Birketts LLP > London, England > Firm Profile

Birketts LLP
One London Wall

Transport > Shipping Tier 4

With an ‘outstanding shipping team’, Birketts LLP counts arbitration proceedings, charterparties, marine insurance, and matters pertaining to bills of lading to its designated areas of expertise, though the practice covers all major issues arising out of shipping work. ‘Brilliant lawyer’ Henry Adams, litigator Alex Davey, dry shipping dispute specialist Nicholas Woo, and Tom Hodges, who focuses on international trade as well as dry shipping work, jointly lead the Ipswich-based team. The firm bolstered its ranks with the hire of a team from Ince & Co in September 2023, led by Daniel Crockford.

Practice head(s):

Henry Adams; Alex Davey; Nicholas Woo; Tom Hodges

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Holsgrove


‘Outstanding Shipping Team. With excellent results.’

‘Henry Adams – Brilliant lawyer. With excellent know-how and results in wet and dry shipping matters.’

‘The strength in depth of the firm’s people is a big plus. The friendly yet formal approach suits ours, when finding understandable explanations and solutions to a wide variety of issues in broader commercial matters as well as our particular niche in our sector.’

‘The team is experienced and reactive.’

‘Henry Adams is very experienced, provides valuable advice and speaks fluent French.’

Key clients

U-Ming Marine Transport Singapore Pte Ltd

TOTSA Total Energy Trading SA

Filhet-Allard Maritime

Siaci Saint-Honoré

Amica NV

Tradhol Internacional

HDI Global SE

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Bâloise Insurance

MS Amlin Marine NV

Work highlights

  • Advising Petromar in a claim for damages arising from alleged contamination of cargoes of gas oil and gasoline, acting for the claimant cargo interest in the High Court claim.
  • Acting or Navision Shipping in a dispute arising from loss of time due to an arrest of a vessel at a discharge port.
  • Advising Dubai Bulkers Ltd and its hull insurers in a claim against the Indonesian shipper of a cargo that liquefied during transit which caused the sinking of the vessel “Emerald Star”.

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

Birketts LLP expanded its social housing practice following the firm’s merger with South East social housing firm Batchelors Solicitors in April 2023. The team, led by Jonathan Hulley, advises on affordable housing development, the establishment of for-profit registered providers, and provides specialist regulatory advice. Clive Adams heads the housing management team, acting solely for registered providers and local authorities.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hulley

Other key lawyers:

Clive Adams; Lee Stone


‘Special relationship and not just another lawyer. They truly care about clients and also help to equip front line staff.’

‘The main difference between them and other team is direct access and personal care on legal matters.’

Key clients

Broadland Housing Group

Chelmer Housing Partnership

Platform Housing

Eastlight Community Homes Limited

Freebridge Housing

Clarion Housing

Eastlight Community Homes Limited

B3 Living

London and Quadrant

Orbit Group


Hyde Housing

Sovereign Housing

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 1

The team at Birketts LLP is noted as being ‘responsive and willing to find practical and commercial solutions’ to clients’ issues. The firm is a regional powerhouse but also handles a growing stream of cross-border transactional matters. Practice head James Allen provides ‘measured, pragmatic and commercial advice’ and notably recently assisted Greene King Limited with the acquisition of smokehouse restaurant group Hickory’s. ‘Approachable and easy to work with‘ early-stage funding expert Quentin Golder, private equity specialist Adrian Seagers and experienced ICT partner Andrew Priest also play pivotal roles in the practice, as does Nick Burt, who was promoted to partner in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

James Allen


‘We find the team very commercially aware which for us as a small business is very valuable. Birketts’ size enables us to be able to speak to the partner on a regular basis and get attention on the work we require.’

‘We have dealt with Quentin Golder for a number of years and find him very approachable and easy to work with. We really value his input.’

‘The team are responsive and willing to find a practical and commercial solution that works alongside the need for a sound legal basis.’

‘James Allen is a standout lawyer for his measured, pragmatic and commercial advice. He quickly cuts through the legal issues to meet client needs without the need for over-complication.’

‘James Allen is an excellent lawyer – clever, commercial and he has unrivalled experience in the Cambridge market.’

‘Since moving into Cambridge, Birketts have established a large and experienced legal team covering most disciplines. They have built strong links with the business community and are very well-known.’

‘James Allen is robust in his position and knows when to stick to his case and when to be more pragmatic.’

Key clients

SDI Group plc

Chestnut Inns Limited

Milbank Group

Royale Group

The Wastepack Group Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised Royale Group on a number of acquisitions and re-financing arrangements over the last 12 months.
  • Continuing to advise SDI Group plc on a number of acquisitions.
  • Advised a company on its sale to another.

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

Birketts LLP has a long-standing reputation as a leading corporate and commercial practice in Suffolk though its Ipswich office frequently handles work from beyond the region. The team is described as ‘responsive, accurate and understanding‘. It is led by Alexandra Nelson, who has particular expertise in advising manufacturers and distributors of highly engineered products; senior partner James Austin, who handles commercial contracts and transactional matters; commercial and technology specialist Mark Gipson; and finance partner Andrew Tubb. Employee incentives specialist Lisa Hayward and senior associate Emma Bysouth are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

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

Other key lawyers:

Andreea Brindas; Emma Bysouth


‘I have recently completed a corporate acquisition with this team. At all times they were responsive, accurate and understanding of our requirements. All documentation was fully explained and guidance provided throughout the process. Contentious issues with the other party were handled in a highly professional manner and the end result was successfully delivered in line with the brief.’

‘With Alexandra Nelson we felt in totally safe hands at all times. Overall I would describe Alex as an exceptional lawyer and a pleasure to work with. Alex was assisted by her associate Andreea Brindas whose attention-to-detail and overall support was exceptional.’

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Norwich Tier 1

The corporate and commercial practice at Birketts LLP is ‘practical, approachable, and strives to deliver the best commercial outcome'. The firm has an an outstanding reputation for corporate and transactional work in the Norwich market, but its lawyers handle matters across the region and nationally. Adrian Possener, who handles transactional matters for public companies, and the ‘very friendly, competent‘ Ed Savory, who acts for regional SMEs and leads the firm’s food sector work, are the lead partners. Corporate finance specialist Greg Allan and technology expert Paul Palik are also pivotal to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Possener; Ed Savory

Other key lawyers:


‘They worked well as a team and were on-hand when needed.’

‘Ed Savory was the partner involved in the sale of our business and we were very pleased with the deal he helped us arrange with the buyers.’

‘The team provides exceptional customer service. They are always available when we need them and continue to go over and above.’

‘Ed Savory is one of the best legal practitioners my team and I have come across in the corporate space.’

‘Ed Savory is very friendly, competent and understands the objectives of the client.’

‘Strong, diverse knowledge base delivered in a sensible way. The team is engaged in assisting clients in finding the best commercial outcomes, rather than just presenting clients with a series of legal options.’

‘Practical, approachable and strives to deliver the best commercial outcome based on the facts.’

‘A straight-talking team who deliver results and not legal fluff.’

Key clients

BUUK Infrastructure– Brooklands Utilities

Brineflow Ltd

Richard Koch

Poly – Pure

Aenco SmartCap

Chorus Intelligence

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 1

Birketts LLP has a specialist corporate tax practice that is 'fast in response, concise and up to the point in explanation, and conscious of saving clients costs'. The firm is known for its work on structuring and transactional tax matters, strategic land development, employee incentives, employee ownership trusts, SEED and EIS investment schemes. It is also a key tax adviser to the region's farming community. In Norwich, head of corporate tax Karl Pocock (who is ' superb, attentive and personable') and associate Ben Clarke (who is ' a delight to work with') are the main contacts. They advised Notcutts Garden Centres on the tax aspects of its sale and purchase agreement as part of its expansion in Cambridgeshire. In Ipswich, head of employee incentives Lisa Hayward is highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Karl Pocock; Lisa Hayward

Other key lawyers:


‘Ben Clarke has been excellent to work with. He has skillfully navigated us through what was not a straightforward application. Ben is a delight to work with and we would highly recommend him.’

‘The team knows what they are doing, fast in response, always confirming what’s discussed in writing with attention to details, concise and up to the point in explanation, and conscious of saving clients costs effectiveness.’

‘Karl Pocock provided clear advice throughout  – he is a standout lawyer, providing concise and easy-to-understand advice orally and in writing, dissecting issues in precise and logical language with clarity. Technically, Karl is superb, attentive, and personable too.’

Key clients

Notcutts Garden Centres Limited

Shareholders of Specialist Marine Consultants Limited

Atalian Servest

Shareholders of Murfitts Group

SDI Group plc

Owl Barn Limited

Shareholders of Omega Ingredients


Potter Raper Limited

Shareholders of Agar Scientific

Work highlights

  • Advising the shareholders on the sale of Murfitts Group to European Tyre Enterprise Limited.
  • Advised construction consultancy firm Potter Raper Limited in relation to the sale of 100% of the ordinary share capital into an employee ownership trust (EOT), providing a succession plan for the selling shareholders.
  • Acted on behalf of Atalian Servest on the acquisition of the Incentive FM group of companies.

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

The regulatory and corporate defence practice at Birketts LLP has an 'open and friendly approach to what can be a very confusing area for most people' and clients note that the lawyers are 'happy to explain any terminology or processes fully'. From private crime matters and the defence of national motor groups and companies in the road transport sector to food law and health and safety matters, the firm is a key adviser on complex cases. Barristers Matthew Gowen and the 'highly skilled' Julie Gowland in Ipswich are the lead practitioners. Associate Rebecca Utton is 'very understanding and accomodating'.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:


‘Open and friendly approach to what can be a very confusing area for most people. Happy to explain any terminology or processes fully and answer any questions from clients.’

‘Rebecca Utton has been very understanding and accomodating. She has readily explained any terminology and processes when asked and has made herself available to answer any questions I might have as well as been transparent regarding the work undertaken and cost estimates. The legal process so far has been much less intimidating for me due to Rebecca’s friendly, yet professional demeanour and a willingness to make the legalities as painless as possible.’

‘Julie Gowland is very highly skilled with excellent experience, and works with the client on their goal for successful achievement.’

‘Very good and considerate team.’

‘Always seems very helpful and had time and listened.’

