BDB Pitmans > Reading, England > Firm Profile

BDB Pitmans

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

The litigation team fielded by BDB Pitmans is well versed in handling a full range of disputes for both foreign and domestic clients, with noted expertise in IT disputes and cases concerning confidential information. Phil Smith leads the team and specialises in TMT disputes, representing some of the firm’s biggest clients in this space. Tim Clark is known for his work in commercial claims and claims for breach of contract, with particular emphasis on those arising out of the IT sector. Sophie Squire is a key name at associate level, possessing experience in court of appeal cases as well as in international arbitration in the LCIA. Jacob Gatley is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:


‘The team is led by the experienced and highly commercial Tim Clark who commands the respect and affection of clients and counsel alike. He offers excellent, practical strategic thinking which is closely focused on achieving the particular outcomes sought by clients.’

‘They are hard working and just so good. The team is responsive, good with clients, and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Phil Smith and Sophie Squire are both brilliant. Phil is a superb litigation strategist who sees cases through from start to finish. Sophie is on top of everything and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Pragmatic and supportive approach.’

‘Tim Clark has been really helpful and supportive. Answered questions for us and remained positive throughout.’

‘Tim Clark displays calmness under pressure, is balanced and well-informed, with sage advice (leading to avoidance of expensive litigation).’

Key clients

Karali Group

Xpediator plc

Novacyt Group


Rock Engineering Limited

Crowe UK LLP

CALA Group

Westcoast Ltd

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Exhibiting ‘in-depth technical expertise‘, the predominantly Reading-based team at BDB Pitmans advises a diverse client base spanning the charities, manufacturing and care sectors on asset tracing and recovery issues, in addition to formal insolvencies. In London, Alexander Wood heads up the practice, assisting a varied client base of investors, debtors and lenders across the energy regulation and retail sectors with Insolvency Act claims and investigations. Stacey Jones handles a myriad of both contentious and non-contentious mandates, including CDDA proceedings, bankruptcies, and confiscation and restraint proceedings, often acting as a ‘most trusted adviser‘ to invoice discounters and insolvency practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Wood

Other key lawyers:

Stacey Jones; David Williams


‘A friendly and approachable team with in-depth technical expertise. I’m always happy to introduce the team to my clients as I know they will receive collaborative, quality and professional advice.’

‘Stacey Jones is technically very strong and she really excels with complex situations and with difficult stakeholders. I greatly appreciated the time that Stacey gave to one of the most difficult cases and how she was accessible and readily up to speed. This, as well as her collaborative style and ability to cut to the chase, makes her an attribute to any engagement and a most trusted adviser.’

‘The firm has a wide range of specialisms, so the insolvency and corporate recovery team are able to draw on those resources in delivering their services, where necessary.’

‘David Williams is highly responsive and very easy to work with. He is reliable, efficient, has a commercial approach, and is able to get to the nub of a case quickly.’

Key clients



Evelyn Partners

FRP Advisory

Rollings Butt

Katerra, Inc. Ch. 11 Plan/Scheme Administrator

Azets Holdings Limited

Secure Trust Bank Plc.

Alvarez and Marsal

Carter Backer Winter

Work highlights

  • Advised Plan Administrator of Katerra, Inc. on the English aspects of $440m claim for a transaction at an undervalue.
  • Advising administrators on trading of and realisation of assets from a cross-border FCA-regulated company, including redress for mis-sold loans across book of £20m

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

Public sector > Infrastructure (parliamentary) Tier 1

BDB Pitmans retains a strong and large practice that is capable of handling the full range of parliamentary work, acting for a range of transportation infrastructure providers, landowners, registered charities and local councils on the promotion of private bills and secondary pieces of infrastructure legislation as well as on objections to parliamentary infrastructure projects. In addition to having prepared and promoted private bills for the likes of Royal Albert Hall and the Bishop’s Stortford Town Council on land expansions and charter updates, the team maintains a prolific record of preparing Transport and Works Act Order applications and has handled Development Consent Orders in connection with airport and highway expansions. Energy and carbon capture projects are a further area of specialism for the team, which is led by planning expert Mark Challis and further benefits from the expertise of experienced Roll A Parliamentary Agents Nick Evans, Sarah Clark, and Angus Walker, all of whom are well-equipped to promote bills for major infrastructure schemes. Parliamentary Agents David Mundy, who represents many HS2 petitioners in their objections to the project, and Mustafa Latif-Aramesh are also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis


‘The strength and depth of BDB Pitmans’ team makes them the stand-out Parliamentary Agents’

‘Nick Evans has deep knowledge of parliamentary issues with an excellent manner in communicating clear and sound advice.’

Key clients

Bishop’s Stortford Town Council

East Suffolk Council

Environment Agency

Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust

London Luton Airport

National Audit Office

National Highways

Northern Ireland Assembly

Riveroak Investments

Royal Albert Hall

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Hampshire Tier 2

The Southampton-based corporate and commercial group at BDB Pitmans specialises in both private and public M&A, along with joint ventures and private equity dealings. The department exhibits significant strength in the leisure, IT, and technology sectors, advising clients ranging from start-ups to household names. Oliver Kelly leads the team, routinely handling private equity transactions and management buy-ins. Sean Kelly brings in-depth expertise in debt financing, corporate reorganisations, and reductions of capital to the group.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Kelly

Other key lawyers:


‘The team have a very strong and well-respected senior team with a strong reputation for their commercial advice and ability to complete transactions in an efficient and effective manner.’

‘They are very personable and have the ability to build relationships with advisers and principals on both sides of a transaction. Oliver Kelly is exceptional in building these relationships and maintaining a commercial view on all aspects of a deal.’

Key clients

Harrow House International College (Swanage) Limited

K.B. Salon Supplies Limited

Vision Logistical Solutions Limited

City & Country Residential Limited and Topland (No. 14) Limited

ITS Technology

EVC SPV 1 plc

HCR Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted ITS (Holdco) and its subsidiaries with its £100m investment by Aviva Investors Infrastructure Income NO.6B.
  • Advised Harrow House International College (Swanage) on its sale of the entire issued share capital to Westcoast Developments Group.
  • Advised K.B. Salon Supplies oin its strategic acquisition of L’Oreal wholesaler P.H.A.B Wholesale.

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

John Hutchinson heads up the corporate department at BDB Pitmans which handles the full lifecycle of corporate transaction on behalf of a high-end client list, particularly those in the financial and retail sectors. Stephanie Perry specialises in corporate lending as well as acquisitions and disposals, particularly in the automotive sector. Partner Oliver Pilkington and associate Daniela Munro left to join Shoosmiths LLP.

Practice head(s):

John Hutchinson

Other key lawyers:

Philip Weaver; Stephanie Perry; Michelle Gorman


‘The team is highly commercial in their approach and work tirelessly to get the transaction completed. They are thorough and particularly focused on taking clear instructions and follow through on all the detail.’

‘Stephanie Perry is extremely attentive. She is detailed in her delivery and personable. She understands the objective and helps to navigate the transaction towards that objective.’

‘We feel confident using the services of BDB Pitmans. They offer great advice in a timely fashion that is good value for money.’

‘Philip Weaver has been our ‘go-to’ acquisition partner for many years. He is highly knowledgeable, commercial and remains calm when we need it most.’

‘The BDBP team is unique in how flexible they are, especially with newer clients. A domestic law firm referred me to them as we explored a UK transaction, and they very quickly understood what my firm cares about vs. is more flexible on, and it was a seamless process.’

‘The accountability and valuable perspective that BDBP provided were among the best I have seen. Always available when you need to talk to them, proactively finding ways to strike a better deal and progress the deal, and also great a facilitating a good working relationship with opposing counsel.’

‘The team were very obliging, and nothing was too much trouble. We had tight deadlines, which were met every time.’

‘The team have a unique mix of brilliant industry knowledge and capability to communicate in an easy-to-understand way.’

