New Finance Partners Boost Business Team

High Profile Hires Illustrate Ongoing Investment


Leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell has reaffirmed its ongoing strategic drive to build a leading national business legal services team with the recruitment of two high profile Banking and Asset Based Lending partners, Andrew Watson and Jon Bew, from Squire Sanders, (formerly Squire Sanders Hammonds).
Andrew Watson will become Head of Finance at Irwin Mitchell and will be based in the London office. Jon Bew will be based in Birmingham, but as now will split his time between London and Birmingham. The new partners will dovetail with Irwin Mitchell’s existing national finance team.
These appointments are the latest in a series of senior appointments in the Business Legal Services Division of Irwin Mitchell as it drives forward its strategic growth plan.  This drive began in November 2010 when the firm appointed SJ Berwin’s head of real estate Jon Vivian who joined the London office with six other partners and a team of over 20, closely followed by the appointment of Paul Firth in 2011 from DLA Sheffield to work with Niall Baker, head of the firm’s Business Legal Services division, to develop the business practice across the UK.  The appointment of Tom Flanagan as National Head of Employment followed in March 2011.
Other senior appointments in London included Sue Wilson as a senior Real Estate Litigation Consultant, Alex Barnes as a Real Estate Tax partner and Jayne Schnider who joined from Taylor Wessing as a Corporate Real Estate partner. In addition, DLA Piper’s Head of Construction and Engineering, Julie Morrissy and Steven Bate, DWF’s Head of Construction in Yorkshire, have also recently joined the firm.
Andrew and Jon have combined experience of over 35 years in the London finance market, with a particular specialism in Asset Based Lending, covering receivables finance, trade finance, inventory finance, equipment finance and structuring cross-border financings.  Both are widely acknowledged as leading lawyers in this field with particular strong reputations for  the use of bespoke structures in connection with acquisition financings.
Their client base is wide ranging and includes UK clearing banks and their subsidiaries, independent specialist financiers, and US and European asset based lenders.
Since bringing their practice to what is now Squire Sanders upon the merger of Wilde & Partners with Hammond Suddards Edge in 2001, Andrew and Jon have developed what is widely regarded as one of the very best practices in the  non-contentious Asset Based Lending arena in the UK.
Both are highly regarded with Andrew described by Legal Week in November as one of the most “respected operators” in the firm and Jon noted in Chambers for his “in-depth technical knowledge and commercial sense.”
Commenting on the new appointments, Niall Baker, Head of Business Legal Services said, "Complementing and strengthening our existing Finance team, these appointments are a serious step up for Irwin Mitchell in terms of capability and reputation in the Finance legal market place. We are very pleased indeed to be able to offer enhanced services to our clients by the addition of City finance expertise.
“Finance is a natural area for Irwin Mitchell to continue to expand into, leveraging off our already strong relationships with a large number of Banks, insurance companies and related businesses. It will also give us the opportunity to increase business in related fields such as litigation, recovery, insolvency and restructuring, by offering lenders a “one stop shop” solution servicing all their principal needs. I am absolutely delighted Andrew and Jon have decided to join us as we continue to expand our Business Legal Services offering in the UK.”
He added, “Andrew and Jon have experience of a very broad range of financing structures and techniques and of the issues for financiers in insolvency situations and are therefore very well placed to advise both our lender and borrower clients in connection with their financing needs.  Andrew and Jon are also entrepreneurial and imaginative in the product development area and see huge opportunities to develop innovative service delivery methods and new products targeted at some of the firm’s major clients.”