Corporate and commercial: Liverpool in North West

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP offers an active transactional practice led by the experienced Mark Rathbone with strong capabilities in corporate finance, technology, and private equity deals, alongside a commercial team led by Matt Brown that regularly handles large-scale distribution and logistics contracts on a national scale. Intellectual property specialist Colin Bell and managing partner Nik White are also leaders within the practice. The firm's extensive team includes a number of highly-renowned practitioners, including Andrew O’MahonyRupert Gill, and Michael Brabner, with Nicola Lomas also recognised for her work on healthcare transactions, and recently-promoted senior associate Victoria Trigwell noted for her expertise in commercial contracts and public procurement.

Practice head(s):

Mark Rathbone; Nik White; Colin Bell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew O’Mahony; Rupert Gill; Michael Brabner; Nicola Lomas; Victoria Trigwell


‘Superb level of client interaction, and senior advisor engagement even on small/non-complex transactions. Brabners see the importance of the client, no matter how small a given job may be.’

‘Always helpful, friendly and responsive regardless of department.’

‘Always knowledgeable and there appears to always be someone in the team with relevant experience to deal with any scenario that crops up.’

‘Nik White, Managing partner. It is good to have Nik as a primary contact. His personal involvement in overseeing our relations with Brabners is efficient and effective. He is very approachable and has a good grasp of our requirements in a pragmatic and down to earth way. He is always quick to place each issue with a member of the team well placed to help us.

‘There is a good collaborative approach with clients. I greatly appreciate that they are available, respond well and in good time to correspondence and generally are great in a crisis’

‘Honest and straightforward advice. Advised of multiple options/solutions where they exist – and the benefits of each option are clearly articulated to enable a sound decision to be made.’

‘Broad knowledge across the team. Responsive and able to meet tight deadlines. Pragmatic advice that takes into account competing priorities / resources.’

‘Brabners are a very professional firm with a down to earth approach. They are always on hand to offer their support wherever they can and regularly check-in to make sure you are happy with their service. ’


Key clients

Lyon Equipment Limited


Peel Ports Group

Appreciate Group plc

Open Outdoor Media

Yodel Delivery Network Ltd

Meyer Group Ltd

Suez Recycling and Recovery Limited

Alphavet International Limited

NWF Group plc

BUFA Composites

James Hall and Company Limited (SPAR)

Centred Solutions Ltd

Group Tyre (UK) Services

Ascertis Limited

Ifor Williams Trailers

Henry Bath & Son Limited

Maspex Group (headquartered in Poland)

Human Recognition Systems Ltd

Fastlane Holding

Focus Commercial Ltd

Direct Healthcare Group

Carbon Climate Solutions Limited

Prime Global Medical Communications

Work highlights

  • Acted on the sale of Individual Inns Limited to Robinsons Brewery. This was an integrated services transaction where our deal advisory team provided corporate finance services, prepared an information memorandum and ran a competitive process in conjunction with our lawyers resulting in a successful sale to Robinsons.
  • acted for Business Growth Fund in connection with the reorganisation of the Hobs Group of companies to enable the subsidiary division Anexsys to be sold to a US purchaser (Xact Data Discovery) and a reinvestment by BGF into the remaining reprographics division of Hobs Group.
  • Acted for Appreciate Group on the disposal of two subsidiary companies as part of a wider re-structuring and re-focussing exercise the business has been undertaking.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper advises major corporates and public sector clients on transactions and commercial matters, including large-scale procurements, contracts, and cross-border deals. Sarah Bell is the key name in the Liverpool office, advising on complex commercial matters, including procurement and transactions, while national commercial head Peter Brook is another major player. Legal directors Gemma Cowap and Paddy Dwyer are noted for their leading roles on commercial work, including franchise agreements and commercial models across a variety of sectors, while senior associate Michael Hudson is an experienced transactional practitioner with expertise in M&A and private equity deals.

