The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Clarke Willmott LLP

Work 0345 209 1000
Fax 0345 209 2004

South West: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Bristol
Corporate and commercial: Bristol - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP advises mid-market corporate clients on their serial acquisition strategies, and also handles venture capital and private equity-backed transactions for management teams and investors. Cross-border transactions are an area of growth of the practice, with the firm advising clients on the UK aspects. Simon Thomas, who heads up the corporate team, provides corporate M&A, private equity and AIM advice.

Practice head(s):Simon Thomas

Other key lawyers:Simon Smith; Robert Ridd


'Very efficient and true to their word'

'Robert Ridd was very pleasant, easy to deal with and supportive throughout the deal'

Key Clients

Goonvean Holdings Limited

Addnode Group AB

DSI International Luxembourg Sarl

Eduko Education Limited

Talent International UK Limited

Prysm Media Group Limited

Thames Card Technology Limited

Applus Services

Altitude Partners LLP

Munters Group AB

Work highlights

  • Advising the shareholders of Herring Shoes Limited on the sale of the company to Pavers Holdings Limited.
  • Advised the shareholders of Powervamp Limited on the sale of the company to TLD Group SAS
  • Advised Addnode Group AB on the acquisition of Strategic Simulation & Analysis Limited.
  • Acted for Eduko Education Limited on the acquisition of a group of six nurseries and a Montessori Nursery.
  • Advised Munters Group AB on the acquisition of Humi-Tech Services Limited.

[back to top]

South West: Crime, fraud and licensing

Crime: general
Crime: general - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP prosecutes and defends criminal and regulatory matters including environmental, farming and hunting investigations and offences, health and security matters as well as motoring and speeding offences. Practice head Tim Hayden is also head of agriculture, a partner in the private client and commercial litigation team and a deputy traffic commissioner.

Practice head(s):Tim Hayden

Other key lawyers:Daniel Gill; Jodie Coles

Key Clients

National Farmers’ Union

Masters of Foxhounds Association

Egford Bacon

The Countryside Alliance

Work highlights

  • Represented an individual client in connection with charges of causing death and injury by dangerous driving
  • Representing an individual client in connection with several allegations of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and several farming environmental offences
  • Acted for Egford Agency Ltd during its prosecution by the Environment Agency in relation to an oil leak at the farm which caused an unauthorised discharge to groundwater

[back to top]

South West: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Bristol
Commercial litigation: Bristol - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's team covers commercial litigation in multiple areas, such as agriculture, banking, defamation, financial services and intellectual property. The firm also handles contentious issues involving niche areas, such as classic cars and commercial agents regulations; practice head Alex Jakubowski is a noted expert in the latter area. It is also a first port of call among clients in the energy and natural resources sector.

Practice head(s):Alex Jakubowski

Other key lawyers:Richard Moore; Ed Halden; James Marshall; David Stedman


'Top-flight commercial team that has real strength in depth'

'Excellent technically and tactically, and a real pleasure to work alongside'

'Excellent service, the best in the south west'

'Key strength to Clarke Willmott is that they really think through the issues in a case so that they then focus on what the client needs'

'Alex Jakubowski is technically and tactically superb, a real heavyweight powerhouse of a commercial litigator'

'Alex Jakubowski sets a course and then achieves his client's goals'

'Richard Moore has excellent judgement generally, knows how to build and maintain a first-rate relationship with clients and knows when to get involved in the detail and when to let counsel get on with it'

'I would single out Ed Halden for his stellar written work and willingness to take responsibility'

'I was impressed with David Stedman, a solicitor advocate who handled a number of difficult interim applications in the case; he is mature beyond his years'

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Arbuthnot Latham

Secure Trust Bank

Hodge Bank

Burford Capital

Wellesley Finance

China Industries Limited t\a “Wow! Stuff”

National Farmers Union

Roland DG

Work highlights

  • Acted for Absolute Solvents in a claim arising from damage caused from a fire at a chemical waste plant.
  • Represented Icescape Limited in an action at the Patents Court concerning a declaration of non-infringement and counterclaims for alleged infringement.
  • Representing Resman AS in an infringement claim against Tracerco Limited, regarding the client's patent for complex monitoring technology.
  • Representing Oscar Mayer in a claim against an energy broker over an allegedly fraudulent account of secret profits.
  • Defending Molson against a claim brought by Close alleging the client misrepresented the existence and transfer of ownership of vehicles for the purchase of a lease hire agreement.
Leading individuals

Alex Jakubowski - Clarke Willmott LLP

Rising stars

Ed Halden - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

Commercial litigation: The West Country
Commercial litigation: The West Country - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP has a strong capability representing clients based in the South West in agricultural litigation. The firm also represents SMEs in a wide range of matters. Practice head Greg Saunders has a particular specialism in shareholder disputes and restrictive covenant injunctions, among other areas.

Practice head(s):Greg Saunders

Other key lawyers:Esther Woolford


'Strong breadth and depth of experience. Certainly towards the top of the mid-size regional firms in the area. Very strong expertise in key regional areas, such as agriculture'

'Excellent quality of work'

'Instructions prepared in a orderly fashion and sent in good time'

'Always someone in the team available to speak to'

'The team are very polite and easy to speak to'

'They are a very responsive and well organised team, and a pleasure to work with'

'Bonita Walters is tenacious and very diligent in her work. Always goes the extra mile for clients'

'Greg Saunders is a steady hand at the helm, very experienced and instills confidence in clients'

'Robert Mullen is a rising young talent, very hard working and tactically astute'

'Sarah O'Grady is experienced and solid, she has a wonderful client manner and a real depth of knowledge'

'Esther Woolford is a standout lawyer, responsive to her clients and attentive to the needs of a case. She goes the extra mile to deliver the best outcome'

Key Clients


AHCI Limited

Supercat Limited

G-A-Y Group Limited

Bridgwater & Taunton College


Work highlights

  • Representing a number of NFU members in contractual disputes relating to Hire Purchase contracts and excess payments.
  • Acted for a number of families, who suffered from flooded farmland, in a dispute against the Environment Agency.
  • Represented AHCI Limited in dispute over inducement of employees to
  • Acted for Sydenhams Limited in a dispute against former advisors and auditors alleging professional negligence.
  • Acting for a client in a product liability dispute.

