Birketts LLP has a six-partner corporate and commercial practice in its Ipswich office, making it the largest team in Suffolk. 'The advice is good at the level we need and is adapted to clients' needs', remarks one client. The firm acts for a diverse mix of local businesses and national organisations across a wide range of sectors, among them leisure, manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceuticals and construction. Corporate finance, M&A and private equity partner Alexandra Nelson leads the practice. Senior partner James Austin handles commercial contracts and transactional work. Mark Gipson is 'always available and goes that extra mile'. Finance specialist Andrew Tubb is 'highly professional, dedicated and takes the right approach to get deals done'. Employee incentives partner Lisa Hayward and senior associate Emma Bysouth are also recommended.
Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in East Anglia in East Anglia
Alexandra Nelson; James Austin; Mark Gipson; Andrew Tubb; Lisa Hayward
Other key lawyers:
‘My dealings across the firm have always been positive and when our main contact is unavailable, we have received a response in quick timely manner. The advice we are given is good at the level we need and has been adapted to our needs and requirements within our business, especially when looking at new commercial contracts. Birketts came up with a feedback template which helped our business for new contracts, understanding the risks by entering into them.’
‘We have dealt with Mark Gipson for a number of years. He has been an excellent working partner with us, always available for advice and when there is an urgent request, makes himself available. He will also go that extra mile, having responses when he should be on holiday. The responses and advice he gives us is easily understandable and this is something that differs from a previous firm that we dealt with before Birketts.’
‘The Corporate Team at Birketts is a highly experienced and focussed team They are highly credible and professional. As far as East Anglia law firms are concerned, there is simply no comparison with any other team. Choosing Birketts’ Corporate Team is a very easy choice.’
‘Andrew Tubb is highly professional, dedicated and takes the right approach to get deals done. It is the commercial awareness and understanding of business which sets him apart.’
Denny Bros Limited
Skinner Pet Food Ltd
Jas Bowman & Sons Limited
G.A.H. Refrigeration Ltd
Nationwide Metal Recycling Limited
Green Label Foods Limited
Autumn Foods Holdings Limited
Morrison Freight Limited
Tex Holdings Plc
Marshall Wolfe Limited
Berlin Packaging Limited
Host Capital Ltd
Vehicle Replacement Group Ltd
- Advised Denny Bros Limited in relation to the transfer of a controlling interest to an employee ownership trust (EOT).
- Advised the individual shareholders of Best of Suffolk Ltd on their sale to Sykes Cottages.
- Advised Foresight on its equity investment into Beckett Investment Management Group Limited.
Greene & Greene
Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds is known for ‘technical, legal and sector knowledge, and fantastic and responsive client service‘. The firm acts for international PLCs, investors, SMEs and owner-managed businesses of all sizes, not only in East Anglia, but also throughout the UK and overseas. Lead partner Simon Ratcliffe specialises in the acquisition, disposal and reorganisation of private companies. Andrew Cooper, who frequently advises in international M&A transactions, is ‘always available and a pleasure to work with‘. Mark Daly has developed a niche in advising shareholders of high-growth VC-backed science and technology companies throughout East Anglia. Mark Whittaker also focuses on private equity and VC-backed clients. Cooper and Ratcliffe provided Nexus Underwriting Management Limited with strategic and corporate structuring advice to support its global expansion.
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Cooper; Mark Daly; Mark Whittaker
‘Greene & Greene provided legal support throughout our business sale process. I found the team exceptional in the service, commitment, advice and professionalism. We had some very tight timeframes to achieve and these were met without excuses. Final costs were very close to the initial budget costs provided. All aspects of the sale, business and personal were addressed within the practice.’
‘Andrew Cooper of Greene & Greene provided excellent support throughout our business sale process both legally and personally. Having some very tight timeframes to achieve, Andrew was always available telephone and email, whatever the time and over weekend periods. I could not fault Andrew and he was a pleasure to work with. Overall in my 30 years in business, Andrew is by far the most impressive solicitor I have come across.’
