Firm Profile > Downs Solicitors LLP > Dorking, England

Downs Solicitors LLP

Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 3

Downs Solicitors LLP represents both landlord and tenants, and handles work in the food, hospitality, logistics and IT sectors. The Surrey-based team is co-led by Andrew Peach in Dorking, Caroline Walton in Cobham and Madeleine James in Godalming. Peach has experience in advising offshore clients regarding their UK property portfolios. Walton acts for both buyers, sellers and landlords regarding acquisitions, disposals and lease-related issues. James joined the firm in 2016 from Clyde & Co LLP with experience in a broad range of commercial property matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Peach; Caroline Walton; Madeleine James

Other key lawyers:

Heather Kershaw; Ailsa MacLean


‘We find the lawyers at Downs very friendly and cohesive between teams, always approachable and swift to reply and update. As commercial property agents and surveyors we enjoy working with them and are always reassured when one of the Downs team are acting on transactions, whether for clients or applicants – we recommend their services to clients as our first choice.’

‘They are knowledgeable, pragmatic, friendly, very approachable and respond swiftly. It is refreshing to work alongside legal teams that communicate so well and swiftly – in turn this enables us to guide our clients with up-to-date information. Downs have maintained an excellent service throughout lockdown and remote working measures.’

‘Madeleine James and Andy Peach are always available to give advice and to respond rapidly to new instructions.’

‘Andrew Peach is a friendly, down to earth adviser who is always ready to look for solutions and who makes himself available.’

Corporate and commercial: Kent, Surrey, Sussex Tier 3

Downs Solicitors LLP advises a range of domestic and international clients, including those in the technology, media, healthcare, travel and sports sectors. The team has a focus on M&A transactions but is growing its reach into IP and insolvency work. The team is led by Julian Harvey, who specialises in corporate finance, M&A, private equity and joint ventures. Richard Clapham specialises in acquisitions and disposals in the hotel, telecoms and media industries.

Practice head(s):

Julian Harvey

Other key lawyers:

Richard Clapham; James Bracher; Charmaine Dudman


‘The team are all very competent lawyers who consistently provide service of the highest level. They are very approachable and always explain their expert legal advice in an intelligible manner.’

‘Downs Solicitors manage to blend high levels of professionalism, knowledge and expertise with a caring and personal approach. The company has a reach and network far beyond the region and certainly “punch above their weight”. The team are always on-hand from the partners down to trainee solicitors and the reception team, they are always available and approachable. They help clients to feel at ease and secure and instil a level of confidence, very quickly. They have also mastered the art of managing a virtual data room, introducing new software and supporting clients through the process.’

‘I’ve worked with many law firms and the standout for me is that over and above the required legal expertise, Downs is more than willing to offer pragmatic business advice. Any importantly they are readily contactable on short notice. Downs is therefore a trusted business partner and not just a law firm.’

‘Having dedicated and high-quality corporate teams in regional hubs providing quality advice at reasonable rates is much needed in the local market and that is what Downs provide. The partner-led approach means clients deal with a senior member of the team at all major points in the transaction, something that is often missing from the client service in other firms.’

‘Richard Clapham has always given safe and well considered advice to our mutual clients and we have found his responsiveness and dedication to getting deals over the line to be particularly impressive.’

‘Charmaine Dudman and James Bracher have been outstanding on every occasion we have worked together.’

‘I can honestly say that James Bracher has been my best lawyer for three reasons – his clarity in being able to easily understand the issue, a sense for finding a workable solution, and timeliness.’

‘Julian Harvey is a superb lawyer with a high degree of knowledge and experience. He leads his team very well, always remains calm and acts in the best interests of his clients at all times. His warm and approachable demeanour enables him to connect with his clients very easily and his professionalism always shines through. The combination of knowledge, experience, commercial awareness and balance together with a personable nature is what makes Julian is such an asset to the firm.’

Key clients

Clubbable Properties Ltd

Cerealto UK Ltd

ORIDA Corporation Ltd

East Stuff Ltd

Hound and Porter Limited

Aronova Interactive Ltd

Ishrosh Healthcare Limited

Air Studios Limited

Peachy Productions Limited

Fowler Clark Limited

Prosys International Limited

CHD Living Ltd

EGAP Estates Ltd

Guest Holdings Ltd

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 4

At Downs Solicitors LLP, senior partner Chris Millar and Martin Steer have a wealth of experience handling contentious personal and corporate insolvency litigation. Beyond contentious work, the firm is a strong choice for advice on pre-insolvency risk management (including refinancing and restructuring), administrations, liquidations, receiverships and CVAs. The team can also offer transactional support.