Key clients

Elivia Homes

Accolite Digital

Westcoast Holdings Ltd

Exploration and Production Services (Holdings) Ltd

Waylands Automotive Limited

Garden Trading Company Ltd

Electric Guitar Plc

Sondrel (Holdings) Plc

Arden Investments Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Elivia Homes on the acquisition and expansion by Octopus Investments, a leading investor in specialist UK real estate, which is part of Octopus Group.
  • Advised private-equity backed, US headquartered technology services provider Accolite Digital (Accolite) on its acquisition (through a UK vehicle) of TeamTek Consulting (TeamTek), a UK-headquartered leading digital services provider in the banking and financial services sector.
  • Advised Westcoast Holdings Ltd on its acquisition of KOMSA AG, a German distributor and service provider. The deal made the headlines in numerous tech-focused publications and is so large that it has been referred to the European Commission for competition clearance.

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

BDB Pitmans advises grant-makers and funders, large operational charities, and start-ups across the arts, education, faith, and health sectors. Head of the team Penny Chapman supports trustees and governing bodies with commercial and fundraising contracts, constitutional and governance issues as well as fiduciary and regulatory duties. Sarah Williams guides clients through restructuring projects and contentious governance matters. All of the individuals that have been mentioned split their time between London and Reading.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Oxford AICU (Adult Intensive Care Unit) Foundation

South Oxfordshire Housing Association

Chipping Norton Literary Festival

The Oxford Group

The European Association of Jewish Studies

Christ Church Oxford

Blind Veterans UK

Reading Professionals’ Foundation

The Oxford Homeless Movement

Work highlights

  • Assisted The Oxford Homeless Movement in establishing itself as a standalone registered charity when it separated out from the Oxford Community Foundation.
  • Assisted in the establishment of a charity which supports the wellbeing and mental health of staff working in adult intensive care.
  • Advised Blind Veterans UK in its expansion to assist those visually impaired by the war in the Ukraine.

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

BDB Pitmans fields a deep bench of experienced real estate practitioners in a national practice group, advising on high-value development projects, site purchases and lease negotiations throughout the Thames Valley. Jonathan Fewster leads the practice group out of London. Sarah Potter heads up the Thames Valley team, running a diverse practice that covers all facets of commercial property from acquisitions to management and finance. Marcus McCluggage comes highly recommended for residential development.  

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fewster; Sarah Potter

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Cala Homes

Bewley Homes

Shanly Homes

Ashill Land

Brookworth Homes Limited

Palatine Homes Limited

Work highlights

Real estate > Construction Tier 2

The BDB Pitmans construction team specialises heavily in disputes arising from large engineering projects, and complex contractual claims. The Reading-based department has close links with the firm’s real estate and insolvency teams, and consistently draws upon that expertise to advise on the gamut of relevant work. For non-contentious construction work, Tim Barwick is the key contact. David Gwillim leads on the contentious side, boasting 40 years’ experience of conducting arbitration and litigation proceedings within the construction and engineering industries.

Practice head(s):

Tim Barwick; David Gwillim


‘David Gwillim is experienced, pragmatic and efficient. He is adept at managing large teams of lawyers, witnesses and experts. On top of that, he is a gentleman and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

MTD Contractors Limited

ProTar Surfacing Limited

Priory Assets Management LLP

Real estate > Environment and planning Tier 2

Counting local authorities, property developers and housebuilding companies amongst its key clients, the planning team at BDB Pitmans routinely handles section 106 agreements, judicial review proceedings and issues relating to mixed-use developments. Reading-based practice head Christina Daniels has extensive expertise in dealing with the community infrastructure levy and residential developments, while senior associate Chris Holmes advises on all aspects of planning law and pre-acquisition planning due diligence. The group is also well equipped to assist clients with High Court appeals and planning inquiries.

Practice head(s):

Christina Daniels

Other key lawyers:


‘Knowledgeable and pro-active. Able to proceed straight away with the task in hand, since the team has an understanding of our requirements.’

‘BDB Pitmans work as a team and are not reliant on just one member. There is always someone available to contact.’

Key clients

CALA Group

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Highwood Group

Millgate Developments

Shanly Homes/Sorbon Estates

Ashill Land Limited

Deanfield Homes Limited

Elivia Homes Limited

JPP Land Limited

Peabody Developments Limited

Hesmond Stud Limited

Mactaggart and Mickel Homes

Abode Homes

Danecroft Developments Limited

East Suffolk Council

Work highlights

  • Advising the Highwood Group on planning, infrastructure and nitrogen mitigation matters relating to its 1100 unit mixed-use scheme in Eastleigh.
  • Advising East Suffolk Council on the section 106 agreement for the proposed Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station.
  • Advising CALA Homes on a 385 dwelling development with Community Hub in West Sussex.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 2

BDB Pitmans is well-regarded for ‘the clarity of advice' it offers its clients, alongside its ability to ‘balance expert advice with a pragmatic and thoughtful approach'. Corporate partner Duncan Walker provides ‘first-class, concise and commercial advice‘ and associate Ross Fletcher ‘has a willingness to go the extra mile‘. The team recently advised KISS Communications Limited on the acquisition of online marketing agency Isle Interactive Limited. Consultant James Stephen departed to Howes Percival LLP in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Walker

Other key lawyers:

Ross Fletcher; Ollie Flowers


‘Working with BDB Pitmans’ corporate team was a great experience. They appeared to function as a very tight unit who were always in control of a complex project. The clarity of advice was absolute and they consistently won important negotiation points in our favour.’

‘Duncan Walker is exceptional. He is very clear in his analysis of situations and challenges, and is a formidable negotiator. He ensured that his team delivered what was needed. Ross Fletcher is also a very capable solicitor – thorough, efficient and very knowledgeable.’

‘Attentive, supportive and experienced.’

‘Duncan Walker is excellent, with great attention-to-detail.’

‘The corporate and commercial team in Cambridge is excellent, balancing expert advice with a pragmatic and thoughtful approach, resulting in transactions running smoothly.’

‘Duncan Walker is very experienced partner, providing first-class, concise and commercial advice, on many transactions. It is also pleasure working with Ollie Flowers who provides clear and commercial advice. Ross Fletcher also stands out for his willingness to go the extra mile.’

Key clients

Owlstone Medical Limited

KISS Communications Limited

Cambridge Publishers Holdings Ltd

Cambridge Bioscience Limited

Gerda Security Holdings Limited

Harrods Aviation Limited

Natalma Bloodstock Limited

Research Donors Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised on the £30m sale of two companies, Cambridge Bioscience Limited and Research Donors Limited, to a Swedish private equity house.
  • Advised KISS on the acquisition of Isle Interactive Limited – two online marketing agencies.
  • Advised Harrods Aviation Limited in the acquisition of Fayair (Stansted) Limited, a fixed base operator at Stansted.

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

The Cambridge-based practice at BDB Pitmans provides ‘creative thinking and practical solutions, and is able to deal with complex issues'. The firm provides a diverse range of services to its charity sector clients including advising on property transactions, employment, fundraising-related matters and data protection. Senior associate Kate Parkinson, who is ‘very quick to grasp complex sets of facts to provide practical, client-driven advice‘, is the standout lawyer in East Anglia. She assisted the Ruth Strauss Foundation with contractual arrangements and regulatory matters.

Other key lawyers:


‘In-depth charities experience, creative thinking and practical solutions, and is able to deal with complex issues.’

‘Kate Parkinson stands out as a go-to advisor for charity clients.’

‘I feel that the people we deal with at BDB Pitmans understand our needs very well and adjust their ways of working to accommodate us.’

‘Excellent responsiveness. and understanding of our particular situation. Professional approach and strong pragmatism.’

‘A diverse and broad team with key areas of expertise to provide well-rounded advice’

‘Kate Parkinson is very quick to grasp complex sets of facts to provide practical, client-driven advice.’

Key clients

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Internet Watch Foundation

The Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust

Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology

Ruth Strauss Foundation


Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind

Punctum Books

The History of Parliament Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised the Institution of Engineering and Technology in various matters, including its relationship with its members, as well as considerations around governance and restricted funds.
  • Advised the Ruth Strauss Foundation on all aspects of its governance , including producing precedent documents, and on various fundraising initiatives throughout the year.
  • Advising the Internet Watch Foundation in extending its HQ space, representative of its growing importance and reach.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

BDB Pitmans in Cambridge frequently acts for charities and not-for-profit organisations, owner-managed businesses and clients in the agricultural sector, and has a national reputation in private wealth matters. Practice head Lucinda Brown joined Mills & Reeve LLP in late 2023, but the firm is still regarded as highly capable in complex matters. Associate Cheryl Gayer, whose work encompasses mental capacity matters, breach of trust claims and proprietary estoppel claims, is the key contact.

