In the latest in our 10 year anniversary blog series, Ten in 10, we speak to the man who keeps the IT engine running at Pannone – Steve Elderfield.

Steve joined what was the ‘old’ Pannone is 2006 as a Senior IT Support Technician, before moving across to Pannone Corporate following the firm’s MBO in 2014, becoming IT Manager. Ten years on, he continues to play an integral role in the firm as IT & Facilities Manager. “Pannone offered a great opportunity to continue my journey in IT which I couldn’t turn down and I’ve never looked back,” admits Steve.

Like many people in the firm, his role has evolved significantly in the last 10 years. “What started out as just the IT Manager, has grown into much more,” explains Steve. “I have taken on more roles and responsibilities along the way, covering various different areas of our IT and the building.”

While his role has developed in the last decade, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed from the day he started and that’s the people and work culture. “Everyone was very friendly and welcoming on my first day, which gave me a real sense of acceptance and made the working environment that much more enjoyable,” says Steve. “I recall feeling like I was part of something special and through the years I developed a lot of friendships in the firm.”

There have been a number of highlights and key achievements for Steve since he joined, including his own personal development and gaining the trust and responsibilities that comes with the role, while also seeing and being part of the firm grow into what it is today. But one particular highlight was the move to the Chapel, which Pannone proudly calls home. “Although the move was very challenging to manage at the time,” admits Steve. “It was also very exciting to be a part of.”

He’s not only proud of Pannone and its achievements in the last 10 years, but also how the North West business community has grown during that time. “It’s been flourishing over the last 10 years, bringing more people to the city,” says Steve. “In the next 10 years, I can only see the North West becoming one of the great business hubs, alongside London which, in turn, will boost the economy and generate more work for firm’s such as ours.”

The use of the word ‘our’ feels very deliberate. Steve has a strong connection with the firm and carries real aspirations for more expansion and growth, but it’s how he describes Pannone that tells the true story of his relationship with the firm – “If I had to describe Pannone in one word, it would be ‘family’.”

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Manchester law firm Pannone Corporate has strengthened its team with the appointment of four legal professionals.

Helen Fyles joins the firm as an associate partner in the insolvency and restructuring team, previously having worked at Knights plc and Mills & Reeve LLP. Helen will support partner Daniel Clarke in helping to develop and grow the team, bringing over 20 years’ experience advising all stakeholders in the insolvency process, particularly insolvency practitioners in their capacity as liquidators, administrators and trustees in bankruptcy. Helen also has particular expertise in insolvency investigations and pursuing delinquent directors.

Helen is joined at the firm by Jessica Boswell, who has been appointed as an associate in the dispute resolution team. Joining from JMW, Jessica will assist the team across a wide range of disputes covering general commercial contracts and professional negligence. She brings experience in breach of contract claims, misrepresentation issues and disputes with insurers in both an individual and business capacity.

Imogen Eastwood has been appointed as a solicitor in the commercial team. Joining from Deloitte LLP, Imogen will be responsible for advising clients on a wide range of commercial agreements across various sectors, ranging from trading agreements through to major projects.

Bradley Davies completes the current round of appointments, joining Pannone as a solicitor in the dispute resolution team. Bradley will support the team in advising on a wide range of areas, including real estate litigation, disputes concerning general commercial contracts, estates and trusts, intellectual property, IT and professional negligence.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone, said: “As a firm, we’re committed to hiring and investing in the brightest talent – people who possess technical excellence but also emotional intelligence.

“We recognise the value they can bring to the firm in helping us to deliver a personal, collaborative and client-focused service. I’m confident Helen, Jessica, Imogen and Bradley will be a real asset in our commercial, insolvency and dispute resolution teams as we look to build on our success in our tenth year of business.”

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Nearly a decade on from joining Pannone Corporate, Danielle Amor talks about her career, her passion for seeing clients get the outcome they deserve, her love of coffee, and the growing influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the legal sector.

Tell us a little about your career before joining Pannone

I studied law at Durham, then took the LPC at Oxford before starting a two year training contract at an international law firm in London, which included six months working at ITV in the Rights and Business Affairs team. I worked there for about seven years before making the move back up north.

My first role in Manchester was in-house at Manchester United working on the then-record sponsorship deal with adidas, before moving back into private practice at Pannone. When I joined, the firm had only been formed a few months before, so it was a really exciting time to be starting.

In her current role as a director in the commercial team, Danielle advises on commercial contracts, intellectual property and data protection compliance, with a broad range of specialism across the experienced team covering retail, fashion, manufacturing, hospitality, media, IT and industrial services. It was that talent and expertise that attracted her to Pannone. I was drawn to the mix of excellent lawyers and high quality work.

