Firm Profile > Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP > Belfast, Northern Ireland

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP
Northern Ireland

Commercial property Tier 1

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP 'knows the field very well'; the team advises local and international clients on major transactions and developments throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Retail is a key area of expertise, with clients including retailers as well as investors in shopping centres and retail parks. The practice is also active in development finance and advises on projects and transactions in the public and energy sectors. Belfast office head Andrea McIlroy-Rose leads the team, which includes the 'hardworking' and 'responsive' Joanna Robinson.

Practice head(s):

Andrea McIlroy-Rose

Other key lawyers:


Pinsent Masons has a very joined-up and well-organised team with a wide depth of knowledge and experience across all areas. They are easy people to work with, who will take the time to work with the clients’ teams and will explain complex issues in an easy-to-follow manner. The team builds up good relationships with advisers acting on the other side.

Jo Robinson stands out for her level of knowledge and experience, negotiation skills, great relationships with developers and the lawyers on the other side, and deal management.

The team is made up of highly knowledgeable and trust advisers on complex business and legal issues.

Key clients

Vinci Airports SAS




Allstate Insurance

Queen’s University Belfast

Commerz Real


Dispute resolution Tier 1

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP has experience handling large-scale, cross-border litigation, and is particularly strong in the energy and financial services sectors. Clients include many of Northern Ireland's leading businesses. Practice head David Kirkpatrick has acted on several high-profile judicial reviews; his areas of expertise also include professional negligence. Laura Gillespie specialises in regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

David Kirkpatrick

Other key lawyers:

Laura Gillespie; James Griffiths; Deirdre Cormican


A first-class, experienced and respected team.

David Kirkpatrick, Laura Gillespie, solicitor Meghan Kirk and James Griffiths are responsive, proactive, commercial and practical.

Pinsent Masons offers an unrivalled level of expertise in dispute resolution in Northern Ireland. The fact that the firm is known to prepare its cases assiduously means that all attempts at dispute resolution are in a context where opponents recognise that if the case proceeds then Pinsent Masons are truly formidable opponents. They have excellent, well-trained, commercial lawyers.

Laura Gillespie and David Kilpatrick are excellent team leaders bringing great legal insight and superb personal skills to their cases. Both are hugely respected in commercial law circles.

James Griffiths is an outstanding lawyer with a great ability to analyse the important issues in cases and to present an attractive argument.

The team is simply brilliant. They have depth and breadth all the way up the range from junior associates to head of litigation David Kirkpatrick. They have unrivalled commercial litigation experience in Belfast, and know the courts inside out and really can get the inside track.

Complementary skills from other departments such as planning and energy add value to the litigators.

The team has mediation experience in commercial matters at a very high level.

David Kirkpatrick leads from the front. He gets the client’s trust and keeps it, and is very good on litigation strategy and delivering the product.’

Legal director Deirdre Cormican delivers like a partner. She is an excellent litigation specialist and a good drafter, has an eye on detail and can see round corners for the client.

Up-and-coming solicitor Meghan Kirk works round the clock to get the documents filed at court and in apple pie order. Only the best will do for Megan as regards a result for her clients. She is wise beyond her years, has excellent technical knowledge and can spot the good points in a case.

Associate Catherine Mallon has exceptional client and team handling skills. She is commercially savvy, picks files up very quickly and can seamlessly come on board a case, always adding value.

David Kirkpatrick is first class at achieving the best possible outcome for his clients by matching detailed knowledge in this area with sharp practical acumen and excellent people skills.

Deirdre Cormican is an excellent coordinator.

Key clients

Queen’s University

Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Chartered Accountants Ireland


BA Kitchen Components

Tamboran Resources

Energy Tier 1

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP acts for public and private sector clients in the energy sector, including utilities, energy companies and government bodies, and is advising a number of new investment fund and lender clients on high-value investments in energy projects in Northern Ireland. The team also advises on regulatory issues. Practice head Richard Murphy is 'very knowledgeable in the energy industry across Ireland'.

