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Index of tables

  1. Education
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Education clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Browne Jacobson LLP provides ‘a responsive and knowledgeable service with a large enough team to cover all key issues’. Led by the ‘thorough and supportiveNick MacKenzie, who acts for education clients in corporate and governance matters, the team has particular experience in academy conversions; it was recently appointed by New College Pontefract and Gipsy Hill Federation to oversee their conversions, and acted for Compass Group on the creation of a multi-academy trust. Richard Freeth, who leads the team’s pastoral advisory practice and handles issues arising from expulsions, admissions, SEND and disability claims, recently acted for a multi-academy trust in a threatened judicial review and complaint on the grounds of a fixed-term exclusion. Other highlights included acting for schools in national collaboration projects and providing admissions support for clients such as Carterton Community College and Lawrence Sheriff School. Associate Lydia Michaelson-Yeates and solicitor Hayley O’Sullivan are also recommended.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s education team is headed by Nick Abbott, who ensures clients ‘feel entirely supported by the firm’. He is assisted by Richard Sykes, who splits his time between Birmingham and Manchester offices and is ‘always available, responds promptly and delivers his service in a cost-effective way’; and real estate specialists Christian Bull and senior associate Robbie Turner, who attract praise for their ‘proactive yet pragmatic approach’ and ‘commercially sound advice’. The firm’s client roster consists of higher education institutions such as Birmingham City University, who engaged the group to oversee the relocation of the Birmingham Conservatoire to a new facility and the negotiation of a financial compensation agreement with the city council with regards to the development of Paradise Circus and its impact on the Conservatoire’s current location. Sykes provided urgent services to the Welsh exam board in connection with a threatened injunction by a visually impaired candidate alleging the client failed to make the required adjustments to their examination papers. Other notable clients include Coventry University, Aston University and the Warwickshire College Group, which is a new win for the team.

Nicola Hart leads Pinsent Masons LLP’s universities and higher education department and advises the University of London on governance and constitutional issues. Clients are ‘have highly impressed by the members of the team’, singling out Gayle Ditchburn, for her ‘clarity when drafting contracts and knowledge of the higher education sector’; and university charity law expert Janet Hoskin. Transactional highlights included Ed Sunderland’s advice to UCL on its £280m loan with the EIB to develop its Bloomsbury and UCL East campuses; on the immigration side, legal director Helen Corden assisted Keele University, Royal Holloway and Nottingham Trent University with regards to the potential impact of Brexit alongside associate Shuabe Shabudin. On the contentious front, Ditchburn is defending the University of Lincoln in a multimillion-pound claim brought by a government department in connection with the contested use of assets on one of its campuses. The team also acted for a higher education authority on a proposed restructuring, including the spin-out of certain commercial activities into a trading subsidiary. Senior associate Chris Thomas and Amy Flavell are also key contacts.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s education practice consists of ‘standout legal practitioner’ and team head Smita Jamdar, legal director Geraldine Swanton (who is a ‘go-to for thorny data protection, freedom of information and student discrimination matters’), and ‘technically strong, very responsive, pragmatic and personable’ legal director Joanna Forbes. Jamdar is advising two higher education bodies on lobbying for changes to the Higher Education and Research Bill, and is guiding a number of institutions through the options available as part of the area reviews carried out by the Further Education Commissioner. Legal director and litigation specialist Catherine Yule successfully defended Loughborough University with regards to a claim filed by a former student alleging a breach of privacy when the university relayed the claimant’s personal information to the police during investigations of sexual assault on campus. She also led the work for the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in connection with its application for injunctive relief and damages in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, related to the client’s refusal to accredit a postgraduate degree developed by a private provider. Senior associate Uddalak Datta and legal director Tom Long are also recommended.

