Birketts LLP > Ipswich, England > Firm Profile

Birketts LLP
Providence House
141-145 Princes Street
IPSWICH
IP1 1QJ
England

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 1

Birketts LLP 'represents the best of what you can get in London, but represented in the Eastern region' and one client remarks that it has 'a great team of highly professional and experienced lawyers which has resulted in them establishing one of the best market profiles in the region'. Cambridge is a key hub for the cross-office corporate practice, which handles regional, national and, increasingly, international transactions. The 'experienced, commercial and bright' James Allen is the lead partner in Cambridge, where early-stage funding expert Quentin Golder, private equity specialist Adrian Seagers and experienced ICT partner Andrew Priest are key practitioners. Legal director Nick Burt also plays a pivotal role in high-value corporate transactions. He advised SDI Group plc on its £4.9m acquisition of Scientific Vacuum Systems.

Practice head(s):

James Allen

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Good size and breadth of expertise – definitely one of the most complete and well respected corporate teams in Cambridge’

‘James Allen is experienced, commercial and bright.’

‘Birketts represents the best of what you can get in London, but represented in the Eastern region. They have built a great team of highly professional and experienced lawyers which has resulted in them establishing one of the best market profiles in the region.’

‘I’ve worked with the the Cambridge corporate team on a number of transaction over several years including some deals in the past 12 months. James Allen and Simona Gruodyte work well as a team and both are excellent. The advice they given clients is very direct and straight forward makes it easy for clients to understand the consider commercially. They fight hard on key issues but are willing to be more pragmatic on items that have less of a commercial downside.’

‘Nick Burt, Simona Gruodyte and all the team are friendly and helpful 24/7.’

‘Projected costings were correct and stuck to.’

Key clients

Time GB Group Limited

Milbank Group

SDI Group plc

Chestnut Inns Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised SDI Group plc on its acquisition of Scientific Vacuum Systems Limited for £4.9 million.
  • Advised Essex-based, family-owned company, Milbank, known for its precast concrete products, on its purchases, including of Bruno Rimini Ltd (trading as Silostop).
  • Advised on the sale of Goddard Veterinary Group, the largest family-owned veterinary group in the UK.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a six-partner corporate and commercial practice in its Ipswich office, making it the largest team in Suffolk. 'The advice is good at the level we need and is adapted to clients' needs', remarks one client. The firm acts for a diverse mix of local businesses and national organisations across a wide range of sectors, among them leisure, manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceuticals and construction. Corporate finance, M&A and private equity partner Alexandra Nelson leads the practice. Senior partner James Austin handles commercial contracts and transactional work. Mark Gipson is 'always available and goes that extra mile'. Finance specialist Andrew Tubb is 'highly professional, dedicated and takes the right approach to get deals done'. Employee incentives partner Lisa Hayward and senior associate Emma Bysouth are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Alexandra Nelson; James Austin; Mark Gipson; Andrew Tubb; Lisa Hayward

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘My dealings across the firm have always been positive and when our main contact is unavailable, we have received a response in quick timely manner. The advice we are given is good at the level we need and has been adapted to our needs and requirements within our business, especially when looking at new commercial contracts. Birketts came up with a feedback template which helped our business for new contracts, understanding the risks by entering into them.’

‘We have dealt with Mark Gipson for a number of years. He has been an excellent working partner with us, always available for advice and when there is an urgent request, makes himself available. He will also go that extra mile, having responses when he should be on holiday. The responses and advice he gives us is easily understandable and this is something that differs from a previous firm that we dealt with before Birketts.’

‘The Corporate Team at Birketts is a highly experienced and focussed team They are highly credible and professional. As far as East Anglia law firms are concerned, there is simply no comparison with any other team. Choosing Birketts’ Corporate Team is a very easy choice.’

‘Andrew Tubb is highly professional, dedicated and takes the right approach to get deals done. It is the commercial awareness and understanding of business which sets him apart.’

Key clients

Denny Bros Limited

Foresight Group

Skinner Pet Food Ltd

Jas Bowman & Sons Limited

Notcutts Limited

Muntons Plc

G.A.H. Refrigeration Ltd

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

Berlin Packaging Limited

Host Capital Ltd

Juuce Limited

Vehicle Replacement Group Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Denny Bros Limited in relation to the transfer of a controlling interest to an employee ownership trust (EOT).
  • Advised the individual shareholders of Best of Suffolk Ltd on their sale to Sykes Cottages.
  • Advised Foresight on its equity investment into Beckett Investment Management Group Limited.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has 'in-depth corporate and commercial knowledge and vast amounts of experience to enable clients to conduct key commercial transactions'. The firm has specialists in public company work, M&A, reorganisations, restructurings and employee ownership trusts. Adrian Possener, who focuses on transactional work for public companies, and corporate finance specialist Greg Allan are the lead partners. Allan assisted software company Time 4 Advice with its multimillion-pound sale to Integrafin. Ed Savory frequently acts for regional SMEs and leads the firm's activity in the food sector. 'He has the art of understanding a complex legal situation and being able to break it down for a client to understand', remarks one client. Newly promoted partner Paul Palik leads the commercial team in Norwich, specialising in technology projects and the healthcare sector.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Possener; Greg Allan

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Solution-driven and proactive solutions for sensible value.’

‘Commitment to conclude work – in and out of hours.’

‘The Birketts team provides us with in-depth corporate and commercial knowledge and vast amounts of experience to enable us to conduct key commercial transactions.’

‘The team consists of very knowledgeable individuals who understand our needs and are always able to respond to the needs of the transaction.’

‘Birketts Norwich office have a well rounded team of differing experience and expertise. They work collaboratively together to ensure the right people in the organisation are dealing with the right work. More junior staff always show good aptitude and attention to detail whilst senior staff can deliver great advice to their clients from the experiences they have had as one of the most active corporate legal advisory teams in the region.’

‘Ed Savory is very strong commercially. He has the art of understanding a complex legal situation and being able to break it down for a client to understand, digest and act on.’

‘The team was very personable and collaborative. They did an exceptional job at solving every issue that was thrown at them during the transaction. In one particular instance, they solved a legal/tax problem that removed significant liability.’

‘Ed Savory is a fantastic corporate lawyer. He is very personable and is always organised, calm, understanding and delivers on time. He seems to integrate well with others in the team and always works seamlessly with other advisors involved in the transaction.’

Key clients

M7 Institutional Funds

Brookfield funds’ UK infrastructure group BUUK

CVS plc

Tex Holdings plc

Potters Leisure

Terravost

Black Swan

Time 4 Advice

Norse Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for M7 Real Estate Limited as purchaser of UK retail parks portfolio from then listed seller RDI REIT plc for £157 million.
  • Acting for international entrepreneur Richard Koch on various investments eg £15M in Hectare Agritech.
  • Acted for Potters Resorts on the purchase of Five Lakes leisure and tourist resort.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 1

The specialist corporate tax practice at Birketts LLP is 'of excellent quality, backed by professional leadership at partner level, an unique capacity and distinguished reputation in providing top-class legal services at extremely competitive costs to clients'. Head of corporate tax Karl Pocock and associate Ben Clarke in Norwich are highly recommended, as is Ipswich-based head of employee incentives Lisa Hayward, with clients noting that 'the team quickly understood the challenge we had and provided a workable solution in a timely manner'. Pocock recently advised the owners of Potters Resort on the tax aspects of the sale and purchase documentation as part of the company's expansion to a new location.

Practice head(s):

Karl Pocock; Lisa Hayward

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team at Birketts quickly understood the challenge we had and provided a workable solution in a timely manner.’

‘Karl Pocock and Ben Clarke drafted a practical and succinct covering letter which got to the root of the issue with HMRC and clarified our position leading to a successful result.’

‘Based on two decades of dealings with Birketts LLP, I consider its law practice of excellent quality, backed by professional leadership at partner level, an unique capacity and distinguished reputation in providing top-class legal services at extremely competitive costs to clients. Staff are well trained and exhibit a consistent corporate culture of attentiveness. The depth-of-team strengths is impressive.’

‘They are very responsive and knowledgeable. The quality of their services have consistently been so high at regional hourly rates that I sometimes pinched myself when comparing their billing levels with that of another London City law firm of comparable quality. For the same costs, I am able to gain far more frequent and greater depth of analytical consultation with a Birketts partner than an equivalent London law partner.’

‘Karl Pocock is a standout with a strong capacity in dissecting details and complexity, a solid knowledge base, and good writing skills in the delivery of precise advice on UK corporation tax to his clients. You can count on his timeliness and accuracy, particularly crucial elements in tax area. Highly sensitive of our need as international clients.’

Key clients

Potters Resort

Fullers (Builders) Limited

Vanilla Electronics Limited

Shareholders of Time4Advice

Buckingham Group Contracting Limited

Freightforce Distribution Limited

Denny Bros Limited

Brentwood Borough Council

EMG Motor Group

Redcat Pub Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Redcat Pub Company Limited on a private equity investment of £200m from leading US asset manager Oaktree.
  • Advised Buckingham Group Contracting Limited on it becoming a majority owned Employee Ownership Trust, the realisation of an existing CSOP incentive scheme and the implementation of a new growth share scheme.
  • Advised Potters Resorts on the acquisition of Five Lakes Resort in Essex.

Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a ‘caring and supportive‘ approach to high-stakes criminal matters, in which it frequently competes with established City firms. Barrister Matthew Gowen leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice from Ipswich, though he works across all of the firm’s four regional offices, and he epitomises the firm’s approach of in-house advocacy. The practice handles high-value private crime work, financial crime investigations, the defence of road transport offences, health and safety matters, trading standards and food law. Recently promoted partner Julie Gowland is also highly experienced in criminal and regulatory law, including substantial POCA matters.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘I have had a good experience – very caring and supportive.’

Crime, fraud and licensing > Licensing Tier 1

Birketts LLP acts on a diverse range of licensing and regulatory matters for clients in the leisure sector including breweries, hotel chains, night clubs, race courses, events operators, bingo hall chains, takeaway outlets, churches, wedding venues, public houses and concert promoters, as well as a host of peripheral retailers such as health clubs and garden centres. The firm also acts for numerous local councils, handling sub-committee hearings considering licence applications from all kinds of businesses. Legal director and head of licensing Julie Gowland in Norwich co-ordinates the firm's licensing work across five offices, and works closely with barrister Matthew Gowen in Ipswich, who is part of the regulatory and business defence practice.

