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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 > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Newcastle > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Newcastle
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  4. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Leading individuals (region-wide)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1
    • Stacey Hall - Bond Dickinson LLP
    • Martin McKinnell - Endeavour Partnership LLP
    • Emma Pern - Sintons LLP
    • Adam Rayner - Muckle LLP
    • Paul Wigham - Watson Burton LLP

Who Represents Who

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Bond Dickinson LLP is a ‘standout firm’ with ‘an approach that is unmatched in the region’. The seven-partner corporate and commercial team is jointly led by the ‘excellentBen Butler and Jamie Pass and counts FTSE 100 companies, global corporates, start-ups and private equity firms as clients. Key sectors for the group include manufacturing, chemicals, financial services, retail and transport. Butler recently advised Atom Bank on three private fundraising rounds (amounting to £135m) to support the bank’s launch, and Pass is assisting OpSec Security Group with its multimillion-pound takeover by a bid vehicle incorporated by Investcorp Technology Partners, a strategically important take-private transaction for the client that involved advising on regulatory issues including Takeover Code requirements. Pass is also advising Hydro International on its £28m takeover by Ely Acquisition, and is handling longstanding client e-Therapeutics’ acquisition of Searchbolt, a search engine technology optimisation company. Other clients include ARC Trinova, which Simon Watts (who leads the firm’s company and commercial department) advised on its acquisition of the Covance Alnwick facility in Northumberland; and Lotte Chemical UK, which Peter Snaith (who leads the manufacturing and chemicals groups) assisted with its global supply agreement. Corporate finance specialist Robert Phillips is also recommended, as is associate Stacey Hall.

Muckle LLP’s ‘incredibly impressive’ team ‘ranks highly, thanks to its professionalism, excellent knowledge, pragmatism and commerciality’. The firm has handled an array of corporate finance mandates throughout 2016, in keeping with the firm’s historic strength in the area; the group advised Kitwave Group on its combined £41.5m debt financing and related equity investment from Pricoa Capital and Allstate, which the client used to finance two acquisitions and support the growth of its national presence. It also assisted Fairstone Group, the UK’s largest chartered financial planning firm, with a £25m investment from Synova Capital (which was among the largest private equity investments in the region in 2016), and handled a £15m fundraising for Quantum Pharma, a notable public company transaction that involved tapping into new and existing institutional investors for an accelerated book-build. Practice head and ‘experienced corporate adviser’ Andrew Davison is noted for his wide-ranging coverage of transactional and regulatory matters. Other key team members include corporate finance specialist Anthony Evans, who ‘combines in-depth technical knowledge with a practical approach’; the ‘excellent’ Hugh Welch, who is recommended for M&A work; Philip Clare, who ‘has an exceptionally strong work ethic’; Mike Spetch, who focuses on private equity transactions; and commercial contract specialist Alan Grisedale. Associate Adam Rayner is also recommended.

A go-to firm in the North’, Mincoffs Solicitors LLP has a ‘premium’ team that provides ‘grounded advice with an ability to understand exactly what the client wants and build a process to achieve that aim’. The practice focuses on assisting SMEs, with particular emphasis in the healthcare, leisure, technology and engineering sectors. Representative clients include Ailantus Hotels, LB Foster and Danieli Group. John Nicholson has an extensive track record of handling corporate issues ranging from business start-ups through to IPOS and Public M&A transactions. In a recent highlight, Nicholson (who is ‘highly rated in the field’) advised the Cairn Hotel Group on its £75m acquisition of the entire share capital of the five companies that form the Hotel Collections Group; he also assisted Amor Healthcare with its acquisition of Healthways Chemist and is handling corporate governance and constitutional matters for Northern Bear. ‘Exemplary’ department head Paul Hughes acts for a range of listed companies, owner-managed businesses, institutional clients and entrepreneurs. Other key figures include Peter Robinson, who has wide-ranging corporate finance expertise and has a track record advising universities in spin-out transactions.

A true leader in the healthcare field’, Sintons LLP’s ‘highly proactive team’ acts for a range of public and private healthcare clients including Intrahealth, Derwentside GP Federation and multiple NHS trusts. In a recent highlight, dental specialist Amanda Maskery led advice on the sale of an orthodontic practice to Queensway Dental Practice. Karen Simms heads the team and is noted for her combination of ‘a technical and commercial mindset’. Simms focuses on the energy and waste sectors, where the firm acts for clients including North Tees Waste Management, and is assisted by Christopher Welch (a ‘market leader in the leisure sector’) and the ‘brilliant’ Adrian Dye, who also handles a wide range of corporate matters in the waste and healthcare sectors. Welch recently assisted Gainford Hotels and Gainford Care with its acquisition of County Hotel and Dye acted for the selling shareholders on the MBO of DEF Software. Other clients include Ladhar Group, Jennings Motor Group and Creative Support. Other key figures include Matt Collen, handles private equity transactions, and associate Emma Pern, who is ‘professional and courteous at all times’.

The ‘extremely knowledgeable, helpful and personable’ group at Ward Hadaway is ‘fantastic to work with’ and ‘really takes the time to get to know its clients’. Corporate practice head Martin Hulls focuses on private equity and venture capital transactions; he recently advised True Potential on its sale of a minority stake to FTV Capital. The ‘excellentColin Hewitt is head of the commercial team and regularly acts for public sector clients; his highlights included handling North East Finance’s extension to the Finance for Business North East fund and acting for Virgin Money on the development and implementation of a cloud-based mortgage application system. Other clients include Total Capital Partners and Business Travel; Katherine Hay-Heddle (who ‘adds gravitas to any transaction’) assisted the latter with its sale to Hays Travel. Robert Thompson, Richard Butts, Damien Charlton and Phil Tompkins are also names to note. James Nightingale made partner in mid-2016 and Dean Murray joined from Square One Law.

Watson Burton LLP is ‘genuinely excellent across the board’, with notable strength advising education, technology and financial services clients. Key highlights included advising MTrec on the sale of 85% of its shares to Trust Tech, a Japanese staffing business; acting for the selling shareholders on G2G3’s acquisition of OrangeBus and handling Camerons Brewery’s acquisition of Leeds Brewery Holding Company. The ‘truly exceptional’ Duncan Reid leads the group and specialises in private equity transactions; he recently assisted My Wealth Management with its sale to Fairstone Group. Other clients include Broadband Satellite Services, Federal Signal and Northstar Ventures. Paul Wigham, who is ‘highly experienced in technology and venture capital transactions’, made partner in late 2016. David Jenkins is singled out for his outsourcing and commercial contract expertise and solicitor Kirsty Adamson is cited as ‘definitely one to watch’. Andrew Francey joined Freeths LLP.

The ‘incredibly proficient’ practice at DWF works closely with the firm’s team in Leeds and excels in the media, technology and energy sectors, where it acts for clients including Guinness Sustainable Infrastructure and Top Technology Ventures. The group also has international M&A experience with substantial expertise in equity capital markets work including IPOs and secondary fundraisings; it recently advised Cloudcall Group on its placing of new ordinary shares on AIM. Practice head Jeremy Swift is highly regarded for his corporate finance expertise and recently assisted Cussins and two of its shareholders with a secondary buyout and refinancing. He also advised Hindley Circuits on its acquisition of the assets of Opsol UK from administrators. Clients single out M&A expert Anne Spetch, who is ‘forthright and exudes confidence from the outset’, and associate Jemil Visram, who is ‘an excellent asset no matter the problem’.

Jonathan Waters and Mark Adams are key names to note at Hay & Kilner. Waters is recommended for his healthcare and charity sector expertise and Adams regularly represents clients in the pharmaceutical and veterinary sectors. Highlights for the ‘exceptional’ practice included advising the management team of Indigo Software (a new client) on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Indigo Software (Holdings), and acting for the buyout team on the MBO of DEF Software. The group primarily represents owner-managed businesses and SMEs at a regional and national level; clients include Barrier Group, Park Lane Healthcare, Danieli Holdings and Culpitt. Sarah Hall is recommended for employment-related issues and Paul Taylor handles the commercial property elements of transactions.

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