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Fee Earner Focus: Q&A – Claire McDonnell, Litigation

Claire McDonnell (pictured below), qualified as a Solicitor in 2010 and joined Bermans in January 2019 as a Senior Associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution team.

Claire McDonnell

1. Can you give us a brief summary of your career so far?

I trained at a firm in Manchester and qualified as a solicitor in 2010.  After a couple of years working as a Commercial Litigation Solicitor, I decided that it was time to explore the world and so I bought a round-the-world ticket and headed off on my travels for a year.  I returned to Manchester in 2013 and began working at a regional firm.  I later moved to a boutique commercial law firm in Manchester and became an Associate while there.  I joined Bermans’ Litigation and Dispute Resolution team in January 2019 as a Senior Associate.

2. What area of the law do you specialise in and why?

I specialise in Dispute Resolution and Commercial Litigation.  I enjoy the variety of work this offers and the chance to work with a whole range of different clients, from entrepreneurs to SMEs.  I am a problem-solver, so helping clients to find commercial solutions to their problems is doing what I do best.

3. Is there a case or a particular piece of work you were proud to be involved with, if so why?

During my career, I have had an opportunity to work on some very complex and high value matters which I am very proud to have been involved with.  However, I feel proudest when I am able to achieve quick results for a client, no matter the size or complexity of the issue.  Although I work in litigation, it is quite rare for the matters I am involved in to proceed to Trial.  A happy client makes me happy!

4. Away from the law what are your interests and passions?

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.  However, as there has not been much chance to socialise over the last 12 months due to the Covid restrictions, I have had to find new hobbies.  I’m now a keen gardener and, along with the rest of the country, I love to go for a good walk!

I also love travelling and, when we are able to, I really want to visit Japan and Canada although I would currently take a beach holiday anywhere warm and sunny.




Bullet Round

Sports & Teams Supported: 

Manchester United, I’m from Manchester so I have always been a Manchester United fan.

Films (Top 3):

This list could change on any given day.  Today, it is:

The Goonies

The Breakfast Club

Stand By Me

As you will have gathered from the above selection, I am a child of the eighties and these films just evoke feelings of nostalgia and memories of adventures with my best buddies whenever I watch them.

Music (3 tracks to take on Desert Island):

Whitney Houston – Greatest Hits – this reminds me so much of my childhood.  It is also the only tape (yes, tape!) I have in my car.  Plus, who could remain seated if ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ came on?!

NME Presents the Essential Bands 2006 – yes, it’s a compilation but there are so may good songs on this album.  It just brings back so many good memories of nights out in Manchester during my twenties.

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls – I first watched this band at a festival when I was living in Melbourne and ended up buying album afterwards.  I listened to it non-stop while I was travelling and so it just takes me back to that time if I listen to it now.


As with films, my list of favourite boxsets changes regularly mainly because there is so much choice out there.  Today, I recommend:

Game of Thrones (apart from the final episode) – This is a fantasy series but the politics and the Machiavellian exploits of some of the characters make it so much more than that! I’m really jealous of anyone who hasn’t seen this before.  I would love to watch this again for the first time.  It is just brilliant!

The Handmaid’s Tale – this is a dystopian series about a totalitarian state called Gilead which used to be the USA.  In the future, women are seen as the property of the state and, faced with a diminishing population, the few remaining fertile women are used as baby-making slaves for high-ranking men and their wives.  It is addictive watching (I watched the first 2 seasons in a week) and very thought provoking, especially when considering whether it is ever a good idea to allow the state to take control of your freedoms.

Flight of the Conchords – this is an alternative musical comedy series about a hapless duo called Bret and Jemaine who are from New Zealand and are trying to make it as a band in New York.  Their songs include titles such “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros”, “Business Time” and “Foux du Fafa” to name just a few.  It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it never fails to make me laugh.


A Sunday roast

Holiday destination: 

Cambodia is a fascinating place.  I spent some time there during my round-the-world trip and I would like to return one day to explore it some more.

Favourite book:

One Day by David Nicholls – the film adaptation didn’t do it justice!

If you could do anything other than being a Lawyer, what would you be and why?

A mystery shopper for luxury hotels in exotic locations.

3 people for a dinner party and why?

It probably doesn’t sound very exciting but I would love to have a dinner party with 3 of my closest friends.  I have missed them!


To get in touch with Claire


t: 061 827 4603

w: Web Profile


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