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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 > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Commercial property: Elsewhere in the East Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in the East Midlands
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Gateley Plc's practice has become synonymous with advising developers on large, flagship regional and national development projects, under the leadership of practice head Simon Taylor. Its work covers a wide range of developments, including those involving residential, hotel, industrial, retail and student schemes. Town centre regeneration projects are another strong suit, with Taylor being a noted name in this area. The firm's credentials in the development space have been further enhanced by the hire of construction partner Piet van Gelder from Spearing Waite LLP. Colin Gittus assists clients with property finance, quality asset management and letting work, and property-related support in corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):Simon Taylor

Other key lawyers:Colin Gittus

Key Clients

Clowes Developments (UK) Limited

Simons Developments Limited

Barberry Developments Limited

Concierge 3 Limited

Southampton City Council

Certas Energy UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Clowes Developments on pre-letting, construction and forward funding sale of Units 2 & 3 Capacity Dartford to M&G and Standard Life.
  • Advised Simons Developments on a joint venture with Salhia Investments in relation to a strategic development site at Lolworth near Cambridge for a new business park.
  • Acted for Barberry Developments on the sale and development of approximately 800 student rooms in Bishopsgate Coventry.
  • Acted for Concierge 3 on the development, pre-letting and funding of a 620-room hotel complex at phase 3 North Wharf Gardens and major pre-lets to Staycity and Premier Inn.

Hewitsons provides full-service support on all aspects of commercial property work, and while its strong profile in the Northampton market sees it attract mandates from boot and shoe manufacturers, the firm also has notable specialisms in the motor dealer, healthcare and education arenas. Work for public sector clients is another pillar of the practice. Team head David Wells has vast experience of investment acquisitions and sales (particularly in the office and light industrial sectors), and also commercial landlord and tenant matters. Marc Carter is recommended for his commercial property development expertise. Other standout individuals include Patricia Kempson and legal director Claire Howard-Amos.

Practice head(s):David Wells

Other key lawyers:Marc Carter; Patricia Kempson; Claire Howard-Amos


'Able to understand the key issues and practical concerns.'

Key Clients

Mansfield College, Oxford

United Learning Group

The Trustees of the Wilson Foundation (Charity)

IMT Aviation Limited

Lightdoor Limited

Cheaney Shoes Limited

Medigold Health Consultancy Limited

Bedford College (FE)

Ardent Hire Solutions

A W James

Levitt Bernstein Associates Limited

Wimbledon Property Holdings Ltd /Marchmont Investment Management Limited

Bright Horizons Family Solutions Limited

XPO Transport Solutions UK Limited

Community Spaces Northampton (charity)

Work highlights

  • Acted for United Church Schools Foundation on the acquisition of two independent schools, one in Hertfordshire and one in Surrey.
  • Assisted the Wilson Foundation with acquiring a residential outdoor centre for school children from a local authority.
  • Acted on a significant pre-letting agreement whereby AW James Limited, a major property company in the Milton Keynes area, contracted with a wholly owned subsidiary of Regus, in respect of over 47,000 square feet of office accommodation, backed by a multimillion-pound guarantee from the Regus parent company.
  • Advised on a significant pre-letting agreement whereby AW James Limited, a major property company in the Milton Keynes area, contracted to let nearly 20,000 square feet of office premises to Shoosmiths solicitors.
  • Advised Levitt Bernstein Associates on the leasehold acquisition of 11,000 square feet of newly redeveloped professional office accommodation in north London.

Howes Percival LLP's East Midlands practice is spearheaded in Northampton and Leicester by Lucy Lord and the 'ultra-commercial' Nicholas James respectively. It handles a varied workload, including investment fund acquisitions and disposals, residential and commercial development, property finance (including portfolio lending and refinancing), and landlord and tenant work. In addition to James, Stuart Burns is another key partner in Leicester. Alexandra Kirkwood and Erica Gradus are highly regarded associates in Northampton.

Practice head(s):Lucy Lord (Northampton); Nicholas James (Leicester)

Other key lawyers:Stuart Burns; Alexandra Kirkwood; Erica Gradus


'Howes Percival is excellent at covering all the aspects of work undertaken by an investment and development property company. Complex lettings, land transactions and acquisitions are handled with great skill and practicality'

'Nicholas James is ultra-commercial and Stuart Burns is superb at detail'

Key Clients

Mulberry Property Developments Limited

Mulberry Commercial Developments Limited

Handelsbanken plc

Santander UK plc

HSBC UK Bank plc

C Brewer & Sons Limited

Motorvogue (Northampton) Limited

Davidsons Developments Limited

Charles Street Buildings Group

Henderson UK Property Fund

Persimmon Homes Limited

Welcome Break Group Limited

In ‘n’ Out Centres Limited

Grenson Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Mulberry Property Developments on the estate set up and subsequent plot sales for eight of the client’s residential developments in the Midlands.
  • Acted for Mulberry Commercial Developments as the buyer of a commercial development site in Bedford, acquired by way of sub-sale, for £5m.
  • Acted for developer landlord Mulberry Commercial Developments on the grant of a development agreement for lease and lease in respect of a 3.5 acre site housing a 60,000 sq ft commercial building with associated office space.
  • Acted for a lender on the finance of a scheme for the redevelopment of a town centre conservation area in a prominent market town in Northamptonshire which included the conversion of listed buildings and the development of new residential, commercial and retail units.
  • Acted for a shoe manufacturer on the ten-year letting of a retail unit in a premier retail arcade in Central London.

Knights PLC's acquisition of Spearing Waite LLP in 2018 saw it pick up the firm's commercial property team, which is led by Tom Bower. The group covers commercial and residential property matters throughout England and Wales. In the development space, it excels in work involving large retail, care home, office, warehouse and residential development schemes. On the investment side, it also demonstrates strong capabilities in office and retail portfolio acquisitions and disposals, and provides ongoing support on portfolio management and restructuring (Satpaul Dard specialises in portfolio management in the retail sector). Real estate finance and dispute resolution are also cornerstones of the practice. Former partner Erin Vickers left to join Fraser Brown after five years at the firm.

Practice head(s):Tom Bower

Other key lawyers:Satpaul Dard

Shakespeare Martineau LLP has a particularly strong track record in residential development and promotion, where it acts for strategic land promoters, housebuilders and PRS providers, among others; practice head Louise Ingram and legal director Ian Slinger specialise in this area, advising on strategic acquisitions and disposals of land nationally. The firm also has a first-rate reputation in the commercial development sphere, where its work covers retail, leisure, warehouse, office and industrial developments; Martin Jones is a name to note in this area. Elsewhere, Kate Hall has many years of experience of secured lending transactions and insolvency-related property work. Portfolio management (for SMEs and family businesses) is another area of strength of the firm. Kevin Sumner is another key figure.

Practice head(s):Louise Ingram

Other key lawyers:Martin Jones; Kate Hall; Kevin Sumner; Ian Slinger; Jonathan Fear

Key Clients

Persimmon Homes

Parkers of Leicester Limited

Parker Strategic Land Limited

Raynesway Estates

Drummond Estate

Everards Brewery

Countryside Plc/Westleigh Partnerships

David Wilson Homes Limited

Winvic Construction

Avant Homes Limited

Mattioli Woods Plc (and their pension schemes)

CJC Development Company Limited

Royal Bank of Scotland Plc

Lloyds Bank Plc

Whitworth Brothers and Whitworths Holdings Limited

CODE Students Limited

Archaylen Property Limited

Leicester Cathedral

Pick Everard

Artisan Press Holdings Limited

Godwin Group

NIS Signs Leicester Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Drummond Trust on the next phase of residential land sales at New Lubbesthorpe, valued in the region of £40m.
  • Acted for The Hunny Pot Day Nursery on its £800,000 acquisition of a redevelopment site.
  • Advising on the acquisition and development arm of national contractor Winvic Construction Limited on the acquisition, construction and development of an out-of-town site adjacent to the A14/A1 junction in Cambridgeshire.
  • Advised Godwin Developments on the speculative acquisition of an out-of-town site in Rutland with development potential to create a modern multi-let roadside retail park adjacent to the A1.
  • Acting for two private landowners as part of a collaboration of six private landowners in selling land for a residential development of 450 houses to BDW Trading Limited.

Wilkin Chapman LLP, which acts for regional and national clients, is particularly noted for its strengths in the housing and development space, where it undertakes a significant amount of work for developers; Rachael Perry is the lead adviser to Galliford Try, one of the firm's largest clients. In addition, the firm also has a sizeable social housing client base. Led by practice head Ruth Brewin, the team also has a strong profile in commercial property matters with a nexus to the energy and renewables, education and academies, and tourism and leisure industries. Peter Hanson and Jonty Pearson are other key figures in Lincoln. Long-serving partner Martyn Chilvers retired during 2018, while Wendy Spalding-Siracusa, whose practice is split between Grimsby and Lincoln, came on board from Sills & Betteridge LLP.

Practice head(s):Ruth Brewin (Grimsby)

Other key lawyers:Peter Hanson; Rachael Perry; Wendy Spalding-Siracusa; Jonty Pearson


'The firm has great strength in depth and a good team ethos'

'Peter Hanson is very experienced and knowledgeable, and is supported by a diligent team'

'The team's strengths are its insightfulness, dogged determination and ability to work to tight deadlines in a transaction'

'The team is very down-to-earth'

'The firm strikes a good balance between modern efficiency and a personal approach to client contact/relations'

'Ruth Brewin is not only an outstanding property solicitor, but also has great interpersonal skills and is a pleasure to work with. She also has good common sense and offers practical advice, which is always based on legal necessities. Her negotiation skills are excellent and she always seems to remain calm when under pressure'

Key Clients

Linden Homes/Galliford Try Group

Cyden Homes Limited

LACE Housing Association

Aga Rangemaster Group Plc

The Brocklesby Estate/Earl of Yarborough

Acis Group Limited

M F Strawson

Ashover Estates Limited

Lincoln Corn Exchange Markets (1991) Limited/ Lincolnshire Co-operative Limited

Castle Square Developments

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lincolnshire Co-operative on the letting of retail premises in Lincoln city centre to Lakeland, part of a flagship city centre redevelopment scheme.
  • Acted for a landowner on the negotiation and exchange of conditional agreement of residential development land with a national housebuilder.
  • Acted for a developer on the refinance of a landmark luxury residential development in the centre of the historical quarter of Lincoln.
  • Acted for Leverton Farms on the sale of land in a village near Lincoln to a national housebuilder.
  • Acting for a landlord developer on the development agreement for lease and lease to the Botanist (a national bar/restaurant operator), which is taking a 9,000 square foot unit in the next phase of the £70m redevelopment of part of Lincoln town centre.

The growth of BHW Solicitors' practice has been reflected by an uptick in the firm's secured lending work for institutional lenders and peer-to-peer lending platforms; in a related development, secured lending specialist Kate Burlinson joined as an associate solicitor from Spearing Waite LLP. Development-related work is another core part of the practice; Ian Sanders heads up this part of the offering, and advises developers on all aspects of development projects across the UK. Lucy Ward, who (like Burlinson) has joined from Spearing Waite LLP, leads a new specialist plot sales team, which acts for developers and housebuilders. The firm also acts for plot purchasers in relation to new build developments. Elsewhere, Beverley Merrell heads up a group,which advises pension schemes on property-related matters. The firm also assists investors with portfolio transactions (office blocks, business parks and warehouse premises), and acts for clients in matters connected with sectors such as retail and leisure, and storage/distribution. Recently promoted partner Eleanor Rattay is another name to note.

Practice head(s):Beverley Merrell; Ian Sanders; Eleanor Rattay

Other key lawyers:Kate Burlinson; Lucy Ward


'Excellent communication, really understanding of clients and their needs, quick and professional service, good advice'

'Beverley Merrell is an excellent lawyer and very personable'

Key Clients

Mattioli Woods Plc

Morningside Holdings Limited

Obstrat Limited

Fischer Future Heat UK Limited

Next Holdings Limited

DHL Parcel UK Limited

T-Systems Limited

Lavendon Group Plc

Natwest Bank Plc

Svenska Handelsbanken Plc

HSBC Bank Plc

BPX Group


Folk 2 Folk

Staircraft Limited

Bamfords Trust Plc

Marks Electrical Limited

Alijyso Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised Euranglo Cardiff Limited on the surrender back from a substantial tenant of a number of floors in Southgate House, a flagship office building in Cardiff City Centre.
  • Became a professional partner of Folk2Folk in February 2018.
  • Advised MoneyThing on substantial loans secured against UK real estate, some of which related to significant redevelopment projects in Liverpool city centre.
  • Advised T-Systems Limited on a lease of new and redeveloped top floor offices in central London as part of T-Systems’ relocation from Euston Tower.
  • Assisted Garben Holdings with its disposal of bars and pubs across the East Midlands.

Freeths LLP covers the commercial property market extensively, by leveraging the expertise of its Leicester team, and also its wider national network. Its excellent reputation has seen it secure Leicester's Phoenix Arts Centre and Abbey Commercial Investments Group as new clients. Although the group in Leicester primarily focuses on high-value and complex transactions, it also handles development work, landlord and tenant matters, and real estate finance transactions, among other areas. Team head Simon Abbott specialises in investment portfolio management and work with a nexus to the retail sector. Also recommended is Sam Pancholi, who has more than 18 years of commercial property experience. Director Harjit Saund is the lead relationship manager to clients such as Tarmac and Flogas Britain.

Practice head(s):Simon Abbott

Other key lawyers:Sam Panchioli; Harjit Saund


'Professional in its work and very efficient'

Key Clients


Flogas Britain

Svenska Handlesbanken


Motor Parts Direct Limited

Cambridge & Counties Bank

Abbey Commercial Investments Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for H W Coates Limited on the sale of an investment property for £5.1m.
  • Acted for HD Property Developments Limited on the sale of an investment property for £5m.
  • Acted for AMK Peterborough Fruit Services Ltd on the purchase of land and associated development agreement, with a value of £26m.

Peter Horner leads Langleys Solicitors LLP's practice, which is sought-out for advice on mixed-use development projects in the East Midlands, East Anglia and Greater London. In addition to acting for developers, the firm also generates a strong flow of work from investors and landowners as well. Beyond development work, landlord and tenant matters, and portfolio transactions, are among other drivers of mandates.

Practice head(s):Peter Horner

Key Clients

University of Lincoln

Melbourne Holdings Limited

Lincoln College

Specialist Heat Exchangers Limited

Jackson & Jackson Developments Limited

Thonock & Somerby Estate

Hoval Limited

Taylors Service Garages (Boston) Limited

Thames Ambulance Services Limited

Saracens Securities Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Melbourne Holdings on its £1.76m acquisition of a parade of shops on a local community centre, which was owned by Tesco.
  • Assisted Burrows, a landowner, with the negotiation - along with two other landowners - of a promotion agreement with a promoter in relation to a piece of land in a Nottinghamshire village.
  • Advised Briggs on the exchange of land for development of a new residential estate and development of a small housing estate on client’s land.
  • Acted for Hoval Boilers Limited on the sale of land to the owner of the freehold of a factory building, which would see the owner construct an extension of the existing factory. When completed, this would be leased back to the client.
  • Advised Havenhand on an option for sale of industrial land in Sheffield.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's James Coningsby, the firm's lead partner in Leicester, has extensive expertise in a wide range of development projects taking place in cities nationwide, including residential, retail and mixed-use schemes; recent mandates have involved projects in Leicester, Sheffield and Sunderland, among other locations.  He is also active in the social housing sector. Other facets of Coningsby's practice include sale and leaseback transactions, secured lending transactions and property acquisitions and disposals. With more than 28 years of commercial property experience, Coningsby's presence in Leicester enhances the firm's commercial offering in the East Midlands generally; the firm also fields specialists in Nottingham and Derby.

Practice head(s):Riaz Dudhia (Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:James Coningsby (Leicester)

Key Clients

Cambridge and Counties Bank Limited

Abode Hallam Limited

Aimrok Retail Limited

Aimrok Development Limited

GS Developments (Leicester) Limited

Ruddle Merz Limited

Petit Forestier UK Limited

National Space Science Centre

IMAP Student Limited

Trafalgar Global Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Abode Nottingham with a forward funding deal for the development of 117 flats at High Pavement, Nottingham

Roythornes Solicitors' Jo Ladds heads up a a dedicated development and planning department, which acts for regional and national housebuilders, as well as landowners, on development projects across England and Wales; matters range in size from small-scale schemes involving a few units to new town developments involving thousands of homes. Elsewhere, the firm distinguishes itself in the energy and waste sector; Edd Johnson heads up a specialist team, whose expertise includes the property-related aspects of wind farms, solar developments and anaerobic digestion plants, among others. Other mainstream commercial property work is handled by a group led by Andrew Czajka. It is particularly active in landlord and tenant matters, most notably in the licensed trade sector, and also in property-related mining and minerals mandates. The partnership was boosted by the promotion of Iain Hibbert in 2018.

Practice head(s):Jo Ladds; Andrew Czajka

Other key lawyers:Iain Hibbert; Edd Johnson


'The team has good knowledge of the development sector, and is hardworking and effective'

'Everyone is really friendly and happy to try and help in any way they can. Advice is always clear and free from too much technical jargon'

'Individuals are technically very competent - and come across well. As a client you feel as if you're in safe hands. The individuals adapt their style to your level of knowledge on subject areas, always making sure you fully understand the ramnifications of decisions and fully exploring options'

Work highlights

  • Advised landowner client on the sale of land in the East Midlands for development, with deferred payments secured by way of parent company guarantee, together with option for further phased land disposal.
  • Acted for landowner client on sale of a residential development site in Cambridgeshire, with the benefit of outline planning permission.
  • Acted for landowner client on the lease of substrata to allow extraction of pot ash in North Yorkshire.
  • Advised landowning family trust on the multi-phase development of a new town. The mixed use development comprises of over 3,000 new homes together with 16 hectares of employment land, schools and a community hub including shops
  • Advised landowner client on an option for lease over circa 500 acres of land for development of two solar farms.

Weightmans LLP's commercial property practice is led by Richard Osborn, who is the firm's regional office head in the Midlands, and divides his time between the Leicester and Birmingham offices. Osborn is particularly experienced in commercial and residential development and regeneration projects, where he acts for developers, landowners and funders. Also notable is that Osborn has expertise in restructuring transactions in the retail sector. In addition, he advises schools on academy conversions, and he also handles real estate work for universities and other higher education institutions. Osborn works alongside associate Catherine Bowen, whose experience includes property portfolio transactions and landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):Richard Osborn

Other key lawyers:Catherine Bowen

Notwithstanding¬†Wilson Browne's¬†historic roots as a private client firm, the growth of the firm's commercial property practice now sees it it generate work from a broader client base from across the East Midlands. It¬†acts for private and corporate landowners, developers, housing associations, developers and investors, among others. The firm has further enhanced its profile by acquiring Corby firm¬†Friday Legal Solicitors;¬†John Punni, who is one of the additions to the team, has succeeded¬†Tom Warrender¬†as the head of the commercial property practice.¬†Warrender¬†joined the firm's board of management, while also remaining an active partner in the commercial property team.¬†The firm's varied workload includes freehold acquisitions and sales, leases, options and promotion agreements, and investment portfolios. Senior associate¬†Simon Chambers¬†is another key arrival as part of the Fridays deal.¬†Ika ńĆ√°stka ¬†has been advising individuals and businesses on commercial, rural and agricultural property matters since 1986, while¬†Nina Wilson¬†is another key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):John Punni

Other key lawyers:Tom Warrender; Ika Částka; Nina Wilson; Simon Chambers

Key Clients

Bakers Waste Ltd

Perfecta Assets Ltd

Anglo-Turkish International Limited

Beeches Farm Limited

CS2 Limited

Geo J Cox

Compass Community

F C S Properties Limited

ANC Access Limited

Market Harborough Building Society

Gorell Barnes Chartered Surveyor

Mama Jacq’s Limited

Work highlights

  • The firm has acted for the National Education Union for over 20 years in connection with property related matters. During 2018, its work included acting for the client on the disposal of a freehold site in Exeter, and also the acquisition of a freehold office site in Nottingham.
  • Acted for Ferrers Technical Services Limited and Oberman’s Audio Visual Limited on the disposal of their entire commercial property portfolio.
  • Acted for Compass Children’s Homes in the acquisition of a number of leasehold properties.
  • Acted for Mama Jacq’s Limited on its acquisition of a lease at the new development at BoxPark, Wembley.
  • Assisted Loake Brothers Limited with acquiring leases in Guilford, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Market Harborough.

Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Browne Jacobson LLP's Nottingham team covers the entire ambit of commercial property matters for public and private sector clients. It performs equally well advising clients both on a standalone basis and as part of a wider national group, where cross-office support is required. Its market-leading reputation is underlined by its breadth of expertise; in the retail sector, practice head Sarah Parkinson has a wealth of experience of acting for household-name retailers on acquisitions and phased relocations, among other matters. The education sector is another strength of the firm, which advises on academy conversions, academy mergers, and acquisitions and disposals of freehold interests, among other mandates. Deputy practice head Barry Sully heads up a specialist development and housing team, which acts for developers, housing associations, local authorities and landowners. Elsewhere, the health industry is another key workstream of the practice. Suki Tonks, Robert Wofinden and Gabor Taller are other key figures.

Practice head(s):Sarah Parkinson (head of department); Barry Sully (deputy head of department)

Other key lawyers:Suki Tonks; Robert Wofinden; Gabor Taller


'Thorough and professional experts, personalised services tailored to suit specific requirements'

'The team demonstrates an excellent level of professionalism and it is personable, helpful, supportive, flexible, reliable and consistent'

'Browne Jacobson's team has an in-depth knowledge of the complex nature of NHS and the legal requirements of other government agencies'

'Very responsive and able to deliver to whatever timelines are set'

'Suki Tonks is responsive, always available and returns calls as soon as possible. She inspires great confidence that detail is covered and that she is able to understand both commercial and legal requirements'

Key Clients

Walgreens Boots Alliance

East Midlands Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust

London Borough of Croydon

LVMH – Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Kiko Uk Limited

Miller Birch Developments

Westerman Homes

Homes England

Shropshire Council


Work highlights

  • Acted for Shropshire Council on the £51m acquisition of three linked shopping centres in Shrewsbury by acquiring the Jersey Property Unit Trusts which held the assets; this was the largest-ever deal undertaken by the client.
  • Advised shareholders on the £52m sale of Manthorpe Building Products Holdings to Polypipe Group.
  • Advising Midlands-based developer Miller Birch on the acquisition, redevelopment and disposal of the historic Guildhall complex in Nottingham city centre – one of the largest developments in the city’s history.
  • Acted for Amalgamated Holdings Wilkinson on the acquisition of 118-120 Colmore Row – a substantial retail and residential investment block in the centre of Birmingham.
  • Advising Leicestershire County Council on the East of Lutterworth Strategic Development Area - the proposed ‘urban extension’ to the town of Lutterworth: 2,750 new homes, employment development, two new schools and retail, leisure and community facilities together with major road infrastructure connecting to the M1.

Freeths LLP is a top-tier firm in all types of commercial property matters in the East Midlands, including commercial and residential development projects, regeneration projects, property finance, and investment sales and acquisitions. In addition to having a stable of longstanding clients, the firm continues to win work from new sources. Darren Williamson is the firm's national head of real estate. Guy Winfield, who runs the team in Nottingham, focuses on the food retail and industrial sectors. Property development expert Heather Davies, whose practice is split between Nottingham and Derby, is experienced in matters connected with areas such as waste to energy, the private rented sector, mines and minerals, and hotels. Jon Smart has a standout reputation in the care sector. James Clamp made partner in 2018.

Practice head(s):Darren Williamson; Guy Winfield

Other key lawyers:Heather Davies; Jon Smart; James Clamp; Mark Gradwell; Gary Reynolds; Gillian Roberts; Thomas Golding; Matthew Grocock; James Hart; Atiyya Khaliq; Isobel Radford; Emna Sfar-Gandoura; Adam Watson


'The team understands how we work and what we want. It is practical and gets transactions done'

Key Clients


Harworth Estates

LNT/Ideal Carehomes

BDW Trading (Barratt, David Wilson Homes)

EM Lawshare


Travis Perkins

Redwood Bank

Cambridge & Counties Bank


Work highlights

  • Acting for Scotch Corner Designer Village on the development and the first pre-lets of a 92-unit designer outlet village at Scotch Corner, North Yorkshire.
  • Acted for The Market Village Company on the high value and time critical sale (via pre-emption rights) of Brixton Market to Hondo Enterprises.
  • Advised Nottinghamshire County Council Pension Fund on the forward purchase of The Pavilion and The Oast House, Spinningfields, Manchester from Allied London.
  • Advised Harworth Estates Investments Limited on the redevelopment of a former colliery at Swadlincote, Derbyshire
  • Advised LNT Care Developments, a care home specialist developer and construction company, on the forward commit sales to institutional fund (Octopus Healthcare) in relation to three new build luxury care homes with a combined turn-key value of £30m.

Gateley Plc's standing in the market is reflected by its strong record of advising on multimillion-pound transactions and large, high-profile developments, as well as other general property matters. The high calibre of its practice sees the firm act for national and international clients, such as Starwood Capital Group and Henry Boot Developments. Steven Plummer heads up a newly formed, specialist residential development team, which acts for 18 of the top 20 housebuilders in the UK. Another key figure is senior associate Elly Duggins, who leads on matters involving real estate finance and pensions scheme work, and works with associate Charlotte Chapman on insolvency-related distressed property transactions. 'Extremely knowledgeable' practice head Adam Youatt has particular expertise in healthcare sector transactions, and acts for GP practices, medical property developers and other health service providers.

Practice head(s):Adam Youatt (Head of Real Estate, Nottingham); Steven Plummer (Head of Residential Development, Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:Elly Duggins; Charlotte Chapman


'Excellent practice with national coverage and readily accessible regional offices'

'The standout features of the team are its quality of communication and availability. Its personal touch is also noted'

'Adam Youatt is a star and is always my first choice of partner to work with on property matters. Charlotte Chapman assists him and she is a very safe pair of hands'

'The Nottingham team consistently hits the mark on professionalism, customer service and its ability to view a situation from a number of angles and read between the lines'

'Adam Youatt is extremely knowledgeable, responsive, and perhaps most importantly, tenacious on our behalf. He is also very pragmatic and on many occasions has provided sage counsel when we have been both over and under-ambitious in our contract negotiations'

'The team provides a commercial and pragmatic approach to real estate transactions'

Key Clients

Custodian REIT Plc

HSBC Bank Plc

Peter James Homes Limited

Guildhall Estates Limited

Harworth Group Plc

Avant Homes

Bildurn Properties

Henry Davidson Developments

Starwood Capital Group

Lloyds Bank Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Bildurn on its development of a site at Station Street, Nottingham, including the complex sale of part of the site to Vita for student accommodation.
  • Acted for KPMG as administrators of Countrywide Farmers. The company held a large number of properties, which were sold off to various buyers along with parts of the business.
  • Advised Custodian REIT Plc on the purchase of two multi-occupied retail parks for in excess of £25m.
  • Advised Peter James Homes on the acquisition of a residential development site from administrators in Bullbridge.
  • Advised Harworth Group on the sale of first serviced part of 112-acre mixed-use major development site at Riverdale Park, Doncaster.

A distinguishing feature of Geldards LLP's offering is its specialist 'networks team', which comprises more than 40 lawyers handling property work for clients in the gas and electricity distribution sectors; Jamie Gordon, who heads up this arm of the commercial property practice, has significant experience of pre-lets and regeneration schemes, among other matters. Elsewhere, the firm has made an increased push for work from public sector clients; Tiffany Cloynes leads a specialist team, which advises local authorities on matters such as disposals of surplus land and joint ventures with developers. In the education sector, Paul Hilsdon and others act for academy sponsors and schools. Evidencing the firm's credentials in the retail industry, it is one of only three English law firms on the property panel of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Other sector strengths include healthcare, motor retail, agriculture and charities. Derby team head Graham Banks and Heather Dixon have an outstanding reputation in residential and commercial development projects. David Watson leads the commercial property group in Nottingham. Hélène Maillet-Vioud joined in 2018 from Knights PLC.

Practice head(s):Graham Banks (Derby); David Watson (Nottingham); Jamie Gordon (Nottingham - Networks)

Other key lawyers:Tiffany Cloynes; Paul Hilsdon; Heather Dixon; David Watson


'A dedicated team with a total focus on the client's requirements. I've never had cause to suspect any hint of a let-up in the push to improve results. Easy and rapid access to specialists'

'Jamie Gordon provides both professional advice and unstinting support with the client's wider requirements, such as attending stakeholder events and ensuring the provision of management information for internal reporting; all members of Jamie's team are focused on delivery to ensure optimum outcomes and maximum output. Excellent service'

'There is a clear and distinct high level of professionalism at Geldards. Communication is exceptional and the team is a real pleasure to work with'

'Fair knowledge of the energy industry'

'The Competitions in Connections team provides valuable support and service to our group companies. It has an understanding of our industry which is essential when procuring land rights'

'Heather Dixon in Derby is every bit the equal of property lawyers from London and Birmingham; she is very, very hardworking, resourceful and a dream to work with'

Key Clients

Bowmer & Kirkland

Walgreens Boots Alliance

CWC Group – (Clowes Developments (UK) Limited and Dove Valley Park Limited)

Miller Birch/Cedar House

PPH1 Ltd and DPK Management

BioCity Group Limited

Nottingham College

Stadler Rail Service UK Limited

Derby City Council

Leicester City Council

Sheffield City Council

Nottinghamshire County Council

Office Depot Group

Electricity North West

Western Power Distribution

Omya UK Limited

Wacker Neuson Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Wise Living Homes

Trent Barton Buses

Connections Legal Management

UK Power Networks

UK Power Distribution

Harlaxton Energy Services

Energy Assets Networks

Easement Solutions

ESP Electricity

E.S. Pipelines

Wellingborough Borough Council

Synergy Health Managed Services Limited

Carlisle City Council

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice on the development of Fairham Pastures, Rushcliffe for the delivery of up to 3,000 new homes and 100,000 square metres of employment land for light industrial, distribution and offices.
  • Ongoing advice to Leicester City Council on the first phase of its Waterside Regeneration Scheme; a project of very significant local and regional importance, which anticipates the rejuvenation of some 60 acres of former industrial land adjacent to the city centre, with the council bringing forward a residential scheme with retail, commercial and leisure components.
  • Acted on behalf of BioCity Group on the acquisition and development of the 'Discovery Building', a new bioscience incubator facility which has been constructed adjacent to BioCity’s existing facility at Pennyfoot Street, Nottingham.
  • Obtained clarification from the Land Registry on what constitutes 'valuable consideration' to protect networks industry operators.
  • Advising Sheffield City Council on its development agreement with Urban Splash relating to Park Hill Sheffield, the largest listed building in Europe.

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, development work is one of the mainstays of the practice, and the firm's enviable client roster includes local and national developers and international investors. The team includes Brendan Walsh, who has 30 years of experience of commercial development - including out of town retail, leisure and office regeneration projects - and also residential promotion and development. Like Walsh, Peter Dilks has strong capabilities in commercial development, and he also heads up a specialist national real estate energy team, which specialises primarily in the development of reserve power and alternative energy technologies; it has acted on schemes with a gross development value in excess of £1.5bn. Elsewhere, the firm acts for banks, funds and venture capitalists on secured lending and development finance transactions, as well as property investments. Roger Harcourt, Victoria Bovington and others act for healthcare specialists and developers in the senior living and healthcare sector, while legal director Sarah Gunton is recommended.

Practice head(s):Peter Dilks; Brendan Walsh

Other key lawyers:Roger Harcourt; Victoria Bovington; Sarah Gunton

Key Clients

Wilson Bowden Developments Limited

Linden Homes

Lloyds Bank Plc

Garner Holdings

BSP Holdings

LG Capital & Investment Limited

Foundation Property Company Limited

Statera Energy Limited

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Brackley Property Developments Limited

Mattioli Woods on behalf of the Johal Pension Fund

Shoby Properties Limited

Sun Chemical Limited

IWWS (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Negotiated development agreements for Wilson Bowden Developments on two 100-acre plus Midlands sites.
  • Advised Statera Energy on development and subsequent refinance of largest battery storage facility in UK.
  • Advising Garner Holdings on the development and disposal of Denby Hall Business Park.
  • Advising Greystacks Developments on the development of a 132-studio student scheme in Exeter.
  • Acted for Mattioli Woods on the acquisition and development of the largest new build office scheme in the centre of Leicester for over a decade.

Shoosmiths LLP covers matters across the commercial property spectrum for household-name corporates, funds and investors, and UK-based lenders. Corporate occupier work is one notable pillar of the practice, with the firm having a particular strength in the UK retail and leisure sector, although other clients come from sectors such as logistics and heavy equipment. On the investment side, the team handles a mix of investment purchases and sales, and portfolio and joint venture transactions, as well as associated advice on asset management. Commercial development work is another cornerstone of the practice. Sean Burke heads up the group in Nottingham, which includes Ellis Gardner-Browne, Deborah Gordon Brown, David Morley and Matthew Kenwood. Legal director Matthew Kemp is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Sean Burke

Other key lawyers:Ellis Gardner-Browne; Deborah Gordon Brown; David Morley; Matthew Kenwood; Matthew Kemp

Key Clients

Abbey Commercial Limited

AEW Europe LLP – Festival Place Unit Trust

Attenborough Alpha J

Brunswick Real Estate UK

Chelsea FC Plc

Deb Group Plc

Doosan Industrial Vehicles UK Limited

Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd

Fulham Shore Plc

IKEA Group of Companies

John Deere Limited

Joules Limited

Karen Jones CBE

Leftfield Capital

Mountain Warehouse Limited

Next plc

Pizza Hut (UK) Limited

Safestore Group

Stainton International Limited

Starbridge Capital

Thomas Cook Limited

Walgreen Boots Alliance Group of Companies

White & Case

Work highlights

  • Advising Walgreen Boots Alliance on all matters connected with the management of its English, Welsh and Scottish real estate portfolio. As one of three panel law firms in England/Wales it advises on a mixture of new lease acquisitions both high street and edge of town, lease renewals and regears.
  • Acting for Estee Lauder Cosmetics on all matters connected with the client’s English retail real estate portfolio as sole legal adviser.
  • Acting as Mountain Warehouse’s sole legal adviser on its retail real estate portfolio in England and Wales, as well as providing project advice on European acquisitions.
  • Advising Joules on the acquisition of two new significant out of town discount outlets including a pre-let unit at the planned Scotch Corner Designer Village.
  • Handling all pure UK real estate legal work for Brunswick Real Estate UK.

Flint Bishop LLP's team is highly regarded for its involvement in development projects, including residential, commercial, retail, leisure, industrial and mixed-use schemes. The scope of its expertise in this area includes site acquisitions and disposals, site assembly, joint ventures, options and and forward funding agreements. Group head Ian Beardmore has 30 years of experience of acting for some of the largest property and construction firms in the East Midlands. Also recommended for their development expertise are Bev Simms and Christine Owen, as is Lucy Carter, whose practice also covers leases, farm acquisitions/disposals and the property related aspects of academy conversions (in the education sector).

Practice head(s):Ian Beardmore

Other key lawyers:Bev Simms; Christine Owen; Lucy Carter

Key Clients

Bowmer & Kirkland Group of Companies

Clowes Developments Group of Companies

Ivygrove Developments Limited

MHA (Methodist Homes)

Donald Ward Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Birkett House School on the high-profile acquisition of the site of Birkett House Special School involving a highly complex situation concerning multiple land owning parties and the simultaneous surrender of various freehold and leasehold interests.

Fraser Brown strengthened its commercial property practice during 2018 with the hire of former Spearing Waite partner Erin Vickers. Vickers has extensive experience of real estate matters arising from corporate reorganisations, and corporate acquisitions and disposals, and has particular expertise in the retail and leisure and industrial sectors. The team is led by Anthony Ogley, who specialises in development work, which includes residential, commercial and mixed-use schemes. Chris Barnes is another notable individual. In addition to being a major player in the East Midlands market, the firm also generates work from national and international clients.

Practice head(s):Anthony Ogley

Other key lawyers:Erin Vickers; Chris Barnes

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's recent work has included advising developers on high-value developments and strategic land projects, as well as undertaking refinancing work for institutional lenders and assisting pension scheme trustees with property acquisitions. The team also handled mandates for local and national retailers, and also charities and other voluntary sector clients, and educational establishments.  The firm offers extensive coverage of the Nottingham and Derby markets, with specialist teams being based in both areas. Riaz Dudhia is the overall practice head.

Practice head(s):Riaz Dudhia


'Riaz Dudhia has built a team of exceptional competence and commerciality'

'Its team is approachable, knowledgeable and refreshingly easy to deal with, compared to some. It has a wide variety of expertise and inspires confidence that, if it is instructed to deal with a matter, it will do so promptly and efficiently'

Key Clients

Redrow Homes East Midlands Limited

Fairgrove Homes Limited

PKF Cooper Parry LLP

Giant UK Limited

Carlton Street Trading Limited

Intelligent Money Limited

Talbot & Muir Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Carlton Street Trading on the acquisition of a freehold site from a selling pub company, and then acted for the client (as landlords) in the grant of a new lease to a microbrewery.
  • Advised Aspire 4 Fitness on taking on a lease for a start-up gym/leisure business, as part of its expansion plans.
  • Advised FC Cartons on exiting a lease and relocating to a purpose-designed unit which is more than triple the size of its existing plant.
  • Acting for Carlton Street Trading Limited on the acquisition of a row of historic buildings in Carrington Street for regeneration which will complement the wider Broadmarsh redevelopment.

Actons garners a significant amount of praise from its clients, with strong credentials in high-value commercial property transactions. Team head Amanda Gordon has more than 30 years of experience, and is regularly sought-out by local and national businesses and charities. Another key figure is director Caroline Pearson, whose transactional experience (including freehold and leasehold acquisitions and sales) is part of a wider practice, which covers landlord and tenant matters, and residential and commercial development work. Secured lending transactions are another core part of her practice. Recently promoted director Zoe Romain and associate Lisa Poole are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Amanda Gordon

Other key lawyers:Caroline Pearson; Zoe Romain; Lisa Poole


'The team at Actons has a broad and in-depth understanding of the complex needs of family businesses, and the nuances associated with these. It works hard to understand the client's history, objectives and perspectives, and is able to convey advice in a simple and succinct manner'

'Caroline Pearson is an enjoyable person to work with; she displays a solution- focused approach to her work, which is both refreshing and hugely commercially valuable to the clients she represents. She has a detailed knowledge of agricultural legislation and, importantly, can convey complex advice to farming clients who are not always adept with the mechanics of the job. Her communication and feedback is timely, both verbal and written'

'The team works extremely well together'

Key Clients


Vision Homes (Burton Road) Limited

Chevin Group Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the investment purchaser on the acquisition of mixed-use property including two ground floor commercial office units and five student let properties.
  • Acted for Chevin Group on the purchase of a mixed-use property portfolio comprising offices, retail, licensed premises, car park and residential accommodation, with funding from a national lender.
  • Acted for Vision Homes following completion of a development of a number of residential dwellings on a new site.
  • Advising Framework on all aspects of its property acquisitions and development. Recent work included the purchase of a number of properties, including the purchase of existing social housing from the Guinness Housing Association and various property purchases for development for use as future social housing, including a former public house.

Vik Moothia, the department head at Austin Moore & Partners LLP, has been practising in the Nottingham legal market for more than 16 years, and has built up a wealth of transactional experience. Under his leadership the firm has become well-known for other work including landlord and tenant matters, property development and property finance. Rachael Briggs is another key partner in the team.

Practice head(s):Vik Moothia

Other key lawyers:Rachael Briggs


'Austin Moore & Partners is a very proactive, responsive and forward-thinking firm, fielding commercial lawyers who do as they say, and in the timescale you agree with them'

'Vik and the rest of the team are always on the end of the phone. They tell you in straight talk what the issues are'

'Vic Moothia is a very experienced property lawyer. Rachael Briggs is always available if problems arise'

'A first-class team, which responds to demands and executes what's needed precisely and quickly'

Key Clients

200 Degrees Coffee Shops Limited

Birds (Derby) Limited

Paragon Property Development Company

Kennelpak Limited

Nu-Energy Limited

Instarmac Holdings Limited

Harmony Bridge Limited

Mr Tajinder Singh Ubhi (and associated companies)

Mr Carl Springthorpe

BS Squared Limited

IH Moore and Company (Holdings Limited)

Mr Gabriel Strauss (and associated companies)

Mr Neil Footitt

Cardzone Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for 200 Degrees Coffee Shop on the acquisition of a new site in the Corn Hill Quarter in Lincoln City Centre.
  • Acted for Harmony Bridge Limited on the site setup of a development of 121 apartments.
  • Advised KLPG Limited on the acquisition of site for development as a chalet park.
  • Acted for CS Properties Limited and Bulcote Investments Limited on the acquisition of 19 freehold and leasehold commercial and residential properties from LPA receivers.
  • Acted for Birds (Derby) Limited on the relocation of its store in Victoria Centre, Nottingham.

Smith Partnership handles a varied portfolio of local and national work for clients ranging from growth companies and developers to large privately-held businesses and listed companies. On the development side of the practice, team head Jason Wood has a strong track record advising developers on land acquisitions for residential development, as well as associated financing, and subsequent plot sales. Elsewhere, the firm's other work includes freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, property portfolio management and landlord and tenant work. In addition to undertaking standalone mandates, the team provides support on the property aspects of corporate transactions. Rashid Ali is developing a specialism in the health sector, with an emphasis on matters involving pharmacies. Associate Tara Harding is particularly active in the licensed trade space, where she advises on the acquisition, disposal and letting of licensed premises; clients include hotels, public houses, restaurants and clubs.

Practice head(s):Jason Wood

Other key lawyers:Rashid Ali; Tara Harding


'The level of service is excellent. Smith Partnership always makes transactions seem personal and friendly, on top of the underlying professionalism that is always a given. Makes legal work (often a dry subject) much more interactive and enjoyable. Other firms can make you feel like just another faceless client queueing for attention, Smith Partnership make you feel that it cares about you and your business'

'Individual contacts are a pleasure to work with, and always friendly and pleasant. The service is always personable and attentive, and work is turned around swiftly'

'Reliable, responsive and good value'

Key Clients

Garibaldi Limited

Sovereign Crest Limited

Comex 2000 Limited

Granite Homes Limited

Bridgefast Beech Partnership

Reece Enterprises Limited

Littler Investments Limited

Blueline Homes Limited

HGV Direct

Cromford Group Limited

CT Skills Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Derby Museums on the lease of the Silk Mill, Derby, and the funding of the refurbishment with the assistance of funding from the Arts Council and Big Lottery Fund.
  • Advised Metanodic Engineers Limited on the grant of a lease of factory premises to TJX Ltd (TKMax) for five years.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Browne Jacobson LLP's profile in the construction arena is reflected by its heavy involvement in high-profile national and cross-border projects. Equally strong in contentious and non-contentious work, its market-leading practice generates mandates from domestic (local and national) and international contractors, as well as funders and developers, among others. The main partner in Nottingham is Michael Sadler, who works alongside associate Mark Stubbs; both are part of a larger national team, which is led by Tim Claremont in London. Peter Westlake has retired from the partnership, but has retained a role as a consultant.

Practice head(s):Tim Claremont (London)

Other key lawyers:Michael Sadler; Mark Stubbs


'The team demonstrates depth of knowledge and understanding of all aspects of its field, coupled with common sense advice and the ability to talk the client's language'

'Michael Sadler is wise to all the tricks of the trade and has a clear focus on finding solutions. Mark Stubbs provides great support, and quickly gets to grips with complex issues'

'The construction team has a broad depth of experience in both contentious and non contentious issues. The team listen to our issues and give very practical advice in a clear manner both verbal and written'

'The advice provided by Browne Jacobson is always proactively managed and delivered with a consideration of the client's objective and ultimate project delivery. Browne Jacobson is able to expertly manage legal challenges and issues that arise from time to time on construction projects with complete ease, and with a guiding and supportive approach. The team combines expert advice with a personal and professional touch (even in the face of challenging matters), which is wholly refreshing'

'Mark Stubbs always makes himself available, always delivering on time and within the estimate of fees'

Key Clients

Mace Limited

BAM Construction Limited

North Midland Construction

CBRE Corporate Outsourcing Limited

Ilke Homes Limited

Willmott Dixon Construction Limited

Clegg Construction Group

Bowmer & Kirkland Limited

Light Source Design Limited

Lindum Group

Work highlights

  • Advising J Coffey Construction on the negotiation of a £50m trade contract package on the Battersea Power Station project to carry out work on the four main iconic towers.
  • Advising J Coffey Construction on the negotiation of a building contract for a significant scheme in London.
  • Acting for one of F3Group’s subsidiary companies on a £45m student accommodation project in the Recliffe area of Bristol.
  • The firm advises Homes England as part of its panel of lawyers on a number of national construction projects funded through loans from the Home Building Fund, orchestrated by the investment arm of Homes England.
  • The firm is advising YHA on site acquisition, land contingencies and the progress and negotiation of construction contracts for its flagship new hostel at Stratford in London.

Operating on a cross-office, national basis, Freeths LLP's construction team is a first port of call for many clients with high-stakes projects; it generates work from global construction consultants, end-users, developers, contractors and sub-contractors. 'Outstanding' national construction head Chris Holwell leads on a large number of complex construction projects; the scope of his team's non-contentious work includes hotel and sports developments, commercial/residential/mixed-use schemes and various other types of projects. On the contentious side, Amy Morley has vast expertise in all areas of construction and engineering law, and handles high-value, technically complex claims progressed by adjudication, arbitration or in the Technology and Construction Court. Guy Berwick, who was a partner for 30 years, is now a consultant.

Practice head(s):Chris Holwell

Other key lawyers:Amy Morley


'Director John Kelly has a calm, considered approach and provides helpful strategic advice'

'A joined-up approach is taken across the various specialisms to give a co-ordinated solution. This is powerful as all specialisms and their associated nuances are considered in a process to give a good commercial outcome'

'Chris Holwell has an ability to address contentious issues within a negotiation in a straightforward and conciliatory manner. This is a key strength and has a big impact on the opposing party in a negotiation situation'

Key Clients




North Midland Construction

GF Tomlinson Group

Martifer UK

Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Blueprint Regeneration

Travis Perkins

Scape Group

Work highlights

  • Drafted and advised Aldi on the circa 60 construction framework contracts related to 'Project Fresh' - the ongoing programme of works to refresh its current network of 775 UK stores.
  • Advised University Hospital North Durham on existing PFI Hospital Schemes and additions.
  • Acting for Siglion Developments on the development of the 14-acre former Vaux brewery site in Sunderland.
  • Acted for Wadham College, Oxford on the construction within the historic college grounds of two new, linked buildings.
  • Acting for Blueprint, the enabling developer, on the development documentation for a residential development of circa 42 properties in an inner city location adjacent to the former Fruit Market, Sneinton, Nottingham.

Complementing its legal resources, Shakespeare Martineau LLP also has an in-house team of construction professionals, putting it on a strong footing to provide legal and industry support on all the major contentious and non-contentious issues arising at every stage of a construction project; the practice covers projects in areas such as healthcare, industrial and student accommodation, among many others. Alex Smith heads up the practice, which generates work from local and national developers, banks, contractors, housing and infrastructure providers and healthcare providers. Smith and associate Romy Wood (a recent hire from CMS) specialise in all manner of construction documentation, including; standard or bespoke forms of contract, consultants’ appointments, collateral warranties, parent company guarantees and performance bonds.

Practice head(s):Alex Smith (Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:Romy Wood


'The team has a fantastic work ethic, is very pragmatic and extremely commercial. It refuses to let any deal fail and will get the job done to perfection'

Key Clients

Leicester Lettings (Leicester Lettings (2016) Limited)

Pre (Leicester) Limited

Graystacks Castle Boulevard Limited

Code Students Limited

Everards Brewery Limited

Zone Developments (Leicester) Limited

Brackley Property Developments Limited

Calthorpe Estates

Lloyds Bank Plc

Paragon Property Development Company Limited

Maber Associates Limited

Romo (Holdings) Limited

Rotherhill Developments Limited

Jessops Construction Limited

Garner Holdings Limited

Wilson Bowden Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised developer Leicester Lettings on its £50m development of private rented sector apartments for Cording Real Estate.
  • Advised Code Students, a student accommodation owner and developer, on its 1,192-room development in Coventry, ensuring the first completed units could be occupied.
  • Advising developer Pre (Leicester) Limited on the development of 91 high-end modern student units in Leicester.
  • Advising Everards Brewery on the latest phases of its high-profile flagship brewery and leisure scheme development in Leicester.
  • Advising Graystacks on the development of 48 high-end modern student units in Nottingham.

Buckles Solicitors LLP reinforced its credentials in the construction arena in early 2019 with the hire of senior associate Charles Jakeman from Browne Jacobson LLP; Jakeman is experienced in acting for clients on a regional, national and international basis. His expertise in construction projects spans areas such as education, health, leisure, housing and energy, among various others. The team was also strengthened by the arrival of Karen Sandhu, following the firm's acquisition of DCH Law in 2018. Practice head James Coppinger undertakes a mix of procurement and contentious matters.

Practice head(s):James Coppinger

Other key lawyers:Charles Jakeman


'The team at Buckles Solicitors keeps things nice and simple, and keeps us informed; it chases the deal as much as we do, which is unusual'


Key Clients

Empiric Student Property Limited

Longhurst Group Limited (and the Blue Skies Consortium)

Keystone Developments (LG) (and the Keystone Alliance)

Hill Partnerships Limited

Settle Group and Rowan Homes (NHH) Limited

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice on the rollout of Empiric Student Property’s national student accommodation development plans. The firm has advised on the procurement of new schemes in Manchester, Bristol, Falmouth and Canterbury, together with refurbishment schemes in Cardiff, Exeter and Bristol.
  • Advising a consortium of 13 registered providers, led by Longhurst Group and Nottingham Community Housing Association, on the procurement of a four-year framework agreement for the appointment of contractors for the consortium’s housing development programme covering the East and West Midlands, South Yorkshire and East Anglia.
  • Advising Keystone Alliance (a consortium of nine registered providers led by Keystone Developments (LG) Limited) on the procurement of a four-year framework agreement for the appointment of consultants for the consortium’s housing development programme covering the East and West Midlands, South Yorkshire and East Anglia.
  • Advising a consortium of eight registered providers operating across the East Midlands on the procurement of a four-year framework agreement for responsive repairs to existing housing stock amounting to over 10,000 units across the East Midlands.

In a high-profile move, Piet van Gelder joined Gateley Plc from Knights PLC in late 2018 to head up the firm's construction practice in the East Midlands. Van Gelder has specialised in advising construction and engineering clients since qualifying in 1999. The firm has a particularly strong reputation in the housebuilder sector, where it acts for 17 of the top 20 national housebuilders in contentious and non-contentious matters. The development sector is another notable strong suit for the firm, which also demonstrates strong capabilities in other areas, such as marine and infrastructure. The firm's contentious work typically involves issues such as professional negligence, defective design, poor workmanship, payment disputes and delay/loss. Employers, developers, contractors and end-users turn to the firm for advice. van Gelder is supported by senior associate William Cursham.

Practice head(s):Piet van Gelder

Other key lawyers:William Cursham


'Piet van Gelder is very knowledgeable and amenable in his field'

Key Clients

Jaguar Land Rover

Crest Nicholson PLC

Universal Piling and Construction Limited

Amos Group Limited

Bovis Homes Limited

Leicester Bakery Limited

Aimrok Limited

Flexidig Limited

Greyrock Properties Limited

LCT Properties Limited

Pavillion Estates Limited

UK Rail Leasing Limited

Minerva Fire Safety Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Manor Crest Group (which manages luxury hotels) on the construction of Double Tree Hotel by Hilton at Ferensway in Hull.
  • Acted for Leicester Bakery Limited as the employer in in two adjudications over numerous issues with the contractor’s final account and delays which had occurred whilst building their new headquarters and bakery units
  • Represented a sub-contractor in a final account dispute arising from the installation of Virgin Media underground infrastructure.
  • Acted for Car Shops Limited on drafting and negotiating building contract and associated appointments and warranties for a Bristol show room.
  • Represented sub-contractor Minerva Fire Limited in successfully settling a claim regarding installation of fire alarm system at Toys R Us distribution centre.

Geldards LLP acts for a number of the largest developers and contractors in projects across the East Midlands, and also generates work from retail, motor retail and education sector clients. It also has significant involvement in large-scale regeneration projects in the region, where it advises public sector bodies. Elsewhere, the practice has experienced a notable uptick in mandates connected with private rented sector developments and commercial warehouse and distribution centre developments. Chris Hawrylak, who made partner in 2018, leads the team.

Practice head(s):Chris Hawrylak


'Heather Dixon and Chris Hawrylak are easy to work with, thorough and diligent'

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank Plc


Julian Hodge Bank


Principality Building Society

Welsh Government

Development Bank of Wales

Arts Council of Wales

Kingdom Bank


RBS (Natwest)

The Cooperative Bank


East Midlands LawShare

North West Legal Consortium

West Yorkshire Law Framework

National Procurement Service

Wales European Funding Office

Boots Walgreen Alliance

Western Power Distribution

Electricity North West

Wales Audit Office

UK Power Networks

Energy Assets Network

ESP Electricity

Bowmer and Kirkland

ES Pipelines

Harlaxton Energy Networks

UK Power Distribution

Work highlights

  • Advising regional developer Clowes Developments to meet expansion plans for Walgreens Boots Alliance member, Alloga UK, with a new 249,500 sq ft warehouse unit, and the subsequent sale of investment.
  • Advising Nottingham College on the construction of its £58m landmark college development 'City Hub' which will cater for up to 4,000 students in Nottingham City Centre.
  • Advising Nottingham City Council on the £30m redevelopment of Nottingham Castle.
  • Advising project manager client Nottingham Regeneration on its appointment on the Boots Enterprise Zone - a £100m regeneration of a 40-hectare site in Nottingham to create a centre of health, wellbeing and beauty.
  • Advising Sheffield City Council on the redevelopment of Europe’s largest listed building: Park Hill, Sheffield.

Environment & planning

Index of tables

  1. Environment & planning
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Browne Jacobson LLP is the pre-eminent firm for planning and environment work in the East Midlands. In addition to providing key support on corporate transactions, it undertakes regulatory advisory work, provides governance advice, and assists with planning inquiries, as well as environmental investigations and prosecutions, among other matters. Richard Barlow, who heads up the environment practice, is the relationship manager for Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation, and also acts for local authorities and non-departmental public bodies. Laura Hughes is chair of the UK Environmental Law Association East Midlands group. Technical planning director Stephen Coult is a chartered town planner and chartered surveyor, and is sought-out for his expertise in compulsory purchase inquiries. Associate Ben Standing is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Richard Barlow; Laura Hughes

Other key lawyers:Stephen Coult; Ben Standing


'The team comprises of experts in their field, whose knowledge and expertise is matched in equal measure by pragmatism. It does what it says it will, and always to a high standard'

'They provide tailored and pragmatic advice, and really put themselves in the position of their clients when they provide that advice'


Key Clients

Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman

Crown Commercial Services Wider Public Sector Framework

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

Crown Commercial Service GLAS framework

East Midlands Housing Association

EM LawShare

Homes England

National Audit Office

NPS Wales

London Borough of Southwark

Waterloo Housing Group

West Yorkshire Legal Panel

Surrey Framework

LB Croydon

NI Audit Office

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of the Local Planning Authority at London Borough of Croydon to negotiate the terms of a complex and substantial planning agreement (under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) to accompany the proposed stadium expansion of a Premier League football club.
  • Advising The Marine Management Organisation on an application seeking permission to judicially review the client’s decision to grant the Dover Harbour Board a Marine Licence under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
  • Defending the London Borough of Enfield (in its role as Local Planning Authority) at a Planning Inquiry in relation to a challenge brought by the applicant (McCarthy & Stone) against the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the erection of 28 ‘retirement living’ units.
  • Acted for Natural England in Tolley v Natural England. Successfully resisted an appeal by Mr Tolley against a Remediation Notice served under the Environmental Civil Sanction (England) Order 2010 in an appeal before the First Tier Tribunal.
  • Advised Natural Resources Wales on an appeal of a consent granted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1983.

Freeths LLP's planning and environment team acts for public and private sector clients in large and complex projects nationally, including residential, retail, commercial, mixed-use and urban regeneration developments. Chris Waumsley, who leads the planning and environment group, has more than 30 years of experience advising local authorities and private sector clients on planning matters. Waumsley works closely on the planning side with Paul Brailsford, whose expertise includes food and non-food retail developments, and residential-led urban extensions; both are widely respected in their field. The environment practice, which is led in the East Midlands by Emma Tattersdill, assists clients with managing issues connected with environmental permitting, waste management, contaminated land and environmental prosecutions, among other matters. Clients in this space primarily come from the minerals, waste, construction and housebuilding sectors.

Practice head(s):Chris Waumsley

Other key lawyers:Paul Brailsford; Emma Tattersdill


'Freeths has a very capable and experienced team, which stands out in the East Midlands'

'Chris Waumsley and Mark Bassett are very good planners with a deep understanding of their field. They are people that you can rely on'

Key Clients

Millenium Land (10M Consortium)

Larkfleet Group

Aldi Stores and group companies

Taylor Lindsey Ltd

Redrow Homes

Simons Group

Henry Boot Developments

The Tarmac group of companies

Barratt Homes

Urban and Civic


Carlsberg/London Fields Brewery

South Lincolnshire Estates

Travis Perkins

Work highlights

  • Acting for Henry Boot Developments/Hallam Land Management in relation to the strategic urban extension of Tamworth in Warwickshire. Promoting land for residential development of up to 1,000 new homes both through the local plan process and via a planning application.
  • Advice to Helier/Millennium Land (a promoter of large-scale development schemes in the Midlands) on large scale urban extension in Mansfield, North Nottinghamshire, involving over 800 dwellings and new commercial development through the Mansfield Local Plan.
  • Acting for Henry Boot Developments/Hallam Land Management on the preparation of the planning applications for 400 dwellings in North Derbyshire including infrastructure planning application, and new outline planning application.
  • Provided planning advice to Simons Developments in respect of the redevelopment of a large brownfield site in West Bridgford, Nottingham for mixed retail, leisure and residential uses.
  • Advising London Fields Brewery/Carlsberg on planning aspects of the acquisition of London Fields Brewery in Hackney and associated regularisation of planning position via the submission of linked planning applications for brewery, tap room and venue for brand building events.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's outstanding reputation in planning work is underlined by its client roster, which includes many of the largest regional and national developers, as well as housebuilders. The firm fields a sizeable planning team in the Midlands, which is spread between the Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham offices; Simon Stanion heads up the group. In addition to advising on the planning aspects of residential developments, the group's work also spans other areas, such as energy and infrastructure, and healthcare. The firm has also won new mandates in the education sector, and is advising the University of Warwick on nine redevelopment projects across its campus to deliver the University’s Capital Plan programme until 2023. Paul Wakefield garners a significant amount of praise from clients. Abigail Walters and Richard Thurling are also highly recommended. In 2018, John Edmond retired from the partnership, while Paul Hunt moved to Howes Percival LLP.

Practice head(s):Simon Stanion

Other key lawyers:Paul Wakefield: Abigail Walters; Richard Thurling


'The practice is resourced with very capable practitioners, who are courteous and diligent. They reach out to clients, including hosting clients at their offices to update on relevant legal issues which might affect the industry'

'Paul Wakefield is personable, diligent and very accessible. He is highly responsive to urgent situations'

'A solid and sound firm, which always delivers the goods'

'Paul Wakefield's knowledge and expertise is a huge benefit to our company. He is my go-to lawyer for sound and robust planning advice'

'The team is pragmatic and patient in its work, which can be important in dealings with local authorities. Irrespective of whether they are dealing with a Section 106 Agreement or a judicial challenge, the relevant partners are efficient and insightful'

'Paul Wakefield is a very experienced planning lawyer, who has significant breadth of knowledge about all planning law matters. In addition to being very approachable, and understanding of what is required, he is technically astute and will assimilate large amounts of information very quickly'

'When dealing with the firm, we don't have to ask twice for something to be done'

Key Clients

Allison Homes Limited

Avant Homes (Midlands)

Barratt David Wilson Homes

Blaby District Council

Cadent Gas Limited

Larkfleet Homes

The Lindhurst Group

National Grid Electricity Transmission Plc and National Grid Gas Plc

University of Central Lancashire

University of Warwick

Wilson Bowden

W Westerman Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the University of Warwick on the next phase of its masterplan building works comprising nine capital plan projects across its Gibbet Hill, Central and Westwood campuses in Coventry. These include new buildings for the faculty of arts and interdisciplinary biomedical research and residences for up to 1,000 students.
  • Advising East Staffordshire Borough Council on an application to vary a section 106 agreement for a sustainable urban extension near Burton-upon-Trent.
  • Acting for National Grid, on behalf of both NGET and NGG, in protecting its interests in respect of windfarm and energy generation development consent orders, including Norfolk Vanguard, Thanet, and Abergelli.
  • Advising Gallagher Estates on a section 106 agreement to provide a sustainable urban extension development at Braintree in Essex.
  • Representing developer Wilson Bowden at the North East Derbyshire Local Plan Examination in connection with the potential extension to the Markham Vale business park.

Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Browne Jacobson LLP's Nottingham team, which is led by Mark Aldrich, is a first port of call for many public and private sector clients for a wide range of matters, such as contentious lease renewals, dilapidations cases, title disputes and possession proceedings. Aldrich has specialised in property litigation for 27 years. At associate level, Louise Read is noted for her particular experience of acting for retail sector clients in all types of contentious issues relating to freehold and leasehold property. Helen Taller is another name to note.

Practice head(s):Pamela Shepherd (Birmingham); Mark Aldrich (Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:Louise Read; Helen Taller


'The team is well-led by Mark Aldrich, who has a realistic approach to dispute resolution'

Key Clients

Walgreen Boots Alliance

Select Service Partner UK Limited

DPDGroup UK Limited

Paperchase Products Limited

Lincolnshire Cooperative Limited

Homes England (formerly Homes and Communities Agency)

London Borough of Croydon

Cheshire East Borough Council

Department for Work and Pensions

YHA (England and Wales) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a retail tenant on an unopposed lease renewal for a prominent central London store.
  • Acting on behalf of a sizeable Nottinghamshire landowner in a dispute with a national housebuilder over a residential land option.
  • Acting for a private landowning individual, who entered into a sale contract in 2015 for the sale of a substantial area of land for residential development..
  • Acting for a tenant retailer in an opposed lease renewal of a very profitable store.
  • Acting for an NHS primary care centre landlord in forfeiture proceedings against a tenant operating a café business within a surgery.

Freeths LLP's first-rate reputation in property-related dispute resolution sees it generate work from clients in sectors such as retail, energy, food and construction, among others. Simon Baigent, who is highly regarded for his restructuring and insolvency expertise, has an excellent record in contentious matters involving an interplay between property and insolvency; his experience includes cases where landlords are faced with insolvent tenants and insolvency matters involving large property portfolios. Practice head Paul Tomkins is closely involved with the East Midlands branch of the Property Litigation Association, while senior associate Edward Pickard is active in all areas of property litigation, with a particular strength in dilapidations disputes, acting for landlords and tenants.

Practice head(s):Paul Tomkins

Other key lawyers:Simon Baigent; Edward Pickard


'The firm provides practical, good value advice'

'Paul Tomkins gave clear, straightforward legal advice and guidance on dilapidation issues. The advice was practical and set out the implications of various actions very clearly'

Key Clients

Travis Perkins Group including Wickes

Well Pharmacy


Chancerygate Asset Management

Middlesbrough Borough Council (Teeside Pension Fund)

Deichmann-Shoes UK Limited

EM Lawshare

Jelson Limited


Work highlights

  • Advising a leading sustainable building materials group in relation to a right to break its lease of premises, which was conditional on it materially complying with all covenants in its lease.
  • Represented an independent fuel retailer in a dispute, where its neighbour was preventing access to its commercial site, in breach of covenant.
  • Acting for a Fire and Rescue Authority in relation to the removal of  telecommunications apparatus from its site.
  • Acting for one of the UK’s leading builder’s merchants in resisting attempts by its landlord to terminate its tenancy on purported redevelopment grounds.
  • Representing a UK-based property investment fund in a significant dispute concerning the amount of overage payable to it after the grant of planning permission to a developer.

Howes Percival LLP's head of property litigation in Leicester is Satnam Chayra, who primarily handles landlord and tenant matters (such as dilapidations, lease renewals, rent recovery, contentious breaks and forfeiture), although she is also active in other general property litigation, including boundary disputes and negligence cases. Also based in Leicester is Geraint Davies, who has more than 25 years of property litigation experience. Director Jane Bloomer leads on property litigation matters in Northampton and, like Chayra, is also known as a landlord and tenant specialist, but she is also strong in residential and commercial insolvency related possession claims, as well as matters involving rights of way, restrictive covenants, easements and adverse possession, among others.

Practice head(s):Satnam Chayra (Leicester); Jane Bloomer (Northampton)

Other key lawyers:Geraint Davies (Leicester)


'Thorough and detailed approach to cases. An ability to cut to the chase and to give clear and concise advice'

Key Clients

C Brewer & Sons Limited

Kettle Interiors UK Limited

O Donovan Waste Disposal Limited

Welcome Break Group Limited

Nampak Plastics Europe Limited

Renewi UK Services Limited

Rodericks Dental Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing a client on a £14m reinstatement claim following fire damage to premises.
  • Representing client in an adverse possession claim against Network Rail.
  • Representing a land agent in relation to a dispute relating to a promotion agreement.
  • Representing a client in relation to claim for breach of collaboration agreement.
  • Representing a client in relation to a lease exit following exercise of a break clause.

Flint Bishop LLP has a well-respected property litigation practice, which is led by Qamer Ghafoor. It generates a large volume of high-value and complex work, which includes dilapidations claims, issues arising from lease renewals, easements, restrictive covenants and beneficial interest claims, among many other areas. Ghafoor handles a broad-cross section of cases, and has a particular interest in emergency remedies proceedings and property related negligence claims. Nick Wells and Andrew Cochrane are noted for their experience of acting for clients in the licensed trade sector; Wells, in particular, is increasingly being sought-out for advice on matters connected with the new statutory Pubs Code. Senior associate Jo Milward-Hyde has also developed a specialism in the licensed trade industry and, in addition, she has developed a new offering in relation to estates management. Lorna Trueman is also heavily involved in property litigation matters.

Practice head(s):Qamer Ghafoor

Other key lawyers:Nick Wells; Andrew Cochrane; Lorna Trueman; Jo Milward-Hyde


'Andrew Cochrane is a true professional. He is a very dedicated and knowledgeable individual, who always provides good sound advice. He has an extremely pleasant manner and always treats others with respect. We also deal with Nick Wells and Jo Milward-Hyde, who provide excellent service and sound advice'

'Very professional and approachable personnel, who have an in-depth knowledge of specialist legal matters. Good understanding of clients needs and commercial considerations'

Key Clients

Bowmer & Kirkland

Marston’s Plc

Peveril Securities

The Land Registry

Food Standards Agency

Haven Insurance Company

Costcutter Supermarkets Group

Henry Boot Developments

Ward Recycling

Methodist Homes

Work highlights

  • Advising Ultimate Insurance Solutions, part of the multi-million turnover Markerstudy Group, on cover legal expenses policies for various property litigation matters.
  • Advised pub retail business Marston’s on numerous matters in connection with the new statutory Pubs Code, which applies to just the six largest pubcos in the UK.
  • Advising Methodist Homes Association on numerous commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters.
  • Acting for Marston’s on hundreds of property litigation matters each year and providing a complete estates management role for its leased estate.

Fraser Brown's practice has a strong footprint in the Midlands, generating mandates across the region from banks, accountants, chartered surveyors and real estate consultancies, among others. Led by Don Peel, who is a member of the Property Litigation Association, the team handles a varied portfolio of cases, such as contractual disputes arising from property transactions, contentious lease renewal claims, forfeiture claims and recoveries of rent arrears. Peel, who has over 20 years of property litigation experience, is supported by associate Chris Chan.

Practice head(s):Don Peel

Other key lawyers:Chris Chan

Key Clients

Nottingham Building Society

Subway Realty Limited

Tempophase Limited/Sovereign Corporate/Nova Heights Limited/Steinburger Developments Limited

Parkare Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Christian Liaigre Limited (as a tenant) in dispute with its landlord over loss arising from the flooding of its showroom in Mayfair.
  • Acting for WSP across a range of property litigation matters including renewals, break notices, dilapidations and other property disputes.

Geldards LLP's clients turn to Mark Hacking for assistance with real estate litigation. Hacking, who is also an experienced mediator, handles the gamut of contentious property issues for businesses and private individuals. His areas of expertise include landlord and tenant disputes, and property management matters, with particular experience of those involving the retail, utilities and automotive sectors.

Practice head(s):Mark Hacking

Knights PLC's property litigation practice is led by Rachael McConaghie, who was hired in 2018 from Sherrards Solicitors LLP, following the departure of former head Michael Lawrence. The firm handles contentious matters for regional and national clients, such as property developers and investors, housebuilders, charities and high net-worth individuals. It also acts for international clients with UK property portfolios. Landlord and tenant work (particularly matters connected with the retail sector) is one of the bedrocks of the practice. Other areas of activity include negligence claims, rectification of title claims and agricultural disputes.

Practice head(s):Rachael McConaghie

Nelsons Solicitors Limited has a well-established reputation in property litigation, as is reflected by its ability to consistently win new work from regional and national clients. Its practice has gone from strength to strength under the leadership of team head Simon Waterfield, whose sole specialism is in property disputes; there has been a notable increase in work from developers. Boundary and easement disputes are among the drivers of activity for the firm, which also sees a strong flow of commercial landlord and tenant matters, such as contentious lease renewals, forfeiture disputes and dilapidations cases. Traveller eviction cases are another notable area of activity.

Practice head(s):Cathryn Selby (head of dispute resolution, Derby); Simon Waterfield (head of property litigation, Nottingham)


'Simon Waterfield is not only a very decent individual, but he is also very commercial'

'Nelsons' approach is always commercial, and you are always left with the feeling that its team is giving you the right advice, rather than the advice that feathers its own nest'

Key Clients

Helier Limited

Chevin Homes (Ashbourne) Limited

W Westerman Limited

Abode Hallam Limited

Intelligent Money Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Chevin Homes in an objection by a landowner to the development of land for a housing estate.

Smith Partnership's diverse workload includes matters involving recoveries of rent arrears, tenancy deposit cases under the Housing Act 2004, boundary disputes and service charge disputes. In Derby, Russell Davies has a strong track record representing clients in property-related mediations, and works alongside Bally Atwal. who has more than 15 years of litigation experience. Solicitor Liam Kreibich has particular experience of acting for residential landlords in housing-related litigation. The partnership was recently boosted by the promotion of Jak Ward, while professional liability head Alison Neate is a key figure in the Leicester office.

Practice head(s):Russell Davies (Derby); Alison Neate (Leicester)

Other key lawyers:Bally Atwal; Jak Ward; Liam Kreibich


'The team is extremely knowledgeable, yet also has a very pragmatic and realistic outlook when it comes to taking a view on matters. It is refreshingly easy to deal with'

'Russell Davies is a very good lawyer, and is very good at working in a team with counsel and with the clients'

'Russell is very pleasant to work with. Always calm and sensible and has a very solid grasp of the case at all times'

Key Clients

Ei Group Plc

Littler Investments Limited

Eurocell Plastics Limited

Metanodic (Engineers) Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Littler Investments Limited in a four-day trial of Landlord and Tenant Act lease renewal claims.

Wilkin Chapman LLP's Grimsby and Lincoln offices both generate contentious property work, with the practice being led by team head Joshua Briggs. Noted for its industry-focused approach to servicing its clients, the firm particularly stands out in areas such as housing and developments, tourism and leisure, and renewables and energy. In the agriculture sector, the firm's position as Regional Panel Members for the National Farmers’ Union (Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire) makes it well-placed to advise on related property disputes. Senior partner Andrew Holt is another key figure.

Practice head(s):Andrew Holt (Lincoln); Joshua Briggs (Grimsby)


'The team is excellent, provides a cost-effective service and is always available to be contacted when needed'

'The team is a nice size. Large enough to handle everything. Small enough to feel you have a personal contact etc. Very approachable. Just extremely competent and quick to respond'

'Joshua Briggs is a standout individual'

'The team is very knowledgeable and experienced'

Key Clients

Canal & River Trust

MSL Legal Expenses Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented T W Logistics Limited, the owners of a port, in an application under the Commons Registration Act. The Claimant sought amendment of a decision at Inspectorate level to designate an area of the Claimant’s port as a town or village green. The application is combined with a parallel judicial review application decision of the Local Authority in this respect.
  • Represented a client, an expert in an Expert Determination relating to the validity of an option agreement.
  • Representing clients in a farming arbitration relating to the dissolution of a partnership.
  • Represented a household name client in recovering possession of premises from squatters.
  • Represented a client in a high value dispute relating to social housing.

Social housing

Browne Jacobson LLP is widely recognised nationally for its full-service offering in the social housing sector, where its ability to draw upon strengths across multiple disciplines comes to the fore. It has a  longstanding track record in development and property work, but its wider practice also covers social housing funding (including private placement funding transactions), housing management, antisocial behaviour, insurance litigation and regulatory work. Illustrative of the firm's outstanding reputation, it counts two of Homes England’s strategic housing association partners as among its clients (out of a total of 15 partners nationally). Barry Sully heads up the practice, which has had an uptick in work from grant-funded development clients in relation to major development programmes, and has also had a strong flow of securitisation mandates. The firm also has a standout reputation in plot sales. In addition to Sully, Gabor Taller and Ben Standing are among the other recommended individuals at the firm.

Practice head(s):Barry Sully

Other key lawyers:Gabor Taller; Ben Standing


'Brown Jacobson offers a complete service of the highest order. Excellent advice, stripped of intelligible jargon and delivered with in a very personable way. We have used them for several years and cannot fault the quality of service and the guidance given.'

'The team are knowledgeable and approachable.'

'The main strength is that the service is always consistent and does not depend on which member of the team is acting on a particular project. The advice given is always explained in understandable terminology and staff always ensures that advice given is fully understood. The practices adherence to meeting deadlines is second to none.;

'Gabor Taller is a standout solicitor - he is extremely responsive, always happy to take a call and quick to answer emails and deal with the "other side". He always has sensible and logical ways of dealing with problems, is tactically savvy, and is well connected and respected within the social housing sector.'

' Barry Sully and Gabor Taller are excellent and highly recommended.'

'Gabor Taller is excellent. He provides pragmatic advice and looks for solutions rather than just flagging up potential issues.'

'Nickie Clarke makes selling shared ownership properties look much easier than it is.'

'Barry Sully ensures his team fully implements his ideals of achieving deadlines whilst ensuring clients are fully aware and in control of actions being taken.'

'Gabor Taller's quiet efficiency and grasp of issues generates great confidence for clients.'

Key Clients

Waterloo Housing Group Ltd (now part of Platform Housing)

East Midland Housing

Metropolitan Housing Trust (now part of Metropolitan Thames Valley)

London Borough of Croydon

EM Lawshare

Homes England

Crown Commercial Service wider public sector framework

Westleigh Partnerships Ltd (now part of Countryside Properties Plc)

Work highlights

  • Advising London Borough of Croydon – a new client – on a major programme of property acquisitions to address the borough’s homelessness issue.
  • Advising Sanctuary Affordable Housing Limited on the development and acquisition of 118 affordable housing units to be constructed at Bretch Hill, Banbury (including up to 51 sheltered accommodation flats).
  • Acted for Local Space on a private placement raising £75m in a 40-year deal with a single UK investor
  • Acting for the London Borough of Ealing on the proposed development of a site in Southall to deliver a mixed use scheme with circa 500 homes plus commercial and retail space (involving Peabody, a registered provider as developer).
  • Acting for Elmbridge Council on the set up and implementation of its housing company, which will help the Council meet its ambitious housing delivery targets by carrying out and promoting housing projects (including affordable).

Freeths LLP operates at the top end of the social housing market, and its breadth and depth of expertise ensures that it wins premium work from arms-length management organisations (ALMOs), registered housing providers and developers, among other clients. Matthew Grocock and consultant Gary Reynolds co-head the practice in Nottingham, which provides a comprehensive range of services to clients, including property development, securitisation, planning, construction and procurement. One area of growth has seen the team increasingly being sought-out to assist with negotiating portfolio transactions. Stephen Pearson is another notable partner in the team. Principal property manager Sarah Rowe, and senior associates Rachel Clarke and Claire Bennett, collectively have over 38 years of experience of the social housing sector.

Practice head(s):Matthew Grocock; Gary Reynolds

Other key lawyers:Stephen Pearson; Sarah Rowe; Rachel Clarke; Claire Bennett


'The Freeths team are my go-to team - there is a huge breadth of knowledge and positive attitude towards getting things done.'

'They give measured and knowledgeable advice which enables things to progress quickly and productively.'

'Senior associate Dilys Taylor is a huge asset to the Nottingham team. She is highly reliable and you are reassured any work will get done to a high standard when Dilys is involved. You can let Dilys run with any work without the need to chase or oversee any elements as she has already taken care of them.'

Key Clients

Nottingham Community Housing Association Limited

BDW Trading Limited

Bellway Homes Limited

Longhurst & Havelok Homes Limited

Greensquare Group Limited

Arches Housing Limited

Derwent Community Housing Association Limited

Kirklees Borough Council

Royal Borough of Greenwich, London

Cambridge City Council

Aldwyck Housing Group Limited

Lea Valley Developments Limited

Metropolitan Housing Trust

Lets Select Limited

Partner Construction Limited

Robert Woodhead Limited

Westleigh Partnerships Limited


Helena Partnerships Limited (now Torus)

Dragonfly Development Limited

Starfish Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Kirklees Council in the Right to Buy and Right process for 200 properties following the initial tenant notice (RTB1), and upon issuing the reply notice (RTB2) and serving the s125 offer notice.
  • Acted for Cambridge City Council on a joint venture with a developer partner for the redevelopment of an old council depot.
  • Acted for NCHA on its acquisition of 142 units from Miller Homes for circa £10.6m.
  • Advising Torus 62 Limited on the disposal of 40 shared ownership units at a development in St Helens.
  • Advising Bromford Housing Association on the disposal of 35 shared ownership units at a development in Burntwood.

Housing and development is an area of focus at Wilkin Chapman LLP, which is highly regarded by registered providers, developers and landowners. The firm has an outstanding reputation in the East Midlands, and its client base is primarily concentrated in the region, but it also undertakes work on a national basis as well; it acts for Linden Limited (Galliford Try's housebuilding arm),  serving six of its national housebuilding divisions. The firm also works with Galliford Try's affordable housing team. Reflective of the credentials of the team, Rachael Perry's background in private practice is complemented by her previous experience of working in-house at a national registered provider, where she focused on strategic development work, securitisation and property management and rationalisation. Peter Hanson and Ruth Brewin are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Rachael Perry

Other key lawyers:Peter Hanson; Ruth Brewin

Key Clients

Linden Homes/Galliford Try Group

Cyden Homes Limited

LACE Housing Association

Lincolnshire Housing Partnership Limited

Acis Group Limited

Salix Homes Limited

Longhurst & Havelok Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Acis Group limited on its acquisition of 60 shared ownership, rented and open market units from a regional housebuilder to develop specialist over 55s housing.
  • Acting for Linden Limited on the sale and development of twenty-eight affordable homes to a regional registered provider.
  • Acting for Linden Limited on the sale of twenty four affordable homes to a registered provider simultaneously with the exchange of a construction contract for the development of the units in return for stage payments.

Wilson Browne offers in-depth coverage  of the social housing sector, with practice head Tom Warrender and Jennifer Laskey the main names to note. It provides specialist advice to social housing providers on land acquisitions and affordable housing sales, as well as assistance with planning documents and option agreements. The team is also attuned to the requirements of private and professional landlords (such as local authorities and private housing associations), and advises on antisocial behaviour, possession and arrears-related issues, among other matters.

Practice head(s):Tom Warrender

Other key lawyers:Jennifer Laskey

Key Clients

Abbeyfield Dorcas Society Limited

EMH Housing & Regeneration Limited

Park Lodge Project

Work highlights

  • Acted for EMH Housing and Regeneration Limited in its acquisition of land linked to a JCT contract.
  • Acted for EMH Housing and Regeneration Limited in its acquisition of 64 units at Beeby Road, Scraptoft
  • Acting for EMH Housing and Regeneration Limited on the purchase of land for proposed residential development of 15 units.
  • Acted for Abbeyfield Dorcas Society Limited on its proposed transfer of a property portfolio to a new company within the group.

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