Lester Aldridge LLP > Bournemouth, England > Firm Profile

Lester Aldridge LLP
RUSSELL HOUSE
OXFORD ROAD
BOURNEMOUTH
BH8 8EX
England

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 1

Lester Aldridge LLP‘s team in Bournemouth provides a full corporate and commercial service to clients, with a major focus on the SME market. The ‘straight talking‘ Grant Esterhuizen heads the group, and has substantial experience in commercial contracts and joint venture agreements, sitting alongside his M&A practice. Dean Drew is another core team member, and his varied practice encompasses M&A, disposals, equity investments, group restructurings and share deals. Promoted to partner in November 2020, Edward Adamson is developing a name for himself among clients in the care, hotel and leisure sectors.

Practice head(s):

Grant Esterhuizen

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘They are investing in technology in the practice. It is a diverse team with different backgrounds, all working towards a common goal with real collaboration.’

‘The team is accessible, dynamic, welcoming and knowledgeable.

‘Grant Esterhuizen demonstrates excellence in leadership and practice.’

‘The range of services which they can assist with makes them a one-stop shop. You can call with a question or issue to be resolved and they can keep the service in-house and provide the advice required.’

‘Grant Esterhuizen is straight talking and enables you to make decisions.’

Key clients

ESET Software UK Limited

Osprey Europe Limited

Ocean Yacht Systems

Mar-Key Marquees Limited

Webeast Ltd

Langham Industries Limited

Daish’s Group

Apex Group Limited

Orbis Software Limited

Hectic (Europe) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Appledore Land Limited (owned by Langham Industries) on the sale of all the Appledore Shipyard assets to InfraStrata in a deal worth £7m.
  • Advised The Apex Group on the acquisition of Investor Administration Services Limited (a company in the financial services sector providing transfer agency services) from Professional Partners Administration Limited.
  • Advised Daish’s Group on its acquisition of two hotels (The Imperial, Eastbourne and the Abbey Lawn, Torquay) and a coach business (Robinsons Coaches).

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 1

The 'diligent and thorough' dispute resolution team at Lester Aldridge LLP handles a range of local, national and international disputes with particular experience in the marine, defence and financial sectors. The 'impressively forensic' Chris Evans leads the practice and has a notable breadth of expertise in disputes including Companies Act and insolvency claims. Michael Veal, who has a particular specialism in commercial and employee fraud cases and dealing with applications for emergency relief, is also qualified in the Republic of Ireland, while Edward Foster focuses on the asset finance and commercial lending sector. Karen Thompson retired from the practice.

Practice head(s):

Chris Evans

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Good attention to detail, sensible, commercial approach, realistic assessment of strengths and weaknesses of client’s position.’

‘The Lester Aldridge team are always responsive and quick to come back to you. They bring insight to the wider issues and give perspective to a business owner.’

‘A diligent and thorough litigation team, no stone is left unturned.’

‘Chris Evans is impressively forensic in his attention to detail whilst retaining perspective on what is important.’

Employment > Employment: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 1

Working with a range of both local and national employers, Lester Aldridge LLP offers its clients a full set of employment-related services. Its strengths lie in matters relating to corporate transactions, such as TUPE, as well as restructuring, insolvency and business immigration, including visa and sponsorship applications. Furthermore, the team is well regarded for its specialist advice provided to care sector employers and has a growing practice with public sector employers. The 'dogged and determined' Kevin Barnett heads up the team from Bournemouth. Catharine Geddes moved to an in-house position with BMW.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Barnett

Other key lawyers:

Edward O’Brien

Testimonials

‘Kevin Barnett has always been very professional in his advice given to me at all times. I found him very easy to talk with – nothing is ever too much. Over the years I have developed a very good working relationship with him; he is the person I turn to whenever I need advice on employment law and he never fails me.’

‘Excellent strength in depth, with good trainees coming through’

‘Kevin Barnett leads by example. He is a dogged and determined solicitor who ensures that the client receives the very best attention at all times.’

Key clients

Curtiss Wright Corporation

Ceuta Holdings Limited

Osprey Europe Limited

FRP Advisory LLP

Lush Limited

Dorset Wildlife Trust

Durable (UK) Limited

Care South

Poole Lighting Limited

Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners

Work highlights

  • Advising and assisting the UK arm of a large international company with approximately 8,000 employees nationally on contentious and non-contentious employment matters.
  • Advising and assisting a global manufacturing company in relation to furlough, redundancy processes, disciplinary and grievance issues and employment tribunal matters.
  • Advising a fast food chain franchisee on the employment aspects of the sale of multiple stores, including on TUPE aspects and claims exposure.

Real estate > Commercial property: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 1

The 'collaborative, dynamic and flexible' team at Lester Aldridge LLP sees its main fields of activity in residential and development work as well as in lender, residential and leasehold work. It has experience in the care and later-living space, affordable housing and self-storage industry. Enfranchisement specialist Suki Samra and Mark Benham, who is a key practitioner in property development questions, lead the group. Lucy Stevens also advises port authorities and senior associate Rebecca Humm has planning expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mark Benham; Suki Samra

Other key lawyers:

Fiona Oliver; Lucy Stevens; Rebecca Humm; Roger Woolley

Testimonials

‘A business focussed on delivery and collaboration.’

‘LA are unique due their personal approach and their ability to transfer skills and specialties within their business to ensure that all areas of the required work are covered off.’

‘Mark Benham is always very happy to assist and provide in depth knowledge of the development and property law.’

