People: Irwin Mitchell appoints Real Estate lawyer; WBD welcomes new associate; and more

The Leeds office of Irwin Mitchell has recruited a new senior Real Estate lawyer.

Michelle Beaumont has joined the firm’s Leeds office as partner. She joins from the Leeds office of Pinsent Masons LLP, having joined that firm in 2006.

Beaumont has experience of working on a number of high profile transactions with a particular emphasis on development work and has particular expertise in the higher education sector.

She acted on the redevelopment of Manchester Business School –  which involved creating enhanced academic accommodation, a hotel, an executive centre, a retail precinct and a new learning centre.

Beaumont also has considerable expertise in the hotel market having advised investors, landowners and developers; including advising on the development of the former Aviva offices in York as a Malmaison branded hotel and subsequently on its sale and forward funding arrangements.

Adrian Barlow, National Head of Real Estate at Irwin Mitchell said: “Michelle brings a wealth of experience and contacts to help us further develop our practice. Education is one of Irwin Mitchell’s key business sectors and her expertise will help cement our offer in this area, particularly in the field of student accommodation.

“We have done considerable work in the education sector across the UK. We recently advised Sheffield Hallam University on the development plot on the Olympic Legacy Park site for its new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and we are advising South Essex College on the relocation of its Thurrock campus to a new £45 million state of the art facility which forms part of the town’s major regeneration scheme.

“We believe there are real opportunities for growth in this marketplace. Michelle is also a great team player and a highly motivated lawyer. I am delighted she is joining us.”


Cushman & Wakefield has expanded its Valuation team in Leeds with the appointment of Surveyor, Aimee Howard.

In addition, Matt Turner within the team has been promoted to Associate.

Howard joins Cushman & Wakefield from Harrogate-based property development company Moda Living, which specialises in the residential build to rent sector. She was responsible for advising on acquisition and development opportunities.

In her new role, Howard will specialise in residential valuation and advisory work to help grow and expand the Leeds office’s valuation team, primarily working on behalf of banks and developers / house builders.

Turner joined Cushman & Wakefield in 2016 as a qualified surveyor and has quickly established himself, developing his own network of clients, primarily in the area of commercial valuation.

New graduates, Callum Thompson and Connor Rogers have also recently joined the team whilst studying towards their APC qualification.

The nine-strong team also includes Julie Taylor (Associate), Tom Erxleben (Graduate) and Janey McGlone (Business Support). The team is headed up by Partners, Chris Murfitt and James Milner.

Milner said: “Aimee’s appointment allows us to continue the rapid growth of the Leeds Valuation team over recent years and will enable us to place additional focus upon our residential valuation and advisory offering.

Murfitt added “Cushman & Wakefield has become a dominant force in the valuation and advisory sector in Yorkshire since the 2015 merger with DTZ and Aimee’s arrival, together with Matt’s promotion, is reflective of this.”


Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has appointed Ian Drew as an associate in the firm’s Leeds office, joining WBD’s national insurance disputes team led by partner Sushma MacGeoch.

Drew is a professional indemnity specialist joining from insurance giant QBE and has extensive experience in advising on major multi-million pound claims for a wide range of clients in the legal, cyber, technology, media, accountancy and medical sectors.

As the latest recruit to the specialist team in Leeds, Drew joins Karen Eckstein, a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser and a long standing member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

Eckstein is a market leader in tax related professional indemnity claims and joined WBD two years ago. She has built a specialist team around advising on complex issues facing clients, in a practical and commercial way.

Sushma MacGeoch of WBD said: “Ian joins us with an impressive level of expertise in the  insurance and claims sector and we’re delighted to welcome him to our growing insurance disputes group.

“The mix of specialism and industry knowledge in our Leeds team gives WBD a unique perspective and insight into the issues facing our Insurer clients. The growth of our practice in Leeds demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the insurance market.”

Drew added: “WBD has strong credentials in the insurance sector with an impressive client portfolio which brings great work opportunities for its lawyers. I look forward to working with Sushma, Karen and the rest of the team.”