[back to top]

Debt recovery
Debt recovery - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

The team at Clarke Willmott LLP provides a comprehensive service to clients, with work covering general debt recovery advice, high-volume pre-legal debt collection and insolvency action, among other matters. It regularly advises clients on all stages of collections, including pre-action letters, court proceedings, payment agreements, bankruptcies, IVAs and CVAs. Philip Roberts and Kathryn Quinton jointly lead the practice; Roberts is experienced in advising commercial clients and residential landlords, while Quinton oversees the firm's government and insurance contracts.

Practice head(s):Philip Roberts; Kathryn Quinton


'Clarke Willmott is a very down to earth, yet professional body - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. They explain things in layman terms without coming across as superior'

'I would pick out the quality of the communication; responses are prompt, informative and strike the right balance between politeness and professionalism'

'The team communications appear to work well'

'The team is highly qualified in all aspects of debt recovery, and has taken the time to get to know our business and the environment that we work in. Every member of the team is knowledgeable and takes the time to give various options to us, along with their recommendations'

'They are always happy to go the extra mile for us and nothing seems too much trouble'

'They are the benchmark for us, we compare other firms' performance against them and have yet to find one that beats their service'

'They are quick in dealing with cases'

'My contact has been Caroline Wheeler; the team she works with are extremely efficient and I feel I can always turn to them if I ever have any property-based problems'

'The service provided by Kayleigh Linford in particular has been well received. Kayleigh is always responsive and has achieved a number of good results for us'

'Phil Roberts has been the main contact and he has been extremely helpful and given regular feedback and recommendations to assist with the recovery of the debt'

'Phil Roberts is always on-hand and available to provide practical and good advice. Nothing is too much trouble for him, and he has regularly come into the business to provide seminars/workshops to various teams'

'Kayleigh Linford is a delight to work with. She is always happy to hear from us, no matter how close to Court deadlines we get, and always displays a calm and unflappable attitude. She provides clear and concise advise and shows a good understanding of how our business works'

Key Clients

Abbott Fielding

Access Self Storage Limited

Active Iq

Alabaré Christian Care And Support

Albert E James & Son Ltd

Antony Batty & Company

Baker Tilly Creditor Services Limited

Batmink Limited T/a Batmink Distribution

Beckett And Kay Llp

Benedict Mackenzie

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Limited

Brymore Academy

Build Supplies Ltd

Built Environment Communications Group Limited

Bulley Davey

Burton Sweet Corporate Recovery Limited

Butlers Walk Management Company Limited

Bystronic Uk Limited

C N Unwin Ltd

Capital Books

Car Finance 247

Cave Veterinary Specialists Ltd

Celestia Management Company Limited

Better Move Limited

Cognitive Group Limited

Contempo Recruitment

Corona Energy

CVR Global LLP

Dan-Floor (uk) Ltd

Debt Clear Associates

Deloitte Llp

Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency

Dunwear Property Limited

Fifteen Twelve Limited

Foster & Foster Solicitors

Four Seasons Tree Services Ltd

Francis Clark Llp

Freeman Rich

Frp Advisory Llp

Fusion People Limited

Gibson Booth

Good Energy Gas Ltd

Good Energy Limited

Grant Thornton Uk Llp

Greenslade Taylor Hunt


Hanger Court ( Management) Limited

Harper Group Construction Limited


Herron Fisher

Hgc Civil Engineering Ltd

Highways England

Hunts Foodservice Ltd

Hydes Of Bristol

Joma Sport (UK)

Kevin Brown Advisory Limited

Kingston Smith & Partners Llp

Kpmg Llp

Larking Gowen

Ldl Components Limited

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group

Liberta Financial Ltd

London Borough Of Enfield

Mazars Llp

Menzies Business Recovery Llp

Mike Warren Consultancy Ltd

Moore Stephens

Newport Land Reclamation Ltd

Origin Housing Limited

Palmer & Harvey Mclane Ltd

Park Resorts Limited

Paystream My Max Ltd

Pieminister Ltd

Powervamp Limited

Premier Training International Limited

Pricewaterhousecoopers LLP

Pulse Printing Products Limited

Queenswood Natural Foods

Quinn Building Products

Quinn Cement

Quinn Cement ( N I) Ltd

Quinn Therm Ltd

Rawle Gammon & Baker Ltd

Remarkable Pendragon Limited

Rexquote Ltd

Richard Long & Co

Richmond Event Management Ltd

Rogerstone Woodworkers Limited C/o Parkmans

Safe Transport (south West) Limited

Salons Management Limited

Sid Valley Practice

Smith & Williamson Llp

Smith Cooper

Snows Timber Ltd

Sony Europe Ltd

South West Water

Springfields Advisory Llp

Stone King Llp

Thames Water Utilities Ltd

The Insolvency Service

The Mayor And Burgesses Of The London Borough Of Harrow

The Moore Scarrott Partnership LLP

The Scotts Company (uk) Limited

The University Of Reading Science & Technology Centre Ltd

Thomas & Claire Cave T/a Cave Veterinary Speciialists

Tmb Day Nurseries Ltd

Turpin Barker Armstrong

UHY Hacker Young

Unity Farm Holiday Centre Ltd T/a Holiday Resort Unity

University Of Reading

Viridor Enviroscot Limited

Viridor Waste (Thames) Ltd

Viridor Waste Exeter Limited

Viridor Waste Management Limited

Viridor Waste Management Limited

W. Gadsby And Son Limited

Wellington School

Wellington Self Storage Ltd

Wembley National Stadium Limited

Wessex Resolutions C.I.C.

