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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Corporate and commercial > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby clients in East Midlands 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


Browne Jacobson LLP’s ‘outstanding’ team advises international corporates on restructurings, sales and acquisitions, and management buyouts. The firm also has an impressive private equity practice, which assists private equity houses with acquisition funding. The ‘very experienced, unflappable and pragmaticNigel Blackwell has a ‘commercial approach focused on reaching a sensible conclusion for all parties involved’ and is ‘not interested in point-scoring against other lawyers’. Also recommended is Oliver Pritchard, who assisted PCT Healthcare with its £80m acquisition of WR Evans, including handling business transfers, a demerger and regulatory aspects of transferring part of the business to one of the sellers. In other work highlights, Richard Cox advised the shareholders of Beacham Whitehead on the £9.8m equity investment by Livingbridge, and Gavin Cummings assisted the founder of Joules with the company’s £140m listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and its working capital facilities with Barclays; this mandate included corporate due diligence on Joules’ overseas subsidiaries and advising on the pre-listing reorganisation. Richard Medd acted for longstanding client Lloyds Development Capital on the £10m growth capital investment in Icon Polymer Group; Helena Wootton assisted the Nottingham Building Society with the review of its contract portfolio; while Paula Dumbill advised A Jones & Sons on redrafting its trade terms and conditions and related policies.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘approachable’ team is praised for its ‘strong industry knowledge’ and counts global blue-chip companies among its clients. Jon Cox-Brown acted as a co-counsel with Nixon Peabody International LLP for BBA Aviation on the UK aspects of the sale of its plane refuelling business to Menzies. In a separate instruction from BBA Aviation, the firm handled its acquisition of the avionics business from GE Aviation. Other highlights for the firm included advising PCT Healthcare on its acquisition of W R Evans, which operates the Manor Pharmacy and Cox & Robinson brands, and acting for Capita on the disposal of Fish Insurance to PIB Insurance Brokers and assisting the client with several other disposals, including Capita Medical Reporting to Premier Medical and Tascor Medical Services to Mitie. Keri Rees, who splits his time between Nottingham, London and Birmingham, heads the department, which recently welcomed Ian Moore to the team.

Freeths LLP’s ‘responsive’ team draws upon its ‘years of experience’ to provide shareholders and board members with ‘pragmatic and tailored’ advice on matters ranging from private equity funding to acquisitions. The firm has an established presence in healthcare and food and beverages sectors, and has a growing reputation in the automotive and waste management industries. In the context of the former, Phil Baigent assisted Maria Mallaband Care Group with its acquisition of Acer Healthcare, while in the latter, Leicester-based Keith Gilbert advised Regen Holdings on the acquisition of Fembrook Bio, a company that converts food waste into Biogas. Baigent also acted for the shareholders of Nelsons For Cartons on its sale to Macfarlane Group, and secured a £14m funding package for MPK Garages from Business Growth Fund and HSBC. Practice head John Heaphy, praised for his ‘relaxed and effective style’, led a team advising the co-founder shareholder of Motorpoint, David Shelton, on the company’s £200m IPO. Tarmac, Aldi, Experian, Motorpoint Group and Travis Perkins are also clients. The ‘pragmatic and attentiveKarl Jansen and head of commercial team Chris Freeston are other key contacts.

The automotive, retail and healthcare sectors are among the industry specialisms of Geldards LLP’ team, which advises on private equity transactions and wider corporate and commercial matters, often with a cross-border element. Practice head Debra Martin acted for Ryhall on the sale of Ryhall Group, comprising five UK-based and three Irish subsidiaries, to Saica Group, and assisted Graham Penny Auctions with the auction sale of the company to a private equity-backed purchaser. In other work highlights, Paul Feenan advised the shareholders of Notedome on the share disposal to Amchem Speciality Chemicals, and he also worked alongside David Tilly in assisting the shareholders of Camfaud Concrete Pumps and Premier Concrete Pumping with their joint sale to Brundage Bone, which included the sale of a joint-venture subsidiary South Coast Concrete Pumping. Michelle Craven-Faulkner is also recommended, as is Jenny Chatten, who recently made partner. Andrew Borkowski left the firm.

Shoosmiths LLP’ ‘efficient’ team combines ‘impeccable’ service with ‘good understanding and appreciation of commercial considerations’. The firm’s diverse client base includes public and private companies, venture capital funds, private equity houses and overseas purchasers. Practice head Crispin Bridges Webb led a team advising the shareholders of Haemostatix on its £28m sale to Ergoment, which included managing several funding arrangements leading up to the transaction. He also acted for TH Real Estate on the sale of the Festival Place Shopping Centre, involving units held in a Jersey property unit trusts. A four-lawyer team (including associate and next generation lawyer Gareth Cook) advised British Retail Consortium (BRC) on the sale of its trading subsidiary to LGC Group and assisted the client’s management team during BRC’s investment in Global Standards. Other highlights included acting for Swedish-listed Additech Energy during its acquisition of ETS Cable Components and advising Australian company SAI Global on the UK aspects of its purchase of Modulo International. Commercial partner Andrew Pickin is also recommended.

