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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 > Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Cambridge
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP¬†'the overall level of service is excellent'; the practice 'meets deadlines and can easily secure input from a wide pool of specialist expertise'. As well as high-value commercial real estate transactions, the firm also has a¬†national and international reputation for alternative real estate asset classes, including transport infrastructure, senior living, hotels and hospitality. It also serves a large client base in the education sector, including¬†FE and HE colleges and private sector institutions. Its work also encompasses advice to¬†private and public sector developers and land promoters, corporate occupiers, and institutional, private and offshore investors.¬†'Solutions-focused' development and regeneration project partner Dominic Morris¬†leads the practice. He assisted¬†Legal & General Senior Living Limited on the property aspects of its ¬£40m investment in two senior living villages in Warwick and Cheshire.¬†Clare Whitaker¬†specialises in investment and corporate occupier work with particular expertise in the hotels and leisure sector. For¬†Legal & General UK Property Fund, she led the acquisition of the¬†Hampton by Hilton Hotel at London Stansted Airport. Among the other key lawyers in the team are senior associate¬†Megan D'Souza-Mathew, who handles¬†development and regeneration work; senior associate¬†Claire Morgan, who advises on deals in the transport sector; and associate Jamie Cawthorn¬†who is ‚Äėa very experienced residential development legal specialist whose advice is always practical and well balanced'.

Mills & Reeve LLP‚Äės has ‚Äėcommercial and responsive lawyers‚Äô that¬†represent 'good value for money in relation to London-based practices'. Planning partner¬†Beverley Firth¬†is national head of the firm‚Äôs real estate practice, which has an extremely talented bench. 'Strong property partner'¬†Christine de Ferrars Green¬†is ‚Äėalways available to try and help manage her team and assist with all matters‚Äė.¬†Nick Finlayson-Brown¬†has more than 20 years' experience in real estate matters and his role as head of the firm's China team sees him handle many cross-border property matters. He is 'entirely commercial in his approach and provides excellent service and advice'. Partner¬†Charles Staveley¬†leads the firm's real estate investment sector group, which advises institutional pension funds, management houses, property companies, onshore and offshore investors. He assisted HPG Gonville Ltd with the ¬£6.5m purchase of properties and their lease back to Cambridge Education Group.¬†Vincenzo Maggio¬†focuses on investment work and landlord and tenant matters with an emphasis on science parks. He acted for Babraham Institute on a review of its multimillion-pound portfolio. Also recommended are¬†Michelle Cookson, who specialises in complex investment and development projects; real estate finance specialist¬†Tim Allsop, who is¬†is ‚Äėexcellent ‚Äď detailed, commercial and very responsive on more complicated matters‚Äė; and senior associate¬†Tom Nash, who¬†is praised for ‚Äėhis clarity of thought, expression and delivery, which are invaluable‚Äė.

Advice from¬†Birketts LLP¬†is ‚Äėexcellent ‚Äď timely, straightforward, knowledgeable and pragmatic'. The firm has a national reputation for strategic land transactions thanks to¬†practice head Katherine Herbert, who frequently handles high-profile and complex projects. She recently acted for Huntingdon Road Consortium, which consists of landowners the National Institute of Agricultural Botany Trust, The Chivers Family interests, Christs College Cambridge, St Catharine's College Cambridge and Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, on the ¬£68m sale of more than 300 acres of land for the development of 1400 homes at¬†Darwin Green. Gavin Acheson,¬†who has 25 years' experience and who advises¬†institutional, corporate and private clients on commercial real estate matters, is 'very responsive¬†and good value for money, and has both good business acumen and industry knowledge'. He assisted grant-making charity Trust for London with the ¬£11m acquisition, refurbishment and letting of a bespoke multi-media project in London. Senior associate Dwight Patten¬†joined from¬†Mills & Reeve LLP¬†to focus on¬†commercial occupiers and development work, most notably in the education and not-for-profit sectors. The firm has a strong bench of senior associates including¬†Nick Pickersgill¬†who leads on¬†real estate finance matters;¬†Claudia Haisman-Green¬†who¬†handles¬†residential development projects; strategic land specialist¬†Deborah Marshall;¬†Natalie Biggs¬†who deals with commercial property and development; and¬†Isabel Wightman-Cooper¬†who focuses on real estate finance. Associate¬†Emma Medina¬†is also recommended.

At Hewitsons¬†‚Äėthe level of service is good‚Äė and the ‚Äėuser-friendly, sound and practical team has an excellent knowledge base and is both quick to respond and comprehensive in its protection of clients‚Äô interests'. One client describes it as¬†‚Äėthe best all round local firm for those dealing in property and development'. The firm has a long-established and respected commercial property practice that has recognised expertise in¬†site acquisitions and disposals, strategic land transactions, development projects and property asset management across East Anglia and further afield. Its client base includes standout names such as¬†the Homes and Communities Agency, Turnstone Estates and Hill Residential Limited, and the firm receives regular instructions from¬†technology, biotechnology and life sciences companies based in Cambridge, as well as from numerous Oxbridge Colleges.¬†James Simpson¬†leads the Cambridge real estate practice and is ‚Äėpragmatic - he has no ego to fuel'. He handled several joint venture agreements for Hill Residential last year, and also advised it on the University of Cambridge‚Äôs North West Cambridge development site, which has a development value of ¬£150m. The project will create¬†a new mixed academic and urban community on the¬†140-hectare site, which currently contains a mix of farmland and University buildings.¬†Susanne Hinde, who handles property investment and landlord/tenant matters,¬†is ‚Äėin tune with clients‚Äô requirements and always approachable'. Partner¬†Graeme Sampson, senior associate¬†Ceri Riddell¬†and associate¬†Michael Russell¬†are also recommended.¬†Martin Smith¬†joined¬†Maples Teesdale LLP.

Howes Percival LLP  has increased its presence in the market and expanded its bench of junior talent to support its highly experienced partners. Jonathan Greenhalgh is the key contact in Cambridge, where Steven Beach is an established name with more than 30 years' experience in the market. Michaela Henson is also a standout partner with more than 20 years’ experience in advising landowners, developers and commercial clients on development, investments, site assembly, and landlord and tenant matters. The firm is active in residential development development projects for clients such as Hill Residential Limited, Laragh House Developments Limited and Enterprise Property Group. It also assists landowners including landed estates and rural businesses with these projects. Turnstone Estates Limited and Artisan (UK) Developments are among its clients for commercial development work. The practice also handles investment portfolio matters and last year Beach advised Cambridge University Endowment Fund on the £7.7m sale of a residential development site at Stanton Cross, Northamptonshire to Bovis Homes Group Limited, which involved both the sale of land and complex security arrangements for the funding of the project. The firm also has specialist expertise in property finance, leisure and tourism projects and property transactions in the education sector.

‚ÄėThe overall level of service has been absolutely incredible‚Äė, says one client of Taylor Vinters. The real estate practice is 'incredibly efficient and highly knowledgeable, and the lawyers are¬†always been on hand to help with any queries, giving clear, concise advice'. 'It¬†seems to have a never ending team of specialists' says one client referring to¬†Helen Mutucumarana, who leads the firm‚Äôs commercial real estate group, and James Slinger, whose practice encompasses complex acquisition, development and leasing transactions, renewable energy, and property aspects of corporate transactions. Mutucumarana is the main contact for¬†non-contentious landlord and tenant work, and clients remark that she is ‚Äėwise beyond her years and always provides fantastic, high-quality insight; her level of expertise is quite incredible‚Äė.¬†Slinger recently advised Jockey Club Estates on the purchase of land¬†in Lambourn, Berkshire, for the development of new training yards. Mutucumarana recently acted for Melbourn Science Park Limited on the purchase of land adjacent to its existing site with the development costing approximately ¬£25m. Associate Elliot Wilson¬†is a rising star who handles¬†property aspects of M&A transactions, land development, and landlord and tenant matters. Associate Becky Everitt¬†is ‚Äėfantastic, friendly and helpful, always going¬†above and beyond to ensure that the service provided is of the highest quality‚Äė.

Ashtons Legal has an integrated property practice across all of its offices in the East Anglian region and it provides the full range of services for commercial and mixed-use development matters. Charles Webb is the key contact in Cambridge and he has more than 30 years' experience in property matters, most notably in site acquisitions and assembly, development work throughout East Anglia, and commercial and private secured lending and borrowing. Magnus McManus is a respected partner for sales and purchases of investment property, development work, joint ventures and secured lending projects. His clients include Cambridge colleges. Associate Charlotte Vallins is also recommended for commercial landlord and tenant matters, commercial sales and purchases, secured lending and corporate support work. Affordable and social housing provider The Havebury Housing Partnership and financial market data vendor Activ Financial are among the firm's clients. The practice recently acted for a large client in the education sector on the multi-let mixed use development in central Cambridge, and assisted an investor on the letting of a site to a major retailer.

At¬†Bircham Dyson Bell¬†‚Äėthe service level is high ‚Äď very responsive, creative and commercial‚Äė.¬†Simon Burson¬†leads the practice having joined from¬†King & Wood Mallesons¬†in early 2017; he¬†specialises in commercial real estate with a particular emphasis on institutional clients and occupiers, and also leads the¬†asset management team, which acts for clients that have¬†in excess of 200 units under management in offices, retail and industrial. Burson assisted¬†Eskmuir Securities Limited with the ¬£7.1m purchase of an office building in St. Albans at auction. The matter involved¬†pre-auction due diligence and preparation, post-auction certificate of title and completion and post-completion arrangements. He also handled the multimillion-pound purchase of seven properties for Cording Real Estate Group¬†including industrial, retail and hotel assets. Senior associate¬† Katy Klingopulos¬†also handles¬†commercial real estate and real estate development, acting for property developers, investors, landowners and high-net-worth individuals.

'The Cambridge office continues to grow and has developed into a forceful centre in the commercial property area', remarks a client of Greenwoods GRM. The firm handles increasingly high-value work for clients in the development, investment, financial, education and food sectors. Associate Kelly Peck is 'an effective and thoughtful lawyer' and leads the commercial property practice in Cambridge, which works closely with the team in the firm's Peterborough office. She handles a wide range of property work from the management of property portfolios to lease acquisitions.  She recently advised Fairline Yachts Limited on options and lease agreements with a total value of £16m, which included issues with short-term licences and leases, and strategic surrenders. The complex transaction was completed in under five days. She also acted for Solarflare Communications Limited in a lease agreement with a value of £150,000 per year. Associate Neville Drummond, who has 18 years' experience in commercial, residential and rural property transactions, is also recommended.

Penningtons Manches LLP frequently acts for lenders and borrowers on property transactions in sectors such as banking, development, social housing, technology, life sciences and education. The firm is now on HSBC’s panel. Lead partner Sarah Coates is 'very knowlegable, efficient and always available'. She worked with corporate partner and finance specialist Helen Drayton to assist James Dolan Ltd with the acquisition of the Dooley Rumble Group, which included substantial real estate assets in the form of four existing leases with complex dilapidations issues. They also acted for Ellgia Recycling in the acquisition of assets from Purple Recycling Limited, which included the negotiation of a new lease that raised issues around liability for potential contamination. Partner Mark Sellers, who joined from Prince Evans Solicitors LLP in late 2017, works from both the London and Cambridge offices. He acts predominantly for social housing providers.

'A fantastic firm offering an unrivalled service',¬†Tees Law¬†is known for ‚Äėvery good service levels‚Äė and clients describe the team as ‚Äėextremely good when compared to some others'. 'The team at Tees is very much part of our business and we are in contact with them on a day-to-day basis for commercial advice' says one client. The broad property practice regularly advises clients on¬†residential development projects, and promotion and option agreements. Its recent work encompassed projects in the leisure industry, as well as local landlords and tenant matters.¬†Practice head¬†James Dowson¬†is¬†‚Äėknowledgeable and practical in his approach'. He acted for Fraser Capital Management in several transactions in the bingo sector, which involved the completion of a complex reversionary lease extending a tenant‚Äôs occupation of one property. Associate¬†Carol Thornton-Swan, who joined from¬†Mills & Reeve LLP¬†in 2017, frequently advises developers on residential development, and landlords on the management of property portfolios. Solicitor¬†Alexander Waples¬†is¬†‚Äėvery professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful;¬†his response times are very fast and his advice succinct and commercial‚Äė.

Dixon Phillips is a small and highly focused firm that handles corporate matters and commercial property transactions for the SME community in East Anglia. Paul Dixon leads the property practice and has more than 20 years' experience in development work, sales and acquisition, and landlord and tenant matters. Solicitor Michelle Atkins handles sales, acquisitions, and landlord and tenant work. Legal assistant Lauren Simper also plays a key role in the practice. Highlights for the commercial property team included acting for Premier Travel Agency in lease renewals on four of their shops and a further shop acquisition, and assisting a renewable energy company with the acquisition of lease options for two 50MW battery storage projects. Pest control products manufacturer STV International is also among the firm's clients.

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