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West Midlands

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United Kingdom > West Midlands > Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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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.

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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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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Insolvency and corporate recovery

  • 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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