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Michelmores LLP


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  61
  • Other fee-earners 134
  • Total Staff 398

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, with over 100 people joining the firm. Again, 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
The Business group has continued to thrive and grow, both through organic growth, and significant lateral hires, including Roger Fink and Garbhan Shanks in the 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. 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 arrival of Antony Power in the London office has strengthened the offering for education sector clients.
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. Jonathan Riley has attracted an increasing number of clients from overseas, particularly in the areas of international tax and investment structuring advice. The nationally renowned Agriculture Team in Bristol, led by Peter Williams (the author of the leading text on agricultural law, Scammel & Densham), continues to grow, as does the Private Wealth team in Bristol, led by Sandra Brown, a leading private client lawyer, with over 25 years’ experience.

International The firm is a member of the IBA and IAG, the Integrated Advisory Group International, a global network of lawyers, accountants, tax advisers and fiduciaries. Increasingly winning international work, the firm recently advised Finnfund and Norfund on a convertible debt instrument in to a financial institution specialising in housing finance in Cambodia, and Akur Partners LLP on its assignment of fund management interests in Infrastructure India plc.

Recruitment Recent lateral hires have included Roger Fink (Corporate, London), Brian Hitchcock (Construction, Exeter), Garbhan Shanks (Litigation, London), Antony Power (Projects, London). The firm was also awarded ‘One Star Status’ in the Sunday Times Best Companies Survey this year.

  • ADR Tim Richards
  • Agriculture Peter Williams
  • Bristol Office Viv Williams
  • Charities Tony Cockayne
  • Commercial Property Emma Honey
  • 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 Andrew Oldland QC
  • 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 


  • Broad Quay House,
  • Broad Quay,
  • Bristol,
  • UK
  • BS1 4DJ
  • Tel 0117 329 7001
  • Fax 0117 329 0868
  • Email : enquiries@wilsonslaw.com

Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations rankings: Bristol, Exeter

What the team is known for Distinguished agricultural team based in Bristol and Exeter. Highly regarded for agricultural disputes, with particular expertise in agricultural tenancies. Non-contentious work covers property sales, development advice and estate management.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The team consistently provides advice of exceptional quality."

"It understands the issues and deals with them quickly."  

Work highlights Represented Compton Beauchamp Estates in a contentious rent review arbitration.

Notable practitioners  

Tom Hyde is described as "extremely commercial and easy-going" and mainly advises on agricultural property transactions. A qualified chartered surveyor, his practice also includes assisting with landlord and tenant issues and land management.

Peter Williams heads the agriculture practice in Bristol and is a leading authority on agricultural tenancies. He represents clients in a variety of contentious matters.

Vivienne Williams has an excellent name in the market for her contentious work. Her cases include representing clients in partnership disputes and agricultural tenancies litigation.

Philip Wolfgang "is aware of all the different issues and comes up with great solutions," say clients. He leads the agricultural team in Exeter and focuses on non-contentious matters.

Adrian Miller is a respected private client lawyer who advises landed estates and farmers on estate planning and structuring.

Litigator Ben Sharples is known for his practical touch and is "an incredible communicator," in the words of one client. He is also valued for his experience as a chartered surveyor.

Significant clients West Sussex County Council, Sadborow Estate, Combe Estate, Kingsbridge Pension Trustees, Mole Valley Farmers.

Banking & Finance - South West

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

What the team is known for Depth of experience in asset-backed lending, commercial property and corporate finance and expertise in both contentious and non-contentious finance work. Represents major banks and corporate borrowers in the region.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have individuals that drive a deal through, which is very helpful from a bank's perspective."  

Work highlights Represented South Devon College in  a new £4 million unsecured credit facility provided by Santander.

Acted for Aberystwyth University on the financing of a £100 million residential project concerning 1,000 student residences.

Notable practitioners

Charles Maunder is head of department in the Exeter office.

Significant clients Triodos Bank, RBS, Standard Bank, Leumi ABL, Aldemore Bank.

Clinical Negligence: Mainly Claimant - South West

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

What the team is known for Maintains a strong reputation for its handling of heart surgery cases at both a local and national level. Also handles an increasing number of birth injury claims and cosmetic surgery claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The firm functions very well. It has work of a very high quality which is always beautifully prepared."

"Very good at keeping things on path." 

Work highlights Settled a case regarding the death of a baby with dysplasia due to a lack of appropriate care.  

Notable practitioners  

Former paediatric nurse Bernadette McGhie has developed a major specialism in birth injury cases. She is also renowned for her work in claims relating to obstetrics.

