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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 > North > Finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Banking and finance

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking and finance clients in North 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


Noted for its ‘first-rate service’ and ‘fair pricing’, Muckle LLP ‘has a very good reputation in the North East business community’. The team, which is ‘easy to deal with and commercially sensible’, provides the full range of services to banks and other financial institutions, but also assists corporate clients with banking, finance and fundraising matters. Additional areas of expertise include ship finance, social housing finance and education and healthcare sector finance work. ‘Very experienced’ team head Louise Duffy, who is ‘always willing to help in a timely manner’, and senior associate Nicola Nutley advised Lloyds Banking Group on a £60m revolving credit facility and related security and priority arrangements for a growing housebuilder client. Other highlights included assisting Newcastle University with matters pertaining to its £100m property development loan provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which will be used for the redevelopment of student accommodation and the construction of the urban sciences building at the Newcastle Science Centre. The ‘approachable’ Kevin Maloney is noted for his ‘business acumen’ and ‘in-depth knowledge of banking law combined with a firm grasp of property and commercial law’. Stephen McNicol joined Ward Hadaway.

The ‘strong and proactive’ team at Ward Hadaway stands out for its ‘excellent response times’ and ‘tenacious approach to solving challenging issues’, while ‘maintaining high standards at all times’. Team head Julie Harrison (who ‘regularly goes the extra mile for clients') advised Santander UK on the provision of term loan facilities to North East Property Fund, which included assisting with fund structuring and state aid matters. The practice also advised Bannatyne Fitness on various funding issues, including acquisition funding and funding arrangements, while the ‘skilled’ Imogen Holland assisted Newcastle City Council with a loan facility to Eagles Community Foundation to support the development of new stadium facilities. Other high-profile work included advising Total Capital Partners on the debt funding for the acquisition of Weird Fish, assisting Hyperdrive Innovation with growth finance matters, and advising Sunderland College on the restructuring of its multi-tranche facilities with Lloyds Bank. Other clients include the Mosscare St Vincent Housing Group and the Vodat Communications Group. Associate Jonathan Yates‘communicates in a clear jargon-free manner and offers timely advice’.

Sintons LLP handles real estate and corporate finance work for lenders and borrowers, including a large number of commercial portfolio landlords, and is noted for its deep expertise in the leisure, healthcare, property and environmental services sectors. Jane Meikle, who heads the ‘strong and customer-focused’ team, advised the Sandman Hotel Group and other companies within the group on various facilities to refinance hotel premises in Newcastle upon Tyne, among other UK locations, while Adrian Dye assisted Eagles Community Foundation with a loan agreement with Newcastle City Council and a grant funding agreement with the Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North and South Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland combined authority. Other highlights included advising longstanding client Dhillon Property on the restructuring and incorporation of several general partnerships into a limited company, which involved property refinancing matters. Senior associate Emma Pern is recommended alongside senior associate David Ferguson, who joined the team from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in January 2018 and focuses on real estate finance.

The ‘fair, open and honest’ team at Watson Burton LLP ‘provides excellent value for money’ and attracts praise for its ‘very good response times’. Clients include clearing banks, building societies, asset financiers, venture capital firms and educational institutions. ‘Very experienced’ team head Duncan Reid is ‘very good at communicating in a clear, concise and jargon-free way’; he has particular experience in venture capital and private equity funding structures. Reid advised Accelerated Digital Ventures on a number of investments in technology businesses totalling £18m. Other key individuals include the ‘very personable and hardworking’ Paul Wigham, who provides regular advice to clients in the venture capital, development capital and lending sectors; and real estate team head Naren Deen, who joined the firm in summer 2017 from Samuel Phillips Law Firm and routinely advises on ground rent portfolio transactions alongside funding and security structures.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP focuses on borrower work and handles frequent instructions pertaining to commercial loan facilities and investment transactions. Highlights included advising the investment and development business Lugano Property Group on a secured mezzanine financing round with the lenders Topland Jupiter and Matterhorn Capital, assisting Northern Bear with various banking arrangements including a revolving credit facility with Yorkshire Bank, and acting for the Parsons Group in its private equity investment from Lloyds Development Capital. Paul Hughes heads the team and is experienced in secured and unsecured facilities pertaining to acquisition finance, asset finance, property and project finance, structured debt, trade finance and leveraged deals.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has significant expertise in the transport, retail, leisure, hotel, manufacturing and real estate sectors as demonstrated by advising paint-pigment maker spin-off Huntsman Corporation Venator Materials on negotiating a bank guarantee pertaining to pension liabilities as part of the group’s UK business reorganisation. The practice is jointly led by John Ralph and Leeds-based John Connor: Ralph also heads the real estate sector group and specialises in property finance work, acting for lenders and borrowers, while Connor is well versed in assisting banks, non-traditional debt funders and various corporate borrowers as well as investors with a wide range of secured lending transactions.

