Firm Profile > Schofield Sweeney > Leeds , Yorkshire And The Humber

Schofield Sweeney
Yorkshire And The Humber

Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Tier 2

The corporate practice at Schofield Sweeney is spread across its three Yorkshire bases in Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield; it advises individuals and companies on a range of mergers, acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures and also handles equity and debt financing transactions. Chris Schofield heads up the corporate team and is based in Leeds alongside Adrian Ballam and David Strachan, while Martin Sweeney is a key contact in the Bradford office. Also in Leeds, Luisa D’Alessandro leads the group's commercial offering.

Education Tier 2

Schofield Sweeney acts for schools and academies nationally and utilises its cross-departmental approach to handle employment, property, finance, governance and academy conversion issues. The team also counts headteachers, business managers and governors as clients. Practice leader Andrew Hurst has experience handling conversions and specialised funding and development schemes, and assisting multi-academy trusts and umbrella trusts. Simon Shepherd is the key contact for employment work.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

At Schofield Sweeney, the firm has established education and academies as its sector of expertise within the charity arena, and is now developing its client base and growing with it. The team handles academy conversions, re-brokerages and reorganisations, and also offers a package to support organisations post conversion. This consists of, for example, advice relating to data protection, freedom of information, exclusions, special educational needs, litigation, commercial and procurement matters. The practice is led by commercial lawyers Chris Schofield (Leeds) and Andrew Hurst (Bradford).

Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney's team includes individuals based across Yorkshire in the firm's Bradford and Leeds offices. It is frequently instructed on a range of complex litigation in the region and nationally; recently the group has been particular busy handling shareholder and other corporate disputes. Bradford-based James Staton, who has significant experience in a range of High Court and Commercial Court litigation as well as mediation, heads up the team, which includes Leo Jones-Rowe in Leeds, who has particular experience handling tax disputes.  Alistair Kennedy and Mathew Fidler left the practice and set up new firm Tyr Law.

Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney's commercial property team is one of the largest in the region and has particular specialisms in residential development, property finance and renewable energy. Darren Birkinshaw heads up the practice, which has grown significantly with the addition of regional developers as clients. Manjit Virdee leads the firm's property finance offering, acting for a number of major banks, while the practice also covers the healthcare, retail and education sectors. Dean Jowett left after five years at the firm to establish Tyr Law.

Construction Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney is noted for its experience in contentious construction and engineering disputes and professional indemnity claims, which it handles for a client roster spanning architects, contractors, developers, housebuilders and public sector clients. Practice leader Gary Ashton excels in construction adjudications while his colleague Richard Stockdale is an accredited mediator.

Energy Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney stands out for its renewable energy expertise with a niche specialism in small energy sites. The practice also handles solar, biomass, combined heat and power, anaerobic digestion, energy-from-waste and energy storage projects for developers, landowners and contractors. Team head Adam Hastie focuses on development and regeneration work and Bradford-based Farooq Zar is a property expert.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney focuses its efforts on its insolvency practitioner client base, which it advises on all elements of insolvencies and distressed work; the practice also handles refinancing and restructuring work. Richard FergussonDavid Arundel and Amar Rashid jointly lead the group; Fergusson handles the sale of distressed and stressed business, property insolvencies and disguised remuneration claims.

IT and telecoms Tier 4

The commercial team at Schofield Sweeney handles a range of IT sector mandates for service providers and their customers, including software licensing work, procurements and GDPR compliance advice. Practice head Luisa D’Alessandro assists clients with IT-related projects and strategic advice. Recently promoted partner Karen Crutchley is also instructed by companies acquiring IT services.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 4

A 'great' local firm with a solid roster of SME clients, Schofield Sweeney’s private client department is led by the 'extremely knowledgeable and helpful' Ashley Iredale , who boasts 30 years of experience in dealing with both traditional private client work and complex, multimillion-pound estates. The team also offers advice on matters relating to stamp duty land tax and family investments across three Yorkshire bases in Huddersfield, Leeds and Bradford.

Property litigation Tier 4

At Schofield Sweeney, associate Laura Salvati heads up the Leeds property litigation team and has notable strength in estate management issues relating to lease renewals, break clauses, rent recovery and dilapidations; she also regularly acts for developer clients. James Staton leads the group in the firm's Bradford office.

Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 5

The employment team at Schofield Sweeney advises on a wide range of issues including acting for individuals and organisations in Employment Tribunal cases related to grievances, restructurings or redundancies. The firm has a particularly focus on the education sector, having defended schools and academies, and has experience of trade union negotiations, while also acting for clients in the healthcare sector. The team is headed up by the 'extremely knowledgeable' Simon Shepherd.

The firm: Schofield Sweeney is a leading commercial law firm offering clear, pragmatic and high-quality legal services. Established in 1998, it quickly earned a strong reputation for its innovative and results-driven approach, investing time in getting to know a client’s business and its people so that advice and solutions can be tailored to meet their commercial needs. Its team of experts offers clear thinking and provides sound commercial advice.

Schofield Sweeney operates a partner-led approach, which means clients have direct access to highly regarded lawyers who have the knowledge and expertise to deal with their case. The firm believes in stability and continuity, providing a no-nonsense, hands-on service and limiting the use of legal jargon to ensure it builds good working relationships with clients.

Schofield Sweeney attracts high-calibre lawyers from large national and/or global practices, which means clients have access to the very best expertise at a realistic cost. Its teams are passionate about what they do and adhere to the highest professional standards. The firm invests in its people through ongoing training and development, so specialists are up-to-date with the latest market developments, trends and changes in legislation.

Types of work undertaken: Commercial property: development work, with a strong regeneration focus; site assembly, including options, overage and infrastructure agreements; PFI and health care sector land transactions; secured lending and development finance matters; portfolio security; commercial landlord and tenant transactions; freehold and leasehold acquisitions; business relocations and disposals for traders and investors; dispute resolution.

Corporate and commercial: acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and reconstructions/demergers; forms of equity and debt financing; corporate finance transactions; general company and commercial matters; shareholder and partnership issues; contracting structures and public/private company regulation and compliance; governance and contractual matters; in-house training.

Dispute resolution: shareholder and partnership disputes; contract disputes; professional negligence actions; construction and building disputes; intellectual property infringement; regulatory matters; alcohol and entertainment licence applications.

Education: academy conversions from consultation through to academy order; staff transfer, TUPE and pension issues; corporate governance and company secretarial matters; land, property and asset transfer; advising on the financial and funding implications of academies; advising on financial and accounting systems services, including the selection of auditors, project management, commercial agreements, procurement and contracting post-conversion; ongoing legal and HR advice; procurement and governance services; appeals and admissions; design and build contracts post-conversion for academies previously built under PFI or BSF.

Employment: everyday HR/employment law support; advising on misconduct, poor performance and sickness absence issues; disciplinary and grievance procedures; discrimination claims; equal pay; drafting employment contracts and employee handbooks; TUPE; redundancies, reorganisations and changing terms and conditions of employment; restrictive covenants; representation at employment tribunals, employment appeal tribunals and county court; unfair dismissal; whistleblowing.

Private client: will drafting; inheritance tax and succession planning; advice on trusts; trust administration; LPA; administration of estates; residential conveyancing. The firm now has the largest private client team in the region.

Projects: projects and developments involving public, private and third-sector entities; refinancing existing projects and their sale and purchase; vires and governance issues; procurement, state aid and competition law; commercial contracts; funding and corporate finance; ICT and intellectual property.

Property litigation: opposed and unopposed lease renewals under the 1954 Act; disputes in relation to commercial leases, including the exercise of break rights and repairing obligations; dilapidation claims; property related insolvency; easement disputes, rights of way and wayleaves; compensation claims; negligence against solicitors and surveyors relating to property work.

Restructuring and banking: reorganisation of businesses; financial restructuring and turnaround, administrations, liquidations, administrative receiverships, fixed charge receiverships and personal insolvency; company, individual and partnership voluntary arrangements; antecedent transactions, business and asset realisation; director disqualification; director’s duties; security documentation; terms and conditions; seeking to recover monies.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Chris Schofield
Chief executive Martin Sweeney
Commercial property Darren Birkinshaw
Commercial property Richard Innes
Commercial property Adam Hastie
Commercial property Rob Hayes
Commercial property Simon Petchey
Commercial property Farooq Zar
Commercial property Basharat Ali
Corporate David Strachan
Corporate Chris Blantern
Corporate Steven Millward
Commercial Luisa D'Alessandro
Corporate Rob Kelly
Dispute resolution Leo Jones-Rowe
Dispute resolution James Staton
Dispute resolution Richard Stockdale
Education Andrew Hurst
Employment Alex Clements
Employment Simon Shepherd
Private client John Feaster
Private client Ashley Iredale
Restructuring and Insolvency Amar Rashid
Restructuring and Insolvency David Arundel
Restructuring and Insolvency Richard Fergusson
Construction and Engineering Gary Ashton
Commercial Property Manjit Virdee
Commercial Karen Crutchley
Corporate Angela Cashin
Commercial Property David Cowgill
Photo Name Position Profile
 David Arundel  photo David Arundel
 Gary Ashton  photo Gary Ashton
Mr Chris Blantern  photo Mr Chris Blantern
 Alex Clements  photo Alex Clements
 David Cowgill  photo David Cowgill
 Karen Crutchley  photo Karen Crutchley
 Luisa D’Alessandro  photo Luisa D’Alessandro
Mr Richard Fergusson  photo Mr Richard Fergusson
 Adam Hastie  photo Adam Hastie
 Rob Hayes  photo Rob Hayes
 Richard Innes  photo Richard Innes
 Leo Jones-Rowe  photo Leo Jones-Rowe
 John  Robinson  photo John  Robinson
 Chris Schofield  photo Chris Schofield
 Simon Shepherd  photo Simon Shepherd
 Richard Stockdale  photo Richard Stockdale
 David Strachan  photo David Strachan
Number of UK partners : 31
Number of other UK fee-earners : 70