Senior Associate and Joint Head of Faith-Based Organisations

Experience

Leona advises a broad range of charities and social enterprises, and particularly enjoys working with membership organisations and faith-based organisations. Leona is joint head of BWB’s Faith-Based Organisations Group, a cross-departmental group of solicitors with a personal and professional interest in working with faith-based charities.
Leona regularly advises on core charity and company law matters, duties of charity trustees, as well as constitutional and governance issues. She also enjoys transactional work, including incorporations and mergers.

Examples of recent work

• New charity formations and registrations, advising on appropriate legal structures, including the pros and cons of the CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).
• Advising US non-profits on the establishment of UK subsidiary charities, addressing issues of independence.<br• Advising on various charity mergers and related group structure and governance matters.
• Governance reviews and constitutional advice, including scope of objects and trustee powers.
• Updating articles of association of charitable companies to comply with Companies Act 2006.
• Working with NUS, the National Union of Students, on the production of model governing documents for students’ unions and advising numerous students’ unions on governance reviews, constitutional updates, trustee duties and charity law issues.
• Advising membership organisations, including trade associations, on a range of governance and constitutional issues, including member disciplinary procedures and contentious removal of trustees.
• General company and commercial advice.

Qualifications and career

• Queens University of Belfast, LLB Law and Accounting, 1999
• Nottingham Law School, Legal Practice Course, 2000
• Joined Herbert Smith as trainee solicitor, 2000
• Commercial solicitor at Capsticks Solicitors, 2005
• Joined Bates Wells Braithwaite, 2007

Pro bono, memberships and appointments

• Pro bono legal adviser to faith-based charities
• Pro bono legal advice to new charities seeking registration with the Charity Commission
• Member of Charity Law Association
• Member of Thomas More Society
• Trustee of Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul Services