excellent team and Ian McNamee is a top lawyer, on the ball and professional." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"Commercial, solution-oriented, highly responsive and personable." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"The firm is very responsive with practical solutions for our model, which they know very well." – Financial services regulatory

"Our contacts have always been very responsive to our time constraints; they are up to date with what's happening in the industry and has good network with regulators and industry bodies." – Financial services regulatory

"Good on industry knowledge and up-to-date regulations and guidance on practical implementation of the same. Provides practical solutions, understands matters quickly and has Strong network with industry bodies." – Financial services regulatory 

"Excellent, sensible and practical advices provided in timely manner." – Financial services regulatory

"The firm was excellent - great value, very clear and concise output with a super responsive and experienced team of experts." – Financial services regulatory

"They are commercial in their approach to advice, responsive and available, and have good local industry knowledge." – Financial services regulatory

"Practical and pragmatic." – Financial services regulatory

"Walkers demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. They reviewed our proposed approach and provided pragmatic suggestions, also highlighting other areas for consideration. This has helped to ensure our continued compliance with the Irish AML requirements." – Financial services regulatory

"I have found the firm to always be responsive and generous with their time, even when not formally engaged. The firm is proactive, helpful and offers valuable insight." – Financial services regulatory

"Walkers provided us with excellent counsel. They invested in understanding our business model and were incredibly responsive to all our queries and instructions. Walkers were a real partner to us as we made our way through the application process and really added value to their advice by always considering the context in which we operate and how we service our customers. Eoin O'Connor deserves a special shout out for always being available and coordinating his team to not only respond promptly but to provide quality, value added advice." – Financial services regulatory

"Efficient pointed legal insight into all aspects of the work engagements." – Investment funds

"Walkers offer excellent client service with good communication. The Investment Funds team are able to provide a commercial view on industry practice as well as black letter law." – Investment funds

"Excellent, very professional and always available to help." – Investment funds

"Strong technical background, although some recent turnover has led to new faces. Team is responsive." – Investment funds

"The firm is very good and very responsive. I especially like their ability to provide practical and helpful advice; it feels as if you are working with a true business partner in addition to working with a lawyer." – Investment funds

"Top law firm and experts in UCITS and investment law and Irish fund/investment regulations. Provides sound and logical advice, conscientious client services, understands cross-border legal and are responsive." – Investment funds

"Proactive, commercial and works as a partner to the legal team and the business." – Investment funds

"Very professional, efficient and extremely knowledgeable on Irish aspects of corporate restructurings. Brendan O'Brien is very personable and good to deal with. He is very experienced and knowledgeable on the Irish market. I would highly recommend him." – M&A 

"Walkers' support and in particular Brendan O'Brien's guidance and experience has been invaluable in efficiently achieving our key commercial objectives and ensuring the necessary legal protections for our platform when entering into aviation finance side-car investment structures. As such investment and funding arrangements are becoming more common in aviation finance, we appreciate that we are to be able to draw on Brendan's wealth of M&A and corporate experience and value his clear and concise advice and pragmatic approach to all pertinent issues." – M&A

"Very detailed and meticulous output in the form of a Step Plan document which we subsequently shared with our other service providers in Luxembourg and Japan." – M&A

"The response to our urgent needs was excellent and the quality of work to an extremely high standard." – M&A

"Responsive and supportive with a 'get-it-done' approach to transactions." – M&A

"Excellent service throughout. The team was very proactive and turned round the project meeting a very tight deadline." – Project finance"

"Very responsive, pragmatic and helpful." – Project finance

"Good commercial, practical advice and good collegial approach." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Walkers are an up and coming firm in Ireland. They have a great team led by Gavin Smith." – Restructuring and insolvency

Andrew Traynor

"Andrew was incredibly helpful - he appreciated our client's main concerns and was quick to address these, within a tight timetable." 

"Andrew is an excellent lawyer - responsive, practical and solution-focused."

"Andrew is always willing to help and puts together a good deal team to respond timely and efficiently. He understands the market and effectively communicates to clients the specific requirements under Irish law."

Brendan O'Brien

"Very personable and good to deal with. He is very experienced and knowledgeable on the Irish market. I would highly recommend him."

