* Expansion continues as Harrison Clarke opens new office

An expanding law firm with a presence across the Three Counties has celebrated further growth at the official opening of its Ross-on-Wye offices.

The expansion of Harrison Clark Solicitors saw it merge with Herefordshire-based Shawcross and Co solicitors in July last year, expanding the breadth and depth of legal advice available to individuals and businesses in both Ross and Hereford.

The official opening of Harrison Clark’s new High Street offices follows a number of early successes achieved by the corporate team and a new addition to the firm.

Harrison Clark dealt with the management buyout of NAM Eng Limited and its trading subsidiary, ABT Products Limited, based in Ross. The corporate team dealt with the acquisition from start to finish and was fully supported by Harrison Clark’s banking team, lead by Suzanne Gilhooly, senior associate. HSBC provided the funding.

ABT Loadmac Limited, which is based on the Ashburton Estate, is the only truck mounted forklift manufacturer in the UK and has a national and international client base. Trading company ABT Products Ltd was established in 1971 and currently has 70 employees. The company manufactures cabs, chassis, safety structures and other complex fabrications.

Arpinder Dhillon, senior associate at Harrison Clark, said: “Harrison Clark was delighted to be working with the management team of a successful Ross company, in securing the continuation of the business.

“In these tough times it is crucial that businesses have a strong management team driving the business forward and this is ably demonstrated by the breadth of experience in ABT’s team.”

As well as a number of significant deals, professionals at Harrison Clark’s Ross offices have welcomed a new colleague, David Wyatt.

Mr Wyatt was a senior partner at Treasures and Rivers Wyatt Solicitors from 1983 and a sole practitioner in Newent, Gloucestershire since 1996. He has acted for numerous clients in the Forest of Dean and Herefordshire including a large private food company, a pub chain, a haulage company and two former MPs.

* Law firm appoints associate

A Birmingham law firm has announced the appointment of a new senior associate.

Sarah Lines has joined Anthony Collins Solicitors.

Ms Lines has more than 20 years experience across both local government and social housing practice areas, specialising in local authority asset backed joint ventures and large scale voluntary transfers. She has also built herself a strong reputation as an expert in the emerging community land trusts sector.

Ms Lines, who is Chambers ranked under social housing, will be joining Anthony Collins’ local government team working with partners Chris Plumley and Mark Cook, to provide innovative approaches to local authority regeneration projects.

Mr Cook said: “We’re extremely pleased to be starting 2012 with another addition to the firm. I’ve no doubt that Sarah’s strong background will help us further build on our local government offering and grow our client base in this already thriving practice area.”

Ms Lines said: “Anthony Collins Solicitors’ strong reputation for being leaders in their fields as well as their passion for social justice attracted me to the firm, and I’m looking forward to contributing to the great work they do.”

* Lawyer becomes notary

A Stourbridge lawyer has been appointed a Notary Public.

Philip Chapman is a corporate and charities lawyer at Stourbridge based Wall James Chappell solicitors.

His appointment makes him one of very few Notaries practising in the region and just 800 in England and Wales overall.

Mr Chapman said: “Having studied in France in the 1990s and worked for several international companies as a consultant, I have a particular interest in this area of law and I am looking forward to tackling the often complex legal issues I will be required to solve by my clients.”

The modern day Notary Public represents the oldest branch of the legal profession worldwide.

Notaries public undertake work for private individuals and for commercial firms engaged in international trade. Their services typically include preparing, attesting, authenticating, witnessing and certifying deeds and other documentation for private individuals, companies and businesses, for use in the commonwealth and civil law jurisdictions.

Jonathan Browne, senior partner of Wall James Chappell, added: “Philip follows in the footsteps of previous partners of the firm, Roger Davies and Trevor Davies, who also provided this essential service to clients. We are very proud of Philip’s achievement.”

Wall James Chappell is a full service firm of solicitors which can trace its origins in Stourbridge back to 1830.

* New face at legal recruitment firm

A specialist legal recruitment company based in Birmingham is continuing to swell its ranks following the appointment of a new member of staff to its fee earning team.

BCL Legal – which also has offices in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Reading – has appointed 29-year-old Claire Blackburn.

She joins the firm as a senior associate and her new role will see her focus on the recruitment of insurance litigation solicitors across the Midlands. Her remit will be specifically for personal injury, insurance fraud, industrial disease, credit hire and regulatory roles.

Ms Blackburn began her recruitment career in 2006 and she has previously worked in the private practice team at Badenoch & Clark and most recently at LAW Absolute.

She said: “I’ve worked in the legal recruitment business for some years now and I’ve always admired BCL Legal’s tenacity and reputation. Joining them is an exciting step for me and I’m now looking forward to helping grow the business and our reach.”

James Brewster, head of BCL Legal’s Midlands office, added: “As a company, we are always on the lookout for the best talent and we immediately knew Claire had the skills we were after. Her experience is second to none and her joining is great news for the team.”

* Rewarding time for law firm

A law firm is celebrating after its commitment to graduate recruitment and diversity issues helped it win two prizes at a prestigious industry awards event.

Irwin Mitchell won the Most Effective Diversity Programme – Gender, and Best Graduate Trainee Recruitment Campaign at The Lawyer’s Workplace And Diversity Awards held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

John Pickering, group chief executive of Irwin Mitchell, said: “I’m delighted with the progress that our graduate recruitment programme has made over the last 18 months. The changes made have had a significant and very positive impact on Irwin Mitchell and it is great to see the huge strides we’ve taken being recognised like this.

“We have programmes that attract, retain and develop effectively those we see as future partners; equipping them with the skills they need to help us take on the challenges and opportunities the Legal Services Act presents. This award is excellent and our priority remains putting our people first.”