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The Legal 500 2017: Spotlight on the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 11:45 29 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 29 January 2018

Wright Hassell managing partner Sarah Perry with sales director Jon Preston

Wright Hassell managing partner Sarah Perry with sales director Jon Preston

Archant

The annual Legal 500 is published each year with comprehensive coverage of the UK's leading law firms. Here, the team at Cotswold Life Business & Professional, highlights listed firms in the key commercial sectors

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

After months of of uncertainty following the Brexit referendum, practitioners have reported “business as usual”. Corporates and individuals have shied away from litigation, with law firms capitalising on increasing use of ADR options. Changes in government subsidies in the energy market have necessitated a shift toward nascent technologies such as battery storage and firms have been transitioning away from onshore solar and wind projects and have taken on more progressive renewable projects. In Gloucestershire, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP maintains a steady stream of high-profile corporate and real estate work, while the local market is ably serviced by Willans LLP and BPE Solicitors LLP.

Corporate and Commercial

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Cheltenham

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Cheltenham

BPE Solicitors LLP, Cheltenham

Willans LLP, Cheltenham

Lodders Solicitors LLP, Cheltenham

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s corporate team provides ‘straightforward and concise advice’ and an ‘excellent all-round service’ to national and international clients. The department is especially active in the Middle East and Africa, and has sector specialisms in aviation, energy and leisure and hospitality.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has a full-service corporate and commercial offering, with specialisms in private equity-backed transactions and corporate finance. The practice is taking on an increasing number of international transactions, including outbound US and Scandinavia-facing work.

BPE Solicitors LLP splits its department into separate corporate and commercial teams, the former focusing on corporate acquisitions, fundraisings and flotations, while the latter handles national and international commercial work.

Lodders Solicitors LLP’s ‘very customer-focused team goes out of its way to get deals over the line’. The practice is probably best known for its expertise in the healthcare sector, where it acts for clients such as Healthcare Management Solutions.

Commercial Litigation

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Cheltenham

BPE Solicitors LLP, Cheltenham

Willans LLP, Cheltenham

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Cheltenham

Simon Burn Solicitors, Cheltenham

The ‘knowledgeable, meticulous and extremely personable’ lawyers at Willans LLP provide corporate and transactional advice to clients in the technology, telecoms and manufacturing sectors; the group also has particular expertise in the charities space.

Lodders Solicitors LLP is an ‘excellent firm’ whose Cheltenham office acts for a range of corporates and investors across the south west. The ‘pragmatic’ Stephen Thomas, whose key strengths include ‘relaying complex legal matters in a practical way’, specialises in financial services and the software and IT sectors.

Employment

BPE Solicitors LLP, Cheltenham

Willans LLP, Cheltenham

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Cheltenham

Lodders Solicitors LLP, Cheltenham

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Cheltenham

BPE Solicitors LLP advises on the full spectrum of employment law, both contentious and non-contentious, providing ‘strong advice’ that shows ‘a clear understanding’ of the needs of a business. It has experience in handling complex tribunal and High Court claims relating to restrictive covenants, has particular expertise in restructurings, outsourcing, as well as TUPE issues, and advises executives on severance issues. The practice acts for many clients from the manufacturing sector.

Willans LLP provides ‘appropriate, sensible’ advice on a broad range of employment issues. The practice has a particular focus on acting for technology and high-end engineering companies, but also advises charities, especially on sensitive matters such as senior-level exits and complex redundancy.

Commercial Property

BPE Solicitors LLP, Cheltenham

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Cheltenham

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Cheltenham

Knights Professional Services Ltd, Cheltenham

Lodders Solicitors LLP, Cheltenham

The Cheltenham-based real estate team at Lodders Solicitors LLP acts for national and regional property developers in the residential and commercial sectors, and also handles property finance and investment.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s Cheltenham office has a sizeable real estate group, which stands out in the areas of pension scheme property, land promotion and residential property investment. The team also handles residential and renewable energy-related property development.

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OXFORDSHIRE

Corporate and Commercial

Blake Morgan LLP, Oxford

Penningtons Manches LLP, Oxford

Freeths LLP, Oxford

White & Black Ltd, Bladon

Spratt Endicott, Banbury

Brethertons LLP, Banbury

Royds Withy King, Oxford

With notable strength in the health and technology sectors, Blake Morgan LLP has been advising on M&A, due diligence and service contracts, among other matters.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s recent workload includes high-profile venture capital and spin-out transactions, particularly technology and life sciences.

The ‘reliable and flexible’ team at Freeths LLP experienced an uptick in cross-border work and shines in matters such as company disposals and acquisitions, and management buyouts and reorganisations.

Spratt Endicott ‘provides the advice of a large firm with the personal touch of a small one’. Practice head and firm chairman John Spratt delivers ‘calmness and reliability in the most exacting of circumstances’.

Brethertons LLP experienced an uptick in company acquisitions and disposals, commercial agreement matters, and the streamlining and expansion of businesses.

Commercial Litigation

Blake Morgan LLP, Oxford

Freeths LLP, Oxford

White & Black Ltd, Bladon

Penningtons Manches LLP, Oxford

BrookStreet des Roches, Abingdon

Maier Blackburn LLP, Oxford

Brethertons LLP, Banbury

Emmerson Law, Oxford

Spratt Endicott, Banbury

The lawyers at BrookStreet des Roches are ‘unequivocal in their advice’ and ‘focus on the end game’ in breach of contract, professional negligence and partnership disputes. Known for his ‘excellent grasp’ of complex cases, the practice head is Philip Shaw.

