Birketts LLP has 'in-depth corporate and commercial knowledge and vast amounts of experience to enable clients to conduct key commercial transactions'. The firm has specialists in public company work, M&A, reorganisations, restructurings and employee ownership trusts. Adrian Possener, who focuses on transactional work for public companies, and corporate finance specialist Greg Allan are the lead partners. Allan assisted software company Time 4 Advice with its multimillion-pound sale to Integrafin. Ed Savory frequently acts for regional SMEs and leads the firm's activity in the food sector. 'He has the art of understanding a complex legal situation and being able to break it down for a client to understand', remarks one client. Newly promoted partner Paul Palik leads the commercial team in Norwich, specialising in technology projects and the healthcare sector.
Corporate and commercial: Norwich in East Anglia
Adrian Possener; Greg Allan
Other key lawyers:
Paul Palik; Ed Savory
‘Solution-driven and proactive solutions for sensible value.’
‘Commitment to conclude work – in and out of hours.’
‘The Birketts team provides us with in-depth corporate and commercial knowledge and vast amounts of experience to enable us to conduct key commercial transactions.’
‘The team consists of very knowledgeable individuals who understand our needs and are always able to respond to the needs of the transaction.’
‘Birketts Norwich office have a well rounded team of differing experience and expertise. They work collaboratively together to ensure the right people in the organisation are dealing with the right work. More junior staff always show good aptitude and attention to detail whilst senior staff can deliver great advice to their clients from the experiences they have had as one of the most active corporate legal advisory teams in the region.’
‘Ed Savory is very strong commercially. He has the art of understanding a complex legal situation and being able to break it down for a client to understand, digest and act on.’
‘The team was very personable and collaborative. They did an exceptional job at solving every issue that was thrown at them during the transaction. In one particular instance, they solved a legal/tax problem that removed significant liability.’
‘Ed Savory is a fantastic corporate lawyer. He is very personable and is always organised, calm, understanding and delivers on time. He seems to integrate well with others in the team and always works seamlessly with other advisors involved in the transaction.’
M7 Institutional Funds
Brookfield funds’ UK infrastructure group BUUK
Tex Holdings plc
Time 4 Advice
- Acted for M7 Real Estate Limited as purchaser of UK retail parks portfolio from then listed seller RDI REIT plc for £157 million.
- Acting for international entrepreneur Richard Koch on various investments eg £15M in Hectare Agritech.
- Acted for Potters Resorts on the purchase of Five Lakes leisure and tourist resort.
Mills & Reeve LLP
Mills & Reeve LLP has a four-partner corporate and commercial practice in Norwich, which has 'an ability to listen, digest and offer constructive and practical solutions to deliver an end goal that meets the client's needs'. The firm is active in high-value M&A transactions both within East Anglia and nationally. Its work includes numerous IPOs as well as advice on governance, corporate finance and complex joint ventures. Natalie Wade, whose work includes advice on strategic acquisitions of health assets, and Greg Gibson, who is national need of the government sector group, lead the practice. James Hunter stands out for his work for owners and acquirers of mid-market businesses, and his expertise in complex joint ventures. Craig Hodgson has notable experience in the food and agribusiness sector. Principal associate Christina O’Brien handles private equity and healthcare transactions as part of a broad M&A practice.
Natalie Wade; Greg Gibson
Other key lawyers:
James Hunter; Craig Hodgson; Christina O’Brien
‘An ability to listen, digest and offer constructive and practical solutions to deliver an end goal that meets the client’s needs.
‘A willingness to involve all relevant parties in delivering the above. Many law practices seem to shy away from getting all relevant parties together which is counterintuitive and generally the best approach when challenges arise.’
‘It is paramount that when specialists are engaged with, they have the ability to provide insight and guidance in a way that can be digested and be useful in making a decision.’
‘They are well resourced with people of City firm background with the benefits that brings without the cost. They seem to be a contented bunch of people.’
‘James Hunter makes himself readily available and is easy to obtain advice from that goes to the question asked. He explains the advice cogently and are able to present well to our main board when required. He has a good work ethic and deal with counterparties and their lawyers well in a constructive and non egotistical way.’
Heathcote Holdings Group
Industrial Chemicals Group (ICL)
Randall & Quilter Holdings Limited
Supply Chain Coordination Limited
Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
First Property Group PLC
Vita Health Group
Flagship Housing Group
A H Worth
- Advising the Department for Work and Pensions on the procurement of its Functional Assessment Service Programme (worth £2.8bn) for the integration of health assessment services for various state benefits.
