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Veale Wasbrough Vizards


Veale Wasbrough Vizards - Bristol
  • Orchard Court
  • Orchard Lane
  • Bristol
  • Bristol
  • UK
  • BS1 5WS
  • Managing Partner Simon Heald
  • Number of partners  46
  • Number of other lawyers 145 

THE FIRM VWV is a full-service law firm providing sector focused services nationally in the education and charities, healthcare, private wealth, family owned business and public sectors. The firm also offers a dedicated service to individuals. VWV has adopted the Law Society’s practice management standards as statements of good practice and has maintained the Lexcel accreditation since January 2004. As part of the commitment to staff and to clients, the firm has three core values which span all work groups and business plans. The core values are: teamwork and collaboration; client at the centre of the firm; commercial approach.

Education & Charities:
The firm has a well established and rapidly growing education and charities practice with more than 1,000 clients nationwide including universities, FE colleges, independent schools, maintained schools and academies, nurseries and a broad range of charities but especially in the education, arts and social care sectors.
Public Sector: VWV’s public sector practice provides a one stop full service for central and local government on all areas including property, planning, commercial contracts, projects and employment issues, as well as specialist teams advising on EU procurement, state aid, election law, member standards and constitutional issues. The team contains experts with significant in-house experience and advises over 100 local authorities.
Healthcare: The strengths of the Healthcare team are in acting for operators and care providers in primary care and social care. The team acts for over 350 GP practices and a number of private healthcare providers. The team has acted on over 90 GP surgery development schemes and also acts for care homes, social care charities, social enterprises, dentists, pharmacies and private consultants.
Family Owned Businesses: The firm advises family business clients, such as Seasalt Limited and H Weston and Sons (Westons Cider), on a broad range of corporate matters including governance of the business, reorganisation of shares between family members and family trusts, shareholders’ agreements, and disputes. VWV also carries out family business consultancy for family businesses through secondment to the International Centre for Families in Business.
Private Wealth: The firmacts for individuals and families with many different interests and requirements. The aim is to assist in protecting assets and to provide for the succession of family members. Services and advice include: property purchase, will and trust disputes, estate planning, family businesses and philanthropy. The firm also manages two distinctly branded divisions, Augustines Injury Law and Convey Direct, handling residential conveyancing.

  • Banking & Finance: David Emanuel
  • Commercial: Doug Locke
  • Corporate: Nathan Guest
  • Education & Charities: Barney Northover
  • Employment: Gareth Edwards
  • Healthcare: Ben Willis
  • Litigation: Tabitha Cave
  • Personal Injury: John Webster
  • Private Client: Michelle Rose
  • Public Sector: David Hansom
  • Real Estate: Gary Philpott
  • Private Wealth: Christine Green


  • 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

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Specialist expertise in the healthcare, education, charities and family business sectors. Particular focus on the regional banking and business community.

Notable practitioners 

David Emanuel is a key contact in the firm's banking and finance practice.

Significant clients Santander, RBS, HSBC, Allied Irish Banks, Clydesdale Bank.

Charities - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 15 partners
- 27 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Offers a comprehensive service covering governance, employment, property, finance and corporate matters for third-sector clients. Strong expertise in advising independent schools, as well as other education sector clients, arts charities and the broader charity sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The services have invariably been excellent. Their advice has always been valued and well received."  

Work highlights Advised Henshaws Society for Blind People on the restructuring of its charitable operations.

Assisted The Royal Hospital for Children Bristol Appeal with charities law compliance issues arising from fund-raising events.

Notable practitioners  

Departmental head Con Alexander is considered to be "deeply knowledgeable about all aspects of charities law and completely commercial in his approach to client work." He is further commended for his "clear, concise and correct explanations" and his "tremendous ability of understanding what clients want."

Barney Northover is lauded for his ability to "think strategically around restructuring and merger issues." He recently represented The Lytham Schools Trustee in an appeal brought before the Charity Tribunal.

Significant clients Community Services Volunteers, Dutch Oak Tree Foundation, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal British Legion, St Paul's School.

Construction - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Ranked office locations: Bristol

What the team is known for Offers a range of contentious and non-contentious services. Noted for its healthcare and education focus.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The depth of knowledge is fantastic and the presentation is first-class."

Responsiveness: "The team has been quick to respond and is friendly and efficient." 

Work highlights Advised Airbus on a range of agreements arising out of the construction of a multimillion-pound facility in Bristol.

Advised Bath Spa University on procurement strategies in relation to a significant redevelopment on its main campus.

