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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 Midlands > Corporate and commercial > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the East Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the East Midlands
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

BHW Solicitors' team, which is led by the 'thoroughly commercial and strategically minded' Ed Nurse, has standout capabilities in corporate and commercial matters in the private equity, supply chain, secured lending and aerospace sectors. The practice is well-known in the Leicester and wider East Midlands region, and it also attracts work from clients nationwide. In a key development, Stephen McElhone joined from Spearing Waite LLP, a move which now makes the firm a strong choice for advice on AIM and NEX Exchange IPOs. In addition, McElhone also has expertise in corporate acquisitions, disposals and fundraising matters.  Matt Worsnop and recently promoted partner Alex Clifton are other highly regarded practitioners, as is Michael Lam, who made associate.

Practice head(s):Ed Nurse

Other key lawyers:Stephen McElhone; Matt Worsnop; Alex Clifton; Michael Lam


'The team is very knowledgeable about all aspects of company law, and is also pragmatic when seeking commercial solutions'

'Ed Nurse and Alex Clifton have a very broad and detailed understanding of commercial law and all of its nuances'

'The recent appointment of Stephen McElhone gives added strength and depth to the firm'

'Ed Nurse is highly competent in his field of expertise, and is calm, assured and highly knowledgeable'

'You can always rely on Alex Clifton to deliver high-quality work'

'Straight-talking (without jargon) at a competitive rate'

'The lawyers fully grasp the complexities of the issues and offer solid, reliable advice in a prompt manner at all times'

Key Clients

Correlation Investments Limited

Lavendon Group Limited

Gardner Group Limited

Oadby Plastics Limited

BPX Group Limited

Nat West Bank PLC

Nationwide Platforms Limited

Money Thing Capital Limited

Animal Friends Insurance Services Limited

ThinCats (Business Loan Network) Limited

HSBC Bank Plc

Valiant Investments PLC

Qualvis Print and Packaging Limited

Cast Alum

Deichmann-Shoes UK Limited

ISI Global

The Barons Eden Hotel and Leisure Group

Savage Marine Ltd

Garben Holdings Limited t/a The Orange Tree

Home Pro Insurance Limited

Creative Software Solutions (Europe) Limited

Verdon Timber Group Limited

Marks Electrical Limited

Notts Sport Limited

UK Airsoft Limited

Blauberg UK Limited

Staircraft Group Limited

Eclipse Group Solutions Limited

Evergreens (UK) Limited

BTE Plant Sales Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Correlation Investments Limited on its acquisition of 50% of the AutoProtect insurance distribution group from its joint venture partner.
  • Advised the shareholders of Elysium Supported Living Limited on the sale of the company to Allerton Care Limited.
  • Acted for The Orange Tree Group on the sale of a portfolio of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs to various buyers.
  • Acted for the founders of Dealer Auction Limited on their exit from the company and their sale of shares to the Manheim group.
  • Acted for the original founder of the CastAlum engineering group in the management shareholders’ disposal of shares and the redemption of their loan notes.

Hewitsons primarily handles corporate transactions and commercial matters for SMEs, but it also has a significant client following among larger UK and overseas-based corporates. In addition, it acts for public bodies, family-owned businesses and individuals. David Browne leads the Northampton team, which includes Neil Harpham, and whose recent work included high-value share and asset sales and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations and advice on company constitutional and governance issues. On the commercial front, Kevin Fletcher is the name to note for assistance with partnership and limited liability partnership agreements, supply and partnership agreements, and agency and distribution agreements. Fletcher is particularly knowledgeable about commercial agreements involving technology-related and intellectual property issues. Elsewhere, the firm generates work from clients in sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, automotive and charities.

Practice head(s):David Browne

Other key lawyers:Neil Harpham; Kevin Fletcher


'Hewitsons provided us with timely legal support adhering to the scope of the service agreed'

'Great communication, reasonable fees, good value for the money'

'Good continuity throughout the project'

Key Clients

Perrys Motor Sales Limited

Medigold Health Consultancy Limited

Hi-Force Limited

Briggs & Forrester (UK) Limited

ACF Technologies Inc Group plc

Fencor Packaging Group Limited

Intamac Systems Limited

Tii Technologies Limited / Kelta Limited

The Lilacs Isham Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for US-based ACF Technologies Inc on its acquisition of Q-Nomy (UK) Limited.
  • Assisted Malta-based Group Plc with the acquisition of assets from an English company, including websites, and as well as 76 sports betting and casino related domain names.
  • Advised Perrys Motor Sales Limited on the sale of its Fiat, Mazda and Peugeot dealership in Portsmouth to the Snows Motor Group.
  • Advised Lilac Isham Limited on the acquisition of The Lilac Rabbit public house in Isham.

Howes Percival LLP's top-ranking corporate team in Leicester underwent significant expansion in January 2019, when the firm recruited Jahid Ali and Oliver Brookshaw from Spearing Waite LLP. Ali is experienced in assisting private equity houses and management teams with private equity transactions, while Brookshaw advises listed companies on flotations, secondary share issues and public takeovers. Brookshaw also has fund (including venture capital) formation expertise. Also joining from Spearing Waite LLP was banking partner Haydon Simmonds, who has leveraged finance experience. Elsewhere, the firm is particularly well-known for acting for growing family-owned and management-owned private companies. Daniel Banton heads up the practice in Leicester, while Gerald Couldrake is the main contact in Northampton.

