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Be Inspired Series

Julie-Ann McCaffrey

Assistant Solicitor
Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Julie-Ann joined Cleaver Fulton Rankin in 2009 as a trainee solicitor after graduating from University College Dublin, with a joint Honours Degree in Business and Law.



I live close to Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s city centre offices, so I am quite lucky to be able to get up, have breakfast, walk to work and still be at the desk for 0830 or earlier if necessary.

The day starts with the obligatory check of my emails, voicemail and diary, so that I can be as organised as possible and know what the day ahead entails.

This morning I am attending a Procurement Seminar at the Merchant Hotel. This is a good opportunity to meet other procurement professionals and to keep up to date with the latest developments in this area of the law.


Our Litigation Department is a very fast moving dynamic department and has expanded in recent months.  The Department has a dedicated debt recovery and repossession unit. I work with my colleagues Lisa Boyd, Aaron Moore and Fergal Maguire on a number of mortgage repossession cases, which are an unfortunate sign of the economic times.  Today, that means a morning trip to court to attend a hearing to request a repossession order on behalf of a lender client.  However, we are often defending applications where our client is the landlord or tenant.


I also assist my colleague Lisa Boyd in providing advice to clients on procurement disputes. This is a dynamic specialism due to the strict time limits involved. My work usually involves reviewing complex tender documents for clients and assisting in challenging tenders. Cleaver Fulton Rankin is one of the few firms in Northern Ireland that has developed particular expertise in this specialised and growing area of law.


I usually go home for lunch or have lunch with my colleagues or friends. Sometimes, if I am working to a deadline, I take lunch at my desk.


I have been involved in assisting in Construction disputes, working with company Director Patrick Fleming and Lisa Boyd.  My role can involve researching and drafting documents and having consultations with barristers and clients.

Dispute resolution is a particular interest of mine. I was delighted to have had recent success in a worldwide legal Dispute Resolution competition held in Chicago last April, where I was placed third out of a field of 138 competitors. All the entrants had to put their legal mediation and negotiation skills to the test in front of the world’s most eminent lawyers. I have written on the area of Mediation and one of my essays was recently shortlisted for the Tony Curtis CEDR Award for Young Professionals. I am looking forward to attending the Awards Ceremony in London later this year.

I am also now a qualified Civil and Commercial Mediator, certified by the ADR Group, having completed my training at the BPP Law School in London. I will undoubtedly be able to use my mediation skills at work in the months and years to come. 


Cleaver Fulton Rankin supports local cancer charity Cancer Focus (formerly Ulster Cancer Foundation) helping fund ‘Zest for Life’ programmes, which is a six week personal development programme designed to meet the needs of those who are on a recovery period in their cancer journey. All staff members are encouraged to help with fundraising, and I am currently helping colleagues organise a very ambitious charity cinema night where we hope to raise over £4,000.  I love this aspect of my work where you get a chance to develop skills which are outside a normal working day’s activities.


After work this evening, I have a Young Solicitors’ Association Committee meeting.  I have been involved with this organisation since joining Cleaver Fulton Rankin and it is an excellent forum to network with other solicitors starting out on with their careers.  I was elected on to the Committee in May 2010 and have been actively involved in its work since then.


I enjoy cooking and try to make a good dinner every evening when I arrive home. After the dreaded dishes have been cleaned, as a musician, I like to play music or work on my song-writing.

I try to get to bed at a fairly decent time but usually, after a phone call home to Fermanagh and a catch up on the TV I have recorded, this can be later than intended!

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