Hall Of Fame

Education in Yorkshire And The Humber

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Counting higher education and further education providers, schools, academies and private education institutions among its key roster of clients, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP advises on employment matters, charity law issues, litigation and dispute management cases, real estate mandates, corporate and commercial matters, health and safety issues, and regulatory work, among others. The practice is also well-placed to leverage the firm’s international footprint to act for education institutions globally. Praised as ‘incredibly knowledgeable and technically excellent’, Chris Mordue spearheads the offering in Leeds alongside ‘standout partner’ Ben Wood. Charlotte Tanikal, who advises independent schools, academies, further education and higher education clients on real estate matters, is another key contact in the group.

Practice head(s):

Diane Gilhooley; Nicola Bennison; Chris Mordue; Ben Wood

Other key lawyers:

Alison Oldfield; Charlotte Tanikal


‘Very professional and willing to go the extra mile. Quality of legal advice is very good.’

‘Approachable and friendly. Good at listening and give considered responses.’

‘Great work from Chris Mordue.’

‘The team is outstanding both in terms of technical knowledge and its application to individuals and the sector.’

‘Ben Wood is consistently outstanding. Responsive, sensible and incredibly well informed. I have 100% confidence in his advice. Beyond that Ben has leveraged support from across the firm to deliver sector guidance, advice and speakers for our network which is invaluable.’

‘The Eversheds Education team is consistently strong; its online and in-person legal updates and training offering are highly relevant and delivered to a very high standard.’

‘Standout partner is Ben Wood. His expert advice, experience and availability is second to none.’

‘Chris Mordue is incredibly knowledgeable and technically excellent. Easy to deal with.’

Key clients

Durham University

University of Leeds

University of Sheffield

University of Hull

University of Roehampton

University of Huddersfield

University of Essex

Sheffield Hallam University

University of York

Leeds Trinity University

Norther School of Contemporary Dance

York St John University

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

University of Leicester

University of Reading

Kings College London

University of Plymouth

Askham Bryan College

DN Colleges Group

Leeds College of Building

Luminate Education Group

RNN Group

Wakefield College

Windsor Forest Colleges Group

Beacon Multi Academy Trust

Batley Multi Academy Trust

Chelsea Academy

Jewish Community Academy Trust

LEAD Academy Trust

NOVA Education Trust

The Potteries Education Trust

The Prospect Trust

Trinitas Academies Trust

The Wensum Trust

Work highlights

  • Worked with the University of Roehampton to successfully deliver a major restructuring programme, involving around half of its academic staff, including staffing reductions of 65 full time posts and the transition of around 180 academic staff to new contracts.
  • Working with Universities UK, publishing a comprehensive briefing on the legal framework relevant to staff-student sexual misconduct in Higher Education, as part of a suite of policy and guidance documents published by Universities UK on this key issue in HE.
  • Advising the University of Manchester on its development known as “ID Manchester”, a 26 acre, £1.5 billion GDV scheme in Manchester City Centre.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Commended for its ‘deep sector knowledge’, Pinsent Masons LLP is instructed by an extensive roster of leading universities and higher education facilities from across the UK; Cardiff University, University College London and Manchester Metropolitan University are just some of the group’s longstanding clients. The team of ‘industry experts’ is helmed by Victoria Goddard, who oversees both the Leeds-based department and the global offering. Julian Sladdin is the key contact for contentious work, while Louise Fullwood takes the lead on intellectual property and commercialisation matters.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Goddard

Other key lawyers:

Julian Sladdin; Louise Fullwood


‘The team has deep sector knowledge and industry experts from senior partners down to associates.’

‘Victoria Goddard is experienced and knowledgeable, honest and upfront, cares about the client and the work.’

Key clients

Aston University

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Cardiff University

INTO University Partnerships Limited

Kings College London

Leeds Beckett University

Nottingham Trent University

Nurture Higher Education Group

Solent University

University College London

University of Brighton

University of Essex

University of Gloucestershire

University of Huddersfield

University of Leeds

University of Leicester

University of London

University of Nottingham

University of Sheffield

University of Sussex

University of York

Oxford University Press

Manchester Metropolitan University

University College Birmingham

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a major London University in judicial review proceedings brought against it and the Ombudsman for Higher Education by a Hong Kong-based student who had been expelled for academic misconduct.
  • Representing several universities in the class actions being brought by Asserson and Harcus Parker on behalf of over 20,000 students for fee compensation relating to breach of contract due to Covid-19 and strike disruption.
  • Acting for Northumbria University in a breach of contract and negligence claim brought by a former PhD student.

