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Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘proactive’ practice is led by the well-regarded Martin Poore and includes Gavin Ellison, who heads the auto-enrolment unit and whose clients include The Go-Ahead Group Pension Plan, The Shepherd Group Pension Fund, Bellway plc and Newcastle Building Society. Suzanne Duff has been advising employers on restructuring their organisations, liability management and winding up pension schemes.

Clients of Neon Legal cite the firm’s ‘technical expertise, practicality of advice and value for money’ as key strengths. The well-respected Tushar Bhate leads the team and recently advised several police federations on changes to public pension provisions. Paul Elliot left the firm in 2015.

Recent mandates at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP include advising various SME clients on auto-enrolment issues, and advising on the implications of the closure of a defined benefit occupational scheme. Nick Smith is the key contact.

Associate Tristan Mander is the key contact at Ward Hadaway’s Newcastle office, which has gained new clients including Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group and J. Barbour and Sons. The Leeds office recently welcomed Ian O’Toole.

Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office includes associates Lucy Herbert and Kate Byers, who form part of the firm’s national pensions team, which is commended for its ‘comprehensive knowledge of schemes and general pension matters’. Byers handles pension documents and the team has been advising on flexible retirement options and auto-enrolment issues.

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