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Banking and finance

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking and finance clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Clients of Birketts LLP rate the firm for its ‘excellent, cost-effective and attentive service’; it is ‘the best firm in East Anglia’, according to one. Mark Henry (who is ‘technically extremely capable and very pragmatic’) leads a team that is ‘proactive in raising potential issues and delivering practical solutions’ to a broad range of corporate borrowers. It is on numerous bank panels and is active in property and agricultural development financings, acquisition financings, and asset-based lending. Banking partner James Allen, ‘excellent’ corporate partner Greg Allan and real estate finance specialist Chris Schwer are all highly regarded. The team advised Lloyds Bank on the multimillion-pound refinancing of a life sciences group, and HSBC on a revolving credit facility for a regional motor dealer group. The firm also counts Clydesdale Bank and Santander among its clients.

Mills & Reeve LLP attracts praise for its ‘focus on clients’ requirements, ability to work to tight deadlines and for its commercial advice, which goes over and above the legal aspects’. The firm has the only national banking and finance practice in the region and is particularly well known for its specialist real estate finance team; according to one client it ‘rightly has an unrivalled reputation in the region’, and singles out its ‘balanced approach and good value for money’. Team head William Roles and asset-based landing expert Zak Virgin are recommended for their ‘industry knowledge, commercial approach and for being readily at clients’ disposal for ad-hoc advice’. Sarah Seed is recommended for not-for-profit finance and Laura Holdaway for real estate finance. Holdaway advised AgFe UK Real Estate and ReAssure Limited as senior lenders on a £124m refinancing of property portfolios. Seed acted for Cardiff University in a £300m public bond issue. Other clients include HSBC and ABN AMRO Commercial Finance.

Ashtons Legal is ‘a very professional firm with a personable team that carries out work in a timely manner’. The ‘excellent’ team is ‘extremely prompt, helpful and knowledgeable, working hard to achieve a successful outcome and proactive in offering workable solutions’. The firm excels in work for lenders, notably in agricultural finance and secured lending, and counts National Westminster Bank and HSBC among its clients. Among the ‘experienced practitioners providing reliable commercial advice’ are Ron Clare (who is ‘calm and unflappable, with a wealth of knowledge’), Geoff Hazlewood, secured lending expert Genie Barham, agriculture finance specialist Jeanette Dennis and ‘prompt and keen’ solicitor Scott Hilton. Highlights included acting for Svenska Handelsbanken on the refinancing of a regional property investor, which included a £3m loan and £5.6m in securities.

Hewitsons is ‘responsive, experienced, knowledgeable and good value for money’. It has a busy secured lending practice that often handles development project financings using property as security, and is also known for corporate acquisition finance and debt funding for SMEs. The firm is on the regional banking panels of Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Handelsbanken. The national practice is led from Northampton by Neil Harpham, with Cambridge-based partners James Lawrence, James Simpson and Charles Stevens all playing key roles. Highlights included advising a borrower on a £1.5m facility backed by property assets, acting for a large education institution on an investment finance loan, and securing a multimillion-pound loan for a listed company to fund overseas investments.

Clients ‘have no hesitation in recommending the team’ at Howes Percival LLP, citing its ‘consistency and efficiency’. Head of team and real estate finance specialist Joanna Nicholls, commercial property and banking partner Tessa Haskey and property finance partner Steven Beach are all part of a team that regularly acts for banks, private equity lenders and corporate borrowers such as RQ Capital, National Westminster Bank, Barclays Bank and HSBC. The firm’s many highlights included a refinancing in the real estate sector with a value exceeding £30m; acting for a major bank in due diligence matters concerning a large property portfolio; and assisting with the establishment of a mezzanine finance fund for residential development projects.

Penningtons Manches LLP is ‘very knowledgeable and easy to deal with, responding quickly and always willing to talk through existing and prospective deals’. The firm, which can call on expertise across its network, including offices in Oxford, London and San Francisco, has several of East Anglia’s go-to practitioners in Cambridge-based Helen Drayton and real estate finance specialist Sarah Coates (who is ‘extremely pleasant, practical and willing to go the extra mile’). ‘The quality of advice is superior’, say clients of Drayton’s team, which counts Svenska Handelsbanken, Allied Irish Banks and property services company Almaren Ltd among its clients. Coates advised an institutional lender on the £1.2m refinancing of ten residential properties, and acted for another major lender on the refinancing of a £15m property portfolio.

The team at Greene & Greene provides ‘knowledgeable, clear and considerate advice, and it has a robust and in-depth understanding of its clients’ business’. The firm mainly advises borrowers, who remark that it provides ‘excellent service at a reasonable price’, but also plays an active role for lenders and investors. The experienced Simon Ratcliffe leads the department, which includes Neil Walmsley, who undertakes banking transactions as part of a broader practice focusing on corporate finance, acquisitions and restructuring. Corporate partner Mark Daly often advises on fundraising and debt matters; his recent work includes advising a regional property developer on loan funding exceeding £5m in value.

