‘Rising star’ lawyers are shortlisted for Lancashire business awards

Dedicated lawyers Oliver Bagnall and Patrick Swanney have made the final cut of a prestigious award scheme for Lancashire’s young leaders and difference-makers.

Oliver, aged 33 and Patrick, also 33, from WHN Solicitors, are among the rising stars shortlisted in Lancashire Business View magazine’s Sub36 Awards.

Oliver is one of six finalists in the ‘Young Professional’ category, while Patrick is among six people in the running for the ‘Young Lancastrian of the Year’ accolade.

The awards, which culminates in a glittering prize-giving ceremony at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on October 17, recognises the county’s most exciting business prospects aged under 36.

This year’s finalists span a wide variety of industries and backgrounds, with candidates representing professional services, digital media, engineering, health and care and manufacturing.

Oliver and Patrick must now impress the panel of judges when they are interviewed at Ewood Park in Blackburn later this month.

Michael Shroot, chief executive officer at WHN Solicitors, said: “WHN is committed to being a place where people not only enjoy to work, but are proud to work. Oliver and Patrick are great cheerleaders of the WHN brand and put hard work and dedication into everything they do, whether that’s providing expert advice to our clients or contributing to the communities we are part of.

“I wish both of them the very best in the awards.”

Oliver is head of WHN’s seven-strong commercial property department in Blackburn and was instrumental in doubling the team’s turnover to more than £500,000 in two years. He became a director of the law firm – which has more than 100 staff – before he was 33, with only five years’ post-qualification experience.  

Oliver also played an important role in helping the firm to win the ‘legal services’ accolade at the Red Rose Awards after a record year that saw WHN increase turnover by nine per cent – up to nearly £4.8m from £4.38m.

Patrick, who specialises in private client work, is heavily involved in a number of local dementia support organisations and is a Leisure in Hyndburn trustee, responsible for overseeing the borough’s £2.5m budget.

As if this was not enough, he recently set up Accrington Pals, a networking group that encourages business leaders in Hyndburn to do businesses with one another, rather than going outside the borough. He is also a first XI player at Enfield cricket club, where he donates time helping juniors, assisting training sessions and fundraising to help with the club’s £300,000 annual running costs.