People: Armstrong Watson, XCD, MD Law, Clarion, ALT Legal

Armstrong Watson has made a key appointment in its growing corporate finance team with the hire of new partner Jonathan Lewis.

Jonathan, who will be the firm’s Yorkshire corporate finance partner, based in Leeds, joins Armstrong Watson from Olympia Capital Partners, where he was Partner and Chief Investment Officer.

Jonathan has worked in corporate finance for more than 15 years, as both an adviser and an investor, and has completed deals with a combined value of more than £5bn; including acquisitions, disposals, MBOs, private equity investments, and growth capital raises.

Originally from Yorkshire, he trained as a chartered accountant with PwC and worked in the M&A teams at PwC and Deloitte in London, before moving to Singapore, where he worked for six years at a multi-billion-dollar private investment fund. There he had numerous roles including director of listed investments, managing director of private investments, and finally chief financial officer of the group.

His appointment follows the hire of David Wilson as corporate finance partner in Newcastle in October 2023.

In his new role, Jonathan will be responsible for delivering merger and acquisition transactions across Yorkshire and wider regions, using his experience and knowledge to continue to grow Armstrong Watson’s service offering and provide a first-class service.

He said: “I was attracted by Armstrong Watson’s unique culture, strong values, and reputation across the region as a dynamic and entrepreneurial firm.”

Mike Kienlen, head of corporate finance, said: “We are in a very exciting position with the team’s development over the past 12 months and Jonathan’s experience, knowledge and skill will complement the existing team and help us in continuing to support our clients.”


XCD partners, a Leeds-based consultancy, today announced a key hire to their team. Matt Ward joins as Head of Growth to build brand awareness and take their proposition to market at an exciting time in their journey.

Matt Ward

Founded at the beginning of this year, XCD partners is a community of senior, experienced leaders across a range of technology and business disciplines. With over 100 partners in the community, their outstanding strengths are in the CIO, CTO & CPO disciplines, Programme Leadership and Technical Architecture as well as having experts in tech platforms including Salesforce, SAP and AWS.

The XCD partner group is built around a diverse group of seasoned experts, seeking interesting and varied challenges to support their clients to solve. Core to the values of the business are sustainability and the environment as well as a focus on helping female leaders take the next step into C-suite and executive roles.

Matt has a track record in scaling consultancy businesses, including at xDesign and Market Gravity/Deloitte. Matt said, “I am massively excited at the prospect of working with such a diverse and immensely talented group of people to help clients exceed their expectations now and in the future by accessing the collective wisdom and experience of our XCD partners.”

Welcoming him on board, commercial, sales and marketing director Will Parker said, “Matt is someone I have known for some time; I have always respected his community centric approach, long-term relationship strategy and found our vision of a new-age consultancy aligned and purposeful. Matt is a key piece of the jigsaw that will help us build XCD, supporting our clients’ to achieve sustainable success through our core offerings in Strategy & Transformation, Technology & Innovation, Data & Insight Enablement and Product and Engineering Delivery. Matt, we welcome you to the team and are delighted to work alongside you to achieve our ambitions.”


Sheffield’s MD Law has expanded its insolvency and restructuring team with the appointment of a new solicitor to the busy firm.

Elliott Hill brings national and international experience in advising insolvency professionals, individuals and companies on all insolvency and business recovery issues to the boutique law firm.

Elliott Hill

Prior to his return to Yorkshire, Elliott has worked for a number of international law firms focusing on national and cross-border insolvency and restructuring matters, several of which were high-profile cases. Having spent time in London and during a secondment to Dubai, Elliott has worked across numerous jurisdictions including Hong Kong, the BVI and several states within the GCC.

Elliott will work closely with partners Matthew Dixon, Neil Kelly and Carl Jones on owner managed instructions as the Broomhall-based firm builds on its already highly respected reputation for insolvency.

Elliott, who is from Dronfield, said: “I wanted to be more involved and have greater input into the cases I am dealing with, and this opportunity at MD Law, allows this.

“I’m looking forward to expanding my skills and working closely with clients and colleagues to deliver an exceptional restructuring and insolvency service.”

MD Law partner Matthew Dixon, who set up the business nine years ago acting for, and advising professionals, businesses and individuals across the country on corporate law, insolvency, litigation and commercial property matters, said: “Elliott joins the team at a crucial time as businesses face a number of challenges from increasing price pressures to supply, and workforce shortages. He will be a great asset to our clients and a key part of our growing team.”


