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South East: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
Corporate and commercial: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx - ranked: tier 1


Dentons¬†in Milton Keynes stands out for its ability to leverage the firm's substantial global reach, making it a go-to for cross-border transactions. In 2017, the office played a role in transactions spanning Europe, Turkey, the United States, Russia, Australia and Turkey; recent cross-border highlights include advising a longstanding FTSE 100 client on its ‚ā¨8.5m acquisition of a company with operations in France, Spain and china. Christopher Colclough¬†¬†led on that deal and has been instrumental in the development of the practice's international capability; he also led the team (which included senior associates Francesca Betterman¬†¬†and Matthew Wimot) advising Solera Holdings on its acquisition of an international software business with operations in Australia and South Africa. The firm also has an excellent reputation for mandates in the automotive sector, with Betterman leading the automotive team in Milton Keynes. In an illustration of its track record in motor retail, Wilmot and Betterman acted for Marshall Motor Holdings, the seventh-largest motor retail group in the UK, on the sale of its leasing division. Practice head and Milton Keynes managing partner Andrew Harris¬†¬†has also been active in automotive sector deals; he led a team acting for Group 1 Automotive UK on its acquisition of Beadles Group. Also recommended are Peter Cox, who acted for Business Growth Fund on its ¬£7m investment in Netcall, and Faye Garvey¬†, who acted for Informa on its acquisition of Futurum Media.

Leading individuals

Andrew Harris - Dentons

Next generation lawyers

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South East: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx - ranked: tier 1


Dentons has 'an extremely impressive presence in this field', providing 'sound and pragmatic advice to help resolve commercial disputes as swiftly and efficiently as possible'. The 'very professional and hardworking team' comprises eight dedicated partners and more than 40 additional lawyers based in offices in Milton Keynes and Watford with wide-ranging expertise covering post-M&A disputes, joint venture disputes, shareholder disputes and corporate control issues. Tim Constable ('has an excellent knowledge of the law, with an acute ability to identify the difficult points in cases and analyse those points in detail') led a team including senior associate Robert Bedford and associate Steven Baker that defended a global car rental company and longstanding client in a group action in Israel involving potentially tens of thousands of claimants.  In another key matter James Fairbairn ('consistently helpful') represented Haringey Council in a £7m professional negligence claim against Property Consultants concerning negligent design and contract administration services related to the extension of a primary school. Other key figures include Steven Mills, who acted for RBS in a case arising from the allegedly negligent sale of interest rate hedging products; Clare Stothard, who is noted for her extensive experience in investment and retail banking litigation, and who acted for RBS, Barclays and NatWest in a Court of Appeal case concerning interest rate swaps and their linkage to claims founded on regulatory reviews carried out by the FCA;  and Roger McCourt, who has more than 20 years' experience acting in retail and business banking disputes. Helen Simpson left private practice in September 2017.

Leading individuals

James Fairbairn - Dentons

Tim Constable - Dentons

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Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 4


Dentons is able to draw on its complementary expertise in multiple practice areas and fields a team that includes lawyers 'who are always readily available and who have a good level of cross-industry experience'. It has expertise in unsecured recovery claims, as well as in volume-secured recovery and mortgage repossessions where rehabilitation of accounts is not possible. Jackie Hanlon, who leads the volume recoveries team, has 'an expert level of knowledge in residential property litigation and approaches everything with the upmost professionalism'. Katherine Hardman focuses on mortgage repossessions, as well as broader debt recovery. Clients include Central Trust, OneSavings Bank, Swift Group and various building societies.

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South East: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1


Clients of Dentons note that they receive 'very high levels of service from the team; lawyers are attentive, responsive, solution-minded, and reduce red tape and delays by picking up the phone to talk through issues'. Peter Cox and Robert Wyatt head the team, which includes Faye Garvey and Neill Pemberton; they are 'outstanding lawyers who combine a "can-do" attitude with a commercial approach'. The practice acts for a number of overseas and UK-based lenders, as well as regional and international borrowers, with notable strength in the automotive, manufacturing, TMT, financial services and real estate sectors. Recent highlights include advising BGF on a £7m facility provided to AIM-listed Netcall, which was used to support its acquisition of Mattsoft; and assisting Marshall Motor Holdings with its strategic disposal of Marshall Leasing, which involved obtaining consent to the sale from the client's syndicate of lenders, as well as the release of various securities. Real estate finance specialist Christopher Colclough is also recommended.

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


The insolvency practice at Dentons in Watford changed its personnel structure recently. After the departure of Carolyn Jones in July 2017 and the retirement of Bill Ramsey in January 2018, banking and commercial litigator Roger McCourt, 'proactive and diligent' counsel Andrea Dunsby and executive Mark Goward became the key contacts, with banking litigator Steven Mills now heading the practice. The lawyers mainly engage in insolvency matters involving banks, individuals and property aspects, as well as corporate restructurings. Recent highlights include the representation of the joint liquidators of United Land Acquisitions and holding company United Land in the complex negotiations for the disposal of a piece of land, as well as the advice provided to a group of mortgage companies on the drafting of a bespoke insolvency policy mainly applying to customers' personal insolvencies. Avison Young, BDO, Begbies Traynor and Jones Lang LaSalle are some of the clients which have instructed the practice for more than a decade.

