Rising Stars

Employment in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody Northern Ireland LLP

A&L Goodbody Northern Ireland LLP‘s large team covers the full scope of employment law, including tribunal litigation, TUPE, immigration issues and industrial relations. The group is highly experienced in cross-jurisdictional work, and is regularly active for clients across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Team lead Gareth Walls has significant expertise advising on employment law in the financial services industry, and is a thought leader on matters such as hybrid working, modern slavery, and ESG. Aisling Byrne, who joined from Cleaver Fulton Rankin in 2021, handles contentious and non-contentious employment matters, and is a key name for data protection. Of counsel Shirley Blair specialises in complex discrimination matters. Rob Tubman and Johanna Cunningham are prominent names at the associate level.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Walls

Other key lawyers:

Aisling Byrne; Shirley Blair; Rob Tubman; Johanna Cunningham


‘Gareth fully understands our business. He is also an expert in employment law, and advises accordingly.’

‘The ALG team provide a consistently high level of professional service to our business which, as a highly regulated business, is complex in nature and structure. The ALG respond quickly and efficiently to all of our issues and cases in a timely and highly satisfactory level.’

‘Gareth Walls is an exceptional employment lawyer providing an exceptional level of service, legal support and guidance in a practical and professional manner.’

‘What makes them stand out is their professionalism, when dealing with them. They keep you, as a client, well-informed, they run training days and impart important information.’

‘We work closely with Shirley Blair. Excellent at examining complex evidence and drafting legal responses. Extremely skilled at working with clients and witnesses unfamiliar with legal processes.’

‘Excellent to collaborate with at all times, and we have used them extensively within the realm of employment issues. I worked with some of the associates, and they were excellent, so thorough and always available.’

‘A&L Goodbody deliver a personable and professional service. They have a depth of experience and are quick to respond, making them a precious resource in the business world.’

‘Gareth Walls – knowledgable, personable and an innate ability to make complex decisions or options relatable.’

Key clients


SONI (Utility provider)

Harland & Wolff (Infrastrata)

Pilgrims Pride (Moy Park)



NI Water



Spence and Partners

Work highlights

  • Handling all of Citi’s employment law matters in Northern Ireland (tribunal claims, advisory work and ad hoc queries).
  • Appointed in 2022 as the sole employment law adviser for SONI, a regulated systems operator in the utilities sector, advising on disciplinary, corporate, governance, contractual and data breach issues.
  • Go-to employment law adviser to Harland & Wolff; represented the company in several tribunal claims and provided employment advice on demand.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell's team caters to prominent domestic and multinational clients, with experience in the full spectrum of employment law. The group has notable strength in contentious matters, particularly complex workplace investigations. Team lead Orlagh O’Neill has more than 20 years' experience in the practice area, and works for a diverse range of public and private sector clients. Rachel Penny, described by clients as being 'in a league of her own', is noted for her expertise in TUPE, restructuring, and senior executive recruitment, incentive, and severance arrangements. Sarah Cochrane, who is dual qualified in Northern Ireland and England and Wales, made partner in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

Orlagh O’Neill

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Penny; Sarah Cochrane; Hannah McGrath


‘Carson McDowell are a pragmatic, customer driven legal firm with exceptional talent across all disciplines. They focus on relationship management, understanding the needs of the client to provide an exceptional level of quality and service.’

‘Rachel Penny is in a league of her own. An exceptional legal mind coupled with pragmatism and a personality that is endearing. She is so focussed on the needs of the client that she has become like one of the family.’

