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Michelmores LLP

Exeter

Michelmores LLP - Exeter
  • Woodwater House
  • Pynes Hill
  • Exeter
  • Devon
  • UK
  • EX2 5WR
  • Marketing Director Louise Edwards
  • Finance Director Graham Johnson
  • Managing Partner Malcolm Dickinson
  • Senior Partner Will Michelmore
  • Number of Partners  57
  • Other fee-earners 115
  • Total Staff 350

THE FIRM Michelmores is a top 100 law firm with offices in Exeter, London and Bristol, providing business, real estate and private client advice to a wide range of national and international clients.
The firm has continued to grow, and last year was no exception. The London offices moved to larger premises in Chancery Lane; a Bristol office was opened; 75 people joined the firm; 9 new partners were recruited, and a further 3 internal partner promotions were made; 9 lawyers were promoted to associates; and all of the firm’s trainees were retained.
Michelmores continues to attract and retain exceptionally talented lawyers,who enjoy the collegiate approach to work, and the opportunity to be given the space to think differently, and deliver innovative and successful client outcomes.

TYPES OF WORK UNDERTAKEN
Business:
The Business group has continued to thrive and grow, both through organic growth, and significant lateral hires (including Alexander Wood and Chris Willison, London Office). The group has expanded its deal base to include a number of international and national clients. It is now the clear market leader for corporate deals in the South West and recently acted in the £8.5m MBO of Aero Stanrew. Specialisms include regulatory law, corporate finance, AIM listings, banking, restructuring and insolvency.
Real Estate: The Real Estate group acts for national house builders and developers, investors, public bodies and national institutions. There is a close link between the non-contentious and contentious lawyers in the group, providing clients with a one-stop shop. Clients are guided through acquisition and planning to construction and disposal. The renewables team recently advised on the option and acquisition of 500 acres for the development of solar parks, culminating in the first ever UK publicly listed £40m solar finance bond. The addition of Paul Paling to the London office has strengthened the group’s national commercial property offering.
Private Client: The Private Client group has a reputation for providing high quality, specialist partner-led advice to wealthy individuals, families, business owners and landed estates. An increasing number of clients are from overseas, particularly in the areas of international tax, and investment structuring advice. A recent addition to the Bristol office has been the nationally renowned Agriculture Team led by Peter Williams (the author of the leading text on agricultural law, Scammel & Densham) and Sandra Brown, a leading private client lawyer, with over 25 years’ experience.

INTERNATIONAL The firm is a member of IAG, the Integrated Advisory Group International, a global network of lawyers, accountants, tax advisers and fiduciaries. Increasingly winning international work, the firm recently advised the Soros Economic Development Fund (and others) on the $9m equity/debt investment in CleanStar Mozambique.

RECRUITMENT Recent lateral hires have included Peter Williams (Agriculture, Bristol), Vivienne Williams (Agriculture, Bristol), Ben Sharples (Agriculture, Bristol), Tom Hyde (Agriculture, Bristol), Miles Farren (Agriculture, Bristol), Sandra Brown (Private Client, Bristol) Caroline Taylor (Real Estate, Bristol), Antony Power (PPP, London), and Chris Willison (Asset Based Lending, London). The firm was also awarded ‘One Star Status’ in the Sunday Times Best Companies Survey this year.

    Contacts
  • ADR Tim Richards
  • Agriculture Peter Williams
  • Bristol Office Viv Williams
  • Charities Tony Cockayne
  • Commercial Property David Howe
  • Company/Commercial Richard Cobb, Ian Holyoak
  • Construction Gerald Offen
  • Corporate Recovery Charles Maunder
  • Employment Andrew Tobey
  • EU/Competition Jason Phelps
  • Family Simon Thomas
  • Financial Services & Markets Philip Ryley
  • ICT Rehman Noormohamed
  • Intellectual Property Tim Richards
  • Litigation Simon Barnett
  • Local Government Richard Honey
  • London Office Charles Maunder
  • Medical Negligence Laurence Vick
  • Planning Mark Howard
  • Private Client Jonathan Riley
  • Private Equity Stephen Morse
  • Projects/PFI Carol McCormack OBE
  • Property Litigation Rob Nicholson
  • Regulatory Andrew Oldland QC 

Branches

Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

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

What the team is known for Continues to advise and act for large estates and farmers in contentious and non-contentious matters. Expertise particularly strong in agricultural property.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are professional in their manner while providing a good, supportive service."  

