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Burges Salmon LLP


Burges Salmon LLP - Bristol
  • 1 Glass Wharf
  • Bristol
  • Bristol
  • UK
  • BS2 0ZX
  • Senior Partner Alan Barr
  • Managing Partner Peter Morris
  • Number of partners 79
  • Number of other fee earners  293
  • Total staff  667

THE FIRM Burges Salmon is a leading UK law firm with a global reach. It prides itself on its 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. The firm has offices in both Bristol and London, and offers 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 May 2014, four new partners were made up by the firm: Rachael Ruane (banking and finance), Tom Dunn (investment funds and financial services), Sian Edmunds (disputes and litigation) and Luke Bowery (employment). The promotions reflect the firm’s continued growth in key areas such as banking, financial services, food, farming and land and employment. Corporate Responsibility: Burges Salmon collaborates with a wide range of organisations to build strong, sustainable relationships that have a lasting impact across three main areas: community, education and environment. The firm was a founder member of the Legal Sector Alliance.

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 36 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, 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 its clients with excellent service and advice, working with other high-quality, independent law firms around the world to meet their international needs, where relevant.

  • 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 & Planning 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 Paul Browne
  • Corporate Turnaround Patrick Cook
  • Energy (Inc Renewables) Ross Fairley
  • Financial Services Chris Godfrey
  • Food, Farming & Land William Neville
  • Infrastructure Will Gard
  • Insurance Kari McCormick
  • Leisure Richard Read
  • Nuclear Ian Salter
  • Products & Funds Tom Dunn
  • Rail Chris Jackson
  • Real Estate Colin Ligman
  • Sport Mark Gay
  • Technology, Media & Telecoms Andrew Dunlop
  • Transport Chris Jackson
  • Community Engagement John Houlden
  • Pro Bono Philip Davey


Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 7 associates
- 9 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Advises landed estates and institutional clients across the country on all rural property matters. Handles purchases and sales, agricultural tenancies and the development of agricultural land. Also strong in litigation and private client work such as estate planning and restructuring. Corporate team provides additional expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Its teamwork is excellent. All the solicitors work and think together - they are very good team players."

"One of the top firms for advising landed estates."   

Work highlights Advised Buckinghamshire County Council on its rural estate, including land management and restructuring arrangements under the Agricultural Holdings Act.

Acted for Peel Group on tenancy agreements and the development of agricultural land.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head William Neville wins impressive praise from clients, who describe him as "very sensible, commercially minded and astute." Another adds: "He is an outstanding agricultural solicitor - experienced, extremely knowledgeable and with a good way of doing business." He is also highly regarded as a litigator.

Alastair Morrison is an experienced agricultural property solicitor who advises on the sale and purchase of country estates. He acts for institutional investors and landowners.

Tom Hewitt comes highly recommended for tax and trusts matters. "He has a great grasp of his subject and is extremely good," enthuses one client.

Kevin Kennedy is recognised for his contentious agricultural work and handles tenancy disputes as well as property and trusts cases. He is rated highly by interviewees and is the lead partner for a number of the firm's key agriculture clients.

Charles Wyld is viewed as "a first-class trusts lawyer" by commentators. "He is very good at dealing with intergenerational issues and understanding people," confirms a client.

Associate to watch Emma Folkes joins the rankings after receiving glowing reviews from clients. She is described as "really nice to deal with, helpful and co-operative." Her practice covers both agricultural and residential property.

Significant clients The Crown Estate, The National Trust, Openfield, Velcourt.

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Leading banking practice in the South West. Increasing focus on multi-jurisdictional transactions and advisory work. A broad range of sector specialisms, including energy, transport, leisure and agriculture.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"There is excellent support from within the firm to handle our varying requirements."

"The speed of service delivery is excellent."

Work highlights Advised Lloyds Bank on a £70 million revolving credit facility to Westerleigh Group Holdings, used to repay the borrower's existing facilities.

Acted for Crediton Dairy on the £10 million MBO of a flavoured drink business from Milk Link.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Leeming heads the team. He specialises in real estate finance, acquisition finance and general corporate banking matters. Peers rate him for his pragmatism and commercial awareness, noting that "he is good at getting the deal done."

Graham Soar is a "highly regarded" banking practitioner with experience in derivatives, project finance and debt capital markets. Clients praise him for his ability to "keep calm under pressure."

Rachel Ruane advises corporates and financial institutions on the legal requirements relating to asset, acquisition and real estate finance. Sources describe her as "approachable and technically great" with "very good understanding of the transactions."  

Significant clients HSBC, Nationwide, FirstGroup, RBS, Imperial Tobacco.

Construction - South West

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

What the team is known for A market-leading South West practice. Attracts high-value and complex instructions from a range of clients and demonstrates particular strength in the renewable and nuclear energy market, as well as in waste management, development and transport projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have always been very clear, responded in a timely way and understood our needs."

