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Acuity Legal Limited

3 ASSEMBLY SQUARE, BRITANNIA QUAY, CARDIFF BAY, CARDIFF, CF10 4PL, WALES
Tel:
Work 029 2048 2288
Fax:
Fax 029 2049 5588
DX:
200750 CARDIFF BAY
Web:
www.acuitylegal.co.uk
Cardiff, Swansea

Wales

Public sector
Public sector - ranked: tier 2

Acuity Legal Limited

The 'capable, diligent and responsive' team at Acuity Legal Limited continues to pick up market share and 'is winning some excellent work', particularly for local authorities including City of Wolverhampton Council, West Sussex County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council. 'Excellent at getting to the commercial heart of the problem and focusing the team's efforts accordingly', team head Deryn Rees has broad-ranging public sector experience including as it relates to procurement and complex funding structures to facilitate PFI/PPP schemes and other commercial arrangements. Rees has considerable expertise in the waste sector and recently advised Thurrock Borough Council on a suite of contract documents to facilitate the procurement of operation and management services at the council’s network of recycling and waste handling centres and other waste management facilities. Currently on part-time secondment to the Local Government and Community Safety team within the Legal Services Department of the Welsh government, the 'excellent' Craig Griffiths 'brings important experience of working in-house for local authorities, which means he understands the legal and political context and is able to provide very useful practical guidance'. Griffiths is advising the University of Wales Trinity St David on the procurement of a joint venture partner which will seek to transform the SA1 area of Swansea, and building on the work already commenced by the University to develop new campuses on that site. Associate Laura Mitchell 'understands the peculiarities of advising the public sector' and is particularly accomplished at handling procurement matters.

Leading individuals

Deryn Rees - Acuity Legal Limited

Next generation lawyers

Laura Mitchell - Acuity Legal Limited

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Wales: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Cardiff and South Wales
Corporate and commercial: Cardiff and South Wales - ranked: tier 1

Acuity Legal Limited

Led by Steve  Berrry, Acuity Legal Limited’s seven-partner team provides a ‘highly commercial and adept service rooted in real-world experience’, and is noted in particular for its expertise at handling transactional and ongoing commercial work within targeted industry sectors including healthcare, education and renewable energy. As well as his ongoing work for Capita on its acquisition and disposal program, Christian Farrow has also handled some noteworthy work in the renewables space including recently advising Kinetica Energy on the sale of an onshore wind project to FiftyID. Farrow also worked alongside Berry on the high-profile work for Neptune 6 on its acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab from Infineon Technologies. Other recommended practitioners include Rachelle Sellek , for joint venture matters; recently promoted partner Phillip Pugh, who regularly acts for university spin-out companies; and Paul Lowe , whose broad-ranging work encompasses private and public sector clients including those within the life sciences sector. Clients also continue to benefit from the firm’s in-house legal support subscription-based service Acuity Counsel.

Leading individuals

Christian Farrow - Acuity Legal Limited

Steve Berry - Acuity Legal Limited

Next generation lawyers

Phillip Pugh - Acuity Legal Limited

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Wales: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation
Commercial litigation - ranked: tier 3

Acuity Legal Limited

Headed by Hugh Hitchcock,  Acuity Legal Limited‘s embryonic three-partner litigation team spread across the firm’s Cardiff and Swansea offices has hit the ground running and as well as generating standalone instructions has also been able to generate some high-quality mandates from the firm’s impressive roster of corporate and real estate clients. Praised for his ‘tenacity‘ and ‘willingness to fight for his clients to gain the best possible results‘, Hitchcock is well-versed at handling contractual and professional negligence disputes, and is also well regarded for his media litigation offering, particularly in defamation cases. David Hudson has a strong track record for handling financial services litigation matters, and senior associate Aisha Wardell handles contentious insolvency work as part of her broad palette of commercial litigation. Clients include Sony Europe, Eco2, LifeCare Residencies and Grant Thornton.

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Wales: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3

Acuity Legal Limited

Acuity Legal Limited represents a balanced mix of lender and borrower clients across the gamut of mandates ranging from acquisition financing to securing financing for working capital purposes. Given the firm’s excellence within the commercial property arena, it is perhaps unsurprising that a significant proportion of work handled by the team relates to real estate finance matters. Recent highlights in this space include Jonathan Geen and Gareth Baker’s work for marquee developer client Rightacres on the £400m financing by Legal and General of the Central Square development in Cardiff. Damien Cann also has significant market visibility within the real estate sector and has a particular expertise advising on innovative financing solutions to clients within the affordable housing sector. Beverley Jones has broad-ranging finance expertise and is regularly at the forefront of the most significant non-real estate-related financings handled by the firm including advising Cambrian Pet Foods on its refinancing from Santander to HSBC and representing Newport Wafer Fab on the funding arrangements associated with the buy-out from Infineon. Other clients include Warwick Capital Partners, Principality Building Society, Hodge Bank and Mears Group.

