People: DWF; gunnercooke; MHA Moore and Smalley; Anthony Collins Solicitors; Bridge Insurance Brokers

Julie Simms

DWF in Liverpool has appointed a raft of new colleagues as the business expands its real estate team in the city centre.

The team will be joined by two newly qualified solicitors this month – Charlotte Marshall and Adam Lynch – who have both undertaken their training contracts with DWF.

In addition, four further real estate specialists have also been newly appointed to DWF, which has flagship offices at 5 St Paul’s Square. Associate solicitors James Ankers and Paula Doran join alongside solicitors Victoria Smith and Peter Greenway, who will take up his role in mid September.

Julie Simms, joint national head of public sector real estate and partner at DWF in Liverpool, said: “It is a pleasure to welcome each of our six new colleagues into the real estate practice in Liverpool and we are especially pleased for our two soon-to-be qualified solicitors who have spent two years training with us, and will embark on their new roles as solicitors with DWF.”

Toby Askin, global head of the real estate practice at DWF, said: “This year we have been joined by new colleagues in various roles across the global real estate practice, and I’m delighted to see the growth of our Liverpool team.

“We are increasingly working on multi-jurisdictional projects for clients across cities and specialisms, and our ability to work seamlessly as one team really resonates with our real estate clients.”

The new arrivals into DWF’s real estate team in Liverpool are part of a recruitment drive by DWF in the city, which has this year seen 17 new growth roles created – not replacements – and more than 20 positions in a variety of specialisms currently available.


Challenger law firm gunnercooke continues its recruitment drive with the hire of 11 new partners in areas including family law, real estate and employment, as well as some of its first German appointments.

The latest Manchester hire, Sydney Fulda, joins from DAC Beachcroft, specialising in litigation.

Roz Lidder and Kirpal Bidmead, both practicing family law, have moved to the firm’s London office, and real estate hires including Kelly-Marie Bannister and Martyn Cremin joining the Leeds and London teams, respectively.

Mini Setty, an employment specialist, joins the growing Yorkshire team, and Sima Kanan bolsters the firm’s corporate team in London, along with Akash Sachdeva, an intellectual property lawyer. Culture and ESG consultant, Patrick Voss, also joins the firm’s operating partner group, having previously worked with Pricewaterhousecoopers, Microsoft and Duff & Phelps.

Sydney Fulda

Following the recruitment of German managing partner Wolfgang Richter to launch the firm’s first overseas office in Berlin earlier this year, new Germany hires include restructuring partner Felix Korten and Jyn Schultz-Melling, a data & privacy expert.

Development and people Director, Lucy Hargreaves, said: “We’re delighted to welcome some fantastic talent to the firm over the summer months. We are on track to recruit more partners than ever before this year as we look to grow our profile around our new office locations in Birmingham, Germany, and Scotland. These latest appointments bring quality experience that will bolster our core practice groups, as well as bringing new specialisms to the firm.”

The practice is a full-service commercial professional services firm, founded to change the way legal services are delivered to clients and how lawyers balance their lives. The firm’s innovative model sees 250 partners with a minimum 10,000 hours practicing experience becoming trusted advisers to their clients, providing certainty of price and delivering the best quality advice.

The firm has also expanded into several specialist groups offering professional services, including gunnercooke Associates, management consultancy gunnercooke Coaching, gunnercooke Private Equity, and a charity group connecting business leaders with small charities, the gunnercooke foundation.


Accountancy and business advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley has recruited 22 staff members as part of its 2021 trainee and apprentice intake.

The new recruits have joined across the firm’s Manchester, Preston, Blackpool, Lancaster and Kendal offices and will be part of its corporate services and tax teams.

It is one of MHA Moore and Smalley’s largest ever intakes of graduates and apprentices with the firm seeing record interest in the positions available.

New trainees with managing partner Graham Gordon (far right) and Rebecca Coombes (pink blouse)

The firm will now support them as they go through their training and qualifications, as well as helping them to gain vital experience of working with clients.

