Category Archives: Law

Law firm opens new office in Selby increasing regional network presence to 20

A leading Yorkshire law firm has opened its newest regional office in Selby, taking its total network of offices to 20.

Ison Harrison’s new office on Brook Street will be managed by Daniel Kenworthy, who is assistant head of residential conveyancing for the firm and also manages the firm’s successful Pontefract office. Daniel joined Ison Harrison in April 2019 and specialises in residential conveyancing.

The team at Selby also comprises Lucy Hough, associate and wills and probate solicitor, Emma Clowes, family solicitor, and Gemma Atkinson, conveyancing legal executive.

 

Lucy has worked in wills and probate for eight years and qualified as a solicitor in October 2020. She joined Ison Harrison in July 2021 and was promoted to associate solicitor in 2023.

 

Emma Clowes works in the firm’s successful family law division and has four years’ experience in the field. She joined Ison Harrison after qualifying in September 2023.

 

Gemma Atkinson is due to qualify as a chartered legal executive later this year after completing a six year apprenticeship. Gemma has worked in the legal sector for 10 years and as a Selby resident has extensive insight of the local property market. Gemma joined Ison Harrison’s conveyancing division in April this year.

 

Ison Harrison became a 100% employee-owned business in January 2022. Since becoming owned by its employees, the firm has experienced significant growth in the number of clients that it acts for, with this 20th office launch reaffirming its expansive presence in the region.

Selby is the fourth new office the firm has opened since becoming entirely employee-owned, after Wakefield in 2022, Doncaster in 2023, and Queensbury earlier this year.

Ison Harrison’s new Selby office is offering a comprehensive suite of legal services for both business and private clients, ranging from new build and conveyancing to family law and wills and probate matters, as well as being able to draw on the wider expertise in the firm for commercial clients.

 

Selby branch manager, Daniel Kenworthy, commented: “We’ve assembled a talented team at Selby and we’re all looking forward to establishing a strong presence in the area. This new office launch is the next step in Ison Harrison’s continued expansion, enabling us to build solid connections in the local community, to provide a comprehensive legal service and repeat the success we’ve achieved across the entire Yorkshire region.”

 

Ison Harrison managing partner, Jonathan Wearing, said: “This is our 20th office and our fourth since becoming employee-owned in just over two years. We’re delighted to have opened two new offices in the first half of this year and completed the recent acquisition of established Leeds firm, Cohen Cramer.

“This latest office sees us further strengthening our reputation in Yorkshire, providing an even wider range of legal expertise through our expanding network of offices. One of the driving factors at the firm is that clients can easily access high-quality, local legal advice thanks to our visibility and prominence across the region’s high streets. We’re looking forward to seizing the opportunity to further establish the Ison Harrison name in a new and exciting location.”

 

Ison Harrison employs more than 300 staff across Yorkshire, offering the broadest range of legal services in the region.

The firm has over 10 Law Society accreditations including Lexcel, Clinical Negligence, Family Law, Immigration & Asylum, Conveyancing Quality and SRA Higher Courts Rights – civil and criminal.

 

Further information about Ison Harrison is available at https://www.isonharrison.co.uk

 

Ison Harrison Expands with Strategic Acquisition of Cohen Cramer Solicitors

Ison Harrison, one of Yorkshire’s most prominent law firms, has acquired Cohen Cramer Solicitors, a distinguished firm in Leeds with a national clientele. This strategic move underscores Ison Harrison’s commitment to growth, excellence, and its unique value of being an employee-owned business.

 

Cohen Cramer has a rich history, with roots dating back to 1980 when Howard Cohen & Co was established. In 2009, the business merged with Cramer Richards, forming Cohen Cramer. Since then, it has built a reputation for specialising in personal injury, regulatory and criminal law, as well as animal related cases, family law, dispute resolution and legal costs.

With a dedicated team of four directors and 27 employees, the firm achieved an impressive turnover exceeding £3 million last year.

This acquisition significantly enhances Ison Harrison’s footprint in the region, bringing the total number of staff to over 300 and solidifying its position as a regional powerhouse with 20 offices across Yorkshire.

