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Presidential and Chief Executive Team

Suzanne Rice, Senior Vice President, Rowan White, President, Brigid Napier, Junior Vice President and David A.Lavery, Chief Executive

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

The new Presidential and Chief Executive team for 2019 were appointed on Wednesday 27th November 2019. The new Presidential team are as follows:


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, including acquisitions, disposals and leases for local, national and international clients, as well as property development, finance and corporate support work.

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 Client Complaints and Education and Committees, as well as serving on numerous other committees and sub-committees.

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


Suzanne Rice read Law and French at Queens University Belfast before attending the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in Belfast where she completed her apprenticeship with Con O’Hagan Solicitors in Lurgan, County Armagh. After qualifying as a Solicitor in 2003, Suzanne continued her practice in Belfast where she now specialises in all aspects of Family Law and most notably Divorce and Children’s Law.

Suzanne currently works for McKeown and Company Solicitors in Belfast which is a young and dynamic law Firm specialising in Criminal Law, Family Law and Plaintiff Litigation based in the City Centre.

Suzanne is an Advanced Advocate Solicitor and is on the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Panel as well as the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s Family Law Committee.

In 2009, Suzanne qualified as a Collaborative Divorce Solicitor and she became a Council Member of the Law Society of Northern Ireland in November 2013 were she has sat on the following Committees: Access to Justice, Family Law, Financial Services and Client Complaints. She currently represents the Profession in ongoing Government initiatives towards improving children’s law services.

Her expertise and knowledge in this area has been instrumental in assisting change and development to the practice of children’s law and she continues to advise on consultations and Steering Groups in this field.

As well as representing both parents and children, Suzanne also acts on behalf of international Governments in child abduction cases and she has recently acted on behalf of the American, Australian, Dutch, Irish, Turkish and Moroccan authorities before the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland.

In 2010 Suzanne became Legal Advisor to the Family Care Society in Adoption Matters and she is currently a board member of the Children’s Law Centre Management Board.


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 then she has been practising as a solicitor in the area of Insolvency and Commercial Litigation for over 30 years and is a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner and a Notary Public. 

Brigid is the only Northern Ireland lawyer who has been ranked for three consecutive years in Band One for Personal Insolvency in the UK by Chambers & Partners. 

She currently advises on all aspects of Personal and Corporate Insolvency and is regularly appointed Trustee in Bankruptcy and as a Liquidator in Members’ Voluntary Liquidations, Creditors Voluntary Liquidations and by the Insolvency Service in Compulsory Liquidations. 

She also advises on alternatives to bankruptcy and liquidation for clients facing Personal and Corporate Insolvency and on directors’ responsibilities, disqualification and personal liability. 

Brigid has received the “Best in Professional Services Award” from Women in Business Northern Ireland and was awarded Advanced Coaching status by the Institute of Leadership and Management. 

In 2017, she was elected to the Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland where she has served as a member of a number of regulatory committees, including Professional Indemnity Insurance, Financial Services and Professional Ethics and Home Charter.

She also sits on the Board of Law Society NI Financial Advice Ltd and Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI.

Brigid interests include travel and art.


David Lavery comes to the Law Society of Northern Ireland with an exceptionally strong record of service in the justice system including holding the position of Deputy Permanent Secretary and Director of Access to Justice in the Department of Justice.

Mr Lavery also previously served as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service between 2001 and 2012.  

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 served as an Associate at Harvard’s Centre for International Affairs. He is also an Eisenhower Fellow and is currently a Visiting Professor at Ulster University. 

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

He took up the role as Chief Executive of the Law Society of Northern Ireland on Monday 2nd September 2019.


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