Five senior hires among round of appointments to DWF’s Belfast office

Five senior hires among round of appointments to DWF's Belfast office

Pictured (left–right): Mark Blair, Julie Galbraith, Executive Partner, Scott Kennedy and Olivia O'Kane 

Three partners, a new director and two senior associates are among senior lateral hire appointments to DWF’s commercial team in Belfast.

New partners Mark Blair, Olivia O’Kane and Scott Kennedy, director Caroline McNally and senior associates Amanda Byrnes and Emma Copeland join 26 other legal professionals recruited to the Belfast office in the past six months, bringing DWF’s total workforce in Northern Ireland to 120.

The firm’s growth has been driven by its real estate practice, which now includes over 20 legal professionals in Belfast.

Mr Blair, who has been appointed as a partner in the real estate team, is a former joint head of Shoosmiths in Belfast and 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.

Ms Byrnes, formerly of Tughans, joins the real estate occupier team as a senior associate. She specialises in advising retail tenants on their property portfolios in Northern Ireland and in 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.”

Ms O’Kane is leading DWF’s technology, media, communications, cyber security and data privacy disputes team. Dual qualified and a former partner in Carson McDowell, she brings 18 years of experience along with her specialism in TMC and Data Privacy to DWF’s all-island client base.

Mr Kennedy, in the corporate team, advises on the full spectrum of corporate finance transactions. A former partner at Millar McCall Wylie with 25 years’ legal experience, his specialist interest is in start-ups, early stage, and technology-based companies.

Ms 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.

Real estate finance expert Emma Copeland has joined the finance and restructuring team as a senior associate from Carson McDowell. She will work with director Orla Hanna advising several local banking and finance clients.

The announcement of the appointments in Belfast coincides with DWF Group’s half-year results, which show net revenue up by 3.4 per cent in a challenging macro-economic backdrop.

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.”

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