Department head Laurence Vick has taken on a significant volume of both children and adult cardiac cases in the past year.

Construction - Exeter and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 other qualified lawyer
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Known for its particular strength in contentious cases. Continues to stand out in the public sector, but also has an enviable private client list.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have shown themselves to be very quick to take action and very effective."

"They are very consistent and responsive. Their service generally has been very good."

Work highlights Advised London Metropolitan University on procurement and professional appointment matters in relation to refurbishment projects.

Provided disputes advice to Westminster Kingsway College regarding a contract for facilities management services. 

Notable practitioners  

Gerald Offen heads the department. His focus is on contentious construction and he also sits as a deputy district judge. Sources say: "He has a calm analysis and a huge amount of experience; he knows the legal and practical issues."

Michael Bonning is known in the market as a top associate in the contentious construction field. He has experience of a range of disputes, including arbitrations and adjudications.

Significant clients University of Exeter, Cavanna Group, Chulmleigh Academy Trust, Dawnus Construction, Dyer & Butler.

Corporate/M&A - Exeter and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Recognised for its work in the technology, renewable energy and financial services sectors. Key areas of expertise include private equity and MBOs.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Always been of a very high standard: very practical, high-quality advice." 

"Well known and very capable lawyers." 

Work highlights Represented the management team of Gro Group in the company's MBO.

Advised the shareholders of Interlube Systems on the sale of the company to Timken Group.

Notable practitioners  

Richard Cobb's recent highlights include advising the management team of Otter House Group on an MBO of the company. Sources say: "He is one of the leading lights in the South West on M&A." He is particularly praised for his work in the technology sector.

"Pragmatic" Stephen Morse is praised by sources for his "ability to get things done." He focuses on MBOs and private equity, and led on the MBO for Gro Group. 

Sources note that Johanna Probert is "very well regarded in the region." She regularly works on a range of transactions for local clients in the South West.

Significant clients NatWest, Truprint, Vinci, Calendar Club, EMCAS.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Highly regarded, respondent-focused team, with substantial experience in employment cases involving public sector clients, such as NHS trusts and local education authorities. Growing prominence in the retail and charity sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The quality is consistently high across all the board, the service is seamless and the lawyers are all great - they enjoy working together and what they do."

"This team is excellent - no complaints whatsoever. The advice got us through some fairly tricky situations, and helped us to avoid having any grievances with our employees."

"Very happy with their work and their desire to find pragmatic ways through situations."

What's new? Added clients such as South Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and G4S Security to its roster.

Work highlights Advised Haynes Publishing Group on the employment aspects of major restructurings within various divisions of the group, including a downsizing procedure.

Represented Torbay & Southern Devon Health Care NHS Trust in two sensitive cases concerning whistle-blowing accusations brought against the trust.

Notable practitioners  

According to sources, Andrew Tobey is "highly pragmatic and direct, with excellent relationship management skills." One source was particularly effusive in praise of his practice: "He was absolutely excellent. Despite being senior in the business, he was still always available, even on holiday. His documents are flawless. I really can't praise him highly enough."

James Baker is a "thorough, practical and realistic" lawyer who has recently acted for numerous high-profile healthcare clients, including the Secretary of State for Health, on a range of employment matters.

Tim Davies has a strong presence within the education and local authority sectors. Lately, this has included successfully defending West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council against claims of unfair dismissal and age discrimination.

Significant clients City of London Corporation, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Steinhoff UK, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, CDS (Superstores International).

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 Strong reputation for advising clients on high-value matrimonial finance matters and a range of children law matters. Notable specialist expertise in surrogacy, adoption and child abduction matters, as well as issues arising from same-sex relationships.

What's new? Louisa Ghevaert joined the firm from Porter Dodson Solicitors in 2014.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Thomas is praised for his "sensitive and responsive" approach to family matters. He frequently handles high-value matrimonial finance cases and is noted for his expertise in disputes involving trust and tax issues.

Louisa Ghevaert  is a recognised expert in surrogacy, fertility and parenting law matters. She has experience in dealing with complex parenting matters, particularly those with an international element.

Information Technology - South West

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

What the team is known for Growing practice, frequently retained on projects matters. Acts for public sector bodies, software and technology suppliers and international corporate clients on outsourcing, IP and telecoms matters.

Work highlights Acted for Agilsys on its agreement with the City of London Corporation to provide a cloud-based managed IT service.

Advised The Met Office on its £165 million procurement strategy for replacing its supercomputer. This involved a competitive dialogue process along with drafting contracts under EU public procurement law.

