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Editorial

Commercial property: Manchester

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Manchester
  2. Leading individuals

Peter Kershaw leads the ‘hardworking and commercial’ team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, which is noted for its ‘excellent negotiation skills’. Highlights included advising Bruntwood on its acquisition of the former Oxford Road BBC site, acting for Omega Warrington on a £1bn mixed-use development, and assisting Peel Land with a new 15-year development agreement with Bupa to lease a property at MediaCityUK. Stephen Kinsey attracts praise for his ‘deep base of knowledge’, and Catherine Fearnhead is ‘first class at ensuring documentation is turned around quickly. Colette Withey and Vicky Niescier are also recommended.

The ‘outstandingMike Edge leads the team at Pinsent Masons LLP, which delivers ‘sound legal advice’. It advised St Modwen Developments on the sale of new facilities in Liverpool and Stoke to GM Investment Trustees and on the acquisition of Kirkby Shopping Centre and surrounding land. It also acted for Ardstone Regional Office Fund on the acquisition of Pall Mall Court, Manchester. Rachel Pitman is ‘speedy with her responses, commercially minded, and can explain all the complexities in simplistic terms’. Senior associates Dan Hargreaves and Phillip Birchall are also recommended. Helen Robinson joined from Eversheds LLP and Ann Draper joined from Hempsons. Jim Purves left to join Hill Dickinson LLP in May 2015.

Paul Inman leads the ‘strong’ team at DWF, which advised Lancashire County Council on the £36.4m acquisition of an office and leisure building; acted for Whitbread on the expansion of its Premier Inn Hotels portfolio; and advised United Utilities on the sale of a Manchester city centre office block. Recommended individuals include the ‘excellentAnita Gupta, Catherine Haslam, who has ‘a great eye for detail’, the ‘astuteNaveen Gupta, Paul Gidman and David Frankland. Mark Barker joined Squire Patton Boggs in February 2016.

Eversheds LLP’s practice is noted for its ‘excellent technical skill’. Highlights included advising Muse Developments on its development of Phase 2 of the Stockport Exchange project, and assisting The Carlyle Group with the development of the Soapworks mixed-use development at MediaCityUK. Key figures include ‘very experienced’ department head Nancy Brown, the ‘excellentMichael Buchanan, and Phillip Tunney, who ‘combines excellent technical skill with old-fashioned hard work and a keen eye for what is important to the client’. Stephen Sorrell left the firm in December 2015 to join Lucent Group as group managing director, while Ian Barker joined from Berg and principal associate Ian Walsh joined from Ward Hadaway.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘incredibly strong and commercial practice places client care at the centre of everything it does’. It advised BlackRock Workspace Property Trust on its £32m disposal of a portfolio of four light industrial properties to Westbrook Partners and advised 3 Sovereign Square on the granting of a pre-let at 3 Sovereign Square, Leeds. Team head Anita Weightman is a ‘stalwart of the North West legal community’ and Roy Beckett is ‘always on top of his brief’. Tony Weightman, Claire Quinn and Patrick Duffy are also recommended. Associate Emma Tonge is ‘great with clients’.

Nabarro LLP provides ‘an extremely high level of service’ to a client base that includes Manchester Airport Group, Hermes Real Estate Investment Management and Manchester City Council. Team head Mark Haywood, the ‘very commercial’ Nathan Jansen, Monica Brij, Peter Winnard and Howard Gill are recommended. Chris Hallam joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2016.

Vaqas Farooq (who attracts praise for his ‘great drive and market awareness’) leads the ‘proactive and pragmatic’ team at Shoosmiths LLP, which has ‘great strength in depth’. It is advising Allied London on the St John’s quarter regeneration scheme, and on the purchase of London Road Fire Station. It is also advising Vita Ventures on a number of acquisitions in Newcastle, York and Brighton. Andrew Pattinson is ‘personable and responsive’ and Penny Cranston is ‘highly regarded’. The firm was bolstered by the arrival of Barbara Rollin from Gordons LLP, Daniel Hargreaves from Pinsent Masons LLP, Russell Davidson from Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, and Richard Outhwaite from DWF.

