BDB Pitmans > Southampton, England > Firm Profile

BDB Pitmans
Grosvenor House
Grosvenor Square
SO15 2BE

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 1

Described as 'superb', the team at BDB Pitmans handles commercial litigation for both domestic and foreign clients from all industries but has particular expertise in IT related disputes. 'First-rate litigation strategist' Philip Smith leads the team and is a specialist in representing TMT clients. Executive board member Tim Clark  acts for retail and restaurant businesses, handling matters pertaining to company law, injunctions, and professional negligence. Associate Sophie Squire works closely with Clark on a number of Court of Appeal cases. Jonathan Sachs, a specialist in professional negligence previously at Irwin Mitchell, further broadens the firm's scope with his expertise in financial mis-selling.  

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:

Tim Clark; David Gwillim; Alan Davies; Sophie Squire; Jonathan Sachs; Jacob Gatley


‘I know them to have an excellent reputation and high-quality work which has been done to an excellent standard.’

‘I have worked with Tim Clark. He commands huge respect from his clients who clearly trust and place great emphasis on his advice. Tim has a calm but extremely diligent style with an obvious commercial focus. He is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Excellent understanding of key issues and guidance to the correct resolution.’

‘Phil Smith is tenacious and skilled in obtaining the best possible resolution for any given situation.’

‘The team at BDB Pitmans are superb. They have a close eye for detail and excellent commercial judgement.’

‘Phil Smith is a first-rate litigation strategist with a wealth of experience. He is always available and engages well. Sophie Squire is brilliant and very client friendly. She operates well above her seniority on a regular basis and has been the primary fee earner on significant Chancery Division litigation.’

Key clients

Grayson+Co Ltd

Sky UK Ltd and subsidiaries

Karali Group

Kaotica Corporation

Intosol Holdings Plc

Crowe UK LLP

Joanne Properties Limited


Grandir UK Limited

The Norton Motorcycle Co Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Grayson + Co in high profile proceedings regarding confidential information including a successful Court of Appeal hearing.
  • Acting for Crowe UK LLP in High Court litigation arising out of the client being caught up in a fraudulent postal credits scheme by one of its suppliers.
  • Acting for Grandir UK Ltd in statutory nuisance proceedings.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

The insolvency and restructuring team at BDB Pitmans has extensive sector experience in the retail, hospitality and leisure, construction, technology and real estate industries. The department provides advisory, transactional and contentious services to a range of clients including insolvency practitioners, banks, asset-based lenders, alternative funders and creditors. Stacey Jones is specialised in personal insolvency processes, voluntary arrangements, refinancing and restructurings.

Other key lawyers:


‘Stacey Jones is a first class insolvency lawyer. They are cost effective, experienced and no nonsense. They can deal with the simplest and most complex assignment equally efficiently.’

‘Stacey Jones is just brilliant. She is bright, experienced and so easy to deal with. I have complete confidence in her abilities.’

‘The team has experience of insolvency litigation at the highest levels and takes a proactive and commercial approach.’

‘Alexander Wood is an extremely experienced insolvency lawyer, with strong commercial sense, who is completely engaged on the cases he deals with.’

‘Stacey Jones has a very collaborative and creative approach with clients. When working in particularly difficult circumstances recently, she was able to successfully articulate complex issues to the management team in simple terms; by working with them and supporting them through the process she was able to help them to find a solution.’

‘BDB Pitmans has a skilled, close-knit insolvency team. This not only means that it is highly efficient, it means that a client can be confident that its case is being carefully and diligently managed. Partner engagement is superb.’

‘Stacey Jones is an absolute machine when it comes to litigation. She not only gets the job done, she gets it done quickly and with aplomb.’

‘BDB Pitmans is a well-established firm with a strong presence both in the capital and in regional centres.’

Key clients



FRP Advisory


Begbies Traynor

Opus Advisory

Quantuma LLP

UHY Hacker Young LLP


Azets Holdings Limited

Antony Batty Company & Co

Harwood Private Equity

Harrisons Business Recovery and Insolvency Limited

Secure Trust Bank Plc.

Resolve Advisory Limited

James Cowper Kreston

Mazars LLP

Bibby Financial Service Limited

Bibby Factoring Limited

Muse Corporation

Prime 5 Finance Limited

Natural Resources Wales

Carter Backer Winter

Smith and Williamson Limited

Advantedge Commercial Finance Limited

Work highlights

  • Provided advisory and transactional know-how to Discovery Yachts Limited.
  • Advised Katerra Inc on English law aspects of US$440m claim for transaction at undervalue.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

The highly regarded charities and social enterprise team at BDB Pitmans is led by Penny Chapman, who splits her time between the firm’s offices in Reading and London. In addition to its relationships with an array of national and international clients, the practice works with a roster of well-known regional clients in and around both Reading and Oxford. The team is able to draw on support from a number of leading practitioners in the firm’s London office, as well as colleagues based in Southampton and Cambridge.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman


‘Penny Chapman is an excellent lawyer – very thorough and diligent and a heavy-hitter who brings real presence to a meeting, and has vast knowledge of the charity sector.

‘Penny Chapman is an outstanding charity lawyer and has a proven track record of guiding charitable trustees successfully through existential crises.’

Key clients

Reading Gaol, Arts, Museum and  Theatre Ltd

South Oxfordshire Housing Association (SOHA)

Chipping Norton Literary Festival

The Oxford Group

The European Association of Jewish Studies

Christ Church Oxford

Blind Veterans UK

Work highlights

  • Advised Chipping Norton Literary Festival on all contractual and financial aspects of the cancelation of the festival in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advised South Oxfordshire Housing Association on its shared ownership plot sales.
  • Advised the European Association of Jewish Studies on strategic governance issues.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 1

Public sector > Infrastructure (parliamentary) Tier 1

BDB Pitmans has a large parliamentary agency practice which operates across the areas of infrastructure promotion, private bills and pure parliamentary work. The team specialises in CSR and work connected to charities, including sustainability matters. The team is led by planning specialist Mark Challis, who works alongside parliamentary agent Nick Evans, who advises promoters of major infrastructure schemes, promoting private bills and petitioning against hybrid bills. Angus Walker provides advice to promoters of development consent orders, while Sarah Clark specialises in infrastructure promotion, including schemes for Highways England, TfL and Network Rail. Duncan O'Connor joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in December 2021.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Nick Evans; Angus Walker; Sarah Clark; Duncan O’Connor


‘Immense strength in depth, comprehensive knowledge of parliamentary procedures, experienced in dealing with government depts’

‘Sarah Clark has exceptional ability and command of consenting process’

‘BDB Pitmans has enormous strength in depth in the field of infrastructure planning. The team has developed a strong knowledge-led practice that means they are always up-do-date with the latest developments in the law and practice.’

‘Angus Walker is one of the most senior and well respected infrastructure partners at any firm. He has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the law. Duncan O’Connor is very experienced in infrastructure planning matters. He is very well regarded and has a nice manner with clients.’

‘My experience of BDB Pitmans is that they are constantly present and available to you. Your core contacts are on hand, and no query is considered to large or small to be dealt with. They have a fantastic team of individuals working in the background to support the core team ensuring quick turnaround of advice.’

Key clients

National Highways

London Luton Airport

Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust

Northern Ireland Assembly

National Audit Office

Manchester local authorities

Riveroak Investments (developers of Manston Airport)

Clean Air Zone drafting for major cities throughout England

Bishop’s Stortford Town Council

Flood defence barriers for East Suffolk Council & Environment Agency

Network Rail and Northumberland CC

Northumberland County Council

Work highlights

  • Promoting the proposed Lower Thames Crossing for National Highways, their largest ever project and the largest investment in the road network since the M25.
  • Successfully promoted a private bill for Highgate Cemetery, giving it the necessary statutory rights to re-use burial spaces in one of the UK’s most historically important cemeteries.
  • Acting for a wide range of parties affected by Phases 2a and 2b of HS2

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Hampshire Tier 2

BDB Pitmans’ Southampton corporate and commercial team handles significant private equity transactions across sectors including retail and leisure, IT and telecoms, and marine and transport, as well as advising clients on broader corporate and commercial issues. Practice head Sean Kelly covers the range of work for the practice, and has particular experience in handling large private equity deals. Oliver Kelly specialises in M&A and management buy-ins and outs, with additional expertise in cross-border transactions and corporate restructuring.

Practice head(s):

Sean Kelly

Other key lawyers:


‘As a team they have the expertise to cover many different legal issues all in one place, which is essential in ensuring that our requirements are handled correctly.’

‘The people we deal with take the time to understand our issues, including the bigger picture, and by dealing with the same people each time, this makes the whole process a lot easier each time.’

Key clients

Wren Sterling

Premier Marinas

Red Funnel Ferries


Ski Weekends

Dr Wills

EV Chargers

Flit Technologies Limited (trading as Karhoo)

HCR Group Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised longstanding client Premier Marinas (Premier) on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of John Willment Marine Limited, which trades under Universal Marina.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Between London and Reading, Philip Lamb and Oliver Pilkington lead the ‘excellent team‘ at BDB Pitmans, which has recently been handling a large number of transactions in the retail and financial sector. In the Thames Valley, Pilkington focuses on equity capital markets and M&A work. Stephanie Perry is ‘the jewel on the crown‘ and in a recent highlight advised members of CVR Global on the sale of their interests to Begbies Traynor at £20.8m.

Practice head(s):

Philip Lamb; Oliver Pilkington

Other key lawyers:

Stephanie Perry; Daniela Munro; Jude Layas


‘BDB Pitmans corporate and commercial department is an excellent team of individuals who work well as a team. The service provided was exceptional even given some very challenging individuals we were having to work with.’

‘You are definitely not treated as ‘just another client’.’

‘All our work is headed up by Stephanie Perry and she is very much the jewel on the crown. I don’t think there’s much more I can say.’

