Rising Stars

Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the North in North


Burnetts‘ corporate and commercial team is known for working on the majority of M&A transactions, involving SMEs, entrepreneurs and business owners, in the Cumbria region. The Carlisle-based team, led by Michael Walby, whose ‘commerciality on deals is second to none’, acts on high value acquisitions and sales for clients in the hospitality and automotive sectors. With the additions of Paul Bell and Peter Robinson, the firm frequently takes on sales of businesses, property and equity. Vaughan Jones remains a name to note for clients seeking advice on purchase and sale of issued share capitals. Recent promotion to legal director, Caroline Swift, is a key contact for banking clients in relation to healthcare matters, involving the sale of pharmacy businesses and care homes. Transactions in the nuclear, engineering, professional services and leisure, as well as the tourism field, are also notable areas of activity for the firm.

Practice head(s):

Michael Walby

Other key lawyers:

Vaughan Jones; Paul Bell; Peter Robinson; Caroline Swift


‘The strengths and key capabilities of Burnetts are the complexity of work the lawyers carry out and the knowledge of complex areas which we find many legal firms don’t have when we refer clients.’

‘Michael Walby’s commerciality on deals is second to none. He is a keen individual and always thinks of ways to do things better and find solutions to many aspects of a deal. He is quite personable and communicates well with different types of clients we refer to him.’

‘The team is very experienced and has a great breadth of knowledge across all levels. They are very responsive to client requirements and have a great knowledge of the client’s business enabling them to provide the appropriate advice.’

Key clients

Bacard Holdings Limited

Armstrong Watson LLP

Europark Investments Limited

Industrial Soluions Hub (ISH) Limited

Mitchell Dryers (Kingmoor) Limited

Cumbria Waste Group Limited

Harrison Leisure Group Limited

Derwent Recycling Limited

PaR Systems Limited

Border Group Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Harrison Leisure Group on the acquisition of Rawcliffe Hall Country Club and Caravan Park.
  • Advised Armstrong Watson LLP on the acquisition of Joseph Miller Accountants.
  • Advised on the sale of ECM to BCA Group.

Endeavour Partnership LLP

Endeavour Partnership LLP’s Stockton-based team leverages a ‘first class personable client service’ to provide national and multinational clients advice on the purchase and sale of share capital and assets. The team also oversees cross-border mergers and joint ventures. Head of the corporate team, Nik Tunley, is a key contact for national and international clients with a base in the North of England, seeking advice on restructuring, company law and corporate governance. Martin McKinnell deals with both transactional and non-transaction work, routinely assisting clients with various agreements, such as shareholder, franchise and agency agreements, while Nigel Williams focuses on supporting local owner managers seeking exists, in addition to providing input on commercial arrangements, such as cross-option arrangements and corporate reorganisations. Banking specialist Deborah Kirtley works in the corporate team to provide clients with funding advice. James Butler is a name to note for both transactional corporate instructions and commercial agreements, involving clients in the aviation, technology and defence sectors. Senior associates Sean Jackson and recently promoted partner Jessica Lenham are other key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Nik Tunley

Other key lawyers:

Martin McKinell; Nigel Williams; Deborah Kirtley; Sean Jackson; Jessica Lenham; James Butler


‘Endeavour’s practice is seemingly unique as they manage to combine excellent technical ability with first class personable client service and care. This unique approach also extends to problem-solving and advice.’

‘We mainly deal with James Butler who we have found to be excellent. He has first class technical ability and is also very approachable and straightforward to deal with.’

‘Uniquely for a practice outside a major centre Endeavour have real strength in depth with numerous strong individuals within an excellent and disciplined team. They deliver a city level service at a moderate regional price. The best of all worlds for the client. When they say it is partner led, it really is.’

‘Nigel Williams is a senior corporate lawyer with long and valuable large firm experience.’

‘Nik Tunney is as good as you would get with any National firm. He exceeds all expectations in the service you can expect.’

‘Martin Mckinnel is as bright as a button and an all-rounder who can handle complex commercial contracts alongside corporate deals.’

‘James Butler is wise beyond his years. It is very rare to get a young lawyer who understands client care as well as James does. This is matched by excellent technical skills. One to watch.’

Key clients


AV Dawson Limited

Teesside University

Tees Valley Combined Authority

Lindy Electronics Limited

JT Atkinson & Sons Limited

South Tees Development Corporation

ACBA Systems Limited

Racz Group Ltd

Visualsoft Limited

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

Charles Clinkard

Sockmonkey Studios Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised shareholders of Gale & Phillipson Holdings Limited on the sale of the company to Solomon Capital Holdings Limited.
  • Assisted the shareholders of Erimus Insurance with its sale to US broker Gallagher.
  • Assisted GI Group with the acquisition of Encore Personnnel Services Limited.

Swinburne Maddison LLP

Swinburne Maddison LLP’s team routinely advises shareholders of companies on equity investments. The practice, based in Durham, is led by experienced corporate restructuring practitioner Martyn Tennant and supported by legal director Mike Ward, who is a specialist in corporate and commercial-related software development and IP assignments. Transactional specialist for private equity clients Alex Wilby is noted for giving ‘fantastic’ ‘due diligence reports’, while Craig Malarkey routinely advises SME clients across a range of sectors on share and asset sales and acquisitions, corporate restructurings and management buy-outs. Recent promotions to associate level, Sophie Ayre and Eleanor Bradshaw, are key supporting members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Martyn Tennant

Other key lawyers:

Craig Malarkey; Alex Wilby; Mike Ward; Sophie Ayre; Eleanor Bradshaw


‘Craig Malarkey was our main point of contact and was very approachable and professional in his manner and service.’

‘The practice has a young and dynamic team who provide a proactive, value for money and high-quality service to their clients. They are always willing to discuss the wider implications of cases and bring in other specialists from their team as appropriate.’

‘Martyn Tennant is well known and respected in the area. He has a strong technical knowledge but blends that with a commercial awareness to give great advice to clients that fits their circumstances.’

‘I would view the firm as one of the leading independent firms in the North.’

‘Alex Wilby has contributed significantly to Durham City Incubator and Business Durham activities.  He is a valued partner of the programme and has provided additional support to Business Durham events. I must also mention Sophie Ayre.’

‘Swinburne Maddison LLP is all you should expect from a quality law practice. They offer a full range of services, they provide clear billing information, their administration is slick and they employ accessible, quality people. Although our business is near York, we still use this Durham based firm.’

‘We have worked with Mike Ward for many years. He has developed an intimate understanding of our business needs. He knows and works well with all the individuals that need to interact with him. He provides all corporate services from operational legal advice to company restructuring.’

‘The corporate team are fantastic, they have completed several deals for me and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.’

Key clients

Durham Cathedral

The Esh Group

Atom Bank plc

Hargreaves Services plc

Sirius Engineering Limited

Beyond Housing Limited

Handelsbanken plc

The Enquire Learning Trust

Drywall Solutions UK

Hadrian Technology Limited

St John’s College, Durham

Teescraft Engineering Limited

Maven Capital Partners

Ocucon Limited

Singletrack Systems Limited

Orange Genie Group Limited

Howarth Litchfield Partnership Limited

Elddis Transport Limited

Land Technologies Ltd

Co. Durham Land LLP

The Auckland Project

Deepstar Subsea Limited

Metatech Limited

Silent Games Ltd

Seriös Group Limited

Peridot Partners Limited

Pantheon Macroeconomic Ltd

Savannah Group Limited

Amberstone Security Group Limited

MTrec Limited

Mechplant Limited

Education World Limited

The Gibside Hotel Limited

The Beamish Park Hotel Limited

Sphera Limited

Opencast Software Europe Limited

Argenbright Group LLC

Lyceum Capital Property Partners Ltd

National Print Solutions Group Limited

Atkinson Print Limited nt and infrastructure)

Countrywide Property Group Holdings Limited

Mercia Asset Management PLC

P&S Medical Professionals Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the shareholders of Amberstone Security Group Limited in connection with the investment made by Argenbright Holdings LLC and the subsequent acquisition by Amberstone of the entire issued share capital of The Protector Group Limited.
  • Advising the shareholders of Singletrack Systems Limited in connection with the investment made by US tech private equity fund AKKR.
  • Advising Maven Capital Partners UK LLP on its investment into Pragmatic Semiconductor Limited as part of a $125m fundraise with other co-investors.