Hay & Kilner receives regular instructions from banks and other financial institutions to advise on mortgage and securities matters, transactions and compliance issues. In significant work for the latter, ‘prompt, reliable and straight-forward’ team head Phil Broadhurst assisted a small regulated payment services provider with various regulatory issues including money laundering compliance. Advising on re-financing property portfolios is another key area of expertise for the team.

Frequently working in conjunction with the firm’s commercial property team, Jacksons Law is noted for its expertise in assisting lenders and borrowers with secured loans pertaining to investment property portfolios and the acquisition of land for residential and commercial development. Geoff Skeoch receives regular instructions from a number of lenders including Clydesdale Bank and Handelsbanken and is well versed in handling property security lending work, while managing partner Jane Armitage routinely provides advice on the mortgage financing of development properties and property portfolios. Erica Turner is another key member of the team. Lloyds Bank and Darlington Building Society are also among the clients.

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Insolvency and corporate recovery clients in North 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


Receiving regular support from various other departments including the firm’s banking, real estate and regulatory teams, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's insolvency and corporate restructuring practice has particular expertise in the retail, energy, infrastructure, construction and further education sectors alongside the professional services industry. Team head Paul Dutton acted for the administrators of the personal injury firm Unity Law in various matters, ensuring that the company in administration was able to benefit from successful personal injury claims after its sale. He also advised PWC  on the administration of Joseph Rhodes and Slater & Crabtree, which involved the staggered sale of various assets including intellectual property, shares and machinery, assisted Clydesdale Bank with enforcement options and possession proceedings pertaining to an agricultural property, and advised the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on reorganisation matters and inter-company loans.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's team acts on the sale of insolvent businesses, advises creditors on asset recovery matters and handles fraud investigations including the disqualification of directors accused of fraud. With particular sector expertise in chemicals and manufacturing, leisure, healthcare, retail and energy, the team regularly acts for banks, insolvency practitioners and LPA receivers. Julian Gill (who jointly heads the team with  Peter Maxwell and Sally Dallow) assisted the administrators of Fuda International Trading Company with the sale of the company’s assets, which traded as Hobart Rose and manufactured furniture and soft furnishings for well-known retailers, and acted for Santander in the restructuring of a circa £3.6m facility issued to a care home group. Maxwell and Dallow acted for the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in successfully winding up UK and overseas companies on public interest grounds following investigations by the Insolvency Service. This included a number of companies involved in unauthorised money lending activities to members of the public.

Handling contentious insolvency work is the cornerstone of Clarke Mairs LLP . Main litigation contact Susan Mairs predominately acts for insolvency practitioners and co-heads the team with Paul Rushworth, who handles a mix of contentious and non-contentious instructions. The firm’s client roster also includes large regional companies, SMEs, owner-managed businesses, directors and high-net-worth individuals. Fred Banning is recommended for insolvency litigation while also representing clients in mediation.

