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Blake Morgan LLP

NEW KINGS COURT, TOLLGATE, CHANDLER'S FORD, EASTLEIGH, SO53 3LG, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 023 8090 8090
Fax:
Fax 0844 620 3401
DX:
155850 EASTLEIGH 7
Email:
Web:
www.blakemorgan.co.uk

South East: Corporate and commercial

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

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Portsmouth)

Blake Morgan LLP fields a team that is ‘commercial and responsive, with good internal communication’, and which has a good standing across the corporate and commercial spectrum, with an extensive track record in M&A, joint ventures, data protection issues and private equity matters on behalf of clients in the logistics, banking and leisure sectors. In an illustration of its capital markets expertise, the team advised Harwood Wealth Management Group on a £13.5m institutional share placing and assisted Gresham Technologies with its £3.3m share placement on AIM, as well as its acquisition of software business C24 Technologies. In another highlight, the team advised CVS Group with several acquisitions in 2016, including purchasing Greenacres Pet Crematorium and Buttercross Veterinary Centre, for an aggregate value of £4m. Other clients include Esotec, Universe Group and Wellness Foods. James Hawkeswood heads the department and is well-versed in private equity investments and corporate restructurings. Also recommended are public company takeover expert Stephen Archibald; regulatory and compliance specialist Mary Chant; Simon Treherne, who is an expert in owner-managed businesses; private equity expert Mark Hepworth; and Sheilah Mackie, who focuses on commercial IP and IT matters.

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Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading)

With notable strength in the health and technology sectors, Blake Morgan LLP has been advising on M&A, due diligence and service contracts, among other matters. Guy Constant and commercial partner Gayle Curry advised InHealth Group on buying shares in Health Intelligence and Pain Management Solutions, acquiring RIG Reporting from RIG Healthcare Recruit, and purchasing Care UK’s diagnostics and clinical assessment and treatment services in the North West. In another standout matter, Constant and London-based Martin Kay acted for Osirium Technologies during its £8.8m AIM IPO, which saw the commercial team advise on contracts and software licensing. Commercial practice head Alison Patten-Hall recently advised education and healthcare sector companies on matters ranging from procuring IT solutions to establishing joint ventures. Other clients include The Mission Marketing Group, DFx Technology and ByBox. Penny Rinta-Suksi splits her time between Reading and Oxford and is recommended with up-and-coming senior associate Elisabeth Bell, associate Tim Coles and consultant John Cole, who has ‘a wealth of business experience’. Simon Staples joined as corporate practice head from Ashfords LLP following Michael Stace’s departure to Browne Jacobson LLP in Birmingham. Edward Lee moved to Howes Percival LLP.

Next generation lawyers: partners

Elisabeth Bell - Blake Morgan LLP

Tim Coles - Blake Morgan LLP

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP provides ‘good, commercial and responsive advice’, and the group has ‘good internal communication, which ensures that everything runs smoothly’. The firm advises on the taxation aspects of equity fundraising and mid-tier M&A activity including cross-border deals, management incentive arrangements, and start-up funding rounds, and its key clients include a range of venture capital firms, start-up companies and financial institutions. Utility Funding and Harwood Wealth Management Group are among key client wins of the last year; practice head Simon Court recently advised the latter on the tax aspects of its vendor cash out and admission to the London Stock Exchange, a venture with an initial market capitalisation of £45m. Court also acted for Gresham Technologies on the tax aspects of a £3.3m share placing on the AIM market, and on its £4.6m acquisition of software business C24 Technologies. Corporate partner James Hawkeswood is the other key figure, and recently advised veterinary consolidator CVS Group on four separate acquisitions over the course of one year; these included the acquisitions of Greenacres Pet Crematorium, Nottingham Veterinary Care, Buttercross Veterinary Care and Church Walk Veterinary Care, transactions with an aggregate value of £4m. Other notable clients include Universe Group, Southern Co-operative and Wellness Foods.