Key clients

The English Bar Offshore


Royal Mail Group Limited

Queen’s University Belfast

Ulster University



The Irish League of Credit Unions (via Axa)

Lynas Foodservice Limited

Omexom (Vinci Energies)

Westland Horticulture Limited

ESB / Electric Ireland

Diageo PLC

Currys PLC

Santander PLC

Davy Private Client

British Medical Association

SHS Group

Eakin Healthcare Group

Currys Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Queen’s University Belfast on senior management restructuring, industrial action, the defence of numerous industrial and fair employment tribunal claims, a wide-ranging policy review, complex and sensitive investigations, whistleblowing allegations and disciplinary matters.
  • Advised Bowmark Capital on the employment aspects of its investment in the Xperience Group.
  • Advised SHS Group on restructuring/re-organisation projects which included collective consultation, redundancy obligations and changes to terms and conditions.

Lewis Silkin

Lewis Silkin‘s Belfast offering, which was formed from a merger with indigenous firm Jones Cassidy Brett in 2021, handles the full range of employment, immigration, and equality law matters across the island of Ireland. The group is jointly led by Ciara Fulton, Adam Brett, and Paul Gillen. Fulton is dual-qualified in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and is highly experienced in advising on cross-jurisdictional matters, while Brett specialises in discriminators and regulatory matters. Gillen, who joined the group in 2022 from Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP, has a broad practice which includes restructuring, executive management, TUPE, and employment litigation. Associate Jack Balmer has experience in contentious and non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Ciara Fulton; Paul Gillen; Adam Brett

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Gallagher; Jack Balmer


‘They are a very approachable team and their style of information gathering makes life easier for the client. Collaboration between the team and the client is evident from the first call, and the factual practical advice given is delivered in an easy, straightforward manner.’

‘Responsive knowledgeable team.’

‘They respond to legal queries in a timely fashion with advice that has a pragmatic approach.’

‘Lewis Silkin can draw from a broad base of lawyers, which gives confidence that they will have an expert in the area where you need advice. The introduction of webinars, especially on the differences between Irish and Northern Irish employment law, has been really useful.’

‘Ciara Fulton provides great client service. She is engaging, knowledgeable and provides clear advice.’

‘Paul Gillen, for me, has not only great legal insight, but he also has very valuable knowledge of the people in our industry. He and his team are thorough in their investigations, and they are practical in the delivery of the legal solutions.’

Key clients

Kainos PLC

Circet Group


Queen’s University Belfast

CME Group

Northstone (NI) Limited

Persistent Systems Limited

Gilbert-Ash Limited

Mount Charles Group Limited

Northern Ireland Electric Networks Limited

Bryson Charitable Group

Ulster Carpet Mills Ltd

Irwin’s Bakery

Ready2order GmbH

Tata Steel Limited

Northern Ireland Hospice



Work highlights

  • Acted for Queen’s University, Belfast in defence of several claims from a serial litigant in relation to complex discrimination and victimisation claims, including successfully defending the first claim at the Employment Tribunal and through to the Court of Appeal.
  • Instructed on all employment matters across Northern Ireland and Great Britain as well as advising on global matters such as implementation of annual bonuses for Persistent Systems Limited.
  • Acting for Kainos PLC on proposals, reviewing and updating employment contracts and advising on wellbeing issues.


Tughans provides ‘professional and knowledgeable service’ across the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Areas of expertise for the team include recruitment, outsourcing, redundancy, and TUPE obligations. Team lead Anna Beggan is highly experienced in defending complex class actions, and advises on all aspects of equality and discrimination legislation. Patricia Rooney specialises in TUPE and outsourcing matters, and is dual qualified in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, regularly acting for employers across both jurisdictions. Associate Emma Doherty joined the team from Napier Solicitors in July 2022.

Practice head(s):

Anna Beggan

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Rooney; Emma Doherty


‘My experience of this firm has always been a positive one, with an extremely professional and knowledgeable service provided on each and every occasion.’

‘Anna Beggan has exceptional knowledge within her field of expertise and is responsive with a common sense approach to resolution.’

‘Tughans are excellent in providing comprehensive, focussed advice in a most professional manner. They respond competently and quickly, something that many firms do not.’

‘Anna Beggan is an excellent lawyer, leading a strong team by example. She is conscientious, thorough and highly motivated with an excellent reputation for success.’

