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Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Bristol

Veale Wasbrough Vizards - Bristol
  • Orchard Court
  • Orchard Lane
  • Bristol
  • Bristol
  • UK
  • BS1 5WS
  • Managing Partner Simon Heald
  • Number of partners  49
  • Number of other lawyers 209

THE FIRM Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV) is a full service commercial law firm and leading sector specialists acting for clients nationally from offices in London, Bristol and Birmingham. The firm also offers a dedicated service to individuals. VWV places a strong emphasis on the development of the skill and expertise of all staff, quality of service and regulatory compliance. They are accredited to Investors in People (IIP) Bronze level and Lexcel, the Law Society’s Management Standard.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK Sectors include Academies & Maintained schools, Aerospace & Defence, Agriculture & Estates, Charities, Central Government, Energy & Utilities, Family-owned Businesses, Further Education, Healthcare, Higher Education, Independent Schools, Local Government & Emergency Services, Private Wealth and Technology.

CLIENTS Clients include London Symphony Orchestra, Diocese of Gloucester, Seasalt, Westons Cider, Arcadis (UK) Limited, Trunki, Cheltenham Ladies College, Eton College, E-ACT, The Department of Education, Education Funding Agency, University of Bristol, London South Bank University, University College London, University South Wales, CBRE Ltd, Avon Care Homes, Optima Care Partnership, Montpelier Health Centre, Hanham Health, The Royal Mint, Yankee Candle, The Grand Appeal (Gromit Unleashed), Clarks Shoes, Park Garden Centre, EDF Energy Customers Plc, Britannia Building Society, Luton Borough Council, Dorset County Council, DVSA, Airbus, Fire Service College, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, Crest Nicholson Plc, The Hills Group, IMG, Le Cordon Bleu as well as acting for a large number of wealthy private individuals.

INTERNATIONAL VWV is a founder member of the Association of European Lawyers which means the firm has a network of lawyers and associates around the world that can provide local legal assistance, when needed.

Areas of Practice

  • Commercial 16%
  • Corporate 7%
  • Employment 14%
  • Litigation 22%
  • Private Client 9%
  • Real Estate 32%
    Contacts
  • Banking & Finance: David Emanuel
  • Charities: Con Alexander
  • Commercial: Doug Locke
  • Corporate: Nathan Guest
  • Education: Barney Northover
  • Employment: Gareth Edwards
  • Healthcare: Ben Willis
  • Litigation: Tabitha Cave
  • Personal Injury: Jan Markland
  • Private Client: Michelle Rose
  • Public Sector: David Hansom
  • Real Estate: Gary Philpott
  • Private Wealth: Christine Green

Branches

  • Orchard Court,
  • Orchard Lane,
  • Bristol,
  • UK
  • BS1 5WS
  • Tel (0117) 925 2020
  • Fax (0117) 925 2025
  • DX 7831 Bristol
  • Email : ajames@vwv.co.uk
  • Website : www.vwv.co.uk
  • Barnards Inn,
  • 86 Fetter Lane,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4A 1AD
  • Tel (020) 7405 1234
  • Fax (020) 7405 4171
  • DX 6 London/Chancery Lane
  • Second Floor,
  • 3 Brindley Place,
  • Birmingham,
  • West Midlands
  • UK
  • B1 2JB
  • Tel (0121) 227 3799
  • Fax (0121) 227 3777

Banking & Finance - South West

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

What the team is known for Strong relationships with major regional banks, providing both local Bristol-based work and a wider reach into the South West. Sector expertise includes charities, healthcare and education.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It is a great firm with great people."  

Work highlights Advised HSBC on a £2.4 million facility to Stroudwater Redevelopments Partnership for the redevelopment of the former Elby Wharf Industrial Estate, situated by Stroudwater Canal. 

Notable practitioners 

Robert Collier is the key contact.

Significant clients Santander, Lloyds, RBS, Allied Irish Banks, Handelsbanken.

Construction - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Growing reputation in the South West market for contentious and transactional matters. Carries out significant work for clients in several areas, including education, healthcare, insurance and contracting.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I have always been very pleased with their input and how they are able to very clearly explain some very difficult legal issues."

"They are very approachable and easy to deal with. You always get one of the principals dealing directly with you."

Work highlights Advised on Bath Spa University's procurement strategy and documentation for the £70 million redevelopment of its main campus.

