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Addleshaw Goddard’s business support and restructuring team delivers ‘first-class responses’ and it ‘takes the time to develop a relationship, and understand the client’. Its expertise spans complex restructuring and insolvency cases, distressed real estate work, insolvency litigation, and distressed acquisitions. The team is also carving out a reputation in the sale and purchase of distressed legal practices. Headline matters included advising EY as administrators of the Hewden Plant Hire Group, which has involved acting on eight separate sales; assisting HLD Group with its acquisition of D.N.C. Shopfitters; acting for BDO as administrators of Coates Engineering Group; and assisting LastMinute.com with the pre-pack acquisition of Where Are You Now? from its administrators. The ‘commercially awareGed Barnes heads the team, which includes Andy Bates and legal directors Tim Taylor, who specialises in non-contentious cases; John Duffy, who advises on distressed property cases; and Jean Boldero, who advises on the contentious aspects of corporate restructuring and insolvency. Managing associate Sarah Foster is also recommended.

The ‘responsive’ and ‘very able’ team at DLA Piper UK LLP delivers ‘practical advice’, tailored to the ‘needs of the client’, and leverages the firm’s international network of offices, giving it the strength in depth to handle a range of complex cross-border restructurings. The team is advising Duff & Phelps as administrators of BHS, BHS Group, BHS Properties, and a number of other companies in the BHS Group. It is also acting for EY in its role as administrator of Outsourcery, and is acting for PwC as administrators on the sale of the business and assets of the Wire division of Caparo Steel Products, one of sixteen trading companies within the Caparo Group. The Co-operative Bank, Deloitte, HSBC, Lloyds Bank and RBS are also clients. Restructuring team head and retail-sector expert Robert Russell is ‘very hands-on, technically strong, and understands client strategy, deliverables and timelines’. Recently promoted partner Christopher Roberts is also recommended, as is legal director Bethan Moore. Former team head Martin Keates retired in December 2016.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is noted for its lender-side restructuring practice, as well as its corporate debt advisory and ‘strong’ real estate restructuring expertise. The team is advising BDO as administrators of Lewis’s Liverpool LLP, the developer of the Lewis’s Building in Liverpool, on the acquisition of surrounding land to enhance the value of the site. It is also advising FRP as administrators of Kay’s, one of the UK’s oldest soap manufacturers. The Co-operative Bank, HSBC Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and Svenska Handelsbanken are also clients. Department head David Gray and senior associate Sarah Duignan are ‘very pragmatic, with a can-do, deal focused attitude’.

Rated for its ‘strong restructuring and insolvency knowledge’, Gateley Plc’s practice handles restructuring, turnaround, acquisition and disposal work for insolvency practitioners, private equity houses, banks, invoice financiers, law firms and corporate clients. It is also noted for its track record in cross-border fraud and big-ticket insolvency litigation. The team is advising AlixPartners, as the administrators, of two pub companies which owned 150 pubs across the North of England and the Midlands; it is also advising PwC as administrators of a leading fashion accessories supplier based in England. Andrew Buchanan (‘very experienced and has a pragmatic approach’) leads the team, which includes legal director Gavin Clarke, and senior associates Danielle Haston and Aneesh Prasad. Stuart Tait joined the team in May 2017 from the Hong Kong office of Hogan Lovells.

The ‘first-rate’ team at Pinsent Masons LLP operates as part of the firm’s national team and advises on contentious and non-contentious matters for banks, asset based lenders, insolvency practitioners, corporates, directors, turnaround practitioners, private equity houses, distressed investors, pension trustees and clients in the public sector. The Manchester team is particularly noted for its expertise in the pensions sector; key mandates included advising Hilco Retail Services on a consultancy agreement with Duff & Phelps, the administrators of BHS. It is also advising FRP Advisory as administrators of Dean House, a supplier of fitted kitchens and bedrooms under the Betta Living brand, and advised DM Opco on its initial acquisition of New Earth's business and assets out of administration, which involved complex bond and EA permit issues, and new facilities from The Co-operative Bank. James Cameron is ‘a strong all-rounder; he is responsive and adopts a commercial approach’, and is noted for his experience in pensions restructurings. The team was also instructed by the board of Somerfield to advise on its disposal by the Co-operative Group to Hilco. Senior associate Louise Kappes and associate Daniella Thompson are also recommended.

Squire Patton Boggs handles complex cross-border restructuring matters for accountants, clearing banks and asset based lenders. The team, which acts on local, national and international mandates, is experienced in the asset based lending market, and is also noted for pensions-related insolvency work. Headline matters included advising Outsourcery and Piers Linney on its complex restructuring, which included advising on the appointment of administrators to the group, and on the sale of real estate. The team also advised Freight Transport Association (FTA) on its acquisition of the business and assets of Tachodisc from its administrators, and advised Arc Machines on the wind-down of Arc Machines UK. The ‘first-rateSusan Kelly leads the firm’s UK and European practice, and co-chairs the cross-border restructuring group. Recently promoted director Mark Prior is also recommended.