Practice head(s):Daniel Banton (Leicester); Gerald Couldrake (Northampton)

Other key lawyers:Jahid Ali; Oliver Brookshaw; Haydon Simmonds


'Personable and direct'

'No legalese - they just advise what needs to be done and by when'

Key Clients

C Brewer & Sons Limited

Briggs (UK) Limited

Fen Technology Limited

HSBC UK Bank Plc

The Shareholders of Atana Limited

Garashield Limited

Stonbury Limited

Model Citizens Limited

Buckingham Plant Hire Limited

BPW Limited and group companies



Work highlights

  • Acted for the shareholders of Fen Technology in the sale of the company to listed Spanish company Inspiralia.
  • Acted for privately-owned decorating supplies business C Brewer & Sons Limited in its acquisition of Fred Williamson & Sons Limited, to give Brewers its first branches in the North East.
  • Acted for Exel (GB) Limited in the acquisition of Orchard 2000 Pharmacy Limited.

Freeths LLP's first-rate reputation among commercial and private clients (in the UK and internationally) is underpinned by the market knowledge of its six-strong team in Leicester, which collectively has 125 years of experience of handling corporate transactions. In addition, the group's strong deal execution capabilities are complemented by the firm's ability to provide full-service support in many ancillary areas, including competition, tax and employment. Phil Baigent has a strong track record acting for clients in the healthcare sector, such as banks and care home operators. Baigent also advises businesses active in the optometry, dental and pharmacy arenas. Keith Gilbert has particular experience of acting for clients in matters involving sectors such as waste and food and drink.

Practice head(s):Phil Baigent; Keith Gilbert


'A very cohesive and effective team that aims to provide (and succeeds in delivering) a complete package which satisfies clients' objectives at minimum cost'

'Strong commercial knowledge across the team'

'Committed to delivering a legal solution that works for our business'

'The team at Freeths has always been helpful in all matters we have worked with it on. It highlights potential issues which may arise (often before we have realised), can meet with us at the drop of a hat, and is always available on the phone'

'Keith Gilbert has a good eye for detail'

Key Clients

Bakers Waste Services Limited

Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited

Carlsberg UK Limited

Clydesdale Bank Plc

CML Limited

Eurokey Recycling Limited

Flogas Britain

Integrated Doorset Solutions Limited

James Convenience Retail Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc

Maria Mallaband Care Group Limited

MCR Systems Limited

Motor Parts Direct Limited

MPK Garages Limited

Naismiths Limited

OEM Automatic Limited

Regen Holdings Limited / Whites Recycling Limited

Samworth Brothers Limited

Santander UK Plc

Sofidel UK Limited

Sprintquip Pty Ltd

Svenska Handelsbanken AB

Travis Perkins Plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for the shareholders of Willoughby (562) Limited on the sale of Willoughby (562) Limited and its wholly owned subsidiaries (the Core Management Logistics group) to the Rhenus Logistics group.
  • Advised Regen Devco Limited, a subsidiary of Regen Holdings Limited, on the acquisition of Augean Integrated Services Limited from Augean Plc.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Reasch Holdings Limited on the sale of the operating care home known as Blenheim Court to an investor and national care home operator.
  • Advised the shareholders of Wheeler’s (Timber and Builders) Limited on the sale of the company to Huws Gray Limited.
  • Advised Belfry Trucks Limited on the acquisition of Sparshatts Holdings Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiaries.

At Gateley Plc, a key contact is senior partner Gareth John, whose practice is split between the Leicester and Birmingham offices, and who is the main relationship partner for many of the firm's large corporate clients. John has a wealth of experience of private equity buyouts, disposals, and corporate mergers and acquisitions. Another notable individual at the firm is intellectual property lawyer (and music and media law expert) John Buckby, who joined from Spearing Waite in December 2018. Buckby, who established record label Winding Road Records in 2002, is sought-out for assistance with drafting and negotiating record deals, publishing deals, management contracts and licensing agreements.

Practice head(s):Gareth John; John Buckby

Key Clients

The Watches of Switzerland Group (formerly known as Aurum Group)

Phoenix Parker Holdings Limited

DCC Plc Group

Changan UK R&D Centre Limited

Igloo Automotive

Certas Energy UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised The Watches of Switzerland Group Limited on the sale of six stores to T.H. Baker. This was structured as a business and assets sale.
  • Advised Phoenix Parker Holdings Limited on the sale of 40% of the issued share capital of Maximus Crushing & Screening Ltd to Rubble Master.
  • Advised Arctics Limited on the buy back of shares from a shareholder.
  • Advised Lifetime Brands Europe Limited on its acquisition of Maxwell & Williams, Casa Domani and Christopher Vine branded stock and associated goodwill from Valerie Graham Limited.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP has a varied portfolio of work, and its clients range in size from individual entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses to large corporates and multinational organisations. On the corporate side, in addition to acting for UK-headquartered companies, the 'very impressive' Roy Botterill advises overseas-based clients on their most strategically significant mandates. Botterill's sector expertise includes manufacturing, financial services and other regulated industries. Lisa Botterill is recommended for her experience of healthcare sector transactions. In the commercial sphere, Martin Noble advises on the intellectual property aspects of joint ventures and commercial contracts. In addition, Noble is also active in contentious matters, including those involving domain name disputes, the misuse of confidential information and online intellectual property infringements.