"Brendan O'Brien's guidance and experience has been invaluable in efficiently achieving our key commercial objectives and ensuring the necessary legal protections for our platform when entering into aviation finance side-car investment structures. As such investment and funding arrangements are becoming more common in aviation finance, we appreciate that we are to draw on Brendan's wealth of M&A and corporate experience and value his clear and concise advice on and pragmatic approach to all pertinent issues."  

"Always excellent service and provides valuable insights on all projects that we engage him on."

"Excellent leader and provided clear updates on progress and deadlines that were required to get a very complicated deal over the line on deadline."

"I met Brendan in Dublin on my previous trip and when we commenced our recent piece of work, it was easy to communicate, and to explain what we wanted out of the assignment. He is knowledgeable but yet happy to refer to his other colleagues in the firm with deeper expertise when needed."

"Brendan was a good communicator who met all our deadlines. He kept us up to-date with progress on the project and was highly flexible at contract close."

"Excellent to deal with - very helpful, responsive and pragmatic."

"Brendan provides very good service. We rely on him particularly for good corporate governance and M&A advice. Beyond M&A, as with any industry, some of our issues are very subject matter specific and Brendan is very open and transparent on where his knowledge or experience might not cover our needs."

David McGovern

"I was very satisfied with the level of support received from David during the transaction. He is very knowledgeable and obliging."

Eimear Keane

"Excellent lawyer with in-depth knowledge and clear communication."

"Eimear has an excellent understanding of the Irish funds market and has a remarkable amount of knowledge at her fingertips thus, able to provide advice quickly and efficiently."

Eoin O'Connor

"Eoin O'Connor is an astute, meticulous and thorough trusted adviser. We are confident with and very satisfied with the advice given and service provided."

"Eoin has an excellent knowledge of the industry and has a skill of breaking down more complex areas of law to apply them to our business in a straightforward and clear way."

"Eoin is very responsive, available and a great partner to the legal team and the business. He has very good industry knowledge."

"Eoin, together with his team, considered all our queries comprehensively and where appropriate engaged other subject matter specialists from within the firm. I think Eoin and the team made a particular effort to understand our business model and our objectives and we felt that we were always on the same page when they provided advice." 

Gavin Smith

"Gavin is technically excellent. He has a deep knowledge of insolvency law and procedure. He thinks carefully about solutions and how to avoid pitfalls."

Ian Mcnamee

"He is always prompt in his response and manages matters very effectively. He provides a high level of comfort to us by handling everything from an Irish law perspective without the need to micro manage."

"I like working with Ian and find him reliable and competent. Ian is willing to present the pros and cons to me for consideration. He also advises me on the best approach in the relevant circumstances. The deals move smoothly and efficiently and as a client, I very much appreciate that."

Matt Hedigan

"Highly commercial and responsive with a focus on problem-solving."

Nicholas Blake-Knox

"Nicholas Blake Knox is highly experienced on Investment Funds."

"Nick is superb - his knowledge is second to nobody, his professional approach to clients and problem solving make him one of the best lawyers in his field in Dublin."

"Nicholas Blake Knox has very strong experience and gives sound and practical advice in relation to Investment Funds."

"Nick is very commercial in his advice, understands our business very well, and provides relevant and responsive advice. Nick has also managed a team where some lawyers have recently transitioned, without any interruption to quality of service."

Noeleen Ruddy

"Very knowledgeable and proactive, great communicator, pragmatic; forward thinking and genuinely understands her markets."

"Focused and committed lawyer who delivers on what is required at all times."

Sarah Maguire

"She is technically very proficient, responsive, and easy to work with."

"Expert knowledge of investment law and UCITS regulations, a consummate professional, always provides sound advice, extremely responsive and excellent client service." 

Shane Martin

"We have been working with Shane for a number of years; therefore, he is familiar with our shared services model and has worked with us on our most recent licence re-authorisation. Shane also has in-depth experience in topical matters such as Anti-Money Laundering, PSD2 and GDPR, all of which have impacted the business significantly."

"Shane brings with him the experience of working in industry as well as now in a law firm and he quickly understands the matter we are raising and helps in providing a high quality solution quickly. He is also well connected with the regulators and industry bodies."

