Thrings LLP > Bristol, England > Firm Profile

Thrings LLP
THE PARAGON
COUNTERSLIP
BRISTOL
BS1 6BX
England

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 1

The team at Thrings LLP are experts in both contentious and non-contentious matters, with a 'fantastic and well-deserved reputation in the whole range of farming disputes.' The practice, which is the trusted adviser to key agricultural membership associations within the UK, is led by Duncan Sigournay; he is an agricultural property specialist and deals with both contentious and non-contentious matters. Russell Reeves is a reputable industry litigator. Robert James is noted for his expertise in property related matters.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Sigournay

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Russell Reeves has the ability to take on huge amounts of information quickly and give a balanced view in a way that is easy to understand the complexities of the situation.’

‘The firm has a fantastic and well-deserved reputation in the whole range of farming disputes.’

‘Russell Reeves is extremely impressive. He has a depth of knowledge in this area and is always superbly calm and pragmatic.’

‘Very experienced and knowledgeable in the area of agricultural disputes.’

‘Russell Reeves is a master tactician and a great pleasure to work with.’

‘I have yet to work with any company that has delivered as well as Thrings. I can absolutely say they surpass all expectations and they do this each and every time.’ 

‘Engaging and authentic. They cut the jargon of the classical ‘law firm’ stereotypes.’

‘Robert James’s depth and breadth of knowledge combined with his commercial instinct makes him a standout. His ability to absorb complex information followed by rapid analysis and solutions puts him among the very best in country.’

Key clients

National Farmers Union (NFU)

Country Land and Business Association (CLA)

The Badminton Estate

Denhay Farms Ltd

Countryside Education Trust

EU Plants Ltd

Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust

DJ Houghton Catching Services Ltd

Koppert

Work highlights

  • Acted for clients in a proprietary estoppel claim appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Represented defendants in a multi-million-pound proprietary estoppel claim concerning farmland and quarries in Lincolnshire.
  • Won appeal in a £10 million proprietary estoppel claim in the Court of Appeal.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Bristol Tier 2

Thrings LLP’s dispute resolution practice is divided into distinct specialist sub-teams, which work closely with their non-contentious counterparts to handle a broad range of commercial disputes. Notable areas of expertise include financial services and pension litigation, IP and data work, shareholder disputes, insolvency matters, real estate litigation and agriculture claims. The practice is jointly led by Alastair Govier and Mark Cullingford, who handle financial disputes and insolvency issues respectively. Russell Reeves and Rob James are the key names for agricultural disputes, and Rosalyn Trotman focuses on planning litigation.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Govier; Mark Cullingford

Testimonials

‘Great team, with particular experience of insurance-funded matters.’

‘Alastair Govier – incredibly bright and great to deal with. Manages to combine attention to detail with a broader strategic approach which is excellent for clients.’

Key clients

Stonebridge Colleges (Publishing) Limited

Lovehoney

Learn Direct

AirTanker Services Ltd

CFH Docmail Limited

Pacific IFA Limited

The Government of Romania.

Newland Homes Limited

Bourne Group

Work highlights

    Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 2

    Thrings LLP has ‘gone from strength to strength in terms of coupling robust legal advice with commercial pragmatism’ and is ‘known in the region for its consistent ability to deliver good value for money’. With distinct sub-teams, the practice has notable expertise in financial services litigation, corporate claims, debt recovery work, trust litigation, personal injury claims, property litigation and employment claims. Kerrie Hunt leads the group from Bristol; key names in Swindon include Ramona Derbyshire, who leads the recoveries team, and Emily Prout, who leads the inheritance and trusts dispute practice. Caroline Watson departed to Freeths LLP in mid-2022.

    Practice head(s):

    Kerrie Hunt

    Other key lawyers:

    Testimonials

    ‘Thrings LLP continues to go from strength to strength in terms of coupling robust legal advice with commercial pragmatism. Thrings are known in the region for their consistent ability to deliver good value for money with exceptional client handling and legal strength.’

    ‘Romana Derbyshire, a partner in the firm, has a personality and warmth that is infectious, her professionalism and empathy is unparalleled and paired with her first-class legal know-how and commercial pragmatism, it is a winning combination.’

    ‘The Thrings LLP team punches well above its weight in commercial litigation matters, easily matching larger London based firms in my view. The team is agile and understands its clients’ objectives well. This all translates into a very effective approach to litigation.’

    ‘Ramona Darbyshire is an extremely effective partner, with a good eye for both strategy and detail. She is keenly focused on achieving the best outcomes for her clients, while remaining easy to work with.’

    ‘Lawyers from Thrings law firm combine world-class professionalism and quality with clear understanding of local realities so that their clients receive practically-oriented advice in the most client-friendly manner.’

    ‘Great commercial litigation team that can cover pretty much anything and would have no hesitation in recommending them.’

