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Presidential and Chief Executive Team

New Presidential Team 2021

The Law Society Presidential and Chief Executive Team consists of the President, Senior Vice President, Junior President and Chief Executive.

The Presidential and Chief Executive for 2021-22 was appointed on Wednesday 24th November 2021 and will remain in place until Wednesday 30th November 2022.

The members of the Presidential Team are as follows:

PRESIDENT - BRIGID NAPIER

Brigid Napier graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1985 and joined her father in the family practice of Napier & Sons, a firm established by her grandfather in 1930.  Since its inception, the firm has been renowned for its expertise in Insolvency and Brigid proudly took up this mantel, becoming one of only 3 solicitors in the jurisdiction to be licenced as an Insolvency Practitioner. She is currently a Director in Napier Solicitors and advises on all aspects of Personal and Corporate Insolvency and is regularly appointed as a Trustee in Bankruptcy or Liquidator in complex insolvencies.  Brigid’s daily work as a practising solicitor with over 30 years’ experience involves working at the coalface with individuals and businesses in crisis.

One of Brigid’s key goals is to give back to the profession and to encourage and inspire her peers as well the next generation of lawyers.  From an early stage in her career, Brigid was involved in the Young Solicitors Association, and was a popular speaker at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies.  She is particularly proactive in promoting women in the law and was proud to take part in the Law Society’s mentoring programme.  In recognition of her dedication to this cause, Brigid was honoured to receive the “Best in Professional Services Award” from Women in Business Northern Ireland.  She also undertook bespoke training with the Institute of Leadership and Management and attained Advanced Coaching status.    

Brigid cherishes her client relationships and values integrity, loyalty and professionalism.  She also understands the highs and lows, and the trials and tribulations of private practice in the SME sector as well the personal sacrifices which many have to make for career advancement.   This insight has informed her contribution to the work of the Law Society as both an advocate for members and a regulator.  She was elected to the Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland in 2017 and has since served as a member of a number of regulatory committees, including the Professional Conduct Committee and as Chair of the Professional liability Committee.

In her free time, Brigid has a passion for travel with recent, pre-pandemic trips to Argentina and India, aimed at expanding her horizon and learning more about other cultures.  Closer to home, Brigid enjoys hosting and entertaining friends and colleagues as well as exploring the sights and sounds of Northern Ireland, relishing long walks in Portstewart or the Mourne mountains. 

Brigid sits on the Board of Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI which will be the President’s Charity of the Year.

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT - ROWAN WHITE

Rowan White graduated with an honours degree in law from the University of Cambridge in 1974 and returned to Belfast to take up an apprenticeship with Crawford& Lockhart, Martin H. Turnbull & Co.

He remained with that firm after he was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Northern Ireland in 1977 but moved to its affiliated practice in Ballymena, J.& A. Caruth & Bamber, in January 1979. Rowan returned to Belfast in September 1983 to join Norman Wilson & Co, becoming a partner in 1985.

Although that firm had by then been in existence for more than eighty years, he was, remarkably, only its third principal in all that time.  Rowan was instrumental in its merger with leading Irish law firm Arthur Cox in 1996 and was a partner in Arthur Cox’s Belfast practice from 1996 until April 2018, when he took up a consultancy role.

His practice covers all areas of commercial property and, over the years, he has been involved in many of the biggest and most complex property transactions in Northern Ireland. 

Rowan has been active in a number of professional bodies over the course of his career. He was Chairman of Antrim& Ballymena Solicitors’ Association in 1983 and of The Belfast Solicitors’ Association in 1991/92. He was a founder member and the first Chair of The Northern Ireland Commercial Property Lawyers’ Association when it was established in 2006. 

Elected to the Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland in November 2015, Rowan has chaired its ​Business, Client Complaints​, Education and ​Professional Liability Committees, as well as serving on numerous other committees and sub-committees. He was elected President in November 2019 and, along with the other members of the Presidential team, was re-elected in November 2020 to provide continuity through the pandemic.

Rowan also serves as a nominee of the Society on the Council of Legal Education.

JUNIOR VICE PRESIDENT - BRIAN ARCHER

Brian Archer graduated from Queens University Belfast with a honours degree in law in 1991 and qualified as a Solicitor in 1994.

Following this he worked as an assistant Solicitor for Francis Keenan Solicitor in Belfast from 1994 -2001 specialising in Criminal Law representing clients before the Magistrates and Crown Courts.

In 2001 he setup his own firm in partnership with two other colleagues and in 2016 he setup practice on his own as Archer Solicitors in Belfast.

Brian qualified as an Advanced Advocate in 2001 and was appointed to the Law Society’s Children Order and NIGALA Children Order Panel in 2010.

In 2007 Brian was appointed a Deputy District Judge and he continues to sit throughout the Jurisdiction in Magistrates, Youth Courts and Family Proceedings Courts.

Over the last 20 years Brian has been involved in Legal Education as a teaching assistant at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies and has been a Law Society Council member for over 10 years chairing  a number of committees.

Outside his legal practice Brian has been involved in a number of charities namely the Sexual Abuse  Counselling Service Nexus for which he was appointed Chair of their Board of Directors from 2016 -2018.

Brian is presently a trustee of the Include Youth charity.

He is married with two grown up children.

TREASURER - BRIAN H. SPEERS 

Brian Speers is Treasurer of the LSNI and was President of the Society in 2010/2011.

He is managing partner in CMG Cunningham Dickey Solicitors where he practices in housing development work for some of the leading housebuilders in Northern Ireland.  This work involves site acquisitions, planning and financing.

He has been a passionate advocate for mediation in civil and commercial matters and devised and delivers the Mediation training course through the IPLS at Queens University Belfast.  He is Chair of the Law Society Mediation Service.

In April 2019 at their Conference in Livingston, Zambia Brian was elected as President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA).  His term in office was extended in September 2021 until March 2023.  As CLA President Brian represents practitioners in the 54 nations of the Commonwealth with a particular emphasis on upholding the rule of law.

In April 2021 Brian was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Commonwealth Games Ethics Commission a post he will hold for 4 years.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE - DAVID A. LAVERY CB

David Lavery was appointed Chief Executive of the Law Society of Northern Ireland in September 2019.

Mr Lavery also previously served as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service and as Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.

He also served as Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister from 1998-2001.

Mr Lavery holds an LL.B from Queen’s University, Belfast and an LL.M from Harvard Law School and he spent the earlier part of his career in private practice. 

He was a Knox Fellow at Harvard and an Associate at Harvard’s Centre for International Affairs. He is an Eisenhower Fellow and a Visiting Professor at Ulster University. 

Mr Lavery is a Member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

In 2008 he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.


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