Schofield Sweeney > Bradford, England > Firm Profile

Schofield Sweeney

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

Schofield Sweeney‘s corporate and commercial practice group is led by David Strachan, Chris Schofield and Bradford-based Martin Sweeney, and is instructed on national and international transactions by large corporates. The team handles M&A, demergers and disposals, with Steven Millward leading on private equity fund mandates. Former commercial group head Luisa D’Alessandro left to join Tyr; Karen Crutchley now leads the team, which is experienced in corporate acquisitions, acting for IT and fintech sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Chris Schofield; Martin Sweeney; David Strachan; Karen Crutchley

Other key lawyers:

Steven Millward; David Cowgill


‘Schofield Sweeney have provided us with advice in relation to a number of corporate matters over the years, and most recently in connection with some group restructuring matters. They offer extremely good value for money (without sacrificing the quality of advice).’

‘Martin Sweeney is a very experienced lawyer that is able to provide commercially astute and balanced advice – you feel that he is looking to provide the right level of advice rather than looking to over-engineer things with one eye on the clock – which is very reassuring.’

‘Schofield Sweeney are an extremely pro active and pleasant firm. They are very reliable for meeting tight deadlines whilst being diligent with all required detail. I have worked with many law firms and these are by far the best I have experienced.’

‘The two main partners I work with are Karen Crutchley and David Cowgill. Both of these individuals take the time to help with your issues and have an excellent pragmatic approach to resolutions. Their diligence sets them apart and can be relied on at all times. The knowledge of their specialist areas is brilliant which makes working with them very easy.’

Key clients

Cubico Group Limited

Leman International Limited

Greenhous Group Limited

H. Dawson Sons and Company (Wool) Limited

DFDS Seaways Plc

Catfoss Renewables Limited

Business Growth Fund

4D Pharma Plc

C4X Discovery Holdings Plc

EMIS Group Plc

Kettlewell Fuels Limited

NDL Software Limited

Millers Oils Limited

Airedale Catering Equipment Group Limited

CI Biomass Management Limited (including BWSC Power Corporation/Templeborough/Kent Renewable/ Lostock)

Wastecare Group Limited

Elevation Financial Group Limited

Claritas Solutions Limited

Optima Energy Group

Switalskis Solicitors Limited

JBA Consulting

Brickhunter Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised C4X Discovery Holdings Plc on its largest equity fundraise to date.
  • Represented Cubico and its shareholders who sold a 22% stake in the group to Growth Partner LLP.
  • Advised Advanced Digital Innovation (UK) Limited on its second round of investment from Mercia, under the Future Fund “matched funding” scheme.

Public sector > Education Tier 2

Schofield Sweeney works with a substantial number of education clients, including multi-academy trusts, independent schools, academies and maintained schools. In Bradford, Andrew Hurst is experienced in academy conversions and development schemes. Simon Shepherd in Leeds handles relevant employment law matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hurst; Simon Shepherd


‘The team at Schofield Sweeney are highly efficient, knowledgeable and most importantly they are easily contactable and readily available. It’s the latter in particular that sets them aside from other firms.’

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

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Carlton Academy Trust during a year of considerable expansion with three primary schools converting to join the Trust. Carlton Academy Trust is continuing to expand and the team are currently assisting with the re-brokerage of a PFI Academy to join the Trust in Autumn 2021.
  • Assisted BMAT Education when a failing academy was directed by the Department of Education to re-broker and join another multi-academy trust.
  • Advised Trinity Multi Academy Trust on the Agreement to Lease and the long term Lease in respect of a new 6th Form Centre to be developed in a land mark building in Halifax town centre.

Real estate > Environment Tier 2

Schofield Sweeney has a solid reputation for environmental compliance advice and it also undertakes advocacy in the context of investigations, prosecutions and regulatory enforcement actions. Craig Burman heads the practice, which advises clients on permits, water, pollution and waste regulations, as well as contaminated land and failed environmental searches.

