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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: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

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Boyes Turner leverages specialist practitioners in complementary areas such as planning, construction and dispute resolution.  Nick Carter leads the 'very knowledgeable' four-partner team who have 'outstanding capabilities' in commercial and residential development, technology and real estate finance. Mark Appleton specialises in the purchase, letting and disposal of properties for owners, occupiers and  investors, while Derek Ching primarily advises landowners and developers on land development issues, including aspects of site acquisitions and  assembly, secured lending to developers (acting for lenders and borrowers), as well as environmental and planning issues. William Nassau-Lake has 'an outstanding reputation' in housing development.  Rachel Duncan and Sarah Webb are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Nick Carter

Other key lawyers:Nick Carter; Mark Appleton; Derek Ching; William Nassau-Lake; Sarah Webb; Rachel Duncan

Key Clients

Castleford Homes Limited

Ericsson

Verifone

Montpelier Estates

Cygnet Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Ericsson with relocation of its headquarters from Guildford to the Thames Tower in Reading. The transaction included the acquisition of the new space along with exit advice from both locations in Guildford and Basingstoke.
  • Advised on refinance funding secured by way of a bank of security documents including Legal Charges and Debentures in favour of a consortium of lenders over a site in the South of England.
  • Representing Pentax UK Limited in the rationalisation of its business premises it having been agreed with the landlord to surrender its lease of the whole of Unit D Heathrow West Business Park with the landlord granting a new temporary lease of the 1st Floor and warehousing premises, while refurbishment works are being carried out.
  • Acting for Spitfire Bespoke Homes in its acquisition of Windsor Fire Station for £5.5m

Blake Morgan LLP significantly expanded its real estate practice with the addition of practice head Andrew Farmery from Shoosmiths LLP and Sophie Boswell, formally  in-house counsel at DX Group, in August 2018 to add complimentary expertise to Jannicke Brar and George Panteli who joined in earlier in the year.  The group is best known for its strong work for major corporate occupiers, such as IWG plc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, in addition to advising developers, institutional investors, local government as well as household names in the health, education, technology and energy sectors. Other figures to note are Michael Ward, who leads the 'superb' real estate finance team; Oxford-based Ruth Leadbitter, Andrew Miscampbell and Dominic Elster are particularly noted for their expertise in the public sector and primary care partnerships.

Practice head(s):Andrew Farmery

Other key lawyers:Andrew Farmery; Sophie Boswell; George Panteli; Jannicke Brar; Michael Ward: Ruth Leadbitter; Andrew Miscampbell; Dominic Elster 

Testimonials

'The team gives a very good service, simply. They are responsive and make you feel like a valued client. They take the time to understand the clients' requirements and invest in the relationship. '

'Andrew Farmery and George Panteli always go above and beyond. They are extremely talented lawyers, who are committed and totally engaged. '

Key Clients

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Anheuser-Busch In Bev

Cellnex Limited

Canary Wharf Group Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised IWG on the acquisition of a lease of the Alpheus Building Finsbury Circus, London, which included agreement for leases, several complex ancillary documents and advising on the construction law aspects of major refurbishment of the building.
  • Advised Cherwell District Council on its purchase of Tramway Industrial Estate, Banbury for approximately £9m.
  • Acted for the occupier on the pre-let of office space in heart of brand new science/technology development set in the former BBC site in central Manchester.  High value deal of huge significant as HP was looking to establish a new presence in the region.
  • Represented a care home developer in series of transactions, each over £5m in value.  

Clarkslegal LLP advises real estate developers and institutional clients in the education, healthcare, leisure and retail sectors in all aspects of real estate. The department also has expertise in finance matters as well as in niche areas such as public procurement and Islamic finance. The practice bolstered its offering with the hire of Mark Izquierdo from Herrington Carmichael LLP in October 2018. Practice head Rachel Krol has wide-ranging real estate experience advising property developers, landlords and tenants, pension funds and hotels on acquisitions and disposals, investment, development and planning matters. Richard Higgs departed to Field Seymour Parkes LLP in September 2018.

