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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 > North West > Finance > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  2. Hall of Fame
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Who Represents Who

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Addleshaw Goddard fields a ‘vastly knowledgeable’ and ‘responsive’ six-partner team that advises borrowers and lenders on the full range of banking and finance matters, including corporate finance, leveraged finance, asset finance and real estate finance. Team head Martin O’Shea has a firm following among local lenders and North West-based borrowers, who regularly call on him to handle a range of leveraged, real estate and corporate financings; his recent borrower highlights include advising on a multi-currency revolving facility agreement to refinance an existing facility, assisting property developer Assura with a £100m unsecured private placement, and advised Bruntwood on the £115m refinancing of a portfolio of 12 properties. The firm also fields a two-partner asset finance team in Manchester led by Andrew Maskill and Rebecca Williams, who acts for funders, lessors, brokers and lessees on a diverse range of asset finance matters. Other key figures include Simon Prendergast, who is experienced in asset based lending and trade finance, Richard Oman, who specialises in corporate lending and leveraged acquisition finance as well as real estate finance and structured asset finance transactions; and Katie Ridehalgh, who leads on real estate finance matters. Prendergast, Oman and Williams advised HSBC Bank, Barclays Bank, Santander UK, HSBC Invoice Finance and HSBC Equipment Finance on a suite of facilities provided to Whitworth Bros in connection with its acquisition of Carr's Flour Mills and the refinancing of the group's existing banking facilities. Peel, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions, Standard Life Investments, PZ Cussons and Investec Bank are also clients. Legal director Richard Chandler is also recommended, as are managing associates Caroline Gray and Ben Edwards.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s ‘very able’ team is praised for its debt finance and asset based lending expertise, and for its track record in alternative and complex debt structures. The team acts for debt funds on a range of transactions, with particular expertise in cross-border asset based lending and back-to-back funding arrangements, and advises senior and mezzanine lenders and their borrowers on real estate finance transactions. Highlights included advising HSBC Bank on a syndicated receivables purchasing facility and assisting Tosca Debt Capital a a syndicated unitranche facility related to the merger of Air Energi and Swift Worldwide Resources. It also advised Conviviality on its funding arrangements for the acquisition of Bibendum PLB Group, and advised RBS, Barclays, Lloyds and Yorkshire Bank on the £195m refinancing of Betfred and acquisition financing facilities in order to acquire 300 betting shops from Ladbrokes. The ‘exceptionalMatthew Christmas heads the practice and is singled out for his expertise in debt finance, private equity buyouts and alternative credit structures. The ‘first-rate’ Joseph Frew heads the asset based lending team; he is experienced in complex ABL transactions for lenders and borrowers and represents a number of real estate finance lenders. Associate Charles Weems is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘excellent banking and finance department’ advises on a range of real estate finance, corporate lending, acquisition finance and asset based lending instructions. The lender-focused practice acts for a range of clearing banks and leverages its national and international network of offices to advise on cross-border transactions. Team head Matthew Morgan (who is ‘well-respected in the North West legal market’) led advice for Select Property Group on the £169m development financing of three student accommodation schemes in Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle, which involved a £108m senior debt facility provided by Lloyds Bank and Wells Fargo, and £61m in junior debt provided by Pramerica. The team also advised a group of seven lenders on the £310m financing of The Hut Group, and assisted Equistone Partners Europe with the financing of its acquisition of Apogee Group which, which involved £95m of debt facilities provided by Alcentra and RBS. Investec Bank, Speedy Hire and Select Property Group are also clients. Other key figures include Samantha Rollason, who advises on real estate restructuring matters and is experienced in education finance; and senior associate Tim Fearn, who specialises in corporate financings, acquisition finance and asset based lending.

DWF has a ‘strong’ borrower practice whose experience spans corporate banking, acquisition finance, public sector finance, and peer-to-peer lending. Paul Brown acts for both lenders and borrowers on public and private sector funding, and is advising the Greater Manchester Housing Fund on term loan facilities provided to residential developers as part of its 10-year investment to stimulate housing development in the Greater Manchester region. Also recommended are Helen Corner, whose expertise encompasses asset based lending, corporate lending, real estate finance, restructurings and secured lending; James Szerdy, who acts for banks and other financial institutions, as well as borrowers, on secured and unsecured lending; and Helen Johnston. Other clients include Mobica, Tosca Debt Capital, Secure Trust Bank and Nationwide Building Society. Alasdair Mackinnon joined Hill Dickinson LLP in 2017. Jonathan Edwards joined Browne Jacobson LLP in 2018.

The ‘well-respected’ team at Hill Dickinson LLP provides ‘a very high level of service’. Its expertise spans corporate and property finance transactions, and the team also handles asset based lending and private equity transactions. Highlights included advising Bibby Financial Services on a €65m facility to fund its Irish, Dutch and German operations; assisting Johnson Service Group with the increase and amendments to its existing banking facilities in connection with the acquisition of Portgrade and Chester Laundry; and assisting Betfred Group with a £95m refinancing to fund the purchase of more than 300 betting shops from Ladbrokes and Gala Coral. Santander Corporate Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, RBS, Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank and Hyde Park Finance are also clients. Key figures in Liverpool include ‘outstanding’ department head Richard Capper, who advises on acquisition finance, property finance and general corporate lending; Beverley Bentley, who has expertise in project finance, real estate finance and acquisition finance; and legal director Helen Penfold. The Manchester-based team includes ‘Proactive’ and ‘extremely efficient’ real estate finance specialist Chris Johnston, and Alasdair Mackinnon, who joined from DWF in 2017.

Squire Patton Boggs has an ‘outstanding’ reputation for real estate finance, as well as strong credentials in corporate lending, leveraged finance and asset based lending. The team, which attracts praise for its ‘swift responses’, as well as its ‘clear and concise guidance’, leverages its global office network to handle cross-border financing mandates. Highlights included advising Luceco on its pre-IPO receivables finance facilities with HSBC Invoice Finance (UK), and the refinancing of its revolving credit facilities with HSBC Bank; acting for K3 Business Technology Group on its refinancing; and assisting ECI Partners LLP with invoice financing facilities provided by HSBC Invoice Finance (UK) to part-finance the acquisition of MPM Products. Bank Leumi (UK), Close Invoice Finance, Findel, Leeds City Region Revolving Investment Fund and PNC Business Credit are also clients. Claire Shepherd is ‘very knowledgeable, and has a very calm and considered approach to negotiation’; she leads a team that includes real estate finance specialist Debra Cooper, who is ‘always responsive’ and ‘a tireless worker who is very good at driving deals forward and sorting out issues’, and the ‘first-classMatthew Ingram, who is ‘excellent on transactional matters’. Recently promoted director Graham Ball is also recommended.

Brabners LLP fields a ‘first-class’ team that is ‘quick and efficient, and is supported by a good level of common sense’. It handles a wide portfolio of banking mandates, including acquisition finance, property investment and development finance, and bridging and mezzanine finance, with particular expertise in the housing and sports sectors. Headline matters included advising Restore on the increase of syndicated facilities provided by Barclays Bank and RBS, assisting Kingsway Asset Finance with £16.5m of revolving credit facilities provided by the British Business Bank, and advising National Westminster Bank on £10.1m in facilities provided to the Perspective Financial Group. It also advised Marlowe on its £12.5m term loan and revolving credit facilities from Lloyds Bank. Corporate finance specialist Tony Harper heads the team in Manchester, which includes Charlotte Round, who is ‘extremely responsive’ and has ‘strong attention to detail’; and senior associate Russel Forward, who heads the real estate finance and restructuring team, are recommended. Andrew O’Mahony is the name to note in Liverpool.

The ‘responsive, knowledgeable and commercial’ team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP delivers ‘timely and appropriate advice’ and ‘really knows its stuff’. It has a ‘fantastic reputation’ for advising corporate borrower clients, and is growing its profile in bank-side corporate banking transactions. The team is also active in real estate financing, private equity transactions and US private placements, with a focus on the education and renewables sectors. Highlights included advising Sovereign Capital on the acquisition of Xendo, with facilities from European Capital; acting for PH Homes on the financing of the acquisition and development at Alderley Park; and advising HSBC Bank on a £6.2m multi-currency revolving credit facility agreement for UP Global Sourcing Holdings and UP Sourcing UK. Aeriance Investments, Together Money, Christies International and Nationwide Building Society are also clients. The ‘brilliantTaslima Salam (who is ‘quick to respond and very commercial’) is recommended for real estate finance and corporate banking matters. Department head Jason Wurzal, who recently relocated to the Manchester office from Leeds, handles corporate banking and acquisition finance mandates.

Gateley Plc has a strong reputation for private equity and acquisition finance, and has an extensive real estate finance practice, acting for lenders, developers and investors. It acts for a range of UK-based high street banks, and also represents a number of asset based lenders and surety houses, mezzanine lenders and debt funds. The team also advises borrower clients including blue-chip companies, owner-managed businesses, and entrepreneurs. ‘Exceptional’ Department head Richard Sealy has ‘an excellent reputation’ in the region for banking and finance and led advice for RBS on the provision of a term loan and revolving credit facilities to PH Alderly Park for the purchase and development of three sites across Cheshire. Senior associate Richard Cowan advised Factory (M1) on a term loan for the development of an apartment building in the centre of Manchester. Beechbrook UK SME Credit, Cityblock Group, AIB Group (UK), Maven Capital Partners UK LLP, and NM Rothschild & Sons are also clients.

The ‘well-managed’ department at Kuit Steinart Levy LLPpunches above its weight’, and is commended for its ‘collaborative approach’, as well as ‘the breadth of its skillset’ and its ability to deliver advice in ‘a very practical manner’. The team acts for property developers, investors and asset managers in the real estate and development finance sector, while its structured finance offering advises borrowers on the debt funding and security aspects of corporate acquisitions. General corporate banking and restructuring matters are an additional area of strength. Highlights included acting for RBS on a £2.2m loan for a development in Greater London; and advising Svenska Handelsbanken on a £2m development loan, to be released over six months to the borrower, for the acquisition of a retail park in West Yorkshire. Aldermore Bank, Santander UK, Lloyds Banking Group, Investec Bank and Allied Irish Bank Group (UK) are also clients. Department head George Macmillan is ‘approachable, practical and supportive’ and ‘goes the extra mile’. Managing partner Steve Eccleston is singled out for his ‘insightful advice’; he ‘really sets the tone of the whole practice’. Other key figures include David Marlor, who acts for banks and other lenders on property backed lending matters; recently promoted partner Alison Kellett, who is ‘able to get to the heart of the matter quickly and allows transactions to progress smoothly whilst protecting the interests of the client’; and associate Meave O’Neill, who is ‘thorough and will identify issues quickly’.

Shoosmiths LLP’s ‘very commercial’ team handles acquisition and leveraged finance, real estate finance, and asset based lending. Highlights included advising Select Property Group on the provision of £23m-worth of senior debt facilities from Barclays Bank and £5m mezzanine facilities provided by Europa. It also acted for Crown Golf Group on £19.5m of term facilities and a £5m working capital facility with RBS as arranger and agent, secured over a large portfolio of golf clubs; and advised Allied London on £20m of funding to acquire London Road Fire Station property in Manchester. Truworths International, Consilia Investments, Chase Templeton, Palatine Private Equity and Foresight Group are also on the firm’s client roster. Department head Liz Sweeney is an ‘astute lawyer who has a depth and breadth of experience which means she can offer both challenge and support in equal measure’; she ‘marshals her team well to ensure they deliver a high standard of work to often tight timeframes’. Former in-house counsel at RBS Tim McNamara joined the team in in April 2017.

gunnercooke LLP offers ‘experienced partner engagement’ and ‘a high level of responsiveness’ and its expertise spans corporate banking, real estate finance, leveraged finance, asset based lending and treasury transactions. It acted for Santander UK on the provision of increased loan facilities to Ground Rents Income Fund, and advised Skipton Building Society on its general treasury requirements; including advising on the annual update of its medium term note programme, PlaceFirst, RBS, Clydesdale Bank, Secure Trust Bank, Delek Group and Leeds Building Society are also clients. Rob Fawke is singled out for his ‘responsiveness and experience’. Georgina Tripp is also recommended.

Irwin Mitchell’s expertise spans structured finance, asset based lending, acquisition finance, real estate and development finance and private equity funding. The team acts for banks and non-bank lender clients, and also advises borrower clients. Key work included advising The Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund on the provision of a new £8.2m mezzanine term loan facility to Rowlinson Construction; advising Deutsche Hypothekenbank on a £53m loan facility for the financing of an acquisition of a retail park in Swansea; and assisting Kleinwort Benson with the provision of a £7m term loan facility to members of the Gresham Group, secured on three UK properties. Lloyds Bank, Select Property Group, Swansway Group and Zapf Creation are also clients of the team, which is headed by Dean Gormley, who has ‘in-depth experience’. Associate Vanessa Rickard heads the firm’s North West real estate finance practice.

Noted for its ‘strong expertise’ in public sector funding, the team at Weightmans LLP is commended for its ‘rapid responses’ and for its ability to put ‘advice in simple terms’. The team is experienced in advising local councils and European structural funds on European funding into the UK. It also acts for mainstream banks and borrower clients. The team is advising North West Fund (European Structural Fund) on its funding structure, and on the impact of Brexit in relation to its European Investment Bank funding. It also advised Liverpool City Council on its £12m investment into Liverpool Airport, and is advising Blue Sky Corporate Finance on the proposed Midlands Engine Investment Fund. Sertec Group, Newbridge Energy, AIB Bank and Merseytravel are also on the firm’s client roster. Liverpool-based team head Patricia Grinyer is praised for her ‘vast experience’.

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