Firm Profile > Ashfords LLP > Exeter , England
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Ashfords LLP > The Legal 500 Rankings
Ashfords LLP’s credentials as a market-leader in the commercial property sphere are underlined by its breadth of experience in the renewable energy, franchising, healthcare, education, development and residential sectors. It acts for a broad base of clients, including housebuilders, commercial developers, contractors, investors, planners, local authorities and landowners. On the development side, practice head Tim Heal (‘amazing lawyer’) and Kate Topp are recommended, as is Andrew Rothwell. Plymouth-based James Heath is noted for his secured lending work.
‘Clearly a market-leading team—the high quality of work speaks for itself’
Biffa Waste Services
David Wilson Homes
DP World London Gateway
Mendip District Council
Wainhomes (South West) Holdings
Ashfords LLP assists with the challenging of wills, provides advice on mental capacity issues regarding the formulation of wills, and has expertise in implementing the removal and addition of executors and trustees. The practice is also experienced in cross-border disputes regarding the validity of marriages and wills. Senior associate Barny Croft, who joined from Michelmores LLP in May 2018, specialises in contentious trusts, probate and estates.
‘The team is pleasant and professional in its approach and focused on solutions that benefit the client’
‘A great team to work with’
‘Robert Horsey instils his ethos and professionalism through the team. He remains an excellent practitioner in this field’
In addition to having a strong presence in the South West, Ashfords LLP handles corporate and commercial work for nationwide clients. The firm also leverages its membership of international networks to handle cross-border deals. Corporate work includes management buyouts, joint ventures, IPOs, restructurings and corporate governance advice, as well as M&A. Louise Workman heads up the team in Exeter.
‘One of the strongest law firms in the south west market‘
‘We have no hesitation recommending them to clients, their service is always of excellent quality‘
Marie Hewitt Interiors Ltd
Armada Civil Engineering (SW) Limited
Samworth Brothers Limited
Creditcall Group Limited
Crime: fraud Tier 1
With its specialism in representing private prosecutors for fraud offences, Ashfords LLP advises individual clients, public institutions and corporate clients from the construction and finance sectors on all aspects of criminal litigation, including anti-bribery measures, fraud prevention and claims for compensation arising from fraudulent activities. The practice is headed by senior associate Jeremy Asher, who has been covering both defence and prosecution for more than 20 years.
Employment: The West Country Tier 1
Ashfords LLP regularly represents clients in complex Employment Tribunal cases and High Court litigation. On the advisory side, its work includes assisting clients with collective redundancy consultations, employment terminations and TUPE management issues. The healthcare sector is a notable strong suit of the practice; the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust provides a significant stream of employment mandates. The firm also acts for clients in areas such as retail, energy and the public sector. Stephen Moore heads up the team, which includes senior associate Kirsty Cooke.
‘We predominantly use Ashfords for employment law, however in reality, our requirement for advice goes much wider than this and on each occasion they respond in an efficient manner, allocating each matter to the relevant subject expert. They offer an excellent all-round service which puts the customer first‘
‘Charles Pallot is a highly experienced partner who’s advice is robust and pragmatic‘
‘Kirsty Cooke is a highly skilled professional who offers great advice‘
The Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
London Borough of Haringey
Ultimate Finance Limited
Wates Construction Limited
Patron Capital Advisers LLP
Steenen Varming Limited
West Country Milk Consortium Limited
The Roald Dahl Story Company Limited
Luke Furse Earthmoving Limited
Project finance and PFI Tier 1
Ashfords LLP distinguishes itself in infrastructure projects in the waste and renewable energy, IT and transport sectors. The team acts for a broad spectrum of clients, such as funds, authorities, developers and technology providers. Practice head Ruth Murray has a strong track record acting for clients in both the public and private sectors. Brian Farrell is another key figure in the group, which was strengthened in 2018 by the arrival of Neel Mehta from TLT.
Mariana Capital Markets LLP
Shipping Tier 1
Ashfords LLP, which undertakes the full range of shipping and marine regulatory work, regularly acts for clients in the fishing industry, shipowners, and port and harbour authorities. It also generates work from national and international banks. Specialisms of the practice include high-value demurrage and delay claims, ship sale and purchase disputes, cargo claims and marine licensing. Other work includes vessel refinancings and purchases. Charles Hattersley leads the team.
Rowse Fishing Limited
Castle Air Limited
Roger B Klyne
Metmar Denizcilik Sanayi Ve Ticarat Limited
Littlehampton Harbour Board
Exe Shipping Limited
Royal National Lifeboat Institution (R.N.L.I)
Derek Meredith / Laura D Fishing Limited
Offshore Marine Management Limited
Sea Bunkering Limited
Shoreham Port Authority
Fowey Harbour Authority
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council (Weymouth Harbour)
Social housing Tier 1
At Ashfords LLP, the ‘excellent’ social housing team handles both contentious and non-contentious work for large registered providers, housing associations and local authorities. In 2018, the firm strengthened its social housing offering by hiring practice co-head Paul Butterworth, associate Isabelle Clement and legal director Derek Moore, who all joined from TLT. Butterworth specialises in property and development work in the social housing sector, which is also an area of focus for Exeter-based Tim Heal. Led by Sian Gibbon, the practice also has a strength in housing litigation and tenancy management. Elizabeth Gibson advises on procurement and planning. Associate Marjorie Hill is recommended for contentious matters.
