Firm Profile > A&L Goodbody > Belfast, Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody
Northern Ireland

Banking and finance Tier 1

The 'exceptionally dedicated, personable and responsive' team at A&L Goodbody acts for local and international clients on the lender and borrower side, advising on loan sale transactions, capital markets, structured finance and syndicated lending, among other matters. Practice head Ciaran McAlinney specialises in acquisition and project finance, as well as large LMA-style financings; Louise Bailey's expertise includes real estate finance; and Judith Brown regularly advises on social housing finance. Senior associate Christopher Jessup has a niche specialism in financial regulation.

Practice head(s):

Ciaran McAlinney


Judith Brown is very pragmatic and solution focused and also has an excellent in-depth knowledge of the legal nuances of the transaction at hand.

Key clients

Danske Bank

Bank of Ireland

Barclays Bank


European Investment Bank

Ulster Bank/RBS

Wells Fargo

Allied Irish Banks plc / First Trust Bank



Commercial property Tier 1

A&L Goodbody stands out for its 'good communication' and 'considered advice'. Areas of strength for the team include institutional investment, high-value commercial property transactions, and major development projects, including office and student accommodation developments. The team is also highly active advising on large-scale projects in the energy sector. Tracey Schofield, who took over as practice head in January 2019, has handled a number of healthcare sector developments.

Practice head(s):

Tracey Schofield

Other key lawyers:

John Tougher


The team is completely professional and knowledgeable yet so approachable and commercial.

Each individual will talk through any query, providing considered advice which makes for very timely conclusions. Everyone is prepared to give an opinion and a real view on queries as opposed to simply laying out the overall situation generically, which is very refreshing.

Key clients

Newriver Retail

Starwood Capital

La Salle Investment Management

Tristan Capital

Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Oakland Group


McAleer & Rushe

Irish Football Association

Benmore Octopus Healthcare

Construction Tier 1

A&L Goodbody acts for funders, employers and contractors in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters, with a specialism in the energy and social housing sectors. The team regularly advises on major local developments, including student accommodation, retail, office and residential projects. Practice head Brendan Fox has a strong reputation for construction litigation and arbitration; Micaela Diver advises on procurement matters; and associate John Dugdale acts on non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox

Other key lawyers:


The combination of expertise and experience together with the level of responsiveness makes the firm invaluable in the resolution of construction-related disputes.

Brendan Fox is always available, provides considered advice and experience, and has commercial as well as technical knowledge and experience.

The construction department is results and outcome driven with satisfaction for the client being the number one priority. The client is spoken to in plain, non-legalistic language as far as possible and the merits and risks associated with the case are clearly and concisely explained.

Brendan Fox impresses with the ease with which he grasps the issues in a dispute. He has supreme people-handling skills and he can talk knowledgeably and with respect to anyone involved in the dispute. When Brendan says he is going to do something for you he does exactly that and it is clear that he also has a very able team of solicitors to ensure that a quality and timely professional service is delivered.

Key clients

Viridian Group

Ulster Bank

First Trust Bank

Taranto Limited

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Todd Architects Limited

Construction Employers Federation

NewRiver Retail

The McAvoy Group Limited

Foresight Group

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

A&L Goodbody has a strong reputation for advising on high-value M&A transactions, with a particular focus on the agri-food, energy and technology sectors. Clients include domestic and international companies, and the team is experienced in handling multi-jurisdictional matters. Team head Alastair Keith has been active in private equity investments; Belfast office chair Peter Stafford specialises in corporate finance; and Mark Thompson is noted for his energy, healthcare and media expertise. David Rowan was recently promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Keith


A&L Goodbody delivers a genuine full-service offering with real expertise in all areas required to execute a complex corporate transaction. It is the strongest firm in Northern Ireland and is always a pleasure to work with.

Peter Stafford has a huge breadth of experience and is a true leader in his field in Northern Ireland. He always has sound commercial solutions to problems and is able to deliver his advice in an easy-to-understand fashion.

Solicitor Nikki Stewart is a rising star of the corporate legal market. She takes a commercial approach to issues as they arise and is always a pleasure to work with.

