Public sector in South East
Blake Morgan LLP is considered a leading provider in the field with its expertise spanning the health, local government and education sectors. The health team, under the leadership of Bruce Potter, assists a number of large healthcare providers including national bodies on complex transactional matters. The local government practice is headed up by Penny Rinta-Suksi, who is highly rated by clients and is noted for her work on leisure and housing projects. On the education side, the group is well known for advising institutions on a range of issues including contentious and non-contentious advisory work. Cardiff-based Matthew Smith oversees the group and is supported by associate Vicky Schollar. Rajiv Joshi is recommended for employment-related transactional matters.
‘Having worked with Blake Morgan for a number of years I would have no hesitation in recommending them. They combine first-class legal knowledge with a pragmatism that ensures that we can make the best use of the advice they provide.’
‘They have supported us across a range of issues from contracts, procurement issues and leases to coroners inquests and strategic planning and development, and have always added significant value to our decision-making processes.’
‘Work has been led by Penny Rinta-Suksi. In her approach, she brings exactly what I would look for in a commercial lawyer: understanding of the overall commercial objectives comes first and the provision of advice is in line with that. Combined with knowledge of the industry and so very able to advise on standard positions, reasonable project variants (i.e. challenge where my view may not get me what I am looking to achieve).’
Reading Borough Council
Chiltern District Council
North Norfolk District Council
Fenland District Council
Oxfordshire County Council
Tandridge District Council
London Borough of Merton
Test Valley Borough Council
Cherwell District Council
Dover District Council
New College, Oxford
Balliol College, Oxford
Oxford Foundation for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence
Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association
University of Portsmouth
Portsmouth Grammar School
Portsmouth Diocesan Trust
University of Reading
NHS England and NHS Wales
University College London NHS Foundation Trust
Medical Imaging Partnerships Limited
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
- Supporting Reading Borough Council on a complex leisure design, build operate and maintain project to radically improve its mixture of new and existing wet and dry leisure facilities spread across multiple sites.
- Acting for the Hamwic Education Trust on a number of academy conversions to join the MAT providing commercial, property and employment advice.
- Supporting Chiltern District Council on its procurement documents and contracts and schedules.
Brachers is noted for its specialism in the healthcare and education sectors and handles an assortment of matters for market leading clients. The multi-disciplinary practice leverages its commercial, corporate and employment departments to act for clients in the education sector. Bill Butler heads up the education group, which handles estate-related mandates for foundation schools, SEN schools, private schools and private colleges as part of its growing portfolio. Ash Jilani, who has over two decades of expertise, is the key name at the firm for primary care issues. On the healthcare side, John Sheath remains the preeminent practitioner and is recommended for inquest work and clinical governance matters.
‘Dedicated team, who are hardworking and efficient. They are prepared to put the hours in when required and are good with clients.’
‘John Sheath and Scott Alexander are very hard working and bring a wide range of knowledge and skills to the table.’
‘Approachability of staff and willingness to engage with staff on their level compares very well to other firms I have used.’
‘I have worked closely with John Sheath on inquest cases and miscellaneous legal queries. John’s considerable experience in this field has been a great asset to our trust, together with his accessibility and speedy response to requests for advice and help.’
‘John Sheath also has a very calming and authoritative approach which has enabled front line staff to feel supported and well prepared for inquests, police enquiries etc.’
Coppice Primary Partnership
London Skills for Growth Limited
Medway NHS Foundation Trust
East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Partnership NHS FT
NHS Commercial Alliance
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Benenden Hospital Trust
- Advising Coppice Primary Partnership, which is a multi-academy trust, on its acquisition of St Katherine’s Primary School which is converting to an academy including advising the academy on estates matters, corporate matters, construction issues and all other associated work connected with the conversion.
- Acting for Chaucer College on its disposal of Kingsgate College, Broadstairs, Kent, to a private equity fund (Astute Capital Partners) and a Kent-based developer (Future Homes).
- Acted for London Skills for Growth, which is a charity, on its disposal of a freehold training centre in East London including advising on the charity’s legal obligations on disposals and ancillary matters.
Cripps Pemberton Greenish's multidisciplinary practice has strength in depth across the health and local government spaces and leverages its large employment and real estate offering to advise a growing client base. Nick Austen heads up the healthcare group and is noted for his expertise in transactional and regulatory matters. Elsewhere, James Lee oversees the construction practice, which contributes to the public sector work, and is a key contact alongside Miles Paffard for property litigation and non-contentious transactional work. The group also regularly handles advisory work for local authority clients relating to regeneration programs. Ed Fowler focuses on the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
‘Cripps is a big player in the Kent area.’
