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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 > Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the East Midlands > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

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

Testimonials

'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

Testimonials

'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

Gambling.com 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 Gambling.com Group Plc with the acquisition of assets from an English company, including websites Booking.com, Bookmakers.co.uk and Footballscores.com 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

Testimonials

'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

NatWest

Handelsbanken

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

Testimonials

'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

ParentMail

Point74

Miebach Consulting

MSF Technologies

Beeswax Dyson Farming

Frontier

S&W Process Engineering

Kent Templar

Vital Recruitment

Baytree

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

Testimonials

'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.

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