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South East: Crime, fraud and licensing

Licensing
Licensing - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Oxford)

Blake Morgan LLP handles applications for alcohol licences, advocacy before contested hearings for premises licensing applications, and assists with the extension of trading hours for clients. It advised The Southern Co-operative on several personal licence applications and successfully acted on a contested new licence application for the sale of alcohol in the client’s Wimbledon premises. It also advised Cathedral Hotels on its licence application for a multi-purpose premises including provisions for a hotel and two concession restaurants in Bromley. Other highlights included assisting Bletchley Park Trust with its application to extend the approved extension areas for entertainment purposes, including advocating at a contested hearing for the application before the Milton Keynes Licensing Committee. Waitrose, the University of London and Aramark are also clients. The highly regarded Jon Wallsgrove heads the department, which includes senior associate Tim Williamson, whose ‘work ethic is matched by his acumen and judgement’.

Leading individuals

Jon Wallsgrove - Blake Morgan LLP

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South East: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Hampshire
Commercial litigation: Hampshire - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP attracts praise for its ‘good commercial sense and ability to advise clients well’. The firm acts for clients in the retail, manufacturing and food sectors in high-value contractual disputes, damages claims and professional negligence matters. In 2016 the team successfully defended NHS England in an alleged breach of statutory duties claim brought by QSRC for not providing an interim contract to the claimant for gamma knife treatment to NHS patients. Other clients include Kerry Foods, the Sixth Form Colleges Association and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Jill Bainbridge (‘an excellent lawyer; she has a good commercial sense as well as being excellent at client care’) took over as head of department from Susie Dryden, who is ‘effective, very personable and good with clients’. They are well-versed in handling Supreme Court and Court of Appeal litigation and commercial IP disputes, respectively. The team also includes insurance coverage expert Richard Portlock, as well as senior associate and professional negligence specialist Karl Cameron.

Leading individuals

Susie Dryden - Blake Morgan LLP

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Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading)

Blake Morgan LLP’s workload includes shareholder, professional negligence, fraud and asset tracing claims. Practice head Chris Potts is defending Transworld Payment Solutions UK and its liquidator in proceedings that have been filed in Curaçao by its former parent company First Curaçao International Bank (FCIB), which seeks to obtain a declaration that Transworld cannot bring a claim in the UK against FCIB relating to the Bank’s involvement in VAT carousel fraud as the matter has allegedly already settled. Construction partner James Bessey acted for GMI Construction Group in a case arising out of the construction of AESSEAL New York Stadium, bringing an action against the company’s employer and then filing a recovery action against a subcontractor for its part in a technical defect that occurred during the project. Senior associate Nicola Diggle is representing the shareholder of a national coffee bar chain in a dispute with another shareholder, who has brought unfair prejudice and breach of directors’ duties claims. Clients include Investec Asset Finance, Miele and Grant Thornton LLP. Also recommended are Stephanie Walls and senior associate Stephen Schneider.

Leading individuals

Chris Potts - Blake Morgan LLP

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Portsmouth)

Blake Morgan LLPis outstanding in this field, not only in its success rate but also in its approach to debtors and clients’. As well as handling debt recovery matters for commercial businesses in the environmental, recruitment and software sectors, the practice also adept with vehicle finance cases, advising multiple international automotive brands as well as vehicle financiers on a full range of debt recovery issues. The practice acts as sole provider of debt recovery legal services to Mercedes Benz Financial Services, and has acted for it on various debt actions, injunction applications at High Court level, and fraud cases. It also continues to assist Hitachi Capital Business Finance and Toyota Financial Services with several return of goods matters. The 35-lawyer team is based out of the Portsmouth office and headed by Sadak Miah. Elizabeth Bowden is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Sadak Miah - Blake Morgan LLP

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South East: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Reading)

Blake Morgan LLP provides ‘a fantastic level of service’ and is ‘very reliable under time pressure, getting the deal over the line within the deadline and negotiating a strong position for the client’. The firm advises a mix of borrowers and specialist lenders across a range of sectors including healthcare, education, retail and renewable energy. Highlights included advising Swanton Holdings on the £35m refinancing of a large care home portfolio, and advising HSBC Bank and HSBC Asset Finance on primary and secondary funding for renewable energy projects for a venture capital firm, a high-value matter spanning nine different sites. Key individuals include Kath Shimmin, who heads the practice; Guy Constant, who ‘has a knowledge of the market that is second-to-none’ and ‘takes a practical and commercial approach to deals’; and senior associate Steve Cole, who leads on shari’ah finance matters.

