Gateley Plc is a key firm in the East Midlands market, and is regularly involved in the most complex and high-profile mandates in the local area. Practice head Simon Taylor is lauded by clients and peers alike for his 'tireless dedication', particularly with regards to development work, where he assists with strategic land acquisitions and advises residential developers on collaborations with Homes England. The group's asset management work is handled by Colin Gittus, and includes advising large corporate occupiers from the automotive and energy sectors on the management of their property portfolios.
Commercial property: elsewhere in the East Midlands in East Midlands
Other key lawyers:
‘The team stands out for its depth of real estate knowledge across commercial & residential from banking/funding to leasing, disposals and construction law within a small team. With the ability to efficiently deal with small and simple legal matters to complex and sizeable real estate transactions, only drawing upon other specialist teams/partners within the firm where necessary. This approach allows for prompt well informed decision making and ultimately speedy transactions.’
‘Simon Taylor (stand-out partner) for his tireless dedication to our projects and work. His understanding of our business and our values allows him to provide bespoke advice. His wide-ranging experience and knowledge is exceptional allowing him to succinctly set out the differences between parties and provide constructive options to reach an acceptable agreement for both parties. He is content to adapt to the situation and either take the lead with drafting legal documents or chairing meetings or allow the other party to do so if that will reach a satisfactorily conclusion more easily. ’
‘Personal attention and commitment to completing deals, with a sense of commerciality.’
‘The team has an excellent range of skills and experience. They have a ‘can do’ attitude and are very responsive. They are happy to act as sounding boards.’
‘The individuals are very approachable and down to earth. They are experts in their fields and will advise when they are nearing the edge of the expertise. They are quick to respond and are excellent in moments of crisis.’
Clowes Developments Group
Henry Boot Developments
- Advised Fairham Developments Limited on the development of a 2,600 residential unit scheme.
- Advised Barberry Industrial Limited on the acquisition, letting and funding of a new headquarters site for MOOG Controls at Tewkesbury.
- Advised Clowes Developments (UK) Limited on the sale of serviced land to a residential developer.
HCR Hewitsons' real estate group collaborates with the firm's construction and planning teams to provide a comprehensive service to its developer and property investor clients, most notably with regards to retail outlets, offices and logistics warehouses. The firm is particularly strong in residential development and strategic land issues; Claire Howard-Amos, who was promoted to partner in 2020, leads the specialised team and assists developers and landowners with promotion agreements and option agreements, with the Oxford-Cambridge Arc a region of recent focus. David Wells leads the team across the Milton Keynes and Nottingham offices.
Other key lawyers:
Marc Carter; Particia Kempson; Claire Howard-Amos
‘HCR Hewitsons has dealt with a number of lease negotiations and property transactions over the last year. We work principally with Marc Carter, in whom we have great confidence, due to his dedication and expertise.’
‘Trish Kempson – always available, always responsive.’
‘It is a multidisciplinary practice that can cover most commercial aspects.’
‘We work primarily with Claire Howard-Amos by request as she is a pragmatic, commercially minded doer who moves matters forward. A number of the transactions that we work on are complex land transactions so they require someone who is able to focus the true intent of the parties and through problem solving find ways to drive matters forward so that the transactions can be completed to the satisfaction of both parties. This is sometimes quite a long process but Claire persists and goes above and beyond that of other lawyers to achieve positive outcomes when I suspect others would abandon play.’
‘I have worked with Marc Carter for many years and found him very professional.’
‘Good team which cover a number of different areas in property. Very professional and prompt in replying. They also take into account the client’s needs.’
‘They are straight to the point and very clear in their advice and getting the job done.’
‘Our company has relied on this firm for legal advice for many years. They have considerable expertise in many areas, and what makes them stand out is their professionalism and efficiency.’
United Learning Group
IMT Aviation Limited
Cheaney Shoes Limited
Medigold Health Consultancy Limited
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 Ltd
Community Spaces Northampton (charity)
- Advised AW James Limited on the refinancing of its property portfolio.
- Advised Wimbledon Property Holdings on the final letting of space within an art-deco premises in Church Road, Wimbledon.
- Advised AW James Limited on the letting of office space.
