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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 Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

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United Kingdom > South West > Finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Banking and finance

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking and finance clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Burges Salmon LLP’s banking department is the ‘right kind of fit’ for small and medium size deals, but is also capable of handling large cross-border finance matters. In one particularly high-value deal, the ‘commercial and clear-thinkingGraham Soar advised Bluefield SIF Investments on a £217m refinancing of its portfolio of solar parks. Richard Leeming heads the practice and acted for National Express Group in relation to £450m of new bank facilities, comprising a £350m bridge facility and a £100m general corporate purpose facility; highly recommended senior associate Ed Hobbs also acted on that matter. On the lender side, the department is on the panels of Lloyds Bank, HSBC, RBS, Bank Leumi UK, Santander UK and NIBC Bank. Nathan Curtis advised RBS as lenders on a £45m financing of NTR’s Scotland-based Quixwood Moor Wind Farm. Rachael Ruane also acts for a range of lender clients. Andrew Eaton joined the firm from Travers Smith LLP, while Richard Clark joined TLT.

Osborne Clarke’s banking practice is ‘commercially driven and focused on pushing projects through to completion’. The practice has an extensive track record in acquisition finance and syndicated lending, and also handles corporate finance, real estate finance and project finance matters. It also benefits from the firm’s national and international footprint and has longstanding relationships with high-street lenders. The ‘pragmatic’ Tom Bussy advised Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds Bank and Santander on £160m of new debt facilities to the Day Lewis pharmacy group, and acted for Lloyds Development Capital on the acquisition of the management buyout of ADEY. In the energy sector, practice head and ‘exceptional adviser’ Omar Al-Nuaimi acted for Foresight Solar Fund on the implementation of a £190m refinancing of a solar portfolio; he also assisted Solarplicity with the £115m refinancing of its solar asset portfolio. ‘Knowledgeable’ associate director Deborah Rowntree acted for Lloyds Bank on various term and revolving credit facilities to HPH Commercial Property for the purpose of refinancing existing facilities.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘client-focused’ banking and financial services department is noted for its expertise in energy project finance and real estate finance and advises financial institutions on a variety of structured transactions and regulatory issues. Traditionally, the team has been instructed by lender clients, but has been taking on an increasing number of borrower mandates. The group’s highly regarded head, Julian Kinsey, regularly acts for banks on all areas of debt financing and restructuring, and advised Lloyds Bank and several other lenders in relation to the debt and equity restructuring of Stevens Hatherley Group and its subsequent merger with Clean Linen Group. On the borrower side, Tom Caplen acted for St Monica’s Trust on the negotiation of term loan and revolving credit facilities from Lloyds Bank for the purposes of a real estate development in Keynsham. The ‘diligent and adaptablePhilip Withey advised Hilco Capital on inter-company debt, working capital funding and security issues in connection with the client’s acquisition of the UK business and assets of Staples.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is noted for its ‘great reputation for delivering excellent customer-focused solutions’ and is known for its project finance work, aviation finance and advising specialist lenders in corporate finance transactions. The internationally focused banking group has specialist African and Middle East practices, with Islamic finance capabilities, and is also developing its presence in the Greek and Cypriot markets. ‘Straightforward and concise’ practice head Richard Norton advised Tsokkos Hotels on a €200m term loan facility with Bank of Cyprus, and acted for National Bank of Kuwait on a £6m secured Shari’ah facility over a property development in London. Norton is also the team’s aviation finance expert, and is assisting Gulf Air with a $200m working capital loan secured over IATA accounts. Adrian Mayer leads the Africa practice and handling a number of matters for VC-fund Actis LLP, including an investment in a mixed-use property development in Ghana, and a multimillion-dollar loan for a shopping mall in Nigeria.