Crime, fraud and licensing > Licensing Tier 1

Birketts LLP handles the full spectrum of licensing and regulatory matters for clients in the leisure sector, including nightclubs, hotels, takeaway outlets, churches, public houses and concert promoters. Clients note that 'the team is very knowledgeable, easily accessible and happy to help' and that the lawyers 'speak in a down to earth manner and give sound and balanced advice'. Barrister and head of licensing Julie Gowland in Norwich and fellow barrister Matthew Gowen in Ipswich are the key contacts. Gowland advised Borough Council of Kings Lynn & West Norfolk in a Crown court appeal in relation to breeding dogs without a licence.

Practice head(s):

Julie Gowland; Matthew Gowen


‘The team is very knowledgeable, easily accessible and happy to help. They speak in a down to earth manner and give sound and balanced advice.’

‘They are very friendly and welcoming, the ability to have a conversation and leave fully understanding the implications and repercussions of different decisions.’

Key clients

Borough Council of Kings Lynn & West Norfolk

Brentwood Borough Council

South Norfolk Council

The Hotel Folk Limited

The Suffolk Sur Mer Limited

The Granary (Woodbridge) Limited

The Alpinist AG

Work highlights

  • Regularly instructed by South Norfolk Council to undertake the role of Legal Advisor at all sub-committee meetings where representations have been received in relation to applications for a premises licence. The team regularly advise in relation to the Council’s Taxi Licensing and Gambling Policies.
  • Dealing with the full range of alcohol licensing queries for The Hotel Folk, which owns and runs six hotels and event venues in Suffolk. Applications include new premises licence, variations and specifying DPS.
  • Advised, prepared and submitted an application for a major variation following conversion of the premises into a small bijoux hotel with roof terrace for Suffolk Sur Mer Limited.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Cambridge Tier 1

In Birketts LLP‘s Cambridge office, ‘the litigation team has a great breadth of knowledge and always puts the clients’ objectives at the forefront of any engagement’. Practice head Laurence Weeks is ‘a great litigator and problem solver, who always agrees the plan of attack based on the clients’ needs’. The firm has specialist expertise in shipping, education, public law, Judicial Review, procurement law, defence and transport, and is particularly well-known for its work involving fraud, insolvency and professional negligence. Talented practitioners Sara Sayer, who leads on public and administrative law, and Maria-Christina Peyman, play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:


‘The litigation team have a great breadth of knowledge and always put the clients’ objectives at the forefront of any engagement.’

‘Laurence Weeks is a great litigator and problem solver, who always agrees the plan of attack based on the clients’ needs and objectives.’

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

Ipswich is a key hub of the cross-office litigation practice at Birketts LLP, which handles, inter alia, tortious and contractual claims, commercial fraud, shareholder’s disputes, breach of restrictive covenant agreements, product liability, partnership disputes, and claims arising from sales or purchases of companies or shares. The vastly experienced Matthew Atkins and the ‘tenacious and experienced' Josh Ripman are the lead partners in Ipswich. The practice is known for providing ‘timely and highly effective advice’ on matters in a broad-range of industry sectors, amongst them: energy, media, finance, manufacturing, agriculture and animal pharmaceuticals.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Atkins; Josh Ripman


‘A strong team trusted by big clients, including housebuilders. Josh Ripman is the tenacious and experienced lead.’

‘At all times the advice given and the actions taken by the team have been both timely and highly effective in my experience. The firm in general is extremely client-focused and great attention is given to ensuring a full understanding of, often complex matters, is fully obtained by clients.’

‘Josh Ripman is my main contact and I would not consider going elsewhere – the service-level provided is outstanding.’

‘The litigation team are proactive and resolute in their recommendations, and expedient in execution. The whole experience I had with them gave me the confidence and belief that the resolution would be a positive one. In my particular case, there was full resolution within a short timescale.’

‘I found Birketts to be very straightforward, responsive, and assured in their advice. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.’

‘Joshua Ripman gave me confidence that I was in good hands, kept me informed along the way and achieved a great outcome.’

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 1

The Ipswich office at Birketts LLP houses an active debt recovery practice led by commercial litigation partner Josh Ripman, who is noted as going above and beyond’ for his clients. Vastly experienced debt recovery manager Philip Wink and team are well-equipped to handle County Court Litigation, as well as High Court cases. The team is well-regarded for its provision of ‘fair and objective advice’. The practice also has significant experience in issuing claims against foreign debtors.

Practice head(s):

Josh Ripman

Other key lawyers:

Philip Wink; Bethany Kent


‘Birketts continue to support their clients in making the right decisions around claims. Their collaboration skills are second-to-none. The debt recovery team continues to support us with our claims and are very efficient with their responses and in provision of updates on our open cases.’

‘Josh Ripman gets stuck in to all of our claims and it’s clear that he is genuinely passionate about achieving the right results for his clients at a reasonable cost.’

‘Josh Ripman helps us to make decisions that are right for our company.’

‘Bethany Kent helps us with complex claims and her efforts do not go unnoticed.’

‘They make an effort to get to know your business and understand its complexities and intricacies in order to give you the best advice for your situation.’

‘The team at Birketts are good at keeping me up-to-date on cases, providing fair and objective advice and I feel that I am in good hands when they are involved.’

‘Josh Ripman is helpful in providing a personal service. If I had any concerns or issues, Josh would go above and beyond in order to try and help resolve them.’

Employment Tier 1

Birketts LLP has one of the largest employment practices in the region and it ‘always provides pragmatic and practical advice, explained in straightforward terms‘. The ‘simply outstandingJeanette Wheeler leads the cross-office employment practice from Norwich, where ‘legal genius‘ Matthew Newnham ‘provides exceptional service and is always commercially aware'. ‘Very thorough‘ senior associate Lucy Churchill is also a key practitioner. Catherine Johnson who is ‘calmness personified and has an incredible memory bank of legal knowledge‘ and the ‘approachable, empathetic‘ Sonya O’Reilly are the lead partners in Ipswich. Abigail Trencher is the standout partner in Cambridge, where legal director Olivia Toulson is recommended. Tom Sharpe in Norwich defended an unfair dismissal claim for The College of West Anglia.

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Wheeler

Other key lawyers:


‘The key attributes we look for are responsiveness and creativity. Birketts are always quick in their response, and adept at finding a creative solution to tricky employment problems. A further feature is adaptability.’

‘Catherine Johnson has an incredible and instantly accessible memory bank of legal knowledge.’

‘Always provides pragmatic and practical advice, explained in straightforward terms. The team always have someone available if advice is needed at short notice. I would highly recommend their services.’

‘Matthew Newnham provides exceptional service, he is always commercially aware whilst explaining the risks.’

‘Jeanette Wheeler is simply outstanding. An excellent lawyer who gives clear and efficient advice with a sense of empathy and humanity. I would not use anyone else.’

‘The team are prompt in responding to any issues and are able to find the most appropriate person to support me. The advice always is clear and explains the impact of any action taken.’

‘Josie Beal and Abigail Trencher take great care to understand our business environment and needs and tailor their advice so that we can achieve the best possible outcome.’

‘The team are all very pragmatic and approachable. They provide solutions in a timely and effective manner.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for The College of West Anglia in its defence of an unfair dismissal brought by Mr G Beardon (a former Course Director and Lecturer). The claim raised important health and safety issues.
  • The Felixstowe Dock & Railway Company (Port of Felixstowe) has a collectively agreed Management of Absence caused through Ill Health policy, that the firm regularly advises on and has been collectively agreed by the recognised Trade Unions.
  • Instructed by Brentwood Borough Council & Rochford District Council to advise on a strategic partnership agreement.

Employment > Health and safety Tier 1

Birketts LLP's team has extensive cross-industry experience in the defence of serious health and safety matters, including disasters and cases involving multiple fatalities. Many fee-earners in the regulatory and corporate defence practice have trained and worked as HSE inspectors. The team frequently handles disputes in the leisure and tourism, retail, aviation and construction industries. Ipswich-based Matthew Gowen leads the practice, assisted by June 2022-promoted partner Julie Gowland in Norwich and legal director Daniel Irving in Ipswich; all three are qualified barristers.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 1

The banking and finance practice at Birketts LLP is noted as being ‘proactive and supportive'. The firm acts for regional, national and London-based clients from its four regional offices, and it is a frequent advisor to, among others, HSBC Bank, Lloyds Bank and Santander. Cambridge-based practice head Alex Schaafsma, described as ‘always ready to advise and support when necessary', recently assisted borrower Milbank Ventures Limited with a facility from Arbuthnot Commercial ABL to refinance its existing facilities and finance the acquisition of Bruno Rimini Limited; this included a £12.6m asset-based lending facility agreement. Also in Cambridge, James Allen is a specialist in financing mobile home parks, and senior associate Kathryn Palmer is active in ship finance, educational lending and real estate finance. Senior associate Lottie Fletcher in Norwich also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Alex Schaafsma


‘Responsive to our ever-changing demands – very practical and commercial.’

‘Birketts are proactive and supportive across the full-range of skills that we as a successful property company in Cambridge require. Their banking and finance team have advised us on a number of projects, all of which have been successfully completed.’

‘Alex Schaafsma is head of the team and is always ready to advise and support when necessary.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

OakNorth Bank plc

Santander plc

Triple Point Capital

National Westminster Bank plc / RBS

Time Holdco Limited

Time Group Holdings Limited

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Alpha Bank London Limited

Secure Trust Bank plc

Oxbury Bank plc


Muntons plc

Green Label Foods Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Milbank Ventures Limited on a £12.6m ABL facility agreement partially to refinance its existing lender and partially to finance the acquisition of Bruno Rimini Limited, a leading global agricultural specialist.
  • Advised Muntons plc on the amendment and restatement of its £90m receivables and stock financing facilities made available by HSBC Invoice Finance (UK) Limited, which included a USA cross-border element.
  • Advised the Arbora Group on a term loan facility of £10m from LendNet LLP to finance property development.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 1

Birketts LLP's insolvency team ‘provides comprehensive advice in complex cross-border insolvency litigation' and clients note that the lawyers are ‘responsive, reliable and very effective'. The firm acts for leading insolvency practitioners on the scope of matters, among them RSM Recovery and Restructuring and Price Bailey. Practice head Laurence Weeks in Cambridge, who is a Fellow and Council member of R3 Association of Business Recovery Professionals, ‘has been in the industry for years and is very knowledgeable in all things insolvency-related'. Key partner Maria-Christina Peyman, along with Norwich-based non-contentious specialist Greg Allan and qualified barrister Andrew Kinnison, also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks


‘Birketts was recommended to me and I have found their personal approach to be exceptional. I have since recommended Birketts to others.’

