Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

United Kingdom > Yorkshire and the Humber > Real estate > Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire clients in Yorkshire and the Humber 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

Addleshaw Goddard’s ‘excellent’ practice is ‘at the top of the list in this region and very high on the list nationally’, and clients appreciate ‘the way the team acts as in-house support rather than external consultants’. Bruce Lightbody leads the practice, which includes Lucy Sturrock, who ‘combines true legal expertise with a sound understanding of the commercial elements of a deal, she is pro-active and always available for support’; Ian Smith, who advises institutional investors on high-value purchases; Andrew Williamson, who provides ‘excellent support’; and Anna Heaton, who has expertise in development funding, joint venture and corporate real estate deals. Notable highlights include advising the National Grid on the property business separation aspects for the sale of over 10,000 properties; advising British Land on the £60m refurbishment of Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield and a related £300m redevelopment project; and advising on various residential development matters for a national infrastructure company. It also handled various matters for Standard Life, including assisting with the refinancing of all assets held by Standard Life Investments Property Holdings, advising on the merger of the Standard Life Investments UK Property Fund with the Standard Life Investments Ignis UK Property Fund, assisting with five post-Brexit disposals for the Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund with an aggregate value in excess of £115m, and advising on the £69m disposal of a shopping centre in Birmingham.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s practice, led by Tim Field, has a reputation for handling high-value complex transactions, often with an international element, and also has wide-ranging expertise in renewable energy, particularly solar and wind development projects. Andrew Clarke, Mark Lynch and Valerie Mather have considerable expertise handling the acquisition and disposal of largescale property portfolios, advising the government on real estate issues and handling redevelopment projects. Notable highlights include advising RBS on the £198m acquisition of 440 Strand, the headquarters of Coutts private bank; assisting National Grid with the £13.8bn split out of 20,000 property interests into a new company, which included handling transfers, leases, licences, easements, relocation and demolition agreements; and advising on the migration of the entire British Airways property estate and business from the north to south terminal at Gatwick airport. Other work included assisting the Priory Group with its accelerated share sale to Acadia Healthcare from private equity firm Advent International. Legal director Ruth Williamson has extensive experience in handling asset management issues, portfolio sales and acquisitions, and share sales. New clients include Uber, Merlin Entertainment and Extreme Networks.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘excellent’ team ‘provides a level of comfort, certainty and commerciality that instils confidence’, and is ‘quick to respond while still providing good value’. Department head George Bacongets things done while protecting the client’s position’ and has considerable retail expertise. He advised Hammerson on the pre-letting of the Victoria Gate scheme in Leeds, which included the opening of a John Lewis store; assisted Morrisons with a £100m promotion agreement with Barratt for the potential redevelopment of an existing store in Camden; and advised Kier Property Developments on the full development cycle of the construction of a new retail park in Wakefield, including the disposal of part of the site for residential development. Real estate investment head Stephen Felstead, who specialises in fund structuring, development and asset management, assisted Legal & General with a £65m investment into Newcastle Science Central, which includes two office buildings. Head of the global hospitality and leisure sector, Susan Samuel, advised KFC on the refranchising of 160 stores to a number of franchisees in separate corporate sales. International real estate head Sue Buckworth and associate Simon Harris, who is experienced in acting for REITs, are also noted.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team is ‘very efficient, reliable and knowledgeable and has a commercial approach to property solutions’. Practice head Jonathan Brocklehurst has investment and development expertise. Victoria Goddard heads up the universities estates practice, which covers financing, development, procurement, rationalisation, planning, and energy matters pertaining to university campuses. Highlights included advising the University of Sussex on a 2000-bed £180m student accommodation development; Balfour Beatty will design, build and operate the project, which is financed via a listed bond on the Irish Stock Exchange. Richard Daffern, who focuses on real estate investments, is assisting Aviva investors with its £1.7bn long-income fund, the Lime Property Fund, including handling the acquisition of Newcastle Business School, which is let to Newcastle University. Other highlights include Kevin Boa advising Grainger on the £40m forward purchase of a build-to-rent development at the former Yorkshire Post site in Leeds, and legal director Stephen Glass assisting Scarborough Borough Council with the funding and development of the new Alpamare waterpark, which includes EU procurement and state aid issues. Andrew Quinlan, who is a key name for high-value development projects, and Anne Bowden, who handles PPPs for housing and regeneration work, are other names to note.