A&L Goodbody’s sensible and pragmatic team is focused on getting the job done.’

Alastair Keith is easy to work with. The team knows what we are trying to achieve and works with us to help achieve that.

The team stands out for the quality of knowledge and of service. They are incredibly commercial and able to work within our (often) tight timescales with great professionalism.

All of the team are impeccable.

Key clients

Crown Laboratories Holdings

Viridian Power and Energy

Haldane Fisher


Landscaping Centre

Euro Auctions

Kitchenmaster (NI)

Business Growth Fund (BGF)

Ulster Weavers


Dispute resolution Tier 1

A&L Goodbody represents a number of household names, from international financial institutions to local public sector bodies, and has recently acted on several high-profile cases. The team's expertise spans a wide range of sectors: practice head Brendan Fox specialises in engineering and construction disputes; managing partner Michael Neill is particularly active in financial services litigation; Micaela Diver handles public and regulatory litigation; and Barbara Creed's expertise includes corporate and commercial contract matters.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox


The team has strong expertise and always goes above and beyond.

Micaela Diver is extremely thorough and pragmatic.

Barbara Creed is an excellent lawyer and manages a significant caseload.

Standout individuals are Micaela Diver and Ciaran O’Shiel.

The team has a superior understanding of public law and judicial review.

Micaela Diver is tireless, persistent and personable.

A&L Goodbody has strong expertise and always goes above and beyond. It is a very important firm for our in-house team and has strong relationships with the business.

Key clients


Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall

Cerberus LLP


Foresight Group


Roma Corp

Bank of Ireland (UK)

Northern Ireland Water

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Employment Tier 1

A&L Goodbody's team of 'highly knowledgeable trusted advisers' handles contentious employment work, advises on the employment aspects of major corporate transactions, equality and discrimination matters, and business immigration, as well as providing HR advice. 'Exceptional' practice head Gareth Walls is noted for his strength in employment injunctions.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Walls

Other key lawyers:

Shirley Blair; Andrew Spratt; Jill Gracey; Jonathan Simpson


Gareth Walls is a great partner, who understands the client’s business and gives good, timely advice.’

The team gives a real sense of support and calm reassurance during challenging and emotionally charged disputes.

Gareth Walls is exceptional. He is professional, calm and highly intelligent in his approach to settling disputes, but also he has a high level of emotional intelligence and understands how difficult disputes are on a personal level.  He is supportive and reassuring. Gareth is confident and direct in his negotiations and takes no nonsense. He demonstrates a high level of creativity in solving disputes.

This is one of the strongest employment teams in Belfast.

Gareth Walls is one of the heavyweight employment solicitors in Northern Ireland. He is able to deal with the most complex, difficult and sensitive cases; he has a technical knowledge which is second to none and is known for his ability to stand up for his client.

The team is particularly talented at looking at the broader picture and assessing the impact of decisions further on down the line. Much of this comes from the uniquely collaborative approach they take to working with others in their team, with their colleagues in other departments and with counsel when required.

The team can adapt to work with each client and absolutely understands their requirements.

The team’s strengths and key capabilities are responsiveness, commercial awareness, approachability, forensic knowledge, and innovation. The stand-out quality of the team is its ability and desire to find innovative client solutions to any problem that may arise.

The team as a whole is head and shoulders above other firms in this field in this jurisdiction.

Gareth Walls is the driving force behind this exceptional team. He commands clients’ respect and it is clear he knows this field in forensic detail. I simply would not look past him in the field of employment injunctions.

Jill Gracey has an instinctively corporate approach and can appreciate the impact of real-time decisions on long-term strategy later down the line.

Andrew Spratt is very confident with clients and has an instinctive ability to understand precisely what a client needs in the course of litigation.

Jonathan Simpson’s knowledge is exceptional. He has a detailed and forensic knowledge of this field which is hugely impressive.

Associate Emerald Ellison has the ability to distill complex issues in cases.

Shirley Blair stands out for her quick response times and understanding of the complex and wide-ranging issues dealt with by clients in the education sector.

The practice offers a personal touch; the team understands the client’s business and needs.

