Firms To Watch: Corporate and commercial: Essex

Holmes & Hills‘ corporate and commercial team opened a new office in Witham in April 2023. Key contacts are Katherine Waumsley and Sophie Perry in Marks Tey.

Corporate and commercial: Essex in South East

Birketts LLP

Led by M&A expert Adam Jones, Birketts LLP‘s corporate team in Chelmsford offers ‘sensible commercial advice within a sound legal framework’, and is geared to handle the full range of complex and high-value acquisition and disposal work. Rafael Ruiz leads corporate team, which operates across the firm’s five offices, as well as the firm’s competition law team, and is well versed in advising investors and corporates on domestic and international transactions. Caroline Nicholls advises on an array of corporate matters, such as acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and capital market listings. Heidi Bond is noted for her transactional work, with specialist knowledge of the corporate aspects of employee ownership transactions. Corporate M&A expert Alex Forwood is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Adam Jones

Other key lawyers:

Rafael Ruiz; Caroline Nicholls; Heidi Bond; Alex Forwood; Sabina Rooney


‘They are capable of dealing with complex situations in a time-saving manner with a team of professionals which cover most disciplines. I have always felt that they are a quality entity and that the advice they give is spot-on.’

‘I have mostly dealt with Caroline Nichols and Sabina Rooney over a complex sale of a business. They were ahead of the game with dealing with other firms of solicitors. Both of these two individuals are true professionals, and I feel relaxed when dealing with complex issues with these two people involved.’

‘Sensible commercial advice within a sound legal framework. Understanding that the deal is the key issue rather than scoring petty legal points.’

‘Our main point of contact was Alex Forwood. He showed a lot of common sense in balancing legal and commercial needs as well as making himself available to push the deal through.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest

Investec Investments (UK) Limited

Investec Bank plc

HHB Communications Limited

Commcise Software

Excess Baggage Group

The Reddington Group

Hydro International Limited


Airtask Group/Directflight

Granarolo SpA & Group

Commodity Centre Group

YFM Private Equity

M.W. Beer & Co Limited

CLP Aromas


Aston Barclay

D-Fly Hyperscooter Limited

Prestige Outdoor UK Limited

XP Factory PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Atalian Servest on its acquisition of the Incentive FM group in the facilities management sector.
  • Advised the shareholders of Hoppings Softwood Products PLC on the sale of the company to IBMG.
  • Advised the owners on their sale of FGD Solutions Limited.

Birkett Long LLP

With offices in Chelmsford, Colchester and Basildon, Birkett Long LLP‘s commercial and corporate finance team is led by expert in M&A and contractual matters Tim Field. With particular strength in investment work, the practice is sought out by national and international clients for advice on an array of transactions, especially in the manufacturing, healthcare and banking sectors. Clients ‘wouldn’t hesitate to recommend’ head of the commercial department Tracey Dickens, who is well versed in corporate transactional and restructuring work, as well as partnerships. David Wisbey is recommended for his expertise in international transactions, and the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Thomas Emmett’s practice extends to advising buyers and sellers on share and asset deals.

Practice head(s):

Tim Field

Other key lawyers:

Tracey Dickens; David Wisbey; Thomas Emmett


‘A really strong, very approachable and cohesive team of hardworking commercial solicitors, with good legal knowledge. Fully focused on the needs of the client, taking the time to look beyond the legal issues and considering what the practical implications are for our business. The team provides clear and specific communication and has an agile can-do outlook. Extremely impressed by their work and commitment.’

‘Tracey Dickens is someone I wouldn’t hesitate, and have, recommended to others who wish to engage legal counsel in the UK for corporate and commercial matters.’

‘Efficient, knowledgeable and approachable. Appreciated the thorough and complete advice.’

