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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 > Finance > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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By some clients’ reckoning, Burges Salmon LLP’s banking department ‘has proved itself able to stand toe-to-toe with top London firms’. In addition to its core mid-market lending work, the team is highly recommended for senior financing and US private placement transactions and is also instructed by a number of blue-chip borrowers. Department head Richard Leeming advised HSBC Bank on the refinancing of Harbour Hotels by way of a £112m term loan with a £50m accordion option. Similarly, Rachael Ruane acted for RBS on the refinancing of a residential property developer’s revolving credit facilities. On the borrower-side, Leeming assisted National Express Group with two separate $30m bilateral facilities, one with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, and the other with Bank of America Merrill Lynch International. The group is increasingly instructed by alternative lenders. Indeed, acting across from two Magic Cricle firms, Nathan Curtis acted for a UK asset manager, as mezzanine lender, on a high-value mortgage-backed warehouse facility. Further, the ‘pragmatic’ Graham Soar advised Aerium Finance on the financing associated with the client’s acquisition of units in a Jersey property unit trust; the financing was provided by an ultra-high-net-worth Middle Eastern shari’ah investor. Andrew Eaton is another key contact and senior associates Ed Hobbs and Katie Allen are recommended.

With strengths in borrower and lender-side instructions, Osborne Clarke provides ‘excellent all-round service’ and has developed particular expertise in private equity-related transactions, including leveraged M&A and MBOs. The team has preferred relationships with four of the five most significant banks active in the South West, including RBS, Barclays and Santander. Tom Bussy acted for HSBC Bank on the buyout financing for Lloyds Development Capital’s investment in Vista, which saw the company’s previous backers, WestBridge Capital and Octopus Investments, exit their investment. Bussy has also been involved in high-value syndicated acquisition finance transactions and cross-border refinancing. Moreover, the department has considerable experience in energy-related finance and investment transactions. Associate director Caroline Saul advised Oxford Capital Partners on the £78.8m refinancing of a large portfolio of ground-mounted and rooftop solar assets. Similarly, the ‘commercially minded’ department head Omar Al-Nuaimi assisted Foresight Group, as borrower, with a £100m debt financing transaction with RBS regarding a portfolio of 26 solar farms. Additional borrower clients include XP Power, HH Global, Standard Life Aberdeen and multiple FTSE 100 companies.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has ‘an excellent local reputation’, in addition to being involved in high-profile international assignments on a regular basis. Department head Richard Norton stands out in particular for his ‘expert knowledge, commercial approach and outstanding client service’. Norton’s strong relationships in the Middle East and Cyprus have garnered a prolific roster of international lender and borrower clients; in 2017 he advised Tsokkos Hotels on a €200m secured loan facility with Bank of Cyprus, while on the lender side he acted for National Bank of Kuwait in connection with the provision of an £8m shari’ah facility secured over London property. The team has experience of aviation finance and recently assisted Gulfair with a $200m loan facility secured over international air transport association accounts. Further, the group is increasingly involved in the business-to-business lending space, and acted for Actis in relation to the provision of shareholder loans from a Mauritian holding company to Indian subsidiaries. Naomi Nettleton specialises in real estate finance and was promoted to partner in 2017.

The banking team at Foot Anstey specialises in real estate investment and development financing in the residential property and renewable energy sectors. Further, the team regularly supports the firm’s corporate group in debt-financed corporate transactions private equity-backed M&A. Department head Will Whitt acted for Oxshott Property Holdings, as borrower, in connection with a £15.5m term and revolving facilities agreement with Investec Bank. Whitt also advised Amlak Holding on the acquisition financing of the entire issued share capital of Wazzan Real Estate Company and Broader Company. Imam Qazi specialises in Islamic finance and assisted Greenridge Investment Management on the financing of its £35.5m acquisition from administration of a commercial site in Sheffield; the funding included a shari’ah compliant structure with an offshore element. The department also receives regular lender-side instructions from Santander and Julian Hodge Bank. Legal director Chris White has been involved in a number of high-value refinancing transactions in 2017.

TLT is ‘a first-rate firm for corporates looking to undertake a debt financing project’ and is ‘among the leading finance teams for mid-market renewable energy deals’. The department has an enviable investment-grade borrower practice led by the highly recommended Jon Stewart, who advised Dyson Finance on the £180m expansion of its borrowing facilities with lenders based in the UK, Australia, Singapore and Japan. On the lender side, Stewart counselled AIB Group on the provision of refinance facilities regarding a private equity-backed portfolio of marina assets. Gary Roscoe runs an ‘excellent’ renewables lending practice, which was recently involved in a debt funding mandate of market-wide significance. In other highlights, Roscoe advised Santander on the provision of a £28.5m facility to Battery Energy Storage Solutions for the development of UK’s first-ever debt-financed battery storage projects, and advised a UK borrower on high-value term loan and revolving credit facilities with a major domestic bank. Roscoe also acts for Tridos Bank in renewables-related transactions. Peter Carney has particular experience of non-contentious insolvency, property finance and loan portfolio transactions.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's ‘outstanding’ banking and financial services practice specialising in energy and real estate finance, restructuring and financial services regulation. Julian Kinsey has ‘a first-class reputation in the South West’ and advised a notable regional borrower on a significant equity and debt restructure. On the lender side, Kinsey acted as UK advisor to Union Bancaire Privee in connection with its £90m secured loan to a German real estate fund. In addition to handling a number of cross-border borrowing transactions, Philip Withey advised Lloyds Bank on a £39.2m ABL facility for the secondary management buyout of Taylor Maxwell. Following the firm’s formal tie-up with its long-time US partner-firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, the banking team has been an attractive option for clients with funding issues requiring US legal opinions and transatlantic regulatory expertise. Managing associate Tom Caplen is another key figure in the department. Additional lender clients include RBS, HSBC and Santander.