Despite a few wobbles along the way when she considered packing it all in ‘for a life of wanderlust’,  Danielle remains committed to the profession and what can be achieved. I am really irked by injustice! I enjoy seeing clients achieve the outcome they deserve, particularly when they have been in a dispute and I am instructed to draft the settlement terms.

Danielle is also passionate about the important role lawyers have to play in a world that is already changing with the increasing use of technology, particularly AI. I can see why businesses might turn to AI for drafting contracts and legal letters when they don’t always receive the practical, commercial advice they need from legal advisors. However, the nuances and subtleties that the majority of our drafting requires, cannot be replicated by AI as it stands. This reinforces why we need to continue to keep our advice concise, relevant and responsive to our clients’ needs.

So what does a typical day look like? I prefer being in the office, so I usually get in around 9am after dropping the kids off at school and nursery. A lot of my work involves drafting long agreements, so there is a lot of time spent in front of a screen. We have regular team catch-ups and training sessions in the diary and most client meetings tend to be via Teams. I also try and go for a walk at lunchtime and get a coffee from Mancoco to power me through the afternoon.

Coffee is a clear favourite of Danielle’s. When asked what she would be doing if she didn’t have a career in law, she responded: I have always quite fancied running my own café selling coffee and cake.

What’s more, if Danielle was managing partner for the day, the first thing she would do is install a coffee machine!

Outside of work, Danielle is kept busy by her three young children and a springer spaniel! We enjoy getting out into the nearby countryside and back to my home town of Blackpool whenever the weather allows. I also enjoy baking birthday cakes (for the kids, not the dog!) and yoga to de-stress.

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Radhika Das joined Pannone in July 2018 as a Paralegal from a well-known HR services provider. In the last six years, Radhika has progressed to become an Associate in the firm’s employment team.

Radhika began her career at Pannone mid-way through its 10-year journey at which point it was clear what set it apart from other firms. “I was aware of the Pannone name and that it is well respected in the industry,” she says. “When I joined, the firm had been going for four years post-MBO and I felt it was an exciting time to join.”

In that time, a lot has changed at Pannone, with the employment team, in particular, growing to eight lawyers – a team that has plenty of experience behind it. “I received a team sheet on my first day which had the details of my team members, including the years they qualified,” explains Radhika. “I remember being impressed by the experience in the team and that some of them qualified in the 1990s!”

But it’s the team approach that Radhika values the most about the firm. “It sounds cliché but the people really are the best thing about Pannone, definitely,” she says. “Even though we operate a hybrid model, the office is always busy on any given day, and I think that is because everyone here genuinely enjoys working with their colleagues.”

The last six years have thrown up some real highlights for Radhika, including helping to plan the firm Christmas party in 2019. “It was the best work Christmas party I have been to, even if I do say so myself!”

She certainly has a lot to be proud of. “I joined the firm as a Paralegal,” she explains. “I qualified as a Legal Executive in 2021, I went back to University in 2022 to do my LPC part-time whilst continuing to work, and I finally cross-qualified as a Solicitor in 2023. I took the more scenic route to qualification, but I would not change a thing.”

While the firm has undoubtedly grown and developed during her time at Pannone, so too has the business community that sits around it. So what of the next 10 years?

“The North West business community is already growing rapidly and I can only envisage that this will continue over the next 10 years to level up with the South,” she says.

“In terms of the firm, I would like Pannone to continue investing in its people and talent and to carry on supporting alternative routes to qualification. Without that support, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she adds.

It’s hardly surprising that when asked to sum up Pannone in one word, the first that springs to Radhika’s mind is ‘talent’.

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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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Natasha Mafunga joined Pannone Corporate at the start of the year as a solicitor in the dispute resolution team. In the latest in our blog series, My Life in Law, Natasha reflects on the first nine months of her at career at the firm, her love of people and problem solving, what she would do if she was managing partner for the day and the Broadway career that never was!

Tell us a little bit about your role at Pannone?

I work in the dispute resolution team and, since I joined in January, I’ve developed a mixed caseload consisting of commercial litigation work on the one hand and contentious probate and trusts work on the other.

That’s what really appealed to me about the job – I liked the idea of doing commercial litigation work alongside contentious probate and trusts. What’s more, the firm has a clear progression route and invests in the development of its people – people who, I might add, are absolutely lovely to work with, which applies across all teams!

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

After completing my A-levels in Law, Psychology and Sociology, I went down the ‘traditional’ route of getting my LLB undergraduate law degree at the University of Chester, before getting a training contract and qualifying. I was able to do my training contract alongside my LPC MSC in Law, Business and Management, which I did part time. It was tough at times juggling work and doing my LPC, but I managed to get through it fairly unscathed!

