People: law firm celebrates record year with raft of promotions; Banner Jones boosts family law team; and more

Chris Allen, Pete Konieczko-Hansom, Matthew Hutchinson, Tristan Milner, Jennifer Roberts

Leeds-based Blacks Solicitors is celebrating a record year of growth since moving its head office to City Point last year.

Now boasting over 200 members of staff, Blacks has increased turnover by 12% to reach £13.3m at the end of the last financial year.

This growth has been celebrated with a raft of promotions in a number of teams across the firm including a trio of partner promotions for Lucy Rigden (Wills & Probate), Beth Laidler (Commercial Property), and Matthew Hutchinson (Commercial Property).

The firm has also promoted Pete Konieczko-Hansom (Corporate & Commercial), Tristan Milner (Commercial Property) and Jennifer Roberts (Commercial Property) to associate.

Managing Partner, Chris Allen, said: “Our move to City Point was a turning point in the history of the Firm, with all of the commercial teams under one roof for the first time. It’s been a great boost to morale and the open plan space has helped to improve communication, reinforce our open door policy, and further improve the service we provide to clients.”


Kelly Parks and Shetal Gudgeon

Law firm Banner Jones has further strengthened its family law division with the appointment of senior solicitor Shetal Gudgeon and the promotion of Kelly Parks to director, who takes on the role of head of family law.

Gudgeon brings with her 15 years of experience advising on a diverse range of complex family law issues relating to married, unmarried and same sex couples including divorce, financial, children and injunction proceedings.

She joins from Best Solicitors and will be splitting her time between the firm’s Sheffield and Chesterfield-based family law teams.

Her appointment follows the promotion of Parks’ to director and head of family law, overseeing all issues relating to personal relationships, relationship breakdown, high value financial disputes and child arrangement disputes.

Director and head of human resources, Chris Sellars, said: “Recognising talent, commitment and dedication is incredibly important at Banner Jones, and so I am delighted to announce Kelly’s promotion to director and head of family law. With 15-years’ specific family law experience which includes over five years at Stowe Family Law,Kelly has become integral to the team and the service we provide our clients since joining us in 2017.

“We are also delighted to welcome Shetal who brings with her considerable expertise, further bolstering our ability to meet increased demand.”

Stewarts has promoted Martin Walsh from its commercial litigation team to partner.

Leeds-based Walsh specialises in commercial disputes. These are frequently in the fields of IT, telecoms, finance, corporate transactions and public sector.

He joined Stewarts in 2016 from Pinsent Masons.