Commercial property: Cardiff
Commercial property: Cardiff
The strength in depth at Eversheds LLP makes it a natural and popular choice for high-end deals for major names such as Annington Homes and Barclays Bank. Cardiff is the real estate hub for the firm, with eight partners based in the city including ‘excellent leading partner’ David Watkins. Sector strengths include transport, where Helen Thomas advised Crossrail on compulsory and agreed land acquisition; and clean energy, with James Trafford advising on substantial offshore wind farm projects. Geraint Pullin Thomas made partner in 2011, and has recently advised energy sector clients such as British Gas on the development aspects of all of its solar projects. The team’s performance is ‘excellent’.
Geldards LLP has a ‘strong, established, professional team’ specialising in large-scale and often complex development work, including ongoing projects at St Athan and Porth Teigr (for the Welsh government). Rowland Davies advised Cardiff University on development projects; and Ioan Owen advised Admiral Insurance on the acquisition of its headquarters. Rob James specialises in marine work, and advises ABP across a broad spectrum of issues. Mike Jeffs is ‘best in class’, ‘commercial and streetwise’. The team also handles its fair share of work for financial institutions and private property developers.
Morgan Cole has ridden the recession well. Sector strengths include institutional lending, where clients include HSBC and Julian Hodge Bank; health, where it handles property management and transactions for NHS organisations; education, where clients include Cardiff, Swansea and Newport universities; retail, where Nigel Griffiths is praised for his ‘excellent knowledge’ and ‘practical advice’; and energy. The ‘quietly efficient’ Philip Jardine ‘consistently exceeds expectations’; in 2011 he advised Igloo on the regeneration and subsequent investment sale of Media Capital Village for £43m, and on the £25m development and letting of Maldron Hotel.
Acuity Legal Limited is ‘proactive and gets the job done’, and is valued for its ‘solid and professional competence’. Lead partner Jonathan Geen advises on significant developments such as Cardiff’s ‘International Sports Village’, a £500m mixed-use development. On the refinancing side, the firm advised Cardiff Retail Park Partnership on a £31m deal. Acquisition work included a 500 acre-plus purchase of Welsh government land assets.
The ‘commercial, savvy’ Helen Thomas leads at Capital Law LLP, which attracts regeneration and development work. In 2011 it was active for Apollo Cinemas, ABP (in relation to the Barry Waterfront development), Dovey Estates, and a number higher education colleges. Client wins included Oak Regeneration and UWIC. The ‘outstanding’ Leanne O’Brien made partner in 2011.
Hugh James acted for the Barry Waterfront Consortium, on the purchase of land for a £250m development, and for the Sebastopol Consortium, on a large residential scheme. Peter Hurn won new client Celtic Energy. David Roberts is singled out for his ‘excellent knowledge’. On the volume side, the firm is notable for its IT solutions and consistently high standards, and acts for Santander in commercial lending.
At Berry Smith, Roger Berry remains the first choice for many active local developers. Martin Pursall maintains good relationships with Handelsbank and Principality, and Chris Jones advised developer Actoris on superstore acquisitions.
Darwin Gray acts for developers, investors, lenders and businesses. Alison Ivin advised Persimmon Homes on a development in Carmarthen. Donald Gray continues to impress with his ‘honesty and forthrightness’, ‘speed of response’ and ‘competence’.
Thomas Simon Solicitors delivers a ‘first-class’, partner-led service, while fees are ‘extremely competitive’. Clients include Viridor Waste and Atlantic Property. Simon Morgan and Darren Lewis are ‘extremely capable’, ‘efficient and commercially minded’. Paul Simon and Rupert Thomas are also recommended.
Commercial property: Elsewhere in Wales
Commercial property: Elsewhere in Wales
Morgan LaRoche Limited(Swansea)
- Gabb and Co (Abergavenny, Crickhowell)
Harding Evans LLP(Newport)
Red Kite Law(Carmarthen)
Morgan Cole’s Swansea office acts as a base for cross-office partners such as Philip Jardine and Nigel Griffiths. The first-class team is a strong choice for regeneration and investment, health, education and public sector housing matters.