Practice head(s):Roy Botterill; Martin Noble

Other key lawyers:Lisa Botterill

Key Clients

Beaumanor Engineering Limited

Tyler Packaging (Leicester) Limited

MHA Macintyre Hudson

T S Bloor Group

Hycontrol Limited

Kagool Limited

Whitworth Bros.

Work highlights

  • Advice to Beaumanor Engineering Limited on the £10.2 million sale of two group companies to AIM-listed company Flowtech Fluidpower Plc.
  • Assisted Tyler Packaging (Leicester) Limited as the sellers with the trade disposal of a family owned packaging company to Macfarlane Group.
  • Acted for EngMindera Software Engineering SA (a Portuguese company) and ThinkIT Solutions Limited on a complex cross-border reorganisation.
  • Acted for T S Bloor on its £18m acquisition by Karro.

Knights PLC established a presence in Leicester with the acquisition of Spearing Waite LLP in October 2018. It serves clients ranging in size from owner-managed businesses to large corporates. A key figure in the team is Martin Smith, who is experienced in M&A, venture capital/private equity fundraising and investments, corporate governance and reorganisations.  Ian Thomson is knowledgeable about a wide ambit of commercial contracts matters, including agency, franchising, distributorship, technology transfer, sponsorship and marketing. Jahid Ali, Oliver Brookshaw and leveraged finance expert Haydon Simmonds departed for Howes Percival LLP. Another move saw Stephen McElhone join BHW Solicitors.

Other key lawyers:Martin Smith; Ian Thomson

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's ranks in Leicester have been bolstered by the return to the firm of Chris Rees (who has 18 years of transactional experience) from Howes Percival LLP. Rees works alongside Davinder Jaspal and associate Ziaur Rahman to assist clients with corporate acquisitions and disposals, mergers and demergers, joint ventures and corporate governance issues. Private equity transactions are another mainstay of the practice. Commercial partner Harpreet Sandhu (whose practice is split between Leicester and Nottingham) is knowledgeable about supply and purchasing agreements, franchise agreements, outsourcing and licensing agreements, among other matters. Allied with practitioners based in Nottingham and Derby, the Leicester group has a notable presence in the East Midlands region.

Practice head(s):Chris Rees

Other key lawyers:Davinder Jaspal; Ziaur Rahman

Key Clients

Prime Life Limited

Nucleus Commercial Finance Limited

Nucleus Property Finance Limited

Ultimate Asset Finance Limited

Nucleus Cash Flow Finance Limited

Nucleus Business Advance Limited

Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited

4Syte Trade Finance Limited

4Syte Structured Finance Limited

4Syte Limited

Roythornes Solicitors' team is led by Martin Jinks, who handles corporate transactions and also advises clients on various commercial issues, with particular expertise in agreements specific to the construction and engineering sector. Elsewhere, Jinks is knowledgeable about outsourcing agreements, IT systems integration and licensing, and large-scale automation projects. Beyond construction and engineering, the team acts for clients across a broad cross-section of sectors, including agriculture, energy and waste, distribution and logistics, and technology. Julia Seary heads up the firm's work in the charities and not-for-profit sector. At associate level, Mike Matthews and Lizzie Walters are recommended.

Practice head(s):Martin Jinks

Other key lawyers:Julia Seary

Key Clients

TGW Logistics Group



Miebach Consulting

MSF Technologies

Beeswax Dyson Farming


S&W Process Engineering

Kent Templar

Vital Recruitment


B. A. Bush & Son Limited

Work highlights

  • Advice on the capital reduction demerger of a farming business.
  • Advice on a joint venture agreement with a company based in the Isle of Man in relation to a renewable energy project.
  • Ongoing advice to the UK subsidiary of TGW Logistics Group on a framework agreement with various multinational companies.
  • Advice on various ongoing building contracts and framework agreements.
  • Advice to client on a share sale, with call option agreements over various other companies.

Sills & Betteridge LLP's growing practice was boosted by the promotion of Euan McLaughlin and James Conduit to the equity in July 2018. Team head Andrew Payne has been a stalwart at the firm since the mid-1970s and is a leading name in the Lincolnshire market. The group also includes Martin Walsh, whose transactional experience includes deals with a nexus to the renewable energy and telecoms sectors, and also matters with cross-border elements. The firm also generates work from clients in industries such as agribusiness, healthcare, gaming machines, energy and retail. It is particularly strong acting for SMEs, as well as national and international businesses with operations in the Midlands. Tax expert Gary Phillips, who has been a partner at the firm since 1991, is another notable practitioner. Ed Capes moved to Fraser Brown in 2018.

Practice head(s):Andrew Payne

Other key lawyers:Martin Walsh; Gary Phillips; James Conduit; Euan McLaughlin

Key Clients

G H Sutton Limited

Omex Agriculture Limited

The Burdens Group

Micronclean Limited

EPS Logistics Technology Limited

Hemswell Estates Limited

Lincolnshire Football Association

Ballet Makers Europe Limited

SHD Composite Materials Limited

Turnbull & Co Limited

Fisher Motor Factors Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised a cleaning services company on the sale of a division of the client's business to a subsidiary of a listed company.
  • Advised The Burdens Group on acquisition of business and assets of Lincolnshire Motors Limited.
  • Advised CM Agriculture on the acquisition of haulage company.
  • Advised the client (a manufacturer and global exporter of high-tech products) on its expansion into the EU and US.
  • Advised a global clothes manufacturer on a restructuring of its EU sales, agency and distribution streams.