Foot Anstey’s team has specialists in acquisition and real estate finance and banking litigation, in addition to having among the best UK Islamic finance practice outside of London, led by Imam Qazi. The ‘approachable and pragmatic’ Will Whitt leads the non-contentious banking team and is acting for Greenridge Investment Management on facility agreements and security and inter-creditor documents related to the £77m acquisition of the 3M headquarters in Bracknell through an Isle of Man SPV. Corporate finance expert Chris White joined the team from Shearman & Sterling LLP and acted for the lenders on the financing of the acquisitions of Brightwater Holidays and Action for Charity by Specialist Journeys. Other key figures include Paul Clark, who is active in the real estate finance space, and Robin Brown, who leads the ‘excellent’ banking litigation team.

TLT regularly competes with City firms and has continued to expand its banking and financial services team, recruiting corporate banking and restructuring specialist Richard Clark from Burges Salmon LLP. The banking department has particular expertise in advising investment-grade borrower clients and is active in the energy and real estate sectors. Known for providing ‘exceptional customer service’, Jon Stewart advised BGL Group on its £130m revolving credit facility and £240m securitisation facilities; he also acted for WHSmith on £240m of revolving credit facilities. On the lender side, Stewart acted for AIB Group UK on £33m of forward funding facilities provided to Empiric Student Property. Gary Roscoe primarily acts for lender clients in the energy sector, such as Aurium Capital, which he advised on multiple renewable energy project finance transactions. Roscoe’s other clients include British Solar Renewables, Triodos Bank and Energy Saving Trust.

Ashfords LLP has substantial experience in real estate and development finance and has noted an uptick in lender-side instructions in 2016. Many of the department’s largest deals contain international aspects; in a notable example, practice head Rebecca Dury is assisting a European bank with the English law aspects of its financing of a group of European property investors, including advising on security over insurance and derivative contracts. In a local highlight, Dury is acting for Exeter Finance on the provision of loans to multiple borrowers for property development and acquisitions. James Heath acted for Lloyds Bank on the acquisition of a shopping centre. The group has acted for a number of lender and borrower clients on the funding aspects of energy projects and care home developments. Other lender clients include Santander and RBS, while its borrower clients include The HAB Group and Targetfollow Group.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s sizeable banking and finance department attracts praise for its ‘strength in depth’. The firm has particular strength in real estate finance and is among the few firms with expertise in agricultural finance. In an example of the group’s real estate finance expertise, department head Roger Seaton advised a leading private bank on the refinancing of two substantial buy-to-let properties for £7.3m and £3.5m, respectively. ‘Diligent and practical’ senior associate Claire Tofts is another real estate finance specialist and Philip Brown has experience of property portfolio refinancing and development finance. Clare Titchener assisted a challenger bank with the security for the refinancing of the former Bridgewater Hospital site. Kirill Bingham is ‘always prepared to go the extra mile’ and is acting for high street banks including Santander and HSBC. Zoe Stollard focuses primarily on construction law, but also handles the financing aspects of construction projects.

DAC Beachcroft LLPstands up well against many other regional firms’ in the real estate finance space, and has experience acting for lenders and borrowers on a variety of property and investment finance matters. Michael Pearce co-heads the banking group and handles a steady stream of property investment work for Santander UK. Pearce is also acting for Lendy Limited, a peer-to-peer funding client, in relation to a number of short-term bridging and development loans. Legal director Simon Pickett is ‘particularly strong’ in real estate finance and property portfolio work. Joint practice head Giles Taylor has more than 20 years of transactional experience and was involved in the negotiation of a high-value facility agreement related to a joint venture for a residential and social care development. Anna Elliott joined the team from Blake Morgan LLP in 2017.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has a ‘very strong partner-level team’ with specialised contentious and non-contentious banking practices and ‘continues to build a strong tier of associates’. Tim Littler leads the transactional team, which acts for a huge variety of high street lenders and international financial institutions, and also assists the corporate team with acquisition financing and restructuring mandates. Littler assisted a UK corporate with the refinancing by NatWest of existing Shari’ah loan facilities. The ‘practical and timely’ Tim Walker has particular expertise in international transactions and has been acting for lenders and borrowers in Norway for more than 30 years; he is acting for a Norwegian corporate with global operations in relation to a complex debt restructuring. HSBC, Santander UK and Lloyds Bank are among the group’s high street banks clients. Adam Finch leads the banking litigation team and is ‘an excellent tactician and client manager’.

