People: Law firm appoints new partner; Senior promotions at Grant Thornton; Property law specialist welcomes new director; and more

York-based Langleys Solicitors is expanding with the appointment of a new Partner to its Insurance Law Division.

Peter Oakes has joined the firm and will be heading up Langleys new Manchester office which will be opening in the spring.

Oakes, a counter fraud specialist, joins the firm with a wealth of experience which includes working in partnership with insurers, syndicates, and other compensators to develop effective counter-fraud strategies.

He is a recognised market leader in the development of intelligence led claims fraud defence bases on data mining, data analytics and intelligence led claims fraud investigation.

Oakes joins from Hill Dickinson where he headed its Fraud unit for over 14 years and was responsible for the growth and development of an impressive team with a national reputation.

Oakes said: “I am delighted to join a thriving and innovative law firm with a well-founded reputation for quality, technical excellence and client service. The opportunity presented to me is exciting and will enable me to work with the existing clients and go on to build upon Langleys` existing counter fraud expertise.

“I am relishing the challenge of working with my new partners to open and grow our new office in Manchester from which we will deliver the full range of insurance legal services to an existing and new client base.”


Grant Thornton UK LLP has promoted Chris Petts and James Bulloss to Partner and Director respectively in its Yorkshire and North East practice.

With 20 years at the firm under his belt, Petts has built a strong reputation as a leading mid-market advisor. As Partner, he will extend his responsibilities and regional footprint to lead Grant Thornton’s Restructuring and Debt Advisory practice across Yorkshire, as well as his native North East.

Bulloss will work alongside Petts and the expanding Restructuring and Debt Advisory team to support Grant Thornton’s clients as they adapt to the changes facing the market today. Bulloss will have a specific focus on growing business in Sheffield, where the firm has made significant investments into a new city-centre office and is now the largest international accountancy firm in the city.

Andy Wood, Managing Partner for the North and Midlands, said: “It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce Grant Thornton’s latest senior promotions. Chris and James have a combined service of close to 32 years and their wealth of expertise will be of great support to our valued clients during this period of uncertainty and great opportunity.

“In joining Richard Goldsack and Dan Rosinke as an Advisory Partner, Chris will enhance our strong, experienced and ambitious full-service advisory team in Yorkshire and the North East, and both Chris and James will be instrumental in growing our business further.”


Guest Walker, the York-based property law specialist, has appointed associate commercial property lawyer, Deborah Barton as a Director of the business.

She joins the existing Directors, John Walker and Helen Burrows on the board.

With over 20 years’ experience in commercial property, Barton specialises in working with developers on the acquisition, development and disposal of industrial, residential and retail properties.

John Walker, Director of Guest Walker, said: “Deborah has a really strong track record within commercial property, having worked with large and small businesses across the UK for many years. We are delighted that she is now a director of the business as we look to embark on the next stage of our growth.”

Barton added: “I am honoured to have become a director of Guest Walker. We are becoming increasingly recognised as one of the North of England’s best property law firms and I am looking forward to playing a pivotal role in continuing to grow this niche market and help develop the business and our team.”

Based on the Shambles in the centre of York for over 35 years, Guest Walker act for a number of high profile and prestigious clients, offering a complete service for small and medium-sized businesses, partnerships and individuals across the UK.


7Legal and Finance, the Sheffield-based business which offers both legal and corporate financial advice, has appointed Jacqui Dyer as Commercial Property Solicitor.

Dyer joins the company from Ortolan Legal where she worked for over 2 years. Prior to that, she was an Associate Solicitor at Taylor & Emmett and has also previously worked at CMS.

Dyer, who qualified in 2003, is experienced in a number of areas including development site acquisitions and sales, option agreements, conditional contracts, refinancing of portfolios and acquisition and sale of commercial property.

She is also involved with the charity Target Housing that provides housing and support services to vulnerable and marginalised adults and families.

Dyer said: “I’m excited to join the 7Legal and Finance team because the business is unique in both the professional service industry and in the region. Having both accountants and solicitors within one company, all of whom have years of experience of corporate finance and law, gives us a real advantage.”

7Legal and Finance is authorised by the Law Society under the Alternative Business Structure process.

The business offers a range of services including corporate sales and purchases, business restructuring and turnaround, property transactions, litigation services, insolvency advice and funding support.


AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has announced the appointment of Leon Ward as Regional Account Manager for the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Ward is based in Beverley, and in his new role will be supporting businesses in Yorkshire and Humber to meet their staffing and development needs in the accounting and finance industry.

He will also support local private training providers and Further Education colleges who deliver AAT qualifications and apprenticeships across the region.

Ward said: “Every business needs highly-trained finance workers, and AAT has a proven track record of helping businesses get the well-qualified people they need.

“I look forward to applying my own experience to help AAT qualifications reach more individuals and businesses in Yorkshire and Humber.”

Martin Hanratty, Head of UK Account Management of AAT, added: “Leon has a long track record of forging successful local links, and improving awareness of ways for businesses to train and upskill their workers.

“His knowledge of apprenticeships will help employers in Yorkshire and Humber understand how to recruit the best apprentices for their organisation, how the apprenticeship levy can work for them, and how AAT’s high-quality accounting qualifications can give their apprentices, trainees and other employees the skills they need to help their businesses succeed.”

Ward joins AAT from Hull Academy, where he held responsibility to help businesses find apprentices and build their future talent.