Walker Morris LLP’s team has a strong reputation for student accommodation projects, as well as notable expertise handling high-value portfolio transactions, retail acquisitions, energy projects, and disposals for large infrastructure clients. Practice head Nick Cannon led advice to Anchor Group on the £9m disposal of Bath’s Fitzroy House. Austin Judson has expertise in high-value retail acquisitions; he advised on a multimillion-pound Leeds-based development for a UK developer. Other highlights included advising on the £920m Odeon Cinema sale to AMC Entertainment, which was led by Jeremy Moore. Moore also advised on a multijurisdictional £55m fundraising by way of issue of guaranteed senior secured floating rate notes secured on a UK-based property for the purpose of funding a logistics business. Judith Pike handled several projects in the retail sector, including handling the management and letting of a large retail outlet, assisting with the £72.5m refinancing of an outlet centre, and advising Gloucester Quays LLP on a £72.5m facility agreement for Gloucester Quays Outlet. Senior associate Adam Reed is experienced in handling high-profile corporate disposals.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s team is a key name for redevelopment and regeneration projects for private and public sector clients, and also handles retail landlord and tenant work, office and business park developments, and investment sales and purchases. Mark Owen assisted Leeds City Council with the development of Victoria Gate and advised Commercial Estates Group on an option agreement to purchase land in Harrogate, which involved the sale of part of the land and was structured to allow the client to receive the full relief of SDLT liability. Paula Dillon advised Wykeland Beal, a joint venture between Wykeland Group and Beal Homes, on the regeneration of Hull’s fruit market. Julia Dacre Field, who was a recent arrival from Shulmans LLP, adds expertise in the housebuilding sector.

DWF’s team specialises in property investment and finance, corporate real estate, property development and portfolio management. Practice head Andrew Flounders. Nic Crocker, Jim Speed and Simon Meek are the key names. Recent highlights include advising Moda Living, a joint venture between Caddick Group and Generate Land, on a private rental sector scheme, in collaboration with The Co-operative Group, to develop a 470-unit residential and commercial space in Manchester. Other work includes handling Custodian REIT’s £26.8m acquisition of the Light Investment Fund portfolio from BLME, and assisting Roydhouse Properties with a £100m development in Leeds city centre, which involved letting commercial space to PwC, Baker Tilly, Marks & Spencer, BDO, Clipper Logistics and Caffè Nero.

Shulmans LLP’s ‘expert’ team is ‘very easy to work with’ and is singled out for its ‘quick’ turnaround. Led by Simon Jackson and Rosemary Edwards, the practice has expertise in advising housebuilding clients, advising on the public procurement aspects of property transactions, and has niche expertise in telecoms masts, advising clients such as Northern Trust. Edwards advised Belgravia Living, a joint venture between Town Centre Securities and GMI Construction, on acquiring land in Manchester’s city centre, which is intended for the construction of a residential apartment scheme. Associate Kieran Wilkinson is recommended for conveyancing work and ‘is very prompt and efficient’.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘very commercially minded’ practice is led by Matthew Dalzell, who focuses on development and investment work, and has particular strengths in student accommodation projects and the private rental sector. Prew Lumley and Karen French focus on corporate real estate, residential developments and planning promotion agreements, and Andrew Sprake advises on public sector regeneration schemes. Senior associate Abduss Patel provides ‘excellent overall service’. Key highlights include advising Leeds City Council on the £250m regeneration of the South Bank area, which will house Burberry as part of the company’s relocation of its UK manufacturing and international headquarters. 2 Sisters Food Group, Gate Gourmet and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council are all new clients.

Clarion is a key name for developers, corporate occupiers, retail and leisure clients, and also advises financial institutions on real estate financing. Practice head Martin Grange, who primarily focuses on development work, advised Hill Giftware on opening three new Baytree Interiors stores worth in excess of £1m. Lindsay Texel acts for owner-managed businesses and large corporates; she advised Newby Asset Management on the £5.5m acquisition and funding of the York-based Cocoa Works site, which is intended for residential development, and also assisted new client KME Yorkshire with the £6.5m disposal of an industrial complex in Liverpool. Banking and finance partner Ben Slack advises on secured real estate transactions and legal director Alison Batty focuses on development transactions. Other clients include Persimmon Homes, Reward Capital, MyCSP and Harron Homes.

