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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 > Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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

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With ‘a wide range of experience in corporate and commercial law’, B P Collins LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, approachable and responsive’ team provides ‘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 £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 ‘highly professional, and pays great attention to detail’.

Dentons provides ‘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 £107m acquisition of motor dealer group Ridgeway Garages. Key partner Peter Cox is ‘a reliable, pragmatic and helpful lawyer who brings the perfect blend of commercial acumen and clear legal advice’ and ‘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 ‘excellent’ practice is ‘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 £11m worth of debt and £9m equity, and assisted with the acquisition of four commercial properties to be developed into Travelodge hotels. Key figures include Simon Arkell, who is ‘detail-oriented and determined’; Matthew Holman, who has ‘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 ‘city quality expertise at commercial rates’, and the team has ‘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 ‘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 £50.5m revolving facility that covers funding for its UK and France businesses. The ‘technically excellent, methodical and diligentAndrew 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 ‘excellent in all areas’ and ‘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 £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 ‘a very good knowledge of the relevant subject matter’ and ‘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 £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 £28m investment into its business by Smart Box Capital, and advised The Crystal Group on its £4m refinancing. Adrian Phillips and Peter Woolley are the other key names to note.

The ‘knowledgeable, professional and helpful’ team at SA Law LLP has ‘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 ‘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 ‘highly capable’ group is ‘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 £11m acquisition of the Land Rover dealership in Welwyn, and its £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 £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 ‘efficient and helpful’ team at Debenhams Ottaway is ‘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 ‘extremely competent’ practice provides ‘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 ‘excellentCraig 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 ‘very capable’ team ‘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 ‘proactiveNeil Gibbsbuilds great relationships with clients’ and ‘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.

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