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Commercial property: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Cambridge
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Cambridge 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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At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP¬†'the overall level of service is excellent'; the practice 'meets deadlines and can easily secure input from a wide pool of specialist expertise'. As well as high-value commercial real estate transactions, the firm also has a¬†national and international reputation for alternative real estate asset classes, including transport infrastructure, senior living, hotels and hospitality. It also serves a large client base in the education sector, including¬†FE and HE colleges and private sector institutions. Its work also encompasses advice to¬†private and public sector developers and land promoters, corporate occupiers, and institutional, private and offshore investors.¬†'Solutions-focused' development and regeneration project partner Dominic Morris¬†leads the practice. He assisted¬†Legal & General Senior Living Limited on the property aspects of its ¬£40m investment in two senior living villages in Warwick and Cheshire.¬†Clare Whitaker¬†specialises in investment and corporate occupier work with particular expertise in the hotels and leisure sector. For¬†Legal & General UK Property Fund, she led the acquisition of the¬†Hampton by Hilton Hotel at London Stansted Airport. Among the other key lawyers in the team are senior associate¬†Megan D'Souza-Mathew, who handles¬†development and regeneration work; senior associate¬†Claire Morgan, who advises on deals in the transport sector; and associate Jamie Cawthorn¬†who is ‚Äėa very experienced residential development legal specialist whose advice is always practical and well balanced'.

Mills & Reeve LLP‚Äės has ‚Äėcommercial and responsive lawyers‚Äô that¬†represent 'good value for money in relation to London-based practices'. Planning partner¬†Beverley Firth¬†is national head of the firm‚Äôs real estate practice, which has an extremely talented bench. 'Strong property partner'¬†Christine de Ferrars Green¬†is ‚Äėalways available to try and help manage her team and assist with all matters‚Äė.¬†Nick Finlayson-Brown¬†has more than 20 years' experience in real estate matters and his role as head of the firm's China team sees him handle many cross-border property matters. He is 'entirely commercial in his approach and provides excellent service and advice'. Partner¬†Charles Staveley¬†leads the firm's real estate investment sector group, which advises institutional pension funds, management houses, property companies, onshore and offshore investors. He assisted HPG Gonville Ltd with the ¬£6.5m purchase of properties and their lease back to Cambridge Education Group.¬†Vincenzo Maggio¬†focuses on investment work and landlord and tenant matters with an emphasis on science parks. He acted for Babraham Institute on a review of its multimillion-pound portfolio. Also recommended are¬†Michelle Cookson, who specialises in complex investment and development projects; real estate finance specialist¬†Tim Allsop, who is¬†is ‚Äėexcellent ‚Äď detailed, commercial and very responsive on more complicated matters‚Äė; and senior associate¬†Tom Nash, who¬†is praised for ‚Äėhis clarity of thought, expression and delivery, which are invaluable‚Äė.

Advice from¬†Birketts LLP¬†is ‚Äėexcellent ‚Äď timely, straightforward, knowledgeable and pragmatic'. The firm has a national reputation for strategic land transactions thanks to¬†practice head Katherine Herbert, who frequently handles high-profile and complex projects. She recently acted for Huntingdon Road Consortium, which consists of landowners the National Institute of Agricultural Botany Trust, The Chivers Family interests, Christs College Cambridge, St Catharine's College Cambridge and Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, on the ¬£68m sale of more than 300 acres of land for the development of 1400 homes at¬†Darwin Green. Gavin Acheson,¬†who has 25 years' experience and who advises¬†institutional, corporate and private clients on commercial real estate matters, is 'very responsive¬†and good value for money, and has both good business acumen and industry knowledge'. He assisted grant-making charity Trust for London with the ¬£11m acquisition, refurbishment and letting of a bespoke multi-media project in London. Senior associate Dwight Patten¬†joined from¬†Mills & Reeve LLP¬†to focus on¬†commercial occupiers and development work, most notably in the education and not-for-profit sectors. The firm has a strong bench of senior associates including¬†Nick Pickersgill¬†who leads on¬†real estate finance matters;¬†Claudia Haisman-Green¬†who¬†handles¬†residential development projects; strategic land specialist¬†Deborah Marshall;¬†Natalie Biggs¬†who deals with commercial property and development; and¬†Isabel Wightman-Cooper¬†who focuses on real estate finance. Associate¬†Emma Medina¬†is also recommended.

At Hewitsons¬†‚Äėthe level of service is good‚Äė and the ‚Äėuser-friendly, sound and practical team has an excellent knowledge base and is both quick to respond and comprehensive in its protection of clients‚Äô interests'. One client describes it as¬†‚Äėthe best all round local firm for those dealing in property and development'. The firm has a long-established and respected commercial property practice that has recognised expertise in¬†site acquisitions and disposals, strategic land transactions, development projects and property asset management across East Anglia and further afield. Its client base includes standout names such as¬†the Homes and Communities Agency, Turnstone Estates and Hill Residential Limited, and the firm receives regular instructions from¬†technology, biotechnology and life sciences companies based in Cambridge, as well as from numerous Oxbridge Colleges.¬†James Simpson¬†leads the Cambridge real estate practice and is ‚Äėpragmatic - he has no ego to fuel'. He handled several joint venture agreements for Hill Residential last year, and also advised it on the University of Cambridge‚Äôs North West Cambridge development site, which has a development value of ¬£150m. The project will create¬†a new mixed academic and urban community on the¬†140-hectare site, which currently contains a mix of farmland and University buildings.¬†Susanne Hinde, who handles property investment and landlord/tenant matters,¬†is ‚Äėin tune with clients‚Äô requirements and always approachable'. Partner¬†Graeme Sampson, senior associate¬†Ceri Riddell¬†and associate¬†Michael Russell¬†are also recommended.¬†Martin Smith¬†joined¬†Maples Teesdale LLP.

Howes Percival LLP  has increased its presence in the market and expanded its bench of junior talent to support its highly experienced partners. Jonathan Greenhalgh is the key contact in Cambridge, where Steven Beach is an established name with more than 30 years' experience in the market. Michaela Henson is also a standout partner with more than 20 years’ experience in advising landowners, developers and commercial clients on development, investments, site assembly, and landlord and tenant matters. The firm is active in residential development development projects for clients such as Hill Residential Limited, Laragh House Developments Limited and Enterprise Property Group. It also assists landowners including landed estates and rural businesses with these projects. Turnstone Estates Limited and Artisan (UK) Developments are among its clients for commercial development work. The practice also handles investment portfolio matters and last year Beach advised Cambridge University Endowment Fund on the £7.7m sale of a residential development site at Stanton Cross, Northamptonshire to Bovis Homes Group Limited, which involved both the sale of land and complex security arrangements for the funding of the project. The firm also has specialist expertise in property finance, leisure and tourism projects and property transactions in the education sector.

‚ÄėThe overall level of service has been absolutely incredible‚Äė, says one client of Taylor Vinters. The real estate practice is 'incredibly efficient and highly knowledgeable, and the lawyers are¬†always been on hand to help with any queries, giving clear, concise advice'. 'It¬†seems to have a never ending team of specialists' says one client referring to¬†Helen Mutucumarana, who leads the firm‚Äôs commercial real estate group, and James Slinger, whose practice encompasses complex acquisition, development and leasing transactions, renewable energy, and property aspects of corporate transactions. Mutucumarana is the main contact for¬†non-contentious landlord and tenant work, and clients remark that she is ‚Äėwise beyond her years and always provides fantastic, high-quality insight; her level of expertise is quite incredible‚Äė.¬†Slinger recently advised Jockey Club Estates on the purchase of land¬†in Lambourn, Berkshire, for the development of new training yards. Mutucumarana recently acted for Melbourn Science Park Limited on the purchase of land adjacent to its existing site with the development costing approximately ¬£25m. Associate Elliot Wilson¬†is a rising star who handles¬†property aspects of M&A transactions, land development, and landlord and tenant matters. Associate Becky Everitt¬†is ‚Äėfantastic, friendly and helpful, always going¬†above and beyond to ensure that the service provided is of the highest quality‚Äė.

Ashtons Legal has an integrated property practice across all of its offices in the East Anglian region and it provides the full range of services for commercial and mixed-use development matters. Charles Webb is the key contact in Cambridge and he has more than 30 years' experience in property matters, most notably in site acquisitions and assembly, development work throughout East Anglia, and commercial and private secured lending and borrowing. Magnus McManus is a respected partner for sales and purchases of investment property, development work, joint ventures and secured lending projects. His clients include Cambridge colleges. Associate Charlotte Vallins is also recommended for commercial landlord and tenant matters, commercial sales and purchases, secured lending and corporate support work. Affordable and social housing provider The Havebury Housing Partnership and financial market data vendor Activ Financial are among the firm's clients. The practice recently acted for a large client in the education sector on the multi-let mixed use development in central Cambridge, and assisted an investor on the letting of a site to a major retailer.

