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Bond Dickinson

Newcastle upon Tyne

Bond Dickinson - Newcastle upon Tyne
  • St Ann's Wharf
  • 112 Quayside
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Tyne & Wear
  • UK
  • NE1 3DX
  • Tel:(0844) 984 1500
  • Fax:(0844) 984 1501
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • Managing Partner Jonathan Blair
  • Chairman Nick Page
  • Number of partners 149
  • Number of fee-earners 730
  • Total staff 1279 

THE FIRM This national firm is the trusted advisor to FTSE 350 companies, quasi-public and private sector organisations, charities and high-net worth individuals. The firm delivers wide-ranging expertise and focuses on key strategic sectors, including; chemicals and manufacturing, energy and natural resources, financial institutions, insurance, private wealth, real estate, retail and consumer goods, and transport and infrastructure.
Bond Dickinson LLP provides the scale and depth to offer significant commercial advantage for its diverse range of high-quality clients. By applying its deep sector knowledge and rigorous understanding of clients’ businesses and goals, it is able to work as a strategic ally, supplying excellent advice and innovative solutions. Bond Dickinson advises in excess of 40 FTSE 350 companies, and many of the largest businesses in the country. The firm was named Best Legal Advisor for three years running in the Legal Week Client Satisfaction Report, based on what clients say matters in delivering great service. The firm’s flexible business model includes delivering the right work with the right teams at the right price, and it continues to develop and recruit high-calibre lawyers and teams.
Bond Dickinson recognises the importance of supporting projects in its local communities; having an effective environmental policy; providing its employees with an excellent place to work, where they can enjoy and value what they do; and being a great organisation to do business with. Charities with which it works at a national level include The Prince’s Trust and the firm is a founder member of the Legal Sector Alliance, a movement of law firms and organisations committed to working collaboratively to take action on climate change by reducing their carbon footprint.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK Bond Dickinson provides all the services listed here on a national basis across four business groups: corporate, dispute resloution, real estate and private wealth.
Corporate & Commercial: Bond Dickinson offers a substantial national corporate law service. The size, strength and geographical spread of the firm’s resources, enables them to make leading lawyers available to clients both nationally and internationally. This is a full service offering where corporate lawyers work alongside specialists in competition law, banking, insolvency, tax, pensions, or other areas relevant to the transaction, to address a full range of issues. Bond Dickinson’s teams are capable of handling very large and complex transactions, as well as more routine transactions. The Corporate and Commercial group’s work includes; corporate tax and company secretarial, pensions, banking and financial services, projects and procurement, technology, media and communications, restructuring and insolvency, and oil and gas.
Dispute Resolution: As one of the leading dispute resolution teams in the UK, Bond Dickinson has hundreds of specialist dispute lawyers who can respond quickly, proactively and appropriately to disputes when they arise. As a result of this strength, they are always able to take the right approach to their clients’ specific situations, ranging from obtaining an emergency injunction to resolving day-to-day contractual issues. The work of the Dispute Resolution group includes; employment, insurance claims, property litigation, commercial disputes, construction and engineering, regulatory, and environment.
Real Estate: The firm’s Real Estate group comprises over 200 lawyers across the firm’s nationally respected teams who provide their clients with integrated advice combining property, development, planning, regeneration, investment, environmental and construction expertise, energy and natural resources. The firm has specialist lawyers so they can best serve the complex matrix of relationships between landlords and tenants, agents, lenders, borrowers, developers and investors that makes up the real estate sector. Bond Dickinson also has a Scottish qualified team and so offer cross border support.
Private Wealth: The firm has one of the largest private wealth practices in the UK and is unique in the breadth of services that they are able to provide under one roof. With over 100 team members, they are unrivalled in their size and experience. The practice is divided into specialist teams of lawyers, independent financial advisers, tax experts and accountants who work closely together, covering all aspects of legal and financial issues that may be faced by individuals,trustees,charities and businesses. The group’s work includes; agriculture, farms and estates, private capital, charities, tax and trusts, and investment and pensions.

Other offices: Aberdeen, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Plymouth, Southampton, Tees Valley.

    Contacts
  • Agriculture, Farms & Estates Simon Kirkup
  • Banking & Finance 
  • Charities Emma Moody
  • Chemicals & Manufacturing Peter Snaith
  • Commercial Nick Barwood
  • Commercial Disputes Craig Monty
  • Construction & Engineering Simon Lewis
  • Corporate & Commercial Simon Watts
  • Corporate (inc Company Secretarial) Stephen Pierce
  •  Developers & Investors Tim Burbidge
  • Dispute Resolution Gareth Kagan
  • Employment Glenn Calvert
  • Energy & Natural Resources Luke Gabb
  • Finance & Investment Michael Brown
  • Financial Institutions Andrew Scott
  • Insurance Claims Gary Oldroyd
  • Investment & Pensions David Dale
  • Oil & Gas Paul McGoldrick
  • Onshore Stephen Dilley
  • Operational Property (& Retail) Fiona O’Kane
  • Pensions Martin Poore
  • Planning & Infrastructure Claire Brook
  • Private Capital Helen Tavroges
  • Private Wealth David Dale
  • Projects & Procurement Iain Greenshields
  • Property Litigation James Rees
  • Real Estate John Ralph
  • Regulatory & Environment Nathan Peacey
  • Residential Nigel Emmerson
  • Restructuring & Insolvency Julian Gill
  • Retail Gavin Matthews
  • Scotland Michael Spence
  • Tax/Trust & Accounting Jeremy Smith
  • Technology, Media & Communications Julian Hamblin
  • Transport & Infrastructure David Rewcastle

Branches

Energy & Natural Resources - Aberdeen and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Aberdeen

What the team is known for Act for clients in the upstream oil and gas sector in the UK and overseas. Clients include oil companies and oilfield services companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very good knowledge of the oil and gas industry, and able to provide practical advice on legal matters in a way that is commercially relevant and appropriate."

Notable practitioners  

Uisdean Vass is an oil and gas lawyer who sources note for his expertise in oil company to oil company E&P matters. He has significant overseas experience and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Significant clients Noble Energy, Vitol, Centrica, Tullow Oil, EDF. 

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Lender-focused practice, regularly working with the major clearing banks in the region. Borrower practice reflects the practice's industry expertise in the energy and real estate sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their industry knowledge is a key element to their skill set and allows them to give the right advice at the right time."

"They're excellent. Proactive, commercial and sensible when it comes to cost."

Work highlights Advised the Homes & Communities Agency on a £32 million funding arrangement with a building consortium for the development of Sherford, a new market town outside Plymouth.

Acted for the Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman on the USD350 million project financing of the Al Ghubrah Independent Water Project. Specifically advised on English law issues in connection with the security structure.

Notable practitioners  

Julian Kinsey heads the team. He has a depth of experience in all matters of corporate and finance work. Clients report: "He looks beyond the law; he can guide us commercially as well," and peers note he is a "good figurehead" for the team.

Clients single out Philip Withey as a "safe pair of hands" and state: "You can be confident in him." He advises on risk allocation, structuring and security issues, and has an industry specialism in renewable energy and power.

Significant clients HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Union Bancaire Privée, Post Office, Chartis.

Corporate/M&A - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Plymouth

What the team is known for Significant experience in the oil and gas space, particularly on corporate finance matters. Also noted for its work on behalf of clients in the technology sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The detail and thought that goes into each piece of work is very high."

"Their professionalism and can-do attitude stands out." 

Work highlights Represented npower in the sale of Electric Plus Supply and Gas Plus Supply to Telecom Plus. The deal was worth £218 million.

Assisted Piper Private Equity with its £6 million investment in Turtle Bay Restaurants in exchange for 32% of the company.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Hewes focuses on M&A and private equity work and is particularly known for his expertise in the oil and gas sector. He acted as lead partner on npower's £218 million sale of Electric Plus Supply and Gas Plus Supply to Telecom Plus.

Joe Lewis is praised by clients for his "impressive knowledge." Highlights include representing KrisEnergy Asia in its USD42.35 million acquisition of Tullow Bangladesh from Tullow Oil International.

Significant clients Flybe, Noble Energy, Fine Tubes, Sorgenia, Hydro International.

Employment - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Offers focused expertise in employment law to numerous clients from the retail, energy, consumer products and finance sectors. Highly experienced in large-scale, complex employment projects and major employment litigation, including recent High Court injunction cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"This team understands my expectations in a case, and helps me negotiate carefully to avoid having to show my hand."

