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Burges Salmon LLP

Bristol

Burges Salmon LLP - Bristol
  • 1 Glass Wharf
  • Bristol
  • Bristol
  • UK
  • BS2 0ZX
  • Managing Partner Peter Morris
  • Senior Partner Alan Barr
  • Number of partners 79
  • Assistant solicitors 80
  • Other fee earners  183

THE FIRM Burges Salmon is a leading UK law firm with global reach. It prides itself on an ability to offer a broad range of high quality legal services to a national and international client base, which ranges from FTSE listed companies, to government departments and public bodies, to executives and high net worth individuals.
During 2012 the firm,which has its head office in Bristol, relocated its London office to an award winning development at New Street Square, offering clients the same high quality services from either location.
With a reputation for technical excellence and commercially sound advice, the firm’s partners focus on building strong relationships with clients, working with them to agree the right legal team to meet their business needs. In 2013, three new partners were made up by the firm: international tax and trusts specialist Suzanna Harvey and Nick Churchward and James Phillips from the firm’s award-winning energy and environment team.

Corporate Responsibility: Burges Salmon also collaborates with a wide range of organisations to build strong, sustainable relationships which have a lasting impact across three main areas: community, education and environment. The firm was a founder member of the Legal Sector Alliance.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK
Banking & Finance:
Advising on corporate banking, asset finance, regulation, structured finance, corporate turnaround, securitisations, derivatives, real estate finance and project finance.
Commercial: Advising on general commercial, UK/EU competition, regulation, projects, procurement, IP, sports and technology, media and telecoms across a wide range of industry sectors.
Corporate: Acting on a broad range of complex transactions for public and private companies, financial institutions, partnerships, co-operatives and individuals, advising on M&A (public and private), private equity, equity capital markets and joint ventures.
Disputes & Litigation: Specialising in corporate, financial services, environment, rail, real estate, construction, health and safety, sports, media, IP, insolvency, pensions, insurance and professional negligence.
Employment: Working with a wide range of UK and multinational employers handling complex projects including business restructures and outsourcings in multiple jurisdictions, as well as day to day issues.
Energy & Natural Resources: Offering highly regarded specialist niche practices across renewables, oil and gas, power and electricity generation, resource and waste management and water. The firm is also widely recognised for its national and international nuclear expertise.
Financial Services: Operating across a range of specialist areas including regulatory, banking, corporate, insurance, tax, pensions and disputes, asset management and investment funds, creating a genuinely industry focused service.
Food, Farming & Land: Providing a formidable service right across the food production chain, of which farming is an integral part. The firm’s comprehensive range of services include advice on tenancy litigation, estates and tax planning and co-operative law.
Infrastructure: Offering award-winning expertise across the infrastructure sector including energy, education, rail, justice/emergency services, defence, transport and central/local government. Advice includes procurement, planning, construction, project finance and statutory regulation. 
Pensions & Incentives: Working across more than 600 pensions schemes across the UK, the firm has one of the largest national pensions practices comprising 32 talented lawyers.
Private Client: Providing an expanding UK and international client base with advice on tax and succession planning; trusts, wills and probate; tax compliance and investigations and family/co-habitation advice. Also advising a number of banks/trust companies as clients, and has specialist remuneration and charities units.
Rail: Advising owners and train operating companies on industry changes, bids for passenger rail franchises and rolling stock procurements. The firm also advises train operating companies and their insurers on major rail accidents and offers a 24 hour emergency response service.
Real Estate: Advising high profile national and international clients, with lawyers qualified in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, this team consistently works on some of the UK’s most demanding transactions.
Tax: Providing direct or indirect commercial tax advice to corporates, private clients, public sector organisations and intermediaries, as well as entrepreneurs and other Burges Salmon departments and sectors. It also has extensive experience of representing clients in tax disputes with HMRC.

RECRUITMENT: The firm is always interested in hearing from individuals across all practice areas. Contact Katy Main, Recruitment Manager, on (0117) 902 7797 or email: katy.main@burges-salmon.com.

CLIENTS: Burges Salmon’s clients include well-known organisations such as The Crown Estate, Eurostar, the Discovery Channel, Lloyds Banking Group, the Co-operative Group, Babcock International Group, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and FirstGroup.

INTERNATIONAL: The firm works across all parts of the UK and in all the major European and international jurisdictions. Its objective is to provide clients with excellent service and advice, working with other high-quality, independent law firms around the world to meet their international needs, where relevant.

