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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 > Real estate > Commercial property: Essex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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The commercial property team at Birketts LLP in Chelmsford supports commercial developers/housebuilders and investors, as well as corporate clients, landlords and tenants, with work such as site acquisitions, option and promotion agreements, leases and disposals. Head of team Grace Kerr gained deeper expertise regarding investment property and receives regular instructions on the acquisition, disposal and management thereof. She also advises landowners on collaboration arrangements, joint ventures and various types of agreements, while legal director Steven Kay focuses on representing national housebuilders in their portfolio and corporate transactions as well as strategic land issues such as land assemblies and agreements. The third key member is legal director Duncan Williamson, who handles property developments, the property elements of corporate transactions, finance and commercial landlord and tenant matters. The team also includes seven other lawyers, such as solicitor Chris Milner, who assists Kay on site transactions.

The β€˜excellent’ commercial property practice at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP is β€˜forward-thinking and positive’. The β€˜responsive and efficient’ Ellen Petersen leads a team of eight additional members in Colchester and Chelmsford, which handles developments and transactions in the healthcare, agricultural, finance, investment and transport sectors. Chris Jones advises developers on corporate transactions and agreements and has particular expertise in residential leasing, while Ashton Carter focuses on commercial transactions, reorganisations, leases, finance matters and charity clients. Leah Groves specialises in healthcare transactions, such as dental practices, while solicitor Leon Pascal advises on option grants, leases and portfolio transactions. Senior planner Sharon Smith joined the Colchester office from LSR Solicitors and Planning Consultants in November 2016 and works on site appraisals and planning applications and appeals, as well as matters related to listed buildings.

The commercial property department at Wortley Byers LLP is recommended especially for its β€˜prompt, attentive service’ (with β€˜response times that were quicker than expected’), β€˜thoroughness’, β€˜clarity in response’ and a β€˜professionalism that starts at the door’. The team has expertise in property development, development finance, property management, funding, investment acquisitions and tenancy aspects. All team members also work on property conveyancing. Head of commercial property Aaron Cane provides β€˜superb knowledge’ and has a β€˜practical attitude, sound commercial approach and exceptional dedication to customer service’. Additionally recommended are the β€˜efficient’ Jane Winfield, whose β€˜first-rate service regarding leases’ is conducted with β€˜enthusiasm’ and a β€˜professional approach’, as well as the β€˜clear and concise’ Laura Harrison, who is β€˜easily accessible’ and was promoted to associate in 2016. Property conveyancing and finance lawyer David Grainger has β€˜attention to detail’ and the ability to β€˜come up with alternative ideas’. Solicitor Tom Moulsdale joined from an East Kent firm in November 2016. Countrywide Assured Group, Woodland Global, Florey Investments and William Thompson Homes form part of the practice’s client base.

Birkett Long LLP’s commercial property team in Colchester, Chelmsford and Basildon provides β€˜good, straightforward advice’ in development, construction, investment and secured lending, with a particular focus on the education, healthcare and environmental industries. The latter is a focus of David Rayner. Clients include authorities and public institutions as well as private companies, partnerships, charities and individuals, with examples including Braintree District Council, Healthcare Homes, Svenska Handelsbanken, University of Essex, and Wilkin & Sons. Head of commercial real estate Melanie Bache acts on leases, landlord and tenant matters and transactions, and is profoundly experienced in representing healthcare businesses and charities as well as handling stamp duty land tax transactions, while Justin Stock handles property developments, commercial transactions and secured lending. The β€˜approachable and quick-to-respond’ associate Emma Wraight, who represented Colchester Institute during the partial sale of its college estate to Braintree Council, is recommended. Amanda Timcke joined Birketts LLP.

The commercial property department at Ellisons Solicitors advises on site and investment property transactions, leases, secured lending as well as landlord and tenant matters. Toby Kramers has further expertise in auction sales and purchases. Guy Longhurst advised a private client on the Β£4m refinancing of his property portfolio by Handelsbanken, while Philip Roberts advised a lending institution on an approximate Β£3m secured loan to an individual who purchased a share in a vineyard partnership as well as a related agreement on the letting of vines. Together with associate Louise Harrison, Longhurst also assisted Greyread with the acquisition and final plot sales of a site which contained listed building issues. Another highlight for Roberts was the acquisition of an office site for Crown House Homes and its subsequent residential development, with a total value of Β£6m. Other active clients are DSV Group Companies, RBS and East of England Co-op.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors’s commercial property practice gives advice on transactions (including VAT and stamp duty), leases, investment, property management, secured lending, site assembly and planning. Local clients stem from both the public sector (authorities and housing associations) and private sector (developers, property owners, institutional investors, banks and landlords and tenants). Team lead Nicholas Evans, Jonathan Clarke, consultant Stephen Tetlow and associate Hannah Collins are the key names. Tetlow is also experienced in mortgage cases, while Collins handles portfolio financing, block transactions for blue-chip companies and estate management. Evans recently advised on the acquisition of an industrial development plot, which included right-of-way issues. Together with Collins, he also assisted various clients with the disposal of trust assets in the shape of office and retail premises in London. Volker Wessels UK, FE Good Properties and Handelsbanken are active clients.

The β€˜highly respected’ commercial property department at Holmes & Hills delivers β€˜excellent service’ regarding options, promotions, overage, cooperation and joint venture agreements as well as conditional sales contracts and foreshore work, with its lawyers being β€˜tenacious on their clients’ behalf’ as well as β€˜attentive and responsive to their needs’. The client spectrum ranges from developers, agricultural businesses and landowners to retail franchise operators, private businesses and housing associations. In addition to team lead Rebecca Mason, clients recommend the β€˜very experienced and understanding’ consultant Michael Wright, who β€˜goes the extra mile’, as well as the β€˜excellent commercial property and conveyancing’ solicitor Philippa Jerram. Wendy Martin (β€˜thorough, realistic and highly commercial’) was promoted to associate in 2016 and, while dealing with all types of commercial property cases, specialises in landlord and tenant matters. Baljeet Kaur left for Wortley Byers LLP in February 2016. Prime Crest Homes and Larch Housing Association were new clients in 2016, while Honace Developments and Child’s Play Day Nursery remained active.

The commercial property practice at Jefferies Essex LLP in Southend-on-Sea focuses on transactions and the representation of developers and commercial businesses. Mark Hidveghy advises on high-value transactions relating to offices, retail premises and hotels, while the β€˜conscientious and hardworking’ Katrina Holland specialises in commercial leases and development land transactions. The team also comprises consultant Alan Gershlick, associate Amelia Hayes (who is instructed by corporations, developers and investors), and residential acquisition solicitor Callie Tuplin.

Mullis & Peake LLP’s commercial property practice in Romford is most experienced in development site transactions, landlord and tenant issues as well as residential estate management, and represents clients across the public and private spectrum, including individuals, companies, developers, institutions and national housebuilders. Associate solicitor Joanne Wood - who advises on landlord and tenant matters and development unit sales - leads the practice, while Andrew Fidler handles site and unit transactions, statutory agreements and the conversion of schools to academy status. He recently advised Argall Properties on co-operation and development agreements with a housing association and also on the sale of an industrial estate worth Β£9m. Wood represented Handelsbanken in the refinancing of a 71-property portfolio. Newly qualified solicitor Rachel Crapnell, who specialises in lease extensions and leasehold enfranchisement, handled the related leasehold checks and paperwork on this matter. Chairman Peter Connell focuses on matters concerning landlords and tenants as well as commercial investors.

The β€˜long-experienced’ commercial property department at Palmers in Basildon stands out for its β€˜excellent service levels’, resulting in β€˜promptness, efficiency, responsiveness and comprehension’. The team has a special understanding of the construction, engineering and industrial development industries, but also assist the educational, medical, farming and logistics sectors, as well as pension schemes that invest in the market. β€˜Wise’ practice head Carey Jacobs β€˜takes time to understand requirements and is often able to offer a choice of solutions’, dealing with lease negotiations, site assembly, conditional contracts, overage agreements and urgent transactions. Non-contentious construction lawyer Maisie Yau, who was promoted to associate in August 2016, is highly recommended for being β€˜very knowledgeable, thorough, communicative and incredibly diplomatic’ and for her ability to β€˜work towards very demanding deadlines’. She also advises on development agreements, landlord and tenant matters, freehold transactions, refinancing, property management and investments. Recent highlights include Jacobs and Yau advising a construction company on site acquisitions, lease renewals and contract drafting with a total value of Β£4.1m.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP’s commercial property department is based in Westcliff-on-Sea and Billericay and comprises seven team members, focusing on transactions involving development sites, care homes, hotels, public houses and fishing lakes, as well as car dealerships. Andrew McClintock leads the property team, with Sam Robinson specialising in transactions for developers, investors, lenders and borrowers. Wendy Cole advises on conveyancing, development planning and transactions regarding development sites as well as freehold and leasehold properties. Mark Deans also specialises in conveyancing, while associate solicitor Rosanna Clarke focuses on lease work, shared-equity transactions, property finance and development transactions.

The commercial property department at β€˜longstanding local firm’ Pinney Talfourd LLP in Brentwood is β€˜very professional, efficient, effective and fast to respond’, providing β€˜an excellent blend of big- and small-firm mentality and high-quality staff’. The β€˜prompt and efficient’ practice head Julien Pritchard β€˜has very good knowledge of all matters concerning landlords and tenants’, β€˜prioritises well’ and β€˜ensures that clients are on the front foot in every scenario’. Apart from specialist expertise in telecoms leases, he also advises on freehold and leasehold transactions as well as licences, easements and options agreements, finance and lending. The team also includes senior associates Keeley Miller, who has β€˜a good work ethic’, β€˜great negotiation skills’ and is β€˜highly professional and knowledgeable’. Pritchard advised a freehold property owner on the grant of Β£5.3m 15-year warehouse lease, including negotiations with the tenants. Together with Miller, he also represented a construction company in the acquisition, financing and leasing of a commercial property.

The commercial property practice at Prettys in Chelmsford undertakes development agreement work, funding matters (for borrowers and banks), transactions and investments, representing corporate clients, developers, investors and banks. Solicitor Lauren Philpot also handles transactions. Craig Marshall additionally represents clients in property disputes, as does Michael Large, who specialises exclusively in this area. Ross Wiltshire joined Ellisons Solicitors.

Tees Law’s commercial property team β€˜provides a first-class, professional and prompt service’ in transactions, development work, leases and telecoms contracts. The β€˜very approachable, meticulous and thorough’ team lead Graeme Atkinson in Chelmsford advised two local landowners and a golf club owner on separate promotion agreements and also supported a company regarding a potential development site in Mid Bedfordshire. Saffron Waldon-based Mark Carter has a β€˜wide breadth and depth of legal knowledge’ and was instructed by an insurance client in the acquisition of a holiday park and also assisted a farming partnership in the disposal of two farms worth Β£6m. Active clients include Chelmsford Star Co-op, Chelmer Housing Partnership, Northumbrian Water and JMW Properties.

In commercial property, the β€˜very capable’ firm Thompson Smith and Puxon has β€˜an excellent team of top-flight lawyers providing proactive advice’, β€˜specialist knowledge’ and is commended for β€˜dealing with matters in a timely and upmost professional manner’. The β€˜incredibly thorough’ team lead Stephen Firmin and associate solicitor Kerry Addison specialise in development and agricultural matters, supporting landowners, developers, housing associations as well as landlords and tenants regarding site transactions, land refinancing, agricultural tenancy, leases, and strategic land planning during rural housing projects. Commercial businesses are other clients, which the team advises on their property assets. Addison is recommended for her β€˜excellent ability to structure development deals and her holistic advice’; she is β€˜very practical, realistic as well as tenacious and patient in negotiations’. The third team member is solicitor Mark Rowlands, who handles commercial property transactions and leases as well as other matters in this field.

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Legal Developments in South East for Commercial property: Essex

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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