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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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Banking and finance

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Muckle LLP provides the spectrum of services to banks, financial institutions, corporates and individuals, as borrowers and lenders, seeking banking, finance and fundraising advice. Key areas of expertise for the team include refinancing, acquisition finance, turnarounds and debt restructuring. The 'reliable' Louise Duffy leads the team, which includes senior associate Nicola Nutley, who is developing a niche in healthcare funding and funding into the registered provider and education sectors.

Practice head(s):Louise Duffy

Other key lawyers:Kevin Maloney; Gail Bennett; Nicola Nutley

Testimonials

'Louise Duffy is an excellent role model for the team and has a great level of experience'

'Nicola Nutley is a technical expert who can always be relied on to do an excellent job'

'The team is very practical, helpful and always provides excellent client service'

Key Clients

HSBC UK Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc/Bank of Scotland plc

Santander UK plc

Home Group

Newcastle Building Society

Work highlights

  • Advised mid-market private equity investor LDC, with the banking aspects of a £20m private equity investment into Mandata Group.
  • Advised HSBC on its funding of Cowell’s Garden Centre Limited.
  • Advised on the banking aspects on the sale of Northumbrian Fine Foods to Biscuit International (a French company) from CriSeren Foods.

Ward Hadaway's practice, which sits on the national panels for Barclays Bank and Lloyds Bank, provides a full service for funding and securities matters. The team draws on expertise from the firm's other department to provide sector-specific expertise in areas such as construction finance, corporate tax and state aid. The group is led by Julie Harrison, whose clients include lenders, debt funders, private equity houses and public sector funders.

Practice head(s):Julie Harrison

Other key lawyers:Imogen Holland; Simon Errington

Testimonials

'The team has a broad level of experience and cross-border transactions'

Key Clients

Barclays Bank plc

Santander UK plc

Royal Bank of Scotland plc/NatWest Bank plc

Allied Irish Bank

FW Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Inn Collection Group on the refinancing of its debt facility.
  • Acting for the North East Fund in relation to a £60m loan from the European Investment Bank as part of the £145m Investment Fund.
  • Acting for North East Property Fund in relation to a £1m loan facility to Homes by Carlton (Chilton). The work included the preparation of facility and security documentation, as well as due diligence on property and construction matters.

Real estate finance is a real area of expertise for the team at Sintons LLP, which is instructed by a wide variety of banking sector lenders and borrowers, including commercial landlords. The group is also noted for its work in the healthcare and education sectors, acting for GPs and dentists as borrowers. Practice head  Jane Meikle has significant experience in real estate finance borrower work, but also often handles work for lenders. David Ferguson was promoted to partner in February 2019.

Practice head(s):Jane Meikle

Other key lawyers:David Ferguson; Alok Loomba

Testimonials

'Jane Meikle and David Ferguson are first class'

'The firm has excellent knowledge of the healthcare sector, particularly dentists and GPs - it is considered one of the most knowledgeable firms in this sector in the North East'

'The team is always available, helpful and supportive'

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank plc

AIB Group (UK) plc

Valens Medical Partnership

Santander UK plc

Gainford Hotel Group

Work highlights

  • Advised on an agreement which saw  AIB Group UK's facilities made available to nine companies within the control of common shareholders of the Danieli Group. The facilities were used to fund and develop Newcastle's first shipping container village comprising approximately 60 shipping containers.
  • Advised Lloyds on a term loan facility to SIPP trustees to fund the acquisition by The Office Company (North) of a property to be used as fully serviced office accommodation.
  • Advised AIB Group UK on the management buyout of Clavis IDS, including negotiating an intercreditor deed regulating the seller's deferred consideration position.

Watson Burton LLP's practice advises borrowers and lenders, investors and investee companies, with expertise in a variety of financings, including asset-backed lending, acquisition finance, venture capital and private equity funding. The group is led by private equity specialist Duncan Reid, while Naren Deen leads on real estate finance.

