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Newcastle law firm bolsters public sector team

Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has strengthened its public sector and local government practice with a number of senior hires across the UK, including associate Umi Filby who joins in Newcastle.

Umi joins from Gateshead Council. Having trained and qualified in local government, Umi has 14 years’ experience working in local government legal departments and advising on public sector projects in relation to planning, highways and public rights of way. She recently provided planning and highways advice on the Gateshead Quays Arena and advised Transport North East in relation to the Bus Strategy.

Also joining the firm’s projects and procurement and planning teams are legal directors Sian Ballingall and Sarah White, based in Southampton and London respectively, and Leeds-based managing associate Helen Robinson.

Iain Greenshields, WBD’s Head of Public Sector commented: “WBD has taken a very conscious decision to focus more on public sector work in the last eighteen months, and the recruitment of Umi, Sian, Sarah and Helen shows the scale of our commitment in this area. Our local government practice in particular has more than doubled in the last four years, and we feel the time is right to invest in that sector now, to offer an enhanced service and team to our local authority clients.”

The new hires follow the appointment last year of partner Deborah Ramshaw. Based in Newcastle, Deborah advises central and local government departments and agencies, NHS bodies, utilities in the postal, energy and transport sectors, education clients and registered housing providers on a wide range of procurement matters and legislation

WBD works closely with UK Local and Central Government authorities, as well as other organisations in the wider public and third sector. The firm advises the UK Government Legal Department, providing a full-service of legal expertise across a range of disciplines, including general commercial, litigation and employment advice. WBD was appointed in Spring 2017 as a Tier 1 firm on the Crown Commercial Service Framework (CCS) for Central Government Departments, Agencies and Arms’ Length Bodies; the firm was also appointed to the CCS Framework for the wider public sector in the Autumn 2018.