Wessex West Country Finance Ltd

Westminster Court ( Kingshurst) Management Company Limited

Wilson Field Ltd

Windsor Heights ( Redditch) Management Co Limited

Wireless Logic Ltd

Work highlights

  • Ongoing contract with Corona Energy to recover unpaid commercial and residential gas and electricity debts throughout the UK. Recently recovered a disputed debt of £380,000 from a hotel chain.
  • Acted for Wireless Logic Limited in recovering disputed debts relating to data usage charges.
  • Advised the London Borough of Enfield on recovering debts arising from unpaid council tax and business rates pursuant to liability orders obtained.
  • Instructed by The Official Receiver to recover book debts due to a liquidated estate.
  • Instructed by the Football Association - Club Wembley to recover debts arising from unpaid annual fees under the terms of a membership agreement.
Leading individuals

Philip Roberts - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

South West: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP stands out for its strengths in real estate finance transactions, including commercial portfolio financing and refinancing, investment acquisitions and development finance. Elsewhere, agriculture and healthcare are other sectors of focus. Roger Seaton leads the team, which acts for a wide range of lenders, including high-street and private banks.

Practice head(s):Roger Seaton

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank


Secure Trust Bank

Arbuthnot Latham & Co.

Santander UK

Svenska Handelsbanken AB

Cambridge &  Counties Bank

Charterbank Capital

Allied Irish Bank

Triodos Bank

Work highlights

  • Acting for HSBC Bank on providing a loan to a private school.
  • Acting for Svenska Handelsbanken AB on the refinancing of a mixed-use retail and office building in London.
  • Handling a loan provided by client Arbuthnot Latham & Co. for the purposes of the development of student accommodation in Nottingham.
  • Acting for Lloyds Bank in respect of a loan facility to a landlord in Bristol.

[back to top]

Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP¬†provides non-contentious advice to clients facing the risk of insolvency, and also provides ongoing assistance with managing the formal insolvency process. The team's recent highlights included handling multiple complex claims against directors for allowing specific creditors to be targeted for non-payment, and for causing companies to enter into employee benefit trusts (EBTs). Clients include insolvency practitioners, official receivers, government bodies, creditors and debtors. The core seven-strong restructuring and insolvency team works closely with practitioners in the firm‚Äôs property, property litigation, corporate and employment departments. Martin Askew, who is ‚Äėa good person to have on your side‚Äô, handles complex insolvency litigation and misfeasance-related claims. Ken MacLennan¬†is ‚Äėthe standout lawyer for non-contentious insolvency work‚Äô, according to one client.

Practice head(s):Martin Askew; Ken MacLennan


A highly innovative team

The partners’ skillsets complement each other perfectly

Key Clients

Begbies Traynor

CVR Global

Grant Thornton UK

Kingston Smith & Partners


Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group




Smith & Williamson

The Insolvency Service

Wilkins Kennedy

WSM Marks Bloom

Work highlights

  • Acting for Grant Thornton UK in a case concerning a director's duties.
  • Acted for the liquidator of a company who was pursuing  fraudulent trading claims against the director for trading the company in a manner contrary to the public interest.
  • Acting for the joint trustees in bankruptcy on matters regarding the bankruptcy of a deceased individual who had assets in the UK and overseas.
  • Acting for the liquidator of a company in respect of potential routes of recovery of money transferred via an employee benefit trust.
  • Acting for the joint administrators of one of UK’s leading resellers of site surveying, water detection and visioning systems.

[back to top]

South West: Human resources

Employment: Bristol
Employment: Bristol - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP has a strong reputation for advising on complex employment matters in the sports sector, and represents a number of local and national sporting bodies and teams. In addition, the team regularly acts for high-profile athletes and sports managers in employment matters, both in terms of ongoing disputes and transfers. The team also performs well in the agricultural, manufacturing and retail sectors. Kevin Jones is head of the firm's national employment team from the Bristol office, and is active in the aforementioned sports sector. Sharon Latham covers both the public and private sector, and comes highly recommended in the employment practice.

Practice head(s):Kevin Jones

Other key lawyers:Tim Copplestone; Sharon Latham


'Over the years, Clarke Willmott has provided our business with invaluable support and guidance. They are an integral and significant part of our suite of external advisors providing both HR and Employment specific advice, as well as guidance and support on crossover areas like GDPR'

'Their holistic approach really sets the team apart from the siloed advice of their competitors'

'Sharon feels like an extension to our in-house HR team. She knows our business so well I always feel like she fully understands the challenges we face and is always on hand in a moment's notice which can prevent situations escalating'

'Sharon advises our legal and HR teams as well as our local, regional and global executives providing them with advice and guidance appropriately tailored to the audience'

'Sharon stands out for her efforts to provide genuinely practical guidance and her ability to offer real world solutions to our HR and employment problems'

Key Clients


Rawle Gammon and Baker Holdings Limited

Wasserman Media Group

Oscar Mayer Limited

Decathlon UK Limited

Primrose Group Limited

Fowlers of Bristol Limited

Bradfords & Sons Limited

The Rugby Players’ Association

Aqua Italia

CityWest Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Retained to support on all employment law issues for players and non-players
  • Retained support service on all employment law issues
  • Retained to advise the client on an internal employment law issue concerning theft of significant sums of cash.
  • Advising on the departure of the existing CEO and the terms of employment for his replacement.
  • Full legal support to the professional rugby players’ trade union, including advising on employment contract terminations.