Why did you choose this route?

I didn’t really consider any other route at the time. I was lucky enough to be able to get a postgraduate loan for my LPC, as I was doing it alongside my masters. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to fund my course.

Tell us what does a typical day look like?

No day is ever really the same. It usually starts of with me updating my to-do list from the previous day, checking my calendar for upcoming meetings and deadlines and trying to get my head down with the hopes of crossing a task off the list. My tasks can range from having phone calls with clients, opponents and third parties, responding to emails and drafting letters and court documents, all the way through to attending conferences with counsel or even court hearings. It’s always important to keep an eye on upcoming deadlines and have the Civil Procedure Rules to hand at all times.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

I enjoy working with people and problem solving. The work I do as part of the contentious probate and trusts team especially allows me to see how much of a real difference my colleagues and I can make to people’s lives, often in very sensitive and stressful circumstances.

Looking ahead, what are your career ambitions?

Simply put, I want to be the best solicitor I can be in my areas of specialism and provide a great service to my clients. In doing that, I trust that I will always be rewarded with progression. Who knows, it might lead me to joining the partnership one day.

Talking of being a partner, if you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

I like the idea of a 30-minute wellness session where employees can do some simple yoga, meditation or breathing techniques to clear the 1,000 tabs that are always open in our minds at any one time.

Keeping your managing partner hat on, what can lawyers / the legal profession do to better support clients?

Its important to always be clear on costs from the outset and not be afraid to continue raising the subject with clients throughout. De-mystifying the process and the costs likely to be involved will ensure that clients keep coming to you for advice.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

From about 2020, I got into walking and hiking, as you couldn’t really do much else at the time due to Covid. Now it’s one of my favourite things to do.

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

Apparently I can be quite dramatic, so I imagine I would’ve been a world famous Broadway actress by now. If only the law hadn’t got to me first!

On that note, it shouldn’t surprise colleagues about your previous skills and talent!

No! I played a lead role in an adaptation of We Will Rock You the musical in high school. The talent being I can memorise a script fairly quickly. Hopefully that footage never sees the light of day!

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Pannone Corporate has announced the promotion of five people, as it continues to invest in future talent across the law firm.

Effective from 21 July, Arshnoor Amershi has been promoted to Associate Partner in the Corporate team, having joined the North West firm as a trainee solicitor in 2011. Ranked as an ‘Associate to watch’ in leading legal directory, Chambers and Partners UK, Arshnoor specialises in all aspects of corporate legal work, including mergers and acquisitions, disposals, and debt and equity investment.

She recently advised on the sale of Up & Away Aviation – a provider of aircraft cleaning and detailing services – to US-based group, Unifi Aviation. Unifi is the ground aviation services company that forms part of the Argenbright Group, which Pannone has previously acted for on its cross-border strategic investment in risk-led intelligent security solutions provider, Amberstone Security.

Arshnoor is joined by Andrew Walsh who, having qualified as a solicitor in 2017, is also promoted in the Corporate team, becoming a Director. Andrew was instrumental in assisting Dutch client Boels Rental and French-listed company Visiativ SA continue their buy and build strategy in the UK.

In the last 12 months, the Corporate team has seen unprecedented activity levels and headcount has risen from 10 to 14 as a result, putting the team in a perfect position to capitalise on significant growth opportunities in the market.

Commenting on the promotion, Arshnoor said: “I’m delighted to have been promoted to Associate Partner in the Corporate team, as we continue to make our mark in the North West M&A market.

“Having joined the firm as a trainee solicitor, it’s hugely satisfying to have moved up through the ranks, while playing a part in the growth of the firm. It really is an exciting time to be at Pannone, as the firm’s growth story continues to unfold.”

In total, Pannone has promoted five people. These include the promotion of three lawyers to Senior Associate in the well regarded Dispute Resolution team – Callum Halley, who specialises in commercial disputes and who joined the firm in 2019;  Gemma O’Brien, who also specialises in commercial disputes and joined Pannone in the same year; and Elizabeth Walsh, who joined the firm in 2018 and advises on contentious trust and probate disputes, as well as commercial disputes.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone, commented: “Pannone has an unwavering commitment to invest in people. Our staff represent the future of the firm and have an integral role to play in helping us to reach our long-term goals.

“The promotions are all thoroughly well-deserved and testament to the passion and dedication of our team.”

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With a year under his belt at Pannone Corporate, we speak to real estate solicitor, Dominic Beddow, on his legal career so far, the importance of being able to ‘switch off’ from the day job, his passion for the Toon Army, and his mission to ‘indoctrinate’ his wife and daughter into Geordie life!