‘The team provided us with comprehensive advice in complex, cross-border insolvency litigation. Laurence Weeks is responsive and reliable.’

‘A large firm with specialist teams in all sectors.’

‘Laurence Weeks has been in the industry for years and is very knowledgeable in all things insolvency-related.’

‘The firm is very versatile, knowledgeable and covers a variety of areas. The team are all very friendly, helpful and work with speed and impressive accuracy.’

‘An excellent breadth of specialists in all areas of law.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

RSM Recovery and Restructuring LLP

Ensors Accountants LLP

Price Bailey LLP

Resolve Group UK

McTear Williams and Wood LLP

Work highlights

  • Acting for the administrators and the director of a company in a pre-pack administration and subsequent sale of assets and surrender of leases.
  • Acting for the administrators and director of a company in administration and subsequent and ongoing disposal of assets.

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 1

At Birketts LLP, ‘the rural team are experienced and provide concise and sensible advice’. In Norwich, practice head Chris Coupland and head of private client Jack Royall are skilled in advising on landlord and tenant matters, property transactions, partnership and succession planning issues. Cambridge-based land development specialist Jeremy Stanton is ‘a breath of fresh air, who constantly pushes things forward’. Rachel McKillop-Wilkin, also in Cambridge, is recommended for freehold and leasehold agricultural property issues. James Dinwiddy in Ipswich and Sophia Key in Norwich both have particular expertise advising on related high-value property transactions. Ipswich-based senior associate and agricultural property specialist Tom Verrill is noted for his ‘commitment, client care, attention-to-detail and sound advice’.

Practice head(s):

Chris Coupland


‘Tom Verrill was recommended to us and we have been extremely impressed by his commitment, client care, attention-to-detail and sound advice. We have valued Tom’s skilful approach in defusing situations from the earliest opportunity, knowing he has our best interests in the forefront of his mind. No other firm can boast such a sincere team member.’

‘The rural team are experienced and provide concise and sensible advice and, importantly, are easily accessible. Star performers within the team are Katy Moss, James Dinwiddy and Tom Verrill.’

‘Jeremy Stanton has been a breath of fresh air who constantly pushes things forward and has knowledge and experience in this field.’

‘They are one of the strongest property teams in the region dealing with the majority of land and farm transactions throughout East Anglia. They have strength and depth and time after time, get transactions over the line in a timely fashion.’

‘The team at Birketts have a key strength of having the vast depth of knowledge and diversity within the business whilst still being able to give the core value of the personal touch to all clients. Birketts have outclassed other firms in their want to add value to the situations they are involved in and procure the best results for their clients.’

‘I do not believe I would have received a service so tailored to my needs with any other firm.’

‘Sophia Key has a professional and pragmatic approach to issues whilst Jack Royall is extremely knowledgeable and professional.’

‘Birketts listened to my views at our first meeting and have carried these forward since. The team works well, with each individual knowing their field of expertise. They have all been very approachable and have a good understanding of my case, which in my eyes comes from good communications between the team and good leadership.’

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

Birketts LLP‘s team has ‘a great and growing charity law practice; the team is very responsive and knowledgeable’. The Ipswich office is the key hub of related expertise, and is home to charity law specialist and practice head Liz Brownsell, who is ‘always on hand to give quick, practical advice in a responsive and tailored manner’. Employment expert Sonya O’Reilly also plays a key role in the practice, as do senior associate Jennifer Marley and legal director Louisa Saunders, who both assist with incorporation, governance, commercial and land-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Liz Brownsell

Other key lawyers:

Sonya O’Reilly; Amy Bradburne; Jennifer Marley; Louisa Saunders


‘Birketts have a great and growing charity law practice; the team is very responsive and knowledgeable, with lower rates than London firms; their fee arrangements are always clear, upfront and transparent.’

‘I have worked with Liz Brownsell for many years; she is very knowledgeable, abreast of the latest developments in charity law and regulation, and always on-hand to give quick, practical advice in a responsive and tailored manner. Her client care is exceptional.’

‘The practice ensures it has a good understanding of the operation of our organisation, the needs and challenges that we face. There is a good diversity of strength within each respective team.’

‘Sonya O’Reilly is our lead partner and she works hard to ensure that we receive a high level of customer care and support as well as in her specific field of law. Liz Brownsell has also been very supportive and worked well to ensure a recent change in our structure went through as smoothly as possible.’

‘I found Birketts LLP to have the experience of dealing with charities and the expertise necessary to sort out our particular needs. This gave me the confidence that our legl problem was in good hands and would be resolved and this proved to be the case.’

‘Associates at Birketts LLP are knowledgeable, understanding of the issues that need to be resolved and helpful in sorting them out. In particular, I was very impressed with Amy Bradburne who became my regular contact and constantly updated me with progress reports to arrive at our end goal.’

‘The practice is particularly strong and innovative in the creation and governance of charitable structures. The team is also exceptionally well-placed to handle cases which cross over with litigation, real estate, or probate and succession because they work so well with the strong teams that Birketts have in those areas.’

‘Liz Brownsell is extremely astute and knowledgeable, and has a fabulous grasp of developments in the third sector. She also works very hard for her clients.’

Key clients

Amnesty International


Trust for London

The UK Cyber Security Council

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care

Child Health Research CIO

The Royal Academy of Arts

The Diocese of London

The Royal Horticultural Society

National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB)

London Diocesan Fund

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

East Anglian Air Ambulance

Quadram Institute of Biosciences

The All Saints Educational Trust

St Mary’s West Kensington

Margate Creative Land Trust

St Elizabeth Hospice

Priscilla Bacon Norfolk Hospice Care Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Amnesty International on a major governance reform project, following a governance review report presented to the International Board.
  • Advised What Works for Children’s Social Care on its merger with the Early Intervention Foundation to become ‘What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care’, which completed in December 2022.
  • Advising The UK Cyber Security Council on its transfer to Royal Charter status as a new professional membership charity established to raise and regulate standards of practice within the cyber security industry, having previously advised on its establishment and on its application for a Royal Charter.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

The dedicated contentious trusts and probate practice at Birketts LLP ‘has an outstanding working knowledge of the law concerning contentious probate, and explores every option‘. Practice head Bernadette Baker in Norwich is ‘polite, caring, honest and does exactly as she promises'. Legal director Kate Harris in Cambridge has extensive experience advising individuals, executors, trustees and charities in relation to a wide-range of contentious matters. Senior associate Lauren Coote, who joined in Cambridge from Greenwoods Legal in May 2023, is recommended for ‘her care and dedication to ensuring clients get the best possible advice‘.

Practice head(s):

Bernadette Baker

Other key lawyers:


‘Bernadette Baker and the team are amazing in all areas.’

‘Bernadette Baker is a star. She is totally capable in all areas. She is polite, caring, honest and does exactly as she promises. She has, from day one, been an asset to me and the firm and in the future will be the only legal firm I will ever use.’

‘Always respond swiftly with clear, well thought through advice. Collaborative approach and always willing to take into account clients’ thoughts and wishes as appropriate. They are sensitive to challenges of cases.’

‘Birketts demonstrates a clear understanding of my issues and makes my position their priority. I have been left in no doubt that I am a valid customer and nothing is too much for them. The team has an outstanding working knowledge of the law concerning contentious probate and explores every option before presenting them to me. I had to move to Birketts from a law firm that failed me which left me in a vulnerable position. Birketts has taken me from a position of desperation to one of confidence.’

‘Lauren Coote’a legal expertise is very thorough but as important is her care and dedication to ensuring I get the best possible advice. There have been times when a pressing issue has meant that Lauren has contacted me at the start of her holiday or late in the evening through email, so that I am not left worrying about a pressing issue.’

‘Kate Harris ensured that my position was protected. I have been made to feel confident in the expert guidance that I have been given.’

‘From the moment I first approached Birketts LLP I was made to feel welcome and understood. Their ability to explain complex legal matters to laypersons was exceptional. I felt in safe hands throughout and never doubted that the advice and guidance was the best. Their customer service and communications can not be faulted.’

‘Lauren Coote was just an amazing person. No question was ever too much and was answered in a timely fashion. Her customer service left me feeling valued as a person not just as a customer of a firm. She had so many great interpersonal skills that made any conversation or meeting so easy and not a drama.’

Private client > Family Tier 1

Birketts LLP has ‘an empathetic and hardworking team across all of its offices. The Ipswich office is home to practice head Katie Beaven (who is ‘great with clients and good with case strategy') and legal directors Juliet Harvey, who is ‘dynamic and client-focused' and serves as the national chair of Resolution, and Ivana Radovic, who stands out for financial and children matters. ‘Patient and thoughtful' partner Sarah Overy is the key practitioner in Cambridge, where legal director Rachel Frost-Smith frequently advises high-net-worth individuals with offshore assets, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Newly promoted partner Denise Findlay, legal director Deborah Lloyd, and senior associate Lisa Cornish are the heart of the Norwich team.

Practice head(s):

Katie Beaven


‘They have a big team of family lawyers with a range of experiences, meaning there is advice available at all levels for cases of simplicity or complexity and in between so clients are not paying for the wrong level of advice. Again, because it is such a big team, they handle money, children and can deal with the lot rather than only having limited expertise in one area.’

‘Sarah Overy is a partner of the highest standing. She has been doing the job for years and so has loads of experience. She is also patient and thoughtful which leads to clever and effective strategies being put in place. Her negotiation skills are spot on and she knows when to run points and when to jettison bad ones. Her clients really benefit from her approach.’

‘They have good strength and depth over a number of offices. Their legal knowledge is good and strong. People skills are excellent. Empathetic and hardworking team who are well managed.’

‘Katie Beaven is beginning to make her mark. Great with clients, good case strategy and good at managing people. Juliet Harvey is dynamic and client-focused. Lisa Cornish is quietly excellent; she doesn’t shout about her skills enough but leaves no stone unturned. Sarina Bailey is committed to clients, working very hard in the domestic abuse sphere and she is really loved by clients.’

‘The quality of this team is fantastic. Great individuals all working together for the good of their clients.’

‘The openness, willingness to engage with other professionals and their can-do attitude make this team great. Special mention to Katie Beaven, Juliet Harvey and Ivana Radovic as standout lawyers.’

‘The team can be trusted to work constructively with their opposition. They’re formidable, but sensible.’

‘Rachel Frost-Smith is a delight to work opposite. You know she’ll ‘make you work’ but she plays with a straight bat and you can pick up the phone and have a sensible discussion with her. Sarah Overy is reliable for swift and efficient MIAMS.’