[back to top]

Employment: The West Country
Employment: The West Country - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP advises business clients on restructurings and redundancies and trade union relations. In addition, it assists clients with all aspects of contentious cases; recent highlights included unfair dismissal claims, and cases involving discrimination allegations and whistleblowing. Taunton-based Kate Gardner is particularly knowledgeable about the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Practice head(s):Kate Gardner

Other key lawyers:Juliette Staunton


'From the moment I went to Kate Gardner and her Team at Clarke Wilmott I was able to switch off and Kate sorted the employment issue I was experiencing. I wholeheartedly recommend Clarke Willmott'

'Extremely strong, very hands-on and terrific'

'The team is very flexible and understands the world of business. Solutions in the world of employment law need to be practical and commercial as well as complying with legislation. Clarke Willmott is very good at getting the balance right'

'They help you find options and solutions that are practical business options'

'The service is friendly, understanding and of the highest professional standard'

'Emma Hamnett is very professional, cost-effective and smart'

'Kate Gardner always makes the time to talk with me. I like the personal touch; seems more like a friend than a solicitor. She always keeps me well informed and up to date with the matter in hand'

Key Clients

ACC Silicones Limited

Isedio Limited

South and West Wiltshire Hunt

Amica Care Trust

Really Comfy Beds t/a Loaf

Sun Life Insurance

Summerfield Developments South West Ltd

Frogmary Green Farm Limited

Chelston Park Nursing and Residential Home Ltd

Bowering Animal Feeds Limited

Cave Veterinary Specialist Limited

St Johns Nurseries Limited

Greenslade Taylor Hunt

Rainbow Club Limited

Brean Down Caravan Park Limited

Sun Life Limited

Krystal Hosting Limited

Plantforce Rentals Limited

Azronet Limited

Abbey Manor Group Limited

Branston Limited

Plus One

Milsted Langdon LLP

Refresco Beverages UK Limited

Queens College

St Margaret's Hospice Somerset Limited

Xeiad Limited

Wyke Farms Limited

Castle Hill Quarry Limited

Testbourne Estate

Horseley Farm Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advised a client on restructuring and the dismissal of a senior manager.
  • Achieved a favourable settlement for a client in an unfair dismissal case brought by an ex-employee.
  • Advised a client on bullying and harassment complaints, and achieved favourable settlement agreements for the senior sales negotiator and the director.
  • Advised a client on all employment and TUPE issues relating to the sale of the business.
  • Advised a client on post-transfer employment issues.

[back to top]

Immigration - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's immigration team sits within the wider employment practice, and advises businesses on employee transfers and foreign migrant sponsorship. It also assists individuals with visa issues. Immigration disputes are another pillar of the practice. Team head Alex Jakubowski regularly advises Tier 1 entrepreneurs and investors. Tim Copplestone is another key figure, who assists clients with sponsor licensing, Right to Work issues and compliance. He also has specialist expertise in the sports sector, and has represented professional sports players and clubs in immigration matters.

Practice head(s):Alex Jakubowski

Other key lawyers:Tim Copplestone


'Everybody in the immigration team at Clarke Willmott was very positive and communicated well. The team worked tightly and we highly recommend them'

'Tim Copplestone is very professional , efficient, responsible and works very hard. He offers professional credibility through fantastic work, and we are very satisfied with him'

Key Clients

Bandai UK Limited

Jiangsu Guotai International Group Shanghai Import and Export Co Limited

Kong Company Limited

ClearView IP Ltd

Talent International Limited

Cave Veterinary Specialists

Ghwain Tech Co. Limited

Microdesk Inc. and Microdesk Ltd

Somerset County Cricket Club

Riversand Technologies UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice to Jiangsu Guotai International Group Shanghai Import and Export Co Limited in relation to obtaining permission for the client's UK representative to extend her visa in order to establish a UK presence for the client.
  • Advised Kong Company Limited on its Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 (General) visa extension application, and later departure, for their key sponsored migrant.
  • Ongoing support to Cave Veterinary Specialists on Tier 2 (General) visa applications and sponsor license applications.
  • Advising prominent commercial employers on conducting Right to Work in the UK checks
  • Advised the client, a high net worth entrepreneur, on immigration options for UK entry.
Next Generation Partners

Tim Copplestone - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

South West: Insurance

Clinical negligence: claimant
Clinical negligence: claimant - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP handles cases relating to orthopaedic claims, delays in diagnosis of cancer, as well as clinical negligence cases linked to birth injuries and brain diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis. The practice is also experienced in handling stillbirth and neonatal fatal claims. Another area of expertise is litigations arising from sperm destruction claims and loss of fertility.

Practice head(s):Chris Thorne; Kerry Fifield


This team take on difficult, complex cases and deal with them to a very high standard with excellent results

A very knowledgeable and competent clinical negligence team

Work highlights

  • Advised on a claim arising from a late diagnosis of a spinal fracture.
  • Advised on a claim for damages for GP’s failure to diagnose and treat symptoms which subsequently led to a major stroke.
  • Advised on damages action arising from a clinical failure to advise properly in relation to the post-operative management of a fracture resulting in failure of repair and permanent damage to growth plate.
  • Advised on a claim arising from a delayed treatment of a cyst which led to cancer.
  • Advising on a clinical negligence claim resulting from a delay in the diagnosis of a femoral hernia.

[back to top]

Personal injury: claimant
Personal injury: claimant - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP advises adults and children on injury cases relating to brain, spinal cord, industrial diseases involving asbestosis and mesothelioma, as well as amputation injuries. The practice is also experienced in handling fatal accident claims, neurological injuries such as brachial plexus and multiple orthopaedic fractures. Practice head Lee Hart also assists with claims arising from accidents involving animals, while associate Melanie Brown is a specialist in child and adult psychiatric disorders.

