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DWF

ONE SNOWHILL, SNOW HILL QUEENSWAY, BIRMINGHAM, B4 6GA, ENGLAND
Tel:
Work 0121 212 2620
Fax:
Fax 0121 212 2210
DX:
13051 BIRMINGHAM-1
Email:
Web:
www.dwf.law
Belfast, Birmingham, Brisbane, Bristol, Brussels, Cologne and 17 more

West Midlands

Transport
Transport - ranked: tier 1

DWF (Birmingham)

Particularly strong in litigation’, DWF’s team is jointly headed by Darren Kenny, who ‘has a great understanding of the commercial position of his clients and builds good client relationships’, and insurance specialist Caroline Coates. The practice acts for a range of transport clients including Virgin Trains, Zurich and JLR. In the aviation sector, Kenny acted for Air Finland on the enforcement of a €3m judgement against a Turkish airline, and is defending Aerotransleasing in a dispute with the MoD regarding refusal to pay the client in return for the leasing of a military aircraft and the subsequent refusal to return the aircraft. Andrew Leach acted in a complex claim in the aerospace sector involving allegations of breach of contract, and supported Kenny in advising a group of investors on the regulations applicable to the issuance of bonds in an international privately-owned freight car lessor. The team is also prominent in the shipping sector, where Kenny assisted a large client with a dispute against a supplier involving international trade terms.

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West Midlands: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Birmingham
Corporate and commercial: Birmingham - ranked: tier 4

DWF

Responsiveness and appreciation of the business environment are both excellent’ at DWF, where the team handles a steady stream of deals in the lower mid-market range. In one standout transaction, the ‘very commercial and proactiveMark Gibson, who heads the practice, advised Park Holidays on the £362m management buyout of Caledonia Investments and subsequent rollover reinvestment in the buyer vehicle. The team’s experience in the private equity space was also on display, with Gibson acting for Inflexion on the acquisition of My Policy. The practice is noted for its high proportion of cross-border work, drawn mainly from the US as well as Russia and the CEE countries, owing to Gibson’s links to that region.

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 2

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF’s ‘proactive and practical team’ is led by Jon Stevens, whose ‘wide legal knowledge is enhanced by his thoughtful approach’. Stevens focuses on real estate tax and corporate tax, including SDLT and VAT on development and construction, and was once again active in these areas. He also acted for CentralNic Group in the cross-border acquisition of the Instra Group, and advised on a number of sale and leaseback transactions for Whitbread Group, including the forward funding and development of the hub, a Premier Inn-branded 389-bedroom hotel at King’s Cross, London. In another highlight, Stevens has been assisting AIM-listed Constellation Healthcare Technologies with tax advice relating to the $300m recommended takeover of the company by its CEO and CC Capital. The practice also has contentious capabilities and represents clients in relation to HMRC enquiries.

Leading individuals

Jon Stevens - DWF

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West Midlands: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Birmingham
Commercial litigation: Birmingham - ranked: tier 1

DWF

DWF’s ‘well-organised, thorough and London-standard team’ is led by Andrew Leach, who is a ‘superb, highly ethical lawyer, with considerable strategic nous and always prepared to go the extra mile’. The practice’s ‘arbitration practice and its Russian client base is particularly impressive for a regional firm’. The team continued to be active on a number of significant cases emanating from the CIS and CEE; in one example, Leach successfully acted for Optaglio in a breach of contract claim against Abbfab Engineering relating to the manufacture of a holographic embossing machine. In another piece of international work, Leach and newly promoted partner Darren Kenny, who is ‘very dedicated and astute’, defended Punj Lloyd and Punj Lloyd Upstream in proceedings in the Commercial Court relating to the repayment of $25m allegedly due under loan agreements and guarantees. The team also handles UK-centric work, and Kenny successfully represented the Human Support Group in a claim brought by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Council following the group’s withdrawal from a contract for the provision of rehabilitation support services. Helen Briant, Mark Kenkre and Keith Mills all departed for Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Leading individuals

Andrew Leach - DWF

Next generation lawyers

Darren Kenny - DWF

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF assists a wide range of general commercial, financial services and public sector clients with debt recovery, and has particular expertise in acting for major retailers, insurers, local authorities, and water utilities companies. The practice covers both debt and asset recovery and enforcement actions and has a growing international collections operation. Director Neil Jinks focuses on credit management and cross-border enforcements. The team secured a number of new clients in 2016, including Scottish Water Business Stream.

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West Midlands: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 4

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF’s ‘knowledgeable’ team was particularly busy on real estate finance mandates, often with a cross-border component. Head of practice Alice Broadfield, who is ‘easy to work with and keeps transactions flowing’, acts for a range of major lenders, and has niche expertise in areas such as education finance and charity finance. The team was developed by the return of senior associate Richard Holmes from secondment, and the hire of real estate finance specialist Stuart Reynolds from Gateley Plc.

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

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF’s team is probably best known for handling a significant amount of distressed property and receivership for lender clients such as Nationwide Building Society and West Bromwich Commercial. Senior associate Richard Holmes provides ‘very good, solid insolvency and restructuring advice’, and practice head Sean McGrath, who divides his time between the firm’s Birmingham and Manchester offices, is praised for his ‘excellent overall case management’.

