Walker Morris

Walker Morris LLP is a corporate law firm that continues to attract a growing national and international client base from its base in Leeds. Its single-site strategy has enabled it to attract the best legal expertise while offering its clients cost-effective rates.

Our Briefings About us Practice Areas Our People The Lawyer News Firm News Offices

Click here to access full coverage of Walker Morris in The Lawyer UK 200. Featuring the UK’s leading law firms ranked by turnover, as well as extensive benchmarking data, the report is a comprehensive market intelligence resource for the UK legal sector.

Walker Morris LLP is a corporate law firm that continues to attract a growing national and international client base from its base in Leeds. Its single-site strategy has enabled it to attract the best legal expertise while offering its clients cost-effective rates.

With 500 staff, including 49 partners, it is ranked as a leading UK top 100 law firm.

Recognised for its ethos of strong multidisciplinary teamwork and straightforward advice, its lawyers’ focus on delivering what they promise, coupled with a high level of commercial awareness, continues to attract significant new clients.

Working with a global network of like-minded firms, it believes that clients’ interests in overseas matters are best served by introducing them to the right overseas firms for the matter in hand, rather than adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Walker Morris continues to invest in its specialist expertise having made a number of lateral hires and internal promotions in key growth areas. Recent hires included competition director Shaukat Ali (7 April 2014), restructuring and insolvency director Gawain Moore (12 December 2013) and five appointments to its real-estate group including former Clarion partner James Lawson (6 December 2013).

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.


Commercial

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.


Education

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.

Pensions

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.


Energy

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.


Financial services

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.


Infrastructure

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.


Insurance litigation

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.


International

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.


Public sector

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.


Retail

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.


Sports

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

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.

Andrew Beck

Partner

Andrew-Beck_Walker-MorrisAndrew is recognised as a leader in his field by both Chambers and Legal 500. He has a varied practice dealing with a range of complex litigation issues including multi-jurisdictional mortgage fraud cases, asset recovery and high-value professional negligence claims against solicitors and surveyors acting for the firm’s banking and lender clients.

He also has substantial experience in dealing with Town and Village Green inquiries acting for opposing landowners, land tribunal claims and all aspects of commercial landlord and tenant disputes.

Andrew is an accredited mediator with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution and has provided training courses on mediation as an alternative method of resolving disputes.

Andrew has been involved in several leading and high-profile reported cases and has represented clients in the Court of Appeal, the House of Lords and the Supreme Court.

In Chambers, Andrew is particularly praised for “excellent management skills” and his ability to “see solutions to problems before they even arise”. Andrew’s peers describe him as a “pleasure” to work with.


Rupert Bent

Partner and head of intellectual property

Bent_Rupert_Walker_MorrisRupert heads the Walker Morris Intellectual Property Group advising on all types of contentious and non contentious matters, including a dedicated Trade Marks & Designs team.

As former head of IP litigation for the regions at Pinsent Masons, Rupert has advised on the full range of contentious intellectual property disputes, including patent, trade mark, copyright, design right and passing-off disputes, as well as non-contentious issues including licensing and branding. With almost two decades of experience, Rupert has successfully led significant litigation for a variety of household name companies, including for Phones 4U and Magnet, amongst many others. Rupert additionally has been elected to the Institute of Trade Mark Agents (ITMA) and is a regular published writer for the ITMA Review.

Rupert has also built up a particular expertise in enforcing rights on social media, including trade mark and copyright infringement, the removal of imposter accounts and defamatory comments from Facebook, Twitter and blogs, and is a recognised speaker on these topics.

Rupert has been ranked as a leading individual by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500, the industry guides to legal practitioners, in which he has been described as “hugely experienced in IP matters”, “famous for his litigation and internet work”, “knows how to explain things in plain English”, “creative at developing supportive arguments”, “unassuming and technically strong”, “can get things moving quickly”, “keen and knowledgeable”, and “always willing to put himself out”.


Nick Cannon

Partner and head of real estate

Cannon_Nick_Walker_MorrisNick joined from city firm Freshfields. Nick has a wide range of experience, in particular, in relation to acting for development and retail clients. Nick has acted for the student developer, UNITE Plc, for over 10 years and also advised Land Securities in relation to the acquisition and development of the new Trinity Leeds Centre with over 1,000,000 square feet of retail space. Nick has acted for Debenhams for over 12 years in relation to their store requirements.

Nick also has significant experience in acting in relation to major projects and for local authority clients.