One of the premier league firms in Peterborough’, Greenwoods Solicitors LLP has ‘a tremendously loyal client base and provides good value for money’. Its corporate team is also becoming increasingly prominent in Cambridge. The practice, which advises a wide range of borrowers, commercial banks and other lenders, is led by the ‘very approachableAlastair Gunn, who has ‘great relationship skills, is able to simplify complex situations to get deals over the line’, and who is singled out for his ‘endearingly open and honest style’. Duncan Walker and property finance director Karin Horsley are also recommended. The team acted for a well-known commercial bank on the provision of a loan exceeding £3m in value for the acquisition of property assets.

Steeles Law brings together expertise from its corporate, dispute resolution and property teams to advise borrowers and investors, including high-net-worth individuals and multinational businesses. Head of the company and commercial team Richard Bailey and senior director Nigel Lubbock are the key contacts. Lubbock acted for a high-profile client on the financing aspects of a £50m restructuring following the sale of a subsidiary business. Bailey assisted a client with a large investment agreement for a start-up company. Lindsey Crockett left for an in-house role at Gardline Shipping.


Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Insolvency and corporate recovery clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Birketts LLP has a team of insolvency lawyers spread across its four offices nationwide, of which three are in East Anglia. For contentious matters the firm has strong practitioners in Laurence Weeks (whose ‘great experience means he knows when to push and when to be pragmatic’), a council member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, and Matthew Atkins, whose skills particularly benefit companies with intellectual property assets. For non-contentious matters the practice calls on experienced corporate partners Greg Allan in Norwich and James Allen in Cambridge. Allan’s highlights included advising Price Bailey LLP as liquidators in a members’ voluntary liquidation that formed part of a larger group company demerger. Weeks also acted for Price Bailey as administrator of Calecore Limited in the defence of £3.5m in security claims, and represented RSM Insolvency in the £12m administration of F.H. Gilman, which may result in litigation. Privilege Finance and McTear Williams & Wood are among the firm’s clients.

Howes Percival LLP’s ‘first-class’ practice is ‘vastly experienced in all areas of insolvency law and, in particular, in acting for government departments on complex cases’. According to some, the firm is ‘without doubt the leading firm in the region; it has a huge depth of expertise and a willingness to go the extra mile for clients’. Clients praise Alison Kirby as ‘one of a kind’; she ‘brings energy, dedication and a huge amount of experience to the table’. Other standout practitioners include the ‘hugely experienced, capable and tactically astuteMorris Peacock, and ‘responsive and approachable’ associate Fiona Stuart. Government matters feature strongly in the firm’s workload; it recently acted for HMRC on an application to appoint a liquidator for Parkwell Investments, which had a tax loss of more than £7m. The team also acted for the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in connection with an investigation into the failure of Ecohouse Developments, which went into liquidation with £21m in debt. The firm also acted for the liquidator of LVG Ltd, which owed VAT in excess of £5m.

Specialist insolvency boutique Isadore Goldman is ‘the standout firm for contentious insolvency matters’, according to one client. Highly respected litigator Simon Loome, who splits his time between the London and Norwich offices, leads a team that has firmly bedded down after expansion in recent years. Licensed IP Adam McCaw, non-contentious specialist Frank Brumby and Robert Pyke, who handles property aspects of insolvency, are all highly recommended. The firm is on the panel of Aviva and regularly advises IPs such as McTear Williams & Wood. Recent highlights include handling a case involving a £500,000 illegal share buy-back and another matter centring on a £15m claim brought against administrators for failing to bring their own claim against insured directors of an insolvent company. Brumby is handling a complex insolvency in the agricultural sector and Pyke is handling the sale of land and property at eight sites across the region for liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy.

Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘one of the best for insolvency; the service and the value for money are excellent, and response times are fast’. Jamie Wheatley leads the team and regularly advises corporates and IPs, bringing particular knowledge of special administration regimes for energy supply and network companies and insolvencies in the technology sector. According to clients he is ‘responsive, thorough and provides extremely practical advice, adding value at every stage of the process’. Among the firm’s ‘excellent strategists’ is ‘thorough and hardworking’ principal associate Lino Di Lorenzo, who acts in cross-border insolvency matters and complex asset recovery actions and ‘has a good grasp of how a case may pan out; like in a chess game, he plans several moves ahead’. Laura Holdaway excels in real estate insolvencies and Zak Virgin often advises asset-based lenders and agricultural sector lenders. Wheatley advised the administrators of family-owned farming business S Morgan & Sons in a case that involved complex security arrangements and disputes between creditors. IPs McTear Williams & Wood and Griffins are among the firm’s clients.