Practice head(s):

Julie Gowland

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Gowen

Key clients

The Hotel Folk Limited

South Norfolk Council

Gastro Pubs Limited t/a Middletons Steak House

Brentwood Borough Council

The Maids Head Hotel Limited

Broxbourne Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Regularly instructed by South Norfolk Council to undertake the role of Legal Advisor at all sub-committee meetings where representations have been received in relation to applications for a premises licence. The team regularly advise in relation to the Council’s Taxi Licensing and Gambling Policies.
  • Advising Gastro Pubs on all licensing queries. The team regularly represent the client in respect of new premises licence applications, transfers and applications to vary DPS.
  • Dealing with the full range of alcohol licensing queries for The Hotel Folk, which owns and runs six hotels and event venues in Suffolk.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Cambridge Tier 1

The litigation team is always very good, working to your end goal and informing you of the likely outcome‘, says a client of Birketts LLP‘s Cambridge office. As well as being a leading advisor on contentious matters in the areas of shipping, education, public law, Judicial Review, procurement, defence and transport, the firm has a strong reputation in high-profile commercial litigation at a regional and national level. Practice head Laurence Weeks is ‘exceptionally talented and skilled in getting litigation matters resolved to the client’s satisfaction‘. Sara Sayer, who lead on public and administrative law, and Maria-Christina Peyman, who handles claims involving contracts, shareholders and directors, and restrictive covenants, are emerging partner talents.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Testimonials

‘The litigation team is always very good, working to your end goal and informing you of the likely outcome/steps that are required.’

‘Lawrence Weeks – exceptionally talented and skilled individual in getting litigation matters resolved to the client’s satisfaction.’

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a substantial commercial litigation practice across its office network and Ipswich is a key hub. It is home to two of the heads of the firm-wide practice, Matthew Atkins and Josh Ripman. Both handle a broad range of commercial disputes, among them tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder’s disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements, product liability matters, partnership disputes, claims arising from sale or purchase of companies or shares, and claims in connection with private and corporate insolvency. Experienced in all forms of ADR as well as litigation, the practice acts for local, national and international private companies, PLCs, individuals and professional partnerships in industry sectors as diverse as energy, media, finance, manufacturing, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Atkins; Josh Ripman

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 1

The Ipswich of Birketts LLP is home to a dedicated debt recovery practice, which acts for includes local and national private companies in a diverse range of industry sectors. Clients are ‘impressed with the speed and ease of access to the right specialist‘. Led by commercial litigation partner Josh Ripman, the practice has a strong track record of work for professional partnerships, private companies and major PLCs. Debt recovery executive Carl Fairfull is also highly experienced in credit control matters.

Practice head(s):

Josh Ripman

Other key lawyers:

Heather Abbott; Carl Fairfull

Testimonials

‘Having used Birketts for 20 years, as predominantly a debt recovery operation, I have always had confidence in the advice received, and the ability to draw on the expertise of other individuals within the firm, allows for any complication to be swiftly delt with.’

‘Easy to deal with, simple billing structure, highly responsive team giving good advice on a timely basis’

‘Pleasant to deal with and clear communication given. They make you feel like they care about the issues and are on our side. This is important for debt recovery situations as invariably the situation feels like there is an immovable block preventing payment. Birketts make you feel that there is a way round this block.’

‘We have only ever used Birketts LLP for our debt recovery management – we have always been happy with the service that they have provided. The staff are friendly and are very good at explaining and communicating all of the legal terms so that we fully understand and are up to date with our cases.’

‘For over 12 years now, we have a continued working relationship with the firm. We can safely say that we cannot fault them in the professional service that they provide. No matter what the issue has been, they have always advised and guided us in order for us to achieve the best result and outcome in all of our debt recovery management cases.’

Employment Tier 1

Birketts LLP ‘brings all the expertise and level of service I would expect from a London firm, but with local rates and a friendliness and approachability that makes them great to work with, whatever the requirement‘, says one client. The firm has five partners in a 26-lawyer team that covers every aspect of employment law from general HR matters to complex litigation. Jeanette Wheeler in Norwich leads the cross-office employment practice, assisted by Matthew Newnham and, in Cambridge, Abigail Trencher. Catherine Johnson and Sonya O’Reilly are the lead partners in Ipswich. Legal director Olivia Toulson in Cambridge joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP and senior associate Lucy Churchill in Norwich joined from Hansells, while Laura Brown is now a director at Howes Percival LLP.

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Wheeler

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Newnham; Abigail Trencher; Catherine Johnson; Sonya O’Reilly; Lucy Churchill; Olivia Toulson; Tom Sharpe; Catherine Hepworth

Testimonials

‘Birketts brings all the expertise and level of service I would expect from a London firm, but with local rates and a friendliness and approachability that makes them great to work with, whatever the requirement. Overall, the team has a vast array of experience that can be quickly and easily applied to bring a broad perspective and problem-solving approach.’

‘I deal primarily with Lucy Churchill. Lucy is always available to deal with urgent matters, is efficient and cclear in her handling of complex HR issues. Extremely efficient which keeps the bills at a manageable level.’

‘Tom Sharpe acted recently in relation to a high value claim. His advice, as always, was pragmatic and responsive and he delivered a good outcome for the business.’

‘Mat Newnham is exceptional. Always up to date and customises his advice for your organisations culture’

‘Very responsive advice delivered in an easily understood manner, with optional follow up. Excellent listening skills and ability to grasp the real issue They value my time and look to make best use of it Inspire confidence Excellent in their roles and delegate to colleagues with specialisms where needed. Highly recommend Catherine Hepworth.’

‘Legal issues surrounding people, and the emotional response that this inevitably brings, can be one of the most difficult legal challenges we face. Mat Newnham and Tom Sharpe are always at the end of a phone to give support, guidance and options which are based on a wealth of knowledge and experience to enable us to calmly and carefully navigate any situation we may be faced with. The personal service and regular check ins are always really helpful.’

‘We work closely with Mat Newnham and Tom Sharpe from the Norwich office. Both Mat and Tom were incredibly supportive, knowledgeable and guided us carefully through a process which was fraught with potential pitfalls throughout the height of a global pandemic. No question ever felt ‘silly’ or situation that arose where a solution couldn’t be found.’

‘Clear communication and ability to explain complex law matters to business people like myself. good at listening and thought gathering as part of any process.’

Key clients

East Coast Community Healthcare CIC

Acteon Group Limited

C. Hoare & Co

Diamond Learning Partnership Trust

Service Express Europe Limited (formerly Blue Chip Customer Engineering Limited)

Cambridge Office and Environment Limited

The Leys and St Faith’s Schools Foundation

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Applied Satellite Technology

Employment > Health and safety Tier 1

Birketts LLP has extensive cross-industry experience in serious health and safety, defence including disasters and multiple fatalities. The practice, which is made up of barristers, solicitors, and health and safety consultants, has a nationwide caseload and acts for clients in sectors as diverse as agriculture, manufacturing, leisure, construction and education. Barrister Matthew Gowen in Ipswich leads the practice. Legal director Julie Gowland in Norwich and Ipswich-based senior associate Daniel Irving are also key members of the regulatory and corporate defence practice.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 1

The banking and finance practice at Birketts LLP is known for its ‘high integrity and cooperation‘, and it is a key adviser to well-known institutional lenders, among them HSBC, Lloyds Bank and Santander. Recognised as a go-to regional firm for banking and finance work, it also advises a growing roster of alternative lenders including OakNorth Bank. Alex Schaafsma, who is ‘highly experienced and able to cut through the legal challenges in a timely manner‘, now leads the practice from Cambridge, where James Allen is a key adviser on banking matters, particular in regard to the financing of mobile home parks. Senior associate Kathryn Palmer is’ excellent in driving the process over the line‘. Partner Andrew Tubb in Ipswich also plays a key role in corporate finance and banking matters.

Practice head(s):

Alex Schaafsma

Other key lawyers:

James Allen; Andrew Tubb; Lottie Fletcher; Elizabeth Lee; Kathryn Palmer

Testimonials

‘Very capable team, strength in depth. Particular stand out locations are Chelmsford and Ipswich where I would say they are the best firm in each location.’

‘Birketts has acted for us on multiple deals over the past 2 years. These have often been complex and protracted due to unexpected external factors (including those under the CBILS scheme) and the Birketts team have been excellent in overcoming these difficulties.’

‘Alex Schaafsma as partner overseeing the banking team has proven herself to be highly experienced and able to cut through the legal challenges in a timely manner. She has always made herself available for calls outside of the usual process. Within Alex’s team, Kathryn Palmer in particular has been excellent in driving the process over the line, always maintaining suitable communications of status or action points.’

‘High integrity and cooperation.’

‘Lottie Fletcher and Elizabeth Lee, both are reliable and consistently expert in what they do.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

OakNorth Bank plc

Santander plc

Triple Point Capital

National Westminster Bank plc / RBS

Time Holdco Limited

Time Group Holdings Limited

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Alpha Bank London Limited

Secure Trust Bank plc

Oxbury Bank plc

Lendinvest

Muntons plc

Green Label Foods Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Alpha CRC Limited on two term loan facilities for each of £3,800,000 and £2,700,000 and a revolving credit facility for £750,000 from Shawbrook Bank Limited to facilitate the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Intertranslations S.A. together with a security package provided by the Group.
  • Advising a property developer on their financing arrangements – which span across a large group with borrowings from multiple lenders with different and at times, complex, security arrangements.
  • Advising Green Label Foods on its new £50m receivables, inventory and real estate financing facilities from HSBC UK Bank plc in order to refinance its existing facilities made available by another lender.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a large and dedicated restructuring and insolvency practice that spans its offices in Norwich, Ipswich, Chelmsford and Cambridge. It is led from Cambridge by vastly experienced partner Laurence Weeks, who works closely with key partner Maria-Christina Peyman and, in Norwich non-contentious specialist Greg Allan and qualified barrister Andrew Kinnison. The firm has a national client base of insolvency practitioners, among them McTear Williams & Wood, Ensors and Bulley Davey. Allan acted for Price Bailey in the administration of construction supplier business, which included the disposal of the trading undertaking.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Key clients

Price Bailey as liquidators of Colonial Capital (in liquidation)

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

McTear Williams & Wood

Privilege Finance

Ensors LLP

Price Waterhouse Coopers

FRP Advisory LLP

Bulley Davey

Peters Elworthy & Moore

CVR / Begbies Traynor

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a large agriculture and estate practice that is led by Chris Coupland in Norwich. He focuses on agricultural property matters including freehold sales and purchases, landlord and tenant matters and renewable energy projects. Also in Norwich, head of private client Jack Royall is a long-standing adviser to the farming community on property and succession planning matters, and up-and-coming partner Sophia Key is ‘exceptional in giving sound and practical advice that meets the client’s objectives‘. In Cambridge, Rachel McKillop-Wilkin in Cambridge and James Dinwiddy in Ipswich ‘understand the issues and are highly effective‘. Also in Ipswich, senior associate Tom Verrill is an agricultural property specialist.

Practice head(s):

Chris Coupland

Other key lawyers:

Sophia Key; Rachel McKillop-Wilkin; James Dinwiddiy; Katy Moss; Tom Verrill; Jack Royall

Testimonials

‘James Dinwiddy and Rachel McKillop-Wilkin understand the issues and have been highly effective. Katy Moss is extremely efficient and has turned round work very quickly’

‘The agricultural team is exceptionally hard working and conscientious. The team apply a commercial pragmatic approach. They are well respected across the whole industry and have strength and depth right through the firm.’

‘Tom Verrill is highly experienced and sensible, with sound judgement and is extremely professional and efficient.’

‘Great level of communication with Client and other professionals and have a pragmatic approach’

‘Good and broad depth of knowledge and resources. Practical and rounded advice give. Excellent position in the marketplace as dominant East Anglia rural property and agriculture team’

‘Sophia Key is exceptional in giving sound and practical advice that meets the clients’ objectives and is commercial in outlook.’

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Birketts LLP has 'in-depth knowledge and experience, and provides very clear advice and guidance'. The firm gas a dedicated charities practice that draws on expertise from other teams, notably employment, immigration, property and litigation. It handles the formation of charities, as well as providing procurement and fundraising advice, and it has specialist knowledge of the ecclesiastical sector. Charity law specialist Liz Brownsell in Ipswich leads the practice. She assisted with the establishment of the UK Cyber Security Council. Legal director Erika Clarke  and senior associate Frances Godden are the key practitioners in Norwich. Brownsell and Godden are 'relaxed and approachable, very responsive, knowledgeable and highly skilled in communicating to a broad audience'.

Practice head(s):

Liz Brownsell

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘All Birketts’ professionals are just that – very professional. They have in depth knowledge and experience which has been invaluable to us as clients. They provide very clear advice and guidance – both on the telephone, in emails and documents too. They also provide good support to other members of their Birketts’ team when they are called upon to add their specialist expertise.’

‘Our point of contact and primary professional advisor has been Liz Brownsell who has provided exceptional work, is totally reliable and makes herself available beyond normal working hours – all of which we value very highly.’

‘There are a range of subject matter experts across all of the key areas of our operations but they do not work in isolation and we feel we are being supported by a single entity, rather than a group of loosely connected individuals as can be the case elsehwere.’

‘Staff are relaxed and approachable, very responsive, knowledgeable and highly skilled in communicating to a broad audience. Liz Brownsell and Frances Godden are our go-to people and opitimise these qualities.’

‘The team meet the needs of our organisation by adapting to what we need rather than thrust what they want to do or think we want. They use various IT to support them which is straightforward and logical.’

‘I find each member of the team effective. I appreciated Liz Brownsell meeting me in person to find out what our vision is. She is good at communicating and thorough in her role. Also, I found Frances Godden helpful if I had a query and efficient in dealing with it.’

‘Being based in Ipswich, the team are competitively priced but provide a service comparable with any in London, or elsewhere. Service is excellent, focused through a main contact but with quick and easy access across all the skill-sets available in the wider team, and with all fully briefed and up-to-speed with our requirements. We have been able to call on a diverse range of skills from IP, DP, HR, commercial, public procurement, charity and governance. We worked entirely remotely (due to the pandemic) but always felt they were part of our team and always on hand when needed.’

Key clients

Amnesty International

WWF-UK

Royal Horticultural Society

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

The Royal Academy of Arts

The UK Cyber Security Council

Trust for London

London Diocesan Fund

The Diocese of Norwich

The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

The Diocese of London

The Child Health Research CIO

The All Saints Educational Trust

What Works for Children’s Social Care

The Maslow Foundation

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH)

East Anglian Air Ambulance

Hartpury University

British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS)

Disability Advice Service Lambeth

Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Limited

National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB)

Quadram Institute of Biosciences

Spiritualists’ National Union Trust

CHESS Homeless

The Tibet Relief Fund for the United Kingdom

Gecko Theatre

St Elizabeth Hospice (Suffolk)

Suffolk Mind

Work highlights

  • Advised on the formation of The UK Cyber Security Council as a new professional membership charity established to raise and regulate standards of practice within the cyber security industry, and on its application for a Royal Charter.
  • Advising Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Limited on its £12.5 million project to construct a new hospice to replace the current Priscilla Bacon Lodge, including advising on all aspects of charity law, property law and construction law in connection with the complex project (which involves a number of other third parties).
  • Since 2013, the firm has have advised East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) in respect of all of its new charity shop leases and management of its retail portfolio of circa 50 charity shops.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a dedicated contentious trusts and probate team that frequently handles disputes concerning trusts, actions under the Inheritance Act 1975, challenges to the validity of wills, charitable legacy disputes, the rights of adopted and illegitimate children, and disputes concerning powers of attorney and financial abuse of the vulnerable. ‘Tenacious and clever‘ partner Bernadette Baker in Norwich leads the practice and she ‘fights very hard for her clients but recognises the need to resolve differences and reach a negotiated settlement‘. Clients are ‘hugely impressed by her robust and common-sense approach to difficult litigation‘ of senior associate Kate Harris in Cambridge. Senior associate Marie McMahon in Norwich is ‘‘very supportive and explains things very well is great at saying what needs to be added to correspondence and what isn’t going to be helpful‘.

Practice head(s):

Bernadette Baker

Other key lawyers:

Kate Harris; Marie McMahon

Testimonials

‘It’s a very solid regional firm, with a strong pedigree in contentious trusts and estates and an excellent team led by Bernadette Baker and with first-rate support from stand-out individuals, such as Kate Harris. One of the firm’s strengths is that it is able to draw on expertise in other fields of law where cases require cross-over input, from private client or from corporate angles. This allows a composite approach to the litigation and resolution of cases.’

‘I have worked with Kate Harris in particular and been hugely impressed by her robust and common-sense approach to difficult litigation. She is utterly reliable and will forge ahead to find a resolution.’

‘It is a considerable team which is growing steadily. They have breadth and depth, as well as knowledge and capacity.’

‘Bernadette Baker is tenacious and clever. She will fight very hard for her clients but recognises the need to resolve differences and reach a negotiated settlement. She is a skilful practitioner and she ably leads her team. I have no hesitation in recommending her.’

‘Birketts has so far provided a greater level of expertise, communication and holistic advice than has been my experience from other legal firms. I would say that their strengths are taking the time to understand and consider all the relevant facts/details, and provide advice appropriate to the context. This contrasts greatly to my experience of other legal firms who often fail to grasp the complexities and often lack the necessary knowledge and expertise to provide relevant probate advice.’

‘I feel that we have a relationship based on mutual trust which is vital when choosing legal representation. My previous experience of law firms in this field left me doubting the advice they were giving, and this was often borne out by the consequences of their actions. It’s important that your legal representatives trust the information and decisions you provide, and that you can in turn trust them to provide accurate and informed advice based on that. Bernadette Baker and her team have been excellent at listening, understanding and trusting the information we’ve provided, and in acting accordingly.’

‘Good team with strength in depth, and good links to litigation department for more contentious work. Needed to be prodded a little to find an alternative dispute resolution rather than confrontational litigation.’

‘Marie McMahon is very supportive and explains things very well is great at saying what needs to be added to correspondence and what isn’t going to be helpful. Her team are very good at being abreast of all the tangled twists and turns in our case. All are supportive and kind.’

Private client > Family Tier 1

At Birketts LLP, ‘the team  is crammed full of talented individuals, who are excellent at what they do, and their care to clients is first-class‘. In Ipswich, Katie Beaven is a key adviser to local business people and farming families.  Legal director Juliet Harvey is the national chair of Resolution. In Cambridge, up-and-coming partner Sarah Overy has a strong international and local practice in both high net worth financial settlements and complex Children Act applications. Senior associates Lisa Cornish and Deborah Lloyd are key members of the Norwich team.

Other key lawyers:

Katie Beaven; Sarah Overy; Juliet Harvey; Lisa Cornish; Deborah Lloyd; Denise Findlay; Ivana Radovic

Testimonials

‘The team at Birketts is crammed full of talented individuals, who are excellent at what they do. The care to clients is first class.’

‘Special mention must go to Juliet Harvey and Katie Beaven for the way in which they deal with clients. Their knowledge is right up there with the best.’

‘Juliet Harvey – very experienced and has great judgment’

‘Birketts is able to offer London quality at regional rates.’

‘Lisa Cornish and Denise Findlay bring complementary qualities to the team. Their calmness under pressure and dealing with complex issues is a very important quality.’

‘The team have a flowing high standard of working. By that I mean from the secretaries to the assistants to the lawyers. They make for a reliable and easy and efficient service’

‘Ivana Radovic is exceptional at case preparation. She is incredibly diligent and ensures that the link between client and counsel is smooth.’

Key clients

Acted for the father in the published case of XM v XF [2021] EWHC 129 (FAM)

Work highlights

  • Acted for the father in the published case of XM v XF [2021]. The family lived as expatriates in Dubai. Following the breakdown of the marriage there were contested injunction, children and financial proceedings. The quantum, form and duration of contact was fiercely contested. Due to Covid, the parties were unable to attend Court in person.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge Tier 1

Birketts LLP shows ‘a depth of technical ability and willingness to work together to meet the client needs and time frames‘. The firm handles the full range of private client work, including trust administration, succession planning, lifetime tax planning and employee ownership trusts, and its practice handles both domestic and international matters. Louise Long  in Ipswich is head of wills and advisory, working closely with key partner Caroline Stenner in Cambridge. Also in Cambridge, newly promoted partner Rachel Winter  is a key adviser to some of the firm’s biggest clients and senior associates Kimberly Sayward and James Marsh play pivotal roles in the practice. ‘They demonstrate a good level of personal service and ensure efficient and cost-effective resolutions‘, remarks one client.

Practice head(s):

Louise Long; Caroline Stenner

Testimonials

‘Exceptionaly knowledgeable, thorough, understood the issues within a very short space of time, worked to pressing deadlines. Detailed knowledge of probate and inheritance tax law and process. Absolute transparency on costing.’

‘Kimberly Sayward dealt with the application for probate and inheritance tax/final tax on my late mother’s estate. With a firm of the quality of Birketts I would expect outstanding service. This was delivered with an absolutely exceptional level of personal care and regular communication such that I felt valued and confident at every stage.’

‘I moved to Birketts following issues with another firm in Cambridge. The difference is service has been astonishing. I was basically ignored by the other firm, who did nothing for three weeks. I asked a friend for a recommendation and she suggested James Marsh of Birketts. James had been brilliant so far and I have no reason to think this will not continue until the settlement of my grandmother’s estate. James is efficient, professional, friendly and inspires confidence.’

‘James Marsh has been such a help to me. He is extremely knowledgeable, updates you continually and keeps to his promises. He does not mind how many questions you ask, or how many emails you send. He gives you his time and is happy to chat anything through.’

‘Birketts LLP have served my clients to the highest of standards. They demonstrate a good level of personal service along with appropriate allocation of resources that ensures the efficient and cost effective resolutions.’

‘The individuals have a can do attitude to resolving a situation rather than presenting hurdles. Friendly, approachable and efficient.’

‘Birketts have a strong tax, trusts and probate team – Kimberly Sayward has strong technical ability, is clear and concise in her advice to clients and always willing to the extra mile.’

‘Kimberly Sayward has worked with many of my clients over the years and I’ve always had fantastic feedback. Kim stands out because she is highly responsive, thorough in her preparation and her technical expertise is very strong.’

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

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is a key hub in the firm’s cross-office private client advisory practice, which handles a diverse range of matters, among them business succession, trust administration, lifetime tax planning, wills, LPAs and Court of Protection matters. The firm has ‘an extremely knowledgeable and friendly team that compares very well to peers‘. Louise Long leads the practice across all five of the firm’s offices, and specialises in the administration of estates. Senior associates Rhiannon Russell and Jessica Godfrey-Witheystand out for their client care and easy to explain manner with clients‘. Senior associate Katie Hawksley specialises in international private client matters.

Practice head(s):

Louise Long

Testimonials

‘An extremely knowledgeable and friendly team. Compares very well to peers.’

‘Rhiannon Russell and Jessica Godfrey-Withey stand out for their client care and easy to explain manner with clients.’

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich Tier 1

The private client practice at Birketts LLP is ‘practical, knowledgeable, efficient, well informed, helpful and responsive’. The firm has a large team in Norwich that acts for many of the largest farming families, landed estates, businesses and entrepreneurs in East Anglia, and works closely with the agriculture practice to meet the specific needs of rural clients. Lorna Spear, who specialises in complex trust work, particularly for landed estates in East Anglia and beyond, and head of private client advisory Jack Royall are the key practitioners in Norwich. Senior associates Lisa Cornish and Hayley Pettitt, and associate Emily O’Donnell are key figures in the private client practice, handling tax and succession planning for high-net-worth clients and landed estate, wills, probate, and trust administration.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Spear; Jack Royall

Other key lawyers:

Helen Cordingley; Lisa Cornish; Emily O’Donnell; Leo McMahon; Hayley Pettitt

Testimonials

‘Birketts looked outside of the box at our business, giving diverse, plus expert tax and estate planning which will stand the business in good stead, not just now, but for the next generation.’

‘Emily O’Donnell is very knowledgeable.’

‘Practical, knowledgeable, efficient.’

‘Well informed, helpful, responsive.

‘Lisa Cornish is always on the end of phone with valuable up-to-date advice. Always listens to what sometimes can be quite in depth personal information. The same goes for Helen Cordingley. Both Lisa and Helen worked hand in hand to sort out a number of things that where time critical and done in order which the target was reached at all times.’

‘Hayley Pettitt was very concerned to provide the best assistance.’

Public sector Tier 1

Birketts LLP 'provides excellent customer service and is confident in giving advice on complex legal issues, and one of its major strengths is the ability to view an issue from a local standpoint'. The firm coordinates a strong multidisciplinary team including property, charities, corporate, employment and public law expertise to support public sector clients, among them The Broads Authority, Anglia Ruskin University and South Norfolk Council. Head of public sector and local government Ruth Neave works across all four of the firm's offices, working closely with head of education Abigail Trencher in Cambridge and head of health Matthew Newnham in Norwich. Head of the academies practice Liz Brownsell  in Ipswich is also a key adviser to charities and education clients.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Neave; Abigail Trencher; Matthew Newnham

Other key lawyers:

Liz Brownsell; Hannah Harbottle; Frances Godden

Testimonials

‘Birketts has an unusually strong Administrative and Public Law team for a regional firm, with regular appearances for public bodies and private parties in the Administrative Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The firm has proved particularly adept at using IT and innovative technologies to maintain and improve client and lawyer contact during the pandemic.’

‘The team meet the needs of our organisation by adapting to what we need rather than thrust what they want to do or think we want. They use various IT to support them which is straightforward and logical.’

‘I find each member of the team effective. Liz Brownsell is good at communicating and thorough in her role. Also, I found Hannah Harbottle and Frances Godden both helpful if I had a query and efficient in dealing with it.’

Birketts provide excellent customer service and are confident in giving advice on complex legal issues. One of their major strengths is their ability to view an issue from a local standpoint; this is a significant advantage for us as a public authority.’

‘Working with Birketts has been fantastic. From my first meeting with Ruth Neave, everything ran smoothly and Ruth is always available for advice on our account. The team provide excellent legal advice and are very responsive to our particular needs.’

‘We have rather specialist legal requirements being in effect a national park navigation and port authority. The team at Birketts has the breadth of expertise to meet our needs. We also have a heavily constrained budget and the monthly reports on the progress of our work and the costs are very useful in tracking what is happening.’

‘Our main contact is Ruth Neave who has proved to provide outstanding service. She coordinates all our tasks and reports regularly on progress. I have a monthly catch-up with her which is really helpful in checking on where the more difficult cases have got to. Her attitude flows down to the solicitors doing the work who listen carefully to the brief and in our experience have provided sound legal advice.’

‘Their experience and knowledge of the independent education sector. Also their local knowledge. They also manage a networking service of independent schools in the local area.’

Key clients

South Norfolk Council

Breckland Council

The Broads Authority

Babergh District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Suffolk County Council

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Teaching Regulation Agency

Cambridgeshire County Council

CIFCO Capital Limited

Diamond Learning Trust

Anglia Ruskin University

Sapientia Education Trust

Big Sky Living

Concertus Design and Property Consultancy Limited

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

College of West Anglia

Boudica Schools Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising Breckland Council in relation to possible offences to be brought against a company following a work place accident which resulted in the death of one of its employees.
  • Advising on a joint instruction multiple Council’s in Norfolk to review their affordable housing obligations and prepare a revised Norfolk Wide standard to improve joint working and streamline obligations.
  • Retained to provide comprehensive legal support in relation to employment law for an expanding Multi-Academy Trust, which currently comprises of 14 schools.

Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 1

'We know we can rely upon the firm to bring innovative and pragmatic solutions to commercial real estate problems', says a client of Birketts LLP. A market leader in strategic land development, the firm also excels in commercial real estate transactions, real estate investment, clean and renewable energy projects, residential development and investment management. Practice head Kath Herbert takes the lead on strategic land development matters, and handles major schemes for landowners across the UK, including matters Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Bromley, Kent, South Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire. Claudia Haisman-Green and senior associate Helen Stewart also deal with high-value and complex strategic land and development matters, acting for both landowners and developers. Gavin Acheson and Gemma Goddard lead the real estate investment team. Jeremy Stanton focuses heavily on  clean energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Kath Herbert

Testimonials

‘The sense that they are a very safe pair of hands looking after our business. The partners are very approachable and happy to explain difficult issues. The resourcing within the firm and back up for younger members of the team appears to be thorough and very professional.’

‘Claudia Haisman-Green is a standout partner whose straightforward knowledge and advice is excellent. Corinne Smith is a standout associate whose attention to her client and overall performance is also excellent, even exceptional!’

‘We have a long-term relationship with Birketts Commercial Property team. Our long term relationship is built upon trust and we know we can rely upon Birketts to bring innovative and pragmatic solutions to commercial real estate problems. The extensive number of legal disciplines available within the Cambridge office mean that all our needs, from finance to construction, can all be dealt with locally with super efficiency.’

‘Birketts have a clear staff hierarchy and our key contact Gemma Goddard has been outstanding. Gemma is always made available at her earliest opportunity and will direct other relevant personnel that need to get involved with transactions.’

‘We have been supported by an incredibly skilled and capable team at Birketts. We approached them on the recommendation of a friend and our expectations have been exceeded over and over again.’

‘Claudia Haisman Green has done the lion’s share of the work for us. I would recommend her to anyone! She has been firm and held ground on our behalf, she has explained complicated legal positions incredibly effectively and walked us through the potential consequences of different courses of action. She has given us access to other partner specialists in the firm when it is required, giving us confidence in our plan, and in all the decision making. Her communication both face to face and written is exemplary, both in content and tone.’

‘Total confidence in their capacity to represent us as clients. Prompt referral to specialists within company where necessary. Seamless liaison between departments to our benefit. Approachable at all times, prompt return of calls when busy. Client-centred, collaborative approach: we felt valued and respected.’

‘Helen Stewart was outstanding. She was central to everything working so smoothly. At the very end, on the final day of signing contracts, when the going got very tough and barrier after barrier kept being presented by the other parties, Helen just got tougher and calmly and systematically sorted everything out. Amazing.’

Key clients

HSBC UK

Philip Goddard & Others

Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising HSBC UK in relation to a complex secured lending transaction with a value of £3.5 million.
  • Advising Philip Goddard and others on the sale of the largest family-owned veterinary group in the UK, Goddard Veterinary Group, to VetPartners.
  • Providing property, construction, planning and specialist charity law advice to Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Limited in relation to the relocation of their hospice operations and construction of a new facility at a key strategic position adjacent to the site of Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Real estate > Commercial property: elsewhere in East Anglia Tier 1

Commercial property lawyers in the Ipswich office of Birketts LLP are 'willing to go that extra mile and explain legislation to us numerous times'. Whether in strategic land matters, portfolio management, commercial and residential development, or transactions for utilities, the firm has one of the deepest practices in the region. Chris Schwer, who has particular expertise acting for housebuilders and developers advising on collaboration arrangements, joint ventures, options and promotion agreements. and Stephen Sumpton, who acts for investors, developers and major corporate occupiers, lead the practice. The 'cool calm and collected' Oliver Crichton handles a leading property pension’s lawyer, while Stuart Raven frequently deals with the sale and purchase of large investment properties, high-value leases and commercial development projects. Up-and-coming partner Vicki Chilton, legal director Julie Hoy and senior associate Amanda Timcke also play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Chris Schwer; Stephen Sumpton

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team are always contactable and willing to help. They are willing to go that extra mile and explain legislation to us numerous times. The fees are extremely competitive and for pensions they are unbeatable in the market.’

‘We have worked with Sam Froud for years now; he is a credit to the Birketts team. He is always there for us know matter how big all small the query may be. The helpful and efficient service he provides is second to none. Everyone enjoys working with him.’

‘Birketts’ commercial property team is proactive and understands the client needs. They work to agreed timescales and understand their clients objectives.’

‘Oliver Crichton is cool, calm and collected. We completed a transaction with Oliver personally late on 24 December last year after many people had finished work for Christmas days earlier.’

