Firm Profile > Birketts LLP > Norwich, England

Birketts LLP

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

The team at Birketts LLP is 'capable, technically knowledgeable but also approachable'. The firm has one of the largest specialist agriculture teams in England and acts for a national client base in matters of ecclesiastical law, public access, aggregates extraction, renewable energy, property sales, tenancies, succession and taxation. In Norwich, practice head Jack Royall and agricultural property specialist Chris Coupland are the key practitioners. James Dinwiddy continues to build the practice's presence in Ipswich for high-value property transactions. Up-and-coming partners Rachel McKillop-Wilkin in Cambridge and Sophia Key in Norwich are recommended for agricultural property issues.

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The firm is strong across the board in this sector with several capable and approachable individuals.

Capable, technically knowledgeable but also approachable – not ones to hide behind the telephone.

Excellent response times, going above and beyond to ensure matters progress diligently and as expeditiously as possible.

James Dinwiddy has a very pragmatic approach, is commercially-minded and got the deal done.

The agriculture and estates team has a strong and broad capability which sets them apart from their competitors. I am always confident that in making referrals to the team, my clients will be receiving honest and competent advice. The team always works well as part of a wider professional advisory group and clients always feel comfortable that they are represented by the best.

Senior associate Tom Verrill’s ability to understand the key barriers to a deal and provide potential solutions marks him apart from his competitors. He has a detailed understanding of the application of law which allows him to represent his clients’ interests better than others. His communication with his opposite numbers and his clients ensures that all those with whom he is dealing know exactly what is happening with their project.

The close team within the agriculture and estates department has excellent working knowledge of the industry and regardless of who you deal with you feel confident in the advice provided. The team is always available and is always quick to respond or call. I feel confident in recommending the team to my clients.

The individuals within the team are personable and professional and you get the sense they really care about the work they are doing. Having worked closely with James Dinwiddy and Imogen Grainger they were always friendly, approachable and open in the advice being given and cut through the normal jargon to get to the crux of matter. The main qualities I valued were their clear and concise advice and willingness to work with me for the benefit of our mutual client.

Birketts offers a degree of specialism that gives comfort not only to their clients but to counsel who are instructed by them. They are in my opinion, at the top of their field when it comes to agricultural disputes and issues.

Sophia Key is a consummate professional, with a depth of personal and professional experience that not only makes her very easy to deal with, but also inspires confidence. She is personable and astute.

The most comprehensively resourced practice in Norfolk by a distance – well led by key partners with profile and gravitas. Able to work nimbly to deliver a broad range of work effectively, notably in the transnational and infrastructure markets.

A more plural, open dialogue delivering clear and pragmatic advice. Characters of partners and associates well balanced – Jack Royall, Chris Coupland and Sophia Key.

The firm has strength in depth and good knowledge of its subject area, and it is accessible and available.

Tom Verrill , Chris Coupland, Katy Moss and James Dinwiddy. They have a good depth of knowledge, offer clear advice and they are readily available and turn matters around very quickly.

Banking and finance Tier 1

'They have tremendous client-facing skills and inspire confidence in their professional skills,' say clients of the lawyers at Birketts LLP. The firm counts major lenders including HSBC and Lloyds Bank among its clients, though it also has a strong flow of borrower-side work. Its range of niche specialisms includes investment property funding, agricultural finance and acquisition finance. Mark Henry and Andrew Tubb in Ipswich, along with James Allen in Cambridge, are the lead partners. Greg Allan in Norwich, who handles leveraged finance to property development finance, and real estate finance specialist Alex Schaafsma in Cambridge are also recommended.

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The team at Birketts quickly understands the main issues of the transaction and focuses on representing the cient’s point of view and interest. They have tremendous client-facing skills and inspire confidence in their professional skills.

My main contact is Alex Scaafsma who is the most accessible and supportive professional partner I have worked with in any firm.

Key clients

Lloyds Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc

National Westminster Bank plc / RBS

Santander plc


One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Alpha Bank London Limited

Clydesdale Bank plc

Metro Bank plc

Ipswich Building Society

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

The charities and social enterprise practice at Birketts LLP consists of a multi-disciplinary team drawn from all four of the firm's offices to deliver 'robust and clear advice' to charities throughout the UK. Its expertise includes ecclesiastical law, public procurement, funding and regulation. Senior associate Sara Sayer in Cambridge, who focuses on regulatory and compliance issues including investigations and enforcements, co-leads the practice with Ipswich-based senior associate Liz Brownsell, who deals with incorporation, governance, fundraising, retail Gift Aid schemes and trust issues. Legal director Erika Clarke in Norwich handles charity law, regulation and procurement.

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The team deliver robust and clear advice; enabling our operational and strategic decisions to be based on firm legal advice.

Every member of the team is professional and approachable and clear about their ability to reply as needed, or refer to another.

A real team of hardworking intelligent, thoughtful and considerate lawyers. There is strength in depth and continuity which says a great deal of their loyalty to their employer and to their clients.

Employment partner Jeanette Wheeler gives sound valuable advice based on significant experience – she is firm and human at the same time. She is great to work with and trust. Matt Newnham is always prepared to go the extra mile and always with a smile on his face. When the chips are down, he’s great to have on your side.

The firm is able to combine expertise in areas such as property law with specific charity law expertise, identifying the added complexities this may bring. All at rates lower than London firms, making it an obvious go-to choice for charities.

Liz Brownsell is engaged and responsive, and really gets invested in the client organisation and helping it succeed. Great at bringing together a team of colleagues with the right expertise to handle a matter from start to finish.’

Frances Godden quickly got to grips with the matter and provided clear and purposeful advice.

Louisa Saunders has led on the property side, taking the matter forward deftly and proactively, and providing clear, digestible advice for client colleagues.

Key clients

Amnesty International

The Royal Academy of Arts

Trust for London

Creative Land Trust

Stroke Association

Walking With The Wounded

Commonwealth Heritage Forum

Institute of Fundraising

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH)

Hospice UK

Church of England Central Services

East Anglian Air Ambulance

British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS)

Charity Retail Association



Commercial litigation: Cambridge Tier 1

The Cambridge office of Birketts LLP plays a key role in the firm-wide litigation practice, which handles high-profile cases in sectors as diverse as shipping, education, defence and logistics. Its work encompasses public law, judicial reviews and procurement law, as well as high-value contract disputes. The firm is known for 'excellent value for money and good client service'. Lead partner Laurence Weeks handles commercial and contract disputes, negligence claims, insolvency, financial services cases and fraud. Senior associate Sara Sayer and legal director Maria-Christina Peyman are also central to the practice.

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Excellent value for money and good client service.

Lawrence Weeks is an outstanding litigator – very practical, client-friendly and commercial in his outlook.

The litigation team are very experienced and capable.

Laurence Weeks is a very good individual to have at your side in a litigation matter. He is very calm under pressure and makes sure that the client is given the best advice in the circumstances.

The team is exceptionally good. Their administrative law and public law practices are superb. They advise on the biggest issues in their regions, and do so with excellent insight into their practice areas. They know their region well and have an in-depth understanding of the issues which come up in that context.’

They are committed to getting the very best result for their clients, and they leave no stone unturned in doing so. They pay close attention to what their client is seeking to achieve, and pursue that as far as possible. They are thorough, pragmatic, client-focused and bright. Instructions from them are a joy to receive, for their clarity and considered nature.

They have additional strengths in education and health, which are served equally well.

The profile of their clients is superb – some are high-profile clients and of a quality one might not expect for a firm of their size. The cases they do give rise to interesting issues, often cutting edge, and their practice is broad and varied.

Sara Sayer is very good quality and very good value. Her focus is on what her client’s objectives are, and she thinks creatively to achieve those objectives. Her broad litigation experience means she can deal with almost any dispute that crosses her desk with aplomb. She is pragmatic, robust and clear minded. She is far better than a safe pair of hands; I would trust her to run any dispute of my own.

The team is spread over multiple offices but feels like a coherent whole. It is well led, commercially-focused and, from the perspective of counsel, provides excellent client-tailored advice. Whilst the team isn’t as large as you find in some London firms, the quality – and attendant value for money – is every bit as good, if not better than their metropolitan peers.

Laurence Weeks is exceptional with clients and leads his team very well. He is very easy to work with in the best sense of that phrase – as counsel you know you will be properly briefed and the case management/client management aspects of the team are going to be done very well.

Julie Spencer is an excellent associate who is well able to take on work far beyond her years’ experience in private practice. She is a delight to work with and extremely reliable in getting the necessary work done to a high quality.

Key clients

Trinity Hall College Cambridge

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

'They are proactive, responsive and provide a high quality of service and client care,' says a client of the team at Birketts LLP in Ipswich. The firm handles tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements and much more. Its work spans many industry sectors including education, transport and public law. A significant proportion of the practice of lead partner Matthew Atkins stems from clients  in the animal pharmaceutical and feed sector. Associate Emma Albins is 'proactive, diligent, knowledgeable and focused on commercial outcomes'.

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We have a long working relationship with Birketts and they are our natural landing place for advice. They are proactive, responsive and provide a high quality of service and client care.

Emma Albins deserves special mention for being proactive, diligent, knowledgeable and focused on commercial outcomes.

It provides accessible, practical advice which balances the letter of the law and reality.

They are quick to respond to our needs. The practice has a breadth that is reassuring – sometimes a matter spreads across more than one specialism and it is clear that the firm encourages its staff to cross-refer to provide the client with specialist advice from more than one area.

Emma Albins adopted a very proactive response.

Key clients

Greene King Plc

Archant Community Media Limited

ForFarmers UK Limited

Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 1

'The commercial property team is very professional, skilled, responsive and accessible, and offers clear advice', remarks a client of Birketts LLP. The Cambridge office not only provides a full-service commercial property practice, but is also the firm's centre of excellence for strategic land development. Katherine Herbert, who 'excels in strategic land promotion work and is very commercial', leads the team. Gavin Acheson handles commercial property matters for institutional, corporate, family office and private clients based in the UK and abroad. Jeremy Stanton is recommended for promoter and developer work. Clients praise senior associates Gemma GoddardClaudia Haisman-Green and Deborah Marshall. Legal director Dwight Patten is also recommended.

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I offered to make a reference on Birketts’ property team in particular because they were standout good – but I have to say that they worked well with the other departments too. Elsewhere from this firm we got clear, intelligible, sensible and “market” tax advice, and comprehensive if cautious corporate advice.

Gemma Goddard was the standout individual on a recent transaction. The property elements of the matter required high engagement, creative thinking and a deconstructive approach to work past the “can’t do” attitude of the other stakeholders and the limited specialist knowledge of us as her client. Gemma achieved all of that, and more, with dedication, good-humour and much out-of-hours work. We didn’t mind not seeing much of the appointed partner since Gemma was clearly partner-grade and indeed ran rings around the counterparty’s partner.

The commercial property team is very professional and skilled whilst also being responsive and accessible. Offers clear advice and takes a commercial approach.

Kath Herbert excels in strategic land promotion work and is very commercial.