    Contacts
  • Practice areas 
  • Banking & Finance Richard Leeming
  • Commercial Helen Scott-Lawler
  • Competition Laura Claydon
  • Construction Marcus Harling
  • Corporate Richard Spink
  • Corporate Tax Nigel Popplewell 
  • Disputes & Litigation Paul Haggett
  • Employment Roger Bull
  • Environment Michael Barlow
  • Health & Safety Ann Metherall
  • IP Jeremy Dickerson
  • Partnerships John Barnett
  • Pensions & Incentives Richard Knight
  • Planning Gary Soloman 
  • Private Client Catherine Hallam
  • Regulatory Ian Salter
  • Sectors 
  • Aerospace & Defence Mark Paterson
  • Banks & Building Societies Sandra Forbes
  • Corporate 
  • Energy & Natural Resources Ross Fairley
  • Financial Products & Funds Chris Godfrey
  • Food, Farming & Land William Neville
  • Infrastructure Will Gard
  • Insurance Kari McCormick
  • Leisure & Recreation Richard Read
  • Nuclear Ian Salter
  • Public 
  • Rail Chris Jackson
  • Real Estate Richard Clark
  • Sport Mark Gay
  • Technology, Media & Telecoms Andrew Dunlop 
  • Transport Nick Olley
  • Community Engagement Keith Beattie
  • Pro Bono Philip Davey

Branches

Construction - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Sought after by a range of clients, such as Helius Energy and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, for high-profile construction work in the renewables, nuclear and waste sectors. Regularly acts for developers like the Crown Estate on a range of matters. Ranked office in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "We have projects going on with them all over the country."

Notable practitioners Marcus Harling is the key contact.

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

What the team is known for Advises on a broad spectrum of high-end domestic and international corporate transactions. Wide industry expertise includes the energy, transport, logistics, financial services and food and drink sectors. Ranked office in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "My corporate law firm of choice - they are very accessible, even though they are not in London."

Notable practitioners Richard Spink is the key contact.

Employment - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for A regional powerhouse that acts for both public authorities and market-leading private sector companies. All bases are covered, from discrimination and employment litigation to restructurings, restrictive covenants and TUPE transfers. Examples of leading clients include The Crown Estate, BAE Systems, FirstGroup and Babcock. Ranked office in Bristol.

Notable practitioners Roger Bull leads the work of the team.

Intellectual Property - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Represents industry-leading clients at a national level and on cross-border concerns relating to IP law. Delivers guidance on a spread of issues including licensing agreements, contentious and non-contentious trade mark advice and IP-affected corporate transactions. Key clients are drawn from a number of sectors, as illustrated by such names as Coca-Cola HBC, FirstGroup, RAC and the Discovery Channel. Ranked offices in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capabilities: "You certainly get the sense that no distance is too far in terms of how far they'll go out."

Notable practitioners

Helen Scott-Lawler heads the team.

Litigation - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Superb commercial litigation group handling an incredibly broad range of disputes for large clients. Receives instructions from such names as Eurostar, Nationwide Building Society, Harrods, Coca-Cola and the Co-operative Bank. Also has a considerable in-house advocacy capability. Ranked office in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "The firm's unique selling point is that it's a non-London firm offering a national service, which is what attracts clients."

Notable practitioners David Hall is the key contact.

Real Estate - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Bristol-headquartered practice advising some of the biggest name landowners, including The Crown Estate, on high-profile matters throughout the UK. National leader for wind farm and nuclear energy work. Ranked office in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
National capability: "We get a full London service at a City-level standard."

Notable practitioners Richard Clark is the key contact.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

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

What the team is known for Experience across a broad range of areas, including expertise in working with landed estates regarding tax, trusts, property and litigation.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "A very impressive firm in terms of technical expertise."  

Commercial awareness: "They are commercially very astute lawyers. I can't think of anything negative to say about them."

Work highlights Advised Milk Link in its merger with the Danish dairy co-operative Arla Foods amba, in a deal that was completed under Danish law.  

Notable practitioners  

Alastair Morrison is an agricultural property expert with experience in commercial and residential transactions. 

William Neville is an agricultural litigator and agribusiness specialist. Clients report that he has a "very powerful mind" and is a "good analyst."  

Charles Wyld represents private clients, advising them on estate planning and tax issues. 

Kevin Kennedy is described by a source as "a proficient litigator." He works on matters relating to trusts and property.

Tom Hewitt trained as a chartered surveyor, and has a niche specialism in tax and trusts. Clients attest that "he has an instinctive feel for land issues."

Significant clients The Crown Estate, the National Trust, Co-operative Group, HSBC. 

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Recognised as one of the strongest banking and finance practices in the region. Continues to cover a broad range of complex matters including acquisition, real estate and asset finance, derivatives and treasury transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Regional capabiliyy: "In Bristol, Burges Salmon is by far the strongest banking practice. The feedback from people who deal with the firm is that it does a very thorough job. It is the institutional firm for banking in the region."

Client service: "The firm that probably impressed us the most is Burges Salmon in Bristol. They are really great. The work they do for us has been technically challenging and less than straightforward, but they have coped very well. This is work we would normally give to a magic circle firm but they are great. They impress us as they delegate work but then the juniors know what to pass to partner level or not."

Work highlights Advised London Waste & Recycling Board and Investec Bank regarding the project finance of a waste-to-energy plant.

Advised Albemarle & Bond Holdings on the £65 million revolving credit facility provided by Barclays and Lloyds TSB.

Notable practitioners  

Head of the firm's corporate and financial institutions team, Sandra Forbes has swathes of experience in corporate banking, asset and project finance. Sources consider her "very responsive, commercial and knowledgeable." She recently led the team on a £70 million revolving credit facility provided by Lloyds TSB.

The "very commercial" Richard Leeming is lauded by peers and clients for his expertise in banking and finance matters. Sources are impressed by his ability to master technically challenging and complex issues, as well as his "good communication and management."

