People on the Move: Davis Blank Furniss; CBRE; Cammell Laird; Baldwins; Excello Law; Irwin Mitchell

Karen Yates

Manchester and Glossop-based law firm Davis Blank Furniss has appointed Karen Yates as the firm’s new head of private client.

Karen joins from Napthens in Preston.

Her new role will see her focusing on a variety of core work, including wealth and succession planning, inheritance tax advice, trust creation and administration, wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate administration.

Karen completed her LLM Law Degree at Leeds University in 2004, she then studied for her Legal Practice Course at the BPP Law School the following year and successfully completed the Society of Trust and Estate Practioners (STEP) Diploma in 2016.

The Diploma is a highly-prestigious industry standard that develops a practical understanding of the law and the procedures involved in trust and estate administration, tax and accounting.

During her career Karen has worked with a number of high net worth clients, which has included drafting wills to maximise available reliefs such as Business Property Relief and Agricultural Property Relief using discretionary trusts.

She has also advised on company wills to provide comfort and reassurance to both co-directors and spouses in the event of the sudden death of a company director.

Karen will be primarily based at the firm’s Manchester head office, but she will also have a presence in the Glossop office.

Kate Oldfield, managing partner of Davis Blank Furniss, said: “We are delighted that Karen has joined the firm. She boasts a wealth of experience and a raft of fresh ideas that I know will add value to the business and, most importantly, to our clients.”

Karen added: “The opportunity to grow the private client team is what most attracted me to the firm. My focus is now on developing our offering and widening our client base so we become one of the leading teams in Manchester.”


CBRE’s Manchester office has appointed Joe Rigby to head up its occupier services team, a role which will harness his uniquely global expertise and experience.

Manchester-born Joe started with CBRE in London in 2014 and has delivered occupier strategy, analysis and transactions globally for a multitude of corporate clients within the banking and finance, tech, professional services and legal sectors.

Most recently Joe has been seconded to BNY Mellon, based out of New York, delivering all transactional activity across EMEA and APAC where he has been at the forefront of some of the most significant office leasing transactions in 2019.

Joe Rigby

John Ogden, managing director, CBRE Manchester, said: “Joe’s role will be to work with businesses of all sizes on their real estate strategy and direction.

“With the changing world of the workplace, and office space in particular, occupiers are demanding specialised service delivery to help them attract and retain top talent, drive efficiencies within their real estate portfolios and maximise economic value.

“We are very pleased to have Joe on board and look forward to benefitting from the knowledge and experience he brings from other areas of CBRE.”

Joe said: “I have worked within CBRE for around six years and it was always my intention to return to Manchester, so it’s fantastic to be now working in my home city. I am looking forward to the opportunity to shape, grow and develop the occupier market and can’t wait to get started.”


Birkenhead shiprepairer, shipbuilder, and engineering services company, Cammell Laird, has recruited 20 new apprentices to its workforce.

The famous yard says it has completed the most rigorous recruitment process ever undertaken with the 20 recruits starting their four-year apprenticeship this Autumn, at a cost of £250,000-a-year, and £1m in total.

Cammell Laird chief operating officer, Tony Graham, said the new starters will take the total number of apprentices recruited into the business to 270 since 2008, with an ambition to take on 20 more every year.

To date, the company has invested more than £18m in its apprentice programme, making it one of the biggest in the UK maritime industry and Northern Powerhouse region. The latest intake will take the investment to £19m.

Mr Graham said: “We warmly welcome our new apprentices to their roles. The sky is the limit for apprentices here at Cammell Laird, with many of our senior management, including myself and our CEO John Syvret, starting their careers as an apprentice.

The new intake of Cammell Laird apprentices

“The message we want to give young people, their parents, schools and colleges is that an apprenticeship offers as much opportunity as a university degree.

“At Cammell Laird you can start your career learning on the job, giving you the skills and training required for a high-achieving career.

“You can become productive quickly and you will be financially better off than many young people going to university as you are effectively being paid to learn, rather than having to get into debt.

“Then the apprenticeship is designed to secure a well-paid skilled job on completion with the company.”

He added: “We should also emphasise that by joining Cammell Laird you can help make a genuine difference to our community. Cammell Laird’s success helps underpin job and wealth creation on Merseyside and we’ve been able to generate £350m for the local and UK economy since 2013, employing 1,500 direct and indirect workers and 300 small business suppliers at peak times.”

This year’s intake is drawn from the Merseyside region and is aged between 16 and 27.

Mr Graham said: “We have been working with our partner, the Engineering College, which neighbours the shipyard, on recruiting the apprentices who will now undertake their training at the college.

“This was a thorough, five-stage recruitment process that saw 100 people apply initially, which was eventually reduced to the final 20 recruits.

“We looked at their educational achievements, community activities and then undertook a team-building day before staging interviews with the HR and production departments.

