Directors

Fergus McConnell

Fergus McConnell

 

Fergus McConnell LLB has been at the forefront of civil litigation in Northern Ireland for over 30 years.

Having received his LLB Honours degree from Brunel University, London with experience of working for the Department of Public Prosecutions, Northern Ireland Court Service and BP, he returned home and met Pat Kelly, who would become his friend and business partner for the next 25 years.

Today both men are co-founders and directors of Northern Ireland's elite criminal law practice, McConnell Kelly.

Fergus started out his professional career dealing with criminal cases and then Conveyancing but soon developed an appetite and unique skill-set for litigation - looking after those who had been wronged under the law (often with serious injuries) - seeking legal recourse for such victims as a result.

Fergus has successfully fought to obtain millions of pounds worth of compensation for his clients in.such areas as industrial injuries (including industrial hearing loss), medical negligence and road traffic accidents.

Fergus is known within the legal fraternity as a strong advocate for the underdog and aside from his daily work routine, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons.

Fergus, an avid rugby fan, is active on the sports social scene and supports many local initiatives within his native East Belfast.

Patrick Kelly

Patrick Kelly

 

Pat Kelly LLB has had an illustrious career and is widely acknowledged by his peers as being amongst the leading criminal lawyers in Northern Ireland.

After studying at University College Cardiff, he returned to Northern Ireland. After working as an assistant solicitor in a city centre practice, he founded McConnell Kelly & Co with Fergus McConnell.

Pat is an accredited Advanced Advocate, giving him rights of audience in the higher courts as well as the Magistrates courts where he appears on a daily basis, whilst also carrying out prison visits and representing clients at police stations.

Over the past 25 years he has represented clients in many of the most high profile and notorious criminal cases ever heard in this jurisdiction, including so called "supergrass trials", "Diplock trials" as well as major "white collar crime "and other prominent cases.

As well as being a director across four busy offices (East Belfast, Dundonald and two in Ballyhackamore), Pat takes overall responsibility for the preparation and management of cases and applies forensic-like attention to detail to each and every one with an enviable success rate.

Pat is currently overseeing McConnell Kelly's research and instructions in new and more recent legal arenas such as the legacy issues of the past and is passionate about identifying the best legal talent for the future of the business. Specifically, with relation to the HIA (Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry) and new developments in serious organised crime, money laundering legislation and 'white collar crime,' Pat has versed himself in leading the way in these unchartered waters.

On the domestic front he is married to Doreen (a prominent lawyer with her own practice in Bangor), he has two sons Rory, who studied law at York, and Oxford and Conor who studies at Methodist college in Belfast.

Darren Duncan

Darren Duncan

 

Darren Duncan LLB is one of the most successful solicitors in Northern Ireland, as rated by his clients and his enviable track record of case successes.

Having joined McConnell Kelly over a decade ago, Darren draws on all nineteen years experience in the legal system when working in courthouses throughout Northern Ireland.

Darren is a consummate professional across the complete spectrum of “criminal law” with particular expertise in Judicial Reviews, motoring offences and historical institutional abuse cases.  Darren has also recently overseen the re-launch of a market leading conveyancing division within his North Down practice.

Darren is an Advanced Advocate,  enabling him to represent clients at the highest level both in the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court within Northern Ireland.  He also was proudly awarded a Certificate in Forensic Investigation by The Queen’s University of Belfast which epitomises his forensic like attention to detail in every case.

He has a very large client base and often covers multiple generations of families.  He takes immense pride in his work and is supported by a strong team of Solicitors, advocates, and legal clerical staff to ensure no stone is left unturned in each and every case.

In addition to running a busy office with fresh enquiries and client meetings daily, Darren feels most at home in Court, upholding the rights of his clients and ensuring a fair and impartial Hearing.  Darren is the proud father of two children, who, along with two Labradors, keep him busy outside of work.  His rigorous physical training regime helps to ensure his razor sharp attention to detail.

 

Jonathan Burke

Jonathan Burke

 

Jonathan Burke studied law at Queens University Belfast between 1998-2001 and entered the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Belfast between 2001 and 2003.

In 2008, he obtained an Advanced Advocate Certificate from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies.