DAC Beachcroft LLP provides ‘a very high’ level of service and is singled out for its ‘fast response times, extensive experience in the industry and a commercial and pragmatic approach’. ‘Efficient’ practice head Eve Gregory advised Leeds City Council on the £44m acquisition of 3 Sovereign Square, and assisted Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with the £6m disposal of part of a hospital site in Leeds to the Homes and Communities Agency and developers Keepmoat and Strata Homes. Real estate disputes specialist Lesley Hughes handles landlord and tenant disputes, particularly those with an insolvency aspect, and Morag Joyce specialises in telecoms infrastructure matters and ‘brings a commercial perspective to transactions’.

Gateley Plc’s team specialises in strategic land acquisitions, promotions and residential development in the housing sector, and acting for developers on retail and mixed-use development transactions. Real estate head Philip Gregory, who joined from Gordons LLP in 2016, advised Water Lane on the acquisition of a development site in Leeds. Residential development head George Parker-Fuller assisted Sheffield Housing Company with the regeneration of various residential sites in Sheffield, and also advised a national housebuilder on the sale of its annual output of grounds rents, worth approximately £30m. Other clients include Peveril Securities, Simons Group, Marlborough Property, Bellway Homes and Taylor Wimpey. Avant Homes and Costcutter are new clients.

Gordons LLP’s clients have ‘no hesitation’ in recommending the ‘strong and experienced’ team. Practice head Paul Young specialises in property matters pertaining to commercial and residential development, retail, secured lending, and industrial acquisitions and disposals. Other names to note include Joanne Fearnley, who is ‘very commercial and provides a high level of personal attention and client care’, Simon Mydlowski, who is ‘a first-class lawyer, one of the best in the field’, and Nick Chamberlain and Michael Finnett, who are experienced in acting for residential developers. Recent highlights include advising a Jersey-based SPV, backed by high-profile, high-net-worth individuals, on purchasing investments into a new supermarket site and two partially built retail units; assisting Iceland with a property acquisition; and advising retailer B&M on acquiring 30 new store leases across the UK.

Irwin Mitchell’s team is ‘among the best’. John Flathers, who ‘understands client needs’, typically advises on development work, property finance and matters concerning corporate occupiers. He recently handled several matters for Henry Boot Developments, including advising on the £7.5m sale of Beeston shopping centre to Broxtowe Borough Council, and assisting with the £18.2m development and sale of a distribution warehouse to worldwide automotive car parts distributor Ferdinand Bilstein UK. Other highlights include advising Jones Lang LaSalle on its relocation in London, which included handling lease negotiations, and advising Gravity Fitness on purchasing new leases in Hull and Edinburgh. James Knowles, who focuses on development projects, made partner in 2016.

Lupton Fawcett LLP’s practice provides ‘an excellent service’ and its ‘response times are very good with the prompt issuing of and response to documents’. Practice head David Whitaker specialises in property joint ventures, residential developments and acquisitions and disposals, Jonathan Moore advises on development transactions and David Colemanis very knowledgeable and detailed, but also pragmatic and takes a commercial view in terms of the overall transaction’. Highlights included advising Hanover Walton on its joint venture with Keepmoat regarding the development of its site in West Yorkshire, a 120-unit retirement village, which involved advising on the land sale contract, joint venture arrangement and infrastructure documents. Senior associates Julie Perkins and Mary-Rose Millin joined from Irwin Mitchell and RadcliffesLeBrasseur respectively. Russell Davidson joined Shoosmiths LLP.

Schofield Sweeney’s advises on landlord and tenant matters, planning promotion agreements, strategic land options and infrastructure agreements, and advises clients across a wide range of sectors, including retail, healthcare, education and renewables. Manjit Virdee recently advised Santander on the £9m transfer and refinancing of a residential and commercial property portfolio, transferred from an LLP to three connected limited companies. Other work includes advising schools and academy trusts on property disposals and variations. Practice head Darren Birkinshaw, Dean Jowett, Simon Petchey, Richard Innes and Adam Hastie are the other names to note. Empirica, the Trafford Centre, Persimmon Homes, ATC Properties and Thomas the Baker are also clients.

