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Birketts LLP

KINGFISHER HOUSE, 1 GILDERS WAY, NORWICH, NR3 1UB, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 01603 232300
Fax:
Fax 01603 230533
DX:
5230 NORWICH
Email:
Web:
www.birkets.co.uk

Top-tier Firm rankings

Firm Rankings


East Anglia: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge
Corporate and commercial: Cambridge - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLPdemonstrates a high level of professionalism’, with clients citing the team’s ‘accurate, in-depth and timely advice’. The three-partner team in Cambridge can draw on expertise from across the firm’s network of four offices nationally to act for a diverse client base of start-up businesses, established family-owned enterprises and public companies covering sectors such as food, technology, energy, agriculture, transport and distribution. In an illustration of its growing workload of high-value international mandates, the firm advised Expedeon on its €35m reverse takeover of Frankfurt-listed German company Sygnis AG. Other 2016 highlights included acting for Lawrence Dawson on the £27m sale of shares in Medisafe Holdings to US-based STERIS; and assisting John Henry Group with a £23m equity investment and the partial exit of its management team, which involved a pre-investment reorganisation and investment by Growth Capital Partners comprising a mixture of equity and an issuance of Guernsey loan notes. The firm also counts Palletforce, Respoke and Kirton Healthcare among its clients. Key figures include corporate finance partner and team leader Adrian Seagers, corporate transaction specialist James Allen and ‘excellent corporate lawyerQuentin Golder, who focuses on deals in the technology sector involving early-stage companies and is ‘helpful, thorough and able to support clients in complex matters involving many different jurisdictions’.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Adrian Possener - Birketts LLP

James Allen - Birketts LLP

James Austin - Birketts LLP

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

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Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in East Anglia
Leading individuals (region-wide)

Adrian Possener - Birketts LLP

James Allen - Birketts LLP

James Austin - Birketts LLP

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

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Corporate and commercial: Ipswich
Corporate and commercial: Ipswich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP’s pre-eminent corporate and commercial team in Ipswich was further strengthened with the recruitment of senior corporate lawyer Alexandra Nelson. She joined from Reed Smith LLP in London and has particular experience in matters relating to export control and sanctions compliance, especially for those companies in the aerospace and defence and shipping industries. Senior partner James Austin leads the team, which includes corporate finance and banking partner Mark Henry; IT contracts and data protection expert Mark Gipson, who frequently advises on matters relating to franchising, agency and distribution agreements; and legal director Andrew Tubb, whose broad corporate finance expertise encompasses acquisitions, disposals, MBOs and reorganisations for sellers, buyers and other investors. The firm acts for regional and national businesses such as Notcutts, Silk Industries, Muntons and Nationwide Metal Recycling. Recent highlights include the sale of a food sector business, which involved complex negotiations relating to ongoing supply agreements; the multimillion-pound purchase of a company in the insurance sector; and the purchase of an import and distribution business from a US multinational.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Adrian Possener - Birketts LLP

James Allen - Birketts LLP

James Austin - Birketts LLP

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

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Corporate and commercial: Norwich
Corporate and commercial: Norwich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Leathes Prior is best known for advising on mid-market M&A transactions across a range of sectors not only in Norfolk, but throughout East Anglia and nationally. Team head Paul Warman and Peter Sheppard each have more than 25 years’ experience in corporate law and, along with Richard Guthrie, form one of the region’s most respected teams. Ed Savory joined Birketts LLP but the team took on two newly qualified solicitors in Richard Turner and Alex Saunders. The practice has a growing workload; in 2016 the team advised on 27 acquisitions and 10 disposals, including a number of acquisitions of veterinary practices for CVS (UK) Limited. The firm also acted for Budgens franchisees on numerous disposals, including the sale by Bens Limited of its Woodbridge store to East of England Co-operative Society. Another highlight saw Warman act for the management team of Subsea Protection Systems on the acquisition of the company’s entire issued share capital.

Birketts LLP is ‘a high-performing and respected law firm’ that provides ‘first-class service; the very professional, solid team is quick to assist and thorough in its advice’. The team is led by Adrian Possener, who is singled out as a ‘very clear thinker’, and includes partner Greg Allan, who is viewed as ‘pragmatic and skilful in dealing with the complexities of any issue’. Also recommended are senior associate Paul Palik, who is ‘very supportive and goes the extra mile for clients’, and solicitor Nikki Reid, who is ‘a real asset to the firm – excellent to work with, efficient and knowledgeable’. Clients also pick out legal directors Ed Savory for his franchising expertise and Erika Clarke for her knowledge of the public and not-for-profit sectors. The firm recruited associate Vicki Mitman, formerly of Leathes Prior and currently affiliate forum chair of the British Franchise Association, augmenting its strength in brand protection and franchising. Highlights included advising Palletforce on its strategic acquisition of QTR Transport Ltd, and assisting international oil engineering group Derrick Services with a disposal involving complex cross-border matters. The firm also acted for Woodforde’s Brewery on its sale, and advised an educational institution on its proposed merger.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Adrian Possener - Birketts LLP

James Allen - Birketts LLP

James Austin - Birketts LLP

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

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Corporate and commercial: Peterborough
Leading individuals (region-wide)

