Firm Profile > Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP > Southampton , South East

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP
SO15 1GA
South East

Banking and finance Tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s Southampton banking and finance team has a strong reputation for its borrower and project finance work, while also acting for regional and national lenders and for a strong body of regional corporates. The practice specialises in the retail and manufacturing, energy and real estate sectors. Graham Jeffries heads the practice. Managing associate Cole Stacey is another key contact. Emma Earp left for Trethowans LLP in January 2019.

Commercial litigation: Hampshire Tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's commercial dispute resolution practice takes a 'no-nonsense and hands-on approach'. In addition to having a full-service litigation offering, the firm has a specialist arbitration arm, which features in high-value international arbitrations. The retail industry is an area of activity for the team, as are the media, technology and manufacturing sectors. Ian Newcombe is a specialist in the energy sector. Gavin Matthews leads the firm's retail focus group and is recommended for trading disputes. Andrew Parsons is an expert in data protection and IT issues.

Commercial property: Hampshire Tier 1

The real estate group at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, which includes five partners, was strengthened by the arrival of managing associate Stephen Baker from CMS in June 2018. In addition, five other solicitors have joined the team. The diverse client roster includes London-based real estate investment funds, international corporate entities, national high street retailers and SMEs. Anthony Alderman is experienced in marine and energy sector transactions, and is also active in port developments. 'Formidable' practice head Tim Burbidge focuses on real estate investment and development.

Corporate and commercial: Hampshire Tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has experience of matters with a nexus to the energy, retail and financial services sectors. A significant portion of its work has a cross-border aspect, and the firm has a strong profile among international clients. On the domestic front, the team acts for several large entities, which are headquartered in Hampshire.  Sebastian Briggs often leads on energy sector transactions. Ian Holden's varied practice includes corporate finance, acquisitions and disposals, and shareholder and joint venture agreements.

Employment: Hampshire Tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's employment department has key  specialisms in the retail, education and financial services sectors. Its strength in business-critical matters was recently evidenced by it representing clients in multiple sensitive tribunal claims, and also the provision of assistance with the employment aspects of large-scale corporate transactions. Practice head Christina Tolvas-Vincent has extensive expertise in the full range of employment issues. Daniel Fawcett is the name to note for high-value employment tribunal litigation. Jon Hales provides 'excellent advice'.

IT and telecoms Tier 1

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is notable for its expertise with clients in the financial services industries, acting on technology licensing and fintech-related matters. The firm handles commercial and contentious work including  large IT-related litigation as well as outsourcing and procurement work.

Professional negligence Tier 1

The team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has over four decades of experience in handling professional negligence claims exclusively for defendants, which primarily include market-leading insurers and financial institutions. Led by James Robins, the practice group has expertise in claims against residential and commercial property professionals, and also has a variety of experience in the technology sector. Justin Tivey is a key contact for policy coverage disputes.

Property litigation Tier 2

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides a dedicated property portfolio management service for a number of major retail clients. It also has strong relationships with clients in the financial services, transport and infrastructure industries. Mark Barley, who heads up the group, undertakes a broad range of matters, from portfolio management for institutional landlords to cases involving foreshore and mooring issues.

Construction Tier 4

At Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, Southampton-based associate Amy Hodge undertakes non-contentious construction matters for employers, funders and main contractors from the public and private sector. Her work includes reviewing and advising on different forms of building contracts, drafting amendments to construction documentation, and drafting consultant's appointments, warranties and assignments. Simon Lewis in Newcastle is the head of the team nationally.

Womble Bond Dickinson is a full-service transatlantic law firm, created on 1 November 2017, from the combination of UK law firm Bond Dickinson and US firm Womble Carlyle. The new combined firm is now amongst the Top 100 law firms globally and a Top 20 UK law firm.

In the UK, WBD has more than 120 partners and 500 lawyers based in eight major cities across the country including in London, Bristol, Plymouth, Southampton, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The firm’s reach also extends to Europe where it has strategic partnerships with law firms in Germany and France.