Practice head(s):

Craig Burman


‘I have worked with Craig Burman and found him to be knowledgeable, prompt with responses/advice and proactive in the use of technology to ensure continuity in hands-on delivery of service. He’s approachable and friendly whilst maintaining a professional presence.’

‘Craig Burman – unmatched experience, really open approach.’

‘A superb environmental regulatory, compliance and litigation team that outshines national heavyweights. Schofields provide the full environmental service from EA and LA defence, environmental permits, waste, contaminated land, flooding, drainage, food hygiene, health & safety, planning and all areas of environmental compliance and risk management.’

‘Craig is the best environmental regulatory lawyer in the North by a clear mile. He combines subject matter expertise with insightful tips and exceptional client service skills. A real pleasure to work with.’

‘Craig Burman is our lead contact, he has made every effort to align with the clients’ objectives and spends time understanding our constraints, timescales and the existing level of understanding we have on the legal aspects of the situation. He also understands the dynamic with our in-house legal team.’

‘The team has an unprecedented level of insight and experience in permitting and environmental enforcement. The team is set within a well-respected, well-known and well-resourced full-service commercial law firm and ensures that the specialist advice on environmental matters is set within the context of commercial issues.’

Key clients

Leeds City Council

Colson Transport Limited

Greenhous Group (Holdings) Limited

Templeborough Biomass Power Plant Limited

BWSC Power Corporation Limited

Newlay Concrete Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a local flood authority on their powers and rights in respect of a large scale main river flood alleviation scheme, together with ongoing flood and drainage issues and natural flood management legal obstacles.
  • Advised internal drainage board in respect of its powers to take enforcement action in relation to non-consented works within its by-law strip which affect flood risk.
  • Advised Greenhous Group on environmental liabilities in connection with acquisitions and sales of business assets.

Real estate > Planning Tier 2

Schofield Sweeney recruited former Shulmans LLP planning head Amanda Beresford to launch a new practice for the firm in August 2020. She also previously led the Leeds planning team at Addleshaw Goddard, and is a qualified planner, as well as president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce and chair of its planning group. She is well regarded for ‘providing advice that is both expert and straightforward at the same time’, and her ability to ‘steer clients on much more than just the legal position’. She works in tandem with environmental head Craig Burman, and has brought over a significant number of clients from her former firm.

Practice head(s):


‘As a company we were so impressed with the work and advice Amanda Beresford provided that we moved our work to Schofield Sweeney when Amanda moved there. Amanda understands our business and provides clear, concise advice that non-lawyers in the company are able to understand. I have been able to attend training too delivered by Amanda and she is impressive in her knowledge and delivery.’

‘Amanda Beresford is outstanding when it comes to planning matters. She fearlessly defends her clients and provides solid advice to achieve success for the client.’

‘Amanda Beresford is an exceptional planning solicitor.  She has many years of experience, is pleasant to work with, has extensive knowledge, as well as a proactive and commercial approach, and an ability to cut to the chase and focus on core issues. Amanda pays great attention to detail, instils confidence when providing advice that is both expert and straightforward at the same time, but her greatest attribute is that she worked as a planner before becoming a solicitor – so provides real insight into the planning process and can steer clients on much more than just the legal position with projects.’

‘Schofield Sweeney offer advice and support on a very accessible level, which is pretty unique in the waste and planning legal sectors. We find the practice to be very direct and open with their advice  which has always resulted in us finding a satisfactory solution for our clients without huge expense being incurred.’

‘The planning law team at Schofield Sweeney provides knowledgeable, reliable and cost-effective services.’

‘Amanda Beresford is a strong addition to the practice, bringing many years of experience and knowledge.’

‘Craig Burman is a fantastic lawyer with a wealth of experience on environmental and waste matters. He is very pragmatic and diligent in the way he provides advice and goes out of his way to assist clients in achieving the desired result.  He is also incredibly personable, which always helps when dealing with legal issues.

