Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby in East Midlands

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP is one of the key corporate firms in the East Midlands market, and its corporate finance team attracts SMEs, large corporates and private equity houses from across the UK and beyond looking for assistance on a range of issues. The Nottingham office is home to a number of specialist partners; Gavin Cummings manages the private equity team and advises on cross-border M&A and buyout transactions, while Richard Cox leads the corporate group, which also includes Nigel Blackwell. The commercial practice, led by Paula Dumbill, works with national and international brands from a number of sectors on commercial agreements, outsourcings and IT procurement mandates.

Practice head(s):

Gavin Cummings; Richard Cox; Paula Dumbill

Other key lawyers:

Nigel Blackwell; Mark Hughes; Selina Hinchcliffe


‘Their understanding of our business and ability to direct us and advise. Doesn’t make you feel like a number, always feel valued.’

‘Excellent customer relationships, tenacity to get job done. Their ability to work as normal in recent months during our sale process. Always approachable and available.’

‘Mark Hughes – an absolute pleasure to work with, really down to earth with an ability to explain / debate legal positions in a clear manner. Unlike many advisors he does not simply flag risks as a means to upsell other services – appreciates that the client often needs to be in a position to take commercial decisions based on probability and potential financial impact.’

Key clients

Pure Gym

Bridge Farm Group

Addo Food Group

Brokerbility Holdings

BCF Equity Partners

CARE Fertility Group

Apiary Capital Partners

SDL Property Services Group

Belvoir Lettings plc

Lloyds Development Capital (LDC)

Greenwood Academies Trust

PZ Cussons Beauty LLP

Crown Prosecution Services

Brunel University

Branston Limited

Mace Limited

University of Hertfordshire

Euro Car Parts

Kings College London

Itelligence Business Solutions

Cloud Technology Solutions

Loughborough University

Work highlights

  • Advised PureGym, the UK’s leading gym operator, on its acquisition of the Fitness World chain based in Denmark.
  • Acted for the selling shareholders, management team and private equity house LDC on the sale of Addo Food Group (Holdings) Ltd to French private equity house PAI Partners.
  • Provided full commercial and TUPE support to Greenwood Academies Trust on getting set up with clients in both the private and public sides of education.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

As part of the firm's international network, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP Nottingham office is uniquely placed in the East Midlands to advise on cross-border M&A and other multijurisdictional corporate transactions. The group is instructed by national companies from a number of industry sectors, and also works with mid-market private equity houses to advise on transactions in numerous jurisdictions. Jon Cox-Brown leads the team and advises on acquisitions and disposals in the fintech and software sectors, while principal associate Matthew Hussey focuses on working with local technology and life science businesses. Ian Moore departed to Taylor Wessing LLP in September 2020.

Practice head(s):

Jon Cox-Brown

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Hussey

Key clients

Experian plc

Capital One

Capita plc

Sygnature Discovery Limited

Buzz Bingo

ENSEK Limited

TAAL Distributed Information Technologies

Acacium Group

Lloyds Development Capital


Work highlights

  • Advising FLEETCOR Technologies Inc, a leading global business payments company, on its acquisition of Associated Foreign Exchange.
  • Advising G4S plc, a world leading integrated security company, on the corporate reorganisation of its global cash businesses.
  • Advised the sellers of  Prepaid Financial Services on its sale to Australian listed EML Payments Limited.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP's corporate finance team is a local market leader, and works with clients ranging from owner-managed businesses to multinational companies on M&A, restructuring, private equity and commercial contract issues. John Heaphy leads the team in Nottingham; in 2020 Heaphy collaborated with the real estate team to assist EG Group Limited with its leasehold acquisition of 146 KFC outlets and one Pizza Hut restaurant. Karl Jansen became national managing partner in 2020.

Practice head(s):

John Heaphy

Other key lawyers:

Karl Jensen; Mallory Coxe


‘A team that genuinely listens to the client’s requirements and adapts their style and approach accordingly. However, they are not scared of giving an informed opinion on how to approach a certain issue – no matter how unpopular that might be.’

‘A deep understanding of the client and how they best operate.’

