People on the Move: Irwin Mitchell; P4 Planning; BLM; PHX Training; Haydock Finance

From left: Tejire Akanu, Zoe Donohue, Antonia Birchall and Rebecca Northall

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has revealed its latest retention figures for trainees resulting in five newly-qualified solicitors being appointed in its Manchester office.

In the business legal services team in Manchester, Greg Mazgajczyk has been retained by the corporate team after completing his legal training at the firm.

In the firm’s personal legal services division Tejire Akaunu (international personal injury), Zoe Donohue (medical negligence) along with Rebecca Northall and Antonia Birchall in family have qualified.

Nationally, 45 out of 47 of trainees will stay on at the firm as newly-qualified solicitors. This translates to a 96% retention rate, which is higher than last year’s 83% figure.

Marissa Sanders, head of early careers at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This year’s newly qualified retention rate of 96% is an outstanding achievement reflecting both the calibre of our trainees and the training and support they receive in the business.”

At the start of May Irwin Mitchell promoted eight people to partner level in its latest promotion round.

It also recently announced that it had promoted 90 people to associate and senior associate roles across its legal and group services teams.


P4 Planning has been boosted by the arrival of Gillian Worden who joins as an associate from residential contractor, Chrome Services.

Before Chrome, Gillian gained a broad range of experience working for Walsingham Planning, The Peel Group and Indigo Planning, where she started her career.

She has advised many housing associations and PRS clients and has also managed and led the delivery of planning consents on large scale, strategic and complex sites, with particular experience of heritage planning.

Gillian Worden

Bill Davidson, director at Manchester-based P4 Planning, said: “We are very pleased that Gillian has joined us. I employed her back in 2006 and, since then, she has developed a strong track record with complementary planning skills that will benefit our clients and colleagues as we look to grow the business from a strong foundation.

“We are working on some great projects which is creating opportunities for other positions at a more junior level, but we are also open to hear from established senior professionals who may be interested to join and help grow our team.”

P4 Planning is a commercial practice that works across sectors including retail, residential, higher education and industrial. Clients include New World Trading Company, University of Liverpool, Seddon, Midia and SMG Europe.


Insurance risk and commercial law specialist BLM has marked the beginning of its new financial year with the promotion of 13 associates to partners across the North West.

The promotions span four of the firm’s seven business streams with four promotions in claims solutions, four in large loss & technical, two in speciality & financial lines, three in commercial advisory & private wealth, across both the Liverpool and Manchester offices.

Richard Gould

In total, the firm promoted 21 associates to partners and 35 solicitors to associates this year across seven of the firm’s 13 offices.

Matthew Harrington, BLM senior partner, said: “I am proud that we have promoted so many colleagues this year. This is the second round of promotions in my term as senior partner and I’ve been blown away by the talent pool at our firm.

“Succession planning is key to our future and it’s important we give our people the opportunity to develop their careers.

“One of my priorities is to make sure we have strong teams in place to support all of our clients. Led by the client relationship partners, those teams will include more junior partners and associates who I know have a great deal of commercial acumen, new ideas and creativity to bring to the role.”

Lucy Coleman

He added: “We have had a really positive start to 2019, securing work from new and existing clients and we are already building on some of the good news from last year. These newly-promoted partners and associates are important to our continued success right across the firm, in all of our business streams.”

The partner promotions in Liverpool and Manchester are: Alexandra Payne, Alison Noonan, Andrew Knight, Clare Durkin, Jen Forster, Jennifer Bebbington, Kat Lees, Laura D’Arcy, Laura Topping, Lucy Coleman, Maria Kidd, Mark Hanson and Richard Gould.


PHX Training has appointed Lindsey Thornton to lead its drive in apprenticeships and the benefits they offer to individuals and Lancashire employers.

Lindsey, with experience spanning more than 20 years in government-funded training and apprenticeships, will help to develop a diverse apprenticeships offering for those over the age of 16 across key sectors including team leading and management, logistics and warehousing, employability practitioner and business administration levels 2-4.

The PHX team of qualified trainers delivers a diverse range of resources including offline, online and face-to-face services at six training centres, including Preston, Morecambe and Blackpool.

Lindsey Thornton

Lindsey previously worked for the North East Chamber of Commerce for more than 12 years as the training and development manager and then as its regional engineering and distance learning manager.

She said: “As an organisation, PHX Training is committed to apprenticeships and the benefits they bring for both the employer and the apprentice.

“Employers gain a valuable employee who is skilled and trained to their internal standards, and that of the national apprenticeship standard. The apprentice gains experience and a professional qualification in their chosen career.”

PHX delivers government-backed initiatives, adult skills, NEET (not in education, employment or training), employability contracts, apprenticeship training and work-based learning programmes.

Its team of qualified trainers delivers services at six training centres in Barrow, Carlisle, Workington, Morecambe, Preston and Blackpool.


Haydock Finance has appointed Andrew Derby as relationship director–asset finance, having held the role of senior underwriter with the company for three years.

This is a newly-created role which is pivotal in the positioning and delivery of a market-leading new business offering, with a specific focus on larger more complex asset finance deals.

Chief executive John Jenkins said: “Andrew is a highly-experienced, well-respected individual with a robust understanding of credit risk drivers and an ability to disseminate complex information involving multiple stakeholders.

Andrew Derby

“This appointment further strengthens our infrastructure and will act as a catalyst to accelerate new business growth with a new focus on the structured space.”

Andrew said: “I’m excited to develop our capability and further contribute towards driving the business forward. There’s a culture of internal promotion and personal development here which explains the well-established, high calibre team which already provides market leading levels of service.”

Haydock boasts gross receivables in excess of £250m. This new role supports the company’s strategic new business objectives for the continued exponential growth of its asset finance portfolio.

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