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Wales: Human resources

Employment: Cardiff
Employment: Cardiff - ranked: tier 4

Acuity Legal Limited

Although it is relatively small compared to others in the ranking, under the leadership of the ‘very impressive’ Claire Knowles, Acuity Legal Limited 's employment team provides an ‘absolutely brilliant service’ to an ever growing roster of standalone clients, as well as existing corporate clients of the firm. The ‘amazing’ Knowles has ‘vast employment law knowledge’ and as well as handling discrete matters including advice on TUPE and redundancy procedures, also regularly handles in-house training on current hot-button employment issues. Recent highlights include advising energy company Dulas across a range of matters including drafting in-house policies and procedures, such as a sickness absence policy and an overtime policy. The team also handles a substantial amount of ongoing employment work for clients signed up to the firm’s Acuity Counsel service.

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Wales: Projects, energy and natural resources

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

Acuity Legal Limited

Led by corporate partner Christian Farrow, but also employing a multi-disciplinary approach utilising the expertise of lawyers from across the commercial, property, banking and dispute resolution teams, Acuity Legal Limited 's specialist energy legal advisory division delivers 'sound and commercial advice' to an impressive range of clients in the sector including Kinetica Energy, Eco2 and Dulas. Spearheaded by Craig Griffiths, the firm also regularly handles public sector procurement matters. The geographical scope of Griffiths' work includes acting for clients from throughout Wales and England as demonstrated by his representation of West Sussex County Council on its procurement of a contractor appointed to provide highways maintenance works for the Council’s 4,041km road network. Praised for her 'very commercial approach', and also able to leverage her previous experience as a chartered accountant to provide innovative funding structures on PFI/PPP schemes, Deryn Rees also regularly handles public sector work including her work for Thurrock Borough Council in relation to a suite of contract documentation for the procurement of operation and management services at the council’s network of recycling and waste handling centres and other waste management facilities. The firm's panel appointment to the National Procurement Services (NPS) for project work in south Wales has also led to a significant flow of work.

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Wales: Real estate

Commercial property: Cardiff
Commercial property: Cardiff - ranked: tier 2

Acuity Legal Limited

Led by the 'excellent' Jonathan Geen and Steve Morris, Acuity Legal Limited 's 'responsive and cost-effective' five-partner team provides a 'partner-led service' on many of the highest-profile real estate mandates in the local market. The firm's deeply entrenched ties with leading developer Rightacres ensures that it continues to pick up a significant flow of work in relation to the various developments in the Central Square area of Cardiff. The 'first-class' Gareth Baker 'has his finger on the pulse of each deal' and continues to be the lead lawyer on the Central Square regeneration scheme - work which has included not only assembly of the entire site for Rightacres but also advice in relation to the lettings, financing and sales of the various Central Square developments including the £400m finance deal with Legal & General, the letting and sale of 1 and 2 Central Square and the GPU building. Baker also  advised leading global semiconductor company, IQE, on the historic deal to develop the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in south Wales. Outside of Wales, 'personable and approachable' affordable housing expert Damien Cann continues to handle a raft of work for the Mears Group including on on innovative leaseback arrangement with Luton Borough Council to provide affordable housing in Eaton Green, Luton. Although it is best-known for its private sector work, the firm's appointment to the National Procurement Service's (NPS) property panel has begun to generate some sizeable public sector mandates as demonstrated by the firm's work for University of Wales Trinity Saint David on the SA1 development in Swansea. Other clients include Associated British Ports, Sony Europe, LifeCare Residencies and Principality Building Society.

Leading individuals

Gareth Baker - Acuity Legal Limited

Jonathan Geen - Acuity Legal Limited

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Construction
Construction - ranked: tier 2

Acuity Legal Limited

'Very competent and proactive in the field of construction', the 'first-class and responsive' team at  Acuity Legal Limited provides 'clear, succinct and sensible advice' to a varied mix of stakeholders including developers, lenders and contractors. 'First-class' team head James Williams 'has his finger on the pulse of each deal' including his ongoing work for leading developer Rightacres on the development of Cardiff Central Square; recent work on this project has included the construction of a new Wales headquarters for HMRC at 6 and 7 Central Square. Williams also regularly handles work outside of Wales including his recent representation of Mears on an agreement for a long-term lease with developer JR Pickstock for two blocks of student accommodation in Plymouth totalling some 350 student rooms with other units and external parking and landscaping. Other clients include LifeCare Residencies, Principality Building Society, Associated British Ports and Wolverhampton City Council.

Leading individuals

James Williams - Acuity Legal Limited

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Planning and environment
Planning and environment - ranked: tier 2

Acuity Legal Limited

Often working in conjunction with the firm's 'outstanding' real estate team in addition to handling discrete planing matters, Acuity Legal Limited provides a 'high-quality service' to an impressive roster of clients including Rightacres, Greenbank Partnerships and Associated British Ports. Steve Morris  regularly takes the lead on planning matters including his ongoing work for South Wales Land Developments on the sale of the portfolio it acquired from the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales. Recent work in this regard has included the negotiation with Cardiff Council and Redrow Homes of a complex section 106 Agreement for 1000 residential units in connection with the outline planning application on the site. Morris also recently provided planning advice to LifeCare Residencies in relation to the proposed development of a retirement community in West Hampstead, London on the site of an historic underground water reservoir. The 'proactive and approachable' Gareth Baker  has a 'good understanding of planning and how this impacts on commercial property and development'. Baker recently provided property and planning advice to global semiconductor company, IQE, on the historic deal to develop the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in south Wales. The firm also continues to generate a significant amount of public sector mandates, in part due to its panel appointment on the National Procurement Service for Wales for planning and property matters.

Leading individuals

Steve Morris - Acuity Legal Limited

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Acuity Legal Limited

The arrival of a prominent group of litigators, including contentious property expert Clare Tregoning from Douglas-Jones Mercer towards the end of 2016, has given Acuity Legal Limited the ability to handle work on behalf of the firm's impressive roster of property clients. Recently promoted to partner, Tregoning frequently acts for commercial landlords on all aspects of tenancy-related disputes, as well as for private individuals in property-related claims. Recent highlights include representing a care provider, bringing claims of encroachment and trespass in relation to the boundary between its property and a neighbouring property. Clients include Figurehead Homes, Ventura Bay and Community Homes of Intensive Care and Education.

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Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 2

Acuity Legal Limited

At Acuity Legal Limited, the 'personable and approachable' Damien Cann and 'excellent' Jonathan Geen are noted for their ability to provide innovative funding solutions in the sector. Geen handles a significant amount of work for Mears Group including recently advising its housing management arm on a novel transaction in Eaton Green, Luton which involved it taking an operational lease for the provision of Exempt Accommodation for homeless households through a further leaseback arrangement with Luton Borough Council. Other clients include Cadwyn Housing Association, Sapphire Homes and West Sussex County Council.

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Wales: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Acuity Legal Limited

'A genuine business partner rather than just a service provider', Acuity Legal Limited provides a 'responsive and flexible service' to software and communications companies across a range of work, including on the drafting and negotiation of software licences and maintenance agreements, software development contracts and outsourcing contracts. A good deal of this work is handled under the firm's Acuity Counsel subscription service, such as Christian Farrow's work for Progressive Technology Solutions on various matters including drafting and negotiating software reseller agreements, hosting, IT support and servicing arrangements. Farrow also drafted and negotiated all of the transactional documentation and provided assistance with the due diligence in relation to numerous M&A transactions on behalf of outsourcing company Capita in the IT/software space. The firm has also been extremely active in the data protection space, particularly in relation to the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. The firm offers a "DataGuard" system, a subscription-based GDPR compliance and training service, which was described by one client as 'genuinely unique in the data protection market place'. Rachelle Sellek is also recommended. Other clients include Cardiff University, Medaphor, Crimson Consultants and IQE plc. Kerry Beynon joined RDP Law.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 3

Acuity Legal Limited

Acuity Legal Limited has expertise across both contentious and non-contentious IP, particularly as it relates to copyright and trade mark matters. A significant amount of work handled by the team is done so under the umbrella of the firm's Acuity Counsel subscription service, enabling clients to receive a cost-effective service across a range of ongoing IP matters including advice on commercialisation and licensing matters. Rachelle Sellek handles a wide range of commercial contracts matters involving IP issues. Kerry Beynon moved to RDP Law.

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