Firm Profile > Pinsent Masons LLP > Leeds , England

Pinsent Masons LLP

Banking and finance Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP handles some of the region's largest corporate, real estate and acquisition finance transactions for lender and borrower clients, and also assists with securitisation and capital markets work. Team head Philip Scott is 'always good to deal with' and focuses on M&A funding and property finance work; newly promoted partner Matthew Clayton-Stead and legal director Sean Houlihan are also key names to note.

Leading individuals


The practice at Pinsent Masons is one of the best in the regional market right now‘.

The team is reliable, giving first-class advice and taking a collegiate approach across offices nationally, which many firms of this size do not do‘.

Philip Scott has a relaxed but assured approach, enabling clients to get the right result with a minimum of fuss or grandstanding‘.

Key clients

Extentia Group

Beechbrook Capital

Mayfair Capital

Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP's growing national team is led by property head Jonathan Riley and property development and investment head Richard Daffern. The practice advises key regional developers, taking lead roles on high-profile housing and regeneration projects. Universities and higher education head Victoria Goddard advises universities on accommodation projects, campus redevelopment and estate matters, while other notable names include Stephen Glass, who has investor and residential expertise, and Natalie Harris, who acts for clients including investors, developers and public authorities.


‘Wide depth of knowledge and experience across all areas. Easy people to work with, who will take the time to work with our teams and will explain complex issues in an easy to follow manner. The team builds up good relationships with advisers acting on the other side.’

‘Good understanding of my business and customer service. High standard of associates.’

‘Richard Daffern has been my principal point of contact for many years – he has good knowledge of what the company does and is very responsive.’

Key clients

Aviva Investors

Royal London

AXA – IM Real Assets

University of Leeds

Henry Boot

Leeds City Council

Westminster City Council

Octopus Healthcare/Medicx

London Borough of Wandsworth

London and Associated Properties

Construction Tier 1

At Pinsent Masons LLP, litigator Simon Plunkett heads up the construction advisory and disputes group while Melanie Grimmitt leads the finance and projects practice. The group excels in the energy and infrastructure sectors at a national and international level and primarily acts on the supplier side of matters. Mark Harris is the key contact for energy sector infrastructure projects internationally, Stacey Collins handles transactional work, John Williams is experienced in the rail, power and highway sectors, while senior associate Naomi Stafford focuses on contentious issues.

Key clients

Renew Holdings Plc

Drax Group Plc

EPH Group

Amey Group Plc

Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd

Hanson Group

E ON A.G. Group

BH EnergyGap Group

Cyden Homes Limited

Balfour Beatty Group

Orsted Group

NDA Group

Johnson Matthey Plc

Laing O’Rourke Group

Yorkshire Ventures Group

University of Huddersfield

Royal Bam Group

Scottish Power Group


Samsung C&T Corporation

China Triumph International Engineering Co Ltd

University of Leeds

Simons Group

Homes England Group

Saint Gobain

Lendlease Group

Black & Veatch Group

Roberston Group

Veolia Group

Kaplan Inc

University of Sheffield

Centrica Plc

SBM Group

Sembcorp Industries Ltd

Engie UK

Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP has a varied client roster of domestic and international companies; practice head Andrew Black counts several large publicly listed companies based in the region as clients, and the 'well-regarded' Andrew Kerr has strong links with clients in Japan and Asia. The team frequently acts across the infrastructure,  manufacturing, technology, and real estate sectors, while senior associate Joanna Jowitt has a particular focus on the financial services and waste management sectors. The commercial team, which is headed up by Lisa Harley, is carving a niche in advising its education sector clients on digital and IT transformation projects.

Leading individuals


Pinsent’s puts meeting the client’s needs at the top of its priorities.

Andrew Black is smart and very client friendly whilst able to keep his eye on the big picture. The team works very well together which is a tribute to his matter management.

Andrew Kerr is highly responsive, attuned to client needs, a good communicator, and offers sound counsel.

Key clients

Fenner Plc


Stadium Group plc

Central Square Holdings

ENVA Group

Northgate Public Services


Forterra plc

Hyland Software Inc

Speedy Hire plc

Corporate tax Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP's practice has extensive experience assisting clients with a range of property tax matters, including tax structuring, property investments, property joint ventures and funds, as well as handling mid-market M&A, share plan and incentives work and assisting private equity clients. Peter Morley joined the team from Squire Patton Boggs and leads the practice following John Christian's retirement; he has a breadth of experience across business tax with a focus on M&A transactions, restructurings and IPOs. Associate Andrew McCarthy acts for a number of private equity clients, with expertise in the dental and care home sectors, and also handles real estate-related work for local authorities, funds, investors and universities.

