People: Napthens; International Advisory Group; OakNorth Bank; Cushman & Wakefield

Laura Hartley-Williams

North West law firm Napthens has strengthened its core practice teams with the addition of 10 new staff in the second quarter of 2021.

This includes the appointment of associate solicitor Laura Hartley-Williams, who joins the business recovery team from Knights. Laura works with a selection of insolvency practitioners both in the North West and further afield advising predominantly on contentious matters relating to realising assets and pursuing claims for the benefit of the insolvent estates and ultimately the creditors.

Originally hailing from North Wales, Laura has worked in law for more than 10 years and qualified as a solicitor in 2016. She has spent her career to date working in Manchester and Cheshire.

Almost half of the new additions were to the firm’s growing conveyancing team. Following a busy period for the sector Sara Barnes, Bethany McKay, Michelle Cunliffe and Gemma Calamela have been appointed, as the firm’s team received 4,800 instructions in fiscal year 2021, in part due to the Help to Buy scheme and Stamp Duty holiday,

Elsewhere, James Stephenson joined Napthens’ commercial litigation team in Liverpool, bringing with him 10 years’ experience in handling high value and complex litigation.

Experienced property solicitor and former head of residential property at Mullis & Peake Solicitors, Clare Sollitt, adds senior level experience to the specialist plot sales team. Jade Wilson has joined as a legal assistant in the wills and estates planning team and Blake Sale has been appointed technical services manager, as part of the firm’s internal IT team.

The news follows a strong financial year for the firm, despite the challenges resulting from the pandemic, with revenues in line with FY20’s total of £15m. The success was down to a strong performance across all service lines, with its employment and HR, litigation and residential conveyancing teams all seeing significant growth.

Nicola Mason, HR and operations director at Napthens, said: “It’s been another positive quarter for growth at Napthens, both financially and for our teams as we have made new additions to a number of our departments.

“We are determined to provide the very best service possible for our clients and our success over the past financial year is another indicator that we’re doing things the right way. We’re delighted to have welcomed all of our new colleagues and look forward to seeing their careers develop and flourish with Napthens as they deliver the very best results for our clients.”


A solicitor from Chester has been named as a new board member of an international group working to promote and encourage foreign trade around the world.

Helen Watson, partner and head of employment law at Aaron & Partners, will help lead International Advisory Group (IAG), a global network of law firms, accountants, and tax advisors.

Helen’s appointment comes as IAG plans to strengthen its network to support international trade and help economies recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The move also continues Aaron & Partners’ long running association with IAG, with Helen succeeding her colleague Stuart Haynes, who stood down as a board member after completing the maximum six-year term. He will continue to be a member and support the board, maintaining a relationship with the group that has spanned more than two decades.

Helen Watson

Helen said: “IAG is a highly respected organisation with members from all around the globe, and I’m delighted to be joining the board at such a crucial time for international trade.

“COVID-19 had a major impact on the world’s ability to do business, but as the economy begins to recover, we’re seeing lots of opportunities to strengthen relationships for our old and new members.

“As an organisation, we remain in a strong position with a track record of supporting successful business deals around the world, including some undertaken by Aaron & Partners as a committed partner of IAG.”

Stuart Haynes, corporate and commercial partner at Aaron and Partners, who leads the firm’s own international team, said: “I know first hand about the opportunities IAG brings to the table for its members, having played a central role in building our network over the past 20 years, as well as leading on international deals as a result of IAG meetings.

“My first board meeting was in Dusseldorf in 1996, so I have been attending meetings for more than 25 years and will miss being on the board but continue to work with IAG on various projects.

“There’s no doubt that Helen will continue to help develop IAG’s presence on the global stage, helping members reconnect and attract even more corporate investment in regions from the UK to the USA and Asia.”

Aaron & Partners was formally ratified as a member of IAG in 2014, with its Aarons International department offering full legal services to clients, which range from UK businesses with overseas operations to foreign businesses looking to invest in Britain.


OakNorth Bank, the Manchester-based bank for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, has announced the further strengthening of its board of directors with the appointment of Carolyn Schuetz as a non-executive director.

With more than 30 years of global financial service

Carolyn Schuetz

s experience, Schuetz is an industry veteran with a track record of delivering large scale transformational change and creating new ventures.

Early in her career she started and scaled her own business, Cypress Knowledge, a corporate consultancy advising senior executives at early stage financial and technology companies in Silicon Valley on strategy, funding and business development.

Carolyn also worked with Charles Schwab & Co to help build their first generation digital brokerage services platform. For the past 16 years she was at HSBC, most recently as the chief operating officer for group retail banking and wealth management. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has an MBA from Stanford.

Joel Perlman, co-founder of OakNorth Bank, said: “Carolyn has several decades of varied and highly relevant experience across technology and financial services. She also has experience as an entrepreneur which is clearly aligned with our mission and the customers we serve. We are excited to be welcoming her to the board and look forward to her valuable contribution.”

Carolyn Schuetz said: “Having started and scaled my own business I’m acutely aware of the challenges business owners face when it comes to accessing fast, flexible finance.

“This is one of the primary reasons that OakNorth’s mission and unique approach really resonates with me. I’ve been following the bank’s incredible growth story for the last few years and am excited to now be a part of it. I look forward to working with the team and supporting entrepreneurs in their growth ambitions.”


Cushman & Wakefield has appointed Adam Lowe to drive its dedicated primary care service within the firm’s UK healthcare team.

Lowe joins following more than a decade at Assura, the specialist Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) developer, investor and manager of a portfolio of primary care medical centres across the UK.

At Assura he worked as an asset manager, senior investment manager and latterly as a business development manager working with NHS Trusts and GP surgeries.

Joining the transactional team in Cushman & Wakefield’s UK healthcare team with a national remit, his focus will be on transactional and development across health and social care. He will be based in the firm’s North West regional hub office in Manchester.

Adam Lowe

James Hanson, head of healthcare transactions, UK at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “The primary care sector is front and centre of public health and wellbeing by providing a crucial service for the local health economy. Adam’s appointment broadens and complements the skillset within our healthcare team and allows our clients to benefit from the experience and knowledge he brings from Assura.”

Adam Lowe said: “Cushman & Wakefield has well established relationships supporting NHS Trusts and primary care developers and investors and I look forward to furthering this work to support the provision of primary care infrastructure.”

Cushman & Wakefield’s UK healthcare team provides valuation and advisory services across the healthcare sector. This includes care of the elderly, private hospitals, learning disability and mental health settings, specialist services, retirement villages, children’s day nurseries, GP practices and other primary care entities.