Clarion, has announced the appointment of a new legal director, Katie Bullock, who will be joining its Court of Protection and personal injury trust team.

With more than 12 years’ experience dealing with high value and complex Court of Protection (COP) matters, Katie is well placed to support vulnerable clients and their families, across Yorkshire and the UK more broadly. Having worked primarily on personal injury and clinical negligence claims, Katie has been integral in securing multi-million-pound settlements as a result of injuries sustained through accidents, personal injury and clinical negligence.

Katie will bring further experience in deputyships and personal injury trusts to a team that already has a strong national reputation. The team at Clarion manages the professional property and affairs of those who experience challenges with mental capacity and do not have family members to act as deputy for them.

The appointment comes as Clarion continues its mission to create an entrepreneurial environment for the best legal talent across the region. Katie is the first senior appointment of 2024, with 62 employees having joined the firm in 2023.

Speaking on her appointment, Katie said: “Clarion has an excellent reputation for high value and high-quality work, as well as a great reputation as an employer. The team have worked hard to become nationally-recognised for their COP work and they are a really well-respected firm.

“Across the business, but especially in the COP team, it’s clear they put their clients at the heart of everything they do and work in their best interests. I’m thrilled to be joining the team and particularly at such an exciting time in its growth journey.”

Lynsey Harrison, Clarion partner and head of the Court of Protection team, added: “We’re proud to have built such a strong Court of Protection offering at Clarion and it’s essential that we have a team that puts respect and care into the heart of everything they do. Katie embodies this.”


ALT Legal, the Wetherby firm known for its disruptive ethos and client-focused approach, has hired two new recruits, highlighting the law firm’s commitment to innovation.

Heather Robertson and Alex Cooper took an unusual path to the conventional one of law degree to law school to law firm.

Heather Robertson (L) and Alex Cooper

Alex studied Pharmacology before qualifying as a corporate lawyer, while Heather did a law degree, but spent many years as a front-end web developer in the tech industry.

Alex joins from Clarion, where she gained years of experience supporting SMEs with buy outs, investments, acquisitions, and joint ventures.

Alex said: “I was really attracted to ALT Legal’s ethos and values. It has a refreshing approach to innovate the sector’s traditional models, coupled with a flexibility for working parents.”

Anna Ashford, Head of ALT Legal, said: “Heather and Alex’s diverse backgrounds accentuate ALT Legal’s commitment to a very different approach to problem solving. Heather’s role in particular will see her utilising those tech skills to bring new products, such as visual contracts, to life.”

Heather said: “After my experience in the more creative, disruptive tech sector before working in traditional law firms, it’s exciting to join a firm with such an innovative approach that isn’t fixated on billable hours. The subscription model gives breathing space to build genuine client relationships without them worrying about unexpected bills for every six-minute unit of advice.”

ALT Legal, founded almost 10 years ago by Richard Turner and Rob Ashall, remains committed to creating a 21st century law firm. Their aim is to draw back the curtain on what has often seemed a rather uptight, sometimes pretentious, and often baffling profession.

The founders insist that there is space for a law firm which can provide the same quality of advice, wrapped in a less formal and perhaps even irreverent approach, which better reflects the tone of voice and culture of many modern businesses.

The firm insists on explaining to clients the secrets behind the legalese, often pointing out the documents that a business doesn’t need, as well as seeking to streamline, automate and improve the ones they do.

Rob Ashall, founder of ALT Legal, said: “Just because we don’t take ourselves too seriously doesn’t mean we don’t take what we do seriously. Our lawyers, as proven by the recent hires of Alex and Heather, are first rate – they just feel the same as we do, that law is a tool to help businesses. It doesn’t need to be the business prevention unit.”

Since 2021, when ALT Legal was relaunched as a spin-out from Alpaca, Anna Ashford has led the day-to-day operations. Her prominence on LinkedIn has brought the firm a legion of loyal followers who appreciate this alternative approach to law.

According to Anna, the change is being driven by clients: “What we hear most often from clients is that they want us to go further. They’re crying out for contracts which make sense to somebody who isn’t legally trained. They want to see visual contracts, automation, and efficiency. They love that we communicate with them in plain English using tools like Slack. It’s really not rocket science but it seems to be a gap in the market.”