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Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLP is noted for its expertise in the charity retail, healthcare and education sectors, and regularly advises a range of charities and not-for-profits on M&A transactions, joint ventures, restructurings and social enterprise matters. Recent highlights included acting for the British Red Cross on a number of acquisitions, disposals and lease renewals, and providing general advice on the client’s property portfolio. The team also advised St John’s Winchester Charity on the employment aspects of its care home, Devenish House, including a number of compulsory redundancies, and assisted Age UK Oxfordshire with a number of HomeShare agreements. Key figures include Claire Lamkin, who specialises in disputes involving commercial and residential property, senior associate Anna Larbi, who ‘provides practical and sound advice in property matters’, and Stephanie Walls, who acts for charities in challenges to legacies, trusts and donations. Chris Williams heads the practice.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides ‘a gold-standard service’, offering ‘clear and focused advice and a good application of wider experience’. The firm counts a number of national and global charities and not-for-profit organisations as its clients, some key names including Samaritans and Cancer Research UK. The team acts for Save the Children on all aspects of the management of its leasehold property portfolio, advising on acquisitions, renewals and disposals. The practice is headed by the ‘vastly experiencedDuncan Elson, who ‘has managed a huge range of disputes in his time, and is always calm and accommodating’. Other key figures include tax and succession expert George Duncan; Sally Ashford, who advises on legacy administration and campaign literature; and Ben Smith, who advises charity clients on the full range of employment matters. The ‘knowledgeable, trustworthy and professional’ Kate Parkinson is also a name to note.

The ‘excellent’ team at Freeths LLP has ‘a good breadth of knowledge’ and ‘is always prompt to respond to queries’. The practice handles all aspects of contentious and non-contentious legacy work along with formation and registration matters, property advice, M&A activity, employment matters and commercial disputes. Longstanding clients include Cancer Research UK, Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the British Psychological Society, and the firm recently added the Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust to its roster. Practice head Angela Bowman acts for charities in contentious trust and probate matters, and the ‘helpful and knowledgeable’ Robert Nieri advises on governance issues, commercial agreements, fundraising and dispute resolution. Nigel Roots is also a key figure, advising on tax and trust planning.

At Barlow Robbins LLP, the ‘well-resourced and technically able’ team has ‘a detailed knowledge of the subject matter, is easy to contact, and is good at liaising with trustees and working with staff’. The firm is notably strong in the independent schools sector, providing specialist advice on charity law and handling the full range of operational matters including safeguarding, press regulation, data protection and employment. Highlights included advising the Catholic Women’s League of England & Wales on various commercial and governance matters, and acting for Salisbury Cathedral School on its £1.5m acquisition of a neighbouring competitor. Department head Gordon Reid is ‘a highly capable lawyer who never allows matters to drift’, and other key figures include employment law expert Joanna Lada-Walicki, dispute resolution head David Foster and corporate lawyer Mark Lucas. Other notable clients include WWF UK, RSPCA and Shooting Star Chase.

Blandy & Blandy LLP provides ‘a welcoming and friendly service’ and ‘good value for money’. The firm has strong expertise in the education sector and acts for a growing number of national and global charities, advising on mergers and de-mergers along with operational and regulatory issues. Highlights included advising the University of Reading on the promotion of a new development site, assisting the client with the application for planning permission on land valued at £60m, and acting for a guidance provider to young people on the outsourcing of its IT provision. Practice head Nick Burrowsexplains matters clearly to those with a non-legal background’, advising not-for-profit clients on the full range of issues including joint ventures, public procurement, fundraising and intellectual property matters. Other clients include Career Connect, Genetic Disorders UK and Adviza.

Cripps LLP is notably strong in the education, social housing, religion and healthcare sectors, and also receives significant mandates from its arts, culture and heritage clients. The firm advises on the full breadth of matters including charity formation, M&A activity, risk management and compliance issues, and also handles trustee training and Charity Commission investigations. Recent work included advising URC Thames North Trust on its acquisition of a new-build church in Hemel Hempstead, and acting for Shepway Sports Trust on the appointment of professionals in relation to a building contract for a multi-storey skate park, a project valued at £10m. Kate Arnold heads the charity practice, providing governance and regulatory advice, and property lawyer Andrew Harbourne is the other key figure.

