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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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Editorial

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Corporate and commercial: Birmingham

Index of tables

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

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Birmingham clients in West Midlands 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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

DLA Piper UK LLP’s corporate team is ‘very good, and responsive – it provides practical and appropriate advice on day-to-day matters and large corporate transactions.’ Noel Haywood and senior associate Gareth Davies advised Morgan Advanced Materials on the £47m sale of its UK electro-ceramics business to CeramTec, and Helly Hansen and its private equity owner Ontario Teachers Pension Plan on the purchase of Musto from Phoenix Equity Partners. As far as public M&A is concerned, Charles Cook delivers ‘practical advice with a very good depth of knowledge’ – he, working with the firm’s Johannesburg office, advised FirstRand on its £1.1bn purchase of former FTSE 250 bank Aldermore. He and senior associate Robert Newman also handled Clinigen Group’s £150m purchase of Quantum Pharma (a merger of two AIM-listed pharmaceutical companies). John Campion handles complex restructuring matters, alongside other matters, with Tim Lake’s practice also including complex cross border work. Other clients include the management shareholders of CPA Global, which Cook and senior associate Simon Wright advised on the sale of a majority stake from Cinven to Leonard Green & Partners. Jim Lavery is now at Jim Lavery Law Limited.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP handles both heavyweight M&A deals and significant outsourcing deals. Susan Lewis and James Trevis handled various due diligence elements of National Grid’s separation of its gas distribution business in preparation for the business’s sale, working alongside Linklaters LLP in London. Theresa-Marie Stodell, a new partner promotion, advised Legal & General Senior Living on the purchase of two senior living villages for £40m. Nigel Cooke advised BBA Aviation on its acquisition of GE’s avionics business. Mark Beardmore advised Livingbridge on the purchase of restaurant and catering company rhubarb, for a figure reported to be around £75m, by Livingbridge 6, the fund’s first acquisition. Catherine Eley, who also handles M&A deals, advised Anglian Water on forming a joint venture with Northumberland Water to retail water and sewerage services to business customers. As far as commercial contracts are concerned, Kelly Holmes  advised Hammerson on re-tendering cleaning provision for all twelve of its shopping centres.

Gowling WLG is ‘excellent – very responsive, commercial and client focused’. Chris Towle advised Lloyds Development Capital on on its sale of a majority stake in Forest Holidays to Phoenix Equity Partners, which was structured as a sale of the entire company followed by an investment in a new holding company – he also advised HEREF Farnborough on the sale of the company to Frasers Property International. David Lowe (who clients single out for his ‘expertise and client focus’) and Robert Breedon advised Kraft Heinz on re-aquiring several brands (inter alia, Kraft ketchup) which were licensed to Mondelez in parts of Europe. In the energy space, Stuart Young advised the owners of Opus Energy on selling the company to Drax Developments for over £340m. Jeremy Millington  advised Rigby Group on its purchase of Bournemouth Airport from Manchester Airport Group. Another M&A name of note is Baljit Chohan, who has ‘great expertise, commitment and client management skills’. Commercial contract deals of note include Sally Mewies’ advice to Argos on a partnership with eBay for click-and-collect purchases. Principal associate Caroline McNally ‘combines excellent technical skills, strong commercial awareness and real client focus’.

Gateley Plc provides ‘an exemplary level of overall service’ is ‘very efficient and timely in its communications – the advice clients receive is well-thought out and appropriate, explaining things in language clients can understand’. The firm handles a range of commercial contracts matters and management buy-outs space, alongside some expertise in AIM capital markets. Paul Cliff  and Tom Rush, a June 2017 partner promotion, advised Franchise Brands on its reverse takeover of Metro Rod, which necessitated a re-admission of the company on AIM. Elsewhere in capital markets, the two also advised Stockdale Securities as Nomad to the £16.9m AIM IPO of Verditek, which owns several cleantech businesses. Chris Reed  ‘works hard, keeping things rolling and most importantly getting the best deal for clients in the long term’ - his work includes significant buy-side MBO deals; Tom Durrant advised Inflexion Private Equity on the management buyout of PCMS Group, which provides point of sale software to retailers including Waitrose. Simon Gill advised Palatine Private Equity on an investment in TTC Group. Mike Ward advised My Policy Limited on the company’s sale in a management buy-out backed by Inflexion Private Equity. Simon Pigden is a key contact for outsourcing contracts, many of which concerning technology. Other clients include Gymshark. Kirstin Roberts has moved to Freeths LLP.