At¬†Bircham Dyson Bell¬†‚Äėthe service level is high ‚Äď very responsive, creative and commercial‚Äė.¬†Simon Burson¬†leads the practice having joined from¬†King & Wood Mallesons¬†in early 2017; he¬†specialises in commercial real estate with a particular emphasis on institutional clients and occupiers, and also leads the¬†asset management team, which acts for clients that have¬†in excess of 200 units under management in offices, retail and industrial. Burson assisted¬†Eskmuir Securities Limited with the ¬£7.1m purchase of an office building in St. Albans at auction. The matter involved¬†pre-auction due diligence and preparation, post-auction certificate of title and completion and post-completion arrangements. He also handled the multimillion-pound purchase of seven properties for Cording Real Estate Group¬†including industrial, retail and hotel assets. Senior associate¬† Katy Klingopulos¬†also handles¬†commercial real estate and real estate development, acting for property developers, investors, landowners and high-net-worth individuals.

'The Cambridge office continues to grow and has developed into a forceful centre in the commercial property area', remarks a client of Greenwoods GRM. The firm handles increasingly high-value work for clients in the development, investment, financial, education and food sectors. Associate Kelly Peck is 'an effective and thoughtful lawyer' and leads the commercial property practice in Cambridge, which works closely with the team in the firm's Peterborough office. She handles a wide range of property work from the management of property portfolios to lease acquisitions.  She recently advised Fairline Yachts Limited on options and lease agreements with a total value of £16m, which included issues with short-term licences and leases, and strategic surrenders. The complex transaction was completed in under five days. She also acted for Solarflare Communications Limited in a lease agreement with a value of £150,000 per year. Associate Neville Drummond, who has 18 years' experience in commercial, residential and rural property transactions, is also recommended.

Penningtons Manches LLP frequently acts for lenders and borrowers on property transactions in sectors such as banking, development, social housing, technology, life sciences and education. The firm is now on HSBC’s panel. Lead partner Sarah Coates is 'very knowlegable, efficient and always available'. She worked with corporate partner and finance specialist Helen Drayton to assist James Dolan Ltd with the acquisition of the Dooley Rumble Group, which included substantial real estate assets in the form of four existing leases with complex dilapidations issues. They also acted for Ellgia Recycling in the acquisition of assets from Purple Recycling Limited, which included the negotiation of a new lease that raised issues around liability for potential contamination. Partner Mark Sellers, who joined from Prince Evans Solicitors LLP in late 2017, works from both the London and Cambridge offices. He acts predominantly for social housing providers.

'A fantastic firm offering an unrivalled service',¬†Tees Law¬†is known for ‚Äėvery good service levels‚Äė and clients describe the team as ‚Äėextremely good when compared to some others'. 'The team at Tees is very much part of our business and we are in contact with them on a day-to-day basis for commercial advice' says one client. The broad property practice regularly advises clients on¬†residential development projects, and promotion and option agreements. Its recent work encompassed projects in the leisure industry, as well as local landlords and tenant matters.¬†Practice head¬†James Dowson¬†is¬†‚Äėknowledgeable and practical in his approach'. He acted for Fraser Capital Management in several transactions in the bingo sector, which involved the completion of a complex reversionary lease extending a tenant‚Äôs occupation of one property. Associate¬†Carol Thornton-Swan, who joined from¬†Mills & Reeve LLP¬†in 2017, frequently advises developers on residential development, and landlords on the management of property portfolios. Solicitor¬†Alexander Waples¬†is¬†‚Äėvery professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful;¬†his response times are very fast and his advice succinct and commercial‚Äė.

Dixon Phillips is a small and highly focused firm that handles corporate matters and commercial property transactions for the SME community in East Anglia. Paul Dixon leads the property practice and has more than 20 years' experience in development work, sales and acquisition, and landlord and tenant matters. Solicitor Michelle Atkins handles sales, acquisitions, and landlord and tenant work. Legal assistant Lauren Simper also plays a key role in the practice. Highlights for the commercial property team included acting for Premier Travel Agency in lease renewals on four of their shops and a further shop acquisition, and assisting a renewable energy company with the acquisition of lease options for two 50MW battery storage projects. Pest control products manufacturer STV International is also among the firm's clients.


Commercial property: elsewhere in East Anglia

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: elsewhere in East Anglia 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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The Bury St Edmunds office of Ashtons Legal is home to substantial commercial property expertise and is part of a region-wide practice that excels in commercial and mixed use developments working alongside the firm's planning and construction law specialists. The firm also provides extensive investment management services to investors, owners of industrial estates and a growing number of Cambridge colleges. Ron Clare has more than 25 years' experience in commercial property and his area of expertise include advising on leases, providing corporate support in business sales, and handling business occupation matters for clients such as Cambridge Building Society. He recently advised The Havebury Housing Partnership on the £1.6m acquisition of two adjacent parts of a residential development site near Ely, Cambridgeshire. He also acted for Activ Financial Inc. in matters relating to a ten-year lease on office space in Cambridge as a base for its UK operations.

Butcher Andrews¬†provides ‚Äėan excellent service in terms of good response times, good quality pragmatic advice and very good value for money‚Äė. One client describes the practice as 'extremely efficient, quick to respond and reasonably priced,¬†with clear depth of knowledge'. The firm competes with both local and regional firms for commercial property work and has a client base that includes¬†family-owned housebuilder and developer¬†Vello Ltd, regional housebuilder Astris Homes, national window manufacturer¬†Anglian Windows Ltd, and local charity Break, which has a network of shops throughout the UK. It also acts for the¬†Holkham Estate in a range of commercial development projects.¬†Partner and head of property¬†Chris Hoxley¬† is 'able to understand complex situations very quickly; he has a fast, efficient and pragmatic approach'. Managing partner Anne Kirby¬† ‚Äėattends personally to matters in a very effective and no-nonsense manner'. For Break, she handled the¬†taking, renewal and surrender of retail shop leases throughout the country, and also matters relating to property for the care of vulnerable young adults. Solicitor¬†Sophie Thornley¬†also handles¬†the sale and purchase of commercial property, business tenancies and landlord/tenant matters.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP in Lowestoft has a prominent position in the commercial property market on the east coast of the East Anglia region. It remains highly active in land acquisitions and residential development projects, and it regularly acts for some of the largest local business in commercial property deals. Mark Rymarz is the practice head and key partner. He recently advised on a large option agreement for a residential development on land in Suffolk, which has a potential disposal value of up to £40m. Ben Blower is also highly recommended for commercial property transactions, as well as corporate and commercial deals and agricultural property matters. Legal executive Paul Hughes has more than 25 years' experience and is responsible for development set-up and overseeing plot disposals on behalf of residential developer clients. Rymarz and Blower act for some of the region’s most successful and prolific residential and commercial developers, and increasingly advise housing associations on the acquisition of development sites.

At Fraser Dawbarns 'the overall level of service is excellent; its knowledge of regulations regarding commercial property and the advice it gives are always well researched'. Head of commercial Daniel Ball is the key contact in the practice, which includes experienced partner Tony Cheetham and solicitor Jenny Rushmer in Wisbech, who is 'young and exceptionally bright and gives prompt and unequivocal answers to any queries'. Cheetham advised on the securitisation of a property in central London, and acted for a consortium of landowners in the granting of an option for a new residential development.

The commercial property practice at¬†Greene & Greene¬†in Bury St Edmunds is 'first class ‚Äď it has in-depth knowledge and provides good support in all areas', according to one client. The practice works closely with the corporate team to provide support for clients in sectors such as¬†specialist engineering and manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, as well as acting for private portfolio investors and handling pension fund transactions.¬†Neil Grigg¬†leads the property department and frequently handles¬†handles option and overage agreements, freehold and leasehold transactions, investments and commercial landlord and tenant matters. In 2017, he advised Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited on the ¬£30m sale of its offices and laboratory campus at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, to Chinese pharmaceutical enterprise Pharmaron. Clients recommend partner¬†Tim Mendes da Costa¬†for his 'sound advice'. He assisted Phico Therapeutics Limited on the ¬£3m acquisition of the Bertarelli Building at Bourne Hall Clinic, Cambridge.