Flint Bishop LLP’s ‘excellent’ team provides ‘partner-led’ advice that demonstrates ‘good understanding of business needs’. As well as pure corporate and commercial matters, the firm is also noted for handling regulatory compliance and strategic policy drafting. In the context of the former, corporate finance partner Rachel Bennett, who arrived from Gateley Plc, assisted Arbo Holdings on the full share disposal to NASDAQ-listed Carlisle Construction and advised Blenheim Veterinary Centre on its sale to IVC. Martyn Brierley handled the management buyout for Magnet Experts, while the ‘commercial, pragmatic and responsiveDavid Miller acted for LexisNexis on distributing and collating novation agreements following its acquisition of Jordan Publishing. On the compliance side, Claire Tonks advised a sales company on its data protection policies. Ran Oren joined Altrad as general counsel.

Gateley Plc’s ‘excellent’ group provides a ‘holistic service’, has ‘detailed knowledge of the timeline of corporate deals’ and ‘addresses anticipated issues ahead of the time’. In addition to its strong private equity offering, the group assists companies and their shareholders with a range of corporate matters including acquisitions. The group assisted Troy UK with its acquisition of Bideford Tool, advised PM Pressing’s shareholders on the company’s sale to Left Hand Press and acted for Foresight Nottingham Fund during its £2m investment in Camloc Motion Control. Mark Rutherford, who ‘strikes the right balance between the commercial and the technical’, assisted Team Medical Devices with its transition into an employee ownership trust and advised Bonds Confectionery on its £8m sale to Innovative Bites. Rutherford also advised the shareholders of the King Group of Companies on its £12m sale to HW Martin Group and acted for Johnsons Aggregates & Recycling on the £10m investment made by Business Growth Fund, while Rob Metcalfe acted for the shareholders of Exco InTouch on the sale of the company to eResearch Technologies.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s team provides ‘excellent’ advice on corporate matters such as sales, acquisitions, management buyouts and restructurings. Practice head Duncan Taylor was part of a team that advised Aarsleff Ground Engineering on its purchase of A&J Geotechnical Services, followed by the reorganisation of the latter, and assisted Ekkosense with an investment by Foresight Group. The ‘exceptionally goodDavid Kaplan, who is praised as a ‘seasoned negotiator’ with ‘substantial experience’ and ‘reassuring presence’, worked alongside Davinder Jaspal in advising PKF Cooper Parry on its merger with Clement Keys. Kaplan also advised Magnet Expert’s shareholders on the management buyout, which involved one of the shareholders becoming a non-executive chairman, and assisted longstanding client Rushcliffe Care with the disposal of three non-core residential and nursing care homes in Essex. Michael Lodge is also recommended.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s sector specialisms range from logistics, engineering and manufacturing through to bioscience and healthcare. The firm is also recommended for work involving the food and beverage industry; Becketts Foods, Everards Brewery and Giorgios Continental Meats are clients, with the latter being a new win for the firm. Work highlights saw Duncan James advise Focus Consultants on its acquisition of Midland Energy Services, and Ed Wright and Roger Harcourt assist roadtohealth Group with licensing matters and data privacy policy compliance with UK, EU and US regulatory guidelines. Harcourt also advised the shareholders of a regional multi-branch company on a full share disposal.

Actons advises investors, vendors and purchasers on ownership changes and third party investments, and the client base includes small and mid-market owner-managed businesses, SMEs and banks. Work highlights saw the team assist Mediline Nurses and Carers with its acquisition of North West Community Services group. In other matters, Peter Flowerday advised Allied Irish Bank Group with funding the management buyout of Brooks Mayfield, and Simon Dakin assisted a software company with its supply contract for chain management software to businesses abroad.

At Austin Moore & Partners LLP, Louise Taylor is recommended, and Austin Moore ‘easily punches above his weight and sees the bigger picture without compromising the detail’. Moore assisted Westleigh with its £21m sale of a minority stake to Palatine and advised the shareholders of Lion Trackhire on its £38m sale to Ashtead Group. The firm also acted for the majority shareholder of Wineworld during the £40m sale of the company to an overseas entity and assisted the shareholders of MindClick with its £4m acquisition by Learning Pool.

