TLICN - In the spotlight with John McElroy

The London Irish Construction Network (TLICN) was formed in 2009 by a group of dedicated Irish businessmen all of whom are involved in the construction industry in London. The objective of the group is to create and encourage new business for all members within the group. As part of their new Spotlight campaign, they spoke to John McElroy.

About

Hausfeld is a specialist disputes practice, resolving legal disputes globally with a bold and often pioneering approach. The London team comprises 20 partners, one of whom is John McElroy whose strong Irish roots stem back to growing up on a small dairy farm in County Fermanagh and studying at Queen’s University in Belfast. Upon completion of his degree, Jon pursued a moved to London in 2002 to progress his legal career. He joined Hausfeld in 2016 and has since acted on many groundbreaking commercial litigation cases. We asked John about his career and his work at Hausfeld.

Q: Firstly, given the move to London some 20 years ago, how do you ensure you keep in touch with your Irish background, and do you have any key tips for those in the same position?

On a personal level, I am lucky to still have many family and friends in Ireland, so I visit regularly. I am an avid sports fan, especially rugby and GAA and pride myself on always being the number one Irish supporter (and cheerer!) at Twickenham and at the London Irish matches in Brentford, or, watching my nephews on the GAA pitches across London. London is a great hub with many active associations, such as the TLICN, which are now starting to organise events in person again. They are perfect for connecting with other individuals of Irish heritage.

Q: What encouraged you to partake in TLCIN’s new opportunity the article spotlight?

I am consistently looking for ways to grow my Irish network and see this as a great way to make others aware of what I do and how my firm and I could perhaps assist.

During my time at university, I spent a summer working on construction sites in London, including on the building which now host Sainsbury’s headquarters and the offices of one of the largest global law firms, Hogan Lovells. As a result of the experience and family and friends’ connections in the London construction firms in particular, the Hausfeld team and I have been actively working with clients in the construction industry. Such work has included acting in relation to claims arising out of pre-cast draining products and rolled lead to name but a few, and one of our associates joining one of our client’s in-house team for three months to assist with claims arising out of the recent pandemic.

We encourage those within the TLICN to reach out to see how and if we can help with any disputes they may have.

Q: Could you tell us more about your role at Hausfeld?

As of the 1st of January 2022, I’m heading the firm’s growing commercial disputes team which helps businesses and individuals with disagreements arising out of their commercial relationships. I assist clients with navigating business disputes. To resolve these, we use negotiation and mediation as well as litigation and arbitration. My diverse client base includes major domestic and international companies including clients in a wide range of industry in addition to the construction sector.

Q: Please share some details of the most groundbreaking cases that you have worked on.

Throughout my career I have worked on several high-profile, complex disputes. For example, I was the lead partner acting for New Balance in its dispute with football club Liverpool FC, a high profile and time sensitive claim against Liverpool FC arising out of sponsorship agreement for the provision of playing kit and other licensed products. In addition, I acted for Stuart Wall - owner of Opal Property Group, formerly one of the UK’s largest student accommodation businesses - in a £670 million interest rate swap mis-selling claim against RBS, alleging the bank caused the failure of Mr Wall’s business. I also acted for the claimant - Dr Philip Comberg, the CEO of a large global solar power business - in a long-running proceedings for repudiatory breach of his service agreement and the breach of three other agreements entered into with his former employer.

Q: Looking more broadly at the firm itself, could you provide some background on Hausfeld?

The firm has grown significantly since we launched in 2009 when we pioneered the private environment of competition law damages. We expanded into the resolution of commercial disputes since. With some 300 staff globally, we operate in 7 European and 5 major US cities. We have achieved some of the largest landmark settlements and judgements in our areas of practice.

Q: Finally, what are the firm’s key differentiators, setting you apart from your competitors?

Most definitely that the firm is largely conflict free, which means we are able to act for and against both small and large businesses. For example, we have been able to act against banks and major financial institutions where other firms cannot. Often, we are instructed on a referral basis taking on cases that are recommended by other firms and work closely, for example, with Irish law firms which do not have a litigation practice in England.

Building and maintaining strong, sincere relationships lies at the heart of our practice. A lot of my cases are sourced from friends and colleagues as a result of positive relationships and word-of-mouth.

One of our biggest differentiators is our flexibility. As a disputes-only practice, we control our own destiny which enables us to be flexible when it comes to fee structures in creative engagements, aside from the more traditional approach adopted by our competitors. For example, we were early adopters of litigation funding and are willing to share risk with our clients.

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