Banking and finance in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has an eight-partner finance practice across its four offices, and handles a broad range of conventional lending, real estate and acquisition finance, as well as assisting clients in the agriculture and property development sectors. It also handles invoice discounting, trade finance, Islamic finance and a variety of banking matters for clients including HSBC and Lloyds Bank. Mark Henry in Ipswich is the lead partner and he works closely with James Allen in Cambridge, who has a niche practice in the financing of mobile home parks, and partners Alex Schaafsma in Cambridge and Andrew Tubb in Ipswich.

Practice head(s):

Mark Henry

Other key lawyers:

James Allen; Alex Schaafsma; Andrew Tubb


‘They offer and introduce all the different roles we need as a sizable business and all work so well together as a team. We use their banking, corporate, HR, property and litigation teams. all very capable lawyers.’

‘They go out of their way to ensure deals are completed and all have very commercial solutions to difficult legal situations.’

‘Birketts have acted for the bank on a number of transactions over the past 12 months. They have always delivered quality work in good timescales as well as appropriate advice at times.’

‘Alex Schaafsma is a highly experienced partner, efficiently overseeing the work and caring greatly about the bank/lawyer relationship.’

‘The team is very responsive to clients needs and takes a proactive part in all of our dealings. Alex Schaafsma is our principal contact and she has been a great source of assistance and advice when needed.

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

OakNorth Bank plc

Santander plc

Triple Point Capital

National Westminster Bank plc / RBS

Time Holdco Limited

Time Group Holdings Limited

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Alpha Bank London Limited

Foresight Group LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised various entities within the Marden Homes Group in relation to financings they have put in place for different development projects.
  • Acted alongside the corporate team in respect of an equity investment by LDC in Aker Systems Limited – providing the advice on the financing side of the transaction.
  • Advised different parts of the Time Group on a multitude of financings over the past few years  to facilitate the acquisition of many mobile home parks, enabling the business to become one of the largest mobile home park businesses in the UK.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP is praised for providing 'the benefit of good lawyers without London prices or arrogance'. The firm's national banking and finance practice includes a highly regarded real estate finance team that handles complex and high-value transactions across the UK. The firm acts for large corporate borrowers and major universities in their funding activities, as well as advising banks such as HSBC. Corporate and acquisition finance partner William Roles leads the practice from Cambridge, where not-for-profit finance specialist Sarah Seed and real estate finance partner Laura Holdaway are pivotal figures in the practice. Zak Virgin in Norwich is the key contact for asset-based lending. Cambridge-based principal associates Matthew Howling and Frances Churchard also specialise in banking and finance.

Practice head(s):

William Roles

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Seed; Zak Virgin; Matthew Howling; Frances Churchard


‘Mills & Reeve understand our business and the wider market, providing us with a partner-led service that is efficient from both a time and costs perspective.’

‘They provide us with a service that is attentive and quick in its considered response. The benefit of good lawyers without London prices or arrogance.’

‘Our two main contacts are William Roles and Zak Virgin. Both Will and Zak are great partners to instruct as they are calm, experienced and nothing ever seems like a problem. They are perfect when dealing with prospective and existing clients as they explain things clearly and make problems seem simple to solve.’

‘Frances Churchard is excellent. She deals with us as clients well and deals with counterparty lawyers of all ilk in a firm but friendly manner to achieve good outcomes.’

Key clients

PNC Financial Services UK Limited

Midwich Limited

Casella Family Brands (Europe) Limited

Hill Marshall LLP/Marshall Group Properties Limited

Get Busy Plc


Mick George Group

Nexus Infrastructure plc

Homes England


Reassure Limited

Legendre Group Limited

Estate Office Shoreditch

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending Limited

Norfolk Capital Group

Industrial Chemicals Group

Cardiff University

Imperial College of Science & Technology

University of Exeter

Work highlights

  • Acted for longstanding client PNC Business Credit in its £52m financing of Berry Bros & Rudd, Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant.
  • Advised Exeter College on a 47-year £30m private placement of notes with a UK institutional investor.
  • Advised Homes England on the first grant made from the Forward Funding section of Government’s flagship Housing Infrastructure Fund. The grant to Woking Borough Council will fund major infrastructure enhancements and unlock 4,500 new homes.

Ashtons Legal

The Bury St Edmunds office of Ashtons Legal is home to substantial experience in financing transactions, thanks to a team that is ‘very capable and has good technical knowledge‘. The firm handles secured lending and finance for agricultural, corporate and property sector clients. Ron Clare leads the practice and manages the firm’s panel relationships and high-value secured lending transactions. Agriculture partner Jeanette Dennis and head of corporate and commercial Geoff Hazlewood also play key roles in the practice. Associates Mark Watson in Norwich and Sarah Duncan in Ipswich assist with corporate and construction matters respectively.

Practice head(s):

Ron Clare

Other key lawyers:

Jeanette Dennis; Geoff Hazlewood; Mark Watson; Sarah Duncan; Richard Bailey


‘The team is very well led by Ron Clare, who has built a strong team around him. The team is very capable and has good technical knowledge. They quote competitively and are very transparent in the process. Good diversity which is very easy to approach, communicate with and contact. The size is such on a recent transaction they engaged two different offices to ensure there was no conflict of interest. An excellent team who we will continue to use.’

‘Ron Clare is an excellent lawyer. Very experienced and commercial. Readily available and very easy to contact.’

‘It is able to offer a comprehensive range of services so the property team for example can support the corporate finance team with transactions.’

‘The partners work together well and keep the bank and the client informed of progress on a transaction and work to overcome obstacles. Geoff Hazlewood and Ron Clare have worked well together on a number of transactions.’

Key clients

Handelsbanken plc

National Clearing Bank

HSBC UK Bank plc

Greene & Greene

Based in Bury St Edmunds, Greene & Greene handles a national portfolio of banking and finance work, with a growing number of matters for clients based in London. The firm acts predominantly for borrowers in domestic and cross-border transactions, with recent transactions involving the US, Hong Kong, Malaysia and many European countries. Solicitor advocate and barrister Simon Ratcliffe leads the practice. Corporate finance partners Neil Walmsley and Mark Daly, and corporate partner Mark Whittaker, who joined from gunnercooke LLP, are also involved in large transactions.

Practice head(s):

Simon Ratcliffe

Other key lawyers:

Neil Walmsley; Mark Daly; Mark Whittaker

Key clients

Cipher Surgical Limited

Nexus Underwriting Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Cipher Surgical Limited on ongoing fundraising from UK and international investors.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP has 'good communicators, internally and externally, providing efficient service'. The practice, which is spread across East Anglia and the East Midlands, advises on large term and revolving credit facilities, financial covenant resets and waivers of breaches, as well as the full range of real estate finance matters. Joanna Nicholls is the lead banking partner in Norwich. Head of real estate Tessa Haskey also handles commercial property and banking matters. She frequently acts for private lenders in relation to property security, as does property partner Steven Beach in Cambridge.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Nicholls

Other key lawyers:

Tess Haskey; Steven Beach


‘Good communicators internally and externally, providing efficient service.’

Key clients

RQ Capital Limited

HSBC UK Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

Barclays Bank plc

Santander UK Plc

Handelsbanken Plc

National Westminster Bank plc

Bank of Scotland plc

The Property Investor Partnership Limited

Cambridge and Counties Bank Limited

Greenwoods Legal

Greenwoods GRM in Peterborough is heavily involved in portfolio refinancing and finance-related litigation. As well as acting for banks and borrowers, the firm has also recently handled disputes alleging that investors were fraudulently misled in share acquisition transactions. Corporate partner Alastair Gunn and litigation senior associate Jamie McConnell are the main contacts. Partner Samantha East specialises in development and investment funding for real estate clients.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Gunn; Jamie McConnell

Other key lawyers:

Samantha East