The ‘responsive’ team at DWF advises accountants, agents, and a number of banks, and is particularly recommended for property-related instructions, as well as complex contentious work. The team advised Speedy Hire on its bid to buy the business and assets of Lloyds British Testing in administration. The Insolvency Service, Williams & Glyn Bank, Begbies Traynor Group, EY, BDO and RSM Restructuring are also clients. National team head Gavin Jones is ‘technically good’ and ‘provides commercial advice that is appropriate to the case being dealt with’. Also recommended are the ‘brilliantKatharine Lawrenson, who has expertise in personal insolvency, Sean McGrath, who is experienced in distressed property workouts and receivership appointments, and legal director Julie Agnew.

Turner Parkinson LLP’s ‘professional’ and ‘experienced’ department attracts praise for its ‘good response times’ and expertise in contentious and non-contentious work across corporate and personal insolvency. The team handles SME-related administration proceedings, bankruptcy cases, and advises on investigating and pursuing claims in corporate and personal insolvency cases. Highlights included advising Staywell Hospitality on the administration and subsequent acquisition of an investment property and hotel from administrators of Park Regis Birmingham LLP; and advising Ideal Corporate Solutions as administrator of Imperium Enterprises, which involved the subsequent sale of assets and properties to various third parties. The ‘exceptionally good’ Mark Lund heads the department, which includes David Higgins, who specialises in corporate and personal contentious work, primarily on behalf of insolvency practitioners; the ‘very astute’ Will Jones, and associate Laura Lucas, who is ‘very thorough’ and has ‘good technical knowledge’.

The ‘experienced’ team at Aaron & Partners LLP advises companies and individuals in financial difficulty, and acts for insolvency practitioners, debtors and creditors, and shareholders and directors of insolvent companies. It handles antecedent transaction claims, both for insolvency office holders pursuing claims and individuals who are being pursued, and advises on IVAs, particularly for solicitors. The team also has a niche specialism in advising insolvent logistics companies on operator licences. Nick Clarke heads the dispute resolution and insolvency department and is noted for his experience in contentious matters. Also singled out are the ‘brilliant’ Mark Davies, who is ‘excellent’ on personal insolvency matters; Simon Edwards; Jan Chillery, who acts for corporate and private individuals; and litigator John Devoy.

As part of its wide-ranging insolvency practice, Bermans’s team also works closely with the firm’s asset based lending team to advise invoice finance companies and insolvency practitioners. Highlights included acting for Begbies Traynor as administrators of Park Regis Birmingham LLP, on the sale of the hotel and in litigation against various investors. It also acted for FRP Advisory as administrators of Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers Marts in litigation against various debtors. Department head Phil Farrelly handles contentious and non-contentious corporate insolvency matters and is recommended alongside Dave Gledhill and newly recruited Joanne Culley, who joined the firm as a senior associate from JMW Solicitors LLP in November 2016.

Brabners LLP’s clients single out the firm’s ‘clear, commercial advice in complex and time-critical situations’ and its ‘very clear understanding of clients’ needs’. The team advises insolvency practitioners on formal insolvency matters, and advises directors and other stakeholders of distressed businesses. Recent work includes advising Martin McColls on the acquisition of the business and assets and two retail units of ML Convenience (in administration). Key figures in Manchester include Robert Turner, who ‘always provides sound legal advice in a timely manner, is able to think laterally’ and has ‘very good commercial acumen’; and senior associate Russel Forward, who heads the real estate finance and restructuring team in Manchester. In Liverpool, Paul Lunt is noted for his contentious insolvency expertise, and Adrian Rogers handles non-contentious insolvency matters. Senior associate Nicola Whittle joined the Preston office from Stephensons Solicitors LLP in December 2016.

The ‘fantastic’ team at Freeths LLP advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious restructuring, corporate recovery and insolvency instructions. Highlights included advising the liquidator of Cre8atsea on its opposition to an application made by a former director of Cre8atsea to rescind a winding-up order. Begbies Traynor Group, KPMG, Crawfords Accountants, BDO and SFP Restructuring are also on the team’s client roster. ‘Outstanding’ national head of restructuring and insolvency Joey Byrne focuses on contentious matters, and is experienced in in asset recovery. Kevin Pinkerton handles contentious and non-contentious work, and has niche expertise in advising clients in the entertainment industry. Senior associate Chris Ali advises insolvency practitioners and directors on real estate matters.