Tell us a little bit about your experience before joining Pannone in April 2022.

“I started my legal career in 2016. At the time I was a paralegal specialising in landed estates. My role primarily involved dealing with first registrations of land, Farm Business Tenancies, generational tax planning (Inheritance Tax), and registration and sales of woodland.

“During my training contract, I did seats in commercial real estate (mainly landlord and tenant issues), corporate (predominantly buying and selling of pharmaceutical companies and dentistry practices), as well as employment, where I acted for employers dealing with wrongful termination claims, and also large-scale redundancy exercises.

“After qualifying in October 2020, I went into the ground rents team, where my work primarily involved asset management for a large freeholder, dealing with anything from simple Deeds of Variation and Licences for Alterations, to managing the legal side of large works projects, such as merging multiple flats/properties into one.”

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

“I studied Law with Business at the University of Liverpool, before completing the Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Liverpool. I then moved to Chester, where I started legal life as a paralegal, whilst simultaneously studying the Legal Practice Course at the University of Law at the weekends. I completed my LLM Masters around the time I started my training contract.”

Why did you choose this route?

“During my A-Levels, I was still torn between a career in law and one in business, and so I decided to undertake a combined honours degree. I enjoyed both disciplines, but it was clear from an early stage in my undergraduate degree that law was the route I wanted to go down.”

Tell us about your role at Pannone?

“I am a solicitor in the real estate team. I primarily cover landlord and tenant based issues, with a specific focus on leases of units in major shopping centres. I also deal with purchases of development land, advice regarding overage, assents of land, and general transactional work.”

What was it that attracted you Pannone?

“I had trained and qualified at the same firm in Chester, which is a fantastic city and one which I am proud to call home, but it’s a relatively small legal community compared to Manchester. I was ready to make a move to a new firm and a new city.  I’d heard great things about Pannone, and got in contact with managing partner, Nicola Marchant, who invited me in for an informal chat. After a further conversation with the senior team, I knew straightaway that Pannone was the perfect firm for me.”

When it comes to the day job, what is the most satisfying aspect?

“It has to be learning something new on a daily basis, and never being allowed to remain within your comfort zone!”

What does a typical day look like?

“Every lawyer will say this but, quite simply, there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’.  I will sign off for the day with a good idea as to what the next will involve, but it’s very rare for that not to change. Business never sleeps, so I often start my day dealing with new matters which have come in overnight. Every day is different, which is a challenge, but one I enjoy.”

What are your career ambitions?

“I aspire to become a partner one day but, more importantly, I want to reach a stage where I am confident in as many aspects of my role as possible, with a following of clients who can always rely on me to be able to deal with anything they throw at me.”

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

“I would introduce a family fun day! Lawyers generally have an inability to ‘switch off’ – even when we’re not working, we are thinking about what needs to be done, which can sometimes impact on those around us. As such, I would introduce a day, every so often, when families are invited to the office, where they can meet the team, take part in fun activities, and see what we do. Looking after your own mental health is so important, particularly in a fast-paced working environment. Something like this could really make a positive difference.”

What can the legal profession do to better support clients? Does anything need to change?

“For me, it’s about delivery of information. We spend a large part of our lives learning the theory of law, the technical aspects, and how to think and speak like a lawyer. This is great for passing exams, but often doesn’t translate well to clients, who typically want a straight answer, delivered in a user-friendly manner.

“Law can also be portrayed in a certain way – think Harvey Specter in the television series, Suits! However, the reality is somewhat different. You meet such a wide variety of people in this job, from all walks of life, and I would like to see this side portrayed more.”

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

“If I didn’t have a career in law, I would love to be involved in the business side of football.”

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

“I’m a relatively new father, and I enjoy nothing more than taking my daughter to Chester Zoo. She adores animals, and her excitement during those long walks around the zoo are positively infectious!

“Outside of family life, I am a passionate (sometimes overly passionate) Newcastle United fan. I don’t get to as many games as I used to since my daughter was born, but I have worked hard to indoctrinate my partner and daughter into Geordie life, much to the dismay of my partner’s Liverpool-supporting family!”

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Michael McNally lives in Heswall on the Wirral and is an associate partner in Pannone’s employment team. In this instalment of My Life in Law, he tells us about his 17-year career in law and what’s changed in the industry during that time.

What was your experience prior to joining Pannone?

I qualified in 2006 and have always specialised in employment law, even spending some time before qualification working as an employment law advisor. Before joining Pannone in September 2020, I worked at Hill Dickinson and Freeths.

