People: Farleys Solicitors; Jackson Lees Solicitors; River Capital; Auction House Manchester; Clarke Nicklin; Clough & Willis

Farleys Solicitors private client team

North West law firm Farleys Solicitors has strengthened its private client team across Lancashire, with the recruitment of two new solicitors.

Rebecca Alexander and Charlotte Searle have joined the firm following a continued rise in demand for private client services across the region, which is showing no signs of slowing.

Rebecca qualified as a solicitor in January 2018 and is a member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Charlotte also qualified in 2018, originally starting her law career within the personal injury sector before making the move into private client in 2020. Both advise on preparation of wills, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection matters, probate and estate administration.

The recruitment of both adds to the team’s already strong expertise, as it continues to advise a broad range of clients from business owners to the elderly and vulnerable in need of expert advice.

Phil Taylor, partner and head of private client at Farleys, said: “We are pleased to welcome Rebecca and Charlotte to Farleys. Their experience and knowledge will strengthen our offering so that we can continue to deliver our high quality standard of service to our existing and new clients across Lancashire.”

Rebecca and Charlotte are the latest in a string of recent appointments as the firm continues to invest in talent to support growth plans across the region.


Andrew Leakey has joined North West law firm Jackson Lees as head of civil and commercial litigation.

He has 25 years’ experience in litigation and covers a broad scope of complex legal areas.

As part of his new role at Jackson Lees, which has offices across Liverpool, Manchester and Wirral, Andrew will deal with high value inheritance, contract and land disputes, assisting both businesses and individuals.

Qualifying as a solicitor in 1997, he received recognition from Legal 500, credited as “recommended for Consumer Credit Act matters” in 2011.

Andrew Leakey

Over the course of his 25-year career, Andrew has had the opportunity to deal with ground breaking cases in relation to unenforceable agreements, unfair relationships, hidden commission, irresponsible lending and negligence of brokers and has valuable experience of acting in group actions against major motor manufacturers.

He has also undertaken large numbers of cases in relation to housing, debt, and consumer issues, including professional negligence cases against valuers, solicitors and architects, faulty goods and building disputes. He also specialises in land and probate disputes, helping clients resolve issues with land ownership and the administration of estates.

Andrew, who has been a go-to legal expert on TV programmes such as This Morning, Channel 4 News and The One Show, said: “I’m very pleased to head up the civil and commercial litigation team and join a firm which has such a high reputation..

“I enjoy dispute resolution as no two days are ever the same and I’m driven by assisting clients to provide solutions to what may seem an intractable problem – this is something I want to share with my colleagues through Jackson Lees’ fantastic training academy.”

Esther Leach, managing director, said: “The whole team is thrilled to have Andrew on board and his vast experience will certainly help steer the civil and commercial litigation department to achieve successful results for our clients.

“Andrew has achieved great success since qualifying as a lawyer and the fact that he has been called upon many times to share his insights into litigation pays testament to his skills and knowledge. We are confident he will be a real asset to the firm and encourage and inspire our junior lawyers to achieve similar.”

Andrew’s appointment follows the expansion of Jackson Lees, with the recent addition of John E Jones, its head of residential property, and two new solicitors, Rafael Donovan and Barry McDonough in the wills, trust and probate department.


Following the company’s recent re-brand and relocation to new offices, Liverpool-based fund manager, River Capital, continues to invest in its growing team with a series of recent hires and promotions.

David Walters has been promoted to investment director in the venture team, where he will focus on River Capital’s growing data and artificial intelligence offerings. A chief technology officer by background and member of the Data IQ Top 100, David has extensive operational and management knowledge developed in roles leading numerous high profile data and AI practices. His unique experience in the technology space will prove invaluable in the coming months as he continues to focus on opportunities within the sector.

From left to right: Ethan Dent, David Walters, Sarah Moss, Jonathan Newton

Ethan Dent is the latest addition to the team, coming on board as marketing manager. With several years of experience across various industries, he will lead the day-to-day marketing and promotional activity of River Capital to support its positioning in the North West financial sector. Ethan joins other recent recruits Jonathan Newton and Sarah Moss.

Having relocated from Leeds, Jonathan joins as an investment manager in the private equity team. A Chartered Accountant by background, Jonathan’s most recent experience was as an associate director in Mazars’ corporate finance team where he spent six years advising SMEs. His focus will be in driving private equity investments of between £500,000 and £2m.

