People: DSG; DTM Legal; Hall Brown Family Law; Exchange Chambers; Search Consultancy; Jefferies Solicitors

Mark Kearney

DSG Chartered Accountants (DSG) has added to its growing corporate finance team with the appointment of Mark Kearney as corporate finance director.
This comes alongside other recruitments in the wider team – which totals almost 100 – as DSG looks to meet the surge in demand for its corporate finance services in the North West.

DSG has two offices in Liverpool city centre and Ewloe, North Wales. It is also a member of DFK International, a global association of accounting firms with more than 400 offices in 93 countries.

Originally from Liverpool, Kearney has more than 14 years’ experience in corporate finance and management consulting. Having previously held London-based positions at Deloitte, Grant Thornton, and EY, he is now returning to the North West to join DSG.

He has worked with various investment firms across sectors including real estate, private equity, and venture capital. This wealth of experience includes working for the UK Treasury during the 2008 financial crisis as a senior portfolio manager for the quarter trillion-pound real estate debt portfolio.

In his new director role at DSG, Kearney will be responsible for building out the practice’s debt advisory and financial modelling arm. He will also be focusing on equity finance, valuation, and acquisitions.

Mark Kearney said: “There is a real opportunity here to expand existing corporate finance service lines to include debt advisory and financial modelling, something we’re seeing increased demand for in today’s market. I’m looking forward to getting under the skin of businesses, particularly owner-managed, across the region as they embark on significant growth journeys, supporting with organic growth, acquisitions, disposals, and funding when required.”

Iain White, corporate finance partner at DSG, said: “Having worked with a range of clients from small start-ups to large multinationals, Mark is a welcome addition to the DSG financial advisory team. His appointment comes alongside other recruitments in the wider corporate finance team, as we build on our corporate finance offering. We are pleased to welcome Mark at such an exciting time for the business, and of course, welcome his return to Liverpool.”


DTM Legal has appointed Stephen Mackellar to its wills, trusts & estates department. He has expertise in all areas of private client work with a particular specialism in administration of trusts, probate and trust and estate non-contentious matters.

Stephen Mackellar

Richard Thomas, head of business recovery, dispute resolution, said: “Stephen arrives at a key time in our expansion and he comes with a wealth of experience. Ranked as a Key Lawyer by Legal 500, Stephen will be advising landowners, corporate and private clients in their estate and succession plans as well as charities on their trusts and charitable foundations.”

Heather Lally, senior associate, trusts and estates, said: “Having worked with Stephen previously I know his level of work is exemplary and he has a great depth of trusts & estates knowledge and experience.”

Stephen said: “I am really pleased to be offered the position and to join DTM Legal. They have a glowing record and am keen to be part of the growth.”


Hall Brown Family Law said it has underlined its commitment to developing young legal talent by announcing that two of its most talented young lawyers have been promoted to the rank of partner.

The Manchester-based firm has described how the elevation of Laura Guillon and Katie Welton-Dillon is reward for their contribution to its “dramatic” growth.

It caps a remarkable progression for Ms Guillon, who was Hall Brown’s first recruit when the firm launched six years ago.

Laura Guillon

Ms Welton-Dillon, meanwhile, has built one of the few specialist teams dedicated to handling complex children’s law casework at any family law firm since joining in 2017.

Managing partner, James Brown, said the round of promotions – which has also seen Holly Cook made up to associate solicitor – was an indication of Hall Brown’s determination to attract the most capable family lawyers around: “Since we opened our doors, we have held firmly to the principle of only giving the best quality advice possible to clients.

“To do that, we have to be capable of appointing very talented individuals and providing them with the support that they need to fully realise their potential.

“Laura, Katie and Holly amply demonstrate the calibre of lawyers that we have in the team and show how keen we are to help them develop. They all thoroughly deserve their promotions and are examples to their colleagues and those outside the firm who continue to express an interest in joining us of what we can achieve together.”

Ms Guillon first worked together with Mr Brown and his fellow founder and senior partner, Sam Hall, as a newly-qualified solicitor a decade ago.

Katie Welton-Dillon

Since arriving at Hall Brown in May 2016, Ms Guillon has become renowned for her skill in resolving a wide variety of challenging family law matters, especially those featuring individuals with high net worth and high profile, including many Premier League footballers.

She was earmarked by the prestigious Legal 500 rankings as a ‘Rising Star’.

In less than five years since being appointed by Hall Brown to lead its specialist Children’s Law division, Ms Welton-Dillon has turned it into a thriving practice of its own, powered by an eight-strong team of lawyers working across the firm’s three offices in Manchester, London and Sheffield.

As well as handling complex international cases spanning a range of different jurisdictions, the team deals with a range of other matters, some of which feature issues relating to domestic violence and mental health problems. Ms Welton-Dillon and her colleagues have also found themselves dealing with a recent rise in the volume of work generated by couples seeking advice on having children by surrogate mothers.

Last year, Hall Brown, which employs a total of 50 people, including 39 of whom are fee earners, announced that its turnover had increased from £4.1m to £5.2m.


Exchange Chambers now has 200 barristers across the Northern and North Eastern circuits after Caitlin Edwards and Emily Hassell recently completed pupillage.

In Liverpool, Caitlin Edwards completed her common law pupillage under the supervision of Chris Allen, while in Leeds, Emily Hassell completed her criminal pupillage under the supervision of Stephen Grattage.

Emily Hassell

Exchange Chambers, based in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years.

Chief Executive, Jonathan I’Anson, said: “Reaching 200 members is a significant milestone for Chambers. It reinforces our position as one of the largest and most well resourced sets in England and Wales.

“Our expansion strategy is based on attracting the highest quality work and the highest quality barristers. This is fuelling our growth and attracting applications from barristers throughout the country. We are also committed to investing in the next generation of legal talent, with our pupillage academy taking on six pupils every year and acting as a centre of excellence for aspiring barristers.”


Abbie Soutar has been appointed as associate director at recruitment specialist Search Consultancy to help lead the growth of its North West finance business.

Prior to joining Search, Abbie worked for Michael Page, having built and managed its Liverpool finance business.

Abbie Soutar

She said: “As a private equity backed business we are uniquely positioned to assist on appointments for high growth businesses that may already be going through an investment cycle, gearing up for such or looking to grow through acquisition. Our ‘lived’ professional experience at Search allows for meaningful conversations with clients and candidates in this space.”

Ed O’Connell, UK managing director, said: “We’re at a unique stage of our journey. Backed by a leading investor and having made significant investment across the board, there couldn’t be a better time to be part of our growth journey.

“In line with this, I am personally delighted to welcome Abbie Soutar to the UK professional services leadership team. Abbie brings proven expertise in the mid and senior market, working with CFOs and heads of functions across the North West. A proven leader from a FTSE-listed enterprise, Abbie has a pivotal role in developing our operations whilst manging the investment and growth of our accountancy and finance business.

“Since the start of 2021, our professional services business has grown exponentially and Abbie’s appointment is timed perfectly to accelerate this further.”


Altrincham personal injury firm, Jefferies Solicitors, has expanded its team, with four new faces joining the firm over the past few weeks.

Nathan Pearce

The new starters bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the firm to strengthen its commitment to delivering excellent service to clients.

Joining the new claims team are claims assessor Nathan Pearce and administrative assistant Lucy Robins-Rigg.

The firm has also appointed a new clinical negligence solicitor, Salma Ahmed, and a new full-time receptionist, Tracy Yearsley.

Claims assessor, Nathan, said: “I am looking forward to an exciting and, hopefully, long career working for Jefferies.”

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