Key clients

Travis Perkins Plc

EG Group Limited

The shareholders of iBlocks Limited

Prime Print Group Limited

IFP Group

The shareholders of Nottingham Scientific Limited

BIMG Limited

BMI Healthcare

Work highlights

  • Advised Euro Garages Limited on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Scotco (Central) Limited and Scotco (Northern) Limited.
  • Advised on the sale of the entire issued share capital of iBlocks Limited to Tracsis Plc.
  • Advised Prime Print Group Limited on the merger of Precision Printing Co. Limited, ProCo Group Limited, Prime Print Group Limited and Climb Creative Limited.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP‘s Nottingham office attracts an impressive array of clients, including local companies, national and international businesses and venture capital funds. The team focuses on corporate issues and is led by the ‘commercial and practical’ Crispin Bridges Webb; he is frequently instructed on cross-border transactions with notable expertise in M&A, joint ventures, restructurings and corporate governance issues. Principal associate Gareth Cook departed the firm in February 2021 to take up an in-house position.

Practice head(s):

Crispin Bridges Webb


‘Collaborative, joined up team across various disciplines. Very experienced and commercial.’

‘Crispin Bridges Webb – excellent lawyer, very engaged, commercial and practical. Sensible suggestions.’

Key clients

Jensten Group

Blue Horizon Ventures



Map Group


Boots UK

Tandem Group PLC

Forklift Truck Association

L. Possehl GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advising Jensten Group on a series of acquisitions in the insurance broking sector.
  • Advising Livingbridge and other shareholders on the sale of The Up Group Limited and subsequent reinvestment/rollover by management into equity of the buyer, Alexander Mann Solutions.
  • Acted for Map Group on its acquisition of USL Group.

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP in Debry advises owner-managed businesses,  SMEs and PLCs on complex commercial agreements, M&A transactions and data protection issues. The education sector is one of the firm's niches, where it works with multi-academy trusts on academy conversions and transfers. Martyn Brierley leads the corporate group, which has expertise in advising businesses on disposals and joint venture agreements, and working with institutional banks on lending facilities. The commercial practice is led by David Miller, who assists companies in the IT sector with procurement and software supply agreements.

Practice head(s):

Martyn Brierley; David Miller

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Bennett; William Bowler; Saima Shabir


‘Very competitive fee rates, good use of technology to simplify matter management.’

‘Head of department Martyn Brierley is brilliant, straight talking and humble, very hard working.’

‘We found the whole process collaborative and manageable with good clear guidance from Martyn and Will. Nothing was to much trouble, we were informed of all changes and any requests for information. We would not have achieved the deadlines without their input and guidance. Great team effort.’

‘Great team led by Martyn. Proactive commercial advice always delivered in a timely manner.’

‘Martyn – very commercial, understands what our priorities are and advises based on them.’

‘The practice is big enough to have specialism across all the areas that you need as a business or individual, however they offer support in a way that feels like a personal, family style business. This means that the advice is bespoke and turned around quickly. Flints have been able to negotiate the Covid-19 pandemic very well, ensuring that support has not wavered during the pandemic via utilising online resources, document sharing and virtual meetings. I have personally found Flints to be much more responsive, quick to action work and have offered great advice with everything we have needed over the past few years. They are a very professional firm.’

We have worked this year primarily with Saima, who is an Associate at the firm. She has been incredibly helpful in working with us to sign a long and complex contract for the provision of our products, resulting in the biggest contract in our company’s history. Saima was pivotal to the negotiations, helping us adjust the contract to give us more cover legally. It wouldn’t have been possible without her help.’

Saima is very easy to work with, and has a knack of being able to explain legal jargon in a way that is easily understood so that negotiations can move forward quickly. She has also helped us to implement improvements to our commercial documents across the business. We would recommend working with Saima, and look forward to working with her ourselves in the future. David Miller also helped us with some parts of this process too whilst Saima was away for a few days. We have worked with David for many years and he also has always been extremely helpful and professional. He is always available for a quick chat about anything you need which is a great help. We would recommend working with David Miller.’

Key clients

A1 Comms Limited

Altrad SA

Bowmer and Kirkland Limited

Henry Boot Developments Limited

Donald Ward Limited

GL Events UK Limited

Peveril Securities Limited

The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Smith Cooper LLP

Charles Pugh (Glass)

Work highlights

  • Advising Virginia Hallam on the sale of Halborns Limited to private equity backed buyer, AdviserPlus.
  • Advising on the sale of the compaction division of Donald Ward to Biffa plc.
  • Advised the purchaser on the acquisition of the business and assets of Ty Nant Water and certain related investment properties.