Michelmores LLP’s banking team has strong sector focuses in renewable energy, healthcare and education, and strengthened its banking group in 2016 with the addition of Bristol-based Asheesh Das, who acts for both lenders and borrowers and has particular experience of emerging markets work. Charles Maunder heads the practice and advised Rowe Estates on a £12m facility with Barclays for a restructuring of the client’s property portfolio. Maunder also assisted St Austell Brewery Company with term and revolving credit facilities of up to £45m provided by Barclays and RBS. Sally Rice leads the secured lending team and acts for a variety of high street banks.

The ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ lawyers at Thrings LLP act primarily for lender clients but also act for borrowers in relation to refinancing and investment rounds. Mike Tomlin co-heads the practice and advised a borrower client on the high-value refinancing of senior and mezzanine facilities in connection with a property portfolio. Tomlin also assisted a communications company with the documentation concerning several investment rounds involving debt and equity investments. Simon Hore advised HSBC Bank on a £7m revolving credit facility with a leading national retailer. The team also acted for NatWest on a £2m loan to an operator in the commercial investor sector. Other high street bank clients include Santander UK, RBS, HSBC and Allied Irish Bank. Joint practice head John Davies specialises in commercial banking and investment and is responsible for maintaining the firm’s many bank panel relationships.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) provides ‘good service at a reasonable price’ regarding private loan agreements and bank finance arrangements. It has particular experience in the education, healthcare, charity, pharmaceutical and social enterprise sectors. Robert Collier leads the department’s banking team and acted on the borrower side for HPH Limited in relation to a £14m loan from Lloyds Bank, which was the first loan made under the bank’s green lending initiative. Collier also advised an educational institution on £11m of facility and security agreements provided by Svenska Handelsbanken. Steven McGuigan has extensive experience of secured lending work in the real estate sector and acted for a high street bank in connection with its £1.65m loan to fund the acquisition of additional business premises for Power Electrics Limited. ‘Excellent’ associate Susie Luckman is also recommended.

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Insolvency and corporate recovery clients in South West using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Burges Salmon LLP’s corporate restructuring and insolvency group is singled out for its ‘professionally sound, helpful and personable’ advice. With sector strengths in renewable energy, distressed real estate, pensions, retail, food and farming, the team has experience of high-value debt restructurings and insolvencies, and is well positioned to handle cross-border instructions through its transatlantic restructuring and insolvency group. Andrew Eaton joined the firm from Travers Smith LLP and now heads the practice group. Eaton acted for a US-headquartered law firm on the insolvency aspects of a US-based private equity firm’s acquisition of a global company from its administrators. Colin Ligman heads the real estate insolvency practice and James Sutherland specialises in contentious real estate restructurings. Standout figures in associate level include Emily Scaife, who is ‘consistently concise and proactive in anticipating and resolving issues’. Additional clients include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, HSBC, the Pensions Protection Fund and PwC. Richard Clark joined TLT in 2016.

The restructuring and insolvency department at Michelmores LLP regularly handles high-profile insolvency matters. Headed by Charles Maunder, the team continues to advise York Global Finance BDH as a creditor in relation to the application by Lehman Brothers’s UK administrators for direction on the distribution of £7bn. The team is also acting for Ticketus I LLP and Ticketus II LLP as main creditors of Rangers Football Club in relation to its liquidation. Sacha Pickering is advising Octopus Investments on the £1.5m bankruptcies of two individuals. Pickering has particular expertise in voluntary arrangements; he and associate Anna Thompson are providing ongoing assistance regarding the creditor voluntary arrangements related to Sunshine Care Limited. Karen Dunstone is an accomplished senior associate with particular expertise in property-related insolvency transactions and has been involved in numerous high-value and cross-border insolvency and restructuring matters. Additional clients include Quantuma LLP, KPMG, Lameys Accountants and Leonard Curtis Recovery Limited.