    Key clients

    Honda Finance Europe plc

    MAN Truck & Bus UK Limited

    Bar Council

    Openwork Limited

    UTAX (UK) Limited

    Citipost Limited

    Alvan Blanch Development Company Limited

    Free Train Sports Limited

    DPDS Limited

    Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited

    Extrudakerb (Maltby Engineering) Limited

    Stanley Security Solutions Limited

    Work highlights

    • Advised a founding shareholder of an LLP on bringing a claim for entitlement of profit allocation under an LLP agreement and a proprietary interest claim for a percentage of profits, amounting to c.£12m.
    • Advised Extrudakerb (Maltby Engineering) Limited on a director/shareholder dispute.
    • Advising two individuals on an application to suspend a warrant of possession of their £1.4m home due to their failure to pay cumulative debt of £1.1m, and simultaneously undertaking investigations into the conduct of previous lenders and brokers to seek a reduction of the debt.

    Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 2

    Under the leadership of ‘very competent litigatorRamona Derbyshire, the recoveries team at Thrings LLP sits as part of the firm's broader dispute resolution practice and handles the full range of domestic and cross-border work for regional and national clients. The group is also on the Bar Council Affinity Panel, which assists with the recovery of barrister fees.

    Practice head(s):

    Ramona Derbyshire

    Testimonials

    ‘This team work very well together. I have found they provide excellent cover for each other and when advice is given you know all aspects have been considered by experts in their field. They are very good at providing support.’

    ‘Ramona Derbyshire is a very competent litigator.’

    ‘Thrings were recommended to me as specialists in debt recovery and they have lived up to their reputation!’

    Key clients

    Citipost Group

    Wilson Tool International (Europe) Limited

    UTAX (UK) Limited

    Marks & Clerk LLP

    SLR Consulting Ltd

    The Bar Council

    Openwork Limited

    Stanley Security Solutions Limited

    Three New Square Chambers

    3 Paper Buildings Ltd

    Radcliffe Chambers

    CH Flats (No 3) Wootton Bassett Ltd

    T Quality Ltd

    Maitland Chambers

    Fourteen Chambers

    Pyper Medical Limited

    Work highlights

    • Assisted a family member and representative of a deceased barrister and the probate solicitors to collate, examine and recover outstanding balances in the barrister’s business.
    • Acting for a business and engineering consultation company upon volume instructions to recover small to large debts under terms against companies and individuals.
    • Advising a pensions administrator on multiple instructions to recover rent arrears from tenants of properties administered by the client under self-invested personal pensions and personal pensions for private funds.

    Employment > Employment: Bristol Tier 2

    Thrings LLP has a diverse team, handling matters from employment tribunal claims and data protection workplace issues, to immigration and corporate related employment matters. Sector expertise encompasses telecommunication, technology, manufacturing, engineering, charities and agriculture. Kerrie Hunt heads the practice; she has extensive litigation experience.

    Practice head(s):

    Kerrie Hunt

    Key clients

    The Alzheimer’s Society

    The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

    Lovehoney Ltd

    Work highlights

      Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

      The team at Thrings LLP handles disputes concerning validity of wills, removal of executors, proprietary estoppel and will construction and rectification. Emily Prout leads the practice, following from her promotion in October 2021. Her focus lies within contested wills, trusts and inheritance disputes. Robert James is noted for his expertise in inheritance and proprietary estoppel claims.

      Practice head(s):

      Emily Prout

      Other key lawyers:

      Testimonials

      ‘I have been very impressed how well this team works together.’

      ‘They are passionate about providing the best advice to their clients whilst being realistic about their case.’

      ‘I have found them to be meticulous, responsive and effective in the diverse matters in which they have acted for me.’

      ‘I have found Emily Prout to be proactive and insightful in her responses to my queries, as well as meticulous and comprehensive in her advice and communications.’

      ‘Emily Prout provides a balanced sounding board and reassuring presence.’

      ‘They are technically strong and specialise in this practice area which is a differentiator in some of their geographies.’

      ‘ I have always found Emily Prout to be thoroughly on top of the detail, technically strong, fair and pragmatic.’

      Key clients

      John Gee

      David and Josephine Guest

      Work highlights

      • Represented appellants in Supreme Court appeal on the issue of relief in proprietary estoppel cases.
      • Advised clients about a post-death challenge to significant lifetime gifts made by a deceased, under Section 10 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, in conjunction with a claim being concurrently brought for ‘reasonable financial provision’ from the estate.
      • Acted for a professional executor to obtain a Re Yorke Order in the course of estate administration, to provide protection to the executor against any future claims or litigation that may arise out of the deceased’s past dealing as a Lloyds member.

      Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

      Thrings LLP takes a multi-disciplinary approach to matters, often utilising its farming and agricultural team within its landed estate portfolio work. The team is also well equipped to advise on international tax structuring, as well as on inheritance and trust disputes. The team is led by Michael Westbrook who has particular expertise advising farmers, landowners and family business owners. Associate Holly Algar joined the team from Trethowans LLP in January 2022.

      Practice head(s):

      Michael Westbrook

      Other key lawyers:

      Penelope Munro; Gavin Smith

      Testimonials

      ‘ I have found them to be diligent, conscientious and very efficient in dealing with all matters involving Trusts and Trust tax reporting. I would not hesitate in recommending them to potential clients.’

