NEIL Thompson a highly respected partner in the Sheffield office of the international commercial lawyers Hill Dickinson, has died aged 52 after losing a battle with cancer.
He was regarded as the premier corporate lawyer in the city, and well-known throughout the deal making community of Sheffield and beyond. Only 24 hours before he died he was named Dealmaker of the Year at Insider’s South Yorkshire Dealmakers Awards.
He had led corporate teams at DLA Piper and Halliwells before joining Hill Dickinson and was so well thought of by clients that when he moved, they followed him.
Tommo, as he was known, was extremely popular and noted for his generosity, kindness, friendship and high professional standards, all acknowledged in the hundreds of tributes paid to him by clients, colleagues and friends on the company website. He was variously described as committed, loyal, supportive, a great mentor and a good friend.
He was also a great ambassador for business in his native city and the region.
Mr Thompson was born in Sheffield, the only son of Iris and Lloyd Thompson, and had a younger sister, Vanessa.
He was educated at King Edward VII School in Sheffield, and King’s College, London where he gained an honours degree in law in 1982 before taking his solicitor’s finals the following year at the College of Law in Chester.
He then became an articled clerk and equity partner at DLA Piper UK LLP, including its legacy firms, from 1983 until 2007 before moving to Halliwells where he was an equity partner from 2008 to 2010.
In 2010 he joined Hill Dickinson also as an equity partner and was head of corporate law in Sheffield, as well as office lead partner, handling all types of corporate work. He was a general adviser to some of the city’s leading international companies including Sheffield Forgemasters International, GRI Group and Independent Forgings & Alloys.
As well as winning the Dealmaker of the Year and Corporate Lawyer of the Year at the Insider’s South Yorkshire Dealmakers Dinner two days before he died, he had also been named Corporate Lawyer of the year in 2010 and 2012.
Away from business he enjoyed rugby, coaching at Sheffield RUFC and cricket.
Among the many tributes paid to him, Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “Neil was an advocate of international trade and worked tirelessly in corporate finance, helping businesses to access the funding needed to support growth. He was involved in many business initiatives which benefited the Sheffield City Region and we will forever be indebted to him.”
David Wareing, Senior Partner, Hill Dickinson, said: “Neil had led successful Sheffield corporate teams with DLA, Halliwells and most recently Hill Dickinson. He was highly respected, warm-hearted, a superb lawyer and a great team player.”
He is survived by his wife Catherine, sons James and William, his parents and sister.