I was one of the founding partners who set up Pannone Corporate in 2014. We effectively performed an MBO of the commercial part of Pannone LLP – a top 50 law firm at the time. I joined Pannone LLP in 2004 as a partner, having worked at a regional law firm and two international law firms prior to that. I am now the firm’s senior partner – a role that I really enjoy, having been the managing partner when we formed ten years ago.

When the opportunity arose for a new firm to be created from the commercial teams at Pannone LLP, I knew it could work. I saw it as the “ best of both”,  in the sense that we were creating something completely new but with people and clients who had worked together for many years, in some cases almost 30 years.

Reassuringly familiar, but refreshingly different was always how I saw it. I believed that if our clients could see we were going to support them in the same way they had come to expect, with the same team of people, then they would give us a chance!  Even with this conviction I was still nervous – setting up a new law firm isn’t usually what you do, at least not back in 2014. There was a huge amount of work to be done by everyone involved to get us to the starting line. From the autumn of 2013 to February 2014, it was pretty much a non-stop adrenaline rush.

The firm today is both similar and very different to where we started. We have retained the vast majority of the clients we started off with, and many of the people who took the leap of faith with us are happily still here. We have also added many more new clients and team members since 2014, so it looks and feels different to 2014, while still retaining the strong culture that we started with.

The best thing
The best thing about my job is the daily interaction with our clients and team. I consider myself a people person and l like few things better in life than meeting clients (new or long established) and discussing their business, challenges, and opportunities.

Standout moments
My favourite memory of the last ten years? That is a difficult question. The launch party is definitely up there! I would also include every new client win, every tender success, and every time someone chooses to join us to spend part of their career with us. The legal profession is ultimately a people business, and we genuinely have a great group of people at Pannone which comes across to clients on a daily basis.

The achievement I am most proud of is helping to create a sustainable, profitable law firm that is able to offer its staff a supportive, engaging, and collegiate working environment. We are a stronger firm now than when we started off 10 years ago and that is down to our people and clients.

What also makes me proud is that so many clients, including household names such as boohoo, DHL, Iceland, and New Balance to name only a few, have placed their trust in us.

The future

I see the North West business community going from strength to strength in the next ten years, building on the incredible achievements during the last ten. With a change of government looking very likely in the next six months and a genuine commitment to more devolved powers to the region (amongst others) as a consequence of a new administration, it looks a promising outlook for our region.

For our firm, I see the next ten years as growth years. We have invested heavily in IT in the last 12 months and our new infrastructure puts us in a good place from which to grow – adding more people and more clients. We have never sought growth for the sake of it – we have always sought sustainable, profitable growth. I genuinely cannot see why more clients in the region and beyond would not want to see what we have to offer!

One word

If I had to describe us in one word – ambitious.

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As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, we wanted to speak to people across the firm – from those who were here at the beginning of our journey, to those who have joined us in recent years – to get their views on what makes Pannone what it is, and how the legal and Greater Manchester landscape has changed during that time.

In the first of a 10 blog series, we speak to partner, David Walton. He joined the Health, Safety and Regulatory team in March 2023, having worked in the legal sector for 32 years. During that time, he worked alongside Bill Dunkerley, Associate Partner at Pannone, who convinced him that he should come and speak to the firm when, at the end of 2022, he was exploring his vocational future.

“As a former business owner and practicing lawyer, I was in the enviable position of having a good insight into what the final years of my professional working life could and should look like and, upon meeting the senior leadership team at Pannone Corporate, I realised very quickly that I had found what I was searching for.

“I already knew the Pannone Corporate brand symbolised legal acumen and professionalism; lawyers practicing at the top of their game. That was confirmed very soon after joining the firm. However, what equally attracted me to Pannone and, what was confirmed when my feet hit the ground, was the sense of team spirit, bonding and trust that permeates through all parts of the practice. Management styles can differ greatly and are central to a firm’s success. The management style adopted across Pannone (transparent, fair, and one that rewards team players working towards a common goal), is one that I have always tried to emulate myself. Pannone is made up of honest, decent people who care in equal measure about their clients and about each other. In many ways it is an “old school approach”, but, ironically, in 2024, it’s completely in line with what a modern workplace should look like.

“It’s exactly one year since I stepped through the door to start my first day. I expected the transition from a firm I’d worked in for over 30 years, to a firm in which I knew very few people, to be challenging – particularly in light of my age! In truth, it has been rewarding, rather than challenging. I’ve been made to feel welcome by everyone I’ve met and the sense of team and comradeship is constantly in evidence. I’ve embraced bringing my area of specialism and contacts into a full-service commercial law firm and enjoyed working alongside the firm’s myriad of specialists. Bill and I have a vision for the HSR team, which is fully supported and which we are driven to deliver.

“The North West is continuing to grow and present itself as a realistic alternative hub to London. It’s entrepreneurs and internationally recognised sports teams enhance that reputation and, naturally, it is building a legal community to match. Pannone, a relatively small practice in terms of numbers, already punches above its weight in that North West arena. However, my reason for joining is to help those visionary founding partners, and those who have subsequently joined, to expand upon what has evolved and become even more of a player in the North West legal scene.

“If I had to think of one word that sums up Pannone it would be “trustworthy”. If I had to think of a second, it would be “team”!

Latest News

Reassuringly familiar, but refreshingly different - Pannone Corporate

I was one of the founding partners who set up Pannone Corporate in 2014. We effectively performed an MBO of the commercial part of Pannone LLP - a top 50...

Read more...
Interpretation of contracts and implied terms - Pannone Corporate

Contracts form the cornerstone of business relationships. Having clarity as to the terms parties are bound by in a contract is paramount to business effi...

Read more...
What next for net zero? - Pannone Corporate

In the final piece in our series commenting on Manchester’s aims to achieve net zero by 2038, we look to the future and offer our predictions as to som...

Read more...

View all posts