People: Exchange Chambers; TLT; Focus-Trust; DWF; Harrison Drury; CTI Digital

Imogen Nichol

Exchange Chambers has five new barristers after Scott Cowley, Tom Farr, Jordan Millican, Imogen Nichol and Hateema Zia successfully completed pupillage and became full members of the set.

In Manchester, Tom Farr undertook a criminal pupillage under the supervision of Charlotte Rimmer, Imogen Nichol undertook a common law pupillage under the supervision of Helen Rutherford and Scott Cowley undertook a commercial pupillage under the supervision of Stephen Connolly and Richard Tetlow.

In Leeds, Hateema Zia undertook a commercial pupillage under the supervision of Steven Fennell while Jordan Millican undertook a criminal pupillage under the supervision of Alex Menary.

Welcoming Exchange’s latest new members, Chief Executive Jonathan I’Anson said: “We welcome Scott, Tom, Jordan, Imogen and Hateema as full members of Exchange and wish them every success at the Bar.”

Exchange Chambers said it prides itself on the career support it provides to pupils, junior barristers and all its members. The Legal Cheek Junior Barrister Survey 2023/2024 says: “Exchange offers a level of on-the-job advocacy training that is only possible outside of London”.

The survey goes on to say that “Exchange Chambers get their hands on some of the biggest legal matters” while training is “in a class of its own”.


Graeme Orchison

National law firm TLT has promoted three colleagues to partner in its Manchester office, which it says demonstrates the firm’s commitment to progressing female talent with women accounting for all these promotions in 2024.

Effective from April 1, 2024, TLT’s newly promoted partners in Manchester are financial services disputes and investigations lawyer Roisin Bell, Rachel Smith who specialises in all aspects of property advice for financial services clients, and planning and environment lawyer Debbie Reynolds.

Graeme Orchison, head of location in Manchester, said: “Congratulations to Roisin, Rachel and Debbie who are truly talented lawyers and provide the best possible service to their clients. It’s been an outstanding year of successes and achievements for the entire team in Manchester and it’s great to see that reflected in well-deserved promotions across our sectors and service lines.”

Elsewhere in the firm, TLT promoted two other colleagues to partner head of trusts and estates: Debbie Gale and restructuring and insolvency lawyer Ainslie Benzie. The promotions follow a successful year at TLT, during which the firm celebrated record £157m revenue, welcomed a considerable number of new senior hires and expanded its offering into a new location in Birmingham.

Sasha Butterworth, senior partner at TLT, said: “In 2023, TLT has continued to establish itself as a national law firm providing market-leading legal guidance to some of the UK’s top institutions. Ensuring we are promoting the next generation of legal talent is crucial to maintain the exceptional service for which we are known for across the country.”

TLT also promoted male and female colleagues to more senior positions, one colleague to legal director, 22 senior associates to managing associates and 30 associates to senior associates across the firm’s offices in Glasgow, Belfast, London, Manchester, and Bristol.

The latest round of promotions brings the total number of partners to 164.


Anna Hackett

Focus-Trust, a primary schools trust based in the North West of England and West Yorkshire, has appointed former Primary English Lead and Senior Leader, Anna Hackett as its new Curriculum and Professional Learning Lead.

As an integral part of the Central Team, Anna works with primary schools across the Trust through a tiered approach to professional development, an approach aimed at developing primary curriculum design, subject integrity and subject leadership skills.

Anna will also be instrumental in building on Focus’s existing reputation as an academy trust with a strong culture of collective efficacy and ensuring ongoing improvement as it looks towards the future following what has been a challenging few years for the sector as a result of the pandemic.

With more than 15 years’ experience in education, Anna began her career as a SEND Support Assistant in a secondary school. This gave her a good foundation for working with children and ignited her motivation to find a way to value every voice. She then went on to be a primary school teacher in a school in Huddersfield where she progressed to being an English Leader and then Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning.

Chief Executive, Helen Rowland, said the Trust would “benefit immensely” from Anna’s wealth of experience across education. She added: “Anna’s expertise and experience will really complement the existing skills that we have within our Central Team here at Focus-Trust.”

Focus-Trust’s Education Director, Michael Rowland, welcomed Anna, saying: “With her passion and expertise, our RPL (Responsive Professional Learning) offer will go from strength to strength and benefit all staff across the Trust. Our offer has never been stronger, and I am excited for what the future holds.”

Anna said: “I feel very privileged to be in a position that gives me an opportunity to make a real difference.”



Gary Walkin

DWF, the Manchester-based global law firm, has appointed Gary Walkling and Franco D’Andrea as Partners to expand its Global Risks practice in London, led by David Abbott.

Prior to joining DWF, Gary Walkling was at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain for 15 years, the last four of which were as a Partner, where he spearheaded their International Risk insurance team. His renowned energy insurance practice has received industry recognition, advising global (re)insurers on high value complex claims arising from the onshore and offshore oil and gas, power generation, renewables, construction and marine sectors, specialising in coverage, disputes and subrogation.

