Walker Morris LLP is a distinctive law firm valued by our clients for consistently achieving excellent results. We believe our distinctiveness is based on the quality of the services we deliver to our clients, our unique culture and the engagement of our partners and our high calibre lawyers.
We are a single site, full service commercial law firm, based in Leeds focused on providing our clients both in the UK and Internationally with partner-led, high quality, insightful advice. Our single site has significant advantages in terms of developing a strong team-based, collaborative culture, with the inherent cost effectiveness that a Leeds base brings.
Our clients, many of whom are blue chip, are drawn from a broad range of sectors which include manufacturing, retail, corporate and finance, healthcare, private equity, technology and media, energy and renewables, public sector and infrastructure and real estate. With a staff of over 450 including 49 partners, Walker Morris is uniquely recognised for its strong multi-disciplinary teamwork and straight forward advice. Both the Firm and our lawyers are recognised as leaders in their fields with almost 90 per cent of our partners recognised in Chambers and Legal 500 for their expertise.
OUR PRACTICE AREAS:
Banking, restructuring and insolvency
The trait that draws the most praise from clients about our Banking, Restructuring & Insolvency Group is our teamwork. When you engage us to work on an assignment, you can choose a specialist partner to lead the Team – selecting from recognised leaders in banking, restructuring, property finance, insolvency, recoveries, real estate and litigation – and you can be confident that that every one of us is there to help. Your initial requirement may be for a complex restructuring, a transaction or dispute, or even to manage a large volume of cases; but finance law typically raises a multitude of issues, that require a strong team and a multi-disciplinary approach to resolve. That is where we excel.
The Commercial Group is one of the largest commercial law teams outside London. We offer a formidable legal resource blending the technical and commercial skills necessary to deal with complex, innovative and practical legal and commercial issues, whether as one off transactions or as part of ongoing business relationships. The specialist Commercial Contracts Unit is unique in that we all have in-house experience either from previous posts or by way of secondments. As a result, we understand and appreciate the pressures of working in a corporate environment. We have vast experience in advising businesses on their day-to-day business relationships and are often viewed as a seamless extension to our clients’ in-house team.
The Commercial Group includes not only specialist lawyers with expertise in the entire range of commercial agreements, but also IT and IP. One of the major benefits of using our Group is that a significant number of our lawyers have in-house legal experience, including at utility companies and international IT companies.
Competition & EU
Competition is critical to the success of all business organisations; a breach of competition law can critically threaten such success by undermining the effectiveness of commercial arrangements, by disabling the management team and by the levying of financial and criminal penalties. Competition law applies equally to commercial arrangements in all business organisations, regardless of size or complexity of the organisation and may be breached by operational staff at any level in the organisation.
Our Competition & EU law Team understands that your commercial objectives are paramount and our advice must help promote the achievement of your commercial aims. The Team’s extensive business and public sector experience and outstanding academic abilities ensure that these aims are met and you receive the highest quality legal advice.
Our Team benefits from the experience of specialists who work exclusively on competition and regulated procurement law matters. They have wide ranging experience in advising public and private sector, national and international clients on all areas of competition law, including designing and implementing competition compliance programmes, the commercial constraints affecting an undertaking dominant in a market, structuring acquisitions and joint ventures to comply with EC and UK merger control legislation, the use of State resources for public purposes without the grant of illegal State aid, unique experience in the use of the competitive dialogue procedure to procure landmark regeneration projects.
Construction and engineering
The Construction & Engineering Group has a long established reputation for offering clients technical yet practical advice taking into account the commercial realities under which our clients operate. The Group is unique in offering lawyers who have been trained to operate in both contentious and non-contentious law and includes a strong Construction & Engineering Disputes Team. This means that we can offer our clients a detailed and practical understanding of how the contracts are negotiated and operated. We focus on the key issues allowing our clients to achieve their objectives efficiently. It also means that you benefit from the same legal team providing advice from cradle to grave on any project.
Our client base takes in all aspects of the industry. We advise both public and private sector clients in areas from energy, leisure, retail, commercial, industrial and international projects. Our clients include listed companies, local authorities and educational institutions, banks, developers, contractors, specialist sub-contractors and consultants.
Walker Morris is a leading provider of legal services to the education sector. Our Education Group gives specialist advice as and when it is required to further education colleges, universities and schools throughout the UK. The Group’s 37 lawyers provide our clients with established expertise and a national education resource which is delivered from a single centre of excellence in Leeds. Through our capability, expertise and experience our aim is to deliver the best solutions for your needs.