Other key lawyers:


‘A strong team with a clear focus on achieving the client’s goals.’

‘I have worked with the contentious probate team on the other side to disputes. They show very good specialist knowledge and are very good at using internal resources if input outside the CP team on other areas is needed.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 2

BDB Pitmans stands out for its ‘personable approach', handling a diverse range of matters concerning institutional investment and operational property portfolios. The practice is led by Simon Burson, who frequently advises institutional clients and occupiers. Senior associate Joe Taylor handles purchases, sales, and real estate finance, and legal director Katy Klingopulos specialises in real estate development, primarily advising on site acquisition and development funding issues. The firm manages the property portfolios of clients such as Harrods and Kurt Geiger, as well as handling institutional investment mandates for the likes of Eskmuir Properties and Munich Re.

Practice head(s):

Simon Burson

Other key lawyers:

Joe Taylor; Katy Klingopulos; Jessica Chadwick


‘The thing that makes BDB unique for us, is their personable approach and willingness to understand our industry and our needs. Their professionalism and they always deliver on their promises.’

‘Joe Taylor is always available when we need him, he also took them time to understand our industry and our requirements in regards to properties and the locations of these.’

‘A tight-knit team that works efficiently, delivering excellent results. Ready access to a large sphere of in-house expertise and willingness to adopt new tech and methodology.’

‘The team is very ably led by Simon Burson, who maintains a hands-on role, with strong day-to-day support from Jessica Chadwick and the wider team. Jess has a keen commercial eye.’

‘BDB Pitmans Cambridge offer a personalised and hands on approach to the their services. Acting nimbly to respond to all manner of requirements and advising in a commercial manner, adding value at each stage. Advice is always succinct and professional.’

‘The team offers a broad depth and range of knowledge across the commercial real estate offering. Led by Simon Burson, the approach and ethos of the team is of exceptional quality and value. I would highly recommend to any investor or developer looking for a tailored offering.’

Key clients

Cambridge Molecular Diagnostics Ltd

Fin Capital Limited

Chassis-Cab Limited

Source BioScience Limited

Inotec AMD Limited

East Suffolk Council

Laragh House Developments

Kurt Geiger

Eskmuir Properties

Highgate Trustees

Cowen International Limited

Patria Investments

Harrods Limited

Kiss Communications Limited

Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft Atiengesellschaft in München (Munich Re)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Harrods Aviation Ltd on the acquisition, by way of the purchase of shares in Fayair (Stansted) Limited of additional larger facilities and ancillary offices at Stansted Airport.
  • Acting for East Suffolk Council on the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project, a project to mitigate the risk of flooding in Lowestoft through the construction of a flood wall and tidal barrier.
  • Acting for MEAG in München in respect of the ongoing lettings of LDN:W in the City of London with a further four lettings completed with a current total annual rent for all lettings in the building in excess of £5 m.

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

With the ‘highly recommendedPenny Chapman at the helm of BDB Pitmans‘ team, the nationally recognised practice advises all types of charities on charity registration and governance issues, as well as on their commercial activities and on corporate partnerships. In addition, it has considerable expertise in resolving trustee disputes, conducting charity investigations, and facilitating Charity Commission compliance. The team advises numerous high-profile charities, grant makers, funders, and start-ups across various sectors such as the health, education, faith and arts industries. Jonathan Brinsden has considerable expertise in diverse areas such as cross-border transactions, and social impact/ESG investments, in addition to charity sector collaborations. Increasingly, the team is advising many philanthropists, and has been advising on safeguarding obligations and serious incident reporting. Nicola Evans is another name to note along with Sarah Williams. Harriet Ainsworth also plays a key role in the department.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman


‘Very high quality expertise. An in-depth knowledge of the charity sector’.

‘Nicola Evans has huge experience and technical knowledge in the field of charity law’.

‘Excellent partnership with strength in depth. Very responsive to our needs’.

‘A wide and deep knowledge of the charity/not-for-profit sector. Helpful and practical advice’.

‘Jonathan Brinsden is very experienced and knowledgeable. He is well connected in the charity/not-for-profit sector. His advice is practical and timely. I always enjoy my dealings with him’.

‘We are delighted with BDB due to their timing in returning our queries, their capability to deal with different matters at the same time, and their concern in assisting us to always be compliant and updated according to all the regulators’ requirements. People are brilliant there’.

‘Jonathan Brisden, the partner who is our point of contact, has vast knowledge with regard to legal matters in charities, and we feel incredibly secure about his recommendations’.

Key clients

ABF The Soldiers Charity

Air Ambulances UK

Barts Charity

The Big Give Trust

Blind Veterans

Christ Church, Oxford

Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust

Goldsmiths Students Union

HALO Trust

Holocaust Education Trust

Jewish Care

Landmark Trust

Macular Society

MS Society

Nuffield Health

The Pret Foundation

Royal National Theatre

RNRMC (Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity)

ROH (Royal Opera House)

Royal Star and Garter Homes

Ruth Strauss Foundation

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

Work highlights

  • Advised Blind Veterans UK on extending its charitable objects, to enable its world leading experience of treating those suffering with blindness or visual impairment as a result of injures in warfare, to help those suffering similar injuries fighting for the Ukraine.
  • Represented Nuffield Health in the Supreme Court in responding to a challenge by Merton Council on a novel question on the proper test for 80% mandatory charity relief from business rates.
  • Advised the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust on the charity’s successful expedition to find Shackleton’s ship Endurance, including advice on grant funding and various commercial aspects, from IP to hiring helicopters.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Alastair Collett heads the practice at BDB Pitmans, which supports a varied client base of some UHNW individuals who have new or inherited wealth ranging in value from tens of millions to billions. It covers a broad spread of matters from estate planning and succession to onshore and offshore pension schemes. Consultant, Helen Ratcliffe, has an international client base. Judith Millar has considerable experience of working with high-net-worth UK and international families. Marilyn McKeever has an interesting tax and succession practice with a focus on the US. McKeever has niche expertise in employee benefit trusts, international pension schemes and ‘disguised’ remuneration. Sophie St John was promoted to the partnership in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Collett

Other key lawyers:

Helen Ratcliffe; Sophie St John; Susan Johnson; Judith Millar; Elizabeth Neale; Marilyn McKeever


‘We appreciate working with a team where partners are competent, readily involved and accessible. Ability to deal with a variety of work and situations and identify solutions’.

‘BDB Pitmans has a deep private client bench and a culture of respect and collaboration within client advisor teams internally and externally. A pleasure to work with’.

‘Helen Ratcliffe is very strong technically and a pleasure to work with. Sophie St. John’s return to the firm has been a positive in terms of expanding their ability to service clients promptly. Susan Johnson’s organisational/project management skills are legendary’.

‘Innovative and responsive. They take time to understand the clients needs from the scenario and background presented to them to work alongside the client and his other advisors to achieve the best outcomes’.

‘Judith Millar is an excellent private client partner. She is extremely technically sound but is very client friendly and empathetic. For a private client solicitor to have all these qualities is quite unique’.

‘Helen Ratcliffe is absolutely superb she is always cognisant of the Trustees’ perspective and her advice is clear and relatable’.

‘The unique aspect is that they are genuinely nice and warm people -this is a friendly firm who puts their clients before their fees – a client can literally feel at home’.

‘Judith Millar is a stand out lawyer -technically very able and delivers practical advice in a thoughtful and helpful manner. Elizabeth Neale has a wealth of experience, a charming and reassuring manner and total commitment to her clients’.

Real estate > Planning Tier 2

The planning team at BDB Pitmans continues to consolidate its reputation in the infrastructure sector, thanks to its ‘great strength in depth in the field of infrastructure planning’. The firm handles significant infrastructure projects in a range of areas, including road, rail, and air, dealing with DCOs and orders under the Transport and Works Act and the Harbours Act. Mark Challis heads the planning team, leading major projects for National Highways alongside Angus Walker. With its established preeminence in DCOs, the group is expanding its energy practice, participating in projects involving solar, hydrogen, and offshore wind. Richard Marsh leads the energy DCO practice within the team. The group’s continued development is reflected in its growing client list; the firm secured new clients in the area of over-station development and won a significant DCO promotion for East West Rail, led by Duncan O’Connor. Other prominent figures in the team include Sarak Clark, who is leading on significant flood prevention schemes, and Tom Henderson, who led the team on its involvement in the Lower Thames Crossing. Mustafa Latif-Aramesh, who is praised for his ‘encyclopaedic knowledge and case law’, was elevated to partner in July 2023.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Angus Walker; Sarah Clark; Tom Henderson; Nicholas Evans, Richard Marsh; Duncan O’Connor; Mustafa Latif-Aramesh; Oksana Price; Mark Challis


‘The BDBP team have great strength in depth in the field of infrastructure planning. It is a very knowledge-led team and produces an outstanding infrastructure planning law blog for clients and others. This means that it is always completely up to date with all the latest developments in the field, which it uses to its clients’ benefit.’

‘Angus Walker is a high-profile and very experienced infrastructure planning solicitor. Tom Henderson is a really smart young partner who is definitely going places.’

‘The team has a leading position in infrastructure planning with a wealth of experience held by members of the team.’

‘Mark Challis is a reassuring presence in any case. Sarah Clark is very clear-minded and calm. Tom Henderson is excellent at driving a project through. Mustafa Latif-Aramesh has a great eye for detail. Angus Walker has an encyclopaedic knowledge of infrastructure planning.’

‘There is nothing BDBP doesn’t know about the planning and legal issues for major infrastructure. It has an eye on future trends and constantly contributes to consultations to ensure we have an effective and fair infrastructure regime.’

‘It gives expert advise on how to deliver your project, but also has the foresight on how the regime is changing to ensure flexibility is embedded to minimise change later on.’

‘Mustafa Latif-Aramesh’s mastermind topic would be legal and planning matters. He is an encyclopaedia of knowledge and case law that he practically applies to his work. He works calmly with all project team members to help them understand the legal issues of the work, so they have sufficient information for making decisions. I would want Mustafa by my side on any project I work on.’

‘Tom Henderson is always the expert in the room who can work under pressure to ensure success. He has passion on the projects he works on and he is not afraid of conflict where needed and will constantly challenge the client and others on the why to ensure success.’

Key clients

National Highways

London Luton Airport Operations Limited

The Environment Agency

Alternative Use Boston Projects Limited

RiverOak Strategic Partners Limited

East Suffolk Council

South Tees Development Corporation

London Borough of Lambeth

Transport for London


Green GEN Cymru

East West Railway Limited

Northumberland County Council

Work highlights

  • Advising National Highways on the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, a project that is the largest investment in the road network since the M25 and that will be the subject of a major DCO examination in 2023.
  • Advising London Luton Airport Ltd. on a proposed expansion of the airport, a large project that will be the subject of a major DCO examination in 2023.
  • Advising on environmental flood defence schemes, including advising East Suffol Counsel on a forthcoming transport and works application for a major flood defence scheme in Lowestoft, East Sussex.

Real estate > Residential property Tier 2

Hema Anand heads a ‘high profile team’ with an ‘excellent reputation and market leading knowledge’ at BDB Pitmans. Anand is skilled at handling some of the firm’s high-profile and high-value residential transactions, and is also recommended for her expertise in rights of first refusal matters and on a range of complicated landlord and tenant issues. John Stephenson is another key figure who is regularly instructed to handle significant refinancing of portfolios, as well as for his leasehold reform advice. Legal director Lorna Du Sautoy handles many UHNW residential transactions and has a loyal following amongst buying agents and PLC agents.

Practice head(s):

Hema Anand

Other key lawyers:

Lorna Du Sautoy; John Stephenson; Katie Lewis; Tristan Ward


‘Lorna du Sautoy- I have never ever been unimpressed with the legal team at BDB Pitmans. Always willing to help and simply give their best for their clients and co-advisers’.

‘John Stephenson. Just simply one of the best professionals in leasehold enfranchisement. Knows everything and can see the way through a difficult thicket with ease’.

‘Katie Lewis. Highly impressed with the way she calmly assisted a mutual client in understanding and progressing what initially appeared to be a difficult claim for a lease extension from an unhelpful landlord to resolving it happily’.

‘Hema Anand offers a holistic approach, she strikes the perfect balance of drive and tenacity whilst remaining compassionate and kind in everything she does. Excellent communicator, trustworthy, compassionate, dedicated, inclusive, technically excellent’.

‘Excellent understanding of high value property in prime residential locations and rural estates. Lorna du Sautoy delivers a first-rate client service; communicating well on complex sale and purchase (inc leasehold enfranchisement) matters’.

‘Great knowledge and diverse expertise across all sectors of the property legal fields’.

‘Tristan Ward is very intelligent and detailed’.

‘Hema Anand – incredibly personable, knowledgeable, user-friendly and commercial. John Stephenson – huge knowledge and experience’.

Work highlights

  • Advising on a complex and cross jurisdictional sale of PCL portfolio worth in excess £45m.
  • Acted in a time sensitive and complicated refinance worth £39m.
  • Advised on notable and complicated and high value Leasehold Reform claims.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Hampshire Tier 3

Showcasing considerable expertise within the insurance, insolvency, and property fields, BDB Pitmans’ Southampton litigation team has extensive experience of managing shareholder disputes and professional negligence claims. Accredited mediator and insolvnecy expert Rick Munro co-heads the group from Southampton, alongside Reading-based Philip Smith. Claire Collings specialises in contractual and commercial property disputes, while Jacqueline Dickinson typically handles insurance liability claims.

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith; Rick Munro

Other key lawyers:


‘Very experienced and capable litigators. Always have the confidence of their clients. Commercially astute and achieve the right goals for their clients whatever the odds. Tough negotiators who play with a straight bat.’

‘Claire Collings – hugely experienced and a very accomplished litigator.’

‘Rick Munro – vastly experienced, hugely capable and a very safe pair of hands. The person you want on board in difficult litigation.’

‘Rick Munro is a senior and very experienced litigator, who has excellent judgment and is adept at dealing with difficult and demanding clients and challenging situations. He is also an excellent team player and enjoyable to work with.’

Key clients


Covéa Insurance

Mildren Construction

Mears Group

Premier Marinas Limited

Wessex Resins and Adhesives Limited

Red Funnel Group Limited

Manolete Partners plc

C.P.J Field & Co. Limited

Begbies Traynor

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of SAGA and one other insurer in a claim against a statutory water undertaker in relation to an escape of water causing a sinkhole.
  • Acting on behalf of a lessor and lessee of properties in litigation relating 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 a ferry operator representing a landlord in bringing claims against a tenant, former tenant and guarantor for substantial rent arrears under a lease and an authorised guarantee agreement.

Employment > Employment: Hampshire Tier 3

BDB Pitmans‘very competent, skillful and knowledgeable’ group specialises particularly in managing employee relations issues, in tandem with providing full day-to-day HR support to employer clients. The Southampton-based department works closely with the firm’s corporate and commercial divisions, delivering employment support for asset and share purchases, and contract provision changes. Practice head Caroline Yarrow splits her time between London and Southampton, bringing extensive expertise on contentious employment matters and central government outsourcing projects to the team. Associate Chris Greep focuses on assisting with employment litigation and TUPE queries.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Yarrow

Other key lawyers:


‘The team is very competent, skillful, knowledgeable and experienced in employment law. They are very responsive and friendly.’

‘Chris Greep is always on top of the papers and very well organised.’

‘The value for money is spot on, the quality of service matches the price.’

‘I worked with Chris Greep and his service was great.’

‘The team is really knowledgeable and thinks along with the clients. You receive timely support with extensive info on your request that includes legislation, but also risks and the best way to move ahead.’

‘In my opinion they are not the standard type of lawyers, but they have a good dose of humor and seriousness. They think along with me and what the best approach is for each case and also looking at what suits our company best. They are very supportive in helping us, preparing docs, speaking notes etc. I really enjoy working with them and I am very thankful for all the support they have been giving me the past two years.’

Key clients

Maximus UK Services Limited

Tony’s Chocolonely Limited

Highwood Group Limited

Gallowglass Limited

Global Lingo Limited

Kind Bloodstock Limited

S&D Bookmakers Limited

A2 Dominion Housing Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Maximus UK Services against an employment tribunal claim for discrimination arising from a disability.
  • Advised Frenkel Topping on the acquisition of N-Able Services.
  • Advised Frenkel Topping on the acquisition of Somek and Associates.