‘The team at Lester Aldridge are incredibly knowledgeable but most importantly pragmatic in their approach to dealing with complex transactions. They guided us through the problems ensuring we understood the issue and how to overcome it efficiently. They were not afraid to put us straight when we diverted off course but did so in a constructive manner. Their communication has been top notch.’

‘Mark Benham and Fiona Oliver have been exceptional throughout.’

‘The team are collaborative, dynamic and flexible to meet their client’s needs; no matter the hour or day of the week! Having the client at the forefront of the team’s mind and wanting to know how they can exceed expectations will always give them the edge over competitors.’

‘The personnel will find solutions to any problem and ensure the client is kept well informed to a satisfactory conclusion – both in terms of results and value for money. The knowledge of the development cycle ranging from the public to private is outstanding backed by experience. It doesn’t matter what your legal requirements are: – From a small housing scheme, hotels, large retirement projects, BtR (multi and family), large housing schemes or advice on dispute – they have it.’

‘They are always available no matter the time or day of week which is imperative in the current market place to ensure the client has the best available service and advice as and when needed. Roger Woolley stands out; it seems no matter what obstacle is thrown his way, a solution is found.’

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone plc

Meggitt plc

Merck

Yorkshire Building Society

Care South

Allica Bank

Lloyds Bank plc

Fragrance Group

Shawbrook Bank

Bloor Homes

Troika Developments

Work highlights

  • Advised Allica Bank on over 200 transactions in 2020, having worked closely with the client and its IT team.
  • Advised McCarthy & Stone on the acquisition and development of hundreds of new housing sites, including purchase of a large site in Hampshire owned by Solent University by way of a joint venture with a regional open market housebuilder.
  • Advising Forelle Estates on a letting in Poole to SpaMedica, one of the leading providers of NHS eye patient services. T

Transport > Shipping Tier 1

Lester Aldridge LLP fields a dedicated marine law team, which is known as LA Marine, and was established more than 20 years ago. It is a major player in the logistics, shipping, leisure marine and superyacht sectors. Led by Russell Kelly, the practice provides extensive support to clients on matters such as commercial contracts, finance transactions and regulatory investigations and prosecutions. In addition, the firm is highlighted for its strong track record in dry shipping arbitration and litigation. Linda Jacques handles a varied portfolio of contentious work, including cases involving collisions, the loss of cargo and loss of life on ships. She is also notably experienced in contractual disputes.

Practice head(s):

Russell Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Linda Jacques; Jennie Harris; Lucy Goff

Testimonials

‘Great industry knowledge, great client care skills, very on top of the law in their area.’

‘Linda Jacques – clients rightly have huge confidence in her. Knows her field and has great expertise.’

‘High responsiveness, very creative, excellent business acumen and industry knowledge, good value for money.’

‘Linda Jacques. Thorough sector knowledge and understanding, business acumen, very responsive, creative and supportive, friendly.’

‘Linda Jacques is proactive and prompt to provide support whenever needed.’

‘When it comes to marine matters, the team of marine specialists at Lester Aldridge are the best in business. They are proactive, knowledgeable and always available and happy to help.’

‘They are proactive , knowledgeable and always available and happy to help.’

‘I can only really comment on Linda Jacques, whose experience in arbitration is particularly clear in her tactical awareness. She is also particularly pleasant to work with and shows great understanding of her clients’ needs.’

Employment > Health and safety Tier 2

The employment team at Lester Aldridge LLP boasts significant experience in prosecutions, acting on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and a variety of local authorities. The team also offers defence work for its corporate client base, mostly in the manufacturing, care and construction sectors. On the non-contentious side, the team provides health and safety training for its corporate clientele. Michael Veal leads the firm from its Bournemouth office and was previously responsible for all Health and Safety Executive prosecutions in the South West.

Practice head(s):

Michael Veal

Testimonials

‘Lester Aldridge is rightly known as the one of, if not the go-to regulatory and health and safety firms in the South. They have a strong, dynamic and flexible team who will always go the extra mile.’

‘Mike Veal is exceptional. He is intellectually nimble, he is a specialist who knows his subject inside out but he is also down to earth and practical. He has an approachable, can-do attitude and is an excellent team player. He always has a thorough grasp of every case. His instructions and ongoing input and support in a case are second to none.’

‘Supreme organisation and client care mean that the department is an absolute dream to work with. ’

‘Michael Veal has an encyclopaedic knowledge of health and safety law. His client care is second to none and he runs an incredibly efficient department. ’

‘The team works very effectively together.’

‘Michael Veal leads his team effectively and is fantastic to work with. He is patient, works incredibly hard, and is imaginative about his cases bringing a fresh view to them.’

‘Very detailed knowledge of how the regulators work. Very professional.’

Key clients

Health & Safety Executive

Maritime & Coastguard Agency

Hampshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Prosecuting Flybe airline following an incident whereby a Flybe employee fell down a lift shaft at Exeter Airport.
  • Advising Hampshire Council’s highways department in the context of a Health & Safety Executive prosecution.
  • Acting for an IT company that was prosecuted for a variety of offences to do with the importation and marketing of unsafe electronic equipment.

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence; claimant

Lester Aldridge LLP‘s Bournemouth team is composed of personal injury and clinical negligence generalists, although its lawyers have particular expertise in brain and spinal injury and birth injury claims. After joining the team from Stewarts Law LLP in 2020, David Healy was recently appointed group leader and head of personal injury.

