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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: Kent, Surrey, Sussex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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

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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 £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 £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 ‘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 Mitchellhas 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 £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 Padghamis 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 ‘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 £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 ‘truly amazing’ M&A specialist Keith Syson, ‘excellent’ corporate finance expert Joe Bedford, and partnership specialist Jenny Robertson, who ‘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 ‘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 £110m acquisition by US-based StorageMart, as well as assisting YFM Private Equity with its £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 £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 ‘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 ‘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 £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 ‘is able to quickly grasp, understand and effectively communicate complex issues’; and senior associate Jonathan Steele, who ‘is extremely attentive’.

DMH Stallard LLPis 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 Owenis 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 LLPis 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 £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 £11m. Rayner Surgical Group, BluePoint London and Tata Advanced Systems are also on the client roster. National corporate practice head Simon Bickerdikealways gives good advice’ and specialises in M&A. Other key figures include David Kendall, who ‘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 & Passmorehas 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 ‘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 LLPis 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 £4m acquisition of EnvelopeMaster and assisting the shareholders of ETS Portsmouth with its £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 Solicitorsis 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 Jenningsis 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 ‘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, ‘goes the extra mile for clients’. Also in the team is Christine Goodyear, who ‘always delivers prompt, straightforward advice and has a wealth of experience’ in corporate finance mandates.

Moore Lawprovides 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 ‘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 ‘successfully combines practicality with expert advice’; he is ably supported by Rebecca Glazebrook, who ‘is very personable, professional and technically capable’, and senior associate Mark Diamond, who ‘is very capable, a good communicator and technically proficient’.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP’s ‘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 £3m funding round. Focus 4 U and New Era UK Holdings are also clients. Bruce Hayter heads the practice, which includes the ‘very commercially mindedSara Carpenter and Richard Cripps.

TWM Solicitors LLPprovides 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 £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 Berryis friendly, approachable and professional’; he is assisted by Peter Stevens, who ‘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 £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 Robertsis very diligent’ and is ably supported by the ‘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.

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