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

BDB Pitmans is notable for its deep industry expertise in the technology, entertainment, automotive and transport, as well as manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors, handling a broad range of both contentious and non-contentious matters. Brian Gegg leads the team out of London, whilst Nicholas Le Riche is an important point of contact for work involving redundancies, restructures and TUPE transfers. Praised as ‘an excellent lawyer who puts her client’s needs first’, Laura Binnie is the key name in Reading and focuses her practice on tribunal proceedings, particularly those involving disability discrimination, alongside strategic HR advice.

Practice head(s):

Brian Gegg

Other key lawyers:


‘Very helpful, explained the steps they were taking thoroughly. Highly recommended!’

‘I felt comfortable telling Laura Binnie the ins and outs and never felt like I was rushed for time to explain the situation.’

‘The team work very well, everyone working on a case seems to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case. This provides the benefit of being able to work through the best approach from a number of different possibilities.’

‘They are able to deal with complex and sophisticated matters. They always make the correct strategic decisions for the particular case.’

‘Caroline Yarrow – the advice she gives is second to none. Commercially astute but also appreciates what the client is seeking to achieve and prioritises accordingly.’

‘Laura Binnie is an excellent lawyer who puts her client’s needs first. Able to balance the realities of the case with the client’s expectations to achieve the best result.’

‘Pitmans are a very proactive firm with very up-to-date and professional team. They do not provide an exhaustive list of options available but instead provide a concise list with recommended options together with the potential risks. They help you make the right decision rather than being indecisive and this is invaluable.’

Key clients

Panalux Limited

Jones Lang LaSalle Services Limited

Content and Cloud Limited

Waylands Automotive Limited

Jonas Group UK

Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust (Endurance 22)

Accolite Digital LLC

Datasite UK Ltd

Tenpin Limited

Elivia Holdings Limited

Sondrel (Holdings) plc

Inspirit Management Limited

Sullivan Street Partners Limited

Work highlights

  • Providing daily HR support on all employment law related matters to a leading entertainment group of companies.
  • Advised the owner and manager of Karali Group Limited on employment issues associated with the sale of Karali Ltd and Karali Leisure Ltd (Karali) to Burger King UK.
  • Advised on the employment aspects of Sondrel (Holdings) plc’s successful admission to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and associated fundraising.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

The will and trusts disputes team at BDB Pitmans is well-placed to advise high net worth individuals, trustees, executors, and charities. Lucinda Brown heads the team and splits her team between Cambridge and London, and is proficient in breach of trust claims, proprietary estoppel claims and Court of Protection issues. The practice head is supported by Southampton-based Claire Collings who has over a decade of experience in contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown

Other key lawyers:


‘They give very good, pragmatic advice.’


Work highlights

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

BDB Pitmans specialises in complicated and multi-jurisdictional child proceedings. Collaborative lawyer Owen Reynolds, who advises across all aspects of family law, is the key name to note.

Other key lawyers:

Owen Reynolds; Annie Wogel


‘Annie Wogel was responsive and had a clear understanding of the case and what I wanted to achieve. She offered a range of solutions and helped me steer the way through. If I ever had any similar work, I would always seek her out.’

‘Everyone I spoke to at the firm was kind and understanding. Their level of knowledge also came across and there was never and pressure to do anything. All points made appeared balanced in order to give me the clearest and most unbiased view possible, which in turn helped me to make informed decisions.’

‘Gave me all the time I needed and demonstrated compassion at all times. Claire Burton and her team were amazing and generally spoke to me like a peer, as opposed to sounding clinical or corporate. This made an extremely stressful process much more bearable.’

‘Claire Burton, Matthew Heyworth and Annie Wogel are excellent lawyers, both legally and strategically. The team is strong and has great capacity to manage even the most demanding of clients, being able to devote time and attention to each despite a heavy workload. The team works closely with counsel, ensuring a collaborative and coherent approach to tricky cases, which is invaluable from the client’s perspective.’

‘Annie Wogel is relatively junior but shows immense promise; she commits herself fully to her clients’ cases and will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of their desired outcome.’

Work highlights

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

BDB Pitmans' private client practice sees frequent advisory work across will structures and lasting power of attorney matters, alongside probate and trust administration on behalf of ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Sheilagh Magee heads the team, focusing on estate administration, powers of attorney, wills and trusts. Alexander Morgan runs a broad practice and is a go-to name for managing exposure to inheritance tax.

Practice head(s):

Sheilagh Magee

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Morgan; Sarah Giles; William Jonathan Andrews


‘The individuals put the client at ease. Sheilagh Magee has a great personality and is very approachable.’

‘Sheilagh Magee is a very nice person who is pragmatic and robust in her approach, which is appreciated by us in our dealings with her.’

‘The Reading office is very innovative in its use of technology and offers a comprehensive service for its lay and professional clients.’

‘Sheilagh Magee is very impressive. Very customer focussed and she has excellent oral and written communication skills. Totally committed to the ongoing needs of her Court of Protection patients.’

‘Very prompt at answering client’s questions and concerns.’

‘Alexander Morgan is particularly proficient in the complex area of foreign law. Highly recommended and very “tech-savvy”.’

Work highlights

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 3

Demonstrating significant expertise in landlord and tenant litigation and statutory noise nuisance issues, the Reading-based BDB Pitmans practice regularly advises major real estate developers and national companies. Leading the team is Phil Smith, who frequently acts for clients on contractual claims and complex property disputes, and legal director David Williams, an expert on distressed real estate situations and assignments from insolvent tenants. Associate Sophie Squire focuses on housebuilder work and break notices, while David Gwillim heads up the contentious construction side of the team, supporting public authorities and private developers.

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith


‘My experience of being instructed by the team is that they are: incredibly hard-working, reliable, flexible and innovative in their thinking, willing to look at creative solutions, supportive, able to grapple with new areas of law and practice.’

Key clients

Grandir UK Limited

Karali Group (now Arden)

Bewley Homes Plc

Brookworth Homes (Ovingdean) Limited

CALA Homes Group

Fairview New Homes

Montreaux Estates

Clarion Housing Association

Brookworth Homes

Oakford Homes

Employment Tier 3

BDB Pitmans has a large employment practice in London with one partner, the ‘extremely practical and solutions-focused‘ Caroline Yarrow, also working from the Cambridge office. Yarrow recently acted for Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd in the successful defence of a claim for unfair dismissal brought to the Cambridge Employment Tribunal by a former employee who had allegedly been dismissed during the pandemic for coming to work with COVID-19 symptoms. The firm acts for both claimants and respondents in litigation cases, and also provides HR support to corporate clients.

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Yarrow; Duncan Walker


‘Caroline Yarrow is an extremely practical and solutions-focused partner who brings sound technical and tactical expertise to delivering her client’s objectives. She is a calm, reassuring and sensible lawyer who is very good to have on your side in the most sensitive contentious matters.’

‘The practice is very easy to navigate and distance is no obstacle to a great service. My matter was worked on thoughtfully, my options were explained to me clearly, my questions answered thoroughly and my decisions acted on speedily. Where questions required input from members of other teams collaboration was easy. Payment of bills was convenient. I wouldn’t contemplate taking my matters to anyone else.’

‘I found Caroline Yarrow to be thoughtful, attentive and calming. Quickly, she was able to understand my matter and have me understand my options. Her experience enables her to quickly sort possible strategies and outcomes understanding practicalities and likelihoods of various options – this ensured that my decisions were made confidently. I never felt forgotten, as I have done elsewhere, and the matter was concluded within time and budget, for which I am extremely grateful.’

‘When working with BDB I didn’t feel I was working with a business because Caroline Yarrow and Duncan Walker were very personable and easy to deal with. Business is all about people and I highly recommend both.’

‘BDB Pitmans provides a top-level of service to all clients who seek assistance in the field of employment law. They are well-resourced with individuals who are specialist in the field and can provide assistance to any client and such advice will be precise to the issues that are at hand. There is no distinction between the standard of service with the London office and the East Anglia office.’

‘Caroline Yarrow represents the gold standard of an employment lawyer in terms of the depth of her knowledge and her precision in applying that knowledge to the legal issues of a case. She is unfazed by the complicated legal issues and has a good commercial awareness. Nobody should be looking for a second opinion after receiving her advice or assessment.’

‘Caroline Yarrow and her team are amazing. They always reply to emails giving such excellent guidance and advice. Their consistency, promptness and clarity are some of their strengths.’

‘People skills, commercial awareness and commercial sense with great tenacity is evident in Caroline Yarrow and her team at BDB Pitmans, which makes clients feel comfortable and at ease with the service that they are paying for. The team were very supportive and encouraged me to have faith in my own abilities and to just keep going and not to let anything sway me away from my goals. Their sensitivity encouraged me to strike a balance between being empathetic and having a thick skin, whilst going for what I believe in. They are very supportive and offer great guidance.’

Key clients

Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd

Accolite Digital LLC

Vandersanden UK Ltd

Health and Care Professions Council

Employment Related Services Association (ERSA)

National Audit Office

Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers

Jones Lang LaSalle

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

The Doctor’s Laboratory

Work highlights

  • Defended a claim for unfair dismissal successfully for Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd in the Cambridge Employment Tribunal brought by a former employee who had been dismissed during the COVID-19 pandemic for health and safety related reasons.
  • Assisted on the employment aspects of a purchase by Accolite Digital of a leading digital services provider in the banking and financial services sector.
  • Defended a company successfully in an Employment Tribunal claim brought by a former employee for discrimination allegedly arising from disability.

Corporate and commercial > M&A: Smaller Deals, £10m-£100m Tier 3

With experience of handling both public and private M&A transactions, the corporate team at BDB Pitmans is routinely instructed by a diverse client base, including private individuals, start-ups and entrepreneurs. Practice head Philip Lamb has over 30 years’ experience advising companies on acquisitions and disposals and has particular expertise advising entrepreneurs in the technology and biotech sectors. Robert Chidley went to Freeths in November 2022, while Nick McCarthy left to join Shoosmiths in December. Tessa Trevelyan Thomas left the firm to join Fladgate LLP in April 2023.  

Practice head(s):

Philip Lamb

Other key lawyers:

Hollie Gallagher; Mireille Turner

Key clients

Sullivan Street Partners Limited

Frenkel Topping PLC


Candy Ventures Sarl

Giganet Limited

Source BioScience

Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd

Work highlights

Employment > Immigration

BDB Pitmans employs a multidisciplinary approach to immigration, drawing upon the wider firm’s employment, corporate transactions, and private wealth teams to advise clients. Practice head Tim Hayes acts across the full span of the firm’s offering, with experience in sponsor licences and training for business clients and a track record in critical immigration matters for the firm’s numerous personal clients. Associate Chris Greep, working from Southampton, has a similarly broad practice.

Practice head(s):

Tim Hayes

Other key lawyers:


Very professional, accurate, and comprehensive support. Anticipative advice with explanations of all possible results. Really appreciate their work.

BDB Pitmans has a great team, providing high quality service, both front and back office. There is nothing they haven’t been able to solve for me, be it an immigration question or a billing query.’

Tim Hayes has on all occasions been extremely helpful. He’s always available and has time after time provided excellent service.

We were highly impressed with both team members. They were knowledgeable, supportive and excellent at communicating. They had to do some specific investigating and undertook this with great professionalism. Nothing was too much of a problem.

Nothing was too much trouble for them.’

‘The advice and support is always clear and concise. The support is turned around in a timely manner and is always accurate first time. They support with problem-solving in unique cases and always work with our business to find the best possible solutions.’

‘The individuals are approachable and professional at all times. No query is too big or too small.’

Work highlights

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 3

Under the joint leadership of Tristan Ward and Paddy Lynam, BDB Pitmans remains busy advising numerous high-net-worth individuals and high-profile British and international families on various legal issues relating to their rural property. Clients include those who have derived their wealth from rural properties as well as those who have made their wealth in other industries and wish to own rural property. Hugo Smith specialises in estate and tax planning matters with particular expertise in landed estates and heritage assets.

Practice head(s):

Tristan Ward; Paddy Lynam

Other key lawyers:


‘Great personable skills and good accessibility to partners. Clients well advised and kept up to speed. Paddy Lynam and Tristan Ward are key names’.

‘Constantly finding solutions rather than problems’.

‘Paddy Lynam is a dynamic operator in his prime. Easily contactable and seeing the bigger picture for his clients. Tristan Ward has an encyclopaedia of the minutiae and can see how they can impact on a given transaction. The ultimate duo to have in your corner’.

‘Good collaboration and a commercial outlook throughout’.

‘I have worked with Tristan Ward at BDB Pitmans. Tristan has an outstanding knowledge of landed estates and all the complexities that go with them. His technical excellence and attention to detail have been exemplary’.

‘Great knowledge and diverse expertise across all sectors of the property legal fields’.

‘Tristan Ward is extremely intelligent and thorough’.

A super responsive and “unstuffy” team. Patrick Lynam – responsive, thorough, thoughtful. On the client’s side but always sharing perspectives for what the other side might react with‘.

Key clients

The Royal Agricultural Society of England


Mansfields Farms

Public sector > Administrative and public law Tier 3

BDB Pitmans has established a comprehensive public law offering, covering the spectrum of litigation, inquiries and inquests, as well as advisory and legislative work, which utilises its notable strength in parliamentary law. With former practice head Matthew Smith departing to Bates Wells in March 2023, the team is now overseen by David Mundy, who brings specialist expertise in the fields of freedom of information, data protection and judicial review to the group. Another key name to note for judicial review work is Richard Langley, who has extensive experience acting for local councils and major regulators.

Practice head(s):

David Mundy

Other key lawyers:


‘Those I have worked with at BDB Pitmans have been of a noticeably high calibre, both as to their strength of legal ability as well as their pragmatic and deep understanding of how their public body client works and what it needs.’

‘David Mundy in particular is extremely knowledgeable in this field.’

‘This team at BDB Pitmans has particular strength in public law work associated with public inquiries and major inquests, deriving from their experience of acting as solicitors to the inquiry and for core participants/interested persons.

‘Members of the team have excellent technical knowledge and a wide range of experience with public sector entities, including central government departments and agencies, local government, police forces and other emergency services.’

‘BDB Pitmans manages to blend a diverse practice with depth of experience. In handling matters in a particular area, such as inquests, the firm quickly draws on experience from its other teams when the need arises.’

‘Great and deep expertise across commercial public law litigation and, especially, at appellate level.’

‘Richard Langley is a seriously knowledgeable expert and a steady pair of hands in litigation at the highest level.’

‘David Mundy has a wonderful and intuitive grasp of public law principles and is able to use these skills extremely well to meet the client’s needs.

Key clients

Financial Conduct Authority

The Forde Inquiry

Financial Conduct Authority

AP Wireless (UK)

Royal Albert Hall

Manchester Ship Canal Company

Trinity House

Climate Change Committee

Nuffield Health

Powerrapid Ltd

Financial Conduct Authority (Milne)

Financial Conduct Authority (CRA)

Trinsalvage Enterprises Limited

Natural Resources Wales

Work highlights

  • Represented the Financial Conduct Authority in a number of judicial reviews.
  • Acting for the Manchester Ship Canal Company in legal challenges to restrict the right of sewage companies to discharge sewage into waterways.
  • Acting for the Royal Albert Hall on the promotion of legislation in Parliament to revise its constitution.

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 3

BDB Pitmans' education practice is well-versed in charity and governance matters and maintains a client roster that includes a number of independent school as well as organisations such as the Independent Schools Inspectorate. The team is regularly instructed to provide advice on regulatory compliance matters and also advises on governance and regulation statutes. The team is led by Penny Chapman, who is regarded as a key contact for governance advice and also regularly assists schools with the establishment of educational charities. Nicholas Le Riche extends the team's offering into employment advice and is capable of handling both contentious and non-contentious staffing and disciplinary matters. Real estate lawyer Jonathan Fewster is also recommended for his ability to handle school site acquisitions and disposals.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Fewster; Nicholas Le Riche; Alice Unwin; Kate Parkinson

Key clients

Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools

Beechwood Park School

Bolton School

Independent Schools Bursars Association

Independent Schools Inspectorate

King Alfred School

Mill Hill School Foundation

Moulsford Preparatory School

The Mount School York

Westminster School

Work highlights

  • Advised the Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS) on updating its Template Governance Manual for its member schools.
  • Advised Mill Hill School on the establishment of a separate charitable subsidiary as a bursary fund.
  • Advised Westminster School in relation to subsidiary trading arrangements.

Public sector > Local government Tier 3

BDB Pitmans‘ public sector team is noted for its understanding of local councils’ environmental projects, boasting an in-depth understanding of matters related to clean air and low emissions zones as well as advising on several notable transport infrastructure schemes. Under the leadership of London-based lawyer Mark Challis, the team has developed extensive compulsory purchase and planning expertise, enabling it to provide advice on highway, rail, and airport developments. Duncan O’Connor is regarded as a key contact for such work, while Nick Evans, Tom Henderson, and David Mundy are noted for their wide-reaching expertise in advising on environmental and clean air projects.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Duncan O’Connor; Nick Evans; Tom Henderson; David Mundy


‘The team are proactive and knowledgeable. Their key strength is in their leadership and coordination amongst team members. Resources are well deployed and their strength in depth covers specialist areas.’

‘Aside from their strong knowledge on the subject matter, the individuals operate on a high productivity threshold and always meet deadlines set to a good quality standard.’

Key clients

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council

Cambridgeshire County Council

East Suffolk Council and Coastal Partnership East

London Luton Airport Limited

Manchester City Council

Newcastle City Council

Northumberland County Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Transport for Greater Manchester

Transport for London

Work highlights

Real estate > Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 3

The ‘well-connected and collaborative team’ at BDB Pitmans is entrusted by high-net-worth individuals and investment companies on domestic lettings. Practice head Jonathan Fewster often advises charities on real estate matters, and is intimately familiar with acquisitions and disposals, development projects, landlord and tenant mandates, as well as property finance. Dennis Ko handles real estate developments and transactions for an assortment of Far and Middle East investors and Emma Roche caters to leasehold structures for corporate occupiers and landlords. Sarah Godfrey steers commercial and mixed-use portfolios for housing associations and private investors.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fewster

Other key lawyers:


‘We always get a very quick response with good, no-nonsense advice. It is a large practice, so cover is always available if your primary contact is away, but they also manage to retain a personal feel.’

‘A well-connected and collaborative team support us in our commercial property endeavours. BDB Pitmans are responsive and accommodating.’

‘Sarah Godfrey has been unfailingly supportive and helpful throughout numerous negotiations. She runs a very efficient team.’

‘The key difference is their personal touch which builds trust and enables honest and open communication.’

‘The team at BDB Pitmans have consistently provided timely, expert advice across a range of key areas relating to our commercial property interests. They have taken the time to develop and understand the organisation and objectives in delivering the support and advice they provide.’

‘BDB Pitmans are our commercial legal advisers for all property-related matters. This is particularly thanks to Sarah Godfrey. Her sound experience and knowledge coupled with her calm and considered approach ensures key legal intricacies are conveyed accurately and timely to facilitate the best interest of our organisation.’

Key clients

Faber & Faber

Throgmorton Assets PLC

The Corporation of the Church House

The Dyers’ Company

Clarion Housing Group

The Lutherans Council of Great Britain

Center on Long Term Risk

Purpose Europe Limited

Rich Mix Cultural Foundation

Mulberry One Capital Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Faber and Faber Limited on the lease of its new HQ in Hatton Gardens, Farringdon.
  • Advised Clarion Housing Group on their commercial property assets portfolio including taking a leasehold interest in its own new HQ in Haywards Heath, West Sussex.
  • Advised the Corporation of the Church House on the lettings of its conference centre and office space in its Grade II listed building next to Westminster Abbey.

Transport > Rail Tier 3

The skilled team at BDB Pitmans is praised for its ‘ability to distil complex legal matters into language that aligns with the client’s processes and procedures, enabling key decisions to be made with full knowledge and understanding of the risks, costs and programme implications‘. Mark Challis is at the helm. Its primary focus is on planning matters and advising on obtaining authorisations for rail schemes. The group has particular expertise in advising on projects that require development consent orders under the Planning Act 2008. Duncan O’Connor is another prominent member of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:


‘The team are highly engaged, have great sector knowledge and advise in a pragmatic way’.

‘Duncan O’ Connor is very calm and measured, and that gives us great confidence as a client’.

‘Highly experienced and deep knowledge’.

‘Mark Challis – an excellent team leader with a calmness that reassures clients’.

‘The team are both very knowledgeable and down to earth, which is a crucial combination when working together on long-lasting commissions’.

‘Duncan O’Connor is an excellent legal advocate who will always make time to advise on issues, regardless of the scale of complexity. Duncan is also very personable and easy to work with’.

BDB Pitman are collaborative and communicative, with a wealth of industry knowledge and experience. Their teams are diverse, but all share the same ability to instil confidence to the client that you are safe in their hands‘.

‘They are willing to look outside the box to find innovative solutions to complex issues, using their depth of knowledge to deliver value and best practice‘.

Key clients

HS2 Petitioners

East West Railway Company

Transport for London

Northumberland County Council

Network Rail

Transport for Greater Manchester and other authorities

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

Work highlights

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 4

BDB Pitmans' 'extremely capable dispute resolution team' has substantial experience in group claims, commercial contract disputes, professional negligence, and shareholder, partnership, and joint venture disputes. Other key areas are banking and finance litigation, debt and asset recovery, and IT disputes. Commercial litigation leader Sinéad Lester is well known for corporate and shareholder conflicts; Jonathan Sachs is an expert in group litigation and professional negligence claims; and commercial litigator Richard Langley is 'not afraid to challenge others' views'.

Practice head(s):

Sinéad Lester

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Sachs; Richard Langley; Jocelyn Contato


‘The firm is extremely client friendly, and provides value for money and excellent client care.’

‘Jonathan Sachs – the doyen of the commercial litigation world. He is extremely client friendly and a joy for Counsel to work with.’

‘Jonathan Sachs has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, which is married up with a tactical astuteness that makes him a formidable colleague  and an even more formidable opponent.’

‘An extremely capable dispute resolution team.’

‘Richard Langley is always a pleasure to work for. He is a very able black letter lawyer, who is not afraid to challenge others’ views, but always a team player.

‘They understand the problems clients have from the outset; and their offices and the way they work are 100% professional.’

‘Sinéad Lester is very helpful and very easy to communicate with. A hardworking solicitor with fast responses, and the billing policy is reasonable for the service.’

‘Excellent all-round commercial litigation team. Great client service and strong legal knowledge.’

Key clients

North Channel Bank GmbH & Co

Real Time Systems

Trinsalvage Enterprises

Cambridgeshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for the successful claimant in Companies Court proceedings to retain control of a majority shareholding.
  • Acting for various corporate claimants in pursuing business interruption claims under insurance policies, which were triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Representing Cambridgeshire County Council in a dispute involving the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway.

Employment > Senior executives Tier 4

Typically acting as legal advisors to chief executives, practitioners at BDB Pitmans’ have a ‘depth of experience’ across a broad range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Team head Brian Gegg advises on redundancies and employment terminations, while Caroline Yarrow handles salary and bonus payment disputes. The team is also well versed in whistleblowing and victimisation claims. Tim Hayes has a specialised employment and immigration practice, and advises on departures.

Practice head(s):

Brian Gegg

Other key lawyers:


‘BDB Pitmans offer an extremely user-friendly, partner-led service across the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters for individuals, teams and employers. Their depth of experience on both sides of the table enables them to be very effective at achieving satisfactory outcomes to the most sensitive negotiations.’

‘Caroline Yarrow is an experienced, technically sound, solution-focussed employment partner. She is a sensible, reassuring lawyer in a complex dispute, never unnecessarily raises the temperature but will negotiate hard when required.’

‘Brian Gegg – took time to fully understand the objectives and outcomes of the engagement. Highly communicative throughout and no surprises at the end with the commercial side.’

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Providing a service to ACEVO which involves acting as legal advisors to third sector chief executives when issues against them arise.
  • Represented a senior IT developer at Twitter in the redundancy processed set in motion following the sale of Twitter to Elon Musk.
  • Advised a managing director at the Royal Bank of Canada on how best to navigate the breakdown of his relationship with a senior manager and, in turn, his employer.

Private client > Art and cultural property Tier 4

The agile team at BDB Pitmans is best known for its provision of tax and structuring advice to the owners of art and cultural property where the assets are subject to historic conditional exemptions. The group, which is co-led by Susan Johnson and Hugo Smith, also advises well-known artists on suitable ownership structures for their artwork. In addition, it regularly advises on agency agreements, and also advises museums and other cultural institutions on a broad range of  commercial and fundraising issues.

Practice head(s):

Susan Johnson; Hugo Smith

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 4

Lucinda Brown heads the practice at BDB Pitmans, which is adept at handling national and international work, and cases with an offshore element. It has considerable strength in the third sector (charities and not-for-profit), as well as owner-managed businesses and the landed estate sector. The group frequently advises on Variation of Trusts Act applications, cross-border contentious court of protection matters, as well as will validity disputes. John Darnton is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown

Other key lawyers:


‘Lucinda Brown is the solicitor who heads the private client department. She is a gifted succession lawyer combining deep legal knowledge with excellent judgement as to securing the best outcome in difficult circumstances.’

‘BDB Pitmans has an experienced team of practitioners with an in-depth knowledge of contentious trust and probate matters, both from the point of view of understanding the technical aspects of the law on trusts and estates, but also with significant skills in litigating these matters and the court process’.

‘John Darnton gives clear and concise advice. He has a unique understanding of all the angles at play in a litigation and is able to guide clients to an outcome in a calm and considered manner’.

‘They have an impressive reach for a regional firm and pick up a surprising amount of high value international work. They have strong continuity between partners and seem to work well as a team.’

‘Lucinda Brown would be at home in any top contentious trusts firm. Very assured and unflappable, she handles high-value complex litigation with a calm head. John Darnton brings a wealth of experience to his cases and sees avenues for settlement which would elude more junior litigators.’

‘Innovative approaches, flexibility, wide range of skills, collaborative approach. Good judgement, commercial sense, good level of knowledge of complex legal issues, calm under pressure, good with clients in stressful situations.’

‘Lucinda Brown is an excellent partner who has done very well in developing the expertise and depth of knowledge in the firm. She has excellent people skills.’

Real estate > Environment Tier 4

BDB Pitmans‘ team has Mark Challis at its helm has a focus advising its client portfolio on environmental aspects of significant projects; there is an evident expertise in infrastructure and public law across the offering. The team frequently works with local councils tackling environmental issues such as clean air, water and emissions issues; notably, it has acted for the Manchester Ship Canal Company in its Supreme Court dispute with United Utilities regarding sewage discharge. Infrastructure and planning expert Sarah Clark is well-regarded for her ‘outstanding attention-to-detail’.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis

Other key lawyers:

Angus Walker; Nicholas Evans; Sarah Clark; Richard Langley; Tom Henderson


‘A very knowledgeable and personable team that goes to great lengths to understand the issues and provide a professional and tailored approach to deliver outcomes quickly and efficiently.’

‘Sarah Clark has outstanding attention-to-detail and an ability to digest new and diverse information quickly and comprehensively.’

Key clients

National Highways

Environment Agency

Natural Resources Wales

East Suffolk Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Birmingham City Council

Alternative Use Boston Projects Limited

Transport for London

Manchester Ship Canal Company Limited

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 5

The real estate litigation team at BDB Pitmans is experienced handling high-end residential property disputes and works closely with the firm’s commercial property department, as well as the planning, infrastructure and public law department. Simon Painter leads the team with experience in both commercial and residential property disputes, including insolvency matters and leasehold enfranchisement litigation. He is supported by Aoife Murphy who regularly handles breach of covenant and disrepair claims.

Practice head(s):

Simon Painter

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Couch; Aoife Murphy; Clara Clint


‘Very knowledgeable and happy to help many types of legal matters relating to corporate property.’

‘Top flight and highly regarded with a long pedigree of experience in this field.’

‘Simon Painter is a brilliant, understated professional with an unassuming manner that hides great experience and insight. A great team player and conspicuous in his fair treatment of colleagues and team members and his support for everyone within the professional team.’

‘BDB Pitmans are highly experienced and skilled in their provision of advice and representation. They have a detailed knowledge of the law coupled with a sound strategic approach, which combine to enable them to provide excellent advice to clients.’

‘Simon Painter is knowledgeable, highly experienced and hardworking. He brings to bear his considerable knowledge of the law and a pragmatic tactical approach. He goes above and beyond to provide excellent service to his clients.’

‘A well-connected, collaborative team who support us in our commercial property endeavours. BDB Pitmans are responsive and accommodating. Our relationship has developed over time due to their broad experience and the expertise they have available.’

‘The team is excellent.’

‘Aiofe Murphy and Clara Clint are particularly good.’

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

Kurt Geiger

Employment > Employers Tier 6

BDB Pitmans is well recommended for employment corporate support work, as well as disciplinary and whistleblowing matters. Practice head Brian Gegg handles HR support work for clients in a wide spread of sectors, including sports, transport, real estate and IT. Further key names include Caroline Yarrow and senior associate Zoe Merrikin.

Practice head(s):

Brian Gegg

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Yarrow; Zoe Merrikin; Ian Wasserman


‘The team has excellent knowledge across the whole spectrum of employment law. They are very responsive, cases are always very well prepared and the individuals I have worked with all demonstrate excellent judgement. They are a pleasure to work with.’

‘They are a pleasure to work with. Their cases are always well prepared; their knowledge and judgement is excellent.’

‘BDB Pitmans is a very friendly and experienced firm with a wide range of capable individuals at all levels of seniority to address employment disputes. I have found the team to be excellent in Tribunal cases as well as in handling sensitive investigations.’

‘Very responsive and give excellent and detailed instructions.’

‘They are a small team with expert knowledge of employment law and specifically the transport sector. They have been supportive with knowledge and expertise over the years and are always engaging and willing to help with employment matters and training as required.’

‘The firm delivers a first class professional service’

‘Brian Gegg is totally proficient in client relationship and always immediately available for consultation.’

‘Really good at understanding the business and its focus – we work together well.’

Key clients

Smurfit Kappa Uk Limited

Jones Lang La Salle (Jll)

Wellcome Sanger Institute

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Sita Inc

The Doctors Laboratory

Tony’s Chocolonely Ltd

Colliers International

Mapeley Group / Salisbury Workplace Ltd

London General Transport Services (Go Ahead Buses)

London Irish Rugby Club

Work highlights

  • Advised on the employment aspects of a number of acquisitions made by Frenkel Topping Plc in the last 12 months and (ii) advised on the employment aspects of Sondrel (Holdings) plc’s successful admission to trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and associated fundraising.
  • Acted and continues to act on behalf of Go-Ahead London in defending employment tribunal claims and in providing on-going employment advice to the Group.
  • Advises Smurfit Kappa Group on all day-to-day employment and HR issues arising in the UK across all divisions.

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.

Department Name Email Telephone
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:

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers Verdict

Recruits chose BDB Pitmans because it ‘seemed to really care about the wellbeing of the trainees, and offered a wide range of seat options’. The firm offers training contracts in London and Reading, and trainees can expect to do ‘most of their seats’ in the chosen location (meaning that it is possible they will do one or more seats in another office). BDB Pitmans ‘offers more than the average City firm’, with many trainees joining because of their interest in areas such as charity or family law. Respondents really appreciate the ‘emphasis on work/life balance’, as well as the commitment to diversity and inclusion. Trainees are given ‘high-quality work, lots of responsibility and client contact’, and appreciate having plenty of involvement in substantive work. ‘Friendly colleagues’ and a ‘good hybrid working policy (trainees are expected to be in the office two to three days a week, with flexibility)’ makes for an attractive training package. Having said that, some recruits mentioned the application of the firm’s agile working arrangements is ‘inconsistent - some departments have their own policy, which is very different to the firm's overall policy’. Trainees complained about the salary, although it was mentioned once or twice that ‘this is due to change soon’. Others grumbled that ‘communication on internal matters is fairly poor’. On the plus side, best moments included ‘working on an acquisition from start to finish’ and ‘participating in client meetings with counsel’. ‘Completing a task for a very difficult and unapproachable supervisor' and ‘making an error during a completion day in my first seat’ were low points. Thankfully, pro bono opportunities are good and available: ‘I have had access to pro bono opportunities straight from the word go’, said one respondent, ‘it's a key focus of the firm’. To experience a wide range of seats in a firm with a great work/life balance, where diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords, consider BDB Pitmans.