Hall Of Fame

Next Generation Partners

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in East Anglia in East Anglia

Ashtons Legal

The five-partner corporate and commercial practice at Ashtons Legal works across the firm’s office network, with Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds being key hubs of activity. In Ipswich, practice head Geoff Hazlewood handles corporate transactions and care home matters, and Paul Whittingham has a niche practice advising independent veterinary practices. Senior associate Craig Fiddaman stands out for his work on share and asset transactions, restructuring, corporate governance and commercial agreements. The team is noted as being 'extremely responsive, commercially savvy and pragmatic in its approach'.

Practice head(s):

Geoff Hazlewood

Other key lawyers:

Paul Whittingham; Craig Fiddaman


‘The team is extremely responsive and able to deal with tight deadlines. They are commercially savvy and pragmatic in their approach.’

‘Craig Fiddaman is particularly good at pushing forward rapidly even when deal dynamics may change. We are extremely appreciative to him for his support.’

‘Personalised friendly, flexible and accessible service across the organisation. The team convey legal speak in a clear and easy way to ensure that as the client, we understand their advice and can discuss with clarity amendments etc with partners.’

‘The benefit of using Ashtons legal for us is the seamless ability to use all aspects of the firms services with a very good understanding of our business and our requirements from time to time.’

‘We have used Ashtons Legal for various services and I list below the individuals who understand our business and have greatly assisted us: Geoff Hazlewood and Paul Whittingham and Craig Fiddaman – commercial contracts.’

‘Everyone is accessible, friendly and demonstrates a desire to work with our organisation to ensure the best legal solution is in place for the task in hand.’

‘Availability, knowledge of sectors and local area, relationships with others in the area.’

‘Craig Fiddaman is excellent and always willing to have a chat. Geoff Hazelwood is also excellent.’

Key clients

Stow Healthcare Group

Cosworth Group

Medical Management Systems

TaxAssist Group

Signs Express

Titan Motorsport & Automotive Engineering


xDNA Group Limited

FO Ventures Limited (Flip Out)


Sutura Group Limited


Witnesham Ventures Limited



Work highlights

  • Acting for Stow Healthcare Group on the purchase of two further care homes in close succession both funded by NatWest.
  • Advising a client on the restructuring of the existing group (providing general insurance and financial advice services), with the sale of the General Insurance division to GRP.
  • Acting for Titan Engineering Group Limited in debt-backed MBO with funds from Shawbrook Bank.

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a long-standing reputation as a leading corporate and commercial practice in Suffolk though its Ipswich office frequently handles work from beyond the region. The team is described as ‘responsive, accurate and understanding‘. It is led by Alexandra Nelson, who has particular expertise in advising manufacturers and distributors of highly engineered products; senior partner James Austin, who handles commercial contracts and transactional matters; commercial and technology specialist Mark Gipson; and finance partner Andrew Tubb. Employee incentives specialist Lisa Hayward and senior associate Emma Bysouth are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Alexandra Nelson; James Austin; Mark Gipson; Andrew Tubb; Lisa Hayward

Other key lawyers:

Andreea Brindas; Emma Bysouth


‘I have recently completed a corporate acquisition with this team. At all times they were responsive, accurate and understanding of our requirements. All documentation was fully explained and guidance provided throughout the process. Contentious issues with the other party were handled in a highly professional manner and the end result was successfully delivered in line with the brief.’

‘With Alexandra Nelson we felt in totally safe hands at all times. Overall I would describe Alex as an exceptional lawyer and a pleasure to work with. Alex was assisted by her associate Andreea Brindas whose attention-to-detail and overall support was exceptional.’

Greene & Greene

The five-partner practice at Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds has a strong roster of regional and national work and ‘can punch above its weight’. ‘Knowledgeable and highly pragmatic‘ practice head Simon Ratcliffe namely handles the acquisition, disposal and reorganisation of private companies; notably, he recently worked with Andrew Cooper to advise Xenia Broking Group Limited on the acquisition of Hong Kong entity Capstone Insurance Brokers. Cooper and Neil R Walmsley ‘provide a first-class service and are great at finding commercial solutions‘. The ‘accessible and proactive‘ Mark Daly is involved in high-value and cross-border transactions for public and private companies, and Mark Whittaker frequently advises private equity and venture capital clients.

