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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 > South East > Corporate and commercial > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers: partners

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers: partners

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 clients in South East 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


With notable strength in the health and technology sectors, Blake Morgan LLP has been advising on M&A, due diligence and service contracts, among other matters. Guy Constant and commercial partner Gayle Curry advised InHealth Group on buying shares in Health Intelligence and Pain Management Solutions, acquiring RIG Reporting from RIG Healthcare Recruit, and purchasing Care UK’s diagnostics and clinical assessment and treatment services in the North West. In another standout matter, Constant and London-based Martin Kay acted for Osirium Technologies during its Β£8.8m AIM IPO, which saw the commercial team advise on contracts and software licensing. Commercial practice head Alison Patten-Hall recently advised education and healthcare sector companies on matters ranging from procuring IT solutions to establishing joint ventures. Other clients include The Mission Marketing Group, DFx Technology and ByBox. Penny Rinta-Suksi splits her time between Reading and Oxford and is recommended with up-and-coming senior associate Elisabeth Bell, associate Tim Coles and consultant John Cole, who has β€˜a wealth of business experience’. Simon Staples joined as corporate practice head from Ashfords LLP following Michael Stace’s departure to Browne Jacobson LLP in Birmingham. Edward Lee moved to Howes Percival LLP.

A standout firm for technology sector transactions and providing a β€˜very good level of service’, Osborne Clarke acts for clients such as Xerox, Avanti Communications Group plc and NewVoiceMedia. India group co-head Jeffrey Chang made partner and advised Tech Mahindra on its acquisition of Target Group. Robert Wood is adept in private equity deals, as is business transaction practice head Greg Leyshon who β€˜provides solid advice’. Wood advised the shareholders of Imagine Publishing on its sale to Future, and Leyshon assisted the management of Odeon Cinemas and UCI Cinemas with the companies’ sale to AMC Theatres from Terra Firma, Cross-border transactions expert Sara Valentine heads the Thames Valley corporate practice and recently acted for the management and shareholders of Rush Hair in a management buyout, which was backed by a Β£16m investment from LDC; as part of this transaction, the sellers sold their shares in Rush Holdings to a new company purchaser funded by LDC’s investment and Rush Hair’s management team. Other clients include NVM Private Equity, Trakm8 Holdings and Redwood Technologies Group. James Massy-Collier is recommended for AIM and Official List mandates and the expertise of commercial practice head Russell Bowyer includes advising on joint ventures, outsourcing and IP protection. Senior associate Caroline Drummond and associate director Mike Freer are rising stars.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s recent workload includes high-profile venture capital and spin-out transactions. Technology and life sciences expert Will Axtell assisted Evox Therapeutics and Vaccitech with their spin-outs from the University of Oxford, which included advising on establishing the companies and handling a Β£10m investment in each from Oxford Sciences Innovation. Other work highlights saw David Tighe assist with Evotec’s Β£55.7m acquisition of Cyprotex and Justin Starling advise King’s College London on an investment from Abingworth in GammaDelta Therapeutics, an immunotherapy company founded on research from the university along with that of Cancer Research Technology and The Francis Crick Institute. Chris Shelley, who heads the commercial practice outside London, β€˜provides excellent input’ and recently advised on a range of niche commercial contracts for the firm’s new client WideCells Group, which included agreements with cord blood banks for the provision of stem cell processing and storage. Quarto Publishing Group, Natural Environment Research Council and Nexeon are additional clients. Rob Hayes β€˜provides excellent and timely advice’ and recently promoted partner James Went β€˜understands the practical implications of transactions’. Commercial partner Joanne Vengadesan splits her time between Basingstoke and Reading and is noted with Nicola McConville, who joined from Blake Morgan LLP. The corporate practice is headed nationally by Guildford-based Simon Bickerdike.

At Shoosmiths LLP, practice head Emma Gibson is singled out for private equity and venture capital work. She worked alongside Southampton-based Sean Wright in advising LDC on its multimillion-pound investments in Rush Hair and ByBox. Other highlights included assisting BRC Global Standards with its sale to LGC and handling Henkel’s cross-border acquisition of the Bloo, Jeyes and Parozone home care brands from Strategic Value Partners. The firm is well established in the technology, education, retail and healthcare sectors and recently added Orbis Education and Care, Proxama and Wifinity to its client list. Kiran Dhesi is a senior associate to watch and Rachel Turner was a key hire from Boyes Turner, where she garnered experience in mid-market corporate transactions and advising business angels and venture capital trusts on their investments in early-stage and high-growth companies. Simon Edwards took over as commercial practice head following Paul de Vince’s departure to Gateley Plc. Adam Dowdney also left the firm and is now with IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett).

Boyes Turner provides an β€˜unrivalled level of service and value for money’, and acts for clients such as Auto Trader, Panasonic and Circor. Commercial and technology practice head Mark Blunden has been handling a number of cross-border matters and advised an electronics company on restructuring global partnerships, bringing new products to market in multiple jurisdictions and commercial contacts. Bill Gornall-King impresses with his β€˜professionalism and in-depth knowledge’ and is advising Red Fox ID on a venture that provides new software products and services to the transport sector, and so far, advice has included IP and IT rights protection and developing contracts for distribution to the company’s global customers. Sarah Williamson was promoted to partner and is adept in technology, digital publishing, advertising and communications sector matters. Robert Rice leads the corporate team and acted for KYOCERA Document Solutions UK on its acquisition of M.C.L. β€˜Intelligent, competent and well informed’ Kate Eavis is another name to note and was recently promoted to partner. Rachel Turner is now with Shoosmiths LLP.

The practice at Field Seymour Parkes LLP acts for all manner of clients, ranging from entrepreneurs to owner-managed businesses and multinationals; the roster includes companies such as Whistl, Heartstone Inns and Bewley Homes. Assisting new client Opti-cal Survey Equipment with its sale to A-Plant was a highlight for practice co-head Penelope Garden, who stands out for cross-border, private equity and venture capital transactions. Recently promoted partner Chris Brightling also leads the team and advised the shareholders of Factor 21 on its private equity-backed management buyout; the company was re-registered as a private limited company and now operates as Factor 21 Limited and Factor 21 (North) Limited. Managing partner Jeremy Parkes handled LKQ Euro’s multimillion-pound acquisition of Arleigh Group, which operates under the companies Arleigh International, Nova Leisure and Midland Chandlers. Senior partner Ian Wood-Smith excels in high-value transactions and leads large-scale corporate restructurings across a range of industries, and Cathrine Ripley is the main contact for commercial work, including advising on outsourcing agreements and business terms and conditions.

The β€˜reliable and flexible’ team at Freeths LLP experienced an uptick in cross-border work and shines in matters such as company disposals and acquisitions, and management buyouts and reorganisations. Corporate practice head Leon Arnold and recently promoted director Tom Walker β€˜make corporate law uncomplicated and provide a reliable service’. Arnold advised Safeware Quasar on its sale to UL, a US-based safety consulting and certification company, and also assisted with a number of acquisitions for Integrity Print, including its purchase of Alliance Labels, EU Mailers and Colebourne & Partners, which is in administration; Walker acted for the shareholders of Ace Hotel in a multimillion-pound refinancing and restructuring of a central London hotel. Other clients include Higher Education Policy Institute, DTC International and ResMed. Senior partner Malcolm Sadler heads the commercial team and has a wealth of experience in advising companies in different stages of development on joint ventures and share structures, among other matters.

The team at White & Black Limited is β€˜very knowledgeable, commercial and has the transactional experience to be on par or surpass significantly larger firms’. The corporate and technology-focused boutique receives numerous cross-border instructions covering M&A, investments, company disposals and share capital reorganisations. Phil Riman leads the practice with the β€˜technically strong’ John Allen, who handled the acquisition of Mark Roberts Motion Control for new client Nikon and also advised ams on acquiring Cambridge CMOS Sensors, which now trades as ams Sensors UK. Recently promoted partner Stephen Silvester acted for another new client, NVM Private Equity, during its substantial investment in Lending Works. The client roster also includes Solid Solutions, Mediatonic and Highland Capital Partners. β€˜Experienced’ senior associate Rob Powell is head of the sports and leisure practice but also recommended for private equity and venture capital work.