Work highlights Advised international publishing company GDS on a High Court injunction case, concerning restrictive covenants put in place for a former senior employee who transferred to a competitor of the client.

Acted for ST Microelectronics on the employment aspects of the restructuring of its business.

Notable practitioners 

Tim Woodward remains a broadly admired figure in the Bristol employment market, noted by sources as "receptive, a good listener, and strong at building up a level of trust with his clients." Recent case highlights included advising semiconductor producer ST Microelectronics on the employment aspects of its UK business restructuring.

Joanne Boyle has a wide-ranging employment law presence, providing experience across many sizeable and complex projects and litigation cases. She has particular strength in the implementation of employment training programmes for major clients, such as storm and waste water management provider Hydro International.

Significant clients Post Office, Sainsbury's, AIG, English Heritage, Space Engineering Services.

Environment - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Impressive strength in contentious and non-contentious work across areas including renewables and contaminated land. Also handles waste and carbon trading work for clients in fields such as energy and transport.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very good and they know what they're doing." 

Notable practitioners  

John Houghton is a partner in the team with extensive experience advising on environmental issues arising from waste and renewables projects.

Significant clients Navitus Bay Development, RES UK & Ireland, SITA UK, ESBI, Channel Energy.

Information Technology - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 21 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Large non-contentious IT practice, working on high-value legal and commercial matters. Noted for its expertise in retail, the public sector and financial services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They work very well at flagging up issues and they are efficient."

Work highlights Assisted Kingfisher Information Technology Services with a number of IT issues, including negotiating a wide area network agreement with BT.

Advised the Post Office on varying a supply agreement with 3MCogent.

Notable practitioners  

Gareth Jones advises on commercial contract matters in the IT space, including software licensing. He has significant experience of acting for public sector clients. 

Significant clients Virgin Management, Highways Agency, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance,  Ark Schools.

Intellectual Property - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Provides expertise and experience in assisting clients in the retail and media sectors with their IP concerns. Works alongside the firm's busy trade mark filing and prosecution practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They were pragmatic and understood the solutions that the business really wanted, rather than point-scoring or making complicated legal points."

"I can't fault them at all. Very efficient. Very hands-on." 

Work highlights Advised Carlsberg on the £10 million launch of Somersby Cider, and continues to manage the client's trade mark portfolio.

Continued to advise Post Office on various IP matters, including passing off, domain names and Google adwords registered trade mark infringement.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Pearce heads the department and is a key practice contact.

Significant clients Royal Mail, B&Q, Kingfisher Sourcing & Offer Organisation, Immediate Media, Sainsbury's.

Licensing - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol 

What the team is known for Outstanding practice representing clients on all aspects of licensing throughout the UK. Regularly advises trade associations and policymakers, and is noted for its expertise in betting and gaming licensing. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We have used them strategically for the last year; their advice is clear, simple, straightforward and easy to understand."

Work highlights Acted for The Association of British Bookmakers on its judicial review hearing arising from the grant of a premises licence in Newham.

Advised Wolverhampton City Council in relation to training and the proper consideration of bids.

Notable practitioners  

Ewen Macgregor is praised by peers for his "charming and professional nature." His time working in-house at Gala Coral has provided him with a "strong industry background" in betting and gaming. Clients comment that "few people know the intricacies of licensing as he does."

Significant clients Gala Bingo, Coral Racing, Marks & Spencer, Hilton International, Accor Hotels.   

Litigation - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Plymouth, Bristol

What the team is known for Offers a comprehensive range of litigation services. Sector expertise includes retail, energy and financial services. Strong national client base and local footprint. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They resolve issues and sort things out quickly." 

Work highlights Acted for MAN Truck and Bus on a dispute arising out of the rectification of the provisions of its pensions scheme.

Notable practitioners  

Gareth Kagan is based in Plymouth and heads the firm's national dispute resolution group. He has particular expertise in banking litigation. Clients report that "he suggests the best, most commercial route to go down and likes to provide solutions rather than problems."

Head of the Bristol commercial litigation team Stephen Lister advises clients from the manufacturing, energy, logistics and financial services sectors on a range of commercial disputes. Clients praise his ability to "combine tremendous legal knowledge with a great understanding of their sectors."

Significant clients British Gas, B&Q, Friends Life, QVC, ScottishPower.

Planning - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for A major force in the region, receiving widespread acclaim for its full-spectrum expertise and its deft handling of complex mandates in the residential, commercial and infrastructure sectors, and contentious work. Especially well regarded for its experience in handling high-profile renewables developments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"It is a very efficient and friendly unit - the lawyers are obviously constantly monitoring their cases and you do get informed of what's going on."

"The service has been excellent - the team is willing to listen to the clients and take on our suggestions to look for solutions."

What's new? New client wins include Dudgeon Offshore Wind, Digs and Banks Renewables.

Work highlights Acted for Navitus Bay Development on its £4 billion 1,200 MW offshore wind farm with proposed onshore substations near Mannington.

Represented Reading Borough Council in issues relating to highways arising from its station upgrade, including compulsory acquisition and road widening.

Notable practitioners  

Kevin Gibbs maintains a strong profile in the sector for his expertise in highways-related work. He is praised for his practical approach to complex work, with sources calling him "good and efficient - he engages with the matter in hand."

Head of department Richard Guyatt impresses with his depth of expertise in major developments in the renewables sector. He is also highly regarded for his handling of compulsory purchase work.

John Houghton is frequently instructed by energy sector clients on major offshore wind developments. Sources say he is "very cerebral and very analytical," and note that "his advice is definitely robust."

Jonathan Bower is "very affable, approachable and solution-focused," according to interviewees. His practices covers regeneration work and infrastructure developments, and he regularly acts for both developer and local authority clients.

Significant clients DONG Energy, E.ON, East Anglia Offshore Wind, Co-operative Group, ESB.

Professional Negligence - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 48 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Leading practice with a focus on solicitors' negligence claims. The team has the strength in depth to advise on a diversity of matters, including claims against accountants and IFAs. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are willing to come up with ideas of how they can help us rather than wait for us to tell them everything and spoon-feed them everything."

Work highlights Represented Clintons solicitors in a case where the claimant argued it had negligently drafted a shareholders' agreement which allowed her ex-husband to procure a sizeable wage from his company to her detriment.

Advised Taylor Walton on a negligence claim relating to its failure to deal properly with planning issues arising from the proposed use of an industrial site for a haulage business.

Notable practitioners  

Gary Oldroyd has a strong reputation in the market and is notable for his work on solicitors' negligence. He regularly works with the largest insurers in the sector and is often involved in their most complex and high-value claims. 

Ian Peacock has a wealth of experience in the field and he is the team's leading lawyer for cases against accountants. Recent highlights include defending IFAs and solicitors against negligence claims. 

Sources say Robert Pope "is very focused on practical steps and delivers advice speedily." He is also praised for his "technical and strategic advice" and for "making you feel like you are his only client." He regularly works on lawyers' negligence claims with recent work for Bar Mutual.

Significant clients AIG, QBE, RSA, Allianz, Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund.

Real Estate - Plymouth and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners (3 Bristol, 2 Plymouth)
- 24 other qualified lawyers (13 Bristol, 11 Plymouth)
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Plymouth

What the team is known for Offers a wide range of real estate experience, with particular specialisms in property-led investment, secured lending and development. Frequently acts for corporate occupiers and renewable energy clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very quick to deal with things, approachable and professional."

"The service is high-quality." 

What's new? New client wins, including RO Group.

Work highlights Acted for British International Helicopters on the over £10 million conditional sale of a former heliport in Penzance to Sainsbury's (Plymouth).

Advised the Homes & Community Agency on the development of The Green Business Park as part of a larger redevelopment of South Bristol.  

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Craig Moore leads the firm's national property finance practice. He is frequently instructed by public bodies and property receivers on a range of investment, insolvency and development matters.

Nigel Theyer is well liked by peers, who describe him as having a "tremendous personality." He acted for Muse Developments on the Cargo regeneration scheme at Millbay, which included a 15-acre harbour site.

Jane Morea is a "safe pair of hands" when dealing with a range of commercial property matters, including estate management and development.

Significant clients Plymouth Community Homes, Princess Yachts International, Renewable Energy Systems, Post Office, REG Windpower.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Excellent bench strength and reputation in Bristol. Handles the full gamut of property litigation and offers further expertise in retail, transport and town and village greens.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their resolution to continue to follow up when things get difficult is outstanding."