Bevan Brittan LLP advises on capital-funded projects for education-sector clients including schools, academies, and university technical colleges, and assists local authorities with the impact of academy conversions and the various processes of turning education services into a trading service in order to generate revenue. Andrew Tobin heads the education team and acted for the Education Funding Agency on the delivery of over 120 schools, academies and free schools under the government’s Priority School Building programme. In other highlights, the team continues to assist Barnsley Local Education Partnership with all commercial, corporate, TUPE, employment and property aspects of on its school estate in Barnsley, and was instructed to oversee all legal aspects of several school expansion projects, including for Bristol City Council as part of the delivery of its Building Schools for the Future programme. David Hutton specialises in project finance, academy conversions and education-led rejuvenation projects. Other notable clients include Wates Construction, the London boroughs of Hackney and Hounslow, and the Newham Local Education Partnership.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a national and international education practice, which includes Birmingham-based principal associates Mark Taylor and Morag Roddick. They assisted the Nottingham-based Nicola Bennison on her work for New College Stamford with regards to its entry into a tripartite joint venture. In another key mandate Taylor provided strategic advice to Sandwell College regarding area-based reviews. Other notable clients include Aberystwyth University, Loughborough University, University College Birmingham and De Montfort University.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) has a strong specialism in the education sector nationally, with key contacts in the Birmingham office including employment partner Jane Byford, Kathy Halliday, and consultant Frances Anderson, who has significant experience advising on research contracts for universities and industrial clients, including the management of intellectual property. On the real estate side, commercial property partner Clive Read acted for a university on the sale of a redundant site to a developer, and assisted a college with regards to a property sale complicated by issues of potential historic contamination. On the employment front, Byford handled the departure of a university’s HR director on the grounds of poor performance, and defended another university in a tribunal claim brought by its former in-house counsel for unfair dismissal, sex and age discrimination. Halliday was instructed to oversee a safeguarding matter involving allegations of sexual assault and a police investigation, and the establishment of an academy trust. Other key contacts include debt recovery expert Dee Kundi, who recently joined the firm, senior associate and development and commercial property specialist Julie Newell, and associates Jaime Parkes and Lorna Scully.

Irwin Mitchell is ‘excellent for education matters that raise complex issues of public law’. Associate Surinder Dhillon is the key figure in the Birmingham office, and handles contentious and non-contentious, including the recent representation of a head teacher and newly-appointed trust board of an academy with regards to an investigation launched after the arrest of the former head teacher following allegations of historic sexual abuse. In other highlights, the team successfully defended a racial discrimination claim filed against five individuals affiliated with an academy, including the head teacher and the chair of the trust board, by an ex-employee. Other clients include Shrewsbury College, Perry Beeches Academy Trust and Hamstead Hall Academy Trust.

Lanyon Bowdler provides ‘excellent value for money’ and handles a range of education issues, including day-to-day employment, real estate, planning and dispute resolution advice, as well as acting on academy conversions and governance issues. The ‘extremely helpful, knowledgeable and friendly’ William Morse, who is based in the Hereford office, leads the practice with Shrewsbury-based planning and asset management expert David Brammer. Consultant Emma Swann recently joined the team. Highlights included advising three schools on the formation of a multi-academy trust, advising schools on a range of employment issues – in which paralegal Kayleigh Hunter played a key supportive role – and acting for a new client with regards to data protection issues. Associate Ruth James left to join Müller Dairies, and associate Fabienne McAllister joined from Emms Gilmore Liberson, adding expertise in employment law. Notable clients include The Priory School, Radbrook Primary School and Derwen College.

Shoosmiths LLP is ‘excellent for complex educational needs cases’ and provides a ‘prompt, professional service with good knowledge of law pertaining to home education and special educational needs’. Richard Follis leads the team, which attracts praise for its ‘ability to challenge assertively but politely’ and which includes senior associate Gurvinder Kaur, who is ‘excellent with clients in difficult circumstances’; Kaur has strong experience in representing children with acquired brain injuries and cerebral palsy. The team also acted for a child whose school place had been revoked by her local authority on the basis that the family was deemed to have obtained the place fraudulently.


Index of tables

  1. Health
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Health clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Browne Jacobson LLP’s national health and social care practice, which is led from Nottingham by Simon Tait, was joined in Birmingham by Simon Charlton from Weightmans LLP. Other key Birmingham-based figures include Helen Badger, who recently acted for an NHS trust in a complex employment dispute with a member of its HR team revolving around allegations of discrimination, whistleblowing and performance management; and Jonathan Hayden, who acted alongside newly promoted associate Emily Godson for the NHS on updates to its national statutory guidance to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on conflict interest management. On the disputes side, national inquest leader Neil Ward represented NHS trusts in connection with patient deaths. Charlton and Emmett Maginn assisted a major independent healthcare provider with its legal responsibilities to a minor who was unable to consent to the restrictions placed upon him in his care placement.

