The team at Birketts LLP is noted as being ‘responsive and willing to find practical and commercial solutions’ to clients’ issues. The firm is a regional powerhouse but also handles a growing stream of cross-border transactional matters. Practice head James Allen provides ‘measured, pragmatic and commercial advice’ and notably recently assisted Greene King Limited with the acquisition of smokehouse restaurant group Hickory’s. ‘Approachable and easy to work with‘ early-stage funding expert Quentin Golder, private equity specialist Adrian Seagers and experienced ICT partner Andrew Priest also play pivotal roles in the practice, as does Nick Burt, who was promoted to partner in June 2022.
Corporate and commercial: Cambridge in East Anglia
Other key lawyers:
Quentin Golder; Adrian Seagers; Nick Burt; Andrew Priest
‘We find the team very commercially aware which for us as a small business is very valuable. Birketts’ size enables us to be able to speak to the partner on a regular basis and get attention on the work we require.’
‘We have dealt with Quentin Golder for a number of years and find him very approachable and easy to work with. We really value his input.’
‘The team are responsive and willing to find a practical and commercial solution that works alongside the need for a sound legal basis.’
‘James Allen is a standout lawyer for his measured, pragmatic and commercial advice. He quickly cuts through the legal issues to meet client needs without the need for over-complication.’
‘James Allen is an excellent lawyer – clever, commercial and he has unrivalled experience in the Cambridge market.’
‘Since moving into Cambridge, Birketts have established a large and experienced legal team covering most disciplines. They have built strong links with the business community and are very well-known.’
‘James Allen is robust in his position and knows when to stick to his case and when to be more pragmatic.’
SDI Group plc
Chestnut Inns Limited
The Wastepack Group Limited
- Advised Royale Group on a number of acquisitions and re-financing arrangements over the last 12 months.
- Continuing to advise SDI Group plc on a number of acquisitions.
- Advised a company on its sale to another.
Goodwin's Cambridge office is a key hub for the firm-wide technology and life sciences practice, which has a prominent global profile. The firm advises private and public companies, venture capital funds and investment firms on early-stage financings, capital market transactions, M&A deals, strategic collaborations and licensing matters in this context. David Mardle, Malcolm Bates and Tim Worden are the lead partners. Adam Thatcher who was promoted to partner in October 2022 and Elizabeth Rhodes play key roles in tech in VC and M&A transaction work, namely. The team is noted as being ‘smart and responsive, with good depth of skill and experience in complex transactions'.
Malcolm Bates; David Mardle; Tim Worden
Other key lawyers:
Adam Thatcher; Elizabeth Rhodes; Roshni Thakkar
‘Knowledgeable on venture capital, extremely responsive, good risk mitigations.’
‘We have a genuine relationship with the team who always seek to understand circumstances and context.’
‘Smart and responsive, with good depth of skill and experience in complex transactions.’
‘A trusted advisor with breadth of experience, responsiveness and availability.’
‘Extensive experience of commercial transactions; a highly pragmatic approach, efficient and expeditious in providing advice. Excellent value for money.’
‘Elizabeth Rhodes is extremely commercial and effective, and has a very talented group of associates including Roshni Thakkar, who deserves particular mention. The team is highly commercial with a focus on getting a deal done. They have proven excellent at learning how we as a client like to work with external advisers, and what our limits are, and now implement this consistently.’
‘We trust the Cambridge team’s judgement and have confidence in them striking the right balance between attention-to-detail and not overworking a matter. The team is well run, consistent in their approach, transitions are smooth and all are a pleasure to work with.’
‘Elizabeth Rhodes is highly commercial, a clear and efficient communicator, and resilient in negotiations. She learns her clients, their preferences and limits, and ensures that she and her team take as much as they can upon themselves. Roshni Thakkar is excellent – technically completely sound, has a strong commercial outlook, with excellent communication and project management skills.’
Oxford Science Enterprises PLC
Syncona Portfolio Limited
Probe Test Solutions Limited
Ten Eleven Ventures
SV Health Investors
Biocon Biologics Ltd
- Advised OKRA.ai on their acquisition by Envision Pharma Group (Envision)
- Advised Refeyn on its oversubscribed Series B financing. The round was led by Northpond Ventures, a scientific, medical, and technology-driven venture firm and supported by existing investors, including Oxford Science Enterprises, Foresight Group, Oxford University and Horizons Ventures.
