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Corporate and commercial: Liverpool in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLPhas a deep pool of talented lawyers’ and is described as feeling 'like a branch of the client’s company’. The team, which has a distinct mid-market focus, demonstrates a high degree of sector knowledge in the sport, technology, media and entertainment, retail, healthcare and housing association sectors. Andrew O’Mahony is a star name for private equity and finance work while Colin Bell is a specialist when it comes to franchising, licensing agreements and commercial contracts. Rupert Gill and Mark Rathbone are key names on the M&A front, David Maples handles joint ventures and private equity matters with the team also including the ‘good negotiating’ skills of Nik White. At the junior end, ‘very professional’ associate Victoria Trigwell is a name to note alongside legal director Nicola Lomas, who is developing expertise in sales and acquisitions pertaining to dental practices. Michael Brabner serves as a consultant in the corporate practice.


‘Brabners have a deep pool of talented lawyers to draw on so they always seem to have an expert whatever speciality is required. Good honest ethos – not always recommending a course of action which makes more work for them.’

‘Nik White has a very strong understanding of subject area and our own contract structures. Good negotiating skills with our customer’s lawyers. Matt Brown has great knowledge of commercial IT contracts.’

‘All my dealings with Victoria Trigwell have been great. She’s very professional, understands our business and works to the deadlines set out.’

‘Responsive, knowledgeable and approachable.’

‘Easy to do business with. They refrain from using too much legal speak, making it easier to make informed decisions. Approachable, understand the needs of the business, accessible and responsive.’

Key clients

Open Outdoor Media Ltd

Arena Sports Live

EPG Business Limited t/a EPIC Risk Management

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

James Hall & Company Limited

Peel Ports

NWF Group plc

Maven Capital

Suez Recycling and Recovery Limited

Together Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Acting on four acquisitions for NWF Group, an AIM listed plc.
  • Provision of streamlined contract documentation to support the Open Outdoor Media’s exponential growth in the field of digital media out of the home.
  • Acting for Ondeo Industrial Solutions UK on the sale of a UK company by a French headquartered group to a French buyer.

DLA Piper

Home to ‘a large team with vast experience', the DLA Piper practice represents a number of UK government entities in addition to clients from the retail, consumer goods, manufacturing and logistics sectors. James Kerrigan jointly heads the department alongside Sarah Bell, whose expertise includes joint ventures, outsourcing and commercial transactions. Peter Brook and Paddy Dwyer are ‘great at thinking outside the box’, handling commercial contracts matters such as supply, agency, distribution and franchising agreements. The caseload is further distinguished via the number of cross-border instructions with clients noting that the regional practice 'partners well with other DLA teams in the UK and internationally.'

Practice head(s):

James Kerrigan; Sarah Bell

Other key lawyers:

Peter Brook; Paddy Dwyer; Gemma Cowap


‘They have a large team with a lot of experience and cover a wide range of legal areas, which means they are able to meet all of our external legal requirements.’

‘They are highly responsive, always meet requested deadlines and communicate well to manage expectations. They partner well with other DLA teams in the UK and internationally, and the size of the firm means they are capable of bringing in additional support where required on urgent or larger/international projects.’

‘They also use state-of-the-art technology to support diligence and contract review exercises which means we can cover a lot of ground in a short space of time in a cost efficient way.’

‘They have a lot of experience across all sectors, are technically excellent, and the overall quality of advice is extremely high. They are also not afraid to give difficult advice and are always honest and direct, which means we trust them implicitly.’

‘Peter Brook and Paddy Dwyer have been supporting us over the last few years on a wide variety of matters ranging from day to day commercial advice to more complex projects and M&A transactions. The nature and fast-moving pace of our business means we occasionally encounter unique situations requiring urgent resolution. Peter and Paddy are great at thinking outside of the box and coming up with innovative solutions to challenging problems. The advice and support has been excellent, they are very approachable, always available, and they get on great with the internal team.’

Key clients

arvato Group

Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd t/a Barclays Partner Finance


Heineken UK

Hunter Boots Limited

Liverpool City Council

Liverpool Football Club

Newell Rubbermaid

PetrolValves Srl

QA Limited

Sutton & Son (St Helens) Ltd

UK Government (NHS England, Cabinet Office, Department for Transport, Natural Environment Research Council, Department for Work and Pensions, Crown Commercial Services, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)



Work highlights

  • Advised the UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service on the establishment of a £450m framework for payment solutions to buy goods and services for central government and the wider public sector.
  • Advised the UK Government on the drafting of the standard terms of purchase to be used across all government departments for the purchase of goods and services.
  • Advised Bajaj Auto, the third largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, on a global and strategic deal with Triumph for the design, manufacture, supply distribution and support of a new range of bikes.