Wilkin Chapman LLP has an excellent record of acting for SMEs, as well as owner-managed and family-owned businesses. Ian Sherburn and Russell Eke lead the Grimsby and Lincoln teams respectively, which excel in small and mid-market acquisitions and sales, MBOs/MBIs, corporate reorganisations, commercial contracts matters and refinancing transactions. Michael Squirrell is another key partner in Lincoln. In addition to Sherburn, the Grimsby office also houses senior solicitors Adam Aisthorpe and Adam Ottley.

Practice head(s):Russell Eke (Lincoln); Ian Sherburn (Grimsby)

Other key lawyers:Michael Squirrell

Key Clients

Today’s Wholesale Services Limited

CNG Fuels Limited

YPP Group Limited

Healing Multi Academy Trust

Tollbar Multi Academy Trust

Unitas Wholesale

Work highlights

  • Advised on the £6.5m merger of Today’s Wholesale Services Limited and Landmark Wholesale Limited into Unitas Wholesale Limited.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Freezertech Limited on the sale of the company to Danish company Carsoe A/S.
  • Advised Healing Multi Academy Trust on its acquisition of three academies from LINK Education Trust.
  • Acted for Telappliant on its acquisition of Orbtalk Limited.
  • Advised Peacock & Binnington on its acquisition of Northfield Agricultural Services Limited.

Wilson Browne Solicitors recently acquired Corby firm Friday Legal Solicitors, a move which enhanced its profile in the East Midlands. The development saw partners Douglas Iles and Duncan Crowther and a team of solicitors join the corporate and commercial group. The practice is led by Andrew Kerr, whose wide-ranging advice to clients covers acquisitions and disposals, MBOs, corporate reorganisations and commercial contracts, among other areas. Also highly recommended is associate James Dent. The firm had a strong flow of work in 2018, acting for clients from a number of sectors, including energy, education, media and entertainment, manufacturing and financial technology.

Practice head(s):Andrew Kerr

Other key lawyers:Douglas Iles; Duncan Crowther; James Dent


'The corporate and commercial team at Wilson Browne is going from strength to strength, with Andrew Kerr's development of his team really coming through now'

'Andrew Kerr really understands what makes owner-managers tick and is well- known for giving clear and direct advice on how to handle an issue'

'The team is friendly and approachable'

'Solid team, which has a very good approach to client service - proactive and thorough'

Key Clients

National Education Union

Heygates Limited

Global Processing Services Limited

Eneteq Services Limited

Festo Limited

Phoenix Fragrances Limited

Power Engineering (India) Private Limited

The Gateway Group of Companies Limited

Walkerpack Limited

Oliver James Estate Agents Limited

OCM Wealth Management Limited

Total Computers Networks Limited

Steve Pateman

Work highlights

  • Advised client on electronic payment services agreements with National Westminster Bank, Revolut Limited and BI Worldwide Limited.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Eneteq Services Limited on the sale of the company to the Veolia Group of Companies.
  • Advice to the client on contractual agreements with customers and suppliers.
  • Advised the client on contractual issues arising from a previous sale of a hotel and training facility business.
  • Advised this India-based client on its acquisition of English company Sheaf Power Limited.

Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Rising stars

  1. 1

Browne Jacobson LLP is widely recognised as a market-leading powerhouse for corporate and commercial work, a reputation reflected by its outstanding track record of advising on n high-profile matters. Its diverse client roster includes private equity houses and management teams, international corporates, listed companies and local businesses. Gavin Cummings heads up the firm's private sector practice. Another key figure is Nigel Blackwell, who has expertise in private equity transactions, such as MBOs/MBIs and investor-led buyouts. Mark Hughes is also recommended for his private equity deal experience. The healthcare sector is a notable area of strength of the firm; Oliver Pritchard acts for public, private and third sector healthcare organisations. Recently appointed head of business services Richard Medd specialises in advising public authorities on matters such as incorporations, and constitutional and governance issues. The firm also stands out in the commercial sphere, with its wide-ranging workload including agency and distribution agreements, franchise agreements and consumer protection matters; Paula Dumbill and Selina Hinchliffe are names to note. Victoria Gaskell and Helen Morgan are among the highly regarded associates at the firm.

Practice head(s):Richard Medd (head of business services); Richard Cox (head of corporate)

Other key lawyers:Gavin Cummings; Nigel Blackwell; Mark Hughes; Oliver Pritchard; Richard Medd; Paula Dumbill; Selena Hinchliffe; Victoria Gaskell; Helen Morgan


'Browne Jacobson has some of the most standout practitioners in the market. Gavin Cummings has a very strong reputation and Oliver Pritchard is also really good'

Key Clients

NorthEdge Capital

Palatine Private Equity

Apiary Capital Partners

Addo Food Group Limited

Eurocell Plc

The Salvation Army

The National Trust

GKN Aerospace Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advice to Lloyds Development Capital on a secondary buy-out of Neilson Active Holidays.
  • Advice to Apiary Capital Partners on the secondary buyout of The Appointment Group Limited (TAG).
  • Acted for the shareholders of Manthorpe Building Products Holdings Limited on the £52 million sale of the business to Polypipe Group Plc.
  • Acted for advised the sellers and the management team on the management buyout of Freshcut Foods Limited (Freshcut) and its sister company, Fresh Mediterranean Foods Limited.
  • Advised the management team at Jigsaw24 on its secondary management buyout by Alcuin Capital Partners and PNC Business Credit from NorthEdge Capital.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's Nottingham-based corporate team, which is led by Jon Cox-Brown, has a standout reputation for corporate M&A and private equity transactions of the utmost complexity and significance for clients. It is particularly strong in matters with a nexus to sectors such as education, energy and natural resources, real estate M&A, TMT and diversified industrials. Cox-Brown is recommended for his knowledge about financial services and fintech-related deals. Matthew Hussey and Ian Moore are particularly experienced in technology sector transactions. Elsewhere, the group is a strong performer in capital markets matters, including IPOs and public takeovers. Multijurisdictional mandates form the bulk of the practice's work, and the firm's ability to leverage its international network is a significant value-add. Nick Blane, who heads up the commercial practice, has more than 25 years of experience handling IT, technology and outsourcing projects. Legal director Simon White is another notable individual.

