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  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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In a reflection of Browne Jacobson LLP’s ‘excellent educational law knowledge’, Mark Blois advised key client Greenwood Academies Trust on pre-funding agreement matters in connection with a new special free school. Blois also assisted on a potential provision academy project, and advised on a large-scale policy review. Adrian Shardlow is also recommended.

Eversheds LLP routinely handles mandates for prominent educational institutions such as Nottingham Trent University, University of Derby, University of Wolverhampton, and University of Manchester. The firm is continuing to advise Loughborough University on several IP matters, including the licensing of developed technologies and the settlement of patent claims. Nicola Bennison and James Fry are the names to note.

Chris Knight’s practice group at Hewitsons continued to act for clients such as the Milton Keynes College, the United Church Schools Trust, the United Learning Trust and Merton College, Oxford on a range of educational issues. The team is especially renowned for its expertise in the areas of real estate and construction, commercial contracts, employment, and information and data protection.

Stephen Pearson heads Freeths’ education team, which has experienced a significant uptick in academy conversions. Clients include colleges and universities such as Loughborough University, Harper Adams University College and Nottingham Trent University, as well as schools such as Bringhurst School and Abbots Bromley School for Girls Limited.

Geldards LLP acts for Church School Trusts on property, governance and HR issues. The practice is also acting for Lichfield Diocesan Board of Education on its academy conversion programme. Paul Hilsdon is the key contact.

Howes Percival LLP advised St Martin’s Multi Academy Trust on its formation and is assisting Hatton Academies Trust on the sponsorship of two primary schools. Employment expert Graham Irons is recommended.

John Walker heads Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s ‘excellent’ practice, which covers all aspects of academisation and the formation of multi academy trusts. The firm also works with Nottingham Trent University’s law school to provide pro-bono advice to start-up companies.


Browne Jacobson LLP’s team is noted for its ‘excellent breadth of knowledge’. It advises a significant number of NHS Trusts, including University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, which the practice is advising on an inquest and subsequent gross negligence manslaughter prosecution arising from the death of a child with learning disabilities. The practice also has a strong social care focus. Simon Tait and Oliver Pritchard are highly recommended.

Freeths’ healthcare practice is praised for its ‘very proactive and can-do attitude’. It acts for a mix of public and private sector clients including Maria Mallaband Care Group, Care UK, and Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Private sector highlights included advising longstanding client LNT Group on the £100m sale of Ideal Care Homes to Anchor. Real estate expert Jon Smart heads the team.

Local government

Browne Jacobson LLP’s ‘excellent and very knowledgeable’ team regularly advises on cutting-edge local authority issues, which includes advising clients such as Nottinghamshire County Council on issues relating to public sector mutualisation. Richard Barlow, Laura Hughes and Peter Ware are the key names to note.

Freeths’ local government practice handles the full spectrum of work for clients including Chesterfield Borough Council, Worcestershire County Council and Milton Keynes Council. A recent highlight saw Stephen Pearson advise Scape System Build on the establishment of a joint venture vehicle with Nottinghamshire County Council to operate the design and property management functions of the council.

Weightmans LLP’s specialist public inquiries unit is acting for Rochdale Borough Council in relation to the Goddard Inquiry into the sexual abuse of children. The firm provides support to local authorities on high-level matters including state aid. The ‘calm, approachable and practicalJohn Riddell is recommended.

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