Corporate and commercial: Dorset and South Wiltshire in South West

Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP acts for national and international clients on the full range of corporate and commercial matters, and also retains strong links with SME clients in the local Dorset area. Corporate M&A has been a continuing area of growth, with transactions growing in both size and volume. In addition, a rise in cross-border work has been epitomised by foreign funds work coming in to the UK. Grant Esterhuizen specialises in both corporate and commercial law, and is able to assist clients with joint-venture agreements, M&A and commercial contracts, invariably on a cross-border level.

Practice head(s):

Grant Esterhuizen

Other key lawyers:

Danielle Slater

Key clients

Wessex Petroleum Limited

Osprey Europe Limited

Ceuta Holdings Limited

Langham Industries

Bill and Sally Stone

Nick Sanders and Mile Stevenson

BKP Waste & Recycling Limited

Intrum UK Limited

Quality Care Group Limited

Quantum Group

Steele Raymond LLP

Steele Raymond LLP undertakes a broad range of corporate and commercial work, although its primary specialism is in the M&A market. Share buybacks, corporate demergers and MBOs are bedrocks of the practice, while aircraft acquisitions and renewable energy projects have been areas of significant expansion. Tim Stone heads up both the corporate and commercial teams, with his experience leaning towards corporate M&A. New arrival Paula Eckton has a wealth of commercial experience, having previously led the team at Trethowans LLP.

Practice head(s):

Tim Stone

Other key lawyers:

Nick Davies; Shaun Guppy; Paul Longland; Craig Hardman


‘The team fully understands our commercial needs and desire to minimise legal fees. A great level of experience in dealing with corporate matters with all sizes of businesses. The key people are interested in getting to know our business. You feel every time you contact them you can pick up from where you last left off, without the need to explain the basics all the time. That sense of stability really matters.’

‘This team helped us through our first business acquisition process. They were very supportive throughout and very thorough. They had a clear focus on the key parts of the deal and made sure that everything was covered off before we completed. Their attention to detail and guidance were greatly appreciated as was their accessibility when we needed to contact them. They are a very competent team that filled you with confidence that they would deliver the right result which they did.’

‘I have had some complicated and difficult corporate matters that required some detailed expert knowledge and also a great deal of patience in ensuring a successful outcome. They involved complicated people and situations. They took the time to understand all the nuances of complicated legal and personality problems with understanding, integrity and a clearness of thought.’

‘What is unique about Steele Raymond is that they consistently deliver on what they actually say you can expect from them. The client experience focus is tangible and evidenced by their partner-led approach, which is accessible and responsive. The transparency on fees is refreshing, however, the stand out aspect from my personal experience is the plain English ethos which allows our business to act quickly and professionally.’

‘Steele Raymond represent a hands on and senior led advisory practice. Having worked them in both a corporate and private capacity, they take the time to understand both the issues and the personalities involved and how their advice both needs to be technically accurate but capable of being delivered and the best outcome reached in the specific circumstances involved.’

‘A well resourced commercial/contract team who importantly are prompt to respond, willing to take on challenges and have a very pragmatic approach to setting out agreements which helps to ease the whole process.’

Extremely good presentation. First impression of office ambience is very professional. We have a good working relationship with the senior partner Tim Stone and his team. Very knowledgeable and thorough. Other firms have not had the specialist knowledge our clients were looking for.’

‘Individuals demonstrate they know our business, it’s key drivers and key objectives.’

‘We worked with Tim Stone on a long-term corporate matter. His thoughtful and considered advice to us in an unfamiliar situation was of enormous help in coming to our final conclusions. He was always available to discuss matters and his experience in these matters was invaluable.’

‘They are responsive, delivering when agreed no matter how big (or small) the piece of work across a range of specialisms.’

‘Tim Stone leads from the front and guided us through the process. He is very approachable but with a keen eye for the major issues.’

‘Tim Stone provides a very personal hands-on approach with a clear understanding of all matters along with good legal knowledge and an excellent negotiating ability. I have rarely found a lawyer who has the integrity of Tim and who has such excellent qualities and wish to do the very best for his clients.’

‘One standout partner at Steele Raymond is Paula Eckton. What impresses me, is that Paula not only manages to decipher what I am trying to articulate but similarly articulates her response in such a way that really helps me understand the context and purpose. This ability enables me to converse and negotiate confidently with our customers whilst supporting my personal development.’

‘I’ve worked with both Tim Stone and Craig Hardman, on cases where the personalities (both client and other side) have been hugely challenging. Their advice always reflects both the legal position but also the practical achievement of the best outcome for the client. Often in advisory firms the concept of delivering good advice can be forgotten in identifying the legal situation. At Steele Raymond they focus on the outcome and how to achieve that and guide and advise their clients to understand what is both deliverable and a good outcome for them.’