“We know a large number of those who just missed out on being selected will be able to come back next year stronger and stand a great chance of securing an apprenticeship with greater understanding of what we are looking for.”


Accounting and business advisory firm Baldwins, which now has six offices across the North West, has further boosted its corporate finance expertise with the appointment of a new partner to its corporate finance team.

A CogitalGroup company, Baldwins is delighted to announce the appointment of Tim Mills as corporate finance partner, who will be joining the team to continue the development of the corporate finance service across the North West.

With almost 20 years in lead advisory corporate finance, Tim brings a wealth of experience to one of the UK’s fastest growing accountancy firms, most recently at his previous role in PM&M in Burnley.

With a strong track record in acquisitions, disposals, management buyouts, fund raising, due diligence and company valuations, Tim has worked with a wide range of businesses across a variety of industry sectors, building close working relationships with clients.

Tim said: “I have developed an excellent professional network across the North West with whom I work closely, and I intend to develop this further at Baldwins.

“The corporate finance team at Baldwins has a great mix of experience and enthusiasm and I can only see the team going from strength to strength. I am keen to be an integral part of its development and future successes.”

Tim Mills

Tim is ideally placed to build on the firm’s success to date through his connections gained over the years. Tim will be based at Baldwins’ Manchester office, but he will also be working from the other Greater Manchester offices, including Lancaster, Preston and Rossendale.

David Travis, regional managing partner of Baldwins, said: “I am delighted that Tim has joined our team, where he can offer an extensive network of intermediaries and a wealth of experience in the corporate finance arena.

“Tim brings to the firm the opportunity for Baldwins to further increase its network in North Manchester, thanks to his previous senior roles in the Blackburn and Burnley regions. This will significantly enhance our corporate finance services across the region.”

Baldwins specialises in accountancy and business advisory services, including corporate finance and specialist tax advice to all firms from start-ups to mature companies, across a broad range of industry sectors.


Dispute resolution and litigation specialist Sarah Lapsley has joined national, new-model firm Excello Law, working from both Liverpool and London.

Sarah has practiced litigation, including personal injury and employment law, throughout her career. Her interest in alternative ways of resolving disputes extended to her qualifying as a commercial mediator in 2013.

She has a broad range of experience and has acted for clients in many types of disputes, including contract claims, professional negligence, personal injury, CICA claims, contentious employment and settlement agreements, contested probate, partnership and land disputes.

Sarah Lapsley

Sarah said: “I am delighted to become part of this innovative and dynamic business where client care and the delivery of legal services to the highest standard lies at the heart of everything that Excello Law stands for.”

Joanne Losty, director, said: “Sarah joins a rapidly-expanding team across the country as our innovative and fully agile business model continues to attract senior lawyers looking for greater flexibility, but also wanting to focus all their time on looking after their clients. We are delighted to welcome her to the firm.”

In addition to her practice, Sarah sits on Council at The Law Society representing Merseyside’s solicitors and is also an active member of the Council Members Conduct Committee and the Scrutiny and Performance Committee at The Law Society.


The Manchester office of law firm Irwin Mitchell has boosted its commercial team with the appointment of partner Laura Harper.

Laura is an intellectual property (IP) and media specialist lawyer with more than 20 years of commercial law experience in the city advising individuals, SMEs, mid-sized businesses and large corporates across a range of creative and technology-driven industries on complex IP matters.

She said: “Irwin Mitchell’s business legal services division is structured to effectively support multi-national companies, mid-sized organisations, through to individual professionals – this makes the team here a perfect fit for the businesses in my practice and those in the wider creative, digital and innovation sectors.

“I am very much looking forward to building Irwin Mitchell’s commercial, IP and media practice in Manchester.”

She added: “Growth of the creative industries sector in Manchester is already second only to London and there are strong signs that this will continue to be the case in the future.

Laura Harper

“The city will continue to be at the heart of the Northern economy and our media and creative and innovation businesses will be key to not only the regional, but the national, economy. In order to thrive they will require specialist support and advice from all professional services, including lawyers.”

Prior to joining Irwin Mitchell Laura established and led the IP team at Shoosmiths in Manchester as a partner where she built a Top Tier media and entertainment practice.

Nationally, Irwin Mitchell has recruited 13 partners this year and Laura’s arrival follows the recent arrival of Manchester-based planning and environment partner Claire Petricca-Riding. Claire joined Irwin Mitchell in October from Brabners where she was a partner and head of planning and environment.

Victoria Brackett, chief executive of Irwin Mitchell’s business legal services division, said: “Laura has very solid experience and an excellent track record working with large companies, innovative and entrepreneurial businesses. Her specialist expertise will allow us to tap into opportunities in the North West, whilst also complementing our national media practice.

“We are investing heavily in our people and I’m confident Laura will be a great asset to our team at Irwin Mitchell and will help us to fulfil our ambition of providing first-class advice to clients in today’s fast moving business environment.”