The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon
KINGS COURT, 12 KING STREET, LEEDS, LS1 2HL, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0113 283 2500
DX:
12051 LEEDS
Email:
Web:
www.walkermorris.co.uk

Yorkshire and the Humber: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire
Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

With one of the largest practices in the region, Walker Morris LLP draws on its considerable resources to provide a wide variety of expertise to clients from the food and drink, retail, waste and energy, healthcare, technology and IT, industrials and financial services sectors. Corporate head John Hamer has notable strength advising on public and private company takeovers and acquisitions, public market listings, private equity investments and joint ventures, managing partner Ian Gilbert handles MBOs, secondary buy-outs, fundraisings, IPOs and disposals, Debbie Jackson is experienced in venture capital and private equity matters and Richard Naish has public company expertise, Daniel O’Gorman focuses on capital markets and commercial head James Crayton handles commercial arrangements across customer, supplier and partner relationships. O’Gorman handled three acquisitions for Data Intensity, a provider of Oracle cloud and in-application management services, including the UK operations of the Enrich group, which has UK and India operations, and Red Stack Technology, which has operations in the UK, Australia and Poland. Paul Emmet retired in 2016.

Leading individuals

Ian Gilbert - Walker Morris LLP

Next generation lawyers

Jo Stephenson - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s team ‘provides a very good service, is approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic, and doesn’t evade the difficult questions’. Practice head Simon Concannon is ‘knowledgeable and pragmatic’, Nicola Parkinson is ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’ and Sarah Bruce is an expert on property taxation. Recent highlights include advising on the tax aspects of PAW Structures’ private equity-backed MBO, assisting Produce Investments on its new chairman’s share option agreement, acting for the shareholders of Bradford City FC on its sale to ER Sports Group, and designing a bespoke employee incentive share scheme. Other areas of strengths include advising on HMRC-approved share-option schemes, SDLT and VAT, REITS, demergers, fund raisings and M&A restructurings.

Next generation lawyers

Nicola Parkinson - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP has ‘one of the leading regional competition practices’. The ‘well-known and highly regardedTrudy Feaster-Gee and Jeremy Scholes jointly head the practice. Shaukat Ali, who has extensive experience in merger control, cartels and matters pertaining to abuse of dominance, ‘is an excellent competition lawyer and is extremely knowledgeable’. Senior associate Richard Jaques focuses on resale price maintenance and restrictive agreement issues. Recent highlights include advising a crane hire company on merger control issues regarding the acquisition of numerous cranes from a construction group, assisting a US corporation with potential competition issues arising from an international joint venture arrangement, and advising a multinational corporation on EU block exemption regimes. Following its appointment to the UK panel of a US-headquartered multinational conglomerate, the team advised on the merger control aspects of the sale of one of its subsidiaries. Senior associate Richard Butterworth, who joined from the Competition and Markets Authority in January 2017, has experience in high-profile investigations concerning abuse of dominance. Kate Webster, who joined in May 2016 from an in-house position, is an expert on EU procurement rules.

Leading individuals

Jeremy Scholes - Walker Morris LLP

Trudy Feaster-Gee - Walker Morris LLP

Next generation lawyers

Shaukat Ali - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation
Banking litigation - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s team provides ‘very good service and value for money; the highly experienced partners understand the business and industry and provide sound, pragmatic and commercially focused advice’. Andrew Beck leads the practice, which also includes Andrew Bennett, Louise Power and Richard Sandford. The team handles complex litigation issues including multi-jurisdictional mortgage fraud cases, asset recovery and high-value professional negligence claims against solicitors and surveyors, and acts for clearing banks, mortgage banks, building societies and specialist lenders. Highlights include representing a high-street lender in a claim against solicitors for breach of fiduciary duty and deceit, and acting for a liquidator in enforcing security over a warehouse complex in possession proceedings relating to an attempt to release the lenders’ assets to the creditors. Power is defending a £10m claim concerning allegations of damage arising from a banking client taking a property into possession. Clients include UK Asset Resolution, Accord Mortgages, Bank of Ireland, Leeds Building Society and Yorkshire Building Society.

