Firm Profile > Bates Wells > London , London

Bates Wells

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Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Bates Wells has a large and dedicated charities practice that handles the full array of matters. The first-class team has recently been advising on various safeguarding matters as well as on some of the most complex and high-profile matters for household name organisations. The department also continues to advise many important charities on highly confidential pre-investigation compliance cases as well as investigations by the Charity Commission. The well-regarded Philip Kirkpatrick heads the charities and social enterprises department which includes: Rosamund McCarthy, who has a high profile in the charity sector acting for top 100 charities on governance and complex regulatory matters; Lawrence Simanowitz, who has a strong presence in the environment sector; newly-promoted senior partner Stephanie Biden, who is 'thorough, hardworking and efficient'; Thea Longley, who covers start-ups, constitutional advice (including restructuring), and governance reviews; Abbie Rumbold, who specialises in establishing charities created as spin-outs from the public sector; 'bright and astute' Laura Soley, who leads the firm’s expert trusts and legacies group; Erica Crump, who leads the culture and creative cross-departmental team; senior associate Pippa Garland; and associate Lucy RhodesLouise Haran, Victoria Schneider and Mathew Healey were all promoted to the partnership.

Education: schools Tier 1

Bates Wells' 'highly responsive, knowledgeable and solution-orientated' education team is led by Caraline Johnson, who has over two decades of experience in the sector. The team's main strengths lie in the restructuring of the state school landscape into academies, the development of multi-academy trusts and contentious matters such as discrimination claims. The firm also offers cross-departmental expertise in areas such as charity law and commercial law to national and international clients. Key names to note include employment lawyer William Garnett, public law specialist Emma Dowden-Teale and Paul Jennings, who is recommended for his expertise in discrimination law.

Electoral Tier 1

Bates Wells is considered a 'go-to' firm for electoral and campaigning laws, and practice co-head Simon Steeden is highlighted for his all-round expertise and ability to guide clients through the legalities of running campaigns and the make up of new political groups. Rosamund McCarthy co-heads the elections, politics and campaigning team, and her work has included advising the designated lead campaign group for a remain vote in the EU referendum. Melanie Carter heads the public and regulatory group, advising on areas such as electoral law rules relating to non-party campaigning and acting for a candidate for the London mayoral elections. Associate Jessica Collings' work takes in electoral law and lobbying regulations, where she also handles contentious work, investigations and judicial reviews. The team also advises on the interface between digital campaigning and the current electoral law system.

Professional discipline Tier 1

At Bates Wells, 'the attention to detail is quite exceptional, yet the practice manages to work collaboratively and pleasantly'. It recently hired Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP's former professional discipline team, including partners Nicole Curtis and Geoffrey Hudson (now consultant), as well as consultant Katrina Wingfield and associate Neil Wilks. Curtis and Wilks recently represented Farriers Registration Council in disciplinary proceedings, including in relation to animal cruelty. The professional discipline practice has particular strength in acting for representative bodies that have professional discipline functions, as well as statutory regulators, and it covers the health and social care, accountancy, veterinary and equine-related professions. Melanie Carter is a former GOC deputy registrar; also key to the group are Emma Dowden-Teale and senior associate Claire Whittle.

Administrative and public law Tier 2

Melanie Carter leads the rapidly growing team at Bates Wells, which has a considerable breadth of expertise across the field of administrative and public law. Of particular note is the team’s experience with public law in the third sector, with Carter and Emma Dowden-Teale advising a number of household names on statutory inquiries and engagements with the Charity Commission. The firm has an established inquiries practice, with Claire Whittle advising a number of non-departmental public bodies on their engagements with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The team often appears on both sides of judicial review challenges, and regular defence instructions are received by regulatory bodies such as the Advertising Standards Authority; Rupert Earle is currently defending this client against a challenge to its ruling on misleading advertising of broadband technology. The team's extensive list of claimant work includes applications against the NHS and the British Standards Institute and other regulators in the charity, education and healthcare sectors. Notable additions to the team include a number of public law practitioners from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, DAC Beachcroft LLP and Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Education: institutions Tier 2

Bates Wells assists education sector clients with a wide range of matters, from regulatory issues and procurement to post-merger work. Led by Caraline Johnson, the team has brought its cross-departmental expertise to bear in advising on mergers between further education bodies. William Garnett, who leads the employment and discrimination team, is recommended for representing senior executives. Other core team members include regulatory department partner Emma Dowden-Teale and employment head Lucy Mclynn.

Employment: senior executives Tier 2

Bates Wells has recently taken on an increasing amount of work for its enviable roster of charity and not-for-profit clients, advising them on safeguarding and incident reporting in the context of the #MeToo movement and rising scrutiny on the conduct of charity staff. Led by Lucy McLynn, the London-based practice has also has significant expertise in the investigations space, the education sector and issues arising from data privacy and GDPR regulations, where it represents organisations and individuals alike. In recent highlights, a team led by Paul Jennings successfully argued that two Uber drivers were entitled to 'worker' status, in a high-profile case with major implications for the gig economy. William Garnett leads the senior executives practice and is the name to note for boardroom disputes. Jennings has strong experience in litigation and test cases and recently made equity partner.

Media and entertainment (including media finance) Tier 2

Bates Wells has 'strength-in-depth and commercial nous combined with the highest standards of legal and technical know-how'. The team is noted for its 'extensive' advertising and marketing expertise, where Rupert Earle is regularly instructed by the Advertising Standards Authority, as well as the Committee of Advertising Practice, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice and the Direct Marketing Association. The team is also experienced in challenging regulators and defending regulatory investigations and prosecutions. Data protection, IP, privacy and freedom of information work are also notable strengths of the team. Elsewhere, the firm is also home to a dedicated culture and creative team, where Erica Crump is recommended. Here, the team is instructed by number of cultural and arts organisations on commercial, contracts, IP, charity and governance matters.

Brand management Tier 3

Bates Wells' wide-ranging expertise spans advising on advertising regulatory issues, prize draws and promotions, copy clearance, and privacy and data protection matters, and it is 'one of the few firms' with a 'tremendous amount of expertise in the third sector'. Rupert Earle, a 'well-respected figure in the advertising and marketing space', leads the practice, which also includes Mathew Healey, who was promoted to partner in April 2019 as head of trade marks, covering portfolio management, registration and enforcement matters in the UK and internationally. Senior associate Catharina Waller assists with international re-branding programmes and soft IP issues.

Local government Tier 3

The team at Bates Wells is well know for its specialisms in advising local government auditors and advising in relation to mutuals. It has advised on audits in relation to over 40 local authorities, including on some high-profile cases such as the budget deficit of Northamptonshire Council. It advises public sector mutuals and spin-out organisations who are using such vehicles to provide key public services. Abbie Rumbold and Melanie Carter are the experts in these areas, together with Emma Dowden-Teale and Augustus Della-Porta, who also bring charity/social enterprise and social care expertise.

M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 3

Bates Wells handles M&A across across the infrastructure, technology and financial services sectors, working with venture capitalists and corporate clients. The firm has benefited from the growth of the 'impact economy' and has a strategic focus on the not for profit sector, advising clients on strategic M&A matters to serve this purpose. Although the team's predominant focus is on the domestic market, it has acted on matters with a US scope. Mark Tasker is a 'brilliant operator', and heads up the corporate and commercial department, with a particular focus on financial services and TMT sector transactions. Associate Matthew Gearing is noted by clients as 'one to watch', and handles corporate finance, investment and transactional matters.

Reputation management Tier 3

Bates Wells' defamation practice represents clients on both sides of reputation disputes. Campaigning groups and student unions are on the firm's client roster as are national politicians and foreign royalty. Department head Rupert Earle has worked on a number of ground-breaking cases throughout his career and senior associate Alex de Jongh focuses his practice on advising campaigning groups on the defamatory risks in their material. The firm also boasts social media expertise and regularly undertakes defamation cases involving online harassment, data protection and freedom of information.

Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 4

Bates Wells' ‘proactive and thoughtful’ commercial property team has an ‘excellent understanding of the charities sector’ and also has particular expertise in the education, social enterprise and high street brand industries. Practice head Anthony Cartmell handles the full range of commercial property transactions, and his team has been bolstered by the arrival of Malcolm Headley from Gowling WLG. His arrival supplements the department’s already strong corporate occupier offering where it excels on leasing, leaseback, disposals and acquisitions. Elsewhere, Karli Hiscock, a specialist in HQ and retail premises acquisitions, recently made partner.

Sport Tier 4

Bates Wells acts for national governing bodies, sports charities, community amateur sports clubs and grassroots clubs, providing advice spanning governance, safeguarding, grant making, copyright infringement, data protection and charity incorporation in the sports sector. Jane Lougher advises sports charities on making grants and loans to improve grassroots facilities and develop larger multisport community facilities, while the 'exceptional' Thea Longley stands out for her strength on the governance side, where she acts for governing bodies across a range of sports, including cricket and rugby. Associate Lucas Atkin advises a range of sports clients on data protection issues.

Commercial contracts Tier 5

Combining ‘legal expertise with business understanding, common sense and a good dose of humour,Bates Wells advises on a range of commercial contract matters, specialising in data supply agreements and e-commerce advice, as well as cross-border issues. The 'knowledgeable, approachable and quick to solve complex issues' Richard Marke leads the team and is known as ‘an excellent lawyer, calm and collected when dealing with complicated matters'. Also notable is ‘invaluable’ associate Anna Przewoznik, who has expertise in commercial contracts, intellectual property, information technology and regulatory matters.

Employment: employers Tier 5

Bates Wells has recently taken on an increasing amount of work for its enviable roster of charity and not-for-profit clients, advising them on safeguarding and incident reporting in the context of the #MeToo movement and rising scrutiny on the conduct of charity staff. Led by Lucy McLynn, the London-based practice has also has significant expertise in the investigations space, the education sector and issues arising from data privacy and GDPR regulations, where it represents organisations and individuals alike. In recent highlights, a team led by Paul Jennings successfully argued that two Uber drivers were entitled to 'worker' status, in a high-profile case with major implications for the gig economy. William Garnett leads the senior executives practice and is the name to note for boardroom disputes. Jennings has strong experience in litigation and test cases and recently made equity partner.


Bates Wells' immigration team is 'outstanding'; it 'offers a very high level of service' and it is 'particularly good at providing holistic advice'. For business immigration, the team - which is led by Chetal Patel and features the 'eminent' Philip Trott - is instructed by major businesses and charities, and it is also experienced in handling immigration matters for high-net-worth individuals and well-known celebrities. In an example of its charity sector experience, the team advises Climate Policy Initiative on the recruitment of sponsored workers and on sponsor licence obligations and duties. The firm also advises on a raft of personal immigration matters, where Tim Barnden heads the team. Here, the team regularly advises on complex personal immigration matters, and handles cases which engage Article 8 of the ECHR, the right to private and family life. It also handles asylum and other protection claims for individuals and charities. Barnden is noted for his experience in handling applications by couples and families, LGBT applicants, and handles refugee cases. Senior associate Katie Dilger handles a range of personal immigration instructions and is 'attentive and responsive at all turns'.

Bates Wells Braithwaite is a unique firm, combining a strong commercial and charity practice with a general emphasis on public interest work, media, education and working with mission-led businesses. The firm is renowned for its expertise in advising charities. The firm also has great strength in the areas of corporate law and employment law, as well as real estate, immigration, litigation, and public and regulatory law (with a particular emphasis on administrative law). The firm prides itself on its diversity of practice areas, its clientele and its staff.

The firm: Founded in 1970, BWB is based in London, with clients across the UK and internationally. BWP’s alternative business structure means that in addition to its legal services BWB provides advisory and impact advice, as well as a compliance and financial regulatory services consultancy. BWB is proud to be the first UK law firm to achieve B Corporation certification, underlining its commitment to its people, the environment and doing socially valuable work.

Bates Wells Braithwaite has a significant international practice across all specialisations, reflecting the international scope of many of the firm’s clients.

Types of work undertaken: The charity and social enterprise team is recognised as one of the leading charity law practices in the country. It acts for numerous household names, international charities and NGOs. It has particular expertise in obtaining charitable status for innovative organisations and for initiatives within the sector. As well as having initiated the idea of the Community Interest Company, the firm has been responsible through the years for many books, articles and other publications. Particularly notable has been the department’s cutting-edge advice on social enterprise; its close liaison with the Cabinet Office on social impact bonds; its innovative work in advising charities and the government on the developing area of mutualisation; and the consolidation of its role as a market leader in the field of social finance.

The corporate/commercial team has expanded significantly in recent years and undertakes work for a wide range of businesses. The team has developed considerable expertise in M&A, joint ventures, management buyouts, commercial contracts and partnership advice. This team has a strong presence in the technology sector and specialises in the small to mid-cap market, acting for many AIM listings.

The employment team advises both employers and employees on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law, including dismissals and redundancies, restrictive covenants, TUPE, service agreements and injunctions. The team has particular interest and expertise in all areas of discrimination. The team undertakes most representative work in-house, both in the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It also offers a full range of employment training services.

The extensively experienced public and regulatory law team acts for regulators, charities, not-for-profit and private sector organisations. The team has a particular focus on work with educational establishments and central and local government (including audit). It also acts for businesses, campaign groups and individuals who wish to challenge the decisions of public authorities.

The firm’s education team is fast becoming a market leader, advising the full spectrum of schools, higher and further educational institutions, regulators and professional bodies.

The immigration team handles all aspects of immigration and nationality law, including work permits, highly-skilled migrant applications, residency, asylum work and human rights.

The litigation team is broad-based, with particular specialisations in commercial litigation, property litigation, administrative law, civil liberty law, social work law, intellectual property law, insolvency and defamation. The media disputes team recently represented The Times in a ground breaking Supreme Court appeal, in which the judge established a common law right to information from public authorities where it is in the public interest for such information to be released.