Practice head(s):Duncan Reid

Other key lawyers:Paul Wigham; Naren Deen

Key Clients

Everflow Group

LOK Developments

Wear Inns

BGF Plc

Northstar Ventures

Work highlights

  • Advised Accelerated Digital Ventures on a significant number of investments in scale-up technology businesses, totalling over £50.5m on investments in PushDR, Snap 40, Healthera, UK Settled, Perlego, Lingumi, Move GB, Chargifi,  and Tradeteq.
  • Advised Northstar Ventures on a number of investment deals in 2018 equating to around £1.5m worth of funding (both debt and equity based) for high growth North-East tech businesses.
  • Advised on a £3m refinance for ITPS Holdings Limited and IT Professional Services Limited, including a revolving credit facility with HSBC.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP handles work for a variety of regional private equity and banking clients (as borrowers, lenders, investors and investees), with expertise spanning the manufacturing, consumer debt, real estate and education sectors. John Ralph specialises in property finance and co-heads the team alongside secured lending expert John Connor.

Practice head(s):John Ralph; John Connor

Key Clients

Santander UK plc

HSBC Bank plc

Cairngorm Capital

NorthEdge Capital

Department for Education

Work highlights

  • Advised the Department of Education as sole adviser on 13 college mergers and restructurings over the course of a year.
  • Advised British Engines on the negotiation and agreement of three bilateral parallel revolving credit agreements between a number of banks and certain other subsidiaries of the parent, together with a complex security trust arrangement and related intercreditor issues.
  • Acted for Europa Debt Lux, a debt fund managed by Europa Capital, in relation to a loan made availability to Brighton Developments.

The practice at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP, which sits within the firm's corporate and commercial property department, has a particular focus on borrower and investee mandates. The group is instructed on a variety of banking and finance transactions by both domestic and international clients. Paul Hughes leads the team while also advising on secured and unsecured facilities, asset finance, structured debt and leveraged finance deals.

Practice head(s):Paul Hughes

Other key lawyers:John Nicholson; Ryan Bannon; Peter Robinson; Paul Hughes

Testimonials

'Good availability and partner involvement'

'Paul Hughes is excellent at explaining the finer, technical points on facility agreements and other banking documents'

'Clients are not gradually pushed down the pecking order as a transaction progresses as so often happens with larger firms'

Key Clients

Cairn Hotel Group

Lugano Group

Danieli Group

Woodbury Equity Holdings

High Street Group

Work highlights

  • Secured a refinance of the Danieli Group's facilities with AIB Group UK
  • Advised Woodbury Equity Holdings on debt and equity investments into Global Icle Test and Snowonly.
  • Advised High Street Group in connection with facilities to be used in connection with two high-profile, mixed use development projects in the North West, Holloways Heads in Birmingham and Middlewood Plaza in Salford.


Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Michael Stevens - Tilly Bailey & Irvine

The group at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is able to draw on the firm's wider restructuring expertise, often working closely with the banking, private equity, pensions, employment, real estate and regulatory teams. It also has a strong non-performing loan (NPL) portfolio practice. The team is led by non-contentious restructuring and insolvency expert Paul Dutton.

Practice head(s):Paul Dutton

Key Clients

HSBC Bank plc

Clydesdale Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

Pepper (UK)

KPMG

PwC

EY

Deloitte

Work highlights

  • Acting for KRE North East in the pre-pack sale of Express Managed Services Limited, a manufacturing business, back to the existing management team.
  • Acting for the management team of Godfrey Syrett Limited in the purchase of shares in that company by RCapital. This required corporate and banking advice.
  • Acting for the administrators (KPMG LLP) in the sale of property owned by Dual Compendium Limited, a shopfitting business based in the north east.
  • Acting for the administrators (Grant Thornton) in the administration of Thos Proctor & Sons. This was a high profile transaction in the NE business market and involved a number of property sales.
  • Acting for the adminstartors (KPMG) in the sale of property owned by Dual Compendium Limited, a shopfitting business based in the north east.