Brabners LLP advised Bury MBC on the acquisition of development land and a newly developed multi-storey car park, and assisted Promenade Estates with the sale of the Baltic Village, Liverpool. JW Lees is also a client. Team head Chris Parkinson and Matthew O’Brien are recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is active in the asset management and residential sector arenas, and recently advised BDW Trading on securing a 10-acre site in Glossop, Derbyshire by way of a conditional option agreement, subject to the grant of planning consent. The firm also advised Taylor Wimpey on the acquisition of a mixed-use site in Lancashire. Alison Key leads the department, which includes Nick Beko, who was promoted to partner in May 2015, and Adrian Wallbank. Robert Moss retired in 2015.

Dean Copley and Darren Hughes head the team at Gateley Plc, which attracts praise for ‘getting under the skin of complex matters’. It advised London & Manchester Healthcare on the development of a number of care homes, and acted for Liveman Properties on the development of The Dock Office in Salford Quays. Gareth Atkinson is also recommended.

Michael Blakey’s team at Hill Dickinson LLP advised The Wrather Group on the £16.3m disposal of four Victorian office buildings overlooking Manchester’s Albert Square to LJ Group, and advised Genus on the relocation of its head office to Matrix House in Basingstoke. Jonathan Dover is ‘very experienced’ and Chris Johnston is recommended for real estate finance. Alastair Reid relocated to Manchester from the firm’s Sheffield office, and Jim Purves joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

JMW Solicitors LLP’s ‘excellent’ department advised Brookhouse Group on several matters including the demolition of Meteor Retail Park in Christchurch, and the redevelopment of the site. Dransfield Properties, Richer Sounds, and Castlemead Group are also clients. Recommended individuals include ‘fantastic’ team head Jim Banfi, Ian Gordon, Thomas Pearson, consultant Stephen Goodman and Tom Cressey.

The ‘commercial team’ at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP advised Meadows Estate on the £70m acquisition of Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham. Persimmon Lancashire and Persimmon North West are also clients. Team head Nick Nyunt is ‘very experienced’. Managing partner Steve Eccleston, David Haffner, Stephen Lopeman and head of the property management team Martin Davies are also recommended.

Slater and Gordon fields ‘a strong team’ with an ‘excellent depth of knowledge of the property industry’. Highlights included advising Zecol Thomas and Mission Mars on the completion of a new lease following the refurbishment of the Albert Hall in Manchester, and advising J & G Marshall on the conversion of various schools into academies. National head of real estate Stephen Lintott has ‘excellent communication and negotiation skills’. ‘First-class lawyersStephen Chalcraft and Stephen Crook are also recommended.

The ‘first-rate’ team at TLT has recently grown with a number of arrivals at legal director and associate level. It advised Well Pharmacy on its relocation and the development of new office premises at Merchants Warehouse, Manchester. Dan Sweeney heads the retail and leisure team, and Andy Bell is recommended for real estate finance matters.

Weightmans LLP’s ‘well-respected’ department advised Staples Group subsidiary Corporate Express on the acquisition and development of a central distribution warehouse. National head Karl Jackson is noted alongside the ‘responsive and technically excellent’ John Hyde, Varun Maharaj and Andrea Steventon. Robert Harris recently left the firm.

The ‘superb’ Liam Buckley heads the team at Clyde & Co LLP after he and Stelios Coutsavlis joined from Squire Patton Boggs in 2015. Clients include Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and Property Alliance Group.

The ‘brilliantMark Beardwood splits his time between Manchester and Liverpool and heads the team at DLA Piper UK LLP, which includes Robert Arnison. Recently promoted partner Tom Kelsall led Greater Manchester Pension Fund on the disposal of four retail investment assets.

