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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Pannone Corporate has acted for the management team, Maven Capital Partners, and Mercia Fund Managers, on the proposed sale of Macclesfield-based fintech start-up, Mojo Mortgages, to RVU – the owner of multiple digital brands, including Uswitch, Confused.com and Money.co.uk.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Mark Winthorpe, corporate partner, who lead on the deal, commented: “Mojo is fantastic North West success story, demonstrating the significant potential that exists in the regional’s fintech community when you cleverly combine smart technology with market and consumer insight. This deal is testament to the considerable investment and ambition that the team has made in the last few years and is an exciting milestone in the growth journey of the tech start-up.”

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Pannone Corporate has advised Place Capital Group on the acquisition of Fourth Street Place Consultants.

The corporate team, led by partner Tim Hamilton, advised the housing estate regeneration specialist on its first acquisition as part of an ambitious buy and build strategy.

Fourth Street Place Consultants is a specialist place making consultancy which works with public and private sector clients involved in place making and destination-led developments. As part of the transaction, Fourth Street will retain its own brand and management structure and will continue to serve existing clients, while launching a new expansion plans with the support of Place Capital Group.

Commenting on the acquisition, Tim Hamilton said: “Place Capital Group is an exciting and highly motivated business that is well placed to achieve rapid growth in a vital regeneration sector that is underpinned by a comprehensive national strategy – one that is intended to improve and accelerate estate regeneration schemes to deliver more and better quality housing, drive local growth and improve outcomes for residents.

“Fourth Street lays the perfect foundations for growth and will undoubtedly help to unlock increased market potential, as their complementary expertise are combined to fulfil a growing portfolio of partnering contracts with local authorities and housing associations.”

Place Capital Group, which was formed by David Smith-Milne and Peter Martin in early 2021, works with large public organisations such as local authorities and housing associations through Strategic Development Partnering contracts, applying its expertise and capital solutions to the regeneration of housing estates to create much needed additional affordable and mixed tenure housing.

David Smith-Milne, Place Capital Group Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be bringing Fourth Street into the Place Capital Group. The acquisition made perfect sense as the Fourth Street team is totally aligned to our vision to bring excellence and creativity to the regeneration of the UK’s forgotten housing estates.”

Dan Anderson, who formed Fourth Street alongside Jim Roberts in 2012, added: “We were immediately drawn to the Place Capital Group concept – both its commercial structure and its ambitious and transformative vision to bring much needed, imaginative place-making to housing estates across the UK. Through the deal, we retain all that is special and unique about Fourth Street but get the added benefit of being part of an ambitious, challenging and mission-led group structure that will introduce much needed new thinking to the UK’s housing problems.”

Pannone Corporate’s corporate team works with a wide range of clients, including private equity houses and businesses large and small across multiple sectors.

 

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Pannone Corporate has expanded its team with a triple appointment as it looks to strengthen the law firm across its specialisms.

Michael McNally and Adam Pavey have both joined as directors in the Employment and HR team. James Brandwood joins the firm as a Real Estate associate.

Michael and Adam will be responsible for advising clients on all aspects of employment law, including providing regular representation and advocacy in the Employment Tribunal.

Michael, who joins from Freeths LLP in Liverpool, has particular experience in acting for SMEs through to multi-nationals in the manufacturing, transport and logistics, hospitality and leisure and care sectors. Adam was formerly a solicitor at Poole Alcock, where he helped to develop the Cheshire firm’s employment department, with clients spanning a number of sectors. He has a particular specialist interest in healthcare.

Pannone Corporate’s employment team works with a wide range of clients, predominantly those with 400-500 employees across a number of sectors, including social housing, manufacturing, retail and hospitality.

James, who joins from Addleshaw Goddard, will work alongside a highly experienced Real Estate team, led by partner, James Wynne, which advises on a wide range of commercial real estate matters for major property groups, together with national retail and leisure operators. James will be responsible for property acquisitions and disposals, financings, as well as development, landlord and tenant transactions.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone Corporate, commented: “Both the Employment and Real Estate teams have built up an excellent reputation in recent years for their experience and expertise across their core specialisms. We’re committed to enhancing that offering and the appointment of Michael, Adam and James is testament to that drive and ambition.”

The Real Estate team recently advised Palmbest Limited, part of the Bestway Group of companies, on the acquisition of Staples Corner Shopping Park, leading the £28 million retail park transaction.

 

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