Key clients

Healthcare Homes Group Ltd

Healthcare Homes (LSC) Limited

Healthcare Homes (Genesis) Limited

Kent Blaxill & Co Ltd

Navigator Terminals Ltd

Navigator Terminals North Tees Ltd(AS)

Navigator Terminals Seal Sands Ltd

DPSK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Intelliconnect (Europe) Limited on the sale of the company’s entire issued share capital to TP UKCO Limited.
  • Advised the shareholders of Kent Blaxill Group Ltd on the sale of the entire issued share capital to Paintwell Ltd.
  • Advised DPSK Ltd on the purchase of the whole of the issued share capital of KDL Pizzas Limited.

Ellisons Solicitors

Ellisons Solicitors is well known for providing expert advice on national and international M&A and group restructuring matters. Head of the corporate and commercial department Paul Forsyth, who splits his time between the firm’s offices in Chelmsford and Colchester, is reputed for his ‘deep knowledge and experience with corporate sale mandates‘, and has a proven track record in complex and high-value transactions. David Heller is also a key name in this space, who is praised by clients for ‘relentlessly pushing projects towards completion’. Abigail Williamson is also recommended, with her clients describing her as ‘outstanding’.

Practice head(s):

Paul Forsyth

Other key lawyers:

David Heller; Abigail Williamson


‘Very competent and professional firm with extremely knowledgeable teams, in particular the corporate and commercial team members Abigail Williamson and Paul Forsyth.’

‘Both Paul Forsyth and Abigail Williamson provided outstanding advice and customer service, we were given detailed explanations and assistance whenever needed which enabled us to make well informed decisions. They are also very easy to talk to and personable. Highly Recommend.’

‘David Heller – keeps a cool head in negotiations and is relentless in pushing projects towards completion.’

Key clients

Gray Dawes Travel Limited

QuadraChem Laboratories Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Aquatronic Group Management in connection with the sale of 100% of the entire issued share capital of AGM to Stuart Turner Limited.
  • Advised longstanding client Gray Dawes Travel Limited in connection with its latest acquisition, acquiring Ventur Travel Limited and its subsidiary, Ventur Luxury Travel Limited.
  • Advised the outgoing shareholders of QuadraChem Larboratories Limited on a management buy-out.

Tees Law

Praised by clients for being ‘highly competent within the field‘, Tees Law’s corporate and commercial team advises on an array of corporate and commercial matters. Lucy Folley leads the team in Brentwood and Cambridge, and offers ‘excellent service and knowledge‘, with her practice spanning M&A, sales, financial restructurings and re-organisations across a wide range of industries. Baljeet Kaur, described as ‘a pleasure to work with’, assists Folley, and is well versed in drafting a range of commercial contracts. Claire Powell joined from Thompson Smith and Puxon in September 2023.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Folley

Other key lawyers:

Baljeet Kaur; Claire Powell


‘This department within Tees is quick to respond, diligent in chasing matters in a timely fashion when required without intervention and highly competent within their field.’

‘Great customer care, thinking of all aspects of a transaction and taking ownership of many of the smaller tasks. That means the client doesn’t have to worry about them.’

‘Extremely efficient and helpful.’

‘Baljeet Kaur was a pleasure to work with. She explained the situation in a clear and concise manner, making a very stressful situation easier to handle.’

‘Corporate law partner Lucy Folley has made a great effort to understand our business and has consequently been well equipped to guide us as clients through what we would perceive as complex transactions. The relationship has been built up and strengthened over several years.’ 

‘Very attentive – always available to help.’

‘Lucy Folley is outstanding. She is extremely knowledgeable and diligent.’

‘The team was attentive to our needs, knowledgeable in many areas that affected a business partner buyout, where complications required a multi legal departmental approach. All worked well in delivering a successful result.’

Key clients

Ashberry Healthcare Limited

Brentwood School

Beresford Group Limited

Fairacres Group

International Paralympic Committee

Grove & Dean Limited

National Westminster Bank plc

Turners (Soham) Limited

Xpediator Plc

GTES Holdings Limited

Price Bailey LLP

Cognisoft Limited

Voxtur Group Ltd

Savage Haulage Limited

Three Grey Monkeys

Sandal PLC

WashTec (UK) Limited

Containerlift Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the owners of Savage Haulage Limited on the sale of shares to Ice Co Storage & Logistics Holdings Ltd.
  • Advising Turners (Soham) Limited on its acquisition of MKT Logistics Limited.
  • Advising Beresford Group Limited on its acquisition of Whybrow & Dodds Limited.