"They are very good to getting to know and understand our business and our objectives."

Work highlights Assisted Helius Energy with procurement matters and contract negotiations for several biomass power stations, including the £300 million Avonmouth scheme.

Advised the Greater London Authority on the selection of a development partner for the regeneration of the Royal Albert Dock site.

Notable practitioners  

Steven James has a quantity surveying background and a wealth of experience in the nuclear construction field. One source comments: "He is charming and confident and I witnessed him in some very difficult negotiations which he handled well."

William Gard heads the contentious construction practice. Clients say he has a "tremendous range of experience and always gives practical advice." He has particular strength in energy and infrastructure matters.

Head of department Marcus Harling has a top reputation in the construction law market. His recent work covers complex transport and development matters.

Significant clients Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Costain, The Crown Estate, Meygen, HSBC.

Corporate/M&A - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Full-service offering with particular expertise in corporate matters related to the energy sector. Has seen an increasing amount of work in the renewables space. Also regularly sought after for its strengths across food and drink, transport and financial services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have strength and depth; a large team of very bright and very experienced lawyers."

"They handled the complex negotiations really well." 

Work highlights Represented FirstGroup in the disposal of its East London bus operation to Metroline for £57.5 million.

Acted for Cobham on its acquisition of Axell Wireless, in a transaction valued up to £85 million.

Notable practitioners  

Christopher Godfrey comes recommended for his equity capital markets and M&A expertise. Market sources note: "His reputation is very strong, and rightly so." 

Richard Spink's recent highlights include assisting Grupo Cementos Portland Valderrivas with the sale of Southern Cement to Premier Cement. Clients say: "When he gives you an opinion you can put a lot of weight behind it because you know he is very experienced and very knowledgeable." 

Alan Barr comes recommended for his expertise in the food and drink sector. He is described as a "superb intellect" with "an absolute grasp of the issues" and is "highly knowledgeable - what Alan doesn't know is not worth knowing."

Rupert Weston was the lead partner in the £57.5 million sale of FirstGroup's East London bus operation to Metroline. Sources say: "He is very easy to get on with and his client skills are brilliant." 

Dominic Davis focuses on corporate finance, representing both AIM-listed and Official List companies. His practice also includes M&A.  

The "highly knowledgeable" Nick Graves focuses on M&A and also acts for AIM-listed companies. He recently represented Newbury Racecourse in a buy-back of Guinness Peat Group's 29.9% shareholding in the company, in a deal worth £6.5 million.

Camilla Usher-Clark is praised by market sources for being "a very hard-working, very client-oriented, very efficient and very effective lawyer." She advised Infinergy on the disposition of Ferndale Wind and Castle Pill Wind to John Laing Investments.

Significant clients Gooch & Housego, Helius Energy, The Competition Commission, EEA Holdings, Icon Infrastructure.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Sizeable practice with employment law experience in a variety of sectors, including the financial services, transport, defence and energy. Broad expertise derived from acting on many high-profile employment cases, including numerous with cross-border aspects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Really practical and commercial advice, which is often difficult in employment as it's a very technical area. Very keen to support us on an ad hoc basis. It's a really co-operative relationship."

What's new? Recently won new instructions from major clients such as the Royal Horticultural Society, the International Cricket Council and Swedish bank Handelsbanken.

Work highlights Advised prominent transport operator FirstGroup on the employment aspects of its disposal of various bus operations, involving the transfer of over 3,200 employees.

Acted for BAE Systems on employment aspects of the restructuring of its Naval Ships business, including advice on potential large-scale redundancies.

Notable practitioners  

Roger Bull remains a top-rated figure in the Bristol employment market, with vast experience of acting on complex TUPE, restructuring and tribunal cases for many prominent domestic and international companies. He regularly advises significant clients from sectors such as education, transport and insurance.

Clients appreciate Adrian Martin for "cutting to the chase, and getting to the heart of an issue quickly" when acting on a range of employment matters. He has strong experience handling the employment aspects of major transactions, particularly those involving TUPE and procurement concerns. Lately, this included advising the OFT on the employment elements of its merger with the Competition Commission.

Christopher Seaton maintains his excellent reputation in the employment field, having acted on a variety of substantial cases across the contentious, transactional and advisory spheres. Key client Thomson Reuters recently engaged him on a range of employment matters, including several Employment Tribunal claims, and the HR aspects of major international IT outsourcing contracts.

Significant clients Babcock International Group, Bank of Ireland, Mulberry, MITIE, The Crown Estate.

Environment - South West

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

What the team is known for Heavyweight practice with formidable strength in contaminated land, waste and regulatory issues. Particular expertise in the energy sector, with an excellent reputation for decommissioning and nuclear work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They give practical, pragmatic advice you can actually act on, and they're very responsive - we've been very impressed."

