"Nick is always approachable, enthusiastic and upbeat. Crucially for us, he and gunnercooke were able to react quickly and effectively to unexpected developments" – James Hall, CEO.
What he’s best at:
Nick is a Corporate Partner based in Leeds, but also operating regularly from both London and the North West. He is particularly valued by corporate clients for his enthusiastic “Can-do” approach, and his knowledge “at the sharp end” having been a CEO himself, and sat on or advised many Company Boards, and for his accessibility and speed of response.
Nick is a very experienced (37 years’ call) corporate Barrister, who has spent much of his career as an in-house Counsel working at a senior level in PLCs and in smaller companies, as Legal Director or equivalent. In recent years however he has also been a Chief Executive, raising investment for, and running for 3 years, a tech company (spun out from a University). He therefore has a real insight into the kind of practical legal advice which Directors and managers of companies need. He has advised on significant £multi-million M & A matters, Competition Law, and dealt with very significant Due Diligence matters on investment deals.
Nick also has a particular specialism in advising on legislation and the way legislation may be changed, and on regulation and regulatory bodies. In his legal and in-house business career, he has worked on many overseas matters, in the UK, Europe and the US, and as a lawyer in the biggest international firm in the Sultanate of Oman. He has had particular links with the Isle of Man having been on the Board of a Manx Company and with the Channel Islands, including extensive dealings with Jersey legal matters, and Guernsey/Alderney, on banking, financial services, cyber security/IT and gambling, legal and regulatory matters.
He has also had links in the same fields in Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, BVI, Antigua, Bermuda and Cayman Islands. In addition, Nick spent 13 years as a Conservative M.P. In Government, he served on the Front bench teams in the MoD and DNH, and he was then a Shadow Minister in a variety of roles under all the three Opposition leaders 1997-2005. His most senior role was Shadow Solicitor-General.
Who he works for:
All types of companies, large and small but with particular niche specialisms in:
- Tech Companies – especially cleantech, water and energy, pharma research and vetting, and IT and cybersecurity issues.
- Startups and Spin-outs
- M & A
- Banking/financial services/ Insurance
- Matters involving US/Offshore Jurisdiction /Commonwealth countries’ companies/ Far East
- Compliance/Regulatory/ Governance
- Leisure/ Sport/ Hospitality / Gambling law
- Rail, Air and other transport
“ In our substantial seven-figures sale deal, I discovered that Nick Hawkins is exactly the kind of corporate lawyer we needed. Nick is always approachable, enthusiastic and upbeat. Crucially for us, he and gunnerCooke were able to react quickly and effectively to unexpected developments, both in the UK and involving those overseas, and give us timely, and correct, advice. All of the complexities of the deal were handled in a way which not only impressed my team, but also the purchasers' (an S & P 500 leading services firm) business and legal teams, as they openly said, and their external lawyers. Most importantly, Nick was instantly available whenever I needed him, either by phone or email, to give me the answers and advice I needed, and the fixed fee quote was a saving on big law firms because of gunnercooke's lower overheads. I would strongly recommend Nick Hawkins to other CEO's and businesses.” – James Hall, CEO.
- Publicly highly-praised contribution to Professor Jack’s Government Review Committee into credit card law, on behalf of 4 major UK clearing banks.
- Urgent advice to major clearing banks’ Main Boards as the whole of the UK credit card market was about to face huge disruptive change.
- First lawyer ever successfully to proceed against Consumers’ Association “Which?” magazine for Libel, and obtaining fulsome complete published apology to his in-house Company.
- Successes in Litigation as Counsel, in the Court of Appeal – (reported cases)
- Personal handwritten note of congratulation from very distinguished High Court Judge (Drake J.) on performance after taking over at less than a day’s notice, from injured Leading Counsel, in latter stages of Conspiracy to Murder case.
- Large number of successful corporate deals, getting investment deals through
- Dealing with unexpected developments such as suddenly needing at zero advance notice to assist Serious and Organised Crime Agency investigators take forward huge investigation involving prosecution of ex-employee of in-house Company.
Regular contributions over many years to many trade, legal and regulatory publications. In recent years featured profile in 2015 in “Leeds and Yorkshire Lawyer” and specialist trade press column, 2008-2012
- Middle Temple (Inn of Court) - Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition & Senior Scholarship
- Corporate Barrister (1979-86 and again 2015-16)
- St. Philip’s Barristers Chambers (now St Philip’s/Stone Chambers and once 7 Fountain Court, Birmingham, and Albion Place Northampton.) (1979-86 and again 2015-16)
- Chief Executive – Acoustic Sensing Technology (UK) Ltd. (2012-2014)
- Consultant at Spring Law, Covent Garden, 2011-12 and 2014-15
- Legal Director and Company Secretary, Danoptra Ltd (£165 million UK and international Leisure and Gaming group with many subsidiaries) (2007-2011)
- Law firms in City of London and Sultanate of Oman (2005-07)
- Conservative M.P. – (1992-2005) Government roles 1995-7, Shadow teams 1997-2004, Shadow Solicitor-General 2003.
- Group Legal Adviser, Lloyds Abbey Life plc (in-house Counsel) 1989-92
- Company Legal Adviser (senior in-house Counsel) Access – (The Joint Credit Card Company Ltd) 1987-89
- Reuter Simkin Legal Recruitment and then for 3 months McCarthy & Stone in-house Counsel, 1986-87
- Elected to Bar Council 1989-95 and on its “inner Cabinet”, the GMC, 1993-5.
- Elected Chairman of in-house Counsel professional body BACFI 1993-4, having been on Committee since 1988.
- A.C. I. Arb., 1989
- Involved with various pro bono and charitable groups, including sitting on Committee of Lords Taverners charity for Yorkshire, and Trustee of Manton Charitable Trust..
- Interests – cricket (playing regularly almost every Sunday in season), rugby union, swimming and other sports, antiques, music, spending time with family and reading.
- Business roles have included being Non-Exec Chairman of bidder for radio franchise, adviser to PlusMarket, in the City, Consultant to Building Employers’ Federation (later the Construction Confederation) and later to British Cement Association, and to ukBetting plc-sits on or advises various Boards currently.
- Bedford Modern School (then Direct-Grant Grammar, now Independent Public School)
- University of Oxford (Lincoln College) M.A. (Hons.) Jurisprudence
- Inns of Court School of Law (Bar Finals 2nd class Hons.)