Practice head(s):Rachel Krol

Other key lawyers:Rachel Krol

Testimonials

'Friendly, fast acting, knowledgeable, a commercial attitude to legal matters - a very good team to work with.'

'Clarkslegal will go an extra mile to help their client in various situations'

'Partners we work with, all of whom provide an excellent service, are Rachel Krol, David Rintoul, Ashan Arif and Simon Ralphs'

Key Clients

University of Reading

Crown Packaging Manufacturing UK Limited

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Newham Sixth Form College Further Education Corporation

St Clair Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a London-based urban regeneration company in connection of a redevelopment of a large indoor shopping centre located in central Reading to create a new cinema and an arts and culture.  
  • Instructed by our client on a number of acquisitions and proposed acquisitions of investment properties in the UK.

Freeths LLP acts for a range of corporate client, developers and landlords in connection with acquisitions, disposals, asset management and promotional agreements. The practice is particularly experienced in advising educational institutions, charities and healthcare sector clients. Patrick Whetter leads on commercial property transactions; Adrian White handles development and construction projects for corporate and charity sector clients.  Senior associate Laura Hodgson's practice covers investment property development , commercial landlord and tenant matters and real estate finance. Senior associate Desh Patel is another name to note.

Practice head(s):Patrick Whetter

Other key lawyers:Patrick Whetter; Adrian White; Laura Hodgson; Desh Patel

Testimonials

'The practice offers a wide range of expertise and when required different members of the team work well together. They can offer all the legal advice required by a wide range of rural clients which include landowners, farmers as owner occupiers and agriculture tenants.'

'The team impress with their ability to be flexible and deal in a prompt, informed and proactive way'.

'Adrian White has excellent knowledge and superb all round advice in connection with development land transactions including promotion agreements.'

Key Clients

Oxford University Press

Lloyds Bank

Resmed UK Ltd

NSF Safety & Quality Limited

 

Osborne Clarke is best known for its strong reputation acting for leading housing developers such as Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Galliford Try. Key partners Rebecca Tuffs and Elizabeth Sturgess are particularly recommended for their 'breadth of experience' in investment acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management and real estate finance.  Senior associate James Law is 'a rising star'. Andrew Annette departed to Gateley Plc in late 2018.

Practice head(s):Rebecca Tuffs

Other key lawyers:Rebecca Tuffs; Elizabeth Sturgess; James Law

Key Clients

Barratt/David Wilson Homes

ERLP (Europa Capital)

Barclays Bank Plc

Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company

Sovereign Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Huntswood on their leasehold office acquisition of the 5th and 6th floors of the Watson building in Liverpool.
  • Acted for the housebuilder in the purchase of Phase 1 of a Development Site in North Newbury for 222 residential units and associated infrastructure benefiting from an outline planning  consent.
  • Advised a technology corporate occupier on a major pre-letting agreement for the occupation of over a quarter of the letting space in One Bartholomew Close, a new office building in Farringdon, London.  
  • Continuing to advise Ministry of Defense estate through meanwhile lettings throughout the year, including in connection with the development of a new town centre, which the building of new shops, office space, a covered market hall and a heritage centre in Bordon Garrison, Hampshire.  

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's real estate team is 'one of the best in the Thames Valley'. The practice is known for its strength in handling complex and high value development projects in residential, education and leisure sectors where it counts Frontier Estates , The University of Oxford and Fitness First as active clients. The team also advises on property tax, environmental issues and planning law. Richard Smith heads the group and is the key figure for large-scale developments and environmental law; other key partner, Simon Knott focuses on acquisitions, disposals, letting and finance. Associate Laura Gorman is a name to note for commercial developments, student accommodation schemes and care homes, as is Catherine Bradshaw,  who focuses on acting on behalf of registered providers.

Practice head(s):Richard Smith

Other key lawyers:Richard Smith; Simon Knott; Laura Gorman; Catherine Bradshaw

Testimonials

'Consistent high performance across a wide variety of engagements.'

