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Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘truly exceptional’ team attracts praise for its combination of ‘excellent legal advice and commerciality’ with ‘all-round brilliant service’. Key members include Julian Gill, who has particular expertise in contentious asset recovery issues; John Pennie, who focuses on insolvencies; the ‘technically very strongPeter Maxwell; and Sally Dallow, who is recognised for her expertise in investigative work, asset recovery and public interest matters. Highlights included acting for the Insolvency Service on the winding up of multiple UK and international companies, advising Smith Electric Vehicles on the implications of the insolvency of its UK subsidiaries and related administrator appointments, and working with KPMG on the Kilfrost Group’s restructuring, which involved the sale of it US business. Lloyds Banking Group and Santander are also clients; Gill advised the latter on the restructuring of its facilities to a care home group. Managing associate Gerard McTernan is recommended for non-contentious insolvency and restructuring mandates.

A market leader in the region’, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP fields ‘an intelligent, supportive and proactive team’ that is ‘never afraid to seek out complex solutions’. The ‘highly experiencedPaul Dutton leads the practice and attracts praise for his ‘very practical approach’; Dutton’s recent highlights include advising Joseph Rhodes Group on a restructuring and the placement of part of the group into administration, and acting for Cleveland Tontine on the accelerated sale of a hotel and restaurant business. In another key mandate, Dutton acted alongside Birmingham-based Andrew Jordan for Grant Thornton as administrators of St John’s on the Hill School, which involved a pre-packaged administration sale. HSBC, Clydesdale Bank, Tesco Bank, Santander and PWC are also noteworthy clients. Consultant Peter Cranston specialises in non-contentious matters and Leeds-based senior associate Andrew Black leads the group’s work on investigatory, contentious and personal insolvency issues. Lemi McAuley and Victoria Procter (both senior associates in Leeds) focus on insolvency procedures and real estate finance restructurings, respectively.

Clarke Mairs LLP is ‘an excellent firm, which provides a first-class and superb service’ and which attracts praise for its ‘knowledge, practicality, approachability and friendliness’. Susan Mairs and Paul Rushworth (who is many clients’ ‘first point of contact’) jointly lead the department; Mairs focuses solely on contentious issues while Rushworth handles a mix of contentious and non-contentious mandates. The ‘brilliantly impressiveFred Banning is also recommended for insolvency litigation. Recent highlights include advising a liquidator on various claims against a former director, acting for a trustee on the bankruptcy of a property developer and financial adviser, and assisting two proposed administrators with a company voluntary arrangement and potential administration. The team’s client roster spans large regional companies, banks, SMEs, owner-managed businesses, directors and high-net-worth individuals.

Muckle LLP’s team (which is ‘very good on all counts’) is led by Andrew Cawkwell, who ‘combines excellent legal skills with a relaxed attitude that always gets the right results’. Cawkwell recently advised Northpoint Associates as trustees of Bedes World on compliance with its fiduciary obligations, and led advice on the appointment of joint administrators of Hydrofit Alliance and the subsequent sale of Hydrofit Alliance and its assets to Altec Hydraulics. Cawkwell was also involved in the rescue and restructure of Darlington Football Club. Associate Kelly Jordan recently acted for KC Engineering Bearings on its acquisition of KC Engineering and its assets from administrators, and advised on the appointment of joint administrators of Autoweld Systems and the subsequent sale of the company’s assets. Other clients include Svenska Handelsbanken, Leather Matthews Restructuring, KPMG, Baldwins Restructuring & Insolvency and RSM Restructuring Advisory.

Ward Hadaway provides clients with ‘unrivalled support’ that it ‘knowledgeable, proactive and innovative; advice will always be solid and reliable’. Practice co-heads Jane Garvin and Steven Petrie are ‘clear regional leaders’; Garvin has a notable focus on corporate advisory and recovery issues, and Petrie is highly regarded for his insolvency expertise. The department has notable experience in contentious matter and. recently acted for Begbies Traynor in its role as liquidator of Crawford Parcels, which involved a transaction at undervalue claim. The firm also acted for Deloitte as administrators of a group of manufacturing companies and assisted a manufacturer with its position following the administration of Austin Reed. Petrie also led advice to a joint trustee relating to the bankruptcy of a non-registered dental practice. Associate Gemma Jackson is recommended for non-contentious corporate transactions. Other clients include Baldwins Restructuring & Insolvency, Baker Tilly Creditor Services and KPMG.

Endeavour Partnership LLP’s ‘excellent’ four-partner practice is viewed by many as ‘peerless in the Teesside area for insolvency and corporate recovery work’, thanks in part to its ‘phenomenal success rate’. Lee Bramley (who attracts praise for his ‘commercial and straight-forward approach’) leads the team, which has ‘an exceptional reputation’ for contentious insolvency matters. Other key team members include employment head Stephen Elliott, who is recommended for employment-related insolvency issues; Jamie Brown, who focuses on property-related mandates; and corporate and commercial team head Nik Tunley, who is the key name in the group for non-contentious work.

Recognised for its expertise in corporate recovery, Hay & Kilner’s group works closely with many of the firm’s other departments and covers a wide range of issues, including insolvency-related asset and business sales, investigations and asset recovery procedures. The department’s clients span insolvency practitioners, secured and unsecured creditors, investors, and company directors. Neil Harrold leads the group, which includes Rodney Jones, who is recommended for contentious matters.

Jacksons Law’s ‘technical, competent and practical’ department is well-versed in insolvency mandates, regularly acting for insolvency practitioners. The ‘commercial and technically strong’ Stephen Wiles leads the team; his recent highlights include advising on asset disposals, matters arising from liquidations, and several administrations. Other areas of expertise include defending claims made by liquidators or trustees, business protection and restructurings, and advising on voluntary agreements on behalf of administrators, liquidators, receivers, bankruptcy trustees and supervisors.

John Nicholson leads the department at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP and has notable expertise in non-contentious corporate recovery and insolvency issues, with particular emphasis on sales and acquisitions of distressed businesses and corporate restructurings. Nicholson’s recent highlights include advising Cairn Hotel Group on its acquisition of Stoke Place Hotel via a new subsidiary; assisting the joint liquidators of Practical Compounds with the sale of its assets following insolvency; and acting for the joint administrators of MGM Precision Engineers on several asset sales. Begbies Traynor, RSM Restructuring Advisory and Tait Walker are also clients. Other key practitioners include debt recovery and contentious insolvency specialist Stewart Irvine; Paul Hughes, who focuses on transactions vulnerable to challenges due to insolvencies; and Peter Robinson, who is recommended for non-contentious insolvencies.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine is ‘a very professional firm’ that ‘handles all matters extremely well’ and has ‘exceptionally broad knowledge and a friendly approach’. The department’s client base spans SMEs, individuals, lenders, landlords, debtors and insolvency practitioners. ‘Excellent litigator’ Kenton Bazeley leads the group and ‘is a real asset to the team’; clients rate his ‘ability to handle any situation that arises due to his up-to-date and current expertise’. Also recommended are Craig Malarkey, who was promoted to the partnership in 2016 and handles a range of commercial restructuring and insolvency issues; associate Sara Garnett, who regularly handles real estate-related insolvency work; and Theresa Carling (also an associate), who provides employment support to the firm’s insolvency recovery practice.

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