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Philip Lee scoops law firm of the year
Damien Murran of RSM with Justice Catherine McGuinness and Ken Murphy of Law Society Pic: Paul Sherwood

17 Jun 2019 / justice Print

Philip Lee lifts law firm of the year award for 2019

Representatives from over 100 Irish law firms, legal practitioners and in-house legal teams gathered at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road on Friday 14 June, for the eighth annual black tie gala Travelers Irish Law Awards.

Hosted by former politician Ivan Yates, the awards honoured excellence and achievement in Irish law. 

This year’s lifetime achievement award, sponsored by RSM, was presented to Justice Catherine McGuinness, in recognition of her contribution to the legal profession in Ireland over the last 40 years.

Making the citation for the lifetime achievement award, Law Society director general Ken Murphy, said that recipient Justice Catherine McGuinness, had the “triple crown” of service as a judge of the High Court, Circuit Court and Supreme Court, among many other distinctions, including representing Dublin University in Seanad Eireann.

She is the recipient of honorary doctorates from five separate universities. 

Ken Murphy praised her personal kindness and rapier-like legal mind and described Justice McGuinness as “a living national treasure”.

In her speech, Justice McGuinness said that her work with the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, in the 1990s, had moved her the most, as someone originally from the north and with many connections there.

Dangers

“When I see the dangers that are facing Northern Ireland at the moment I think that what was done by the forum needs to be carried forward.”

Law firm of the year, sponsored by Travelers, was awarded to Philip Lee.

New categories

In this year's awards, new categories included diversity and inclusion law firm of the year, personal injury/medical negligence law firm/lawyer of the year, sponsored by MedLaw, and pro bono/community law firm/lawyer of the year which was awarded to PILA (Public Interest Law Alliance), a project of FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres).

Beauchamps was presented with the corporate/commercial law team/lawyer of the year award sponsored by Courtsdesk while Tracey Solicitors brought home the award for excellence in client services, sponsored by Ormond Meeting Rooms. 

The distinguished title of lawyer of the year was awarded to Sinead Lucey from FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres).

Chief executive Terry Dinnegan of main sponsors Travelers Insurance said that the US arm of the business is the biggest employer of qualified lawyers in the United States.

“While we attach a lot of importance to actuarial and financial modelling and marketing and underwriting strategies, it is actually the settlement of claim that we regard as our core competency,” he said.

Lawyers are at the coalface of that process he said. He hoped that the partnership between the legal and insurance sectors, which is currently a little bit tarnished, would only get stronger. 

Tough

He praised solicitors’ work in handling tough insurance claims, compensating people who have gone through terrible experiences.

Travelers is the third largest commercial property casualty insurer in the US. It recently established its EU headquarters in Dublin.

“The advice and support we got [from lawyers] through that process, was amazing,” he said praising the legal contribution to both civic society and commercial endeavour.

Presenter Ivan Yates told the audience that the legal profession is a vital sector of the economy.

Robust

“A strong, robust and resilient legal sector is essential for implementing and enforcing the law,” he said. 

The Sunday Business Post sponsored the employment law firm team lawyer of the year award.

This was won by Anne O'Connell Solicitors in Dublin.  The award was presented by the Sunday Business Post new chief executive, Colm O’Reilly. 

Cashel, Co Tipperary solicitor Cian O’Carroll won a special merit award for his “unrelenting quest for right and justice for the women negatively affected by cervical cancer misdiagnoses”.

O’Carroll initially studied for a science degree before being admitted as a solicitor in 1996.

Brave

He said he accepted the award on behalf of “brave and terribly wronged clients.”

In his speech, he said that in January 2018 nobody yet knew about “what secrets lay beneath the national cervical screening service.

“And secrets they were, accompanied by repeated written instructions from Cervical Check, to its consultants around the country, not to inform the families of those who had already died.

“The instruction simply said ‘place the record of the misread smear on their chart’."

O’Carroll said the State denied in public and in court that it had any obligation to women in the running and management of the service, since the screening was outsourced.