Notable practitioners 

Huw Morgan is the head of the department at the practice. His clients include the Museum of London Archaeology and iQ property. Huw is described by clients as "very proactive."

Jason Prosser is noted by clients as being "highly professional and approachable." He is leading a number of key contentious and non-contentious matters.

Significant clients Dawnus Construction, Education Funding Agency, Lloyds TSB, Warings Contractors.

Corporate/M&A - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 9 partners 
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Advises family-run businesses and entrepreneur-led businesses. Also active in the healthcare sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They don't bombard you with information, rather they cut to the thrust of the matter and put forward solutions."

Commercial awareness: "The team has a balanced approach towards getting an agreement in a commercial environment."

What's new? Martin Reid joins the firm from Oury Clarke.

Work highlights Advised joint venture partnerships between the Wellcome Trust and Quintain Estates & Development on the restructuring and refinancing of its student accommodation investment.

Advised Gradwell Communications on the £1.15 million investment in the company by private equity fund Altitude Partners.

Notable practitioners

Jos Moule specialises in partnership law and in acting for technology and media businesses. He assisted with the private equity investment by Altitude Partners in Gradwell Communications.

Head of department Nathan Guest is "very well regarded" by peers. His clients include dental group Total Orthodontics.

Nick Smith specialises in advising family-owned businesses. Sources say: "What impressed me was his leadership skills, problem solving and management of the project. He communicated some extremely tricky legal concepts very well to clients."

Anthony Young acted for a shareholder on the sale of care business Delight Care to Enara Care. Clients describe him as "very effective when it was most needed."

Significant clients Essilor International, Airbus Operations, International Paper, Altran Technologies, H Weston & Sons.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Handles a broad range of employment matters, from equal pay and TUPE to whistle-blowing, working time regulations and maternity issues. Specific expertise in the charities, education and public sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "I have never had to chase them up. They are perfectly responsive."

Client service: "They deal with things in an orderly way."

Work highlights Advised Glastonbury Abbey on the dismissal of its former Director. 

Successfully defended the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service in relation to Employment Tribunal proceedings brought by an employee. 

Notable practitioners  

Gareth Edwards takes a particular interest in labour and industrial relations as well as discrimination law. Clients commend his responsiveness and highlight his work in leading an effective team.  

Simon Bevan advises on a range of employment and discrimination law matters. Clients remark that he "gets back to you, gives full advice and is always available."

Alice Reeve specialises in providing employment advice to clients in the education sector and is noted for her reputation in this field. 

Significant clients CBRE, Crown Prosecution Service, Bournemouth Borough Council, Bristol Zoo, Eton College.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for Strong track record in IP matters concerning the educational sector, in addition to a thriving trade mark filing practice.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The quality of their work has been good. Those in the firm respond quickly to requests and provide sensible answers to questions."

Commercial awareness: "Veale Wasbrough Vizards offers exceptional advice truly understanding the nature of the client’s business and the client’s commercial strategy. Consequently its advice and action, even in tricky circumstances, is outstanding, delivering prompt and excellent results."

Technical ability: "The advice was clearly laid out and reliable. Their legal writing was clear, concise and easy to understand."

What's new? New partner Sue Malthouse has rejoined the firm from her previous role as group director of legal at Clarks Shoes.

Work highlights Assisted Malvern College in licensing project partners to establish a school in China under its brand.

Notable practitioners  

Doug Locke maintains a broad practice which encompasses patents, copyright and design rights. He is described by clients as "very bright and capable" and is praised for being able to "think around problems and make very useful suggestions." One impressed client said that "he takes the trouble to understand what it is exactly you're trying to achieve as opposed to the best legal position."

Significant clients Airbus, Beyond the Bean, The Royal Mint.

Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for Renowned for advising education establishments. Also noted for claimant professional negligence, partnership disputes, defendant police work and judicial review.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Its responsiveness and accessibility are first-class." 

Work highlights Acted for two distinguished partners on a partnership dispute with Wilsons of a value in excess of £5 million.

Advising Britannia Building Society on more than 100 cases against solicitors and valuers, valued in excess of £6 million.

Notable practitioners  

Managing partner Simon Heald specialises in insolvency, shareholder and director disputes and security realisation.

Edward Husband has a broad range of experience in areas including corporate, contractual disputes, fraud and professional negligence. Clients say: "He is responsive, supportive, approachable and sensible."

Significant clients EDF Energy, Brandon Hire, Lytham Schools, Bank of Ireland, Yankee Candle.

Personal Injury - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Offers specialist expertise in a variety of complex areas, including catastrophic injury work, cases involving asbestos exposure, Animals Act claims and fatalities. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I couldn't fault any aspect of this service – they did everything that was needed to achieve a successful outcome."

