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  1. Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
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Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

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For some, Ashtons Legalcannot be faulted; the team is always available, highly knowledgeable, down to earth and great to deal with’. The team is headed by Geoff Hazlewood, who is singled out for his ‘depth of knowledge, excellent advice, personable character and willingness to help’. He leads the team from Bury St Edmunds but works in collaboration with a team based across the firm’s extensive network of East Anglia offices, handling company acquisitions and disposals, banking, corporate finance and general commercial advice for clients come from sectors including care homes, IT, recruitment, engineering, manufacturing and professional services. Hazlewood’s highlights included advising Stowlangtoft Healthcare Group on the £1.7m acquisition of the business and assets of Ford Place Care Home in Thetford, acting for the seller in a £1.5m share sale and assisting a large regional client with a multimillion-pound corporate finance matter.

Greene & Greenehandles matters in an effective way, with a view to both the legal and commercial contexts’. The firm’s deep bench in Bury St Edmunds includes Simon Ratcliffe, the ‘practical and commercial’ Neil Walmsley, the ‘professional and approachableMark Daly (who ‘swiftly diagnoses the key elements of any job and ensures a shared understanding with the client before undertaking the work in a diligent and timely manner’), Chris Thomson and Andrew Cooper. Solicitor Megan Radcliffe is also playing a growing role in the commercial team. Owner-managed businesses and SMEs make up a significant proportion of the firm’s clients, although the firm also handles matters for larger regional and national players. Highlights included acting for the family owners of a precision glass component manufacturing business on a £3m reorganisation of assets; advising the shareholders of CEB Pharma on the £1m sale of a business to German company Aristo Pharma; assisting a large Norfolk-base campsite and its shareholders with the sale of property and business assets for £2.75m; and handling the multimillion-pound acquisition of Mstream limited on behalf of Nexus Underwriting Management Limited.

Metcalfe, Copeman & Pettefar’s practice is ‘highly competent, efficient, diligent and compares well with its peers’. Associate Aimee Hedley leads the team in Thetford, which includes the ‘first-class’ Tim Stevenson. Hedley and Stevenson are ‘of particularly high calibre; they have a good understanding of the client’s business and can act as a sounding board for everyday business decisions’. Stevenson advised a longstanding client on the management buyout of a major East Anglia based automotive retailer, and assisted with the reorganisation of a group of UK companies owned by a US manufacturing conglomerate. Hedley’s highlights included acting for a manufacturing company on a £1.1m share buyback transaction that involved the purchase of shares from an overseas company, and advising a footwear retailer on the preparation of terms and conditions for its online and telephone sales operations. Paul Garner in Wisbech has more than 30 years’ experience in contractual and commercial law.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP’s fast-growing corporate and commercial practice is ‘highly professional and has excellent knowledge of this area of law’. Clients describe the firm as ‘efficient, easy to communicate with and very knowledgeable’, and single out team head Joseph Long for his ‘knowledge and efficiency in dealing with clients’ affairs’ as well as for his ‘prompt, commercially-proportionate advice’. Legal executive Nadine Jasinski is also recommended. The team also has input from property partner Mark Rymarz, Ben Blower and senior partner Robert Nicholson. In 2016 the firm assisted a client with the sale of a well-known steel fabrication company based in Great Yarmouth; advised on the acquisition of a beer and wine wholesale business in Essex; acted on the sale of a local boatyard; and assisted with the MBO of a local firm of independent financial advisers. Long also provides commercial advice to a Norwich-based energy consultancy.

At Fraser Dawbarns, King’s Lynn based practitioner Daniel Ball has built up a good reputation among local SME clients. Also based in King’s Lynn, Carla Goodyear advised on a share purchase transactions. The firm’s Wisbech office also has prominent practitioners in partner Tony Cheetham and solicitor Silke Trevor. Jenny Rushmer also plays a role in the corporate and commercial team.


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