- Acted for the shareholders on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Robinsons Autoservices Holdings Limited and Autodevotion Holdings Limited to US buyer Group 1 Automotive. The target entities were a family-owned business and ran Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen car dealerships, largely located in East Anglia, a Citroen dealership in Peterborough and a used car business.
- Advised new client Industrial Chemicals Group on the sale of its packaged chemicals division to Brenntag UK Limited, which is part of a large German listed group.
Ashtons Legal, which acquired Norwich firm Steeles Law in late 2021, now has a five-partner corporate and commercial group across its East Anglia offices. James Tarling, who is ‘an outstanding talent‘ and focuses on advising innovative high-growth technology companies, franchising specialists Damian Humphrey and John Chambers, and Richard Bailey, who frequently advises national trade associations, and are the lead partners in Norwich. The firm has ‘an incredibly knowledgeable and helpful team that are always willing to take the time to explain things that are often complex whether that be in writing or in a virtual call‘. Senior associate Mark Watson advised Witnesham Ventures Limited on the demerger of a group of property development companies into three standalone businesses.
Other key lawyers:
James Tarling; Richard Bailey; John Chambers; Damian Humphrey; Mark Watson
‘Friendly, collaborative approach.’
‘Richard Bailey is always quick to respond and his output includes improvement suggestions as well as cear and concise explanations of the work completed.’
‘Ashtons are approachable and knowledgeable at all levels. They can operate with a fast innovating company as a positive addition not a luddite anchor.’
‘James Tarling in particular is an outstanding talent. Clearly very legally capable, but his manner it understand his clients situation then to assess the legal advice. An easy “bedside” manner with focus on the client, never formulaic in approach.’
‘An incredibly knowledgeable and helpful team that are always willing to take the time to explain things to myself and colleagues that are often complex whether that be in writing or in a virtual call.’
‘Always a positive experience.’
Medical Management Systems
Norwich Heating and Plumbing
Witnesham Ventures Limited
- Advised easyProperty on a crowdfunded investment round with matched funding from Future Fund investment scheme.
- Advised US investor on acquisition of 17 food franchise outlets, including corporate, franchising, employment, property, and banking advice.
- Advised founders of a tech company on their exit to overseas buyers in a deal worth up to £8m.
Fosters provides a unique commercial offering through its In House service, which serves as an outsourced, in-house adviser model delivered to clients on a retainer basis. ‘The overall approach is one of partnership and collaboration. It’s not about the clock – it’s about full support and delivering a solution‘, remarks one client. Another adds that ‘the in-house service is exceptional‘. Jamie Arnall leads the commercial practice, in which associate Charlotte Darkins plays a key role. Both are ‘exceptionally supportive and are fantastic at prioritising urgent issues and making themselves available‘. Senior associate Josh Perez-Fosh, previously at Nockolds Solicitors, joined in 2021 as head of corporate. He advised Direct Dialog Visual Ltd on the reorganisation of its share capital.
Jamie Arnall; Josh Perez-Fosh
Other key lawyers:
Phillip Hopkins; Charlotte Darkins
‘The overall approach is one of partnership and collaboration. It’s not about the clock – it’s about full support and delivering a solution.’
‘Jamie Arnall is our prime contact. What a great guy and what a great legal brain. Always available and always willing to help. Recently supported by Josh Perez-Fosh who was equally available and very professional.’
‘Fosters have dealt with several matters for us recently and have good communication and are efficient. We often have a consultation first and are then given a ballpark figure for what the work will cost which is very helpful. They are quick to try and resolve any issues on our behalf and we have been very satisfied with the work they have undertaken on our behalf.’
‘In this particular department we have dealt mostly with Jamie Arnall and Phillip Hopkins and both go the extra mile to provide help and advice. They are very proactive and professional.’
‘The team are incredibly friendly and approachable – making everyone feel comfortable and heard regardless of age or experience within the organisation. We have always worked most closely with Jamie Arnall and Charlotte Darkins who have been exceptionally supportive. Doug Frame has supported us through several staff related issues. The team are always there for us and are fantastic at prioritising urgent issues and making themselves available when we need them at short notice. It really is the closest experience you could possibly get to having an in-house solicitor.’
‘The team that handled our case were extremely professional, communicated effectively with us and had impeccable time management. They were always on hand to answer any questions we had regarding the Charity application process.’
‘The team are a true extension of the in-house legal team. Always on hand to deal with any queries given to them, they are thoroughly professional and pride themselves in high quality advice and quick turnaround times. Truly a team that can be relied upon when times are at their toughest.
‘Excellent service provided from every interaction. Consistently meeting deadlines, even if extremely short notice and/or outside of office hours. Always receive detailed and carefully considered input/advice. Have clear ethos of going over and above what could be reasonably expected on every interaction and this applied consistently across the entire team. Simply the best in the business in our opinion.’
