Latest News

12 Apr

12 April 2017

Sarah Perry Announced as Winner of FirstPro 2017

Sarah Perry, Managing Partner of Wright Hassall Solicitors, was named FirstPro 2017, at a gala dinner held at the Ricoh Arena on Thursday 6 April.

“With a strong national reputation and leading a key firm in Coventry and Warwickshire, Sarah is an incredibly worthy winner,” said Michael Durkin, Relationship Director at Santander and chair of Coventry & Warwickshire First. “She embodies the professional services capabilities of our region and as such is an excellent ambassador for our sector.”

As one of only eight female managing partners of law firms in England, Sarah has been identified as a ‘Hot 100’ lawyer by the industry leading publication, The Lawyer. Chambers UK 2017 describes her as “a tenacious litigator who leads a good team with a very clear focus on what the client is trying to achieve”. Responsible for the firm’s ambitious three-year growth strategy, Sarah is also Head of Wright Hassall Solicitors’ dispute resolution practice. She is recognised for her commercial and financial litigation expertise and her considerable High Court experience.

Tim Powell, one of the region’s leading business consultants, was recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to business in Coventry and Warwickshire. He began his career in the banking sector, supporting SMEs. Then, as Managing Director of DBM Direct, he grew the company from six people and a turnover of £275,000 to 22 people and a turnover of £2.2 million. He went on to join Warwick University Science Park to deliver a pilot Investment Readiness Programme, helped deliver the Advanced Growth Fund and has been personally involved in the delivery to support of over 650 SMEs. Outside work he has helped organise the Coventry Fun Run for over a decade and is Director and Treasurer of Coventry Mind.

The category winners are:
Legal Professional: Sarah Perry, Wright Hassall Solicitors
(Legal Professional Highly Commended: Mark Lewis, Lodders Solicitors)
Finance & Banking Professional: Deborah Austin, Dafferns Chartered Accountants
Business Services (including Property) Professional: Jason Strain, Harrison Beale & Owen Financial Services
Young Professional: Vangeya Mhone Murphy, Shakespeare Martineau

Legal Professional: Sarah Perry, Wright Hassall Solcitors

Legal Professional, Highly Commended: Mark Lewis, Lodders Solicitors
A partner at Lodders Solicitors and Head of the Charity Law Team, Mark has been recognised by both the Legal 500 as ‘Elite’ and by Chambers as exceptional. He has been recognised as providing a ‘first class service’, ensuring ‘strategic plans are fit for purpose’ and focused on ‘achieving the best solutions in corporate and commercial matters’. Mark is active in the local community. Alongside Dafferns Chartered Accountants he runs a third sector group to support trustees and others in the charity and not-for-profit sector. He is on the local Chamber of Commerce committee and is the Secretary of the Leamington Spa Conservation Trust.

Finance & Banking Professional: Deborah Austin, Dafferns Chartered Accountants
Deborah is a local girl through and through having been born, schooled and professionally qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in the city. Outside work, Deborah’s passion lies in providing opportunities to improve life and career chances for Coventry children; she is on the Governing body of a primary school and a primary school federation driving improvements in Coventry. Deborah also runs the Dafferns Excellence programme which provides a group of up to eight Year 12 students the opportunity to learn and put into practice business problem solving skills through a week-long programme in a real world business situation.

Business Services (including Property) Professional: Jason Strain, Harrison Beale & Owen
Jason heads up the Financial Services’ team as Managing Director at Harrison Beale & Owen Financial Services, helping clients manage their money and plan their financial future.   He enjoys providing clients with a sound personal finance plan and is a great advocate of long term wealth planning. He is an expert in bespoke company pension schemes and regularly carries out trustee work.

Young Professional: Vangeya Mhone Murphy, Shakespeare Martineau
The judges were inspired by Vangeya’s career journey, from being told she would never make it as a solicitor to becoming the 2016 Warwickshire Junior Lawyer Division’s Solicitor of the Year! Regularly winning new business for her firm, Vangeya has also taken on responsibility for training newly qualified solicitors and trainees. Keen to pass on her skills and knowledge, she is setting up a mentoring scheme for inner-city girls aged 14-19. The judges were very impressed by the breadth of her activities, from being a committee member at BNI, where she grew the membership by 29% during her tenure, to fundraising for local charities such as The Shakespeare Hospice and her local parish.