Rebecca Coombes, HR director, said: “It’s been a tough time for those leaving education due to the pandemic, so we’re proud to be able to offer this opportunity for these young people to make a start in the profession and develop their career with us.

“We’ve had record interest in our trainee and apprentice positions this year and the quality of the candidates has been impressive. They represent the future of our firm, and we look forward to seeing them grow both professionally and personally.”

MHA Moore and Smalley is part of MHA, a UK wide network of independent accountants and business advisers with 30 offices nationwide.

MHA member firms have recruited a total of 90 trainees and apprentices in the 2021 intake.


Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) has appointed a new partner to its Manchester office.

Thomas Starkey has been recruited to help lead the social purpose law firm’s housing practice, with the remit of growing ACS’s Manchester office and property team.

Starkey joins from Weightmans where he was a partner in its real estate team, specialising in supporting social housing providers, charities and local authorities.

He brings more than 15 years’ legal experience to ACS, with expertise in managing complex property matters, spanning site assembly, large scale developments and regeneration schemes.

In his previous role, Starkey helped a registered provider acquire a portfolio of 1,000 homes located across Northern England in an acquisition programme spanning three years. This is alongside also leading a team that acted for a Cheshire-based registered provider on a multi-phased, mixed tenure scheme incorporating 250 new houses and office space.

Thomas Starkey

Thomas Starkey, partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, said: “Anthony Collins Solicitors is at the forefront of legal expertise in the social housing sector – boasting a list of client partners that are transforming housing in the UK. However, what makes the firm unique is its clear mission of improving lives, communities and society.

“The firm is investing into its Manchester office with new hires. This is a clear statement of intent and I’m excited to help grow the firm’s property division, while also expanding its reach across the North West and nationally.”

Starkey’s appointment follows ACS outlining plans to grow its presence in the North West, with Suzanne Gregson joining the firm’s Manchester office as partner earlier this year.

ACS is headquartered in Birmingham. Its Manchester office is led by Jonathan Cox, who said: “Tom’s appointment represents a key step on ACS’s growth journey in the North West. It follows a series of hires to our Manchester office, but we are not stopping there. We plan to capitalise on this momentum, with further growth and recruitment in the region.

“Tom joins the firm with a wealth of expertise and an ambition to expand our housing practice. His experience managing complex property matters will be invaluable to ACS and our client partners that count on us to bring forward innovative legal solutions that leave a positive impact on their communities and wider society.”


Bridge Insurance Brokers has added to its board with the appointment of Paul Spurway.

Paul has joined from Marsh Commercial, to take on the role of real estate and construction director. He brings almost four decades of experience in insurance, having joined the profession in 1983. His role will see him oversee the newly expanded real estate team, working across Bridge’s Manchester and London offices and increasing the size of the firm’s board to five people.

Paul originally hails from London but moved to the North West many years ago and is now based in Cheshire. He said: “Bridge Insurance Brokers is one of the most highly regarded independent brokers in the UK, with a really good reputation amongst its clients. I’m delighted to join its board at a hugely exciting time and am looking forward to helping develop and grow the business. The real estate and construction team is highly motivated – it’s a privilege to work alongside everyone here.”

Paul Spurway

CEO, Roger Potts, said: “With five new people recently added to the real estate team and several senior level promotions within it, we welcome the additional expertise of Paul, to ensure it develops strategically alongside our other departments and specialisms. Paul will help position this part of our business and guide the team well as we continue to support our high profile clients and work with other partners across the UK and further afield.”

This senior level appointment comes at a time of growth for Bridge. The business was set up more than 50 years ago by Mike Backner and Gilbert Cohen in the Northern Quarter of Manchester and now operates out of its head office on Charlotte Street, with a second office in the City of London. It employs 110 people, with other specialist divisions including credit, corporate and specialist risk.

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