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Freeths LLP

Work 0845 634 2575
Fax 0845 634 2576

West Midlands: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Birmingham
Corporate and commercial: Birmingham - ranked: tier 3

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP is ‘building a strong regional franchise’ under the leadership of Lee Clifford, who is known in the market for his ‘strong private equity base’. Recent examples of Clifford’s work include acting for Away Resorts, an LDC-backed company, on the acquisitions of Cosways and Sandy Balls Estate, and assisting the management team of Clamason with its buyout of the company, backed by Connection Capital. Clifford also handles equity capital markets work and advised Autins Group on its £37m AIM listing. Other names to note are Tom Brown, who specialises in the funeral services sector and acted for the shareholders of Funeral Services Partnership on the sale of the company to Montagu; and legal director Ateeq Ahmed, who focuses on advising large corporates and represented Group Europe Handling in its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Cobalt Ground Solutions from Air France and Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij.

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West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Birmingham
Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 4

Freeths LLP

All problems and dangers are fully worked through’ at Freeths LLP, with the practice delivering a ‘supportive, but not flowery, response and summary’. Head of practice Richard Coates, who demonstrates an ‘ability to empathise with clients and extensive knowledge of law’, was active on various high-value cross-border mandates, and also handled a major breach of fiduciary duty claim. The team was significantly boosted by the hire of

Next generation lawyers

Richard Coates - Freeths LLP

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Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands - ranked: tier 2

Freeths LLP (Stoke on Trent)

At Freeths LLP, head of practice Stephen Hadley handles corporate and partnership litigation and has niche expertise in the mining and general minerals sector, where he acts for mineral operators and owners on a range of contentious issues, including subsidence and mining code claims. Hadley also regularly assists insolvency officeholders with litigation, and is acting for Baker Tilly, as trustee in bankruptcy, in a case seeking to determine the ownership of a portfolio of 13 properties following the insolvency of a member of the property-owning partnership. Consultant Tim Calloway handles professional negligence claims. Tarmac, Norcros and the Crown Estate are all clients of the practice.

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West Midlands: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 5

Freeths LLP (Birmingham)

Freeths LLP attracts praise for providing ‘a very professional and high standard of service coupled with great value for money’. The practice is led nationally by Julian Middleton in Leicester, while Rebecca Sawbridge heads the Birmingham team and Peter Gavin, whose advice ‘continues to prove invaluable’, heads the practice in Stoke. The team was joined by senior immigration manager John Craig in Birmingham, giving the firm additional strength in immigration. Gavin acted for an individual in a dispute before the Court of Appeal concerning allegations of misconduct and breach of confidentiality, while Sawbridge represented a fashion retailer in a complex unfair dismissal and age discrimination claim brought by a senior executive. In other highlights, the team provide advice to longstanding client Portmeirion on its acquisition of Wax Lyrical and the dismissal of a senior staff member; and acted for AP Racing in a dispute concerning breach of contract by one of its former employees who had joined a competitor. Other notable clients include Birmingham Metropolitan College, c2c and EH Smith.

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Immigration - ranked: tier 2

Freeths LLP (Birmingham)

The practice at Freeths LLP was recently joined by John Craig from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. He brings ‘excellent knowledge, attentiveness and a very good interpersonal style’ and has experience in point-based, EEA and family migration. Craig’s recent highlights include advising a retail client the proposed dismissal of a director based on allegations of illegal working, and acting for a high-profile individual with regards to their relocation to the US. The practice also has expertise in the education sector, where it is handling training seminars for Oxford Brookes University’s EEA staff on options in connection with the implications of Article 50, and assisted an academic with their settlement in the UK, which involved referring the case to the UKVI.

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West Midlands: Insurance

Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 4

Freeths LLP (Birmingham)

The professional negligence practice at Freeths LLP is ‘building a strong team with an impressive range of experience’, and was joined in 2016 by Louise Wilson and Richard Coates from Gowling WLG and Emms Gilmore Liberson, respectively. Wilson is ‘a very bright and experienced lawyer with a fantastic track record’ and the ‘charming’ Coates is ‘a strong lawyer and a pleasure to work with’; the pair recently acted for clients with regards to claims against solicitors, and defended a conveyancer in a claim brought against him regarding a share sale transaction he was not aware of.

