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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 > Finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Banking and finance

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking and finance 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


asb law LLP’s well-established team advises lenders and borrowers on the full gamut of banking matters, including acquisition finance, and property, aviation and private debt finance. Claire Williams heads the practice, which recently advised Clydesdale Bank on the refinancing of a nursing home and commercial property business, and acted for specialist underwriting agency AQmen on its management buyout, financed by Metrobank. Nigel Wigin handles finance matters in the property sector, and is currently advising Svenska Handelsbanken on a £1.3m loan for a legal title on a leisure park. Consultant Shaun Kelly advises SMEs and mid-sized corporates on lending to support their growth strategies. Also recommended are Chris Worthington, who specialises in site acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management and property finance, and Daniel Tozer. Other clients include HSBC Bank, Big Box Storage Centres and Lloyds Bank.

Blake Morgan LLP provides ‘a fantastic level of service’ and is ‘very reliable under time pressure, getting the deal over the line within the deadline and negotiating a strong position for the client’. The firm advises a mix of borrowers and specialist lenders across a range of sectors including healthcare, education, retail and renewable energy. Highlights included advising Swanton Holdings on the £35m refinancing of a large care home portfolio, and advising HSBC Bank and HSBC Asset Finance on primary and secondary funding for renewable energy projects for a venture capital firm, a high-value matter spanning nine different sites. Key individuals include Kath Shimmin, who heads the practice; Guy Constant, who ‘has a knowledge of the market that is second-to-none’ and ‘takes a practical and commercial approach to deals’; and senior associate Steve Cole, who leads on shari’ah finance matters.

EMW Law LLP’s areas of expertise include management buyouts, restructurings, property investment and major cross-border transactions with an emphasis on healthcare sector mandates. Ian Mabbutt heads the banking practice, and is currently advising Axis Group on its £12.4m refinancing with PNC Bank. In another highlight, Angela Stallard acted for Santander in an £8m term loan to Zenith Hygiene Group in connection with its acquisition of CCL Pentasol. Joe Soul leads on healthcare matters, and Jody Bingham focuses on real estate investment transactions, often using offshore structures. Other notable clients include Riverside Capital, Metro Bank and Cosgrave Property Group.

Osborne Clarke’s team ‘responds quickly to all queries’, and is ‘commercially sensible, providing a great-value service’. The firm has a notably strong acquisition finance practice, regularly advising borrowers and lenders on leveraged transactions and management buyouts. It also handles corporate, real estate and project financing matters. Recent work includes advising HSBC on new financing arrangements of up to £30m to Braemar Shipping Services, an international consultancy provider to the marine, energy, offshore and insurance industries; and acting for three major lenders including Lloyds and RBS on new syndicated facilities to Cohort totalling £25m. Practice head Hugh Jones is ‘very commercially able’, and legal director Rebecca Scott is, according to clients, ‘the fastest drafter in the South East’. Victoria Dingle is also recommended.

Pitmans LLPworks hard to maintain good client relationships; all queries are responded to with the appropriate level of detail’. The practice continues to sit on the panels of several major banks including HSBC Commercial, Lloyds TSB, Metro Bank and Santander, and receives regular instructions from its solid lender client base. The firm also acts for a variety of corporate borrowers, undertaking a range of national and multi-jurisdictional transactions. Key clients include Allied Irish Bank, Santander and Totaltec Oilfield Services. Stephanie Perry (who is praised for providing ‘sound, easy-to-digest advice’) recently advised Totaltec Oilfield Services on an initial equity financing from a number of private investors, a high-value highlight spanning multiple jurisdictions including Guyana, Denmark, Norway and Singapore. Jim Meechan is the other key figure, handling a mix of personal, private and corporate banking matters.

Shoosmiths LLP’s lawyers are ‘highly knowledgeable and always readily available’. The group has notable expertise in mid-market acquisition finance, advising a range of lenders and private equity houses on financing arrangements and buy-and-build programmes. Rebecca Mauleverer heads the department, and recently acted for Fern Trading on its £22.6m loan to RCVP Helston Lane Development to acquire and develop a site in Windsor into assisted living units. The ‘able, intelligent and articulateLinda Williams continues to advise Lloyds Development Capital on the debt and equity refinancing of Bybox Holdings. Sean Wright specialises in private equity-backed acquisition finance, restructurings and corporate lending, and Chris McClure handles rail and aircraft-related asset finance matters.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s banking department works closely with the insolvency and restructuring team, and has seen a significant rise in restructuring work following the arrival of David Steinberg from Clifford Chance LLP. The group also handles mid-market acquisition finance, real estate finance and corporate debt transactions, advising an even split of lenders and borrowers including major banks, alternative finance providers and large corporates. Practice head Jonathan Porteous is advising Rainworth Energy on the £13m financing of its anaerobic digestion facility in Nottinghamshire, and Andrew Steele is advising Lloyds Bank on a high-value financing of two commercial mixed-use sites in London. Other key clients include Santander, HSBC and Papa John’s.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s team ‘always responds swiftly, separating the important commercial points from the technical issues’ and ‘delivering commercial solutions whilst maintaining good relations with the other side’. The firm acts for a large roster of corporate clients, and also handles a steady flow of lender-side mandates, advising banks such as HSBC, Lloyds and Santander on a range of transactions. practice head Graham Jeffries is ‘wise, intellectually robust, practical and confident’; he primarily focuses on project, asset and property related financings, and recently advised Renewable Energy Generation on the £64.5m sale of its business to RI Income, a fund managed by BlackRock. The team also provides ongoing advice to Chemring Group on a number of financing requirements across the UK and US, and handles various regulatory issues for Invest & Fund, a new entrant to the peer-to-peer lending market.

