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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 > Yorkshire and the Humber > Public sector > Education > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Eve Gregory now leads the cross-departmental education team at DAC Beachcroft LLP in Leeds following the departure of Frank Suttie to Ward Hadaway. The team advises higher education institutions such as the University of Sheffield and the University of York, further education colleges, and various academies in Yorkshire. It also advises borough and county councils on education matters; representative examples include Cumbria County Council and Calderdale Borough Council. Recent highlights include advising Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Calderdale Borough Council in relation to their respective PFI schemes. The team has also been advising seven schools, including three multi-academy trusts, in a procurement matter under which new secondary schools will be designed and built on existing school sites. The team also advises the West Yorkshire Combined Authority on a range of matters, including preparing and negotiating grant awards and loan agreements in relation to its Skills Capital Funding to further education colleges.

The Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP national education team is led by Diane Gilhooley in Manchester and provides advice to higher and further education institutions as well as schools, academies and private education institutions. Based in Leeds, Ben Wood is the national lead for academy work and also specialises in further education governance work. Leeds-based litigation partner Alison Oldfield leads on disputes in the education sector, such as funding issues, project license compliance, strategies for land assembly as part of campus redevelopment schemes, and judicial review proceedings. Recent work includes the successful defence of a multi-academy trust in a judicial review challenge regarding the decision to close a swimming pool, and acting for the Association of Colleges and a sixth form college in a judicial review challenge to the approval of a new sixth form college in the London Borough of Havering. Charlotte Tanikal leads on real estate matters for schools and further and higher education clients. Christopher Mordue joined the team in April from Pinsent Masons LLP and specialises in university employment matters.

Victoria Goddard succeeded Nicola Hart as head of universities and higher education at Pinsent Masons LLP in May 2017, and specialises in complex development structures and student accommodation matters. Goddard recently advised both the University of London and the University of Gloucestershire in the procurement of new student accommodation. Martin Priestley heads the universities international group and advises on internationalisation projects, and recently advised the University of Sheffield on a deal to expand its partnership with Nanjing Technology University alongside Shanghai-based colleagues. Julian Sladdin, who ‘has a wealth of experience and great knowledge of the area’, heads the university litigation practice and represents higher education clients in a range of areas, including discrimination cases, fitness to practice, disciplinary issues, educational negligence and judicial reviews. Sladdin has recently acted for the University of Huddersfield in connection with a discrimination claim by a former student and was successful in having the claim struck out following the third strike out application, resulting in a cost award for the client.

Manchester-based partners Nancy McGuire and Michael O’Connor lead the Yorkshire education practice at Addleshaw Goddard, which is particularly strong in real estate, construction and employment matters. The team advises university clients on estate management and new site acquisitions, and has assisted local authorities with drafting subcontracts and warranties, and the review of appointments for the provision of various school buildings. The multi-disciplinary education team also advises clients on employment issues such as dismissals, discrimination claims, TUPE matters and whistleblowing.

The team at DLA Piper UK LLP is led by the ‘proactive’ Andrew Clarke (Leeds) and Richard Taylor (Sheffield). Clarke acts for the Dioceses of Leeds and Northampton and advises on real estate issues relating to its schools, while Taylor has been advising higher education institutions on various intellectual property issues. The University of Sheffield is a key client for the team, with Sheffield-based Roger Gough recently acting for the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield on its research collaboration agreement with McLaren Automotive Limited, and also for the university as a member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult on revisions to research agreements relating to funding from the Technology Strategy Board. The team’s client list also includes government departments, other universities such as Sheffield Hallam and the University of Central Lancashire, and further education colleges such as Park Lane College and Newham College of Further Education.

The Sheffield-based Laurence Gavin heads the cross-departmental team at Irwin Mitchell, which advises the full range of education clients on transactional, governance, student and employment matters. Associate Mark Evans specialises in commercial and charities law and regularly advises academy trusts on conversions, mergers, re-brokering and dissolutions. Evans led the team advising Sandhill Multi-Academy Trust on a re-brokering of the client’s academies to two separate trusts, as well as on matters for other academy clients in connection with management and governance issues, and for one client, the potential re-brokering of a PFI academy. The team has also been advising a further education college with a merger, and a public funded charity on commercial matters and partnering with a local college.