Steven Maier is the ‘go-to person for all contentious matters’ at Maier Blackburn LLP, where he focuses on the publishing and media sectors. A longstanding client is The Tolkien Estate.

Employment

Royds Withy King, Oxford

Blake Morgan LLP, Oxford

Lewis Sillkin LLP, Oxford

Penningtons Manches LLP, Oxford

Cater Leydon Millard, Abingdon

Crossland Employment Solicitors, Abingdon

Draper Lang LLP, Oxford

Employment Law Plus, Abingdon

MPM Legal Solutions Ltd, Henley-on-Thames

Spratt Endicott, Banbury

Royds Withy King advises clients from a number of industries, including professional services, manufacturing, technology, electronics, transportation and retail. The ‘excellent’ practice has a particular focus on advising clients from the social care sector.

Specialist firm Cater Leydon Millard has a ‘particularly strong track record’ in representing NHS and education sector clients in litigation relating to discrimination, protected disclosure and other claims.

Lewis Silkin LLP has ‘superb strength in depth’ and routinely advises multinational clients on cross-border matters relating to global contracts and M&A transactions, where collective redundancies, restructurings and various other matters arise. Notable clients include Invesco, Jaguar Land Rover and Viacom.

Blake Morgan LLP marked an uptick in employment litigation in the High Court and employment tribunal. It also added a number of new clients to the roster, such as The Turney Group, Simon Hegele Logistics and Service, Lewisham Homes, Inmarsat and Slough Children’s Services Trust.

Commercial Property

Royds Withy King, Oxford

BrookStreet des Roches, Abingdon

Freeths LLP, Oxford

Penningtons Manches LLP, Oxford

Blandy & Blandy LLP, Henley-on-Thames

Brethertons LLP, Banbury and Bicester

Plainlaw Solicitors, Oxford

Spratt Endicott, Banbury and Bicester

Development, secured lending and transactional work are where Blandy & Blandy LLP’s ‘strong team’ shines.

At Spratt Endicott, the ‘exceptional’ Andrew Woods heads the practice and ‘gets the deal done’ in developments and land transactions; Howard Meakin is recommended for residential and commercial development work; and Neil Belcher focuses on property investment and has particular expertise in property taxation.

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WARWICKSHIRE & WORCESTERSHIRE

Corporate and Commercial

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Ross-on-Wye and Worcester

Wright Hassall LLP, Leamington Spa

Lodders Solicitors LLP, Kidderminster

MFG Solicitors LLP, Kidderminster

Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Stratford-upon-Avon

Thomas Horton LLP, Bromsgrove

Thursfields Solicitors, Kidderminster, Stourport, Worcester

Band Hatton Button LLP, Coventry

Brethertons LLP, Rugby

Brindley Twist Tafft & James, Coventry

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s team has expertise in a wide range of sectors and is particularly recommended for its work in the health sector, where it continued to handle a high volume of sales and corporate reorganisations relating to pharmacies and GP and dental surgeries.

Lodders Solicitors LLP’s ‘very customer-focused team goes out of its way to get deals over the line’. The practice is probably best known for its expertise in the healthcare sector.

Thursfields Solicitors has a ‘fantastic reputation for delivering commercial, honest and technically relevant advice’ to clients such as SFC Group and Level Peaks Holdings.

Managing partner Samantha Wright heads the team at Brindley Twist Tafft & James, which works with a range of businesses, from long-established companies to start-up enterprises, as well as not-for-profit organisations. Wright is particularly active in sectors such as equipment sales and manufacturing.

Commercial Litigation

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Worcester

Wright Hassall LLP, Leamington Spa

MFG Solicitors LLP, Kidderminster

Thursfields Solicitors, Kidderminster, Stourport and Worcester

According to one client, MFG Solicitors LLP is a ‘reliable pair of hands that will safely navigate any client through to a successful conclusion of its dispute’. Head of practice Tom Esler continued to provide representation in a wide range of high-value matters, including shareholders agreements, license agreements and negligent mismanagement, and also handled a steady flow of manufacturing and warranty disputes.

Thursfields Solicitors’ boasts a ‘highly competent and skilled legal team’’. The main commercial litigator is now Tim Lawrence, who specialises in financial and banking disputes as well as franchising and is ‘extremely knowledgeable on dispute resolution risks’.

Employment

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Worcester

MFG Solicitors LLP, Kidderminster

Thomas Guise Solicitors, Kidderminster

Thursfields Solicitors, Kidderminster

Brethertons LLP, Rugby

Askews Legal LLP, Coventry

Wright Hassall LLP, Leamington Spa

Brethertons LLP’s employment team is headed by newly-promoted associate Amy Edwards, who handles TUPE matters, provides corporate support, and handles restructurings and senior executive contract management for employers and individuals.

Thursfields Solicitors provides clients with HR advice and has recently expanded its presence in the food manufacturing and distribution, and transport and logistics sectors.

Commercial Property

Lodders Solicitors LLP, Stratford-upon-Avon

MFG Solicitors LLP, Kidderminster

Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Statford-upon-Avon

Band Hatton Button LLP, Coventry

Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Worcester

Thursfields Solicitors, Kidderminster, Stourport, Worcester

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice advises developers and landowners in sectors such as energy, retail and education, and the team has a particular specialism in land acquisitions and releases for the purposes of student accommodation and care home developments.

Lodders Solicitors LLP reported an uptick in development and large-scale strategic land matters in 2016, and in one example the team acted for Mark Stroud in the £3m sale of land adjacent to the M40 motorway for a new service area and retail scheme. The practice’s impressive client list includes the likes of St Modwen Properties.

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