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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 > West Midlands > Finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Banking and finance

Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking and finance 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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DLA Piper UK LLP, which represents both bank and non-bank lenders as well as corporate borrowers, ‘provides a full end-to-end service, allowing clients to focus on the commercial aspects of the deal’. HSBC is a key bank relationship: Brian Woolcock advised it on the refinancing of an existing loan provided to St Modwen Properties, while Stephen Bottley headed a team advising an HSBC-led syndicate on a £65m financing of a secondary buyout of Brintons Carpets. Borrower-side representation includes Bottley advising Clinigen Group on the financing of its acquisition of Quantum Pharma, funded by three of the Big Five banks. Non-bank lender work includes advising Ares Capital Corporation and two other investment funds on a $75m facility provided to SoundCloud. Other highlights concern debt restructuring and invoice financing, an area in which it advises RBS Invoice Finance. Ben Tumelty is a key senior associate.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ’s Patrick Davis advised a syndicate of seven lenders on a £350m refinancing of Domino’s Pizza Group plc, the brand’s listed UK franchisee, and assisted a five-lender syndicate with a £200m refinancing of Halfords Group. MBO finance highlights included advising Lloyds and HSBC on a £280m facility to fund Investcorp’s backing of the acquisition of Kee Safety Group. Principal associate Richard Davies' real estate finance highlights included advising Lloyds on a refinance of 2 Colmore Square, and Secure Trust Bank on funding for the acquisition of a site in Canary Wharf. Other clients include Equistone Partners, which Davis advised on the funding elements of its management buyout of Inspire Thinking Group.

Gowling WLG is, for many, ‘excellent on all counts – the firm involves the required specialists, turns things round quickly and is always available to support’. Chris Brierley  advised Nuvias Group on a £30m cross-border refinancing, and assisted Sanctuary Housing Association with a new £75m revolving facility and note purchase agreement with MUFG. Director Navin Prabhakar (‘extremely responsive, friendly and approachable, with strong in-depth knowledge’) acted with associate Richard Crawley and firm’s London office for Mobeus Equity Partners as sponsor of the management buyout of Arc Specialised Engineering. Nicholas Iliff has project finance expertise. The firm also acts for HSBC, among other major banks.

Pinsent Masons LLP ‘supports clients through transactions and executes them effectively every time’. The practice acts for a number of leading banks; David Doogan advised HSBC, a cornerstone client, on financing London and Quadrant Housing Trust's £505m acquisition of the Gallagher land business. In another highlight Edward Sunderland (‘one of a handful of leading lights in the receivables and asset-based lending space nationally’) advised The Extra Care Charitable Trust on several private placements and amending its existing revolving credit facilities. In the fund finance space, legal director Esther Parkes (who is ‘very responsive and provides practical support’) was part of a multi-office team advising four banks on providing a £430m revolving facility to New River REIT. The firm also acts for Police Mutual Assurance Society (which Doogan advised on its partial purchase of a securitisation by fintech lender Neyber) and RBS. Senior associate Victoria Baker is ‘an invaluable part of the team who has developed her own skills and experience’.

Gateley Plc handles a range of transactions for borrowers and lenders, including MBO finance and non-bank lending advice. Andrew Madden  and Rebecca Sherwin (who also heads the firm's real estate finance practice) advised Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank as financiers of Evac+Chair’s MBO, and in the borrower space Madden advised Seafresh Group on a refinancing, which included securities over assets in both the UK and US and inter-creditor agreements involving the company’s Thai owners. Carol Betts advised HSBC on a £13m loan to a Manx company to purchase the Thomas Cook headquarters in Peterborough via a BVI structure.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is ‘very good, with notably quick response times’; ‘clients are kept informed throughout’. Christopher Gayle is ‘always available, has strong knowledge and provides a consultative approach’ – he advised Blackmead Infrastructure Fund on lending £40m to SME lender Reward Finance Group via secured loan notes. Vikki Simpson, who advised Bank of Cyprus on its £3.8m role in financing improvements to a leisure centre, has real estate finance expertise. Mohammed Saqub  handles Islamic finance deals for national and international names in the space such as Al Rayan Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. Helen Readett  is praised for her ‘quality of communication and advice’. Naomi Tudor is also recommended.

Browne Jacobson LLP handles a range of work, with key strengths in healthcare and real estate finance. Paul Ray advised Santander on a £5.4m financing of a management buyout of Clamason Industries sponsored by Connection Capital, and on the borrower side advised Local Space Housing Association on a £75m private placement. Emma Hinton has expertise in social care deals, acting for borrowers in this space. Other clients include RBS. Mark Lewis is an associate of note.