Adrian Possener - Birketts LLP

James Allen - Birketts LLP

James Austin - Birketts LLP

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Norwich)

Birketts LLP is ‘exceptional – the quality of the personnel is excellent’. The practice provides transactional tax advice on corporate M&A transactions, notably for family and owner-managed businesses, and advises on the tax implications of strategic land development and employee incentive schemes. It has a large client base in the farming industry and is also known for its experience in contentious matters. Senior associate Karl Pocock leads the team and has 14 years’ experience as a specialist in corporate tax matters. The firm’s tax disputes practice draws on the extensive knowledge and experience of tax consultant Carol Bun; she has in-depth understanding of tax and VAT issues within the context of corporate finance, IPOs, private equity transactions, M&A, restructurings, real estate deals and employee remuneration. Senior associate Lisa Hayward, who leads the firm’s newly formed employee incentives practice, is also a key part of the corporate tax practice. Recent work includes advising the shareholders of Medisafe Holdings on the tax implications of the company’s sale to US-based company Steris.

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EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 3

Birketts LLP (Norwich)

Birketts LLP’s Norwich office has a strong focus on commercial matters involving international transactions with a Dutch element. Consultant Andrew Wood, who is part of the firm’s corporate and commercial team, was recently appointed as the new Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of the Netherlands for Norwich. Legal director Erika Clarke has a strong practice in public procurement matters. In Ipswich, associate Philippa Dyer handles competition law and dawn raids. 2016 highlights included acting for a well-known commercial equipment manufacturer on EU regulations governing the energy efficiency of its products in order to ensure compliance with legislation ahead of their launch. The team also acted for a charity that applied for EU funding to deliver new projects.

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East Anglia: Crime, fraud and licensing

Crime: fraud
Crime: fraud - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich)

Birketts LLP has a strong bench of advocates including barristers Laura Thomas and Matthew Gowen, both of whom have previous experience at leading criminal chambers. Thomas and Gowen, assisted by solicitor Joanna Kasprzyk, advised two hauliers charged with a £250,000 conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation. Both defendants received suspended prison sentences after admitting liability of £37,000. The team, along with senior associate Julie Gowland and associate Philippa Dyer, also defended a client accused of five counts of fraud against an executive head teacher at a middle school academy federation. At trial, the prosecution decided to offer no evidence and the £150,000 case was dismissed. The firm also handled a £1m case of fraudulent trading and a $300,000 case concerning money-laundering.

Leading individuals

Laura Thomas - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Julie Gowland - Birketts LLP

Philippa Dyer - Birketts LLP

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Crime: general
Crime: general - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Norwich)

Birketts LLP has a reputation for successfully defending serious private crime matters for companies and individuals nationwide. It also defends national motor groups, companies and individuals in road transport and traffic crime and is the only Road Haulage Association panel member in East Anglia. Barrister Laura Thomas leads the team. Assisted by barrister Matthew Gowen and solicitor Joanna Kasprzyk, Thomas represented a client arrested initially for assisting his wife’s suicide and subsequently her murder. This complex case involving an extremely ill victim with poor quality of life is now awaiting a decision on prosecution. Senior associate Julie Gowland and associate Philippa Dyer are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Laura Thomas - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Julie Gowland - Birketts LLP

Philippa Dyer - Birketts LLP

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Licensing
Licensing - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Norwich)

Associate Julie Gowland leads a team at Birketts LLP that has a strong regional presence and a dedicated focus on licensing matters. Its diverse client base includes brewers, hotel chains, night clubs, race courses, event operators, churches, wedding venues, public houses and concert promoters. Solicitor Joanna Kasprzyk is part of the corporate criminal defence team in which the licensing practice sits, as is experienced barrister Laura Thomas. The team advised TA Hotel Collection on numerous licensing applications including variations to premises licences. It also prepared several new premises licences for Gastro Pubs Ltd, which operates Middletons Steakhouse & Grill outlets. Clients also include Patisserie Valerie and Whitwell & Reepham Railway.

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East Anglia: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Cambridge
Commercial litigation: Cambridge - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP provides ‘excellent service and has detailed knowledge of corporate, commercial and insolvency law, which is useful in covering all aspects of a dispute’. The department not only has a strong stream of local work, but is also increasing its exposure to matters with a cross-border element thanks to team head Laurence Weeks, who has ‘excellent depth of knowledge in dispute resolution and a pragmatic, sensible and realistic approach that enables him to explain options clearly and calmly’. Weeks and associate Naomi Westcott represented Powerscourt Services in a multimillion-pound case involving allegations of fraud, breach of contract and defamation relating to the operation of farmland in Argentina. Another highlight saw Weeks successfully bring a £2m claim on behalf of wedding venue operator Alterra Farms Limited for misrepresentation by a company that had a contractual agreement to promote the business. The firm also acted for Roundshield Partners in a £600,000 claim concerning deal fees for financial transactions, in which defendants are domiciled in the US and Ireland. On the defendant side, the firm is representing The Honourable Charles George Yule Balfour in a £30m case brought by Courtwood Holdings for breach of fiduciary duty.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Laurence Weeks - Birketts LLP

Matthew Atkins - Birketts LLP

Max Roessler - Birketts LLP

Paul Matthews - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Emma Albins - Birketts LLP

