Matheson hires senior lawyers from KPMG and Accenture as it targets tech transformation work

Recruits also arrive from A&L Goodbody and DLA Piper adding three partners and a counsel across firm's Dublin and London offices

Davinia Brennan, Caroline Kearns, Rory O'Keeffe and Niamh Mullholland

Matheson, Ireland’s largest law firm, has hired a quartet of senior technology, data and regulatory lawyers across its Dublin and London offices.

Davinia Brennan and Rory O’Keeffe are joining the Dublin-based firm’s technology and innovation group as partners from A&L Goodbody and Accenture respectively, while Caroline Kearns has joined the financial institutions group as a partner from DLA Piper alongside consultant Niamh Mullholland, who is moving across from KPMG Ireland.

Brennan, Kearns and Mullholland will be based in the firm’s headquarters, while O'Keeffe will be based in London. 

Matheson senior partner Michael Jackson said the appointments would help Matheson maintain pace with rapid transformational change taking place across the IT, data privacy and regulatory sectors. 

He added that the firm was also anticipating the new hires’ contributions to its pro bono programme, which expanded earlier this year when director of legal and regulatory affairs Niahm Counihan was appointed as the firm’s first dedicated pro bono partner, a first for the Irish legal market. 

The appointments also underscore Matheson’s commitment to gender equality within its senior ranks, the firm said. Some 41% of the firm’s partnership is composed of women lawyers, while over 50% of the partner appointments over the past three years have been women. 

Brennan joins the firm after two decades at A&L Goodbody, including ten years as a senior associate working on data protection and information technology matters. She focuses her practice on advising international and domestic companies on all compliance matters related to data protection and privacy law, as well as advising online businesses on evolving regulatory and consumer protection law obligations. 

O’Keeffe re-joins Matheson after a ten-year stint as a senior lawyer at Accenture. A technology and outsourcing lawyer by trade, O’Keeffe specialises in cloud, digital and business transformation, artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity and technology contracting matters. He previously worked for Matheson as a senior associate between 2005 and 2009. 

Corporate specialist Kearns, meanwhile, has also re-joined Matheson more than ten years after training and qualifying with the firm. She spent seven years as a corporate lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright in London and most recently served as a legal director at DLA Piper in Dublin. Her practice covers a broad range of international and domestic corporate transactions, including M&A, joint ventures, private equity and corporate reorganisations. 

Finally, Mulholland specialises in advising Irish and international investment banks and investment fund clients on authorisation, regulatory change projects and supervisory engagements, among other matters. Before joining Matheson, she led KPMG Ireland’s asset management regulatory practice and previously spent five years as an EU regulatory policy advisor at the Central Bank of Ireland between 2010 and 2015. 

In other Irish legal news, Dublin’s McCann Fitzgerald became the sixth of Ireland’s so-called ‘Big Seven’ law firms to become a limited liability partnership earlier this month, shortly before naming employment, pensions and incentives specialist Stephen Holst as the successor to current managing partner Barry Devereux at the end of his second term in the post next April.

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