Ward Hadaway’s practice head Kevin Weston focuses on transactions involving property joint ventures, including landowner collaborations covering both mixed-use developments and regeneration schemes. Andrew Pliener handles residential development work, David Pridmore, who joined from Watson Burton LLP, is a key name for residential development work, property development, acquisitions and disposals, leasehold requirements and finance-related issues, Jonathan Dickson advises landowners, investors and charities on acquisitions, disposals, portfolio management, landlord and tenant work and utility agreements, and Simon Hellewell, who recently joined from HLW Keeble Hawson, has expertise in negotiating joint venture agreements for large development sites. Consultant Brian Green recently advised Allied London on the £85m sale of Manchester’s XYZ Building to German fund Union Investment, and also handled the refinancing of Leeds Dock for the same client. Judy Fawcett joined Shoosmiths LLP.

Berwins’ team has ‘a business-like approach while also giving good, sound advice in an easy to understand language’. Richard Wheeldon is the key contact and is best known for advising landowners on negotiating options, conditional contracts and land promotion agreements with residential developers and housebuilders. Recent highlights include advising CDP on a high-profile regional regeneration scheme, assisting Springall with securing an agricultural land option and the £2.7m sale of an adjoining residential property, and handling the acquisition of three apartment blocks for a property holding company. Former team head Sophie Barton moved to Newtons Solicitors Limited in June 2017.

At Blacks Solicitors LLP, the team is ‘responsive and understanding of clients’ needs, has good sector knowledge and a good understanding of commercial balance and realities’. The group has notable strengths in commercial landlord and tenant matters, commercial purchases and sales, property development work and real estate financing. Recent highlights include advising a manufacturing company on the purchase of a brownfield development site, and assisting an estate agent with establishing a limited company and the corporate restructure and transfer of assets from a partnership to the new company, which included transferring and refinancing nine mixed-use commercial properties. The group also assisted a property portfolio owner and a lender with the transfer of three large portfolios of commercial and residential properties into two limited companies, which involved SDLT considerations. Practice head Nicholas Dyson and Chris Waddingham are the key names. Ian Errington and associate Matthew Hutchinson joined from Gordons LLP and Optima Legal respectively. Glen Salt moved in-house position.

Langleys Solicitors LLPcompares extremely well’ to its competition. Practice head Tim Cross provides ‘excellent advice, knows his subject, gets the job done and is a pleasure to deal with’. Cross, who has expertise in development, investment and retail matters, recently advised Yorkshire-based chain W Boyes & Co on leases for several stores, and assisted the UK subsidiary of Käthe Wohlfahrt with a 25-year lease for a new York-based retail shop, Emma Warner, who specialises in landlord and tenant and estate management issues, property finance, and freehold disposals and acquisitions, advised a hotel group on the sale of a hotel to developers for residential development.

Mills & Reeve LLP provides ‘excellent partner-led service with the back-up resources of a major firm’. ‘Client-focused’ team head Simon Sherwood is ‘effective in getting deals closed and is a first-rate property lawyer’. The practice is best known for handling largescale investment transactions, high-end residential developments, portfolio management, and healthcare projects primarily concerning GP practices. The team manages DB Cargo’s rail freight property portfolio, comprising over 100 UK-based properties, recently advised London House Exchange Limited t/a Property Partner on various acquisitions of residential and mixed-use investment properties, and assisted GPI with multiple site assemblies and primary care centre development schemes.

Raworths’ practice is led by Alasdair Inglis, who handles public and private sector development and investor work; he advised Onward Holdings on the £1.9m purchase of an investment property in West Yorkshire. Andrew Lawson, who specialises in development work and is, according to one client, ‘one of the best property lawyers in the market’, assisted Handelsbanken with the £4.5m refinancing of a property portfolio, which involved a security over 21 properties, and the conversion of the properties from an LLP to a limited company. Other work includes advising the trustees of Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust on the lease agreement for a purpose-built warehouse for storage and distribution. Janice Dale, who focuses on social housing matters, is also noted.

