Private Client

Carson McDowell provides specialised advice and assistance to our Private Clients. The Private Client Team work closely with their colleagues in the Commercial, Corporate and Litigation Departments to ensure that accurate advice is given and all aspects of an individual client’s circumstances are considered.

Our Team also has trusted relationships with other specialist professionals and advisors and will work closely with a client’s own accountant/financial advisor to ensure that a complete service is provided.

What we do

We have a

dedicated team of experienced practitioners who personally handle the following


  • Wills
  • Probate and Administration of Estates
  • Inheritance Tax Planning/Estate Planning
  • Trusts
  • Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Controllership Applications through the Office of Care and Protection
  • Residential Conveyances

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2019

Carson McDowell is a "well-respected local firm" with a "talented pool of people." The private client team advises on estate administration, trusts and inheritance tax planning. A local interviewee comments on the firm's "technical excellence and breadth of services," adding that "they really are the pre-eminent firm here. They are consummate professionals and clients feel absolutely comfortable with them."

One source says the "young, dynamic team" is "extremely client-focused and responds promptly." Another highlights the team's "empathy, accuracy, speed of response, knowledge and high technical ability."

Notable practitioners

Neil Bleakley heads the private client team and is highly regarded in the market. Interviewees praise him, saying: "He ensures clients are getting the best possible level of service. He is extremely methodical, fastidious, diligent and conscientious. He takes his time, he is very thorough and professional and easy to get along with." One market insider comments: "He is certainly approachable and knowledgeable and instills confidence in his area of expertise with clients. He talks at a level that is synonymous with the clients and doesn't use professional jargon. He keeps it simple." Another adds: "I think he seems to genuinely care about his clients. He is very sensitive, respectful and has empathy."

Fiona Wallace handles a full range of private client matters, including the administration of estates and trusts, wills, and Enduring Powers of Attorney. A market insider describes her as "very professional, very good technically and very up to date," adding that "she has a very nice way with clients." Others describe her as "excellent, very thorough and very knowledgeable," and "very personable, responsive and accessible to clients."

Chambers and Partners UK 2018

Carson McDowell is "highly recognised in Northern Ireland" by sources, who highlight "the quality of the team, the personal service and, ultimately, their ability to deliver what they promise. They very much are client-focused. They possess very, very good communication skills: they speak at a level that clients understand and avoid jargon."

The "technically excellent, thorough and discreet" team handles detailed and high-value estate administration and planning, wealth structuring and mental capacity. An interviewee makes particular mention of the firm's "fantastic depth and breadth of skill," adding that "every single client I've referred to them has come back with very complimentary feedback."

Notable practitioners

Sources say that Neil Bleakley is "technically excellent, thorough and pragmatic in his approach to client affairs." He has a broad private wealth practice and significant experience in high-value matters. One interviewee calls him "an incredible guy, and a man of impeccable integrity and technical competence. He has a good bedside manner - if clients are anxious or apprehensive, he's got a gentleman's way of putting them completely at ease."

Chambers and Partners UK 2017

What the team is known for

Well-known private client team acting for the firm's clientele of business owners and their families. Broad private client offering includes expertise in estate planning, trustee advice and matters of mental capacity.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Across the full spectrum of the firm they're outstandingly good."

Notable practitioners

Neil Bleakley focuses on the administration of high-value trusts and estates alongside complex estate planning work. One source refers to him as "a pleasure to deal with," and another values his being "very approachable and a good listener, which is very important for personal work."

The Legal 500 2016

What the team is known for

Broad private client offering with a particular focus on high net worth estate planning and business succession. Also widely acclaimed for its work on contentious probate matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The advice and contact that I have had with each partner has been excellent, timely and proactive. My impression of the firm and the teams I have dealt with is such that the firm is my first choice when looking for high-level advice."

"The lawyers are very professional. They have good work ethics, are very client-focused and well organised, and have attention to detail. The firm has a great reputation in the Belfast area."

Notable practitioners

Neil Bleakley is widely recognised in the market for his excellence in estate planning and administration. One client says: "To Neil a client is first and foremost a person needing advice or guidance. Size of estate does not influence him; everything is done to the highest standard."