Responsiveness: "They're very good at getting back to clients quickly and managing their expectations – they're very reliable."

Notable practitioners  

John Webster heads the department, focusing on complex catastrophic claims involving brain and spinal injuries. Clients note his "shining qualities – he's a professional of great experience working to the highest standards."

Jan Markland has a broad practice, acting on multiparty litigation, fatal claims, accidents at work and cases involving industrial disease. Sources call her "unflappable – she has a great client manner and handles some of the most difficult cases to run."

Private Client - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for A well-established team offering comprehensive services to a broad client base including entrepreneurs, landowners and those with inherited wealth. Cross-border asset protection, tax planning, probate and trust administration are key strengths.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "The level of service is exemplary. Any queries are always dealt with promptly and with great care. I have great confidence in the advice that I have been given." 

Notable practitioners 

Head of department Michelle Rose is a contentious probate expert who has a solid reputation amongst clients and competitors.

Real Estate - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 14 partners 
- 21 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Particularly noted in the education and healthcare sectors. Regularly acts for health sector clients, with a particular focus on surgery developments. Acts for government departments and local authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We've had nothing but excellent service from them. They have a wider understanding of our business."

Bench strength: "They've gone from strength to strength; there's strength in depth there."

Work highlights Advised EDF Energy on site assembly and infrastructure issues connected with the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station development.

Acted for iQ Property Partnership, a joint venture between the Wellcome Trust and Quintain Estates & Development, on the development and £70 million refinancing of a 673-bed student accommodation scheme in Shoreditch, East London.

Notable practitioners

Tim Smithers acted for Crest Nicholson on large-scale regeneration projects at Bath Riverside and Bristol Harbourside. One satisfied client says Tim is "very practical – he doesn't want to make a mountain out of a molehill, and he gives clear and concise advice."

Significant clients Education Funding Agency, Airbus Operations, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Bath Spa University, PwC.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

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

What the team is known for Strong reputation for its handling of contentious landlord and tenant issues. Experience acting for clients from the education and public sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "They've been very sensible, fair-minded and even-handed. They are robust on behalf of the client without being overly aggressive."

Client service: "They are first-rate. They are so willing to assist and guide in areas where I simply do not have the relevant experience."

Clarity: "They give clear, well-presented arguments."  

Work highlights Acted for the University of Bristol on a successful challenge to the adoption of the North Somerset Core Strategy, which would not permit development on one of its sites in the south of Bristol.

Continues to act for PwC on a wide variety of contentious issues, including disputes relating to covenants, break notices, and notices under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Michelle Bendall is highly experienced in advising public and private sector clients on varied property disputes. One interviewee says: "She's an excellent lawyer, much loved by clients for getting them out of scrapes."

David Bird is a respected senior associate at the firm. One client praises him for his "willingness to assist and advise at short notice."

Significant clients MoD, Esso Petroleum, Airbus, Bath Spa University, Hills UK.

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 Solid offering across a variety of insolvency and restructuring matters. Growing expertise in the niche area of distressed independent schools.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Clarity: "The insolvency team provides clear, coherent advice."

Commercial awareness: Clients praise the team's provision of lucid, business-friendly advice.

Work highlights Acted for the liquidator of NSS Solutions in a misfeasance claim valued at over £750,000.

Advised liquidators Grant Thornton on asset recovery and asset sales for Welsh boarding school Llandovery College, as well as OFSTED compliance issues.

Notable practitioners  

The "well-known and well-respected" Edward Husband heads the team. Sources identify him as someone with a great deal of insight into commercial problems, saying he is "able to cut to the nub of an issue quickly in order to help you deal with the problems and move on."

Significant clients Grant Thornton, KPMG, Smith & Williamson, Leonard Curtis, Milstead Langdon.

Tax - South West

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

What the team is known for Supports clients with a range of direct and indirect tax advice, as well as handling litigation and investigations. Well known for its background in services for family businesses.

What's new? Recruited CTA Lisa-Marie Smith as a trainee from Gregg Latchams LLP.

Notable practitioners 

Emma Bradley was promoted to partner in October 2013. She has a background in private client tax planning and also focuses on a range of corporate tax law. Sources praise her responsiveness and knowledge, with one remarking: “She struck me as being very well versed in her area of law. With tax law changing so rapidly, she was absolutely up to date. She could break it down and explain it very clearly to the clients.”

Significant clients Morgan Lloyd Administration, Seasalt Limited, H Weston & Sons.