DLA Piper

With teams on the ground in both Sheffield and Leeds, DLA Piper is highly valued for its strong local presence across the Yorkshire region, and its consequent longstanding relationship with a roster of leading educational establishments in the arena. Andrew Clarke and Richard Taylor are the key senior contacts; the former has a particular focus on property law matters, while the latter is noted for his expertise in intellectual property mandates and grant-funded transactions.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Clarke; Richard Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Richard Norman; Nigel Howard

Key clients

United Kingdom Research and Innovation

University of Law

University of Sheffield

West Nottinghamshire College

The Northampton Roman Catholic Diocese Trustee

Diocese of Leeds

University Superannuation Fund

Work highlights

  • Advising the University of Sheffield on the replication of its ministerially sponsored Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in various sites around the UK, including Wales, Derby and Doncaster.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell’s offering is helmed by highly regarded practitioner Jenny Arrowsmith, whose ‘ability to explain complex issues in an understandable and practical format and relate them to the regional context is invaluable’. Key areas of expertise include commercial matters, charity regulation and governance work, land and property issues, and student complaints. The firm fields a strong contentious practice and regularly acts in judicial reviews and challenges against public bodies. Recently, the team has been building its client roster, consisting of further education colleges and multi-academy trusts.

Practice head(s):

Jenny Arrowsmith


‘Jenny Arrowsmith’s breadth of knowledge, ability to explain complex issues in an understandable and practical format and relate them to the regional context is invaluable.’

‘Jenny Arrowsmith is not only very knowledgeable and skilled, but she is also very passionate about employment/HR/workforce-related issues and this shines through in our discussions and team meetings.’

Key clients

Association of Colleges

New College Durham

Services 4 Schools

Wickersley Partnership Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising an association of higher education facilities on all its matters.
  • Advising a provider of HR and other related needs to schools of all sizes throughout the North and Midlands on an ongoing basis.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has ‘a great depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to draw on in the education sector’. The multidisciplinary team fields ‘many standout individuals’, including IP specialist Mark Pearce and employment expert Stuart Craig. Martin Priestley, who focuses on commercial and sourcing agreements, heads up the practice. Recently, the group has been active in advising various universities and independent schools on bonds and private placements.

Practice head(s):

Martin Priestley

Other key lawyers:

Mark Pearce; Stuart Craig


‘Mills & Reeves have a great depth and breadth of knowledge and experience to draw on in the education sector. They are very active in the sector and often host HE forums for Universities which has benefits not only for the institutions but also gives this firm an insight into the practical challenges faced by in-house legal teams which in turn feeds into their provision of pragmatic and supportive advice.’

‘Mills & Reeves has many standout individuals.’

‘Good sector knowledge. Experienced, skilled and approachable team who provide focused, commercially-sound advice.’

‘The HE team are very knowledgeable and importantly are able to translate that knowledge into sensible practical advice. They respond quickly, pay close attention, and offer a variety of potential solutions, but they aren’t hesitant to say which they believe is the best option given the situation.’

Key clients

Academies Enterprise Trust

Arden University Limited

Birmingham City University

Bolton College

Bournemouth University

British Council

Buckingham New University

Cardiff University

Christ Church, Oxford University

Christ’s Hospital

Coventry University

Cranfield University

Dragon School Trust Limited

Exeter College Oxford

Francis Crick Institute Ltd

Harrow School

King’s College London

Kingston University

Linacre College Oxford

London Business School

LTE Group

Manchester Metropolitan University

Merton College Oxford

Nottingham Trent University

Oxford Brookes University

Oxford University Endowment Management

Peterhouse College, Cambridge

Queen Mary University of London

Royal Veterinary College

Sheffield Hallam University

Solent University

St Dunstan’s Educational Foundation

St Edmund Hall Oxford

St John’s College, Oxford

St John’s College

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

The United Westminster and Grey Coat Foundation

The University of Birmingham

The University of Northampton

The University of Nottingham

TOF Corporate Trustee Limited as Trustee of The Oxford Funds

Trinity College, Cambridge

University of Cambridge

University of Bath

University of Derby

University of East Anglia

University of Exeter

University of Kent

University of Lancaster

University of Liverpool

University of London

University of Manchester

University of Oxford

University of Salford

University of Southampton

University of Surrey

University of Worcester

University of York

Wellcome Sanger Institute

West Thames College

University of York

Work highlights

  • Advised the University of Hull on two financing transactions: a £40m sustainability-linked revolving credit facility with Lloyds Bank and an £86m privately placed issue of green debt securities.
  • Advising Sheffield Hallam University on its new campus in London.
  • Advising Arden University on its expansion into new premises in Leeds and Manchester.