‘Amanda Beresford shows an enthusiasm and passion for her work, which runs throughout her whole approach to casework. Amanda’s extensive and technical knowledge of the planning system and process is coupled to her understanding of the wider sustainable development context in which proposals are advocated, providing clear advice that aids and assists the client in advancing development proposals.’

Key clients

Caddick City Living Limited

Moda Living Limited

Rushbond plc

Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

Devonshire Property (MM) Limited

Greggs plc

Roger Tempest (Broughton Hall Estate)

Bretton investment Partnerships Limited

Rouse Marketing Limited

Greenhouse Group

Adam Morey Limited

Earthline Limited

Falcon Two Limited

Crossways Commercial Estates Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Devonshire Property (MM) Limited on a successful planning appeal for a 650 dwelling residential development including local centre, open space, community garden extension and associated infrastructure in Derbyshire.
  • Represented Falcon Two Limited on an enforcement notice appeal relating to a waste processing facility in the North East.
  • Provided strategic planning advice to Caddick City Living Limited on the £300m residential led mixed use development in central Leeds.

Real estate > Social housing Tier 2

Based in Bradford, Schofield Sweeney's team is led by Andrew Hurst, who is experienced in acting for registered social landlords and their funders. The practice undertakes work in relation to funding, governance, development and regeneration projects. Simon Petchey advises housing associations on refinancing, while Manjit Virdee acts for lenders and social housing borrowers on facility and security negotiations.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hurst

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Quality Social Housing (QSH)

Horton Housing Association (HHA)

Chartford Housing Limited (CHA)

3h York Limited

Wakefield District Housing

Work highlights

  • Advising QSH Property LLP on the sale of over 30 social housing units in the West Yorkshire and Southern Region.
  • Advised Chartford Housing Ltd on acquisition of 18 flats for rent at a development at Shipley.
  • Advising 3h York Ltd alongside other firms and funders a procedure for acquiring and improving properties on the open market for use of clients of the Home Office.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

Bradford-based firm Schofield Sweeney's 'outstanding' commercial litigation team is 'very well connected to the local business community' and assists Yorkshire-based corporates with a range of contentious issues. 'Highly experienced partner' James Staton leads the team and has a range of expertise including shareholder disputes, intellectual property and passing off claims and regulatory issues. With experience in UK and EU export and sanctions matters, Simon Lucas is well-placed to advise clients on Brexit-related trade issues. Following the hire of Lucas from Squire Patton Boggs, the group further bolstered its practice with its acquisition Leeds-based boutique firm, Prodicus Legal, which added 'dogged and pragmatic litigator' James Wood. Other names to note include Leo Jones-Rowe and associate Annie Hui-Gillen, who is 'willing to go the extra mile to get a successful resolution'.

Practice head(s):

James Staton

Other key lawyers:

James Wood; Simon Lucas; Leo Jones Rowe; Rebecca Beaumont; Annie Hui-Gillen; Damian Kilro; Elizabeth Foster


‘The team are very helpful and always willing to provide advice, extremely professional.’

‘Real strength in-depth and good diversity. Very well connected to the local business community.’

‘The personal service you receive and the flexible approach. Annie Hui-Gillen is both professional and willing to go the extra mile to get a successful resolution. She is very thorough.’

‘I found the Team at Schofield Sweeney to be approachable, efficient and very professional. Whilst these aspects are excellent, it was the approachability of their team, the commitment of each individual to provide a personalised service and to genuinely try to help with every query or issue raised, that for me sets them apart.’

‘Annie Hui Gillen acted on our behalf on arbitrations. Very good and knowledgeable.’

‘Jim Staton – Partner. Highly experienced partner operating across a range of areas of litigation. Leo Jones-Rowe – Partner. Particular specialism in construction matters. Annie Hui-Gillen – Associate. Very able associate with excellent client care. Rebecca Beaumont – Director. Excellent communicator.’

‘They are extremely attentive and when discussing an area or issue where they are unfamiliar they go the extra mile to ensure all detail is understood. ’

‘Simon Lucas – excellent communication skills and extremely efficient and supportive; managed a difficult client in a way which showed great judgment. Fairly junior as a partner but definitely heading for the top.

