Firm Profile > BDB Pitmans > Southampton, England

BDB Pitmans
Grosvenor House
Grosvenor Square
SO15 2BE

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

The 'excellent' insolvency team at BDB Pitmans works on important and high value instructions across various industry sectors in relation to formal insolvencies, restructuring and advisory roles and recovery and asset tracing. Some of the team's specialist sectors include IT, telecoms, construction, retail, hospitality, healthcare and automotive and engineering. The team, based in Reading, is led by the Suzanne Brooker who is described by one client as 'absolutely first class'. 'Next Generation Lawyer' Stacey Jones is another key name to note, with one client describing her as 'absolutely charming but client's know that she will fight to the bitter end to advance their interests'.


‘BDB Pitmans has an excellent insolvency and corporate recovery offering. In Reading, the firm does great work, which is worthy of much bigger, London-based firms.’

‘What makes them a fantastic firm is the advice, and the fact that I can rely on it implicitly. They are responsive, knowledgeable, creative and value for money. Nice people too’

‘They have a strong reputation in all aspects of corporate and commercial work.’

‘The safest pairs of hands’

‘Stacey Jones is an absolute star. Clients love her. She is absolutely charming but clients know that she will fight to the bitter end to advance their interests.’

‘Suzanne Brooker is absolutely first class – she is an excellent lawyer but where she really excels is as a tactician. She really understands and is able to exploit the pressure points of the other side.’

‘Suzanne Brooker is not only an outstanding lawyer but also a business woman with strong entrepreneurial flair. ‘

Key clients

Wilkins Kennedy LLP (London, Reading, Southampton and Egham offices)

KPMG LLP (Reading, London and Birmingham offices)

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Thames Valley offices)

Grant Thornton UK LLP (Reading and London offices)

BDO LLP (Thames Valley and London offices)

CVR Global LLP (London and Southampton)

Moore Stephens LLP (London and Watford offices)

Quantuma LLP (Marlow, Brighton and Southampton offices)

UHY Hacker Young LLP (London office)

RSM Baker Tilly Creditor Services LLP (London and Southampton offices)

IT and telecoms Tier 1

BDB Pitmans's team is headed by Philip Smith who is especially experienced in handling TMT-related disputes. It is also notable for its skills in relation to licensing, outsourcing and counts established tech companies and start ups among its clients.  Tim Clark has broad expertise in the IT sector acting for software vendors, distributors and systems integrators and has of late,  advised on a number of security breaches. Partner Philip Weaver and associate Marie Evrard focus on the corporate/commercial side, advising on areas such as outsourcing, licensing transactions, channel partner agreements and distribution agreements.


They have strength in depth, commerciality and responsiveness.’

We had an excellent experience – they have a practical approach.’

Key clients

KAI Computer Services Ltd

Sky plc (and numerous subsidiaries and group companies)

Sondrel Ltd (and group)

Westcoast Group

Toshiba TEC UK Imaging Systems Limited

Humax Electronics Co. Ltd

Noble Systems UK Ltd

Gamma Telecom plc (and group)

360Globalnet Ltd

Kymaner – Technologias Energeticas Ida

Vipera plc

Sol-Tec Limited

Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

BDB Pitmans acts for a mix of private clients, shareholders and national and international corporations in IT disputes, contentious corporate and shareholder matters, professional negligence claims and complex commercial disputes.  Tim Clark's  practice focuses on company law-related claims, shareholder and unfair prejudice disputes, while Phil Smith and David Gwillim handle commercial and construction sector disputes respectively.

Key clients

Sky plc

Langham Homes

Veritas Technologies

Thames Water (and its insurers)

Toshiba Imaging Systems UK Limited

Employment: Hampshire Tier 2

With a key specialisation in contentious employment work, BDB Pitmans' team has significant experience of representing both claimants and respondents. Team head Jonathan Gray has a strong track record in employment tribunal advocacy. On the non-contentious side, the group provides day-to-day HR and employment support on corporate transactions. Working closely with the firm's pensions department, the group is also able to advise on employee benefits.


A fantastic commercially-minded approach to any work we have given them. I would highly recommend‘.

Jonathan Gray is always accessible and provides first class advice and support for our business‘.

Key clients


The Highwood Group

The Concorde Club and Hotel

Interesting Hotels

Crittall Windows

London Irish

The Wilton Carpet Factory

The Appointment Group

Delicious Dining Group

Gallowglass Group

Immigration Tier 2

BDB Pitmans' international business immigration service primarily focuses on advising on global mobility issues. Key areas of expertise include Tiers 1, 2 and 5 applications, sponsor licence applications and preparation for Home Office audits. Jonathan Gray heads the practice from the Southampton office.

Pensions Tier 2

BDB Pitmans demonstrates strong capabilities in relation to benefit restructuring, in addition to niche expertise in SIPPs, SSASs and other executive arrangements, including QROPS. Lead partner David Hosford is also experienced in drafting master trusts, both for group life (and excepted life) cover and defined contribution schemes.

Key clients

Chas A Blatchford & Sons Limited Group Pension Scheme

Applied Industrial Materials UK Limited Retirement & Death Benefit Plan

Swedish Match UK Pension Fund

Robert Dyas Limited Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Banco Santander Totta Staff Security Plan

Planning Tier 2

BDB Pitmans's planning department is led by Christina Daniels, who specialises in the planning aspects of residential and mixed-use developments. Daniels also has expertise in highway rights of way, village green and assets of community value work. The team also negotiates and challenges section 106 agreements, provides strategic planning advice on large sites and advises on CIL. Elsewhere, it supports the firm's real estate practice with the planning aspects of major development contracts.

Key clients

Cala Group Limited/Banner Homes Group Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Highwood Group Limited

Bewley Homes PLC

Millgate Developments Limited

Shanly Homes Limited

Ashill Land Limited

Oakford Homes Limited

Fairview Homes Limited

Vanderbilt Homes Limited

Troy Homes Limited

Commercial litigation: Hampshire Tier 3

A cornerstone of BDB Pitmans' practice involves handling insurance litigation; the firm has niche technical expertise in subrogated property damage claims for insurers, and it is also active in fraudulent insurance claims. Elsewhere, the team also regularly works on contentious commercial property matters and professional negligence cases. Insolvency litigation expert Rick Munro is the practice head. Alan Davies has more than 35 years of litigation experience.

Key clients


Covéa Insurance

Red Funnel Group


Mildren Construction

Merlin Accessories

CPJ Field & Co

Mears Group


Premier Marinas


Kubrick Group

Construction Tier 3

BDB Pitmans 'unique' construction and engineering group supports clients at all stages of the construction process, from site acquisition, planning and procurement advice to disputes (including adjudication). Besides residential developers, the team regularly acts for marine engineering and hospitality clients (the firm has key specialisms in the last two sectors). Practice head David Gwillim boasts over 35 years of construction law experience.


The team provides the same excellent service as larger firms but with the additions of a personal approach and reasonable fees‘.

They are willing to spend time ensuring the client understands the issues, so it can make the most well-informed decision‘.

Key clients

Commercial Glass (London) Limited

Oxford Homes Limited

Domus (UK) Limited, timber framing contractors

CALA Homes formerly Banner Homes

Pedersen Group, hotels

Choiceplace Properties

Frazer-Nash Research Limited, automotive, including Bristol Cars and Metrocab

D+D Rail Limited, rail contractors

Space-Q Studio Limited

Element Six Limited part of the DeBeers Group

Corporate and commercial: Hampshire Tier 3

Led by Sean Kelly, the corporate practice at BDB Pitmans demonstrates strong capabilities in private equity transactions; these include management buyouts and deals backed by private equity or venture capital trusts. Oliver Kelly specialises in M&A, buy-ins and buyouts and corporate finance. The firm has been particularly active in matters connected with the travel, marine/transport and IT/technology sectors recently.

Key clients

Clipper Ventures

Red Funnel Ferries


Panoramic Growth Equity

ITS Technology

The Appointment

Premier Marinas

Specialist Journeys

Amicus ITS

AJM Healthcare

Debt recovery Tier 3

BDB Pitmans' debt recovery team specialises in the enforcement of liability orders and the collection of unpaid commercial and residential service charges. Active clients include public sector organisations, sole traders, regulatory bodies, accountants and financial institutions. Rick Munro is the lead partner.

Employment: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 3

Areas of expertise for BDB Pitmans include supporting employers in the employment and HR aspects of business structuring and transactions, diversity, employment disputes and avoidance, equal opportunities, industrial relations, workplace contracts, policies and benefits. Angela Shields is the key figure for non-contentious matters, including on issues related to worker status, disciplinary matters and terminations, as well as representing claimants and defending employers in Employment Tribunal claims.

Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 3

The family law practice of BDB Pitmans  regularly coordinate with the private client practice to offer a one-stop shop for family and child law non-contentious matters, dispute resolution, injunctions and trusts of land claims. Matt Heyworth is the lead practitioner.


Personable, friendly manner and a professional approach. The whole team provided comprehensive support and efficient backup.’

I’m very impressed and confident with the advice Matthew Heyworth gave, his breadth of knowledge and ability to convey it in an understandable manner is very reassuring when faced with complex legal definitions and procedures. ‘

Matt Heyworth is an outstanding family lawyer who understands the finances and is very good with the maths. Reassuring yet professional and a lawyer who boosts your confidence.

Personal injury: defendant Tier 3

BDB Pitmans' personal injury defence team handles industrial disease claims and public liability matters. Ferhat Choudri focuses on catastrophic claims and road traffic accidents, and also has experience in significant cross-border claims, having worked across France, Italy, and Mexico.

Commercial property: Hampshire Tier 4

The key names in BDB Pitmans' real estate team are consultants John Newton and Nick Todd. Specialisms of the practice include the acquisition and disposal of farms and agricultural estates, and also the promotion and sale of agricultural and rural land to leading residential developers. The team also has notable expertise in the marine sector, with Newton and Todd acting for a number of regional heavyweight clients, including Premier Marinas, Red Funnel Ferries and Solent & Wight Line Cruises.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 4

BDB Pitmans added complementary expertise from its recent merger with Bircham Dyson Bell in November 2018. Sheila Magee heads the Reading-based team and is able to draw upon her real estate expertise to advise clients with landed estates on estate management issues, in addition to assisting domestic and international domiciled and elderly clients on a wide range of private client issues. Senior associate Alexander Morgan specialises in wills and lifetime trust drafting, probate applications and elderly client care matters. David Ainslie retired in March 2018.


Very efficient and effective service, with close attention to detail and clear explanations of what was required and why in the form of regular and comprehensive updates.

Excellent personal service and keenness to help was evident from outset.’

Sheila Magee provided close and expert advice and help from the outset.

Property litigation Tier 4

BDB Pitmans, which undertakes a significant amount of advocacy in-house, is well-known for acting for major real estate developers in complex disputes. In addition, it represents private individuals and companies in landlord and tenant litigation, and it also excels in real estate litigation involving insolvency issues and construction disputes. Practice head Phil Smith is the name to note.

Key clients

CALA Homes (formerly Banner Homes)

Bewley Homes


Thames Water

Toshiba Tec UK Imaging Systems Ltd

Langham Homes

Hibu (UK) Ltd

Vanderbilt Homes

CVR Global LLP

Shanly Homes

Karali Limited

Moor Park (1958) Ltd

BDB Pitmans was established in 2018 following a merger between legacy firms Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) and Pitmans Law.

Bringing together over 300 years of legal expertise across 5 locations – Cambridge, London City, London Westminster, Reading and Southampton.

Our priority is to achieve outstanding outcomes for our clients. We listen to you and your business objectives or life goals so that we provide not only excellent technical advice, but a complete solution. We work for you to understand the challenges you face, and aim to not just meet expectations, but to exceed them.

Our focus is building longstanding and mutually beneficial client relationships on a foundation of trust and genuine partnership.



The firm has a strong practice in acting for individuals and institutions engaged in farming and the ownership of agricultural land and landed estates.

Charities & Not-for-Profit:

In the third sector, the firm’s award-winning charities and not-for-profit team remains a leader in its field, acting for both UK and international charity clients. The team has vast experience of working both with and within the charities sector. Acting for over 450 national and international charities (and a wide range of other civil society organisations and social enterprises), the team has specialist expertise in particularly complex or unusual matters. In addition to the core team, there are charities and social enterprise specialists across departments including real estate, intellectual property, employment, corporate and commercial, public affairs and dispute resolution.

Contentious Trusts & Estates:

Work is largely international and the team handles a wide range of trustee difficulties from issues with HMRC, beneficiary disputes, investment losses, administrative difficulties, and allegations of corrupt purposes.

Corporate & Commercial Services:

The partner-led corporate team offers advice at every stage of a business’s lifecycle, helping them to protect their assets and achieve their long-term strategy. They have particular expertise in takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, Main Market and AIM listings, corporate finance and capital reorganisations / restructurings.

Development Planning:

The development planning team at BDB Pitmans are very experienced in acting for house builders and other developers on various projects, including affordable housing schemes. They also deal with judicial review proceedings, as well as village green, highways CIL work, planning appeals and planning prosecutions. They also advise on dealing with Assets of Community Value.

Restructuring and Insolvency:

The team has a comprehensive network of banks, financiers, brokers and insolvency professionals to work quickly and effectively to resolve both stressed and distressed situations. We advise on business contingency and exit planning, business restructuring and turnaround strategy, acquisition of distressed business advice, debt and asset recovery, debt reconstruction and consolidation, directors duties and retained board advisory and disqualification proceedings, insolvency and Company Act offences and regulatory advice, liquidations, receiverships, administrations, voluntary arrangements and bankruptcies and pensions restructuring.


The firm’s large specialist employment team acts for employers across a number of sectors, as well as acting for individuals. Work undertaken covers all types of employment advice, with particular expertise in dealing with complex business restructuring, transfers under TUPE and COSOP and defending large value and complex tribunal claims. The team also has a significant practice advising senior executives on high value exit packages, team moves and restrictive covenant issues.


The family team is recognised for advising high net worth clients with international assets, often involving associated disputes over jurisdiction for divorce cases or family trusts. The team also includes a number of qualified mediators and trained collaborative lawyers.

Government & Infrastructure:

The market-leading team work on some of the biggest and most important infrastructure and regeneration projects in the UK and advise on a wide range of planning, environmental, compulsory purchase, real estate, regulatory / public law, public affairs and parliamentary issues. Clients include Luton Airport, National Grid, Crown Commercial Service, Transport for London, Peel Group, National Audit Office, London Resort Holdings Company, Transport for Greater Manchester, Health and Care Professions Council and Midlands Connect. The team also includes four Roll A Parliamentary Agents.

Intellectual Property:

The IP team has specialist expertise in: managing brands for charities, not-for profits and social enterprises; certification and collective marks for trade and professional associations and regulators; Protected Geographical Indicators (PGIs) and Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs); patents in standards; designs.


Property litigation continues to be a key practice area for the firm and includes large scale construction disputes. The team also has in-depth experience of litigating for central Government, acting for defendant public bodies that are subject to judicial review. In addition, the firm has a dedicated commercial litigation practice specialising in financial product mis-selling.


Our pensions team offers a comprehensive range of services for employers and trustees. We advise on due diligence, pensions warranties and agreements, clearance applications, documenting arrangements, contingent assets, de-risking, buy-outs and buy-ins, risk insurance, administration and investment management agreements. We also have advised on GDPR guidance for pension scheme trustees, governance: legal and regulatory compliance, employer and trustee powers and duties. The  team also includes litigators advising on contentious proceedings, pension scheme claims, professional negligence claims and also the specialist area of Unions pensions.

Private Wealth:

The private wealth team is one of the largest in the UK, offering a full service to individuals, families and trustees with an expanding global reach. The team is well-known for its expertise in UK and international tax and estate planning, UK and offshore trusts, wills, probate and the administration of estates, heritage and rural estates work, mental incapacity and Court of Protection work, high value residential property transactions and leasehold enfranchisement, contentious trusts work, immigration law and family office services.

Real Estate:

The team’s residential practice is a leader in leasehold enfranchisement, having successfully served the first ever collective enfranchisement claim notice on the day the 1993 Act came into force in 1994. The commercial real estate practice covers all areas including site acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management, tenant advice work, development schemes, construction, obtaining rights over land and security work.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Andrew Smith
Senior Partner Helen Ratcliffe
Agricultural Law Patrick Lynam
Charities Penny Chapman
Contentious Trusts & Estates Geoffrey Kertesz
Development Planning Christina Daniels
Restructuring and Insolvency Suzanne Brooker
Employment Jesper Christensen
Family Siân Jones
Family Matthew Heyworth
Government & Infrastructure Mark Challis
IP Dennis Lee
Litigation Richard Langley
Pensions Chris Netiatis
Private Wealth Simon Weil
Private Wealth Matthew Heyworth
Real Estate Jonathan Fewster
Number of partners: : 80
Solicitors: : 170