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Clarke Willmott LLP

BLACKBROOK GATE, BLACKBROOK PARK AVENUE, TAUNTON, TA1 2PG, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0345 209 1000
Fax:
Fax 0345 209 2004
DX:
97175 BLACKBROOK
Email:
Web:
www.clarkewillmott.com

South West: Corporate and commercial

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

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP provides ‘sensible, practical, and fit-for-purpose advice’ to mid-market corporates, owner-managed businesses and early-stage companies, for which it handles serial acquisition strategies and venture capital and private equity-backed transactions. The department also has extensive experience in cross-border deals and has been increasingly involved in inbound investment transactions since the 2016 referendum. In 2017, Simon Smith assisted Addnode Group with its strategic expansion into the UK market through two parallel acquisitions: the £23m acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Intrinsys, and the £22m purchase of the entire issued share capital of Service Works Group. Notably, the group has a dedicated China desk, which is peopled by Mandarin-speakers and is managed by corporate department head Simon Thomas. Thomas advised Charlo Carabott and Wai Keung Lam on the multimillion-pound sale of their shareholding in Ventura Telecom Holdings to Hong Kong-based EcoAsia Technologies Holding. Robert Ridd was promoted to partner and has been involved in multiple European cross-border transactions in 2017.

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South West: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Bristol
Commercial litigation: Bristol - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP has ‘one of the strongest teams in the South West for financial services disputes and general commercial litigation’.  Practice head Alex Jakubowski is highly rated for contract and insurance litigation and also has niche expertise in commercial agents regulations; clients see him as ‘the sort of lawyer you really want on your side’. Jakubowski is instructed by a Hong Kong law firm to assist Grand Mark Printing with a £1m dispute with a UK customer concerning years of unpaid invoices. Richard Moore has unique expertise in patent litigation and is one of ‘the group’s most respected litigators’. Moore is representing Resman, a Norwegian technology company operating in the oil and gas space, in a claim concerning the infringement of its European patent by Tracerco. Additionally, Moore successfully represented Icescape in a highly publicised patent dispute, which is now being appealed. Philippa Hann and Stephen Searle have experience with group actions and pensions and trustee disputes. The team also handles procurement challenges, professional negligence, agriculture-related claims and insolvency litigation.

Leading individuals

Alex Jakubowski - Clarke Willmott LLP

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Commercial litigation: The West Country
Commercial litigation: The West Country - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP has gained ‘a deservedly strong reputation and is proficient in often complex and high-value disputes’. The firm’s West Country litigation team has particular expertise in agriculture-related disputes, and, as such, is instructed by clients such as National Farmers Union. Indeed, Esther Woolford acted for the National Farmers Union in relation to compensation claims under the Human Rights Act 1998 regarding a significant flood event. ‘A sensible and commercially minded tactician’, Greg Saunders is advising a group of clients on allegedly mis-sold financial products. Further, Tim Hayden heads the agriculture sector group and splits his time between Taunton and Bristol. Daniel Gill is an active senior associate in the department, while associate Laura Mackain-Bremner and solicitor Polly Ridgway are also recommended. In 2017-2018, the department took on contentious probate specialist Bonita Walters from QualitySolicitors Burroughs Day, and also hired a number of junior-level practitioners.

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

‘In terms of approach, efficiency and general expertise’, Clarke Willmott LLP outmatches many of its competitors; according to some clients, ‘it is the benchmark against which all other debt recovery groups are compared’. The team handles salary overpayments and high-volume debt recovery and is also instructed in complex domestic and cross-border bespoke recoveries, including litigation. Working alongside the firm’s property litigation team, newly promoted partner Philip Roberts is acting for Celestial Management Company on defaulted rent recoveries from particularly difficult occupiers. Kathryn Quinton manages the team’s relationship with The Insolvency Service, which accounted for nearly 5,000 instructions in 2017, spanning income payment agreements, book debts and specialist recoveries. Technical director Stuart Hoysted oversees high-volume claims for a notable UK insurer, while Associate Karen Hellier and paralegal Kayleigh Linford are highly recommended. Additionally, the firm’s ‘online client-profiles allows clients to feel like they have complete control of their claims’. Other household-name clients include The Football Association (on behalf of Wembley National Stadium) and Viridor Waste Management.

