Cormac Little SC


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Cormac is a Senior Counsel/SC and a Partner and head of William Fry’s Competition & Regulation Department, specialising in EU and Irish competition, merger control and public procurement rules. In 2020, he was among the first group of Irish solicitors to be named Senior Counsel by the Irish Government. 

Cormac advises on the compatibility of business arrangements with EU and Irish competition laws and has represented clients in antitrust investigations by both the European Commission and the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission or CCPC (formerly the Competition Authority) and in proceedings before the EU and Irish courts. Cormac has also secured EU and/or Irish regulatory approval regarding many high-profile corporate transactions. He also advises both public bodies and disappointed bidders regarding challenges to contract decisions under EU/Irish public procurement rules. Cormac also specialises in EU State aid law, general EU law and assists clients regarding various types of regulatory investigations. He also advises clients on complying with anti-money laundering rules and on other 'white-collar' crime issues. 

Recent significant work includes advising:

  • Kings Laundry Limited on its sale to Elis SA/Berendsen Ireland Limited. This transaction was eventually cleared by the CCPC (subject to up-front divestitures) after the longest notification process under Irish merger control rules
  • Aughinish Alumina in its challenge to a European Commission State and decision. Cormac pleaded Aughinish's case before both the Court of Justice of the EU and the General Court of the EU 
  • DCC plc on the sale of Fannin Compounding to Baxter Healthcare.  This transaction was cleared by the CCPC using the 'failing firm' defence.

Praised for his "practical and solution-focused response," Cormac handles the full spectrum of competition matters, including substantial merger clearances, competition investigations, proceedings before the EU courts and public procurement matters, Chambers Global 2021

In Legal 500 EMEA 2021 interviewees state that "Cormac stands out as the most pragmatic lawyer I have come across. He has an excellent knowledge of the subject and communicates very effectively with clients right up to the boardroom. Put simply, he is one of the standout partners in William Fry."  another states that "Cormac Little and Claire Waterson are quietly and thoroughly competent, conscientious yet understated in their impressive work ethic. They are both professional, absolutely reliable, easy to deal with and have a calm and comforting approach in dealing with the client. Neither seek the limelight and are discreet and thoughtful. After many years dealing with them, I feel I can approach them with any problem and they will find a solution that I can work with. For an in-house counsel that is important."

Interviewees describe Cormac Little as a "savvy and sophisticated" competition lawyer. "He doesn't overcomplicate things unnecessarily, but rather has a practical approach," says one client, while another source reports: "He does not panic and has good judgement." One client admires Cormac's pragmatic approach saying that: "Some competition lawyers tell you everything is a breach, whereas he is very, very practical. I’d consider him to be among half a handful of the best competition lawyers in the very small group.” Chamber Europe 2020

According to Legal 500 2020, Cormac has been described as "an outstanding competition lawyer who gives excellent advice and is able to effectively communicate in a way that overcomes the complexities of the law." Another client notes that Cormac is an "excellent lawyer who has a calm approach and provides efficient and well-reasoned responses."

Cormac is listed in Legal 500 2020 under 'Hall of Fame' for work in EU &Competition Law.

"He is very quick to understand what the problem is, find insight and give practical advice on how to move forward." Chambers Europe 2019
"Calm, knowledgable" team head Cormac Little advised The Irish Times on its acquisition of the Irish Examiner group. Legal 500 EMEA 2019
“Technically excellent and commercially astute advice, which allows us to provide focussed advice to internal management up to board level.”IFLR 1000 2018
Cormac is listed in Best Lawyers 2019 under 'The Best Lawyers in Ireland' for work in Competition Law.

Department head Cormac Little is renowned in the field of competition law and has a "vast wealth of knowledge in relation to both domestic and EU legislation." One source notes: "He is the epitome of understated excellence - calm, knowledgeable, discreet and quietly strategic in his overall focus." Clients praise his "detailed knowledge of Irish competition law and understanding of the related nuances of engaging with the CCPC." Chambers Europe 2018

According to Chambers Europe 2017, respected practitioner Cormac Little offers a "good balance of experience and practical advice" on a variety of EU and competition matters, including merger control and public procurement. Clients describe him as "a very likeable and calm-inducing lawyer." In Legal 500 EMEA 2017 under EU Competition, Cormac is described as  ‘very knowledgeable and has a good relationship with the regulatory authorities’ and as ‘ultra-reliable’ in the Telecoms sector. 



 Legal 500 Hall of Fame

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