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

Birketts LLP‘s ‘exceptional practice’ handles the full range of private client matters from Cambridge, thanks to a deep bench of experienced lawyers led by key partner Caroline Stenner. Another name to note in the team is Rachel Winter who is regarded as being ‘someone you can fully trust to give you the best advice to fit your circumstances’. STEP-qualified senior associates Kimberly Sayward who is ‘precise, efficient and has a high level of attention-to-detail’; James Marsh; and Alex Hunt, who joined from Mills & Reeve LLP in January 2023, also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Winter; Caroline Stenner

Other key lawyers:


‘This to my mind is an exceptional practice in that they value you as a person, not simply as a client for a source of income, by offering legal solutions to fit your needs rather than forcing you to take a solution you may not be entirely happy with.’

‘They are transparent about costs from the outset so you know where you are, and they respond when contacted.’

‘When you engage a solicitor to look after your personal affairs you need someone with sound professional knowledge and experience that you can fully trust to give you the best advice to fit your circumstances and family situation. Rachel Winter is one such, I feel extremely fortunate to have her as my advisor. She would be a good role model for a junior in private client work.’

‘The team are able to take a big picture view and are pragmatic when dealing with problems.’

‘Kimberley Sayward has a sharp mind and is able to advise on complex family matters. Her experience with Family Investment Companies is unrivalled in Cambridge.’

‘A key player in East Anglia with major clients in personal tax, trusts and probate. The team’s strength is the depth of their expertise on both domestic and international matters.’

‘The standout individual is Kimberly Sayward: she is precise, efficient and has a high level of attention-to-detail.’

‘Rachel Winter is responsive, warm and reassuring with clients with a great all-round knowledge.’

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

The Ipswich-based practice at Birketts LLP provides its clients with ‘top-tier legal expertise’. Louise Long, who is described as having a ‘compassionate, empathetic and calm manner’, leads the private client advisory practice across all five of the firm’s offices. Lorna Spear moved internally from the Norwich office to co-lead the practice in Ipswich. Senior associates Jessica Godfrey-Withey and Rhiannon Russell as well as London-based legal director Claire Tenwick who joined from Smyth Barkham LLP in September 2022, also play central roles in the firm’s tax and estate planning work.

Practice head(s):

Louise Long; Lorna Spear


‘Birketts offer good practical and sensible advice and are pleasant to deal with.’

‘They have a clear understanding and ability to explain key elements of issues. They provide prompt attention to queries and clear communication to the client. They are readily availabile for meetings and discussions too.’

‘Louise Long is an extremely capable counsel who has always provided me with sound legal advice; I have total trust in her judgement and advice.’

‘Closeness to and empathy with clients.’

‘Birketts’ strength isn’t just the team’s top-tier legal expertise, but also their ability to deliver advice in a timely, personable and easy to understand manner. This is not something that I have experienced with other firms. The team’s depth means that they are able to offer support on a wide-variety of issues, and I have found their advice and consultation invaluable. In today’s age, it is very easy to feel like just a number, but every time I deal with the Birketts team, I am treated as if I am their only client.’

‘Over twenty years, Louise Long has never failed to impress or put a foot wrong in my experience. Louise is an experienced expert in the field but she also brings her unique insight to bear when dealing with complex family issues. It is not an overstatement to say that clients love her for her compassionate, empathetic and calm manner. Louise is always able to get to heart of the matter in the most discreet way, has a ready understanding of the issues and always provides practical solutions.’

‘Louise Long is one of the best in the business and she has a unique ability to balance delicate subjects with her professional and efficient approach.’

‘They are a personable and responsive team.’

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

Birketts LLP's practice is highly regarded for its ‘strength-in-depth'. The practice has a diverse client base, which includes many high-net-worth individuals and landed estates. Lorna Spear, who specialises in complex trusts, and June 2022-promoted partner Hayley Pettitt lead the practice. Spear advises on high-value matters, including estates with assets in excess of £100m. Senior associate Emily O’Donnell is noted as ‘efficient, wise and personable' in trust and succession planning matters. Agriculture specialist Jack Royall frequently advises landed estates on private client matters.

Practice head(s):

Hayley Pettit; Lorna Spear

Other key lawyers:

Emily O’Donnell; Jack Royall; Helen Cordingley


‘Emily O’Donnell’s approach was efficient, wise and personable. These are important characteristics when dealing with clients who are requiring help to plan their affairs prior to death. The complications of sorting out what both of us wanted to consider requires a legal advisor to illustrate mastery of legal possibilities in a sensitive manner. Emily provided this service superbly.’

‘The team are professional in their dealings with clients and work hard to achieve desired objectives. They are timely in their dealings with cases and the work is accurate.’

‘I have dealt with Hayley Pettitt on many occasions and I find her work of a good quality and of timely delivery to the client which is important when a recommendation has been made. She is also a very pleasant person to deal with and is happy to discuss and advise on various issues.’

‘I found the Birketts’ trusts team approach to be very responsive, professional and friendly. We were looking to prepare new family wills and the team provided holistic advice around the the whole topic, including inheritance tax planning, and showed a genuine interest in what the family was trying to achieve as a group.’

‘Emily O’Donnell has been very thoughtful, responsive, creative and has brought a huge range of knowledge and experience to achieve a smooth advisory process and successful outcome. The service and advice we have received compares very favourably indeed with trusts advice we have received elsewhere before.’

‘Jack Royall is very knowledgeable, personable, very quick to grasp situations, very clever without being arrogant and utterly trustworthy. I would trust Jack’s opinion, not simply on legal matters, but also in more complex human dilemmas that require a legal response. Helen Cordingley is an excellent member of the Birketts team with very good attention-to-detail who is totally trustworthy. An excellent lawyer.’

‘Birketts has strength-in-depth and a collaborative approach across practice areas.’

‘They are highly personable, explaining in relatively uncomplicated terms what would be generally regarded as quite complex interrelated issues which gave us a clear line of sight. Their turnaround times were extraordinarily sharp, giving us confidence that the measures agreed were lawfully recorded and in place in timely fashion.’

Public sector Tier 1

Birketts LLP  has a multi-disciplinary team that acts for a diverse range of clients in the health and education sectors. 'The employment team is always available to support and give advice and are very knowledgeable', remarks one client. Head of public sector and local government Ruth Neave works across all five of the firm's offices, calling upon the expertise of head of education Abigail Trencher in Cambridge and head of health Matthew Newnham in Norwich. Charities partner Liz Brownsell  in Ipswich takes the lead on matters concerning academies. Trencher and legal director Tom Sharpe in Norwich are 'very helpful and their advice is always sound'. Corporate partner Ed Savory, also based in Norwich, advised South Norfolk Council on a joint venture arrangement with five other local authorities in Norfolk and Anglian Water.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Neave; Abigail Trencher; Matthew Newnham

Other key lawyers:


‘The employment team are always available to support and give advice and are very knowledgeable about us.’

‘Their knowledge, and the availability of the individuals I work with, are key benefits to managing our casework. In particular Tom Sharpe (Norwich) and Abigail Trencher (Cambridge) are very helpful and their advice is always sound.’

Key clients

South Norfolk Council

Breckland Council

The Broads Authority

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council

East Suffolk Council

Babergh District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council

Cambridgeshire County Council

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

East Coast Community Healthcare

East Anglian Air Ambulance

Teaching Regulation Agency

CIFCO Capital Limited

Diamond Learning Trust

Anglia Ruskin University

Sapientia Education Trust

Big Sky Living

Trinity Hall, Cambridge

College of West Anglia

Boudica Schools Trust

Lewisham Council

Newham Council

Seven Arches Investment Limited

West Suffolk College

Real estate > Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 1

Birketts LLP further added to the depth of its Cambridge commercial property team in 2022 with the hire of Simon Keen from Hogan Lovells International LLP, who has become the firm’s main public sector property partner, and is highly experienced in the acquisition, promotion and disposal of strategic land. The practice is led by strategic land expert Kath Herbert, who recently worked with up-and-coming partner Dwight Patten to advise local landowners on the disposal of a £33m plot in the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. 'The all round expertise on commercial property matters is exceptional‘, remarked a client. Claudia Haisman-Green and newly promoted partner Helen Stewart also handle complex strategic land and development matters for landowners and developers. Gavin Acheson and Gemma Goddard lead the real estate investment team. Jeremy Stanton is a key adviser on clean energy projects.

Practice head(s):

Katherine (Kath) Herbert


‘The all round expertise on commercial property matters is exceptional, comparing very favourably to other regional firm’s capabilities.’

‘Simon Keen leads the team with exceptional commercial and legal expertise that would not go unnoticed in a larger London firm.’

‘The team is incredibly responsive which sets it apart from the competition. The advice is precise, well structured and always pragmatic but it’s the round the client service which sets it apart.’

‘Simon Keen – he has ability to problem solve and progress transaction at pace is first class. He also has a great memory for detail which enables him to provide quick and reliable advice whenever it’s needed.’

‘The commercial property team that we have dealt with are both strong on law and the commercial practicalities.’

‘Dwight Patten is the partner we have dealt with. Dwight is responsive and customer focused. He has great domain knowledge and often raises ideas and challenges that help us get to a better commercial solution.’

‘The team are keen to build a relationship and to understand our business needs in order to provide a service that is suited to us. No other law firm has taken such an interest in our business affairs and this sets Birketts apart from other.’

‘Both myself and the managing director were impressed with Gemma Goddard’s manner and ability to explain legal and commercial concepts relating to an energy option and lease in all parties meeting leaving the other lawyer high and dry by her knowledge and understanding.’