Leading individuals

Guy Constant - Blake Morgan LLP

Kath Shimmin - Blake Morgan LLP

Next generation lawyers

Maria Watmough - Blake Morgan LLP

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 3

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Portsmouth, Oxford)

Blake Morgan LLP’s insolvency and corporate recovery team is ‘keen to assist and provide a balanced resolution to situations’. Reading-based senior associate Katie James is the recommended contact for the South East, along with commercial litigator Chris Potts in Oxford, who is experienced in High Court litigation such as fraud claims related to insolvency and other corporate disputes. James handles all kinds of insolvency matters for officeholders, lenders, investors, creditors and directors, but has niche expertise relating to distressed care homes after leading eight separate group administrations in this field. Chartered legal executive Claire White supports James on most matters, including financial recovery advice to Experto Credite and several representations of administrators RSM Restructuring & Advisory during corporate sales. Senior associate Dan Geddes joined Blake Morgan LLP.

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South East: Human resources

Employment: Hampshire
Employment: Hampshire - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Portsmouth)

Clients of Blake Morgan LLP rate its willingness to ‘work with them to find solutions that achieve the best outcome’. The team acts for a range of clients (including those in the leisure, education and retail sectors) on company restructuring, senior management exits and mass redundancy procedures. It advised HQ Theatres and Hospitality on TUPE advice concerning its acquisition of a new theatre and acted for a secondary school in a case concerning allegations of discrimination against a disabled pupil. It also advised an aerospace company on general employment restructuring within the business as well as high-level exit strategies. The team also has immigration expertise, having assisted with modern slavery statements in 2016 in addition to having a strong pensions advice offering. Other clients include the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Apollo Fire Detectors and Costa Coffee. Max Craft heads the practice and is noted for his expertise in handling contentious strategic exits. Also recommended are the ‘extremely courteous, patient and professionalSarah Peacock, senior solicitor Natalie Painter, who ‘takes the time to understand the client’s business’, and Tim Forer, who is an experienced employment tribunal litigator.

Leading individuals

Max Craft - Blake Morgan LLP

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Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading)

Blake Morgan LLP marked an uptick in employment litigation in the High Court and employment tribunal. It also added a number of new clients to the roster, such as The Turney Group, Simon Hegele Logistics and Service, Lewisham Homes, Inmarsat and Slough Children’s Services Trust; the latter has retained recently promoted partner Rajiv Joshi in a significant whistleblowing and race discrimination tribunal claim against a current employee. Rebecca Ireland focuses on the technology and education sectors and is defending the University of Reading in a high-profile unfair dismissal and sex discrimination dispute with a former lecturer. Practice head William Downing has been assisting Cobham plc with a range of matters, including disability discrimination disputes, replacing a bonus structure and cross-border work concerning employee dismissals and transfers. Associate Rhiannon Jenkins is a rising star. Mike Wilson was promoted to managing partner and James Simpson departed to Blaser Mills.

Next generation lawyers

Rajiv Joshi - Blake Morgan LLP

Rhiannon Jenkins - Blake Morgan LLP

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP advises a wide range of businesses, from multi-site UK and European companies to small, owner-managed entities, along with a number of legal expenses insurers, on the full gamut of health and safety issues. The firm undertakes a significant amount of non-contentious work alongside its substantial workload of civil and criminal litigation, and also provides transactional support concerning future liability for occupational illnesses, such as asbestos-related diseases. Recent highlights include acting for a window installer company in a case regarding an injury sustained by a fitter as a result of a faulty risk assessment, where the HSE eventually decided not to prosecute. Claire Rawle leads the health, safety and environmental team, handling primarily contentious matters across the public and private sectors. John Mitchell is the other name to note.

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Pensions
Pensions - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Reading, Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP’s practice is led by John Hamilton, who ‘distils complex technical matters into clear and practical advice’; he assisted the trustees of C Brewer & Sons retirement benefits scheme with implementing a flexible retirement policy. At legal director level, Adrian Lamb has ‘detailed knowledge’ and revised Welplan’s trust deed and master trust documentation rules following the establishment of a separate trustee company, and Rupert Graham-Evans, who provides ‘professional and timely advice’, assisted Epicor Software UK with matters relating to its UK defined benefit scheme and a cross-border corporate transaction. The client roster also includes the trustees of Mizuho International retirement benefits scheme and Knowles (UK) (formerly Syfer Technology). Litigator Richard Portlock is another key contact and heads the pensions disputes practice.