Practice head(s):Jon Cox-Brown (corporate); Nick Blane (commercial)

Other key lawyers:Matthew Hussey; Ian Moore

Key Clients

Experian Plc

Capital One

Lloyds Development Capital

Capita Plc

GCI Telecom Group Limited

Sygnature Discovery Limited

Europa Worldwide Logistics Limited

Buzz Bingo Group Limited

Yusen Logistics

Bionical Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on its acquisition of a 25% interest in London & Country Mortgages, as well as a broader strategic partnership and technology transformation plan.
  • Advised the client on the strategic, multijurisdictional disposal of its commercial marine business.
  • Acted for the management and rolling shareholders of GCI Telecom on Mayfair Equity Partner’s investment into the ICT services provider.
  • Advised the client on its proposed £275m acquisition of the ClearScore Group.
  • Acted for the client on its acquisition of ILG Holdings Limited, a leading provider of fulfilment, warehousing and logistics services

Freeths LLP, whose Nottingham team is part of a large national practice, demonstrates particularly strong capabilities in the healthcare sector, and is notably active in its work for care operators and funders. Elsewhere, it acts for a number of household names in sectors such as retail, food and drink, construction and automotive. National corporate head Karl Jansen has a particular focus on UK mid-market transactions, such as corporate acquisitions and disposals, MBOs/MBIs and private equity investments, John Heaphy, who leads the group in Nottingham, has an excellent record of advising owner-managed companies on deals.

Practice head(s):Karl Jansen (national head); John Heaphy (Nottingham head)


'John Heaphy ensures that we get the right service for the project in hand'

'John Heaphy performs above our expectations'

'The team is open, honest and pragmatic. It explains matters in a clear and concise manner'

'The group is able to take instructions, keep it simple for a layman and give sound advice'

'The firm fields quality staff, from top to bottom'

Key Clients


Aldi Stores Limited

The Spicers-OfficeTeam Group Limited

Motorpoint Group Plc

Travis Perkins Plc

Carlsberg UK Limited

Maria Mallaband Care Group Limited

The Reflex Group Limited

Estee Lauder

LNT Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised client on the acquisition of the Alun Griffiths group of companies, a civil engineering and surfacing business, operating largely in Wales, the Midlands and South West England.
  • Acted for the client in seven acquisition transactions.
  • Acted for the client on investment by Hong Long listed company Road King Investment and Asset Management.
  • Acted for the client on the sale of the Birchwood Price Tools division to Toolstream Ltd, part of Group Silverline.
  • Advised the client on its acquisition of ZenOffice Limited, a provider of business supplies and services.

Equally strong in transactional and commercial contracts matters, Geldards LLP has a sizeable following of domestic and international clients. Team head Debra Martin covers the full spectrum of corporate transactions, and her previous experience of working as a senior in-house counsel at 3i makes her well-placed to advise on private equity deals. Another practitioner with significant corporate finance experience is Peter Seary, who has acted for clients in sectors such as food and drink, pharmacy and manufacturing. Paul Feenan and Jenny Chatten are also recommended. Michelle Craven-Faulkner, who heads up the firm's commercial group, has formerly served as senior in-house counsel at Alstom Transport, and has overseen the growth of the firm's work in the rail sector; clients in this space include rail consultants, prime contractors and OEMs. Elsewhere, the practice marks an uptick in work from IT sector clients. In addition, the firm is particularly well-known for its work in the tennis and football industries, and is also active in other sports; Jamie Goldberg spearheads the sports department.

Practice head(s):Debra Martin; Michelle Craven-Faulkner

Other key lawyers:Peter Seary; Paul Feenan; Jenny Chatten; Jamie Goldberg


'Jamie Goldberg was always prompt with his replies and took time to explain the process'

'Peter Seary delivers what I want. A pragmatic, cost-effective, sensible solution on M&A'

'Geldards is a very efficient firm, and inspires confidence at all times'

Key Clients

ACTA* Holding BV / Kiwa Holdings (UK) Limited

Altius VA Limited

British Business Bank

Camfaud Group Limited

Celebrity Motion Furniture Limited

Concrete Network Limited

Derby County Football Club

Development Bank of Wales PLC

EMB-Group Limited

Event Hosts Limited

Grand Bazaar Group Limited

Hall, David Alan & Elizabeth Mary

Horizon Industries International Limited

Independence Products Limited

Infra Safety Services Labour Limited

Litho Supplies (UK) Limited

Masterdor Limited

Mel Morris

Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited

Pendragon Plc

SALCS Installations Limited

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council (NWLC)

Sherwood Packaging Limited

Sperry Rail (International) Limited

Stadler Rail Management AG

Stadler Rail Services UK Limited

The Irongate Group Limited

Userbrain Limited

Van Oord Offshore Wind UK Limited

VF Services UK Limited / VFS Global Services Plc

Warrington Borough Council

Wrekin Products Limited

XCAM Limited

Xylem Water Solutions UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on the UK aspects of its acquisition of the business and certain assets of MPI Offshore (a specialist offshore wind contractor) from Vroon Group.
  • Acted for Kiwa on its acquisition of Alchem Industries Limited.
  • Advised the shareholders on the sale of their shares in the company.
  • Advised client on the purchase of 3 Vauxhall dealerships in Stockton, Darlington and Stockton on Tees from Sherwoods (Darlington) Limited.
  • Advised this US-based client on its acquisition of a significant stake in Evron Foods Limited.

