Corporate and commercial: Liverpool in North West
Brabners LLP ‘has 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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
Open Outdoor Media Ltd
Arena Sports Live
EPG Business Limited t/a EPIC Risk Management
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
James Hall & Company Limited
NWF Group plc
Suez Recycling and Recovery Limited
Together Housing Association
- 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.
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.'
‘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.’
Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd t/a Barclays Partner Finance
Hunter Boots Limited
Liverpool City Council
Liverpool Football Club
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)
- 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.
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.
‘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.’
Enterprise Ventures Growth II fund
Next Wave Partners
The Delivery Group
Carrs Milling Industries PLC
Kuehne + Nagel
Dublin Aerospace Limited (Aircraft MRO)
Alcedo Blue Limited (Care Services)
Mersey Bioenergy Holdings Limited
Upside Down Investments Limited
- 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.
Other key lawyers:
Inflexion Private Equity
Marks and Spencer Plc
Livingbridge Private Equity
ACC Liverpool Group
Liverpool John Moores University
National Museums Liverpool
- 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 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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
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
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
- 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.
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
Senate Mech Limited
Skyline Property Solutions Limited
Stramongate Properties Limited
Uniforms For Work Limited
Wilds of Oldham
DTM Legal LLP
Under the leadership of the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Edward Barnes, DTM Legal LLP ‘offers 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.
‘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.’
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
Harts Caravan Park Limited
Adapt Formwork Limited
HPAPI Project Services Limited
C Wynne & Sons Limited
R L Davies & Son Limited
- 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.
‘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.’