Rafferty & Boyle
The Rafferty & Boyle story begins, not in Coleraine, where the practice was 40 years old this year, but in faraway Dublin, where Paul Boyle, a Coleraine native, arrived to study law at the 400 year old Trinity College, in 1975.
Fionnuala Rafferty from Swatragh, a Dominican College Portstewart student, followed the same path a year later. Like Paul, she had no family history in the legal profession. She was persuaded along this course by her elder sisters, six of whom had joined the teaching profession, but had a different career in mind for their precocious youngest sibling who was a Schools Debating enthusiast. At the end of Fionnuala Second Semester in Trinity she met Paul and, as they say, the rest is history!
Meantime, Fionnuala’s older brother Terence was finishing a law degree at Queens in Belfast. In 1981 Terence wanted to start his own practice near home. Paul had by then just completed his Apprenticeship with Coleraine firm Daniel A Mc Kenna & Co. and they agreed to set up together in Coleraine. The firm opened in September of that year as T P Rafferty & Co in a former hairdresser’s above Paul’s father, Paddy’s Pharmacy at 1, Castlerock Road in the town. One part time Secretary, Shelia Mc Laughlin (nee Morrow) was the first and only employee for two years. The firm was rebranded Rafferty & Boyle in 1983.
As the Practice was growing throughout the 1980’s, Fionnuala decided to use her law degree & became apprenticed to her brother Terence, having spent two years in the Civil Service, and busy rearing a young family. She qualified in 1985 and took over the family law side. Litigation and Conveyancing was also developing strongly. Indeed, the firm successfully litigated a then record award for personal injuries compensation award in the late 80s.
The adjoining Number 3 Castlerock Road (a dilapidated Boarding House) was acquired and extensively renovated in 1987 to accommodate the expanding Practice.
Terence left Rafferty & Boyle in 1995 to pursue other interests. Paul and Fionnuala had the good fortune, a year later, to be joined by Paul’s sister in law, Oonagh Boyle, a returnee from London. She and Fionnuala developed the matrimonial/ family area over the next decade.
In more recent years the focus of the Practice for Paul has been on Residential Conveyancing, Wills and Probate and Litigation; Fionnuala has continued to successfully grow the Matrimonial and Children Order areas.
On 1st April 2021 the acquisition of the Practice by well-known and respected Mid Ulster firm Mallon & Co. which is headed by Joe Mallon and Enda McKaigue was completed. The Principals in both firms quickly appreciated that they would make a good fit for each other and existing clients would be in good hands. All deeds, documents and wills have been seamlessly transferred to the new firm which remains at its location at 3 Castlerock Road. Paul remains with the firm and Fionnuala is now happily enjoying her retirement.
When Paul first started the Practice he was struck by advice in a business journal that, no matter what the business, the singular most important element is your staff. That has certainly proved to be the case in Rafferty & Boyle down the years. Rhonda Wilmot, Gail Callan and Valerie Hastings have all been vital cogs in the wheels of the Practice over the last twenty plus years, and have been joined to good effect by Anne Smith in more recent years. They have all been instrumental in effecting a smooth transition.
Since the takeover the Coleraine office has undergone a refurbishment of the reception area and the addition of a state of the art meeting room. That facilitates the pandemic induced world of remote court hearings and meetings with Counsel and other professionals.
Almost eighteen months into the change of ownership, Rafferty & Boyle’s forty year old business has now, almost seamlessly, transferred into Mallon & Co; it is one that is sure to endure for many years to come.