Law firm of the year (sponsored by Travelers)     

Philip Lee 

Lifetime achievement award (sponsored by RSM)           

Justice Catherine McGuinness

Special merit award

Cian O'Carroll

Corporate/commercial law team/lawyer of the year (sponsored by Courtsdesk)         

Beauchamps          

Criminal law firm/lawyer of the year         

Michael J. Staines & Company         

Diversity and inclusion law firm of the year          

McMahon & Williams Solicitors           

Employment law firm/team/lawyer of the year (sponsored by Sunday Business Post)

Anne O'Connell Solicitors 

Connacht/Ulster & Munster employment law firm/team/lawyer of the year

Alastair Purdy & Co Solicitors 

Leinster (incl. Dublin) employment law firm/team/lawyer of the year

Anne O'Connell Solicitors

Excellence and innovation in client service (sponsored by Ormond Meeting Rooms)  

Tracey Solicitors

Excellence and innovation in client service/Dublin           

Tracey Solicitors

Excellence and innovation in client service/Leinster         

John A. Sinnott & Co Solicitors

Excellence and innovation in client service/Munster        

JRAP O'MEARA

Excellence and innovation in client service/Connacht/Ulster       

O'Donnell McKenna

Excellence in marketing and communications (sponsored by Financial Times)

Dillon Solicitors

Family law firm/team/lawyer of the year   

Deirdre Burke, Burke Legal 

Connacht/Ulster and Munster family law firm/team/lawyer of the year

MacSweeney & Company

Dublin family law firm/team/lawyer of the year   

Keith Walsh Solicitor, Keith Walsh Solicitors

Leinster family law firm/team/lawyer of the year

Deirdre Burke, Burke Legal

In-House (non-civil service/public sector) legal team/lawyer of the year

Rachel Curran, Ulster Bank

Lawyer of the year    

Sinead Lucey, Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) 

Connacht/Ulster lawyer of the year            

Davitt Geraghty, Geraghty & Co, Solicitors

Dublin lawyer of the year     

Sinead Lucey, Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC)

Leinster lawyer of the year  

Alvaro Blasco, Blasco Solicitors

Munster lawyer of the year  

Thomas Dowling, Hogan Dowling McNamara

Law firm innovation award (sponsored by Practice Evolve)       

Richard Grogan & Associates Solicitors          

Law school of the year          

School of Law, NUI Galway           

Law student of the year (sponsored by Bloomsbury Professional)          

Mark O'Brien O'Reilly, UCD            

Legal executive of the year   

Deirdre O'Donovan, McCarthy + Co.           

Personal injury/medical negligence law firm/team/lawyer of the year (sponsored by MedLaw)        

Orpen Franks Solicitors (medical negligence department)           

Pro bono/community law firm/lawyer of the year

Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA)

Public sector in-house legal team/lawyer of the year        

ESB legal department

Service provider to the legal profession     

LEAP legal software          

Sole practitioner of the year (sponsored by LEAP)

Bernadette Barry, Bernadette Barry & Co

Sole principal of the year (sponsored by LEAP)   

Susan Cosgrove, Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors

Law firm of the year (regional recipients) (sponsored by Travelers)

Connacht/Ulster law firm of the year         MacSweeney & Company

Dublin law firm of the year                          Reddy Charlton Solicitors

Leinster law firm of the year                       Poe Kiely Hogan Lanigan Solicitors

Munster law firm of the year                       Keating Connolly Sellors Solicitors

Law book of the year            

Residential Tenancies, Laura Farrell

Litigation law firm/lawyer of the year        

Ciarán Leavy, Lavelle Solicitors 

Connacht/Ulster litigation law firm/lawyer of the year    

Geraghty & Co, Solicitors

Dublin litigation law firm/lawyer of the year         

Ciarán Leavy, Lavelle Solicitors

Munster litigation law firm/lawyer of the year      

Sweeney McGann Solicitors

Property law firm/team/lawyer of the year            

Philip Lee

Connacht/Ulster property law firm/team/lawyer of the year       

Blake & Kenny

Leinster (incl. Dublin) property law firm/team/lawyer of the year         

Philip Lee

Munster property law firm/team/lawyer of the year        

Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors

Probate law firm/team/lawyer of the year  

Sweeney McGann Solicitors

 

 

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