The insolvency team at Osborne Clarke provides ‘technically excellent’ advice in a ‘refreshingly down-to-earth’ manner and compares very well to other South West practices. The department has longstanding relationships with insolvency practitioners and a number of banks, for which it handles distressed loans, and sits on the Pension Protection Fund’s insolvency panel. ‘Knowledgeable and effective’ practice head Nigel Boobier is acting for PwC as liquidator on insolvency proceedings arising from the bankruptcy of Alitalia Airlines. Boobier acted for BDO LLP in relation to its appointment as administrator to and subsequent sale of Broad Oak Toiletries to Potter & Moore. He is also working alongside legal director Claire Bundy for FRP Advisory as the administrators of Red Hot Wold Buffet. Bundy acted for the same client as the administrators on the pre-packaged sale of Crediton Confectionary to Devon Sweet Factory.

TLT’s insolvency practice has ‘great strength-in-depth’ and is ‘one of the best technical teams in the South West’. The Bristol-based department has grown in recent years, and brought on Richard Clark from Burges Salmon LLP in 2017. The ‘commercially minded’ James Forsyth acts for some of the largest accountancy and insolvency firms; he acted for Deloitte in its role as administrators of Riley’s Sports Group concerning £5m of property in Twickenham, and in a dispute brought by the landlord of the property in question. Forsyth acted for KPMG and Smith & Williamson as the administrators of retail group My Local, which was one of the largest insolvencies in Bristol in 2016. With over 20 years of insolvency experience, Peter Carney is assisting a Plc in negotiations with regulatory agencies and dividend payments to institutional shareholders. Also recommended are Abigail Hadfield and Maria Connolly, who has extensive experience of the commercial property aspects of insolvencies. Other clients include PwC, Grant Thornton and FRP Advisory.

Fielding a ‘truly national practice’, Ashfords LLP has experience of multi-jurisdictional insolvency and restructuring. Law firm insolvencies are a particular area of expertise; the ‘invaluable’ Samantha Palmer is appointed as joint solicitor manager in relation to King & Wood Mallesons’ insolvency, which involved providing regulatory and insolvency advice to the joint administrators of the firm. Bristol-based practice head David Pomeroy worked with Quantuma on the administration of Isaac Abraham LLP via court application, and Palmer subsequently advised on the sale and asset transfer of the partnership. ‘A fierce litigator’, Alan Bennett has expertise in foreign jurisdictions including Canada, USA and Dubai, and acted for an Ireland-based bankrupt individual in opposing an application made by the official receiver to annul the client’s bankruptcy. Legal director Katie Farmer has experience of contentious and non-contentious insolvency issues.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s insolvency practice is ‘among the best in the region in terms of responsiveness and results’. The team is well-known for its non-contentious, contentious and property-related insolvency capabilities, and has developed expertise in investment bank special administrations. Tim Pritchard now leads the South West insolvency group and in 2016, acted for KPMG as administrators of Avalon Investment Services in relation to the transfer of all of Avalon’s client monies and assets to Embark Investment Services. Pritchard also acted for Veolia UK in connection with the £4.25m acquisition out of administration of the business and assets of Boomeco Limited. The South West group was part of a cross-office team that advised Smith & Williamson as the special administrators of European Pensions Management. Former department head Joanne Rumley joined Foot Anstey in 2016.

Clarke Willmott LLP is an ‘insolvency powerhouse with impressive national connections’. The department is the sole legal adviser to The Insolvency Service, for which it handles Insolvency Act claims and other civil recovery matters. The ‘highly commercialKen MacLennan (who is a ‘firm negotiator’) is acting for Begbies Traynor as administrators of a South West bus company with £2.25m of assets on book, and is advising BDO LLP as proposed administrators of a group of companies engaged in the provision of branded and licenced goods on a wholesale basis. Martin Askew (a ‘robust litigator’) specialises in contentious insolvency matters and investigations. Ruth Hartnell-Thorne is acting for DDJ Insolvency in its role as liquidator, and is assisting with the investigation of Volterra Consulting Limited’s use of employee benefit trusts to minimise its liability tax. Lisa Cooke and associate Stephanie Bishop are also recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s insolvency practice acts for lenders, corporates and insolvency practitioners, and has sector expertise in health, retail and manufacturing. Giles Hindle heads the practice group and is acting for new client Quantuma in its role as administrators regarding the sale of Specialist Engineering Systems Limited. Hindle is also instructed by clients such as Mazars, RSM Tenon and Stonham & Co, and has also been instructed by a local authority in relation to its exposure in a major development project. Kevin Hawthorn was promoted to partner in 2016 and specialises in asset tracing, recovery and insolvency litigation. Hawthorn is acting for Begbies Traynor as administrators in relation to the sale of Pink Planet Exchange Limited. Senior associate Christopher Stoate is another active member of the department and specialises in cross-border insolvency restructuring and transactions and asset tracing.