"They're a good team with strength in numbers and representation; it's what they're known for, and they certainly stand out."

What's new? New client wins include Shell, KPMG and A&P Ports.

Work highlights Acted for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the decommissioning of 12 sites. The team advised on the NDA's competitive bid process, which will appoint the parent body organisation to manage and operate the site licence companies responsible for the decommissioning.

Defended C&M Hall in a High Court claim for an injunction to prevent the operation of a 50 kW wind turbine on nuisance grounds.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Michael Barlow's expertise covers areas such as contaminated land, waste, regulatory issues and litigation. His clients include energy industry and public sector bodies, and sources comment that "he's very knowledgeable and approachable. You can bounce ideas off him and talk through issues."

The "excellent" Ross Fairley is well versed in issues relating to the renewables, petrochemicals and oil and gas areas. His practice includes significant experience in decommissioning. 

Sources highlight Ian Salter's expertise in nuclear work, commenting that "he's all about trying to solve the problem." He receives frequent instruction from government clients on a range of matters including regulatory issues, decommissioning and cleanup.

Simon Tilling is frequently instructed on matters involving renewables, petrochemicals, contaminated land and waste. His practice centres on litigation, and sources comment that "he's very good at grasping the issue really quickly and understanding where you're coming from."

Significant clients Canal & River Trust, Ofgem, DECC, 3M, Petrochem.

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 Formidable reputation for handling complex finance matters for clients based both nationally and internationally, as well as offering a collaborative approach to dispute resolution. Also noted for its expertise in children matters and cohabitation disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Firm and fair, with a common-sense approach."

Notable practitioners  

Catherine Hallam is widely regarded as a leading practitioner for matrimonial finance matters. Sources highlight her "calm, measured and pragmatic" approach.  

Sarah Woodsford handles a significant volume of complex finance matters. She is "technically astute," and is commended her for her ability to make clients feel "well supported."

Information Technology - South West

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

What the team is known for Advises on major IT transactional matters including outsourcings. Regularly instructed on multi-jurisdictional projects. Clients include suppliers, developers and users. 

Work highlights Assisted Selex with the procurement of a payroll system to be rolled out nationwide.

Advised Nationwide Building Society on the renewal of its outsourced IT payment processing contract.

Notable practitioners 

Andrew Dunlop heads the IT group and is particularly noted for outsourcing matters. "He has huge experience and a wealth of knowledge. He is extremely commercially minded," says one client.

Significant clients  Coca-Cola HBC, Thomson Reuters, Cobham, RAC, Genel Energy.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for A market-leading practice spanning contentious and non-contentious mandates. It represents household-name brands in high-profile disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team is impeccable and just doesn't make mistakes: they're on top of everything." 

"You have to be on your game when they are your opponents, as they don't miss anything."

Work highlights Continued to act for Discovery Channel on its successful defence of a trade mark and passing-off claim in the High Court brought by A&T Television Networks and AETN. The case culminated in a nine-day trial, with Discovery being awarded indemnity costs.

Acted for RAC on the IP aspects of two major transactions: appointing BGL Group to offer RAC-branded car insurance, and outsourcing its motor accident claims handling service to Quindell.

Notable practitioners  

Contentious IP specialist Jeremy Dickerson continues to command the respect of market sources. Interviewees explain: "He's on-the-ball and very, very practical. He does have a very technical mind too, and knows how to apply the law." His client list includes Discovery Channel, Starbucks and new client Victoria's Secret.

Clients say transactional IP specialist Helen Scott-Lawler "has a lot of common sense and communicates in a way that is very easy to understand." Her recent mandates include transactions for RAC and advising the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on IP restructuring following the winding-up of BNFL.

Senior associate Emily Roberts impresses commentators with her very commercial approach and excellent communication with peers and clients. She has built up experience of both contentious and non-contentious IP, and worked with clients including Starbucks, Harrods and Virgin.

Significant clients Discovery Channel, RAC, Tata Steel, FirstGroup, Lidl. 

Litigation - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded litigation team. Expertise in transport, banking, financial services and pensions disputes. Represents a broad range of clients, from multinational corporations to high net worth individuals.

Work highlights Represented Eurostar International in a regulatory appeal before the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission concerning the transparency of Eurotunnel access charges.

Advised Leeds United FC on a dispute with West Yorkshire Police over the legality of additional policing charges on match days.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Haggett is head of the disputes, environment and planning department. He advises on contractual disputes, professional negligence and insolvency litigation. Clients appreciate his "pragmatic and sensible" approach.

Head of dispute resolution David Hall handles banking, financial services and contract litigation. Sources report that "he is a great team player, very hands-on and good at suggesting ways to move the case along."

