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Commercial property: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Cambridge
  2. Leading individuals

Development and regeneration project partner Dominic Morris leads the team at Eversheds LLP. Clare Whitaker specialises in corporate occupier and investment matters, and advised Legal & General UK Property Fund on the £87m purchase of a multi-let office building in Birmingham. Richard Birks stands out for infrastructure deals in the health, education, energy and transport sectors.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘committed and positive team’ includes Charles Staveley, who advised Howard Group on a £31.8m retail park sale; Vincenzo Maggio, who advised Greene King on the multimillion-pound sale of 16 pubs; the ‘helpful, responsive and innovativeMichelle Cookson, who acted for Granta Park Estates on a £60m office building deal; and Nick Finlayson-Brown, who advised Brookgate Ltd on a development site in Cambridge. Other recommended individuals include David Roberts, for residential development, and Christine de Ferrars Green, who advises Urban&Civic.

At Ashtons Legal, Magnus McManus and associate Charlotte Vallins advised Savills (UK) on its national branch lease portfolio. Charles Webb is lead partner for all real estate work for the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, and handles acquisitions for Abel Homes Ltd.

Birketts LLP is rated for its ‘competitive and responsive approach and commercial attitude’. Kath Herbert, who has a national reputation for strategic land work, acted in the multimillion-pound sale of development land for Gresham’s School. Senior associate Nick Pickersgill and associate Natalie Biggs are ‘knowledgeable and hands-on’.

Hewitsonsexcellent’ team includes Martin Smith and James Simpson, who are advising a consortium of landowners on a collaboration agreement for 2000 acres of residential development land. Graeme Sampson is acting for Hill Residential on the development of a site for University of Cambridge.

Howes Percival LLP is known for its ‘high-quality, focused service’. Clients single out Jonathan Greenhalgh for his ‘excellent attention to detail’, ‘approachable and straightforward’ director William Stokes, and Michaela Henson and Steven Beach, who joined from Taylor Vinters. Clients include Cambridge University Endowment Fund and Rothley Temple Estates.

At Taylor Vinters, James Slinger’s ‘responsive, efficient and engaged’ team ‘converts legal jargon into plain English’. Also recommended are associates Elliot Wilson, who ‘responds in a timely and professional manner’, and Helen Mutucumarana, who is ‘consistent, contactable and proactive’. Clients include Elgin Energy and Jockey Club Racecourses.

Experienced, knowledgeable and personable property expert’ Paul Dixon at Dixon Phillips is well known for development work, property sales and landlord/tenant matters. He advised Premier Travel Agency on its acquisition of branches in Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.

Penningtons Manches LLP has a ‘proactive, knowledgeable and responsive team providing good value for money’. The ‘approachable, professionalSarah Coatesunderstands the demands of development finance’. She advised Svenska Handelsbanken on refinancing a £1.2m property portfolio.

Progressive local firmTees Law provides ‘sound and timely advice’. Clients praise James Dowson’s ‘sound commercial knowledge’. He advised a residential developer on the construction of 14 homes. ‘Professional and polite’ associate David Marsh is also recommended.


Commercial property: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Ipswich
  2. Leading individuals

Chris Schwer leads the four-partner team at Birketts LLP, which is rated for its ‘excellent value for money, advice and industry knowledge’. Chris Barker is ‘attentive and cool under fire’ and assisted ForFarmers UK with a residential development in North Yorkshire. Stuart Raven advised on a multimillion-pound investment sale in Peterborough. Oliver Crichton is also recommended.

Gotelee Solicitors’ Martin Whitworth advised a bank on the refinancing of a portfolio of 19 properties. Catherine Abbott acted in the acquisition of an industry estate in Suffolk and the subsequent construction of new units. Newly promoted Oliver Ray is also recommended.

Highlights for Kerseys Solicitors included advising an estate management company on securitising its property portfolio and the sale of commercial units. The ‘proactive, efficient and flexible’ Kimat Singh and consultant James Hayward are recommended.

At Prettys, ‘first-class lawyer’ Tim Bacon ‘provides a quality of advice not often found in firms of this scale’. He advised on the property aspects of Aldeburgh Music Endowment Fund’s multimillion-pound purchase of the Snape Maltings site.