Key clients

Trust for London

London Diocesan Fund

Church Commissioners for England

News Corp

Welbeck Strategic Land

London Borough of Lewisham

Uttlesford District Council

London Borough of Newham

Caterham Cars

British Council for Offices

Anglia Ruskin University

Jesus College Oxford

Hartpury University

Cambridgeshire County Council

The Cambridge Building Society

SDI Group plc

Grovemere Property Limited

Cambridge Power Limited

Wyboston Lakes Limited

Santander UK plc

Work highlights

  • Acted for a family consortium of landowners on the disposal of the development plot known as 1000 Discovery Drive at Phase 2 of the world-renowned Cambridge Biomedical Campus by way of a 170 year lease together with a lease for the same term of infrastructure land in connection with the installation of shared roads, utilities and amenity infrastructure for this plot and the remainder of Phase 2.
  • Acted for the London Diocesan Fund in the letting of a derelict office building in London, located on top of a former graveyard, to the City of London Corporation for use as overnight accommodation for rough sleepers.
  • Advised the Church Commissioners for England on all aspects of establishing a joint venture with Hillwood and Trebor in relation to a new industrial and logistics estate at Redbrick Farm in Peterborough, including the delivery of site-wide infrastructure and the promotion, letting, development and disposal of c1.8m sq. ft. of new warehousing

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

The 'reliable' team at Birketts LLP works out of the Ipswich office. Chris Schwer co-heads the practice, frequently acting for housebuilders and developers, and co-head Stephen Sumpton advises investors, developers and major corporate occupiers. Oliver Crichton stands out for his expertise in freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, and landlord and tenant matters. Stuart Raven is a key adviser to corporate, investor, owner, occupier and developer clients. Real estate investment specialist Paul Squire recently assisted Hopkins Homes Limited with the multimillion-pound acquisition of a 16-acre site at Beaulieu Park. Vicki Chilton and Keith Andrews act for both local and national clients.  Amanda Timcke, plays a central role in handling public and private sector matters concerning commercial development.

Practice head(s):

Chris Schwer; Stephen Sumpton


‘Birketts has the ability and advise and guide on a transaction as opposed to just processing a transaction. They are reliable and deliver every time. With multiple departments across a number of offices, they can offer a full turn key service.’

‘I have been fortunate to build relationships with Keith Andrews and other partners within Birketts. They are solid and reliable advisors. The team remains available at the end of the phone and will respond to all correspondence in a swift and timely manner.’

Key clients

Hopkins Homes Ltd

The Churchmanor Estates Company Plc

M7 Real Estate Ltd

Dencora Group

IWG Group Services (UK) Limited

The Electricity Network Company Limited

GTC Pipelines Limited

Open Fibre Networks Limited

Independent Water Networks Limited

Independent Pipelines Limited

Independent Power Networks Limited

Independent Heating Networks Limited.

East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

Suffolk County Council

Basildon Borough Council


Lloyds TSB


Fairview New Homes

Real estate > Commercial property: Norwich Tier 1

Birketts LLP‘s team is ‘very communicative, proactive, and easy to get on with’, consisting of a deep bench which handles the full range of property matters. Head of commercial property Melissa Loucas is known for ‘exceptional client focus and support‘. Cameron Barlow leads the real estate investment group. Chris Hoxley specialises in residential development. ‘Highly trusted consummate professional‘ Bhargav Trivedi leads the local strategic land practice. Elizabeth Lee is the key name for real estate finance. Senior associate Andrew Ridout  and newly promoted real estate investment partner Laura Jones  also play central roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Melissa Loucas


‘They are very knowledgeable on the property law and understand the commercial challenges a business faces, including regulatory challenges for example in the chemical industry which has very specific issues when selling or buying property.’

‘Very communicative, proactive, fast response time. Easy to get on with and show a significant amount of personal interaction, taking the time to get to know their clients. Very much a part of the team.’

‘Melissa Loucas – exceptional client focus and client support over a varied tasks.’

‘Chris Hoxley is outstanding. He is a busy man but seems to work night and day to get matters resolved and provide a service.’

‘Bhargav Trivedi – highly trusted and consummate professional.’

‘Everyone we deal with at Birketts are quick to respond and to explain procedures.’

‘We are most impressed with the speed and efficiency with which Chris Hoxley and his team deal with our matters. We are assured of total professionalism and know that nothing will phase them.’

‘We enjoy working with Birketts Norwich across a range of business activities. We must have engaged with 10 different employees covering a multiple of different issues in the past 12 months and they have delivered as required. Bhargav Trivedi has a depth of experience and we have enjoyed the expertise he brings to our commercial activities.’

Key clients

Lloyds Banking Group plc

Earlswood Homes

Multimatic Inc.

Longwater Limited

Interbay Funding Ltd


Vello Limited

Westbrook Partners

M7 Real Estate Limited

John Innes Centre

Norwich Research Park

Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

National Westminster Bank plc

Lloyds Banking Group plc

Norwich Airport Limited

The Cotswold Company (UK) Limited

Oxford Properties Group

Meadow Partners

Realty Income Corporation

Norfolk Homes Limited

East Anglian Property Limited

Real estate > Construction Tier 1

The practice at Birketts LLP is ‘helpful and knowledgeable' when it comes to development funding, renewables, and social housing issues. Stefan Harris-Wright, who leads the practice from Cambridge, recently advised Kingsland Leisure Centre and Community Wellbeing Hub on a £25m public sector construction project for community facilities in Houghton Regis. Catherine Andrews in Ipswich is skilled in handling adjudication proceedings, and legal director Patrick Cooney in Cambridge is ‘efficient and reliable, and provides highly trustworthy advice‘. Also in Cambridge, senior associate Katrina Bretten stands out for her knowledge of non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Harris-Wright

Other key lawyers:


‘Patrick Cooney is efficient and reliable, provides highly trustworthy advice, and is well measured and appropriate.’

‘The team adopts a professional approach at all times and offer added value and we have always been happy with the services provided.’

‘All representatives are helpful and knowledgeable, offering expert responses and advice. In particular I have been impressed by the service experienced by Catherine Andrews.’

‘We primarily work with Emma Chiaramello who provides us with fantastic support on our construction contracts and any dispute resolutions.’

‘A great level of construction experience.’

‘Collaborative business structure which supplements our core team. Birketts offer multiple discipline expertise. Calm approach to resolving disputes with third parties.’

Key clients

Concertus Design and Property Consultants Limited

The Churchmanor Estates Company Plc

Ciel Laystall Limited

TCS Screeding Limited

Private residential employer

Troy Central Limited

This Land Development Limited

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

O&H (Grafton 2) Limited

Milton Nutt and Robert Wheatley

Grovemere Property Limited

Orbit Group Limited

Oxford Instruments Nanotechnology Tools Limited

T&B Contractors Limited

Real estate > Planning and environment Tier 1

Birketts LLP ‘offers top-notch legal advice without the price-tag of a London firm‘. The firm frequently handles large-scale developments, as well as contentious planning and environment matters. It counts Breckland District Council, Persimmon Homes and Hill Residential among its clients. The practice is led by Tom Newcombe in Cambridge (who ‘always approaches every challenge with a positive attitude‘) and, in Ipswich, Deborah Sharples (whose ‘analytical approach to both prosecution and defence matters is faultless‘) and Richard Eaton. Legal director Nicola Doole and senior associate Chloe Glason, both based in in Ipswich have extensive planning experience. Legal director Nikki Fonseka and senior associate Steven Bell are the key contacts in Norwich.

Practice head(s):

Tom Newcombe; Deborah Sharples; Richard Eaton


‘I have worked with Deborah Sharples for many years in a highly specialised area of environmental management. I have found her to be exceptionally professional, knowledgeable and always well prepared. She is diligent and hard working in the extreme, never missing the smallest detail. Her arguments are always very well presented and questions concise, in depth and directly to the point. She is outstanding in her dealings with clients and witnesses, ensuring that statements are thoroughly prepared and in good time. Her analytical approach to both prosecution and defence matters is faultless.’

‘The Team is locally based, with a strong knowledge base in a range of the issues we face as a development/construction business.’

‘The individuals we work with are responsive, easy to get hold of, and very approachable. They are able to be contacted outside of normal working hours, which is often required due to times when things are required rapidly in order to convey or process critical legal issues.’

‘The team are approachable and knowledgeable. They work efficiently and effectively on planning matters and ensure they are informed and up to date on a project at all times.’

‘Tom Newcombe is my main contact, he is always on his game and works in the interest of the client, whilst remaining honest throughout.’

‘Birketts is a fantastic firm with so many quality people to call upon, whatever your need is. I have worked with a number of Birketts solicitors across several disciplines, and they are the only firm I would trust on my most important projects.’

‘Tom Newcombe has been a fantastic support for me in my larger development projects. Always approaching every challenge with a positive attitude, providing excellent advice and responsiveness when it was needed, and also having a personal touch and genuine desire for me to achieve my commercial goals.’

‘Working on the problem by a team that is knowledgeable and seamless in its operation.’

Key clients

Hopkins Homes Limited

Vistry Group

Countryside Properties (now part of Vistry Group)

Brentwood Borough Council

Breckland District Council

Crest Nicholson PLC

Hill Residential

Mersea Homes Limited

Welcome Break Services PLC

Persimmon Homes

Denbury Homes

Stonebond Properties Limited

Anderson Group

The Broads Authority

Kings Lynn and West Norfolk District Council


Broxbourne Borough Council

Marden Homes Limited

South Norfolk Council

Flogas Britain Limited

Broads Authority

Happy Days Farming Limited

North Kent Farms Limited

Heal Eggs Limited

Constantine Phipps 5th Marquess of Normanby

Strongroom Limited

Davis Commercials Limited

Vale of Glamorgan Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Countryside Properties (UK) Limited / L&Q in relation to the redevelopment of Beam Park Dagenham including up to 2,900 homes.
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council in relation to a complex and long running Definitive Map Modification Order.
  • Acting for world-renowned recording studios in safeguarding it from the noise and vibration threatened by an adjoining development project including bringing injunctive proceedings and judicial review.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 1

At Birketts LLP , ‘the property litigation team is of the highest quality‘, and the firm ‘easily competes with the major City and national firms‘. Practice head Richard Eaton, whose current caseload includes numerous matters for music studios in London, and partner James Robinson are the key practitioners in Ipswich. Alice Harris  is ‘proactive, intelligent, with a great eye for detail‘. John Scannell and senior associate and barrister Simon Woodhead in Norwich are the main practitioners in Norwich. Legal director Lynsey Ellard in Cambridge is ‘very astute and knows when to take a measured approach‘. Legal director Laura Tanguay in Ipswich and associate Stephanie Butler in Cambridge are ‘outstandingly able and hardworking‘.

Practice head(s):

Richard Eaton


‘The property litigation team is of the highest quality.’

‘Laura Tanguay and Stephanie Butler are outstandingly able and hardworking. They are talented solicitors with an impressive grasp of law and procedure. They also demonstrate a high standard of client care, even or especially when the case becomes difficult and testing.’

‘Lynsey Ellard – is an extremely capable lawyer, very astute and importantly knows when to take a measured approach and when (and how) to increase the pressure as the need arises.’

