The pensions team at Wragge & Co has strengthened its national capability with five new lawyers in London and Birmingham.
Their arrival gave additional firepower to capitalise on growth opportunities, the firm said. The new additions include contentious and non-contentious specialists. Together, they have amassed more than 35 years' experience advising employers and trustees on a variety of pensions law issues.
On the contentious side, former Eversheds senior associate Richard Williams joins the pensions disputes practice.
He has numerous High Court cases to his name and, in addition to his client work, sits as a Deputy District Judge.
Head of pensions disputes, partner Peter Shave, said: "Richard's experience complements our existing practice, which combines dispute resolution with general advisory work, and advice on scheme winding up. This way, we not only deal with problems that have already arisen, but can help clients navigate the choppy waters they are increasingly facing."
Non-contentious specialists Martha Quinn and Ben Blunsdon join as associates from Norton Rose and Shepherd & Wedderburn, respectively. Ruth Bamforth arrives from Travers Smith as an associate to add to the team's professional support capabilities, and newly qualified solicitor Ruth Blackburn is promoted to the team.
Head of pensions Glyn Ryland said: "The pensions team is really motoring with a busy 2005 turning into a busier 2006.
"Our success in winning new clients and new instructions means it is expanding. The new recruits are all first-class lawyers bringing a wealth of experience and I am very pleased they chose to join Wragge & Co."
In the past 12 months, the team has boosted its reputation with a series of high profile appointments.
It became one of the first pensions practices to gain first-hand experience of the new Pension Protection Fund when it advised the trustees of the MG Rover Group pension schemes. It was also involved in Britannic Assurance's investment switch from equities to bonds and is advising the Pensions Regulator on its trustee-learning programme.
Meanwhile Wragge has launched a cross-firm funds team with the appointment of expert Felicity Cole. It will focus on property, private equity and hedge funds.
Ms Cole joins from Conyers Dill & Pearman in Bermuda where she headed the Cayman Islands practice. An experienced funds lawyer, she began her career at Linklaters.
Head of private equity Maurice Dwyer said: "We have seen a steady build-up in real estate and other funds work over the past three years, and demand is increasing. A dedicated funds team that includes Felicity's experience and market knowledge gives us a strong platform to capitalise on this growth area."
Head of corporate real estate Kevin Jones, property tax partner Lee Nuttall, property finance partner Colin Hurt, corporate partner Stephen Braithwaite and associate Sharon Ayres will concentrate on property funds. The private equity funds arm includes Mr Dwyer, debt finance partner Chris Brierley, private equity specialists Catherine Clarke and Jon Tilley, and tax director Neil Pearson.