Ashtons Legalhas a high level of expertise and can hold its own against bigger firms’. James Griffiths (who is ‘first class; fun to deal with but professional’) advised a landowner on land options for a residential development.

At Blocks, Andrew Fleming and Gerry Field’s clients include a large regional commercial lender.


Commercial property: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Norwich
  2. Leading individuals

Birketts LLP attracts praise for providing ‘a London style of service not available at many regional firms’ and for its ‘excellent value for money’. Robert Gibbs provides ‘supreme customer service’ and head of retail Melissa Loucas is ‘just who you want to deal with a big property matter’. Clients include Barclays Bank and Norwich Airport. Senior associate Bhargav Trivedi is also recommended.

At Howes Percival LLP, department head Tessa Haskey is ‘admirable, always approachable and understanding of clients’ foibles’. The team has formidable talent in strategic land expert Tracey Hughes and development specialist Joanna Nicholls. Hughes advised Fleur Developments on a £1.7m land deal for luxury housing. ‘Thorough, confidence-inspiring’ director Alice Liddle is also recommended.

Keith Hamilton leads Mills & Reeve LLP’s national team from Norwich and is supported by Caroline Dean, who has a UK-wide landowner client base for development work and heads the local practice, which is ‘proactive and has very good commercial acumen’. She advised CFH Facilities on the development of a £75m science and research centre. Carina Cobbold is also recommended.

Simon Button’s team at Fosters is singled out for its ‘extremely good service’. ‘Professional, knowledgeable, calm and efficient’ senior associate Rachel Appleton advised a SIPP on commercial property purchases, and a local restaurant chain on the acquisition of McDonald’s restaurant franchises.

Leathes Prior’s practice includes respected figures Rob Sibley, who advised CVS (UK) on the acquisition of veterinary practices, and William Riley. David Clarke and associate Paul Oldershaw are also recommended.

The ‘excellent practice’ at Steeles Lawalways provides prompt and efficient service’. Clients value the ‘experience and professionalism’ of the ‘patient and tenacious’ Michael Fahy - . He advised on the multimillion-pound sale of a food sector business with over 20 premises.

Clients praise Genie Barham’s ‘knowledge, attention to detail, speed and accuracy’ at Ashtons Legal. She advised Yarco Properties on the sale of freehold premises in Great Yarmouth, and Ripblast & Co on remortgaging a large industrial site in Snetterton.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors’ Hugh Berridge has over 25 years’ experience. He advised on a £3m farm option purchase, and the £8m sale of development land. He handles leasehold acquisitions for Rethink Mental Illness.

Cozens-Hardy LLPgives pragmatic and sound advice’. Caroline Linsdell and Daniel Evans ‘respond quickly, knowledgeably and with an eye to resolving issues in the best interests of their clients’.

Rogers and Norton is noted for its ‘good knowledge of retail and commercial property issues, and for its considered and relevant advice’. Bruce Faulkner is ‘thorough, attentive and offers good advice’. Senior solicitor Lauren Coleman is also recommended.

Spire Solicitors LLP fields several respected local market figures, including social housing expert Kevin Oelrichs and Tim Chiverton, who specialises in landlord and tenant matters.


Commercial property: Peterborough

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Peterborough
  2. Leading individuals

At Buckles Solicitors LLP, ‘the level of service is always the highest and the strength of the team is extensive’. Clients appreciate Colleen Gostick for her ability to ‘cut straight to the chase and deliver excellent advice’. Other recommended individuals include Michael Rabbett, who advised Upstream Developments on business park plot sales totalling £9.5m, and Michael Blank, who provides ‘good, balanced advice’.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP has a ‘highly responsive’ team that is rated for its ‘impressive depth of knowledge’. Karin Horsley and Stephen Illingworth advised on property aspects of the £40m AIM listing of Marshall Motor Holdings, which owns over 100 properties.

Hunt & Coombs LLP is ‘very professional and acts in a timely manner’. Anna Spriggs, who acts for many ecclesiastical clients, advised Central England Co-operative on the multimillion-pound sale of department stores. Legal executives Sarah Morris and John Bee (who has ‘excellent practical knowledge’) are also recommended.

At Hegarty LLP, Richard Hegarty has over 40 years’ experience and advised on a £1m land sale. Also recommended are Hugh Nicholls and Joy Plummer.

Sloan Plumb Wood LLP’s Nick Plumb advised a developer on numerous projects around Peterborough, and assisted a Japanese company with an office development.


Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Leading individuals

Ashtons Legal’s Ron Clare has over 20 years’ experience in commercial property and secured lending, and recently advised a company on a 10-year office building lease. Havebury Housing Partnership is a key client.

Butcher Andrews is known for ‘superb response times and good value’. The ‘helpful, knowledgeable and creativeAnne Kirby advised renewable energy company Genatec on options and leases for turbine sites. Chris Hoxley is also recommended.

Fraser Dawbarns’ ‘very efficient’ practice has ‘competent and sound advisers’ in Daniel Ball, John Aitken and Colin Bailey. Ball advised a refrigeration company on purchasing new premises.

Greene & Greene is noted for its ‘great depth of experience’. The ‘accessible, helpful and proactive’ Fraser Paskell ‘has knowledge of offshore energy agreements and onshore infrastructure that is second to none’. Neil Grigg is advising Sanofi Pasteur MSD on all of its real estate matters in England and Wales.

Leeds Day’s Christopher Dodd and Bob Dewdney are ‘swift to respond with strong advice’. Dodd advised a landowner on the conditional sale of mixed-use land worth £35m for development projects.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP is the first-choice firm on Suffolk’s east coast. Mark Rymarz advised landowners on an option agreement for residential development land worth over £30m. Ben Blower acted for Badger Building on its acquisition of the former Blundeston Prison.


Construction

Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Birketts LLP’s ten-lawyer team attracts praise for its combination of ‘clear, accurate advice and excellent value’. Clients strongly recommend ‘excellent lawyers’ Andrew Rush and Ruth Sunaway, who advised on a £5m contentious matter. Associate and rising star Oli Worth ‘shows great depth of knowledge’. Clients include McGee Group.

The team at Eversheds LLP is ‘consistently excellent, always available and has a pool of top-flight lawyers’. The ‘responsive and supportive’ Dominic Lacey is ‘an absolute pleasure to work with’ and leads a team of ‘proactive and practical’ associates including Tom Douglas, who acts for Transport for London.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘outstanding’ practice includes Robert Weatherley and leading light Ron Plascow, who ‘have a wealth of experience in construction law and building contracts, and a friendly and flexible approach’. The ‘robust and cost-consciousStuart Thompson advised Cambridge Assessment on a multimillion-pound construction contract for its new headquarters.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP stands out for its ‘exemplary service tailored to clients’ needs’. The team is led from London by Howard Crossman, who calls on the skills of consultant Richard Jones and associate Katrina Bretten in Peterborough. Bretten advises on construction contracts for motor dealerships.

Hewitsons provides ‘excellent service and guidance that is always sound and practical’. Clients appreciate Colin Jones for his communication skills and ‘calm, balanced’ associate Lorna Carter for her ‘common sense and excellent understanding’. Carter advised on a £5m contract for Howard Lewisham Ltd.

At Sloan Plumb Wood LLP, construction and engineering partner Martin Wood has 25 years’ experience and regularly advises London-based clients. Highlights included a 1200-acre, 5,000-home brownfield development in the north of England.

Key figures at Prettys include associate Rebecca Palmer, who is ‘outstanding – professional, informative and exceptionally competent’, and litigator Peter Blake, who is recommended for his ‘balanced and realistic advice’.

At Rogers and Norton, Peter Hastings and Phil Kerridge are recommended for construction disputes. They advised on matters arising from a £4.5m care home development.


Environment

Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

At Birketts LLP, ‘client-oriented, intelligent and sharp’ litigator Richard Eaton represented Cromwell Manor Services on the impact of a waste recycling facility on a wedding venue. Barrister Laura Thomas defends corporate clients against Environment Agency prosecutions. Other key individuals include planning and environment law specialists Tom Newcombe and consultant Philip Kratz.