Franco D’Andrea brings with him a wealth of coverage experience, joining DWF from Clyde & Co. He advises international insurers and reinsurers, specialising in energy – both onshore and offshore – and marine claims. Franco has specific expertise in the insurance of the energy transition, in particular in renewable energy and in industrial hydrogen production. His marine expertise extends to war risks and mortgagee interest claims as well as to crewmember and asset detentions worldwide.

Franco D’Andrea

Gary and Franco will be joined by Leah Wood, a Senior Associate. Leah qualified at RPC, and has a wealth of experience advising London market insurers and reinsurers on energy insurance, and also complex international casualty matters.

David Abbott, Senior Partner of Insurance Services and Head of Global Risks, welcomed the appointments, saying: “They are key assets to help grow DWF’s offering, as we continue evolving and diversifying our energy, marine and casualty insurance practice. Globally, energy insurance is a growing line of business due to ongoing decarbonising efforts and the impact of climate change on energy security. Marine insurance also remains fundamental to our clients and more widely in the operation of global trade.”

Gary Walkling said: “I am excited to be joining DWF’s talented team and to be working alongside David and Franco. I was impressed by DWF’s growing global footprint and multi-jurisdictional practice, which is crucial to developing a well-rounded global risk offering, particularly in energy claims.”

Franco D’Andrea said: “I am thrilled to join DWF’s integrated global risk practice and to advise clients on how best to navigate energy and marine claims.”


From left: Samantha Faud, Rhian Sale, Jackie Bate, Martin Holmes, Jane Fillis, Beth Potts

North West law firm, Harrison Drury, has made six promotions across its legal and operational support teams.

Within the firm’s property and construction division, associate solicitors Rhian Sale and Samantha Faud have both been promoted to senior associate solicitor.

Rural property lawyer Jane Fillis becomes associate rural property lawyer, while Chartered legal executive, Jackie Bate, who specialises in residential plot sales and commercial property, has been promoted to associate commercial property lawyer.

Within the firm’s operations team, head of IT, Martin Holmes, and marketing and events assistant, Beth Potts, have been promoted.

John Chesworth, executive chairman at Harrison Drury, said: “Providing opportunities for professional development and career progression is central to our culture and growth aspirations. It’s a privilege to once again be offering promotions to colleagues who live our values and who’ve shown outstanding commitment and dedication to the firm and our clients.”

Rhian, who works in Harrison Drury’s commercial property team, joined in 2013 as a paralegal and went on to qualify as a solicitor with the firm. She acts for a wide range of clients on all aspects of commercial property transactions, leases and real estate finance.

Samantha, who joined in 2022, also advises on the full range of commercial property matters, as well as having a specialism in licensing which sees her working with a diverse mix of hospitality businesses.

Jane, who joined in 2023, specialises in rural property law including the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold agricultural property, succession tenancies and partnership agreements.

Jackie has worked in the legal sector for more than 25 years and joined in 2013. She heads up the firm’s expanding plot sales team, dealing with developers and housebuilders across the region, as well as dealing with various commercial property legal matters.

Beth, who joined in 2021, plays a leading role in the firm’s business development and marketing team, supporting the firm with public relations, content and social media management, as well as event planning and management. Beth’s promotion sees her stepping up to the role of marketing executive.

Martin started with Harrison Drury in October 2017 having previously worked in IT across the private and public sectors for more than 15 years. As well as overseeing the firm’s day-to-day IT requirements, he is responsible for its long term IT strategy and vison.


From left: Amy Ratcliffe, Samantha Bell, Christina Nobbs, Alex Ryan

CTI Digital, a Manchester-based UK technology, experience and digital marketing agency, is announcing a significant enhancement in its operational structure.

The new structure puts in place a more senior level of client engagement. Each Strategic Business Lead (SBL) will lead a multimillion-pound portfolio of clients and will be supported and empowered by a dedicated team of Operations, Tech, Strategy, Commercial, Creative and Delivery colleagues. The SBLs are tasked with delivering better commercial outcomes for CTI’s clients through the delivery of digital solutions.

CEO, Chris Woodward, said: “Introducing our Strategic Business Leads is a key step as we move away from being a digital production studio to a genuine digital transformation partner for our clients. By aligning ourselves more closely with our clients’ business objectives and offering a consultative partnership, we are now positioned to deliver more impactful and commercially successful outcomes for our clients.”

Initially, there will be four SBLs. Three existing CTI staff members have been promoted to the role of SBL: Christina Nobbs and Alex Ryan, who were previously Account Directors, and Samantha Bell, who has been promoted from Brand Strategy Director to the role of SBL.

Additionally, Amy Ratcliffe has returned to CTI after a brief stint at regional Manchester agency DEPT, to take on the fourth SBL role.

Amy said: “I am eager to bring my experience to drive growth and create meaningful impact for our clients.”

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