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A round-up of the week's news in the region's legal sector.

Barristers to expand Birmingham barristers' set, St Philips, is to expand its operations by opening chambers in London and Leeds this year.

St Philips will open its premises in the heart of London in the first half of 2013, while its opening in Leeds will follow a successful, strategic alliance with Leeds based Chancery House Chambers.

St Philips Leeds will open in new, citycentre premises later this year concluding a merger between the two sets.

St Philips' head of chambers, Kevin Hegarty QC, said: "I am committed to ensuring that St Philips barristers are at the forefront of modern legal practice.

"Our client base already spans the UK and overseas and adding London and Leeds to our Birmingham HQ will further enhance the opportunities open to existing and new tenants to practise on a national and international scale.

"Our business structure means we have the financial muscle to match our ambition and drive forward with our expansion plans, despite the challenging economic times. "Establishing a physical presence in London and Leeds will give clients increased accessibility, availability of new services, and St Philips' competitive edge. This move cements our position as a truly national set."

Gregory Pipe, Chancery House's head of chambers, said: "The alliance has been very well received, not just by clients in the region but throughout the country. We look forward to our merger with St Philips to add yet another dimension to the range of services we can offer clients."

St Philips has the benefit of in-house teams of support staff in IT, HR and marketing, finance and business development, together with a clerking team. Whilst London and Leeds will be fully staffed, they will be directed by the central team in Birmingham, led by chief clerk, Joe Wilson.

Anthony Collins bolsters team Birmingham-based law firm Anthony Collins Solicitors has bolstered its built environment team with the appointment of Amy Walker as associate. Ms Walker first joined Anthony Collins as a trainee in 2004 before moving to SNR Denton, where she gained experience in dealing with high profile acquisitions, disposals and conditional agreements.

She specialises in local government and regeneration law.

Jane Trevithick, partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, said: "We are very pleased to welcome Amy back to the firm. Her keen interest and knowledge of the built environment, along with the variety of experience she has gained since training with us, will be an asset to our public sector clients."

Ms Walker added: "I am delighted to be back at Anthony Collins Solicitors and am looking forward to working with colleagues old and new. I'm determined to use my previous experience in the sector to effectively serve the firm's clients, and the communities in which they work."

Youth Justice Convention The Youth Justice Board is to hold this year's annual Youth Justice Convention in Birmingham.

The event, now in its 14th year, will take place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel on November 26 and 27. Since its launch the Youth Justice Convention has become the leading policy and networking event for all those committed to tackling youth crime.

The conference brings together delegates from youth offending teams, police, local authorities, secure establishments, sentencers, probation and other key stakeholders and policy makers.

Leading speakers will address delegates on current issues of governance, policy and practice.

Last year more than 800 attended the event, which includes a range of seminars and workshops, providing an opportunity to critically assess key issues facing youth justice.

The conference is also supported by an exhibition, which provides delegates with the opportunity to network and learn about developments in the sector.

Squire Sanders appointed Squire Sanders has announced it has been appointed to the Finance and Regulation Lot of the new Government Procurement Service Legal Services Framework Agreement.

The framework replaces the existing Legal Services and LitCat Frameworks and covers contracts valued at more than PS100,000.

The Government Procurement Service works with over 14,500 organisations in central government, health, local government, education, emergency services, defence and the not for profit sector. It managed over PS8.4 billion of customer spend through procurement arrangements and services in the 2011-12 financial year.

The Squire Sanders team was led by Anne O'Meara, Clifford Sims and Richard Hunt.

Ms O'Meara said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to one of the key panels which recognises not only the depth of our public sector experience, but also our financial services capability."

Top award for partners Two partners at a West Midlands law firm have been granted the top award by a rural business organisation.

Sarah Baugh and Tom Devey join two fellow partners at FBC Manby Bowdler as the only four solicitors working in Shropshire and Staffordshire who are Fellows of the Agricultural Law Association (ALA), the highest specialist qualification which the organisation can grant.

