This firm appears in the Who's Who Legal 100 2014
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In September 2013, A&L Goodbody broadened its service offering to the financial and commercial centres of the US West Cost with the opening of an office in San Francisco. John Whelan was appointed head of the office, which complements the firm’s existing Palo Alto practice and allows it to engage a wider range of US multinationals who wish to establish operations in Ireland.
|Asset Recovery||1||Insolvency & Restructuring||2|
|Aviation||4||Insurance & Reinsurance||2|
|Business Crime Defence||1||Investigations||2|
|Capital Markets||2||Labour & Employment||3|
|Commercial Litigation||1||Life Sciences||5|
|Corporate Governance||3||Private Funds||1|
|Corporate Tax||4||Project Finance||1|
|Information Technology||2||Sports & Entertainment||1|
2013 also saw the firm appoint nine new partners including two lateral hires in the areas of aircraft finance and investment funds. Niamh Ryan has been appointed head of the London office and will also be joined by two further colleagues in the investment funds team as the team looks to grow its presence in London. In the past two years the firm’s overall head-count has risen by more than 10 per cent, reflecting the firm’s commitment to continued expansion across a range of practice areas.
|Total Listings in WWL||51||Established||1901|
|Home jurisdiction||Ireland||Total size of firm||631|
|Number of partners||80||Number of offices||6|
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
A&L Goodbody is “renowned” for its M&A work and has a “strong presence” in both the Irish and international markets. The mergers, acquisitions and corporate group is the firm’s largest and it prides itself on recruiting and retaining high-calibre specialists in the area. Julian Yarr is the firm’s managing partner and has a “stellar reputation” in the M&A field. Described as an “exceptional transactional” lawyer, he has extensive experience in all matters pertaining to M&A and capital markets. The “internationally renowned” Mark Ward heads the M&A practice and advises a wide range of major clients including public and private corporate entities, private equity firms and financial institutions. David Widger heads the corporate practice and is a “leading figure” in international M&A and corporate finance. Widger recently advised Starwood Capital on its acquisition of €800 million loan portfolio from NAMA which closed in August 2013. Eithne FitzGerald is head of corporate finance and is lauded for her “astute commercial awareness”; she recently advised The Hartford in relation to the sale of its Irish life assurance subsidiary, Hartford Life, to Columbia Insurance Company.
The firm has a “highly visible” real estate practice and offers a fully integrated service to key players in the marketplace. Mairead Sherlock heads the commercial property department and is a “true expert” on all aspects of property transactions including development, commercial landlord and tenant, investment acquisition and disposals and property funding with a particular focus on development finance. Tom O’Connor is “vastly experienced” in the commercial property field and is “greatly respected” among peers. Stephen O’Riordan has a “distinguished” practice and specialises in transactions that raise key issues related to structuring and financing. He also acts for an “impressive” network of clients in the leisure and retail sector on ‘end user’ development and leasing transactions. Niamh O’Sullivan is praised for her “in-depth knowledge” across a range of sectors including pre-funding development, property-based syndicated finance and site acquisitions and disposals.
A&L Goodbody has a “market-leading” corporate tax practice and advises many of the world’s largest corporates and financial institutions on the full range of Irish taxation and transactional matters. Peter Maher heads the firm’s tax department and is lauded for his “reassuringly practical and strategic approach”. Recently, Maher advised Apollo Global Management and CarVal Investors on the tax issues arising from their €1.8 billion acquisition of loans from Lloyds. The “highly reliable” James Somerville advises on all aspects of corporate tax law and places particular emphasis on financial services and property-related tax, while John Hickson is a “go-to” practitioner for advice on commercial property and the cross-border aspects of asset holding structures.
The firm has a “dedicated” life sciences practice and counts a number of leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies among its clients. The “accomplished” Cliona Christle is joint head of the life sciences and health care group and has over 20 years’ experience of representing clients in the health-care sector. She is also well known as a “formidable litigator” and has appeared in numerous high-profile product liability cases. John Whelan is head of the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices and also leads the IP and technology team based in Dublin. Described as a lawyer “of the highest standing” by clients and peers alike, he advises pharmaceutical and technology companies on the establishment of their operations in Ireland.
In 2013, A&L Goodbody embarked on a collaborative project with the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) to initiate a pro bono service for people claiming refugee status in Ireland. The project saw A&L Goodbody lawyers advising and representing IRC Law Centre clients in the first interview stage of the asylum process. To date, seven cases have been undertaken by the firm’s lawyers with many other lawyers actively engaged in the preparation of applications for several IRC clients.
By piloting the project, A&L Goodbody is working to increase access to justice for individuals who are looking for refugee status. The IRC – A&L Goodbody collaboration is the first of its kind in Ireland.
Following the recent opening of the firm’s San Francisco office, A&L Goodbody aims to continue the expansion of its US operations, offering a comprehensive service to the wider commercial and financial centres of San Francisco, Los Angeles and up to Seattle. Throughout 2014 the office will assist Irish companies going overseas through the thriving pipeline of activity between Ireland and Silicon Valley. Current clients from the West Coast include Google, Microsoft, Airbnb, Jazz, Élan, Abbott and Gilead.
The firm also intends to expand its international lawyers’ placement programmes in China and India. In 2013, close to 30 lawyers from some of the top law firms and state-owned enterprises in China worked at A&L Goodbody for periods of between three and six months.
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