I’ve always worked in commercial employment law advising employers and have particular experience working with clients in care, retail, transport and logistics, leisure and retail, and manufacturing. I’m also an experienced employment tribunal advocate.

What’s your current role and why did you join Pannone?

I joined as a Director and became an Associate Partner last year. The firm has a great reputation, both for the quality of its work and culture. Having worked here for a couple of years, I’ve not been disappointed in either regard.

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

The standard route for my generation of law at university, LPC in the Chester College of Law, followed by a training contract. I did approach things a little differently though and did my training contract in local government at Chester City Council, as it was then.

Why did you choose this route?

I wouldn’t say I chose it, as such – it just seemed the most obvious way of becoming a solicitor at the time. With hindsight, I appreciate you don’t need to do a law degree at university to become a lawyer. If I had my time over again, I would have done a non-law degree and then the conversion course before the LPC.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Understanding what the client wants to achieve and then helping them to achieve it. I enjoy the technical side of the law, but working with the client is the most satisfying part of the job.

What does a typical day look like?

There isn’t one! The best thing about being an employment lawyer is the variety.

A day could include drafting an article first thing, then working with the corporate team on a transaction. After lunch, there could be a preliminary hearing in the employment tribunal by video and, later in the day, I could be on a call with a client’s HR Director and CEO discussing a re-organisation.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

Give myself a long-term contract in the role, as I’m not going to get much done in a day!

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

My original reason for going into law was because I thought it would be a good way of becoming a football agent, so maybe I’d have ended up doing something like that! Although, to be honest, it’s not a job I would want now, but when I was 15 it seemed like a great career!

What can the legal profession do to better support clients? Does anything need to change?

I have been lucky enough to work at firms and with lawyers who I think do a very good job of supporting clients. The focus should always be on providing the client with responsive commercial advice.

Going forward, I think law firms will need to offer a wider range of business services than they do now – similar to how many accountancy firms will offer other services (including legal support in some cases). The profession is also going to need to adjust to the changes that technology will bring, particularly in respect of AI.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Being a Liverpool season ticket holder; I enjoy going to regular Champions League finals!

Do you have any particular skills/talents that your work colleagues may not know about?

This is more of a talent that I wish I had, but I went through a phase a few years ago of tinkering with watches. I still aspire to assemble my own watch one day – making one may be beyond me!

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Pannone Corporate – the North West law firm – has expanded its team with the senior appointment of David Walton.

David joins Pannone’s regulatory team as partner, bringing over 30 years’ experience to the role. He joins from Keoghs LLP, where he played an instrumental role in establishing the crime and regulatory team, working throughout his career on high profile prosecutions instigated by the CPS, HSE, Environmental Health and the Environment Agency.  This includes the CPS-led prosecution following the death of four employees in the Bosley Mill (Macclesfield) explosion in 2015.

At Pannone, David will be responsible for supporting corporate and individual clients facing investigation and/or prosecution by a raft of bodies, including the Police, the HSE, CQC, CIW and Trading Standards, following serious work place accidents or incidents. He will work alongside associate partner Bill Dunkerley to promote the regulatory team’s capabilities to existing and new clients of Pannone Corporate.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone, said: “Client services is an integral part of our proposition as a firm and that can only be delivered by a highly skilled and talented team. We continue to build our expertise at all levels and David’s appointment is a significant hire – not only for the regulatory team, but the firm as a whole.

“David has an excellent reputation within the marketplace, consistently being ranked as a ‘leading individual’ by Legal 500 and Chambers rankings. He has a wealth of experience in handling heavyweight health and safety prosecutions over a hugely successful career and we’re delighted to have him onboard.”

David said: “I have enormous respect for the Pannone Corporate brand and for the people who have established it over a relatively short period of time.

“I believe my professional and personal background, and my approach to workplace life, is ideally suited to the Pannone culture and to the people who work there. Bill Dunkerley was my assistant for several years when he worked at Keoghs and it’s exciting for both of us that we have the opportunity to work together again. Many of our clients and peers have commented that it is great to see the ‘Dave Walton/Bill Dunkerley team’ back together again!”

Commenting on the sector, he added: “Traditionally, regulatory lawyers are called into action when a client is in distress. Whilst that will undoubtedly continue, I believe the sector will carry on evolving in line with the HSE’s own strategy for the next 10 years, which includes an increased focus on the prevention of accidents. As a result, there will be considerable opportunities for the team to support clients in improving what they already have in place, stress testing systems and procedures and reinforcing key aspects of employee training.”

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In our latest instalment of My Life in Law, we catch up with employment solicitor, Lorna Shuttleworth.

