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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

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Rising stars

  1. 1

Birketts LLP is an 'obviously experienced team with expertise across a range of property disciplines' and offers comprehensive sector-focused work for high-net-worth clients. Grace Kerr leads the team which has vast expertise in commercial real estate practice which includes acquisitions, investment property, residential property, and contracts. Kerr also undertakes extensive advisory work to owners and investors on complex matters. Duncan Williamson regularly handles high-value property development and finance matters.

Practice head(s):Grace Kerr

Other key lawyers:Duncan Williamson

Key Clients

East Anglian Property Developments Limited

Commodity Centre Group

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in connection with its £3m acquisition of an industrial estate in Chelmsford.
  • Represented the tenant in connection with the grant of a lease of a warehouse in Maldon at a rent of £650,000 per year.
  • Represented the tenant in connection with the grant of 2 leases of warehouses in Brentwood Essex with a total rent of £524,866 per year.
  • Represented client in conditional acquisition of land for residential development in Wisbech.
  • Represented the client in connection with its £2.6m acquisition of the freehold interest in a public house in London.

Ellisons Solicitors' commercial property team is known for its work on property acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures and consortium agreements. Managing partner Guy Longhurst deals with the acquisitions and disposal of residential, commercial and development sites, while team head Philip Roberts also handles the full scope of commercial property transactions.

Practice head(s):Philip Roberts

Other key lawyers:Guy Longhurst

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP provides a 'bespoke personal service' for commercial property clients. The team undertakes sector-specific work in farming, agriculture, and high-value property development. Practice head Ellen Petersen has expertise in acquisitions of land for business development and investment purposes, while the Chelmsford-based Chris Jones has more than three decades of experience in the sector. Sharon Smith is highlighted for the ability to provide an 'absolutely bespoke personal service.'

Practice head(s):Ellen Petersen

Other key lawyers:Chris Jones; Sharon Smith

Testimonials

'What differentiates Fisher Jones Greenwood from its peer group is that the team really care passionately about the advice it offers, and that the solutions offered are tailored specifically to each client. Their attention to detail and commercial understanding is exemplary.'

'Sharon Smith has unparalleled planning knowledge and a direct approach to dealing with the same. She provides an excellent service.'

'Ellen Petersen is very focused and an expert in her field. Ellen is someone you can rely upon, someone you can trust and do business with.'

Key Clients

Chilton Grain

Chilton Storage

Cloud FM

Work highlights

  • Advised on the sale of part of a grain trading business as a going concern, including the creation of 10-year lease to the buyer at annual rent in excess of £200,000 per annum.
  • Share sale and corporate restructure with property finance.
  • Sale of working business park, subject to occupational tenancies and incorporating the rules relating to the transfer of a business as a going concern (TOGC) and commensurate VAT provisions.
  • Corporate restructure and re-finance arrangements with leaseback arrangement with commercial property as a major asset.

Tees Law, which merged with Essex firm Wortley Byers LLP at the beginning of 2019, has a 'very capable' commercial property group which acts for a number of large local and regional clients on all matters related to real estate, with a focus on commercial landlord and tenant work, property and site acquisitions and disposals, property finance and development agreements. Practice head Mark Carter is 'on top of his game' and has vast expertise in residential property law. Chelmsford based Graeme Atkinson is recommended. In Brentwood, Aaron Cane - who led the practice at Wortley Byers LLP - is the key name to note.

Practice head(s):Mark Carter

Other key lawyers:Graeme Atkinson; Jane Winfield; Aaron Cane; Tom Moulsdale

Testimonials

'Mark Carter has an exceptional bedside manner and always seems to be on hand to give the right level of advice. His knowledge across all aspects of commercial property matters is outstanding.'

'The individual knowledge and understanding that Aaron Cane has of our business and leases is second to none. He is always willing and able to give advice and guidance when we need it urgently'

'Aaron Cane has great legal knowledge and is very responsive.'

'Aaron Cane always gets the deals over the line whatever the timeframe.'

'The strength and depth of the key members at Tees is always impressive and it would seem that they have an expert in all fields. They have a broad range of expertise and are very approachable.'

'The commercial property team are personable and approachable, making it much easier to work through difficult issues.'

'Very friendly and approachable, and explain things in a manner that is easily digestible. Very quick to respond.'

'The property team is responsive, can deal with all sizes of transactions and types of property work from finance, residential developments and sales, commercial.'

'Aaron Cane is a pleasure to work with. He has a very friendly manner, and is very good at providing advice. Nothing is ever too much of a problem. Worth his weight in gold, and a valuable asset to the company.'

'I can not speak highly enough of Aaron Cane - he offers fantastic service and has superb technical knowledge.'

