Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in the North in North


Burnetts’ corporate and commercial practice recently saw a changing of the guard, with Michael Walby taking over as practice head from Vaughan Jones, who remains active in the practice; the pair are singled out as ‘a great team, and provide a professional service backed up by great advice’. The team acts for a roster of SMEs and entrepreneurs across the region with notable experience in the leisure, professional services, nuclear, engineering, healthcare and technology sectors. Senior associate Caroline Swift adds to the firm’s healthcare expertise.

Practice head(s):

Michael Walby

Other key lawyers:

Vaughan Jones; Caroline Swift


‘Burnetts are a fantastic solicitors firm that applies strong commercial thinking and strategy to the legal negotiations.’

‘The partners and associates provide timely advice and act on instructions quickly and efficiently.’

‘A strong corporate and HR team has helped us with a number of transactions. They have been flexible in how they work depending on the nature of the work.’

Key clients

PaR Systems Limited

Mitchell Dryers (Kingmoor) Limited

Cumbria Waste Management Limited

Thomas Graham & Sons Limited

H&H Group PLC

Armstrong Watson LLP

KMF Group Limited

Amsric Holdings Limited

Saint & Co Chartered Accountants

Tuddenhams (Longtown) Limited

Eden Valley Hospice

Cumbria Community Foundation


Cubby Construction Limited

English Lakes Ice Cream Limited

Border Group Limited

Lloyds Bank PLC

Europark Properties

Work highlights

  • Advised Nuclear Site Services Group Limited on the MBO of Par Systems Limited.
  • Advised Amsric Holdings Limited on the sale of its Starbucks business comprising of 12 stores to Cobra Coffee Limited, and its KFC business comprising of 52 KFC stores to EG Group.
  • Advised Armstrong Watson LLP on the acquisitions of three accountancy businesses.

Endeavour Partnership LLP

With ‘in-depth knowledge of businesses in the North East region’, Endeavour Partnership LLP is highly active in mergers and acquisitions, leveraging support from the commercial contracting and banking teams, and acts for regional SMEs and mid-sized corporates. Nik Tunley heads up the department, which also includes transactional specialist Nigel Williams, finance expert Deborah Kirtley, and Martin McKinnell, who handles a range of commercial and corporate work. James Butler was promoted to the partnership in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Nik Tunley

Other key lawyers:

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


‘The firm has an in depth knowledge of businesses in the North East region. The partners have nearly all worked in the region most of their careers and have an excellent reputation for getting the jobs done. The firm has grown in recent years, which has given it the resources to undertake larger/complex transactions.’

‘They have a clear understanding of my needs. They use clear language to explain the meanings/ reasons for some of the complex legal structures in various investment documents.’

‘Hugely experienced, well-resourced team with a proactive can-do approach to deal resolution. Typically under huge time-pressure the corporate team at Endeavour have never failed to deliver, working around the clock to ensure completion on time.’

‘Martin McKinnell and James Butler were the cornerstones of a much larger team that allowed us to deliver in a complex restructuring process with many stakeholders.’

‘Nigel Williams and Nik Tunley – very good corporate lawyers’

‘They have built a strong and large team who have the ability to react to and deal with deals of all sizes. As specialist lawyers they have gained great experience and so cope well with the unexpected. They undoubtedly have the strongest team in Teesside both in terms of size and experience.’

‘In terms of the work I do with the team I normal work with Nigel Williams, Nik Tunley and Martin McKinnell. Each brings a different experience to the project but all share the same commerciality and desire to get the deal done for their clients.’

Key clients


AV Dawson Limited

Teesside University

Tees Valley Combined Authority

Lindy Electronics Limited

Mandale Homes Holdings Limited

J T Atkinson & Sons Limited

Den Hartogh Group

ACBA Systems Limited

Mythic Games SARL

Racz Group Limited

ABCA Systems Group Limited

Visualsoft Limited

Topp Holdings GmbH/RTS Wind AG

Work highlights

  • Advised on an investment in ABCA Systems Holdings Limited by Trimountain Partners and its syndicate of investors.
  • Assisted Den Hartogh Exploitatie Maatschappij BV with the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Tower Gateway Limited.
  • Assisted the shareholders of Apple GB Limited with the sale of the entire issued share capital to Amalgamated Laboratory Solutions Limited.

Knights plc

Baines Wilson LLP’s ‘very cohesive and effective’ team has ‘a strong commercial ethos’ and is able to ‘ensure that transactions are navigated with as little stress as possible’. Leveraging its knowledge of corporate acquisitions and disposals, the group also handles MBOs, private equity transactions, shareholder agreements, reorganisations and general company issues for a client roster of national and regional companies. Andrew Hill heads up the team, which fields Kate Parker, who is praised by clients as ‘a great asset to the firm’, and Jennifer Bell, who specialises in the transport and logistics sector. Since publication, the firm has been acquired by Knights plc.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hill

Other key lawyers:

Kate Parker; Jennifer Bell


‘The team whom act for us are all approachable and easy to contact. The time they invest in understanding us a client is invaluable in terms of ensuring each transaction is completed in an efficient manner in terms of only raising issues to be addressed which they know are important to us as a client.’

‘The expertise of the individuals who have acted for us cannot be questioned however, what sets these key individuals apart from others we have worked with before is that they understand us a client and what is important to us. This knowledge of us as a client ensures that transactions are navigated with as little stress as possible as these key individuals are able to highlight areas which they know maybe a concern for us and to take a commercial approach to other matters which they understand are not as critical for us.’

‘The team are very cohesive and effective. They have a strong commercial ethos but balance that well with where to focus and cost. The team are extremely approachable and are genuine people.’

Key clients


Lloyd Motor Group

Genesis Homes Group


Penrith Farmers’ & Kidd’s plc

James Brearley & Sons Limited

Hollyblue Healthcare Finance Limited

Ecorenew Group

A W Jenkinson

Work highlights

    Swinburne Maddison LLP

    The ‘always available and very responsiveMartyn Tennant heads up the ‘first-class’ corporate and commercial group at Swinburne Maddison LLP, which is ‘approachable, professional and conscientious in all its dealings’ and ‘has a wide range of talented individuals, who complement each other to form an effective team’. Expanding on its transactional strength, Craig Malarkey was recently recruited into the practice from Tilly Bailey & Irvine to add to the firm’s commercial expertise. Alex Wilby is a key contact for transactional and private equity work, and Mike Ward was recently promoted to legal director.

    Practice head(s):

    Martyn Tennant

    Other key lawyers:

    Craig Malarkey; Alex Wilby; Mike Ward


    ‘Whether it’s been a case of needing advice or support we’ve found Swinburne Maddison to be first class. With experts in all areas of business, we’ve been able to get specific help when needed. In a recent engagement the team went above and beyond what was required and displayed their class in how they conducted themselves, showing that the work they did was as much out of friendship and loyalty as it was as a result of a commercial relationship.’

    ‘We’ve dealt with a number of individuals within the firm but it’s Martyn Tennant who we have dealt with most. A partner at the firm, we’ve found him to be an excellent solicitor and have relied on him numerous times to advise on various situations that have arisen. He’s always available and very responsive, which is what you really need from your legal advisor.’

    ‘In my experience, this firm was very approachable, professional and conscientious in all their dealings with me during my recent deal. Compared to other firms I reached out to they stood out by their simple, structured and open approach in assisting me to navigate the process. Martyn Tennant one of the partners took the lead and brought in other partners and associates as their areas of expertise was required, never once giving me the feeling he was not in control overall.’

    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 (Consett) 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 (North East) Limited

    Education World Limited

    Sofas and Stuff Limited

    The Gibside Hotel Limited

    The Beamish Park Hotel Limited

    Sphera Limited

    Opencast Software Europe Limited

    Work highlights

    • Acting on the re-acquisition of a company valued at c£10m.
    • Advising the shareholders of Cellular Solutions Limited on its sale to Communications Plus Limited.
    • Acting on the restructure of a group of companies with a turnover of £40m.

    BHP Law

    BHP Law handles a broad spectrum of corporate and commercial mandates spanning sales and acquisitions, private equity transactions, commercial agreements, refinancing work and share schemes, among others. The team is highly active in the region and leverages its network of offices across the North East to provide a comprehensive offering. Dermot Winters leads the group.

    Practice head(s):

    Dermot Winters


    ‘The team has a “can do” attitude. Always willing to go the extra mile even on a weekend.’

    ‘Dermot Winters is exceptional. Approaches every problem with a commercial view and gets great results.’

    Key clients

    TJR Properties Limited

    Sherwoods Motor Group Limited

    Ward Bros Steel (UK) Limited

    CG Fixings Limited

    Glass Assist Limited

    Castle Kindergarten Limited

    Nano Purification Solutions Limited

    Cenergist Limited

    Connor Group Limited

    Samplestate Limited

    Cleveland Sports & Social Club Limited

    Work highlights