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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Anglia > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLP¬†is ‚Äėa strong regional firm that is well placed for SME, owner-managed and mid-market clients‚Äė. One client remarks that it can ‚Äėcompete against any regional or national firm in the mid-market space, and is well positioned to manage cross-border deals through its network‚Äė. The three Cambridge-based partners act for a diverse range of clients in¬†sectors including technology, food and agriculture, transport and distribution, housebuilding and energy. James Allen¬†leads the practice and is 'well prepared,¬†pragmatic and straightforward; he remembers discussions and detail from the past'. Allen and associate Corinne Spencer, who are both described as¬†‚Äėpragmatic and professional with a commercial attitude and a keen understanding of what is important and what is not', acted for German listed company Sygnis AG in its ‚ā¨10.8m acquisition of Innova Biosciences.¬†Quentin Golder¬†and experienced senior associate Nick Burt¬†advised shareholders on the ¬£24m sale of a 70% stake¬†in Contamac Holdings to a subsidiary of¬†Shanghai Haohai Biological Technology Co. Highlights for¬†Adrian Seagers¬†included acting for the owners of Ductclean (UK) Limited in its ¬£10m sale to Marlowe plc. The practice also counts Ultrasoc Ltd, Veterinary Pathology Group and¬†Scientific Digital Imaging Plc among its clients.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†‚Äėhas great experience, understands the private equity industry and is able to deal internationally, with sector knowledge that is second to none‚Äė. The firm has a¬†growing focus on national and international work, while also handling high-end local transactions, and has solidified its standing as a leading M&A practice in East Anglia. In 2017, the firm as a whole advised on matters involving more than 75 different jurisdictions including the US, China and Canada. A standout deal saw the firm advise Richardson International Limited on the high-value acquisition of European Oat Millers.¬†‚ÄėExceptional lawyer‚Äė Anthony McGurk, who has more than 20 years‚Äô experience in corporate finance, led on that deal and is ‚Äėhighly recommended for any type of M&A activity‚Äė. He also acted for the Weetabix Food Company on several deals as part of its ¬£1.4bn sale to US firm Post Holdings.¬†Practice head¬†Tom Pickthorn¬†(who handled a multimillion-pound acquisition for Danish IT services business Netcompany),¬†Zickie Lim¬†(who advised venture capital firms on a $16m investment),¬† principal associate Jonathan Greenwood¬†and consultant Brian Marshall¬†provide 'an¬†excellent level of service with outstanding legal skills, impressive client handling, impeccable responsiveness, outstanding business judgement and excellent value for money'. Also recommended are¬†corporate finance partner Stephen Hamilton, who is 'calm and unflappable at all times and provides good commercial and practical advice', and leading light¬†Claire Clarke, who has niche expertise in both the education sector and investment funds formation.