Notable practitioners  

Rehman Noormohamed is head of department. One client says: "His IT knowledge and commercial background mean he can give a good sense check, offering different options. He's open and engaging, and quick to understand what our requirements are."

Associate Tom Torkar advises on regulatory compliance issues as well as transactional matters. One client describes him as "very responsive to questions," adding: "He always gives good advice in a clear way."

Significant clients Cambium Networks, Landmark Information Group, National Cancer Action Team, University of Plymouth, Torbay Care Trust.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for Continues to develop an international dimension. Strong in structuring major IP commercialisation projects for clients in the public and private sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide robust and sensible advice, and look for a long-term relationship with the client."

"They very quickly grasped the true essence of our products and how they might be developed further." 

Work highlights Advised and acted for NHS Improving Quality on the commercialisation of major cancer care planning software. The tool was sold to Varian, a leading US company in radiation oncology software and equipment. 

Advising on IP aspects of the management buyout of the Otter House Group, including Calendar Club.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Rehman Noormohamed is the central figure in the team's strong track record for cross-border and domestic IP commercialisation projects. In one significant example, he led the team's work for NHS Improving Quality on the commercialisation of cancer care planning software. Clients praise his leadership and negotiation skills.

Associate David Thompson continues to impress clients, who report that "he will provide you with a robust point of view and a practical approach," in addition to being "very quick on the uptake on complex problems." He recently handled the IP aspects of the management buyout of the Otter House Group. 

Significant clients TOMY Europe, University of Plymouth, Metropolitan Police, Met Office, Landmark Information Group.

Litigation - Exeter and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Sought after to advise on shareholder and company disputes, often with cross-border elements. Clients range from high net worth individuals to NHS Trusts and large corporates

Work highlights Successfully defended Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust on a £1 million dispute arising from the termination of a contract for the provision of care home services.

Acting for Muck Truck UK on a £60,000 trade mark and design rights dispute with a supplier of motorised wheelbarrow products.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Tim Richards handles a range of litigation, including shareholder disputes, contractual claims and IP disputes. Sources highlight his "excellent client care" and "incisive approach."

Simon Barnett has experience in a broad range of commercial litigation. He focuses his practice on professional negligence disputes and acting for institutions in the higher education sector.

Associate to watch Sara Chisholm-Batten is regularly instructed on cross-border cases. Sources describe her as "exceptional," and highlight her "commitment to the case."  

Significant clients Legal Aid Agency, Truprint, Gro Group International, Intelsat, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.

Planning - Exeter and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Maintains an impressive reputation throughout the area for its practical and strategically aware approach to a range of commercial and residential matters. Also receives regular instructions in complex energy and infrastructure mandates.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The lawyers deliver, they understand the challenges and opportunities we're trying to exploit, and they're accessible."

"The practice is very sound and capable of moving pretty fast and very efficiently."

What's new? New client wins include Strongvox and Countax.

Work highlights Represented Monaghan Mushrooms as an interested party in a judicial review of the grant of planning permission for a residential development.

Acted for Fords of Sidmouth on an application for employment space on an unallocated site, in the context of the emergence of the draft Local Plan for East Devon.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Howard is "very sound - unflappable," say interviewees, who also praise his skill in handling enforcement actions. He is frequently instructed in residential and infrastructure developments.

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

Private Client - South West

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

What the team is known for Capacity to deal with significant international and offshore work. Provides an excellent service across all private client law matters, including trusts, succession and tax mandates.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their advice is balanced and considered, and always excellent."

Notable practitioners

Bristol-based Sandra Brown is a trusted adviser to a great many high net worth clients and trusts, particularly on matters pertaining to the mitigation of tax in both offshore and onshore settings. Peers recognise her as a "leading light in private client law."

Jonathan Riley is a leading expert in the fields of tax and offshore trusts, with particular expertise in the law of the Channel Islands. He advises trust companies and other financial institutions, in addition to their clients. Clients praise his "international expertise and business acumen."

Adrian Miller focuses his practice on the administration and planning of estates, and advises landed families and other private individuals in the South West. Market commentators admire his attention to detail and nuanced people skills.

Will Michelmore serves as the head of the private client department and advises on a broad range of matters. Clients describe him as a "superb family trust lawyer, with genuine clarity of thought."

Real Estate - Exeter and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners
- 42 other qualified partners
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Regularly instructed by public sector clients including government bodies and police authorities. Strong development offering on renewable, regeneration and strategic land transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their performance was absolutely excellent, I couldn't fault it at all. They are very good, and very committed to our interest as clients."