‘Paula Eckton is without doubt one of the best commercial/contract lawyers I have come across. She is a very dedicated individual who strives to get the best out of the parties involved. She is highly responsive , experienced and pragmatic in her approach.’

‘Tim Stone is extremely grounded and is able to deliver complicated topics in a coherent way. Paul Longland is also of a similar personality. They are a pleasure to deal with.’

Key clients

Clark family, Clark Group, Parvalux Electric Motors


Robert Braithwaite (founder of Sunseeker International Yachts)

Arden Group

Lewis family, Rotable Repairs, PDQ Airspares

Challenge Group (HK)

Goadsby Estate Agency Group

Viper 10 Sportswear

The Hill Brush Company Limited

Selwood Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing the selling shareholders of Parvalux on the sale of the group to Swiss-based Maxon Motor.
  • Advised the client on the sale of its global business to Italian-based buyer Megadyne S.p.a
  • Represented the selling shareholders in the sale of Arden Communications Group.


The corporate and commercial practice at Laceys has core specialisms in the banking and media industries, with a strong team experienced in these areas. The firm caters primarily to regional SMEs, for whom it handles restructurings, corporate transactions and fundraising. In addition, the commercial team has recently advised clients on a number of contracts, including exclusivity agreements. Sam Freeman is the practice head.

Practice head(s):

Sam Freeman

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Boynes-Butler; Natasha Jones


Salisbury-based Wilsons specialises in tax and general transactional structuring for businesses and personal assets of owner-managers. Led by practice head James Johnson, the team has notable experience of the technology, healthcare and charity sectors; Johnson is particularly active in the latter area, having recently advised on mergers and sponsorship agreements. Senior associate Mark Cook, who is a new arrival from Burges Salmon LLP, is particularly experienced in mid-market M&A.

Practice head(s):

James Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Stephens; Stephen Whitmore; Mark Cook


Helpful, clear, efficient and always listen to our feedback

Very strong group of commercial and business lawyers based in the South West with an office in London; this means they are able to compete with City firms whilst charging reasonable rates

James Johnson is always prompt in dealing with business, accessible when we need him and is responsive to our company needs

Jonathan Stephens is an extremely experienced, first-class corporate and commercial lawyer whom any client would want by their side

Stephen Whitmore and Mark Cook are very able who dealt with the matters with great efficiency and expertise‘.

Worked well together as a team and we received a first-class service

Key clients

Shareholders of Great Fosters (1931) Limited

Shareholders of Copyrite Business Solutions (Holdings) Limited

Greensleeves Homes Trust

Shareholders of Us-creates Limited

Shareholders of ip-Xchange Limited

ITE Group plc

Robert Brett & Sons Limited

Kingston Smith LLP

Picker Institute Europe

Lucas Alexander Whitley Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the client on the sale of Great Fosters Limited, the operating company for the Great Fosters Hotel, to the Alexandra Hotels Group.
  • Advised the client (shareholders) on the sale of the business to ITEC Connect Limited.
  • Represented the client on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Whitegates Investments Limited from the Caring Homes Group.
  • Acted for the shareholders of the technology client on its sale to Stickman Technology Limited.
  • Advised this new client on its strategic investment into Learnit World Limited, for acquisition of a minority interest.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP handles a wide range of company commercial business matters for corporate clients both in the local area and further afield. The latter aspect has been augmented by the addition of a London office, which has enabled it to attract a wider reach of clients. Practice head Neil Cook has extensive experience of the care home industry.

Practice head(s):

Neil Cook

Other key lawyers:

Kate Brooks; Hugh Craig;

Key clients

In-Excess Limited

The IT Department Solutions Limited

Harmon Manufacturing Limited

Work highlights

  • Negotiated the purchase of four garden centres on behalf of the client.

Frettens LLP

Christchurch-based Frettens LLP provides corporate and commercial advice to the local market, advising new businesses, SMEs and larger corporations on transactions and structural reorganisations, among other matters. Matthew Fretten, who has notable expertise in the sports sector, is another key figure in the team. Associate Karen Edwards heads up the firm's new office in Ringwood, with the firm expanding its reach into the New Forest area.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Fretten

Other key lawyers:

Karen Edwards;

Work highlights

  • Handled the sale of the entire issued share capital of a veterinary practice to a national consolidator.
  • Assisted a client with the multimillion pound sale of a hotel in central Bournemouth.
  • Advised a client on the sale of its accountancy practice in central London.
  • Assisted a client with the sale of the entire issues share capital of its marine engineering subsidiary
  • Acted for a client on its acquisition of a popular cafe on the Hampshire coast.

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP's client roster includes individuals, SMEs, financial institutions and corporates. Its work spans corporate M&A, joint venture agreements and private equity transactions, as well as commercial contracts. Mark Nixon is the key contact in the Bournemouth office.

Practice head(s):

Mark Nixon