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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 > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  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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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 LLPDavid 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.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Banking and finance

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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