Practice head(s):Lee Hart

Other key lawyers:Stephen Trump; Melanie Brown


This firm has massive experience and is really engaged with clients and their cases.

A good team providing both breadth and depth in experience and ability.

The practice undertakes work at the highest level.

The team has an excellent understanding of clients, communicates well between all parties and keeps everyone informed. People with the right expertise handle the cases.

Work highlights

  • Advising on a claim arising from an accident where the driver of a car drove off the road into the Bristol canal.
  • Advising on a spinal cord injury claim arising from a traffic accident.
  • Advising on a claim arising from a traumatic brain injury occurred at workplace.
  • Advised on a claim arising from a neurological injury caused by a traffic accident.
  • Advising on a claim arising from an amputation of thumb caused by an accident at workplace.
Rising stars

Melanie Brown - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP primarily acts on the claimant side and assists with claims against accountants, tax advisors, land agents, banking surveyors, as well as architects, engineers and construction consultants. The firm handles claims against lawyers and accountants arising from negligent advice on tax avoidance schemes, and the failure to take tax consequences into account in corporate transactions. The practice also regularly advises uninsured defendants. The 'superb' Alex Jakubowski  is practice co-head and regularly handles lender claims. He also acts for banks, peer-to-peer lenders and building societies.

Practice head(s):Alex Jakubowski; Philippa Hann


The team is a high-calibre claimant-orientated firm who is not scared of going after big ticket defendants – and it has the resources to do it

Sound pragmatic advice sensibly delivered

Alex Jakubowski is simply superb at the overall tactical aspect of dealing with a case

Key Clients

Alton & 10 Ors

Hammond & 4 Ors

British Steel Workers

Lloyds Bank

Wellesley Finance

RQ Capital

Arbuthnot Latham

Molson Group

Gynn Construction

Medina Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Alton & 10 Ors on a £30m group action claim against Ernst & young arising from negligent tax advice to invest in a film partnership.
  • Advised Hammond & 4 Ors on a £9m misselling group claim against UBS arising from its role in tax scheme misselling.
  • Claiming pensions worth £9m overall following negligent transfer advice.
  • Advised Lloyds Bank on a £750k claim overvaluation of a 16th century coach house.
  • Advising Wellesley Finance on a £3m claim against Curie & Brown.
Leading individuals

Alex Jakubowski - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

South West: Private client

Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP’s agriculture and estate practice advises on the structuring of agri-businesses, lifetime tax planning, and the sale and purchase of agricultural land, as well as on the negotiation of tenancy agreements and contentious tenancy disputes. The firm also handles succession planning matters and acts for banks on secured lending transactions undertaken by agricultural borrowers. Senior partner Tim Hayden leads the team, which includes the 'meticulous' Rod Lloyd-Jones.

Practice head(s):Tim Hayden


A well-respected firm with a great reputation that the practice easily lives up to

Very happy with the depth of knowledge shown

Rod Lloyd-Jones is very thorough in his title investigations, making sure that the lender’s interests are protected throughout. His practical no-nonsense stance is most welcome!

Rod Lloyd-Jones is diligent and meticulous, whilst also working at pace

Key Clients

The National Farmers’ Union

The Masters of Foxhounds Association

Lloyds Banking Group


The Countryside Alliance

Work highlights

  • Advising on a £3.3m proprietary estoppel claim brought against the client's parents.
  • Advising a bank on the re-mortgaging of an agri-business.
  • Advising on succession planning in relation to a family-owned agri-business
  • Acting for Fitzwilliam Land Company, Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company, Sir Philip Vyvian Naylor-Leyland BT and Highwood Farms Limited in a trespassing injunction against hunt saboteurs who disrupted a hunt on the claimants' land and chattels.
  • Advising on the purchase of land from an institutional landowner

[back to top]

Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP is experienced in handling proprietary estoppel claims, will disputes involving farm tenancies and partnerships, as well as disputes between trustees and beneficiaries amongst high-net-worth individuals and wealthy landed estate families. Senior associate Sarah O’Grady deals with a broad range of contentious trusts and probate matters, regularly defends proprietary estoppel claims and acts for executors and beneficiaries on estate claims.

Practice head(s):Esther Woolford; Bonita Walters

Other key lawyers:Sarah O’Grady; Daniel Gill

Key Clients

The National Farmers’ Union

The Countryside Alliance

St James’s Place Wealth Management

Work highlights

  • Representing on a £3.3 proprietary estoppel claim against the client’s parents in respect of the family farm
  • Defending a statutory claim for financial provision brought against a company’s estate.
  • Advising on a partnership dispute and proprietary estoppel action.
  • Defending a trust claim.
  • Acting in respect of an alleged breach of trust claim against former pension trustees.
Rising stars

Sarah O’Grady - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

Family - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP assists with cross-border divorce proceedings, handles private children disputes and is experienced in negotiating nuptial and cohabitation agreements. The firm also drafts financial settlements involving companies, partnerships, trusts and farm businesses. Practice head Gareth Schofield is additionally experienced in advising on unmarried family disputes. Daniel Eames advises high-net-worth individuals on international asset protection measures and financial disputes arising from marriage and cohabitation.

Practice head(s):Gareth Schofield

Other key lawyers:Daniel Eames

Work highlights

  • Advising on a complex cross-border divorce.
  • Advising on an international Schedule 1 claim.
  • Assisting with a financial settlement on divorce involving SDLT and CGT advice.
  • Advising on a financial remedy dispute.
  • Advising on an international pre-nuptial agreement.
Leading individuals

Gareth Schofield - Clarke Willmott LLP

Next Generation Partners

Daniel Eames - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

Personal tax, trusts and probate
Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Being especially active in the agriculture sector, Clarke Willmott LLP maintains a rural client base and focuses on real estate planning to individuals and entrepreneurs along with the resulting advisory wills, trusts and probate aspects. The firm also assists with the establishment and management of family trusts as well as in relation to the winding up of taxable estates.