What's new? Peter Williams, Vivienne Williams, Ben Sharples and Miles Farren joined the team as partners from Wilsons LLP.

A new office opened in Bristol in 2012, strengthening the firm's presence in the South West.

Work highlights Acted for a landowner whose repair works on moorland were alleged to contravene environmental stewardship schemes. After the client was originally fined 100% of its agricultural subsidy and environmental scheme payments, the fine was reduced to just 4%.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Williams is described by one market commentator as "one of the country's best agriculture lawyers." He is a specialist in agricultural property disputes.

Vivienne Williams is an expert in contentious agricultural matters, and her work includes disputes involving landlords and tenants, farming partnerships and trusts. A client describes her as "precise and focused."

Ben Sharples is a qualified chartered surveyor, and works on contentious and non-contentious matters. Interviewees attest that he is "very effective" and "a very able litigator."

Philip Wolfgang specialises in non-contentious matters. He advises on agricultural property tenancies, transactions and Single Farm Payments.

Adrian Miller concentrates on private client work, particularly succession planning and trusts.

Tom Hyde specialises in non-contentious agricultural property matters. He works on landlord and tenant matters, as well as sales and purchases. He is also a qualified chartered surveyor.

Significant clients The National Trust, Whitfield Estate, Clinton Devon Estates, Mole Valley Farmers.

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 1 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Continues to be borrower-focused, enjoying an excellent reputation in secured lending. Also noted for expertise in the healthcare, leisure and refinancing sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We were very impressed by the ease of access to the team and their ability to understand our business."  

Work highlights Advised Caley regarding the extension of its senior and junior facilities, worth £125 million.

Acted for Foinavon on the restructuring of its loan facilities between multiple lenders.

Notable practitioners

Charles Maunder is head of the firm's banking and finance practice.

Significant clients Aldermore Bank, RBS, Lloyds TSB, Standard Chartered Bank, SBF Global.

Charities - South West

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for Offers the full range of services to charities, including advice on fund-raising, tenancy, property development, employment and legacy disputes. Strong client base of regional charitable organisations, including several religious organisations and dioceses.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are fast to respond and very friendly. They ensure that we understand each step of the work and how it might affect any subsequent decisions we may need to make."

Responsiveness: "They are prompt to respond to our enquiries and they have a very high standard of customer service. Furthermore, they have an excellent understanding of our business and are proactive in offering us support."

Market standing: "If I had a conflict, I would certainly recommend them." 

Work highlights Assisted Cornwall Hospice Care with the negotiation of a lease of premises for a charity shop.

Acted for Devon Air Ambulance Trust in negotiating the lease for charity shop premises.

Notable practitioners  

Tony Cockayne is a key contact for the practice.

Significant clients Exeter Diocesan Board of Finance, Devon Air Ambulance Trust, Disability Cornwall, Literature Works.

Clinical Negligence: Mainly Claimant - South West

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

What the team is known for Wide-ranging medical negligence expertise, encompassing adult and paediatric cardiac surgery, ophthalmological cases and meningitis claims.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical skill: "The firm is fantastic, and I have no complaints."

Bench strength: "The team has good strength and depth."

Notable practitioners 

Department head Laurence Vick covers a wide range of clinical negligence cases, and continues to strengthen his cardiac claim practice. He is recognised by market commentators for his knowledge.

Former paediatric nurse and partner Bernadette McGhie is highly regarded for her cerebral palsy and obstetric claims experience.  

Construction - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers
- Ranked office locations: Exeter

What the team is known for A key player in the Exeter market, the practice is recognised for its work in the healthcare and education sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The firm is well experienced and provides a professional and high-quality service in all respects."