Practice head(s):

Chris Millar

Other key lawyers:

Martin Steer


‘Chris Millar incisively gets to and understands the point, then pragmatically provides ways forward without wedging himself on a fence.’

‘A friendly, local practice but with the depth of team to cover more complex situations.’

‘We have been working mostly with Martin Steer who is an extremely dependable litigator.’

‘Chris Millar is a very clever lawyer whose advice has been invaluable to me over the years.’

‘Responsive, realistic and commercial. Quick at understanding the commercial objectives and constraints and respond accordingly.’

Despite being based across a number of offices in Surrey, the team is hugely responsive. They have garnered a strong following amongst local businessmen, insolvency practitioners, and real estate professionals. This has enabled them to attract a calibre of work which is perhaps more regularly found at the kind of City firms that Downs routinely find themselves against.’

‘Martin Steer is an experienced litigator who seems to attract an enviable range of commercial, insolvency, and real-estate related work. He is good on the law and hard-working. However, he really excels at understanding the bigger tactical picture and explaining that bigger picture to lay clients in a digestible, reassuring way.’

‘Chris Millar is very experienced and a solid lawyer. He has a nose for the commercial answer to a problem. He gets through a huge amount of work, even leaving aside the admin and management that must comes with his role.’

Key clients

Piper Thompson

PKF Geoffrey Martin

CVR Global

Bailey Ahmed

MBI Coakley

WSM Marks Bloom

Crowe UK LLP

Downs Solicitors LLP is a leading Surrey-based provider of legal services to businesses and individuals. It has offices  Surrey Dorking, Cobham and Godalming.

The firm: Downs has a long heritage of providing legal services dating back to 1836. However, the firm has changed significantly over the years, from simply providing legal advice to private individuals to providing the full spectrum of commercial services to business clients.

Downs is accredited under the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), the mark of excellence awarded to law firms that meet the highest standards for conveyancing transactions.

Downs is also accredited by Lexcel. The Law Society has certified that certain standards of practice have been met following independent assessment. This accreditation is only awarded to solicitors who meet the highest management and customer care standards. Lexcel-accredited practices undergo rigorous independent assessment every year to ensure they meet required standards of excellence in areas such as client care, case management and risk management.

Types of work undertaken
Corporate: from emerging areas of business law, to mainstream M&A and corporate finance, Downs’ corporate lawyers have a depth of experience and a breadth of understanding that enables it to produce rigorously-researched solutions to the most complex business issues.

Employment: the firm’s employment law solicitors help businesses with the full range of employment law and HR advice, from the drafting of contracts of employment and handbooks, to advising on disciplinary and grievance issues, settlement agreements and unfair dismissals through to tribunal hearings.

Commercial property: whether a client owns the local corner shop, is selling or letting an office building, or purchasing land for development, Downs’ commercial property specialists will give all the expert advice and assurance needed to protect their interests.

Corporate recovery: highly experienced and commercially savvy, the firm’s corporate recovery team advises private equity firms, financial institutions, insolvency practitioners, companies and individuals on a wide range of disciplines, from a broad range of industries.

Litigation: the team of specialist litigation lawyers will protect clients’ interests and assert their rights across a very broad range of business areas, including breach of contract claims, negligence, passing off and copyright infringement, insolvency, property and construction, shareholder and partnership disputes.

International: Downs’ specialist multi-disciplinary international group has considerable experience of acting for clients and law firms located in various jurisdictions and requiring legal advice and services in England or abroad. Clients range from multinational companies to wealthy private investors and offshore trusts. It has lawyers who are qualified in multiple jurisdictions and a number speak foreign languages. They are also contributing authors to private international law publications in the US.

Individual client: the firm provides the full range of legal services to individual clients, including buying and selling property, writing a will, inheritance tax planning, probate, lasting powers of attorney, divorce/separation, pre-nups, disputes and employment issues.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Chris Millar
Photo Name Position Profile
 Julian Harvey photo Julian Harvey Head of Corporate and Commercial, Partner. Julian specialises in all areas of…
 Chris Millar  photo Chris Millar Senior partner. Chris specialises in commercial litigation and insolvency. His clients are…
 Amber O’Connor  photo Amber O’Connor Amber deals with a range of private client work including Wills, administration…
 Andrew Peach  photo Andrew Peach Andrew covers all aspects of commercial property. His main focus is the…
 David Seals  photo David Seals David specialises in acting for employers in employment disputes and is an…
Number of UK partners : 14
Number of other UK fee-earners : 45