[back to top]

Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s team provides ‘an excellent level of service, take a robust stance and understand the wider issues at play’. Department head Gwendoline Davies acts for multinational and domestic companies in high-value litigation across a wide range of sectors. Malcolm Simpson has notable expertise acting for US-headquartered corporations and and David Williams is a key name for representing clients in disputes arising outside the UK. The team represented IPM Energy Trading (part of ENGIE) in a claim against Carillion Energy Services concerning an alleged breach of contract by the defendant. It is also acting for Persimmon in a Chancery claim against the selling shareholders of Hillreed Developments and Hillreed Homes for alleged breach of warranty, misrepresentation and mistake. Other recent work includes assisting Jet2 with its approach to disruptive passengers on flights. Nick Lees has expertise in property development and insolvency-related disputes. Capita, Caterpillar Group, Kier Group, and Moorgarth are also clients.

Leading individuals

Gwendoline Davies - Walker Morris LLP

Malcolm Simpson - Walker Morris LLP

Next generation lawyers

Nick Lees - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP has ‘an experienced team that understands clients’. Practice head Michael Taylor has expertise in bilateral and syndicated transactions, including acquisitions, property finance, development funding, debt restructurings and refinancing companies in distress. He assisted Santander with a £50m trade finance line to provide capital to British Steel following its acquisition by Greybull Capital from Tata Steel. Other highlights include advising Strata Homes on the provision of a £60m facility, and assisting Desford Acquisition with a £55m fundraising by way of guaranteed senior secured floating rate notes secured on a property owned by SPL, a Delaware company, for the purposes of funding the logistics business of Neovia Logistics.Ian Akitt, who handles leveraged finance, asset-based lending, the funding of corporate transactions and complex group financings ,and Peter Considine, who has strengths in leveraged finance, trade finance and restructuring transactions, are the other names to note.

Leading individuals

Michael Taylor - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s ‘highly rated’ team stands, according to one client, ‘above its peers’. It advises lenders, insolvency practitioners, directors and other stakeholders on all aspects of restructuring and insolvency matters. Practice head Simon Clark focuses on non-contentious corporate recovery and turnaround matters, and acts for banks, insolvency practitioners, companies and directors. The ‘urbane and polishedDuncan Lolereally cuts through and drives a case or deal home’; ‘seasoned professionalJohn Roche’s ‘quality of work and understanding of a matter is without exception’; recently promoted partner Gawain Mooreis very experienced, calm and a good tactical thinker’; senior associate Olivia Robinson ‘is persuasive, hard-working and has a brilliant intuition’; and senior associate Sarah MacAuley ‘works extremely hard and has a very sound understanding of the field’. Recent highlights include issuing possession and sale proceedings on behalf of Mazars on the property of a bankrupt, which was defended by the bankrupt’s spouse as a litigant in person and is currently on appeal. Philip Mudd retired in May 2016.

Leading individuals

Philip Mudd - Walker Morris LLP

Next generation lawyers

Olivia Robinson - Walker Morris LLP

Sarah MacAuley - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: Human resources

Employment: Hull and East Yorkshire
Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Shakeel Dad - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s employment team acts for national and international businesses as well as a number of leading Yorkshire-based companies; food manufacturer Symington’s, retailer Moss Bros, Starbucks, business process outsourcing company Capita and Toyota all call on the firm to handle business-critical UK employment issues. David Smedley heads the team, which includes food and drink expert Andrew Rayment; Rayment’s clients include Asda Stores, which he is advising on employment issues arising from the sale of the client’s photo business, and Ainscough Crane hire, which he is advising on a strike organised by Unite the Union involving over 500 employees across several of the client’s sites. In another highlight for the firm, Smedley led the team acting for Landis+Gyr, a global metering solutions provider, on several matters, including the UK aspects of a multi-jurisdictional restructuring; defending the client in a discrimination and victimisation claim; and handling a number of senior management exits. Shakeel Dad, who was also involved in that matter, has established a considerable reputation for his work advising Premier League and Football League clubs on a range of employment law issues, as well as for his work in the food and drink sector. Dad’s recent highlights include acting for Chipotle on the appointment of a new European managing director, advising the client on a misconduct dismissal, and assisting with the drafting of bespoke post-termination restrictions.