‘Ashfords’ team stands out due to its strength and depth of knowledge’
‘You rarely need to leave a message, as someone is always there and ready to assist you with advice’
‘A highly committed, reliable and experienced team which provides excellent services’
‘This is the go-to firm for landlord and tenant, social housing and leasehold disputes’
‘Sian Gibbon provides the team with expert leadership‘
‘Marjorie Hill and Sian Gibbon are always friendly and dedicated to provide high-level assistance at all times‘
‘Isabelle Clement is very thorough and knowledgeable‘
Sovereign Housing Association
The Guinness Partnership
Evolve Housing and Support
London Borough of Wandsworth
St. Mungo’s Community Housing Association
Brick by Brick Croydon
Sport Tier 1
Horse racing and regulatory work are notable strengths at Ashfords LLP, whose practice is led by Rory Mac Neice (who was a former jockey himself). In addition, the teams acts for clients in relation to other sports, such as football and golf. Its varied expertise includes commercial agreements, sport-related taxation disputes, brand management and corporate transactions. Andy Braithwaite has a wealth of experience advising sporting governing bodies and sport property owners on contractual agreements for events and sponsorship, among other matters.
The Professional Golfers’ Association
Exeter City Football Club
The Professional Jockeys Association Limited
London Borough of Brent
The Racecourse Association Limited
The British Show Horse Association Limited
The British Harness Racing Club Limited
Ascot Racecourse Limited
Paul Nicholls – Champion racehorse trainer
Hayley Turner – leading female jockey
Silvestre De Sousa – Champion jockey
Charities and not-for-profit Tier 2
Ashfords LLP advises charities on regulatory and governance issues including their incorporation as entities or trusts. The practice also assists with legacy administration, which involves disputed wills and trusts, proprietary claims and administration disputes. Other areas of expertise involve advice on the prevention of reputational damage arising from contentious matters. Senior associate Barny Croft joined the firm from Michelmores LLP in May 2018.
Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust
The Eggbeer Trust
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Exeter Cathedral Music Foundation Trust
Ashfords LLP attracts clients from across the country and represents them in the firm's core areas of corporate litigation, commercial contracts disputes and professional negligence claims. The varied workload includes shareholder and director disputes, corporate sales disputes, franchising agreements and claims against solicitors and accountants. Practice head Andrew Perkins primarily focuses on shareholder litigation and commercial contract disputes.
‘Broad range of skills to deal with all types of fee disputes. Experts in the local County Court and practical in dealing with issues‘
‘Cut straight to the commercial heart of an issue, and presented a clear strategy to resolve it. Not afraid to suggest a bold approach based on good judgement‘
‘They undertook a fairly complicated litigation case to successful completion‘
‘Gruffyd Davies is an excellent team leader. He provides sound technical advice but is also sensible and commercial when dealing with issues. Calm and pragmatic even in the face of provocation by the opposite side‘
‘Andrew Perkins is a great combination of professionalism and relaxed manner. Tough when required, but very empathetic with core business issue. Would use again and recommend without hesitation‘
‘Jason Squire was the solicitor we used, and he was absolutely excellent in the organisation and diligence preparation of the case together with its supporting documentation. We cannot praise him enough‘
Post Office Limited
Ultimate Finance Group Plc
TJX Europe Limited (TK Maxx)
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Europe Limited
Construction Tier 2
Ashfords LLP is very active on the contentious front; in addition to handling litigation, the firm assists clients with adjudications and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. On the non-contentious side, the team generates work from clients in industries such as leisure, waste and utilities, as well as the public sector. Practice head Patrick Blake is experienced in high-value energy projects. Another key figure is Stephen Homer, who undertakes contentious and non-contentious work for local authorities, developers and contractors. In 2018, Neel Mehta joined from TLT.
‘Ashfords provides great partner-led service, supported by an outstanding team of associates‘
‘The team provides City-quality services‘
‘Steven Homer and Patrick Blake are certainly two of the most experienced construction lawyers in the region‘
‘Steven Homer and Patrick Blake have tremendous knowledge and demonstrate an outstanding ability to achieve clients’ goals‘
Canterbury City Council
Exeter City Council
United Living Group
Swindon Borough Council
CG Fry & Son
Corporate tax Tier 2
Ashfords LLP distinguishes itself in corporate reorganisations, particularly in the context of demerging high-value property investment businesses without incurring tax liabilities for associated shareholders or the companies involved in the demerger. The team regularly provides tax structuring advice for corporate groups, standalone entities and individual private clients. It also has significant experience of employment taxation, cross-border tax issues, VAT and stamp duty, among other areas. Practice head Angus Bauer primarily advises clients on income, corporate and capital gains tax issues.
Galliford Try Partnerships Limited
Viridor Waste Management Limited
Datarama Technologies Limited
Taylor Wimpey Plc
Wessex Exploration Plc
BDW Trading Limited Plc
Crime: general Tier 2
Ashfords LLP covers private prosecution, anti-bribery and corruption, anti-tax evasion as well as traditional defence work regarding matters involving road traffic offences, animal welfare and immigration. The firm also defends firms facing prosecution for offences under the Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and Criminal Justice Act 2003. The practice is experienced in handling fraud cases and regularly advises governmental institutions and local authorities on criminal and fraudulent activities.
Employment: Bristol Tier 2
Ashfords LLP has an excellent reputation in the private healthcare and retail sectors, and it is also highly regarded in other areas; associate Jenny Marley has a particular focus on defending employment tribunal claims for social care and housing association clients. Her experience covers claims in relation to unfair dismissal, discrimination, unlawful deductions from wages and whistleblowing. Elsewhere, the employment team assists clients with enforcing and defending restrictive covenant claims, as well as dealing with other reputationally-sensitive matters. In addition, the group works closely with the corporate team to draft director's service agreements and senior employees' contracts. Stephen Moore, who leads the practice, predominantly acts for employers and senior executives in the UK, Europe and the US.
Immigration Tier 2
Ashfords LLP's immigration team advises on all aspects of recruitment and employment issues for foreign nationals, as well as advising on non-contentious immigration issues for high net worth private individuals. The firm regularly acts for UK companies employing workers from outside the EU, as well advising individuals on their rights to work in the UK. The team also supports a wide range of multinational clients. Recent mandates included assisting clients with obtaining Tier 2 sponsorship rights, visa applications and corporate support. Senior associate Kirsty Cooke leads the practice.
Rathlin Energy UK Limited
Ashfords LLP's practice is equally strong in both corporate and personal insolvency mandates. It is particularly highly regarded for investigative/asset tracing work and cross-border insolvency matters. The department also stands out for its regulatory offering and, more particularly, for its niche in advising large law firms experiencing financial distress. The varied client base includes insolvency practitioners, secured and unsecured lenders, corporates, directors, shareholders, debtors and their families. Department head David Pomeroy has extensive expertise in both contentious and non-contentious insolvency. Alan Bennett is experienced in advising debtors exposed by personal guarantees now owned by so-called 'vulture funds'.
‘The practice is unique, because it offers a City-quality solutions to clients in the South West’
‘David Pomeroy has great all-round experience and deep knowledge of the personal insolvency market’
‘Alan Bennett is very good during difficult negotiations and great at tackling highly technical insolvency issues’
PKF Francis Clark
Grant Thornton UK
Smith & Williamson
Intellectual property Tier 2
Ashfords LLP has a highly reputed trade mark capability and its sizeable team manages the worldwide portfolios of clients such as Penhaligon's, Princess Yachts and Majestic Wine. The firm fields three chartered trade mark attorneys, and has increased the number of filings it handles year on year. Practice head Mark Lomas, who specialises in the commercial exploitation of IP rights on an international scale, focuses on the luxury retail goods and medical devices sectors. Team head Carl Steele works alongside Lomas in the retail goods sector.
‘Very responsive and technically a very proficient team of lawyers‘
‘Always confident that they will provide the correct legal advice, which doesn’t always happen with lawyers‘
‘Carl Steele really knows his stuff and is responsive‘
‘They are very responsive and always suggesting solutions and strategies‘
‘All the lawyers share their knowledge‘
The Roald Dahl Story Company
J W Anderson
IT and telecoms Tier 2
Ashfords LLP handles a wide range of work both within and outside of the South West region. It has particular expertise in national projects, data protection, software development, payment services technology, and SaaS products and deployment to cloud-based infrastructure. It also assists fast-growing start-up businesses with strategic issues and legal due diligence, and has recently launched an online platform to support private clients with non-contentious legal advice. Team head Chris Dyson acts for clients such as regional businesses, national technology investors and global funds. Senior associate Suzie Miles specialises in IT transformation, outsourcing and software licensing.
‘Strength and depth, and an emphasis on client service‘
‘Andy Braithwaite is peerless, and manages expectations very well’
‘Andy is savvy with his use of time, and uses it well for the client’s benefit’
‘I wouldn’t want to deal with another firm’
‘Charlotte Smith knows what she’s doing’
‘Chris Dyson gets the key matters quickly and understands what needs to be done to ensure progress is made‘
Holloway Friendly – The Original Holloway Friendly Society Limited
FireAngel Safety Technology Limited
Form3 (Back Office Technology Limited)
Post Office Limited
HelloFresh (Grocery Delivery E-Services UK Ltd)
Local government Tier 2
Ashfords LLP's public sector group is led by Exeter-based Elizabeth Gibson, who advises local authorities and other public bodies (including unitary, county and district councils) on public law, project structuring, governance support, procurement, state aid and EU law matters. The firm is also increasingly active in the advice to externalised public sector companies. Recent highlights for the team included housing development work, regeneration projects concerning residential and school property, and technology and broadband projects. Senior associate Lucy Woods advises on high-value projects and outsourcing.
Ashfords LLP advises individual real estate owners, agricultural clients, high-net-worth family members and trust corporations on succession and estate planning, tax mitigation and wealth management. Trust administration constitutes another significant focus of the practice. The firm also handles contentious tax aspects of private wealth structuring, which involves expertise in contentious offshore trust arrangements.
High-net-worth individuals and families
Trustees of maintenance fund for heritage property
Planning Tier 2
Ashfords LLP stands out for its planning offering in the public sector; the team advises local authorities on a full range of issues, such as section 106 agreements, lawful development certificates and enforcement, general conduct and decision-making powers. Elsewhere, other clients include housebuilders and developers. Also notable is that the group is experienced in judicial reviews, appeals and challenges to planning inspectors’ decisions. Graham Cridland is the head of the team. In addition to handling contentious planning work, David Richardson assists clients with residential and mixed-use developments, among other matters.
Wainhomes (SW) Holdings
Devon County Council
London Borough of Wandsworth
Gloucestershire County Council
London Borough of Brent
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Property litigation Tier 2
Ashfords LLP handles commercial landlord and tenant matters, property development and investment, professional negligence claims and claims for breaches of banking covenants relating to property. Its team is also experienced in leasehold enfranchisement matters, mortgage repossessions and restructuring claims. ‘Experienced’ practice head Sian Gibbon acts for both commercial and public sector clients. Robert Horsey is recommended for his work on contentious trust and probate disputes.
‘The team is able to deal comprehensively with any type of dispute that may come up in this sector‘
‘Robert Horsey should be greatly valued for his ability to see the bigger picture and to sympathetically deal with all parties during negotiations‘
Biffa Waste Services
Wainhomes (South West) Holdings
Majestic Wine Warehouses
Lloyds Banking Group
Exeter City Council
Agriculture and estates Tier 3
Ashfords LLP advises on succession planning and farm management, the financing of land sales and purchases, the development of farm-based energy projects, as well as on the drafting and negotiation of contract farming and partnership agreements. The firm also assists with the drafting and amendment of feedstock supply contracts. Other areas of expertise include advice on planning issues, including planning enforcement and certificates of lawfulness. The 'outstanding' Darren Blackburn heads the practice.
‘A friendly and personable practice.’
‘The team is technically strong with depth and high servicing standards’
‘Ashfords has a knowledgeable, friendly and approachable team with good local knowledge of the agricultural property sector. The team is always willing to help and provide sound reasoned advice to clients’
‘Darren Blackburn is outstanding’
Banking and finance Tier 3
Ashfords LLP's banking and finance team focuses on lending matters in key areas, such as property investments and development, as well as the energy, marine and public sectors. The varied client base includes banks, independent lenders, government agencies and corporate entities. The group advises on property development, acquisitions, trade, commercial banking, and project and asset finance. Another notable aspect of the team’s work is its involvement in contentious matters; the group is well-positioned to handle banking litigation, including lender claims. The department is led by the ‘proactive’ Rebecca Dury, who acts on a wide range of banking transactions. The ‘excellent’ James Heath, who is based in Plymouth, handles property finance work.
‘The team has excellent knowledge of banking and is very quick to respond’
‘Very competent in providing practical solutions to banking clients‘
Royal Bank of Scotland
Alternative Money Solutions
Svenska Handelsbanken AB
Arbuthnot Latham & Co.
Ashfords LLP has built up strong global client relationships via its membership of ADVOC, an international network of independent law firms, and other international connections. Its corporate and commercial practice is frequently involved in cross-border transactions. The team also has a strong reputation nationally, and its other work includes IPOs, restructurings, venture capital transactions and corporate governance advice. Practice head Andrew Betteridge has a strong track record advising clients on share purchases and investments.
‘Technically strong team with a commercial and creative edge‘
‘Andrew Betteridge approaches legal work with a creative mindset‘
‘Andrew doesn’t just fulfill instructions, but also proposes alternatives where appropriate‘
Marie Hewitt Interiors Ltd
Armada Civil Engineering (SW) Limited
Samworth Brothers Limited
Creditcall Group Limited
Debt recovery Tier 3
Ashfords LLP's debt recovery team is a core part of the firm's wider restructuring and insolvency department, and is best known for the recovery of invoices. In addition, the firm assists clients with the recovery of debts from foreign debtors based abroad. Key clients include banks, professional service firms, local authorities, estate agents and SMEs. Katie Farmer heads up the group.
Energy Tier 3
The energy and waste team at Ashfords LLP has a wealth of knowledge about renewable energy, municipal energy-from-waste, biomass and waste gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion projects. It covers all commercial and legal aspects of domestic and international projects, including transactions and contentious matters. Neel Mehta joined from TLT in July 2018, boosting the firm’s capacity to advise on complex energy-from-waste issues. Practice head Ruth Murray provides advice on project development, contracts and commissioning of large high-value energy generation schemes and renewable energy projects.
EU and competition Tier 3
Ashfords LLP has built up a strong reputation in the field of state aid, acting for a diverse range of clients across the public, private and third sectors. It has a particularly strong client following local authorities. Elizabeth Gibson in Exeter heads up the practice, which handles funded projects, contractual and governance matters, and regulatory issues. The team is also active in the public procurement sphere, with its work including the drafting of procurement risk reports, advice notes and funding agreements.
Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council
Somerset County Council
Council of the Isles of Scilly
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
Exeter City Council
HFL group of companies limited
London Borough of Lambeth
Wandsworth Borough Council
London Borough of Newham
London Borough of Hackney
Family Tier 3
Ashfords LLP handles divorce proceedings, advises on disputes involving children, collaborative law and pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and provides legal advice on the rights of unmarried couples. The firm also acts for clients in cases of severe domestic abuse and undertakes measures to protect victims. Practice head Zoe Porter specialises in financial matters arising from relationship breakdowns, while Jayne Turner focuses on advising high-net-worth individuals on the protection of inherited wealth and investment portfolios.
Media and entertainment Tier 3
Ashfords LLP's media and entertainment practice works with a number of household name clients on matters concerning TV production contracts, advertising technology, rights exploitation and data protection. The firm also represents clients in disputes. In addition to acting for media sector clients in Bristol and the South West, the team also advises household name clients on projects outside of the region. Plymouth-based Tom Phipps brings his IP expertise to bear in the areas of copyright and franchising.
Institute of Physics Publishing
TRP Research Limited
Workbooks Online Limited
Guardian News and Media Limited
The Roald Dahl Story Company
Personal injury: claimant Tier 3
Ashfords LLP regularly advises on workplace and car traffic accidents as well as on injuries sustained at public places. The firm assists with claims involving restrictions to mobility, amputations, fractures, neorological injuries as well as fatalities. Having ‘excellent forensic skills and abilities while being client-focused simultaneously’, practice head Stephen Walker is experienced in handling injury claims involving children and babies.
‘The practice is characterised by its clarity and detail of instructions, accessibility, responsiveness and client focus.The team clearly has the individual client‘s best interests at heart – and it’s not just about compensation.’
‘Very client-focused and diligent.’
‘The claimant team is very thorough in its approach to all cases. It is always aware of the key issues and deals with everything in a timely manner.’
‘The practice always acts promptly and is clear and concise when reporting and giving advice.’
‘Excellent and second to none.’
‘The team is very helpful team and makes one feel at ease during meeting. The team is always available to answer any queries and explain legal issues in a very pleasant and relaxed manner.’
Personal injury: defendant Tier 3
Ashfords LLP advises on brain and multiple injury claims arising from situations including road traffic accidents and animal attacks as well as public and private events. ‘The robust, yet sensible, negotiator’ Flora Wood head the practice and specialises in loss claims and catastrophic injuries, which involves expertise in niche industries such as injuries arising from sports racing events.
‘The vastly experienced team is always mindful of the commercial objectives of the client and the benefits of early settlement. It is meticulously prompt in dealing with all stages of litigation and pre-litigation settlement.’
‘The team is always available.’
‘Flora Wood is very experienced in all types of personal injury claims. She is always clear and realistic in her advice to insurer clients. She is confident and well-prepared in her conduct of litigation.’
Professional negligence Tier 3
Ashfords LLP is involved in providing legal advice on the claimant side and regularly advises on claims in the banking, construction, legal and accounting sectors. The firm acts for banks and lending institutions on claims against professional advisers such as surveyors, tax advisers and solicitors. The firm is also experienced in assisting construction and real estate companies on negligence claims arising from negligent design, cost advice and project management.
Lloyds Bank plc
Bank of Scotland plc
Canterbury City Council
Exeter City Council
Cofton Country Holidays
Ashfords LLP acts for both regional and blue-chip national clients in IT contractual disputes, retail disputes, professional negligence cases and contentious financial services cases. The firm's panel appointment with Lloyds Bank sees it handle claims against professional advisers, such as solicitors and valuers. Practice head Rory Mac Neice has experience of representing sporting clients at regulatory hearings, including matters involving allegations of match fixing and doping.
Post Office Limited
Lloyds Bank Plc
Bank of Scotland Plc
Ultimate Finance Group Plc
Race Course Association Ltd
Environment Tier 4
Ashfords LLP’s business and regulation practice stands out due to its deep sectoral expertise in waste, energy, agriculture and construction. Apart from providing non-contentious regulatory advice, the team also defends both corporates and individuals against prosecutions brought by the Environment Agency. Other recurring issues in the team members’ practice concern contaminated land, chemical spills, and disaster management, among others. Solicitor Jack Baumgardt and senior associate Jeremy Asher are key contacts.
Ashfords LLP > Firm Profile
Ashfords LLP is a national provider of legal, regulatory and professional services. Its strategic aim is to provide the highest quality and depth of legal expertise and to support its clients through a range of complementary business products and services.
The firm: Ashfords has introduced a dedicated patent and trademark agency, undertaken its first few cash investments in external companies, launched an innovative health and safety offering as well as a dedicated regulatory compliance service, developed and began selling its bespoke market leading contract management and deal platform and launched its own business consultancy unit.
Ashfords’ client-focused and straightforward approach attracts clients including Viridor Waste Management, Sensus, Lloyds Banking Group, London Borough of Wandsworth, Crown Commercial Service, Schlumberger, Penhaligon’s, Post Office and Crowdcube.
Types of work undertaken: Ashfords provides integrated multi-disciplinary teams of expert lawyers who combine strategic understanding and technical excellence across a broad range of disciplines to deliver insightful advice on a full range of legal services across three core divisions:
Business services: combining strategic understanding and technical excellence to ensure clients’ activities are sound and secure. The team advises on a range of areas including intellectual property, corporate, employment, tax, business risk and regulation, dispute resolution and restructuring.
Real Estate & infrastructure: experienced teams working across the whole real estate-related spectrum, from negotiating development agreements, planning agreements and handling landlord/tenant disputes to working on major projects, and is renowned for large scale residential and commercial property development, urban regeneration, infrastructure projects and real estate investment.
Private Client: providing a wide range of legal services to clients ranging from first-time buyers to high-net-worth individuals, including trusts and estates, residential property, family and children, disputed wills and personal injury.
International: Ashfords has a far-reaching and experienced international presence: as a member of the ADVOC international network of independent law firms, International Referral and other networks, Ashfords can co-ordinate the delivery of legal advice from over 100 jurisdictions worldwide.