Churchgates in Bury St Edmunds is predominantly a private client firm focused on wills, trusts and tax matters, but is has moved into the area of commercial property since hiring senior solicitor Fraser Paskell, formerly of Greene & Greene, in 2016. Since then, Paskell, who has a stellar reputation for renewable energy projects, particularly the development of both offshore and onshore wind farms, has built a broader commercial property practice that works closely with the firm's tax department. Last year, he advised a private property development company on setting up a new residential housing estate, and assisted a client with developing a new £5m mixed office and warehouse park as a joint venture for individual shareholders trading through a private company.

A substantial part of the private client team at Gotelee Solicitors is now located in Felixstowe and Woodbridge, though the practice calls on significant expertise in the Ipswich office to serve a broad client base across Suffolk. Partner Matthew Boast in Felixstowe has 20 years' experience in wills, tax planning, probate, estate administration and powers of attorney. Nicola Weldon is now in the Woodbridge office, following its merger with the Melton office, and is highly recommended for tax planning, trusts, wills, estate administration and Court of Protection matters. Legal executive Rachel Dawson is also recommended for private client matters.


Commercial property: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Ipswich
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Ipswich 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 is 'excellent - it has superior technical knowledge and is very client-focused'. The firm's 'knowledgeable and accessible team is ideal for all areas of property advice and delivers a superb service and knowledge base'. The firm has a strong reputation in key areas such as strategic land work, development projects, property investment management, property finance and utilities. Chris Schwer leads the property practice and has extensive experience in acting for housebuilders and developers in joint ventures, collaboration arrangements and promotion agreements; 'he has a thorough and superb understanding of clients' business requirements'. Schwer acts for utility companies in major projects and in day-to-day legal matters. The firm has a deep bench of experienced lawyers including Chris Barker, whose expertise lies in complex strategic land and development projects, most notably for clients in the health and education sectors; Stuart Raven, who has specialist expertise in retail and restaurant developments and regularly handles the sale and purchase of large investment properties; and Oliver Crichton whose broad practice includes property finance and pension fund property investment work, in which he acts for some of the UK's largest self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) and numerous small self-administered schemes (SSAS). Among the senior associates, Julie Hoy who 'delivers exceptional work', advises landowners, developers and housing associations on residential and mixed-use schemes; Pam Dawson has particular expertise in the area of ports and logistics developments; Stacy Aspden is 'very good, proactive rather than reactive with excellent advice'; and Vicki Chilton acts for private developers, investor purchasers and business owners.

Gotelee Solicitors has a commercial property practice with three experienced partners that handles a busy caseload for corporate clients both in Suffolk and London. Practice head Martin Whitworth frequently acts for landowners and developers in the sale and purchase of land and buildings for development. Catherine Abbott handles both commercial and agricultural property work, which includes development projects, sales and acquisitions and landlord and tenant matters. She also advises advising SIPPs and other pension funds on commercial property acquisitions and management. She recently acted for a client in the healthcare sector in the acquisition of a portfolio of registered and unregistered freehold and leasehold properties with complicating factors relating to deceased and absent owners, funding and partnership. Partner Oliver Ray is also recommended.

Kerseys Solicitors¬†scores ‚Äė9/10 for advice and value for money‚Äė, according to one client. Another notes that the firm provides ‚Äėa highly personalised service with¬†high levels of industry knowledge‚Äė. Head of department¬†Kimat Singh¬†has ‚Äėin-depth knowledge of legal matters and is¬†amongst the best commercial property lawyers in the region‚Äė, according to one source who notes that ‚Äėhe¬†has the ability to put himself firmly in his clients shoes and create the best strategy'. The firm has a strong and diverse client base in Suffolk and its recent work included transactional work for¬†established portfolio landlords on new leases and renewals of industrial and retail units, as well as residential and commercial development projects. Partner¬†Jane Riley, senior solicitor¬†Bere Allen¬†and consultant¬†James Hayward¬†are active members of the practice. Solicitor Adrian Green¬†handles both contentious and transactional property work. A recent highlight saw the practice support a¬†large independent retailer with the management of its multimillion-pound investment property portfolio, which included granting leases, statutory renewals, licences, and general landlord and tenant advice.

The commercial property practice at Ashtons Legal operates as a single unity across all of the firm's offices in East Anglia and is led from Ipswich by experienced partner James Griffiths. His practice encompasses the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold premises, advice on investment properties, property finance transactions, development projects, and landlord/tenant matters. He has the support of associate Simon Burnip whose recent work includes the purchase of a development site that was simultaneously sold off to a pub operator, and which included a lease for a major hotel operator. Associate Alexandra Chater is also recommended.

Barker Gotelee¬†joins the ranking and is ‚Äėexcellent, always available to discuss anything and the work is always carried out in a good time frame without any hitches'. In 2017, practice head¬†Andrew Nicholson¬†negotiated documentation for the transmission of offshore electricity to the National Grid. Key partner¬†Toby Pound¬†has nearly 40 years' experience in commercial property and his recent work includes negotiating option and licence agreements with EDF in relation to the development of Sizewell C power station, and handling promotion agreement relating to a proposed residential development in North Essex.

Andrew Fleming¬†leads the ‚Äėexcellent, thorough and responsive‚Äė team at Blocks, which continues its 20-year role as legal adviser to a well-known commercial lender in the region. The firm advises many clients in the¬†self-invested personal pension (SIPP) sector on property matters and frequently acts for¬†rural businesses in property transactions, particularly¬†light industrial farm unit lettings. Fleming recently acted for¬†a client in the purchase¬†of freehold commercial premises from the Crown following a disclaimer of freehold by a trustee in bankruptcy following an insolvency. This involved reconstitution of the title and new securities with ancillary put and call options, pre-emption rights, forfeiture of lease and the termination of old pre-emption agreement.


Commercial property: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Norwich
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Norwich 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.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

At¬†Birketts LLP¬†'the service level is excellent and the work is done in a timely fashion'. One client remarks that it is 'among the best firms for this type of work due to its speed of execution'. 'In all departments the value for money is superb and they offer top professional advice with it', remarks one client. The 'commercially-minded, solutions-focused and extremely diligent' Melissa Loucas,¬†who leads the retail sector group and advises corporate clients based both locally and nationally, including landlords, tenants, occupiers and investors on¬† acquisitions, disposals and asset management, is 'exceptional ‚Äď always available to deal with any issues that arise; she gives commercial and professional advice‚Äô. Loucas, partner Bhargav Trivedi, associate Andrew Ridout¬†and¬†solicitor Joe Yexley¬†are 'very knowledgeable and able to put complex legal issues in more simple terms; they are very committed, hardworking and personable'. Loucas and Ridout recently assisted an international technology company with landlord and tenant matters, as well as leases for its national network of retail premises. Robert Gibbs¬†leads the¬†strategic land group. Last year, he advised a national retailer on¬†the management of its surplus leasehold property portfolio, which comprised ten sites across the UK.¬† Rising star associate Greg McCurday¬†is also recommended.

Howes Percival LLP¬†is praised for its¬†'strong business approach ‚Äď quietly efficient, providing excellent advice appropriate to the situation and good value for money'. The practice handles major residential and commercial development projects, investment portfolio matters, property finance and renewable energy projects, and it has specific expertise in sectors such as leisure, tourism, education, healthcare and automotive. The firms ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äė partners include practice head and firm chair¬†Tessa Haskey, who has ‚Äėa readily approachable and confident manner', and the 'calm and confident'¬†Joanna Nicholls. Haskey acted for¬†Norse Development Company and International Aviation Academy on the letting of the academy to various users including a¬†¬†helicopter manufacturer and the local air ambulance service.¬†Tracey Hughes¬†is a leading light in¬†complex development matters. For¬†Heritage Developments, she handled a ¬£5m site acquisition for residential development. Directors¬†Nicola Curle¬†and¬†Alice Liddle¬†are recommended for advice on residential development and the drafting of complex contracts respectively.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†has 'a¬†very responsive and knowledgeable team that has a strong sense of duty to the client'.¬†The ‚Äėbright, responsive and always pragmatic'¬†Caroline Dean¬†leads the practice and¬†specialises in development work; she acted for Kilverstone Trust on the sale of land for a 5,000-home development near Thetford. 'Absolute star'¬†Carina Cobbold, who¬†specialises in mixed-use development work and large-scale projects, is ‚Äėexcellent - a very skilful operator, very knowledgeable with a good depth of experience;¬†her measured yet commercial approach is invaluable'. She handled a sustainable urban extension project near Rugby for Sue Developments, which has a total value in excess of ¬£28m and involved planning permission for 6,200 new homes, as well as commercial retail and leisure space, and four schools. Also recommended are principal associates¬†Lisa-Marie Kennedy, who ‚Äėhas a great work ethic and achieves fantastic results‚Äė;¬†Lucy Whipps¬†, who¬†is 'focused, intelligent, hardworking and a great legal mind'; and¬†Zoe Cooke, who handles high-value residential development work for London-based clients.¬†Senior associate¬†Anna Aldous¬†is¬†'very thorough, conscientious and always available'.