Work highlights Advised DS Smith on the regulation and agreement of residual liability and scheduled works at a commercial industrial estate. The matter arose from major drainage works at the estate.

Notable practitioners  

James Rees is an acknowledged expert in the area. He focuses on contentious commercial property matters.

Patrick Wetherall advises on the full scope of landlord and tenant disputes, and clients say: "He is very good and prompt in his responses."

Significant clients Gala Coral, Homes & Communities Agency, New Look, MITIE Group, Carlsberg-Tetley.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Focuses on distressed corporate representations in the retail, manufacturing, energy and leisure sectors. Well regarded for its skill across a broad range of contentious and non-contentious insolvency situations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It is unusual to get partner-level input on the scale that the firm offers."

"A very professional team, focused on commercial solutions." 

Work highlights Acted on the administration of Pritchard Stockbrokers, advising the administrators on issues arising from the Investment Bank Special Administration Regulations. 

Acted for administrators of Enact Energy Renewables on the sale of the business, as well as advising on issues surrounding unused government funding held by the company at the time of its administration.

Notable practitioners  

Joanne Rumley is a significant figure in the region, and is praised by sources for her high-quality advice and client service. She specialises in corporate insolvencies and restructurings, and is described by sources as "just fantastic."

Significant clients Lloyds Banking Group, Deloitte, KPMG, HMRC, BDO.

Tax - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Broad tax practice, focusing particularly on handling real estate and corporate transaction-related work. Frequently works with other offices in the firm for wider market coverage.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They had a strong team dealing with different areas and were able to build a broad team at short notice. There was a high level of commitment from a wide range of people."

"We had a lot of the benefit of working with a decent-sized firm without the costs of a really big firm."

Work highlights Acted for Noble Energy Capital on tax planning for its reorganisation and disposal of UK interests, including negotiating tax terms with the purchasing parties, and VAT issues surrounding SPVs made for the transaction.

Advised Nice Systems on the tax aspects of its acquisition of Causata. Tax work included issues related to the exercise of existing share options.

Acted for REG Windpower on SDLT, VAT and protection of losses in relation to its portfolio financing of wind farms.

Notable practitioners  

Peers say senior associate Ronan Lowney has "an extremely good rapport with clients. He deals with technical subjects well, and is very diligent." He has more than a decade of experience working in tax, and recently advised the shareholders of Resonate KT on tax elements of disposal to a Canadian IT consortium, including tax on IP rights.

Carol Tricks specialises on tax aspects of corporate transactions, including VAT and employee tax. She recently assisted ATCO Power Generation on the tax implications of its joint venture with Biossence, including capital allowances.

Significant clients Piper Private Equity, Ashfield, Renewable Energy Systems.

Banking & Finance - Leeds, Bradford and surrounds

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Has a growing reputation in the local market for being a cohesive team with remarkable financing capabilities. Increasingly receiving instructions from several UK clearing banks to act on complex real estate finance transactions within the region. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are a personable, easy team to work with. They put in place well-articulated structures that clearly told us how best to respond, gave very good practical advice, and focused on getting everything done as effectively and efficiently as possible."

"The team were tenacious, commercial, pragmatic and always contactable."

Work highlights Acted for the University of York, one co-founder of a joint venture vehicle, in connection with £28.5 million in project finance facilities it received from Aviva Commercial Finance. The facilities were used to fund the development and operation of new student accommodation. 

Advised Walworth Investment Properties, a 50:50 joint venture vehicle, in relation to the financing for its acquisition of a £111 million portfolio of South London residential properties.

Notable practitioners 

Commentators agree that John Connor has been doing an exceptional job heading up the Leeds and Newcastle banking teams. Clients particularly appreciate his "client-focused" service and commercial outlook: "He is highly commercial, extremely helpful, and suggests a scope of solutions. If there's a contentious point in a particular transaction, he will give us the optimum resolution for our organisation."

Significant clients Executive Care Group, Santander, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Town Centre Securities.

Corporate/M&A - Leeds, Bradford and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Capitalises on the firm's national strength in the chemicals and manufacturing sectors to act on M&A deals and reorganisations for local and national industrial names. Well-known credentials in private equity and venture capital.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team is very responsive and very commercial. The lawyers understand what we are trying to achieve and make sure the transactions are structured to meet our needs."

What's new? New client wins include EMaC, Cenkos Securities, Charles Stanley Securities and LSL Property Services.

Work highlights Acted for Vertu Motors on its £31 million acquisition of Land Rover dealership Albert Farnell and related fund-raising.

Advised the management of Yew Holdings on its £58.3 million sale to Dignity.

Notable practitioners  

Philip Ashworth heads the team and acts on many of the firm's key deals in North and West Yorkshire, particularly in the chemicals and manufacturing sectors. Sources say: "His great strength is his commerciality - he understands deals and is good at getting people to work together."

Significant clients University of York, Croda, Melrose Industries, Dynea UK, NVM Private Equity.

Employment - Leeds, Bradford and surrounds

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Pensions - North East & Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds, Newcastle

What the team is known for Established North East pensions practice with a strong Newcastle offering and a growing presence in Leeds. Frequently handles liability management and funding arrangements for a large number of schemes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They perform very well. They are always available for us, do a good job and have the knowledge and the experience to do what we need across a range of pensions issues." 

"They provide good-quality advice." 

What's new? New clients include Accent Group and English Heritage.

Work highlights Assisted Taylor Wimpey with the merger of two final salary schemes into a new structure.

Acted for the Go-Ahead Group Trustee Company on the closure of four final salary sections of the pension plan.

Notable practitioners  

Suzanne Duff is regarded by peers as "a technical guru." She provides an invaluable insight into scheme matters, having previously worked at the Pensions Regulator.

Martin Poore "has always been well respected" and "has great technical know-how," market commentators state. He regularly advises clients on restructurings and scheme mergers.

Tracy Walsh frequently acts for public sector clients, advising, in particular, on local government pension schemes. Sources describe her as "very pragmatic and knowledgeable."

Paul Rosenzweig is an associate at the firm and advises on a wide range of matters. He has experience acting for both private and public sector clients.

Significant clients IBM, Procter & Gamble, Hiscox Pension Scheme, Shepherd Group Pension Fund, Nike (UK).

Real Estate - Leeds, Bradford and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Strong development-focused practice, advising private clients and working on major regeneration and town redevelopments for local authorities. Additional expertise in strategic site promotion agreements and secured lending matters for financial institutions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very commercial advice and good at getting deals done whilst protecting our position. Properly presents the risks and how best to move forward to allow us to make informed decisions." 

"I can delegate quite a lot to the team with the confidence that it'll do it in a way I'll be happy with."

What's new? New client wins include Town Centre Securities, Church Commissioners for England, the Gregory Group and St James Securities.  

Work highlights Represented Leeds City Council in the £600 million Victoria Gate development. 

Acted for Town Centre Securities on the letting of high-grade office space Merrion House to Leeds City Council.  

Notable practitioners  

Paula Dillon is viewed as a "pragmatic development lawyer who will get the deal done." She is recognised for being "very good at the client relationship aspects" and is well respected in the property market. She led the team advising Town Centre Securities on the leasing of high-grade offices to Leeds City Council.  

The "highly experienced" Mark Owen has a "very flexible approach" and is able to "enter meetings and set the agenda." Clients also say that due to his excellent knowledge base, he "gives confidence all round and gets deals done." 

Significant clients Commercial Estates Group, Wykeland Group, Leeds City Council, Linden, Bellway.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- Office location ranked: Leeds

What the team is known for Handles a mixture of mainstream turnaround, investigation and insolvency work, as well as the more niche director disqualification and public interest winding-up work. Acts for major accountancy firms and clearing banks in the area.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have relevant sector knowledge and can also align their fees with expected financial outcomes to creditors." 

Work highlights Advised the directors of the Castlebeck Group of nursing homes on their role in the company's administration.

Acted for FRP Advisory in pre-administration dealings with R&K Landscapes, advising on the pre-packaged sale and a separate sale of a business division, ultimately saving over 100 jobs.

Notable practitioners  

Bank panel relationship manager Andy Stirk also maintains connections with insolvency practitioners on a local and national level. Clients describe him as an "up-and-coming" lawyer who is "incredibly responsive" and "growing in stature."

 Significant clients Lloyds, Santander, KPMG, Deloitte, Baker Tilly.