At Hewitsons, planning and environment specialist Deborah Sharplesresponds immediately in a reassuring, strategic and pragmatic way’. She advised a large waste management business on an enforcement notice regarding a recycling facility, and defended a large agricultural business against an abatement notice alleging nuisance from a pig breeding farm.

Paul Wootton’s team at Howes Percival LLP is ‘good value and its advice is firmly focused on the issues’. Rebecca Carriage ‘communicates extremely well and has a good grasp of the issues’. Clients include Ford Retail Ltd, Anglia Maltings Group and Norfolk Environmental Waste Services. Sally Challinor joined Keystone Law.

Andrew Bryce & Co’s name partner is regarded as one of the UK’s foremost environment lawyers. He advises many industrial clients on regulatory compliance and the defence of enforcement actions.

The ‘experienced and efficientKathryn Gilbertson at Greenwoods Solicitors LLP is a leading regulatory specialist. She advised Stratton on enforcement notices and, at judicial review, suspension notices alleging odour management issues.

Greene & Greene’s Michael Batty is chair of the East Region Committee of The United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and regularly defends clients against claims brought by the Environment Agency. Energy project specialist Fraser Paskell is also recommended.

Niche environmental law firm Richard Buxton has a team of ten fee-earners led by the firm’s name partner. Buxton is highly regarded as a claimant advocate.


Planning

Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

At Birketts LLP, newly promoted partner Tom Newcombe is ‘very strong on in-depth analysis’ and leads the team with Richard Eaton, who ‘shares the burden and wins the battle’. Newcombe advised Breckland District Council on its high-value Section 106 obligations. Consultant Philip Kratz is also recommended.

At Hewitsons, department head Deborah Sharples is ‘very professional and knowledgeable’, and advised Great Oakley Group on a residential development comprising 530 dwellings, a school and public amenities. Associate Gemma Dudley attracts praise for her ‘meticulous attention to detail’.

Howes Percival LLP has a ‘very knowledgeable and motivated team’ led from Norwich by Paul Wootton, who joined from Eversheds LLP. Amy Richardson moved from Taylor Vinters to build the team in Cambridge. Associate Jay Mehta is also recommended. The team is advising a special purpose vehicle comprising Catalyst and Blackstone on a 500-home mixed-use redevelopment in London. Sally Challinor joined Keystone Law.

Mills & Reeve LLPprovides excellent service and understands clients’ objectives’. ‘Outstanding planning lawyerBeverley Firthcommunicates complex matters clearly and simply’. Firth and Peter Seaborn, who joined from Eversheds LLP, advised Urban&Civic Waterbeach on a 9,000-home development on a former MOD site. Senior associate Caroline Bywater is also recommended.

For some, Ashtons Legal is ‘the best choice for tough planning litigation, delivering City of London service but not at City prices’. Consultant Bob McGeady, who advised a major housing association on a 1,000-home redevelopment, ‘brings a commercial edge to public law transactions’. Consultant Paul Harris is also recommended.

Eversheds LLP lost key partner Peter Seaborn to Mills & Reeve LLP but recruited experienced senior associate Julie Thornton from Hertfordshire City Council. She advised REG Windpower on planning agreements. Associate Howard Felstead advises residential developers on housing schemes across the South East of England.

Buckles Solicitors LLP continues to expand its team with the addition of Brendon Lee from HB Public Law – Harrow and Barnet Councils’ shared service legal team. He adds valuable experience representing local councils to the team, which includes senior associate Abigail Walters, who advised a housing association on numerous matters including Section 106 agreements.


Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals

Ashtons Legal has ‘a competent, efficient and no-nonsense practice’. Rob Adam advised All Stars Youth Club on the enforcement of an order requiring the landlord to carry out works. Michael Frape acted in a High Court matter regarding a contested commercial lease. ‘Thoughtful and practical’ associate Nigel Maguire is recommended for delivering ‘sound and reasoned advice’.

Birketts LLP’s ‘superb’ practice ‘punches well above its weight’. Clients recommend the ‘tactically astuteRichard Eaton, the ‘resourceful, creativeJohn Scannell, and James Robinson, who is ‘unquestionably one of the best’ and who advised adjacent property owners on the redevelopment of Tottenham Hotspur FC’s stadium. At associate level, ‘bright, thorough’ senior associate Simon Woodhead and associate Charlotte Wormstone are ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Eversheds LLP provides ‘first-class service and has good expertise at partner and associate level’. The ‘attentive, approachableRichard New advised Cemex on issues arising from a £200m development in Fulham. Senior associate Samuel Maw and ‘exceptionally hardworking’ associate Natalie Minott are also recommended.

Hewitsons has a team ‘brimming with specialists’ including Robert McLellan (who is ‘impressive with clients’), senior solicitor Kate Church and Lucinda Brown. The team advised on a contentious property swap agreement for multimillion-pound properties in Cambridge.

Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘top of the tree, and holds its own against City firms’. The ‘brilliantRichard Hanson is ‘the man you want in your corner’. Recommended associates include the ‘incredibly knowledgeableJulian Steed and ‘calm, unflappable’ James Hordern. Clients include Urban&Civic and Brookgate Developments.

Buckles Solicitors LLP provides ‘excellent value and all-round service’. Experienced solicitor advocate and accredited mediator Paul Branch counts Logex Services and Shield Engineering among his clients.

Fosters’ ‘very impressive’ practice includes Adrian Newborough, who advised on the forfeiture of commercial properties in North London, and Chris Fielding, whose highlights include a contentious business lease renewal, and advising an international company on alleged breaches of a lease.

Greene & Greene is ‘a well-established firm with high service levels and a strong reputation’. The ‘very helpful and knowledgeableMichael Batty advised Dudgeon Offshore Wind. Andrea Nichollscombines commitment, commercial awareness and common sense’.

At Greenwoods Solicitors LLP, associate Caroline Gumbrell is noted for her ‘excellent service; she is proactive and has an excellent grasp of matters’. Gumbrell and senior solicitor Michelle Cox are contesting a notice to quit for Mixmag Media.

At Howes Percival LLP, the ‘quietly confident, calmJamie Kiddhas a considered approach and communicates well with clients’. Simon Murphy, who joined from Taylor Vinters, is representing a landlord in a £500,000 diminution of value claim.

Hunt & Coombs LLP’s ‘efficient and effective’ team is led by legal executive Lesley Milne, an ‘approachable, effective litigator’ who ‘exudes a natural confidence founded on a wealth of experience’. She advised owners of a £600,000 property on claims of misrepresentation by the sellers.

The ‘utterly professional’ Anthony Wooding and Ross Burkitt at Kerseys Solicitorsprovide speedy, efficient and very informative responses’. They advised the developers on a claim of unauthorised cabling by an energy company.

For many, Leathes Prior is ‘one of the best local firms’. Highlights for Darren Bowen and associate Sabina Haag (who is ‘readily available and always helpful’) include successfully handling an easement dispute for the Earl of Leicester.


Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Clients consider Birketts LLP to be ‘the best regional practice for development and complex leases’. Peter Goddard stands out for his ‘extensive experience and strong attention to detail’. Senior associate Emily Groom advised Orbit Group on its £7m investment in 71 residential units. John Scannell is also recommended.

At Spire Solicitors LLPKevin Oelrichs is an acknowledged social housing expert. Litigators David Harris - Sian Carrel and new arrival Annette Collen from Ashtons Legal are recommended. The firm has a long list of RSL clients that includes Saffron Housing Group and Orwell Housing Association. Jane Walford joined Marshall Hatchick Solicitors.

Buckles Solicitors LLPhas a good regional practice for housing management tenancies and leases’ and acts for over 65 RSLs across the UK including Cross Keys Homes and Saffron Housing Trust. Gail Sykes is ‘always on top of property legislation’. Paul Branch is recommended for contentious matters.

Blocks’ property partners Andrew Fleming and Gerry Field regularly provide funding, development and refinancing advice to three RSLs.

At Greenwoods Solicitors LLP, Stephen Illingworth regularly advises social landlords on the purchase of development sites.


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