Deborah Marshall is a superb senior associate who works hard for her clients and manages projects with efficiency and competence. A great team.

Always available to give prompt and personal service with a willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done even when this requires working out of office hours. Good and regular feedback and an ability to see the wider picture and provide the requisite and measured professional advice.

Gemma Goddard and Kath Herbert are approachable, practical, straight-talking and commercial and work the necessary hours when the pressure is on. The ability to relate to clients in a no-nonsense fashion is appreciated. They go the extra mile and always respond in a timely fashion which is very important to me.

Katherine Herbert and Deborah Marshall have gone the extra mile for us on our land sale. They have been realistic with the charging of fees and deferment when cash flow has been an issue. They worked beyond the call of duty to achieve exchange when this seemed a serious challenge. I cannot talk highly enough of them. They have been thrown hand grenades by our old solicitors who are not remotely in their league. Birketts just worked hard to get the job done in the most efficient manner.

All contact with Birketts was and is always very professional and efficient, and their response time is very good. All employees we dealt with are very knowledgeable and if they can’t help they will always put you in touch with a member of their team who can. Advice is good, clear and effective. The team supports our business very well and always makes you feel they are there to help. Probably the best representation for Birketts is that I would have no hesitation in advising anyone I know to use them if they are looking for an effective legal team.

Deborah Marshall is very knowledgeable, friendly, positive and helpful, providing clear and concise advice. Deborah helped in property lease preparation. Our business always felt in safe hands and was well represented. Deborah is always ready and willing to challenge opposing solicitors’ stance. Our new lease was based outside the Landlord/ Tenant Act and it was, therefore, very difficult to ensure the business wasn’t exposed to major future liabilities. Deborah and her team negotiated this with great skill.

Key clients

Anglia Ruskin University

Cambridgeshire County Council

Trust for London

The Leys and St Faiths Foundation

Gresham’s School

Jesus College Oxford

Grovemere Property Ltd

Horta Properties Ltd

Commercial property: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

'For a regional practice, the depth, breadth and quality of expertise is excellent', says a client of Birketts LLP in Ipswich. The firm has a deep bench of talent handling strategic land transactions, property investment and portfolio management, property finance, pension fund real estate investment and much more. Practice head Chris Schwer calls upon many partners including the 'responsive, approachable and highly knowledgeable' Stuart Raven, who routinely deals with the sale and purchase of large investment properties and with high-value leases; Oliver Crichton, who has niche expertise in the area of pension funds investing in commercial property; 'top-tier legal mind' Paul Squire; and utilities specialist Vicki Chilton.

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Paul Squire, a partner in the commercial property team, is an unbelievable recruitment for the firm. He is a top-tier legal mind at regional pricing! Thoughtful, determined, very hands on and commercially astute.

Paul Squire is personable and calm in negotiations, yet incredibly effective.

For a regional practice, the depth, breadth and quality of expertise is excellent, with specialists in most areas of law. However, this is applied with commerciality and pragmatism and with the client’s aims and goals at heart. I can think of no other East Anglian practices that can provide all of that.

Stuart Raven is an excellent real estate partner, responsive, approachable, hands on, and highly knowledgeable. Despite giving him a substantial workload, he remains fully focused and on top of all matters.

Birketts has dealt with my property legals for a number of years and is unfailingly dependable. They ensure deadlines are hit and sound pragmatic advice is given.

Senior associate Mark Elgar has been fantastic for us. His approach is efficient, pragmatic and is a pleasure to work with. He is always willing to pick up the phone at anytime and is a great soundboard for us as a business.

Since its appointment by Medigold Health in the midst of a business critical property dispute, Birketts LLP has proven to be responsive, commercially aware and dependable within sometimes fraught circumstances.

Senior associate Amanda Timcke in particular has been tenacious in driving negotiations towards a satisfactory conclusion and has demonstrated a proactive desire to protect our interests.

In commercial property, the firm has a unified and cohesive team. They work together to provide a really clear, professional and streamlined legal service. They are contactable and readily available, ensuring matters continue to be dealt with efficiently and on time, consistently providing a smooth transition to completion even when unexpected interruptions arise.

Amanda Timcke, senior associate, is commercially aware, highly knowledgeable and extremely personable. Proactive and supportive, Amanda always takes the time to understand every aspect to ensure it is the best arrangement for a business with a complex structure. Amanda is friendly, competent and committed. A pleasure to work with, would not hesitate to recommend.

They have an excellent, detailed knowledge and understanding of our business which means that they interpret our instructions and procedures very well. This is very beneficial for both existing and new projects.

We have worked with several of the team for many years on a variety of transactions and therefore there is a strong level of background knowledge on all of our sites which means we never feel like we are having to start afresh.

As well as their intelligence and legal acumen, the Birketts team generally tends to be staffed by intelligent, self-motivated and efficient individuals who all strive to establish and maintain high standards. Not all law firms offer the same level of service on a consistent basis.

Chris Schwer is ultimately responsible for our account and is our “go to” point of contact for all legal matters.

Key clients

IWG Group Services (UK) Limited

The Electricity Network Company Limited

GTC Pipelines Limited

Open Fibre Networks Limited

Independent Water Networks Limited

Independent Pipelines Limited

Independent Power Networks Limited

Independent Heating Networks Limited

M7 Real Estate Ltd

Hopkins Homes Ltd

The Churchmanor Estates Company Plc

Dencora Group

Commercial property: Norwich Tier 1

'The team has a friendly, approachable manner', remarks a client of Birketts LLP, noting that 'it has the feel of a boutique firm but offers the depth and experience of a larger practice'. Handling high-value transactions across the region and nationwide, the firm has specialists in development, strategic land, property investment and portfolio management, acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, and real estate finance. The 'exceptional' Melissa Loucas is the lead partner in Norwich and with Bhargav Trivedi she advises landowners and developers on strategic land issues. Clients also praise up-and-coming partner Cameron Barlow and senior associate Andrew Ridout.

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Melissa Loucas and her team have completed a number of lease transactions for our company, in the UK and throughout Europe. Melissa is well respected within our company and has gained the trust of our in-house legal team. Melissa provides timely and thorough updates and is always available if needed.

It provides a welcoming environment and is easy to communicate with. There seems to be a wide range of knowledge and specialties, so I can be passed on to someone with expertise in that field if I have a specific query.

The team has a friendly, approachable manner. It seems to take a genuine interest in my organisation and how we work in order to help us in the best way.

It has the feel of a boutique firm but offers the depth and experience of a larger practice.

My main contact is Kristian Nelson, who is an associate. I was impressed with his timely response at key, pivotal points of the negotiations of the transaction. I liked the agility of addressing legal issues, and ability and familiarity with how investment funds worked. Being an overseas client, this was very helpful.

Birketts boasts considerable expertise both within the corporate property team and cross-sectorally with a wealth of experience to call upon within the firm. Its key strengths would be attention to detail and taking a pragmatic approach in being deal savvy.

Melissa Loucas is exceptional. She demonstrates real leadership qualities and absolutely takes complete ownership of any proposition her team takes on. She also follows up to see what can be learnt from each deal and always has her client as her main priority.

Andrew Ridout demonstrates a real knowledge for commercial property and also remains very calm under pressure whilst again acting in the best interests of his client at all times.

Birketts has worked with the College on a range of property transactions. Their delivery against tight deadlines, flexibility and client-handling skills are all exemplary.

Associate Joe Yexley is a standout advisor – his technical skills and support for his client base is genuinely remarkable.

Key clients

Interbay Funding Ltd (part of One Savings Bank plc)

Wallblock Limited

Surplus Property Solutions Limited

Westbrook Partners

M7 Real Estate Ltd

Cambridgeshire County Council

John Innes Centre

Norwich Research Park

Campaign Monitor

Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

National Westminster Bank plc

Lloyds Banking Group

Norwich Airport Limited

Construction Tier 1

'The expertise of the firm is excellent and they are all approachable and friendly', remarks a client of Birketts LLP. The firm has a deep bench of construction specialists who handle development funding, contract documentation, due diligence, and advice to all sectors of the construction industry on disputes including arbitration, court proceedings, adjudication and mediation. Andrew Rush and Ruth Sunaway in Ipswich, along with Stefan Harris-Wright in Cambridge, are the practice heads and leaders in their field. Senior associates Josh Ripman, Oli Worth and Katrina Bretten in the firm's construction and engineering group are also recommended.


Client care and understanding of the client’s brief is very good, as is taking a pragmatic and flexible approach to answering minor queries. Supporting the client in negotiations is also very strong. Value for money is very good. The firm is excellent at responding promptly to queries and matters, and in an understandable way. The expertise of the firm is excellent. In addition, they are all approachable and friendly.

Extremely commercial in their approach. They retain good partner involvement.

Stefan Harris-Wright is excellent, providing concise, commercial advice every time.

Key clients

Acai (7-11 Cavendish) Limited

Burlington Capital 1 Limited

SJK Properties Limited

This Land Limited

Trust for London

Frontier Estates Limited

Big Sky Development Limited

Baylham Care Centre Limited

Mr & Mrs Harding

Kilnbridge Construction Services Limited

Inspired Clapham Limited

Grove Business Park Limited

Future Biogas Systems

McGee Civil Engineering Limited

Balicrest Limited

Wharfside Regeneration (In Administration) Ipswich Limited

Barry M Cosmetics Limited

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

The Norwich office of Birketts LLP is home to a substantial part of the firm's specialist cross-office contentious trusts and probate practice. Bernadette Baker and litigation partner Max Roessler are adept in private wealth disputes, which includes matters concerning trusts, Inheritance Act issues, challenges to the validity of wills, charitable legacy disputes, the rights of adopted and illegitimate children and disputes arising from or relating to powers of attorney and financial abuse of the vulnerable. The firm is also well versed in TOLATA claims. Senior associate Marie McMahon is also recommended.

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a three-partner team in Cambridge that works as part of a cross-office practice across 50 lawyers East Anglia and in Essex. The firm has specialist skills in data protection, public sector procurement, franchising, intellectual property, share options and tax, as well as an extensive roster of corporate and M&A transactions. As well as local and national work, the practice led by James Allen handles an increasing volume of cross-border advisory and transactional matters. Quentin Golder, who focuses on early-stage funding and venture capital matters, M&A partner Adrian Seagers and rising star associate Nick Burt are recommended.

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Birketts really get to know your business and products, rather than just showing a token interest in what you do.

The quality of work and service is exceptional. Birketts are incredibly reliable and always deliver what they commit to. Working with Kitty Rosser has been an absolute pleasure. The project we worked on was very complex and outside of our skillsets and experience, but Kitty made it a breeze!