Slough Borough Council
Runnymede Borough Council
Eastbourne Borough Council
Lewes District Council
Independent Office of Police Conduct
Thanet District Council
Crown Prosecution Service
The University of Kent
South East Water
Sevenoaks District Council
- Assisted Crown Prosecution Service with the negotiation and settlement of a terminal dilapidation claim at the end of the Crown Prosecution Service’s 25-year lease of their former UK headquarters at Rose Court, Southwark, London.
- Advised Slough Borough Council on its massive urban regeneration project called Slough Urban Renewal with its development partner Morgan Sindall.
- Advised Runnymede Borough Council on all investment and asset management matters on two key regeneration schemes: Addlestone One development and Egham Gateway West.
The standout healthcare practice at Birkett Long LLP is now led by Tim Field and handles a steady stream of M&A matters for long-standing clients including GP practices, dentists and care homes. Former practice head Tracey Dickens leads the commercial and corporate finance group and provides multidisciplinary advice to healthcare clients. The group is also able to leverage its real estate and dispute resolution practices.
Other key lawyers:
Healthcare Homes Limited
Healthcare Homes Group Limited
Manorcourt Care (Norfolk) Limited
Runwood Homes Limited
St Helena Hospice
- Advised the shareholders of Healthcare Homes Holdings Limited on the sale of their shares to the existing management team.
- Advised on the merger of three independent GP practices including the Chelmer Medical Partnership.
At Clarkslegal LLP, the education practice has extensive experience advising schools, higher education institutions and local authorities on the full spectrum of issues. Based in Reading, the team has notable strength across construction, employment and dispute resolution mandates and also regularly acts for charity sector clients. David Rintoul heads up the team and is a key contact.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP is a 'go-to firm' for healthcare matters and has a 'heavyweight healthcare' practice nationally. Housed in Winchester, the team has substantial experience and handles the full gamut of issues, particularly for institutional clients including the NHS. Matthew McGrath specialises in clinical negligence defence matters and mental health work, whilst Belinda Dix is the key contact for regulatory issues. Heather Durston-Hillyer focuses on clinical negligence litigation and is part of the clinical risk team.
‘Healthcare regulatory matters are a minefield, and the DAC Beachcroft team manage to bring together a heavyweight national presence.’
‘Excellent strength in depth. The health sector is clearly a very important sector for this firm. Partners are willing to trust associates and that creates confidence in succession planning.’
‘I have found it straightforward to deal with all levels of lawyers at DAC Beachcroft. I have enjoyed working with David Worrall, who is good at picking up the phone and having a proper discussion about a case.’
‘Expert knowledge, supplied with confidence and integrity. DAC Beachcroft should be everyone’s go to practice.’
‘This is a particularly good outfit with a handful of very good lawyers.’
Medical Defence Union
Oxford University Hospitals NHS FT
University Hospital Southampton NHS FT
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS FT
Poole Hospital NHS FT
Hampshire Hospitals NHS FT
Great Western Hospitals NHS FT
Salisbury NHS FT
- Handling an urgent serious medical treatment application to the High Court and the Court of Protection jointly for Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust.
- Advising a large acute trust on a patient’s access to chemotherapy treatment in threatened Judicial Review proceedings.
- Advised a Mental Health Trust on the resolution of a complicated situation relating to commissioning responsibility for a number of patients.
Martin Searle Solicitors
The specialist community care team at Martin Searle Solicitors has expertise in handling health and social care disputes pertaining to the provision of care by local authorities. The 'impressive' claimant-focused practice, which is based in Brighton, is led by Cate Searle and also has experience in Court of Protection matters. Paula Jones is the key name for mental capacity law matters, while Rachel Burley-Stower is an expert in double recovery mandates and frequently assists personal injury practitioners.
‘Cate Searle and Paula Jones have incredible depth of knowledge of all aspects of community care law. They are friendly and approachable and very quick to respond to queries. They have supported my team on queries relating to deputyship work, Court of Protection and provision of care from the local authority to our clients considering issues relating to funding, needs assessments and best interests meetings.’
‘Martin Searle’s team has a unique level of knowledge and technical ability in this area of law. They are highly regarded in the profession and are always my first choice for referring my clients that need assistance with anything Community Care related. I don’t know of any other Solicitors firm locally that can match them.’
‘Cate Searle – dogged and thorough to get justice for her clients. She explains things in an easy to understand language and is, most of all, a really great person to work with.’