Key clients

Sanderson Group plc

Claritas Solutions Limited

BW Healthcare Limited

Huggon Associates Ltd

Closegate Hotel Group

Greenhous Group Limited

Wool Room Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a partner in a major student accommodation business in a multi-million-pound partnership dispute which is listed for a 10-day High Court trial in Leeds in 2021.
  • Acting for the directors and majority shareholders of a car finance company in negotiating the resolution of a £30m shareholder dispute brought by a former director and shareholder.
  • Successfully defended a renewable energy generation company in an urgent interim injunction application issued against the client on 3 days notice in the High Court in Manchester relating to alleged misuse of confidential information.

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney's banking team, which is led by Manjit Virdee, is increasingly active in secured real estate finance, asset-based lending, development funding and invoice finance matters. Virdee is supported by Karen Crutchley, who advises private lenders on peer-to-peer lending for new business start-ups, as well as real estate bridging finance.

Practice head(s):

Manjit Virdee

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Santander UK PLC


Shawbrook Bank Limited

United Trust Bank Limited

Recognise Bank

Key Fund Investments

National Westminster Bank PLC

Fresh Thinking Capital Limited

Svenka Handelsbanken

Lloyds Bank PLC

Rotary Development Limited

Avtar Properties

Work highlights

  • Acted for Santander Bank on CBils loan for business acquisition and working capital on the dispensing of retail pharmacy and completed confidentially given other significant interest in the portfolio
  • Acted for various lenders in checking loan agreements and securitisation documents prior to submission to recoveries teams by the banks for event of defaults.
  • Acted for HSBC Bank in respect of loan advance to banks customer for funding for business acquisition and we were required to report on a Share Purchase Agreement between sellers and buyers for funds to be drawn.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney has 'a solid and capable team', which is led by Richard Fergusson, who is an expert in sales of distressed businesses, property insolvency and receivership, and in advice to IPs and directors on disguised remuneration claims. Zoe Oates is knowledgeable about the contentious and non-contentious aspects of corporate and personal insolvencies.  Huddersfield-based consultant Richard Drinkwater specialises in insolvency investigations and claims against directors under the Companies Act and Insolvency Act.

Practice head(s):

Richard Fergusson

Other key lawyers:


‘A solid and capable team.’

‘Richard Fergusson is the best and most commercial insolvency lawyer I have ever dealt with.’

Key clients

Armstrong Watson LLP


Begbies Traynor Group

FRP Advisory LLP


Manolete Partners Plc

Grant Thornton

Bennett Jones Insolvency

Duff & Phelps

Booth & Co

Dodd & Co

DL Partnership

Poppleton & Appleby

DSI Insolvency



Work highlights

  • Advised KPMG as the administrators of Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, on the sale of its business to a local entrepreneur and subsequently the sale of its former printworks.
  • Acted for the joint administrators of Pneumatic & Electrical Systems Limited in relation to the sale of the business and certain assets post appointment following a period of the administrators trading the business.
  • Advised the administrators on the sale of Blackhouse Restaurants Limited based in central Leeds and of assets in the restaurant based in Glasgow following the first national lockdown.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

Education specialist Chris Schofield leads the team at Schofield Sweeney. Advising clients on the appropriateness of charitable status for not-for-profit organisations, the team also handles matters surrounding formation, incorporation, registration and legal compliance. In addition, the firm has significantly experience of trustee benefit matters and regularly supports academy conversions, private colleges and schools converting from private  to publicly funded status.

Practice head(s):

Chris Schofield


‘Expert guidance on our Charity Commission application. Speedy responses to all our questions. ’

‘Very professional at all times. Patient with our questions, and always helpful. A pleasure to work with.’


