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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 > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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From the firm's Guildford office, Barlow Robbins LLP is 'competing with market-leading London firms, all while delivering excellent value for money'. The  team of 'dedicated not-for-profit specialists' acts for a number of international, national and regional charities on the full range of charities issues, with developing expertise in niche areas such as data protection and legacy issues. Recent highlights include assisting Compassion International, a US-based charity that operates in 25 countries, on data protection obligations affecting its its affiliates and field offices within the European Union, as well as advising the charity on its liability under UK fundraising regulation. The practice also acted for Chinthurst School Educational Trust on its merger with an independent school, and advised Lloyds Banking Group on new security arrangements over the properties of Churcher's College in Petersfield as a result of the incorporation of the charity. Gordon Reid heads the practice and is highlighted for his 'quick and clear responses and genial manner'. Also recommended are Helen Harvie, who handles a range of structural and governance issues on behalf of charities, social enterprises and independent schools; Joanna Lada-Walicki, whose expertise covers employment and pastoral issues; dispute resolution specialist David Foster; and Mark Lucas , who regularly advises on commercial issues for charitable organisations.

Cripps LLP fields a 'highly professional, diligent and knowledgeable' practice that is praised for its 'commitment to the charities sector'. The firm's clients cover the waterfront of charitable and not-for-profit arenas, including art, culture and heritage; education; social housing; and healthcare. It also acts for a number of religious charitable organisations, such as The London Diocesan Fund, for which it handles the full range issues arising from its property portfolio. On the education front, the practice acted for The University of Kent (a longstanding client) on the development of a new college consisting of 801 new student bedrooms and a central social hub building. Other highlights included acting for The English National Ballet, a new client for 2017, on the relocation of its main headquarters, which involved negotiating the construction documents relating to the fit-out of its new headquarters. Kate Arnold heads the team, which includes Andrew Harbourne, who acts for a number of religious, education and affordable housing sector clients, and Peter Scott, who is praised for his ability to 'analyse all sides of complex problems and provide very practical and commercial advice'.

Freeths LLP is 'a very personable firm that does not baffle clients with legal terms and always has their interests in mind'. The charities team is praised for its 'strong breadth of experience', with team head Robert Nieri singled out for his 'well-rounded knowledge, good understanding of clients and ability to always meet expectations'. The practice acts for more than 260 charities and not-for-profit organisations, including Cancer Research UK, Oxfam and RSPB, on matters ranging from formations and registrations, property work and employment, to contentious and non-contentious legacy work. Issues arising from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have been a key theme throughout 2017, with the firm acting for RSPB on its GDPR compliance programme and opt-in campaign. Nieri's expertise covers governance issues, commercial agreements, fundraising and disputes. Also recommended are contentious trust and probate specialist Sarah Foster , Lesley Pollock, who handles charity property matters, and Nigel Roots. Angela Bowman joined Shoosmiths LLP in December 2017.

Blake Morgan LLP acts for a wide range of charities, not-for-profits and social enterprise programs, including the RSPCA, Oxfam and British Red Cross, on M&A transactions, issues arising from creating and amending Royal Charters, and restructuring charitable groups and trusts, among other matters. It also acts for a number of Diocesan authorities, including Portsmouth Catholic Diocesan Trust, for which the team recently handled a large-scale academy conversion project. Other highlights included advising Portsmouth Sailing Trust on a proposed merger with the Simpson Sailing Foundation, and assisting The Sailors' Society with a range of governance, commercial and fundraising matters. Ben Brice heads the team following Christopher Williams' departure to Geldards LLP.