Fraser Brown’s team acts for small and medium-sized enterprises and has a solid track record of advising investors, private equity funds and mortgage brokers on a variety of commercial and corporate matters. Recent work highlights saw Gavin White advise Foresight Nottingham Fund on its investment in Solution for Retail Brands and assist Mortgage Advice Bureau with an investment in Freedom 365 Mortgage Solutions. Tom Gray acted for the shareholders of Food & Drug Analytical Services during its acquisition by Tentamus UK, a subsidiary of Tentamus Group. Head of franchising and commercial services Fiona Boswell advised Heavenly Desserts on launching its operations as a franchise and provides ongoing contractual and branding advice to the master licensee of Mas Q Menos regarding its national franchise operations.

At Smith Partnership, Fraser Cunningham led a team acting for the shareholders of Viridian Pharma during the complete share disposal to Martindale Pharma. In other work, the firm provides ongoing assistance to Derby County Football Club, including handling a partnership agreement with the University of Derby and advising on sponsorship agreements. Raleigh and Beta Research Corporation are also clients; the firm drafted a suite of distribution agreements for the former and assisted the latter with master service agreements with BASF and General Electric.

Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the East Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the East Midlands
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the East Midlands clients in East Midlands 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


Gateley Plc handles management buyouts and buy-ins, mergers, demergers and acquisitions for a diverse client base featuring Aurum Group, Connection Capital, Troy UK, Changan UK R&D Centre and LDC. It has a solid track record acting for private equity houses and recently assisted Palatine Private Equity and Newco with Newco’s acquisition of Westleigh Partnerships; practice head Gareth John led the advice. John also assisted Exertis with its £6m acquisition of Siracom and advised Coastfields Leisure on its £9.7m acquisition of North Shore Holiday Centre. Other highlights saw the firm acting for the shareholders of Planet Produce during the sale of the company to Total Produce. Rachel Bennett joined Flint Bishop LLP.

Hewitsons’ team has particular expertise in tax-driven reorganisations and restructurings in the automotive trade and packaging industries. It also assists clients with management buyouts and share and asset ownership transfers. On the commercial side, the group is recommended for contractual matters involving the technology sector. A team including the ‘cool-headedNeil Harpham and David Browne assisted the management of Briggs & Forrester with a partial management buyout, which increased its shareholding to 60% and involved the establishment of an employee benefit trust. The group continues to act for Perrys Motor Sales; recent work includes handling the sale of Perrys’ Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships to the Rybrook Group and assisting the client with its £40m refinancing from Lloyds. Other highlights included advising the Northamptonshire Association for the Blind on the sale of its residential home and assisting the shareholders of Perkz with a share disposal. Navtech Systems Support, Fencor Packaging Group and Hi-Force Group are also clients. Kevin Fletcher is another key contact, as is Richard Ingram, who adds ‘an extra degree of commercial nous when required’.

Recent work highlights at Spearing Waite LLP saw Martin Smith assist the founder shareholders of EE Contracts and Clarendon Fabrications on an £11.1m management buyout, and Oliver Brookshaw act for the management team in the £1.5m debt and equity-backed management buyout of Camloc Motion Control. Steve McElhone, praised for his ‘endless patience and good understanding of commercial issues’, advised the shareholders of Mrs Crimble’s on the company’s sale to Kallo Foods. Together with Kate Blank, Brookshaw and McElhone assisted the Business Growth Fund on its £10m investment in Johnsons Aggregates and Recycling for the construction of an incinerator bottom ash recycling plant. Jahid Ali acted for the shareholders of D&H Engineering and D&H Engineering Poland on the sale of both entities to a Polish buyer and advised Parker Motor Services on the acquisition of A.E. Cook. Ian Thomson joined the team from Geldards LLP. Beowulf Mining, Valiant Investment and Connells are also clients.

BHW Solicitors’ ‘service levels are consistently excellent, backed by sound commercial advice and a solid understanding of the wider business picture’. The ‘extremely competent, thorough and diligent’ group has a growing presence in the aerospace manufacturing sector, assisting companies with mergers, acquisitions and long-term supply agreements. Private equity transactions and secured lending are other areas of specialism. Work highlights saw ‘extremely competent’ practice head Ed Nurse leading a team advising Gardner Aerospace Holdings on its £326m acquisition by Shaanxi Ligeance Mineral Resources with subsidiary Chengdu Aerospace Superalloy Technology. Also recommended are Nick Bridle, whose legal strategy is ‘ahead of the game’, and Matt Worsnop, who is ‘extremely competent in structuring IT contracts and advising on software development’. Worsnop assisted new client Moneything with drafting loan and security documents and continues to provide ongoing advice regarding its complex loan management. Other recent work for the firm included the restructuring of Boolers following the departure of a senior partner and two new partners joining the company. Clients have also included Nationwide Platforms, Lavendon Group, British Swimming and Power Towers. Folk2Folk is a new panel appointment.