Key clients

Bradford Culture Company Limited

Doncaster Culture Leisure Trust

SLP College

Bradford Live


Girlington Muslim Welfare Association

Carlton Academy Trust

BMAT Education

Wellspring Academy Trust

Heckmondwike Grammar School Academy Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Bradford Culture Company Limited on the appropriateness of charitable status, amendments to the organisation’s Articles of Association to satisfy charity law requirements and the effect of those amendments, and acted on the organisation’s application to the Charity Commission to incorporate as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.
  • Acted for Bradford Live, a party that won a public procured tender to re-develop the Bradford Odeon Cinema.
  • Advised Doncaster Culture & Leisure Trust on the joint development with the Local Authority, of a cycleway/track to be used in the World Cycling Racing championship 2020.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

The private wealth and succession team at Schofield Sweeney has been described as 'one of the premier private client teams in the region'. Led by Huddersfield-based partner Ashley Iredale, the offering advises high-value clients on their estate and succession planning. In addition, the team has specialists in stamp duty land tax, family investment companies (Simon Glazebrook is the name to note) and regularly represents South Asian, Arab and Muslim clients.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Iredale

Other key lawyers:


‘Simon Glazebrook knows his stuff, is excellent at handling clients, a clear communicator and a joy to work with.’

‘A highly knowledgeable team with strength and depth. Friendly and approachable, creative in their thinking with a solid client base. They are one of the premier private client teams in the region.’

‘Simon Glazebrook has a disarming charm about him but he really knows his stuff and can think creatively around a problem to find the best solution for your clients.’

Projects, energy and natural resources (including PFI) > Infrastructure and energy Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney’s renewable energy practice has a specialism in small energy sites and is able to handle large transactions for international equity houses and pension funds. Adam Hastie leads the group, which also fields Karen Crutchley, who is the commercial contact noted for negotiating renewable fuel and heat supply contracts. The group acts for developers, funders and consultants on wind, solar, biomass, waste to energy and battery storage projects.

Practice head(s):

Adam Hastie

Other key lawyers:


‘Experienced in the power sector, being able to easily understand complex issues of fuel supply logistics and specifications.’

‘Karen Crutchley and Adam Hastie have both dealt with matters on our behalf. Always able to provide responses to tight timescales requested.’

‘Adam Hastie. Very responsive. Excellent industry knowledge so able to identify key issues and frame advice appropriately.’

Key clients

Sirius Renewable Energy Limited

Templeborough Biomass Plant Limited

Forepower Limited

Raleigh Power Limited

Catfoss Renewables Limited

Seamer Power Limited

Doncaster Power (10MW) Limited

Aqua consultants Limited / Lanes Farm Energy Limited

BWSC Power Corporation Limited

Gascorp Limited

Earthmill Limited


Harmony Energy Storage Limited

Tetrogen (Knapton) (UK) Limited

Eastern Fuels Limited

Graphite Resources Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting Harmony Energy Storage Limited in relation to site assembly work, funding issues and sales.
  • Advising BWSC Power Corporation Ltd on ongoing developments and operational matters at sites including Snetterton and Brigg.
  • Supported Seamer Power on a large battery storage project at the Seamer Carr recycling centre in Scarborough.

Real estate > Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney is well-equipped to handle a full range of real estate specialisms, with Darren Birkinshaw leading on residential acquisition and development, joint ventures and commercial landlord and tenant matters. Manjit Virdee 'always provides first class service' on property finance mandates. Richard Innes and Adam Hastie are key contacts for retail and energy sector work.

Practice head(s):

Darren Birkinshaw


‘Very commercial and pragmatic. Partner involvement is very significant and key people are always available for discussion. Billing very transparent.’

‘The team are very approachable, remaining professional at all times with sound clear understandable advice. No matter how small or large the project or question is they will always address every issue with solutions.’

‘Darren Birkinshaw – partner – Darren has stood out from the crowd for the last six years I have used him. He is fastidious in his work, leaving no stone unturned. Any problems, which there always are in legal agreements, he will find a solution to, I find him very forward thinking and trust every bit of work he has undertaken.’

‘The team led by Manjit Virdee always provides first class service, on the ball, always proactive!’