Cripps LLP’s ‘highly responsive’ team attracts praise for its ‘deep knowledge of various sectors and local business drivers’. The group regularly advises on major transactions on both the borrower and lender side; recent highlights include acting for Day Lewis Group on its £160m multi-bank refinancing, handling a number of term loans and finance facilities on behalf of Santander, and advising Metro Bank on a variety of transactions in the healthcare space. James Beatton and Nigel Stanford co-head the practice, which includes Philip Cunningham, who advises a range of banking clients including Lloyds and Barclays.

DMH Stallard LLP provides ‘quick response times and excellent customer service’; the team is ‘always available to assist with any complex queries and deal with matters swiftly’. The department is notably strong in acquisition and property finance, and frequently receives mandates from the healthcare and fast-growth SME sectors. The ‘responsive and knowledgeableGwen Godfrey heads the practice; she specialises in debt refinancings and is praised for her ‘customer-friendly approach’. Simon Elcock focuses on banking litigation, and handles a wide range of claims on behalf of major banks. Anne Milne is the key contact for property finance matters.

The ‘responsive’ team at Dentons has ‘an outstanding depth of knowledge, and is able to respond quickly to all questions raised’. Key clients include a mix of national and overseas banks, and the practice is notably strong in the automotive, TMT, real estate and manufacturing sectors. Christopher Colclough is ‘committed to providing a first-class service’, and has strong expertise in real estate finance transactions. Also recommended are the ‘approachable, knowledgeable and responsivePeter Cox, and real estate partner Robert Wyatt, who regularly advises on the banking aspects of property deals, including site acquisition and development. HSBC, Metro Bank and British Arab Commercial Bank are among the firm’s key clients.

According to clients, Irwin Mitchell’s practice ‘compares very well with its competition’. It acts for a mix of banks, building societies, private lenders and borrower clients on the full range of banking matters. Sarah Naylor advises institutional lenders and borrowers on transactional activity including property finance, acquisitions and bilateral and syndicated lending. Other key figures include David Fanchi, who specialises in property finance; Richard Purcell, who handles development financings; and Andrew Watson, whose expertise includes asset, invoice and supplier finance. The group’s clients include Santander, HSBS, National Westminster Bank and RBS Invoice Finance.

Mundays LLP’s five-partner team acts for major global financial institutions including Ahli United Bank, Svenska Handelsbanken and National & Counties Building Society. It also acts for a strong domestic client base of lenders and borrowers. The practice frequently handles cross-border financing matters and has deep expertise in US law mandates and structures. It is also becoming increasingly active in the area of Islamic finance. Practice head Mark Andrew is dual-qualified in UK and US law, and continues to handle the full spectrum of banking matters. He is assisted by Neale Andrews, who specialises in corporate finance and debt restructuring; and Gemma James, who has notable expertise in the real estate and aviation sectors.

Paris Smith LLP’s ‘professional’ lawyers ‘have extensive knowledge and deep experience within each of their areas of discipline’. The group, which is ‘efficient, easy to deal with and always willing to give advice’, has been highly active in debt finance transactions, and is particularly strong in the retail and education sectors. Highlights included advising Santander on a high-value term loan facility to Home Grown Hotels, a boutique hotel chain, and acting for RB Sport & Leisure on several matters, including the sale of a spa business and consequential restructuring; an ongoing refinancing of the Ageas Bowl facility; and a £1m term loan facility from Barclays. Practice head James McNeil is ‘quick, knowledgeable and with a great sense of humour’. Jonathon Roy, who specialises in acquisition finance and private equity matters, and property finance specialist Clare Lee are also recommended.

Penningtons Manches LLP acts primarily on the borrower side for clients in the healthcare, real estate, leisure and technology sectors, where the team advises on major project financing and transactional activity. Highlights included advising new client Westgate Healthcare on raising a total of £34m from various lenders for a major group restructuring, a matter involving significant regulatory, real estate and tax elements. The group also acted for Ethical Property Company (EPC) on its £27m refinancing by Triodos Bank, and advised Industrial Chemicals Group on funding to purchase a combined heat and power plant. Rich Eldridge heads the group, which includes newly promoted partner James Went, senior associate John Chater, who ‘responds quickly’ and ‘has a good commercial approach’.

