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Editorial

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
  2. Leading individuals

At Eversheds LLP’s Cambridge office, corporate partner Glynne Stanfield recently advised US-based higher education company Hult International Business School on a cross-border strategic alliance, and acted for Dutch company Global University Systems on its £200m acquisition of the University of Law from Montagu Private Equity.

Claire Clarke’s team at Mills & Reeve LLP attracts praise for its ‘excellent eye for detail’. Among its ‘fast, responsive, pragmatic and professional’ lawyers, clients rate venture capital specialist Zickie Lim, who is ‘clear, articulate and customer-oriented’; charities expert Neil Burton; and ‘responsive, pragmatic and insightful’ capital markets lawyer Stephen Hamilton. Also recommended are Anthony McGurk, who advised Avro Holding shareholders on the multimillion-pound sale of Anson Packaging, and Tom Pickthorn, who focuses mainly on cross-border deals.

Taylor Vinters has ‘a vibrant early-stage corporate practice’ and provides ‘extremely impressive service as well as good value’. Adam Bradley and newly promoted partner Sian Scanlon advised Atlas Genetics on a $20m fundraising from a new Russian VC investor. Scanlon also acted for Carter Jonas on its acquisition of New Square Holdings. Growth-company specialist Charles Fletcher is ‘extremely valuable, highly commercial and focused on getting deals done’.

Birketts LLP’s team is led by corporate finance specialist Adrian Seagers and is noted for ‘the depth, breadth and practicality of its advice’. James Allen advised on a £5m equity investment, and Quentin Golder, who ‘explains all the options clearly’ to his technology sector clients, handled a multimillion-pound fund raising from US equity investors. Other highlights included acting for the selling shareholders in an MBO. Associate Nick Burt is a rising star.

Hewitsons’ ‘customer-focused’ team includes corporate partner James Lawrence and the ‘responsible, innovative and commercially awareJason Williams, who was recently promoted to partner. Lawrence and Williams advised David Ball Group on a multimillion-pound investment from Wheatsheaf Group. Bill Thatcher leads the commercial team, which grew with the recruitment of Andrew Priest from Memery Crystal LLP. Clients also recommend ‘diligent’ associate Laurence Evans.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s Cambridge office is a leading adviser to regional, national and international IP-rich technology companies and VC investors including Google, Index Ventures and Partech Ventures. Adrian Rainey advised Amadeus Capital Partners on a $5m investment in Cambridge Clean Energy. Other key figures include David Mardle and Cambridge office head Simon Walker.

At Greenwoods Solicitors LLP, the ‘courteous and intelligentDuncan Walker (who is known for combining ‘excellent commercial advice with the ability to solve strategic challenges’) advised Ufford Park Ltd on the restructuring and reorganisation of share capital and shareholder exits. Rising star Mark Williams advised Arriba Cooltech on obtaining funding from Low Carbon Innovation Fund and angel investors.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s corporate practice includes James Stephen and finance specialist Helen Drayton, and strengthened its finance skills through the recruitment of Ross McNaughton from Paul Hastings LLP, who splits his time between Cambridge and London. Stephen advised an energy sector client on a new project valued at over £20m. Other clients include Cambridge Design Partnership and Manx Tidal Energy.

Consultant Martin Woodruff now leads a three-lawyer team at Tees Law. He advised a major road haulage operator on the multimillion-pound acquisition of a container transport company, and acted for a retail grocery business on its group reorganisation to separate its trading and investment divisions.

Ashton Legal is ‘responsive and commercial, and brings matters into a business context’. Mark Whittaker, now a consultant, advised software and actuarial consultancy Marriott Sinclair on the sale of its business and assets.

For some, Dixon Phillips is ‘one of the best niche regional players’. Oliver Phillips is ‘a good problem solver – professional, commercial and user-friendly’. He advised London-based Leman Street Holdings on three company purchases in 2015.

Woodfines LLP’s Stephen Oliver acts for a number of regional SME clients and advised a vendor on the £1.3m sale of shares to a local business. Other highlights included assisting a local medical technology business with securing investment from a German company.


Corporate and commercial: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Ipswich
  2. Leading individuals

Birketts LLP exhibits ‘outstanding commitment and provides sound and detailed advice within tight deadlines’. The ‘swift, efficient and calmJames Austin leads the team and ‘provides excellent service’. The ‘hardworking, committedMark Henryalways goes above and beyond’. Mark Gipson advised on a complex £4.5m company sale in the energy sector that included a joint venture agreement.