The ‘very professional’ team at Davitt Jones Bould advised Gloucestershire Gateway on the development of a new motorway services area. Tony Fitzmaurice is singled out for his ‘high level of expertise’.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘commercial and responsive’ team is co-led by Caroline Hanratty and Anne Fairhurst. The Manchester College, London Dockside, Marick Capital and Manchester Metropolitan University are clients.

Nexus Solicitors Limited advises a range of clients in the retail and food sectors. Team head Des O’Driscoll delivers ‘accurate and knowledgeable’ advice.

Will Henson and managing partner Anne Irwin are the key figures at Slater Heelis LLP, which advised Brammer UK on a lease regarding distribution premises in Coventry. Hannah Al-Shaghana was promoted to partner in April 2016.

The ‘focused’ team at Squire Patton Boggs advised NPL Estates on the sale of land to Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, and advised River Street Capital on the disposal of various office buildings. Team head Mark Gaffney has ‘good attention to detail’ and ‘gets things done quickly and efficiently’. Jonathan Brooke is also noted. Mark Barker joined from DWF in 2016.

Paul Bibby heads the ‘commercially aware’ team at Turner Parkinson LLP, which advised A Pearson Holdings on the property aspects of its £40m acquisition of Wight Salads. Jonathan Kay and associate Quentin Duckworth joined from Darbys Solicitors LLP in March 2016.


Commercial property: Liverpool

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Liverpool
  2. Leading individuals

DLA Piper UK LLP’s ‘professional’ department is noted for its ‘focus on problem-solving and delivery’ as well as its ‘fantastic ability to identify key commercial points’. It advised Cheshire West and Chester Council on a £300m city centre redevelopment scheme in Chester, and advised Liverpool Football Club on the redevelopment of Anfield Stadium. Team head Mark Beardwood works across the Liverpool and Manchester offices and Philip Rooney is ‘experienced, hardworking and commercial’. Alison Mills and legal director Richard Thompson are also recommended.

Highlights for the ‘excellent’ team at Brabners LLP included advising Primark Stores on purchase and development agreements and leases for seven new stores, and acting for Peel Land and Property on the sale of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Liverpool to Ability Group. Jeff Gillbanks heads the department, while Neil McBurney leads the retail team and Leanne Murray heads the residential team. Also recommended are the ‘first-rate’ Sandy Gill and Iain Gamble.

At DWF, team head Andrew Nichol led Praxis on the £70m acquisition of a business park portfolio, and the ‘outstanding’ Abby Dry led NewRiver Retail on several matters including the £92.3m acquisition of three shopping centres. Julie Simms and senior associate Neil Lacey, who joined from Brabners LLP in November 2015, are also recommended.

At Hill Dickinson LLP, team head David Swaffield has ‘a wealth of experience’ and advised The Peel Group on the £138m freight terminal project at Port Salford, as well as the letting of a warehouse facility to The Manchester Ship Canal Company. Pamela Jones led The Conygar Investment Company on the acquisition of a former Shell storage facility on Anglesey from the Isle of Anglesey County Council, and Martyn McDonald led Poundland on a range of retail property acquisitions. Claire Cosgrove and Alex McCann are also recommended.

Weightmans LLP’s ‘strong’ team advised the Isle of Anglesey Charitable Trust and Anglesey County Council on the sale of a former Shell storage facility to The Conygar Investment Company, and advised Liverpool City Council on a £150m regeneration project in North Liverpool. Key figures include the ‘efficient and diligentJanice Weatherly, Clive Bleasdale, who ‘deals with matters quickly and efficiently’, and Matthew Williamson, who is ‘very knowledgeable and commercially minded’. David Tabinor is also recommended.


Commercial property: Elsewhere in the North West

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in the North West
  2. Leading individuals

Brabners LLP advised Sofology on several retail instructions and advised Grange Motors on the disposal of a site in the Lake District National Park. Better Bathrooms, Tritech and National Football Museum are also clients. Ross Shine heads the team, which includes Charles Hansford.