Practice head(s):

David Healy

Public sector > Health Tier 2

The members of Lester Aldridge LLP‘s group are praised as ‘clear experts’ in the  field. They work for charities, care homes, equity funds and GP practices in a wide range of health, social, and community care matters. Team leader Laura Guntrip handles diligence processes in transactions and regulatory law. Associate James Pantling-Skeet is noted for ‘his grasp of the subject matter and his professional approach‘.

Practice head(s):

Laura Guntrip

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Our experience of Lester Aldridge’s Public Sector Health team is one that is of a very responsive, informative and effective. They reflect and discuss practical and pragmatic strategies to achieve positive client outcomes safeguarding the interests of our charity at all times.’

‘Laura Guntrip leads an exceptional team that is extremely knowledgeable of our sector and its challenges. The team takes time to understand properly and thoroughly specific situations – their immediate and wider impacts – and thoroughly and professionally investigates and succinctly summarises key facts and actions clearly to enable the business to make well-informed commercial decisions.’

‘This is truly a unique organisation. It took a year of searching to find a solicitor to challenge organisations such as CQC and the local authorities. There knowledge proved such that government agencies conceded the judgements they had made were unjust and without substance. They appear to be alone in their field.’

‘They are unique in that no other legal firm has their experience or knowledge to contest the arbitrary decisions that local authorities make. In truth they are light years ahead of others and are a firm I would and have recommended to other charity leaders throughout the sector.’

‘Lester Aldridge: everyone I dealt with including my solicitor, business support and senior partners were supportive, had integrity and provided an excellent legal service.’

‘Everyone at Lester Aldridge that I have had contact with, are very customer orientated, and approachable. I have had a significant amount of contact with at least three different professionals, as well as numerous background/support staff and they all exhibit the highest standards of support and activities.’

‘James Pantling-Skeet has been with us all the way and we are pleased with his grasp of the subject matter and hid professional approach.’

Key clients

HC-One

Graham Care

Registered Nursing Homes Association

Hampshire Care Association

Colten Care

Work highlights

  • Advised a private equity fund on its successful purchase, including regulatory due diligence, of a large national group of care homes and learning disability services.
  • Advised and represented a care home operator in relation to a serious incident in which an elderly resident absconded and died, including representation in relation to the inquest which followed.
  • Acted for a corporate care provider in a criminal investigation by the Care Quality Commission with risk of prosecution.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Lester Aldridge LLP now houses three specialist restructuring and insolvency partners in Southampton, with Rebecca Walker having joined the firm from Irwin Mitchell in 2020. Practice head Nick Keitley and Melia Hirst are the other key partners in the group, which is best known for its involvement in non-contentious work, including administrator and liquidator appointments, insolvency and LPA receivership appointments involving property assets, and solvent restructurings. It is notably active in the charities, hospitality and leisure, marine and healthcare sectors. Keitley is leading a cross-practice team which is acting for RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP on the administration of Food & Fuel Limited.

Practice head(s):

Nick Keitley

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Nick Keitley is a quality solicitor. His knowledge is second to none and he is hugely approachable. We have also been pleased with the quality of work from Melia Hirst, who is an excellent lawyer, approachable and friendly.’

‘The team clearly have a wealth of experience in dealing with companies and organisations in distress. This experience covers a number of business sectors and also insight from their work with other professionals such as IPs and accountancy firms.’

‘Having worked with Melia Hirst on a number of matters including the provision of in house training, we found Melia to be highy knowledgeable with lots of experience. Melia provides sound commercially focused solutions that we could take forward.’

Working with Melia Hirst feels more like a collaboration rather than an engement of external legal resource. Her no nonsense and plain talking style is very much appreciated by the legal and senior leadership team.’

‘Nick Keitley and Melia Hirst offer a one stop insolvency law service, particularly on the transactional side of things.’

‘Nick is probably the most experienced transactional insolvency lawyer, takes things calmly and works out the best way to achieve what they want.

Melia Hirst’s attention to detail is second to none, she misses nothing whilst delivering outstanding service to clients. She is also experienced in insolvency litigation.’

‘Melia Hirst is an absolute delight to work with. She is extremely personable, but also very knowledgeable.’

Key clients

Begbies Traynor (incorporating CVR Global)

BTG Advisory

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

James Cowper Kreston

JWS Business Recovery

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group

Menzies LLP

Moore UK

Moorfields Advisory

Portland Business & Financial Solutions Limited

Quantuma Advisory Trading Limited

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Santander Bank

Smith & Williamson LLP

White Maund LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised on the appointment of the administrators of Chiquito Limited, which operated the Mexican themed national restaurant chain. The appointment took place in March 2020 following the onset of the pandemic, which forced the company to close all of its restaurants.
  • Advised Smith and Williamson LLP on the administration of the Southampton Nuffield Theatre Trust, which operated two theatres in the City of Southampton and at the Southampton University campus (in the latter case, for nearly 40 years). The appointment took place in the wake of the pandemic, which forced the theatres to close.
  • Advised the administrators on the administration of Aronex Developments, which operated a buy-to-let investment scheme selling long-leasehold units in hotels and student accommodation blocks in its development portfolio, including to overseas purchasers.