Blandy & Blandy LLP attracts praise for its 'excellent industry knowledge and timely responses'. The practice acts for a number of national charities and not-for-profit organisations, including Genetic Disorders UK and The Institution of Structural Engineers, as well as local charities on the a range of charities matters, with an emphasis on mergers, demergers, joint ventures, collaborations and amalgamations. Practice head Nick Burrows ('approachable, knowledgeable and a good communicator who is able to explain complex issues clearly') assists clients with governance, trustee and constitutional matters, among other areas.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is rated for its 'excellent all-round expertise in charities work'. The practice covers the full range of charities law advice, from property, employment and commercial work to dispute management, for a variety of global and national charities and not-for-profits, including household names such as Barnardo's and Cancer Research UK. Recent work includes assisting the former client with the management of its property portfolio, which involved advising on acquisitions, disposals and licences for alterations. The practice also acts for the Save The Children Fund on property issues. Duncan Elson, who is noted for his track record acting for a schools and religious charities, and Ben Smith, who regularly acts for charities and not-for-profit organisations, head the practice, which includes non-contentious charities expert Sally Ashford and tax specialist George Duncan. Kate Parkinson joined VWV.

Debenhams Ottaway's charities team is praised for providing 'appropriate advice on a timely basis at a reasonable price', and is considered 'a local leader' among clients. The practice acts for a number of well-known local and national charities, including The St Albans Diocesan Board of Finance and Crohn's and Colitis UK, on a broad range of issues spanning trusts, employment, property and litigation. It also advises a number of independent schools on their charitable status. In an illustration of the practice's track record providing commercial advice to charitable organisations, it recently assisted Crohn's and Colitis UK with the creation of a consultancy agreement template for freelancers and consultants who act on behalf of the charity, and reviewing and amending two contracts for services in relation to a media campaign. Practice head Nicholas Turner for his 'practical approach and ability to spot potential problems'. He is ably assisted by real estate specialists Ruth Boulton and Jonathan Foy, and senior associate Andrew Yates, who provides corporate advice to incorporated charities.

Furley Page Solicitors fields a 'very competent and efficient' charities team that is praised for its 'clear advice, attentive service and excellent value for money'. Aaron Spencer ('deals quickly and efficiently with all issues') leads the practice, which acts for a number of healthcare and ecclesiastical organisations on formation and governance, taxation, employment, and disputes matters. Clients include The Almshouse Charity of Wynn Ellis, for which Gary Wootton advises on the administration of the charity, including agreeing the annual budget with the trustees of the charity; and Maynard & Cotton's Almshouse, which Spencer advises on governance matters and works with the trustees on the management of the charity. Also recommended are employment specialist Amanda Okill and Anthony Chester, who handles charitable company formations and mergers.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) offers a core team of lawyers specialising in advising charity clients on  governance, regulatory and commercial matters. It also draws on support  from practices including property, corporate and commercial, employment and dispute resolution, to handle the full range of issues for its clients, which include national charities. The practice acts for a number of medical charities, including Arthritis Research UK. Practice head Paul Ridout recently advised that client on its merger with Arthritis Care. Other recent highlights include advising CLIC Sargent Cancer Care for Children on a suite of agreements with fundraising partners, including a contract for a three-year partnership with WM Morrisons; and assisting a care home provider with the sale of registered nursing home business. Also recommended are Rosie Brass, who is noted for her regulatory and governance expertise, employment specialist Justin Govier, and Paul Kite, who handles disputes.

Penningtons Manches Cooper fields 'a strong team with a lot of experience in this area of law, particularly contentious charity law work'.  Alison Talbot (whose 18 years' experience in charity law and governance matters gives her 'a great depth of knowledge') leads a team that includes Philip Collins, whose 'very strong knowledge of contentious probate issues relating to charities enables him to get to the route of issues quickly'. They were joined in 2017 by Andrew Mackie from Bircham Dyson Bell,  who has an extensive track record of charity law advice, with particular experience of NHS charity regulation and work for charities governed by Royal Charter. The practice combines strong charity and social enterprise credentials with support from practice areas such as commercial property, employment and dispute resolution to provide a wide range of services to clients including the NSPCC, Dementia UK and Save The Children. Recent highlights include advising Hearing Dogs on its merger with Hearing Link and providing advice to the trustees of a social housing provider on their powers to enter into a transaction for the acquisition of a parcel of land for development in central London. The practice has also assisted more than 35 regional and national charities with revisions to their constitutions.

