Firm Profile > Michelmores LLP > London , England

Michelmores LLP

Insurance litigation: for policyholders Tier 2

Michelmores LLP's 'thorough and tenacious' team has significant experience in the insurance and reinsurance sector, handling work spanning professional indemnity, political risk, D&O, product liability and public liability matters. The group's client base includes policyholders in the real estate, public, utilities, financial services and manufacturing sectors, among others. Practice head Garbhan Shanks regularly acts for companies in the financial, energy, pharma and utilities sectors, while 'astute' senior associate Harriet Chopra focuses on product liability, professional indemnity and D&O insurance.


The team at Michelmores is very thorough, tenacious, and very knowledgeable. Lawyers have your best interest at heart and you trust their judgement

Expert firm for insurance litigation matters. In depth understanding of insurers perspective. Attention to detail

Garbhan Shanks and associate Naomi Hall are very capable in this field

‘Senior associate Harriet Chopra is very astute

Key clients

Wyelands Capital

GFG Alliance

Aviva Canada Inc

Houlder Limited

Plurimi Wealth LLP / Plurimi Investment Managers

Walters Power International

Kot Addu Power Company Limited

G L Hearn

United Bank Limited

Education: schools Tier 3

Michelmores LLP is adept at handling a variety of education matters and is known for its advice to state-funded schools, colleges and local authorities. The team led by Antony Power handles complex and often high-value matters relating to re-brokerage and establishing new institutions. Charlotte Antoniou is particularly experienced in advising on governance structures, while Russell Holland, who splits his time between Bristol and London, is recommended for his employment law expertise.


Michelmores offer a personalised and prompt service and all of their lawyers are extremely knowledgeable about their field of expertise. The speed of action is the best facet of this firm.’

‘Michelmores is a firm which takes time to listen to client needs, prefers face-to-face meeting and is responsive to requests. The advice is clear and well communicated.’

The education team at Michelmores always go above and beyond and have a rapid response time. They instill so much confidence and one feels well supported. They really do know their stuff.’

‘Antony Power, Russell Holland, Charlotte Antoniou and Tom Briant are the standout colleagues.’

‘Michelmores always have the client at the heart of their service.’

‘The administrative efficiency of all the team is fantastic.’

Key clients

Aspirations Academies Trust

Astrum Multi Academy Trust

Bright Tribe

One Day Trust

Wandle Learning Trust

Bellevue Place Education Trust

The Sigma Trust

South Devon College

Exeter Diocese

Link Academy Trust

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 3

With strong standings in both Exeter and London, Michelmores LLP primarily handles lower mid-market work for regional, national and international clients. A large proportion of work is done for AIM-listed PLCs, advising companies, nominated advisers and brokers on stock exchange transactions, including IPOs. Also noted is the firm's activity in emerging markets, where it acts for African companies in the mining and minerals sector. Richard Cobb heads the corporate team, while Ian Binnie is head of the capital markets practice; the duo advise clients in equal measure across the firm's sectors.


Highly reactive, providing sound corporate advice

Ian Binnie is an experienced and clear-thinking adviser

Key clients

LEBC Holdings Limited

TESM Limited

African Battery Metals Plc


Knadel Limited



Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime

Trend Investments

Arbaro Fund

Boultbee Estates Limited

Safeboda Holdings



Global Medical Investments AB

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 4

Through its offices in London and the South West head office Michelmores LLP advises clients based in England and Wales and internationally. It is regularly instructed by both national and regional charities including local hospices, educational and church charities. Recent work highlights have included advising on a variety of will validity claims, administration disputes as well as other proprietary estoppel claims. It has also advised on various trust disputes which were complicated by an offshore or an international component. Tony Cockayne heads the department.


‘The profile of this team is on the rise: it is involved in some of the largest, most complex proceedings. Its USP is that it combines the experience of the big London firms but with the fresh perspective of a firm outside London.’

‘It is a team with greater visibility and presence than its South West location would suggest. Tony Cockayne has a good balance between hard nosed litigation and a collaborative approach.’

‘Tony Cockayne works incredibly hard to secure the best possible result for his clients – be that through litigation or negotiation – he is diligent, thorough in his legal analysis, as well as practical and commercial in his thinking.’

‘Highly regarded firm that competes with the big names in the capital for this work. Able to offer experienced partner involvement at competitive rates.’

‘Jennifer Ridgway is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, highly able and great to work with.’

‘Tony Cockayne is a real star- he works really hard to get the best for his client and is tough behind his cheerful demeanour. He has fantastic support from his team including Jasmine Davies, who is intelligent and calm under pressure.’

