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



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The ‘commercial and responsive‘ seven-strong team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has the ‘strength-in-depth‘ to provide a ‘proactive service‘ to an impressive roster of lender clients across the gamut of real estate, corporate and education financing transactions.  ‘Extremely commercial‘ team head Joanne Canning is recognised in the market as a ‘real deal doer‘ and has an ‘uncanny ability to be able to distil complex advice into language a layperson can understand‘. A ‘real leader in the field‘ for real estate finance, Canning leads the firm’s deeply entrenched relationship with local lender Hodge Bank and recently advised it on the development finance funding of a high-profile nine storey residential development (comprising of 102 apartments and ground floor retail space) located in Cardiff city centre. As well as leading locally the firm’s clearing bank relationships with clients including Lloyds and RBS, Canning has also developed strong ties with challenger banks including Metro, which she recently acted for on a £20m property investment loan to a high-profile real estate investment company. In addition to leading the office’s corporate finance team alongside Canning, principal associate Lowri Gwyn has a strong reputation in the education finance space and has recently handled numerous university refinancings. ‘Commercial and responsive‘ associate Melissa Hellio is also recommended.

The ‘extremely practical and commercial' two-partner team at Hugh James provides a ‘fantastic service' to an impressive roster of banks and borrowers across a diverse array of lending including in relation to real estate, corporate and energy matters. Team head Dominic Marshall has a ‘strong reputation' and regularly leads on behalf a primarily lender-focused client base that includes both local entities, including Hodge Bank and Development Bank of Wales, as well as national lenders including Metro Bank and HSBC. The ‘very intelligent and proactive‘ Robert Morgan has more of a borrower-focused bent to his practice and as well as handling the banking and finance work on behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union, also has a particular niche advising registered social lenders on their financing requirements. Senior associate Rowena Downie is also recommended.

Acuity Law represents a balanced mix of lender and borrower clients across the gamut of mandates ranging from acquisition financing to securing financing for working capital purposes. Given the firm’s excellence within the commercial property arena, it is perhaps unsurprising that a significant proportion of work handled by the team relates to real estate finance matters. Recent highlights in this space include Jonathan Geen and Gareth Baker’s work for marquee developer client Rightacres on the £400m financing by Legal and General of the Central Square development in Cardiff. Damien Cann also has significant market visibility within the real estate sector and has a particular expertise advising on innovative financing solutions to clients within the affordable housing sector. Beverley Jones has broad-ranging finance expertise and is regularly at the forefront of the most significant non-real estate-related financings handled by the firm including advising Cambrian Pet Foods on its refinancing from Santander to HSBC and representing Newport Wafer Fab on the funding arrangements associated with the buy-out from Infineon. Other clients include Warwick Capital Partners, Principality Building Society, Hodge Bank and Mears Group.

The 'first-class' team at Blake Morgan LLP displays an 'excellent level of knowledge' and provides a 'responsive service' to an impressive roster of predominantly lender-side clients, including HSBC and Santander, across the spectrum of new money financings, refinancings and regulatory issues. Despite the recent retirement of leading practitioner Meryl Morgan, the team is still imbued with a significant amount of talent including legal director Reshma Jogia and senior associate Paul Duggan, the latter who joined the team in September 2017 from Hugh James . Recent highlights include Duggan's work for Lloyds Bank on the provision of a £4m loan to a further education body to fund development of student accommodation and sports facilities and Jogia's representation of behalf of Julian Hodge Bank on a £3.65m development facility loan to a Gibraltar registered company.

Led by Christopher Agius, Capital Law Limited Cardiff's banking team is particularly accomplished at handling property and development finance matters for lenders including Hodge Bank, HSBC and Santander. The team continues to handle a significant volume of matters for M5 Associates (a fund set up to provide development finance), including recently advising it on the provision of financing to facilitate the acquisition of development land in Luton, with planning permission for three residential tower blocks. Agius has also handled numerous matters for Handelsbanken, including advising it on a £5.3m loan to a Cardiff-based property company with an extensive portfolio of commercially let properties in and around south Wales. Associate Christopher Lewis  also has a focus on banking matters and regularly assists Agius on his matters. The team is also regularly aided by corporate partner Tom Kelleher , who has experience in corporate finance matters, and commercial property expert Leanne O’Brien, who regularly provides input on property finance matters.

Leveraging its strong reputation in the public sector and also well-versed at handling property finance matters in the private sector, Geldards LLP ‘s well-hedged practice handles new money mandates and refinancing matters for a diverse array of lenders and borrowers including Lloyds Bank, Hodge Bank and the Welsh government. Team head Karl Baranski ‘s varied finance practice encompasses new money financings, restructurings/insolvencies and fund formation work, where he continues to represent the Development Bank of Wales on fund formation matters. On the transactional front, Baranski recently advised Lloyds Bank on an £8.3m capital expenditure facility to FEI Foods accompanied by a separate £11.2m hire purchase facility.

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Legal Developments in Wales for Banking and finance

  • 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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