Key clients

The Trafford Centre Limited (owners of the Trafford shopping centre in Manchester) (long standing client)

Santander UK PLC (long standing client)

Pinnacle View Homes

Greenhaus Group (long standing client)

Rotary Development Limited

Shearings Group (long standing client)

Park Lane Group of Companies

Hermes Parcel Net Limited

YPP Lettings & Management Co Ltd

Mayfair Group of Companies

Frank Marshal Group of Companies

Horton Housing Association


Games Workshop Limited

Cubico (UK) Limited

AWD Holdings Ltd/ AWD Investments Ltd

Fenwood Estates Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Hermes Parcel Net on proposed Agreement for lease, lease, planning and construction of their new Bolton depot, comprising 80,000 sq ft. It enabled client to substantially improve the scale of their operation in this area and to deal with record levels of demand.
  • Advised Wharfedale Grange, a high-end wedding and function space venue with a detached grade two listed 18th century farmhouse and over 22 acres of land, on various property issues, construction and securitisation on funding.
  • Advised Rolfe Carpets on purchase and simultaneous leaseback on 120,000 sq ft distribution and manufacturing hub.

Real estate > Construction Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney is instructed by regional and national developers, housebuilders, contractors and individuals on non contentious issues such as procurement and contract services, among others. The practice also has a strong offering in construction disputes, acting on behalf of claimants and defendants, with particular expertise in adjudication and claims involving including professional indemnity. Andrew Hurst and litigator Richard Stockdale (consultant) are the key figures.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hurst

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Games Workshop Limited

Horton Housing Association

Hermes Parcel Net Limited

Chartford Housing Limited

Fenwood Estates Limited

Oakapple Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Hermes Parcel Net Limited on the negotiation of its proposed lease of the new Bolton depot, including having an input into drafting and advising on professional appointments and collateral warranties.
  • Advised Games Workshop Limited on reaching an agreement with SEGRO Logistics Park to develop a new 177,500 ft² warehouse distribution facility at the new East Midlands Gateway logistics hub.
  • Advised the owner of Springwell Works in relation to the flagship letting of the premises and dealing with a complex development agreement to provide a flagship brewing facility for a rapidly growing brewery.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 3

Schofield Sweeney made a significant investment in its practice by hiring Richard Jobes as partner and practice head from Gordons LLP in November 2020. Jobes' 'wealth of experience' in litigation make him a 'safe pair of hands' for commercial property disputes, with additional expertise in agricultural tenancies, business rates and planning-related claims. Bradford-based commercial litigator James Staton is also recommended. Laura Salvati left for Tyr Law.

Practice head(s):

Richard Jobes; James Staton


‘Richard Jobes has provided clear and concise advice which has really assisted us to make decisions on our matters to be able to move them forward. His wealth of experience has contributed to his ability to remain calm under pressure and to stay on top of the work and act in a proactive manner. We feel that he is a safe pair of hands.’

Key clients

Hermes Parcelnet Limited

Games Workshop

Greenhous Group

YPP Lettings & Management Co.

High Point Estates


Stowe Family Law

Work highlights

  • Working closely with Hermes Parcelnet estate management team in relation to their rapidly expanding property portfolio to ensure its the smooth running.
  • Managing Games Workshop’s extensive programme of lease renewals and other relates property matters.
  • Advising Greenhous Group on its extensive property portfolio.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 4

Schofield Sweeney's IT practice works closely with its dispute resolution group on a number of IT-related litigation matters and licensing agreements. Practice head Karen Crutchley has over a decade of experience across the information technology space and is recommended for e-commerce and data protection work. She is supported by commercial contact Elizabeth Tovey.

Practice head(s):

Karen Crutchley

Other key lawyers:


‘The way the team at Schofield Sweeney work with our in-house team of lawyers is exceptional and allows us to bring our own knowledge to bear on the work, but then combine that with their unique expertise that is the key attribute that allows us to work well with them. They adapt to our requirements and keep good relations with our in-house team, sometimes providing expertise that we don’t have and sometimes providing extra capacity on areas where we have the skills but not always the capacity.’