‘Tony Cockayne and Jasmine Davis are approachable, very competent, and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Tony Cockayne is outstanding, a pleasure to deal with and very good with clients. Jasmine Davis is also very able and has a bright future ahead of her.’

‘Jasmine Davis and Tony Cockayne are able distil complicated legal issues easily and provide practical and sensible advice. They are extremely responsive.’

Emerging markets Tier 4

Michelmores LLP continued to expand the scope of its mid-market work in emerging markets in 2018. Clients praise 'a small  but proactive team that is very active in the DFI and impact investment space' and note that it is 'well known for its work involving Africa and has a commercial and solution-driven approach to legal issues'. The practice led by Joe Whitfield, who specialises in deals in sub-Saharan Africa, advises financial institutions, private equity funds, impact investors, project sponsors, developers, and leading foundations on equity and debt investments, exits and portfolio management in sectors such as agribusiness, financial services, FMCG, forestry, real estate and renewable energy. Whitfield, senior associate Harry Trick and other key practitioners have recently handled matters involving, inter alia, India, Mozambique, Pakistan, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Leading individuals

Rising stars


“Joe Whitfield is a fountain of knowledge on equity investments in frontier markets. Harry Trick is very ‘hands-on’ and interested in the commercial side of the transaction.”

“The team is proactive and has a ‘hands-on’ approach to client matters. I am very confident recommending Michelmores to clients in my jurisdiction seeking quality advice from an English firm at an accessible price.”

“Joe Whitfield, Henry Taylor and Harry Trick are not only very proactive and responsive, but also very open and approachable, which has contributed to a great long-standing working relationship. It has been a pleasure working alongside them.”

“They bring a deep knowledge of the local market context, the impact investment sector and transactions involving financial institutions. They are able to provide sound advice in relation to the implications of legal terms – looking ahead to future possible scenarios – and guiding on best practice.”

“The team is very good at building relationships with local legal counsel, and guiding and getting the most out of them. They take a straightforward and transparent approach to negotiations, maintaining good relations with opposing counsel, and ensuring positive outcomes for transactions.”

“Calm, diligent and insightful. They are excellent at communicating and building relationships with clients. They are sensitive to client needs, their advice is measured and pertinent, and they know when to push back if they feel the wrong course is being taken.”

“Michelmores provides a simple and proportionate approach to completing transactions in emerging markets. They have deep industry and market knowledge, which means that they can provide relevant and appropriate advice. Long and complex documents are relatively easy to draft. What’s harder is a short robust document, which can be easily understood by all parties. This is exactly what Michelmores has mastered, with great skill and at a competitive price.”

“Joe Whitfield and Harry Trick have both been standout lawyers to work with. Both are incredibly practical and bring a very pragmatic approach to finding a sensible and proportionate solution to negotiating deals. They actually give advice, rather than simply acting on the instructions of the client. This creates real value, rather than just being a papering job.”

“Michelmores has been excellent at advising on the structuring and legal documents to inform good governance of complex vehicles seeking unusual development outcomes with multiple complex parties. They have done this in a flexible, responsive and client focused manner.”

“Joe Whitfield has been truly outstanding in terms of technical knowledge, guiding us through complex issues, and working in a responsive and flexible manner to meet our needs.”

Key clients

African Battery Metals PLC


AHL Growth Fund LP

Arbaro Fund

Bamboo Finance


Cantor Fitzgerald Europe (AIM Adviser/Broker)

DOB Equity

DSM Venturing




Global Innovation Fund

Global Medical Investments AB




SafeBoda Holdings

Soros Economic Development Fund

The Lundin Foundation

Thirdway Africa Capital

Triodos Investment Bank

Equity capital markets – small-mid cap Tier 4

The team at Michelmores LLP maintains a steady stream of work through its strong broker relationships and its dedication to the technology and natural resources sectors. Acting on the company side, one of the group's greatest strengths is its experience handling the transitional phase for smaller companies looking to list for the first time. The practice group has reported a very active year precisely because of its focus on smaller deals. As a reflection of its increased activity, the team promoted three new senior associates and hired an additional junior lawyer. Ian Binnie heads the capital markets group.

Key clients

Maistro plc

African Battery Metals plc

Orchard Funding Group plc

Sutton Harbour Holdings plc

China New Energy Ltd

Limitless Earth plc

Modern Water plc

Plant Health Care plc

Cantor Fitzgerald Europe

Strand Hanson Limited

Arden Partners plc

Allenby Capital Limited

S.P. Angel Corporate Finance LLP

VSA Capital Limited

Spark Advisory Limited

Whitman Howard Limited

Optiva Securities Limited

Turner Pope Investments (TPI) Limited

Tamesis Partners LLP

IT and telecoms Tier 4

The 'commercially focused' technology and innovation team at Michelmores LLP is highlighted for its 'availability, knowledge of the industry and tenacity' and its 'ability to translate legalese into plain English'. The team, which is spread across the firm's London and Exeter offices, is regularly instructed by a combination of private and public sector clients on commercial IT projects and related disputes. The 'highly commercial, sensible and pragmatic' Tom Torkar heads up the practice, which includes commercial disputes partners Sara Chisholm-Batten and Charles Courtenay, who recently joined the London team from Latham & Watkins.


Michelmores’ technology team delivers silver circle quality work for regional prices.

The team has a good understanding of the commercial value, not just the legal aspects of the matter involved, and is prepared to be flexible in order to get the deal agreed.

Tom Torkar is simply superb.

‘Tom Torkar is superb; his attention to detail and doggedness is first class’.

‘The team is led by the incredibly capable Tom Torkar.  Tom delivers Magic Circle service and quality of advice, at regional prices’.

‘Tom Torkar is a pragmatic, sensible, astute, diligent and extremely capable lawyer.  He breaks down problems into manageable issues and provides pragmatic, commercial solutions to the business’.

Key clients

Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (Metropolitan Police Service)

Limitless Technology Limited

Landmark Information Group Limited

Triodos Bank NV

Institute of Directors

Mizrahi Bank

Deko (Pay4Later)

Jessops Europe Limited



Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 4

Michelmores LLP advises on all aspects of wealth structuring for wealthy individuals and their families, whether they are based in the UK or internationally. The tax, trust and succession team in London is augmented by lawyers who are based in Exeter and Bristol. The team has a qualified accountant and a chartered tax advisor so it is well-placed to advise on disputes with an international/offshore dimension that involve complex trust and corporate structures, as well as on complicated probate matters. Jonathan Riley heads the team.


Jonathan Riley is very competent and experienced.

Michelmores delivers a quality service at a fraction of the price. Jonathan Riley is responsive, commercial pragmatic, bright and easy to work with.

To have this combination of experience and price efficiency is rare and extremely attractive to private families. Jonathan Riley is very charismatic and engaging and has forged a very good name.

Sandra Brown brings a wealth of experience and is able to translate this to ensure it is accessible to clients.

‘James Radcliffe is very pleasant to deal with and very competent.

James Radcliffe is very approachable and calm and clients of mine have appreciated his clear and concise advice.

‘I have been enormously impressed with Jennifer Ridgway’s diligence, speed of response, charm and technical know how across the whole range of private client issues.

Provides London-quality service and advice at regional prices.


Reputation management Tier 5

Michelmores LLP's reputation management practice stands out for its expertise advising charities. The firm is involved in a lot of contentious work as one of its major clients, PETA Foundation UK Ltd., often stand their ground and take legal proceedings all the way. Senior associate Jayne Clemens heads the team, which receives an increasing number of instructions related to social media, fake news and user-generated content. Peter Sigler covers all matters related to litigation, while associate Charlotte Bolton advises on issues with an IP aspect.


‘The media team is small but very responsive to urgent problems for their clients.’

‘Jayne Clemens is very good in the media field, as is international head Peter Sigler.’

Key clients

PETA Foundation UK Ltd.

Gemalto UK Limited

Fintellect Publishing Limited

Commercial contracts Tier 6

Michelmores LLP specialises in advising on consumer protection law issues, including distance selling, e-commerce considerations and financial services regulation, as well as acting for data-driven businesses. Tom Torkar leads the practice and is experienced in advising national and multinational clients in the aviation, IT, media, big data, e-commerce and financial services sectors. Notable in his team are Ian Holyoak, who has expertise in major commercial contracts and related areas of competition, state aid and procurement, and David Thompson, who is known for acting in the food and drink and manufacturing sectors. The team was further strengthened by the arrival of former barrister Charles Courtney, who focuses on IP/IT matters and bridges the gap between the commercial and disputes practices; he joined from Latham & Watkins in 2019.