Senior statesman Peter Morris is managing partner of the firm. He has noted strength in banking and professional negligence litigation, and he regularly acts for large private companies, public sector bodies and financial institutions.

Ian Tucker represents large corporates, venture capitalists, professional partnerships and rail industry bodies in relation to a range of disputes. Market commentators admire his ability to come up with commercial solutions.

Significant clients FirstGroup, Nationwide Building Society, The Co-operative Bank, The Crown Estate, Celtic Energy.

Pensions - South West

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded Bristol firm with a national reputation for its pensions practice. Well equipped to handle all aspects of pensions law, from transactions to scheme management. A sizeable team with notable experience in regulatory matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Approachable and easy to deal with. They are responsive and provide a good-quality end product."

What's new? New clients include Ricoh Pensions Trustees, Normand Trustees and the Department of Education.

Work highlights Assisted the London Luton Airport Pension Scheme with securing new funding arrangements and a package of mitigation after the sale of the airport.

Acted for Cobham Plc in a £260 million bulk annuity transaction with Rothesay Life.

Notable practitioners  

Commentators commend Tim Illston's ability to build relationships: "He really makes the effort to get to know the client so he can give the appropriate advice." He advises primarily trustee-side clients on a broad range of matters, including transactions and corporate governance.

Richard Knight heads the pensions team. "He is very perceptive and gets to the point very quickly," comments one client, adding: "He looks for solutions, not problems."

The "pragmatic" Clive Pugh "is very good at thinking outside the box," note market sources. Clients consider him "an experienced and pragmatic guy, who is generous with his time and very easy to work with."

Senior associate Alice Honeywill is building a good reputation among clients, who note her "breadth of knowledge" and describe her as "a high-flyer."

Significant clients AT&T, Western Power Distribution, Honda, AgustaWestland Helicopters, Trustees of the Brunel Holdings Pension Scheme.

Planning - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Undisputed standing as a heavy hitter, receiving frequent instructions on major wind farm developments. Garners widespread acclaim for its deft handling of sophisticated infrastructure-side projects and its representation of high-level clients in the private and public sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team has very strong credentials in renewables and CPOs, as well as mainstream planning."

"The lawyers have good-quality clients and exposure to very good-quality work."

What's new? New client wins include Vale of White Horse District Council, and the firm has been appointed to the Highways Agency Major Projects Panel.

Work highlights Acted on the South Bristol Link Road project, advising North Somerset District Council and Bristol City Council on planning and CPO issues.

Represented RWE in the £1.5 billion, 504 MW Galloper offshore wind farm project, advising on offshore consent and onshore aspects.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Robinson centres his practice on major developments in the energy and power sectors. He is also highly regarded for his handling of CPO work and complex appeals, and sources praise him as being "very incisive and analytical. He's creative in finding ways to get through the High Court system in the minimum possible time."

Julian Boswall regularly acts for public bodies and private sector clients. Interviewees say he is "excellent in the area - he's got a massive mind and he knows the industry inside-out."

Elizabeth Dunn is respected throughout the field for her extensive expertise in renewables projects. Sources praise her "attention to detail, quick turnaround, and ability to get to the heart of the matter quickly and give sound advice."

Gary Soloman is well known for his representation of public sector clients in major infrastructure developments, and for his impressive specialist experience in handling CPO work. Sources highlight his collaborative approach: "You know that if he's on the other side you're going to get the job done."

Significant clients Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Isle of Anglesey County Council, The Environment Agency, RES UK, Magnox.

Private Client - South West

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

What the team is known for Retains an impressive client base consisting of landed estates and numerous private banks. Leaders in all aspects of traditional private client work, including contentious matters. Has a particular talent for handling cross-border and offshore work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We use them for anything that requires rigour. They are a top-dollar firm and the standard of work has been superb."

Notable practitioners

Sources report that Charles Wyld has a commanding knowledge of "virtually every area in the private client sphere." He works principally with UK-domiciled clients, including landed estates and new business owners.

Beatrice Puoti maintains a "truly international practice," sources confirm. She advises non-domiciled clients and has a particular affinity with Italian and French law.

John Barnett is renowned for his grasp of tax planning. Commentators note that "he has a colossal depth of knowledge and a creative intellect. He can see situations in a different light, which makes a huge difference in this field, because it allows him to be a problem solver."

Professional Negligence - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Acts primarily for claimants, with a reputation for representing significant institutions in the banking sector. Handles claims relating to a range of areas including construction, accountancy, surveying, pensions and brokers.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It is an excellent department and a very strong team. The consequence of them being very good is they get very good outcomes."

Work highlights Continues to advise Mortgage Agency Services Number One on a £20 million surveyors' negligence claim. Involved in a difficult and large-scale claim relating to the alleged overvaluation of dozens of RBS and NatWest premises.

