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Hewitsons

SHAKESPEARE HOUSE, 42 NEWMARKET ROAD, CAMBRIDGE, CB5 8EP, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01223 461155
Fax:
Fax 01223 316511
DX:
133155 CAMBRIDGE 8
Email:
Web:
www.hewitsons.com

East Anglia: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
Corporate and commercial: Cambridge - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

The team at¬†Hewitsons¬†‚Äėalways delivers everything in a friendly and concise way‚Äė and provides ‚Äėstrong advice at a good price point‚Äė. Clients are 'extremely pleased with the level the of service'. The firm handles public markets work, M&A deals in the technology sector, corporate finance work for a regional SME client base, and¬†restructuring and refinancing transactions in the property sector. Practice head¬†James Lawrence¬†specialises in public markets work but also has extensive experience in M&A deals, private equity transactions and MBOs. He acted for¬†Nuformix Technologies Limited in its ¬£17m reverse takeover of Levrett Plc. Lawrence is¬†'able to get to the core of the issues quickly, understands our challenges and works around the clock when time is of the essence', remarks one client.¬†Laurence Evans¬†has stepped up to take the mantle of retiring partner¬†Jason Williams, and is recommended for¬†complex share sales and purchases, corporate restructuring and assisting with AIM admissions. He handled Medigold Health Consultancy's purchase of a key competitor.¬†Head of technology¬†Andrew Priest¬†is recommended for IT, outsourcing, technology transfer and general commercial contracts. Commercial partner¬†Bill Thatcher¬†is also recommended.

Leading individuals

James Lawrence - Hewitsons

Next generation lawyers

Laurence Evans - Hewitsons

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East Anglia: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Cambridge
Commercial litigation: Cambridge - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

Hewitsons is 'an excellent firm with a very pragmatic and effective approach to litigation'. 'It ranks high amongst provincial firms of a similar size and nature, offering a full range of services, whilst retaining an individual and responsive approach to clients' remarks one barrister. Simon Biggin, whose litigation experience spans more than 30 years, and senior solicitor Stewart Morrison are 'skilled litigators who are delightful to work with and have sound tactical judgment; they are very approachable and remain calm under pressure'. The dispute resolution practice not only has a long-standing reputation in the Cambridge market, but also acts for clients from across the UK and in Europe, Africa, Israel and the US. A key highlight for Biggin and Morrison was their work for a landed estate in a judicial review test case concerning a decision of the Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs relating to a substantial penalty imposed for alleged breaches of the Cross Compliance Requirements of the Common Agricultural Policy. They also handled a complex dispute for a farming partnership arising from the importation of vegetable plants into the United Kingdom from Holland.

Leading individuals

Simon Biggin - Hewitsons

Next generation lawyers

Stewart Morrison - Hewitsons

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East Anglia: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

Hewitsons has 'a responsive team with decent strength in depth'. The firm's practice spans its entire office network and is led from Northampton by Neil Harpham, but the Cambridge office has significant expertise in the form of corporate partner James Lawrence, commercial real estate partner James Simpson and residential property partner Tim Middleton. The firm handles a broad range of secured lending work, particularly in deals in which property is used as security, as well as acquisition finance and debt funding transactions for SMEs. Among its lender clients are domestic banks, multi-national companies and private investors, and it also acts for numerous borrowers. It is on the panels of Santander UK, Lloyds Bank and Svenska Handelsbanken. A highlight from 2017 was its work for both the lender and the borrower in a multimillion-pound mortgage deal secured against a large portfolio of residential properties.

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East Anglia: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

Hewitsons provides 'excellent service, great depth of knowledge and quick response times'. 'We use them for the depth of their knowledge', remarks one client who also notes that 'responses to instructions and queries are prompt'. The firm's main strengths lie in High Court litigation, including restrictive covenants, confidential information and breach of fiduciary duty disputes; business reorganisation including individual and collective redundancies; Employment Tribunal matters; and commercial transactions and outsourcing including TUPE transfers. Valerie Lambert, who regularly acts for commercial clients in High Court disputes, is praised for her 'strong interpersonal skills, depth of knowledge and commercial appreciation'. Key partner Elizabeth Swinburn is 'able to communicate on all levels with all different types of people and is extremely professional, personable, approachable and patient; it is a real pleasure to work with her'. The practice counts Avionicare Limited and VKR Group among its clients.