‘Karen Crutchley’s knowledge of commercial contracting best practice – particularly relating to international software licencing and related matters – is fantastic. ’

‘Excellent knowledge of the IT industry and structuring of software licence agreements. They have the ability to explain these to the client clearly.’

‘Karen Crutchley is always available to walk through questions and also able to pitch responses appropriately for the client’s understanding of the topic.’

Key clients

Claritas Solutions Limited

Greenhous Group Plc

C4X Discovery Holdings plc

EMIS Group Plc

NDL Software Limited

CI Biomass Management Limited

Cubico Group Limited

Campuslife Limited

DFDS Seaways

Advanced Digital Innovation (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Easy Bathrooms on their new e-commerce website
  • Negotiated a software licence for the provision of a software platform, including hosting services, maintenance and support

Employment > Employment: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 5

Schofield Sweeney's employment practice has extensive experience in the education sector and acts for schools, academies and higher education institutions. Overseen by Simon Shepherd, who clients describe as 'excellent', the team regularly appears before the Employment Tribunal in discrimination, unfair dismissal and whistleblowing cases. Core members of the team include Alex Clements, who is recommended for defending tribunal claims and has wide public sector experience, and associate Annie Gray, who has a focus on SEN and disability claims.

Practice head(s):

Simon Shepherd

Other key lawyers:


‘Simon Shepherd is outstanding. His advice is exceptional always pragmatic and clear. He builds strong relationships with us and is willing to go above and beyond in dealing with any case we require help with.’

‘Always approachable, flexible in their approach and provide timely support and advice. They make it their business to understand our organisation and provide bespoke services to meet our needs. Great service and value.’

‘Two stand out individuals: Simon Shepherd and Annie Gray. Always on hand to provide reassurance, support and advice. Always use appropriate language so that information is clearly understood, balanced with case law to strengthen advice. Excellent service.’

‘Schofield Sweeney are a very capable and well-informed team. They are also very pleasant and helpful people to work with, who operate to high service standards. Calls and enquiries are always answered promptly within a 24-hour period, and the advice is always accurate and commercially focused. As such I see Schofield Sweeney as a key part of the Trust team.’

‘You always receive a prompt response to your query. There is never a daft question to be asked and the responses are understandable and not full of jargon. The service is friendly, and you actually feel they are in-house and not external. They give a break down of work completed and always ask if they can request an invoice. This is a personable service.’

‘Simon and Annie – both could be part of our in-house organisation. They deliver with a friendly personable service and with a warmth that you do not get from other external services.’

Key clients

JD Sports Fashion Plc

GMI Construction Group Plc

Wakefield & District Housing Limited

DMC Mining Services (UK) Limited

Wellspring Academy Trust

Kingston Unity Friendly Society Limited

Beckfoot Trust

Work highlights

  • Represented Wellspring Academy Trust with regard to several Employment Tribunal claims in 2020.

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.

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
Darren Birkinshaw photo Darren BirkinshawHead of property team dealing with a range of commercial property matters,…
John Feaster photo John FeasterPartner in the private client team advising on tax and lifetime planning…
Andrew Hurst photo Andrew HurstPartner specialising in innovative projects who has recently completed a major schools…
Steven Millward photo Steven MillwardPartner
Simon Petchey photo Simon PetcheyCommercial property partner. Recent major transactions include: working as part of multidisciplinary…
Amar Rashid photo Amar RashidPartner in the restructuring and banking team. Advising SMEs and individuals on…
James Staton photo James StatonPartner and head of the dispute resolution team. Extensive experience of commercial,…
Martin Sweeney photo Martin SweeneyChief executive. Acts for a wide range of corporate clients, with work…
Manjit Virdee photo Manjit VirdeePartner and leads on secured property finance and banking matters in the…
Farooq Zar photo Farooq ZarPartner
Number of UK partners : 31
Number of other UK fee-earners : 70

CLIENT: Helen Horsman
COMPANY/FIRM: The Cellar Trust
TESTIMONIAL: As a busy charity, delivering services 365 days a year, we employ staff in various roles who are required to work multiple shift patterns, across numerous sites, including hospitals. Schofield Sweeney operate as an invaluable part of our HR team, giving sensible and straight forward advice. Simon Shepherd and the employment team have always been accessible and responsive, offering guidance on a range of queries from vaccinations to TUPE advice. Their support is invaluable.