Naomi Westcott - Birketts LLP

Robert Tiffen - Birketts LLP

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Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in East Anglia
Leading individuals (region-wide)

Laurence Weeks - Birketts LLP

Matthew Atkins - Birketts LLP

Max Roessler - Birketts LLP

Paul Matthews - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Emma Albins - Birketts LLP

Naomi Westcott - Birketts LLP

Robert Tiffen - Birketts LLP

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Commercial litigation: Ipswich
Commercial litigation: Ipswich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Clients of Birketts LLP are quick to praise the ‘very quick, very reliable service, which demonstrates a high level of knowledge’, as well as the team’s ability to ‘give practical advice and quickly build an appropriate team for each case’. Its broad spectrum of work includes tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements, product liability and partnership disputes. Matthew Atkins has been one of the region’s foremost litigators for more than 25 years and associate Emma Albins is a rising star. Highlights included representing an overseas food supplier in a dispute with a customer in the UK; obtaining a favourable settlement by mediation in a claim against a supplier of hired machinery; resolving a complex research and development agreement dispute; and acting on behalf of a UK-based multinational enterprise in arbitrations related to claims arising from share and business sales. The firm’s clients include Greene King, Archant Community Media and Forfarmers UK.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Laurence Weeks - Birketts LLP

Matthew Atkins - Birketts LLP

Max Roessler - Birketts LLP

Paul Matthews - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Emma Albins - Birketts LLP

Naomi Westcott - Birketts LLP

Robert Tiffen - Birketts LLP

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Commercial litigation: Norwich
Commercial litigation: Norwich - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has ‘a very good offering’ thanks largely to veteran litigators Paul Matthews and Max Roessler, both of whom have excellent reputations in the local area. The experience at partner level is backed up by the team’s strength in depth across litigation and alternative dispute resolution at other levels of seniority. Senior associate Robert Tiffen, who ‘quickly gets to the nub of the issue and is commercial in his outlook’, is highly recommended and clients note that ‘he never sits on the fence but instead provides useful advice’. Matthews defended a claim brought by Capital Insurance Services against client Andrew Wood concerning alleged mis-selling practices and their validity under the terms of an indemnity provided under a sale and purchase agreement. The £2.8m case is awaiting judgment in the Supreme Court. Tiffen recently acted for a high-profile client in a high-value claim concerning the termination of a sponsorship agreement.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Laurence Weeks - Birketts LLP

Matthew Atkins - Birketts LLP

Max Roessler - Birketts LLP

Paul Matthews - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Emma Albins - Birketts LLP

Naomi Westcott - Birketts LLP

Robert Tiffen - Birketts LLP

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich)

Birketts LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service’. The ‘friendly and helpful’ team ‘is always available to deal with queries’. Litigation partner Matthew Atkins and 40-year veteran debt recovery manager Robert Howardalways know the best route to take with debtors’. They lead a team that includes associate Emma Albins and three debt recovery assistants, and which acts for private companies, professional partnerships and Plcs such as Greene King, Archant Community Media, Ford & Slater Leyland DAF and Haven Power Limited. In a key matter the firm acted for a company pursuing a customer for unpaid commercial utility bills. The matter, which involved complex issues around the partition of the premises in question, was settled at mediation.

Leading individuals

Robert Howard - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich )

Clients of Birketts LLP rate the firm for its ‘excellent, cost-effective and attentive service’; it is ‘the best firm in East Anglia’, according to one. Mark Henry (who is ‘technically extremely capable and very pragmatic’) leads a team that is ‘proactive in raising potential issues and delivering practical solutions’ to a broad range of corporate borrowers. It is on numerous bank panels and is active in property and agricultural development financings, acquisition financings, and asset-based lending. Banking partner James Allen, ‘excellent’ corporate partner Greg Allan and real estate finance specialist Chris Schwer are all highly regarded. The team advised Lloyds Bank on the multimillion-pound refinancing of a life sciences group, and HSBC on a revolving credit facility for a regional motor dealer group. The firm also counts Clydesdale Bank and Santander among its clients.

Leading individuals

Mark Henry - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Greg Allan - Birketts LLP

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich)

Birketts LLP has a team of insolvency lawyers spread across its four offices nationwide, of which three are in East Anglia. For contentious matters the firm has strong practitioners in Laurence Weeks (whose ‘great experience means he knows when to push and when to be pragmatic’), a council member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, and Matthew Atkins, whose skills particularly benefit companies with intellectual property assets. For non-contentious matters the practice calls on experienced corporate partners Greg Allan in Norwich and James Allen in Cambridge. Allan’s highlights included advising Price Bailey LLP as liquidators in a members’ voluntary liquidation that formed part of a larger group company demerger. Weeks also acted for Price Bailey as administrator of Calecore Limited in the defence of £3.5m in security claims, and represented RSM Insolvency in the £12m administration of F.H. Gilman, which may result in litigation. Privilege Finance and McTear Williams & Wood are among the firm’s clients.

