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The ‘well-respected and highly professional team’ at Addleshaw Goddard is ‘incredibly strong in the region; to its excellent knowledge of the latest industry and market positions’ enables it to ‘provide first-rate advice’. The ‘technically brilliant’ David Handy leads the group, which recently saw substantial changes including Geoff McGinley, Tom McHugh and Louise Wood being promoted to managing associate and Andrew Fordham joining from Squire Patton Boggs in 2018. Other key individuals include Jenny Cromack, Lee Shankland and Nick Barlow. The team is highly regarded for its expertise encompassing corporate banking, real estate finance, leveraged finance, unitranche transactions and social housing finance. The group also regularly acts for lender clients including Santander and HSBC; Handy advised the latter on its provision of facilities to Supermarket REIT. Other highlights include assisting Volpi Capital with its debt facilities provided by Lloyds Bank for the buyout of Version 1, handling asset-based lending facilities for Allied Glass Containers from Investec Bank for the refinancing of its existing facilities and acting for Abbey National Treasury Services, AIB Group, Barclays Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ on the refinancing of all existing loan facilities to AmicusHorizon housing group and Viridian Housing.

DLA Piper UK LLP is ‘a top-tier firm’ that is ‘very commercially aware and able to provide advice at a business level and not purely on technical legal points’.  Kirstie Allerton leads the practice and specialises in real estate finance work with notable expertise in the hotel, industrial and student sectors. Clients also praise the ‘incredibly knowledgeable’ Sarah Day and the ‘technically excellent’ Anna Robson, who are experienced in debt finance and asset-based lending; Day recently advised Nisa on its refinancing with Wells Fargo and HSBC, and assisted RBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, HSBC and Wells Fargo as funders with the provision of a debt facility to Speedy Hire. Project finance and legal director Laura Gordon worked with energy expert Natasha Luther-Jones to act for Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group on the financing of a windfarm project by Nanclach in Scotland. Aviva, Sun Capital, Henry Boot, Emerald Publishing and Town Centre Securities are also clients.

As ‘one of the best in the region’, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is ‘stable, well-regarded and strong in terms of its abilities, diligence and speed of response’. Its ‘market knowledge is exceptional, which leads to commercial and pragmatic solutions that clearly focus directly on the client’s needs’. Team head Kathryn Walters is ‘completely trusted and a pleasure to work with’; she focuses on leveraged and structured finance and real estate investment issues. Other key figures include the ‘highly experienced’ Paul Castle (who handles corporate lending, real estate finance and education finance mandates), senior associate David Parry, associate Joe Healy and principal associate Susan Ledger. The practice recently advised Yorkshire County Cricket Club on the structuring of finance made available to the client to fund international cricket and rugby matches, assisted HSBC with its involvement in the non-sponsor backed MBO of Ingenuity Digital Holdings, and acted for Tricoya Ventures on its entry into a senior term facility provided by RBS for the development of an acetylation plant in Hull.

Pinsent Masons LLP is ‘absolutely excellent’ and ‘stands out in the region’ for corporate, real estate and banking transactions. It recently acted for EMIS Group on its refinancing, advised a UK clearing bank on its funding package to Proactis Group for its reverse takeover of Perfect Commerce, and assisted two UK clearing banks with a £70m extension to existing facilities provided to VP and its subsidiaries. Mayfair Capital, SIG, DCC and Harworth Estates Group are also clients. Philip Scott leads the department and acts for borrowers, banks and other financial institutions; other key names include legal director Sean Houlihan, who leads the real estate finance team; legal director Stephen Woods, who leads the derivatives team and advises on debt capital markets, structured finance and securitisation transactions; and senior associate Matthew Claydon-Stead, who focuses on corporate financings and is ‘thorough and helpful in his approach to issues’.