‘The team provide professional employment law knowledge and guidance.’

‘Professional & personal approach to business, availability & engagement is excellent. Collaborative team approach through invites to corporate events.’

‘My dealings are with Patricia Rooney who is very knowledgeable in employment law and provides advice in a supportive manner, allowing time to discuss scenarios and options & has awareness of the sector in terms of relevance.’

‘The knowledge and experience the partners bring to conversations, negotiations and court means we have confidence in their advice and can trust them implicitly with our interests.’

Key clients

Northern Ireland Water Limited

Agri Food and Biosciences Institute

Westland Horticulture Limited

Monaghan Mushrooms Group

Belfast City Airport Limited

Fourds Limited t/a Bloc Blinds

Tennants Fine Chemicals Limited

B-Secur Limited

Vyta Secure Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising BGF on employment aspects of its £5m investment into Clarke Group
  • Advising Vyta Secure on employment aspects of both its significant investment from private equity firm MML Growth Capital Ireland and on the subsequent acquisition of Essex-based IT disposal company FGD

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast‘s full service offering provides clients with expertise in immigration, TUPE, and corporate transactional support, as well as contentious matters such as industrial relations disputes and tribunal representation. Rosemary Lundy has significant experience advising local and international clients on all areas of employment law, with a specialism in termination of employment. The ‘highly professional’ Chris Fullerton, who made partner in 2022, covers both contentious and non-contentious employment matters.

Practice head(s):

Rosemary Lundy

Other key lawyers:

Chris Fullerton


‘Provide great advice and support. Full of knowledge, and when the main contact is not available, the next person is just as helpful and knowledgeable.’

‘Great communication and explanations.’

‘Arthur Cox have been excellent in this field. I’ve had several matters arise over the years that have been dealt with expert knowledge, support and calm application that generates a great deal of confidence in matters that had potential to escalate.’

‘Chris Fullerton has dealt with sensitive employee practice within our business and I must say the support and guidance has been excellent across several matters.’

‘Excellent team with expertise in their field.’

‘Chris Fullerton: Extensive knowledge base. Highly responsive. Highly professional yet has a unique skill to be able to articulate in “layman’s terms.”

‘The team is extremely responsive and easy to deal with. They are keen to understand our business & commercial challenges we face whilst giving clear & concise advice. Service delivery is excellent and like no other.’

‘Rosemary Lundy is an expert in her field and unrivalled in the market. We are grateful for her quick turn around times and clarity of advice. She is a trusted adviser to our business.’

Key clients




Orica Limited

Sonrai Analytics

Moy Park Limited

Selazar Limited

Loughs Agency

Diaceutic PLC

Newington Housing Association

Work highlights

  • We acted for a new client, Spotify (one of the largest music streaming service providers), on its acquisition of Kinzen.
  • We advised Musgrave Group (Ireland’s largest wholesale business, serving more than 45,000 hotels, restaurants and small businesses) on the acquisition of Italicatessen.
  • We represented Orica Limted in relation to a claim for unfair dismissal which was presented to the Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin's 'truly exceptional' team provides contentious and non-contentious guidance to leading public and private sector employers. Team lead Michael Black's broad practice includes discrimination law, equality, breach of contract, and disciplinary and grievance issues. Suzanne Keenan is a key individual within the team, and advises employers on all aspects of employment law. Keenan also has a history of acting for claimants, an advantage in contentious matters. Associate Nathan Campbell is a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Michael Black

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Keenan; Nathan Campbell


‘A truly exceptional team, incredibly knowledgeable, they are all encompassing in their advice and very aware of the practicalities of the commercial workplace.’

‘Having worked with both Michael Black and Suzanne Keenan on various matters over the last year, they both bring an insightful approach to managing ER matters.’

‘Reliable, responsive organisation providing good quality employment law advice.’

‘Michael Black has always demonstrated a high level of employment law expertise. He provides practical advice that is tailored to meet the needs of our organisation, and makes himself available at very short notice as needed.’