Mills & Reeve LLP is a ‘go-to team’ that is praised for its ‘very flexible, rigorous and practical approach'. Peter McLintock  advised RVB Investments and its owners on the sale of the company to property fund Paloma for an initial £90m. Separately, he advised the management of PCMS Holdings on the purchase of the company with the backing of Inflexion Private Equity. Julian Smith  advised Elysium Healthcare on its purchase of Broadham Care, which provides residential care facilities for learning disabled adults. Ryan Hawley was promoted to the partnership in June 2017 – he advised MBO Hotels on its purchase of Luxury Family Hotels, which owns five hotels, from Patron Capital. He also played a role in a multi-office team from the firm advising the management team of Weetabix on the company’s sale to Post Holdings. Junaid Haroon, a principal associate, advised Agrolimen on exercising a call option to purchase the Natures Menu group and Allinea Software on its sale to ARM for £18.1m. Senior associate Hayley Simonds is another name of note below partner level. Turning to commercial contracts and outsourcing, Jane Hussey advises SilverRail Technologies on providing SaaS products, and separately advises Elster Metering on a supply contract as part of the smart meter rollout. Principal associate Ruth Andrew handles various deals such as negotiating a hotel management agreement for L’Oscar concerning a property in Holborn.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘local presence and national reach is a big differentiation – its capabilities are as good, if not better, than many of the other players in the regional market’; ‘what separates it from others is that it wants genuine business relationships with clients, so looks to add broader value than just the day-to-day legal’. Andrew Hornigold advised Imperial Commercials, a South African-listed company, on its £28m purchase of Pentagon Motor Holdings. Nicole Livesey is ‘highly legally proficient, so clients have full trust in her opinion – she is also very commercial and pragmatic, as needed to get deals done; she is able to draw on broader specialist expertise relevant to the risks of the parties, which is a huge added value point’. Livesey's commercial highlights included advising Cargill on forming a joint venture with Faccenda Foods to create a food company producing chicken, turkey and duck, which required restructuring all of Cargill’s UK fresh chicken operations into one company, and separating it away from the core of the company. On the transactional front, she advised Headlam Group on purchasing Domus Group for £35.4m. In the health and social care sector, Joanne Ellis  advised Embrace Group on seventeen disposals of care homes; she also advised Jacobs Holding on purchasing the Southern Dental Group. Clare Francis, who is ‘excellent – her ability to explain complex issues in a straightforward way, pragmatic approach and excellent legal knowledge make her a joy to work with’, advises OFWAT, as well as handling various commercial partnership work. Other clients include the shareholders of iForce, which Livesey advised on the sale of the company to Eddie Stobart in parallel to Stobart Group's IPO on AIM.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is a ‘a great firm to work with – all partners and other members of the team are incredibly friendly, experts in their field and a pleasure to work with; clients feel totally reassured that their best interests are at the forefront of all work carried out for them’. The team has capabilities in M&A, some of which concerning the manufacturing sector, with an uncommon capability outside London in the form of investment funds. Keith Spedding led a team advising Ansell on its purchase of Nitritex in a £56.5m for the healthcare equipment manufacturer; he also advised Avingtrans on the purchase of Hayward Tyler Group in a reverse takeover, and a subsequent readmission of the company to AIM. Richard Wrigley advised on the sale of Armitage Pet Care to Rutland Partners. Adam McGiveron handled fifteen corporate acquisitions for Alliance Automotive. Gary Davie, who has expertise in employee ownership schemes, ‘makes clients feel welcome, reassured and cared-for – he takes a personal interest in the work that is done for clients, and is incredibly thorough and careful to ensure they understand the advice provided and the potential outcomes’. His work includes private equity transactions. Kim Hawkins advised Shunfeng International Clean Energy on selling assets covered by renewable obligation certificates to a fund managed by BlackRock. Andrew Hartshorn handles various commercial contracts matters, some of which for the region’s most prestigious names in business. In investment funds, ‘leader in the field of venture capital trust lawKavita Patel has ‘rapier-like intellect, and is always well informed and up to date with changes in tax law and happy to take on big and small projects alike’ - she advised Foresight 3 VCT on its merger with Foresight 4 VCT, structured through the liquidation of the former and its assets being transferred in to the latter in exchange for new shares.