Ward Hadaway's team handles all aspects of personal and corporate, contentious and non-contentious insolvency. The group is also instructed on restructuring and post-formal insolvency matters, transactions, investigations and claims in no-asset insolvencies. Clients include Big 4 accountancy firms and major insolvency practitioners. The department is co-led by Jane Garvin and Steven Petrie.

Practice head(s):Jane Garvin; Steven Petrie

Other key lawyers:Laura Keegan

Testimonials

'Ward Hadaway's team is fabulously dedicated, client focused and commercial'

'Steven Petrie is extremely approachable and works with his clients for the best results'

'Jane Garvin provides excellent input and advice, and is able to introduce responsive Insolvency Practitioners around the country'

Key Clients

Mazars

RSM

Baker Tilley Creditor Services

KPMG

Begbies Traynor

Grant Thornton

Deloitte

Smith and Williamson

FRP

Work highlights

  • The firm acted for RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP, the administrators of NJM Clothing Limited, in the leading case looking at the process of appointing an administrator and in particular, the contents of a "Notice of Appointment of Administrators".

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's team leverages the firm's strong national presence, with expertise in restructuring matters, including directors duties, debt and securities restructuring, the sale and purchase of distressed or insolvent businesses, asset recovery for creditors and insolvency practitioners and the disqualification of directors. Julian Gill leads the non-contentious restructuring and insolvency practice and the asset recovery team alongside Peter Maxwell .

Practice head(s):Julian Gill; Peter Maxwell

Other key lawyers:Sally Dallow

Key Clients

Lloyds Banking Group

Santander

RSM

KPMG LLP

Deloitte LLP

The Insolvency Service

FRP

Grant Thornton (UK) LLP

KSA Group

KRE Corporate Recovery

Work highlights

  • Womble Bond Dickinson 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.
  • Acted for the Joint Administrators of J. Hughes Construction Limited (in administration) to novate construction contracts, preserving the business and employment of the company's staff and maximising recoveries for creditors.
  • Acted for the Joint Administrators of DBS Law Limited (in administration), a legal practice with offices in Birmingham and Nottingham, in relation to a 'pre-pack' sale of the business and assets to another legal practice,  which included obtaining the approval of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority to the sale.

Insolvency boutique Clarke Mairs LLP services insolvency practitioners and other stakeholders in the insolvency process, predominantly acting in contentious insolvency cases. The group has also developed a practice in non-contentious restructuring and turnaround work. Co-practice head Susan Mairs often acts in high-value claims against multiple respondents, and has experience in conducting mediations. Paul Rushworth, who co-leads the team alongside Mairs, handles both contentious and non-contentious cases.

Practice head(s):Susan Mairs; Paul Rushworth

Other key lawyers:Louise Ager; Clare Summerhayes

Muckle LLP's team is frequently instructed by insolvency practitioners on coplex pre-pack administrations, in addition to advising businesses in distress and secured lenders on debt recovery. The multi-disciplinary team combines restructuring and insolvency specialists with experts in other areas, such as real estate, employment, and banking and finance. Practice head Kelly Jordan focuses on transactional corporate recovery work.

Practice head(s):Kelly Jordan

Testimonials

'The team is extremely knowledgeable in the insolvency and corporate recovery side of work'

'Very pro-active with their assessment of any issues that may arise'

'Accessible and experienced in their field'

Key Clients

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

RMT Accountants & Business Advisors Limited

FRP Advisory LLP

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Baldwins Restructuring & Insolvency LLP

Leather Matthews Restructuring LLP

Northpoint Associates Limited

Handelsbanken plc

KPMG LLP

KRE (North East) Limited

O’Brien Aggregates Marsden Limited

Work highlights

  • Following months of discussions with administrators, the firm helped O’Brien Aggregate Marsden acquire Marsden Quarry, saving around 30 jobs put at risk following the collapse of civil engineering firm, Owen Pugh.

  • Kelly advised Dynamic Distance Learning on the sale of its business and assets prior to it going into creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

Short Richardson & Forth's team specialises in insolvency litigation, often including detailed and forensic investigations, leading to claims such as misfeasance, preference claims and asset- and receipt-based claims. The group is also called upon to defend directors against accusations of civil wrongdoing by insolvency office-holders and disqualification proceedings. With a focus on contentious insolvency recovery actions, fraud, modern chancery contentious work and high-value contract litigation, Tim Berg leads the team.

Practice head(s):Tim Berg

Other key lawyers:Alexandra Withers

Testimonials

'Tight-knit, knowledgeable team, handling heavyweight insolvency litigation'

'Tim Berg is unflappable, with a great legal mind'

'Alexandra Withers is an energetic, knowledgeable and practical litigator'

Work highlights

  • Investigating and pursuing claims for a liquidation of a fraudulent payroll company that was also engaged in MTIC metal fraud.
  • Acting for a liquidator of a company engaged in importation and sale of alcohol.  Losses to HMRC involve diversion fraud and alcohol duty evasion.
  • Acting for a Trustee in Bankruptcy in realising the assets of the debtor with issues concerning capacity of the bankrupt.

Archers Law LLP is instructed by insolvency practitioners on a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters, including transactions, liquidations and bankruptcy proceedings. Team head Kenton Bazeley joined the team in July 2018.

Practice head(s):Kenton Bazeley

Other key lawyers:Helen Lyne; Richard Flounders

Testimonials

'They have great connections with local business, and have a good sense of the commercial realities in which their clients operate and always look for the best commercial solution for their clients'

'Richard Flounders is dogged in seeking to get the best result for his clients'

'Tight-knit, knowledgeable team, committed to achieving results for its clients'

Work highlights

  • Statutory Demand and Winding Up Petition in respect of a Personal Guarantee.
  • Claim against Director in respect of breached directors’ duties.
  • Proposed liquidation of a company and potential bankruptcy of individual

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP's team is predominantly focused on transactions, providing advice on complex structures and arrangements for companies in administration. The group is led by corporate lawyer John Nicholson, who has significant experience in non-contentious corporate recovery and insolvency issues, particularly acting in the sale or acquisition of distressed businesses.

Practice head(s):John Nicholson

Other key lawyers:Paul Hughes; Stewart Irvine; Peter Robinson

Key Clients

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

RMT Business Advisors and Accountants

Homecare Plus

Hotel 52 Group

MJF Facilities Management

FRP Advisory

Work highlights

  • The team acted for Homecare Plus in relation to its pre-pack acquisition by Homecare Plus of (i) the domiciliary care businesses of both Nurtured Care Limited (in administration) and (ii) Age Concern Newcastle (in administration) in separate transactions at different times.
  • The firm advised Hotel 52 Group regarding the acquisition of the Parkmore Hotel in Yarm (a prominent hotel and wedding venue) from its administrators.
  • The team were initially instructed by Steven Ross and Allan Kelly of RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP on their appointment as joint-administrators of DB Security and Fire Systems Ltd (in administration) and subsequent sale of its business and assets to Intruder Detection and Surveillance Limited on a pre-pack
  • The team were instructed by MJF Facilities Management on the acquisition of the business and assets of Swift Facilities Management UK Limited.

Work for insolvency practitioners and medium-sized companies is at the core of Tilly Bailey & Irvine's practice, but it also advises individuals, larger companies and lenders on a range of insolvency matters, including bankruptcy, insolvency, liquidations, restructurings and receiverships. The group is led by corporate specialist Craig Malarkey. Kenton Bazeley moved to Archers Law LLP in 2018.

Practice head(s):Craig Malarkey

Other key lawyers:Michael Stevens; Nigel Broadbent; Sara Garnett

Work highlights

  • Successful application for Orders granting permission for directors to use a prohibited name under s216 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
  • Acting for the Joint Administrators of a haulage company in respect of a pre-pack sale, debt recovery and director misfeasance.
  • Acting for the Joint Liquidators in respect of preference payments and illegal dividends of a company in the solar energy industry.


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