‘Cate Searle is extremely knowledgeable, approachable and pragmatic. She takes time to understand the particular issue, makes sure she asks the right questions and fills you with confidence. I wholeheartedly recommend Cate and the firm for quality work with added value. We could not have managed without her.’
‘I have been incredibly impressed by all the team at Martin Searle. They are quick to respond and give an excellent service. Their knowledge and experience is second to none but they are not afraid to say when something is not within their expertise.’
‘Rachel Burley-Stower – a whirlwind. Great with clients – not frightened of a fight with a CCG or local authority if it is in the client’s best interests. Doesn’t give up easily.’
‘They are true specialists in their field. We have recently instructed them to assist with a complicated case relating to care funding for a severely disabled client, and they have been able to explain to us and family members, in layman’s terms, the key points whilst then negotiating with the Local Authority using the language they understand.’
‘Rachel Burley-Stower is excellent. Really knowledgeable but also really cares and goes the extra mile to get the right result.’
‘Provide really excellent support and advice in respect of social and NHS care funding matters and obtain great results for my clients. Tenacious and really fight for my client’s rights.’
‘Cate Searle – definitely a leader in her field. What she doesn’t know about Continuing HealthCare funding and social care funding isn’t worth knowing.’
Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's standout education practice is known for handling matters for higher education clients including several Russell Group universities. The team's offering covers the full gamut of issues from corporate mandates to litigation, and also assists clients requiring governance and regulatory expertise. Practice head Daff Richardson also has employment law experience and undertakes advisory and data protection mandates.
‘It’s key strength is its versatility; a true “one-stop shop”. Unparalleled experience in the field of University disputes. A tireless working ethic.’
‘Hilary Aldred is a tireless worker and versatile expert on employment law and its related aspects, with a particular strength in the Universities sector.’
‘Very strong client focus; extremely hard working and efficient; comprehensive, effective and pragmatic advice covering difficult and complex situations; very approachable; extremely good communication with counsel.’
‘Pragmatic. Down to earth. Focused on their clients interests. Extremely well-organised.’
St Mary’s University Twickenham
The Pirbright Institute
Trinity Laban Conservatoire Of Music And Dance
St Peter’s College, Oxford
The Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering
Institute of Leadership and Management
City & Guilds
UK Atomic Energy Authority
The University of Derby
- Advised the Governing Body St Peter’s College on legal issues relating to the strategic development of four sites in central Oxford.
- Advised the student complaints team about a variety of potential claims under the Equality Act for a Russell Group University.
- Advising a higher education institution on the process where allegations of sexual assault are made between students.
Boyes Turner fields a large offering in the Thames Valley region and its education team has vast expertise in advising on SEN matters. Led by specialist solicitor Laxmi Patel, the practice advises individuals on a host of education issues and provides a service which incorporates the wider firm's clinical negligence and the Court of Protection teams. Rachel Baxter is a key member of the team and focuses exclusively on SEN work.
Other key lawyers:
Blandy & Blandy LLP's charity law and education team advises schools, universities and other education providers on a range of issues including governance mandates, employment matters and dispute resolution. Operating from Reading, the practice is overseen by commercial law expert Nick Burrows and handles work for non-profits and national charities.
EMW Law LLP
At EMW Law LLP, the team has notable strength in acting for social care clients including care homes and residential homes on an array of matters relating to M&A, litigation and regulatory work. Led by Joe Soul, the group also has experience in handling transactional work for banks and private equity investors, which is a key area of expertise for Jordan Glackin, who also lends his corporate knowledge to healthcare transactions. Lucy Walford is the primary real estate contact.
Ultimate Care Limited
Clacton Dental Group
Metro Bank Plc
J Sai Country Home Limited
Sidmouth Care Limited
- Assisted with the acquisition of the business and assets of a care home operator. The property was simultaneously acquired by a REIT and leased to the client; Sidmouth Healthcare Limited.
- Assisted Ultimate Care Limited with the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of two care home companies.
- Assisted Welford Healthcare Limited with the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of a care home company.
Operating from Reading, the education practice at Field Seymour Parkes LLP acts for a wide range of clients including local authorities and higher education institutions. Katie Burley leads the team, which has expertise across M&A and employment issues, advising clients on establishing corporations and acting in disciplinary hearings. Louise Smyth is noted for her employment expertise; she advises on senior-level exits and is skilled in High Court litigation.
Other key lawyers:
Berkshire College of Agriculture
- Assisted Wokingham Borough Council with the purchase of three separate substantial let investment properties, to provide secure future funding for social services.