Advised Geoffrey Osborne on a £400,000 claim against Warner Goodman solicitors concerning the firm's alleged failure to activate a break clause as stipulated by the terms of a lease.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Morris regularly advises claimants on claims against a full range of professionals including solicitors and valuers. He works for leading banks and building societies and is often asked to advise on multimillion-pound claims.

Significant clients The Co-operative Bank, Nationwide Building Society, Lloyds Banking Group, Svenska Handelsbanken.

Real Estate - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 25 partners
- 100 other qualified solicitors
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for National market leader headquartered in Bristol, with a strong investment practice specialising in renewable energy. Frequently instructed by public sector and global corporate clients on asset management transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are a very polished outfit. They have been an excellent firm for a number of years." 

"You felt like you were dealing with people who absolutely knew what they were doing."

What's new? Gained Waterstones as a client.

Work highlights Acted for Newbury Racecourses on the £42.6 million ongoing development of land surrounding Newbury racecourse.

Advised the Low Carbon Group on the UK solar funding partnership with Macquarie Capital.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Richard Clark is well known in the market, and sources note that "he's very good at client relationships, pulling all the areas together and knowing what we want." He specialises in property investment and asset management. 

Ross Polkinghorne heads the firm's development team and is well respected by peers. Sources comment that "he would go above and beyond in terms of his advice." He has particular expertise in large regeneration projects and mixed-use developments.

Significant clients The Crown Estate, CBRE Global Investors, Transport for London, Skanska, Sir Robert McAlpine Construction. 

Real Estate Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for Assists an impressive client roster on the full spectrum of real estate disputes. Increasingly active in insolvency-related matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have a particular eye on getting the best commercial outcome."

What's new? Client wins include Waterstones.

Work highlights Advised Celtic Energy on a review of the transfer of opencast mining sites.

Acted for the National Trust on a contested tenancy renewal of the Assembly Rooms by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Richard Bedford has an excellent breadth of experience in commercial property and advises on all real estate litigation issues. One client comments that "he has a strong handle on the overall strategy. He quickly understood the matter at hand and aimed for a swift commercial settlement on the best grounds for us."

Significant clients Nationwide Building Society, Aviva Investor Pensions Management, First Group, The Crown Estate, Darwin Property Investments Management.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Specialist knowledge in real estate, pensions, and banking-related restructurings and insolvencies. Well regarded for its work with distressed corporate clients.

Work highlights Advised the Nationwide Building Society on the financial restructuring of two shopping centres in the Midlands, and offered advice relating to offshore SPVs involved with the properties.

Advised Vail Williams and the Co-operative Bank on the LPA receivership of a major property portfolio, previously held in an offshore limited partnership structure.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Clark is recognised as a rising figure in the restructuring and insolvency market in the region, and specialises in handling matters with a real estate element. He is recognised in the market for his intellectually rigorous approach to his work.

The head of the corporate turnaround and insolvency team, Patrick Cook is described by sources as "very helpful and very clear in his advice." He specialises in restructuring and corporate insolvency, particularly in the agricultural, healthcare, pensions and leisure sectors.

Significant clients Nationwide Building Society, RBS, HSBC, The Co-operative Bank, National Asset Management Agency.

Tax - South West

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

What the team is known for Generates a significant volume of work as a standalone department, as well as providing valuable support to other teams. Advises on corporate restructurings, HMRC disclosure, private equity and contentious tax. Houses a high proportion of lawyers who are also chartered accountants.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Everyone I deal with is professional, and they're able to explain the underlying issues in simple English."

"Burges Salmon has a top reputation in the region."  

"What they offer is corporate expertise. You know you will get specialist knowledge on a national and international scale."

Work highlights Advising The Crown Estate Commissioners on tax issues arising from a number of high-value property purchases and disposals.

Advised Lumina Real Estate Capital on tax-efficient structures for investing in the UK.

Notable practitioners  

Nigel Popplewell is co-head of the firm's corporate tax team, and provides tax planning and compliance advice to private individuals and corporate clients. Clients say: "He is able to cut through the legal jargon and summarise technical issues for us well." 

John Barnett is greatly valued by clients, who report that "his advice is often complex in nature, but it is provided in a clear and concise manner." He advises on corporate and international tax matters, and peers single him out for his skill advising on tax for both individuals and large businesses.

Significant clients ECI Partners, Jarden Corporation, Yeo Valley Group, FirstGroup, Somerset Care.

Construction - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Acts for an impressive roster of purchaser and supplier clients on high-value non-contentious construction and disputes matters nationwide. Regularly advises on landmark development projects in the energy sector, including renewables work. Also represents a number of higher education institutions. Key clients include the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, The Crown Estate and the Greater London Authority. Ranked office in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their work is national. They are by far one of the two biggest firms in the South West, but their work is all over the country."

