09 Jun 2022

Matheson hires Mason Hayes & Curran partner to lead EU competition and regulatory practice

Niall Collins moves over in Dublin as real estate partner Karen Sheil joins from William Fry

Karen Sheil (l), Matheson managing partner Michael Jackson and Niall Collins Image courtesy of Matheson

Matheson has hired two partners from rival Irish firms to boost its competition and real estate practices in Dublin. 

Niall Collins joins from Mason Hayes & Curran as head of the EU, competition and regulatory practice, while Karen Sheil joins from William Fry as a commercial property partner. 

Collins spent just under 11 years at Mason Hayes, including six years as senior partner. He specialises in advising Irish and multinational businesses on Irish and EU competition law with a particular focus on the energy, media & entertainment, insurance, agriculture & food, technology, sport and financial services sectors.

As head of Matheson’s EU, competition and regulatory practice, Collins will work closely with partners Kate McKenna and Calum Warren, who are both members of the practice in Dublin. 

Sheil, meanwhile, focuses on property development and investment transactions. She spent 14 years at William Fry, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

At Matheson, she will work alongside the rest of the firm’s commercial real estate group, which includes partners Sally Anne Stone, Brian Doran, Leonie Dunne and Cillian O’Boyle. 

Michael Jackson, Matheson’s managing partner, said the duo’s transactional experience and knowledge of both the Irish and international markets would enhance the firm’s real estate and EU competition groups. 

Jackson pointed to Matheson’s recent appointment of two corporate partners in London and New York – Sandra Lord and David Jones – and the relocation of its 35-lawyer office in Cork to a hybrid-friendly space in April as further signs of the firm’s investment in its network of talent. 

Matheson also beefed up its technology, data and regulatory teams last year when it hired a quartet of partners from A&L Goodbody, DLA Piper, KMPG Ireland and Accenture in Dublin and London in a bid to keep pace with rapid change taking place across the IT, data privacy and regulatory sectors.

Thirteen lawyers made the cut in Matheson’s partnership promotions round this year, which brought the firm’s total partner headcount to 105 and solidified its position as Ireland’s largest law firm by head count. This year’s cohort included four women (30%), compared to last year when five (67%) received the nod in the firm’s eight-strong round. 

Collins and Sheil have joined Matheson at a time when international law firms are looking to establish a presence in the Irish capital, motivated in part by post-Brexit restrictions on UK-based lawyers practising EU law from Ireland without having a physical presence in the country.

Last month global giant Dentons added a trio of corporate and energy and projects partners from Allen & Overy, Shearman & Sterling and Gilbert + Tobin to its Dublin shop, having made a crop of lateral hires from top local firms including Matheson and William Fry to launch the office back in 2020. 

In March offshore firm Ogier announced it had agreed to merge with eight-partner Dublin firm Leman in a major – and rare – foray into an onshore market, a month after UK firm Addleshaw Goddard merged with 25-partner Dublin firm Eugene F Collins

Bird & Bird also announced in February it would launch in Dublin this summer, joining firms including Burges SalmonAshurstHogan Lovells and Taylor Wessing in opening an office in the city.   

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