Firm Profile > DWF > Belfast, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Real estate > Commercial property Tier 2

DWF undertakes a full spread of real estate work for clients from sectors such as hospitality, telecoms, leisure and manufacturing. It also has a particularly strong reputation in the retail industry, with it acting for local and national retailers on the management of their property portfolios in Northern Ireland. Elsewhere, other drivers of the firm’s real estate work include housing development and land regeneration, insolvency-related property work and landlord and tenant matters. In 2020, department head Julie Galbraith acted for the Herbert Group on the sale of over 150 leasehold assets across Northern Ireland, England and Scotland, including 147 trading KFC sites.  Mark Tinman and Kirsty Mairs are among the other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Julie Galbraith

Other key lawyers:

Mark Tinman; Kirsty Mairs; Tomás McLaughlin; Lauren Kennedy; Kathleen Gillespie; Graeme Corry; Conor Kerr


‘Mark is very commanding when around the table with all stakeholders.’

‘DWF(NI) are an excellent firm. They are client focused and take a personal interest in their clients and their businesses. They seek to offer ever widening sectoral advice to ensure the client feels all their legal needs can be looked after in a consistent and personal manner under one roof.’

‘On an ongoing basis, Mark delivers good solutions in a timely fashion, always focusing on the commercial outcome for his client. Marks experience within the industry and his knowledge of our business results in him being an important part of our team.’

‘The DWF team is multi faceted and delivers quality service and advice in an efficient manner. Importantly, and what sets them apart from their peers is their ability to provide ‘actual advice’. In my experience too many practices, simply sit on the fence, outline the options, and let the client decide.’

Key clients

Herbert Group

Titanic Properties/Quarter Limited

Marks and Spencer



EE Limited

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL)

Killultagh Properties

PWD Developments


David Samuels Properties

Mayfair Developments Limited


Real estate > Construction Tier 3

DWF's practice is led by newly-promoted partner David McNiece, who is experienced in undertaking both contentious and non-contentious construction matters across the UK and Ireland. His work ranges in scope from contract negotiations to dispute resolution. McNiece is particularly knowledgeable about the NEC form of contract, and he is noted for his advice to clients from both the public and private sectors. On the contentious side, McNiece is experienced in representing clients in a wide variety of settings, notably litigation, adjudications, mediations and arbitration proceedings.

Practice head(s):

David McNiece

Northern Ireland > Dispute resolution Tier 3

DWF is best known for its work in professional negligence claims, with additional expertise in handling contractual disputes and property and financial services litigation. Mark Taggart, who is praised for his 'practical legal knowledge and good tactical judgement', sits at the helm of the practice and has been highly active in advising the Law Society of Northern Ireland on professional negligence claims, in addition to handling commercial litigation and debt recovery actions.

Practice head(s):

Mark Taggart


‘The practice is part of a major international firm, yet retains its roots in and connection to the Northern Ireland legal scene.’

‘Mark Taggart is first class on detail, client relations and litigation strategy. He is approachable, a team player and responsive.’

‘DWF’s Northern Ireland practice offers a strong commercial and banking litigation service. They offer sound legal and practical advice to clients, focused on meeting their needs through litigation or negotiation as appropriate.’

‘Mark Taggart has strong practical legal knowledge and good tactical judgement. There is a consistency of quality inherent in the organisation.’

Key clients

Law Society of Northern Ireland Master Policy Insurers

Bank of Ireland

Allied Irish Banks




Mobile Broadband Networks Ltd

Lidl NI



Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

At DWF, Belfast office managing partner Ken Rutherford  has over 25 years of insolvency experience. He has a strong track record advising insolvency practitioners in Northern Ireland on a broad cross-section of matters, such as appointments, the realisation of assets, asset recovery and creditor claims. In addition, Rutherford undertakes a significant amount of work for banks. Under his leadership, the practice is noted for its high level of involvement in restructurings and insolvencies with a nexus to the retail, food and hospitality industries. Rutherford works with James Morrison, who acted as lead counsel to KPMG on the administration of Joe Media.

Practice head(s):

Ken Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

James Morrison


‘DWF (Northern Ireland) LLP has a strong profile acting for commercial lenders and insolvency practitioners in this area. The team have good client relationships, and are able to offer sound legal and practical guidance, aiming to deliver the best outcome for the particular circumstances of the case.’

Key clients




Bank of Ireland

Allied Irish Banks


NextGear UK

Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Pepper Group

Cavanagh Kelly

Email: Website: Tel: 0333 320 2220

The Firm

DWF is a listed legal business with an award-winning reputation for client service excellence, effective operational management and innovation. The company became the first main market premium listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2019. DWF has been named by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s most innovative legal businesses and has been independently recognised for its quality of legal advice, service delivery and responsiveness.

