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.

Katherine Souter“The lead on construction procurement and state aid” legal 500

Katherine trained as a solicitor at ARM Limited and qualified practising intellectual property and commercial law. In 2010 Katherine moved to Mills & Reeve LLP to practise construction, public procurement and state aid.

For almost 8 years Katherine has been advising on the legal aspects of construction, engineering and FM projects as well as the specialist areas of state aid and public procurement. Her practice has a particular focus on the education and third sectors. She can assist and advise from start to finish, from planning initial contractual and procurement strategy, to preparing or reviewing procurement documents, construction/engineering/FM contracts and consultant appointments, dealing with clarifications, reducing the risk of challenges, advising on running a compliant process, procurement best practice and then putting in place the resultant construction contract or consultant appointment (including warranties, third party rights and security). Katherine has also prepared and advised on many OJEU compliant contractor and consultant framework agreements as well as carrying out due diligence for contracting authorities calling-off under construction frameworks. Katherine also advises on State aid compliance for the purpose of public funding applications (from the perspective of either the applicant or the public body) and the complex arena of public procurement and State aid in land developments and can provide pragmatic and straightforward advice on project structures in the context of complying with State aid rules and the exemptions and exceptions to the State aid rules.


James trained in Birmingham with Mills & Reeve LLP and on qualification, initially as a construction lawyer, he worked closely with Jason, Helen and Katherine 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 2020 rank James as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ and he has been described as ‘extremely efficient’.


Rebecca read law at the University of Cardiff and qualified in 2000. She spent seven years as a commercial litigator at Clarkslegal LLP before moving over to work in their commercial and projects team. In that team she specialised in providing procurement advice and assistance to public sector bodies (Education, Local Government and the NHS) and managing competitive dialogue procedures. Rebecca joined JG Poole & Co LLP in November 2013.

Rebecca advises clients in the higher education sector on a wide range of commercial matters including supply agreements, academic collaborations, research projects, software license agreements, student documentation, apprenticeships, IPR protection and NDAs. Since joining JG Poole & Co LLP, Rebecca has worked with a number of clients on a flexible secondment basis, dealing with a wide range of contracts, such as collaborations and international recruitment agreements, which has given her a unique and specialist insight into the sector. Rebecca also regularly prepares risk and liability reports on commercial contracts for clients across the public, private and higher education sectors.

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

Robert advises on all aspects of non-contentious construction and engineering law, and 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.

Amy Wallhead

Amy advises on all aspects of non-contentious Private Client work including Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate and specialises in advising older and vulnerable clients.

As well as main stream private client work, Amy regularly advises and prepares applications for the Court of Protection, advises on care fee funding, challenging NHS funding decisions and on care home contracts. She provides advice and support to attorneys and deputies in their roles as well as advising on capacity and safeguarding issues. Additionally, she advises on and drafts Personal Injury Trusts and specialist Vulnerable Beneficiary Trusts.

Amy has a particular interest in understanding dementia and related illnesses which she uses to assist her clients to be involved in decisions relating to their affairs for as long as they are able. Amy is a Dementia Friends Ambassador and regularly provides training sessions to colleagues and contacts to help them to better understand their clients’ needs.

Amy is a full STEP member and full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly. In addition she holds the STEP Advanced Certificate in Advising Vulnerable Clients.

Prior to joining JG Poole & Co LLP, Amy was listed as a Rising Star Lawyer in Legal 500.


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.

Christopher Coveney

Christopher graduated from the University of Hull in 1975 and qualified as a barrister. In 1999 he became a solicitor specialising in construction and engineering law. He has an MSc from Kings College, London in construction law and arbitration and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

As a solicitor he has practised in private practice and in industry. He has been involved in the conduct of international disputes. Whilst working in industry, with Thales, he was involved with PFI project dispute resolution. Whilst working with Veale Wasbrough Vizards he undertook work for the Education Funding Agency in connection with the provision of Free Schools and provided advice on estates matters to a medical scientific research organisation and university.

Christopher deals with contentious and non-contentious matters advising on consultants’ appointments, forms of contracts, warranties and all ancillary documentation in connection with projects and on disputes.

Christopher is experienced in construction litigation, arbitration and adjudication but regards early dispute resolution as the prime objective in any contentious matter.

Liam Desmond

Liam has 20 years’ experience as a commercial property lawyer dealing with all aspects of commercial property work, including landlord and tenant, sales and acquisitions, charity property, property finance and development.

Liam read Classics at Oxford University and trained originally as a barrister before cross-qualifying, beginning his career at City firm Bird & Bird. Liam then joined Linnells Solicitors (now Blake Morgan) where he was appointed partner in 2010.

Liam has worked as a consultant solicitor with a variety of firms, both small and large. His clients are generally property owners and developers as well as tenants in the retail and hospitality sectors.


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.

Amber Stent

Amber joined JG Poole & Co LLP in August 2022 as a paralegal working on projects and finance matters. She recently graduated with Distinction from the University of Law Sheffield, 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.

Chris Hoffman

Chris is the Chief Executive Officer of JG Poole & Co LLP.

He is a qualified Professional Banker, with 40 years’ experience and was part of a team that set up the Norwich Office of Handelsbanken, a Swedish Bank in the UK in May 2004 and headed up their Private Clients Team. As part of his career, he attended various International Leadership Courses in Sweden. Prior to this move, Chris was a Senior Manager with the Wealth Management Division of Barclays Bank. His initial training was at Barclays in Cambridge, where he held various Management positions before his career moved him and his family to Norfolk in 1997. He is currently a Governor at Norwich School.

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.