Freeths LLP is ‘a firm clients want to work with’ with a ‘strong team of associates’. James Dyson is ‘always contactable and gives clear and concise advice’ – he advised Clydesdale Bank on term loan, development finance and invoice discounting facilities totaling £11m to Penso Group, and several term loan and working capital facilities to Allumette. Borrower-side work included advising Away Resorts Group on a refinancing provided by Permira Debt Managers simultaneous to the client’s purchase of another resort. Other clients include Frontier Development Capital, and Leumi ABL, which it advised on an acquisition facility lent to Go Interiors for the purchase of FBF.

Irwin Mitchell has a particular strength in asset-based lending. Jon Bew and senior associate Natalie Barnes advised Whitworths on a £19m refinancing provided by Leumi ABL following the borrower’s merger with Anatolia, and Shawbrook Bank (a cornerstone client) as part of a syndicated £45m asset-based loan to the Arlington Group regarding its purchase of Magal Engineering. HSBC Invoice Finance is another client of note.

Mills & Reeve LLP acts for both borrowers and lenders, with a particular presence in the education space. David Varnham  and associate Amardeep Bahia advised MBO Hotels on a refinancing of its Luxury Family Hotels portfolio in a transaction with Guernsey elements. The two also advised HSBC, a key lender client, on a £10.8m loan to Carver Group for the purchase of a Canadian company, and a £28m facility to Warwick School for redeveloping its campus, which required bespoke structuring due to the borrower’s activities as an independent school. Also in the education space, the firm advised Birmingham City University on a £45m revolving facility borrowed from HSBC. In the debt fund space, the firm advised Odey Asset Management on a $6m subscription to loan notes from Tri-Star Resources used to finance Omani mineral processing company SPMP. Wells Fargo is another client of note.

Shoosmiths LLP’ David Adams advised Mondottica on a  £15m facility from Santander. He also handles lender-side real estate and acquisition finance work for several major banks. Other highlights included acting for a company backed by MML Capital Partners on a loan from HSBC for the purchase of Property Information Exchange.

At Squire Patton Boggs, ‘response times are always adhered to and issues are negotiated in a pragmatic manner’. Roy Grist’s ‘friendliness is matched by his technical expertise, making him a pleasure to work with’; he advised The Midcounties Co-operative on a £60m refinancing. Russ Hill advised RCapital Partners on the financing aspects of its backing of a management buyout of SciChem, while Geoff Perry provides ‘commercial insight’. Other clients include Leumi ABL, which Grist advised on a £19m refinance of Whitworths, and Finance Birmingham.

In Leamington Spa, Wright Hassall LLP  is ‘a very good firm with good local knowledge’. Christopher Jones  ‘oversees the whole process while maintaining very strong communications throughout; excellent technically and in client relationships’ – he advised Warwick Independent Schools Foundation on a £28m development finance facility for a new campus, structured in a way with repayments due each school term rather than quarterly. In the non-bank lender space, Jones and Keith Ainsworth advised Hadrian’s Wall Capital on a £16.3m facility lent to Fleximise, an SME lender, secured on Fleximise’s own lending. Other borrower clients include Walterton & Elgin Community Housing, which it advised on a £9m facility provided by Charity Bank and Unity Trust Bank. Bank clients include RBS, which Jones advised on a £3.5m facility lent to Arden Group.

In Shrewsbury, Aaron & Partners LLP’s ‘sophisticated and knowledgeable team’ advises a range of banks and borrowers. Hugh Strickland is ‘capable of being creative and reasonable while acting for banks’ – he advised Santander on a £10m acquisition facility for the purchase of the Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham by a hotel company headed by former FA chairman Greg Dyke. Other work concerns management buyout funding and work for non-bank lenders – Strickland advised Fullbrook Thorpe Investments on loans to Georges Tradition and Lichfield City Football Club.

DWF handles a range of lender-side work, some of which concerning syndicated loans, real estate finance and mezzanine debt. Senior associate Richard Holmes  leads mandates for well-known investment and retail banks. At partner level, Alice Broadfield heads the firm’s Birmingham team.

George Green LLP's Philip Round advised St Philips Care Group on increasing its existing finance facilities with Clydesdale Bank to a total of £31m. OakNorth Bank and Ortus Secured Finance are key clients – Round advised the latter on a bridging facility to a BVI company secured over properties in Cornwall, and the former on a development facility structured to be converted as an investment loan on the completion of the project.


Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Insolvency and corporate recovery 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 is a source of ‘excellent service and team provides very practical advice and guidance; with the number of quality people in the team there is always someone available to help’. The firm is ‘able to handle all types of work’, with a strong focus in bank creditor and administrator representation. Huw Dolphin is ‘a strong operator, with good knowledge and real understanding of situations’ – he headed a team which advised Lloyds Banking Group as primary bankers to Anton Group, a printing company which collapsed in April 2017 – subsequently, several directors of the company were charged with cheating the public revenue. John Jeffreys, who ‘pays strong attention to detail and protects clients’ positions’, led a team advising RBS Invoice Finance as creditor and Grant Thornton as administrators of Wellgrain Limited. Other clients include PwC and Amber Real Estate Investments, which Jeffreys advises on legacy issues following its purchase of Bernard Matthews out of administration in 2016. Another name to note is legal director Charlotte Duce , who is ‘very knowledgeable & provides very professional support’, plus senior associates Deborah Brown and Tom Swain, who ‘always makes himself available and provides excellent advice’.

Alongside a range of big-ticket insolvency work, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP also handles corporate recovery matters. Andrew Jordan advised Alix Partners as administrators of Jaeger Retail Group and the subsequent sale of its assets, and Duff & Phelps as administrators of Multi York Furniture. The firm also acts for PwC, KPMG, which it advised on its role as administrator of AMS Group, Begbies Traynor (as administrators of Assist Recruitment) and Deloitte. At principal associate, Jenna Poulton  is also a name of note, as is non-contentious specialist Laura Taylor  and real estate specialist Anne-Louise Lawrence.

Gateley Plc handles a range of work, with a significant presence in insolvency litigation. Clients recommend Daniel French, who advised KPMG on its role as administrators of The Imaginaerum Studios, securing the pre-pack sale of its assets in a management buy-out. Mark Wilson and legal director Kathryn Hacking advised Grant Thornton as liquidators of an aluminium smelting company, which performed an allegedly unlawful share buyback and sale of the factory and a subsidiary to the managing director. Victoria Portman, another legal director, advised Begbies Traynor on obtaining control of land which was occupied by the holder of a since-expired lease but owned by a company in liquidation. Helen Jones is a key senior associate – she advised Scientific and Chemical Suppplies on an accelerated management buyout required to prevent the client from becoming insolvent.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s Amy Flavell advised Grant Thornton as liquidators on the cross-border collapse of All Leisure Group, which sold part of the business in a pre-pack administration; however a large proportion of the cruise business failed entirely, necessitating litigation and a vessel arrest in Singapore. Flavell also advised KPMG as administrators of Jones the Bootmaker on a pre-pack, which led to the rescue of 840 jobs. Other clients include Deloitte, which Flavell advised as administrators of Covpress Assembly. Other mandates concern sectors such as education and health care.

Clarke Willmott LLP handles a range of work, for creditors and leading insolvency practitioners. Stephanie Slinn advised a significant trade creditor of Toys ‘R’ Us on the retailer’s CVA and subsequent collapse. Other cases involve allegations of fraud. Sheena Tandy is a key senior associate. The firm also acts for Elwell Watchorn & Saxton, Duff & Phelps and FRP Advisory, as well as The Insolvency Service, which is a cornerstone client.  

Gowling WLG acts for a range of liquidators and administrators in addition to handling restructuring work. Jasvir Jootla advised Export Development Canada on the restructuring of a British energy company and, working with the firm’s litigation team, advised Griffins Insolvency as liquidators of Vertu. Ian Weatherall advised Bibby Financial Services on the sale of the assets of Blue Chip Sales and Marketing from administration. Other clients include Grant Thornton and several banks.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys in Worcester provides ‘quick responses, explaining positions without too much legalese from a team that shows good in-depth knowledge’. The firm, which is ‘unafraid to remind boards of their duties even when they don’t want to hear that sort of advice’, advises a range of leading insolvency practitioners. Sam Payne advised Timothy James Partnership on litigation concerning the RSPCA’s costs of caring for, and subsequent destruction of, sixty cattle after their abandonment by a bankrupt farmer, and advised RSM London on the pre-pack insolvency of Fuel Juice Bars. Other insolvency practitioner clients include Moore Stephens, which it advised on the insolvency of a care home, and FRP Advisory, which Payne advised on liquidating a company that sought to build electric light aircraft. Hayley Phelps is a key senior associate, as is Alan Meiklejohn, who joined from Cameron Legal Ltd.

