Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has ‘very good technical knowledge but also good awareness of wider commercial issues,‘ which it puts to work on high-value regional, national and international construction projects. Dominic Lacey in Cambridge leads the practice and is also head of the firm-wide roads sector group, which handles large infrastructure projects. He recently advised the Slovak Republic on the D4R7 – Bratislava Bypass, the country’s second PPP project. The ‘pragmatic, personable and knowledgeable‘ Tom Douglas is the key partner in Cambridge and specialises in transactions construction work for transport authorities, developers, government entities, lenders and contractors. Solicitor Ed Freeman also plays a key role in the practice.
Construction in East Anglia
Other key lawyers:
Tom Douglas; Ed Freeman
‘The team have the technical skills to proficiently undertake our work. There is a good trust relationship with the team members. They deliver upon agreed timelines. They are adaptable; in the event that one member of the team is not available, they quickly allocate a replacement lawyer. On certain projects there is a lead lawyer and a supplemental lawyer, both understanding the deal points and therefore from a client perspective – this has great value-add.’
‘They wish to understand the relevant background and ask the pertinent questions to understand the instructions and requirements of the task. Not shy to disagree in a constructive manner.’
‘They provide a personal and friendly service. Their strengths are expertise, client care, commerciality and development of good, friendly working relationships and also with an eye on the charging with a view to keeping invoicing levels in line with project viability. ’
‘Dominic Lacey’s strengths include experience, knowledge, simplicity of conveying complex legal issues, commercial approach, instant advice.’
‘The firm have provided high quality advice. They have responded at short notice to meet deadlines.’
‘Very good technical knowledge but also good awareness of wider commercial issues. Responsive to new ideas and ways of working, particularly in relation to billing requests. Work well as part of a wider client team working on broader projects or larger corporate transaction.’
‘Tom Douglas is pragmatic, personable and knowledgeable. Not afraid to question an approach and think of different solutions.’
Brunel University London
Signature Senior Living
Legal & General
Government of Rwanda
The Cambridge office of Mills & Reeve LLP provides 'the best level of service at a realistic price compared to City of London rivals'. The firm handles high-profile projects in East Anglia and across the UK. It particularly stands out for work in the education and on science park developments, acting for government entities, developers and major contractors. The 'absolutely outstanding' Stuart Thompson is the lead partner in a 12-lawyer practice across the firm's office network. Principal associates Alexandra Pike, who handles contentious matters, and Gary Rushworth, who advises on fire safety claims, along with senior associate Emma Nash are key practitioners.
Other key lawyers:
Alexandra Pike; Gary Rushworth; Emma Nash
‘It is taken as read that our solicitor knows the law – the value for our business is in obtaining advice which is commercial, so knowing when and how to push a point and when to take a view is vital. Mills & Reeve do this really well, which saves us time, energy and money. It is also important to build strong relationships – and they do this really well.’
‘Stuart Thompson’s service is absolutely outstanding; advice was strong and provided good value for money. We couldn’t have really asked for anything more. During one particular challenging issue, Stuart pulled together a team to advise us in double quick time. Stuart provides the best level of service at a realistic price compared to City of London rivals.’
‘Excellent legal expertise in the field of construction, particularly strong on construction contracts and their use across the industry. This coupled with an ability to appreciate the client’s perspective results in an excellent service.’
‘Stuart Thompson has an exceptional knowledge on construction law and contracts which combined with his collaborative approach has enabled us to develop a strong but healthy contract position with our suppliers.’
‘Stuart Thompson has an empathetic ability to explain issues in a concise and clear manner to the in-house legal team and the business. Gary Rushworth provides excellent support, provides very good assistance – timely and in a manner above his position.’