Debenhams Ottaway’s team has ‘a clear understanding of the charity and not-for-profit sector’ and ‘offers a knowledgeable approach to the wide range of issues affecting the industry’. Key areas of focus include employment, trusts, property law and litigation matters, and the team also advises a number of independent schools on charitable status and commercial operations. In a recent highlight, the firm acted for Crohn’s and Colitis UK on its formal name change, and also advised The Hubbard Trust on an application to the Charity Commission to establish a scholarship fund that provides grants to articled clerks for postgraduate studies abroad. Nicholas Turner heads the practice, and is ‘an approachable and knowledgeable lawyer’, who ‘provides the best service to his clients and helps them succeed’. Ruth Boulton advises charities on commercial property transactions, and Jonathan Foy is also a name to note. Other key clients include the Museum of St Albans, Childwick Trust and the Royal National Rose Society.

Furley Page Solicitors’ team provides ‘prompt and pragmatic advice’, and is ‘consistently up to date with current developments within the sector’, advising charities on all aspects of their operations including start-up, governance, employment and tax matters and commercial disputes. Highlights included advising The Sir Roger Manwood Trust on the development of new almshouses in Canterbury, acting for longstanding client Maynard & Cotton’s Almshouse on all aspects of its governance and management, and advising The Whitstable Non-Ecclesiastical Charities on the management of nine properties. Practice head Aaron Spencerhas great experience in the sector’ and is ‘backed up by an excellent team’, which also includes employment lawyer Amanda Okill, corporate practitioner Tony Chester and Nicholas Andrews, who specialises in almshouse charities.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) has ‘an in-depth knowledge of the sector and a good understanding of each client’s specific subject areas’. The team has notable expertise advising faith-based and medical charities, and regularly handles commercial real estate matters, regulatory work and employment issues. Practice head Paul Ridout recently advised Brentwood Ursuline on its £7m restructuring of assets, and also assisted Chartered College of Teaching with various governance and commercial partnership matters. Other key individuals include Justin Govier, who specialises in employment issues, and Paul Kite, who is the name to note for corporate and commercial work. Other active clients include the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy, Hospital Saturday Fund and Teenage Cancer Trust.

Boodle Hatfield LLP’s wide-ranging practice advises corporates, family businesses and individuals on major philanthropy projects, and has a growing client base of charities and not-for-profit organisations. The team has significant tax and trusts expertise, and regularly advises clients on financial management issues. Eleanor Sepanski is the key figure, advising on governance issues, CSR planning and tax and trusts matters. Recent work included advising the Empathy Museum on its registration as a charitable organisation. The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre is also a key client.

DMH Stallard LLP’s clients include domestic and international charities, educational institutions and registered providers of social housing. The team advises on M&A activity and other corporate matters, employment law, business immigration and real estate transactions, and also retains a strong dispute resolution practice. Practice head Rustom Tata specialises in employment law and is supported by Simon Bellm, who advises not-for-profit organisations on employee relations and structural change issues. Tina George is the name to note for real estate matters along with Anne Milne, who deals with non-contentious commercial property matters and property finance transactions. Highlights for the team included advising Change Grow Live on various employment matters including license negotiation, TUPE issues and questions regarding medical record disclosure. Other active clients include YMCA DownsLink Group, Family Mosaic and the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s team ‘always responds quickly’ and ‘applies original thinking to help the client break new ground’. The practice advises a broad range of organisations including sports clubs, parish councils, schools and charities, advising on the full range of corporate, tax and employment issues surrounding the not-for-profit sector. Corporate solicitor Caroline Airey is ‘outstanding – hardworking, efficient and highly capable’, and Philippa Roles is highly regarded in the field of tax, advising charities on VAT, Gift Aid and stamp duty issues. In a recent highlight, the practice defended John Madejski Academy against an equal pay claim arising from a TUPE transfer involving approximately 180 claimants. Other significant clients include Fara Enterprises, Potterspury Lodge Trust and St Neot’s.

Gardner Leader LLP’s ‘excellent, friendly and approachable’ team ‘responds quickly to all queries’ and ‘understands that charities view legal problems differently to commercial businesses, which is a huge help in getting matters resolved’. ‘Knowledgeable professional’ Alastair Goggins heads the practice; he recently represented United Christian Broadcasters in a claim regarding the proceeds of a £1m estate donated to several charities. Other key figures include corporate partner Greg Humphreys, inheritance protection expert Robert Jobson and health and safety practitioner Michelle Di Gioia. The team gained a number of new clients in the last year, including the British Skin Foundation, Henley Women’s Regatta and One Small Step Trust.

At Gullands Solicitors, the charities department advises on the formation, establishment and dissolution of unincorporated charities, the repossession of almshouses, M&A activity and Charity Commission inquiries, among other matters. The firm recently acted for the trustees of Ashtead United Charity in a case considering the legal status of almshouse residents, a matter involving feudal law and the Human Rights Act, and also advised Holding Homes and Maidstone YMCA on the purchase of freehold land for the construction of a new community centre. Practice head Blair Gulland specialises in matters related to almshouses and the legal implications faced by trustees; Philip Grylls has extensive experience in property-related disputes; and Amanda Finn handles contentious and non-contentious employment matters for a range of Kent-based charities.

Hewitsons’ ‘highly capable team’ has ‘sound industry knowledge’ and provides ‘fast responses’ to its wide-ranging client base, advising on the full gamut of matters including transactional activity, joint ventures and restructurings, along with grants, governance and administration work. Construction expert Tim Richards recently advised Veterans Aid on the development of a new hostel to be built with the government funds raised from the Libor scandal, along with donations from London City Hall and various fundraising campaigns. The firm also acted for St Andrews Healthcare on the construction of a mental health facility for young people with mental illness, autism and learning difficulties. Department head Chris Knight advises charities on a range of commercial and regulatory issues, and recent arrival David Wells is recommended for real estate matters. Other clients include The Kelmarsh Trust, Paradise Wildlife Park and Visit Cambridge and Beyond.

The ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ team at Penningtons Manches LLP has ‘established its excellence in the not-for-profit sector’ and ‘has attracted strong support from a number of important national charities’. The practice has picked up a number of local and international charities as clients and has notable strength in the education sector, advising a range of schools, colleges and higher education institutions on the full range of issues affecting the not-for-profit sector. Highlights included assisting a national charity with a full review of its policies and procedures, including governance structures and commercial contracts, and advising a hospital charity on the steps required to become independent from its local NHS trust. Practice head Alison Talbot is ‘a hugely respected and effective leader’, and senior associate Philip Collins is ‘tenacious, imaginative, and has an absolute commitment to his clients’ cause’.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP provides ‘excellent advice, a great service and good value for money’. The firm is known for its expertise in acting for sporting charities, and also advises a range of local and international not-for-profits on the full array of corporate, commercial, property and employment issues. Highlights included assisting The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust with an expedition project to increase conservation efforts for the Bewick Swan, advising on employment matters along with sponsorship, confidentiality rights and intellectual property. Managing partner Bruce Hayter acts for a number of sporting charities and conservation projects, Alan Zeal advises on takeovers, mergers and joint ventures, and Richard Cripps is the key figure for property-related matters. Active Sussex and Antsy Village Centre Steering Committee are also clients.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s team advises on the establishment of charitable trusts and companies and handles the full range of employment, property and corporate matters. Recent work included acting for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice on a commercial participator agreement between the client and an independent travel agent, and advising the Royal Horticultural Society on an agreement to acquire a fifth garden in Bridgewater. The firm is also active in the education sector, advising various schools on mentoring and business simulation programmes. Stuart Skeffington heads the practice, and has substantial experience in the establishment and administration of charitable organisations. Commercial law expert Beverley Flynn is the other key figure.

Thomson Snell & Passmore advises a broad mix of charities on organisation formation, trustee duties, funding options, dispute resolution and property matters, and has a strong presence in the education sector. Highlights included advising East Malling Trust on its high-value takeover of East Malling Research, a matter involving insolvency, pensions and trustee duty elements, and acting for Avante Care & Support on its acquisition of care homes from Bexley Council. The firm advises on the full range of employment matters for key client North Kent College, including handling a recent tribunal claim brought by a former lecturer on the grounds of discrimination. James Partridge is the key contact for corporate and commercial matters, and Douglas Skilton handles dispute resolution. Nick Hobden heads the practice.

Whitehead Monckton has a strong client base of Kent-based charities, advising primarily on charity law governance issues including trustee’s duties and charitable structures. Highlights included acting for Gravesend Cricket Club on its charity registration, advising The John Graham Trust on a lease for a parcel of land for the construction of an all-weather pitch, and assisting Hawkhurst Community Trust with permanent endowment and charity governance issues. Associate solicitor Kate Broadfield heads the practice. Janet Goode handles acquisitions, disposals and reorganisations, Kerin Speedie advises on tax issues, and Vicky Stoodley specialises in planning work. Other notable clients include Homeless Care, Canterbury Archaeological Trust and King’s School Rochester.

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