Real estate > Commercial property: Hampshire Tier 2

Lester Aldridge LLP’s Southampton-based practice fields an increasing number of instructions in the lender, residential, and leaseholder spheres - with residential and commercial development work seeing the greatest growth. Regional practice head Tom Alder acts for many large housebuilders and handles a range of real estate work for ports and marinas, medical practices, care homes, and hotels. Lucy Stevens is a planning and development specialist with notable experience in the care home and retirement living sector. Current managing partner (and former head of the real estate group) Matthew Barrow is a regular adviser on distressed property sales and lender security matters, while Claire Long is recommended for her landlord and tenant practice, often supported by associate Sian Rowland. Rebecca Humm is noted for her planning expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mark Benham (head of real estate group); Tom Alder (head of real estate, Southampton);

Testimonials

‘Lester Aldridge are an excellent firm and have always been accommodating and flexible in relation to their clients. In the last 12 months, in the most trying of circumstances, they have been outstanding. ’

‘It’s obvious that the ethos to put their client’s needs first comes from the top and is embraced throughout the firm. ’

‘The team are unique due their personal approach and their ability to transfer skills and specialties within their business to ensure that all areas of the required work are covered off.’

‘Tom Alder is always able to provide succinct and effective planning knowledge on development agreements.’

‘A very solid team with a full array of skillsets to deal with any commercial real estate matter and to provide expert advice. ’

‘Matthew Barrow has an immense knowledge which, when combined with his commerciality, makes his advice to our organisation invaluable. ’

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone plc

Capture Housing

Langham Land

Bargate Homes

Care South

Lewis Investments

Lloyds Bank plc

Daish’s Group

C&G Properties

Fragrance Group

CHG Holdings

Troika Developments

Work highlights

  • Advised Appledore Land Limited on the sale of assets to InfraStrata in a deal worth £7m, working under time pressure to ensure the sale completed in time for the reopening and a visit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • Advised Bargate Homes on the purchase of a 17-acre residential site in the New Forest from Richborough Estates, which will deliver 100 new homes and over 5 acres of green space following the site’s allocation in the New Forest District Local Plan.
  • Advised Daish’s Group on the purchase of two hotels (located in Eastbourne and Torquay) during the second COVID-19 lockdown.

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP's professional negligence team predominantly represents claimants in cases against solicitors, accountants, independent financial advisers and property surveyors. The group has particular expertise in relation to tax schemes. The group is led by 'experienced' disputes lawyer Chris Evans and includes the 'bright and very pragmaticMichael Veal and property sector-focused Kate Stewart.

Practice head(s):

Chris Evans

Other key lawyers:

Michael Veal; Kate Stewart; Rachel Gimson; Benjamin Kerley

Testimonials

‘Michael Veal is very bright, very pragmatic, and a delight to deal with.’

‘Good attention to detail, realistic approach, good commercial sense.’

‘Chris Evans is an experienced professional negligence lawyer who is really good with, and trusted by, clients.’

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP offers charitable clients a variety of services spanning a charity's full lifespan. It has a particular specialism working providing registration, governance, and regulatory services, as well as advice on data protection and healthcare-specific charities law issues. Geoff Trobridge leads the Bournemouth-based team, advising on charity registration and regulatory issues, with additional expertise with charity mergers and reconstructions.

Practice head(s):

Geoff Trobridge

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Jones

Testimonials

‘Takes time to explain and then adopt a step-wise approach to providing assistance.’

Key clients

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust

Care South

Subud Britain

Exeter Homes Trust

Talbot Village Trust

International Seismological Centre

Earl of Southampton Almshouses

Help and Care

Camphill Village Trust

The Tank Museum

Work highlights

  • Advised International Seismological Centre on governance and constitutional issues.
  • Advised St Petrock’s and Heavitree Parish Lands Charity on governance issues arising from the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Advised Nuffield Theatre trustees on the implications of the cancellation of all theatre performances and funding withdrawl as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

The disputes wills, trusts and probates team at Lester Aldridge LLP divides its focus between high net-worth will and trust disputes and complex Court of Protection cases. Team head Victoria Jones focuses on the latter, with a particular niche working with vulnerable adults and elder financial abuse cases. She also advises other teams in the firm on matters concerning debt recovery from particular estates.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Jones

Private client > Family Tier 3

The family law team at Lester Aldridge LLP has notable experience in high-value financial remedy cases, frequently representing business clients who are joint shareholders with a spouse. It also has experience in pre and post-nuptial agreements, complex children's law matters, and cohabitation agreements. Split across three offices, including one in London, the team is able to offer both local amenities as well as specialist London services. Rosemary Sharp leads the team from its Bournemouth office, with expertise working with agricultural clients and international clients.

Practice head(s):

Rosemary Sharp

Testimonials

‘Lester Aldridge have an excellent reputation across the south coast that is well deserved. The level of service, in terms of knowledge base, cross-area specialisms (i.e. family cases where there is a business or commercial element), facilities and client contact are all comparable to leading London firms.’

‘The people in this firm are what make it. Each member I have spoken to are friendly polite and informative, they always get back to you, and are reassuring and knowledgeable.’

‘Rosemary Sharp is a long experienced solicitor and very able. She is very good with the clients and works very hard for them. “

‘The firm is very well respected across the South West and nationally. The clients know from start to finish that they will receive top quality advice and excellent tactical decision making. The firm has embraced digital working and briefs and papers are well prepared. ’

‘Rosemary Sharp is a star. Rosemary works tirelessly for her clients and fights incredibly hard. It is always a relief to see her name on the brief because I know that she will be a pleasure to work with and the case will be immaculately prepared. Rosie is very supportive on difficult cases and works well with counsel in a team.’

‘The team work in a collaborative manner and are all extremely approachable and hard working.’

