Law firm Anthony Collins Solicitors has expanded its burgeoning local government division with a trio of new hires in response to increasing market appetite.
Joining the fold is Stuart Evans, previously head of law for environment, development and planning at Birmingham City Council, bringing with him more than thirty years’ experience and industry expertise across planning, highways and licensing law.
The firm has also welcomed two new solicitors – Vinay Sharma who originally trained at Stafford Borough Council and Meena Lekhi who joins from Warwickshire County Council as a data protection specialist, supporting local government and other firm clients.
The appointments have been made in reaction to an increase in client and industry demand, with the firm’s local government team recording 50% revenue growth in the last financial year.
Historically known for its work in procurement and for the creation of joint vehicles between local authorities and private sector organisations, Anthony Collins Solicitors has advised a large and growing number of councils and other bodies on how to open up additional income streams and ensure commercialisation is carried out in an effective and socially-responsible manner.
Over the last year, however, the firm has expanded its expertise and is proud to be able to offer a full service to local authorities across virtually all their needs for external legal advice.
Olwen Dutton, partner and head of local government at Anthony Collins Solicitors, said: “As austerity continues to bite, commercialisation is becoming an increasingly essential endeavour for local authorities, allowing them to supplement revenues, build investment portfolios and set up partnerships that deliver positive outcomes for local people.
“Our role is to ensure that these activities properly align with authorities’ core values and governance, giving all relevant stakeholders confidence that the activity is legal, the risks are managed, investments are secure and operations ethical.
“Stuart and his wealth of experience, especially in planning, will prove hugely important as we continue to grow as a practice.”
Stuart Evans, senior associate and local government specialist at Anthony Collins Solicitors, said: “The grim reality is that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has seen its budget cut by 60% since 2011/12.
“If local authorities are to sustainably meet the needs of the communities they serve, innovative solutions and partnerships are needed – those that are enshrined in solid governance structures.
“I look forward to supporting clients as we continue to work
Founded in Birmingham in 1973, Anthony Collins Solicitors has a clear purpose to improve lives, communities and society.
With a turnover of £16.6m, it is recognised nationally for delivering accessible and pragmatic legal advice to its specialist sectors of health and social care, education, housing, charities, local government, social business and legal services for individuals.