‘Mark Whittaker is exceptionally good at commercial elements to the deals, not just the words on the page.’
‘Excellent advisory with merger & acquisitions. Very good commercial advice and support.’
‘Mark Whittaker provides pragmatic advice. Clear and focused and delivered with a calm and clear view. Nothing impacts Mark’s measured and considered view. Mark gets the job done with pragmatism & impactful. Top class lawyer.’
‘Technical legal and sector knowledge, fantastic and responsive client service, long term delivery, good pricing / billing.’
‘Simon Ratcliffe is extremely helpful and his team are very knowledgeable and capable. They are always quick to respond which is not typical of most of the solicitors we work with.’
Nexus Underwriting Management Limited
Nicolas Hancock and Carmel Antha
Florentia Group Limited
Claire Drake and Rebecca Warhurst
Newmore Capital Limited
Pembroke VCT Plc
Adrian Young and Jill Redman
Material Change Limited
Ashtons Legal has a five-partner corporate and commercial practice that 'provides a fully encompassing offering for all legal matters and an excellent experience, which gives confidence that you are in good hands'. The firm has a broad-based practice with niche specialisms in areas such as care homes, franchising and the veterinary sector. Practice head Geoff Hazlewood, who works in both Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, is 'an excellent partner and leader whose work is outstanding, fast and practical'. Key partner Paul Whittingham in Ipswich is head of business services and frequently acts for independent veterinary practices. The firm has a strong team of associates, among them Craig Fiddaman in Ipswich.
Other key lawyers:
Craig Fiddaman; Paul Whittingham
‘Ashtons provide a fully encompassing offering for all legal matters and the management of these different aspects makes for an excellent experience and give confidence that you are in good hands.’
‘The communication is excellent, managers are available on email or mobiles at all times and when unavailable alternative contacts are always given and communicated immediately.’
‘This practice is unique for us due to the collaboration between the individuals covering various aspects of businee legal advice for our corporate requirements – all this being dealt with by one point of contact who co-ordinates the requirements.’
‘Having a very good understanding of our corporate business and requirements is key. Our Partner is Geoff Hazlewood who has acted for the company for many years and has very good knowledge and understanding of our corporate business.’
‘The Ashtons team stand out as very practical, commercial and for being problem solvers. They don’t just think about fees, they work with you to find a route to the most positive solution. Other firms are often far more black and white and just think about the direct legal issues without thinking about the bigger picture and the best commercial option when risks are weighed up and assessed.’
‘Geoff Hazlewood is an excellent partner and leader. His team clearly enjoys working with him and the clients benefit as a result with an approach that is all the better for having a team under Geoff, who clearly play to each other’s strengths and who all have each other’s back – and that includes their clients. Geoff’s work is also outstanding, fast, practical and he gets the job done with no fuss or stress.’
‘Craig Fiddaman clearly has the same strong moral values and ethics as Geoff and this synergy helps you as a client trust the both of them as well as the wider team.’
Stow Healthcare Group
Medical Management Systems
Titan Motorsport & Automotive Engineering
- Advised the management team of Titan Motorsport & Automotive Engineering Limited in management buyout of the Company funded by Shawbrook Bank.
- Advised Camgrain in its oat-milling joint venture with Anglia Malt and Frontier with funding from HSBC.
- Advised the shareholders of Ryan Insurance Group on its sale to Seventeen Group.
Buckles Solicitors LLP
‘The work has been to a high standard and they have all been very personable, friendly and attentive while also providing expert advice‘, says a client of Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough. The firm handles high-value transactions in East Anglia and, through its Paris and Milan offices, cross-border deals. Practice head Nigel Moore and senior associate Katy Poole are the key practitioners in the ‘prompt and efficient‘ practice. Moore acted for Bishopsgate Corporate Finance Limited in the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Hydromarque Holdings Limited from private owners.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has been very prompt and efficient at turning around work requests.’