Gorvins Solicitors advised Marcus Worthington on the £16m acquisition and forward funding for a student accommodation block. It also advised Aspen Assets on the sale of an commercial building at King St in Manchester. Team head Martin Hoare is ‘responsive, commercially astute and technically able’. Claire Beaumont joined from Laytons and Samantha Marcus was promoted to partner.

Clients rate the team at boutique commercial property practice Land Law LLP as ‘simply outstanding’. Managing partner Angus Whyte is noted for his ‘very strong commercial acumen, common sense and business-minded approach’. Whyte led the team acting alongside a number of law firms on the £18bn sale of GE Real Estate’s global property portfolio to the Blackstone Group. Helen Davidson led Quorum Estates on a development agreement to deliver new headquarters Stockport Homes. Claire Chapman is ‘approachable, pragmatic and a team player’.

The ‘strong’ and ‘diverse’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP continued to advise Mosley Street Ventures on the development of Two St Peters Square in Manchester, and acted for 65 Twenty on the letting of office space in Shoreditch, London. Recommended individuals include ‘excellent’ department head Richard Lloyd and Jeremy Lee. Andrew Chapman was promoted to partner in 2015.

Aaron & Partners LLP is noted for its ‘high level of expertise and efficient service’. It advised Santander UK and HSBC on several property finance matters, and assisted Pinnacle Alliance with the acquisition and financing of six potential development sites. Team head Simon Ellis is recommended alongside Trish Randles, who is noted on landlord and tenant matters.

The ‘very strong’ department at DTM Legal LLP continues to advise the Peckforton Estate on real estate matters. Team head Anna Duffy is ‘pragmatic’ and associate Diane Sethi is ‘extremely approachable, very thorough and responsive’. Robert Harris joined the Liverpool office as a consultant from Weightmans LLP and associate Sally Pilott joined in Chester from DWF.

Clients of the team at Forbes Solicitors include WEC Group, Taylor Patterson and Lawrence Hunt & Co. Team head Adam Bromley is recommended alongside Tim Hollingsworth and Stuart Shorthouse.

Hillyer McKeown LLP advised Esterform on the acquisition, sale and leaseback of an industrial site in Leeds. Recommended individuals include the ‘excellent’ Caroline Jones, David Wright and Phil McKeown. Associate Dewi Paddock joined from Brabners LLP in 2015.

The ‘well-resourced and knowledgeable’ department at Jolliffe & Co LLP advised Camel Creek on the purchase of a theme park and assisted Hickory’s Smokehouse with the purchase of The Kingfisher Country Club. James Harris is noted for his ‘team approach’ and Huw Thomas stands out for his ‘very astute legal brain’.

Nigel Read and James Clarke head the team at SAS Daniels LLP, which acts for clients including Gladman Developments, Frederic Robinson and South Staffordshire Water. Neil Powell’s arrival from Hull City Council brings further experience in public sector regeneration and development, while construction specialist Roger Allsup joined from DWF. Andrew Clark is also recommended.

Hibberts LLP’s team, which is praised for its ‘brilliant communication’ skills, regularly advises landlord and tenants in connection with industrial unit leases, shopping precincts and commercial premises. Carolyn Brooksbank heads the team.

JWK Solicitors is rated for its ‘efficiency’ and ‘professionalism’. Peter Bujakowski is ‘an outstanding lawyer’.

James Allison leads the team at Napthens LLP, which advised Bowker Motor Group on a £3m site acquisition. Former team head Allan Sumner and Mike Fetherstone joined Harrison Drury & Co in 2016.

The ‘excellent’ department at Slater and Gordon is led by Huw Davies and is active in the renewable energy sector. Stephen Lunt, Helen Nash and Paul Makinson are key individuals.

Mike Fox leads the commercial team at Slater Heelis LLP, while Edward Michell heads the residential team. P J Livesey Group, Bloor Homes and Brammer UK are clients. Zara Banday joined the team from Darbys Solicitors LLP in February 2016. Stephen Locke is also recommended.