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West Midlands: Projects energy and natural resources

Project finance and PFI
Project finance and PFI - ranked: tier 2

Freeths LLP (Stoke on Trent, Birmingham)

Freeths LLP has particular expertise in advising infrastructure investors and infrastructure funds on the financing (and more recently refinancing) of projects, and the team was again active in this regard in 2016. Stoke-based head of practice James Larmour, who is ‘proactive and commercial’, advised International Public Partnerships on various acquisitions in the education sector, including an additional 72% interest in the Wolverhampton Building Schools for the Future Project from Carillion. Larmour also represents public sector organisations and service providers on the procurement and operation of projects, and in another significant education sector mandate, he is acting for Hull Esteem Consortium LEP in relation to a number of schemes procured by Hull City Council, including two schools and various projects relating to Hull City of Culture. Other target sectors include energy, healthcare, regeneration, social housing and transport, and the team is advising Care UK on all aspects of its joint venture with Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to run services at a new health and wellbeing campus at Shepton Mallet.

Leading individuals

James Larmour - Freeths LLP

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West Midlands: Public sector

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 3

Freeths LLP (Birmingham)

Nathan Holden heads the national local authority practice at Freeths LLP and focuses on real estate and commercial projects including outsourcing arrangements, care home contracts and framework agreements for housing services. He is supported by commercial property expert Mitchell Ball, who acts for both private and public sector clients and has a track record in retail developments. Holden and Ball advised Leicester City Council on the regeneration of a site to make the area suitable for housing and office and retail development. Clifford acted alongside James Dyson on behalf of Birmingham City Council in connection with a number of projects, including providing due diligence support on state aid and negotiating loan and grant agreements. Other notable clients include the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council. Perveen Akhter is also recommended.

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West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham
Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 5

Freeths LLP

At Freeths LLP, managing partner Richard Beverley and Mitchell Ball continued to be active in the retail sector, where clients range from major supermarket chains to fashion boutiques. The team is also regularly instructed by the public sector, and advised Central Bedfordshire Council on its public-private partnership with Telereal Trillium to dispose of a 168-acre site at Arlesey.

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Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands - ranked: tier 4

Freeths LLP (Stoke on Trent)

At Freeths LLP, consultant Derek Morris and senior associate Ian Wilson are ‘very experienced in their field and deliver an excellent service’. The team’s expertise takes in a number of areas, including acquisitions and disposals on behalf of industrial, retail, leisure and educational clients; development work and negotiation of land agreements for site development; finance and security instructions on behalf of primary lenders, secondary lenders and pension schemes; and relocation work for blue-chip corporates. In 2016, the team handled a range of mandates, including acquisition work in the third sector, and advising on the property aspects of corporate transactions. Ensarb, Sanctuary Housing Association and NatWest are all active clients of the practice.

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West Midlands: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 3

Freeths LLP (Birmingham)

At Freeths LLP, Lee Clifford regularly handles high-value corporate and private equity transactions for clients in the retail, energy and natural resources, logistic and human capital sectors. Other key figures include Nigel Gardner, who recently advised a major social media moderator on its contracts with major brands including ITV and Disney, and acted for a leading global supplier of passenger carrying robotics on international projects for amusement rides. Mark Neale is prominent in the education and financial services sectors and assisted NCR with its supply of new ATMs and IT systems to high-street banks, and advised a major services outsourcing provider with regards to its multimillion-pound SAP development and maintenance arrangements.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Freeths LLP (Birmingham)

Freeths LLP is known for its ‘great efficiency and quick answers’ and for being ‘one of the most reactive and effective firms in the UK’. Practice head and national IP leader Simon Barker handles non-contentious and contentious work, although the majority of the team’s work revolves around intellectual property enforcement and protection. Barker (with the support of associate and litigation specialist Jonathan Mayner) recently acted for a leading European e-liquid producer in a trade mark and passing-off claim brought by the estate of a deceased high-profile personality. Senior associate Kishan Pattni is part of the team acting for a major retailer on a trade mark infringement claim filed by a media entity concerning an advertising strategy. Other highlights include handling a domain misappropriation matter involving allegations by a former director of a leading high efficiency plasma technology developer that the domain belonged to him, and overseeing the defence and subsequent counterclaims of a design right infringement claim on behalf of a UK furniture retailer. The Stoke-based Michael Servian is also recommended.

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Further information on Freeths LLP

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

East Midlands

Offices in Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester


Offices in London

North West

Offices in Manchester and Liverpool

South East

Offices in Milton Keynes and Oxford

West Midlands

Offices in Birmingham and Stoke on Trent

Yorkshire and the Humber

Offices in Sheffield and Leeds

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