Immigration - The Regions

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

What the team is known for Advises on applications under the PBS for individuals, educational institutions and SMEs. 

What's new? The firm boosted its immigration strength by hiring Judith Hockin from Stevens Scown.

Work highlights Advising the Aurora Academies Trust on its application for a Tier 2 sponsor licence and a related UKBA inspection.

Notable practitioners  

Judith Hockin is praised by clients for her in-depth knowledge of the UKBA and for her responsiveness. Her practice covers the full range of business immigration matters.

Significant clients Clarendon International, MSubs, Ashbourne College, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Meltz Treats.

Education - UK-wide

What the team is known for Handles a variety of complex and sensitive matters. Particularly well known for equality and disability challenges, student issues, employment issues and judicial reviews.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They work hard to understand our needs and ensure that the service they provide matches those needs." 

Effectiveness: "They delivered everything they said they would."  

 Ethos: "I'm impressed with all of them – it's a very straightforward firm."

Work highlights Acted for University College London on a major outsourcing contract.

Advised Pembrokeshire College on the federation of its governance arrangements.

Notable practitioners

Bettina Rigg has "sound knowledge of the education sector," according to commentators. She specialises in employment law. 

Significant clients London Metropolitan University, University of East London, Bath Spa University, Doncaster Deaf Trust, Bishop Grosseteste University College, Lincoln.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 8 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Provides a full service to education sector clients, offering strong expertise in education-specific corporate work, litigation, academy conversions, child protection issues, employment and health and safety. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We could not have received better service and guidance."

Quality of advice: "Accessible and practical advice." 

 Quality of service: "A truly personalised service."  

What's new? The arrival of education expert Alice Reeve from Rickerbys is seen as a real boost for the firm.

Work highlights Acted for The Lytham Schools Trustee in the Charity Tribunal concerning an appeal against a decision to allow a merger between two independent schools.

Advised the governors of St Michael's School and administrators Grant Thornton on the closure of the school and administration of the charity.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Barney Northover is "extremely aware of the potential risks in commercial ventures," and is "able to provide sound advice on M&A activity." He focuses on strategic matters for education sector clients.

Simon Bevan is "right at the top of his game" and is "pragmatic and easy to deal with," according to sources. Clients recommend him as he "offers excellent advice, is always calm and professional and inspires confidence." He specialises in employment law.

Yvonne Spencer is highly regarded for pastoral issues affecting public maintained schools. Clients appreciate that she "provides sound, strategic level advice with a good understanding of the risks to which the school might be exposed."

Alice Reeve joins the firm from Rickerbys, and provides "comprehensive and commercial advice," according to sources. She advises on employment matters and brings experience of academy conversions.

Significant clients Rugby School, the Education Funding Agency, North London Collegiate School, St Paul's School, Berkhamsted Schools Group.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 6 other fee earners
- Office locations ranked: Bristol 

What the team is known for South West group with strong litigation ability and further non-contentious capability. Advises a broad range of professional practices, with an increasing amount focused on solicitor, accountancy and medical practices.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "A good team across the board. They are focused and cost-effective."

Work highlights Acted for two partners in an exclusion dispute with Wilsons Solicitors, and obtained an injunction which allowed them to resume work following their summary exclusion.

Notable practitioners 

Jos Moule leads the team and is noted as being able to "grasp the issues quickly," and for being "considered in his approach to resolving the matter."

Significant clients Barton Willmore, Gleeds, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Scott-Moncrieff & Associates, Stubbs Rich.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Bristol, London

What the team is known for Well-respected team active in the South East with growing nationwide coverage. Keen capabilities in employment, property and regulatory matters, with expertise in partnership arrangements extending to joint ownership and PPP.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Communication: "They are excellent communicators. Not only did they keep us fully informed on the progress of the work, but they were able to clearly explain the legal and business implications of the documents they were advising on or producing for us."

Commercial awareness: "I had confidence that the lawyers knew what they were talking about in relation to the NHS."

Work highlights Advised Bradford on Avon & Melksham Health Partnership on the merger of two GP practices.

Redrafted the partnership agreement for Montpelier Health Centre.

Notable practitioners 

"Impressive" real estate partner Ben Willis leads on the property work, recently assisting several surgery developments. His recent clients have included Woodspring Healthcare and the aforementioned Bradford on Avon & Melksham Health Partnership.

Senior associate Oliver Pool concentrates on partnership agreements, M&A and partnership disputes. He earns praise for his knowledge and affability, with sources branding him a "real star in this team - he is prepared to put in the hard work."

Significant clients Lloyds TSB, White House & West Street Surgeries, Perfect Smile, Virgin Care.