- Advised Oxford Science Enterprises PLC and Syncona Portfolio Limited on their investments into OMass Therapeutics Limited as part of OMass’s $100m Series B funding round alongside new investors GV, Northpond and Sanofi.
Mills & Reeve LLP has a large corporate M&A practice that handles high-value regional work as well as a growing roster of national and international matters. Its work includes major IPOs of companies based in East Anglia and London, as well as cross-border M&A deals, private equity transactions and VC financings. Head of corporate Tom Pickthorn and head of commercial Kevin Calder are the lead partners. Pickthorn acted for The Lee Company, Inc. in the multimillion-pound acquisition of micropump technology company TTP Ventus. Education and investment fund partner Claire Clarke, mid-market specialist Jonathan Greenwood, and private equity partner Anthony McGurk are among the many standout partners. Senior associate Charlotte Bull is also recommended.
Tom Pickthorn; Kevin Calder
Other key lawyers:
Claire Clarke; Anthony McGurk; Jonathan Greenwood; Charlotte Bull
‘A very professional team which is very easy to work with. They have exceptional communication skills and do not shy away from difficult conversations. All in all, an exceptional team.’
The Lee Company, Inc.
Midwich Group plc
Sellers of essDOCS Limited
Gravitee Topco Limited
NRG Therapeutics Limited
IQ Capital Partners LLP & FactSet Research Systems, Inc
PragmatIC Semiconductor Limited
- Acted for the Midwich Group plc in relation to the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Nimans Limited and its three wholly-owned subsidiaries with a transaction value of £27.5m.
- Advised sellers of the sale of their company to a multinational education and publishing group listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market cap of almost £6bn.
- Advised IQ Capital Partners LLP, a longstanding deeptech VC fund manager with $1bn funds under management on 15 investment deals over the last 12 months.
The corporate practice at Mishcon de Reya LLP ‘sees the big picture and understands where the real corporate risks are’. The Cambridge team handles a range of transactional and advisory work, which includes handling sell-side and buy-side M&A and venture capital transactions, as well as advising high potential IP-rich emerging companies on the range of corporate and commercial matters. Charles Fletcher is the practice head, supported by standout partners Adam Bradley, who is regarded as ‘one of the savviest transactional lawyers’, Sian Scanlon, and emerging companies specialist Tom McGuire. ‘Calm, precise and patient‘ senior counsel Nick Palmer and managing associate Sarah Ilic are also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Adam Bradley; Sian Scanlon; Tom McGuire; Nick Palmer; Sarah Ilic; Chris Keen; Rebecca Quick
‘The team is pragmatic, approachable and practical. It understood the dynamics of working with a small biotech company and the constraints we were under – they tailored their services and billing structure to meet those needs.’
‘Approachable, pragmatic, responsive and not pedantic or unnecessarily detailed. The team sees the big picture and understands where the real corporate risks are.’
‘Nick Palmer’s support has grown to be very valuable to us both as a legal advisor but also as a trusted sounding board for some of the more challenging situations we have faced over the years. He is calm, precise and patient, willing to explain issues and consistent. Also, he anticipates well where the key issues are going to be.’
‘The team are ultra-client-focused, having developed a solid knowledge of our business and therefore our legal needs. They take the time to ask the right questions and probe the business needs, then advise from a legal perspective with pragmatic options. They are highly experienced and therefore bring a wealth of industry knowledge and experience.’
‘Adam Bradley is one of the savviest transactional lawyers we have worked with. He is a careful draftsman, knows the transactional world well so understands market-based asks and provides clear and effective legal advise to me and our business teams.’
‘Sian Scanlon gives practical advice in range of challenging, fast-moving situations.’
‘This team understands the London start-up scene incredibly well, which helps us tremendously. I feel confident that we are negotiating funding rounds from a position of strength and knowledge; it helps me prioritise critical legal spend while avoiding things more appropriate to future stages. The team is diverse, junior people have a voice, and partners spend real time on work.’
‘Chris Keen and Rebecca Quick are the two best lawyers we have worked with in the UK.’