Educational infrastructure is one of the most important investments in the future any country can make through investment in schools, joint venture projects with the private sector and the opportunities being offered through new structures such as Academies, Foundation Trusts, Free Schools, Co-operative Schools and Studio Schools. This will be achieved within an ever changing regulatory framework driven from within the UK and Europe presenting new compliance challenges and requirements for change. It is our responsibility to provide straight forward commercial and strategic advice to help you interpret and meet the new opportunities in education.
We are an approved member of the legal panel for Crescent Purchasing Consortium for the provision of legal services to all college and higher education members in the Yorkshire and Humber, North East, East Midlands and North West regions, together with the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium.
Employment and pensions
Our Employment & Pensions Teams work closely together to provide a complete service for clients.
Employment & Human Resources
Our Employment Team is recognised for its large private sector client base with considerable experience in providing complex employment legal advice to private and listed companies. The Team also advises and represents significant numbers of public sector, local authorities and education organisations in relation to all forms of projects and disputes. This experience includes assessing risks with clients, advising on processes relating to redundancy, TUPE, sales, shared services, and insolvency as well as advising on day to day issues arising from implementing policies.
The Team offers experience of contentious employment law issues, representing both parties in employment disputes from individual claimants to corporate respondents and regularly undertakes advocacy.
We underpin our employment and HR advice with regular bespoke training, not only for our clients’ HR departments but also for their field managers. This client-focused, practical approach has been illustrated by the publication of our handy Little Green Book of Employment Law.
We have a dedicated Pensions Team which has extensive experience in all aspects of pensions law and advises trustees and employers in relation to pension arrangements of all types and sizes. For further information please visit our pensions page here.
Our Renewables, Energy & Resources Group has an extensive pedigree of acting in the sector. Our lawyers have been experts in the sector for years, and have not simply ‘reinvented’ themselves as sector specialists in order to jump on the bandwagon. Many of our Group have in-house experience within the energy industry, and this in-depth knowledge and experience means we have the technical and commercial skills necessary to deal with complex, innovative and practical legal and commercial issues.
The Group advises clients on all aspects of projects, from site selection and acquisition, through to construction and operation, with connection and energy purchase agreements also covered. In addition, we help our clients with a wide range of non-project related activities, such as regulated industry code matters, energy supply, acquisitions and disposals. We have an enviable client base in the sector, and regularly advise utility companies, gas and electricity transmission and distribution companies, power generators and suppliers, LNG terminal operators and shippers, energy from waste developers, water companies, project companies, commercial banks, local authorities and government agencies. This means our clients benefit from the broad perspective that the Group bring to their projects.
The Group also includes a range of specialists with experience in both energy and accommodation (including housing) projects, who provide advice on the legal options, delivery and funding structures available to achieve energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings. We advise on asset and estate rationalisation, asset management, energy performance contracting and Green Deal.
With the FCA rule book 10,000+ pages financial services regulation can be a minefield even for established businesses. In addition, consumer credit in the UK has seen a myriad of changes in recent years including those required under the EU Consumer Credit Directive.
Our experienced Financial Services Team has strong links with a number of financial services businesses and a wealth of experience, especially in the consumer finance sector. We have advised lenders, brokers and debt collection agencies as well as a number of trade associations (including the Association of Finance Brokers, the Consumer Credit Association and the British Cheque and Credit Association) in relation to all aspects of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
The Team has a broad client base including lenders, brokers, debt collections agencies, insurance intermediaries, mortgage lenders, brokers, stockbrokers, land banking schemes and private equity providers and provides advice on a complete range of Financial Services legal advice including: CCA, FCA Regulation, Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), anti-money laundering, and data protection.
We often undertake corporate acquisitions and reorganisations of financial services providers which requires detailed assessments of risk via exhaustive due diligence on debt books and compliance issues (for example, assessing the enforceability of credit and PPI agreements).
Food and drink
Our specialist Food & Drink Team consists of a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers immersed in the food and drink industry, providing practical solutions across the range of issues in the sector. These include advice on M&A, financing, disputes, branding, logistics and supply chain arrangements, licensing, regulatory (such as health and safety and environmental), product recall, real estate and construction, tax, competition and HR issues, amongst others.
Our understanding of the challenges and pressures in the sector and the approach taken by large multiple retailers and market leading suppliers allows us to provide advice which is proactive, strategic and commercially pragmatic.
Healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals
The Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Group is a cross-departmental blend of dynamic specialists with life sciences and pharmaceuticals industry knowledge. We offer a formidable legal resource combining the technical and commercial skills necessary to deal with complex, innovative and practical legal and commercial issues, whether as one off transactions or as part of ongoing business relationships. We act for a wide range of clients within the pharmaceutical, medical devices, medical technology and biotechnology fields from start-ups and universities to multinational companies.
A number of the team have worked in companies in the life sciences sector and have a wealth of industry experience. We are members of the ABHI (Association of British Healthcare Industries) and sit on the ABHI Legal Affairs Committee. We also have a member on the ABHI Adjudication Panel that deals with issues arising under the ABHI Code of Business Practice.
With £5bn additional government funding and a clear pipeline of over 500 infrastructure projects and programmes worth £250bn, this affirms the Government’s backing for infrastructure as an enabler of economic growth.
As leading advisers to the public and private sector we advise on projects across the range of sectors, helping our clients to deliver nationally significant infrastructure around the UK. More than just specialists in any field of law, our people are commercially aware lawyers who pride themselves on working closely with clients as part of their team delivering the country’s infrastructure for the future. Our experienced Team regularly advises clients from both the private and public sector on projects covering a diverse range of sectors, including roads and highways, waste management and energy recovery, utility infrastructure, telecommunications and water.
Our experienced insurance litigation division has over 35 years’ expertise in dealing with personal injury claims from road traffic accidents, employers liability claims, public liability claims and product liability claims.
Intellectual property, trade marks and design
The Intellectual Property Department has established a truly seamless one stop service for clients, providing legal advice on all types of contentious and non contentious matters, including licensing, merchandising and securitisation, patent and other IP litigation, and research and technology collaboration. In addition, the Department contains the Trade Marks & Designs Department which is staffed by a large team of specialist European trade mark attorneys handling all aspects of the management and recordal of UK, Community and international designs and trade mark portfolios.
A key to the Department’s success is the close working relationships which it has established with practices in other jurisdictions. Clients appreciate the importance for their IP strategy of obtaining effective, cogent advice both within the UK and overseas. The quality of the Department’s connections is widely recognised and is reflected in a number of leading corporations asking the Group to manage the appointment and monitoring of foreign counsel.
We are committed to supporting our clients with the best possible English law advice and to working with our trusted global network of leading independent law firms to ensure our clients’ international requirements and goals are met. We can offer the strength and depth of a major law firm and nationally recognised experts covering all key practice areas relevant to our clients’ businesses, including cross-border acquisitions, international arbitrations and supporting our clients’ international trade and projects.
Our approach successfully brings together lawyers who are regularly dealing with international commercial issues together with the experience which comes from many years of advising global operations headquartered in the US, Europe and Asia.
We have developed strong connections with leading independent firms across the globe so that we can identify the local firm that is best able to meet our clients’ specific requirements in other jurisdictions. This approach has found favour with many of our international clients, particularly from the USA and Asia who appreciate our knowledge of the legal market place in the European jurisdictions in which they wish to do business. Indeed as a consequence, a number of US corporations have appointed us to manage their European law requirements on a portfolio basis.
With roots going back for over 120 years, Walker Morris is one of the leading commercial law firms in the UK with a first class international reputation. With a staff of 500 including 50 partners and over 250 fee earners we are ranked by independent assessors among the top UK law firms for the number of recognised legal specialists in our teams.
We support and are active members of a wide range of international organisations including IBA, ABA, AIJA, ITMA and INTA for a full list click here.
For further information contact any of the members of our International Group.
Our Public Sector and Projects Group is a formidable force; a group of highly experienced lawyers who fully understand the many, and ever-changing challenges faced by clients in both the public and private sectors. With their proactive and commercial approach, they are extremely client-focused and have dealt with many large and complex matters, helping their clients achieve the desired result. The Group has substantial in-house experience, particularly in the public sector where team members have held a variety of senior positions, giving them an invaluable insight into the many pressures within Local Government, enabling them to be innovative in the range of solutions they can provide. We support a wide range of clients including: public bodies and associations, private sector contractors and funders.
Having one of the largest dedicated Public Sector and Project Groups outside London, our reputation for excellent project work is reflected in our appointment as an approved adviser to a large number of central and local government and public sector frameworks throughout the UK. We can provide legal advice in a number of specialist areas including health, education, leisure, waste, outsourcing, renewables, energy & resources and housing.
The multi-disciplinary Retail Team excels at providing its retail clients with added-value support on real estate, commercial dispute resolution, intellectual property, trade marks and designs, commercial contracts and regulatory, planning, restructuring and employment matters. The team advises both UK and international retailers, including a wide range of household names. Click here for more information on retail.