      Work highlights

        Real estate > Environment Tier 2

        Thrings LLP‘s planning and environment practice sports a particular focus on energy, waste and the agricultural sector. The practice, which is located in Bristol and headed by Alex Madden, is also increasingly active in environmental matters relating to property transactions and development schemes. Rosalyn Trotman is specialised in urban planning, while Rob James advises on matters such as environmental litigation in the agricultural sectors.

        Practice head(s):

        Alex Madden

        Other key lawyers:

        Testimonials

        ‘Alex Madden is a legal terrier. If there is a legal error in the process or paperwork he will find it and use it.’

        ‘The team ethos lead by Alex Madden sets them apart from others. The Team are experienced and are always on point with direct and robust advice.’

        ‘Alex Madden not only stands out on an individual basis but clearly runs an outstanding team. His strength is his ability to bring people together with the right skill set to deliver solutions for clients. Alex sets a very high bar when it comes to client care which he has instilled in his team.’

        ‘It simply provides a good and efficient service in the areas of planning and environment.’

        ‘Alex Madden  has always been willing to go the extra mile.’

        ‘Rosalyn Trotman: She also has a sharp legal mind which she applies to problems – always willing to question what has been said by counsel or anyone else.’

        Key clients

        PB Leiner UK Limited

        Lyndon Thomas Limited

        N-Viro Cycle Limited

        Hills Waste Solutions Limited

        Newland Homes Limited

        Laverstoke Park Farm Limited

        Denhay Farms Limited

        Longwood Water Company

        Costwold Eco Fuels Limited

        WFL (UK) Limited

        BAM Nuttall

        Work highlights

        • Advised and successfully represented PB Leiner Ltd in relation to alleged offences under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 following an investigation by Natural Resources Wales.
        • Secured three planning consents for N-Virocycle for on-farm storage vessels for agricultural waste to be used for spreading.
        • Acting for a claimant in a judicial review challenge into the Secretary of State’s decision to approve the development consent order for the Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm.

        Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 2

        The practice at Thrings LLP is now led from Bath by Duncan Sigournay, who has specific expertise with regards to agricultural property, tenancies and conveyancing. Mark Charter works with farmers, estate owners and wide landowners on a broad range of matters; the two partners work alongside senior associate Jonathan Thompson , who can draw on a range of experience from working at other respected firms, as well as his time as owner of a small landholding utilised in a sheep farming operation.

        Practice head(s):

        Duncan Sigournay

        Other key lawyers:

        Jonathan Thompson; Mark Charter; Josephine Taylor

        Testimonials

        ‘The team at Thrings has a depth of knowledge in the estate, rural and property sectors and have developed an understanding of the estate business and priorities and have played a key part in strategic planning working alongside the estate accountants. The partners collaborate across property and trust matters to ensure that they deliver the best possible advice.’

        ‘The partners involved across the account are responsive and interested in the work in which they are involved and value the relationship and the instructions they have with us.’

        ‘In depth knowledge of complex contracts at a level not easily found outside of London practices. Good attention to detail, happy to discuss issues and take on board clients’ opinions.’

        ‘Mark Charter – easy to work with, excellent knowledge of complex contracts.’

        ‘Appreciation of client commercial as well as legal needs.’

        ‘Strong, coherent, and close working relationships within their office being able to draw on all their specialisations.’

        ‘Josephine Taylor is easy to work with, has good attention to detail, is very conscientious, and replies to queries quickly.’

        ‘Working with Mark Charter is very reassuring, as he has knowledge of a very good breadth and depth of agricultural and estate matters, and it is easy to discuss and debate with him a range of options to specific problems. He is also very practical and understands issues and circumstances of a situation very quickly and is very calm and measured in the way which he presents advice.’

        Key clients

        National Farmers Union (NFU)

        Country Land and Business Association (CLA)

        The Badminton Estate

        Denhay Farms Ltd

        Countryside Education Trust

        EU Plants Ltd

        Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust

        DJ Houghton Catching Services Ltd

        Koppert

        Work highlights

        • Advised 34 landowners in relation to options for easements and leases for the new Fawley to Heathrow oil pipeline.

        Private client > Family: Hampshire Tier 2

        Led by Sally Pike and Matthew Kellow, the family team at Thrings LLP continues to grow, including the addition of Katy Barber from Moore Barlow as senior associate. Working out of the firm’s Romsey office, Pike handles high-value cases for HNW individuals, including those with complex company assets and pensions. She is also an accredited mediator. Kellow works out of Swindon, where he heads the firm’s wider family department. Barber has broad experience advising on both pre- and postnuptial agreements and relationship breakdown, where she is especially well regarded for her ability to navigate matters for unmarried couples. Clients include company directors and individuals in the sports and creative sectors, and the team is increasingly focused on alternative dispute resolution and mediation.

