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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 > Real estate > Commercial property: Essex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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Birketts LLP has an 'excellent' commercial property department whose 'standard of work and competence is superior to that of other firms'. In development projects, the team advises developers and investors on matters from planning and construction to selling and leasing the property, while also negotiating site acquisitions, option agreements, landowner agreements and conditional purchases for housebuilders, as well as engaging in transactional and contractual landlord and tenant matters. Additional focus areas include investment and portfolio management, and banking and property finance. Practice head Grace Kerr specialises in transactions and the representation of landowners in agreement and joint venture negotiations, while legal director Steven Kay acts for national housebuilders. Clients further recommend 'very experienced, knowledgeable and efficient' legal director Duncan Williamson, who deals with development and financing. Senior associate Matthew Grindley and legal director Johanna Cope are other names to note.

The commercial property team at Ellisons Solicitors is renowned for realising transactions involving plots of land, as well as advising investors and engaging in secured lending work. Recent highlights include team lead Philip Roberts' representation of a logistics company in its £20,000 acquisition of 300,000 square feet of land and the related negotiation of a development agreement for the construction of a new logistics centre in Peterborough. Roberts also acted for an investment fund regarding its purchase of an investment property and fixed assets for £10.5m from a company based in the British Virgin Islands. Senior partner Guy Longhurst and partners Andrew Miranda and Kevin Wilsher are other key members of the team. Property finance partner Ross Wiltshire and development and strategic land expert Tim Bacon both joined from Prettys Solicitors LLP in spring 2017.

The 'very knowledgeable and responsive' team of 'customer-focused firm' Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP is 'one of the top commercial property practices in Colchester', 'provides an excellent professional service' and 'retains its ownership of customers'. It is best known for its transactional, promotion and option agreements, refinancing, planning, development and leasing expertise covering the healthcare, farming, investment and finance sectors, as well as ports, freight forwarding and haulage. The practice has strong relationships with Royal Bank of Scotland, Svenska Handelsbanken, New Hall School Trust and the Royal Association for Deaf people, while Barclays Bank and NatWest Business Centre were recently added to the client portfolio. 'Trustworthy' department lead Ellen Petersen-Clark and 'professional' leasehold expert Louise Smith are recommended, while Chelmsford-based partner Chris Jones, solicitor Beena Amin and transaction-focused solicitor Leon Pascal are other names to note. Planning consultant Sharon Stone assists with site appraisals and planning applications in a non-legal capacity.

The 'pragmatic, punctual and proactive' commercial property department of Wortley Byers LLP is 'very perceptive of clients' needs' and 'sets a high standard' through 'first-class industry knowledge', a 'very progressive business view' and 'detailed, comprehensive advice of exceptional quality'. Development, finance and secured lending, landlord and tenant, and property management and funding matters, as well as investment acquisitions, comprise the range of services.  The practice has long-standing relationships with Stonebond Properties, MCC Developments and William Thompson Homes, while being retained on several banking panels. Beresfords Group, Ingleton Wood and Hitachi Kokusai Electric in Germany instructed the team for the first time in 2017. Clients recommend 'strong negotiator and excellent leader' Jane Winfield, whose 'knowledge of property law is second to none', 'friendly, approachable and hardworking' partner Aaron Cane, 'insightful and responsive' solicitor David Grainger and 'indispensable' conveyancing specialist Tom Moulsdale. Associate Laura Harrison is another key member of the team.

The 'extremely strong, knowledgeable and responsive' firm Birkett Long LLP 'is well recognised for its commercial property work' and has a 'keen interest in supporting local clients and their businesses'. Special expertise exists in development and construction, investment and secured lending matters, while the majority of clients come from the education, healthcare, public and environmental sectors. Key examples are London Southend Airport, University of Essex, Healthcare Homes, Flakt Woods and Braintree District Council. Navigator Terminals Thames and Herald Property Investments instructed the department for the first time in 2017, and the team was also appointed to the Lloyds Banking Group commercial banking pass-through panel. 'Outstanding' partner Emma Wraight advised E Wall as seller of a tenanted industrial site to Bellway for development. Also recommended are 'no-nonsense' partner David Rayner and 'knowledgeable and communicative' associate Daniel Sturman. Melanie Bache heads the overall practice.

The 'highly responsive, knowledgeable, pragmatic and practical' commercial property department at 'dynamic and modern firm' Holmes & Hills is considered to be 'excellent in all respects' and 'among the best practices to deal with', 'offering sound advice which is always up to date on recent developments in the law'. Transactions of land, development agreements and site assembly matters form strong focus areas within the team. The active client base includes Epic Properties, Larch Housing Association, Modena Homes and Wilkin & Sons. 'Straightforward and diligent' partner Rebecca Mason leads the practice, while 'practical and fair' consultant and 'very good communicator' Michael Wright is 'always an excellent source of advice'. 'Bright and efficient' associate Wendy Martin, who 'picks up new situations very quickly', also functions as the key contact regarding commercial landlord and tenant matters. 'Helpful' senior solicitor Philippa Jerram 'handles all work in a professional, speedy manner' and is especially recommended for commercial conveyancing cases and agricultural property transactions. Former property executive Christopher Seymour and solicitor Callum Hall joined from Suffolk Life in January 2018 and Castle Point Borough Council in July 2017, respectively. The department also works together with a separate new build plot team which was formed in 2017.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors' commercial property practice is best known for its work on investment and management, acquisition and development, secured lending, licensing and planning matters for corporate, individual and public sector clients. Its portfolio comprises VolkerWessels, FE Good Properties and Handelsbanken, among other clients. Team lead Nicholas Evans, partner Jonathan Clark and associate Hannah Collins are the key individuals. During 2017, Collins handled matters relating to plot of land sales, nursing home purchases and leasehold acquisitions, while Evans advised on master lease and management structures within a property conversion.