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Shakeel Dad - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Employment: Sheffield and South Yorkshire
Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Shakeel Dad - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 3

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s ‘responsive, practical and commercial’ two-partner team ‘always keeps an eye on the bigger picture for the client’. Jeanette Burgess heads the practice, which includes Andrew Northage, who is ‘charming, inspires confidence and is easy to work with for clients and counsel alike; he fights his client’s corner but doesn’t take bad points’. The firm has experienced a notable uptick in food and retail mandates; in an illustration of the latter, Robert Starr acted for JFT Wholesale Limited, a UK-based discount retail chain, in a prosecution brought by Staffordshire County Council concerning the sale and storage of fireworks.

[back to top]

Pensions
Pensions - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Jo Ratcliffe heads the pensions practice at Walker Morris LLP, which includes nine other pensions specialists and acts for the independent trustees of major regional and UK-wide pension schemes, including Capital Group’s Pension and Life Assurance scheme and Manchester University’s superannuation scheme. Ratcliffe is ably assisted by senior associate Craig Looker, whose expertise covers public and private sector pensions issues, and Ruth Bamforth, who has extensive experience handling scheme reorganisations, amendments and windings-up. Gwendoline Davies leads the firm’s pensions litigation practice. Highlights included advising Banco do Brasil, which had a defined benefit and defined contribution in a hybrid master trust for banks, on its withdrawal from the master trust, which involved the abolition of contracting-out and winding-up issues; and advising the trustees of the Rockware 1999 pension scheme and Redfearn 2005 pension scheme on a three-way merger, which involved the sectionalisation of the Rockware scheme post merger.

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: Insurance

Professional negligence: claimant
Professional negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s professional negligence practice is ‘excellent; quick to respond with commercial, practical advice that is to the point’. Headed by Andrew Beck, the practice handles high-value professional negligence claims against solicitors and surveyors for banking and construction sector clients, including Lloyds Banking Group. In an example of its work against surveyors, Andrew Bennett acted for Mortgage Express in a £3.3m claim against a firm of surveyors for breach of fiduciary duty and deceit. Other key figures include Louise Power, who acts for financial institutions in claims for solicitors’ and surveyors’ negligence; Malcolm Simpson, whose clients include Persimmon; Martin Scott, who handles multi-party claims; And Gwendoline Davies.

Leading individuals

Andrew Bennett - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: Projects, energy and natural resources (including PFI)

Energy
Energy - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

At Walker Morris LLP, ‘well-respected’ practice head David Kilduff has expertise in waste-to-energy infrastructure projects, Ben Sheppard advises public sector bodies, contractors, subcontractors, sponsors and technology suppliers on energy-from-waste and renewable energy matters, and Gwendoline Davies handles contentious matters. Legal director Elizabeth Wood advises bidders and employers on a wide range of energy projects. The team advised Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust on a joint procurement with the University of Leeds to hire a contractor for the installation of a new energy plant and assisted Sustainable Development Capital with its investment in an energy efficiency project in Teesside. Other work included advising MVV Environment on the Dundee and Angus Waste PPP, a 25 year energy-from-waste project involving the treatment of 70,000 tonnes of waste.

Next generation lawyers

Elizabeth Wood - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Infrastructure
Infrastructure - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

At Walker Morris LLP, David Kilduff, who leads the energy, infrastructure and government group, and Ben Sheppard are the key partners The duo have strengths in advising public and private sector clients on projects and commercial contracts, particularly in the leisure, waste and energy sectors. The team recently advised St James Securities on the construction of a new £35m retail park and advised Fairbriar Developments Scarborough on a new residential and commercial scheme in Manchester. Other highlights include assisting Unite Integrated Solutions with a new student accommodation building in Portsmouth, which also includes commercial space, and acting for Capita in a dispute with civil engineering contactor Owen Pugh over works carried out in Teesside.

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: Public sector

Education
Education - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

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.