Acted for Lloyds Bank on a number of GP surgery developments, including approving construction documentation.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department and mediator Huw Morgan has a mixed practice of contractual and disputes advice. He is known for the breadth of his industry knowledge and commended for being "very proactive at clearing up discrepancies and avoiding problems."

Jason Prosser is also very experienced in disputes and transactional work. He has led on a number of key projects for the team. His "approachable and amiable" style is applauded by sources.

Significant clients Bouygues, Airbus Operations, Education Funding Agency, Bath & North East Somerset Council, VOSA.

Corporate/M&A - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Acts for a variety of SMEs and family owned businesses. Well known for its work in the education sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A very conscientious and well-organised firm." 

"The team has strength and depth."  

Work highlights Represented Trunki in an investment of £3.92 million by The Business Growth Fund.

Assisted the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan with its acquisition of Busy Bees. The deal was worth £220 million.

Notable practitioners  

Nathan Guest receives praise for his fund-raising work. He was the lead partner in The Business Growth Fund's £3.92 million investment into Trunki. Sources say: "He is very good at developing a connection with his client." 

Jos Moule is described by sources as having a "very calm and pragmatic approach." He was recently instructed to assist with the formation of The Together Social Business Group.

Nick Smith's recent highlights include advising Weston's Cider on a reorganisation. Many of his clients are family owned businesses. 

Significant clients Essilor International, Airbus Operations, Dawnus Construction, Bellevue Education, International Paper.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Well known for its presence within the education sector. Expertise in cases relating to the public sector and charities. Also knowledgeable in private sector matters, with experience of issues such as unfair dismissal and TUPE.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers are always available, and they give extremely helpful and practical advice. They recognise the needs of my organisation and avoid giving overly cautious advice - I always know I can trust what they tell me."

Notable practitioners  

Gareth Edwards remains highly regarded for his broad employment law expertise, particularly his knowledge of cases involving charities and clients from the public sector. He recently advised clients such as CBRE, the Diocese of Gloucester and the Welsh Fire Authorities on a range of employment matters.

According to interviewees, Simon Bevan is "calm, clear, quickly gets the core of the issue, and offers a practical route to secure the desired outcome. He is reassuring during stressful situations, and cannot be praised highly enough." He has a notable presence with clients from the independent school sector.

Alice Reeve recently joined the team, bolstering the practice's expertise in education-related employment matters. Market commentators recognise her as "reliable, articulate, well informed, and flexible over timings."

Significant clients Crown Prosecution Service, Bournemouth Borough Council, Eton College, Bristol Grammar School, Cheltenham Ladies College.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for Traditional firm-wide focus on the educational sector. Trade marks also remain an area of strength.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"All my dealings with them have been extremely efficient and practical. I feel I have been well advised and given all the options."

"From a technical point of view they are very sound. They look at things in the round, and can come up with creative solutions, meaning you don't feel they will miss anything." 

Work highlights Offered IP and commercial advice to the Grand Appeal, a charity raising money for the Bristol Children's Hospital and Special Care Baby Unit. This included the charity's highly successful Gromit Unleashed campaign, in which 80 statues of Gromit were decorated by artists, displayed around Bristol, then auctioned.

Managing the international trade mark portfolio for the Royal Mint, and advising on IP aspects of its major new iSIS coin technology project.

Notable practitioners  

Doug Locke leads the team. One impressed peer commented that "he is very accessible in two ways: first, you can get hold of him when you need him. Secondly, his style is very accessible. He's practical and gets to the nub of things." Recent standout matters include advising the Royal Mint and the Grand Appeal.

Associate Paula Williams focuses on trade mark work, and recently advised the Joint Council for Qualifications on combating fake A-level and GCSE exam certificates. Sources say that she is very easy to work with, responsive and good at building a rapport with clients.

Significant clients Yankee Candle, University of East London, Cranleigh School, Beyond the Bean, Seasalt.

Licensing - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 1 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol 

What the team is known for Broad licensing practice noted for expertise in marriage, alcohol and entertainment licensing. Regularly acts for private sector clients, charities and schools.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They provide the most imaginative approach to the service and they approach things in a way which finds the best solution. They are very good at finding the way through."

Work highlights Advised the Diocese of Gloucester on marriage licensing requirements for all of the parishes across the diocese.