Regulatory and compliance
Our expert Regulatory & Compliance Team includes former FCA and SFO investigators and former in-house lawyers, giving us valuable insight into both the regulators’ mindset and our clients’ needs. Our expert Team has extensive experience advising clients in connection with regulatory investigations and defending civil and criminal proceedings brought by various authorities including the police, Serious Fraud Office, DTI, HM Revenue and Customs, the Health and Safety Executive, Food Standards Agency, Trading Standards and the Financial Services Authority.
We provide practical, commercial legal advice in an easily digestible form. Clear and effective communication is key to what we do. Whether drafting agreements to reflect regulatory responsibilities or dealing with a dawn raid, we are experienced and nimble enough to keep ahead of the game, protecting your interests at every turn. We understand that good corporate governance requires the effective management of regulatory risks from board level down. This means keeping abreast of legislative change and ensuring all relevant compliance policies and practices, reinforced by comprehensive training, are kept up to date. Effective compliance does not mean zero failure. Even the best-run companies breach regulations. No organisation is immune from human error or oversight.
The Team has built up an enviable list of UK and international clients by delivering what we promise, when we promise it. We have forged close working relationships with our longstanding clients and a keen understanding of their business needs to enable us to work as one team to get them where they want to be as speedily and efficiently as possible.
Walker Morris is one of the few firms in the UK that can genuinely offer the complete sports law service. We regularly receive instructions from four Premier League clubs, seven Championship clubs and several clubs in the lower leagues. We also have a long-standing history in rugby, and act for a number of rugby clubs.
Our expertise spans the whole spectrum of sports law including:
- brand protection and exploitation
- club sales and acquisitions
- corporate restructuring and insolvencies
- employment and immigration issues
- player/manager negotiations
- real estate
- sponsorship deals
- sports disciplinary hearings.
In terms of football club sales and purchases, the Group act for a range of high net worth clients and it is often instructed by owners of football clubs looking to sell or wealthy companies / individuals that are looking to acquire football clubs. The Group has acted on two Premier League and six Championship sales/purchases in the past few years alone. Most recently, the Group acted on the major US investment in Crystal Palace Football Club. The deals marks a successful milestone in the work the Group has undertaken for the Club, having acted as the Club’s exclusive legal provider since it was bought out of administration in 2010. (Read more here).
In terms of football finance, the Group specialises in advising financial institutions, stadium companies and major debt funds on general football financial activity including the discounting of player transfer monies and the discounting of central funds. Most recently, the Group acted for a first-ranking secured lender in the release of its security over a Championship football club. The Group has also advised Premier League clients as regards the assignment of Premier League monies.
The Group has taken one of the lead roles on the vast majority of football club insolvencies in the last three years, including clubs from the Championship, Leagues 1 and 2 as well as non-league clubs. The Group also took one of the lead roles when it advised on the Portsmouth administration, the only Premier League club ever to have gone into administration.
Tax is money. Whether for your business, for your employees, for your shareholders or for you, our Tax Team understand that managing your tax position is of critical importance. Inevitably it is an area riddled with complexity and requires advisers with the highest technical abilities. Tax law can often influence the way businesses are structured and as a result how transactions are effected. The right advice not only reduces risk but saves money. However, the tax rules are changed with alarming frequency and being up to date is a constant project.
Yet this is not enough. A tax advisor not only needs to know the rules but needs to understand what drives businesses and transactions to be able to add real value to clients. However just as important is the commercial awareness of the context in which such complex issues are to be considered. It is this balance of the technical skills with commercial awareness which sets our Tax Team apart.
All our tax advisors are commercial lawyers experienced in structuring transactions and negotiating deals both with the tax authorities and other parties. The emphasis is not on the calculation of tax but on giving practical and commercial advice to save our clients money.
Simon was awarded the Finance Monthly Dealmaker of the Year Award 2013 in recognition of his involvement in some of the UK’s high profile deals.
Technology, media and telecommunications
Our Technology, Media & Telecoms Group is a multi-disciplinary group which acts for suppliers and customers throughout the technology, media & telecoms sectors. Our team of expert lawyers advise on the full range of legal issues that clients might encounter in relation to the development, implementation and operation of technically innovative services and products.
We also assist clients to develop the value in their technology by identifying and protecting their intellectual property rights, and realising value through corporate transactions.
The team enjoys national recognition, demonstrated by our appointment to the Buying Solutions panel to advise the public sector on IT, telecoms and e-commerce related matters. The Team is also ranked by leading independent guides to the legal profession.