Andrew Hurst leads the education team at Schofield Sweeney from the Bradford office, which also houses Helen Hirst and Jennifer Clarke. The team specialises in academy conversion and provides ongoing support to its academy clients post-conversion by utilising lawyers on a cross-departmental basis. The team has recently been advising Orchard Academy Trust on the conversion and entering of Barming Primary School into the trust. The team also advises on academy conversions with a PFI element, as demonstrated by its advice to Buile Hill Visual Arts College on the documentation required by the trust it was entering into, the Consilium Academies Trust, regarding a building constructed on the Buile Hill site as part of a PFI. Another recent highlight was advising North Cestrian Grammar School, an independent fee-paying selective school, in connection with its conversion to a state-funded independent school and joining a multi-academy trust.

The Leeds office of Stone King LLP opened in June 2016 and is led by Graham Shaw, who brought his practice over from Ward Hadaway. The specialist education practice is instructed by key agencies in the sector and has a sizeable market share of academy clients. Recent highlights include academy conversions, such as that of Rossett Acre Primary School into the Red Kite Learning Trust and that of Hampsthwaite Church of England Primary School into the Yorkshire Causeway Schools Trust, and the transfer of academies operated by Oldham College Community Academies Trust into the Moor End Academies Trust. Roger Inman heads the national education sector group from Cambridge.

Employment partner David Smedley heads the cross-departmental education team at Leeds-based Walker Morris LLP, which also includes construction and engineering partner Jules Harbage as well as lawyers from the energy, infrastructure and government, and regulatory and compliance teams. Recent highlights include advising on academy conversions for Enquire Learning Trust, ECM Trust, Eveleigh Link Academy Trust, Synaptic Trust, and the conversion of Hoyland Common Primary School to a multi-academy trust (MAT), which included the conversion of Ward Green Primary School under the MAT. Led by Harbage, the team has also been working with Leeds College of Art on a major campus extension and with the Leeds College of Building on drafting and negotiating the appointments and building contract for its second phase of campus redevelopment. On the employment side, Smedley has been leading advice to New College Pontefract on the implications of a new trust that will offer sixth form and FE across three sites, and on the TUPE issues relating to the new trust.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP in Leeds specialises in schools and academies and continues to be instructed by a portfolio of multi-academy trusts on conversions, contracts, mergers, employment matters, property issues, compliance and private finance initiatives. Chris Billington leads on governance and commercial matters, and Elizabeth Wilson focuses on property-related issues. Tim Wrigley is another key name on the education team and was promoted to the partnership in May 2016. Recent highlights for the team include advising Bright Futures Educational Trust on agreements for additional infrastructure and construction as part of a schools building programme, and advising Hull Collaborative Academy Trust on arrangements to work with another education provider to bring new school improvement strategies into the market, requiring trust policies, regulatory compliance and structuring. The team also has experience advising diocese schools on how to establish multi-academy trusts, including trusts that incorporate both faith and non-faith schools. Elsewhere, it advised a higher education client on a student disciplinary matter, advising on process and outcome and handling a representation before the University Appeals Body.

The team at Lupton Fawcett LLP is jointly headed by Michele Phillips, who heads up the academies and schools team from Sheffield, and Jonathan Moore, who heads up matters for higher and further education clients. Mark Honeywell joined the team in May 2016 from Bond Dickinson LLP and specialises in academy work. Recent highlights for the team include advising the University of York in relation to the development of new retail units and a new health centre on one of its campuses. The team has also been involved in various multi-academy trust conversions for non-faith and faith schools. Other clients include Bradford Grammar School, Bradford Diocesan Academy Trust, Leeds Diocesan Board of Education and Leeds City College.

Tom Morrison is the head of Rollits LLP’s education team in Hull and leads on commercial matters. Led by Morrison, the team has been instructed by various colleges to look at education area review recommendations and assist with implementation post review, and has also been instructed by various multi-academy trusts to advise on their effective management. Caroline Hardcastle leads on contentious matters and has been advising a large higher education client with a claim for liquidated damages following the delay of a £25m project. She also defended a large college client against claims made by students against leadership team members and governors. Clients include notable higher and further education institutions, such as the University of Hull, Leeds City College and Hull College Group, and other education providers such as Humber Learning Consortium.

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