Birketts LLP is praised for its ability to field ‘an appropriately skilled team for each matter, which helps drive the process forward’. The practice handles acquisition financings, construction and property funding, asset-backed lending and refinancing matters. The team was strengthened with the arrival of a number of associates in 2016; among these is banking, capital markets and derivatives lawyer Charles Kirk, and solicitor Daniel Browne, who focuses on property finance transactions. Adam Jones heads the practice, which includes legal director Duncan Williamson. Notable clients include HSBC, NatWest, Svenska Handelsbanken and Santander.

Recent highlights for Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s ‘consistently excellent’ team include advising Santander on a property investment and development financing, and acting for Bank of Scotland on a £2.5m term loan made to a company in the British Virgin Islands. Practice head John Barker is advising Lloyds Bank on euro-denominated facilities totalling €5m provided to a soft fruit grower. Other key figures include managing partner Jeremy Parkes, who acts for borrower clients including Whistl and Reading Football Club, and Alex Illingworth, who advises a range of high street banks, borrowers and venture capitalists on the full range of banking issues.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) is noted for its expertise in the construction sector, advising banks and borrower clients on funding, corporate structures, warranties and step-in rights. Recent work included advising AIB Group on its security arrangements following a decision to issue retail commercial bonds totalling £5m in value, and advising National Westminster Bank on a £1.9m financing provided to Shepperton Marina. Key figures include Ross Johnstone, who specialises in investment development and funding, and David Clark, who handles corporate finance and secured lending matters. Senior solicitor Gemma Coles is recommended for real estate finance.

Key individuals at Prettys include Jon Bloor, whose specialisms include acquisition, structured and asset finance, as well as secured lending, and Rebecca Palmer, who advises lenders and borrowers on construction matters. The firm has significant strength on the banking, construction and healthcare sectors, and key clients include Santander, Lloyds Bank, Marriott Motor Group and Amber Care. Recent work includes advising the latter on a high-value restructuring and refinancing transaction with Santander. Corporate insolvency partner Ian Waine is the other name to note.

Trethowans LLP provides ‘a highly valued service, responds quickly to all requests and is great to do business with’. The group advises on acquisition finance, restructuring, banking litigation and property, agricultural and rural financings; it also has significant expertise in payments and settlements matters in the retail sector. The ‘highly commercial’ Sophie Eales heads the banking practice and ‘always makes the transactions work for all parties concerned’. She is recommended alongside property expert Nick Gent, who has ‘extensive knowledge and experience of his area’. David Jones advised HSBC on a £10m loan secured over London-based industrial property. Other highlights included acting for Metrobank on various secured lending instructions involving high-value property. Other clients include Lloyds Bank, Santander and Clydesdale Bank on the lender side, and Lily’s Kitchen, Stewart Signs and Rowanmoor Group on the borrower side.

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Insolvency and corporate recovery 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


Boyes Turner’s ‘strong insolvency team operated by experienced and knowledgeable partners’ in Reading mainly advises insolvency practitioners, banks, asset-based lenders and secured creditors, with a particular expertise in fraud and asset tracing. The practice experienced an increase in cross-border mandates, including the ‘very experiencedChris Branson advising trustee Grant Thornton UK on a dual bankruptcy which, apart from worldwide freezing orders and issued proceedings, involved the realisation of property in South Africa. Head of insolvency Phil Smith represented Antony Batty & Company, which functioned as the liquidator for Hunter Bay Minerals during the sale of its shares in a Uruguayan mining company to a Canadian buyer, and also acted for Kreston Reeves in high-value litigation that included private prosecution for alleged perjury in previous litigation. The ‘energetic and proactive’ Oliver Fitzpatrick took day-to-day responsibility in the Grant Thornton matter, while assisting on several others. BDO, Wilkins Kennedy and Quantuma are among the firm’s clients, as are names such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Smith & Williamson. Kunal Dodia, who assisted Smith on the Kreston Reeves matter, arrived in October 2016 from an in-house role at fintech platform MarketInvoice.

The ‘unrivalled’ and ‘collaborative’ insolvency team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in Guildford ‘combines great technical and legal knowledge with a depth of experience and a pragmatic and commercial approach’. Its focus on fraud and high-value litigation gives it ‘more hands-on experience’ and a ‘better’ ability to ‘predict outcomes and manage expectations’. The practice also handles administrations and restructuring work on the advisory and transactional side. The firm’s client spectrum ranges from practitioners, lenders and financial institutions to private companies, directors and stakeholders, with particular expertise in the pharmacy, retail, sport, private wealth and real estate sectors (‘a heavy cross-over between insolvency and property law is one of the lawyers’ unique selling points’). Roger Elford, who has an ‘excellent eye for detail and particular experience in property matters’, advised the government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas on the Chapter 11 of the $3bn Baha Mar hotel resort, and on its subsequent restructuring and negotiations with the Chinese developer. Head of team James Hyne – ‘a fantastic leader with brilliant client care skills’ – assisted MBI Coakley as joint administrators of Barrowfen Properties with a £4m loan in order to pay for undisputed claims. Hyne and ‘future star’ associate Daniel Moore supported Elford in his matter for the Central Bank of Bahrain relating to Awal Bank’s ongoing multimillion-dollar administration. The ‘diligent and much-likedPrav Reddy represented Turpin Barker Armstrong as the joint administrators of Jacksons during its £6.75m sale to Dexters London.