Simon Clark

Partner

Clark_Simon_WalkerSimon deals with all aspects of restructuring and insolvency having always specialised in this area.  When acting for banks and corporates, he advises in relation to security issues and enhancements, restructuring and reorganisations and insolvency planning.  Directors rely on Simon’s advice when faced with the complicated and high pressure issues which arise when they guide their companies through financial difficulties.

He also advises insolvency practitioners and corporates in relation to the sales and purchase of distressed businesses.  Simon has wide experience of advising on all aspects of receiverships, CVAs and administrations.  Simon is praised by clients in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession for his knowledge of “bank and IP-led corporate restructuring and insolvency”.

Simon leads our LPA receivership team which acts for lenders and receivers recovering property lending.


Simon Concannon,

Partner and head of international

Concannon_Simon_WalkerSimon has over 25 years experience as a leading tax adviser in both the UK and internationally.  Rather than becoming overspecialised, Simon has very broad tax expertise having dealt with a wide array of corporate transactions from M&A to restructurings; demergers; fundraising and listings. This has included advising corporates benefiting from some of the more bespoke tax areas such as VCTs, REITs and EIS.  Simon is particularly known for his expertise on property related matters with an emphasis on SDLT and VAT. He has also implemented a wide range of share and other employee incentive arrangements.

It is this broad approach to an understanding of the tax rules and how they interlink which allows Simon and the Walker Morris team to quickly focus on the key commercial aspects of the tax position rather than be overly focused on one aspect.  The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession reports Simon as being “immensely knowledgeable as well as good at tactics and strategy”.

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.


Rachel Cowper

Partner

Cowper_Rachel_WalkerRachel is a regional leader in the field of residential development acting on behalf of a wide variety of private landowners and advising a number of the UK’s major house builders and developers including Persimmon and Barratt.  Rachel is recognised for her experience acting on behalf of landowners and residential developers on the sale and purchase of development sites for short term and strategic housing supply.  Recent experience includes advising on planning promotion agreements, strategic options, building licences, collaboration agreements and conditional sale and purchase agreements.

Rachel is joint head of Corporate Responsibility and is responsible for our Community Engagement Programmes and the firm’s Charity Committee.


James Crayton

Partner

Crayton_James_WalkerJames is a partner in our commercial team who advises on the full spectrum of commercial arrangements. James acts for a broad range of national and international clients across a variety of sectors, with particular expertise in the pharma, food, logistics and manufacturing industries. His practice covers all type of commercial contracts with focus on supply agreements for both goods and services, logistics services contracts, framework agreements and joint ventures.

James works hard to understand the real drivers of any deal for his clients, and always approaches every instruction by understanding the importance of the contract to the wider business of his client. His experience includes acting for clients on multi-billion dollar deals all the way through to much small day-to-day trading contracts, and he brings the same level of focus and insight to each instruction.


Gwendoline Davies

Partner and head of commercial dispute resolution

Davies_Gwendoline_WalkersGwendoline is head of the firm’s commercial dispute resolution group and joined from City firm, Herbert Smith.

Ranked as a leading individual and in the top tier for commercial dispute work for a number of years, Gwendoline is a highly respected litigator and has been involved in several reported cases. Her “sensible, intelligent and measured…Welsh fighting spirit” means that clients consider her to be a “very talented lawyer and great fun to work with”.

Her clients come from multiple industries and business sectors and include major corporates and leading financial institutions. She has more than 25 years of experience of representing clients in their most complex and important disputes. Her practice includes commercial and civil litigation matters, regulatory matters, internal investigations and domestic and international arbitrations.

She is an accredited mediator with the Centre for Dispute Resolution, a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the International Bar Association.  For the last three years, she has been a Governor of the College of Law.


Trudy Feaster-Gee

Partner and head of competition

Feaster-Gee_Trudy_WalkersTrudy has two decades of specialist experience advising on all aspects of EU and UK competition law.  She has enjoyed a number of prestigious secondments including at the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), supporting the chairman and director of policy, and as a stagiare in DG competition in Brussels. Trudy also enjoyed in-house positions as head of legal at Volkswagen UK and latterly as head of external competition engagement at Lloyds Banking Group.

The variety of these roles has allowed her to ‘sit on each side of the fence’ and gain a very rounded perspective on the application of competition law. Trudy has advised in a wide range of industry sectors, particularly the motor industry, pharmaceuticals / IP and various regulated sectors (electricity, water, telecoms and financial services).


Ian Gilbert

Managing partner

Gilbert_Ian_WalkersIan is managing partner and is recognised as one of the leading corporate lawyers in the region, known for his “down to earth” approach and his knack of developing “compromises to suit all parties”. Ian has over 30 years’ experience and advises a broad spectrum of corporate clients from major plcs to start up companies and private individuals, on such matters as MBOs, secondary buy-outs, fundraisings, acquisitions, IPOs, joint ventures and disposals. He particularly enjoys complex multi-party matters which require innovative solutions to be found and carefully considered negotiation strategies. In Chambers Legal Directory Ian is described as being “one of the driving forces behind the practice”.

Ian is used by a number of clients as “trusted counsel” but still thrives on getting heavily involved in transactions.  By way of example, Ian advised management on the sale of two healthcare groups: the £375m sale of Voyage Care Group to Duke Street and Partners Group and the $335m sale of Cygnet Healthcare to Universal Healthcare Services.


John Hamer

Partner and head of corporate

Hamer_John_WalkerJohn is one of six partners in the corporate team at Walker Morris and has been with the firm for 15 years having trained in the City of London. John works with a wide variety of companies and individuals and takes the time to get to know them and their businesses which enables him to identify and protect clients’ interests.


Jeanette Burgess, née Harwood

Partner and head of regulatory & compliance

Harwood_Jeanette-WalkerJeanette specialises in regulatory law and heads up a varied practice serving national and international clients on issues ranging from consumer finance, FCA regulation, fraud, data protection, money laundering and health and safety compliance.

In her 17 year career, Jeanette has acquired valuable experience from a number of difference perspectives, having previously worked for DLA Piper, the UK Financial Services Authority enforcement team, and Provident Financial plc. She is described in The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession as having a “robust combination of technical and practical knowledge alongside an appreciation of commercial factors”.


David Hinchliffe

Partner and head of sport

Hinchliffe_David_WalkerHaving come from a background of football restructuring, David has developed specialist expertise advising on the acquisitions and disposals of football clubs, acting for both buyers and sellers, and is well regarded as one of the key advisers in the country in this field. David has advised on two Premier League and five Championship sales/purchases in the past few years alone. David and the team were recently described by Legal 500 as “the very diligent and skilled David Hinchliffe leads a first-class team at Walker Morris which advises sports clients on a wide-range of issues including M&A, commercial, regulatory, employment and property”.

David enjoys living the highs and lows with his clients and is truly part of the clients’ team. He fights hard for his clients and strongly believes that if his client loses then he loses. He prides himself on always being readily accessible to his clients. He seeks not only to give the very best legal advice but also sees it as his duty to find solutions to problems and is recognised as excelling in “solving commercial problems to strict deadlines” (Chambers UK). Having him as part of your team hugely increases your chance of success.


David Kilduff

Partner and head of energy, infrastructure & government

Kilduff_David_WalkerDavid leads the energy, infrastructure & government group at Walker Morris which brings together a multi-disciplinary team that has an in-depth knowledge of the issues in their sectors.

He is a nationally recognised leader in the field of public sector commercial law, experienced in advising both public and private sector parties and funders on all forms of commercial contracting. This includes major projects (particularly accommodation and infrastructure projects), procurement, vires and governance issues. David draws on 25 years’ expertise advising on complex, high risk and high value assignments whilst maintaining pragmatism and a commercial outlook.

David is recognised as a key individual in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession for his “significant experience and expertise”.


Philip Mudd

Partner and head of banking, restructuring & insolvency

Mudd_Philip_WalkerPhilip is head of banking, restructuring & insolvency and specialises in restructuring and insolvency work. With experience including the first ever administration under the 1986 Insolvency Act, the first CVA to resolve a pension deficit with the blessing of the Pension Protection Fund, the first (and only) CVA of a Cathedral and many other challenging assignments, he brings a wealth of practical knowledge to the table.

According to Chambers Guide to the legal profession, Philip is one of only four top tier lawyers in this field in the region and their sources say that he is “a real star and heavyweight in the market” and that he “…generates a high volume of respect and recognition for his work on behalf of lenders, distressed companies and IPs”.

Philip is a licensed insolvency practitioner, a fellow of R3, and a member of the Insolvency Lawyers’ Association.


Jo Ratcliffe

Partner and head of pensions

Ratcliff_Jo_WalkerJo is widely recognised for her knowledge of pensions and advises both companies and trustee boards. She is a member of the North East Group of the Association of Pension Lawyers and was formerly chair of the North West Association of Pension Lawyers. She is an elected member to the Association of Pension Lawyers Committee on public sector pensions. Jo has been ranked as a leading pension lawyer in Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession and Legal 500 since 2000.

She has in-depth experience of advising both employers and trustees on all types of pensions law including amendments, restructuring, winding up, Pensions Ombudsman claims, outsourcing and PFI, mergers and acquisitions.

Jo acts as lead adviser for a range of pension clients, from FTSE 100 to smaller companies.

She moved to Walker Morris from Addleshaw Goddard where she was head of pensions in Manchester. The reason she chose Walker Morris is because of its unique culture in that partners are expected to actually do the work.


Martin Scott

Partner and head of construction & engineering

Scott_Martin_WalkerMartin is the head of construction & engineering and has significant and extensive experience in dealing with high-profile construction and engineering disputes, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, major case group actions and fraud.

Martin has been involved in many cases in the High Court and the Court of Appeal that have been reported and a number of those have been run under conditional or discounted fee agreements. Cases include: Fanmailuk.com Ltd v Cooper [2008] EWHC 2198 (Ch) [2008] B.C.C. 877, Fanmailuk.com v Cooper [2011] EWHC 902 (Ch), Kubik v Addleshaw Goddard LLP (unreported). For a full list of Martin’s trial experience and reported cases please click here.

Martin also has a great deal of experience of adjudications and also of mediation.

Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession states that Martin is a “strong knockout lawyer”. He is also identified as a contentious specialist and praised for his expertise in this sector.


David Smedley

Partner and head of litigation and employment

Smedley_David_WalkerAs head of employment, David has over 25 years experience in all aspects of employment and industrial relations work. In addition, he deals with a wide range of high value breach of contract and restrictive covenant claims. With his employment team he resolves a wide range of contentious issues as well as becoming involved in strategic HR planning for clients in a non-contentious context. David is also part of our education group and deals with all aspects of education law including admissions and exclusions issues and claims for judicial review. David was one of the few to successfully oppose an appeal against a schools decision to permanently exclude a pupil.

In a given case David will generally deal with all advocacy and is well known to ACAS and the Employment Tribunals. He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and the Industrial Society and regularly contributes to publications (both specialist and general). Guidelines for Tribunals to deal with discrimination claims were handed down in David’s case of Netto Foodstores v Blaise Tchoula. David also acted in the recent high-profile status case of Redcats (Brands) Limited v James.

David is head of litigation & dispute resolution and a member of the firm’s management board (an elected post) for over a decade. David is heavily involved in the firm’s Annual Charity Children’s Calendar competition and together with Ashley Jackson, he judges the entries and hosts the award ceremony for the winning schools.


Michael Taylor

Partner and head of banking

Taylor_Michael_WalkerMichael is the head of the firm’s banking unit and is recognised for his experience in advising banks and corporate borrowers on all aspects of corporate banking and acquisition finance. He has particular expertise in both bilateral and syndicated transactions including acquisition and property finance and development funding and restructuring.

Michael also specialises in non-contentious corporate recovery and restructuring work and advises lenders, insolvency practitioners and corporate clients in relation to insolvency issues. He is named in Chambers as a leading individual and listed in Legal Experts for both his banking and insolvency expertise. The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession states that he “is aware of all the risks and won’t sit on the fence”.


Jane Weaver

Partner

Weaver_Jane_WalkerJane is recognised for her in depth knowledge and experience of real estate and specialises in the landlord and tenant sector, covering offices, restaurants, leisure and retail premises. As part of the impressive retail team she advises national and international retailers on the acquisition and disposal of retail premises and management of portfolios.

Jane’s vast experience in retail property work means that she is acutely aware of both the legal and commercial aspects of retail transactions and the needs of her retail clients.


Andrew Williamson

Partner and head of planning & environment

Williamson_Andrew_WalkerAndrew has considerable experience in dealing with a broad array of town and country planning and environmental work, with particular emphasis on contentious matters. Instructions have ranged from retail and commercial developments to residential, Upper Tribunal (Lands), Compulsory Purchase Orders and energy and waste related schemes. Andrew has extensive advocacy experience, representing a wide range of clients at planning related public inquiries, magistrates’ court proceedings in relation to environmental offences, judicial review and other High Court proceedings and PPC appeals for clients in several environmental law cases which have had national prominence.

Andrew was cited by Chambers as having an “encyclopaedic knowledge of planning law and astute nature” and by Legal 500 as “a highly effective advocate who works diligently and intelligently in a demanding area”. He was voted in the top 10 planning lawyers in the UK in the 2011 Planning Magazine National Survey of planning related professionals.

Andrew is also a qualified barrister and a chartered town planner, and a member of the Law Society’s Planning Panel.

Address

Leeds
Kings Court
12 King Street
Leeds
LS1 2HL
T: +44 (0) 113 283 2500
F: +44 (0) 113 245 9412

Phone

+44 (0)113 283 2500

Website

www.walkermorris.co.uk