Firm Profile > Birketts LLP > Ipswich, England

Birketts LLP
Providence House
141-145 Princes Street

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

'This is one of the best agricultural law practices in the UK, they have strength in depth and really know their stuff', says a client of Birketts LLP. Another remarks that the firm is 'a dominant force within the East Anglian agricultural legal sector and is now highly regarded as one of the region's leading firms'. Practice head Jack Royall, Neil Sparrow and Christopher Coupland in Norwich, Rachel McKillop-Wilkin in Cambridge and James Dinwiddy in Ipswich are key practitioners in one of the largest agricultural practices in England. The firm acts for private families, banks, utility companies, charities, the Environment Agency and local authority clients across the UK, and handles ecclesiastical and agricultural property work for three of the main East Anglian diocese offices.

Practice head(s):

Jack Royall

Other key lawyers:

Neil Sparrow; Christopher Coupland; Rachel McKillop-Wilkin; James Dinwiddy; Ruth Morris; Stuart Jones; Sophia Key; Ruth Lambillion; Daisy Darrell


“Chris Coupland has unrivalled industry knowledge and provides excellent client care. Practical solutions are provided in clear layman’s language.”

“Rachel McKillop-Wilkin and Ruth Lambillion are both a pleasure to work with. They have excellent legal knowledge, give sensible advice, take a commercial approach and are cost effective.”

“The agriculture team I deal with led by James Dinwiddy is competent, efficient and is always available to address any issue. Despite the longstanding relationship between us and Birketts, there is no sense of complacency in the service provided.”

“A very engaging team who clearly work well as a group to ensure a smooth process.”

“Chris Coupland is very knowledgeable and a calm, safe pair of hands who manages the process and clients extremely well.”

“Daisy Darrell is extremely amenable and has always proved to be efficient when we have worked with her. She also makes a real point of networking within the wider property sector, something that has been well received by our business.”

“Pre-eminent in its field with a strong and large team. The dominant rural property lawyers in East Anglia.”

“User-friendly and proactive. It seems unfair to pick out individuals as they have so many strong operators. Jack Royall, Chris Coupland and Sophia Key know about getting a deal done and have great client understanding.”

“With a depth of strength and support, they provide expertise in all agricultural matters.”

“A strong, proactive and cohesive young team providing excellent support and delivering a first-class and efficient service with an ability to get transactions completed without creating unnecessary obstacles or delays.”

“They are personable and approachable.”

“They are commercial, affordable and give ‘no-nonsense’, timely advice.”

“Rachel Mckillop-Wilkin and Ruth Lambillion are simply a delight to deal with. They are fantastic communicators, they really take time to understand what their clients want and deliver on promises.”

“The private client and agriculture and estate teams are well known in the local area and have a wealth of experience and expertise.”

“Personable, knowledgeable and willing to help.”

Banking and finance Tier 1

The banking and finance practice at Birketts LLP provides 'detailed knowledge, practical solutions and clear advice'. One client describes it as 'a regional firm working at a national firm level - the lawyers are quick, commercial, know the law and make sensible suggestions'. Mark Henry in Ispwich leads the practice, in which banking partner James Allen is a stand-out name. Other recommended names include Greg Allan, Alex Schaafsma and Andrew Tubb. The firm is regarded as one of the leading regional players for corporate and development finance, property and agricultural finance and invoice discounting.

Practice head(s):

Mark Henry

Other key lawyers:


“Birketts is a law firm we regard very highly, and its finance and banking team is considered a very strong element of the business. Its capabilities are very diverse and its track record for concluding deals is very good.”

“All the individuals we interact with are highly competent, knowledgeable and work tirelessly to deliver quality solutions on time.”

“Lottie Fletcher is prompt in responding to us, manages our cases well and to agreed timescales. She is also available for any queries which may simply require a short conversation on the telephone.”

“They always get the job done regardless of timescales.  They are professional and diligent.”

“Hardworking, professional and approachable – even for a general query.”

“The Norwich team is highly capable and professional. Nothing is too much trouble and they often find the time to talk me through the work they are doing.”

“Lottie Fletcher is amazing. She has high integrity and the quality of work is always top-class.”

“The firm has a broad range of knowledge and skills that give it the expertise in all legal matters.”

Key clients

Clydesdale Bank plc

HSBC Bank plc


Lloyds Banking Group (including Bank of Scotland)

National Westminster Bank plc / Royal Bank of Scotland

Santander plc

Metro Bank plc

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Ipswich Building Society

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

The charities and social enterprise practice at Birketts LLP has in-depth expertise in the sector thanks to a multi-disciplinary team led by non-contentious charity law specialist Liz Brownsell in Ipswich and Cambridge-based litigator and regulatory expert Sara Sayer, who are both senior associates. The firm's broad offering includes niche expertise in areas such as Retail Gift Aid, GDPR, fundraising law and regulation, ecclesiastical law, public procurement, state aid and immigration. It has a large roster of national charity clients. Another name to note is Erika Clarke, who advises on a wide range of non-contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Liz Brownsell; Sara Sayer

Other key lawyers:

Erika Clarke; Kitty Rosser; Edward Bouckley; Paul Palik; Karl Pocock; Louisa Saunders


“The firm is approachable with a deep knowledge of their subject area.”

“Birketts is the first firm of solicitors I have experienced that truly put their clients first. I am constantly urged by my contacts to consider whether or not the charity really needs certain services and when it is deemed appropriate, I am offered the best solution for the task.”

“I am never given a one-size-fits-all solution and each engagement is dealt with on its merits and I get a specialist solicitor for each area.”

“All my contacts are extremely knowledgable and yet have a client approach that makes them down to earth and really easy to discuss things with. I never feel like I have asked anything silly and this means a lot.”

“I have extensive contact with Edward Bouckley, Liz Brownsell and Kitty Rosser and cannot fault any of their expertise or their customer service.”

Key clients

All Souls, Langham Place

Amnesty International Charity Limited

Amnesty International Limited

Amnesty International UK Section Charitable Trust

British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS)

Central Hardship and Relief Trust (CHART)

Charity Retail Association

Church of England Central Services

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

Hospice UK

Institute of Fundraising

London Diocesan Fund

Makeshift Foundation



SEETEC / Your Ambition

SNU Trust

Stroke Association

Tennis for Free

Trust for London

Walking With The Wounded

World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Commercial litigation: Cambridge Tier 1

At Birketts LLP in Cambridge, 'the team is very well connected with the local community' and practice head Laurence Weeks 'gives good practical advice and is very responsive'. Weeks and rising star senior associate Maria-Christina Peyman are 'exceptional at dealing with clients' needs'. Clients also recommend rising star senior associate Sara Sayer and associate Naomi Westcott. The firm handles commercial litigation in all its forms but has niche expertise in sectors such as shipping, education, public law, judicial review, procurement law, defence, and transport.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:

Maria-Christina Peyman; Sara Sayer; Naomi Westcott


“They are always easy to deal with, sympathetic to client needs and commercially aware.”

“Laurence Weeks is an exceptional negotiator and strategist, ensuring that before litigation starts the end goal is thought out.”

“Maria Peyman is a very cool head under pressure.”

Commercial litigation: Ipswich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has the leading commercial litigation practice in Ipswich, which handles a wide range of issues including tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder's disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements, intellectual property, product liability, partnership disputes, and claims arising from sale or purchase of companies or shares.  Among its clients are local, national and international private companies, PLCs, individuals and professional partnerships across a wide spectrum of industry sectors including energy, media and finance. Matthew Atkins and rising star Emma Albins are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Atkins


“Matthew Atkins cuts through the bulk to get straight to the heart of the matter and is commercially minded.”

Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 1

The commercial property practice of Birketts LLP in Cambridge climbs the ranking this year. It handles the full range of work but has a key focus on strategic land development, for which lead partner Katherine Herbert has a national reputation, as well as real estate investment for property funds and high-net-worth individuals. Herbert and senior associate Claudia Haisman-Green handle major strategic land schemes for landowners all over the UK. Partner Gavin Acheson and newly hired senior associate Gemma Goddard from Slaughter and May deal with real estate investment work Senior associate Deborah Marshall focuses on residential and commercial development matters.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Herbert

Other key lawyers:

Gavin Acheson; Claudia Haisman-Green; Liz Lacey; Deborah Marshall; Gemma Goddard; Nick Pickersgill; Isabel Wightman-Cooper; Emma Medina-Wallace; Dwight Patten


“The team at Birketts is very efficient and works well together to support each other as well as us. This is important to us so that we know that someone is always available to deal with an issue.”

“The lawyers are all knowledgable but one of their big strengths is their ability to be commercial as well to see through some of the finer details to get results.”

“Katherine Herbert, the partner in charge of the team, has dealt with our work for more than 20 years, so she has the background knowledge to pass on to her younger team. Katherine has always impressed us with her knowledge and ability and although she does not need to deal with our day to day work anymore, having her in the backgorund to be called on if needed is valuable.”

“I would like to highlight Deborah Marshall and Sarah Willis for their standout performances. Both have proved themselves to be outstanding in delivering good service to us on both the smaller landlord and tenant jobs and the bigger land deals.”

“Deborah Marshall and Sarah Willis are efficient in responding to calls and emails and get documentation drafted quickly and to a high standard.”

“Sarah Willis has proved to be good at working well with other professionals including our architect, with whom she has liaised on my instruction regarding Land Registry issues.”

“Katherine Herbert has an encyclopedic knowledge of our holdings and the mechanics of our agreements with business partners.”

“Deborah Marshall has built a strong knowledge of our holdings over the last three years and has an excellent eye for detail, and her due diligence is second to none.”

“The firm has strength in depth, and is efficient and responsive to clients’ time imperatives.”

“The team is always available, accessible, responsive, confident and determined to get the job done in the client’s best interests.”

“I have used several other leading firms of similar size in the past, but the expertise at Birketts far exceeds those others.”

“Katherine Herbert runs a very professional team. We have been impressed by those appointed by Katherine to help us, in particular we have had Emma Medina-Wallace. Both Katherine and Emma are first-rate in meetings and in quality of drafting.”

“The team has shown a good understanding of us, as an organisation, and has dealt professionally and promptly with a wide range of different property transactions for us.”

“The team is always willing to pick up on queries, and has given us comfort that we have been in safe hands. They have used their local knowledge and legal expertise to steer us competently through myriad complex transactions.”

“Personal engagement helps to make you feel valued as a client, and that your needs are of utmost importance to them, which is not always the case with every firm. Deborah Marshall has been a good example of those standout qualities.”

Key clients

Grovemere Property Limited

Pemberton Trustees

Ely North Consortium

Cambridgeshire County Council

Hopkins Homes Limited

Leighton Buzzard Golf Club

Amadeus Capital Partners Limited

Needingworth Limited

Pro Cam CP/Europe Limited

Rapid Solutions (International) Limited

Royale Parks Ltd

The Bell Educational Services Ltd

Larkfleet Limited

World Medicine Limited

Jesus College Oxford

Inspired Asset Management

IW Group Services (UK) Limited

Jockey Club Racecourses Limited

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Commercial property: Ipswich Tier 1

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP plays a central role in the firm's commercial property practice, which services clients through four regional offices. Chris Schwer leads the firm-wide practice, which handles developer work, strategic land transactions, institutional investment, property finance, and transactions in the utilities sector. It has specific expertise in the retail, residential development, automotive, charity and ecclesiastical sectors. Chris Barker handles strategic land and major development projects; Paul Squire, who joined from Ashurst, and Stuart Raven act for  corporate, investor, owner/occupier and developer clients; and Oliver Crichton advises on commercial property investments through self-invested personal pensions and small self-administered schemes.

Practice head(s):

Chris Schwer

Other key lawyers:

Chris Barker; Stuart Raven; Oliver Crichton; Paul Squire; Vicki Chilton; Stacy Aspden; Julie Hoy; Keith Andrews; Pam Dawson; Louisa Saunders


“The technical expertise is excellent and the team is proactive and diligent in all matters.”

“Chris Schwer is a true leader and exceptional lawyer.”

“Paul Squire is new to Birketts but is a fantastic addition to the team.”

“James Robinson has an unbelievable legal mind that allows him to assess all our situations and deliver clear and professional advice.”

“Julie Hoy is a very efficient and professional lawyer who delivers superb work for our business.”

“Stacy Aspden is always proactive in advice and on top of all matters – very clear in explanations of technical legal points.”

“Birketts consistently delivers a high standard of work. The team all communicate thoroughly and efficiently, keeping us up to date with each case as it progresses. The whole team is well practised and knowledgeable, and we know we can rely on them.”

“Sam Froud goes above and beyond, his turnaround time is incredible and there isn’t anything that is too much to ask from him.”

“The Birketts commercial property team is the absolute leader in its field. It has strength and depth in its knowledge and the professionalism it delivers is second to none.”

“The key partners allow us to be able to make sure all aspects of our business can have quick and considered advice at a price which is fair. The team are always approachable and their network of specialist teams means that all scenarios can be dealt with.”

“Keith Andrews has always been approachable, efficient and knowledgeable; he always follows up in a timely manner.”

“All of the lawyers are absolute leaders in their fields and behind them is a superb team of associates, assistants and admin staff.”

“Birketts combines high-quality advice with full service capability and backup, commercial acumen and pragmatism, partner accessibility, responsiveness, and understanding of clients’ business and aims.”

“They may have a regional approach in terms of geography but they are more than a match for the large London firms in terms of approach and capability.”

“Stuart Raven has looked after our real estate business for many years and I personally have had the pleasure of dealing with him for three. He understands in depth our way of working and our commercial objectives, and tailors his approach to fit in with our needs.”

“Stuart Raven combines a very high level of professional knowledge and ability with a pragmatic and commercial approach to get things done. He is very accessible and responsive, and has an ability to communicate complex matters simply.”

Key clients

Westbrook Capital

M7 Real Estate

BUUK Infrastructure Limited

Power On Connections Limited

GTC Limited

The Electricity Network Company Limited

Independent Power Networks Limited

GTC Pipelines Limited

Commercial property: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a large portfolio of both regional and national commercial property work in the areas of development, strategic land, investment/portfolio management, acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, and real estate finance. Lead partner Melissa Loucas is a key adviser to clients in the automotive and retail sectors. Leading light Robert Gibbs handles high-value regeneration and strategic land projects. Bhargav Trivedi  specialises in development and strategic land deals for landowners and developers. In 2018, the firm hired legal director Cameron Barlow from US law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; he works with key clients Westbrook Partners and M7 Real Estate. Senior associate Elizabeth Lee leads on buy-to-let and commercial mortgage matters for a challenger bank.

Practice head(s):

Melissa Loucas

Other key lawyers:

Robert Gibbs; Bhargav Trivedi; Cameron Barlow; Elizabeth Lee; Joseph Yexley; Greg McCurday


“The firm provides very prompt service and replies to queries. All the advantages of a mega-firm, but at provincial rates.”

“Birketts has many types of expertise available and the team definitely goes over and above to achieve quick results when it is needed.”

“I have worked very closely with Melissa Loucas and I only have good things to say about her. Our organisation was under a considerable amount of pressure to achieve multiple contracts and Melissa handled the pressure and kept to all deadlines we had.”

“I feel as though they are working in our business as they understand everything we do and hit all deadlines. It is a proactive firm that offers sound professional advice but is also commercial.”

“Bhargav Trivedi is always available to answer questions. He turns around matters far quicker than his peers.”

“Melissa Loucas has put a fantastic team together and each one of them is fully aligned with our timelines and deliver each time. They offer sound professional advice but all of them are commercial with it.”

