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United Kingdom > North West > Public sector > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings




Index of tables

  1. Education
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Diane Gilhooley heads the education sector group at Eversheds LLP and is ‘very strong in the HE and FE sectors’. The team advises higher and further education institutions as well as schools and academies such as Bangor University, Bradford College and Cambridge Education Group.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Weightmans LLP is led by Martin Vincent, who is ‘calm, confident, pragmatic, with the ability to see the solution to complex problems’. Also recommended are ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ property specialist Janice Weatherly and Steve Peacock, who advises on all aspects of employment in the education sector and who has ‘exceptional HE knowledge’.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP provides ‘sensible and timely’ construction, real estate and employment advice to key clients including Lancaster University and Bruntwood. Nancy McGuire is recommended on the non-contentious side and the ‘technically excellent and very clever’ Malcolm Pike is highly regarded for his employment advice in this sector. Michael O’Connor is ‘hugely experienced’.

Browne Jacobson LLPdelivers advice in an easy-to-follow format’. The ‘extremely helpful and responsiveDai Durbridge advises schools, academies, further education and sixth form colleges on a broad range of matters from school admissions and exclusions to all safeguarding issues. Clients include Dixons Academy Trust and Salford Academy Trust. On the employment side, Kerren Daly joined from DWF.

Hill Dickinson LLP has a ‘very solid team’ that acts for schools in both the maintained and the non-maintained (independent and academy) sectors, as well as higher and further education institutions, local authorities and educational charities. Recommended figures include Luke Green, who is now a partner, David Rawlinson, who heads the school team, and Iain Campbell, who heads the higher education team. Bright Futures Educational Trust and Essa Foundation Academies Trust are clients.

Maxwell Gillott Solicitors has a strong reputation acting for pupils and parents against schools, and advises on education matters for individuals under legal aid and privately. Imogen Jolley is well regarded and James Betts is recommended for cases where there is an overlap between community care and special educational needs.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s clients include the Royal Northern College of Music and The Manchester College. Anne Fairhurst is recommended for her property advice to educational clients and Sara Barrett for her employment advice.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘first-rate’ team acts for major universities, contractors, landowners and developers on high-profile projects in the education sector. The ‘unflappable, hardworking and extremely knowledgeableMichael Pocock has particular skill in campus developments and student accommodation fields.

Jonathan Whittaker heads the team at SAS Daniels LLP, which advises educational institutions on HR and employment issues. John Cook left the firm in April 2016 to establish his own practice.


Index of tables

  1. Health
  2. Leading individuals

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s ‘commercially aware’ team of ‘genuine specialists’ is noted for its ability to deliver advice on complex issues ‘in a sound and practical way and on time. The team has been busy on a mix of transactional healthcare projects and regulatory assignments across the private and public sectors. Practice head Michael O’Connor is ‘incisive’ and ‘simplifies complex commercial issues into pragmatic solutions’. Clients include Assura Medical, Bupa Care Homes and GlaxoSmithKline.

Hempsons is ‘one of the leading healthcare specialists nationally with a knowledge of the healthcare regulatory regime that is second to none’. Recommended figures include the ‘client-focused and sensible’ Margaret Taylor, who is a very well-regarded advocate; the ‘very consistent and experiencedAnne Ball, who is noted for her ‘vast reserves of experience’; and Kirsten Blohm, who is singled out for her ability to ‘stay calm under pressure’.

Hill Dickinson LLP’s team stands out for its ability to ‘assist with complex matters, usually at very short notice’ for major clients such as Health Education England, the Care Quality Commission and Liverpool Community NHS Trust. Andrew Craggs is recommended as is Sharon Thomas, who is ‘very experienced in mental health law and Court of Protection work’. Georgina Rowley joined the team from Hempsons, while Rebecca Fitzpatrick is now at Browne Jacobson LLP.

Weightmans LLP’s clients cite the team’s ‘pragmatism, professionalism and responsiveness’. It advises on a broad range of issues from healthcare advisory to litigation for clients including Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Key figures include Emlyn Williams, Bernadette Worthington and the ‘helpful and very accommodatingRichard Jolly, who ‘provides a great service even at short notice’.

