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Law firm makes string of hires following decision to focus more on public sector work

Law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) has strengthened its public sector and local government practice with a number of senior hires, including the former Head of Legal Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer at BCP Council.

Sian Ballingall joins the firm’s Southampton office as a legal director. She is a real estate and regeneration specialist with extensive local government experience, advising on a broad range of projects, including development schemes, delivery and trading structures, and local government law. 

Ballingall advised two of BCP’s predecessor unitary authorities on local government reorganisation.

Also joining as a legal director is Sarah White, a planning specialist with experience in planning, regeneration, transport and aviation projects who will be based in the London office.

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White is also an expert in local government law, having most recently been Lead Legal Specialist and Monitoring Officer at Guildford Borough Council. Prior to this, she worked for the London Borough of Hillingdon for many years and dealt with key projects at Heathrow Airport, Southall Gas Works and HS2.

Managing associate Helen Robinson meanwhile joins the team in Leeds. She has more than 12 years' experience working in, and advising local authorities.

Robinson was a senior planning and highways lawyer at North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) advising the council on all aspects of planning, highways, public rights of way and major infrastructure projects. She was also lead information governance lawyer for NYCC.

Umi Filby joins in Newcastle as an associate from Gateshead Council. Having trained and qualified in local government, Filby 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.

Iain Greenshields, WBD's Head of Public Sector, said: "WBD has taken a very conscious decision to focus more on public sector work in the last eighteen months, and the recruitment of Sian, Sarah, Helen and Umi 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."

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