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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: Nottingham and Derby > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

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‘Always quick to respond and assist’, Browne Jacobson LLP’s team attracts praise for its ‘good market knowledge’ and ‘practical advice’. The group is noted for its strength in the retail and distribution, luxury, development and housing, public property, education and health sectors, handling a wide spectrum of issues, ranging from project developments to real estate finance. Highlights included advising Kevin Wheatcroft on the sale of Donington Race Track from Wheatcroft Properties to Motorsport Vision, including obtaining the necessary competition clearance and assisting with multiple long leases and options. Sarah Parkinson led on that matter and is praised for her ‘excellent vision and commercial acumen’. Barry Sully, who jointly heads the practice with the Birmingham-based Dominic Swift, led the team acting for Westerman Homes on the completion of funding arrangements, the acquisition of third-party land interests and disposal agreements with several national housebuilders in the context of the client’s joint venture with Nottinghamshire County Council and a Jersey-based investor regarding a development in Mansfield. Walgreens Boots Alliance and Enfield Council are also clients. Also recommended are Suki Tonks, who was recently promoted to partner, and Claire Burns, who was promoted to legal director.

Delivering ‘excellent service all-around’, Freeths LLP is praised for its ‘outstanding depth of knowledge’. The practice is active across the full range of commercial property mandates, and has experienced a recent uptick in real estate finance work for education and care sector clients. Key figures include Nottingham practice head Guy Winfield, Emna Sfar-Gandoura, who joined from Shoosmiths LLP , Gary Reynolds (an ‘excellent communicator and negotiator’) and  ‘exceptional lawyer’ James Clamp . Also recommended are James Hart, Gillian Roberts (‘a lateral thinker who finds solutions on her feet’), Heather Davies, Jon Smart, Adam Watson and Isobel Radford, who is noted for her ‘excellent pragmatic and commercial approach’. Williamson advised Lucan Gray on the sale of the Custard Factory and surrounding land to Oval Real Estate. Other highlights included advising BDW Trading on the proposed purchase of a site for 1100 new houses in Bingham from the Crown Estate, involving a planning permission requiring the building of a new school and covering the costs for the expansion of an existing school; and acting for One Housing Group on a development agreement and thirty-year institutional leases for four luxury care homes in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Other clients include Tarmac, Chancerygate and Bellway Homes.

Gateley Plc’s ‘efficient and professional’ team ‘always adopts a commercial outlook’ and offers ‘excellent service’. ‘Extremely competent and knowledgeable’, the group undertakes a broad spread of work, but is especially active in investment and development schemes, the healthcare sector, pension scheme work and real estate finance, with added expertise in distressed property. Practice head Adam Youatt, whose team includes senior associate Elly Duggins and associate Charlotte Chapman, ‘translates the requirements of clients into legal documents with flair and ability’ and recently led advice for Bildurn on the high-profile letting of a new retail unit in the centre of Nottingham’s retail district. Custodian REIT instruced the team to assist with the acquisition of a multi-let retail park in Plymouth. The client list also features Fresenius Medical Renal Services and Guildhall Estates.

Geldards LLP is praised for providing ‘pragmatic advice that is tailored to the client’s desired outcome’. The ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team acts for public and private sector clients across a range of commercial property mandates, including residential and commercial development, large-scale regeneration projects, lease renewals and property finance. Graham Banks heads the practice, which includes the ‘resolute and pragmatic’ Tiffany Cloynes, who is noted for ‘her vast experience in the public sector’, the ‘experienced and persuasive’ Heather Dixon, and Jamie Gordon, who has a particular focus on the electricity distribution sector. Recent instructions include advising Leicester City Council on the first phase of its Waterside regeneration scheme and, under the lead of David Watson, assisting BioCity Group with the acquisition and development of the Discovery Building. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Rushcliffe Developments and Office Depot are also recommended.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice provides ‘prompt efficient service’ to clients active in commercial development and residential promotion and development, as well as clients in the energy, banking and finance and healthcare and senior living sectors. The ‘very experienced and commercial' Brendan Walsh heads the practice, which includes associate partners Victoria Bovington and Peter Dilks and legal director Sarah Gunton who is noted for her ‘ability to get the deal done’. In a major highlight, Walsh led advice for Everards Brewery on the sale of the former Brewery site at Castle Acres to Wexford Retail as part of the development of the site into the largest retail scheme planned in the East Midlands. It also acted for The Christian Guild on the procurement of an unusual permissive consent for residential development in St Ives. Also on the client roster are Wilson Bowden Developments RBS, and new clients Motorpoint, Kingsmoor Power and Allied Irish Bank.

Shoosmiths LLP acts mainly for corporate occupiers, developers and investors and is especially active in large portfolio acquisition and disposal transactions as well as in joint venture transactions involving off-shore structuring and alternative investment. It also assists with property finance as well as portfolio management. Key figures include Sean Burke, retail expert Ellis Gardener-Browne, retail and leisure specialist Matthew Kenwood, David Morley and Deborah Gordon Brown. Ann Summers, Fulham Shore and Mountain Warehouse are clients. Emna Sfar-Gandoura joined Freeths LLP .

Flint Bishop LLP has a strong development focus and primarily acts for clients from the retail, leisure, industrial and residential property sectors, in addition to advising schools and colleges. Recent highlights include advising Clowes Developments (UK) on the development and subsequent sale of a large storage and distribution depot, and assisting longstanding client Broadlands Wolverhampton with the £11m investment sale of an office development . Ian Beardmore heads the team, which includes Beverley Simms, Christine Owen and Lucy Carter.

Fraser Brown acts for a mix of individuals, SMEs and domestic and international PLCs on sales and acquisitions, as well as lease and development work. Practice head Anthony Ogley is experienced in development and land promotion agreements as well as site acquisitions for residential, commercial and mixed use development. Other key figures include Chris Barnes and Graham Green, who is now a consultant. Peter Thornley retired.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s core areas include banking and property finance, property instructions in the healthcare sector and residential development. It is also active in office and retail matters, including refinancings, acquisitions of industrial property and landlord and tenant work. Recent highlights include advising Fairgrove Homes and Redrow Homes East Midlands on residential development matters. Practice head Riaz Dudhia and Martin Jinks are the main advisers. Other clients include Cambridge & Counties Bank and Giant UK.

Praised for its ‘superb business acumen’, Actons' real estate practice handles commercial and development transactions, landlord and tenant work and secured lending matters, especially for banks. The group also provides property support to corporate transactions. The team is led by the ‘extremely hardworking and dedicated’ Amanda Gordon and includes the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Caroline Pearson. Recent highlights include assisting a client with strategic advice and documentation drafting for alternative funding methods to finance a multimillion-pound redevelopment of residential apartments, and assisting a private family trust with the sale of more than 200 acres of agricultural land to a local developer. The Framework Housing Association is a client.

Austin Moore & Partners LLP is praised for providing ‘impeccable service’ on commercial property sales and acquisitions, investment property management matters, property developments and property finance. It also handles landlord and tenant issues. Highlights included advising Kennelpak on the property aspects of the sale of Kennelpak to Enact, involving the restructuring of multiple investment properties and lease renewals; and acting for Instarmac Group on the property aspects of its acquisition of Aztec Aerosols. Managing partner Vik Moothia heads the practice, which includes recently promoted partner Rachael Briggs. Other clients include 200 Degrees Coffee Shops, Cardzone and Paragon Property Development Company.

The ‘highly professional’ Smith Partnership offers ‘excellent business acumen’ and ‘great depth of expertise’. Key figures include practice head Jason Wood, who has particular expertise in the healthcare sector, and the ‘very supportive’ Rashid Ali, who handles commercial property work for pharmacies. The group's expertise covers acquisitions and disposals, property finance and development work, landlord and tenant instructions and corporate support work. The client list features a major pub company and several players from the food and drink industry as associate Tara Harding has carved out a niche in licensing work.

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