‘Birketts’ commercial property team offer service and expertise on a par with the best, and benefit from sitting within a full service practice, providing depth of knowledge for more unusual situations requiring a co-ordinated approach. They are commercial, pragmatic, responsive, and with excellent access to partners and senior associates. They compare very favourably to the top Tier 1 London practices, but at a realistic fee level.’

‘We have worked with Stuart Raven for many years and remain firm fans of his. His prompt, detailed, commercial, problem solving, and sensible approach gets things done as quickly as possible, but without unnecessary compromise. We have also been very pleased to work with Hannah Meara and Amanda Timcke this year, who we are also notable for their clear advice, commercial approach, attention to detail, and tenacious attitudes.’

‘Birketts have been exceptional in their services. Our purchases often come with complex issues and tight deadlines but the team have expert knowledge in our field meaning we have full trust that we are fully protected.’

‘Over the years, we have worked with a number of different solicitors, all of who have been thorough, professional and dedicated. Keith Andrews is our key contact at Birketts who reviews all the purchases and will always take on those he feels require extra assistance to ensure that the quality of service we receive never falters.’

Key clients

Hopkins Homes Ltd

The Churchmanor Estates Company Plc

Dencora Group

M7 Real Estate Ltd

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.

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

Suffolk County Council

Basildon Borough Council

Lendinvest

Barclays

Lloyds TSB

HSBC

Fairview New Homes

Work highlights

  • Acting as co-counsel in relation to the sale of Hopkins Homes Limited to Terra Firma. The transaction comprised a complex intra-group reorganisation; and the exercising of and completion of numerous land options during and as part of the sale.
  • Acting for NNB Generation Company (SZC) Ltd (an EDF company) in securing privately negotiated option agreements with landowners across the region for numerous sites associated with the proposed Sizewell C development.
  • Acting for Dencora in securing an agreement for lease to a major global corporate, conditional on the acquisition and development of the land by Dencora to the specification of the corporate tenant. The land then being forward sold by Dencora as an investment upon completion of the lease.

Real estate > Commercial property: Norwich Tier 1

The Norwich office of Birketts LLP has 'a very prompt, efficient and knowledgeable team, with London service but at regional rates'. 'The team has a wealth of knowledge but can explain it in a practical way', remarks one client. The firm handles the full range of property work, including development, strategic land, investment management, acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant, and real estate finance matters. Melissa Loucas leads the practice and has a particularly strong track record of transactions in the office and industrial sectors. Chris Hoxley specialises in residential development, acting for national and regional house builders and Cameron Barlow handles portfolio asset management and high-value acquisitions and disposals of commercial property. Up-an-coming partner Bhargav Trivedi is 'always available, utterly reliable, hugely knowledgeable, highly experienced and commercial', and Elizabeth Lee is recommended for real estate finance matters. Senior associate Andrew Ridout also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Melissa Loucas

Testimonials

‘Very prompt, efficient and knowledgeable team, with London service but at regional rates.’

‘Bhargav Trivedi: always available, utterly reliable, hugely knowledgeable, highly experienced and commercial.’

‘The team is extremely approachable. The team has a wealth of knowledge but can explain it in a practical way. They are very flexible and have a team who have a shared ambition of customer service.’

‘There are some very capable individuals within the team. Their attitude is always positive and they approach tasks with energy and determination.’

Key clients

Interbay Funding Ltd

LendInvest

Vello Limited

East Anglian Property Limited

Upper King Street Limited

Wallblock Limited

Surplus Property Solutions Limited

Westbrook Partners

M7 Real Estate Limited

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 plc

Norwich Airport Limited

Surplus Property Solutions Limited

MH Star UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Sole legal adviser to M7 Real Estate/Oxford Properties Group on over £300m of deals comprising 12 separate acquisitions for a new retail park fund.
  • Acting for Westbrook Partners as joint advisers on the sale of 27 multi-let industrial assets totalling close to 1.7m sq ft to Blackstone for circa £200m.

Real estate > Construction Tier 1

Birketts LLP has refreshed its construction practice following the departure of key partners in 2021 and now has a 15-lawyer practice that has dedicated construction lawyers operating in all of its four offices. It handles a broad range of work that spans development funding, public sector and infrastructure projects, contract documentation, and contentious matters. Stefan Harris-Wright leads the practice from Cambridge and he is ‘a true professional, always calm and thoughtful‘. He advised O&H Land on the negotiation of construction documentation across its estate. Up-and-coming partner Catherine Andrews in Ipswich joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, as did legal director Patrick Cooney in Cambridge. Also in Cambridge, senior associate Katrina Bretten stands out for non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Harris-Wright

Testimonials

‘Its the personal touch, the team are very experienced but they know there clients and are able to offer us support tailored to our needs including training.’

‘Stefan Harris-Wright is a true professional, always calm, thoughtful and really understands our business.’

‘The people put onto our case were very knowledgeable and went all out to win for us when we decided as a matter of principle not to agree a settlement. Costs were estimated at the start and came in close to the original figure. No idea how diverse they are, and neither do I care. There was no collaboration required with other organisations.’

‘We worked with Catherine Andrews who was a star and even though she strongly advised us not to fight it, when we did she nevertheless put absolutely every effort into backing us and winning against three separate attempts by the other side.’

Key clients

O&H Land

Persimmon Homes (Anglia) Limited

Jesus College Developments (Oxford) Limited

Independent Community Heating Limited (ICHL)

This Land Development Limited

Private Client

Concertus Design and Property Consultants Limited (Concertus)

An engineering group of companies providing water treatment products and services internationally (“Waterco”)

Rock-Tech AV Ltd

Poppet Construction Limited

Borough of Broxbourne Council

Oxford Instruments Nanotechnology Tools Limited

Real estate > Planning and environment Tier 1

At Birketts LLP, 'the environmental practice is diligent, professional, courteous and friendly, taking the time to truly understand the needs of clients'. The firm advises both private and public sector clients, among them national and regional housebuilders, local authorities and strategic developers on planning and environmental law. Its work includes  large-scale strategic development projects of up to 10,000 new homes in Cambridge, Cirencester, Bury St Edmunds, Kings Lynn, Grantham and more. Tom Newcombe in Cambridge and, in Ipswich, Deborah Sharples and Richard Eaton are the lead partners. Sharples is vastly experienced in environmental law and 'has a perceptive appreciation of the wider picture and she is a powerful advocate in negotiations and hearings'. Legal director Nicola Doole and senior associate Chloe Glason, both based in in Ipswich, are highly recommended by clients for planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Tom Newcombe; Deborah Sharples; Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Birketts give you the confidence that when you do face a issue, there will be someone within their practice who will be able offer you the advice you require to make the appropriate decision.’

‘Deborah Sharples has the ability to review the technical planning matters put before her and offers well-considered advice in a timely manner.’

‘Tom Newcombe is great with clients. A strategic thinker.’

‘I have worked closely with Deborah Sharples on numerous occasions. She is the most hardworking and professional person that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. She has always ensured that she is fully conversant with all aspects of the specialist field in which I am involved.’

‘The environmental practice team are diligent, professional, courteous and friendly taking the time to truly understand the needs of clients. keeping them fully informed of risk, options and costs.’

‘Deborah Sharples is an exceptionally competent and experienced planning and environmental law practitioner. She has great depth of experience in agricultural planning cases and is jsut as impressive in wider aspects of environmental regulation and law. She has a perceptive appreciation of the “wider picture” and she is a powerful advocate in negotiations and hearings.’

‘Extensive experience of all land use planning issues, working for public and private sector clients. Thus, great awareness of motivations and objectives of both. Very attentive and highly competent.’

‘Nicola Doole – exceptional manner, availability and efficiency. Tom Newcombe is very commercially aware.’

Key clients

Hopkins Homes Limited

Denbury Homes Limited

Countryside Properties UK Limited

Crest Nicholson Plc

Bloor Homes

Bellway Homes Limited

Fernham Homes Limited

Arbora Homes Limited

Hill Residential

Mersea Homes Limited

Tarmac

Lafarge

Welcome Break Services Plc

City and Country

Vistry Homes

Persimmon Homes

Hollybrook Homes Limited

Otley Properties

Enterprise Property Group

Generator Group

Flogas Britain Limited

Laywater

Bathurst Developments Limited

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils

Broads Authority

Breckland District Council

Broxbourne Borough Council

Brentwood Borough Council

Norfolk Homes

Stonebond Properties Limited

Marden Homes Limited

Anderson Group

M7

Northumbrian Water

Thames Water Utilities Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the consortium of landowners on regarding a large residential scheme to the south of Didcot. The Development (known as Valley Park) is delivering some 4,254 dwellings, local centres, sports facilities, special needs school green and grey infrastructure and significant open space.
  • Advising Countryside Properties and L&Q New Homes regarding the cross boundary redevelopment of the Beam Park Dagenham including 2,900 homes and much more.
  • Advising Flogas in relation to the planning and environmental aspects of a proposed pipeline to link a port with a gas storage facility.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 1

'There is no better firm in East Anglia for property litigation', remarks a client of Birketts LLP, adding that it is 'rare in providing a level of genuine specialist expertise which is usually only found in big commercial centres'. Practice head Richard Eaton and key partner James Robinson , both based in Ipswich, and 'determined litigatorJohn Scannell in Norwich are highly regarded practitioners. Their work encompasses telecom-related litigation, strategic land disputes, rights of light, leasehold enfranchisement, and town and village green matters. Senior associates Alice Harris and Laura Tanguay in Ipswich also play key roles in possession, cohabitee and TOLATA matters. Norwich-based senior associate and barrister Simon Woodhead focuses on surplus property matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Eaton

Testimonials

‘John Scannell is clever, knowledgeable, very thorough, easy to deal with and cares about his clients.’

‘Birketts has a specialist property team that would not look out of place in a London city firm: it has committed, clever individuals who work closely with their clients, providing astute advice at regional rather than London prices.’

‘Simon Woodhead: an ex-barrister who knows property litigation through and through, thinks of everything, and provides a calm and reassuring presence. John Scannell: a terrifically engaging and thoughtful individual, who is there in the hour of need.’

‘There is no better firm in East Anglia for property litigation. They are rare in providing a level of genuine specialist expertise which is usually only found in big commercial centres.’

‘Richard Eaton is the stand-out individual. He manages to combine serious expert knowledge with a practical focus for his clients.’

‘John Scannell is second to none as a property litigator. He cares about his clients and their disputes and really seeks to understand the details to offer the best advice. His knowledge of the law is superb. A determined litigator. Simon Woodhead is very academically gifted and is able to translate that into offering good, practical advice to his clients.’

‘There is a real team ethos, as distinct from individuals working within a team, thereby ensuring the client gets the best service.’

