Belfast Telegraph

Legal firm embroiled in Nama controversy praised for its work

By Margaret Canning

Law firm Tughans, the commercial practice which has been linked to questions over the sale of the Nama portfolio in Northern Ireland, has been praised for its work in a directory of top law firms and lawyers.

Tughans joined A&L Goodbody, Carson McDowell, Arthur Cox and Cleaver Fulton Rankin to be praised as "stand-out firms" for Northern Ireland in the Legal 500, a heavyweight tome listing the UK's top legal eagles and their practices.

Carson McDowell, Tughans and Cleaver Fulton Rankin are all Belfast-born-and-bred lawyers, while A&L Goodbody and Arthur Cox have their roots in Dublin.

Pinsent Masons, whose large Belfast operation has its roots in home-grown practice L'Estrange and Brett, is also described as an "active player".

And 69 individual lawyers from Northern Ireland are also named in the list, ranging from the big-name lawyers at commercial firms like Cleaver Fulton Rankin's Scott Kennedy and Tughans' John-George Willis, to sole practitioners specialising in employment law, such as Rosemary Connolly of Rosemary Connolly Solicitors, who is based in Warrenpoint, Co Down.

But Ms Connolly is one of just 16 females on the list out of the 69 individuals, which include heavy-hitters from the major firms, including Pinsent Masons property and construction partner Andrea McIlroy-Rose.

And while much corporate activity discussed in the Legal 500 relates to M&As, the work of insolvency lawyers is not overlooked, with practitioners Toby McMurray of Tughans and John Gordon of Napier and Sons among those mentioned.

Michael Johnston, managing partner at Carson McDowell - named in two categories as a lawyer - said: "We have consistently achieved top tier status for the last seven years and 11 of our partners have been individually named as outstanding in their fields of expertise.

"This announcement comes at an exciting time for our firm, when we are responding to an increase in demand from our clients as the economy continues to recover."

Patrick Brown, managing partner at Tughans, said it was "delighted" that the firm had kept its top tier status.

"It is particularly pleasing that nine of our lawyers have been recognised in the 'elite leading lawyers' list, which identifies outstanding lawyers nationwide and a total of 25 lawyers given a Legal 500 recommendation.

"Given that the rankings are made following client feedback and peer input, we are very pleased with this independent recognition of our work."

Alan Taylor, head of Arthur Cox, said: "This accolade further reaffirms Arthur Cox's position as the advisor of choice for leading local businesses and multinationals alike.

"Excellence is central to the Arthur Cox ethos and, while the technical ability of our team speaks for itself, our friendly and honest approach ensures our clients return and feel confident in making a genuine recommendation to others."

Belfast Telegraph