Legal 500: The top East Mids law firms revealed

Legal 500: The top East Mids law firms revealed

The last 12 months have been a year of consolidation for law firms in the East Midlands – that’s according to the 2016 edition of the Legal 500 – the industry bible – which is published today.

It’s very much “as you were” in the East Midlands this year, with the big names dominating.

The Legal 500 says that Nottingham-based Browne Jacobson remains “one of the strongest”, and has been “building on its strengths” advising public sector clients in matters related to the education and healthcare industry.

Other firms with strong regional reputations include Freeths, which “continues to leverage the firm’s expertise in contentious matters” to attract a “steady work flow in the commercial litigation and insolvency areas” across its offices in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham.

As the only firm in the region with a strong international presence, Eversheds is a “go-to firm for cross-border deals” and for commercial litigation and insolvency.

Meanwhile, Shoosmiths is “servicing a growing number of real estate, corporate and commercial, and retail clients” from its offices in Northampton and Nottingham; Gateley, has strengthened its planning sector capability with the arrival of Robert Waite from Freeths; and Howes Percival has continued to expand nationally, opening new offices in Cambridge and Milton Keynes.

Jayne Egginton

Jayne Egginton, director of legal services and solicitor at Qdos Legal Services, said: “The landscape in the legal sector continues to change in the East Midlands. The focus over the years has been to  ” bigger is better” in the commercial field – but is that always the case?

“There are still the smaller niche firms doing quite well across the region. They can provide the same expertise, customer focused, legal services at a competitive price without such high overheads. The world of IT now means that law firms can operate anywhere and still provide excellence.”

But 2016 has been “a year of consolidation” according to the authors of the Legal 500. Geldards’ merger with Robinsons Solicitors in November 2014 has strengthened its presence in the region, where it has a particular focus acting for public and not-for-profit clients, while the newly merged Shakespeare Martineau has expanded its capabilities in the education sector. Elsewhere, Leicester-based Spearing Waite recently opened its new office in the city centre and “continues to attract praise for its commercial property expertise”.

Other notable firms include Derby-based Flint Bishop, which is noted for its “expertise in contentious mandates”; Nelsons Solicitors, which has offices in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby and “acts for a strong SME client base”; and Lincolnshire-based Wilkin Chapman, which has a particular focus on matters with an agricultural and military focus.

The Legal 500 also pointed out some notable individuals in its 2016 edition. John Heaphy of Freeths and Michael Lodge of Nelsons were named as leading players in banking and finance; Jonathan Butler of Geldards, Qamer Ghafoor of Flint Bishop, Dominic Hopkins of Hewitsons, Dominic Offord of Browne Jacobson and Mukesh Patel of Freeths are leading lights in commercial litigation.

Tom Bower of Spearing Waite, Deborah Gordon Brown of Shoosmiths, Brendan Walsh of Shakespeare Martineau and Jon Smart of Freeths lead the way in commercial property law, whilst a long list of Nigel Blackwell from Browne Jacobson, Andrew Borkowski of Geldards; Roy Botterill of Shakespeare Martineau, Crispin Bridges Webb of Shoosmiths, Gerald Couldrake from Howes Percival, Gavin Cummings of Browne Jacobson, John Heaphy of Freeths, Richard Ingram of Hewitsons, Karl Jansen from Freeths, Gareth John from Gateley, Andrew Pickin of Shoosmiths, Mark Rutherford of Gateley, Martin Smith from Spearing Waite and David Tilly from Geldards were named as the go-to people for corporate and commercial law.

Nicky Calthrop-Owen

In a male-dominated list, Nicky Calthrop-Owen from Actons is named as the best in her field for debt recovery, whilst Paula Bailey of Howes Percival takes the honours for employment law along side Graham Irons from Howes Percival, Andrew Macmillan of Gateley, David Potter of Freeths and John Simon, ex-Shakespeare Martineau.

Calthrop-Owen is also named as a specialist in insolvency and corporate recovery with Dominic Offord of Browne Jacobson, Chris Radford of Gateley and Mark Wood of Eversheds.

Anton Balkitis of Rothera Sharp takes the honours in transport.

Legal 500’s best corporate and commercial law firms in the East Midlands

Tier 1:
Browne Jacobson
Spearing Waite

Tier 2:
Flint Bishop
Shakespeare Martineau
BHW Solicitors
Howes Percival

Tier 3:
Edward Hands & Lewis
Nelson Solicitors
Roythornes Solicitors
Wilkin Chapman
Wilson Browne Solicitors
Fraser Brown
Smith Partnership

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