Rogers and Norton¬†fields an ‚Äėabsolutely superb‚Äė practice that is ‚Äėvery thorough, knowledgeable and professional‚Äė. Practice head¬†Bruce Faulkner¬†is handling a growing caseload of development work, particularly for¬†developers taking advantage of the Permitted Development rules to convert former commercial space in Norwich to residential use.¬†Legal executive Yvonne Benner¬†‚Äėhas a massive breadth of knowledge; she is exceptionally customer-centric and ensures that the client is always protected and is in full receipt of the all the facts‚Äė. Senior solicitor Lauren Coleman¬†is also recommended and managing partner Richard Etheridge, who handles property matters for GP surgeries, also plays a role in the practice.

At Clapham & Collinge Solicitors senior partner Hugh Berridge leads the commercial property practice, bringing more than 25 years' experience to work for high-net-worth individuals in East Anglia. Solicitor Jade Tinney also plays a key role in the practice, which is supported by legal executive Jack Shreeve who 'works efficiently'. One client remarks that 'he will go far'. Berridge and Shreeve recently acted for the landlords of a tenanted commercial premises in an action to forfeit the lease and take back possession of the property. The team also handled the negotiation of a new lease for a commercial premises in a transaction that required advice on stamp duty land tax.

Cozens-Hardy LLP is 'competent and practical, and looks towards agreeing rather than complicating matters'. The commercial property practice receives instructions for disposals and commercial lettings from clients across the UK and from a diverse range of business sectors including retail, industry, leisure and agriculture. Principal Dan Evans handles property transactions for individuals, companies, pensions schemes and charities, and he is praised for 'his practical approach to matters'. Principal Caroline Linsdell is also recommended. Highlights for the practice included the £8m disposal of land for residential development, the refinancing of property portfolios, and disposals for the development of solar farms.

The commercial property team at Fosters acts for developers, professional landlords and lenders in sales and purchases, commercial leases and the real estate elements of business sales. Senior associate Rachel Appleton has more than ten years' experience in this field and is especially recommended for advice to landlords and tenants.

Leathes Prior has six fee earners in its busy commercial property practice, which handles sales, purchases, leasing transactions and landlord and tenant matters for a large client base in Norfolk, as well as a growing number clients with properties elsewhere in the UK and overseas. The practice acts for clients in a diverse range of sectors including residential development, property investment, financial services, regional, retail and agriculture. It has also developed niche specialisms in insolvency-related property work, healthcare, franchising, post offices and the licensed trade. Practice head Rob Sibley has 30 years' experience in leasehold and freehold acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, agriculture, residential and commercial development, commercial leases and investment property. Also recommended are head of private client William Riley, and solicitors Victoria Smith, James Allen and Cara Keen.

Spire Solicitors LLP¬†has a commercial property team based in Norwich that provides services to clients through its network of eight offices across Norfolk. It has particular expertise in option agreements, commercial estate development, overage, asset management and landlord/tenant matters.¬†Practice head Colin Wright¬†hired Howard Bailey¬†from Ashtons Legal¬†to focus on commercial landlord and tenant work, as well as land and property transactions, secured lending and property development. Solicitor Benedict Keane¬†‚Äėhas a no-nonsense approach and does the work at a reasonable cost'. He has a strong client base among of local and national clients in the¬†licensed trade. Also recommended are Annette Collen, who frequently advises clients in the offshore energy sector, and Tim Chiverton, who has a particular focus on landlord and tenant matters.

Steeles Law has a vastly experienced head of real estate in Michael Fahy, who has more than 30 years' experience in commercial property. His team handles the full range of property matters from acquisitions and disposals to option and overage agreements. His clients include A R Hall & Sons, Lowestoft College and Cygnet Care Limited. He is supported by solicitor Lisha Gorsia, whose recent work encompasses, leases, single and multi-academy conversions, and property transactions including the acquisition of franchises of one of the world's best-known fast food brands. Fahy recently acted for a GP partnership on the development of a new surgery and training facility in the centre of Norwich, and supported the corporate and commercial team in the sale of a funeral services business with multiple business premises across London.


Commercial property: Peterborough

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Peterborough
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Peterborough 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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Buckles Solicitors LLP¬†is 'first-class, the service and advice ranks with the very best,' according to one client. Another describes 'excellent service ‚Äď very business-minded advice and strong decision-making skills'.¬†'Very competent' head of commercial property Michael Rabbett¬†leads a four-partner practice that 'punches well above its weight'. Michael Blank¬†is¬†'a strong and experienced commercial property lawyer'.¬†Chris Mundell¬†is 'highly intelligent, technically extremely strong and manages to combine this with excellent commercial judgement'.¬†Colleen Gostick, who stepped down as managing partner last year, specialises in commercial property and is¬†'excellent, very efficient and pragmatic'. She is¬†chair of Greater Peterborough Partnership, which brings together community representatives to deliver the local plan for Peterborough, and is a director of Opportunity Peterborough, the UK‚Äôs first urban regeneration company. The firm's highlights in 2017 included Rabbett's work for Axiom Housing Limited on a ¬£3.6m acquisition of social housing units. He also advised Medesham Homes LLP on a joint venture between a housing association and a local authority, which included the acquisition of a site for residential development. Mundell acted for Devonshire Metro Limited on all property¬†aspects of a bespoke pre-let industrial and office development to a large industrial occupier in Peterborough.

For some clients, Greenwoods GRM is 'the go-to firm for commercial property work in the wider Peterborough region; it has a wide and capable talent pool operating effectively and proactively'. 'A particular strength is the ability to work as part of a professional team across disciplines, genuinely working with other professionals, to the benefit of the client', remarks one client. Directors Stephen Illingworth (who is 'approachable, knowledgeable and very insightful with considerable experience, having advised on many high-profile schemes') and Karin Horsley (who has 'a strong track record of involvement in high-value work') are highly recommended. Associate Katrina Bretten and solicitor Emily Pumfrey recently advised St John Ambulance on property sales, lease surrenders and leasehold matters for a £5m portfolio. Clients also recommend associate Samantha East  and senior solicitor Kirstie Goulder, who has niche expertise in the emerging area of property guardianship, as part of a 'high-quality and well-rounded practice'.

Hegarty LLP has a strong practice for rural land issues including investment transactions, construction, development projects, acquisitions and disposals, though it handles the full range of commercial property work. Practice head and senior partner Richard Hegarty has more than 40 years' experience, having founded the firm in 1974. Now a partner, Joy Plummer specialises in commercial property matters including property sales and acquisitions, the negotiation of agreements, landlord and tenant matters, and land law. She is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and frequently advises rural clients on property matters. Consultant Hugh Nicholls handles both property law and construction work, in which he has more than 30 years' experience.

The commercial property practice at Hunt & Coombs LLP handles transactional work for a diverse client base that includes businesses, charities and private individuals. The practice is geared towards landed estates, private clients, institutional lenders, not-for-profit organisations, developers and statutory bodies. 'Commercially aware and responsive' department head Anna Spriggs is the key contact for the sale and acquisition of church, charity and development land, as well as leasehold and freehold commercial sales and purchases. Her recent highlights include advising the Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance on numerous matters including complex covenant releases and reverter provision, statutory vesting procedures, the disposal of parsonages and land for development, and the management of glebe land. She also acted for AHF Ltd on the acquisition of furniture stores on major retail parks across the UK involving with annual rental value of £225,000, and assisted Deene Park with an option agreement for garden village development. Consultant Paul Tate retired in late 2017.

Taylor Rose TTKW's property team is best known for residential conveyancing but during the last seven years the firm has substantially grown its commercial property offering. The practice is known for its extensive local knowledge, its proactive approach to transactions and its high standards of client care. One source remarks that it 'knows how to advise large clients on development projects'. Nick Scutt, who handles real estate and M&A transactions, leads the practice and works closely with associate Navead Yousaf. They advised Priestgate Estates on the £1.65m purchase of landmark building New Priestgate House, and on a major development that resulted in the sale of 36 residential units.


