Insolvency and corporate recovery in North

Ward Hadaway LLP

The full-service insolvency department at Ward Hadaway is ‘not only technically excellent, but also approachable and very commercial’. The group is well-versed in advisory insolvency work; its transactional strength is mirrored in the expertise of practice head Jane Garvin. The practice also often draws on the capabilities of the firm’s dedicated international debt collection and creditor services teams; Steven Petrie stands out for his expertise in debt collection and personal insolvency. Associate Laura Keegan is also noted for her contentious insolvency work and her prior work experience as an insolvency practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Jane Garvin

Other key lawyers:

Steven Petrie; Laura Keegan

Testimonials

‘The team at Ward Hadaway acts very effectively and successfully for both office holders and directors, adapting their approach to each. They are not only technically excellent, but also approachable and very commercial. This team was quick to adapt effectively to remote working to best advance their clients.’

‘Laura Keegan is an excellent practitioner and rising star. She is very commercial, identifies and drives forward the best points commercially and legally for a client, is a very effective negotiator and brings her clients with her through demanding litigation. She is adept at explaining complex points to clients in an accessible manner and brings a positive approach to litigation.’

‘Very high-calibre technical knowledge. Larger team, which makes the team good for more complex cases. Good backup below partner level, particularly when it comes to Laura Keegan.’

‘Jane Garvin and Steven Petrie are partners who collectively cover all aspects of both corporate and personal insolvency.’

‘The team has delivered solutions time and time again. This advice is often delivered in stressful environments where emotions are high and the team has always approached the challenges in a practical and common sense manner, allowing swift progress and understanding for those experiencing the world of insolvency (often for the first time).’

‘I have worked with Jane Garvin over many years. Jane responds quickly with straightforward practical advice, even in stressful environments, allowing the directors to understand and become more comfortable with the challenges and their actions quickly.’

Key clients

FRP

Mazars

Begbies Traynor

Grant Thornton

Manolete Partners Plc

Kennway Francis

Asertis Ltd

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The market commends Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s ‘wide breadth of technical expertise’, which it utilises to handle a full range of insolvency and restructuring work, including transactions involving insolvent companies, public interest investigations, asset recovery investigations and related litigation. Clients also praise the team’s ability to tap into the firm’s wider resources, both at national as well as international level. The practice advises a varied client portfolio consisting of insolvency practitioners, financial sector clients and lenders, creditors, and companies and their management; it also benefits from the firm’s wider strength in sectors such as leisure, energy, retail, manufacturing and charity, among others. The highly regarded trio Julian Gill, Sally Dallow and Peter Maxwell jointly lead the department, where associate Asa Buchanan is also singled out.

Practice head(s):

Julian Gill; Sally Dallow; Peter Maxwell

Other key lawyers:

Asa Buchanan

Testimonials

‘The firm has a wide breadth of technical expertise. The insolvency team can call upon individuals with specific knowledge. We recently had a case involving the FCA and the relevant team was engaged to deal with the matter. All staff members are extremely easy to work with.’

‘Our main contacts are Julian Gill and Asa Buchanan. Julian Gill not only has the technical knowledge but applies that knowledge in a practical way. He finds solutions to problems. Asa Buchanan deals with matters in an efficient way and takes the pressure off our team.’

‘National relationship – fantastic firm. Strength and depth second to none regionally and nationally. Very collaborative approach and sector expertise makes them stand out.’

‘Julian Gill – without doubt the number one insolvency and advisory lawyer I know. Very good technical knowledge, commercial and adept at problem solving.’

‘WBD’s team has great strength in depth and the ability to draw on experience across the group, which means it can provide support on the most complex of matters. The international capabilities are also attractive when dealing across jurisdictions.’

‘Asa Buchanan – clear guidance and advice, delivered in a timely manner, in a client-friendly way.’

‘This practice remains dominant in the North East. It is able to cater for a wide range of clients and it is extremely useful to have a range of specialisms that it is able to draw into situations. One example of this is a case where we required construction law capability which was available to us but overseen by the insolvency department. A very good settlement was obtained.’

‘Julian Gill remains the lead partner and is extremely well known and regarded in the North East. An up-and-coming star is Asa Buchanan who is developing a good reputation. A high-quality partner in relation to insolvency litigation is Peter Maxwell. Peter Maxwell has a desire to understand the detail of a matter to ensure that the correct approach is taken at every stage.’

Key clients

Lloyds Banking Group

Santander

FRP Advisory Trading LLP

RSM UK Group LLP

KPMG LLP

PwC

Begbies Traynor

Grant Thornton (UK) LLP

KSA Group

The Insolvency Service

Mazars

Manolete Partners plc

CVR Global

BDO

Azets

Work highlights

  • Advised Baldwins Holdings Limited on the administration of SWI (UK) B.V., a company registered in the Netherlands but traded in the UK under the name ‘Timba Floor’.
  • Successfully acted for the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on obtaining a non-party costs order against a company director in respect of the costs of winding up proceedings for companies which had been involved in a truffle tree investment scheme.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in relation to proceedings brought under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 against the directors of failed companies.

Clarke Mairs LLP

Clarke Mairs LLP has carved out a reputation for its contentious work for insolvency practitioners, traditionally with respect to asset recovery claims and issues involving breaches of director duties; founding partner Susan Mairs is highly regarded in this regard. Notably, a team led by practice head Paul Rushworth has been acting on cross-border asset recovery issues in the financial sector. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the group has also experienced an uptick in non-contentious restructuring instructions.

Practice head(s):

Paul Rushworth

Other key lawyers:

Susan Mairs; Louise Ager

Testimonials

‘An excellent firm which provides first-class services.’

‘Tim Clarke, Susan Mairs, Paul Rushworth and Fred Banning have all particularly impressed me. They are excellent in all fields in which they assist us, in particular corporate insolvency matters.’

‘For me this is a standout exceptional insolvency litigation practice in the North-East. Paul Rushworth is the preeminent practitioner undertaking work in this area. Paul has achieved some fantastic results for us across a number of cases.’

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP is sought after by insolvency practitioners for pre-pack administrations and asset realisations. The team’s client portfolio also includes distressed companies, lenders and creditors in need of debt recovery assistance. Further, clients benefit from the team’s use of artificial intelligence technology during document review processes, as well as from Muckle Collect – the firm’s online system used for debt collection work. Practice head Kelly Jordan garners praise for being ‘technically brilliant but always with an eye for commerciality’; she has additional experience in the charities sector.

Practice head(s):

Kelly Jordan

Testimonials

‘Kelly Jordan is one of the best insolvency lawyers in the city and I would highly recommend her. She is technically brilliant but always with an eye for commerciality. She is always contactable and I would go to her for any difficult assignment.

‘Great technical knowledge and friendly approach to clients.’

‘Very partner led approach. I really enjoy working with Kelly Jordan – I feel the relationship is very much a team with the FRP team.’

‘Muckle LLP is an extremely high-quality insolvency and corporate recovery practice. It has a major focus on advising directors of companies in financial difficulty and undertaking transactional restructuring work, such as buying and selling businesses in administration. This rock-solid core of technical expertise and speed of execution is rarely found in practices in the region.’

‘Kelly Jordan is the standout solicitor in this area.’

‘Muckle’s team are in the top echelon of solicitors for business law in the North East. Their insolvency and corporate recovery team reflect that quality.’

‘I’ve worked closely with Kelly Jordan on a complex and sensitive case over the past year. Her advice has covered insolvency law, trust law and large portions of practicality so that we were able to achieve the desired outcomes in a sensible time frame. I look forward to working with her again soon.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

RMT Accountants and Business Advisors

Grant Thornton UK LLP

Hays Travel Limited

Brave Bison PLC

Armstrong Watson LLP

Azets Holdings Limited

KPMG LLP

NCG

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Manolete Partners PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Grant Thornton UK LLP, administrator of The Cylinder Service Centre Limited, on its appointment and the sale of the business and assets of the company.
  • Advised Hays Travel on the acquisition of the business and assets of Tailor Made Travel Limited operating across 18 stores in South Wales.
  • Advised Brave Bison on the acquisition of The Hook channel and related intellectual property, including a number of websites and media channels.

