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Commercial property: Birmingham

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals

Eversheds LLP’s substantial practice has ‘excellent experience of current markets, which minimises deal times’. The team continued to see involvement in all of the major Birmingham projects, with national head of real estate Gurjit Atwal and ‘excellent Birmingham team leaderDavid Jones advising Paradise Circus LP on the first phase of the office development, costing £160m, and Iftkhar Ahmed assisting HSBC with its £200m relocation to Arena Central. Philip Medford is in charge of residential development and acted for Catesby Estates on the £34m sale of its issued share capital to Urban & Civic.

Business acumen and industry knowledge is at the top end of the scale’ at Gateley Plc, where the team is particularly known for its work on behalf of housebuilders. Callum Nuttall has an ‘excellent commercial brain’ and advised Bovis on the acquisition of land in Tavistock for 750 new homes, while Tim Ledger assisted the Richborough Estates Partnership with the acquisition and promotion of land in Winsford for a residential development. Rebecca Sherwin, who jointly heads the team with Nuttall, specialises in real estate finance and advises clients such as HSBC and RBS.

Gowling WLG’s ‘deep experience and senior hands-on approach’ makes it a popular choice with clients such as Taylor Wimpey, Miller Developments and St Modwen. The substantial team covers a full range of work, with particular strengths in mixed-use developments, regeneration and investment, especially in shopping centres. Richard Beckingsale advised Barnet Council on the Brent Cross South regeneration scheme, while ‘excellent all-round development adviserMike Trainer assisted IM Properties with the development of a new facility in Witton, Birmingham for the city’s wholesale food market. Other names to note are practice head Richard Bate and John Burns.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s six-partner practice includes Joel Kordan, who is noted for his automotive expertise, healthcare specialist Tom Eastwood and David Meecham, who leads on public sector property work. Practice head Tom Johnson focuses on development and regeneration schemes and advised Arena Central Developments on the funding, development and disposal of 2 Arena Central to HSBC. In another key mandate, Kultar Khangura assisted KfW IPEX-Bank with its £90m refinancing of the Pant y Wal wind farm. The team’s impressive client list includes IM Properties, Miller Developments and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice ‘gives straight commercial advice without fuss or delays’ and has particular strength in advising on investment and development in the retail sector. Highlights included acting for Citygrove Securities on the £120m acquisition and regeneration of a site in Ruislip, and assisting Stoford Developments with the purchase, development and forward funding of a site in Wigan to create a logistical hub for Poundland. Head of practice Jason Jacksongets the job done’, James Needham is a ‘very safe pair of hands’, and investment specialist Brian Hession is ‘very strong on technical detail’.

Squire Patton Boggs remained active on behalf of a number of substantial organisations with large property portfolios. For example, the team handled 64 transactions, including acquisitions, disposals and lease renewals, for Signet Group. Practice head Nick Green acted for Jurys Inns in its £680m sale to Lone Star Investments, and regeneration specialists Anne O’Meara and Victoria Camfield continued to represent Birmingham City Council in relation to the Arena Central development. West Midlands Pensions Fund and Touch Developments were client wins.

Strong negotiatorFiona Thomson leads the team at DLA Piper UK LLP, which regularly acts on deals with a cross-border element. In one example, Roger Collier advised UPS on the acquisition of a site at DP World London Gateway Logistics Park. Director Madeline Jenkins is ‘very knowledgeable’ and assisted Tattershall Castle Group with the disposal of its business to Stonegate Pub Company.

Hill Hofstetter’s ‘very experienced team’ was boosted by the arrival of former surveyor Mark Lee from Lodders Solicitors LLP. In addition to its customary focus on lifecycle development work, the team saw an increase in residential work, with Jonathan Wright advising Cala Homes on its purchase of a site in Shipston on Stour from IMI. The ‘technically excellent’ Sue Simpson heads the practice.

