New Managing Director at Cleaver Fulton Rankin will lead the firm on its growth trajectory

April 28, 2017

Leading Belfast commercial law firm poised to continue with ambitious expansion and growth plans

Leading Belfast law firm, Cleaver Fulton Rankin has announced bold strategic expansion plans over the next three years following the appointment of a new Managing Director.

Current director, Jonathan Forrester will take over the reins of the commercial practice – which is one of the longest established in the city – from 1st May.

He has worked for Cleaver Fulton Rankin since 1999, having joined the firm as a graduate from Queen’s University, with both a law degree and a MSc in Information Management. He was admitted as a Solicitor to the Court of Judicature in Northern Ireland in 2001, became a partner in Cleaver Fulton Rankin in 2008 and a director upon the incorporation of the firm in 2011.

The Managing Director role is rotated among current directors and he will replace fellow director Karen Blair who will become Chairman after her six year stint at the helm.

Jonathan Forrester specialises in commercial litigation, real estate litigation, disputes about wills and trusts, professional negligence, debt recovery and contentious construction, all of which by their nature are very complex and contentious issues.

Some of his key successes for the firm include a multi-million pound class action on behalf of 66 residents of Rossorry Quay, Enniskillen against a developer, landlord, structural engineer, building contractor and specialist sub-contractor. Damages in excess of £6 million were recovered on behalf of the residents. He has also acted in a dispute between joint venture partners in connection with a landmark commercial property, which settled for a sum in excess of £100 million.

Mr Forrester has been described by clients as having “obvious talent and commitment”. He has been ranked highly by leading law directory Chambers every year since 2007 for dispute resolution and latterly in the field of real estate litigation. According to Chambers’ interviewees, he is “keen to get involved and make it happen – energy is the word with him”. He has also been described as having the “ability to instantly pick out the key points in a dispute”. He is “renowned for his aptitude at complex, high value contentious property matters” and is “highly accomplished in the handling of real estate litigation and probate disputes”. Another leading law directory Legal 500 has also described him as a “truly excellent litigator” and an “impressive tactician”. And it is this experience and his ‘can do’ attitude which leaves him very well placed to take over the lead role in the firm, as it continues on a growth trajectory.

Mr Forrester commented: “I am very proud to become Managing Director of this excellent firm, and to be taking over from Karen who has led us so well over the past six years. We are a forward looking business, constantly evolving to service our ever-changing market.  We have made some recent highly experienced additions to our team, and this trend will continue as we execute our plans in the coming months and years.  With this solid team of talent, our business will continue to grow, for the benefit of clients and indeed for the wider business community.”

Mr Forrester continued: “Since 2010 we’ve grown our team numbers by almost a third. People have described CFR as a sleeping giant but we are confident that will not be the case for much longer.

“We are currently exploring the possibility of launching a number of new services for our clients. We have put in place a market-leading commercial team to help our clients navigate their way through the challenges BREXIT will bring over the next few years and to ensure they are best-placed to exploit the opportunities that will present themselves.”

The confirmation of the new Managing Director follows the recent appointment of Hilary Griffith as Head of Corporate.