Adaptate Biotherapeutics Ltd
ECI Software Solutions Limited
The Future Laboratory Limited (shareholders)
Emergence Partners Limited
Eco Ventures Holdings Limited
Clearstone Energy Limited
Vira Health Limited
Herbert Group Limited
- Advised Adaptate Biotherapeutics Ltd on its acquisition by an existing shareholder, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.
- Advised on the complex multi-party sale of the entire issued share capital of The Future Laboratory limited to the Together Group Holdings plc.
- Acted for ECI Software Solutions Limited on its strategic acquisitions of two UK companies in connection with the wider acquisition of ES Technology Group.
The Cambridge office of Withers LLP is the firm’s UK life sciences hub and clients note that ‘the corporate team has deep specialist knowledge of venture capital transactions in the technology sector’. The Cambridge team consists of lead partner Susanna Stanfield, who has ‘deep specialist knowledge in venture capital transactions and is an authority in the field‘, and senior associate Mary Harley. They work closely with IP specialist Richard Penfold and venture capital expert James Shaw, who both work in Cambridge and London, as required. Stanfield advised biotech research firm Kynos Therapeutics on its spin-out from the University of Edinburgh and its £9m financing round.
Other key lawyers:
Mary Harley; Richard Penfold; James Shaw
‘Withers’ corporate team in Cambridge has deep specialist knowledge of venture capital transactions in the technology sector.’
‘Susanna Stanfield has deep specialist knowledge and is an authority in the field.’
‘One strength is that Withers demonstrate quite clearly a collaborative approach and a ‘one team’ ethos.’
Activum SG Ventures SCSp
Altruistic Innovations Ltd
Cambridge Innovation Capital
Climate Edge Limited
Clowdy Group Limited (trading as Twine)
Coople UK Limited
Codebay Solutions Limited (trading as Lodgify)
Critical Pressure Limited
Diligen Holdings LLP
Emerge Venture Lab Ltd
Entrepreneurs Fund General Partner Ltd
ETF Partners LLP (Previously ETF Manager LLP)
Fig Leaf Promotions Limited (trading as Maths No Problem)
Guy’s & St Thomas Foundation
In3Bio Research Ltd. (formerly Bioven (Europe) Limited)
Kynos Therapeutics Ltd
LocalGlobe X, LP
Melico Sciences Limited
Mirzyme Therapeutics Limited
Nature Metrics Ltd
Oja Global Ltd
Akamis Ltd (formerly PsiOxus Ltd)
Parkinson’s Disease Society
Regenerate Ventures Limited
Roslin Technologies Limited
Signatur Biosciences Inc
Skiller Whale Limited
Snap HR Limited (formerly Circalit Limited)
Start Codon Ltd
Story Terrace Ltd
Stress Point Health Limited
Vinterior Holdings Limited
Nationwide Engineering Research and Development
- Advised biotech research firm Kynos Therapeutics on its spin out from the University of Edinburgh and its £9m financing round.
- Advised on a $30m Series B funding round.
- Advised biologics company Elasmogen Ltd in securing an £8m investment round and on commercial matters such as complex licensing and collaboration agreements and IP protection.
BDB Pitmans is well-regarded for ‘the clarity of advice' it offers its clients, alongside its ability to ‘balance expert advice with a pragmatic and thoughtful approach'. Corporate partner Duncan Walker provides ‘first-class, concise and commercial advice‘ and associate Ross Fletcher ‘has a willingness to go the extra mile‘. The team recently advised KISS Communications Limited on the acquisition of online marketing agency Isle Interactive Limited. Consultant James Stephen departed to Howes Percival LLP in January 2023.
Other key lawyers:
Ross Fletcher; Ollie Flowers
‘Working with BDB Pitmans’ corporate team was a great experience. They appeared to function as a very tight unit who were always in control of a complex project. The clarity of advice was absolute and they consistently won important negotiation points in our favour.’
‘Duncan Walker is exceptional. He is very clear in his analysis of situations and challenges, and is a formidable negotiator. He ensured that his team delivered what was needed. Ross Fletcher is also a very capable solicitor – thorough, efficient and very knowledgeable.’
