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Shoosmiths drives Leeds litigation practice with Gordons hire

In its latest northern push, national firm Shoosmiths has hired leading commercial litigator Matthew Howarth as a partner from Gordons, to head up the firm’s Leeds commercial litigation practice.

Howarth is the fourth partner to move across from Gordons since Shoosmiths launched in Leeds in December 2016.

His practice is highly rated for acting on large scale professional negligence recovery claims for banks. He has also advised companies on confidential information claims, breaches of warranty disputes and shareholder actions. 

Gordons is rated second-tier for commercial litigation in the Legal 500 in Leeds and West Yorkshire and notably strong in the financial services sector. Howarth was also a member of Gordons’ management board and spent eight years as head of its 27-strong commercial litigation department.

The firm’s Leeds head Paul Stokey, who also joined Shoosmiths from Gordons, said this latest hire further underlines Shoosmiths’ ambitions to establish a hub of legal excellence for clients in the North.

He said Howarth had an excellent reputation as a first class litigator both in the Yorkshire market and nationally. ‘I look forward to working with him as we continue to expand by attracting the most talented and ambitious lawyers to the firm,’ he said.

The hire follows a series of appointments this year for the top 40 UK firm, including two other partners from Gordons, Simon Robinson and Phil Crowe in employment, former Simpson Millar national head of family law Peter Morris and real estate partner Richard Bellamy and Judy Fawcett from Addleshaw Goddard and Ward Hadaway respectively.

With 12 offices across the UK, Shoosmiths announced a turnover of £107m to end of April 2016. The firm also announced it was launching in Northern Ireland through a merger last December with Belfast firm, McManus Kearney.