Firm Profile > Paris Smith LLP > Southampton, England

Paris Smith LLP
SO15 2AE

Commercial property: Hampshire Tier 1

The 'approachable' property and planning group at Paris Smith LLP is spread between the Southampton and Winchester offices. Assistance is provided to clients through niche team sub-specialisms in development, planning and plot sales. The group regularly liaises with the charities and education group when advising on the property aspects of schools converting to academies. Elsewhere, housebuilders, major retailers, banks and leisure companies are among the team's key clients. Lisa Busby recently made partner. Mark Howarth and John Mansell are also key contacts, as is associate Emma Pope.


A highly positive and helpful team‘.

Takes a proactive and commercially aware approach‘.

David Eminton and Lisa Busby provide excellent guidance and advice‘.

As a chartered surveyor who interacts daily with lawyers from innumerable Hampshire-based firms, I can safely say that the service my client’s receive from Paris Smith is among the best‘.

The team is quick to respond and covers the whole breadth of real estate issues‘.

Emma Pope is one person who particularly stands out for me as a real estate professional who, to my mind, strikes the perfect balance between technical competence, pragmatism and commercial awareness‘.

Key clients

Co-operative Group

Fat Face

Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society

Associated British Ports

Ann Summers


Petchey Industrial Holdings

Alfred Homes

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Bargate Homes

Century Link Communications UK

Employment: Hampshire Tier 1

In addition to undertaking employment tribunal litigation, Paris Smith LLP's team often acts for clients in restrictive covenant actions and director exits. Education is a key sector for the group, which acts for the majority of sixth form colleges and private schools in Hampshire. Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE) claims specialist Clive Dobbin is the practice head. David Roath is another name to note.


All members of staff that we have dealt with, at all levels, are technically competent and able to provide a top-class answer to our employment questions straight away‘.

Clive Dobbin, David Roath and Claire Merritt are extremely approachable and offer a practical solutions to our issues‘.

A great service focused on listening to the challenges clients express and working to effect the best outcomes‘.

Clive Dobbin is a great support to our senior management team; he provides practical and considered feedback and proposes solutions to complex issues‘.

Clive Dobbin’s ability to give a client complex information whilst checking understanding and involving them in the process is outstanding; he provides a truly bespoke service.’

Key clients

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

AFC Bournemouth

Hampshire Cricket

Focal Point Fires

Barfoots of Botley

Stannah Stairlifts

TW Metals

Millbrook Industries


Draper Tools

Family: Hampshire Tier 1

Paris Smith LLP's family work includes high-value financial remedy cases and contested residence matters. In addition to being active in court litigation, the firm assists clients with alternative forms of dispute resolution. The team heads are Southampton-based Frank Prior and Huw Miles in Winchester. Prior has experience of acting for high and ultra-high net worth individuals, such as celebrities, business-people and public figures. Neil Davies has more than 30 years of family law experience, and acts for clients from London and across the south of England, as well as those based further afield internationally.

Banking and finance Tier 2

Paris Smith LLP’s banking and finance department is divided into three specialist groups, which focus on acquisition finance, project and asset finance and property finance respectively. The client portfolio includes retail banking groups and a number of higher education institutions, as well as large retail and leisure entities. The practice is headed by James McNeil.  Jonathon Roy and associate Liam Doughty are other key contacts.


Quick to respond and drive a deal forward. Very comprehensive and detailed approach.

James McNeil is a very thorough partner, demonstrating a strong legal awareness and knowledge and providing easy to understand guidance.

Key clients

Santander UK plc

HSBC Bank plc

National Westminster Bank plc

Svenska Handelsbankend AB (publ)/Handelsbanken plc

Hampshire Trust Bank plc

Interbay Funding Limited

Royale Parkes

Yacht Havens Limited

RB Sport & Leisure Holdings plc

Metro Bank plc

Hampshire Community Trust Bank

Commercial litigation: Hampshire Tier 2

Paris Smith LLP has had a significant increase in debt recovery mandates recently, with the firm having added a number of new asset-based lenders to its client roster. Another key growth area has been recruitment sector work; the firm acts for over 140 recruitment agencies. Team head Christopher Holliss has extensive experience of complex commercial litigation at the High Court. Former Slater Heelis LLP litigation head Helen Brown joined the firm in January 2019.