Key clients

DCC plc

Mayfair Capital Investment Management

UDG Healthcare plc

Drax plc

Halma plc

University of London

Imperial Brands PLC

Fenner plc

Janus Henderson

Halfords plc

Education Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP stands out for its advice to higher education providers, counting more than 70 universities as clients. The team handles the full spectrum of issues including the creation and registration of new providers, development and restructuring, staff issues, student accommodation, data protection and regulatory matters, and also leverages the firm's global network to assist with matters extending to other jurisdictions around the world. Victoria Goddard leads the practice and specialises in student accommodation projects, Julian Sladdin heads up the university litigation team and senior associate Rebecca McCall handles corporate governance and compliance matters.

Leading individuals

Key clients

University of Leeds

University of York

University of Essex

University of Leicester

University of London


University of Brighton

University of Coventry

University of Lincoln

Birmingham Metropolitan College

University of Manchester

Energy Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP's Leeds-based group leads on national energy projects and fields two distinct transactional and advisory and disputes teams. Notable areas of expertise include conventional power, renewable and alternative energy, oil and gas, nuclear and construction-related matters. Team head and construction lawyer Melanie Grimmitt handles major energy projects in the UK and the Middle East, Stacey Collins focuses on transactional matters, Mark Harris is an expert in infrastructure work, Jon Riley assists with planning work and John Bruce is a specialist in waste-to-energy matters.

Leading individuals

Next Generation Partners


The team at Pinsent Masons actively listens to its clients needs, has exceptional attention to detail, and adopts a commercial approach to problems while striving for solutions. It really is a true global firm‘.

Key clients


Ørsted (formerly Dong Energy)

Carlton Power/Wainstones Energy

Green Investment Group

London Array Limited

Drax Group PLC

Viridor Waste Management Limited

Saint Gobain


Flogas Britain Limited


Falcon Energy Group

Johnson Matthey PLC

FTS Derricks PTE. LTD

Longzhu Oilfield Services PTE LTD

Eggborough Power Limited / EPH Holdings


Centrica Plc

Engie UK

Infrastructure Tier 1

The infrastructure group at Pinsent Masons LLP's Leeds office handles matters from a broad range of sectors, including healthcare, energy and construction, as well as the public sector. Kate Orviss leads the firm's global healthcare projects team and handles major projects, financings and social infrastructure matters; John Bruce specialises in energy and infrastructure projects with notable expertise in energy-from-waste issues; and Stacey Collins handles construction and engineering-related mandates.

Pensions Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP's pensions and long-term savings group handles contentious and non-contentious mandates for its client roster, which includes a range of large long-standing schemes, major trusts and financial services firms. Practice head Jacqui Timmins specialises in traditional pension law and defined benefits schemes, while the 'experienced, pragmatic and commercial' Tom Barton heads up the team's defined contribution practice. Andrew Masterson and Julian Sladdin are key names to note for pensions litigation.

Leading individuals

Next Generation Partners


The pensions team at Pinsent Masons LLP boasts good strength in depth.

With great industry knowledge and experience, Pinsent Masons LLP‘s team always makes sure to keep up to date with what is going on in the wider industry, in addition to advising on the legislation.

Pinsent Masons LLP‘s pensions team has an unparalleled breadth of expertise and can cover any pension law issue that clients encounter. This, combined with its ease of use and responsiveness, sets it apart from others in the field.

Tom Barton is a stand out DC legal practitioner in the UK; he provides the legal advice in a commercial wrapper and is always thinking ahead of the game.

Tom Barton possesses the rare combination of forensic pensions law knowledge and commercial outlook. He often anticipates the direction of travel and so the client’s needs are met before we have arrived there.

Key clients

Trustee of the Croda Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Henry Boot SPLA Scheme

Arran Isle

Trustees of the Bitmac Pension Scheme

TPT Retirement Solutions

The Trustee of the Firth Rixson Retirement Benefit Plan

The Trustees of the Hickson Group Pension Scheme

The Trustees of the Vaillant Group Pension Scheme

Planning Tier 1

Jonathan Riley heads up the department at Pinsent Masons LLP, which advises on some of the biggest planning schemes across Yorkshire and other major northern cities, as well as handling nationally significant infrastructure projects, urban extensions and compulsory purchase orders. Riley is also a key name for transport matters. Legal director Nick McDonald handles development and infrastructure projects and legal director Jo Miles focuses on residential and mixed-use developments.

Leading individuals


Pinsent Masons has a knowledgeable and approachable team with a range and depth of expertise that is unmatched‘.

Jonathan Riley is an exceptional communicator with a fantastic ability to put complex legal issues into plain English‘.

The team is thorough, professional and shows excellent capabilities in recalling details for specific scenarios. It is an excellent advocate and provides valuable advice to enable planning officers to engage with the applicant with confidence‘.

Key clients

Eggborough Power (EPH Group) 3 No

Leeds City Council 10+ No

Drax Generation Developments Limited / Drax Power Limited

Sunderland City Council

South Tyneside Council

London Legacy Development Corporation

Ballymore Group

United Utilities Water Limited

South Gloucestershire Council

Portsmouth City Council

Homes and Communities Agency

Wembley National StadiumLimited

VPI Immingham B Ltd

Property litigation Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP's expertise spans the full spectrum of property litigation work including dilapidations, lease renewals, tenant defaults, judicial reviews, easements, trespass work and town and village green matters. Team head Matthew Baker is a expert in the right to light and assisted the Law Commission with a review of the law in this area. Other key practitioners include senior associate Nicola Charlton, who handles rights to light and landlord and tenant disputes.

Leading individuals


Pinsent Masons isn’t afraid of a fight and will support its client’s position and always puts the best foot forward in a strategic and efficient way. It fields a team of genuine specialists in real estate litigation‘.

The firm fields a strong and competent practice which is always available and very responsive‘.

Matthew Baker is determined on behalf of all his clients to extract the best outcome possible, a real pleasure to work with, calm and self assured, and a great negotiator‘.

Key clients

United Utilities Water Ltd

Whitbread Group PLC

RR Wing Portfolio Limited

Mayfair Capital

Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company

Aviva Investors

Sterling Capitol PLC

London & Associated Properties PLC

Rachel Securities

Crown Student Living


Royal London


University of Manchester

University College London

London School of Economics

University of London

Social housing Tier 1

Pinsent Masons LLP regularly advises on complex national housing renewal schemes and has notable expertise in social housing PFI work, finance issues and London housing zone matters. Clients encompass national housing associations, local authorities and government departments. Group leader Anne Bowden acts nationally for housing clients with significant experience in London housing schemes, legal director Nick McDonald has specialist expertise in site assembly and vacant possession matters, and Stephen Glass counts housebuilders and developers as clients.

Leading individuals


Pinsent Masons is easily one of the best firms in the region for social housing work and is led by the exceptional Anne Bowden‘.

Key clients

Homes England

Westminster City Council

London Borough ofLambeth

London Borough ofHaringey

Galliford Try Partnerships

Lovell Partnerships

Countryside Properties

London Borough ofWandsworth

London Borough ofHackney

London Borough of Brent

Places for People

London & Quadrant

Hyde Housing Association

Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 2

Pinsent Masons LLP handles a broad range of contractual and tortious disputes, particularly in the manufacturing, engineering and chemicals, technology and outsourcing and higher education sectors. Practice head Andrew Masterson specialises in product liability, pensions and IT disputes, while legal director Louise Nahon is particularly strong in engineering-related cases. Pensions litigator Julian Sladdin and James McBurney, who handles a range of corporate litigation, are other names to note.


The Leeds team of Pinsent Masons has all of the capabilities of a London-based practice but with the advantages of lower pricing and, critically, far higher partner involvement in a given case. This has allowed it to build up an enviable practice of commercial work from all over the UK (including London) along with international disputes.

The team skilfully defends against very difficult and complex issues with absolute attention to detail and analytical thinking, which create a robust and thorough defence. It demonstrates perseverance, patience, absolute legal understanding, superb analytical thinking, dominant negotiating skills, the ability to always give clear and sound advice and guidance, and an overall high level of intellect.

The calibre of the team, led by James McBurney, is demonstrated by the national and international nature of its work. It has the strength in depth and capability to deal with large-scale disputes.

James McBurney is an excellent lawyer who genuinely cares about the cases he works on and ensures that he gives each case his full attention. He has a good understanding of the commercial value of a claim and is an expert at achieving an outstanding result for his clients but is prepared to take claims to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.

James McBurney is a reliable and experienced litigator who “gets the job done”. He has a keen eye for detail and is closely involved in his disputes.

Key clients

Hamad Aldrees &Partners Holding Co. for Industry and Mining

University of London

Nottingham Trent University

University of Sheffield

Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 2

Pinsent Masons LLP's practice covers a broad range of employment work, with the Leeds team including the firm's national leads for sectors including financial services, retail and sport. The practice, which also boasts expertise in Employment Tribunal matters and industrial relations, has continued to build on the 2017 acquisition of diversity and inclusion consultancy Brook Graham, a deal which added a new string to the firm's bow. Leeds employment and reward head head Jon Fisher has overseen the practice's recent growth, while also serving as relationship partner for a number of key insurance and retail clients.

Leading individuals


‘Ben Brown is an experienced and highly client focused senior associate’

‘Jonathan Fisher has knowledge of all our tricky cases and personally intervenes if anything looks like it might be going off course or one of his team needs support. If we have any concerns, he is always available to discuss them at very short notice and he personally ensures they are resolved. His advice is always pragmatic and helpful. Compared to previous law firms I have used, Jon is the easiest to deal with, the most responsive and is a great fit with our organisation.’

‘Joe McMorrow is innovative in terms of looking for new ways of capturing and reporting data, which helps us to manage our large volume of cases. Our team love him – he is always available to discuss difficult cases, provides pragmatic advice and is very personable.’

‘Sarah Ashberry is a joy to work with. She always spots the good arguments and potential pitfalls in a case from an early stage. She builds trust and excellent working relationships with her clients and takes a collaborative approach to achieve the right outcomes.’

‘Ben Brown is an excellent solicitor, on top of both of the law and the practicalities of litigation, as well as being approachable and easy to work with.’

‘Louise Stratton and Amy Mills were both a pleasure to work with, completely reliable and on top of the details.’

‘The team is very pragmatic, and built a rapport with us very easily. They are not afraid to give more decisive opinions and make time for us, even on short notice.’

Key clients

Centrica plc/British Gas

RSA Insurance plc

Royal London

Wincanton plc

KCOM plc

Marshalls plc

UK Sport

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

University of Sheffield

University of Lincoln

Environment Tier 2

Following the departure of former team head Helen Peters - who left at the beginning of 2019 to join a close nuclear client of the firm - key contacts in Pinsent Masons LLP's Leeds office now include legal director Louise Nahon, who handles environment disputes; Jonathan Riley, who focuses on planning work; and corporate partner Andrew Kerr, who assists with transactional matters. On a national level, the team is notably strong in the nuclear, energy, manufacturing and real estate sectors, acting on permitting work, contaminated land issues, waste management, chemical matters, projects advice and carbon trading work.

Health and safety Tier 2

Pinsent Masons LLP's health and safety and risk advisory practice specialises in advising large retail and food sector clients on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. The Leeds-based team, which includes regulatory lawyer Simon Tingle, works with well-known national and international businesses on strategic advice and in prosecutions.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Pinsent Masons LLP is on the panels of four of the UK's largest clearing banks and also counts asset-based lenders, insolvency practitioners, corporates, directors, private equity houses and distressed investors as clients. The firm's team - which has notable expertise in advising distressed law firms - is led by Richard Tripp, who handles corporate recovery and restructuring, with legal director Dawn Allen also a key restructuring contact.


The practice understands the way clients work and has partners available to discuss problems quickly. It seamlessly translates instructions into action and provides feedback on progress along the route of the transaction‘.

Pinsent Masons fields a strong and experience team, which provides a first-class service which is quick and efficient whether the issue is simple or complex‘.

Pinsent Masons is very commercial with some clear market-leading sector expertise‘.

Richard Tripp provides a first-class service and quick and pragmatic support‘.

Richard Tripp will always make himself available. His focus is getting the right advice to clients to give reassurance and the direction needed. He has a first-class team to back him up‘.

Richard Tripp and Dawn Allen and the key contacts and are both approachable, knowledgeable, experienced and provide general and specific guidance on request. Issues, options and solutions are explored and explained fully and regular progress updates are provided‘.

Key clients




Ernst & Young

Begbies Traynor

RSM Restructuring Advisory

FRP Advisory

Grant Thornton

PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co


Local government Tier 2

Pinsent Masons LLP's Leeds-based group forms part of the wider firm's expansive local government team, which is one of the largest in the UK, with a client roster of more than 160 local authorities. The practice handles real estate, regulatory, governance, education, energy and contentious issues at a local and national level, with a strong focus on property and development work. Anne Bowden heads up the national practice and regularly handles regeneration schemes, Jonathan Riley is the key contact for planning work and Nick McDonald focuses on planning, regeneration and compulsory purchase orders.

Leading individuals


Pinsent Masons is very knowledgeable and experienced in this field, and is keen to work as part of the team to get to a solution rather than just identifying problems‘.

The size of the team and breadth and quality of the expertise available means that Pinsent Masons is able to provide high-quality and consistent legal advice across a wide variety of projects‘.

Anne Bowden delivers fast and effective advice with a tailored service offering a combination of swift initial advice and well-briefed advice from other team members when required‘.

Nick McDonald’s calm, friendly, knowledgeable and effective style or working is a real benefit to any project he works on. He is collaborative and a real team player‘.

Key clients

Westminster City Council

Leeds City Council

London Borough of Wandsworth

Somerset County Council

South Tyneside Council

London Borough ofLambeth

Bradford MBC

Peterborough City Council

Sunderland City Council

Barnsley MetropolitanBorough Council

London Borough of Croydon

Intellectual property Tier 3

The intellectual property team at Pinsent Masons LLP assists clients with a range of non-contentious and strategic advice. Legal director Louise Fullwood heads up the practice and focuses on matters with a science and technology component.

IT and telecoms Tier 3

Pinsent Masons LLP's IT team frequently acts for national and multinational clients on a range of commercial matters and disputes. The group is instructed by companies investing in IT and service providers, and has particular experience in the edtech sector. Andrew Masterson and legal director Lisa Harley jointly head up the practice and focus on contentious and non-contentious work respectively. James McBurney has experience handling a range of IT and telecoms disputes.


Pinsent Masons has in-depth technical knowledge combined with a commercially sensitive approach, taking into account the outcomes for all stakeholders.’

James McBurney is sensible, steady, pragmatic and calm with excellent legal and commercial understanding.

Pinsent Masons is an international law firm that likes to do things differently. The business is built around the needs of its clients across five global sectors: energy, infrastructure, financial services, real estate, and advanced manufacturing and technology. Because the firm knows those sectors inside out, it is able to innovate with, and for, its clients to deliver modern solutions to complex challenges. In recent years, Pinsent Masons has achieved more Tier 1 rankings in The Legal 500 UK than any other firm, been named the most innovative law firm in Europe by The Financial Times and simultaneously held the ‘Law Firm of the Year’ award from Legal Business and Legal Week. The firm has more PLC clients than almost any other law firm in the UK.

The firm: With over 1,500 lawyers operating from 23 locations throughout the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, Pinsent Masons is well-placed to advise on complex multi-jurisdictional matters across a full range of legal disciplines.

Type of work undertaken: The firm has significant international credentials in the global energy, infrastructure, financial services and advanced manufacturing and technology sectors. In the UK, it also conducts market-leading work in sectors including real estate, government, retail, universities and higher education.

Services provided across these sectors include corporate and M&A, commercial, competition, litigation and arbitration, banking, restructuring, insurance, regulatory, construction, projects, pensions, property, planning and environmental, procurement, outsourcing, employment, share plans, technology and tax advice.

Pinsent Masons stands out in particular for its innovative approach to service delivery. For example, the firm operates a hub of freelance lawyers, called Vario, and has also developed Cerico, a cloud-based regulatory compliance solution. It has developed long-term service agreements, often referred to as ‘sole adviser’ relationships, with a number of blue-chip organisations.

Other offices: Aberdeen, Beijing, Belfast, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Madrid, Melbourne, Munich, Paris, Qatar, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Richard Foley
Managing partner John Cleland
Head of London office Carolyn Saunders
Head of Birmingham office Greg Lowson
Head of Leeds office Chris Booth
Head of Manchester office Helen Ridge
Photo Name Position Profile
 Tom Barton  photo Tom Barton
 John Bruce  photo John Bruce
 Matthew Clayton-Stead  photo Matthew Clayton-Stead
 Stacey Collins  photo Stacey Collins
 James Crookes  photo James Crookes
 Richard Daffern  photo Richard Daffern
 Stephen Glass  photo Stephen Glass
 Victoria Goddard  photo Victoria Goddard
 Melanie Grimmitt  photo Melanie Grimmitt
 Natalie Harris  photo Natalie Harris
 James Long  photo James Long
 Kate Orviss  photo Kate Orviss
 Simon Plunkett  photo Simon Plunkett
 Philip Scott  photo Philip Scott
 Michael Smith  photo Michael Smith
Number of UK partners (including legal directors) : 380 approx
Number of other UK fee-earners : 1,300+