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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Public sector > Education > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Education
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

At Browne Jacobson LLP, the team’s specialist knowledge of academy conversions, multi-academy trusts and PFI schools is 'invaluable and unique’. The ‘excellentMark Blois heads up the practice, which counts academy transfers, academy trust mergers and expansions and academy rebrokerage among its core strengths. Other work includes property advice, education-specific GDPR implementation, regulatory work, parent complaints and disputes as well as discrimination claims.

Practice head(s):Mark Blois;

Other key lawyers:Adrian Shardlow;

Testimonials

'Exceptional sector knowledge and coverage of the areas of potential risk to multi-academy trusts'.

'Their work is top drawer. Their strengths are: 1. Deep understanding of the sector - hence such strong roundtable events when they host; 2. Mastery of both the precise (for example, regulatory governance in multi-academy trusts); and the strategic (very good horizon scanners and policy commentators/influencers); 3. Political acuity and a tremendous empathy'.

'Mark Blois is extremely professional, competent, pleasant and helpful'.

'Mark Blois, the assignment partner, is excellent, as he had very good knowledge and understanding of governance in a single academy trust'.

'Always willing to go the extra mile and provide consistently a steady steer through legal frameworks, due diligence and the laws expectations of schools and colleges'.

Key Clients

Greenwood Academies Trust

Flying High Trust

Redhill Academy Trust

Community Inclusive Trust

RC Diocese of Nottingham

Believe Academy Trust

Diverse Academies Learning Partnership

Lionheart Academies Trust

Rushey Mead Academy Trust

TRA/DfE

RPA/DfE

Spencer Academy Trust

Horncastle Education Trust

Nova Education Trust

Atlas Multi-Academy Trust

Lawrence Sheriff School

Dronfield Junior School

Loxford School Trust

The Elliot Foundation Academy Trust

Our Lady of Lourdes Academy Trust

Boarding Schools Association

Thomas Deacon Education Trust

Holyport College

Ashfield Academy

Heart Education Trust

Learning Academies Partnership

Academy Transformation Trust

RC Diocese of Leeds, Westminster, Birmingham

Archdiocese of Birmingham

Central Learning Partnership Trust

Sevak Education Trust

Diocese of Bristol Academy Trust

Russell Education Trust

Zenith Multi-Academy Trust

Tees Valley Collaborative Trust

Torfield Saxon Mount Academy Trust

The Legacy Learning Trust

E-ACT

Rugby High School Academy Trust

Transform Trust

Humber Education Trust

Raleigh Learning Trust

Apollo Partnership Trust

Aspire Multi-Academy Trust

Archway Learning Trust

Work highlights

  • Leading national provider of legal advice to Roman Catholic Dioceses in relation to academy projects.
  • Acted for Lawrence Sheriff School Academy Trust in a harassment claim against a head teacher.
  • Representing a junior school in relation to a disability discrimination claim brought by the parents of a former pupil.
  • Providing advice to and representing a number of local authorities and academy trusts on special educational needs and disability appeals.
  • Advising school and academy trust clients on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters relating to the application of the Equality Act 2010 covering protected characteristics including gender reassignment, race and disability.

Freeths LLP's client roster includes various schools and colleges, as well as several major universities. Academy conversions are a key strength, with the practice undertaking a broad range of contracts and governance work, property-related instructions, student issues and employment disputes. Team head Stephen Pearson is an expert on governance contracts, procurement and state aid issues.

Practice head(s):Stephen Pearson;

Testimonials

'The team is accessible, well-informed and proactive'

Key Clients

University of Nottingham

CPC “Crescent” Consortium (various schools and colleges)

Birmingham Metropolitan College

Shrewsbury Roman Catholic Diocesan Board of Education

Loughborough University

Nottingham Trent University

University of Birmingham

University of Lincoln

Oxford Brookes University

Work highlights

  • Advised the University of Nottingham on complex arrangements concerning termination of contract with government department.
  • Acted for an academy trust on a major dispute with another academy trust, culminating in successful mediation and FOI disclosure issues.
  • Acted for the University of Nottingham on commercial and property agreements with National Foundation, including partnering with Academic Departments.

Howes Percival LLP has a cross-practice team, which provides support on corporate, property, construction, commercial and data protection issues. Primary, secondary and faith schools turn to the group for advice on single academy conversions and multi-academy trusts. The firm also generates work from colleges and universities.  Graham Irons (who co-heads the practice with Daniel Banton and Mark Davies) advises on restructuring and employment matters, as well as the management of parent companies.