She tells us all about her career journey with Pannone over the last five years and why she’d love to see more animals in the office!

When did you join Pannone Corporate?

I first joined Pannone Corporate in April 2019 as a paralegal in the real estate team. I left in September 2019 to complete my LPC and returned in September 2020 to start my training contract.

I’m now a solicitor in the employment team after qualifying in September 2022.

What was your role/experience prior to joining?

I graduated from university in 2018 and went to work for an investment platform in Salford Quays. My role was two-fold: Quality and Audit Supervisor; and CASS SME. I split my time between monitoring compliance with the FCAs CASS rules, training members of the client services team, and carrying out quality checks and audits.

Prior to and during my studies, I also worked in various roles including as a sales assistant at Next and in hospitality at Manchester United.

Why did you join Pannone?

Whilst at university, I undertook various vacation schemes and had a number of interviews at large national firms, but I didn’t feel that they were quite right for me. I decided to try a different industry but, after a few months, I realised that wasn’t for me either.

I came in to discuss the paralegal position at Pannone and was surprised at how welcome I was made to feel from the first day. I could tell that I would be supported and valued as part of a team.

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

I studied law at the University of Leeds and graduated in 2018, moving away from law for a short while before starting as a paralegal at Pannone in April 2019. I then went on to complete the LPC alongside an LLM (Masters in Legal Practice) at BPP in Manchester and returned to Pannone to start my two-year training contract in September 2020.

Why did you choose this route?

I decided whilst doing my GCSEs that I wanted to pursue a career in law and knew early on in my degree that I wanted to be a solicitor. At the time, this was really the only route which was openly discussed for qualifying into private practice.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Finding a solution to a particularly challenging issue is always satisfying – one of my favourite parts of this role is that there is always a new challenge cropping up; it never gets boring!

What does a typical day look like?

Every day is different. In the employment team, we deal with both contentious and non-contentious matters, so I might be reviewing contracts and handbooks, or preparing for a tribunal. Most days, there are urgent queries to deal with, which could relate to any day-to-day employment issue from disciplinaries, grievances or managing sickness absence.

What are your career ambitions?

Personally, I’d like to keep learning and continue to improve. Over time, I’d also like to offer the same level of support that I have received to more junior members of the firm and help them to develop.

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

Bring in a ‘Cats in the Office’ policy – having my cat roaming around and popping up on video calls is the main thing I miss about working from home!

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

When I was at school, I always said I wanted to be a graphic designer – unfortunately, I wasn’t too talented at art or IT! I’d also love to do interior design, so maybe something creative.

What can lawyers/the legal profession do to better support clients? Does anything need to change?

At an individual level, I think we can all be better at open and honest communication, keeping clients updated – and avoiding ‘lawyer talk’!

In terms of the legal profession more broadly, more diversity and inclusion across the board would be beneficial – it would help us to better understand the needs of our clients and, as a result, support them in more appropriate way. I think the legal profession is becoming more inclusive gradually, but there is still more to be done.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Since we spend a lot of our time at a desk, I love getting out for a walk somewhere quiet at the weekend when the weather allows! On a rainy day, it’s relaxing at home with my cat, Merlin. I also have a season ticket for Manchester City, so I go to matches with my Dad and Grandad.

Do you have any particular skills/talents that your work colleagues may not know about?

I used to do Latin and ballroom dancing when I was younger, although I’m not sure I’m very skilled in that anymore!

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Pannone Corporate has announced the promotion of two longstanding members of the team to Partner.

Effective from 3 February, Jonny Scholes has been promoted to Partner in the firm’s Dispute Resolution team. Jonny has been with Pannone since its inception in 2014, having previously worked at Pannone LLP joining in 2005. Jonny has built up a strong reputation in his field, particularly in the area of contentious trusts and probate – a top tier practice area for the firm in the Legal 500 rankings.

He is joined as Partner by Daniel Clarke, who leads the Corporate Recovery and Insolvency practice at Pannone. Like Jonny, Daniel joined Pannone LLP nearly 20 years ago and qualified in 2006. Daniel advises on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency, including administration, bankruptcy, CVAs/IVAs, and restructuring and re-organisation.

Commenting on his promotion, Dan said: “I’m delighted to have been promoted to Partner alongside Jonny, during what is an exciting period of growth for the firm. The investment we make in talent is integral to our ongoing success – not just for the Corporate Recovery and Insolvency team, but for the firm as a whole.”

Jonny added: “I’m very proud to have been promoted to Partner and I look forward to helping Pannone continue to flourish alongside a group of wonderful and hard-working people.”