Jonathan has been a criminal lawyer for more than 12 years incorporating all aspects of the criminal justice system from police station to Magistrates' Court, Crown Court and Court of Appeal cases.

Over this time he has gained extensive experience in all areas of criminal law and is known for his attention to detail, success rate and determination to explore every avenue for clients.

Jonathan has been a director at McConnell Kelly since 2010. Part of his role is to coordinate the firm's Lexcel accreditation annually (Lexcel is an independent assessment carried out to satisfy a standard of legal excellence throughout all aspects of the practice). He is a member of Belfast Magistrates Courts' User Committee.

Jonathan is married with two children and his interests include music (playing the guitar), playing football and running.


 

Solicitors

Andrew Smyth

Andrew Smyth

 

Andrew studied at Dundee University, gaining an LLB (Hons) 1991-1995, then took the QUB Institute of Professional Legal Studies course from 1996-1998. He joined McConnell Kelly in 2001.

Andrew's main practice areas are in civil litigation including personal injury actions, road traffic matters, employers' liability and claims against statutory bodies. Additionally all aspects of family law including divorce, ancillary relief and children's law. Andrew is a member of the Children Order Panel. He is married with three children and

His interests include golf, rugby, reading and walking.

Ashlee Willdridge

Ashlee Willdridge

 

Ashlee studied Law & Government at University of Ulster, graduating in 2005. She obtained her Certificate in Professional Legal Studies at Queens Law Institute completing in 2007.

Ashlee joined McConnell Kelly in 2011. Her areas of practice include all areas of family law to include children order, divorce, ancillary relief, matrimonial settlements & domestic matters.

Ashlee is a member of the Children Order Panel.  She married in 2013 and enjoys travelling, socialising and keeping fit.

Greg Calvin

Greg Calvin

 

Greg studied at the University of University of Ulster, graduating in 2007.  He qualified as a solicitor in 2010 and achieved Advanced Advocacy in 2015. Having joined McConnell Kelly in 2012, Greg's practice area is in criminal law. 

He makes regular appearances in Magistrates and Crown Courts dealing with the full spectrum of criminal offences from the first appearance to final disposal.  He frequently attends police stations across Northern Ireland for PACE interviews to represent clients under arrest or attending voluntarily.  Greg has recently taken up running and enjoys watching his two favourite football teams - Coleraine and Manchester United.

James Montgomery

James Montgomery

 

James graduated from University of Leeds (LLB Law with French) in 2001 and joined McConnell Kelly in March 2013.

His work includes all aspects of residential and commercial conveyancing transactions, new-build development work, private client services (i.e. Wills and Probate/Administration of Estates, Enduring Power of Attorney and Controllership applications) and liquor licensing. He enjoys keeping fit and dining out.

Paul McNickle

Paul McNickle

 

Paul initially studied a degree in Politics at Queens University Belfast, before going on to study Law at the University of Ulster. He then obtained his professional qualification at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen's.

Paul practices mainly in areas of civil and criminal law, with an interest in Judicial Review, Prison and Parole Commissioner cases. Areas of civil law dealt with by Paul include road traffic accidents, workplace accidents, tripping accidents, criminal injury compensation claims, industrial injuries, noise-induced hearing loss claims, immigration law and mental health review tribunals. Paul is married, and his interests include following rugby and going to the gym.

Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke

 

Sarah studied law at Queen's University, graduating in 1998. She graduated from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen's in 2000 and joined McConnell Kelly in 2001. Her work currently takes in all aspects of Family Law including divorce, ancillary relief, private and public law application regarding children. Sarah is a member of the Children Order Panel. 

Sarah is married and has two children, both boys. Her interests include reading, going for walks and watching films.

Kathryn Spratt

Kathryn_Spratt

 

Kathryn graduated from the University of Ulster at Jordanstown with an honours degree in Law and Local Government. She graduated from the Institute of Legal Studies in 2005.

Prior to joining McConnell Kelly, Kathryn worked at two other law firms and her duties included conveyancing, title investigations and acting for banks, lending institutions and other leading companies in a range of mortgage-related transactions and other complex legal matters. In her spare time, Kathryn is involved in church and youth work, including working with teenagers.