'Richard Smith is simply excellent, and has a wealth of experience in commercial property acquisitions. '

Key Clients

EDF Energy

St Peter’s College, Oxford

European Space Agency

Fitness First

White Stuff

Work highlights

  • Advised a developer on the acquisition and mixed debt and equity funding of a brownfield site at Guildford Plaza, Guildford, Surrey for £14m.
  • Acting for the European Space Agency on a lease for the construction of a new research laboratory for space exploration at Harwell Science Campus in Oxfordshire.
  • Advising a nanotechnology life science company in connection with the construction of its new clean room manufacturing building at Harwell Science Campus, Oxfordshire.
  • Advising a developer on a housing development collaboration agreement with Nottingham City Council, as co-owner, in respect of planning permission and marketing of a large brownfield housing scheme in Nottingham on an old industrial manufacturing site.

Shoosmiths LLP' Thames Valley office houses 'one of the most prominent real estate practices in the region' and is particularly active for real estate funds and investors in sales, purchases and asset management.  The practice also acts on large-scale residential  and commercial developments and high value occupancy transactions for corporate clients.  Key figures include Alan Corcoran who heads the southern real estate practice across three offices; Nathan Rees acts for investors in acquisitions and financing transactions, as well as asset management for owners and occupiers. Matthew Walker is 'an excellent adviser' for all real estate finance matters. Associate Marcus Devanny focuses advises institutional investors, particularly within the office and industrial sectors. Residential development specialist Paul Murray joined in July 2018 from Pitmans LLP.

Practice head(s):Alan Corcoran

Other key lawyers:Alan Corcoran: Nathan Rees; Matthew Walker; Paul Murray; Marcus Devanny

Key Clients

McKay Securities PLC

Mattel

Nissan/Renault Alliance

Calor Gas Limited

Lloyds Bank PLC

Work highlights

  • Advising McKay Securities in the pre-letting of a 58,000 square feet office development at Lombard Street, London.
  • Continued advise the real estate asset managers in connection with the management of Festival Place Shopping Centre, which includes advising on lettings to multiple retail tenants, and in connection to the ongoing refurbishment and development of the Centre.
  • Represented client on the £300m refinancing of its portfolio.

Blandy & Blandy LLP is experienced in advising private and public sector commercial clients, landowners, developers, investors and local authorities, as well as financial lenders such as Svenska Handelsbanken. Jane Gunnell leads the practice alongside Katja Wigham and both are 'have a very good reputation' in sales and purchases of development land, commercial freehold and leasehold property, landlord and tenant matters and secured lending.  John Dingle is experienced in the development of healthcare facilities.

Practice head(s):Jane Gunnell, Katja Wigham

Other key lawyers:John Dingle

Testimonials

'The team give the best advice and will always look at their client's interest. The advice that they give is well explained and logical.'

'The firm deals with the full range of commercial property matters.'

'Our experience of this team is that they are dedicated and very on the ball, both with timeframes and their advice. Knowing that they are providing the legal advice gives us peace of mind that our mutual clients are receiving the best advice.'

'Although the firm has a relatively small real estate team, it is well equipped to assist a broad range of clients in its area. As a key regional firm, the team members handle a wider range of disputes than they might if they worked for larger competitors in Bristol or London. This brings benefits both in terms of quickly gaining litigation experience and in respect of developing client care skills. In my experience, the latter is a core competence for the firm.'

'We have used them for complicated land transfers and commercial property transfers and found them knowledgeable and efficient, to a very high standard.'

'This team is very responsive and commercial in its approach, more so than other property teams.'

'Jessica Irwin brings an unruffled and unflappable personality to the table. Her advice is always logical and objective, but also takes into account the client's requirements and best interests.'

'Jessica Irwin is easy to work with and well-prepared. This is particularly important in commercial lease cases (dilapidations, service charges and interpretation of covenants) where the devil is in the detail. Jessica provides her clients with the benefit of a diligent and considered approach to litigation.'