Next generation lawyers

Andrea Dunsby - Dentons

Mark Goward - Dentons

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South East: Human resources

Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
Employment: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx - ranked: tier 1


Dentons' employment practice is rated 'very highly for the¬†quality of its advice', with clients singling out practice head¬†Sarah Beeby, who 'understands clients' business constraints and goes¬†above and beyond to provide timely, accurate advice on often complex scenarios and to tight timeframes'. The team handles the full range of employment mandates, from providing day-to-day employment advice to acting on complex international projects, across a variety of sectors, including retail, transport and TMT. In an illustration of the practice's track record in handling large-scale, multi-jurisdictional mandates, Beeby led the team advising KKR on the employment aspects of its ‚ā¨6.8bn acquisition of Unilever's spreads business, which involved dealing with works council issues and negotiating the employment aspects of the auction drafts. Other highlights included advising Virgin Atlantic Airways on its gender pay reporting obligations, including handling all aspects of variable pay for cabin crew and pilots, checking sample calculations and reviewing the full report prepared in respect of the entire workforce. ¬†Verity Buckingham¬†regularly acts for clients in unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims.

Leading individuals

Sarah Beeby - Dentons

Next generation lawyers

Verity Buckingham - Dentons

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Immigration - ranked: tier 1


Dentons' immigration practice attracts praise for its 'vast experience in the field', with Verity Buckingham singled out for her ability to 'provide clear answers to all issues raised, no matter how big or small'. The practice handles the full range of business immigration matters, from assisting with sponsor licence applications and acting as Level 1 users, to advising on temporary and permanent visa applications for EU nationals and their family members. It also acts for high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs on private immigration matters. In an illustration of the practice's cross-border credentials, Buckingham acted for on two overseas business representative applications, which was complicated by the applicants' 50% shareholdings in the client's overseas business. Other recent work includes advising Yamabahce on a Tier 2 sponsor licence and on completing the Resident Labour Market Test for a business development manager; assisted Quercus Investment Partners with securing a Tier 2 sponsor licence and advising on special provisions applying to migrant workers switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.

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South East: Insurance

Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 1


Dentons' well-established team has extensive experience of professional negligence matters, with clients singling out practice head Tim Constable for his 'first-class analytical brain and willingness to go the extra mile on each and every one of his cases'. The practice has more than 20 years' experience acting in professional negligence claims for a wide variety of lenders (including Royal Bank of Scotland and the Co-operative Bank) , and was recently appointed to the professional negligence panel of West Bromwich Building Society, in addition to securing re-appointment to Santander's panel. Recent work includes acting for a financial institution in multiple claims against solicitors arising from imposter fraud; representing the London Borough of Haringey in a £7m professional negligence claim against NPS Property Consultants for negligent design and contract administration services in relation to the extension of a primary school; and acting for the National House-Building Council in a claim against a consultant and architect related to the defective replacement of a five-storey glazed facade in an apartment building suffering from water ingress. Fellow practice head James Fairbairn is also recommended.

Leading individuals

James Fairbairn - Dentons

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South East: Real estate

Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx - ranked: tier 1


The commercial property practice at Dentons is praised for its 'very high level of service; the team is attentive, responsive, solution minded, and works to reduce red tape and delays by picking up the phone to talk through and resolve issues.' Led by Roland Gray, the practice has wide-ranging expertise covering work for developers and housebuilders including Taylor Wimpey; infrastructure and regeneration projects for clients such as Network Rail; assisting retail clients such as Sainsbury's and John Lewis Partnership with portfolio management matters. Recent highlights include acting for a consortium of local authorities in the northern Home Counties on the proposed development of a number of new garden communities. In an illustration of the practice's real estate finance expertise, Robert Wyatt acted for Standard Chartered Bank on the £41m financing of a super-prime residential property in London. Other key figures include Greg Rigby, who acts for retailers and property investors, as well as handling railway property matters. Chris Denny retired from private practice in 2017.

Leading individuals

Robert Wyatt - Dentons

Roland Gray - Dentons

Next generation lawyers

Greg Rigby - Dentons

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Construction - ranked: tier 1


Dentons provides 'an exceptional level of service', with clients citing the firm's 'in-depth industry knowledge and good experience in most sectors'. It is highly active in construction disputes, where it acts for contractors such as Vinci Construction and Galliford Try. On the non-contentious front the practice is regularly called on to advise on major projects in the commercial, retail, leisure, rail, energy and high-end residential arenas.  In a recent highlight Jane Miles (who is 'able to come up with innovative ways to deal with difficult issues') acted for Taylor Wimpey on the construction aspects of the redevelopment of a 6.25-acre development site, which was acquired from Royal Mail and has planning permission for 681 residential units as well as retail, office space and public space. Other highlights included advising Kier on the development and letting of a multi-phased, multi-tenanted retail, leisure and trade development in Reading, which has involved advising on the procurement methods and the phasing of building contracts; and advising Great Western Developments on the construction aspects of the project to transform the former Royal Mail sorting and post office site adjacent to Paddington Station. On the contentious front, Gurbinder Grewal (who is praised for his 'intimate knowledge of the details of the case and timely, appropriate advice') is acting for Geofirma Soils Engineering in £30m multi-party court proceedings relating to the defective design and construction of a warehouse in Cheshire. Grewal jointly heads the contentious practice with Akin Akinbode, who has an extensive track record in engineering and construction disputes.  Esther McDermott ('a pleasure to work with') is also recommended.

Leading individuals

Akin Akinbode - Dentons

Gurbinder Grewal - Dentons

Next generation lawyers

Esther McDermott - Dentons

Jane Miles - Dentons

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 1


'One of the go-to firms for big-ticket, complex litigation', Dentons' property disputes practice provides 'prompt, proactive advice' and whose 'support in helping clients to negotiate complex and litigious situations gives them the utmost confidence'. The practice acts for a number of blue-chip clients across a diverse range of sectors, including retail, hotels and leisure, and infrastructure. Recent work includes acting for Riverland (Newark) in a lease rectification claim against a large supermarket retailer tenant; representing UBS as mortgagor in contested possession proceedings concerning a high-value property in Regent's Park, London, following the owner's default on a multimillion-pound interest loan; and acting for an investment fund in a lease dispute with one of its tenants, a global telecoms operator, for a property in Manchester. The practice is also highly active in business rate cases, and is acting for Sainsbury's Supermarkets in appeals before the Court of Appeal relating to the rateable value of ATMs in Sainsbury's stores nationwide. Practice head Bryan Johnston 'runs a tight ship and is an extremely astute tactician'. Also recommended are recently promoted partner David Payton, whose 'commercial acumen is second to none'; Kirstin Dunn, who has been highly active in business rating cases; and Gemma Hunter-Barnes, who joined the firm in May 2017 from B P Collins LLP, whose 'commercial approach to problem-solving makes her a very safe pair of hands'.

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South East: TMT

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 3


Dentons possesses experience of technology-related issues in a wide range of industry sectors, in particular the retail, oil and gas, financial, media and automotive sectors. The bulk of the team’s instructions concerned GDPR compliance ahead of the regulation’s implementation in May 2018. Andrew Harris is managing partner of the Milton Keynes office and heads the practice with counsel Chris White. The practice has longstanding relationships with big-name clients including Sainsbury’s, Taylor Wimpey and Total Lindsey Oil Refinery. Associate Jonelle Afonso joined the team from Fox Williams LLP, while Nick Harrison re-joined the team as a senior associate after spending time in-house with Burtons Biscuits and Debenhams.

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Further information on Dentons

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United Arab Emirates

Offices in Abu Dhabi and DUBAI


Offices in Sydney and Perth


Offices in Baku


Offices in Brussels and Brussels


Offices in Shanghai, Jilin, Wuhan, Chengdu, Ji'nan, Chongqing, Beijing, and Guangzhou


Offices in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Ottawa

Czech Republic

Offices in Prague


Offices in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich


Offices in Cairo


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Offices in Paris


Offices in Tbilisi


Offices in Guatemala City

Hong Kong

Offices in Hong Kong

Costa Rica

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Offices in Milan and Rome


Offices in Amman


Offices in Astana and Almaty


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Offices in Luxembourg


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Papua New Guinea

Offices in Port Moresby


Offices in Warsaw


Offices in Panama City


Offices in Doha


Offices in Bucharest


Offices in Moscow and St Petersburg


Offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Edinburgh

South East

Offices in Milton Keynes and Watford


Offices in Singapore


Offices in Bratislava

Saudi Arabia

Offices in Riyadh


Offices in Istanbul


Offices in Kiev

United States

Offices in San Francisco, New York, Rancho Sante Fe, Orange County, San Diego, Washington DC, St Louis, New York, Kansas City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta, Albany, Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Dallas, Phoenix, Short Hills, Silicon Valley, Downtown, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, McLean, Houston, Mclean, and Honolulu


Offices in Tashkent and Tashkent


Offices in Caracas

Legal Developments by:

  • Legal aspects of documenting shipping finance transactions in the United Arab Emirates

    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strategically placed between Europe and the Far East. The UAE has been ranked among the top 15 maritime nations by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the UAE Government is working on plans to transform the shipping industry into one of the country’s major economic sectors.
    - SNR Denton

Legal Developments in the UK

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