Key clients

SDI Group plc

PSI International Holdings Ltd

Time GB Group Ltd

Vision Group (Holdings) Limited

The Little Norwich Shoe Company Limited

UltraSoc Technology Limited

NW Brown Group Limited

Professional Music Technology Limited

Chestnut Inns Limited

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a five-partner corporate group in Ipswich that is a key hub for the firm's cross-office corporate finance, transactional and commercial work. Acting for both local and national businesses, the firm handles a growing volume of cross-border matters, alongside major domestic M&A transactions. James Austin, Mark Henry and Mark Gipson are the lead partners for corporate finance, commercial advice and transactional matters. Alexandra Nelson, who has experience in cross-border M&A transactions, and Andrew Tubb are other partners to note. Associate Emma Bysouth is one to watch.


The team looks for practical solutions to complex issues. Its members work well together and coordinate communication with client. The firm provides good value for money and is both creative and hardworking. Available when needed, the team provides diligent and timely work to extremely tight deadlines.

Mark Henry is very business-savvy and solution-oriented. He is also a good lateral thinker.

Emma Bysouth provides excellent attention to detail and follow up.

Birketts offers a wide spectrum of legal expertise, coupled with a depth of industry-specific knowledge that is exceptional to the region.

In addition to first-class technical knowledge, Alexandra Nelson offers superb client support. Alexandra Nelson and Emma Bysouth consistently deliver a high-quality service that exceeds client expectations and delivers solid results that have both enabled and protected the business.

Mark Henry, Alex Nelson and Emma Bysouth work well as a team. They are incredibly committed to getting deals done and always go the extra mile to ensure deals are concluded in a timely and efficient manner.

I recently completed a very complex M&A transaction with the firm. It involved 32 different country jurisdictions with four of them being critical to a successful deal being completed. The team moved seamlessly with local counsel in identifying and negotiating all of the critical issues. They also were able to move from position to position and accommodate deal structure changes without losing the focus or economic benefits for the client as situations evolved and obstacles arose. I do not believe that a Magic Circle firm could have achieved any better result and their costs were a fraction of what would have been expected by such a competing larger firm.

I would definitely recommend them to anyone and use them again for complex, international transactions that required dedication, 24/7 work as needed, diligence, negotiating skill and the flexibility required to close. They also worked very well with City investor groups and addressed local UK issues smoothly and skillfully. Neither the client nor I could have been more impressed. I have worked with global counsel around the world for 30 years in deals covering more than 75 countries, and this team was among the very best.

Mark Henry was the partner on the international M&A matter with whom I worked, and Emma Bysouth the associate. Mark has that extremely rare combination of “down to earth” practical advice and highly sophisticated and complex analysis that is extremely hard to find in outside counsel. He is pragmatic, hard working, detailed, thoughtful, and strategic in everything that he does as well as highly sophisticated in addressing complex international matters. He is solution-driven, a great team leader, and was always available, 24/7 from whatever time zone required to move the deal forward and get it closed. He handled opposing counsel with dignity and grace while aggressively moving his client’s position forward. He never said no but rather “here are alternatives”, which inevitably he or his associate Emma Bysouth had already researched and outlined as positive work-arounds.

Together with his expertise in working [across] many different cultures, country legal systems, and time zones, Mark Henry’s skills in managing the transaction to a successful close were frankly outstanding. Emma Bysouth was no less impressive. She was a constant presence in ensuring that all of the detailed documentation was correctly assembled, analysed and in place. Her dedication to the client was second to none and her insights were outstanding. She worked literally around the clock periodically for many weeks to support and ensure that the deal closed successfully. She was uniformly cheerful, positive and detailed at all times. She is nothing short of extremely impressive as well.

Key clients

Silk Industries Limited

Jas Bowman & Sons Limited

Notcutts Limited

Muntons Plc

Thurlow Nunn Holdings Plc

Nationwide Metal Recycling Limited

Green Label Foods Limited

Autumn Foods Holdings Limited

Morrison Freight Limited

Tex Holdings Plc

Perivan Limited

Marshall Wolfe Limited

Gressingham Foods

Bruni Erben

Host Capital Ltd

Corporate and commercial: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has an outstanding reputation for corporate and transactional work, particularly in the Norwich market, though it also handles national and, increasingly, cross-border matters. The firm has specialists in public company work, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations, restructuring and employee ownership trusts. Adrian Possener, Greg Allan and Ed Savory are the three partners in the practice. Possener is known for public company work, IPOs and bond issues; Allan handles complex reorganisations and M&A; and Savory frequently acts for SMEs in East Anglia and further afield. 'The team at Birketts is responsive, commercial and knowledgeable,' remarks one client.


The team at Birketts is responsive, commercial and knowledgeable.

Ed Savory provides sound and commercial advice in a clear and concise manner. He is practical, proactive and approachable.

The firm provides excellent customer service, efficient and proactive communications and availability outside normal business hours. It challenges clients’ thinking. Working with the firm is an excellent experience.

For a regional firm there is a lot of City-trained talent within its ranks providing very good service all round.

Adrian Seagers as head of corporate will try and accommodate all your requests and he is approachable. Alexandra Nelson is pragmatic, energetic and a brilliant addition to the Birketts team.

Birketts is very responsive and flexible, does work quickly and understands our requirements very well. They are always keen to understand how we see things to ensure we get the outcome we need.

Adrian Possener is a very experienced partner, has a great legal mind, and is really easy to work with. He was one of the main reasons we started to work with Birketts.

Paul Palik is a very capable senior associate, who absorbs contract document details like few other lawyers I have worked with.

Key clients

Black Swan International Limited


MayDay Integrated Office Supplies and Equipment Limited


Corporate tax Tier 1

Birketts LLP advises individuals and companies when acquiring or selling companies, in particular family and owner-managed businesses. It also assists with the tax-efficient structuring of land development schemes for charities and agricultural businesses, and advises companies on their eligibility for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and the Enterprise Investment Scheme. Partner Karl Pocock and senior associate John Kahn in Norwich lead on corporate tax matters. Legal director Lisa Hayward in Ipswich handles employee incentives. 'The in-depth knowledge of the team is exceptional,' remarks one client.

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The in-depth knowledge of the team is exceptional and their accessibility and willingness to meet client demands always goes above and beyond.

John Kahn understands the commercial risks we face and advises in an expedient, yet comprehensive manner so that we make the most informed decision we can.

Key clients

Shareholders of Motocaddy Holdings Limited

BUUK Infrastructure Limited

Peter Cooper, Founder of Seetec Business and Technology Centre Limited

Cambridgeshire County Council

Shareholders of Telegenic Holdings Limited

Breheny Group Limited

N W Brown

Hydro International

PSI International

Shareholders of Commcise Software Limited

Crime: fraud Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a ten-lawyer group handling private crime work, investigations of financial crime, Bribery Act matters and dawn raids. It advises on serious crime including high-value fraud for both corporate entities and private individuals. Laura Thomas left Birketts LLP to take up a non-legal role so barrister Matthew Gowen in Ipswich now leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice. Senior associates Philippa Dyer and, in Norwich, Julie Gowland also stand out. 'I appreciated their honest appraisal of the situation,' remarks one client.

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The firm is experienced in health and safety law. The team acted precisely on their instructions in a positive manner.

From the legal assistant to the lawyers, I found them courteous and understanding but, above all, I appreciated their honest appraisal of the situation I was presenting.

Crime: general Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a barrister-led practice, giving it unique advocacy expertise in serious criminal matters. It excels in areas such as financial crime investigations and frequently acts for companies and individuals prosecuted nationwide by CPS, HSE, local authorities, RSPCA, DVSA, the FSA and Environment Agency. Barrister Matthew Gowen leads the practice from Ipswich. Senior associates Philippa Dyer in Ipswich and Julie Gowland in Norwich also handle criminal and regulatory matters. Former partner Laura Thomas left for a non-legal role but the firm hired senior associate and barrister Daniel Irving from Blackfriars Chambers to work in the Ipswich office.

Debt recovery Tier 1

Birketts LLP has an experienced and dedicated debt recovery practice based in Ipswich. 'They are proactive, responsive and provide a high quality of service and client care,' says a client of practice head Robert Howard, head of commercial litigation Matthew Atkins and talented associate Emma Albins. Among their clients are local and national private companies, professional partnerships and major plcs. They also work on specialist matters with the firm's shipping and construction practices.

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We have a long working relationship with Birketts and [they] are our natural landing place for advice. They are proactive, responsive and provide a high quality of service and client care.

Robert Howard deserves special mention for being proactive, knowledgeable and client-focused.

The team is always on hand to offer advice and guidance through complex issues. Where our initial contacts are unavailable, we always receive support from another member of the team. They respond quickly to queries and always provide thorough and informative responses. They never put us under pressure to make decisions and are mindful and receptive to our business needs.

Robert Howard and Emma Albins offer advice that is both thorough and timely. They both understand the needs, requirements and values of our business and their advice reflects this. They are able to provide a number of courses of action and guide us through the pros and cons of each of these.

Key clients

Greene King Plc

Archant Community Media Limited

Ford & Slater Leyland DAF

Employment Tier 1

'It gets deals done by having a sensible balanced approach to issues and proactive solutions,' says a client of Birketts LLP, which has a single, integrated employment practice across its four offices. The firm handles all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law and has niche expertise in sectors including healthcare and digital technology. Practice head Jeanette Wheeler and 'gifted communicator' Matthew Newnham in Norwich, the 'knowledgable, efficient' Catherine Johnson in Ipswich and Abigail Trencher in Cambridge are all highly recommended partners who provide 'pragmatic and swift advice'. Trencher and legal director Tom Sharpe have a significant track record in High Court post-restrictive injunction work. Legal director Lorna Townsend leads the firm's HR investigations service.

Practice head(s):


Catherine Johnson has helped me on numerous occasions with a whole host of different HR issues. Catherine is knowledgable, efficient and I trust her advice and judgement implicitly. Catherine will always take the time to talk through her advice in a clear and concise way, and in doing so has enabled me to grow my own knowledge.

Catherine Johnson is the ultimate professional and will always make time to answer my queries and help where she can.

Catherine Johnson was recommended to me by a colleague whose judgement I trust. I was not disappointed.

The team is friendly and approachable and never makes me feel like I’m asking a silly question. If one of the team does not know the answer they will pass my query over to someone who does to ensure the correct answer is given. The HR update meetings that Birketts run, both the Early Breakfast meetings as well as the annual HR update, are second to none and always informative and relevant.

The firm is very proactive, covering all bases using other experts in the business to provide advice where needed. It gets deals done by having a sensible balanced approach to issues and proactive solutions.

The firm is able to turn around queries with pragmatic and swift advice.

Matt Newman is a gifted communicator and Jeanette Wheeler is outstanding at client relations and stakeholder engagement.

Key clients

Procam CP Limited

Flagship Housing Limited

Sapientia Education Trust

Kettle Foods Limited

Trinity Hall (University of Cambridge)

Just Eat plc

Servest Group

Bernard Matthews Limited (now part of 2 Sisters Group)

CITB (Construction Industry Training Board)

The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundations

Petrogas Group UK Limited

East Anglian Air Ambulance

The Restaurant Group Plc


Family Tier 1

Birketts LLP has 'a high level of expertise in this field and is committed to supporting its clients in a holistic way'. Practice head Oliver Gravell , who chairs the local branch of Resolution, and key partner Katie Beaven are the primary practitioners in Ipswich. 'Practical, diligent and intelligent,' senior associate Deborah Lloyd and highly regarded associate Lisa Cornish, both in Norwich, are rising stars. The firm also hired senior associate Sarah Overy from Gepp Solicitors LLP to work in the Cambridge office. It provides mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and litigation services to high-net-worth clients in East Anglia and beyond.