The ALA deals with all matters arising in connection with rural business and is made up of professionals serving agriculture - lawyers, surveyors, accountants, bankers and farm business consultants.

Ms Baugh and Mr Devey follow in the footsteps of Paul Horton who became a fellow in 2012 and Steven Corfield who was one of the first fellows appointed in 2009.

All four are senior members of FBC Manby Bowdler's 13-strong agricultural and rural services team, which works for a large number of farming clients and landed estates.

Partner and head of the agricultural and rural services team Mr Corfield said: "This is yet another endorsement of the quality of advice on offer from our agricultural and rural services team."

TeamSport Racing buyout Three Counties law firm Harrison Clark has announced the completion of a PS9 million management buyout of Team-Sport Racing, the largest operator of go-kart tracks in Europe.

The deal saw private equity firm Connection Capital complete the buy-out of TeamSport, with Harrison Clark acting for the management team and purchaser, along with Hazlewoods corporate finance, both being instrumental in getting the deal over the finishing line.

Richard Wilkey, partner in Harrison Clark's Corporate team, said: "This was a complex transaction with many different dynamics, it was fantastic to be involved and showcase what Harrison Clark is capable of delivering.

"In addition, the deal demonstrates that for strong management teams in the right business, management buyouts and private equity transactions are still a very real opportunity. I am excited for TeamSport and look forward to working with the management team in the future."

TeamSport was founded in 1990 and the business has steadily grown ever since, to nine venues across the UK. The management team, led by TeamSport managing director, Dominic Gaynor, will now continue to focus on growing the business, which aims to have at least 16 sites by 2016.

Solicitors' expansion drive Specialist personal injury and medical negligence practice Neil Hudgell Solicitors has continued its expansion drive with another six figure deal - its 14th acquisition in 24 months.

The firm has purchased casework from HilliersHRW Solicitors, an independent law firm with offices in Kempston, Bedfordshire and Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

HilliersHRW's clients are based across the UK but particularly London and the Home Counties, the East Midlands and East Anglia.

Managing director Neil Hudgell said: "This purchase is part of our on-going expansion plans. Whilst many lawyers are exiting personal injury and medical negligence practice at the moment, we have a strategy for growth, both organic and through acquisition, in this area of work.

"As the deals we've completed in the past two years demonstrate, we are very interested in entering discussions with any companies wishing to sell cases or indeed the entire practice."

Neil Hudgell Solicitors has offices in Hull, Leeds and Solihull and specialises in claims for personal injury and clinical negligence - particularly brain injury and dental negligence cases.

Planning framework event The National Planning Policy Framework was at the heart of No5 Chambers' and Jones Lang LaSalle's Annual Midlands Policy and Planning Conference. Hosted at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nottingham the event offered a forum for discussion about the framework and what it means on the ground.

The conference - chaired by barrister Hugh Richards of the planning and environmental law group at No5 and Peter Leaver, head of planning and development for the Midlands for Jones Lang LaSalle - focused on hot planning topics. These included issues of deliverability, viability and housing provision with Jones Lang LaSalle providing marketfacing talks from the likes of Nigel Simkin and Phil Farrell.

Mr Leaver said: "Deliverability and viability are at the sharp end of planning and it's these issues that are increasingly pushed to the forefront of current practice, with Jones Lang LaSalle being a market leader in this area."

Planning law experts from No5 shared their expertise with delegates. Peter Goatley led a session on enterprise zones, while Hugh Richards looked at viability, Celina Colquhoun discussed sustainability and Richard Humphreys QC focused upon the retail sector.

A number of directors of Jones Lang LaSalle shared their expert opinions in breakout sessions.

Jeremy Cahill QC, head of No5 Chambers' planning set, said: "The event not only showcased how and why barristers have a key role to play in the planning process but also underlined that we are fully appreciative of the commercial and political imperatives and ambitions behind the spectrum of schemes and applications."

CAPTION(S):

Kevin Hegarty QC, St Philips' head of chambers

Amy Walker, has been appointed as associate at Anthony Collins Solicitors
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 28, 2013
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