A round up of news from the region’s legal sector in the past week
Marie Curie Cancer Care’s ambitious Big Build project, launched to create a brand new state-of-the-art hospice in Solihull, has received backing from trainee solicitors at a Birmingham law firm.
The trainee solicitors at Anthony Collins Solicitors have launched a year long fundraising initiative in aid of the Big Build, a two-year fundraising campaign to raise £7 million for the new hospice.
It aims to provide first-class facilities, increased patient capacity and expanded day care and outpatient services.
With their own individual, en-suite rooms, patients will have the privacy and dignity they deserve as well as space to spend time with their families.
The team of eight trainees hope to reach a target of £3,500 by next October.
Claudia Gilham, one of the trainees at Anthony Collins Solicitors, said: “The rest of the firm are really behind us and with their support we are confident that we will reach our target. We chose the Big Build project because it’s something that will benefit our local community, now and future generations, by offering the care and support patients and families need in a modern, comfortable environment.”
To kick start fundraising efforts, Victoria Fullilove and Claudia Gilham ran the Birmingham Half Marathon, known as the Bupa Great Birmingham Run in October. The next 12 months will see the team raise money through a variety of firm wide activities including cake sales, dragon boat racing and a zip wire event.
Rick Parfitt from Marie Curie Cancer Care said; “We have been overwhelmed with public support for Marie Curie’s Big Build Appeal and would like to say a huge thank you to the team at Anthony Collins for their commitment to supporting the new hospice for the West Midlands and to ensuring that we can continue to deliver high-quality care to patients at the end of their lives.”
Shepherd joins Blakemores
Prominent Birmingham lawyer Bernard Shepherd has joined Blakemores Solicitors as a consultant.
A former president of Birmingham Law Society (2009 – 2010), Birmingham Future’s “Inspiring Leader” (2010) and the current president of the West Midland Association of Law Societies (WMALS), Mr Shepherd will assist the firm with the national roll out of Blakemores’ Lawyers2You brand.
Mr Shepherd has spent the past four years as a consultant to law firm Gateley, where he was a partner from 1971 to 1983. He left to set up his own firm in Great Barr, returning to the Gateley fold in 2007.
Blakemores launched its Lawyers2You brand in 2009. The firm has invested more than £5 million in the concept, creating a call centre at its headquarters on Birmingham’s Great Charles Street. Its advisers are stationed at shopping centres, airports, sporting events and festivals around the West Midlands, where they interact with the public direct.
Any legal enquiries are fielded by the call centre and, if necessary, referred to a lawyer. Clients are offered a fixed and transparent pricing structure.
The firm plans to replicate its successful model by opening franchise operations around the country, in partnership with established law firms.
According to Mr Shepherd, lawyers are operating in a new and challenging era. The introduction of alternative business structures (ABS) – or ‘Tesco’ law – means the traditional way of delivering legal services is under threat.
He said: “The combined forces of recession, increasing regulation, potential competition from ABSs and difficulties accessing capital for growth, means that the law firm of the future will take a very different shape.
“Blakemores is at the forefront of this revolution. While some firms have already been caught napping, Blakemores has grasped the opportunities and in the Midlands has established a blueprint for delivering legal services in a ground-breaking way.
“I am looking forward to working with the firm and rolling out this exciting concept around the country.”
City firm advises oil deal
Finance experts in Wragge & Co’s cross-firm energy team have advised new clients Stanbic IBTC Bank and First City Monument Bank on a $230 million oil and gas finance facility in Nigeria.
The Nigerian banks’ funding facilitates First Hydrocarbon Nigeria Company Limited’s acquisition of a 45 per cent stake in an onshore oil block, Oil Mining Lease 26, previously owned by Shell, Total and Eni. It also provides financing to support the future development of the oil block.
Partner Kieron Dwyer led the Wragge & Co team, which included associate Joe Levin and solicitor Sarah-Jane Hogg, derivatives solicitor Neil Brandrick and corporate tax solicitor Paul Harrington.
The team worked closely with Abimbola Ayinde, vice president of FCMB’s advisory arm, FCMB Capital Markets, and Edore Onomakpome, head of oil and gas project finance at Stanbic IBTC Bank.
It also worked alongside Stephen Enderle, head of oil and gas finance and debt advisory at Standard Bank, which has a controlling stake in Stanbic IBTC Bank.
Shakespeares appointed to panel
Shakespeares has been appointed to the regional panel of Yorkshire Bank.
The law firm will be providing a wide range of corporate and property legal services to the bank across the East and West Midlands.
Duncan James, partner at Shakespeares, said: “This is an important appointment for the firm and reflects our track record and growing reputation for delivering corporate finance and commercial legal services across the wider Midlands region.
“The firm’s ongoing expansion, with offices in Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Solihull (Wood Glaister Solicitors), Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Nottingham and Leicester, is further indication of our strengthening regional presence.
“We are looking forward to working with Yorkshire Bank on a regional basis to support them in achieving their financial and business objectives.”
New face at MFG
Worcester law firm MFG Solicitors has announced the appointment of James Hayes as partner within the firm’s corporate division.
Mr Hayes joins MFG after more than a decade as corporate partner with FBC Manby Bowdler in Wolverhampton where he earned a reputation for advising on complex transactions and cross border deals.
After more than 20 years in corporate practice, Mr Hayes boasts a prominent reputation across Worcestershire and the Black Country for his technical expertise advising on mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructures and a broad spectrum of national and international commercial trading matters.
He said: “MFG Solicitors is one of the region’s most respected law firms and I am proud to be joining the corporate team.
“Being based in Worcester will enable me to service my growing commercial client base throughout the city and deliver the full range of MFG’s corporate services to new clients.
“The firm is really making its presence felt across Worcestershire and the surrounding counties and I am looking forward to playing my part in its success.”
Recruitment firm launches service
Birmingham legal recruitment consultancy BCL Legal has launched a new ‘Brand in a Box’ service which will devise and create ‘take-away’ brand strategies for small to medium sized law firms.
The service will include workshops or 1-2-1 interviews that will be based around six key sides of branding.