Hill Dickinson LLP

The practice at Hill Dickinson LLP is made up of a team of ‘dedicated and real experts’. Mark Fitzgibbon jointly heads the practice with Craig Scott, a lawyer with extensive experience of private equity deals and corporate transactions. The team also include Jonathan Brown, who handles negotiations in the transport and aviation sectors, as well as Matt Noon, whose track record includes various high-value national investments, sales and acquisitions. Mike Jones, particularly active in the retail, logistics, leisure and property sectors, provides M&A expertise alongside Sue Russell. Also of note at the junior end are Michael Murphy and Graeme Alder; they respectively specialise in corporate deals in the property investment sector and commercial contracts. Cross-border matters are a core strength with further industry strengths including health, local government and higher education.

Practice head(s):

Mark Fitzgibbon; Craig Scott


‘Dedicated and real experts.’

‘Real in-depth practical lawyers.’

‘We see Hill Dickinson as a “one stop shop”, capable of handling everything from property, terms and conditions, HR, M&A and litigation matters. We have a senior account partner who supports us, knows our business and market who adds value to each assignment.

‘What sets them apart is their response times, availability and willingness to support us as clients at all times. The team works well as a cohesive unit and genuinely seems to act as a team.’

‘Mike Jones has a thorough understanding of our business and its priorities’. 

‘Craig Scott responds very quickly at all times of the day and night to our requirements.’

‘I have worked with Craig Scott for over 10 years. I am a massive advocate of Craig and would have no hesitation in recommending him to others; in fact I have on several occasions. He is a hard working, attentive, client focused and pragmatic lawyer. The addition of genuine commerciality is a huge benefit together with a pragmatism that is not often seen with other corporate lawyers.’

Key clients

Stobart Group

Enterprise Ventures Growth II fund

Next Wave Partners

The Delivery Group

CRH Group

Carrs Milling Industries PLC

JLA Group

Fishawack Communications

Kuehne + Nagel

Downing Students

Dublin Aerospace Limited (Aircraft MRO)

Alcedo Blue Limited (Care Services)

Mersey Bioenergy Holdings Limited

Upside Down Investments Limited

King Construction

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Business Growth Fund (BGF) in connection with the MBO of Joloda International Group, backed by an £7.5m investment from BGF.
  • Advised Stobart Group Limited, as a 30% shareholder of Connect Airways Limited  in relation to the £102m funded acquisition of and investment in Flybe Group plc’s main trading assets.
  • Acting for the management team in connection with the MBO of NW civil engineering contracting business, King Construction, backed by an £11.6m investment from NVM Private Equity.


At DWF, Paul Rimmer tailors his practice towards M&A and private equity transaction with a track record of representing national PE funds and high-profile corporates; he heads the practice together with Ben Cooke who regularly advises on commercial contracts such as procurement, outsourcing, concession and marketing agreements. Paul Attwood recently stepped down from his role as co-practice head though remains active in the team, leveraging his knowledge of the food, technology, hospitality and education sectors. Other key strengths include management buy-outs and group reorganisations.

Practice head(s):

Ben Cooke; Paul Rimmer

Other key lawyers:

Paul Attwood

Key clients

Inflexion Private Equity

Marks and Spencer Plc

Livingbridge Private Equity

Optionis Group

ACC Liverpool Group

Liverpool John Moores University

Burton’s Biscuits

National Museums Liverpool

Hobs Group

Work highlights

  • Providing a contracts retainer service to the procurement arm of M&S, as well as providing specialist input as required by group legal.
  • Appointed, on a retainer basis, to advise ASW and its subsidiaries Superdrug, The Perfume Shop and Savers on the full range of their commercial contract requirements.
  • Appointed by KP Snacks to deliver commercial advice and to draft and negotiate general commercial (including data protection), IT and IP contracts and marketing terms and conditions.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP is particularly reputed for its private M&A work for mid-market corporates and OMBs. Its private sector expertise spans the financial services, built environment, retail, utilities, transport, leisure and insurance sectors, among others. Broadening the department’s expertise is its equally formidable public sector knowledge with various NHS bodies, police forces, local authorities, housing associations and education establishments found on the client roster. Roland Hutchins and Victoria Robertson head the practice which also delivers EU procurement advice and includes Laurence Pritchard, a specialist in competition aspects such as merger control and anti-competitive agreements. Managing partnerJohn Schorah is a veteran in commercial contracts.


‘The whole team worked seamlessly throughout my transaction, from the partner involved to the newly trained members of the firm.’

‘Nothing is too much for this team, the time and effort they spend to understand the client is refreshing and gives a feeling of approachability and real enthusiasm for the work they do.’

‘Kieran Donovan was excellent in understanding exactly what I was looking to achieve and understood what my expectations were in terms of both Weightmans and the share purchase itself.’

Key clients

OBG Pharmaceuticals Limited

Sovini Group Limited


All About Food Limited

NW Trading (Holdings) Limited

Greif UK International Holdings Limited

Belton Farm Group Limited

Goonhilly Earth Station Limited

Peter Johnson

George Roberts ( North West ) Limited

S Norton & Co Limited

Meade –King Robinson & Company Limited

Pilgrim Global ICAV


Lloyds Bank plc

Allied Irish Bank

Liverpool Media Academy


DSG Chartered Accountants

Smart Creative Technologies Limited

Virtus Concrete Solutions Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising media, music and performing arts specialist university centre LMA on its national expansion, securing a significant multimillion development capital equity investment from a consortium of investors led by William Currie Group, Sir Terry Leahy and Robbie Williams.
  • Advising the founder members of Smart Creative Technologies Ltd and its associated company, Virtus Concrete Solutions Limited, in connection with a private equity investment into both companies by Blue Planet Environmental Solution Pte Ltd, a Singapore headquartered company.
  • Acting for The Open University on the procurement of a new and venture-changing ‘University in a box’ IT solution – an open procurement process followed by the appointment of iTelligence as the service provider.


Bermans handles M&A, disposals, joint venture, private equity and venture capital in addition to shareholder reorganisations. Matters are split across a range of sectors including asset-based lending, motor retail and private equity. Jon Davage and Anton Stirrett jointly head the practice which also advises on commercial contracts, and is predominantly geared to representing a regional SME client base.

Practice head(s):

Jon Davage; Anton Stirrett

Key clients

1st Choice Concrete & Skip Hire Limited

360 Vision Technology Limited

Aerocare Group (Warrington) Limited

Alma Products Limited


Butterworth Spengler Holdings Limited

College Green Care Home Limited

Geryon Pharma Limited

GRS Contractors Limited

In Phase Training Limited

John Sutch Cranes Limited

Navitas Engineering Limited

Pennelly Properties Limited

Pixus Online Limited

Progress to Excellence Limited

Ridgemere Developments Limited

Ridgemere Limited

Senate Mech Limited

Skyline Property Solutions Limited

Stramongate Properties Limited

Uniforms For Work Limited

Wilds of Oldham


Under the leadership of the ‘extremely knowledgeableEdward Barnes, DTM Legal LLPoffers an exceptional service to clients, genuinely understanding their business needs’. Fronts on which the team excels include private equity, M&A, corporate restructurings, commercial contracts, employee incentives, constitutions and governance. Though active in a number of sectors, the group specialises in acting for finance companies, local and national funders in addition to insurance companies.

Practice head(s):

Edward Barnes

Other key lawyers:

Philip Whitehurst; Fredrica Reid


‘A pleasure to deal with and very competent,’

‘Our experience with this firm is that they are very proactive, quick to respond to urgent requests when made and provide us with the information we need.’

‘The firm are responsive and provide us with a tremendous level of support – they provide us with first class advice in a timely way, explaining the detail with flair and clarity.’

‘We deal mainly with Fredrica Reid and Ed Barnes and have found both to be utterly professional, incredibly approachable, supportive and detail oriented. Both are extremely knowledgeable and reliable, able to bring complicated contract law to life and willing to go the extra mile. Fredrica is always client friendly in her communications, plain speaking and incredibly easy to deal with.’

‘Very tight numbers and a well-formed team even for a large dispute. Complete knowledge of one another’s work streams across the piece.’

‘No legal practice is unique. the team is down to earth and communicates and advises in plain English and in layman’s terms. They are warm and friendly and respond to all forms of communication efficiently and promptly.’

‘The team at DTM Legal offer an exceptional service to their clients. They genuinely understand the business needs of their clients. This allows them to entirely engage in the legal analysis of the complicated areas of law whilst always having at the forefront of their minds, commercial realities.’

Key clients

Evoke Creative

Esterform Packaging Limited

Daisy & Jake Day Nursery Limited

Vast Visibility Limited

Heap & Partners Limited

Marine Specialised Technology Limited


Karl Vella Group Limited

Future Moto Limited

KMS (Europe) Limited

Staffords Limited

GRS Contractors

Pharmadaggio Limited

Harts Caravan Park Limited

Adapt Formwork Limited

Soundtesting Limited

HPAPI Project Services Limited

C Wynne & Sons Limited

R L Davies & Son Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the owners and managers of Quality Freight (UK) Limited, a leading port services, freight handling and chartering business, in its sale to Peel Ports Group.
  • Acting for Esterform on a collaboration for the establishment of a plastic recycling facility and associated manufacture and supply of products from recycled PET plastic.
  • Acting for R Gamble Holdings on its restructure and subsequent sale of its electrical wholesale and contracting business.


O'Connors is home to corporate, commercial, insurance and regulatory expertise. John Spofforth heads the practice which counts M&A, management buyouts, corporate governance, joint ventures and a wide range of commercial advice among its key strengths.

Practice head(s):

John Spofforth


‘We have been well served by the O’Connor’s team. They have wide spread of expertise and skills and serve the middle part of the professional legal services market well. We like the fact that they are a smaller firm, although that does limit their capability to do larger deals. Dealing with them is more personal.’

‘Very approachable organisation, with deep and relevant knowledge; specifically for contracts.’

‘Mark O’Connor is the wise head who has been doing this work for years. His judgement and strategic view are sound and we always value his advice.’

‘John Spofforth is the nitty-gritty man who gets down to deal with the issues in more detail. He works hard and meets deadlines.’

‘Michael Ainsworth is an outstanding lawyer; he is very approachable, explains things exceptionally well and is always helpful; whilst being very clear on the legal terms.’