Squire Patton Boggs  ‘provides very good advice, while remaining approachable and very easy to deal with – it is a team of very good negotiators who provide commercial and pragmatic advice’. The firm handles a range of work in the space, covering both corporate transactions and contracting. Geoff Perry is ‘very knowledgeable and approachable’ – he advised Corbally Holdings on the sale of St Francis Group and DSM Demolition as part of a management buyout, and in a separate deal advised Park-Ohio Industries on the purchases of Heads & Allthreads, which has operations in Poland and India. Edward Dawes ‘leads his team well and is very personable’ – he and Andrew Glaze advised Marston’s on its purchase of Charles Wells Brewery for £55m. In a separate deal, Glaze advised Dalata UK on the purchase of Hotel La Tour Birmingham Limited, which was subsequently rebranded as the Clayton Hotel Birmingham. As far as cross-border work is concerned, Glaze, working with the firm’s Prague office, advised Walton Street Real Estate fund on purchasing the company which owns the Marriott Prague. Associate Claire O’Connor advised Veolia on its purchase of Arden Wood Shavings. The firm also handles some capital markets work – Dawes advised Rotala on a £3.5m placing of shares on AIM. On the commercial contracts front Stuart James advised HCA International on the negotiation of contracts with University College Hospitals Birmingham for the establishment of a new £65m private healthcare facility at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital campus in Birmingham. David Hull, who relocated from the firm’s London office to Birmingham, advised Uniserve on a share subscription and debt-for-equity swap in Blue Inc and The Officers Club. Simon Jones joined in June 2017 from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP .

Browne Jacobson LLP 'has good industry knowledge and excellent experience and knowledge of clients’ businesses – the advice is always set out in ways that non-lawyer clients can understand’. Mike Jackson  advised the shareholders of Heads & All Threads on its sale to ParkOhio Holdings for £18m. Jackson also has experience in AIM capital markets work, advising Image Scan on placing another £525k. Other key figures in Birmingham include Kevin Jones, who advises local authority pension schemes on purchasing interests in investment funds; Michael Stace , who is ‘diligent, understands the issues and communicates well, so clients feel safe in his hands’; and Matthew Woodford, who has competition law expertise and handles a range of advisory matters, some of which for automotive sector clients, as well as merger control matters. Associate Ryan Harrison is a key contact in Birmingham for commercial contracts – he is ‘highly responsive, with a great knowledge of clients’ businesses and explains things articulately’. TCL Group is another client.

Emms Gilmore Liberson ’s corporate and commercial team ‘has a great depth of knowledge – clients are always confident that their interests are properly and expertly represented’. The firm handles corporate transactions in a range of sectors, including professional services (in which Stephen Gilmore advised a law firm on a merger), opticians, logistics and manufacturing. Associate director Jon Start (‘very knowledgable and goes above and beyond’) takes leading roles in eight-figure deals, and fellow associate director Ruth Murday takes leading roles in complex tax-driven corporate transactions such as capital reductions demergers. Matthew Jackson (also an associate director) joined from BPE Solicitors LLP in Cheltenham, bringing commercial contracts expertise in areas such as IT outsourcing. Director Gurmeet Jakhu joined the firm from Knights Professional Services Limited in 2018 and is noted for his franchising expertise. Gregory Emms is another key contact at partner level. Clients include Frontmatec Group, which Start and director Peter Adkins advised on the purchase of Accles & Shevloke.

Fieldfisher LLP attracts praise for its ‘exemplary service and straightforward advice’, and for its track record in deals with a private equity element. Graham Muth led a team advising Enzen on both a fundraising, and several equity investments in technology companies in the Netherlands and Spain. Muth's other clients include Metamorph Law, for which it handles acquisitions of high street law firms . Jane Thomas  has experience of cross-border deals in heavily regulated sectors, and handles medical sector distribution agreements. Chris Hill  has a strong track record in M&A transactions, including sales to private equity firms. Director Iain Wilton is also a name of note.

Freeths LLP's Birmingham-based practice handles a range of deals, many of which feature cross-border elements and private equity involvement. Tom Brown  advised the sellers of BWB, including Catapault Ventures, on the company’s sale to CAF. Ateeq Ahmed advised Phoenix Ventures (a part of the Sri Lankan company Brandix) on its purchase of Quantum Clothing Group, and separately advised Tarmac Trading on buying JB Riney. Lee Clifford  advised Away Resorts, a subsidiary of Lloyds Development Capital, on its purchase of Sandy Balls Estates, and, among other management buyout deals, the management of Clamason Industries on a deal backed by Connection Capital and Santander.

