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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 > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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At Birketts LLP 'the overall level of service is excellent and the team is extremely knowledgeable, showing an in-depth understanding of the issues'. The firm acts for more than 400 charity clients, advising on charity law, ecclesiastical law, corporate matters including mergers, compliance, endowments, disputes, commercial property and retail, social enterprise structures, academy conversions, trustee powers and employment law. Senior associates Sara Sayer and Liz Brownsell lead the practice. Brownsell was a member of the Charity Law Association Working Party that consulted on the new Charity Governance Code. Sayer and legal director Erika Clarke have particular expertise in public procurement and state aid, advising on contentious and non-contentious matters arising from projects and collaborations. Commercial property partner Gavin Acheson advised Trust for London on the £11m acquisition, refurbishment and letting of premises in London, which was let to an independent creative media higher education college. Associate Amanda Timcke, who joined from Birkett Long LLP, is also recommended for property matters. Senior associate Kitty Rosser in the corporate and commercial team, who is a recognised expert in data protection and the GDPR, is 'particularly good and easy to work with, she gives clear explanations'. Also recommended are James Hall and Stuart Jones for ecclesiastical matters, and senior associate Clare Hedges for employment law.

Firm-wide, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acted for more than 250 charities in 2017, most notably in the education, health, regeneration, mental health and grant-giving sectors. The firm has significant expertise in advising research institutions and grant makers on matters including governance, international giving, social investments and tax. The Cambridge office is home to lawyers who play significant roles in the national practice, including Glynne Stanfield, who is the lead partner in the firm's UK governance and external relations practice, as well as head of the international education group. He is known for his advice to charity and not-for-profit clients on complex governance issues, joint ventures and mergers. Principal associate and charity law specialist Stephen O’Reilly has a broad client base in the health, social care, education and scientific research sectors and frequently helps with the registration of new charities, the release of permanent endowment restrictions, mergers, interaction with the Charity Commission and trustee matters. He recently assisted with the registration of the Alan Turing Institute as a charity. Turning Point and the Dementia Research Institute are also among his clients. Associate Elen Griffiths, who was recently seconded to the Royal College of General Practitioners, has a central role in the practice. The practice's highlights included assisting the Royal Society of Chemistry with its benevolent fund and defining the powers of its trustee, which included advice on Charity Commission guidance.

The firm-wide charities team at¬†Hewitsons¬†is led from Northampton by Chris Knight, and the Cambridge office is home to highly experienced practitioners including rural and property partner¬†Denise Wilkinson, whom clients describe as¬†‚Äėclear-thinking and excellent at spotting risks in land transactions'. The practice has more than¬†400 charity and education clients, among which are¬†RSPB, Canal and River Trust, United Church Schools Trust, United Learning, The Henry Moore Foundation, The Rothschild Foundation, The Thalidomide Trust and Veterans‚Äô Aid, as well as¬†numerous¬†Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Wilkinson recently acted for a nationwide conservation charity in complex property matters relating to reclamation land. This included negotiating a lease from a charitable trust. Senior¬†solicitor¬†Martyn Robinson¬†handles charity formation, amendments to governing documents, incorporations and re-structuring, mergers, academy conversions, and dealings with the Charity Commission. He recently worked with Knight on behalf of long-standing client YMCA Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on its merger with YMCA Suffolk to create YMCA Trinity Group. Planning and environment specialist¬†Deborah Sharples¬†frequently deals with property, planning and and governance issues, and¬†Colin Jones¬†handles construction matters for clients in the not-for-profit sector.

Mills & Reeve LLP is known for 'very prompt response times and it can be relied on to meet deadlines and produce high-quality and considered input that balances depth of expertise and pragmatism'. Practice head Neil Burton 'rates very highly and is very helpful'. With senior associate and charity law specialist Mark Ashton he assisted Francis Crick Institute with setting up a trading subsidiary, as well as advising on endowments and fundraising. Sarah Seed leads a charity fundraising group that handles high-value bond issues and smaller schemes for schools and other charities. Caroline Dean and principal associate Lucy Whipps are recommended for property matters and clients praise their 'excellent experience and ability to ensure that transactions are progressed as expediently as possible'. Dean provided early-stage advice to John Innes Centre on a proposed £250m building at Norwich Research Park. Principal associate Dona Ardeman in the corporate team is 'a valuable partner - very able, thorough, pragmatic and responsive'. 'Very approachable and clear' principal associate Patrick Gass in Cambridge is recommended for employment law matters. He worked with partner Nicola Brown on a commercial agreement for an international science and education charity. Contested legacy specialists David Catchpole and Lucy Howard, and property partner Nick Finlayson-Brown are among the other lawyers who contribute to the practice.

Charity, social enterprise and not-for-profit work is a core part of¬†Stone King LLP's national practice, which operates across five offices in the UK. Cambridge is a key hub¬†in the firm's work for clients such as¬†Access Aspiration,¬†Advocacy For Older People In Greenwich,¬†Age UK Sevenoaks Tonbridge & District,¬†Ambitious About Autism and¬†Army Families Federation.¬†Robert Meakin¬†is the lead partner in Cambridge and has more than 25 years' experience in this niche area of law. His recent work includes successfully representing Cambridge Islamic College in a ¬£5m tribunal appeal against the Charity Commission, which challenged the body's power to direct a change of name. He also acted for an international Roman Catholic order that operates care facilities for older people on matters arising from ‚ā¨27m in secured borrowing from AIB that it used as financial support for its operations in Ireland.