‘Attentive, supportive and experienced.’
‘Duncan Walker is excellent, with great attention-to-detail.’
‘The corporate and commercial team in Cambridge is excellent, balancing expert advice with a pragmatic and thoughtful approach, resulting in transactions running smoothly.’
‘Duncan Walker is very experienced partner, providing first-class, concise and commercial advice, on many transactions. It is also pleasure working with Ollie Flowers who provides clear and commercial advice. Ross Fletcher also stands out for his willingness to go the extra mile.’
Owlstone Medical Limited
KISS Communications Limited
Cambridge Publishers Holdings Ltd
Cambridge Bioscience Limited
Gerda Security Holdings Limited
Harrods Aviation Limited
Natalma Bloodstock Limited
Research Donors Limited
- Advised on the £30m sale of two companies, Cambridge Bioscience Limited and Research Donors Limited, to a Swedish private equity house.
- Advised KISS on the acquisition of Isle Interactive Limited – two online marketing agencies.
- Advised Harrods Aviation Limited in the acquisition of Fayair (Stansted) Limited, a fixed base operator at Stansted.
Clients of HCR Hewitsons appreciate the firm’s ‘personal service and good communication skills’. Head of the Cambridge office Inger Anson leads the corporate practice and focuses predominantly on early-stage growth funding work. She is ‘highly experienced and quickly gets to the nub of the matter, helping clients to foresee future risks and challenges‘. Partners James Lawrence, whose work includes employment ownership trusts, and Laurence Evans, who handles partnership matters and family offices, also play key roles in the practice. Former head of commercial Nathan Evans departed to Fladgate LLP in April 2023.
Other key lawyers:
James Lawrence; Laurence Evans; Joe Greenstock
‘Nathan Evans continues to be a dependable and skilled counsel to us. As evidenced by his previous ranking, he is well-known for his FS expertise as well as his provision of commercial and pragmatic advice. We are delighted to have him as our partner.’
‘An excellent, engaging, and experienced team, with wise advice and foresight provided on challenging and time-critical matters.’
‘Inger Anson was recommended to me and I can only say positive things about her; she is highly experienced, quickly gets down to the nub of the matter in hand, and helped us foresee future risks and challenges. Our deal was far from straightforward, however she was able to clearly lay it out for us and close the round across several tranches with multiple investors.’
‘Inger Anson understood our time-critical needs.’
‘Joe Greenstock worked closely with us on deals, provided solid advice and support. A pleasure to work with.’
‘They provide a personal service.’
‘They have strong communication skills.’
SAP (UK) Limited
SAP Fioneer Limited
VAKT Global Limited
Trade Information Network Limited
Marmalade Game Studio
Connected Places Catapult
MVG Media Limited
Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Limited
Grove Pet Foods
Evoco Digital Services
Shareholders of Specialized Security Products Limited
Egin Research Ltd
Coalesce Product Development Limited
PIR International Ltd
Smarter Data Management Ltd
- Advising Management Buyout with Private Equity Backing on a complex transaction involving the initial sale of 45% of Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Limited share capital to private equity firm Harwood Capital Partners.
- Advising the shareholders of Grove Pet Foods on their sale to Cranswick Plc.
Howes Percival LLP's team is described as having ‘plenty of experience, combined with a calm and commercial approach‘. The firm handles a broad-range of transactional and advisory work, notably in the healthcare, leisure and tourism sectors, though it is seeing a growing flow of work from industries such as automotive, technology, and food and beverage. James Stephen joined from BDB Pitmans in January 2023 to lead the corporate team in Cambridge; the ‘prompt and courteous‘ Oliver Pritchard leads the broader corporate, commercial and banking group in East Anglia.
Other key lawyers:
‘The corporate team in Cambridge and Norwich is excellent.’
‘Oliver Pritchard and the team work seamlessly with other professional advisers and clients on transactions – they have plenty of experience, combined with a calm and commercial approach.’
‘Oliver Pritchard’s in-depth legal and practical knowledge is very helpful when working on transactions together. He is very prompt in responding and courteous, with a friendly manner which clients find very reassuring. He has great team supporting him.’
‘James Stephen brings many years of experience and commerciality to Howes Percival’s corporate team.’