“I have dealt with property teams before in other firms but none come near to Birketts.”

“The firm is easy to deal with, accessible, practical and straightforward, yet with the expertise and reach to rival any big firm.”

“Melissa Loucas and her team give clear, succinct and straightforward advice and are consistently outcome-focused, adopting a commercial approach where appropriate.”

“The firm is highly knowledgeable and easy to approach to talk through cases as required.”

“Bhargav Trivedi is straightforward to deal with, coming up with appropriate solutions to ensure cases complete in an appropriate way.”

“Greg McCurday is methodical and flexible. He is efficient in the way he responds to enquiries, providing an indication of cost and completing the task. He is a helpful reference point for any queries relating to property.”

Key clients

Wallblock Projects

Cambridgeshire County Council

Westbrook Partners

M7 Real Estate Ltd

Interbay Funding Ltd

Surplus Property Solutions Limited

MH Star UK Limited

Lloyds Banking Group

Partners of Norwich Research Park

Norwich Airport Limited

Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

National Westminster Bank plc

Norwich & Waveney Enterprise Services

NFC Homes Ltd


Newbury New Homes

Norfolk County Developments

Dewing Properties


Santander UK

Construction Tier 1

Birketts LLP deals with all aspects of construction work for mainstream commercial lenders, developers, contractors, professionals, suppliers and sub-contractors. The practice is led by Andrew Rush who works in both the Ipswich and Chelmsford offices, but the key partner in Ipswich is Ruth Sunaway who handles contentious construction matters for employers, main contractors, sub-contractors and professionals. Stefan Harris-Wright in Cambridge handles non-contentious matters for both public and private sector clients, and real estate finance transactions up to £150m in value for both for borrowers and lenders. Senior associates Katrina Bretten and Oli Worth  in Cambridge and Josh Ripman in Ipswich play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Rush

Key clients

Inspired Clapham Limited

Kilnbridge Construction Services

Grove Business Park Limited

Future Biogas Systems

McGee Civil Engineering Limited

Balicrest Limited

Wharfside Regeneration (In Adminstration) Ipswich Limited

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

The private wealth disputes practice at Birketts LLP handles contentious trusts and probate matters, which include actions under the Inheritance Act 1975, challenges to the validity of wills, the rights of adopted and illegitimate children, disputes arising from powers of attorney and financial abuse of the vulnerable, and TOLATA claims. Commercial litigation partner Paul Matthews leads the practice, in which ACTAPS member Bernadette Baker is a leading light.

Practice head(s):

Paul Matthews

Other key lawyers:

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 1

James Allen at Birketts LLP leads a practice that clients describe as 'very commercial, always coming up with pragmatic solutions to problems'. The corporate practice works as a single unit across the firm's four regional offices, with Cambridge a key hub for the firm's regional, national and cross-border work. Corporate finance specialist Allen works closely with M&A and technology sector specialist Quentin Golder, corporate partner Adrian Seagers, whose skills include VC finance and private equity deals, and rising star Nick Burt.

Practice head(s):

James Allen


“The team focuses on the important issues and doesn’t get bogged down in issues which don’t really affect their client.”

“The individuals are very approachable, reactive, and efficient.”

“The firm has a very strong local team that is well embedded into the local business community and engages a lot with that community. The practice has grown quickly and the firm has recruited a strong team.”

“James Allen gives very practical and sensible advice. Because he provides a pragmatic approach and does not seek to point score, transactions progress smoothly and positions do not become entrenched.”

Key clients

Scientific Digital Imaging plc


Sygnis AG

John Henry Group

Time GB Group Ltd

Royale Parks Ltd

Corporate and commercial: Ipswich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has by far the largest corporate and commercial practice in Suffolk and the team in Ipswich works as part of a single practice across the firm's four offices. Clients praise the 'speed of response, the personal engagement and the understanding of clients' business. from a commercially-minded team'. Senior partner James Austin and corporate finance expert Mark Henry are leading lights in the market. The practice's client base comprises a local businesses and national enterprises covering all sectors in a broad array of industry sectors.

Practice head(s):

James Austin; Mark Henry; Mark Gipson

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Nelson; Emma Bysouth; Sarah Lewis; Andrew Tubb


“The team works extremely well together involving other areas of the firm where appropriate. They all go out of their way to ensure that a solution is found to some very difficult situations.”

“Mark Henry, Alexandra Nelson and Emma Bysouth all work extremely well in the corporate team. They work very hard in finding solutions and are very responsive to our needs. They have handled two acquisitions this year in incredibly short timescales and both had their challenges but they were very commercial in their approach, enabling us to complete within timescales.”

“Mark Henry is incredibly dedicated and hard working.”

“Mark Gipson always makes himself available and provides sound advice.”

“The firm is approachable and has a high level of engagement. It feels like Birketts is on our side and is supportive.”

“Sarah Lewis is diligent, approachable and a pleasure to deal with.”

“The breadth of knowledge, industry expertise and available services is exceptionally comprehensive. Due to this, we have never required the assistance of another firm.”

“Sarah Lewis is our primary contact and I cannot be more complimentary about the service she provides and the way in which she conducts herself. She always makes herself available, is easy to work with and is a consummate professional.”

“The breadth and depth of expertise and client support is benchmark. The Birketts team has supported three business transactions in the past 12 months and each engagement was tailored to the specific requirements of the deal, resourced accordingly and competitively priced.”

“I was impressed by the high standards, both set and achieved, as well as team’s flexibility to ensure I was seldom on the critical path for long.”

“Once initial contact with Birketts was established with Mark Henry, Alexandra Nelson became the lead on each transaction from start to finish. Given these transactions are rarely uneventful and would occasionally deviate from plan, I welcomed the legal counsel provided by Alexandra and the flawless, professional approach to ensuring all matters were resolved in a positive manner.”

“Emma Bysouth provided exceptional support to each transaction and demonstrated outstanding professionalism throughout.”

“I have always found Birketts to be very efficient, down-to-earth and approachable.”

“Very few firms have offered the same very high standard service that Birketts has always provided.”

“During the last few years I have worked very closely with James Austin and Sarah Lewis and they have always delivered on there promises. They are very competent and very approachable.”

“The leading mid-market law firm for M&A in East Anglia. Birketts is able to draw on a vast depth and breadth of experience to help its clients unlock the tricky world of M&A transactions.”

“Mark Henry and his team set the bar for high-quality delivery. He and Emma Bysouth consistently go the extra mile to exceed client expectations and deliver exceptional results.”

“The firm has a really strong team with lots of depth compared to most regional practices.”

“Mark Henry is always a very strong lawyer and dependable in a tight spot.”

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

Corporate and commercial: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has 'good listeners who are professional, reflective, straightforward and clear in their advice'. The firm has an outstanding reputation for corporate and transactional work, particularly in the Norwich market, and practice head Adrian Possener is a specialist in transactional work including public company matters, IPO’s and bond issues. Greg Allan focuses on complex reorganisations and restructures, and he has an excellent track record in the healthcare sector, having advised numerous care home providers on acquisitions, group restructures and funding arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Possener

Other key lawyers:

Greg Allan; Joe Yexley


“The firm provides good customer service and quick turnaround, and is always receptive and professional.”

“The corporate team is great at managing expectations and ensuring that clear and concise information is passed to us. A pragmatic approach is taken to ensure matters can easily be resolved.”

“Greg Allan and Joe Yexley are particularly good. Greg is outstanding at listening to our needs and working to the timeframes required. He is always available and happy. Joe is exceptionally thorough and we never have any concerns that things will be missed.”

