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DWF’s ‘excellent’ charities practice has a track record of handling governance and constitutional issues and charity incorporations for more than 350 charities nationally. Clients include Tees Valley Community Foundation, a £13m endowed foundation, which the firm assisted with drafting social enterprise legal structures training; and Skill Force Development, which assists ex-service men and women with delivering vocational education to children and young people, and which the firm advises on data protection, employment and governance issues, among other matters. Catherine Rustomji joined Browne Jacobson LLP in May 2017.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP is many clients’ ‘firm of choice for charity work in the North of England'. Seven partners and 14 other fee-earners make up the sizeable charities team, which handles matters including national and international governance advice; social investment, including charity bonds and community shares; and charity mergers. Its client base encompasses a wide range of education, health, and ecclesiastical and faith-based charities. Malcolm Lynch (‘particularly good in the commercial-charity interface and very knowledgeable about co-operatives’) and newly promoted partner Peter Parker acted for the trustees of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the drafting and negotiation of loan facility agreements for the purposes of providing financing to social finance organisations and intermediaries. Elizabeth Wilson is noted for her ecclesiastical expertise and acts for Catholic international religious order the Sisters of the Cross and Passion on a variety of matters, including governance restructuring and regulatory advice. Other key figures include the ‘very knowledgeableSylvie Nunn, whose clients include the Power to Change Trust, newly promoted partner Tim Wrigley, and consultant Duncan Milwain, who acts for a number of faith-based charities.

Addleshaw Goddard fields a multi-disciplinary charities team led by Pervinder Kaur, who has an extensive track record advising on the formation of charitable entities, trustees’ duties, and fundraising activities. She is assisted in Leeds by fellow partner Yorke Eaton, who advises charities on property transactions, restructurings and governance and trustee issues, and managing associate Charlotte Smart, who advises on the formation and incorporation of charities for individuals as well as institutional clients. Clients include Bedingfield’s Trust, the National Coal Mining Museum and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Irwin Mitchell acts for a wide range of charities in the sports and leisure, ecclesiastical and education arenas, on issues related to procurement, real estate, state aid and the winding up of charities. Laurence Gavin leads the practice and regularly advises on governance, funding and trustee duties. He is assisted by Nigel Bolton in Leeds, who has extensive expertise in pensions issues related to the non-profit sector, and Sheffield-based associate Graham Walker, who handles real estate matters for charity and third sector clients. Highlights included advising Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust on the purchase of Wentworth Woodhouse, the largest private residence in the UK, using public money, and assisting Sheffield Futures with the acquisition of another charity and on the funding and contractual aspects of several public programmes.

Lupton Fawcett LLP is noted for combining ‘excellent legal analysis in often complex circumstances with sensitivity and commitment to its clients’ charitable ethos’. The firm’s multidisciplinary charities practice has a particularly strong ecclesiastical law capability and acts for a number of faith-based organisations, including the Yorkshire Congregational Union and the Diocese of York. In addition to its work for faith-based charities, the practice acts for various schools and multi-academy trusts on academy conversions and rebrokerage matters. Caroline Mockford heads the practice from the firm’s York office; she has more than 30 years of experience in trust and ecclesiastical law matters. Other key figures include Peter Foskett, employment specialist Louise Connacher (both based in Leeds), and Mark Honeywell, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP.

In keeping with the firm’s outstanding reputation in the sports field, McCormicks acts for a number of sporting charities; managing partner Peter McCormick is a trustee of the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sporting charity. In addition to its market-leading reputation in the sports field, the firm acts for charities in a variety of other fields, with longstanding clients including Harrogate International Festivals, which the firm recently advised on a range of employment matters as well as on the drafting of a sponsorship agreement for a literary festival. The firm also acts for the War Memorials Trust, which it is assisting with the redrafting of the client’s governing document in line with an expansion of work into Scotland. Other key figures include private client head Elaine Lightfoot and Heather Roberts, whose clients include the John Strutt Memorial Fund.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘excellent’ charities practice is noted for its ‘great overall coverage’. Janet Hoskin is the key figure in Leeds; she is ‘very good at organising projects involving a large number of participants and at building long-term relationships with clients’. The practice has particular strength in the universities arena, where it acts for clients including the University of London, the London School of Economics, and the University of Gloucestershire. Highlights included advising a university client on its overhaul of documentation for donations and gifts, including a review of its gift acceptance policy. Other areas of expertise include advising corporate clients on the establishment of corporate foundations. Senior associate Chris Thomas regularly assists charities with governance, tax and fundraising matters.

Gerry Morrison heads the charities and social enterprise team at Rollits LLP, which includes Sarah Adams and also draws on resources from the firm’s corporate, dispute resolution and real estate practices to handle a diverse range of issues for its charity clients. Highlights included assisting The Charity Bank Limited with its security and loan arrangements, and advising Exceed Academies Trust on the academy conversions of Horton Grange Primary Trust, Horton Park Primary School and Copthorne Primary School, which involved the creation and incorporation of the trust, the transfer of assets and undertakings from the three primary schools between the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and the client, and the negotiation and finalisation of master and supplemental funding agreements with the Department for Education. Other clients include Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, which it advised on the establishment of a new independent charity to operate in the community safety arena.

Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP’s charities practice attracts praise for its ‘availability, knowledge and advice’. The firms acts for a variety of local and national charities, with longstanding clients including the Hull IVF Trust. Associate Daniel Hammond heads the team and has more than 15 years of experience advising on charitable registrations and assisting not-for-profit regional development or trade organisations. He is ably assisted by Kevin Webster, who has a significant track record handling the creation and administration of charities, real estate specialist Paul Barker, and dispute resolution practitioner Peter Duffus. Highlights included advising The Viola Trust on its establishment, and assisting registered housing association Pickering & Ferens Homes on a £10m specialist funding package for the purposes of its expansion.

Gosschalks has an extensive track record in academy conversions. Joint managing partner Nigel Beckwith is the key contact.

Based in Hempsons’ Harrogate office, Faisal Dhalla regularly advises charities and social enterprises on group structures, corporate governance, mergers and commercial contract issues. He works closely with the firm’s national charities practice, which has an excellent reputation for charities issues relating to health and social care. Clients include the Royal Mencap Society and St Gemma’s Hospice Leeds.

Schofield Sweeney acts on a wide variety of issues for regional and national charitable entities, including assisting with devising new charitable structures, governance issues and funding, fundraising and investment. Andrew Hurst heads the team, which also includes Simon Petchey, who handles real estate matters, with a particular emphasis on property issues related to educational charities. Highlights included advising North Cestrian Grammar School on its conversion to a state-funded independent school and joining the Hamlin Education Trust.

Taylor Bracewellgoes to great lengths to understand the client’s needs and problems’, which is reassuring to sources, who also say that ‘the firm is in control of every situation and gives the best legal advice’. Phil Crawley heads the practice and attracts praise for his ‘extensive knowledge of academy issues; he is friendly, reliable, precise in everything and will never let you down’. In an illustration of his track record in academy conversions, Crawley acted for the founding schools of the Rose Learning Trust on the creation of the new multi-academy trust. Other key figures include Sharon Beck, who has an extensive track record advising longstanding clients such as Doncaster CVS, and employment specialist Sara Ellison.

At Ward Hadaway, Leeds-based partners Kevin Weston and Jonathan Dickson regularly advise charitable entities on real estate matters. Clients include the Canal & River Trust, which Weston advised on a scheme relating to flood defences in Leeds and on the sale of a multi-let industrial estate in Wigan; and The Land Trust, which Dickson advised on the acquisition of 130 hectares of land at Canvey Wick Nature Reserve from supermarket chain Morrisons.

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