Howes Percival LLP acts for private equity funds, and family and management-owned businesses, among others, and has a strong presence in the automotive sector. In this space, practice head Gerald Couldrake advised Motorvogue on its acquisition of two car dealerships and assisted Paragon Automotive with its sale to BCA Marketplace for £105m of initial consideration followed by a £30m earn-out. In other work, the firm managed the £17m management buyout of Panther Warehousing, including structuring the incoming management shareholding. Chris Rees assisted SPAR UK with drafting new supply contracts, and led on the restructuring of KCT Holdings to facilitate a generational shift in management. Clients also include Welcome Break, Nampak and Shanks Waste Management.

Else Solicitors LLP’ ‘pragmatic, effective and commercial’ practice head Adam Gilbert is a ‘great asset’ and ‘understands well the demands of an in-house team’. He assisted the shareholder of Trinity Funeral Services with the purchase of Brain & Waldron; advised the UK branch of Bavaria Brewery on an outsourcing agreement with Molson Coors; and acted for Brit Sec Security Management during its acquisition of Snowdon Business Services. Other highlights for the firm included advising on the sale of the Smile Dental Practice and Madeira Dental Practice to Oasis Healthcare, where Greg Bullock led the advice, and handling the purchase of Merry Maids franchise by Sarian. Vaillant Group is also a client.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited acts for care home owners, agricultural businesses, healthcare providers and joint venture developers, among others, on mergers, sales and acquisitions. Lisa Botterill assisted Coba International with its acquisition of CD Plastic Moulding; advised Hunters Lodge Retirement Home on its sale; and completed several transactions for joint venture property developers regarding multimillion-pound schemes.

The team at Roythornes Solicitors provides ‘commercial knowledge, attention to detail and good response times’, and is renowned for its food industry expertise. Peter Seary advised several purchasers on acquisitions including clients Air Techniques, Fold Hill Foods and Lincolnshire Field Products, which acquired DOP Solutions, Pointer Pet Products and Produce World Group’s brassica growing and marketing business, respectively. Other highlights included a restructuring of a farming partnership and assisting Lark Energy with corporate and corporate finance aspects of the construction of one of the largest solar farms in the UK to date; the latter also involved transferring the project into solar renewables bonds. ‘Patient’ and ‘responsive’ practice head Martin Jinks and Julia Seary are recommended. Peter Bennett has retired.

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Gary Davie and Roy Botterill assist owner-managed and employee-owned businesses with a range of corporate and commercial matters. The group advises clients based in the US and France as well as UK-based manufacturing companies and higher education institutions. Expertise spans mergers, demergers, acquisitions, management buyouts, joint ventures and restructurings. Assisting companies with transition to employee ownership is another area of specialism, alongside corporate finance and drafting long-term management strategies.

Sills & Betteridge LLP’s team provides ‘excellent’ service and ‘quick response times’. Clients include private equity investors, national and regional businesses, and family companies. Martin Walsh and Andrew Payne assisted Oldrids & Co with its acquisition of Westgate department store in Scunthorpe. Other highlights included assisting a UK-based company with its sale to a US-based private equity buyer; handling a management buyout for the selling shareholders; and managing the restructuring of a family business. Ed Capes and Gary Phillips are recommended.

The ‘approachable’ Russell Eke, who ‘goes the extra mile’, heads Wilkin Chapman LLP’s practice, which combines ‘expertise, local knowledge and clear and pragmatic advice’. Eke advised the shareholders of Provantis Amenity on the £3.5m share disposal, including sale of the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Headland Amenity. Other highlights included assisting Martract’s shareholders with a £4.3m share disposal and acting for two shareholders of Albert Darnell in a share disposal including a pre-completion restructuring and a completion accounts mechanism. The ‘specialist’ team also managed funding and structuring arrangements for CNG Fuels pertaining to its nationwide compressed natural gas filling stations project. The education and biomethane energy sectors are also areas of strength for the firm, and with regards to the former, Ian Sherburn advised the Boston Witham Academies Federation on its merger with the Phoenix Family of Schools Academy Trust. Richard Frogson is another name to note, as is Michael Squirrell, who recently made partner.

Wilson Browne Solicitors’ ‘very capable’ group provides ‘thorough’ advice on sales and acquisitions, as well as restructurings and refinancings. The team includes ‘superb corporate lawyerAndrew Kerr, who has ‘first-class judgement and a business-savvy approach’; furthermore, he ‘gets straight to the point’ and ‘is not a fence sitter’. Work highlights included assisting the National Union of Teachers with the sale of its trading subsidiary Stoke Rochford Management and acting for the shareholders of PCKO during the sale to AHR Group. The firm also advised a minority shareholder in Assured Vehicle Rental on the purchase of the majority shareholder’s stake in the company; assisted Heygates with drafting a suite of supply agreements for wheat products to Kelloggs; and negotiated a card payment services agreement with a challenger bank for Mastercard and Visa accredited processor Global Processing Service.

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