Firm Profile > Freeths LLP > Nottingham , East Midlands

Freeths LLP
East Midlands

Banking and finance Tier 1

Freeths LLP's market-leading reputation is underpinned by its seamless coordination across offices and breadth of expertise. Nottingham office managing partner Chris Freeston has expertise in all types of corporate lending transactions, with notable specialisms in property and construction finance, as well as project finance. Also based in Nottingham are John Heaphy, - whose acquisition finance knowledge complements his M&A experience -  recently promoted director Katie Hillier and director Renata Rai. During 2018 the team was boosted by the addition of derivatives expert Adam Wood from Clifford ChancePhil Baigent in Leicester is well-known for his expertise in the private healthcare sector, where he acts for funders, investors and care home operators.

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 1

Freeths LLP's first-rate reputation in dispute resolution has seen its Leicester team undertake an increasing amount of work for clients in the food sector. In addition, the firm is well-known nationally for its strengths in energy (particularly LPG) sector matters. Mukesh Patel leads the team, advising on professional negligence claims, contractual disputes, insurance litigation and public procurement challenges. Simon Baigent (who has more than 20 years of dispute resolution experience), Emma Anderson and associate Richard Fitzmaurice are recommended.

Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby Tier 1

Freeths LLP is a top-tier firm in all types of commercial property matters in the East Midlands, including commercial and residential development projects, regeneration projects, property finance, and investment sales and acquisitions. In addition to having a stable of longstanding clients, the firm continues to win work from new sources. Darren Williamson is the firm's national head of real estate. Guy Winfield, who runs the team in Nottingham, focuses on the food retail and industrial sectors. Property development expert Heather Davies, whose practice is split between Nottingham and Derby, is experienced in matters connected with areas such as waste to energy, the private rented sector, mines and minerals, and hotels. Jon Smart has a standout reputation in the care sector. James Clamp made partner in 2018.

Construction Tier 1

Operating on a cross-office, national basis, Freeths LLP's construction team is a first port of call for many clients with high-stakes projects; it generates work from global construction consultants, end-users, developers, contractors and sub-contractors. 'Outstanding' national construction head Chris Holwell leads on a large number of complex construction projects; the scope of his team's non-contentious work includes hotel and sports developments, commercial/residential/mixed-use schemes and various other types of projects. On the contentious side, Amy Morley has vast expertise in all areas of construction and engineering law, and handles high-value, technically complex claims progressed by adjudication, arbitration or in the Technology and Construction Court. Guy Berwick, who was a partner for 30 years, is now a consultant.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Clients recommend Freeths LLP for its ‘very good technical knowledge’ and ability to handle ‘complex claims’. Under the leadership of Mark Keeley, the group undertakes a wide range of high-value litigation, including will challenges, removal applications and Court of Protection work. Estoppel claims and Inheritance Act matters are other strengths, as is the department’s knowledge of the agriculture sector. Director Rachel Gaffney is noted for her ‘excellent legal advice’.

Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby Tier 1

Freeths LLP, whose Nottingham team is part of a large national practice, demonstrates particularly strong capabilities in the healthcare sector, and is notably active in its work for care operators and funders. Elsewhere, it acts for a number of household names in sectors such as retail, food and drink, construction and automotive. National corporate head Karl Jansen has a particular focus on UK mid-market transactions, such as corporate acquisitions and disposals, MBOs/MBIs and private equity investments, John Heaphy, who leads the group in Nottingham, has an excellent record of advising owner-managed companies on deals.

Employment Tier 1

The practice at Freeths LLP is particularly active in handling Employment Tribunal litigation. Clients from both the private and public sectors engage the group, which is headed by Rena Magdani and David Potter. Other core strengths include restructures, TUPE, discrimination, whistleblowing, restrictive covenants and injunctive relief. The caseload has had a recent uptick in cases concerning employment status in the gig economy.

Family Tier 1

Freeths LLP has a notable profile among high net-worth individuals. It excels in handling financial issues arising from divorce, with cases often involving pensions, family business interests and trusts. Judith Speed is increasingly sought out for advice on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as private law Children Act applications. The practice is jointly led by Speed and Diana Copestake.

Local government Tier 1

The team at Freeths LLP advises its clients on planning and environmental issues, regeneration and redevelopment projects, commercial contracts and employment matters. On the contentious side, its work includes representing local authorities in property litigation and defending judicial review proceedings. Birmingham-based Nathan Holden serves as practice head.

Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant Tier 1

Acclaimed as ‘extremely professional and efficient’, Freeths LLP’s personal injury team places particular emphasis on brain, birth and spinal cord injury work for both children and adults. The firm is also a 'quality outfit in the clinical negligence market’, with expertise in diagnosis delays, misdiagnoses, surgical errors, incorrect treatment, cosmetic surgery and product liability. The ‘highly knowledgeableJane Goulding leads the personal injury team. The clinical negligence practice is co-led by Karen Reynolds and Jane Williams; the latter is a 'market leader and go-to expert in her field'.

Property litigation Tier 1

Freeths LLP's first-rate reputation in property-related dispute resolution sees it generate work from clients in sectors such as retail, energy, food and construction, among others. Simon Baigent, who is highly regarded for his restructuring and insolvency expertise, has an excellent record in contentious matters involving an interplay between property and insolvency; his experience includes cases where landlords are faced with insolvent tenants and insolvency matters involving large property portfolios. Practice head Paul Tomkins is closely involved with the East Midlands branch of the Property Litigation Association, while senior associate Edward Pickard is active in all areas of property litigation, with a particular strength in dilapidations disputes, acting for landlords and tenants.

Social housing Tier 1

Freeths LLP operates at the top end of the social housing market, and its breadth and depth of expertise ensures that it wins premium work from arms-length management organisations (ALMOs), registered housing providers and developers, among other clients. Matthew Grocock and consultant Gary Reynolds co-head the practice in Nottingham, which provides a comprehensive range of services to clients, including property development, securitisation, planning, construction and procurement. One area of growth has seen the team increasingly being sought-out to assist with negotiating portfolio transactions. Stephen Pearson is another notable partner in the team. Principal property manager Sarah Rowe, and senior associates Rachel Clarke and Claire Bennett, collectively have over 38 years of experience of the social housing sector.

Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby Tier 2

Freeths LLP is well-placed to advise on large-scale and multi-party disputes, leveraging its strong presence in the Nottingham and Derby markets, as well as its wider national network. The Nottingham team is led by Graham Greenfield, who has been a partner since 1991, and who handles a wide range of commercial (including professional negligence) and financial cases. Greenfield, whose 'leadership skills and work ethic are second to none', also heads up the insolvency practice in Nottingham, and insolvency litigation is another pillar of his work. Greenfield is supported by recently promoted senior associate Jade Flint, 'a swift and efficient communicator'. Jonathan Jefferies is the main contact in Derby.

Commercial property: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 2

Freeths LLP covers the commercial property market extensively, by leveraging the expertise of its Leicester team, and also its wider national network. Its excellent reputation has seen it secure Leicester's Phoenix Arts Centre and Abbey Commercial Investments Group as new clients. Although the group in Leicester primarily focuses on high-value and complex transactions, it also handles development work, landlord and tenant matters, and real estate finance transactions, among other areas. Team head Simon Abbott specialises in investment portfolio management and work with a nexus to the retail sector. Also recommended is Sam Pancholi, who has more than 18 years of commercial property experience. Director Harjit Saund is the lead relationship manager to clients such as Tarmac and Flogas Britain.

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 2

Freeths LLP's first-rate reputation among commercial and private clients (in the UK and internationally) is underpinned by the market knowledge of its six-strong team in Leicester, which collectively has 125 years of experience of handling corporate transactions. In addition, the group's strong deal execution capabilities are complemented by the firm's ability to provide full-service support in many ancillary areas, including competition, tax and employment. Phil Baigent has a strong track record acting for clients in the healthcare sector, such as banks and care home operators. Baigent also advises businesses active in the optometry, dental and pharmacy arenas. Keith Gilbert has particular experience of acting for clients in matters involving sectors such as waste and food and drink.

Education Tier 2

Freeths LLP's client roster includes various schools and colleges, as well as several major universities. Academy conversions are a key strength, with the practice undertaking a broad range of contracts and governance work, property-related instructions, student issues and employment disputes. Team head Stephen Pearson is an expert on governance contracts, procurement and state aid issues.

Environment & planning Tier 2

Freeths LLP's planning and environment team acts for public and private sector clients in large and complex projects nationally, including residential, retail, commercial, mixed-use and urban regeneration developments. Chris Waumsley, who leads the planning and environment group, has more than 30 years of experience advising local authorities and private sector clients on planning matters. Waumsley works closely on the planning side with Paul Brailsford, whose expertise includes food and non-food retail developments, and residential-led urban extensions; both are widely respected in their field. The environment practice, which is led in the East Midlands by Emma Tattersdill, assists clients with managing issues connected with environmental permitting, waste management, contaminated land and environmental prosecutions, among other matters. Clients in this space primarily come from the minerals, waste, construction and housebuilding sectors.

Health Tier 2

Freeths LLP has core strengths in acquisitions, disposals and mergers in the private healthcare sector. In addition, its team is experienced in handling land acquisitions and subsequent developments for senior living facilities and supported living units. Other specialist areas include end of life consent matters, inquests and other regulatory enforcement matters, as well as corporate governance and procurement. Clients include public sector entities, care providers and real estate investment trusts. Thomas Golding, James Clamp and Phil Baigent jointly lead the practice.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Freeths LLP has a particularly strong focus on acting for regional and national insolvency practitioners, but it is also seen as a first port of call by trustees, directors and creditors, among others. On the non-contentious side, its team advises on the entire ambit of matters, including reorganisations and restructurings, administrations/receiverships/CVAs and acquisitions/disposals of distressed companies. It also provides assistance on the full range of contentious insolvency issues. Simon Baigent and Charles Darby (an expert in anti-avoidance and asset avoidance cases) are the main contacts in Leicester, while Graham Greenfield is the name to note in Nottingham.

Licensing Tier 2

Noted for its ‘positive, knowledgeable and passionate approach’, the team at Freeths LLP is traditionally adept in alcohol licensing matters and is increasingly advising on health and safety, trading standards and fire safety matters. Lisa Gilligan, ‘an experienced expert in the field’, helms the practice and is engaged for personal licenses, premises licences and DPS applications. She represents a client base which includes various bars, pubs, supermarkets and leisure businesses.

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Freeths LLP fields dedicated teams for tax and estate planning, trust administration, probate and wills. Trusts and inheritance tax are also core strengths, as is estate administration, including matters with a cross-border element. Scott McKittrick heads up the practice, which was bolstered in 2018 by the arrival of senior associate Charlotte Royal from Browne Jacobson LLP ; she adds to the team’s strengths in technical trust and tax issues.

Freeths is a national law firm with a great reputation for delivering high-quality advice and results for its clients. Clients talk about trusting the Freeths team to do the right thing, and like their strong ethics, integrity and entrepreneurial spirit.

The firm: With 13 offices in the UK the firm has excellent geographic reach and connectivity. This firmly establishes Freeths as one of the leading national law firms in the UK. A snapshot of clients includes: Aldi, RBS, Tarmac, BDW Group, Ladbrokes Coral, Travis Perkins, Fresenius Medical Care, Santander, Capita, Bellway Homes Limited, Whitbread Group PLC, Centre Parcs, Poundland, Nottingham University and Experian.

Freeths has won a host of regional and national accolades in recent years, including Best Companies for 2019, and is ranked 57th in the Sunday Times Top 100 Best Companies to Work For 2019. It also won ‘Firm of the Year’ in the UK Diversity Legal Awards 2017. The Legal 500’s UK rankings for 2019 also put Freeths as a top-tier firm in no less than 24 categories, we have 24 Leading Elite Lawyers and 164 Recommended Lawyers. Of those 164, 13 are recommended as Next Generation Lawyers. Freeths has also been awarded silver standard in Investors in People and Legal Technology Awards and nominations. The firm is committed to the regional communities in which it is based and actively supports a number of causes, both nationally and regionally.

The firm’s approach is rooted in knowing and understanding its clients and building value. Freeths’ core values ensure it is committed to: delivering results by taking ownership of the situation in order to provide practical and often bespoke solutions; building trust and long-term relationships, working closely with clients and sharing risk when appropriate; and thinking differently, with the firm offering real insight and innovative solutions to legal and commercial issues, and to the way in which these are delivered to help its clients get a step ahead.

Clients of Freeths are particularly impressed with its efforts to partner closely with them to reduce their legal spend by analysing the root cause and then up-skilling the client’s team.

Types of work undertaken: The firm works with major international and UK corporations, FTSE/AIM companies, regional businesses, institutions, public bodies and high-net-worth individuals. It works across all areas of practice, including corporate, commercial, HR, pensions, property (developers, institutional lenders, investors, housing associations, and commercial landlords and tenants), planning, environmental, tax, dispute resolution, intellectual property, EC law and corporate defence.

Freeths’ private client team has an excellent reputation for advising individuals on every aspect of their life, from wealth generation and preservation through to acquisitions and disposals of property, future planning (wills and probate), family and childcare matters, personal injury, clinical negligence, andhelping people who lack capacity due to an accident, old age, mental illness or learning difficulties.

Key sector specialisms include stand-out experience in the drinks and hospitality sector, retail, food, franchise, transport, renewable energy, property, healthcare and public sector.

The private client team at Freeths’ Oxford office is well known in agriculture, bloodstock and rural affairs, as well as the charities sector.

Other offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, and Stoke.


Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Colin Flanagan
Chief executive Peter Smith
Corporate and commercial Karl Jansen
Construction Chris Holwell
Dispute resolution Philippa Dempster
Employment Julian Middleton
Real estate Darren Williamson
Private client Nigel Cullen
Private client Jane Goulding
Photo Name Position Profile
 Patrick Adie  photo Patrick Adie
 Emma Anderson  photo Emma Anderson
 Phil Baigent  photo Phil Baigent
 Paul Balen  photo Paul Balen
 Gemma Bedford  photo Gemma Bedford
 Claire Bennett  photo Claire Bennett
 Guy Berwick  photo Guy Berwick
 Paul Brailsford  photo Paul Brailsford
 Nicola Burrowes  photo Nicola Burrowes
 Maxine Chenoweth  photo Maxine Chenoweth
 James Clamp  photo James Clamp
 Rachel Clarke  photo Rachel Clarke
 Nigel Cullen Obe Td Dl  photo Nigel Cullen Obe Td Dl
 Heather Davies  photo Heather Davies
 Adrian Denton  photo Adrian Denton
 Adam Edwards  photo Adam Edwards
 Gemma Elliott  photo Gemma Elliott
 Tristam FitzHugh  photo Tristam FitzHugh
 Jade Flint  photo Jade Flint
 Chris Freeston  photo Chris Freeston
 Rachel Gaffney  photo Rachel Gaffney
 Ben Gant  photo Ben Gant
 Thomas Golding  photo Thomas Golding
 Jane Goulding  photo Jane Goulding
 Mark Gradwell  photo Mark Gradwell
 Nicola Grange  photo Nicola Grange
 Graham Greenfield  photo Graham Greenfield
 Julie Grimble  photo Julie Grimble
 Matthew Grocock  photo Matthew Grocock
 Shama Gupta  photo Shama Gupta
 James Hart  photo James Hart
 John Heaphy  photo John Heaphy
 Robert Hill  photo Robert Hill
 Katie Hillier  photo Katie Hillier
 Christopher Holwell  photo Christopher Holwell
 Deryck Houghton  photo Deryck Houghton
 Karl Jansen  photo Karl Jansen
 Beth Jenkins  photo Beth Jenkins
 Ben Jones  photo Ben Jones
 Mark Keeley  photo Mark Keeley
 John Kelly  photo John Kelly
 Atiyya Khaliq  photo Atiyya Khaliq
 David Lane  photo David Lane
 Rebecca Maeers  photo Rebecca Maeers
 Michaela Mason  photo Michaela Mason
 Jennie McBride  photo Jennie McBride
 Matt McBride  photo Matt McBride
 Frances McKinnon  photo Frances McKinnon
 Scott McKittrick  photo Scott McKittrick
 Louise Mee  photo Louise Mee
 Susan Miles  photo Susan Miles
 Natasha Molloy  photo Natasha Molloy
 Amy Morley  photo Amy Morley
 Bob Neal  photo Bob Neal
 Sarah Norton  photo Sarah Norton
 Ian Payne  photo Ian Payne
 Stephen Pearson  photo Stephen Pearson
 Sarah Phillips  photo Sarah Phillips
 Edward Pickard  photo Edward Pickard
 David Potter  photo David Potter
 Charles Powell  photo Charles Powell
 Vicky Pritchard  photo Vicky Pritchard
 Isobel Radford  photo Isobel Radford
 Gary Reynolds  photo Gary Reynolds
 Gillian Roberts  photo Gillian Roberts
 Ian Rowson  photo Ian Rowson
 Charlotte Royal  photo Charlotte Royal
 Julie Russell  photo Julie Russell
 Mona Schroedel  photo Mona Schroedel
 Emna Sfar-Gandoura  photo Emna Sfar-Gandoura
 Jon Smart  photo Jon Smart
 Judith Speed  photo Judith Speed
 Dilys Taylor  photo Dilys Taylor
 Paul Thorogood  photo Paul Thorogood
 David Tillcock  photo David Tillcock
 Paul Tomkins  photo Paul Tomkins
 Lilly Toop  photo Lilly Toop
 Navada Ward  photo Navada Ward
 Adam Watson  photo Adam Watson
 Chris Waumsley  photo Chris Waumsley
 Darren Williamson  photo Darren Williamson
 Guy Winfield  photo Guy Winfield
 Polly Wisner  photo Polly Wisner
 Caroline Wofinden  photo Caroline Wofinden
 Kelly Wood  photo Kelly Wood
 Roger Wright  photo Roger Wright
 Liz Young  photo Liz Young
Number of UK partners : 206
Number of other UK fee-earners : 546

Corporate Social Responsibility means making a positive difference in our wider community.

Freeths are a forward-thinking firm and we are keen to do our bit for a wide range of community programs. This could be through offering our expertise to help people in need, or by simply giving up some of our time. We play active roles in organisations, volunteer in schools and provide pro bono work.

Here’s how Freeths are making a difference

Some examples of our community engagement:

  • Right to Read – Participating in a national literacy programme at eight primary schools
  • Business in FOCUS – Providing mentoring to disadvantaged people during a law simulation exercise
  • Pro Bono schemes – Legal work without charge, including substantial cases for accident victims
  • Enterprise 4 Education – Helping to raise young people’s employability through workshops and talks
  • Give & Gain Day – An international day raising general awareness of the value of volunteering
  • The Legal Scholarship Scheme – A bursary and paid work experience at our Milton Keynes office
  • Freeths E-Mentoring Scheme – Mentoring for law students at eight universities and colleges

Supporting a different charity every year

We are pleased to announce that our new firm charity will be Mind, the leading mental health charity. Mind campaign to improve services, raise awareness and provide support directly to those who need it most. We look forward to working with Mind on their mission to get support and respect for everyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Last year, we were proud to support Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia support and research charity. We have raised over £50,000 for this cause. In May, over forty of our staff took part in a charity skydive – reaching heights of 10,000ft at speeds of up to 120mph before making the leap! We also conquered the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge last year, climbing 3 mountains in under 12 hours.

Our Green Approach

We are committed to being more environmentally friendly, recycling widely in our offices to reduce our impact on the planet. We do this by using recycled products where possible, aiming to source our energy ethically by investigating alternative renewable energy sources, and carrying out audits of our buildings.

Freeths are proud to be making progress with a firm-wide travel plan. This includes our Cycle to Work scheme and encouraging our staff to use public transport through subsidised season tickets.

We ensure that all our suppliers are aware of our CSR Policy, and that we progressively influence them to adopt good environmental practices.

To underline our commitment we have gained ISO14001 accreditation.

Click here to view the full Freeths Environmental Policy