"They're a good firm. They give us sensible, pragmatic advice."

What's new? Antony Power joins the team from Devonshires.

Work highlights Advised City North Finsbury Park on the £200 million mixed-use commercial and residential development of Finsbury Park, in London.

Acted for Clinton Devon Estates on the joint venture development at Budleigh Salterton, with a gross development value of more than £20 million. 

Notable practitioners  

David Howe has significant experience with urban regeneration developments. Peers describe him as "good, solid and experienced."

Head of department Emma Honey is well regarded for her commercial property expertise. She specialises in residential development, with significant experience in the education sector. One client notes that "she's very thorough and you feel she's really acting in your best interests."

Lucy Smallwood specialises in acting for residential developers and landowners, with a focus on strategic land and promotion agreements. Sources say she has "a very detailed but also a very comprehensive mind."

Significant clients Barratt Homes, University of Exeter, The Carlyle Group, St Modwen, Rowe Group.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for Assists private and public sector clients on the full range of contentious property matters. Expertise includes restrictive covenants, landlord and tenant and lease matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They have a good understanding of their clients as organisations and often accommodate short-notice requirements."

"They have good knowledge, and they communicate very well and keep us up to date."

Work highlights Represented Cobell in a dispute with its intermediate landlord over the landlord's insistence on vacant possession and refusal to grant tenancy at will.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Robert Nicholson specialises in commercial property disputes and enters the rankings following impressive feedback from clients and market commentators. Sources comment that "he's excellent to communicate with - he gives sound advice."

Significant clients Blackpool Airport, Kew Green Hotels, Exeter & Devon Airport, Barratt Homes, St Austell Brewery.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

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

What the team is known for Experienced group of professionals, offering advice to a range of corporate clients. Represents clients in a variety of restructuring and insolvency situations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"For the quality of their advice and value for money, they are one of the top teams in the market." 

Work highlights Advised the administrators of Tradewind Turbines on the pre-pack administration and sale of the business. 

Acted for the administrators of Pro Serv Corporate, a catering company involved with a number of schools and the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club.

Notable practitioners  

Charles Maunder is the head of the restructuring and insolvency team, and is highly regarded in the market for his skill in handling non-contentious restructurings and insolvencies. Sources particularly praise his accuracy and clarity of thought.

Sacha Pickering is summarised by sources as a "calm, rational and effective" practitioner who provides a "commercial, can-do attitude and excellent strategic awareness." He acts in a wide range of restructuring and insolvency situations, primarily for distressed corporate clients.

According to sources, Gillian Smith "is always quick in responding, and commercially astute." Another source describes her as "a top choice for insolvency matters." She has a great deal of experience of advising on corporate insolvencies, as well as directors' duties.

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

Education - UK-wide

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: London

What the team is known for Instructed by a range of schools on education law issues and in the establishment of free schools and trusts. Active in advising schools following academy conversion.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We found them to be very knowledgeable. They have a lot of experience in the sector and are very responsive." 

"Top-notch - superb advice with deep knowledge of the sector." 

Work highlights Advised Aspirations Academies Trust on the establishment of Jewell Academy in Bournemouth and associated construction documentation.

Assisted Holyport College with its establishment as a free school, advising on an associated funding agreement.

Notable practitioners  

Antony Power is singled out by admiring interviewees, who enthuse that "he has an understanding of what we are doing and where we want to go." His broad practice includes advising on admissions policies and the establishment of trusts.

Charlotte Antoniou is highlighted by sources as being "knowledgeable, friendly and always available when needed." She is experienced in handling education matters and has worked on the establishment of numerous academies.

Significant clients Exeter Diocese Board of Education, Lilac Sky Schools Trust, Discovery Schools Academies Trust, Bourton Meadow Education Trust, Bellevue Place Education Trust.

Projects - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Extensive expertise in social infrastructure work, including health and education. Notable experience acting for public sector clients and bidders.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're strong on all fields requested - excellent on very complex issues."

"They're an effective, well-resourced and creative team."

What's new? New client wins include APUC, University of Greenwich and Truro and Penwith College.

Work highlights Advised Plymouth City Council on the procurement for a strategic materials recycling facility project.

Advised Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust on the Queen's Hospital PFI.

Notable practitioners  

Carol McCormack heads the department, and sources say: "She's very practical and keen to make things as simple and straightforward as possible." Her experience includes representing a broad range of clients in work across the health and education fields.

Significant clients HM Treasury, Innisfree, Aberystwyth University, St Modwen, Amey.