BDB Pitmans > Cambridge, England > Firm Profile

BDB Pitmans
4th Floor
50/60 Station Road

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 2

BDB Pitmans has 'a mix of diverse legal minds and has a great depth of experience'. In Cambridge, the firm has two vastly experienced partners in James Stephen and Duncan Walker, who are 'a particular pleasure to work alongside’. They work with partners across the firm's office network to advise technology companies in Cambridge, as well as a broad range of SMEs and multinational corporations. Their recent highlights include the multimillion-pound sale of DAI to the Kion Group, acting for the selling shareholders.

Practice head(s):

James Stephen; Duncan Walker

Other key lawyers:

Ross Fletcher


‘The team at BDB Pitmans is a mix of diverse legal minds and has a great depth of experience in a variety of matters. I have worked with a variety of corporate lawyers over the years and BDB punches well above its weight in terms of capability.’

‘The team is approachable and knowledgeable. I have absolute confidence in the ability of the partners and associates when working alongside them on client matters. James Stephen and Duncan Walker have been a particular pleasure to work alongside.’

‘BDB Pitmans have a very responsive team who have a wide-ranging knowledge across the work that we collaborate on. There is very little referring to colleagues for further information – they seem to be experts in their field.’

‘I particularly enjoy working with Duncan Walker because of his experience and overarching knowledge of corporate law and transactions.’

‘Duncan Walker exudes experience and confidence – he is superb.’

Key clients

Owlstone Medical Limited

The shareholders of Digital Applications International Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the shareholders of Digital Applications International Limited on the sale of the shares of DAI to the KION Group AG.

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

BDB Pitmans is a strong player in the charities sector nationally and it now has significant capability in its Cambridge office. Clients remark that it has 'excellent charity expertise and great depth of knowledge across all types of social enterprise'. Senior associate Kate Parkinson, who joined from Bristol firm VWV and is 'a consummate professional, very well read, friendly and super responsive', was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Charity Law Association. Lucinda Brown, who joined from HCR Hewitsons in 2020, provides charitable trust litigation expertise, while legal director Emma Roche is 'a great support during protracted negotiations'.


‘Kate Parkinson is a Senior Associate and is a specific stand-out in the team. I have found that she really takes time to understand client needs, and is excellent at building relationships. She brings fantastic insight into the charities market, based on real hands on experience.’

‘Kate Parkinson has gone above and beyond to assist us with a complicated set of Articles that required complete revision. Kate has always been prompt in reply, extremely polite and welcoming in her correspondence. But all of our work with BDP is like that.’

‘The team at BDB are clearly passionate about the work they do and are top notch advocates for the charity sector. They are a warm and friendly firm, and always bend over backwards to help achieve the best results for their clients, which with the charity sector is ultimately the beneficiaries.’

‘I have worked mainly with Kate Parkinson at BDB Pitmans. Kate is a consummate professional, very well read, friendly and super responsive. Her communication skills are second to none – she presents her recommendations in a clear and concise way and is quick to translate legalese into layman’s terms when required. Nothing is too much trouble for Kate and her passion for the third sector, and deep understanding of the dynamics and challenges it faces, is apparent in everything she does.’

‘The team at Pitmans have been very helpful and professional continuously throughout our multiple engagements on property matters. I have found Pitmans to be very responsive and helpful with our various demands and they have provided very good guidance and advice. Pitmans have also shared any contacts with us they think might be of use or relevant to our ongoing projects and activities.’

‘Emma Roche was instrumental and a great support during our very protracted negotiations. Emma always produced a swift turnaround for reviews and summarised key areas for discussion in a simple and digestible way, as well as identifying areas for push back and advice on other sticking points, but also on a balanced view of the expected outcomes and our direction of travel as an organisation.’

‘Kate Parkinson is hugely approachable, has deep expertise and is able to adapt her delivery style to different clients.’

Key clients

Comité International Radio-Maritime

Buddhamahametta Foundation

Multiple Sclerosis Society

Obstetric Anaesthetists Association

Work highlights

  • Acted for The Britten-Pears Foundation, Snape Maltings and Aldeburgh Music Endowment Fund on the transfer of the property from three founding charities into a new recipient charity. This involved the transfer of over 40 properties.
  • Acted on the sale of Multiple Sclerosis Society’s former HQ at Edgware Road, London and on its relocation to City North, Finsbury Park, London.
  • Advised the Thai Buddhist NGO Buddhamahametta Foundation on establishing its sister UK charity.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

BDB Pitmans in Cambridge recently hired head of will and trust disputes Lucinda Brown from HCR Hewitsons in early 2020. Leveraging the firm's national reputation in private wealth matters, the firm is now building its reputation for private client disputes in East Anglia. Clients describe Brown as 'highly competent, pragmatic and client-focused'. As head of the private wealth disputes practice, she handles both domestic and cross-border matters for high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown


Our experience is positive and we are thankful that our solicitor guided us through the case to a reasonable conclusion.’

‘I have only dealt with Lucinda Brown. My experience of her has been nothing but positive.’

‘Lucinda Brown is highly competent. She is pragmatic and client-focused. I have no hesitation in recommending clients to her and have every confidence that they will receive a first-class service.’

Private client > Family Tier 2

BDB Pitmans has increased its workload for high-net-worth individuals not only in East Anglia, but also across the UK. Lead partner Roopa Ahluwalia now leads the firm's national family law practice, which is prominent in high-value financial disputes and complex Children Act proceedings. Clients describe 'a professional firm with an approachable nature that genuinely cares about its clients and is always striving to achieve the best possible outcome'. Others note that that Ahluwahlia is 'a very thoughtful and insightful lawyer who grasps complex dynamics quickly and offers both sensitive and pragmatic advice with a very relaxed, confident and reassuring manner'.

Practice head(s):

Roopa Ahluwalia

Other key lawyers:

Matt Hasler


‘The solicitors I worked with at the firm showed total commitment to the client and case, mastering the complexities and putting in the work around the clock to prepare, take instructions and then run a superbly presented case. There was a team approach within the firm that worked very well. I was impressed at the level of service given the client.’

‘I worked with Matt Hasler as associate solicitor with conduct of the case, supported by his senior partner, Roopa Ahluwalia. Matt was at all times calm, focused and thoroughly professional. In the context of a highly charged case, he provided a first-class service for the client, working tirelessly to advance the case. He is impressive.’

‘I was extremely impressed with Matt Hasler, so much so that when a friend was going through divorce recently I recommended him. He was completely on top of the detail, sensible and only took good points. One to watch for the future.’

‘Roopa Ahluwalia has helped me successfully navigate a very challenging divorce and childcare battle – her timely and pragmatic advice and calming manner have been very much appreciated throughout.’

‘BDB Pitmans has invested a lot in their Cambridge office and are steadily building their reputation. They’ve invested in good people, which makes a difference and haven’t tried to just move people from one of their other offices. They’ve invested in local talent.’

‘Matt Hasler – a sensible pair of hands, fantastic to have on a case, knows his stuff and is easy to talk to.’

‘BDB are a professional firm with an approachable nature who genuinely care about their clients and are always striving to achieve the best possible outcome.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 2

BDB Pitmans is praised for its 'valued and informative support, and great eye for commerciality'. Though the practice in Cambridge is small, it has established a strong presence since its launch in 2017, particularly in landlord and tenant matters for corporate occupiers, commercial and residential developments for both landowners and developers, and advice on property portfolios. The firm is also an industry leader in matters relating to Transport Works Act Orders. Simon Burson leads the practice, in which legal directors Katy Klingopulos and Emma Roche are key practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Simon Burson

Other key lawyers:


‘Our solicitor has been compassionate, understanding and will challenge any information to ensure our best interest. She has a vast knowledge of information relating to the process and transaction required to ensure a purchase.’

‘BDB Pitmans has a great eye for commerciality – they are able to not only work on the legal side but help on that side of things as well.’

‘Simon Burson has huge knowledge and experience and makes you feel comfortable that the job will get done. Katy Klingopulos is very efficient and knowledgeable and assisted me greatly last year in getting a deal across the line by the end of year deadline.’

Key clients

Cambridge Molecular Diagnostics Ltd

Chassis-Cab Limited

Inotec AMD Limited

East Suffolk Council

Fore Hill Ely LLP (Laragh Homes)

The Britten-Pears Foundation

Dulcedo Patisserie Limited

Multiple Sclerosis Society Nominees Limited


Hamelin Trust

Grafton Studios Limited and I.P.M Personal Pension Trustees Limited

Foundation for Language and Educational Centres

Harrods Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Inotec AMD Limited on the lease of additional office space at Cambridge Research Park.
  • Acting for East Suffolk Council on the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project, which is constructing flood walls and a major tidal barrier around the Port of Lowestoft and the surrounding areas.
  • Acted on the merger of three charities – The Britten-Pears Foundation, Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh Music Endowment Fund – and consequent transfer of assets, liabilities and undertakings, into one larger recipient charity, Britten Pears Arts Limited.

Corporate and commercial > M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 2

With an ability to handle public and private M&A, BDB Pitmans continually fields instructions from a range of clients including private equity houses, construction companies, logistics groups and technology infrastructure stakeholders. Practice head Philip Lamb is regularly a lead adviser on public and private M&A transactions for TMT companies, while Nick McCarthy specialises in private equity and financial services mandates. Tessa Trevelyan Thomas, who is noted for her considerable experience in public takeovers, is a driving force behind much of the firm’s transactional work.

Practice head(s):

Philip Lamb


‘Very pragmatic and commercial approach to problem solving.’

‘I have been working on M&A deals with Philip Lamb for over 30 years. His knowledge and understanding of legal and commercial matters is outstanding.’