‘A top bunch – well-informed.’
‘A great work ethic.’
Ben Burgess Holdings Limited
Virgin Experience Days
The Shackleton Design & Manufacturing Company
Welch’s Transport Limited
Masters Logistical Services Limited
Solstice Associates Limited
Marfa Stance Limited
Thought for Food Retail Limited
- Advising the shareholders of Touchdown PR Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to Ruder Finn.
- Advising the selling shareholders of Cambridgeshire based warehousing and distribution business Masters Logistical Services on the sale of the company to Knowles Transport
- Advising the Shareholders of Lola Tech Holdings Ltd on the sale of the digital design and software build agency Lola Tech Holdings Ltd to DataArt Technologies UK Ltd.
Taylor Wessing LLP is noted as having ‘a strong corporate presence in the Cambridge ecosystem’. Practice co-heads are IP specialist Adrian Toutoungi and Ross McNaughton, who is regarded as ‘a go-to adviser on venture capital transactions‘. The team counts numerous life sciences companies amongst its clients, including Shield Therapeutics plc, Cambridge Epigenetix and Fusion Antibodies. The firm recently acted for desktop bioprinting company Nuclera on its $58m series B financing.
Ross McNaughton; Adrian Toutoungi
‘Taylor Wessing has a strong corporate presence in the Cambridge ecosystem and frequently advise us and other market participants on transactional matters.’
‘Ross McNaughton heads up the corporate team and is a go-to advisor in the market on venture capital transactions. He has strong full service support behind him and several able associates in his team.’
‘A great team with coordinated responses and fantastic communication, who are invested in clients’ business.’
‘Ross McNaughton is pragmatic, business-focused and really cares about their clients. I cannot fault his service and advice.’
Shield Therapeutics plc
IP Group plc
The Faraday Institution
New Science Ventures
Oxford Science Enterprises PLC
2150 Urban Tech Sustainability Fund
- Advised bioprinting pioneer Nuclera on its $58m series B financing.
- Advised leading US deep-tech investor New Science Ventures, on the $60m Series B venture financing it led on for Paragraf.
- Advising Cambridge Epigenetix (CEGX) in relation to its various corporate matters and collaborations with among others, Guardant, Freenome, Agilent and Roche.
Stone King LLP‘s Cambridge office provides general corporate, M&A and commercial support to businesses, especially impact ventures, as well as social enterprises, education institutions and charities. There is an increasingly international element to the firm’s work, notably in M&A transactions in the independent school sector. Practice head Miguel Pereira, who works in both the London and Cambridge offices, is the key partner for such matters, while Tamsin Eastwood also handles deals in the financial services sector.
Other key lawyers:
Triodos Bank UK Limited
Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA)
- Advised on the provision of a multimillion pound loan to a community land trust for a redevelopment project set to create affordable housing and community space in south London.
- Advised HESA on its merger with Jisc, one of the sector’s most complex mergers of recent times, which was the culmination of several years of planning.
Tees Law has an increasingly broad practice thanks to head of corporate and commercial Lucy Folley, who works from both the Cambridge and Brentwood offices. ‘Tenacious negotiator‘ Alastair Cotton brings extensive in-house experience to bear on commercial matters as well as on M&A deals, joint ventures, MBOs, and private equity transactions and restructurings.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is accessible and willing to go the extra mile.’
‘They work quickly and collaboratively.’
Mo-Sys Engineering Limited
Turners (Soham) Limited
Lord-Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire
Cambridge Community Foundation
Cuttsy + Cuttsy Limited
Three Grey Monkeys
International Paralympic Committee
WashTec (UK) Limited
Andy Ramage (and associated businesses)
Athletic Club Limited
Savage Haulage Limited
Containerlift Services Limited
Breathe Cars E.V.
Wharton Business Consulting
- Advising Mo-Sys Engineering in relation to a multimillion pound regeneration scheme and its lease of the former Plumsted Power Station in London.
- Advising Three Grey Monkeys on all its technology and customer contracts, as well as on its relationships with sub-contractors and freelance staff, nationally and internationally.
- Advising Safer Places on a £17m 3-year contract award from Hertfordshire County Council relating to the provision of a countywide service for high-risk victims of domestic abuse.