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  1. Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire
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The ‘superb and immediately responsive’ team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP stands out for its private equity expertise as well as its strength in M&A and financial services matters. Private equity specialist Yunus Seedat leads the practice, which recently acted for NorthEdge Capital in the MBO of Sumo Digital. The ‘excellentGarry Elliott acted with Seedat in assisting Muller with its acquisition of Dairy Crest. Other notable members include Neil Woolhouse and Mark Hallam, who focus on financial services transactions, and Tim Wheldon.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s multi-jurisdictional practice advised Marriott International on several commercial transactions. Other global clients include Etihad Airways and Sun Capital. On the domestic front, the practice acted for Severfield plc on its acquisition of shares in Composite Metal Flooring, and advised the Wellcome Trust on its acquisition of Premier Marinas from Blackrock. Jonathan Procter and Matthew Duncombe lead the corporate and commercial teams, respectively. John Gallon and Wendy Harrison are also recommended.

Robin Skelton leads the ‘excellent’ department at Eversheds LLP, which is ‘among the best in the region’ for M&A and private equity deals. The practice recently advised Euro Garages on TDR Capital’s £1.3bn equity investment into the company. Amanda Partland (who is noted for her ‘sound advice’) specialises in significant M&A transactions and is recommended alongside Alison Starr, ‘knowledgeable and pragmatic’ energy specialist Charles Reynard, and commercial expert Peter McCormack.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s department is jointly led by Andrew Kerr and Martin Priestley, who specialise in corporate and commercial matters, respectively. Kerr recently led advice to Drax Power on its £6m acquisition of a wood pellet supply company, and assisted Exertis UK with its £22m acquisition of Janson Computers. In an illustration of the firm’s private equity experience, Peter Wood recently led advice to LDC Internal on the MBO of Seabrook Crisps. Stuart Boath joined the team from Shulmans, while Philip Goldsborough and Richard Watkinson joined Irwin Mitchell and DAC Beachcroft LLP, respectively.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘excellent’ team ‘always provides a first-class service and is very proactive’. The ‘highly experienced and hardworkingSteven Glover and Manchester-based Jane Haxby lead the practice, which is noted for its private equity expertise. Richard Hunt recently advised Poundworld on TPG’s £150m acquisition of a majority stake in the company. Jonathan Jones recently led advice to the shareholders of FMG on an MBO.

Walker Morris LLP’s ‘good, trusted and experienced’ six-partner department is led by the ‘pragmatic, straightforward and solutions-driven’ John Hamer, and was strengthened in 2015 by the arrival of Daniel O’Gorman from DWF, who led advice to Bufab on its SEK310m acquisition of Apex Stainless Holdings. Other clients include Seabrook Crisps, Renew Holdings and Custodian REIT. Paul Emmett, Richard Naish, managing partner Ian Gilbert and Debbie Jackson are also recommended.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘practically faultless’ practice was joined in 2015 by the ‘astute and professionalSimon Pilling and his team from Gordons LLP. The practice is particularly strong in the chemicals sector; Nigel Williams acted for Sembcorp on its disposal of Bournemouth Water to Pennon Group. Alistair Scott-Somers leads the team.

Philip Goldsborough leads the team at Irwin Mitchell; he joined from Pinsent Masons LLP and led advice to SIG on its acquisition of the Ainsworth Group. James Foster made partner in 2015 and is noted for his M&A and private equity expertise. Joanne Bone is the key name on the commercial side. Simon Cuerden and Paul Johnson left to join Genus Law and Mills & Reeve LLP, respectively.

Richard Moran leads the corporate department at Clarion; he recently advised the owners of Hesco on its sale to Betafence Corporate Services, and assisted Gareth Frankland on the sale of a majority stake in SC/DC Holdings Limited. Matthew Hattersley leads the commercial practice, which recently recruited David Cunningham from Bond Dickinson LLP. The team is prominent in the digital and manufacturing sectors, where it acts for clients including Stickyeyes, MyCSP and the Intermarketing Group.

In an illustration of DWF’s strong real estate sector focus, practice head Lester Wilson recently assisted Countrywide with several acquisitions totalling £40m. The firm also has notable private equity experience, and the team regularly acts for Bellpenny, which is backed by private equity firm Oaktree Capital. David Armitage joined Gateley Plc, Daniel O’Gorman joined Walker Morris LLP and Guy Jackson and Robin Steel left for in-house roles.

Gateley Plc focuses primarily on M&A transactions, often with a wider national or international element; recent examples include advising Daiwa Kasei on the reorganisation of its corporate group, and assisting Astley Baker Davies with its sale of a controlling stake in the Peppa Pig brand to eOne. Nicholas Emmerson jointly heads the practice with David Armitage, who recently joined the firm from DWF.

James Fawcett leads the team at Gordons LLP, which continues to have notable strength in the retail and motor sectors; clients include The Works and Armstrong Massey. Recent highlights include advising Inspiration Healthcare on a reverse takeover by Inditherm, and assisting local client Adare Group with the sale of one of its subsidiaries to Americk Packaging. Jonathan Asquez and John Holden are recommended. Simon Pilling and his team joined Bond Dickinson LLP.

Andrew Lindsay leads the practice at ‘solid regional firmLupton Fawcett Denison Till, which ‘provides excellent service, and always works hard to support its clients’. Leeds-based partner Giles Clegg recently led advice to York Mailing Group on an MBO, and assisted Hand Picked Hotels with the sale of the Priest House Hotel. The firm also has corporate strength in its York office; Martin Frostbrings a personal touch and understands his clients very well’.

Schofield Sweeney’s key team members include founding partners Chris Schofield and Martin Sweeney, and David Strachan; Strachan advised Hempel Special Metals Holdings on the sale of the share capital of Hempel Wire to Central Wire Industries. Luisa D’Alessandro leads on commercial matters, where the department is notably strong in the technology sector. Chris Blantern joined from LCF Law.

The ‘excellent and upstanding practice’ at Shulmans is led by Marcus Armstrong, whose expertise spans health and social care. The team has additional strengths in the pharmaceutical, financial services and chemical sectors. Also recommended are Andrew Bradley, who has ‘a great depth of knowledge’, Christian Peace, Emma Greenwood and Mark Lumley, who leads the commercial practice.

Harrowells Solicitors focuses on owner-managed businesses, particularly in the agricultural, medical and food sectors; the team recently advised Agroisolab UK on a joint venture agreement with German shareholders. Philip Lewis Ogden is the key corporate name, and Susie Mortonson is recommended for commercial matters.

Susan Clark leads the corporate practice at LCF Law, which advises owner-managed businesses and has significant health-sector experience, including niche specialisms in acting for GP practices and dental practitioners. James Sarjantson is recommended for commercial issues, and Thomas Coates is noted for his dental law expertise.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s team focuses predominantly on M&A matters; the department recently acted for Pennock & Ivory on the sale of Amber Cars to Veezu Holdings, and advised Hassani Trading Company on its acquisition of the home baking and desserts division of Green’s, Borwicks and Pearce Duff. Christian Hunt leads the practice.

Ward Hadaway is noted for its ‘fantastic commercial approach’. Philip Jordan leads the practice and has significant strength in the manufacturing, steel and energy sectors. Gavin Maddison is also recommended. Clients include Tadano, Gentoo Group, Smartech UK and Communisis.

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