The ‘very client-centric’ Richard Hough leads the team at Brabners LLP, which acts on property, litigation, employment, corporate and commercial matters in the health sector, and has a particularly large pharmacy client base.

Amanda Callaghan at Browne Jacobson LLP leads the publicly funded health care team, which is noted for its ‘very efficient and responsive service’. Rebecca Fitzpatrick joined the team from Hill Dickinson LLP and is recommended for her knowledge of mental health and mental capacity issues, in addition to her court of protection expertise.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team advises a significant number of North West trusts (including NHS Foundation Trust organisations) and big commercial organisations. Key figures include Kirsty MacDonald, who heads the specialist doctors’ unit; Deborah Hely, who is well regarded for her employment work; ‘very knowledgeable’ associate Cheryl Rowbotham, who is noted for her ‘ability to see the big picture’; and Simon Wortley, who has vast experience in clinical negligence matters.

Slater Heelis LLP is recommended for its primary care work and for its track record in pharmacy acquisitions and disposals. Sunil Mohindra, Simon Wallwork and Katharine Mellor are well regarded.

Eversheds LLP’s clients include Four Seasons Health Care. Simon Masters is the key contact.

Fieldfisher’s ‘responsive and reliable team’ includes the ‘calm and measured’ Sarah Ellson, who has ‘an encyclopaedic knowledge of healthcare law and is always looking for the most practical and cost-effective solutions for her clients’.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s clients include Virgin Care. Anne Fairhurst is a key contact.

Local government

Index of tables

  1. Local government
  2. Leading individuals

Addleshaw Goddard LLP is active across a wide range of sectors including housing, care and education. Highlights included advising Tameside MBC on the construction of its new council headquarters. Other clients include Manchester City Council and Derby City Council. The ‘practical and commercialMichael O’Connor is recommended.

DLA Piper UK LLP advised Liverpool City Council on its purchase of shares in Liverpool Direct from BT and the associated insourcing of IT services back to the council. Sarah Bell is a well-regarded local government lawyer for commercial projects and joint ventures and Kate Creer is strong on development and regeneration projects.

A modern firm with fresh ideas’, DWF fields a team with an impressive track record on major regeneration and infrastructure projects and has considerable expertise in public procurement work. Jonathan Branton is well regarded for his state aid work. James Lupton (who is ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’) and Chris Henshaw joined the team from Eversheds LLP. Michael Mousdale is also recommended.

Eversheds LLP’s clients include Transport for London and Oldham MBC. Key figures include the ‘very knowledgeableJackie Heeds and ‘very ableKuljeet Gill.

Pinsent Masons LLP regularly acts in high-value and complex projects and is currently advising the London Borough of Wandsworth on a joint venture to develop a landmark regeneration scheme on a large piece of land adjacent to Clapham Junction station. Scot Morrison is known for his skill at structuring public sector joint venture vehicles and partnerships with local authorities and other government bodies.

Weightmans LLP advised Cheshire East on the establishment of Civicance, a company that provides building control and related services to members of the public and third party organisations. The North West Legal Consortium and Cumbria County Council are also clients. Simon Goacher heads the practice.

BLM advises on a broad spectrum of issues from abuse and child sexual exploitation to social housing and inquests. Paul Tarne and Mark Eisen are recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s work spans the full range of local government issues, from constitutional and governance advice to projects and litigation. Clients include Knowsley MBC, Cumbria County Council and Bolton MBC. Eve Gregory is recommended.

At Hill Dickinson LLP, ‘very able’ senior associate Sarah Swan leads a multi-disciplinary team that advises on the full spectrum of issues. Swan ‘understands the needs of an institutional defendant’ and is especially recommended for her work in abuse and social care.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP’s broad practice also benefits from the firm’s large childcare team. Donna Roberts handles child protection matters for local authorities and Philip Richardson frequently advises local authorities on employment issues.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP was appointed by the Homes and Communities Agency to complete a substantial portfolio sale of 43 parcels of non-housing land. Other clients include Amey, Belfast City Council and Wolverhampton Council. Mike Gaskell and Suzanne Benson are recommended.

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