University of Cambridge
Anglia Ruskin University
University of Law
Trinity College, Cambridge
St John’s College, Cambridge
Peterhouse College, Cambridge
The Crick Institute
Ministry of Defence
Department of Work and Pensions
Natural History Museum
National Railway Museum
Norfolk County Council
Somerset County Council
Cantillon (part of Morrisroe group)
Knapp UK Limited
Birketts LLP‘s construction and engineering team is now led by Stefan Harris-Wright, following the departure of a large team including former practice head Andrew Rush and Ruth Sunaway. The ‘excellent, commercial and super-responsive‘ Harris-Wright focuses on non-contentious matters from the firm’s Cambridge office, working with senior associate Katrina Bretten. The team has recently been bolstered by the additions of new partner Catherine Andrewsand legal director Patrick Cooney, both of who joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.
Other key lawyers:
Katrina Bretten; Patrick Cooney; Catherine Andrews
‘Stefan Harris-Wright’s thinking and advice is clear and understandable. This helps in the efficient delivery of projects. The depth of knowledge is very strong which leads to swift conclusion of the matter at hand.’
‘Birketts treat you as if you are their only client. They are quick to respond and keep you updated regularly. You never feel that any question or query is insignificant and they take your concerns seriously. A standout point for me is they set expectations from the start. They give clear timeframes as to when you can expect them to deliver the service and they meet the deadlines.’
‘Stefan Harris-Wright has always provided us with an excellent service. We have worked with him now for many years and we have a great working relationship. Stefan provides clear information that’s easy to understand.’
‘A great team, very commercial – London skill with out-of-London prices.’
‘Stefan Harris-Wright is excellent, commercial, always super responsive. He understands the needs of our business and is an excellent point of contact for all other disciplines within Birketts. Fees are reasonable and transparent. He is always happy to help, personable and manages his team well.’
‘Patrick Cooney has always been and continues to be exceptional.’
RGB Plastering Limited
Higgins Group Plc & Higgins Partnerships 1961 Plc
Sempra Homes Limited
This Land Development Limited
Slough Urban Renewal Community Projects LLP (“SUR”)
Flagship Housing Developments Limited
Churchmanor Estates Company plc
Concertus Design and Property Consultants Limited
- Acted for RGB Plastering Limited as main contractor in a number of adjudications and ultimately part 8 proceedings heard in the Technology and Construction Court on a novel point of construction law.
- Advising Slough Urban Renewal Community Projects LLP on the construction documentation for re-cladding works of a residential block of 68 flats.
- Acted for developer Churchmanor Estates Company Limited in relation to the construction documentation for a complex c. 180,000 sq ft retail park with associated infrastructure works in Stanway, Essex.
Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds has developed a strong construction and engineering practice in recent years, having expanded its range of work for funders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and professional advisers. Its recent work has included advising on a £1m dispute concerning a development in London, and advice to a funder on a commercial development near Bury St Edmunds. Specialist construction partner Sarah Western leads the practice, along with property specialist Neil Grigg, construction litigation expert Rob Adam and senior partner Michael Batty. 'A small, efficient team that is great to work with', remarks a client.
Sarah Western; Rob Adam; Michael Batty; Neil Grigg
Other key lawyers:
‘A small, efficient team that are great to work with.’
‘Sarah Western stands out – hardworking and very easy to work with.’
‘Sarah Western and Anna Britland always make the task straightforward and explain things in a clear way. Where required, they are happy to liaise directly with other professionals involved in the process, so as to get the best possible outcomes and avoid me being caught in the middle of a transaction.’
‘I have always received a good service from all partners, in particular Sarah Western and Anna Britland, and they are always willing to deliver and turn around legal responses in demanding timescales when requested. ’
‘A solid team of passionate solicitors who know the detail and get the job done with an eye to the client’s commercial aims and to delivering great value. The people you want in your corner.’
‘Rob Adam and Sarah Western are absolute stars: they deliver fantastic results for clients, work tirelessly, and are exceptionally driven. They are legal ninjas.’
‘They have a hands-on and pragmatic approach to finding practical solutions.’
- Advising the former marketing director of Celotex, one of the manufacturers of insulation that was used in the Grenfell Tower refurbishment project.
Greenwoods GRM has a cross-office construction practice that is involved in regional, national and international projects, providing both advisory support and assistance with contentious matters. The firm recently acted for Cladding UK in defending a claim by a contractor alleging delay, disruption and extra cost in the removal of cladding from three tower blocks in London. Lorna Carter in Cambridge and London-based partner Howard Crossman are the lead partners. Associate Sarah Lidgett in Peterborough also plays a central role in the practice.
Lorna Carter; Howard Crossman
Other key lawyers:
‘Howard Crossman is a pleasure to deal with – I was impressed by his knowledge of the client, its business and its concerns, and of the construction sector.’
‘I have worked with Greenwoods on a number of occasions – it is like dealing with a London practice.’
‘They give constructive and practical advice and are always keen to avoid the expense and stress of litigation wherever possible. They appear to understand how a worrying a construction dispute can be to a client who has not been through the process before.’
‘Lorna Carter has been very efficient in guiding us in aligning all the contracts involved in a large building.’
‘The practice keeps our business up to date with movements in legal matters and new case judgments ’
‘Lorna Carter is an exceptional lawyer who listens and quickly understands the needs and wants of us as a client and will allocate the fee charging time appropriate to each case ensuring that time is not wasted on unnecessary work.’
‘Small but effective construction team with a personal touch that provides value-added, prompt and practical advice.’
‘Howard Crossman is a highly skilled and experienced construction lawyer. He is popular with clients for being hands-on, commercial and tough when required. Howard will help out during the lifecycle of a project, advising on contract administration and management. He will often suggest producing a strategy report at an early stage, combining legal and contractual analysis with effective practical and commercial advice on the way forward.’
Cladding UK Limited
Studio Ashby Limited
- Advised a UK representative of an Italian company specialising in the design, construction and management of biogas and biomethane plants on the tender and contractual documents for the design and construction of a new biogas plant.
- Acting for Cladding UK Limited in defending claim by main contractor currently in court pre-action protocol phase for delay, disruption, extra costs and removal of cladding from three substantial high-profile London tower blocks, offices and retail units post-Grenfell fire.
- Represented Studio Ashby Limited in negotiations for its appointment for interior design services for a prestigious residential project in Paris, France. Subsequently advising on the impact of Covid-19 on the project and more recently the impact of Brexit on supplies to Paris for the project.
HCR Hewitsons 'listens to what clients want and provides direct responses'. The firm advises on multimillion-pound construction projects in East Anglia and further afield, as well as being a key adviser to Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator, on residential construction projects. The Cambridge-based Colin Jones, who was managing partner of Hewitsons prior to its 2021 merger with Harrison Clark Rickerbys, is a specialist construction lawyer, while other key figures in the Cambridge office include solicitor Sardeep Gill.
Other key lawyers:
‘They were very good at managing a particularly difficult relationship and through extensive negotiation delivered an acceptable outcome to all parties.’
‘They listen to what you want and provide a direct response to this request. The same individual sees the project from inception through to completion, which enables work to be picked up in a piecemeal fashion and attended to seamlessly and without further delays.’
‘HCR Hewitsons provide us with an excellent service that we have yet to find with other firms. They have worked with us on several schemes and on each have provided us with advice and expertise that have saved us both time and money.’
‘They show great understanding of our projects which is something we look for in a legal partner. They fully understand our needs and procedures as a client, making it very easy to trust their recommendations and advice.’
British Institute of Interior Design
JG Poole & Co. LLP
JG Poole & Co. LLP is a specialist higher education boutique that has developed a strong construction practice in the last five years, thanks to lead partner Katherine Souter, who is highly skilled in non-contentious construction, procurement and state aid matters. She acts for high-profile education clients, among them London Metropolitan University and University of East Anglia. A prime example of its high-profile work is its support for private sector companies on a £55m student accommodation partnering project. 'The team is very commercial and willing to understand the client's objectives', remarks one client.