Herrington Carmichael LLP’s lawyers are β€˜as sharp with legal knowledge as they are with client care’. For example, practice head Yavan Brar has β€˜market-leading understanding of how the law practically needs to work for clients’; his recent workload includes global expansions, corporate restructurings, share acquisitions and selling companies for clients in industries such as hospitality and technology. Dividing his time between Camberley and Wokingham, Mark Chapman is a β€˜legal champion’ providing β€˜the very best advice’ on service agreements, privacy policies, supply of goods and other high-end commercial matters. Alex Canham made senior solicitor and is also highly regarded.

At Pitmans LLP, IPO and AIM listing expert Oliver Pilkington, who splits his time between London and Reading, made partner and advised finnCap on its role as AIM broker to Eco City Vehicles (now trading as Tax Systems) relating to the Β£73m reverse takeover of Tax Computer Systems and its Β£45m placing of shares. Philip Weaver, together with Gatienne Brault & AssociΓ©s, advised Westcoast France on acquiring the electronic office supply division of ADVEO France and handled the supply and sale agreements between ADVEO and Westcoast in Germany, Italy and Spain. In other work, managing partner John Hutchinson assisted Ridgeway Garages (Newbury) with its Β£107m sale to Marshall Motor Group. Roger Gregory divides his time between Reading and London and is renowned for US and European mandates, concentrating on M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions. Recent personnel changes saw former head Andrew Peddie depart to Gateley Plc and Southampton-based department head Sean Kelly take over as leader of the team in Thames Valley.

At Blandy & Blandy LLP, practice head David Few assisted the shareholders of Box Technologies with the company’s sale to Flytech Technology. IP practice head Debbie Brett and Nick Burrows, who leads the charity and education team, are the primary contacts for commercial work. Lloyds Bank and Esportif International are also clients.

Clarkslegal LLP routinely advises international companies on making investments in the UK. Practice head Ashan Arif, who also leads the technology and media sector groups, acted for the spin-out of a cosmetics company on launching its UK operations, among other matters. Aside from the technology sectors, Arif’s client base also spans the hotel and motor industries and in a recent highlight, he assisted new client Meridian Leisure Hotels with selling two hotels to International Hotel Properties. Another recent mandate saw senior consultant Jon Chapman assist Ludgate Environmental Fund with selling one of its portfolio companies. Carillion, University of Reading and Kosan Crisplant are also clients. Senior consultant Kirstin Parker is highly regarded for commercial work and advises on contractual issues, tenders, risk management and various other matters.

The β€˜very professional’ department at Gardner Leader LLP acts for companies across a range of sectors, and new clients include Campion Willcocks and Molly Maid. The β€˜highly recommended’ Diane Yarrow joined the Maidenhead and Newbury offices from B P Collins LLP and recently advised Progressive Technology on its merger with Innovate 2 Make. The firm’s recent mandates also include private equity investments, employee buyouts and acting for investment vehicles and consortium funders on numerous acquisitions. Newbury and Maidenhead-based Richard Buckeridge is also recommended alongside managing partner Derek Rodgers and β€˜very knowledgeable and efficient’ practice head Greg Humphreys, who is dual-qualified in South Africa and the UK. At senior associate level, employment expert Michelle Morgan arrived from Freeths LLP and Emma Ladd became head of the commercial practice at Coles Solicitors.

Gateley Plc’s β€˜excellent’ Reading practice was launched by the renowned Andrew Peddie, who recently left Pitmans LLP with senior associate Mark Metcalfe. The team excels in the technology, food, defence and recruitment sectors, with The Chemistry Group, New York Bakery Co and K2 Partnering Solutions featuring on the client roster. Peddie β€˜has good judgement’ and, alongside Lake and Metcalfe, assisted Brand Events Holdings with selling 50% of its shares in Brand Events 1 (now known as Brand Events TM) to MGL2, a subsidiary of Trinity Mirror. Paul de Vince was another key hire from Shoosmiths LLP, where he headed the commercial team; his expertise includes outsourcing, designing trade models, supply chain management and procurement matters.

Spratt Endicott β€˜provides the advice of a large firm with the personal touch of a small one’. Practice head and firm chairman John Spratt delivers β€˜calmness and reliability in the most exacting of circumstances’; the β€˜outstanding’ Hitendra Patel’s expertise includes business reorganisations, management buyouts and partnerships; and associate Catherine O’Riordan is β€˜very knowledgeable’.

Brethertons LLP experienced an uptick in company acquisitions and disposals, commercial agreement matters, and the streamlining and expansion of businesses. The firm recently acted for the shareholders of an engineering company regarding selling the majority of their shares in the business and is advising another client on acquiring a financial services company. The client roster includes Carwood Motor Units and Diligent Commerce. The department is now headed by IT and IP expert Brian Auld following Colin Witherall’s retirement.

Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors has a β€˜strong presence in the local market’, particularly among owner-managed businesses; the team adopts β€˜a commercial approach on fees without compromising on service and quality’. Practice head Bill Annan handled various matters for The Romans Group, including share acquisitions, the sale of a business and advising on commercial contracts. The β€˜pragmatic’ Barry Niven acted for Can Advertising Holdings on the management buyout of a healthcare agency. Retail, manufacturing and financial companies also instructed the practice.

Royds Withy King receives praise for its β€˜flexible and friendly service’. As part of the Withy King’s merger with Royds Solicitors, Claus Andersen joined the firm’s London office and, together with solicitor Jennifer Sampson, advised new client Shaw Gibbs on its acquisition of Cooper Murray. Sampson joined from Harrison Clark Rickerbys and β€˜always aims to reach a solution for the client’ with a β€˜really positive and collaborative approach’. London-based John North took over as practice head from Richard Baxter, who is now with Al Tamimi & Company. Swindon-based senior associate Rishi Ladwa is also well regarded. The firm’s clients also include Oxford Ventures Group, HSBC and TM Group.

Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex clients in South East 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


Clyde & Co LLP is a major regional player for corporate and commercial matters. The firm’s expertise extends to handling data protection, M&A, joint venture and private equity matters for companies in the technology, property and finance sectors. The team advised Simec Group on its Β£330m acquisition of Alcan Aluminium from Rio Tinto; as part of the deal, the client acquired two hydropower plants, a Scottish port and 100,000 acres of land, as well as the transfer of an aluminium smelter in Lochaber, Scotland to a sister company of the client. Other highlights included assisting Next Generation Data on the sale of a controlling stake to an infrastructure fund for Β£90m, and advising Dynagas on its three-way joint venture with China Merchants Energy Shipping and Sinotrans Shipping for the purposes of building a fleet of LNG tankers. Marcol, Seaco Global and A-House Investment are also clients. Corporate finance expert Simon Vere Nicoll heads the team, splitting his time between the Guildford and London offices; commercial projects and outsourcing specialist Nick Purnell also leads the practice. Andrew Trotter retired.

Cripps LLP is β€˜a very dedicated law firm with real skill in corporate and commercial law’. Private equity transactions, joint ventures and data protection issues are mainstays of the practice, which acts for a range of technology, healthcare and infrastructure sector clients. Highlights included advising the shareholders of Flamerock on the management buyout of the company to a private equity house; assisting Paydens Group with its acquisition of the SG Court pharmacy group; and advising Vantage Holdings its sale to NSM Insurance Group. The practice also acted for Safic-Alcan on its cross-border acquisition of KemCare. Other clients include Infectious Media, Eurotunnel and Day Lewis. James Beatton heads the corporate group, with commercial IT and IP specialist Pete Kenyon leading the commercial practice. Other key names include Salim Somjee, a crowdfunding and public equity expert, as well as Nigel Stanford, who focuses on corporate finance and Olivier Morel, who is recommended for international matters. Victoria Symons joined the team in September 2016, bringing secured lending and M&A expertise to the practice.

