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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 West > Real estate > Construction > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Burges Salmon LLP fields a construction team that is ‘among the best in the region’, while its ‘strength in depth’ makes it a formidable national player. The group has ‘exceptional industry knowledge’ of large transport and energy infrastructure projects, as well as experience of more general investment and commercial development. The ‘unflappable and tacticalMarcus Harling is advising The Crown Estate on construction issues arising from its development portfolio, which includes St James’s Market, Dukes Court and Morley House. Harling also acts for Transport for Wales on all aspects of the Wales and Borders Rail Franchise and the South West Metro. William Gard heads the construction and engineering department and is acting for a client involved in the £4bn Thames Tideway Tunnel project. Steven James focuses on energy infrastructure and assisted Affinity Water Limited with its mains infrastructure preferred supplier framework agreement. Lloyd James handles construction issues for a number of the firm’s largest clients, including Highways England and Marks & Spencer. The firm also handles construction disputes; the ‘talented and enthusiasticRichard Adams is assisting a client in relation with contentious issues arising from the Greater Manchester Waste Project.

According to one client, Osborne Clarke’s team is ‘in a league of its own compared with others working in the same sector in the South West’. The group regularly acts for large developers and engineering companies in relation to major construction and procurement contracts in the energy and infrastructure space, with clients singling out Carl Thompson (‘a robust and commercially astute negotiator with detailed sector knowledge’) for his track record acting on numerous solar project developments for the likes of First Solar. Other key figures include Jonathan Brooks, who splits his time between the firm’s London and Bristol offices and is experienced in contentious and non-contentious construction matters; Philip Davies, who advises funders, developers and contractors across the spectrum of industry sectors; and John Redmond. Other clients include Balfour Beatty, Siemens, Midas Group, Bristol City FC and Aggregate Industries.

Ashfords LLP’s ‘incredibly responsive and commercial’ construction team handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters – including procurement and development – for public and private sector clients. Stephen Homer, who heads the firm’s adjudication and arbitration team, represented Devon County Council in mediation in connection with an £11.5m claim against a design consultant and contractor regarding the construction of a school. Homer also handles non-contentious work and advised Exeter County Council on the design and build contracts for the new Passivhaus swimming pool and leisure development. Patrick Blake heads the practice acted in a multimillion-pound EPC contract dispute in the renewable energy sector. Other key contacts include Mark Manning, who handles construction disputes and non-contentious matters and has extensive experience of the renewable energy and retail sectors. Viridor Waste Management Limited, South Coast Construction Limited and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea are among the team’s clients.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s construction group attracts praise for its ‘concise advice and pragmatic approach’; for some, it is the pre-eminent team for contentious PFI matters. ‘Knowledgeable and creative’ Bristol-based practice head Louise Robling is noted for her ‘essential advice’ to public sector clients and contractors on construction disputes, and also provides non-contentious advice on PPP/PFI procurement contracts. She is representing Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in an issue involving the potential termination of rights following the defective construction of fire compartments throughout the clients’ hospitals. On the non-contentious side, Jonathan Turner is advising East Wick and Sweetwater Projects Limited – a development joint venture comprising Places for People and Balfour Beatty Investments – on the procurement and contracting strategy for a regeneration scheme involving a high-profile £500m-plus Olympic Legacy development. Similarly, Turner acts for Places for People and Urban Splash in an incorporated joint venture for the development of the Icknield Port Loop site in Birmingham. Jessica Evans is a highly recommended associate in the department.

The construction group at Clarke Willmott LLP has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and ‘compares very well’ to other firms in the Bristol area. The team is especially strong in contentious construction matters, including adjudication and mediation, but also has a formidable non-contentious capability spearheaded by Zoe Stollard, who is handling a litany of contract negotiations for Somerset Passenger Solutions Limited in connection with an extremely high-profile national construction project. The ‘deeply experiencedPeter O’Brien heads the contentious construction team and is acting for Bouygues UK’s housing and construction divisions on procurement and contractual issues as well as disputes. O’Brien’s other clients include Westminster City Council and M+W High Tech Projects UK. Michael Craik and AnnaLiisa Blanks-Walden are active partners in the contentious construction group.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s ‘speedy and business-focused’ construction department in Bristol acts for private and public sector clients in large development and procurement matters, and also handles construction disputes. Headed by Ben Thornycroft, the team has experience of regeneration developments and energy and utility projects, with an emphasis on the healthcare and insurance sectors. Thornycroft is advising Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on the procurement and construction of a large commercial space and car park, in addition to the redevelopment of civic offices and a theatre, valued at £30m. He also advised Deeley Freed (Penhalt) on building contracts related to a £40m development of residential units. Phillip Roberts is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ in contentious construction matters and acts for various insurance companies in relation to professional indemnity and construction disputes. ‘Thorough and responsive’ senior associate Benjamin Thomas is also recommended. Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Zurich Insurance and Bristol Water are among the group’s key clients.

For some, TLT’s expertise in contentious and non-contentious work makes it ‘one of the best construction practices in the South West’. The team has noted specialisms in public sector procurement work, and also has experience of the energy and renewables sector. Department head Simon Goss has extensive experience of non-contentious and contentious construction matters and has acted for multiple London boroughs throughout 2016 and 2017. He leads a team that includes ‘excellent negotiator’ Neel Mehta, who handles the gamut of non-contentious issues for a number of large construction companies and developer clients; and construction disputes specialist Tom Wrzesien, whose clients include entities in the energy and education sectors, as well as large construction companies. Galliford Try Construction (UK), EDF Energy and Midas Construction are among the team’s key clients.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) provides ‘a speed and quality of service that is often superior to that of larger firms and at a price that is much more competitive’. The team acts for a number of regional and national contractors and developers across a variety of sectors. Department head and ‘great team leaderHuw Morgan acts for a host of educational institutions; his recent highlights include advising University of Reading on the procurement and construction contracts associated with the client’s new Thames Valley Science Park, and advising University of Bristol on its standard building contracts and associated documentation. In another key mandate, Jason Prosser is acting for Airbus Operations Limited on the construction of the Airbus Wing Integration Centre, a research and testing facility for wing fuel systems. Also recommended are Alice Lang, a ‘pleasant but meticulous’ senior associate who acts for clients in the education sector; and David Arnold, who joined the team from Kennedys in 2016 and specialises in construction disputes.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s Plymouth office acts for a range of regional and national developers and construction companies. Practice head David Skelton (who attracts praise for his ‘unassuming and practical approach’) is advising Midas Construction on a number of significant projects, including the Pendennis Shipyard. He is also acting for the University of Plymouth on various construction projects on its campus and at sites around Plymouth, and is assisting New Look Retailers on the multimillion-pound expansion of its national distribution centre. The team has also negotiated asset protection agreements for well-known clients in the transport infrastructure sector and handles construction disputes for clients such as REG Wind Power.

Michelmores LLP’s ‘outstanding construction department’ was strengthened in 2016 with the addition of new practice head Chris Hoar, who had previously headed the construction and engineering department at Foot Anstey. Hoar’s arrival strengthens the group’s non-contentious offering, supplementing the already formidable contentious practice. On the development side, Hoar has been advising Mount Wise Devon on a £30m residential development on former MoD land in Plymouth, which is currently in the last of four stages. In an example of the group’s public sector work, Brian Hitchcock is acting for Plymouth City Council on procurement, stakeholder, tenant and contractor negotiations in connection with the £34m Plymouth history Centre regeneration project. Similarly, in the healthcare sector, a sizeable team is advising Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust on the procurement for the £486m 3Ts hospital redevelopment programme. The ‘exceedingly tenaciousGerald Offen specialises in construction disputes and is representing Midas Construction in a dispute with the owners and operators of Pendennis Shipyard, which has been referred to adjudication.

The construction group at Thrings LLP is noted for providing development advice to clients in the healthcare and retail and leisure sectors, and is especially active in the student accommodation space. In addition to development work, the team also handles construction disputes and provides procurement advice to utilities companies and corporate occupiers. Practice head Eric Livingston is acting for Fusion Students on the demolition of existing structures and the subsequent development of large student accommodation facilities in Cardiff and Nottingham. He also acted alongside associate Natalia Sokolov for Alford Technologies on a multimillion-pound contract to demolish Didcot (A) Power Station Boiler House in Wiltshire. The team is also advising a US-headquartered law firm in relation to the UK construction aspects and due diligence of the acquisition of a care home portfolio by an American REIT. Steve McCombe is rated for his ‘precision’ in handling construction disputes. Other clients include Wessex Water, Bristol Water and Chait Investment Corporation.

Foot Anstey’s construction team has undergone several personnel changes: Ian Stubbs joined the construction team from Pinsent Masons LLP, while Chris Hoar left for Michelmores LLP in 2016 and Stephen Ovenden joined Pinsent Masons LLP in 2017. Stubbs has more than three decades of experience in construction law and specialises in the funding, procurement and contractual aspects of large construction projects. Other key figures include Zac Spyrou, who has expertise in construction and engineering transactions and acts for major corporates and construction companies in relation to high-value construction projects. Tris Tucker is an active senior associate in the department and is regarded by clients as a ‘great communicator’.

Keystone Law has built an experienced construction and engineering team in its Bristol office, which continues to act for major construction companies and educational institutions in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Highly regarded in the field, Martin Howe has been advising The University of West England on issues relating to the completion of the new £55m business and law faculty building. Howe’s other clients include Blackburn Waterside Regeneration Limited and University of Southampton. The team was recently joined by Jon Close, who joined from BPE Solicitors LLP and advised Dowdeswell Estates on a £10m hotel extension and an £11.9m heritage scheme. Louise Garcia provides ongoing advice to Geoffrey Osborne Limited concerning contentious construction issues and commercial contracts.

For some, Royds Withy King’s ‘sensible and responsive’ construction team is ‘above and beyond’ many firms in the area. The department, which handles contentious and non-contentious matters, was significantly strengthened in 2016 with the arrival of Andrew Ash from Osborne Clarke, who heads the construction department. An ‘experienced and commercial’ litigator, Ash has a strong track record handling national and international construction litigation and arbitration. Graham Street handles non-contentious construction issues and advises a range of developer clients on procurement and contractual issues concerning residential schemes and care home developments. Philip Banks-Welsh also handles construction disputes. Clients include University of Bath, Western Power Distribution and Redcliffe Homes Limited.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s construction practice in Exeter has specialisms in the housing, education and healthcare sectors, and handles a number of mandates for public sector clients. Practice head Alan Tate (who attracts praise for his ‘very good business acumen’) is providing ongoing advice to the Secretary of State for Education on the drafting and negotiation of building contracts for new schools and academies in the region. Tate also acts for clients such as Sovereign Housing Association and Devonshire Homes on a range of contractual matters, and is advising the asset management department of Coastline Housing Limited on procurement issues. The group’s other areas of expertise include construction litigation and insolvency matters.

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