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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Anglia > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Norwich > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Norwich
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Norwich clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Advice from¬†Birketts LLP¬†is ‚Äėvery good ‚Äď prompt, clear and supportive‚Äė. The firm is 'very quick, responsive, flexible and good value for money'. It handles a growing number of transactions for public companies, as well as acting for SMEs in M&A deals. Corporate finance specialist¬†Adrian Possener¬†leads the corporate and commercial practice. He acted for¬†shareholders of Gardline Holdings Limited in the sale of the company to Dutch maritime services company Boskalis Holdings B.V.¬†Key partner Greg Allan¬†is 'very capable and provides a very strong service'. He handled¬†the disposal of the entire issued share capital of Beadles Group Limited to Group One on behalf of shareholders. Legal director¬†Erika Clarke¬†focuses on public procurement, projects, outsourcing, joint ventures and commercial contracts. Her highlights included working with Allan and senior associate Paul Palik¬† (who is ‚Äėprofessional, conscientious and keeps it simple') on the acquisition of a healthcare facility as part of a major contract for the delivery of clinical services.¬†'Knowledgeable, professional and responsive' legal director and head of franchising¬†Ed Savory¬†¬†is recommended for the strength of his 'strategic deal management, negotiation skills'. Senior associate¬†John Kahn, who worked at¬†Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP¬†before joining insurance and underwriting business Marketform, joined the firm in 2017 along with solicitor¬†Nicola Gulrajani¬†from¬†Mills & Reeve LLP.

'There is no better firm in Norwich or Cambridge', says one client of Mills & Reeve LLP, which is¬†'strong in all areas - the team makes an effort to understand clients' business and bring ideas to the table'. Prominent¬† transactional lawyer James Hunter, who is head of the firm's Norwich office, is 'a¬†great all-rounder ‚Äď measured, proactive and a¬†great definer of boundaries'. His highlights included assisting offshore oil and gas services provider Aquaterra Energy with a ¬£22m MBO backed by a private equity house.¬†Craig Hodgson¬†leads the national food and agribusiness practice and advises global businesses on cross-border transactions. Natalie Wade¬†advises clients in the health and care sectors and clients remark that she is 'incredibly responsive and proactive'. She recently acted for Rehabworks Limited on the purchase of the entire issued share of Crystal Palace Physio Holdings Limited, a London-based physiotherapy and clinical rehabilitation provider. Also recommended are¬†Greg Gibson, who is head of the firm's national commercial, IP and IT group, and principal associate Sean Earnshaw¬†who handles work in the areas of IT, health and public procurement. Gibson recently advised the Department of Health on its multibillion-pound future operating model for NHS procurement, supply chain and logistics services.

Ashtons Legal¬†has a strong regional corporate and commercial practice that houses significant expertise and experience in its Norwich office.¬†James Tarling's clients are ‚Äėvery impressed¬†by his pragmatism in tough negotiations and his willingness to make himself available out of hours to meet clients‚Äô needs and keep the deal moving'. He¬†specialises in M&A deals in sectors such as food and beverage, technology and motorsport, and is knowledgeable in the area of data protection. He acted for directors of civil, structural and environmental engineering consultancy BHA Holdings Ltd in their MBO of the company, and advised the owner of Dingles Motor Group on his sale of the business. Consultant¬†John Chambers¬†leads one of the region‚Äôs most outstanding specialist franchising teams. He and¬†Damian Humphrey, who is ‚Äėknowledgeable on all aspects of franchising and related law', are highly recommended for advice to franchise businesses on corporate matters. Associate¬†Mark Watson, who handled the purchase of family entertainment park¬†Pettitts Animal Adventure Park on behalf of¬†Abbotts Leisure Parks, is also recommended.

Howes Percival LLP has a highly respected corporate and commercial practice that operates as one entity across its network of offices in East Anglia and beyond, but the Norwich office remains a central hub of the department and its lawyers act for numerous owner-managed and family-owned businesses, as well as for high-net-worth individuals in sales and acquisitions, investment transactions and corporate reorganisations. Robert Colman leads the practice and frequently handles acquisitions and disposals, as well as shareholder and investment agreements. He recently supported a client in entering a joint venture for the development and operation of a leisure site. Nathan Horton is the other partner in the practice and he acted for the shareholders of BBC Fire Protection Limited in the company's £8.3m sale to AIM-listed critical maintenance services provider Marlowe Plc. Associate Katherine Brown also played a key role in that transaction.