Practice head(s):

James Kerrigan; Sarah Bell

Other key lawyers:

Peter Brook; Gemma Cowap; Paddy Dwyer; Michael Hudson; Adam Kelly


‘Very strong sports and commercial practice. Efficient and proactive.’

‘Incredibly user-friendly.’

‘ Sarah Bell is easily contactable and ensures that matters that require a quick turnaround are dealt with accordingly. The advice is always clear and well-constructed and DLA are able to contextualise for those with less legal knowledge. They have colleagues who have covered other ad hoc requirements for litigation and lease matters and the work is always of a high standard. ’

‘Extremely prompt replies and great ongoing support in any matters for which support is requested. I have full trust in their advice.’

‘They have the business thinking that is needed by in-house counsel and that you do not always find in external lawyers. They are always very prompt in replies, available whenever needed. I particularly enjoy working with Adam Kelly and Paddy Dwyer.’

‘This team has been fantastic at managing a large project consisting of several procurements with several routes to market, some contracts out of scope of PCR and to add a simple yet effective tracker and risk register.’


Key clients

arvato Group

2Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd t/a Barclays Partner Finance


Liverpool City Council

Liverpool Football Club

PetrolValves Srl

QA Limited

Suttons Group

UK Government (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, HMRC)




Newell Rubbermaid UK Services Limited

PGIM Real Estate

Work highlights

  • Advised Sciontec Developments on the creation of a new joint venture between 3 key stakeholders in Liverpool and multi-million investment in that joint venture by Bruntwood.
  • Advised PGIM Retail on the acquisition of a 25% stake in real estate development and management company Langtree.
  • Advising Newell Rubbermaid on a range of different commercial matters from commercial agreements through to corporate restructuring, consumer protection, data protection and advertising.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP has a strong presence in the Liverpool market, with a number of senior practitioners working across public M&A, private equity investments, and commercial issues, acting for regional and national clients in areas such as technology, healthcare, and education. Practice heads Craig Scott and Matt Noon are active in handling private equity and growth financing transactions, while Mike Jones specialises in M&A on behalf of a range of SMEs and middle-market corporates. Firm chair Jonathan Brown is a vastly experienced figure in the corporate advisory space, acting for long-term retainer clients, with ‘proactive‘ Sue Russell also an active dealmaker. Michael Murphy has notable expertise in cross-border property and private equity deals. Legal director Graeme Alder is recognised for his commercial work, handling contracts and commercial IP issues, while senior associate Elan Iorwerth plays a key role in major private equity deals.

Practice head(s):

Craig Scott; Matt Noon

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Brown; Mike Jones; Sue Russell; Mike Murphy; Graeme Alder; Elan Iorwerth; Richard McKay


‘Hill Dickinson have been our corporate lawyers for many years now. Put simply, it is the individuals that we liaise with who make the firm stand out. As an acquisitive business, their knowledge of both ourselves as a client and the industry that we operate in is essential during a transaction. Whilst we may not be Hill Dickinson’s largest client, the first class service we receive from them would certainly suggest otherwise.’

‘We have a long-standing relationship with Sue Russell (Partner) and Richard McKay (Legal Director). Both have a very detailed understanding and knowledge of our business and industry. They are always available should we need them and both are very proactive in coming to us early with potential issues as well as with solutions. We are very confident in their ability as our corporate lawyers and this allows us to free up management time as we know they will just get on with the task in hand without having to constantly revert to us for clarification.’


Key clients

UK Flooring Direct

Fishawack Health

Stobart Group Limited

Shareholders of Naimuri Limited

Johnson Service Group Plc

Kuehne + Nagel Limited

Sun Valley Limited

The Delivery Group

London Southend Airport

Liverpool City Council

Medicines Discovery Catapult Limited

Broadway Partners Limited / Monmouthshire Broadband Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the management team of Fishawack Health on a secondary buyout., backed by significant new PE investment from Bridgepoint Europe VI.
  • Advising Stobart Group on the disposal of its wholly owned subsidiary, Stobart Rail Limited (now XYZ Limited) to Bavaria Industries Limited.
  • Advising K+N on the sale of its UK contract logistics business to XPO.


Bermans has an active corporate team in Liverpool, which advises regional clients, including both OMBs, management teams, and SMEs. With Jon Davage as overall team leader, Anton Stirrett heads up the Liverpool offering, and has a strong record in the pharmaceutical sector, as well as working with growth businesses on strategic acquisitions and equity raisings. The firm also handles private equity investments and corporate reorganisation matters, including share schemes and employee ownership.

Practice head(s):

Jon Davage

Other key lawyers:

Anton Stirrett

Key clients

360 Vision Technology Limited

Access Personal Checking Services Ltd

Aerocare Group (Warrington) Limited

Aktuel Limited

Alma Products Limited

Bridging Finance Solutions Group Limited

Brookes Bell LLP

Butterworth Spengler Holdings Limited

Core Protection Systems Limited

Dorothy Creative Limited

Filter Design Company Ltd

Fresh Start Waste Services

Goodwin & Harvey Limited

GRV Media Ltd

Hyperion Cleantech Group Limited

John Sutch Cranes Limited

MG Engineering Limited

Navitas Engineering Limited

Neston Environmental Services Limited

Restoration London Group

Ridgemere Limited

Senate Mech Limited

Sorai Holdings Limited

The Filter Design Company Limited

Thresher & Glenny Limited

Tribus (Watchmakers) Holdings

Uniforms for Work Limited


DWF combines strong transactional work with a broad commercial offering, advising a number of national retailers on carrier agreements, outsourcing, product licensing, and online platforms. Commercial head Ben Cooke is a noted commercial contracts practitioner, and maintains relationships with the firm's retail clients alongside a number of other FTSE 250 companies. The corporate team is now led by director Liz Clark.  Managing partner Paul Rimmer is active in transactions, advising major corporates and private equity funds on high-value transactions, including several national private equity-backed transactions on behalf of London-based funds. Paul Attwood retired.

Practice head(s):

Liz Clark; Ben Cooke

Other key lawyers:

Paul Rimmer


‘The team react extremely quickly to our requirements. They are always solution led and in addition the communication with us is in plain English.’


Key clients


AS Watson

Ocado Retail

Burton Biscuits

Optionis Group

Inflexion Private Equity Partners

Aurelius Private Equity


Pact Coffee

ACC Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores University


Work highlights

  • Advised Ocado Retail on the sale of its online pet business,
  • Advising Homebase on the outsourcing of its website fulfilment with The Hut Group.
  • Advised AS Watson (Superdrug, Perfume Shop and Savers) on its e-carrier agreements.


O'Connors focuses on 'high-quality' corporate and commercial work, advising on large-scale transactions, contracts, and investment matters. The firm specialises in M&A, related regulatory and commercial elements, and also has capabilities in private equity, cross-border work, and the sports sector. The 'exceptionalJohn Spofforth leads the team, handling high-value deals both regionally and nationally. David Malone has expertise in the sports sector, including cross-border transactions. At associate level, Natasha Collins plays a leading role in key transactions. Mark O’Connor continues to provide strategic guidance.

Practice head(s):

John Spofforth

Other key lawyers:

David Malone; Natasha Collins


‘O’Connors Corporate and Commercial team have been advising us in the sale of our financial services business. Their knowledge of the complexities of selling a business regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority has been particularly helpful as we have been going through the process and they have guided us through every step along the way, ensuring we get the best value for our business and don’t leave us exposed to any future risks. ’

‘John Spofforth has led the team working with us and he has provided his professional expertise throughout the process, frequently working long hours to provide us with an excellent level of service. He has explained the legal complexities and jargon associated with legal agreements particularly well and has helped us secure the right deal for our business.’

‘The team at O’Connors focus on giving high-quality practical, pragmatic corporate and commercial advice and then provide the technical legal support to implement the advice. As a result, the firm provides a solution-based offering rather than merely legal services and the partners are viewed by their clients as business advisers and part of the clients’ team as well as lawyers. ’

‘John Spofforth has demonstrated on numerous occasions his exceptional ability to see through potential issues/problems faced by clients and to identify solutions which achieve not only his clients’ aims and objectives but are also acceptable to all parties involved in a transaction.

‘They have a genuine passion for supporting ambition and are really creative in their solutions to problems. A really great sounding board and extension of the team!’

‘I have used them for a number of transactions and always feel 100% confident that I am receiving the very best there is in advice and support .’

‘A unique combination of cutting edge legal knowledge and commercial business understanding. Their ability to not only act as a firm of solicitors but as trusted business advisers based on many years of combined business ownership and entrepreneurship. Taking a practical approach to completing a transaction both in good time and having added value in negotiations. A unique understanding of the U.K. and US litigation funding markets, having participated in several high profile deals. Truly taking the time to understand a business and build personal relationships with key stakeholders.’

‘Some of the most responsive, beyond competent solicitors you would ever want to assist in any corporate matter. Attentive and responsive beyond any expectations anyone could have.’


Key clients

MAPD Ventures

Right To Dream

Express Solicitors


Sentric Music

Lucid Games


Work highlights

  • Advised MAPD Ventures on the simultaneous management buyout of Jackson Lees Group and £12m private equity deal with Shard Capital to assist with national expansion.
  • Advised international football academy Right To Dream on a $120m investment by Egyptian conglomerate.
  • Advised Ultromex Limited on corporate structuring and strategy in connection with a major commercial contract for services with multinational mining company, Rio Tinto.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP has a broad offering in both corporate and commercial work, advising a wide range of SMEs, national brands, and institutions on M&A, private equity investments, commercial agreements, and procurement matters. Roland Hutchins leads the corporate team nationally, while commercial IT specialist Victoria Robertson heads up the commercial team. Kieran Donovan is an experienced and active figure within the corporate team, and has a strong record in handling cross-border deals, while Laurence Pritchard handles commercial and regulatory issues, with particular expertise in competition law. Managing partner John Schorah remains highly active, and Sean Crotty is noted for his data protection and intellectual property capabilities. 'Standout' senior associate Michael Murphy is an up-and-coming member of the corporate team.

Practice head(s):

Roland Hutchins; Victoria Robertson

Other key lawyers:

Kieran Donovan; Laurence Pritchard; John Schorah; Michael Murphy; Sean Crotty


‘Michael Murphy was a standout throughout the process. He would answer my calls and text out of hours, he got to know me personally and made me feel like his number one client. ’

‘The team was led by Kieran Donovan whose vast experience and communication skills were a huge asset. All members of the team are constructive and happy to co-ordinate with other professions. The firm provides excellent service first with billing as a natural follow on rather than anticipating what each job is worth in advance. For a large firm value for money was achievable.’

‘I have worked with Kieran for many years and he is a stand out corporate lawyer, always willing to help and act as a sounding board on many occasions.’

‘They have adopted a hand in glove approach. Very keen to understand our business and deliver not just legal services but value add services.’ 

‘Victoria Robertson is a trusted advisor. Great to work with and calm under pressure.’

‘The team provides an excellent combination of partner and associate engagement and resourcing to provide a high quality cost-effective legal offering in the Corporate market. The team works extremely well in collaboration with other professional advisers (e.g. Corporate Finance advisers) to provide clients with a comprehensive and joined-up service offering. ’

‘The team was very supportive and ensured clarity of understanding in what we were aiming to achieve. Provided appropriate challenge as required with clear advice on the impact of our internal decision making so that risk management could be maintained throughout the process.’

‘Good knowledge of the HE sector and how it works, so the advice is always relevant ’

‘Victoria Robertson – very knowledgeable, fast at responding with practical and relevant advise. Firm and fair with suppliers, particularly during negotiations and comes up with good options for resolving issues.’


Key clients

OBG Pharmaceuticals Limited

Liverpool Media Academy (LMA)

Rösler UK Limited

Indigo Environmental Group

Duality Group

HealthNet Homecare Limited

EDP Health, Safety & Environment Consultants Ltd

Archibald Bathgate Group

Sutcliffe Engineers


S Norton & Co Limited

Zo Skin Health Inc

Melitta UK Limited

Swissport Limited

Mercarto Limited

Daventry District Council

Merseytravel Limited

Alstom Transport UK Limited

Pure World Energy Limited

Costcutter Supermarkets Group Limited

The Open University

St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised the family shareholders of B & M Office Machines Limited, a business supplies and equipment company and the north west’s premier Ricoh and Riso reseller, on its sale to ASL Group.
  • Advising the fund managers of Maven Capital Partners on aspects of eligibility and state aid in connection with the operation of the government guarantee which supports the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans scheme.
  • Advised Costcutter Supermarkets Group on a revision of its quasi-franchise trading terms with its retailers nationally to accommodate account electronic ordering via a platform, rebates and payment structures.


DTM Legal LLP advises a diverse range of SMEs, family-owned businesses, and larger corporates on transactions, commercial contracts, and corporate governance issues. Practice head Edward Barnes and Philip  Whitehurst take a partner-led approach, working with alternative funding organisations, technology and software, retail and logistics, and automotive companies, among others. The firm has increased its share of investment and private equity work, handling a number of life-cycle investments.

Practice head(s):

Edward Barnes

Other key lawyers:

Philip Whitehurst; Alison Brennan


‘We have used the team at DTM several times for commercial work, property and employment. The approach has always been one of collaboration and the feeling of an extension of our own company in approachability and the desire to find solutions.’

‘Alison Brennan – Incredibly capable, engaged and solution-led. ’

‘We have worked with DTM legal over a large transaction. We found the team, led by Phillip Whitehurst to be knowledgeable, efficient and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Phil Whitehurst has an excellent reputation and we found his experience invaluable with great communication during a complicated transaction.’

‘They are truly an extension to our business, the are always on hand and really help us with every legal aspect of our business. They are always responsive, highly knowledgeable and have been a lifeline for us. ’

‘The team is highly responsive, and commercial. We enjoy working with them as they fully understand our business and what we are trying to achieve. They understand our need for fast results, and our requirements for flexibility. We feel that we get value for money, which is why we have stayed with them for several years.’

Key clients

Evoke Creative Limited

Esterform Packaging Limited

Daisy & Jake Day Nursery Limited

Vast Visibility Limited

Heap & Partners Limited

Marine Specialised Technology Limited

Typhoo Tea Limited

Karl Vella Group Limited

Future Moto Limited

Staffords Limited

Pharmadaggio Limited

Harts Caravan Park Limited

Adapt Formwork Limited

Soundtesting Limited

HPAPI Project Services Limited

C Wynne & Sons Limited

Evolution Costs Limited

Lewis Reed (WAV) Limited

Smylie Limited

Whole House Ventilation Services Limited

Formwork Direct International Ltd

Ellesey and Company (Lancs) Limited

Atom Scientific Limited

Airship Images Limited

Maes Dolau Caravan Park Limited

Cambria Caravan Park Limited

Esterpet Limited

Hood Seating Limited

Two Mills Asset Management Limited

Clancy Consulting Limited

Wayne Austin IFA Limited

L51 Developments Limited

North West Roller Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Esterform Packaging Limited on its £26m refinancing with Shawbrook Bank.
  • Advising Vast Visibility Limited on the acquisition of the A Plan Group of Companies.
  • Advising the owners of the Karl Vella Group on a series of strategic acquisitions as part of their buy and build growth strategy.