Recommendations

  • Good to work with and clearly knows what she's doing

    Chambers 2020

  • 'Expert in public services'

    Legal 500 2020

  • [Abbie is] "Down to earth, sensible and pragmatic"

    Chambers UK 2019

  • Commentators mark her ability to tackle "highly technical work"

    Chambers UK 2018

  • '[Abbie is] genuinely brilliant'

    Legal 500 2017

  • Leading individual

    Legal 500 2017

  • "[Abbie is] very friendly, helpful and clear"

    Chambers UK 2017

  • Leading individual.

    Legal 500 2016

  • "She brings a pragmatic and sensible approach, whilst never losing sight of fighting for clients interests."

    Chambers 2016

  • Clients describe her as "very responsive, tolerant and always willing to explain in a way we understand."

    Chambers UK 2016

Experience

With extensive experience as a non-executive and trustee, I understand the challenges and opportunities faced by organisations balancing commercial considerations and social impact and I aim to provide straight forward, practical advice. My clients range from household names to small entrepreneurial start ups.

Having been one of the originators of the Community Interest Company, I worked on the legislation and drafted the model constitutions.  There are now 15,0000 registered CICs and I have particular expertise in the delivery of public services, providing strategic and legal advice to public bodies on when, whether and how to use alternative delivery models. I lead our public services team.

A champion for women leaders, I was a trustee of the Fawcett Society, was listed in the first “Power Part Timers”  and worked closely with WISE 100, featuring in this short film celebrating women leaders in social enterprise.  I am passionate about education and, having been a school governor, am now a trustee of the Creative Education Trust delivering education to over 17,000 students.  I was elected to the Bates Wells Management Board in 2018.

Highlights

  • Brighton and Hove Council – the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust

    We are advising on this high profile transfer of a portfolio of museums and heritage assets, including the sea-front Royal Pavilion to a charity.

  • Action on Hearing Loss

    I lead our work with this charity, advising on a range of complex commercial matters and regulatory matters as well as working with them on a detailed governance review.

  • Comic Relief

    I lead our work with Comic Relief and Sports Relief, advising on a wide variety of issues as and when they arise, often at short notice. Matters include social finance, grant making and high profile fundraising initiatives.

  • Stephen Hawking Foundation

    We have advised the Stephen Hawking Foundation on a range of governance and commercial issues.

  • Achieving for Children

    I advised on the spin out of the children’s services departments of Richmond and Kingston councils (£115m services) to a community interest company wholly owned by the two councils. It has gone from strength to strength with the DfE recently citing it as an example of best practice.

  • Thomas Cook Group Plc

    I advised on the establishment of the Safer Tourism Foundation follow the very sad deaths of two children on a Thomas Cook holiday. Thomas Cook worked with the children’s mother and others to set up this foundation.

  • National Deaf Children Society

    I advise the National Deaf Children Society on a variety of both UK and international matters.

  • I worked with DfE on national Social Work Practices pilot advising various local authorities on the establishment of social enterprises for children’s services
  • I advised West Sussex County Council on the transfer of adult and community learning services
  • I advised Morgan Stanley on a £10 million grant to Great Ormond Street Hospital
  • I advised Social Enterprise UK on governance and other advice
  • I assisted the Electoral Reform Society with a governance review
  • I also assisted Habitat for Humanity on their governance review
  • I advised the National Deaf children society on a variety of both UK and international matters
  • I advised Action on hearing Loss on governance and other matters
  • I advised Plan International UK on grant making, fundraising and international governance

Qualifications and career

  • University of Cambridge, MA Economics, 1998
  • College of Law, 1999
  • Joined Bates Wells, 1999
  • Admitted as a solicitor, 2001
  • Seconded to the Department of Trade and Industry and to the Home Office working on community interest companies and the Charities Act 2006
  • Partner, 2007
  • Joined Bates Wells Management Board 2018

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Former member of Office of the Third Sector Advisory Board
  • Former Trustee of the Fawcett Society
  • Provided pro bono advice to numerous organisations
  • Former Chair of PayPal Giving Fund UK
  • Provided pro bono advice to numerous small organisations including Sasbah and Birth Companions as well as to Social Enterprise UK on their recent governance review.