Leading individuals

John Hamilton - Blake Morgan LLP

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South East: Insurance

Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP continues to handle a strong flow of claims in relation to property professionals, and has also acted in claims in specialist areas such as insurance, employment, financial institutions and medical negligence. Other areas of expertise include claims on behalf of lenders, and cases related to complex pension schemes, inadequate tax planning and financial advice and trusts and regulatory matters. Richard Portlock heads the practice, and has notable experience handling cases involving solicitors, property professionals, insurance brokers and financial and pension industry advisers; his client base includes a mix of insurers, corporate companies, trustees and individuals. Senior associate Karl Cameron acts for SMEs, individuals and mortgage lenders on a range of high value claims, and advising institutional clients on risk and policy coverage issues.

Next generation lawyers

Karl Cameron - Blake Morgan LLP

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South East: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Portsmouth)

Blake Morgan LLP’s team advises on the full range of agricultural finance, diversification and land matters, providing tax and trust advice to commercial enterprises, estates and farms, handling renewable energy projects and assisting with sales, purchases and acquisitions of various types of land. Real estate partner Oliver Sowton is the key name to note along with tax planning specialist Douglas Smith, and employment law practitioner Sarah Peacock. Senior associate Caroline Lindon-Morris is recommended for sale and purchase matters, and also advises on the property and corporate aspects of farm diversification.

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

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Oxford)

Blake Morgan LLP is noted for its expertise in the charity retail, healthcare and education sectors, and regularly advises a range of charities and not-for-profits on M&A transactions, joint ventures, restructurings and social enterprise matters. Recent highlights included acting for the British Red Cross on a number of acquisitions, disposals and lease renewals, and providing general advice on the client’s property portfolio. The team also advised St John’s Winchester Charity on the employment aspects of its care home, Devenish House, including a number of compulsory redundancies, and assisted Age UK Oxfordshire with a number of HomeShare agreements. Key figures include Claire Lamkin, who specialises in disputes involving commercial and residential property, senior associate Anna Larbi, who ‘provides practical and sound advice in property matters’, and Stephanie Walls, who acts for charities in challenges to legacies, trusts and donations. Chris Williams heads the practice.

Leading individuals

Elizabeth Davis - Blake Morgan LLP

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 3

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford)

The ‘impressive team’ at Blake Morgan LLPhandles a broad mix of work’ and ‘has a very well-established private client base’. The firm specialises in handling legacy instructions from national charities, inheritance claims, and professional negligence matters arising from succession and estates. Practice head Stephanie Walls is ‘an experienced litigator with a deep knowledge of the area who gives clear and considered advice to clients’.

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Family: Hampshire
Family: Hampshire - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Portsmouth, Southampton)

The ‘excellent’ practice at Blake Morgan LLP regularly handles financial remedy matters; wealth preservation advice including pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements; onshore and offshore asset management; and tax matters. Children cases are another area of strength; its expertise includes international relocation matters, alternative family structure issues and Children Act cases. The team includes trained collaborative and mediation lawyers and works alongside the firm’s well-regarded private client, dispute resolution and corporate teams when necessary. Its client base largely focuses on the South and includes high-net-worth families and business owners. The ‘superbSimon Burge, who is known for handling high-net-worth cases, leads the department, which includes Children Act expert Rachel Giles and associate and trained mediator Sarah French.

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Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford)

Fantastic lawyerChristine Plews heads Blake Morgan LLP’s practice, which is well respected for family finance work related to divorce and cohabitee disputes and business asset division, as well as cross-border cases relating to children or multi-jurisdictional assets. The firm’s ‘level of service is excellent’, and associate Catherine Morgan’s ‘professionalism is exceptional’; she is ‘excellent’ in civil partnership proceedings, private Children Act cases and advising on pre-nuptial agreements, among other matters. A recent highlight saw the team act for an individual in a major case that successfully challenged an arbitral award arising from a divorce dispute. The firm is also recommended for mediation.

