Birketts LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Birketts LLP

Transport > Shipping Tier 4

The shipping team at Birketts LLP, which focuses on contentious shipping matters, acts for charterers, shipowners and commodities companies in both wet and dry shipping disputes. It has a strong profile in the London and international shipping markets. Henry Adams and Alex Davey jointly lead the group, with both practitioners focusing on charterparty, bills of lading, and cargo damage disputes. Dry shipping specialist Nicholas Woo is notably active in the shipping market in the Far East.

Practice head(s):

Henry Adams; Alex Davey

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Woo; Sarah Holsgrove; Tom Hodges; Paul Haworth


‘Birketts is a specialised and efficient law firm, reactive and reasonable in billing’

‘Henry Adams and the shipping team are efficient, provide good and quick advice, and understand client needs. Henry speaks good French, which makes things easier for our French clients.’

Key clients

Noble Chartering Inc.

West of England P&I

Seatrade Group NV

Filhet-Allard Maritime

MS Amlin Marine NV

TOTSA Total Oil Trading S.A.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Japan P&I Club

Work highlights

  • Acted for Noble Chartering Inc in relation to an indemnity claim under a voyage charterparty. This matter reached the Court of Appeal in January 2021.

Insurance > Insurance and reinsurance litigation

Birketts LLP has moved into the London contentious insurance market through its merger with EC3 Legal in May 2020. Led by reinsurance expert Gavin Coull, the team which includes associate Emily Osborne, advises on disputes across a broad range of non-marine classes for major Lloyd’s syndicates, companies and captives.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 1

Birketts LLP has 'top-quality lawyers with a personal touch'. The firm handles high-value regional, national and international corporate matters for clients in sectors ranging from insurance to technology. Corporate finance, banking and insolvency partner James Allen leads the practice. Quentin Golder, who provides 'highly effective and efficient legal services', specialises in early stage funding, entrepreneurial and commercial work. Adrian Seagers  frequently acts for large corporates and private equity funds in corporate deals. Mark Pinder, formerly head of Middle East operations at Foot Anstey, brings invaluable experience in cross-border M&A deals. 'Highly responsive, deeply knowledgeable and pragmatic' legal director Nick Burt is noted for private equity and international transactions.

Practice head(s):

James Allen


‘Birketts engaged with us in a creative structure providing a broad range of commercial services, acting in many regards in an equivalent fashion to an in-house counsel. In addition, the firm put together a comprehensive team to assist in M&A transactions.’

‘Quentin Golder was an exceptional partner, both in terms of providing highly effective and efficient legal services and as a close and valued advisor to the company over many years. He combines tremendous depth of knowledge in a wide array of areas (commercial contracts, corporate governance and M&A) with a pragmatic results-oriented approach.’

‘Nick Burt was an invaluable member of the Birketts team supporting our exit transaction. Nick is highly responsive, deeply knowledgeable and pragmatic in his approach.’

‘Birketts provided top-quality lawyers with a personal touch. We are a small innovation company who have to negotiate contracts with large multi-national companies – Birketts gave us the support and confidence to negotiate our terms and not back down on our key points. Birketts understood our business and what we needed to achieve from the contract. Their clear explanations were invaluable throughout the process and they enabled us to stand as equals in the contract negotiation.’

‘Quentin Golder was our partner on our recent contract negotiations. He provided exceptional support throughout the contract drafting and negotiation process. During negotiations he was strong and clear, tenacious and always aiming for the best possible outcome for our business. During contract legal meetings he always spoke with authority and experience but was always pleasant to maintain a good atmosphere in the meeting. We were glad that we had Quentin on our side and were very satisfied with the final negotiated outcome.’

Key clients

SDI Group plc

Chestnut Inns Ltd

Time Group

The Milbank Group

Work highlights

  • Advised on the re-organisation of the Time Group comprising approximately 40 companies, the refinancing of eight different existing debt providers and the acquisition of five new companies with an overall deal value of £179m.
  • Advised the shareholders of e-commerce wellness company Bloomboxclub Limited, Dr Katie Cooper and John Gilbert and their team on the sale of their shares to digital Canadian health organisation, PlantX Life, Inc. for £8m.
  • Advised on the acquisition of The Cricketers from Trevor and Sally Oliver, parents of chef Jamie Oliver.

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

Birketts LLP in Ipswich is ‘all round supportive, human and technically excellent‘. The corporate practice works as one integrated team across the firm’s four offices, providing advice on corporate finance and large M&A deals, regionally, nationally and, increasingly, cross-border. The firm has a strong bench with senior partner James Austin, cross-border deal specialist Alexandra Nelson, IT contract partner Mark Gipson, real estate finance partner Andrew Tubb and finance and insolvency adviser Mark Henry the key partners. Associate Emma Bysouth increasingly runs her own large M&A transactions.

Practice head(s):

James Austin; Alexandra Nelson; Mark Gipson; Andrew Tubb; Mark Henry

Other key lawyers:

Emma Bysouth; Rachel Astill


‘The team delivered exceptional performance in the sale of our business which culminated in working through the night to complete before 8am when the purchaser wished to announce the acquisition to the stock market.’

‘Particular mention to Mark Henry and Emma Bysouth whose tenacity and attention to detail were first-class. The communication was brilliant with non-legally trained clients to ensure we were fully aware the implications of all aspects of the deal.’

‘All round supportive, human and technically excellent.’

‘Rachel Astill has been very supportive during some complex transactions, always patient and happy to explain in clear non-legalise language. Very pragmatic and commercial as well as technically excellent. Also very human with a great sense of humour which is very welcome during drawn out negotiations. James Austin has been very supportive and responsive. Again providing excellent service.’

Key clients

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

Bruni Erben

Host Capital Ltd

Juuce Limited

Vehicle Replacement Group Ltd

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP has an outstanding reputation for corporate and transactional work, and its Norwich office is key to its firmwide offering. Its work spans M&A, public company transactions and corporate reorganisations for regional and national clients. Greg Allan, who is 'an excellent communicator, very focused on the deal’, and Adrian Possener are the lead partners. Up-and-coming partner Ed Savory and legal director Paul Palik are praised for being 'highly efficient and competent in solving legal issues'. The practice is increasingly involved in cross-border matters, notably international distribution and agency matters.

Practice head(s):

Greg Allan; Adrian Possener

Other key lawyers:


‘Birketts has the size necessary to follow a 360-degree M&A process. This practice is very useful and effective as it allows with a single work team to address all the problems arising from an acquisition process.’

‘The partner and associate I worked with have been very professional and available to help us in each problems arose over the transaction.’

‘Greg Allan is an excellent communicator; very focused on the deal.’

‘Paul Palik and Ed Savory have been highly competent and efficient in managing our legal requirements. Couldn’t ask for anymore. Exemplary service.’

‘Paul Palik and Ed Savory have been highly efficient and competent in solving legal issues and drafting documentation. They really have provided an excellent all-round service.’

Key clients

Black Swan International Limited

Tex Holdings PLC

Dan Croft/Vanilla Electronics

County Care Homes Limited

Alan & Jane Bird


Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders on the sale of Saxlingham Hall Nursing Home Limited to Healthcare Homes Group.
  • Advising the shareholders and management on the sale of Vanilla Electronics to Literacy Capital.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 1

The corporate tax practice at Birketts LLP has 'in-depth knowledge wrapped in a blanket of commerciality'. The firm advises regional and, in some cases, national business on the tax aspects of corporate transactions and strategic land development, as well as handling employee incentive arrangements and employee ownership trusts. Partner Karl Pocock in Norwich and legal director Lisa Hayward in Ipswich lead the practice, which also assists farming businesses with the tax-efficient structuring of their agricultural assets. Senior associate John Kahn in Norwich has extensive experience in M&A transactions, employment tax matters and the underwriting of transactional risk insurance.

Practice head(s):

Karl Pocock; Lisa Hayward

Other key lawyers:


‘In-depth knowledge wrapped in a blanket of commerciality.’

Key clients

Shareholders of Bowman Ingredients Holdings Limited

M7 Real Estate

McGee Trustee Limited

X-tention Limited

Shareholders of Vanilla Electronics

Seetec Business and Technology Centre Limited

Shareholders of Aker Systems


The Milbank Group

Big Drop Brewing Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the shareholders of Bowman Ingredients Holdings Limited on the sale of the company to Solina.
  • Advised M7 Real Estate in relation to its acquisition of UK properties as part of its latest portfolio creation.
  • Advised McGee Trustee Limited (trustee of the McGee Employee Ownership Trust) in relation to the acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Mfcoil Limited.

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

At Birketts LLP, 'the empathy, understanding and overall client care demonstrated by the team is outstanding'. The firm handles all manner of privately funded criminal defence work, including traffic-related cases for national motor groups and individuals. Its work also encompasses trading standards, food safety and financial crime. Partner and barrister Matthew Gowen leads the practice from Ipswich, where senior associate and barrister Daniel Irving is a key practitioner. ' Very approachable and realistic' legal director Julie Gowland in Norwich frequently defends complex criminal matters, both as an advocate in the Magistrates’ Court and alongside counsel.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:


‘The empathy, understanding and overall client care demonstrated by the team at Birketts was outstanding. The depth of understanding demonstrated, coupled with willingness to spend time explaining options in layperson’s terms, really stood out.’

‘We were incredibly impressed with the empathy and understanding shown by Julie Gowland, which gave us immense comfort in what was a very stressful time for my family. Julie went out of her way to spend time explaining our options in great depth and in simple terms, she was always accessible and willing to spend time with us – which really made her stand out from all the other firms we contacted.’

‘Julie Gowland was very approachable and realistic with the advice given.’

Crime, fraud and licensing > Licensing Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a truly regional presence and a dedicated team that handles licensing matters across East Anglia for a diverse range of clients, among them hotel chains, breweries, nightclubs, race courses, event operators, churches and concert promoters. The practice, led by legal director Julie Gowland in Norwich, draws on the expertise of the firm's highly regarded planning group. Gowland handles both applications for new licences and contested matters.

Practice head(s):

Julie Gowland

Key clients

MPRJ Limited

The Hotel Folk Limited

South Norfolk District Council

Gastro Pubs Limited t/a Middletons Steak House

The Chapter of Norwich Cathedral

The Royal Norwich Golf Club

Work highlights

  • Instructed by South Norfolk District Council to undertake the role of Legal Advisor at all sub-committee meetings where representations have been received in relation to an application for a premises licence.
  • Advising The Royal Norwich Golf Club in relation to an application for a new premises licence following a new build venue.
  • Advising Gastro Pubs t/a Middletons Ltd in relation to all licensing matters across the business.  Preparing and submitting new premises licence applications across the country, specifying individuals as DPS, transferring Premises Licences and advising in relation to personal licences.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Cambridge Tier 1

The Cambridge office of Birketts LLP has 'a very strong team which works well together'; clients praise the 'prompt, courteous and professional service'. From complex fraud to shipping cases, from high-value commercial litigation to judicial reviews, the firm has a deep bench of experienced lawyers. 'Decisive yet very deliberative' practice had Laurence Weeks focuses predominantly on insolvency, financial services and fraud litigation, though he also handles a broad range of commercial, contract, company and professional negligence cases. Partner Sara Sayer and legal director Maria-Christina Peyman are highly recommended by clients.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:


‘Birketts have a very strong team which works well together. I had difficult contractual issue with a formidable opponent and the team had great tactics at every stage which resolved the difficult issue. ’

‘Laurence Weeks was always decisive yet very deliberative. His understanding and quick uptake of the law was very effective.’

‘Julie Spencer was excellent with drafting and keeping costs reasonable by effective communications. Really worth a trip from London to Cambridge to get better service and lower costs from an absolute class act.’

‘Every member of the practice team I have dealt with has provided prompt, courteous and professional service.’

‘Sara Sayer has worked tirelessly to assist us with our dispute resolution case. Her advice has been highly practical and professional and invaluable in guiding us through a new and difficult area.’

‘Maria Peyman and Laurence Weeks were standout; Laurence in terms of strategy and oversight and Maria in terms of the brilliant, on-point correspondence she sent to the third party which left them nowhere to go. They were in tune with my arguments and I took their advice at every stage against a formidable opponent not known for losing cases. 100% recommendation to Birketts and especially the two people in question.’

‘Laurence Weeks: excellent lawyer with a deep understanding of his client’s needs. Excellent path from translating client’s needs into appropriate legal strategy.’

‘They displayed a willingness to spend time to understand international laws and client objectives. Despite being in Asia, it was felt that I was in the Birketts office with the team at the Cambridge office during the disruptive period from April 2020 onwards. I did not have to get a senior lawyer from my home country involved for needless cross-continent conferences due to the fast uptake of the Birketts team. Super collaborative approach to the litigation.’

Key clients

Trinity Hall College Cambridge

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

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is a key pillar of its regional dispute resolution practice, which acts for large local and national enterprises including Greene King and Archant Community Media. Its work encompasses commercial fraud cases, tortious and contractual claims, shareholder and partnership disputes, and matters arising from the sale and purchase of businesses. Matthew Atkins is the lead partner in Ipswich, where newly promoted partner Josh Ripman is also a key adviser to corporates and individuals, bringing to bear his experience in County Court and High Court litigation.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Atkins

Other key lawyers:


‘A good firm with all levels of experience in every legal field. Birketts is very actively involved in many charitable activities within Suffolk and the surrounding region.’

Key clients

Greene King PLC

Archant Community Media Limited

Forfarmers UK Limited

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 1

In the Ipswich office of Birketts LLP, 'the team has the strength in depth to be able to respond quickly to a range of issues, including more complex cross-border matters'. The practice is overseen by litigation partner Josh Ripman, who is experienced in the application of insolvency proceedings to the debt recovery process.

Practice head(s):

Josh Ripman

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Clarke


‘The team has the strength in depth to be able to respond quickly to a range of issues, including more complex cross-border issues. There is clearly a strong team ethic given that support remains constantly available.’

‘Sophie Clarke is my regular point of contact and is a great ambassador for the firm. I particularly value her case management and ability to turn work round efficiently. It does feel like we have another team member.’

‘The services seem more effective than others we have used before. Very well organised with great communication.

‘The team are excellent at communicating and updating us on progress. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience across the team and each member is incredibly efficient in their given roles.’

‘Sophie Clarke has helped us on a number of occasions to navigate potentially tricky scenarios and has always done so successfully. She has kept us up to date throughout and has always presented us with a number of options and advised us on how best to proceed. We really value her expertise and the hard work she has put in on our behalf.’

‘Birketts has always given a complete package to our business. From initial correspondence through to court hearing every step of the way has been documented fully and we have been kept up to date with every action. I have been using Birketts for the past 25 years and would not hesitate to recommend them to any organisation.’

Key clients

Greene King Plc

Archant Community Media Limited

Ford & Slater Leyland DAF

Employment Tier 1

Birketts LLP is ‘a quality firm in this area with an excellent reputation and a professional, supportive and approachable practice‘. The firm-wide employment practice operates through all five of the firm’s offices, handling all aspects of contentious and non-contentious work for both domestic and international employer clients. Jeanette Wheeler in Norwich leads the practice, in which the ‘knowledgeable, supportive and pragmatic‘ Matthew Newnham and Cambridge-based Abigail Trencher are key figures. Catherine Johnson and newly promoted Sonya O’Reilly are the lead partners in Ipswich. Senior associate Laura Brown and associate Sam Greenhalgh are also key members of the Norwich office.

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Wheeler


‘I think the people are the biggest asset at Birketts, everyone I have worked with has been professional, helpful and knowledgeable. The Birketts team is very responsive and always ensure advice given is clear and practical. They always make themselves available when matters are urgent.’

‘The team are all just so helpful. Nothing is enough, they are efficient, prompt, supportive and are there with you from beginning to end. Over the last 12 months they have really helped with advice, webinars, training for our manager, however most importantly they have supported the business through some difficult times.’

‘Jeanette Wheeler – huge support in some complex situations, available all hours and highly professional whilst warm and personable. Laura Brown – dedicated, supportive and at the end of the phone with all the professional support I need. Sam Greenhalgh – over the last 12 months we have taken our Managers through Employment law training as well as watching Sam on many webinars. Highly experienced and supportive.’

‘A quality firm in this area with an excellent reputation and a professional, supportive and approachable practice.

‘Matthew Newnham is a pleasure to work with. Knowledgeable, supportive and pragmatic. He is always our go to person and I have used him regularly on a wide range of employment law matters. Always provides great advice and delivers creative solutions.’

‘I have worked with Birketts now for almost 13 years for mainly employment law advice but also for civil matters. The employment team are fantastic and I cannot rate them highly enough. I recommend them to others when the opportunity arises. I have not had as much involvement with the civil team but when I have their standards are as high.’

‘Mat Newnham is the person with whom I have worked more regularly and he is very personable as well as professional. He gives me the legal side of a situation followed by alternatives when I have been willing to take a level of risk.’

‘We used them for redundancies and other staff issues and they were very responsive and offered practical solutions. They were also very good at getting information about other areas we had issues with. They responded very promptly and did a very thorough job. When the redundancy was challenged by another solicitor, there were no gaps and everything had been thoroughly covered.’

Key clients

The AF Group

East Anglian Air Ambulance

Petrogas UK Ltd

Acteon Group

Diamond Learning Partnership Trust

Anglia Crown Limited

Royston Town Council

Employment > Health and safety Tier 1

Birketts LLP has extensive cross-industry experience in serious health and safety matters, including disasters and multiple fatalities. The firm, which acts for both corporate clients and individuals, has former HSE consultants and safety consultants in its team and is instructed in cases nationwide. Partner Matthew Gowen, who is a qualified barrister, leads the regulatory and corporate defence practice from Ipswich, though he works across the firm’s entire office network. Norwich-based legal director Julie Gowland is another key figure in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:


‘What makes this practice unique in my experience is the sheer experience and knowledge in-house. The partner leading the case for my company represented us exceptionally well, with a thorough understanding of the case and the law.’

‘The team is very strong. Matthew Gowen is exceptionally knowledgeable and has provided excellent legal advice, support when needed, and helped us through difficult times.’

Employment > Immigration Tier 1

Birketts LLP is one of the few firms in the region with a dedicated immigration practice and frequently handles applications for investors, entrepreneurs and exceptional talent, skilled and temporary workers, students and family members. Recently, it has been particularly busy advising EEA nationals on pre-settled and settled status applications. Legal director Clare Hedges leads the immigration practice from Cambridge but works across firm's entire five-office network, which now includes a presence in London. Legal executive Dasha Ball in Norwich deals with applications for settled status, spouse visas and has a specialist interest in nationality cases.

Practice head(s):

Clare Hedges

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Frontier Developments plc

TTP plc

McCormick (UK) Limited

St Andrew’s Tutorial Services Limited

Healthcare Homes (Spring) Limited

Healthcare Homes LSC Limited


Cresset Biomolecular Discovery Limited

Owlstone Medical Limited

SPT Labtech Limited

London Diocesan Fund

Church of England Central Services

The Bishop of Lincoln

Work highlights

  • Retained immigration advisers to Frontier Developments plc. Handled numerous visa applications for Tier 2 General visas and then Skilled Worker visas, including first visas for EU nationals and visas for interns.
  • Applied for sponsor licence following client’s acquisition of a group of care homes and advised on transfer of sponsorship responsibility for nurses whose employment had transferred under TUPE.
  • Advised a couple on their successful applications for naturalisation as British citizens, having supported them throughout their immigration journey over a number of years, in circumstances where work travel was in excess of maximum permitted absences.

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 1

Birketts LLP has an eight-partner finance practice across its four offices, and handles a broad range of conventional lending, real estate and acquisition finance, as well as assisting clients in the agriculture and property development sectors. It also handles invoice discounting, trade finance, Islamic finance and a variety of banking matters for clients including HSBC and Lloyds Bank. Mark Henry in Ipswich is the lead partner and he works closely with James Allen in Cambridge, who has a niche practice in the financing of mobile home parks, and partners Alex Schaafsma in Cambridge and Andrew Tubb in Ipswich.

Practice head(s):

Mark Henry


‘They offer and introduce all the different roles we need as a sizable business and all work so well together as a team. We use their banking, corporate, HR, property and litigation teams. all very capable lawyers.’

‘They go out of their way to ensure deals are completed and all have very commercial solutions to difficult legal situations.’

‘Birketts have acted for the bank on a number of transactions over the past 12 months. They have always delivered quality work in good timescales as well as appropriate advice at times.’

‘Alex Schaafsma is a highly experienced partner, efficiently overseeing the work and caring greatly about the bank/lawyer relationship.’

‘The team is very responsive to clients needs and takes a proactive part in all of our dealings. Alex Schaafsma is our principal contact and she has been a great source of assistance and advice when needed.

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

Foresight Group LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised various entities within the Marden Homes Group in relation to financings they have put in place for different development projects.
  • Acted alongside the corporate team in respect of an equity investment by LDC in Aker Systems Limited – providing the advice on the financing side of the transaction.
  • Advised different parts of the Time Group on a multitude of financings over the past few years  to facilitate the acquisition of many mobile home parks, enabling the business to become one of the largest mobile home park businesses in the UK.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Birketts LLP 'gets good results and takes a no-nonsense approach when dealing with difficult litigants'. The firm, which has strong relationships with numerous insolvency practitioners and also counsels company directors on corporate recovery matters, has a multi-disciplinary practice that brings together specialist insolvency skills and expertise in health and safety, property, finance and shipping. 'Very clever and efficient operator' and fellow of r3 (the Association of Business Recovery Professionals) Laurence Weeks, frequently assists IPs with non-contentious matters. He leads the practice from Cambridge, where legal director Maria-Christina Peyman handles insolvency litigation. Corporate partner Greg Allan in Norwich also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:


‘The insolvency team we deal with is headed by Laurence Weeks, a very clever and efficient operator who has a good bedside manner. Laurence and his team always have the client’s interests at heart.’

‘Laurence Weeks is a good leader of his team and has a hands on approach to his key clients. He gets good results and takes a no-nonsense approach when dealing with difficult litigants.’

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

Work highlights

  • Advised RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP on the Administration of F.H. Gilman & Co.
  • Advised Resolve Partners Limited on the Administration of the Mitcham Partnership.
  • Advised FRP Advisory LLP on sale of a private hospital.

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a five-partner rural practice, making it one of the largest in England. The firm handles work from across the UK, including energy project developments, strategic land transactions, agriculture finance work and advice on public rights of way. Jack Royall leads the practice from Norwich, where Chris Coupland is also a key practitioner. In Ipswich, James Dinwiddy is 'thorough and always available', while senior associate Tom Verrill is 'exceptional'. The 'very personable and incisiveRachel McKillop-Wilkin in Cambridge and Sophia Key in Norwich have strong reputations in the sale and purchase of agricultural land. The firm is currently advising dozens of landowners on the negotiation of an option agreement and lease relating to cables crossing Norfolk from the Hornsea Project Three Offshore Wind Farm.

Practice head(s):

Jack Royall


‘Under the watchful eye of one individual I have been extremely impressed with the efficiency all the different departments, how they have appreciated our needs, responded to our requests and offered understandable and good advice relevant to our situation. To have achieved all the above during the Covid crisis when access to the office was limited is also very impressive – their existing set up of remote access served them well.’

‘They seem very professional and very helpful. They are always happy to help whatever the query whatever time of the day that might be or a weekend. You don’t tend to get that with many firms.’

‘We have dealt with Birketts on a number of land transactions and have found them to be very good communicators, adaptive to the situation and helpful. They adopt positions in varying stages of robustness reflecting the situation in hand not just using the same playbook in every situation. Tom Verrill in particular is very good and to be recommended. He is forthright where needed and more emollient where required, good knowledge and sensible with his billing.’

‘Honesty and integrity, not too cautious but ready to engage or withdraw as required. Proper real wold advice not a load of flannel. Tom Verrill is very good and adapts to our way of doing business, honesty and integrity.’

‘Rachel Mckillop-Wilkin is very personable and able to be incisive to see through a problem.’

‘They handle the very complex matter of farm conveyancing (amongst of course many other things) and have proved to be highly competent and efficient in their delivery of this service.’

‘Very knowledgeable and quick to resolve the many matters that arise. Very thorough and place great emphasis on good customer service.’

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

'The responsiveness of this team is outstanding and unsurpassed ', says a client of Birketts LLP. The firm advises on the incorporation of new charities, as well as handling mergers, fundraisings, employment issues, property work, disputes and regulatory matters for a host of well-established charitable organisations. Liz Brownsell in Ipswich leads the practice and is a key adviser to major clients including Amnesty International and The Royal Academy of Arts. Clients appreciate the 'tenacity and honesty' of legal director Erika Clarke in Norwich, who handles charity law and procurement matters. Senior associate Frances Godden is recommended for matters of ecclesiastical law.

Practice head(s):

Liz Brownsell

Other key lawyers:


‘The level of responsiveness of this team is outstanding and unsurpassed in my 18+ years of working in not-for-profit organisations. Very often we are small, and not very commercially attractive, our challenges are unique in nature and we seek advice often times due to our limited in house expertise. This team treats us exactly the same, with the same levels of respect and attention as any of the much bigger clients who probably spend much more money for much less input. Our business is always valued, and the strong, reliable and trusted working relationships are incredibly valued by our organisation.’

‘ Erika Clarke never fails to support us with tenacity and honesty around some of our most challenging issues. I cannot recommend the team highly enough to other not for profit organisations who may be intimidated by the thought of high fees and difficult legal issues, their supportive approach makes these issues manageable for the small organisation.’

‘A progressive team and approach across different sections. They listen well and seeks to focus on what info they need and for why.’

‘Erika Clarke – a candid and professional focus – takes you to the next step needed.’

‘I find Erika Clarke calm efficient, effective and most importantly unflappable!’

‘Personal attention and care. Attention to detail. Good follow up.’

‘Erika Clarke was exceptionally attentive to detail. She returned calls and emails promptly and was available whenever needed. She was exceptionally attentive to our needs and to any potential dangers and pitfalls.’

Key clients

Amnesty International


The Royal Academy of Arts

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Trust for London

London Diocesan Fund

Creative Land Trust

Lumos Foundation

Walking With the Wounded

Spiritualists’ National Union Trust

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH)

East Anglian Air Ambulance

National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB)

Quadram Institute of Biosciences

Church of England Central Services

British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS)

The All Saints Educational Trust

Innominate Trust


Cambridge Centre for Animal Rights Law

Your Ambition

Work highlights

  • Advised British Association for Immediate Care on the incorporation and the reorganisation of the charitable group.
  • Advised Sunshine Baby Bank on the registration of a new charity, which was registered within 2 working days of the application being submitted to the Charity Commission.
  • Advised 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

The Norwich office of Birketts LLP has a stellar reputation in private wealth disputes, including Inheritance Act matters, charitable legacy disputes,  challenges to the validity of wills and TOLATA claims. Longstanding ACTAPS member Bernadette Baker leads the practice and, according to clients, 'not only has the experience required in this area, but she listens to her clients, takes careful account of the evidence and the law, and works very closely with counsel to protect her clients' interests'. 'Friendly and professional' senior associate Marie McMahon and commercial litigator Max Roessler also play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Bernadette Baker

Other key lawyers:


‘Excellent, helpful and friendly service.’

‘The team is led by Bernadette Baker, and it is clear that the junior members of the team both trust and respect her. The confidence they have in her knowledge and skills makes for a smooth-running team which benefits the clients. Everyone is very clear on their roles and the communication is excellent despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.’

‘I changed to Birketts following a recommendation, and they are light years ahead of the previous firm I worked with. Bernadette Baker not only has the experience required in this area, but she listens to her clients, takes careful account of the evidence and the law, and works very closely with Counsel to protect her clients’ interests. She is clearly respected by her colleagues and by Counsel which instils much-needed confidence when working through the distressing process of contentious probate law.’

‘The whole process for myself and my siblings with dealing with Birketts, in particular Bernadette Baker, was made so much easier for us to cope with due to brilliant communication from start to finish – from everything to dealing with the case through to price breakdowns. Brilliant.’

‘Bernadette Baker dealt with our case and we couldn’t have wished or asked for a better legal representative for us – outstanding. Especially at a very difficult and upsetting time for myself and my siblings, having just lost our father and his Will being contested; everything was explained, the process, the progression; we felt nothing was left unanswered – A fantastic solicitor and someone I definitely would not like to come up against.’

Private client > Family Tier 1

Birketts LLP provides 'premier London quality at local rates from friendly practitioners with a problem-solving attitude'. Oliver Gravell leads the practice from Ipswich, where up-and-coming partner Katie Beaven, who 'cares about her clients and works with dedication', acts for many local business people and farming families. Legal director Juliet Harvey, who is 'a whirlwind of organisation and dedication', is the national chair of Resolution. Senior associates Deborah Lloyd and Lisa Cornish are the main contacts in Norwich and both are 'invested in their clients' mental health as well as seeking the best outcome'. Senior associate Rachel Frost-Smith joined the Cambridge office from Irwin Mitchell in late 2020.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Gravell


‘Katie Beaven is patient, understanding, able to explain issues clearly and simply, always pragmatic and looking for solutions and moved with good pace when needed at key process points.’

‘The department works well as a team. They are supportive of each other and their clients. They are a pleasure to work with, willing to take suggestions on board and to discuss all options to get the best outcome for a client.’

‘Oliver Gravell nurtures young talent and gently and kindly teaches young lawyers both legal skills but also people skills and how to view a case from both the long term and the short term perspectives. Katie Beaven cares about her clients and her team. She works with dedication to get the best for her clients. Is not afraid to give difficult advice but deals with it with humanity. Juliet Harvey – a whirlwind of organisation and dedication.’

‘Great value with premier London quality at Cambridge rates. Friendly, approachable practitioners with a problem solving attitude to family law issues.’

‘Rachel Frost-Smith is a rising star who deserves the highest praise for her sensitivity in handling complex children cases. A most able advocate. She also excels in financial matters – particularly those involving businesses and offshore assets where her background in corporate tax makes her a formidable opponent.’

‘Oliver Gravell – has been a Cambridge heavyweight for as long as I can remember! He is adept in all areas and has now added arbitration as another feather in his bow.’

‘The team were exceptionally helpful and supportive throughout my experience. I never felt passed from one person to the next and handover between the team always seemed smooth. There were only really 3 people from the Birketts team that looked after me which was very nice. The solicitors from Birketts carried out all the behind the scenes work with me and I always felt communication was very smooth and complete.’

‘I have worked with Deborah Lloyd and more latterly Lisa Cornish. Both members of the family team work with an enthusiasm and professionalism. I work in mental health, I find the fact that both lawyers are invested with their clients mental health and wellbeing as well as seeking a best outcome for their client.’

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

Birketts LLP advises high-net-worth individuals, landowners, business executives and their beneficiaries on the whole range of private client matters, including trust administration, complex probate, lifetime planning, landed estates and employee ownership trusts. Louise Long, who leads the wills and advisory practice, is based in Ipswich but closely supports key Cambridge partners Caroline Stenner and Rachel Winter, who is 'very collaborative, extremely responsive'. Senior associates Kimberly Sayward and Robert Willoughby round out a deep bench of experienced practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Louise Long; Caroline Stenner


‘We appreciate the people, their knowledge of the subject, their teamwork and responsiveness.’

‘Rachel Winter – very collaborative, extremely responsive. Works as part of a team to get the best result for the client. Very good technically.’

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

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is a key hub for its cross-office private client practice. Led by partner Louise Long, the ‘highly knowledgeable, flexible and detail-focused‘ group acts for a diverse mix of business owners, farmers, high-net-worth individuals, landed estates, retirees and the elderly. In addition to handling the full range of domestic matters, the firm also advises on complex cross-border and non-domicile issues. ‘Very precise, detailed, client-focused‘ senior associate Richard Guy is recommended for his support of family-owned businesses.

Practice head(s):

Louise Mary Long

Other key lawyers:


‘Birketts has a very strong presence and brand and is well respected in the area.’

‘Excellent technical ability and service levels.’

‘James Dinwiddy – thoughtful and clear advice.’

‘Highly knowledgeable, flexible and detail-focused.’

‘Richard Guy – very precise, detailed, client-focused.’

‘Birketts are very responsive and on top of their game in advising clients both proactive and reactively.’

‘Richard Guy, who I predominantly work with has a wide breadth of knowledge. When I introduce a client I have my own ideas of what they may need but he always does his job comprehensively, building on my straw man plan and putting the detail behind what is required, more importantly, recommending a more appropriate course of action if it is the right thing to do.’

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

Birketts LLP has a deep bench of private client lawyers across its four offices, with Lorna Spear serving as the lead partner in Norwich. The firm has a 'highly professional yet personable approach to client matters' and is a frequent adviser to some of the region's largest farming families, landed estates, business owners and entrepreneurs. Its work spans the full range of lifetime planning, including LPAs, inheritance tax planning, business succession, complex probate and Court of Protection matters. Legal director Helen Cordingley and senior associate Hayley Pettitt garner high praise from clients.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Spear

Other key lawyers:


‘Highly professional yet personable approach to client matters.’

‘Helen Cordingley has been excellent working with trust and individual clients across a wide range of scenarios.’

‘They are approachable and make each and every client feel valued. I feel their fees are excellent value for the high level service provided. Their use of technology has made it easy to continue to conduct business with no barriers through these challenging times, especially whilst dealing with often very emotive subjects.’

‘Hayley Pettitt is refreshing to deal with. Hayley can explain complex will structures in a way that a client can easily understand and takes time to ensure they really do understand. Hayley is professional, knowledgeable and delivers exactly what she says she will, if not more.’

‘They are not only competent but practical and friendly and have a consistent high quality across the whole team. They also work well as a team and are very collaborative with fellow professionals.’

‘The Birketts team is a little old-fashioned in that they understand that they are there to provide a service at a fair cost and to stand by advice. So many firms nowadays avoid definitive advice, in my experience.’

‘Practical – always seeking an answer rather than pose more questions and problems.’

‘Approachable, knowledgeable and fun to work with.’

Public sector Tier 1

Birketts LLP has 'in-depth knowledge, experience and expertise in state and boarding education and safeguarding issues' . Beyond the education sector, it also has a broad skill set, advising on health and local government matters in a 'responsive and effective way, with first-rate knowledge'. Ruth Neave, who works across all four of the firm's office, is head of the firm's public sector and local government practice, with head of education Abigail Trencher in Cambridge and lead health partner Matthew Newnham in Norwich also heavily involved. They call upon Cambridge-based litigation partner Sara Sayer and Ipswich-based senior associate Claire Jones, who advises on grant funding arrangements and the exercise of statutory duties. In Ipswich, corporate expert Liz Brownsell, who focuses on education work, and planning senior associate Nicky Doole are core members of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Neave; Abigail Trencher; Matthew Newnham

Other key lawyers:


‘We particularly valued Dwight Patten’s extensive knowledge of the higher education sector gained from working with our university previously; together with his willingness to clearly understand the clients objectives whilst adopting a conscientious, commercial and practical solution focused approach to the legal work he co-ordinated on our behalf.’

‘In depth-knowledge and experience of development management practice, which I have seen in particular relating to Section 106 agreements. The ability to advise on the best position for the local planning authority, and foresee any elements missing or that would adversely affect the matter are invaluable. The cross-team cover provided has also been excellent, ensuring legal agreements could progress in the timeliest manner.’

‘What makes this practice stand out to others I have worked with is the speed and effectiveness of the advice given, I do not have to chase for updates and I am always clear each week what is happening on the cases we are working on. Nicky Doole in particular is excellent at providing clear, effective and timely advice on legal agreements and always making sure I know the current position on our work together.’

‘Nicky Doole provides clear and effective advice, with excellent client-side manner. Very approachable.’

‘The employment team at this firm is excellent. The advice, and quality of opinion is outstanding, and highly pragmatic. The knowledge is first rate, and the linking to other specialist areas of the firm to support the client is very good.’

‘The organisation has been supported by Matt Newnham for some time now. He is able to understand the context of a political environment, and anticipate potential outcomes/consequences, and how they may be portrayed in the press. He provides clear, pragmatic and commercial legal opinion. Highly recommended.’

‘Expertise and understanding of state and boarding education and safeguarding issues.’

‘95% available at short notice and always refer to someone who has particular knowledge and skills if not able to respond, as often quick response required for casework.’

Key clients

South Norfolk Council

Babergh District Council

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

The Broads Authority

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Teaching Regulation Agency

Cambridgeshire County Council

Ipswich Borough Council

Suffolk County Council

CIFCO Capital Limited

Mid Suffolk District Council

Breckland Council

Diamond Learning Trust

Anglia Ruskin University

College of West Anglia

Sapientia Education Trust

Big Sky Living

Concertus Design and Property Consultancy Limited

Hartpury University

Work highlights

  • Acting for Breckland Council in an enforcement dispute regarding lawful commencement and compliance with conditions at a development site within the district following various challenges by an affected landowner involving the highway boundary and the ability of the developer to comply with conditions.
  • Acting for Cambridgeshire County Council on the £28m deal/acquisition of a partially new build business park comprising a mix of mid-tech and warehousing/distribution tenants.
  • Acting for Concertus D&P Limited (a Suffolk County Council owned company) on a JV with Derbyshire County Council for the provision of professional construction services back to Derbyshire County Council.

Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 1

Clients of Birketts LLP praise its '‘London quality experience, speed and technical knowhow'. The firm is involved in high-value transactions and development projects both in East Anglia and across the UK. Katherine Herbert leads a five-partner commercial practice, bringing more that 30 years' experience to bear on strategic land development matters. Gavin Acheson has unrivalled experience in investment property work for institutional and high-net-worth investors, while Jeremy Stanton focuses predominantly on clean energy projects. Uo-and-coming partners Dwight Patten and Claudia Haisman-Green, and senior associate Gemma Goddard also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Herbert


‘Birketts have a great commercial property team with a variety of levels of experience so the right lawyer is selected for the job to achieve commercial value. Birketts is run efficiently – they are flexible with their clients and have embraced technology, which has been particularly important with the pandemic.’

‘Dwight Patten is an exceptional lawyer both in terms of the wealth of knowledge he has regarding commercial property, but also that he is able to think out of the box and deliver timely practical solutions for his in-house clients. Dwight is very reliable and has successfully assisted us with a number of large and complex leasehold transactions.’

‘London-quality experience, speed and technical knowhow. On a par with any large firm I have dealt with. Work hand in glove with clients real estate advisors to provide complete joined up service.’

‘Gavin Acheson – vast experience, strong commercial approach, provides practical advice, and knows which issues to focus on.

‘Andrew Shepherdson – a great team member and one for the future.’

‘The team is highly professional, always efficient and with excellent client contact skills. The documents are laid out clearly, are thorough, and always well edited.

‘Helen Stewart and her team provided excellent advice and support, and were available at all times to my family. The team led by Helen provided clear documentation and at all times met with our deadlines. Helen explained all details accurately and we felt extremely well supported and guided throughout the exchange of contract period.’

Key clients

Jesus College Oxford

Alchemie Technology Ltd

Cambridgeshire County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Alchemie Technology Limited on the acquisition of premises at Heathfield House, Duxford.
  • Advising Jesus College, University of Oxford on an agreement for lease and lease with GP practices at Northgate House.
  • Advising Cambridgeshire County Council on the acquisition of Evolution Business Park, Cambridge.

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

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP has one of the region's largest real estate teams and is highly regarded for strategic land deals, property investments, commercial and residential developments, and an array of other work. Chris Schwer is the lead partner and acts for many of the region's leading investors, developers, landlords, tenants and funders. Stuart Raven routinely deals with the sale and purchase of large investment properties, high-value leases and commercial development projects. Oliver Crichton is a leading property pensions lawyer, and Paul Squire is active in the firm's property investment practice. Stephen Sumpton, who joined from DWF, head of utilities Vicki Chilton and senior associate Julie Hoy are also key members of the real estate practice.

Practice head(s):

Chris Schwer

Other key lawyers:


‘All the solicitors are of a high calibre and work together as a team. So if your project needs say a legal notice to be served, Birketts will bring in an expert to work alongside your key contact. A responsive and bespoke service.’

‘Julie Hoy – good assertive skills protecting the clients position. Good customer care and quick to understand the clients objectives. Amanda Timcke – friendly approachable service. Again good at taking clients issues on board and providing a bespoke and tailored service. Confident advice on technical points.’

‘We have enjoyed a very good working relationship with Birketts for years now. The team always go that extra mile for us and get paperwork turned around quickly.’

‘Birketts carry out primarily commercial property related tasks on our behalf which include leasing transactions, investment purchases and sales and funding agreements. We find they have an impressive understanding of what we are seeking to achieve and work efficiently to that end.’

‘A consistently good level of service is delivered by all the team who work towards completing transactions in a professional, efficient and timely manner.’

‘Very attentive, good clear knowledge and advice. I can leave them to get on with other professional parties involved in the job.’

‘Great team. Their strength is being pragmatic with issues along with a quick turnaround of high quality work.’

‘Mark Elgar provides high-quality support to my business on all property matters. His pragmatic approach is invaluable to the business.’

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 Childrens Hospices

Suffolk County Council

Basildon Borough Council

Fairview New Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised 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 on a range of transactions including miles of easement routes crossing multiple landowners land both agricultural and central London locations. The team are often instructed on crucial infrastructure projects including primary substations and multiple substations within a development site.
  • Exclusively retained by Hopkins Homes Ltd on all acquisition, disposal, plot sale and strategic land work for leading regional housebuilder.
  • Acting for Various leading SIPP and SSAS providers on transactions in the SIPP/SSAS sector (approx. 750 completed transactions per annum).

Real estate > Commercial property: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP is 'highly approachable, with experts across all sectors'. The Norwich office is a key pillar of  the firm's real estate practice that handles high-value transactions and projects regionally and nationwide. 'Commercially focused and supportive' practice head Melissa Loucas has notable experience in the office and industrial sectors, and Cameron Barlow is the key partner in the firm's real estate investment group. Chris Hoxley, who joined from Butcher Andrews, acts for regional housebuilders in matters ranging from site acquisitions to plot sales. Senior associate Andrew Ridout has experience in the landlord and tenant, retail, banking and real estate finance sectors, and Bhargav Trivedi leads the strategic land practice.

Practice head(s):

Melissa Loucas


‘Commercial, quick, value for money, proactive not reactive.’

‘The Birketts team, led by Melissa Loucas, has supported me and my businesses through many property transactions over the years and each time customer (client) service has been exceptional – a rarity in the legal profession.’

‘Melissa Loucas is, without doubt, the most commercially focused and supportive property lawyer that I have had the pleasure of working with in my career. Whilst keeping me, and my companies, on the straight and narrow legally, all the deals that I have worked with Melissa on have been concluded satisfactorily at great value.’

‘The team has always come across as professionals and are definitely an expert in the field that I have had dealings with them.’

‘Melissa Loucas is the partner I deal with – she consistently went the extra mile to deal with various challenges we have had on our lease completion and I would have absolutely no issues in recommending her for her conscientiousness and diligence.’

‘Highly approachable, with experts across all sectors that I am involved. They are trusted professional advisers.’

‘Bhargav Trivedi leads an impressive team. He is proactive and a real team player.’

‘Birketts have supported us with several commercial property transactions over the last few years, from exiting leases to executing new leases. The support provided has always been first class and certainly, at times, has been above and beyond the agreed scope. Fees are usually quoted in advance and have always been pretty accurate with fair negotiation with any changes.’

Key clients

Interbay Funding Ltd


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

  • Advised MH Star UK Limited (a Chinese-owned multi-national import/retailer) on the purchase of a new build 206,000 sq ft distribution warehouse.
  • Advised LendInvest on over 400 instructions with values ranging from £100k to £2m per loan.
  • Advised Interbay Funding Ltd on a range of property-related loans.

Real estate > Planning and environment Tier 1

Birketts LLP is 'a very strong firm that is regularly doing work that would usually be reserved for City practices'. The planning and environment group works for both private and public sector clients, among them local authorities, minerals and waste companies, and parish councils. The work ranges from large-scale strategic development projects to property litigation. Tom Newcombe in Cambridge and, in Ipswich the 'very client-focused' Deborah Sharples and the 'very knowledgeable' Richard Eaton are the key partners. Senior associates Nicola Doole and Chloe Glason in Ipswich both have in-house experience at local authorities.

Practice head(s):

Tom Newcombe; Deborah Sharples; Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:


‘Very strong firm that is regularly doing work that would usually be reserved for City practices. A good range of experience and expertise. ’

‘Richard Eaton is very knowledgeable, great fun to work with. Nicola Doole – hard working, efficient. Tom Newcombe provides strong leadership. Deborah Sharples – very client focused and well organised. Chloe Glason is very efficient and fun to work with.’

‘Nicola Doole offers clear and effective advice, with excellent client-side manner. Very approachable.’

‘Deborah Sharples provided all the advice we needed both very promptly and accurately. This was particularly impressive given that we had had no relationship with her prior to this issue. We continue to work with her on related issues, so far with 100% successful results.’

‘Apparent limitless planning law knowledge, flexibility of approach and contactable. Keen to deliver exactly what is needed rather than simply producing a highly legalistic document. Sound advice.’

‘Tom Newcombe is always available to explore issues and explore strategies, welcoming client views and inputs. Clearly continues to reflect on issues and report back even after discussions have concluded. Works hard to produce targeted responses that are fit for purpose, trying to distil complex legal issues down into manageable written material to satisfy all requirements.’

‘The team is highly qualified and experienced and has exceptional specialist knowledge in their respective fields.’

‘The individuals we work with at Birketts are driven, talented, readily contactable and responsive. In particular I would give special credit to Deborah Sharples who has been quite exceptional in both her application, effectiveness and dedication throughout.’

Key clients

Babergh District Council

Countryside Properties (UK) Limited

Broads Authority

Breckland Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Orwell Housing Association

City & Country

Mersea Homes Ltd

Persimmon Homes Limited

Fairfields Farm Produce Limited

Flogas Britain Limited

Trenport Investments Limited

Crest Nicholson (Eastern) Limited

Hopkins Homes Limited

Hopkins & Moore (Developments) Ltd

Stonebond Properties (Chelmsford) Limited

Bloor Homes Limited

Hills Group

Ipswich Borough Council

Volker Fitzpatrick

Work highlights

  • Advised a major UK energy supply company in relation to a project to develop a bulk storage facility of national significance and a supply pipeline.
  • Advising Countryside Properties (UK) Limited  on a major strategic joint venture in relation to the very complex planning of their regeneration of part of Dagenham of up to 3,000 residential units, two 3-form entry primary schools; railway station; supporting uses including retail, healthcare, multi faith worship space, leisure, community uses and other associated infrastructure.
  • Advising Commercial Development Projects Limited in relation to a Judicial Review regarding an Asda Supermarket in Leeds.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 1

It supplies expertise of the sort found in the best London firms, but with the advantage that its people have the time to devote to your problems‘, say clients of Birketts LLP. The firm has a large property litigation practice that handles all matters ranging from leasehold enfranchisement, town and village greens, housing management litigation and much more. Richard Eaton in Ipswich is the lead partner in a team of 18 lawyers, in which James Robinson is a key adviser to the telecoms sector. John Scannell and employed barrister Simon Woodhead are the key practitioners in Norwich. Ipswich-based senior associate Laura Tanguay and Alice Harris are all central to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Richard Eaton

Other key lawyers:

James Robinson; John Scannell; Simon Woodhead; Charlotte Wormstone; Lynsey Ellard


‘The firm has genuine specialisms and attracts work from across the country. The team is well geared with the right mix of juniors and partners to ensure work is done well at the right level, promptly and cost-effectively. ’

‘I have worked with Richard Eaton extensively over the years and over a range of practice areas ranging from land law to planning and general public law. Our successes in were largely down to the wealth of property litigation expertise Richard was able to bring to the case.. ’

‘Comprehensive knowledge and experience across the whole team.’

‘Simon Woodhead was outstanding in the process of pursuing my claim and introduced other specialist professionals to support a successful conclusion.’

‘It supplies expertise of the sort found in the best City of London firms, but with the superb advantage that its people seem to have the time to devote to your problems (unlike many in London). Your problem will be worried over, pulled every which way, and taken apart and reassembled so thoroughly that you will be sure that no angle has been left unexplored. If there is a solution to it, they will find it.’

‘Simon Woodhead is very bright and very thorough, leaving no stone unturned in his quest to do the best for his clients. John Scannell likewise is hugely informed and clever: a man who cares deeply about getting the right result for his clients.’

‘Charlotte Wormstone brings a very practical and cost-effective approach to her cases. She is great with clients and also fun to work with.’

Key clients

Breckland DC

Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk

Associated British Ports

Hopkins Homes

Pecla Investments Ltd

Ian Tucker (Mistley Village Green case)

Churchmanor Estates Company Plc

The Hotel Folk

Harlow Council

Epping Forest District Council

Work highlights

  • Advising SPV company Pecla Investments Ltd  on trust and cooperation agreement issues relating to promotion,  development and sale (with com prop colleague) of high-value co-owned site on south coast (in excess £30m) .
  • Representing the respondent in the Mistley Town and Village Green case which reached the Supreme Court.

Real estate > Social housing Tier 1

Birketts LLP in Norwich has a strong practice that frequently advises national and regional RPs and local authorities on a broad range of property and regulatory matters. ‘Highly efficient and effective‘ senior associate Emily Groom and associate Sarah Fish also play key roles in the practice. Clients value the firm’s ‘flexible approach, tailoring the service to meet individual project needs‘. Former practice head Peter Goddard retired in May 2021 following the firm's hire of Jonathan Hulley from Capsticks LLP the previous year.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hulley

Other key lawyers:


‘I have worked with Birketts primarily on affordable housing development. The work involves contract negotiations with landowners and developers. Birketts have demonstrated high standards in all dealings. They have strong experience in this field, which results in appropriate advice and solutions. I value Birketts’ flexible approach, tailoring the service to meet individual project needs.’

‘Emily Groom has demonstrated highly efficient and effective working. As a recent example, Emily negotiated complex contract documents, ensuring that we were able to exchange contracts on a high-profile project to our required timescales. This was achieved despite a number of last minute changes from the vendor. Emily delivered optimal outcomes for our business, in a very tight timescale.’

‘A dedicated team which specialises in matters related to social housing. One of the key strength of Birketts is their excellent customer care on legal matters and legal surgeries they provide to update our team on the latest legislative tools.’

Key clients

Broadland Housing Association

Flagship Housing Group


Orbit Group Limited

Longhurst Group

Iceni Homes

Eastlight (previously Greenfields)

London and Quadrant (L&Q)

B3 Living

Cambridge Housing Society

Swan Housing

Westway Housing Association

Harlow Council

Basildon Borough Council

South Holland District Council

Work highlights

  • Advised B3 on its largest deal to date, the acquisition of a scheme for c.200 units at a cost of over £50m which was part of a larger strategic development site in Cheshunt comprising 1,500 units.
  • Advised Harlow Council on the purchase of 50 street properties.
  • Acting forLondon and Quadrant in connection with its Build London Partnerships project, which allows smaller RPs to access enhanced levels of grant from the Greater London Authority in addition to L&Q’s development expertise.

Transport > Transport and shipping Tier 1

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP houses a transport and logistics practice that combines in-depth experience in shipping, road transport and trade. ‘A specialised and efficient law firm‘, it is unique in the region for the breadth of its work. Henry Adams leads the shipping and international trade practice, which encompasses dry shipping and marine insurance work. As head of the regulatory and corporate defence practice, Matthew Gowen handles Public Inquiries before the Traffic Commissioner and before the Magistrates’ and Crown Court in criminal proceedings. Nicholas Woo is a specialist in all areas of dry shipping litigation, particularly in cases involving Asian jurisdictions. Head of litigation Alex Davey, whose work includes charterparty, bill of lading and cargo disputes involving High Court litigation or London arbitration, frequently advises P&I clubs, freight forwarders and logistics companies. Senior associate Sarah Holsgrove is also experienced in complex disputes.

Practice head(s):

Henry Adams; Alex Davey; Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:


‘Birketts is a specialised and efficient law firm, reactive and reasonable in billing’

‘Henry Adams and the shipping team are efficient, provide good and quick advice, and understand client needs. Henry speaks good French, which makes things easier for our French clients.’

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP is widely hailed for its strengths in strategically significant, high-value corporate transactions that often have a cross-border dimension. Led by Rafael Ruiz, the team in Chelmsford is seen as a first port of call for advice on acquisitions and disposals, as well as commercial contracts, particularly among clients in the IT and financial services sectors. It is increasingly prominent in private equity-backed transactions and also excels in handling sales of companies to employee ownership trusts (EOTs). In 2020, highlights included Ruiz, senior associate Heidi Jones and others acting for X-tention on its acquisition of Cloud 21 Limited from CTOi Group Limited. Adam JonesNigel Thompson and senior associate Caroline Nicholls are names to note. Also recommended is senior associate Alex Forwood, who has played an important role in growing the firm's portfolio of work in the food sector. Nick Burnett has retired from private practice.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Ruiz


‘Very good knowledge of M&A business. The M&A team not only has an in-depth knowledge of M&A but also from the financial and environmental aspects of a deal.’

‘We worked intensively with Alex Forwood. He was always up to date on the file, easily reachable, short reaction time and had an excellent knowledge of the M&A business. Is really an excellent balance between fee and delivered service. The service delivered by Alex was certainly of equal quality which in my experience we receive from bigger law firms.’

I found Heidi Jones professional, extremely prompt, always available and thoughtful. She uses words with care and accuracy, recognises priorities and acts on them. I found her meticulous, diligent, knowledgeable, experienced, with good contacts both internal and external, knowledgeable beyond her years, and very able to discuss fine points of legal documents with an enthusiastic layman.’

‘Caroline Nicholls was very efficient and assisted greatly in the negotiations for our recent MBO.’

‘Good all round commercially minded lawyers.’

‘A highly efficient and professional company that retains all in house legal disciplines, team members always on hand to provide the necessary advise and guidance. The use of a data room for uploading documentation was a fantastic innovation making the sharing information much easier for the members of the group.’

There is a detailed breakdown of budgeted costs at the outset with regular tracking of actuals against it.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest

Investec Investments (UK) Limited

Investec Bank plc

Excess Baggage Group

Seetec Business Technology Centre

The Reddington Group

Hydro International Limited

Sharksfin Holdings

Airtask Group/Directflight

Merryck & Co

Granarolo SpA & Group


Ventrica Limited

Gates Group Limited

Commodity Centre Group

Ordinary Members of Partners Wealth Management LLP

Manchester Underwriting Management Limited

Foresight Group LLP

Palatine Private Equity LLP

YFM Private Equity Limited

Jablite Limited

CPL Aromas Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised private equity investor Foresight Group on its acquisition of Plantexpand Limited.
  • Advised AOC on the sale of its UK subsidiary to a large German purchaser, BUFA Composites.
  • Advised Elemental Microanalysis on its debt funding and acquisition of a 50% interest in a target bolt-on business.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP's credentials as a top tier law firm are evidenced by its work for regional, national and international clients. The practice is led by Daden Hunt, who has almost 20 years of dispute resolution experience. Working with legal director Matthew Weston, he has been representing Readie Construction Limited at the High Court in proceedings against a supplier of allegedly defective building aggregate. Elsewhere, the team's expertise spans a multitude of other industries, including banking, technology, defence, education and food. Hunt's group also includes associate William Arran, whose experience includes regulatory investigations, insolvency disputes, defamation and harassment claims, and emergency court applications (such as freezing orders and delivery up injunctions).

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt

Other key lawyers:


‘The dispute resolution team at Birketts are leading experts in mediation and ADR.’

‘Daden Hunt is a key individual in commercial dispute resolution at Birketts for mediation, he has a formidable grasp of the issues and uses his expertise in ADR to achieve the very best results possible for his clients whether they be public companies, private companies, especially family owned companies or partnerships.’

Daden Hunt had huge knowledge of the legal parameters to defend myself.’

‘Always very friendly and nothing is too much trouble’

‘William Arran has been my solicitor. His advice has always been constructive. He has listened to my case with great attention to detail. This gives me confidence that I am getting the right advice. ’

‘Having been recommended Birketts Solicitors from working contacts, I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed with the service that we have received.’

‘Daden Hunt and William Arran have been exceptional with advice relating to a very long-running dispute.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest Limited

Sanrose Investment Limited

Readie Construction Limited

Illovo Ltd

Brooks Bros (UK) Ltd

Glencrest Seatex Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Sanrose on strategy and representing the company in High Court proceedings to resolve a longrunning dispute, which had seen the other member of a joint venture deadlock the JV vehicle (an LLP with significant assets).
  • Advising and representing a BVI company seeking to recover circa $7m it loaned to a UK company.
  • Advising and representing Glencrest in a challenge to its suspension from a trade association, which would have resulted in significant financial harm to the business.

Employment > Employment: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP's practice is now led by Clare Barlow, with former head Kevin Palmer now serving as a consultant. Senior associate Jonathan Insley (who joined from Tees Law in January 2021) and associate Nicholas West are other names to note in the team, which excels in covering the gamut of contentious and non-contentious issues for clients. In addition to providing non-contentious employment advice on a standalone basis (including on TUPE and redundancy), the group plays a key role in corporate transactions. In 2020, highlights included assisting ECM Selection Limited with the employment aspects of an MBO of a high tech recruitment expert firm based in Cambridge. Elsewhere, the group has a strong track record representing clients in Employment Tribunal litigation; areas of expertise in this space include cases involving whistleblowing, discrimination, and unfair and wrongful dismissal.

Practice head(s):

Clare Barlow


‘Birketts are a trustworthy and well respected firm, we have been working with them now for 10 years, across many different departments and their service and advice is second to none! ’

‘I work with Clare Barlow and have been for around 8 years, Clare is always at the end of the phone whenever i need her, she knows our business inside and out and always provide us with the best advice. We trust her judgement. And look forward to working with her for many more years!’

‘In my experience, Birketts’ response has always been very clear and timely. Communication is good and my expectations have been managed around timings. Written advice has been followed up with helpful telephone discussions. I have always felt comfortable in asking any question, no matter how trivial. Charging has taken into account the fact that we are a charity and discounts given where possible. The team have been offered and attended numerous informative free workshops as well as value for money seminars.’

‘I have worked with Clare Barlow for a number of years and always found her to be very helpful, professional, well informed and responsive. Support staff have been polite and efficient, as have those standing in for Clare when she has been on leave.’

‘The Birketts employment team are pragmatic, responsive and great to deal with. Their advice is always well reasoned and practical. ’

‘Clare Barlow is extremely knowledgeable and practical.’

Key clients

Absolute Post

Alstons (Cabinets) Ltd

Anderson Group

Aspire Media Group Limited

Aston Barclay Limited

Autoprotect (MBI) Ltd

Beresford Group Limited

Briddge Legal and Finance

Brady Technologies Limited

Broxbourne Borough Council

Chelmer Housing Partnership

Chelmsford City Council

CNH Industrial N.V.

Colchester United Football Club

CoInvestor Limited

Colorminium (London) Ltd

Commodity Centre Limited

Custom Security

Databricks UK Limited

Dietex International Limited

Direct Commercial Limited

Eatron Technologies Limited

ECM Selection

Elemental Microanalysis Ltd

EPG Energy Limited

Excess Baggage (Airports) Limited

Foresight Group

Go Homes Limited

Granarolo (UK) Limited

Grant Barnett and Company

Hanover Investors Management LLP

Harris Holdings (Grays) Limited

HBB Communications Limited

Insight Strategic Associates Limited

Iveco Retail Limited

JJ Sweeney Limited

J Reddington Limited

Jablite Limited

Jiangsu Guotai Huasheng Industrial Company (UK) Limited

Kalibrate Technologies Plc

Kent, Surrey & Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company

Lemon Groundwork Solutions

Milsom Hotels Ltd

OEA Laboratories Limited

Paris Partnership

Planet 14 Landscapes Limited

Marr Procurement Limited

Readie Construction Ltd

P2P Mailing Ltd

S A Meacock

Scobie & McIntosh Limited

Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd

Servowatch Systems Limited

Springfield Dental Practice

Swift Scaffolding

Tevva Motors Ltd

Tex Holdings Plc

Total Protection (Management Services) Limited

Trials Equipment (UK) Ltd

Ventrica Limited

VVB Engineering (UK) Limited

W.P.T. Support Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the purchasers on TUPE and other employment aspects of a multi-site national insulation manufacturer in administration and subsequent reorganisation and redundancy programme.
  • Preparing and negotiating high-level director service agreements for existing managers and incoming directors for Foresight, private equity investors, purchasing Plantexpand.
  • Successfully defending Springfield Dental Practice against a Tribunal claim for constructive unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, whistleblowing, breach of contract and unauthorised deduction of wages and holiday pay, entailing various applications concerning the claimant’s non-compliance with orders.

Employment > Immigration Tier 1

Birketts LLP assists clients with economic and personal immigration issues, including spouse visas, naturalisation applications and applications under the EU settlement scheme. Clare Hedges, who is based in Cambridge, regularly assists employers with the protection of EEA nationals working in the UK post-Brexit. In addition, she regularly advises clients on Sponsor Licence applications and matters relating to the Prevention of Illegal Working Act. Janice Leggett, who is based in Chelsmford, stands out for her niche in immigration matters in the film industry, including the employment of foreign workers under various visa types.

Practice head(s):

Clare Hedges

Other key lawyers:


‘Very professional with a strong working knowledge of immigration law and legislative developments in the field.’ 

‘Birketts was amazing throughout the whole process. Janice Leggett was extremally helpful and always knew what was needed. She ensured we had all relevant information to ensure I had the best possible chance of attaining a visa.’ 

‘I worked with Janice Leggett, she was extremely helpful and knowledgeable throughout the process of attaining my visa. She was always keeping me up to date with the whole process and ensured everything was arranged in the best possible way.’

‘Very professional with vast knowledge with regard to immigration and workings of government institutions.’

Key clients

Advertising Producers Association

Flutter Entertainment PLC

SCA Investments Limited t/a Gousto

Eatron Technologies Limited

Stink Films Limited

Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC

NFC Homes Limited

Quadient Limited

Element Energy Limited

McMullen Limited

Zap London Limited

Colorminium Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisting Advertising Producers Association with a variety of issues, largely concerning film crew entering the UK for short term film projects.
  • Advising SCA Investments t/a Gousto in relation to a number of applications under Tier 2 General and Skilled worker visa routes.
  • Advising Paddy Power Betfair regarding visa applications and its licence to assign Certificates of Sponsorship.

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

Birketts LLP's first-rate reputation in the private client arena is evidenced by its ability to generate a strong flow of referral work from accountants and financial advisers. The practice is marked by its specialism in handling succession and tax planning matters for farmers and landed estate owners. In addition, it has a notable strength providing cross-border tax and estate planning advice to non-domiciled clients. Elsewhere, the firm is seen as a go-to among business owners and it distinguishes itself undertaking work concerning family investment companies. Tim Galloway, who undertakes a mix of domestic and international succession and tax planning mandates, heads up the department. His team includes senior associates Susan Young and Katie Payne, as well as associate Katie Gibson-Green.

Practice head(s):

Tim Galloway

Other key lawyers:


‘The office staff were always supportive.’

‘I was particularly impressed by their collaborative approach.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP's first-rate team has a strong track record acting for clients such as banks, national housebuilders, developers, investors, landlords and tenants. Practice head Grace Kerr is part of a sub-group that focuses on strategic land matters, such as option agreements, landowner agreements and promotion. With the firm being highly active in the residential development space, Steven Kay leads a team that acts for a sizeable number of regional developers and national housebuilders. Elsewhere, the firm is sought after for advice on investment acquisitions and sales, as well as portfolio management and property finance transactions. Legal directors Duncan WilliamsonDavid Springett and Johanna Cope are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Grace Kerr

Other key lawyers:

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


‘Very professional throughout the practice. They have a large team which enables us to know there they can handle all our legal requirements.’

‘Duncan Williamson is knowledgeable and has a very good eye for detail in deals which others may miss. Whilst nothing gets past Duncan, he is also very commercial in finding ways past problems to make deals happen. Duncan even garners compliments from our clients in respect of his inter-action with their own solicitors.’

‘It is a local firm with the big firm clout. They have specialists covering all the major disciplines and you get consistent, high-quality advice across the board. Birketts’ billing is fair and the service represents excellent value for money. ’

‘David Springett is an incredible legal talent and an expert when it comes to navigating complex land and development cases. There is nothing pretentious in how he operates and I always get reliable and pragmatic advice.’

‘Excellent response time to customer enquiries, clear fee structure and solid advice from all involved.’

‘Grace Kerr and Hannah Harbottle in particular provide excellent legal advice on a wide range of legal matters. Always able to offer advice or referral even on the most challenging of requests.’

‘The team always exceed expectations at all points of contact.’

‘David Springett is a fantastic lawyer, he is diligent in what he does and very professional.’

Key clients

Countryside Properties plc

Oxford Instruments Plc

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Norwich Tier 2

Birketts LLP has a strong core of litigators in its Norwich office, which has a strong reputation in Chancery work, including breach of trust cases, as well as corporate and commercial disputes. Partner Max Roessler and consultant Paul Matthews are the main contacts. The firm recently hired  former barrister Andrew Kinnison from Prettys Solicitors LLP, who handles contractual disputes and professional negligence claims. They are supported by associate Adam Blenkinsop, who also acts in his own right for a broad range of business clients.

Practice head(s):

Max Roessler; Paul Matthews

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Norwich Airport Ltd

Ransomes Jacobsen Ltd

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 2

Birketts LLP has a strong regional presence through its offices in Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich, though it also provides insurance litigation services through its Chelmsford and London offices. The firm acts predominantly for claimants in their grievances against solicitors and accounts, and it has a busy niche practice in negligent probate matters. The team can draw on the skills of commercial litigators Laurence Weeks and Sara Sayer in Cambridge to advise clients across the UK. Norwich-based Bernadette Baker handles negligence cases involving wills, trusts and probate.

Real estate > Construction Tier 2

Birketts LLP‘s construction and engineering team is now led by Stefan Harris-Wright, following the departure of a large team including former practice head Andrew Rush and Ruth Sunaway. The ‘excellent, commercial and super-responsive‘ Harris-Wright focuses on non-contentious matters from the firm’s Cambridge office, working with senior associate Katrina Bretten. The team has recently been bolstered by the additions of new partner Catherine Andrewsand legal director Patrick Cooney, both of who joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Harris-Wright


‘Stefan Harris-Wright’s thinking and advice is clear and understandable. This helps in the efficient delivery of projects. The depth of knowledge is very strong which leads to swift conclusion of the matter at hand.’

‘Birketts treat you as if you are their only client. They are quick to respond and keep you updated regularly. You never feel that any question or query is insignificant and they take your concerns seriously. A standout point for me is they set expectations from the start. They give clear timeframes as to when you can expect them to deliver the service and they meet the deadlines.’

‘Stefan Harris-Wright has always provided us with an excellent service. We have worked with him now for many years and we have a great working relationship. Stefan provides clear information that’s easy to understand.’

‘A great team, very commercial – London skill with out-of-London prices.’

‘Stefan Harris-Wright is excellent, commercial, always super responsive. He understands the needs of our business and is an excellent point of contact for all other disciplines within Birketts. Fees are reasonable and transparent. He is always happy to help, personable and manages his team well.’

‘Patrick Cooney has always been and continues to be exceptional.’

Key clients

RGB Plastering Limited

Higgins Group Plc & Higgins Partnerships 1961 Plc

Sempra Homes Limited

This Land Development Limited

Slough Urban Renewal Community Projects LLP (“SUR”)

Flagship Housing Developments Limited

Churchmanor Estates Company plc

Concertus Design and Property Consultants Limited

O&H Properties

Work highlights

  • Acted for RGB Plastering Limited as main contractor in a number of adjudications and ultimately part 8 proceedings heard in the Technology and Construction Court on a novel point of construction law.
  • Advising Slough Urban Renewal Community Projects LLP on the construction documentation for re-cladding works of a residential block of 68 flats.
  • Acted for developer Churchmanor Estates Company Limited in relation to the construction documentation for a complex c. 180,000 sq ft retail park with associated infrastructure works in Stanway, Essex.

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

Birketts LLP is 'efficient, commercial and extremely helpful’ and acts for a host of large companies in the region, among them the UK's largest brewer and pub retailer Greene King Plc. Legal director Nellie Jackson in Ipswich leads the trade marks and branding team, while legal director Maria Peyman in Cambridge leads the IP disputes practice. Cambridge-based partner Quentin Golder leads the non-contentious IP group, which hired Andrew Priest from HCR Hewitsons in 2020. The team focuses on the commercial exploitation of IP rights, including patent licensing, development agreements, merchandising and collaborations. Associate Samantha Woodley is 'very helpful, patient and excellent to work with'.

Practice head(s):

Nellie Jackson; Maria Peyman; Quentin Golder

Other key lawyers:


‘Excellent service and knowledge of the construction sector and dealing with academia.’

‘Both Samantha Woodley and Quentin Golder deserve mentions as both are very helpful, patient and excellent to work with. ’

‘The intellectual property team at Birketts is very responsive and willing to assist with our international portfolio. The global network of trade mark lawyers is impressive and supportive to the planning and co-ordination activities of the UK team. ’

‘Nellie Jackson portrays the helpful and productive culture that Birketts as a firm generates.’

‘Efficient, commercial and extremely helpful.’

‘Nellie Jackson – helpful, commercial, clear and concise.’

‘The practice looks to recruit and positions experts in their particular fields, so you always have confidence that you are dealing with a person with the relevant skills and experience to resolve disputes.’

‘Maria Peyman helped guide us though a tricky trade mark dispute. Maria has been courteous and diligent in her work, with the difficult situation around Covid, Maria has always been available via differing media, and we have flipped between email, video and phone communications as have been required. Maria is very professional and clear on the end result we work towards.’

Key clients

Greene King Limited

Kanlaon Limited

Big Drop Brewing Company Limited

Hayman Group Limited/Burlington Drinks Company

Sophie Allport Limited

Omega Ingredients Limited

Galileo Foundation

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

Birketts LLP has an 'approachable and well informed' technology practice that continues to grow its ranks. Andrew Priest, who has a track record spanning 30 years, joined from HCR Hewitsons in summer 2020 and is now co-head of the practice along with IP and technology partner Quentin Golder in Cambridge, corporate partner Mark Gipson in Ipswich and legal director Paul Palik in Norwich. Also in Norwich, legal director Kitty Rosser leads the data protection team. They 'avoid jargon and always give clear and honest advice' to clients in sectors as diverse as financial services, aerospace, social media and security software.

Practice head(s):

Quentin Golder; Mark Gipson; Andrew Priest; Paul Palik

Other key lawyers:


‘Birketts are very engaged as legal advisors and are thorough in their responses. They take the time to understand our priorities and always provide suitable guidance.’

‘The lawyers at Birketts are approachable and well informed. They are easy to contact and easy to talk to, they will avoid jargon and always give clear and honest advice.’

Key clients

Compliancy Services Limited

Rapid DCS Limited

BullGuard Limited

Ista Energy Solutions Limited

The Cambridge Building Society

Verbala Limited

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act for BullGuard, a worldwide leader in internet security software, on all of its worldwide commercial activities.
  • Acted for Ista on multiple arrangements with customers relating to the remote (and digital) management and billing of utilities supplied to property developments.
  • Acting for The Cambridge Building Society on the implementation of a variety of business critical IT related matters.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

At Birketts LLP, legal director Matthew Weston and associate William Arran are the key contacts in the Chelmsford office, with Laurence Weeks in Cambridge overseeing the team. The firm has been notably active recently in major administrations in the shipping and construction sectors. Elsewhere, it has a strong track record in insolvency litigation, with a focus on cases arising from antecedent transactions. In addition, restructurings, liquidations and receiverships, are among other areas of strength. Recent highlights included Weston acting for CVR Global on the administration of a company which ran a business selling wine online.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks (Cambridge); Matthew Weston (Chelmsford)

Other key lawyers:


‘Local team providing expert insolvency advice at good value.’

‘The team combines an understanding of legal problems arising in foreign jurisdictions involved in cross-border insolvency cases with business awareness.’

‘William Arran is analytical, attentive to detail and a clear communicator. He tackles problems quickly while bearing in mind client objectives. ’

‘A highly experienced and impressively connected firm, does not hesitate to pull in support from other sector specialisms as necessary to get the job done.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory

Price Bailey

CVR Global



RSM (formerly Baker Tilly)

Thornton Rones

McTear Williams & Wood


RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Work highlights

  • Advice to RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP on the administration of F.H. Gilman & Co.
  • Advice to Resolve Partners Limited on the administration of the Mitcham Partnership.
  • Advice to FRP Advisory LLP on the sale of a private hospital.

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 2

The specialist agriculture team at Birketts LLP provides expert advice to private families, landowners, and farmers on the full range of agriculture and property matters, including renewable energy, succession planning, and taxation. Practice head Jack Royall, who operates out of Norwich, is highly regarded for his advice on the purchase and sale of farms and estates. Senior associate Annabelle Rout is a key contact. Associate Katie Gibson-Green and Simon Green joined from Birkett Long LLP in August and December 2020 respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jack Royall

Other key lawyers:


‘The team at Birketts have performed to the utmost of their capabilities with swift resolution of many issues, identifying potential problems and dealing with specific issues well in advance of other firms. They are down to earth and are realistic. Attention to detail and cost effectiveness was key. ’

‘Second to none in terms of of knowledge and efficiency. ’

‘One can rest assured that when a job is given to Birketts they will get it done. Handholding is not required.’

‘The team members were all very approachable and knew how the work was progressing. They gave good accurate assessments of how the work was likely to develop. The final cost was slightly under the initial estimate, which was very pleasing.’

‘The Birketts agricultural team are a pleasure to work with. They are friendly and welcoming and take time to explain things in a clear and precise manner in an understanding way. They are very approachable and very easy to communicate with. ’

‘I have worked with the team members for a number of years. They take time to understand complex issues and situations and work with me to provide superb results and service to our mutual clients.’

‘Annabelle Rout was recommended to us – her communication is good; she provides concise advice.’

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

The team at Birketts LLP works on trust disputes, validity of wills, charitable legacy disputes, as well as cases concerning financial abuse of the vulnerable and powers of attorney, balancing 'a very strong corporate and professional approach with one of compassion and sensitivity'. The team is led by Bernadette Baker from Norwich. Key figures in Chelmsford include 'authoritative and sensitive' associate Jenny Howe and commercial litigator Daden Hunt.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt; Bernadette Baker

Other key lawyers:


‘Jenny Howe is obviously very knowledgeable but also proactive and flexible which I consider is essential with achieving a satisfactory outcome for a client in contentious probate matters.’

‘Jenny Howe took on my case during an extremely difficult time for all, during the pandemic. She has been extremely empathetic whilst remaining professional at all times. Her communication has been second to none, keeping me updated. I would not hesitate to recommend herself or perhaps the firm she works for to anyone. ’

‘The practice balances a very strong corporate and professional approach with one of compassion and sensitivity. That maybe sounds odd for a legal firm but when dealing with a difficult and delicate family trust issue this has been of huge importance to us, this is what differentiates the team. To find individuals who can balance this and deliver to the highest level is a huge achievement. The practice is diverse in terms of gender. During my 30 years of financial services experience, I have had the pleasure of working with a number of magic circle global law firms. My engagement with, support of and advice from Birketts has been at the same level I would expect to received from them.’

‘Jenny Howe has taken time to understand the complex reasons behind why we needed legal help with a fairly simple family trust and the dynamics that caused us to get to where we are. She did this to hone her approach to the situation and to give her a better chance to assist. Jenny has taken on board ideas and approaches from us and has coupled them with her tried and trust experience. Jenny has listened to us – not something many lawyers are good at. Jenny is firm and direct, authoritative but also understands the sensitivity with which family matters need to be dealt with.’

Private client > Family: Essex Tier 2

Birketts LLP is well-placed to advise clients on a myriad of complex issues arising from financial and children matters. Also notable is that its family team is able to work with other departments to assist clients with ancillary issues that interplay with family law, such as capital gains tax, TOLATA claims, transfers of shares and partnership disputes. The head of the family team in Chelmsford is senior associate Emma Brunning, who is collaboratively trained and is a Resolution-accredited specialist. She has particular expertise in complex child arrangement cases where there are allegations of drug (and other substance) abuse, as well as sexual, physical and mental harm. Financial matters (including those involving pensions, trusts and tax issues) are also a bedrock of Brunning's practice. Senior associate Ivana Radovic, who is a trained mediator, is also recommended. Oliver Gravell is the head of the family department firm-wide.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Gravell (overall head of family); Emma Brunning (head of Chelmsford family team)

Other key lawyers:


‘I consider Emma Brunning to be an excellent family solicitor, who is clever and committed to her client’s cause, but also able to provide the necessary advice and guidance that they sometimes do not want to hear. However, her clients trust her and she instils confidence. Emma is a pleasure to work with and her instructions and e-bundles are immaculate. ’

‘Ivana Radovic can be a fearsome opponent who fights her client’s corner with impressive skill and knowledge. She also mediates and works collaboratively so is able to suit her approach to the circumstances. I’d be more than happy to have her acting for me if the circumstances arose.’

‘Leaders in the field. Reputation for excellence, giving a bespoke service from start to finish. ’

‘Ivana Radovic has excellent attention to detail. She goes the extra mile in analysing financial disclosure in a divorce to make sure that nothing goes unnoticed. ’

‘Birketts appear to go above and beyond, they build rapport with clients but present a wonderfully balanced and impartial view when it comes to your stance as a client. All correspondence was speedy and thorough. The accounts department were efficient and very pleasant to deal with too.’

‘Emma Brunning is kind and caring and very sympathetic and tactful when dealing with emotional issues. She was a pillar of strength to me at times and also gave me a realistic perspective on my situation moving forward. She was always fair and balanced in her advice and I feel very lucky to have her represent me.’

‘The firm were organised, efficient, enthusiastic , knowledgeable and looked after us extremely well ensuring that our views were understood and taken into account whilst ensuring that the legal opportunities were clearly explained.’

‘Our lawyer was extremely understanding and took a great deal of trouble to ensure that our concerns and worries were taken into account and the legal options were fully explained in detail and at length, ensuring that we were made aware of legal options available. Extremely empathetic and client orientated thus ensuring that difficult situations were made understandable.’

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

Birketts LLP's Chelmsford team works alongside its multiple East Midlands offices to provide software and technology companies of various sizes with assistance regarding IP licensing, hardware procurement and the tech aspects of corporate transactions. Much of the team's work relates to cloud services; in a recent example, Nigel Thompson, who leads the team, helped Commcise Software Limited provide cloud based commission management to investors and brokers by advising on all the necessary commercial agreements. Senior associate Andrea Curtis works alongside Thompson on licensing issues.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Commcise Software Limited

Compliancy services Limited

Rapid DCS

Kalibrate technology Group Limited

VST Global Limited

Policing Solutions Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Commcise on entering into SaaS agreements with several financial institutions.
  • Assisted Compliancy Services Limited with the delivery of cloud based compliance and training services for financial services companies.
  • Policing Solutions Group on a Master Services agreement to allow use by police and law enforcement agencies of audio analytics software.

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

Legal director Devreaux Gravell has taken over as Birketts LLP's head of banking and finance in the Chelmsford office as part of the firm's strategy to expand its offering across all five of the firm's offices. Equally adept acting for borrowers and lenders, Gravell advises on bilateral and syndicated transactions involving real estate finance, general corporate lending and acquisition finance. In addition, he has experience of receivables financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Devreaux Gravell


‘Birketts have acted for us on a number of transactions over the past 12 months. They have always delivered quality work in good timescales as well as appropriate advice at times.’

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

Foresight Group LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised various entities within the Marden Homes Group in relation to financings they have put in place for different development projects.
  • Advised Aker Systems Limited on an equity investment by LDC – providing the advice on the financing side of the transaction.
  • Advised different parts of the Time Group on a multitude of financings over the past few years to facilitate the acquisition of many mobile home parks, enabling the business to become one of the largest mobile home park businesses in the UK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other offices: Cambridge, Chelmsford, Norwich

Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Agar
Senior Partner James Austin
Corporate and commercial services (including employment and shipping) Adrian Seagers
Private client (including family, agriculture, tax, trusts and probate) Tim Galloway
Property (including commercial, residential, social housing) Chris Schwer
Litigation and Dispute Resolution Laurence Weeks
Number of UK partners : 68
Number of other UK fee-earners : 254
Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
Integrated Advisory Group International (IAG)