‘We have used Birketts LLP for many years now, they acted for us when we sold our business, very good and very happy. Dispute resolution, Mrs Alice Harris, superb.’

‘Alice Harris who deals with any dispute resolution matters that we may have is superb. Mrs Harris is a young lady but her style of working is very much old school, she responds to telephone calls, letters and emails very promptly and makes most things crystal clear to Luddites such as I. Were Mrs Harris to ever leave Birketts I would like to think that we would be her very first clients at her new firm.’

‘James Robinson at partner level provides excellent all round commercial advice alongside deep sector specialism for telecommunications matters.’

‘The property litigation team is led by Simon Woodhead, a former barrister, whose knowledge of his subject, powers of analysis, determination to do his best for his client, and general resourcefulness add up to a very powerful package for the client. The product is as good as anything offered by the Magic and Silver Circle firms in London, but at regional prices.’

‘Professional, friendly and prompt service. I like the way we have plenty of Partner involvement.’

Key clients

Mr Karmjit Kang

Strongroom Limited

Real estate > Social housing Tier 1

Providing 'impeccable' advice, the team at Birketts LLP has deep expertise in affordable housing developments. The social housing practice is co-led by Jonathan Hulley, who focuses on contentious matters; Clive Adams, who divides his time Norwich and London offices, leading the housing management side of the practice. Norwich-based senior associate Sarah Fish acts for numerous Housing Associations, local authorities and private housebuilders on a range of non- contentious matters. Legal director Kevin Edwards joined the Cambridge office from Shakespeare Martineau LLP, bringing longstanding experience in acquisitions, developments and disposals in the social housing sector. Edwards recently acted for Broadland Housing Group in the discharge and then re-charge to two new lenders of a portfolio.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hulley; Clive Adams

Other key lawyers:


‘The personal contact with the firm and also the opportunity to share the latest case laws and update definitely stands out.’

‘Jonathan Hulley and the team are so dedicated for the good course of housing. Their advice and and guidance is impeccable.’

Key clients

Broadland Housing Group

Chelmer Housing Partnership

Platform Housing

Eastlight Community Homes Limited

Freebridge Housing

Clarion Housing

Eastlight Community Homes Limited

B3 Living

London and Quadrant

Orbit Group

Transport > Transport and shipping Tier 1

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is home to a transport and shipping practice from which ‘the service from is professional, friendly and pragmatic‘. The firm assists shipping and logistics clients with the full spectrum of matters, including commercial, contractual, customs and duty issues. Practice co-head Henry Adams has broad expertise in dry shipping; Alex Davey leads the litigation practice, often acting in cargo disputes; and head of regulatory and corporate defence Matthew Gowen frequently advises operators and trade bodies. Davey and newly promoted partner Tom Hodges have a ‘straightforward, no nonsense approach'. Mediator and dry shipping litigation specialist Nicholas Woo and senior associate Sarah Holsgrove also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Henry Adams; Alex Davey; Matthew Gowen

Other key lawyers:


‘The service from Birketts is professional, friendly and pragmatic. They have a wide range of skills within the business. The service is excellent.’

‘Tom Hodges and Alex Davey are straightforward, no nonsense approach with the focus on swift practical solutions in the best interest of the client.’

Key clients



Atlantic Trading and Marketing Inc

National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh PA

Pequod Associates Ltd.

Work highlights

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

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Essex Tier 1

Led by M&A expert Adam Jones, Birketts LLP‘s corporate team in Chelmsford offers ‘sensible commercial advice within a sound legal framework’, and is geared to handle the full range of complex and high-value acquisition and disposal work. Rafael Ruiz leads corporate team, which operates across the firm’s five offices, as well as the firm’s competition law team, and is well versed in advising investors and corporates on domestic and international transactions. Caroline Nicholls advises on an array of corporate matters, such as acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and capital market listings. Heidi Bond is noted for her transactional work, with specialist knowledge of the corporate aspects of employee ownership transactions. Corporate M&A expert Alex Forwood is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Adam Jones

Other key lawyers:


‘They are capable of dealing with complex situations in a time-saving manner with a team of professionals which cover most disciplines. I have always felt that they are a quality entity and that the advice they give is spot-on.’

‘I have mostly dealt with Caroline Nichols and Sabina Rooney over a complex sale of a business. They were ahead of the game with dealing with other firms of solicitors. Both of these two individuals are true professionals, and I feel relaxed when dealing with complex issues with these two people involved.’

‘Sensible commercial advice within a sound legal framework. Understanding that the deal is the key issue rather than scoring petty legal points.’

‘Our main point of contact was Alex Forwood. He showed a lot of common sense in balancing legal and commercial needs as well as making himself available to push the deal through.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest

Investec Investments (UK) Limited

Investec Bank plc

HHB Communications Limited

Commcise Software

Excess Baggage Group

The Reddington Group

Hydro International Limited


Airtask Group/Directflight

Granarolo SpA & Group

Commodity Centre Group

YFM Private Equity

M.W. Beer & Co Limited

CLP Aromas


Aston Barclay

D-Fly Hyperscooter Limited

Prestige Outdoor UK Limited

XP Factory PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Atalian Servest on its acquisition of the Incentive FM group in the facilities management sector.
  • Advised the shareholders of Hoppings Softwood Products PLC on the sale of the company to IBMG.
  • Advised the owners on their sale of FGD Solutions Limited.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Essex Tier 1

With notable experience in international matters, Birketts LLP‘s well-reputed commercial litigation department is sought out by clients from a broad range of industries, such as the agriculture, banking, technology and transport sectors. Praised by clients for his ‘unpretentious advice’, Daden Hunt leads the department from Chelmsford, and his practice encompasses professional negligence claims, shareholder disputes and complex High Court litigation. William Arran‘s workload extends to crisis and reputation litigation matters and regulatory investigations, and he also has niche expertise in advising clients on international sanctions. Nicholas Phillips and Matthew Weston have knowledge in insolvency related matters.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt


‘The team is extremely attentive to their customer’s needs. At the same time delivering an exceptionally efficient service at all points of contact.’

‘Friendly and clear advice, and pragmatism.’

‘Daden Hunt gave unpretentious advice, and was responsive to queries.’

Key clients

Foresight Regional Investment II LLP

Sanrose Investments Limited

Abstrakt Services Limited

FEL Avionics

Frontier Agriculture Limited

Brooks Bros Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Foresight Regional Investment II LLP in pursuing claims in the High Court for breach of warranty and fraudulent misrepresentation against the vendors of a company acquired by Foresight.
  • Advising Sanrose Investments Limited on strategy, and representing the company in High Court proceedings to resolve a long-running dispute.
  • Acting for Fel Avionics Limited in a contractual dispute with its supplier over the supply of items for emergency packs for life rafts sold by the client to the Pakistan Navy.

Employment > Employment: Essex Tier 1

Birketts LLP‘s employment department is well regarded for expert advice on contentious, non-contentious, advisory, and corporate transactional employment work, and is known for its ‘high-level client care.‘ Clare Barlow leads the team in Chelmsford, and is sought out by national and international clients from a range of sectors, including financial services, insurance, private equity and technology industries. Jonathan Insley is experienced in handling complex disputes, and is very active in the transport and hospitality industries. Nicholas West is an expert in the employment aspects of corporate transactional work, while Abigail Hubert‘s recent work includes a number of complex employee ownership trust matters.

Practice head(s):

Clare Barlow


‘Our firm has been working with Birketts employment department for several years now. Our clients are in times in need of UK employment advice, and they have stood out as being a very reliable partner. They are always very responsive to any request we have had for the UK. Always willing to assist and providing excellent advice in the agreed upon timeline.’

‘We can always count on the team (more specifically Clare Barlow who is our first point of contact, Abigail Hubert and Nicholas West). They are very responsive, and keep their promises on when they will be able to deliver the work.’

‘They get to understand the organisation well so they can offer the right level of support and advice. They genuinely care about what happens and make the time for you as a client to support and reassure the business.’

‘Practical, commercial advice. Pragmatic and simple to understand.’

‘Abigail Hubert is a very trusted adviser, who is always willing to go above and beyond in providing exceptional customer service. She always provides prompt advice which is sensible and very pragmatic.’

‘Personal attention together with down to earth advice.’

‘They are exceptional. All the solicitors that I work with are very organised, the cases are very well prepared, and they give excellent legal advice to their clients. Each of the team members that I work with provide very high-level client care. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of them.’

‘Nicholas West is a brilliant lawyer. He has a very calm and reassuring manner. He offers his clients a brilliant service. He is meticulously well prepared, and stays calm even in highly pressurised situations.’

Key clients

Atalian Servest Limited

Anderson Group

Beresford Group Limited

Brady Technologies Limited

Chelmer Housing Partnership Limited

CNH Industrial N.V.

Colchester United Football Club Limited

Databricks UK Limited

FedEx Cross Border (UK) Limited

Hanover Investors Management LLP

Havens Hospices

Jablite Limited

Kalibrate Technologies Plc

Manchester Underwriting Owners

Midland Chilled Foods Limited

Milsom Hotels Limited

Readie Construction Limited

Redpath Deilmann GmbH

Total Protection (Management Services) Limited

VVB Engineering (UK) Limited

Absolute Post Limited

Aspire Media Group Limited

Aston Barclay Limited

Autoprotect (MBI) Ltd

Autotest Limited

Briddge Legal and Finance, The Netherlands

Brentwood Borough Council

Commodity Centre Limited

Custom Security Solutions Ltd

DD Products and Services Ltd

Direct Commercial Limited

ECM Selection (Holdings) Limited

Elemental Microanalysis Ltd

Flagstone Financial Management Ltd

Fullers (Builders) Limited

Frederick J French (Contracts) Limited

Granarolo SpA

Granarolo (UK) Limited

Harris Holdings (Grays) Limited

HBB Communications Limited

Iveco Retail Limited

JJ Sweeney Limited

J Reddington Ltd

Lemon Groundwork Solutions Ltd

Matterlab Ltd

Metas Group

M.W. Beer & Co. Limited

Paris Partnership

Seetec Business Technology Centre Limited

Strengths Unleashed Limited

Swift Scaffolding Limited

Woodlands Schools Limited

W.P.T. Support Services Limited

YFM Private Equity Limited

Employment > Immigration Tier 1

Birketts LLP assists an array of clients across its offices in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich, Kent, London and Norwich. The department’s key strengths lie in business immigration including expansion worker visas, global talent visas, indefinite leave to remain and sponsor licensing. Sacha Wooldridge leads the team and frequently advises corporate organisations with domestic immigration compliance obligations. With over 2 decades of experience, Chelmsford-based Janice Leggett is often engaged in immigration matters pertaining to UK commercial film production, and assists private individuals with ancestry, and domestic violence visas.

Practice head(s):

Sacha Wooldridge

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Advertising Producers Association


Raspberry Pi Limited

Hanover Investors Management LLP


Biscuit Filmworks

Artios Pharma

Frontier Developments Plc

GSA Capital

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) UK


Grace Church Brockley

Arena Racing Group


Work highlights

  • Assisted Bobbies in securing a UK expansion worker visa by the Home Office.
  • Advised and represented a premier league football club on administrative review in respect of EU settlement scheme status refusal for a first team player.

Private client > Family: Essex Tier 1

Financial remedy arbitrator and collaborative lawyer Emma Brunning leads Birketts LLP’s family team in Chelmsford, while Katie Beaven in Ipswich is overall leader for the firm’s South East offices. The team is sought out by company directors and shareholders, and high-net-worth individuals for expert advice on the whole range of family law matters, including complex corporate, financial, tax, trust and pension issues, as well as child arrangements. Jennifer Headon joined in July 2022 and further strengthens the team’s offering with her experience in handling complex financial remedy work and private children law matters, and niche expertise in international family law.

Practice head(s):

Katie Beaven; Emma Brunning

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Headon; Tom Wright; Ivana Radovic; Dharshica Thanarajasingham


‘They have taken a genuine interest in my case and have supported me throughout many challenging situations.’

‘Impressive teamwork and flexibility. They draw from a talented group of solicitors who work across all of their offices to ensure the best person is available to the client wherever the case may be heard.’

‘The Chelmsford team are providing London quality work at Essex prices and so are extremely good value for money. They are able to give pragmatic and solution-focused advice to clients.’

‘Emma Brunning – she has a quiet steel to her. Resolute in her support of her clients, able to give them clear and realistic advice and thinks ahead in order to get the best result.’

‘Dharshica Thanarajasingham – she is hardworking and committed to each case. She is encouraging and supportive to clients.’

‘I’ve worked with Jennifer Headon, and am impressed by her absolute commitment to clients. She masters being the right level of fierce and tenacious with the opposition, whilst having complete empathy and endless reassurance for the client. In short, she’s great.’

‘Tom Wright is punctual, thorough, client-focused, attentive, responsive and a pleasure to work with.’

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

Birketts LLP‘s ‘extremely knowledgeable’ private client advisory department demonstrates particular strength in multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning work, and is a market leader for succession and tax planning issues for farmers and land estate owners. The department is jointly steered by Jack Royall in Norwich and Louise Long in Ipswich, while Susan Young heads up the Chelmsford office. Young is recommended for estate planning issues, trusts and will preparation, as well as advising on the administration of estates, and is well versed in working with wealthy individuals and their businesses. Described by clients as ‘absolutely amazing’, Katie Gibson-Green is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Susan Young; Jack Royall; Louise Long

Other key lawyers:

Katie Gibson-Green; Katie Payne; Penny Wotton


‘The key strengths of the team are their availability and rigour of the advice provided. This is all done whilst maintaining a very friendly attitude making them enjoyable to work with.’

‘The quality and timeliness of delivery has always been impressive. The ability to seamlessly introduce colleagues to manage capacity in the team makes it a very smooth experience. The individuals in the team are extremely knowledgeable and able to share their advice in a very easy to understand manner.’

‘This is a fantastic team. Anyone needing a firm to deal with very complicated probate issues would benefit from this firm’s expertise, especially when not residing in the UK.’

‘Katie Gibson-Green was absolutely amazing. She dealt with so many different issues with such efficiency, speed and compassion.’

‘I found Birketts to be totally professional. They acted over and above in their dealings with us.’

‘Katie Gibson-Green outlined all the required information and answered any questions fully and clearly.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Essex Tier 1

Praised by clients for its ‘competence and efficiency’, Birketts LLP’s commercial property team in Chelmsford is engaged by a range of high-profile clients, including developers, investors, and national and international corporates. The department is especially recommended for advice on development, portfolio management and high-value landlord and tenant matters. Group head Grace Kerr is a member of the team’s dedicated strategic land practice, and is well versed in  landowner and option agreements, as well as contracts conditional to planning consent. Steven Kay heads up the firm’s dedicated housebuilder sector team, and is experienced in acting for major national housebuilders, and Hannah Harbottle is the key name at senior associate level.

Practice head(s):

Grace Kerr; Steven Kay

Other key lawyers:

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


‘Competence and efficiency.’

‘The team is very experienced across the commercial property arena. Grace Kerr is that stand-out partner’.

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

‘The teams have an outstanding knowledge, combining well across different departments to deliver an exceptional service.’

‘The personnel at Birketts deliver a very high level of service, with a hands-on approach to understand the issue and producing a fast and effective resolution to the matter.’

‘The two standout partners we have dealt with at Birketts have been Steven Kay and David Springett.’

‘Birketts have provided commercial property services for our organisation for a number of years. We have found we can rely on them to provide expert advice, support and guidance. Client care is where they excel and we always feel our work is valued and important to the firm.’

‘Hannah Harbottle is always available to offer her expert advice.’

Key clients

Riduna Holdings Limited

Breyer Group Limited

HBC Limited

Gates Group Limited

Kefco Sales Limited

Ernest Doe & Sons Limited

Scenesafe Holdings Limited

St Katherine Group Limited

Commodity Centre UK Limited

Harlow Council

Real estate > Social housing Tier 1

Following the merger of Batchelors with Birketts LLP in April 2023, the Bromley-based offering has been considerably strengthened. The team demonstrates considerable expertise in obtaining injunction orders, as well as advising on a range of matters relating to the development of affordable housing. Managing partner Thaine Wilson is well regarded for his expertise in contentious housing matters, including possession proceedings. Andrew Harmer is singled out as one of the 'most dedicated people in the social housing field'. Gavinder Ryait has over 20 years’ experience of handling possession claims, closure orders and complex ASB matters.

Practice head(s):

Thaine Wilson; Andrew Harmer; Gavinder Ryait


‘Deservedly known for their high-quality client care, judgement and knowledge in the social housing field. They have strength in depth and always go that extra mile for their clients.’

‘I would highlight the quality of Thaine Wilson, Gavinder Ryait and Andrew Harmer. Thaine is brilliant with clients, measured in his approach and a sheer joy to work with. Gavinder is realistic with excellent judgement, and greatly admired by clients and her instructed barristers alike. Andrew is one of the nicest and most dedicated people in the social housing field, who has forgotten more about social housing than most of us know.’

‘They manage to cover all areas of expertise at all appropriate levels of experience. The fact that their team is smaller means that their clients get a more personalised service and can build relationships with known individuals. This means that client experience and client care is the best that I have come across in the social housing sector.’

‘Andrew Harmer, Gavinder Ryait and Thaine Wilson are an impressive trio. Andrew has a comprehensive understanding of the social housing sector. Gavinder is the most practical solcitor I have come across in dealing with anti-social behaviour cases. Thaine is a delight to work with and for.’

‘The team is practical and hard working.’

‘Andrew Harmer always makes sure our needs have been met.’

Key clients

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

London & Quadrant Housing Trust

Wandle Housing Association Limited

PA Housing

Swan Housing Association Limited

Notting Hill Housing Group

Charlton Triangle Homes (part of the Peabody Group)

East End Homes Limited

One Housing Group

Sutton Housing Partnership

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Norwich Tier 2

Birketts LLP is noted as being ‘efficient and direct, with immensely strong communication'. The firm is a prominent force in disputes within the region and beyond. Lead partner and qualified barrister Andrew Kinnison is ‘professional, informative and very understanding'; Kinnison has extensive experience in Chancery matters, including corporate and commercial disputes, and insolvency proceedings. Senior associate Adam Blenkinsop, whose advice is ‘always considerate', and associate Chloe Bird, are the other key names in Norwich.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Kinnison

Other key lawyers:


‘Adam Blenkinsop’s advice is always considerate to our wider company strategy and risk profile, adjusting his tone and approach to suit. This ultimately makes his advice of better quality and actionability.’

‘They have all the disciplines under one roof. As a result, if legal issues have some overlap from one discipline to another, they are still able to provide targeted advice, taking into account these various disciplines.’

‘The speed in response is a key strength of the team. Also, in my case, they were able to translate what the differences were between Dutch legislation and English so that I could better determine my best options, and as a result we could together better decide which route to take.’

‘The team we are working with make us feel like they are doing the best they can for us and that they have empathy with us.’

‘We just feel that we are in safe hands. Andrew Kinnison has been professional and informative as well as being very understanding of our situation.’

‘Efficient and direct, with immensely strong communication.’

‘Adam Blenkinsop is clearly experienced, capable, hardworking, efficient, reliable and has a marked sense of responsibility, commitment and initiative.’

‘Adam Blenkinsop is extremely good at managing all aspects of cases and coordinating efficiently with counsel and clients, and is a pleasure to work with. He takes a sensible commercial approach but also knows when to stand firm.’

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 2

Birketts LLP is known for ‘clear advice, regular updates, and a strong team with a number of interesting matters‘. Commercial litigators Laurence Weeks in Cambridge, Andrew Kinnison in Norwich and Daden Hunt in Chelmsford are the principal contacts. In Norwich, Bernadette Baker handles negligence claims arising from wills and the administration of estates and trusts and senior associate Adam Blenkinsop is a ‘tenacious litigator‘ who handles predominantly claimant work. Matthew Atkins handles claims involving solicitors, accountants and surveyors.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks; Andrew Kinnison; Daden Hunt


‘Clear advice, regular updates, use of technology instead of actual meetings.’

‘A strong team with a number of interesting matters.’

‘Adam Blenkinsop is a tenacious litigator.’

‘Daden Hunt communicated clearly and was responsive.’