‘The work has been to a high standard, they have all been very personable and they have made it clear where they would not be able to provide expertise or advice. They have a small firm vibe – very personable, friendly and attentive while also providing expert advice.’
‘Nigel Moore is lovely to work with. He took his time to understand our needs and explain the options we had.’
Electronic Cigarettes Limited
Mr and Mrs Bowman of T F Bowman & Son Limited
Elton John Aids Foundation
Princebuild Holdings Limited
Crispin Moger, Nick Moger, Catherine Helen Moger previously of the Marmalade insurance group
Yours Clothing Limited
- Advised on the £73m sale of T F Bowman & Son Limited.
- Advised the Moger Family on the sale of Young Marmalade Insurance Limited.
Ellisons Solicitors in Ipswich has 'a very responsive team, well-organised, knowledgeable and with a problem-solving mindset'. One client remarks that the practice led by is 'an extremely efficient and competent team that provides high-quality timely work to budget'. Lead partner Jon Bloor has a broad-ranging practice that includes private equity investments and banking and lending services, as well as general corporate and commercial work. He recently advised shareholders on the mutlimillion-pound sale of shares in ParentApps Limited. Recently promoted M&A specialist Petra Sharp and senior legal adviser Ed Manning, who focuses on commercial contracts and franchise agreements, play key roles in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Petra Sharp; Ed Manning
‘They are very very capable – very professional whilst maintaining a very friendly approach. I have also found with the service given the delivery is perfect and the costs fair.’
‘All in Ellisons are very good, reliable, forthright and friendly. Anything outside of their remit has been advised and a competitive provider introduced which has also worked well. Petra Sharp stands out as superb.’
‘We are solicitors and have been on the other side of deals with Ellisons. They are more approachable than other large firms in the region, who seem to fee build and complicate at every opportunity.’
‘They are an extremely efficient and competent team. They understand our needs well and provide high-quality timely work to budget.’
‘Both Petra Sharp and Ed Manning are great. We really value the combination of detailed and precise technical expertise with commercial and real-world pragmatism that they bring.’
‘The Ellisons corporate team strike an excellent balance between having depth of quality to service complex work, being personable and effective, but also pragmatic alongside it.’
‘A very responsive team, well-organized, knowledgeable, problem-solving mindset.’
Kevin & Hailey Clayton
Web Shield Limited
DSV Air & Sea Limited
- Instructed by Kevin & Hailey Clayton (and others as the shareholders of ParentApps Limited) in connection with the sale of their shares in ParentApps Limited to the UK arm of US-based Community Brands, Inc.
- Instructed by Woloszanski & Partners (Poland) to advise Web Shield Limited in connection with the sale of their shares in a UK based group of companies to Zignec, a listed company in Sweden.
- As part of DSV’s DK 30.2 billion acquisition of Agility Global Integrated Logistics, Ellisons weas retained by client DSV UK in order to assist with the integration of Agility’s UK Group into the DSV UK Group. The transaction involved urgent corporate re-organisations across the two UK groups.
Gotelee Solicitors has an extensive office network across Suffolk but its corporate and commercial practice is based in Ipswich, where Max Harnden is the lead partner. He has extensive experience in in negotiating contractual terms, particularly in transactions involving transfers of assets and TUPE matters, both in the public and private sector. He acts predominantly for SMEs in East Anglia and has notable expertise in transactions for clients in the railway, transport and logistics sectors. In 2021, the firm was involved in the negotiation and completion of numerous share and asset acquisitions with values in the range of £1m to £15m.
Aquabridge has a two-partner practice that provides ‘exceptional service and advice that is easy to understand‘. Keith Vincent and Simon Letts split their time between Chelmsford and Felixstowe. They regularly advise clients on a variety of commercial contracts, including terms of business and distribution agreements. Their work also encompasses M&A, corporate finance, private equity matters, financing arrangements, joint ventures, structuring shareholdings, share schemes and Employee Ownership Trusts, company law and corporate governance.
Keith Vincent; Simon Letts
‘Exceptional service and easy to understand.’
