Movers & Shakers: Sharon Allison, Genie Barham and Claire Sleep appointed partners at Ashtons Legal

Sharon Allison, Claire Sleep and Genie Barham of Ashtons Legal.

Sharon Allison, Claire Sleep and Genie Barham of Ashtons Legal. - Credit: Archant

Regional law firm Ashtons Legal has appointed Sharon Allison, Genie Barham and Claire Sleep as partners, bringing its total number of partners across East Anglia to 35.

All three have carved out recognised niche legal areas during their time with the firm. Sharon Allison is a medical injury lawyer who specialises in mental health issues and fatal cases related to stillbirth. She is an accredited senior litigator for The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and one of only two AvMA panel members in the region. Sharon has extensive experience of the Coroner’s Court and the Inquest process and regularly represents families at Inquests concerning medical errors and mental health issues, in particular cases of suicide whilst detained under the Mental Health Act.

Lawyer Genie Barham has worked in the East Anglian commercial property marketplace throughout her career but also has experience in dealing with property transactions nationwide. She has been with the firm since 2006 and acts for a range of clients including corporations, partnerships, banks, local authorities, charities and pension funds.

Solicitor Claire Sleep joined Ashton KCJ in 2014 and throughout her career has worked for a wide range of clients and carried out a broad range of HR advisory work including assisting with the employment aspects of company sales and reorganisations. Claire is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association and has significant experience in handling Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal matters. She also provides employment law training to line managers in commercial organisations.

Chief executive Edward O’Rourke said: “These appointments on April 1 coincide with the change of our firm’s name to Ashtons Legal, a logical move following on from our registration as an ABS in 2014. Holding an ABS licence allows us to give non-solicitors and financial stake in the firm and Sharon and Genie become our third and fourth talented individuals who have not followed the traditional solicitor qualification route. In 2014 we appointed a former banker and a Legal Executive to well-deserved partnership roles.

“I would like to congratulate our new partners on their richly deserved promotions. These appointments demonstrate Ashton KCJ’s commitment to investing in the development of our staff and it is always rewarding to be able to promote talented team members from within the firm.”

:: The director of a Suffolk-based roofing company has won a national award celebrating women in the construction industry.

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Jackie Biswell of Apex Roofing, based in Lowestoft, has scooped the Business Leader of the Year title at the annual Women in Construction awards.

Jackie’s win recognises the success she has had in building up Apex Roofing from a start-up into a high turnover firm with national contracts in just three years.

The Business Leader of the Year category recognises trailblazers in business who are pushing their companies forward, delivering exceptional performance and increasing turnover.

As well as winning national contracts, Jackie has invested in training and growing a team of apprentices, trainees and new employees who are moving into the sector for the first time.

Her active role as director sees her oversee the day to day running of sites and projects, as well as pushing Apex to achieve the highest standards of health and safety.

“I’m just blown away by winning and it’s fantastic to be recognised from amongst a group of such hard-working and driven women,” said Jackie.

“The Women in Construction awards is so important because it proves that construction doesn’t have to be just a man’s world, and that women really can progress in the industry.”

Now in its tenth year, the awards scheme provides a showcase for the brightest and the best female achievers in the housebuilding and wider construction industries.

:: A key staff member at Apex Scaffolding has been promoted to a new role.

Matthew Young, who has been with the Lowestoft company since 2013, has progressed to project manager at time of expansion and growth for the business. Matthew has 15 years of experience as an advanced scaffolder, previously he worked on a number of high profile projects across the county.

Sally Peck from Apex Scaffolding said: the firm was “absolutely thrilled” with Matthew’s progress.

“As we take on more projects, someone with Matt’s level of expertise is a fantastic and he is a much valued member of our team,” she said.

Matt said: “This is a very exciting promotion for me and I look forward to being able to build on my experience with Apex, it’s a busy and thriving company to be part of and I look forward to being a part of its progression.”

Apex Scaffolding is the sister company to Apex Roofing, which is also Lowestoft-based.

:: Laurie McGee has joined estate agents Robinson & Hall as a senior planner.

Laurie has more than 30 years’ experience working on town planning and environmental consultancy in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and with local planning authorities in New England, USA. She made the move to work in England after a stint of nine years in Ireland working on renewable energy and minerals projects.

She has specialist knowledge of environmental planning, particularly environmental impact assessment across a European Union boundary. She will be presenting on this topic at the upcoming Irish Planning Institute National Planning Conference in Athlone, Co. Westmeath in April 2016.

She is looking forward to working on a greater variety of assignments in rural planning consultancy and using her expertise and experience to benefit new and current clients in her new role.

Principal chartered town planner Peter Le Grys said: “We are delighted to welcome Laurie to our team to ensure that we can continue to service our growing client base with the same care and attention to detail as always.”

Robinson & Hall has offices in Ipswich, Colchester, Buckingham and Bedford.

:: Framlingham-based cloud telecoms provider X-on has appointed Neil Miles as chief operating officer

Neil brings with him a wealth of international experience, having spent 22 years with telecoms industry giant Ericsson in various senior roles within the EMEA and APAC regions, most recently as senior/lead service delivery manager.

During his time with Ericsson, Neil won numerous awards and played a key role in software and systems engineering, launching IT service delivery as well as infrastructure management.

Managing director Paul Bensley said he was delighted with the appointment, citing Neil’s track record in the telecommunications industry and his knowledge and experience.

“As chief operating officer, Neil will play a key role in our ongoing operations and service delivery to new and existing customers. This appointment is a major step for X-on and I have no doubt Neil will prove to be an excellent addition to the team,” he said.

Neil said he was “delighted” to join the firm.

“I hope that together we can continue to strengthen our position as a market leader in cloud telecoms and mobile telephony,” he said.

:: Solicitor Lorna Boorman has joined Essex law firm Birkett Long.

The 28-year-old, who is a keen photographer, studied law at Anglia Ruskin in 2006 and qualified as a solicitor in 2013.

She works in the firm’s wills, trusts and probate team and says a legal career was always going to be on the cards for her.

“It was always my intention to qualify as a solicitor not just for the personal challenge but because it offers a long-lasting career where I can continue to learn,” she said.

She specialises in wills, powers of attorney, court of protection and probate work and also deals with mental capacity issues.

“I like the client contact that comes with working in this team. You are always meeting new people and coming across new situations,” she said.

“I like the fact that I can offer assistance to people at a difficult time in their life if they have lost someone and it is good to help more vulnerable clients get their affairs in order.”