Our People

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Karen O’Leary – Partner, Head of Family Law

Karen leads Caldwell & Robinson’s Family Law practice. With extensive experience on all issues that may arise upon the breakdown of a relationship and family law, her specialist expertise covers both private and public law, and multiple jurisdictions.

Qualified to practice in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, and Wales, Karen is regularly consulted by government and state agencies on legal matters from other jurisdictions. In 2011, she was invited to be a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), an organisation of leading global family lawyers. She is also a regular speaker on family law matters and has addressed the Four Jurisdictions Family Law Conference on a number of occasions, the European Family Justice Observatory, most recently speaking about the implications of Brexit on family law.

Educated at the United World College (New Mexico, USA), Birmingham University, and the College of Law (Chester), Karen qualified as a solicitor in 1994. She worked for Gouldens (now Jones Day) in London and Brussels, before moving to Northern Ireland in 1995 when she was admitted as a solicitor in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“A highly skilled advocate whose people skills and negotiating skills are impeccable.” She demonstrates considerable expertise in private family law cases, especially those with an international aspect, and one source notes that “her knowledge of childcare matters is unrivalled.” Chambers & Partners UK.

Memberships and qualifications:

  • Qualified mediator
  • Chartered Family Arbitrator
  • Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers
  • Member of the Northern Ireland Children’s Panel
  • Member of Lawyers in Europe on Parental Child Abduction
  • Member of Central Authority of Northern Ireland panel on the Hague Convention
  • Member of the International Committee of Resolutions

E: k.oleary@caldwellrobinson.com
T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

Geraldine Keehan Caldwell & Robinson

Geraldine Keehan – Partner, Family and Child Law

Geraldine is an acknowledged expert in international and domestic family and child law. She is frequently sought out by colleagues, governing bodies and charities to advise on adoption, both domestic and international, and her work has been characterised by transparency, pragmatism, and ensuring that the best legal outcome is achieved for her client.

She regularly acts in domestic and international private family law matters, including divorce and custody agreements, and advises on international surrogacy cases.

Geraldine acts for Guardians ad Litem and advises on the application of international law, particularly in relation to the movement of children between jurisdictions. Her work on the rights of children, including their right to identity, has seen her advise several organisations on existing and pending legislation. She currently advises the Barnardos the Children’s Charity and, previously, the Adoption Authority of Ireland. She has been the lead solicitor in several significant High Court cases, and also acts for Local Authorities in England and Wales on matters pertaining to Brussels II.

Geraldine studied at University College Dublin (BSocSc), before completing a Masters in Law and Sociology at Brunel University, and working as a research associate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and is licensed to practice in the Republic of Ireland, England, and Wales.

Geraldine has significant experience in top family law firms in Dublin and London, and prior to joining Caldwell & Robinson, she was a Partner in Family and Child Law at Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors.

Memberships:

  • Law Society of Ireland
  • Law Society of England and Wales
  • Family Lawyers Association
  • Law Society of Ireland Family and Child Law Committee

E: geraldine.keehan@caldwellrobinson.com

T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

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Emmett Maginn – Associate, Dispute Resolution

Emmett is a highly experienced associate solicitor in our dispute resolution team. Emmett specialises in cross-border family disputes and holds current practicing certificates for Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, and Wales.

Emmett works across a number of the firm’s core practice areas, including:

  • Divorce and matrimonial disputes
  • Private and public law family matters
  • Disputes concerning adults and children who lack relevant mental capacity
  • Judicial review and actions for breach of statutory duty
  • Property litigation
  • Debt recovery

Emmett is a highly experienced advocate with over 10 years’ experience of advocating in courts in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, and Wales. He also delivers regular training to external organisations across the range of practice areas referred to above.

E: emmett.maginn@caldwellrobinson.com

T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

Ciara Hanley – Health and Child Law, Litigation

Ciara’s practice areas include general and personal litigation, medical negligence, and health and child law. Practicing in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, she has a proven track record of dispute resolution before the District Court, and High Court, as well as specialist tribunals and commissions.

Ciara holds a Diploma in Health Law and a Certificate in Sports Law and has advised in the area of health and regulatory law, representing clients before a number of Fitness to Practice and Professional Conduct committees of health regulatory bodies.

Ciara is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway (Corporate Law and LLB) and completed her legal training at Matheson. Prior to joining Caldwell & Robinson, she practiced in Dublin for ten years, advising some of the top Irish and UK insurance companies while working at Hayes McGrath Solicitors. She was appointed to the Committee of the Irish Women’s Lawyers Association in 2018.

E: ciara.hanley@caldwellrobinson.com
T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

William McFarlane Caldwell & Robinson

William McFarlane – Family Law

William expertise lies in family law, particularly in negotiating contact and residence issues for non-resident parents. He has 20 years’ experience representing clients in the Northern Irish courts at all levels and is a member of Resolution, an organisation committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes.

A graduate of Queen University Belfast, he qualified as a solicitor in 1998 and joined Caldwell & Robinson in 2018.

E: william.mcfarlane@caldwellrobinson.com
T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

Clare McEleney

Clare McEleney – Family Law

Clare joined Caldwell & Robinson’s Family Law practice in 2017 as a trainee and completed her legal training with the firm in September 2018.

She studied Law (LLB Honours) at the University of Ulster, before undertaking the Legal Practice Course at the Institute of Professional Studies at Queens University Belfast.

E: clare.mceleney@caldwellrobinson.com
T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

Ciara O’Connell – Injury, Negligence, Civil Litigation

Ciara covers all areas of civil litigation and can act on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. She deals with all levels of claim, including serious and catastrophic injury. Her practice areas include:

  • Personal injury, including road traffic accidents
  • Criminal injury
  • Public and employer’s liability
  • Medical, employment, and professional negligence
  • Workplace regulatory matters

Ciara studied Law and Politics (LLB) at the University of Ulster before undertaking the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law (Chester). She completed her training with top regional UK firm Pannone LLP and joined top international firm Hill Dickinson LLP upon qualification in 2009.

At Hill Dickinson, Ciara specialised in Defendant Insurance Litigation, acting on behalf of large insurance companies and self-insured organisations, and was seconded to global insurance company Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A in London.

E: ciara.oconnell@caldwellrobinson.com
T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

Jade O’Kane – Residential Conveyancing

Jade specialises in residential conveyancing, wills and probate, enduring powers of attorney, and controllership applications for private clients. She practices in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Jade studied Law at Queen’s University Belfast, where she achieved first place in Conveyancing and was awarded the McKane Medal for achieving first place in Jurisprudence. She undertook her professional legal training at the Graduate School of Professional Legal Education at the University of Ulster, and won the prestigious Arthur Cox prize for being placed first overall in the Postgraduate Diploma in professional legal practice. Since qualifying, she has also completed a course in Commercial Conveyancing.

“What impresses me most about Jade is her efficiency and attention to detail.  I would be happy to recommend Jade to anyone because I know the level of service that she has given me and my customers in the past.  She is a pleasure to work with.”  (A. McE.)

E: j.okane@caldwellrobinson.com
T: 0044 (0) 2871 261 334

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