Key clients

Servest Group

Black Swan Care Group

Tobar Group

Orbital Media & Advertising Limited

Evoke Systems Limited

Corporate tax Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a dedicated practice for corporate tax and employee incentives. Karl Pocock leads on tax matters and has more than 16 years' experience in this field. He frequently advises on the tax implications of M&A transactions and also advises corporate and real estate clients on tax structuring. Lisa Hayward has more than ten years' experience in assisting employers and business owners with employee incentives schemes. Senior associate John Kahn is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Karl Pocock; Lisa Hayward

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Shareholders of Servest

Brafe Engineering Limited

Cambridgeshire County Council

Granarolo UK Limited

Shareholders of Innova Systems UK Limited

Shareholder of H Erben Limited

PSI Services (UK) Limited

Ventrica Limited

Shareholders of AllClear Holdings Limited

Shareholders of Plasgran Limited

Crime: fraud Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a highly experienced senior team that focuses on regulatory matters and the defence of fraud cases. Barrister Laura Thomas leads the firm's regulatory and corporate defence practice and focuses predominantly on financial crime. Fellow barrister Matthew Gowen has more than 20 years' experience at the criminal Bar and he frequently represents clients at the Crown Court. Senior associates Philippa Dyer, who leads the firm's dawn raids practice, and Julie Gowland are ones to watch.

Practice head(s):

Laura Thomas


Matthew Gowen acted in court for us and got us the result. Without his expert knowledge, we may not have been successful.”

Key clients

Muntons Malts PLC

Killik & Co

Debt recovery Tier 1

Birketts LLP acts for local and national private companies, professional partnerships and major Plcs in wide range of industry sectors including shipping and construction. It has one of the largest practices in the region with 40-year veteran of debt recovery Robert Howard, litigation partner Matthew Atkins, associate Emma Albins and two debt recovery assistants. Though based in Ipswich, the 'extremely responsive and well organised' practice delivers services through all four of the firm's regional offices.

Practice head(s):

Robert Howard

Other key lawyers:


“The practice has a very commercial approach and is excellent at sticking to budgets and providing accurate and up-to-date advice.”

“Matthew Atkins is first-class, on top of detail, very commercial in his approach, and has a wealth of experience as a litigator.”

“Emma Albins has a great eye for detail and is a careful litigator. She is on top of detail and any approach is well thought through.”

Education Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a multi-disciplinary practice that works in every part of the education sector including pre-schools and nurseries, preparatory and independent schools, academies and academy trusts, and FE and HE colleges. Employment partner Abigail Trencher leads the practice and calls on specialists in construction, planning, property, commercial law, litigation, student issues, charities and governance. Other key lawyers include Katherine Herbert for strategic land transactions, charities specialist Erika Clarke and employment partners Catherine Johnson and Matthew Newnham. Senior associate Liz Brownsell  leads the academies group.

Practice head(s):

Abigail Trencher

Other key lawyers:


“The team is very responsive to our needs and can be relied upon to give summary advice or in more depth where required.”

“They are knowledgeable in our field and can draw on experience with other similar organisations. This gives me confidence that my issues are understood and that the advice is appropriate.”

“I find Birketts very accessible and for a relatively large firm it engages and brings in the range of services it provides very well.”

“They give the impression that they are keen to be a part of my wider team and consequently I treat them as such. I trust the advice I am given which is clear, relevant and fairly billed.”

“I have worked with a number of legal firms in the sector and I have been impressed with the attention Birketts give to the client. There is a personal approach and a good understanding of the context within which legal advice is being provided.”

Key clients

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

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

Employment Tier 1

Birketts LLP operates a single employment practice across its four offices, three of which are in East Anglia. The group is led from Norwich by Jeanette Wheeler with key partners Abigail Trencher and Catherine Johnson in Cambridge and Ipswich respectively. Matthew Newnham is highly regarded for his work in Employment Tribunal matters, TUPE transfers and mass redundancies. The firm has a dedicated investigations and employee relations consultant, who leads its HR consultancy and investigations service, and a raft of talented associates who are key to work on both contentious and non-contentious matters for employer clients in sectors including food, agriculture, energy, education, transport and health.

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Wheeler

Other key lawyers:

Abigail Trencher; Catherine Johnson; Matthew Newnham; Sonya O’Reilly; Katie Harris-Wright; Tom Sharpe; Sam Greenhalgh; Lorna Townsend; Laura Brown


“Birketts takes the time to really understand the business and how we operate, which makes a big difference when liaising with them about cases and the reasons behind these.”

“I’ve worked with Katie Harris-Wright and Josie Beal for a number of years now and the professionalism and consistency of their work is brilliant. I trust both of them with any case that opens and to me that is what sets them apart.”

“Birketts responds quickly, and Tom Sharpe and Abigail Trencher are very supportive with difficult case management.”

“Catherine Johnson and Sonya O’Reilly are both exceptional. They are accessible and quickly pick up the context within which their advice is being requested. As well as being excellent lawyers, they are also highly commercial and provide business advice as opposed to just legal opinion.”

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

Environment & planning Tier 1

Birketts LLP undertakes large-scale projects across East Anglia and the Thames Gateway region for both both the private and public sector clients, among which are minerals and waste companies, local authorities, Parish Councils, strategic developers and numerous regional and national housebuilders. Tom Newcombe in Cambridge leads the practice, in which Ipswich-based Richard Eaton and barristers Laura Thomas and Matthew Gowen handle contentious environmental matters. The recruitment of legal directors Kali Yau from DAC Beachcroft LLP and Rosalind Nuttall from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP further extends the firm's capacity in planning reviews and applications, and large scale mixed-use and residential developments for developers and landowners.

Practice head(s):

Tom Newcombe; Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:

Laura Thomas; Matthew Gowen; Kali Yau; Rosalind Nuttall; Nicola Doole; Chloe Glason


“Tom Newcombe is an excellent lawyer. He instructed me in a complicated and highly topical judicial review challenge to a grant of planning permission, which we won in the High Court and is shortly to be heard in the Court of Appeal. He is extremely organised and can quickly get to the heart of complicated legal matters.”

Key clients

Hopkins Homes

Countryside Properties UK Limited

Enterprise Property Group

Crest Nicholson (Eastern)

Hill Residential


Generator Group


Babergh District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Notcutts Limited



NFC Homes

London Trocadero LLP

Chater Homes

Churchmanor Estates

Mersea Homes

AJ Lee Developments

Air Studios

Strongroom Studios

Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

Orwell Homes Limited

Pigeon Investment management

Family Tier 1

Birketts LLP is well known for its mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and litigation expertise in family law matters for high-net-worth clients in East Anglia and beyond. Ipswich-based practice head Oliver Gravell saw the practice in Norwich grow with the hire of associates Lisa Cornish and Denise Findlay from Hansells. Newly promoted partner Katie Beaven in Norwich is best-known for complex and high-net-worth financial settlements and Children Act matters. Senior associates Roopa Ahluwalia  and Elisabeth Sneade are the key contacts in Cambridge.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Gravell

Other key lawyers:


‘Very professional. I was represented by Lisa Cornish who is calm and knowledgeable. My ex-husband’s solicitor was very unprofessional and Lisa remained cool at all times.’

Health and safety Tier 1

The regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP has extensive cross-industry experience in serious health and safety defence including disasters and multiple fatalities. Practice head Laura Thomas and legal director Matthew Gowen are barristers and the firm employs three consultants who are all former HSE Inspectors. Senior associates Julie Gowland and Philippa Dyer also advise companies and individuals on HSE matters. The firm also provides a full compliance assessment service.

Practice head(s):

Laura Thomas


“The firm has a tremendous team approach and a very cohesive group of people. It identifies and manages expectations very well and really gets to know its clients’ culture and aspirations.”

“Matthew Gowen has represented us very effectively and in court is a gifted and natural orator and performer. He displays great calm and control and has that steely determination to succeed.”

Immigration Tier 1

The immigration practice at Birketts LLP is 'second to none', according to one client. Specialist senior associate Clare Hedges leads the immigration group, which has support from paralegals in Norwich and Cambridge, and also calls on the services of a consultant from the Chelmsford office. The firm is particularly well known for all types of Tier 2 and 5 visas, including the more unusual Ministers of Religion visas, and it frequently advises on the prevention of illegal working.

