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South East: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx - ranked: tier 2


VWV's 'very effective' corporate and commercial team in Watford was further strengthened by the firm's acquisition of healthcare specialist Lockharts, bringing on board partnership specialist Paul Werrell. In addition to healthcare, the practice's sector expertise also encompasses pharmaceuticals and life sciences, where clients include Sigma Pharmaceuticals; technology, where it has acted for more than 30 tech start-ups in 2017; education, where the practice has advised on a number of conversion matters for multi-academy trusts; and banking, where it regularly acts on large institutional lending and refinancing transactions, as well as for secondary lenders and borrowers. Richard Phillips heads the team and is 'a very capable lawyer who is also able to see the bigger picture, meaning he can give practical advice not merely legal technical guidance'. In an illustration of the practice's cross-border workload, Phillips acted of the sale of a Norwegian software company to an English purchaser. Other highlights included advising the National Pharmacy Association on an investment into a technology company that has developed an app to assist pharmacies with streamlining deliveries, improving record keeping and enhancing patient safety; and acting on the sale of Bodoni Systems to Agfa Graphics. Other key figures include Emma Cameron, who regularly advises on technology-related transactions, and Paul Gershlick, who heads the firm's pharmaceuticals and life sciences practice.

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South East: Human resources

Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx - ranked: tier 2


VWV is rated for its 'pragmatic, balanced and reasonable advice and its ability to provide workable alternatives to complex employment problems'.  The practice in Watford, which works closely with the teams in Bristol, London and Birmingham to provide a national employment offering, is highly regarded for its work in the higher education, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and recruitment sectors.  Michael Delaney (whose 'insight, knowledge and commercial aptitude are exceptionally sound') recently acted for Westminster Homecare in an Employment Tribunal claim for constructive  and wrongful dismissal brought by a former employee; Delaney successfully argued for a reduction in the compensation award by 30%. He also represented Squad Security in Employment Tribunal claims alleging unfair dismissal, victimisation, sex discrimination, and breach of contract.

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South East: Public sector

Education - ranked: tier 4


VWV fields an education team that attracts praise for its 'excellent service and sector knowledge' and for providing 'value for money that is difficult to beat'. The practice has wide-ranging expertise in education-sector matters, although it is in the higher education and further education sectors where it is best known; illustrative clients include The University of Southampton, for which the practice advises on employment matters. Recent work includes defending the client in an employment tribunal claim brought by a former employee for constructive unfair dismissal as well as direct and indirect sex discrimination. The practice also acted for the University of East London on the university's template agreement for the delivery of degree apprenticeships under the government's Apprenticeship Standards. Bettina Rigg heads the education practice from the firm's London office; key figures in Watford include Emma-Jane Dalley and Jon Durham.

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South East: Real estate

Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx - ranked: tier 2


VWV's commercial property practice acts for property developers on residential, commercial and mixed-use developments, as well as advising landowners, investors, corporate occupiers and lenders on a range of real estate mandates. Recent highlights include advising e-commerce solutions provider, Salmon, on a pre-let of new office premises in Watford; acting for Imagination Technologies on a sale and leaseback transaction of the client's headquarters in King's Langley; and acting for Laxton Properties on a proposed development involving 36 dwellings and social housing. David Marsden handles property development matters for clients such as Nationcrest. Also recommended are finance specialist Joe Kwok and David Power, who jointly heads the property development team with Marsden.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 4


VWV provides 'practical advice' to educational establishments, public sector organisations, religious institutions, investors and developers. The practice handles the full range of property-related disputes, from dilapidations and evictions to overage disputes. Recent work includes acting for the lender in a high-value mortgage recovery claim, acting for the tenant in a lease renewal of commercial premises in London's West End, which has involved issues regarding change of use, and acting for a charity as tenant in challenging a landlord's opposition of the renewal of two leases. Laura Seaman heads the practice and provides 'clear, professional advice'.

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Further information on VWV

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Offices in London

South East

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Offices in Birmingham

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