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South West: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

Acting for high-street lenders and private banking clients, the team at Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘excellent in the context of real estate finance’ transactions. Indeed, the team advised Secure Trust Bank with the provision of a £19m loan for the development of residential apartments in Slough and also assisted Lloyds Bank with the provision of a housing development facility. The ‘balanced and accessible’ Philip Brown advised HSBC on the refinancing of two redevelopment sites. Roger Seaton heads the firm’s banking group from the Taunton office and acted for a private domestic bank in connection with numerous multimillion-pound property portfolio refinancings. The department also has experience in the agricultural finance sector and advises on the funding aspects of farm purchases. Clare Day joined Harrison Clark Rickerbys in 2018.

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘a major player in regional insolvency litigation’. The practice has a particularly strong following among government bodies; it is the sole national adviser to The Insolvency Service for Insolvency Act, and is regularly involved in disputes in which HMRC is the principal creditor. Department head Martin Askew specialises in insolvency and fraud litigation and is ‘the driving force in the team’. Of note, Askew is engaged by a company liquidator in relation to a large-scale fraud perpetrated by directors of the insolvent company. On the non-contentious side, Ken MacLennan is advising a company and, once appointed, its administrators/liquidators, in relation to the strategic management of its pre- and post-insolvency actions. MacLennan was also instructed by the joint trustees in a deceased individual’s bankruptcy. Associate Lisa Cooke is also recommended.

Next generation lawyers

Lisa Cooke - Clarke Willmott LLP

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South West: Human resources

Employment: Bristol
Employment: Bristol - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's ‘excellent, practical and very responsive’ team handles restructuring, director exits, redundancy, TUPE, company acquisitions and corporate insolvency issues. Kevin Jones jointly heads the practice and recently acted for new client Gates and Fences in relation to restructuring and redundancy matters, the introduction of new terms and conditions of employment, the relocation of the factory, and trade union and individual consultations. He also regularly advises clients in the sports sector including  a number of professional sports organisations, agents and leading sports men and women. Sharon Latham heads the practice alongside Jones and ‘gets to the key issues with no lost time’; she recently advised a global manufacturer on TUPE, TULRA and redundancy issues. Senior associate Tim Copplestone  represents a number of leading international sportsmen, and also advises a US-based sports agency. Other key clients include Marland Yarde, Bandai UK Limited, Marshfield Farm Ice Cream Limited, CityWest Homes Limited and M+W Group.

Next generation lawyers

Tim Copplestone - Clarke Willmott LLP

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Employment: The West Country
Employment: The West Country - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

The ‘user-friendly and knowledgeable’ practice at Clarke Willmott LLP advises on unfair dismissals, redundancy, restructuring, discrimination claims, whistleblowing, grievance procedures and employment tribunal claims. It also handles general HR matters such as long-term sickness, contracts and employee handbooks. Recent highlights include defending a client in an Employment Tribunal claim and assisting with the restructuring of a farming business. Kate Gardner heads the team and provides ‘invaluable, down-to-earth practical employment advice for the real commercial world’. Senior associate Paula Squires' expertise includes providing corporate support, handling employment tribunal work, and advising on restructurings.

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Immigration
Immigration - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP provides immigration advice to businesses and also private clients in relation Tier 1 investor visas, marriage visas, permanent residency and naturalisation. It acts for a domestic and international client base and has a particular focus on Far East clients whom it advises through its China desk. The firm specialises in advising on routes for foreign migrants to enter the UK to establish a business or obtain permission to work for a subsidiary or foreign registered branch. Recent highlights include successfully obtaining a Tier 2 intra-company transfer visa for the commercial director of Bandai to its UK subsidiary. Partner Alex Jakubowski  heads the team and is supported by senior associate Tim Copplestone  who is ‘very sharp’ and 'sees solutions from different angles’. Clients include Jiangsu Guotai International Group Shanghai Import and Export, CityWest Homes, Kong Company and Alliants.

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South West: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant
Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP deals with complex high-value injury, spinal injury, delay in diagnosis of meningitis and encephalitis, and surgical negligence cases, in addition to representing clients in inquests. PartnerChris Thorne  (‘very knowledgeable and strong on strategy’) heads the team and focuses on birth injury and claims of maximum severity. Kerry Fifield specialises in complex paediatric claims, meningitis claims and inquest representation. Marguarita Tyne  works on ‘difficult causation cases of high value with complex expert evidence’ and is adept at handling neurological claims, stroke cases, meningitis claims and amputation cases. John Boyle  has ‘an excellent client manner, is very thorough and tactically astute’. The team has links with local charities such as Limbless, Headway and the Encephalitis Society.