Practice head(s):Graham Irons; Daniel Banton; Mark Davies;

Key Clients

Milton Keynes College

Coventry University

De Montfort University

Learner’s Trust

Elston Hall Multi Academy Trust

Northwood Park Educational Trust

Learning Link Multi Academy Trust

Services 4 Schools Limited

Christ the King Catholic Collegiate

Perry Hall Multi Academy Trust

Lumen Christi Catholic Multi Academy Trust

Codsall Multi Academy Trust

St Bartholomew’s CE Multi Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising Perry Hall Multi Academy Trust on the conversion of Woodthorne Primary School into an academy within the Perry Hall Multi Academy Trust.
  • Advising All Saints Church of England Primary School on its conversion to academy status within St Bartholomew’s CE Multi Academy Trust.
  • Advising Lumen Christi Catholic Multi Academy Company on updating its academy documentation.
  • Assisting Codsall Multi Academy Trust with constitutional issues.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acts for academies, higher and further education institutions, and various schools. Nicola Bennison, who is the name to note, specialises in education-related Employment Tribunal matters, as well as student issues and regulatory challenges.

Other key lawyers:Nicola Bennison;

Geldards LLP specialises in advising primary and secondary schools, multi-academy trusts and Church of England schools on academy conversions. Additional bedrocks of the practice include advising Church School Trusts on property and governance issues, as well as rebrokerage matters. In addition, the firm is increasingly active in HR support mandates. Michelle Craven-Faulkner heads up the department.

Practice head(s):Michelle Craven-Faulkner;

Key Clients

University of Leicester

Nottingham College

Nottinghamshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Acting for Nottingham College on the acquisition and development of its new Skills Hub, and also its disposal of the existing Maid Marian Way facility.
  • Acting for a large multi-academy trust on academy conversions and general HR matters.
  • Act for a school in all HR related matters, which includes dealing with a lengthy grievance involving several allegations against staff members and negotiating, drafting Settlement Agreement.
  • Advising a Multi-Academy Trust with a religious affiliation on its academy conversions.
  • Advising religious educational charity on significant property development and incorporation.

Hewitsons' multi-faceted practice covers areas such as data protection, development and construction, dispute resolution, employment and regulatory advice for clients. It is also adept in independent school mergers and acquisitions, as well as single and multi-academy conversions. Practice head Chris Knight advises a number of clients from the charity sector on education-related issues.

Practice head(s):Chris Knight;

Key Clients

The Wilson Foundation

Maidwell Hall School

Becketts and Sargeants Educational Foundation

United Church Schools Trust

United Church Schools Foundation

United Learning Trust

Bedford College

Kimbolton School

Northampton Free School Trust

Oundle School

Wellingborough School

Work highlights

  • Advice to a major schools group on the acquisition of a school with an unusual structure.
  • Assisted The Wilson Foundation with acquiring a residential outdoor centre for school children from the local authority.
  • Ongoing advice to a major local educational grant making charity.
  • Advising a large schools group on the sale of Caterham School.

Langleys Solicitors LLP advises nurseries, local authorities, independent schools, colleges and universities on a broad range of education-related matters. Academy conversions are a particular speciality, with the team handling all aspects of the conversion process. Additional types of work undertaken include advising on property and commercial issues, parental and student disputes, admissions and exclusions. Practice head Kate Hindmarch is an expert in employment matters.

Practice head(s):Kate Hindmarch

Testimonials

'Their advice is always sound and pragmatic, based on a good understanding of business context and needs'.

'Aleksandra Flack and Kate Hindmarch are extremely competent, responsive, professional and personable'.

Key Clients

Priory Federation of Academies Trust

Gorse Academies Trust

Lincoln College Group

University of Lincoln

Work highlights

  • Advising Priory Federation of Academies on acquiring additional schools, bringing its total to ten.
  • Defending a High Court breach of contract claim.
  • Advising a trust on a parental dispute.
  • Obtaining an injunction restraining a parent from harassment.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited has a varied workload, which includes academy conversions, misconduct and grievance investigations and contractual disputes. Practice head Laura Kearsley is an expert in all forms of discrimination (including sex, disability, race and religion), industrial relations and discipline and grievance issues, among other employment issues. Other members of the team advise clients on GDPR and corporate affairs. The client base comprises of various schools, academies and education providers, as well as teachers and other employees.

Practice head(s):Laura Kearsley;

Work highlights

  • Advised a client on her rights on the withdrawal of a job offer following an adverse reference from her former employer school.
  • Advising a teacher client on suspension and proposed disciplinary procedure for safeguarding issues.
  • Acted for a university in a dispute with a former student over unpaid tuition fees.
  • Advising an alternative education provider on the lease of premises.
  • Advising an assistant head teacher on possible constructive unfair dismissal.

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