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West Midlands: Human resources

Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF’s employment team is led by Hannah Robbins; she ‘clearly outlines options when providing advice and support’, and has a particular specialism in the retail, healthcare and public sectors. New clients for the group include Diamond Heaven, Purestaff and Chubb, and the firm was recently appointed to West Midlands Combined Authority’s legal panel, which Robbins assisted on the TUPE implications of the procurement of a new operator for the metro. In other highlights, Robbins and Sophie Doyle handled the employment aspects of Leviton’s acquisition of network infrastructure provider Brand-Rex, including drafting and negotiating post-completion settlement and consultancy agreements for the senior management. Kate Meadowcroft acted for a healthcare-sector client in in a detailed review of employment documentation of its healthcare professionals, and led on a disciplinary investigation into the use of social media by a senior employee of the client. The practice is also representing a public-sector client in a long-running Employment Tribunal case concerning allegations of disability discrimination and issues concerning protected disclosure. Nikeeta Mahay joined Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP in London.

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF’s David Egan jointly heads the practice and takes the lead on contentious environmental matters, with particular emphasis on defending corporate clients prosecuted by local authorities or regulatory bodies such as the Environment Agency. The team provides ongoing advice to clients such as Persimmon, and recently acted for a recycling client with regards to an appeal against a permit revocation issued by the Environment Agency and prosecutions associated with non-compliance with environmental regulations. Other highlights include acting for a biogas facility operator in a major air pollution incident. Other Notable clients include North West Recycling, Horizon Nuclear Power, and Cannington Enterprises. Fellow joint head Caroline Coates is also recommended.

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West Midlands: Insurance

Personal injury: defendant
Personal injury: defendant - ranked: tier 1

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF is ‘one of the best in the field’, according to clients. The team in Birmingham is led by Caroline Coates, Derek Adamson (who is a ‘star individual’) and Lorraine Carolan and includes ‘technically excellent’ senior associate Paul Donnelly, who handles historic abuse claims for social services and represents hotel chains in a wide range of claims; and Kate Archer, who is a ‘very strong catastrophic injury lawyer with a cross-over skillset in associated regulatory crime’. Significant recent work includes Denise Brosnan’s advice to a child care company on the proposed extension of its duty of care following allegations of sexual abuse, and Carolan representation of a client in 12 suspicious claims, four of which were dismissed during the first day of the trial. Lindsey McQueen has particular expertise in insurance liability, and Rob Edwards stands out for disease-related claims.

Leading individuals
Next generation lawyers

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Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 2

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF’s acquisition of Triton Legal (formerly Robin Simon LLP) significantly strengthened its capacity to handle defence work for professionals such as architects, surveyors, solicitors and financial services advisers. Caroline Coates leads the practice alongside head of the occupational health and casualty practice Derek Adamson, who specialises in policy interpretation in the context of mesothelioma and environmental claims.

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West Midlands: Private client

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

DWF (Birmingham)

The ‘prompt, courteous and creativeRoger Williams co-heads DWF’s private client practice with the Manchester-based Paul Davies and advises on wills, trusts, estate administration and Court of Protection work. In recent highlights, Williams acted as the trustee for several discretionary trusts for a wealthy couple looking to minimise the impact of inheritance tax on their estate, and acted for a client with regards to the severance of assets from an ongoing trust giving rise to complex arrangements in the context of the relationships between various beneficiaries.

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West Midlands: Public sector

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 3

DWF (Birmingham)

Clients rate the overall levels of service at DWF as ‘excellent’. Caroline Coates leads on local government matters in Birmingham and has strong expertise in personal injury and professional negligence matters in the public sector. She is assisted by Denise Brosnan, who is ‘very strong on personal injury and general litigation’ and handles liability claims; and insurance policy specialist Derek Adamson, who ‘is outstanding on contractual liability and professional indemnity questions’. In recent highlights, Melanie Williams assisted the in-house legal team of a city council with regards to funding and property aspects of a major city centre transport development project; and director Neil Jinks, who sits within the firm’s recoveries team, is acting for a local authority in connection with the enforcement of council tax liability orders. Coates and senior associate Paul Donnelly are representing a local government and a major insurer in a series of personal injury claims brought by attendees of a high-profile public event, while Brosnan is handling a group of claims brought on behalf of residents and former residents of a housing estate built on chemically contaminated land. Toby Askin, who leads the real estate teams in London and Birmingham, is also recommended.

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West Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Birmingham
Commercial property: Birmingham - ranked: tier 4

DWF

At DWF, head of hospitality Melanie Williams has particular expertise in the acquisition of hotels, development and refurbishment projects and asset management for investors. Williams handled a number of mandates for Premier Inn and Whitbread Group, including advising on the sale of freehold and leasehold land, forward funding and development of a hub hotel at King’s Cross, London; she also acted for Maven Capital (Shire Hall Durham) in the acquisition and development of a Grade II listed building into a four-star 81-bedroom boutique hotel. Another area of expertise is the public sector, and the team represented key client, the Homes and Communities Agency, in relation to the acquisition of land at Warwick Bar. National head of practice Toby Askin specialises in the retail sector, where he advises landlords, developers and investors on shopping centres and retail park schemes; Askin divides his time between Birmingham and London.

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 4

DWF (Birmingham)

DWF’s practice is led by Michael Green, who has particular expertise in advising investor landlords and corporate occupiers in lease termination situations; recent examples include acting for Savills regarding the early termination of its lease of city centre offices in Nottingham, and advising Clearbell Capital on a forfeiture action against a tenant, based on breach of the alienation provisions in the lease. Another area of strength is development work, where the team advises clients such as Queensbury Real Estate on site clearance. Green also has experience in advising on professional negligence claims and is representing a property investor and developer in a claim arising from advice provided in respect of an agreement for lease. Senior associate Nerissa Hatcher handles property instructions for key portfolio client Westminster City Council.

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