At Shoosmiths LLP, the scope of the work includes M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructurings and corporate governance advice. In addition to handling domestic deals, cross-border transactions are a cornerstone of the practice, with the firm advising clients on inbound investments into the UK, as well as outbound matters; the firm's membership of the World Services Group and strong connections with law firms worldwide enable it to attract a high volume of cross-border work. In 2018, led by Crispin Bridges Webb, the team advised clients or handled transactions connected with markets such as Denmark, the US, South Korea, Germany and Norway, among various others. The firm acts for a broad base of clients, including UK and overseas-based private equity and venture capital investors, and public and private companies. Webb, who has 30 years of transactional experience, works alongside senior associate Gareth Cook.

Practice head(s):Crispin Bridges Webb

Other key lawyers:Gareth Cook

Key Clients

Tandem Group Plc

United Carpets Plc


SAI Global

Oakfield Capital Partners

Note AB

Octopus Ventures

Addtech Nordic AB

Work highlights

  • Acted for listed Swedish group Addtech Nordic AB on its acquisition of Diamond Point International (Europe) Limited (a manufacturer of embedded computer systems for demanding OEM-applications).
  • Acted for the selling shareholders of Food & Fuel on the disposal of Food and Fuel to The Restaurant Group (TRG).
  • Acted for listed Swedish group Note AB on its acquisition of Speedboard Assembly Services Limited (a manufacturer of electronics and circuit boards for the global market).
  • Advised a Luxembourg-incorporated subsidiary of the client in its disposal of a Luxembourg-registered special purpose vehicle holding an option to acquire the freehold of a prominent and premium commercial real estate asset in central Birmingham, UK.
  • Advised Liberty Brewing on a £3.5m fundraising round led by Oakfield Capital Partners.

Flint Bishop LLP has consolidated its reputation in Derby and surrounding areas, and has also built up key relationships with a significant number of national and international clients. On the corporate side, under the leadership of experienced dealmaker Martyn Brierley, the firm has become a go-to for M&A, joint ventures, MBOs and financing transactions. It has developed a particular niche in the education sector, where it advises large Multi Academy Trusts on academy conversions, second-generation acquisitions of academies and general governance issues; Rachel Bennett is a key contact in this space, and also handles transactions in the IT, telecoms and veterinary sectors. Elsewhere, David Miller and others provide commercial contracts advice, and also assist clients with ancillary issues, such as data protection and intellectual property.

Practice head(s):David Miller (head of commercial); Martyn Brierley (head of corporate and finance)

Key Clients

A1 Comms Limited

Altrad SA (French-owned large international group)

Henry Boot Developments Limited

MPS Care Group Limited

GL Events UK Limited (owned by French parent listed company)

Peveril Securities Limited

The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc

Smith Cooper LLP (accountants)

Charles Pugh (Glass) (member of the national ‘National Windscreens’ franchise)

Linney Group Limited

Vaillant Group Holdings Limited


Donald Ward Limited

Cloud Booking Limited

Derby College

Schmitz Cargobull (UK) Limited

FW Thorpe Plc

Keystone Group

Methodist Homes

Woodhall Spa

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on the sale of Modus Greenacres (Jersey) Limited, a company incorporated in Jersey and the owner of a large retail development in Oldham.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Venture Business Forms Limited on the sale of the business to Hague Print.
  • Advised the sellers of Glenthorne Vets Limited on the sale of the company to Independent Vetcare.
  • Advised the selling shareholder on the MBO of Flamerite Fires Limited
  • Advised Charles Pugh Windscreens Limited on the acquisition of Kwikscreens Limited, a franchisee of the ‘National Windscreens’ franchise.

Gateley Plc's team in Nottingham is part of a larger group in the Midlands, which is among the most active in the region on the deal front. Its reach also extends to national and, increasingly, international transactions, covering 'a broad spectrum of sectors'. Mark Rutherford leads the Nottingham team, which has strong relationships with a wide range of clients, including SMEs, banks and intermediaries, management teams and private equity houses. Rutherford, who is widely recognised in the East Midlands market for his strong track record in dealmaking, works alongside senior associates Victoria Elliott and Beth Mather.