'Very friendly and professional, great communication at all times. Deals with issues quickly and efficiently.'

'The practice is long established and enjoys a strengthening regional reputation. We find the firm very friendly and responsive and able to provide a wide range of services.'

'Broad range of expertise; very approachable and capable.'

'A team that covers for each other to offer a service that is on point with the minimum of fuss.'

'The strength & depth of the key members of staff at Tees is always impressive and it would seem that they have an expert in all fields.

'The property team is responsive, can deal with all sizes of transactions and types of property work.'

'Superb one-to-one communication and useful insight into problems.'

'Very efficient and effective. Easily contactable and rapid responses. Very approachable staff.'

The firm is commercially aware and responds promptly which is important and not always the case with other practices I have worked with.'

'Very friendly and approachable, and explain things in a manner that is easily digestible. Very quick to respond.'

'The practice provides a bespoke service to cater for the specific requirements of the company I represent. The service provided is of such a standard that I now use their services for all my personal and professional needs. We are able to access professional advice on a wide variety of subjects. An all under one roof organisation who always give you their full attention.'

'Accessibility to partners who provide clear, no nonsense advice. The commercial property team are personable and approachable, making it much easier to work through difficult issues.'

''Aaron Cane and Jane Winfield are both active in the local area and are therefore well connected and keen to introduce other property professionals, as well as colleagues within their own firm or externally when the opportunity arises.'

 

'Jane Winfield is valued for her judgement as well as her implementation.'

'Tom Moulsdale provided excellent advice and guidance culminating in that we had full confidence and trusted his judgement in certain areas where the complexity required an ordered and logical mind.'

'Both Aaron Cane and Jane Winfield stand out as hard working, committed professionals who go the extra mile to get the job done.'

'I regard Tom Moulsdale very highly. He is clearly highly intelligent, he listens and he works quickly.'

'Jane Winfield brings great care and attention to her work. Always available to answer queries.'

Key Clients

Great Baddow Parish Council

Northumbrian Water Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Northumbrian Water Limited with option agreements to secure strategic bore hole sites for water supplies in Suffolk.
  • Represented a client in the £10m sale of a housing site in Saffron Walden.

Birkett Long LLP's commercial property team offers advice on the full spectrum of real estate matters, spanning across three offices in Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester. Practice head Melanie Bache undertakes complex work for financial institutions which she has built a longstanding rapport with, advising on matters include security arrangements. Chelmsford based partners Justin Stock and Emma Wraight are recommended for their particular focus on high-value residential development work.

Practice head(s):Melanie Bache

Other key lawyers:Emma Wraight; Justin Stock

Key Clients

Navigator Terminals

Suffolk Life Annuities

London Southend Airport Company Limited

Wilkin & Sons Limited

University of Essex

London Gateway Port Ltd

The Institute of Customer Service

Countrywide Estate Agents

The Committee for the Royal British Legion

The Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Finance

Colchester Institute

Kent Blaxill and Co Limited

Healthcare Homes Group

Flakt Woods Limited

Harwich Haven Authority

Cliffords Limited

Stockplace Investments Limited

Writtle College

Lambert Smith Hampton Group

Farleigh Hospice

M&D Building Services Ltd

Stonechart Property Limited

Belvedere Developments Limited

Witham RUFC

Club 50 Plus

Fig Tree Restaurant

Cairns & Co

Eagle Wharf Marina Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Verity Trustees Limited on sale of industrial park in Milton Keynes, comprising 29 units, to Glasgow City Council.
  • Instructed by Colchester Institute Corporation on sale of part of the Braintree College Campus to a developer.
  • Instructed by the University of Essex in the development of the new phase at the Knowledge Gateway Business Park.
  • Acted for longstanding tenant client BEW Electrical Distributors in connection with them taking a new lease of an industrial unit at the Gatwick Distribution Centre.
  • Acted for R&S Forrest Holdings Limited in connection with its acquisition of a former police station in Witham, Essex, to be turned into a new children’s day nursery.

Holmes & Hills' 'excellent' commercial property team handles the full range of work in this area, with a particular focus on joint venture agreements and sale/purchase contracts. Practice head Rebecca Mason specialises in development work and land promotion agreements. 'Commercially aware' associate Wendy Martin has a focus on commercial property finance and is the lead adviser on commercial tenant and landlords matters.

Practice head(s):Rebecca Mason

Other key lawyers:Wendy Martin

Testimonials

'Wendy Martin's communication is prompt, clear and detailed. I really cannot fault her.'

'Wendy Martin is easy to contact and has a positive and proactive method of working in order to resolve issues and get the deal done.'