Sectors: Ashfords’ multidisciplinary teams have in-depth understanding and connection with key sectors that add strategic value through knowledge sharing, and the introduction of commercial and networking opportunities assist in business development and project delivery. Sectors include:
Agriculture: advising on all aspects of running commercial operations; in particular on legal and regulatory issues surrounding agribusiness, farm management and diversification.
Charities: working closely with registered charities and other not-for-profit organisations and advising on a complete range of services to its voluntary sector clients.
Energy & Waste: advising businesses with all aspects of energy and waste matters including waste and resource management, renewable energy, natural resources, smart grids, and energy innovation.
Food & Drink: advising clients at all stages of the food cycle including producers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.
Homes, Communities & Regeneration: advising both private and affordable housing developers nationwide. Working closely with housebuilder clients to provide a smooth transition throughout the development process from initial acquisition to final disposal and after sales care.
Marine & Transport: advising in respect of all aspects of marine related legal advice to a national and international client base representing ports, harbours, marinas, government agencies, property developers, insurers, banks, shipping companies, fishermen, and other marine businesses.
Public Sector: advising local and national governmental bodies in matters including public procurement, outsourcing and externalisation and shared services arrangements, governance and vires, employment and HR matters, state aid, commercial contracts, planning, marine licensing and development matters, ports and harbours, major projects with a particular emphasis on renewable energy and waste, Passivhaus principles and building biology and information law.
Technology: advising entrepreneurial start-ups through to established multinational companies and investment funds on developments in the market such as cloud computing, IT infrastructure, mobile devices, big data, wearable tech, cyber security and data protection amongst other areas.
Retail: advising clients representing over 2000 outlets and £300m+ turnover, from high street clothes stores to major national brands on a wide range of issues including acquisitions, brand protection, employment law, e-commerce, managing property portfolios, franchising and product safety issues.
Sport: advising individuals, clubs and team sponsors and right holders on issues arising both on and off the field of play.
Other offices: London, Bristol, Exeter, Taunton, Plymouth, Tiverton
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Staff FiguresNumber of UK partners : 75 Number of other UK fee-earners : 227
Corporate Social Responsibility
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Our priorities go beyond business and we believe passionately that our firm can be a force for good in the communities in which we work.
We make sure our business behaviour encourages the growth and development of our communities and that we act responsibly towards the environment.
Our staff lead our corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, which we call “Community Matters”. It relates to three types of community:
THE GREEN COMMUNITY
We take our responsibility to the environment seriously. Activities include planting trees, reducing waste (we now send zero waste to landfill) and using local suppliers where possible. We also have our own beehive protecting bees, producing honey and giving staff the chance to learn new skills in the process.
THE ASHFORDS COMMUNITY
We want to provide a positive and rewarding working environment for all employees. We do this through CSR initiatives including arranging staff discounts at local businesses, allowing staff to buy up to three days’ holiday each year and introducing a cycle scheme offering subsidised bikes.
OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
We actively contribute to the communities in which we work. For example, for the last three years we have asked all our teams to nominate a charity of the year, which has raised almost £300,000 for Mind, Parkinson’s UK and Alzheimer’s Society.
The Ashfords Foundation
The Ashfords Foundation is a grant making charity which is closely associated with Ashfords LLP, a national provider of legal, professional and regulatory services. Established in 2018, the Foundation brings together all of Ashfords’ charitable giving. It is overseen by a Trustee Board, who are supported by a Staff Committee drawn from the various Ashfords’ offices. Our charitable mission is to make a real difference in the lives of the communities in which the partners and staff of Ashfords LLP live and work. As a grant making Foundation, we can only be as effective as the organisations we support. They are at the very heart of our mission. Our ability to make a difference relies on their work.
CLIENT: Manisha Patel, legal manager
COMPANY/FIRM: Catalyst Housing
TESTIMONIAL: Paul Butterworth is professional, approachable and able to communicate in terms I could understand. He provides pragmatic and effective advice, is practical-minded and available at all times. Paul always applies a positive approach to resolving problems whilst remaining calm under pressure, together with applying acute attention to detail to deliver results in a timely manner.
CLIENT: Stephen Humphreys, head of development and sales
COMPANY/FIRM: Saxon Weald
TESTIMONIAL: The quality of Ashfords’ advice is fantastic. Too often legal firms communicate and report risks or advice in a very lengthy legal way. Ashfords keep the information at a level that their clients fully understand. Their Reports on Titles are very thorough and clear to read. The solicitors that I have dealt with, in both property and construction disciplines, are some of the best that I have encountered. They have always met any deadline that I have set them. I like Ashfords’ approach to risk, in that they do report on every risk, but place a focus on those risks that are commercial to the deal. They have a great understanding of us as a client, how we work, our purpose, our staff and what is key to us. Invoices are timely submitted with summaries of the work given. Ashfords are multi-disciplined, and it really helps in development when you have specialist tax, charging, plot sales, planning, property and construction advice when it is under one roof. Apart from the usual training and legal updates, Ashfords have been able to provide my new staff with one-on-one training on specific areas. My first choice when wanting to appoint a solicitor.
CLIENT: Oliver Mason, co-founder
COMPANY/FIRM: Magna Asset Management
TESTIMONIAL: We’ve worked with Paul Olliff since our inception over 5 years ago – his technical knowledge applied with a shrewd commercial approach mean we will continue to do so. He gets things over the line swiftly and efficiently. He and his team help with everything from development (including PD), options, re-financing, leasing and licensing. Aside from the legal work done, we also bring him in to advise on structuring transactions and our Group – we look at him more as a member of the team and look forward to many more years with him!
CLIENT: James Palmer, founder/owner
COMPANY/FIRM: Rainbo Limited
TESTIMONIAL: I just wanted to write to thank you not only for your technical support with the legal advice and technical documentation, but also for the broader assistance and advice you have given us in helping our business achieve its strategic goals. You have been a pleasure to work with on both a professional and personal level and I look forward to working together for many years to come as we continue to expand and build our business.
CLIENT: Alfie Lay, managing director
COMPANY/FIRM: Leib Productions
TESTIMONIAL: I have been working for nearly half a year with Paul Olliff on obtaining a long lease for a building in south-east London with the intent to convert it into a creative community of studios and small businesses. From the beginning, Paul has been excellent in giving me advice and guidance, stretching from the more legal nuances of the long lease, to thoughts at the meta level about the business model and where and how to make the right spot-checks one should undertake with such a project. At certain points, he used his contacts in the industry as part of his whole package of consultation. The negotiations with the landlord have been fairly protracted and tough, but Paul has been very assured and a calming influence on what has been a rather stressful project, especially given that this is my own personal start-up. Thus his ability to combine a firm stance to better my position in the negotiations with a personable nature to feed back to me and be empathetic has made the whole process far smoother and manageable, indeed enjoyable, in parts as we’ve worked through it together. Property law can seem daunting at times, but is far less so, when people such as Paul are involved. I cannot recommend him enough.
CLIENT: Barry Thomson, partner consultant
COMPANY/FIRM: ART Surveyors
TESTIMONIAL: I have had the pleasure of working with Paul Olliff on a number of projects over the last 10 years or so, and during recent years while you have been at Ashfords. Our work together has mainly involved the sale and purchase of commercial investments in London on behalf of non-resident entities and I have always enjoyed the collegiate approach which we have used in our work together. I have always found your legal advice to be of the highest order and always provided often within tight time frames. The help of your litigation team at Ashfords was also extremely helpful in one particular instance recently.
CLIENT: Val Bagnall, managing director
COMPANY/FIRM: Apex Airspace Developments
TESTIMONIAL: It’s an absolute delight to be collaborating with Paul Olliff and the Ashford team to pioneer a new market in airspace development for London and the UK. Ashfords’ positive approach to promoting and developing the legal architecture for airspace development is driving the conversation on how new value can be extracted from existing assets to deliver more for asset holders and London’s homeless. Paul has demonstrated good technical knowledge, particularly in the joint seminars we’ve done, and I would recommend him as a ‘go-to’ person in this burgeoning area of the market.
CLIENT: Wilmar Lorenz, owner
COMPANY/FIRM: JMLP UK
TESTIMONIAL: We have engaged Paul Olliff at Ashfords LLP in the last year to advise and represent us with our UK transactions and based on the experience can attest to the following: Paul is expertly knowledgeable in his field, he will only issue advise once he has ascertained all the facts, and when advice is needed outside Paul’s direct field of expertise he is very efficient at engaging and coordinating the right sources for further expert guidance. He is always readily available to offer any support he can, and is very reachable and easy to deal with.
CLIENT: Phillip Wallis, managing director
TESTIMONIAL: I am writing to thank Paul Olliff and all the team at Ashfords for doing an excellent job with Ealing. In my experience successful firms have strong leadership, depth of talent in their team and a culture of understanding the balance between the intellectual exercise and commercial realism/value. Ashfords tick these boxes for me.
CLIENT: Laith Mubarak, acquisitions manager
COMPANY/FIRM: Click Properties
TESTIMONIAL: Paul Olliff’s knowledge and commercial attitude have been invaluable to us in structuring our way into this really cutting area of the real estate market, which the whole industry is only just beginning to get its head around. Paul’s been a pleasure to have assisting us in getting to grips with it.
CLIENT: Kieran Daya, national land and development director
COMPANY/FIRM: Galliford Try Partnerships
TESTIMONIAL: All partners who I have dealt with at Ashfords are very hands on – they do the work as well as manage the relationships. That’s not to say that the teams beneath them are not capable, they very much are, but I always felt like I was getting the right level of lawyer for the job in hand. Where the job required a partner to both front the matter and do the work, this happened. There a number of standout lawyers who I highlight as follows: Tim Heal – Tim is the head of the real estate team and oversees our relationship. Tim is both responsive and helpful, with the rare skill-set of being extremely ‘commercial’ which every solicitor claims to be but very few are. We know that when we give Tim a problem, he either sorts it out or tells us how to do so. Kate Top can only be described as ‘best in class’. She is a Rolls Royce property solicitor and her team manage our day-to-day transactional work. Something that sets Kate apart is how she applies her knowledge of the development industry; she is able to communicate with us in a language we understand from graduate to chief executive. Lastly, Ian Tompkins – a name to watch within real estate in the South West.
CLIENT: Sacha Sebbah, finance director
TESTIMONIAL: Their teams truly understand the needs and challenges of technology-driven businesses and have been dependable legal partners throughout the different stages of business growth.
