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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 West > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Made up of partners with high-profile City experience, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is often instructed in large, cross-border business and asset transactions. The Cheltenham group has longstanding relationships in the Middle East, Africa and Cyprus and has traditional strengths in the aviation and renewable energy sectors. In 2017, Adrian Mayer advised Actis Africa Real Estate Fund on a variety of commercial arrangements and corporate governance concerns, which included a high-value joint venture agreement. Department head Richard Norton assisted Supergroup plc and its founder, Julian Dunkerton, with an employee share incentive scheme affecting roughly 4,500 employees. In the capital markets space, Norton is advising an energy company on its high-value proposed listing on the London Stock Exchange. Further, Jonathan Morley assisted Datatec with its UK reorganisation in relation to its disposal of Westcon Americas to Synnex. The partners are supported by senior associate Edward Robinson and senior associate Emma Hickson, who recently joined the team from DXC Technology Company and specialises in commercial contracts. Other key clients include Bladeroom Group, Newmedica and Cypriot hotelier Tsokkos.

BPE Solicitors LLP runs an ‘experienced and approachable’ corporate group, with an active banking practice and ‘particular strength in the SME space’. Anthony Rudge leads the department’s listed companies practice and is instructed by numerous AIM-listed corporates. Indeed, Rudge assisted clients including Totally and Sosandar with multimillion-pound placings and open offer fundraisings. Rudge also advised Integumen with a number of acquisitions and a related share placing and admission to AIM. Highly regarded by clients and peers alike, Tim Ward ‘really stands out in the department’. Iain Garfield leads the firm’s commercial practice and has extensive experience advising SMEs and AIM-listed companies on high-value and often cross-border commercial contracts. John Workman handles M&A and share option scheme mandates, and senior associate Louise Grzasko has diversified, international experience in corporate finance law. Commercial solicitor Dianne Devlin joined the team from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, while Zoe Reynolds left the firm and now acts as a locum solicitor in Cheltenham.

‘Responsive, knowledgeable, professional, but approachable’, Harrison Clark Rickerbys is ‘excellent in all respects’. The team focuses on large national M&A and cross-border commercial agreements, and also has expertise in private equity transactions. Richard Wilkey heads the department and advised the management of TeamSport Holdings on a £42m secondary buyout transaction with a company backed by Duke St Capital. Wilkey also acted for Hilco Capital in its acquisition of South West Industrial Valves Services. Leveraging over 30 years of corporate and commercial experience, Richard Knight acted across from prominent London firms in numerous high-value transactions, including the sale of a UK cyber security company. Knight also advised a charitable organisation on its multimillion-pound distressed acquisition of a four-star hotel. The Cheltenham team regularly works alongside the ‘practical and responsive’ Nicolas Groffman, who runs an active China-facing practice from the firm’s Thames Valley office. Indeed, a Cheltenham-led team, including senior associate Rachael Reeves, advised a Chinese investment fund on the multimillion-pound acquisition of Thetford Grammar School. Additional clients include Sequence Care Group and A-Plan Holdings.

‘A go-to team for owner-managed and smaller listed companies’, Royds Withy King is ‘one of the best options, locally, when balancing cost and quality’. Headed by Katharine Mortimer, the sector-driven team has particular experience in the financial services, technology and healthcare sectors. Mortimer assisted a listed environmental sustainability consultant with a high-value corporate restructuring, and is also instructed by a Dutch-listed corporate with a multibillion-euro annual turnover. In one of the team’s flagship highlights, Hazel Phillips and highly recommended senior associate James Worrall acted for the sellers of Gold Care Holdings in connection to the £90m acquisition of the company by OHI UK Healthcare Properties, a subsidiary of a US REIT. Senior associate Rishi Ladwa is ‘down to earth’ and makes himself ‘very available to clients’. Solicitors Natalie Jones and Janetta Barrett joined the team from Knights plc and Lyons Davidson, respectively.

Clark Holt has a highly experienced corporate team with expertise in corporate finance, M&A, MBOs and MBIs, and public company corporate governance. Philip Humphreys heads the practice group and advised Bensussen Deutsch & Associates on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Sports Merchandise Global and its French subsidiary. Joe Lewis acted for the selling shareholders in relation to Surgical Innovations Group’s £9.4m acquisition of Elemental Healthcare. Lewis also has extensive experience of transactions in the oil and gas sector. Additionally, Jeff Jenkins counselled Extreme Sports Product Distribution on a large reorganisation.

Thrings LLP specialises in regional mid-market corporate transactions and though the team works across a variety of industries, with particular emphasis on the healthcare and education sectors. The team assisted Wishford Schools Group with a number of independent school acquisitions, which recently included its acquisition of Prior Park Prep School. Simon Hore assisted the selling shareholders of Young Black Industrial Stapling with the sale of its entire issued share capital to Sweden-based Indutrade. John Davies advised the management team of Weird Fish on its secondary private equity buyout by Total Capital Partners. Kate Westbrook and Jonathan Payne acted for the shareholders of Resterra Group in relation to Dublin-based Origin Enterprises’ £16m acquisition of the company.  Alex Pyatt is the key figure in the Bath-based team, which includes associate Sarah Ellis.

‘Exceptionally knowledgeable and extremely prompt’, Willans LLP prides itself on ‘a firm culture where excellent client service is the expectation’. Moreover, one client noted in particular the firm’s competitive pricing and approachability in relation to many of its local competitors. Headed by Paul Symes-Thompson, the corporate team has particular focus on advising manufacturers, professional practices, charities and technology companies on commercial agreements and corporate transactions. Symes-Thompson acted for Twistar in connection with proposed investments by several worldwide investors. The ‘pragmatic’ practice head also handles ongoing commercial and corporate work for a well-known national charity. Further, a team including the ‘highly respected’ employment practitioner Matthew Clayton assists Cheltenham Festivals with ongoing commercial matters. Other key clients include Frazier Properties and Medical First. Theresa Grech left the firm for Gordon Dadds LLP and Caroline Leviss took a senior associate position at Harrison Clark Rickerbys. Chris Wills, who was hired from Murrell Associates, heads up the team. Consultant Kym Fletcher joined from a global sporting federation.

Mogers Drewett LLP’s Bath-based corporate team has been instructed by regional SMEs and high-street banks and has particular experience in corporate and commercial mandates in the IT, tech, media, food and drink, and hotel and leisure sectors. The department is headed by Tom Webb, who advises buy-side and sell-side clients primarily in M&A valued between £1m to £25m. Webb and associate Emily Eccles handle a range of commercial agreements. The team also sits on a number of bank and corporate legal panels.

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