Leading individuals

Valerie Lambert - Hewitsons

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Pensions
Pensions - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

The pensions practice at Hewitsons is 'excellent - the lawyers are always helpful, provide clear advice and are reasonably priced'. Head of pensions Christopher Nuttall works mainly from Northampton but is a regular attendee at the Cambridge office. Clients describe him as 'very pragmatic, clear and always keen to help clients'. The practice acts for employers and trustees of private sector occupational pension schemes throughout the UK and also has significant experience in public sector pensions, particularly involving the local government, healthcare and education sectors. Among the practice's clients are franchise car dealer Perrys Group Limited, trustees of the Sortex Final Salary Scheme, trustees of the Domino Printing Sciences plc Pension Scheme, and Biochrom Limited.

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East Anglia: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

Hewitsons

Hewitsons is 'well-placed to advise on all agricultural and rural matters' and it 'provides a high level of advice which represents great value for money'. The firm is on the National Farmers' Union panel for Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk, and has a nationwide client base that includes mixed estates, major producers of cereal, potatoes, herbs, vegetables and livestock, and some of the largest conservation landowners in the UK. Practice head Denise Wilkinson 'demonstrates a broad depth of knowledge and is always pragmatic and astute; her ability to grasp the matter, provide focused advice and get the job completed without any fuss are a testament to her negotiating and advisory skills'. One client notes that 'she is particularly good at understanding clients' objectives and thinking outside the box'.  She recently advised a client on an option agreement for a fracking project, and concluded the purchase of a plot of conservation standard grassland. Clients also praise the wider team, which include Charles Stevens , who handles acquisitions and disposals including some renewable energy projects; consultant Charles Hewitson, who handles trust matters for agricultural clients; regulatory specialist Deborah Sharples; James Lawrence for commercial contracts; property litigator Natalie Minott; and Lucinda Brown, who handles contentious farming trust and probate matters.

Leading individuals

Denise Wilkinson - Hewitsons

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Charities and not-for-profit
Charities and not-for-profit - ranked: tier 1

Hewitsons

The firm-wide charities team at¬†Hewitsons¬†is led from Northampton by Chris Knight, and the Cambridge office is home to highly experienced practitioners including rural and property partner¬†Denise Wilkinson, whom clients describe as¬†‚Äėclear-thinking and excellent at spotting risks in land transactions'. The practice has more than¬†400 charity and education clients, among which are¬†RSPB, Canal and River Trust, United Church Schools Trust, United Learning, The Henry Moore Foundation, The Rothschild Foundation, The Thalidomide Trust and Veterans‚Äô Aid, as well as¬†numerous¬†Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Wilkinson recently acted for a nationwide conservation charity in complex property matters relating to reclamation land. This included negotiating a lease from a charitable trust. Senior¬†solicitor¬†Martyn Robinson¬†handles charity formation, amendments to governing documents, incorporations and re-structuring, mergers, academy conversions, and dealings with the Charity Commission. He recently worked with Knight on behalf of long-standing client YMCA Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on its merger with YMCA Suffolk to create YMCA Trinity Group. Planning and environment specialist¬†Deborah Sharples¬†frequently deals with property, planning and and governance issues, and¬†Colin Jones¬†handles construction matters for clients in the not-for-profit sector.

Leading individuals

Denise Wilkinson - Hewitsons

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1

Hewitsons

Hewitsons has 'a very competent team in this specialist area' and one barrister notes that 'the Cambridge office has a first-rate team that matches any specialist team in London'. Lucinda Brown, who leads the contentious trusts and probate practice and is a full member of ACTAPS, and senior solicitor and associate ACTAPS member Kate Harris are 'outstanding lawyers - efficient, knowledgeable and with a keen appreciation of an individual client’s problems in this difficult area of the law'. Brown's recent work included acting for private charitable trust in its defence of a claim under the Inheritance Act for reasonable financial provision brought by the widow of a deceased former Olympic rower. The case involved a property portfolio of farmland and residential property in Northamptonshire, and the practice secured a favourable settlement for the charity. Brown also acted for an adult child of a deceased man in her defence of a claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate by one of her sisters. The practice minimised the payment to the claimant.

Leading individuals

Lucinda Brown - Hewitsons

Next generation lawyers

Kate Harris - Hewitsons

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge - ranked: tier 1

Hewitsons

Hewitsons¬†provides¬†‚Äėexcellent prompt, reliable and trustworthy service‚Äė. 'Its expertise in this area is excellent and it provides very practical advice', remarks one client. The practice administers a large number of trusts and has recognised expertise in tax planning and probate matters. Head of department Daniel Curtis¬†is ‚Äėextremely experienced and knowledgeable and is adept at asking pertinent questions, anticipating issues and suggesting solutions'.¬†He regularly advises family trusts on issues including succession planning, the establishment of limited liability partnerships, inheritance tax and property relief.¬†Elizabeth Davies¬†handles¬†estates with complex agricultural and business tax relief issues and is¬†‚Äėfirst class ‚Äď friendly, patient, good at explaining issues in an unhurried manner‚Äė.¬†Bernadette O‚ÄôReilly, who advises on trusts, tax, charities, probate and succession planning issues for UK and international clients, and associates¬†Emma Satterly¬†and Kelly Wardell¬†'provide an outstanding service with a huge amount of common sense and practical advice'. Clients also describe solicitor Elizabeth Herbert¬†as ‚Äėextremely pleasant, friendly, and up-to-date in her knowledge of international law; she gives¬†welcome and sound advice‚Äô.

Leading individuals

Bernadette O'Reilly - Hewitsons

Daniel Curtis - Hewitsons

Next generation lawyers

Kelly Wardell - Hewitsons

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East Anglia: Public sector

Education
Education - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

Hewitsons is 'overall a very good firm - its knowledge of the education and charity sectors is very good'. One client remarks that the firm 'offers a very thorough and comprehensive service that we value greatly'. It has a diverse client base consisting of schools and further or higher education institutions, to which it provides expertise in real estate and construction projects, freedom of information and data protection issues, academy and independent school restructuring, commercial matters and employment law. Practice head Chris Knight now works from the Northampton office but the firm retains highly recommended practitioners in the Cambridge office such as 'very thorough and knowledgeable' senior solicitor Martyn Robinson. Robinson acted with Knight for a multi-academy trust on a sponsor licence to allow access to students from outside the European Economic Area. Clients also recommend property partners James Simpson and Susanne Hinde for their 'prompt responses, pragmatic and commercial advice with deep specialist expertise'.

Next generation lawyers

Martyn Robinson - Hewitsons

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East Anglia: Real estate

Commercial property: Cambridge
Commercial property: Cambridge - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

At Hewitsons¬†‚Äėthe level of service is good‚Äė and the ‚Äėuser-friendly, sound and practical team has an excellent knowledge base and is both quick to respond and comprehensive in its protection of clients‚Äô interests'. One client describes it as¬†‚Äėthe best all round local firm for those dealing in property and development'. The firm has a long-established and respected commercial property practice that has recognised expertise in¬†site acquisitions and disposals, strategic land transactions, development projects and property asset management across East Anglia and further afield. Its client base includes standout names such as¬†the Homes and Communities Agency, Turnstone Estates and Hill Residential Limited, and the firm receives regular instructions from¬†technology, biotechnology and life sciences companies based in Cambridge, as well as from numerous Oxbridge Colleges.¬†James Simpson¬†leads the Cambridge real estate practice and is ‚Äėpragmatic - he has no ego to fuel'. He handled several joint venture agreements for Hill Residential last year, and also advised it on the University of Cambridge‚Äôs North West Cambridge development site, which has a development value of ¬£150m. The project will create¬†a new mixed academic and urban community on the¬†140-hectare site, which currently contains a mix of farmland and University buildings.¬†Susanne Hinde, who handles property investment and landlord/tenant matters,¬†is ‚Äėin tune with clients‚Äô requirements and always approachable'. Partner¬†Graeme Sampson, senior associate¬†Ceri Riddell¬†and associate¬†Michael Russell¬†are also recommended.¬†Martin Smith¬†joined¬†Maples Teesdale LLP.

Leading individuals

James Simpson - Hewitsons

Next generation lawyers

Ceri Riddell - Hewitsons

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

Hewitsons handles high-profile projects that encompass commercial, residential and infrastructure projects such as the Northstowe project in Cambridgeshire for the Homes & Communities Agency, which is now known as Homes England. This multimillion-pound project will see the creation of 10,000 new-build homes and will see Northstowe become the largest new town since the development of Milton Keynes. The work included drafting the NEC3 contract for a tender for the highways and infrastructure contractor for the development of Northstowe, and assisting with detailed and complex contract negotiations. The practice is now led from Milton Keynes by Tim Richards but the Cambridge office has experienced construction lawyers in managing partner Colin Jones and legal director Lorna Carter, who have worked together for more than 20 years. Carter led the Northstowe project. She also worked with Jones on behalf of the UK's largest family-owned business, Marshall Group Properties, on an £80m development project that will see the creation of 1,300 homes, a primary school, shopping centre, replacement petrol filling station, playing fields, allotments and open space infrastructure. Another key project for Carter was a £25m project for St Andrew’s Healthcare to expand its mental health facilities at a site in Birmingham.