Practice head(s):

Clare Hedges


“Clare Hedges was very patient, walking us step by step through the process, advising and supporting our application for a visa.”

“Simply put, it’s the people who make the difference. Birketts clearly work hard to make sure their team is knowledgeable, professional and friendly. Its approach is incredibly reassuring and really leaves you with complete confidence in the advice they give.”

“Clare Hedges is our ‘go-to’ person for all things immigration. What she doesn’t know simply isn’t worth knowing. I get fast, informative and reliable advice in a straightforward and usable way.”

“From personal experience I find the firm very professional, and helpful.”

“I found Clare Hedges and Dasha Ball very helpful and professional. They helped me obtain my British Citizenship, and they explained very clearly which documents I had to provide in order to obtain Citizenship.”

“What impressed me most was the way in which they explained what was needed. They did it in a way which was easy to understand.”

“I find them to be friendly, approachable and to have a very diverse skillset which means that no matter what the question, there will likely be an expert in the team that can help.”

“More recently I have worked closely with Clare Hedges, who combines her extensive knowledge of immigration law with her passion for helping SMEs and their HR managers to navigate the challenges of every day business.”

“Clare Hedges has the ability to communicate her wealth of knowledge in a straightforward way that the lay person can clearly understand. She does this effortlessly and tells great stories along the way!”

Key clients

The Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of All Souls

Brangaene Limited

Church of England Central Services

Cobb Europe Limited

Derivco Ipswich Limited

Embelton UK Limited

Inspectorate International

Jagex Limited

Just Eat

London Diocesan Fund

McCormick UK Limited

Mediterranean Shipping Company (UK) Limited


Owlstone Medical Limited


Scientific Digital Imaging

TTP Group plc

TTP Labtech Limited

World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC)

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

In the Cambridge office of Birketts LLP, Laurence Weeks leads a restructuring and insolvency practice that operates through all four of the firm's regional offices, and is a market leader in both litigation and non-contentious matters. Weeks has more than 15 years' experience and is also a fellow and council member of R3, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals. The firm counts many of the region's leading IPs among its clients, who also call upon corporate partner Greg Allan for advice on restructurings. Senior associate Maria Peyman is one to watch for the future.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:


“We worked on a good project during the year whereby we sold a £10m business in a distressed scenario, with bank approval. Greg Allan was the lead adviser in this case and did a great job.”

Key clients

Price Bailey as liquidators of Colonial Capital (in liquidation)

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

McTear Wiliams & Wood

Privilege Finance

Ensors LLP

Price Waterhouse Coopers

FRP Advisory LLP

Bulley Davey

Peters Elworthy & Moore

Chantrey Vellacott

Licensing Tier 1

Senior associate Julie Gowland leads the licensing practice at Birketts LLP, which has a strong regional client base and delivers licensing services through all of its four offices. The firm's clients include breweries, hotel chains, nightclubs, racecourses, events operators, bingo hall chains, churches and concert promoters. Barrister Laura Thomas, who leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice, provides support to the licensing department.

Practice head(s):

Julie Gowland

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Patisserie Valerie (Patisserie Holdings)

Gastro Pubs Limited trading as Middletons Steakhouse & Grill

Notcutts Limited

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge Tier 1

Birketts LLP handles the full range of private client work including complex probate and estate administration, trust creation, administration, variation and dissolution, tax matters, wills and succession planning, lifetime tax planning, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. The practice led by the 'approachable, sympathetic, efficient, competentCaroline Stenner frequently works with the firm's family business and agriculture departments to provide an integrated service to business and farming families. One client describes the firm as 'very responsive, with the ability to turn matters around within a short time scale if required'. Rachel Winter is a rising star.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Stenner

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Winter; Robert Willoughby


‘A friendly, caring and diligent firm.’

‘A very proactive team not afraid to say they need to go and find out something. I have found this very different and less arrogant than other firms.’

‘Caroline Stenner is user-friendly and personable. She is extremely experienced and sensible and very good with clients, showing both empathy and pragmatism.’

‘A very collaborative way of working to ensure that clients get the desired results.’

‘Rachel Winter’s key strengths are her technical ability and her ability to communicate complex matters to clients. She shows a willingness to work to find a solution, and to work collaboratively with other professionals to ensure excellent client service, high responsiveness and quick turnaround times.’

‘Caroline Stenner is a delight to deal with. She has excellent technical skills combined with a personality that places clients at ease.’

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a strong probate, estate and trust administration practice that provides 'friendly, approachable and personal service'. The practice led by Louise Long, who deals with multimillion-pound estates with complex family and tax issues, expanded significantly in 2018 with the recruitment of a solicitor and two tax executives. Senior associate Richard Guy is a rising star who has ten years' experience in advising business owners, farmers and high-net-worth individuals as well as retirees and the elderly.

Practice head(s):

Louise Long

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm is highly competent in its field and speaks to the client in their language.’

‘Richard Guy takes a practical approach to his work and is very good at explaining things to clients in a way they understand.’

‘Clients always speak highly of Louise Long. It is always a great relief when you find out that Louise is a client’s solicitor.’

‘Birketts has grown quite rapidly over the last few years, but has remained client-focused. The individuals are always on hand to provide guidance and support.’

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP runs an integrated wills and advisory practice across its four regional offices and the Norwich team, led by Lorna Spear, plays a central role. It advises on all aspects of private client law including lifetime tax planning, wills and succession planning, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. The firm's diverse client base includes farming families, landed estates, business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals. Veteran senior associate and ACTAPS member Margaret Smith is highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Spear

Other key lawyers:


“We were pretty well wholly dependent on the advice and guidance we received from Birketts as the solicitors involved. Margaret Smith, the senior associate who dealt with the case, was both a tower of strength and a sure guide from the start.”

“Margaret Smith saw clearly what needed to be done, guided us through it, and inspired confidence. I always found our meetings reassuring, practical and helpful. Moreover, she was kind and sensitive.”

“I have absolutely no regrets about how we, as friends, dealt with this situation, with Margaret Smith’s guidance, support and help.”

Property litigation Tier 1

Birketts LLP has an 11-lawyer property litigation practice that operates across its four offices, though Ipswich and Norwich are the main hubs. It handles the full range of contentious property cases but has in-depth expertise in Telecoms Code property matters, rights to light, leasehold enfranchisement, town and village green matters and commercial landlord and tenant work. Practice head Richard Eaton and partner James Robinson are the key contacts in Ipswich and they act for a national client base that includes local authorities and leading developers. In Norwich, John Scannell and senior associate Simon Woodhead are the key practitioners along with Charlotte WormstoneAlice Harris  and Laura Tanguay are recognised as Rising Stars.

Practice head(s):

Richard Eaton


“Birketts in fast, efficient, intelligent and reasonable, and it gives clear and practical advice. The team understands what in-house lawyers need and how to deliver it.”

“I know quite a few property litigators and James Robinson is the best, by a long way.”

“The team make its clients feel able to question any part of the decision process without feeling intimidated.”

“Laura Tanguay listened to my concerns and gave direction and advice when asked for.”

“Birketts LLP is in a league of its own. They are extremely efficient and constantly available. They have an innate knowledge and ability to cut quickly to the solution and a ‘can-do’ attitude which, in my experience, beats all competition.”

“Laura Tanguay has the ability to instantly reassure a client with her good judgment, knowledge and experience. She impressed me with her understanding of property law and brought a complicated situation to a swift conclusion.”

“I have worked with the property litigation team at Birketts for many years and consider it to be one of the best in the region. Its strengths are its technical knowledge, strategic acumen and commercial common sense. They are also very pleasant to work with.”

“John Scannell is a robust and savvy litigator. He fights hard for his clients and generally gets good results. He is a great team player and a pleasure to work with.”