DWF’s strategy is to offer clients an integrated legal management approach through three streamlined and efficient global divisions of Legal Advisory, Mindcrest and Connected Services.

Legal Advisory is DWF’s traditional law firm arm. The division provides commercial intelligence and deep sectoral experience to deliver premium legal advice to clients.

Mindcrest is an established and well-known brand that provides outsourced and process-led legal services through which DWF standardises, systematises, scales, and optimises legal work.

Connected Services is DWF’s collection of products and business services that enhance the Group’s legal offerings. The division complements the Legal Advisory and Mindcrest teams through the provision of non-legal services such as claims management, costs and regulatory consulting.

Together, the three divisions support DWF’s single Integrated Legal Management approach through which DWF seamlessly combines any number of these services to deliver bespoke solutions to its clients with efficiency, price certainty and transparency. This approach enables DWF to offer solutions that combine traditional law firm services with new, modern legal and business services relevant to today’s companies, and the challenges and opportunities they face.

DWF employs over 4,000 people across 30 key locations and has steadily grown its international presence in response to client demand.

In 2019 and 2020, DWF expanded its international footprint by opening a new office in Warsaw, Poland and acquired Mindcrest Inc. to establish offices in Chicago and New York, USA, and Pune, India. DWF also acquired RCD in Spain and now has offices in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, Spain as part of its strategic growth plans.

DWF was the first UK legal business to achieve the ‘Disability Confident’ accreditation, which highlights the firm as an inclusive recruiter of disabled talent, and is a Top 30 Employer for Working Families. The business also has its own charitable enterprise, the DWF Foundation, a registered charity aimed at providing funds and support to local charities and programmes focused on education, employability, health and wellbeing and homelessness.

INTERNATIONAL OFFICES Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Qatar, Poland, Spain, UAE, USA

*USA, *Colombia, *Panama, *Argentina, *Turkey, *South Africa

* Associations

Chairman: Jonathan Bloomer

Managing Partner and DWF Group CEO: Sir Nigel Knowles

Number of UK partners: c. 230

Number of qualified lawyers in the UK: c. 905


Legal Advisory: Paul Rimmer

Mindcrest: Mark Qualter

Connected Services: Jason Ford

Public Sector: Jonathan Branton

Energy: Slava Kiryushin

Financial Services: Martin Pugsley

Retail, Food & Hospitality: Dominic Watkins

Technology: Stewart Room

Transport: Jonathan Moss

Insurance: Claire Bowler

Real Estate: Melanie Williams


Belfast: 42 Queen Street, BT1 6HL

Tel: 028 9023 0230 Fax: 028 9024 4644

Birmingham: One Snowhill, Snow Hill Queensway, B4 6GA

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Bristol: 120 Redcliff Street, BS1 6HU

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Edinburgh: No. 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, EH3 9QA

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Glasgow: 110 Queen Street, Glasgow, G1 3HD

Tel: 0141 228 8000 Fax: 0141 228 8310

Leeds: Bridgewater Place, Water Lane, LS11 5DY

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Liverpool: 5 St Paul’s Square, Old Hall Street, L3 9AE

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

London: 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3AG

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Manchester: 1 Scott Place, 2 Hardman Street, M3 3AA

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Newcastle: Central Square South, Orchard Street, NE1 3AZ

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Southampton: Network Eagle Lab, Portland Terrace, Southampton, SO14 7SJ

Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Photo Name Position Profile
 Michelle Cully  photo Michelle Cully Senior Associate
Miss Karen Fyffe  photo Miss Karen Fyffe Partner
 Julie Galbraith  photo Julie Galbraith Partner // Northern Ireland Head of Real Estate and Retail, Food, and…
 Kathleen Gillespie  photo Kathleen Gillespie Senior Associate
 Chris Goodfellow  photo Chris Goodfellow Senior Associate
 Julie Huddleston photo Julie Huddleston Partner
 Robin Johnston  photo Robin Johnston Partner
 Mark Johnston  photo Mark Johnston Partner
 Lauren Kennedy  photo Lauren Kennedy Senior Associate
 Ciara Liddy  photo Ciara Liddy Senior Associate
 Kirsty Mairs photo Kirsty Mairs Partner // Head of Hospitality (Belfast), Belfast
 Aine McGuinness  photo Aine McGuinness Senior Associate
 Tomás  McLaughlin  photo Tomás  McLaughlin Senior Associate
 David McNeice  photo David McNeice Partner
 James Morrison  photo James Morrison Partner
 Alison Reid photo Alison Reid Director
 Diane Rowan  photo Diane Rowan Senior Associate
 Ken Rutherford  photo Ken Rutherford Partner // Executive Partner (Belfast)
 Mark Taggart  photo Mark Taggart Partner
 Mark Tinman  photo Mark Tinman Partner
 Louise Trimble  photo Louise Trimble Director