Irwin Mitchell handles a range of work for bank creditors and insolvency advisers, with a particular strength in asset-based lending. Stephen George advises Grant Thornton as liquidators of Covpress, which supplies car parts to Jaguar Land Rover and Renault and was largely purchased by Liberty House Group, with the first ever rescue of a pension scheme out of the Pension Protection Fund. The team advised Shawbrook Bank as creditor and Duff & Phelps as administrator of Tasties of Chester, securing the sale of the company’s food-to-go-business to Street Eats Food. Senior associate Amy Keogh is also a key contact. Other clients include FRP Advisory, which the firm advised on its role as administrators of Uniting Ambition, IGF, which it advised as a creditor of Headley Brothers, and Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group.

Shoosmiths LLP’s growing team advises a range of leading administrators and insolvency firms on challenging mandates. James Keates and Aaron Harlow , who was elected into the partnership in May 2017, advised PwC as administrators of The Food Retailer Operations Limited, which operated 34 ex-Somerfield stores as branches of Budgens, securing the disposal of the company’s store leases. Keates and senior associate  Charles Williams advised Grant Thornton as administrators of Vehicle Trading Group, which was rescued as RateSetter exchanged its £40m debt for equity in its subsidiaries. Other mandates included advising Fuel Juice Bars Limited on purchasing the business and assets of its oldco from the administrators followed by a company voluntary agreement. The team also advised KPMG, which it advised on the administration of Gelpack Exelcisor, and FRP Advisory, which Keates and Williams advised on the administration of several companies in the Ham Baker Adams group. Other clients include Duff & Phelps.

Squire Patton Boggs is a ‘knowledgeable & experienced team which provides rapid response to instructions’. Russell Hill is ‘very knowledgeable of the sector & provides bespoke advice based on the circumstances involved’ – he advised Grant Thornton on the administration and sale of assets of Colston Castors; also, the ‘experienced and very knowledgeable’ Devinder Singh, who ‘provides prompt responses to any issue’ and Hill advised Leonard Curtis Business Recovery on the sale of Hand Made Burger Company. Singh also advised Alix Partners as administrators of Bourston Stockton, which owned student accommodation for University of Durham students which had guaranteed occupation. Other clients include distressed investor R Capital Partners, which Hill advised on the purchase and restructuring of debt lent to Scientific and Chemical Supplies, and KPMG. Senior associate Oliver Ward-Jones  is a new hire from Higgs & Sons .

In Stoke on Trent, Beswicks Legal’s Richard Preston handles a range of work for receivers, debtors and directors of companies in liquidation. Personal bankruptcy, for both debtors and trustees in bankruptcy, is also an area of expertise.

DWF’s senior associate Richard Holmes  handles a range of work concerning real estate finance restructuring and insolvency for clients such as the West Bromwich Building Society, Colliers International and CBRE.

In Wolverhampton, FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s James Sage is a key contact for non-contentious insolvency and recovery work – he advised an invoice factoring business on the recovery of assets and restructuring of a company, and separately handles the sale of various SMEs in administration. Gareth Ruddock , who is also based in Wolverhampton, handles work for liquidators such as claims against directors, as well as representation of directors in director disqualification proceedings.

In Brierley Hill, Higgs & Sons' David Ellis heads a team which handles creditor-side work, personal insolvency as well as work for companies at risk of insolvency and their directors. Carl Garvie is now a consultant. Formerly an associate at the firm, Oliver Ward-Jones is now an associate at Squire Patton Boggs.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s Andrew Taylor is ‘a good lawyer’ – he and legal director Stuart Taylor advised Mazars as administrators of Total Protection UK; Taylor also advised FRP Advisory as administrators of two catering equipment companies, requiring two pre-pack sales completed in a week. Opus and Horsefields are new client wins.

Sydney Mitchell LLP's Leanne Schneider-Rose  advised an insolvency practitioner on gaining access to and possession of a sports and leisure club, and handled several cases concerning the sales of care homes from administration. Section 216 cases and personal bankruptcy are also areas of expertise.

‘A good alternative to the larger Birmingham firms’,  Thursfields Solicitors in Kidderminster provides a  ‘very good level of service with sound, commercial and appropriate advice offered in all cases’ ‘a good alternative to larger Birmingham firms’. Senior associate Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard  handles a range of work concerning asset tracing, section 236 proceedings and other matters. The firm also handles some work for creditors, and some concerning personal insolvency. Also a senior associate, Tim Edwards advised Monahans on the liquidation of Pakeman Catto Carter, a menswear retailer.

In Leamington Spa, Wright Hassall LLP senior associate Caroline Benfield  advises clients including Grant Thornton, KPMG, Cranfield Business Recovery and Robert Day and Company on their responsibilities as liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy, with work including misfeasance claims against directors.


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