The real estate team handles all types of commercial property work with related specialist expertise in financing and borrowing, planning and construction, and insolvency work, both for property companies, and also a wide range of businesses and individuals, both as landlords and tenants.

The sports team acts for regulatory and governing bodies, amateur and professional sports teams, sports charities and individual sportsmen and women. A broad variety of work ranges from the establishment of the Football Foundation to advising leading international athletes on their immigration status.

The culture and creative team advises a wide range of arts organisations and venues across the creative industries, from theatre, dance and opera, to artists and companies in the digital sphere.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Martin Bunch
Advertising and marketing law Rupert Earle
Charity and social enterprise Philip Kirkpatrick
Corporate and commercial Mark Tasker
Culture and creative Lawrence Simanowitz
Dispute resolution Robert Oakley
Education Caraline Johnson
Employment Lucy McLynn
Environment Simon Steeden
Faith-based organisations Stephanie Biden
Finance Luke Fletcher
Health and social care Abbie Rumbold
Immigration Tim Barnden
Insolvency Malcolm Robson
IP/IT and information law Lawrence Simanowitz
Legacies and probate disputes Robert Oakley
Litigation Robert Oakley
Media disputes Rupert Earle
Public and regulatory law Melanie Carter
Public services and mutuals Abbie Rumbold
Real estate Anthony Cartmell
Real estate disputes Lesley Robinson
Social finance Luke Fletcher
Sports Thea Longley
Trade associations and membership bodies Thea Longley
Trade marks Lawrence Simanowitz
Photo Name Position Profile
 Tim Barnden  photo Tim Barnden
 Stephanie Biden  photo Stephanie Biden
 Martin Bunch  photo Martin Bunch
 Stephen Callender  photo Stephen Callender
 Melanie Carter  photo Melanie Carter
 Anthony Cartmell  photo Anthony Cartmell
 Erica Crump  photo Erica Crump
 David Davies  photo David Davies
 Emma Dowden-Teale  photo Emma Dowden-Teale
 Rupert Earle  photo Rupert Earle
 Luke Fletcher  photo Luke Fletcher
 Pippa Garland  photo Pippa Garland
 William Garnett  photo William Garnett
 Martin Gunson  photo Martin Gunson
 Mathew Healey  photo Mathew Healey
 Karli Hiscock  photo Karli Hiscock
 Paul Jennings  photo Paul Jennings
 Caraline Johnson  photo Caraline Johnson
 Patrick Keown  photo Patrick Keown
 Philip Kirkpatrick  photo Philip Kirkpatrick
 Thea Longley  photo Thea Longley
 Richard Marke  photo Richard Marke
 Rosamund Mccarthy  photo Rosamund Mccarthy
 Lucy Mclynn  photo Lucy Mclynn
 Robert Oakley  photo Robert Oakley
 Chetal Patel  photo Chetal Patel
 Tom Pratt  photo Tom Pratt
 Lesley Robinson  photo Lesley Robinson
 Malcolm Robson  photo Malcolm Robson
 Abbie Rumbold  photo Abbie Rumbold
 Paul Seath  photo Paul Seath
 Lawrence Simanowitz  photo Lawrence Simanowitz
 Laura Soley  photo Laura Soley
 Simon Steeden  photo Simon Steeden
 Mark Tasker  photo Mark Tasker
 Mark Traynor  photo Mark Traynor
 Philip Trott  photo Philip Trott
 Molly Waiting  photo Molly Waiting
 Claire Whittle  photo Claire Whittle
Number of UK partners : 39
Number of other UK fee-earners : 111
Bates Wells
Bates Wells is revered for its 'focus on social impact'. Trainees report meeting 'down-to- earth, approachable and normal people' during the recruitment process, which assured them that 'they could really fit in' at the firm. There is a 'unique level of charity law work' on offer at Bates Wells and respondents appreciated being given 'high levels of responsibility early on', going so far as to say they 'started doing work that actually mattered from very early on into the first seat'. 'Assisting on an urgent, high-profile court case that also went to the Court of Appeal' was a clear highlight for one trainee. Indeed, 'a high level and range of work' and 'lots of client contact' is the norm. Sometimes this can lead to 'being insanely busy for a couple of weeks and feeling like you're not working to the best of your capabilities'. Generally, though, the work/life balance is good at Bates Wells. A 'friendly, non-elitist culture' pervades, where 'senior staff are more approachable' than at some other firms. As the firm grows, there is increasing 'difficulty getting to know new joiners', which irked some recruits. Exacerbating the situation, 'social events aren't always so well attended'. Perhaps unsurprisingly, pro bono is a 'core part of our charity offering', including 'lots of volunteering and outreach opportunities with schools and students, which feels like a nice way to get involved in the firm and give back'. If a firm whose 'ethos and charity law work' appeals to you, consider Bates Wells.