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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 > West Midlands > Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the West Midlands > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the West Midlands
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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George Green LLP is particularly active in small-cap M&A; Guy Green and Paul Bennett  advised the Bakkavor Group’s founders and controlling shareholders on the company’s IPO, while Philip Round in Wolverhampton advised Scrivens Limited on its purchase of The Nustye Optical Group. In another highlight, Bennett advised the shareholders of Midshire Business Systems on its sale to Sharp Electronics and Philip Round advised the shareholders of Cygnia Technologies on its sale to Secure Data. Bennett also advised the owner of Cornpoppers on the sale of the company to Kettle Foods. Other clients include the Confederation of British Metalforming, Leonardt Limited and Brooks Forgings.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys is ‘excellent; it has the drive and commercial approach that clients need’. The practice, which is based primarily in Worcester but also with a presence in Ross on Wye, handles a range of commercial transactions, with an emphasis on the care home and medical sectors. Charlotte Thornton-Smith heads the firm's health and social care practice; her recent highlights include advising Customade Group on its sale to Polyframe Group, and acting alongside senior associate Helen Higginbotham  for Capital Care Group on its  purchase of Anville Court from BUPA and the owners of Stanley House on the home’s sale for to Elysium Healthcare in a share deal. Rebecca Leask also handles deals concerning elderly care. Thornton-Smith and Leask acted for the shareholders of IMASS, on the company's sale to Medigold Health Consultancy, while Leask advised the owners of Wireless Innovations on the sale of the company to Lyceum Capital. Other key figures in Worcester include practice head Rod Thomas, Alison Scott and newly promoted partner Claire Emery, who acts for private equity clients in the dental space. Senior associate Caroline Leviss is a new hire from Willans LLP in Cheltenham. In Ross on Wye, Arpinder Dhillon  is ‘a committed and energetic lawyer for whom the client’s needs come first, whatever the other pressures’.

Higgs & Sons is regularly involved in eight-figure M&A deals, many of which feature complex cross-border elements and private equity involvement. Nick Taylor and David Ellis advised the owners of Westbridge Foods on the company’s sale to Thai company Chareon Popkhand Foods, which included operations in four other countries. Taylor also advised Aquapak Hydropolymers on the company’s sale to an American company. Richard Griffiths advised Wavenet on its purchase of Talk Internet, and separately advised the shareholders of Large Bars on the company’s sale to Stonegate Pub Company. John Heaton advised SG International Holdings on its purchase of Bestodeck, which owns various car retail operations – he also assisted the same client on the purchase of Essex Auto Group. James Partington advised the leadership of Stiltz, a manufacturer of home lifts, on a management buyout, and acted alongside Taylor for Domotec’s shareholders on the company’s sale to Fortune Brands Home & Security, a New York-listed company. Other MBO highlights included Heaton’s advice to the exiting shareholders of Arc Specialist Engineering on a sale backed by Mobeus Equity Partners.

Wright Hassall LLP is highly active in small-cap M&A as well as commercial contracts matters. Steven Halkett  (‘a great help – his advice is practical and commercial, and he remains calm through trying processes’) and Keith Ainsworth advised the shareholders of insurtech company Transactor on its £40m sale to a private equity portfolio company, which necessitated Competition and Markets Authority approval. Halkett acted for Gestamp Automocion in conducting due diligence on the company’s English subsidiaries concerning its IPO in Madrid. Robert Lee and Monica Macheng advised Blackadder Corporation on its acquisition of a care home provider for £8m. Lee and Jeremy Hyde advised Iver C Weilbach on its purchase of Chersoft in a complex deal concerning marine data intellectual property. Outsourcing is an additional area of expertise, with Lindsay Ellis acting for providers and Pete Maguire for well-known clients in this space. Christine Jackson advised Roofton Housing Group on procuring a new IT system from Aareon UK.

Beswicks Legal ‘provides a quality service to clients and punches well above its weight with a number of highly experienced solicitors more than able to hold their own against much larger firms and wider teams’. Many deals concern sales of owner-managed businesses, many of which to private equity interests. Peter Ellis ‘takes a focused and commercial approach especially in light of the specific dynamics of private equity transactions’ – he advised the four partners of a veterinary practice on the sale of the business to Linnaeus Group (which is owned by Sovereign Capital), and also advised Certeco’s owners on selling the business to P2 Consulting, a portfolio company of Lonsdale. Consultant Tom Sutcliffe advised a UK subsidiary of the US Zampell Group on purchasing Cobb Lloyd Refractories. Other work for the team includes management buyouts, corporate restructurings, joint ventures and family business succession planning matters.

At FBC Manby Bowdler LLP , clients ‘feel that their support and standards are far superior to what their counterparty is getting’. David Preece in Telford, who was promoted to partner in April 2017, is praised for his ‘ attention to detail, knowledge of subject, and understanding of clients’ businesses’ – he handles a range of deals in Shropshire, including veterinary practice sales and manufacturing deals. Kam Johal handles work concerning the sales of financial advisory practices, as well as medical deals and family business restructuring – she is based in Wolverhampton. Stuart Rea  is a key contact in Shrewsbury; his work includes a number of corporate restructurings. James Sage, who is based in Wolverhampton, heads the practice – he handles various smaller M&A deals including trade sales.

Thursfields Solicitors  in Worcester and Kidderminster ‘offers a pragmatic view of the level of complexity needed depending on the individual situation, and clearly explains each element of its documents and why they are needed’. Director Gareth Burge  (who is ‘able to understand clients’ needs and adapt his service to minimise risk’) advised DRP Holdings on its purchase of Penguin Events, and separately advised the founders of Central Investment Planning on the sale of the Guernsey-incorporated business, which also has significant operations in South Africa, to MiltonOptimal International. Consultant Stuart Price, who is based in Kidderminster, handles corporate acquisitions and disposals, some of which concerning social care. Also in Kidderminster, senior associate Tim Edwards is ‘a hands-on and pragmatic lawyer, who has an ability to think laterally around the transactional issues that might arise’ – he advised the management of CB Frost on the management buyout of the rubber and plastics manufacturer.

Ansons is active in deals in the social care, health and manufacturing sectors. The team handled over twenty pharmacy deals in 2017 with an aggregate value of over £24m. Other mandates concern restructuring. Adam Kudryl is now at Harper James Solicitors . Neil Jones and Hilary D’Cruz head the practice.

In Dudley, Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited’s Colin Rodrigues is ‘easy to communicate with – he really puts himself out for clients’. He advised the buyers on the management buy-out of Celloglas, which necessitated negotiations with an American seller, and advised Metal Spraying (UK) on its purchase of Scaffolding & Construction Products from Alumasc Group. Other clients include CEENorm, which Rodrigues advised on the exit of the majority shareholders from the business and Raylane, which he advised on the purchase of five pharmacies. Clients for commercial contracts work include Sovereign Risk Management, which he advises on matters concerning its role as manager of Schools Advisory Services, which insures state schools.

Lodders Solicitors LLP handles a range of work, with an emphasis on acting for owner-managed businesses. Victor Matts has experience of hospitality-sector transactions, and also handles management buyouts. Mark Lewis  is noted for his charity sector expertise. Care homes are a particular area of expertise, with the firm handling a 40-facility deal in the space. ATP Industries Group is a key client for elderly car. Kim Klahn is also recommended.

MFG Solicitors LLP handles a range of work, much of it concerning reorganisations and sales of smaller businesses to larger groups. Stephen Wyer advised Kew Tech on the restructuring of a waste gasification plant, and in a separate deal advised Severn Edge Veterinary Group, which comprises twelve practices, on its sale to CVS Group. In another veterinary deal, Wyer advised Wyre Forest Veterinary Centre on the business’s sale to Vet Partners Limited. Clare Lang joined from George Green LLP in April 2018. The aforementioned lawyers are based in Kidderminster, while in Worcester James Hayes advised Hotelshop UK on a restructuring exercise, transforming each of three divisions in to a discrete sister company.