        Practice head(s):

        Sally Pike; Matthew Kellow

        Other key lawyers:

        Testimonials

        ‘Thrings’ family finance team is amongst the very best in Hampshire.’

        ‘The firm has always had excellent leadership and its offices bring an element of calm in difficult cases. Everyone in the firm is a delight to deal with from the partners, through the associates and down to the support staff. They have excellent technological backup.’

        ‘The family team at Thrings have a solid, safe, and reliable reputation in Hampshire, in particular, in respect of family finance work. The most senior practitioner, Sally Pike, is hugely experienced in the field and well respected in the area. The team are now also very well complemented by the addition of Katy Barber; a real asset to the team – a star with an established practice of her own.’

        ‘Thrings are quite simply market leaders for family work in Hampshire. The team is strong from top to bottom and clients know that they are getting the very best service possible. I always feel reassured when papers arrive from Thrings and I know that I will be working as a team with my instructing solicitor right from the start.’

        ‘Sally Pike is one of the most respected and experienced family finance lawyers in Hampshire. As a result she is capable of handling adroitly cases from relatively modest assets to those where the assets are millions of pounds. She brings the same care and attention to detail to every case and forges excellent relationships with all her clients who quickly repose a great deal of confidence in her. This greatly helps the clients give their best and so achieve the best results. Sally stands out from the crowd for her sense, humanity and compassion.’

        ‘Kate Barber is a delight to work with. She has that rare ability to be able to put even the most nervous of client’s at ease. Kate is able to grapple with all the challenges of complex litigation and her knowledge of the law, couple with her excellent interpersonal skills mean that she is ahead of the rest.’

        ‘Sally Pike has been amazing at guiding me through the process of divorce. My divorce is complex and acrimonious and Sally has not only given me the legal support needed but emotionally she has reassured and kept me on track when things have been tough. She is always at the other end of the phone and she has made it clear that she is there to support and help. I am so glad that I have had Sally to help – she is strong, supportive and sensible when handling tough situations yet strikes the balance of advising form a legal perspective and the emotional side that goes with divorce cases.’

        ‘Kate Barber is a real team player and a rising star. She is always very hands-on and responsive. She is tenacious and creative in fighting her client’s corner. She will often find innovative/creative ways around an issue. She is a real thinker with great client care skills. She is always on top of her game, keen on marketing, and has a very good pedigree having trained and worked in top-tier family firms over the years, before her move to Thrings.’

        Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Tier 3

        The corporate and commercial team at Thrings LLP has a focus on M&A transactions, where it acts on deals in sectors including hospitality, utilites and engineering. John Davies has deep experience in corporate transactions and co-heads the team alongside commercial partner Kate Westbrook, who is praised as ‘pragmatic and responsive’. Simon Hore is also noted for his transactional expertise and frequently works alongside Davies on deals. The partners in the firm’s Swindon office routinely collaborate with the Bristol-based team to advise clients.

        Practice head(s):

        John Davies; Kate Westbrook

        Other key lawyers:

        Testimonials

        ‘Thrings combine world-class professionalism and quality with clear understanding of local realities so that their clients receive practically-oriented advice in the most client-friendly manner.’

        ‘The Thrings LLP team punches well above its weight in commercial matters, easily matching larger London based firms in my view. The team is agile and understands its clients’ objectives well. This all translates into a very effective approach to delivery of its corporate and commercial services.’

        ‘Thrings LLP continue to go from strength to strength in terms of coupling robust legal advice with commercial pragmatism. Thrings are known in the region for being consistent in their ability to deliver good value for money with exceptional client handling and legal strength. They are an assured benchmark of quality in the region.’

        ‘My involvement with Thrings is on a single case in which they act for a global multinational. The case is technically complex. They have handled it with tremendous skill and are much valued by their client.’

        ‘The customer interface is excellent, they deliver on time, they explain things clearly and they understand our business. Kate Westbrook has been outstanding for us – thanks Kate!’

        ‘Kate Westbrook is pragmatic and responsive. A natural and very valued extension of our in house team.’

        ‘An all round strong team.’

        ‘Technically excellent, good communicators, strength in depth and easy to work with.’

        Key clients

        Whim Hospitality Group

        Shareholders of Pump Supplies Limited

        Truespeed Communications Limited

        Boost & Co

        HSBC

        Lovehoney

        GS Yuasa Europe

        World Fuel Services

        Compass Energy Limited

        Learndirect group

        Stonewood Partnerships

        Sothebys International Realty (UK Franchise)

        Work highlights

        • Acted as lead legal advisor on the sale of Pump Supplies Limited to Lakers, part of a Nordic group based in Oslo.
        • Acting for Texan based entrepreneurs Whit and Kim Hanks as lead advisor on the acquisition of England’s oldest hotel, The Old Bell, Malmesbury.
        • Advising Stonewood Partnerships Limited on their Regional Growth Initiative Joint Venture with Housing Growth Partnership.

        Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

        Thrings LLP advises both lenders and borrowers on matters such as equity investments and general commercial lending. Mike Tomlin is the key contact leading the practice from Bristol and sports a particular specialism in the telecommunication sector. The firm also has a focus on the health and care sectors, and is regularly sought out by lenders in this field.