Short Richardson & Forth

Short Richardson & Forth houses a prominent insolvency litigation outfit, which places an emphasis on representing insolvency practitioners in investigations and asset recovery matters. The team is also adept at defending directors against civil claims. Practice head Tim Berg is praised by clients for being ‘very good at problem solving’. Associate Alexandra Withers is recommended for her work on cases involving overdrawn directors’ loan accounts, which is another area of recent focus for the department.

Practice head(s):

Tim Berg

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Withers

Testimonials

‘Tim Berg leads the insolvency team of himself and Alexandra Withers. They complement each other. Tim’s many years of experience equip him well to bring sound judgments and strategic focus to the case. Alexandra pursues her analysis of case documentation and evidence with energetic vigour and ability, which is the best support that counsel can have.’

‘Tim Berg is great on strategy, and beings good sense to a case. Alexandra Withers is determined in her pursuit of important detail and rigorous analysis.’

‘Work quickly and efficiently to deal with problems and they come up with solutions.’

‘Willing to do a lot of CFA arrangements. Very commercially minded.’

‘Alex Withers is the lawyer that we deal with – she moves matters forward very efficiently. She has pursued directors for overdrawn loan accounts and has been very successful in securing funds.’

‘Short Richardson & Forth’s insolvency team punches well above its weight and is well respected within the industry. Its members have both an in-depth knowledge of insolvency law, and a commercial and pragmatic approach to insolvency litigation.’

‘Tim Berg and Alexandra Withers are both excellent lawyers. Tim has a good eye for detail, and is very good at problem solving.’

‘The team is professional, thorough and reliable. It’s a pleasure to work with them.’

Work highlights

  • Assisting a client with an investigation and bringing forward claims for the liquidation of a fraudulent payroll company.
  • Advising a client on the potential for a company to enter administration with a pre-packaged sale being completed on its appointment as administrator.
  • Advising and acting for a liquidator of a group of companies involved in the importation and sale of alcohol.

Archers Law LLP

Based in Stockton, Archers Law LLP relies on the firm’s wider litigation strength and focuses on contentious insolvency mandates. The practice acts on the side of companies and private individuals, while it also maintains strong working relationships with multiple insolvency practitioners. The team successfully adapted to procedural legislative changes relating to the Covid-19 pandemic; it acted on numerous debt recovery claims and bankruptcy petitions. 'Great team leaderKenton Bazeley heads up the department.

Practice head(s):

Kenton Bazeley

Other key lawyers:

Helen Lyne

Testimonials

‘I consider Archers Law to be one of the leading firms in Teesside for commercial litigation and insolvency work. The team is well-experienced, and understands the commercial needs of its clients.’

‘Kenton Bazeley is very well-experienced and a great team leader.’

‘This team is exceptionally close-knit, almost like a family in the way they mesh together and make the most of each other’s strengths while mitigating any potential weaknesses. They are responsive and innovative and ambitious, without any real equal in the Teesside market which is their focus. The team is diverse and rooted in the area that it serves.’

‘Helen Lyne is utterly brilliant. She is highly intelligent, very hardworking and completely down to earth. Very easy to get along with, she simultaneously gives opponents no quarter. She has very good commercial judgment and is well-liked. Kenton Bazeley is hugely respected by clients and opponents alike and invariably makes good calls.’

‘I have noticed that this team produces high-quality letters before claim. They spend time understanding the case and putting together a very powerful persuasive letter before claim; this makes all of the difference in encouraging early settlement. We had a very clear example of this on one case where a settlement was achieved following a very clear and concise letter before claim. I commend Kenton Bazeley and his colleague Natalie for their attention to detail and high standards of client care.’

‘The issue that we asked for help with was a substantial (for us) outstanding debt from a larger company. We dealt with two members of the Archers team. We felt the advice was objective and realistic and we decided to pursue the claim. The team skilfully dissected the defence that the debtor company put up, and were tenacious in pursuing our interests. We felt our team got the upper hand. The case was eventually settled out of court, largely in our favour.’

‘Strong leadership coupled with diverse team knowledge. The team is able to fully understand, explain and guide us through a difficult situation.’

‘Knowledge; trustworthy; able to listen; have a sense of humour.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory LLP

Begbies Traynor

Manolette Partners Plc