Practice head(s):Anthony Fairweather

Other key lawyers:Emma Pope; Samantha Grimwood; Imogen Lea


A highly competent team with excellent specialist knowledge

Clarke Willmott is very professional and has an excellent work ethic. All details are explained in clear language

A very friendly and accommodating firm

No matter how often they are contacted: they are always ready to answer queries or make early appointments

Key Clients

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Bristol City Council

Somerset County Council

St. James’s Place Wealth Management

[back to top]

South West: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy - ranked: tier 4

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's energy and natural resources group assists both local and foreign clients with legal issues arising from infrastructure projects, high-value developments and the construction of power stations. The team also focuses on transactional work in the renewables sector. Practice head Priscilla Hall advises developers on energy technology. Laurence Lacey handles the property aspects of energy projects.

Practice head(s):Priscilla Hall

Other key lawyers:Laurence Lacey

Key Clients

Future Biogas

EnviTec Biogas AG

Alpha Real Capital


Styles & Wood Group

ResMan AS

Aqua Consultants

Work highlights

  • Advising Future Biogas on its portfolio of biogas plants as well as on acquisitions of new sites.
  • Providing operational advice to a clean energy joint venture vehicle on a ten-year NEC3 contract for a major infrastructure project.

[back to top]

South West: Real estate

Commercial property: Bristol
Commercial property: Bristol - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP features prominently in some of the largest residential development schemes in the South West, and it is also a powerhouse in commercial development projects, investment acquisitions and disposals, and property portfolio management. Also notable is that the firm is particularly strong in real estate matters with a nexus to the telecoms and renewables sectors. Clients include developers, investors, retailers, telecoms operators, and business occupiers, among others. Louise Brown heads up the group, which includes William Juckes, Laurence Lacey, Greg Lovett and Oliver Smedley. Clare Day departed for Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Practice head(s):Louise Brown

Other key lawyers:William Juckes; Laurence Lacey; Greg Lovett; Oliver Smedley


The property team is a delight to work with.

The team is all about finding simple and creative solutions to complicated problems.

The strength of the Bristol office lies in the cohesiveness of the wider team – the client can easily call on experienced practitioners to advise on related specialist matters.

Oliver Smedley takes a creative commercial approach to getting the best deals for his property clients.

Key Clients

Eagle One

Bath Recreation

Bath Abbey


Easterton & Markfield Investments

Mapeley Steps

Secure Trust Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Bath Recreation on the proposed redevelopment of the ground to create state-of-the-art arena.
  • Advised Homes England on the disposal of the Bristol and Bath Science Park.
  • Advised Linkcity on the development and sale of a new PRS and affordable housing development in Central Bristol.
  • Advised Easterton and Markfield Investments on the sale of two phases of development land to national housebuilders.
  • Acted for Sovereign Housing Association on the acquisition of a headquarters office building.

[back to top]

Commercial property: The West Country
Commercial property: The West Country - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's commercial property team has a strong track record in the housebuilding, commercial development and investment sectors. It is also knowledgeable about all types of issues that arise from property portfolio management. Although Philip Brown handles a wide spectrum of work, his practice has a particular emphasis on residential and commercial development, where he mostly acts for developers, promoters and landowners. Tim Walker is also active in the development space. Roger Seaton’s real estate practice focuses on property finance.

Practice head(s):Nick Francombe; Tim Walker

Other key lawyers:Philip Brown; Roger Seaton


Great, high-quality advice from a strong team with superb knowledge, understanding, commercial reality and pragmatism

The team has confidence that only comes with the experience it has

Clients get London-quality services at costs significantly lower than London rates

Nothing is too challenging for this impressive property team

The firm’s property seminars are an added bonus, providing a timely round-up of recent case law and clarifying the direction in which decisions and future legislation could go

Philip Brown is excellent, charismatic, very hard-working, and detail-oriented

Philip Brown provides excellent advice, both quickly and with a strong understanding of the commercial drivers underlying any transaction

Roger Seaton has the unique ability to spot and resolve the key issues of every matter, which makes him a very safe pair of hands for all kinds of corporate real estate transactions

Key Clients

Summerfield Developments

Scotsgrove Holdings


Persimmon Homes

Countryside Properties

Metis Homes

Bradford & Sons

Precis Group

Bridgwater & Taunton College

Bathurst Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bathurst Limited on the £11m disposal of development land at Cam, Dursley, Gloucestershire, to Bovis Homes.
  • Acted for Persimmon Homes on a £6.8m acquisition of development land.
  • Assisted Bullet Properties with a £15.7m acquisition of a multi-let property in London.
  • Assisted Scotsgrove Holdings with the acquisition, re-gear and disposal (by way of sub-sale) of a headquarters building in Swindon.
  • Advised A.E. Securities Limited on the £2m sale of a distribution warehouse to Urban Depot Limited.
Leading individuals

Philip Brown - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

Construction - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's dedicated construction practice, which has a national footprint, places a particular emphasis on sectors such as waste management, waste-to-energy, transport and infrastructure. In Bristol, Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden specialises in construction dispute resolution, and is particularly experienced in acting for registered providers and housing associations in the social housing sector. Recently promoted partner Natalie Read also focuses on dispute resolution. Non-contentious construction work is led by Zoe Stollard.