‘They are very responsive, their turnaround times are exceptional.’

‘Highly personal service. Partner led and partner involvement in the process rather than just front person. Can-do attitude looking for solutions rather than just advising where the problems are.’

Key clients

Harwood Capital

Frenkel Topping PLC


Candy Ventures Sarl

Ten Entertainment Group PLC

Strand Hanson Limited

Grandir UK

Epsilon Telecommunications Limited

EKF Diagnostics PLC

Xpediator PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Harwood Capital LLP and its bid consortium on its recommended cash offer for HML Holdings.
  • Advised the shareholders of Digital Applications International Limited on the sale of the company to KION Group AG.
  • Advised AIM listed client, Frenkel Topping Group PLC, on a placing and three acquisitions.

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

BDB Pitmans is recognised for its substantial experience in all areas of charity regulation such as safeguarding, serious incident reporting and all governance matters. It also boasts considerable capabilities in advising on mergers, restructuring and insolvency as well as experience in advising on data protection issues and legacy disputes. Other core areas of expertise  include dealing with investigatory work, coroners’ inquests as well as reputation management and public affairs. Penny Chapman heads the team that includes Jonathan Brinsden who routinely handles cross-border matters, social impact investments and NHS charity regulation. Nicola Evans is another key figure. Simon Weil is now at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Brinsden; Nicola Evans; Sarah Williams; Harriet Ainsworth; Alice Unwin


Penny Chapman  – very courteous and supportive in helping me to understand the issues and to provide solutions‘.

Absolute confidence in its knowledge and application of law relating to NHS charities. Good client management both from personal contact and relationship management by the client partner, but also access to learning and other resources.  It is not a ‘profit at all costs’ sort of firm. It is making meaningful attempts at addressing diversity issues in its recruitment and retention. Jonathan Brinsden – highly expert, personable, commercial. Also a helpful Client Partner adding value in calls with other teams outside of Charities and NFPs.  I know I can have a sensible conversation with Jonathan, whether it be about a technical legal point, strategy around a legal issue or on fees and we will reach a position which positively progresses the matter for our charity‘.

We have a complicated international charity structure with a significant income earning component, a financial link to another charity in the United States and few local staff. BDB Pitmans provides an exceptional service in managing these complexities. Sarah Williams is a stand-out person. She is expert legally, organised, highly efficient and wonderfully diplomatic‘.

The Charity relies upon the expert team in this practice to provide sound, commercial advice at a good price and with an ability to respond quickly where needed. The specific knowledge of the Charity itself is invaluable, and we see it as a top member of our panel of solicitors who we will often contact first when advice is required. The entire team that works with us is personable, easy to reach and have become valuable advisors to the Charity. Key member of the team that stands out is Jonathan Brinsden‘.

‘Jonathan Brinsden is very well connected in the charity and not for profit sector. He has a breadth of knowledge and experience which makes his advice valuable. It is always a great pleasure to deal with him‘.

Excellent team and speedily answers. Harriet Ainsworth‘.

The team headed by Jonathan Brinsden is highly knowledgeable about charity law in particular governance. For example it provided excellent advice on how to prepare a modern yet robust Articles of Association and accompanying Regulations. The team is very collaborative and highly responsive. It has been a pleasure to work with it as it makes governance law understandable to the lay person. However, we have also used other members of the firm for commercial advice, property advice and HR advice. They cover a wide range of areas of expertise which means that we only need to deal with one law firm which is very beneficial to an organisation of our size. Jonathan Brinsden and Alice Unwin are both very collaborative and highly responsive.  Friendly and approachable – I would highly recommend them both‘.

‘Sarah Williams has been a huge support to our organisation on multiple occasions, and consistently provides clear, helpful and timely guidance. She has helped us successfully navigate a couple of challenging situations and can be relied upon to provide sensible and professional recommendations in a calm and friendly manner. She has been hugely responsive throughout the course of our working relationship and is always proactive in following up‘.

Key clients

Cancer Research UK

GOSH Children’s Charity

The HALO Trust

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

The Landmark Trust

The Multiple Sclerosis Society

Nuffield Health

The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity

The Stroke Association

The London Transport Museum

Make-a-Wish Foundation

Blind Veterans UK

The Vaughan Williams Foundation

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts

Work highlights

  • Advised the independent trustees of the charity (The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation UK (CIFF)  in the landmark Supreme Court case of Lehtimaki v Cooper, which raised important questions on charity member duties and the Court’s jurisdiction to interfere with the running of charities.
  • Advised Nuffield Health on defending a council’s challenge in the Court of Appeal to the charity’s entitlement to rates relief. The case raises novel questions on the interpretation and application of the charities exemption (worth £2bn pa to the sector).
  • Advised The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center on the key legal, governance and tax considerations of potential jurisdictions (Germany, Israel, the UK and the US) to establish a charity to support a $80-100m memorial project, as well as advising on governance considerations and on developing the international fundraising strategy.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

BDB Pitmans continues to act for UK and international private clients, their trustees and family offices. The versatile team that is led by Alastair Collett  advises on estate planning, succession law, wills and the administration of estates. It is also adept at advising entrepreneurs and advising on the structuring and co-ordination of the affairs of international families. The practice frequently advises on the structuring of real estate assets too. Other strengths lie in providing regulatory law advice in terms of compliance with a whole raft of reporting regimes. Senior partner Helen Ratcliffe is highly rated. Simon Weil left the firm to join Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Collett

Other key lawyers:

Helen Ratcliffe; Hugo Smith; Judith Millar; Jonathan Colclough


‘I work with one specific team and have done so over many years. The members of the team are experts in their fields, very friendly and professional. Hugo Smith is approachable, helpful and very knowledgeable in relation to the general private client matters we deal with. Fees are reasonable‘.

‘Great team and very responsive and really gets to understand the clients’ needs and offers dynamic solutions. I work with Judith Millar who is an outstanding private client partner. Judith is extremely knowledgeable but is able to distil that knowledge to tailor each client’s circumstances. She is warm and sympathetic and takes time to get to know clients to offer tailored advice‘.

‘Jonathan Colclough is my primary contact at the team. He is exceptional and has deep international experience and expertise‘.

Public sector > Local government Tier 2

BDB Pitmans advises local authorities and bodies on matters including major transport schemes and the establishment of new regional government entities. Practice leader Mark Challis is known for his work on compulsory purchase matters, as well as highways and environmental law. Parliamentary Agent David Mundy focuses on advising on local authority powers and public procurement, while partner Nick Evans advises on major infrastructure projects.  Angus Walker deals primarily with development consent orders on major infrastructure projects, while  partner Tom Henderson and legal director Rahul Bijlani are key contacts regarding Clean Air Zones and road user charging schemes. In May 2020 Nick Brown retired from practice.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis


‘Efficient, knowledgeable, experienced and happy to explain and discuss where needed’

‘Angus Walker has a depth of knowledge and breadth of experience that he brings with him to every discussion.’

‘The firms’ wide experience in planning and infrastructure gives them invaluable strength for their work in the local government field’

Richard Langley- a tough and experienced litigator in the field

Key clients

Transport for Greater Manchester

Manchester City Council, Leeds City Council, Trafford Council, Wigan Council and others

East Suffolk Council and Coastal Partnership East

Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council

Transport for London

London Borough of Bexley

Oxfordshire County Council

Sheffield City Council

Bath and North East Somerset Council

London Luton Airport Limited

London Borough of Lambeth

East Suffolk Council

Work highlights

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

Real estate > Planning Tier 2

BDB Pitmans houses one of the UK's leading infrastructure planning practices and is best known for advising on DCOs for NSIPs, orders under the Transport and Works Act, and the Harbours Act. The sizeable team is led by Mark Challis, who has established strong client relationships leading to repeat instructions from major clients like Transport for London. 'First-rate practitioner' Angus Walkeris a well-regarded specialist in DCO applications and leads on some of the firm's major promotions. Sarah Clark and Tom Henderson continue to be instructed by Highways England, with Henderson also working on matters related to air quality by way of clean air zones and other measures being pursued by local authorities.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis


‘The firm is very strong in the national infrastructure sector in planning with an excellent client base and superb practitioners.’

‘Angus Walker is an absolutely first-rate practitioner and is exceptionally bright. He is very calm and is a great sounding board to discuss complex legal issues. I am always grateful for his wise counsel.’

‘BDB Pitmans are an excellent and top-ranked planning and infrastructure firm.’

‘Mark Challis – a wise, calm and considered adviser.’

‘Good strength in depth, excellent lawyers at all levels, a core focus of the firm.’

‘Angus Walker rightly deserves his place as one of the most high-profile infrastructure planning solicitors. Very experienced and a walking encyclopaedia of infrastructure planning law.’

Key clients

Highways England

Transport for London

The Environment Agency

London Luton Airport Limited

Network Rail

RiverOak Strategic Partners (developers of Manston Airport)

Historic England

Alternative Use Boston Projects Limited

London Borough of Lambeth

Transport for Greater Manchester

East Suffolk Council

Peel Holdings

Trinity House

National Resources Wales

Work highlights

  • Advising Highways England on the Lower Thames Crossing DCO promotion. The largest road project since the building of the M25.
  • Advising Transport for London on the Bakerloo Line extension from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham and potentially beyond.
  • Advising London Luton Airport Ltd on its proposed major expansion of the airport to increase its passenger handling capacity to up to 32 million passengers p.a.

Real estate > Residential property Tier 2

BDB Pitmans is a strong choice for advice on the acquisition and sale of residential properties in prime and super-prime central London, and it is also renowned for its work in relation to rural properties and landed estates. Under the leadership of Hema Anand, the team attracts a significant amount of work from high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, corporates, investors and trusts. Beyond transactional matters, the group is sought after for advice on lease extensions and enfranchisement, as well as refinancings and property management issues. John Stephenson is a leading expert in leasehold reform, and he also handles significant refinances of property portfolios. Tristan Ward, who leads the landed estates and agriculture team, has more than 20 years of property experience.

Practice head(s):

Hema Anand

Other key lawyers:

John Stephenson; Tristan Ward; Timothy Middleton


‘Strong team rather than just an individual. Straightforward fee quotes rather than overly long and complicated quotes.’

‘What makes BDB Pitmans unique is their communication skills and the ability to keep a deal moving forward. Even if one of the partners is away, there is always someone else who understands the file and what needs to be done.’

‘Hema Anand was very easy to work with, had a sensible approach and was supportive in dealing with a tricky sale.’

Work highlights

  • Advised the nominee purchaser freehold company in a complex enfranchisement of a building in SW1.
  • Advised an entrepreneur on the purchase of an SPV containing a significant residential leasehold.
  • Advised a developer for plot sales of at complex site on the Wandsworth riverside.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Hampshire Tier 2

BDB Pitmans’ Southampton corporate practice is headed by Sean Kelly, a seasoned transactional and private equity lawyer, who fields a regular stream of instructions from clients across sectors including leisure, travel, TMT, marine and transport. In recent months, the firm has been engaged on mandates ranging from strategic acquisitions, to buyouts and demergers. Oliver Kelly is noted for his experience with venture capital trusts and corporate reorganisations, the latter of which has proved a key work stream since the outbreak of the pandemic. .

Practice head(s):

Sean Kelly

Other key lawyers:


‘Collaborative and very good value for money.’

‘Oliver Kelly is always available and provides concise and practical advice ’

‘’Very efficient, prompt and very clear at explaining what was required.’

‘Always able to provide clear and commercially practical advice. Exceptional work, great working with them.’


Key clients

Gamma Communications Plc

Damira Dental Studios

Premier Marinas

ITS Technology Group

The Appointment Group

Ski Weekends

Independent Fleet Consultants

Alpine Elements

Cheesecake Energy

The Firebird Partnership Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Gamma on its strategic £8M acquisition of Scottish HQ’d Exactive, a leading provider of Microsoft-focused Unified Communications solutions.
  • Acting for vendors on the secondary buyout of ITS Technology Group by Aviva.
  • Advising on the acquisition of McCabe Travel Limited by Meaningful Travel Limited.

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

The corporate team at BDB Pitmans has particular expertise in private company M&A, with an increasing focus on private equity and cross-border transactions. Leading the teams in Reading and Southampton, Oliver Pilkington has broad experience advising on a wide range of transactions, specialising in equity capital markets and M&A. Stephanie Perry is another key practitioner, with her corporate work focusing on management buy-outs and buy-ins, shareholder agreements and joint venture arrangements. Solicitor Daniela Munro is one to watch, working with Pilkington on several of the firm's major transactions.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Pilkington

Other key lawyers:


‘The BDB Pitmans team are a pleasure to work with; they anticipate our needs (often with limited briefing) and work proactively to produce what we require, as such they make it easy to make strategic decisions and changes to our businesses knowing they will be there to produce the legal back up that is required.’

‘Consistency of service and quality of offering matched with value for money makes this practice unique and unlike any other I have worked with. This is the reason they now assist me exclusively with all my transaction legal requirements.’

‘Oliver Pilkington is technically extremely competent, pragmatic and client-focused. He delivers results tailored to the brief and instructions, not his own desires or ambitions and always adapts well to the circumstances building effective relationships with his counterparts and the other side. He is very ably assisted by Daniella Munro.’

‘We work with Stephanie Perry and her team in the Thames Valley. The depth of knowledge, with me being able to throw almost anything at her, and the commerciality is what we value the most. ’

Key clients

Westcoast (Holdings) Limited

Ravenscroft Group

Guernsey Investment Fund

Novacyt SA

Waylands Automotive


Sipsmith Ltd

Dye & Durham Corp.


MXC Capital

Work highlights

  • Acted for finnCap as nominated adviser and broker to Fonix Mobile plc in connection with its admission to trading on AIM (which valued the company at £90m) and associated placing to raise £45m.
  • Acted for the members of CVR Global LLP in the sale of the business and assets of the LLP to Begbies Traynor Limited for £20.8m.
  • Advised longstanding client, Novacyt on its acquisition of the entire share capital of IT-IS International Ltd (IT-IS) for £12m.

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

The Reading team at BDB Pitmans primarily focuses on divorce and financial matters, as well as advising on pre and postnuptial agreements and Trusts of Land disputes. Practice head Matthew Heyworth acts for high-net-worth individuals and has particular expertise in dealing with entrepreneur business owners and high-profile individuals from the worlds of sports, entertainment and politics. The practice also has a growing niche for complex private law children work led by legal director Claire Burton. Former Gateley Plc partner Owen Reynolds joined the team as a consultant in summer 2021.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Heyworth

Other key lawyers:

Claire Burton; Zoe Rose; Kerry Haugh; Owen Reynolds


‘BDB Pitmans provide a central London service for out of London prices.’

‘Matt Heyworth is wise beyond his years. He has a fantastic rapport with clients and very sound judgment and technical legal knowledge’

‘The team is exceptionally well-organised and cohesive. ’

‘Claire Burton is an excellent solicitor; she has a great ‘feel’ for children’s work and goes above and beyond for those she represents. Claire really cares about her clients, which translates into the work she produces for them and the results she achieves. She is pragmatic and outcome-orientated, which means clients get realistic and focussed advice from an early stage. ’

‘I feel the service is very personalised. A divorce could be a traumatic process, but BDB Pitmans has made it smooth and pain-free.’

‘I have mainly been working with Kerry Haugh. She has been so kind, helpful and reassuring throughout the whole of my divorce proceedings.’

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

The team at BDB Pitmans advises on a wide range of real estate matters, including property asset management work and property litigation. The Reading team is also experienced in large-scale residential developments, with Marcus McCluggage leading in this area, regularly acting for housebuilders and promoters. Delphine Mehouas and Sarah Potter are also key practitioners in Reading, with Mehouas advising on commercial and residential property matters and Potter focusing on landlord and tenant work, including student accommodation issues. Paul Brame left the firm to join Bower & Bailey in May 2020. Jonathan Fewster leads the group from the London office.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fewster

Key clients

Cala Homes

Bewley Homes

Shanly Homes

Ashill Land

Oakford Homes

Vanderbilt Homes

Palatine Homes Limited

Brookworth Homes Limited

Deanfield Homes Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Ashill Land on the sale of a multi-landowner site in Tonbridge with part of the site being owned by an educational facility that entered into the first ever educational administration.
  • Advised Charles Follett Limited on the acquisition and sub-sale of a large retail unit in central London.

Real estate > Construction Tier 2

BDB Pitmans’ full-service offering sees the team handling site acquisitions, planning and procurement matters and disputes – both in mediations and at the Technology and Construction Court. The firm regularly receives instructions from clients in the design and leisure sectors, including several high-value hotel refurbishments, construction financings, and associated adjudications. Dual-qualified solicitor and barrister Karen Kirkham – who also serves as Chair of Joint Contracts Tribunal – heads the construction practice, which also includes veteran construction litigator David Gwillim , who has a particular focus on marine engineering work. Holly Hampton is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Karen Kirkham

Other key lawyers:


‘Excellent client care, very approachable, very experienced senior solicitors ’

‘Reliability and sound advice are key aspects I seek in my external advisers. Above this is the personable touch in making a client feel valued and ensuring that all avenues have been explored and appraised in a clear and coherent manner. I feel that these requirements are met when working with BDB Pitmans. ’

‘I have known Karen Kirkham professionally for the past six years and she has been my go-to construction lawyer – I value her wealth of expertise and knowledge on construction related legal matters.’

‘David Gwillim is a very experienced and knowledgeable partner, with excellent client care skills.’

Key clients

MTD Contractors Limited

ProTar Surfacing Limited

Mildren Construction Limited

Edith Lovegrove

International architectural practice

London-based architectural and interior design practice

Marsfields Group

Real estate > Environment and planning Tier 2

The team at BDB Pitmans regularly advises on mixed-use projects, highway agreements and planning appeals for key regional developers, heritage organisations, and local authorities. Practice head Cristina Daniels handles residential and mixed-use developments for various national housebuilders, and is an experienced adviser on highway rights of way, village greens, and assets of community value. Chris Holmes is noted for his broad experience in residential, mixed-use, and infrastructure work. All named lawyers are based in Reading.

Practice head(s):

Christina Daniels

Other key lawyers:


‘Christina Daniels is always available for advice and willing to help.’

‘Collaborative working and regular communication.’

‘Superb sector knowledge and excellent legal knowledge’

‘Mark Challis was really responsive and helpful.’

‘Christina has a strong planning team who provide timely and effective advice. They all work well in wider teams and are proactive and results driven.’

‘Christina Daniels, is stand-out and leads her team from the front. She is a great strategist, strong communicator and,  most importantly , an excellent negotiator. Christina can win the trust from all parties involved.’

Key clients

CALA Group

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Highwood Group

Millgate Developments Limited

Shanly Homes Limited

Bewley Homes PLC

Ashill Land Limited

South Northamptonshire District Council

Fairview Homes Limited

Vanderbilt Homes Limited

JPP Land Limited

Historic England

Peabody Developments Limited

Eden Luxe Developments Limited

Hesmond Stud Limited

Bioregional Hill LLP/Hill Residential Limited

Palatine Homes Limited

Alldermen Properties Limited

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the Highwood Group in relation to planning and infrastructure matters at their 1100 unit mixed use scheme, including a new local centre and extension to a country park in Eastleigh.
  • Instructed to act for Historic England in relation to its objection, on heritage grounds, to an application for a circa £300m urban renewal project in Norwich which was called in to the Secretary of State.
  • Instructed to act on behalf of lon standing client, CALA Homes in relation to a large, complicated development in Lancing.

Public sector > Infrastructure (parliamentary) Tier 1

The team at BDB Pitmans has a strong practice advising on general parliamentary work and the promotion and opposition to infrastructure schemes and private bills.  Its experience includes advising in relation to Development Consent Orders, Transport and Works Act Orders, and hybrid bills for HS2. Practice leader Mark Challis has particular expertise in compulsory purchase and highways law. Parliamentary agents Angus WalkerNick EvansDavid Mundy and Sarah Clark advise in relation to matters such as transport and ports infrastructure schemes, private bills and hybrid bills. Legal director Rahul Bijlani has experience of matsters such as road user charging schemes, while  Mustafa Latif-Aramesh deals with private bill promotions. Nick Brown retired from the partnership in 2020 but remains with the firm as a consultant and parliamentary agent.

Practice head(s):

Mark Challis


‘BDB Pitmans has always been very quick to respond to any requests we have about legal matters. They are very clear on billing before undertaking work (as I work for an NGO this is particularly important for us) and bill regularly. The firm is also very clear on areas where they consider pursuing a legal route is not in our best interests. This makes them very trustworthy and is one of the reasons we give them repeat business.’

‘Their responses are timely and if there are delays they are very good at letting us know immediately.’

‘We have used other law firms for this area of work in the past but now only use BDB because of the relationship we have with Nick. Brown’

Key clients

Highways England

Transport for London

The Environment Agency

London Luton Airport Limited

RiverOak Strategic Partners (developers of Manston Airport)

Multiple local authorities promoting clean air and low emission zones

Multiple petitioners against HS2

Alternative Use Boston Projects Limited

Transport for Greater Manchester

Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust

Northern Ireland Assembly Commission

East Suffolk Council

Trinity House

National Resources Wales

Work highlights

  • Continued to advise Highways England on its most significant promotions, including the Lower Thames Crossing, the largest road scheme since the construction of the M25.
  • Promoted a private bill to give Highgate Cemetery the powers to create more grave space. This is essential to secure the future of Britain’s best-known cemetery.
  • On behalf of multiple local authorities promoted clean air zones, zero/low emission zones, workplace parking levies and congestion charges for 8 of the 10 largest cities in England, as well as several others.

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

BDB Pitmans is well known for handling complex high-value litigation for blue-chip national and international businesses. The team has particular strengths in IT disputes, acting for both Thames Valley-based and US-based software companies. Phil Smith has recently stepped up to become firmwide head of litigation and specialises in a range of contractual and tortious claims. Former practice head Tim Clark, a member of the firm's executive board, focuses on complex litigation and injunctions for company law-related claims. David Gwillim leads the contentious construction and engineering practice.

Practice head(s):

Tim Clark; Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:


‘BDB Pitmans punches above its weight, both in the quality of its lawyers and the complexity of work. I have only positive things to say about the firm and everybody there who I have worked with, from trainees to partners.’

‘I would not hesitate in recommending Tim Clark (and have recommended the team at BDB Pitmans to other clients). He is not only an extremely good lawyer but gives practical and commercial advice. Tim also genuinely cares about his clients.’ 

Key clients

Grayson + Co

Sondrel (SOC Solutions)

Karali Group

Westcoast Ltd

Symantec Corporation

Matthews Flower Growers Company td

Joanne Properties Ltd


Crowe UK LLP

Oracle Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting for Grayson + Co, which was served with a Norwich Pharmacal application, a case which raises important issues in confidential information cases and will be in the Court of Appeal in April 2021.
  • Acting for Sondrel (SOC Solutions) Ltd in an IT dispute concerning the development of a software on chip processor and the withholding of a substantial contractual payment which attracted industry press coverage.

Employment > Pensions Tier 1

BDB Pitmans has amassed considerable experience in handling buy-in transactions, GMP conversions and equalisation projects. In addition, it is well-known for assisting clients with non-cash funding arrangements, and guiding sponsors and trustees through scheme changes and debt issues. David Hosford's vast portfolio of work includes advising clients on consolidating trust deeds, funding shortfalls, contingent asset issues and general liability management work. In 2020, legal director Alex Rush and senior associates Sarah Millar  and Catriona Darnell joined the firm from Stephenson Harwood, Arc Pensions Law and Norton Rose Fulbright, respectively.

Practice head(s):

David Hosford

Other key lawyers:


‘I have always been impressed by every individual that I have dealt with. In my opinion that says a lot about BDB Pitmans’ recruitment, training and retention of staff.’ 

‘David Hosford is an excellent pensions lawyer with a broad knowledge and good attention to detail.’ 

‘I have worked with David Hosford for over ten years. His high quality legal advice and commercial awareness always adds value.’

Key clients

Belfast Harbour Commissioners’ Pension Scheme

Continental Group Pension & Life Assurance Scheme

Standard Group (UK) Pension Scheme

Mitsui UK Retirement Benefits Plan

Chas A Blatchford & Sons Limited Group Pension Scheme

Danfoss Power Solutions Pension Plan

Swedish Match UK Pension Fund

Denley King Partnership (1988) Retirement Benefits Scheme

Bridport Pension Plan

Leo Pharma Retirement Benefits Plan

Medusa Pension Scheme

Plasser Machinery Parts & Services Limited Pension & Assurance Scheme

Campden BRI

Flour Milling & Baking Research Association Pension & Assurance Scheme

Campden RA Pension Scheme

Work highlights

  • Advised Chas A Blatchford & Sons in relation to a GMP reconciliation and equalisation project as part of securing benefits with an insurer.
  • Advising the trustees of Belfast Harbour Commissioners’ Pension Scheme on proposals from the scheme employer to manage risk including PIE and closure to accrual.
  • Advised Bridport Pension Plan on the feasibility of stripping the DC benefits out of the scheme and how to do this.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

BDB Pitmans' credentials as a market-leader are reflected by the breadth and complexity of its work for a wide range of stakeholders in the insolvency and corporate recovery arena. Led by Suzanne Brooker, the team acts for clients such as insolvency practitioners, banks, investors, directors and creditors. In one matter, Brooker and legal director David Williams are acting for the joint administrators on the administration of Oyster Marine Limited and Oyster Marine Holdings Limited. Elsewhere, other key workstreams include advice on restructurings, exit strategies, receiverships, liquidations and CVAs. In a notable development, Alexander Wood joined from Coffin Mew LLP in 2020. Stacey Jones and Rick Munro are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Suzanne Brooker


‘Suzanne Brooker, Stacey Jones and the team are easy to talk to and offer great advice on all matters.’

‘The team at BDP Pitmans constantly demonstrate a genuine desire to impress their clients. Whether it is their first engagement or 10th engagement they strive to improve the work they deliver to clients across all divisions of the business.’

‘Stacey Jones is, without a doubt, the best insolvency lawyer I have had the privilege of working with. Her work ethic and desire to complete any assignment when she says and with the best possible outcome for all stakeholders sets a precedent from which others should be judged. Her relentless pursuit for personal development is refreshing to experience first hand.’

‘Agile team with a broad skillset that achieves an excellent balance of technical knowledge and commerciality in challenging situations. Work with their clients in a collaborative and flexible way, but equally as effective in delivering defined scope advice on request in a focused manner.’

‘Stacey Jones has a strong personality and is clear in her advice. Provides the clients with confidence in her and her team.’

‘Very good strength in depth, wide range of experience.’

‘Stacey Jones is an exceptional young lawyer. Amazing work ethic and very practical advice.’

‘The restructuring and corporate insolvency team at BDB Pitmans are elite. They are super responsive and always go the extra mile.’

Key clients



FRP Advisory


Begbies Traynor (formerly CVR Global LLP)

Opus Restructuring

Quantuma LLP

UHY Hacker Young LLP


Azets Holdings Limited (formerly Wilkins Kennedy LLP)

Work highlights

  • Advised KPMG on the need to appoint administrators as part of an overall restructuring and on the successful sale of the business and assets, preserving jobs and the “Oyster” brand.
  • Advising the Trustees in Bankruptcy with the realisation of a bankruptcy assets worth more than £12m and adjudication of bankruptcy claims which total more than £24m.
  • Advising Natural Resources Wales on treatment of civil penalties to be paid to Regulators of power stations for emissions and impact of those and wider policies on conduct of administration and CVA of power station operators

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

BDB Pitmans utilises its location in the Thames Valley to work with some of the largest and most innovative technology companies in the South East, advising on master services agreements, SaaS terms and corporate reorganisations. The firm also has a strong contentious offering; Phil Smith, promoted to national head of litigation in June 2020, and Tim Clark represent companies in disputes relating to licensing, contractual issues and damages to telecoms networks. Philip Weaver is the key name for commercial arrangements and corporate issues.

Practice head(s):

Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:

Philip Weaver; Tim Clark; Marie Evrard


‘Broad range of corporate services, professional and quick to pick the phone up. ’

‘Take time to understand any issues we bring to them, provide estimated costing up front. Maintain an informed and transparent fee structure.’

