A Warm Welcome to Ben Fraser
Davidson McDonnell is delighted to let you know that Ben Fraser has joined our Commercial Property team. We spoke to Ben on what attracted him to Davidson McDonnell and his first impressions of the firm.
Tell us a bit about your background prior to Davidson McDonnell?
I trained and then spent a few years post-qualification at international law firm DLA Piper in England as an Associate in their Real Estate team, before relocating to Northern Ireland in January 2017 to be closer to (my now wife!) Leanne. Since then, I had been working in the Property team of a large Irish law firm in Belfast before I was given the opportunity to join the team at Davidson McDonnell. I am dual qualified to practice in England & Wales and Northern Ireland and I am looking forward to getting started at Davidson McDonnell.
What do you enjoy most about working within property law?
Following completion of my two year training contract, it became clear to me that I enjoyed negotiating contracts and working towards a common goal rather than resolving disputes so I knew that I wanted to work in a non-contentious, contractual area of law. The thing that persuaded me to specialise in commercial property, as opposed to a more general commercial work, was the fact that properties are tangible. I loved that you could see (and walk round!) the office blocks, shopping centres and industrial estates and could therefore visualise exactly what you were working on a contract to buy, sell, lease etc. Since then, I have not really looked back and I enjoy being able to work on a variety of matters both in Northern Ireland and back in England.
How did you first hear about Davidson McDonnell?
I first came across Davidson McDonnell when they came up on the other side of a redevelopment at Flax House on Adelaide Street, Belfast in which they were acting for the developer landlord and my previous firm was acting for the proposed new tenant. As many professionals often do, I looked up my “opposition” to see what I could find out about them and the work they had been involved in so that I could work out how best to approach the deal at hand.
What drew you to Davidson McDonnell?
As mentioned above, I had worked on the other side from Davidson McDonnell on the Flax House matter and I subsequently worked on the other side of a few more deals over the past couple of years. I was therefore impressed with their approach because they always tried to work alongside you (yes, even on the other side!) to get deals done both correctly and efficiently, which is clearly to the benefit of both parties when negotiating contracts. I have to say that it was a pleasant surprise in a professional sphere where some lawyers can get a reputation for being hard to work with and difficult to work on the other side from. I was therefore delighted to get the opportunity to join the team at Davidson McDonnell.
How would you describe Davidson McDonnell?
A great team that take pride in their professional, commercial approach and who you would be mad not to want to work with. Davidson McDonnell have the benefit of a close-knit team combined with the professional connections and clients to rival any firm in Belfast, which can be seen by the top quality work that they have been involved in to date. The benefits of working alongside such great, professional team are clear to see.
What are you looking forward to most about working at Davidson McDonnell?
I am looking forward to joining the team at Davidson McDonnell at this exciting time in their development and growth. The firm really has gone from strength to strength in the past few years and that is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Ross, David and the whole team. I cannot wait to be part of the team and to do what I can to help keep the firm on its upwards trajectory. I am excited to work with the firm’s current clients and to build new connections too.
What advice would you have for anyone starting out in your field?
Work out what you are passionate about and use that passion to drive you forward. True passion is infectious and will make you enjoy what you do (let’s face it, for the majority of the week!). Try to get out of the office and take opportunities to meet as many people as you can; even those at a junior level like you (because one day, hopefully, they will become more senior as you do). You never know who the most useful contacts will be so treat everyone how you would like to be treated and you will earn the respect of not only your colleagues and clients but also your peers. Try to keep smiling too, even in the busy times, and embrace challenges by seeing them as opportunities to learn something new. Lastly, be commercial. Help your clients get the deals done. Spot issues before they become problems and think of solutions in advance.
For more about Ben see his bio here
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