Construction

Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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'One of the best regional firms in construction',¬†Birketts LLP's construction practice is ‚Äėvery commercial and is always prepared to offer options‚Äė.¬†Andrew Rush¬†in Ipswich leads the practice and is praised for his 'no-nonsense approach'; he recently handled a contentious matter for a well-known housebuilder arising from defects in a property. Leading light Ruth Sunaway¬†is 'a standout lawyer in construction - she manages to strike the right balance between attack and commercial sense'. In Cambridge, Stefan Harris-Wright¬†¬†and associate Rory Abel¬†¬†are ‚Äėvery responsive and easy to deal with; they take control of situations and are not afraid to take difficult decisions and have difficult conversations'. Harris-Wright advised¬†Inspired Impact House Limited on the construction of 235 apartments at a site in Croydon. Senior associates¬†Oli Worth¬†and Josh Ripman¬†¬†and associate Hanna McNab¬†¬†are 'on course for very successful careers', according to counsel. Construction dispute resolution executive¬†Dan Leno¬†is 'well-known, respected and continues to attract good work'.

The East Anglian offices of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP are home to key members of the firm's national construction team including Dominic Lacey in Ipswich. Lacey leads the firm's national transport practice and plays a key role in complex infrastructure projects on behalf of developers. He recently acted for the Government of Rwanda in an $800m project to develop a greenfield airport, which required a novel, two-stage FIDIC engineering, procurement and construction contract. He also assisted Legal & General Senior Living Limited with construction aspects of its £40m development of two senior living villages in Warwick and Cheshire. Principal associate Tom Douglas is an expert in complex drafting and infrastructure procurement for projects in the transport sector. He worked closely with Lacey on a project for Brunel University London, which involved framework agreements to cover all aspects of the client's construction and engineering work. For the same client, they handled the procurement of an architect for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art learning and teaching centre at the centre of its Uxbridge campus. Litigator and principal associate Catherine Andrews is recommended for contentious matters. Principal associate Patrick Cooney plays a key role in the firm's relationship with High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, which the practice supports in the development of UK rail infrastructure. Clients also recommend associate Lauren Topper.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†is ‚Äėa very knowledgeable law firm that is very approachable and is always looking out for the client‚Äôs best interests'. ‚ÄėThe legal and industry knowledge and the manner in which the team provide advice and strategy for resolution cannot be faulted‚Äė. Litigator and practice head Stuart Thompson¬†¬†is ‚Äėvery committed to his clients‚Äė¬†and is ‚Äėable to quickly define the key elements of a dispute and is incisive when it comes to the negotiation of settlements or committing to litigation'. He assisted University of Cambridge on the¬†procurement of its new ¬£300m Cavendish III laboratory, which included the drafting of all construction contracts, consultant appointments and negotiations with contractors. He also advised Urban&Civic on several projects including the 5,000-home development at Alconbury Weald and the 6,200-home RadioStation Rugby project.¬†The deep bench of principal associates includes the¬†'extremely diligent' Alexandra Pike¬†¬†who is ‚Äėpassionate and works closely with clients to build strong relationships‚Äė, and whom clients praise for her ‚Äėstrong industry awareness and technical knowledge and her adaptable and flexible approach', Alison Garrett¬† who¬†is recommended for project management and contentious matters; and¬†Robert Weatherley¬†who frequently handles projects in the education, healthcare, commercial and retail sectors.¬†Consultant¬†Peter Rout¬†is also recommended.

Greenwoods GRM is known for 'fantastic response times from obvious experts in all aspects of construction, especially high-end matters, with useful and practical information at their fingertips, good client relationships and in-depth knowledge of the industry and law'. It provides 'a well-rounded and competitively priced value-added service to clients'. Howard Crossman, who has more than 25 years' experience in big-ticket construction matters and advises leading UK contractors, leads the practice and works between the London and Peterborough offices. He 'provides excellent attentive service both in disputes and non-contentious matters'. 'He beats everyone else hands down and is the man you want for construction disputes', remarks one client. Associate Katrina Bretten is also recommended. She recently advised motor dealer group Marshall of Cambridge on drafting, negotiating and implementing a suite of construction documents for new, multimillion-pound motor dealerships for key brands in Ipswich, Exeter, Greenham and Lincoln.

Hewitsons handles high-profile projects that encompass commercial, residential and infrastructure projects such as the Northstowe project in Cambridgeshire for the Homes & Communities Agency, which is now known as Homes England. This multimillion-pound project will see the creation of 10,000 new-build homes and will see Northstowe become the largest new town since the development of Milton Keynes. The work included drafting the NEC3 contract for a tender for the highways and infrastructure contractor for the development of Northstowe, and assisting with detailed and complex contract negotiations. The practice is now led from Milton Keynes by Tim Richards but the Cambridge office has experienced construction lawyers in managing partner Colin Jones and legal director Lorna Carter, who have worked together for more than 20 years. Carter led the Northstowe project. She also worked with Jones on behalf of the UK's largest family-owned business, Marshall Group Properties, on an £80m development project that will see the creation of 1,300 homes, a primary school, shopping centre, replacement petrol filling station, playing fields, allotments and open space infrastructure. Another key project for Carter was a £25m project for St Andrew’s Healthcare to expand its mental health facilities at a site in Birmingham.

Prettys Solicitors LLP in Ipswich has a relatively large construction team for its size, with highly experienced practice head Peter Blake handling contentious matters and senior associate Rebecca Palmer excelling in non-contentious work for large contractors. Clients remark on the 'always friendly and helpful' lawyers who deliver 'a prompt and informed service'. Associate Ian Seeley moved to Ellisons Solicitors, but the firm recruited solicitor Michael Booth to round out the practice. Among the firm's many highlights was Palmer's work for Suffolk-based architects firm Barefoot & Gilles on construction law issues including the drafting of bespoke documentation. Palmer assisted building contractor Quinn Construction Services with the drafting of bespoke terms and conditions for all future projects, and helped civil engineering companyA&F Pilbeam Construction Limited with a wide range of legal issues. Consultant Chris Harrall is also recommended.

Associate Sarah Duncan leads the practice at Ashtons Legal in Ipswich, which joins the ranking this year. Clients report that she is 'very knowledgeable and thorough in her advice'. She recently acted for a large UK real estate firm in a multimillion-pound project, which included a review of building contracts, consultant’s appointments and warranties. Duncan and commercial property partner Ron Clare have 'a good level of knowledge and competence, and are assertive when required'.

The construction practice at Buckles Solicitors LLP is led from Nottingham by James Coppinger, who also spends time in the London and Peterborough offices. Coppinger is on the Technology and Construction Solicitors’ Association (TeCSA) accredited adjudication panel and has been appointed as adjudicator on a number of disputes. In the Peterborough office, experienced litigator James Maxey plays a key role in contentious construction matters. Coppinger handled construction due diligence for a multimillion-pound financing facility provided by a major lender. With Maxey, he recently acted in a multimillion-pound adjudication arising from non-payment and final account valuation matters arising from a major rail development. The firm's diverse client base includes housebuilders Hill Partnerships Limited and Longhurst Group Limited, Hertfordshire-based property developer Taylor French Developments Limited, retirement property developer Keystone Developments Limited, and North Hertfordshire Homes Limited.

JG Poole & Co. LLP is a specialist higher education firm that focuses mainly on student accommodation projects. Senior partner Jason Poole recently added significant construction expertise to the practice with the hire of Katherine Souter from Mills & Reeve LLP, who specialises in construction, public procurement and state aid. At her previous firm she worked on a £50m project in East Anglia for the construction of a new university science teaching building, and handled a £47m project to create a new care campus in Stanmore. She is currently working on a major refurbishment project in central London for a building that will include office and restaurant space.

At Rogers and Norton 'responses are always timely, with succinct answers that get to the heart of the matter being considered without waffle'. Vastly experienced litigator Peter Hastings provides 'prompt service at a reasonable cost' and construction disputes account for a significant proportion of his broader litigation practice. He recently acted for a construction consultant in a £3m claim for alleged breach of contract and duty; he advised a similar client on a £1.1m claim for alleged breach of contract and duty in relation to design issues and contract management; and represented a contractor in a £2m claim for unpaid monies following the substantial conversion of a property in London. Other highlights included assisting a contractor with matters arising from the construction of a doctors' surgery, and advising a construction industry professional on a consultancy contract for a £6.5m project.