Practice head(s):Mark Rutherford

Other key lawyers:Victoria Elliott; Ben Mather

Key Clients

Troy (UK) Limited

CET Group Holdings Limited

Retail Assist Limited

Digraph Transport Supplies Limited

Bridgeway Consulting Limited

Equip Outdoor Technologies Limited

Bradgate Containers (Holdings) Limited

Stoney Cove Marine Trials Limited

Spirit Health Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the shareholders (management and Palatine Private Equity) of Westleigh Group Limited on the sale of the company to Countryside Properties for £135.4m.
  • Acted for Connection Capital LLP on its acquisition of and investment in Mode Print Solutions Holdings Limited (and its group companies) from David Davis, Michael Davis and Robert Clarke.
  • Advised LDC and the individual shareholders of Dale Erskine Power Solutions Limited on the sale of the company to NVM Private Equity and an MBO team.
  • Advised Maven Capital Partners on its £20m investment in Orlando Topco Limited (an MBO vehicle) to provide funds to acquire UAP Limited
  • Advised Troy (UK) Limited on its acquisition of the business and assets of T.H.S. Tools Limited.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited had an uptick in transactional work in 2018, with the firm acting for clients such as SMEs, listed companies and multinational organisations. Nottingham team head Duncan Taylor and recently promoted partner Alice Rees have expertise in acquisitions and disposals, shareholders’ agreements and secured lending transactions. In the commercial sphere, Harpreet Sandhu and associate Shelley Litchfield advise clients on supply and distribution agreements, collaboration agreements and IP licensing, e-commerce documents and franchising. The corporate group in Derby is led by David Kaplan, whose experience of negotiating complex deals includes those with a cross-border dimension.

Practice head(s):Duncan Taylor (Nottingham team head); David Kaplan (Derby team head)

Other key lawyers:Alice Rees; Michael Lodge; Harpreet Sandhu; Shelley Litchfield


'An approachable team with comprehensive knowledge, which works in an efficient manner'

'All team members respond to questions with clarity and without delay. Alice Rees has excellent knowledge, is approachable and clients feel supported by her'

Key Clients

Badgemaster Limited

Premier Moves Limited

The Fostering Foundation

Ekkosense Limited

iCandy World Limited

Midland Lead Limited

Monarch Acoustics Limited

Navmii Holdings Limited

Nottingham Rugby Limited

Gill Marine Limited

Murphy & Son Limited

Easy Pre-Orders Limited

The Double R

Gas Container Services Limited

PKF Cooper Parry

Power Electronic Measurements

Work highlights

  • Acted for Haines Watts on the purchase of the Nottingham-based Ling Phipp accountancy practice.
  • Advised John Watts/Flamerite Fires Group Limited on the MBO of Flamerite Fires Limited.
  • Acted for Windrush Valley School on its sale to Ingenio Group of Schools.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Easy Pre-Orders Limited on the sale of the company to Bookatable, part of the Michelin Group.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP typically advises on transactions valued at up to £20m, but has an equally strong record on much larger deals. With Duncan James and Ed Wright leading on the corporate and commercial sides of the practice respectively, the firm undertakes mandates for clients in a wide range of sectors, including energy, logistics, life sciences, banking, engineering and manufacturing, and IT services. Roger Harcourt heads up the healthcare sector team. A notable strength of Wright's practice is that his core commercial contracts expertise is complemented by his knowledge about related areas, such as competition, intellectual property, IT and public procurement. Richard Vernon is another name to note. In addition to handling domestic corporate and commercial matters, the firm's overall offering is rounded out by its membership of the global Multilaw network, which enables it to attract cross-border work.

Practice head(s):Duncan James (corporate); Ed Wright (commercial)

Other key lawyers:Roger Harcourt; Richard Vernon

Key Clients

Virgin Trains

HAE Group

Common Wealth Games

Future Health Technologies



IWWS (UK) Limited

Locate Therapeutics

Parcelhub Limited

Foresight Group LLP

Midlands Care Group

Christian Guild

Belmont Healthcare Group

Padgham Care Services

Work highlights

  • Assisted with the sale of Parcelhub and its sister company Mail Workshop to Whistle (UK) for £12m.
  • Advised client on two hotel sales, one conference centre acquisition and a related refinance of the client’s senior debt.
  • Advised the client on an investment into Navitas Limited via the Midlands Engine Investment Fund.
  • Advised the client on its acquisition of Normanby House Care Home for £1.2m.
  • Acted for the client on the £525,000 acquisition of a care home in the Midlands.

At Actons, the main contacts are directors Simon Dakin - 'a safe pair of hands' - and Peter Flowerday, who 'has a deep understanding of his field'. The Nottingham-based firm advises owner-managed businesses and SMEs, for which it undertakes a mix of corporate and commercial work. It also has an active finance practice, and is instructed by banks and other funding providers on transactions.

Practice head(s):Simon Dakin; Peter Flowerday


'Actons always does a good job. It has the breadth of experience to handle our corporate and commercial transactions. We have found them to be as good if not better than some of the larger practices in the area'

'You know absolutely that Simon Dakin has got your back and will work to find the best solution. He is not phased by issues or personalities. Both Simon and Peter Flowerday are happy to break down the issues into plain English and provide the right level of guidance for you to make sure that you can make an informed decision'

'Many clients have very favourable impression of Actons and of Peter Flowerday. As a firm I believe they punch above their weight, and having dealt with larger firms on similar matters, they are certainly able to deliver a comparable service in a much more personal way and significantly more cost effectively'

Key Clients

EIDO Healthcare Limited


QVS Global UK Limited

Shredall (East Midlands) Limited

Prima Solutions Limited

Allied Irish Bank

Yorkshire Bank


Work highlights

  • Acted for a selling shareholder on his sale of the entire issued share capital of a property holding company.
  • Advised a company in the health and leisure sector on the introduction of a new form international distributorship agreement across its global network of distributors.
  • Acted for the executive management team on the sale of a wholesale distributor to a trade buyer.
  • Advised a business - which develops technology for use in the leisure and gaming sector - on setting up a joint venture with two other operators in the industry.
  • Acted for a local accountancy practice on its acquisition of the business of another accountant practice that had gone into administration.

