* The retail team in the Birmingham office of national law firm Gateley has advised on the opening of Acorns Children’s Hospice’s 50th retail store.
The high street store in Moseley opened its doors to the public on November 19.
The completion of the charity’s landmark store further expands its retail property portfolio, which is already the largest children’s hospice retail chain.
The property deal was led by real estate associate, James Madill, who is part of the firm’s 30-strong cross departmental retail team.
He said: “We have advised on property work for the charity’s retail stores for more than 15 years and have also provided legal advice for Acorns in a number of different areas during this time. We’re hugely impressed with the work they carry out across the region and were delighted to be involved in advising on this great achievement of a 50th store opening."
* In the latest of a series of appointments across its offices Shakespeares has appointed a new client services director to lead the firm’s client services and commercial activities.
Hamish Munro will be taking up the position at Shakespeares in early 2012. An experienced marketer and business development specialist, he is currently chief executive of the Guildhall Chambers in Bristol. Prior to this he held senior marketing and business development roles at BDO and Simmons & Simmons in London and also at Eversheds, where he was based at the firm’s Birmingham offices for seven years.
He said: “This is a firm capable of handling most of the owner-managed and large businesses’ legal requirements in the Midlands at competitive rates.”
* Shoosmiths has scooped two of the top awards at the UK Legal Diversity Awards, 2011.
The national law firm finished top of this year’s Black Solicitors Network Diversity League Table (DLT), and scored an overall diversity quotient of 898 out of a possible 1,000, with 50 per cent of the quotient score reflecting rankings in six demographic league tables created for gender and ethnic diversity at partner, associate and trainee level.
The remaining 50 per cent comes from responses to questions on five areas of diversity policy and practice, monitoring, leadership and internal policy/strategy, external ‘face’, staff development and support and recruitment, promotion and retention. The second award win went to Shoosmiths’ Birmingham-based recruitment manager Rita Tappia, who was named Diversity Champion, 2011.
* Wragge & Co’s healthcare team has advised the NHS Midlands and East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) on creating the first-ever independently run NHS hospital. Following approval from the Department of Health, contracts were signed for a unique franchise model between Hinchingbrooke Hospital and social enterprise Circle.
Healthcare partner Bleddyn Rees led the cross-firm team advising the SHA and Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust on the project.
Under the 10-year agreement, Circle will take over management control of Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdonshire from February 1, 2012. The contract paves the way for a completely new NHS franchise structure and is the culmination of a rigorous, 13-month procurement process and more than two years of detailed planning and negotiation.
Mr Rees said: “This is a momentous day for the NHS, and Hinchingbrooke Hospital. The SHA needed a long-term solution to secure the hospital’s future, and with this highly complex NHS first that’s exactly what we have delivered.”
* West Midlands law firm Waldrons is launching its range of personal law services online as part of its new website.
The ‘Waldrons Law Store’ specialises in wills, powers of attorney and family law services and allows visitors to the website – www.waldrons.co.uk – to prepare a will, issue divorce proceedings or complete a change of name deed instantly with easy step-by-step instructions and legal guidance throughout the store.
It is aiming to benefit users looking for a complete online service, with the added support of being able to engage with a solicitor over the phone if required. Waldrons managing partner John Roberts said: “The Law Store opens up a new channel for users looking to complete personal documents in their own surroundings at a convenient time, whether it’s the middle of the day or night. As a well-established local firm, it is important we’re seen to be leading both online and offline face-to-face channels to accommodate the personal preferences and requirements of our growing client base.”