Successfully advised The Courtenay Group on a variation to a premises licence to allow for festivals at the premises, in the face of substantial local opposition.

Notable practitioners  

Senior associate Naomi Chesterman attracts praise from clients for her "very considered and prompt response."

Significant clients Le Cordon Bleu, CBRE Management Services, The Courtenay Group, Bromsgrove School, PPC Bars.

Litigation - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Recognised for its work in the education sector and its expertise in partnership disputes and professional negligence claims. Increasingly instructed on energy and procurement disputes and judicial review.

Work highlights Acted for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire on a judicial review concerning the decision of an internal discipline panel to dismiss a police sergeant.

Notable practitioners  

Edward Husband has particular expertise in advising on disputes concerning financial distress and business breakdown, including contract disputes, corporate insolvency and professional negligence.

Managing partner Simon Heald has significant experience of advising commercial clients on a range of disputes. He also has expertise in assisting with regulatory litigation.

Significant clients Britannia Building Society, The Bank of Ireland, London Metropolitan University, Sussex Coast Hastings, University of South Wales.

Personal Injury: Mainly Claimant - South West

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Experienced team recognised for its expertise in a variety of areas, including accidents at work, illnesses at work and road traffic claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have excellent technical knowledge, are a very friendly team and do their very best for their clients."

Notable practitioners  

John Webster specialises in representing individuals who have suffered serious brain and spinal injuries. One client said: "He is incredibly professional and personable. I am very confident in his ability."

Janice Lynne Markland is recommended by market sources for serious injury claims. Clients praise the high quality of her advice.

Private Client - South West

  

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

What the team is known for Strong reputation for handling contentious matters and Court of Protection issues. Advises on traditional tax planning, and estate and trust administration, often with international aspects. Clients include high net worth individuals, inherited wealth and private banks.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They take the bull by the horns and get things moving." 

Notable practitioners

Michelle Rose specialises in dispute resolution, including complex cross-border cases. Commentators familiar with her skill in litigation and negotiation are "very impressed by her approach and wise counsel."

Real Estate - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for Significant expertise in the education sector with particular focus on portfolio management and large development schemes. Growing transport and retail practice, acting for both public and private sector clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Excellent - a very conscientious, well-organised firm. " 

"They really are the key to my sanity. I really would recommend them."

Work highlights Acted for Crest Nicholson Regeneration on the development of Oakgrove in Milton Keynes, comprising 1,100 homes. 

Advised the Education Funding Agency on a number of site acquisitions, in excess of £50 million, relating to new free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools.

Notable practitioners  

Tim Smithers has a range of commercial and residential development experience, including funding, acquisitions and disposals. Sources comment that "he has very rounded knowledge and experience."

Stephen McGuigan is experienced in a range of commercial property matters. His expertise includes secured lending, loan restructuring and development work, and clients describe him as "very calm, methodical and pragmatic."

Significant clients EDF Energy Customers, Bath Spa University, Park Garden Centre, PwC, Airbus Operations.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for Handles a broad spectrum of property disputes such as dilapidations, disposals and injunctions. Acts for a varied client roster covering areas including energy, education and the public sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their approach is very straightforward and helpful."

"They're a good, solid firm - they do what they say they're going to do on time and they're knowledgeable."

Work highlights Assisted PwC with a number of estate management matters including dilapidations, rental issues and interim repairs.

Advised Esso Petroleum on the registration of its underground fuel pipeline network and assisted with the investigation and report of low ground cover over the pipelines.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Michelle Bendall enjoys an outstanding reputation across the region. Sources highlight her breadth of experience in contentious property and note that "her advice is very crisp and clear."

Clients praise senior associate David Bird's litigation skills. He has particular expertise in development transactions.

Significant clients Airbus, Ministry of Defence, Department for Transport, University of Bristol, Crest Nicholson.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

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

What the team is known for Highly rated for its contentious corporate and personal insolvency offering. Also well known for its charity and education sector focus.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A team of quality people, providing expert advice." 

Work highlights Advising the trustees of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum on issues arising out of its liquidation, as well as allegations of fraud against a former director of the museum.

Advised the administrators of Beaver Maintenance on a number of issues, including the status of a New Zealand-based director, and issues surrounding company property.