Capsticks LLP’s healthcare clients rate the firm for its ‘superior level of legal support and ability to provide a fully rounded picture to lead them through strategic decision making’. The team is led by four partners in Birmingham, including office head and national independent healthcare practice leader Mike Clifford; employment law expert Jacqui Atkinson, who specialises in senior staff conduct, capacity and health investigations, as well as GMC sanctions and tribunal claims; Court of Protection expert Tracey Lucas, who leads on clinical law and regulatory matters; and Lisa Robotham, who leads on real estate matters. Sharon Lamb recently advised Birmingham Children’s Hospital on its acquisition of Birmingham’s Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, while Clifford acted for Ares Management on its bid to purchase Oasis Dental. In other highlights, associate Alison Richards acted alongside Lucas and Clifford for Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust on the terms and conditions under which Alliance Medical would provide PET and CT scanning services. Associate Henry Matveieff is also recommended.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s Rhian Vandrill runs the national commercial health practice from Birmingham alongside Jill Mason, who also leads the patient care and mental health law teams. In recent highlights, Julian Smith acted for Bupa with regards to the sale of its home healthcare business to Celesio, and assisted Partnerships in Care with multiple asset and company acquisitions. On the employment side, Jog Hundle is acting for a large trust regarding disciplinary and grievance queries, TUPE transfers and disputes between clinical staff, and Martin Brewer acted for a foundation trust in connection with a consultant surgeon subject to conduct procedures and his attempt to file an injunction to prevent a capability hearing. Mason, assisted by Molly Sanghera, represented hospital managers in a judicial review launched by their hospital trust to determine whether they were sufficiently independent. Consultant, former coroner and inquest specialist Stuart Knowles is also recommended.

The ‘very client-orientated and thoughtfulTony Yeaman heads Weightmans LLP’s health unit, which includes Deborah Bannister, who manages group actions for trusts. Associate Jasmine Armstrong handles clinical negligence claims on behalf of the NHSLA and Midlands-based trusts. The firm is continuing to advise on claims against numerous trusts arising from allegations of historic sexual abuse, while Yeaman represented NHS trusts in inquests pertaining to the death of a prisoner due to natural causes and the death of a child shortly after birth. As part of its helpline service, the team recently assisted a surgeon in connection with a dispute concerning a transgender patient who made threats following alleged discrimination by the client. Other key contacts include corporate commercial partner Gareth Griffiths, who acts for cash-plan insurers, benevolent funds and partnerships of M&A transactions and reorganisations.

The healthcare lawyers at Gowling WLG attract praise for their ‘extensive experience and ability to provide appropriate advice’; according to one client, it ‘seems to have a more pragmatic approach to other firms involved in healthcare’. Robert Breedon leads the national health and care sector practice and has a focus on advising public and private sector clients on large commercial projects and outsourcing contracts. On the regulatory side, Andrew Litchfield specialises in assisting clients faced with criminal prosecution, guiding them through trails if they find themselves in court. In a key mandate, principal associate Hilary Drenth acted alongside Breedon on a five-year contract for integrated health services for the elderly on behalf of the London Borough of Croydon and NHS Croydon CCG. Drenth and Breedon also assisted Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and its partners in the Reachout partnership with regards to corporate structure and governance issues. Other notable clients include Beckman Coulter, Lakeside Healthcare and Horder Healthcare.

Joanne Ellis leads Pinsent Masons LLP’s healthcare outfit and acts for major independent care providers, mental health operators and clients in the dental care sector. She is supported by health and safety head Sean Elson and legal director Tom Eastwood, who advises on real estate matters. He recently acted alongside Ellis for care home provider MHA on its acquisition of Silk Healthcare, which involved working alongside the charities and tax teams to ensure it fell within a charitable purpose. In another key matter, Elson acted for a US-based investment company on its acquisition of a UK-based chain of care homes, which was complicated by an HSE investigation following the accidental death of a service user. Associate Daniel Braithwaite handles M&A and regulatory work for clients in the healthcare sector and supported Ellis for Oasis Dental Care in connection with multiple acquisitions of dental practices throughout the UK. Braithwaite and Ellis also advised Synova on its complex management buyout of Oakland Primecare. Legal director Michael Lakin focuses on corporate work and governance issues and is also recommended.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s public-sector healthcare practice is headed by Fahmida Ismail in Birmingham, closely supported by consultant Tony Harris, who splits his time between Birmingham and Shirley and acted for a retiring senior partner with regards to the cancellation of his GMS contract and the negotiation of his retirement agreement. Areas of expertise include advising on sales, acquisition and mergers of GP practices, partnership disputes, and LIFT and non-LIFT projects. Harris and Ismail recently advised on the changes to partnership agreements in the context of retiring and incoming partners and the re-mortgaging of freehold surgery premises through a complex borrowing scheme requiring safeguarding and indemnity clauses to protect each individual partner. In another mandate, Ismail oversaw the retirement of a GP partner who wished to remain an owner of the leasehold premises. Associates Stewart Coles and Roy Colaba recently represented a GP partnership in connection with the lease of its surgery premises, while Dean Parnell handled a commercial dispute between dentists working in the same practice where the relationship had completely broken down but a fee-sharing agreement remained.

Local government

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Local government clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Bevan Brittan LLP’s clients praise its ‘very prompt responses, excellent knowledge of local government law and practical advice’ and for its ‘outstanding overall level of service that is great value for money’. In Birmingham, commercial partner Matthew Waters focuses on innovative corporate structures in the context of service redesign and income generation; his recent highlights include establishing a joint venture on behalf of Hove and Brighton city council, a funded wholly-owned investment vehicle for the London borough of Brent, and assisting several authorities with new structures for regional adoption agencies. Adam Kendall heads the firm’s litigation, advisory and regulatory department and is also recommended. Olwen Dutton joined Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP.

Didar Dhillon leads Pinsent Masons LLP’s local government practice in Birmingham, which consists of a further two partners and three senior associates. Dhillon and senior associate Gemma Glasspole are acting for ten local authorities in South Wales on the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, a £1.28bn programme which will involve a significant contribution to South East Wales metro scheme. Kultar Khangura’s advice to Coventry City Council regarding the selection of a development partner for a major multi-use development scheme. Property partner David Meecham is representing a London borough on the South Kilburn rejuvenation project, and handled a high-value strategic transaction conducted through the use of an innovative procurement approach for a borough council. Leisure and waste specialist Oliver Mangiapane acted alongside the Manchester-based Scot Morrison in a real estate development. Clients also recommend senior associate Rebecca Pendlebury.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP was joined in 2016 by Olwen Dutton from Bevan Brittan LLP; she jointly heads the local government team with Mark Cook. Jon Coane, who has a particular focus advising local authorities on loan facilities for housing investment special purpose companies and housing associations, recently assisted Cook with the setting up of a joint venture housing development company between Watford Borough Council and Watford Community Housing Trust. Associate Gayle Monk, who specialises in public contract procurement law and state aid, is supporting Dutton and Cook with their advice to Monmouthshire County Council on an alternative delivery method for a range of tourism, leisure, youth and culture services. Hilary Harrison led the team advising Birmingham City Council on the redevelopment of an indoor market area, which involved issues concerning merchants’ occupancy and lease renewal. Other key figures include Andrew Lancaster, who handles construction and commercial disputes; and Andrew Millross, who jointly leads the construction and procurement team and recently acted for a borough council in connection with a mini-tender process.

According to clients, Weightmans LLP is ‘one of the pre-eminent local government firms’. In Birmingham, Jawaid Rehman leads on local authority matters and has strong expertise in equal pay and the restructuring and implementing of pay schemes. He is supported by Chris Webb-Jenkins, who has significant experience advising social care providers on safeguarding issues; and real estate specialist Zo Hoida, whose recent highlights include several high-profile rejuvenation projects. Rehman acted for Derbyshire County Council with regards to a senior management review, while Hoida advised Walsall council on an ongoing development project alongside Highways England to widen and improve a junction on the M6. Other key contacts include litigation expert Penelope Marshall; Chris Green, who leads the Midlands regulatory team and recently prosecuted the owner of a care home on behalf of Mansfield District Council following the accidental death of a service user; and Tim Lang who focuses on employment and professional regulatory work.

Clients rate the overall levels of service at DWF as ‘excellent’. Caroline Coates leads on local government matters in Birmingham and has strong expertise in personal injury and professional negligence matters in the public sector. She is assisted by Denise Brosnan, who is ‘very strong on personal injury and general litigation’ and handles liability claims; and insurance policy specialist Derek Adamson, who ‘is outstanding on contractual liability and professional indemnity questions’. In recent highlights, Melanie Williams assisted the in-house legal team of a city council with regards to funding and property aspects of a major city centre transport development project; and director Neil Jinks, who sits within the firm’s recoveries team, is acting for a local authority in connection with the enforcement of council tax liability orders. Coates and senior associate Paul Donnelly are representing a local government and a major insurer in a series of personal injury claims brought by attendees of a high-profile public event, while Brosnan is handling a group of claims brought on behalf of residents and former residents of a housing estate built on chemically contaminated land. Toby Askin, who leads the real estate teams in London and Birmingham, is also recommended.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s local authority team in Birmingham consists of Gary Delderfield, who is currently advising LGPS Central – a collaboration of nine local authorities – on the creation of a new corporate structure to pool £35bn of pension fund investments; and transport law expert Anne Harris, who acts for clients such as Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Delderfield also provides pensions advice to the operator of a collective investment vehicle pooling the investments of 32 London borough pensions funds. He is supported by principal associate and pensions team member Gavin Paul. In other recent highlights, Sarah Jones acted alongside the Cardiff-based Peter Jones on the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, a high-profile public inquiry into child abuse in care and the regulatory climate surrounding care homes; principal associate Isabelle Mitchell also acted in this matter.

Nathan Holden heads the national local authority practice at Freeths LLP and focuses on real estate and commercial projects including outsourcing arrangements, care home contracts and framework agreements for housing services. He is supported by commercial property expert Mitchell Ball, who acts for both private and public sector clients and has a track record in retail developments. Holden and Ball advised Leicester City Council on the regeneration of a site to make the area suitable for housing and office and retail development. Clifford acted alongside James Dyson on behalf of Birmingham City Council in connection with a number of projects, including providing due diligence support on state aid and negotiating loan and grant agreements. Other notable clients include the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council. Perveen Akhter is also recommended.

Gowling WLG’s Sarah Sasse heads the firm’s public-sector IT and outsourcing practice and advises on procurement, commercial contracts and risk minimisation. Previous highlights include acting for Croydon Council on a procurement contract with Capita for its ICT, and assisting the Department of Health and NHS trusts with issues arising from the Independent Sector Treatment programme.

Trowers & Hamlins LLPalways provides good advice within a short turnaround period’. Practice head Amardeep Gill ‘has great knowledge and understanding of PFI and public contract matters’. He was joined by partner Christopher Plumley from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP and solicitors Michael Stead, who joined from joined from Gowling WLG, and Rajveena Sangha, who joined from Mach-Tech. Gill and Stead are advising a district council in connection with an innovative joint venture partnership agreement for the provision of leisure facilities, and is acting for Belfast City Council on the establishment of a private company to manage the Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall venues. On the development front, Plumley is negotiating the redevelopment of a high-profile waterfront site in Chester with the aim of transforming the currently derelict location into prime real estate material, and is assisting Tamworth Borough Council with its project to become financially self-sustainable through the use of its property assets and wider investment powers. Louis Sebastian left the practice for a position at North West Leicestershire District Council.

Henry Bermingham and Paul Owston jointly lead BLM’s local government practice and are noted for their expertise in local government disputes; Bermingham is singled out for his expertise in social care work involving historic abuse and deprivation of liberty, while Owston specialises in defendant insurance litigation. They are assisted by Joanna Brocklehurst, who focuses her practice on defending clients in employers’ liability and public liability claims, and Jagdeep Hayre, who acts in high-value commercial disputes. The team successfully defended an appeal for Kent City Council, which faced a personal injury claim after an individual fell on a pothole on common land. In another key matter, Hayre is acting for a local authority in a dispute with a construction company revolving around the termination of a framework agreement. Val Hughes, who handles disease claims, is also recommended. Other notable clients include Birmingham City Council, Derby City Council and Shropshire Council.

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