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 47 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acts for clients in legal, insurance, and technology and construction-related professional negligence claims. Regularly advises on high-value litigation with an international element.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The service is very good; they are very knowledgeable and efficient."

"They are certainly very good at client contact and managing expectations. They provide good legal advice." 

Notable practitioners  

Gary Oldroyd heads the department and is a key contact.

Significant clients AIG, The Travelers Companies, Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality, Torus Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Real Estate - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 48 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle, Stockton on Tees

What the team is known for Highly regarded team with significant experience across a range of property matters, from residential development to large-scale regeneration. Specialist knowledge in chemicals, renewable energy infrastructure, including biomass and wind farms. Education sector expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their attitude is one of 'here's a problem, but here's how we can resolve it.' They don't just flag up problems, but are exceptional at coming up with solutions."

"Prompt, accurate, timely and a well-managed view of risk from a client's point of view."  

What's new? EFA Priority Schools Building Programme secured as a new client. 

Work highlights Represented Grainger in its joint venture with Walworth Investment Properties, and subsequent acquisition and refinancing of 598 commercial and residential units. 

Advised Middlesbrough College on multiple land purchases from the Homes and Communities Agency for development of a STEM centre.

Notable practitioners

Barbara Painter is commended by clients for her adaptability, direct advice and "wonderful range of great expertise." She is praised for her negotiation skills and ability to view matters from a "very commercial aspect." She has notable experience in the chemical sector, including underground storage and remediation matters.

The "excellent" and detail-oriented Ian Ward is highlighted for his strong regeneration practice. He is always determined to achieve the best results for his client and is recognised for his thorough understanding across a range of expertise. 

The well-respected John Ralph heads the real estate team and is characterised by a "very practical, clear and straightforward approach." Clients add that "he goes through everything with a fine-tooth comb, identifies the problems, tells you what the issues are and offers up a solution." 

John Booth is acclaimed as a practitioner who "is universally found by people who deal with him to be very constructive and very pragmatic." He specialises in the education arena and is further recommended by clients for always maintaining his calm. 

Significant clients Bellway Homes, Vertu Motors, EDF Energy Renewables, Department for Education and Education Funding Agency, RWE DEA UK.

Banking & Finance - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Impressive national coverage, with considerable presence in the North and South West. Offers comprehensive assistance with asset-based lending, corporate finance, real estate finance and acquisition finance matters. Strong emphasis on the financial services, energy and insurance sectors, acting for a diverse range of corporate, banking and financial institutions clients. HSBC and RBS are key names in the firm's bank client roster, and it also represents leading property companies and asset managers. Ranked offices in Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds and Southampton.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They stand their corner in important matters for the client – they were up against much larger London firms and weren't intimidated by them."

Notable practitioners 

Key contacts include John Ralph, Julian Kinsey and Graham Jeffries.

Construction - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Able to field dedicated construction lawyers in a number of key regional markets. Key strength in education sector developments, social housing and infrastructure projects. A strong choice for both purchasers and suppliers of construction services. Acts for REG Windpower, Royal Mail Group and Bellway, among others. Ranked offices in Southampton, Newcastle and Plymouth.

Notable practitioners  

Emily Monastiriotis is a key contact.

Corporate/M&A - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Sizeable national practice, advising on a number of significant deals throughout the country. Particularly active in the real estate, renewable energy and transport sectors. Growing presence on matters with a cross-border element and those involving private equity. Ranked offices in Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I really like them - they have City quality at country prices." 

Notable practitioners  

Stephen Pierce is head of the national corporate team.

Litigation - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for National presence, offering broad commercial litigation expertise outside of London. Particular strength in the North East of England, with experience in a range of disputes. Significant knowledge of the transport, retail and financial services sectors. Ranked offices in Bristol, Plymouth, Southampton and Newcastle.

Notable practitioners  

Craig Monty is a key contact.

Pensions - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for A leading North East pensions practice with blue-chip clients in a wide range of industries across the country. Acts for trustees and on the company side, advising on scheme administration, mergers and closures. Provides complementary strength in handling complex pensions litigation matters. Notable clients include IBM, Taylor Wimpey and Procter & Gamble. Ranked offices in Leeds and Newcastle.

Notable practitioners

Martin Poore is a key contact.

Planning - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Significant national offering with strength in advising both claimants and acquiring authorities on planning matters. Experienced in handling compulsory purchase orders (CPO), compensation claims and work relating to large-scale infrastructure projects. Notable expertise in the energy sector. Ranked offices in Bristol and Newcastle.

Notable practitioners  

Claire Brook is a key contact.

Real Estate - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Well-established real estate group with a strong presence throughout the UK. Represents a broad range of clients in residential and commercial property mandates. Particular focus on the renewable energy sector. Ranked offices in Bristol, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Plymouth and Southampton.

Notable practitioners

John Ralph is a key contact.

Restructuring/Insolvency - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Deep experience in key sectors such as leisure, energy, retail and manufacturing. Sizeable restructuring team, advising a range of national and regional clients on distressed debt, asset recovery and turnaround situations. Key bank clients include Lloyds and Santander, whilst the team also caters to accountancy firms, specialist insolvency practitioners and turnaround professionals. Ranked offices in Newcastle, Southampton and Bristol. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"Bond Dickinson have been a key provider of legal services in the insolvency and restructuring market for the South West."

"There's not many law firms in Newcastle who do this work. They're a well-established local firm."

Notable practitioners  

Key contacts include Joanne Rumley and John Pennie.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Comprehensive agriculture practice covering rural property transactions, tenancies, renewable energy developments and related contentious matters. Acts for landed estates and landowning organisations nationwide. Offers particular expertise in mineral and manorial rights.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team understands what we are looking for and works well with us to achieve it."

"It's a unique and specialised team in minerals and manorial interests, which operates in a national capacity." 

Notable practitioners  

Clients say practice head Simon Kirkup "is very knowledgeable and understands the key issues." His practice covers contentious agricultural matters as well as farm sales and purchases.

Significant clients The National Trust, Grainger, Church Commissioners.

Banking & Finance - North East

Basic facts about the department 

- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Maintains its position as one of the most prominent banking and finance groups within the North East market. Offers substantial bench strength and boasts a highly specialised practice that incorporates dedicated banking, real estate finance and corporate finance teams.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have the ability to bring with them previous knowledge and expertise of how things have been done before, but are also able to work with us and come up with solutions."

"We need legal support that is available at the drop of a hat, a team that is able to get up to speed with where we are on a specific transaction, and legal advice that works as part of our team, not irrespective of it. Bond Dickinson delivers on all these points."

"They were not afraid to challenge us, which was ideal because the matter they assisted us on was not just a standard advisory case. It felt like they were a part of our team."

Work highlights Advised HSBC in connection with the £31.5 million refinancing of The Station Hotel Group.

Advised leading nursing home care provider Executive Care Group, with regard to its substantial refinancing with RBS, HSBC, National Australia Bank and a syndicate of private investors. 

Notable practitioners  

John Ralph is a key partner in the real estate finance team and is frequently called upon to lend his assistance on transactions with a complex property dynamic. Sources enjoy working with him and highlight that he is "very efficient and focused on getting the deal done." 

Peers comment that Laura McNabb is someone they come across frequently in the local market, describing her as "helpful," someone they can have a "good working relationship with" and simply a "very good lawyer."

Significant clients Santander, Bellway Homes, Grainger, Capital for Enterprise, Newcastle Building Society. 

Construction - Newcastle and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Recognised by peers as a leading construction team in the Newcastle area. Acts for a broad base of clients, with particular strength in energy, infrastructure, education and social housing.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They take client responsibility and customer service very seriously."

Work highlights Acted for SABIC UK Petrochemicals on a £26 million claim against Punj Lloyd following the termination of an EPC contract.

Advised the Education Funding Agency on the procurement of new schools as part of the Priority Schools Building Programme. 

Notable practitioners 

Nick Henderson advises clients on a number of contentious issues. Sources say he is "very likeable" and "has a very good grasp of what matters and what does not."

Head of department Simon Lewis leads on a number of large disputes and is widely recognised as one of the top construction practitioners in the North East. One source comments: "He is technically sound and provides very good pragmatic advice."

Simon Rowland is recognised for his "great expertise and understanding of the construction world." He is the team's lead non-contentious partner.

Significant clients Bellway, National Trust, PD Ports, Keepmoat, Newcastle City Council.