‘Laura Tanguay – has a real passion and in depth knowledge of the law relating to constructive trusts and proprietary estoppel. This sets her aside from other partners who work in this area but lack her specialisation.’

Key clients

Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

Norwich Airport Ltd

Music Room Ltd

Aldwark Property Company Ltd

Ian Tucker (Registration Applicant Mistley Village Green)

London Diocesan Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Aldwark Property Company Limited on a complex right of light claim – settling the first stage at mediation. Aldwark own a Grade II listed former foundry in Leeds City Centre.
  • Acting for Ian Tucker (Second Defendant) in TW Logistics v Essex CC and Tucker [2021] UKSC 4 Landmark town and village green case which clarified that a village green registration would be upheld even where the green is a concrete quay side forming part of a working port.
  • Acted for Affinity Water Limited in the case of the recent Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) case of EE Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited v Affinity Water Limited [2022] UKUT 08 (LC) which was the first reported water tower case relating to the site payment due for a phone mast under the new telecoms Code.

Real estate > Social housing Tier 1

Birketts LLP in Norwich provides 'the personal touch and always goes the extra mile to support and offer solutions to complex and difficult cases'. Its work spans housing development, contentious matters, advice on housing repair and Housing and Asset Management policy and procedure and regulatory compliance, as well as right to buy matters. Among the firm's key clients are Platform Housing Group and Cambridge Housing Society. The practice is led by Jonathan Hulley, who focuses on social housing litigation, and head of housing management Clive Adams, who work from both the Norwich and London offices. They are 'proactive and provide good advice'. Senior associates Emily Groom and Sarah Fish also play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hulley; Clive Adams

Other key lawyers:

Emily Groom; Sarah Fish

Testimonials

‘Good value for money. Disrepair experts.’

‘Clive Adams and Jonathan Hulley are proactive and provide good advice.’

‘They have the personal touch and always go the extra mile to support and offer solutions to complex and difficult cases.’

‘Jonathan Hulley is a very respected and committed individual who has both the interest of the client and corporate at heart. He has excellent interpersonal skills, knowledgeable and is well respected.’

Key clients

Aster Communities

Broadland Housing Group

B3 Living

Cambridge Housing Society

Chelmer Housing Partnership

Clarion

Eastlight

Flagship

L&Q

Orbit

Platform Housing Group

Sovereign Housing Group

Swan

Work highlights

  • Acted for Flagship on the acquisition of 111 affordable housing units at a scheme cost of a minimum of £13 million on a golden brick basis from a national house builder working in partnership with a regional development company.
  • Advised on £60m refinancing for Broadland Housing Group.
  • Conducting appeal to Court of Appeal in the case of client Aster Communities v Chapman and others [2021] EWCA Civ 660. The case concerned five blocks of flats, each requiring a substantial scheme of works and together totalling circa £4.7m.

Transport > Transport and shipping Tier 1

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is home to a transport and shipping practice that provides 'excellent service with deep knowledge of clients' business and needs'. Clients note that it has 'big firm clout with local accessibility, and no job too big or too small'. One of the few niche transport teams in the jurisdiction, it has deep roots in the local shipping, road transport and logistics industry and counts Noble Chartering Inc and TOTAL Petrochemicals among its clients. The lead partners are head of shipping and international trade Henry Adams, head of litigation Alex Davey and head of regulatory and corporate defence Matthew Gowen. Mediator and dry shipping litigation specialist Nicholas Woo is highly recommended, as are senior associates Tom Hodges and Sarah Holsgrove are highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Henry Adams; Alex Davey; Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Paul Haworth

Testimonials

‘Excellent service. Deep knowledge of our clients’ business and needs.’

‘Excellent service. Quick and clear advice.’

‘Big firm clout with local accessibility, demonstrating a keen interest and understanding of the quirks of my business. No job too big or too small. Flexible billing on collective or individual instructions and happy to accommodate split invoicing for non-VAT overseas insurers.’

‘Tom Hodges fully understands the flexibility of my remit, and is happy to promtly involve colleagues at higher or lower levels as necessary.’

‘Great team! Always available at any time – working day or weekend or holiday! Excellent understanding of the problems at hand and great response time.’

‘Henry Adams and Sarah Holsgrove are an excellent team with excellent knowledge in shipping, contractual matters, arbitration and litigation.’

‘The team is always ready to assist, timely, on the spot, particularly in cases of urgency they are always there. Their advice is generally rigorous but very pragmatic and useful at the same time.’

‘Henry Adams is one of our preferred lawyers in the UK. Particularly in complex multijurisdictional cases, c/p, bills of lading disputes, as well as major accidents. he is very rigorous, a very clever lawyer. Paul Haworth is fantastic – he explains complex matters very easily and deals with all disputes in a very pragmatic manner.’

Key clients

Atlantic Trading and Marketing Inc, and National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh PA

Totsa Total Oil Trading SA; Alliance Global Corporate & Specialty SE

Georges Helfer SA

JJA SA

Noble Chartering Inc

COSCO Shipping Lines and OOCL

TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining SA/NV and Allianz Global & Corporate Specialty SE

Work highlights

  • Acted for time charterers Navision Shipping A/S in the middle of a difficult dispute arising from loss of time due to an arrest of the vessel at a discharge port.
  • Acted for JJA, a large French home furnishings distributor and retailer, in defending a claim for container demurrage brought against them by Maersk for around €3.1m. The matter settled at the pleadings stage.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Essex Tier 1

The Chelmsford-based corporate and commercial team at Birketts LLP, led by Rafael Ruiz, is well regarded for its corporate acquisitions and disposal expertise as well as complex commercial agreements work. On the transactional side, the group is becoming increasingly involved in private equity backed transactions in Essex, advising private equity houses as well as shareholders; it is commended for ‘the strength and depth of its capabilities, especially with regard to private equity transactions, which sets the team apart in the local market.’ Such transactions are often carried out by corporate M&A specialist Adam Jones. Capital markets expert and legal director Caroline Nicholls is a key name to note as well as Heidi Jones, who is developing a niche in employee ownership transactions, and senior associate Alex Forwood.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Ruiz

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Everyone I have dealt with has taken the time to understand our business, our individual needs and the outcomes we desire from the negotiations we are involved in. The advice is useful to the non legal mind to help with understanding even the most complex of issues.’

‘Rafael Ruiz understands the dynamics of our individual shareholders as well as the needs of the business. He is personally very interested in our progress and makes a great partner as a result.’

‘The history and experience shared through the years is a strong factor in continuing to choose their professional expertise. Good interaction across range of team and encouraging that they have specialist expertise in multiple areas.’

‘The strength and depth of the team’s capabilities, especially with regard to private equity transactions, sets the team apart in the local market.’

‘Their history and experience over the years is a strong factor in continuing to choose their professional expertise. They have specialist expertise in multiple areas.’

‘We have had many dealings with Alex Forwood and Daden Hunt and they both merit special mention due to their professional approach at all times. As it’s an area of required detailed technical expertise, Alex and Daden bring clarity and understanding to each decision point and this we really value.’

‘The team has a wide array of services and expertise to cover all requirements needed for a business.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest

Investec Investments (UK) Limited

Investec Bank plc

HHB Communications Limited

Commcise Software

Excess Baggage Group

The Reddington Group

Hydro International Limited

Eatron Technologies

Interflex

Airtask Group/Directflight

Merryck & Co

Granarolo SpA & Group

Commodity Centre Group

YFM Private Equity

M.W. Beer

Alpha CRC

CLP Aromas

Autoprotect

Aston Barclay

Work highlights

  • Acted for mid-market private equity house YFM on its acquisition of and investment in RGE Services.
  • Advised the owners of Manchester Underwriting Holdings Limited on its sale to insurer AJ Gallagher.
  • Acted for AIM-listed Escape Hunt plc on its cross-border acquisition of BGP Escape.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Essex Tier 1

With a varied client roster encompassing consumers and multinationals, there is a strong international element to the group's work at Birketts LLP. The team assists international clients enforcing rights in England and also works with foreign lawyers acting on behalf of UK clients, an increasing number of which are in the technology sector. The group is headed up by Daden Hunt who is ‘held in high regard by mediators.’ Experienced insolvency lawyer Matthew Weston and William Arran, who has acted in High Court and County Court litigation, are other key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Alex Forwood, David Springett, Nicholas Phillips, William Arran; Matthew Weston

Testimonials

‘Daden Hunt is very knowledgeable in his field and gives clear and concise explanations. He was always available.’

‘William Arran was helpful, approachable and attentive.’

‘An elite team that punches well above its weight. The team have a strong group of commercial litigation associates who are switched on and who you can trust can do a job well. Quality of work is strong with a range of clients from consumers to multinationals. Makes for a strong team who always has someone available to deal with any issue that arises.’

‘Nicholas Phillips provides comprehensive instructions which set out all the arguments in advance. Leaves no stone unturned which means clients feel and know they are getting the gold standard service. No job is too big or small for him. An excellent recent addition to an already exceptional Commercial Litigation Team.’

‘Daden Hunt is held in high regard by mediators. He is very calm and unflappable under pressure.’

‘Speed of information. Transparency. Understanding of the subject. Easily approachable despite that the subject can being highly technical.’

‘Good depth of knowledge and can also advise from a balanced perspective. Good industry knowledge. Alex Forwood stands out for our business as an individual who embraces collaboration whilst fully understanding the subject. His historical knowledge provides added value through the ability to move the subject forward at a better pace.’

‘Excellent service and good client relationships.’

Key clients

Growthlabs Consultants Limited

Sanrose Investments Limited

Atalian Servest Limited

Readie Construction Limited

Illovo Limited

Brooks Bros (UK) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Sanrose Investments Limited on strategy and representing the company in High Court proceedings to resolve a long running dispute.
  • Representing the executors of the estate of an individual and securing urgent relief from the High Court to secure the survival of a business owned by the deceased.
  • Advising and representing Growthlabs Consultants Limited in relation to a dispute surrounding the provision of website services.

Employment > Employment: Essex Tier 1

Areas of expertise for the ‘responsive and practical‘ practitioners at Birketts LLP include complex TUPE and restrictive covenant advice. On the transactional side, Jonathan Insley is a senior associate known for his work in the corporate transactional sphere, as is ‘pragmatic and helpful‘ associate Nicholas West. More widely, the group has also seen an increase in work from local authorities as it continues to strengthen its public sector offering. With over 20 years specialising in employment law, Clare Barlow leads the team from its Chelmsford office.

Practice head(s):

Clare Barlow

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Pragmatic clear advice. Very responsive and practical.’

‘What makes this team really stand out is the number of high quality diligent lawyers they have in the employment team. They don’t just have one or two really excellent partners and solicitors – their quality of work across the board is really impressive.’

‘The team are extremely knowledgeable, which was delivered in the manner in which one would like to receive such advice. Really helpful and great people to work with.’

‘We had the pleasure of working with Clare Barlow and Nicholas West, both of whom delivered the project in a pragmatic and helpful manner.’

Key clients

Absolute Post Limited

Alstons (Cabinets) Limited

Anderson Group

Aspire Media Group Limited

Aston Barclay Limited

Autoprotect (MBI) Ltd

Beresford Group Limited

Blue Sky IP

Briddge Legal and Finance

Brady Technologies Limited

Brentwood Borough Council

Chelmer Housing Partnership Limited

CNH Industrial N.V.

Colchester United Football Club Limited

Colorminium (London) Ltd

Commodity Centre Limited

DD Products and Services Ltd

Databricks UK Limited

Granarolo SpA

Manchester Underwriting Owners

Work highlights

  • Advising the sellers and EMI option holders of a high value insurance company, Manchester Underwriting Management, on its sale to AJ Gallagher, a large insurer.
  • Acting for Brentwood Borough Council in defending a complex and sensitive alleged direct race discrimination claim.
  • Advising Granarolo SpA on the acquisition of the minority shareholding of its UK subsidiary, Granarolo UK, increasing its stake in Granarolo UK from 51% to 100%.

Employment > Immigration Tier 1

Led by Sacha Wooldridge following the July 2021 departure of Clare Hedges, Birketts LLP‘s immigration team works across the firm’s Norwich, Ipswich, Chelmsford and Cambridge offices to act for clients across the South East and beyond. The firm predominantly focuses on business work, with particular experience in procuring skilled worker visas and supporting clients in the farming and agricultural sector. Chelmsford-based practitioner Janice Leggett is a key contact, with a niche specialism in advising clients in the advertising sector on how to bring film crews to the UK. The team is also adept at handling personal immigration matters, including spouse visas, citizenship applications, and global talent visas for entrepreneurs.

Practice head(s):

Sacha Wooldridge

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Birketts are extremely professional, responsive, and helpful. They are experts in immigration law. I have complete confidence in them. I feel safe in their hands. I trust them implicitly. Over the years, they have helped me with my immigration applications in extremely challenging situations (e.g. obtaining work visas in very short periods of time). Birketts’ legal advice is top-notch and cost-effective; it represents excellent value for money. Birketts bring a humane approach and a personal touch to the practice of immigration law.’

‘I was particularly impressed by Sacha Wooldridge.’

‘Very recently, I had to secure my Indefinite Leave to Remain visa in order to take up a post at a different university. I had only about a month in which to obtain my ILR visa. This was in January, 2022, a time of unprecedented uncertainty and change, a time when the Home Office had a crushing backlog due to COVID-related shortage of staff. Thus, obtaining the ILR visa in time seemed like a very challenging undertaking. However, true to form, Janice Leggett at Birketts got the job done, and helped me secure my ILR visa in near record time. I cannot express my gratitude warmly enough to Janice and Birketts. My life would be very different if it weren’t for them. I owe them a massive debt of gratitude. They are performing a great service for foreigners like me who have chosen to live and work in the UK.’

‘They are unique because of the efficiency and dedication they showed to their client.’

‘There are 2 things this practice does that makes them stand out 1. Simplifying the Complex: Immigration applications can be a complex and intimidating process, but Birketts’ team (led by Janice) has always made the entire process very simple for me. Their accompanying documentation and emails always make things a breeze for me. 2. Approachability: No question to small or big, no matter what I have on my mind, I can ask them for clarification, confirmation etc. Other firms that I have worked with before do not offer such care and attention to detail.’

‘Janice Leggett is a gem of a human being, she has always been there for me throughout the years as an immigration adviser. Even when I was almost scammed in an immigration fraud and I reached out to her out of the blue for advice, she was there to answer my questions, and even gave me advice. This makes her a rare breed. I am so grateful that I have had the distinct pleasure of working with her (and her wonderful team) who are approachable and ever so helpful.’

‘Very approachable, so helpful, could not fault.’

Key clients

Advertising Producers Association

GB Ingredients Limited

Muntons PLC

Trim Editing Limited

Apolitical

NIAB

RAND Europe CIC

TTP Group plc

Brady Trading Limited

Hanover Investors Management LLP

Nottingham Forest FC

GTC Infrastructure/Power On Connections

New Dawn Risk

Frontier Developments Plc

Work highlights

  • Advising APA members on a variety of issues, largely concerning film crews entering the UK for short term film projects, either using the visitor rules or through sponsored employment.
  • Advised TTP Group Plc following a restructuring to achieve a new sponsor licence which included the transfer of existing sponsored workers to the new licence.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP‘s practice can ‘call on a wide range of expertise‘ from its Chelmsford base, which includes acting for non-resident or non-domiciled clients, and handling multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning. The latter is an area of expertise for Susan Young, who leads the team after being promoted to partner in 2021 and is singled out as ‘incredibly knowledgeable but also brilliantly organised and communicative‘.  Katie Payne is a key name to note and has particular expertise in offshore and cross-border work. Former practice head Tim Galloway has departed to Roythornes Solicitors.

Practice head(s):

Susan Young

Other key lawyers:

Katie Payne; Katie Gibson-Green; Penny Wotton

Testimonials

‘Birketts are able to call on a wide range of expertise.’

‘The private client team at Birketts in Chelmsford stands out from its competitors for the superb speed of its service and fantastic client service, as well as excellent technical knowledge.’

‘Susan Young is incredibly knowledgeable but also brilliantly organised and communicative.’

‘Penny Wotton is exceptional, giving great advice and paying attention to detail. She is always on top of potential issues and keeps pressure on others to deliver. She also has a good strategic eye on the wider issues. She is conscious of the impact of the cost of her time and strives to keep costs low.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Essex Tier 1

Led by Grace Kerr in Chelmsford, practitioners at Birketts LLP have notable experience in acting for developers and investors on sale and lease work in addition to high-value landlord and tenant mandates both regionally and nationally. Steven Kay also heads up a sub-team dedicated to acting for housebuilders. Leveraging Kerr’s strategic land expertise, the group also offers clients access to a dedicated sub-team in this area. A strong reputation in investment and portfolio management mandates is also a standout feature of the team.

Practice head(s):

Grace Kerr

Other key lawyers:

Steven Kay; Duncan Williamson; David Springett; Johanna Cope; Matthew Grindley; Hannah Harbottle; Adele Dean

Key clients

Countryside Properties

Generator Group

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Norwich Tier 2

Birketts LLP has a two-partner litigation practice in Norwich that has extensive experience in Chancery work, including breach of trust matters and claims arising from the administration of estates, as well as a broad range of commercial and corporate disputes. The firm frequently handles multimillion-pound claims for large local and national businesses. Qualified barrister Andrew Kinnison is the key name, working alongside senior associate Adam Blenkinsop, who handles contractual disputes and professional negligence claims, and associate Chloe Bird, whose experience includes restrictive covenant matters and shareholder disputes, also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Kinnison

Other key lawyers:

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 2

Birketts LLP has a practice across its offices in East Anglia, Essex and London, and it handles a broad range of work for referrers throughout the UK. Max Roessler in Norwich and head of litigation Laurence Weeks in Cambridge are the lead partners. Roessler focuses on claims against solicitors, the majority arising from negligent property and transactional advice. Weeks  frequently handles  claims against accountants concerning errors in tax advice, refunds and audit reviews. Cambridge-based partner Sara Sayer also plays a key role in the practice, frequently acting on behalf of colleges, universities and schools in negligence claims.

Practice head(s):

Max Roessler; Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property Tier 2

Birketts LLP has ‘an extremely good team, very technically skilled and great to work with‘. The firm is best known for advising local East Anglian clients on all aspects of the life cycle of IP and it has a diverse client base that includes small start-ups and large regional enterprises. Among them are Greene King Limited and Galileo Foundation. Legal director and chartered trade mark attorney Melanie Harvey in Ipswich leads on trade marks and branding, legal director Maria Peyman in Cambridge. Also in Cambridge is experienced partner Quentin Golder, who is oversees the firm’s non-contentious IP work. Golder assisted neuroscience company Cambridge Cognition Ltd with licensing technology to pharmaceutical companies.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Harvey; Maria Peyman; Quentin Golder

Testimonials

‘Extremely good team, very technically skilled. great to work with.’

‘Maria Peyman – technically excellent.’

Key clients

Cambridge Cognition Ltd

Ardex UK Ltd

Greene King Limited

Hayman Group Limited/Burlington Drink Co.

Sophie Allport

Galileo Foundation

Alyce Designs Inc

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 2

Birketts LLP has 'great industry knowledge and goes the extra mile to look beneath the surface and understand clients' requirements'. 'They don't waste time and focus on the solution, and it is a pleasure to work with them', remarks one client. Quentin Golder and Andrew Priest in Cambridge, along with Mark Gipson in Ipswich and Paul Palik in Norwich, are the lead partners in the commercial and technology group. They act for a diverse range of clients, among them The Cambridge Building Society and Cresset Biomolecular Discovery Limited, handling a broad range of corporate, IT and commercial matters. Golder assisted neuroscience company Cambridge Cognition with technology licensing matters and collaborative agreements.

Practice head(s):

Quentin Golder; Mark Gipson; Andrew Priest; Paul Palik

Testimonials

‘Birketts have provided us with great industry knowledge in this specialised area and advised us on some complex telecoms matters, the service provided has been first class.’

‘The individuals involved go the extra mile to look beneath the surface and understand our requirements, the document preparation and finished product are excellent.’

‘The team is involved and hands on, all the way to the end. They don’t waste time and focus on the solution. Pleasure to work with them.’

‘I like that I can work with the people that have the knowledge and experience, no time is wasted.’

Key clients

Cambridge Cognition Limited

Coyote Group Ltd

Scionics Computer Innovations GmbH

The Cambridge Building Society

Apolitical Group Limited

Ista Energy Solutions Limited

Cresset Biomolecular Discovery Limited

Cambridge Cognition Limited

Coyote Group Ltd

Scionics Computer Innovations GmbH

The Cambridge Building Society

Apolitical Group Limited

Ista Energy Solutions Limited

Cresset Biomolecular Discovery Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted on the drafting and negotiation of numerous licensing, agents, SaaS arrangements, and collaborative agreements for Cambridge Cognition Ltd.
  • Acted for Scionics, a provider of software and SaaS arrangements in the biological science research community, in relation to a software as a service arrangement with Monash University (Australia).

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Birketts LLP is a highly rated restructuring and insolvency practice with expertise in handling major administrations, advising boardrooms and advising on insolvent estates in litigation focused on antecedent transactions. Laurence Weeks and legal director Matthew Weston co-head the practice with experience in contentious and non-contentious matters. William Arran regularly acts for individuals facing insolvency claims.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks; Matthew Weston

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘A resource with a wide knowledge and experience in many different areas of law and business.’

‘Matthew Weston is also on hand, methodical, knowledgeable, flexible and quick to respond.’

‘They are vastly experienced lawyers who provide excellent technical advice and are commercial. All round excellent lawyers.’

‘I was impressed with Will Arran’s attention to details. The case was basically handled by him with little partner involvement.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory

Price Bailey

CVR Global

Mazars

Ensors

RSM

Thornton Rones

McTear Williams & Wood

Haslers

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Birketts LLP advises private families, landowners, and farmers, and is praised for its wide ranging knowledge of agriculture and estates legal matters, as well as its ‘high levels of professionalism and firm customer focus’. Practice head Chris Coupland is based in Norwich; Chelmsford-based Annabelle Rout was promoted to partner in June 2021.

Practice head(s):

Chris Coupland

Other key lawyers:

Annabelle Rout; Adam Burden; Simon Green; Samantha Barnes

Testimonials

‘This practice is particularly responsive and efficient.’

‘Samantha Barnes – sensible, pragmatic approach and speedy. Always called back promptly which is useful in a fast paced situation.’

‘The practice demonstrates a wide ranging knowledge of agriculture and estates legal matters, including some of the more obscure points relating to; tenancy arrangements, livestock and insurance related risk exposures.’

‘Adam Burden has been my main point of contact. He has consistently managed our commercial relationship to a very high standard, including rapid response to questions raised and a comprehensive knowledge of the case itself and the matters in hand.’

‘Very knowledgeable. they appear to be committed throughout the organization to high levels of professionalism and a firm customer focus. Billing was efficient and accurate and payment facilitated easily through an automated process.’

‘Simon Green is my main contact. He is professional, very courteous and helpful. He demonstrates a very good knowledge of the law in his particular field I would highly recommend his services to any one buying country or agricultural property. His written reports were clear, covering the issues fully, but concise and easily understood.’

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Birketts LLP‘s contentious trusts and probate team, which ‘benefits from a wealth of experience across the board‘, works in tandem with its private wealth dispute team to provide expert guidance on complex matters related to trust disputes, Inheritance Act issues and will validity challenges. The Chelmsford-based team is led by Daden Hunt, who handles all types of commercial dispute resolution. Associate Rachel Leech joined in October 2021 from Birkett Long LLP – she is ‘wise beyond her years and is certainly one to watch.’

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Leech; Jenny Howe

Testimonials

‘They cover all fields of law with an expert knowledgeable and professional team who are always on hand. I have regularly recommended them to friends and family without hesitation’

‘The team is one of, if not the, leading contentious probate team in the region. It has real depth and each one of the team is knowledgeable.’

‘The team are a delight. They adopt a sensible approach to each dispute and whilst fighting hard for their client, they do so sensibly and do not take silly points for the sake of it.’

‘Strong all round’

‘Rachel Leech: talented, meticulous, very bright, caring.’

‘This team benefits from a wealth of experience across the board. In particular, Rachel Leech and Kate Harris make brilliant recent additions to the team.’

‘Rachel Leech is a most impressive solicitor. She is wise beyond her years and is certainly one to watch. I have worked with Rachel on complex contentious probate litigation and have always been impressed by the control she displays over her cases and her insight.’

Private client > Family: Essex Tier 2

Based in Chelmsford, the team at Birketts LLP is one of four teams across the South East and is therefore in a strong position to assist clients with complex family issues, spanning divorce and financial matters and mandates involving children. Chelmsford family team leader Emma Brunning was promoted to partner and qualified as an arbitrator in 2021, while Ivana Radovic has joined the firm’s Ipswich office. The team also leverages connections to the firm’s company, property litigation, and agricultural teams.

Practice head(s):

Emma Brunning

Other key lawyers:

Dharshica Thanarajasingham; Ivana Radovic; Tom Wright

Testimonials

‘Robust team with ability to deputise as required.’

‘Emma Brunning gives approachable, pragmatic and commercially orientated advice.’

‘Birketts are an absolutely fantastic firm of solicitors, with a small but effective family team in Chelmsford who punch way above their weight.’

‘Emma Brunning is incredibly hardworking, efficient and knowledgeable. Emma is strategically astute and has great judgement.’

‘A well-organised and very proactive firm.’

‘Dharshica Thanarajasingham was very proactive and diligent.’

‘Tom Wright is diligent, hard-working, has good attention to detail, and is client-focused. Tom will go the extra mile.’

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 2

Birketts LLP advises software houses and tech companies in the public, private, and charities sectors on a variety of matters, particularly to platforms and cloud-based solutions. Key names include associate Claire Hunt who predominantly handles commercial contracts.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The Birketts practice as a team has shown its uniqueness in its fairness of billing practices. They are very precise and thoughtful in preparation of their scoping letters and we are never surprised about the bills with respect to time spent working on our matters. This is also a result of periodic and unsolicited updates on time billed to date.’

Key clients

Commcise Software Limited

Compliancy Services Limited

Rapid DCS

Kalibrate Technology Group

Policing Solutions Group

My Compliance Centre Limited

VST Global Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Commcise Software Limited on SaaS agreements with several multinational financial institutions for cloud-based commission management and wallet share software solutions.
  • Assisted Rapid DCS Limited to settle a suite of documents, including SaaS agreements and associated policies.
  • Advised Compliance Centre Limited on IP chain of ownership documentation and contract negotiation support in settling SaaS agreements.

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

The banking and finance team at Birketts LLP principally acts for lenders with strength in real estate finance, acquisition finance and development finance in addition to invoice discounting and Islamic Finance. Alex Schaafsma is experienced in real estate finance matters and heads the practice with support from James Allen.

Practice head(s):

Alex Schaafsma

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

OakNorth Bank plc

Santander plc

Triple Point Capital

National Westminster Bank plc

RBS

Time Holdco Limited

Time Group Holdings Limited

One Savings Bank

Alpha Bank London Limited

Secure Trust Bank plc

Oxbury Bank plc

Lendinvest

Muntons plc

Green Label Foods Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Alpha CRC Limited on two term loan facilities and a revolving credit facility from Shawbrook Bank Limited.
  • Advised the Marden Homes Group on their financing arrangements.
  • Advised Green Label Foods on its new £50m receivables, inventory and real estate financing facilities from HSBC UK Bank plc.

Transport > Shipping Tier 4

Birketts LLP is frequently instructed on both dry and wet shipping matters, where it handles disputes ranging from cargo claims and charterparty disputes to collisions and ship arrests. Henry Adams, whose specialisms include dry shipping, international trade, and marine insurance work, jointly heads up the team with head of litigation Alex Davey. Nicholas Woo is particularly well versed in matters pertaining to the Far East, while associate Sarah Holsgrove regularly advises freight forwarders and logistics companies.

Practice head(s):

Henry Adams; Alex Davey

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The experience of working with Birketts’ shipping team is very friendly and supportive.’

‘Openness in personality and seniority in working experience are impressive.’

‘The team is the ideal size and structure to handle cases from the largest and most complex to the more modest. You receive a personal service, with the capacity to draw on greater numbers and specialist expertise where required.’

Key clients

Atlantic Trading and Marketing Inc

National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh PA

Totsa Total Oil Trading SA

Navision Shipping A/S

Georges Helfer SA

JJA SA

Noble Chartering Inc

COSCO Shipping Lines and OOCL

Petromar

Sociedade De Abastecimentos Petrolíferos, Lda, Petróleos De Portugal

Petrogal, S.A., Clc Gb

Companhia Logística De Combustíveis Da Guiné Bissau

Fidelidade Companhia De Seguros, S.A.

TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining SA/NV

Allianz Global & Corporate Specialty SE

Work highlights

  • Acted for Navision Shipping A/S (Charterers) in a dispute arising from loss of time due to an arrest of the vessel at a discharge port.
  • Acted for Totsa Total Oil Trading SA and Alliance Global Corporate & Specialty SE (the cargo claimants) in pursuing a claim against the vessel owner in relation to loss and damage to a cargo of gasoline.
  • Acted for JJA in defending a claim for container demurrage brought against it by Maersk for around €3.1m.

Real estate > Social housing: local authorities and registered providers Tier 5

Birketts LLP advises on the full scope of housing development and management issues, including related litigation. A speciality of the team, headed by Jonathan Hulley and Clive Adams, is assisting with the setting-up of for-profit registered providers to deliver affordable housing via trading arms of local authorities. Clients of the firm ‘appreciate that they are receiving a truly tailored service from trusted professionals at competitive rates‘.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hulley; Clive Adams

Testimonials

‘Birketts’ team has had the massive boost of two partners, Jonathan Hulley and Clive Adams, joining from Capsticks. They are really forging the march to put Birketts firmly on the map when it comes to providing a full, one-stop service to social housing clients.’

‘The firm have strong IT and case management processes ensuring key snippets of important information do not get buried in an electronic jungle or mass of paper on a file.’

‘Jonathan Hulley’s client care is outstanding: clients appreciate that they are receiving a truly tailored service from trusted professionals at competitive rates.’

‘Clive Adams heads up the Housing and Asset Management team sitting under Jonathan. He is the rarest of things in social housing – a true expert in service charge. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case law and statutory provisions of relevance, and there is no safer pair of hands to be on a service charge dispute.’

‘I’m very impressed by Clive Adams’ knowledge of civil procedure and especially its application to social housing. He is a very enthusiastic and energetic fighter against the plague of CFA disrepair claims that social landlords suffer.’

Key clients

Broadland Housing Association

Flagship Housing Group

CHP

Orbit Group Limited

Longhurst Group

Iceni Homes

Eastlight (previously Greenfields)

London and Quadrant Housing Trust (L&Q)

B3 Living

Cambridge Housing Society

Swan Housing

Westway Housing Association

Harlow Council

Basildon Borough Council

South Holland District Council

Barley Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Conducted appeal to Court of Appeal in the case of Aster Communities v Chapman and others [2021]. The case concerned five blocks of flats, each requiring a substantial scheme of works, together totalling circa £4.7m.
  • Acted for Brentwood Borough Council and V acquisition of the multi-unit Childerditch Industrial Estate for £59m.
  • Acted for a housing client on the acquisition of bare land from the Chelmsford City Council to develop 12 affordable housing units for £2.5m.

Private client > Charities and not-for-profit

Liz Brownsell leads a ‘competent team of likeable and helpful lawyers’ at Birketts LLP who are ‘responsive’. It advises on the full range of matters from setting up new charities to charity mergers as well as advising charities on disputed legacies.