Irwin Mitchell ‘pitches the work as clients like it, because they get a single point of contact who is knowledgeable about their company and the way they conduct their business’. Nick Dawson advised Turkish company Anatolia AŞ on purchasing Whitworths, with which it had a four-decade relationship as a supplier. He also advised Gravity Trampoline Parks on a £5m partial sale to Guinness Asset Management. Separately, he advised Reconomy (which was owned by Bregal Investments) and its management on the sale of the company to EMK Capital. Sarah Riding  (who is noted for her ‘good client relationship skills’) acts for the National Grid on a range of matters, including subcontracting metering service. She also advised ATS Euromaster on a technology outsourcing, and advises the British Chamber of Commerce. Other clients include Thyssenkrupp, which the team advised on the purchase of Hytrac Lifts. Robert Laugharne left the firm to become director of group legal services at Hills Numberplates.

Shoosmiths LLP handles a range of deals, many of which involve private equity and venture capital backing. Ben Turner  advised Hotel La Tour on the company’s sale to Dalata Hotel Group, and also advised FX Meiller on its acquisition of Boweld Truck Bodies for £10m. In an illustration of the firm's track record in venture capital deals, Alastair Peet advised MML Capital on a buyout of Property Information Exchange. Peet also advised Aramark on its purchase of Pelican Procurement Services. As far as commercial contracts are concerned, David Jackson continues to advise the Solicitors Regulation Authority on a major business transformation project, including the total replacement of its IT systems. Joe Stephenson  also has expertise in IT outsourcing.

Clarke Willmott LLP ‘draws in expertise from its various offices to work together on specific projects’. In Birmingham, John Irving  advised Elwell Wachtorn and Saxton on purchasing another insolvency firm, including the relevant regulatory approvals, and advised a private individual on the sale of a joinery company. Senior solicitor Andrew Beedham is ‘an outstanding corporate lawyer, who has the ability to focus on key issues and has a business-like awareness and assessment of risk, bringing a calmness to negotiations and the ability to defuse confrontational situations’ – he advised Aberclay Limited on forming five joint ventures.

DWF’s Mark Gibson advised Park Holdings UK on the company’s sale by Caledonia Investments to Intermediate Capital Group. Other deals include advising Inflexion Private Equity on purchasing My Policy, plus various hotel and medical deals.

Legal Clarity has ‘a friendly, positive team culture, which works well with clients’ – ‘compared with other law firms, clients find it to be more able to speak in layman’s terms about the technical legal items’. Richard Underwood , who is ‘able to advise clients and answer any concerns they have throughout the process using his invaluable experience’, advised JPE Investments on its purchase of Translift Group, and Filtermist International on its purchase of Dustcheck; he also advised Hampton Knight on the company’s £2m sale to Medigold Health Consultancy. Chris Wright is ‘outstanding – he is extremely personable, has great professional acumen and is an exemplar of probity’ – he advised the shareholders of Evac+Chair on the company’s sale to its management team and advised The Modality Partnership on eighteen general practitioner practice mergers. Other clients include Sadlers Brewhouse, which Underwood and senior associate Martin Clifford  advised on the company’s partial sale to Halewood International, Numeric Futures, and Firstserve Holdings, which the company advised on its sale to Rema Tip Top.

Weightmans LLP’s Matthew Harvey advised Leacy MG on purchasing the Xpart division of Neovia Logistics, which produces spare parts for classing MG Rover cars, and advised the sellers of Nexus DMS to Apex Medical Group, a care-sector bed manufacturing element of a Taiwanese listed company. In addition, he advised Maven Capital Partners on reviewing its equity investment precedents for its participation in the “Northern Powerhouse” investment fund, and the same fund sponsor on its investment into Hiring Hub from the “Northern Powerhouse” fund.


Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the West Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the West Midlands
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Edward Burrell - Lanyon Bowdler
    • Tim Edwards - Thursfields Solicitors
    • Claire Emery - Harrison Clark Rickerbys
    • Keri Pointon - Pickerings Solicitors LLP
    • David Preece - FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the West Midlands clients in West Midlands 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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

George Green LLP is particularly active in small-cap M&A; Guy Green and Paul Bennett  advised the Bakkavor Group’s founders and controlling shareholders on the company’s IPO, while Philip Round in Wolverhampton advised Scrivens Limited on its purchase of The Nustye Optical Group. In another highlight, Bennett advised the shareholders of Midshire Business Systems on its sale to Sharp Electronics and Philip Round advised the shareholders of Cygnia Technologies on its sale to Secure Data. Bennett also advised the owner of Cornpoppers on the sale of the company to Kettle Foods. Other clients include the Confederation of British Metalforming, Leonardt Limited and Brooks Forgings.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys is ‘excellent; it has the drive and commercial approach that clients need’. The practice, which is based primarily in Worcester but also with a presence in Ross on Wye, handles a range of commercial transactions, with an emphasis on the care home and medical sectors. Charlotte Thornton-Smith heads the firm's health and social care practice; her recent highlights include advising Customade Group on its sale to Polyframe Group, and acting alongside senior associate Helen Higginbotham  for Capital Care Group on its  purchase of Anville Court from BUPA and the owners of Stanley House on the home’s sale for to Elysium Healthcare in a share deal. Rebecca Leask also handles deals concerning elderly care. Thornton-Smith and Leask acted for the shareholders of IMASS, on the company's sale to Medigold Health Consultancy, while Leask advised the owners of Wireless Innovations on the sale of the company to Lyceum Capital. Other key figures in Worcester include practice head Rod Thomas, Alison Scott and newly promoted partner Claire Emery, who acts for private equity clients in the dental space. Senior associate Caroline Leviss is a new hire from Willans LLP in Cheltenham. In Ross on Wye, Arpinder Dhillon  is ‘a committed and energetic lawyer for whom the client’s needs come first, whatever the other pressures’.

Higgs & Sons is regularly involved in eight-figure M&A deals, many of which feature complex cross-border elements and private equity involvement. Nick Taylor and David Ellis advised the owners of Westbridge Foods on the company’s sale to Thai company Chareon Popkhand Foods, which included operations in four other countries. Taylor also advised Aquapak Hydropolymers on the company’s sale to an American company. Richard Griffiths advised Wavenet on its purchase of Talk Internet, and separately advised the shareholders of Large Bars on the company’s sale to Stonegate Pub Company. John Heaton advised SG International Holdings on its purchase of Bestodeck, which owns various car retail operations – he also assisted the same client on the purchase of Essex Auto Group. James Partington advised the leadership of Stiltz, a manufacturer of home lifts, on a management buyout, and acted alongside Taylor for Domotec’s shareholders on the company’s sale to Fortune Brands Home & Security, a New York-listed company. Other MBO highlights included Heaton’s advice to the exiting shareholders of Arc Specialist Engineering on a sale backed by Mobeus Equity Partners.

Wright Hassall LLP is highly active in small-cap M&A as well as commercial contracts matters. Steven Halkett  (‘a great help – his advice is practical and commercial, and he remains calm through trying processes’) and Keith Ainsworth advised the shareholders of insurtech company Transactor on its £40m sale to a private equity portfolio company, which necessitated Competition and Markets Authority approval. Halkett acted for Gestamp Automocion in conducting due diligence on the company’s English subsidiaries concerning its IPO in Madrid. Robert Lee and Monica Macheng advised Blackadder Corporation on its acquisition of a care home provider for £8m. Lee and Jeremy Hyde advised Iver C Weilbach on its purchase of Chersoft in a complex deal concerning marine data intellectual property. Outsourcing is an additional area of expertise, with Lindsay Ellis acting for providers and Pete Maguire for well-known clients in this space. Christine Jackson advised Roofton Housing Group on procuring a new IT system from Aareon UK.

Beswicks Legal ‘provides a quality service to clients and punches well above its weight with a number of highly experienced solicitors more than able to hold their own against much larger firms and wider teams’. Many deals concern sales of owner-managed businesses, many of which to private equity interests. Peter Ellis ‘takes a focused and commercial approach especially in light of the specific dynamics of private equity transactions’ – he advised the four partners of a veterinary practice on the sale of the business to Linnaeus Group (which is owned by Sovereign Capital), and also advised Certeco’s owners on selling the business to P2 Consulting, a portfolio company of Lonsdale. Consultant Tom Sutcliffe advised a UK subsidiary of the US Zampell Group on purchasing Cobb Lloyd Refractories. Other work for the team includes management buyouts, corporate restructurings, joint ventures and family business succession planning matters.

At FBC Manby Bowdler LLP , clients ‘feel that their support and standards are far superior to what their counterparty is getting’. David Preece in Telford, who was promoted to partner in April 2017, is praised for his ‘ attention to detail, knowledge of subject, and understanding of clients’ businesses’ – he handles a range of deals in Shropshire, including veterinary practice sales and manufacturing deals. Kam Johal handles work concerning the sales of financial advisory practices, as well as medical deals and family business restructuring – she is based in Wolverhampton. Stuart Rea  is a key contact in Shrewsbury; his work includes a number of corporate restructurings. James Sage, who is based in Wolverhampton, heads the practice – he handles various smaller M&A deals including trade sales.

Thursfields Solicitors  in Worcester and Kidderminster ‘offers a pragmatic view of the level of complexity needed depending on the individual situation, and clearly explains each element of its documents and why they are needed’. Director Gareth Burge  (who is ‘able to understand clients’ needs and adapt his service to minimise risk’) advised DRP Holdings on its purchase of Penguin Events, and separately advised the founders of Central Investment Planning on the sale of the Guernsey-incorporated business, which also has significant operations in South Africa, to MiltonOptimal International. Consultant Stuart Price, who is based in Kidderminster, handles corporate acquisitions and disposals, some of which concerning social care. Also in Kidderminster, senior associate Tim Edwards is ‘a hands-on and pragmatic lawyer, who has an ability to think laterally around the transactional issues that might arise’ – he advised the management of CB Frost on the management buyout of the rubber and plastics manufacturer.

Ansons is active in deals in the social care, health and manufacturing sectors. The team handled over twenty pharmacy deals in 2017 with an aggregate value of over £24m. Other mandates concern restructuring. Adam Kudryl is now at Harper James Solicitors . Neil Jones and Hilary D’Cruz head the practice.

In Dudley, Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited’s Colin Rodrigues is ‘easy to communicate with – he really puts himself out for clients’. He advised the buyers on the management buy-out of Celloglas, which necessitated negotiations with an American seller, and advised Metal Spraying (UK) on its purchase of Scaffolding & Construction Products from Alumasc Group. Other clients include CEENorm, which Rodrigues advised on the exit of the majority shareholders from the business and Raylane, which he advised on the purchase of five pharmacies. Clients for commercial contracts work include Sovereign Risk Management, which he advises on matters concerning its role as manager of Schools Advisory Services, which insures state schools.

Lodders Solicitors LLP handles a range of work, with an emphasis on acting for owner-managed businesses. Victor Matts has experience of hospitality-sector transactions, and also handles management buyouts. Mark Lewis  is noted for his charity sector expertise. Care homes are a particular area of expertise, with the firm handling a 40-facility deal in the space. ATP Industries Group is a key client for elderly car. Kim Klahn is also recommended.

MFG Solicitors LLP handles a range of work, much of it concerning reorganisations and sales of smaller businesses to larger groups. Stephen Wyer advised Kew Tech on the restructuring of a waste gasification plant, and in a separate deal advised Severn Edge Veterinary Group, which comprises twelve practices, on its sale to CVS Group. In another veterinary deal, Wyer advised Wyre Forest Veterinary Centre on the business’s sale to Vet Partners Limited. Clare Lang joined from George Green LLP in April 2018. The aforementioned lawyers are based in Kidderminster, while in Worcester James Hayes advised Hotelshop UK on a restructuring exercise, transforming each of three divisions in to a discrete sister company.

Pickerings Solicitors LLP ‘provides clear advice based on extensive experience, and is able to offer the essential combination of professional support and guidance’. Craig Davis (‘ably walks the fine line of providing sound professional advice and guidance in frequently charged negotiations’) advised an automotive service company on the sale of the business for over £16m, and separately assisted with the £1.8m sale of a garden center. Solicitor Keri Pointon is ‘a shrewd and efficient negotiator, identifying the key priorities when the list of priorities appeared endless’ - she handled the sale of two franchised nurseries, and separately advised a company on a £1m share buy-back. Other highlights concern corporate restructurings and partnership matters.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice in Stratford upon Avon ‘does a thoroughly professional job and adds real value to every transaction’. Andrew Smith is ‘very knowledgeable, professional and approachable’ - he advised the former owner of Grease Management on the company’s sale to Filta Group, a newly AIM-listed company. Other work concerns restructuring and other corporate transactions.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s Shrewsbury team is regarded by some as ‘among the top practices for commercial work in Shropshire’. Hugh Strickland is ‘a steady pair of hands and guides clients well through difficult times’ – he advised the selling shareholders of Rockford IT in SysGroup’s £4m purchase of the company, and in another deal with an AIM-listed buyer, advised the owners of Kingfisher Lighting on selling the business to Luceco for £10m. Strickland also handles deals concerning car dealerships. Stuart Haynes is ‘very easy to relate to at a professional level and very knowledgeable’ – he handles various commercial contract matters, such as advising Blue Prism Software on selling robotic process automation software, and continues to advise Heaven Health and Beauty on distribution agreements covering jurisdictions including Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. He also continues to advise MTD Products, an American company, on the purchase of a British turf care business, and assisted on the sell side of a management buyout of McPhillips (Wellington).