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A high level of expertise in this field and is committed to supporting its clients in a holistic way.

Debbie Lloyd is practical, diligent and intelligent.

They were professional, very efficient, always kind and pleasant to deal with. The advice given was solid and true to the outcome. They are good listeners, good communicators and efficient in responding. They recommended and secured me an excellent barrister who also did a good job for me.

I dealt specifically with Lisa Cornish and Samantha Yeomans. Samantha is incredibly efficient and helpful, always on tap and always responded quickly. Lisa gave excellent advice, and was thoroughly supportive throughout the long arduous process of divorce.

What makes this firm unique to me is I was never made to feel like just another client, more like the only client, by a friendly, polite, very committed  and professional team. Although I never met some of the team in person, as all communications were via email or over the phone with me either emotionally stressed and sometimes angry. They managed to be sensitive and sympathetic offering me support and calming me down which always gave me strength and left me feeling positive. They even added a sense of humour and made me laugh on occasions when all I wanted was to cry.

I would have to say for me the key capabilities of the team would be exceeding my expectations throughout the whole process. From the efficiency of prompt replies, always keeping me informed, respectfulness at my lack of legal jargon, to adding that something extra at difficult and stressful times.

I found myself lost, confused, not knowing which way to turn or even who I was after 22 years of marriage and jointly running a very successful business for over 18 years. Deborah Lloyd was recommended to me and at my first meeting with Debbie she listened to my issues, through tears, anxiety and rage. I can honestly say how at ease she made me feel with her cheerful smile and calming non-pretentious attitude.

Deborah Lloyd was an absolute gem with her vast knowledge of family law acquired over many years of experience. She reassured me and helped me feel positive with her gentle professionalism laying out my options offering a full range of appropriate outcomes. She handled some difficult conversations with sympathy and common sense.

My divorce was challenging, tough and complex and expanded over two years. It was not only the personal assets but also three businesses involved as they came with their own complex financial complications. Deborah Lloyd stayed with me every step of the way throughout the long journey keeping me positive and forward thinking and installed confidence back into me with her extremely knowledgeable approach in all matters.

It was the toughest couple of years I have ever been through but Deborah Lloyd and her fabulous team never made feel like just another client. They treated my case with sensitivity and understanding and saw me through the emotional roller-coaster of a journey. I can honestly say it was worth every penny and money well spent as all the bills were broken down thoroughly and there was never a moment where I had to take a second look or consider any of the charges. Thank you and full application to a great firm.

Health and safety Tier 1

'Whenever we call they respond quickly and appropriately,' says a client of the regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP, which handles health and safety matters. The firm has extensive cross-industry experience in serious health and safety, defence including disasters and multiple fatalities. Barrister Matthew Gowen in Ipswich leads the practice, following the departure of Laura Thomas to take up a non-legal role. The team contains solicitors, barristers, and health and safety consultants, among whom are former HSE Inspectors. Senior associates Philippa Dyer and, in Norwich, Julie Gowland play key roles in the practice.

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The Birketts regulatory and corporate defence team is always there for us. Whenever we call they respond quickly and appropriately. We consider them an extension of our business and a key part of our team. They offer excellent legal counsel, are consistently professional and we rely on their broad knowledge base to guide us in a compliant way.

Matthew Gowen and Philippa Dyer are independently professional and very competent. When fused as a team they form a winning group. Nothing is too much trouble and they strive to provide the absolute best advice and guidance.

Key clients

Petrogas Group UK Ltd

KLM UK Engineering Ltd

Immigration Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a four-lawyer, cross-office practice that handles the full range of business immigration matters at all Tiers, from entrepreneurs to students and temporary workers. It also deals with visas for family members and EEA nationals, indefinite leave to remain matters, sponsor licensing,  settled and pre-settled status issues and more. Practice head Clare Hedges , who is based in Cambridge but works across all four of the firm's offices, is 'easy to work with and very personable'. Legal executive Dasha Ball in Norwich deals with numerous applications for settled status and spouse visas.

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We are a small family-run college and don’t always work in an orthodox manner. Birketts has been able to offer a tailor-made service to suit our particular needs. Our first year has been a work in progress and Birketts has managed to adapt and run unfalteringly with the brief.

I have worked with senior associate Clare Hedges on a day-to-day basis for visa applications. Clare is easy to work with and very personable and feels like part of our own team. She responds swiftly to correspondence, often well after normal working hours. When dealing with our international families she is a consummate professional. This is not always straightforward due to language and cultural barriers but she does so effortlessly.

I have no hesitation in recommending their services. They can handle all areas with expertise.

Dasha Ball is very approachable and Clare Hedges is very knowledgeable.

Birketts are my “go-to” experts for employment immigration advice. Their immigration team are experts in their field, they are responsive, understanding, empathetic to employers’ needs but always professional.

I work mostly with Clare Hedges, head of the immigration team at Birketts. Over the last 12 months, I have been particularly impressed with Clare’s proactive approach to keeping her clients updated with the various Brexit scenarios and negotiations and what that might mean for employment immigration. Clare’s communications are always perfectly pitched, simple to understand but engaging and sometimes with a little humour too!

I do know other immigration experts, but Clare Hedges’ passion for her industry and her drive to make a difference to her clients puts her head and shoulders above the rest.

The immigration team, including Janice Leggett, Clare Hedges and Dasha Ball, combine an essential professionalism and caring demeanour to effectively elicit confidence within the minds of their clientele. My case in particular was emotionally charged and anxiety producing as the potential outcome could have resulted in the separation of my family. The team was there not only to collect necessary paperwork so as to build the most compelling arguments possible, but also to answer any questions that we had, and thus to assuage any fears or doubts that we might have had.

Clare Hedges has been our family’s solicitor since we first decided to come to the UK in 2013 and I firmly believe that without her assistance I would not have been able to achieve my lifetime goal of obtaining a doctorate and a better life for myself and my daughters.

Both Dasha Ball and Clare Hedges were not only professional in the building of our case, but also committed to supporting me and my family. They gathered data, explained why items were needed and went above and beyond to be with us on the day of our immigration hearing.’

Birketts provides a friendly multi-speciality provision. They understand the pressures small businesses work under in any given market. Their team members’ accessibility is key to our small business being able to address any number of legal issues. Timely communications are the basic and helping you to consider the potential wider ramifications of an issue are most definitely Birketts LLP’s strength.

Our Birketts contacts are helpful, grasp our needs very quickly, and advise on the best way to approach tasks in the most cost-effective way. That is so important for a small business with limited resources. Perhaps more importantly, they are non-judgemental when you may have messed up or are asking for further explanations when you didn’t quite grasp the full picture the first time.

The team has been extremely welcoming and very capable. When I called Birketts for the first time, I knew instantly that I wanted to work with them as they quickly understood what I needed, were keen to explain the process, and took the time to answer any question I had. This, for me, set them apart from other companies I had previously contacted, where I did not feel as valued as a client during the initial call.

Every member of Birketts I had the chance to talk to has been very helpful in advising me or putting me in contact with the relevant team members when necessary. To me, it seemed like a team that works well together and communicates very effectively.

I had the pleasure to work directly with Dasha Ball at Birketts, who was extremely helpful and efficient from the very start. She was very responsive, thorough, and approachable. I was very confident in asking her about the process and jargon that I was not familiar with, as she never made me feel like my questions were not valid. This was a quality I highly appreciated.

Compared to other individuals I spoke with at other companies, Dasha Ball absolutely stood out in the way she communicated with me, and in her dedication to ensuring that I thoroughly understood the decisions made at every step of the way.

I cannot recommend Dasha Ball enough for her work and professionalism.

The senior associate we work with is proactive, focused, technically knowledgeable and expedited the delivery of projects.

I found Birketts through their listing in the Legal 500, so it’s only fitting that I should contribute for them now. Whilst I was trying to settle on a law firm, I engaged with a number of them and found Birketts to be straightforward, direct and clear on the path forward and what I could expect from the engagement.

The team was responsive, clear in the its requirements for us and transparent. They worked hard to overcome a number of snags in the process, which were largely due to some documentation issues that we had experienced. Whilst the process was stressful for us, the team at Birketts did a great job of suggesting alternative paths to ensure we would be successful in our application.

I would say the team were focused, well organised and very capable in thinking on their feet resulting in changing strategy.

We primarily worked with Dasha Ball and Claire Hedges. Dasha was our main point of contact and did a great job of walking us through the process, being clear and concise and often working at speed to have drafts ready for us to review. This was surprising as some of the law firms I contacted gave convoluted answers, were slow to respond and generally did not inspire confidence.

From the get go, Dasha Ball was on the ball and ready to make things happen. If anything, it felt like Dasha was driving us to an outcome rather than the other way around. I don’t have much experience with law firms and had expected that they would drag everything out to increase their fees. It never felt like this with Birketts or Dasha, who were very efficient and quick to turn things around for us.

They were very knowledgeable of our issue and needs and were incredibly attentive.

Dasha Ball constantly checked in with us, keeping us up to date on next steps. She also made us feel like we weren’t just another immigration case. I would highly recommend working with Birketts based on our interactions with her.

Birketts LLP has provided service tailored to my needs and was also quick to respond to any queries that I had.

Clare Hedges, who handled my case, paid close attention to every detail about the case. She was also very thorough when exploring what the options are with regards to my case. Moreover, she worked tirelessly and was quick to respond to any queries I had.

Birketts has always provided our organisation with very high-quality advice on a number of issues surrounding immigration. They are incredibly knowledgeable and always provide accurate, pragmatic advice appropriate to our size and type of business.

Clare Hedges from Birketts is very well respected locally as an expert on immigration, and provided a number of incredibly helpful briefings on the immigration side to Brexit over the past few years. She is calm, very knowledgeable, and incredibly pragmatic. Her advice is always helpful and she has helped us avoid several challenging situations in the past. We cannot recommend her or the team more generally highly enough.

I usually only deal with one point of contact at Birketts but whenever I have dealt with anyone else they have always been extremely professional and helpful. They definitely provide succinct and accurate advice in an extremely timely manner, which I have not always found with other firms.

My main contact is Clare Hedges for our immigration advice and she is always extremely helpful and clear in her advice. She always ensures she has all of the background before giving a final recommendation. Clare always responds in a timely manner.

We receive wonderful professional advice from Clare Hedges on immigration legislation. She is the best immigration lawyer in Cambridge!