Real estate chair Kevin Nagle and head of commercial real estate Adrian Bland lead the team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP, which is active in a range of areas, including Islamic finance, energy and retail. James Gooch assisted New Wood Securities with the refinance and disposal of an investment portfolio, while Debbie Irwin handled a number of mandates for Barratt Homes.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s three partners are Dominic Swift, Thomas Howard and the newly promoted Lisa McGinn. Key strengths include the public sector, particularly health and education, and the team remained busy on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency.

DWF’s practice is led by the ‘tenacious and very approachableMelanie Williams, who advised the Homes and Communities Agency on the disposal of a regeneration site at Ansty. The team was once again active in the hotel sector for clients such as Berkeley Square Developments and Starwood International. National real estate head Toby Askin splits his time between the firm’s London and Birmingham offices. Zo Hoida is now with Weightmans LLP.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, Christian Bull and Michael Whatley have expertise in education and health respectively. Bull advised Birmingham City University on an £82m mixed-use student development at Eastside Locks, while Whatley assisted Partnerships In Care with the real estate aspects of various business acquisitions.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards’ practice was enhanced by the hire of education specialist Clive Read from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. Read wins praise for his ‘sound, accessible and pragmatic advice’. Other key players are consultant Adrian Watson and charity specialist Anne Holmes.

Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Higgs & Sons’ four-partner team wins praise for its ‘proactive and business-focused advice’. The team won new clients across a range of sectors and also developed its property finance expertise. Key players include Cherry Elliott, who was active on a number of high-value letting, refinancing and disposal matters, and the ‘very capablePeter Coleman, who leads the team. London & Cambridge Properties is a key client.

Hailed by one client as ‘number one for commercial property by a mile’, Knights Professional Services Limited’s team is led by Karl Bamford, who is an ‘authority on leases’. The team acts for various retail household names, as well as large commercial portfolio owners such as M&G and Telereal Trillium. Helene Maillet-Vioud is the other name to note.

Nick East’s team at Lodders Solicitors LLP grew through the hires of residential development specialist James Mottram from Gateley Plc, and James Spreckley from Shakespeare Martineau LLP, who focuses on agricultural property work. Mottram in particular has been busy on behalf of clients such as Cala Homes and Cameron Homes and wins praise for his ‘responsiveness and accuracy’. Mark Lee is now with Hill Hofstetter.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s team has a particular focus on the energy sector, with Richard Cox handling the property aspects of renewable energy projects for clients such as E.ON, and Janet James active on behalf of utility clients such as the National Grid. Samantha Orluta advised the ExtraCare Charitable Trust on the purchase of land from a local authority to build a retirement village.

Wright Hassall LLP’s broad practice includes Mark Miller, who leads on commercial and residential development work, David Slade, who handles secured lending for clients such as Lloyds and HSBC, and Barry Sankey, who specialises in science parks. In one highlight, the team advised Beechfield Estates on the land acquisition for a brownfield development in Coventry. Slade jointly leads the team alongside Claire Waring. Chairman Nick Abell is also recommended.

Leader in the fieldSimon James heads the team at Ansons Solicitors Ltd, which also includes Adele Wakefield, who joined the firm from an in-house role. As well as covering the full range of development work, the team provides expertise in agricultural land, charities, solar energy farms and wind turbines. Associate Neil Faunch is ‘reliable and enthusiastic’.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s eight-partner team handles a range of investment, development and retail work for clients such as St Modwen Properties and Marston’s. Names to note are practice head David Grove and SME specialist Andrew Wynne, who is ‘good humoured and easy to work with’.

At George Green LLP, Kevin Styles’ team includes newly promoted partner Alex-Jayne Lowe, who ‘goes way beyond the call of duty’. The team has particular expertise in secured lending transactions and acted for key client Ortus Secured Finance on the refinancing of investment premises located in Richmond upon Thames.