Leading individuals

Lorna Carter - Hewitsons

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 1

Hewitsons

Hewitsons handles every aspect of environmental law and frequently advises clients on compliance with permitting, nuisance and pollution regulations, as well as the defence of claims when offences have been committed. Its work encompasses contentious, non-contentious and criminal matters, and the practice undertakes its own advocacy in the Magistrates’ Court and in public inquiries concerning environmental permitting. It is well-known for its work in the intensive livestock industry, for which it receives referrals from national representative bodies such as the NPA and the NFU, as well as from private consultancies. In 2017, it handled work for pig and poultry enterprises in East Anglia and beyond. One source remarks that practice head Deborah Sharples is 'one of the most knowledgeable lawyers in this field of law; her experience and her attention to detail cannot be bettered'. Her recent work included representing Therfield Regulation Trust in a public inquiry regarding its efforts to deregister common land for development, along with a project to improve the ecology of the remainder of the site. She also counts Homes England, Saint-Gobain Building Distribution and Max Recycling among her clients.

Leading individuals

Deborah Sharples - Hewitsons

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 1

Hewitsons

The practice at¬†Hewitsons¬†is 'very good ‚Äď helpful, diligent and practical'. The firm is known for 'comprehensive advice and, importantly, firm recommendations as opposed to just a list of options' and one client remarks that 'work is always done to a very high standard and the team understands developers' needs and perspectives and gives well researched, practical, clear and insightful legal advice'. That work includes¬†large-scale development projects, including residential and mixed use urban expansions, and the firm acts for¬†Homes England in substantial regeneration projects.¬†Leading light Deborah Sharples¬†(who delivers 'fresh thinking and sensible advice')¬†and 'pragmatic and professional' senior associate¬†Gemma Dudley¬†are 'client-friendly and have good attention to detail'. 'Her knowledge under scrutiny is to be applauded,' says a client of Dudley who is 'an exceptional planning lawyer with excellent in-depth knowledge of legislation, case law, its implications and practical application; she provides clear, thoughtful advice which delivers practical solutions to complex issues'. The practice's recent highlights include advising Homes England on the proposed development of a 330-hectare former military site at Lodge Hill Camp in Kent to create 2,000 new homes. Another matter involved advising trustees of a landowner on¬†a Section 106 agreement relating to a development of 279 houses and serviced land for a primary school in which provisions are to be made for affordable housing, financial payments, children‚Äôs outdoor play space, the school, fire hydrants and a travel plan.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 1

Hewitsons

Hewitsons 'offers a very responsive service and its key strengths are its ability to understand clients' needs and the quality and knowledge of its people'. Clients point out that the practice 'can always source wise, timely and informed advice and the price is worth paying for the quality'. One barrister remarks that 'the quality of their work, and the value they add to cases, rivals the best of the London and national firms in my experience'. The firm handles contentious property matters high-net-worth individuals, companies and clients in the agriculture sector. This includes work for of charitable and private wealth funds on disputes relating to commercial and residential developments. Former practice head Robert McLellan joined Keystone Law as a consultant but partner Natalie Minott joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP to lead the real estate litigation practice. She is 'a tenacious and brilliant lawyer, adept at skilfully handling even the most difficult of cases', according to one client. Clients also recommend senior solicitors Kate Harris (who is 'bright, responsive and highly competent') and Kate Church. In one recent case, the practice acted for the a government department as tenant of a London property in a dormant dilapidations claim that could not be resolved directly by surveyors.

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East Anglia: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

Hewitsons 'has an uncanny knack of turning the complex into something extremely clear and straightforward', according to one client. The firm acts for both suppliers and purchasers of IT across a wide range of industry sectors and it counts Microsoft Corporation and a number of its subsidiaries among its clients. Its recent work includes advising on EU Framework Programme contracts in IT fields and handling data protection compliance matters. Head of technology Andrew Priest  has extensive experience in IT outsourcing, technology transfer and general commercial contracts. He recently handled an IT services agreement and a software licence agreement on behalf of a wireless internet service provider. Bill Thatcher has nearly 30 years' experience in non-contentious IT matters. One client remarked that in negotiations with a US corporate he was 'able to enable closure on deals which otherwise seemed impossible'. European Molecular Biology Laboratory and The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundation are among the practice's clients.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Hewitsons

At Hewitsons 'the level of service is exemplary, response time is excellent - especially if things are flagged as time-critical - and the level of understanding of our specialised business area is often astounding', according to one client. For a client base that includes SMEs, multinational companies and Cambridge colleges, the practice handles the international licensing of IP rights, contracts for the development of medical devices, and disputes including IP infringements on the internet. 'His depth of knowledge in the area of IP licensing is amazing and he has an uncanny knack of turning the complex into something extremely clear and straightforward', say clients of Bill Thatcher . The practice also calls upon litigator Mark Elmslie to handle contentious matters, which last year included a case for the British Institute of Interior Design concerning the use of its name. Head of technology Andrew Priest is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Bill Thatcher - Hewitsons

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Further information on Hewitsons

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Hewitsons in other jurisdictions.

East Anglia

Offices in Cambridge

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