The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon


Work 01223 461155
Fax 01223 316511
133155 CAMBRIDGE 8

James Simpson

Work 01223 461155

Work Department

Commercial property.


Partner in the commercial property team in Cambridge dealing with a wide range of matters including development, investment, landlord and tenant, and funding work. James has particular experience of site assembly, collaboration agreements, promotion agreements, options and pre-let agreements.


Frere Cholmeley Bischoff 1994-96; qualified 1996; Harbottle & Lewis 1996-2000; Hewitsons 2000 to date; made partner 2004.


Law Society.


Lancing College; University College London (BSc Hons 2(1)); College of Law, London (CPE; LPC).


All sports (both watching and playing), cinema and theatre.

East Anglia: Finance

Banking and finance

Within: Banking and finance

Hewitsons is ‘responsive, experienced, knowledgeable and good value for money’. It has a busy secured lending practice that often handles development project financings using property as security, and is also known for corporate acquisition finance and debt funding for SMEs. The firm is on the regional banking panels of Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Handelsbanken. The national practice is led from Northampton by Neil Harpham, with Cambridge-based partners James Lawrence, James Simpson and Charles Stevens all playing key roles. Highlights included advising a borrower on a £1.5m facility backed by property assets, acting for a large education institution on an investment finance loan, and securing a multimillion-pound loan for a listed company to fund overseas investments.

[back to top]

East Anglia: Public sector


Within: Education

At Hewitsons, ‘the overall level of service is very good; the firm has shown its expertise in this area over the years and the advice is thorough and comprehensive’, say clients, who value the firm’s ‘pragmatic and commercial advice’. The practice’s expertise encompasses real estate and construction projects, school restructuring and academisation projects, commercial matters and freedom of information issues. The ‘very knowledgeable and highly expert’ Chris Knight, who leads the charities and education teams, and solicitor Martyn Robinson are ‘highly knowledgeable, professional and responsive, always providing strong customer support’. They advised Morris Education Trust on its conversion into a multi-academy trust. They draw support from across the firm, including private wealth partner Bernadette O’Reilly, construction specialist and managing partner Colin Jones, and real estate partner James Simpson. Jones acted for City of Cambridge Education Foundation on the development of a new school site.

[back to top]

East Anglia: Real estate

Commercial property: Cambridge

Within: Commercial property: Cambridge

The team at Hewitsons is ‘extremely thorough and always has experts on tap’. Clients also praise its ‘high-quality work delivered to tight timescales’ and its team of ‘technically strong lawyers who go out of their way to help meet deadlines and help to work out the commercial risks’. The firm maintains a strong track record on major development projects such as Hill Residential’s multimillion-pound scheme at a University of Cambridge development site. It also stands out for its advice to clients such as Turnstone Estates on large and complex projects in the leisure and residential sectors. Its team also has a track record on strategic land deals, and regularly acts for life sciences companies, Oxford and Cambridge colleges and other significant clients in the education and charity sectors. James Simpson leads the Cambridge real estate team and regularly advises on investment and development deals, pre-let agreements, option agreements, property funding and leasehold matters. Strategic land and development specialist Martin Smith and senior associate Ceri Riddell ‘provide invaluable support in complex matters; they are thorough and yet still act in a timely manner’. Also recommended are Graeme Sampson, for his work on development, investment and landlord and tenant matters, and the ‘knowledgeable, practical, calm and constructive’ Susanne Hinde and associate Michael Russell. The team acted for Howard Lewisham on the refinancing, redevelopment and letting of a site in Lewisham, which included construction documentation for new industrial units. It also advised key client the Homes and Communities Agency on development projects including the grant of a building lease to Harlow Rugby Club for the construction of a new sports facility.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments worldwide

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