The focus of the charities practice at Taylor Vinters changed last year with the departure of Caroline Eade, who joined the in-house legal team of a faith-based charity. As a result, the firm's work is less geared towards the religious sector and its client base now comprises mostly science and technology-based charities. Christine Berry now leads the 'an innovative and entrepreneurial' multi-disciplinary team, which brings together charity specialists and experts in the areas of employment law, property, corporate and commercial, and dispute resolution. The firm hired Chris Willis Pickup, who was previously head of litigation at the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Berry, who is a founder-trustee of the Desmond Elliott Charitable Trust, works closely with commercial and IP specialist Patrick Farrant, commercial real estate head Helen Mutucumarana, and data protection expert and senior counsel Rachel Ashwood . Associates Emma Millar and James Boyle are also closely involved with the practice. The firm recently acted for veterinary research charity Animal Health Trust in the £2.5m sale of its headquarters, as well as providing employment and governance advice. Another highlight saw Farrant and Mutucumarana advise dementia charity Alzheimer's Research UK on its expansion in Granta Park and on governance matters. The firm also counts the British Pharmacological Society and Teenage Cancer Trust among its clients.

Associate Victoria Robinson leads the charities practice at Greenwoods GRM, where a multi-disciplinary team acts for regional and national charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations. The practice handles re-organisation, the formation of subsidiaries, joint ventures, mergers, investments, constitutional documentation, employment, data protection and property matters for these clients. Head of the employment and employee benefits team John MacAulay recently acted for a well-known charity in tribunal proceedings brought by former employees. Robinson and head of corporate David Woods handled membership matters for a new charity client. Senior solicitor Ann-Marie Clow led a team that advised St John Ambulance on its national property portfolio. Regulatory team leader Kathryn Gilbertson and property partner Stephen Illingworth also play key roles in the practice.

Howes Percival LLP provides 'excellent service and prompt responses; all fee earners have sound knowledge and are good value for money'. Several of the firm's partners act as charity trustees and have experience in governance issues. The multi-disciplinary practice draws on the firm's private client, employment, property and estates groups to handle all aspects of charity formation, mergers, restructuring and administration. Head of estates Catherine Scott is the key contact and acts as trustee of a large grant-making charity with endowed and investment property. One client praises corporate and commercial partner Nathan Horton, associate and employment law specialist Nicola Butterworth , and property and education director Nicola Curle  for their 'excellent knowledge of their subject matter and their ability to respond promptly'. Richard Lovett is also praised for his specialist knowledge of the charity sector. Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, Theatre Royal Norwich, The Woodland Trust and YMCA Norfolk are among the firm's clients.

Hunt & Coombs LLP¬†is 'good, professional and thorough'. Head of charities Paddy Appleton¬†advises numerous charities on the drafting, amendment or interpretation of their constitutions and their registration with the Charity Commission. He also supports them in tax planning matters.¬†Diocesan registrar and head of the firm's commercial team¬†Anna Spriggs¬†has ‚Äėa high level of drive and integrity; she is discreet with a good sense of priority'.¬†Spriggs and Lynn Ayres¬†¬†are trustees of Peterborough Cathedral Development and Preservation Trust.¬†Private client partner¬†Henry Anstey¬†and¬†family law specialist¬†Denis White¬†also play key roles in the practice. Last year, the firm acted for¬†Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance in¬†complex covenant releases and reverter provision, the statutory disposal and management of glebe land, commercial leases and licences for church and educational use, and options and promotion agreements for development sites at Earls Barton, Moulton, Kings Sutton and Kettering.

Leathes Prior calls on the expertise of partners in a diverse range of practice areas to meet the needs of clients in the charities sector. The private client department plays a central role and senior partner William Riley, who is head of wills, trusts and estates, is the main contact. Newly promoted partner Tessa Bonser, who specialises in wills and estate planning, estate administration and probate matters, also plays a key role in the practice. Several charities use the firm's subscription-based Employmentor service, which provides access to legal materials and advice on HR matters, and the employment team led by Dan Chapman frequently advises charities on more complex HR matters. The corporate and commercial practice led by Paul Warman also handles many operational and governance matters for clients in this sector. The firm counts Active Norfolk, Healthwatch Norfolk and The Great Hospital among its clients.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors in Norwich formed its charities practice two years ago under the leadership of highly regarded family partner Neale Grearson, who calls on specialist commercial and property lawyers including Hugh Berridge, Jade Tinney and Michael Olmer. The firm's work encompasses the formation of charities, advice on trustee compliance and responsibilities, mergers, corporate law advice, commercial property transactions, employment and HR matters, and dispute resolution. Among its clients are The Benjamin Foundation, Christian Endeavour Holiday Centres, Julian Support and Samaritans. Tinney recently assisted a large regional charity in connection with the transfer of a school in Great Yarmouth and the related grant of a sublease over the property from which the school operated.

Steeles Law has many high-profile charity clients and its recent caseload has seen it act for Ethical Property Foundation, Rightforsuccess Trust and Consortium Multi-Academy Trust. Litigator and managing director Stephen Drake plays a key role in advising the firm's charity clients and is a trustee of Age UK Norfolk, Jesse’s Anchor and The Dove Charity, among others. Property partner Michael Fahy is another prominent figure in the practice and he recently handled the asset transfer of a listed building from a London local authority for community use. He is also currently advising a national charity on its negotiations with Suffolk County Council for commercial leases on properties for use as accommodation for carers.

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