“Simon Woodhead is extremely clever and great for legally and factually complex cases.”

“It has a really knowledgeable team and strong local connections but also reaches beyond East Anglia; it holds its own against larger or London-based firms and provides very good value for money.”

“James Robinson is a star – really knowledgeable, tenacious, very practical and good at getting things done. As well as general property litigation, he is a telecoms specialist.”

Richard Eaton is a really strong property litigator, very experienced, and Laura Tanguay is still quite junior is knowledgeable and tough.”

“Charlotte Wormstone is really good with clients and good to work with.”

Key clients

Harwich International Port

Surplus Property Solutions

Strongroom Limited

Norwich Airport Limited

Mavrastar Limited

Broadland Housing Association

Bury Investments LLP

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

Port of Boston Limited

Hopkins Homes Limited

Social housing Tier 1

Birketts LLP is a leading provider of advised to social housing clients in the Eastern region and it frequently handles affordable housing development, housing management, funding, employment matters, regulatory issues, shared ownership and right to buy sales, as well as open market sales. In 2018, Peter Goddard's group saw an uptick in work for housebuilders in setting up their own for-profit Registered Providers. The multi-disciplinary practice acts for many of the country's leading social housing providers. Senior associate Emily Groom and associate Sarah Fish are recommended as rising stars.

Practice head(s):

Peter Goddard

Other key lawyers:

John Scannell; Emily Groom; Sarah Fish

Key clients

Orbit Group Limited

Flagship Housing Group Limited

Broadland Housing Group Limited

CHP (Chelmer Housing Partnership Limited)

Victory Housing Trust

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Swan Housing Association Limited

Cambridge Housing Society Limited

Axiom Housing Association Limited

Havebury Housing Partnership

Suffolk Housing Society

YMCA (Essex) Limited

Greenfields Community Housing Limited

Transport and shipping Tier 1

Birketts LLP has the region's leading shipping practice, which is led by Nicholas Woo who handles all aspects of dry shipping. Leading light Henry Adams handles shipping, transport and marine insurance work, which includes charterparty disputes and cargo claims. Shipping, transport and international trade expert Alex Davey is also recommended. Barrister Laura Thomas leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice and specialises in road transport matters. She acts for commercial vehicle operators including road haulage companies and vocational drivers. Up-and-coming partner Lisa Wortley and senior associate Sarah Holsgrove are also recommended for shipping matters.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Woo; Laura Thomas


“Our company have had the privilege of working with Birketts for five years now, mostly on different types of claims in all aspects of shipping and international trade law. In the very first engagement, through the smart handling, skilled analysis of facts, and most importantly, through delivering this analysis to the counterparty in a clear way, we got a quite successful settlement and a very good result.”

“We have been highly satisfied with the quality of the work. We would rate the overall level of their service as excellent. The client’s concerns and questions have been handled with the utmost respect and due patience.”

“Careful attention is commonly given to each and every detail in each and every case. Their advice is always carefully crafted and well-reasoned.”

“Alex Davey is a highly motivated and responsible lawyer who handles matters in a very professional and competent way and, most importantly, he listens to the client.”

“Alex Davey’s relationship skills and winning personality are obvious strengths. He engages easily with people and makes himself available to assist with the issues which are brought to his attention.”

“Lisa Wortley is extremely strong in handling claims. She has no hesitations and no doubts, she just softly hammers the opponents in the battle.”

“Sarah Holsgrove is intelligent and clever, with ability to bring sound clarification and judgement to the twisted issues. This is something that some lawyers are, unfortunately, missing.”

“The team at Birketts exists of highly professional trained solicitors with a profound knowledge on English maritime law.”

“The team is always ready to give advice in a timely fashion, meeting the sometimes urgent requirements of the client.”

“The team strives for solutions which are for the benefit of the client from both a legal and an economic aspect.”

“Alex Davey certainly stands out – his ad hoc knowledge of maritime law is excellent. He is a highly skilled negotiator who looks to find realistic resolutions which serve the interests of his clients. One can be assured that the legal opinions rendered by him will almost certainly materialise in reality.”

Key clients

West of England

Tradhol Inernacional

Allianz Global & Specialty France

AXA Corporate Solutions Assurances (France)

Filhet-Allard Maritime

SIACI Saint Honoré

Commercial litigation: Norwich Tier 2

Birketts LLP has two standout practitioners in Max Roessler and consultant Paul Matthews, who lead a practice that handles high-value and complex cases across East Anglia and further afield. Both advise on a broad range of commercial and corporate disputes, professional negligence, insolvency and traditional chancery work. Senior associate Robert Tiffen has notable expertise in franchising cases and works closely with the firm's non-contentious franchise specialists.

Crime: general Tier 2

The regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP is known for its broad range of high-value work and its the high quality of its advocacy. Led by barrister Laura Thomas, the practice represents companies and individuals prosecuted nationwide by the CPS, the HSE, local authorities, the RSPCA, DVSA, the FSA and the Environment Agency. Defending national motor groups, companies and individuals in road transport and traffic-related crime is a key part of its workload, as are Trading Standards cases and financial crime. Barrister Matthew Gowen and senior associates Philippa Dyer and Julie Gowland are also recommended.

Health Tier 2

Birketts LLP has developed a reputation as as a leading healthcare firm in the region and clients in the sector frequently call upon its corporate, employment, property, litigation and public law departments. Richard Eaton, who is a former non-executive director of an acute hospital trust, leads the practice. Public law expert Sara Sayer also plays a key role in the practice, which acts for NHS trusts, CCGs, primary care providers, and suppliers and manufacturers in the healthcare industry. The firm also has a dedicated care homes team.

Practice head(s):

Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:

Sara Sayer; Erika Clarke; Jeanette Wheeler; Matthew Newnham


“They are accessible and visible and understand the peculiarities of our business and the people we employ and engage with.”

“They are able to operate at a level that is appropriate to the situation and work with us to achieve the best possible solution. They operate with honesty and integrity.”

Key clients

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Property Services

Black Swan Care Group

The Belgravia Foundation

Orbital Media & Advertising Limited

Intellectual property Tier 2

'They understand our business, tailor their advice and weigh up the commercial risks', says a client of Birketts LLP, which provides 'a readily available, efficient service'. Legal director Nellie Jackson in Ipswich leads the practice and has nearly 20 years' experience in trade mark and brand protection matters. Senior associate Maria-Christina Peyman in Cambridge takes the lead on contentious IP matters and has particular expertise is in civil disputes at the IPEC and the High Court involving copyright, trade marks and passing off, as well as trade mark registry disputes and Company Name Tribunal applications.

Practice head(s):

Nellie Jackson; Maria-Christina Peyman


“Nellie Jackson is a standout leader of the IP team at Birketts. She is responsive, commercial, helpful and knowledgeable, often going above and beyond.”

“The team is very solutions-oriented. They understand the needs of business and work with us to help us reach our objectives.”

“Nellie Jackson has been fantastic to deal with throughout. She is a strong and prompt communicator and is an excellent listener – she spends time understanding our situation and needs and provides advice tailored to that.”

“Nelli Jackson is always pragmatic and positive.”

“Nellie Jackson is commercial, pragmatic and a pleasure to deal with. I highly recommend her.”

