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The firm: Carson McDowell is Northern Ireland’s largest commercial law firm with 25 partners and almost 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 uniquely placed to advise on cross-border matters.

Types of work undertaken:

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.

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.

Real estate: the real estate team, incorporating specialist licensing and property litigation sub-teams, 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.

Planning and 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.

Disputes and 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.

Banking and 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.

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.

Energy: 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.

Professional negligence: the firm has the largest number of lawyers working in this area in NI and has become a major defence firm in the area of medical negligence, acting for indemnifiers in this field. The firm also acts on behalf of solicitors, architects, engineers and other non-medical professionals.

Employment: this dedicated employment team is one of the busiest in Northern Ireland, acting on both contentious and non-contentious cases. It is well experienced in acting for respondent companies in the industrial and fair employment tribunals as well as in the mainstream court system. The firm is a leading adviser on TUPE, disciplinary and grievance procedures and contracts and policies.

Procurement and 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.

Construction: Carson McDowell advises a significant number of the larger contractors in Northern Ireland and has a long history of providing specialised construction law advice to clients, including contractors, developers, design teams and funders.

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.

Breakdown of work    %Corporate commercial    20
Commercial property and planning    30
Banking and finance    10
Litigation and arbitration    40

Number of UK partners25

Number of other UK fee-earners59


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