'Pippa Lee delivers great client care. At every stage of litigation her focus is on explaining the often complicated legal scenarios to clients in meaningful ways which enable them to make informed decisions.'

'John Dingle has proved highly efficient with great attention to detail.'

'John Dingle's calm and client focused approach makes him a pleasure to work with.'

'John Dingle is always available to guide and point you in the right direction. Very professional and friendly.'

Key Clients

Englefield Estate Trust Corporation Ltd

Austin Fraser Limited

InHealth Limited

University of Reading

SAS International Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising on the sale of two properties in Hackney comprising 5 retail units subject to leases.
  • Advising on the redevelopment and subsequent lease of retail units in the North West of England in order to provide medical services.

The team at Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors 'have a vast depth of knowledge and experience' particularly in leaseholds for landlord and tenant in the industrial, retail and office sectors. The practice also regularly advises developers and landowners on sales, acquisitions and land developments. The 'well integrated team' also have the ability to draw upon advisers experienced in planning law and litigation. Tim Read is 'simply fantastic' for leasework, advising both landlords and tenants, while Ian Graham has a 'has a wealth of knowledge' in commercial acquisitions, disposals and lettings. Senior associates Lewis Djemal and Jonathan Foulds are also of note.

Practice head(s):Ian Graham

Other key lawyers:Ian Graham; Tim Read; Lewis Djemal; Jonathan Foulds

Testimonials

'The staff at Clifton Ingram Real Estate team are immediately knowledgeable about all aspects of commercial property. They have a depth of knowledge and experience particularly of the local area'.

'Ian Graham has a great ability to quickly understand the clients' desired results and works tremendously hard to reach it. He is very solutions-orientated, practical with a wealth of knowledge in the sector'.

'Tim Read and Lewis Djemal make a strong team - they have excellent judgement, respond swiftly and go the extra mile for their long-standing clients'.

'Clifton Ingram are a terrific law firm. They have a superb commercial property department led by Tim Read and Lewis Djemal and are fast, commercial and really understand the key metrics for their client.'

Key Clients

Nike Group of Companies

Lawsons Holdings

Work highlights

  • Acting for the developer in the sale of land near Bristol to Bellway Homes which had been included within the local spatial plan for possible redevelopment.
  • Advising the developer in the purchase of freehold and leasehold land in Wandsworth, London subject to various occupational leases from National Grid Twenty Seven.
  • Acting for a landowner in an option to sell property, subject to planning permission being granted
  • Acting for a developer in acquiring a site for residential development in Henley-on-Thames.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP advises a mix of corporate occupiers and developers such as  University of Reading, Honda and  Bewley Homes, among others. The practice is also able to leverage complimentary expertise from specialists in construction and finance. Partners Marcus Francis and  Dean Bickford are regularly supported by senior associates Joe Preisner and Anna Zatouroff. The practice has been joined by landlord and tenant expert Richard Higgs and senior associate Paul Dench  who focuses on litigation from Clarkslegal LLP and Charles Russell Speechlys LLP , respectively.

Practice head(s):Marcus Francis 

Other key lawyers:Marcus Francis: Dean Bickford

Key Clients

Euro Car Parts

WSH Group

Go Develop

Bewley Homes plc

Whistl (formerlyTNT Post)

Work highlights

  • Advised the developer in acquisition of a Kensington investment and development property for £7.75m, which was subject to various leases including two to embassies.
  • Acted for developer in respect of acquisition of twenty development sites.
  • Advised a charity corporate occupier in the disposal of its previous premises before relocating to new office in central Reading.

Gardner Leader LLP acts for a mix of developers, landlords and tenants in commercial, residential, retail and mixed-use developments. Practice head Greg Humphreys has notable expertise handling commercial transactions within the food and drink sector, while Suki Hardy is particularly active on acquisitions, dispositions, leasing and developments.  Richard Buckeridge is a name to note in Maidenhead.

Practice head(s):Greg Humphreys

Other key lawyers:Greg Humphreys; Suki Hardy; Richard Buckeridge

Testimonials

'Gardner Leader have a wide range of knowledge and capabilities. They are always quick to respond and provide concise and straightforward advice'.