‘The team is very commercial and willing to understand the client’s objectives. The team often ask what do you want to achieve and help you to get to that point. The individuals within the team are very knowledgeable and understand the education setting entirely.’
‘Katherine Souter is very knowledgeable in terms of real estate in the education setting and can advise in context. She does not take an overly legal approach and put very complex matters in a clear and commercial way to help the client. She can work well with project teams and feel like an extension of the university team.’
‘I found Kat Souter to be extremely helpful with what was a new area for me. She was proactive in her support, and always willing to explain matters to me in more detail as and when required.’
‘The key attributes from our perspective is the ability to pick up the phone for a quick question without the fear of the time charge clock kicking in every time. When our key contact hasn’t been available we have been contacted quickly by their support team to see if a query can be deal with by someone else or whether it can wait until they are available.’
‘We work mostly with Kat Souter and have formed a really good relationship with her. She is reactive and personable and gives us a balanced view which allows us to consider our options.’
‘The team is flexible, competent and reliable.’
‘Kat Souter has integrated well with our team and has built their trust and confidence. Kat is far more responsive than her competitors – if we need an answer quickly, JG Poole ensure resource is available to meet our needs.’
University of East Anglia
University of Hertfordshire
Birmingham City University
London Metropolitan University
University of Essex
Harper Adams University
Varsity Consulting Ltd
Clear Consulting and Design
North Western Social Developments Limited
- Advising the private sector on a £55m student accommodation partnering project.
- Advising Epsom College on the procurement of an institutionally funded new academic and social building.
Ashtons Legal has a small construction practice consisting of senior associate Sarah Duncan in Ipswich, but her depth of expertise sees the firm involved in both non-contentious matters including procurement and the drafting of project documentation, as well as a growing amount of construction disputes. She frequently assists developers, contractors, SMEs and subcontractors in adjudication and litigation matters. Clients praise her 'diligence and professionalism'.
‘The practice assisted us with the proposed purchase of a new build property. Had it not been for the diligence and professionalism of the practice, we could have entered into a sub-standard purchase agreement and exposed to problems. The solicitors at the practice worked tirelessly.’
'They are streets ahead', says a client of Ellisons Solicitors, which has built a specialist construction practice in its Ipswich office, handling both contentious matters and advisory work. Lead partner Ian Seeley is 'always fully committed to resolving any issues inside or outside of working hours'. He has extensive experience in contentious matters, bringing to bear his knowledge of public sector and regulatory law.
‘Ian Seeley offers great advice – he is professional and always fully committed to resolving any issues inside or outside of working hours.’
‘If unique means easy to get along with, readily available to talk to, without hiding behind emails, then they are unique. My experience with other law firms is limited, but they are streets ahead. Their innovation would be they respond to contact quickly, which should not be an innovation, but is in the legal world. All the staff have been excellent communicators.’
OCL Facades Limited
Brennan Group Limited
Gipping Construction Limited
Horizon Construction (East Anglia) Limited
R W Hill (Felixstowe) Limited
Cubitt Theobald Limited
- Representing contractor R W Hill (Felixstowe) Limited, charged with health & safety offences relating to a fatal accident at the Port of Felixstowe in 2015.
- Representing main contractor Horizon Construction (East Anglia) Limited in a large and complex final account adjudication dispute, issued at very short notice, and involving working closely with multi-disciplinary experts.
Howes Percival LLP's Cambridge team is a key component of the firmwide construction practice, acting on behalf of lenders, commercial developers, contractors and consultants. It recently assisted Loughborough Town Properties Limited with the construction and refurbishment of student accommodation. Legal director Simon Franklin, who mainly focuses on non-contentious matters but also manages disputes, is is head of the construction practice.
Braintree District Council
Turnstone Ely Limited
Turnstone Colchester Limited
Alaris Developments Limited
- Advising development investment client Loughborough Town Properties Limited in respect of the construction/refurbishment of student accommodation.
- Advising Braintree District Council in respect of development of new enterprise centre.