In the last six months, DWF has also recruited 26 legal professionals to its Belfast office, with positions including support staff, paralegals, trainee solicitors, newly qualified and senior solicitors. The latest recruitment drive takes DWF’s total workforce in Northern Ireland to 120.
Central to this growth has been the expansion of the Real Estate team, which now boasts over 20 legal professionals in Belfast. The established team advises on some of Northern Ireland's most high-profile property transactions.
Mark Blair has been appointed as a Real Estate Partner and will join the Belfast Real Estate leadership team alongside Julie Galbraith, Mark Tinman and Kirsty Mairs. A former joint head of Shoosmiths in Belfast, Mark is one of Northern Ireland’s most experienced commercial property lawyers. A specialist in institutional investment work he has acted on some of Northern Ireland’s largest commercial property investment transactions.
Amanda Byrnes, formerly of Tughans, has also been appointed as a Senior Associate, joining the Real Estate Occupier team. Amanda specialises in advising retail tenants on their property portfolios in Northern Ireland, England and Wales.
Toby Askin, Global Practice Head of Real Estate at DWF said:
"I am absolutely delighted to have Mark join us. He is a quality operator, experienced in a range of asset classes and will bring additional capability to our growing pan-European Investment and Development team."
Also joining DWF as a Partner is Olivia O’Kane who is leading the Technology, Media, Communications, Cyber Security and Data Privacy disputes team. Dual qualified and a former partner in Carson McDowell, Olivia brings 18 years of experience along with her specialism in TMC and Data Privacy to DWF’s all-island client base.
Scott Kennedy has been appointed a Partner in the Corporate team, advising on the full spectrum of corporate finance transactions. A former Partner at Millar McCall Wylie and with 25 years’ legal experience, Scott’s specialist interest is in start-ups, early stage, and technology-based companies.
Caroline McNally has been appointed as a Director specialising in Commercial Law. She will advise DWF’s public and private sector clients on the planning, negotiation, drafting and reviewing of a broad range of commercial and IT contracts.
Further bolstering the senior team, Real Estate finance expert, Emma Copeland, has joined the Finance and Restructuring team as a Senior Associate from Carson McDowell. Emma will work with Orla Hanna, Director, advising several local banking and finance clients.
The news of DWF's Belfast recruitment coincides with DWF Groups' half year results which have shown a strong first half performance, achieved against a challenging macro-economic backdrop. Net revenue is up by 3.4% and the business remains focussed on attracting and retaining top industry talent.
Julie Galbraith, Executive Partner of DWF in Belfast, said:
“DWF is recognised as a business innovator and continues to attract the best talent in a competitive legal market. The continued investment in our people – across all levels – is significant, timely and speaks volumes for the strength of our business and breadth of our service offering.
“I am delighted to welcome our senior hires, who will complement our leading teams in Belfast with their additional experience and specialisms. Our people are the key to ensuring we deliver premium legal advice with commercial intelligence, industry sector relevant experience and excellent client service.
“We are very positive about the future and will continue to invest in both the best legal talent, and market leading technologies, positioning us to advise, steer and support our rapidly expanding client base. We listen to our clients and there is a growing desire for legal and business services to be delivered in an easier and more efficient way. So, we've built our business and designed our range of services on this principle."