Leading individuals

Laurence Weeks - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich)

Birketts LLP’s ‘prompt, professional’ practice provides advice that is ‘always sound and commercially appropriate’. The firm has a large team that advises on all aspects of employment law across a diverse range of sectors such as agriculture, energy, education, charities, health and technology. It predominantly acts for employers, but also handles significant matters for senior managers and directors. Jeanette Wheeler in Norwich leads the national employment team and is ‘particularly helpful, always available and provides guidance that is always valuable and measured to help achieve the best outcomes’. Abigail Trencher leads the Cambridge team and Catherine Johnson (who ‘provides robust and balanced advice without losing sight of the commercial drivers’) leads the Ipswich team. Clients also praise partners Matthew Newnham (who is ‘a supportive adviserprofessional, pragmatic and sensible on HR issues’) and Tim Tyndall. Senior associate Tom Sharpe is ‘helpful and timely when giving advice’ and associate Sam Greenhalgh is ‘pragmatic and responsive’. Matthew Potter joined Howes Percival LLP. In a key mandate, the team acted for longstanding client Just East on the exit of senior board members, including the company’s CFO. The firm also advised Royal Hospital School on a review of its teaching contracts and a complex tribunal claim.

Leading individuals

Jeanette Wheeler - Birketts LLP

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Norwich)

Birketts LLP has ‘an excellent team that is professional but at the same time has personality, and which can offer clear advice with little jargon’. The corporate criminal defence team has extensive cross-industry experience in serious matters including disasters and cases of multiple fatalities. It also provides a full service from solicitors, barristers and health and safety consultants, who advise corporate clients on regulatory compliance. Barristers Laura Thomas and Matthew Gowen provide ‘excellent counsel and practicality; both are very knowledgeable and superb in court’. Consultants Frank Sykes, who has experience as principal inspector at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and Malcolm Savory are recommended for their ‘candid and considered advice’. Senior associate Julie Gowland and associate Philippa Dyer both have extensive experience in criminal and regulatory law. The firm is currently acting for a company in the engineering sector that faced charges relating to a multiple fatality that occurred on a construction project. The case is due for trial in the High Court this year.

Leading individuals

Laura Thomas - Birketts LLP

Matthew Gowen - Birketts LLP

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Immigration
Immigration - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP (Cambridge)

Birketts LLP is ‘proactive, prepares clients for the process with an understanding of their business needs and is good value for money’. ‘In the complex and onerous world of work permits you need the kind of professional, proficient and friendly service the firm provides’, says one client. The firm covers the full spectrum of immigration work and has seen an increase in clients seeking support with Home Office enforcement matters, EEA nationals looking to secure their status in the UK in the aftermath of the EU referendum, and corporates needing advice on the changes to rules that affect migrant workers. In ‘Extremely knowledgeable’ senior associate Clare Hedges heads the team from the Cambridge office and ‘has excellent communication skills, makes the process clear and hassle-free, and is non-judgmental when clients ask silly questions’. Hedges advised Host Europe Group Limited on visa sponsorship matters and its successful application for a Tier 2 sponsor licence, and acted for the London Diocesan Fund in numerous matters including Tier 5 religious worker visas.

Leading individuals

Clare Hedges - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Insurance

Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP (Norwich, Ipswich)

The claimant practice at Birketts LLP has a strong reputation across its Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich offices, handling claims against solicitors, accountants and many other professionals. The firm has a particular specialism in claims relating to negligent probate advice. Experienced litigator Max Roessler leads the professional negligence practice, which has input from partners in the firm’s respected commercial dispute resolution team, including Paul Matthews and Laurence Weeks. Senior associate Bernadette Baker has a long track record in matters relating to trusts, wills and the administration of estates, and senior associate Robert Tiffen has a busy caseload of claims against accountants, financial advisers and solicitors. Key work included advising on a claim arising from negligent management of a £350,000 claim by solicitors; acting in a claim against solicitors for the negligent handling of an £800,000 company sale; and bringing a claim against a firm of chartered accountants for negligent advice on a share issue and dividend payment.

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East Anglia: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Norwich, Cambridge, Ipswich)

Foremost in Norfolk’ according to one client, Birketts LLP has a strong regional presence across its four offices, from which it serves a diverse client base across England and Wales. Its broad practice encompasses ecclesiastical law, public access issues, aggregates extraction and management, renewable energy projects, structuring family successions and taxation, as well as mainstream agricultural and property law advice linked to sales, purchases, tenancies, options and development. Team head Jack Royall (who ‘can be relied upon for sound advice’) and estate planner Neil Sparrow are noted for their ‘experience and calm, considered approach; they are good listeners with the ability to make things happen’. They draw on a range of experts across the firm, including property lawyers James Dinwiddy and senior associate Rachel McKillop-Wilkin; Nigel Farthing in Ipswich, who handles issues relating to public rights of way, Commons and Town and Village Greens and related contentious issues; Stuart Jones, who advises landowners and mineral operators on the development and management of mineral deposits and also handles large renewable energy projects; and Christopher Coupland, who leads the firm’s agricultural banking team as well as advising on property matters. Senior associate Sophia Key is among the team’s rising stars. The firm’s highlights included advising Suffolk Wildlife Trust on the purchase of 385 acres of arable and pastureland to extend its nature reserve near Lowestoft. The firm also counts Barclays Bank and Norwich Diocesan Board of Finance Limited among its clients.