‘A solid team with great strength and depth to support on all matters’

‘Cost effective and responsive with good sound pragmatic advice appreciating and recognising the needs and pressures of the client’

‘Tom Torkar is a fantastic all-round commercial lawyer. Fast-working and uncompromising, with the tenacity to secure the best interests of the client whilst not losing sight of the commercial drivers’

Key clients

Saba Park Services UK Limited / Saba Park Solutions UK Limited (formerly Indigo Park)

Haynes Publishing Group plc

Landmark Information Group Limited / SearchFlow Limited

Limitless Technology Limited

Ashton Bentley Collaboration Spaces Ltd

Regional & City Airports Limited (part of Rigby Group plc)

Downing  LLP


Camp Kerala Group

Gro Group Limited

Frobishers Juices Ltd

Commercial litigation Tier 6

Michelmores LLP is 'very responsive to questions, requests for meetings and reacting to developments generally. The practice obviously has other matters, but clients feel as if their case is the priority'. It is best known for financial services litigation, insurance coverage disputes, insolvency litigation, and  financial crime and fraud. Jonathan Kitchin in Exeter is department head, Peter Sigler became private client head in 2019 and Garbhan Shanks is head of both international arbitration and insurance and reinsurance.


The lawyers think ahead and consider proactive ways to avoid problems arising or how best to manage anticipated issues that lie ahead‘.

Jonathan Kitchin has a very sound legal mind and is very approachable‘.

Peter Sigler is exemplary – thoughtful, responsive and has expert knowledge of the law. He is also an excellent case strategist and effective leader of clients’ issues‘.

Garbhan Shanks is hands on and always directly involved.He is obviously experienced and gives calm, measured advice, even when the pressure is on‘.

Key clients

Wyelands Capital

GFG Alliance

RGL Management

York Global Finance

Richard Pease & CRUX Asset Management

United Bank

AlixPartners Services UK

Professional negligence Tier 6

Based across its London, Exeter and Bristol offices, the team at Michelmores LLP is 'specialised, which means it has in-depth knowledge both of the law and of the defendant insurers and their solicitors; this allows the team to offer an informed tactical approach to disputes'. The team handles claimant and defendant work across disputes involving financial service providers, architects, chartered surveyors, solicitors, accountants, valuers and receivers. The team is noted for its specialist knowledge of agricultural-related professional negligence cases.


Jayne Clemens is highly experienced and has excellent client management skills; she is effective at communicating the strengths and weaknesses of the position to the client, and helps the client identify and focus on their real objectives.

The team is incredibly professional and diligent in their work, at both strategic and operational levels.

Fiona Pearson and Tim Richards stand out for their calmness, tenacity and negotiating skills.

Fiona Pearson is a highly experienced and pragmatic lawyer; she is hardworking, great to deal with and always has the interests of her clients at heart.

Fiona Pearson is experienced, knowledgeable, and is prepared to go the extra mile for her clients.

Jane Swannell is very measured in her dealings and is quick to grasp the technical law, issues and facts.

Key clients

Cancer Research UK

Corporate restructuring & insolvency Tier 8

Praised for its 'ability to provide a very high-quality service at a reasonable price', Michelmores LLP excels in advising boards of directors of companies experiencing financial difficulty, where it is noted for its 'strategic thinking' and ability to provide 'commercial and hands-on advice in complex situations'. The 'experienced, practical and approachable'  Charles Maunder heads the three-partner team that also includes the 'pragmatic and strategicDouglas Hawthorn, who excels in handling private equity sponsor-led restructurings.


The team provides high quality, commercial and hands-on advice in complex situations.

Charles Maunder is superb.

Douglas Hawthorn has extensive insolvency experience and knowledge.

Key clients

Board of Directors of Mothercare UK Limited, Childrens World Limited and Early Learning Centre Limited

Board of Directors of JD Classics Limited

Board of Directors of Wolf Minerals (UK) Limited

Board of Directors of Toys ‘R’ Properties (UK) Limited

York Global Finance


Octopus/Ticketus LLP

Founders of Bullitt Limited

The Board of Directors of Flybe plc

FRP Advisory Limited

Michelmores is a top 100 law firm offering legal advice and commercial counsel to businesses and individuals, both nationally and internationally. The firm’s international reach is growing – nearly a fifth of its revenue is sourced from outside the UK

The firm: Michelmores continues to attract and retain talented and entrepreneurial lawyers, who enjoy a collegiate approach to work and the opportunity to be given the space to think freely and deliver innovative and practical solutions to clients. Lawyers in the firm’s South West offices enjoy working for national and international clients based in London or further afield.

Michelmores offers a range of core services across a range of sectors: commercial (including technology and intellectual property), corporate, dispute resolution (including litigation and international arbitration), employment, family law, projects/PFI, real estate, regulatory, restructuring and insolvency, and tax and trusts.

Types of work undertaken: Cross-office teams focus on servicing clients in a number of strategic sectors.

Finance and investment: the firm has experience from across the finance and investment sector in banking and finance, re/insurance, investment funds, wealth management financial regulation (including financial crime) and enforcement. The team has expanded its deal base to include a number of international and national clients including Astana International Financial Centre Authority, Finnfund, Succession Group, Traderiver Finance Limited and Triodos Bank.