Howes Percival LLP utilises its multiple regional offices to provide a comprehensive service to clients across the East Midlands, advising on investment fund acquisitions and disposals, sale and leaseback transactions, real estate finance work and landlord and tenant issues. Lucy Lord is the name to note in Northampton, where she regularly advises developers on the sale of residential plots to affordable housing providers through golden brick and development agreements. The Leicester team is led by Nicholas James and includes Stuart Burns, who specialises in commercial and residential strategic land acquisitions.
Nicholas James; Lucy Lord
Other key lawyers:
Stuart Burns; John Herd
‘Excellent service at great value.’
‘Lucy Lord – understands the business and has exceptional eye for detail producing quality support.’
‘An excellent practice for complex matters, especially acquisitions and development funding. The quality of work is outstanding and client liaison superb. Good people too.’
‘John Herd has been excellent in advising us on the structure of land options and the subsequent sale of either land or the SPV’s associated with the land . He knows what deadlines mean and has dealt very effectively with lawyers acting for the other side with great maturity and, when required, subtle dexterity.’
‘We have worked with several of the employee’s who have always delivered for us, if I was going to mention one, it would be Stuart Burns. Stuart has now been apart of our team since the signing of our first site in the UK and continues to absorb himself in our business to better understand our needs to be able to better support us. My biggest appreciation of Stuart is his of course legal knowledge but also his commercial knowledge too, which allows us to have straight forward conversations and make quick decisions.’
‘The team at HP undertake a broad range of transactional and professional work and are able to advise us on a wide range of transactional and professional matters across the various in-house specialisms. More importantly, the cooperation and joined up thinking displayed by individuals across those disciplines ensures that the best advice and guidance can be secured in the most efficient and cost effective way.’
‘Our principle contact is Stuart Burns. I have worked with Stuart for around 10 years and he has provided advice in a number of contexts and across a wide range of issues. Stuart will simply go the extra mile when circumstances dictate. It is clear that fee hours aside, Stuart puts the interests of his clients and their commercial parameters central and has a solid understanding of how his advice fits with our commercial parameters.’
HSBC Bank plc
Santander UK plc
Barclays Bank plc
C.Brewer & Sons Limited
Westmoreland Properties Limited
Davidsons Developments Limited
TM Sutton Limited and Instant Cash Loans Limited
Stoneygate Football Club Limited
Kaplan Property Ltd
Persimmon Homes Limited
Raynsway Estates Limited
Wilson Enterprises Limited
Westmoreland Investments Limited (Part of Charles Street Buildings (Leicester) Limited group)
Mulberry Property Developments Limited
Mulberry Industrial Properties Limited
Mulberry Strategic Land Limited
Motorvogue (Northampton) Limited
- Advised Mulberry Property Developments Limited on the sale of 125 affordable housing plots on a large residential scheme to an affordable housing provider.
- Advised Highweald Wines Limited on the purchase of a renowned operating vineyard.
- Advised Mulberry Industrial Properties Limited on the purchase and leaseback of a large commercial development site.
Shakespeare Martineau LLP is one of Leicester's largest firms, and is able to offer clients a diverse practice thanks to its team of specialised partners. Practice head Louise Ingram focuses on strategic land work and includes advising large developers on acquisitions for mixed-use and residential schemes. Ingram is regularly assisted by associate Holly Lockley, who has developed strong relationships with many of the team's key clients. The care home sector is another specialism; Kate Hall regularly works with care home operators on all real estate mandates including financing issues. Martin Jones leads the dedicated projects and infrastructure group.
Other key lawyers:
Martin Jones; Kate Hall; Jonathan Fear; Holly Lockley; Kylie Wesson
‘Kate Hall and her team in Commercial Property continue to perform to high standards providing a highly skilled and efficient service.’
‘Clear in advice, efficient in execution.’
‘Kate Hall has in depth legal knowledge and provides a very safe pair of hands.’
‘We have built a long term working relationship with the Property team at the Leicester office. They understand how each of our organisations work and pull together to complete the tasks involved in purchase/sale or lease of properties that we develop.’
