Death of ‘a fantastic lawyer and dealmaker’

Neil Thompson
Neil Thompson

Tributes from Sheffield’s business community poured in this week after the death of one of the city’s top corporate lawyers.

Hill Dickinson partner Neil Thompson, who had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma, died in hospital on Friday night at the age of 53.

Lawyers’ bible, the Legal 500, said last year that he was “clearly the premier corporate lawyer in Sheffield”.

Neil, who leaves wife Catherine and sons, James and William, led corporate teams at DLA Piper and Halliwells before joining Hill Dickinson in 2010.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said they were “shocked and saddened” to hear of his death.

“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.

“The amount of messages of condolence already sent is testament to the person Neil was and the amount of lives he had a positive impact upon. He will be sadly missed.”

Friend and colleague Giles Searby has set up a website in his memory.

On it he says: “Neil was many things, first and foremost a loving father and husband. To many of us he was a fantastic lawyer and dealmaker, recognised again as such on the eve of his passing.

“He was a fierce friend for whom nothing was ever too much and also leader, mentor and support to all who worked with him.

“Neil loved his sport, from his all too recent retirement from Dronfield rugby and his support at Abbeydale; his beloved Owls; through to cricket and revelling in his son’s selection by DCCC U12’s.

“Above all he was fun to be around, to have a proper pint with - or bizarrely a Campari - and set the world to rights. Tommo, we’re all much the poorer for your untimely passing, you will be sorely missed.”

Dozens of people have left condolences at

Sheffield Wednesday commercial manager Andy Daykin says: “Besides being a great supporter of Sheffield Wednesday FC, Neil was one of Sheffield’s most successful businessmen and simply a great man. Nothing too much trouble for him and his strength always matched by his kindness. Our condolences go to Catherine and all his family and friends.”

Neil’s colleague Linda Loton writes: ‘You were the best person I have ever worked for. What you saw was what you got and, in your case, it was the best. Your door was “always open” and we all knew that if we needed a quiet word, advice or a quick moan you were there for us. How is your flock in Sheffield going to manage without you? My thoughts and condolences go out to not only Catherine, James and William but to all your family. RIP.”