CLIENT: Raj Handa
COMPANY/FIRM: Home Discount
TESTIMONIAL: The team provide an invaluable one-stop legal service and everyone we have dealt with has been incredibly efficient, and more importantly, easy to deal with.

CLIENT: Richard Thewlis
COMPANY/FIRM: Huddersfield Giants
TESTIMONIAL: Schofield Sweeney is at the end of the phone and act immediately when we need them which is vital to our business.

CLIENT: Sarah-Jane Murray
COMPANY/FIRM: Unorthobox
TESTIMONIAL: Schofield Sweeney were recommended to us by a business associate. We had been experiencing a particularly challenging and unexpected legal dispute. As a non-profit organisation we had no legal expertise and no budget for legal support. Everyone we spoke to at Schofield Sweeney was so friendly, helpful and supportive which made a stressful situation much easier to deal with. They went above and beyond to assist us and we can’t thank them enough.

CLIENT: Simon Horniblow
COMPANY/FIRM: Campuslife
TESTIMONIAL: Everyone that I’ve dealt with at Schofield Sweeney has been very approachable, personable and helpful.

CLIENT: Daniel Styler
TESTIMONIAL: I have always found the team to be very pro-active and engaging, liaising closely with all parties to ensure matters are progressed in a quick and time-efficient manner.

CLIENT: Paul Brown
COMPANY/FIRM: Empirica Investments
TESTIMONIAL: When we started our wind turbine development work several years ago we needed a lawyer who could combine entrepreneurial flexibility with experienced professionalism. Adam Hastie delivers this. We have confidence in his technical rigor but he is more than just an efficient processor. He understands what influences the people we deal with and what are the key elements to our deals. His approach is always tailored towards achieving our overall goal.

Schofield Sweeney strongly believes in the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion both within the firm and externally to our clients and the local communities in which we work. Our culture and our office working environment allows everyone to have the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their career ambitions, free from discrimination or harassment.

Decisions about work and promotions, are based on merit, and our policies and procedures embed our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We actively promote and engage diversity in our behaviour, communication, marketing, and events that we host or attend.

Through having a diverse array of backgrounds and perspectives, we are better able to understand the needs of our clients, which means that we can relate more easily to their circumstances.

We were delighted to win the FB Hero award for ‘Diversity, Inclusion & Equality 2022’ which celebrates and honours the initiatives that the firm has put in place to be counted as a workplace which welcomes all forms of diversity. We believe that our culture allows colleagues to be themselves, and we passionately feel that everyone should be able to bring their whole self to work.

Alongside our commitment to diversity is our pledge to wellbeing. It is vital that our colleagues feel they have the support and encouragement at work to enable them to give their best and to be happy in the job that they do. Our benefits package was created with wellbeing in mind, and a dedicated Wellbeing Group, made up of colleagues at all levels from across the firm, helps maintain our focus on this area.

We also want our colleagues to have a great work-life balance and our Hybrid Working policy is designed specifically to achieve this. When we are all feeling physically and mentally strong, happy, and engaged, we feel better and give our clients the best service we can.

Our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) committee is also there to actively encourage our colleagues, their families, and friends to participate in charitable work. Whether through volunteering, donations, or fundraising events, we ensure a program of activity every year to benefit our charity of the year and wider charities, and this activity is open to all.

More than law – charitable, social and environmental – Schofield Sweeney

More than law – inclusivity and wellbeing – Schofield Sweeney