Leading individuals

Christine Plews - Blake Morgan LLP

Next generation lawyers

Catherine Morgan - Blake Morgan LLP

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

Blake Morgan LLP (Portsmouth, Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP attracts praise for the ‘impressive breadth and depth of legal talent’ housed within the team, whose ‘expertise and depth of capability is excellent’. It advises on high-value estate administration and tax planning matters, as well as a variety of trust work including trust administration, insolvency and restructuring matters. The firm is regularly instructed by European clients to advise on their UK interests, and leverages expertise in Court of Protection and agricultural and commercial matters to provide a full-service offering. Helen Bunker and Simon Treherne lead the practice following the departure of former head Rachel Brooks to Thrings LLP. Also recommended are Douglas Smith, whose ‘knowledge and corresponding advice is of a very high level’, Nicholas Buckman, who is ‘extremely professional and very knowledgeable’, and Rachel Giles. Legal director Jessica Wiltshire joined from Clarke Willmott LLP.

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Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford)

Recent mandates for Blake Morgan LLP include advising on intestate estates, deed of variations, mental capacity issues and multi-jurisdictional trusts. ‘Very good’ practice head James Greig is the name to note for probate, powers of attorney and Inheritance Tax Act matters, while ‘very thorough and efficient’ associate Alison Craggs leads the Oxford wills team. Senior associate Kate Allred is also recommended, as are associates Philip Allen and Kathryn Woodward, who is a qualified Notary Public. Louise Lewis is now a senior associate at Penningtons Manches LLP.

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South East: Projects, energy and natural resources

Project finance and PFI
Project finance and PFI - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading, Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘pro-active and enthusiastic’ team ‘has a strong understanding of the practice area’ and offers ‘great value for money’. The firm is notably active in the leisure, housing and education sectors, advising on the full range of issues tied to existing PFI transactions, including secondary market work, refinancing and PFI variations. The health market is also a key area of focus, and the firm has advised a range of health sector clients on PPP and outsourcing projects. Recent highlights include acting for Test Valley Borough Council in a large leisure project covering five sites, which involved assisting with the drafting of a non-disclosure agreement and advising on procurement alongside other technical and commercial issues. The team also advised the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester on a high-value IT and business change project, and assisted Exeter City Council with the procurement and contracts for the construction of the UK’s first ultra-low energy efficiency leisure centre. Practice head Penny Rinta-Suksi is ‘a strong and pro-active negotiator’ who advises private sector clients and funders on PFI, major projects and commercial contracts. Other key individuals include Stephen Tanish, who specialises in public private partnerships (PPPs) and infrastructure transactions, Bruce Potter, who acts for a range of public sector companies, trusts and organisations, and Simon McCann, who handles major IT, development, energy and construction projects across the South East and nationwide. The Peabody Trust, the University of Reading and Northern House School Academy Trust are also clients.

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South East: Public sector

Education
Education - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Southampton)

According to its clients, Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘highly responsive’ team ‘always delivers’; its lawyers are ‘extremely willing to make themselves available to answer queries, always going the extra mile’. The firm’s client list includes a number of Oxford colleges, as well as the University of Cambridge and various other schools and higher education institutions, for which it handles governance, administration and student discipline issues, in addition to property management, among other matters. Recent highlights include acting for Keble College, Oxford, on the development of the former Acland Hospital site, which will provide the college with substantial additional facilities. The team also represented King Edward VI College in a claim brought by three lecturers with regards to an alleged breach of contract and unlawful salary deduction. Matthew Smith heads the nationwide practice from Cardiff, and Sheilah Mackie is the key figure in Southampton; she handles commercial IP, IT and data protection matters.

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Health
Health - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading, Southampton)

A well-respected name in the healthcare field, Blake Morgan LLP acts for a range of NHS trusts, social enterprises, GPs and health regulators, advising on the full spectrum of matters including procurement, competition issues, joint ventures and inquests. The team advises NHS England on policy issues such as drugs funding, primary care and offender health contracts, and provides similar full-service support to NHS Wales. Highlights included acting for Ramsay Health Care UK on its bid to design, build and run a private patients hospital on a NHS site, and defending NHS West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group in a claim brought by a private health provider. Chairman and practice head Bruce Potter has extensive experience acting for NHS bodies and implementing system-wide changes, and also advises on transactions and public procurement projects. Gayle Curry is the other key practitioner, acting for central government, the NHS and various independent healthcare organisations.