Environment

Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLP has 'a very good team, a strong client base, and good breadth and depth of work, as well as a growing market share'. One client remarks that the firm 'compares very favourably with its competitors and is definitely one of - if not the - top firm in the field in the region'. The firm has a broad practice that assists clients in the agriculture, energy and waste industries, as well as supporting landowners across East Anglia. Property litigator, practice head and member of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association Richard Eaton is 'very competent, knowledgeable and good with clients'. With planning specialist Tom Newcombe, he advised two parish councils on the potential judicial review of a retrospective grant of planning permission for an anaerobic digester. Barristers Matthew Gowen, who has a stellar reputation for defending environmental matters in the criminal courts, and head of the corporate criminal defence practice Laura Thomas, defended a large farming business against claims of environmental permit breaches. Legal director Stuart Jones specialises in projects for the development and management of mineral deposits. Clients praise commercial property associates Nicola Doole   as 'calm and very well organised' and Chloe Glason as 'popular with clients'. Senior associate and planning lawyer Sue Chadwick is also recommended.

Hewitsons handles every aspect of environmental law and frequently advises clients on compliance with permitting, nuisance and pollution regulations, as well as the defence of claims when offences have been committed. Its work encompasses contentious, non-contentious and criminal matters, and the practice undertakes its own advocacy in the Magistrates’ Court and in public inquiries concerning environmental permitting. It is well-known for its work in the intensive livestock industry, for which it receives referrals from national representative bodies such as the NPA and the NFU, as well as from private consultancies. In 2017, it handled work for pig and poultry enterprises in East Anglia and beyond. One source remarks that practice head Deborah Sharples is 'one of the most knowledgeable lawyers in this field of law; her experience and her attention to detail cannot be bettered'. Her recent work included representing Therfield Regulation Trust in a public inquiry regarding its efforts to deregister common land for development, along with a project to improve the ecology of the remainder of the site. She also counts Homes England, Saint-Gobain Building Distribution and Max Recycling among her clients.

Howes Percival LLP has experienced environment lawyers in all of its offices, though the centre of gravity is in Norwich. The firm handles environmental permitting, waste and minerals projects, environmental policy and protocol issues, and matters concerning sea and river defences, animal by-products and the management of regulatory breaches. Practice head Paul Wootton focuses primarily on planning issues but has a substantial caseload of environmental impact assessments relating to protected habitats. He worked with consultant Rebecca Carriage to support a large estate in Norfolk with managing the impact of a major local infrastructure project on its land, which included negotiations with public bodies and local authorities. Clients remark that Carriage is 'excellent at translating an extremely complicated area of law into simple language and giving practical commercial advice'. She frequently advises Ford Retail Limited on environmental policy and the regulatory aspects of corporate transactions. Planning associate Jay Mehta and solicitor Jamie Childs are also recommended.

At niche environmental and public law practice Richard Buxton in Cambridge, name partner and solicitor advocate Richard Buxton has nearly 30 years' experience and his track record includes establishing basic principles relating to the classification of Special Protection Areas for birds, and proving the unlawfulness of the government's regulation of night flying at Heathrow airport. In 2017, the firm successfully acted for the Council for the Protection of Rural England in a Supreme Court case challenging plans to build 600 homes on a beauty spot near Dover. Consultant Kristina Kenworthy led that case. The firm's other respected environmental law specialists include consultant and solicitor advocate Paul Stookes; Adrienne Copithorne, who regularly handles cases involving public open space, energy infrastructure and climate change; Lisa Foster, who focuses on heritage protection cases involving listed buildings and conservation areas controls; and associate Caroline Chilvers, whose caseload largely comprises planning and environmental judicial reviews.

Andrew Bryce & Co has a well-established reputation as a high-quality environmental law practice that focuses on environmental, planning and health and safety issues in the waste, oil and gas, nuclear and industrial sectors. Name partner Andrew Bryce, who was a founder member of the UK Environmental Law Association and remains an honorary life member, has specialised in this area since the early 1980s. He was closely involved in the development of the UK's environmental sentencing guidelines and civil sanctions.


Planning

Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Planning 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 deep bench of planning lawyers who handle every aspect of contentious and non-contentious work for clients across East Anglia and the Thames Gateway region, including major infrastructure projects. Its diverse client base of public and private sector enterprises includes Tarmac, Lafarge and Longwater Gravel, Cambridge City Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, Babergh District Council, strategic developers such as Countryside Developments and Enterprise Property Group Limited, and regional and national housebuilders including Hopkins, Countryside, and Persimmon. Tom Newcombe leads the practice from Cambridge. He recently acted for Countryside Properties in the high-profile redevelopment of Beam Park Dagenham, which will include 2,900 homes, two schools and a new railway station. Senior associate Sue Chadwick played a key role in that project. The same team also advised Countryside on the Rochester Riverside project, which will include 1,500 new residences. Consultant Philip Kratz and property litigator Richard Eaton are also recommended. The Cambridge office welcomed two new lawyers in legal director Simon Kelly, formerly an associate at DAC Beachcroft LLP, and Edward Long , who was previously an associate at Hogan Lovells International LLP.

The practice at¬†Hewitsons¬†is 'very good ‚Äď helpful, diligent and practical'. The firm is known for 'comprehensive advice and, importantly, firm recommendations as opposed to just a list of options' and one client remarks that 'work is always done to a very high standard and the team understands developers' needs and perspectives and gives well researched, practical, clear and insightful legal advice'. That work includes¬†large-scale development projects, including residential and mixed use urban expansions, and the firm acts for¬†Homes England in substantial regeneration projects.¬†Leading light Deborah Sharples¬†(who delivers 'fresh thinking and sensible advice')¬†and 'pragmatic and professional' senior associate Hewitsons¬†are 'client-friendly and have good attention to detail'. 'Her knowledge under scrutiny is to be applauded,' says a client of Dudley who is 'an exceptional planning lawyer with excellent in-depth knowledge of legislation, case law, its implications and practical application; she provides clear, thoughtful advice which delivers practical solutions to complex issues'. The practice's recent highlights include advising Homes England on the proposed development of a 330-hectare former military site at Lodge Hill Camp in Kent to create 2,000 new homes. Another matter involved advising trustees of a landowner on¬†a Section 106 agreement relating to a development of 279 houses and serviced land for a primary school in which provisions are to be made for affordable housing, financial payments, children‚Äôs outdoor play space, the school, fire hydrants and a travel plan.

Howes Percival LLP¬†provides ‚Äėan excellent level of service in all areas‚Äė. For one client the firm is ‚Äėthe top-rated planning law firm in East Anglia ‚Äď the service is first-rate, they are proactive¬†in advising on planning matters, emerging legislation and case law, and the team has a high level of expertise and commerciality‚Äė. 'For top-quality, high-value planning work and very contentious and intellectually complicated Judicial Reviews, the firm is first-rate, always legally well informed, but providing commercial, sensible and practical advice to boot', remarks another.¬†Paul Wootton, whose specialisms include compulsory purchase matters and strategic planning advice, leads the practice from Norwich. 'Very bright and tenacious' associate¬†Jay Mehta, who is regularly involved in judicial reviews and statutory challenges, ‚Äėoffers a personal, tailored service with the backup of a large practice'. Wootton and Mehta advised¬†Breckland District Council on a sustainable urban development project comprising 4,000 homes and a link road to Norwich. Solicitor Jamie Childs¬†also receives plaudits for his work on s106 agreements and challenges to judicial reviews. Persimmon Homes and Pigeon Group are also among the firm's clients.¬†Planning specialist Ashtons Legal¬†moved to Ashtons Legal.

Mills & Reeve LLP is 'not just cost-efficient compared to London firms, it operates at the same level in terms of quality'. The firm is among the leading national firms for real estate development work, and its work includes not only on some of the largest projects in East Anglia, but also major projects across the UK and overseas. The vasty experienced Peter Seaborn is head of the planning department and he specialises in the promotion of complex planning and compulsory purchase projects including residential led strategic land schemes, new settlements, urban extensions and town centre regeneration projects. He advised Marshall Group Properties on the promotion of an urban extension to Cambridge that comprises 1,200 new homes, as well as commercial and community developments. Senior associate Howard Felstead played a key role in that deal. Head of the firm's real estate group Beverley Firth is 'an exceptional lawyer, technically sound, incredibly proficient and persuasive; she is able to find solutions that work for everyone', according to one client who adds that 'she is the best planning lawyer I have ever come across'. She worked with Seaborn to advise South Kesteven District Council on the determination of a significant retail planning application for a designer outlet village near Grantham. She also assisted Urban&Civic with its 9,000-home Waterbeach development built on land owned by the Ministry of Defence. The firm's stellar team includes senior associate Saskia Molekamp and associate Jack Robinson.

