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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 > South East > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Clyde & Co LLP acts for national and international clients from its Guildford and London offices on the full spectrum of corporate, M&A and private equity transactions. Its expertise crosses a broad range of industries, notably the real estate, industrial manufacturing, energy and marine sectors. Highlights included advising Cennox on the acquisition of global ATM manufacturer Diebold International from Diebold Nixdorf. The team also assisted Leon Restaurants with securing £25m in private equity funding to facilitate a secondary sale and raise funds for overseas expansion. Nick Purnell heads the corporate practice and undertakes the gamut of corporate work including joint ventures and outsourcing especially in the infrastructure and marine sectors. Simon Vere Nicoll handles M&A work, joint ventures and fund structuring. Richard Elks' corporate work is focused on the structuring of real estate assets including those located on- and off-shore.

Cripps LLP¬†¬†is highly rated for its ‚Äėsolid knowledge of corporate and M&A transactions and reliable, straightforward advice‚Äô. The¬† team continues to attract an impressive range of mandates across mergers, acquisitions, sales and secondary buyouts, many of which are inbound. It is known for its focus on transactions in the private equity sphere and expertise in the technology and media sectors. Highlights included advising the shareholders of MTR Group on the sale of the entire share capital and assisting the management team of Bunker Secure Hosting with the secondary, leveraged buyout of the company from Foresight Private Equity.¬†James Beaton¬†leads the corporate division, Nigel Stanford¬†heads the corporate team and¬†Pete Kenyon¬†leads the commercial group.¬†Salim Somjee¬† is highly regarded for his M&A and private equity skill set and managing associate¬†Helen Garner¬†has expertise in private equity and capital markets.

Irwin Mitchell‚Äôs ‚Äėservice level is excellent - the strong team is responsive and proactive, providing pragmatic, commercial and considered advice‚Äô. It routinely advises regional, national and international clients, including private equity and venture capital firms and private and publicly listed corporates and has expertise in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors. It advised Air Partner on the acquisition of SafeSkys and also assisted Brighton-based life sciences company Destiny Pharma with its admission to AIM and an institutional placing, in a transaction valued at ¬£70m. The team in Crawley is led by Daniel Bastide and with Stuart Padgham as the national head of the group; the duo provide ‚Äėtimely, pragmatic advice and have high technical skills‚Äô. Faye Bargery has noted expertise in handling private equity transactions and on the commercial side, and Dan Hedley and solicitor Chris Bridges are ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô with Bridges also highlighted for his strength in data protection matters.

Mundays LLP  is highlighted for its 'efficient teamwork and transparent pricing.' The team, which is headed by Neale Andrews , is 'excellent to deal with - much better value than London firms and just as good'. It acts for national and international clients from sectors ranging from real estate and logistics to healthcare and life sciences, including Concordia International, Drakes Restaurant group and Sodexo. It handles the gamut of corporate M&A and commercial mandates including the purchase of franchise businesses, share buybacks, joint ventures and restructurings. David Irwin, who is 'wonderfully commercial and understands people', is noted for his strategic advice particularly in relation to cross-border deals. Mark Andrew 's expertise extends to financing and private equity deals and 'excellent corporate lawyer' Alex Young is praised for his client-handling skills.

Stevens & Bolton LLP's team is ‚Äėexcellent'¬†for corporate M&A and commercial services work. It serves clients ranging from local startups, especially in the technology sectors, to international corporate clients including US investors. It advised the shareholders of e-Travel, which is based in Athens and has an office in Ireland, on its merger with Etraveli, a global online travel platform based in Sweden. James Waddell¬†leads a team that can ‚Äėfocus on the key issues‚Äô even during tight time frames and Nick Atkins¬† ‚Äėis pro-active, responsive, ¬†easy to speak to and commercial in his approach to understanding the client‚Äôs needs‚Äô. Joe Bedford¬†and Ken Woffenden¬†are highlighted for ‚Äėtheir great understanding‚Äô of clients' commercial needs. Other core names include Jenny Robertson, highly experienced duo¬†Richard Baxter¬†and Keith Syson, and head of commercial Beverley Whittaker. Senior associates James Floyd¬†and Oscar Horwich¬†¬†are also noted.

asb law LLP¬†provides ‚Äėtop notch, practical and commercial advice.‚Äô Helen Mead¬†heads the group, which handles acquisitions, sales and mergers, as well as restructuring of shareholdings and corporate governance issues; she is highlighted¬† for providing 'exceptional value for the high-quality legal advice and assistance provided'. The team acted for Highway¬†Care on a major¬†restructuring of its shareholding by way of the creation of new classes of shares.¬†In other work, it advised Seventeen Group on its acquisition of Westscott Insurance Brokers. Claire Williams¬†and associate Nikki Ashfield¬†focus on corporate finance and senior consultant Russell Bell¬†handles commercial and corporate matters; the trio are 'approachable and know what they‚Äôre doing'. Debbie Venn¬†focuses on commercial matters.¬†Andrew Hoad¬†joined¬†PDT Solicitors¬†in January 2018.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP impresses clients 'with the quality of the advice and the timeliness of the delivery'. It undertakes all aspects of corporate M&A and commercial work including management buyouts, joint ventures and corporate restructures in sectors such as telecoms, technology and healthcare. It acted for the shareholders of Vocality International on the sale of the company to US company Cubic Corporation. It also assisted the Disability Trust with the termination of its joint venture with North Lincolnshire & Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the sale of its business to the Trust. Geoffrey Sparks leads the team. Catherine Drew  focuses on corporate work in the care homes sector, as does Tim Jenkins,  who is 'very experienced; calm; thoughtful; intelligent; and commercial'. The 'commercial, thorough and excellent project manager'  Jonathan Steele handles a range of acquisition and investment work and senior associate Rebecca Burford stands out for 'her breadth of expertise' and willingness to 'go the extra mile to achieve a successful outcome'.

The 'very strong' team at DMH Stallard LLP instills clients with 'confidence in its advice and therefore provides good value for money'. The team acts for a number of regional clients, especially in the healthcare, technology, media and travel sectors.  It advised on a management buyout of Albatross Group Holdings and in other work assisted Posturite and its shareholders with the sale of a minority stake to US global office supplies manufacturer, Fellowes International. Abigail Owen  'is efficient and provides clear strategic advice with an eye on the future, limiting exposure or complications that may come up'. Experienced practitioners Jonathan Grant and John Yates take on a range of corporate and commercial work and Danos Athanasi and Kate Norgett are other key names.

Penningtons Manches Cooper fields a team of 'excellent all-round deal lawyers'. The national head of corporate, Simon Bickerdike , 'is a standout individual - a true trusted adviser', who advises on both domestic and cross-border acquisitions,  management buyouts and share sales. The team also attracts high-value MBOs and  fundraising mandates, often with multi-jurisdictional aspects. It advised the shareholders of  a group of Criterion companies on the sale of its entire issued share capital to Charles Taylor, a deal valued at up to £13m. It also assisted APA Publications with its acquisition of the Rough Guides from Dorling Kindersley. David Kendall, who handles the gamut of corporate transactions, especially those involving technology and IP, 'could confidently take the lead in any negotiation'. The 'calm, collected, intelligent, experienced and commercially astute' Philip Walton  is highlighted for his experience in the venture capital and private equity spheres; senior associate Liz Gillingham is also noted as is associate Hannah McIIwraith, who 'is always up to speed with  transactions, very knowledgeable and approachable'.

Thomson Snell & Passmore offers a comprehensive service across corporate and commercial matters, restructuring, and debt and equity raising. According to one client, 'the firm is the best we have encountered so far', while another commented that 'the personable team provides practical advice and is good value for money.' It advised Sunray Engineering on the acquisition of Prestige Fire Door Services and assisted Kit for Kids, a Sevenoaks-based designer and manufacturer of innovative child sleep and educational products, with its £3.7m fund raising with Connection Capital.  Joanne Gallagher heads the team, which includes senior partner James Partridge,  Nicholas Gabay and  Gina Bicknell. 

Barlow Robbins LLP's team is recommended for 'taking a sensible, commercial approach to its advice' and for 'balancing risk and the commercial aspects' of a client's business. It handles corporate transactions and advisory work in sectors including education, real estate and leisure. On the M&A side, highlights included handling British Study Centre Group's acquisition of  Experience English to create the BSC Group. Mark Lucas, who heads the practice, and Jo Farr are recommended for their ability to navigate complicated transactions and are supported by Laurie Heizler and senior associate Ian McDonald, who was a new arrival from Lewis Silkin LLP.

Brachers  is highlighted for combining efficiency with 'good knowledge of a wide variety of sectors and strength across the team'. Led by James Bullock, the team acted on a number of MBOs, including assisting the management team on the MBO of UK Medical from US-based Becton Dickinson, a matter that was complicated due to ongoing services, supply and distribution agreements and the negotiation of a share sale agreement. In other recent work, the group handled private equity acquisitions and transactions in the energy sector that were frequently led by Matthew Simmonds  and Erol Huseyin.

Clarkson Wright & Jakes acts for a long-standing and core client base of owner-managed small- to medium-sized companies from an array of sectors. Ben Madden leads a team that handles the range of corporate and commercial work including acquisitions and investment transactions, as well as MBOs and company reorganisations. Ben Madden heads the department, which includes managing partner Andrew Wright, whose expertise covers AIM matters, as well as acquisitions and sales.

Furley Page Solicitors ,according to one client, 'understands business needs and provides advice that is always proportionate and appropriate'. Its expertise covers mergers, acquisitions, share sales and related commercial work. It acted on a share sale of Forte Pharma to Alliance Healthcare (part of the Boots and Walgreens group) and in other highlight work assisted Mobility Networks with its merger with Netherlands-based Acdeos. 'Highly qualified and experienced' department head Susan Jennings is recommended for 'always having the client’s best interests at heart and for being pragmatic and practical in her advice'. Tony Chester's expertise extends to restructuring, demerger and share buyback work.

Moore Law offers a niche service in the media, technology, sports and life sciences sectors. It handles a broad range of commercial mandates, which frequently include IP issues, for a client base that is largely regional but has a growing international element. The team continues to act for P1vital companies on a range of commercial and IP matters connected with clinical studies and also counts software developer RocketRoute and advertising company Bigfoot among its clients. Tristram Moore and Scott Moore are the key practitioners.

Morrisons Solicitors LLP advises on acquisitions, joint ventures,  and share sales, as well as reorganisations and fund raisings. It also handles a  range of commercial and data protection matters. The team's healthcare client base continues to grow and  Louise Fegan handles M&A in the dental sector. Peter Savage, who heads the team, acted for Secom on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Northern Ireland-based Scan Alarms and Security Systems. Karen Lord's workload included advising the shareholders of GMK Pepper Holdings on the sale of the entire share capital to US-based investment group ELI Global. In other work, John Andrews assisted a client on the time-pressured acquisition of a business and its assets from the administrators of a major plc.

PDT Solicitors is adept at transactions across the range of corporate and commercial work, including related financing and corporate reorganisations.  Practice leader Noel Ruddy's extensive expertise extends to financing and he is also recognised as 'a national asset-based lending expert who stands out in the field'.  In a highlight matter, the team advised the shareholders of Atomwide on the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to AdEPT Telecom. The acquisition, which was valued at £26m, included managing several groups of sellers. The 'very commercial and deal friendly' Rebecca Glazebrook advises corporates and lenders on the gamut of corporate work including MBOs and private equity deals;  Jo Williams has a strong focus on the pharma and dental sectors; and 'solid corporate lawyer' Andew Hoad joined from asb law LLP in January 2018.

With five offices in the South East, Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP is considered 'ideal for larger transactions, but equally able to deliver a cost-effective solution for smaller transactions'. It provides full corporate and commercial services to local, national and overseas clients in sectors such as insurance, telecoms, healthcare and construction. Recent work included acting for the sellers on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Broadham Care to residential care specialist Elysium Healthcare. Group head Sara Carpenter is 'top class' and Alan Zeal 'is a consummate professional, who brings a wealth of experience to the table'. The firm's chairman Bruce Hayter is 'very solution oriented and focuses on what really matters.' Sevenoaks-based managing partner Richard Cripps has a wealth of corporate and secured-finance expertise. The team was further strengthened by the addition of Tim Sadka, who joined in September 2017 and, according to one client, 'brings a depth of experience and technical capability to an already effective and versatile team'.

TWM Solicitors LLP acts for strong local and regional clients, including banks, and is increasingly attracting work from overseas clients for which it handles the spectrum of corporate and commercial work including share sales, MBOs, joint ventures and finance work. Recent work includes acting for Chris Lane Leisure on the acquisition of a leisure centre from Virgin Active by way of an asset purchase. Jamie Berry leads the group and counts ultra-high net worth individuals and family businesses among his clients; Peter Stevens' clients include those in the auto industry as well as inbound investors and Daniel Jenking leads on a range of corporate and commercial deals for owner-managed businesses.

The team at Warners Solicitors is 'pragmatic in approach and focused on protecting the interests of the clients in a way that ensures that transactions are completed sensibly and effectively'. It handles sales, acquisitions, related finance and commercial contracts for largely owner-managed businesses, especially in the technology  and agriculture sectors. Its recent work included representing the Rough Trade Retail Group in respect of a 34.25% investment stake by Les Nouvelles Editions Indépendantes with a post-money valuation of £5m. Jonathan Roberts' expertise extends to private equity and finance transactions and Russell Brinkhurst acts for buyers and sellers across a diverse range of sectors, focusing predominantly on owner-managed businesses. The duo have 'a sensible and pragmatic approach to working with their clients and a broad range of expertise in the corporate and commercial space'. Practice head Kevin Sullivan has expertise in software-related contracts in addition to his broader corporate, venture capital and private equity work.

From offices in Dorking, Goldalming and Cobham, Downs Solicitors LLP Dorking handles company and asset sales, shareholder sales, joint venture matters and equity funding, with SMEs making up the bulk of its clients. According to one client, 'the service is outstanding, the team gives good advice and is very capable of negotiating with the other party to ensure the deal progresses at a good pace', while according to another client. the team 'compares very favourably with any other firm in the region'. The well-respected team head Julian Harvey is a 'first-class lawyer', who 'is always ahead of the game and remains completely unfazed if hiccups appear during a transaction'. He is also experienced in franchising and share option schemes. 'Extremely knowledgeable' Richard Clapham has considerable experience in advising both national and overseas clients ranging from large corporates to start-ups and family businesses and is ably assisted by 'excellent' associate Magdalena Janki.

GBH Law Limited focuses on the acquisition, sale and reorganisation of partnerships; it acted for a law firm on its acquisition of a niche corporate law practice and has also acted for chartered surveyors and accountancy firms. In other work, it assisted Business Data Partners on the buy out of a 51% French business partner together with the reorganisation of the business structure. Denise Herrington and Christine Goodyear are the key practitioners at the firm.

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