According to one client, Irwin Mitchell β€˜has no comparison’. The team regularly advises clients in the healthcare, pharmaceuticals and publishing sectors, bringing to bear ample expertise in handling company divestments, M&A and joint ventures. Highlights included advising Envision Pharma Group on its sale to a consortium that included Ardian and GHO Capital, and assisting the management team of FMP Global on the Β£30m management buyout of the company and three other companies by Bond Software International. The team also assisted Micheldever Tyre Services with multiple acquisitions in 2016, including its acquisitions of Tyreforce and Rockett Garages, and acted for Nuffield Health on its acquisition of CBT Services’ business and assets. Other clients include Air Partner, Toba Capital and Uniplaces. Head of commercial Stuart Padgham β€˜is an expert in his field’; he specialises in outsourcing projects and commercial contracts. Mid-market transactions expert Daniel Bastide heads the corporate group, which includes Faye Bargery, who regularly acts for management teams on private equity transactions. Neil Hart retired in May 2016.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s β€˜standard of work is exceptional and the speed with which it delivers is very impressive’. The firm acts for lenders, shareholders and conglomerates on cross-border M&A transactions, joint ventures and corporate finance matters; areas of sector expertise include technology, aviation and energy. It assisted the UK shareholders of CD-adapco on its sale to Siemens, and advised Asquith Nurseries on the sale of its parent company to Bright Horizons. Other highlights included advising ENER-G on the sale of its cogeneration division and the ENER-G brand to Centrica in a deal work Β£145m; and acting for the shareholders of Semantico on its acquisition by Highwire Press. Gama Aviation, Debenhams and Esquires Coffee are also clients. James Waddell heads the corporate practice, which includes β€˜truly amazing’ M&A specialist Keith Syson, β€˜excellent’ corporate finance expert Joe Bedford, and partnership specialist Jenny Robertson, who β€˜goes the extra mile with patience and clarity’. Beverley Whittaker heads the commercial team, which features contracts expert Beverley Flynn and franchise specialist Nicola Broadhurst.

asb law LLP’s β€˜personal, professional and competitive’ team has a fine reputation in the market for M&A work, corporate restructurings and regulatory matters and regularly acts for clients in the finance, aviation and travel industries. It advised the shareholders of Big Box Self Storage on the company’s Β£110m acquisition by US-based StorageMart, as well as assisting YFM Private Equity with its Β£5.4m funding for the management buyout of Ferrabyrne, which involved negotiating the share purchase agreement. In another highlight the team assisted BackOffice Associates with its Β£5m acquisition of Comprise, including drafting the documentation and handling the conversion of UK loan notes into UK stock. Other clients include HSBC, Condor Gold and Air Charter Service. Acquisitions expert Helen Mead leads the team, which features equity investment specialist Claire Williams, who β€˜is a truly trusted adviser’; Andrew Hoad, who focuses on private equity matters; and commercial contracts specialist Debbie Venn.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has a β€˜very capable, professional and highly respected team’ that advises on the full range of corporate and commercial matters, including M&A, joint ventures and management buyouts, for clients in the manufacturing, leisure and biotech industries. The team assisted Guava International with the disposal of its Jaguar Land Rover Service Centre to Inchcape Retail, and advised Associated World Investments on the disposal of Ainsworth Game Technology to Novomatic. Other highlights included assisting DCB, a provider of building, refurbishment and maintenance services, on its sale to Bilby for Β£4m, and acted for Acal on its acquisitions of Contour Holdings and Contour Electronics Asia. Other clients include Eliquo Water Group, Day Lewis and ITV. The team is led by highly regarded commercial IT and outsourcing expert Geoffrey Sparks and includes Catherine Drew, who focuses on transactional matters; senior associate Rebecca Burford, who β€˜is able to quickly grasp, understand and effectively communicate complex issues’; and senior associate Jonathan Steele, who β€˜is extremely attentive’.

DMH Stallard LLP β€˜is commercial and adaptable, and ensures clients receive top-notch advice’. It advises lenders, borrowers and shareholders on management buyouts, joint ventures, M&A transactions and divestments. Highlights included acting for E-Zec Medical Transport Services on its acquisition of the business and assets of NSL, and advising Cobb Digital on its merger with Leapfrogg. In another highlight, the team advised the shareholders of Brightwave Holdings on its sale to Capita, which involved advising on cross-border tax issues and deferred consideration for the client. Kreston Reeves, Sturdy Edwards Financial Services and Hunt & Palmer are also clients. Acquisitions expert Abigail Owen β€˜is an exceptional lawyer who blends the ability to communicate well with technical attention to detail’; she heads the team alongside well-regarded management buyout specialist Jonathan Grant. Also recommended are commercial practice head and outsourcing specialist John Yates and Kate Norgett, who joined the team from Barlow Robbins LLP in January 2017 and focuses on M&A work. In 2017, the firm merged with Rawlison Butler LLP , bringing on board corporate finance specialist Danos Athanasi.

Mundays LLP regularly advises clients in the logistics, healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors on the full range of corporate and commercial matters including joint ventures, corporate restructurings and data protection issues. Highlights included assisting Nebulas Solutions Group with its sale to SecureLink, and acting for Marks Bloom on its merger with WSM. The team also assisted Global Logistics Group with its acquisition of N&H Worldwide, including its global subsidiaries, and acted for Orb Financial Services on its sale to Risk & Reward Group. Practice head Neale Andrews focuses on cross-border management buyouts and is assisted by private equity transactions expert Mark Andrew, logistics and life sciences sector specialist David Irving, and M&A expert Alex Young.

For some, Penningtons Manches LLP β€˜is excellent on all counts’. The practice advised The Hub Pharmacy on its acquisition of six pharmacies from Living Care Pharmacy, and assisted a private investor with its participation in a Β£2m funding round for Bolney Wine Estate, which involved a crowdfunding element. In another highlight, it advised two shareholders on the sale of The Brand Architekts to Swallowfield for Β£11m. Rayner Surgical Group, BluePoint London and Tata Advanced Systems are also on the client roster. National corporate practice head Simon Bickerdike β€˜always gives good advice’ and specialises in M&A. Other key figures include David Kendall, who β€˜has a rare mix of the technical and commercial, which is vital to any M&A deal’, and private equity expert Philip Walton.

Thomson Snell & Passmore β€˜has a very confident, enabled and capable team’ that covers the full range of corporate and commercial mandates including cross-border M&A, management buyouts and private equity transactions. The team advised Motorline Group on several acquisitions in 2016, including the purchases of Westlands Motor Group, Aprite and Robins & Day Rochester. It also assisted East Malling Trust with its takeover of East Malling Research and advised the shareholders of Hitec on its sale to Mitratech. Other clients include Meiosis, GlobalSign and Nurture Landscapes. M&A expert Joanne Gallagher is β€˜a strong leader with a clear vision’; she heads a team that includes James Partridge, insolvency expert Nicholas Gabay, and Gina Bicknell, who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP to head the practice’s IP and IT commercial work.

The team at Barlow Robbins LLP β€˜is very helpful and quick to respond’ and is noted for its track record in corporate restructurings, private equity work and M&A. Highlights included advising the UK subsidiary of Vereinigte Papierwarenfabriken on its Β£4m acquisition of EnvelopeMaster and assisting the shareholders of ETS Portsmouth with its Β£10m sale to Add-Tech. Blackhawk Capital and Telegraph Media Group are also clients. Mark Lucas heads the department, which includes counsel Laurie Heizler, who focuses on commercial IP and IT projects. In January 2017 Kate Norgett left the firm to join DMH Stallard LLP and Philip Stephenson departed for Wilsons.