Key clients

Greene King Plc

UKTV Media Ltd

Elektron Technology Plc

Caterham Cars Ltd

Servest Group 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

Perivan Limited

Monty’s Bakehouse UK Ltd

Sanctuary Personnel Limited

Jewers Doors Ltd

Monarch Water Ltd

Inskin Media Ltd

BlackLane GmbH

Arc Informatics

UltraSoc Technologies Ltd

Skalene Ltd

C4 Carbides Ltd


IT and telecoms Tier 2

The Birketts LLP IT practice operates out of all four of the firm's offices and acts for clients both in East Anglia and further afield. It is part of the technology practice led from Cambridge by Quentin Golder, which acts for clients ranging from small owner-managed businesses through to large listed companies in the financial services, social media, security software and aerospace industries. Golder specialises in IT and IP matters for companies involved in the digital economy. Corporate partner Mark Gipson in Ipswich, senior associate Paul Palik in Norwich, who handles IT matters including SaaS and software licensing transactions, and Kitty Rosser are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Quentin Golder

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

BullGuard Ltd

Apolitical Ltd

PSI International Ltd

S16 Ltd

Blancco Technology Group plc

Kalibrate Technology Group plc

Farthest Gate Ltd

Ista Energy Ltd

Pie Mapping Ltd

Bose Ltd

Professional negligence Tier 2

Birketts LLP has a claimant professional negligence practice that handles claims against solicitors, accountants and other professionals on behalf of clients across the UK. It also has a niche focus on negligent probate advice. Max Roessler in Norwich handles numerous claims against solicitors, the majority of which concern negligent property and transactional advice. Laurence Weeks is the lead partner in Cambridge, where senior associate Sara Sayer frequently defends defends colleges, universities and schools in actions brought against them for negligence.

Practice head(s):

Max Roessler; Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:


“The firm has competent and able litigators who we would expect to be proficient in professional negligence actions.”

Commercial litigation: Essex Tier 1

The 'first-class' litigation team at Birketts LLP provides its clients with the full range of services and has sector specialisms in maritime, defence, education and public law matters. Led by Daden Hunt, stands out in particular for its international reach. Marie Batchelor is the name to note for contentious probate work, and Matthew Weston is recommended for his expertise in insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:


‘Daden Hunt and his team have been exceptional in handling our legal requirements, and certainly, stand out against other legal teams used in the past.’

Daden Hunt has been the perfect recommendation for us. We can honestly say that we have had a first-class service at all time with honest professional advice, together with an excellent backup from his team when necessary.’

Commercial property: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP is an 'obviously experienced team with expertise across a range of property disciplines' and offers comprehensive sector-focused work for high-net-worth clients. Grace Kerr leads the team which has vast expertise in commercial real estate practice which includes acquisitions, investment property, residential property, and contracts. Kerr also undertakes extensive advisory work to owners and investors on complex matters. Duncan Williamson regularly handles high-value property development and finance matters.

Practice head(s):

Grace Kerr

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

East Anglian Property Developments Limited

Commodity Centre Group

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Corporate and commercial: Essex Tier 1

The 'extremely capable' corporate and commercial team at Birketts LLP is skilled in handling complex and international transactions. Headed by Rafael Ruiz, the team advises on all aspects of corporate acquisitions and high-value commercial agreements within the IT and financial services sectors. Nick Burnett has international experience, having developed expertise in advising regulated business and insurance brokers on M&A. Other key contacts include Nigel Thompson, and 'particularly good' M&A specialist Adam Jones.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Ruiz

Other key lawyers:

Adam Jones, Nick Burnett; Nigel Thompson; Alex Forwood; Heidi Jones


‘The team at Birketts is full of quality lawyers with a personal touch.’

‘Nigel Thompson communicates and manages expectations incredibly well. He remains calm under pressure, delivers to tight timescales and provides excellent support throughout complex transactions. Nigel is someone you want on your team!’

Key clients

Atalian Servest

Excess Baggage Group

Seetec Business Technology Centre


JRL Plant and Logistics

Sharksfin Holdings

Transport Innovation

Westdrive Kia

Granarolo SpA and Group

AutoProtect (MBI)

Investec Bank


Commcise Software

Gates Group

Commodity Centre Group

Employment: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP's Chelmsford-based team of seasoned employment lawyers covers the full scope of work for a large corporate and often high-profile client base. Work includes representation at employment tribunal, extensive advisory work and discrimination claims. Practice head Kevin Palmer  leads many of the team's high-value matters and has acted in a discrimination case for the creative director of Google UK. Clare Barlow is proficient in dismissal litigation claims and has acted against the BBC. Former partner Jolyon Berry left for  Thompson Smith and Puxon.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Aspire Media Group Limited

Colchester United Football Club

Fisher Michael Chartered Accountants

Milsom Hotels

Venture Construction Solutions

Immigration Tier 1

Birketts LLP's immigration department is divided across four offices in East Anglia and the South East and is headed by Clare Hedges, who specialises in business immigration with a niche specialism in advising on sponsor license applications for Ministers of Religion. Chelmsford-based Janice Leggett supports multinational, SME and private clients on business immigration, employment of non-EU workers including sponsorship and related contentious matters. She is also an experienced advisor on immigration issues affecting the film production industry.

Practice head(s):

Clare Hedges

Other key lawyers:


The team at Birketts are always very helpful, are great communicators and provide work within a timely and efficient manner.’

Janice Leggett always goes the extra mile. She is very switched on and always handles queries quickly and effectively.’

Key clients

Advertising Producers Association

Sheenhan Nagel Hartray Associates

Furlined Limited

Stink Limited

Neopost Limited

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP 's private client team offers an 'impressive' service to clients, including domestic and international work, often of a high value. The team, which is led by Tim Galloway , is skilled in handling offshore and multi-jurisdictional offerings and has recently managed an array of multi-million-pound property trust scheme work. The 'first class' Susan Young holds expertise in tax planning involving wills and probate applications. Louise Long from the Ipswich office is recommended for her complex estates practice. Katie Payne joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Practice head(s):

Tim Galloway

Other key lawyers:

Susan Young; Katie Payne; Louise Long


The team provides first-class advice and execution at prices consistent regionally.’

‘A depth of experience dealing with clients and offer carefully tailored advice and documents.’

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Birketts LLP’s team counts private families, banks, utility companies, charities, government agencies and local authority among its clients. Its expertise covers structuring family successions and taxation as well as mainstream agricultural and property law advice on sales, purchases and tenancies. The team has strong links with the agricultural banking departments of several leading high street banks. Its expertise extends to areas including   ecclesiastical law, public access issues and renewable energy projects, . The practice head  Jack Royall is based in Norwich but spends some of his time in the Chelmsford office. Other names to note in Chelmsford are senior associate Annabelle Route and associate Leo McMahon. Ruth Morris joined from Clarke Willmott LLP in July 2018 and splits her time between Cambridge and Chelmsford.

Practice head(s):

Jack Royall


They are very efficient. The team has a wide range of specialist knowledge and can always appoint someone to deal with a varied range of matters we may have‘.

The team are both knowledgeable and able to engage clients and other professionals in a positive and productive way. The knowledge of agriculture and particularly in connection with private wealth planning is exceptionally important‘.

Jack Royall has an excellent approach and is able to engage with a range of clients and knowledge levels. His clear and concise approach is extremely valuable, particularly in meetings‘.

Annabelle Rout is always available, responds very properly and is very knowledge on her subject‘.

Leo McMahon is very effective and prompt with his delivery, and has a thoughtful approach to all matters‘.

Annabelle Rout is truly wonderful to work with‘.

Banking and finance Tier 2

Birketts LLP’s banking and finance practice acts as panel solicitor for high street banks as well as for some alternative lenders. Work includes a broad mixture of term loans, revolving credit facilities and development loans. The team deals with sophisticated international businesses and equity providers with which detailed inter-creditor arrangements have to be negotiated. Adam Jones heads the practice. Legal director Duncan Williamson is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Adam Jones

Other key lawyers:


Excellent local firm, good level of resourcing and strong reputation.

Openness and willing to discuss cases and proposals at any time.

The level of technical expertise and critical thinking is fantastic.

Adam Jones is always available as a sounding board, and brings proactive ideas to the table during deals.