Practical advice: "Timely advice, authoritative and practical."

What's new? New clients include the University of Exeter, Barratt Homes and Plymouth College of Art & Design.

Work highlights Advised Dawnus Construction on several contentious matters including a dispute arising out of the Plymouth East End Transport Scheme.

Acted on behalf of Westminster Kingsway College on the early termination of a facilities agreement with its existing provider.

Notable practitioners  

Gerald Offen is praised by clients for being "extremely personable and accommodating." Gerald is the head of the department and is noted by one client for having "robust technical knowledge of his own specific field."

Michael Bonning specialises in dispute resolution and gains praise from clients for having the ability to "assess issues quickly and provide advice that brings clarity and simplicity to the matter."

Significant clients VINCI Park Services, Aberystwyth University, Met Office, Camden Council.

Corporate/M&A - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 7 partners 
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Instructed by multinationals including listed public companies. Also active in the financial services sector, with noted expertise in the renewables and clean technology industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They are very diligent, very prompt and efficient with responses; they deal with issues in a timely fashion."

Technical ability: "Cost-effective but high-quality people doing the work."

What's new? Annelie Carver is promoted to partner.

Work highlights Acted for Solar Power Generation on its £40 million bond issuance - the UK's first publicly listed solar finance bond.

Advised Devon County Council on its £125 million education support procurement deal for the new Devon Learning & Development Partnership joint venture.

Notable practitioners

Richard Cobb is praised by clients for his "wealth of experience in commercial transactions." Work highlights include representing the managers of technology business Aero Stanrew in their MBO.

Head of department Stephen Morse acts for multinationals on corporate restructuring matters. Peers say he is "sound technically; he doesn't dwell on esoterics – he is a practical lawyer."

Johanna Probert is highly recommended by market sources. She specialises in M&A matters and private equity work.

Significant clients NatWest, Truprint, VINCI, Power Plate, EMCAS.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Advises on all areas of employment law, with particular expertise in advising the healthcare, education and manufacturing sectors. Also has experience in handling union recognition matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "They are prompt to respond to our queries, have a very high standard of customer service and excellent understanding of our business, and are proactive in offering us support." 

Work highlights Advised Cambium Networks on the purchase of the Point to Point broadband business from Motorola. This work involved advising the client on the transfer of Motorola employees in 22 foreign jurisdictions, post-transfer contracts and severance issues.

Advised Newcross Healthcare Solutions on the enforcement of restrictive covenants applying to a former senior employee who was responsible for the company's social media programme.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Tobey has specialist expertise in the health sector and acts for a number of NHS trusts. Clients remark that he is "attentive and conscientious."

Associate James Baker advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, including discrimination claims and TUPE matters affecting health and education clients.

Tim Davies has expertise in dealing with the education sector, with a strong focus on further education. Peers regard him as a steady, sensible presence.

Significant clients City of London Corporation, Brittany Ferries, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Torbay & Southern Health and Care Trust, Plymouth College of Art.

Family/Matrimonial - South West

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for Represents individuals in a range of family matters, from high-value financial disputes to child abduction and surrogacy. Also has an increasingly active practice advising on same-sex relationships and the rights of unmarried couples. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They are pragmatic, approachable, and seek to understand the issues from the client's perspective."

Market standing: "They are always my first choice to refer clients to if they need matrimonial legal advice."

Notable practitioners  

Simon Thomas specialises in high net worth financial disputes, often with complicated trust issues, and he also has an active collaborative law practice. Sources note that he has "a good manner with clients, and he works hard for workable solutions and to achieve settlements."

Information Technology - South West

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

What the team is known for A leading South-West IT practice advising regional and national clients, as well as overseas companies investing in IT infrastructure in the UK.

Work highlights Advised Somerset County Council and its constituent local authorities on their part in the Department of Culture, Media & Sport's next-generation broadband roll-out.

Advised Agilisys on its successful tender to provide enterprise resource planning services to Bristol City Council.