Key clients

Sondrel (SOC Solutions) Limited

Big Worldwide Limited

Acuity Risk Management Limited

Fast Lane Consulting and Education Services Limited

Westcoast Ltd

Symantec (now NortonLifeLock)

HUMAX Electronics Co Ltd

Gamma Telecom Ltd

Sol-Tec Ltd

Pegasystems Inc

Work highlights

  • Acted for Sondrel (SOC Solutions) Ltd in a dispute concerning the development of a complex silicon semiconductor chip.
  • Acted for a multi-national software company in a substantial, multi-party dispute with a Caribbean telecoms company.
  • Acted for IT supplier Westcoast on a range of disputes, including over breaches of various logistics agreements and security issues concerning the transfer of high value goods.

Employment > Immigration

The 'proactive and practical' immigration practice at BDB Pitmans is led by Tim Hayes, a former Home Office Presenting Officer at the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. Private wealth specialist Alastair Collett advises investors seeking to come to the UK, offering particular expertise with regards to tax considerations. The firm prides itself on its multidisciplinary approach, with private wealth capabilities combined with employment and corporate transactional capabilities; Hayes, who is praised for being 'down to earth and likeable' and for possessing 'a very strong depth of knowledge', also handles a broad range of general employment matters.

Practice head(s):

Tim Hayes

Other key lawyers:


‘The BDB Pitmans immigration team provide proactive and practical guidance. They work closely with our in-house legal team to assist with any compliance questions related to our UK visa sponsorship license. They also provide responsive support for staff members who require assistance with their visa applications.’

‘The team demonstrated strong subject matter expertise and had the requisite experience to draw upon, which provided a sense of confidence. They handled the case with calm and professionalism which provided reassurance and reduced stress. The work took place during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The team was able to adapt to the situation and offer a high-calibre service despite the constraints.’

‘Tim Hayes – always available, always extremely knowledgeable, helpful and very pleasant to work with.’

‘Tim Hayes has stands out as a particularly talented and engaging practitioner. He has a very strong depth of knowledge in relation to the subject matter and explains issues in a relatable way.’

‘Tim Hayes is smart, personable, knows his stuff, communicates clearly and concisely, and responds quickly.’

‘An extremely open and down to earth firm. They are very accommodating in terms of fees and will happily discuss matters at length before actually starting to invoice.’

‘They provide a comprehensive overview of the entire process, which is key in understanding the immigration process.’

‘As well as being very knowledgeable, we were really impressed by the level of customer service that the team at BDB Pitmans provided. We also found their fees to be very reasonable.’

Key clients

Colliers International Property Consultants Limited

Gowan Company/Crop Demetra

Buckley Gray Yeoman

Adam Smith International

The Doctors Laboratory Limited

The Asfari Foundation

Morris + Company Limited

Irbis Capital Limited

Flodatix Limited

Health Optimising (UK) Ltd

Ecofye Limited

Sciton Incorporated

LIM Advisors (London) Ltd

Simply Jet SA

Work highlights

  • Providing solutions for complex situations tailored to Colliers International Property Consultants Limited, a multinational real estate consultancy and property management firm.
  • Providing end-to-end immigration support to large laboratory services company The Doctors Laboratory Limited.
  • Acting as the sole specialist in all immigration matters for overseas-owned company Gowan Company/Crop Demetra.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Lucinda Brown leads the team at BDB Pitmans that has a strong focus on international and domestic private wealth and the charities sector. The department looks after disputes for some of the most well-known high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth families and family trusts in the country. Key work types are Variation of Trusts Act applications, professional negligence claims in a trusts context, 1975 Act claims as well as rectification claims and will disputes. Brown has particular experience of working across the rural and landed estates sector.  Legacy disputes is a sector focus for the team.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown


‘Luci Brown is a fantastic lawyer who is both knowledgeable about the law and very good with clients.’

The individual I have worked with is Lucinda Brown (a recent hire from Cambridge) who combines excellent technical knowledge with pragmatic advice as to achieve the best result for clients.’

Key clients

Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Charity

Barts Health National Health Service Trust

Public sector > Administrative and public law Tier 3

BDB Pitmans is best known for its strong credentials in healthcare regulation issues, parliamentary proceedings and infrastructure projects. The firm has recently advised the Government in connection with regulatory issues arising as a result of Brexit and Covid-19, and acted in significant judicial reviews concerning environmental issues. 'Sensible and pragmatic' barrister Matthew Smith has over two decades of experience in judicial reviews and statutory appeals, and has a reputation for handling complex cases before the ECHR and highly sensitive public inquiries. David Mundy is an expert in parliamentary law, with a particular focus on the legislative process, and Sinéad Lester is recommended for her strength in major inquests.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Smith; David Mundy

Other key lawyers:


‘Impeccable competence in every key area: legal knowledge, case understanding and preparation, attention to detail, communication and delivery.’

‘The team has a very high level of technical ability (at both partner and associate level), in particular in dealing with major inquiries. They have handled major projects with consummate organisational ability, while showing innovating thinking and intellectual rigour.’

‘Sinéad Lester is a very capable public lawyer and demonstrates extraordinary capacity for organising teams in major projects. She really absorbs the detail of a case and analyses every issue in advance. She has considerable expertise in major inquiries and national security work.’

‘Matthew Smith is a top practitioner who delivers a high quality service. He is committed to the field. His work under the Crown Commercial framework is highly rated.’

‘Matthew Smith – down to earth and easy to work with; sensible and pragmatic in approach; his experience as a government lawyer is valuable in public law cases.’

‘Ability to deal with challenging, complex issues with ease. Excellent communication and thorough preparatory work at all stages of litigation.’

Key clients

Former Chief Coroner of England and Wales

The Forde Inquiry

Age Verification Providers Association

Health and Care Professions Council

Nuffield Health

Natural Resources Wales (NRW)

RiverOak Strategic Partners Ltd

British Medical Association

Health and Care Professions Council

Sheffield City Council, Newcastle City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Birmingham City Council

Work highlights

  • Acted as solicitors to the inquests into the deaths arising from the attack at Fishmongers’ Hall on November 29th 2019.
  • Acting as the secretariat to the Forde Inquiry, which was set up in response to allegations that the Labour Party had failed to deal appropriately with accusations relating to anti-Semitism, and other forms of racism and offensive or inappropriate behaviour.
  • Acting as the secretariat to the IFI – a judicial inquiry established to investigate the circumstances surrounding Iraqi deaths involving British forces on a case by case basis and, crucially, to satisfy the UK’s investigatory obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Public sector > Education: schools Tier 3

BDB Pitmans stands out for its ability to advise on complex charity concerns and compliance issues, making it a go-to firm for independent schools. The team provides operational advice on employment, real estate, planning and development matters, public affairs work and litigation, including debt management issues for schools. Other key strengths comprise school reorganisations, including guiding schools through closures, and M&A transactions. Practice head Penny Chapman has an excellent reputation in charity law; she advises independent schools and other charitable education institutions on governance, constitutional and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Penny Chapman

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Fewster; Nicholas Le Riche

Key clients

Bolton School

Moulsford Preparatory School

Association of Governing Bodies of Independent Schools (AGBIS)

Finton House Educational Trust

The Independent Schools Bursars Association

Cripplegate Schools Foundation – Lady Eleanor Holles

Westminster School

Work highlights

  • Drafted and advised AGBIS on a detailed Governance Manual (comprising 22 policies) that has been made available as a model for all its of its member schools.
  • Advised Finton House Educational Trust on employment, pension law and governance considerations in relation to the Teachers Pensions Scheme, as well as supporting the school with a wide range of employment matters as they arise, including advising on furlough leave, issues arising from Covid-19 and managing staff.
  • Advised Westminster School on the establishment of the Ben Jonson Foundation as a stand-alone CIO to attract bursary funding to widen access to the school.

Real estate > Commercial property: corporate occupiers Tier 3

BDB Pitmans’ department, which is led by Jonathan Fewster, counts the firm’s wider expertise in the charities and not-for-profit sectors as a key point of distinction. The team includes legal director Emma Roche, who is a specialist in complex leasehold structures. The firm is also noted for its development practice, which supports both developers and landlords on everything from land assembly and collaboration agreements to related construction, planning and tax issues. It disperses its know-how across mixed-use, commercial, infrastructure and residential schemes.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Fewster

Other key lawyers:

Ellen James; Bhaminee Sharma; Dennis Ko; Emma Roche


‘Communication is simple to understand. They prefer to have a quick conference call to ensure they understand the instruction. This is very helpful. The estimates they provide are detailed and generally it is what is billed.’

‘BDB Pitmans has a very strong team, always willing to help and provide advice. Having a senior member of the team as our point of contact within the firm ensures that deadlines are met and the service offered meets our needs. We always have someone at the end of the phone to assist and guide us.’

‘We have developed a good working relationship with a number of individuals at BDB Pitmans, especially our main point of contact. The solicitors at the firm are always ready to help and value our instructions, no matter how small the instruction may be.’

‘Jonathan Fewster and Emma Roche worked as a team and dealt well with all difficulties as they arose to conclude matters.’

‘Bhaminee Sharma goes over and above what is required to ensure that lease and legal matters are handled efficiently and to the best outcome.’

‘Jonathan Fewster is always practical, considered and pragmatic. He is very competent and approachable.’

Key clients

Education International Services Limited

The Drapers’ Company

nChain Limited

Multiple Sclerosis Society

MFB Solicitors

Foundation for Language & Educational Centres

Healthcare Management Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising Education International Services Limited on the renewal of a lease of 12-15 Manson Place, South Kensington, London from the landlord, Western Property Developments Limited. The lease is for a term of 10 years at a rent of over £1m per annum.
  • Advising MFB Solicitors (a leading firm of specialist shipping lawyers) on their leases of the upper and lower decks at Fishmongers Chambers on Upper Thames Street in the City of London. Rent is £400,000 per annum.
  • Advising nChain Limited (a multinational provider of enterprise-grade blockchain solutions) on two new 10 year leases of separate floors of offices on Oxford Street, London at combined rent of £800,000 per annum.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Hampshire Tier 3

BDB Pitmans’ commercial disputes practice handles property and insurance-disputes work  for clients across sectors including construction, affordable housing, and financial services. The team is jointly led by Southampton-based Rick Munro, a qualified mediator, and Phil Smith, who works from the firm’s Reading office.  Fraudulent insurance and insurance liability claims are a core practice competency, with both Munro and legal director Claire Collings key contacts for this work. Sylvia Yendall is noted for her experience in landlord-tenant disputes.

Practice head(s):

Rick Munro; Phil Smith

Other key lawyers:


‘BDB Pitmans have a great breadth of practice. ’

‘I have worked most closely with Claire Collings. She has a fantastic amount of experience and really good judgement.’

‘I work with Rick Munro and Sylvia Yendall, who make a fantastic team. Rick is a great strategist, and Sylvia is very analytical and has significant technical know-how.’

‘Claire Collings has a great eye for detail, very diligent, well-drafted, comprehensive witness statements.’

‘Approachable and responsive.’

Key clients


Premier Marinas Limited

Mildren Construction

Covéa Insurance

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of insurers on a claim relating to an escape of water causing a sinkhole.
  • Acting on behalf of insurers in relation to a claim for extensive damage caused to a property by a fire involving a carelessly discarded cigarette.
  • Acting on behalf of insurers in a claim against a gas board for an explosion which occurred at a property in Birstall, Leicestershire causing damage to a number of properties in the street.

Employment > Employment: Hampshire Tier 3

BDB Pitmans’ experience in contentious matters – including discrimination, constructive dismissals, and group actions – makes it a firm choice for both claimants and respondents in Employment Tribunal matters. On the advisory side, the team regularly assists clients with a range of recruitment matters, restructuring implications, and day-to-day HR support. Southampton-based  Claire Wagstaff is the lead for the employment group in the south.

Practice head(s):

Jesper Christensen; Claire Wagstaff

Other key lawyers:

Brian Gegg


‘A dedicated, professional team with a keen interest in providing expert advice to its clients. They adopt a personal albeit objective approach in dispensing their counsel and knowledge.’

‘Their dedicated team of Brian Gegg and Claire Wagstaff provide a service that is second to none.’

‘Very knowledgable, helpful and professional.’

Work highlights

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

    BDB Pitmans' employment team regularly advises on matters concerning employees and consultants in the technology, entertainment, automotive, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals sectors. In March 2020, Angela Shields left the firm to join the judiciary and was replaced by Jesper Christensen as practice head. Christensen's expertise includes dealing with business reorganisations, often involving redundancies, TUPE issues and outsourcing arrangements. Jenny Huelin is another key practitioner in this area. Associate Asten Hawkes is also recommended and advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters including whistleblowing and wrongful and unfair dismissal claims.

    Practice head(s):

    Jesper Christensen

    Other key lawyers:

    Jenny Huelin; Asten Hawkes; Caroline Yarrow; Laura Binnie


    ‘The team were very professional, efficient and responsive. Friendly and approachable but focused on the key details, knowledgeable and experienced to handle my case.’

    ‘Asten Hawkes was absolutely fantastic to deal with, any query I had, she responded with extremely professional replies, in a very timely manner. In Asten’s absence, she handed the reins over to Caroline Yarrow who was equally as efficient.’

    ‘I know that I can make contact with BDB Pitmans employment team and the information / help I require is always available. If specialist knowledge is required the team will find the person in the Company that has more experience in this particular field.’

    ‘I have worked a lot with Jenny Huelin and recently during her maternity leave Claire Wagstaff has covered. I feel that I have a personal connection with both ladies – I can call anytime with what I might feel is a huge problem and they put me at ease and guide me through and out the other side.’

    Key clients

    Sol-Tec Limited

    Ultima Business Solutions Limited

    Novacyt S.A. and its group of companies including Novacyt UK Holdings Limited

    Panalux Limited and its group of companies including Panavision Europe Limited and Black Island Studios Limited

    Waylands Automotive Limited

    Jonas Group UK (and Constellation Inc.)

    Work highlights

    • Providing Leading Entertainment Group of Companies – Lighting and Technology with daily HR support on all employment law-related matters to the group of companies.
    • Advised Novacyt UK Holdings Limited on the acquisition of IT-IS International Limited.
    • Advised the shareholders of the Garden Trading Company Limited on a share shale to Joules Group Plc.

    Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

    The well regarded wills and trusts disputes team at BDB Pitmans has begun to handle increasing volumes of work outside of London, with key figures including commercial litigator Tim Clark in Reading, and legal director Claire Collings in Southampton. Clark, who is praised for his 'knowledge, contacts and negotiating skills' has a growing focus on contentious probate work, while Collings regularly works in tandem with contentious insolvency lawyer Rick Munro on trusts and estates litigation.

    Practice head(s):

    Lucinda Brown (Cambridge and London)

    Other key lawyers:


    ‘Tim Clark was really easy to deal with – he kept us informed, kept things straightforward, and was open and honest at all times.’

    ‘Very approachable and empathetic team at a very difficult and stressful time.’

    ‘Tim Clark is one of the most down-to-earth partners I have worked with, whilst also being highly professional and compassionate. His knowledge, contacts and negotiating skills are one of the best in his field.’

    ‘BDB Pitmans provide effective quality advice, making sure they do their utmost for their clients. They are very responsive and have strong professional knowledge and experience of litigation.’

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

    BDB Pitmans' private wealth team in Reading advises on all structures of trusts, estates, wills and lasting powers of attorney for high-net-worth clients. Practice head Sheilagh Magee has a background in property law and uses this expertise to advise clients with landed estates and complex probate and estate management cases. Associate Alexander Morgan is also recommended; he has a particular interest in tax and estate administration matters with cross-border elements.

    Practice head(s):

    Sheilagh Magee

    Other key lawyers:


    ‘They are a safe pair of hands for testamentary and trust work. A long history in this sector and clearly very good in-house training. I find their advice is very clear with strong reasons for arriving at their conclusions. They like working as part of a professional team and share their work with the other professions involved. They are one of the firms I think about when I get the chance to help clients with the choice of solicitors.’

    ‘The team are extremely knowledgeable and efficient and have always answered any questions I have had without hesitation. They are very approachable – not always the case with lawyers!’

    ‘The firm’s billing practices have been completely transparent and the level of detail has been excellent. I cannot think of any way their service could be improved.’

    ‘ Alexander Morgan is really efficient, professional, knowledgeable and very approachable, nothing is too much trouble for him. Any calls I make are dealt with immediately, or as soon as possible.

    ‘I felt great confidence in the team in general but in particular with Sheilagh Magee. Not only was her professionalism self-evident but I also felt seen as an individual with my own specific set of circumstances. All too often, that need for a relationship is ignored but it is fundamental in establishing the confidence that a client can have in their team. I received not only professional help but also an unexpected degree of kindness and empathy, which was very much appreciated.’

    ‘BDB has a strong private client department and appears to be well driven by technology.’

    ‘I have worked closely with Sheilagh Magee and Alex Morgan. Sheilagh is totally committed to her clients’ needs and has a large client base. Very knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience including in Court of Protection matters. For a young practitioner, Alex has developed a considerable experience of non-UK domiciled matters.’

    Real estate > Property litigation Tier 3

    BDB Pitmans is strong in both the commercial and residential real estate spheres. Phil Smith, who is the national head of litigation, is a key figure for the firm’s sizeable real estate developer client base, for whom he handles disputes arising from site acquisitions and developments. In addition, he is also experienced in landlord and tenant disputes. David Gwillim, who heads up the contentious construction practice in the Reading office, has extensive expertise in all forms of dispute resolution; his experience includes litigation, arbitration, mediation, adjudication and expert determination. Legal director David Williams and associate Sophie Austin are other active practitioners.

    Practice head(s):

    Phil Smith


    ‘In-depth knowledge of property law, well resourced and responsive.’

    Key clients

    CALA Homes

    Bewley Homes

    Sloane & Cadogan

    Hayfield Homes

    SAGA Insurance

    Crayfern Homes

    Vanderbilt Homes

    Karali Group

    Hicks Developments Ltd

    Ashill Land Ltd

    Work highlights

    • Acted for CALA Homes in a High Court claim seeking specific performance by a local authority of obligations in a Section 106 Agreement.
    • Advised a nationwide franchisee of fast-food restaurants on a range of landlord and tenant issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Successfully represented Joanne Properties Limited in the Court of Appeal in an important decision on the effect of ‘subject to contract’ labelling in correspondence between solicitors.

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

    Under the leadership of Philip LambBDB Pitmans' ECM practice has gone from strength to strength. The team is extremely active in AIM IPOs, secondary fundraises and reverse takeovers, acting for a roster of clients including a mix of listed and unlisted companies, as well as NOMADs and brokers. Nick McCarthy recently led the advice to SourceBio on its AIM IPO and associated placing. Another key figure is Oliver Pilkington, who acted for finnCap (as NOMAD and broker to K3 Capital Group plc) on a vendor placing, placing and Primary Bid offer and subscription to raise £30.5m for the company's proposed acquisition of randd UK Ltd. Senior associate Rebecca Motchman is another key individual.

    Practice head(s):

    Philip Lamb


    ‘The personal service and expertise together with a can-do attitude.’

    ‘Nick McCarthy is the lead partner and provides a first class service and his team provide great coverage as well.’

    ‘Superb client skills, very commercial and over all the detail and at a price point that is excellent value for money.’

    Key clients

    SourceBio International plc

    Verici Dx plc

    Auctus Growth plc (now HeiQ plc)

    Contango Holdings PLC

    Ten Entertainment Group plc

    Frenkel Topping Group plc

    EKF Diagnostics PLC

    Immupharma plc

    Circassia Group plc

    Assetco plc


    Zeus Capital Markets

    Canaccord Genuity

    Arden Partners

    N+1 Singer

    WH Ireland

    Brandon Hill Capital

    Work highlights

    • Advised SourceBio International plc on its AIM IPO with a market capitalisation at admission of £120m. The associated placing raised £35m from institutional investors.
    • Advised finnCap (as nominated adviser and broker to Fonix Mobile plc) on Fonix’s AIM IPO with a market capitalisation of £90m and raising, by way of a placing of existing shares, £45m for selling shareholders.
    • Advised Auctus Growth plc on its acquisition of HeiQ Materials AG (a reverse takeover under the Listing Rules) and associated fundraising in a transaction with a total value of £180m.

    Employment > Pensions (non-contentious) Tier 4

    BDB Pitmans's pensions team is led by Chris Netiatis and advises on the full range of DB and DC pension scheme issues. The team (which doubled in size in 2020)  has particular expertise in benefit restructuring, advising on buy-in/out projects, executive arrangements, member disputes and GMP equalisation matters. Phil Smith leads the disputes side of the practice, where Julian Prentice a key litigator for the team for professional negligence and rectification.

    Practice head(s):

    Chris Netiatis


    ‘Chris and his team are very good at providing practical solutions, working with the client to achieve mutually beneficial results.’

    ‘Smooth collaboration, swift reply and a no-nonsence approach.’

    Key clients

    Trustees of the Continental Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

    Trustees of the Leo Pharma Retirement Benefits Plan

    Project Houston

    Belfast Harbour Commissioners

    The Trustees of the Red Funnel Pension Scheme

    Thor Lion LLP

    Work highlights

    • Advised Trustees of the Continental Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme on the implementation of GMP through GMP conversion in the context of the £100m buy-out of all scheme liabilities.
    • Advised Nationwide Accident Repair Services on the risk of exposure to the Pension Regulator’s moral hazard powers arising from a proposed pre-pack insolvency of the chain of accident repair garages.
    • Advised Trustees of the Leo Pharma Retirement Benefits Plan on the implementation of an overseas parent contingent asset agreement and the release of overseas securities.

    Employment > Senior executives Tier 4

    The 'honest, upfront and conscientious' team at BDB Pitmans is led by Jesper Christensen. The team's clients come from the corporate and charity sectors, with a strong focus on the latter. In conjunction with the Association of Chief Executives in the Voluntary Sector (ACEVO), the group also advises charity CEOs on issues arising with trustees and boards; Caroline Yarrow has a focus on this sector. The team handles high-value negotiated exits, redundancies and re-negotiated contracts together with post-termination restrictions. Legal director Tim Hayes handles employment work in conjunction with his immigration expertise.

    Practice head(s):

    Jesper Christensen

    Other key lawyers:


    My main contact at BDB Pitmans is Jesper Christensen, I have never been so impressed with any lawyer.’

    ‘My engagement was solely with Jesper Christensen, who I would have no hesitation recommending to anyone needing the type of advice he gave me. He was efficient, knowledgeable and pragmatic. He was quickly able to identify the key risk issues that we might be able to do something about, what the mitigation might be and provided the necessary drafting changes. We got the job done swiftly and efficiently. Jesper was also accessible, easy to communicate with and personable.’

    ‘Very personal service, felt valued as a customer. Willing to cross reference advice across their departments. Very satisfactory result  and quality of the advice was very good and highlighting pros and cons.’

    ‘The team is very honest, upfront and conscientious about the work they do. They provide a solid strategy on the best way forward, in what was a stressful situation. They work well together as a team and it was clear to me what everyone in the team brought to the table and who to reach out to and when.’

    ‘Brian Gegg is and exemplary Partner in the BDB team. Straight speaking with an acute view of deploying the right strategy at the right time in order to get the job done. He portrays confidence and credibility and someone you can trust.’

    Key clients


    Private client > Art and cultural property Tier 4

    BDB Pitmans has an established reputation for providing tax and structuring advice to the owners of art and cultural property, as well as advising well-known artists on suitable ownership structures for their artworks and on agency agreements for their works. The versatile team frequently advises too on the formation of charities to hold art and cultural property as well as advising on a whole host of other issues such as the sale and purchase of art, advising museums and other cultural bodies on issues of governance and fundraising. Co-heads of department Susan Johnson and Hugo Smith are highly regarded.

    Practice head(s):

    Susan Johnson; Hugo Smith


    ‘This is a strong team with expert art knowledge and commitment to running an art and cultural team – Susan Johnson and Hugo Smith‘.

    Key clients

    Royal Opera House

    Historic England

    The Landmark Trust

    Transport > Rail Tier 4

    BDB Pitmans has expertise in the planning and authorisation of large-scale infrastructure projects for rail clients, covering both light and heavy rail. The team includes several Roll A Parliamentary Agents with significant experience regarding the promotion and opposition of railway bills, including development consent orders and Transport and Works Act orders. The team has also advised petitioners in respect of HS2. Practice head Mark Challis is 'greatly respected' for his work regarding major rail schemes, including line extensions and compulsory purchase issues.

    Practice head(s):

    Mark Challis

    Other key lawyers:

    Sarah Clark


    Long experience in this sector with a long record of success in promoting major rail projects in the country.’

    Mark Challis is a wise team leader who is greatly respected for his strategic grasp.’

    ‘Sarah Clark knows the sector very well – an excellent lawyer who is great to work with.’

    Key clients

    Network Rail

    Transport for London

    Transport for Greater Manchester

    HS2 petitioners

    Transport for Wales

    Nottingham City Council

    West Yorkshire Combined Authority

    Work highlights

    • Advising a wide variety of petitioners in respect of HS2.
    • Advising Transport for London in respect of the Bakerloo line extension from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham.
    • Advising The Auckland Project on the steps required to allow it to operate and maintain the Wear Valley Railway (a heritage railway and key tourist attraction in County Durham) following the acquisition of the railway assets and then subsequently securing the necessary Transport and Works Act Order and completing a track access agreement.

    Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 4

    BDB Pitmans focuses on insolvency litigation and turnaround transactions. It is also well-known for assisting creditors with demand letters, settlement negotiations and the enforcement of judgments against debtors. Rick Munro leads the practice.

    Practice head(s):

    Rick Munro

    Real estate > Commercial property: Hampshire Tier 4

    BDB Pitmans handles transactions, lease work, and general commercial matters for a number of local authorities, port and harbour operators, and agricultural stakeholders. Residential developments are also a core competency. Reading-based practice head Sarah Potter, who also oversees the firm’s Southampton office, acts for institutional investors on property financings, and in landlord-tenant matters. Marcus McCluggage is active on residential development instructions from large national housebuilders and privately-funded developers.

    Practice head(s):

    Jonathan Fewster

    Other key lawyers:


    ‘I have had a very longstanding relationship with the firm and really like the way the partners understand what we want and remember the history of a particular issue. It means great continuity.’

    Key clients

    Premier Marinas Limited

    Isle of Wight Council

    The Foundation for Liver Research

    Westbourne Group Limited (Westbourne Homes)

    Earlswood Homes Limited

    CALA Group Limited (Cala Homes)

    iSmash UK Trading Limited

    Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 5

    BDB Pitmans acts for clients in litigation relating to commercial contracts, professional negligence, shareholders/partnerships/ joint ventures, banking and finance, asset recovery and IT. Sinéad Lester leads the commercial litigation team, which includes contractual and corporate litigation expert Richard Langley. Significant developments at the firm included the hire of Irwin Mitchell's former London commercial litigation head, Jonathan Sachs, as well as the departures of former litigation head Geoffrey Kertesz and former partner Donna Goldsworthy for Stewarts Law LLP and Fieldfisher, respectively. David Archer left for Archer, Evrard & Sigurdsson.

    Practice head(s):

    Sinéad Lester

    Other key lawyers:


    Diligence, thoroughness and an excellent team ethic. Very easy to work with and 100% reliable.

    Strong client relationships and good-quality commercial work.

    Keenly aware of the client’s objectives, which sit front and centre of any strategic decision. A clear focus on delivering straightforward solutions and a discernible sensitivity to the client’s position, financial and otherwise.

    Sinéad Lester is a very experienced commercial litigator with a talent for managing client expectations and running a tight ship.

    Richard Langley is a tenacious litigator with a fine legal mind and a keen sense for the weaknesses in the other side’s case.

    Richard Langley is a very thoughtful lawyer.

    Key clients

    Andreas Dinglis

    Master Holdings Group

    Dinglis Properties

    Cambridgeshire County Council

    North Channel Bank

    Sancus Financial Holdings

    Carson Wen

    Julia Fung

    Dr Cho Kwai Chee

    Stephen Plant

    Real Time Systems

    Carriacou Development Corporation

    Wong Kie Yik

    Wong Kie Chie

    Successful Trend Investments Corporation

    Work highlights

    • Representing North Channel Bank in the massive SKAT litigation in the Commercial Court.
    • Acted for Andreas Dinglis, Master Holdings Group and Dinglis Properties in relation to a shareholder dispute.
    • Acted for Dr Cho Kwai Chee in the Privy Council, which considered whether to overturn 40 years of House of Lords authority on freezing orders.