Austin Moore & Partners LLP handles a significant number of large and complex transactions in the Nottingham marketplace, thanks to the reputation of its founding partner, Austin Moore, who has been a specialist in corporate transactions for more than 30 years.  Associate Laura de Banke works with Moore on the firm's most significant deals, and also takes charge of day-to-day transactions, restructuring work and corporate governance matters. Moore's team also includes Louise Firth, whose arrival from Fishers in 2017 has been a catalyst for the growth of the firm's commercial practice. Firth advises on commercial law and intellectual property issues for clients across a wide range of sectors, including technology and energy.

Practice head(s):Austin Moore

Other key lawyers:Louise Firth; Laura de Banke


'Austin Moore has been nothing but competent and a trusted adviser and Louise Firth is cut from the same cloth. The team doesn't simply tell you what you want to hear, but tells it as it is'

'The practitioners at Austin Moore are business-minded lawyers. They look at a problem commercially and give you honest opinions on what they would do, rather than try to create some form of self perpetuating legal argument that would be in their own interest'

'The strength of the team is that it is focused, clear when giving advice and understands the commercial aspects/repercussions of the advice given'

'Austin Moore, Louise Firth and Laura de Banke work well as a team'

Key Clients

JBMI Group

GEV Group

Instarmac Group Plc

AW Lymn The Family Funeral Service Company

Funeral Service Company

Rutland Cycling Bicycle

Distribution and Retailing

Buy My Motorhome

Serif Group

Crown Computing

Accrosoft / Vacancy Filler

Buster + Punch

Agritec Systems

Mornington Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders on the sale of the majority stake in the company to the Better All Round Group.
  • Acted for the shareholders on their disposal of the entire issued share capital of Voice Holdings Limited to the Daisy Group.
  • Acted for the management team on the £5m MBO of Elta Automotive Limited.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Micromix Plant Health Limited on the £5m disposal of the company to French public company Olmix Group.
  • Advised the management team on the sale of Westleigh Partnerships Limited to Countryside Properties Plc for £135m.

Fraser Brown's longstanding presence in Nottingham has enabled it to develop lasting relationships with a broad cross-section of key clients from throughout the East Midlands (many of which operate nationally), including SMEs, entrepreneurs, owner-managed businesses, directors and shareholders. The firm also now has a dedicated offering in Lincoln, having opened an office there in July 2018; in a related development, corporate partner Ed Capes joined the office from Sills & Betteridge LLP in September 2018. In Nottingham, head of corporate law Gavin White, Tom Gray and Peter Abel provide assistance with corporate acquisitions and disposals, private equity transactions, joint ventures and shareholders' agreements, among other matters. In addition to having a sizeable corporate offering in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, the firm has a particularly standout reputation for franchising work and acts for a number of multi-unit and multi-brand franchise clients. The firm was the first in the region to achieve affiliate status with the British Franchise Association. The 'commercially astute and pragmatic' Fiona Boswell heads up the specialist advisory franchise team.

Practice head(s):Gavin White (Head of Corporate Law and Head of Business Services); Fiona Boswell (Head of Franchising and Commercial Services)

Other key lawyers:Tom Gray


'The team is full of experience and nous'

'It has a presence at lots of franchise networking events'

'Fiona Boswell has a confident personality and a fantastic current knowledge within franchising'

Key Clients

Playerlayer/Under Armour

B&J Parr

East Midlands Business Angels

Frank Key Group Limited

Heavenly Desserts

Heritage Healthcare

Mortgage Advice Bureau Limited

Puddle Ducks Limited

Sort Group Limited

200 Degrees Coffee Shops Limited


Wolf Street Food

Work highlights

  • Advice on the roll-out of a franchise network, which included the launch of seven new Wolf street food franchise stores in the UK and resale of one store.
  • Acted for the shareholders of Cadcam Technology Limited and GS (UK) Limited on the sale of those companies to Summa NV.
  • Advice on its investment in Eagle and Lion Limited.
  • Advice to the client on the negotiation of (and award of) the exclusive UK and European licence for the UnderArmour band.
  • Advice on a private equity investment in Expandly.

Smith Partnership's Derby team, which is led by Fraser Cunningham, is active in commercial matters in the sports industry; clients in this space include Derby County Football Club, Burton Albion Football Club, Raleigh and Cherie Pridham Racing Limited. The technology sector is another major area of strength. Elsewhere, the firm's recent corporate work spanned sectors such as rail, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, care and engineering. Associate Mark Wilcock is recommended.

Practice head(s):Fraser Cunningham

Other key lawyers:Mark Wilcock

Key Clients

Interlevin Holdings Limited

Box Limited

Yellow Rail Limited

Almire Holdings Limited

Ascott Transport Limited

Derby County FC

Acorn Care Property Limited

Mather Jamie Limited

Chevin Group Holdings Limited

Cherie Pridham Racing Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the majority shareholders of Highway Resource Solutions Limited on the sale of the company to the subsidiary of a European company.
  • Acted for the client as the buyer on the acquisition of Elizabeth House Rest Home Limited.
  • Acted for the client as the buyer on the acquisition of Firber Engineering Limited.
  • Advised the majority shareholder as the seller in an MBO.
  • Acted for the majority shareholder on the multi-million pound disposal of the company to a Danish buyer.

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