Notable practitioners  

Rehman Noormohamed heads the IT practice and has a background as an electronic and communications engineer. He advises a number of overseas companies on UK-based and international technology matters.

Tom Torkar impresses sources with his sophisticated work on domestic and international IT transactions. He also has deep knowledge of regulatory matters concerning digital content.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for Full-service offering, including both contentious and non-contentious matters. Increasing international focus, with cross-border work ranging from Asia through to Australia.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "Very knowledgeable and comprehensive advice."

Work highlights Ongoing work assisting Plymouth University develop a comprehensive IP strategy, including policy and a commercialisation system.

Helping Centek navigate the legal elements involved in establishing a new US arm. 

Notable practitioners  

Rehman Noormohamed enjoys an increasingly national reputation for his work for significant public sector clients. He is best known for his commercialisation practice and was the lead partner working with Plymouth University.

Associate David Thompson concentrates his practice on assisting clients with commercial contracts. He is praised by clients because "he cuts to the chase and gives me the commercial option." In addition, "he's got a very good commercial eye on what we need to deliver," say sources.

Significant clients Haynes Publishing, Flybe, University of Plymouth, National Cancer Action Team.

Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Offices ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Large Devon team. Continues to grow, attracting regional, national and international clients. Expertise in areas including regulatory issues, debt recovery and cross-border disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They have a very good profile and reputation within the area, they are very professional, have a broad range of skills and give you peace of mind."

Technical ability: "In terms of feedback, detail and promptness they are very good."

Commercial awareness: "The firm is very commercially savvy, they give you advice rather than options and they make it their remit to know our business."

Work highlights Acting on a £415,000 claim against Sotheby's in a professional negligence claim for undervaluing an art heirloom.

Advised Gro Group on the termination of an overseas distributor without having to provide compensation and resulting in gaining a new distributor.

Notable practitioners  

Tim Richards, head of the team, handles a range of disputes such as shareholder and contractual claims. He conducts ADR as well as mediation. One client says: "He is a very good partner who helps us enormously, advises us on how to skirt lawsuits and steers us through the issues to minimise our exposure."

Simon Barnett has a broad range of experience across a number of sectors, focusing on advising higher education institutions and acting on professional negligence disputes. He acts for both the public and private sectors and is also involved in eviction cases.

Jonathan Kitchin typically advises on professional negligence, shareholder and partnership disputes and breaches of contract. He has specialist experience in the financial services and pensions sector. He joined the firm in August 2013 from Foot Anstey.

Significant clients Truprint, Aden & Anais, Exeter & Devon Airport, Monaghan Mushrooms, Power Plate.

Planning - South West

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

What the team is known for Acts on major residential developments and regeneration projects for local authorities and developers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Approachable, candid and professional."

Work highlights Advised Portsmouth City Council on a complex Section 106 agreement for the £250 million, 1,600-dwelling development at Twyford Avenue, Tipner, including provisions for the construction and maintenance of sea defences.

Acted on the 43-dwelling development at Okehampton for Leander Developments.

Notable practitioners 

Mark Howard's clients include Blackpool Airport. Clients say: "Mark is outstanding, shows lots of attention to detail and a very practical approach. He is amazing."

Significant clients BDW Trading, St Modwen, South Hams District Council, Met Office, Plymouth City Council.

Private Client - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 16 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for An impressive and well-established team that routinely handles big-ticket work for ultra high net worth individuals, offshore trust companies and those with international assets. Experienced in covering wealth preservation, tax planning and contentious trusts and probate work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They bring a level of service and sophistication that appears to be unmatched in the area."

Bench strength: "Michelmores seems to have a specialist for every sort of legal problem that arises. I find them to be very generous with informal advice."

Regional capability: "They are a very efficient and streamlined operation that is going from strength to strength in the West Country."

What's new? The department was bolstered in November 2012 with the arrival of Peter Williams, Vivienne Williams, Ben Sharples and Miles Farren, all formerly of Wilsons LLP.

The firm established a new Bristol office from where Sandra Brown, formerly of Osborne Clarke, will operate.  

Notable practitioners

Jonathan Riley, a tax adviser with a particular expertise in offshore tax planning, is popular with both clients and competitors. Sources say that "he quickly builds a strong rapport with clients."

Will Michelmore is a firm client favourite and his broad practice is well established in the area. He is particularly well versed in matters affecting agricultural families and landed estates.

Adrian Miller comes highly recommended for his estate administration practice. Observers comment that "he is wonderful to work with – very charismatic, a great people person who can really relate to clients." He is also praised for his "ability to think around the problem and take the holistic view." 

Sandra Brown joins the firm's new Bristol office, bringing with her considerable experience in all aspects of wealth protection. Sources say: "She is very good at getting to grips with what the client wants to achieve by listening properly and coming up with suitable solutions."

Real Estate - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 13 partners 
- 35 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Acts for major developers on commercial and residential projects as well as regeneration programmes. Often instructed by public bodies on property matters. Also active on development matters in the renewable energy sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I was very impressed with Michelmores – they were extremely good."

What's new? Paul Paling joins the firm from Nabarro, Thornton Allen joins from Ashfords, and Caroline Taylor joins from Wilsons.

Work highlights Acted for British Solar Renewables on the development of solar parks in the South West.

Acted for New Fitness Exchange on the acquisition of four Fitness First health clubs.

Notable practitioners

Head of department David Howe acts for residential developers on strategic land acquisitions. Clients say: "He is able to simplify matters and put them across in plain English so they are easily understandable."

Significant clients Barratt Homes, St Modwen Developments, Cavanna Group, Santander Bank, University of Exeter.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Provides a comprehensive service to both public and private sector clients. Handles issues such as landlord and tenant disputes, development matters, problems arising in sales or purchases, and professional negligence in a property context.

Work highlights Advised a lawyer on a dispute that arose when he left his firm and retained an interest in commercial premises in common with the other two founding partners.

Acted for a tenant of licensed premises on a long-running dispute with his landlord. The tenant claimed breach of lease and breach of various injunctions against the landlord.  

Notable practitioners 

Rob Nicholson is a key contact.

Significant clients Barratt Homes, St Modwen Developments, Leander Developments, The Range/CDS, CAFCASS.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

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

What the team is known for Noted for advising on several large financial restructurings. Also acts on complex bankruptcy matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I get good, prompt work at reasonable fees."

Market standing: "Sources note that the firm has a good reputation in the market, which has continued to strengthen in recent years." 

Work highlights Advised the liquidators of watersports apparel brand Gul International on retention of title claims, lease and landlord issues, employment issues, validity of security and claims against directors.

Advising the main private creditor to Rangers FC, including the proposed purchase of the club and recovery proceedings.

Notable practitioners  

Sacha Pickering works across a range of insolvency matters, and clients note that he is "particularly attentive, while not overworking matters."

Gillian Smith has a particular specialism in personal insolvency matters and "has always been well regarded by everyone." Clients describe her as "highly commercial, very clear and extremely professional." "She understands us and provides us with advice which is tailored to our business," said a source. 

Department head Charles Maunder specialises in large, complex financial restructurings. His clients rate him highly, and note that they are "well looked after."

Significant clients Zolfo Cooper, Begbies Traynor, Duff & Phelps, Deloitte, Ticketus.

Projects - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- Offices in London, Exeter and Bristol

What the team is known for Advises lenders, the public sector and private sector on PFI/PPP-related matters. Acts on new projects, and advises on restructurings and refinancings in areas such as education, health and defence.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "The approach is practical, a win-win approach so we don't get into deadlock. The advice on risks is very sound, enabling me to make an informed decision in terms of the legal options."

Work highlights Advised Aberystwyth University on a project to develop student accommodation. 

Notable practitioners 

Carol McCormack OBE is an experienced PFI and PPP lawyer and heads the firm's practice in the area. Sources say: "She is very thorough, she responds very promptly, and is always good at following things up." 

Significant clients DVLA, Plymouth City Council, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust.