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At Bond Dickinson LLP, the ‘responsive, knowledgeable and stand-out’ team is led by the ‘excellentEmma Moody, who attracts praise for her ‘exceptional business acumen, which allows her to really understand her clients and provide the best support possible in any given situation’. The firm’s high-profile client roster includes Gateshead College and the Masonic Samaritan Fund; Moody advised the latter on its consolidation with three other national masonic charities to form the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Moody also handled Crisis UK’s merger with The Lift People and assisted Bowes Museum with all the elements of its acquisition of a 15th Century oil painting. Clients also single out ‘incredible’ managing associate Samantha Pritchard, who is noted for her strategic change and regulatory compliance advice; she recently acted alongside Moody for Royal Botanic Gardens Kew on pensions arrangements and issues relating to a historic gift to the charity. The General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Newcastle Upon Tyne Royal Grammar School and United Synagogue are also clients.

According to some, Muckle LLP is ‘without a doubt the best in the region for sport-related matters’. It has substantial experience advising community sports charities, national governing bodies and clubs such as the Premier League Charitable Fund and Chelsea FC Foundation. Noteworthy highlights include advising parkrun Group on its running events, including corporate governance and contractual issues, and assisting the Football Association with the launch of the Parklife project – a scheme aimed at providing all-purpose football facilities to communities around the UK. Practice head John Devine, is ‘a leading authority’; he is ‘very approachable and good at getting to the heart of the issue’. He recently advised North Music Trust on the extension of its corporate partnership with Sage Group, assisted Breathe North Appeal with its merger with Newcastle University, and acted for The Auckland Castle Trust on efforts to preserve the castle as a visitor attraction. Senior associate Joanne Davison is endorsed for her ‘detailed approach’ and specialises in establishing social enterprises.

The ‘truly excellent’ group at Sintons LLP has ‘efficient response times, a clear grasp of the region’s issues and good communication skills’, which makes it ‘a pleasure to work with’. Amanda Maskery recently advised Tyne Gateway Trust on the extension of its remit to a national level and assisted South Durham Gymnastics with its charity registration and company incorporation. Alan Dawson’s recent highlight include advising Stay Strong Stu on the establishment and registration of a CIO. The North of England Civic Trust, Carlisle Diocese and the Graham Wylie Charitable Foundation are also clients. Other key individuals include Mark Dobbin, Laura Peace and corporate department head Karen Simms.

Colin Hewitt and Fiona Wharton jointly lead Ward Hadaway’s practice, which advises a wide range of clients on governance issues, restructurings, fundraising and trustee responsibilities. The education sector is a key focus of the team; representative clients include Co-operative Academies Trust and Newcastle University. Alex Shiel led advice to the latter on a range of commercial and IP issues. Other key clients include The Land Trust, which the group recently assisted with its acquisition of land at Canvey Wick Nature Reserve and is advising on a collaboration agreement and property structure for a site in Essex. Consultant Gaynor Jackson is highly regarded for her trust and estate expertise.

Hay & Kilner acts for charities on a regional and national level, with clients including the Abbeyfield Newcastle upon Tyne Society and Foundation of Light. The group assisted the latter with several employment issues and reorganisations, and advised the Biscuit Factory Foundation on multiple operational matters. Jonathan Waters leads the practice, which includes Paul Taylor, Sarah Hall and litigator Martin Soloman. The team’s broad expertise also spans business-structuring mandates, mergers, governance issues, trusts, property ownership and occupation, employment matters, outsourcings and litigation.

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