A law firm with offices across Herefordshire and Shropshire is expanding its education team as it continues to advise an ever-growing number of schools as they convert to academies.
Education specialist, Emma Swann, has joined Lanyon Bowdler as a consultant with more than 15 years’ experience of dealing in education law.
Emma, who lives in Ross on Wye, is based at the firm’s Hereford office and will advise clients across the county, Shropshire and the Midlands.
Head of education at Lanyon Bowdler, Will Morse, who is based in the firm’s Hereford office, said Emma would be a real asset to the team.
“Emma is known as one of the leading experts in education law and we are delighted she has joined the firm,” he said.
“She has a rich array of experience, having lead on more than 130 academy conversions, as well as advising schools and Church of England Diocesan Boards on all aspects of education law, including admissions, exclusions, parental complaints and governance matters.
“We have seen a steady increase in the amount of work coming into the firm from schools who need specialist legal advice on how to convert to an academy and who need day-to-day support post conversion.
“We are predicting that demand to grow as we are seeing schools prefer to buy their legal support locally from lawyers who have the expertise they need but are accessible and can support them at close proximity.
“Lanyon Bowdler is the only firm ranked for education work in Herefordshire and Shropshire by the independent legal directory, Legal 500 UK, which identifies the best firms offering specialist legal support for schools and academies and recognises Lanyon Bowdler’s unique position in its local markets.”
Emma said the education sector was in an interesting – if challenging – position at the moment.
She added: “Funding is of course the biggest challenge facing schools, and many see converting to an academy as a means of taking full control of their own budgets.
“There are lots of advantages to being an academy, but it has to be the right approach for everyone involved, and our job is to help schools make the transition as smoothly as possible.
“Having worked on more than 130 conversions, I understand the issues very well, and I am also a regular contributor to the Department for Education working group regarding the development of the academies programme.”