New Head of Office for Shoosmiths Leeds

New Head of Office for Shoosmiths Leeds

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Author: Kara Shadbolt

Leading commercial litigation lawyer, Matthew Howarth has been announced as the new head of office for Shoosmiths Leeds, taking up the reins from Paul Stokey who has been appointed to lead the firm's national employment team.

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L to R: Paul Stokey and Matthew Howarth.

Matthew, who currently heads up Shoosmiths' commercial litigation department in Leeds, will continue to pursue the firm's growth strategy in the Yorkshire region, which is central to Shoosmiths' objective of creating a Northern hub of legal expertise.

Since its launch in December 2016, Shoosmiths Leeds has attracted some of the region's leading legal talent from a raft of competitor law firms. The office moved into new state-of-the-art workspace at Platform in Leeds city centre earlier this year and recently announced that it had agreed to take an additional floor at the building, to accommodate continued expansion.

Having steered the Leeds office through this period of success, Paul Stokey, who also heads up the Leeds employment team, is stepping up to become Shoosmiths' national department head for employment, taking over from previous incumbent Kevin McCavish.

As the new head of office for Shoosmiths Leeds, Matthew Howarth brings a wealth of legal expertise and experience. Described by the Legal 500 as 'disarmingly good', and top ranked in Band 1 by Chambers and Partners, Matthew advises clients on a broad range of commercial disputes including shareholder and warranty claims, professional negligence, contractual disputes, defamation and financial services claims and pensions disputes. He has executed and defended search and seizure orders for clients, and acted as a court appointed supervising solicitor on the execution of such orders.

Matthew, who was head of litigation at Gordons in Leeds prior to joining Shoosmiths, also has considerable experience in Judicial Review claims, most notably acting for the Plantagenet Alliance, descendants of King Richard III in their challenge over the burial of his remains located in Leicester, a case which attracted worldwide press interest and appeared regularly on local and national radio and television. His experience includes pursuing claims in the High Court and Court of Appeal, public inquiries and mediations for clients.

Commenting on his new role, Matthew said, "Both myself and Paul are being given fantastic opportunities to further develop our careers at Shoosmiths; in what is an excellent example of how the firm supports professional progression. I am very much looking forward to building on the solid foundations that Paul has established for our team and helping to drive further growth here in Leeds. We have a fantastic proposition in place that has already enabled us to attract some of the leading lights on the regional legal scene. People come to us because we do things differently and offer a vibrant, energetic and supportive culture. By having an exceptional team in place we are able to deliver exceptional client service, putting us ahead of the competition."

Claire Rowe, Chief Executive of Shoosmiths, said, "The success of the Leeds office is testament to Paul Stokey's work, support and commitment and we know he will be equally effective in his new role. I am delighted that Matthew has agreed to take over leadership of the Leeds team and I look forward to working with him to grow the Leeds office even further in terms of both the strength and depth of our teams in this location and our brand and reputation in the local market."

Shoosmiths Leeds launched in December 2016 and moved into Platform in March of this year. Having originally agreed a ten-year lease to occupy the whole of Platform's ninth floor, taking a total of 10,000 sq ft of space, Shoosmiths has since signed up for an additional wing of the building - located on the tenth floor, which will enable it to grow its team and service additional clients.

Recent notable client wins for the Leeds office include an appointment to the Morrisons legal panel, where it will provide employment, competition and litigation support