[back to top]

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

The ‘well-respected and experiencedDavid Kilduff heads the energy, infrastructure and government team at Walker Morris LLP in Leeds. Led by director Elizabeth Wood, the team has been advising the London Borough of Bexley on a joint agreement with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Peabody Housing Association in connection with the Housing Zone programme, which provides funding and planning simplification to use brownfield land for housing schemes. With director Richard Auton, she has also been instructed by Cambridge City Council to advise on the potential delivery of below-market housing for people that do not qualify for social housing. Tom Peel has been assisting Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council with contract negotiations in relation to the first phase of work on its town centre redevelopment and in relation to its procurement strategy with regards to the second phase.

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: Real estate

Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s team has a strong reputation for student accommodation projects, as well as notable expertise handling high-value portfolio transactions, retail acquisitions, energy projects, and disposals for large infrastructure clients. Practice head Nick Cannon led advice to Anchor Group on the £9m disposal of Bath’s Fitzroy House. Austin Judson has expertise in high-value retail acquisitions; he advised on a multimillion-pound Leeds-based development for a UK developer. Other highlights included advising on the £920m Odeon Cinema sale to AMC Entertainment, which was led by Jeremy Moore. Moore also advised on a multijurisdictional £55m fundraising by way of issue of guaranteed senior secured floating rate notes secured on a UK-based property for the purpose of funding a logistics business. Judith Pike handled several projects in the retail sector, including handling the management and letting of a large retail outlet, assisting with the £72.5m refinancing of an outlet centre, and advising Gloucester Quays LLP on a £72.5m facility agreement for Gloucester Quays Outlet. Senior associate Adam Reed is experienced in handling high-profile corporate disposals.

Leading individuals

Jeremy Moore - Walker Morris LLP

Nick Cannon - Walker Morris LLP

Next generation lawyers

Adam Reed - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

At Walker Morris LLP, the overall service and industry knowledge is ‘excellent’ and its ‘very attentive and highly trained’ team responds ‘efficiently’. Team head Martin Scott focuses on contentious issues, Jules Harbagemitigates risk and provides comprehensive advice’, Tom Peel handles non-contentious and contentious matters and senior associate Joanne McNamara focuses on student accommodation projects. Harbage recently advised the Port of Tilbury on a £12m bespoke contract with the Environment Agency for the replacement of existing navigational gates at the port. Peel is advising St James Securities on the development of a £35m retail park on a former college site in Sheffield, and advised Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council on construction contracts with the main contractor for the redevelopment of Barnsley town centre, and also assisted Fairbriar Developments Scarborough with a new residential and commercial development in Manchester. Peel and Harbage defended the Kier Group in three adjudications brought simultaneously by a subcontractor. Other highlights include advising Principal Hayley Hotels on the £50m refurbishment of a building in Liverpool to construct a five-star hotel, and representing Yorkshire Building Services in a cross-border dispute with a Danish manufacturer of textile ducts, regarding defects in the ducts.

Leading individuals

Martin Scott - Walker Morris LLP

Tom Peel - Walker Morris LLP

Next generation lawyers

Joanne McNamara - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s practice has ‘an excellent reputation and standing in the wider North’ and ‘strong commercial acumen and compares excellently to its competition’. Practice head Andrew Williamson ‘leaves no stone unturned’; he represented Peveril Securities and Sladen Estates in an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a student development in Durham. The ‘meticulousRichard Sagar, who ‘goes the extra mile to get the best job done’, advised Persimmon Homes on the planning application and subsequent public inquiry concerning the development of 156 properties. Chris Slater’s strengths lie in negotiating planning and highways agreements, community infrastructure levies and compulsory purchase work; he advised Grantley Hall on the planning aspects of the conversion and extension of a Grade II listed building. Senior associate James Garbett advised the London Borough of Bexley on an application brought by the Peabody Trust concerning a demolition and subsequent mixed-use development. Other clients include Commercial Estates Group, Hallam Land Management, Taylor Wimpey and Linden Homes.

Leading individuals

Andrew Williamson - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

At Walker Morris LLP, ‘the senior fee earners are experts in what they do, they understand the business and the industry and provide very sound, pragmatic, commercially focused advice’. Team head Andrew Beck has strengths in multijurisdictional mortgage fraud cases, town and village green inquiries, asset recovery disputes and high-value professional negligence claims against solicitors and surveyors. Litigator Martin McKeague is experienced in landlord and tenant matters and arbitrations; Malcolm Simpson acts for developer clients in disputes arising from option agreements, conditional contracts, planning promotion agreements, and supply chain disputes; Karl Anders has expertise in handling agricultural property and party wall disputes; and senior associate Emma Porritt regularly handles town and village green disputes for local authorities and developers. McKeague recently acted for an indemnity insurer in a dispute concerning the enforcement of a prescriptive right of way following an obstruction by the landowner; an interim injunction was granted in the client’s favour. Beck defended Gladman Developments in an application to register a proposed development site as a town or village green, the dismissal of which enabled the development of over 100 houses to be built on the disputed site.

Next generation lawyers

Emma Porritt - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]

Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP’s practice is led by Chris Woodthorpe, who has ‘excellent industry knowledge and exceeds clients expectations’; he acts for registered providers, the Homes and Communities Agency, local authorities and developers and contractors on a broad range of issues including residential and mixed-use developments, landlord and tenant matters, acquisitions, disposals and stock transfers. Karl Anders heads the firm’s housing management and litigation department; he has notable expertise handling possession claims, injunction applications, public law and judicial review challenges, and enfranchisements and enforcements, including forfeiture and right-to-buy. Lucie Bryan, who joined in January 2017 from an in-house position, is a key name for advising social landlords on housing management issues. Recent highlights include advising a national FTSE 250 contractor on delivering mixed-tenure housing for five registered providers, as well as assisting with site acquisitions for associated joint ventures and negotiating conditional sales contracts; advising Cambridge City Council on its options and powers to deliver below-market rented housing and below-market sale homes for residents who don’t qualify for social housing; and handling Rykneld Homes’ acquisition of a site in North Wingfield for the delivery of affordable housing, which included assisting with title issues, third party agreements and negotiations with the council to provide mutual rights of access and services.

[back to top]

Yorkshire and the Humber: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

James Crayton has taken over as head of the IT and commercial department at Walker Morris LLP following Michael Stevens’ retirement. The practice advises on a range of commercial contracts relating to IT and technology arrangements and has clients in both the public and private sector. The ‘knowledgeable, time-efficient and pragmatic’ Crayton has been leading advice to Dart Group plc (Jet2) in the procurement of a technology infrastructure platform and to Amscreen Group Limited in several transactions relating to its digital advertising screens, including a partnering agreement, and a development and supply agreement with Clear Channel. Senior associate David Laville regularly advises on IT and technology related matters and supports Crayton on key matters for the practice.

[back to top]

Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

Walker Morris LLP expanded its trade mark and designs offering with the additions of senior associate Jennifer Good and associate Beverley Robinson, both of whom are registered trade mark attorneys. Rupert Bent, who is ‘friendly and approachable whilst being professional and knowledgeable’, heads the IP department in Leeds, with senior associate Heather Williams heading the new trade marks practice. The team advises clients such as Crystal Palace FC, Leeds Building Society, Harry Ramsden’s and Deckers Europe Limited on all IP-related matters. For Deckers, the team assists with the protection of its IP rights, particularly regarding its UGG brand, which it has been defending in disputes with Groupon and BHS Limited respectively concerning infringement. Bent has also been representing Landis+Gyr in patent litigation brought against British Gas and others over smart energy meters.

[back to top]

Sport
Sport - ranked: tier 1

Walker Morris LLP (Leeds)

The sports department at Walker Morris LLP is particularly strong regarding football and has been involved in a number of club takeovers in recent times. As an example, the team advised Eleonora Sport Limited on the purchase of shareholdings in Leeds United FC and assisted Inner Circle Investments with the purchase of Bolton Wanderers FC. Finance expert David Hinchliffe leads the team and is ‘well connected’, ‘shrewd and a problem-solver’. A contentious highlight for the team was advising Crystal Palace Football Club in its dispute with former manager Tony Pulis for leaving at the start of the 2014-15 season, in which a Premier League Tribunal decision to award the Club damages of £3.77m plus costs was upheld on appeal. The team has also been advising a Premier League club on a large kit supply dispute. Senior associate Katie Reed and associate Geoff Cunningham also come recommended.

Leading individuals

David Hinchliffe - Walker Morris LLP

Next generation lawyers

Katie Reed - Walker Morris LLP

[back to top]


Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to