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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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Banking and finance

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  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking and finance 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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The 'professional, competent and client-focused' practice at Birketts LLP¬†is ‚Äėexcellent ‚Äď very responsive and easy to deal with providing good advice from a reasoned viewpoint‚Äė. One client highlights 'excellent response times, good commercial acumen and service that is reasonable in terms of price'.¬†Mark Henry¬†in Ispwich leads the practice, which counts¬†Barclays Bank,¬†HSBC Bank and¬†Ipswich Building Society among its clients.¬†Banking partner¬†James Allen, property partner Chris Schwer, corporate partner¬†Greg Allan¬†are all key names in the practice. Senior associate Nick Burt¬†is 'always available, good to deal with and commercially very sound'. Another client notes that he¬†‚Äėimpresses with his knowledge, speed of response and practical approach to getting the deal completed'. Legal director Alex Schaafsma's strengths are her 'speed of response, articulation of the impact of proposed changes, and her open, pragmatic and commercial approach'. A highlight for the firm was its work for borrower Time Group GB in a ¬£42.2m loan transaction to finance acquisitions.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†¬†provides 'excellent service, and its particular strengths are its industry knowledge, commercial approach and value for money'. 'In terms of sector knowledge and business acumen, the firm is on a par with City firms for¬†asset-based lending', remarks one client.¬†William Roles¬†leads the banking and finance practice and clients praise him for his 'industry knowledge and commercially-minded approach'. He assisted lender HSBC bank with a ¬£20m acquisition finance provision to¬†the Spicerhaart Group. Acquisition finance and asset-based lending expert¬†Zak Virgin¬†is 'an excellent banking lawyer ‚Äď creative and pragmatic'. Both Roles and Virgin are 'approachable and readily at clients' disposal for ad-hoc advice as well as more detailed instructions'.¬†Sarah Seed¬†and¬†Laura Holdaway¬†are recommended for not-for-profit and real estate finance respectively. Seed and principal associate Simon Warburton¬†( who specialises in fintech, crowdfunding and ABL and is 'superb - he is knowledgeable, has endless patience and provides excellent advice') advised The Cambridge Building Society on a ¬£15m investment from the Cambridgeshire County Council Pension Fund.

Commercial property and secured lending expert Ron Clare¬†in Thetford leads the banking and finance team at Ashtons Legal, which is ‚Äėa very well respected and decent firm of solicitors'. The firm acts predominantly for lenders including NatWest Bank, HSBC Bank and¬†Svenska Handelsbanken.¬†Clare assisted Santander with a security package for a ¬£10m overdraft facility for a client in the retail sector.¬†'They are up there with the best in the area‚Äė, says one client, while another remarks upon a ‚Äėvery diligent and thorough team with good experience and knowledge which they bring to the fore‚Äė.¬†Clare and associate Scott Hilton¬†are¬†‚Äėvery approachable, thorough and prepared to work with clients to highlight any issues and provide options‚Äė. Agriculture finance specialist Jeanette Dennis¬†in Cambridge is ‚Äėvery thorough, approachable, well thought of and professional with an eye for detail‚Äė. Corporate partner¬†Geoff Hazlewood¬†also plays a role in the practice.

Greene & Greene provides 'very good service, very prompt responses and good value for money, particularly compared to London firms', according to one client who describes the practice as 'pragmatic and aware of the challenges SMEs face'. Corporate partners Simon Ratcliffe and the 'quick, knowledgeable' Andrew Cooper frequently act for Nexus Underwriting Management Limited in M&A deals, in which they handle complex acquisition finance arrangements. One recent deal involved a £44m secured loan. Cooper handled a £1.5m investment from a Chinese pharmaceutical company on behalf of Cipher Surgical Limited. Corporate finance specialist Neil Walmsley and partner Mark Daly, who regularly advises shareholders of high-growth VC backed science and technology companies and also handles fundraising and investment transactions for PLCs, SMEs and shareholders, are both recommended.

Hewitsons has 'a responsive team with decent strength in depth'. The firm's practice spans its entire office network and is led from Northampton by Neil Harpham, but the Cambridge office has significant expertise in the form of corporate partner James Lawrence, commercial real estate partner James Simpson and residential property partner Tim Middleton. The firm handles a broad range of secured lending work, particularly in deals in which property is used as security, as well as acquisition finance and debt funding transactions for SMEs. Among its lender clients are domestic banks, multi-national companies and private investors, and it also acts for numerous borrowers. It is on the panels of Santander UK, Lloyds Bank and Svenska Handelsbanken. A highlight from 2017 was its work for both the lender and the borrower in a multimillion-pound mortgage deal secured against a large portfolio of residential properties.