Key Clients

Crest Nicholson Eastern

Crest Nicholson Regeneration

Crest Nicholson Southern

Heylo Housing

Higgins Homes

Work highlights

  • Providing strategic advice to landowner client SJJ Properties LLP  regarding the optimum means of achieve maximum sale price
  • Provided commercial property advice to Gainsborough’s House Society,  a charity with a national and international presence.
  • Acting for a consortium of landowners including deceased owner in a promotion agreement.
  • Completed the purchase of a freehold commercial estate with 18 existing commercial tenants within 15 days.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors advises on the full range of commercial property matters, with practice head Nicholas Evans handling high-value sales and advisory work for major industry clients. Jonathan Clarke has experience in undertaking complex and high-value option agreements for business clients.

Practice head(s):Nicholas Evans

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Clarke

Key Clients

Handelsbanken

Volker Fitzpatrick

Work highlights

  • We represented the client in the sale of a large plot in East London to a residential developer.
  • We are assisting a growing car valeting business with structuring a series of franchised operations nationwide.
  • Option agreement on a large former stately home and grounds.
  • We are acting on a complex agreement with a neighbouring landowner to facilitate the expansion of an existing headquarters office building.

The three partner commercial property team at BTMK Solicitors handles the full range of real estate matters, with a focus on landlord and tenant and commercial leases, advising a range of medium to high net worth clients. Rayleigh based Lee Emptage is 'always very quick to grasp and deal with the necessary problem' and has led on high-value transactions and acquisitions, most notably a £6.5m refinancing matter for Heritage Rocks Group.

Practice head(s):Ian Powell; Sean Callaghan; Lee Emptage

Testimonials

'The team at BTMK have an excellent level of clarity on all aspects of commercial property. We have instructed the firm on several transactions, and they have always delivered.'

'The real estate team have always been efficient, attentive and informative at all times. Their understanding of every topic raised has always been satisfied with competent answers and covered in full.'

Work highlights

  • Our team acted in relation to the £6.5m refinancing of 5 companies within the Heritage Rocks Group including 3 prestigious commercial properties.
  • The firm acted on behalf of the client involving a simultaneous refinancing with 3 separate lenders.

The commercial property team at Jefferies Essex LLP has 'excellent knowledge in the legal field' and act for private individuals, businesses and property developers on a scope of real estate matters, including sales, purchases. Katrina Holland is experienced in advising on commercial leases on property transactions, while Amelia Hayes handles business acquisitions and disposals.

Practice head(s):Mark Hidveghy

Other key lawyers:Katrina Holland; Amelia Hayes

Testimonials

'The team at Jefferies is always on hand to assist in issues that arise. They are competent and knowledgeable. I have full confidence in the abilities of the team to assist our company in the property portfolio.'

Work highlights

  • Represented Buyer purchasing two mills for £600,000.00 subject to planning permission being obtained for residential development.
  • Represented the Landlord granting a lease of part of their hotel car park to a car charging station.
  • Represented the buyer in commercial purchase subject to planning permission for development to 50 residential flats.
  • We are acting for the buyer of commercial property, subject to surveys being obtained and of satisfaction and adverse possession claim being successfully registered at the land registry.

The Chigwell-based commercial property team at Meaby & Co has a wide range of commercial property transactional experience on property sales and acquisitions, development and financing. Practice head Nicky Cleightonhills acts for high-profile national and international clients on high-value work pertaining to acquisitions and disposals. while senior associate Marie Waters specialises in all aspects of freehold and leasehold acquisitions.

Practice head(s):Nicky Cleightonhills

Other key lawyers:Marie Waters

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in hotel development matters.
  • Represented a property company in hotel development.
  • We are advising construction company in site acquisition and development.
  • We are advising construction company on rooftop development.
  • We are acting for a landowner in joint venture development with detailed overage provisions.

The 'very professional' commercial property team at Mullis & Peake LLP focuses on acquisitions and disposals of development sites, with practice head Joanne Wood possessing extensive experience of residential conveyancing, including the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold land. Other key team members include Shelley Fitzpatrick who specializes in lease extensions and collective enfranchisement, and Andrew Fidler, whose area of expertise lies in the acquisition of sites.

Practice head(s):Joanne Wood

Other key lawyers:Andrew Fidler; Shelley Fitzpatrick

Testimonials

'Joanne Wood and Shelley Fitzpatrick are outstanding to deal with. The firm should treasure such approachable friendly and contactable staff.'

'Joanne Wood has a great legal mind and also a great memory which means you get great advice, and she is already aware of our position when we discuss new issues.'