The insolvency practice at Pitmans LLP in Reading provides an ‘excellent service, a knowledgeable team and a great range of experience’, taking on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Supported by director Stacey Jones as well as solicitor David Williams (who specialises in matters related to property such as tenant and landlord insolvency), the ‘extremely competent and vastly experienced’ head of department Suzanne Brooker advises on corporate, partnership and personal insolvencies as well as restructuring, asset tracing and insolvency-related transactions. UHY Hacker Young, KPMG, Grant Thornton UK and CVR Global are among the firm’s active clients. Nicola Kirk left for Gateley Plc in spring 2016.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s insolvency and corporate recovery practice in Guildford delivers a ‘top-quality service at regional pricing’ when it comes to restructuring and refinancing as well as corporate litigation and bankruptcy. Tim Carter (‘bright, clear, concise, commercial and pragmatic’) now leads the team jointly with David Steinberg, who arrived from Clifford Chance in 2016. Another new hire is senior associate Matthew Padian, who joined from Baker McKenzie in August 2016. Steinberg represented mining entrepreneur Frank Timiș against a claim from Gerald Metals, which applied for a global freezing injunction, and also advises Ernst & Young as provisional liquidators for The Home Insurance Company. Carter supported Energos in its contingency planning and in related problems with key contractors. Quantuma, Kingston Smith & Partners and KPMG Botswana are active clients.

Following Jonathan Lupton’s departure to insolvency litigation financing company Manolete Partners, the key insolvency contact at Coffin Mew LLP is now senior associate Heather Dobson, although the ‘practical and responsive’ team in general is headed by dispute resolution leaders Ian Dawes and Mark James. Dobson shows ‘fantastic commitment to achieving the result the client expects’ and specialises in asset realisation, distressed lending, section 110 reconstructions as well as matters for schools, charities and unincorporated partnerships. She recently advised the trustee of Wykeham House School Trust, as well as its joint administrators at Menzies, regarding the school’s legal structure and the administration and sale of the property. Another highlight was the ongoing representation of Moore Stephens as joint liquidators for Witham Contract Manufacturing in a misfeasance claim brought by the liquidators of another group company. The contentious matters are often handled by ‘highly organised and efficient’ associate Rebecca Chaplin, who focuses on wrongful trading, unlawful payments and distributions, undervalue transactions, transactions defrauding creditors, void dispositions and misfeasance. Together with Dobson, she advised Peter Hall Limited as joint liquidators of Trident Homes on its claim concerning the repayment of unlawful preference payments. Associate Edward Bible, who advises insolvency practitioners, joined the Southampton office from Brethertons LLP in spring 2016. He advised McCambridge Duffy as individual voluntary arrangement supervisor in a case concerning a completion statement.

The ‘pragmatic and responsive’ insolvency team at Cripps LLP, based in Tunbridge Wells and Kings Hill, delivers ‘excellent service and sound advice tailored to the client’s needs’ and has a bigger focus on non-contentious restructurings and corporate and commercial transactions including corporate restructuring, refinancing and work arising from distressed situations. Media and advertising as well as healthcare, finance, food and drink, and logistics/transport are key areas of expertise for the 11-lawyer group. The ‘clear-headed and commercialJames Beatton, who stays ‘calm under pressure’ and ‘gets to the heart of the issue’, heads up the practice, while Chris Langridge specialises in corporate recovery, including reorganisations and distressed M&A. From the managing associates, clients recommend the ‘empathetic and thoroughJoanna Ford, the ‘very efficient’ Tom Bourne and the ‘extremely diligent’ Liz Barton, who are all ‘keen to do well for their clients’. Victoria Symons joined the Kings Hill office from Brecher LLP in September 2016. Traverse Advisory, Silverstar Foods and RSM UK Group are regular clients, while Pretty Legs Hosiery was a client win in 2016.

Following the opening of its new Reading office in December 2015, Gateley Plc recruited the ‘approachable and knowledgeableNicola Kirk from Pitmans LLP in April 2016 and associate Carly Schiff from Boyes Turner in September 2016 to form its insolvency and corporate recovery practice. Kirk and Schiff both handle transactional as well as contentious matters, with a special focus on fraud (investigation, recovery and prevention as well as tax evasion). Technology, legal, retail, finance, recruitment, hospitality and leisure are among the areas of expertise for which the team provides a ‘fantastic service and substantial knowledge’. Kirk advised administrators Wilkins Kennedy on retention of title, employee claims, security and the sale of assets regarding a family-owned retail business, while Schiff supported London-based corporate recovery partner Ken Titchen on Begbies Traynor’s appointment as administrators and the pre-pack sale of a global container logistics company. Together, Kirk and Schiff also advise a corporate client on day-to-day affairs, real estate purchases, legislative interpretation, employment and contract review. KPMG, Deloitte and Smith & Williamson are other longstanding clients.

