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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 > Commercial property: elsewhere in the East Midlands > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: elsewhere in the East Midlands
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

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The ‘excellent’ team at Hewitsons ‘provides timely and pragmatic advice’ and handles a varied workload that ranges from commercial and residential development to real estate asset and portfolio management. The group is particularly experienced in the public sector and boot and shoe manufacturing industry, with motor dealerships and the healthcare sectors being additional areas of strength. The department also provides corporate support, assists with funding matters, and is adept at advising clients from the charities and mines and minerals sectors. Key figures include practice head David Wells and Patricia Kempson, who split their time between Northampton and Milton Keynes, as well as Northampton-based practitioners Marc Carter and Claire Howard-Amos. The team recently assisted the owners of Northlands Veterinary Hospital with the sale of a multi-site veterinary practice, involving the transfer of eight freehold properties and lease transfers. Stepnell Group, Cheaney Shoes and Medigold Health Consultancy are clients.

Howes Percival LLP’s key areas of expertise are strategic land acquisitions and disposals, including for investment funds, portfolio secured lending and refinancing work, residential and commercial development, and landlord and tenant work. While practice head Tessa Haskey is based in Norwich, Lucy Lord in Northampton and Leicester advisers Nicholas James and Stuart Burns form a solid East Midlands offering. Lord recently led advice for Mulberry Property Developments on the development and subsequent sales of six residential sites, including one at London Road, Bicester. The practice also acted for Winrise One on the land acquisition and development funding for a student apartment block. Other clients include Persimmon Homes and Henderson UK Property Fund.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP attracts praise for its ‘high level of knowledge and skill and ability to respond to the most complex of legal matters’. The group handles commercial development and residential development and promotion, with clients coming primarily from the retail and leisure and banking and finance sectors. Practice head and ‘great commercial lawyer’ Kate Hall has ‘a great eye for detail’. Caroline Smith and associate partners Darren Smith and Louise Ingram are also recommended. Martin Jones led a team assisting The Drummond Estate with a broad range of issues in relation to the creation of the New Lubbesthorpe area in Leicester, including the sale of land to Goodman Logistics for the construction of warehousing and distribution premises and an agreement for provision of management of open space for the entire site under a collaboration agreement with a sole provider of estate management services. Other clients include Godwin Developments, Domino’s Pizza and Persimmon Homes. Legal director Kelly Wood joined from Spearing Waite LLP. Mark Oldershaw joined Purecycle.

Spearing Waite LLP fields a ‘top-flight’ practice that is ‘extremely capable and very diligent’. The team acts for commercial and residential clients on portfolio management and restructuring transactions, real estate finance and plot sales, in addition to having a strong track record advising investor and developer clients. The practice was bolstered by the recruitment of planning and environment specialist Pritpal Singh Swarn from Wright Hassall LLP. Other key figures include senior partner and practice head Tom Bower and Karen Herbert, who are noted for their ‘knowledge and tenacity’; Richard Wyvill, who is ‘an experienced shopping centre expert’; and Satpaul Dard , who is ‘incredibly fast-working whilst maintaining an excellent level of detail and service’. Dard recently led advice for Blue Inc on the acquisition of the business and assets of A. Levy & Son involving 125 prime leasehold properties from the company’s administrators. Erin Vickers and Siobhan Smyth are also recommended.

Wilkin Chapman LLP’s ‘very good’ team excels in residential and commercial development work, social housing and landlord and tenant matters and draws on its key sector expertise in the agriculture and food, tourism and leisure and renewables and energy sectors to advise local and national clients. practice head Ruth Brewin, noted for her ‘exceptional in-depth knowledge’, recently led advice for Maltgrade on the pre-let of a trampoline dome and the letting of a Starbucks Outlet, both for the Meridian Point leisure complex. In other work, Peter Hanson acted for Lincoln Corn Exchange & Markets on the next phase of its proposed £70m redevelopment of part of Lincoln City Centre. Jonty Pearson and Rachael Perry are also noted. The client list also features Linden Homes, Cyden Homes and The Lincolnshire Co-Operative. Wendy Spalding-Siracusa joined from Sills & Betteridge LLP.

BHW Solicitors’ ‘superb’ team provides ‘first-class service’ and is especially well-versed in transactions in the retail and leisure sector; development projects; and leases for distribution and data centres. Investment property instructions, secured lending mandates and work for clients specialising in pension funds, including funding and refinance matters, are other areas of strength. The addition of Ian Sanders, who joined from Nelsons Solicitors Limited, and the launch of the firm’s specialist division for developer clients, has significantly strengthened the real estate practice. Beverley Merrell heads the practice, which includes the ‘very thorough and professional’ Kate Chorley and ‘very knowledgeable’ associate solicitor Eleanor Rattay. Julie White led advice for Next Holdings on the implementation of its national project to incorporate concessions into Next stores across the UK. Other clients include UK Mail Group, Lavendon Group and Natwest.

Freeths LLP offers ‘strength in depth’ and ‘excellent service’ from a team willing to ‘go the extra mile’. Key strengths include acquisitions and disposals, development and investment work, landlord and tenant advice, and portfolio management and real estate finance work. ‘Brilliant solicitor’ Sam Pancholi recently advised Cambridge & Counties Bank on the £15m refinancing of student accommodation, while legal director Harjit Saund acted for a buyer on the high-value acquisition of a large investment property. Simon Abbott heads the practice. Jelson and Santander UK are also clients.

Gateley Plc handles residential and commercial development and investment schemes, real estate finance, and mandates pertaining to student accommodation and senior living. Practice head Simon Taylor specialises in town centre regeneration, while Colin Gittus is particularly adept at property-related finance work. Recent highlights include acting for Simons Developments on the funding, construction and development of Portsmouth Retail Park. English Care Villages and Richardson Barberry are also clients.

Langleys Solicitors LLP has particular strength in mixed-use development work, but also handles mandates relating to student housing, commercial and residential investment and landlord and tenant work. Key figures include practice head Peter Horner, who is also a notary public, and the ‘excellent’ Sarah Miles. The practice recently advised Intuitive Standard on the transfer of a property portfolio into a limited company and acted for Melbourne Holdings on the purchase of two office blocks as investment properties, including one fully let with a telecoms mast. Jackson & Jackson Developments, Thames Ambulance Services and The University of Lincoln are additional clients.

Weightmans LLP focuses on commercial development and regeneration work, both specialisms of Midlands practice head Richard Osborn, who splits his time between Leicester and Birmingham. Secured lending is another area of expertise. Both Osborn and associate Catherine Bowen demonstrate particular strength in the retail sector, but a significant number of instructions also come from education sector clients. Recent highlights include assisting Strada Trading with the portfolio management of 43 Strada and Coppa Club restaurants, involving the assignment of several leases in addition to regears, variations, and restaurant conversions as well as new acquisitions and disposals. The Food Retailer Operations, Santander UK and the University of Leicester also feature on the client list.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited specialises in property finance, residential development and property work in the charities and education sectors. James Coningsby, the main adviser in the Leicester office, is especially well-versed in urban development work, but the team also fields a strong practice in refinancing work. Led by Coningsby, the group recently advised Abode Hallam on the disposal of a £32m PRS Development in Sheffield by way of forward funding sale, leveraging the team’s construction and planning expertise. In other work, the department acted for GS Developments on its £2.35m acquisition of a development site at Abbey Meadows in Leicester. Aimrok Holdings, Shalis and Kenworth also instructed the team. Associate Ian Sanders joined BHW Solicitors.

‘Efficient and prompt’, Roythornes Solicitors acts for a mix of commercial clients, landowners, developers and investors, and stands out from competitors through its expertise in the energy sector. Jo Ladds heads the practice and recently acted for a national housebuilder on the property due diligence related to a multimillion-pound joint venture transaction, involving the transfer of thirteen residential development schemes into the joint venture.

Wilson Browne Solicitors fields a ‘very good’ team that handles a broad spectrum of work, ranging from acquisitions and disposals to agricultural developments. Practice head Tom Warrender is recommended alongside Nina Wilson , who is noted for her ‘eye for detail and timely responses’. Recent work includes advising Market Harborough Building Society on multiple secured lending matters, totalling a portfolio value of £7.4m. Other clients include Allied Irish Bank and Beeches Farm. John Saynor  is now a consultant.

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