Gotelee Solicitors is ‘very responsive and good quality’. Max Harnden’s team advised on numerous franchise re-sales, the MBO of a local logistics and transport company, and the disposal of an independent design agency. Clients include ACC Publishing Group and Freight International Ltd. Petra Sharp stands out for her ‘first-class ability to communicate complicated terminology in a language that is easy to understand’.

The ‘always excellentIan Waine heads the corporate and commercial practice at Prettys and is ‘a superb operator, who is very highly rated for corporate finance work’. He advised the Aldeburgh Music Endowment Fund on the £7m acquisition of a retail business at Snape Maltings. The firm mainly advises SMEs and provides ‘an excellent balance between legal and commercial advice’. Jon Bloor is also recommended.

At Ashton Legal,the service is excellent and the firm understands its client’s business’. Paul Whittingham is ‘very good on acquisitions and start-ups, striking a careful line between pragmatic negotiation and keeping a tight view on the legal issues’. He advised on a €20m business sale to a US buyer. Solicitor Joel Furniss is a rising star.

Barker Gotelee provides ‘good practical support’ to family-owned businesses and is noted for its expertise in farm diversification matters. The ‘pragmatic, polite, unfussy’ Clare Richards ‘takes time to ensure clients understand the legal aspects’. She advised Barley Brigg Biogas on a £4m fundraising from an Enterprise Investment Scheme fund and internal investors.

Kerseys Solicitorsprovides excellent service and value for money’. Team leader Kimat Singh and solicitor Matthew Osborn advised on the £1.2m acquisition of a mini-supermarket. Senior solicitor Amanda Wheatley assisted a nationwide franchise operation with its legal audit, and handled a multimillion-pound share sale to foreign investors for a client in the entertainment and leisure sector.

Andrew Fleming at Blocks has over 30 years’ experience and is a respected adviser to many of the region’s SME clients.


Corporate and commercial: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Norwich
  2. Leading individuals

Birketts LLP attracts praise for providing service that ‘has the clients’ best interests at heart’. Adrian Possener advised Palletforce plc on a £30m takeover and the ‘dependable, honest, hardworking and dedicatedGreg Allan acted for Kingsley Healthcare on a £200m fundraising investment. Legal director Erika Clarke, consultant Andrew Wood and associates Karl Pocock and Kitty Rosser are also recommended.

For some, Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘the first choice in the region for complex matters’. Craig Hodgson leads the five-partner team and advised shareholders of Brandbank Ltd on its multimillion-pound acquisition by Nielsen Holdings. In other highlights, James Hunter represented the shareholders in a £4m equity sale, while Nick Fischl and Greg Gibson advised QV Foods on the £3.5m sale of a potato packing business. Newly promoted Natalie Wade advises a number of health-sector clients.

Ashton Legalcompares very well on quality and value’. Key figures include Damian Humphrey and consultant John Chambers, who maintain the firm’s international reputation for franchising; ‘attentive and helpful’ associate Mark Watson, who is a ‘trusted adviser’; and ‘conscientious, approachable’ associate Matthew Downing, who advised the selling shareholders of Milltech Holdings. Corporate finance specialist James Tarling joined from Steeles Law.

Clients of Howes Percival LLPhave confidence in its advice and always receive prompt and cost-efficient service with the right blend of experience, responsiveness and value’. Team head Robert Colman and Nathan Horton advised shareholders of GEV Group on a £5.4m sale of shares to Braelaw Ltd. Other clients include Richardsons Leisure and Hughes Electrical.

Leathes Prior is ‘extremely professional and easy to deal with’, and team head Paul Warman ‘makes any transaction bearable’. Warman and Richard Guthrie advised AIM-listed CVS Ltd on numerous acquisitions. The firm also counts Air Livery and Banham Poultry among its clients. Peter Sheppard is also recommended.

At Steeles Law, ‘nothing is too much trouble’ for practice head Richard Bailey, who stands out for his ‘timely and detailed advice on complex M&A deals’. Nigel Lubbock (who is ‘excellent across a wide range of commercial areas’) advised a multinational client on a £90m restructuring in preparation for its sale. James Tarling joined Ashton Legal.

At Clapham & Collinge Solicitors, 25-year veteran Hugh Berridge is well regarded for his corporate advice to companies and high-net-worth individuals. He advised a UK company on setting up a business in Spain.

Cozens-Hardy LLP’s managing principal, Simon Whipp, advises SMEs across Norfolk, including sole traders and owner-managed businesses.

At Fosters, 30-year veteran Adrian Newborough focuses on the local SME market and acted alongside Chris Fielding for the seller of a training and publishing company bought by a US investor.