The ‘reassuringly professional and effective’ insolvency practice at Thrings LLP specialises in acting in relation to insolvent or distressed mid-sized owner-managed businesses and is particularly strong in the professional services and agriculture sectors. Praised for his ‘technical expertiseMark Cullingford advised a Swedish foodstuffs producer on the recovery of debt from its UK distributor and on the protection of its interest in branded stock held in the UK. On the contentious side, the ‘calm and experiencedMelissa George acted for Begbies Traynor as administrators in claims against a bank for mis-selling interest rate hedging products, alleging that had the mis-selling not occurred, the LLP in question would have avoided administration. Nicola Brastock is a ‘clear and tenacious’ associate with a decade of experience in both commercial and personal insolvency matters. Other notable clients include PwC, Grant Thornton, Mazars and Leonard Curtis business Solutions.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s ‘commercial and technically strong’ insolvency team has been kept busy with insolvency work emanating from the education and charity sectors. Ed Husband, who has particular experience of insolvency litigation, leads the Bristol-based insolvency department and is acting for Moore Stephens LLP in relation to the liquidation of Bi-Folding Doors and the parallel bankruptcy of the company’s director. Husband also assisted KPMG with the realisation of assets held by a bankrupt individual. Also recommended are Simon Heald, who has significant insolvency experience, Kelly Johnson and senior associate Nick Martindale. Other clients include PwC, BDO and Grant Thornton.

The insolvency and restructuring team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys works closely with the firm’s banking group and sources much of its high-profile work from the London market. The team, primarily based in Cheltenham and Worcester, has been especially active in the social care and education sectors. Jonathan Whitbread, who leads the finance group, is acting for the joint administrators of Boomeco in relation to a £4m sale of a fuel business in Gloucestershire; he is also acting for Rcapital on the restructuring of the Tie Rack Group. Sam Payne joined the firm in 2016 from Shakespeare Martineau LLP and now leads the insolvency offering out of the Worcester office. Following the Brexit referendum, Payne has been advising an agriculture parts manufacturer on a potential group-restructuring or wind-down and sale of parts of the group; he also has experience in contentious insolvency.

Meade King LLP provides ‘proactive advice with excellent response times’ and acts for clients ranging from insolvent individuals and corporates to insolvency practitioners. Keith Mahoney has ‘impressive industry knowledge’ and provides ‘no-nonsense advice’ on a wide range of matters including possession and antecedent recovery actions on the bankruptcy side, and misfeasance and wrongful trading issues with regards to liquidations. Mahoney is acting for a liquidator in claims against a group of company directors for breach of fiduciary duty, and acted for an administrator in negotiations with a local authority. Mahoney also has experience of international recovery matters, and is assisting a group of trustees with the recovery of assets in Bulgaria, Germany and South Africa.

Stephens Scown LLP’s ‘exceptional’ insolvency practice acts for corporates and insolvency practitioners in contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters. The ‘knowledgeable’ Andrew Knox advised the liquidators of Gerald David and Family Limited in successfully obtaining bankruptcy petitions against the former company directors, who were living abroad. Knox also acted for the liquidators of Jetstream (Europe) Limited on the sale of water jetting equipment to a Danish buyer, and acted alongside the firm’s corporate team on the acquisition of the shares of a UK and BVI subsidiary company from the administrators of Western United Mines and Cornwall Minerals. Another key contact in the group, Toby Claridge, advised a minority shareholder in two companies on a petition to have them wound up. Other clients include The Insolvency Service and Begbies Traynor.

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