Moore Barlow's public sector practice includes education and healthcare elements for clients, and has notable strength in SEN work. Tim Spring leads the healthcare group form Southampton, which handles Court of Protection matters for vulnerable individuals and has a specialism in clinical negligence work. Mea North is part of the community care team and is recommended for advisory work pertaining to personal injury and regulatory matters. On the education side, Janata Ali heads up the team, which handles school exclusion matters for parents and guardians.
Other key lawyers:
PDT Solicitors has strength in the pharmaceuticals sector and assists clients with the refinancing and acquisition of pharmacies. Led by James Clewlow, the 'commercially astute' team is highly experienced in the pharmacy space and also handles dental and optical practice purchases. Associate Holly Goacher works closely with Clewlow and is also skilled in undertaking and advising on transactions.
Other key lawyers:
‘Holly Goacher has been fantastic in her approach in handling my work in the assistance of the Pharmacy purchases.’
‘James and his team have acted for my firm on two transactions. Very professional and meticulous in their work. All inquiries dealt with promptly.’
‘The practice partner and the associates I dealt with were extremely knowledgeable and commercially astute in protecting my interests. They were highly competent and completed the various stages of my transaction in a timely manner. They obviously work well as a team and are able to cover for each other as their competencies overlap. I was treated with courtesy and respect at all times. I felt that my business was valued.’
‘James Clewlow who went out of his way to visit my business to gain an understanding of my needs. He did this outside of normal business hours and was willing to meet at any time if the need arose. He is clearly well experienced and competent in his area of expertise. He is a people person rather than a voice at the end of a telephone. He is able to persuade, cajole, and encourage other parties to work to complete a transaction in a timely manner.’
‘PDT Solicitors are unique because of their thorough professionalism and one to one attention that I experienced. They had made me feel the centre of their attention and I received up to the minute attention from the whole team. I also felt I was made to feel part of their team to achieve my goals.’
‘James Clewlow has been outstanding from beginning to end. Having met James last year it became clear to me that I would use PDT for my future legal needs. His knowledge and ability to apply that legal knowledge was second to none. Indeed he even highlighted serious legal errors in the sellers solicitors when I was buying another Pharmacy which would have scuppered the deal had he not spotted their errors.’
‘Highly impressed from beginning to end.’
Suffolk Pharma Group
Shareholders of Willingham Healthcare Limited
Rohit Patel / R & N Businesses Ltd
St Catherine’s Dental Grantham Limited
Sai Dutt Limited
VK Nurseries Limited
Anna Healthcare Limited
SMP Pharma Limited
- Acted for Suffolk Pharma Group on a number of joint ventures, established to acquire multiple operation sites from Lloyds Pharmacy and part of Lloyds’ rationalisation in the retail pharmacy sector.
- Acted for an individual on his pharmacy relocation and the modernisation of his pharmacy premises, as well as a corporate restructuring.
Baker Small Solicitors
Baker Small Solicitors is a boutique outfit based in Milton Keynes, which provides special education needs services to parents and carers. Led by managing director Mark Small, the practice advises schools and local authorities on SEN issues, employment law work and discrimination matters.
The health and social care practice at Gordons Partnership LLP acts for a wide range of clients including nurseries, children’s homes, care homes, hospitals and GP practices. Regulatory expert Neil Grant leads the team, which only acts for providers, and draws on strong cross-practice employment, corporate, and litigation expertise. Susan Hunneyball, who joined in 2019 from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, is a key member of the team, noted for her pharmaceuticals sector knowledge.
Other key lawyers:
‘Susan Hunneyball, she has a mastery of both factual and legal issues. She has good client care skills and knows when to give robust advice. She is prepared to take a firm position when it is required, with the court, the opposition, or if necessary the client.’
‘This firm have a detailed understanding of the regulatory issues in relation to the oversight of care homes for older people. The firm frequently evidences CPD in areas writing freely about the challenges and regulations of the sector. The firm offers alternative thinking to help shape the regulations and approaches in the sector and is a voice that helps providers and operators in this part of the market.’
‘Neil Grant has advised on a number of regulatory issues and has been very responsive in helping shape approaches with the regulator giving advise on points of law and pulling together information to help shape regulatory responses. Neil is responsive, diligent and always provides very practical advice and help.’
‘I worked with Susan Hunneyball for many years. She is one of very few lawyers in the country with extensive specialised knowledge of pharmacy law. She has a good – sympathetic – client manner which is particularly valuable for clients who, especially in fitness to practise cases or facing prosecution, are undergoing considerable stress. Her knowledge of NHS regulation in the primary care sector is detailed, and this is rare in a highly regulated area.’
‘A highly professional team. Excellent communication. In-depth knowledge of Adult Social Care Sector. Flexible, well-connected, very responsive.’
