Firm Profile > Walker Morris LLP > Leeds , Yorkshire And The Humber

Walker Morris LLP
33 Wellington Street
Yorkshire And The Humber

Banking and finance Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP's broad banking expertise encompasses unitranche fundings, leveraged buyouts, real estate finance work and debt fund matters. The practice, rated for its 'down-to-earth approach and strong technical proficiency', has also grown its wholesale funding expertise for consumer finance and SME finance businesses. 'Excellent' team head Michael Taylor handles all elements of corporate banking and acquisition finance work, Peter Considine is noted for his cross-border expertise, while Ian Akitt is described as 'brilliant'.

Banking litigation Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP handles the full range of contentious matters for its impressive financial services client roster. Louise Power heads up the team and focuses on financial litigation involving secured lending elements including multi-jurisdictional fraud issues and surveyors negligence claims. Other names to note include Richard Sandford, whose experience ranges from secured and unsecured debt recovery to professional negligence claims; Andrew Beck, who is a key contact for fraud investigations, and multi-jurisdictional debt and asset recovery partner Rob Aberdein.

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

Praised for its 'attention to detail, strategic planning and forward thinking', the practice at Walker Morris LLP acts for a range of local, regional and international clients including large UK housebuilders, US-headquartered industrial companies and Western European-based energy companies. Team head Gwendoline Davies is experienced in handling pensions litigation, trade disputes, contentious corporate and partnership matters, product liability issues, nuisance claims and technology sector disputes; Malcolm Simpson has notable expertise in the manufacturing, automotive, power generation, property development and technology sectors, and Nick Lees has particular knowledge of the food and drink sector.

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

Leeds firm Walker Morris LLP has an extensive client base across the Yorkshire region, London and the international arena. Nick Cannon leads the team while Jeremy Moore is noted as a 'standout' performer, handling work for many of the firm's overseas clients. Other important names are Judith Pike, whose recent work has focused on the energy and regeneration sectors, and Will Cousins, who has worked on a number of significant multimillion-pound transactions since making partner in 2017. Director Adam Reed is also well-regarded for his work for ultra high net worth individuals on London acquisitions.

Construction Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP's client base spans listed companies, local authorities, education providers, developers, contractors and consultants, which the team advises on contentious and non-contentious issues at a national and increasingly international level. Martin Scott leads the department and focuses on construction disputes, Tom Peel is active across the full spectrum of work, Jules Harbage handles energy projects, and senior associate Carly Thorpe is also a key name to note. Former director Joanne McNamara left in early 2018 for an in-house role at Home Group, but the team was subsequently boosted by the promotion of Paul Hargreaves and Dan Lyon to the partnership.

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

From its Yorkshire base, Walker Morris LLP attracts a variety of impressive national and international transactions, with particular expertise in the food and drink, retail, waste and energy, technology, healthcare and medical devices and industrials sectors. Practice head John Hamer handles the full range of public and private company takeovers and acquisitions, public market listings, private equity investments and joint ventures, while Debbie Jackson has particular experience in M&A, private equity work and venture capital transactions.

EU and competition Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP covers all areas of competition law, with a particular focus on merger control, abuse of dominance and other compliance issues. The firm also advises public authorities and private developers on procurement and state aid matters. The team is jointly led by Trudy Feaster-Gee, who has extensive experience in areas including regulated utilities and financial services, and Jeremy Scholes, who also has wide ranging experience, particularly in relation to construction materials and regulated materials. Senior associate Richard Jacques  is the firm's Groceries Supply Code of Practice expert and also has CMA market investigation and EU/UK merger clearance experience.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP acts on national restructuring and insolvency matters for funders, corporates and administrators. Alongside the team's traditional lender client base and strength in the financial services sector, it has seen an increase in instructions from debt funds and private equity clients. Simon Clark and Duncan Lole jointly lead the practice, which also includes David Hinchliffe, who has a particular focus on finance work for football clubs. The team also includes consultant John Roche, senior associate Sarah MacAuley  - who handles contentious insolvency matters - and senior associate Olivia Robinson, an expert in the financial services and regulated sectors.

Local government Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP counts more than 100 authorities across the UK as clients, and also acts for public and private companies operating in the local government sector, including NHS bodies, registered providers, utility companies, funders and contractors. David KilduffBen Sheppard and Chris Woodthorpe jointly lead the practice; Kilduff handles projects and procurement work, Sheppard specialises in energy-from-waste projects and Woodthorpe focuses on real estate issues.

Pensions Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP advises its high-profile clients on a range of pensions matters with particular expertise in the privatised utilities sectors including water, electricity, coal, gas and nuclear clients; it also assists charities and not for profits including universities, and public sector clients. Practice head Jo Ratcliffe has specialist TUPE and Beckmann liabilities knowledge, and Gwendoline Davies is highlighted for pensions litigation. Other names to note include directors Craig Looker and Ruth Bamforth; Looker is 'an excellent, technical lawyer' and has particular expertise in employer debt and sex equalisation issues in defined benefit schemes, while Bamforth has experience handling a range of pensions matters, from reorganisations to the winding-up of schemes and regulator interventions.