Corporate/M&A - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle upon Tyne

What the team is known for Top choice in the region thanks to its long-standing market reputation. In-depth experience of private equity transactions and public company takeover work. Transport, technology, property and chemicals are key specialist areas.

Work highlights Acted for Grainger on its £111 million sale to Walworth Investment Portfolio, a joint venture company it formed with Dorrington. The team also advised on the joint venture arrangements.

Advised Vertu Motors on its £31 million purchase of Albert Farnell, a leading Land Rover dealership in North England, and on its £50 million placing on AIM.

Notable practitioners  

Jamie Pass leads the firm's corporate practice and has a wealth of experience in dealing with corporate matters, ranging from M&A and joint ventures to fund-raisings and IPOs.

Esteemed corporate finance practitioner Nigel Williams specialises in transactions involving energy and manufacturing businesses. He is also adept in advising public and private companies on commercial matters.

Simon Watts is highly recommended by peers and clients for his extensive transactional experience. His practice covers a wide range of sectors, including transport, leisure, chemicals and property.

Ben Butler continues to build a strong reputation in the market, representing key clients such as Vertu Motors in their various transactions. He has particular experience in the automotive and energy sectors.

Significant clients Melrose, Sage Group, OpSec Security Group, NVM Private Equity, Stadium Group.

Employment - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Continues its dominance in the regional employment market. Targets high-value work in the education, social housing and chemical sectors. Nationwide clientele receives robust litigation advice as well as non-contentious support.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I would say they're all excellent. They are responsive, very trustworthy and take responsibility to the client and customer service very seriously. The lawyers are all good to work with and the advice is always professional." 

What's new? New client wins include Executive Care Group, Broadacres Housing, East Durham College and Munchkin Lindam.

Work highlights Successfully defended Fabrick Housing Group against an unfair dismissal claim. 

Assisted Northumberland County Council with the conversion of six schools to academy status.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Glenn Calvert has over two decades of experience, particularly in redundancies, executive terminations and TUPE matters. "He likes to consider the whole gamut; he will always take things away and come back to you. One of the things he is excellent in is managing grievances to ensure we don't go to tribunal," highlights an interviewee.

Claire-Jane Nicol represents education sector and local government clients. One source notes: "I really appreciated her wide breath of skills. Claire applies common sense to the most difficult situations and she understands what we are looking for."

Experienced employment litigator James Wilders is described as "remarkably solid and sage. I always feel comfortable in his presence: he listens and interprets problems well. He is particularly good at understanding the employment nuances of our business."

Significant clients IBM, Durham University, Virgin Money, Formica, Vertu Motors.

Environment - The North

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Dedicated regulatory and environmental team with expertise across a range of process industries including waste, chemical and automotive. Considerable knowledge of compliance advisory work supplemented by a strong regulatory enforcement practice. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have now got what has to be one of the biggest environment practices in the country - impressive. What is really helpful there is you get people who specialise across the area."

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Stuart Wardlaw is an outstanding presence in the environment sector. He is experienced in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious issues, including crisis management and enforcement undertakings. He receives excellent praise from market sources, who describe him as "an independent thinker," adding that "he's one of the best environment lawyers in the regions and has built up a very successful practice."

Claire Brook is a planning and environment lawyer based in the Leeds office. She is well respected in the market for her broad practice which covers both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Significant clients Huntsman, Chemoxy International, Innovia Films, Bellway, Fine Organics.

Information Technology - Newcastle and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 21 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Impressive offering servicing the retail, financial and public sectors. Clients include government entities, and pharmaceutical and energy companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We selected Bond Dickinson for its reputation, skills and expertise, and local presence in the North East."

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Scott is a leading IT and outsourcing partner with 20 years of experience, whose clients include Citibank and M&G. Clients say he is "the first person we turn to" and call him a "very commercial, pragmatic, experienced lawyer, who knows how to cut to the chase to get deals done."

Significant clients North of England P&I, The Highways Agency, The Legal Aid Agency, Durham Fire Authority.

Intellectual Property - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Advises on trade mark matters, including portfolio management and infringement litigation. Attracts clients from a diverse range of industries such as life sciences, transport and real estate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Bond Dickinson gives very commercial advice on IP rights. The firm comes up trumps."

Work highlights Managed Northern Powergrid's trade mark portfolio, which involved handling a number of trade mark oppositions brought against it by the National Grid and Northern Power Systems.  

Represented Crafter's Companion in a trade mark infringement case brought in the State of Oregon.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Pearce recently represented real estate company Bellway in passing-off and trade mark infringement cases before the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. Clients identify his background in physics as a key advantage and value his "practical application of legal knowledge."

Will Sander is best known for his work on trade mark matters and he recently advised Southern Railway on its trade mark portfolio and the protection of one of its brands. Clients appreciate his "pragmatic and commercial advice."

Significant clients Fox International Group, Nova International, Post Office, Vertu Motors, It-is International.

Litigation - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Outstanding experience handling a broad range of commercial litigation, including breach of contract, professional negligence and competition disputes. Sector expertise encompasses oil and gas, chemicals and transport.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Service-wise, they are excellent and responsive. They understand our business."  

Work highlights Acted for Arriva on an abuse of dominance claim against Luton airport, challenging its appointment of National Express as the exclusive provider of coach travel between Victoria and Luton.

Notable practitioners  

Craig Monty is known for handling high-profile pensions litigation matters. Sources note his "great deal of experience" as a litigator who is "exceptionally clever, able and commercially minded."

Director Joanna Bromhead is singled out as being "absolutely brilliant" and "incredibly efficient, hard-working and bright." She has broad litigation experience, which includes significant pensions matters.

John Marshall is a noted authority in dispute resolution. His experience in litigation extends to sports law and professional negligence, in which he is known to offer "excellent judgement."

Significant clients Lotte Chemicals, Vertu Motors, Tioxide Europe.

Planning - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Undisputed position as a leading force in the region, with well-recognised expertise in complex residential, infrastructure and energy developments. Receives acclaim for its skill across the spectrum of planning work, with a strong track record in compulsory puchase orders (CPO) and judicial reviews.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're a very strong planning team - they are efficient, with breadth of expertise and depth of knowledge."

Work highlights Acted for Bellway Homes on its application for a 366-home development and subsequent appeal against the recovered decision of the Secretary of State.

Represented a consortium of house builders in relation to the Newcastle Great Park development, a major £50 million, 484 hectare mixed-use development.

Notable practitioners  

Frank Orr heads the Newcastle team and receives acclaim for his depth of expertise in the area. Sources highlight his breadth of expertise, including his adept handling of CPOs and contentious work on mandates across a wide range of sectors.

Significant clients Hartlepool Borough Council, South Tyneside Borough Council, Banks Group, Education Funding Agency, Miller Homes.

Private Client - North East & Yorkshire

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds, Newcastle

What the team is known for Large team of dedicated private client lawyers with expertise across a wide and diverse range of issues including wealth planning, real estate portfolio management and contentious trusts. The team comprises qualified financial planners and chartered tax advisers as well as lawyers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Strength in depth within the firm is excellent; they've got someone who can do most anything." 

"They give good advice and are always very responsive and available."

Notable practitioners  

Clients say George Lyall is "down to earth, pragmatic and practical." He brings "a very commercial head" to advising on a range of matters including complex tax issues and family business matters.

Real Estate Litigation - Newcastle and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Offices ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Held in high esteem for representing a range of diverse commercial and residential clients including property developers, social housing providers, landed estates, and clients in the retail finance sector. Notable expertise in contentious title issues, and disputes concerning service charges and agricultural matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"An extremely professional firm with a clear grasp of the issues affecting our business."

"They are very efficient at getting back to you. I am always impressed with them."

Work highlights Represented Isos Housing in tenancy enforcement matters, handling possession claims and applications for antisocial behaviour injunctions.

Notable practitioners  

Jen Smurthwaite has significant experience handling real estate litigation involving agricultural, residential and commercial property. Sources enthuse: "She is immensely helpful in providing advice and solutions in some of the more unusual or difficult cases."

Charlotte McMurchie is admired by sources for her "great understanding of the complexities of social housing legislation." She has a particular focus on residential real estate disputes and is adept at handling matters relating to leasehold management.

Significant clients Peverel, National Trust, Southern Railway, Bellway, Virgin Money.

Restructuring/Insolvency - North East

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Market-leading practice with in-depth experience ranging from distressed debt to restructurings. Offers particular expertise across the retail, leisure and energy sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I regard them as a trusted partner that helps us develop the strategy and gives advice at all stages."