Irwin Mitchell’s insolvency and corporate recovery practice has undergone significant changes in recent times, with key partners Frank Bouette and Martin Cross joining in Gatwick as a result of the firm’s merger with Thomas Eggar in December 2015. Bouette undertakes mostly restructuring, corporate recovery and transactional work, while Cross specialises in trusts (often with a cross-border aspect) and fraud-related matters. One of the latter’s highlights was the representation of the creditors of ARM Asset Backed Securities in an £80m trust law dispute regarding claims concerning over 1,000 investors. Bouette and solicitor Alison Bruce advised CVR Global as administrators for the UK subsidiary of a Spanish-owned company on the administration itself as well as on the restructuring and transition of the business, which was necessary due to landlord conflicts. Cross also assisted Alliance Healthcare with supply chain issues and managing the insolvency risks thereof and supported Hexpress with its restructuring and partial business transfer to the Channel Islands. Gatwick Airport, Lloyds Banking Group and FRP Advisory are among the firm’s clients.

Paris Smith LLP is ‘a good regional firm’ with ‘excellent knowledge and a strong team’. The team includes recommended insolvency specialist Mike Pavitt (‘a considered individual and complex thinker’), who handles both contentious and non-contentious matters and has particular expertise in personal insolvencies; corporate and commercial lawyer Richard Atcherley and litigator Clive Thomson. The ‘efficient’ Shelley White, who specialises in contentious matters, joined the insolvency team in Southampton after working at Verisona Law. Pavitt and Atcherley represented administrators KPMG and Smith & Williamson in the £14.1m sale of 40 stores for My Local to several retail purchasers. Together with Thomson (who was also responsible for the defence against claims at the pre-liquidation stage), Pavitt handled the post-liquidation of software development company Future Route by acting for Quantuma. Another highlight was the joint representation of bankruptcy trustees Mazars by Pavitt and solicitor Phillip Baldwin. James Cowper Kreston and BRI Business Recovery & Insolvency are also active clients.

Verisona Law’s insolvency and corporate recovery practice in Portsmouth is ‘particularly strong on contentious matters’, ‘always meets response deadlines’ and has ‘strong internal capabilities as well as a focus on continuity and building relationships’. Following the hire of associate director and non-contentious lawyer Stephen Ryde-Weller (noted for his ‘superb speed of response’ and for being ‘incredibly clear on legal points’) from Bond Dickinson LLP in April 2016, the team now consists of five insolvency specialists. Team head Nick Oliver (‘one of the most technically adept insolvency solicitors with an impressive network across industries and the ability to offer innovative solutions to complex issues’) and ‘thoroughly professional’ consultant David Oliver (who has ‘vast experience in all aspects of insolvency, bankruptcy and corporate recovery’) mostly handle personal insolvency matters, director disqualification matters and fraud claims. Also recommended is director and ‘extremely sound and level-headed lawyer’ Michael Dyer, who handles the corporate and transactional aspects of insolvency, particularly in the sports sector, while associate director Neil Stewart focuses on asset recovery and claims against former directors. Nick Oliver and Ryde-Weller advised lead creditor Investec on cash-flow problems worth £10m and a possible restructure of the business. One of David Oliver’s highlights was the representation of Ralls Builders against a £1.1m wrongful trading claim brought by the joint liquidators.

Birkett Long LLP’s insolvency and corporate recovery team gives ‘extremely prompt responses and very practical commercial advice’, mainly acting for insolvency practitioners and defending company directors during contentious recovery matters. Key lawyer Kevin Sullivan in Colchester is ‘very straightforward and realistic’ and clients also recommend associate Tracy England’s ‘superb client care skills’. Chairman David Wisbey supports Sullivan with commercial and corporate finance expertise in non-contentious cases out of the Chelmsford office. Sullivan was instructed to investigate the recovery of net sale proceeds (due after a property sale) by a liquidator in a case against the director who had sold the asset but transferred the monies to a private bank account in Egypt. He also currently assists a client - whose tax payments were in great disarray due to personal problems - in the annulment of his bankruptcy order by aiming to reach an agreement with the creditors. Larking Gowen, McTear, Williams & Wood and FRP Advisory are among the firm’s longstanding clients.

The insolvency and corporate recovery practice at Birketts LLP mainly handles contentious claims such as repayment, transactions at undervalue, breach of warranty and fraudulent statutory demands and also acts for liquidators, administrators and practitioners during insolvency proceedings. Cambridge-based Laurence Weeks heads the team and is supported by corporate and commercial lawyers Rafael Ruiz and Adam Jones in Chelmsford as well as litigators Matthew Weston and Will Arran. The firm advises Ensors, RSM, FRP Advisors and Larking Gowen among other clients. Privilege Finance is a recent addition to the firm’s portfolio. Charles Kirk joined Ruiz’s corporate and commercial team in 2016.

Blake Morgan LLP’s insolvency and corporate recovery team is ‘keen to assist and provide a balanced resolution to situations’. Reading-based senior associate Katie James is the recommended contact for the South East, along with commercial litigator Chris Potts in Oxford, who is experienced in High Court litigation such as fraud claims related to insolvency and other corporate disputes. James handles all kinds of insolvency matters for officeholders, lenders, investors, creditors and directors, but has niche expertise relating to distressed care homes after leading eight separate group administrations in this field. Chartered legal executive Claire White supports James on most matters, including financial recovery advice to Experto Credite and several representations of administrators RSM Restructuring & Advisory during corporate sales. Senior associate Dan Geddes joined Blake Morgan LLP.

Blandy & Blandy LLP is ‘excellent for insolvency litigation’ with an ‘overall good service, decent knowledge and good response times’. David Murray in Reading, ‘a very capable, pragmatic and commercially minded solicitor who gets results’, deals mainly with contentious matters, but also advises on risk identification, avoidance and management, while corporate lawyer David Few works on the transactional and re-organisational side. Highlights included the administration and creditors’ voluntary liquidation of RightStepCareers, during which Murray acted for KRE Corporate Recovery, as well as the representation of the trustees of Eden Settlement Trust during the administration of ML Convenience (My Local). On an international level, Murray advises German company LIPP on the insolvency of Imtech in the UK and its Spanish joint venture partner. BDO, Quantuma and Svenska Handelsbanken are also active clients.

The insolvency and corporate recovery team at Brachers in Maidstone handles insolvency cases as well as insolvency portfolio management. The latter is a specialty of director Graham Wallis, while Michael Oatham is the key person for corporate insolvency, asset recovery, warranties, fraud, defamation and other contentious maters, including contract disputes, risk analysis and corporate litigation relating to directors, shareholders, partnerships or LLPs. Oatham currently represents Reeves as joint liquidators in a misfeasance claim against Total Concept Solutions. Another highlight was the advising of Iceland Seafood in a commercial dispute regarding the sale of its products in Nigeria by Coronation; the matter has now moved into liquidation. Active clients include KPMG, Grant Thornton, Baker Tilly and Bretts Business Recovery.

DMH Stallard LLPprovides a depth of experience and sensible, understandable advice’ together with ‘speedy response times’, and key partner Tim Symes in Crawley is ‘tenacious, effective’ and ‘superb at case progression’. He is supported by solicitor Victoria Gillham. The practice focuses on advising insolvency practitioners as well as both corporate and individual insolvents. On the contentious side, Symes handled a £1m bankruptcy, which included two estates and contained an identity fraud allegation concerning the purchase of assets. In a different matter, he supported a firm on the recovery of interests in a property which had been transferred to the bankrupt’s wife before the start of the proceedings. He also assisted several liquidators and their advisers, for example regarding the regaining of void dispositions from over 25 different recipients and the resulting litigation. Associate solicitor Tristan Cox left for Penningtons Manches LLP. In 2017, the firm merged with Rawlison Butler LLP, bringing on board insolvency expert Stuart Evans.

The ‘excellent, timely and cost-effective’ insolvency and corporate recovery practice at Dentons in Watford focuses on advising banks as well as handling personal and property-related insolvencies. The ‘very user-friendlyBill Ramsey is responsible for the latter area and is supported by senior associate Matthew Hind during transactions, while Carolyn Jones has expertise in advising banking and commercial clients. Insolvency executive Mark Goward mainly works with officeholders on contentious matters, such as bankruptcy cases and Proceeds of Crime recoveries. The retail sector and non-contentious restructuring work are other strong areas. Jones and Goward represented a bank in a bankruptcy petition against the debtor. A highlight for Ramsay was the advice on a historic mansion for JLL concerning existing and new leases after its acquisition, as well as a dispute and retention of title aspects. Partner Mark Tempest left in autumn 2016 will join VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) later in 2017.

The ‘very competitive’ firm Downs Solicitors LLP in Dorking and Godalming provides a ‘notably broad insolvency practice ranging from routine insolvency work to offshore financial transactions’ as well as a ‘wealth of experience that the lawyers are able to apply directly to the issues at hand’. Martin Steer’s ‘professional understanding of commercial litigation feeds intoChris Millar’s technically excellent insolvency skills’. Steer handled several Statutory Demand matters, while Millar, who is described as a ‘highly strategic thinker’, recently advised on the recovery of a sum gained from the sale of shares in a Luxembourg company to a company from the British Virgin Islands as well as interim insolvency proceedings. He also represented a liquidator of Geoffrey Martin & Co/PFK regarding shareholding interest claims brought forward by creditors while the company director was in prison. Consultant solicitor Nigel Cookgives pragmatic and sensible advice’ during administration, winding-up and liquidation proceedings, particularly when it comes to directors’ liability, company restoration and fulfilment of conditions at a pre-administration stage.

