Our Team

Elaine Kelly
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Elaine is a Partner in the ByrneWallace LLP Employment Law Team.  She has over 12 years’ experience advising on all aspects of the employment relationship.  Elaine leads the firm's offering on “atypical” working covering the law as it relates to part-time work, fixed-term work, agency work, job sharing, flexible working arrangements and e-working.  She also has particular expertise in equality law and business acquisitions and outsourcing.

Elaine has presented on employment law issues to Public Affairs Ireland, Legal Island and Chartered Institute of Accountants.  She is a regular speaker on “Transfer of Undertakings" on the Law Society Diploma in Employment Law.  She is co-author of the Law Society’s Employment Law Manual published by Oxford University Press 2011 and the e-textbook for the Law Society of Ireland’s Professional Practice Course in employment law.  Elaine regularly provides bespoke employment law training.

Key Experience

  • Supporting public sector clients in effecting change management against the backdrop of the Croke Park and Haddington Road Agreements to include advising on the introduction of performance management policies, outsourcing, redeployment, secondment and effecting changes to terms and conditions of employment.

  • Assisting corporate clients through extensive redundancy and restructuring programmes providing advice on the whole range of employment law and industrial relations issues that arise in that context to include negotiation of severance packages, collective redundancies, equality issues and the development of selection matrix.

  • Representing clients in employment litigation.  She has acted in a number of seminal cases including:-

    • The leading High Court case on objective justification HSE v Ali Umar reported at 2011 22 ELR 229.

    • The much analysed High Court case of Catholic University School v Dooley reported at 2010 IEHC 496.

    • High Court proceedings successfully defending a mandatory retirement age, reported at 2010 IEHC 74.

    • The Equality Tribunal case of A Worker-v- a Company in which she secured the highest ever award under the Employment Equality Acts; a case which received extensive media coverage.

  • Extensive experience advising on Transfer of Undertakings Law, to include transfer of staff between statutory bodies, merger of statutory bodies and TUPE issues arising in the context of outsourcing agreements.  


  • LLB, Trinity College Dublin, 1997
  • Higher Diploma in Business Studies, Michael Smurfit Business School, University College Dublin, 1998
  • Qualified Solicitor, Law Society of Ireland, 2003
  • Mediation and Negotiation Skills, the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR)


  • Dublin Solicitors Bar Association
  • Law Society of Ireland
  • Employment Law Association of Ireland

  • Recommendations

    With Elaine Kelly "I always feel I’m getting the advice I need, with sufficient challenge to ensure that my thinking is challenged positively and that I have a better plan post-meeting. I’m confident in the advice given, know they understand the problem at hand and solutions offered are pragmatic and implementable. Once a course of action is agreed, I know it will be followed up and executed really well." - Legal 500, 2021

    "Elaine Kelly is an outstanding and tough litigator. Always on top of her brief, always ahead of the issues and the other side. Not afraid to tell clients what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear. Elaine has a sabre-like ability to cut to the real issues straight away and see the path through to the end game." - Legal 500, 2021

    Recognised as a "bright and effective lawyer," Elaine Kelly handles a wide array of contentious and non-contentious employment topics. She has experience in claims relating to the redeployment of employees. She also advises on issues arising from the recruitment of foreign workers.- Chambers Europe, 2021

    Elaine Kelly assists clients from the private and public sectors on a range of contentious and non-contentious labour law topics. She has experience of cases relating to protected disclosures. - Chambers Europe, 2019

    Elaine Kelly has considerable expertise in TUPE matters. One source says: "She is very accurate and I always trust her advice," adding: "She always looks at matters from the employer's perspective as well as the wider context of the environment in which they operate." Her recent highlights have concerned litigious proceedings.  - Chambers Europe, 2017

    Clients say: "She always manages to quickly come up with a cost-effective solution that protects the company from future litigation." - Chambers & Partners, 2016

    Sources describe her as "smart, proactive and innovative in quite complex employee relations issues. She takes into consideration the client's culture, business rationale and appetite for risk. I couldn't recommend her highly enough." Chambers & Partners, 2015

    “She has a unique way of getting to the root of the problem very swiftly; she understands everything on the business side, then brings it back to the legal side to advise client." Chambers Europe, 2014

    "The superb Elaine Kelly" makes up part of the Employment Department's “formidable team” is “extremely responsive, commercially clued-in and technically outstanding in all respects.” Legal 500, 2013

    Clients consider Elaine Kelly to be “at the top of her game. She is sharp, exceptionally competent and easy to work with". Chambers & Partners, 2012 

    “She is a crystal-clear thinker, and with her extensive knowledge is able to answer queries on the spot.” Sources also praise her responsiveness, and her focus on the business needs of her clients. Chambers & Partners Europe 2010


    Elaine is co-author of the Law Society’s Employment Law Manual published by Oxford University Press 2011 and the e-textbook for the Law Society of Ireland’s Professional Practice Course in employment law.