TESTIMONIAL: We cannot thank the disputed wills and trusts team enough for your ongoing support and professional knowledge. You have gone above and beyond anything we could have expected from a solicitor. This is, and always was, about justice for our mum’s life of hard work and love for her children. All that you have done for us and for mum is really so appreciated and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
TESTIMONIAL: Thank you so much for the news of the settlement. I cannot thank you and the disputed wills and trusts team enough for all you have done. I am so fortunate in having you both, thank you again for all you are doing.
TESTIMONIAL: I want to thank the disputed wills and trusts team for all your work now that the matter is settled. You reassured me earlier that this would be the case so a big thank you for your successful work. I knew the truth was on my side but needed a cracking good lawyer to help me, well done!
CLIENT: Emma Leake and Rob Powe
COMPANY/FIRM: Wichelstowe LLP (a joint venture between Barratt Homes and Swindon Borough Council)
TESTIMONIAL: David Richardson provided us with excellent support in relation to the completion of our Section 106 agreement. Advice was clear and concise, demonstrating a strong understanding of our project and objectives for the development. We particularly welcomed the approach to problem-solving with proactive and effective solutions found. Resource was available when required with someone available at the end of the phone whenever we had any queries.
CLIENT: Caroline Plumb, founder and CEO
TESTIMONIAL: Rory Suggett and the CoComm team at Ashfords are superb. They are responsive, knowledgeable and have a good sense of where the market is at and what the key issues are to focus on. I especially value his pragmatic, commercial advice – always delivered in a clear, straightforward way which provides confidence and direction while keeping momentum on a deal.
CLIENT: David Jackson, executive chairman
COMPANY/FIRM: Altus Ltd
TESTIMONIAL: The Ashfords technology team work hard to achieve the desired outcome; they respond promptly, confidently and accurately to our needs, and it’s headed up by a highly experienced lead in Andy Braithwaite, who has great specialist knowledge in this area. I would not hesitate in recommending them.
CLIENT: Euan Blair, co-founder and CEO
COMPANY/FIRM: White Hat
TESTIMONIAL: We’ve been delighted with the excellent level of support and advice received from the Ashfords CoComm department. They’ve worked tirelessly on our behalf and helped to ensure everything went smoothly. We’re looking forward to working with Giles Hawkins and the team in the future!
CLIENT: William Chappel, head of growth capital
COMPANY/FIRM: Shawbrook Bank
TESTIMONIAL: Venture debt helps unlock and accelerate the growth potential of the clients we serve. But to understand that potential takes specialist knowledge and requires a number of parties to work closely together – the client, the funder and our legal advisers. Like Shawbrook, Ashfords are specialists in what they do and their input has been utterly invaluable in creating this growth capital facility for REG.
CLIENT: Michael Mueller, CEO
TESTIMONIAL: Ashfords have been great partners to our business ever since the company was established in 2016. Based on a combination of good knowledge of the fintech sector and strong expertise in enterprise technology, Giles and his team have provided us with highly effective support in various investment and commercial initiatives.
CLIENT: Jennifer Chamandi
TESTIMONIAL: I’d like to thank the intellectual property team at Ashfords for supporting me through the protection of my brand and designs. The patent was particularly significant in capturing the judges’ attention.
CLIENT: Simon Calver, head of investments
COMPANY/FIRM: BGF Ventures
TESTIMONIAL: Ashfords’ ongoing support for BGF Ventures in this NewVoiceMedia transaction was excellent. Chris Dyson and the CoComm team at Ashfords were very responsive and worked tirelessly to get the deal over the line despite the challenges and time differences with many overseas parties.
CLIENT: Mark Caroe, partner
COMPANY/FIRM: Eden Ventures
TESTIMONIAL: We’ve worked closely with the Ashfords CoComm team for many years across our portfolio, including on investment rounds and the subsequent sale of NewVoiceMedia. Ashfords provided us with the excellent support we have come to expect from their team – their market knowledge and commercial advice are second to none.
CLIENT: James Cole, founder and CEO
TESTIMONIAL: We are pleased to have closed this round in record time and with the usual excellent service from Ashfords and the CoComm team. These funds will enable Route1 to further leverage its technology solution for clients and candidates in the post GDPR legal recruitment environment.
CLIENT: Jason Garside, CEO
COMPANY/FIRM: Torquay Leisure Hotels
TESTIMONIAL: It was truly a pleasure working with the many solicitors that were placed in front of us. Light-heartedness aside, the team at Ashfords have been consummate professionals from the beginning, and they ensured our interests were at the heart of everything. We look forward to working with them on future occasions, albeit on less complex matters.
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- Commercial property: The West Country
- Contentious trusts and probate
- Corporate and commercial: The West Country
- Crime: fraud
- Employment: The West Country
- Project finance and PFI
- Social housing
- Charities and not-for-profit
- Commercial litigation: The West Country
- Corporate tax
- Crime: general
- Employment: Bristol
- Insolvency and corporate recovery
- Intellectual property
- IT and telecoms
- Local government
- Personal tax, trusts and probate
- Property litigation
- Agriculture and estates
- Banking and finance
- Corporate and commercial: Bristol
- Debt recovery
- EU and competition
- Media and entertainment
- Personal injury: claimant
- Personal injury: defendant
- Professional negligence
- Commercial litigation: Bristol