Clients are 'very pleased with the service provided by' Thomson Snell & Passmore 's 'very responsive and professional' practice, which draws on expertise from the firm's corporate and commercial, employment, property, dispute resolution and private client departments to provide 'effective, operational and watertight advice'. The 'knowledgeable, efficient' James Partridge  advises charities on regulatory compliance, fundraising, converting from unincorporated to incorporated organisations, and charity and academy mergers. Other key figures include employment expert Nick Hobden (who is noted for his 'quick, clear and sound advice'), Douglas Skilton, who handles regulatory investigations and disputes, private client head Nicola Plant and senior associate Penelope Edgar. The firm was appointed to The Charity Bank's legal panel to advise on its funding activity, recently assisting it on a £2.25m loan to a environmental charity to acquire and develop a community asset property from a local authority.

Birketts LLP fields 'an extremely knowledgeable team with an in-depth understanding of the issues facing the charities sector'. Its clients consist of more than 400 charities and not-for-profit organisations, including The Stroke Association, for which the practice handles matters ranging from charity mergers and incorporations and fundraising regulatory compliance, to real estate and contentious legacy issues. The practice is headed by Sara Sayer, who has an extensive track record handling disputes and public law matters. She is ably supported by commercial property partner Gavin Acheson, and senior associate and immigration specialist Clare Hedges. Brownsell acts for Amnesty International on on a range of contracts with professional fundraisers and commercial participants. Other recent highlights include acting for Trust for London on the acquisition, refurbishment and letting of central London premises for letting to an independent higher education college; and assisting the Institute of Fundraising with a national bespoke training programme concerning the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation on charities.

Boodle Hatfield LLP acts for charities on their charitable initiatives, and for high-net-worth individuals on their philanthropic ventures. In an illustration of the practice's workload for the latter group of clients, Oxford-based Eleanor Sepanski was part of a team advising a well-known philanthropist based in Switzerland on reviewing a non-charitable Liechtenstein law trust whether the trust's assets could be validly applied for charitable purposes in the UK. In another key mandate, Natasha Hassall advised a Swiss corporate on the establishment and ongoing governance of a UK corporate charitable foundation.

Clients of Field Seymour Parkes LLP are quick to praise the firm for its 'informed, clearly stated and timely advice; it always gives the impression that the client is highly valued'. The practice acts for Royal Charter organisations, schools and universities, property management companies, and sports clubs on a range of issues arising from their day-to-day operations. Key figures include Caroline Airey, who is noted for her 'depth of knowledge and experience in this area - she is always personable, available and clear with her advice'. She recently acted on the winding up of the Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes Club and the distribution of its assets.

Gardner Leader LLP's charities and not-for-profit practice is 'excellent in all areas', with clients singling out Alastair Goggins for his 'prompt responses and understanding of clients' needs - he communicates in plain English and keeps clients updated'. Goggins leads the team, which handles the full range of charities issues for national and local charities, including charity formation and registration; governance and constitutional matters; regulatory compliance; employment law; and dispute resolution.

Hewitsons acts for more than 400 charities and education-sector clients, including the RSPB, Canal and River Trust, and a number of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Chris Knight leads the practice from the firm's Northampton office and is supported by Martyn Robinson in Cambridge, whose expertise covers charity formations, governance, and mergers. Recent highlights include advising Bedford College on the transfer of all assets from Tresham College to the client following the dissolution of Tresham College, in addition to advising the same client on a new loan facility secured against the property assets from the transfer.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP is particularly well known for providing support to sporting charities such as The Sussex County Sports Partnership Trust on the full range of corporate, commercial, employment and property issues. It also assists a number of small charities with their directors' and trustee duties, employment issues, and other day-to-day issues, as well as acting for larger charities. Recent highlights include advising the Ansty Village Centre Steering Committee on the establishment of a new charitable incorporated organisation and merging of the activities of the village hall, social club, cricket club, football club and their respective assets into the new organisation. Bruce Hayter acts for a number of local sports organisations and is recommended alongside real estate expert Richard Cripps and Alan Zeal.

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