Rollits LLP

Rollits LLP’s broad client base spans colleges, universities, student unions, schools, single and multi-academy trusts, nurseries, awarding bodies, and charitable and private training providers across the UK. Caroline Hardcastle, whose ‘passion and commitment are infectious’, leads on the contentious side. John Flanagan oversees mandates with a corporate element, while for commercial and intellectual property matters, James Peel is the key contact. Chris Crystal moved to gunnercooke LLP in November 2023.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Hardcastle; John Flanagan

Other key lawyers:

James Peel


‘The team at Rollits really know us. They work collaboratively with us and each other and you never feel like they will “drop the ball” – everyone knows what is happening and they keep us up to date at every step of the way.’

‘Approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic.’

‘I have worked with James Peel very closely. He is extremely knowledgeable of our organisation and is always on hand to answer any queries I may have.’

Key clients

Heart of Mercia

Hull College Group

Bishop Burton College

DN Colleges Group – Doncaster College and North Lindsey College

Salford City College

Leeds College of Building

Edukos Trust (formerly Swanland Education Trust)

The Consortium Academy Trust

Hymers College

York College

Shipley College

National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure

Work highlights

  • Advised Hymers College on its acquisition of Hessle Mount school.
  • Advised Salford City College on its agreements with Greater Manchester Combined Authority for the provision of DfE-funded Skills Bootcamps.
  • Advised Heart of Mercia on the terms of its agreement with Worcester Warriors RLFC for the delivery of the Diploma in Sporting Excellence programme.

Schofield Sweeney

Academy conversions, advice to multi-academy trusts, and assistance with specialised funding and development schemes for schools all form part of the regular workload at Schofield Sweeney. Andrew Hurst is the key senior contact in the Bradford office, with Tina Morris providing ‘exceptional’ support at the associate level. Over in Leeds, employment specialist Simon Shepherdhas superior knowledge of the education sector’.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hurst

Other key lawyers:

Simon Shepherd; Tina Morris


‘The firm offers a personable service. The relationships mean they feel like an extension of our business rather than just a service we buy into.’

‘Simon Shepherd is exceptional, he has superior knowledge of the education sector. He responds in a timely manner and is always willing to support us with any issues we have.’

‘Tina Morris is always available. She always gives sound advice and her knowledge within the education sector on a range of issues is exceptional.’

‘Strong expertise in the education sector. Efficient in responding to queries, always helpful and supportive.’

‘Tina Morris is excellent and Simon Shepherd is outstanding.’

‘Tina Morris and Simon Shepherd have both been immensely helpful and generous with their time over both routine and complex/difficult matters. They explain legal matters and grey areas very clearly with a calm, reasonable approach and always provide a clear, measured way forward on any matter.’

‘Knowledgeable, experienced, approachable and timely advice and guidance. The legal team feel like our own colleagues rather than an external organisation.’

‘The individuals are personable and feel as if they are a part of our own organisation, rather than an external company.’

Key clients

Carlton Academy Trust

BMAT Education

Wellspring Academy Trust

Moorlands Learning Trust

Attain Academy Partnership

Enhance Academy Trust

Heckmondwike Grammar School

Beckfoot Trust

Oasis Community Learning

Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust

The Crossley Heath School Academy Trust Limited

Watergrove Trust

Bronte Academy Trust

St Mary’s Academy Trust

SHARE Multi Academy Trust

Ashville College

Shirley Manor Primary Academy

The Basildon Academies

South Westmorland Multi Academy Trust

The Adnan Jaffery Academy Trust

Peak Edge

AIM Academies Trust

South Cumbria Multi Academy Trust

Cumbria Education Trust

Furness Education Trust

Changing Lives Learning Trust

Work highlights

  • Assisted with the academy re-brokerage of the PFI Academy University Academy Keighley to join the Trust.
  • Assisted with the academy transfer of Castle Carrock School and the conversion of Petteril Bank School, with both joining the Trust during 2022.
  • Assisted the Trust with its continued expansion, including the conversion of Vickerstown School, as well as Ormsgill Nursery and Primary School.

