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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon 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 the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Regional heavyweight Browne Jacobson LLP has considerable strength in  in both corporate and commercial matters. On the corporate side, the practice's expertise covers international acquisitions and disposals, acting for management teams and private equity houses in private equity transactions, and assisting small to large local businesses with high-profile transactions. It also has a strong track record in corporate reorganisations. The intellectual property and IT sectors are core areas of focus of the commercial practice, with the recent arrival of Selina Hinchliffe from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP bolstering the group’s transactional intellectual property offering. While the team’s experience spans a wide range of sectors, it has especially strong expertise in the public and healthcare sectors. Gavin Cummings, head of business services, and corporate partner Richard Cox jointly head the practice. In a recent highlight, Cox led the team acting for the sellers on the secondary buyout of Addo Food Group, backed by LDC and Fullbrook Thorpe Investments. In another highlight, involving cross-border issues between England and Spain, a team under the leadership of Nigel Blackwell advised the members of Catalyst Corporate Finance Group on the sale of their interests in the group to Alantra Partners. On the commercial side, Paula Dumbill and Birmingham-based practitioner Richard Nicholas assisted Triumph Motorcycles with its worldwide dealer template agreement, which involved co-ordinating local law expertise in seventeen different jurisdictions. Health expert Oliver Pritchard, finance specialist Mark Hughes and data protection expert Helena Wootton are also noted. Other clients include The National Trust, Albumedix and Eurocell.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a strong track record in mid-market mergers, acquisitions and private equity-backed transactions, with instructions often involving a cross-border component. The team also handles capital market transactions and is especially adept at advising on transactions from the financial services, energy and natural resources, industrials, real estate and TMT sectors. Jon Cox-Brown led the advice for Capita on the £888m sale of its asset services division to Link Group, which involved multiple jurisdictions. In a recent private equity highlight, Cox-Brown worked with Ian Moore to lead advice for the founders and selling shareholders of Sygnature Discovery on the company’s management buyout, backed by Phoenix Equity Partners. Other highlights for the group included advising Experian on its acquisition of a 25% stake in London & Country Mortgages. Other key advisers include principal associate Matthew Hussey. Timico Technology Group and H2 Equity Partners are also on the client roster.

The healthcare and food and drink sectors are core areas of strength for Freeths LLP's corporate team, which expanded its offering with the addition of director Adam Edwards , formerly at Browne Jacobson LLP, who has notable expertise in the financial services sector. The department handles a wide range of instructions and leverages the firm's multi-disciplinary capability to provide pensions, planning, environmental law, and also competition and tax law advice where necessary. Recent highlights include advising the shareholders of Omar Group on a significant investment from private equity firm Rutland Partners, acting for Travis Perkins on its acquisition of TSF Holdings, and assisting Neptune International with its acquisition of three financial services companies in Gibraltar. Other clients include Tarmac, ALDI and Motorpoint Group. Practice head John Heaphy and Karl Jansen are the key contacts.

The ‘fantastic’ and ‘always available’ team at Geldards LLP advises domestic and international clients on private equity and M&A transactions, as well as commercial agreements including consumer credit and supply arrangements, service level agreements, agency and distribution agreements, leasing agreements and joint venture and collaboration agreements. The group has strength in depth across a broad range of sectors, from motor retail, healthcare and food and drink to rail, intellectual property and IT and sports and media.  Debra Martin heads the corporate practice while Michelle Craven-Faulkner heads the commercial side. Recent highlights include advising the shareholders of Radleigh Homes on the high-profile sale of the company to Redrow Homes, and advising the shareholders of Wearwell Group on a buyout backed by Rockpool Investments. ‘Excellent’ food and drink expert Peter Seary joined from Roythornes Solicitors while sports expert Jamie Goldberg joined from Onside Law Limited. Also recommended are the ‘pragmatic and commercial’ Paul Feenan and David Tilly, who is now a consultant. Other clients include Pendragon, British Business Bank and Stadler Rail Services UK.

Shoosmiths LLP attracts praise for its ‘cutting-edge advice’, ‘fantastic client-focused service’, 'good commercial sense with a view to getting deals done quickly’, and ‘pragmatic approach to complex multi-party negotiations’. The team's expertise encompasses mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, capital fundraising and reductions, as well as restructuring and compliance matters, and has a strong track record in cross-jurisdictional transactions for public and private companies, many of which are international businesses seeking to invest in the UK. Practice head (and ‘strong negotiator’) Crispin Bridges Webb recently advised Autologic Diagnostics and its shareholders on the sale of the company to Swedish company Opus. Other highlights included assisting Norwegian incident and crisis management software company One Voice with the acquisition of AI Controlpoint from Access Intelligence, and advising South-African listed Atlantic Leaf Properties with its acquisition of office property in Peterborough. ‘Responsive’ senior associate Gareth Cook is noted for his ‘excellent advice’. Tandem Group, Coloplast and Oakfield Capital Partners are also clients.

Noted for its ‘commercial approach’, ‘exceptional service’ and ‘fast response times’, Flint Bishop LLP has strong expertise in corporate and commercial work, with the team’s corporate experience spanning sales, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, shareholders agreements and corporate governance matters. Key areas of expertise on the commercial side include data protection and intellectual property matters. The corporate practice is headed by the ‘efficient’ Martyn Brierley and includes Rachel Bennett, who has especially deep knowledge in IT sector transactions. Commercial contracts head David Miller is ably assisted by IT and intellectual property expert Claire Tonks, who has notable education-sector expertise. A recent corporate highlight saw the group advise the selling shareholders of sport nutrition specialist High 5 on its sale to Associated British Foods. Bell & Co, Banner Plant and GL Events are also clients.

Gateley Plc's broad transactional expertise encompasses mergers and demergers, acquisitions, private equity transactions, and management buyouts. On the commercial front, the practice handles franchising, supply chain management, payment services and outsourcing on top of a steady diet of IT and intellectual property work. Practice head Mark Rutherford is the key corporate practitioner, with consultant Jill Tomasin handling contentious and non-contentious intellectual property work. Recent highlights include advising the management team of Retail Assist on a multimillion-pound buyout and investment in the company by Foresight Nottingham Fund and RBS, and assisting Johnsons Aggregates & Recycling with a second investment round into the company by the Business Growth Fund. Digraph Transport Supplies, Castle Environmental and Equip Outdoor Technologies are also clients.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s expertise spans a broad spectrum of corporate finance work, with mergers, acquisitions and disposals all key areas of activity. It also handles a range of management buyouts, joint ventures and corporate reorganisations. Corporate practice head Duncan Taylor acted alongside banking and finance partner Michael Lodge to advise Prime Life on funding from Barclays for the acquisition of the entire share capital of Greenacres Nursing Homes. Taylor led advice for Gill Marine Holdings on the refinancing necessary for the acquisition of its North American distributor. On the commercial front, the practice handles an array of IT-related work, a key specialism of recently promoted partner Harpreet Sandhu who leads the commerce and technology team. David Kaplan is also noted. Other clients include PKF Cooper Parry, I C Electrical and Gee Tee Signs.

The ‘excellent’ and ‘very experienced’ team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP regularly handles mid-market transactions, but also has a proven track record in assisting with high-value sales, acquisitions and reorganisations with values of up to £100m. Consequently, the group’s client base consists of a mix of entrepreneurs and family businesses as well as large domestic and international businesses whom the team also assists with commercial matters, especially in the life sciences, healthcare and pharmaceutical, and sports sectors. Finance providers and TMT players, mainly with a regional base, also make up a significant portion of the client roster. The Nottingham team consists of Duncan James, who heads the corporate practice,  and Ed Wright, who is in charge of the commercial team, as well as Roger Harcourt and legal director Richard Vernon, both corporate specialists. Highlights included acting for the Pensions Portal on an equity investment, involving a performance ratchet mechanism, and assisting the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust with various commercial matters, including  contractual arrangements with a third party for a programme roll-out in Northern Ireland. The client list also features Europcar and Santander.

Actons' team of ‘experienced’ advisers provides ‘clear and concise advice’. The department primarily focuses on owner-managed businesses and small-to-medium-sized enterprises, but also regularly undertakes work for banks and other funding providers. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Simon Dakin is practice head and Peter Flowerday who impresses with ‘an abundance of common sense and good commercial instinct’, recently acted for the management team of Adamson Jones Holdings on a management buyout of a patent and trade mark attorney. A recent commercial highlight was the negotiation of a highly complex service level agreement involving multiple service lines and hundreds of sites across the UK. EIDO Healthcare and Rudi Jansen are also clients.

Specialising in small and mid-sized transactions, Austin Moore & Partners LLP's ‘knowledgeable’ team is praised for its ‘empathetic’ service. The team recently established its commercial and intellectual property offering with the arrival of Louise Taylor from Fishers. Founding and name partner Austin Moore is the main adviser in the practice, with key support coming from associate Laura Goody. Recent highlights include advising Kennelpak and its shareholders on its sale to Enact, and assisting the shareholders of Mapmechanics with the sale of the business to CACI and with the agreements pertaining to the rights in the client’s proprietary software. Agritec Systems, AppInst and Advanced Therapeutic Materials are also clients.

Providing ‘excellent support’, Fraser Brown combines ‘solid corporate advice with a commercial view’. The group handles a broad spectrum of corporate transactions and boasts a standout commercial practice that specialises in franchise work. Head of corporate law Gavin White and ‘very personable’ head of franchising and commercial services Fiona Boswell are the key practitioners. The practice acted for 200 Degrees Holdings on a £3m investment by Foresight, and advised Puddle Ducks Franchising on GDPR compliance issues related to its new national IT database for customers and its franchise network. Other clients include Frank Key Group, Heavenly Desserts and Heritage Healthcare.

Smith Partnership specialises in mergers and acquisitions, management buyouts and restructurings, including multinational deconstructions and demergers. It is also building a significant client base for commercial work, mainly in the sports and technology sectors. Fraser Cunningham leads the team from the Derby office, while Dennis Thomas is the main contact in Leicester, and is noted for his expertise in matters at the intersection between corporate and commercial property work. Mark Wilcock was promoted to associate partner.

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