Band Hatton Button LLP  in Coventry handles cross-border deals, many of which with values penetrating in to nine figures. Sean Byrne heads the practice, with Marta Fisher  and Haydn Jones also key contacts. Competition law is also an area of expertise.

In Coventry, Brindley Twist Tafft & James’ Samantha Wright handles both transactional and outsourcing work. Commercial contracts highlights included advising a car valeting contractor on contracts with rental car providers and auction houses. The firm also handles a number of transactional matters, involving pharmacies and various owner-managed businesses. John Chadaway is also a name of note.

At Enoch Evans LLP in Walsall, ‘the team are very commercial and pragmatic in their advice and always try and find a solution for problems’. Sukie Shemar is ‘excellent - she has excellent knowledge and delivers her advice in a way that the client understands'. – her work highlights include social care and pharmacy deals. Senior solicitor James MacFarlane advised a Turkish company on purchasing a British supplier of plastic products.

Hatchers Solicitors LLP in Shrewsbury is a ‘personable, approachable, knowledgeable team with good internal specialisms’. Ann Fisher is well experienced, confident and approachable’ – her work included the formation of a social housing partnership, as well as several seven-figure transactions. Other clients include a regional coach operator, which she advised on a restructuring exercise connected with succession planning.

Knights Professional Services Limited in Newcastle under Lyme has a track record of deals in health and social care. Jonathan Tyson and Lisa Bridgwood are key contacts.

Lanyon Bowdler is ‘a client-oriented practice – clients feel that they are listened to in terms of their requirements rather than just a billing number’. Gráinne Walters in Telford, who has an ‘excellent grasp of the business issues, and is very proactive’ advised the Welsh Water Elan Trust on forming a joint venture with, among others, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales to seek Heritage Lottery Fund money. Assistant solicitor Edward Burrell’s advice is ‘easy to understand, straightforward and on the money’, with fellow assistant solicitor Timothy Roberts  ‘very understanding of clients’ requirements and quick to turn the required documents around’. Group and corporate reorganisations, including in partnership businesses, as well as commercial contracts and seven-figure corporate transactions are other areas of note. Other clients include family offices.

Thomas Horton LLP in Bromsgrove’s corporate practice, which is headed by Jeff Taylor, handles a mixture of corporate work involving SMEs. Taylor advised Slimstock, which provides stock control software, on a redrafting of its licencing agreements, and handles a range of partnership matters. Clients for shareholder agreements include Flybynite.

Wall James Chappell in Stourbridge ‘provides an excellent and very personal level of client service – exactly what is required’. Philip Chapman  is ‘very easy to deal with, very professional and as totally focused on getting the deal done as the clients are’ – he advised the family owners of Burns & Co on the sale of the petrol forecourt company to Motor Fuel Group. Other transactions for the team includes the sale of Babystart, and the purchase of Interfab. Other deals concern manufacturing and independent financial adviser practices.


Corporate tax

Index of tables

  1. Corporate tax
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate tax clients in West Midlands 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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Parisi Tax LLP is a ‘first-rate tax team providing a top level of service’; it ‘comes to clients with practical solutions to unusual issues that require creative thinking, and expresses them in a user-friendly and easy-to-understand way, which is often overlooked as a skill in tax law’. Lisa Stevenson is ‘great to work with – she has great technical expertise, coupled with an easy-going personality’; she acted alongside legal directors Jennie Newton and Elizabeth Morgan  for Pemberstone Industries on various tax matters. Becky Rees (who is ‘technically excellent and very creative’) and legal director Jon Robinson – an ‘extremely efficient and very user-friendly’ new hire from Pinsent Masons LLP – advised KPMG on the tax covenant and warranties aspects of the sale of Stowe Family Law LLP to a private equity buyer. Referrers of work include other law firms, including several well-known names from the US.