Gateley Plc

Led by Mark Rutherford, Gateley Plc is well regarded in the market for its expertise in advising private equity clients on management buy outs and investment transactions. In addition, the group works with SMEs, corporates and entrepreneurs on a variety of corporate issues. Other names to note include Victoria Elliott and Beth Mather.

Practice head(s):

Mark Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Elliott; Beth Mather

Geldards LLP

Geldards LLP advises clients from the motor, retail, food and drink, and healthcare sectors on M&A and restructuring issues. In addition, the firm has a longstanding reputation in the market for its work with public sector clients; in 2020, the team advised Warrington Borough Council on the acquisition of two solar farms. Jamie Goldberg leads the commercial and sports departments and combines both specialisms to advise athletes on sponsorship agreements and image rights licences. The corporate team is led by Debra Martin, who focuses on private equity transactions. Michelle Craven-Faulkner departed to Shoosmiths LLP in December 2020.

Practice head(s):

Debra Martin; Jamie Goldberg

Other key lawyers:

Paul Feenan; Jenny Chatten; Peter Seary; Joel Murphie


‘Just a well organised and professional service.’

‘I think Jamie Goldberg offers very sensible and realistic advice. He balances the need for sound and thorough legal knowledge with a complete understanding of the real world context in which the legal advice is required.’

‘A well structured consultative/questionnaire approach to determine our exact needs in selling a diverse variety of services, ensuring that the contracts and legal documents prepared were fit for purpose.’

‘I have previous personal knowledge of Geldards and required advice on what I believe is considered something of a growing but niche area – Franchise law. Geldards were well recommended and appeared to have professional and knowledgeable people who were able to advise me at the level of detail I required. Always available or at least prompt in returning calls and answering queries therefore very easy to do business with. I believe that if you make doing business with a firm easy, viable and even enjoyable at times then “my people will want to do business with your people”.’

‘I have been advised by Joel Murphie on an end of franchise agreement contract which has been challenging to say the least. Joel has an extensive knowledge of this subject and has been extremely thorough in challenging and mediating a settlement.’

‘Jamie Goldberg is excellent at his job. He really takes the time to understand the details and the subtleties of the issues/opportunities we are dealing with. He always gives me his advice which isn’t always common place and it feels like he genuinely cares about helping us.’

Key clients

Kiwa Group

The Majority Shareholders of Xenogesis

Shareholders of Agilitas Holdings Limited

Shareholders of Alerter Group Limited

The shareholders of Mainstay Group Limited

Effective Energy Group Ltd

Shareholders of DSL Systems Limited

BAMA Companies Inc

Shareholders of Henry Hulley Holdings Limited

Shareholders of Hydro Mechanical Services Limited

AXS Europe Limited

Formidable Media Limited

Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply

Right Legal Group Limited

WH Security


Toyota Tsusho

Warrington Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advised on the sale of Smart Hosted Solutions Ltd (VIA), a Nottingham based company, to communications company Wavenet.
  • Advised NVM Private Equity Limited on the secondary buyout of Agilitas Holdings.
  • Advised Warrington Borough Council in connection with the acquisition of two solar farms in Hull and York.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

With a presence in both Nottingham and Derby, Nelsons Solicitors Limited, which primarily focuses on corporate issues, advises a mix of owner-managed businesses, SMEs, PLCs and multi-national conglomerates. Duncan Taylor and David Kaplan lead the Nottingham and Derby teams respectively; both work extensively with shareholders on share sales and management buyouts. Harpreet Sandhu focuses on commercial work in the technology sector, including software development agreements, outsourcings and franchising issues. Davinder Jaspal departed in October 2020.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Taylor; David Kaplan; Harpreet Sandhu

Other key lawyers:

Alice Rees


‘The practice has great strengths in areas relevant to business and real estate, where the corporate, commercial property and litigation teams integrate well.’

‘David Kaplan demonstrates considerable strategic thinking and gets to grips with the salient matters in a transaction.’

‘We have been able to rely heavily and with complete confidence in Duncan Taylor and his colleague Alice Rees. Throughout all our dealings, Duncan Taylor and Alice Rees are clearly supported by an excellent, competent, efficient, charming and approachable and diverse team of fantastic people.’

