Arthur Cox edged out as A&L Goodbody becomes Irish government's best friend

The Department of Finance, one of the biggest-spending government departments, gave £1.38m of its total £1.95m legal spend to Goodbodys last year.
The department, which had its budget increased last year to cope with overspending on consultancy services, used Goodbodys for five pieces of work last year. All the legal awards were made by competitive tender, and according to Goodbodys senior partner Frank O'Riordan, the firm won every piece of work that it pitched for.
The biggest piece of work, and the one which contributed to the overspend, was the legislation for the creation of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for which Goodbodys received more than £1m.
O'Riordan led the team of six partners, which drafted the heads for the legislation governing the FSRA. O'Riordan also led the pitch for the FSRA work.
Part of a wholesale regulatory reform of Ireland's financial services, the FSRA will be responsible for prudential and consumer issues in the banking sector and will be a wholly autonomous body.
O'Riordan said of the deal: “We were really delighted to get the assignment; it was very prestigious.”
The second-largest job was the sale of TSB Bank to Irish Life & Permanent. Goodbodys did not bid for this because the firm had a conflict over its relationship with Irish Life, which it ultimately acted for in the sale. The work went to McCann FitzGerald, which shared £585,466 with investment bank ABN AMRO for the sale.
The Department of Finance also used Arthur Cox, which has traditionally taken on work for previously state-owned bodies, such as Aer Lingus and the telecoms provider Eircom. Arthur Cox, however, reaped just £16,180 from the department.
Other firms used were Masons, which was paid £56,862, and local Dublin firm Sean Bourke Solicitors, which received £66,092.