Notable practitioners  

Edward Husband is a specialist insolvency litigator and adviser, who primarily acts in corporate insolvency disputes. He is described by market sources as "everything that you could want from an insolvency lawyer - calm, well delivered and practical."

Significant clients KPMG, BDO, Moore Stevens, Mazars, Milsted Langdon.  

Tax - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Provides solid support for the firm's corporate team, working on a number of high-value transactions. Acts for both private and public sector clients. Also provides tax advice directly to outside businesses and individuals.

What's new? New clients include the IDL Group, EDF Energy and Midlands Together.

Emma Bradley was promoted to partner.

Notable practitioners  

Emma Bradley is highly respected by clients, who describe her as having "convictions in her opinions - which almost always turn out to be correct. She has very up-to-date knowledge of notoriously inaccessible areas of the law." She recently advised a public body on VAT matters relating to construction contracts.

Significant clients Essilor International, Westons Cider, Morgan Lloyd Administration, Seasalt, Trunki.

Private Client - London (Firms)

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.

Real Estate - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 18 partners
- 35 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Handles asset management and transactional work for clients including retailers, education institutions, charities and corporates. Also advises on acquisitions, sales, development and financing for property investors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They understand our business, they understand what our particular requirements are and I find they are able to adopt a very pragmatic and commercial approach to the legal advice that they deliver to us."

"They're very good at prompting me and flagging things when I need to action something or make a decision. The level of advice from all the lawyers has been very good."

What's new? The firm acquired London practice George Carter LLP in October 2013.

Work highlights Acted for Bream's Buildings Property Unit Trust on the £3.65 million sale of 11-13 Bream's Buildings for residential development.

Advised The Dunhill Medical Trust on negotiating a promotion agreement with Dandara for the development of a 40-acre site at Fontwell, West Sussex.

Notable practitioners 

Jon Durham is a key contact.

Significant clients The Richemont Group, International Media Group, Sheffield & Regional Properties, City & Guilds, University College London.

Immigration - The Regions

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

What the team is known for Comprehensive immigration practice with noted strength in advising education institutions, especially independent schools. The team has a wealth of experience with the PBS and regularly advises on applications via Tier 1, 2, 4 and 5. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"It is my choice of firm because it understands my needs, gives me honest advice and will protect my interest." 

"They are responsive and efficient and they always keep me updated of the progress at each stage." 

Notable practitioners  

Judith Hockin is described as "effective, efficient and friendly" by one impressed source, while another commends her for being approachable and solution-oriented. She has a range of clients including individuals, businesses and groups in the education sector.

Significant clients Paythru, Proteome Sciences, Meltz Treats, Longview Care Home, Marblefield.

Charities - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Bristol, Birmingham, London

What the team is known for Established charities practice deft at handling commercial transactions, including restructurings and insolvency matters. Remains the chief adviser to numerous independent schools requiring charity law advice. Increasingly acting for clients in the social care and arts sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are not just lawyers who work together. They are a team that understand one another."

"The quality of advice is strong, but always balanced with a practical viewpoint. Advice is therefore not excessively legalistic and can be implemented more easily than would be possible with a more technical approach."

What's new? Anne Holmes, a former director at Cobbetts prior to its absorption by DWF, joined the team. 

Work highlights Advised the Royal Hospital for Children Bristol Appeal on selecting the appropriate charitable vehicle and other commercial aspects involved with its 'Gromit Unleashed' public art fund-raising event.  

Advised Derwen College on several charity law and commercial matters, including the transfer of its non-permanent endowment assets and liabilities into a new charitable company.  

Notable practitioners  

Penelope Byatt is a senior associate within the team, celebrated for her "absolutely top-notch knowledge of charity law." She is especially well regarded for her expertise advising charities on constitutional matters, trading issues, mergers, incorporations and reorganisations. Clients find her "easy to talk to" and state that she is an efficient operator, able to "grasp the problem quickly and come back with the information we need." 

Con Alexander maintains a stellar reputation within the charities sector, particularly in the area of complex governance matters. Clients are confident that he possesses the "energy, enthusiasm and deep understanding" to provide "helpful advice across a range of charity issues." One source enthuses: "He has underpinned our charitable growth for many years and I can't speak more highly of him."