"It is clear to us that we benefit from Shane's previous time spent in industry as he quickly understands the business matter and has made good contacts in the regulators and industry bodies based on his background which he has taken with him to the firm to provide effective and practical advice."

"Shane consistently provides sensible and practical solutions to regulatory matters. He leverages his industry knowledge and insights into the CBI's line of thinking to great advantage for the benefit of his clients."

"Well connected, knowledgeable and easy to deal with."

"I have worked with Shane for many years and I have found him to be competent and very knowledgeable of Irish Financial Services regulations."

"Shane is very responsive and highly informed and engaged with regulatory developments and policy. Shane is considered an expert in regulation and is respected equally highly by practitioners and policymakers alike. I often seek Shane's view on matters and he always provides forthcoming legal and practical insight based on his extensive experience and knowledge of stakeholders."

William Fry

William Fry is a full service law firm with strength across the board as highlighted by its rankings. 

In banking and finance the firm has a strong real estate offering and is prominent as both lender and borrower side counsel advising on a mix of development financing and refinancing transactions. Acquisition finance is also among the firm's strengths and at times works in conjunction with the M&A team. 

The M&A team's cross border expertise covers various sectors including technology, insurance, healthcare and the food sectors, advising a mix of private equity firms, international and domestic corporations and public and private entities. 

The firm's equity capital markets practice advises multinational corporations on equity fundraising, shares placements and IPOs while its debt offering focuses on issuer side notes issues. 

In the financial services regulatory space, the firm has picked up several mandates in the payment and e-money space. Work from banks, insurance companies and funds keep the team busy. 

Despite suffering few departures in the previous research period, the funds team has maintained a good position in the ETF space and has continued to advise some of the biggest funds in the market.

In project development work, the firm is very active in the PPP space advising a mix of state and lenders on social infrastructure projects. It is also notable for its work in the energy sector advising the sponsors and lenders on renewable and energy infrastructure projects. 

The firm has one of the strongest restructuring and insolvency practices in the country and often advises on some of the largest cross border mandates in retail, insurance and food among other sectors. The firm acts for liquidators and receivers too.

Former Arthur Cox lawyer Padraic Kinsella, ex-A&L Goodbody funds lawyer John Aherne and former Milbank Tweed Hadley McCloy lawyer Lyn Brennan joined the banking team recently. Ian Devlin joined the financial services regulatory team from Eversheds Sutherland. Restructuring lawyer Michael Quinn was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Ireland. M&A partner David Carthy left to join DLA Piper. Eibhlin O'Donnell left the banking team to join NTMA. Liam Connellan joined Byrne Wallace.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Celtic Interconnector 

•Cinven €925 million acquisition of Axa Life Europe

•DDCC €606 million placement of shares

•Linde/Praxair merger

•Premier Food Finance €300 million 6.25% bond issue

•Phoenix Group €3 billion acquisition of Standard Life Aberdeen's UK and European insurance business

•PSC Eaglewood €1 billion bond programme

•Uniphar €100 million acquisition of Sisk Healthcare

Client feedback

"Excellent and market leading team. Always prompt and pragmatic." – Asset finance

"My overall experience with William Fry has been excellent. They deliver high quality work, respond to client needs, communicate very well and tailor their advice to each problem in a clear, concise manner." – Investment funds

"Excellent and no weaknesses." – Financial services regulatory

Mary Ward

"Mary is in a league of her own - brilliant lawyer who always provides pragmatic advice."


The Irish branch of Dechert is notable for its work in the funds space. It advises foreign clients on the establishment and operations of Irish UCITs, QIAIFs and sub-funds. 

During the research period it added two funds partners: Carol Widger from Maples Group and Mark Dillon from Deacons in Hong Kong. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Butler Corum QIAIF ICAV


DWF is one of the newer firms in the Irish market. In the short time it has been open the firm has developed a notable corporate and commercial team. The firm advises SMEs on M&A transactions in Ireland. It is also active in the energy and real estate sectors where it advises its clients on investments and mergers in Ireland. 

Energy lawyer Garrett Monaghan left the firm to join Pinsent Masons in 2019.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•AIB / ISIF / Encavis investment in Temporis Aurora

•Energy Works / eLight merger

•Glanbia Cheese/Leprino Foods joint venture

•Oaklee Housing €50 million financing

•Propiteer €14 million acquisition of IBIS Red Cow Hotel

Hayes Solicitors

Hayes Solicitors has notable banking, M&A and restructuring and insolvency practices.