‘A strong regional player’, Walker Morris LLP’s ‘extremely client-focused team really makes an effort to know its clients and their needs’, enabling it to ‘provide highly commercial advice in a proactive, informed and experienced way’. Michael Taylor is ‘well connected, highly knowledgeable, tenacious, focused and task driven’; he specialises in bilateral and syndicated transactions including acquisition and property finance work and development funding. Taylor’s recent work includes assisting Adler and Allan Group with the £77m refinancing of its borrowings and advising Proactis Group on a £45m senior term loan and revolving credit facilities raised with HSBC to finance its reverse takeover of Perfect Commerce. Ian Akitt and Peter Considine are also names to note; clients praise Akitt as ‘genuinely brilliant’ and Considine as ‘a go-to lawyer who is thorough, hardworking and experienced with a calm, unruffled and assured manner’. Akitt recently advised Evans Property Management on £240m property investment and development facilities and assisted Tradehold with a capital raising through a South African Rand denominated preference share issue to finance a property portfolio, while Considine acted for Reward Finance Group on a secured loan note facility.

Patrick Sturman and Dean Gormley jointly lead Irwin Mitchell’s practice from Leeds and Sheffield respectively; Sturman ‘ensures he has an excellent understanding of his clients’ and Gormley ‘provides clear and considered advice that makes everything run smoothly’. The team is ‘incredibly talented in the real estate finance arena’ and also handles corporate banking, leveraged finance, structured finance, asset-based lending and private equity funding work. The firm’s lender client base includes Metro Bank and Lloyds Bank; Sturman led advice to the latter on its role in the funding of the private equity-backed MBO of George Walker Transport. Other highlights include assisting RBS with the restructuring of existing loans for Park Lane Properties, acting for Santander on new funding for ASL Technology Holdings and Automated Systems Group and handling term loan facilities to fund the MBO of AW Lumb for HSBC Bank and HSBC Invoice Finance. Senior associates Robert Farrell and Hayley Johnson are also names to note.

Tom Telford, who made partner in 2017, is the key name to note at Squire Patton Boggs following Andrew Fordham’s move to Addleshaw Goddard in 2018. Telford is ‘one of the best out there for asset-based lending advice’ and ‘is highly regarded by lenders and borrowers alike’; he also handles acquisition finance and real estate finance work. Jeremy Ladyman is a key contact for investment management, derivatives and financial services matters. Recent highlights include acting for Principle Global on an MBO and shareholder restructuring funded by a unitranche secured note purchase facility and super senior working capital facilities, assisting Lloyds Development Capital with its acquisition finance to support the MBO of Pelsis via a unitranche debt facility and working capital facilities, and advising Perwyn on the provision of debt facilities to finance the MBO of Vouchercloud. Clydesdale bank, Bank Leumi and ECI Partners are also clients.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP ‘provides clients with an excellent level of service, swift and appropriate communication and a clear market understanding’ that ‘gets the job done as smoothly and quickly as possible’. The team is active in the transport, retail, leisure, hotel, manufacturing, energy and real estate sectors; borrower clients include Grainger and Huntsman International. On the lender side, the team recently advised HSBC on the terms of loan facilities, intercreditor arrangements and security issues relating to the development of a new stand at Headingley Stadium and assisted Santander with the provision of new revolving credit and trade finance facilities to Poundworld Retail. Other work includes acting for the Department of Education on multiple college merger and restructuring transactions and advising Vertu Motors on its club refinance with Barclays and RBS. The ‘impressive’ John Connor leads the team and ‘is able to grasp the bigger picture while also paying attention to the details’; managing associate Mark Casey is recommended for his debt finance expertise.

Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP is ‘outstanding on all fronts when it comes to client care’ and ‘dominates the market in East Yorkshire’ thanks to ‘an ability to constantly stay on top of all the major relevant issues its clients face’. The group's expertise encompasses corporate and real estate finance work with a niche specialism in ship finance. Recent mandates include advising NatWest on the refinancing of an agri-business and the provision of two further facilities to fund the acquisition of two farms; Rabobank, Svenska Handelsbanken, RBS, National Westminster Bank and HSBC are also clients. Andrew Funnell leads the department, which includes ship finance expert Andrew Oliver, Nicholas Scott, and Philip Ashworth, who is ‘an excellent communicator making him very easy to work with’.