Brachers is well versed in handling M&A matters, corporate restructurings and management buyouts for shareholders, businesses and banks. The team assisted Burgess Marine with several acquisitions in 2016 including purchasing shares in Global Services (Europe) and Small & Co. Marine Engineering, and advised Sidando on its acquisition of Turner & Wilson. Other clients include Classic Education, Premier Ground Rent and Wilkins Kennedy LLP. James Bullock heads the practice, which includes private equity expert Matthew Simmonds and Erol Huseyin, who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Clarkson Wright & Jakes has a fine record for advising on management buyouts, acquisitions, disposals and private equity matters. Highlights for the firm in 2016 included advising on asset share agreements, shareholder agreements, company restructurings and corporate finance matters. Its client base extends to the healthcare, technology and logistics sectors and includes shareholders, owner-managed businesses as well as sellers and buyers. M&A expert Ben Madden heads the department, which includes AIM-listed company specialist and managing partner Andrew Wright.

The team at Furley Page Solicitors β€˜is very helpful and down-to-earth in its responses and attitude’. Noted for its expertise in handling M&A work, outsourcing projects and joint ventures, the team advised Megger Group on its acquisition of Seba and assisted R&M Clarkson on its purchase of Ashgood Fire Protection Specialists and Multi-Alarm Systems. It also advised Vardis International on its reorganisation, which involved the drafting of new shareholder agreements and establishing a new holding company. Grupo Antolin and Breakthrough Funding are also clients. Head of team Susan Jennings β€˜is responsive and has impressive corporate knowledge’. Commercial contracts expert Tony Chester, who was promoted to partner in May 2016, is another key contact.

GBH Law Limited’s β€˜advice is always professional and understandable’. The team frequently handles joint ventures, management buyouts and private equity investments for lenders, individuals and businesses in the engineering, finance and software sectors. In 2016 the firm advised on purchasing shares assets, LLP restructurings and divestments. Practice leader and firm director Denise Herrington, who is well-versed in M&A work, β€˜goes the extra mile for clients’. Also in the team is Christine Goodyear, who β€˜always delivers prompt, straightforward advice and has a wealth of experience’ in corporate finance mandates.

Moore Law β€˜provides an excellent service with outstanding response times’ according to clients. The Brighton-based practice concentrates on the intersection between commercial work, healthcare, IP and IT, with a particular focus on advising on clinical trials in healthcare studies. The team advised P1vital on several clinical trial agreements in 2016 for companies including Blackthorn Therapeutics and NAMSA, and assisted Dalosy with its acquisition of two UK companies. Other clients include Aptivate, RocketRoute and Technogym. Key figures include Tristram Moore, who is β€˜an outstanding commercial lawyer’; and Scott Appleton.

Joint ventures, corporate restructurings and divestments are all mainstays of the practice at Morrisons Solicitors LLP, which assisted a property investment consortium with its reorganisation, including a demerger and creation of a new holding company. Clients include sports, property and technology sector related companies. Peter Savage leads the practice and is noted for his recruitment sector focus. Also recommended are M&A expert Karen Lord, SME business specialist John Andrews and dental practice expert Louise Fegan.

Highlights for PDT Solicitors included advising Flagship Food Group on the divestment of its European arm to OSI. In another highlight the team assisted Plastique Group with its sale to ESCO Technologies. BNP Paribas, Amicus Commercial Finance and Maritime Foods are also clients. Practice leader Noel Ruddy β€˜successfully combines practicality with expert advice’; he is ably supported by Rebecca Glazebrook, who β€˜is very personable, professional and technically capable’, and senior associate Mark Diamond, who β€˜is very capable, a good communicator and technically proficient’.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP’s β€˜practical, commercial, knowledgeable and efficient’ team advised Flint Ink on its acquisition of shares in Druckfarben. It also assisted the inventor of the K1 auto-disable syringe with a Β£3m funding round. Focus 4 U and New Era UK Holdings are also clients. Bruce Hayter heads the practice, which includes the β€˜very commercially minded’ Sara Carpenter and Richard Cripps.

TWM Solicitors LLP β€˜provides a quality service comparable to much larger practices and has a good breadth of specialisms’. Its expertise covers M&A work, management buyouts and corporate restructurings, with recent highlights including advising Darenth Valley Golf Course on the sale of its issued share capital, and assisting Tindle Newspapers with its Β£4.3m acquisition of Isle of Man Newpapers. The team is also well-versed in commercial property transactions. Other clients include TVR Automotive and Rapid EPS. Team head Jamie Berry β€˜is friendly, approachable and professional’; he is assisted by Peter Stevens, who β€˜delivers sensible advice in an easily understood manner’, and the highly regarded Adrian Price.

Warners Solicitors specialises in advising owner-managed businesses on M&A transactions and is well-versed in joint ventures, management buyouts and corporate finance matters. The team advised Air Management System on its sale to Protec Environmental and assisted Blackness Lane with its Β£1.5m acquisition of shares and assets in British Dairying. Other clients include Abacus Playgrounds, 21st Century Technology and Bell Identification. M&A expert Jonathan Roberts β€˜is very diligent’ and is ably supported by the β€˜pragmatic and good-natured’ commercial contracts expert Russell Brinkhurst, corporate finance specialist Mark Rosser, and Kevin Sullivan, who focuses on commercial IP and IT work.

Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx clients in South East 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


With β€˜a wide range of experience in corporate and commercial law’, B P Collins LLP’s β€˜knowledgeable, approachable and responsive’ team provides β€˜a high level of service’. The practice has a strong track record in the waste management, food, pharmaceutical and logistics sectors, and its diverse client base includes listed and public companies, SME’s and sole traders. Highlights included acting for CliniMed in the sale of its share capital of Laminas Medica to Sonoco Cores and Paper, a strategic cross-border investment involving the Czech Republic, Finland and the USA, and advising Biffa Waste Services on its Β£13.5m purchase of Cory Environmental Municipal Services. Simon Deans heads the department and specialises in the technology sector, advising clients including Rico Logistics; David Smellie acts for clients in the waste management and entertainment industries; Alex Zachary is recommended for major transactions; and Victoria Holland is β€˜highly professional, and pays great attention to detail’.

Dentons provides β€˜an excellent service, good response times and great value for money’; it is a strong choice for cross-border work thanks to its global network of offices. The group has a strong automotive and technology client base, and counts Silverstone Circuits as a client. Highlights included advising Nebula Systems on a multi-million pound investment into the company by the RAC Group, acting for a subsidiary of Edgewell Personal Care on its high-value acquisition of Bulldog Skincare, and advising Marshall Motor on its Β£107m acquisition of motor dealer group Ridgeway Garages. Key partner Peter Cox is β€˜a reliable, pragmatic and helpful lawyer who brings the perfect blend of commercial acumen and clear legal advice’ and β€˜readily adapts to all twists and turns in a calm, unflappable manner’. Andrew Harris heads the practice, and has notable experience in transactional M&A, private equity and funding work. Christopher Colclough specialises in new startups, corporate governance and joint ventures.

EMW Law LLP’s β€˜excellent’ practice is β€˜big enough to have all the resources, expertise and experience needed, but small enough to ensure that each matter is partner-led, commercially focused and effectively dealt with’. The group has significant expertise acting for owner-managed businesses in high-value M&A transactions, and frequently advises clients in the food and drink, waste, recruitment and healthcare sectors. In a recent highlight, the practice advised Riverside Capital on raising Β£11m worth of debt and Β£9m equity, and assisted with the acquisition of four commercial properties to be developed into Travelodge hotels. Key figures include Simon Arkell, who is β€˜detail-oriented and determined’; Matthew Holman, who has β€˜strong technical legal knowledge covering multiple commercial disciplines’; and Ian Morris, who acts for management teams on private equity-backed buyouts. Nick Lloyd is recommended for matters involving limited partnership fund structures.