Leading individuals

Jack Royall - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Sophia Key - Birketts LLP

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

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich)

The service from Birketts LLP is ‘genuinely excellent, prompt and well informed’. The specialist charities and social enterprise team has ‘superb expert knowledge’ and works cross-office, bringing together capabilities from practices such as employment, property, corporate and dispute resolution. Team head and senior associate Sara Sayer is ‘first rate – clever, knowledgeable and personable’. Legal director Erika Clarke has ‘in-depth knowledge of the charity sector and a sensible approach’. Clients also pick out agricultural specialist and legal director Stuart Jones; ecclesiastical law specialist James Hall, who works as a diocesan registrar and ‘has extensive knowledge of church law’; and senior corporate associate Liz Brownsell, who joined from Blake Morgan LLP and who ‘has in-depth knowledge of charity law’. Senior associate Clare Hedges is recommended for employment and immigration matters. The team acted for a health and hospice charity on transactions involving the acquisition of leasehold properties for charity shops and the development of a new site for a purpose-built hospice. Its long list of clients includes the Diocese of Norwich, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, East Anglia Children’s Hospice and the London Diocesan Fund.

Leading individuals

Erika Clarke - Birketts LLP

Sara Sayer - Birketts LLP

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

Birketts LLP (Norwich, Cambridge, Ipswich)

Birketts LLP is one of a small number of firms with a dedicated contentious trusts and probate practitioner in senior associate Bernadette Baker, who is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS). Commercial litigation partner Paul Matthews leads the practice from Norwich and is ‘proactive, well prepared and a strong advocate for his clients’. Associate Susannah Catchpole is also recommended for contentious probate, trust, commercial and agricultural matters. Baker and Natalie Carman acted for a woman who created an interest in possession trust with minors as beneficiaries and was, therefore, subject to IHT liabilities. At trial the team successfully determined that the claim met the conditions required to enable rectification of the trust to avoid tax. Another key matter saw Baker bring a claim for breach of trust on behalf of a child of a deceased woman who had created a discretionary trust over a joint life investment bond.

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Family
Family - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich)

Birketts LLP has a highly respected practice that represents high-net-worth individuals in East Anglia, London and beyond. It has twelve fee-earners across its four offices, all of whom are members of Resolution; their caseloads often include matters involving complex jurisdictional claims concerning finances and children. Oliver Gravell has more than 25 years’ experience and leads a team that includes experienced senior associates Katie Beaven, who acts in matters with complex financial arrangements including divorce, separation, and nuptial agreements, and who represents clients both in court and in arbitration proceedings; and the extremely organised and efficientRoopa Ahluwalia, who is noted for her ‘excellent feel for the law relating to children and for her great manner with clients’. Senior associate Juliet Harvey joined from Greene & Greene and sits on the national committee of Resolution. Solicitor Lisa Churchill is well regarded for financial and Children Act matters. Ahluwalia recently helped a client with a pre-nuptial agreement involving £6m in assets, which was drafted so close to the date of the wedding by the client’s husband-to-be that it had to be reworked as a post-nuptial agreement.

Leading individuals

Oliver Gravell - Birketts LLP

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

Birketts LLP

The team at Birketts LLP is ‘excellent, swift to respond and provides knowledgeable advice at a reasonable cost’. Its practice covers the full range of trusts, tax, succession planning and probate matters but it has notable areas of specialist expertise that include advice to trustees and beneficiaries of domestic and offshore trusts; trust management and accountancy; wills and lifetime planning for business executives and landowners; Court of Protection matters; and inheritance tax (IHT) and capital gains tax advice. Team head Caroline Stenner, who provides ‘clear advice’, and senior associate Catherine Bacon both ‘understand the issues and compare very well indeed to other practitioners in the region’. Associate Rachel Winter is recommended for her Court of Protection work and her advice to business executives. The team’s recent work included advising a board of trustees on their duties in administering a trust valued at more than £100m.

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Rachel Winter - Birketts LLP

Richard Guy - Birketts LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Elsewhere in East Anglia
Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Rachel Winter - Birketts LLP

Richard Guy - Birketts LLP

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

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP is ‘a proven leader in this practice area locally’. Its team provides expert advice on the full range of private client matters including complex trust and probate issues, the administration of landed estates and high-value trusts, wills, succession planning and powers of attorney. Its client base includes not only family business and high-net-worth individuals in Suffolk, but also non-doms with substantial assets in the UK. Louise Long leads the probate team and is well known for her advice on IHT matters, often involving multimillion-pound estates. Charles Boscawen has in-depth knowledge of tax, trusts and property relief matters. Senior associate Richard Guy, who joined from Prettys, attracts praise for his ‘considered, pragmatic advice’. Partner and agricultural specialist Nigel Farthing provides valuable support to the private client team. Boscawen advised the executors of the estate of a deceased man with substantial farming and property assets in the UK and overseas.

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Rachel Winter - Birketts LLP

Richard Guy - Birketts LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP is ‘extremely good, providing fast responses and sound advice that is cost-effective and practical’. The team is led from Chelmsford by Tim Galloway and provides an integrated private client service across its four offices. In Norwich, highly experienced partners Lorna Spear and agricultural trust expert Jack Royall are ‘knowledgeable, approachable and friendly’. Also based in Norwich, Neil Sparrow has an excellent reputation for advising high-net-worth clients and landed estates on complex tax and trust matters. Senior associate Margaret Smith, who regularly acts for agricultural clients on will, probate and tax matters, is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. The team’s client base encompasses landed estates, farming families, wealthy individuals, business owners, landowners, trustees and estate beneficiaries across East Anglia and beyond. Recent highlights include advising an estate valued at more than £100m, which includes large agricultural land holdings and many complex trusts. The work encompassed a restructuring of assets and a review of the trusts to mitigate tax obligations.

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Rachel Winter - Birketts LLP

Richard Guy - Birketts LLP

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Peterborough
Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Rachel Winter - Birketts LLP

Richard Guy - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Public sector

Education
Education - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich)

The service from Birketts LLP is ‘very good and extremely reliable, particularly on property issues’. The team, which is led by Abigail Trencher (who counts several Cambridge University colleges among her clients) features a number of experienced charities practitioners, including legal director and corporate specialist Erika Clarke, senior associate Sara Sayer, who focuses on disputes, and employment partner Tim Tyndall. Charity law specialist and senior associate Liz Brownsell, who joined from Blake Morgan LLP, brings additional strength in academy conversion matters. Tyndall and immigration-focused senior associate Clare Hedges advised a Cambridge University college on a termination of employment and fellowship matter involving complex aspects of employment law and college statutes. Sayer acted for Ipswich School on contentious and regulatory issues including a formal challenge to an exam board decision. Employment associate Tom Sharpe acted for Sapienta Education Trust in a tribunal claim brought by a former employee who alleged unfair dismissal for whistleblowing. The firm also advises education clients on property matters and construction partner Andrew Rush acted for Seevic College on its purchase of a bespoke modular building for teaching purposes.

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Health
Health - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich)

Birketts LLP has a strong reputation in health and social care, as illustrated by its ongoing role on the panels of the NHS Shared Business Services and the NHS Commercial Alliance frameworks. The firm’s employment team has a particularly strong reputation in the sector and advises many NHS employers on disciplinary matters and dismissals. Richard Eaton, who has experience as a non-executive director of Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, leads the health practice and handles contentious public law issues. The firm’s real estate team regularly advises NHS Property Services on complex and high-value transactions; Chris Schwer advised Health and Hospice Charity on leasehold properties for charity shops, and Chris Barker acted for Two Rivers Medical Partnership on lease agreements. A specialist care homes team acts for many operators on strategic and operational matters. The firm also advises numerous GP practices across East Anglia.

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East Anglia: Real estate

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

Birketts LLP

At Birketts LLP, ‘the industry knowledge of the key individuals is excellent and the appropriateness of advice is always sound’. Katherine Herbert can ‘clearly see how to unlock potential issues in a swift and practical way’. She leads a team with a national reputation for strategic property matters, and which was strengthened by the arrival of Gavin Acheson, who joined from Farrer & Co and advises on commercial real estare matters for institutional, corporate and private clients. He specialises in the acquisition, funding, asset management and disposal of investment, development and occupational property for prominent UK property investment funds, property companies, endowed charities, livery companies and landed estates. The firm has real strength among its senior associates; standout figures include Nick Pickersgill, for real estate finance matters; Claudia Haisman-Green, who leads on corporate and commercial occupier matters; strategic land specialist Deborah Marshall, whose ‘attention to detail and due diligence are fantastic’; Natalie Biggs, for development work; and Isabel Wightman-Cooper, who handles real estate finance. The firm also hired associate Emma Medina from Freeths LLP; she brings experience in residential and commercial development, property management and landlord and tenant work. Recent work includes acting for Brasenose College, Oxford, on a multimillion-pound promotion agreement for a 500-acre greenbelt site, and assisting Svenska Handelsbanken AB with the refinancing of a multimillion-pound portfolio of six hotels owned by a company in Suffolk.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Chris Schwer - Birketts LLP

Katherine Herbert - Birketts LLP

Melissa Loucas - Birketts LLP

Robert Gibbs - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Deborah Marshall - Birketts LLP

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Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia
Leading individuals (region-wide)

Chris Schwer - Birketts LLP

Katherine Herbert - Birketts LLP

Melissa Loucas - Birketts LLP

Robert Gibbs - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Deborah Marshall - Birketts LLP

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Commercial property: Ipswich
Commercial property: Ipswich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a team of four partners in Ipswich that is among the most highly regarded in the region. Chris Schwer has significant expertise acting for housebuilders and developers, advising on collaboration arrangements, joint ventures, options and promotion agreements. Chris Barker handles complex strategic land transactions and large development projects, and advises public-sector clients in the healthcare and education sectors. In addition to handling the sale and purchase of large investment properties, high-value leases and large-scale refinancing matters, Stuart Raven has specialist expertise in the area of retail and restaurant developments. Oliver Crichton is a leading property pensions lawyer with niche expertise in investments in commercial property using self-invested personal pensions or small self-administered schemes. The firm has strength in depth thanks to a team of associates that includes Stacy Aspden, who is noted for property elements of large corporate transactions; Vicki Chilton, who advises private developers, investor purchasers and business owners; Julie Hoy, whose expertise includes property refinancing and site acquisitions; Pam Dawson, who has a niche in ports and logistics developments; and Keith Andrews, who handles landlord and tenant matters. The team acted for Hopkins Homes Limited on the multimillion-pound acquisition of land to develop 645 new homes in Hunstanton, Holt, Needham Market, Bramford, Easton, Gazeley and Tunstall.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Chris Schwer - Birketts LLP

