Who? Karl Bamford, 52, head of real estate at Newcastle-under-Lyme firm Knights.
Why is he in the news? Acted in a successful bid to save the £15.75m Wedgwood pottery collection from being broken up and sold at auction.
The collection, which spans more than 250 years of Wedgwood history, comprises over 80,000 artefacts, including paintings by George Stubbs and Joshua Reynolds.
The crisis arose when Waterford Wedgwood Potteries went into administration in 2009 and the High Court ruled that the Wedgwood Museum, at Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, was liable for the £134m pension debt that the collapse had left.
Bamford worked with business rescuers Begbies Traynor, negotiating agreement from the creditors to sell the collection in full to national fundraising charity the Art Fund, and also negotiating timescales to raise the £2.75m needed to fill the funding gap through the Save the Wedgwood Collection appeal.
The appeal raised the money two months before the deadline and the Art Fund will now ‘gift’ the collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which will house it at the renovated Wedgwood Museum.
Thoughts on the case: ‘It is fabulous that public bodies, businesses and individuals have come together to fight to retain this collection where it should be – near the potteries where these 80,000 artefacts were modelled. The potteries are inextricably linked with Wedgwood and it is only fitting that the two should remain side by side.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I started doing a language degree at university, but began looking for something vocational. One of the guys in the football team that I played for was doing law and it sounded interesting. I went to talk to the law faculty and have never regretted it.’
Career high: ‘When, two years ago, Knights became the first commercial law firm to attract private equity investment – from James Caan of BBC’s Dragons’ Den. Under our chief executive David Beech, we have doubled turnover and staff numbers in two years. This is in part because we have been able to focus on clients and fee-earning, rather than trying to run a business, which we are not trained to do.’
Career low: ‘The two years before we got the investment, when the firm was in disarray.’