Key clients

Light Science Technologies Holdings plc

IDE Group Holdings plc

Westcoast Holdings Ltd

finnCap Ltd

Ashdown Holdings Limited

Waylands Automotive

Novcyt SA

Guernsey Investment Fund

Garden Trading Company

Sipsmith Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Light Science Technologies Holdings plc on the successful admission of its shares to trading on AIM and the associated placing.
  • Acted for the sellers on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Off Grid Energy Ltd to Pramac Generac UK Limited.
  • Advised on the sale of The Garden Trading Company Limited to Joules Group plc.

Private client > Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Experts in matrimonial financial proceedings, BDB Pitmans also handles children’s proceedings, both in domestic and international cases. The ‘incredibly empatheticMatthew Heyworth leads the team and is renowned for his expertise in matrimonial finances practice. Owen Reynolds has recently joined the firm and adds his qualification as a collaborative lawyer to the firm’s services offering. Legal director Claire Burton comes particularly recommended for her expertise in complex private law children cases.

Practice head(s):

Matt Heyworth

Other key lawyers:

Owen Reynolds; Claire Burton; Zoe Rose; Kerry Haugh


‘Owen Reynolds is an experienced family law solicitor who inspires confidence in his clients. Opponents take him seriously and his attention to detail is second to none.’

‘An excellent company with very professional talented employees that you can trust thoroughly. I would highly recommend BDB Pitman’s to any person who needed expert legal services.’

‘Miss Kerry Haugh is an exceptionally knowledgeable, competent and extremely good solicitor. Kerry’s work ethics are first class, she provides excellent advice by walking you through all the pros and cons of the case by providing clear instructions on how to proceed. Kerry would also go one extra step to find the very best barrister to represent you at the most competitive cost available.’

‘My case necessitated the involvement of different specialist advice and BDB was able to offer everything under one practice. The communication and understanding within their organization was excellent and the advice received in all aspects was clear, concise and to a high standard. The barrister they proposed was incredible. I always felt they had my back covered.’

‘Matthew Heyworth was incredibly empathetic and listened carefully. His communication and support were outstanding whilst his expertise and tactical, focused approach were critical in getting my messy predicament finally resolved. Although we were unable to meet face to face I felt he was able to connect with me and my situation. He was honest and open, easy to communicate with.’

‘Matt Heyworth – very approachable, knowledgeable and pragmatic. Kerry Haugh – approachable, knowledgeable, good communication.’

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Hampshire Tier 2

The Southampton private wealth team at BDB Pitmans is headed by Emily Taylor and provides broad support to clients including HNW individuals and those with significant family wealth. A court-appointed deputy, Taylor specialises in matters concerning mental capacity, with expertise extending to tax planning, estate administration, and trusts. She is supported by associate Alex O’Sullivan, who has similarly broad experience, including in court of protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Emily Taylor; Alastair Collett; Hugo Smith

Other key lawyers:

Alex O’Sullivan


‘They are a good one-stop shop for most clients as they have expertise covering a broad range of different sectors which should cover most client requirements whether personal or commercial. They are large enough to provide a full range of services but still provide a truly personal service.’

‘Emily Taylor, a partner in the private client department, continues to impress. She is knowledgeable, business like but very personable and has a good bedside manner with clients.’

‘The team have fantastic attention to detail and are very approachable. Their knowledge is above par and able to carry out a wide range of services under one roof.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 2

Led out of London by Jonathan FewsterBDB Pitmans‘ real estate practice has a particular focus on residential property development. Sarah Potter heads up the Reading division and has a diverse practice, including acquisitions, disposals, landlord and tenant matters, as well as property management and finance. For specialist expertise in commercial development pertaining to hotels and landmark, as well as the motor industry, Delphine Mehouas comes recommended. Marcus McCluggage is the leading practitioner in the team for residential development.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fewster; Sarah Potter

Other key lawyers:

Delphine Mehouas; Marcus McCluggage; Victoria Moss; Imran Choudhary

Key clients

Cala Homes

Bewley Homes

Shanly Homes

Ashill Land

Oakford Homes

Vanderbilt Homes

Palatine Homes Limited

Brookworth Homes Limited

Garden Trading Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised CALA Homes Chiltern on a land purchase conditional on a satisfactory planning permission.
  • Advised Ashill Land Limited on the sale of land, including a planning permission for 67 dwellings and an agreement with a third party landowner to carry out biodiversity works.
  • Advised Garden Trading Limited on the real estate aspects of its sale of its entire share capital.

Real estate > Construction Tier 2

Situated within the firm's wider commercial real estate department, BDB Pitmans's construction and engineering practice is bolstered by its close links to the real estate, insolvency, and dispute resolution teams, and provides a full service contentious and non-contentious offering to a broad range of clients. Team lead Karen Kirkham, based in the London office, has experience acting for developers, funders, institutional investors, contractors, and consultants on a range of major projects. The team works across offices in London, Reading, and Southampton, with the latter enabling it to serve clients in the marine engineering sector, including ferry operators and marina owners and operators. Another key sector for the firm is hotels and leisure, where it assists clients with major high-end developments. David Gwillim is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Karen Kirkham

Other key lawyers:


‘Honed and well-established private client links, whilst maintaining strong corporate relationships; versatility in heavy litigation and also dispute management; creativity in engineering practical solutions (litigation and disputes).’

‘David Gwillim – highly personable; high attention to detail; active case manager; widely respected by the industry; a trusted lead in complex, multi-party litigation.’

‘Excellent legal knowledge and client care.’

Key clients

Smurfit Kappa UK Limited

Cowen International Limited

The Healthcare Management Trust

German investment fund

The Royal Opera House

London Theatre

Joint Venture

Cambridgeshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Preparing and negotiating all construction contracts and appointments for a major new factory in Wales.
  • Negotiated the development agreements and all construction documentation for two new extra care residential developments in the North West.
  • Advising on various high spec office fit outs, for Cowen International, stockbrokers in London, Microsoft Research Limited in Cambridge and others.

Real estate > Environment and planning Tier 2

BDB Pitmans‘ planning, infrastructure and public law team advises on matters including section 106 agreements, highways and rights of way, assets of community value, and the community infrastructure levy. Reading-based Christina Daniels leads the team, with specialisms in residential and mixed-use developments (including affordable housing), village greens, and assets of community value. Chris Holmes, also in Reading, was promoted to senior associate in 2021, and handles all aspects of planning, highway, and infrastructure matters.

Practice head(s):

Christina Daniels

Other key lawyers:


‘The team is very knowledgeable and focused on objectives.’

‘Very quick and focused responses to queries. Christina Daniels and Chris Holmes are a very effective team and communicate very clearly.’

‘Deep understanding of the public sector and massive strengthen in depth.’

‘Really good team who provide invaluable and knowledgeable advice and support, taking the lead on complex cases.’

‘Christina Daniels is someone who I have worked with for many years on a range of planning projects. She is someone I trust to find solutions and steer the project through any legal issues from Section 106 to Judicial Review. Chris Holmes is part of the same team and is also an excellent and professional person to work with.’

Key clients

CALA Group

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Highwood Group

Millgate Developments Limited

Shanly Homes Limited/Sorbon Estates Limited

Bewley Homes PLC

Ashill Land Limited

Deanfield Homes Limited

Fairview Homes Limited

Vanderbilt Homes Limited

JPP Land Limited

Peabody Developments Limited

Hesmond Stud Limited

Bioregional Hill LLP/Hill Residential Limited

Palatine Homes Limited

Danecroft Developments Limited

East Suffolk Council

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 2

At BDB Pitmans, 'the team works well together and with the client, sharing practical ideas to ease the transaction’. The firm is a key adviser to numerous technology companies in East Anglia, particularly those based in Cambridge's science and technology parks and innovation centres. Sole corporate partner Duncan Walker is 'a skilled partner with many years of pragmatic experience'. James Stephen is now a consultant with the firm. Walker advised Oilstone Medical Limited on an investment agreement and articles of association with more than 20 new and existing investors in a $58m Series D funding round.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Walker

Other key lawyers:

Ross Fletcher


‘The team works well together and with the client, sharing practical ideas to ease the transaction’

‘Duncan Walker is a skilled partner with many years of pragmatic experience, well supported by Ross Fletcher.’

Key clients

Owlstone Medical Limited

Gerda Security Products Limited

Natalma Bloodstock Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Owlstone Medical Limited on its $58 million Series D funding round.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

At BDB Pitmans, the Cambridge office has a prominent role in the firm’s national charities and social enterprise practice, which stands out for its ‘reliability, credibility and honesty, along with a great level of humility‘. The firm advises charities, not-for-profits, social enterprises and philanthropists on constitutional and governance matters, dealing with the regulators, and operational matters including on fundraising, pensions, data protection, property and employment law. The Cambridge practice is led by head of wills and trusts Lucinda Brown. Senior associate Kate Parkinson is ‘genuine and down to earth, and she has a real passion for charities‘. She supported Comité International Radio Maritime (CIRM) with governance advice, including updating the organisation’s articles of association and rules.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:


‘A strong team of reliability, credibility and honesty along with a great level of humility. Collaboration is good , always keen to explore ways of doing things differently to the benefit of the charities.’

‘Kate Parkinson is genuine, lovely and down to earth. Has a real passion for charities and helping and supporting where possible. very selfless. Great collaborator.’

‘I value Kate Parkinson’s in-depth knowledge which happens to fall within our work area since we are a not for profit organisation and she specialises in this and charities amongst other things. Kate’s attitude is can do and will help. She is always prompt in responding and courteous, with a friendly manner which I find very reassuring.’

‘The charities team in Cambridge, headed up on the ground by Kate Parkinson, is experienced and can deal with complex matters. They are responsive and open to dealing with charities operating in new and innovative areas.’

‘Kate Parkinson – great charity knowledge and a very practical, hands on approach.’

‘The BDB Pitmans Charities and not-for-profit team provide an excellent, thoughtful and tailored service for eminently fair fees. They consistently take the time to understand the deeper questions and provide solutions-driven practical advice that continues to be of great assistance to our charitable foundation.’