Katherine Herbert - Birketts LLP

Melissa Loucas - Birketts LLP

Robert Gibbs - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Deborah Marshall - Birketts LLP

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Commercial property: Norwich
Commercial property: Norwich - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP

The best in the region’ according to some, Birketts LLP is ‘always at the other end of the phone with excellent advice’ The team, which attracts praise for its ‘quick, efficient, very proactive and commercial approach’, not only has a strong regional presence in developer work, strategic land transactions, investment deals and portfolio management, but also acts for several key clients on a national basis. Robert Gibbs leads the strategic land group and is ‘exceptional – he is commercially aware and able to respond quickly’. Head of retail and Melissa Loucas is ‘particularly good and always advises in a commercial manner’. Senior associate Bhargav Trivedi is ‘an excellent lawyer who has a real affinity for clients’. Clients also praise the large team of associates, picking out Greg McCurday who ‘works hard to understand the niche areas in which clients work and the complexities they bring in terms of structuring transactions’, and Andrew Ridout, who is ‘efficient, knowledgeable and very helpful’. Among the firm’s major deals from 2016 was its work for NFC Homes Limited on an option agreement with a landowner concerning the sale of land to a housing association and leasing arrangements for residential units in a new building. The team also acted for Lloyds Bank on an £8.5m financing for a portfolio of residential and commercial sites as part of an incorporation exercise by the borrower.

Leading individuals (region-wide)

Chris Schwer - Birketts LLP

Katherine Herbert - Birketts LLP

Melissa Loucas - Birketts LLP

Robert Gibbs - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Deborah Marshall - Birketts LLP

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Commercial property: Peterborough
Leading individuals (region-wide)

Chris Schwer - Birketts LLP

Katherine Herbert - Birketts LLP

Melissa Loucas - Birketts LLP

Robert Gibbs - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Deborah Marshall - Birketts LLP

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich)

Birketts LLPprovides first-class service and the team always makes itself available to discuss any issue’. ‘A first choice for any contentious matters’, the firm has ‘a hands-on approach and provides competent and astute advice that shows a good knowledge of the construction industry and comes at significantly better value than its peers in London’. The practice’s three construction partners also garner high praise: Andrew Rushhas real depth of experience and provides sage advice on contentious issues’; litigator Ruth Sunaway is ‘a very tenacious and committed lawyer who leaves no stone unturned to find the best solution for her clients’; and newly promoted construction and engineering partner Stefan Harris-Wright in Cambridge, who is ‘commercial and gets things done quickly’. The team also has great strength in depth at associate level, with senior associate Josh Ripman and associates Oli Worth and Hanna McNab highly recommended. The firm advised ForFarmers UK Limited on the procurement of a new office, production and warehousing facility in Suffolk. The deal has a construction cost of £3m and involved both a bespoke development agreement with developer Artisan UK and liaising with the local authority regarding the construction of a new spur road. Another highlight saw the team handle construction documentation for developer Inspired Coombe Limited in relation to the £27m conversion of an office site in Croydon into 82 flats.

Leading individuals

Andrew Rush - Birketts LLP

Ruth Sunaway - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Josh Ripman - Birketts LLP

Oli Worth - Birketts LLP

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich)

Birketts LLPcompares well to the competition and its very strong practice comes without the price tag of a City firm’. The environment team draws on expertise from many of the firm’s practices including regulatory, planning, property litigation and public law. Litigator and team head Richard Eaton, planning specialist Tom Newcombe, barrister Laura Thomas and senior associate Sue Chadwick are all praised by clients. ‘Efficient and supportive’ barrister Matthew Gowenclearly has good knowledge of environmental law and puts clients at complete ease’. Also recommended are senior associate and planning lawyer Sue Chadwick and legal director Stuart Jones who specialises in projects for the development and management of mineral deposits. In 2016, the firm acted for Air Studios, which is an internationally renowned recording studio in London that is used for recording major film scores and is often frequented by well-known recording artists, in a challenge to a planning application. For St Stephens Restoration and Preservation Trust the team handled a challenge to the proposed extension of the Royal Free Hospital on environmental grounds.

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich)

Excellent in every aspect’, Birketts LLP handles the full spectrum of planning matters for a broad client base that includes private and public sector businesses such as minerals and waste companies Tarmac and Lafarge; local authorities such as Cambridge City Council and Breckland District Council; strategic developers such as Countryside Developments and Enterprise Property Group; and a host of regional and national housebuilders. Tom Newcombe leads the team and is ‘a particularly strong asset; a can-do lawyer who has an extensive track record in complicated projects requiring specialist expertise’. Consultant Philip Kratz ‘has the magic touch; his knowledge and level of service are excellent’. Clients also recommend property litigator Richard Eaton and senior associate Sue Chadwick. The firm’s recent work includes advising Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council and Kirdford Parish Council on a potential judicial review of a retrospective grant of planning permission for an anaerobic digester, which involved points relating to the lawful use of the site and importation of waste. The firm also acted for Hopkins Homes and Hopkins & Moore (Developments) on section 106 agreements, deeds of variation, highways issues, affordable housing and community infrastructure matters in relation to numerous sites in East Anglia.