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Personal injury: claimant
Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

The ‘highly professional and well-respected' practice at Clarke Willmott LLP specialises in serious injuries such as child and adult brain injuries, brachial plexus and shoulder injuries, spinal cord, amputation injuries and fatalities. Chris Thorne replaced Martin Pettingell as head of the serious injury and medical negligence department. Pettingell is ‘a highly professional person’ with ‘an in-depth knowledge of his area of expertise and always offers his clients extreme courtesy and respect’. Partner Lee Hart specialises in spinal and brain injuries and also has experience in the niche area of claims involving animals, horses in particular. Hart is ‘calm, measured, intelligent, unflappable and client focussed’. The ‘personable and approachable’ Stephen Trump focuses on paediatric and adult severe brain injuries and amputations.

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Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP advises corporate clients, private client’s insurers and trustees on a range of professional negligence issues. It mainly acts for claimants but also undertakes defendant work. It acts in claims against professionals such as solicitors, barristers, financial advisers, financial planners, banks, architects, surveyors, valuers, auditors, land agents and tax advisors. Recent highlights include acting for RQ Capital against Robert Simpson in relation to a case of a property that was overvalued by around £12m. Another highlight includes acting for Great Lakes Reinsurance and Burford Capital in a negligence claim against Penningtons Manches, this related to negligent advice given during litigation. Philippa Hann gives ‘consistently clear and correct strategic and technical advice’. She focuses on financial litigation and is experienced in the High Court claims and alternative dispute resolutions (ADRs). Alex Jakubowski heads the team and specialises in contractual disputes, financial services disputes, commercial agency disputes and IT disputes. He has ‘a good level of knowledge’ and is ‘tactically aware’. Clients include Arbuthnot Latham, Lloyds Bank, Julian Hodge Bank, West Bromwich Building Society and NFU.

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South West: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘excellent in dealing with all aspects of agricultural and estate matters’, and has a sizeable client list that includes the National Farmers Union (a panel appointment for Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire), Lloyds Banking Group (including AMC) and HSBC. Practice head Tim Hayden handles a range of defence work on behalf of the NFU, often relating to animal welfare and the identification and movement of livestock. Hayden is also experienced in road traffic cases, and is the lead solicitor for the Countryside Alliance, and also assists the Master of Foxhounds Association with hunting issues. Rod Lloyd-Jones provides ‘practical and valuable advice’, and specialises in agricultural property transactions, including the acquisition and disposal of farms and estates and advising on landlord and tenant issues. Lloyd-Jones also acts for many clearing banks in secured lending transactions for their agricultural clients. Mark Buckerfield is ‘exemplary at finding practical solutions, providing well-thought-out and straightforward advice’; Paul Hazeldine has a ‘very thorough approach’; and Esther Woolford is ‘very tenacious in pursuit of her clients' interests’. Associate Robert Mullen is also recommended as ‘extremely thorough and patient’.

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Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘excellent, providing a top-quality service.’ Clients include the Countryside Alliance, for whom they recently succeeded this year in a claim relating to the construction of a will clause; and the NFU.  Changes to the team included 'very skilled lawyer’ Bonita Walters joining as a partner from Burroughs, Laura Mackain-Bremner joining as an associate in Taunton from London firm Bark&co and Emily Jenkins re-joining the team as a solicitor in Bristol after a year abroad. Associate Margeret Vining in the conveyancing department is ‘consistently outstanding’. Esther Woolford leads the team.

Next generation lawyers

Sarah O'Grady - Clarke Willmott LLP

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Family
Family - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is a ‘top-tier firm in this area’, acting primarily for entrepreneurs, high-level executives and farmers/landowners in financial remedy proceedings, and providing particular expertise in cases with cross-border aspects, complex trust and asset ownership issues, and pension elements. ‘Excellent’ practice head Gareth Schofield specialises in complex financial remedy and ToLATA disputes, and also advises on protective trust and nuptial settlements; he works on purely domestic matters and on those with cross-border aspects, particularly involving France. Daniel Eames has expertise in complex marriage or cohabitation disputes, particularly those with an international aspect. Eames was also the only solicitor called to give evidence to the Justice Select Committee on the impact of Brexit on family law. Senior associate Alastair Macleod ‘is a very sound lawyer, who is particularly knowledgeable in pensions on divorce’, dealing with high-net-worth financial settlements, including cases involving companies, partnerships, trusts and farm businesses. Senior associate Hannah Livesey is ‘an exceptionally bright young lawyer, very approachable and supportive whilst being objective in her advice’. Associate Laura Bond also has significant international experience, including financial settlements (e.g. under Part III of the MFPA and Schedule 1 of the Children Act), prenuptial agreements and children matters. Senior associate Emma Gordan is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Gareth Schofield - Clarke Willmott LLP

