Legal Business Blogs

‘Rapidly changing’: DWF enters Northern Ireland market through Belfast merger

National firm DWF has secured a merger in Northern Ireland with Belfast firm C&H Jefferson as the 20-partner firm prepares to join on 1 December.

C&H Jefferson specialises in commercial work with a focus on banking and finance in Northern Ireland as well as insolvency work. The firm acts for property developers, retailers and renewable energy providers.

The firm joins DWF under C&H Jefferson managing partner Ken Rutherford. The merger adds to DWF’s UK presence, giving it 12 offices as well as offices outside the UK in Brussels, Cologne, Dubai, Dublin and Munich.

C&H Jefferson has 20 partners in its Belfast office and is ranked tier 2 in the Legal 500 for commercial property and dispute resolution for its reputation in professional negligence.

DWF has set its sights on international growth in recent years. The 1000-lawyer firm has had a presence in Dublin following a merger with Fishburns in 2013. It further added to its international offices by launching in Dubai, Brussels and Cologne in 2015 through a series of local mergers.

In Ireland the firm has looked to expand its offering, launching a corporate practice with the hire of partner Ross Little from William Fry, who was appointed as the firm’s executive partner for Ireland in August.

DWF managing partner Andrew Leaitherland said: ‘The legal market in Northern Ireland is vibrant, and rapidly changing, and this merger makes us well-equipped to take advantage of the growing number of opportunities it presents for our clients in target sectors.’

The firm saw turnover fall slightly in the latest LB100. DWF’s revenues dropped slightly, down 2% to £187.1m. Profit per equity partner also fell 2%, down to £319,000 for the year.