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Freeths - Law firm

Education

Meeting your aspirations

What is involved?

These are changing times across the education field. Whatever issues you are facing, you can call on the expertise of our specialist team of lawyers with confidence. We work daily with universities, colleges, MATS, academies and school governing bodies – drawing on a wealth of in-depth experience gained over the course of 20 years.

We understand the issues your sector is facing today. In particular; the growth in major MAT bodies, college mergers, cuts in funding, the need to raise funds from other sources, attracting students and working with them as they become more demanding, as well as the international dimension. Schools are also inevitably looking at their ongoing need for legal advice as support from local authority services reduces, bringing new challenges for school managers.

Why choose Freeths?

  • Our expert team includes people who have sat on governing bodies and have worked within education institutions – delivering tailored legal advice and contributing to their management
  • We therefore possess a keen understanding of issues related to strategy, government legislation and financial pressures
  • You can rely on us to provide honest, jargon-free advice and to be transparent about our costs
  • We are renowned for being approachable, friendly and capable of offering practical solutions
  • Offering you an understanding of the challenges faced from the powers exercisable by OFSTED and Regional Schools Commissioners

We do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach – the service you receive will be bespoke and personal, a service that is right for your institution. Our lawyers will work with you to provide a full spectrum of services, underpinned by genuine knowledge of how education and the public sector works. You can trust us to provide relevant, practical answers.

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Freeths can advise you on academy conversions, employment & staffing issues, commercial contracts & procurement, judicial review, property, estates & construction, development projects, corporate governance, student complaints, intellectual property & spin out companies, knowledge transfer partnerships, research & collaboration agreements, information compliance (Data Protection), partnering, immigration and international ventures.

Call us now to find out how we can help you.

Who we work with

  • Crescent Purchasing Consortium (FE colleges throughout the country)
  • De Montfort University
  • Loughborough University
  • Leicester University
  • Leicester College
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Oakham School
  • Repton School Trust
  • University of Nottingham
  • Aston University
  • Coventry University
  • Department of Education and British Universities Finance Directors Group
Meet the team

Education Lawyers


Emma Brooksbank
Partner

0845 166 6300

Stephanie Clarke
Solicitor

0845 030 5803

Gemma Elliott
Associate

0845 077 9653

Peter Gavin
Managing Partner - Stoke

0845 077 9610

Julie Grimble
Director

0845 077 9625

Ben Jones
Associate

0845 077 9660

Sarah Norton
Associate

0845 050 3600

Stephen Pearson
Partner

0845 274 6900

Anna Power
Senior Associate

0186 578 1148

Gillian Roberts
Partner

0845 050 3611

Dr Michael Servian
Consultant

0777 629 5001

Christopher Sing
Partner

0845 017 1345

Clare Taylor
Senior Associate

0845 166 6347

Valerie Warman
Partner

0845 271 6769

Edward Wilson
Associate

0845 030 5739

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Testimonials

"The services provided have met our requirements and have been delivered to agreed timetables. We have found Freeths' staff to be capable and responsive, with an understanding of the issues affecting the Higher Education sector. Their assistance in lease negotiation matters with difficult tenants deserves particular mention and the rapport built between us and Freeths in these matters has proved to be vital in the protection of the University’s interests."

"It is difficult to recall all of the very significant transactions that Freeths have helped us with but they have included one highly complex commercial transaction which was successfully completed to all parties’ satisfaction, to a ridiculously short timescale."

(Loughborough University)

"Chris Holwell, Philippa Dempster and Stephen Pearson are all 'personable and well respected'. The group acts for an impressive number of universities and schools, and 'produces solutions and answers'."

(The Legal 500)

"Stephen Pearson heads Freeths’ education team, which has experienced a significant uptick in academy conversions."

(The Legal 500)

"One major advantage of having someone advising a University who has experience of delivering legal advice in-house within a University is that there is no need to explain the underlying operational context in which the need for advice has arisen, the context is immediately understood."

"Freeths is cost effective, responsive, pragmatic and has strength in depth."

"Christopher is a breath of fresh air. He always provides timely and very well judged advice and support."

(HR Director, Education Sector)

"Sources highlight new department head Christopher Sing for his 'outstanding client service, tactical ability and expertise'. Although best known for his background with clients in the education sector, his recent experience includes advising on cases concerning industries such as finance and leisure."

(Chambers & Partners)

"Valerie Warman is very efficient and helpful according to sources. She is based in the Milton Keynes office and frequently acts on the property aspects of matters in the education sector."

(Chambers & Partners)

Notable Work
  • Advised Loughborough University on the “LUil” Project – a strategic project to procure a range of services to enable the smooth running of a new university campus – the Loughborough University Campus in Stratford, East London, a specialised site which will devote itself exclusively to the provision of taught Masters / PHD degrees for an international cohort of students. We both acted on the initial site acquisition (on the site of the Olympic Media Centre) but also utilising the new European “Competitive Procedure with Negotiation” (which was only developed by the EU in February 2015), supervised the procurement process, drafting of contracts and agreement of key performance indicators for facilities management, building management, student support and ICT services. We are at the time of writing this submission about to sign-up with the provider in order to enable a smooth service commencement in early 2016. This is a flagship project for the University in respect of which it is critical to get it “right first time”.
  • Landau Forte Charitable Trust has 600 staff over 6 different sites. We were able to offer a cloud-based solution to provide vertical support across its entire organisation. This consisted of an extensive bank of short podcasts that all managers could access to support them in their dealings with common staff issues and a smaller number of longer videos for more formal processes. The managers’ resources had the flexibility to be used as an initial training programme or to practically deal with current issues as and when they arose. In addition, we offered an online toolkit with written guidance and the facility to generate template letters.
  • Unnamed School – Challenging the DFE on the proposed imposition of an Interim Executive Board.
  • Acting for a local authority on a complex academy conversion involving several sites. The matter is particularly complex as the main site was constructed under a PFI project, is shared by more than one school, and not all of the schools are converting. It includes leisure facilities, community library and children’s centre.
  • Advising a national education provider on a complicated and sensitive disciplinary process, following a member of staff coming under suspicion for the murder of a child.
  • Defending a prominent independent school in a tribunal claim for disability and sex discrimination, involving matters that were publicly sensitive to a successful conclusion while protecting confidentiality.
  • Advising many clients, including a leading university, on protracted employment disputes that involve subject access requests under the Data Protection Act.
  • Leading the soft merger of the staff of two schools into an integrated single organisational structure on time and on budget. This was done without any complaints being made in the employment tribunal by staff or the relevant trade unions.

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our service

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Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 12 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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