Key clients

ABP (Port of Southampton)

Corporate Asset Solutions

Neyland Yacht Haven

Halo Corporate Finance

Quba Solutions

Clipper Contracting

Interbay Funding

The Co-Operative Group


Smith & Williamson


Clydesdale Properties

Collas Crill (Jersey)

Draper Tools

Corporate and commercial: Hampshire Tier 2

The nine-partner team at Paris Smith LLP acts for clients ranging in size from owner-managed businesses to large national clients. It is also increasingly active in the advice to international entities. The group is led by Sean Davies. Another key figure is Amanda Brockwell, who is active in transactional work for mid-market clients, including those undertaking serial acquisitions. Jonathon Roy is an M&A specialist.

Key clients



Churches Fire Security

SHB Hire

T W Metals

Smarter Business


Contraload NV

UK Web Media

Hilliers Garden Centres

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Paris Smith LLP's insolvency practice in Southampton acts for a number of major creditor and landlord clients but also maintains an extensive roster of owner-managed businesses. Key sectors in which the team are known for working include property, finance, retail, leisure, not-for-profit, SMEs, public sector, and recruitment. Mike Pavitt heads the team and is praised for delivering 'well thought out and thorough advice'. Pavitt also holds the respected post of Chair of R3 Southern.  Work highlights for the team include advising shareholders and loan note holders of the UK's largest wholesaler to the convenience and forecourts market, which went into administration in 2017.


‘Mike Pavitt delivers well thought out and thorough advice. Quick to respond and advise on ways forward.’

Key clients


Beacon Insolvency Practitioners

Begbies Traynor

Corporate Asset Solutions

CVR Global

James Cowper

Interbay Funding Ltd



Moore Stephens



Smith & Williamson

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Hampshire Tier 2

Nick Turner leads the tax and estate planning department at Paris Smith LLP, which acts for elderly clients and disabled individuals, among others. The team includes Isabel Deverill, who has extensive expertise assisting high net worth individuals with lifetime and post-death tax and trust matters. The group also advises on other matters, such as the creation/ termination of trusts and wills, care issues and Court of Protection issues. Elizabeth Power is another key figure. With the firm having a rural property team, it is well-placed to provide bespoke tax and trusts advice to farmers and landed estates.

Intellectual property Tier 3

Paris Smith LLP is recognised for its IP audit practice, as well as its track record advising on IP strategy work. In addition to its established client base, the department has recently been focusing its practice on the start-up market and is first choice for technology companies being spun off from academic institutions. Practice head Laura Trapnell specialises in EU trade mark and design rights law, as well as international trade mark registrations.


Very knowledgable, helpful and efficient.

We have an excellent relationship with Laura Trapnell, who has a wealth of business-minded expertise in IP.

Laura’s attention to detail and having our interests in mind, mean we always have great confidence in her ability.

Unlike other firms we have dealt with our experience of working with Paris Smith has been exceptional from start to finish.

The attitude of staff working in the firm has aligned perfectly with our own and their work has been exemplary.

The team offers pragmatic solutions that have regard to the commercial implications of each decision to be taken.


Key clients

Meachers Global Logistics Ltd

The Wetwheels Foundation

Hobbycraft Trading Limited

Jane Austen House Museum

Barfoots of Botley Ltd

Gist Ltd

Keltbray Ltd

Marwell Wildlife

Hildon Ltd

The Mayflower Theatre Trust

Aquavitrum Ltd

Absolute Yoga Ltd

Foresters Friendly Society

Focal Point Fires Plc

IT and telecoms Tier 3

Paris Smith LLP is prominent in the regional SME and start-up market, advising a wide range of such clients on IT matters. Practice co-head Laura Trapnell is an adviser to the University of Southampton Science Park's Catalyst Programme, a factor that maintains the firm's base of start-up clients. The practice is most known for its outsourcing, procurement, and cloud computing work. Fellow co-head Crispin Dick handles software development and licensing as well as technology transfers and outsourcing.

Key clients

Datwyler Cabling Solutions AG

British Friendly Society Ltd

The Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society Ltd

Beyond Encryption Ltd

Quotall Ltd

Gobel & Partners

Local First Community Interest Ltd

Millbrook Healthcare Ltd

Cobalt Telephone Technologies Ltd

University of Southampton Science Park Ltd

Pyxus International, Inc

The Entertainment Retailers’ Association

Visitor Chat Ltd

Mercury 1 Ltd

The firm: Paris Smith continues to enjoy an exceptional reputation as a provider of services from its offices in Southampton and Winchester to both business and private clients across the central south of England. It boasts many longstanding relationships with clients and referrers throughout the region and beyond. While justifiably proud of its 200-year history, the firm’s focus is very much on the future with an emphasis on having the right people, resources and technology. Paris Smith’s purpose is to enable its clients to succeed and to help clients overcome the challenges which they may face, adding value to its clients through a positive experience with a quality of service which has become synonymous with the name Paris Smith. The firm uses its significant legal skills and extensive network to enable the outcomes which its clients seek.

The firm comprises some of the finest lawyers in the region, many of whom are considered to be leaders in their respective fields. Paris Smith offers a first-class proposition for those seeking a top-drawer legal service on par with much larger central London law firms, but at regional fee rates. The firm is increasingly being engaged by clients who have previously retained lawyers in the capital, evidenced by the quality of its client list, which includes large regional businesses, high-street brands, well known national PLCs, and high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

Types of work undertaken: The firm offers specialist advice to both business and personal clients. The corporate team is an established provider of mainstream M&A advice to enterprises ranging from midsize corporates to established owner-managed businesses. The commercial team provides a strong offering with ex-City expertise. It regularly advises clients on domestic and international commercial non-contentious and contentious matters. It is complemented by specialist intellectual property and regulatory lawyers. The intellectual property team advises on IP/IT, data protection and e-commerce matters. The regulatory and business crime team advises on health and safety and other regulatory issues. The experienced corporate restructuring and insolvency team is regularly retained by a number of established and well respected insolvency practitioners across the country.

The employment team has a strong reputation for its work both with employers and employees and offers insurance-based solutions if appropriate. Lawyers in the team regularly provide line manager training to commercial clients.

The commercial property team is retained by many high-street names. It has advised on some of the south’s most high-profile developments. It boasts a specialist leasehold enforcement team (ALEP membership), while its planning team comprises specialist lawyers and, uniquely, planning consultants, most of whom have had an involvement in many major planning projects in the central south region. The public sector team is retained by regional local authorities and several London boroughs.

The firm’s family and private client teams are recognised as leaders in their respective fields with several of their partners commended as among the leading lawyers in the region.

Dedicated teams in litigation and dispute resolution advise clients on a range of complex and high-value corporate and commercial actions including those concerning contractual issues, shareholder and partnership actions, property disputes, professional negligence, intellectual property claims, debt recovery and asset-based lending recovery actions. Lawyers in the firm have developed a reputation for dealing professionally with many contested probate, trusts and estates actions, several of which have been very complex in nature.

The firm has a number of trained mediators in employment, commercial and family disputes and has offices which are frequently used as a venue for mediation.

The firm’s charities and education teams act for national and regional charities, higher and further education establishments, schools and colleges. The firm acts for schools converting to academies.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Nick Vaughan
Managing partner Peter Taylor
Property Mark Howarth
Property John Mansell
Company/commercial Sean Davies
Employment Clive Dobbin
Dispute resolution David Eminton
Family Frank Prior
Tax and estate planning Nick Turner
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Mike Pavitt photo Mr Mike Pavitt
Number of UK partners : 42
Number of other fee-earners : 89