Through the Lex Mundi network, Womble Bond Dickinson can offer clients access to counsel in more than 120 countries.

WBD advises in excess of 40 FTSE 350 companies, including many of the largest businesses in the country, government organisations and wealthy individuals. The firm advises clients across eleven key sectors including: energy and natural resources; financial institutions; healthcare; insurance; manufacturing; real estate; retail and consumer; transport, logistics and infrastructure; pharmaceuticals and life sciences; technology; and private wealth.

WBD also works closely with UK Local and Central Government authorities, as well as other organisations in the wider public and third sector. The firm advises the UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service, providing a full-service of legal expertise across a range of disciplines, including general commercial, litigation and employment advice. WBD was appointed as a Tier 1 firm advising Central Government Departments, Agencies and Arms’ Length Bodies.

In addition, WBD is a member of The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG), an independent charity that brings business, government and the not-for-profit sector closer together, to learn from each other and co-create solutions. As a law firm advising public, private and not for profit organisations, WBD understands the importance for further cross-sector collaborations and WIG provides the perfect platform to build dialogue and enhance learning and understanding.

The firm has a wealth of expertise and a strong track record in all these sectors, enabling it to build strong relationships and deliver an excellent service to clients. This thorough understanding of its clients and of the sectors they operate in, means that WBD can anticipate and deliver the right expertise through innovative solutions.

WBD has a strong focus on innovation, the firm was ranked 14th in the FT’s Europe Top 50 Innovative Law Firms report. It also has a dedicated Innovation Group that works with lawyers and clients to help identify new opportunities of delivering the best value and coordinate initiatives and projects across the firm that will help drive the business – and its clients – forward.

With this ambition in mind, the firm recently launched the WBD Advance platform, a flexible solution that pulls together all of the firm’s key technology and business services that are becoming increasingly essential to clients alongside traditional legal advice. These services include support for high-volume projects such as due diligence; document review; project and risk management of legal work; automation and process design; managing knowledge and information; and flexible resourcing including flexible lawyering options for in-house counsel.

WBD is heavily involved in a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility programme and recognises the importance of supporting projects in its local communities. The firm also has an effective environmental policy as a founding member of the UK’s Legal Sector Alliance and provides its employees with an excellent place to work. The firm featured as a top graduate employer in the UK in the Guardian UK 300.

UK offices: Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Newcastle, Plymouth, Southampton.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Jonathan Blair
UK Chairman Simon Richardson
Agriculture, farms and estates Simon Kirkup
Banking and financial services Julian Kinsey
Charities Emma Moody
Chemicals and manufacturing Peter Snaith
Commercial Paula Bartlett
Commercial disputes Paul Stewart
Construction and engineering Simon Rowland
Corporate and commercial Stephen Pierce
Corporate (inc company secretarial) Stephen Pierce
Developers and investors Mark Owen
Dispute resolution Tom Beezer
Employment Jon Hales
Energy and natural resources Simon Hughes
Finance and investment John Ralph
Financial institutions Simon Richardson
Insurance claims Sushma MacGeoch
Investment and pensions David Dale
Oil and gas Richard Cockburn
Onshore Andy Layton
Operational property (and retail) Katherine Douglas
Pensions Martin Poore
Planning and infrastructure Jonathan Bower
Private capital Helen Tavroges
Private wealth David Dale
Projects and procurement Kevin Robertson
Property litigation Jen Smurthwaite
Real estate Claire Brook
Regulatory and environment Stuart Wardlaw
Residential Nigel Emmerson
Restructuring and insolvency Andy Stirk
Retail Gavin Matthews
Scotland Richard Cockburn
Tax/trust and accounting Jeremy Smith
Technology, media and communications (TMC) Alastair Mitton
Transport and infrastructure David Rewcastle
Photo Name Position Profile
 William Akerman  photo William Akerman
 Anthony Alderman  photo Anthony Alderman
 Mark Barley  photo Mark Barley
 Paula Bartlett  photo Paula Bartlett
 Nick Barwood  photo Nick Barwood
 Tom Beezer  photo Tom Beezer
 Sebastian Briggs  photo Sebastian Briggs
 Tim Burbidge  photo Tim Burbidge
 Jon Hales  photo Jon Hales
 Julian Hamblin  photo Julian Hamblin
 Jonathan Hobbs  photo Jonathan Hobbs
 Ian Holden  photo Ian Holden
 Graham Jeffries  photo Graham Jeffries
 Andrew Kimble  photo Andrew Kimble
 Gavin Matthews  photo Gavin Matthews
 Ian Newcombe  photo Ian Newcombe
 Andrew Parsons  photo Andrew Parsons
 Stephen Pierce  photo Stephen Pierce
 Simon Richardson  photo Simon Richardson
 James Robins  photo James Robins
 Nicki Shepherd  photo Nicki Shepherd
 Christina Tolvas-Vincent  photo Christina Tolvas-Vincent
 Alistair Walton  photo Alistair Walton
Number of UK partners : 131
Number of other UK fee-earners : 583

Diversity and Inclusion: stepping up a gear

Increasingly, clients are asking their law firms what they are doing promote diversity and to create a more inclusive place to work. Quite rightly, our clients want to know that we are able to offer up teams that have excellent cognitive diversity, and that reflect the client’s own people profile and values. This client dimension overlaps with our own people and business imperative; the right thing to do is to challenge ourselves to try new initiatives, to continue to put ourselves in the shoes of others, to discuss the issues and change our behaviours and mind-sets, and constructively challenge non-inclusive behaviour, in order to ensure that no one feels like an outsider. In theory, with more diversity, (whether gender, physical, cognitive, social, generational, cultural, ethnic or sexual), we create the chance to learn something from someone different, or with a different perspective to our own, and it creates a fertile breeding ground for new ways of working and operating. That makes us more resilient and sustainable as a business. Diversity, however, is ornamental without inclusivity; we have to make sure different people are in the rooms where decisions are made and not only make sure that they feel safe sharing what is on their minds, but actively encourage them to contribute.

The process of crafting a more diverse and inclusive environment gives us the opportunity to engage with clients on this subject, and find out what they are doing, what works, what hasn’t worked, and how their challenges are different or similar to ours. We can use it to deepen our relationships with them, and at the same time learn from each other.

In addition to continuing with our #BeYourself initiative, this year, we are focussing on making more progress on our gender balance at senior levels, and on LGBTQ+ and BAME inclusion. We were one of only nine firms in the UK to be awarded the new Women in Law Empowerment Forum Gold Standard in June 2019, but we recognise that the criteria currently are not necessarily stretching enough; it is a line in the sand for us, a minimum threshold, if you will. Creating our first LGBTQ+ network (WBD Pride) and our first BAME network (BAME@WBD) has been a huge step forward and one we hope will help us take an intersectional approach to diversity and inclusion for the first time.

A Board member is directly responsible and accountable for working with our D&I Group (comprised of a cross-section of engaged people from all around the business) and a newly created D&I Steering Group (comprised of partners who are ambassadors and “change agents”). Their remit is to evolve our strategy and to “mainstream” the infrastructural changes necessary or potentially useful to achieve the clear and measurable goals we set ourselves. A significant amount of work will be done this year in connection with our infrastructural audit, designed to remove unconscious bias in various systems, from our recruitment processes to our written communications with clients.

CSR and pro bono

We take our Responsible Business commitments as seriously as the quality of our legal advice. Our focus is about building sustainable relationships with our stakeholders. We aim to be a trusted employer and business supporting our clients, people and communities.

