The Team

Jason Poole“thinks outside the box to solve complex issues” Legal 500

Jason is the Senior Partner of JG Poole & Co LLP and founded the firm in June 2013. He read law at the University of East Anglia and Commercial and Corporate law at the London School of Economics. He qualified as a solicitor in 1994. Prior to founding JG Poole & Co LLP, he was a partner at two of the country’s leading education law firms (Eversheds LLP and Mills & Reeve LLP).

Jason specialises in major strategic projects such as PFI/PPP and outsourcings. He has advised on university student accommodation projects since the late 1990s, when this first started to develop as a new asset class. Many of his projects have been market leading or introduced new structures to the market.

Jason also regularly advises universities on strategic joint ventures and collaboration arrangements.

Jason is ranked as a leading lawyer by Legal 500 who identify him as “a leading light in the student accommodation sector” and describe him as “really approachable, extremely pragmatic and prepared to work collaboratively”.

He is also a ranked individual in Chambers and Partners where he is described as “a very responsive and knowledgeable lawyer with good experience."

Helen Bolton“A recognised specialist in structured finance” Legal 500

Helen is a banking and finance lawyer and is a structured finance specialist. She read law at the University of London and qualified as a solicitor at Clifford Chance LLP in 1997. Helen worked for some years at Clifford Chance gaining extensive experience in project finance, senior, mezzanine and subordinated debt, together with related security, intercreditor and derivatives packages.

After leaving Clifford Chance, Helen worked for Mills & Reeve LLP for a number of years in their banking and projects teams, regularly working with Jason. Following a period as a partner at another major regional practice, Helen joined JG Poole & Co LLP in 2014.

Helen advises on all aspects of banking and finance, including bond issues and EIB funding.

Helen has significant experience of advising on forward funding developments, funding of student accommodation projects in the university sector as well as the financing of renewables to energy.


James trained in Birmingham with Mills & Reeve LLP and on qualification in 2010, initially as a construction lawyer, he worked closely with Jason and Helen on a number of projects.

After Mills & Reeve LLP, James spent time working in the real estate teams at Gateley Plc and Gowling WLG before joining Wright Hassall LLP where he spent five years, the last three of which were as a partner leading their commercial investment and development offering.

James specialises in commercial investment and development matters working with developers and investors in delivering, acquiring, managing, funding and disposing of their assets. Although James now considers himself a property lawyer, his background in construction is often useful when dealing with development agreements and other associated documentation.

James joined JG Poole & Co LLP in 2020 with responsibility for leading the firm’s work in real estate and building up the firm’s presence in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

Legal 500 2022 rank James as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ and he has been described as ‘extremely efficient’. James is also ranked in Chambers and Partners who say ‘James will always give clear, concise and frank advice’.

Robert WeatherleyBusiness Weekly described Robert as “the go-to man” for higher education clients.

Robert qualified as a solicitor in 2002 and advises on all aspects of non-contentious construction and engineering law. He has over 20 years’ experience of drafting and negotiating industry-standard construction contracts including JCT, NEC, MF/1 and FIDIC, along with bespoke building/installation contracts, consultant appointments, collateral warranties and performance security documentation. Robert acts for a wide range of clients including employers, contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and funds. Robert trained and qualified as a project finance lawyer with Clifford Chance LLP in London, Shanghai and Beijing, following which he worked as a construction lawyer for Mills & Reeve LLP in Cambridge for 17 years.

In addition to his construction and engineering expertise, Robert provides initial guidance to clients in relation to Chinese law and has been involved in a number of cross-jurisdictional projects involving Chinese parties. Robert has a number of well-established contacts with leading Chinese law firms and was seconded to the Shanghai-based firm Boss & Young.

Robert also has a strong academic portfolio. He is an affiliated lecturer in Chinese politics at the University of Cambridge and King’s College, London, as well as a Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Robert has published 6 books, 13 peer-reviewed journal articles and 3 book chapters on topics relating to Chinese politics, including the legitimation of Chinese communist power, Chinese discourses on human rights, good governance and the environment and the relationship between nationalism and history in China. Robert has also published on aspects of Chinese law, including China’s Death Penalty Criminal Reconciliation and the trade dispute between China and the EU regarding the enforcement of intellectual property.

Owen Franks

Owen joined J G Poole as a Legal Director in September 2023, having previously gained experience at large regional and national firms after qualifying in 2015.

Owen studied English Literature to masters level at Swansea University, before undertaking the Graduate Diploma in Law at the College of Law, London Bloomsbury and then the Legal Practice Course at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

Owen is a Commercial Property solicitor, assisting clients with a range of property related transactions. In particular, Owen deals with commercial landlord and tenant matters, purchases of freehold and leasehold premises, portfolio review, corporate support work and academy conversions.