Taylor Vinters¬†¬†has a specific focus on innovative and entrepreneurial clients, which gives it a prominent role in many M&A and investment transactions in the technology sector for both domestic and international clients.¬†Head of corporate¬†Adam Bradley¬†acted for US-based and Nasdaq-listed Funko LLC in its strategic acquisition of¬†the entire issued share capital of A Large Evil Corporation Limited.¬†Angel investment specialist¬†Charles Fletcher, who frequently acts for IP-rich businesses and their investors, is a key lawyer in the firm's new growth companies team.¬†Sian Scanlon¬†works with owner‚Äďmanagers, serial acquirers and growing technology businesses, as well as leading intermediaries. Her highlights from last year included acting for shareholders in the multimillion-pound sale of the entire issued capital of speciality pharmaceutical devices company Oval Medical Technologies Ltd to¬†an associate company of US-based Scientific Molding Corporation, which involved a complicated multi-layer consideration structure to accommodate the needs of various classes of a diverse shareholder base, including loan notes, net cash payment at completion and deferred elements. Senior associate¬†Nick Palmer¬†is also recommended for¬†private company M&A, restructuring and investment matters on behalf of owner-managers and entrepreneurial clients in the technology and manufacturing sectors. Senior associate¬†Susan McDonald¬†is recommended for both corporate and banking work. Corporate finance specialist¬†Edward Hooper¬†moved to¬†Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Taylor Wessing LLP is 'very good, responsive to client needs and good value for money'. The firm 'beats local competitors for its commercial understanding and flexibility', says one client. Another remarks on the firm's 'fantastic service; it has a high level of knowledge of the growth equity market and is both responsive and reasonable value'. The UK corporate technology group, led from London by Adrian Rainey, includes founder member David Mardle, who is also co-head of the firm's international corporate practice and who is recommended for his 'depth of understanding'. Mardle advises on corporate transactions including trade sales and equity funding deals for both investors and companies seeking finance. He recently acted for Mina Holdings, which owns MiNA Therapeutics, on the £400m sale of shares to Sosei R&D Limited. Also recommended is associate Adam Thatcher in the firm's corporate technology group who advises investors and technology-focused companies, including start-ups, on venture capital investments, M&A transactions and general corporate matters. He worked with Rainey on £66.4m of investments by client Cambridge Innovation Capital. VC specialist Simon Walker left the firm to join investment bank Silverpeak.

Greenwoods GRM is 'excellent - a first-class firm with a very strong team in commercial and corporate law', according to one client. Practice head David Woods relocated to Cambridge from the Peterborough office following Duncan Walker's departure to Bircham Dyson Bell. Clients remark that Woods is an excellent and experienced lawyer who offers the rare combination of very commercially-minded advice with a large degree of gravitas'. He recently advised the owner on the £57m sale of cleanroom and healthcare disposables manufacturer Nitritex, and acted for Stratagem IPM on the acquisition of Page Hargrave. Douglas Linette has niche expertise advising UK clients on business operations in Australia, given his role as a consultant to affiliated firm Kemp Strang. Mark Williams  moved to Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds.

The team at¬†Hewitsons¬†‚Äėalways delivers everything in a friendly and concise way‚Äė and provides ‚Äėstrong advice at a good price point‚Äė. Clients are 'extremely pleased with the level the of service'. The firm handles public markets work, M&A deals in the technology sector, corporate finance work for a regional SME client base, and¬†restructuring and refinancing transactions in the property sector. Practice head¬†James Lawrence¬†specialises in public markets work but also has extensive experience in M&A deals, private equity transactions and MBOs. He acted for¬†Nuformix Technologies Limited in its ¬£17m reverse takeover of Levrett Plc. Lawrence is¬†'able to get to the core of the issues quickly, understands our challenges and works around the clock when time is of the essence', remarks one client.¬†Laurence Evans¬†has stepped up to take the mantle of retiring partner¬†Jason Williams, and is recommended for¬†complex share sales and purchases, corporate restructuring and assisting with AIM admissions. He handled Medigold Health Consultancy's purchase of a key competitor.¬†Head of technology¬†Andrew Priest¬†is recommended for IT, outsourcing, technology transfer and general commercial contracts. Commercial partner¬†Bill Thatcher¬†is also recommended.

Penningtons Manches Cooper¬†is praised for its ‚Äėexcellent and prompt advice‚Äė. The Cambridge office handles a growing number of high-value deals, especially those with an international element, thanks in part to a close relationship with the firm's office in San Francisco, US.¬†Helen Drayton¬†is the key partner in Cambridge and clients remark that she ‚Äėhas excellent all round depth of knowledge, responds fast and is determined to get the best for her clients‚Äė. ‚ÄėHer advice is the best available‚Äė, says one. She¬†acted for James Dolan Limited in the acquisition of the Dooley Rumble Group Limited, which gave the company a foothold in the freight forwarding sector. Another key deal saw her advise¬†Ellgia Recycling Limited on¬†the acquisition of assets of Purple Recycling Limited as part of the expansion of its services across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Partner¬†Ross McNaughton, who spent some time on secondment to the San Francisco office but remains a key part of the Cambridge team, specialises in corporate transactions in the¬†technology and life sciences sectors. He assisted Klareco Communications with its separation from Bell Pottinger. Senior associate¬†Rachel Bradley, who handles IP, IT and commercial matters, is also recommended.¬†James Stephen¬†¬†joined¬†Bircham Dyson Bell.