Key clients






Alpha Bank


Metro Bank

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Daden Hunt, Laurence Weeks and Paul Matthews jointly lead the contentious trusts and probate group at Birketts LLP, which experienced a recent surge of instructions involving adopted or illegitimate children and the application of the Human Rights Act. Trust corporates, charities and private clients are all regular clients of the practice, which is also capable of handling cross-jurisdictional mandates. Senior associate Marie Batchelor is highly recommended, having assisted with almost all of the firm's recent highlights.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt; Laurence Weeks; Paul Matthews

Other key lawyers:


Senior associate Marie Batchleor was available whenever I needed her; she was highly efficient and explained matters clearly‘.

Birketts is a very professional and efficient firm and boasts many specialist departments‘.

Marie Batchelor was outstanding in dealing with my case‘.

Marie Bachelor is very professional and ‘on the ball’. She is an excellent negotiator and strategist‘.

Marie Batchelor has helped me make decisions that I did not have the confidence to make previously. In my very first conversation with her, I felt I was able to move forward‘.

Family: Essex Tier 2

Birketts LLP's family practice area is led by senior associate Emma Brunning and overseen by the regional head, Ipswich-based divorce partner Oliver Gravell. The team undertakes significant high-value matters for high net worth corporate clients and private individuals spanning international divorce cases, pensions and child act matters. Melanie Wilson departed the firm for Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP. Senior associate Ivana Radovic joined the team from Gotelee Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Gravell

Other key lawyers:

IT and telecoms Tier 2

Birketts LLP's practice has established expertise acting for software providers in addition technology companies and assists on areas including  system integrations, web hosting and IT procurements and licensing matters. The team acts for clients in the public, private and charity sectors and also supports the corporate practice, handling the IT aspects of M&A instructions. Software and product licensing specialist Nigel Thompson  leads the group and is supported by senior associate, Andrea Curtis whose recent work includes IT contract negotiations.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Commcise Software Limited

Kalibrate Technologies Limited

New Link Consulting Limited

VST Global Limited

Dochosting Data Management Ltd

Construction Tier 3

Birketts LLP's construction team, which has extensive expertise in 'highly technical and complicated issues', covers development funding, contract negotiations, building transactions and dispute resolution work. In addition to acting for contractors and sub-contractors, the firm generates work from commercial lenders, developers and suppliers. Andrew Rush heads up the team. Associate Carolyn Porter is a specialist in complex adjudications.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Rush

Other key lawyers:


The team clearly had broad experience in construction matters‘.

Carolyn Porter’s practical, pragmatic approach to construction contract advice has been invaluable; thanks to her, we are able to engage more effectively in contract negotiations‘.

Franchising Tier 4

Legal director Ed Savory heads up the practice at Birketts LLP, which has particular expertise in advising on the set-up, expansion and management of franchise networks at a national and international level, and franchise litigation. Senior associate Robert Tiffen is also a key name to note and is a franchise litigation specialist, while fellow senior associate Sarah Lewis specialises in drafting franchise agreements and reviewing operations manuals for franchisors. Savory recently advised Zedify on its establishment of a licensed network of low emission couriers and assisted Make Believe with the growth and diversification of its franchise network.

Practice head(s):

Ed Savory

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Make Believe

Escape Hunt plc

UK Desserts Ltd

British Franchise Association


Shipping Tier 4

Based in East Anglia, Birketts LLP is active across the spectrum of wet and dry work; on the dry side, the team handles disputes relating to bills of lading, charterparties, contracts of affreightment, cargo claims, shipbuilding disputes, marine insurance, and cruise and ferry line operation. For wet work, the team handles disputes relating to general average, salvage, towage, ship arrest and collision claims. It represented Seatrade Group in a claim for damages for detention. Alex Davey is 'very strong in all aspects of admiralty law; he is a highly motivated, responsible lawyer who handles matters in a very professional and competent way'. Nicholas Woo heads the team.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Woo

Other key lawyers:

Henry Adams; Alex Davey; Lisa Wortley; Paul Haworth; Sarah Holsgrove


Alex Davey engages easily with people and makes himself available to assist with the issues which are brought to his attention.’

Alex Davey has a high degree of resilience and endurance.’

Lisa Wortley is extremely strong in handling the speed/consumption claims.’

Sarah Holsgrove is intelligent and clever, with ability to bring sound clarification and judgement on the twisted issues.’

Paul Haworth is very down-to-earth and understands the practical side of things as well as the legal parameters of a case.’

Key clients

West of England

Tradhol Inernacional

Allianz Global & Specialty France

AXA Corporate Solutions Assurances (France)

Filhet-Allard Maritime

SIACI Saint Honoré

West of England

Tradhol Inernacional

Allianz Global & Specialty France

The firm: Birketts is a full service, top 100 UK law firm based in the East of England 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 700 staff including over 350 lawyers, across offices in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich 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
 Henry Adams  photo Henry Adams Partner
 Emma Albins  photo Emma Albins Associate
 Matthew Atkins  photo Matthew Atkins Partner
 James Austin  photo James Austin Senior Partner
 Chris Barker  photo Chris Barker Partner
 Katie Beaven  photo Katie Beaven Partner
 Liz Brownsell  photo Liz Brownsell Senior Associate, Co-Head of Charities and Social Enterprise
 Oliver Crichton  photo Oliver Crichton Partner
 Alex Davey  photo Alex Davey Partner
 Pam Dawson  photo Pam Dawson Senior Associate (F.Inst.L.Ex)
 James Dinwiddy  photo James Dinwiddy Partner
 Philippa Dyer  photo Philippa Dyer Senior Associate
 Richard Eaton  photo Richard Eaton Partner
 Nigel Farthing  photo Nigel Farthing Partner
 Mark Gipson  photo Mark Gipson Partner
 Matthew Gowen  photo Matthew Gowen Partner (Barrister)
 Oliver Gravell  photo Oliver Gravell Partner
 James Hall  photo James Hall Senior Solicitor
 Mark Henry  photo Mark Henry Partner
 Robert Howard  photo Robert Howard Debt Recovery Manager
 Catherine Johnson  photo Catherine Johnson Partner
 Graham Kershaw  photo Graham Kershaw Senior Associate
 Louise Long  photo Louise Long Partner and Head of Probate – Ipswich
 Stuart Raven  photo Stuart Raven Partner
 James Robinson  photo James Robinson Partner
 Chris Schwer  photo Chris Schwer Partner
 Ruth Sunaway  photo Ruth Sunaway Partner
 Laura Thomas  photo Laura Thomas Partner (Barrister)
 Andrew Tubb  photo Andrew Tubb Partner
 Nicholas Woo  photo Nicholas Woo Partner
 Charlotte Wormstone  photo Charlotte Wormstone Legal Director
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

One of East Anglia's most successful law firms, Birketts LLP has benefitted from its considerable growth in the last decade to become a firm favourite with trainees outside London. Trainees looking for a 'City-firm standard of work with regional firm work/life balance' are attracted to Bricketts for its 'reputation in the region' and for 'having a more relaxed atmosphere'. Birketts repeats its Lex 100 Winner awards for work/life balance as well as for trainee confidence in retention upon completion of the training contract. Both awards are testament to the firm's well-deserved reputation for training and approachability. Trainees highlight that 'compared with other firms in the region, Birketts has probably one of the best, if not the best, training contract and is definitely the one everyone wants'. The firm is 'comparable to City firms, only without the same level of stress. The calibre of clients is high and often you are involved throughout a case, which provides depth and variety to your training'. Training is described as providing 'lots of responsibility, much better hours, more variety of experience, less pressure, more approachable supervisors and a more relaxed culture' with a large 'breadth of seat options'. The firm has a strong pro-bono programme as well as CSR activities, such as the Sleep Out in Norwich and participation in the 2020 Cumbrian Challenge for Walking with the Wounded. Trainee highlights include 'doing the advocacy for a client in the family court', 'attending a highly-publicised manslaughter trial', 'first completion in my commercial property seat' and 'attending a mediation with a partner in a partnership dispute worth upwards of a million and being trusted with the settlement documentation'.