In banking the firm is active in SME and real estate financings. It mostly advises banks and direct lenders on acquisition and development financings. On the borrower side the firm advises high net worth individuals and international entities on cross border financings. 

In M&A the firm is active in the private sector often advising SMEs on acquisitions. It recently saw work in the healthcare, real estate and publishing sectors.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm has been advising examiners on the examinership of Irish companies in the manufacturing and optical industries. It also acted for liquidators on voluntary liquidations during the research period. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Busy Bees acquisition of Giraffe Childcare

•The Irish Times acquisition of Landmark Media

Client feedback

"Effective communicators, easily contactable and sound advice at all times." – Banking 

"Hayes have performed very well in a number of different transactions with me. They have demonstrated a lot of flexibility and are always capable of providing constructive commercial advice to find solutions and complete transactions." – Banking 

"Banking & Corporate Team worked perfectly together to deliver a top quality result for the client." – Capital markets: equity

"The firm's work is excellent. Every meeting is prepared meticulously and the advice is always fully considered and complete. They are exceptionally professional in every dealing I have had with them. I have yet to find a weakness." – M&A

"Technically they were extremely diligent but the real added value was the sound advice I received throughout the process from my main contact Ken Casey." – M&A

"Very good guidance and support on the transaction with an excellent level of detail, follow up and timeliness in response." – M&A

"Very diligent in execution and aligned to company goals in both negotiating stance and process to guide us to a successful outcome." – M&A 

"They did a superb job. Their drafting and paperwork was excellent. They displayed top quality technical knowledge of the process." – Restructuring and insolvency

"Good commercial approach and customer focus." – Restructuring and insolvency

Philip Lee

Philip Lee is primarily renowned for its work in the projects area. However, the firm has been growing its corporate practice, expanding its services to private equity and venture capital firms on domestic and cross border acquisitions. 

In the banking space the firm is active in the real estate sector. It advises banks and construction companies on acquisition and development financings. It also advises a mix of non-bank lenders and borrowers on financial agreements in the energy and corporate space. 

During the research period the firm was active in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, advising its clients on M&A transactions.

The firm hired new corporate partner Andrew Tzialli from Sheidans for its newly established London office to advise on English and Irish law. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Corrib Oil Group €70 million refinancing

•O'Flynn Construction €20 million financing

•Pamex/Théa Laboratories joint venture

Client feedback

"Philip Lee would compare very favourably with other law firms I have come across in Ireland. The team show a great ability to progress matters quickly and efficiently which is very important to me when referring clients. I have always received an excellent quality of service from the Philip Lee team. In my experience, Philip Lee have always provided excellent value for money service." – Banking

"We rate Philip Lee very highly. They are on our panel of solicitors for development finance, and we view them as a strong legal firm. They are very practical and able to deal with and resolve difficult situations." – Banking

"Very professional service to a high standard with a personalised touch you would not get with very large firms. They understood our concerns and were pro-active in suggesting ways to mitigate them." – M&A

"Excellent work. Strong focus on the client and engagement throughout." – M&A

Pinsent Masons

Pinsent Masons is active in the investment funds and M&A practice areas.

In the funds space the firm advises domestic and global asset managers on regulations and their operations concerning Brexit and Irish laws. The firm also acts for funds on the establishment of Irish UCITs and AIFs.

In M&A Irish corporates and foreign private equity firms and funds bring in work for the firm. Active on both the buy and sell side, the firm advises on cross border transactions.

During the research period the firm hired two corporate partners, Naoise Harnett from William Fry and Garett Monaghan from DWF.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Ardenton Capital acquisition of Budget Greeting Cards Group

•Decotek Automotive acquisition of C&F Group automotive manufacturing business

•Enva acquisition of Bio Industries and Hadfield

•Partner One Capital acquisition of Assima

•Peak6 acquisition of Dundalk FC

•Sovereign Capital Partners acquisition of Asset Control

•Star Capital Partners 51.1% acquisition of stake in General Secure Logistics Services

•Vitruvian Partners acquisition of Travel Counsellors