Richard Etheridge at Rogers and Norton is ‘dedicated, knowledgeable, approachable and efficient’ ‘with outstanding business acumen’, particularly in matters related to the NHS.

Spire Solicitors LLP’s Roger Margand focuses on companies in the IT sector. He advised data solution provider Betgenius on its acquisition of content specialist Boolabus. Annette Collen is also recommended.


Corporate and commercial: Peterborough

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Peterborough
  2. Leading individuals

Buckles Solicitors LLP’s ‘approachable and knowledgeable team’ provides ‘excellent service’. Team head Nigel Moore, who combines ‘vast legal skills and common sense’. He advised Swiss pharmaceutical company Ginsana on the €9.6m acquisition of Potters Healthcare.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP is ‘impressive, innovative and commercially-minded’. David Woods is ‘very responsive’ and the ‘technically strongAlastair Gunnlooks after clients’ interests without losing sight of the big picture’. Gunn advised Fenmarc Produce on the £10m sale of its potato business to IPL.

Hegarty LLP provides ‘very good service, reliable advice and has a good range of expertise’. Andrew Heeler (who ‘cuts through legal jargon in a straightforward manner’) advised Phoenix Advance on its £49m sale, and acted alongside rising star Ashley Sutherland to advise I-Comm Media Services on its £1.5m share sale to a Dutch company.

Hunt & Coombs LLP has a large client base in the retail sector and Anna Spriggs is a trusted adviser to many commercial and ecclesiastical enterprises. Paul Tate, who came out of retirement to become a consultant, advised a manufacturing company on its £7m sale.


Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in East Anglia

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Leading individuals

Daniel Ball’s ‘strong and efficient’ team at Fraser Dawbarns includes the ‘responsive, professional’ Tony Cheetham and the ‘thorough, timely’ Silke Trevor. Highlights included advising a management team on the acquisition of a biotechnology research business for over £20m. The ‘highly intelligent, incisive and charming’ Jenny Rushmer is also recommended.

Clients consider Greene & Greenethe best in the area, and comparable to City law firms’. The team, which includes the ‘commercially astuteChris Thomson, Neil Walmsley, Simon Ratcliffe, the ‘thorough, efficientMark Daly and newly promoted Andrew Cooper, provides ‘first-class support and a personable service’. Ratcliffe handled a multimillion-pound acquisition for Nexus Underwriting Management.

Geoff Hazlewood leads Ashton Legal’s corporate and commercial team from Bury St Edmunds and advised Marlows DIY & Garden Centre Ltd on the £1.7m sale of assets to the Con Mech Group. Other clients include Marriott Sinclair LLP and Beam Group.

Metcalfe, Copeman & Pettefar’s ‘highly competent, efficient and diligent’ team includes Tim Stevenson and associate Aimee Hedley, who are noted for their ‘high-calibre and commercial approach’. Highlights included advising the seller on a £1.8m sale to the UK branch of an overseas business.

At Nicholsons Solicitors LLP, Joseph Long, who handles complex corporate and commercial transactions, advised on the £6m sale of a care home, and the sale of an estate agent with branches in Norfolk and Suffolk. Robert Nicholson is recommended for SME transactions.


Corporate tax

Known for its ‘efficiency and value’, Mills & Reeve LLP’s team includes Christopher Townsend and associate and property tax specialist Matthew Short, who advised Coventry University on a £73m project to replace a former Royal Mail building with five 18-storey towers and a shopping centre. Other clients include AVEVA Group and Urban&Civic. Ted Powell retired.

Senior associate Karl Pocock leads on corporate tax at Birketts LLP. He assisted Palletforce with the tax elements of its sale to EmergeVest, which included advice on employee share schemes.


EU and competition

Index of tables

  1. EU and competition
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Consultant Ruth Smith leads the team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which has ‘in-depth knowledge of procurement and state aid issues, and provides practical, reliable advice’. The multi-disciplinary team includes construction expert Ron Plascow, commercial and IT partners Kevin Calder and Greg Gibson, and projects specialist Raith Pickup. - Nick Finlayson-Brown advised The British Library on EU procurement compliance for a multimillion-pound development.

Barker Gotelee’s Richard Barker is ‘highly effective at dealing with complex and challenging situations’ and ‘has outstanding knowledge of EU law’. He advises EU member state governments on state aid schemes, and assists farming clients with discussions with the European Commission.

At Birketts LLP, consultant Andrew Wood has a long track record advising on cross-border matters involving businesses in the UK and the Netherlands. He advised a Cambridge-based company on a Dutch commercial contract with competition law elements.


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