‘Kate Hall is my contact within the organisation. Kate demonstrates all the qualities one would expect – prompt, knowledgeable, dedicated etc. What makes Kate different to other organisations is her ability to take our philosophy and apply it to her work. With the onset of the pandemic Kate took the opportunity to look at our agreement process and update it to be electronic. Whilst this helped during the pandemic it has also set us up for the future by reducing costs (postage, paper etc) and time.’
‘The Shakespeare’s property team always provide partner led sound commercial legal advice. They are capable of handling all types of transactions, very competitive and offer pragmatic solutions.’
‘Very thorough, excellent attention to detail and professional. Good communication skills. They do the simple things well and also the harder and more complicated jobs well.’
Parker Strategic Land Limited
Manor Oak Homes Limited
Walsall Housing Group
The Drummond Trust
Everards Brewery Limited
Armstrong Logistics Limited
Godwin Developments Limited
Code Students Limited
- Advised Armstrong Logistics on the acquisition of one of the largest units at Magna Park in Lutterworth.
- Advised Godwin Developments on the sale of a roadside convenience site in Rushden, Northamptonshire, to LondonMetric Property Plc.
- Advised Walsall Housing Group on the purchase of land and the connected build agreement for a modular build development.
Wilkin Chapman LLP
Wilkin Chapman LLP is highly active in the Lincolnshire market and, across its multiple offices, houses expertise in all areas of commercial, residential and development work. The practice is led by Rachael Dicken in the Grimsby office; the Lincoln-based team also fields a number of experienced practitioners, including Jonty Pearson, who focuses on large residential developments and serves as relationship partner for a number of the firm's key clients. Ruth Brewin stood down from partnership in March 2020 to take up a consultancy role, while Emma Ellinor arrived from Chattertons in May 2020 to boost the development offering from the Beverley office.
Other key lawyers:
Jonty Pearson; Peter Hanson; Wendy Spalding: Ruth Brewin; Emma Ellinor
‘I have dealt with Wilkin Chapman for over 35 years, and the thing I like most is the professional but personal touch throughout this time. I know a lot of the senior team personally, and they have always provided an excellent service. They are local, yet large enough to cover all of my needs from company acquisitions to conveyance and litigation.’
‘The team at Wilkin Chapman are always very professional and offer sound legal advice.’
‘Our main contact is partner, Jonty Pearson. Jonty is extremely personable and easy to deal with. He is knowledgeable, responsive and efficient in all his dealings with us.’
‘Friendly, fun and professional.’
‘Easy to work with, friendly and very approachable.’
‘The nature of our business is transactional and deadline driven, without the collaboration from the team at Wilkin Chapman we would struggle to meet the required deadlines to deliver our service. We work with dedicated fee earners that are fully abreast of matters and proactive in moving them forward, rather than reactive. Fortunately I am privileged to share that Wilkin Chapman LLP are consistently the fastest link in the legal chain of our projects.’
‘The Lead partner Wendy Spalding is outstanding, managing her team to meet every one of our often urgent, borderline unrealistic, deadlines. This is delivered through proactive and collaborative staffing.’
‘Jonty Pearson goes out of his way to be constructive and pragmatic so is a rare beacon of light in the sector.’
Vistry Homes Limited / Linden Limited
Bowbridge Homes Limited
Crest Nicholson Operations Limited
Lincoln Corn Exchange Markets (1991) Limited/Lincolnshire Co-operative Limited
Total UK Limited
Beal Developments Limited
Cospace Group Limited
Lincolnshire Agricultural Society
Lincoln Science and Innovation Park Limited
Lindum Group Limited
D J Fatica Asset Management Limited
Cyden Homes Limited
Danielle Draper Limited
Stirlin Developments Limited
- Advised Bowbridge (Kier) Limited on the acquisition of seven residential development sites.
- Advised Lincoln Corn Exchange and Markets (1991) Limited on the redevelopment of existing prominent city centre retail units within the Cornhill Quarter Lincoln Redevelopment Scheme.
- Acting for Mwat Limited as a tenant on the complex lease of a flexible energy generation project.
Based in Leicester, BHW Solicitors' practice is notable for the range of mandates it handles, including agriculture, development, financing and pension scheme issues. In 2020, the practice's secured lending expertise led to the group being added to HSBC's national panel, which led to an high volume of instructions, with the team advising on over 30 matters in the final quarter of 2020, most of which has been handled by practice head Beverley Merrell and Eleanor Rattay. Ian Sanders is another name to note and focuses on commercial and residential developments.
Other key lawyers:
Ian Sanders; Eleanor Rattay; Raj Hundal; Kate Burlinson
‘Beverley Merrell is an exceptional lawyer, providing clear concise advice to clients, in a timely efficient manner. We work with a number of commercial property lawyers and firms, and would recommend Beverley above all others.’
‘I moved to follow Kate Burlinson; she is highly efficient, calm and knowledgeable. Always available and always on the ball. I never find myself having to chase her up.’
‘Proactive in getting the transaction completed in a very timely manner offering guidance and advice throughout the process to ensure all risks are understood and mitigated.’
‘We deal with both Kate Burlinson and Ian Sanders who are both driven to achieve completion of the transaction ensuring we are well advised and protected.’
DHL Parcel UK Limited
HSBC UK Bank Plc
W Potter & Sons (Holdings) Limited
Ivor King Properties Limited
The Beighton Family Investment Company
Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited and John E. Haith Limited
Little Tiger Investments Limited
MSI Property Holdings Limited
- Advised HSBC UK Bank Plc on taking various securities including development finance and assisted with perfecting securities over both residential and commercial properties.
- Advised DHL Parcel UK Limited on its acquisition of two new distribution depots.
- Advised W Potter & Sons (Holdings) Limited on the refinancing of the Potters Poultry group of companies.
Freeths LLP handles all types of commercial property work, and regularly assists with sales, purchases, financings and development issues in the logistics, manufacturing, retail and residential sectors. Simon Abbott, who leads the Leicester-based team alongside Sam Pancholi, is lauded for his work with property investment companies on the management of their portfolios. Harjit Saund advises both high-net-worth individuals and large corporates on landlord and tenant matters, while also being the relationship partner for key client, Tarmac.
Simon Abbott; Sam Pancholi
Other key lawyers:
Harjit Saund; Kishen Ravalia
‘Deep understanding of our business and flexibility.’
‘Harjit Saund stands out in particular for her ability to ‘get the job done’ with minimal input which stems from taking the time to fully and deeply understand the client and their requirements at the outset.’
‘Strengths are its solutions based approach which is refreshing with the ability to solve rather than entrench in long winded and expensive negotiations.’
‘Kishen Ravalia – calm and good at delivering solutions. The transaction that we worked on was immensely complex and Kishen grew in confidence through the process and laterally we did not have to involve the senior partner as Kishen had the points covered.’
‘Trusted, high-quality advice, calm, supportive and excellent value for money.’
Cambridge & Counties Bank
Abbey Commercial Investments Group
Lloyds Bank Plc
Motor Parts Direct Limited
Nelsons Solicitors Limited is regularly involved in key developments in the local market and in 2020 advised on residential developments, student schemes, retail properties, offices, logistics premises and industrial complexes. The build-to-rent market is also a key area of experience for the group, which has expertise in handling golden brick developments. James Coningsby is the sole real estate partner in the Leicester office, assisting with complex acquisitions and disposals, sale and leaseback transactions and secured lending work. Associate Peter Rees departed to join Knights plc in November 2020.
‘The main contact I have dealt with at Nelsons is James Coningsby. He has been helpful to us, especially with his calm and thoughtful approach to dealing with some non-standard, sometimes quite complex, problems that we have experienced.’
GS Property Holdings Limited
Cambridge and Counties Bank Ltd
Abode Nottingham Ltd
Aimrok Holdings Ltd
Petit Forestier UK Ltd
Trafalgar Global Limited
Prime Life Limited
Wimbledon Chase Limited
Landmark Property Solutions Limited
Living Choice Investments Limited
UK Land Assets Limited
Yu Group PLC
- Advised GS Property Holdings Limited on landlord and tenant issues.
- Advised Petit Forestier UK Limited on the £2.9m conditional purchase of a new site close to the Dartford Tunnel.
- Advised FC Measom on the grant to Costa of a long lease for a new-build drive through establishment on the edge of Leicester.
Roythornes Solicitors utilises its Lincolnshire location to advise landowners on all aspects of acquisition, disposal and development transactions. The group, which has a close relationship with its Birmingham office, assists with a number development schemes, advising on development agreements, JCT build contracts and warranties. Many of the firm’s transactions relate to the mining and energy sectors; Edd Johnson and Iain Hibbert both advise on transactions relating to land used for mineral extraction, solar schemes and quarrying. Jo Ladds works with developers on acquisitions and disposals.
Edd Johnson; Iain Hibbert
Other key lawyers:
‘Detailed knowledge of their industry sector and provision of sound in-depth advice.’
‘Excellent communication enabling everyone to know where we are with complex projects, before having to ask. A practical approach, finding solutions, rather than merely just pointing out legal facts.’
‘Edd Johnson – excellent technical advice with an honest and practical approach. Not afraid to “pick up the phone” and talk difficult points through and find a solution.’
‘Roythornes still has that personal touch. You feel like you are dealing with a person not an organisation.’
- Advised a landowner on the lease of substrata to allow extraction of pot ash in North Yorkshire.
- Advised a landowning family trust in relation to the multi-phase development of a new town in the East Midlands.
- Advised a consortium of seven landowners in relation to a large ground-mounted solar scheme.
Richard Osborn is the key name for Excello Law in the Midlands; he was formerly regional office head at Weightmans LLP before moving to the new model law firm in mid-2019. Osborn has strong roots in the local market, serving as director of a number of business organisations in Leicester, and his key clients include the University of Leicester. He is praised for combining 'the experience and deal knowledge of much bigger firms', with 'the partner-led service of a more niche practice'. The firm's commitment to the region was underlined by the launch of a new office in Leicester in January 2021.
‘Richard Osborn is an excellent lawyer, who is both technical and commercial. He provides the experience and deal knowledge of much bigger firms, but can provide the partner-led service of a more niche practice. I have been incredibly impressed with how he is able to problem solve and see routes through even the trickiest of legal issues. He is engaging, responsive and friendly to work with. I have also found him to be well connected and able to make introductions to other useful commercial contacts in other professional fields. I would wholeheartedly recommend him to other real estate investors and developers.’
‘I think very highly of Richard Osborn and Excello. They are very strong from a technical perspective but also commercial and solution-orientated. The thing that has particularly impressed me is how engaged and quick to respond Richard is. Nothing is too much trouble. This is certainly not the experience I have had with many other lawyers. I have found that Richard Osborn compares very favourably to the lawyers that we deal with at the large scale London and regional firms who specialise in real estate.’
‘The team know my organisation well and can advise me in a way that is relevant and proportionate to my needs.’
‘We have worked with Richard Osborn for eight years and followed him from a previous firm, as we have a very good relationship with him. Richard is very responsive and tenacious and has successfully helped us to complete asset and business transfers, revise leases and carry out conveyancing on our behalf. He is very professional, friendly and clearly hard-working.’
‘Richard Osborn has been incredibly supportive and never once have I felt that a question is too stupid or a worry too small. He takes time to reassure in a way that is professional and positive.’
University of Leicester
Seven Capital PLC
Village Partnerships Limited
VISTA (Royal Leicestershire Rutland & Wycliffe Society for the Blind)
Modus Partnerships Limited
Blyth Group (Paragon Living Space & H2B Investments)
GNM Developments Ltd
Pastry Boys Limited / Tart London Limited
The Braunstone Foundation
First Retail UK Limited
- Advising the University of Leicester on the acquisition of land from Leicester City Council for the development and letting to occupiers of Space Park Leicester.
- Acted on several new Seven Capital residential development projects, including the conditional development and acquisition Contract for 306 dwelling residential scheme in Derbyshire.
- Acting for the purchaser and new developer of the former Sunbeam Factory Site in Wolverhampton following previous developers going into administration.
Sills & Betteridge LLP, which has offices across Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, advises a broad range of clients including developers, SMEs, charities and private individuals on all areas of commercial property. Malachy McGill leads the team from Lincoln, and often works alongside the corporate team to advise on the real estate elements of business transactions. Former senior partner Andrew Payne retired from the partnership in May 2020, though remains as a consultant.
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Payne; Susan Thomas; Raj Blackburn
‘I have used Sills & Betteridge to conduct my legal affairs for over 10 years. My experience has always been a positive one and the customer service provided by all the departments has always been excellent. The staff are always helpful, polite and proactive and the departments work brilliantly together and with one another when matters overlap.’
‘Malachy consistently provides excellent service, demonstrating professionalism and extensive knowledge particularly in relation to commercial property matters that he has undertaken on my behalf.’
‘It’s obviously a little difficult during lockdown but we found Sills to be quick to respond and easy to deal with. We would recommend them and will use them again.’
‘The team were very professional, attentive, informative and nothing was ever too much trouble.’
‘Andrew went into great detail and made sure I was kept in the loop at all times. Their knowledge and professionalism was impressive and better than other companies I have used previously.’
Lindum Group Limited
Skegness Golf Centre Limited
Sukat processing Limited
County Care Support
Hemswell Estates Limited
Chandlers (Farm Machinery) Limited
The Burdens Group
Clydesdale Bank PLC
Cairns Heritage Homes No.6 Limited
- Advised Cairns Heritage Homes No.6 Limited on the purchase of a development site.
- Acted for Chandlers Farm Equipment on its £23m acquisition of Lister Wilder’s Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra ‘AGCO’ dealerships, acquiring five new depots in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
- Advised Skegness Golf Centre Limited on the sale of land and building previously used as a golf centre as part of a business restructuring due to Covid-19.
Wilson Browne Solicitors
Focusing on the Northamptonshire market, Wilson Browne Solicitors has developed its commercial offering in recent years, and now fields practitioners with a range of real estate expertise. Ika Částka leads the team, which advises on the leasing of commercial premises, promotion agreements and site acquisitions across the local area. Tom Warrender is another key team member and assists private individuals, pension funds and businesses.
Other key lawyers:
Tom Warrender; Nina Wilson; John Punni
‘The team at Wilson Browne, led by Nina Wilson, have provided consistently clear, down to earth advice that has invariably been high quality, relevant and timely. We have developed and excellent relationship where we have complete trust in the services that Wilson Browne provide.’
‘The team is very commercially minded and gets the job done with alacrity. They don’t look to string things out, they get to the point and unravel the legal jargon for their clients seamlessly. I have recommended many clients to Tom Warrender and his team and have full confidence in them to do a great job.’
‘Nina Wilson, who provides the advice directly to us, is highly responsive, communicates very effectively and ensures that we get the advice we need. She understands our property portfolio very well and has ensured that we are protected from risk whilst remaining practical and decision oriented.’
‘The team conducts our business with care and attention to detail, keeping us fully informed of developments, whilst also striving to complete projects in sometimes very demanding timescales.’
‘Tom Warrender understands our business, he responds to any enquiry or instruction quickly and concisely with knowledge and professionalism. Tom gives sound advice in easy to understand terms, tailored to our requirements and with an understanding that can only be gained by someone who has a genuine interest in the case before him. He is persistent in his pursuit of bringing things to a close, whilst giving regular updates on progress.’
‘Headed by John Punni, the commercial property team benefits from his extensive industry knowledge and experience. Their local contacts and understanding are a huge benefit, providing a unique and personal approach to each and every job. Importantly, they know and understand their client’s business and adjust their approach accordingly.’
‘John Punni is extremely approachable and friendly. He has a calm and personable manner, always keeping a cool head. He is resourceful and able to examine any issues arising from all angles to find a satisfactory solution to potential obstacles. He is able to pull together multiple strands of complex deals. Most importantly, he is particularly commercial in his outlook, appreciating the wider implications of deals and terms, and balancing the client’s commercial and legal imperatives.’
United Pallet Network
Compass Community Limited
Fernbrook Investments (UK) Limited
Papa John’s (UK) Limited
- Advised Bowbridge Homes Limited on the acquisition and funding of a development site.
- Advised Compass Children’s Homes Limited on the acquisition of numerous leasehold and freehold sites for new children’s homes.
- Advised Ubbink on the acquisition of leasehold premises for the relocation of its UK business.