Leading individuals

Tom Newcombe - Birketts LLP

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Norwich)

Birketts LLP is ‘excellent on all fronts’, and clients praise its ability to ‘provide a very balanced view of property law and commercial dictates’. The firm has one of the largest property litigation teams in East Anglia., giving it the scope to handle every aspect of real estate litigation, although it has particular expertise in Town and Village Green matters, Telecoms Code property matters, rights to light cases and commercial landlord and tenant work. The ‘careful and meticulousRichard Eaton is noted for his combination of ‘outstanding knowledge with practical advice’. John Scannellhas vast experience and knows how to put clients in the strongest position’; he ‘combines great tenacity with a keen appreciation of how points will play out in court’. James Robinson is ‘a star performer, technically excellent, practical and commercial’. ‘Dogged, persuasive and thoughtful’ senior associate and barrister Simon Woodhead ‘can go toe-to-toe with any QC’. Clients also recommend senior associate Charlotte Wormstone, who is ‘very calm when things get pressured’. The firm recently acted for a major landowner in a complex case that included a professional negligence claim and rectification proceedings arising from a multimillion-pound transaction.

Leading individuals

John Scannell - Birketts LLP

Richard Eaton - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Charlotte Wormstone - Birketts LLP

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Norwich, Cambridge, Ipswich)

Birketts LLP is best known for acting for registered providers (RPs) of social housing in development projects, sales, financings, planning, housing management, employment and constitutional and regulatory matters. The firm helps private housebuilders to set up new RPs and in 2016 it completed two successful registration processes. It also advises RPs on setting up asset and liabilities registers. Many members of its team belong to industry organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Housing and Social Housing Law Association. Peter Goddard leads the social housing and residential development team from Norwich. Senior associate Emily Groom handles development and regulatory matters for social landlords. The firm also calls on the expertise of property litigation partner John Scannell and planning partner Tom Newcombe. The firm’s highlights included advising Havebury Housing Partnership on the £5m acquisition of 50 affordable housing units from a national housebuilder for a scheme in rural Cambridgeshire. The team also acted for Chater Community Housing Limited on its registration with the Homes and Communities Agency as a new for-profit RP. Orbit Group, Flagship Housing Group and Victory Housing Trust are just a few of the firm’s many RP clients.

Leading individuals

Peter Goddard - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP (Cambridge, Ipswich, Norwich)

Birketts LLP’s ‘very highly rated’ practice ‘gets things done when it says they will be done’, according to clients who praise the firm’s ‘breadth of knowledge, pragmatic advice and willingness to put across its client’s points in negotiation’. The firm handles complex IT transactions for UK and international businesses ranging from start-ups to multinationals. Head of team Quentin Golder is ‘very approachable and good at explaining the consequences – he really delivers’. Golder advised internal security software provider BullGuard Limited on software development and licensing agreements, website terms and conditions, data protection and distribution contracts. He also acted for utility meter and cloud-based billing services company Ista Energy Services on customer service agreements. Associate Kitty Rosser assisted CRM system provider Time for Advice on new arrangements with customers to handle its new modular technology solution.

Leading individuals

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Kitty Rosser - Birketts LLP

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Cambridge)

Birketts LLP is ‘a very professional firm that punches well above its weight’. The firm primarily acts for regional clients, although its roster of international clients is growing, as illustrated by its handling of UK and EU trade mark matters for New Zealand winemaker Villa Maria Estate. The team, led by litigator Matthew Atkins, has standout practitioners in trade mark attorney Katherine Shadbolt (who ‘balances commercial objectives with legal requirements’) and senior associate Nellie Jackson (who ‘provides very commercial and practical advice’). The team manages the trade mark portfolio of global group Elektron Technology.

Leading individuals

Quentin Golder - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Kitty Rosser - Birketts LLP

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East Anglia: Transport

Transport and shipping
Transport and shipping - ranked: tier 1

Birketts LLP (Ipswich, Norwich)

Birketts LLPcompares favourably to the leading shipping firms worldwide’, according to one client. Another observes that the firm delivers ‘first-class service for transport law’. The firm is on a number of panel and acts for companies such as Samsun Logix, West of England P&I Club, AXA Seguros and Fred Olson Cruise Lines. Nicholas Woo heads the shipping and international trade team and is ‘very commercial; he understands the industry and always takes a common-sense approach’. Woo advised a major shipping company on a multimillion-pound dispute concerning grain shipments that were rejected by the buyer. Road transport and shipping partner Alex Davey is ‘a brilliant and positive professional, always available to provide well-reasoned advice and adapt it to clients’ needs’. He advised a logistics client on the impact of the demise of a major shipping line. Also recommended are shipping and cargo claims specialist Henry Adams; barrister Laura Thomas, for regulatory matters; and senior associate Sarah Holsgrove, for contentious shipping and international trade work.

Leading individuals

Alex Davey - Birketts LLP

Henry Adams - Birketts LLP

Nicholas Woo - Birketts LLP

Next generation lawyers

Sarah Holsgrove - Birketts LLP

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Further information on Birketts LLP

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

East Anglia

Offices in Norwich, Ipswich, and Cambridge

London

South East

Offices in Chelmsford

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