The promotions follow a number of recent appointments, as the firm continues to invest in future talent. As part of the recruitment drive, Joshua Dolan joins the firm as a solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team; Will Newman has been appointed as a solicitor in the Real Estate team; Ciara Scanlon joins in the Employment team as a solicitor; Natasha Mafunga has been appointed as a solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team; Jack Taylor further strengthens the Dispute Resolution team, also joining as a solicitor; with Renée Neophytou completing the raft of appointments, joining the Corporate team as a solicitor.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone, commented: “Each promotion and appointment represents Pannone’s commitment to investing in our people and the future of our business.

“The Partner promotions are thoroughly well deserved. Jonny and Dan have both demonstrated true commitment, dedication and passion to the firm, acting as a real example to those rising through the ranks, and they should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

 

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Essex-born 26-year-old Joel Costi-Mouyia lives in West Didsbury and is a paralegal in our Dispute Resolution team. 

When he’s not resolving disputes, he’s playing football or making music – keep reading to learn more about his route to working in law and professional aspirations for the future. 

What was your role/experience prior to joining Pannone?

I graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2018 and began working for DWF as part of RSA Manchester’s in-house civil litigation team where I specialised in RTA related cases. 

Although this was my first post-graduation job in law, I also previously completed work in a Citizens Advice Bureau on issues relating to welfare rights, as well as completing a three month placement in Liverpool University’s Legal Aid Clinic, where I worked on matters concerning immigration and asylum seeking. 

While these two experiences are certainly different to my current line of work, they gave me invaluable exposure to the practical application of the law.

What is your role at Pannone?

I’m a paralegal in the Dispute Resolution team, dealing with a wide range of disputes in the fields of debt recovery, commercial contracts, wills and probate, property and intellectual property.

Why did you join Pannone?

Pannone is a young law firm that has grown since it started in 2014 – this success was something that I wanted to be a part of. 

We’re also a firm that really emphasises the importance of a collaborative working environment, which is something that really appeals to me. As a junior member of our team, it’s often I’ll need to pick the brains of some our more senior members of staff and they’re always more than happy to help out. This has been great – not just for my own development, but also in making me feel like a welcomed and well-integrated member of the firm. 

What route did you go down, in terms of training and qualifications?

I’ve had a relatively standard introduction to the legal and professional world. Not long after graduation, I began working for DWF in November of the same year and then began my LPC full-time in January 2020. 

I completed this in December 2020 and was fortunate enough for DWF to offer me some part-time work whilst I completed my LPC studies, which allowed me to maintain some level of income. 

I then went on to join Pannone in December 2021 and I’m delighted to have recently been offered a training contract which I am due to start in September 2023. 

Why did you choose this route?

Having worked primarily in litigation for the past four years, I felt it was important to follow the training contract route as a means of expanding my knowledge alongside my contentious professional legal experience. 

Pannone has a number of interesting departments dealing with non-litigious client issues such as corporate law that I’m excited to work in as part of my training contract seats and wider legal education.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your job?

Definitely hitting drafting deadlines and securing positive results for our clients. Throughout my time at Pannone, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed building and developing relationships with our clients and to be able to meet their goals and expectations is something I take a lot of pride in.  

What does a typical day look like?

I normally start my day by checking through my emails to make sure that nothing urgent has come in the previous evening requiring my immediate attention. Once I’ve done this, I’ll get into the work that I’ve planned out for the day. 

Organisation is an essential skill for excelling in our work, so at the end of each working day I tend to draft a small to-do list of tasks that I’ll need to tackle the following day.

What are your career ambitions?

Having been offered a training contract, my initial ambition is to qualify as a solicitor at Pannone Corporate. There’s a wealth of experience across the firm, so I’m hoping to soak up as much of this as possible and continue to develop and improve in the right way. 

If you were managing partner for the day, what’s the first thing you would do? 

I think I would try and promote some sort of fitness initiative to all employees. I’m a big believer in the ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ approach to life and find that if I’m regularly exercising, it helps me to manage my own workload and deal with any stresses, work-related or not, that get thrown my way. 

What would you be doing if you didn’t have a career in law? 

Maths was probably my long-standing favourite subject at school and was almost the subject I chose to study at university. I did toy with the idea of something more maths related, such as economics or actuarial science, but neither of these were something I ended up going for.

Career wise, it’s difficult to say, but I’ve always tried to blend my love of music and sport with my professional ambitions, so I’d like to think I may have done some sort of work dealing directly with sportspeople and musicians. My master’s dissertation was based on whether current copyright legislation provides scope for streaming platforms to exploit musicians and therefore not adequately remunerate them for their work – so law and music is something I’ve always attempted to fuse. If not this, a professional career as a musician or producer wouldn’t have gone amiss!