Significant clients RBS, Santander, Helius Energy, Imperial Tobacco, HSBC.

Since publication, Sandra Forbes has moved in-house.

Since publication, Sandra Forbes has moved in-house.

Charities - South West

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Advising charity and social enterprise clients on a range of issues, including real estate, pensions and tax. Collaborates extensively with the education group and can count a number of colleges and universities amongst its clients.

Notable practitioners  

Charles Wyld is a key contact at the firm.

Construction - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers
- Ranked office locations: Bristol

What the team is known for Market leader in Bristol. Noted for its focus on the transport, education and renewable sectors.

What's new? New clients include Neales Waste Management and Vattenfall Wind Power.

Appointed to the University of Exeter panel.

Work highlights Advised Helius Energy on the procurement of several biomass power stations.

Advised Bristol Airport on framework agreements in relation to its £150 million expansion.

Notable practitioners  

Will Gard is a key partner specialising in dispute resolution and non-contentious energy projects. He is also a chartered civil engineer.

Marcus Harling heads the department and has over 20 years of construction law experience. Marcus is well respected by his peers and his clients include Devon County Council and Herman Miller.

Significant clients GLA, The Crown Estate, HSBC, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Corporate/M&A - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners 
- 27 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Frequently instructed by major players in the oil and gas market. Also active in the food and drink sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "The difference is that they are very commercial and that is what you need for a business: a very practical commercial focus."

Work highlights Advised E.ON Ruhrgas on its EUR117 million sale of its interest in subsea gas pipeline owner IUK.

Acted on the merger of Milk Link with Danish dairy co-operative Arla Foods.

Notable practitioners

Christopher Godfrey is described by peers as "exceptional." He specialises in financial services matters.

Richard Spink heads the department and acts for clients including Petrochem Careless. His specialisms include private equity matters.

Alan Barr advises corporate clients on a range of matters, with particular focus on the food and drink sector.

Nick Graves acts for clients including the Competition Commission on issues arising out of the £807.2 million sale of Edinburgh airport by BAA Airports.

Rupert Weston acted for FirstGroup on its disposals of bus operations around the country.

Dominic Davis acts for UFC Fund Management. One client says he is "a joy to work with, a nice guy and extremely responsive."

Camilla Usher-Clark specialises in M&A work, particularly in the food and drink sector. Peers say: "She is very good and also does a lot of restructuring."

Significant clients Cobham, Jarden, PFW Aerospace UK, YTL Hotels & Resorts, Adelie Foods.

Employment - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 10 senior associates
- 4 associates
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Engages frequently in cross-border work and international outsourcing projects. Also houses strengths in employment-related restructuring advice. Increasingly active in advising the financial services sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "They impress me. In terms of their service offering, there's a high level of quality. What differentiates them from other firms is that they have a real knowledge of and familiarity with our sector."

Work highlights Advised Thomson Reuters on complex employment tribunal claims concerning allegations of discrimination. 

Advised MITIE on a major outsourcing deal with Lloyds Banking Group, including negotiating employment and pensions provisions as well as the transfer of approximately 2,500 employees.

Notable practitioners  

Roger Bull has particular expertise in tribunal advocacy, redundancy, restructurings and internal dispute resolution procedures. He has a good reputation amongst his peers and is regarded as a "very capable and steady lawyer." Bull heads the employment team.

"Robust" Christopher Seaton is rated for his "sound legal advice." He acts for a large number of international clients and co-ordinates employment advice across a range of jurisdictions.

Adrian Martin has expertise in outsourcings, TUPE matters, restructurings and handling complex tribunal claims. Clients comment that "Adrian knows his subject inside out and takes a very commercial attitude to what we do." Another adds: "He is calm, collected and very sensible."

Significant clients Babcock International Group, BAE Systems, FirstGroup, the Office of Fair Trading, Bank of Ireland.

Environment - South West

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

What the team is known for Established environment group, particularly noted for its strong nuclear practice. Handles a wide variety of transactional, regulatory and litigation work.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "It's nice to pick up the phone and call people who really do understand this stuff. They are aware of the legal aspects and the subject matter and they are very easy to talk to."

Market standing: "They have very good attention to detail and they also have very good client relationships - the clients are long-established and trust Burges Salmon to the nth degree."

Market standing: "One of the best environment practices outside London."

What's new? The firm was appointed to Ofgem's panel for environment work.

Other new clients include the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) and the Canal & River Trust.

Work highlights Advised Gwynedd Council on a waste anaerobic digestion project worth £20 million. The team worked in conjunction with several other departments, including real estate, construction and planning.

Advised DECC on the creation and development of the ECO brokerage platform, designed to help the government comply with obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008.

Notable practitioners 

Ross Fairley has a thriving practice which focuses on energy and environment issues. In a recent case, he advised the Small Hydro Company in a dispute related to fishing rights. Sources describe him as an "accomplished practitioner," adding that he focuses on "what really matters for the client."

Described as "the guru of nuclear," Ian Salter's practice focus is exemplified by his recent work for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, when he advised on a £3 billion cleanup contract. Sources add that "he epitomises the service culture" at the firm.  

Michael Barlow is recognised by peers for his contentious environment practice. Sources say: "He is thorough, he has a calming, steadying manner and he brings a career's worth of experience in heavy environment disputes when he advises." 

Significant clients Marks & Spencer, The Co-operative Bank, Wessex Water, Carbon Trust, Environment Agency (EA).   

Family/Matrimonial - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Focuses primarily upon complex financial issues arising from separation, but is also noted for its asset protection and collaborative law expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "I appreciated their clear and concise advice, and prompt response times."

Technical ability: "They have a high level of international competence; they are excellent solicitors who combine litigation skills with a very strong pursuit of client interests."

Notable practitioners  

Catherine Hallam "brings experience and excellent judgement" to her cases, according to sources. She is held in high regard for her expertise in high-value and complex financial settlements, which frequently involve tax, pension and international issues.

Sources note that Sarah Woodsford has "a lot to offer in terms of professional approach, and a high level of client care." She is recognised for her handling of complex financial disputes and asset protection, including drafting significant prenuptial agreements.

Information Technology - South West

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

What the team is known for Regional firm with a truly national presence. Capacity and experience to handle large and complicated technology mandates.  

Work highlights Advised GDF SUEZ on a high-value cross-border outsourcing project.

Advised automotive distributor and retailer Inchcape on a joint venture with SAP to develop resource planning software, as well as an offshoring agreement with Tata Consultancy Services of India regarding software development and implementation services.

Notable practitioners 

The "eminently capable" Andrew Dunlop heads the firm's IT department and so supervises many of its most complex projects. He is considered by sources to be "very pragmatic" and "easy to deal with." 

Significant clients Coca-Cola Hellenic, BMI Healthcare, Genel Energy, Standard Chartered Bank, Thomson Reuters.

Intellectual Property - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 trade mark attorney
- 1 trade mark administrator
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Strong offerings in both contentious and non-contentious matters. High-quality advice regarding corporate restructurings and M&A. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of service: "I think they're very good, great value for money. Everyone is very competent and responsive. They work very well as a team. It's a real pleasure working with them."

Work highlights Defended Discovery Communications Europe against claims of trade mark infringement and passing off brought by A&E Television Networks and AETN UK.

Continual assistance to Virgin Enterprises concerning the exploitation, enforcement and protection of its IP rights.

Notable practitioners  

Head of IP litigation Jeremy Dickerson is regularly called upon for some of the biggest IP cases in the UK. Client note that "he gets to grips with the risk very quickly so the advice is very tailored to our needs." Sources add that "it's the commercial awareness coupled with legal acumen that sets him apart." Notable recent work includes the Discovery Communications Europe litigation.

Helen Scott-Lawler primarily works in the non-contentious side of IP, and regularly advises clients on matters ranging from brand protection to restructurings. She was recently lead partner for the firm's work with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Associate Emily Roberts assists clients with both contentious and non-contentious matters. Clients relate that you "never have to wait more than a day to get a response." In addition, her "advice is always very solid" and she is "always very thorough, very business-savvy and practical."

Significant clients Coca-Cola Hellenic, Harrods, Starbucks.

Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 34 other qualified lawyers
- 2 chartered civil engineers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Renowned for its breadth of work and specialist expertise. Involved in a variety of sectors including banking and financial services, fraud and corruption, sport and IP.

Work highlights Advising TV network Discovery on a trade mark infringement and passing-off claim brought against it by A&E Television Networks and AETN UK.

Instructed to obtain an order enabling Helpshire to gain access to doctored information held by Autofocus regarding car hire rates.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Paul Haggett specialises in commercial disputes, insolvency litigation and professional negligence. One client describes him as "very astute and commercially aware."

Dispute resolution head David Hall has a great deal of experience on contentious matters arising in the financial sector, including fraud cases. Peers acknowledge him as a "highly robust" and competent opponent.

Managing partner Peter Morris advises on commercial property disputes, judicial review, professional negligence and contentious tax. "He is incredibly conscientious," said one interviewee. 

Senior associate Ian Tucker advises on transport disputes and judicial review, as well as regulatory and partnership matters. Sources say he is "well organised and extremely professional in his approach," as well as "highly impressive on complex, commercial disputes."

Pensions - South West

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

What the team is known for Largest pensions group in the South West, with a stellar national reputation. Boasts an impressive client base and acts for more than 600 pension schemes. Advises trustees and employers on a wide spectrum of complex issues. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "The team easily matches up to the big London firms." 

Client service: "There's exemplary service from the team in terms of response times, value for money and appropriateness of advice."

Market standing: "Burges Salmon is pre-eminent."  

Work highlights Continues to advise Western Power Distribution on all of its pension arrangements, including the £2.5 billion Electricity Supply Pension Scheme for Central Networks.

Advised the Yell (now Hibu) Pension Scheme trustees on the global restructuring of the Yell Group, worth more than £2 billion.

Notable practitioners  

Tim Illston is recognised as "very pragmatic and proportionate," with one commentator adding: "You would have to go a long way to find anyone as good!" He has recently acted for clients such as Agusta Westland and the trustees of the Misys pensions schemes.

Richard Knight heads up the pensions team and is noted as a "very impressive" practitioner with excellent communication skills. He is able to advise on all areas of pensions law.

Sources praise Clive Pugh as "very knowledgeable about pensions law." He previously spent five years working for the Pensions Regulator, which enables him to offer clients "insightful, value-added advice."

Claire Rankin is a well-respected senior associate, able to advise on the full range of non-contentious pensions issues. A current area of focus is automatic enrolment.

Alice Honeywill is a "very bright" associate with extensive experience in documentation exercises and in advising trustees on wide-ranging matters. One client states: "She is an absolute star."

Significant clients Western Power Distribution, the University of Oxford, Agusta Westland, National Museum Wales, Exeter University.

Planning - South West

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

What the team is known for Strong offering in the energy sector for both local authorities and energy companies. Works for the public and private sectors on significant infrastructure agreements.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They're incredibly efficient. As a group, they're superb. They are a rival for any City firm."

What's new? Elizabeth Dunn was promoted to partner.

The team gained Isle of Anglesey County Council as a new client.

Work highlights Acted for the Environment Agency on the proposed £2 billion Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Advised Isle of Anglesey County Council on its responses to applications for major energy projects, including nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Notable practitioners

Patrick Robinson's peers say: "He does a lot of planning advocacy himself and he's superb, very proactive and experienced in this area."

Elizabeth Dunn specialises in renewable energy projects. Peers say she is "excellent; very client-focused, very proactive and efficient."

Julian Boswall acts for clients on major energy, waste and infrastructure projects.

Gary Soloman's clients include North Somerset District Council. He possesses particular expertise in infrastructure projects.

Associate Sarah Sutherland's peers describe her as "very switched-on and efficient."

Significant clients Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, East Devon District Council, RES UK and Ireland, RWE, Magnox.

Private Client - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Undisputed market leaders for all aspects of non-contentious private client work. Particular strength in tax and succession planning, with the ability to advise on wealth protection for non-domiciled high net worth individuals and offshore trustees. Clients range from substantial landed estates to business owners.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Practical advice: "They have a dedicated team that ensures the big picture is understood. They are able to think outside the box."

Technical ability: "They are very cerebral and I cannot fault their technical input."

Bench strength: "They have more partners and a bigger set-up that adds value."

Notable practitioners 

John Barnett receives high praise from market commentators, who draw particular attention to his strength in tax planning.

Charles Wyld commands respect from all corners of the market for his handling of issues facing high net worth individuals. Commentators note that "he is able to assess situations very quickly and keeps us informed on how cases are progressing."

International wealth and asset specialist Beatrice Puoti routinely advises non-domiciled clients, bringing particular knowledge of Italian and French law. Market sources state: "She has a reputation for being extremely hard-working, and clients value that." 

Professional Negligence - South West

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

What the team is known for Chiefly represents claimants, with a strong client base which features many leading financial institutions. Disputes team with broad expertise spanning many industry sectors, regularly handling matters for solicitors and surveyors, amongst others.  

Work highlights Running several claims for Nationwide Building Society in a portfolio of high-value claims from nearly 30 leading surveyors' and solicitors' firms.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Morris is especially noted for his litigation skills. He is respected by peers and described as "a safe pair of hands."

Significant clients The Co-operative Bank, Nationwide Building Society, Lloyds TSB, Handelsbanken, Geoffrey Osborne.

Real Estate - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 25 partners 
- 74 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for A well-established Bristol firm with a strong presence throughout the UK. Noted for its work with international investors. Acts for leading landowners and developers on high-profile matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "They start off from a point of view of 'let's get this done' not 'let's make this difficult'. A commercial, can-do attitude."

Breadth of services: "As a team they are very effective; they cover an awful lot of specialisations, so we never feel that we might be out of our depth."

What's new? Will Woodall, who specialises in investment work and renewable energy, is promoted to partner.

Work highlights Advised The Crown Estate on its St James's portfolio, including its £87 million acquisition of Princes House, Piccadilly.

Acted on the £17.5 million acquisition of 28-29 Savile Row, London, for the trustees of the Savile Row Investments Unit Trust.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Richard Clark advised The Crown Estate on the £36.5 million disposal of the Grade II-listed 88 St James's Street, London. 

Real estate finance specialist Paul Browne's clients include the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Significant clients Aviva Investors, CBRE Global Investors, Lloyds Banking Group, Infinis, St Modwen.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for Moves up the bands this year having received accolades for the strength of its real estate litigation practice. Offers a comprehensive service to clients. Experience in property insolvency and portfolio management issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "Burges Salmon is particularly cerebral in the advice that it gives and is not scared of arriving at a firm conclusion."

Technical ability: "They have great attention to detail and they all seem to be very experienced."

Market standing: "Burges Salmon is at the top in Bristol." 

Work highlights
Acted for Darwin Property Investment Management on a dispute relating to the development of holiday lodges and interference with the rights of adjoining landowners.

Advised the claimants on a £3.3 million overage dispute in the context of a sale of development land.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Bedford heads the team and handles a very broad spectrum of property disputes. One impressed interviewee says: "He's got business acumen coming out of his fingertips."

Significant clients The Crown Estate, the National Trust, Nationwide Building Society, S J Hambros (Falcon Property), Goldman Sachs.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

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

What the team is known for Large team with considerable experience advising on corporate turnaround and insolvency across a variety of industries. Particularly sought by lenders for industry knowledge of agribusinesses and hotels and leisure.

Work highlights Advised Zolfo Cooper, in their role as the administrators of Hawkin's Bazaar, on the closure of 57 stores and the sale of the eight remaining stores by management buyout.

Advised Vail Williams on the LPA receivership of a commercial property portfolio valued at £125 million and held in an offshore limited partnership structure.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Patrick Cook "would be capable of handling anything," according to market sources. He is very highly regarded amongst clients and fellow practitioners who note that he "stands out" and is "hugely strong" in corporate and non-contentious restructuring matters.

Richard Clark  is well-known in the market as a "very bright" and technically gifted senior associate with an excellent grasp of insolvency law.

Significant clients Nationwide Building Society, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, HSBC Bank, Capmark Management.  

Tax - South West

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

What the team is known for Strong practice in corporate transaction-related tax matters, and in tax advice related to restructuring, strategic planning, and property and investment funds.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Quality: "Diligent; methodical; organised; excellent communication."

Client service: "We have built a high level of relationship with them. I would trust them to make a judgement in any transaction."

Work highlights Advised shareholders of Petrochem Carless on the tax implications of their sale of controlling shares.

Notable practitioners 

Corporate tax partner Nigel Popplewell is praised by clients for his technical skills and his client service, endeavouring "to understand not just how to answer the questions, but how to attack the issues in the interests of our business."

John Barnett is qualified as both a solicitor and a chartered tax adviser. He has particular expertise in capital gains tax and investment income tax.

Significant clients The Bath Priory, Yeo Valley Group, FirstGroup.

Competition/European Law - The Regions

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 2 associates
- Office locations ranked: Bristol 

What the team is known for A regional heavyweight in the competition market. Praised for its industry-specific expertise that benefits clients from such sectors as transport. Experienced at handling the competition elements of transactions and litigation, both domestically and at the European level.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market knowledge: "They have a wide breadth of experience and a pragmatic commercial approach."

"They have a great understanding of our market." 

 Reputation: "The competition group punches above its weight and is entirely at ease with the larger London firms."

What's new? New clients this year include the energy regulator Ofgem and the Competition Commission.

Work highlights Following its successful representation of the Co-operative Group in appealing the OFT's tobacco price-fixing decision, the group is now advising Somerfield in appeal proceedings regarding the same decision and the repayment of fines.

Advised Cardiff City Transport Services in a follow-on damages case at the CAT, successfully reducing the amount claimed from over £55 million to less than £100,000.

Notable practitioners  

Laura Claydon is widely respected as a "very incisive and solution-oriented" practice head. Clients value that "she understands our business well and tends to think in a broader context." She was the lead partner on the Somerfield appeal case mentioned above.

Clients say Matthew O'Regan is an "intelligent individual with an incredible memory" and "excellent in court." He has impressive experience in handling transactions and competition investigations, both in the UK and at the European level.

Significant clients First Group, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Arla Milk Link, Eurostar International, Abellio.

Asset Finance - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Specialist rail finance team particularly commended for its work advising ROSCOs, as well as major banks and the Department for Transport.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They spend time really trying to find out what it is the client wants to achieve, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. They identify areas which you might not know you had a weakness in."

Work highlights Advised Abellio Greater Anglia on numerous operating leases.

Advises the Department for Transport on rolling stock approvals and franchise agreement amendments.

Notable practitioners

Brioney Thomas is described by clients as "an expert in her field – we can rely on her." She is known in the market for her expertise in rail vehicle leasing.

Significant clients FirstGroup, Mersey Rail, Northern Rail, Handelsbanken, Department for Transport. 

Capital Markets - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers 
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Remains one of the few well-established AIM practices outside of London, offering significant cost advantages to clients. Provides experience across a broad range of sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "The whole team were excellent, available at all times and very responsive."  

Work highlights Represented Newbury Racecourse in connection with a £6.4 million share buy-back from Guinness Peat Group. The shares held by GPG amounted to approximately 29.9% of the Newbury Racecourse's issued share capital.

Acted for long-standing client Supercart with regard to a placing, which included a whitewash under Rule 9 of the Takeover Code.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Spink is the key contact.

Significant clients Petards Group, Supercart, Newbury Racecourse, ITM Power, Gooch & Housego.

Construction - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Expanding construction team with a notable presence in the renewable energy, transport, waste and nuclear sectors. The group has a lively disputes practice in addition to its non-contentious work.

What's new? New clients include Vattenfall Wind Power, Wave Hub and Neales Waste Management. 

Work highlights Acting for Meygen on a significant 398 MW tidal power project in Scotland.

Advised Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles on its bid to supply depots and trains to the Crossrail project.

Notable practitioners  

Sources admire Marcus Harling's presentation and strategic skills. He is the firm's relationship partner for the Greater London Authority, and is experienced in both the contentious and non-contentious aspects of construction law.

Will Gard "understands the interaction of commercial and legal risk," according to clients. He has recently acted as lead partner on various instructions from Wavehub. Clients benefit from his qualification as a chartered civil engineer and active arbitrator and adjudicator.

Significant clients Helius Energy, The Crown Estate, Costain, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, University of Exeter. 

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- Offices in Bristol and London

What the team is known for Vast experience in advising clients on nuclear and renewables matters, including wave and tidal projects. Involved in the UK's first deep geothermal project.

Strengths (Mainly quotes from clients)
Bench strength: "This is a very good energy practice, home to excellent individuals."

Industry knowledge: "They have a deep knowledge of the renewables market."

What's new? Elizabeth Dunn and Will Woodall have been made up to partnership, and Rachel Blackburn has joined the firm as an associate from JPMorgan Chase subsidiary EcoSecurities.

Work highlights Acted for Helius Energy on a 100 MW biomass plant project at Avonmouth.

Continued assistance with Marks & Spencer on its 'Plan A' Sustainability Programme to support new renewable energy generation.

Notable practitioners  

"Top-notch" Ross Fairley's renewables practice has gone from strength to strength this year. He worked on the aforementioned Avonmouth biomass plant and represents MeyGen in relation to a 400 MW tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth off the north coast of Scotland.

Clients say that noted power practitioner Ian Salter is "very knowledgeable in the nuclear sector - he has a lot of experience across different areas, having dealt with environment, regulatory and energy issues, and he understands the industry very well."

Clients are thrilled with the level of service provided by Nick Churchward: "We enjoy working with him and he's very much on the ball. He's very good at acting in the best interests of the client in achieving commercially sound targets."

Significant clients Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Seagreen, Magnox, International Nuclear Services, Imperial College.

Health & Safety - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 12 qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Strength of offering to clients in the sport and rail sectors. Advises on a wealth of matters, from emerging regulations and nascent legislation such as corporate manslaughter law to investigations and prosecutions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "A very high level of professionalism coupled with an understanding of our business - at times it felt like an extension to our team."

Responsiveness: "The firm is very responsive and picks up the phone all the time. First rate."

Work highlights Acted for Reliance Secure Task Management in the inquest following a death in custody.

Notable practitioners 

Sources highlight Christopher Jackson's focus on understanding and helping clients. Clients delight in the skill and speed of his service, with one saying: "He is simply the best lawyer I have ever used. He is technical, fast and brilliant in strategic planning." 

Ann Metherall heads up the health and safety group, bringing direct experience of construction issues to the table as a chartered civil engineer. Sources describe her as "extremely conscientious and very user-friendly." 

Significant clients Merseyrail, London South Eastern Trains.

Investment Funds - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Retains a good share of the open-ended funds market, guiding clients through fund launches, restructurings and wind-ups. Strong grasp of regulatory issues concerning retail funds.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The whole team is very strong, they clearly work well together and provide a first-class service."

Market standing: "As a team, they punch above their weight."  

Work highlights Acted for UFC Fund Management on the purchase of Investment Funds Services, an authorised corporate director with more than £800 million of assets under management.  

Advised Octopus Investments on the transfer of a regulated retail fund to City Financial.  

Notable practitioners  

Christopher Godfrey maintains a broad corporate finance practice, using his extensive experience to advise investment funds on a range of corporate issues.  

Significant clients Close Asset Management, Marlborough Fund Managers, Virgin Money, BNP Paribas, Sarasin & Partners.  

Local Government - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Experts in PFI/PPP transactions and procurement for major projects and development work. Also handles contentious disputes and judicial reviews, and is renowned for its expertise in the energy sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Burges Salmon provides an extremely thorough and comprehensive service. The team is open and client-focused, and its members are always available to discuss any issue when needed. They continue to demonstrate extensive understanding and knowledge of relevant issues and provide prompt advice, which is both informed and assured."

Client service: "The team has the ability to tailor advice to their audience. Being able to call them whenever necessary is a testament to the firm's ethos and working practices. As a client, you feel that they care, and the advice given always reflects this."

Commercial awareness: "Burges Salmon were very commercially aware and looking to achieve the best for their client."

Work highlights Advised North Somerset Council and Bristol City Council on the £142 million South Bristol Link road.

Represents St Modwen Developments, in partnership with Taunton Deane Borough Council, in a major regeneration scheme.

Notable practitioners  

Gary Soloman has a solid reputation amongst both local government practitioners and local authorities, and routinely advises on major transport and energy projects. Clients say: "He is calm and collected with great attention to detail."

Significant clients Isle of Anglesey County Council, Pembrokeshire County Council, Avon and Somerset Police Authority, Greater London Authority.

Outsourcing - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 6 dedicated partners
- 18 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Works across a broad range of projects, including IT, business process, infrastructure and energy outsourcings. Clients include both suppliers and customers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The team is mindful of our critical ongoing relationship."

Technical ability: "We use them for large contracts with complex commercial packages. They understand the nuances of successful negotiations."

Commercial awareness: "They are excellent at identifying the benefits and working through client requirements."

Work highlights Advised MITIE Group on a significant facilities management outsourcing contract with Lloyds TSB.

Assisted Thomson Reuters with an international technology outsourcing project in Asia.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Dunlop advises on a broad range of transactions. Sources describe him as knowledgeable and commercially minded, adding that "he provides solid and sensible advice."

Significant clients Coca-Cola, Inchcape, Ministry of Defence, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, The Home Office.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 1 associate
- Recommended office locations: Bristol

What the team is known for Cross-practice team acting on partnership issues across a wide selection of industries, particularly farming. Expertise in partnerships for use in tax mitigation and fund vehicles, as well as on contentious matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Bench strength: "Burges Salmon has very strong resources for dealing with complex matters. If anything needs researching it will be done."

Client service: "Members always give objective advice and look out for the client's interests."

Work highlights Advised the claimant on a High Court partnership dispute concerning the valuation of a farming partnership composed of family members following the death of one partner and the retirement of two others.

Notable practitioners

John Barnett is the key contact.

Significant clients Eclipse Investor Services.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 1 partner
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Bristol

What the team is known for Leading Bristol-based group able to provide comprehensive pensions litigation services. Works in close collaboration with the firm's non-contentious pensions team.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "The quality of the work was first-class."

Market standing: "Excellent – the team punches above its weight and does a really good job."

Work highlights Acted for the trustees of the QinetiQ Pension Scheme in a construction claim brought to determine whether the trustees had the legal power to change from RPI to CPI to calculate future benefit increases and for the revaluation of deferred benefits. 

Advised the representative beneficiary of a group of members of the Hycalog Pension Scheme on issues connected to a scheme merger that was thought to be valid but not to have completed.

Notable practitioners  

The "tenacious" Justin Briggs advises on all types of pensions disputes. Sources praise his "exceptional knowledge in his field" and "positive, proactive approach." 

Significant clients Trustees of the Great Lakes Pension Scheme, trustees of the Pioneer GB Pension Scheme, Volvo Group Pension Scheme/Kevin Capes, trustees of the Alitalia Italian Airlines Pension and Assurance Scheme, The Association of British Airways Pensioners.

Projects - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- Offices in London and Bristol

What the team is known for Acting on PFI/PPP-related projects in a large number of sectors. Advises on areas such as defence, energy, education and waste.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "They are very astute and engaged with us, they won't just give you reactive advice, they take a proactive stance and overall deliver a very rounded service."

Problem solving: "They do high-quality, solutions-oriented work."

Notable practitioners 

Mark Paterson has a good reputation in the market and is particularly active in areas such as defence and the nuclear sector. Sources say: "He is very good; pragmatic, reasonable and knowledgeable."

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 1 director 
- 20 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Offers a broad procurement practice to clients in the utilities, transport and education industries and other areas of the public sector. Particularly known for its expertise in nuclear power and complex competitive processes.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Their responsiveness has been great; they meet our expectations and get on very well with the team."

Client service: "We put them under quite intense pressure and their ability to give us legal advice has been great."

Market standing: "A very strong public sector practice."

Work highlights Advised First Group on its bid for the passenger train franchise for the West Coast Mainline.

Advised the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the appointment of the parent body organisation for the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear site.

Notable practitioners  

John Houlden is recognised for his expertise and experience in handling politically sensitive procurements. One interviewee remarked that "he has clear knowledge of the area but also an understanding of clients' requirements to get the deal done." 

Significant clients Babcock International, Home Office, Eurostar International, Ministry of Justice.

Tax - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Represents clients in disputes with HMRC, professional negligence claims relating to tax advice, and contractual disputes having a tax dimension.

Notable practitioners  

Bristol-based Nigel Popplewell heads the firm's corporate tax unit, and his practice encompasses both contentious and non-contentious matters. Sources attest that he is "very good at both technical and client skills."

Significant clients Barclays Wealth, Foundation and Friends of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners
- 5 associates, 5 senior associates, 10 solicitors and 1 director
- Office locations ranked: Bristol 

What the team is known for Primarily recognised as the top franchising firm in the market. Also a good choice for infrastructure and rolling stock projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Strategy: "They're exceptional at providing sound, strategic advice."

Practical advice: "They take their expertise and shape it in a way to fit you and the people you deal with."

Work highlights Instructed by FirstGroup in connection with its successful bid for the InterCity West Coast franchise, prior to its cancellation by the DfT.

Advised London Underground on the Metropolitan Line extension project that plans to link Croxley Green to Watford Junction station.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Coppen is highly dependable when it comes to rolling stock matters, say sources. He is also recognised for his "tremendous, in-depth knowledge of franchise agreements."

Ann Metherall is highlighted for her representation of train operators over contentious issues. Her engineering background contributes to her exceptional industry knowledge.

Christopher Jackson is praised for his "quick turnaround times" and strategic thinking. "He gives the feeling of being in a shared enterprise, and really cares about the outcomes," say clients.

Brioney Thomas attracts praise for her work on rolling stock procurement. She possesses a strong track record in major deals and advises high-profile clients such as Eurostar.

Ian Tucker has caught the eye of numerous clients who acknowledge his grasp of rail regulation.

Significant clients Abellio Transport Holdings, Alstom, Eurostar, Translink, CAF.