‘Neil has unique experiences and thinks in a manner that suits our temperament as an organisation. He is extremely flexible and will always respond to any issue in a timely way.’
‘Gordons provides clear, concise and marketplace specific advice and guidance in a time frame in line with the urgency of the project.‘
‘One star individual in the team; Susan Hunneyball. Encyclopedic knowledge of the healthcare sector. She combines a reassuring client presence with very good judgement as to what will work and what will not, and a willingness to get stuck in to try to solve the client’s problem.’
Kingsley Healthcare Group and its subsidiaries
- Acting for a pharmacist who will be appearing before a professional body, the GPhC, in relation to dishonesty offences relating to allegations of stolen prescriptions.
Spanning across four locations, the education and healthcare practice at Howes Percival LLP has extensive expertise covering corporate, employment, construction, commercial contract and data protection mandates. Oliver Pritchard, who joined from Browne Jacobson LLP, has a wealth of expertise handling corporate transactions in the healthcare sector and regularly advises on mergers.Daniel Banton heads up the academies and schools sub-group of the education team and specialises in conversions. The practice also counts an increasing number of universities and colleges as part of its client roster. Other key partners include Mark Davies and Graham Irons.
Anchor Hanover Group
P J Care Limited
Anchor Carehomes Limited
- Acted for Learners’ Trust on the conversion of five schools to academy status.
Knights has an 'excellent' local government offering and leverages its public law team to handle an assortment of matters for local authorities and political lobby groups. Jointly led by Tunbridge Wells-based pair Matthew Knight and Simon Bell, the practice has expertise across litigation, administrative law and real estate work and acts for clients in the agricultural sector.
‘We had Simon Bell assigned to us. He sourced the best national expert in the related field on very short notice, they reassured us at every step of the way and explained our options in a generous manner. He was exceptional and I would certainly recommend him to others.’
‘The partner handling my affairs is Simon Bell. I have found him extremely attentive and quick to respond to new matters as they have arisen. I have experience with many types of lawyers, property, construction, dispute etc but none have been as attentive as Simon Bell.’
‘Simon Bell is very well placed for judicial review claims against the government, after many years as a senior lawyer for the Government Legal Department defending some of the Government’s most high profile commercially oriented claims. He has taken all of that experience into his private practice, and has a spectacularly good understanding of how to litigate against the Government effectively and economically. Highly recommended.’
‘The team was not only forthcoming and eager to help but also acted with respect to the very tight time-frame and in the very stressful circumstance, we had to work with. Out of all the firms we rang, their team made time for us in short notice and worked around the clock to help us. Customer service was excellent.’
Peter Jolly’s Circus
Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK
Tunbridge Wells Alliance
- Acted for a client in a Divisional Court of the High Court in a local government election petition, concerning the ambiguity of Brexit related markings on a ballot paper used to break a tie between two candidates.
- Acted in a claim for judicial review against the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Act 2019, brought on behalf of an affected travelling circus.
The healthcare team at Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP acts for private and public sector clients across the healthcare spectrum, with a particular focus on primary care organisations including the NHS. Stewart Gregory, who formerly led Browne Jacobson LLP's specialist healthcare property team in London, oversees the practice, which handles real estate matters as well as refinancing mandates for a wide roster of clients.
‘Stewart Gregory has excellent knowledge of the medical sector.’
‘The team has a good combination of specialities in the healthcare sector.’
Trentside Medical Group
The Calverton Practice
Market Harbourough & Bosworth Partnership
National Autistic Society
Independence Homes Ltd
Embankment Primary Care Ltd
- Handled the refinancing of a GP partnership, The Calverton Practice, to facilitate the significant extension and refurbishment of the existing practice premises.
- Advising Trentside Medical Group on the development of a new medical centre.
- Prepared the development agreement for the construction of a new 78 place special school for pupils aged 11-19 with autism for the National Autistic Society Academies Trust.
The education practice at Tees Law is recognised for its work on complex special education needs matters. Led by senior associate and litigator Polly Kerr, the team is regularly instructed by institutions including local-authority-maintained schools and academies; it also acts for parents on contentious and non-contentious matters. The practice is able to leverage the firm's wider employment and dispute resolution groups to support the department.
‘Polly Kerr was excellent. She went above and beyond to help us. She really believed in my son’s cause and gave us excellent advice – not just legal, also personal so that we could present our case as effectively as possible.’
‘The practice is very thorough and communicates and executes very well.’
‘Polly Kerr is very knowledgeable, always helpful, goes the extra mile and good communicator.’