The Basketball League Limited
Datawave Networks Limited
Real Projects Management Limited
Nottingham Forest Football Club Limited
Norwich City Football Club Plc
Leeway Domestic Violence & Abuse Services
Direct Dialog Visual Ltd
Norwich Business Improvement District
N F Coverdale Ltd
CHQ Group Ltd
Parklands Financial Advisers Ltd
Emkay Plastics Ltd
- Advised, and acted on behalf of, The Basketball League Limited on the £7 million investment by US investment fund 777 Partners into the British Basketball League (the top division professional basketball league in Great Britain).
- Acted on behalf of a newly formed charitable organisation, MentorNect, in the handling of their Charitable Incorporated Organisation’s application to the Charity Commission following a previous rejection.
- Providing ongoing services and support through the successful ‘In House’ model to Datawave Networks Limited, providing complex advice to the client on its biggest valued contract of $300,000,000.
Howes Percival LLP
Howes Percival LLP has ‘a great corporate team with experts in their field who are commercially minded and always focused on maintaining momentum in negotiations‘. The firm is active in local M&A transactions, among recent examples being its work for Falcon Group Services Limited, the UK’s largest tower crane supplier, on its MBO, and its commercial advice to trade association British Marine Federation regarding the Southampton International Boat Show. Oliver Pritchard leads the corporate practice in East Anglia and is ‘diligent, with a high level of expertise, and he always makes himself available‘. Associates Richard Turner and Lizzy Page are highly recommended by clients.
Other key lawyers:
Lizzy Page; Richard Turner
‘They consistently provide high quality, practical advice on a timely basis and you always feel that they go the extra mile when looking after your business.’
‘Oliver Pritchard is diligent and has a high level of expertise, makes himself available and will always respond to calls or emails. Lizzy Page understands our business well and is always practical in advice and responds to our requirements quickly.’
‘A great corporate team who are experts in their field. Just as importantly, they are commercially minded, always focused on maintaining momentum in negotiations and getting the right deal completed for their client.’
‘Excellent team including specialists in all areas of business. In project communications and timeliness was on point throughout. Attention to detail was absolute with no oversites. Furthermore they were able to create seamless partnerships with other external advisors such as my accountants and incumbent specialist IP attorneys.’
Hughes Electrical Limited
British Marine Federation
Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA)
Ben Burgess Holdings Limited
Drayton Insurance Limited
Marfa Stance Limited
Shareholders of Stuga Machinery Limited
E-Surgery / Total Access Health Ltd
Raynsway Properties Limited
ACR Leisure Limited (formerly Waveney River Centre (2003) Limited)
Horning Pleasurecraft Limited
Pedal Revolution Holdings Limited
JMR Healthcare Limited
Vision Norfolk / Thomas Tawell Care Home
Little Sutton Energy Company Limited
Abacus Hotels Limited
Fleur Developments Limited
- Advising Falcon Group Services Limited on the MBO of Falcon Tower Cranes, the UK’s largest supplier of tower cranes to the construction industry.
- Advising Hughes Electrical Limited on a major group restructuring of Hughes Electrical, the region’s largest independent electrical goods retailer.
- Advising British Marine Federation / Southampton International Boat Show Limited as sole legal adviser to the 2021 Southampton International Boat Show, which involved providing all necessary commercial legal advice to the Show’s organisers.
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors has a small but active corporate and commercial practice, which is handling a growing number of transactions for businesses across Norfolk. Head of commercial property Sarah Garlish has broad expertise that encompasses corporate transactions. Among examples of her work are advice to a seller of a shareholding in a medical business, which included due diligence and negotiating the share purchase agreement. Garlish is supported by consultant Hugh Berridge.
Other key lawyers:
- Advised a client on the purchase of a well-known local café by way of an asset purchase.
- Advising client on purchase of property it occupied as one of six tenants; this included negotiating the share purchase agreement whilst doing full due diligence on the property and the company.
- Advised client on sale of entire shareholding in their business of general medical activities.
Isadores, formerly known as Isadore Goldman, has ‘an approachable team that invests uncharged time into client relationships to best understand the circumstances and the client‘. Practice head Nathan Muskett has ‘an uncomplicated style, which puts mutual clients at ease, but us equally adept at presenting advice to more sophisticated clients in a formal manner‘. Since 2019, He has built up the firm’s corporate capability to accompany its best known practice in insolvency. Among examples of the its growing volume of M&A work are its work for Bulldog Plant & Equipment Group in the merger of R&G Cooper Engineering with Berkshire Engineering Supplies to create the new company.
‘Approachable team with numerous solicitors available to contact, all of whom are knowledgeable about developments on each case. The team invests uncharged time into client relationships to best understand the circumstances and the client meaning advice is genuinely the best fit for the client.’
‘Nathan Muskett has an uncomplicated style and, when required, a casual approach to client interaction and client meetings which puts mutual clients at ease. However, he is equally adept at presenting advice to more sophisticated clients in a formal manner.’
‘I have delivered on transactions working with Nathan Muskett that would have been unachievable if working with other commercial lawyers due to his dedication and willingness to put clients first.’
‘Excellent response times, regularly working outside normal office hours to meet deadlines. Very prompt at following up on referrals.’
‘Our main point of contact is Nathan Muskett, who has a hands on approach and explains matters clearly and concisely.’
‘I have used many firms over my years in business and Isadores are always profesional and easy to get hold of.’
‘Nathan Muskett is exceptional. His knowledge and approach is of a very high standard and provides pragmatic legal advice with our best interests at all times.’
‘Vast commercial experience with ready solutions.’
Swaine Adeney Brigg (prior to its sale by Roger Gawn)
Herbert Johnson Military
Great Yarmouth Masonic Association
Lord and Lady Huggins
Bulldog Plant & Equipment Group
Vegetable Consultancy Services (VCS) – Agrii plc
Imperial Hotel Great Yarmouth
Liam Betts (former owner of Gasway)
Premiair Solutions (prior to sale)
- Advised Roger Gawn on the sale of Swaine Adeney Brigg, Papworth Leather, and Herbert Johnson to Chargeurs.
- Advised the Bulldog Plant & Equipment Group on the merger of R&G Cooper Engineering and Berkshire Engineering Supplies.
- Advised on the sale of Premiair Solutions to Ingersoll Rand inc.
Spire Solicitors LLP
The corporate and commercial practice at Spire Solicitors LLP is 'incredibly attentive and responsive, and its ability to respond to queries immediately is what is most impressive and sets the firm apart from its peers'. The firm has a prominent role in transactions across Norfolk, particularly for clients in the education, agricultural, franchising, healthcare, hospitality and leisure, manufacturing, financial services, and charities sectors. Lead partner Matthew Downing and associate James Hopgood are 'very approachable and helpful, taking the time to carefully explain specific legal jargon'. They advised a corporate client on the purchase of shares worth £5m. Experienced partner Roger Margand is highly recommended, particularly for private equity deals.
Other key lawyers:
James Hopgood; Roger Margand
‘The team at Spire has in-depth knowledge of the area they were assisting us with. They always take the time to explain a fairly complex commercial contract in easy to understand layman’s terms and nothing ever seems too much trouble. Always kept up to date and deadlines adhered to. They have a realistic and very transparent fee structure.’
‘Matthew Downing and James Hopgood worked on our contract. Both are very approachable and helpful, taking the time to carefully explain specific legal jargon when requested. Deadlines are always kept to and if one was not available for a timely response, the other would immediately step in to assist.’
‘Their key strength is that they are incredibly attentive and responsive. Their ability to respond to queries and issues, immediately, is what is most impressive and from our experience, is what sets Spire apart from their peers and is therefore their unique characteristic. They are collaborative and provide understandable, useable legal advice, having distilled the complexities for the non-legal/ laymen to understand. We have frequently reached out to Spire for advice and counsel, and been met with simple to understand, pertinent advice from which we can make logical business decisions.’
‘Matthew Downing and James Hopgood are two key players who have provided critical support and advice to our business. They are incredibly engaging, flexible, attentive and able to provide understandable, candid and timely support for us to action. In several instances/ cases they have been able to rapidly digest the key challenges and factors influencing a situation and provide us with the legal context, citing the risks and legal ramifications, relevant to our operations, to guide our organisational decision making. We have been absolutely delighted by the support we have received and could not have asked for more.’
‘Roger Margand is very knowledgeable – his advice is clear cut and to the point.’
‘The team work with us and have a good working knowledge of our business. We feel that we are important to them and they want the best outcomes for us.’
‘Roger Margand is our key contact – the main standout is that he is proactive, not reactive.’
One Broker Ltd
Centurion Safety Products Ltd
GSL Dardan Limited
Flagship Housing Group
TaxAssist Franchisee (Hertford)
Unity Education Trust
- Advised a corporate client on the purchase of shares from a shareholder and on various other transactions, with a combined value of circa £5 million.
- Advised a manufacturing client on a long-term contract for the exclusive right for a customer to sell specific products under its own brand.
- Acted for a franchisee in the purchase of an existing franchise business and advising on the related franchise agreement.