Leading individuals

Bruce Potter - Blake Morgan LLP

Gayle Curry - Blake Morgan LLP

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Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading)

Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘competent team’ provides ‘clear advice on all questions raised’. The practice handles both public and private sector work, with an emphasis on commercial and procurement projects, urban regeneration, construction issues and issues related to adult social services. The group is growing its workload for London boroughs – as well as unitary and district councils – on large-scale projects; notable clients in this space include Exeter City Council, Cherwell Council and Stratford upon Avon Council. The firm recently advised The Peabody Trust on its £335m project for new housing supply and regeneration in Thamesmead, a matter involving GLA Housing Zone Bids for sites in several London boroughs. The group is also providing legal support to Test Valley Borough Council in relation to a major leisure project covering five sites, and is acting for Exeter City Council on its £20m construction of a leisure centre in Exeter, which will be the UK’s first ultra-low energy efficiency leisure centre. Practice head Penny Rinta-Suksi has notable expertise in the leisure sector, and advises the Oxfordshire authorities on a range of matters including pilot PFI schemes, PPP projects and leisure management contracts.

Leading individuals

Penny Rinta-Suksi - Blake Morgan LLP

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South East: Real estate

Commercial property: Hampshire
Commercial property: Hampshire - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLPhas always demonstrated the highest level of expertise, with good business acumen’. The team handles the full spectrum of commercial property matters including high-value plot development acquisitions, property disposals, contract negotiations and development matters. The firm advised Metro Bank on its store rollout programme, which involved advising the client on £11.8m-worth of freehold acquisitions. It also continued to assist Costa Coffee with asset management matters as well as site acquisition and refurbishment issues. Bellway Homes, Premier Inn and Premier Marinas are also on the client roster. Sean Palka and Christopher Dolan head the practice; they specialise in real estate matters and agriculture issues, respectively. Also recommended are commercial development and asset management expert Oliver Sowton, social housing specialist John Russell, waste management and business park development expert Andy Peck, and retail property specialist Alan Harlow. Senior associate Anna Larbi ‘is very efficient, thorough, prompt and professional’. Mark Charter joined Thrings LLP.

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Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading)

At Blake Morgan LLP, Andrew Miscampbell and senior associate and Michael Ward are healthcare sectors experts, who advised a client from the care home sector on refinancing a development. Other healthcare work included surgery development and lease work. Senior associate Deryn Bassett is well regarded for energy matters but the practice’s industry strengths also extend to the charity, education and local government sectors. Recent instructions saw practice head Ruth Leadbitter handle the multimillion-pound acquisition of an industrial park for a council and assist a leading charity with a series of property disposals. Senior associate Paul Brame provides ‘sound, practical and honest advice’ and is highly regarded with associate Charlotte Astley. Andrew Querelle is now an associate at Spratt Endicott. Amey, Deutsche Bank and Miele feature are clients.

Leading individuals

Ruth Leadbitter - Blake Morgan LLP

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP’s well-regarded construction practice attracts praise for its ‘excellent response times and specialist knowledge’. The team advises a range of public and private sector clients on the full scope of issues associated with construction projects. The team has a solid reputation in the retail and leisure, energy, health and local government sectors, and regularly advises London-based clients through its Oxford and Southampton offices. The firm recently acted for Bouygues UK on a logistical reconfiguration of its supply chain following its acquisition of Leadbitter Construction and Denne Construction. Other highlights included advising Victoria Quay Estate on the proposed development of a site on the Isle of Wight, which is set to include onshore residential, leisure and retail space. Richard Wade heads the practice, which includes key figures James Bessey and Catherine Melis.

Leading individuals

Richard Wade - Blake Morgan LLP

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 3

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP is particularly strong in environmental litigation, regularly defending clients in the full range of regulatory actions including prosecutions, investigations, enforcement actions and nuisance abatement notices. The firm is also strong on the transactional side, advising on the full scope of environmental matters associated with mergers, acquisitions and disposals. John Mitchell is the key figure.

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 1

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford)

Excellent planning firmBlake Morgan LLPhas a great reputation in the field’, and has recently expanded its profile in the public sector with the addition of clients such as the Welsh government, Milford Haven Port Authority and Swansea City Council. The firm also continues to be strong in the residential sector, advising on both contentious and non-contentious issues including judicial reviews and High Court appeals. Recent highlights include acting for Cooper Estates Strategic Land in a High Court appeal against Wokingham Borough Council concerning refused planning permission for a major housing development, and advising Telereal Services on a range of matters with regards to a residential unit scheme in Ealing. The ‘terrificGuthrie McGruer heads the practice and is ‘hugely experienced and practical’. Sara Hanrahan is the other key partner.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Portsmouth, Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP’s range of expertise includes commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, property development claims and various work for high net-worth clients including boundary, adverse possession, right to light and flooding claims. The team currently manages Costa Coffee’s national portfolio, including all related contentious matters, and is currently advising J E Beales on its insolvency process, a matter involving dilapidations and liability for business rates. Senior associate Kate New heads the practice, which includes key figures Helen Dickie and Rachel Gimson.

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Southampton, Oxford)

Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘impressive’ group ‘has a strong understanding of the housing sector’ and ‘is always keen to respond to queries as quickly as possible’. The group retains a strong client base of national housing associations and advises on governance, procurement matters, bank refinancing and social care issues alongside the full gamut of property, housing management and employment mandates. Highlights included advising Radian Group on the development of 500 new affordable homes; acting for Hyde Housing Association on various plot sales and asset management matters; and advising Network Homes on its £4m acquisition of 23 shared ownership and affordable rent units, a project done as part of a regeneration of a former football stadium. Key individuals include practice head John Russell, who specialises in property development and strategic planning, and Hugh James, who has notable expertise in development site assembly, regeneration work and section 106 agreements.

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South East: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading, Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP is adept at handling M&A and capital markets work in the technology sector; for example, senior associate Elisabeth Bell and London-based Martin Kay advised Osirium Technologies on its £8.8m AIM IPO. Singled out for IT contracts, key contact Sheilah Mackie advised Flight Data Services (FDS) on its collaboration and data sharing agreement with the International Air Transport Association to deliver a solution that uses FDS’ POLARIS platform. In other work highlights, associate Mathew Wilson handled Cubic Corporation and Cubic Defence UK’s acquisition of Vocality International and its subsidiaries, which included IP advice relating to open source software. The extensive client list also includes BAE Systems, Nokia and IBM. Alison Patten-Hall heads the commercial team and is highly regarded with IP practice head Jill Bainbridge, who is the primary contact for IP and IT disputes pertaining to database right infringements, contract issues and other matters.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading, Southampton)

Blake Morgan LLP shines in brand protection matters; associate Ben Evans is a chartered trade mark attorney, who is advising Be Wiser Insurance on brand protection, IP right enforcement and its portfolio. With ‘carefully thought out advice’ and a ‘commercial approach’, practice head Jill Bainbridge, who also leads the trade mark prosecution team, is well regarded for cross-border work and has been retained by US practice Gluck Law Firm, P.C. to handle the UK aspects of a claim brought by the estate of Dash Snow against McDonald’s for allegedly reproducing the late artist’s work and graffiti signature in its restaurants. Bainbridge has also brought a trade mark infringement and passing off claim against Navigate Travel on behalf of Sail Week Croatia, which alleges that the defendant used the brand Sail Week in a sector that competed with its brand. Feelunique, Sutton and East Surrey Water, and Rapier Employment are other clients. Alison Patten-Hall and Sheilah Mackie are also recommended.

Next generation lawyers

Ben Evans - Blake Morgan LLP

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Media and entertainment
Media and entertainment - ranked: tier 2

Blake Morgan LLP (Oxford, Reading, Southampton)

Jill Bainbridge impresses with ‘excellent client care’ and leads Blake Morgan LLP’s practice, excelling in cross-border, social media, defamation and reputational management work. A recent highlight saw Bainbridge act for a national charity in a dispute with a former employee who breached a compromise agreement by making statements to an international journal, and representing QCR Recycling Equipment against a competitor that allegedly made repeated defamatory statements and malicious falsehood claims. The client list also includes the University of Winchester, Fuel Defend Global and private clients. Associate and chartered trade mark attorney Ben Evans is an ‘excellent lawyer, who understands client needs’.

Leading individuals

Jill Bainbridge - Blake Morgan LLP

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Further information on Blake Morgan LLP

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

London

Offices in London

South East

Offices in Oxford, Eastleigh, Reading, and Portsmouth

Wales

Offices in Cardiff

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