Oxleys focuses on health care

ROTHERHAM firm Oxley & Coward is seeking to re-establish its reputation in the health work field by developing a new commercial focus.

The 11-partner firm has now formally launched its health group. This comes 16 months after selling its specialist health office in Sheffield to the national firm Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave.

The sale included five partners, 19 solicitors and a team of 27 support staff.

Oxley & Coward's new health group will focus on providing legal advice to the NHS on contracts, property, planning and environment issues, intellectual property law and computer disputes.

The health group is headed by commercial lawyer Rosemary Downs.

Downs and partner John Yates, head of information technology, were based in Sheffield, but both switched to the firm's Rotherham office following the sale.

After a year of restrictive covenants, they decided to re-invent their health business returning to a focus on med-ical negligence.

The health group is supported by a significant marketing infrastructure.

“This is the most important marketing initiative ever undertaken by Oxley & Coward. We've used mailshots and had seminars, workshops and meetings with key NHS managers,” said Downs.

The health team also includes property partners, James Ogley and Andrew Weetch, and planning and environment partner David Hainsworth and solicitors Dean Larder, Paula Freeman and Kate Smith.

The firm started advising the NHS in 1989 and now has over 30 health authority and NHS trust clients, mainly in the North and the Midlands.

Meanwhile, Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave has recruited a new partner to its Sheffield office, John Evans. Evans was head of Nottingham's QMC Legal Services and also former legal adviser to the Trent Regional Health Authority.