In a belated nod to St. Patrick's Day, The Am Law Daily took to a look at the legal fees that leading Am Law 100 and international law firms such as Allen & Overy, Hogan Lovells, and Proskauer Rose racked up handling financial crisisrelated assignments for various Irish government entities following the onset of the global economic downturn in 2008.
The fees were disclosed last September and January of this year in response to Irish parliamentary inquiries about how much the nation's government has spent on outside lawyers over the past five years as it tried to help revive the country's once-high-flying economy.
Arthur Cox, one of the Emerald Isle's leading firms, has reaped at least $21.4 million for its work on behalf of the nation's finance ministry alone since 2008, according to reports about financial crisisrelated legal spending published earlier this year by The Irish Times and U.K. publication The Lawyer. (The Lawyer reports that Arthur Cox's fee total is actually closer to $42.7 million over the past five years when taking into account the firm's work for other branches and entities affiliated with the Irish government.)
The firm took the lead for the Irish state a little more than two years ago on a fiscal rescue plan that saw the European Union and International Monetary Fund pump $88.5 billion into the struggling countrysubstantially more than the $13 billion that European finance ministers said this week they were committing to bailing out Cyprus.
Arthur Cox also played a key role in the crisis-driven nationalization of Anglo Irish Bank in 2009. Last month, the firm, through top transactional expert and former managing partner Padraig O Riordain took the lead advising the Irish government on the liquidation of the Dublin-based banking giant, which has since changed its name to the Irish Bank Resolution Corp., according to British publication Legal Week.
That dealwhich came on the heels of a series of ill-fated efforts to rescue the IBRCfit with the Irish government's broader push to sell off assets in order to ease its own debt burden while raising money for former Anglo Irish shareholders. A&L Goodbody, another leading Irish that opened in Silicon Valley in late 2011, is advising KPMG as administrator on the IBRC liquidation, according to The Lawyer. (Former Anglo Irish head Sean FitzPatrick was one of several former bank executives arrested last summer and charged over financial irregularities at the lender.)
A spokeswoman for Ireland's Department of Finance responded to an inquiry about the country's financial crisisrelated legal fees by directing The Am Law Daily to a government website featuring information disclosed in response to parliamentary inquiries about legal spending by the country's National Asset Management Agency, which was created in late 2009 to grapple with the collapse of Ireland's property bubble.
NAMArelated legal fees have reached nearly $51 million over the past three years, according to those disclosures. At $5.3 million in fees earned, Hogan Lovells tops the list of law firm recipients, followed by Arthur Cox ($5 million), Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy ($3.2 million), offshore firm Maples and Calder ($3.2 million), and Irish firms McCann FitzGerald ($3.1 million) and Matheson ($2.7 million). (Matheson was known as Matheson Ormsby Prentice until shortening its name last year; Maples and Calder has had an office in corporate tax-friendly Ireland since 2006.)
Hogan Lovellsformed through a merger three years ago between Hogan & Hartson and British firm Lovellsand DLA Piper and Weil, Gotshal & Manges all advised on a multimillion-dollar sell-off of bad bank debt by NAMA to an investor group in late 2011, according to Legal Week. Allen & Overy and McCann Fitzgerald, meanwhile, won roles earlier this year advising state-owned energy provider Bord Gais Eireann amid its preparations to sell off its energy business in the first major asset sale by the Irish state, according to The Lawyer.
The Lawyer notes that the other Irish government departments keeping outside lawyers busy in recent years include the National Treasury Management Agency, National Development Finance Agency, and the National Pension Reserves Fund, with the latter paying Proskauer roughly $864,269 to serve as private equity counsel between 2008 and 2012.