New head of finance, Sarah, brings a wealth of experience in financial management, having held several senior roles at ISS Facility Services UK, including most recently divisional finance director of its £400m healthcare sector. Sarah will be responsible for all aspects of the finance function of River Capital, helping to drive the business’s growth and supporting its strategic direction and fund raising initiatives.

River Capital CEO, Mark Borzomato, said: “Recruiting and investing in our people is key as we look to grow our business and further support our clients and SMEs across the region. I am, therefore, delighted to welcome the new team members, and to congratulate David on his well deserved promotion.

“We intend to continue building on previous achievements and providing first class management services to all our partners and look forward to the diverse expertise and dynamism that Sarah, Jonathan and Ethan will bring to the team. In addition, the promotion of David to investment director is instrumental as he advances the AI and data science journey that will become more prominent over the coming months.”


James Pank has been appointed as director of Auction House Manchester at Ryder & Dutton, after former owner and director, Ian Hill, retired from the business in August.

Following the successful acquisition of Ryder & Dutton and Mortimers by Manning Stainton in 2021, Northern Estate Agencies Group was formed. It is one of the largest independently-owned estate agency groups in the North of England, with a 40+ branch network covering Leeds, Manchester and other hotspots across West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Derbyshire.

James Pank

Auctioneer James has headed up Auction House West Yorkshire at Manning Stainton since 2012, and will now take on directorship of the entire Auction Houses under Northern Estate Agencies Group, which includes Ryder & Dutton. Auction House sells residential and commercial property as well as land, marketed for four weeks with an immediate exchange of contracts formed on the fall of the gavel. Ryder & Dutton hold seven live streamed auctions a year, with a national online auction running weekly.

James Pank said: “I’m proud to be taking on Ryder & Dutton’s incredibly successful Auction House Manchester, working with an expanded team to grow this side of the business even further. Having worked in auctions for over 10 years, I’ve achieved some of the highest success rates in the country for our auction properties, with sale prices consistently exceeding the quoted guide prices and deals going through often within four weeks or less.

“Greater Manchester and Lancashire are huge patches with matching opportunity for business, so I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Auctions expert James will head up a merged team of 10 people working across the Yorkshire and Greater Manchester regions, responsible for delivering the wider group’s auctions sales strategy.

Mark Manning, managing director of Northern Estate Agencies Group, said: “James’s appointment brings our Auction House operations together across both sides of the Pennines. Given his huge success in developing the West Yorkshire territory over the past decade, we know he’s the right person to take on the expanded director of Auction House role across the entire company.”


Clarke Nicklin Chartered Accountants has welcomed new marketing executive, Georgia Hilton.

Georgia Hilton

Georgia joins the team at an exciting time for the business and will be working on some big projects coming up, as well as supporting head of marketing, Laura Frost.

Georgia joins Clarke Nicklin having previously worked predominantly in graphic design and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and creativity. Georgia said: “I’m really keen to start exploring my new marketing role at Clarke Nicklin and to combine both design and marketing together.”


Bury and Bolton-based law firm Clough & Willis is continuing its investment in the firm’s young talent and ongoing growth after awarding two new training contracts which both start this month.

Joshua Beattie, who recently completed his Legal Practice Course, joined as a paralegal in the litigation team in 2020. Since then, he has worked with the department’s senior team and has also shadowed colleagues in the employment, personal injury and dispute resolution departments. Over the past two years, Joshua has impressed the partnership with his focus and ambition to deliver for his clients.

Joshua Beattie and Rafia Faruk

The second training contract has been awarded to Rafia Faruk who has worked in the private client team for a year. Rafia also joined the firm as a paralegal. Her previous role was at Co-op Legal Services, and before that she worked at Slater and Gordon. Over the past year, Rafia has handled a broad caseload of private client matters, including the drafting of LPAs and wills as well as estate administration, alongside Nicola Finbow, head of private client, and Rhianna Bateson, partner.

The awarding of the contracts follows last month’s announcement that Ryan Browne had been appointed to the private client team as a solicitor. He joined from Myerson Solicitors.

Managing partner, Lee Marston, said: “As a business we are committed to nurturing home grown talent so it’s always satisfying when you see people with real ability progress. These training contracts will help kick start their careers and we are all looking forward to them being an integral part of the firm’s future.”

Rafia said: “Both Joshua and myself are really excited to be starting our training contracts. Starting as paralegals gave us a fantastic grounding but our focus is now on benefiting from the quality training Clough & Willis offers alongside ongoing supervision and support from our colleagues.”