The A&L Goodbody team is unique in the way it offers a holistic service. Their support goes beyond giving advice on one-off specific issues, instead taking a broader approach to considering the client’s end-to-end employment relationships with its staff.

It is the personalised service and willingness to go the extra mile that makes Gareth Walls and Jill Gracey stand out.

A&L Goodbody has a team of experts who provide excellent advice and support across a number of complex employment areas from employee relations to immigration.

The team has a deep understanding of the client’s business operations and strategy, and provide valuable external and neutral input to assist in navigating challenging issues as they arise.  They have in-depth knowledge and will refer to the relevant person to provide the right support.

Gareth Walls is very easy to approach about any problems and provides clear and concise advice.

Key clients

CITI Group


Dyson Limited

Mamas and Papas

William Hill Gaming

Whitby Seafoods Limited

Allstate NI

Northern Ireland Cancer Fund For Children

Progressive Building Society

Dalata Hotel Group

Energy Tier 1

A&L Goodbody has a strong track record of advising lenders on complex, high-value energy projects, as well as handling high-profile M&A transactions in the sector, including the sale and acquisition of wind, solar and anaerobic digestion (AD) projects. The team also has expertise in electricity and gas regulation, and acts on energy sector disputes. The team is led by Mark Thompson and project finance specialist Ciaran McAlinney. Newly promoted partner Mark Stockdale is particularly noted for his regulatory advice.

Practice head(s):

Mark Thompson; Ciaran McAlinney

Other key lawyers:


A&L Goodbody has a very experienced banking team who have extensive knowledge in structuring and documenting complex energy-related project finance transactions.

Ciaran McAlinney is highly experienced and intelligent, thorough, detailed, hardworking and easy to deal with. He inspires a high level of trust and confidence.

Mark Stockdale has excellent knowledge of the energy and renewables sector and complements the banking team on energy-related transactions. He has a strong network in the energy sector, and is very approachable and easy to deal with.

Key clients

Brookfield Renewables



Greencoat UK Wind


Renewable Energy Systems

Ulster Bank


Gas Networks Ireland

First Trust/AIB Bank

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

A&L Goodbody regularly handles complex, high-profile contentious and non-contentious insolvency and restructuring matters. Clients include the major local accountancy firms, banks and loan purchasers, and the team is also experienced in advising on all-island insolvencies. Managing partner Michael Neill heads the practice with strong support from newly promoted partner Sam Corbett, who specialises in contentious mandates, and associate Ross Kane, who acts on consensual enforcement and restructuring transactions.

Practice head(s):

Michael Neill

Other key lawyers:


A&L Goodbody is very responsive and very well respected in the wider business community. The team is always willing to give up time, from junior associate right up to partner.

Sam Corbett has a great technical knowledge of the industry; he is very personable and extremely well respected in the restructuring community. Sam is probably the go-to solicitor for any insolvency case in Belfast.

A&L Goodbody has technical expertise across a range of service lines and offers a broad range of services.

Sam Corbett has excellent technical knowledge and is very responsive to queries. You know when you engage with Sam you will get an excellent service, the right answer and an adviser that supports you.

Key clients

Ulster Bank Limited

Bank of Ireland UK plc

Santander UK plc



Ernst & Young LLP

Cerberus Capital Management

PJG Recovery

AIB Group UK plc

Ennis Property Finance DAC

Intellectual property Tier 1

A&L Goodbody acts for a number of high-profile local and all-island clients on the full range of contentious and non-contentious IP matters. Areas of strength include handling emergency injunctive proceedings, major patent litigation, and trade mark infringement matters relating to counterfeit goods. On the non-contentious side, the team regularly advises on the protection of IP rights in relation to licensing and agreements. Brendan Fox, who has a strong reputation in IP disputes, leads the team alongside Mark Thompson. Associate Ciaran O’Shiel has a particular specialism in  patent infringement disputes.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox; Mark Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Ciaran O’Shiel


The team are leaders in their field in Northern Ireland. Their considerable experience means that they are well connected in the region. The team members are knowledgeable and responsive, making them very easy to work with.

A very user-friendly department that understands our needs, responds quickly and efficiently, and is generally a pleasure to work with.

Barbara Creed and Ciaran O’Shiel are both very responsive and helpful. Their advice is commercial and pragmatic and they are focused on getting the best result for the clients rather than maximising their own fees.

Ciaran O’Shiel is a delight to work with; he is very knowledgeable about the differences between English and Northern Irish practice, and very responsive.

Ciaran O’Shiel is fantastic – the best media lawyer in Northern Ireland. He has a great can-do attitude.

The team is very highly regarded and well resourced with great expertise and significant experience.

Ciaran O’Shiel has a laser-like focus and gritty determination when it comes to seeing complex cases through to a successful conclusion.

Key clients

Roma Systems Inc

Irish Football Association

The Old Bushmills Distillery Limited

News Group Newspapers Limited

W & R Barnett

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute


ICC Belfast

NI Transport Holdings (Translink)

Northstone (NI)

IT and telecoms Tier 2

A&L Goodbody covers contentious and non-contentious IT matters. Its growing client base includes leading local technology companies and a number of international businesses, thanks in part to its close connection to its San Francisco office. The team, which advises on technology start-ups, fundraising, joint ventures, M&A, technology investment and contracts for services, is jointly led by the experienced Mark Thompson and Brendan Fox. Associate Jonathan Hacking is recommended for his GDPR expertise.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox; Mark Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Irish Football Association



Sandhills East

Axial 3D

Beautiful Bundle



3fivetwo Healthcare



Power NI

Project finance and PFI Tier 2

A&L Goodbody is noted for its strength in advising lenders on the financing of energy projects, including solar, wind and waste-to-energy, and has also been active in relation to projects in the healthcare and education sectors. The team regularly advises on multi-jurisdictional transactions. Mark Thompson leads the practice alongside Ciaran McAlinney, who specialises in high-value, portfolio and syndicated lending transactions, particularly in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Ciaran McAlinney; Mark Thompson


A&L Goodbody is the first choice firm in Northern Ireland for energy project financing.

Ciaran McAlinney is driven, hardworking across all the detail of the transaction, and inspires confidence.

Key clients

Bank of Ireland

Ulster Bank

First Trust/AIB Bank

Société Générale

Brookfield Renewables

Royal Bank of Scotland

Planning and environment Tier 3

A&L Goodbody advises public and private sector clients, including local councils and developers, on contentious and non-contentious planning and environmental law matters, and is noted for its 'exceptionally strong support for local government planning authorities'. The team also advises clients in the energy, retail and waste sectors, among others, on planning applications and represents clients in high-profile judicial review proceedings. The 'extremely able and astute' Micaela Diver leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Micaela Diver


A&L Goodbody stands out for its commitment to cases and timely responses to consultations.

The solicitors on the team clearly have an impressive understanding of the relevant law and the courts in which they appear. They are experienced and knowledgeable in planning and enforcement. Furthermore, they are keenly aware of any policy considerations which must be borne in mind when representing a public body.

Solicitors Deirdre St John and Eimear Digney show competitiveness and wisdom when dealing with difficult opponents and concerned clients. Each of them is personable and easy to work with.

The team has the ability to serve public sector needs with a commercial awareness.

Key clients

Renewable Heat Association Northern Ireland

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

Viridian Power & Energy Limited

Brookfield Renewables

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council

CD Consulting


B9 Energy

First Trust/ AIB Bank

Greencoat UK Wind

A&L Goodbody’s Belfast office works with domestic and international companies and government bodies on their business activities in Northern Ireland. We provide the full range of corporate legal services including corporate, banking and financial services, commercial property and litigation.

We have advised on some of the most significant, challenging and complex assignments in Northern Ireland in recent years.

The Belfast and Dublin office teams work closely together in providing fully integrated legal services across the island of Ireland.

Department Name Email Telephone
Restructuring & Insolvency Michael Neil
Corporate and M&A Alastair Keith
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Barbara Creed
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Brendan Fox
Finance Ciaran McAlinney
Employment, Pensions & Incentives Gareth Walls
Finance Judith Brown
Finance Louise Bailey
Commercial Property Mark Blair
Corporate and M&A Mark Thompson
Litigation & Dispute Resolution Micaela Diver
Corporate and M&A Peter Stafford
Commercial Property Tracey Schofield
Photo Name Position Profile
 Louise Bailey  photo Louise Bailey


 Judith Brown  photo Judith Brown


 Sam Corbett  photo Sam Corbett


 Barbara Creed  photo Barbara Creed


 Micaela Diver  photo Micaela Diver


 Brendan Fox  photo Brendan Fox


 Alastair Keith  photo Alastair Keith


 Ciaran McAlinney  photo Ciaran McAlinney


 Michael Neill  photo Michael Neill

Partner, Head of Belfast Office

 David Rowan  photo David Rowan


 Tracey Schofield  photo Tracey Schofield


 Peter Stafford  photo Peter Stafford

Partner, Chairman of Belfast office

 Mark Stockdale  photo Mark Stockdale


 Mark Thompson  photo Mark Thompson


 Gareth Walls  photo Gareth Walls



The firm: A&L Goodbody is internationally recognised as one of Europe and Ireland’s leading corporate law firms. The Belfast and Dublin teams combine to advise on the most challenging and complex assignments for national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and the government. The firm has acted for more than 600 of the world’s leading corporations and advisors interacting with Ireland. This is supported by offices in London, New York, San Francisco and Palo Alto. The lawyers based in these offices provide Irish legal advice to multinational corporations and the international business community. The firm also has dedicated initiatives in place with China and other international jurisdictions.

Areas of practice: A&L Goodbody has the leading mergers and acquisitions and corporate practice in Ireland. The group, which is the firm’s largest, has advised on the most significant M&A, corporate transactions and privatisations in Ireland.

A&L Goodbody’s finance group is the leader in the Irish market, having decades of unrivalled expertise and experience. The group is divided into four main practice groups and sectors: asset finance (including aircraft finance), debt capital markets and structured finance, general banking and projects, and construction finance.

The debt capital markets and structured finance team is one of the best of its kind in the market. The firm’s equity capital markets practice is internationally renowned, and acts for many of the world’s leading public companies, underwriters, sponsors and managers.

A&L Goodbody has Ireland’s largest and most experienced litigation and dispute resolution team providing an all-island service.

The firm’s market-leading tax group is very often at the centre of transactional, finance and advisory activities advising many of the world’s largest corporates.

The restructuring and insolvency team has unrivalled experience in the Irish legal market. This comes from acting on the majority of significant and challenging restructurings and corporate collapses in Ireland in recent years.

The commercial property team is the market leader in Ireland. It is continually at the forefront of the most significant and complex transactions in the marketplace.

Department Name Email Telephone
Corporate and M&A Alastair Keith
Corporate and M&A Peter Stafford
Corporate and M&A Mark Thompson
Finance Judith Brown
Finance Louise Bailey
Finance Ciaran McAlinney
Commercial property Mark Blair
Commercial property Tracey Schofield
Employment Gareth Walls
Energy and natural resources Mark Thompson
Energy and natural resources David Flinn
Restructuring and insolvency Michael Neill
Commercial and technology Mark Thompson
Commercial and technology Brendan Fox
Infrastructure Brendan Fox
Infrastructure Mark Thompson
Capital markets Judith Brown
Capital markets Alastair Keith
Capital markets Louise Bailey
Capital markets Ciaran McAlinney
EU and competition Michela Diver
Litigation and dispute resolution Brendan Fox
Litigation and dispute resolution Barbara Creed
Projects (PFI/PPP) and construction Kevin Feeney
Projects (PFI/PPP) and construction Brendan Fox
Projects (PFI/PPP) and construction Mark Thompson
Environmental and planning Mark Blair
Inward investment Peter Stafford
Private equity Peter Stafford
Private equity Alastair Keith
Healthcare Mark Thompson
Public and regulatory Michela Diver
Number of lawyers : 58
World Services Group
International Bar Association
Contact : Michael Neill (head of Belfast)
Other offices : Dublin
Other offices : London
Other offices : New York
Other offices : Palo Alto
Other offices : San Francisco