'The team are recommended for their ability to respond quickly with a depth of experience and enthusiasm. Excellent local knowledge and pragmatic advice provided by all advisers.'

'Greg Humphreys handles all matters in a very professional way and is very engaged and knowledgeable.'

'Suki Hardy is wholly engaged and extremely pragmatic.'

'Richard Buckeridge acts promptly and efficiently. His advice and knowledge has been extremely helpful.'

 

Key Clients

Newbury Building Society

Pomroy & Hine Limited

J & J Carter Limited

Rivar Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted a developer in the set up and sale of 32 flats in a building converted from offices pursuant to permitted development rights, which included the creation of a management company.
  • Acted for the owner of a mixed use investment property in connection with various commercial lettings, such as lease renewals and the grant of new leases and assignments.
  • Advising Handelsbanken on various secured lending arrangements for investors, such as secured loans to developers involving a stringent review of planning conditions,  re-mortgages of existing buy-to-let portfolios and the acquisition of a freehold reversion.

Brookstreet des Roche,  acquired by Knights plc in early 2019 continues to be active working on residential, mixed use and regeneration schemes for commercial and residential developers. Other key areas of expertise include lease negotiation and renewals, acquisitions and disposals and litigation. Rosie Gibb, Martin Billings , Jamie  Barton and Sarah Wildsmith are the key partners.

Practice head(s):Martin Billings

Other key lawyers:Martin Billings; Sarah Wildsmith; Rosie Gibb

BDB Pitmans  largely focuses on residential developments and also assists corporate occupiers, landlords and tenants with acquisitions and sales, leases and promotion agreements. Delphine Mehouas advises residential developers in connection to strategic land purchase, contracts and conditional agreements subject to planning. Also of note are Sarah Potter for institutional investors and Marcus McCluggage for acquisitions and landlord and tenant matters. Paul Murray joined Shoosmiths LLP in July 2018.

Practice head(s):Sarah Potter

Other key lawyers:Sarah Potter; Delphine Mehouas

Key Clients

Bewley Homes

Shanly Homes

Millgate Homes

Spitfire Bespoke Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the landlord in respect of granting three leases to Kimble Applications Limited, Joseph Joseph Limited and Next Communications Group.
  • Advising Bewley Homes in respect of the sale and lease of part of SANG Land in Ash, Guildford to the Land Restoration Trust

Brethertons LLP predominately act developer and corporate tenants in  acquisitions and disposals and leases, as well as offering advise in connection to development of land and secured lending. Tom Ansell has been promoted to partner and head of practice in April 2019. Senior associate Angela Guess is experienced in landlord and tenant matters as well has in promotion, development agreements and commercial lending. Associate Kelly Earle is recommended for commercial leases.

Practice head(s):Tom Ansell

Other key lawyers:Tom Ansell; Angela Guess; Kelly Earle

Key Clients

Shuropody Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a retailer on leasehold acquisition of various sites as part of plans business expansion plans.  

Specialist commercial property boutique Plainlaw solicitors advises on non-contentious real estate and construction law, with particular expertise in development transactions and landlord and tenant matters. Stephen Stratton and Philip Horn are the key advisers.

Practice head(s):2

Other key lawyers:2

Royds Withy King provides assistant to landowners and housing developers on a range of issues such as acquisitions, dispositions, leases and funding, including pension funding matters.  Senior associate Julie Acock is the key adviser.

Practice head(s):Julie Acock

Spratt Endicott assists with developers and investors with strategic land transactions and development, in addition to acting for landlords and tenants in acquisitions, sales and leases. Andrew Woods is a ' safe pair of hands' in residential and commercial property developments.

Practice head(s):Andrew Wood

Testimonials

'Focused and personal service, always available and resourced to provide advice when required.'

'The team have excellent knowledge and capabilities in real estate. They are efficient and quick to respond. I have real confidence in their knowledge and ability. Access at partner level is a given but the staff and associates are also professional and knowledgeable.'

 

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