Next generation lawyers

Daniel Eames - Clarke Willmott LLP

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

Clarke Willmott LLP

The team at Clarke Willmott LLP provides ‘excellent service in the trust and probate area’. The Bristol practice comprises two sections: a large Court of Protection team handling over 130 deputyship clients and managing their financial affairs, and a section focusing on estate planning advice to high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs. Jane Halton comes very highly recommended: she is ‘extremely professional and delivers her advice with clarity and accuracy at all times,’ her ‘depth of knowledge and experience is clearly of the highest standard’. Emma Pope and David Maddock have recently worked on very high-value matters, and are recommended. Carol Cummins leads the team.

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South West: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy
Energy - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is instructed by service contractors, property groups and renewables companies in contentious and non-contentious matters, and has growing expertise in district heating projects. Laurence Lacey provides ongoing advice to a renewables company in relation to its extensive biogas portfolio, and is instructed by a developer in connection with its ongoing biogas developments throughout the UK. Lacey also assisted a construction company with a proposed connection to a council-owned district heating scheme on a residential development being carried out by the client. The team also acts for project funders, and has been engaged in multiple disputes concerning waste-to-energy plants in England and Scotland. Clients include EnviTech Biogas UK, Aqua Consultants and numerous national house builders and housing associations.

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South West: Real estate

Commercial property: Bristol
Commercial property: Bristol - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘very comparable to most of its top regional competitors’ and has particular strengths in residential and commercial development and property investment transactions. On the residential side, Greg Lovett advised Barrett Developments on its £75m acquisition, from Heron Developments, of land holdings and contractual positions in Bristol; this marked one of the client’s largest acquisitions outside of London. Also in the development space, Laurence Lacey acted for a government entity in relation to a highly publicised complex redevelopment project in the UK. Lacey also handles development mandates in the renewable energy sector. Helen Wittram assisted Stonewater with a number of matters in 2017 including the negotiation and exchange of a land and building agreement with Bellway Homes involving the construction and sale of 70 affordable homes. William Juckes leads the commercial property team in Bristol, while Louise Brown heads the firm’s wider real estate group. Beverley Pike and Philip Thompson are additional contacts.

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Commercial property: The West Country
Commercial property: The West Country - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP provides ‘efficient, competent and commercial advice’ in development land and portfolio investment transactions. The highly regarded Roger Seaton advised Nakuru Holdings on its £8m acquisition of a site intended for mixed-use redevelopment. Seaton and Philip Brown assisted Rebus Holdings with the £9.9m purchase of a high-profile office building in Bracknell. Similarly, Brown advised Ruskin Properties on its £3m purchase of the former sewerage treatment works at Caledonian in Lye. Associate Sarah Manley assisted Horton Manor with its sale of a large commercial site, and also has experience acting for high street banks in secured lending transactions. Tim Walker and senior associate Claire Tofts are also contacts. Additional clients include RGP Holdings, Ashville Group and Sovereign Housing Association.

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

With particular expertise in the social housing, waste and infrastructure sectors, Clarke Willmott LLP’s ‘efficient and effective’ construction department leverages ‘a high level of industry knowledge’ across a wide range of contentious and non-contentious construction mandates. The ‘fortitudinous’ Zoe Stollard heads the non-contentious construction practice and is instructed by funders such as Secure Trust Bank, commercial developers such as Ashville Group, and development joint ventures. On the contentious side, Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden defended M+H High Tech Projects UK in a £20m claim by Biffa West Sussex concerning the termination of an EPC contract. Additional clients include Sutton Harbour Services and Stonewater Housing Association. Kate Lister was promoted to senior associate, and Michael Craik left for a consulting position at Maples Teesdale LLP.