Name partner Nick Button leads the team at Band Hatton Button LLP, which remained busy on behalf of clients such as Allied Irish Bank and Sisk Construction Group. Haydn Jones has expertise in charity and agricultural property work.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ ‘extremely switched-on practice’ is jointly led by Philip Parkinson and Matthew Hayes. The team acted for new client Funding Circle on a number of important matters, including advising on a lease for the company’s headquarters. The practice was boosted by the arrival of Harriet Murray Jones from Knights Professional Services Limited, although Kevin Joynes left for an in-house role.

Praveen Chaudhari’s team at Lanyon Bowdler provides ‘excellent customer service’ and has specialist expertise in residential property development and farmer/landowner real estate transactions. Senior partner Andrew Evans was active on behalf of Galliers Properties.

Beswicks Legal’s practice was boosted at the junior end by the hire of Simon Abbotts from Knights Professional Services Limited and Gemma Hanmer from an in-house role. Practice head Richard Saum has been busy on behalf of clients such as NatWest and the Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

At Brethertons LLP, Mary Anderson handles secured lending in the healthcare sector, as well as large-scale residential development schemes.

mfg Solicitors LLP’s practice was boosted by the hire of energy and renewables specialist Miles Dearden from an in-house role. Sarah Astbury leads the team and focuses on development work.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals

Gowling WLG’s eight-partner team is jointly led by Michael O’Shea and Richard Green, who handle contentious and non-contentious work respectively. The team handles disputes at the highest level, and recently represented E.ON in the Supreme Court in a €26.2m defects claim relating to an offshore wind farm development. It also handles a range of project delivery and procurement matters; in one example, Philip Baker assisted the Crown Estate on the construction aspects of the purchase of a site in Leicester from Everards Brewery. Ashley Pigott is ‘outstanding for construction disputes’.

Eversheds LLP’s non-contentious practice is headed by energy specialist Peter Scurlock, who has a ‘lovely touch in negotiations’. Scurlock continues to advise NNB Generation Company on the construction of the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. Other key players in the ‘level-headed and approachable’ team are former chartered civil engineer David Jones, who focuses on major infrastructure and utilities projects, and Amrik Kandola, who leads the contentious side of the practice.

Gateley Plc’s practice is ‘strong on expertise, pragmatic with advice and speedy with responses’ and draws on its strong housebuilding client base to advise on a wide variety of construction issues. Non-contentious specialist David Lloyd Jones is assisting Barberry Developments with the delivery of a £54m accommodation block for Coventry University, while on the disputes side Peter Davies has been active for clients such as Taylor Wimpey and Industrial Coating Services.

Very good technical lawyerStuart Pemble is in charge at Mills & Reeve LLP, where the team provides a ‘very consistent level of service’. Pemble’s non-contentious expertise was in evidence on a variety of education sector projects and London-based development projects. On the contentious side, Martino Giaquinto is ‘not shy of difficult legal issues and not intimidated by difficult opponents’; Giaquinto was very active in the energy and offshore arena.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice is led by non-contentious specialist Patrick Garner, whose impressive client list includes IM Properties and St Modwen Developments. Garner acted for the former on the redevelopment of 55 Colmore Row, Birmingham. On the disputes side, Stephen Belshaw is a ‘good choice for high-level litigation and adjudication work, particularly in the education sector’, and Simon Wain has ‘great tactical nous for construction insurance issues’.

Squire Patton Boggs’ practice has a ‘good understanding of how specific contracts work in conjunction with other requirements, such as specifications and programming’. Group head Graeme Bradley and Robert Norris handle a mix of contentious and non-contentious matters, with highlights including advising Blackpool Borough Council on a series of adjudications arising out of the development of a £100m light rail system, and assisting Sumitomo with the project negotiation for the third power interconnector between the UK and Europe.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP’s team focuses on the social housing, local government, education and active leisure sectors, and acts for clients such as Affinity Sutton Group and Derwent Living. The practice leadership includes disputes specialist Andrew Lancaster, as well as Andrew Millross and Richard Brooks, who handle procurement and project development matters.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s NHS and government-focused practice is led by Martin Cannon, whose non-contentious work included advising Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust on various construction and PFI related issues. On the contentious side, insurance specialist Daniel Abbeygoes the extra mile to get the job done’.

Andrew James is ‘cool under pressure’ and heads the team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, which has been increasingly active in the renewables and energy-to-waste areas. James handles a mixed caseload that ranges from tender stage advice to disputes regarding defects.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, transactional specialist Nigel Blundell continued to act on a number of collaborative contracts in the rail sector. Other strong sectors for the team are retail and higher education, while key clients include Morgan Sindall and VolkerRail.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice benefits from the surveying backgrounds of Keith Blizzard and Ruth Phillips. Blizzard was active on a number of arbitrations and adjudications for both developers and contractors, while Phillips assisted key client Lloyds with the construction security for various development projects.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s practice has seen substantial growth, with the relocations to Birmingham of Vijay Bange and Andrew Vickery and the hire of consultants Tim Willis and Paul Mountain, who joined from Harrison Clark Rickerbys and mfg Solicitors LLP respectively. Seven Capital is a newly won client.

Practice head Ian Yule is a ‘tremendous asset as an adviser and litigator’ at Weightmans LLP, where the team was involved in a number of significant arbitrations. On the non-contentious side, Simon Colegate has a ‘huge knowledge of contract forms’.

At Wright Hassall LLP, practice head Philip Harris’ ‘depth of experience’ includes service as arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator. On the non-contentious side, newly appointed partner Michael Hiscock is advising Brinklow Biogas on the development of a £10m anaerobic digestion facility.


Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals

Gowling WLG’s four-partner team handles contentious and non-contentious work for a wide variety of real estate and corporate clients. Key players include Lee McBride, who focuses on environmental regulatory issues, and Andrew Litchfield, who advises on investigations, criminal proceedings and civil claims.

At Squire Patton Boggs, practice head David Gordon has particular expertise in contaminated land, REACH and environmental permitting, while senior associate Anita Lloyd focuses on the law surrounding sustainability and climate change. Taylor Wimpey and Luxfer are key clients.

At DLA Piper UK LLP, Charles Arrand and Roy Tozer have expertise in handling criminal investigations and associated civil claims brought by the Environment Agency and other public bodies.

Top of the classPaul Zyda leads the team at Zyda Law, where highlights included advising Teep (UK) on obtaining environmental consents for waste-to-energy plants. Associate director Ian Graves* ‘brings impressive experience from his time at the Environment Agency’. *Since publication, Ian Graves has joined Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

At Ansons Solicitors Ltd, David Anderton handles work ranging from environmental regulations and waste management licensing to environmental enforcement proceedings. Anderton is defending Parry & Evans in a prosecution by Natural Resources Wales relating to a shipment of mixed papers to China.

Shoosmiths LLP senior associate Hayley Saunders has a ‘great attitude’ and focuses on defending clients charged with criminal breaches. Saunders also handles non-contentious work and has a particular niche in renewable energy, including biomass installations and advising solar energy companies in relation to compliance with the Renewable Energy Consumer Code.


Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals

DLA Piper UK LLP’s team is praised for its ‘extraordinary business acumen and ability to just get it’. It continues to advise Argent Group on planning applications for Paradise Circus. Practice head Trevor Ivory’s ‘grasp of law and finding an angle is unsurpassed’, and senior associate Amy Truman and associate Jim McAvan have ‘considerable experience in housing development’.

Paul Maile’s team at Eversheds LLP is particularly known for its renewable energy and housebuilding expertise. The team advised Forewind on the consents for a number of offshore wind farms in the North Sea. Maile and senior associate Lucinda Holloway are ‘consummate professionals who give digestible, concise and sound advice’.

Recent highlights for Andrew Thomas’ team at Gowling WLG include advising Goodman Shepherd on the proposed development consent order for a rail freight interchange at Etwall, and assisting the Greater London Authority with the making of a compulsory purchase order to enable the regeneration of the Southall Gasworks site. Director Graham Wrigglesworth has a particular focus on the energy sector.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s practice is led by the ‘very thoroughRebecca Warren, who specialises in residential development. Warren is advising Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council on a significant housing project on land to the west of Basingstoke. Another key player in the team is senior associate Heidi Slater, who has a ‘detailed knowledge of the development consent order process’.

Planning boutique Zyda Law is led by Paul Zyda, who has ‘unbeatable experience of energy infrastructure work’. The team is also strong in the waste sector and advised Britaniacrest on challenging the Secretary of State’s dismissal of a planning appeal relating to an extension to an existing tipping/waste reception shed.

Senior partner Niall Blackie leads the team at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, whose expertise extends to planning appeals on agricultural matters. In one highlight, Blackie successfully negotiated a Section 106 agreement relating to a planning application to develop farmland into over 200 houses.

Following Gerry Sheedy’s retirement, names to note at Gateley Plc include senior associate Matthew Scudamore and associate Melissa Huree, who both arrived from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. BDW Trading and Keepmoat Homes are clients.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s three-partner team comprises Carl Copestake, Andrea Bruce and Rob Pattinson. Bruce has particular expertise in mineral developments.

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Simon Stanion focuses on contentious development proposals and successfully acted for Paragon Property Development in an appeal relating to a change of use application.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice is led by Tim Willis, who is ‘relaxed but authoritative’, and is hailed by one client as being ‘as reliable as the sunrise’. The team acts for a mix of clients in the public and private sector, and is advising IM Properties on court of appeal proceedings relating to the use of land for a proposed housing development in Lichfield.

At Wright Hassall LLP, department head Pritpal Singh Swarn is ‘particularly helpful in Section 106 negotiations’. Key clients include Bromsgrove District Council, Orbit Group and Two Rivers Housing.

Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals

Eversheds LLP’s three-partner team ‘knows how to tailor responses to client requirements’. Paul Moorcroft heads the national team and ‘provides swift, clear advice’ to clients such as HSBC and Next. The ‘very commercially astuteDavid Feist successfully defended a multimillion-pound land compensation claim brought against National Grid, while Lisa Barge advised Waitrose on a significant nuisance claim.

Gowling WLG’s practice is now led by Carole Peet, who relocated from the firm’s London office. Peet successfully acted for Friends Life on a prescriptive rights claim relating to a property in Oxford. Other key players are ‘great asset’ Nick Vuckovic, who joined from Pinsent Masons LLP, and national practice head Paul Kent, who divides his time between London and Birmingham.

Shoosmiths LLP’s substantial team includes national practice head Nicholas Shepherd, Paul Knight, who leads in Birmingham, and Kate McCall, who joined from Eversheds LLP. As well as winning a number of new clients, the team remained highly active on behalf of mainstays such as the Emerson Group and Allied London. The retail sector is a particular strength.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is best known for its residential property work on behalf of social landlords. Helen Tucker and Baljit Basra provide ‘prompt, reliable and practical advice in the most complex matters’. Hilary Harrison focuses on commercial property disputes.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s practice is particularly strong in retail, healthcare and public sector matters, and acts for clients such as Walgreens Boots Alliance, HMRC and Barnardo’s. Pamela Shepherdalways sets the right tone’, and newly promoted partner Tim Rayner provides ‘quick and technically excellent advice’.

The ‘knowledgeable and strategicIain Davies co-heads the team at Gateley Plc and has particular expertise in landlord and tenant matters. Davies acted for Spielplatz in a significant protected tenancy matter in the court of appeal. Construction specialist Peter Davies is the other co-head and was active on behalf of Taylor Wimpey and Crest Nicholson.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, ‘tenacious litigatorAlicia Foo leads a team that is ‘motivated and top drawer’. The practice handles a wide spectrum of issues, including electronic communications, development and energy disputes, and was boosted by the hire of senior associate Craig Downhill from Shoosmiths LLP.

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Martin Edwardsis in charge of a highly respected team of national stature’. The practice has particular sector strengths in education and energy, and Stratford-based Mark English was active on a range of claims for National Grid.

Andrew Walker, practice head at Squire Patton Boggs, has ‘excellent knowledge’. The team’s retail expertise was once again in evidence for clients such as Signet Group and Austin Reed. Senior associate Ben Walters has niche expertise in compulsory purchase compensation.

George Green LLP’s practice is led by the ‘highly tactical and hugely experienced’ James Coles, who continued to advise West Bromwich Building Society on a number of sizeable professional negligence claims against surveyors.

Higgs & Sons’ practice ‘provides the perfect mix of skill, determination and pragmatism’. Paul Barker is ‘incredibly knowledgeable and proactive’ and Nyree Applegarth ‘always instils confidence’. Areas of expertise include anti-trespass and protestor matters and complex break clause disputes. London & Cambridge Properties is a key client.

At The Wilkes Partnership, managing partner Mark Abrol and Carl Csukas ‘offer a very good service’, and act for clients ranging from home owners to corporate developers.

Key players in Wright Hassall LLP’s team include practice head Dawn Reynolds, who specialises in landlord and tenant disputes and property management issues, and senior associate Mary Rouse, who focuses on residential property disputes.

Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLPdelivers accessible and practical advice’ across a full range of areas, including corporate, finance, housing management, procurement and property. Jonathan Cox and Peter Hubbard lead the ten-partner team, which includes procurement specialist Andrew Millross and housing litigator Helen Tucker. In one highlight, Victoria Jardine advised Gloucester City Council on the transfer of 4,800 homes to Gloucester City Homes.

At Gowling WLG, Jacqueline Knox’s team was once again active on behalf of key client Sanctuary Housing, advising it on the acquisition of a care home from Shropshire Council. On the investment side, the team’s expertise is growing, with Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund a newly won client. Richard Beckingsale leads on regeneration work.

Pinsent Masons LLP continued to advise key client Homes and Communities Agency on various matters, including the procurement of a development partner for the regeneration of Standish Hospital in Gloucestershire. Practice head David Meecham and associate Rebecca Pendlebury are both recommended.

Louise Drew leads the Stratford-based team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP, where key clients include Midland Heart and Bromford Housing Association. Residential development specialist Samantha Orluta has a ‘great level of knowledge on the land-buying process’, and Geraldine Haden is recommended for contentious work. Paola Gorrara left the firm.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’ practice is led by property specialist Jeremy Hunt, who divides his time between the firm’s Birmingham and London offices. Hunt advised Hyde Housing Association on the sale of its 50% interest in over 1,500 units at the Roundshaw Estate, Sutton. Rebecca McGuirk ‘comes up with pragmatic solutions’ to employment issues, and Yetunde Dania is recommended for housing management work.

Wright Hassall LLP has ‘longstanding experience in the social housing area’ and acts for clients such as Orbit Group and Housing & Care 21. Practice head Carol Matthews advised West Mercia Housing Group on the vacancy and redevelopment of a site, while Claire Waring handled a number of development acquisitions for registered providers.

Senior associate David Perry at Shoosmiths LLP advises registered providers such as Accord Group and Bromsgrove District Housing Trust on acquisitions and development work, asset management and funding. The team is also experienced in housing management, with associate Bukola Aremu the main contact in this regard.

Weightmans LLP’s practice focuses on housing management, disrepair, fraud and personal injury. In a recent example, the ‘extremely diligent’ Jane Plant successfully acted for Circle 33 in relation to an unlawful sublet of a property in London. Sian Evans leads the team from Liverpool.

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