Practice head(s):Priscilla Hall (London); Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden; Zoe Stollard

Other key lawyers:Natalie Read


'The team is very experienced in construction matters'

'Team members provide clear and concise advice'

'Lawyers on this team are able to handle all types of construction-related queries. Responses are always speedy, especially when urgent advice is needed. The team also goes out of its way to build stable relationships with clients.'

'Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden and Zoe Stollard are both very knowledgeable and efficient'

Key Clients

L&Q Group

Ashville Group

Secure Trust Bank

Stonewater Housing Association

Sutton Harbour Services

GreenSquare Group

Lloyds Bank


Aster Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for a large retail and commercial bank on a multi-phase deal for the development of residential housing and retail space.
  • Acted for a leading demolition contractor in the acquisition of- and on a demolition contract for a plate mill from a well-known steel manufacturer.
  • Advising a large regional developer on a large multiple-phased development of a business park.
  • Advising a large regional building contractor on a hotel development and a retirement housing project.

[back to top]

Environment - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

On the non-contentious side, Clarke Willmott LLP has an excellent record in large infrastructure projects. It also demonstrates strong credentials in contentious matters, such as enforcement prosecutions and other actions undertaken by environmental regulatory authorities. Environmental claims are another key work stream. Bristol-based Neil Baker advises clients, such as developers and landowners, on the environmental aspects of planning applications for (and appeals into) major housing sites, commercial and mixed use developments, and urban regeneration projects. Tim Hayden in Taunton has expertise in waste management, contaminated land, air and water pollution and statutory nuisance. In December 2018, Karen Howe departed for DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Practice head(s):Neil Baker; Tim Hayden

Key Clients

Acorn Property Group

Barratt Homes Bristol

Bristol Water

David Wilson Homes South West

Exmoor National Park Authority

Isle of Wight Council

Mactaggart and Mickel Homes

Persimmon Homes

The Scotts Company (UK)

Work highlights

  • Represented Egford Bacon in its prosecution by the Environment Agency in relation to an oil leak.
  • Advising Acorn Braintree on environmental impact assessment and relating environmental matters in the context of a planning appeal relating to 1,600 new homes, a new school and employment development in Braintree, Essex.
  • Advising MacTaggart & Mickel on a legal vetting exercise regarding environmental statement for the proposed development of land at Chard, Somerset.

[back to top]

Planning - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP¬†acts for clients on mixed-use development schemes, residential-led developments and infrastructure projects. In addition, contentious work is on the increase at the firm, with ‚Äėexceptional lawyer‚Äô¬†Chris Charlton¬†having experience of judicial review¬†challenges at the Planning Court, among other matters. The group‚Äôs wide-ranging client base includes established housebuilders, commercial developers, landowners and promoters. The ‚Äėproactive and extremely competent‚Äô Neil Baker, who¬†heads up the department, has extensive experience of handling complex planning applications. Caroline Waller¬†has ‚Äėtop-class‚Äô knowledge of town and country planning and highways law.

Practice head(s):Neil Baker

Other key lawyers:Chris Charlton; Caroline Waller


A good team, which provides consistently strong, spot-on legal advice

Everyone on the team is always ready to help

All team members are professional, knowledgeable, responsive and attentive

Caroline Waller is excellent at her job and always a pleasure to work with

Caroline Waller is very highly regarded within the development industry in the South West

Neil Baker is by far the best planning and environment lawyer out there

Neil Baker and Chris Charlton are exceptionally personable and are always available to provide advice

Key Clients

Acorn Property Group

Alliance Housing Group

Aster Group

Barratt Homes Bristol

Bovis Homes

CG Fry & Son

Crest Nicholson

Countryside Properties (UK)

David Wilson Homes South West

Eagle One

GreenSquare Group

Guinness Partnership

Hannick Homes

HPH Developments

Keepmoat Homes

LiveWest Housing

L&Q Housing Trust

Mactaggart and Mickel Homes

Persimmon Homes

South West Strategic Developments

Strategic Land Partnerships

Summerfield Developments

Sutton Harbour Holdings

The Scotts Company (UK)

West of England Developments

Yarlington Homes

Work highlights

  • Advising East Devon New Community Partners on the planning aspects of creating a new community at Cranbrook near Exeter.
  • Advised Mactaggart & Mickel Homes on the planning aspects of the development for 465 houses at Pirton Fields, Churchdown, Tewkesbury.
  • Advising Homes England on the terms of a planning agreement to release planning permission for a large residential development on a site at Ludgershall, Wiltshire.
  • Acted for an interested party in defending an application for judicial review brought by local residents objecting to the proposal for the demolition and redevelopment of the existing residential estate at Foxhill, Bath.
  • Advising Guinness Developments on planning matters associated with the client's new headquarters site in Bristol.
Leading individuals

Neil Baker - Clarke Willmott LLP

[back to top]

Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP handles the gamut of property litigation work for clients in sectors such as property investment, social housing, retail, telecoms, and utilities. Taunton-based Nicola Seager has experience of a wide range of issues, including dilapidations, service charges, forfeiture and lease renewals, among others.

Practice head(s):Chris Taylor; Simon Freeman

Other key lawyers:Bristol


'The team has highly capable lawyers who are experts within their field'

'A great combination of City-quality of legal advice given at regional prices'

'Everyone on the team is brilliant and focuses on the needs of the clients'

'Nicola Seager delivers results in a simple, pragmatic and totally efficient manner'

Key Clients



Lidl UK GmbH

Principality Holdings

PG Lewins

The Ashtenne Industrial Fund

Ashville Properties

Aster Group

Barratt Homes

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Bristol Water

Burger King

Celestia Management Company

Work highlights

  • Acted for Orvis in a dispute over a fire escape and repairs to river banks, among other matters.
  • Represented Lidl UK in successfully defeating an appeal in the case of Generator Developments Limited v Lidl UK GmbH at the Court of Appeal.
  • Acted for Principality Holdings in a £1m negligence claim against Temple Bright.
  • Acted for the successful landowner in the widely reported case of PG Lewins Ltd v H3G UK Ltd, in which it was held that the Electronic Communications Code does not provide a telecoms operator with immunity from suit, where the operator has failed to comply with its contractual obligations.
  • Successfully represented DPSK Limited (franchisee of Domino's Pizza) in bringing a claim, challenging the grant of a planning permission for change of use to pizza outlet for premises at Castle Donington.