‘ Duncan Taylor is clearly an expert in his field. He has an unapparelled breadth of knowledge and wide experience of his specialised fields of Company law, disposals, acquisitions, corporate finance, banking and finance. Duncan Taylor has a well deserved reputation and is highly respected throughout the region’s professional sector. He is always completely calm, relaxed ,supportive and approachable throughout any transaction no matter how lengthy and/or complex including difficult international deals and he constantly has this amazing ability to keep his clients calm, relaxed and confident while he just simply irons out any bumps in the road and delivers a successful outcome. Alice Rees works alongside Duncan Taylor and is a truly wonderful person to deal with. She is clearly an expert in all things connected with Company Law, sales ,acquisitions, banking and corporate finance.’

Key clients

Badgemaster Limited

Ekkosense Limited

Cornshire Limited

Chromalloy Gas Turbine LLC

MHK Group AG

iCandy World Limited

Midland Lead Limited

Monarch Acoustics Limited

Navmii Holdings Limited

Nottingham Rugby Limited

Murphy & Son Limited

The Double R

Gas Container Services Limited

Cooper Parry

Power Electronic Measurements

Prime Life Limited

Rushcliffe Care Limited

HUUB Limited

Sea Shell Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the selling shareholder of the entire issued share capital of Contract Furniture Group Limited to Accentuate Group Ltd.
  • Advised the sellers on the sale of insurance and retail broker HTC Associates to London based Jensten Group.
  • Advised the outgoing shareholders on the sale of their respective shareholdings in Mainline (1982) Limited to AER Rents Limited.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP takes a 'personal approach' to advising its clients, which range from entrepreneurs and start-ups to charities and large businesses. The corporate practice has specialisms in the logistics, life science and healthcare sectors, and is led by Duncan James, who has a particular expertise in advising family-run businesses. Edward Wright leads the commercial and IP team, which assists with technology transfer agreements, licensing work, franchise agreements and competition issues. Roger Harcourt manages the specialist healthcare industry group.

Practice head(s):

Duncan James; Edward Wright

Other key lawyers:

Roger Harcourt; Richard Vernon


‘Shakespeare’s are a big family, but with a personal approach. The team are proactive. Have strong attention detail, but do not forget the big picture.’

‘Roger Harcourt is commercial, bright and very personable. He has the ability to foresee problems which is a big positive.’

‘They are always very willing to listen and give support. They act on things promptly.’

‘Genuine involvement and ability to truly listen to what you want and delivers this exceptionally well.’

‘SM are the go to firm in Nottingham. The Team are well established, respected and commercial. Their M&A Team are the stand out department and the best to interact with.’

‘Brilliantly led by Duncan James; really knows how to protect and deliver the right result for the client. All the Team are first class and build masses of rapport. Exceptionally good at making introductions and working collaboratively.’

‘Excellent communication amongst the team and very good transparent advice.’

‘Roger Harcourt is an outstanding partner and always available when needed. Has been involved in commercial conversations with large multi-nationals and steered us well as a young company.’

Key clients


Allied Irish Bank

Lloyds Bank


Future Health

Tympa Health Technologies

Quadralene Holdings Limited

Replay Maintenance Limited

University of Nottingham

Incus Performance Limited

Nemaura Medical Inc./Dermal Diagnostics Limited

Spirit Healthcare Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Supported Q Doctor with securing a £1.5m investment round.
  • Advised the sellers in connection with the sale of the entire issued share capital of Quadralene Holdings Limited to Getinge, a global medical technology company.
  • Advised the University of Nottingham on an appropriate template IP licence agreement for the planned rollout of the its Ingenuity Programme.


Actons primarily focuses on the SME and owner-managed business market, advising on the sale and acquisition of share capital, equity fund raisings and commercial agreements. Firm chairman Simon Dakin and practice head Peter Flowerday are active in the space; both have substantial experience in the healthcare sector.

Practice head(s):

Peter Flowerday

Other key lawyers:

Simon Dakin


‘Actons have a long history as an independent firm in Nottingham, yet they possess much of the expertise and experience which would be expected from a larger regional firm.’

‘My main contact, Simon Dakin, has a huge wealth of knowledge. He also knows how to interpret my requirements and apply a “real world” approach to what could be a very black and white scenario. He understands which areas of the discussion and process are less important and can be flexible and which are critical and should be rigid.’

‘Peter Flowerday (Partner of Corporate and Commercial) is very approachable and has excellent technical knowledge. He takes the time to understand the client and their issues in detail and delivers advice in a clear and concise manner.’

‘Actons are an outstanding team with very capable corporate lawyers who always go the extra mile to make sure that the client’s needs are satisfied, whilst taking a commercial view on the task at hand. Pragmatic, responsive and very easy to work with.’

‘Simon Dakin & Peter Flowerday – both exceptional corporate lawyers who are highly communicative, proactive and results driven. They both have an ability to “peer through the clouds” and agree exactly what needs to be done.’

‘Peter Flowerday – great knowledge and ability to hold a complex contract in mind that has taken two years of deliberations by other parties.’

‘I have been a client of Actons for nearly 20 years. Having used various partners for different requirements and its good to have all our requirements catered for without having to use multiple sets of lawyers.’

Key clients

EIDO Healthcare Ltd

Prima Solutions Ltd

The Waddington Family

Bruton Knowles LLP

Zeel Solutions Ltd

Peter Cook Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised the Waddington family on the sale of the share capital of P Waddington Ltd.
  • Advised Bruton Knowles LLP on the acquisition of the share capital of John Amos & Co Ltd.
  • Advised Peter Cook Ltd on the sale of the share capital of its home care division, Mediline Home Care Ltd, to Premier Care Ltd.

Austin Moore & Partners LLP

Corporate transactions are an area of focus for East Midlands boutique Austin Moore & Partners LLP, and the group assists with investment rounds, share sales and management buyouts under the leadership of founding partner Austin Moore. Laura de Banke, who was promoted to partner in October 2020, specialises in M&A transactions while also advising on corporate governance and restructuring issues.

Practice head(s):

Austin Moore

Other key lawyers:

Laura de Banke


‘Austin and the team at Austin Moore & Partners are approachable, flexible and knowledgeable. We have used their services on a number of transactions. We aren’t a large organisation and don’t have in-house legal expertise, so knowing that we have legal expertise as and when required, and at a reasonable price, is extremely valuable.’

‘Austin always makes time for his clients, explains complex matters in understandable ways, and provides solutions with quotations proportionate to the work involved.’

Key clients

GEV Holdings Limited

Rutland Cycling 2013 Limited

Mornington Partners Limited

Instarmac Group plc

Pharmaseal International Limited

North West Precision Limited

MA Group Limited

W J Brown Limited

Buster + Punch Holdings Limited

JBMI Group Limited

Rush Hair Limited

Product Web Limited

Elmhurst Energy Systems Limited

Dunelm Group plc

Mechatronic Production Systems Limited

Shacklocks Plumbing and Heating Contractors Limited

Accrosoft Limited

Geomant UK Limited

Hello Telecom Limited

Town & Country Purpose-Made Joinery Limited

CEMA Group

A W Lymn The Family Funeral Service

Clifton Packaging Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Buster + Punch Holdings Limited on a series B investment from Mobeus Equity Partners.
  • Advised shareholders of Starpoint Holdings Limited (Elmhurst Energy Group) on the sale of its entire issued share capital to the Phenna Group.

Smith Partnership

Led by Fraser Cunningham, Smith Partnership advises on a range of M&A transactions with particular recent activity in the pharmaceuticals, recruitment and petroleum sectors. The group also has longstanding expertise in the sports industry, having advised key local clients such as Derby County FC, as well as the rail sector, where the team assists with commercial contracts.

Practice head(s):

Fraser Cunningham


‘Partner lead service from an experienced team in dealing with privately owned businesses.’

‘Always available, knowledgeable and solution focused. Easy to work with and genuinely nice people.’

‘The team is cohesive. They are clear in their direction and say it how it is – invaluable from a client perspective, to know where you stand, quickly.’

‘Fraser Cunningham is the Partner I and my clients deal with. He is brilliant in getting things done. He communicates well and is readily available for questions. I always recommend Fraser to our clients, and my friends – you can’t say much more than that really!’

‘I‘ve always found the people I deal with at Smiths to be prepared to listen, understand the needs of my clients, and propose pragmatic and sensible solutions which are always delivered on time, professionally and at a fair cost.’

‘The corporate team at Smith Partnership are a ‘hidden gem’ in Derby and the East Midlands. I have worked with them on a number of transactions in the last decade and value their pragmatic and wise counsel.’

Key clients

Derby County FC

Ascott Transport Limited

Recruitment Investments Limited

Yellow Rail

Box Limited

Comex 2000 (UK) Limited

Champions (UK) PLC

Spirit Medical Limited

J. J. Churchill Limited

Axillium Consulting Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised JSA Architects on a management buy out.
  • Advised Recruitment Investments Limited on the acquisition of Champion Employment Limited.
  • Advised Silver X Group Limited on the acquisition of Bow Distribution.