Spire Solicitors LLP has an extensive office network throughout Norfolk, through which operates the corporate and commercial team in Norwich. The firm climbs the ranking on the basis of its in-depth local knowledge that sees it take a prominent role in M&A deals, private equity transactions and joint ventures across the region, particularly in the health and education sectors. Practice head Roger Margand has more than 20 years' experience in commercial matters, especially in regulatory and education sector transactions, and he recruited rising star Matthew Downing from Ashtons Legal to add expertise in sectors such as manufacturing and technology, and knowledge of high-value contractual arrangements for fast-growing and established businesses operating locally, nationally and internationally. Alistair Ponder, who has ten years' in-house experience at Virgin Money and Compare the Market, is also a key part of the practice. The firm recently advised a FTSE250 company on regulatory matters and handled the MBO of a well-known engineering firm.

Steeles Law is 'excellent, it provides very good advice and dependable, personable service'. The firm acts for large household names based in East Anglia, as well as for national businesses. These include Robinsons Motor Group, Crown Chicken, Animax Limited, Cox Powertrain and Easyclean. The firm is also on the panels of the British Allied Trade Federation and the Greeting Card Association. It also advises a major political party on a diverse range of issues including regulatory and governance matters. Richard Bailey leads the corporate and commercial practice and his recent work includes providing restructuring sales advice to UK and overseas clients, which involved an in-depth understanding of commercial agency law. Nigel Lubbock and solicitor James Hopgood are 'very approachable and take the time to understand clients' business'. One client says of Hopgood 'he is a very diligent member of the team'. For Cox Powertrain, Lubbock negotiated and drafted a wide range of contracts including those for the supply of software and hardware.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors has a growing client base of local business owners. Former senior partner Hugh Berridge is now a consultant and oversees a four-lawyer practice, in which solicitor Jade Tinney is highly recommended for company acquisitions and disposals, management buy outs, shareholders' and partnership agreements, corporate restructuring and lending, contract reviews and terms and conditions. She recently advised a company in a multimillion-pound share buy-back transaction, which included the termination of an existing shareholders agreement. Another highlight saw her act for a private partnership in its acquisition of a newly incorporated company. Legal executive Jack Shreeve also plays a key role in the practice.

Fosters has a corporate and commercial team that is closely entwined with its dispute resolution practice, and it acts for a large client base of SMEs across Norfolk. Corporate partner and litigator Adrian Newborough leads the practice and litigator Chris Fielding also handles commercial matters as part of his broad practice. Partner Jamie Arnall, whose previously experience includes roles as senior legal counsel at Thomas Cook and head of legal at Norwich City Football Club, is also recommended for contractual and regulatory matters.

Of the firms that only have an office in Norwich, Leathes Prior is the largest and its corporate and commercial team has an established base of clients for mid-market M&A transactions across East Anglia. Paul Warman leads the practice and has more than 25 years' experience in this field of law. The firm frequently acts in acquisitions and disposals for clients in Norfolk, as well as further afield in East Anglia and, in some cases, nationally. Peter Sheppard left the practice but the firm has another experienced partner in Richard Guthrie, whose work includes company sales and purchases, group restructuring. shareholders’ agreements and general commercial and contractual matters.

At Rogers and Norton, ‚Äėresponse times, industry knowledge, appropriateness of advice and value for money are all good‚Äė.¬†‚ÄėIt compares favourably with larger practices and clients receive personal attention‚Äė, notes one source. The firm ‚Äėprovides ¬†a proactive, efficient and cost-effective service‚Äė, remarks another. Practice head and managing partner Richard Etheridge¬†‚Äėgives¬†good advice and speaks in plain language‚Äė. The firm has ‚Äėvery good specialist knowledge in the medical sector‚Äė and Etheridge has ‚Äėstrong GP sector knowledge and an excellent rapport with his clients when dealing with partnership deeds, property matters and disputes‚Äė. One client remarks that the practice is 'absolutely first-class from the bottom to the top; nothing is too much trouble and their¬†knowledge and guidance is invaluable'. Alongside corporate finance work for local clients, the firm is best-known for advising doctors‚Äô practices on matters including¬†the recent merger of two practices, and the recent sale of a dental practices.

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