[back to top]

Social housing
Social housing - ranked: tier 2

Clarke Willmott LLP

The ‚Äėefficient and dependable‚Äô social housing team at Clarke Willmott LLP¬†acts for a growing number of registered providers and housing associations. Working with the firm‚Äôs other offices nationwide, the team in the South West provides full service support to regional and national clients.¬†It has excellent credentials in all aspects of commercial property and development work, which includes land acquisitions and disposals, construction, development and housing management. A separate commercial property team assists clients with managing their property portfolios, while a property litigation group handles¬†contentious work in connection with leasehold issues and development disputes. Elsewhere, a partner-led corporate team undertakes a wide range of transactions for social housing clients, and also provides advice on governance and regulatory issues.¬†Kary Withers¬†is the overall head of the practice, with other key figures including¬†Oliver Smedley,¬†Helen Wittram,¬†Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden¬†and¬†Kate Saunders.

Practice head(s):Kary Withers; Oliver Smedley; Helen Wittram; Anna-Liisa Blanks-Walden


A very dependable and experienced team who provides excellent services

Team members are highly competent and happy to answer all questions

Allowing excellent access to partners, client service is certainly a strength of the firm

Kary Withers provides competent advice in a friendly manner, which is also easy to understand

Helen Wittram is a great and highly experienced communicator, who is also dedicated and easy to contact

Key Clients

Advantage South West

Alliance Homes Group

Yarlington Housing

Aster Group

The Guinness Partnership

United Communities

GreenSquare Group


London and Quadrant Housing Trust

Magna Housing Association

Sovereign Housing Association

Raven Housing Trust

Work highlights

  • Acting for Curo Places as interested party in defending a judicial review application, brought by local residents objecting to Curo’s proposed redevelopment plans of Foxhills.
  • Represented Stonewater in the acquisition of development land for one of a large affordable housing scheme.
  • Acted For GreenSquare Group on the acquisition of 116 units across a new development site in Swindon.
  • Representing Optivo in bringing claims concerning breach of contract against a seller seeking return of its deposit.
  • Acted for the client on the high-value acquisitions of multiple section 106 units.

[back to top]

South West: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 3

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP has an excellent reputation acting for landowners in disputes with telecoms operators; practice head Kary Withers has a first-rate reputation in this space. In addition, having played a significant role in the government's consultation on the new Electronics Communications Code (which came into force in 2017), the firm has handled litigation connected with the new legislation. Also notable is that the group works closely with the commercial practice to assist IT clients with contractual matters.

Practice head(s):Kary Withers

Other key lawyers:Beverley Pike; Aimee Davies;


'They are all extremely personable and build good working relationships with clients'

'Prompt and reliable in responding to queries, and always offer a helpful and friendly response'

'The individuals at the firm stand out because they take a genuine interest in their clients'

'Simon Day and Kary Withers are particularly reliable, especially when working to tight deadlines, which are always met'

Key Clients

The PG Group

Pinnacle Towers Limited

The Guinness Partnership


The Berkeley Group


Onecom Group Limited

Eris Media Solutions Limited

The Student Room Group Limited

LiveWest (part of ASW Framework)

Lewisham Homes Limited

Mapeley Estates

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for PG Lewins Limited in a dispute with a telecoms operator under the Electronic Communications Code.
  • The firm continues to advise the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on variety of IT matters, including subscription agreements for cloud-based operations and GDPR matters.
  • Advising Onecom Group Limited on commercial and technology contracts; recently negotiated with a sporting venue for installation of Wi-Fi and prepared template terms for software applications for customer use.
  • Assisted The Student Room Group Limited with negotiating and drafting a SaaS Agreement with a supplier for the provisions of data collection and processing, as well as advising on GDPR compliance.

[back to top]

Sport - ranked: tier 1

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's national sports sector team excels in representing professional athletes - particularly football and rugby players - in employment-related matters. It also advises coaches and professional sports organisations, among other clients. The team's work often comprises cross-border elements, with strong links with clients in the US being particularly notable. Kevin Jones is the group head.

Practice head(s):Kevin Jones

Other key lawyers:Tim Copplestone; Sarah Driscoll

Key Clients

Bristol Bears Rugby

Bristol Flyers Basketball

Bristol Sport

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

Somerset County Cricket Club

Wasserman Media Group

The Rugby Players’ Association


Decathlon UK

Work highlights

  • Advised Gloucestershire County Cricket Club on termination of their business development manager, in addition to offering legal advice on the constitution and diversity promotion.
  • Provide employment and HR advice to Wasserman Media Group on an ongoing basis.
  • Provide The Rugby Players' Association with frequent legal advice and support on players' issues, ranging from advice on disciplinary matters to insurance disputes.
  • Assisted Bristol Bears Rugby Club in the purchase of a new training ground.
  • Represented Somerset County Cricket Club in the termination of Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft's employment contract.

[back to top]

Further information on Clarke Willmott LLP

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Clarke Willmott LLP in other jurisdictions.


Offices in London

North West

Offices in Manchester

South East

Offices in Southampton

South West

Offices in Bristol and Taunton


Offices in Cardiff

West Midlands

Offices in Birmingham

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to