At Howes Percival LLP¬†'the service is exceptional, with a quick turnaround even on matters of complexity; the advice is pragmatic and not of the "ivory tower‚ÄĚ academic variety which has little relevance to the needs of the business client'. One client remarks that 'the firm is good value for money, particularly compared with other ‚Äúbig-hitters‚ÄĚ in the region'. Another says 'I rate them higher and consistently better than other local firms for property-related bank lending'. Commercial property partner Joanna Nicholls¬†and corporate partner Robert Colman¬†lead the practice, which focuses heavily on real estate finance. Nicholls is 'the epitome of quiet competence'¬†and property specialist¬†Tessa Haskey¬†is 'readily approachable and confident'. Steven Beach¬†is also recommended for advising banks and private lenders on property security matters. A recent highlight saw Haskey advise Svenska Handelsbanken on the grant of a development loan facility for two sites. She also acted for R Q Capital Limited, Winterton Capital Limited and Markerstudy Insurance Company Limited in securing a development loan.

Penningtons Manches LLP acts for both lenders and borrowers in complex financing matters and it has particular expertise in sectors such as real estate, travel, leisure, education, retail, energy and technology. 'I have been particularly impressed by her work' remarks one source who worked with practice head Helen Drayton on a high-value deal. The firm recently secured an appointment to the panel of HSBC and counts Svenska Handelsbanken, Santander and AIB Group among its clients. The Cambridge office plays a central role in the firm's nationwide banking and finance team, and Drayton is a recognised expert in acquisition finance and development finance. She recently handled a £30m loan by Lloyds Bank to client Industrial Chemicals Group Limited to refinance existing debt and fund capital expenditure. Sarah Coates, who is a specialist in real estate finance, is also highly recommended.

Greenwoods GRM has corporate finance specialists in both Cambridge and Peterborough who advise numerous borrowers, commercial banks and other lenders on acquisition finance and real estate finance, while the litigation team handles financial services disputes. Alastair Gunn leads the practice and calls upon litigators Huw Wallis and associate Jamie McConnell , head of commercial property Karin Horsley and associate Samantha East. Among the firm's highlights are contentious matters including McConnell's work for a currency trader in a dispute with an international banking group, and financing matters including the arrangement of a £400,000 loan on behalf of the lender to fund a share acquisition.

Steeles Law has banking and finance expertise in its experienced corporate and commercial partners, who work with the firm's commercial property and dispute resolution practices to advise investors and borrowers on financing transactions. Its client base includes multinational corporations and high-net-worth individuals both in the UK and overseas. Head of company commercial Richard Bailey and corporate partner Nigel Lubbock are the key contacts. Corporate and employment solicitor James Hopgood frequently works with Lubbock; they acted for an international business in restructuring its existing bank arrangements to assist with the transition of its business model from manufacturing to IP licensing. Jeyes Group and Robinsons Motor Group are among the firm's clients.


Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Insolvency and corporate recovery 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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'To my mind, it is the premier firm in the East region', says a client of Birketts LLP. The firm is known for 'very good response times and it never steps outside of its technical capability; it has good strength in depth and represents good value for money for its great practical, yet commercial, advice'. The firm frequently handles high-value matters for IPs such as Price Bailey, McTear Williams & Wood, Ensors and RSM Recovery and Restructuring. Litigator and practice head Laurence Weeks in Cambridge, who is a council member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, is 'client-focused and practical'. For RSM, he handled the administration of F.H. Gilman, which had potential assets with a value of £12m. Corporate partner James Allen, who handles non-contentious matters, is 'a sound commercial lawyer with a loyal client following'. Greg Allan, who advised Price Bailey on the £2m administration of Enigma Limited, and litigator Matthew Atkins are also recommended.

Howes Percival LLP 'ranks among the top firms in this area', according to one client. 'Without doubt one of the best insolvency law firms in the country', remarks one barrister who adds that 'it is the "go-to" firm in the area'. Alison Kirby advises both corporate and government clients and is 'not only a highly-skilled and experienced insolvency litigator, but also has a commitment to clients which is rarely seen, going far beyond what is expected'. 'Tactically astute' insolvency and directors disqualification specialist Morris Peacock is 'adept at commercial litigation and is very tactically aware; he is always in tune with clients’ considerations'. He acted for the Insolvency Service in certification proceedings against Dominic Chappell following the failure of BHS. Michael Green recently acted for Peters Elworthy & Moore as trustee in the liquidation of a large warehousing group. Director William Shirley, who has more than 13 years' experience in acting for government departments,  is 'an experienced commercial litigator who is particularly skilled at drafting with a good eye for detail; he also has a very client-focussed and commercial approach'. Associate Patrick Manning is 'particularly experienced in litigation concerning government matters such as applications by the Official Receiver and HMRC'.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†'rates very highly and is strongly recommended‚Äė. The firm has 'very capable lawyers who are on top of the technical side of this area as well as being in tune with their clients‚Äô needs and commercial considerations'. The practice frequently advises on¬†the restructuring and sale of businesses and assets within insolvency processes, and acts for¬†office holders in both the UK and overseas in connection with cross-border insolvencies.¬†Asset recovery actions and other insolvency litigation for IPs including Griffins is another mainstay of its work, as is advice to¬†directors, creditors and other stakeholder in distress situations.¬†Litigator¬†Jamie Wheatley¬†¬†leads the practice and is 'extremely quick to analyse the issues and able to provide clear, pragmatic advice to clients notwithstanding the complexity'. Litigation associate¬†Lino Di Lorenzo¬†is praised as¬†‚Äėpragmatic and sensitive; he provides good commercial advice‚Äė. Together they advised trustees in the bankruptcy of former barrister David Harris, who was left with ¬£2m in debts following a judgment obtained by the Motion Picture Association of America in respect of copyright infringement.¬†Laura Holdaway¬†, who advised¬†South East Midlands Enterprise Partnership and Luton Borough Council on a ¬£3m workout transaction concerning a loan to Bela Group, is also recommended.  

