Dispute resolution partner James Woolstenhulme will take on the role in Birmingham, the firm’s largest hub, supported by deputy Joanna Lee-Mills, a social housing development partner. Corporate partner and Finditin member, Andrew Smith will retain his position of head of the Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull hubs for a further three years.
Across a three-year term, the trio will lead plans to grow the West Midlands hubs, which employ more than 650 people – playing a critical role in shaping a positive and collaborative culture with the regional business community and in supporting local people.
The appointments are part of Shakespeare Martineau’s ongoing commitment to reinforcing and strengthening its footprint and expertise in the West Midlands – providing legal and professional services support to the region’s businesses, leaders and people.
Shakespeare Martineau managing director Victoria Tester said: “Location means a lot to us and our clients and, unlike other firms that are retreating from local office footprints, we are expanding. As well as widening our talent pool, this benefits our clients by giving them direct access to legal experts who know and are embedded in the local market, and who are supported by our full-service national offering.
“Our office heads reflect the potential of the West Midlands market, and the breadth of services we provide in the region. We look forward to Andrew and James, supported by Joanna, unlocking that potential by working closely with our leaders and people to continue to evolve our West Midlands hubs’ dynamic culture and positive environment.”
James – who qualified as a solicitor with Shakespeare Martineau in 2011 and was promoted to partner in 2016 – is an expert in managing and resolving complex disputes through the courts and deploying alternative dispute resolution, including mediation. He also represents clients in international arbitrations. He is ranked in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for dispute resolution.
Andrew, who joined Shakespeare Martineau in 2009, is a corporate lawyer with nearly 30 years’ experience working with clients, including start-ups, SMEs and multinational companies on a variety of business matters. He is also a member of Shakespeare Martineau’s education sector team.
Joanna joined Shakespeare Martineau in early 2022 to head up its social housing development team. Prior to this, she worked at Anthony Collins Solicitors as a department leader for the built environment team.
Shakespeare Martineau, as part of legal and professional services group Ampa, is a certified B Corporation, meaning it is legally required to consider the impact of business decisions on its people, customers, suppliers, communities and environment, ensuring a balance between purpose and profit.
Ampa, which employs more than 1,400 people over 18 hubs across the UK, is recruiting lateral hires and teams and proactively looking for like-minded businesses to join the group.
Shakespeare Martineau provides legal advice for life and business. Working with organisations of all sizes, the firm delivers a broad range of specialist legal services and has expertise across multiple areas including but not limited to: energy, education, banking and finance, healthcare, investment funds, manufacturing, agriculture, family business, Islamic finance, later living, social housing, charities and real estate. The firm has been listed in Best Companies 2022 as one of the top 100 best large companies to work for in the UK. It also ranked as a top 25 law firm, top 75 East Midlands company, top 75 West Midlands company, and top 50 large London company to work for.