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United Kingdom > South West > Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Burges Salmon LLP’s corporate restructuring and insolvency team is ‘definitely a market leader outside of London’ and ‘can compete alongside most City firms’. Headed by the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ Andrew Eaton, the department regularly handles international debt restructurings and is often involved in US-facing matters by way of its transatlantic restructuring and insolvency group. Eaton acted for Agent Provocateur and 17 of its international subsidiaries on the global bankruptcy and restructuring of its international business; this involved multiple wind-downs and a Chapter 11 process in the US. Eaton also advised a government department in relation to a distressed statutory service provider. Patrick Cook is providing English law advice to an Italian law firm in relation to the insolvency of an Italian client with an English subsidiary. Colin Ligman and James Sutherland are key figures in the real estate restructuring group. Senior associate Emily Scaife is noted as ‘a great up-and-coming restructuring lawyer’. Additional clients include PricewaterhouseCoopers, BDO, and Nationwide Building Society.

Foot Anstey established its South West insolvency practice with multiple lateral hires from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, and is now recognised as a team that ‘punches significantly above its weight’ in contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters. Department head Joanne Rumley, who is ‘perhaps the leading insolvency practitioner in the South West’, is advising the joint special administrators of Strand Capital on what is the first special administration under the revised Investment Bank Special Administration Regulations 2011. The team also acts for creditors, and recently counselled a significant creditor of energy company Wind Prospect Group on the approval of its company voluntary arrangements. Additionally, Rumley is acting for the joint liquidators of Wessex Metal Stock in a dispute with the company’s directors concerning monies owed to the insolvent company. Additional contacts include associate Lydia Lloyd and legal director Tim Pritchard, who has extensive experience advising banks and lenders on lending and security issues in distressed situations.

Michelmores LLP fields a ‘very strong’ insolvency practice which is regularly instructed in national, international, and regional restructuring and insolvency matters. Department head Charles Maunder is acting for York Global Finance BDH in relation to an application for distribution by the administrators of Lehmans UK, which has reached the Court of Appeal. In an illustration of the firm's track record in high-value personal bankruptcy, the ‘highly approachable’ Sacha Pickering is advising the joint trustees in the bankruptcy of former Rangers FC owner Craig Whyte. The team, which includes ‘commercially robust’ senior associate Karen Dunstone, also has expertise in the energy sector, and assisted the administrators of RAME Group with a £2.1m share transaction as part of an international restructure. Moreover, the group has acted in major restructurings and insolvency procedures involving distressed or insolvent legal firms. Anna Thompson is an active associate in the department. KPMG, Wilkins Kennedy and Begbies Traynor are additional clients.

Leveraging its ability to ‘pull together specialist multidisciplinary teams’, Osborne Clarke is regularly engaged by company administrators in large restructuring and insolvency mandates. The Bristol team is led by Nigel Boobier, who is ‘one of the leading insolvency lawyers in the South West’. Boobier is acting for the administrators of Agent Provocateur in relation to the pre-packaged sale of the insolvent’s UK business and assets, and also handled the post-appointment sale of the company’s European properties and other certain business assets. In the public sector, Boobier assisted a local authority with an application for administration for a public organisation against HMRC’s application for winding-up. Claire Bundy co-leads a team that is advising KPMG, as the administrators of Pulse Flexible Packaging, in relation to the company’s ongoing operation. Moreover, the team has experience acting for distressed companies in multimillion-pound debt restructurings, and is also instructed by banks and various investors in enforcement and recovery procedures.

TLT demonstrates ‘real expertise across the gamut of restructuring and insolvency contingency planning’. The practice handles work emanating from administrators and liquidators, investors and lenders, and distressed asset purchasers. Department head James Forsyth has acted for the Official Receiver in numerous matters, including the liquidation of Keeping Kids Company. On the contentious side, Forsyth successfully defended a high-net-worth individual in a claim brought by the trustees in her husband’s bankruptcy regarding a £20m residential property in Hampstead. The team also represented the joint administrators of Global Hospitality Services in High Court proceedings to appoint new administrators to facilitate a particular transaction. Peter Carney is advising a senior lender and shareholder on restructuring matters in connection with the high-profile failure of an airline. Abigail Hadfield is noted for her ‘clear and transparent client communication’, and legal director Richard Clark is also recommended. Additional clients include RBS, Deloitte and FRP Advisory.