Palmers' commercial property team has a 'diverse spread of experience and knowledge' and is known for its education, construction, and insolvency sector work led by Carey Jacobs. The team has been establishing its expertise in investment property, an area which newcomers Richard Jennings and Catherine Lawrence both have experience in. Maisie Yau has a blend of expertise on both commercial property and construction matters, and is proficient in handling high-value and often cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):Carey Jacobs

Other key lawyers:Maisie Yau; Richard Jennings; Catherine Lawrence;

Testimonials

'Carey Jacobs has a very good understanding of each assignment and works hard to resolve issues as pragmatically as possible. She is a star to work with.'

'Maisie Yau is outstanding - professional, contactable, reliable and above all happy to explain our options clearly.'

Key Clients

DS Smith Packaging Limited

AVL UK Powertrain Limited

Writtle Group Holdings Limited (and subsidiaries)

Laindon Trading LLP/PGR Timber Limited/Graham Toomey

JH Rawley Group Limited

Kingston Smith and Partners Limited

Hadleigh Bakery Limited

Ortu Federation

The SJP Retirement Benefits Scheme (SIPP)

Basildon Sport & Leisure Club

Barry Norfolk (Rotamead Limited)

Colourfast Financial Limited

Work highlights

  • We represented DS Smith in the acquisition of Creo's property portfolio.
  • We represented the UK subsidiary of Austrian engineering giant, AVL, in the new lease of one of their powertrain testing facility centres in Coventry.
  • We continue to act for a well-known Essex veterinary practice which has been established for over 100 years.
  • We represented Laindon Trading LLP in £multi-million portfolio acquisitions.

The commercial property practice at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP deals with joint venture agreements and medium to high-value acquisitions and disposals for a wide range of clients. Sam Robinson specialises in acting for developers and property investors, whereas Wendy Cole advises clients on high-value property acquisitions. Billericay-based Mark Deans has expertise in commercial freehold and leasehold property.

Practice head(s):Mark Deans; Wendy Cole

Other key lawyers:Sam Robinson

Work highlights

  • We represented a client in an Agreement for Lease for an 80+ bed care home.
  • We are representing a client on a simultaneous surrender of a lease and taking of a new lease of an alternative unit.
  • We are representing a client on a site acquisition and subsequent development.
  • We were instructed on the sale of an automotive dealership site subject to planning and an agreement for surrender of the existing lease.

The commercial property department at Pinney Talfourd LLP is 'thorough, meticulous and proactive' and acts for high-net-worth commercial landlords and corporate clients. Overseen by Julien Pritchard, the residential property team has experience in high-value transaction structuring and land purchases. Keeley Miller is 'exemplary in her knowledge' of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Practice head(s):Julien Pritchard

Testimonials

'Julien Pritchard and Keeley Miller deserve a special mention. Over the last year, they have gone beyond the call of duty to deliver outstanding advice to mutual clients which reflects well both on them and also my own firm.'

'Keeley Miller is practical, has good business acumen, thorough, and sees the big picture. Her commitment and drive to get the transaction through is admirable.'

Key Clients

Kiani Property Investments

Fore Street Investments

Dixon & Heydorn Limited

Work highlights

  • Structuring the freehold sale of Abbey Grange and Ajax Works by a corporate entity with the benefit of nine commercial occupiers over the two sites.
  • The purchase of a plot of land on a science park as a flagship occupier to generate interest in the science park as a whole.
  • The sale of a freehold commercial site conditionally to a developer which has commercial occupiers.
  • We acted in the sale of agricultural land subject to an implied periodic tenancy by way of tender by executors of the late proprietor’s estate.

The commercial property team at Thompson Smith and Puxon continues to reap in work from longstanding clients in the farming and agriculture sector and is proficient in handling high-value sales, acquisitions, and financing work. Practice head Stephen Firmin and Kerry Addison are both skilled in managing complex matters related to property disposals and development, displaying 'utmost professionalism and even going the extra mile'.

Practice head(s):Stephen Firmin

Other key lawyers:Kerry Addison

Testimonials

'There is a genuine sense of teamworking in this practice. They understand and appreciate the different specialisms that they offer, and make sure you are pointed in the right direction.'

'Kerry Addison and Stephen Firmin are both outstanding. Kerry is technically excellent but also very hands-on and practical.'

'Stephen has always been able to add something more than just the normal advice and always worked having our best interest at heart. If only more solicitors took the same proactive approach as Stephen does, the whole sector would be quicker, more efficient and less costly to the client.'

Work highlights

  • Acting for development company on the disposal of part of a business park to a related pension scheme trust.
  • Acting on the conditional sale of a substantial development site.
  • Promotion Agreement for residential/mixed-use development.
  • Acting in a complex promotion agreement and related overage for promotion of development site.
  • Acting in the sale of a mixed-use site with planning.

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