Ashtons Legal¬†is 'exemplary ‚Äď the team has complete all-rounders whether acting for developers or public authorities, and their¬†in-depth knowledge of the workings of all sides of the planning profession means that they are exceptionally well-placed to plot their way through any obstacle course'. The practice handles large and small-scale developments for planning authorities, landowners, objectors and also developers, which includes planning appeals and inquiries, planning agreements and highways agreements, affordable housing requirements and environmental impact assessments.¬†Consultant and 'exceptional planning lawyer'¬†Bob McGeady¬†has 'a sure instinct for the killer point and is a recognised expert;¬† his¬†knowledge and understanding of planning law are second to none'. The firm recently hired planning specialist¬†Amy Richardson¬†from Howes Percival LLP, who is¬†highly regarded for planning prosecution and s106 agreement work for local authorities. The firm recently advised Scott Properties Limited on a successful planning appeal that¬†forced a local council to change its approach to affordable housing. It also acted for developers¬†Bennett Homes, Persimmon Homes, Norfolk Homes and Abel Homes in a challenge to charges that South Norfolk Council was proposing to introduce.

Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough is 'excellent, the standard was easily to up to that of Magic and Silver circle firms'. The firm has a small planning team that nevertheless attracts high-quality work on urban and rural projects from across the East Anglian region. Senior solicitor Brendon Lee, who leads the practice and works closely with the commercial property and construction and engineering teams, is 'a star in the making'. He regularly acts for individuals, developers, lenders, public sector bodies and utilities on the full range of planning matters. One recent highlight saw Lee work with commercial property partner Michael Blank on the drafting and negotiation of s106 agreements for a social housing developer. The same team also advised another developer of affordable housing on planning matters. Lee's own caseload included securing a large sum in compensation for a client who objected to a Transport and Works Act Order.


Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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'Among the best property litigation firms in the region', Birketts LLP 'always takes into account the client’s needs and the best solution for them, and in terms of value for money, every penny spent has been worth it'. The ten-lawyer practice handles all aspects of property litigation but is best-known for town and village green matters, Telecoms Code cases, rights to light, leasehold enfranchisement, and commercial landlord and tenant work. The 'very enthusiastic and determined' Richard Eaton leads the practice and he is 'very focused on his clients’ objectives and has a great eye for detail'. He recently handled a High Court Chancery Division case arising out of a dispute between neighbours following a complicated land acquisition arrangement. John Scannell recently advised a farming partnership on a proprietary estoppel claim. Clients praise the 'exceptional work' of the 'very knowledgeable, technically very good and very pragmatic' James Robinson. Senior associate and barrister Simon Woodhead is highly recommended. Associate Laura Tanguay 'can explain incredibly technical information in a simple, easy way'. Senior associate and rising star Charlotte Wormstone is strongly recommended for her 'timely, straightforward and pragmatic advice'.

At¬†Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP¬†'the service is excellent ‚Äď the firm has good knowledge of the law and its approach is particularly user-friendly'.¬†Richard New¬†is the key partner in Cambridge and he is highly regarded for matters involving¬†business rates, on which he advises blue-chip clients in the retail and online sectors in multimillion-pound disputes. For Lloyds Bank, he handled a rating appeal regarding its headquarters in Bristol, in which he succeeded in reducing the rateable value by more than ¬£500,000 per annum. He is also a standout lawyer in¬†general real estate litigation arising from infrastructure and regeneration projects. Among his clients are Taylor Wimpey and Blackstone Property Management. Senior associate Samuel Maw¬†'has excellent knowledge of the law, a pragmatic approach and a collaborative style ‚Äď he inspires confidence'. One client comments that he is 'knowledgeable and provides good concise and targeted advice; he is prepared to deal with whatever a client throws at him'. He is the key relationship lawyer for¬†National Grid Electricity Transmission Plc, which he supports in the management of an extensive property portfolio.¬†Natalie Minott¬†left to lead the real estate litigation practice at¬†Hewitsons.

Hewitsons 'offers a very responsive service and its key strengths are its ability to understand clients' needs and the quality and knowledge of its people'. Clients point out that the practice 'can always source wise, timely and informed advice and the price is worth paying for the quality'. One barrister remarks that 'the quality of their work, and the value they add to cases, rivals the best of the London and national firms in my experience'. The firm handles contentious property matters high-net-worth individuals, companies and clients in the agriculture sector. This includes work for of charitable and private wealth funds on disputes relating to commercial and residential developments. Former practice head Robert McLellan joined Keystone Law as a consultant but partner joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP Natalie Minott to lead the real estate litigation practice. She is 'a tenacious and brilliant lawyer, adept at skilfully handling even the most difficult of cases', according to one client. Clients also recommend senior solicitors Kate Harris (who is 'bright, responsive and highly competent') and Kate Church. In one recent case, the practice acted for the a government department as tenant of a London property in a dormant dilapidations claim that could not be resolved directly by surveyors.

The practice at¬†Howes Percival LLP¬†is headed by¬†Simon Murphy¬†in Cambridge. Murphy and associate¬†Leanne Davis¬†have market-leading expertise in¬†landlord and tenant matters and¬†frequently manage property portfolios and deal with lease renewals and exits. Among their clients are¬†Cambridge University Endowment Fund,¬†Greene King Plc and¬†Co-Operative Group. They also advise clients in the technology and biomedical sectors on their dilapidations liabilities, including the decontamination of buildings. In Norwich,¬†Jamie Kidd¬†is the key contact. His group handles contentious¬†land and development issues, with a growing niche in leasehold and freehold enfranchisement matters. He recently handled a case for Ford Retail arising from the contamination of land by a neighbouring landowner, which had prevented its sale.¬†UK Power Networks Plc and the¬†Ministry of Defence are also among his clients.¬†Kidd and newly qualified solicitor William Trow¬† ‚Äėdeliver timely advice'.

Mills & Reeve LLP's practice¬†‚Äėgets to the heart of the issue and finds a resolution‚Äė. The 'very experienced, level-headed and able'¬†Richard Hanson¬†leads the national practice, which counts¬†Countrywide Legal Indemnities and¬†Urban&Civic Group among its clients. Principal associate James Hordern¬†is ‚Äėable to interpret complex legal matters, understand the core issue at stake and efficiently advise how best to proceed‚Äė. One client notes that he is ‚Äėextremely comfortable with detail, and quickly reads into the very complex technical and engineering aspects of a case; he marries both legal and case law knowledge with the technical, non-legal aspects incredibly effectively'. He advised an agricultural investment company on a ¬£5m dispute arising from¬†the operation of biomass boilers. 'Exceptionally astute' principal associate Julian Steed¬† is 'a very able lawyer with¬†an unusual capacity for independent analysis of the legal merits of the cases'.

Ashtons Legal handles contentious matters for numerous Cambridge colleges including Churchill College, Corpus Christi and Magdalene. It also supports Savills PLC in the management of its national property portfolio, and acts for Cambridge Building Society in relation to the provision of services to borrowers. Head of litigation Michael Frape leads the practice, in which associate Nigel Maguire is the key practitioner. He exhibits 'good attention to detail and the ability to grasp and deal with complex issues and give detailed advice'. He assisted a landowner with the enforcement of a pre-emption agreement over adjoining land. The 'calm, efficient' Mark Merriam  in Bury St Edmunds is praised for his 'honesty, integrity and ability to apply simple solutions to problems, coupled with a unique skill of removing the stress from all circumstances and situations through his overwhelming professionalism'.

At Buckles Solicitors LLP accredited mediator, solicitor advocate and specialist in property and trust disputes Paul Branch has 30 years of litigation experience and is 'calm under pressure and his experience shines out; his presence on a case makes a significant difference to the outcome'. His expertise in contentious trusts and probate sees him act in many property disputes involving trusts. Last year, he acted for Richard Nelson LLP as tenant of a London property with sub-tenants in occupation. The matter involved serving notice on the sub-tenant to bring their tenancy to an end, as well as minor dilapidation issues. National Society of Allotments & Leisure Gardeners and Stamford Storage (HG) Ltd are also among the firm's clients.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors continued to expand its caseload of property litigation work last year and the firm has become one of the key players in the Norfolk market through its offices in Norwich and North Walsham. The practice, which is led by head of litigation Mark Kermez, advises on a wide range disputes between businesses and individuals, as well as consumer rights cases and restrictive covenants. Litigation partner Philip Lumb is a key practitioner and property litigation is a central strand of consultant Michael Olmer's work. Lumb recently acted for a couple in a dispute with their neighbour regarding renovations and extensions to their investment property. He also handled a claim for adverse possession that was settled before it went to court. The client gained a superior class of title that would otherwise not have been granted. Another case involved the failure of Persimmon homes to rectify problems with the structure of one of its properties, which included subsidence in the garden and collapsed fencing.