Notable practitioners  

Marcus Harling is a key contact.

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

What the team is known for Outstanding Bristol-based practice that regularly works on significant national and international transactions. Singled out for its capability in the food and drink and transport sectors, where it represents the key clients in those industries. Offers additional expertise in the energy and financial services areas. Ranked office in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They do our biggest private equity deals - it feels more like a London firm."

Notable practitioners  

Richard Spink heads the department.

Employment - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Prominent South West-based team with a blue-chip client base that includes Babcock International, BAE Systems, Thomson Reuters, Bank of Ireland and Charles Taylor. Advises on all aspects of employment law, with a growing cross-border practice. Ranked office in Bristol.

Notable practitioners  

Roger Bull leads the employment department. 

Intellectual Property - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Nationally recognised practice that stands out for its capability in high-stakes patent litigation and other contentious matters for blue-chip clients, notably in the retail and media sectors. Additional capability on portfolio management issues. Ranked office in Bristol.

Notable practitioners  

Jeremy Dickerson is the department head and key contact.

Litigation - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Leading commercial litigation practice, offering counsel to national and international clients on a broad range of disputes. Notable strength in the transport sector. Clients include Eurostar International, FirstGroup, Nationwide Building Society and The Crown Estate. Ranked office in Bristol.

Notable practitioners  

David Hall is a key contact.

Planning - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Bristol-headquartered practice, offering comprehensive planning advice on a broad range of matters including nationally significant infrastructure projects, CPO promotion and disputes. Significant expertise in energy-related planning matters. Clients include RWE npower renewables, SSE Renewables, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Environment Agency. Ranked office in Bristol.

Notable practitioners  

Gary Soloman is a key contact.

Real Estate - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for Bristol-based practice with significant experience handling commercial property transactions throughout the UK. Impressive client roster including major commercial developers, investors and public sector bodies. Notable strength in renewables. Ranked office in Bristol.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A very polished outfit. They really do stand out as a truly excellent regional firm."

Notable practitioners

Richard Clark is a key contact.

Banking Litigation - The Regions

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

What the team is known for Large regional practice with notable experience in banking and financial services litigation and an international reach. Frequently receives instructions from a broad range of lender clients including retail and investment banks. 

Work highlights Represented Nationwide Building Society in a portfolio of claims against surveyors and solicitors over the client's commercial property lending.

Notable practitioners

David Hall is a key contact.

Significant clients Handelsbanken, NatWest, RBS, Triodos Bank, The Co-operative Bank.

Competition/European Law - The Regions

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

What the team is known for Market-leading practice handling the full range of competition matters. Draws significant clients from the transport and energy sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're good performers, with good contacts at the regulators." 

Work highlights Acted for Somerfield on an action to recover the £4 million penalty imposed on the supermarket chain for participating in alleged anti-competitive practices relating to the price of tobacco products.

Continued to advise CIS General Insurance on the Competition Commission's investigation into the private motor insurance market.

Notable practitioners  

Laura Claydon heads the competition team and handles UK and EC merger control and competition investigations. Clients say: "She's very client-friendly and has vast experience across a number of areas of UK competition law."

Matthew O'Regan handles all aspects of British, European and international competition law. Sources report that "he is extremely precise and thorough, and is able to manage and assimilate a lot of data."

Significant clients Eurostar, Cobham, FirstGroup, Co-operative Group, Cardiff City Transport Services.

Asset Finance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Highlighted for its strong track record in the rail sector and its role advising financiers and training operating companies on rolling stock transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their industry knowledge is second to none." 

Work highlights Advised Abellio Greater Anglia on the contractual matters for its leasing arrangements with three major ROSCOs.

Advised Merseyrail on the extension of its contractual arrangements regarding rolling stock leased from Angel Trains.

Notable practitioners  

Brioney Thomas advises train operating companies on rolling stock transactions. Market sources describe her as a "very sensible person to deal with."

Significant clients FirstGroup, Department for Transport, Bank of Scotland, Northern Rail, Hull Trains.

Education - UK-wide

What the team is known for Offers deep expertise in construction, outsourcing and procurement matters.  The team works with a range of further and higher education clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"Always very professional, offering good quality and timely advice."

"An absolutely superb team; the process went smoothly and there were no shocks."

Work highlights Advised Bath Spa University on the negotiation and drafting of an LLP agreement on its establishment of the International Pathway School and College of Business Leadership.  

Acted for City of Bristol College on various employment issues.

Notable practitioners

Roger Bull is a key contact.