        Practice head(s):

        Mike Tomlin

        Key clients

        Santander UK plc

        Metro Bank

        National Westminster Bank plc

        HSBC Bank plc

        UOB

        Royal Bank of Scotland

        Arbuthnot Latham

        Boost & Co

        AIB Group (UK) plc.

        OakNorth Bank plc

        Work highlights

        • Advised Truespeed Communications Limited on £100,000,000 follow-on investment from Aviva.
        • Acted for Santander in respect of £6,000,000 amendment and restatement arrangements.
        • Acted for AIB Group in relation to a Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan facility.

        Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

        Constituting a ‘sound option for all insolvency and recovery instructions’, Thrings LLP has recently been increasingly involved in crisis management and long-term business continuity matters, and has seen an influx in assignments with international elements due to Brexit. Mark Cullingford and Melissa George jointly lead the practice in Bristol.

        Practice head(s):

        Mark Cullingford; Melissa George

        Testimonials

        ‘They understand the human interests involved, and are as capable at looking at the big commercial picture as they are at getting into the thicket of legal analysis when necessary.’

        ‘Melissa George – a real pleasure to work with. She is well-organised, gives clear advice, and will fight for the client’s corner where necessary.’

        ‘Mark Cullingford – combines staggering analytical skill with superior legal knowledge and a boatload of commercial awareness.’

        ‘A sound option for all insolvency and recovery instructions. Market leading technical skills.’

        ‘Mark Cullingford – a great communicator.’

        ‘Melissa George – Creative and supportive.’

        Key clients

        Leonard Curtis Recovery

        Moore Kingston Smith

        Mazars

        Grant Thornton

        Quantuma

        Moorfields Recovery

        Francis Clarke

        Begbies Traynor

        Evtec Automotive

        Smith & Williamson

        Milsted Langdon

        Moore Kingston Smith

        PACT

        Moorfields

        Work highlights

        • Advised the management of an Italian-registered retail company and its UK establishment on the interaction of pre-Brexit Italian Insolvency proceedings and UK insolvency proceedings involving the closure of its two London West End stores, negotiations with landlords and interaction of Italian and UK Covid-related measures.
        • Advising a UK bank on the enforcement of its Euro loans and mortgages over Portuguese properties against a Scottish/Portuguese domiciled bankrupt on the appointment of trustees in bankruptcy in English bankruptcy proceedings to secure the early sale of the properties.
        • Advising the liquidators of a company in relation the arrangements under which the company had acquired the business and assets of mines and mining operations in multiple locations through a trust arrangement and immediately restructured those operations leaving the company insolvent and claims against the director shareholder and associated businesses.

        Private client > Family Tier 3

        Thrings LLP has particular strength in the drafting of both nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. The team also has a specialist mediator. Fiona Kellow's focus lies within child law issues and parental alienation. Matthew Kellow specialises in pre and post nuptial agreements. Together, they head the practice.

        Practice head(s):

        Fiona Kellow; Matthew Kellow

        Other key lawyers:

        Kathryn Bew; Tara Connor-McLaren; Zhenja Cann

        Testimonials

        ‘Communication and legal advice is excellent.’

        ‘Kathryn Bew is clearly a first class family lawyer who fully appreciates the issues in her clients’ cases and works effectively to ensure their needs are met.’

        ‘Above all, the team in the family practice had excellent legal knowledge. They communicated this with confidence and offered great guidance.’

        ‘Tara Connor-McLaren’s experience and excellent guidance at the beginning of my divorce proceedings set the course for the final settlement. Whilst communications dragged on over 12 months, Tara’s initial assessment of my case was proved correct and she, along with her colleagues, helped secure a very satisfactory conclusion.’

        ‘Tara Connor-McLaren was superb. Very professional. Any questions or concerns I had she gave clarity to me. And this was done quickly and efficiently. Tara was very quick with correspondence, and one of the great qualities is that it felt like she genuinely cared. She had a personal approach whilst being very professional.’

        ‘Honesty is what makes them different, that aligned with a good working relationship.’

        Work highlights

          Real estate > Commercial property: Bristol Tier 3

          Thrings LLP is sought out by clients for its experience in secured lending, residential development and investment matters. Landlord and tenant, as well as corporate occupier work are a further part of the practice’s core areas. Ben Jones, who is regularly involved in acquisitions and disposals, alongside development schemes, property finance and transaction specialist Robert Barnes, and property litigator Gemma Featonby jointly lead the team. Legal director Alastair Wallworth joined the firm in August 2021 from Hill Dickinson LLP.

          Practice head(s):

          Ben Jones; Robert Barnes; Gemma Featonby

          Other key lawyers:

          Testimonials

          ‘Ability to contextualise the issues and summarise the key problems and solutions from the start.’

          Key clients

          Renrod

          Newland Homes

          Curo Enterprises Limited

          Airtanker

          Burrington Estates

          Baylis Estates Limited

          Blue Cedar Homes

          Forgerock Limited

          Teleperformance Limited

          Essilor Limited

          HSB Bank Plc

          National Westminster Bank Plc

          Work highlights

          • Advising HSBC Bank Plc in respect of a £600,000 loan secured by way of first legal charge over a commercial property being acquired by the borrower company.
          • Acting for National Westminster Bank Plc in connection with a £30 million development finance revolving credit facility, ensuring perfection of security and compliance with the lending conditions on each instruction.
          • Acted for a land promoter on the sale of an allocated greenfield site in Bedfordshire for c.£15M to a national house-builder.

          Real estate > Construction Tier 3

          With offices across the South West in Bristol, Bath, Swindon and Romsey, Thrings LLP has been increasingly involved in construction matters in the renewables and sustainability sectors alongside its strengths in commercial and residential developments as well as real estate finance projects. Practice head Natalia Sokolov leads the team and is well versed across the whole range of non-contentious construction work, including drafting and negotiating contracts, providing construction due diligence in disposals, corporate transactions and real estate acquisitions. Alastair Govier handles disputes resolution matters. Steve McCombe  retired in October 2021.

          Practice head(s):

          Natalia Sokolov

          Other key lawyers:

          Alastair Gover

          Key clients

          Anthony Best Dynamics Ltd

          Bourne Group Ltd

          Baylis Estates Ltd – Cribbs Causeway

          Baylis Estates Ltd – Fox Den Road

          Josal Property Development Limited

          Create Real Estate Limited – Cardiff, Marchmount and Dumfries House

          Create Real Estate – Bristol, Portwall Lofts

          Work highlights

            TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property Tier 3

            Thrings LLP assists client base ranging from SMEs and owner-managed businesses to multinationals with intellectual property matters. The team’s work includes advising on global IP portfolios, working alongside other law firms around the world to assist with IP registration and enforcement. Megan Jefferies leads the practice and is also adept at providing advice to clients on commercial agreements involving IP, such as research agreements, as well as IP disputes. Jefferies frequently draws on the wider firm’s expertise in dispute resolution and corporate law to advise clients.

            Practice head(s):

            Megan Jefferies

            Testimonials

            ‘An impressive IP team.’

            ‘Megan Jeffries is very knowledgeable with exceptional attention to detail.’

            I have dealt with Megan Jefferies in a Trademark dispute. She negotiated well on our behalf and came up with a solution that both ourselves and another Party could be satisfied with and which protected our interests.’

            ‘Great team, seem to work together well. Respond quickly to questions and requests.’

            ‘Megan Jefferies is very knowledgeable and proactive on behalf of the client.’

            ‘Thrings’ intellectual property practice strength is evident in their ability to provide candid and commercially relevant advice to their clients, allowing those clients to understand the complex framework and how it can be leveraged best to support larger goals. Rather than seek to dazzle their clients with how clever they are to be working in the intellectual property space, they offer quiet and capable guidance to each client, almost imperceptibly providing support in overcoming barriers which may otherwise derail a client’s primary aims.’

            ‘Megan Jefferies provides a capable and reassuring voice of calm competence to all clients and associates with whom she works.’

            Key clients

            Lovehoney Group Limited

            Miller Harris Fragrances Limited

            Procurri Europe Limited

            Clarendon Speciality Fasteners Limited (a division of Diploma Plc)

            AMS Accountancy Limited

            GS Yuasa Battery Sales (UK) Limited

            AB Dynamics Plc

            Kenro Limited

            Lyn Michel Limited (Perfumer H)

            Bristol International Balloon Fiesta (BIBF)

            Work highlights

            • Represented a global high-end car park operator in a successful defence of injunctive proceedings brought against them for passing off in the IPEC then resolved the wider dispute through mediation and commercial negotiation.
            • Advised South West-based communications company in relation to DSAR, bringing that and a connected dispute to a commercial resolution.
            • Advised global retailer on expansion and maintenance of global IP portfolio to include opposition proceedings and enforcement of IPR in the UK and EU as well as jurisdictions such as Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Paraguay, India, the US, China, South Korea and the Ukraine.

            TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 3

            Thrings LLP head of commercial Kate Westbrook, who specialises in commercial contracts, is also a member of the firm's technology and digital sector group.

            Testimonials

            ‘The team are super helpful, plain speaking and always there and ready to help. They don’t get into legal speak and take a pragmatic approach to ensure clients interested are met.  Great team and great lawyers.’

            ‘They take the time, no matter the problem, to make sure we understand the law and our position.’

            ‘Pragmatic and responsive. A natural extension of our in house team.’

            ‘Kate Westbrook is pragmatic and responsive. A natural and very valued extension of our in house team’

            ‘Our only contact has been with Kate Westbrook, and I can say that at every juncture she has given clear, rational and well informed advice. Her communication is outstanding, and she delivers on her promises. As a representative for her practice, she is an outstanding ambassador.’

            Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Bristol Tier 4

            Thrings LLP is instructed on a range of corporate transactions, including M&A deals, joint ventures and investments. The firm’s corporate practice is split between its Swindon office, where John Davies heads the overall team, and Bristol, where Elaine Meyrick serves as practice head. In 2021, Meyrick and John Richardson handled work including advising private equity portfolio companies on transactions as well as the establishment of employee benefit trusts. Head of banking Mike Tomlin is another name to note and advises on corporate transactions and financings.

            Practice head(s):

            John Davies; Elaine Meyrick

            Other key lawyers:

            Testimonials

            ‘Very practical, commercial and realistic. Genuinely people orientated and build excellent relationships across the transaction stakeholders’

            ‘The Bristol team is relatively new to us – we have worked with Thrings Swindon for many years and the Bristol team assisted the Swindon team on a business sale. Thrings Swindon have been absolutely brilliant through the years, and Thrings Bristol were also outstanding. The time and dedication that they spent on the tasks was exceptional, and their subject knowledge and attention to detail just fabulous. I can’t thank them and the Swindon team enough.’

            ‘ITheir dedication to the task in hand was quite exceptional.’

            ‘Pragmatic and responsive. A natural extension of our in house team.’

            ‘Tenacious but well respected. Speak plain English.’

            ‘I think what makes this practice special is the broad span of its advice and also the quick turn-around time for that advice. I’ve asked questions on investing in a start up bank, the acquisition of a hotel, the acquisition of a fashion business, vendor contracts for everything from linen washing contracts to construction management. In every case the attorney in charge has been responsive and well-informed. Also, they like what they do, or at least appear to do so.’

            ‘John Davies is my lead partner. John is humble, humorous, enthusiastic, smart, and personable. What more could you want in a solicitor? He deflects praise and heaps it in his team members. There hasn’t been a problem he hasn’t been willing to investigate and offer the best legal option possible.’

            Key clients

            Whim Hospitality Group (All UK operations)

            Shareholders of Pump Supplies Limited

            Truespeed Communications Limited

            Boost & Co

            HSBC

            Lovehoney

            GS Yuasa Europe

            World Fuel Services

            Compass Energy Limited

            Learndirect group

            Stonewood Partnerships

            Sothebys International Realty (UK Franchise)

            Work highlights

            • Acting for Truespeed Communications Limited in relation to an additional debt facility from the Aviva group.
            • Acted as lead legal advisor on the sale of Pump Supplies Limited to Lakers, part of a Nordic group based in Oslo.
            • Advising Stonewood Partnerships Limited on their Regional Growth Initiative Joint Venture with Housing Growth Partnership.

            Real estate > Planning Tier 4

            The planning team at Thrings LLP covers both rural and urban planning, with particular specialisation in the agriculture and development sectors, as well as waste, quarries and renewables. Alongside its non-contentious work, the Bristol and Romsey-based practice also represents clients in planning disputes and planning enforcement matters. Alex Madden heads the team and is well versed in drafting infrastructure agreements and applications, planning appeals, and advising on village green applications, amongst others. Senior associates Fred Quartermain and Matt Gilks are regularly involved in a variety of planning matters, including compulsory purchase orders and regeneration.

            Practice head(s):

            Alex Madden

            Other key lawyers:

            Fred Quartermain; Matt Gilks; Rebecca Stanton

            Testimonials

            ‘Thrings solicitors are reliable, very capable and of a size to deal with all manner of enquiries. A friendly team as well!’

            ‘The individual I worked with was a Matt Gilks. He had a sound understanding of Planning Law.’

            ‘Matt Gilks is diligent, thorough and a pleasure to work with.’

            ‘Alex Madden and Fred Quartermain are extremely experienced in planning law and most importantly can apply this knowledge to real-life situations. They are innovative, very approachable and helpful at all levels from initial enquiries to legal challenges in the High Court.’

            ‘Fred Quartermain has been a joy to know. He’s humble, smart, attentive, will to travel when needed. I look forward to continuing our work together.’

            ‘Rebecca Stanton has shown flexibility, endurance, and a willingness to put in whatever effort is necessary to achieve our goals.’

            Key clients

            LW Developments

            Eastleigh Borough Council

            Hills Homes

            Newland Homes Limited

            Cotswold Homes Limited

            Exton Park Vineyard

            Tangley Estate

            National Westminster Bank PLC

            Baylis Estates Limited

            Hall Hunter Farms

            Work highlights

            • Acting for the claimant in a judicial review challenge into the Secretary of State’s decision to approve the development consent order for the Norfolk Vanguard offshore windfarm.
            • Advising Eastleigh Borough Council on a strategic development for circa 2,500 houses, 20-25,000 sqm of commercial space, a local centre, primary school, distributor road, sports facilities and public open space on a 310-acre site in Hampshire.
            • Acting for LW Developments  in a mixed-use scheme for 163 houses, 4,000sqm of community and commercial space and a new football stadium for Cheshunt FC.

            The firm: Thrings continues to work towards providing exceptional legal service and collaborative long-term business relationships which enable its clients to succeed and grow.

