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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 > Wales > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cardiff and South Wales > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Cardiff and South Wales
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Led by Steve  Berrry, Acuity Law’s seven-partner team provides a ‘highly commercial and adept service rooted in real-world experience’, and is noted in particular for its expertise at handling transactional and ongoing commercial work within targeted industry sectors including healthcare, education and renewable energy. As well as his ongoing work for Capita on its acquisition and disposal program, Christian Farrow has also handled some noteworthy work in the renewables space including recently advising Kinetica Energy on the sale of an onshore wind project to FiftyID. Farrow also worked alongside Berry on the high-profile work for Neptune 6 on its acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab from Infineon Technologies. Other recommended practitioners include Rachelle Sellek , for joint venture matters; recently promoted partner Phillip Pugh, who regularly acts for university spin-out companies; and Paul Lowe , whose broad-ranging work encompasses private and public sector clients including those within the life sciences sector. Clients also continue to benefit from the firm’s in-house legal support subscription-based service Acuity Counsel.

The ‘professional and commercial’ three-partner team at Blake Morgan LLP  acts for private and public sector clients across the gamut of corporate and commercial matters including private equity-led and corporate M&A, AIM flotations and restructurings. Team head Robert Cherry recently advised LDC on its secondary buyout of Vista Technology Support Group from WestBridge Capital. Particularly ‘strong within the public sector’, the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ James Williams spearheads the firm’s relationship with Development Bank of Wales and recently represented it on its debt and equity investment in Voltcom Group provided by Beechbrook Capital. Williams also recently advised Symrise on its acquisition of UK fruit juice supplier Cobell International. Senior associate Richard Jones has a flourishing reputation in the M&A market and regularly handles new money deals as well as distressed mandates.

The ‘proactive, pragmatic and entrepreneurial’ five-partner team at Capital Law Limited provides a ‘responsive and efficient’ service across the spectrum of corporate and commercial work including advice on M&A transactions, joint venture structuring and AIM placings. The team is, however, perhaps best-known for its private equity knowledge where it benefits from the expertise of the ‘well-connected’ Duncan Macintosh, who is able to impart ‘deep expertise’ in the field as a result of his knowledge gleaned both from private practice, as well as his previous work in-house for 3i. The ‘very calm and productive’ Tom Kelleher also has an excellent track record and recently advised WestBridge Capital on the £29.4m secondary sale of Vista Retail to LDC. The ‘attentive and tenacious’ Alys Carlton has a particular niche advising management teams; she recently advised the senior managers of Metamark on Primary Capital’s £62m management buyout (MBO) of the business. On the commercial front, the firm is developing a strong reputation in the cryptocurrency space, largely as a result of its work on behalf of core client Royal Mint subsidiary, RM Assets, on the development alongside CME Group of a blockchain-based gold trading platform. The ‘committed and very dedicated’ Nicola McNeely is ‘excellent on deals involving a strong technology component’ and led on the aforementioned deal. UK-qualified German national Marlies Hoecherl is recommended for cross-border matters.

With four partners based out of the firm’s Cardiff office – following the recent transfer of Charles Reynard from Leeds – and also able to leverage the expertise of practitioners spread out across the UK and internationally, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is well-placed to represent corporates and private equity sponsors in a significant volume of predominantly mid-market transactions. ‘Pragmatic, responsive and knowledgeable‘ team head Paul Pugh has superb credentials for handling private equity work and recently acted for Pollen Street Capital on the acquisition of a majority stake in insurance broker, Miles Smith. ‘Technical, diligent and helpful‘ principal associate Richard Franklin regularly works alongside Pugh on transactions and also frequently takes the lead himself as demonstrated by his recent representation of Places for People Group on its acquisition of the remaining 50 percent share in MDH Group. Leveraging its ‘first-class‘ energy credentials, the team regularly handles M&A mandates in the sector including Iwan Walters’ recent representation of Shell on its acquisition (subject to regulatory approvals) of First Utility. Michelle Davies is also recommended for corporate work within the energy sector. Other clients include Forestry Commission, Welsh government and EDF Energy Renewables.

Led on the corporate front by the 'excellent' Andrew Morris and for commercial work by Chris Williams, following his arrival in September 2017 from Blake Morgan LLP, Geldards LLP provides a 'responsive and solutions-oriented service' to a well-balanced mix of private, public and third sector clients across a range of industry sectors. On the private equity front, as well as continuing to act for Development Bank of Wales on a significant amount of its transactional work, the team also handles fund formation and general corporate work for it and led by the 'pragmatic and knowledgeable' Geraint Tilsley on the corporate front and for state aid issues by Bethan Lloyd, recently advised it on its transformation from Finance Wales into the UK's first development bank. On the commercial front, the firm was significantly  strengthened, particularly for technology and digital projects, by the arrival of Justin Harrington  from Blake Morgan LLP in January 2018 and of senior associate David Beynon from the Bristol office of Osborne Clarke  in October 2017. Ceri Delemore retired in July 2017 and is now a consultant to the firm. Other clients include Admiral Insurance, LDC, Arts Council of Wales, and Serocor.

With seven partners focused on handling corporate and commercial work within its ranks, Hugh James has the strength-in-depth to handle a significant volume and variety of work for Welsh clients (Welsh Rugby Union, S.A. Brain & Co) and international corporates (Novomatic and Tenneco Group). ‘Very experienced, knowledgeable and practical‘ team head Gerallt Jones  regularly leads on the highest-profile mandates handled by the team, including his advice to the Welsh government on the £83.7m International Convention Centre Wales joint venture with Celtic Manor and his representation of the management team of Vista Retail Support on a £28.5m buyout by LDC.  Aled Walters   has an excellent reputation within the gaming and media industries and recently advised Avanti Media in relation to Sky plc’s acquisition of a majority stake in the Cardiff-based production company. Greg Williams is noted for his work within the healthcare sector and recently advised the Development Bank of Wales on the Creo Medical plc flotation. Mike Baggott  and Jon Fernandez Lewis are also recommended.

The ‘responsive’ team at Berry Smith provides ‘practical and commercial’ advice to an impressive roster of largely owner-managed and SME clients across a range of ongoing commercial matters, as well as transactional mandates. Praised for his willingness to ‘achieve the best possible deal for the client, while also moving the transaction forward’, team head Andrew Bound  has a strong reputation in the local market across a range of industry sectors and has developed a particular niche at handling corporate work for life sciences clients, including EFK Diagnostics Holdings, and advising professional services entities (including law firms and accountancy firms) on corporate issues specific to their businesses. The ‘pragmatic and results-driven’ Emma Borrington ‘takes a lot of time to understand her clients' needs’ and as well as her ‘superb work’ for local SME clients has also developed a niche advising financial services and manufacturing clients. Borrington recently advised Aircraft Maintenance Support Services on its £10m sale to NYSE-listed company JBT Corporation. Associate Paul Evans has developed an impressive niche advising clients in the healthcare sector, including sales and purchases of dental practices and NHS surgery merger. Senior conultant Philip Griffiths leads on the commercial front.

‘Highly proactive and commercial’ boutique Cardiff-based business advisory firm Greenaway Scott ‘punches well above its weight’, and since its formation in 2013 has quickly picked up market share, particularly on behalf of fast-growth life sciences and hi-tech companies on their fundraisings and M&A activity where it can provide added value by virtue of the fact that several of the firm’s lawyers have additional science or IP qualifications. Praised for its ‘strong business acumen’, the firm provides a ‘very personal service’ which is mindful of the financial constraints of some of its early stage companies and is therefore very flexible and transparent in its billing arrangements. Praised for his ability to ‘cut through the legal jargon to get to the nub of the matter’, Matthew Sutton  provides a ‘very commercial understanding of both the day-to-day business working arena and the foresight of commercial warranties and client protection’. As part of his broad spectrum of corporate and commercial work, Sutton regularly handles university spin-out mandates. ‘Commercial’ and ‘solutions-oriented’ name partner Nigel Greenaway  displays ‘extreme clarity of thought even under extreme pressure’ and is particularly adept in handling venture capital mandates at every stage of the lifecycle of a deal, from inception through to exit.

A mainstay of the Swansea legal market, JCP Solicitors leverages its excellent ties with local south Wales businesses to provide an 'efficient and personal service' across a broad spectrum of corporate and commercial matters, including joint venture structuring, M&A transactions and business restructurings. Fluent Welsh speaker Betsan Powell is deeply embedded in the local business community and handles a plethora of corporate transactions across the region; she recently advised Newport-based Storage Giant on its third multimillion-pound purchase of English based rival Your Self Storage. Michael Williams co-heads the corporate team alongside Powell and is particularly accomplished at advising on business sales and acquisitions; he recently acted for a national filling station operator on the disposal of its entire portfolio of businesses to a significant national operator. Chris Davies leads the firm's healthcare practice and has particular expertise advising dentists and pharmacists on the sale and purchase of practices throughout England and Wales.  Associate Jennifer Rosser is also recommended.

Headed by William Barletta, Swansea-based Morgan LaRoche ’s three-partner team handles a range of corporate and commercial work for a raft of SMEs and owner-managed businesses throughout south west Wales and the surrounding area. Barletta has developed a particular niche advising clients in the waste and recycling sector and continues to act for a local waste recycling plant operator on a variety of matters relating to its commercial requirements. Splitting his time between the Swansea headquarters and the Carmarthen office, Christopher Evans has devoted a significant amount of his time cultivating a strong following in west Wales and is aided in this respect by his ability to advise clients using the Welsh language.

Led by the 'very impressive' Stephen Thompson, Darwin Gray LLP's 'very approachable' four-strong team provides a 'pragmatic and personal service' to local and national corporates on M&A matters, as well as across a raft of ongoing commercial work. As well as his expertise advising on the sale and purchase of franchise businesses, Thompson is also very accomplished at handling transactions within the manufacturing sector. He recently acted for Deloitte in its role as an insolvency practitioner on the sale of a haulage business that was in administration. Senior associate Gareth Wedge provides 'very responsive' advice and is particularly noted for his niche expertise handling the sales and acquisitions of veterinary practices. The team has also assisted numerous local corporates prepare for the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Swansea-based firm Douglas-Jones Mercer provides an 'excellent and cost-effective service' to local SMEs and owner-managed businesses, as well as a growing roster of international corporates including Dawnus Group and Dawn Meats Group.  ‘Knowledgeable and efficient’ team head Sheraz Akram  handles corporate and commercial work directly for clients, as well as via referrals; he recently acted for Dawn Meats Group on the strategic partnership and acquisition between it and the Dunbia Group, in turn creating one of the largest meat processing groups in Europe. Other highlights included advising on the sale of Welsh Boxes to Tri-Wall Europe and acting for multi-site motor dealer franchise Gravells, on a multimillion-pound purchase of Clytha Motors, thereby expanding its operations in east Wales.

Dolmans has significant ties to the local business community and regularly advises entrepreneurs and business leaders of SMEs across a range of commercial and corporate matters. Justin Harris regularly handles corporate governance work for local authorities and not-for-profit organisations. Adrian Oliver often advises the firm’s impressive roster of sports clients on regulatory and contractual matters.

West Wales stalwart Red Kite Law LLP has strong ties with the local business community and frequently handles a range of transactional and commercial work for SMEs and owner-managed businesses in the region. Team head Paul James provides general corporate and commercial support as well as transactional advice to local clients from a range of industry sectors.

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