Walker Morris LLP

Walker Morris LLP is highly regarded for its work with schools and colleges, and is particularly active on academy conversions and building carried out pursuant to the Condition Improvement Fund. Recently, the group has also been expanding its client base in the university arena, with prominent names including Leeds Arts University and London South Bank University now featuring on the firm’s roster. Key senior contacts David Smedley and Jules Harbage are recommended for their employment and construction expertise, respectively.

Practice head(s):

David Smedley; Jules Harbage

Other key lawyers:

Alex Jones


‘Everything about Walker Morris is a joy. They are quick to respond, support us and are always helpful.’

‘They have always been knowledgeable, reliable and helpful.’

‘Very, responsive, personable, professional and practical.’

‘Walker Morris has gone over and above helping our client and myself navigate the legal and contractual process for a project that has been specifically difficult.’

‘They just provided the assurance that you need sometimes when we have difficult problems to overcome.’

‘I worked primarily with Alex Jones and I would recommend him without hesitation or reservation. Knowledge is key, and his interpretation in legal terms for our difficult situations always gives us confidence when we are dealing with delicate situations that could cause significant financial issues to the trust.’

‘They have supported us through many projects and are always very clear with their direction and instructions. To a non-legal person their support through the process has been invaluable. Their response times are excellent and they are always on hand to offer support.’

Key clients

Leeds Arts University

Leeds College of Building

Burnley College

New Collaborative Learning Trust

Exceptional Education Trust

St Mary’s Catholic High School, Chesterfield

South Wigston High School, Leicester

Kirkbie Kendal School, Kirkbie

Bradford Grammar Schools

Connaught School for Girls

Bolton College

Pontefract Academies Trust

Leeds Beckett University

Eveleigh Link Academy Trust

Hoyland Common Academy Trust

New Collaborative Learning Trust

Rodillian Multi Academy Trust

Findel Education

The Rutland Learning Trust

Spalding Academy

Hartwell Primary School

King Edward Vi Education Trust

Giles Academy

Monkwearmouth Academy

Stanley Learning Partnership Trust

Innovate Multi Academy Trust

Excel Academy Partnership Trust

Every Child Matters Academy Trust

Westgate Academy

The Grammar School at Leeds

London South Bank University

Dorrington Academy Trust

Rossett School

The Consortium Multi Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising EQUANS Regeneration on a £200m student accommodation scheme at the University of Birmingham’s Pritchatts Park campus.
  • Assisting the Consortium Multi Academy Trust with multiple construction projects undertaken via the Condition Improvement Fund scheme for a combined value of £5m.
  • Advising Leeds Arts University on a window replacement project, including associated infrastructure and controls, at the St Marks Road elevation of the University’s Blenheim Walk campus.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP’s is highly regarded for its work with state-funded schools, as well as faith schools and academies. In addition to advising on conversions and transfers, which make up a core part of the workload, the team regularly assists with issues relating to safeguarding, exclusions, parental responsibility and reputation management. Chris Billington leads on governance and commercial matters, and also brings his experience as practice head of the employment department to the team. Graham Shaw and Tim Wrigley are also key members of the group.

Practice head(s):

Chris Billington

Other key lawyers:

Graham Shaw; Tim Wrigley; Alacoque Marvin; Alexandra Slater


‘Alexandra Slater is a very professional, efficient and approachable individual. She is clear on process and our contractual agreement for the work being undertaken. She ensures that risks are highlighted and actions recommended for our decision.’

‘We have direct access to a dedicated contact to ensure continuity.’

‘Experience to date has confirmed that Wrigley’s team continue to maintain their understanding of an ever-changing educational landscape. Their support on both educational HR and more generic legal matters has been extremely beneficial. The advice given is always comprehensive, having listened and discussed salient issues.’

‘Over the years, they have demonstrated a thorough understanding of issues discussed and developed a key understanding of establishment dynamics. They are also very approachable, friendly and overall would rate their support as outstanding.’