Key clients

Zoopla Limited

Hometrack Data Systems Limited

Frontier Developments plc

Bespak Europe Limited

St Andrew’s Tutorial Services Limited

Eventsforce Solutions Limited

Fluidic Analytics Limited

Quantexa Limited

Raspberry Pi Foundation

Owlstone Medical Limited

McCormick (UK) Limited

Cobb Europe Limited

SPT Labtech Limited


Church of England Central Services

Oxford Diocesan Fund

Peterhouse College, Cambridge

London Diocesan Fund

Derivco Ipswich Limited

Mediterranean Shipping Company (UK) Limited

Hireserve Limited


The Bishop of Lincoln

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of All Souls, Langham Place, London

Undo Limited

uSwitch Limited

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

'The team always gives a quick, reliable and professional service, putting themselves out to go the extra mile to help,' says a client of Birketts LLP. Working with some of the biggest Insolvency Practitioners regionally and nationally, the firm handles the full range of work including litigation to recover the value of insolvent estates. Practice head Laurence Weeks in Cambridge is a specialist insolvency partner who has the support of Norwich-based corporate partner Greg Allan in non-contentious matters. Legal directors Maria Peyman in Cambridge and Charlotte Wormstone in Ipswich are also highly regarded for litigation and property-led insolvency matters respectively.

Practice head(s):


The team at Birketts always gives a quick, reliable and professional service, putting themselves out to go the extra mile to help, particularly in time-pressured situations.

They have an additional curiosity with each matter they deal with where they genuinely look further to fully explore all possible options. Even when there’s an issue that crops up and which does not require a resolution, they will take it upon themselves to research it and feedback the findings. Other firms don’t do that. Their fees are always fair and reasonable and they are happy to adapt their billing in both amount and timing depending on the situation.

Greg Allan did a fantastic job for us with a difficult administration preparing the sale, liaising with the bank, and assisting with the investigation.

Key clients

Price Bailey as liquidators of Colonial Capital (in liquidation)

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

McTear Williams & Wood

Privilege Finance

Ensors LLP


FRP Advisory LLP

Bulley Davey

Peters Elworthy & Moore

Chantrey Vallacott

Licensing Tier 1

'The team was exceptional - very friendly and approachable, giving their answers and advice in plain English,' says a client of Birketts LLP. The firm handles applications for new premises licences, variations and transfers, as well as assisting clients in the leisure industry with contested applications, Temporary Event Notices and personal licence applications. Julie Gowland in Norwich leads the practice, which 'offers excellent guidance and is always at the end of the phone'.

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Our group is new to operating public houses and restaurants, and the team at Birketts was very helpful in identifying the key issues we needed to be aware of. Julie Gowland was very prompt in dealing with any licensing matters which arose.

The team was exceptional – very friendly and approachable, giving their answers and advice in plain English. They were easy to contact, and if they were going to take a while to get back to me would let me know at every stage or provide a different point of contact. All ways round, the team was exemplary.

Julie Gowland was fantastic. She offered excellent guidance and was always at the end of the phone or email when the need arose. Competitors are not always as easy to get hold of and do not communicate quite as well. She let me know everything that was going on at each stage and what she was doing. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her or her team to anyone who needed help and assistance with their licence.

Key clients

Toadrage Leisure

Notcutts Limited

The Chapter of Norwich Cathedral

The Royal Norwich Golf Club

Deben Inns Limited

The Hotel Folk

Gastro Pubs Limited trading as Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge Tier 1

Birketts LLP supports individuals, landowners, businesspeople, trustees and beneficiaries in the full range of private client matters, from estate administration to lifetime tax planning. The practice works closely with its family, agriculture and corporate teams to advise rural businesses and farming families. Tim Galloway leads the firm-wide wills and advisory practice from Chelmsford but key partner Caroline Stenner is a leading light in the Cambridge market. Senior associates Rachel Winter and Kimberly Sayward are also recommended. The firm also has a dedicated trust, tax and accountancy manager in Cambridge.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is a central hub for the firm's cross-office private client practice, which is 'knowledgeable, professional and client-focused'. Handling the full range of work for high-net-worth individuals, small and family-owned business owners and large estates, the firm has recruited experts to boost its flow of cross-border private client work. Partner Louise Long leads the practice. Senior associates Katie Hawksley, who joined from London firm Boodle Hatfield LLP, and Richard Guy (who is 'on top of his game and deals with clients in their own language') are recommended.

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The team at Birketts is knowledgeable, professional and client-focused. They have everything I need as an introducer, for my clients.

Richard Guy is my main contact. He is on top of his game in terms of knowledge and deals with clients in their own language. I have referred many clients for different estate planning areas and the feedback has been universally positive from them.

The team is technically very capable, approachable and helpful.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP acts for many of the largest farming families, landed estates, businesses and entrepreneurs in East Anglia, as well as many clients from further afield. From business succession planning to wills and probate, from trusts administration to tax structuring, the firm provides a comprehensive range of private client services. Lorna Spear is the key contact. The firm hired legal director Helen Cordingley and senior associate Hayley Pettitt from Hansells, where they were head and deputy head of the private client department.

Planning and environment Tier 1

Birketts LLP undertakes large-scale projects throughout East Anglia and Thames Gateway for both private and public sector clients. It acts for minerals and waste companies, local authorities and parish councils, strategic developers and a host of regional and national housebuilders. Its work covers advice on planning applications and disputes, appeals, enforcement, heritage matters and the full scope of environmental law. Tom Newcombe in Cambridge and, in Ipswich Deborah Sharples and Richard Eaton are the key contacts. Sharples joined from HCR Hewitsons, where she was head of property and planning, and has practised environmental law for almost 30 years. Nicola Doole and Chloe Glason are among the firm's many strong associates.

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A particular area of strength within the team is its deep knowledge of where environmental law and agriculture meet. The team deals effectively and knowledgeably with complex and specialist matters across the environmental and planning field.

Deborah Sharples has excellent in-depth knowledge in terms of environmental, planning and rural affairs. She often deals with technically complex matters both in terms of planning decisions and legal challenges. Deborah is always on top of a case and always adds a valuable perspective on solutions and strategy.

The firm has in-depth knowledge and experience of the agriculture and waste sectors.

My experience is from working with Deborah Sharples. She has a very strong and wide-ranging combination of planning and regulatory experience in the agricultural and waste sectors. Deborah is incisive and tenacious in her knowledge and application of the law, and she inspires confidence in experts and clients alike. I do not hesitate to recommend Deborah to our clients.

Key clients

Flogas Britain Limited

Trenport Investments Limited

Broads Authority

Broadland Council

Bernard Matthews Foods Limited

Crest Nicholson Eastern Limited

Countryside Properties UK Limited

Enterprise Property Group

Hill Residential

Generator Group

Hopkins Homes Limited


Babergh District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Breckland Council

Notcutts Limited



Commercial Development Projects Limited

Hollybrook Homes Limited

Churchmanor Estates

Mersea Homes

Stonebond Properties Limited

Marden Homes Limited

Property litigation Tier 1

Birketts LLP is 'as good as anything you will find in London, at country prices'.  One client notes that 'it is one of the leaders in East Anglia and can compete with larger firms for London work'. Among the firm's many areas of expertise are telecoms property litigation, development and strategic land matters, housing management litigation and matters involving rights to light. Richard Eaton and James Robinson in Ipswich, along with Norwich-based John Scannell, are the lead partners. Ipswich also has emerging talents in partner Charlotte Wormstone and senior associates Alice Harris and Laura Tanguay. In Norwich, partner Simon Woodhead is one to watch.


Very professional. James Robinson specialises in telecoms. He is pragmatic and very client-focused. He is exceptional in all areas of his work.

It is as good as anything you will find in London, at country prices.

Simon Woodhead and John Scannell bring to the property team not merely deep-seated expertise, but also a depth of warmth and understanding for their clients which is exceptional.

Deep expertise formulated with targeted commercial advice and execution.

Richard Eaton has an unusually high intellect and deep knowledge applied in constructive and commercial advice and execution. His calm manner and authority is essential in the final and intermediate decision processes.

It has no weaknesses. It works as a team and responds as a team with very good sound advice on what you should do. It is efficient in its organisation of the necessary action to ensure the client gets the best possible service and it is well supported by bailiffs and others who appreciate working for a very good firm. For me, the acid test is what the professional man on the ground thinks of the personnel as they deal with lots of companies. I have never had a bailiff say that they don’t like working for Birketts. Dealing with Birketts is a pleasure and I am very thankful to be one of its clients.

I have worked with Charlotte Wormstone on many disputes. Her advice is practical and takes into consideration the costs for the client. The team she heads are all very good at there jobs and its clear there is a sound and professional management structure. Other companies are too keen to proceed all the way without really believing they can achieve a satisfactory conclusion to the process. It is just another fee to them. That’s not the case with Charlotte. The outcome is a balanced opinion so that you the client can make the decision based on the best available facts as well as being aware of the risks.

Birketts offers real expertise in property litigation. It has some excellent partners leading a team of enthusiastic and sensible solicitors. This makes it one of the leaders in East Anglia and means it can compete with larger firms for London work, particularly from HNW clients, developers and in the telecoms sector. In this respect it is far more than a typical regional firm.

James Robinson – he is the real standout partner. He has superb technical knowledge and great practical knowledge of the property sector, particularly in relation to development rights and telecommunications, which are both areas that few can do really well in my experience. But he really excels in practical nous, and the ability to get things done. Easily the best solicitor I work with. If I had a property litigation problem, I would go to him.

Richard Eaton is really enthusiastic, with an intellectual approach to his cases but still pragmatic. James Humphreys is still quite junior, but he has a really impressive and rigorous approach to his work and real toughness under his slightly green exterior.

Charlotte Wormstone is very good with clients, and a pleasure to work with – great fun.

The team is second to none in terms of technical knowledge, which when allied with an insatiable appetite for client service provides a compelling service.

John Scannell is a very technically accomplished property litigator who goes the extra mile for his clients. He is always totally on top of all the facts of his cases, is tactically astute and provides clear and pragmatic advice for his clients, for whom he really cares.

Simon Woodhead is a natural lawyer. Technically superb, he is robust and a great ally to have on your side.

A very efficient team. Charlotte Wormstone is very knowledgable, approachable and efficient.

Key clients

Norwich Airport Limited

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

Surplus Property Solutions Limited

Bose Limited

Hawkin’s Bazaar Limited

The Churchmanor Estates Company plc

Ian Tucker (Defendant) Mistley Quay Town/Village Green litigation

Stop Stansted Expansion

Social housing Tier 1

Birketts LLP in Norwich handles affordable housing development, planning, housing management, funding, employment, regulatory matters, shared ownership and Right to Buy sales, as well as open market sales, for a stellar list of for many registered providers (RP) of social housing. From grant funding applications to contentious matters, it handles the full range of work. Peter Goddard leads the practice, in which partner John Scannell handles the firm's housing management litigation service. Senior associate Emily Groom and associate Sarah Fish play key roles in finance and development work for housing associations.

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Other key lawyers:


I have been liaising with Ian Rattenbury on a possession case that my organisation have been pursuing. Ian has been informative and amenable throughout. I do not have a legal background and Ian communicates and explains in a way that helps me to understand the process and details of our case. He is always prompt with answering any queries and has been really supportive of the witnesses involved in the case.