"They can look at anything and everything in terms of restructurings and insolvencies, and adequately undertake that work."

Work highlights Advised KPMG on the McNulty Offshore Group liquidation, dealing with debts to the value of approximately £10 million.

Acted for Baker Tilly on the administration of Holystone and Holystone Contracts, which were previously in a Company Voluntary Arrangement.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Julian Gill advised KPMG on the McNulty Offshore Group litigation. He has a niche focus on asset recovery, including wrongful trading, unlawful dividends and transactions to defraud. One peer notes: "He has established himself as a genuine leader of that team."

John Pennie is recognised throughout the region for his work promoting turnaround processes for distressed businesses. One client describes him as "a great source of pearls of wisdom on esoteric matters," and another adds that he is "very supportive." 

Sally Dallow has particular expertise in investigatory work, director disqualification cases and the winding-up of live companies. She is also experienced in asset recovery, covering transactions to defraud and unlawful dividends.

Peter Maxwell is often involved in public interest work for The Insolvency Service and advises HMRC on insolvency issues. Peers note his strength in director disqualification matters and add that he is "well regarded by a number of insolvency practitioners."

Significant clients Lloyds, Santander, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, HMRC.

Social Housing - Newcastle and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Excellent social housing practice covering a broad range of issues, such as leasehold management disputes, loan facility negotiations and land acquisitions. Maintains a strong reputation for advising local and national providers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We value the service the team provides because in addition to dealing with individual matters, they keep us informed on new legislative matters or other such issues."

"They're very responsive. They are a big business but they still take client responsibility and customer service very seriously."  

Notable practitioners 

Charlotte McMurchie is a key contact at the firm.  

Construction - Plymouth and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 3 other lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Plymouth

What the team is known for At the forefront of the Plymouth market with a reputation that attracts a national client base. Strength in a wide range of sectors including energy, insurance and retail.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The advice we get is always very good and it is an approachable firm."

Work highlights Advised REG Windpower in relation to time and money claims arising out of the Orchard End Wind Farm project.

Acted for new client Midas Construction on JCT and NEC contract issues and tenders.

Notable practitioners  

David Skelton has a "first-rate reputation" in the market. He has both contractual expertise and dispute resolution skills. Clients say: "His general overall knowledge of construction law is very broad and he gives a very unbiased view. He's also very clear."

Significant clients Royal Mail Group, CLC Group, Ageas UK.

Banking & Finance - The South

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for A large and strong offering in the region. Particular interest and experience in the manufacturing, energy and retail industries. A balanced client base comprising borrowers and lenders.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their responsiveness, the quality of work, our relationship with key partners and the level of service are very good." 

"They're a high-quality firm."

Work highlights Represented REG Wind Power in the banking matters arising out of the £55 million sale of wind farms to a fund managed by BlackRock.

Advised the renewable energy developers Renewable Energy Systems on the £28.3 million project financing of two onshore wind farms.

Notable practitioners  

Graham Jeffries is recognised in his field as a genuine banking specialist, focusing on asset finance and project finance. Clients note him as a "prominent name in the market" and praise his "approachable, friendly and knowledgeable" manner.

Sophie Eales is a senior associate in the banking team. According to peers, she is "a good operator" and clients say she's "easy to deal with." She has particular expertise in acquisition finance matters.

Significant clients Chemring Group, Richmond Group, Santander, HSBC, Hampshire Trust.

Construction - Southampton and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Strong national team with a market-leading South Coast practice. Instructed on development projects in the region and across the country. Typically acts for developers and institutional investors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team puts a lot of thought into everything, and is very proactive, switched-on and keen. They always put the advice into context."

Notable practitioners  

Ben Willis is a senior associate with a great deal of experience of running transactional matters. Clients said: "He gets us some really good advice within the right timescale. He is informal and down to earth, which suits us, and he's very good at explaining what the legal jargon means. "

Corporate/M&A - Southampton and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Maintains an outstanding reputation for handling corporate transactions in the energy sector and the retail industry. Represents an enviable list of regional and national clients, and increasingly serves an international client base.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are very responsive, very down-to-earth and commercially focused - we are very happy with the service we receive." 

"The resources that they put behind jobs is very impressive - they're very well resourced and we were confident that we were getting the best results in the negotiations and documentations."

Work highlights Acted for Renewable Energy Systems and InfraRed Capital Partners on the £300 million disposal to the Renewables Infrastructure Group of a portfolio of 14 wind farms and four solar PV parks.

Assisted REG Windpower with the sale of several wind farms to a BlackRock-managed fund, and with the creation of a long-term asset investment and an asset management agreement.

Notable practitioners  

Sebastian Briggs "brings a very rational approach to things, talks a lot of sense and knows the industry inside and out," enthuse clients. He heads the corporate practice and has considerable expertise in the energy sector, particularly in relation to renewables and power.

According to one source, Stephen Pierce "calls a spade a spade and his advice is absolutely straight down the line." A client adds: "He has a razor-sharp mind but is also very laid-back and has a good sense of humour."

Ian Holden has a broad corporate finance practice, with notable experience in advising UK and French companies. "He's very good to deal with; he always gets to the salient points quickly and manages to see the wood from the trees. He's someone you want to have on your side," says a client.

Significant clients Chemring Group, Transdev, AIG, Banks Renewables, Kingfisher/B&Q.

Employment - Southampton and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Maintains a strong reputation and acts for a broad national client base in the retail and education sectors. Offers established expertise in unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, whistle-blower claims and pensions closure matters. Also noted for its tribunal advocacy and employment training services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Customer-focused and readily available. The clarity of the firm's advice is also most appreciated."

"Friendly and quick to respond. We are very satisfied with the service provided."

Work highlights Advised Ordnance Survey on employment issues arising from restrictions on the amount of time that trade union officials could spend on purely union issues.

Representing NICE Systems Technologies UK in a tribunal claim over outstanding holiday pay for a period of ten years.

Notable practitioners  

Christina Tolvas-Vincent has "a very good ability to get to the heart of the matter, and work out what the client wants to achieve and how to achieve it." She has wide-ranging expertise, including in termination packages, discrimination, contracts, reorganisations, employment policies and trade union issues.

Jon Hales focuses primarily on the employment aspects of acquisitions and disposals, and provides expert advice on TUPE ramifications of outsourcing agreements. Clients say he "is very personable and thorough, and his advice is always clear and commercially focused."

Significant clients Specsavers Group, B&Q, Royal Mail, Signet Trading, Colgate-Palmolive.

Information Technology - The South

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 21 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Has strong experience in working with retail, financial and public sector clients. Operates on a national and European level.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Bond Dickinson was absolutely terrific. Without the team's persistence and hard work, we wouldn't have got the matter resolved."

"It's good that they can manage relationships with non-lawyers - they are good at running things past us and keeping us in the loop."

Work highlights Negotiated a £75 million cross-border outsourcing agreement for Old Mutual Wealth/Skandia.

Advised on a £16 million IT outsourcing project for schools managed by client ARK Schools charity, advising on the correct procurement strategy for the project.

Notable practitioners  

Julian Hamblin is head of department and recognised for his relationship management skills. Clients praise his "fabulous client service and attention to detail."

Significant clients B&Q, Royal Mail Group, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, New Look Retailers, Kingfisher Information Technology Services.

Litigation - Southampton and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
-
5 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Noted for its sector-based approach to litigation, with particular expertise in the retail, energy, insurance, IT and commercial property sectors. Regularly acts on high-value contractual disputes for a host of household-name clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They've really taken the time to get to know our business and worked really hard to develop significant knowledge in the areas that are important for us as a client."

"They are a true full-service provider: from the very small stuff to complex multimillion disputes, they deal with it cost-effectively and are sensitive to business needs."

Work highlights Acting for Sainsbury's on its application for a judicial review of the decision of the ASA relating to Tesco's Price Promise advertising campaign. 

Notable practitioners

Tom Beezer has extensive experience of dealing with complex contractual, IT and energy disputes for large national and international clients. He is regarded as "absolutely in the A-team," and is praised for "truly acting in your best interests. He's not chasing the fee; he's chasing the best way to resolve a dispute."

Ian Newcombe is regarded as "a remarkable litigator who's very adept in getting you where you want to be." He specialises in energy, retail and corporate litigation, and represents a number of national retailers and energy companies.

Andrew Parsons has a niche practice in contentious data protection matters. Clients say: "He is very good at working out tactics."