Real estate: the real estate group acts for national house builders and developers, investors, public bodies and national institutions. There is a close link between the non-contentious and contentious lawyers in the group, providing clients with a one-stop shop. Clients are guided through acquisition and planning to construction and disposal, and benefit from advice on international tax and funds. Clients include Barratt/David Wilson Homes, Greenland Group, Lendlease, MOPAC and Stanhope plc.

Private wealth: the private wealth group provides partner-led advice to wealthy individuals and their families, owner-managed businesses, landed estates and the wealth management firms and institutions that preserve and protect their assets. The group acts for an increasing number of clients from overseas or with offshore interests, particularly in the area of international tax and trusts.

International: the firm is a member of the International Bar Association and has a growing reputation for its corporate and investment work in emerging and frontier markets. It is increasingly winning international work from the Far East, for example, the firm is acting for Chinese developer Greenland Group on the Spire London development in Canary Wharf – Spire London will be the tallest residential tower in Western Europe.

The firm also services a number of high-profile clients from the agriculture, education, manufacturing, renewable energy and retail sectors.

Recruitment: recent lateral hires have included Ian Binnie (corporate, London), Ash Das (corporate, Bristol), Stephen McColgan (real estate, Bristol) and Chris Hoar (construction, Exeter). There have been a number of internal promotions this year: two new partners, two new senior associates and one new director.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Malcolm Dickinson
Senior partner Andrew Oldland
Finance director Graham Johnson
Agriculture Vivienne Williams
Bristol office Vivienne Williams
Charities Tony Cockayne
Commercial property Emma Honey
Commercial property Paul Paling
Company/commercial Richard Cobb
Company/commercial Ian Holyoak
Construction Chris Hoar
Corporate recovery Charles Maunder
Dispute resolution Tim Richards
Employment Andrew Tobey
EU/competition Ian Holyoak
EU/competition Michael Papadakis
Family Simon Thomas
Financial services and markets Andrew Oldland QC
Insurance Garbhan Shanks
Intellectual property David Thompson
Investment funds Joe Whitfield
Litigation Tim Richards
London office Paul Paling
Planning Mark Howard
Private client Jonathan Riley
Private equity Stephen Morse
Projects/PFI Carol McCormack OBE
Property litigation Andrew Baines
Public sector Andrew Tobey
Regulatory Andrew Oldland QC
Technology, media and communications Tom Torkar
Photo Name Position Profile
 Ian Binnie  photo Ian Binnie
 Roger Fink  photo Roger Fink
 Melanie Hughes  photo Melanie Hughes
 Charles Maunder  photo Charles Maunder
 Paul Paling  photo Paul Paling
 Jonathan Riley  photo Jonathan Riley
 Simon Rose  photo Simon Rose
 Garbhan Shanks  photo Garbhan Shanks
 Peter Sigler  photo Peter Sigler
 Joe Whitfield  photo Joe Whitfield
 Chris Willison  photo Chris Willison
 Alexander Wood  photo Alexander Wood
Number of UK partners : 66
Number of other UK fee-earners : 155

The Lex 100 Verdict

'Highly-ambitious' Michelmores accepts a 'small trainee intake' and offers 'London-quality work in the south west of England'. Complimented for 'demonstrating impressive organic growth', Michelmores is attractive to applicants 'because of its well-known reputation as being a friendly place to work' that originated from 'humble family roots'. Certainly, the people and culture are highly praised by all respondents, particularly 'the approachable nature of supervisors and associates'. 'The variety of seat choice' also impressed newbies, giving recruits a 'wide range of work and responsibility' and 'client contact and exposure to high-quality work' at such an early stage. Trainees also enjoyed 'developing relationships with the team' and receiving 'quick and helpful feedback' from colleagues. The work/life balance at Michelmores is impressive, with trainees working 'reasonable hours' whilst maintaining 'the same profile of work and clients' as larger firms. Consequently, Michelmores has earned five Lex 100 Winner medals this year for job satisfaction, living up to expectations, quality of work, confidence in being kept on and inclusivity. This is echoed by responses from trainees that 'good work doesn't go unrecognised' and they feel 'more included in the firm as a whole'. However, the Exeter office location was often criticised because 'there isn't much to do' nearby. Applicants also feel that 'there could be more social events at the firm'. Working closely with high-profile clients, running the annual Christmas Bazaar for the charity of the year and representing grateful clients were work highlights. If 'a very friendly and personable firm' sounds attractive to you, consider applying to Michelmores.