Construction

Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The ‘strength in depth’ at Pinsent Masons LLP is ‘simply unrivalled’. The team, which is praised for its ‘strong sector knowledge and commercial awareness’, advised NNB Generation Company on the £18bn procurement of Hinkley Point C, and advised York Potash on the design and construction of a £1.7bn potash mine in North Yorkshire. The ‘first-rate’ Graham Alty leads the transactional construction and projects team, while Michael Hopkins (who attracts praise for his ‘sound knowledge of construction law’) leads the contentious practice. Anthony Bradley’s ‘advice is focused and is always on point’. Mark Job is also recommended. Chris Hallam joined Nabarro LLP in March 2016.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s ‘unfailingly swift, accurate, and reliable’ department advises on contentious and non-contentious matters, and recently acted for Octagon on a multi-party claim against John Laing Construction and John Laing Plc, in jointly managed proceedings against Carillion and Hoare Lea. It also advised Manhattan Loft Gardens on a mixed-use development in Stratford, London. Jonathan Tattersall splits his time between London and Manchester and is rated for his combination of ‘tactical excellence and good industry and legal knowledge’. Also recommended are Nancy McGuire, who is ‘extremely well versed’, and managing associate Alison Fagan, who has ‘strong client-handling skills’ and is noted for PFI litigation.

DLA Piper UK LLP welcomed new team head Paul Giles, David Moss and Nigel Proctor from Eversheds LLP. Clients include United Utilities Water, Unilever, Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive and BAM Construct. Jim Pinsent has retired, while Earle Brady joined Napthens LLP and Daniel Jude re-joined the team in Liverpool after a period of time in the firm’s Dubai office.

DWF’s ‘highly experienced’ team advised Alumno Development on a range of nationwide student accommodation schemes, and acted for Muse Developments and Warrington Borough Council in relation to the £500m redevelopment of Warrington Town Centre. Paul O’Kane heads the national construction, infrastructure and projects team, while Paul Barge leads the North West team.

The department at Eversheds LLP is praised for its combination of ‘in-depth specialist knowledge and good market understanding’. In an illustration of its capability in high-value, complex construction and engineering projects, the practice advised Network Rail on the procurement of the Northern Hub Alliance, a £600m railway upgrade programme. Department head Simon Chamberlain is recommended alongside Chris Pickens, who ‘brings an energetic and practical approach’. Paul Giles - David Moss and Nigel Proctor left the firm to join DLA Piper UK LLP.

The ‘strong’ team at Gateley Plc acts for clients such as ACE European Group, Keepmoat and Manchester City Football Club. Contentious team heads Karen Spencer (who is ‘excellent on disputes’) and Emlyn Hudson (who is ‘first-rate’) are recommended alongside senior associate Hayley Sullivan, who heads the non-contentious team.

Hill Dickinson LLP’s ‘excellent’ department advised X1 Developments on the procurement of construction works and services for the last parcel of land at the Liverpool ONE shopping, residential and leisure complex. David Chinn and Alan Pugh head the team, which includes Michael Woolley, David Oram and Tricia Morrison, who joined from Napthens LLP.

Squire Patton Boggs advised Lundy Projects on contractual issues relating to a rail project, and advised Hazel on the development and negotiation of EPC Contracts for four new UK commercial solar projects. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Sean McCay specialises in contentious matters, while Julian Scott leads on non-contentious instructions and is noted for his ‘attention to detail’.

Recent highlights for Brabners LLP include advising T J Morris on a £9m development. Team head Ian Hardman and Barry Goodall are recommended.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP has both public and private sector expertise and acts for clients including Amey LG, Cartrefi Gwynedd, Great Places Housing Group and Places for People Group. Team head David Vayro is recommended alongside senior associate Tom Holroyd and Katie Saunders, who ‘demonstrates a brilliant grasp of the client’s needs’.