Thompson Smith and Puxon

Thompson Smith and Puxon‘s ‘highly skilled’ corporate and commercial department  in Colchester is led by Mary Anne Fedeyko, who is well known for her expertise in complex reorganisations and demergers. The team advises clients from a range of industries, with strong connections to the agricultural sector in Essex. Another focus sector of the department is healthcare, where Nick Mayles offers expertise in the sale and acquisition of dental practices. With a background in insolvency law, Nicola Rout handles debt restructurings, members’ voluntary liquidations, as well as corporate acquisitions and disposals, and has built a niche practice in charity law. Claire Powell  joined Tees Law in September 2023.

Practice head(s):

Mary Anne Fedeyko

Other key lawyers:

Nick Mayles; Nicola Rout


‘A seamless experience with a tightly structured team. Good communicators both internally and externally.’

‘Mary Anne Fedeyko has led the team from its inception. She has the benefit of a City career with one of the Magic Circle firms and brings this sound foundation along with a clear and incisive intellect. Complicated matters are quickly distilled into easily understandable and plain English. There is none of the fustiness of a traditional provincial firm.’

‘Excellent advice on difficult legal issues. Timely service.’

‘Proactive approach to issues. Timely responses. Quality of service and breadth of knowledge.’

‘There are no egos, just professionals working together as a highly skilled team. All phone calls and emails are responded to quickly.’

‘Nicola Rout is a true expert. She is really dedicated to her clients and has really sought to understand our business and market when delivering her legal services.’


The ‘brilliantKeith Vincent and Simon Letts jointly lead Aquabridge‘s ‘very knowledgeable‘ corporate and commercial department, splitting their time between the firm’s offices in Essex and Suffolk. Praised for its ‘excellent service‘, the team advises on the whole array of corporate and commercial matters, such as acquisitions, disposals, private equity issues, share schemes and financing arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Keith Vincent; Simon Letts


‘It is important to our practice that we work closely with a professional firm of solicitors who can support our client across all the areas of law, especially corporate, employment, private client and property. Aquabridge Law provides that support brilliantly.’

‘The partners and associates are really good with people and put our clients at ease whilst providing the solutions they are looking for. Keith Vincent has been brilliant on the corporate side helping our clients through the process of buying and selling their companies.’

‘A great team, easy to get on with and very knowledgeable. Always looking to use technology to make the client experience better. The team is always on hand to help resolve problems on transactions.’

‘Simon Letts and Keith Vincent are both very approachable and easy to deal with, both great at seeing what the core issues are and dealing with them, rather than being distracted by the noise that can be involved in transactions.’

‘Excellent service.’

‘Very easy to work with, always accessible and responsive and provide high-end yet jargon free advice.’

‘Very commercial. Great mix of knowledge, experience and user friendly approach, always contactable.’

Key clients

Unique Forwarding Ltd

Scendea Ltd

Brentwood Communications Ltd

Hart Wilcox Ltd

Power Testing Ltd

The Keswick Enterprises Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Outlook Care on the purchase of the St George Care Home from Newton Chinneck Limited.
  • Advised Discovery First Ltd, the owner of the well-established group of day care nurseries, on its purchase of The Haven 2000 Nursery and Preschool.
  • Advised Brome Grange Hotel Limited on its sale of the Brome Grange Hotel.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP

Sought out by clients for its ‘excellence in service, expertise and communication’, Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP has a strong presence in the IT and healthcare sector. Group head and M&A expert Tony Fisher in Colchester offers a ‘wealth of experience’ to the firm’s clients, while Ashton Carter‘s transactional work includes handling commercial contracts, acquisitions and reorganisations, as well as work with charities. Leah Groves, former head of the firm's healthcare division, has left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Tony Fisher

Other key lawyers:

Ashton Carter


‘We have been using FJG for a few years now and have found them to be excellent in service, expertise and communication, a breath of fresh air.’

‘Ashton Carter is our main contact and is a delight to deal with. His manner and expertise have been second to none, I would have no hesitation and certainly recommend him and his work.’

‘No matter if you are buying a house or a business, FJG are the go-to solicitors locally.’

‘Tony Fisher has a wealth of experience, and despite being so busy always has time for you.’

Pinney Talfourd LLP

Julian Royle handles Pinney Talfourd LLP’s corporate and commercial offering in Brentwood, and is reputed for being ‘very professional, knowledgeable and very thorough with clients’. Royle is supported by employment expert Alexander Pearce, and commercial property lawyer Julien Pritchard. The team is particular experienced in advising small and medium enterprise businesses on matters including founder exits, succession transactions, and group reorganisations.

Other key lawyers:

Julian Royle; Alex Pearce; Julien Pritchard


‘Julian Royle is very professional, knowledgeable and very thorough with clients. I happily refer my clients and contacts to him for commercial agreements and other commercial matters.’

‘I enjoyed a first-class service from Julian Royle, both professionally and on a personal level. I would highly recommend him, and would not hesitate to use his services again in similar circumstances.’ 

‘Part of a bigger firm with diverse access to resources.’

‘Good experience and good knowledge.’

‘Julian Royle is a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Neon Healthcare Limited

Jefferies Essex LLP

Jefferies Essex LLP‘s commercial department is led by Duncan Bennington in Southend-on-Sea. Bennington is recommended for commercial work such as negotiating and drafting a range of agreements, while Amelia Hayes advises on a broad spectrum of transactions, with specialist expertise in property sales and acquisitions. Former practice head Katrina Holland left the team in July 2022 to Allington Hughes Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Bennington

Other key lawyers:

Amelia Hayes

Work highlights

  • Acting on the reorganisation and restructure of a group of companies specialising in the supply of engineering and welding equipment.
  • Acting on the sale of shares in a property holding company with ownership of a mixed portfolio of properties with a value of £3m.
  • Advising on and developing revised articles of association and constitutional documents for a trade association.


With a ‘strong team, spread across the county’, Palmers‘ corporate commercial department leverages close connections to the commercial litigation and employment departments, which enables the firm to offer advice on the whole cycle of commercial work. Luke Morgan in Basildon heads up all three departments, while the Thurrock office is led by BJ Chong. Splitting his time between Basildon and Thurrock, departmental director of corporate and commercial Matthew Johnson regularly handles complex and high-value transactions.

Practice head(s):

Luke Morgan; BJ Chong; Matthew Johnson


‘The corporate & commercial team add value by having the capability and resources to both understand the business rationale of the transaction as well as the expertise to deal with the particular legal aspects.’

‘Matthew Johnson coordinated the legal aspects of the acquisition very well, from drafting the agreement to completing negotiations with his opposite number to ensure transactional deadlines were met.’

‘Palmers have a strong team spread across the county with sufficient resources to react to client needs quickly. The team is easily contactable, responds quickly and is always professional.’

Work highlights

  • Advised clients on a circa £3m sale of shares in a general insurance and financial advice company.
  • Advised a client on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of an electrical component manufacturing business.
  • Advised a client on an acquisition of an IT support and data storage company.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP

Group co-head Fiona Colwell in Westcliff-on-Sea advises Paul Robinson’s clients on asset and share transactions, as well as partnership and shareholder agreements. Fellow co-head and M&A expert Mark Deans in Billericay, and Courtney Parry-Lansdowne strengthen the team’s offering with their knowledge of property related transactions.

Practice head(s):

Mark Deans; Fiona Colwell

Other key lawyers:

Courtney Parry-Lansdowne


‘Fiona Colwell provided an excellent service. She is extremely knowledgeable in her field and was very responsive to requests and went out of her way to respond.’