‘Kate Parkinson is a true rising star in her sphere. Her experience and knowledgeability coupled with her high levels of EQ and commerciality make her a fantastic advisor to work with.’

‘Kate Parkinson’s enthusiasm and friendly personality certainly made the serious professional process much more enjoyable. It was obvious that Kate had considerable personal ‘hands on’ experience to make her advice relevant and helpful.’

Key clients

Comité International Radio Maritime

The Stationers’ Foundation

UK Clinical Pharmacy Association

Saints Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised the Saints Foundation on its governance, as well as on a number of fundraising matters.
  • Advised Comité International Radio Maritime in updating its governance and it seeking the registration of new trade marks.
  • Advised The Stationers’ Foundation on the incorporation of its Scheme charity, as well as in respect of commitments to other associated charities established by statute.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Knowledgeable, experienced, proactive, empathetic, dependable and helpful are just some of the adjectives that spring readily to mind‘, remarks a client of BDB Pitmans in Cambridge. The firm acts for numerous charities and not-for-profit organisations, owner-managed businesses and clients in the agricultural sector. Practice head Lucinda Brown is ‘particularly hardworking and masters detail‘. The arrival of associate Cheryl Gayer from Weightmans in late 2021 added significant experience in disputes involving trustees, beneficiaries, executors, attorneys and charities. Her works spans mental capacity matters, breach of trust claims and proprietary estoppel claims.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown

Other key lawyers:


‘The whole team that we encountered at BDB Pitmans pulled together, under Lucinda Brown’s expert leadership to ensure that we were always kept fully up to date with the developing and evolving landscape. They took the time to listen and emphasise with our concerns, discussed our options & carefully guided us in the decision making process. Something we really appreciated.’

‘Knowledgeable, experienced, proactive, empathetic, dependable and helpful are just some of the adjectives that spring readily to mind when thinking about Lucinda Brown and her talented team.’

‘Lucinda Brown has a real gift for understanding the technical challenges and seeing the best method of resolution.’

‘Lucinda Brown at BDB Pitmans is a strong player in this area. She has exellent judgment and knowledge of the law.’

‘Establishing itself in the market and likely to soon become one of the recognised players for large and international work.’

‘Lucinda Brown – A very capable solicitor with the interests of her client always at the forefront. We conducted a mediation together and she was clear on the goals and how to achieve them and we got there in the end.’

‘Very strong contentious probate team.’

‘Lucinda Brown is particularly hardworking and masters detail.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 2

A client of BDB Pitmans remarks that ‘the openness of the firm is refreshing, along with the depth of experience and they have been very flexible and embraced new ways of communicating‘. The firm is frequently instructed by clients in the life sciences sector, handling landlord and tenant matters concerning Cambridge science parks. Practice head Simon Burson and senior associate Joe Taylor, whose advice is ‘first-class and everything is completed on time and on budget‘, acted for Kiss Communications in the lease of new office space in the centre of Cambridge. Legal director Katy Klingopulos handles site acquisition and development funding, and works closely with the firm’s construction, planning and plot sales teams.

Practice head(s):

Simon Burson

Other key lawyers:


‘I think the openness of the firm is refreshing, along with the depth of experience which gives them a broad appeal, they have been very flexible and embraced new ways of communicating like teams.’

‘Advice has been first class and everything has been completed on time and on budget.’

Key clients

Cambridge Molecular Diagnostics Ltd

Fin Capital Limited

Chassis-Cab Limited

Source BioScience Limited

Inotec AMD Limited

East Suffolk Council

Fore Hill Ely LLP (Laragh Homes)

Kurt Geiger

Eskmuir Properties

Highgate Trustees

Cowen International Limited

Patria Investments

Harrods Limited

Kiss Communications Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for East Suffolk Council on the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project, a £67m project to mitigate the risk of flooding in Lowestoft through the construction of a flood wall and tidal barrier.
  • Acting for Kiss Communications Limited in relation to a new lease of office space in the historic Pitt Building located in the centre of Cambridge.
  • Acting for Source BioScience Limited on the £5 million sale and leaseback of premises in Nottingham to facilitate an IPO being dealt with by the firm’s corporate team.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2

Praised for providing an ‘excellent and very personal service’ the team at BDB Pitmans provides the ‘highest quality of advice’. Penny Chapman heads the ‘very strong and specialised’ practice that has substantial experience across all areas of charity regulation (including safeguarding, serious incident reporting, political campaigning and all governance matters). It is also recommended for its ability to resolve trustee disputes as well as advising on charity investigations and helping charities with Charity Commission compliance. It acts for a range of large operational charities, grant-makers, funders and start-ups across all sectors including health, education, faith and the arts. Jonathan Brinsden receives many plaudits for his work in this area, and Nicola Evans is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Brinsden; Nicola Evans; Sarah Williams; Harriet Ainsworth


‘I’ve always worked directly with Jonathan Brinsden, who always ensures the service we receive is of the highest possible standards. He makes a point of checking in with me just to see how things are going on and during the two years of the pandemic, made a point of arranging virtual meetings to see if there was anything he could do to assist. I feel that Jonathan really cares about how the charity is doing’.

‘High quality advice on complex not for profit organisation matters. Sarah Williams provides high quality and prompt advice on complex not for profit organisation matters’.

‘The charity team is very strong with key charity law individuals such as Penny Chapman and Harriet Ainsworth’.

‘Penny Chapman is an excellent lawyer – very thorough and diligent and a heavy hitter who brings real presence to a meeting and has vast knowledge of the charity sector. Harriet Ainsworth is an excellent lawyer with an eye for detail who can think around difficult legal issues and find a practical application of the law making a strategic call on tactics to use for the client’s best advantage’.

‘Jonathan Brinsden is the partner we deal with and he is a calm, knowledgeable and reliable legal advisor for us’.

‘Jonathan is smart, responsive, witty – and all round a great person to work with. In fact it doesn’t feel like work at all most of the time. He is my go to man on all charity related issues and finds ways through whatever the issue. He is ably assisted by Harriet Ainsworth and whenever instructed I know that I will receive sensible, clear, articulate, and commercial advice in a timely manner. They are a pleasure to deal with’.

‘Penny Chapman is an outstanding charity lawyer and has a proven track record of guiding charitable trustees successfully through existential crises.’

‘Jonathan Brinsden is an outstanding solicitor, with outstanding professional sector knowledge and with a willingness to go the extra mile’.

Key clients

ABF The Soldiers Charity

Air Ambulances UK

Barts Charity

The Big Give Trust

Blind Veterans

British Film Institute

Burdett Trust for Nursing

Christ Church, Oxford

Goldsmiths Students Union

HALO Trust

Healthcare Management Trust

Holocaust Education Trust

Jewish Care

Landmark Trust

Macular Society

Make-A-Wish Foundation

McClay Foundation

MS Society

Nuffield Health

The Pret Foundation

Prison Advice and Care Trust

Royal National Theatre

RNRMC (Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity)

ROH (Royal Opera House)

Royal Star and Garter Homes

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

Work highlights

  • Advised The HALO Trust, one of the world’s leading landmine charities, following the withdrawal of US and UK troops and the Taliban takeover on its decision to continue to carry out vital landmine clearance work in Afghanistan.
  • Advising the Babyn Yar Memorial Holocaust Center with its efforts to expand its fundraising global footprint in support of its work to maintain the memorial, preserve the testimony of survivors and develop education programmes are of central importance to prevent such crimes from happening again.
  • Advised Nuffield Health on the successful defence of a Court of Appeal challenge to the charity’s entitlement to charity rates relief and in responding to a subsequent application to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Alastair Collett heads the department at BDB Pitmans that has a primary focus on the structuring and transmission of wealth both in an UK and in an international context. It excels in a diverse range of areas such as advising on estate planning and succession law as well as onshore and offshore pension schemes. Helen Ratcliffe, who is now a consultant, has an international client base and continues to be active in acting for clients from offshore trust jurisdictions, Europe, the Middle East, Far East and the US Marilyn McKeever has a broad international tax and succession practice with a particular focus on the US. Owen Byrne was promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Collett

Other key lawyers:

Helen Ratcliffe; Jonathan Colclough; Owen Byrne; Victoria Pursall; Hugo Smith; Marilyn McKeever


‘Good presence, and forward thinking. Strong on the private client and tax side’.

‘Jonathan Colclough – good on UK tax for a complicated crypto instruction’.

‘Advice is always relevant and timely considers all matters but cuts to the route of what advice is needed, advice set out in an appropriate manner so it is easy to understand and what needs to be actioned is identified’.

‘Helen Ratcliffe is a safe pair of hands alongside Victoria Pursall have provided excellent service cuts to the crux of any issue’.

‘Competent, Accessible. Hugo Smith – straightforward, helpful, forward thinking, competent’.

Public sector > Local government Tier 2

BDB Pitmans advises a large number of local authorities on the authorisation of major new transport infrastructure, promoting major transport schemes across roads, railways, airports and harbours. The team is also highly experienced in the creation of new government entities like Midlands Connect and England's Economic Heartland. Practice head David Mundy is one of the firm's four parliamentary agents advising on local authority powers, public procurement and State aid. Nick Evans is highly experienced advising on public law and major infrastructure projects, while associate Rahul Bijlani is a leading expert on Clean Air Zones. Duncan O’Connor has recently joined the team from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis; David Mundy

Other key lawyers:

Nick Evans; Duncan O’Connor; Tom Henderson; Rahul Bijlani


‘Duncan O’Connor is an excellent addition to BDB Pitmans’ team with a wealth of experience in infrastructure projects.’

‘BDB Pitmans are consistently thorough, dedicated and impressive.’

‘My work with Duncan O’Connor showed him to be an excellent solicitor. He has excellent interpersonal skills and works very hard but with a light touch. He is calm and measured and always looking for solutions.’