Planning Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP's client base spans individual landowners, property developers, housing businesses, mineral companies, care homes, student developments, and companies in the residential, mixed-use development and strategic land areas. Team head Richard Sagar has substantial experience in strategic planning advice, planning applications, compulsory purchase orders, High Court challenges and environmental issues; Chris Slater handles section 106 planning obligations; and dual-qualified barrister and solicitor Alison Ogley focuses on contentious work alongside growing non-contentious experience.

Professional negligence: claimant Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP has a notably large professional negligence team covering a plethora of areas of work. The 14-partner practice advises financial institutions and other companies on claims regarding fraud, money laundering and cybercrime; the practice is also sought out by lenders, borrowers and investors involved in cases relating to defective construction, while it also has expertise in multi-party disputes. The firm's already strong client base is continuing to expanding to include overseas clients involved in claims against conveyancing solicitors back in the UK.

Property litigation Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP's client base encompasses national retailers and occupiers, landlords, public sector companies and energy sector clients. The group has a notable reputation for handling contentious matters relating to developments, particularly housebuilding work. Other areas of expertise include portfolio management issues, contentious disposals and acquisitions, residential lease forfeitures and enfranchisements; the team is also growing its contentious defective title insurance work. Andrew Beck and Martin McKeague jointly lead the department, Malcolm Simpson focuses on developer clients and Karl Anders handles residential landlord and tenant matters.

Social housing Tier 1

Walker Morris LLP's client base spans housing associations, local authorities, registered providers, contractors, arms-length management organisations and finance clients. The team regularly assists with development and construction transactions, procurement work, joint ventures, housing regulation, housing management, disputes, affordable housing disposals and finance work. Chris Woodthorpe leads the department, which also includes Karl Anders, who heads up the housing management and litigation team; and public sector expert David Kilduff.

Sport Tier 1

The sports group at Walker Morris LLP assists with the full range of issues from commercial and contractual matters, including sponsorship deals and transfer agreements, to real estate issues, disputes, disciplinary hearings, club acquisitions and disposals and other corporate and finance mandates. It has experience assisting clients in football, boxing, equestrian sports and cricket as well as investors. David Hinchliffe heads up the practice which includes commercial property partner Jeremy Moore and directors Shakeel Dad and Alistair McHenry, who specialise in employment law and disputes respectively. Senior associates Katie Reed and Liz Coley also have significant experience in the sector.

Corporate tax Tier 2

Walker Morris LLP's tax group provides its impressive client roster with a range of corporate, real estate and employee tax planning and transactional advice . Directors Sarah Bruce and Nicola Parkinson jointly lead the practice and handle a range of corporate and property tax instructions, with particular expertise in stamp duty and student housing taxation respectively. Parkinson also has experience assisting clients with employee incentive arrangements.

Education Tier 2

Walker Morris LLP assists schools and further education institutions at a national level with the full spectrum of issues including commercial contracts, governance issues, employment work, real estate developments and litigation. David Smedley and Jules Harbage jointly lead the practice; Smedley focuses on employment and industrial relations work and Harbage handles contentious and non-contentious construction matters.

Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 2

The Leeds employment team at Walker Morris LLP has recently secured a number of major client wins, with Premier League football teams joining an already impressive roster featuring international corporates. The team, which is led by David Smedley, handles both national and international work alongside its strong roots in Leeds, with food and drink - an area of specialism for Andrew Rayment - standing out as a key sector. Shakeel Dad was recently promoted to partner after playing a central role in many of the firm's recent client successes.

Energy Tier 2

Walker Morris LLP's expertise is focused around waste matters, including energy-from-waste projects, anaerobic digestion matters and bio-resources projects. The group's clients span public sector bodies, utilities and project companies, developers, technology providers, subcontractors and funders. David Kilduff and Ben Sheppard jointly lead the group; Kilduff focuses on project work and Sheppard handles energy-from-waste matters. Gwendoline Davies is the key name for contentious work, Jules Harbage handles construction-related matters and Judith Pike focuses on real estate issues.

Environment Tier 2

At Walker Morris LLP, the 'bright and tenacious' Alison Ogley heads up the civil element of the firm's environmental practice, while Stuart Ponting leads the criminal aspect. The group handles the full range of contentious, non-contentious, civil and, increasingly, criminal environment matters and fields a number of former regulators. Recent expertise includes providing permitting advice and handling enforcement cases, planning-related work, European environmental law matters, High Court claims and biodiversity issues.

Health Tier 2

Walker Morris LLP's cross-departmental practice counts government departments, NHS trusts, care home and care village providers and private sector companies as clients. The group also advises on medical device issues, restructurings and insolvencies, and regulatory mandates. Jo Stephenson heads up the group, which also includes commercial specialist David Kilduff, regulatory lawyer Stuart PontingJeremy Moore, who handles real estate work; and competition expert Trudy Feaster-Gee, who is experienced in the healthcare, pharmaceuticals and life sciences sectors.

Health and safety Tier 2

Walker Morris LLP is frequently instructed by well-known companies on a range of contentious and non-contentious health and safety matters, with clients spanning the food, manufacturing, healthcare, care homes, construction and demolition sectors. Jeanette Burgess, who has particular experience in handling corporate manslaughter prosecutions, heads up the team, which includes regulatory expert Andrew Northage, Stuart Ponting, who handles a range of contentious matters with a focus on the food, retail and construction sectors; and Robert Starr, who counts rail, food, retail and care among his sector specialisms.

Infrastructure Tier 2

Walker Morris LLP fields practitioners from multiple departments to handle matters in the rail, highways, energy, waste, utilities, education, leisure and telecoms sectors. Clients include local authorities, utility companies, power companies, developers, constructors, technology providers and funders. David Kilduff jointly leads the group with energy-from-waste project specialist Ben SheppardGwendoline Davies focuses on contentious work, Jules Harbage handles construction matters and Judith Pike specialises in funding energy sector work.

IT and telecoms Tier 2

The technology team at Walker Morris LLP acts for both providers of software and technology services and customers, including large national and international corporates and blue-chip companies. The group is particularly active in assisting with technology transactions in the financial services, health, energy and public sectors. James Crayton advises clients on a range of commercial IT and technology contracts and heads up the cross-departmental team which includes commercial litigator Malcolm Simpson, corporate and capital markets expert Daniel O’Gorman, and regulatory partners Jeanette Burgess and Andrew Northage.

Intellectual property Tier 3

The intellectual property, trade mark and designs group at Walker Morris LLP assists its impressive client roster of well-known brands and high-profile public and private companies with the full spectrum of IP matters. The group has a particular strength in the food production and consumer goods, and sports sectors. Directors Alan Harper and Heather Williams head the IP solicitors team and the trade mark attorney practice respectively. Clients praise Harper as 'enthusiastic and knowledgeable'; he handles a range of contentious and non-contentious work relating to all IP rights, while Williams advises on all aspects trade mark and design law.

The firm: Walker Morris is a distinctive law firm, valued by its clients for consistently delivering excellent results. It offers a full-service commercial law firm focused on providing national and international clients with partner-led, high-quality advice. Its single national centre of excellence in Leeds has significant advantages in terms of developing a strong, collaborative culture, with the inherent value and cost-effectiveness that a Leeds base brings.

With a staff of over 450 including 46 partners, Walker Morris is uniquely recognised for its strong multi-disciplinary teamwork and straightforward advice. It offers their clients truly accessible partners who get the job right, providing partner-led advice based on their knowledge and understanding of working with individual clients.

Its lawyers’ focus on delivering what they promise, coupled with a high level of commercial awareness, fuels their ability to attract significant new clients from around the world. Working with a global network of like-minded firms, it believes that clients’ interests are best served by introducing them to the right overseas firms for the matter in hand, rather than adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Types of work undertaken: Walker Morris is a commercial law firm offering a full range of legal services. Its depth of expertise assures the needs of its broad client base of national and international companies and public sector  organisations€ can be met.

Corporate: the Firm’s corporate group is well known for its commercial acumen and legal expertise. With 12 partners, many of whom are nationally recognised for their expertise as advisers and deal-makers in their own right, the Group is equipped to advise on all aspects of corporate law and regulation affecting public and private companies, from corporate governance and compliance issues to M&A, IPOs, MBOs, MBIs, fundraisings and takeover bids. The Group works closely with the financial, regulatory and tax groups to provide a full range of M&A, funding and structuring advice.

Finance: with eight partners, all of whom are recognised leaders in their own fields, the Finance Group offers a breadth of specialist expertise in all areas of finance including banking, restructuring, property finance, insolvency, recoveries, real estate and litigation. The Group acts for corporates as well as some of the UK’s largest financial institutions and is recognised as a leading player in the region. The Group was awarded the ‘Legal 500 Award Finance Firm of the Year Award’ (outside London) 2017.

Litigation: the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department consists of 15 partners and is one of the largest and most successful outside London. It is a previous recipient of The Legal 500 ‘€˜Litigation Firm of the Year’€™ (outside London) Award. In addition to the litigation undertaken by the Employment, Construction, Intellectual Property and Insolvency teams, Walker Morris also has vast experience in the fields of commercial dispute resolution, property litigation, banking litigation and professional negligence. It regularly handles high-profile and sensitive disputes, and as well as offering in-depth experience at trial, it handles all forms of dispute resolution including arbitration, expert determination, adjudication and mediation, and several partners are accredited mediators.

Real estate: the Real Estate Group, comprising 12 partners and 30 other fee-earners, is one of the premier real estate groups in the UK and was previously shortlisted for ‘The Legal 500 €˜Real Estate Firm of the Year (outside London)” Award’. It offers a full commercial property service and is supported by the property litigation, commercial dispute resolution, tax, planning and environment, and construction groups. The Group’s list of clients has been likened to ‘a walk down the high street’ as it acts for many well-known brands and the quality, range and value of the work undertaken is impressive.

Commercial: working for both the public and private sectors, the work undertaken includes: intellectual property matters; mainstream private sector commercial contracting; IT and technology contracting; and public sector project and procurement work. The Group has substantial in-house experience with many of its lawyers coming from or having secondments with in-house public and private sector teams. It has a national reputation for PFI and project work, having acted on some of the UK’s biggest projects, particularly in the waste and energy sectors.

International: working with a global network of like-minded firms, it believes that clients’ interests in overseas matters are best served by introducing them to the right overseas firms for the matter in hand, rather than adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Recruitment: Walker Morris continues to invest in its specialist expertise, having made a number of lateral hires and internal promotions in key growth areas. It heavily supports training and development for all staff as a means of achieving the Firm’s corporate objectives. For further information please visit

Department Name Email Telephone
Non-executive chairman David Smedley +44 (0)113 283 2500
Managing partner Malcolm Simpson +44 (0)113 283 2500
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Ian Akitt  photo Mr Ian Akitt
Ms Sally Mewies  photo Ms Sally Mewies
Ms Alison Ogley  photo Ms Alison Ogley
Mr Paul Hargreaves  photo Mr Paul Hargreaves
Mr Daniel Lyon  photo Mr Daniel Lyon
Ms Jo Stephenson  photo Ms Jo Stephenson
Mr Steve Nixon  photo Mr Steve Nixon
Mr Shakeel Dad  photo Mr Shakeel Dad
Mr Karl Anders  photo Mr Karl Anders
Mr Andrew Beck  photo Mr Andrew Beck
Mr Andrew Bennett  photo Mr Andrew Bennett
Mrs Jeanette Burgess  photo Mrs Jeanette Burgess
Mr Nick Cannon  photo Mr Nick Cannon
Mr Simon Clark  photo Mr Simon Clark
Mr Peter Considine  photo Mr Peter Considine
Mr Will Cousins  photo Mr Will Cousins
Mr James Crayton  photo Mr James Crayton
Mrs Trudy Feaster-Gee  photo Mrs Trudy Feaster-Gee
Mr John Hamer  photo Mr John Hamer
Mr Jules Harbage  photo Mr Jules Harbage
Mr Daniel O’Gorman  photo Mr Daniel O’Gorman
Mr David Hinchliffe  photo Mr David Hinchliffe
Mrs Debbie Jackson  photo Mrs Debbie Jackson
Mr Austin Judson  photo Mr Austin Judson
Mr David Kilduff  photo Mr David Kilduff
Mr Nick Lees  photo Mr Nick Lees
Mr Duncan Lole  photo Mr Duncan Lole
Mr Martin McKeague  photo Mr Martin McKeague
Mr Andrew Moodie  photo Mr Andrew Moodie
Mr Jeremy Moore  photo Mr Jeremy Moore
Mr Gawain Moore  photo Mr Gawain Moore
Mr Richard Naish  photo Mr Richard Naish
Mr Andrew Northage  photo Mr Andrew Northage
Mr Tom Peel  photo Mr Tom Peel
Mr Stuart Ponting  photo Mr Stuart Ponting
Mrs Judith Pike  photo Mrs Judith Pike
Mrs Louise Power  photo Mrs Louise Power
Mrs Jo Ratcliffe  photo Mrs Jo Ratcliffe
Mr Andrew Rayment  photo Mr Andrew Rayment
Mr John Roche  photo Mr John Roche
Mr Richard Sagar  photo Mr Richard Sagar
Mr Richard Sandford  photo Mr Richard Sandford
Mrs Gwendoline Davies  photo Mrs Gwendoline Davies
Mr Martin Scott  photo Mr Martin Scott
Mr Ben Sheppard  photo Mr Ben Sheppard
Mr Malcolm Simpson  photo Mr Malcolm Simpson
Mr Chris Slater  photo Mr Chris Slater
Mr David Smedley  photo Mr David Smedley
Mr Michael Taylor  photo Mr Michael Taylor
Mrs Jane Weaver  photo Mrs Jane Weaver
Mr Chris Woodthorpe  photo Mr Chris Woodthorpe
Number of UK partners : 46
Number of other UK fee-earners : 260