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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: Essex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The 'extremely capable' corporate and commercial team at Birketts LLP is skilled in handling complex and international transactions. Headed by Rafael Ruiz, the team advises on all aspects of corporate acquisitions and high-value commercial agreements within the IT and financial services sectors. Nick Burnett has international experience, having developed expertise in advising regulated business and insurance brokers on M&A. Other key contacts include Nigel Thompson, and 'particularly good' M&A specialist Adam Jones.

Practice head(s):Rafael Ruiz

Other key lawyers:Adam Jones, Nick Burnett; Nigel Thompson; Alex Forwood; Heidi Jones

Testimonials

'The team at Birketts is full of quality lawyers with a personal touch.'

'Nigel Thompson communicates and manages expectations incredibly well. He remains calm under pressure, delivers to tight timescales and provides excellent support throughout complex transactions. Nigel is someone you want on your team!'

Key Clients

Atalian Servest

Excess Baggage Group

Seetec Business Technology Centre

Directflight

JRL Plant and Logistics

Sharksfin Holdings

Transport Innovation

Westdrive Kia

Granarolo SpA and Group

AutoProtect (MBI)

Investec Bank

Ventrica

Commcise Software

Gates Group

Commodity Centre Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Dino Forte on the sale of a minority interest in Ventrica Limited to a private equity investor.
  • Represented the owners of Commcise Software Limited on the 78% sale to Euronext.
  • Acting for Servest Food Co Limited in its acquisition of Unique Catering and Management Services Limited.
  • Represented Granarolo UK Limited in its purchase of the entire issued share capital of six entities forming the Midland Food group of companies.
  • Advised Investec Bank on its investment into the Cypress Group to purchase a manufacturer of offshore and subsea cables.

Birkett Long LLP's corporate and commercial practice is led by Tracey Dickens, who 'stands out' for her corporate finance work, national and international transactional experience and restructuring matters. The team has expertise in a range of sectors including banking, healthcare, intellectual property, and education. The 'impressive' David Wisbey advises investors and businesses on corporate finance, M&A and commercial law. Tim Field is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Tracey Dickens

Other key lawyers:David Wisbey; Tim Field

Testimonials

'Tracey Dickens and her team are outstanding. They are knowledgeable, responsive and above all, pragmatic which is just what we need from our legal advisers.'

'The team is a pleasure to work with. They are responsive, competent, well-organised and deliver their services efficiently.'

'Tracey Dickens, David Wisbey and Peter Allen give a first-class service. They have a knowledgeable and pragmatic approach that focuses on getting things done.'

Key Clients

Healthcare Homes

Wilkin & Sons

National Westminster Bank

Navigator Terminals North Tees

St Helena Hospice

Colchester Institute

CVR Global LLP

Navigator Terminals Seal Sands

Coast Digital

Fläkt Woods

I & C Limited

Runwood Homes

Colchester Royal Grammar School

University of Essex

Colchester Royal Grammar School

Valeo

Writtle University College

Work highlights

  • Acted on the sale of 100% of the share capital of Halstead company Wade International Limited to Alumasc Group plc.
  • Advised on a restructuring matter to facilitate the removal of one shareholder from the company.
  • Acted in a high-value company acquisition.

The corporate and commercial team at Ellisons Solicitors handles a wide range of significant mandates highlighted by large, cross-border transactions led by managing partner Seamus Clifford. The practice group is particularly focused on large business transfer and share purchase matters, which often have an international element. Paul Forsyth has been leading the firm's expansion into Chelmsford and has experience in insolvency matters. Also of note, the team was recently strengthened by the addition of Petra Sharp from Gotelee Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Seamus Clifford

Other key lawyers:Paul Forsyth

Key Clients

Gray Dawes Travel

East of England Co-Operative Society Limited

Shareholders of Hammerton Caravan Group Limited

Shareholders of Chelsea Technologies Limited

Beggs & Partners

Ensors Chartered Accountants

CVR Global LLP

Huntstowe Land Limited

Nova Command Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Gray Dawes Travel Ltd in its share acquisition of Giles Travel Limited.
  • Represented Gray Dawes Travel Ltd in its second acquisition of the year, a four-party asset purchase.
  • Represented the 12 shareholders of Chelsea Technologies Limited in the sale of the company and its subsidiary company to Sonardyne International Limited.
  • Represented Beggs & Partners in its acquisition of Essex based company, SX Heating and Plumbing Supplies Ltd.

At Tees Law, the corporate and commercial department has gone 'from strength to strength', handling multiple high-value deals and transactions, including cross-border M&A. The team, which is led by Robert Whitaker, who is executive partner of the firm's business team, includes the 'experienced and pragmatic' Richard Payne. Troy Featherstone is noted for being 'efficient and personable', and is experienced in providing clients with advice on all aspects of incorporation and restructuring. The firm merged with Wortley Byers at the beginning of 2019; former Wortley Byers managing partner Lucy Folley is a key member of the combined team.

Practice head(s):Robert Whitaker

Other key lawyers:Richard Payne; Lucy Folley; Sue Dowman; Troy Featherstone

Testimonials

'Richard Payne is a very experienced corporate lawyer, with a very pragmatic approach and ensures deals get done, whilst protecting the client's interest.'

'Richard Payne provides good concise advice, in a pragmatic way, whilst sticking to fixed price wherever possible.'

'I was delighted with the service we received from the team at Tees. Advice was sound and reasoned, and I think we gave our buyers the right appearance of toughness, fairness and resilience.'

'The corporate team is going from strength to strength with key appointments, of experienced lawyers. Tees Law is becoming a very serious regional firm in this field.'

'In contrast with other lawyers I have worked with, I found Sue Dowman and her team genuinely interested in understanding our rather niche business, in understanding mine and the other shareholder's objectives in the transaction, and pragmatic and realistic in the advice they gave us. The team were obviously experienced and skilled in the areas of law we needed, but were not remote or haughty, and were proactive, effective communicators enabling myself and my fellow shareholders to make informed decisions when we needed to do so. We could not fault the team''s handling of what was, for us, a crucial transaction that would have a significant impact on our futures.'

'Highly skilled and knowledgeable. Having worked with them for over 15 years, their key skills are in depth knowledge of all our business matters, how we think and how we make decisions. They are now as good as in-house solicitors.'

'The level of detail provided is exceptional. All communication is responded to quickly and efficiently - more so than any other legal firm I have dealt with.'

'Highly knowledgeable team and the quality of the work has always been very good. Very responsive and personable. Always feel they have our interests at heart and are prepared to take a call to provide advice.'

'Quality of personal service. Speed of service. Reliability of advice given. Friendliness of partners and staff. One is made to feel as if one is a 'valued client' - which other firms say one is, but don't always follow it through with matching deeds.'

'Sue Dowman is professional, obviously competent, genuinely interested in us as clients, listened as well as advised, was pragmatic and honest in her assessment of our negotiating position and what we could achieve, proactive and all in all great to work with.'

 Baljeet Kaur is a pleasure to deal with.'

'The individuals are all very strong in their legal knowledge. Responsiveness is their key. Being able to just highlight the key issues that need to be dealt with first, and also very good commercial acumen. they are able to easily highlight the clauses that have high commercial value and also the ones with little or no commercial value.'

'Always extremely approachable and their ability to explain legal situations into simple layman terms makes them stand out. I have great working relationships with my main contact there and feel I can at any time pick up the phone to discuss any issue.'

'Sue Dowman is efficient, highly knowledgable and skilled in the particular area of commercial law that I require. From intellectual property through to commercial agreements protecting IP, Sue is always available to rapidly respond and to deal with any queries.'

'Tenacity, responsiveness, integrity, creativity and attention to detail.'

Very responsive and personable. Always feel they have our interests at heart and are prepared to take a call to provide advice.'

'Lucy Folley's work is excellent and always makes herself available to advise and recommend.'

'Susan Dowman was very easy to get hold of at short notice and very responsive and helpful with difficult questions and dealing with difficult people and problems.'

Key Clients

Xpediator Plc

Woodland Group

Work highlights

  • Represented the shareholder's sale of Used Car Sites Limited to the AA.
  • Acted for AIM-listed Xpediator plc in its £12m acquisition of Import Services Limited.
  • Advised Xpediator plc £4m acquisition of Anglia Forwarding Limited.

'Exceeding all expectations', Thompson Smith and Puxon's corporate and commercial team is adept at handling the full scope of corporate matters including M&A, disposals, and distribution agreements. Led by Mary Anne Fedeyko, who is noted for her 'very practical commercial approach', the practice group works seamlessly across practice groups and provides significant cross-border services to national and international clients across a broad range of sectors. Nick Mayles is 'excellent' and has experience with restructuring and reorganizations.

Practice head(s):Mary Anne Fedeyko

Other key lawyers:Nick Mayles; Caroline Nicholls; Claire Powell

Testimonials

'Mary Anne Fedeyko, Nick Mayles, Claire Powell and Caroline Nicholls are standouts in the team. They have all been responsive, articulate, accommodating and always ready with a problem-solving approach.'

Work highlights

  • Advising the seller in connection with the sale of the specialist business in the building industry.
  • Advising on various financing aspects relating to an extremely large development site involving a national house builder.
  • Advising owner in relation to the disposal of private and NHS dental practice.
  • Advising corporate buyer in connection with its acquisition of certain business assets.
  • Advising shareholders in connection with the sale of the entire issued share capital.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP 'outstanding' corporate and commercial team is spread across six offices and focuses on a breadth of matters for mainly charity and education sector clients. Overseen by Tony Fisher, the team handles significant high-value transactional work. Ashton Carter is experienced in share and asset sale and purchase transactions, as well as corporate restructuring. Leah Groves is highlighted for her 'in-depth, specialist knowledge'.

Practice head(s):Tony Fisher

Other key lawyers:Ashton Carter; Leah Groves

Testimonials

'Ashton Carter is always very helpful, available and diligent in his approach to dealing with matters. He adds a personal touch and remains accessible at all times.'

'Nothing ever seems to be too much trouble for Ashton Carter; he's always willing to help find the right way forward in any situation.'

Work highlights

  • Acted in a statutory type 3 de-merger of a company.
  • Led the restructuring of a substantial family cycle business on the departure of one of the shareholders.
  • Advised on an internal restructuring mandate for a client.

The corporate team at Pinney Talfourd LLP is noted for its scope of 'key commercial specialisms whilst still having the personal touch of a smaller firm'. Clients adore the 'exceptional' Edward Garston, who is the key contact at the firm and leads most of the group's significant mandates pertaining to joint ventures and corporate restructuring and organisation.

Practice head(s):Edward Garston

Testimonials

'Ed Garston is diligent and thorough. He is very personable which assists in resolving contentious matters as quickly as possible.'

'I could not recommend Edward Garston more to conflicted clients. Ed is an excellent solicitor and I know that commercial sense will win the day when he is on the other side of a transaction.'

'Ed is absolutely spot on with his legal knowledge and it makes a transaction so much easier, cheaper and more efficient for both sides.'

The corporate team at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors is experienced in advising start-ups on a range of commercial matters, and also handles restructuring and reorganisation mandates for corporate clients. Key contacts in the department include practice head Mark Stigwood, who has a focus on private equity, and Jonathan Clarke.

Practice head(s):Mark Stigwood

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Clarke

The 'excellent' commercial team at BTMK Solicitors handles ongoing advisory work and M&A for corporate clients.  Lee Emptage has experience in dealing with high-value purchase sales and Ian Powell in Southend is another key contact. Partner and co-head of the practice group Sean Callaghan has left to join Palmers.

Practice head(s):Lee Emptage

Other key lawyers:Ian Powell

Testimonials

'BTMK have great depth across the whole range of legal matters and have always given excellent services. Lee Emptage and Nitin Khandia have both exhibited clear knowledge on matters and present their thoughts in a concise way.'

Work highlights

  • Advised a reality TV star on advertising regulations.
  • Acted in an acquisition in the millions of pounds.

The corporate and commercial team at Palmers is experienced in company acquisitions, partnership agreements, and contracts negotiations. Jointly led by BJ Chong in Thurrock and Basildon-based Luke Morgan, the team has expanded with the lateral hire of Sean Callaghan from BTMK Solicitors. Matthew Johnson is well-versed in corporate finance matters and peers describe him as an 'excellent lawyer'.

Practice head(s):BJ Chong; Luke Morgan

Other key lawyers:Matthew Johnson; Sean Callaghan

Testimonials

'Matthew Johnson had great attention to detail, and his communication was excellent. He delivers on his assurances and I would not hesitate to recommend him.'

Work highlights

  • Advising the sellers of the entire issued share capital of a private limited company for consideration of roughly £2.3m.
  • Acted on the acquisition of an affiliated financial advisor practice for approximately £3.5m.
  • Advised a founding shareholder on further investment into a company.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP's corporate practice group handles a variety of work involving commercial contracts, banking, licensing and insolvency matters. Led by Mark Deans, the team has been engaged in various joint agreement and acquisition matters. Westcliff-on-Sea based Fiona Colwell has complementary experience in litigation and is proficient in dealing with all matters related to M&A and company restructuring.

Practice head(s):Mark Deans

Work highlights

  • Acted in the acquisition of entire share capital of a company.
  • Assisted with the sale of the entire shareholding of a company to a third party.
  • Representing a client in connection with a shareholder’s agreement for joint ownership of a property development company.

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