This year, TLT is celebrating ten years since the firm first opened its doors in Belfast. Mary-Jane was the first trainee in Belfast and here talks about her role at TLT and the journey she’s been on with the firm in the last decade.

You were the first trainee in the Belfast office, tell us about your journey since then?

I started my traineeship in September 2014 back at our old office in Montgomery House where I was the first trainee for TLT Belfast! I completed four seats in Real Estate, Banking & Finance, Mortgage Enforcement, and Financial Services Disputes & Investigations. I then qualified into the Real Estate team in September 2016, and was promoted to Senior Associate in November 2020 and Managing Associate in May 2022.

Do you have a favourite moment at TLT?

The people-first culture at TLT is one of my favourite things about working here – but in terms of favourite moments, completion of some of the significant transactions I’ve had the opportunity to work on definitely stand out. Over the last few years, I’ve been involved in the acquisition of Merchant Square and Holywood Exchange Retail Park, both market leading and really rewarding transactions. The office move to River House was also a great day, and it’s still enjoyable to walk into such a lovely office every time I am in! 

What do you look forward to over the next ten years and in your new role as managing associate?

Over the next ten years I am looking forward to the team, and firm, growing even further and to being part of that ambitious growth. I also can’t wait to see the next generation of trainees come through and qualify with TLT; and am looking forward to increasing my involvement with the trainee and NQ development programme, being able to support our future lawyers at the beginning of their journeys at TLT. 

TLT were recently awarded highly commended in six categories at the Legal Cheek Awards which recognised our commitment to work and well-being practices. These were: ‘best law firm for training’, ‘best law firm for peer support’, ‘best law firm for legal tech’, ‘best law firm for WFH’, ‘best law firm for eco-friendliness’, and ‘the Legal Cheek firm of the year’. I’m proud to work for a firm that supports its trainees so significantly and can’t wait to continue this within the team in Northern Ireland. 

How has the firm developed since you’ve joined? Have you seen any change in clients/the market in that time?

The firm has grown a lot since I first joined. The growth we’ve seen in terms of clients and resources shows the firm has come a long way in establishing itself in the Northern Irish market. The Belfast office has increased from a couple of employees to a team of over 60 professionals (legal and other) led by eight partners. Our offering in Northern Ireland has cemented TLT’s position as a national firm capable of delivering legal advice in all three UK legal jurisdictions – England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. We have come a long way and I’m really proud of the people-first approach the firm embodies which is reflected in the dedication we show our clients.  

In the last decade TLT has grown from delivering litigation services to a number of key clients in the financial services sector to expanding service lines across future energy, real estate and public sector. The team in Belfast has built a reputation for providing excellent service for its clients.

In an active legal market, against the backdrop of economic challenges, Brexit and the pandemic, the Belfast office have continued to grow our client base and we have delivered outstanding service for some of Northern Ireland’s largest investors and major corporations. 

In your opinion, what makes TLT stand out from  other law firms?

From a client perspective, we are continuously growing our teams and increasing our capacity, allowing us to continually improve our service offering. The Real Estate team in Belfast has tripled in size, and we now provide a full-service local offering in Northern Ireland. We have established ourselves as a reputable, innovative firm in the local market. 

However, it is the approach to innovation at TLT which I think really distinguishes us from other firms. Our Future Law team have spearheaded our innovation programmes over recent years, but what’s been really valuable is the input which is sought from lawyers across the firm to proposed solutions, allowing us to feed into the development of bespoke client digital strategies. This innovation process can involve technology, process redesign, document evolution, or bringing in fresh skills. In addition to those digital solutions, more generally, the value the firm places on a flexible client service and innovative approach to service delivery means that in my view we do approach client service with a proactive and future-ready attitude to bespoke, modern delivery

As part of a multi-million pound investment, the firm also recently enhanced our internal technology systems to support TLT World, our completely flexible working initiative. Launched in 2021, this is a significant long-term shift in working practices. The new approach is unique to the market and places TLT among the legal industry’s most progressive firms in terms of workplace flexibility. Our approach to fully flexible working delivers a digital and physical workplace that supports choice, inclusion and sustainability. I am proud to be part of a firm which is moving away from the traditional 9 to 5, office-based approach and offers its lawyers the choice to work where, and when, allows them to be most productive and find their best work-life balance. 

Our continued success in Northern Ireland can also be attributed to the firm’s people first-culture. I’m extremely proud to work for a firm that places inclusivity, diversity, equality and wellbeing at the heart of everything it does. 

Written by

Mary-Jane, Byrne, web

Mary-Jane Byrne

Date published

07 July 2022


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