Practice head(s):

Richard Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Laura Donnelly; Michael Hamill


The team’s client empathy is second to none. This, combined with a “value for money” service which is continually delivered in a prompt and knowledgeable manner, makes this practice unique.’

The standout is Richard Murphy, who is always empathetic to clients’ business requirements and budget. Despite being a particularly “in demand” individual, he remains a very accessible contact. Richard is also a very affable individual who is a pleasure to work with.’

Solicitor Matthew McMurray is a very pleasant, approachable and “nothing is a problem” character who will always work to provide an appropriately considered, yet prompt response to any request asked of him.

Richard Murphy has excellent technical knowledge.

Key clients

Viridian Group

CES Energy


Vayu Limited (t/aNaturgy)

TCI Renewables

The Renewable Infrastructure Group (TRIG)

Oxford Capital

Mutual Energy


firmus energy

The Foresight Group LLP

Greencoat Capital

SL Capital Infrastructure (Aberdeen Standard Investments)

Scottish Equity Partners

SSE Airtricity

Project finance and PFI Tier 1

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP specialises in advising on complex local, national and international infrastructure projects, acting for a range of public and private sector clients. The practice is led by London-based Adrian Eakin and Richard Murphy, who focuses on energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Eakin; Richard Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Ciara Seymour

Banking and finance Tier 2

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP regularly acts on high-value transactions on both the borrower and lender side, and is particularly experienced in energy finance. Other areas of expertise include structured finance, real estate finance (particularly financing for office developments and hotels) and private equity. Edinburgh-based John MacIver leads the team along with legal director Caroline MacLaughlin, who is expanding the practice into niche areas such as education finance.

Practice head(s):

Caroline MacLaughlin; John Maciver

Other key lawyers:

Seána Donaghy


The team has a very good understanding of clients’ business needs and banking and finance.

Caroline McLaughlin, senior associate Stiofán Doherty and Seána Donaghy are particularly strong in their areas and provide an excellent service.

The team has strength in depth, is properly resourced and is genuinely commercial and pragmatic.

Key clients

Ulster Bank Limited

Northern Bank Limited (trading as Danske Bank)

Bank of Ireland

Ulster Bank Ireland DAC

Tristan Capital and Ellandi LLP

Blackfinch Investments Limited

BP Oil UK Limited

Allied Irish Bank plc


Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is known for its strength in the energy, private equity, manufacturing and healthcare sectors, regularly advising large local, UK-based and international corporates and private equity firms. The team is also active in M&A and equity capital markets work. Glasgow and Belfast-based Richard Masters took over as practice head following the departure of Kevin Devanny. Richard Murphy, who focuses on energy-related matters, and associates Lisa Early and Michael Hamill are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Masters


Pinsent Masons stands out for the consistency, experience, and professionalism of the team.

The team has a real understanding of our business and this is vitally important in helping us with difficult and complicated business matters.

Key clients

Viridian Group

Belfast City Airport


Niche Drinks


Foresight Group

TCI Renewables

NTR Wind Management

Portman Healthcare

Employment Tier 2

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP advises Northern Irish, UK-wide and international companies on contentious and non-contentious employment matters ranging from TUPE and outsourcing issues to complex discrimination cases. Paul Gillen heads the firm's Belfast and Dublin teams; he 'epitomises what good client care should look like'. Gillen has particular expertise in advising higher education, retail and public sector clients on employment issues.

Practice head(s):

Paul Gillen

Other key lawyers:

Craig Patterson


Pinsent Masons offers more than reactive employment law. The team is professional in all encounters, providing rational advice, but also considers the wider business objectives within case management.

Craig Patterson stands out for his honesty, experience, skillset, integrity and balanced approach in making clear decisions. He is supportive in mitigating risk to the client’s business and thorough with cases.

The sheer commitment of the employment team at Pinsent Masons to deliver good outcomes for the customer and to the community is second to none. Paul Gillen is accessible to all clients – an often rare quality in such a busy practice.

Paul Gillen and HR manager Gill Warwick are attentive to detail, considered in their approach and mindful of negative impact.

Key clients

Primark Stores Ltd

Tata Steel UK Limited

CAF Rail Group

Queen’s University Belfast


Fujitsu Services Ltd

Henderson Foodservice Group

Persistent Systems

Magellan Aerospace (Greyabbey) Ltd

Portman Healthcare

Serco Limited

Concentrix Europe Limited

Gilbert Ash Limited

Allstate Northern Ireland

Survitec Group Limited

Liberty Information Technology Limited

Construction Tier 3

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP advises on a wide range of high-profile construction developments, including infrastructure, education sector and office projects. Clients include local and international employers, developers and contractors. The practice is led by Belfast office managing partner Andrea McIlroy-Rose; London-based Adrian Eakin; and 'always available and deeply knowledgeable' legal director Ciaran McNamara, whose expertise includes advising on procurement matters and handling construction disputes.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Eakin; Andrea McIlroy-Rose; Ciaran McNamara


Pinsent Masons is responsive to the client’s ongoing needs and works hard to meet both their short and longer-term objectives.

Ciaran McNamara provides advice at key stages on a range of construction matters from inception to project completion. He is very knowledgeable on all forms of contract and brings a very practical insight to matters at hand.

Senior associate James Griffiths is particularly effective on the tactical use of mediation.

Key clients

Queen’s University Belfast

Education Authority

Lagan College Education Partnership

Allstate / Allstate (NI)

Kerry Group Plc


Hall McKnight Architects

Gilbert Ash

Intellectual property Tier 3

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is particularly strong in IP litigation, where the team handles disputes, including cross-border matters, in the construction, IT, financial services, media and entertainment, and retail and consumer sectors, among others. The team also advises on non-contentious trade mark, patent, design right and copyright issues, including IP rights protection and portfolio management. Senior associate James Griffiths leads the Belfast office's IP and media sub-team.

Practice head(s):

James Griffiths


The team has an absolutely excellent knowledge of the law in this area and keeps pace with every legal development affecting it. This knowledge is combined with first-class organisation.

Laura Gillespie and James Griffiths deserve particular mention. They have the ability to make even the most complex disputes manageable and an unrivalled skill at analysing the issues so as to identify the core of a problem and how to resolve it in the best interest of their clients.

Key clients

Queen’s University Belfast

Ulster Carpet Mills

CDE Global Limited

Funds – Axis

Seven Technologies Group



Chain Reaction Cycles

Brett Martin Limited

Luxco / Niche Drinks

Pinsent Masons is an international law firm with a long-standing reputation for delivering high-quality legal advice rooted in its deep understanding of the sectors and geographies in which its clients operate. In recent years it has achieved more tier 1 rankings in The Legal 500 UK guide than any other firm and been recognised among the most innovative law firms in Europe by the Financial Times.

The firm: With over 1,500 lawyers operating from 20 locations throughout the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, Pinsent Masons is well-placed to advise on complex multi-jurisdictional transactions across a full range of legal disciplines.

Type of work undertaken: The firm has significant international credentials in the global energy, infrastructure, financial services and advanced manufacturing and technology sectors. In the UK, it also conducts market-leading work in sectors including real estate, government, retail, universities and higher education.

Services provided across these sectors include corporate and M&A, commercial, competition, litigation and arbitration, banking, restructuring, insurance, regulatory, construction, projects, pensions, property, planning and environmental, procurement, outsourcing, employment, share plans, technology and tax advice.

Pinsent Masons stands out in particular for its innovative approach to service delivery. For example, the firm operates a hub of freelance lawyers, called Vario, and has also developed Cerico, a cloud-based regulatory compliance solution. It has developed long-term service agreements, often referred to as ‘sole adviser’ relationships, with a number of blue-chip organisations.

Other offices: Aberdeen, Australia, Beijing, Birmingham, Dubai, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Leeds, London, Manchester, Munich, Paris, Qatar, Shanghai, Singapore.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Richard Foley
Managing partner John Cleland
Head of Belfast office Paul McBride
Number of UK partners (including legal directors) : 380 approx
Number of other UK fee-earners : 1,300+