Key clients

Orbit Group

Flagship Housing Group Limited (Victory Housing Trust)

Broadland Housing Group Limited

CHP (Chelmer Housing Partnership Limited)

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Swan Housing Association Limited

Cambridge Housing Society Limited

Axiom Housing Association Limited

Havebury Housing Partnership

Iceni Homes Limited

Greenfields Community Housing Limited

B3 Living Limited

Suffolk Housing Society

Transport and shipping Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a widely respected transport and international trade practice that works with the firm's regulatory and corporate defence team and other specialist to provide a full service to logistics clients. The practice is particularly well known for wet and dry shipping work, trade disputes and road transport regulation. The majority of its clients are based overseas or in London. Shipping specialist and accredited mediator Nicholas Woo and head of litigation Matthew Gowen lead the practice from Ipswich, where Alex Davey and Henry Adams are key partners in the shipping practice. Senior associate Sarah Holsgrove is recommended for contentious matters, particularly charterparty disputes.

Practice head(s):


Birketts LLP is able to provide a value-added service. To be honest the fee rate is relatively lower than big law firms in London. They can also do capped fees but the service they provide is worth much more than the money. They have a more flexible facility to liaise with clients and handle cases, which makes the total charge better.

Lawyers of Birketts LLP do the same good job as those of Ince or Holman – maybe better. Some of them have specific professional [expertise] in respect of areas we are quite familiar with in the shipping industry, such as underperformance and over-consumption claims, off-hire and low-sulphur bunkers matters.

Nicholas Woo is able to speak [fluently] in both English and Mandarin. He is also quite capable of locating the key issue out of a complicated situation with his legal and commercial sense. This gives us a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages to help us make our decision how to proceed.

Key clients

West of England

Tradhol Internacional

Allianz Global & Specialty France

AXA Corporate Solutions Assurances (France)

Filhet-Allard Maritime

SIACI Saint Honoré

Commercial litigation: Norwich Tier 2

Birketts LLP has a respected litigation practice that acts for large companies in East Anglia and further afield. Practice head Max Roessler and veteran commercial litigator Paul Matthews, who is now a consultant, are both highly regarded. They both have a strong track record in traditional Chancery work, including breach of trust and administration of estates, as well as general corporate and commercial disputes. Legal director Robert Tiffen has niche expertise in franchising disputes. Associate Adam Blenkinsop joined from Hatch Brenner LLP.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Norwich Airport Ltd

Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd

Intellectual property Tier 2

Legal directors Nellie Jackson in Ipswich and litigator Maria Peyman in Cambridge are the lead practitioners at Birketts LLP. They, along with Ipswich-based trade mark attorney Annie Blake, 'provide a clear and comprehensive service with efficient and valued liaison within other jurisdictions'. Cambridge-based commercial and technology partner Quentin Golder is also heavily involved in the practice. The firm handles trade mark and brand portfolio management, as well as litigation, and it is steadily increasing its flow of international work.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Nellie Jackson and Annie Blake provide a clear and comprehensive service with efficient and valued liaison within other jurisdictions.

I am not sure if this is unique but Birketts provide a support service to help us with IP applications and protection covering trade mark, domain and company names on an international basis. They work with individual “watch providers”, as well as trade mark lawyers and agencies in many companies. Birketts maintains a comprehensive database as a control over applications and renewals generating required documentation to meet requirements.

Our company has years of experience working with Birketts which I’d dedicate to their knowledge, expertise and helpfulness. They went out of their way to help with any question or query I personally had.

The firm provides fast responses from a dedicated team.

Responsive, commercial and excellent value for money. Nellie Jackson is extremely helpful.’

Great attention to detail and a wide range of interesting cases.

Maria Peyman has run a range of cases extremely well during the last year, including a patent entitlement dispute, an EU trade mark infringement case and a copyright and database right infringement case. Her approach has been consistent and she has drawn in expertise from colleagues where necessary.

Key clients

Greene King Plc

UKTV Media Ltd

Caterham Cars Ltd

Orchard Toys Ltd

CPL Aromas Ltd

Inspectorate International Ltd

Muntons Plc

Tobar Group Trading Limited

Ipswich School

Escape Hunt IP Limited

Doidge Limited

Hayman Group Ltd

UltraSoc Technologies Ltd

Skalene Ltd

Andrew Zacharias

Clayton Horsnell

Havens Hospices

Dangler Limited

Off Road Kids Limited

Stage Event Security Limited

Rocket Foods Limited

IT and telecoms Tier 2

Birketts LLP has an IT practice that acts for clients ranging in size from small owner-managed businesses to large listed companies, both in East Anglia and nationally. Quentin Golder in Cambridge leads the technology group, with partner Mark Gipson in Ipswich and senior associate Paul Palik in Norwich also playing key roles. The group has particular experience in financial services, social media, security software and aerospace industries, though its work encompasses a diverse range of industry sectors. Senior associate Kitty Rosser in Norwich leads the firm's busy data protection team.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

BullGuard Ltd

Ista Energy Ltd

Infopoint Ltd


My Job Matcher Ltd

Farthest Gate Ltd

Community Sparx Ltd

Kalibrate Technology Group Plc

PSI International Holdings Ltd

Pathfindr Ltd

Professional negligence Tier 2

Birketts LLP mainly handles claims against a variety of professionals such as solicitors and accountants, though it also has experience on the defence side. It has niche expertise in cases involving negligent probate advice. Max Roessler in Norwich leads a six-partner group across the firm's four offices. In Norwich, Bernadette Baker handles negligence claims concerning wills, estates and trusts, and associate Adam Blenkinsop, who joined from Hatch Brenner LLP, handles a broad range of claimant matters. Laurence Weeks in Cambridge is a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers’ Association.

Public sector Tier 2

Birketts LLP is a prominent player in both the education and health sectors, providing a comprehensive range of services in the areas of regulation, litigation, employment, property, corporate transactions and commercial law. In Cambridge, Abigail Trencher leads the HE and FE practice, and senior associate Sara Sayer handles litigation including judicial reviews and state aid matters in the education sector. In Ipswich, legal director Sonya O’Reilly focuses on independent schools and senior associate Liz Brownsell in Ipswich leads the firm's academies and academy conversion group. Employment partner Matthew Newnham in Norwich also works extensively for public sector clients.

Practice head(s):


I have worked with Sara Sayer and Justin Moore. They work very efficiently together as a team. Sara in particular goes the extra mile for clients and is always available. Her broad public law practice gives her a very good perspective and facilitates practical problem solving.

Birketts is a full-service practice able to assist with the wider legal issues which impact upon my organisation. My key relationship is via the employment team and despite the fact that different services take place from different offices, the signposting works well and the different teams are very responsive.

My main contacts are Sonya O’Reilly and Catherine Johnson. Apart from the quality of the advice provided, which is excellent, I find that they go the extra mile to respond to the needs of my organisation and that is valued.

They are very quick to respond and they have strong experience of schools and employment.

Schools advice from Sara Sayer is always spot on. Her availability, her wealth of experience and her careful cross-referencing with other colleagues’ expertise makes her hugely trustworthy.

I have found when using Birketts that they have been efficient. Any communication, by email or by phone call, is answered very quickly. They are great at answering questions by explaining the process in a way I and my team – people that are not solicitors – can understand. They set up a group communication online so it is easy to find information.

I have found Liz Brownsell to be fantastic to work with on the conversions of schools to academies. She is thorough, quick to respond, extremely helpful and very organised.

They have good subject matter knowledge and a professional approach but they add the personal touch.

They have a flexible approach and the ability to explain the legal issue in order to develop a solution.

The Birketts team understands the College and our circumstances. Their advice is far from off the shelf: they provide a bespoke service. The range of coverage they have is astonishing and their client handling is superlative.

Key clients

Diamond Learning Trust

Anglia Ruskin University

Ipswich School

Royal Hospital School

The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundation

College of West Anglia

Sapientia Education Trust

Hartpury College

Kelvedon Academy Trust

Believe Engage Succeed Trust

Apollo Academies Trust

Easton & Otley College

Rightforsuccess Trust

West Suffolk College

Basildon Borough Council

Broxbourne Borough Council

Commercial litigation: Essex Tier 1

The commercial litigation team at Birketts LLP regularly acts for a broad range of clients across industries such as maritime, education and defence, handling both domestic and international matters. The team has a strong record of work on disputes relating to shareholder issues, professional negligence and complex fraud. In addition, it also provides services relating to judicial review (often representing overseas clients in the UK). Defence expert Daden Hunt leads the group and is known for his record of going up against City firms. Rose Willis is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Leonardo MW Ltd

Checkit Plc (formerly Elektron Technology Plc)

Atalian Servest Limited

Commercial property: Essex Tier 1

Strategic land expertise is one of the defining features of the commercial property team at Birketts LLP. Specifically, this covers promotion, option agreements and contracts conditional on planning consent. In addition, the firm's work for housebuilders includes everything from acquisition to plot sales (and benefits from its experience in regional development issues). Clients can also source legal assistance for various concerns surrounding both investment and portfolio management. Team lead Grace Kerr, an acquisitions and disposals expert, undertakes mainstream sector work while Steven Kay is widely recognised for his industry credentials. Matthew Grindley is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Birketts have helped us for may years to lease units at our industrial site. When we came to sell it the team were always available to guide and give advice and helped us conclude the deal in a timely manner with the minimum amount of drama‘.

A detailed and comprehensive understanding of all facets of commercial property transactions. The ability to convey advice to a spectrum of client capabilities‘.

All the individuals at Birketts go above and beyond and work together seamlessly as a team. Matthew Grindley is our main contact and is available with advice whenever needed‘.

Key clients

Jordan Inc Limited

Provide Community Interest Company

Broadwall Properties Limited

Bolloré Logistics UK Limited

Folie Restaurant Limited

Westdrive Group

Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd

Corporate and commercial: Essex Tier 1

The corporate and commercial team at Birketts LLP is regarded as a 'go-to' firm for corporate acquisitions, and is particularly known for maintaining a focus on high-value financial services work. International in scope, its often complex undertakings are notable for their reach beyond the traditional parameters of regional law firms. The practice's work spans data protection and public sector procurement to franchising and tax. The team is led by Rafael Ruiz and also includes corporate M&A specialist Adam Jones and regulated business expert Nick Burnett. Heidi Jones and Caroline Nicholls (a recent hire from Thompson Smith and Puxon) are additional names to note.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


We found there was a really good team spirit with everyone we worked with and clear tasks and responsibilities. Everyone was available and willing to help and clarify anything with our team throughout the process. Having several contacts but with defined areas of responsibility seemed to work well and we were able to marry up our own team in a similar way. This was preferable to a single point of contact approach too‘.

Excellent transaction knowledge. Not limited to specific legal issues but also very good understanding of economics/financial aspects of deal transactions.’

Birketts offer a fully comprehensive service and have specialists who cover all types of legal needs. If I needed an answer or advice on a particular subject it’s always just one call and suddenly you are heading in the right direction and can be sure that you are receiving quality advice‘.