Key clients

Transport for Greater Manchester

Manchester City Council and other authorities affected by HS2

East Suffolk Council and Coastal Partnership East

Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council

Transport for London

Northumberland County Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Sheffield City Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council

London Luton Airport Limited

Trinity House

Work highlights

  • Advising East Suffolk Council and Coastal Partnership East (made up of Great Yarmouth, North Norfolk and East Suffolk Councils) on their proposed Flood Risk Management Scheme for Lowestoft involving the installation of a tidal barrier across the mouth to Lowestoft Harbour.
  • Advising Manchester City Council, Leeds City Council, Trafford Council, Wigan Council, and the Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire Combined Authorities on all aspects of the High Speed 2 railway project.
  • Advising Transport for Greater Manchester on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities on their Clean Air Plan, which will involve implementation of a single Clean Air Zone for the conurbations covering all 10 authorities, the biggest CAZ in the UK.

Real estate > Planning Tier 2

BDB Pitmans has ‘very deep collective knowledge and experience’ in the area of infrastructure planning and is best known for advising on DCOs for NSIPs, orders under the Harbours Act, and the Transport and Works Act. The team has considerable strength in the transport sector, with ‘great team leader’ Mark Challis, Angus Walker and Sarah Clark leading on the firm’s major schemes and promotions for TfL and National Highways; Walker is praised by clients for his ‘encyclopaedic knowledge’. Its growing energy practice is spearheaded by Richard Marsh and handles solar, carbon capture and hydrogen projects. Tom Henderson is ‘calm and decisive’ and continues to be instructed by London Luton Airport and also handles matters relating to air quality by way of clean air zones. Duncan O’Connor, who has a particular specialism in rail work, joined the team in December 2021 from Pinsent Masons LLP.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Angus Walker; Sarah Clark; Tom Henderson; Richard Marsh; Duncan O’Connor; Sophie Reese; Mustafa Latif-Aramesh; Nicholas Evans


‘Richard Marsh and Sophie Reese were great to work with. Their knowledge and experience was absolutely key to the project we worked together on. We couldn’t have done our work without them!’

‘We have instructed BDB Pitmans on a number of occasions. They have acted promptly and with the upmost professionalism in all endeavours on our behalf.’

‘BDB Pitmans have an extensive team of highly capable lawyers. Specifically, Richard Marsh has been outstanding.’

‘Very deep collective knowledge and experience of the infrastructure planning sector in particular.’

‘Mark Challis – a great team leader: measured, careful and sees the big picture. Tom Henderson-  his calm and decisive input is invaluable. Mustafa Latif-Aramesh- a rising star in the firm, who is supremely bright and thoughtful. Angus Walker- encyclopaedic knowledge of infrastructure planning.’

‘Duncan O’Connor – very good technical skills combined with an appreciation of the needs of the client. Nicholas Evans – strong on infrastructure.’

‘My experience of Duncan O’Connor is that he has a drive and determination to deliver against often challenging project timescales and he is pragmatic in his advice which helps enormously in taking risk based decisions.’

‘Richard Marsh – easy to deal with and quick to provide pragmatic advice.’

Key clients

National Highways

Transport for London

The Environment Agency

London Luton Airport Limited

Network Rail

RiverOak Strategic Partners (developers of Manston Airport)

Alternative Use Boston Projects Limited

London Borough of Lambeth

Transport for Greater Manchester

East Suffolk Council

Trinity House

Peel Holdings

National Resources Wales

National Grid



Work highlights

  • Advising on the Lower Thames Crossing DCO promotion.
  • Advising on Luton London Airport’s proposed major expansion to increase its passenger handling capacity to up to 32 million passengers per annum.
  • Advising the Environment Agency in obtaining a Transport and Works Act order for a flood defence barrier and related works at Bridgwater, Somerset.

Real estate > Residential property Tier 2

The London office of BDB Pitmans primarily acts for very wealthy individuals, corporates, investors and trusts that are buying and selling property in prime and super prime central London. It is also recognised for its experience in lease extensions, enfranchisement, refinancing, landlord and tenant matters in addition to advising on block management  issues, the acquisition of property portfolios and SPV asset purchases. Practice head Hema Anand handles a variety of high-profile and high-value residential transactions and is adept at advising on complicated landlord and tenant matters. John Stephenson is another prominent member of the department and Tristan Ward is also a known name for his work on a range of ultra-high-net-worth deals.

Practice head(s):

Hema Anand

Other key lawyers:


‘Very efficient, keep clients under control. Personable, will communicate at any time of day or week’.

‘Practical knowledge, legal knowledge, depth of team. Tristan Ward is very practical and an excellent lawyer’.


Key clients

Swiss company

Private couple

Private UHNW clients

UHNW Family

UHNW Family

Private couple

Private UHNW clients

Residents freehold company

Residential Property Developer

Investment Company (with sole director)

Work highlights

  • Advising on £38m refinance of significant portfolio (worth 60m) in PCL
  • Advising on the sale of unique property in London worth £40m.
  • Advising on complicated asset share sale of an overseas company holding a property worth in excess of £35m

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Hampshire Tier 3

BDB Pitmans‘ Southampton commercial litigation offering acts for clients including high-net-worth individuals and SMEs alongside prominent insurers. The team has particular experience in insolvency, product liability, and directors’ and shareholders’ disputes, as well as those arising from fraudulent insurance and professional negligence issues. Qualified mediator Rick Munro heads up the team in Southampton, while Phil Smith leads nationally from the Reading office. Legal director Claire Collings is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Rick Munro; Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:


‘BDB Pitmans have an experienced and highly competent team of litigators who regularly handle high value, complex disputes. The BDB Pitmans litigation team is known for its innovative and pragmatic problem solving skills used to achieve the best outcome for their clients. The team have a wide range of experience and are competent in handling all types of litigation from subrogated property damage claims to commercial and residential property matters to shareholder and partnership disputes.’

‘Hugely knowledgable in the areas in which they operate. Enthusiastic, dynamic and experienced. Excellent with clients.’

‘Technically strong. Very approachable and highly commercial.’

‘Efficiency and approachability. Cases well prepared.’

‘Rick Munro, a partner, is a very experienced and tactically astute litigator. He provides a dedicated, good value and painstaking service to his clients, however demanding they may be, and however difficult they may be to handle, while at the same time being a very pleasant person to work with. He gives 100% commitment to his clients.’

‘Rick Munro: huge experience and competence. Good communicator with an excellent rapport with clients. Claire Collings: a very experienced and capable litigator in product liability and insurance. A safe pair of hands for difficult claims.’

‘I have worked most closely with Claire Collings who has fantastic attention to detail, an impressive wide range of experience and who works extremely hard to achieve the best results for her clients.’

‘I have worked with Claire Collings – the legal director at the Hampshire practice. I have found her to be thorough and knowledgeable. She is willing to go the extra mile for clients and actively to pursue lines of investigation when doors initially seem firmly closed.’

Key clients


Covéa Insurance

Mildren Construction

Mears Group

Premier Marinas Limited

Red Funnel Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of SAGA and one other insurer in relation to a claim against a statutory water undertaker in relation to an escape of water causing a sinkhole.
  • Acting on behalf of Premier Marinas Limited advising in relation to a sub-underlessee of a property who is in breach of covenant not to cause nuisance or annoyance and who has now destroyed the property and damaged surrounding properties by starting a fire.
  • Acting on behalf of Geodomi Limited in relation to the recovery of payment of substantial outstanding invoices having regard to the impact and restrictions of Covid-19.

Employment > Employment: Hampshire Tier 3

BDB Pitmans‘ employment team is experienced in contentious and non-contentious work, from dismissals and discrimination cases to HR advice and support. The team has increased its work in the corporate sector, with experience including due diligence issues and TUPE work. The practice is led at the national level by Brian Gegg in London and Caroline Yarrow, who splits her time between London and Southampton. Legal director Claire Wagstaff leads in the south, where she is well regarded across contentious and non-contentious matters. Chris Greep, who was recently promoted to associate, is also a key contact, especially for corporate-related work.

Practice head(s):

Brian Gegg


‘The team is very practically minded, and has a very positive, collaborative atmosphere. During the twists and turns of litigation, the partners and associates communicate easily and quickly with counsel and each other. The approach taken to litigation is very practical, and the client’s priorities are definitely at the forefront of the team’s mind. In short, they are a pleasure to work with, and are good at what they do.’

‘BDB Pitmans always has the services and capabilities which are required by a business such as ours. Services are provided professionally, in line with expectations and at a fair price.’

‘The team are always attentive, quick to respond and they strategise in an intelligent way.’

‘Special commendation for Brian Gegg and Claire Wagstaff who provide an expert and speedy service, exuding a personal interest in the subject matters for which advice is sought.’

‘Caroline Yarrow, partner, works quickly and efficiently to progress cases. Chris Greep, associate, is very friendly, and easy to work with.’

Chris Greep is a hardworking junior who prepares cases thoroughly. His understanding of cases and common-sense approach to litigation strategy makes him a standout solicitor.’

‘The practice provides a personal, professional and efficient service.’

‘Many of our members are in a difficult situation and therefore they need someone who can support them through a process that many have no idea how to navigate. Finding someone who is compassionate and can explain technical language in an accessible way is essential. We have this with BDB Pitmans, and in particular Chris Greep.’

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

Brian Gegg leads the BDB Pitmans employment team out of London, a practice deeply embedded in tech, entertainment, transport, manufacturing, and the pharmaceutical sector that handles both non-contentious work and litigation. A newcomer in the firm’s Reading office, associate Laura Binnie has extensive expertise in employment tribunal proceedings, particularly matters pertaining to disability discrimination. Recommended for her knowledge in employment aspects of corporate transactions comes associate Asten Hawkes.

Practice head(s):

Brian Gegg

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Le Riche; Laura Binnie; Asten Hawkes


‘The team was extremely approachable and ensured that I understood all the legal terminology that was being used and what the options were that was available to me at the time.’

‘Asten Hawkes really listened to the details of my case and me as a person and my side of the story of the experiences I had endured. She had a lot of empathy with me and was always contactable and open for when I needed to talk. Nicholas Leriche was always there in the background for extra support if required. I was always aware of the billing process and costs involved and there was never any surprises, everything was agreed upfront.’

‘The team was very helpful and seemed to go the extra mile rather than being all about the money.’

‘Honest, sincere & very knowledgeable in their field to be able to offer a wide range of advice & guidance.’

‘Asten Hawkes was incredibly caring and professional and listened to my case and used that pull my case together leading to a great success to win. She was also available at all hours to answer any queries and to help clarify and legal jargon.’

‘Asten Hawkes took time to listen to my experience, to use her own experience dealing with such matters to advise best course of action. Took time to answer all my questions. She was empathetic whilst remaining professional. At all times she engendered trust. I also appreciated the time she took, I never felt rushed, how thorough she was, and her friendly nature made her easy to talk to about a very difficult situation. I would recommend her/or make use of her services, should the need ever arise again.’

‘Laura Binnie gave solid advice about the merits of my case.’

‘I am very pleased with the strength provided.’

Key clients

Sol-Tec Limited

Ultima Business Solutions Limited

Novacyt S.A.

Panalux Limited

Waylands Automotive Limited

Jonas Group UK

Constellation Inc.

Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust

Jones Lang LaSalle Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Providing daily HR support to an entertainment company group, including reorganization, grievances and disciplinary matters, discrimination, and termination as well as policies.
  • Providing regular HR support to an aviation company on all aspects of employment law, including contractual changes, bonus scheme implementation, flexible working, and grievances.
  • Advised the shareholders of an energy consultancy company on the employment aspects of a corporate share sale.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

BDB Pitmans wills and trust disputes practice includes a number of key practitioner across the South East, including Reading-based commercial litigator Tim Clark, and legal director Claire Collings and contentious insolvency specialist Rick Munro in Southampton.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown


‘They take the time to listen to your problem and the concerns that surround it. Responses were clear, bills itemised which made the process seamless.’

‘Very good, realistic advisors. Very pleasant to work with.’

‘Approachability and efficiency’

‘Claire Collings – thoughtfulness, attention to detail, thorough and careful preparation’

‘Tim Clark puts clients at their ease and is very commercially savvy.’

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 Tier 3

Sheilagh Magee heads up the team at BDB Pitmans, offering  additional expertise in property law when dealing with landed estates. A highly active member of the team, senior associate Alexander Morgan handles wills, trusts, and is particularly notable for his work regarding multi-jurisdictional tax and estate administration.

Practice head(s):

Sheilagh Magee

Other key lawyers:


‘Sheilagh Magee and Alexander Morgan are two very involved lawyers.’

‘All I can say is that I have found the BDB team, led by Sheilagh Magee, have been extremely efficient during the whole procedure. Correspondence was prompt, clear and well explained and I always felt confident in their abilities and professionalism at all times. All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their friendly and reliable services.’

‘Highly professional organization showing integrity, compassion, respect, and full knowledge of current legal and legislative rights and aid available.’

‘I have only had dealings with Sheilagh Magee and have found her to be genuinely concerned for her clients welfare and she has gone above and beyond the remit of her role in my opinion.’

‘The practitioners I deal with have excellent oral and written communication skills. Professional, precise and clear. I have worked closely with Sheilagh Magee. Very innovative and devised methods of assisting clients at all times during the Covid crisis. She has a large client basis and is very committed to the needs of her Court of Protection patients.’

‘Alexander Morgan has acquired a confident manner of dealing with areas of foreign law cases supported by an increasing depth of knowledge in this specialist area of probate.’

‘The trusts and probate team have been impressive in their efficiency, knowledge, and energy and perseverance in collaborating with sub-continental lawyers and pursuing my objectives, particularly given the difficulties with local legal requirements experienced along the way. Their use of technology in communicating with organizations on the other side of the world is also most efficient.’

‘There appears to be ongoing technological training at all levels. The private client department is very well aligned to deliver a comprehensive service for what its customers wish.’

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 3

With a strong team of property litigation lawyers working from the firm’s Reading office, BDB Pitmans is well equipped to advise its broad client base of developers, businesses, and individuals. Phil Smith heads up the national litigation team, and draws on his wider experience in commercial litigation to act for clients including insolvency practitioners and housebuilders, who he advises on matters arising from site acquisitions and developments. David Gwillim leads the firm’s contentious construction practice, and has experience in arbitration, mediation, adjudication and expert determination matters. Legal director David Williams covers the range of property disputes including landlord and tenant issues, dilapidations, and lease renewals, and has particular experience in distressed situations and insolvencies. Associate Sophie Squire is well regarded for her broad experience.

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith


‘The team has strength in depth and is adept at allocating the right level of experience to the issue.’

‘Phil Smith and Sophie Squire are approachable and efficient.’

Key clients

Grandir UK Limited

Karali Group

Bewley Homes Plc

Brookworth Homes (Ovingdean) Limited

CALA Homes

Fairview New Homes

Montreaux Estates

Work highlights

  • Advising Fairview New Homes group on substantial litigation arising out of cladding and façade issues following changes to Building Regulations after the Grenfell Tower fire.
  • Acting for Grandir UK in defence of statutory noise nuisance proceedings connected to a nursery site.
  • Acted for CALA Homes in a High Court claim seeking specific performance by a local authority of obligations in a Section 106 Agreement.

Employment Tier 3

BDB Pitmans has an experienced partner, Caroline Yarrow, who now works across both the London and Cambridge offices. The firm frequently handles matters concerning employees and consultants, including senior executives, at all stages of an employment/consultancy relationship. This includes negotiating and advising on the initial engagement contract, as well as disciplinary, grievance or whistleblowing matters. It also advises on the negotiation of settlement terms, and provides extensive HR support to corporate clients. Furthermore, it assists both claimants and respondents with Employment Tribunal and High Court cases.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Yarrow


‘From the initial interaction through to conclusion of the matter, communication was clear, concise and prompt.’

‘Caroline Yarrow took the time to understand my position, provided tailored advice, considered the wider picture and achieved a positive outcome in the negotiations. Fair for both sides. She communicated in line with expectations set or sooner if matters enabled such. Seamless service at what can be a difficult time for an individual engaging solicitors on employment matters.’

‘Caroline Yarrow is an exceptional lawyer.’

‘Caroline Yarrow has great knowledge of employment law and in particular the issues I was facing. Her guidance at a very difficult time for me was very reassuring. She provided great support which also emphasised my rights at work. But the best advice she had given me was to talk to my employers, to break the ice and defuse the situation and to discuss my options with them which at times was very hard to do but which worked. A very ugly and uncomfortable situation turned out to be bearable. It all worked out and I received a good package. Thank you Caroline for getting me through what would have been a very difficult and expensive legal case, if it wasn’t for your advice, support and kindness. I will definitely be recommending Caroline to my friends and family.’

‘Caroline Yarrow came recommended and provided a professional and courteous service. Caroline provided continual and appropriately measured responses and communications to myself and the other party involved at an appropriate cadence.’

‘The team headed by Caroline Yarrow provides a level of expertise that equals the standards that draws large clients to London.’

‘Caroline Yarrow is a sound lawyer and sage tactician. She sees the strengths and vulnerabilities of the client\s case and is not afraid of providing her advise in clear terms when there is judgement call to be made in the midst of litigation.’

‘Just fantastic overall. The way the partner with your business is brilliant and make their support so easy for me as the customer. Their knowledge, honesty and guidance is invaluable and has provided the insight we need at the times we need it to help us be successful.’

Key clients

Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd

Lifetime Training Limited

Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

Health and Care Professions Council

Connected Places Catapult

Jones Lang LaSalle

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

National Audit Office

St John Ambulance

Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers

Work highlights

  • Providing strategic advice and assistance to Smurfit Kappa UK Limited, a leading multi-national corporate in the manufacturing sector, offering innovative packing, paper and recycling solutions, on all of its UK employment law and HR needs.
  • Provided extensive assistance to the then shareholders of a key energy consultancy business on the employment aspects of a corporate share sale.
  • Advising and defending a retail and leisure client on and defending an East Anglian Retail and Leisure client in an employment tribunal claim for constructive dismissal and disability discrimination.

Corporate and commercial > M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 3

BDB Pitmans’ corporate team handles a varied mix of public and private M&A; team head Philip Lamb, who has over 30 years’ experience, has particular expertise advising entrepreneurs on their equity and debt investments into early stage and high growth companies, particularly in the technology and biotech sectors. Nick McCarthy has wide experience in UK and cross border acquisitions and disposals, acting for both public and private companies. Tessa Trevelyan Thomas has led the team in developing a specialism in e-commerce M&A and in particular Amazon aggregation M&A – a niche area of M&A which has grown exponentially in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Philip Lamb


‘Full-service firm across a broad range of legal areas. Provides seamless one-stop-shop solutions. Partners seem to truly collaborate internally which is felt outside of the firm by clients. Proactively embraced a new industry we were exploring as a client and made it their own as specialisation area.’

‘Tessa Trevelyan Thomas provides a down to earth and friendly approach with a focus on practical solutions for legal issues to minimise time and expenditure. She really focuses on what the client needs and quickly builds a relationship as a trusted advisor that can be relied upon.’

‘All partners are truly personable and give clients the impression of dedication and focus associated with a boutique firm, with the added benefit of the ability to deliver a full service offering.’

Key clients

Harwood Capital

Frenkel Topping PLC

Source Bioscience PLC


Candy Ventures Sarl

Ten Entertainment Group PLC

Grandir UK


Dwarfs BV

EKF Diagnostics PLC

Xpediator PLC

Sullivan Street Partners Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Harwood Capital on its proposed public takeover of AIM listed GYG plc. The offer was to be structured as a scheme of arrangement with an unlisted securities alternative.
  • Advised new private equity client, Sullivan Street on the purchase of Osborne Infrastructure Limited, a leading regional civil engineering and transport infrastructure business, for £31.8 million.
  • Advised the seller of the Colapz brand (selling on Amazon and wholesale) to UK Amazon aggregator Olsam – Olsam’s largest and most complex deal to date.

Employment > Immigration

BDB Pitmans‘ immigration offering sits within the firm’s business advisory: employment and immigration group. The team is led by Tim Hayes, who was promoted to partner in June 2021, while private wealth expert Alastair Collett is a key contact for private clients. Business work includes sponsor licence applications and management issues for clients ranging from charities to property management and consulting businesses. On the personal immigration side, the firm acts for a range of private clients on complex applications and appeals.

Practice head(s):

Tim Hayes

Other key lawyers:


‘This is a very knowledgeable team who have an expansive level of knowledge. If they are unsure then they are very comfortable being open about that and have a wide network to pull upon. They can advise on immigration as well as UK employment issues. They take a pragmatic approach, which reflects the individual business needs.’

‘Approachability and empathy in what is often a far from logical overlap of political, social and legal issues.’

‘The individuals here are very easy to speak to and listen to the issue, tailoring their responses to the individual circumstances. They offer pragmatic and appropriate advice, giving different options and helping you find a way forward for your business. They will give context so, you as a client, are learning as well.’

‘Just so nice and understanding, yet knowledgeable, proactive and helpful.’

‘BDB Pitmans’ immigration team have provided consistently excellent service throughout the course of our relationship. The team retains and elevates its solicitors, enabling both continuity and refinement of skillset.’

‘On immigration and visa work: empathy, knowledge, professionalism, practical experience.’

‘The standout partner with whom I am working is Tim Hayes. He is extremely knowledgeable, as well as remarkably quick to respond and generally attentive.’

‘Tim Hayes is always very responsive, well informed about his practice area, and mindful of the unique needs of our business. He provides practical and easily understood advice, enabling our business to make well informed decisions in relation to immigration matters.’

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 3

Tristan Ward and Paddy Lynam lead the department at BDB Pitmans that acts for various high-profile landowning families and international clients some of whom are successful entrepreneurs who invest for pleasure and profit. It also regularly advises agricultural members’ organisations on matters related to property and taxation and helps landowners to realise development opportunities. Hugo Smith specialises in estate and tax planning with a particular specialism in landed estates and heritage assets.

Practice head(s):

Tristan Ward; Paddy Lynam

Other key lawyers:


‘Flexible and responsive team with specialist experience of landed estates and development work including option and promotion agreements. Paddy Lynham is a stand-out partner for landed estates covering purchases, sales and development work with particular experience of options, promotions and overage agreements. He takes an analytical yet commercial approach to achieve the best outcome for his clients‘.

‘Straightforward and pragmatic advice. Accessible partners. Patrick Lynam. Excellent property transactional knowledge – safe pair of hands’.

‘Well thought out practical advice. Tristan Ward – thoughtful and considered advice with the landowner at its heart’.

Very strong on both the overview and the attention to detail with the ability to recognise and adhere to meeting the clients’ needs and requirements. Tristan Ward is one of the best solicitors I have worked with for over twenty years; always thinking of the client and what they need to achieve and often going above and beyond what the clients think they need, but he is able to guide and advise to an exceptional standard’.

‘Tristan Ward – outstanding knowledge of issues arising on the purchase and sale of landed estates. Gives practical advice and support throughout the process. Very good support on the issues that come up on estates on a regular basis’.

Professional and experienced yet modern, approachable and quick to respond. Paddy Lynam  – looks for solutions, doesn’t dwell on issues, works effectively to make clients’ objectives and wishes happen. Straightforward, straight talking advice. Tristan Ward – very experienced and one of the most knowledgeable solicitors I have come across’.

‘Great practical knowledge of their subject, agricultural estates, a depth of knowledge and ability to deal with all matters that arise in this complex field. Tristan Ward and Paddy Lynam are both incredibly experienced with a deep understanding of practical matters of farming and rural matters coupled with an excellent understanding of the law’.

Key clients

A charity with a focus on agricultural enterprise

Public sector > Administrative and public law Tier 3

BDB Pitmans is equally proficient in both contentious and non-contentious mandates in the public law arena; in both instances, the expertise is drawn from the firm’s Parliamentary and healthcare regulation practices. Public Inquiries and inquests form a significant part of the team’s regular work roster. Matthew Smith oversees the group, while Sinéad Lester works closely with Government agencies on sensitive issues concerning public interest immunity. Richard Langley is particularly skilled in judicial review, regularly handling high profile cases for clients including Network Rail and the Metropolitan Police.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Smith

Other key lawyers:

Sinéad Lester; Richard Langley; Natasha Davis


‘Innovative, hard working and popular with clients, BDB have a sold public law offering.’

‘Richard Langley is an ideal practitioner: always calm and reliable, he has good judgement and exceptional legal knowledge.’

‘The team has particular expertise in inquests and public inquiries, and in public law relating to those subjects. This is one of the few teams experienced in acting as solicitors to the inquiry, a role which involves managing large-scale investigations, disclosure exercises and hearings.’

‘Sinead Lester is particularly impressive in the way she masters voluminous material in a major inquiry, marshalling the facts and issues with a laser focus. Her judgment on potential areas of legal challenge is superb. Natasha Davis combines exceptional intellectual rigour, diligence and good humour. Her attention to detail is second to none.’

‘The team is approachable, easy to deal with and tailored to individual needs without compromising on the quality of its lawyers and legal services. They have particular strengths in “people” cases.’

‘Sinead Lester has the ideal pairing of realism and commercial acumen alongside an understanding of people and what they want to get from a process.’

‘Natasha Davis is able to turn her hand to anything quickly. She has an amazing ability to manage her own case load whilst simultaneously being a valuable associate to partners working on other matters. She leads a team of junior lawyers naturally and effectively.’

‘Authoritative and knowledgeable – consistent team, always able to apply public law requirements to our specific circumstances and statutory position in a meaningful and helpful way.’

Key clients

Former Chief Coroner of England and Wales (HHJ Mark Lucraft QC)

Various former Detainee Custody Officers at Brook House Detention Centre

The Forde Inquiry

Natural Resources Wales

Financial Conduct Authority

AP Wireless (UK)

Clean Air Zone work for major cities throughout England

Manchester Ship Canal

Nuffield Health

Trinity House

Work highlights

  • Acted as solicitors to the coroner as part of the inquests into the deaths arising from the terrorist attack at Fishmongers’ Hall in 2019.
  • Representing various individuals formerly employed by G4S as Detainee Custody Officers in the Brook House Public Inquiry.
  • Advising on various aspects of The Forde Inquiry.

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 3

BDB Pitmans specialises in complex governance and charity law matters, as well as providing commercial advice relating to supply agreements, intellectual property considerations and data protection. The team is led by Penny Chapman, who specialises in providing charity law advice to independent schools and charitable institutions in the education sector. Jonathan Fewster offers particular expertise in the real estate sector. Associate Alice Unwin assists on many of these matters, including mergers and acquisitions and governance health checks and reviews.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Bolton School

Moulsford Preparatory School

Beechwood Park School

Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS)

The Mount School (York)

Finton House Educational Trust

The Independent Schools Bursars Association

Cripplegate Schools Foundation – Lady Eleanor Holles

Westminster School

Work highlights

  • Providing a range of charity, governance and property advice to Westminster School. Recent work has included advising on: charity law compliance in relation to property transactions; the School’s relationship with connected charities; completing the Privy Council application to update the School’s statutes.
  • Advising Finton House Educational Trust on employment, pension law and governance considerations in relation to the Teachers Pensions Scheme, as well as supporting the School with a wide range of employment matters as they arise, including advising on furlough leave, issues arising from COVID-19 and managing staff.
  • Working with AGBIS (the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools) on a detailed Governance Manual (comprising 22 policies) that has been made available as a model for all its of its member schools.

Real estate > Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 3

BDB Pitmansreal estate team has particular expertise in charities and the not-for profit sector; department head Jonathan Fewster advises on disposals and lettings of surplus land, joint venture opportunities, and restructuring. Fewster is ‘value driven and outcome focused’ with his wide experience in acting for corporate occupiers on landlord and tenant work. Associate Emma Roche specialises in advising domestic and offshore private wealth sector clients on real estate matters and corporate occupiers on leasehold structures. Associate Sarah Godfrey is an ‘absolute property guru’  with expertise in granting and taking leases of commercial and mixed-use property.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fewster

Other key lawyers:

Ellen James; Bhaminee Sharma; Dennis Ko; Emma Roche; Sarah Godfrey


‘The team has strengths in many different areas and has good communication, so that a specialist cab be easily consulted if your main contact cannot answer a particular query.’

‘Sarah Godfrey is an absolute property guru, who gives well balanced expert advice and sees every facet of a situation. She is unfailingly calm, perceptive and personable.’

‘Great on diversity, knowledge, expertise and very relationship focused.’

‘Very accessible, knowledgeable and responsive. Emma Roche is stand out in terms of her client service, focus, knowledge and approachability.’

‘Very friendly and engaging style and manner. Particularly appreciate working with Jonathan Fewster. Value driven and outcome focused’

Key clients

Smurfit Kappa UK Limited

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

Menai Markets (UK) Limited

Ayming UK

Wisdomtree UK Limited

Nine Food Group Limited

Croudace Properties Limited

Faber and Faber Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Smurfit Kappa UK Limited taking new leases of a new build storage facilities in Derbyshire and Norfolk.
  • Advised Faber and Faber Limited taking a new HQ office lease at 51-53 Hatton Garden, London EC1.
  • Advised Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity taking a new lease of part of 40 Bernard Street, London.

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 4

Real estate > Commercial property: Hampshire Tier 4

Jonathan Fewster heads BDB Pitmans' real estate development department from the firm's London office. Deputy head Sarah Potter is based in Reading, where she heads the firm's Hampshire offering. The team acts for a client base including housebuilders and developers, port and harbour authorities, and local authorities. Sarah Potter brings broad experience including development agreements, conditional prelets, student accommodation, and property finance transactions. John Newton is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fewster

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Premier Marinas Limited

Isle of Wight Council

Ashill Land

Westbourne Group Limited (Westbourne Homes)

Brookworth Homes Limited

CALA Group Limited (Cala Homes)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Premier Marinas Limited in its acquisition of another operational marina and boat yard on the River Hamble.
  • Advised the Isle of Wight Council on letting a waterfront location with deep water access to provide a base on the Island for a leading ship builder.

Corporate and commercial > Equity capital markets – small-mid cap Tier 4

Recommended as ‘very experienced across a range of ECM transactions’, BDB Pitmans is known for advising sponsors, companies and directors in relation to IPOs, secondary fundraisings, the Takeover Code and other regulatory matters relating to public companies and the ECM. The firm has particular experience in AIM transactions. Philip Lamb leads the team that includes Nick McCarthy, who is ‘always available and strong on both detail and giving advice’.

Practice head(s):

Philip Lamb

Other key lawyers:


‘The team is highly responsive, well resourced and punch above their weight. They are very experienced across a range of ECM transactions and offer good commercial advice.’

‘Nick McCarthy is always available and strong on both detail and giving advice. Nick has advised on some difficult transactions but his team always perform.’

‘Client focused and practical. All about getting the job done.’

‘Focused on getting the job done – practical. Good response times.’

Key clients

Sourcebio International PLC

Verici DX PLC

Contango Holdings Plc

Ten Entertainment Group PLC

EKF Diagnostics PLC

Immupharma plc

Circassia Group Plc

AssetCo Plc


Zeus Capital Markets

Arden Partners PLC

WH Ireland

Tavira Securities

Mila Resources PLC

North Atlantic Smaller Companies Investment Trust PLC

Frenkel Topping Plc

FIH Group Plc

Quadrise Fuels International PLC

Strand Hanson

Spark Advisory

Oberon Securities

Employment > Senior executives Tier 4

Advising a mix of corporate and charity sector clients, BDB Pitmans handles a range of Employment Tribunal work, including whistleblowing and discrimination cases, as well as providing experience in dealing with post-termination restriction issues and covenants generally. Brian Gegg is practice head and focuses on advising senior individuals and board level executives on service agreement terms, incentive arrangements and exit deals.

Practice head(s):

Brian Gegg

Other key lawyers:

Jesper Christensen; Ian Wasserman


‘The quality of the partners and the way they share their collective knowledge is impressive. There is a tangible feel of support and co-operation between colleagues.’

‘Ian Wasserman did an outstanding job in advising me during a complex Employment dispute. Ian’s empathetic approach and calm manner were reassuring, enabling me to fully focus on the in-depth explanations of my legal position. Absolute clarity of vision and I was able to work effectively with him to reach the right decisions swiftly.’

‘Jesper Christensen is a consummate professional and a great credit to his org and profession – no ask is too much, and he responds at pace. He is highly articulate, managing to explain complex issues with simplicity. when talking to him you get no sense of rush- he makes you feel important.’

Private client > Art and cultural property Tier 4

Hugo Smith and Susan Johnson co-head the art and cultural property offering at BDB Pitmans that works closely with its private wealth, charities and other departments to advise clients on a wide spectrum of issues such as the sale and purchase of art as well as the formation of charities to hold art and cultural property. It is also skilled at advising public sector bodies on commissioning agreements for public art in addition to providing tax and structuring advice to the owners of art and cultural property.

Practice head(s):

Hugo Smith; Susan Johnson


‘They have very good people in it who have art experience. Very knowledgeable people’.

‘As private client solicitors, most of their clients are long standing and their sound advice and guidance is beneficial to each family generation’.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 4

Lucinda Brown leads the wills and trusts disputes practice at BDB Pitmans. It advises on the full spectrum of claims from trusts disputes often with an offshore element to professional negligence claims involving trusts, claims under the Inheritance Act and probate litigation. Clients include charities of all sizes, HNW individuals, executors and trustees. The group also works closely with the firm’s charities, agricultural and private wealth teams and is frequently advising on cases involving agricultural estates.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown


‘Lucinda Brown now heads the Contentious Trust and Probate Team – experienced and committed solicitor’.

‘Lucinda Brown leads a talented team’.

‘Lucinda Brown gives firm clear advice and is very able and committed’.

‘Lucinda Brown is the recognised head of a small team. She is friendly and approachable and has a good knowledge of the practice area. We have no hesitation in referring work to her knowing that she will do the best for her clients’.

‘Lucinda Brown – a safe pair of hands and with a good eye for how to get a result’.

Transport > Rail Tier 4

BDB Pitmans focuses on the planning and authorisation aspects of rail schemes. It is particularly well equipped to help its clients in obtaining authorisations for major infrastructure projects (covering both light and heavy rail). In addition it has five ‘Roll A’ Parliamentary Agents who offer substantial experience in the promotion and opposition of railway bills. Mark Challis heads the team that was pleased to add Duncan O’Connor to its ranks from Pinsent Masons LLP. O’Connor has a wealth of experience in the rail sector too.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Duncan O’Connor; Sarah Clark; Nick Evans


‘Great experience in the rail infrastructure sector, who have driven through many of the most important railway schemes to consent in recent years’.

‘Mark Challis – measured and careful lawyer who leads an excellent team. Sarah Clarke- clever, hardworking and engaging’.

‘Very strong on Parliamentary work. Good knowledge of the intricacies of parliamentary procedure’.

‘Nicholas Evans a practical and balanced approach combined with detailed knowledge of rail industry issues and parliamentary procedure’.

‘Duncan O’Connor has been a stand out on the basis that he is pragmatic when exercising advice on issues and this helps enormously when taking risk based decisions. He is also accessible and quick to respond to queries which makes the client feel they are always a priority’.

‘The team consists of all of the necessary skills/backgrounds required of a large scale infrastructure project and all of those involved have illustrated their significant expertise and experience to the benefit of the project/client’.

‘Duncan O’Connor is very knowledgeable and diligent but is also very approachable and easy to work with. The latter helps enormously when working together on long and relatively high pressured projects’.

Key clients

Network Rail

Transport for London

Transport for Greater Manchester

HS2 Petitioners – various

Transport for Wales

Northumberland County Council

Nottingham City Council

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Work highlights

  • Advise a wide variety of parties affected by HS2 Phases 1, 2a and 2b. These include Transport for Greater Manchester, who are negotiating agreements for the protection and extension of the Manchester Metrolink required as a result of HS2.
  • Advising Transport for London on the Bakerloo Line extension since 2014. It will be promoted by way of a TWAO in due course. In the meantime it is advising on various aspects of the scheme, that was formally safeguarded by the Secretary of State in March 2021.
  • Advising Northumberland County Council on the Northumberland Line, a project involving the construction of six new stations and other works to enable the reintroduction of passenger services on a 30km section of line between Ashington and Newcastle.

Private client > Family: Hampshire

With the 2020 hire of legal director Helen Cort from Paris Smith LLP, BDB Pitmans is building on its Reading and Hampshire-based family practice.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 5

BDB Pitmans' commercial litigation practice is experienced in disputes involving group claims, major commercial contracts, professional negligence, and shareholder, partnership and joint venture conflicts. The firm also acts in banking and finance litigation, debt and asset recovery matters, and IT disputes. Commercial litigation head Sinéad Lester 'has a really sharp and analytical mind'; Richard Langley is a contractual and corporate litigation specialist; and Irwin Mitchell's former London commercial litigation leader, Jonathan Sachs, is an international litigation expert.

Practice head(s):

Sinéad Lester

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm has a great pool of talent across its office, and often boxes well above its weight. The inter-departmental links work very well, allowing other relevant skills to be accessed easily when necessary.’

‘Great team for medium-sized commercial litigation. Competitively priced, but top-level legal service.’

‘This firm provides a reasonably-priced but high-quality commercial litigation offering, marked by practical, unstuffy, but thoughtful, advice. Its seasoned litigators are well able to run a case to trial, but lose no opportunity to settle it on advantageous terms where possible. The quality of its drafting of case documents is notably high.’

‘The team at BDB is focused on developing long-term relationships with clients, while new associates assigned are introduced and familiarised with client teams well. Compares well to other firms for litigation.’

‘Sinéad Lester has always been responsive when required, and quickly assesses the level of adviser we need and the budget we are comfortable with.’

‘Sinéad Lester has a really sharp and analytical mind – inquires into and explores the legal options thoroughly.’

‘Sinéad Lester is a very industrious, user-friendly litigator, who has particularly deep knowledge and experience of minority shareholder disputes. She works tirelessly for her clients, while at the same time providing them with carefully-thought-out practical advice.

‘Richard Langley is an exceptional lawyer. He has an eye for the detail, but doesn’t get lost in it. He is always happy to challenge received wisdom.’

Key clients

North Channel Bank

Real Time Systems

Cambridgeshire County Council

Victory Success Holdings

Showa Holdings

Work highlights

  • Acts for North Channel Bank in the massive SKAT litigation in the Commercial Court.
  • Acting for various claimants in a group claim, which relates to failed investments in student and hotel accommodation.
  • Representing Cambridgeshire County Council in a dispute involving the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway.

Real estate > Environment Tier 5

BDB Pitmans‘s Environment team works across a range of disciplines including planning, public law and litigation. The team is led by Mark Challis and has a history of working with clients across government, regulators and the private sector. The team stands out for its work with local authorities to tackle congestion and improve air quality.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Richard Marsh; Angus Walker; Nicholas Evans; Sarah Clark; Richard Langley


‘Ability to grasp complex legal and practical issues and deliver high quality tailored legal advice with practical solutions which are specifically client focussed.’