Marie Pugh leads Clarion’s ‘excellent’ group, which is ‘easy to deal with and provides advice that is concise and specifically tailored to each situation’; Pugh made partner in 2017 and specialises in property and development finance transactions. Ben Slack, Jonathan Simms and Ryan Millmore are also names to note; Slack handles asset-based lending work, Simms regularly acts for banks, asset-based lenders and private equity houses, and Millmore focuses on insolvency work. The team recently advised Reward Capital and Reward Invoice Finance on its provision of a combined capital term loan and invoice finance facilities to a renewable energy company. Other clients include Lloyds Bank, Secure Trust Bank, Aldermore Bank, HSBC and National Westminster Bank.

The ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ practice at Ward Hadaway has particular expertise in real estate and development finance; it recently advised a major clearing bank on the provision of a development facility to a housebuilding group, acted for Assets Development Capital on the funding of a residential development in Manchester, and acted for a Yorkshire-based development company on acquiring senior and mezzanine funding for the redevelopment of a former hotel into apartments in Harrogate. Santander, Oakapple Group and Abbey National Treasure Services are also clients. The ‘incredibly positive’ Mark Smith is the key name in the firm’s Leeds office and is highly regarded for his expertise advising peer-to-peer lenders; he recently assisted a peer-to-peer lending platform with the provision of development funding for a care home in Preston. Real estate finance expert Lucinda Peters joined from DWF in 2018.

CMS utilises its real estate strength to advise on real estate finance issues for a variety of lenders, borrowers and investors alongside its corporate finance expertise. Of counsel David Stanbridge leads the Sheffield-based group; he recently advised HSBC on its funding of the MBO of Majestic Polymers and DSA Chemicals, assisted Barclays Bank with the provision of a £5m term loan facility to Hill Care Group for the acquisition of six care homes, and acted for United Trust Bank on multiple development finance matters. Other mandates include advising the National Bank of Kuwait on the funding of an intra-group property transfer of residential properties in London, handling a facility agreement relating to the acquisition of student accommodation for Marcus Worthington Properties and assisting FQ Developments with obtaining term loan facilities from Manchester City Council and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council Pension Fund to develop four tower blocks in Manchester City Centre.

Chris Ramage is the key contact in DWF’s Leeds office and regularly acts for lenders and borrowers on domestic and international debt-related matters. His expertise encompasses acquisition finance, real estate finance and debt capital markets work. Lucinda Peters joined Ward Hadaway in 2018.

HLW Keeble Hawson focuses primarily on the local region acting for Yorkshire-based banks, borrowers and individuals. Matt Ainsworth joined from Irwin Mitchell in 2017 and leads the practice; he recently advised YFM Private Equity on its investment in e2E Engineering. Managing partner Paul Trudgill handles transactional banking work, refinancing mandates and security issues; and Roger Dyson acts for lenders and borrowers on loans, development funding, corporate transactional funding, invoice discounting and equity investments. Clients include Santander, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Yorkshire Bank.

Rollits LLP provides ‘an excellent service combined with exceptional knowledge and pragmatism’ under the leadership of Richard Field, who primarily advises family-owned businesses and works in the charity and education sectors. Other key individuals include the ‘talented’ David Hextall, who focuses on secured lending, development finance and work in the charity sector; and Chris Crystal, who is experienced in the education sector. Lender clients include The Charity Bank, Yorkshire Bank, Santander, Barclays and HSBC.

Keys areas of expertise for Wake Smith Solicitors Limited include acting for banks on transactional issues, drafting bespoke facility agreements and advising on security requirements. Duncan Shepherd leads the department and focuses on transactional work, corporate refinancings and banking facilities; Neil Salter is the main contact for real estate finance work including retail investments and regenerations, and John Baddeley is another name to note. Recent highlights include advising Yorkshire Bank on a funding package for Bawtry Care to increase its dental surgery presence in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, acting for HSBC Bank on the provision of a £2m term loan facility for an acquisition of agricultural land and farm buildings, and assisting RBS with its provision of funding facilities to Duro UK for its acquisition of Pegasus UK and Pegasus Industrial Products.

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