Significant clients Community Service Volunteers, Dutch Oak Tree Foundation, London Symphony Orchestra, Henshaws Society for the Blind, Bristol Old Vic Theatre Trust.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acts for both higher and further education institutes on strategic partnerships, employment law issues, IP matters and disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"The lawyers have a great eye for detail and in-depth knowledge of our organisation, and take prompt action."

"The rates are good and the quality of advice is outstanding." 

Work highlights Advised Bournemouth University on procurement documentation and related training.

Notable practitioners  

Bettina Rigg is highlighted by clients for having "her feet on the ground and a good understanding of the education world." She advises a wide range of clients on matters relating to employment law.

Significant clients Bath Spa University, University of East London, London Metropolitan University, London South Bank University, Sussex Coast College Hastings.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 22 other qualified solicitors
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Highly regarded group advising a range of education sector clients, from multi-academy trusts to maintained and independent schools. Handles academy conversions, restructurings and commercial matters, and has additional expertise in compliance and governance issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We rate them very highly. We enjoy the confidence we have in the advice they give, which is important. We are reassured that they are very responsive and sensitive to our circumstances, and understand our contracts."

"They delivered a strong performance and a personalised and sensitive approach, showing a thorough understanding of schools and academies and the nuances of these."

Work highlights Acted for Christ's Hospital School on the renegotiation of a funding agreement and lease, as well as advising on charity law elements of the school's funding arrangements and governance.

Represented Cranleigh School in international trade mark registration and the negotiation of an agreement concerning school operations and use of the school's name for the new Cranleigh Abu Dhabi school.

Notable practitioners  

Education employment law specialist Simon Bevan is praised by clients for his "great interpersonal skills - he is good with individuals and groups. He is very considered and he always keeps a calm head, which generates a sense of confidence."

Barney Northover is highlighted by sources as being "always very calm and collected, and able to see both sides of an argument." He has great experience in advising schools on issues relating to charity law, governance and mergers.

The "effective and efficient"  Yvonne Spencer has significant expertise in academy conversions. Interviewees are quick to praise her as being "very impressive and very able," and "someone who has done an absolutely fantastic job."

Alice Reeve focuses on employment matters and is experienced at advising academies and independent schools. One industry insider notes: "We know she is great and effective. We have a lot of respect for her."

Significant clients Cheltenham Ladies College, Eton College, Uppingham, North London Collegiate School, Manchester Grammar School.

Partnership - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Robust South West practice with a national reach. Talented in acting for a wide range of partnership matters for accountants, law firms and alternative business structures.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very professional and I have no hesitation in recommending them."

"They've got a number of very capable people." 

Work highlights Advised Bradford on Avon & Melksham Health Partnership on its complex merger, which included providing assistance on issues concerning the transfer of staff, taking account of the interaction of TUPE and the NHS Pension Scheme rules.

Notable practitioners  

Head of the department Jos Moule is highly experienced in partnership law, and acts in contentious and non-contentious matters. Sources describe him as a "sensible, wise and thoughtful" lawyer who has "carved quite a niche in the local area."

Significant clients Gleeds, Barton Willmore, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, The Miles Partnership.

Partnership - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Substantial knowledge of medical partnership issues including surgery development, mergers and disputes. Also possesses expertise in related property, corporate and regulatory matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're highly professional, with a specialist in every area of their work. They have a very good reputation amongst practice managers."

"We're 100% satisfied with their service. We were struck by their competence and confidence in explaining issues."

Work highlights Advised White House and West Street Surgeries on a £4.8 million joint acquisition and development of premises at London Road, Chipping Norton.

Provided guidance to Lloyds Bank in connection with its security in a £1.67 million acquisition and development of a new GP surgery in Somerton.

Notable practitioners  

Ben Willis advises clients on partnership and real estate matters, and has particular expertise in GP surgery development. One impressed interviewee states: "He has an impressive ability to grasp subtle issues, concerns and sensitivities. He's knowledgeable and is able to convey complex issues in clear language to a varied audience."

Oliver Pool is an expert in advising GPs on a wide range of matters, including partnership deeds, joint ventures between practices and partner disputes. According to sources, "he's a really impressive practitioner," and "a great asset to the firm."

Significant clients Hanham Health Ltd (Bristol), Bishopston Medical Practice, Lloyds Bank, Montpelier Health Centre (Bristol), Eider Rosa Limited (Hereford).