    Employment > Pensions: dispute resolution Tier 5

    BDB Pitmans‘s pensions team is led by Chris Netiatis and advises on the full range of DB and DC pension scheme issues. The team (which doubled in size in 2020)  has particular expertise in benefit restructuring, advising on buy-in/out projects, executive arrangements, member disputes and GMP equalisation matters. Phil Smith leads the disputes side of the practice, where Julian Prentice is a key litigator for the team, advising on matters including professional negligence and rectification.

    Practice head(s):

    Phil Smith

    Other key lawyers:


    ‘Strong litigation team with a diverse client base and some outstanding litigators.’

    ‘Good technical knowledge.’

    Key clients

    Rollins & Sons (London) Limited and Trustees of the Rollins & Sons (London) Limited Pension Scheme No. 2

    Trustees of Chas A Blatchford & Sons Limited Group Pension Scheme

    Real estate > Property litigation Tier 5

    BDB Pitmans has particular strength in high-end residential property work, which has recently involved a number of noise nuisance cases led by team head Simon Painter, but the group is also well versed in commercial property disputes. These typically arise out of lease agreements and contract terminations. Telecommunications Code-related instructions typically stem from landowners.

    Practice head(s):

    Simon Painter

    Other key lawyers:

    Aoife Murphy


    The solicitors are responsive and have an in-depth knowledge of their area. They demonstrate a keen understanding of the underlying law and the dynamics of the case, and they have a good feel for the commercial realities of the dispute. They are a pleasure to deal with.

    Simon Painter is hardworking and available both during and outside normal office hours when a matter is urgent. He knows the case in detail. He is a good tactician and uses his wide knowledge of the law to provide sound strategic advice to the client.

    ‘An excellent firm to deal with and very client responsive in dealing with matters.

    I have worked with Simon Painter for more than 12 years. He has excellent knowledge and a great interpersonal/customer-focused approach which I value.

    Key clients

    Clarion Housing Group Limited

    The Ministry of Defence

    Fred Perry Limited

    Able Humber Ports Limited

    Smurfit Kappa UK Companies in England and Wales

    The National Grid

    City & Country Group Plc

    Bank of Ireland

    Peel Holdings Ltd / The Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd

    The National Landlords Association

    Work highlights

    • Acted for a private client who brought an action against the long lessee and the landlord of a high-value flat in Central London, seeking an injunction to prevent noise nuisance from the flat above the claimant’s flat following an extensive refurbishment undertaken by the flat above.
    • Acted for the Secretary of State for Defence in an action against a tenant who failed to pay rent.
    • Acted for Able Humber Ports Limited in defence of a claim brought in the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) by the former occupier of commercial land that had been compulsorily acquired by the client under the terms of a development consent order.

    Employment > Employers Tier 6

    Sitting within the firm’s business advisory department, BDB Pitmans 's employment practice is described by one client as an 'exceptionally talented team with an unparalleled passion to go beyond client expectations'. It frequently undertakes corporate support work but is also skilled at defending Employment Tribunal claims. Overseen by Jesper Christensen, the department is especially active in the charities and not-for-profit sector. Brian Gegg, Nicholas Le Riche, Caroline Yarrow are other names to note.

    Practice head(s):

    Jesper Christensen

    Other key lawyers:


    Ian Wasserman is very attentive and offers very sound legal advice.’

    An exceptionally talented team with an unparalleled passion to go beyond client expectations. Wonderful to work with at all times, this is a team that don’t just want to resolve your problems, they want to know your business so that they can anticipate issues or challenges that may arise and help head them off before they do!

    Brian Gegg has unrivaled passion to understand the business area and what the challenges are and then apply excellent commercial judgement to legal challenges that arise.’

    They provide a top-quality service, attention to detail, excellent customer care.

    Very approachable and always available for prompt advice on employment and litigation matters.’

    Nicholas Le Riche offers superb support. He is practical, knowledgeable, engaging, responsive and inspires confidence. On the occasions where he delegates work to his team it is always completed to a high standard.’

    Personable and friendly. Take time to listen to gain full understanding. Expert knowledge is readily on hand and if the person you are consulting needs expertise outside their field they know how to access this.’

    Nicholas Le Riche is a marvel. His advice is prompt, pragmatic and clearly explained. He is also a very personable employment lawyer , so easy to talk to and endlessly patient.’

    Key clients











    Work highlights

    • Advising Harwood Capital on the employment aspects of the admission of Verici DX PLC on the London Stock Exchange AIM market
    • Providing Salisbury Workplace Limited with TUPE transfer advice relating to the expiry of the STEPS contact across the UK relating to the estate of properties occupied by HMRC and Customs & Excise.
    • Advising the Smurfit Kappa Group on day-to-day employment strategy in the UK and on their presence across Europe.

    Private client > Family Tier 6

    BDB Pitmans now has Roopa Ahluwalia at the helm who divides her time between the Cambridge and the London offices. She specialises in high-net-worth financial matters and complex children cases, often with international elements. The team has a well-established reputation for its work on complicated high-value and international financial disputes. Both Ahluwalia and John Darnton are collaborative lawyers. David Thompson is now at JMW Solicitors LLP.

    Practice head(s):

    Roopa Ahluwalia

    Other key lawyers:

    John Darnton; Anna Stanworth


    ‘This is a diverse team with offices in London, Cambridge and Reading. I am aware that the team has a collaborative solicitor and mediator and so offers more dispute resolution services than other firms. This is important in family law particularly during the pandemic where the courts have not been processing work in all areas‘.

    ‘Roopa Ahulwalia is a partner at the Cambridge and London offices and I believe she is also head of family. She manages the young team with empathy and professionalism remotely. Roopa has a broad skill set being able to take on complex children act matters and also complex high net worth financial matters‘.

    John Darnton is knowledgeable, approachable and delivers advice in an intelligent yet easy to digest way. An absolute delight to work with. My go-to solicitor for English family law advice!’.

    ‘There is a genuine care for clients and attention to detail, with approach tailored to each client’s circumstances. Anna Stanworth – very practical and adapts her approach to the needs of the client. Is tenacious in securing the best outcome possible and meticulous attention to detail‘.

    I have found BDB was a great help and comfort during my divorce. It was a complex situation that became very stressful for me. The lawyers got to grips with my case very quickly and retained the key and relevant bits of information exceptionally well, which meant they were always ready to react, defend and this in turn made a difficult situation easier for me to cope with‘.

    ‘Anna Stanworth was always available to talk about the case and always reassuring, clear and direct about the course of action we needed to take. Roopa Ahluwalia was the partner of the case – she always put me at ease with her calm and collected demeanour‘.

    ‘The team has collaborative trained family solicitors. John Darnton is keen to resolve family matters outside of court when possible. He works with a range of family experts to give the client a very good service‘.

    Roopa Ahluwalia – combines robust legal expertise with an empathic, insightful approach‘.

    Real estate > Environment

    The team at BDB Pitmans stands out for its expertise in environmental planning, taking a leading role in advising local authorities on clean air zones.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Contentious trusts and estates: As a specialist team dedicated in this area, work is largely international and the team handles a wide range of trustee difficulties from issues with HMRC, beneficiary disputes, investment losses, administrative difficulties, and allegations of corrupt purposes. The team is also renowned for its advice on all types of private onshore and offshore wealth disputes advising on contested wills and trusts, charity legacies and inheritance tax claims. Clients include individuals, families, trustees, beneficiaries and charities.

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

    Development planning: The specialist development planning team at BDB Pitmans are very experienced in acting for house builders and other developers on various projects, including affordable housing schemes. They also deal with judicial review proceedings, as well as village green, highways CIL work, planning appeals and planning prosecutions and advise on dealing with Assets of Community Value. With a strong network, the team also work with the region’s largest developer clients, national housebuilders, landowners, property investors, agents, lenders and funders, and have strong relationships with major Housing Associations.

    Restructuring and insolvency: The firm has a leading restructuring and insolvency team with a comprehensive network of banks, financiers, brokers and insolvency professions dedicated to resolving stressed and distressed situations. In addition to working within the legal regulatory framework, the team also provides a commercial overview and take a trusted advisory role. Services include advice on business contingency and exit planning, business restructuring and turnaround strategy, acquisition of distressed business advice, debt and asset recovery, debt reconstruction and consolidation, directors duties and retained board advisory and disqualification proceedings, insolvency and Company Act offences and regulatory advice, liquidations, receiverships, administrations, voluntary arrangements and bankruptcies and pensions restructuring.

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

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

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

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

    Intellectual property: The dedicated IP team has specialist expertise in managing brands for charities, not-for-profits and social enterprises, certification and collective marks for trade and professional associations and regulators, Protected Geographical Indicators (PGIs) and Protected Designations of Origin (PDOs), patents in standards, and designs. The team advises companies and individuals on all levels of the retail, manufacturing, technology, creative, IT and entertainment sectors on intellectual property as well as licensing, commercial agreements, social, employment and business structures. The team also holds a strong network of international legal affiliates.

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

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

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

    Real estate: The firm’s residential practice is a leader in leasehold enfranchisement, having successfully served the first ever collective enfranchisement claim notice on the day the 1993 Act came into force in 1994. The team is also highly regarded for their expertise in lease extensions, enfranchisement, refinancing and block management. The commercial real estate practice covers all areas including site acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management, tenant advice work, investment, development schemes, construction, obtaining rights over land and security work. The firm’s real estate team consists of over 100 members across its offices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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