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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 > London > Public sector > Education: institutions > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

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Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s group handles a range of contentious and non-contentious work for higher and further education institutions, including Waltham Forest College and Kensington and Chelsea College. It assisted several further education and sixth form colleges with the national strategic area review exercise and handled the procurement, construction and planning issues of a strategic refurbishment and property development project for London Metropolitan University. Glynne Stanfield advised Apollo Education Group on the regulatory and compliance aspects of its acquisition by a consortium of private equity firms and assisted Research Councils UK with the formation of UK Research and Investment. On the contentious side, litigator Alison Oldfield and Nicola Bennison acted for the Association of Colleges and Havering Sixth Form College in a judicial review challenge to the Department for Education’s decision to approve a new sixth form college in the London Borough of Havering. Practice head Diane Gilhooley is renowned for her expertise in human resources matters; Simon Chamberlain specialises in property-related matters; and Ben Wood handles employment and governance issues. Christopher Mordue joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Farrer & Co’s ‘pragmatic’ and ‘commercial’ team combines ‘excellent’ industry expertise with its knowledge of charitable law to advice on matters such as the structuring of donations and financial arrangements, as well as employment, safeguarding and data protection matters. Peter Wienand, who is ‘very commercial and has expertise in a lot of different areas relevant to the higher education sector’, is assisting Research Libraries UK with the development of an open-access policy and the UK Scholarly Communications Licence, a model licence, enabling unrestricted access to scholarly communications between universities. Practice head David Copping handled the structuring of international academic collaborations for King’s College London, which involved drafting a contractual suite, setting up a subsidiary company to manage international commercial activity and advising on related intellectual property and regulatory matters. Kathleen Heycock led a team handling a safeguarding and pastoral care review for Imperial College London. Heycock is also advising London Business School on contentious and non-contentious employment matters concerning academic and non-academic staff, student complaints and appeals. Julian Smith and Sam MacDonald are also recommended.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘excellent and responsive’ team has ‘great sector expertise’ and acts for educational institutions in a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Gary Attle and associate Monika Sobiecki have a track record representing universities in student disciplinary proceedings arising from criminal misconduct, sexual harassment and hate crime. Richard Sykes specialises in contentious matters involving institutional liability and related risks. Real estate partner Christian Bull assists universities and colleges with property-related matters. ‘Very commercial and responsive financing expertSarah Seed advised Imperial College London on the £200m private placement for the financing of the White City campus development, and Attle led a team advising on a Freedom of Information Act 2000 request for patient data collected as part of a large-scale clinical trial by Queen Mary University of London, which included challenging the request in the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights).

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘first-rate, accurate and knowledgeable’ group handles matters ranging from international expansion, regulatory work and governance to educational technology projects, immigration and disciplinary issues, and acts for major institutional clients, including Nottingham Trent University, University College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Edinburgh and University of Manchester. Practice head Victoria Goddard assisted the University of London with the procurement process for a student accommodation development in Stratford. Martin Priestley is leading a team assisting the University of Sheffield with the expansion of its partnership with Nanjing Tech University by establishing a joint institute for science; he is also advising the University of Sussex on the procurement of a new student administration and records system and an online distance learning service. ‘Able, measured and realistic negotiator’ Chris Martin is ‘able to distil the complexities of each case into sound pragmatic advice’. ‘Brilliant litigatorJulian Sladdin, who is ‘a delight to work with’, stands out for his ‘forensic attention to detail and strong analytical skills’. The ‘knowledgeableGayle Ditchburn is also recommended. Nicola Hart retired.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP houses ‘leaders in industry knowledge, business acumen and soft skills’, who provide ‘timely pragmatic advice’ in matters including regulating relationships between universities and staff and students, as well as advising on governance matters, constitutional reviews and partnerships. Practice head and ‘great client partner’ Smita Jamdar represented Loughborough University in a claim brought by a former student concerning the conditions of a valid personal data request under the Data Protection Act 1998. Litigator Catherine Yule, who is ‘hardworking and effective’, defended the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health against an abuse of dominant position claim filed by a private course provider, following the Institution’s refusal of accreditation. British School of Osteopathy, London South Bank University, University of Roehampton, Hillcroft College and Epping Forest College are also clients. Geraldine Swanton is ‘highly practical, knowledgeable and personable’ and Joanna Forbes is also recommended.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) fields a team of ‘consistently responsive, authoritative and commercially-minded sector experts’, who cover a broad higher education portfolio with particular focus on procurement, competition and governance matters, and charity law. Its enviable client base includes Royal College of Music, University of Bristol, John Ruskin College and The Institute of Cancer Research, and the firm is also top ranked on the London Universities Purchasing Consortium legal services framework. Practice head Bettina Rigg, who is ‘a first-rate client partner’ and ‘makes complex legal issues clear without patronising or over-simplifying’, was part of a team providing procurement advice to the University of the Arts London pertaining to a new data management and processing software. Rigg is also leading a team acting for the University of East London in judicial review proceedings brought by a former student challenging the termination of the student’s placement on grounds of fitness to practise, as well as advising the client on the Equality Act 2010 aspects of international student exchanges and transgender student issues. Michael Halsey is providing ongoing employment-related advice to Brunel University London. On the real estate side, property specialist Clive Read assisted Barnet and Southgate College with the £5m disposal of a redundant former campus known as Minchenden High School to Enfield Council. The ‘approachableCon Alexanderprovides quick and helpful advice’. Charity and governance expert Emma-Jane Dalley and the ‘pragmaticJane Byford are also recommended. David Hansom joined Clyde & Co LLP.

Bates Wells Braithwaite’s ‘expert’ group houses ‘lawyers who are innovative in their thinking, demonstrate superb judgement and provide prompt and incisive advice’. The group’s strength lies in organisational changes and restructurings, and mergers between further education institutions and universities. Julian Blake, who has ‘an unequalled sector expertise and track record’, is leading a team that includes Caraline Johnson, Mary Groom and employment expert William Garnett in assisting Bromley College with its proposed Type B merger with Greenwich College. Lucy McLynn handled a merger for Westminster Kingsway College and City and Islington College. Groom is assisting Activate Learning with the acquisition of ATG, a charitable training provider. Simon Steeden led a team advising Universities UK on matters concerning the Universities for Europe campaign, following the EU referendum. Garnett ‘strikes the right balance between advocacy and outstanding tactical prowess’. Chichester College, London Metropolitan University, Association of Colleges, Palmer’s College and Seevic College are new clients.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s group utilises its ‘excellent knowledge, experience and ability to investigate and analyse difficult cases’ to act for education providers, as well as local authorities and public bodies on contentious as well as non-contentious matters. Practice co-head Julian Gizzi is assisting Higher Education Funding Council for England with its review of additional funding for specialist higher education institutions and with the drafting of the Higher Education and Research Bill, which is intended to amend the current regulatory regime and establish a new regulatory body. Gizzi is also providing ongoing assistance to ESCP Europe Business School and, alongside fellow co-head Stephen Hocking, is advising The Society of Jesus on the planned withdrawal of Heythrop College as a constituent college of the University of London. The group is also representing universities and colleges in abuse and historic abuse claims and successfully defended Ofsted in an appeal to a deregistration decision filed by the education provider the decision related to. Other clients include the University of Sheffield, Queen Mary University of London and Office for Fair Access.

Weightmans LLP’s ‘excellent’ team utilises its ‘wide breadth and depth of knowledge’ to assist clients with high-profile strategic developments such as joint academic programmes abroad, research partnerships and the implementation of technology projects. Martin Vincent handled a £4m IP commercialisation project for Loughborough University and is advising Birmingham City University on its planned international expansion to Vietnam. Vincent King assisted Queen Mary University of London with a collaboration agreement between its colleges and institutes and the University of London. In another highlight, Janice Weatherly drafted heads of terms, and negotiated and concluded an event hosting agreement for Birmingham City University allowing the Trades Union Congress to hold a demonstration during the Conservative Party conference on the university’s property. On the contentious side, Andrew Roberts is representing Middlesex University against a fitness to practise decision and an Office of the Independent Adjudicator complaint. Karen Stephenson is now University Secretary at Birmingham City University.

BLM’s group focuses on contentious work arising from issues including discrimination, negligence, fitness to practise and breach of contract. Practice head Elliot Pound specialises in representing universities in academic judgement and equality claims. Pound is defending Imperial College of Science against a breach of contract and confidence, harassment and negligence claim filed by a former lecturer who was dismissed on disciplinary grounds. Judicial review expert Richard Wilkins is acting for Newcastle University in a dispute arising from a false diagnosis based on the laboratory results obtained as part of a research project. Defendant defamation specialist Tim Smith represented the University of Portsmouth in proceedings alleging breach of contract, breach of confidence, breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998 and a defamation claim pertaining to the selection process for speakers at academic conferences. The group is also defending Kingston College against a claim for alleged discrimination brought by a disabled claimant arising from the decision to withdraw an acceptance offer due to the claimant’s unreasonable behaviour during the admission process, and defended Loreto College against a psychological injury claim filed by a former employee, who alleged bullying, harassment and excessive workload. The team has a track record handling allegations of negligence in the preparation of academic references and recently defended Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the University of Cambridge against such claims.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s team provides ‘an outstanding’ level of service and sector knowledge, and is ‘very responsive to business needs’. Its client base includes universities and colleges, including the University of Winchester, Eastleigh College and Northumbria University, as well as accreditation and support institutions. The group advises clients on matters ranging from construction and procurement to charity work. ‘No challenge is too large’ for the ‘proactive, knowledgeable and passionateEmma Moody, who is providing ongoing advice to Gateshead College, East Durham College and Sunderland College on a range of governance and procedural matters. Kevin Robertson is handling the development of a new construction and architecture-focused Career College for Gateshead College. Christina Tolvas-Vincent is assisting Arts University Bournemouth with the modernisation of its central employment policies, and Craig Moore is acting for Plymouth University on the disposal of the Rolle College site and general commercial and employment matters.