The ‘excellent’ team at Gorvins Solicitors handles a range of contentious and non-contentious corporate and personal insolvency issues, acting for insolvency practitioners, businesses and individuals, as well as banks, receivers and directors. Begbies Traynor Group, FRP Advisory and RSM Restructuring Advisory are clients of the team, which is headed by Mark Deverell, who advises businesses, principal shareholders and directors, and also acts on behalf of a number of insolvency practitioners. Also recommended are David Guest, who specialises in both corporate and personal insolvency, and consultant Paul Lupton.

Hill Dickinson LLP handles a range of contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters, including corporate recovery and restructuring, and high-value, complex litigation. The team acts on a high number of cross-border matters, leveraging expertise from its international network of offices. Highlights included advising a subsidiary of DC Norris & Co on its £1.25m acquisition of the business and assets of BCH and Coates Engineering, and advising Lloyd and Jones Engineering on the acquisition of the business and assets of SAL Abrasive Technologies Group. Department head Paul Spence (who is noted for his combination of ‘high levels of technical knowledge and commercial approach’ has a growing focus on shipping-related restructuring mandates, and also advises on distressed real estate matters. Senior associate Richard Palmer, and legal director Kathryn Maclennan, who specialises in personal insolvency and joined from Stephensons Solicitors LLP in August 2016, are also recommended.

Hillyer McKeownconsistently delivers a fantastic service’ on personal and corporate contentious insolvency matters. Its expertise covers asset recovery, restructuring, the winding-up of corporate entities, and personal bankruptcy. The team is advising CVR Global on matters relating to a French national’s bankruptcy, and is advising Grant Thornton on breach of trust, wrongful dealing in third party assets, disputed ownership claims, wrongful payments and void dispositions related to a company believed to have fraudulently dealt with trust monies. Other clients include KPMG, PCR, Finn Associates (Business Care), Leonard Curtis and Begbies Traynor. Team head Paul Marsh attracts praise for his ‘technical knowledge, especially personal bankruptcy combined with his commercial and practical nous’. ‘Excellent’ senior associate Jennifer Lockhart is ‘one to watch for the future’.

The ‘client-friendly’ team at Irwin Mitchell has a ‘straightforward approach that is very business-like’ and attracts praise for providing advice ‘delivered with sensitivity’. It handles a range of restructuring, insolvency and turnaround advice, and is acting for the liquidators of an IT company to pursue the former directors for fraudulent trading, breach of the former directors’ duties to the company and its creditors, and various other breaches. It is also advising a property development company on the administration and receivership of various connected companies. HSBC, RSM Restructuring & Advisory, BDO, KPMG and Begbies Traynor are also clients. Team head John Vickery has a ‘depth of experience that makes him a very good judge of tactics’; he is rated for his ability to ‘outline the legal issues and implications clearly’. Associate solicitor Rebecca O’Callaghan is also recommended.

JMW Solicitors LLP handles administrations, voluntary and compulsory liquidations, bankruptcy, IVAs, directors’ disqualifications and HMRC liability inquiries. The team is active across the retail, leisure, legal, transport, property, care home, and recruitment sectors. Highlights included advising KPMG as administrators of SAL Abrasive Technologies Group on the sale of its business and assets, and advising Duff & Phelps as administrators of CSG Asset Management in relation to the sale of its business and assets. It also advised HCL on insolvency options following an Environment Agency prosecution, which resulted in HCL ceasing to trade. Richard Wolff specialises in corporate and personal insolvency and heads the department, which includes the ‘experiencedChristopher Love, senior associate Vicky Burgess, and associate Antoniya MercerABAR check , who recently joined from Bermans. Joanne Culley recently left the firm to join Bermans.

The ‘specialist’ practice at Mills & Reeve LLP focuses on insolvency litigation, and handles a range of corporate and personal insolvency cases. It is also experienced in matters concerning the administration of insolvent estates. Griffins, Grant Thornton UK and Alix Partners are also clients. Helen Fyles heads the team, which includes sports specialist Mark Hovell, and senior associate Laura Smith, who joined from Hamlins LLP in 2016, and is experienced in high-value, cross-border insolvency litigation.

Shoosmiths LLP advises a range of clients in the finance sector, including banks, building societies, asset based lenders, peer-to-peer lenders and private equity providers, on strategy, security reviews, enhancements, business sales, insolvency procedures and litigation. The team continues to act for Duff & Phelps as liquidators of national shoe retailer Barratts, and advised BDO as liquidators of D & D Wines International, which involved a claim in the Supreme Court. It is also advising Investec and its appointed receivers Duff & Phelps on the disposal of a department store in Sunderland, and is advising West Bromwich Commercial Finance on the receivership of a shopping centre. Restructuring and insolvency team head Sarah Tealtakes a commercial approach’ and is ‘very quick to respond’.