Weightmans LLP advised Ligna Biomass on a contract for the manufacture and supply of two continuous ship unloaders for a new biomass storage facility at the Port of Liverpool. John Cleaveley ‘is able to cut to the crux of an issue and focus on the points that are important to the client’. David Rogers joined the team from Shepherd and Wedderburn in May 2015.

At DAC Beachcroft LLPPhillip Fry ‘really gets stuck into the detail of the case’.

James Driver heads the team at Freeths, which ‘provides strong legal advice coupled with sound commercial solutions’.

The ‘client-friendly’ Catherine Kay leads the team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which ‘consistently delivers’.

The ‘brilliant’ Roger Allsup joined SAS Daniels LLP from DWF in 2015. James Clarke and Christopher MacCafferty are also recommended.

Neil Armstrong heads the team at Shoosmiths LLP, which advises a range of private sector clients on development transactions.

Legal director Gareth Jessop leads the ‘experienced’ department at Pannone Corporate LLP, which is particularly noted for its expertise in transport infrastructure.

Helen Brown heads the team at Slater Heelis LLP, which includes Kenneth Salmon.


Planning and environment

Index of tables

  1. Planning and environment
  2. Leading individuals

Elizabeth Shepherd heads the ‘consistently good’ environmental team at Eversheds LLP, which includes ‘brilliant’ senior associate Catherine Henney and which stands out for its ‘pragmatic approach to solutions’. Richard Lloyd leads on planning matters, and Michelle Naylor (who was promoted to partner in May 2015) ‘understands the wider projects picture’. Highlights included advising Mayfield Development Partnership on the Mayfield regeneration scheme in Manchester. Principal associate Matthew Collings joined from Squire Patton Boggs in June 2015.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team is headed by the ‘exceptional’ Mike Pocock, who is ‘hugely experienced in planning matters’ and led London Borough of Croydon on a judicial review regarding the redevelopment of a shopping centre. Legal director Claire Gregory is an ‘expert’ and heads the environmental team. Associate Alison Messenger specialises in contentious environmental work and joined from Eversheds LLP in November 2015.

Kate Creer heads the planning team at DLA Piper UK LLP, where associate Sophie Stewart is ‘a real star’. It continues to advise Liverpool Football Club & Athletic Grounds on the expansion of Anfield stadium and is assisting Cheshire West and Chester Council with the Chester Northgate regeneration.

Rod Hunt (who is ‘second to none in terms of his legal knowledge’) heads the contentious environmental team at Clyde & Co LLP, which handles high-profile criminal investigations. Chris Morrison is ‘adept at getting straight to the central issue in a no-nonsense way’. Jason Bleasdale is also noted.

The ‘thorough and tenacious’ team at Shoosmiths LLP advised Vastint UK Services on the CPO to deliver a mixed-use residential scheme on a derelict site. Kathryn Jump is ‘commercial and responsive’, and ‘always goes that extra mile to secure their objective’. The ‘fantasticLisa Tye is also recommended.

The ‘impressive’ department at Weightmans LLP advised Charnwood Borough Council on the North East Leicester Sustainable Urban Extension project. The ‘excellent’ Simon Colvin heads the environment team and the ‘thorough’ Lee Gordon heads the planning team. Consultant Ray Clarke is based in the Leeds and Manchester offices.

The team at Winckworth Sherwood LLP is noted for its ‘high level of business acumen and industry knowledge’, and advised Peel Holdings on the £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme. It also advised London Borough of Wandsworth on the Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area. Colette McCormack is ‘always calm, collected, constructive and clear in her advice’.

David Harries heads the team at Aaron & Partners LLP and is noted for his expertise on energy projects. David Delaney is recommended for planning matters, and Richard Forrester is also singled out.

At Addleshaw Goddard LLP legal director Michelle Headridge is recommended for environment matters. Former planning head Grant Anderson joined Hill Dickinson LLP in July 2015.

Claire Petricca-Riding leads the team at Brabners LLP and is noted for her ‘impressively detailed, specialist knowledge of environmental law’. Director of planning Kevin Halewood is also recommended.