Pickerings Solicitors LLP ‘provides clear advice based on extensive experience, and is able to offer the essential combination of professional support and guidance’. Craig Davis (‘ably walks the fine line of providing sound professional advice and guidance in frequently charged negotiations’) advised an automotive service company on the sale of the business for over £16m, and separately assisted with the £1.8m sale of a garden center. Solicitor Keri Pointon is ‘a shrewd and efficient negotiator, identifying the key priorities when the list of priorities appeared endless’ - she handled the sale of two franchised nurseries, and separately advised a company on a £1m share buy-back. Other highlights concern corporate restructurings and partnership matters.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice in Stratford upon Avon ‘does a thoroughly professional job and adds real value to every transaction’. Andrew Smith is ‘very knowledgeable, professional and approachable’ - he advised the former owner of Grease Management on the company’s sale to Filta Group, a newly AIM-listed company. Other work concerns restructuring and other corporate transactions.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s Shrewsbury team is regarded by some as ‘among the top practices for commercial work in Shropshire’. Hugh Strickland is ‘a steady pair of hands and guides clients well through difficult times’ – he advised the selling shareholders of Rockford IT in SysGroup’s £4m purchase of the company, and in another deal with an AIM-listed buyer, advised the owners of Kingfisher Lighting on selling the business to Luceco for £10m. Strickland also handles deals concerning car dealerships. Stuart Haynes is ‘very easy to relate to at a professional level and very knowledgeable’ – he handles various commercial contract matters, such as advising Blue Prism Software on selling robotic process automation software, and continues to advise Heaven Health and Beauty on distribution agreements covering jurisdictions including Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. He also continues to advise MTD Products, an American company, on the purchase of a British turf care business, and assisted on the sell side of a management buyout of McPhillips (Wellington).

Band Hatton Button LLP  in Coventry handles cross-border deals, many of which with values penetrating in to nine figures. Sean Byrne heads the practice, with Marta Fisher  and Haydn Jones also key contacts. Competition law is also an area of expertise.

In Coventry, Brindley Twist Tafft & James’ Samantha Wright handles both transactional and outsourcing work. Commercial contracts highlights included advising a car valeting contractor on contracts with rental car providers and auction houses. The firm also handles a number of transactional matters, involving pharmacies and various owner-managed businesses. John Chadaway is also a name of note.

At Enoch Evans LLP in Walsall, ‘the team are very commercial and pragmatic in their advice and always try and find a solution for problems’. Sukie Shemar is ‘excellent - she has excellent knowledge and delivers her advice in a way that the client understands'. – her work highlights include social care and pharmacy deals. Senior solicitor James MacFarlane advised a Turkish company on purchasing a British supplier of plastic products.

Hatchers Solicitors LLP in Shrewsbury is a ‘personable, approachable, knowledgeable team with good internal specialisms’. Ann Fisher is well experienced, confident and approachable’ – her work included the formation of a social housing partnership, as well as several seven-figure transactions. Other clients include a regional coach operator, which she advised on a restructuring exercise connected with succession planning.

Knights Professional Services Limited in Newcastle under Lyme has a track record of deals in health and social care. Jonathan Tyson and Lisa Bridgwood are key contacts.

Lanyon Bowdler is ‘a client-oriented practice – clients feel that they are listened to in terms of their requirements rather than just a billing number’. Gráinne Walters in Telford, who has an ‘excellent grasp of the business issues, and is very proactive’ advised the Welsh Water Elan Trust on forming a joint venture with, among others, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales to seek Heritage Lottery Fund money. Associate Edward Burrell’s advice is ‘easy to understand, straightforward and on the money’, with assistant solicitor Timothy Roberts  ‘very understanding of clients’ requirements and quick to turn the required documents around’. Group and corporate reorganisations, including in partnership businesses, as well as commercial contracts and seven-figure corporate transactions are other areas of note.

Thomas Horton LLP in Bromsgrove’s corporate practice, which is headed by Jeff Taylor, handles a mixture of corporate work involving SMEs. Taylor advised Slimstock, which provides stock control software, on a redrafting of its licencing agreements, and handles a range of partnership matters. Clients for shareholder agreements include Flybynite.

Wall James Chappell in Stourbridge ‘provides an excellent and very personal level of client service – exactly what is required’. Philip Chapman  is ‘very easy to deal with, very professional and as totally focused on getting the deal done as the clients are’ – he advised the family owners of Burns & Co on the sale of the petrol forecourt company to Motor Fuel Group. Other transactions for the team includes the sale of Babystart, and the purchase of Interfab. Other deals concern manufacturing and independent financial adviser practices.

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