TLT is particularly active in mid-market restructuring and insolvency matters, and is noted for its expertise in lender-led restructuring work. It acted for FRP Advisory, as the administrators, on the disposal of a £20m-turnover food manufacturing business; and is advising Deloitte as administrators to companies that own and operate eight care homes trading under the Lifeline Nursing Services and Sycamore Care brands. Alastair Lomax is ‘first-rate’ and is particularly experienced in pensions restructurings; she also has a growing reputation for matters in the private healthcare sector. Martin March acts for banks, asset based lenders and insolvency practitioners on all aspects of non-contentious insolvency matters, and also advises company directors on turnaround solutions. Andy Bell handles real estate insolvency matters.

Clients of DTM Legal LLP praise the firm’s ‘excellent service’. It advises office holders, businesses and individuals on a range of insolvency-related instructions. In Chester, ‘very experienced’ team head Richard Thomas is advising eight creditor clients the appointment of a fixed charge receiver over a £1.4m agricultural property, and is also representing four directors in disqualification proceedings relating to allegations of misfeasance and wrongful trading. In Liverpool, the ‘very astute’ Kate Roberts is advising liquidator Opus Restructuring on the recovery of unpaid share capital, and is also acting for administrators Kreston Reeves on a number of antecedent transactions.

Based across its Manchester, Preston and Blackburn offices, the team at Farleys Solicitors LLP acts on behalf of administrators, receivers, liquidators and insolvency practitioners, and also advises on turnaround strategies for businesses in financial difficulties. Team head Ian Liddle is ‘brilliant’ and ‘highly recommended for transactional work’.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Nexus Solicitors Limited handles all aspects of corporate rescue and insolvencies for insolvency practitioners, turnaround professionals, banks, corporate entities, and individual creditors. It continues to advise Blue Gate Capital on the failure and liquidation of the Connaught Investment Fund Series 1. Team head Andrew Tonge ‘rolls his sleeves up and fights every inch for his clients’ and is ‘a highly effective and clever litigator, who looks at every angle and has a knack for finding the best one’.

Pannone Corporate LLP handles a range of corporate recovery matters, from liquidations, CVAs, administrations and pre-pack sales to general restructuring matters, creditor services work, compulsory liquidation cases, and personal insolvency. It is also noted for its local government expertise, and advises on non-domestic rates and council tax recovery. Duff & Phelps, Leonard Curtis, Grant Thornton UK, Manchester City Council and Beever & Struthers are clients. The ‘very experienced’ Dermot Preston heads the department, which includes senior associate Daniel Clarke, is particularly noted for contentious and personal insolvency matters.

SAS Daniels LLP handles contentious and non-contentious personal and corporate insolvency work, including asset recovery, pre-appointment administration matters, and sales of assets and businesses of insolvent compaies. Begbies Traynor, KPMG, Mazars, Beesley Corporate Solutions and DMC Corporate Recovery are clients. The ‘pragmaticPaul Formby heads the corporate recovery and insolvency team, which includes associate Hannah Leese, and dispute resolution head Chris MacCafferty.

Taylors has a ‘strong regional practice’ that provides ‘technical and accurate advice on a timely basis’ and attracts praise for its ‘personal service’. It handles a range of corporate and business restructurings, distressed M&A, company rescue, refinancings, debt restructuring, and formal insolvency matters, with an emphasis on SME-related mandates. Clients include asset based lenders, invoice finance providers, distressed debt providers, and business rescue funds. The team is also recommended for its contentious expertise. It is advising the BDO as administrators of the Leyton Health Care Group in connection with the disposal of nine nursing homes, and is advising RSM Restructuring Advisory as administrators of Central Catering Services. Andrew Livesey heads the team, which include James Haigh, who is ‘knowledgeable, quick to respond’ and ‘commercially minded’, and Grahame Love. Peter Crewe recently joined gunnercooke LLP.

Berg fields a ‘strong team of commercial experts’ that acts for insolvency practitioners, companies and individuals in resolving complex banking and finance disputes, in addition to handling restructuring and refinance matters, often with an international element. It also advises on individual director disqualifications, IVAs and bankruptcies. Highlights included acting for international insolvency practitioners on the placing of a £54m company into administration, and assisting Mulberry Property (Hawks Road) with the prevention of the appointment of a fixed charge receiver over a commercial property. Chris McDuff recently joined from BCIA Recovery and Turnaround and heads the practice, which includes solicitor Edward Saidu, who ‘offers clear, concise and jargon-free advice and always strives to go the extra mile for his clients’; ‘his approachability is a breath of fresh air, as is his analytical mind and sound legal judgement’.

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