            Over the past ten years, Thrings has enjoyed significant organic growth, and is today a Top 100 law firm with offices in London, Bristol, Bath, Romsey and Swindon. In its positioning for growth in a changing legal market, Thrings provides a full range of legal services and strategic advice to a rapidly expanding and increasingly broad client base.

            Types of work undertaken: The firm is known for its reputation in certain sectors. Its highly experienced and industry-renowned agriculture team has been providing specialist advice to those involved in farming and rural affairs for more than a century. Thrings – which has the largest specialist agricultural team of any law firm in the UK – has strong and long-term connections with many parts of the agricultural sector, and is on the NFU’s legal panel for seven counties.

            Thrings’ reputation as a leading commercial law firm has been achieved, in part, as a result of providing legal and strategic advice to SMEs, corporates and multinationals, including World Fuel Services Europe Limited, Coty, Santander, HSBC, Lovehoney, MAN Truck & Bus Company and TrueSpeed.

            Alongside the corporate and commercial success of the firm is that of the real estate team, which has advised on substantial regeneration projects, high-value corporate real estate transactions and major redevelopment schemes. The team has acted for established plc landlords on their portfolio management and institutional lenders on their secured lending requirements. Clients include Airsprung Group PLC, Corneliani SPA, Queen Anne’s Gate Limited (£139m luxury residential development at Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1), Bremont Watch Company, Links of London, DS Smith, St John’s Foundation and Kersfield Developments Ltd, as well a number of leading private banks.

            Thrings has also invested significantly in its international practice area – particularly in the Asia-Pacific region – advising on inbound investment and secured lending work for major banks. The firm currently acts for clients such as Rapid Solutions, Affluent Holdings, Athenaeum Holdings Asia Ltd and OCBC Wing Hang Bank Limited.

            In line with Thrings’ strategy of guiding clients safely through complicated decisions that preserve their business interests, the firm has built up strong private client and succession and tax teams with a commercial background, meaning the complex needs of business clients as well as individuals continue to be well provided for. Clients clearly value this fully integrated, cross-discipline approach, rather than the more traditional separation of commercial and private client affairs.

            Thrings remains a progressive and ambitious law firm, and in 2018 restated its commitment to the London legal market by signing a 10-year lease on new commercial premises in a prime City location. The firm also recently expanded its UK footprint by opening an office in Hampshire, where a 25-strong team of legal and business services specialists provides a complete service package to clients requiring legal support in the closely related practice areas of agriculture, agribusiness, landed estates and private client.

            For more information visit www.thrings.com

            DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
            Managing partner Simon Holdsworth
            Senior partner Jonathan Payne
            Agriculture Duncan Sigournay
            Commercial Kate Westbrook
            Construction Natalia Sokolov
            Corporate John Davies
            Dispute resolution David Patterson
            Employment Kerrie Hunt
            Environment Alex Madden
            Private Client Fiona Kellow
            Commercial litigation Alastair Govier
            Technology Kate Westbrook
            Insolvency Mark Cullingford
            Planning Alex Madden
            Private wealth Rachel Brooks
            Real estate litigation Warren Reid
            Real estate Ben Jones
            Succession and tax Mike Westbrook
            Banking and finance Mike Tomlin
            Family Matthew Kellow
            Intellectual Property Megan Jefferies
            PhotoNamePositionProfile
            Robert Barnes photo Robert BarnesPartner.
            Mark Cullingford photo Mark CullingfordMark has over 20 years’ experience in advising on business recovery, restructuring…
            Graeme Fearon photo Graeme FearonPartner leading team specialising in intellectual property, IT law and data protection.…
            Melissa George photo Melissa GeorgeMelissa is partner, and a highly experienced specialist insolvency lawyer. Her practise…
            Alastair Govier photo Alastair GovierLeads the Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution team at Thrings. His practice…
            Kerrie Hunt photo Kerrie HuntPartner and head of the employment team. Has a practice encompassing contentious…
            Megan Jefferies photo Megan JefferiesPartner within the Commercial Dispute Resolution and Litigation team focusing on intellectual…
            Alex Madden photo Alex MaddenAlex is a litigator specialising in contentious planning and environmental law. He…
            Steve McCombe photo Steve McCombeConsultant and solicitor-advocate with over 30 years’ experience of resolving construction and…
            David Mears photo David MearsCommercial property consultant (formerly partner) with over 40 years’ experience of the…
            Jane Oakland photo Jane OaklandCorporate partner based in Bristol. Acquisitions and disposals of owner managed and…
            Mike Tomlin photo Mike TomlinHead of Banking & Finance and partner in the company commercial department.…
            Rosalyn Trotman photo Rosalyn TrotmanHead of development of land – partner in planning law
            Natalie Ward photo Natalie WardSenior Associate.
            Number of UK partners : 58
            Number of other UK fee-earners : 117
            Resolution
            National Farmers Union
            Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
            Agricultural Law Association
            Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Solicitors
            Country Landowners Association
            Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
            Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
            Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP)