Firm Profile > Schofield Sweeney > Huddersfield, England

Schofield Sweeney

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.


The team provides an all encompassing array of experience and, above all, provides a personal service from the partner.

Adrian Ballam stands out as an extremely knowledgeable individual who responds to all requests very quickly and always goes the extra mile.

David Strachan is very bright, very experienced, commercial and gets things done.

Martin Sweeney & Luisa D’Alessandro are both experienced and pragmatic lawyers that are commercially aware and great to deal with.

Key clients

Sanderson Group Plc

Leman International

Greenhous Group

H. Dawson Sons and Company (Wool)

DFDS Seaways Plc

Catfoss Renewables

Business Growth Fund

4D Pharma Plc

Solingen Private Equity

C4X Discovery Holdings Plc

EMIS Group Plc

Axminster Carpets

Millers Oils


Airedale Catering Equipment Group

BWSC Power Corporation


Kent Renewable

Shearings Group

Instem Plc

Claritas Solutions

HSL Chairs

IP Group

Optima Energy Systems

LIV Group

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.


Schofield Sweeney provides good advice in a timely manner‘.

Simon Shepherd and associate Annie Gray provide commercial advice‘.

Key clients

Heckmondwike Grammar School

Woodhouse Grove School, Leeds

SHARE Multi Academy Trust

Attain Academy Partnership

Ethos Academy Trust

Carlton Bolling College

United Endeavour Multi- Academy trust

Silcoates School

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).


‘Welcoming, accessible, approachable, interested and pragmatic all while being professional – a challenging balance to maintain, and one Schofield Sweeney does very well.’

‘Great support in achieving deadlines and maintaining momentum when the legal process is at risk of stalling.’

Key clients

Forget Me Not Hospice, Huddersfield

Brathay Trust, Cumbria

Community Cougars Foundation, Keighley

Thackray Medical Museum

Mind in Bradford

Doncaster Culture & Leisure Trust

Paces Sheffield

Christians Against Poverty

Leeds Mencap

SNOOP, 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.


Schofield Sweeney‘s litigation team is very engaging, keeps the client informed and is willing to challenge clients’ perceptions in a positive way.

Richard Stockdale does a very good job.

Leo Jones-Rowe is a good lawyer.

Key clients

GMI Construction Group Plc

Greenhous Group Limited

A Shade Greener

IHDL Group

DS7 Limited

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.


‘Transparent fees and very user friendly. The firm understands onerous bank reporting requirements.’

‘Quick to respond and manage workflow very well.’

‘Easy to deal with and friendly people who are comfortable speaking to both us and our clients. They respond quickly and take action as requested. They are often cheaper than their peers, without any change in quality.’

‘Readily available and quick to return calls, particularly at partner level. Manjit Virdee is a great example, always managing client expectations.’

‘Well known across the whole professional market in all disciplines.’

Key clients

The Trafford Centre

Santander UK

Persimmon Homes

Pinnacle View Homes

Geenhaus Group

Strata Homes

Shearings Group

Sheffield United Hotel

YPP Lettings & Management Co


Horton Housing Association

Chartford Housing

Wharfedale Grange

Averroes Group

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.


With thorough knowledge of all aspects of construction, Schofield Sweeney is articulate and has a proactive approach. The depth of knowledge and experience within the practice is not widely available at other firms‘.

The construction team at Schofield Sweeney demonstrates great knowledge of both the relevant law and, importantly, the local market. Clients would have no hesitation in saying that the team compares extremely favourably to much larger firms‘.

Gary Ashton stands out for his ability to quickly formulate a strategy to solve complex problems. His thoroughness is outstanding‘.

Gary Ashton is always on hand, works tirelessly to meet short deadlines and handles matters personally‘.

Gary is a breath of fresh air, understanding the construction industry and being proactive in ways that are not often thought of. He also is very attentive and has a great wealth of knowledge‘.

Key clients

KNG Building Services Limited

Radcliffe Construction

Enock Foundations Limited

AJN Electrical Limited

Maple Sunscreening Limited

Cawdell Brickwork Limited

Amber Precast Limited

Ebor Concretes Limited

Ashfield Building Group

Group Management Electrical Services Limited

Stirling Capitol

Network Demolition Services LLP

Pitts Wilson Limited

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.

Key clients

Sirius Renewable Energy Limited

Renewable Heat Generation Limited

Templeborough Biomass Plant Limited

Forepower Limited

Aqua consultants Limited / Lanes Farm Energy Limited

BWSC Power Corporation Limited

Gascorp Limited

Earthmill Limited

Catfoss Renewables Limited

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.


The very reactive team has more of a commercial approach to problem solving than some. It is quick thinking and prepared to give practical and logical advice on potential solutions, showing initiative and good, straight-forward communication. Overall, a first-class firm to deal with‘.

The group is dynamic, responsive and very easy to work with. It goes the extra mile for clients‘.

The practice provides solid technical and practical advice‘.

Richard Fergusson has excellent people skills, is very approachable and articulate in his communication of legal matters and is well respected in the market‘.

Richard Fergusson understands what it means to run a business, meaning he can manage business and client needs as well as look at the wider picture‘.

David Arundel is accessible, practical and commercial and fully understands the clients needs‘.

Legal director Zoe Oates is thorough and dedicated, quickly turns around issues and provides practical solutions to complex situations‘.

Key clients

Armstrong Watson


PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co (London office)

C3 Partnership

FRP Advisory

Olsen Doors and Windows

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.


Schofield Sweeney‘s IT team offers quick response times, in-depth knowledge of the industry and good value for cost.

Luisa D’Alessandro has very good availability, response times and flexibility and is simply nice to work with.

Key clients

Shearings Group Limited

Instem LSS Limited

High Seat Limited

Optima Energy Systems Limited

Connection Seating Limited

Brickhunter UK

Claritas Solutions Limited

Sanderson Group Plc

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.


‘Knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.’

‘A team that truly puts the client at the centre of the relationship.’

‘The team provides an excellent service and is proactive in finding the right solution for their clients.’

‘Extremely knowledgeable and helpful and always happy to go the extra mile to get the job done.’

‘They are a very down to earth team, combining technical expertise with clear communication with client.’

‘Simon Glazebrook is the most holistic private client lawyer that I have worked alongside – he delivers robust and complex planning in a very easy to understand manner.’

‘Ashley Iredale and Sarah Ali are extremely knowledgeable and helpful and always happy to go the extra mile to get the job done.’

‘Ashley Iredale is professional, thoughtful and approachable. He works seamlessly within a broader team of advisers when dealing with complex family arrangements and has the, often overlooked, ability of being able to clearly communicate challenging concepts in simple terms. Ashley and his team provide an excellent service and are proactive in finding the right solution for their clients.’

‘Sarah Hodkinson is very approachable, attentive to clients and great to work with.’

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.


Schofield Sweeney is a well-known medium-sized firm which has a solid practice in real estate and commercial landlord and tenant work‘.

Laura Salvati is an absolute perfectionist in all she does. She is on top of all the legal points that arise in a matter and produces first-rate instructions; a real team player who is a joy to work with‘.

Key clients

Games Workshop Limited

Shearings Group Limited

Trafford Centre Limited

Dilbag Cloth House Limited

Kingston Unity Friendly Society

Up and Running (UK) Limited

Thomas of York Limited

Greenhous Limited

Closegate Hotel Group

Persimmon Homes Limited

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.


Great at dealing with multiple issues – a team of specialists who really understand how to work with each other cross-functionally.

Schofield Sweeney provide excellent employment law advice and support. I feel we get a very personal service.

We can see from the culture enthused by the partners that the team is very passionate about their work – they go beyond the normal ‘call of duty’. Unlike their peers, they aren’t just interested in billing fees all the time – sometimes having a practical conversation and not charging for it is so refreshing.’

John Robinson is commercially astute and understands what needs to be done to keep the business moving. Great knowledge on employment law.’

The personal approach is very helpful. Simon Shepherd and Annie Gray in particular are very good at providing timely advice.’

Adrian Ballam’s ability to explain and provide practical guidance is where he stands out from the others.’

‘A very well-informed team which always provide accurate guidance on legislation and practice, and also how to use this advice to optimise your organisational objectives.’

‘Simon Shepherd is extremely knowledgeable and always offers excellent and prompt advice. ‘


Key clients

Horton Housing Association

The Southfield Grange Trust

Carlton Bolling College

Wakefield and District Housing

Woodhouse Grove School

Greenhous Group

JD Sports Fashion Plc

Sanderson Group Plc

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
Number of UK partners : 31
Number of other UK fee-earners : 70