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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: Ipswich > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Corporate and commercial: Ipswich
  2. Leading individuals

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Birketts LLP has a long history in the Ipswich market and remains one of the pre-eminent firms for corporate and commercial matters. It has the largest practice in Suffolk, which works closely with the teams in the firm's three other regional offices to support both SMEs and large corporates in local, regional and national corporate transactions. Senior partner James Austin leads the department and looks after the commercial interests of a wide range of businesses based all over East Anglia and beyond. His work includes the drafting and negotiation of commercial contracts, as well as transactional matters. He worked with senior associate Sarah Lewis to advise TA Hotel Collection Limited on the purchase of the Crown and Castle hotel and restaurant in Orford, Suffolk, by way of a share acquisition of Son and Sun Limited. Corporate finance and banking partner Mark Henry also plays a key role in the practice and he supported shareholders of Magdalene Holdings Limited in its sale to M Group Services. Legal directors Alexandra Nelson, who advised on a significant acquisition in the agricultural sector, and Andrew Tubb, who acted for a supplier or hair and beauty products in a large acquisition, and Mark Gipson, who frequently advises on partnership matters, are also recommended.

Gotelee Solicitors has a strong regional corporate and commercial practice that is centred on its Ipswich office. It acts for SMEs and large corporates in local, regional and national matters. Max Harnden leads the practice and has 30 years' experience in corporate and commercial work. His recent highlights include handling the sale of two companies involved in the manufacture and sale of orthotics, and acting in a joint venture agreement for a management company in relation to the operation of a substantial market trading site in London. The 'excellent, very responsive' Petra Sharp is the other partner in the practice and has 16 years' experience in this field of law. She was the principal adviser to a client that acquired a nursery business based in East Anglia to add to a growing portfolio of nurseries. She also acted for a client in the healthcare sector in the purchase of a number of GP practices where the existing GPs had chosen to exit their primary care contracts. Solicitor Laura Gray, who specialises in  advising owner-managed and SME businesses, is also recommended.

Prettys Solicitors LLP is 'a pragmatic firm that is able to find creative solutions to get a deal completed', according to one source. The firm, which no longer has a Colchester office and is based solely in Ipswich, is not only a key player in the local market, but also handles a growing number of deals outside the region. Senior partner Ian Waine leads the practice and has a healthy caseload of substantial transactions including buyouts and sales of UK companies to overseas buyers. Newly promoted associate Daniel Billson has a strong base of local clients for corporate transactions, banking and commercial contracts work. Among Waine's recent highlights was his work for a well-known chain of Asian restaurants on key multimillion-pound supply contracts including logistics, IT and waste collection. He also advised on the multimillion-pound sale of another food sector client.

Ashtons Legal¬†has ‚Äėpractical lawyers who use common and commercial sense to make the work as easy and smooth as possible‚Äė and clients remark that it is ‚Äėup there with the best on a technical level‚Äė. Practice head Geoff Hazlewood¬†now works from the Ipswich office and clients remark that he is¬†‚Äėvery down-to-earth, which means he always ensures all parties understand what‚Äôs happening and why‚Äė. Paul Whittingham¬†(who is ‚Äėexcellent, always reassuring‚Äė)¬†specialises in¬†M&A and recently handled several transactions in the veterinary sector.¬†Hazlewood handled the ¬£1.4m sale of shares in Anders + Kern UK Ltd to AIM-Listed buyer Redstone Connect Plc, and advised buyers of shares worth ¬£4.65m in¬†Neway International Limited.

Blocks¬†is known for ‚Äėgood response times and sound advice'. The corporate and commercial practice acts mainly for rural and SME clients, working closely with its commercial property and agricultural departments.¬†Head of the corporate and commercial practice¬†Andrew Fleming¬†handles local, national and international matters for a diverse client base and has more than 30 years' experience in this field of law. He advised¬†partners in a regional agency of a national insurance broker brand on the establishment of a new business with funding arrangements that included overseas investment. He also advised shareholders in a multimillion-pound London-based media company on the sale of shares as part of a management buyout.

Kerseys Solicitors is recommended for its broad mix of work, which includes general company commercial law, business development projects, commercial contracts, compliance, governance and risk management, joint ventures, franchising, acquisitions and disposals. Kimat Singh leads the practice and consultant Adrian Chaffey is also recommended. The firm's recent highlights include advising on the provision of a new tourist office in Ipswich, assisting with the  contracting of local authority services, and supporting the appointment of new franchisees. Its transactional work includes the sale of a chain of local retail stores, and the buyback of shares in a local retailer.

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