‘Simon Letts consistently delivers exceptional service.’
The Knight Group
Cameron Ventures Group
George Baker Group
Secure Shield Limited
Kersey Freight Limited
Maze Logistics Limited
Safely Insured (previously known as Sky Insurance)
Keswick Enterprises Group
- Advised the sellers on the sale of UK Customs Solutions Limited to Customs Support Group BV, one of Europe’s leading customs brokers.
- Advised Brentwood Communications Ltd on its acquisition of Radio Links Ltd.
- Advised the sellers on the sale of a leading UK supplier of CPQ software and other online sales tools to a world leader in the provision of channel incentive software, headquartered in Canada).
The corporate and commercial practice at Barker Gotelee in Ipswich is ‘extremely approachable, very knowledgeable and a delight to deal with‘. The firm advises privately-owned companies with operations in East Anglia, as well as partnerships and individuals. A growing proportion of its work is for clients in the not-for-profit sector. Practice head Clare Richards ‘leads her team very well and leads by example with regards to the quality of work and client care‘. She acted for Suffolk Meat Traders Limited in the solvent winding up of a wholesale supply co-operative. Associate Victoria Spellman joined from Gotelee Solicitors.
‘Barker Gotelee advised us in a crossboarder transacton. They made the UK practice very clear and understandable to us and to our clients.’
‘Clare Richards understood very quickly our needs and we felt our interests were very well protected and upheld.’
‘The team at Barker Gotelee are extremely approachable, very knowledgeable and a delight to deal with.’
‘Clare Richards deserves special mention, as she leads her team very well and leads by example with regards to the quality of work and client care.’
‘The Barker Gotelee team provides the best of both worlds: large enough to have all key technical disciplines covered, but small enough to offer an bespoke, personal and very supportive and partner-led client service.’
‘Whenever I speak with Clare Richards on a knotty issue she just “gets it” straightaway. I have been hugely impressed with her professionalism, responsiveness and attention to detail. She is now my go-to corporate lawyer.’
‘We recently enjoyed a highly professional and personal service from Barker Gotelee on a complex and sensitive issue.’
‘I have known several of the solicitors at Barker Gotelee for many years and value highly their individual and collective knowledge, experience and style of working.’
Nason Davis Limited
Suffolk Meat Traders Limited
Suffolk Cricket Board Limited
The Sutton Hoo Ship’s Company
Rainbow Pharmacy Limited
Hunt & Coombs LLP
At Hunt & Coombs LLP, 'the team is personable and approach legal issues in a pragmatic and practical manner ensuring that work completed efficiently and in the best interest of the client'. In Peterborough, lead partner Anna Spriggs and associate Olivia Chalmers 'cut through the jargon and help you understand the legal issues and resolutions in a straight forward and easy to understand way - a refreshing approach in comparison to other lawyers'. The firm advises sole traders, grassroots start-ups, regional SMEs and national companies on all aspects of M&A and commercial matters. Spriggs also frequently acts for ecclesiastical clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team are personable and approach legal issues in a pragmatic and practical manner ensuring that work completed efficiently and in the best interest of the client. The partners and team are active in the local community and support the area where they work.’
‘The team cut through the jargon and help you understand the legal issues and resolutions in a straight forward and easy to understand way – a refreshing approach in comparison to other lawyers.’
‘Working with Olivia Chalmers, Associate, advising our mutual client on the sale of their company, I found her and the practices she adopted to be very commercial and this was key to completing a corporate transaction of this nature.’
‘Olivia Chalmers provided assistance to the sellers on the due diligence and disclosure process with patience and was insightful answering the client’s questions.’
‘Olivia Chalmers had a good understanding of the deal mechanics including completion accounts definitions, estimates for cash, debt and working capital and how the corporate finance advisers brought this together on the deal. Olivia was able to collaborate well with us and offer guidance on any accounting, tax and legal points associated with the deal mechanics to ensure we were acting in the best interests of our mutual client.’
Shareholders of Aprenda Limited
Stamford Country Inns Limited
Anglia Home Furnishings Limited
East of England Showground Services Limited
Airscience Technology International Limited
Lattice Labels Limited
- Advised the shareholders of Aprenda Ltd in the disposal of the entire issued share capital of the company to the international BRUSH Group.
- Advised Stamford Country Inns Limited and certain individual shareholders in a hive-down asset sale of the trading business and grade II listed freehold property of a historic local village inn.
- Ongoing general corporate and commercial services to Anglia Home Furnishings Limited, including group company secretarial services, corporate guidance for on-boarding of new directors and general commercial contracts advice.
Nicholsons Solicitors LLP
The Lowestoft office of Nicholsons Solicitors LLP provides ‘exceptional service from a firm with a wide range of talent that is commercially-minded and shows good attention to detail‘. It is the only commercially-focussed law firm on the Norfolk/Suffolk coast and throughout the Waveney Valley. Sole partner Joseph Long, who works between Lowestoft and Norwich, is ‘an effective and decisive operator, who is able to quickly understand technical situations and provide good, concise advice‘. In 2021, the commercial department handled deals with a total value in excess of £45m.
‘Exceptional service from a firm with a wide range of talent. Able to effectively advise on a whole range of matters. Commercially-minded and good attention to detail.’
‘Joseph Long – he is an effective and decisive operator, with a wide range of abilities. Able to quickly understand technical situations and provide good, concise advice.’
‘Nicholsons have a depth of experience amongst their team far in excess of any of its local competitors.’
‘My main dealings have been with Joe Long regarding commercial activities namely shareholder disputes and business sales. Joe has always been honest and pragmatic at all times, keeping clients and other advisers updated at all times and has always been incredibly efficient.’
‘The team at Nicholsons are very friendly and knowledgeable over all areas of our business. They are easy to contact and if not available are quick to respond to a call back. This is very important especially when you are worried about something and you need your mind putting at ease.’
‘Joseph Long is the standout partner. Aside from excellent advice, he is really customer focused and a pleasure to deal with.’
The Alconbury office of Roythornes Solicitors is becoming a more important hub for corporate and commercial matters, working closely with the team in Spalding. The firm has a group of 'keen and clever individuals', led by Martin Jinks who works in both offices. So, too, do Lizzie Walters, who is strong in corporate restructuring, and Mike Matthews, who focuses on M&A and corporate finance. 'The team is very personable with a depth of knowledge that gives a real confidence in using the team for commercial transactions and corporate work that requires serious care and attention', remarks a client.
Other key lawyers:
Mike Matthews; Lizzie Walters
‘Mike Matthews has a particularly good grasp of financial and corporate issues and can simplify complex transactions with his ability and pragmatism. In addition, Mike has can move quickly deliver and plough through time sensitive transactions with ease and is a safe pair of hands.’
‘The practice is well structured to cover all aspects that come to light during business sale and purchase agreements. Working for the client and seeking to find innovative solutions where at all possible.’
“Lizzie Walters is excellent at pulling together the final position and detail Always available at the key moments both for myself as a fellow adviser and also for the client ‘
‘The team is very personable with a depth of knowledge that gives a real confidence in using the team for commercial transactions and corporate work that requires serious care and attention. It is also very responsive to client needs.’
‘Personality combined with in depth knowledge.’
Ceres Rural LLP
TC Bulley Davey Limited
BA Bush & Son Limited
FESA (UK) Limited
Peterborough Renewable Energy Limited
Frontier Agriculture Limited
Pigeon Investment Management Limited
Majestic Bingo Limited
Inivos Scientific Limited
Specialist Health Solutions Limited and group companies
Lawrence David Limited
- Advising Frontier Agriculture Limited in the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Yagro Limited.
- Advising the co-founders of Biocow Ltd in the sale of a majority stake to Macquarie Capital Principal Finance.
- Acting in the demerger of a farming company with an asset value of £9.5m.