Addleshaw Goddard’s team focuses on student accommodation and campus redevelopment projects, assisting education institutions at every stage of a construction project, including procurement, funding and contract drafting. On the contentious side, the group defends universities against race discrimination, victimisation and general employment-related claims, which are handled by Malcolm Pike. Practice head Nancy McGuire is another name to note.

Blake Morgan LLP’s team advises further and higher education institutions on contentious as well as non-contentious matters arising from issues such as governance, charity regulation, employment and disciplinary proceedings. Practice head Matthew Smith led a team acting for Swansea University and the trustees in a case concerning the meaning of the ‘unfavourable treatment’ provision of the Equality Act 2010. Litigator Susie Dryden acted for the respondent in Hartley and others v King Edward VI College, where the Supreme Court decided on the lawful proportion of annual salary that could be deducted from teachers’ pay for strike days. The group also assists clients with property-related work; Rachel Gwilliam and Penri Desscan advised Cardiff University on the procurement for consultants and a contractor for the design and construction of a new £300m research centre.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s ‘very pragmatic and solution-oriented’ team provides comprehensive immigration and employment advice to funding providers and higher education institutions, as well as defending clients against claims arising under the Equality Act 2010. The ‘supremely sensible and knowledgeableDaff Richardson is advising a world-leading foreign university on the employment of a junior dean and is defending a higher education institution against a disability discrimination claim filed by an undergraduate student pertaining to the provision of special arrangements for examinations. Pat Saini is providing ongoing immigration advice to Navitas, including day-to-day support with risk management and Tier 4 Visa compliance. ‘ExpertHilary Aldredgrasps the nub of an issue immediately and sets out clearly and concisely related risks and available strategies’. Alison Talbot is also recommended.

Withers LLP’s team is praised for its ‘timeliness and sector knowledge’, and handles employment, governance, tax, compliance and related matters for US universities and global educational initiatives. Clients include Brigham Young University, Georgetown University, Princeton University and University of Liverpool. Special counsel Alana Petraske is assisting the University of Illinois with the establishment of a US/UK dual-qualified charitable structure, which includes governance advice, registration of a new charitable body with the Charity Commission, and related tax, regulatory and compliance assistance. The group is advising Global University Systems on international matters including the acquisition of a US college, and launching in India and Malaysia, and is handling a range of work for Syracuse University, including health and safety, risk mitigation and property issues. Richard Cassell is a go-to name for dual-qualified charitable structures. Alison Paines heads the charities group.

Bircham Dyson Bell’s team advises private and third sector workplace skills training providers and assessment bodies, and sector organisations on a wide range of commercial and employment-related matters, including reorganisations, employment terminations and grievance procedures. Corporate and commercial partner Paul Voller led a team that drafted a contractual suite for use between the members of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers and employers using their services. The group also assisted the University of Warwick with a petition against the HS 2 hybrid Bill. Employment expert Caroline Yarrow is another name to note. Certsure, Institute of Employability Professionals and Lifetime Training are also clients.

Burges Salmon LLP’s department manages high-profile projects for public as well as private sector clients. The group is assisting the University of Bristol with the state aid and procurement aspects of its ongoing projects, which includes the South West Nuclear Hub and Quantum Innovation, as well as the university’s collaborations with local authorities and NHS Trusts. Other clients include the University of Exeter, the University of Hull and Cardiff University. Projects specialist and team leader Matthew Ramus and employment expert Roger Bull are key names.

Fenwick Elliott LLP’s specialist construction offering includes contentious as well as non-contentious work ranging from infrastructure projects, building extensions of campuses and the construction of new facilities, to complex multi-party litigation, arbitration and procurement work. Victoria Russell is assisting University College London with the procurement of the over £25m development of a student centre and the £90m construction of specialist state-of-the-art neuroscience research facilities, the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre. David Bebb specialises in procurement and the non-contentious aspects of construction projects for universities. Jatinder Garcha and Jon Miller are also recommended.

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