What can lawyers / the legal profession do to better support clients? Does anything need to change?

One step I always think is vital is to help our clients understand the litigation process. I’m conscious that from the client’s side, the legal world can be intimidating and often convoluted, so it’s important for us to untangle and simplify this as best as we can. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I currently play football for Village Manchester Football Club in the Lancashire and Cheshire Saturday league. If I’m not playing football, I also enjoy running or going to the gym. 

Do you have any particular skills/talents that your work colleagues may not know about?

I take a lot of pride in my love for music and have been playing piano since around the age of eight. I have also performed as part of an indie-rock band as a singer and guitarist, having received track of the week accolades on BBC Introducing and also supported an NME award-winning artist as part of their UK tour. 

In the past couple of years, I’ve also started DJing and performing in different places around Manchester – not to mention the Pannone Corporate party last Autumn.


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Pannone Corporate – the North West/Manchester [change for regionals] law firm – has bolstered its  debt recovery team with the appointment of Paul Jagger.

Paul, who joins from Ward Hadaway as Debt Recovery Manager, has 15 years’ experience in the sector, having previously worked at Turner Parkinson. Paul will work alongside Head of Debt Recovery, Karl Williams, in growing the team and its national client base, which includes DHL, L’Oreal and Manchester City Council.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Paul to firm, as we look to strengthen our debt recovery team over the coming months in key sectors, such as the debt collection industry, recruitment and retail, where Paul has significant experience.

“Paul has a fantastic track record of building and implementing industry-leading systems to enhance client services and we’re confident his knowledge of the market and practical experience will lay the foundations for future growth.”

His arrival follows the appointment of a raft of legal professionals to the firm. These include: Dominic Beddow, solicitor in Real Estate; Lauren Whittaker, Foreign Lawyer, Regulatory; and Belinda Cheung, Associate, Corporate.

Paul commented: “The opportunities and potential that exist at Pannone Corporate are very exciting and the prospect of being able to make my mark on the team, in terms of how we work and the technology we utilise, was too good to turn down.”

Commenting on the sector, he said: “The world we live in is constantly changing and the future direction of the debt recovery market is very difficult to predict. Creditors are seeing an increase in collection activity for already stretched credit control teams. It’s our job, with experience and system efficiencies, to provide cost-effective relief for creditors, while ensuring that those struggling businesses that are committed to paying are dealt with fairly.”

 

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North West law firm, Pannone Corporate, has announced the promotion of seven people across its team, including two promotions to Associate Partner.

Effective from 21 July, Bill Dunkerley has been promoted to Associate Partner in the firm’s Regulatory team. Since joining the firm in 2019, Bill has quickly built up a strong reputation in the area of regulatory interventions and prosecutions, including corporate and gross negligence manslaughter, health and safety offences, with extensive experience advising and assisting care providers.

He is joined as Associate Partner by Michael McNally, who joined the Employment team last year as director. He advises employers on all aspects of employment law, including regular representation and advocacy in the Employment Tribunal. He has particular experience working with businesses in the care, manufacturing, transport and logistics, retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.

Commenting on his promotion, Bill said: “I’m delighted to have been promoted to Associate Partner alongside Michael, during an exciting period of growth for Pannone Corporate.

“It’s a real honour to have moved up through the ranks, as we look to build on the momentum achieved across the Regulatory team, and the firm as a whole.”

In total, Pannone has promoted seven people. These include: Arshnoor Amershi, who has been promoted to Director in the Corporate Services team, where she specialises in all aspects of corporate legal work, such as M&A and disposals, reorganisations and restructuring; Andrew Walsh, who joined Pannone as a trainee solicitor seven years ago, rising up the ranks to become Senior Associate in Corporate Services; and James Brandwood, who has been promoted to Senior Associate in the Real Estate team. In addition, Radhika Das, who joined as a Legal Executive in 2018, has become an Associate in the Employment team; together with Lauren Beech, who has been promoted to Associate in Commercial Services.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone, commented: “These promotions represent Pannone’s commitment to investing in our people and the future of the firm.

“The Associate Partner promotions are thoroughly well deserved. Bill and Michael have both demonstrated a clear focus on both technical excellence and commercial advice  in a short space of time, to provide a high quality service to clients. Everyone who has been promoted should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

The promotions follow the recent appointments of Paul Jagger as Debt Recovery Manager, joining from Ward Hadaway, together with Dominic Beddow, solicitor in Real Estate, Lauren Whittaker, Foreign Lawyer, Regulatory, and Belinda Cheung, Associate, Corporate.

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