Key clients

James Montgomery Academy Trust

Ponteland Academy Trust

T.E.A.M Education Trust

Coast & Vale Learning Trust

Every Child Matters Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising James Montgomery Academy Trust on a number of academy conversions.
  • Advising Ponteland Academy Trust on property, funding and staffing issues.
  • Advising T.E.A.M Education Trust on a satellite provision by its special school on the site of a maintained school in a neighbouring local authority.

Lupton Fawcett

Lupton Fawcett advises academies and independent schools, and is noted for its expertise in assisting Church of England and religious designated institutions; an illustration of its prominence in this arena, the firm was recently instructed by five separate Diocesan Boards of Education to handle the implementation of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 2021. Christopher Burns heads up the practice, with Adam Wilkinson and Tom Watkins providing expert property and employment knowledge, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Burns

Other key lawyers:

Adam Wilkinson; Tom Watkins


‘Knowledgeable, specialist team members and reliable. They take the time to understand the client and are responsive.’

Key clients

Leeds Diocesan Board of Education

York Diocesan Board of Education

Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust

Leeds Diocesan Learning Trust

The Grammar School at Leeds

The King’s School, Canterbury

University of York

Diocese of York Educational Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising the Leeds Diocesan Board of Education and school site trustees on academy conversions concerning schools within the diocese, academy governance issues, closed school issues and property matters relating to school sites.
  • Advising the Bradford Diocesan academies on a broad range of legal issues, from academy conversions and academy governance, to issues relating to children and parents, real estate, data protection and intellectual property, as well as handling disputes.
  • Advised five Diocesan Boards of Education on the implementation of the Diocesan Boards of Education Measure 2021.

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP is singled out by clients for its ‘unrivalled understanding of and empathy with the further education sector’, and is able to assist with issues spanning operational, transactional, commercial, property, construction, HR, immigration and employment law. Leeds-based Tom Morrison acts as the national practice head, and is responsible for developing the firm’s education work across the north of the country, an area in which Jamie Otter is likewise active. At the senior associate level, Louise Castle is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tom Morrison

Other key lawyers:

Polly O’Malley; Jamie Otter; Louise Castle


‘The team at Stone King clearly care about the FE sector, they regularly support networks and events that we hold for our members and their input is always well received.

‘Jamie Otter is extremely knowledgeable, such that we followed him to Stone King from his previous employment. Jamie has a sensible, down-to-earth approach that enables us to move forward.’

‘The team works hard to support clients and provides the specialist legal advice that is needed. Staff are approachable and committed to supporting clients.’

‘The Stone King LLP education practice is wholly unique. The practitioners I have worked with are extremely knowledgeable about the FE sector, have years of experience, work closely with me and my team to support us in making the right decisions and are extremely responsive.’

‘Tom Morrison is knowledgeable about the sector, experienced, responsive and easy to work with. In addition, Tom is extremely well-networked, connecting me with other experts both within Stone King and in other relevant organisations, and is able to very quickly get to the centre of an issue.’

‘The service is excellent. All the people we have dealt with have been knowledgeable and helpful, and all advice has been relevant, concise and high quality. Response time is very good, and we would recommend the service to anyone.’

‘Jamie Otter has been a fantastic support. He is very approachable, supportive, knowledgeable and ethical.’

‘The practice has an unrivalled understanding of and empathy with the further education sector, working with providers, funders, sector bodies and regulators. They seek practical, innovative solutions.’

Key clients

Luminate Education Group

United Learning Trust

The Co-operative Academies Trust

Heart of Yorkshire Education Group

The Sheffield College

Astrea Academy Trust

Red Kite Learning Trust

Altus Education Partnership

Rainbow Education Multi Academy Trust

Venn Academy Trust

Exceed Academies Trust


Northern College

The Society of Mary (Marist Fathers) CIO

Nottingham College

Shipley College

David Ross Education Trust

Abbey Multi Academy Trust

Ethos Academy Trust

West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges

Learning Accord Multi Academy Trust

The Challenge Multi Academy Trust

TEC Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advised St Cuthbert’s Roman Catholic Academy Trust on the transfer of schools from St Margaret Clitheroe Catholic Academy Trust, thereby doubling the size of the Trust.
  • Advising Luminate Education Group on the full range of commercial and legal matters, including arrangements for students on sports courses to train with high-profile sports clubs and agreements with suppliers of software and online services.
  • Assisting Co-operative Academies Trust with two academy transfer projects.