* Firm appoints negligence solicitor from city rival

A solicitor has joined the Birmingham clinical negligence team of a Midlands’ law firm.

Pamela Katsionis joins Challinors, from Davies & Partners Solicitors in Birmingham.

With extensive experience of nerve damage, orthopaedic and delay in diagnosis clinical negligence cases, Ms Katsionis has seven years PQE and completed her training at Birmingham Law School, qualifying at Davies & Partners in 2005.

Challinors’ clinical negligence team head and partner Richard Bannister said: “Pamela’s appointment reinforces the team’s position as one of the Midlands’ leading clinical negligence teams.

“We have seen our case load increase over the last 12 months and have added to the team with three hires in the last few months. The team now has an excellent balance of expertise and skills and the right resource for our growing volume of instructions.”

* Experts advise university merger

Legal experts from the Birmingham office of an international law firm have advised on the merging of two Royal Charter universities.

Members of the Pinsent Masons universities group advised the School of Pharmacy and UCL (University College London).

UCL is London’s global university, with students from nearly 140 countries and 21 Nobel prize winners to its credit.

The School of Pharmacy is also world leading in its field, and the merger has been led by an exciting vision to push forward the boundaries of science and benefit patients through innovation in treatment and care.

The merger of the two universities means the School of Pharmacy now forms part of the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences and is now known as the UCL School of Pharmacy.

It will continue to provide undergraduate and postgraduate education in pharmaceutical science and offers a research facility which focuses on advancing medicines and healthcare.

The Pinsent Masons team was led by Birmingham-based head of the universities group Nicola Hart and senior associate Gayle Ditchburn, assisted by Danielle Clifford.

Ms Hart said “We are delighted to have advised on this transaction. The team delivered a timely result within a challenging regulatory framework.”

* Expansion at Eversheds

The Birmingham office of an international law firm has expanded its pensions practice with the appointment of two new partners.

Emma King and Sarah Franklin both join Eversheds from Squires Sanders where Ms King held the position of Birmingham head of pensions.

She has a dual practice in non-contentious and pensions litigation and sits on the Association of Pension Lawyers (APL) litigation committee and the Midlands APL committee.

Ms Franklin has more than 20 years of experience in pensions law and specialises in defined benefit pension arrangements.

Ingrid Everson, Birmingham head of pensions, said: “Our pensions team has gone from strength to strength in recent months and the appointment of Emma and Sarah follow that of another leading pensions partner, formerly international head of pensions at Squires, François Barker. The new partners will be a welcomed asset in our busy and dynamic pensions practice.”

* Firm advises growth fund investment

Corporate experts from an international law firm with its head office in Birmingham have advised new client Business Growth Fund (BGF) on its £10 million equity growth capital investment into independent telecommunications and data services business GCI Telecom Group.

The deal was Wragge & Co’s first instruction for the fund and marks the fourth and largest investment to date by BGF, and its first in the Midlands.

Wragge & Co corporate director Richard Goold led the deal, supported by a cross-firm team. They worked closely with BGF’s head of investments Richard Bishop, investment director Tim Whittard and investment manager Gurinder Sunner.

Mr Goold said: “A substantial investment for BGF, it needed full-service legal advisers that combine technical excellence with a highly commercial approach. That’s exactly what we have delivered, working closely with the client’s in-house team to consider all the wider issues and provide a robust and comprehensive response.”

* Solicitors make move

A Coventry solicitors’ practice has moved to a new home as part of its long-term growth plans.

Hammons Solicitors, which was established in the early 1960s, has made the move to a new office just a short distance from its previous headquarters in Walsgrave Road.

The move was assisted by West Midlands-based IT company ACUTEC, which ensured that the firm’s computer systems were up and running within three hours of the move.

Beth Webb, accounts manager at Hammons, said: “We have grown to 19 staff and the move to the new building was essential to support that growth and also to offer a more welcoming environment for our clients.”

* Fees on rise for family law team

The family law team at a Birmingham law firm is celebrating a successful first year which has resulted in an increase in fees generated for the private capital team, with further work being brought in for other departments.

Set up at the end of 2010, Cobbetts developed the service after recognising the need for a dedicated family offering within its private client services.

Experienced family law partner, Nigel Mears heads up the team at the firm’s Birmingham office, supported by solicitor Rachel Baker who is building a reputation for the advice she provides across all areas of family law.

Over the last 12 months, the team has dealt with a number of high value, complex matters, which have involved substantial assets, business interests, pension and investment disputes and has prompted the team to launch of a new ‘out of hours’ service to support the rise in enquiries.

“Demand for our services has steadily risen, and being a city centre firm with a strong professional client base, it is clear that an increasing number of people want flexibility with their appointments,” said Mr Mears.

* Unusual privilege for solicitor

Solicitor Kevin Garner has seen his unstinting legal work to save the historic Atherstone Ball Game rewarded by what he calls the ultimate accolade.

The organising committee has given him the privilege of throwing out the famous ball on Shrove Tuesday (February 21).

Mr Garner will launch the ball from Barclays bank at 3pm, and follows in a long line of celebrities and locals who have shared the honour.

Mr Garner, a partner in Garner Canning which has offices in Atherstone, Tamworth, Four Oaks and Castle Bromwich, said: “I thank the committee for the trust they have placed in me to perform this unique task. I know just how important this event is to the town of Atherstone and of course I am looking forward to the day. I was determined that the game would go ahead despite serious doubts and numerous difficulties which had to be overcome.”

Chairman of the committee, David Evans said. “Kevin has earned this honour, without his wise counsel and hours of free legal work it could not have gone ahead. I am sure he will enjoy the day.”

Mr Garner will be helped in his task by Central News weather presenter, Lucy Kyte.