‘I regularly work with Rosemary Sharp. She is incredibly approachable and empathetic with clients. She is very competent.’

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP's team offers 'high-quality advice and client experience' across a range of private client matters, with particular expertise in international matters. In particular, it works administering UK and foreign assets for American, Canadian, and South African clients. It also offers general wealth planning, succession, Court of Protection, and trust services. Kurt Lee, Oliver Phipps and Richard Fairbairn co-head the firm from its office in Bournemouth. Phipps is praised for his 'extensive experience in international matters.'

Practice head(s):

Kurt Lee; Oliver Phipps; Richard Fairbairn

Other key lawyers:

Parisa Jones

Testimonials

‘The team is truly international, with specific expertise on remote jurisdictions such as South Africa. They know and understand that the law is different in other jurisdictions and have the ability to adapt themselves to these peculiar international environments. They also provide unique services such as the medallion signature guarantee for estates involving North American assets. ’

‘I often work with Oliver Phipps, who is the main partner in the international private client department. Oliver has extensive experience in international matters, in particular probate matters, and adapts himself easily to the particulars of each case. He is also a very nice person to work with. ’

‘High-quality advice and client experience. Turns around queries quickly and executes at pace.’

‘Kurt Lee is a perfect professional. He is reliable, knowledgeable and explains complex matters to clients very simply. The ideal fellow professional to put in front of my clients’

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP is instructed by corporate clients, investors and individuals, often from the port and marine, care and telecoms sectors, in a variety of contentious property matters. The team is well versed in adverse possession claims, squatter and residential possession actions as well as party wall cases and residential service charge issues. Practice head Kate Stewart is noted for her ability 'to tackle complex and tricky situations.' Senior associate Rachel Gimson also has experience in rights of light matters.

Practice head(s):

Kate Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Lester Aldridge provides a high level of service. The Partners get involved in the work rather than just acting as coordinators. LA are able to view matters from the perspective of their client’s business and not only the legal perspective and are therefore able to present a range of options to their client.’

‘Kate Stewart has provided an excellent legal service and demonstrated an ability to tackle complex and tricky situations amidst the Covid pandemic and an ability to simplify legal matters and present options to her client in an understandable fashion.’

‘Rachel Gimson has achieved outstanding results in all that she has done for us.’

‘Rachel Gimson is our contact in the litigation team. She is always available to discuss matters and is succinct in her precise replies to our questions’

 

Key clients

Marina Developments Limited

Big. Yellow Plc

Work highlights

  • Providing Marina Developments Limited with ongoing property related litigation advice in the context of managing its extensive residential and commercial property interests.
  • Acted for Big Yellow Limited both in its capacity as a property owner (dealing with issues of trespass and neighbour disputes) and also in its capacity as a landlord (dealing with matters of tenant covenant enforcement etc.).

Real estate > Environment and planning Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP’s planning team is noted for its housing capabilities, acting for a range of developers on residential and residential-led mixed-use developments - most notably in the retirement sector. The team also boasts niche regulatory expertise in port and harbour authority work. Practice head Tom Alder is a seasoned non-contentious practitioner who provides wide-reaching planning advisory services, including Section 106 agreements, ecological mitigation, and community infrastructure levies.  Rebecca Humm handles planning and infrastructure negotiations, and has experience representing clients in appeals and High Court challenges. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

Practice head(s):

Tom Alder

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Their proactive feedback is superb and their use of an intranet site where all our property documents are stored is a great innovation’

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Bargate Homes

C & G Properties

Captiva Homes

CHG Developments Limited

Big Yellow Self Storage

Fragrance Group

South East > Real estate > Commercial property: Hampshire

Lester Aldridge LLP’s Southampton-based practice fields an increasing number of instructions in the lender, residential, and leaseholder spheres - with residential and commercial development work seeing the greatest growth. Regional practice head Tom Alder acts for many large housebuilders and handles a range of real estate work for ports and marinas, medical practices, care homes, and hotels. Lucy Stevens is a planning and development specialist with notable experience in the care home and retirement living sector. Current managing partner (and former head of the real estate group) Matthew Barrow is a regular adviser on distressed property sales and lender security matters, while Claire Long is recommended for her landlord and tenant practice, often supported by associate Sian Rowland. Rebecca Humm is noted for her planning expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mark Benham (head of real estate group); Tom Alder (head of real estate, Southampton);

Testimonials

‘Lester Aldridge are an excellent firm and have always been accommodating and flexible in relation to their clients. In the last 12 months, in the most trying of circumstances, they have been outstanding. ’

‘It’s obvious that the ethos to put their client’s needs first comes from the top and is embraced throughout the firm. ’

‘The team are unique due their personal approach and their ability to transfer skills and specialties within their business to ensure that all areas of the required work are covered off.’

‘Tom Alder is always able to provide succinct and effective planning knowledge on development agreements.’

‘A very solid team with a full array of skillsets to deal with any commercial real estate matter and to provide expert advice. ’

‘Matthew Barrow has an immense knowledge which, when combined with his commerciality, makes his advice to our organisation invaluable. ’

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone plc

Capture Housing

Langham Land

Bargate Homes

Care South

Lewis Investments

Lloyds Bank plc

Daish’s Group

C&G Properties

Fragrance Group

CHG Holdings

Troika Developments

Work highlights

  • Advised Appledore Land Limited on the sale of assets to InfraStrata in a deal worth £7m, working under time pressure to ensure the sale completed in time for the reopening and a visit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • Advised Bargate Homes on the purchase of a 17-acre residential site in the New Forest from Richborough Estates, which will deliver 100 new homes and over 5 acres of green space following the site’s allocation in the New Forest District Local Plan.
  • Advised Daish’s Group on the purchase of two hotels (located in Eastbourne and Torquay) during the second COVID-19 lockdown.

South East > Real estate > Environment and planning

Lester Aldridge LLP’s planning team is noted for its housing capabilities, acting for a range of developers on residential and residential-led mixed-use developments - most notably in the retirement sector. The team also boasts niche regulatory expertise in port and harbour authority work. Practice head Tom Alder is a seasoned non-contentious practitioner who provides wide-reaching planning advisory services, including Section 106 agreements, ecological mitigation, and community infrastructure levies.  Rebecca Humm handles planning and infrastructure negotiations, and has experience representing clients in appeals and High Court challenges. All named lawyers are based in Southampton.

Practice head(s):

Tom Alder

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Their proactive feedback is superb and their use of an intranet site where all our property documents are stored is a great innovation’

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Bargate Homes

C & G Properties

Captiva Homes

CHG Developments Limited

Big Yellow Self Storage

Fragrance Group

Lester Aldridge is a full-service law firm with offices in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. The firm’s core practice areas are real estate, litigation and recoveries, dispute resolution, corporate and commercial services and private client, which it delivers regionally, nationally and internationally.

The firm: Lester Aldridge offers something to clients that other, larger firms do not: a genuine partnership. Client satisfaction is reflected in the growth it has experienced, seeing revenues increase steadily. Big-name clients include Ceuta Holdings, Lloyds Bank, Marina Developments, Moore Stephens and Monzo Bank.

Lester Aldridge is a growing firm whose breadth of service continues to broaden. Formed following the merger of two large Bournemouth firms in 1988 (with origins tracing back to 1796); in 2007, it changed status from a traditional partnership to that of a limited liability partnership and is a “go to” firm, which has proved to be attractive to partners from other firms.

Lester Aldridge has been accredited with the Law Society’s Lexcel Quality Standard since 2007.

Types of work undertaken include
Real estate: the firm’s extensive property team span sectors including commercial development, care, residential and lending, investment and retail, with expertise to handle a wide range of property issues, from development projects, management and investment, buying and selling properties, landlord and tenant issues, to planning, environment and construction. It also has expertise in the niche areas of ports and marinas, waterside developments and assisted living.

Dispute resolution: Lester Aldridge’s experienced team covers a broad range of general commercial litigation, as well as working for clients in specific industries, handling everything from emergency injunctions to mediation and high court litigation in areas as diverse as debt collection and multi-million cross-jurisdictional claims.

Corporate and commercial: The team handles an array of corporate work for a diverse client base. Particularly noted for its M&A work, the team regularly advises clients on other company and commercial issues, including joint ventures, IT and IP licensing, competition law and restructurings. The team also acts for international, national and regional clients in many sectors, including charities and the third sector.

Litigation and recoveries: Lester Aldridge’s team has a proven track record in providing effective advice to banks, building society, finance houses, leasing companies and insolvency practitioners. It specialises in the recovery of secured and unsecured commercial and personal finance, as well as asset recovery.

Marine: LA Marine is the specialist shipping and marine law team of Lester Aldridge, providing expert advice and practical solutions to the commercial shipping, logistics, superyacht and leisure marine industries. LA Marine deals with all aspects of maritime law, from non-contentious matters to collisions, charterparty issues, bill of lading disputes, demurrage claims and personal injury.

Healthcare: One of the leading areas of expertise at Lester Aldridge and one for which the firm has a national reputation. For over 20 years, members of the specialist healthcare team have been specialising in the regulation of health and social care services, regularly acting for independent social care providers, independent hospitals, NHS Trusts and GPs. The team also acts for children’s homes, schools and fostering agencies.

Employment: As one of the leading employment teams in the south, the team provides specialist advice on all areas of employment law, acting for international, national and major regional employers in all sectors. The team supports HR and senior management in dealing with a multitude of employment issues, from drafting service agreements, employment contracts, employment policies and handbooks, to advising on tribunal claims, redundancy programmes and TUPE-related matters.

