* Hopes are high for new law society president
The new head of one of the region’s societies for legal professionals is hoping her new role doesn’t end up with her jumping off a tall building – like her predecessor.
Dawn Mobbs, from Coventry-based law firm Band Hatton, has taken over as president of the Warwickshire Law Society from previous incumbent Nick Button, of Button Legal.
Mr Button’s presidency was epitomised by charity fund raising efforts for Acorn’s Children’s Hospice having helped to raise over £3,000 to date with another £2,000 expected when he completes his latest act of bravery for the law society - abseiling down the 140ft Wesleyan Building in Birmingham on March 10.
Ms Mobbs said: “I would like to thank Nick for all of his hard work over the last 12 months and in particular his massive efforts in raising much-needed funds for Acorns.
“I sincerely hope that at the end of my year as president I won’t feel the need to throw myself off a very tall building!
“If I had the choice of a year in which to represent Warwickshire Law Society, I don’t think that I could have found one with so many different and diverse challenges.
“But I am looking forward to the year ahead immensely and it’s a real honour to have been asked to take on the role.”
Mr Button wished his successor luck and said that his term as president had been packed with highlights.
“I think Dawn will be a fantastic president – she will really throw herself into the role,” he said.
“She has some fantastic ideas and I am sure she will continue the work of our predecessors to modernise the society.”
* Solicitor on national committee
A Birmingham solicitor has been appointed to the National Law Society Conveyancing and Land Law Committee.
Sarah Dwight, who runs her own conveyancing practice on the Stratford Road in Hall Green, attended a panel interview at the Law Society headquarters in Chancery Lane and said she was “thrilled” to be offered a position on the committee.
The aim of the committee is to review and promote improvements in the areas of land law and conveyancing procedure. It also responds to consultation documents from outside bodies such as the Government and the Land Registry.
Ms Dwight said: “The most important work of the committee from my perspective is that it should help the profession to adapt to changes in the conveyancing market and promote solicitors as the leading providers of quality conveyancing services - with the recent news that HSBC Bank have reduced their panel of solicitors from many thousands to merely forty three firms for the whole of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, I believe that this is an important time to become active in making sure that solicitors in the region are properly represented and that their views are heard at Chancery Lane.”
* New office for Harrison Clarke
A Three Counties law firm has celebrated the opening of its new Hereford offices.
The Broad Street offices will bring local access to the full range of Harrison Clarke Solicitors’ commercial and private client services to the people and businesses of Hereford, as part of Harrison Clark’s continuing expansion.
Eight professionals will work from Thorpe House, offering business services (from corporate and banking, to employment and pensions) and private clients services (from conveyancing, probate and trusts to all areas of family law).
The firm also has a number of sector specialisms in areas including rural land and business and education.
Harrison Clark litigation partner and Deputy District Judge, Richard Morgan, will be heading the Hereford office.
He said: “We believe that the Harrison Clark Business Service brings something different to Hereford, with a combination of high profile and trusted local specialists like Matt Hayes and Ian Goodwin, backed by the full strength and depth of our other personnel, specialist departments and resources. ”
* New face at Higgs & Sons
A Brierley Hill law firm is expanding its growing contentious probate team with the addition of a new lawyer.
Doug Houghton joins Higgs & Sons after training and qualifying at Challinors in Birmingham.
He said: “I’m delighted to be joining the firm at such an exciting time in its development. I grew up in the Black Country and am well aware of the reputation that Higgs possesses in the Midlands region.”
Mr Houghton brings with him a wealth of experience in contentious probate, family provision claims, disputes concerning beneficial ownership of property, trust and estate administration disputes.
* Firm advises glass deal
A Black Country law firm has advised on a deal involving a prominent glass business.
George Green advised on the sale of Rankins (Glass) Company to iGlass Limited for an undisclosed sum.
The original Rankins company dates back to 1740 and the company has glazed many Fleet Street newspaper offices, put the face on London’s Big Ben and, more recently, provided protective and low reflective panels for some of the country’s most precious works of art.
iGlass Limited is owned by Gregg Botterman and Mark Woodward, who both have extensive experience in the glass industry and the supply of products to the interiors markets. Paul Rankin, the former owner of Rankins, will continue in the role of chairman following the sale.
Associate Clare Lang led the George Green team.
Jay Boyce from accountants Bloomer Heaven also advised Paul Rankin.
* Award for head of projects
The head of projects at a city law firm has won the UK Projects and Procurement category at the International Law Office (ILO) Client Choice Awards.
David Fennell is head of projects at Wragge & Co.
This 10-partner team advises funders, public authorities and contractors on major private finance initiatives, public-private partnerships and other projects in the UK and overseas.
A specialist in PFI, rail, energy and infrastructure, Mr Fennell has been involved in some of the UK’s biggest projects.
He helped Amey to win and deliver a £2.7 billion project to upgrade and maintain Birmingham’s highways network.
He also acted on the introduction of the new suburban Heathrow Connect service linking London Paddington with Heathrow Airport.
‘* Keep worker disputes out of court’
Disputes between workers and their employers should be settled out of court, a Coventry solicitor will tell a high-profile conference.
Employment law and business affairs specialist Sandra Garlick is backing proposed government changes for all employees’ claims against employers to be referred to workplace relations expert Acas first in an attempt to reach an agreement.
If Acas cannot resolve the case, normally within one month, an employee could then take their claim to an employment tribunal.
The change is part of the Government’s new proposals to reduce the number of tribunals, including an extension of the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years and a proposal to introduce a fee to make a claim.
Ms Garlick, principal of Coventry and Warwickshire-based De Marco Solicitors, supports the Acas service in settling cases out of court, known as Pre-Claim Conciliation (PCC).