EMW Law LLP’s ‘excellent’ insolvency and corporate recovery practice in Milton Keynes handles both contentious and, more frequently, non-contentious work, with the ability to ‘allocate particular matters to the most appropriately experienced lawyers’. Both Damon Watt and London-based Angela Stallard ‘are highly experienced insolvency lawyers and get to the nub of an issue very quickly and efficiently’. The regional team also comprises Ian Mabbutt, who, like Stallard, focuses on restructurings and refinancings, as well as demerger specialist Simon Arkell. Recurring industries include construction, retail, food, waste/recycling and recruitment, but Arkell also gained clients in the motor and media sectors. The lawyers recently supported Leonard Curtis, Carter Backer Winter, Punjab National Bank and FRP Advisory.

The insolvency team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP is based in Reading and undertakes officeholder appointments, corporate restructurings and refinancings as well as insolvency transactions. Ian Wood-Smith is the head of the team, which also includes security arrangements specialist Jeremy Parkes, asset-tracing and fraud litigator Bill Dixon and newly promoted partner Chris Brightling, who focuses on group restructurings and corporate transactions. Recent highlights include several matters for administrators KRE Corporate Recovery, such as the sale of businesses and assets and advice regarding the security compliance for investment, IT and online travel companies. The team also handled various potential claims against the director of an interior design and furniture company for this client. Long-term clients Deloitte and BDO also use the firm’s services.

The insolvency and corporate recovery team at Freeths LLP consists of Simon Hobbs in Milton Keynes and litigator Duncan Crine in Oxford and has a particularly strong standing in the hospitality, national pub chain and real estate sectors, for which the team advises on administrations, transactional issues and disputes as well as directors’ duties, liabilities and allegations against them. Hobbs recently advised Intertain on the liquidation of Jongleurs Comedy (Group). Other clients include Whitbread, PwC, Quantuma and Ernst & Young.

Moore Blatch LLP’s insolvency and corporate recovery team has particular expertise in advising banks, crowd funders, directors and practitioners on claims against insolvent borrowers or guarantors and negligent lenders and bankruptcy advisers. Other strong sectors include transport, marine, IT, leisure and healthcare. Team lead and insolvency litigator Mark Osgood is based in Southampton, together with associate solicitor Lisa Saxby (who is also known for working on director disqualification matters), asset recovery expert Peter Jeffery and associate restructuring solicitor James Allen. Osgood and Allen represented Smith & Williamson as administrators of peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Knight Holdings regarding the latter’s £1.75m refinancing, while Jeffery handled the reorganisation of the Ardvarna Investment Capital company group, including several members’ voluntary liquidations and the termination of the main company and its subsidiary Ardbid. The team has also previously represented Moore Stephens, Liberata, Begbies Traynor and Chantrey Vellacott.

The firm Players Solicitors, founded by Gary Player in Partridge Green, deals exclusively with insolvency matters. Player, who is a licensed insolvency practitioner himself, represents other practitioners as well as corporate clients, creditors and individuals during administration, dispute, claim and liquidation proceedings. Pre-pack transactions and director disqualification claims make up other areas of work. Recent highlights include the defence of Yorkbury Management and its director against a claim from the liquidator of Mill Lane Engineering and the representation of trustee Guardian Business Recovery in a property possession claim which involved two residential and two commercial properties. Kreston Reeves, Base Contractors (UK), FRP and Rothmans Recovery are active clients.

Spratt Endicott’s ‘responsive’ insolvency and corporate recovery practice ‘has a strong reputation in the local market and a broad range of expertise running across corporate and personal insolvency’. The ‘determined and accessible’ associate Petra van Dijk is based in Banbury and ‘approaches complex cases with thorough technical knowledge and sound commercial judgement’. Dijk, who is also qualified in the Netherlands, focuses mainly on contentious matters, such as winding-up petitions, statutory demands, misfeasance and wrongful trading claims, administration orders and injunctions, but also handles transactional agreements and other non-contentious matters. She is supported by the head of dispute resolution David Whiting and corporate and commercial partner Hitendra Patel. Begbies Traynor is a new addition to the client base, which also includes Critchleys, Mazars and BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency.

stevensdrake’s insolvency and corporate recovery department in Crawley consists of ‘outstanding’ New Zealand and UK qualified partner Gavin Pickering (who is ‘good at communicating complex issues and giving valuable advice’) and solicitor Lucy Skilton, who represent liquidators, creditors, asset recipients, directors, practitioners and landlords. Their particular expertise lies in asset recovery on behalf of creditors as well as contentious claims against company directors and insolvency investigations. Other highlights included defending a director against claims and advising a landlord on the recovery of interest and transition to a new tenancy during an administration matter.

The insolvency and corporate recovery team at Trethowans LLP gives ‘concise and commercial advice, has short response times and demonstrates excellent industry knowledge’. The ‘very knowledgeable and proactiveMatthew Barker in Southampton is experienced in restructuring and advisory work for distressed businesses as well as corporate, partnership and individual insolvency procedures, while the ‘thorough’ commercial litigator Jon Kelly mostly represents insolvency practitioners and lenders. Active clients include Baker Tilly, Paribas, Quantuma and Menzies. Barker advised Begbies Traynor as administrators for an electronics design and installation company, worth approximately £300,000 as well as for a dogs home in a separate matter which involved settling a potential transaction at an undervalue.