‘CFR’s specialist HR offering is a very user-friendly service, giving peace of mind and assuring us of timely responses to queries which are, by their nature, time-sensitive.’

‘Michael Black is an extremely competent professional – combining excellent technical knowledge with first-rate commercial awareness in terms of trying to resolve issues.’

Key clients


Tourism NI

Belfast Metropolitan College

Titanic Hotel Belfast

Catalyst Inc


Artemis Technologies

IceMos Technology

Baker McKenzie

HNH Group

Work highlights

  • We acted for Vela UK Holdco Ltd in the share purchase of Equiniti ICS, a Belfast based technology company.
  • We acted for Global Infrastructure Partners, a leading infrastructure investor, in relation to the acquisition of a stake in Scotia Gas Networks.
  • We acted for Dixons Transport Holdings Limited, a logistics client, in the acquisition of Carna Transport Limited and Brada Transport Services Limited.

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett‘s team provides comprehensive employment law service to clients across the private, public, and voluntary sectors. Team lead and managing partner Adrienne Brock has more than 30 years’ experience in the practice area, and covers both contentious and non-contentious matters. ‘Fearsome litigatorJulie Anne Clarke is a key contact for disputes.

Practice head(s):

Adrienne Brock

Other key lawyers:

Julie Anne Clarke


‘They are responsive and very easy to work with and understand that we want to provide commercial and pragmatic solutions to our clients. They are on top of their brief and nothing is too much trouble.’

‘Ms Brock, in particular, provides an excellent standard of legal advice and support. She is always available for advice and takes a measured and balanced view of what is required.’

‘Julie Anne is always very quick to respond to requests for advice and is very user-friendly. She provides her advice in an easy to digest form and gets to the point quickly and without fuss.’

‘The employment team at EDG provide an excellent service, they respond within 24 hours or less and provide a balanced perspective on risks and options.’

‘We only work with Julie Anne Clarke, but she is great, great employment law knowledge. Easy to deal with, knowledgeable. Responsive. By far the best lawyer we’ve found in NI.’

‘Julie Anne Clarke is everything we could ask for in legal counsel. She is pragmatic, commercial, technically astute and very responsive. She is proactive and works with us to reach appropriate resolutions.’

‘The firm is amongst the very best in terms of quality of people, advice and conduct of commercial and employment litigation.’

‘Julie Anne Clarke- A fearsome litigator with a keen eye for detail and always looking for the very best result for the client. Exceptionally knowledgable and skilled in employment law. Sound judgment.’

Key clients

Sam Hagan Leisure (UK) Ltd

Musgrave Retail Partners Ltd

McAvoy Group Ltd

Ulster Bank

United Dairy Farmers Ltd

Waterways Ireland

Special EU Programmes Body

Cooneen Group

Energia Group NI Holdings Ltd

DHL Services Ltd t/a DHL Supply Chain

Work highlights

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland caters to a high profile roster of major clients, including PayPal, Sky UK, and Sportsdirect. Team lead Ian McFarland specialises in redundancy processes, with additional expertise in TUPE, and employment aspects of commercial transactions. McFarland joined the group from Elliott Duffy Garrett in January 2023. Associate Laura McManus has particular strength in contentious issues, and acts as the group’s primary point of contact for tribunal matters in the jurisdiction.

Practice head(s):

Ian McFarland

Other key lawyers:

Laura McManus


‘The team offer pragmatic and commercially minded legal advice, quickly and efficiently. We sometimes find it frustrating that some law firms do not match our pace and expected delivery timelines, but Eversheds Belfast consistently delivers.’

‘Laura McManus offers expert legal advice, can work to tight timelines and is readily available.’

‘There is a personal element to the service and flexibility to look beyond straight forward advice and move into business solutions.’

‘Really professional and flexible.’

‘Laura McManus has been a profound professional throughout all dealings.’

Key clients


BA Kitchen Components

Brinks Cash Ireland Limited

Capita Business Services Limited

CDE Global Limited

Countrywide Freight Logistics Limited

Crown Packaging


Edgewater Contracts



Global Pay

GXO Logistics

Hannon Transport Limited

ITW Limited

Johnson Controls

Kestrel Thermoplastics Limited (client for 10 years)

Kingfisher plc – B&Q (client for 5 years)

Kingspan Water & Energy Limited (client for 6 years)

Lloyds Banking Group

Marks & Spencer plc (client for 9 years)


Northern Ireland Hospice



Sky UK (client for 17 years)



Statsports Group Limited

Sysco (formally Brakes / Pallas Foods)

Walsin Limited


Whitemountain Quarries Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented CDE Global Limited in seeking an emergency interim injunction to prevent an employee joining a direct competitor.
  • Advising a multinational corporation in defending a claim for unfair dismissal and age discrimination, including an appeal to the Court of Appeal and tailored advice regarding DSAR and legal/litigation privilege.
  • Advised a private equity consortium on all employment aspects relating to a majority share purchase in a group of NI recycling businesses.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP acts for local and international clients, with expertise in the retail, energy, financial services, and manufacturing sectors. The group provides businesses with comprehensive support, including both business-as-usual guidance, specialist advice on business-critical projects. Legal director Craig Patterson leads the team, and acts for public and private sector clients across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Senior associate Andrea Hewitt-Sims is noted.

Practice head(s):

Craig Patterson

Other key lawyers:

Andrea Hewitt-Sims; Rubymarie Rice


‘I have worked with many employment practices through my career and Pinsents are one of the best.’

‘Providing pragmatic and practical advice on complex cases as opposed to just quoting the legislation, helping to find commercially sound solutions with a clear view of any risk in doing so.’

‘Craig Patterson has been a pleasure to work with – good team work and practical responses.’

Key clients

Queen’s University Belfast

Primark Limited

Portman Healthcare Limited

Advance HE

Government Legal Department

Tata Steel Group

Survitec Group Limited

Royal London

London School of Economics


P&O Ferries


Strategic Power Projects



Royal Sun & Alliance

Work highlights

  • Acted for Synova, a private equity firm on its investment in 3173 Limited, a NI headquartered group which includes companies providing pension scheme trustee services, bespoke pensions software, consultancy, administration, governance, actuarial and investment services.
  • Acting for Portman Healthcare Limited in respect of a number of acquisitions of dental practices across Northern Ireland.
  • Supported Kids Planet Day Nurseries on multiple acquisitions of childcare businesses growing Kids Planet to become one of the UK’s largest nursery operators.

Rosemary Connolly Solicitors Limited

Boutique firm Rosemary Connolly Solicitors Limited provides corporate and private clients with ‘professional and effective‘ guidance in the full spectrum of employment and equality matters. Team lead and name partner Rosemary Connolly has more than 30 years’ experience in the practice area, with a significant history of advising and representing employees and employers. Director Leanne Murphy is dual qualified in Northern Ireland and England and Wales.

Practice head(s):

Rosemary Connolly

Other key lawyers:

Leanne Murphy


‘Quite excellent. Very professional and effective.’

‘Rosemary Connolly, Leanne Murphy; both quite excellent.’

‘The team at Rosemary Connolly Solicitors are excellent. My company has always used Rosemary for all matters of employment law, as she is the best in the business.’

Key clients

Braham Group Limited

FPM Accountants Limited

Healy Brothers Funeral Directors Limited

Environmental Products and Services Limited

Intertrade Ireland

Lenalea Electronics Limited

Bayview Contracts Limited

Anachem Limited

Water Solutions Ireland Ltd

Lenalea Electronics Ltd


Worthingtons acts for a diverse range of domestic SMEs, and is particularly strong in the insurance sector. Team lead Louise McAloon has expertise in complex areas such as public interest disclosure, equal pay, discrimination, and unfair dismissal. Toni Fitzgerald Gunn is a key name for TUPE, equal pay claims, and negotiations with trade unions.

Practice head(s):

Louise McAloon

Other key lawyers:

Toni Fitzgerald Gunn; Katie Buchanan


‘Worthingtons are very professional and efficient. I contact their employment law advisors and am able to receive clear advice relevant to Northern Ireland legislation.’

‘Our advisor is efficient, patient, dependable, and very clear in explaining options to resolve queries.’

‘The team within Worthingtons bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise which has been invaluable.’

Key clients

Derry City & Strabane District Council

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council

Newry Mourne & Down District Council

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council

Advice North West

North West Regional College

Northern Regional College

South Eastern Regional College

Southern Regional College


Work highlights

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP acts for local and international clients, with experience across numerous sectors. Department head Jan Cunningham handles TUPE matters, and is noted for his expertise in sporting law. Associate director David Mitchell covers unfair dismissal and discrimination law, and advises on employment aspects of mergers, acquisitions and takeovers.

Practice head(s):

Jan Cunningham

Other key lawyers:

David Mitchell


‘Jan Cunningham is first-class; he provides excellent commercial, pragmatic advice.’

Key clients

Irish Rugby Football Union – Ulster Branch

FP McCann Ltd


Keystone Lintels Ltd

Tobermore Concrete Products Ltd

Inter Terminals Denmark Ltd

Northern Ireland Screen

Avon Cosmetics Ltd

Arthur J Gallagher & Co.

Games Workshop Ltd

Work highlights

  • Drafting a new contract for contracted player Will Addison, on behalf of the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football union.
  • Advising Scottish Power on the change of a service provider carrying out maintenance work at one of its sites in Northern Ireland.
  • Assisted Tobermore Concrete Products Limited with a matter which involved a former employee being in breach of restricted covenants and soliciting customers on behalf of their new employer.

Mills Selig

Mills Selig‘s team covers all areas related to employment, and specialises in advising large companies and SMEs on complex TUPE arrangements. Team lead Kiera Lee, described by clients as ‘friendly, professional and knowledgeable’, is experienced in restructuring and redundancies, and assists with strategic decisions. Solicitor Andrew Edwards covers both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Kiera Lee

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Edwards


‘Personal and professional.’

‘Kiera Lee – Friendly, professional and knowledgeable and most importantly factual. Has always made time to discuss the situation and was extremely patient.’

Key clients

First Derivatives Plc


Virgin Media Plc

Golf Holdings Limited

Bamford Bus Company t/a Wrightbus

Dunnes Stores Limited

Van Werven Holdings Limited

Galgorm Hotel Group

Savage and Whitten Wholesale

Ulster Shredders Engineering

Board Failte

Work highlights

  • Advised Board Failte on the cross border implications of employees in the Republic of Ireland working from home in Northern Ireland, while employed under an ROI contract.
  • Advised a recruitment client on sabbatical policy after the client received an application from a long term employee.
  • Advised a logistics and supply client on the application of TUPE to employees carrying out a contract in change of a service provision situation.


TLT‘s Belfast group is known for its multi-jurisdictional capabilities, which are supplemented by the firm’s other offices across the country. Legal director Leeanne Armstrong leads the department. Armstrong is dual-qualified in Northern Ireland and England and Wales, and is experienced advising both public and private sector clients. Senior associate Amy Collins, who joined from MKB Law in March 2021, handles employment litigation.

Practice head(s):

Leeanne Armstrong

Other key lawyers:

Amy Collins

Key clients

Strand Holdings Ltd

Augusta & Co

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd

Ageas UK Limited

Biffa Waste Services Limited

T J Morris t/a Home Bargains

Unitrunk Limited

Work highlights

  • Provided advice and representation to Augusta & Co on a range of employment matters across their UK operation.
  • Operates a number of McDonalds franchises in Northern Ireland. We provide a range of ad hoc business as usual employment advice to this client, including on employee disciplinary and grievance matters.