Freeths LLP offers β€˜city quality expertise at commercial rates’, and the team has β€˜a strong and broad support function to address all issues’. The department is noted for its expertise in the drinks, hospitality and leisure sector, advising clients such as Whitbread’s Premier Inn and the Casual Dining Group. Key partner Jonathan Hambleton handles M&A transactions, joint ventures and corporate restructuring matters, and is commended by clients for his β€˜strong leadership and pragmatic, business-oriented approach’. Hambleton, along with Natalie Drought, recently handled the sale of Heritage Automotive by its current owner to Heritage Automotive Holdings, and also advised brewer and pub company Charles Wells on a Β£50.5m revolving facility that covers funding for its UK and France businesses. The β€˜technically excellent, methodical and diligent’ Andrew Sharples is a key practitioner along with James Cowell, whose practice focuses on the healthcare and electronics recycling sectors.

Shoosmiths LLP’s cross-sector client roster is comprised of major corporates, private equity houses and entrepreneurs. The group frequently handles major M&A transactions, and also provides advice on commercial contracts, IT and business process outsourcing and complex projects. Key figure Sanjeev Sharma recently acted for the shareholders of Rohan in the sale of its business to H.Young Holdings, and also advised SEK Holdings on the merger of Prestige Park & Leisure Homes and Homeseeker Park & Leisure Homes, two leading names in the leisure lodge and park residential manufacturing sector. Other notable individuals include Amit Nayyar, a leading private equity lawyer, and Iain Butler, who is a key name for IPOs, secondary fundraisings and takeovers. The practice is notably active in the retail, education, manufacturing and automotive sectors; key longstanding clients include Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Healthspan and Tiger Tim Products.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)’s team is β€˜excellent in all areas’ and β€˜really takes the time to explain things in simple terms to clients with little to no experience in corporate and commercial law’. The firm acts for domestic and multinational clients in their transactional and restructuring activity, and has been notably active in the hotels sector. Adam Dowdney joined from Shoosmiths LLP in April 2016, and, along with practice head David Clark, is acting for Trans-Siberian Gold on its high-value share capital reduction, and is also advising Sabio on a Β£50m management buyout backed by Lyceum Capital. Other highlights included advising residential housebuilder Durkan Estates on its joint venture with Housing Growth Partnership, and assisting Advanced Group Holdings on its demerger and management buyout.

Machins Solicitors LLP undertakes a broad range of company and commercial work, and has recently advised a range of clients on various mergers and acquisitions, disposals and trading agreements. Mark Pelopida heads the practice, and his expertise includes handling M&A transactions and contract-related matters for plc clients and multinational companies. Other names to note include Jon Alvarez, who has notable experience handling insolvency matters, corporate governance and IT-related contracts; Sarah Liddiard, who handles non-transactional corporate matters and has an IP background; and David Baggott, who is a key figure in the firm’s aviation department. The team is based in Luton.

Moorcrofts LLP has β€˜a very good knowledge of the relevant subject matter’ and β€˜executes all tasks thoroughly’. The practice has solid expertise handling mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, company reformation and banking matters, and frequently advises business angels on funding and investment options. In a recent highlight, Teri Hunter advised the vendor shareholders of Grand Parade on its Β£13.6m sale to William Hill, handling the due diligence process and renegotiating a share purchase agreement. The group also acted for Uncle Buck on a Β£28m investment into its business by Smart Box Capital, and advised The Crystal Group on its Β£4m refinancing. Adrian Phillips and Peter Woolley are the other key names to note.

The β€˜knowledgeable, professional and helpful’ team at SA Law LLP has β€˜a genuine dedication to its clients, and delivers an excellent level of service’. The firm has a strong presence in the Herts market, handling large-scale transactions across a range of sectors including healthcare, sports and IT. Recent work included supporting Ocado’s in-house commercial team with a number of instructions regarding agency agreement negotiations, among other matters, and acting for two private individuals on their sale of a majority shareholding in Emas Pharma. Chris Wilks is a key partner along with Peter Goodman, who has a niche specialism in the sports and entertainment sectors, advising a number of sporting celebrities and institutions on day-to-day commercial matters. Solicitor Vanessa Crawley is also recommended.

The β€˜excellent’ practice at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is headed by Mark Thompson, who acts for venture capital investors and business angels on management buyouts, M&A transactions, disposals and shareholder agreements. The group has significant capabilities in the hotels and leisure, energy and TMT sectors; recent highlights included advising Focus Hotels Management on sale and purchase agreements related to numerous hotel businesses nationwide, and the firm also acted for Blue Chip Customer Engineering on a major management buyout. Other notable clients include Bedfordia Group and Lane & Browns. Thompson recently advised the latter on the sale of its business and freehold property, handling legal due diligence alongside other ancillary documentation.

Sherrards Solicitors LLP’s β€˜highly capable’ group is β€˜excellent in all respects, and provides a personal approach for a reasonable fee’. The practice retains a notable number of media and entertainment clients and is active in the public company sphere, advising a range of clients including Empowered Systems, Winkworth Franchising and Graphite Media. The firm recently advised the founder shareholders of Foreign Currency Exchange on the sale of share capital to Global Reach Partners, and handles various transactions for Cambria Automobiles, including its Β£11m acquisition of the Land Rover dealership in Welwyn, and its Β£2m purchase of South Woodford Jaguar from Pendragon Premier. Jean-Paul da Costa heads the St Albans-based team, where Leigh Head and Geraldine Fabre are also key individuals.

Taylor Walton LLP is noted for its growing international transactions practice, most notably in the US, and has strong experience advising on accountancy sales and acquisitions, disposals and company property sales. Highlights included acting for Caledonian Consumer Finance on a Β£15m acquisition of its consumer loans portfolio by Honeycomb Investment Trust; advising Taylor James on share reorganisation and option schemes for its UK and US businesses; and handling the restructuring of Comline Auto Parts, including the transfer of its subsidiaries in Greece and Spain. Key figure Mike Pettit specialises in corporate and banking transactions and commercial projects, and also advises on corporate recovery. Simon Hughes is recommended for M&A transactions, joint ventures and leveraged buyouts, among other matters.

The β€˜efficient and helpful’ team at Debenhams Ottaway is β€˜highly recommended for corporate and commercial work’, and has recently handled a number of M&A transactions, shareholder and investment agreements, joint ventures and share schemes. The group is particularly active in the recruitment, healthcare and charities sectors, advising on administrative and contractual matters as well as transactional activity. The team was recently instructed by eyewear company Luxottica Group to review and amend an authorised retailer agreement, and is acting for Deacon Jones Fine Flooring on a joint venture with a local entrepreneur. Practice head David Silver notable experience handling cross-border transactions across the UK, Hong Kong and the Middle East.

Longmores Solicitors LLP’s β€˜extremely competent’ practice provides β€˜efficient and reliable advice’ on all aspects of corporate transactions and joint venture agreements. Its client base includes a range of professional practices, alternative business structures and general trading businesses, and the firm is noted for its capabilities in the healthcare sector. Leading figures include the β€˜excellent’ Craig Harrison, who acts for the owner-managers of mid-sized companies, including Independent Clinical Services, the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre and Speakerbus, and Rina Sond, who focuses on intellectual property issues and commercial contracts.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s sector expertise includes aerospace and defence, charities, education and energy, and the group handles a broad range of transactions for businesses across the UK and internationally. Clients include individual entrepreneurs, SMEs, start-ups, public companies and financial institutions. Richard Phillips is the key practitioner, primarily handling mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance matters in the healthcare sector. Senior associate Andrew Gallie advises on commercial contracts and data protection law, and has notable expertise in the IT sector.

Woodfines LLP’s β€˜very capable’ team β€˜delivers results and communicates with clients in an approachable, commercial and real-world manner’. The firm represents the full spectrum of businesses and charities, and has significant expertise in the agricultural, transport, education and professional services sectors. The department is headed by Stephen Oliver, and the β€˜proactive’ Neil Gibbs β€˜builds great relationships with clients’ and β€˜will always come up with a solution to the problem at hand’. Highlights included advising Fire Protection Services on a purchase and sale agreement for part if its business, and acting for Philex with an acquisition project. Titan Motorsport & Automotive Engineering and Lillibet Lodge residential care home are also key clients.