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

Predominantly based in Cambridge, Birketts LLP assists clients with all aspects of the life cycle of IP, regularly advising start-ups and large enterprises on commercialisation and infringement matters. Legal director Melanie Harvey in Ipswich leads the trade marks and branding side of the practice. Leading the contentious side of the practice, Maria Peyman focuses on disputes within the IPEC and the High Court, and Quentin Golder handles development agreements and IP joint ventures. Andrew Priest frequently advises software companies on both copyright and brand protection issues. Trade mark attorney Anousha Vasantha joined the team in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Harvey; Maria Peyman; Quentin Golder

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Greene King

Sophie Allport Limited


Omega Ingredients Limited

The English Whisky Co. Ltd

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

Birketts LLP‘s IT practice has particular focus on the financial services, social media, security software and aerospace industries, reflecting a roster of clients that includes property investment software developer Coyote Group Limited, and automotive software developer Eatron Limited. The commercial and technology group is co-led by Quentin Golder and Andrew Priest in Cambridge, along with Mark Gipson in Ipswich and up-and-coming partner Paul Palik in Norwich. Golder advised Eatron on contracts with Chinese and Japanese car parts manufacturers for the licence of software tools as part of the supply chain for various multinational automotive manufacturers.

Practice head(s):

Quentin Golder; Mark Gipson; Andrew Priest; Paul Palik

Key clients

Coyote Group Limited

Eatron Limited

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

The ‘very versatile and knowledgeable‘ practice at Birketts LLP is predominantly based in Chelmsford, exhibiting broad expertise in antecedent transactions and administrations within the shipping and construction sectors. Laurence Weeks co-leads the team alongside director Matthew Weston. In Cambridge, Weeks has longstanding expertise in insolvency disputes, while the ‘intelligent and genial‘ Weston has broad knowledge spanning trust claims within insolvencies, void disposition claims, and the annulment of bankruptcy orders. Associate William Arran is ‘very competent‘ in assisting trustees in bankruptcy and individuals facing claims from insolvency practitioners with the defence and settlement of claims.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks; Matthew Weston

Other key lawyers:


‘The team provided comprehensive advice in complex cross-border insolvency litigation. The team was responsive and reliable.’

‘Will Arran shows a remarkable aptitude for combining thorough analysis of documents from foreign jurisdictions with a high level of legal knowledge and awareness of client’s objectives. Will is a very competent and commercially aware lawyer whose advice was clear and practical.’

‘Excellent approach to business restructuring and a very wide knowledge of insolvency and related legislation. Commercially minded.’

‘Matthew Weston is an intelligent and genial solicitor who is a pleasure to work with. Matthew’s often laid back style belies a keen understanding of contentious litigation and he is an impressive opponent for his peers within the restructuring industry.’

‘The firm is very versatile, knowledgeable and covers a variety of areas. The team are all very friendly, helpful and work with speed and impressive accuracy.’

‘Matthew Weston is a very impressive individual with great character. Every piece of work I pass his way is dealt with quickly, efficiently, transparently and to an extremely high standard. He is naturally inquisitive and a perfectionist. He has a genuine interest in his work and finding solutions to the different situations that can arise.’

Private client > Agriculture and estates Tier 2

With offices spread across Chelmsford, Cambridge, Ipswich, and Norwich, Birketts LLP is well-equipped to handle land acquisitions and renewable energy projects, the practice also works in conjunction with the firm’s tax lawyers on capital taxation and succession planning matters. Co-lead of the team Chris Coupland works from Norwich and advises clients on agricultural banking work, while Annabelle Rout‘s workload includes the granting of easements for access, pipes, and wires across agricultural land. Charlotte Strutt has recently been engaged in solar leases and biodiversity net gain agreements. All of the individuals mentioned are located in Chelmsford, unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Chris Coupland; Annabelle Rout

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Strutt; Katie-Gibson Green; Adam Burden; Simon Green; Samantha Barnes


‘I have been impressed with Birketts straight talking and friendly approach to all matters.’

‘Birketts impressed with a pragmatic all-round service and credible alternative to city firms. Genuinely trusted advisers.’

‘Annabelle Rout was very efficient and runs a tight ship.’

Charlotte Strutt – proactive and very pleasant to deal with. Good all rounder.’


Work highlights

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Recently merging with Batchelors Solicitors, Birketts LLP is co-led by Daden Hunt in Chelmsford alongside the ‘exceptional litigator’  Bernadette Baker. Jenny Howe is also based in Chelmsford and works in conjunction with the firm’s private client and court of protection teams to assist clients with succession planning. Rachel Leech and Marie McMahon are both members of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Norwich, unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt; Bernadette Baker

Other key lawyers:


‘The team has real strength in depth. It is one of the largest teams in the region and has quality running through it from the top to the bottom. They adopt a sensible, conciliatory, and commercial approach to often very emotive disputes.’

‘Very high quality of advice, service, and communication. Practical, realistic, solutions-based.’

‘The team works seamlessly together and every member is both a delight to work with and extremely knowledgeable as to their area.’

‘Excellent firm in this sector, I would recommend them with no hesitation or qualification.’

‘Bernadette Baker is an exceptional litigator. She is very experienced, sensible, and objective. A pleasure to deal with on disputes.’

‘Bernadette Baker is wonderful to work with and skilled not only legally but in managing her team and clients.’

‘I was very impressed with Rachel Leech; her analytical skills and creative thinking are well beyond what I would expect from an associate at her level.’

‘Jenny Howe is a very experienced associate in the team who has a measured approach that is far beyond her years.’

Work highlights

Public sector Tier 2

With a strong presence in Essex, Birketts LLP‘s public sector team is equipped to provide an all-round service to its local government, healthcare and education clients, by working closely with a number of the firm’s other specialist departments. Abigail Trencher leads the dedicated education team, while employment expert Matthew Newnham heads up the health team, and Ruth Neave leads the overall department, as well as the local government team. Neave’s practice extends to procurement, strategic partnership, and public sector governance mandates.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Neave; Abigail Trencher; Matthew Newnham

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Sloan

Key clients

Basildon Borough Council

Brentwood Borough Council

Rochford District Council

Chelmsford City Council

Epping Forest District Council

Broxbourne Borough Council

London Borough of Lewisham

The College of West Anglia

Teaching Regulation Agency

Diamond Learning Partnership Trust

Sempra Homes Limited

Seven Arches Investments Limited

Harlow Council

The London Borough of Haringey

Jesus College, Oxford

Anglia Ruskin University

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

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

Birketts LLP‘s team ‘works very hard‘ to advise institutional and alternative lenders, and borrowers, notably HSBC, Lloyds and councils, on the full scope of banking and finance issues. The team exhibits expertise across real estate and agricultural finance mandates, often handling trade finance and invoice discounting issues. Alex Schaafsma heads up the practice from Cambridge with her expertise in acting for borrowers and lenders in real estate financing transactions concerning both developments and investments. Based in Chelmsford, the ‘excellentDevreaux Gravell is particularly adept at assisting with syndicated and bilateral transactions relating to receivables financing and general corporate lending.

Practice head(s):

Alex Schaafsma

Other key lawyers:

James Allen; Devreaux Gravell; Lottie Fletcher


‘Practical and get the job done. Very commercial.’

‘They are keen to complete the job and work very hard to get the best solution.’

‘Devreaux Gravell is excellent on the banking side.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds Bank plc

OakNorth Bank plc

Santander plc

Triple Point Capital

National Westminster Bank plc / RBS

Time Holdco Limited

Time Group Holdings Limited

One Savings Bank trading as Kent Reliance

Alpha Bank London Limited

Secure Trust Bank plc

Oxbury Bank plc


Muntons plc

Green Label Foods Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Muntons plc on the amendment and restatement of its £90m receivables and stock financing facilities made available by HSBC Invoice Finance (UK) Limited, which included a cross-border element.
  • Advised the Arbora Group on a term loan facility of £10m from LendNet LLP to finance a property development.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 3

Private client > Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Employment > Employment: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Transport > Shipping

South West > Transport > Shipping

Photo Name Position Profile
Brooke Banks photo Mrs Brooke Banks Solicitor
Marie  Constantine  photo Marie Constantine Senior Associate Birketts LLP – London Office.
Gavin Coull photo Mr Gavin Coull Partner
Ian D'Castro photo Mr Ian D'Castro Partner
Marina Garston photo Mrs Marina Garston Lega Director
Meena  Gupta  photo Meena Gupta Partner in the Property Disputes team. Specialising in commercial litigation, employment and…
Andrew  Harmer  photo Andrew Harmer Partner and Head of Housing Management, over 25 years’ experience specialising all…
Talia Jacobs photo Miss Talia Jacobs Solicitor
Raihan  Khoyratee photo Raihan Khoyratee Associate in the Social Housing Team; Birketts LLP – London Office Raihan…
Matthew White photo Mr Matthew White Partner
Thaine  Wilson  photo Thaine Wilson Partner in Birketts LLP London Social Housing Team.
Photo Name Position Profile
Neda Badri  photo Neda Badri Associate – Social Housing Team – London Office Acts for Social and…
William  Bell  photo William Bell Solicitor Based in London Office, Private Client, Private Client International Assists with…
Will  Hudson  photo Will Hudson Solicitor assisting the team on a wide range of commercial property matters.
Gavinder  Ryait  photo Gavinder Ryait Salaried Partner ; specialist social housing management lawyer ; Acts for a…
Norien  Zia  photo Norien Zia Senior Associate – London; Birketts LLP

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers Verdict

A ‘regional firm but with London-style work’, East Anglia-headquartered Birketts has a ‘brilliant reputation and is constantly expanding and developing’. Training is ‘personalised and extensive’, and supervisors are ‘understanding, present and helpful’, with partners described as ‘willing to get stuck in with the rest of us’. Overall, the culture is 'very friendly’, and ‘everyone is always very willing to give you their time and teach you even when they are incredibly busy, which makes you feel like a genuinely valued team member’. Birketts is a Future Lawyers Winner in eight categories this year, including job satisfaction, client contact and confidence of being kept on. Elaborating on the latter, trainees said: ‘Birketts LLP has a reputation for providing great training; I knew I would be supported on my journey to qualification and beyond. We also seem to have a strong say in our seat options and learn which seat we are moving to next much earlier than people I know of at other firms’. One area in which Birketts falls down is in its hybrid-working policy, which requires trainees, NQs and more senior solicitors to be in the office full time. Respondents consider this a ‘shame as it deters the firm from attracting talent who want and expect some flexibility’. One recruit’s worst moment was ‘sending an email to the wrong person on my first day - I felt like an idiot, but I haven't done it since’, whilst another lamented ‘the lack of feedback received in my private client seat’. More enjoyable experiences were ‘receiving detailed, positive feedback from an impressive partner on a task, ‘getting an emergency order to have a very young baby returned to its mother’, and ‘being involved in the completion of a circa £100m M&A transaction’.  For ‘great people, high-quality work, niche practice areas and a full-service offering’, research Birketts.