2-6 Edward Street, Portadown, Co. Armagh, BT62 3LX

Our People

Our PEOPLE

For over 35 years, Walker McDonald has built a large client base and maintained a strong reputation within the legal field in Northern Ireland. We take pride in the quality of our work and the expertise of our team of solicitors.

Our solicitors are talented and experienced in advising local government, private and commercial clients. With a team of eight solicitors specialising in various areas of law, we provide clear legal advice and representation you can depend on.

Brian F Walker

Senior Partner

Brian was admitted as a Solicitor in 1975. He founded Walker McDonald with Joseph McDonald in 1984. He is a Retired Deputy County Court Judge; former President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland and has been a Member of the Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland for several decades. He was the Founder of the Home Charter Scheme for the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Brian is an Insolvency Practitioner and a Qualified Mediator.

Brian has been actively involved in NI Local Government law since 1977, being the former Solicitor to Local Authorities advising on human rights; discrimination legislation; estate management; planning and representing the Authorities at Judicial Reviews.

He has extensive experience in farming matters and all aspects of Agricultural Law; Administrative Law; Conveyancing Law; Probate Law and Inheritance Tax Planning as well as Succession Law and Litigation for personal injuries and consumer litigation. Brian has provided seminars to solicitors for Continuing Professional Development; to farming organisations on agricultural matters and to the Agricultural Law Society

In addition to his professional activities, Brian runs a family farm involved in pedigree beef herds and apple production. He is also active with a number of Charities and community organisations serving as Chair of Portadown 2000; Chair of the Pedigree Cattle Trust; and Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors of Portadown College.

Joe McDonald

Partner

Joe is a Queen’s University Belfast Graduate and, after obtaining his professional qualifications from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, began practising as an Assistant Solicitor in a local firm before entering into Partnership with Brian Walker in 1984 as Walker McDonald. Joe has over 40 years’ experience and specialises in Employment and Industrial Law, Civil Litigation, Licensing and Criminal Law. For a number of years, he was also involved with Local Government Law.

Joe is a Solicitor Advocate having completed the Advanced Advocacy Course of The Law Society of Northern Ireland.

He has extensive experience in Employment Law and, on a day-to-day basis, provides advice to both employees and employers on various issues such as:-

  • Recruitment
  • Employment Contracts
  • Employee conduct
  • Disciplinary and Grievance procedures
  • Settlement Agreements
  • TUPE
  • Redundancy procedures
  • Employment Tribunal Claims

One of his career milestones includes successfully defending one of the first age discrimination cases brought before the Tribunals.

He is also an experienced and able Criminal Defence Lawyer representing clients in both the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court on a broad spectrum of matters including road traffic offences; assaults; theft and sexual offences.

Joe also has a considerable wealth of experience in personal litigation dealing with road traffic accidents, Employer’s Liability and Public Liability actions.

Carol McDonald

Solicitor

Carol McDonald has been in practice for over 30 years, having joined her husband Joe McDonald in the firm of Walker McDonald in 1992.

She heads the Matrimonial and Family Department and has a very busy mixed practice in areas such as Family Homes and Domestic Violence, Divorce and Ancillary Relief, debt and money problems, Private Family Law, Residence and Contact Applications, Parental Responsibility Orders, DNA testing for paternity, Public Law matters and Family Law matters with Trust Involvement where the Courts look at children living outside the family home.

She is a member of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency panel for Solicitors, a Member of the Children’s Order Panel and a Collaborative Lawyer.  In 2020 she was appointed to the Council of the Law Society and sits on the committees for Family Law, Access to Justice and Library Services.  She has been Secretary of the Portadown and Lurgan Solicitors’ Association for many years.  She has a keen interest in continuing professional development and exchanging ideas with her many colleagues in the profession and experts in other related fields.

She is prepared to take time to listen to clients’ worries and concerns and tries to manage their expectations sympathetically and provide clear advice to resolve matters as expeditiously and economically as possible. If matters need to be contested, she is ready to fight her client’s corner but the approach is primarily to manage the stress of the break-up of family life by way of mediation.

Barbara Cumming

Solicitor

Barbara joined Walker McDonald as a Solicitor in 2006 and has over 25 years legal experience. She specialises in conveyancing and probate work with involvement in matrimonial law. As well as acting for private clients, she has undertaken extensive conveyancing transactions for local government clients; a leading private Housing Association; and NI Co-Ownership. She also acts for a number of developer clients and holds a Certificate in Commercial Conveyancing.

At the forefront of new developments in legal services, Barbara was involved in a pilot scheme with Land Registry on the implementation of electronic conveyancing to improve processes and efficiency in the delivery of registered conveyancing.

Finbar O'Brien

Solicitor

Finbar was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in England & Wales initially practising in Liverpool with seats in commercial property, residential property and corporate financing.  He joined Walker McDonald in 2006.

Finbar offers advices to corporate clients in relation to restructuring, acquisitions, mergers and refinancing.  Finbar has a large portfolio of clients receiving advices in relation to corporate and residential property transactions.

With a background in farming, Finbar has maintained a strong role in agricultural matters.  He has carried that interest through his professional career offering advices and guidance on agricultural and environmental matters on behalf of the practice.  He has successfully represented clients in Departmental prosecutions and in civil courts including Judicial Review.  Finbar is the first Solicitor in Northern Ireland to be enrolled as a Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association.

His recent career successes include multi-million-pound public/private sector refinancing, corporate mergers/acquisitions in the food processing, engineering, medical and training industries and obtaining compensation for landowners affected by installation of utilities by statutory agencies.

Valerie Cafolla

Solicitor

Valerie joined Walker McDonald in 2012 and since then has developed a niche in connection with both civil and criminal litigation. Valerie qualified as an Advanced Solicitor Advocate with rights of audience in the Higher Courts.

She has been involved in the complex defence of criminal matters especially relating to the enforcement of agricultural law.

Valerie’s involvement in insolvency litigation includes pursuing a number of annulment applications in assisting clients who have been adjudicated bankrupt. From a creditors perspective she has also, pursued a number of outstanding debts by various enforcement means through the courts. Valerie also Prosecutes breaches of the Private Security Industry Act 2001 in Northern Ireland.

Sarah Marley

Solicitor

Sarah graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2008 with a LLB 2.1 Degree and qualified as a solicitor in Northern Ireland in 2013. She is a STEP Affiliate and Advanced Advocate.

She has gained experience in a wide range of legal areas, particularly in relation to litigation; probate; and family law.

Sarah deals with all aspects of commercial litigation for private clients and has acquired a wide range of experience in both the County Court and High Court jurisdiction within Northern Ireland.

Sarah has specialist, extensive experience in dealing with all aspects of family and matrimonial law including separation and divorce; resolving financial disputes following relationship breakdown; domestic violence issues; and complex Children’s cases.

Michael Sides

Solicitor

Michael became a solicitor in 1985 and has worked in practices in Counties Antrim, Fermanagh and, more recently, Armagh. He joined Burke and Wilkinson, Solicitors, in Enniskillen shortly prior to the latter’s merger with Cooper & Cooper to form Cooper Wilkinson. Michael was with Cooper Wilkinson for nearly 25 years before retiring from the partnership and taking up a new role with a local firm of solicitors.

Michael joined Walker McDonald in October 2020 bringing with him a wealth of experience in Civil Litigation; Conveyancing and Chancery.

WALKER MCDONALD

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