In DLA Piper UK LLP’s Birmingham office, Mark Burgess and senior associate Nick Hinton advised Webjet on the tax elements of its £200m purchase of JacTravelGroup, and advised Morgan Advanced Materials on the sale of its UK electro-ceramics business to CeramTec. Other clients include Oval Real Estate, which it advised on its purchase of The Custard Factory building in Birmingham, and RBS, which it advised on its sale of Premier Place in London. The practice is also active in major corporate restructurings.

DWF’s Jon Stevens ‘understands complex tax issues very quickly and uses a good balance giving strong legal advice in the context of the client’s wider commercial objectives. He is particularly active in AIM related mandates; recent highlights include advising City of London Group on the tax elements of its £20m reverse takeover of Milton Homes, and advised Keyword Studios, which is listed on AIM, on various cross-border acquisitions. He also advised Hannover Re on the tax elements of purchasing Argenta Holdings, which owns a Lloyd’s of London managing agent, and assisted DF World of Spices on its purchase of Barts Ingredients from a private equity seller. Other work concerns tax disputes as well as real estate matters.

Gowling WLG's tax practice regularly handles deals with real estate elements. Lee Nuttall advised GCP Student Living on the tax elements of the financing and purchase of a site in Brighton, and assisted HSBC Alternative Investments with the purchase of Brindleyplace Properties. Other highlights included advising the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of the Province of Ontario on the tax aspects of its investment in Red Funnel. Directors Zoe Fatchen and Chris Nyland  are also key contacts. Other clients include a joint venture of St Modwen Properties and Vinci Construction, which it advised on the sale of the Nine Elms Square site to Dalian Wanda, which necessitated cross-border work with mainland China.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘timely, responsive and pragmatic’ team handles a mixture of tax work, including transactional tax matters, investment funds and share schemes. Kevin Lowe is ‘proactive and helpful, and able to explain the various clauses in the documents clearly for clients’ – he advised Richardson International Limited on its purchase of European Oat Millers and land it leased, and also advised PayPoint on the sale of its mobile payment services business to Volkswagen Financial Services for £26.5m. Lowe also advised the shareholders of Molecular Products Group on the company’s sale to Arlington Capital Partners, and Allinea Software on the tax elements of its sale to ARM. In the investment funds space, Neil Pearson advises Maven Capital Partners and Livingbridge VC on their portfolio investments – in particular, he advised Livingbridge on an investment into In the Style. Fund formation work includes advising Big Issue Invest on the formation of Big Issue Invest Outcomes Investment Fund, a £30m European Social Enterprise Fund with a significant commitment from Big Society Capital. Away from funds, Pearson advises The Funding Circle on employee share scheme matters.

Browne Jacobson LLP's Andrew Noble, who is dual-qualified as a chartered tax adviser, is praised for his ‘knowledge, responsiveness and ability to work with other advisers’. He advised Addo Food Group (owner of Pork Farms) on the tax aspects of a secondary buy-out, and he also advised Lloyds Development on the tax elements of its purchase of ENSEK. Other clients include the selling members of Catalyst Corporate Finance LLP, who he advised on the sale of the business to Alanatra Partners. Away from corporate tax, he also advised the London Borough of Enfield on VAT and SDLT issues concerning the regeneration of a former industrial site.

At Higgs & Sons Susheel Gupta heads a practice that has a particular niche in handling the tax elements of sales on behalf of shareholders. Gupta advised the shareholders of Domotec on the company’s sale to Fortune Brands, and the sellers of Westbridge Food Group to Chareon Popkhand Foods. Buy-side highlights included advice to SG International Holdings on the purchase of Bestodeck, and advice to Wavenet on the purchase of Talk Internet. The team also advised Aquapak Hydropolymers and Globe Locums on restructuring exercises. Associate Craig Thomas is a new hire from Squire Patton Boggs.

Shoosmiths LLP’s Kate Featherstone advised Holmes Place on the British tax aspects of the sale of Virgin Active health clubs in Iberia, which necessitated re-domiciling the target companies to Spain and Portugal. More locally, she also advised the sellers of the Hotel La Tour in Birmingham in a transaction which had complex VAT issues, and also advised the founders of SecurEnvoy on the company’s sale and reverse takeover onto AIM. Private equity clients include Inflexion, which she advised on the tax elements concerning its management buyout of Xtrac, which makes high-performance gearboxes such as those used by IndyCar.


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