Adam Jones and his team were exceptional. Every member I dealt with had the same high standards. Spoke to other firms before appointing them but didn’t have any confidence in the other firms, unlike Birketts‘.

Adam Jones has a real passion for his work. Gave me real confidence that I was in safe hands‘.

Rafael Ruiz – our go to partner for any legal issue, guaranteed a helpful and qualitative response‘.

The work rate and effort in the run up to the signing of the investment agreement was outstanding. The work of Heidi Jones and her team was particularly strong. We really valued the wealth of experience and commercial insight which Nick Burnett was able to bring and share with our management team. This helped our negotiations and decision making enormously throughout the process. He was always available to provide thoughts and insight.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest

Investec Investments (UK) Limited

Investec Bank plc

Excess Baggage Group

Seetec Business Technology Centre

The Reddington Group

Hydro International Limited

Sharksfin Holdings

Airtask Group/Directflight

Merryck & Co

Granarolo SpA & Group


Ventrica Limited

Gates Group Limited

Commodity Centre Group

Employment: Essex Tier 1

The employment team at Birketts LLP, which features a number of City-trained lawyers, is led by Kevin Palmer, a specialist in discrimination litigation. The practice caters for a broad range of industries, including sport, facilities management and leisure, areas where the firm acts for both corporate clients and high-net-worth individuals. In addition, its services are regularly drawn on by the public sector (with particular emphasis on complex TUPE matters). Legal director Clare Barlow has an expanding interest in tech and construction clients and has been working in the practice area for more than 20 years. Abigail Hubert is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


They are people-led and have a strong presence locally as a reputable provider. Offering a London quality in the regions‘.

Since instructing Birketts on employment matters, our legal costs has gone down and the quality of advice has improved. The team is highly recommended if you would like a local adviser outside of London‘.

Birketts has a great pool of talented individuals offering a magic circle service outside of the magic circle‘.

Kevin Palmer is approachable, pragmatic and calm. His guidance and positioning was helpful‘.

Clare Barlow is our go-to person for employment legal advice in our portfolio companies. She is forward thinking, and very commercial reacting quickly to the legal needs of the business‘.

Clare Barlow and Abigail Hubert predominantly advise us from the team. Clare is a formidable lawyer, who is very commercial, pragmatic and direct. Abigail is a fantastic asset to the Birketts employment team. Her knowledge of employment law is exceptional and her advice is always practical, concise and clear. Abigail has the potential to be a future leader in the firm‘.

Key clients

Alstons (Cabinets) Ltd

Anderson Group

Aspire Media Group Limited

Aston Barclay Limited

Autoprotect (MBI) Ltd

Beresford Group Limited

Briddge Legal and Finance

CNH Industrial N.V.

Colchester United Football Club

CoInvestor Limited

Colorminium (London) Ltd

Commodity Centre Limited

Concurrent Technologies Plc

Custom Security

Databricks UK Limited

Deco Glaze Ltd

Elemental Microanalysis Ltd

Essex County Cricket Club

Fisher Michael Chartered Accountants

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Services UK Ltd

Go Homes Limited

Granarolo (UK) Limited

Hanover Investors Management LLP

Hardys Trading Limited

Iveco Retail Limited

J Reddington Limited

Lemon Groundwork Solutions

Milsom Hotels Ltd

Planet 14 Landscapes Limited

Kalibrate Technologies Plc

Kesgrave Hall Ltd

Marr Procurement Limited

Michael Shaw

Readie Construction Ltd

P2P Mailing Ltd

Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd / Kent, Surrey & Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company

Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd

Seetec Ireland

Servowatch Systems Limited

Stefanini UK Limited

Stonebond Properties Limited

Tevva Motors Ltd

Tex Holdings Plc

The Vintage Cosmetic Company Limited

Total Protection (Management Services) Limited

Immigration Tier 1

Birketts LLP advises both businesses and individuals on a full range of immigration matters.  Clare Hedges heads the practice; her recent focus has been on supporting employers who seek to protect the status of EEA nationals working in the UK following Brexit. The 'responsive and flexible' Janice Leggett is worthy of note for her knowledge of the application of  immigration rules to the film production  industry.  The team has longstanding relationships with clients ranging from multinational PLCs through to local SMEs.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Janice Leggett looked after our affairs for five years. She is absolutely excellent and we won’t hesitate to retain her services again in the future if needs be.’

Thoroughly professional, competent, friendly and understanding.’

The personal engagement that I received from Janice far exceeded my expectations.  She and her assistant were knowledgeable and I felt considerable efficiency and timeliness during my work with them.’

Key clients

Flutter Entertainment Group/Paddy Power


Midgard Limited

BBD Perfect Storm

Stink Limited

Sheehan Nagle Hartray Associates


Data Intensity Limited

Somesuch Films Limited

Advertising Producers Association

Radical Media

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex Tier 1

The personal tax, trusts and probate team at Birketts LLP is based in Chelmsford. Led by Tim Galloway (who handles both UK and international matters), it can assist non-resident as well as non-domiciled parties. As such, it is available for multi-jurisdictional estate work, an area where it is known for serving accountancy, banking and finance clients, as well as succession planning for business owners. Senior associates Susan Young and Katie Payne are recommended for deeds of variation and trusts.

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Birketts have great in-depth knowledge surrounding trusts, which are by their very nature complex. The individuals that I have contact with are always polite and punctual with their advice and always accurate. I have no hesitation in recommending them if I am asked who we deal with for advice as professional trustees and often do, confident that they will deliver for any third parties who I pass their way‘.

Expert knowledge and, above all else, dependability. You can always depend them to deliver what you have asked for‘.

I was impressed by the personalised nature with which the initial introduction and was received, assessed, quote agreed and delivery managed by the individual responsible for the body of core advice‘.

I was impressed by the personalised response and ownership taken by Susan Young, once the work had been passed across to her. She was proactive at every turn and most importantly shared her movements (e.g. annual leave in advance) so that information exchanges were proactively managed so as not to undermine delivery efficiencies‘.

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Birketts LLP advises private families, utility companies, government agencies, on matters such as structuring family successions and taxation as well as property and agriculture law regarding sales, purchases and tenancies, and renewable energy matters. Based in Norwich, practice head Jack Royall advises on buying and selling farms and estates. Senior associate Annabelle Rout  and associate Leo McMahon come recommended.

Practice head(s):


They get things done quickly and efficiently. Annabelle Rout gives good advice.’

One of East Anglia’s principal law firms, and a firm of choice for handling estate and farm brokerage. This comes from a long history of capable professionals and the present team is strong.’

I have every confidence in the team here: their collective knowledge enables us to deal with all sorts of obstacles in the conveyancing process. I like the accessibility they give you, their efficiency, and experience. Other firms do not offer such a specialised service, or if they claim to, frankly it’s not a patch on what Birketts do!

Annabelle Rout is my go-to contact: she is available when we need her, and has consistently been one of the finest solicitors in the firm. I have no hesitation in recommending her to other clients looking for excellent, efficient service. Annabelle goes out of her way to help, often updating us without having to – this helps keep everyone involved in a conveyance (rural sales in particular) happy and informed. Birketts have a true asset here!

The agricultural team has great communication and know what they are doing.

Banking and finance Tier 2

Based in Chelmsford, Birketts LLP act for lenders across the South East, including London, and are on the panels for major and challenger banks. The team also advises borrowers on matters including invoice discount financing and acquisition finance. The practice is led by Adam Jones, legal director Duncan Williamson, and senior associate Matthew Grindley. Williamson, a specialist in real estate finance, is 'knowledgeable, practical and assiduous', while Jones is active in all areas of banking and finance law. Legal director Devreaux Gravell joined the team in October 2019 from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Other key lawyers:


‘Great work from the team at Birketts, with Adam Jones leading a very quick process leading to refinancing.’

‘Adam Jones was the partner leading our process. He was quick and very efficient.’

‘Although I have not used the firm widely, they are demonstrably focused on building and maintaining relationships with their clients.’

‘We principally work with Duncan Williamson – he is knowledgeable, practical and assiduous in protecting his clients.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank (UK)


Lloyds Bank

The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc/National Westminster Bank

Alpha Bank London


Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

The team at Birketts LLP works in tandem with the wider firm's private client and litigation practices to provide a rounded service to trust corporates, charities and individuals on matters including cross border issues, serious allegations of fraud, and high-value breach of trust issues. Joint practice leaders Bernadette Baker, Laurence Weeks, and Daden Hunt are key individuals, as is Marie McMahon. Associate Jenny Howe joined the practice in September 2019.


The practice has a team of sufficient size to provide service at different seniority and price levels. Detailed and accurate advice provided with regular updates on progress. Well-supported by efficient back office functions.’

Family: Essex Tier 2

The family team at Birketts LLP is known for its ability to handle the most complex domestic violence and Children Act cases. Led by Oliver Gravell and Emma Brunning, it benefits from a large team of in-house experts (from which it can source cross-disciplinary knowledge). In particular, it has developed a niche specialism in divorces where the interests of company directors and shareholders overlap. As such, key clients are medium to high-net-worth individuals with substantive stakes in pre and post-nuptial agreements. The firm is also adept at arbitration, with Ivana Radovic also providing mediation services.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Birketts in Chelmsford are one of the go-to firms for private client family law in the area. They are well organised and have great admin support‘.

The firm are friendly and professional. During the most stressful times, when I was under intense pressure and more demanding as a client than usual, the staff showed great support and patience. They were all unflappable, incredibly switched on, bright and helpful. Everyone I spoke to in the office relayed messages in a timely manner and acted on critical documents and matters with a calm competent air‘.

The minute I walked into Birketts I felt comfortable and confident . They way I was greeted was friendly and yet professional‘.

Emma Brunning is an absolute superstar. She is clever, hardworking and provides a fantastic service for her clients. She is a pleasure to work with‘.

Emma Brunning guided me through one of the most difficult times in my life. Emma was professional and yet a rock, standing firm by me at all times. I can honestly say with hand on heart I could not have come through this without her guidance her advice and her kind heart which was an absolute necessity at this time‘.

Ivana Radovic is an exceptional lawyer, pragmatic and thoughtful when needing to move the process forward and yet mindful that family law situations are wrought with emotion. She has showed kindness allied to quiet effective counsel throughout the journey‘.

Ivana Radovic is superlative in so many ways. She is articulate, very bright and switched on in all aspects of family law that were pertaining to my case. She took time to explain the most complex terms in ‘plain English’ to me. She was brilliant at releasing the pressure and taking much of the stress off my shoulders. Shes competent, compassionate and at the same time, razor sharp. Ivana never takes her eye off the ball, is an amazing negotiator and not scared of the opposition‘.

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Birketts LLP advises a broad range of clients - including insolvency practitioners, creditors and debtors - on insolvency matters, and in the past year has been particularly active advising on insolvencies in the construction sector. The team offers clients a full service, drawing on expertise across the wider firm. Practice head Laurence Weeks is known for his work on contentious insolvencies; he also serves as head of the firm's commercial litigation and dispute resolution practice. Legal director Matthew Weston handles both contentious and non-contentious matters from the firm's office in Chelmsford, and is praised as a 'fantastic lawyer'.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘A large regional firm, with experts in each office. Capable of dealing with both small and larger matters.’

‘Very thorough and prepared, and know the legal merits. Matt Weston doesn’t go looking for the spotlight, but is a fantastic lawyer.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory

Price Bailey

CVR Global



RSM (formerly Baker Tilly)

Thornton Rones

McTear Williams & Wood


RSM Restructuring Advisory

IT and telecoms Tier 2

The IT and telecoms team at Birketts LLP, which is led by licensing expert Nigel Thompson, conducts work in areas such as software development, systems integration, network installations and new technology. Catering for clients from the public and private sectors, it has a strong reputation for its work on cloud issues (where it regularly serves banking, media and gaming clients), regularly attracts work from outside the South East region. Andrea Curtis is a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Commcise Software Limited

Health Enterprise East Limited

Michael Montgomery

Shareholders of MintSoft

Kalibrate Technology Group Limited

Construction Tier 3

Birketts LLP deals with all aspects of contentious and non-contentious construction law, including development funding, contract documentation, due diligence and general commercial transactions. Clients include mainstream commercial lenders, developers, contractors, suppliers and sub-contractors. Andrew Rush leads the practice and has experience in both non-contentious drafting and the management of disputes, having begun his career as a chartered civil engineer. Ruth Sunaway leads on the contentious side and has extensive experience in high value court claims.

Practice head(s):


Friendly approachable staff. They are appreciative of the pressures on us and react quickly to protect our position . They explain difficult complex legal issues in a clear and easy to understand language. They allocate an appropriate level of resource to the dispute,  fees are transparent and audit-able, particularly when compared to other solicitors whose fees are not so easy to verify.

The individuals we deal with exhibit passion and professionalism on our disputes. They are thorough in their strategies in defending our position. I believe the best compliment that can be given is we do not begrudge settling their invoices as we are please with the level of service provided. Ruth Sunaway and Andrew Rush are stand out partners.

Key clients

Davis Construction

T & B Contractors

Franchising Tier 4

Promoted to the partnership in 2019, Ed Savory now leads the team at Birketts LLP, which advises master franchisors, master franchisees, franchisors, multi-unit operators and franchisees on the establishment, expansion and management of franchise networks. The firm also has litigation experience, with work ranging from contentious franchisee exits to complex brand enforcement matters.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Make Believe

British Franchise Association

Escape Hunt plc


Shipping Tier 4

Based in East Anglia, Birketts LLP handles wet and dry shipping matters including cargo damage, hull insurance claims, and charter disputes for domestic and international clients. Dry shipping specialist Nicholas Woo leads the team, and has strong connections to the Far Eastern and Indian shipping markets. Henry Adams handles charterparty disputes and cargo recoveries, while Alex Davey frequently in charterparty and bills of lading disputes. In addition to representing clients in arbitration, the team also acts in the Commercial Court and the High Court.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Birketts’ shipping disputes team combine knowledge and experience in shipping with the insurance market specialising in the commodity sector. This background and the proven ability of the individuals to relate to our business ensures Birketts’ services are fully aligned to our needs.

‘Henry Adams’ communication skills, ability to think outside the box and understand technical issues are important factors when considering complex trade relationships and contracts.’

‘The team cooperate and communicate efficiently without any additional or unnecessary charge to the client.’

‘Nicholas Woo’s commercial sense helps to lead us towards the best economic result.’

‘Good quality lawyers without the overhead of London City law firms.’

‘Very accessible lawyers with a down-to-earth mentality and sound/practical legal advice.’

‘The team is small but very dedicated and committed to their job and to providing a good service. The team has a good level of technicality and is proactive.’

Key clients

Seatrade Group NV

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA

West of England P&I

MS Amlin Marine Insurance B.V.

China P&I Club

Filhet-Allard Maritime

Japan P&I Club

TOTSA Total Oil Trading S.A.

Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality France

Shipowners P&I Club

The firm: Birketts is a full service, top 100 UK law firm operating from offices across East Anglia and London, advising businesses, institutions and individuals in the UK and internationally. The firm has enjoyed substantial growth in terms of size, geographic spread and turnover in the past five years, and continues to build on its investment in people and places year on year, further developing its profile regionally, nationally and internationally. The firm employs over 750 staff including over 400 lawyers, across offices in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, London and Norwich.

Types of work undertaken: Birketts’ core business is divided into four main disciplines: corporate and commercial, property, litigation and dispute resolution and private client advisory. Within those principal areas of practice, it has established industry sector groups, assembling lawyers with a knowledge and understanding of the issues relevant to that particular industry.

The firm has a national reputation in specialist areas such as agriculture, banking and finance, charities and social enterprise, construction and engineering, education, family owned businesses, food production and processing, health and safety, immigration, transport and logistics, motor retail, residential development, self invested personal pensions (SIPPs), small self administered schemes (SSASs), shipping and international trade, social housing, strategic land development, technology and telecommunications.

Corporate and commercial: The team works across East Anglia and the South East, with a reach extending into London, and is often compared to City, national and international firms. As well as corporate finance/M&A and banking transactions of all sizes, the firm has a strong reputation for commercial work, in particular IP, IT and outsourcing. The employment and shipping and logistics teams sit within this department. The shipping and logistics team is seen as one of the strongest and largest teams based outside of London, though primarily competing with and litigating against London law firms. The employment team is made up of 29 members, including five partners; one of whom is a part-time employment judge. The team adopts an increasingly sector-focused approach, with TUPE and immigration being important areas of practice.

Property: Birketts’ team of over 130 dedicated property lawyers based across four offices are from a range of backgrounds including: City practice, major national and regional firms, industry and local government. It contains individuals with construction and engineering, planning and environmental, self-invested personal pension (SIPP) and small self-administered scheme (SSAS) and property litigation expertise. Work undertaken includes acting for commercial developers and investors from the planning process through to sale and lease work; acting for major and national house-builders on site acquisitions, options agreements and conditional purchases. The residential property team is particularly strong at the high end of the market. Specialist skills include experience in health and education, social housing and strategic land development. 

Litigation and dispute resolution: Birketts’ top-ranked team of over 70 lawyers has a proven track record of success in litigation and dispute resolution. The team provides commercial and strategic advice to UK and international clients on the conduct of disputes in the national courts, domestic/international arbitrations and other tribunals. The team is equally experienced and skilled in alternative dispute resolution. Our lawyers are organised into specialist teams to provide expert advice across a wide range of dispute types including commercial, property, construction, corporate criminal defence, insolvency, fraud, shipping/international trade and probate/trusts.

Private client advisory (family, tax, trusts, probate and agriculture): The team is long-established, advising on a broad range of issues relating to estates and private property, tax planning and family matters. As well as regional work, the team draws work from entrepreneurial and professional clients in London. The family team is known for providing an exceptional service and is well-regarded by local judiciary, other professionals, counsel and financial advisers. The agriculture team is widely recognised across England for its expertise in providing a comprehensive range of legal services to farmers, landowners and others involved in agribusiness.

The firm offers a range of international services and has extensive language skills, including French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Mandarin, Cantonese and Russian.

Birketts is also an active member of Integrated Advisory Group International (IAG), which offers clients access to a network of English-speaking lawyers and other professional services around the world. IAG members have assisted the firm’s clients with a range of matters over the years, from individuals acquiring investments and properties abroad to companies looking to acquire foreign businesses, set up foreign branches or simply buy or sell goods to foreign businesses. Birketts also undertakes UK legal work for the networks members and their clients.

Other offices: Cambridge, Chelmsford, Norwich

Department Name Email Telephone
Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Agar
Senior Partner James Austin
Corporate and commercial services (including employment and shipping) Adrian Seagers
Private client (including family, agriculture, tax, trusts and probate) Tim Galloway
Property (including commercial, residential, social housing) Chris Schwer
Litigation and Dispute Resolution Laurence Weeks
Photo Name Position Profile
 Greg Allan  photo Greg Allan Partner
 Bernadette Baker  photo Bernadette Baker Partner
 Erika Clarke  photo Erika Clarke Legal Director
 Chris Coupland  photo Chris Coupland Partner
 Robert Gibbs  photo Robert Gibbs Partner
 Peter Goddard  photo Peter Goddard Partner
 Julie Gowland  photo Julie Gowland Senior Associate
 Emily Groom  photo Emily Groom Senior Associate
 Stuart Jones  photo Stuart Jones Legal Director
 Melissa Loucas  photo Melissa Loucas Partner
 Paul Matthews  photo Paul Matthews Partner
 Matthew Newnham  photo Matthew Newnham Partner
 Karl Pocock  photo Karl Pocock Partner – Head of Corporate Tax
 Adrian Possener  photo Adrian Possener Partner
 Max Roessler  photo Max Roessler Partner
 Kitty Rosser  photo Kitty Rosser Senior Associate
 Jack Royall  photo Jack Royall Partner
 John Scannell  photo John Scannell Partner
 Tom Sharpe  photo Tom Sharpe Legal Director
 Neil Sparrow  photo Neil Sparrow Partner
 Lorna Spear  photo Lorna Spear Partner
 Robert Tiffen  photo Robert Tiffen Legal Director
 Jeanette Wheeler  photo Jeanette Wheeler Partner
 Andrew Wood  photo Andrew Wood Consul
Number of UK partners : 68
Number of other UK fee-earners : 254
Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
Integrated Advisory Group International (IAG)

The Lex 100 Verdict

East Anglian Birketts has a ‘brilliant reputation in the region’. One trainee had even instructed the firm previously and was ‘really happy with the work done’. A full-service firm, Birketts is an attractive choice for those who don’t yet know where they want to qualify. The work on offer is of a ‘very high quality’ and ‘a high standard is set; partners expect trainees to contribute as if you are a fee-earner’. That said, colleagues are ‘friendly and approachable’ and generally ‘a pleasure to work with’. ‘Everyone is extremely knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions you have’ and supervisors ‘take time to discuss matters so that you fully understand the task and the wider matter’. To top it all off, there are also ‘lots of fun social events’, at least pre-Covid, and ‘the firm organises an external speaker every quarter and trainees would usually go out together afterwards’. Birketts is a Lex 100 Winner for job satisfaction, work/life balance and social life. More frustrating are the ‘inconsistencies between practice areas in different offices’, the seat selection process, which led to some trainees not getting their first choice and that ‘there is an expectation for inter-office travel for one seat during your training contract, which can make for a long commute time’! Not all experiences are enjoyable, however; one recruit hated ‘missing an important deadline for submitting documents’ and ‘a heavy workload due to a staff shortage’. Thankfully, best moments, such as ‘being involved in final hearings’, ‘running matters on my own’ and ‘delivering presentations to clients’, are compensations. For a training contract where the balance is struck between ‘plenty of responsibility and receiving help’ in a firm with a ‘real sense of team spirit’, research Birketts.