Practice head(s):

Simon Ratcliffe

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Cooper; Mark Daly; Mark Whittaker; Neil R Walmsley


‘On the commercial side Simon Ratcliffe is very competent and experienced. I have used him for a number of businesses I work with and he has always delivered an excellent result.’

‘Simon Ratcliffe is very strong – knowledgeable and highly pragmatic. He is keen to understand the businesses he is working with and ask plenty of questions so that his advice is well-grounded.’

‘Andrew Cooper and Neil R Walmsley provide a first-class service – they are great at helping us find commercial solutions on deal structure and understand our business well.’

‘Both Andrew Cooper and Neil R Walmsley are very committed. They are quick to respond and are very commercial.’

‘Trusted partners we have a long standing relationship with – they have a knowledge that supports our acquisitive growth strategy.’

‘Mark Daly is accessible and proactive, we are able to connect him with our commercial team to work on contracts together. He is a trusted professional and great to work with.’

‘The corporate and commercial practice is unique because it is a regional firm that handle complex and high-value transactions. It is a team that can punch above its weight. They are also decent and engaging individuals which always makes the experience much more engaging.’

‘Andrew Cooper is my go-to lawyer at Greene & Greene. He fully understands our business and gives legal advice that is contextually relevant. There are not many lawyers who can apply legal advice in such a way that is pragmatic and has utility. Andrew is responsive and academically sound but also balances this with common sense and pragmatism. Not many lawyers can achieve that balance. He also asks the right questions and more often than not will add a lot of value beyond just the legal.’

Key clients

Material Change Limited & Others

Xenia Broking Group Limited (part of the Kentro Capital Group)

Wonde Limited

Jordan Environmental Limited

X-on Limited

Southdowns Environmental Consultants Limited

Lawton Yarns Limited

HTG Trading Limited

Real Time Communications Limited

Treatt plc

Future Marine Services / Safe STS

Work highlights

  • Advised Material Change Limited & Others on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Material Change Renewable Energy Limited and on the negotiation of a suite of long-term operation and supply contracts to the sites sold.
  • Advising shareholders of X-on Limited on the high-value sale of the entire issued share capital to Southern Communications Group, complicated by the existence of an Employee Benefit Trust and associated EMI option scheme.
  • Acting for the shareholders of Southdowns Environmental Consultants Limited on the sale of the entire issued share capital to RWDI; the sale was to a North American/Canadian group and involved significant cross-border issues.

Greenwoods Legal

Greenwoods Legal hired new practice head Stephen Jarvis from Ince & Co in July 2022; former head Alastair Gunn departed to Buckles Solicitors LLP in the same month. Jarvis works across offices and is expanding the firm’s roster of international work, as well as its regional and national client base. He calls upon a talented team of lawyers, among them senior associates Claire Banks, who is ‘excellent in communication‘, and the ‘professional, knowledgeableVictoria Robinson, who handles acquisitions, disposals, and group reorganisations. The firm is known for ‘personable client management and advice tailored to business needs‘.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Jarvis

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Robinson; Claire Banks


‘Claire Banks is excellent in communication, keeping me informed along the way and translates legal copy to a form I can understand and digest.’

‘Personable client management and they work through your needs and issues in a structured way which feels very tailored to business needs.’

‘We worked closely with Victoria Robinson, who is professional, knowledgeable and also shows a real interest in our business and what we need to achieve.’

Key clients

Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA)

DZB Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a Guernsey incorporated company in relation to its multi-million pound acquisition of a Jersey incorporated SPV which holds 3 large investment properties in the UK.
  • Provided local advice on the English aspects of on an asset acquisition of an appliance business from a leading global manufacturing corporation as part of a large multinational deal.
  • Advising a leading regional private equity investment firm on its multi-million pound investment into a Peterborough-based business specialising in the manufacture and installation of glazing products.

Buckles Solicitors LLP

Buckles Solicitors LLP's Peterborough-based corporate and commercial group was bolstered in July 2022 with the arrival of new team lead Alastair Gunn from Greenwoods Legal who notably recently advised on the sale of the entire issued share capital of John W Doubleday Limited Group. On M&A transactions, the firm ‘works at pace with flexibility where required'. Longstanding partner Nigel Moore and senior associate Katy Poole, who provides ‘quality advice and appreciates the commerciality of the situation‘, play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Gunn

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Moore; Katy Poole


‘Buckles LLP has proved a key partner to us in delivering growth strategy through the provision of key advice and M&A services. Buckles have worked at pace, with flexibility where required and been responsive. The quality of the advice, documentation and services provided have been to a very high standard throughout.’

‘Katy Poole has adopted a proactive approach, demonstrating dedication to the task in hand, appreciation of deadlines and flexibility required to deliver whilst providing quality advice and appreciating the commerciality of the situation.’

‘Buckles has a very knowledgeable commercial team. They have the feeling of a local firm without sacrificing the expertise required to work on a complex matter. They were able to put together a billing approach that was appropriate to the deal size. They were also modern in their approach to technology.’

Key clients

Greeen+ Limited

Electronic Cigarettes Limited

Pajef Limited

Elton John Aids Foundation

Princebuild Holdings Limited

Hydromarque Limited

Doubleday Family

Yours Clothing Limited

Ellisons Solicitors

The Ipswich office of Ellisons Solicitors is a key hub for its firm-wide corporate and commercial practice, and clients note that the team is ‘consistently impressive in terms of legal expertise, quality of service and ability to deliver under pressure‘. M&A specialist Petra Sharp, who was promoted to partner in June 2022, notably advised AQUOS SCHOTTEL Marine Technologies on a multimillion-pound acquisition.

Other key lawyers:

Petra Sharp


‘We have used Ellisons for a number of years and have always valued their pragmatic and helpful approach. They have assisted us with a number of complex transactions including many with cross-jurisdictional elements, and are consistently impressive in terms of both their legal expertise, quality of service and ability to deliver under pressure. They also display a real depth of expertise in relation to commercial contract issues which has been invaluable when dealing with joint venture parties and others.’

‘Ellisons are unique in my experience, with proactive teams, working quickly, communicating regularly (both by telephone and email) and readily driving through the process to bring about a successful conclusion within the timeframe specified.’

‘I have worked with Petra Sharp for many years. The quality I most value is a wonderful mix of pragmatism and an edge of steel when needed in asking for something from another party. There is not an engagement with her (and the firm she works for) when I don’t quietly say “thank God we have Petra on our side” afterwards.’

Key clients

AQUOS SCHOTTEL Marine Technologies GmbH

Schottel Industries GmbH

David Burr Estate Agency Co Ltd

Easee UK Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Aquos Schottel Marine Technologies GmbH in connection with their acquisition of anchoring and mooring business, Swift Anchors, from blue economy solutions provider Sustainable Marine Limited for an undisclosed sum.
  • David Burr Estate Agency Co Ltd – provided general corporate and commercial advice to the company throughout the year.
  • Provided extensive commercial legal support to Easee UK Ltd over the previous twelve months in relation to several key contracts between Easee and its suppliers and customers.

Gotelee Solicitors

Gotelee Solicitors, which is based primarily in Ipswich but has a network of smaller offices across Suffolk, is a key adviser to SMEs and owner-managed businesses. Its corporate and commercial team is regarded as being ‘very well put together to provide a great breadth and depth of experience'. ‘Calm and considered ‘ lead partner Max Harnden is the lynchpin of the practice. He recently advised Emirates Logistics Services Ltd on a share sale and assisted Spring Design and Advertising Limited with a management buyout transaction.

Practice head(s):

Max Harnden

Other key lawyers:

Sian Walker


‘The team we have spoken to, which includes several different departments, are a collective. They offer a comprehensive service and are adept at consulting with other areas to clarify issues or when other parties may be better placed to offer the best advice. Throughout our experience over the last year our service has been personal, insightful, helpful and collaborative. They most definitely work on your side and in protection of your interests. This has been most valued when navigating the tricky waters of corporate and commercial legalities.’

‘We have dealt with Max Harnden for the majority of our questions regarding a business share sale. While he heads up the division as a partner we are very aware that he heads up a team. Whenever we have wanted to speak to him he has either been available for us or has returned a call. His team have also been likewise supportive and engaging.’

‘It is the personal nature of the firm that has most impressed, whether that be in dealing with the purchase of a piece of land or sale of shares. It is good to have an engaging and friendly solicitor that you know is on your side from the start.’

Key clients

Emirates Logistics Services Ltd

Spring Design and Advertising Limited

Deben Valley Equine Veterinary Clinic

Prettys Solicitors LLP

Prettys Solicitors LLP in Ipswich continues to grow its practice and expand its client base both locally and across the region. Ian Waine, whose advice is ‘clear and concise', leads the corporate and commercial group, working closely with lead data protection services practitioner Emma Loveday-Hill. Sarah Lewis joined from Birketts LLP in October 2022; she brings niche expertise in the motor industry to the team and frequently acts for family-owned businesses. Also noteworthy is Daniel Billson who is noted as having ‘no trouble understanding matters from the client’s perspective'; he recently advised the owners of Deben Publishing Limited on its sale to Hachette UK Limited.

Practice head(s):

Ian Waine; Emma Loveday-Hill

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Lewis; Daniel Billson


‘The Prettys are experienced and knowledgeable and are large enough to provide cover and expertise in specific areas. They appear to communicate well with their clients and provide regular informative events.’

‘Ian Waine stands out in my experience. Apart from being a very interesting and engaging individual, Ian always impresses when it comes down to the matter at hand. His advice is clear and concise and yet he’s still open to hearing our opinion – this attribute, in particular, is one of the reasons we have used Prettys for many years.’

‘Daniel Billson is a great corporate and contract lawyer. I really like working with Daniel, not only is he extremely competent and experienced in his field, he is a great human being who has no trouble understanding matters from the client’s perspective.’

‘Most of our work is delivered by Daniel Billson. We have worked with him very successfully on the majority of our commercial matters for the past six years. We have always found him to be collaborative, sufficiently pragmatic, solution finding when required and flexible in his approach to working alongside us to deliver the best result for us and our client.’

‘Daniel’s response style really stands out, he is firm and authoritative, but also reflective of our commercial imperative to negotiate quickly and decisively.’

‘Prettys have a very good and wide-ranging experience in all commercial and corporate situations.’

‘The Prettys team naturally blends a professional service with a friendly and approachable culture. They provide strong legal advice, whilst remaining open to challenges and therefore accepting commercial realities.’

‘Prettys are always ready to take on another legal challenge. Response to our needs is always very quick, and we get quality work, packaged in a user-friendly way. Some of our contractual discussion points are quite tricky. They have proved very capable and resourceful over the years.’

Key clients

3HA Ltd

Arthur D Little Services SAS

BTS Group Limited

Care UK

Clearsprings Ready Homes Ltd

Godolphin Management Co Ltd

Itsu (Grocery) Limited

Itsu Limited

Le Bas Group

Maritime Transport

Micro Scooters Ltd

ONE Group Construction

The Change Group Corporation Limited

The DPO Centre Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the seller on the sale of a publishing company for an undisclosed sum.
  • Advised the seller on the sale of the whole of the issued share capital of its company to a US listed corporation for an undisclosed sum.
  • Advised Maritime in connection with the commercial contract aspects of a multi-million pound development agreement for lease of the 6.8 hectare Intermodal Rail Freight Terminal at Segro Logistics Park.

Roythornes Solicitors

The Alconbury office of Roythornes Solicitors is the main base for the firm’s corporate and commercial practice, which is led by Martin Jinks, who frequently handles matters in the construction and engineering sectors, including those relating to the contractual issues involved in outsourcing. Notably, he recently advised shareholders of Naylor Nutrition Group on the creation of a €34m joint venture company. Mike Matthews leads the M&A sub-group and is ‘friendly, professional and thorough at every turn‘. Commercial specialist Julia Seary and ‘exceptionally well organised, clear and impressive‘ corporate restructuring practitioner Lizzie Walters also play central roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Martin Jinks

Other key lawyers:

Mike Matthews; Julia Seary; Lizzie Walters; Beth Wallace; Joanne Sinclaire


‘A great team who worked well together to achieve a good value and excellent result for us. Roythornes made sure that the right quality and standard of service was used at each turn to maintain sensible costs for us. Each team member was very professional and enjoyable to work with.’

‘Mike Matthews was excellent throughout, friendly, professional and thorough at every turn that gave me full confidence in the service I was being given.’

‘Mike Matthews and the team at Roythornes were great to work with throughout the whole M&A process, they adopted a responsive and practical approach which is refreshing to find in what can be a slow and cumbersome process.’

‘Mike Matthews was the lead partner that handled my case, Mike is an inspirational leader in the practice and his approach is clearly successful which shows through the wider team who work and support Mike.’

‘Beth Wallace and Joanne Sinclaire complement Mike and together are a robust, dynamic and highly driven team of individuals who have a genuine desire to outperform and achieve their clients objectives.’

‘I genuinely do not have an area where they need to improve, the whole approach exceeded my expectations in terms of transparancy of costs, communication and engagement and throughout and I felt that nothing was too much trouble for the team. They were responsive and engaged throughout and would respond at all hours of the day to ensure the matter did not stall.’

‘The Roythornes team were able to move incredibly quickly and offer a flexible service when our needs as a business were both significant and time-sensitive.’

‘Lizzie Walters was exceptionally well organised and her communications were clear and impressive. We valued greatly her professionalism.’

Key clients

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

S Holdings Limited

The shareholders of Public View

The shareholders of Euro Resin

Sakata UK Limited

Fortis Hire

Work highlights

  • Advised a large group of companies with a value in excess of £20m in respect of a multi stage demerger and divisionalisation of various business units.
  • Advised a £60m group of companies in respect of an MBO.
  • Advised S Holdings Limited in respect of the sale of shares in Opals Group Limited.


Aquabridge‘s corporate and commercial team has strong relationships with its client list, which is formed in part of owner-managed businesses across the region, and it well-versed in handling SME transactions predominantly in the £1m to £10m range. The ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ Keith Vincent and Simon Letts, who is ‘able to quickly grasp the issue being address and deliver effective advice and solutions‘, split their time between Chelmsford and Felixstow; they recently acted for Outlook Care in the acquisition of the St George Nursing Care home.

Practice head(s):

Keith Vincent; Simon Letts


‘The team are embracing technology, are approachable, pragmatic and skilled at getting transactions completed.’

‘Simon Letts and Keith Vincent are both very approachable and knowledgeable. Always on-hand and available.’

‘Very knowledgeable.’

‘Excellent service and response times.’

‘Simon Letts is very easy to deal with and is able to quickly grasp the issue being address and deliver effective advice and solutions to such matters.’

Key clients

Maze Logistic Solutions

The Mel Group

Edison House Group

Ipswich Tyre Group

Cameron Ventures Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Outlook Care on the purchase of the St George Care Home from Newton Chinneck Limited.
  • Advised Discovery First Ltd, the owner of the well-established group of day care nurseries on its purchase of The Haven 2000 Nursery and Preschool.
  • Advised Brome Grange Hotel Limited on its sale of the Brome Grange Hotel.

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP in Peterborough is described as ‘long-standing firm in the area, with great local knowledge'. The corporate and commercial team 'provide an efficient service'. Former practice head Anna Spriggs departed in April 2023 to the Northampton office of Howes Percival LLP; April 2023-promoted partner Olivia Chalmers now leads the practice. The team is adept in acting for a diverse client base of sole traders, start-ups, regional SMEs and leading national brands, among them Anglia Home Furnishings Limited.