The three-partner insolvency team at Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors undertakes both corporate and personal insolvency matters. Reading-based Barry Niven’s practice spans business transactions, asset recovery for practitioners, restructuring and refinancing, winding-up petitions, individual voluntary arrangements and claims that fall under wrongful trading, misfeasance, retention of title, security and undervalue transactions. Niven is supported by Jonathan Davis and Carlton Rae in Wokingham, who handle antecedent transactions claims and other contentious matters. In the past year, the team advised companies and their representatives on their administrations and liquidations as well as reorganisations and disputes involving property.

At Furley Page Solicitors, the insolvency and corporate recovery team is now led by the head of dispute resolution Peter Hawkes in Chatham, following the departure of Richard Ludlow to Francis Wilks & Jones in August 2016. Together with solicitor Natasha Biggs and Canterbury-based litigator George Crofton-Martin, he advises on corporate insolvencies, notably in the construction, hospitality and consultancy sectors. The team is also experienced in the annulment of personal insolvencies. Recent highlights include Crofton-Martin’s advice to Cardy Construction regarding the company’s turnaround prior to the appointment of administrators worth £18m. Hawkes represented joint venture partner Waydale Developments during the £18m administration of a residential development project, which included defending claims against the company and directors. The department gained a number of new clients in the above-mentioned industries.

Lester Aldridge LLP’s insolvency and corporate recovery lawyers Nick Keitley and Melia Hirst ‘are a dependable team’ whose ‘response times and knowledge are second to none’. The practice mainly advises practitioners during trading administrations and liquidations, but also handles insolvent business sales, voluntary arrangements, receiverships and insolvency strategies. Other areas of work included the representation of banks and asset-based lenders as well as creditors, stakeholders, landlords, suppliers, contractors and company directors. The team receives support on security enforcement and property disposals from head of real estate Matthew Barrow. Keitley, who gives ‘sensible and pragmatic legal advice with a vast wealth of experience’, was instructed by Rothmans Recovery to act on the proposed CVA of Peartime and later the company’s administration. Together with the ‘very approachable, hardworking and progressive’ Hirst, he also advised Portland Business & Financial Solutions on the respective administrations of Elastic Artists Agency, Toximet and Original Organics. Begbies Traynor, FRP Advisory and Santander are part of a client base that spans the real estate, hospitality, healthcare and charity sectors.

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP’s insolvency and corporate recovery department is ‘quick to respond, highly skilled and provides very good value for money’. The key figure is the ‘very knowledgeable, technical and commercial’ associate solicitor Darren Stone in Brighton who advises insolvency practitioners during both contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters, but also acts for companies, directors and individuals directly. Typical work includes validity of appointment cases, company restorations, recovery of assets, retention-of-title claims, annulment applications, voluntary arrangements and insolvency transactions. He recently advised the trustees in a bankruptcy regarding their interest in a matrimonial home located in Spain and a transaction-at-undervalue claim against the bankrupt’s spouse. Other highlights were the representation of a director during the company’s restoration after one shareholder entered into an IVA and the quantification of an unliquidated creditor’s claim. Stone is assisted by associate solicitors Marika Monaghan and Miranda Jenkins.

The insolvency and corporate recovery practice at PDT Solicitors in Horsham is particularly well known for ‘technically minded but commercial’ Dawn Shadwell’s asset-based lending expertise, which is mostly applied to restructuring and refinancing matters. She also advises insolvency practitioners, company directors, shareholders and creditors in formal and informal procedures such as administration, liquidation, security, voluntary arrangements and receivership. William Angas is the key person for contentious insolvency claims, including misfeasance, breach of statutory duties, antecedent transactions and bankruptcy disputes. Senior associate Ian Lindley and associate Ben Ashworth assist on non-contentious and contentious work, respectively, whereas partner Craig Burton provides expertise in real estate and Noel Ruddy in corporate finance and M&A. Quantuma, SFP Restructuring, Wilkins Kennedy and Auria Recovery are long-term clients, while RSM Restructuring Advisory is a new addition.

In insolvency and corporate recovery, Tees Law in Chelmsford mainly advises practitioners and company directors as well as other involved parties. Head of department David Perry represented a liquidator in a wrongful trading matter and also defended a director against his disqualification claim. Another highlight was advising a liquidator in a proceeding where no relevant papers had been delivered and the sole company director was based in Eastern Europe and refused to take any actions, leading to challenging forensic work. Solicitor Katie Latham, who joined from Ellisons Solicitors in January 2016 and specialises in contentious probate matters, acted for CVR Global in its claim against the director of Pestle and Mortar Kitchens regarding the recovery of monies which the client lent to him. Together with Perry, she also worked on the obtainment of a possession order for a property in Portugal which was jointly owned by the bankrupt.

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