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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 > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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

Next generation lawyers

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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.

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