 

Jonathan Wearing, Managing Director of Ison Harrison, said: “This acquisition is a testament to our ongoing commitment to providing exceptional and accessible legal services across Yorkshire. By linking up with Cohen Cramer’s specialist lawyers, we are not only expanding our team but also enhancing our ability to serve our clients with a broader and more robust range of legal services.

“Cohen Cramer’s strengths in regulatory and criminal law perfectly complement our existing capabilities, and their focus on military and animal-related injury claims will significantly enhance our personal injury practice.  We are stronger and more versatile than ever before.”

 

In 2022, Ison Harrison transitioned to become a 100% employee-owned business, a pioneering move that underscored the firm’s progressive values and commitment to its employees. The new structure has fuelled further dynamic growth, with substantial client expansion and the opening of four new offices since becoming employee-owned.

 

“Our employee-owned model is a key driver of our success,” added Wearing. “It ensures that every member of our team is invested in the firm’s success, fostering a culture of commitment and excellence that directly benefits our clients.”

 

Emma Mason, Managing Director of Cohen Cramer, shared her excitement about the merger: “Joining forces with Ison Harrison is an incredible opportunity for us. The firm’s strong reputation and extensive regional presence will enhance our ability to deliver outstanding service to our clients. We are proud to become part of an innovative, employee-owned firm that shares our passion for client-centred legal practice. We are a great fit.”

 

With the integration of Cohen Cramer, Ison Harrison now boasts a team of 300 employees across Yorkshire, providing the widest array of legal services in the region.

The firm has over 11 Law Society accreditations including Lexcel, Clinical Negligence, Family Law, Children Law, Immigration & Asylum, Conveyancing Quality and SRA Higher Courts Rights – civil and criminal.

 

For more information about Ison Harrison, visit https://www.isonharrison.co.uk.

 

Pictured (From left to right): Mike Massen, David Hall, Emma Mason, Jonathan Wearing, John Goodwin and Richard Coulthard.

Scottish company dedicated to helping people manage probate recognised for exceptional client care

My Probate Partner, an Edinburgh-based business dedicated to helping the Scottish public manage probate, has been recognised for its exceptional standards of customer care by the prestigious Private Client Modern Law Awards.

A middle-ground solution to managing probate independently and hiring a lawyer to carry out the complicated process, My Probate Partner was founded by Mike Davis in 2019 to provide individuals with the support and guidance needed to navigate the after-death admin with the minimum amount of stress, cost and delay.

Since this time, it has empowered over 600 families to manage estates themselves – equating to over £150 million in assets – while receiving an unrivalled 5-star rating for its personalised approach, underpinned by a dedicated online client portal complete with comprehensive resources and checklists.

As such, the forward-thinking business has been shortlisted by the prestigious Private Client Modern Law Awards for ‘Outstanding Client Care’ alongside five other finalists.

Taking place at The Rum Warehouse, Liverpool, on 4th July 2024, the Private Client Modern Law Awards celebrates and champions the incredible work being delivered across the Private Client industry.

Discussing this latest recognition, Mike Davis, Founder and Director of My Probate Partner, said: “Prior to launching My Probate Partner, I worked for a small legal auditing firm but quickly realised that there were a huge number of probate cases that were relatively straightforward, but clients were still paying thousands of pounds for a solicitor to complete a lot of administration work – despite the fact many people were able and willing to do it themselves if they just knew how.

As a result, I felt there needed to be a simpler, easier-to-use service for probate and hence launched the My Probate Partner platform. Over the last 5 years, we have worked incredibly hard to help hundreds of individuals and families quickly and effectively manage the process, while saving money and stress at an already difficult time.

To be recognised by the Private Client Modern Law Awards for our dedication to client care is a real honour and I now look forward to the awards ceremony this July.”

Committed to growing the platform into a ‘Martin Lewis’ type consumer website specifically for probate in Scotland, My Probate Partner has grown by an impressive 160% over the last 12 months alone.

An industry leading event, the Private Client Modern Law Awards will celebrate over 90 finalists across 19 different awards categories.

For more information, visit:

https://www.myprobatepartner.co.uk

https://www.privateclientawards.co.uk

His Honour Nicholas Cooke KC calls for criminal justice system ‘health check’ in Cardiff Business Club address

His Honour Nicholas Cooke KC, formerly Recorder of Cardiff and a Judge who sat in the Old Bailey and the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) addressed Cardiff Business Club at a dinner event sponsored by Knight Frank, on 20 May at the Parkgate Hotel.

The topic of his lecture was how the current criminal justice system needs a comprehensive health check. He opened with stating how this field of law has changed since he began studying in 1973, becoming more micromanaged and less subjectively determined by judges.

His Honour discussed miscarriages of justice and how they have always happened, the emperor’s clothes mentality surrounding them and how legislation has responded effectively to them, albeit following some pushing. He referenced the post office scandal in depth, describing it as the worst miscarriage of justice in Europe, and read an excerpt from his letter in The Guardian on the topic.

He also used the post office scandal to talk about trends and how they affect, or rather don’t affect, Crown Court judges. It has been said that Crown Court judges act independently and don’t need to take note of trend, but he disagreed and stated that if a judge becomes aware of a trend, he or she should note and respond to it. If the judges involved in the post office scandal had acted in response to trends, perhaps the miscarriage of justice wouldn’t have been so large.

His Honour then discussed a need for a more locally focussed criminal justice system and how one has the potential to reduce crime in specific areas, such as gang violence in London. With a local criminal justice system that reflects local needs, the whole system should work better. He questioned whether the British criminal justice system is the fairest in the world as many still believe but retains the hope we can make it so.

Delving into many of his past cases, cases that haunt him, His Honour then discussed how the current criminal justice system fails to deal with fatal violence against women. He called upon a need to change the starting points for setting minimum terms in murder, by referencing the weapon used, before speaking of Kirsty Treloar and Rebecca Sessacar’s cases, showing photos of the two women to emphasise how they were real people to be remembered. The cases involved “a catalogue of appalling failures” with previous warning signs ignored and other shocking errors.

His Honour used these strong stories to emphasise the need for a review of the entire criminal justice system, before delving into some questions posed by the room.

The next Cardiff Business Club lunch event will see speaker Anne Jessopp CBE, CEO of the Royal Mint, address the club on 27 June at the Hilton Hotel.

Laytons ETL’s John Gavan hands compliance baton to disputes partner Ben Thorogood

The City of London-based international law firm Laytons ETL has appointed partner Ben Thorogood as its new Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP). Mr Thorogood takes over from partner John Gavan, who held the role from its inception 11 years ago.

As COLP, Mr Thorogood will be responsible for ensuring Laytons ETL’s compliance with the terms of its authorisation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and for ensuring that the firm, its managers, employees and interest holders comply with any SRA regulations which apply to them.

Ben Thorogood joined Silverman Sherliker, which merged with Laytons in 2017, as a paralegal in 2012. He trained with the firm, qualifying in 2015, and was appointed a partner at Laytons ETL in 2022.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Thorogood said, “I am grateful for the immense contribution made by John Gavan during his tenure as COLP.

“I am committed to providing the firm, and those engaged within it, with the support required to uphold the highest professional and ethical standards, and to maintain an effective and dynamic legal practice.”

The firm’s previous Compliance Office for Legal Practice, John Gavan, is stepping back to focus on his practice which spans the firm’s corporate, employment and tax groups. A former main board director of a FTSE 350 company, and previous chairman and managing partner of Laytons, Mr Gavan has advised both employers and employees on share incentive schemes for over 30 years, and specialises in matters where corporate law, corporate governance, employment law, and tax interact.

His tenure as COLP spanned the pandemic, and the associated challenges of adapting compliance procedures to new remote working practices, and, in 2021, the firm’s integration into the international professional services group, ETL Global.

Mr Gavan said, “It has been an honour to serve as Laytons’ first Compliance Officer for Legal Compliance, and to play my part in maintaining, through one of the most turbulent periods in post-war history, the exemplary professional standards for which our firm is known.

“I can’t think of anyone better than Ben to take over the role and I am sure he will be more than capable of tackling whatever challenges may come his way as the world changes, working practices continue to evolve, and the regulation of our profession adapts accordingly.”

Michael Kashis, Managing Partner CEO at Laytons ETL, said, “’After 11 years of dedicated service, since the role was introduced, John Gavan will be stepping down from the role of Compliance Officer for Legal Practice. We are deeply grateful for John’s unwavering commitment and invaluable contributions to ensuring our compliance and upholding the highest legal standards.

“Ben Thorogood brings a wealth of experience and a strong understanding of compliance requirements to this position. We are confident that Ben as COLP will continue to uphold our firm’s standards of excellence and integrity in this new capacity.”

Legal Network Launches Initiative on Mental Health Awareness Week to Rescue Isolated lawyers

A legal support network has launched a dedicated well-being service tailored for lawyers struggling with burnout and poor mental health.

The National Legal Alliance, established to combat loneliness during the pandemic, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative called métier legal lifestyle protect – which aims to help lawyers navigate strains of solitude and mental health challenges amid the demanding rigors of their profession.

The service, launched alongside Mental Health Awareness Week on 13th May, focuses on holistic health while embracing both mental and physical well-being in one accessible platform.

The organisation is hoping to expand the service to include discounted gym memberships, healthy recipes, and a charity partnership that will encourage lawyers to take care of their minds and bodies.

Andrew Byrne, a qualified solicitor and founder of the National Legal Alliance, said: “The attitude towards mental wellbeing for lawyers is definitely improving compared to how things were when I started practising law almost 30 years ago.

“Back then lawyers probably took themselves too seriously. There was a lot of pressure and not a lot of time for socialising or relaxing. You couldn’t switch off from thinking about cases you were working on.

“Burnout was common, and I even had to take six months off at one point to recover from being so exhausted.

“Mental health wasn’t talked about then but now it is, which is something we want to focus on.

“One thing we have noticed is that there is a lot of isolation, especially for smaller firms. It is healthy to go out and have a laugh with people who know what you’re going through. That’s what we try to achieve.”

Mental health is a big issue for people pursuing a career in law.

In 2021, Law Care shared that 69% of 1700 lawyers questioned had experienced mental health difficulties in the last 12 months, however only 56% of those spoke about it at work.

Similarly, research conducted in 2018 by consulting firm BetterUp found that lawyers ranked highest for loneliness, and a follow up article by the Washington Post shared that 61% of lawyers rank “above average” on the UCLA loneliness scale.

Loneliness in legal professions can be caused by a number of factors including a high workload, not being able to discuss cases and stigma surrounding the job.

The National Legal Alliance, originally the Northern Legal Alliance, was founded during the pandemic to provide support to a network of legal service providers.

Among its array of member benefits, the service extends aid and support in areas such as business development, marketing, networking, and more.

Mick Eardley, Sales and Marketing Director, said: “When COVID came about, it was suddenly really obvious how important your personal network was. We wanted contact with the people we were close to.

“I really struggled. I didn’t realise how important going to work, or having lunch with a client, or going to an event was until it stopped.

“It felt like my whole framework, my whole routine, had been ripped away from me.”

The group later opened up to law firms, giving them discounted access to a network of providers, community lunches, conferences, and more.

The Alliance has grown since its inception in 2020 to include over 40 law firms, whose members meet regularly across the country to help them step away from their desks, build friendships and network.

Mick added: “We’ve found lawyers often socialise within their business, but they very rarely get outside of that.

“That’s why our lunch events are popular. People can get out of the office and something comes of those conversations.”

The organisation has also recently partnered with legalCadre which helps law firms develop people focused strategies that enhance culture, engagement, and wellbeing.

Jane Gilchrist, director of legalCadre, said: “When your employees feel valued, included, recognised, and supported, they are motivated and productive.

“Creating a positive work environment creates a positive impact on connection, collaboration, engagement and wellbeing which in turn has a positive impact on how they interact with clients, and ultimately improves results.”

Family law firm expands team

Specialist family law firm Lake Legal is supporting its growth plans with the appointment of Isabella O’Donoghue as a litigation executive.

Isabella joins the firm from Barnes Clark Family Law. She will complete her chartered legal executive status at Lake Legal.

Commenting on her new role, Isabella said: “Lake Legal has a fantastic reputation in the region, and the firm has a great track record at developing young lawyers. I look forward to working with the team and supporting clients.”

The Leeds-based firm recently marked 15 years in business with a record turnover and an increase in the number of divorce cases it managed for high-net-worth individuals.

Lake Legal supports clients in a wide range of family law, from advising on pre-nuptial agreements to advising on issues arising from separation and divorce. It also has a fast-growing arbitration practice, headed by Lyn Ayrton, the founder of Lake Legal. Arbitration allows couples who are going through a separation or divorce to have their differences settled in a more flexible and usually quicker way than in a courtroom.

Claire Glaister, managing partner of Lake Legal, said: “Isabella is a talented lawyer, and we’re pleased to welcome her to Lake Legal. The firm continues to go from strength to strength thanks to our team’s commitment and hard work.”

In the industry bibles, Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, Lake Legal has consistently been ranked in the top tier, while Lyn and Claire are singled out for their expertise in family law. Lyn is one of only a handful of solicitors in the region qualified to arbitrate cases.

Ends
Pictured: (left to right) Claire Glaister and Isabella O’Donoghue.

Law Firm Launches Dedicated Employee Ownership Service

One of Yorkshire’s leading law firms has launched a dedicated employee ownership advisory service.

Employee Ownership Advisor is a new service from Ison Harrison designed to provide business owners with the ultimate resource for navigating the world of Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs).

 

With its own dedicated website, the service aims to help business owners looking to explore the benefits of an EOT for their business. Having experienced the advantages of employee ownership themselves, the firm’s team of expert lawyers is well placed to answer questions and provide no-obligation advice to business owners looking to make the switch.

The service covers everything from the basic principles of employee ownership, the process of transitioning to an EOT, trust management, employee engagement, company governance and rewards and benefits.

 

Employee ownership is becoming an increasingly popular model for British businesses. According to figures compiled by the Employee Ownership Association, 332 businesses transitioned to employee ownership in 2022. As of June 2023, the total number of companies owned partially or fully by their employees had reached a record 1,418, marking a 37% growth in just 12 months.

Ison Harrison was the UK’s first law firm to become a 100% employee-owned business in January 2022 after the three main shareholder directors agreed to sell the business to an Employee Ownership Trust.

270 qualifying team members at the firm recently received a profit distribution payout marking the second anniversary of becoming employee-owned. As a result of the firm’s strong financial performance, individual profit distributions approved by Ison Harrison’s Board of Trustees saw all eligible employees receive a tax-free distribution of £4,000 each, an increase of £400 on the £3,600 payment paid the previous year.

The firm, which employs more than 270 staff across the region, posted a record turnover of over £22 million last year, up 16% from £19 million in 2022.

 

Employee Ownership Advisor is the brainchild of Richard Coulthard, director and head of commercial services. Since launching the service, the firm has received a significant number of preliminary enquiries from business owners across the region and beyond, and is already helping several local businesses through the transitionary stages.

He commented: “The move to employee ownership has been hugely positive and advantageous for Ison Harrison. This success is the inspiration for the Employee Ownership Adviser as we want to share our experience of the process and use our expertise to help other business owners by transitioning from traditional business ownership to the EOT model.

“As a firm, we have taken a unique approach to set ourselves apart from our competitors. We are proud to be an EOT, which helps distinguish us from other firms. In embracing employee ownership, we have fostered a culture of collaboration, incentivised performance, and ensured our clients receive exceptional service. This experience and knowledge is now being passed on to business owners so that they and their workforce can enjoy the many benefits of employee ownership. Our service website is dedicated to providing practical insights, expert advice, and invaluable tips to ensure a smooth and successful transition. We fully understand the challenges that may arise and we are well equipped to provide the knowledge and strategies needed to overcome them.”

 

Ison Harrison employs more than 270 staff across Yorkshire, offering the broadest range of legal services in the region. The firm’s commercial division now advises businesses from across all sectors in transitioning to an employee-owned business.

The firm has over 10 Law Society accreditations including Lexcel, Clinical Negligence, Family Law, Immigration & Asylum, Conveyancing Quality and SRA Higher Courts Rights – civil and criminal.

Business owners interested in finding out more should visit: https://www.employeeownershipadvisor.co.uk or call the Employee Ownership Advisor team on 0800 232 1620

Pictured (above): Richard Coulthard, director and head of commercial services.

Leadership behaviour change is crucial following Nicola Hinds discrimination case

A leading provider of HR solutions and leadership and development coaching is underscoring the need for companies to prioritise good leadership and management behaviour following the recent discrimination in the workplace ruling in favour of Nicola Hinds.

A judge upheld Nicola Hinds’ claims of pregnancy discrimination and constructive dismissal, stating that her male boss had unfairly stereotyped her as ‘an emotional, hormonal pregnant woman’, leading to her resignation upon returning from maternity leave.

According to Aspiring, the ruling serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive nature of discrimination and the need for transformative action within organisations.

Liz Beck, Founder and CEO of Aspiring, remarked on the significance of this case. She commented:

“The treatment Nicola Hinds endured is sadly reflective of a broader issue within workplaces. Discrimination, particularly concerning women, pregnancy, and stereotypes, is unacceptable. It is evident that merely having HR policies in place is insufficient; organisations must actively cultivate a culture of respect and inclusion, starting from the top down.

“True change begins with leaders setting the tone and demonstrating inclusive practices. We cannot underestimate the impact of leadership behaviour on employee experiences. Leaders must actively champion fairness, equality, and respect, and serve as exemplary role models, setting high standards for both managers and colleagues to follow. They have the ability to shine a light or cast a shadow – they need to lead the way.

“We are urging organisations to prioritise good management behaviour and equip their leaders with the skills and awareness to uphold ethical standards.”

Aspiring remains committed to supporting organisations in developing positive workplace cultures through tailored leadership development programmes, coaching, and HR solutions.

Law Firm’s Booming Litigation Division Registers Further Success

A Yorkshire law firm’s litigation division is on course for a record year following significant revenue growth, increasing client numbers and the appointment of a new Head of Department.

The litigation division of Leeds headquartered law firm Ison Harrison’s turnover for the year to date is currently over 67% higher than it was 12 months ago with the client count increasing by over 40%.

After joining the firm in August 2023 as a partner, commercial litigation specialist Lindsay Dixon has been appointed as the new Head of Department and has spearheaded the impressive growth in the team, which continues to go from strength to strength.

The litigation team sits alongside the firm’s property, company and commercial and employment teams in the corporate and commercial division, which have all grown exponentially over the past 12 months, making it the firm’s second largest collective team.

Last year the firm experienced a 32% growth in revenue from commercial services as for the same period in 2022, recording its most profitable year to date. Transaction values have also increased across the division.

In 2022, Ison Harrison switched to become a 100% employee-owned business after the three shareholder directors agreed to sell the business to an Employee Ownership Trust. The firm is one of only a handful of law firms in the UK to become exclusively employee-owned.

Over the past two years, the firm has experienced significant client growth, opening its 19th regional office in Queensbury earlier this year, after taking on over 20,000 new clients during 2023.

Richard Coulthard, Director and Head of Corporate, said: “Our commercial litigation department has extensive experience in representing different types of business clients in various disputes. We have developed close relationships with many commercial clients over the years, and always view ourselves as a trusted partner. The team provides advice tailored to each client in relation to the issue they face, providing pre-emptive guidance to address any potential issues that may arise in the future. We are focused on helping clients to future-proof their business operations.

“Our approach, based on fostering strong relationships, has helped us to continue to grow our commercial offering, strengthening our position as leaders in legal professional advisory work to the SME market. The success and growth we have experienced to date is the driving force behind the further development of this important area of the business.”

Ison Harrison was founded in 1978. With an annual turnover of over £22 million, the firm has become a well-known regional practice offering the broadest range of legal services to thousands of people and businesses.

Ison Harrison currently holds 13 Law Society accreditations including Conveyancing Quality, Clinical Negligence, Children Law, Family Law, Immigration & Asylum, and SRA Higher Courts Rights – civil and criminal.

For more information, visit www.isonharrison.co.uk