Private client: The firm offers a full range of services for individuals, with specialists in wills and estates, tax planning and trusts, contentious probate, community care, residential conveyancing, family, employment, personal injury and medical negligence. The international private client team supports both professionals and private individuals across a range of global estate planning and administration matters, including a specialist medallion signature guarantee service.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Managing Partner Matthew Barrow
Chair Suki Samra
Real Estate Group Mark Benham
Litigation & Recoveries Ann Lloyd
Corporate & Commercial Grant Esterhuizen
Dispute Resolution and Property litigation Kate Stewart
Employment Kevin Barnett
Family Rosemary Sharp
Healthcare & Community Care Laura Guntrip
LA Marine Russell Kelly
Personal Injury & Medical Negligence David Healy
Private Client Kurt Lee
Regulation & Business Crime Michael Veal
Restructuring & Insolvency Nick Keitley, Melia Hirst
Shipping & Logistics Linda Jacques
Property & Conveyancing John Townsend
Charities & Social Enterprise Lisa Watson-Cook
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Stephanie Adams  photo Stephanie Adams Stephanie Adams is a Partner in the Property & Conveyancing and Real…
Edward Adamson  photo Edward Adamson Edward advises businesses in a range of sectors on transactional matters such…
Kevin Barnett  photo Kevin Barnett Kevin Barnett is a Partner in the Employment & HR team. Kevin…
Mark Benham  photo Mark Benham Mark Benham is a Partner in the Real Estate team. Mark is…
Joanne Clarke  photo Joanne Clarke Joanne Clarke is a Partner in the Family team. Joanne advises a…
Susan Cowan  photo Susan Cowan Susan Cowan is a Partner in the Corporate & Commercial team. Susan…
Martin Coward  photo Martin Coward Martin Coward is a Partner in the Real Estate team. Martin’s practice…
Dean Drew  photo Dean Drew Dean is a corporate partner with over 20 years’ experience at national…
Grant Esterhuizen  photo Grant Esterhuizen Grant is a partner at Lester Aldridge who heads up the firm’s…
Chris Evans  photo Chris Evans Chris Evans is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution team. Chris is…
Rachel Gimson  photo Rachel Gimson Rachel Gimson is a Partner in the Property Litigation team.  Rachel has…
Laura Guntrip  photo Laura Guntrip Laura Guntrip is a Partner and Head of the Healthcare team. Laura…
Victoria Jones  photo Victoria Jones Victoria is a Partner in our Disputed Wills, Trusts & Probate and…
Parisa Jones  photo Parisa Jones Parisa Jones is a Partner in the Tax, Trusts, Wills & Probate…
Kurt Lee  photo Kurt Lee Kurt Lee is a Partner and Head of the Tax, Trusts, Wills…
Ann Lloyd  photo Ann Lloyd Ann Lloyd is a Partner and Head of the Litigation and Recoveries…
Danielle Montezuma  photo Danielle Montezuma Danielle Montezuma is a Partner in our Litigation & Recoveries team. She…
Oliver Phipps  photo Oliver Phipps Oliver Phipps is a Partner & Head of the International Private Client…
Catherine Rawles  photo Catherine Rawles Catherine is a Partner at Lester Aldridge specialising in residential development, acting…
Suki Samra  photo Suki Samra Suki Samra is a Partner in the Real Estate team. Suki acts…
Rosemary Sharp  photo Rosemary Sharp Rosemary Sharp is a Partner and Head of the Family team. Rosemary…
Kate Stewart  photo Kate Stewart Kate is a Partner and heads the property litigation team. She advises…
Michael Veal  photo Michael Veal Michael Veal is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution & Commercial Litigation…
Number of UK partners : 42
Solicitors & associates : 60
Other fee earners : 107
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Law Society of England and Wales
MSI Global Alliance

CLIENT: Alexander Kinninmonth
COMPANY/FIRM: RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP
TESTIMONIAL: “For many years now we have worked alongside Nick [Keitley] and Melia [Hirst] on a range of formal and informal restructuring assignments which have varied from quite technical and bespoke matters to working together on large complex restructurings of national businesses. Both Nick and Melia are very well respected and held in high esteem amongst their peers. We place great value and trust in their technically strong and commercially astute advice.’


COMPANY/FIRM: Legal Director at a global freight forwarder
TESTIMONIAL: “I have worked with Linda Jacques, partner at Lester Aldridge, on a few disputes involving liens among other questions, and she has proved to be extremely responsive and creative. She advises with a breadth of experience in the marine, shipping and logistics sectors and she gives pragmatic and business-oriented options to complex situations. It is a real pleasure working with her.”


CLIENT: Raoul Perfitt, Managing Director
COMPANY/FIRM: Herb UK Limited
TESTIMONIAL: “We have used Grant Esterhuizen and his team of corporate lawyers at Lester Aldridge for over a decade now. They have supported us through thick and thin. Since our original management buy-out, Grant and his team have advised us successfully on a range of commercial and corporate transactional matters, from commercial contracts and mergers and acquisitions to internal company law advice involving shareholder related matters and changes to our articles of association and general corporate governance issues. We have found them to be accessible, quick to respond, commercial in their approach and razor sharp in their ability to cut to the main issues and help in resolving our legal requirements swiftly and professionally. As a UK based international distribution company, our requirements for legal advice are varied and often span cross-border jurisdictional issues – we have found that Grant and his team are able to cover all of these bases. In many respects we see Lester Aldridge as a business partner rather than as our advisers. Grant in particular is a determined lawyer who is focussed on getting the best results for his client.”


CLIENT: Peter Burrows, VP of International Business Development and M&A Integration
COMPANY/FIRM: Ceuta Group
TESTIMONIAL: “Lester Aldridge have represented Ceuta Group across all legal matters for over 20 years. On the occasions we have had to call on the advice and expertise of the Lester Aldridge Dispute Resolution Team we have been hugely impressed with their depth of knowledge across a wide range of issues and their ability to secure excellent outcomes for our business.”


CLIENT: Individual client
TESTIMONIAL: “I cannot rate Chris Evans and the professional negligence team at Lester Aldridge highly enough.
Throughout, my case was handled with the upmost professionalism and Chris Evans and his team guided me through the complexities of professional negligence law at every stage. But more than that they provided me with reassurance and compassion at what was an incredibly difficult and emotional time for me personally. I would strongly recommend the professional negligence team at Lester Aldridge, incredible service!”


CLIENT: Gary Day of McCarthy & Stone
TESTIMONIAL: “I would not hesitate to recommend the real estate team at Lester Aldridge. Having advised McCarthy & Stone on several hundred development sites around the UK, I believe their track record is second to none. Mark Benham and his colleagues have long been trusted advisors of the company, providing commercially sound and prompt advice to our offices around the country. Their knowledge of the business, and the later living sector, is crucial. They have taken the time to find out and understand fully the drivers and needs of the business, and the key issues affecting retirement housing and housing with care, which has been invaluable. And one of the striking qualities of Mark and his colleagues, is the proactive nature of the support that they provide – they constantly suggest new and improved processes and actions, to further benefit the company and its business interests.”


CLIENT: Individual client
TESTIMONIAL: “John Townsend was, during our protracted recent transaction, consistently competent, thorough, utterly reliable and patiently good-humoured faced with an extraordinary combination of hurdles: a first buyer pulling out; a transaction that involved so many different parties regarding the sale of the loft space “above” my flat, freeholders who were resident abroad, and consistently resistant to negotiation: COVID-19, and all in a chain of five properties. Single handily he kept the system going, with good grace, tact and quiet professional tenacity. He contained, with unusual calm, an anxiety and uncertainty that would have defeated anyone else I have met. It was an exemplary professionalism that I have never before encountered. After a year, and after so many additional days and nights, from work and then from home during Covid-19, he managed to keep everyone to the original costs.”


CLIENT:
COMPANY/FIRM: Shawbrook Bank Limited t/a Shawbrook Asset Finance
TESTIMONIAL: “Lester Aldridge have supported our Asset Finance business for many years. A very professional team that is always prepared to assist and offer clear advice. The team has a wealth of knowledge and expertise which enables them to deliver high-quality advice which is both practical and commercially viable. The advice and action taken, frequently results in a positive, swift outcome.”


CLIENT:
COMPANY/FIRM: Head of Planning at a local developers.
TESTIMONIAL: “We have used Lester Aldridge’s Planning and Real Estate team over the last five years. The work they do for us involves advising on planning application and appeal strategies, representing us at Public Inquiries, drafting and negotiating Planning S106 Legal Agreements and also securing land opportunities via Option Agreements all the way through to Site Purchases. The team at Lester Aldridge is very professional and understands our business needs. They are able to provide pragmatic and sound advice in a timely way, including dealing with matters effectively in very tight timescales. They have very good relationships with Local Authority solicitors, which has been of great help to us when negotiating legal agreements which accompany our planning consents.”


CLIENT:
COMPANY/FIRM: OSHCS Register Consultant/ OSHCS Ltd
TESTIMONIAL: “I have worked with Michael Veal and others from the Lester Aldridge Health and Safety team over a number of years. I found them professional and helpful with a pragmatic approach to dealing with a range of health and safety issues. In my opinion, they have a comprehensive understanding of health and safety legislation. Unlike some other legal firms I have dealt with, they have an ability to rapidly understand some of the technical aspects that could often be involved in considering the application of the law to a particular situation.”


At Lester Aldridge, we believe in equality and diversity for everyone – employees, clients and the firm. As part of our overall commitment to equality of opportunity, we are fully dedicated to promoting a good harmonious working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Our Equality and Diversity Committee is chaired by the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and consists of a group of Partners and Associates, together with the Head of Human Resources. The Committee meets regularly to consider equality and diversity issues throughout the firm, monitoring and reporting of diversity data, policy reviews and compliance with relevant legislation as well as identifying areas for improvement. The Committee reports regularly to the Managing Partner and the Group Leaders.

We have a diversity policy which we are committed to making effective and will take all appropriate steps to ensure everyone is treated fairly. We also encourage all staff to complete an optional annual diversity questionnaire.

In 2010, we became a signatory of The Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter. Like The Law Society, we believe this commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential to reflect the society we serve today. It makes business sense because it helps us to attract and retain the best talent, it enables us to understand and meet clients’ needs more effectively and so provide a better quality service.

Accordingly, we will:

  • Strive to achieve best practice in our recruitment, retention and career progression practices as employers.
  • Support the development of good diversity practice by collecting and sharing examples of practical activities that contribute to progress with other signatories.
  • Assign responsibility for meeting our Charter commitments to a named, senior level individual.
  • Work together to develop and adopt future protocols that support the practical implementation of the aims of this Charter.
  • Annually publish the diversity profile of our UK employees and details of our work on equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Publish a joint annual report on the basis of a monitoring exercise to measure the impact of this Diversity and Inclusion Charter and its protocols. These reports will form the basis of regular dialogue with stakeholders, employees and clients.

The Lex 100 Verdict

South coast favourite Lester Aldridge is known for the ‘non-hierarchical’ and ‘friendly’ atmosphere as well as a range of specialist sectors, including maritime and aviation. The firm is highly praised for its training: ‘I wanted to train at a firm that had a robust and long-standing training programme, which Lester Aldridge does. There is both a high standard of clients and lawyers to train with’. The firm’s smaller size allows trainees a ‘hands-on’ experience plus ‘the amount of client contact and level of work seems higher than at other firms. We also have a better work/life balance and are not expected to put in time additional to our contracted hours’. Trainees feel that ‘it is clear that the firm values its staff and is always looking to develop their skills’. Highlights include ‘drafting evidence on high-value cases within the first week of starting my training contract’ and ‘being asked to manage a team of paralegals and trusted with a client relationship’. Negatives include the pay and some slow internal communications, but overall there is much more positive feedback. The pandemic has impacted seat rotations and working from home has limited inter-firm social life, but these concerns should ease. Lester Aldridge is known for ‘valuing its staff’, its robust training, and attractive client list in a range of sectors. If you fancy life on the South coast, have a look.