Morgan LaRoche Limited has bucked the trend in property, increasing its workload in 2011. Instructions came from healthcare providers, developers and food retailers, often from outside the region. The ‘practical, thorough, creative’ Kevin Thomas leads, and Rosemary Morgan is well respected. Longstanding core clients include Liberty Properties and Cardiff International Airport.
Michael Snowdon and Michael Price are the key players at Douglas-Jones Mercer; they are ‘experienced, and provide excellent customer focus’. 2011 brought an increase in work from pension provider Sanlam, and from the Action for Children charity.
JCP Solicitors is recommended for agricultural work, and for work for medical and dental centres. Panel appointments include Principality, Handelsbanken and Lloyds TSB. Chris Davies heads the practice.
Mike Jenkins at Harding Evans LLP advised on a substantial acquisition for a technology client in 2011, as well as advising the trustees of Cardiff Arms Park on a proposed sale.
Huw Jones at Hutchinson Thomas is ‘confident, knowledgeable and professional’.
John Lewis is the name to note at Red Kite Law.
In Chester, Victoria Jones at Hillyer McKeown and Huw Davies at Walker Smith Way are recommended.
Rob McNabb’s team at Eversheds LLP has been involved on some of the largest construction projects in Wales, advising on a £300m steelworks site redevelopment for Blaenau Gwent CBC, as well as framework contracts valued at £100m plus for Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water. The firm also has strength in renewables and infrastructure. Contentious work included several multimillion-pound disputes.
Hugh James has a comprehensive offering. On the contracts side, it advised Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water on its major civil framework for contractors, and advised the housebuilders consortium on the Barry Waterfront Scheme. Ioan Prydderch is recommended for contentious matters. The firm was appointed to the panels for the South West Wales, North Wales, and North Somerset local authority frameworks, and also advises the Welsh government. It delivers a ‘very good, professional and customer-focused’ service.
The practice at Morgan Cole has strength and breadth. Public sector work dominates, thanks to the firm’s strong links to the NHS, Welsh government, and further education colleges. On the private sector side, it advised Igloo in respect of the regeneration of Porth Teigr. Paul Millar advised Wyre Power on a substantial project at Fleetwood; he ‘matches or betters lawyers in Magic Circle firms’. The ‘pragmatic’ and ‘solution-oriented’ Joanna Rees heads the contentious side of the practice, and acted in several adjudications in 2011.
Litigator Stephen Thompson at Darwin Gray impresses with his ‘grasp and understanding of the construction industry’, ‘with particular consideration being shown to the long-term best interests of his clients’. Donald Gray and Alison Ivin are recommended for non-contentious work.
Tony Norris at Geldards LLP undertakes a range of project work, and is backed by a strong property and commercial team.
Stephen Mundy at Morgan LaRoche Limited undertakes contract and contentious work; instructions in the latter have increased.
Philip Graham at Douglas-Jones Mercer is ‘sound and informed’.
Christian Edwards at JCP Solicitors is recommended for contentious matters.
Planning and environment
Planning and environment
Marcus Trinick QC is a key figure at Eversheds LLP for renewables matters; the firm has a depth of experience in onshore and offshore wind farm development (including trans-boundary consultations), advising clients such as Centrica. The team also advises on village green issues, and has strength in highways planning and CPOs. Senior associate Jane Southworth advises on regulatory and compliance issues; clients include GlaxoSmithKline.
Huw Williams at Geldards LLP is renowned for his depth of knowledge in Welsh constitutional law and planning. Significant appointments for 2011 included the Welsh government, and Miller Argent (in relation to the Nant Llesg Surface Mine and Reclamation Project). The team also advises utility clients such as Western Power Distribution, and local authorities.
Neil Stockdale’s environment group at Hugh James is ‘diligent’, with ‘very good industry knowledge’, and secured a landmark Court of Appeal victory in a nuisance claim relating to odours from a Biffa landfill site. The planning team is appointed to advise the Welsh government, and the South West Wales and North Wales consortia; other active clients include the Barry Waterfront Consortium, the WRU, the Walters Group and Celtic Energy.
Associate Rhiannon Holtham at Clarkslegal LLP advises on the planning and environmental aspects of substantial waste procurements for the South West Wales and Tomorrow’s Valley procurement hubs.
