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Liam Connellan is partner and Head of the ByrneWallace LLP Pensions Team.
He is described as an “excellent pensions lawyer, with considerable experience and great attention to detail” (Legal 500, 2017).
He has extensive experience and advises many leading employers, both private and public sector, scheme trustees and individuals. His expertise ranges from advising on the pensions aspects of corporate M&As and reorganisations, drafting and amending pension scheme documentation, restructuring pension schemes, the application of pensions regulatory and tax legislation, trusteeship and scheme governance, to advising on pensions disputes and pensions litigation.
In particular, he advises on:
- The establishment and day-to-day operation of Revenue approved pension schemes;
- Scheme trust documentation;,
- Trusteeship issues;
- Trustee governance and the implementation of the IORP II Directive;
- Employee benefit structures;
- Changes in members’ normal retirement dates;
- Pensions regulatory issues and compliance;
- Pension scheme changes and restructuring (e.g. changing contribution rates or benefits or moving from defined benefit scheme provision to CARE or defined contribution provision, Section 50 applications to reduce defined benefit scheme benefits and winding-up defined benefit and defined contribution plans);
- Investment and liability management issues and agreements relating thereto;
- Dispute resolution;
- Pension products;
- Equality and family law issues; and
- Pension aspects of corporate M&A transactions.
Liam also works closely the ByrneWallace LLP Employment Law Team advising on the pension provisions of contracts of employment, the negotiation of settlement agreements, and the resolution of pension disputes.
Prior to joining ByrneWallace LLP, Liam was head of pensions in another leading Irish law firm.
Liam is a member of the Law Society’s Pensions Committee, the Association of Pension Lawyers in Ireland (APLI), the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) and an associate member of the UK Association of Pension Lawyers (APL). He has spoken on various aspects of pensions law at seminars hosted by the Irish Institute of Pensions Management, the Law Society of Ireland and the Life Insurance Association.
- Advised the trustees of Ireland's leading drinks company on all aspects of their defined benefit scheme.
- Advised Ireland's leading print organisation on the closure of its defined benefit scheme to future accrual, the negotiation of a funding agreement and charges over the company's assets and the pension issues arising on that company's examinership.
- Advised a multi-national consultancy practice on the closure of its defined benefit schemes to future accrual and the establishment of its defined contribution scheme and drafting all documentation associated with same.
- Advised Ireland's primary credit institution on the winding-up of its defined benefit scheme.
- Advised an international IT company and a FDI client on the restructuring of its defined contribution scheme which included the drafting of a new trust deed and rules for the scheme, the removal and appointment of its corporate trustee, the removal and appointment of its pensions consultant and the transfer of risk cover from one insurer to another insurer and advised on all documentation associated with same.
- Advised a number of clients on the impact a change in normal retirement age would have on their pension, death in service and disability schemes.
- Advised a number of trustees of group life assurance schemes regarding the payment of complex death in service claims to beneficiaries.
- Advised an insurance company on the pension aspects of its purchase of a company's investment management business.
- Advised a leading dairy co-operative on the apportionment of its defined benefit pension liabilities between the co-operative and a public limited company on the establishment of a joint venture.
- Advised the parent company of Ireland’s largest breakdown assistance company on the pension aspects relating to the sale of its Irish subsidiary to a private equity firm which included the revision of a funding agreement and change in principal employer.
- Advised an international airlines group on the pension aspects of its takeover of a leading airline.
- LLB (Law) Degree, University of Wales, 1992 – 1995
- Qualified as a Barrister, The Honorable Society of King's Inns, 1999 - 2001
- Diploma in Employment Law, University College Dublin, 2010 – 2011
- Qualified as a Solicitor, Law Society of Ireland, 2012
- Law Society
- Dublin Solicitors Bar Association
- Law Society’s Pensions Committee
- The Association of Pension Lawyers in Ireland (APLI)
- The Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF)
- An associate member of the UK Association of Pension Lawyers (APL)
'Liam is practical, sensible, knowledgeable and quite responsible, while not overly legalistic.' - Chambers Europe, 2023
‘Liam Connellan has exceptional pensions legal knowledge and applies it to issues in a way that allows the client to understand these complex matters, providing support and guidance throughout all engagements. He exhibits a commerciality that is extremely valuable to trustees and companies.’ - Legal 500, 2023
Described by Legal 500 2023 as a "Leading Individual - Pensions and Employee Benefits" - Legal 500, 2023
‘Liam Connellan is a leading pensions expert who has a very easy to work with style. He is responsive, accessible, and able to break down complex topics for consideration by clients. He also has detailed knowledge of all elements of Irish pensions and can advise on a range of topics.’ - Legal 500, 2022
‘Liam Connellan is very hands on and always makes himself available to provide partner support. His exceptional knowledge of pensions and associated legislation means he can get to the heart of issues easily and help clients come to practical solutions for their pension schemes.’ - Legal 500, 2022
Liam Connellan 's practice covers the wind-up of pension plans, the negotiation of funding agreements and advising on compliance with IORP II. One market interviewee says: "Liam manages complex and challenging issues in a practical manner, and he has excellent commercial awareness which he brings to all matters he addresses." - Chambers Europe, 2022
"Their key strength is their ability to put pension legal knowledge to use in a practical way. We work with Liam Connellan who is particularly responsive and collaborative." - Legal 500, 2021
"We worked with Liam Connellan. It is rare to find the combination of such attention to detail and exceptional customer focus in the same individual. Liam personifies this. Loughlin Deegan has very strong technical knowledge, providing clear and concise advice with a practical understanding of our needs." - Legal 500, 2021
"Liam Connellan is our go-to lawyer for pensions. His in-depth knowledge of the industry and all relevant players means he gets the best results for us." - Legal 500, 2021
"Liam Connellan is extremely personable and is very available to clients. He manages all interactions in a professional and commercial manner. He is responsive, very strong at business development and understands its importance to his business clients." - Legal 500, 2021
One respondent confirms that Liam Connellan "has a clear understanding of the need for succinct advice that is provided quickly." His practice covers the wind-up of pension plans, the negotiation of funding agreements and advising on compliance with IORP II. - Chambers Europe, 2021
Liam Connellan is a very good commercial pensions lawyer. - Chambers Europe, 2020
Liam Connellan is a hugely experienced, knowledgeable and approachable resource. It is his appetite to challenge the norm and adopt creative solutions to complex issues that we value most. - Legal 500, 2020
Liam Connellan’s knowledge of pension legislation and associated matters is exemplary. His ability to discuss this legislation in a manner that allows the non-pensions expert to understand such a complex area is refreshing. He is very responsive and provides practical advice at all times.- Legal 500, 2020
Practice head Liam Connellan is an excellent pensions lawyer, with considerable experience and great attention to detail. - Legal 500, 2018
Liam Connellan advises clients on pensions matters related to M&A transactions, the reorganisation of pension schemes and pensions litigation.
- Chambers Europe, 2018
Key contacts include the insightful Liam Connellan. - Legal 500, 2017
Clients say that Liam Connellan is very personable, business-orientated and attentive. He acts for a range of clients on corporate and transactional pensions matters, including reorganisations and scheme governance issues. His recent work involved acquisitions, divestments and the closing of defined benefit schemes. - Chambers Europe, 2017
Liam Connellan recently advised Premier Lotteries on the establishment of, and documentation for, three new pension schemes. He regularly assists a range of corporate clients with pension issues and, according to clients, is ‘highly knowledgeable and consistently willing to consider a variety of viewpoints to ensure that the advice is fit for purpose. - Chambers Europe, 2016
Liam Connellan provides expert guidance. - Legal 500, 2015
Liam Connellan is described as a pensions expert with a very pragmatic approach to resolving pension issues for our clients' businesses. He has been a real benefit to us on occasions where we might be dealing with a prospect and need to sense-check a particular point. - Chambers Europe, 2015
Liam Connellan is recommended - Legal 500, 2014
Liam Connellan is commended by peers as a safe pair of hands. - Chambers Europe, 2014