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UK Guide
Firm Profile

Carson McDowell

Firm Profile


  • Profile
  • Murray House
  • Murray Street
  • Belfast
  • County Antrim
  • UK
  • BT1 6DN

Firm profile submitted by Carson McDowell

Managing Partner: Michael Johnston
Partners: 27
Other Lawyers: 60

Banking & Finance:
Sinead McGrath
Clinical Negligence: Roger McMillan, Leigh Linton, Jacqueline McAleese, Claire Harmer
Commercial: Dawn McKnight, Neasa Quigley, Richard Gray
Commercial Litigation: Declan Magee, Peter Guzhar
Construction: Stuart Murphy
Corporate/ M&A: Neasa Quigley, Richard Gray, Michael Johnston, Gerard Armstrong
Disputes & Litigation: Clare Harmer, Hugh McGrattan, Declan Magee, Darren Toombs, Dawn McKnight
Employment: Orlagh O’Neill, Rachel Penny
Energy/Renewables: Neasa Quigley, Gary McGhee, Emma Cooper, Sinead McGrath, Dawson McConkey
EU, Competition & Regulation: Niamh McGuckin, Richard Gray
Insolvency/ Restructuring: Sinead McGrath, Darren Toombs
Intellectual Property: Dawn McKnight, Declan Magee, Peter Guzhar
Licensing, Betting & Gaming: Cathy Colton
Media: Declan Magee, Olivia O’Kane
Planning & Environment: Gary McGhee, Grant McBurney
Private Client: Neil Bleakley
Procurement: Declan Magee, Kerry Teahan
Professional Discipline: Roger McMillan, Leigh Linton
Professional Negligence: Hugh McGrattan, Roger McMillan, Declan Magee
Projects: Gerard Armstrong, Michael Johnston
Real Estate: Rosemary Carson, Mary-Kim Doherty, Emma Cooper, Dawson McConkey, Cathy Colton

The Firm: Carson McDowell is Northern Ireland’s largest commercial law firm with 27 partners and over 150 staff. The firm is one of the few genuinely full-service commercial legal practices in Northern Ireland, and has a considerable reputation built upon its experience and expertise across corporate, banking, mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigation, real estate, energy, renewables, regulation, planning, environment, employment, projects and procurement. The firm continues to be the favoured Northern Ireland counsel to a number of leading law firms in the City of London and internationally. It also has a strategic relationship with Dublin based law firm, Mason Hayes & Curran, ensuring it can offer an all-island legal solution when required and is well placed to advise on cross-border matters.

Principal Areas Of Work
Banking & Finance:
The firm has one of the leading specialist banking and finance teams in NI. The team has built sound relationships with financial institutions locally and across the UK and is regularly instructed by leading London law practices. It has extensive experience in project and asset finance, secured, unsecured, senior, mezzanine and subordinated lending, funds, derivatives and insurance.

Clinical Negligence: The team is adept at defending high-value and complex clinical negligence claims. The team is known for its provision of prompt, high quality advice.

Commercial: The firm’s team of commercial lawyers services the diverse needs of clients across a range of sectors. As a number of the team’s members have experience working as in-house counsel, the team prides itself on being well placed to understand and fully anticipate the needs of its clients.

Construction: Carson McDowell advises a significant number of the larger Northern Ireland contractors both locally and in relation to their projects throughout the UK and has a long history of providing specialised construction law advice to clients, offering expert advice to contractors, developers, design teams and funders.

Corporate: The firm’s lawyers advise on the most significant M&A and corporate transactions in NI. The firm’s experience and reputation speaks volumes and it is widely recognised as one of the leading corporate and M&A legal practices in NI. The partner-led team has over 100 years combined experience, delivering a results-driven, problem-solving approach.

Disputes & Litigation: The firm’s dispute resolution and litigation team is distinguished by the number of specialist areas covered and has unrivalled experience in insurance, product liability, personal injury, defamation, planning, environmental and intellectual property. The firm handles commercial litigation work such as contractual claims, employment disputes, contentious corporate insolvency and recovery actions. The firm has considerable judicial review and public law expertise.

Employment: This dedicated employment team is one of the busiest in Northern Ireland, acting on both contentious and non-contentious matters. It has vast experience in acting for respondent companies in the industrial and fair employment tribunals as well as in the civil court system. The firm is a leading adviser on TUPE, senior executive departures, complex disciplinary and grievance issues and drafting and advising on employment contracts and policies.

Energy & Renewables:
This leading multi-disciplinary team advises on, among other things, project development, finance issues, power purchase agreements, renewables, energy trading and dispute resolution. The team also provides advice on energy regulation, procurement, EU and competition law, environmental law and planning law.

Insolvency/Restructuring: With an ability to draw on expertise from the leading banking and litigation teams, Carson McDowell’s insolvency offering is an all-encompassing service to clients ranging from non-contentious advisory through to insolvency litigation support.

Intellectual Property: The intellectual property team advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters and team members have significant expertise across a number of sectors.

Licensing, Gaming & Betting: The team provides advice to clients from multiple jurisdictions on all aspects of Liquor licensing, betting and gaming law in Northern Ireland. The team has advised on significant and high-profile applications and issues which are at the cutting edge of this complex area of law.

Media: Carson McDowell has Northern Ireland’s leading specialist media, entertainments and reputation management team. The team has extensive experience providing bespoke advice on all media law related issues to a diverse range of clients across the UK and Ireland as well as internationally, for both the mainstream media and social media platforms.

Planning & Environmental: The firm has the largest dedicated planning and environmental teams in Northern Ireland. The firm acts on behalf of a diverse range of clients and is involved in most of the leading planning and environmental judicial reviews currently taking place in NI. Clients are drawn from every sector including: retail, transport, energy, renewables, manufacturing, mining and quarrying.

Private Client: The firm is one of only a small number in NI having a specialist and dedicated private client team. The team advises across a broad range of private client issues, but has particular experience in high-value, complex estate administration and estate planning matters.

Procurement & Competition: Carson McDowell is a leading NI procurement law firm, with a team of five lawyers working across both contentious and non-contentious procurement issues. The team has a wealth of experience advising both public and private sector clients on procurement law, competition and merger control issues.

Professional Discipline: The firm’s experienced team of professional discipline specialists regularly represent individuals in complex multi-factor regulatory cases. The team is best known for significant expertise in the field of healthcare professional disciplinary work, utilising its in-depth knowledge of the Northern Ireland healthcare sector.

Professional Negligence: Experienced in the defence of high value and complex claims against solicitors, accountants, construction professionals, valuers and a range of other professionals. Provides a holistic service, advising on coverage, reserves, and reputational issues and has considerable expertise in all forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Projects: The firm’s projects team is highly regarded by peers and clients alike, continuing to advise clients involved in PPP, NPD and large-scale infrastructure projects throughout the UK and Ireland.

Real Estate: The real estate team, incorporating specialist licensing and property litigation subteams, is the largest in Northern Ireland. Core strengths include site assembly and development, investment acquisitions and disposals, and it has an unrivalled stable of retail clients.