We have a Responsible Business programme which covers a number of areas:

  • Community support – partnering with charity partners and supporting community projects. We make financial donations via our Charitable Trust.
  • Volunteering – each member of staff is entitled to 2 days volunteering.
  • Workplace – we are committed to creating and maintaining a safe and inclusive workplace where our people can achieve their work potential, and supporting access into the legal profession. We strive to create a diverse and inclusive culture to attract and retain the very best people.
  • Environmental – we are ever mindful of the environmental impacts of our business. Our Responsible Business activity forms a central part of our commitment to being a sustainable business that has a positive impact on the UK and wider world.
  • Responsible business practices – we apply the highest standards of professionalism business ethics and risk management, building sustainable practices for the benefit of our clients.
  • Pro bono – we support organisations whose objectives are about promoting access to justice and economies by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.

In terms of community support and pro bono one area of focus is on social inclusion and mobility via our 3E’s strategy. We focus on empowering young people and adults to unlock potential in the areas of Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship – the 3Es. As lawyers and business professionals these are one of the areas where we can maximise our core business skill set and make the most significant impact.

We support charities through fund raising, volunteering to support mentoring and reading schemes. Our offices support a range of charities and projects local to their communities.

We support a wide range of charities and projects whose mission fits squarely with our 3E’s strategy. We have also pioneered a number of routes into the legal profession; our Early Careers programme was set up for students who don’t have any work experience or access to a network of connections. We also have an award winning apprenticeship scheme that aims to bring diversity in the workplace.

We recognise that there are other barriers to individuals accessing the 3Es, from homelessness and food poverty, to mental health and caring commitments. For these reasons we also support a range of charities helping these causes. The following examples are collaborations of us working in partnership to maximise social impact, and working in the spirt of SDG 17 “Partnership for the Goals”:

  • Since 2017 we have supported a number of foodbanks and “Food Poverty” projects in communities close to our office, thus far we have donated circa 6 Tonnes of Food. Our Foodbank Campaign and our apprenticeship scheme was referenced in the UK’s first Voluntary Local Review of city level progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Report was presented at the United Nations in July 2019
  • We are a Founder Funder of Southwark a place-based giving scheme working with local charities, and partners.

We have concentrated our pro bono offering on supporting Access to Justice partners, local economies within our communities through legal support to young entrepreneurs and small businesses, student law clinics and small charities with no legal budget. We have partnered with Greenwich University Small Business Clinic to support small businesses to access high quality commercial advice. The partnership has also widened access to the legal profession. Students at Greenwich come from a diverse demographic, they are often the first in their families to undertake ‘A’ levels, and often have no connections in the law particularly in commercial law firms. Building on existing pro bono activity, in 2019 our Bristol office has partnered with Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Service providing support and raising awareness.


Womble Bond Dickinson
'The best firm in the north east region', Womble Bond Dickinson maintains its 'excellent reputation' due to the 'high-quality work without needing to live in London'. Many agreed they have a 'good work/life balance' and at the same time 'are afforded high levels of responsibility from day one'. The culture at WBD also stands out to many recruits; it is a firm that 'truly lives up to its values', which is shown by the 'time spent coaching trainees'. WBD is a double Lex 100 Winner for confidence in being kept on and approachability. 'The people and culture' are rated the best things about the firm, as recruits 'feel valued' and comfortable working with 'very approachable partners' who 'always take time to answer any questions you may have'. But some trainees feel that 'the salary has fallen behind the market'. Respondents were also unhappy with the 'lack of information regarding seat rotation' which at times is 'very last minute'. However, many regard their best moments as times where they've been 'actively involved', 'managing high-level projects', and 'been given the responsibility to draft and comment on documents'. Trainees relished 'being involved from the beginning of a transaction until post-completion'. Pro bono work is 'a big part of the firm' and there are a 'wide variety of activities to get involved in'. Recruits particularly enjoyed experiencing 'regional fundraising' and 'the Prince's Trust Million Makers project', although some found it difficult to manage their fee-earning work at the same time. If a 'varied workload' where you 'never get the same day twice' appeals to you, apply to WBD.