At specialist environmental firm ELM Law, Keith Davidsonbrings his experience and tactics to secure the commercial advantage’.

In July 2015 Grant Anderson joined Hill Dickinson LLP from Addleshaw Goddard LLP alongside senior associate Lynette Day. Anderson heads the team, which acted for Bamford Property and a consortium of landowners on the promotion of 90 hectares of land in Derbyshire for a mixed-use housing development.

At Squire Patton Boggs, ‘brilliant’ team head Rob Elvin is experienced in environmental matters including air, water, ground pollution, and permit appeal cases. Matthew Collings joined Eversheds LLP in 2015.


Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals

The team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP advised Network Rail on light issues concerning a jointly owned development site adjoining the railway in Vauxhall. Department head Charles Jagger is ‘bright and thoughtful’ and legal director Andy Feehan is ‘excellent’.

Clients of the ‘first-rate’ department at DLA Piper UK LLP include Barclays Bank, Liverpool Football Club, Picton Capital and Universities Superannuation Scheme. The ‘experienced’ team is led by Steven Jennings in Manchester and Martin Griffiths in Liverpool.

Eversheds LLPprovides fast, commercially-focused advice’ to clients including Manchester Airports Group, WM Morrison Supermarkets, Network Rail Infrastructure and BAE Systems. The ‘excellentJames Batham heads the department, which includes David McGuirk, who is a ‘strong negotiator, and is able to quickly assess his clients’ appetite for risk’.

The ‘expert’ department at Hill Dickinson LLP is led by Kevin Lee, who is noted for his ‘in-depth knowledge’. Clients include Iceland Foods, Electricity Northwest, IGas Energy and National Express Group. Also recommended are the ‘very experiencedRalph Bullivant, Craig Walker and senior associate Phil Parker.

DWF provides ‘committed, conscientious, dedicated and professional level of service’ to clients including EE, Premier Inn Hotels (Whitbread), Speedy Hire Group and Adidas. Alan Walker heads the team, which includes Jeremy Steele, Lynn James and Graeme Dixon.

The team at Pannone Corporate LLP is ‘very astute and knowledgeable’ and is able to ‘work collaboratively to achieve an end result’. Conviviality Retail, DB Schenker Rail UK and Dee Valley Water are clients. David Brown is ‘highly experienced’ and senior associate Seán Hackett is ‘an exceptional property litigator’.

Brabners LLP possesses a ‘high level of expertise’ and advises on residential, commercial and agricultural disputes. The ‘excellent’ Rachel Watkin heads the property litigation team, which includes Jeff Lewis and Stuart Irons.

Key clients of DAC Beachcroft LLP include Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council, Royal Mail Group, Lend Lease and Intu Shopping Centres. The team delivers ‘excellent response times’. Associates Rachael Reynolds and Simon Kelly are recommended.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, the ‘brilliantNicola Buchanan and senior associate Stuart McCann act for national clients including Aldi Stores, Balfour Beatty Group, The University of Manchester and Aviva Group.

Shoosmiths LLP’s clients include The Emerson Group, Allied London and Boots UK. Recommended individuals include Wayne Nash and senior associate Kirsty Black, who joined from Browne Jacobson LLP in June 2015. Matthew Forrest joined TLT as a legal director.

Clients of Weightmans LLP include The Co-operative Group, Royal Mail Group, Peel Holdings and Bruntwood. Sian Evans heads the team, and associate Peter Hall ‘gives a lot of thought to his cases’.

Irwin Mitchell acts for clients including Canal & River Trust, Decathlon UK and General Medical Council. Team head Chris Perrin is ‘a strong all-round litigator’.

Senior associate Helen Hoath is recommended at Squire Patton Boggs. Clients include River Street Capital and Mortgage Express.

The ‘skilled’ and ‘professional’ team at TLTunderstand the needs of the client’. Matthew Forrest joined from Shoosmiths LLP in June 2015. James Chadwick heads the team.