Providing ‘timely, practical and partner-led advice’, Ashfords LLP is instructed by regional borrowers and household-name lenders in real estate development and acquisition finance transactions. The ‘highly experienced’ Rebecca Dury leads the banking group and acts for Exeter Finance in connection with its loan provisions to various borrowers, primarily for the purpose of property acquisitions and development. Dury also assisted a regional house builder with a refinancing exercise with a well-known domestic bank. ‘An engaging and proactive communicator’, James Heath advised Lloyds Bank on the multimillion-pound facilities for the purchase of two commercial sites in Oxford and Banbury by a prominent investment company. Additional lender clients include HSBC Bank, Santander and RBS, which the team advised on the provision of various acquisition finance and refinance facilities in 2017. Solicitor Jonathan Hyde is also recommended.

Acting for high-street lenders and private banking clients, the team at Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘excellent in the context of real estate finance’ transactions. Indeed, the team advised Secure Trust Bank with the provision of a £19m loan for the development of residential apartments in Slough and also assisted Lloyds Bank with the provision of a housing development facility. The ‘balanced and accessible’ Philip Brown advised HSBC on the refinancing of two redevelopment sites. Roger Seaton heads the firm’s banking group from the Taunton office and acted for a private domestic bank in connection with numerous multimillion-pound property portfolio refinancings. The department also has experience in the agricultural finance sector and advises on the funding aspects of farm purchases. Clare Day joined Harrison Clark Rickerbys in 2018.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s finance team is best known for advising high-street banks and domestic lenders on real estate and development finance transactions. Giles Taylor and Michael Pearce jointly head the banking department, which is regularly instructed by Santander in relation to real estate finance transactions. Additionally, Pearce has advised peer-to-peer funder Lendy on the provision of multiple short-term bridging and development loans. The department has also acted for borrowers in the hotel, housing and healthcare sectors in connection with bilateral acquisition and development finance and refinance facilities. Pearce’s team has also advised a tax-efficient investment manager on a number of multimillion-pound asset-backed financing transactions. Legal director Simon Pickett has extensive experience of property finance and is another key figure in the team. Additional clients include Bank of Ireland and Puma Investments.

Noted for its ‘knowledgeable and commercial approach’, Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ banking team is regularly instructed by UK challenger banks and prominent crowd funders in relation to domestic lending transactions. The firm has also invested heavily in its digital finance generator product, which provides assistance to borrower clients on various finance and equity issues. Department head Harry Bengough advised HSBC on the provision of a large banking package for a series of acquisitions by GI Solutions. On the borrower’s side, Bengough acted for Gelpack Excelsior in connection with its £10m refinancing with Bibby Financial Services. Tim Littler is another contact in the transactional team and has experience of leveraged and real estate financing. Moreover, Adam Finch and Fiona Hayles are contacts in the firm’s specialist banking litigation practice, which specialises in mis-selling claims, consumer credit disputes and retail banking litigation. Clare Day joined from Clarke Willmott LLP in 2018.

Acting for borrower and lender-side clients, Michelmores LLP has expertise in cross-border project finance and bilateral and syndicated lending transactions. Asheesh Das splits his time between the firm’s London and Bristol offices and advised Finnfund on the project financing for the construction of a $40m gas-fired power station in Argentina. Department head Charles Maunder counselled a high-street lender on its participation in a lending syndicate regarding the provision of a working capital loan for a well-known UK borrower. Further, Maunder and associate Anna Thompson acted for a borrower in the hospitality and leisure sector in relation to an unsecured revolving credit facility. Sally Rice heads the secured lending practice and has advised high-street banks and local authorities on various lending arrangements. St Austell Brewery Company and Rowe Estates and among the team’s key clients.

Providing ‘a standard of service that exceeds many of its regional competitors’, Thrings LLP has secured a number of bank panel appointments and also has a significant borrower-side practice. Mike Tomlin is ‘a lawyer whose opinion clients can thoroughly trust’. On the lender side, Tomlin is regularly instructed by clients such as Santander and AIB Group (UK), while borrower-side instructions have included advising TrueSpeed Communications, as target company, on £75m of combined debt and equity investments by an alternative lender. Legal director Robert Barnes has experience acting for borrowers and lenders in development finance transactions and recently advised National Westminster Bank on the provision of a £20m development finance revolving credit facility. The Bristol team also assisted a borrower with a high-value refinancing of existing senior and mezzanine facilities in relation to a property portfolio. Additional key figures include the Swindon-based John Davies.

VWV has considerable experience of bilateral and business-to-business finance transactions in the education, healthcare and charity sectors. Group head Robert Collier advised Epping College on the refinancing of a £16m term loan with Lloyds Bank. On the lender side, the team advised a high-street bank on the provision of two facilities for a borrower in the healthcare sector. In the business-to-business space, the team assisted a prominent London-based property developer with the provision of a multimillion-pound loan to replace an existing high-street loan. Property partner Steven McGuigan focuses on secured lending work and has advised domestic and international banks on the provision of property development loans.

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