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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 tax > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate tax 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 provides ‘good, commercial and responsive advice’, and the group has ‘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 £45m. Court also acted for Gresham Technologies on the tax aspects of a £3.3m share placing on the AIM market, and on its £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 £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 £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 £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 £2m disposal to Croma Security Solutions, a listed national security company.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s ‘exemplary’ practice is ‘highly recommended for complex tax matters’ and provides ‘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 ‘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.

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