Taylor Vinters provides ‘good and informative advice from a team that is very responsive and approachable’. Department head and licensed IP Adam Bradley has in-depth knowledge of both insolvency law and practice; he is described as ‘an excellent lawyer who is not only very knowledgeable, but also easy to deal with’. Litigator Luke Hibbert and associates Victoria Mason and Beth Price have broad-based disputes practices in which insolvency is a key strand. The firm services a strong client base not only across the region, but also in London and nationwide. Hibbert and Price advised a multinational software developer threatened with winding-up proceedings, which they successfully fended off with an injunction. Hibbert and Mason were instructed by an IP to assist with the administration of a company and are currently working on delayed debenture payments and earn-out provisions. Bradley’s highlights included acting for a bank in a £2m matter concerning a borrower’s failure to meet its obligations, which resulted in the appointment of an LPA receiver.

Barker Gotelee has a broad insolvency practice that regularly advises IPs, creditors, debtors, directors and stakeholders. The team is an integral part of the firm’s business services department and is led by ‘first-class insolvency lawyer’ John Bradshaw, who is ‘not only technically brilliant and on top of the details of legislation, but also commercially sensible and practical’. Bradshaw is a member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals and sits on its Eastern region committee. Chartered legal executive Sarah Mower ‘deals with matters quickly and efficiently’ and stands out for insolvency litigation. Bradshaw and Mower’s highlights included advising a trustee in a bankruptcy that involved the enforcement of an income payments order; acting for an IP in a members’ voluntary liquidation; and handling commercial negotiations for a corporate threatened with a winding-up order.

Greene & Greene regularly acts for IPs, corporates and individuals in insolvency proceedings and solicitor Andrea Nicholls in Bury St Edmunds is the firm’s standout practitioner. Her practice has a broader focus on commercial and property litigation, which serves clients well in insolvency matters. Clients praise litigator Michael Batty for his ‘prompt responses and excellent advice’. Senior partner and commercial lawyer Chris Thomson is also recommended, as is Neil Walmsley for business restructuring matters. The firm has acted for a number of companies in liquidation or administration, including HMV Retail Limited and Deben Transport Limited. Recent highlights included the £250,000 administration and pre-pack sale of a company to a purchaser backed by two of the original shareholders, and the liquidation of company that involved the winding-up of a multimillion-pound personal estate.

Ashtons Legal’s experienced commercial litigation team includes several partners who regularly handle insolvency matters. Michael Frape in Cambridge acted for a director in a claim regarding antecedent transactions that were allegedly in breach of the Insolvency Act 1986. The charges included preference and misfeasance, but Frape negotiated a substantial reduction in his client’s liability. Rob Adam in Ipswich and Mark Merriam in Bury St Edmunds are also recommended for contentious insolvency matters.

Buckles Solicitors LLP handles a broad palette of contentious and non-contentious matters and the firm is regarded by IPs as having one of the few specialist insolvency practices in Peterborough. Its client base includes IPs such as RSM, Bulley Davey and Elwell Watchorn & Saxton. Its most recent client wins include Corporate Financial Solutions and Springfields LLP. Vastly experienced litigation partner James Maxey oversees the team, which includes associate Nick Porter, who recently obtained the ICAEW Certificate in insolvency and is known for contentious matters. The firm’s recent highlights include acting for joint trustees in the bankruptcy of two individuals; acting for the liquidator of a construction company with significant outstanding debts; and advising a property developer on issues arising from a contractor going into administration.

Leathes Prior has a niche practice that specialises in bankruptcy annulments, in which it acts not only for clients in East Anglia, but also across the UK. The firm pools its expertise in employment, regulatory and property law to advise local IPs and individuals on corporate and personal insolvency. Solicitor Ina Beurich leads the team and ‘provides excellent service’. She is supported by head of litigation Mike Barlow, whose broad practice includes commercial disputes involving insolvency issues such as resisting a winding-up petition on grounds of public interest and defending directors against misfeasance claims. Beurich advised the liquidator of a company on claims totalling £200,000 in value concerning breaches of fiduciary duty, misfeasance and preference transactions.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLPhas an invaluable depth of knowledge in insolvency matters’. Clients ‘greatly value the quality of advice’ provided by Gareth Lamb and managing partner Mark Nicholson, who both have broad litigation practices that cover a wide range of civil, employment and insolvency matters. Nicholson was a licensed IP for more than 25 years and has vast experience advising individuals, trustees, administrators and liquidators. He continues to be instructed by IPs on a regular basis. Lamb’s main focus is on contentious insolvency in which he regularly advises IPs, directors and individuals.

At Rogers and Norton, Peter Hastings acts in insolvency matters and often advises local IPs on claims concerning misfeasance, wrongful trading and preferential transactions. He also acts for individuals and recently advised several company directors. Clients praise his ‘advice, honesty and strength’. Experienced litigator Elizabeth Gibson is also recommended. The firm’s real estate team also handles the disposal of assets and property for IPs.



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