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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



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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


The corporate tax practice at Blake Morgan LLP provides '100% commitment to clients - the team is always available and completely "on it", ensuring all the small print is read, understood and challenged where necessary'. Headed by Simon Court, the practice's 'deep sectoral knowledge' extends to recruitment, education, healthcare, medical devices, charities and retail. It regularly handles equity fundraising matters for venture capitalists; management incentive agreements; tax structures for investment funds; corporate reorganisations, including stamp duty issues; and commercial property projects for developers, farmers, local borough councils and social housing landlords. It has been highly active in transactional tax matters; Mark Hepworth ('an outstanding negotiator - diligent, knowledgeable, pragmatic and negotiator') acted for the founders of TTC Group, a provider of road user and cycling education courses, on its sale to a management team backed by Palatine Private Equity. In another highlight, James Hawkeswood acted for Ground Control Holdings on the acquisition of the Litterboss Group.

Clarke Willmott LLP fields an 'excellent' corporate tax practice that has wide-ranging expertise covering share incentive schemes, property-related tax structuring issues, issues arising from historic tax liabilities (including settling tax liabilities through the use of the LDF and other disclosure facilities), and corporate tax issues arising from acquisitions and disposals. Niall Murphy heads the practice and brings more than 30 years' experience across a range of tax matters, including international tax planning and tax litigation. Recent transactional highlights include advising Addnobe Group on the tax aspects of the client's acquisition of Intrinsys Limited, which involved assisting with tax warranties and covenants. On the real estate front, Murphy advised Sheet Anchor Investments on the SDLT and direct tax implications of its acquisition and financing of a freehold interest in a shopping centre in Derby.

Clients of Field Seymour Parkes LLP award its corporate tax team 'full points on all fronts; the team clearly has the industry knowledge and experience with inputs into timely, practical advice'. Practice head Philippa Roles is praised for being 'on point, extremely knowledgeable, and able to guide the client without complicating the issue with industry jargon; she is a real professional'. The practice is noted for its ability to provide pre-and-post transaction tax planning advice, as illustrated by its handling of Stampede Global Europe's group restructuring, which involved advising on the UK tax implications of transferring shares in offshore subsidiaries to an intermediate group company and the subsequent sale of the lower tier company shares. In another highlight, the practice provided with enterprise investment scheme advice and planning, and applied for advance assurance from HMRC with regard to scheme availability.

Shoosmiths LLP fields a tax team from its Reading office that is praised for its 'excellent response times and commercial knowledge', with practice head Tom Wilde singled out for his 'pragmatic and commercial approach, without compromising on the legals and technicalities'. The team advises investors and investee companies on enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trust (VCT) compliant investments.  On the transactional front, Wilde advised Octopus Investments on its venture capital investment into US cybersecurity firm, Digital Shadows, which involved structuring the investment to ensure it was VCT compliant, as well as obtaining advance assurance from HMRC. The firm also has a dedicated real estate tax practice headed by Daniel Kennedy (who 'delivers complex advice in a pragmatic and understandable way' and whose 'knowledge of the commercial angles enables him to tailor advice accordingly'). Kennedy acted alongside associate Sara Mardell for Allied London on its sale to Schroders of units in the vehicle which owns the No.1  Spinningfields development in Manchester; this involved advising on the tax implication of the pre-transaction reorganisation to enable the property to be sold out of the wider development, and the subsequent tax aspects of the unit sale transaction.

Stevens & Bolton LLP has wide-ranging corporate tax expertise, with a particular focus on advising entrepreneurs, owner managers and SMEs on tax issues, including exit tax planning and equity incentive structures. The firm has continued to develop its capability in the latter category, with 2017 seeing it advise on a range of schemes, including EMI schemes, unapproved option schemes and employment-related incentive structuring for private equity transactions. In a highlight matter, practice head Kate Schmit advised the management team of Thesis Asset Management on the tax aspects of the wealth management company's £47m sale to a buyer funded by a consortium of private equity investors as well as the existing management team. The team was joined in 2017 by Jamie Crawford, who handled the tax aspects of Metropolis International's acquisition of 11 former Emap business-to-business magazine brands, as well as the amendment of the company's term and revolving loan facilities.

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