Bevan Brittan LLP’s practice, led by Richard Stirk, has a strong reputation for handling high-value complex acquisition work, sales and leaseback schemes, disposals, joint ventures and developments. James Atkins leads the healthcare property team, Julie Cowan-Clark has social housing expertise and Lyndon Campbell, who was promoted to the partnership, is a residential development specialist. The team recently advised a healthcare waste group on the grant of a sub-lease of a development site, handled the purchase of a £30m development site for a developer, and assisted a property management company with the incorporation of a property portfolio. NHS Property Services, Sovereign Housing, Brunelcare and Canal & River Trust are clients.

Capsticks LLP’s team ‘is excellent in all respects’. ‘Highly experienced’ practice head Lisa Gearyhas a knack of explaining complex legal issues in a straightforward and helpful way’ and Emma Brecknock ‘is very experienced and particularly helpful when dealing with leases and licences’. Geary advised Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust on the property-related aspects of the retendering of a contract for the provision of renal services to the Trust, and assisted Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust with two GP practice takeovers. Other work included advising the partners of Friarwood Surgery on the sale of the practice premises to Assura.

Harrowells Solicitors’ practice head Stephen Proctor acts for landowner, developer, industrial and other commercial leasehold clients. Matthew Hayward, who made partner in 2016, has wide-ranging expertise spanning acquisition and disposals, lease agreements, and securitisation work for banking clients. Recent highlights include advising an investment client on portfolio management issues; assisting a separate investor on the purchase of a building with multiple lettings, including government agency tenants; and assisting the corporate team with due diligence exercises pertaining to business acquisitions, including the assignments of leases and associated documents.

LCF Law stands out for its ‘good business acumen and tailored advice’. The team is experienced in managing commercial property portfolios, advising developers on potential residential and commercial projects, assisting charities and pension funds with property estates or investments, and advising commercial leaseholders and tenants. Practice head Paul Anderson has ‘excellent technical knowledge of commercial property matters and develops good client relations’; his recent highlights include advising a property company on the £11m sale of an investment property in London, following the conversion from five flats to one dwelling resulting from a freehold acquisition. Other key team members include Richard Davis, David Jameson, Deborah Finan, Tim Axe and Simon Mordey.

McCormicks’ practice head Heather Roberts has considerable expertise in retail, landlord and tenant, finance and development matters. Recent highlights include advising the Premier League on landlord and tenant issues relating to the extension of its facilities in its London headquarters and assisting a property investment company with a multimillion-pound purchase of a property let to two financial institutions on an investment lease. The team also has considerable private client expertise; it advised on redevelopment proposals, refinancing and land transfers for estates in Derbyshire and Cumbria encompassing 100 properties. Other clients include Yorkshire Agricultural Society and Leeds United FC.

Richard Longton leads Metis Law LLP’s team, which has expertise in development and property finance matters, charity and trust property issues and portfolio acquisitions, as well as niche strengths in the microbrewery sector. The team advised Northern Powerhouse Developments on the purchase of two hotels and a large country house, which is intended to be developed into a hotel, which involved unitised sales of the hotel rooms to finance the acquisitions. Director Andrew Marshall advised a borrower, Prosperity Noor and its bank Svenska Handelsbanken on the refinancing of 28 properties in West Yorkshire, and also advised Manku Group and National Westminster Bank on the acquisition of a site in Leeds from Johnson Group Properties and on the refinancing of several residential properties.

Quick and helpful service combined with competitive pricing’ makes Ramsdens an ‘excellent’ choice. Practice head Greg Dolan has strengths in real estate M&A, commercial leases and investment portfolio-related work. Simon Mills advises on residential and commercial developments, landlord and tenant matters, and secured lending. Notable highlights include assisting various developers with the acquisition of 11 development projects in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, which included the £1.3m acquisition of a Manchester-based site to be converted into 116 apartments and five commercial retail units, and handling the acquisition of a retail park as part of a long-term investment project for an offshore property company.

At Weightmans, ‘advice is always concise and provided with a commercial reality reflecting industry knowledge’. Highly regarded team head Mark Crabtree specialises in advising leisure industry clients; he recently advised longstanding client Punch Taverns on converting several pubs into convenience stores, which involved handling lease agreement and warranties matters. Other work included assisting Enfield Council with the purchase of multiple properties subject to compulsory purchase orders, and advising Newham Council on replenishing its housing stocks. James Sargent, who joined from DLA Piper UK LLP in 2016, is experienced in handling development and investment work, acquisitions, disposals and landlord and tenant matters.

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

In partnership with...

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to