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DWF to merge with commercial law firm C & H Jefferson

Legal business DWF plans to merge with Belfast-based commercial law firm C & H Jefferson. This continues the focus which DWF has on increasing its service delivery capability to national and international clients across the industrial, commercial, property and insurance markets in the UK. The merger will be effective from Thursday, 1 December.

C & H Jefferson is one of the largest legal practices in Northern Ireland and is recognised as a leader in the Belfast market. Led by Managing Partner Ken Rutherford, the firm has over 100 years’ experience delivering specialist legal services to a diverse range of clients across Northern Ireland. 

The firm has a strong commercial practice with a particular focus on the banking and finance sector, advising the major banks and financial and lending institutions in Northern Ireland as well as providing specialist advice to leading insolvency practitioners. C & H Jefferson also acts for a number of Northern Irish, UK and international property developers, retailers and renewable energy operators and has one of the most active property teams in the region.

C & H Jefferson also has specific expertise in litigation, professional indemnity, public liability and motor claims, complementing DWF’s existing national insurance practice, and advises several leading national and international insurers in defence litigation, including the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s Professional Indemnity Insurers. In addition to general defence work, C & H Jefferson has strong expertise in industrial disease litigation and is one of only four firms appointed to the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s negligence claims panel. 

The merger will see 82 people join DWF and allow the firm to further develop its commercial and insurance offerings, increase opportunities to enhance services to the firm’s clients and add depth and breadth to its existing sector capability, particularly across the real estate and financial services sectors. Following the merger, C & H Jefferson’s 20 partners will join DWF as partners, including Ken Rutherford, Gareth Jones, Scott McCarroll, Mark Tinman and Ian Stanfield will join DWF and David Lennon becomes a consultant.

DWF Managing Partner and CEO Andrew Leaitherland comments: “We are always looking at strategic opportunities for growth that will enhance our legal capability in key practice areas and allow us to offer our clients advantages in terms of resource, reach and multi-jurisdiction expertise. 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.” 

C & H Jefferson Managing Partner Ken Rutherford adds: “As our international client base has grown we have continued to explore how we can adapt in order to meet their changing needs. DWF is a very strong fit for us in terms of its culture and approach to legal services, and through this merger we will be able to create new opportunities for our clients with the benefit of DWF’s expansive national footprint, service efficiencies and growing international remit.” 

This will be DWF’s 12th UK office; the firm also has locations in Dublin, Cologne, Munich, Dubai and Brussels.

Andrew Leaitherland

Partner - Managing Partner & CEO

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