Key clients

Natural Resources Wales

Environment Agency

Transport for London

Transport for Greater Manchester

Leeds City Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Newcastle Upon Tyne

Nottingham City Council

Sheffield City Council

Birmingham City Council

East Suffolk Council

Work highlights

  • Advised the Environment Agency on the successful promotion of its £100million Bridgwater Tidal Barrier scheme.
  • Advising Natural Resources Wales on a broad range of environmental regulatory matters.
  • Advising Transport for Greater Manchester in respect of their Clean Air Plan for the city.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 5

BDB Pitmans' team is well equipped to advise clients on a range of dispute resolution matters, including court proceedings, property tribunal cases, arbitration and mediation. Simon Painter heads the team; his specialisms cover both commercial and residential property disputes and has experience representing clients before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

Practice head(s):

Simon Painter


‘Always ready to offer immediate help regarding property queries that we may have. Proactive in dealing with troublesome landlord matters. Knowledgeable and deal with property matters with ease.’

‘They care about the service that they office to clients – always very helpful and extremely knowledgeable’

‘Excellent client case, patient and thorough approach to case management and preparation, depth and breadth of knowledge.’

‘Simon Painter – strong foundation stone of any team; thoughtful, knowledgeable and steady.’

‘BDB Pitmans is an exceptional firm with the highest calibre clients.’

‘Good service and commitment from smaller firm.’

‘Simon Painter has in-depth knowledge of property law matters, good tactical awareness, a practical approach – he is hard-working and dedicated to clients.’

Key clients

Clarion Housing Group Limited

The Ministry of Defence

Fred Perry Limited

Able Humber Ports Limited

Smurfit Kappa UK Companies in England and Wales

The National Grid

City & Country Group Plc

Bank of Ireland

Peel Holdings Ltd / The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd

The National Landlords Association

Employment > Employers Tier 6

BDB Pitmans specialises in employment advice in relation to business structuring and transactions, with cross-border restructuring, workplace contracts and advice on industrial relations being core areas of work. Practice head Brian Gegg is a recommended counsel for all manner of HR support, particularly in the real estate, transport and IT sectors.

Practice head(s):

Brian Gegg


‘The team are very pleasant and are also available no matter the time.’

‘They go above and beyond!’

‘This practice gives a client outstanding personal attention and an excellent professional advice.’

‘My experience of this practice is one which is pragmatic and commercial – they have taken a fresh approach to billing which has their client at the forefront.’

‘The individuals I work with are engaging and client first – they do not fit the mould of “stuffy lawyer” – they are down to earth, commercial and easy to relate to whilst being technically strong and professional.’

‘This practice gives a client outstanding personal attention and an excellent professional advice.’

‘The understand our business.’

‘They always advise on the options available and we decide what work they do for us or we do it ourselves and they simply review and advise of any changes.’

Key clients

Harwood Capital LLP

Smurfit Kappa UK Limited

Jones Lang La Salle (JLL)

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


The Doctors Laboratory

Tony’s Chocolonely Ltd

Colliers International

Mapeley Group / Salisbury Workplace Ltd

London General Transport Services (Go-Ahead Buses)

Work highlights

  • Advised SITA Inc UK on critical and high value HR matters, a significant restructure of working practices across the UK, shift issues relating to furlough, and confidentiality protections across the business.
  • Advised Go-Ahead London in on-going employment tribunals claims.

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

The firm brings together over 300 years of legal expertise across four locations – London, Cambridge, 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.

Principal areas of work
Agriculture: The firm has a strong practice in acting for individuals and institutions engaged in farming and the ownership of agricultural land and landed estates. The agricultural law team includes over 20 specialists in property, rural planning law, business partnerships, company law, tax and trusts, litigation and family issues. All members of the team have a background related to, or a keen interest in, the countryside and rural issues and have acted on some of the highest value transactions, both for UK individuals and foreign investors.

Charities and 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 and estates: As a specialist team dedicated in this area, 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. The team is also renowned for its advice on all types of private onshore and offshore wealth disputes advising on contested wills and trusts, charity legacies and inheritance tax claims. Clients include individuals, families, trustees, beneficiaries and charities.

Corporate and commercial services: The corporate team offers advice at every stage of a business’ lifecycle and advise on protecting their assets and achieving their long-term strategy. The core expertise of the team include takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, Main Market and AIM listings, corporate finance and capital reorganisations / restructurings. Clients range from entrepreneurs and SMEs, to larger corporate organisations with an in-house team and both AIM and main market listed companies.

Development planning: The specialist 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 and advise on dealing with Assets of Community Value. With a strong network, the team also work with the region’s largest developer clients, national housebuilders, landowners, property investors, agents, lenders and funders, and have strong relationships with major Housing Associations.

Restructuring and insolvency: The firm has a leading restructuring and insolvency team with a comprehensive network of banks, financiers, brokers and insolvency professions dedicated to resolving stressed and distressed situations. In addition to working within the legal regulatory framework, the team also provides a commercial overview and take a trusted advisory role. Services include advice 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.

Employment and immigration: The firm’s 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. Working closely with the firm’s pensions department, the group also advises on employee benefits.

The immigration team at BDB Pitmans advises on a range of matters including assisting UK businesses on filling specialist skill gaps within the UK with non-UK experts / professionals, UK based foreign corporates with their global mobility functions, and providing specialist immigration advice to inwardly investing businesses. The firm’s immigration practice is built upon specialist immigration knowledge firmly anchored by a multi-disciplinary coordination with other teams. Its wide-ranging client sectors include professional services, private medical provers and charities.

Family and matrimonial: The family and matrimonial team at BDB Pitmans is highly regarded for advising high net worth clients with international assets, often involving associated disputes over jurisdiction for divorce cases or family trusts. They also act in complex cases concerning business interests, children disputes, multiple properties, pre and post separation property and inherited assets. The team includes a number of qualified mediators and trained collaborative lawyers to provide a full service to clients and they are also actively involved with Resolution, the national organisation for family lawyers.

Government and 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 Parliamentary Agents.

Intellectual property: The dedicated 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, and designs. The team advises companies and individuals on all levels of the retail, manufacturing, technology, creative, IT and entertainment sectors on intellectual property as well as licensing, commercial agreements, social, employment and business structures. The team also holds a strong network of international legal affiliates.

Litigation: The firm’s commercial litigation practice ranges from shareholder disputes to financial litigation to complex IT litigation and its client base includes AIM listed companies, with particular specialism in financial product mis-selling. The team also has in-depth experience of litigating for central Government, acting for defendant public bodies that are subject to judicial review. On property litigation, the firm’s work spans a number of sectors and disciplines with a particular strength in the high-end residential property market and in leasehold enfranchisement.

Pensions: The leading pensions team offers a comprehensive range of services for employers and trustees, advising 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. The team has also advised on GDPR guidance for pension scheme trustees, governance, legal and regulatory compliance, employer and trustee powers and duties. The experienced team consists of 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, mental incapacity and Court of Protection, high value residential property transactions and leasehold enfranchisement, contentious trusts and probates, immigration law and family office services.

Real estate: The firm’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 team is also highly regarded for their expertise in lease extensions, enfranchisement, refinancing and block management. The commercial real estate practice covers all areas including site acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management, tenant advice work, investment, development schemes, construction, obtaining rights over land and security work. The firm’s real estate team consists of over 100 members across its offices.

Managing partner Andrew Smith
Senior Partner Helen Ratcliffe
Agricultural Law Tristan Ward
Charities Penny Chapman
Contentious Trusts & Estates Lucinda Brown
Development Planning Christina Daniels
Restructuring and Insolvency Suzanne Brooker
Employment Jesper Christensen
Family Matthew Heyworth
Government & Infrastructure Mark Challis
IP Dennis Lee
Litigation Richard Langley
Pensions Chris Netiatis
Private Wealth Alastair Collett
Private Wealth Matthew Heyworth
Real Estate Jonathan Fewster
Number of partners: : 74
Solicitors: : 237

BDB Pitmans are committed to providing outstanding client service by maintaining the highest standards of professional excellence. Creating an environment for all members of staff which is not only free from any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying, but celebrates and values diversity, is key to meeting this objective.

To achieve this, BDB Pitmans strive to create an inclusive working environment within which all individuals, regardless of their personal circumstances, are treated with respect, fairness and courtesy and have the opportunity to give their best and be appropriately recognised, rewarded and developed for their contribution.

BDB Pitmans have also implemented a variety of diversity and inclusion initiatives. The firm has formed internal groups including its ‘Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Group’ (established to review all aspects of diversity and inclusion within the firm), ‘Best Self’ (an LGBTQ+ group open to everyone at the firm to help staff feel supported in their career), ‘SHINE’ (all staff who identifies as BAME are welcome to join, as well as those who may not be, but who share the group’s ethos), and have also appointed ‘Diversity Champions’ who are volunteers representing all areas of BDB Pitmans, from Partners to Paralegals and members of support teams, to provide feedback and opinions, help promote firmwide initiatives and act as role models for inclusive behaviour.

In addition, BDB Pitmans are proud to be a founding member of ‘LeGal BesT’, a network of mid-size law firms with a focus on issues and support for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) staff. It is also a member of ‘Stonewall Diversity Champion’, a charity supporting individuals who are working out how they can make a difference for LGBT people at work, home and in their communities, and an Affiliate Member of ‘Aspiring Solicitors’, an award winning access scheme aimed at improving diversity in the legal profession.

Throughout the year, BDB Pitmans hold internal seminars and provide training sessions with the aim of raising awareness of a variety of diversity and inclusion topics. All new members of the firm are also required to attend a session on Diversity and Inclusion and unconscious bias training.

BDB Pitmans are also a signatory of The Law Society’s Diversity Charter, a public commitment by legal practices to promote the values of diversity, equality and inclusion throughout their firm.

For more information on BDB Pitmans’ diversity and inclusion initiatives, please visit: