Commercial litigation: elsewhere in East Anglia in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

'They are proactive, responsive and provide a high quality of service and client care,' says a client of the team at Birketts LLP in Ipswich. The firm handles tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements and much more. Its work spans many industry sectors including education, transport and public law. A significant proportion of the practice of lead partner Matthew Atkins stems from clients  in the animal pharmaceutical and feed sector. Associate Emma Albins is 'proactive, diligent, knowledgeable and focused on commercial outcomes'.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Atkins

Other key lawyers:

Emma Albins

Testimonials

We have a long working relationship with Birketts and they are our natural landing place for advice. They are proactive, responsive and provide a high quality of service and client care.

Emma Albins deserves special mention for being proactive, diligent, knowledgeable and focused on commercial outcomes.

It provides accessible, practical advice which balances the letter of the law and reality.

They are quick to respond to our needs. The practice has a breadth that is reassuring – sometimes a matter spreads across more than one specialism and it is clear that the firm encourages its staff to cross-refer to provide the client with specialist advice from more than one area.

Emma Albins adopted a very proactive response.

Key clients

Greene King Plc

Archant Community Media Limited

ForFarmers UK Limited

Greene & Greene

Greene & Greene handles disputes for clients across East Anglia, nationally and, increasingly, from overseas. Its two-partner practice handles a diverse range of commercial litigation alongside contentious insolvency matters, claims against professionals and property litigation. 'Experienced, knowledgeable and very bright' practice head Rob Adam 'sees the bigger picture but never misses the detail'. The 'highly capable, and very committed' Michael Batty is a key partner and ' will always push for that little bit more from his clients'. Associate Sarah Western is 'a young litigator who is determined, fierce and very effective'.

Practice head(s):

Rob Adam

Other key lawyers:

Michael Batty; Sarah Western

Testimonials

The firm has some really good lawyers in a traditional setting.

Rob Adam is experienced, knowledgeable and very bright. He sees the bigger picture.

Sarah Western is a young litigator who is determined, fierce and very effective.

Michael Batty is highly capable, and very committed.

It has much local and international knowledge that is vital for medium-sized businesses. It has an excellent reputation among other professional practices such as accounts, banks and administrators.’

It shows understanding of clients’ needs and a sense of urgency when needed, with the ability to bring ideas to the table and not just take instructions. This applies to Michael Batty in particular when conducting negotiations on clients’ behalf.

Rob Adam is extremely commercially-minded and pragmatic, taking a realistic and results-oriented approach. He is very bright. He sees the bigger picture but never misses the detail. He is also very easy to work with.

It is an outstanding regional law firm with an enviable reputation of City and European quality, based locally in East Anglia.

Rob Adam has a very easy style but combines this with a tenacity in pursuing the interests of his clients. He is very thorough in considering and preparing documents. He knows when to advise or draft letters of his own accord but also knows when he should consult counsel and instruct counsel to advise or draft the relevant documents.

It is often difficult to find the right balance between assertiveness and a more conciliatory approach and I find that Rob Adam strikes the right balance in that regard, not conceding to his opponent’s demands where inappropriate to do so but, on the other hand, looking to find a negotiated settlement where this can be achieved. He has a commercial approach towards litigation, always recognising any financial restrictions on his client’s resources. Speaking as instructed counsel, he is always very appreciative and his clients have the utmost confidence in and respect for him.

Greene & Greene come across as a high-end, efficient and professional firm, whilst serving clients in a wide range of different areas of law, they act like a niche firm in the respective different areas.

Michael Batty is someone who is always on top of his cases and knows his clients very well. He is someone who will always push for that little bit more from his clients.

Work highlights

  • Acting in a multi -million pound professional negligence claim against solicitors relating to a claim which Jonathan Seitler QC has stated is one of the most complex property issues he has ever come across; it involves the alleged negligence of solicitors in preparing deeds of variation relating to a commercial and residential property, whereby they failed to understand that the deeds amounted to a surrender and re-grant.
  • Acting for a director and his wife who are defendants in a £1.2m claim based on dishonest assistance of a breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Acted for client in respect of an action for an unpaid invoice relating to commission due on the sale of the defendants’ business where client had acted as an agent; the matter involved steps taken to seek an injunction, obtaining IT expert evidence on an alleged fraudulent document, before preparing for and attending a mediation to settle the matter.

Greenwoods GRM

Clients of Greenwoods GRM in Peterborough note that 'very high-quality work is done in a commercial and cost-effective way'. The firm is increasingly involved in high-value and high-profile matters both within East Anglia and across the UK. 'Sensible and pragmatic' practice head Huw Wallis, who is mainly based in London but also works from the Peterborough office, frequently receives referrals from Magic and Silver Circle firms in London. Associate director Adele Whaley and senior associate Jamie McConnell both play central roles in the litigation practice.

Practice head(s):

Huw Wallis

Other key lawyers:

Adele Whaley; Jamie McConnell

Testimonials

Very high-quality work is done in a commercial and cost-effective way.  It is a very good team to work with.

Huw Wallis is a top-quality litigator, sensible and pragmatic. A great team player too. Adele Whaley is a highly effective lead associate.

Huw Wallis and Jamie McConnell are not only exceptional lawyers, with unparalleled attention to detail and grasp of the law but also have emotional intelligence levels that are critical in a high-stress environment. I received exceptional advice and execution which resulted in defeating a much larger law firm with far higher resources. But I also had lawyers who were emotionally engaged with me as a client.

Their advice and guidance were nothing short of exceptional. Their ability to exert pressure and find the hidden facts through detailed analysis or the evidence and the law provided a successful outcome.

Jamie McConnell and Huw Wallis show attention to detail and emotional intelligence with quality strategic advice and the ability to outperform much larger firms with more resource. They were emotionally involved with the client and showed an unparalleled work ethic and understanding of the law.

Buckles Solicitors LLP

The Peterborough office of Buckles Solicitors LLP is part of a firm-wide litigation practice that handles a broad range of regional work and, increasingly, international matters due to its multi-lingual team. Recent growth has focused on the London office, but Peterborough is home to practice head James Maxey and senior associate Nick Porter, who frequently act for small businesses and entrepreneurs in contract, shareholder and partnership disputes.

Practice head(s):

James Maxey

Other key lawyers:

Nick Porter

Key clients

Yours Clothing

Eutelsat

Work highlights

  • Acting for company in a claim against its director for misappropriated funds, and in defence of a counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duties and unfair prejudice. Value of claim £1m+.
  • Acting for a well known Instagram personality and regular television contributor in a claim for alleged breach of trade mark.
  • Acting for a landowner in multiple claims arising out of illegal waste disposal at an industrial excavation site. Remediation costs could be multiple millions.

Gotelee Solicitors

The Ipswich office of Gotelee Solicitors is the hub for a dispute resolution practice that operates through the firm's four regional offices. In late 2019, the firm hired Andrew Breckenridge from Gordons LLP to lead the practice, as Victoria Spellman devotes more time to non-contentious commercial work. The firm acts for clients across Suffolk and, increasingly, from London and further afield. Breckenridge acts for financial services clients nationwide, including commercial lenders and corporate SIPP pension trustees. Through Howard Catherall, the firm also handles disputes and regulatory matters in the logistics sector.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Breckenridge

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Spellman; Howard Catherall

Testimonials

We value Victoria Spellman’s quick response and sensible approach in applying excellent knowledge.

I have only had dealings with Andrew Breckenridge at this firm. The work is provided on time and on budget and is high quality, pragmatic and commercial.

Key clients

Goldcrest Finance Limited

James Hay Pension Trustees Limited

Stonham Barns Limited

Elemento Group Limited

Mervyn Lambert Plant Limited

Complete Timber Solutions Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for specialist commercial lender Goldcrest Finance Limited (based in Manchester) mainly in relation to loans with property-backed security where enforcement action is needed; either against the borrowing entities or the property security.
  • Acting for a corporate self-invested pension (SIPP) and small self-administered pension (SSAS) trustee (based in Salisbury) in relation to its commercial property investments of which there are some 5,000 in the UK.
  • Acting for London-based business Elemento Group Limited which provides solutions for property developers and investors in the UK and the UAE. The work involves contractual and property disputes, sometimes involving planning issues.

Ashtons Legal

'Its offering in commercial litigation is exceptional,' says a client of Ashtons Legal. The dispute resolution practice is led from Cambridge by Michael Frape but it has a skilled associate in Bury St Edmunds, Annabel Mayer, who has particular expertise in breach of contract claims. Mayer, who is 'switched on, pragmatic and professional', also handles regulatory and healthcare matters, and she leads the firm's new care homes sector team.

Practice head(s):

Michael Frape

Other key lawyers:

Annabel Mayer

Testimonials

They have strong client management and a very good understanding of financial services litigation.

Annabel Mayer stands out as a strong associate for commercial litigation. She has excellent judgement as to the key issues.

Ashtons is a law firm with a mixed specialism, but its offering in commercial litigation is exceptional. The firm attracts good quality work of legal significance. The work it services in an efficient and proficient manner.

I worked particularly with Annabel Mayer when she instructed me in a complex case in which rescission of a winding up order was sought. I found Annabel to be switched on, pragmatic and professional. She had a good rapport with the lay client and was able to navigate him through a difficult legal process with great ease. A pleasure to work with.

Key clients

CeX

Water Babies

Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries

Signs Express

Flip Out

The Cambridge Building Society

The Cambridge Satchel Company Limited

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP in Peterborough has invested in its dispute resolution team, which handles shareholder and partnership cases, restrictive covenant matters and contractual disputes. Associate Helen Townsend, who is a new recruit from Taylor Rose TTKW, leads the litigation practice, under the supervision of commercial group head Anna Spriggs. Townsend, who joined in early 2020, acts for individual clients, sole traders, large corporations, limited companies and partnerships. Lesley Milne joined Premier Solicitors in Bedford.

Practice head(s):

Helen Townsend

Other key lawyers:

Anna Spriggs

Key clients

Little Aqua Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised clients on the enforceability of restrictive covenants within their contracts of employment.
  • Advising Little Aqua Ltd and a claim for damages for breach of contract following the service of an early termination notice.
  • Advising a company and one of its directors on the merits of a claim against a former director for breach of fiduciary duty and misuse of confidential information.

Prettys Solicitors LLP

Prettys Solicitors LLP in Ipswich handles both domestic and cross-border litigation. Experienced partner Peter Blake leads the practice with support from Graham Mead, formerly of Blocks, and solicitor advocate Andrew Kinnison who handles both litigation and arbitration.

Shears Law

Shears Law in Wymondham is a one-partner firm that provides advisory and advocacy services in the field of business dispute management. 'Very client-friendly and approachable' partner Richard Shears handles disputes relating to commercial contracts, debt recovery, corporate insolvency and cross-border matters. 'He is able to precisely dissect the most complex case and reduce it to the bare essentials,' notes one client.

Practice head(s):

Richard Shears

Testimonials

Shears Law is an exceptional practice.

Richard Shears is an excellent advocate with an approachable manner. He is able to precisely dissect the most complex case and reduce it to the bare essentials. He is very client-friendly, approachable and always ready and able to serve his clients.

Richard Shears is very detail-oriented, bright, technical and impervious to pressure. He is an extremely talented advocate and an excellent tactician who is highly focused on getting to the heart of the commercial outcomes of a case.

Key clients

SThree plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for a claimant recruitment business to enforce a non-solicitation provision.