Significant clients University of Bristol, University of Exeter, Cardiff University, Royal Agricultural College, Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Energy & Natural Resources - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 17 partners
- 66 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Recognised strength in renewable energy mandates. Acts for renewable energy developers in a wide range of large solar, tidal, biomass and wind projects. Also acts for renewable energy funds in acquisitions and financings. Well-known nuclear practice, advising in connection with regulatory, environmental and real estate issues in the sector.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They take a useful collaborative approach. They are able to devote a substantial team to the project very quickly, they are flexible in putting the team together and they stick to the deadlines we set them."

"It is always excellent; they are very efficient, prompt and commercially minded in the advice they provide."

Work highlights Advised the developers in connection with the Beckton Combined Heat and Power Plant, a biomass plant partially fuelled by fat removed from sewers.

Counselled the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the procurement process for the decommissioning of part of Britain's Magnox fleet.

Notable practitioners  

Ross Fairley is an experienced partner who advises on environmental and renewable energy matters. He led the team acting for MeyGen in connection with a 400 MW tidal scheme being developed in the Pentland Firth off Scotland.

Ian Salter is praised for his deep knowledge of nuclear matters. One source commented: "He is extremely knowledgeable and well connected." Another said: "Clearly a star player in the nuclear field, he knows as much about it as anybody and has devoted a huge amount of effort to it."

Nick Churchward is a projects lawyer who has a good reputation in the renewables sector. He acts on projects in areas such as biomass and waste-to-energy.

Significant clients Ofgem, Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation, Helius Energy, Nuclear Industry Association, Energy Solutions.

Health & Safety - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Traditionally known for its expertise in rail and other transport matters, and also experienced in a range of other areas, including renewables, construction, food and farming, sports and commercial landlordism. Comprised of civil litigators who act on all dimensions of health and safety, including related contractual liabilities and civil claims matters. Advises individuals and is also active at board and corporate level.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"You need a speedy response when a case is manic. That's when you need attention: 0 to 100 in a second. And that's what we got from them."

"This is obviously a highly specialised area, and they are one of our top firms in terms of UK-wide and European wide issues."

Work highlights Advised construction, engineering and property services business Geoffrey Osborne after the Office of Rail Regulation brought forward a prosecution due to an accident where a subcontractor's employee fell through the roof.

Notable practitioners  

Christopher Jackson deals with complex health and safety matters and is particularly noted for his work in the rail industry. "He is superb and I couldn't speak more highly of him," notes one impressed observer.

Ann Metherall leads a 24-hour response team for major episodes. She is highly skilled in a range of matters, not least in the transport sector, where she is able to draw upon her experience as a former railway engineer.

Significant clients Merseyrail, FirstGroup.

Investment Funds - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 9 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Continues to make strides in the market, attracting numerous fund formation, regulatory and transactional mandates. Recognised for its assured advice on relevant regulatory matters, particularly AIFMD. Highly active in the niche third-party retail funds hosting space. 

Work highlights Acted for Octopus on its sale to Tatton Capital of its interest in Prism Capital Management.

Advised Falcon Property Trust on its £106 million merger with Legal & General's industrial property investment fund. 

Notable practitioners  

Christopher Godfrey has advised Gatemore Capital Management on its change to fiduciary manager from investment adviser, which involved guidance on a series of investments. He has a wide corporate finance practice which covers funds work as well as M&A, financial services and private equity advice.  

Significant clients Close Capital, Premier Asset Management, Marlborough Fund Managers, Gatemore Capital Management, EEA Fund Management.

Local Government - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Broad range of work including transport, energy infrastructure and residential developments. Advises metropolitan and county councils across England and Wales.

Work highlights Acted for North Somerset Council and Bristol City Council in connection with the South Bristol Link, a proposed new road between central Bristol and Bristol airport.

Advised the GLA on public procurement and wider legal aspects of redevelopment and regeneration of the Royal Albert Docks.

Notable practitioners  

Gary Soloman heads up the firm's environment and planning practice and is notable for his work relating to compulsory purchase and regeneration. His key clients also include Isle of Anglesey County Council.

Significant clients Somerset County Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Isle of Anglesey County Council, Pembrokeshire County Council.

Outsourcing - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Astute counsel to clients engaging in outsourcing transactions within the public and defence and civil justice sectors. Demonstrates prowess in matters involving large-scale IT projects, BPO and facilities management. Also acts for numerous high-profile blue-chip companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are responsive and give good advice, as well as having good negotiation and mediation skills. It's a pleasure working with them." 

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Dunlop specialises in transactional work, particularly in media, telecoms and technology contexts. He has in-depth experience of guiding clients through the negotiation and implementation of outsourcing agreements.

Significant clients MITIE Group, Inchcape, Thomson Reuters, Coca-Cola, Ministry of Defence. 