Corporate and commercial: Hampshire

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Hampshire
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Hampshire clients in South East 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


Blake Morgan LLP fields a team that is β€˜commercial and responsive, with good internal communication’, and which has a good standing across the corporate and commercial spectrum, with an extensive track record in M&A, joint ventures, data protection issues and private equity matters on behalf of clients in the logistics, banking and leisure sectors. In an illustration of its capital markets expertise, the team advised Harwood Wealth Management Group on a Β£13.5m institutional share placing and assisted Gresham Technologies with its Β£3.3m share placement on AIM, as well as its acquisition of software business C24 Technologies. In another highlight, the team advised CVS Group with several acquisitions in 2016, including purchasing Greenacres Pet Crematorium and Buttercross Veterinary Centre, for an aggregate value of Β£4m. Other clients include Esotec, Universe Group and Wellness Foods. James Hawkeswood heads the department and is well-versed in private equity investments and corporate restructurings. Also recommended are public company takeover expert Stephen Archibald; regulatory and compliance specialist Mary Chant; Simon Treherne, who is an expert in owner-managed businesses; private equity expert Mark Hepworth; and Sheilah Mackie, who focuses on commercial IP and IT matters.

Bond Dickinson LLP is a known player in the region for corporate and commercial matters, including cross-border M&A, data protection work and private equity transactions for lenders, borrowers and businesses. On the M&A front the the team assisted Chemring Group with its acquisition of the air countermeasures division of Wallop Defence Systems, which involved obtaining clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority. In another highlight, the firm assisted Imerys with its international joint venture with Omya, which involved multi-jurisdictional shareholder and asset sale agreements. In an illustration of its energy sector strength, the practice advised RES Group on the sale of a 60MW wind farm portfolio to Aviva Investors, and acted for Renewable Energy Generation on its sale of a majority stake to BlackRock-managed RI Income UK Holdings for Β£65m. Other clients include Ordnance Survey, Immediate Media and Whitbread Group. Corporate head Ian Holden β€˜is always practical and sensitive to the commercial realities of transactions’; he is ably assisted by commercial head and outsourcing expert Nick Barwood, and head of commercial contracts Paula Bartlett. Other key figures in the team include energy sector specialist Sebastian Briggs and national head of practice Stephen Pierce, who focuses on M&A work.

Shoosmiths LLP is singled out for its track record assisting clients in the technology, financing and retail sectors with M&A transactions, disposals, de-mergers and joint ventures. The team is regularly called on handle cross-border M&A and is able to leverage the firm’s national network of tax, property and dispute resolution teams, enabling it to handle a wide range of commercial issues. The team assisted LDC and shareholders of the Property Software Group with the divestment of the latter to Zoopla for Β£75m, and advised CEGA Solutions on its sale to Charles Taylor Insurance Services. In another highlight, the practice advised Keysource on its sale to Styles&Wood Group for Β£7m. IKEA, Spring Ventures and Hitachi are also on the client roster. Key figures include Sean Wright, who is overall head of the Milton Keynes, Reading and Solent teams and is well-versed in handling private equity transactions; and Stephen Porter, who leads the team in Southampton and specialises in technology M&A matters. They are assisted by Mark Shepherd, a cross-border corporate transactions expert, and senior associate Tim Moss, who focuses on M&A work. Lynn Knight departed for an in-house counsel position in April 2017.

β€˜Excellent on every level’ according to clients, the team at Moore Blatch LLP advises lenders and businesses on data protection matters, private equity investments and shareholders agreements. It advised Adapt Services on its sale to a US purchaser, which involved assisting with the associated warranties and structuring of the transaction. Other highlights included acting for Ardbid on the Β£57m divestment of its Trustmarque Solutions division to Capita and advising the same client on the Β£43m sale of Liberata to Outsourcing UK. Other highlights included assisting the shareholders of Opus Telecom and its subsidiary Phipps Communications with the restructuring and sale of the latter to NIX Communications Group. The practice is also able to leverage the firm’s tax and employment teams where necessary. Blue Chip Data Systems, Liberata and Tilney Bestinvest Group are all clients. Roger Bailey leads the practice and specialises in joint ventures as well as M&A work. He is assisted by John Warchus, who focuses on commercial IT and IP matters; Peter Jeffery, who β€˜works unbelievably hard and has a very good relationship with his clients’ and is an expert in corporate finance; and Jeremy Over, who is adept at handling capital markets work.

Paris Smith LLP is a major regional player for corporate and commercial work, with extensive experience in high-value disposals, M&A, private equity transactions and capital markets matters. Highlights included advising Diversi Foods on its acquisition of Montana Bakery as well as assisting the shareholders of Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists on the company’s divestment of a 75% stake to Pets At Home Group. The team also assisted HPC Healthline with its merger with Polyco, Healthline Medical and Brosch Direct, which involved advising the client on an investing stake from Investec, and acted for Purple Parking on its acquisition of Travel Parking Group, which was financed by a Β£12.4m term loan facility. Other clients include Associated British Ports, TW Metals and Bowman Power Group. Sean Davies leads the practice and specialises in joint ventures and share option agreements. Other key team members include Jonathon Roy, who focuses on corporate finance and private equity matters and is β€˜committed to reaching the best outcome for the client’; M&A specialist Michael Moore, commercial contracts expert Crispin Dick, and Richard Atcherley, who has expertise in the charity sector.

Coffin Mew LLP undertakes a wide variety of corporate and commercial work such as M&A and private equity investments, often acting for lenders and owner-managed businesses. The team advised GetMyFirstJob on its Β£1m equity investment from City & Guilds and NESTA and assisted Northwood GB on its Β£22m sale to Belvoir. In another highlight, the practice advised Churches Fire Security on several acquisitions in 2016 including the purchase of Uny Systems Fire Detection. BSN Social Care, KP Snacks and Santander are also clients. The firm also has particular expertise in advising individuals, such as shareholders and business owners, on corporate matters. Amanda Brockwell leads the practice and is recommended alongside firm chairman Nick Gross, who specialises in advising clients in the transport and logistics sectors.

Irwin Mitchell attracts praise for its β€˜good understanding of the client’s business’. The team is well-versed in handling M&A transactions, data protection matters and private equity investments. The firm assisted Hendy Group with its acquisition of Lifestyle Motor Group, and advised Genie Care on its sale to Frontier Therapeutics. Other highlights included continuing to advise Greenwich Leisure on multiple issues including gym membership terms and its online booking software renewal terms, as well as assisting Hemming Group with its acquisitions of Alad, Executive Hires News and Executive Hire Show. Forthcastle LLP, Topcon and Sentios Technology are also clients. Practice leader John Riddick is an expert in international corporate and commercial matters, with a particular focus on the Middle East. He is ably supported by Dean Drew, who β€˜is good at understanding the key issues’ and who specialises in private equity transactions.

Trethowans LLP is well-versed in handling M&A, divestments, joint ventures and corporate financing issues for clients in the logistics, insurance and technology sectors. The team advised Simmons of Stafford’s shareholders on its sale to Huws Gray, and advised the management team of Lakesmere Group on its multimillion-pound management buyout of the company. In another highlight, the firm assisted the shareholders of HE-MAN Equipment on its sale to HM Holding. Other clients include Kerryfresh, Mail Solutions Group and Saint-Gobain. Mike Watson is noted for his track record in M&A and joint venture transactions; he is recommended alongside corporate finance expert Nick Gent, management buyout specialist Paula Eckton and senior associate Lucy Grey, who focuses on EMI schemes and shareholder matters.

The team at Clarke Willmott LLP β€˜has very good strength in depth, from the partners down’. Management buyouts, joint ventures and private equity transactions are all mainstays of the practice, which frequently advises clients in the technology, finance and telecoms sectors. It assisted Spend360 International with its disposal to US-based buyer Coupa Software, and advised OneCom Group on its acquisition of Evolve Telecom, which involved negotiating funding from lender Lloyds Bank. Buse Gases, Cognia Cloud and Organix Brands are also on the client roster. β€˜Go-to lawyer’ Kevin Balmont leads the team and is recommended for corporate structuring matters. He is ably supported by the β€˜impressive’ Richard Swain, who focuses on joint ventures and company reorganisations, and commercial contracts and projects expert Chidem Aliss.

Pitmans LLP β€˜provides a more personal service than larger firms’ according to clients. Its expertise extends to private equity transactions, joint ventures and management buyouts, acting on behalf of lenders, individuals and businesses. In an M&A highlight, the firm advised Premier Marinas on its acquisition of Noss Marina and assisted Specialist Tours with multiple acquisitions in 2016 including Brightwater Holidays Action Events and Dream Challenges. The team also assisted the shareholders of Technology Networks on the company’s sale to LabX Media Group. Also on the client roster are Wren Sterling, HCR Group and World of Books. Key figures include Sean Kelly, who β€˜makes a strong personal commitment to his clients’ and who focuses on M&A work and private equity transactions, and Oliver Kelly, who is an expert in corporate reorganisations.

Corporate and commercial: Essex

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Essex clients in South East 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


The β€˜exceptional’ practice at Birketts LLP offers a mix of corporate and commercial services, with team lead Rafael Ruiz specialising in corporate transactions, Nigel Thompson handling M&A matters in the IT industry, and Adam Jones providing experience in restructuring and refinancing as well as the financial sector. Clients also recommend β€˜excellent’ solicitor Alex Forwood. Recent highlights include advising Islandic client LBI on the sale of VCG Group to a US buyer and assisting Seetec Business Technology Centre with the acquisition of Outsource Education Group’s share capital. Ruiz’s long-term client Servest Group acquired several businesses, including a mechanical engineering group from Scotland. Nick Burnett advised Airtask Group on the acquisition of Hebridean Air Services. Jones won P2P Mailing as a new client, advising on its sale to The Delivery Group. Other active clients are Commcise Software and Ixion Holdings. While associate Laura Ryan joined Servest Group as an in-house counsel, the practice saw the arrival of associate Charles Kirk, who brings in-house experience from the Japanese offices of Deutsche Bank and Barclays, as well as solicitors Stephanie Ayre from Capita Asset Services and the β€˜friendly and responsive’ Claire Hunt from Birkett Long LLP.

Thompson Smith and Puxon’s corporate and commercial practice is β€˜professional, friendly and easy to work with’, and is particularly experienced in the healthcare sector. The lawyers advise on NHS contracts as well as pilot schemes, partnership arrangements and business disposals. Additionally, the β€˜thorough, knowledgeable and responsive’ Claire Powell also specialises in advising GP practices and healthcare franchise work. The β€˜first-rate’ team is also active in the financial sector as well as the construction industry, in relation to which Nick Mayles provides β€˜proactive and considered advice’. The β€˜incisive, cool-under-fire’ senior partner Mary Anne Fedeyko has a β€˜sharp intellect and always delivers’. Recent work for Fedeyko includes assisting with the restructuring of a farming company, including a demerger and all associated documentation. She also advised on the sale of millions of shares in a property portfolio company and a joint venture spreading across France, India and the UK. Fedeyko and solicitor Caroline Nicholls, who handled the reorganisation of key client Clacton on Sea Golf Club, β€˜provide sound and considerate advice with a commercial approach’.

At Birkett Long LLP, head of team Tracey Dickens in Colchester handles franchise, MBO and partnership matters, while David Wisbey is the expert for banking and cross-border work. Other focus points for the β€˜personable, responsive and reliable’ practice are commercial and corporate finance, e-commerce, education and the media and entertainment industry, of which the latter two are handled by associate solicitor Stephen Avila in Basildon. Wisbey advised the shareholders of local company C A Blackwell Group regarding the sale of its entire share capital to Hargreaves Services and also supported Runwood Homes during its acquisition of three care homes in Northern Ireland. The team has longstanding client relationships with Systematic Logistics International and Wilkin & Sons, and picked up 90 new clients in 2016, including Horizon Construction, Eastern Data Group and Hawkes Brewing Company. Claire Hunt left for Birketts LLP.

The corporate and commercial practice at Ellisons Solicitors delivers a β€˜superb service’. Head of department Seamus Clifford and Paul Forsyth advise on various matters, but especially sales, acquisitions and restructurings. Apart from M&A, Forsyth also holds expertise in shareholder, partnership and general commercial agreements. Clifford advised East of England Co-operative Society’s acquisition of the share capital in Ben’s Woodbridge. The shareholders of Cadman Cranes and of Arcwest are also among the firm’s clients.

Clients praise Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP’s corporate and commercial practice in Chelmsford for its β€˜excellent support at all levels’, the β€˜biggest selling point’ being β€˜a broad spread of expertise across all subject matters within the dental and pharmacy sector; its knowledge is second to none’. The β€˜professional’ Leah Groves is the main contact for clients in this sector, and has developed a particular reputation in the sale and acquisition of dental practices. The team also engages in transactional and commercial work for the print and repo-photographic industry, as well as the facilities management, charity and education sectors. The latter two are mostly handled by head of practice Tony Fisher, β€˜a very measured individual with sound legal and commercial instincts’ who is also an accredited mediator. The β€˜highly responsive’ Ashton Carter specialises in intellectual property and business finance agreements alongside the transactional work that is a hallmark of the practice. Clients include names such as VCG Kestrel, Parkside Flexibles, Cloudfm Group and the Royal Association for the Deaf.

The corporate and commercial team at Palmers operates across a wide range of sectors, including media, insurance, hospitality, construction and engineering. It delivers in a β€˜quick, comprehensive and reassuring’ manner, and is β€˜able to adapt to the latest updates in ever-changing industries and explain the legal implications in an understandable way to clients’. The practice also has niche expertise in e-commerce, including website terms of use, privacy policies, data protection policies and B2C distance selling regulations. Head of team Matthew Poli in Basildon advised two minority shareholders on the sale of shares in a nationwide media and marketing company during its global disposal, and also completed the due diligence on a Gambling Commission licence for a company from Hong Kong, which intended to purchase an online casino. Another highlight was the recapitalisation of a national insurance company, for which Poli advised on capital adequacy rules set by the Financial Conduct Authority. Johnson Controls Group, Shakespeare Engineering Group and Czech retail and hotel operator Transakta are all active clients. Poli and solicitor Matthew Johnson are recommended.

The β€˜exceptionally responsive and out-of-the-box thinking’ practice at Wortley Byers LLP is well known for its experience in the pharmaceuticals sector, and duly gained a new client in the form of Aspire Pharma, as well as continuing to do work for the likes of Heheals Pharmaceuticals and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiation Committee. A key highlight for the β€˜commercially astute and practical’ Sue Dowman is the ongoing advice to Martindale Pharma regarding acquiring developer Viridian Pharma and expanding its product range in Europe. The practice also serves the engineering industry, such the β€˜excellent’ Lucy Folley’s advice to shareholders of Skyline Tower Crane Services during the company’s joint venture with Arcomet Tower Cranes. Additionally, Dowman supported Majenta Solutions on its acquisition of Dassault Systemes from Tata Technologies Europe. Other clients include Florey Investments, AGS Oilfield Services, Kendon Packaging Group and Warneford Healthcare. The team members are based in Brentwood.

At Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors, which has offices in Loughton and Harlow, the β€˜personable, competent and well-connected’ Mark Stigwood was promoted to partner. Stigwood now also heads up the corporate and commercial practice, delivering β€˜great technical knowledge and excellent customer care’ alongside commercial partner Jonathan Clarke and litigator Leanne Philp. The practice focuses especially on private equity finance, M&A, management buyouts, reorganisations and joint ventures. Stigwood advised a management team on the structure of the MBO of EA Limited and the reorganisation of the group. He also represented shareholders of a cleaning company in the sale of their shares. Apart from corporate clients, the team also supports individual shareholders and entrepreneurs.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP’s corporate and commercial department is most active in the commercial property sector, but also attracts clients from the medical and care industries. The key partners are head of dispute resolution Fiona Colwell, who handles corporate matters; conveyancing and business transfer lawyer Wendy Cole; and Mark Deans, who also handles conveyancing as well as general commercial matters. Colwell and Cole are based in the Westcliff-on-Sea office, while Deans works out of Billericay. Recent highlights include multiple public procurement matters for an international supplier of medical equipment, the purchase and sale of car dealerships worth several million pounds and the handling of two share purchase agreements simultaneously during the restructure of a global company. The team also advises on the acquisition and refinancing of care homes for several clients, the restructuring of different-sized business and contractual documentation.

Pinney Talfourd LLP is a β€˜very good regional firm delivering a quality product at a cost-effective price, which clients feel they can trust’. Late 2016 saw the arrival of senior associate Edward Garston from Wortley Byers LLP, who is β€˜knowledgeable, very personable and always willing to help’ and specialises in corporate finance matters (such as lending and security transactions) as well as sales, acquisitions and corporate restructuring in the transport and logistics sector. The team is led by commercial and M&A lawyer Julien Pritchard (noted for his β€˜speed of response’ and β€˜appropriate clear advice’), who also holds expertise in telecoms leases and finance. Pritchard advised a local storage company on the acquisition of a similar business. Key clients of the practice include car dealer Hills Group Enterprises, insurer Sky Holdings and real estate company Thomas Rattenbury. While all lawyers are based in Brentwood, they frequently travel to the firm’s other offices in Upminster, Hornchurch and Leigh on Sea. Senior associate Agata Rumbelow joined Longmores Solicitors LLP, and Amy Leite joined Aquabridge Law.

Corporate tax

Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLP provides β€˜good, commercial and responsive advice’, and the group has β€˜good internal communication, which ensures that everything runs smoothly’. The firm advises on the taxation aspects of equity fundraising and mid-tier M&A activity including cross-border deals, management incentive arrangements, and start-up funding rounds, and its key clients include a range of venture capital firms, start-up companies and financial institutions. Utility Funding and Harwood Wealth Management Group are among key client wins of the last year; practice head Simon Court recently advised the latter on the tax aspects of its vendor cash out and admission to the London Stock Exchange, a venture with an initial market capitalisation of Β£45m. Court also acted for Gresham Technologies on the tax aspects of a Β£3.3m share placing on the AIM market, and on its Β£4.6m acquisition of software business C24 Technologies. Corporate partner James Hawkeswood is the other key figure, and recently advised veterinary consolidator CVS Group on four separate acquisitions over the course of one year; these included the acquisitions of Greenacres Pet Crematorium, Nottingham Veterinary Care, Buttercross Veterinary Care and Church Walk Veterinary Care, transactions with an aggregate value of Β£4m. Other notable clients include Universe Group, Southern Co-operative and Wellness Foods.

Clarke Willmott LLP is noted for its sound property expertise, and frequently advises on the tax aspects of property structuring and the creation of property funds. The firm also handles the implementation of share incentive schemes, and has significant experience in settling historic tax liabilities, frequently negotiating with HMRC on exiting structures and disclosure methods. Southampton-based Niall Murphy is the leading figure; he recently advised Buse Gases on the tax aspects of its Β£4.4m acquisition of SC Special Gases as part of its expansion of operations in the UK, handling the structuring of the deal along with the covenant and tax warranties. Corporate partner and Southampton office head Kevin Balmont is the other key individual; his highlights included advising the shareholders of PamPurred Pets on the Β£6m disposal of its company to Dechado Group, structuring the transaction so as to maximise post-tax return, and acting for Cefil UK and Nord Bitumi on a restructuring and subsequent sale of its business to Danosa, a division of Spanish buyer Derivados Asfalticos Normalizados. Associate Emma Couch assists with transactional matters, and, along with Murphy and Balmont, recently advised Access Locksmiths on its Β£2m disposal to Croma Security Solutions, a listed national security company.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s β€˜exemplary’ practice is β€˜highly recommended for complex tax matters’ and provides β€˜great value for money’. The group specialises in advising entrepreneurs and owner-managers on exit tax planning and M&A transactions, and continues to develop a standalone equity incentive practice, advising on a range of incentive schemes including EMI schemes and unapproved option schemes. Practice head Kate Schmit is β€˜brilliant and attentive throughout the matter’, and frequently advises on exit planning, acquisitions and disposals, corporate reorganisations and real estate tax matters. Highlights included advising Ener-G Holdings on the high-value sale of its cogeneration division to British Gas owner Centrica, including pre and post-sale restructuring, and also acted for longstanding client Asquith Nurseries on the sale of its parent company to the New York Stock Exchange. Corporate partner Keith Syson recently advised Volution Group on the tax aspects of its acquisition of NVA Services. Senior associate Jamie Crawford advises private companies and owner-managed businesses on the full range of corporate tax matters, and associate Sarah Balchin has strong expertise in the life sciences sector. Other key clients include Stackhouse Poland, Origami Energy and Rock Rail.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP advises on the full spectrum of tax matters, including ancillary matters concerning VAT and stamp duties. Clients include SMEs and private individuals, and the firm frequently advises on corporate restructurings, transfer of assets abroad and UK trading rules. Dr Philippa Roles heads the practice and specialises in asset transfers and asset pooling arrangements, and also handles the tax aspects of share sales. Solicitor Caroline Airey has a niche specialism in the charities and not-for-profit sector, where she advises clients on tax structuring and constitution. The group provides ongoing support to Bloc Parc on tax efficient investment structures.

Shoosmiths LLP’s tax practice is known for advising investor and investee companies on enterprise investment schemes (EIS) and venture capital trust-compliant investments. The team also has significant strength in the real estate sector, and frequently advises on tax issues related to high-value residential property. Key figures include Tom Wilde, who heads the EIS and VAT tax practice, and Daniel Kennedy, who acts for a range of real estate clients including institutional investors, developers and occupiers. Highlights included advising Octopus Ventures as lead investor on SwiftKey’s sale of its business to Microsoft.

EU and competition

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Clyde & Co LLP’s β€˜prompt’ team β€˜truly understands the industry’ and provides β€˜good value for money’. The firm is adept at EU and competition-related litigation, and also advises on public procurement and investigations in the insurance, energy, infrastructure and trade sectors. Practice head John Milligan β€˜provides solid, commercial advice’ and β€˜consistently gets good results’, and is currently advising Greenfields on various international trade issues regarding EU food regulations. Milligan also assists with EU and UK competition law with regards to merger and joint venture clearance, cartel investigations, state aid rules and compliance programmes. Other clients include Schlumberger, Native Land and G4S.

Headed by the β€˜approachable’ Simon Barnes, Shoosmiths LLP’s β€˜responsive, commercial and down-to-earth’ team has β€˜excellent industry knowledge’ and provides β€˜clear advice which helps steer the business’. The group recently advised DB Cargo on the competition aspects of the HS2 rail project, and is currently acting for Micronclean in a Competition and Markets Authority investigation regarding alleged anti-competitive activity. Longstanding clients include Ageas Insurance, Indesit and Citizen Watches.

Stevens & Bolton LLP β€˜takes an insightful and directed approach to complex matters,’ and β€˜all instructions come highly prepared, well researched and meticulously thought through’. The group undertakes a broad range of competition-related work, and has notable strength in the life sciences, TMT and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. Team head Gustaf Duhs is β€˜a highly impressive solicitor- client-focused, practical, and able to interact effectively with regulators’. Duhs recently acted for Ylem on the competition aspects of its sale of Ener-G Cogen to Centrica, and advised a sporting goods manufacturer on issues around international trading following the result of the EU referendum.

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