BTMK Solicitors' commercial property team offers 'an excellent all-round service' with 'clear and thorough advice' and 'good response times'. Its range of expertise covers transactions, property management advice, landlord and tenant disputes, and commercial leases, as well as right to light matters. 'Efficient and knowledgeable' partner Lee Emptage represented Brelfin in the £1.2m acquisition and refinancing of a mixed-use property, and also assisted a high-net-worth individual with the refinance of his £3m property portfolio with Handelsbanken. M & R Bowman, Sandhurst New Homes, Venture Capital Associates and South Essex College are all active clients. Clients further recommend partner Ian Powell, whose 'commercial property knowledge is second to none', and solicitor Beau Borg. Partner Sean Callaghan is another key contact for transactions.

The three-partner commercial property team at Jefferies Essex LLP delivers an 'outstanding level of service' and 'has the depth of expertise to deal with a wide range of issues', including transactions, leases and developments in the hotel, factory, shopping centre, public house and office sectors. Transaction partner Mark Hidveghy functions as team lead, while Katrina Holland is recommended for her 'attention to detail and unrelenting dedication to complete the task'. Partner Amelia Hayes, 'professional' consultant Alan Gershlick and solicitor Callie Tuplin make up the rest of the core team.

Meaby & Co's 'excellent' commercial property practice covers sales and acquisition, development, option agreements, and leasing and financing matters concerning industrial sites and retail, office, leisure and entertainment properties. Partner Nicky Cleightonhills, who 'combines professionalism, intelligence and strategic flexibility', is the main contact in Chigwell.

The commercial property practice at Mullis & Peake LLP in Romford handles leasing, transactions, commercial mortgages, and landlord and tenant and land development matters in its representation of companies, developers, institutions, national housebuilders and individuals. The client portfolio includes Rainham Steel, Handelsbanken and Persimmon. Senior associate and head of commercial Joanne Wood and partner Andrew Fidler are the main practitioners, while solicitor Shelley Fitzpatrick specialises in lease extensions and enfranchisement. Chairman and corporate partner Peter Connell also assists with property transactions. In March 2018, solicitor Rachel Crapnell left for Bircham Dyson Bell.

The 'efficient' commercial property team at Palmers is 'quick to respond, knowledgeable in every aspect, thorough and commercially astute'. Expertise exists in the education, construction and engineering, insolvency, industrial, and logistics sectors, as well as in advising portfolio and pension scheme landlords. In 2017, the practice handled many grants and extensions of leases, transactions and promotion-of-land agreements. 'Competent and knowledgeable' Carey Jacobs serves as team lead, while 'detailed' associate Maisie Yau, who 'is a real asset on complex, multi-layered transactions', is also recommended. Solicitor Paul Oldershaw joined from Leathes Prior  in June 2017, bringing experience in the supermarket sector.

Transactions, landlord and tenant matters, option agreements, joint ventures, developments, investments, finance security and mortgaging are some of the areas that Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP's commercial property team engages in. Recent highlights include Mark Deans' representation of an investor during the £8m refinancing of two commercial freehold sites through a separate lender, as well as the advice provided to different clients concerning the ten-year renewal of two leases applying to adjoining industrial units. Partners Sam Robinson  and Wendy Cole, who are based in Westcliff-on-Sea, and assistant solicitor Katherine Butler in Billericay are other names to note.

The 'easily approachable, pragmatic and professional' commercial property practice at 'legally savvy and forward-thinking firm' Pinney Talfourd LLP 'always provides high-quality, clear advice and a broad, comforting level of service in a timely manner', which is supported by 'extensive industry knowledge' and a 'meticulous, efficient and proactive approach'. Its range of services covers freehold and leasehold transactions, landlord and tenant matters, and finance and lending work, as well as site developments. 'Knowledgeable, considerate and prompt' partner Julien Pritchard, who 'has a business-focused approach', and 'practical, thorough and straight-to-the-point' senior associate Keeley Miller are the main practitioners. Solicitor Benjamin Hersom joined from Whiskers in March 2018.

Tees Law's 'outstanding and professional' commercial property team focuses on areas including the drafting of promotion and option agreements and overage deeds, as well as lease renewals, landlord and tenant matters and site developments. Recent highlights include the representation of a local consortium in the completion of a £10m promotion agreement, as well as the assistance provided to a local developer regarding the acquisition of a former garage site. Partner and 'exemplary professional' Mark Carter in Saffron Walden and the 'efficient' Chelmsford-based Graeme Atkinson are the key individuals, supported by assistant solicitor Aldene Derrick. Assistant solicitor Daniel Fairs joined the Chelmsford office from Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP in October 2017.

The 'impressive, efficient, attentive-to-detail and competent' commercial property department at Thompson Smith and Puxon, 'one of the best firms in Colchester', 'runs a tight ship' and 'is fully up to speed with the law, but also well versed in the current property industry practice, demonstrating good judgement and pragmatism during negotiations'. Development site and agricultural land transactions, strategic land planning, lease work and enfranchisement matters represent the team's core areas of activity. 'Vastly knowledgeable' Stephen Firmin, who is recommended for his 'professional approach', heads the practice, and 'effective and sensible' Kerry Addison was promoted to partner in March 2017. 'Knowledgeable and helpful' solicitor Mark Rowlands is the third key member of the team.

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