Firm profile submitted by Bates Wells Braithwaite
THE FIRM Bates Wells Braithwaite (BWB) is a unique City firm, combining a strong commercial and charity practice with a general emphasis on public interest work, media, education and working with mission-led businesses. The firm is best-known for its expertise in advising charities. However, it also has great strength in corporate and employment law, as well as real estate, arts and media, immigration, litigation and public and regulatory law (with a particular emphasis on administrative law). The firm prides itself on its diversity of practice areas, its clientele and its staff.
Founded in 1970, BWB is based in London, with clients across the UK and internationally. BWB’s alternative business structure means that in addition to legal services it provides non-legal consultancy services in outcomes- based planning and strategy, as well as financial services regulatory compliance. BWB is the first UK law firm to become a B Corporation: a profit-making, purpose-driven organisation, which has gone through a rigorous, externally-audited assessment of its impact on the environment, the community and on its people. BWB has a significant international practice across all specialisations, reflecting the international scope of many of its clients.
PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK
Charity & Social Enterprise: The charity and social enterprise department is recognised as one of the leading practices in the country. It acts for numerous household names, international charities and NGOs. It has particular expertise in obtaining charitable status for innovative organisations and for developing new initiatives within the sector. The firm, as well as having initiated the idea of the Community Interest Company, has been responsible through the years for many books and other publications. Particularly noted has been the department’s cutting-edge advice on social enterprise; its close liaison with the Cabinet Office on social impact bonds; its ground-breaking work in advising charities and the government on the developing area of mutualisation and public service delivery; and the consolidation of its role as a market leader in the field of social finance.
Corporate & Commercial: The corporate/commercial department undertakes work for a wide range of businesses. The team has developed considerable expertise in M&A, company take-overs, joint ventures, management buyouts, commercial contracts and partnership advice. This team is increasingly involved in the technology sector and specialises in the small to mid-cap market, acting on many AIM listings.
Culture & Creative: The culture and creative team advises a wide range of arts organisations and venues across the creative industries, from theatre, dance and opera, to artists and companies in the digital sphere.
Employment: The employment team advises both employers and employees on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law, including dismissals and redundancies, restrictive covenants, TUPE, service agreements and injunctions. The team has particular interest and expertise in all areas of discrimination. The team undertakes most representative work in-house, both in the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. It also offers a full range of employment training services, including mock tribunal training.
Immigration: The immigration department handles all aspects of immigration and nationality law, including work permits, highly-skilled migrant applications, residency, asylum work and human rights.
Litigation: The litigation department is broad-based, with particular specialisations in commercial litigation, real estate litigation, administrative law, civil liberty law, social work law, intellectual property law, insolvency and defamation. The Media Disputes team recently represented The Times in a ground-breaking Supreme Court appeal, in which the judge established a common law right to information from public authorities, where it is in the public interest for such information to be released.
Real Estate: The real estate team handles all types of commercial property work with related specialist expertise in financing and borrowing, planning and construction, and insolvency work, both for property companies, and also a wide range of businesses and individuals, both as landlords and tenants.
Sports: The sports department acts for regulatory and governing bodies, amateur and professional sports teams, sporting charities and individual sports men and women, TV production companies, sponsors etc. A broad variety of work ranges from the establishment of the Football Foundation to advising leading international athletes on their immigration status.
INTERNATIONAL BWB has a significant international practice across all specialisations, reflecting the international scope of many of its clients. BWB is a founder member of the European Social Enterprise Law Association, as well as the Parlex Group, an extensive network of European firms bringing together practices specialising in commercial law, with affiliates in the US, China and Israel.