The ‘approachable’ and ‘accessible’ team at Forbes Solicitors has ‘in-depth industry knowledge and presents this in an understandable format’. Trust Inns and Henry Alty are clients. Tom Smith heads the team, which includes Robin Stephens.

Guy Lightowler leads the department at Gorvins Solicitors, which acts for clients including Ritrama UK, Avonside Roofing and Indupart.

Niche outfit J B Leitch Ltd advises residential freehold investment companies and residential block management companies. The firm delivers ‘exemplary response times’ and includes Jonathan Leitch and Phil Parkinson, who ‘consistently comes out with fresh and innovative ideas, and is an excellent communicator’.

The team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP is led by the ‘astuteAndrew Weinberg. Associate Daniel Stern is also recommended.

Director Debbie Whiteley leads the team at Nexus Solicitors Limited, which is noted for its ‘awareness of the commercial realities and not simply the theory’.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP delivers an ‘exceptional service’. Guy Willetts is recommended.


Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The ‘outstandingAlistair Fletcher leads the ‘expert’ governance team at Brabners LLP, while housing management and disputes team head Ian Alderson is ‘highly knowledgeable and experienced, with a practical approach to problem solving’. The Riverside Group, The Symphony Group, ForViva Group and Your Housing Group are among the key clients. Angela Clearkin heads the development team alongside Peter Barlow who joined from Cassell Moore in January 2016, while Nigel Williams heads the home ownership team.

The specialist housing and regeneration team at Croftons Solicitors LLP acts for more than 45 social housing providers. Jo Savage heads the governance and regulatory team, and the ‘exceptional’ Melanie Dirom heads the housing management team. The ‘proactive’ Arthur Chapman and Julie Loggenberg, who is ‘knowledgeable, quick to respond and approachable’, jointly head the development and property team.

The ‘holistic, fastidious and effective’ team at Forbes Solicitors is noted for its ‘wealth of sector knowledge’. The ‘brilliant’ Stuart Penswick heads the housing litigation team and the exceptional’ Lucy Worrall heads the housing and regeneration team. Daniel Milnes leads on contracts and projects, and Lachlan McLean specialises in housing management and leasehold matters.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s ‘diligent’ team is noted for its ‘sheer depth of experience’ and ‘speedy response times’. Clients include Adactus Homes, Homes & Communities Agency, Your Housing Group and The Guinness Partnership. Department head Mike Gaskell has ‘layers of experience’, and Janet Winrow leads on major regeneration projects. Also recommended are Adrian Bode, who has strong transactional expertise, the ‘excellent’ Kate Bouchier, and Suzanne Benson, whose ‘advice is always crisp and concise’. Richard St John Williams joined from DWF in May 2015.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s ‘effective’ team has ‘a real hands-on approach’. Team head Lindsay Felstead has ‘tremendous knowledge of the housing sector’ and senior associate John Cox* is ‘first-rate’. Consultant David Percival left the firm in October 2015. *Since publication of The Legal 500 UK 2017, John Cox has joined Bevan Brittan LLP.

Weightmans LLP delivers an ‘excellent service’ and provides ‘accurate and appropriate advice’. Highlights included advising Equity Housing Trust on two schemes to be acquired from Cheshire West and Chester Council. The ‘experiencedSian Evans heads the team, which includes Sheila Whitton.

The ‘responsive’ department at BLM includes Matthew Hyam, who is experienced in housing management litigation. Former team head Sarah Mansfield left the firm in January 2016.

Stephen Lintott heads the team at Slater and Gordon, which is recommended for development work and provides ‘speedy, concise responses’.

David Baybut’s ‘expanding’ team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP has shifted its focus onto advising registered social landlords and housing associations. Kate Bullen heads the property and development team, and Louise Hebborn heads the housing management team.

Specialist housing firm Knox Ellis Solicitors has an ‘increasingly strong reputation in the social housing field’. Tom Knox has ‘in-depth, technical knowledge’ and Sarah Ellis is noted for her ‘innovative approach and an approachable manner’.


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