Practice head(s):

Olivia Chalmers


‘A long-standing firm in the area, great local knowledge and strong partners.’

‘Approachable, good local knowledge and provide an efficient service.’

‘In 40 years of working with solicitor in my profession, I can say that Olivia Chalmers is one of the best.’

Key clients

Shareholders of Aprenda Limited

Anglia Home Furnishings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Aprenda Ltd in the disposal of the entire issued share capital of the company to the international BRUSH Group.
  • Providing general corporate and commercial services for Anglia Home Furnishings Limited to include group company secretarial services, corporate guidance for on-boarding of new directors and general commercial contracts advice.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP

At Nicholsons Solicitors LLP, which has offices in Lowestoft and Norwich, ‘efficiency and effectiveness are core principles'. The firm remains the only commercially-focused law firm on the Norfolk/Suffolk coast and throughout the Waveney Valley. ‘Friendly yet professional' managing partner Joseph Long is ‘a great asset on any deal' who frequently receives referrals from both medium and large-sized local and regional accountancy firms.

Practice head(s):

Joseph Long


‘An extremely talented diverse team of professionals, with efficiency and effectiveness as a core principle.’

‘Joseph Long is a great asset on any deal, moving the transaction along with skill to minimise delays.’

‘The team at Nicholsons demonstrated great communication at all times, professional and friendly, dealing with the sale of my business they gave me total confidence through out that they were navigating the difficult obstacles thrown up by due diligence in a way that was obtaining a win win scenario. No cost surprises at the end.’

Taylor Rose MW

Taylor Rose MW is led by Peterborough-based Stephanie Creasey, who ‘works tirelessly to ensure her clients are happy and provides an excellent service’. The commercial practice is best known for its provision of ‘excellent advice and a professional service’. The firm has a growing roster of clients, among them Brightfield Group Ltd, Creative Models Limited and ADNE Properties Limited.

Practice head(s):

Stephanie Creasey


‘Taylor Rose has always provided excellent advice, professional service and delivered on time and budget.’

‘Stephanie Creasey delivers services clearly and when promised which makes the process easy – she is very supportive.’

‘The departments within the team worked brilliantly hand-in-hand to adhere to our needs.’

‘Stephanie Creasey was in charge of our case and was very good at communicating any updates right through the project to keep us updated. Stephanie was very personable and went out of her way to answer personally any questions we had.’

‘This team is strong in their skills and timely approach. They have time and again served the needs of our clients superbly. They are happy to look to colleagues and external industry experts for information to gain clarity and surety prior to implementation, showing not only their diverse network, but acknowledgement that they may not know it all.’

‘Stephanie Creasy excels at networking and comes across as a very safe pair of hands. We were mightily impressed by her. Attention-to-detail is skilfully implemented, a timely approach is always taken, and fees are fair. Communication to us is key, we have never had a phone call, email or letter go unanswered or not returned. She offers a human approach to a sometimes dry subject matter with often hostile old-style opponents. We recommend no one else.’

‘I know a few individuals within the firm and they are very approachable and flexible to work around you. The standout partner for me is Stephanie Creasey from the Peterborough office. Stephanie works tirelessly to ensure her clients are happy and provides an excellent service.’

‘Stephanie Creasey is my main contact and she has been exemplary in dealing with our issues contracts and deals that have gone through in recent years. The firm’s charges are fair and monetary exchanges are dealt with very professionally. Stephanie is personable as well efficient and gets matters completed on time.’

Key clients

Brightfield Euro Limited

Brightfield Group Ltd

ADNE Properties Limited

Persuasion Jujitsu

Creative Models Limited

Patricia Hewitt t/a Tap HR

Newmafruit Farms Limited

Independence Support Ltd

Leigh & Charlotte Harris

Chorus Creative Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Brightfield Euro Limited on the £5.8m sale of the entire issued share capital of Postland Estates Limited.
  • Advised Creative Models Limited on a share for share exchange and group restructure.
  • Advised Brightfield Group Limited on its sale of the entire issued share capital in Bright PE1 Limited.