Gemma studied Law at Exeter University, graduating top of her year with a First Class honours and the Sweet and Maxwell Law Prize in 2010. Gemma trained in London with Taylor Wessing LLP, qualifying in 2014. Gemma then spent three years at Taylor Wessing LLP before joining Wright Hassall LLP in 2017, where she worked closely with James.

Gemma acts for a wide range of commercial real estate clients and specialises in commercial investment and development matters.


Leonie trained in Birmingham with BLM LLP (now Clyde & Co LLP), qualifying into commercial dispute resolution and professional negligence in 2011, before moving to Mills & Reeve LLP. In 2015 Leonie joined Wright Hassall LLP, where she worked alongside James and Gemma for four years, practising real estate dispute resolution. Before joining JG Poole & Co LLP in May 2023, Leonie worked for Harrison Clark Rickerbys LLP, where she supported their disputes resolution team across ten offices and led their knowledge management team.

Having a broad experience of litigation in the fields of both real estate and commercial disputes has meant helping a variety of clients, ranging from landlords and tenants, developers, financial services and professional firms to farmers, insurers, insolvency practitioners and private individuals.

Leonie advises on a wide range of matters including commercial landlord and tenant, easement disputes, nuisance, restrictive covenant and title issues, as well as professional negligence and misrepresentation. Leonie is comfortable resolving disputes through negotiation or mediation and where necessary, court and tribunal proceedings.


Lucy graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2018 with a First Class Law Degree, placing second in her year of 171 students. She then completed an LLM in Legal Practice (Solicitors) at BPP University Cambridge, with Distinction in 2019. Alongside studying for the LPC, Lucy worked as a Paralegal at a Norwich law firm.

Lucy then trained with JG Poole & Co LLP, benefitting from the vast experience and expertise of the Firm’s legal team. She qualified as a solicitor in May 2021 and practises mainly within our Higher Education and Commercial departments.


Karen qualified as a commercial real estate lawyer with Eversheds in 1998. She subsequently gained over a decade’s further experience, up to senior associate level, with pre-eminent real estate practice, Berwin Leighton Paisner, in the City.

Karen worked alongside Jason at Eversheds and, over the last decade, has undertaken regular consultancy work for JG Poole & Co to supplement its real estate offering.

Karen has considerable experience and a deep sector knowledge across the full array of property matters, having worked on many high-profile and multi-faceted transactions, including numerous major urban regeneration projects and sizeable portfolio deals. She is well practised across the key market sectors, including office, retail, industrial and leisure, as well as the more niche asset classes of student accommodation, public sector, senior living, education and renewable energy. Karen is adaptable and proactive, with an acute attention to detail, whilst being commercially-minded and committed to getting the optimum results for her clients.

Karen’s particular focus for JG Poole & Co is working alongside James, providing targeted due diligence and real estate support in relation to the acquisition, financing and development of commercial and residential properties across the UK.

Amber Stent

Amber joined JG Poole & Co LLP in August 2022 as a paralegal. Having started her training contract in February 2023, she is currently working on projects and finance matters as a trainee solicitor. She graduated with Distinction from the University of Law Sheffield in July 2022, where she studied the LPC LLM while working full-time. Previous to this, she read Law at Newcastle University where she attained a 2:1, with recognition for her hard work as a Street Law Ambassador.


Megan joined JG Poole & Co LLP in September 2022 as a paralegal working primarily on Construction Contracts with focus on higher education, public procurement and subsidy control. Megan recently graduated with Commendation from the University of Law Nottingham, where she studied the LPC (LLM). Prior to this, she graduated with a 2:1 from the University of Lincoln where she frequently participated in several Mock Trial and Negotiation Competitions, coming in at first place on several occasions.

Sophie Hayes

Sophie joined JG Poole & Co LLP in November 2022 as a paralegal working on property matters and commenced her training contract in May 2023. She graduated from the University of Law Birmingham with a First Class Law Degree in June 2022 and then completed the LPC LLM in July 2023 whilst working full-time.

Martin Hales

Martin is Head of Client Care at JG Poole & Co LLP.

Martin has previously worked exclusively and gained significant experience within the Norwich accountancy sector. He worked for MHA Larking Gowen and Grant Thornton following initial training with the Inland Revenue and then Lloyds Bank Trustee Co. Working within the respective private client teams his primary focus was working with clients in the legal sector but latterly his role has been developing 'business to business' links within local networks. His knowledge, expertise, allied to other transferable skills, means the firm’s leadership will be using Martin's experience to help evolve our own business development and client care strategies.