Bircham Dyson Bell¬†opened its Cambridge office in 2017¬†and firm has quickly grown its corporate and commercial team with the hire of the ‚Äėclient-focused and extremely¬†knowledgeable'¬†James Stephen¬†from¬†Penningtons Manches LLP,¬†who is ‚Äėmature, wise and unflappable‚Äė, and¬†Duncan Walker¬†from¬†Greenwoods GRM. Clients report ‚Äėexceptional service, super knowledge, great response times and a willingness to go above and beyond for the client‚Äė. The lawyers are ‚Äėthoroughly professional without being the least stuffy, they give good advice and direction and are highly¬†responsive'. Stephen¬†specialises in domestic and cross-border M&A, joint ventures, fundraisings and corporate reorganisations, as well as shareholders‚Äô and LLP agreements. Walker handles¬†corporate finance and commercial contracts, most notably in the¬†technology sector. The firm's highlights include advising Owlstone Medical Limited on a multimillion-pound investment by Aviva.

Boutique firm Dixon Phillips has a niche corporate and commercial property practice that serves the East Anglia's SME community. The 'clear, practical and commercial' Oliver Phillips leads the corporate and commercial practice and has 20 years' experience in contractual and copyright matters. He continued to expand the team last year with a newly qualified solicitor from Gotelee Solicitors joining assistant solicitor Matthew Dempsey and experienced IT contracts consultant Natasha Minchella. The practice, which handled deals with a total value of £36m in 2017, recently advised a group of shareholders of of Alpha Biopesticides Limited on the $5m sale of shares to French company, and acted for COEL on the demerger of its plumbing business and related part sale to management.

Howes Percival LLP has a growing profile in Cambridge and a roster of high-value corporate and commercial work. The team works closely with lawyers in the firm's other offices in East Anglia and further afield to handle corporate transactions for owner-managed and family-owned businesses, as well as high-net-worth individuals engaging in corporate sales and acquisitions. Its work frequently involves transactions in the tourism and leisure, automotive, healthcare and financial services sectors. Nathan Horton leads the practice with support from solicitor Venetia Phipps, who advises both private and public sector clients on corporate matters. Their recent work includes advising the shareholders of a company on a proposed investment by and shareholders’ agreement with another business in the same sector, acting for a significant shareholder in its proposed exit from a business, and handling a group restructuring of its UK business for a subsidiary of a US corporate.

The practice at Tees Law is recommended for small and medium-sized transactions. Senior associate Sarah Ilic is head of a four-lawyer team that handles share and asset acquisitions and disposals, corporate borrowing and general company commercial matters for a broad range of local companies. The Cambridge office works closely with the team in Chelmsford on larger transactions, and both Ilic and 'simply exceptional' associate Katy Carson played a role in advising a housebuilder client on four multimillion-pound acquisitions. New recruit and associate Pieta Dalglish, who was formerly corporate counsel for Egencia Limited, works with both the Chelmsford and Cambridge practices. 'Brilliant' solicitor Troy Featherstone is also recommended.

Woodfines LLP has a diverse client base for corporate work which ranges from small, independent, owner-managed businesses to large companies and PLCs. Former head of company commercial Stephen Oliver moved to Buckles Solicitors LLP , so corporate finance specialist Martin Smith now leads the practice. Since taking over in October, 2017, Smith has handled a number of high-value deals, which included acting for a provider of ATM technology on its £35m sale. He also supported an electrical products company in its £10m sale to German company Obo Betterman. He also assisted with the sale of a regional group of Costa coffee shops to a private company, and acted for family card business Sherwood Press Limited in its corporate restructuring.

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