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP advises on environmental issues associated with planning and infrastructure development mandates and is also well-known for its experience in the agricultural industry. The team also assists individuals in non-regulatory environmental contentious claims. Indeed, senior associate Daniel Gill successfully represented a car wash owner against Bristol City Council regarding a series of complaints made by local residents concerning noise emanating from the client’s business. Department head Neil Baker advised a property developer on a threatened enforcement claim regarding the company’s alleged failure to complete relevant environmental surveys in relation to a particular site. Further, Karen Howe advised Crematoria Management on the need for a scoping opinion request in connection with the re-determination of a planning request for a new crematorium. Howe has also advised significant public and private sector clients on contaminated land liability concerns. Tim Hayden is another key contact.

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Planning
Planning - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP has ‘excellent all-round knowledge’ of the planning aspects of large residential and regeneration projects and regionally important infrastructure developments. Chris Charlton is advising Cranbrook New Community Partners on a long-running new town development in East Devon, which is projected to bring around 7,500 dwellings. Department head Neil Baker is acting for Curo Places in relation to a multimillion-pound regeneration project at Foxhill Estate in Bath. Similarly, Caroline Waller is advising South Hams District Council on the general planning aspects of a major redevelopment of the Noss Marina. Also of note, Karen Howe assisted Bath Abbey with the permission for certain refurbishments to be made to the Grade 1-listed abbey, in the face of objections by The Victorian Society. The team has also acted for a landowner client in relation to a NSIP.

Leading individuals

Neil Baker - Clarke Willmott LLP

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP provides strategic property advice to a range of market participants including residential developers, property investors, corporate retailer tenants, local authorities and social housing providers. Simon Freeman advised Hansteen Holdings on recovering vacant possession of a multi-let business park, and subsequently assisted the client with the termination of various leases. Nicola Seager provides comprehensive contentious property advice to Marcol, a London-based real estate investor. Seager also has experience in property insolvency. Graham McIntyre advises Mapeley Estates on landlord and tenant matters across its property portfolio, and also acts for corporate tenants such as Burger King. Kary Withers leads the social housing sector group and also has expertise in telecoms mast issues. Withers represented PG Group in proceedings to remove telecoms equipment from the roof of a building in order to facilitate development; she is also handling the client’s related damages claim. Other key contacts include Neil Ham and department head Chris Taylor. Bonnie Martin and Amy Rudrum opened Estate Legal in 2017.

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Headed by Oliver Smedley, Clarke Willmott LLP’s social housing sector group provides ‘good property support’ to regional and national housing associations in property transactions, joint venture development partnerships and disputes. Helen Wittram advised Aster Group on its £6.7m acquisition of 42 affordable housing plots from Bellway Homes. Wittram is also acting for a registered provider in relation to its acquisition of land, subject to planning permission, for the development of affordable housing. On the contentious side, Kary Withers acted for TGP in connection with the temporary relocation of rooftop telecoms equipment so that the client could undertake urgent roofing repairs. Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden has represented housing association clients in construction disputes, and Simon Day advised Sovereign Housing Association, as landlord, on a commercial letting agreement. Senior associate Aaron Macauley also has experience with property disputes in the social housing sector.

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South West: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 4

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP acts exclusively for landowners against major mast operators. It also provides advice on commercial and contractual IT issues, licensing, joint ventures, data protection, data security and GDPR. Recent highlights include acting for The Guinness Partnership in relation to temporary relocation of Telecoms equipment owned by Telefonica UK on their properties, this allowed urgent repairs to take place. Kary Withers heads the team, she is ‘very knowledgeable and experienced with excellent judgment’. Clients include Pinnacle Towers, The Berkeley Group, Mapeley Estates, Onecom Group, PETROC and Phoenix Housing Association.

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Sport
Sport - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP has ‘first-class expertise’ and ‘excellent service with response times that are second to none’. Highlights include acting for long term client Bristol Rugby, attending all player interviews conducted by the Rugby Football Union around allegations of match-fixing, the allegations were found to be baseless. ‘Outstanding’ Kevin Jones heads the team, he has ‘commercial strength’ and specialises in employment law, representing several rugby, football and cricket clubs as well as leading sports men and women. Tim Copplestone also focuses on sports-related employment law, he is ‘quick to reply, diligent and extremely helpful’. The team provides a service that is ‘excellent, commercial and value for money’. Other clients include Somerset County Cricket Club and Wasserman Media Group.

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Further information on Clarke Willmott LLP

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

London

Offices in London

North West

Offices in Manchester

South East

Offices in Southampton

South West

Offices in Bristol and Taunton

Wales

Offices in Cardiff

West Midlands

Offices in Birmingham

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