Manchester Speakers

Learn from those who have already succeeded; senior legal practitioners,
experienced recruiters and other leading industry figures. Our speakers will be confirmed shortly.

Alex Schorah

Alex Schorah

Workshop leader, talent recruitment advisor, Squire Patton Boggs

Alex is a talent recruitment advisor for Squire Patton Boggs where she acts as the main point of contact between the firm and candidates throughout the application process and beyond

Gillian Hanson

Gillian Hanson

Workshop leader, associate, Gateley Legal

Gillian is an associate in Gateley Legal’s Manchester employment team. She has five years’ PQE experience and advises on both contentious and non-contentious employment matters and also provides support to Gateley’s corporate department.

Gillian graduated from Cardiff University in 2012 with a first class honours degree in law before going on to complete the LPC with distinction at BPP University in Manchester in 2013. She was employed as a paralegal in insurance at DWF LLP from 2013 to 2015, before starting her training contract with Napthens LLP in 2015. Gillian qualified as a solicitor in 2017 and joined Gateley Legal upon qualification.

Catherine Fearnhead

Catherine Fearnhead

Panellist, partner, Addleshaw Goddard

Catherine is a real estate partner based in our Manchester office with a focus on development and utilities. She advises developers, regulated businesses and investors on the development, disposal, pre-letting and funding of a range of asset classes with a particular emphasis on logistics, mixed use developments and regulated operational assets.

Rebecca Sharrock

Rebecca Sharrock

Workshop leader, legal director, Hill Dickinson

Rebecca joined the firm in April 2011 as a paralegal, she then completed her training contract at the firm and qualified in March 2014.

Rebecca is a solicitor-advocate with substantial experience representing both public and private healthcare providers in complex inquests, including jury inquests, with a particular specialism in representing providers of healthcare services in prisons.

Rebecca advises on a wide-range of healthcare advisory matters including administrative law, independent investigations, information governance matters, health and safety, corporate manslaughter and mental health queries.

Rebecca completed her law degree at the University of Leeds and graduated with first class honours.

Jonathan Patterson

Jonathan Patterson

Panellist, Managing director, DWF LLP

A pioneer in the business of law with particular expertise in innovation and legal tech, Jonathan leads the innovation and ventures group at DWF which is responsible for innovation strategy and management and the delivery of legal tech services.

James Szerdy

James Szerdy

Workshop leader, partner, DWF Group Plc

James is a partner in the banking team with experience in all aspects of corporate lending including acquisition finance, real estate finance and restructuring. James has specialist expertise in wholesale automotive finance and has led a number of restructures, turnarounds and workouts.

Esme Haberman

Esme Haberman

Panellist, first-seat trainee, Clyde & Co LLP

Esme is a first-seat trainee at Clyde & Co in the Manchester office. She studied law at Newcastle University and graduated in 2018. She was then a paralegal at Clyde & Co for a few years before completing her LPC this year.  Currently, she is sitting in the disease team and is hoping to do her next seat in either employment or real estate/banking and finance.

Will Sanderson

Will Sanderson

Workshop leader, legal director, Shoosmiths

Will advises on a wide range of commercial property matters including investment sales and acquisitions, landlord and tenant and with a particular emphasis on retail and office development.
His recent work includes:

  • acting for a leading UK pub retailer in connection with its new build development program;
  • the investment purchase of multi-let office buildings in Greater Manchester;
  • advising a plc commercial developer in connection with the freehold and leasehold disposals of industrial and office units on its estates;
  • advising a national charity in connection with its £13 million redevelopment project of town centre premises to provide a museum and other facilities.

Will joined Shoosmiths in 2013 having spent ten years with Taylor Vinters where he led a team advising a major pubco in connection with the sale and purchase of licensed premises and the management of its property portfolio.

Natasha Cooke

Natasha Cooke

Workshop leader, trainee, Gateley Legal

Natasha is a second-year trainee at Gateley Legal and is currently in her final seat in IPCT. Natasha has carried out seats in real estate and banking and finance. Natasha has gained contentious and non-contentious experience across the wide variety of seats which Gateley Legal has to offer. Prior to her training contract, Natasha gained invaluable experience as a paralegal in Gateley’s construction team which consolidated her passion for a career in law.

Debra Cooper

Debra Cooper

Panellist, partner, Shoosmiths

Debra Cooper is a banking partner specialising in real estate finance. She has more than 14 years’ experience and regularly advises lenders and borrowers on investment and development transactions both on a syndicated and bilateral basis. In addition to specialising in real estate finance Debra also advises on acquisition finance transactions and general corporate lending.

Debra works with clients across the UK and also regularly advises clients in the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Recent transactions include:

  • Acting for a 4 bank club (HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest and Santander) providing a £185m development and investment facility to Bruntwood Science Limited
  • Acting for RBS International providing a £50m development finance facility provided for the World Trade Centre in Gibraltar
  • Acting for a UK fund on the purchase of a portfolio of gym and leisure facilities

Debra has joined Shoosmiths following 4 years as a partner at Squire Patton Boggs and 10 years at Pinsent Masons where she trained. She is joint head of Shoosmiths’ Manchester office alongside Sarah Teal, and is responsible for the firm’s contribution to, and profile within, the local business community. Debra is also deputy chair of the Northern Investment Property Forum.

Joel Bailey

Joel Bailey

Panellist, third-seat trainee, Hill Dickinson

Joel is a third-seat trainee at Hill Dickinson’s Manchester office. Joel graduated in 2018 from the University of Leeds where he studied history, before completing his GDL with BPP and LPC with the University of Law. Since starting with the firm in September 2021, Joel has completed seats in Hill Dickinson’s real estate and restructuring teams and is now settling into his third seat in corporate. Joel hopes to do a final seat in employment or commercial, before qualifying in September 2023.

Matthew Broadbent

Matthew Broadbent

Moderator, Business development director, LawCareersNetLIVE

Matthew is the business development director of LawCareers.Net and The LawCareers.Net Handbook. He has been in legal publishing for over two decades and knows exactly what makes the world of graduate recruitment spin, speaking regularly to students and recruiters about careers in law.

Samuel Blewitt

Samuel Blewitt

Panellist, third-seat trainee, Gateley Legal

Sam is a third-seat trainee at Gateley Legal, currently on secondment at Manchester City Football Club. His first two seats were commercial property and corporate. For two years prior to starting his training contract, Sam worked in a number of sales, commercial and marketing roles for a legal tech start up in Manchester.

Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh

Workshop leader, associate, Gateley Legal

Katie is a private client solicitor at Gateley Legal. Katie advises on a broad range of private client issues including wills, trusts and estate planning.

Katie Brown

Katie Brown

Workshop leader, trainee, Gateley Legal

Katie is a first-seat trainee at Gateley Legal’s Manchester office and is currently part of the real estate team. Katie studied law with international studies at the University of Leeds, graduating in 2020. She then worked as a corporate paralegal prior to starting her training contract this year.

Shara Pledger

Shara Pledger

Panellist, senior associate, Pinsent Masons LLP

Shara is a senior associate for Pinsent Masons, leading the corporate immigration team for the UK. Shara has worked as a specialist immigration lawyer for more than 12 years, qualifying with a boutique Manchester firm before moving to Pinsent Masons at the start of 2022. Shara advises a range of businesses on UK immigration matters, from start-ups to international groups, as well as educational institutions and charities. She regularly provides professional training to clients and to other practitioners, and is co-convener of the North West working group for the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

Matt Joseph

Matt Joseph

Workshop leader, solicitor, Pinsent Masons LLP

Matt has a significant amount of experience advising shareholders of private companies on their sale to corporate and private equity buyers including by way of competitive auction sale processes. Matt also has excellent experience advising corporate and private equity buyers on their private company acquisitions and general strategic M&A so understands issues facing buyers and sellers. Clients have noted Matt’s calm and measured approach in his dealings and as being excellent quality during what otherwise can be a stressful period for businesses and their management teams. Matt is also known for his hard work, ability to work well with client teams and excellent project management skills.

Victoria Brown

Victoria Brown

Workshop leader, associate, Gateley Legal

Victoria is a corporate associate in Gateley Legal’s Manchester office specialising in mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments and general corporate governance matters.

Victoria has acted for both buyers and sellers, including small (owner-managed) and mid-sized businesses as well as Plcs and private equity funds.

Sally Whalley

Sally Whalley

Workshop leader, partner, Clyde & Co LLP

Sally joined the firm in 2007. She is a partner based in Manchester, specialising in life changing and catastrophic injuries arising from road traffic accidents, employers’ liability and public liability claims. Her cases involve complex orthopaedic injuries, brain injury, spinal injury, psychiatric injury and fatal accidents. She has a particular interest in public sector and local authority claims.

Harry Jackson

Harry Jackson

Panellist, fourth-seat trainee, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP

Harry Jackson is a trainee solicitor at Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, an international law firm with 44 offices in 20 countries. He is currently in his fourth seat, employment, having completed seats in corporate, banking and real estate.

He went to the University of Liverpool and studied law (LLB), graduating with a first-class honours degree. He then studied his LPC at BPP University, graduating with a distinction and an average grade of 93%.

In his spare time, Harry enjoys exercising and watching football and rugby union with friends.

Giles Chesher

Giles Chesher

Workshop leader, partner, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP

Giles Chesher in a partner in the global corporate practice. He is based in our Manchester office, where he heads up the Manchester corporate team. Giles’ particular expertise covers mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and private equity. He has worked on a number of high-profile private equity and M&A transactions in the local, national and international markets, acting for a wide variety of corporate and institutional clients.

Liz Wallace

Liz Wallace

Workshop leader, partner, Clyde and Co

Elizabeth Wallace is a partner at our Manchester office whose specialism is catastrophic injuries. She acts for large insurers and corporates defending complex and large loss employers liability, public liability and motor claims.

Elizabeth’s expertise is in cases of the utmost severity, including brain injury, spinal injury, amputations, and multiple injuries. Elizabeth leads the firm’s specialist amputation group. She has more than 25 years of experience defending personal injury cases.

Taking a keen interest in early careers development, Elizabeth manages the team’s eight paralegals and two trainees.

Think you’ve got what it takes?

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