Taylor Vinters is highly regarded among clients in East Anglia for its expertise in insolvency and restructuring matters, and it also serves a growing client base in London and across the UK. Licensed insolvency practitioner and practice head Adam Bradley is known for his detailed knowledge of the law and his expertise in pre-appointment turnaround and rescue deals, as well as corporate restructurings. For a commercial finance provider he handled several matters that required the appointment of a receiver over secured property or an administrator. Bradley and litigation head Luke Hibbert take the lead on contentious matters. With associate Victoria Sandell, Hibbert acted for a technology solutions provider in respect of threatened winding-up proceedings by a contractor. Hibbert and associate Beth Price assisted a multinational insurance company with the administration of a UK law firm that was a tenant in its building in Munich. Real estate partner James Slinger handles all property aspects of insolvency matters, particularly LPA receiverships and complex title issues.

Barker Gotelee¬†is known for ‚Äėgood response times and good understanding of the issues, along with a commercial approach; the advice is as good as any of its competitors in the region‚Äė. It is 'consistently one of the "go-to" firms for insolvency and corporate recovery work in East Anglia'¬†and the team 'always responds promptly and in a professional manner, and the advice given is relevant, useful and easy to understand', says a client. The firm acts for IPs, creditors, debtors, directors and stakeholders in insolvency matters. Leading light and insolvency specialist John Bradshaw¬†is ‚Äėvery personable and good to bounce off potential cases‚Äė. He acted for one national IP as joint administrator in a ¬£400,000 matter, and for another in a ¬£750,000 insolvency that involved the sale of a majority shareholding in a recognised high street brand owned by the insolvent company. Bradshaw and legal executive Sarah Mower¬†provide 'a continuous high standard of service; they have bags of technical ability and tactical nous, and they are superb with clients'.

The insolvency and corporate recovery practice at Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds works closely with the firm's commercial group and dispute resolution department to provide cost-effective service. Litigator Michael Batty leads the practice and is recommended for 'his grasp of the relevant law and procedure and by his meticulous approach to the handling of difficult cases'. He recently defended a £1.5m claim under a guarantee brought by the administrators of a company following the administration of the guarantor’s company. Solicitor Andrea Nicholls also has wide expertise in contentious insolvency and restructuring matters.

Isadore Goldman is a specialist insolvency boutique with offices in London and Norwich. Simon Loome, who splits his time between the two offices, and Frank Brumby are leading lights in the market for both corporate and personal insolvency matters. Licensed insolvency practitioner Adam McCaw acts for numerous IPs in contentious and non-contentious matters, as well as acting for distressed companies, directors, creditors and debtors. Robert Pyke leads the property department, which acts for IPs, housebuilders, property developers, banks, pension schemes and property investors. His work includes the sale of properties for liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy.

Buckles Solicitors LLP has one of the few dedicated insolvency practices in Peterborough and it regularly acts for IPs in a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Springfields Advisory LLP, Bulley Davey, RSM UK Group, Ellwell & Watchorn & Saxton LLP, and Corporate Financial Solutions are among its clients. The firm's highly experienced head of litigation James Maxey oversees the practice, in which senior associate Nick Porter and corporate associate Robin Johnston are the key contacts. Porter has particular expertise in acting for directors to secure, in the period of disqualification sought, permissions to act whilst disqualified and s216 matters. He recently defended a company faced with an application for an injunction to prevent it from presenting a winding up petition. Johnston acted for GB Patterns in the acquisition of LCP Patters Bookmakers in a pre-packaged deal negotiated with the company's administrators.

The insolvency practice at Leathes Prior handles corporate recovery and turnaround matters including company and partnership voluntary arrangements, and voluntary and compulsory liquidations and administrations, in which it acts for office holders and directors. It also has a busy caseload of director's disqualification proceedings, and the defence of misfeasance and wrongful trading actions against directors. It also has a niche practice in bankruptcy annulments, in which it acts for both a regional and national client base. Head of dispute resolution Mike Barlow is the key contact. Associate Ina Beurich is a rising star and is recommended for the full range of insolvency work.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP has two experienced litigators in Mark Nicholson, whose previous experience includes 25 years as a licensed insolvency practitioner, and Gareth Lamb, whose broad litigation practice is mainly geared towards contentious insolvency matters. The firm receives regular instructions from the some of the largest IPs in East Anglia.

Rogers and Norton is 'a very competent firm' and lead litigator Peter Hastings 'has very good experience in contentious insolvency and a sharp mind'. Hastings handles insolvency matters as part of his broader commercial litigation practice, acting for individuals including company directors, as well as for local IPs on claims relating to misfeasance, wrongful trading and preferential transactions. He is currently handling a preferential claim with a value of £100,000. Solicitor Elizabeth Gibson is also recommended.


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