Significant clients B&Q, British Gas, Virgin, Total, Babcock International Group.

Professional Negligence - Southampton and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 48 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Market leaders with a strong reputation for defending claims against solicitors. The team has a growing focus on advice related to construction, D&O and financial institutions, whilst also advising on claims involving accountants, independent financial advisers (IFA) and brokers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide an excellent level of service that has been developed to meet the client's need."

"They are good value for money with a genuine national presence."

Notable practitioners  

James Robins is a dedicated professional negligence practitioner. He has extensive experience on property-related cases, particularly those involving surveyors and lawyers. Sources say: "He is a surveyors' negligence guru."

Significant clients AIG, QBE, Allianz, RSA, Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund.

Real Estate - Southampton and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Frequently instructed by investors and national retailers on a range of property transactions including sales, acquisitions and development projects. Also has highly specialised marine real estate expertise, advising on coastal and port infrastructure portfolios.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team is commercial, efficient and we get high-quality advice."

"The firm's lawyers are very accessible and they understand our business and what we want."

Work highlights Advised Rockspring on the £31.05 million sale of Kings and Conquest House in Kingston-upon-Thames to an institutional investor.

Acted for The Bournemouth Development Company on the construction of a student accommodation development, including the funding agreement and forward sale of the project.

Notable practitioners  

Southampton-based senior counsel Tim Baily is praised by sources for being "phenomenally clever. If you've got a deep-seated problem that needs a lot of analysis and work to get to the bottom of it, he's your man." He handles acquisitions and disposals with a particular emphasis on infrastructure.

William Akerman specialises in investment and development matters. Clients say: "He is highly organised, and commercial. He gives sensible but strong advice."

Andrew Mackean is well known for his work in the retail and education sectors. He has additional expertise in asset management and leasehold development work.

Alistair Walton has a strong reputation for property finance transactions and tends to act for retailers and corporate occupiers. He heads the firm's retail property team.  

Significant clients The Crown Estate, Specsavers, Gala Coral, ABP, B&Q.

Real Estate Litigation - The South

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Remarkable strength in depth and a wide geographical footprint through close ties with the wider national team. Broad practice covering commercial, residential and agricultural issues such as lease renewals, landlord and tenant and dilapidation claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have excellent understanding of property law and are good in terms of strategy. Billing is very precise too; there are no hidden costs."

"They're very accessible, their advice is concise and they're commercial. They understand our business and what's important for us to fight for."

Work highlights Assisted B&Q with the lease renewal of a Scarborough store.

Acted for the Post Office on the lease renewal of its premises in Swiss Cottage.

Notable practitioners  

Clients comment that key partner Mark Barley "understands our business and gives succinct advice. In the end we don't want 50-page reports - we want sincere instructions, and that is what he gives us. He never tells us to do something if he thinks it's not right."

Significant clients The Crown Estate, Specsavers, Rockspring, Sapphire, G4S.

Restructuring/Insolvency - The South

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Southampton

What the team is known for Excellent strength in depth, and the ability to handle a wide array of corporate and personal insolvency issues. Also advises on business restructurings. Recognised for its interlocking expertise in employment, pensions and environmental law.

Work highlights Acted for the administrators of Mostyns Curtains on the sale of stock and the customer database.

Advised the Hampshire Trust on the insolvency of Farnborough Football Club, its entry into administration and proposals for a CVA.

Notable practitioners  

Nicholas Keitley primarily acts for insolvency practitioners, creditors and directors in distressed corporate situations. He is experienced in handling both restructurings and solvent liquidations, and is recognised in the market as a commercially minded adviser.

Significant clients Lloyds Banking Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Begbies Traynor, Grant Thornton, Baker Tilly.

Charities - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Newcastle, Leeds, London 

What the team is known for Proficient adviser on charity law and commercial issues, spanning charity creation, governance, pensions, data protection, property and health and safety. Maintains a distinct focus within the education sector, representing an impressive number of independent schools, academies, colleges and universities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are good at what they do, particularly when acting for academies and local authorities."  

What's new? The team is joined by partner Mark Woodward, a lateral hire from Osborne Clarke.

Work highlights Advised the NSPCC on the commercial documentation and regulatory requirements associated with the establishment and management of a weekly fund-raising lottery.

Advised The Wilkinson, Cobb, & Hodgson Trust on the registration and incorporation of two charities into a single CIO, involving a complex transfer of a permanent endowment and other designated land.  

Notable practitioners  

Mark Woodward has a solid background in both private client and charity law and specialises in advising clients on tax and trust issues. He is particularly skilled in assisting charities who have international elements to their affairs.  

Head of department Emma Moody continues to cultivate a name for herself within the sector. Her clients pick up on her availability, remarking that her "responses are immediate," and further comment that her "great understanding of the sector as a whole adds value to her work."

Significant clients Addaction, Vitalise, Liverpool Hope University, General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bury Grammar Schools.

Commercial Contracts - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 23 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Impressive strength in supply and distribution agreements for clients in the retail and transport sectors. Also active in areas such as finance, insurance and real estate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are pragmatic, well resourced, practical and flexible. They are very good at what they do and well respected in the marketplace."

What's new? New client wins include John Lewis and the Ministry of Justice.

Work highlights Advised B&Q on three logistical arrangements with Wincanton including a warehousing and distribution agreement for products to be directly distributed to customers.

Advised New Look Retailers on international franchising issues with recent work in Indonesia, Thailand and Libya.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Stickland has extensive expertise in advising retailers on outsourcing and supply issues. He is also well regarded for his experience in representing clients in the food and beverages field.

Significant clients Post Office, Royal Mail Group, Kingfisher, AIG, Total.

Data Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Bristol, Southampton

What the team is known for Strong public sector offering with particular expertise in education and housing. Experience in fair processing notices and data exploitation issues, and additional capability in retail. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I like their deep understanding of data protection principles, and their understanding of the applications in the commercial environment."

"They are pragmatic and business-focused. They take the black letter of the law and make it understandable for organisations."

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Andrew Kimble has a wealth of experience in data protection, including breaches, compliance and transfers. Sources say he is "very client-focused, with a strong risk-based approach to helping with difficult regulatory issues."

Significant clients Royal Mail, Kingfisher, Specsavers, npower, Carlsberg.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 21 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Recognised for its expertise in employment, real estate and confederation work. Other areas of specialisation include governance issues and restructurings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"The advice was always sound and fit for purpose, potential risks were always pointed out and various options were offered. I always felt that tailored advice was given, and was not just an off-the-shelf solution."

Work highlights Advised the University of York on a £36 million student accommodation project.  

Advised several colleges on tax, governance and corporate matters relating to formation of the country's first shared services company within the education sector, Wessex Education Shared Services.

Notable practitioners  

Christina Tolvas-Vincent is described as a "very sensible and calm individual, with an excellent reputation." She is well regarded by the market for her employment law expertise.

Significant clients Durham University, University of Winchester, Arts University Bournemouth, Gateshead and Middlesbrough Federation of Colleges, Leeds City College.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 9 directors
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Newcastle

What the team is known for Active on an array of matters on behalf of schools, including advising on academy conversions, handling construction contracts and assisting with health and safety and procurement. Instructed by agencies, schools and councils.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are excellent. They have a very good understanding of schools and leadership issues, and they use their legal knowledge to blend the two together to offer appropriate advice from a legal perspective." 

"Their performance has been excellent, particularly in keeping us fully informed at all times on progress."

Work highlights Reappointed by the Education Funding Agency to advise on the procurement of 65 schools.

Advised Newcastle City Council on PFI, commercial and real estate issues relating to the conversion of several PFI schools to trust school status.

Notable practitioners  

Kevin Robertson is praised by clients for his ability to "get to the root of issues that concern schools. He is always very solution-focused, looking for the best possible outcome for the school." He has advised on numerous academy conversions.

Significant clients Department for Education, Carmel Education Trust, The Navigate Academies Trust, Huish Episcopi Academy, Tauheedal Schools and Academies Trust.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

What the team is known for Well regarded for its upstream oil and gas and renewable energy work. Advises on upstream matters including acquisitions, farm-ins, joint operating agreements and disputes. Renewables focus on advising developers on transactions, project financing, real estate, regulatory and planning issues.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The service has been excellent. They are willing to listen to the clients and the comments we have, and take on board our suggestions and look for solutions in that regard."

"Always very approachable, with a great belief in strong client relationships - they offer a lot of value-added services as a result."

