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  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
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Who Represents Who

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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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