Greene & Greene has an experienced litigation department led by Michael Batty , who recently acted for public interest company North Norfolk Planning Watch CIC in a challenge to a decision by North Norfolk District Council to grant permission for the demolition of a property in Blakeney and the erection of a modern property in its place, despite objections from the local community and national bodies. Batty led an application for a judicial review, which was heard in the High Court. Commercial property partner Neil Grigg who handles both transactional and contentious property matters, is recommended for 'very good response times, business acumen and value for money'. The arrival of respected litigator Rob Adam , who previously led the dispute resolution practice at Ashtons Legal, adds further experience in property litigation. Partner Ben Fox and solicitor Andrea Nicholls, who recently handled a high-value right of way case, are also recommended.

At Greenwoods GRM, property litigation comes under the purview of the wider dispute resolution practice, but it has a number of skilled lawyers with niche experience of property disputes. Associate Caroline Gumbrell  leads the practice and focuses mainly on commercial and agricultural landlord and tenant matters. Senior solicitor Greenwoods GRM is a leading expert in the emerging area of property guardianship and clients remark that she 'responds to queries very quickly and always has ideas and strategies on best practice and issues of a reactive nature; she is very knowledgeable in this niche area of law and has gradually become the guru for guardianship companies'. Senior solicitor Michelle Cox  is recommended for contentious commercial lease renewals, dilapidations claims, leases under the Telecommunications Act and breaches of covenant. The firm advises clients based across East Anglia and in London. In one recent highlight, Cox and Gumbrell acted for a property owner in Norwich in a claim against the local council for its disposal of its interest in a historical site in the city centre.

'Despite its small size, it packs a punch,' says one barrister of the property litigation team at Hunt & Coombs LLP. 'It provides good value for money and the expertise equates with much larger and more expensive firms; the close-knit team ensures clients feel their needs and concerns are getting the personal attention they deserve', he adds. Legal executive Lesley Milne, who is a member of the Property Litigation Association, leads the team and 'stands out from the crowd; having vast dispute resolution experience enables her to put clients at their ease, even when dealing with complex and inflammatory situations'. The practice frequently handles matters relating to restrictive covenants on residential property, lease renewals, property-related trust disputes, TOLATA claims, dilapidation and disrepair matters, possession claims, and disputed boundaries and rights of way. Milne and property partner Anna Spriggs acted for Olive Properties Consultants Limited in a dilapidation and rent arrears claim following the termination of tenancy agreements.

One client remarks that the team at¬†Kerseys Solicitors¬†is ‚Äėvery down to earth and easy to talk to ‚Äď you feel like you are actually a client rather than a billing opportunity'.¬†Another notes that ‚Äėthe service is excellent ‚Äď attentive and personalised ‚Äď with realistic advice at all times‚Äė. Head of dispute resolution¬†Anthony Wooding¬†‚Äėimpresses with his efficiency and down-to-earth manner; his advice is always considered, well thought out and transparent'. Associate Ross Burkitt¬†left the litigation team to focus on private client work, but¬†'extremely knowledgeable and strategic' solicitor Kate Barnes¬†is highly recommended. Recent successes for Barnes include obtaining possession in an assured shorthold tenancy claim for a landlord, in which previous proceedings brought before this firm was instructed had been unsuccessful. She also acted for a leasehold tenant in a claim for breach of covenant brought by a freeholder.

The strong commercial and residential property practices at Leathes Prior combine with a highly regarded litigation practice to give the firm a prominent role in property disputes in Norfolk and further afield in East Anglia. The practice handles a diverse range of contentious property issues, including trusts of land, boundary disputes, easements, covenants, and landlord and tenant matters. It has a strong track record in cases involving commercial, residential and agricultural tenancies, as well as applications involving proceedings before the Property Chamber First-Tier Tribunal and the Planning Inspectorate. Darren Bowen leads the practice, which includes newly promoted associate and contentious commercial property specialist Sabina Haag. Solicitor Calum Paterson is also recommended.

Taylor Vinters in Cambridge has a highly respected dispute resolution practice that frequently handles contentious property matters for large corporates and high-net-worth individuals. Among its clients are several international technology businesses and large agricultural enterprises. The firm also has clients in the equine industry and frequently handles property disputes for Jockey Club Estates Limited. Its strong private client team is also involved in litigation arising from large and complex estates, which often include disputed rights to land and property. Head of litigation Luke Hibbert is the key contact and he works closely with associates Victoria Sandell and Beth Price. Hibbert and Price recently assisted a multinational technology company with a case arising from its landlord's refusal to consent to sub-let its tenancy.


Social housing

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  2. Hall of Fame
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Birketts LLP is best known for acting for registered social housing providers in development, sales, funding, planning, housing management, employment and specialist constitutional and regulatory matters. It also advises on the set-up of new registered providers for private housebuilders, of which it completed two in 2017, and also assists with the set-up of assets and liabilities registers. Among its clients are Orbit Group Limited, Flagship Housing Group Limited, Broadland Housing Group and Havebury Housing Partnership. Peter Goddard leads the social housing and residential development practices, with support from a deep multidisciplinary team. Senior associate Emily Groom handles development and regulatory matters; partner John Scannell deals with housing management and property litigation; Tom Newcombe and senior associate Sue Chadwick focus on planning matters; associate Lottie Fletcher advises on corporate structures; and newly promoted associate Sarah Fish handles development matters including the acquisition of s106 sites. For Orbit Group, the practice handled the multimillion-pound acquisition of a scheme in Norfolk with 220 dwellings, and for Chelmer Housing Partnership Limited it assisted with the acquisition of 99 freehold and leasehold units, as well as the leaseback of a commercial unit at Taylor Wimpey’s Waterside site in Chelmsford.

Spire Solicitors LLP¬†has one of the market's recognised leading lights in Kevin Oelrichs, who leads the social housing practice. He focuses on¬†property matters for social landlords, which encompasses site acquisition, development, planning, infrastructure agreements, property portfolio transfers and securities matters. The practice grew in 2017 with the hire of Estelle Corner, who previously worked in the commercial property department of Baker McKenzie¬†before becoming senior counsel in the legal team at Aviva. She handles large property transactions for housing associations, for which litigator Si√Ęn Carrel¬†deals with landlord and tenant disputes, possession proceedings, anti-social behaviour injunctions and committal proceedings. Newly promoted senior associate Susan Ward¬†has more than 35 years' experience in local property transactions. The firm recently acted for a social landlord with more than 300 property units in East Anglia.

Buckles Solicitors LLP is the leading firm in Peterborough for social housing matters and it has a large client base of registered providers across the whole of East Anglia and further afield with new client wins in the West Midlands, Norfolk, the East Midlands. It now acts for more than 65 social housing providers including Cross Keys Homes Limited, Saffron Housing Trust Limited, Hundred Housing Association and Waterloo Housing. Its core areas of expertise are housing management, anti-social behaviour and construction law. Practice head Gail Sykes is a leading light in the market. Her recent cases included pursuing a possession claim for against the occupant of an extra care scheme, who had preyed upon other elderly and vulnerable residents whilst being vulnerable herself. An outright possession order was successfully obtained. She also handled an indirect discrimination claim brought against a social housing client in relation to their shared ownership scheme. The matter was ultimately dismissed. Property partner Michael Rabbett advised Axiom Housing on the £3.6m purchase of 35 social housing units in a deal that involved development and build agreements and s106 issues.

The property team at Howes Percival LLP frequently acts for social housing clients on site acquisition and construction matters. Commercial property partner Simon Murphy leads the multi-disciplinary practice from Cambridge. He calls upon the 'excellent' Michaela Henson, who is highly recommended for development work, Helen Stewart who handles acquisitions for East Cambs Trading Company Limited, solicitor Scott Smith who deals with development and golden brick agreements for Hundred Houses Society Limited, and conveyancer Clare Best who undertakes site acquisitions and plot sales for clients including Luminus Homes. Highly experienced property litigator Jamie Kidd in Norwich is a volunteer board member at Norwich Housing Society and regularly handles contentious matters for the firm's housing association clients.


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