‘Punching well above its weight’, Ashfords LLP’s financial assurance team advises on SRA and professional services regulations in relation to company and personal insolvencies, and has particular experience in legal firm insolvency mandates. Samantha Palmer  (now no longer with Ashfords) acted for the administrators of QSP Residual Recoveries on the professional risk and regulatory issues relating to the administration of King & Wood Mallesons SJ Berwin. Practice head David Pomeroy advised the administrators of Almond Solicitors on the sale of the distressed firm to Aticus Law. Further, Alan Bennett assisted the liquidator of PKF Francis Clark with a world-wide freezing order and summary judgment. Pomeroy also has experience defending individuals in statutory demand proceedings, and Bennett assisted an engineering company with a winding-up petition. Legal director Katie Farmer is another key contact.

Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘a major player in regional insolvency litigation’. The practice has a particularly strong following among government bodies; it is the sole national adviser to The Insolvency Service for Insolvency Act, and is regularly involved in disputes in which HMRC is the principal creditor. Department head Martin Askew specialises in insolvency and fraud litigation and is ‘the driving force in the team’. Of note, Askew is engaged by a company liquidator in relation to a large-scale fraud perpetrated by directors of the insolvent company. On the non-contentious side, Ken MacLennan is advising a company and, once appointed, its administrators/liquidators, in relation to the strategic management of its pre- and post-insolvency actions. MacLennan was also instructed by the joint trustees in a deceased individual’s bankruptcy. Associate Lisa Cooke is also recommended.

The team at DAC Beachcroft LLP provides ‘exceptional service’ and ‘precise, constructive advice’ in relation to cross-border restructurings and large regional insolvencies. Department head Giles Hindle is advising a US automotive company on its European group restructuring through a reduction in share capital. Hindle is also advising company’s administrators on certain tax liabilities arising in Chile and inter-company liabilities concerning a Guernsey-registered company. The practice also acted for a group of company administrators on the sale of Deceasedumbrella.com. Additional contacts include Kevin Hawthorn, who is ‘easily approachable’ and has ‘considerable knowledge’ of contentious and non-contentious corporate and personal insolvency; and senior associate Christopher Stoate, who is regularly instructed by banks and other lenders and fixed-charge receivers in corporate recovery matters.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) handles a range of corporate and personal insolvency matters, but has particular expertise in charity restructuring, energy-sector supply chain insolvencies and insolvency litigation. Department head Ed Husband, who has experience in insolvency litigation, acted for the liquidators of Officeserve Technologies in various claims arising out of the company’s compulsory liquidation, including misfeasance and breach of duty claims against a former company director. Similary, Husband advised the trustees in a personal bankruptcy on claims against various individuals related to the bankrupt individual. In the non-contentious space, Husband advised the directors and proposed administrators of Resourceful Earth on its pre-administration actions, and continues to assist the administrators with a variety of post-administration issues. Senior associate Nick Martindale also has experience in contentious insolvencies.

The insolvency team at Stephens Scown LLP provides ‘very high-quality service’ in contentious and non-contentious regional insolvency mandates. Department head Andrew Knox (who is rated as ‘a particularly effective insolvency lawyer’) acted for the administrators of The Sunday Independent on the pre-packaged sale out of administration of the company’s publishing business. On the contentious side, Knox is advising the liquidators of Severnside Provisions on various claims and potential claims against the directors of the insolvent company. Toby Claridge is advising a shareholder in two companies on a petition to have the companies wound-up. The team has also assisted creditors with recovery and enforcement procedures. Solicitor Sean Jenner joined the team from Everys.

Thrings LLP is ‘excellent’ in regional bankruptcy and liquidation work and ‘compares favourably to most of the South West competition’. Headed by Mark Cullingford, the team is instructed by a variety of lenders, insolvency practitioners and directors and shareholders in insolvent companies. Cullingford is representing the directors of an insolvent construction company in an investigation by The Insolvency Service concerning the company’s failure to maintain appropriate records of commercial contracts. Melissa George advised the administrators of an internet trading and promotions business on a debt restructuring, which involved a business and asset sale to an associated company of the secured lender. Further, Cullingford and George are representing a non-UK supplier of retail goods in claims against its UK distributor, in relation to the distributor’s possible insolvency.

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Legal Developments in South West for Insolvency and corporate recovery

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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