"They give me a timely response when I need it, and they understand the urgency of what is required. The advice is spot-on; I can pick up the phone or get an e-mail and rely straight away on their advice." 

Work highlights Acted for RES and InfraRed Capital on the sale of a portfolio of wind and solar assets in the UK, Republic of Ireland and France.

Advised a joint venture between ScottishPower and Vattenfall on the development aspects of three projects offshore East Anglia.

Notable practitioners  

Luke Gabb acts for developers in relation to renewable energy projects. He largely focuses on the property and land option aspects of development projects. Sources praise his "very persuasive approach," and note that he is "adaptable and willing to find a compromise."

Simon Hughes is a real estate lawyer who acts for developers in connection with renewable energy projects. Sources say: "He is able to deal with almost any enquiry that we have and he is good at developing solutions for what we're trying to do."

Paul McGoldrick is an upstream oil and gas lawyer who is well known within the sector. Clients appreciate his industry experience, which they say gives him a "good grasp of what people in-house want." He is also singled out for his technical expertise.

Paul Stockley has extensive experience working in the upstream oil and gas sector. Clients note: "He understands our requirements and he gives good, clear advice."

Significant clients RWE, Noble Energy, Vitol, Centrica, Tullow Oil.  

Health & Safety - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Plymouth

What the team is known for Handles a mixture of defence and prosecution work, with a strong history of advising the HSE in addition to large corporate clients. Advises on several corporate manslaughter investigations, with sector expertise proven in energy, retail, construction and manufacturing. Conducts advocacy at court, inquest and tribunal.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Bond Dickinson does not cut corners: the work is always carefully and methodically done. The consistent attention to detail coupled with a very sound strategic view of a case is not found elsewhere that often." 

"Their client care is second to none. What I'd emphasise is the quality of their advice and judgement calls they make."

Work highlights Advised the HSE on a case of fatality at an event for the leisure diving industry. Causation was a major issue, with the point of conflict being whether or not the diving accident was the result of a medical condition.

Supporting the HSE in regards to the lift failure at Tower Bridge, a major incident which led to several injuries.

Notable practitioners  

The venerable Jon Cooper has prosecuted some of the most high-profile HSE cases and is particularly renowned for his asbestos-related work. Clients and peers alike consider him a trailblazer in health and safety. "He is such a genuinely skilled operator; he's on top of the strategy with every case and a doyen of the field," notes one highly impressed source.

Dale Collins has rights of audience in the higher courts, and has developed major skills as a court advocate. He has conducted a large number of gas-related prosecutions.

Nathan Peacey provides both contentious and non-contentious advice in health and safety. Market sources say: "He is very down to earth, which helps with arguing the point and persuading solicitors and judges."

Steven Brooker advised the HSE regarding the failure of a lift within Tower Bridge, which resulted in several injuries. "He is a fighter who can really go at the other side," an enthused source notes.

Significant clients B&Q, Royal Mail Group, BMW, Sainsbury's, Northern Powergrid.

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Newcastle upon Tyne

What the team is known for Strong projects and procurement work as well as crossover expertise in charity and education. Other key areas for the group include advice on waste management, PFI and urban regeneration matters.

Work highlights Acted on regeneration of the Stephenson Quarter, on behalf of Newcastle City Council. Principal aspects of the work included public procurement and negotiation of development agreements.

Advised the Royal Borough of Greenwich in connection with a district heating project, including associated ESCO (energy services company) matters.

Notable practitioners Iain Greenshields of the Newcastle office is a key contact for this practice area.

Significant clients Durham County Council, London Borough of Lewisham, Royal Borough of Greenwich, City of York Council, Portsmouth City Council.

Media & Entertainment - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Offers brand management expertise to retailers. Demonstrates particular strength in acting for clients from the alcohol, gambling and digital media industries. Handles a high volume of copy clearance work and has a depth of experience in bringing and defending ASA complaints.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"The feedback they supply is very relevant, insightful and considerate."

"They're commercial and sensible, and have handled media matters very well."

Work highlights Acted for Sainsbury's as lead counsel on the judicial review process arising from the ASA's decision to reject its complaint regarding Tesco's 'Price Promise' campaign.

Advised the Post Office on a wide range of advertising matters, in addition to reviewing all internal and external communications and providing extensive social media guidance.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Allan-Jones and Gavin Matthews are key contacts.

Significant clients Carlsberg, Immediate Media, Colgate-Palmolive, Royal Mail, Parcelforce Worldwide.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Adept at handling high-level litigation for a broad client roster. Full-spectrum expertise covering areas including professional negligence, rectification and benefit recovery.

Work highlights Represented MAN Truck & Bus UK on the rectification of pension scheme provisions for deferred members' rights to receive pensions prior to their normal retirement date, following the demerger between the MAN and VAG companies and issues in replication provisions of the pension scheme under the prior company.

Acted for the representative beneficiary of the Desmond & Sons pension scheme on an application by trustees for costs protection. The application came following a challenge to the Regulator Panel's decision on contribution notices awarded against the owners of Desmond & Sons and subsequent judicial review proceedings in Northern Ireland.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Craig Monty is regularly instructed on heavyweight litigation, including major rectification and professional negligence claims. Sources comment: "His practice would do anyone proud. It's really top-drawer." 

Joanna Bromhead is well regarded for her formidable expertise in high-end claims. Sources describe her as "extremely good," pointing to her experience in work including rectification, recovery and professional negligence.

Significant clients IBM, Tioxide, VLS, Newcastle Building Society, Woodbridge Foam UK, St Ann's Trustees.

Product Liability - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Takes on complex and multifaceted work for various household-name clients. Active in handling judicial review cases and advising on marketing and advertising claim issues as well as assisting with supply chain issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They have a good commercial view and are not narrowly legalistic."

Work highlights Appointed as lead counsel for Sainsbury's on its judicial review process against Tesco following the ASA's decision to reject Sainsbury's complaint about an alleged flaw in Tesco's Price Promise campaign.

Assisted Carlsberg UK with product development and the launch of products including Somersby Cider.

Notable practitioners  

Nicky Strong offers advice on various regulatory and marketing questions. A client lauded her ability to offer "robust advice that made us feel like we were dealing with people with expertise." Another source said: "Her advice is to the point and very commercially oriented."

Significant clients Colgate-Palmolive, Marks & Spencer, Manitowoc, Immediate Media, DS Smith. 

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Newcastle 

What the team is known for Acts for a number of local authorities on procurement processes, as well as central government and other public bodies. Particularly noted for utilities work in the energy and transport sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A great understanding of client requirements and timetables."

Work highlights Acted for the Education Funding Agency on its third national contractor framework for construction of schools.

Advised Go-Ahead Group on procurement compliance with the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2006.

Notable practitioners 

Deborah Ramshaw is head of procurement at the firm. "She is very down to earth, helpful and pleasant to work with," reports one client; "she really knows the ins and outs of procurement law." 

Significant clients Royal Mail Group, Homes & Communities Agency, Sunderland City Council, Durham County Council, Mole Valley District Council.

Retail - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 45 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office location: Southampton

What the team is known for Maintains a broad base of expertise across the full range of sector-crucial disciplines. Acts for a broad range of major retailers, including supermarkets and food and beverage chains.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are one of a handful of firms who have the specific skills, knowledge and expertise that retail in-house counsel need."

Work highlights Acted for Sainsbury's in its pursuit of a judicial review over a decision made by the ASA regarding Tesco's 'Price Promise' campaign.

Acted for Lush in a £40 million refinancing of its debt with Barclays.

Notable practitioners

The practice is led by Gavin Matthews.

Significant clients Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer, Costa Coffee, John Lewis, Post Office.

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Particularly highlighted for its strength in advising train operators on both franchising and rolling stock matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their attention to detail and client service is excellent." 

Work highlights Advised Southern Railway on the £180 million purchase of 116 Class 387 vehicles from Bombardier.

Advised Govia on its bid for the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern franchise.

Notable practitioners  

Director Kevin Bell is part of the firm's transport team and also specialises in corporate finance, with heavy involvement in franchise bids and rolling stock procurement deals. A client notes that he has "the most phenomenal capacity for hard work I have come across."

David Rewcastle advises on a range of rail-related contracts and regulatory issues, and is particularly noted for his advice on franchise bids and rolling stock deals. He "is very client-focused and keen to understand what we need, and always delivers on time," said one client.

Significant clients Go Ahead Group, Southeastern Railway, Bombardier.