Alison Ivin at Darwin Gray acts for national housebuilders, such as Barratt and Persimmon, and commercial developers such as Broadhall. Donald Gray is well respected for his mines, minerals, and common land expertise.
Christopher Cann at Morgan LaRoche Limited is instructed on a broad range of planning issues, and advised on a number of successful planning appeals in 2011.
Hutchinson Thomas is recommended for the planning aspects of commercial property matters.
Rory Hutchings at JCP Solicitors is an agricultural specialist; his practice includes nuisance (smell and noise), pollution of water courses, and Environment Agency proceedings.
Chester-based David Kerfoot at Aaron & Partners LLP advises Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water, and wind farm developers in North Wales.
The ‘commercially astute’ Kathryn Cook gives ‘sound legal advice’, and leads a prolific team at Eversheds LLP acting for clients such as Industrial Property Investment Fund and Segro on contested property issues, including substantial individual pieces of litigation. The team advises the Highways Authorities on litigation nationally.
The ‘knowledgeable, efficient and commercial’ Ed Meggitt at Geldards LLP stands out for his work for private sector clients such as Admiral and Associated British Ports. On the public sector front, the firm advises the Welsh government, in areas such as sensitive break clauses and general litigation. Associate Jessica Elliott is recommended, and solicitors Nicola Lawrence and Tony Norris show ‘great technical knowledge’, representing the client ‘forcefully when required’.
Neil Morgan’s team at Hugh James attracts a good cross-section of clients, including large housebuilders (such as Barratt and Bellway Homes), utilities, energy providers, and RSLs. Client wins in 2011 included the North and the South West Wales frameworks for local authorities, and the firm was reappointed to advise the Welsh government. It also acts for Welsh Water/Dwr Cwmru, and has a substantial social housing client base.
Siân Jones at Morgan Cole is well respected, advising a strong client base on a very broad range of property issues. Private sector clients include Canary Wharf, the National Trust, and Wales and West Utilities. On the public sector side, Jones advises various local authorities, health boards and further education colleges in the region.
Berry Smith acts for clients such as Johnsey Estates, A & P Ports and Properties, and new gain Cuddy Demolition. Iwan Doull is ‘second to none’, and combines ‘quality advice’ with ‘excellent value for money’.
Darwin Gray’s experience and knowledge is on a par with many larger firms in the region. The ‘sensible and pragmatic’ Rhodri Lewis acts for landowning clients such as Llanhennock Investments.
JCP Solicitors ‘combines professionalism, knowledge and speed’ with a ‘tenacious defence’ of clients’ interests’. Solicitor Richard Howells is recommended. The firm has a fixed-fee scheme for residential possession proceedings.
Jason Williams is the name to note at Morgan LaRoche Limited,
Zep Bellavia is recommended at Harding Evans LLP.
Hutchinson Thomas has the ‘meticulous’ and ‘level-headed’ Peter Morgan.
Aaron & Partners LLP in Chester acts for clients in North Wales.
Neil Morgan’s team at Hugh James enjoyed continued success in 2011, with appointment to the Welsh government, and to the South West and the North Wales frameworks for local authorities. It also has an extensive RSL client list. The practice ranges from housing management to solar energy procurement and funding facilities, and ‘industry knowledge is high in all areas’. David Roberts advises the Welsh government on large-scale voluntary stock transfers.
Morgan Cole – ‘an experienced practice with a proven track record’ – provides a comprehensive service to RSL clients, and delivers advice of a ‘very high quality, whether routine or “blue sky”’. Recommended individuals include Siân Jones (for governance matters); Emyr Lewis (for public service collaboration/structural issues); and Philip Stewart (on the property side).
Eversheds LLP is notable for its expertise on the funding side, for clients such as Barclays and Principality. The team is ‘exceptionally professional and wholly client focused’, and senior associate Fraser MacRae is ‘consistently excellent’.
Geldards LLP covers property/development matters (through Mike Jeffs), and finance (Karl Baranski and Liz Ganderton), and also has expertise in employment and procurement.
At Morgan LaRoche Limited, Jonathan Hughes’ team provides a comprehensive service to the firm’s considerable RSL client base.