Ward Hadaway's ‘commercial, prompt, client-focused and risk-aware’ team has ‘deep expertise in personal insolvency matters’ and provides ‘informed advice’. Co-head Steven Petrie ‘bestows his very high standards across all levels of the team’ and is experienced in advising insolvency practitioners and accountants. In recent work, he acted for a liquidator in successfully pursuing claims against the former director of a company for preference payments, unlawful dividends and misfeasance, and assisted a trustee with pursuing a property transferred to a family member at an undervalue as part of a deceased person’s estates. ‘Prompt’ co-head Jane Garvin is well versed in handling contentious and non-contentious insolvency work with particular focus on corporate advisory and recovery matters.

Endeavour Partnership LLP ‘provides an excellent service’ and has a strong profile for contentious insolvency matters, particularly those involving the recovery of monies for creditors. The contentious sphere is a key area of expertise for team head Lee Bramley, who regularly receives instructions from insolvency practitioners. Other key individuals include Stephen Elliott, who has expertise in handling insolvency-related employment issues, as well as Jamie Brown and Nik Tunley. Brown is best known for dealing with property matters arising from insolvency scenarios and Tunley’s focus on non-contentious insolvency work leads to regular instructions from insolvency practitioners acting as administrators and liquidators. Tunley also acts for clients seeking to acquire the assets of insolvent companies.

The team at Hay & Kilner is led by Neil Harrold, who deals with a wide range of matters pertaining to insolvent and distressed businesses and provides advice to insolvency practitioners, directors and senior management alongside secured and unsecured creditors and investors.

'Strong commercial firm’ Jacksons Law is dedicated to assisting insolvency practitioners with corporate and private insolvencies and also advises businesses and individuals - most notably from the finance, energy, foodstuff and agriculture sectors - on various insolvency issues.‘Very knowledgeable’ team head Stephen Wiles ‘focuses on the client’s interests and gives very clear and concise advice’. He divides his time between Newcastle and Teesside and is also noted for his ‘commercial view’. In recent work, he acted for a trustee in pursuing a debtor following its bankruptcy, and assisted the liquidator of a company with the sale of company assets.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP advises insolvency practices, stakeholders, insolvent businesses and purchasers of insolvent businesses on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious insolvency and corporate recovery matters. On the non-contentious side, John Nicholson and Peter Robinson have particular expertise advising clients on the sale and acquisition of distressed businesses, frequently on a pre-pack basis, and on solvent and insolvent restructuring matters, while, in the contentious arena, head of dispute resolution Stewart Irvine is adept at handling debt recovery and insolvency litigation. Nicholson advised the Cairn Hotel Group on various aspects pertaining to the acquisition of two Holiday Inn branded hotel businesses, while Irvine assisted the liquidators of Bluedene with various insolvency-related matters. Other clients include RSM Restructuring Advisory, Begbies Traynor and Pitman Cohen Recoveries (PCR).

Assisting clients with the sale and purchase of assets out of administration constitutes a key element of Muckle LLP’s practice, while other areas of expertise include acting on behalf of insolvency practitioners, advising businesses in distress and assisting secured lenders and other creditors with debt recovery matters. Following the insolvency of specialist plant hire group Hewden Stuart, associate Kelly Jordan advised John Nixon on structuring the proposed purchase of three sites alongside associated businesses and assets, previously operated by the insolvent company. In a separate matter, she acted for the liquidators of Hawkins Solutions in a section 110 reorganisation; the transaction involved the distribution of various assets to two newly incorporated entities. The team is now led by banking and finance expert Louise Duffy after former practice head Andrew Cawkwell moved to Newtons Solicitors Limited in October 2017.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine receives regular instructions from SMEs, individuals, larger companies, lenders and insolvency practitioners to assist with debt recovery matters, asset transactions from insolvent companies alongside general insolvency law and corporate recovery issues. Craig Malarkey and solicitor Michael Stevens are the main contacts following the departure of former team head Kenton Bazeley, who moved to Archers Law LLP in 2018. In recent work, the group assisted a liquidator with the sale of various assets of an insolvent company to a third party, and, in a separate matter, handled an instruction from another liquidator to recover outstanding debts owned to the company in administration and to advise on misfeasance matters.

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