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Bristol

What the team is known for Wide-ranging practice engaging in contentious and non-contentious partnership work. Skilled in matters relating to farming and professional partnerships, as well as those involving corporate structures and fund vehicles.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are knowledgeable, efficient, flexible and fast, and produce high-quality results."

"They're all very talented. Very good communicators and really professional -  I'd say there's a friendly professionalism about them."

Notable practitioners  

John Barnett is the key contact at the firm.

Pensions Litigation - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 9 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Broad-based practice with notable expertise in an impressive array of litigation. Significant experience acting for representative beneficiaries in major cases, alongside regular instructions from employees and trustees.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They take a pragmatic approach and they don't overwork problems. They're good at discussing what an issue is before embarking on work, so they understand exactly what we need and want."

"I get a good rapid response, and they look at things laterally, interpret them and give you a non-vanilla view."

Work highlights Acted for the representative beneficiary of the Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund on declaratory proceedings brought by the trustee for a new deficit contribution regime for the fund.

Acted for Garvin Trustees, the trustee of the Desmond & Sons Pension and Assurance Scheme, on a successful appeal of the Upper Tribunal's decision to strike out a claim against a shareholder who benefited from the winding-up of the scheme's sponsoring employer.

Notable practitioners

Justin Briggs heads the department and acts across a broad range of litigation. Sources point to his experience in high-profile claims and his regulatory expertise, and comment: "He's excellent. He has a very good client manner, and he makes good decisions about delegation and plays to his strengths."

Suzanne Padmore receives significant acclaim for her deft handling of major claims and appeals.

Significant clients Honda Group UK Pension Trustees, Trustee of the Great Lakes Pension Scheme, Dominico, Trustees of the Alitalia Italian Airlines Pension and Assurance Scheme, Trustees of the University of Wales Pension Scheme.

Projects - UK-wide

What the team is known for Active across a range of areas including defence, transport, renewables and social infrastructure. Notable experience representing public sector clients and sponsors in the UK and internationally.

What's new? New client wins include Department for Education, Direct Rail Services and Ascent Flight Training.

Work highlights Advised the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on its £4 billion-plus parent body organisation appointment competition for the Magnox and Research Sites Restoration SLCs.

Advised Ascent, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Babcock International, on its fixed wing service procurement. The procurement forms part of the UK Military Flying Training System.

Notable practitioners  

Key partner Mark Paterson's experience covers areas including defence and energy, acting for public sector clients and sponsors in the domestic and international markets. Sources point to his "heavyweight practice" and describe him as a "good guy with a good track record."

Significant clients Greater London Authority, First Group, Transport for London, Shell, Department for Education.

Public Procurement - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Bristol

What the team is known for Represents a number of central government bodies. Well regarded for railways matters, advising rail operators on franchise tenders and bid challenges. Also acts for academic institutions and local authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Public procurement work is very specialised, and it is very rare for firms to have the level of expertise that Burges Salmon has."

"They have been excellent. I have been surprised at the level of service and the quality they have provided."

Work highlights Advised the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on its competitive tender process for the appointment of a parent body organisation to manage and operate a number of sites.

Acted for the Greater London Authority on its £1 billion Royal Albert Docks regeneration programme, including advice on the tendering process.

Notable practitioners 

John Houlden heads the practice. "He provides prompt and informed procurement advice," states one client, while another says he is "very measured in his approach and stays very calm. He is really reliable and always available." 

Significant clients MoD, Eurostar International, Home Office, Babcock International Group, FirstGroup. 

Transport - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners primarily focused on rail work
- 9 associates
- 1 additional fee earner

What the team is known for Consistently highlighted as one of the leading rail franchising firms, and regularly seen advising operators on major franchise bids. Also noted for its strength in rolling stock projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have industry-recognised expertise."  

"They are responsive to us as a client."  

Work highlights Advised FirstGroup on its bid for the £1.2 billion Thameslink Southern Great Northern franchise.

Assisted First Capital Connect with the Thameslink Rolling Stock and Depot project, including the review of rolling stock contracts and negotiating matters relating to real estate.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Coppen advises clients in the rail industry on strategic and operational legal issues. He has been noted by market sources as "the backbone of Burges Salmon's rail practice" and is considered by many to be one of the leading rail franchising lawyers. Clients note his "encyclopaedic knowledge of the rail industry." 

Christopher Jackson is the head of Burges Salmon's rail group and has a strong focus on contentious rail issues. Clients note that he "cuts to the chase very effectively."

Brioney Thomas is especially highlighted for her work in the rolling stock sector. Her clients include the Department for Transport.

Ian Tucker is an associate who specialises in dispute resolution within the rail industry. He recently had a role in advising Eurostar on its track access charging dispute with Eurotunnel.  

Significant clients Abellio, Transport for London, Go Ahead Group, Northern Ireland Railways.