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Ashfords LLP

Exeter

  • Ashford House
  • Exeter
  • UK
  • EX1 3LH

Agriculture & Rural Affairs - South West

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

What the team is known for Deep experience acting for all parties involved in rural property transactions. Recognised ability to handle a full range of agricultural disputes, environmental issues, entitlements and grants.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "There are always people there to help." 

Notable practitioners  

Darren Blackburn is a key contact.

Banking & Finance - South West

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for High-quality representation of major lenders and corporate borrowers with respect to a wide range of financings, including asset-based lending, acquisition finance and property finance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Partner involvement: "We have a preference for using Ashfords rather than some of the larger magic circle firms as a partner looks at the detail of the transaction across all aspects and for the duration of the deal, rather than senior or junior associates as we experience elsewhere. We find Ashfords’ approach produces a smoother, more efficient process."

Client service: "Very professional and solid law firm, providing consistent and sound advice."

What's new? Rebecca Dury was promoted to partner.

Work highlights Acted for Lloyds TSB on its £30 million refinancing of Somerset Care.

Advised Wayseal Finance on its funding of property development companies.

Notable practitioners  

Rebecca Dury was recently promoted to become a partner at the firm. She continues to establish a strong transactional banking practice, representing both major lenders and borrowers.  

Significant clients Clydesdale Bank, Handelsbanken, Urbaser, National Australia Bank, The Una Group. 

Construction - South West

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for At the forefront of the Exeter market. Noted for its work in the utilities and public sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Technical ability: "Very clear in the technical advice and very good at negotiation."

Client service: "We have had a very good success rate with them."

What's new? New instructions from Handelsbanken, Totus Engineering and Cormac Solutions.

Notable practitioners  

John Birch is praised by clients for being "extremely knowledgeable." He is involved in several multimillion-pound claims.

Mark Manning is a key partner at the practice. He previously practised construction law in Australia and is leading a number of significant non-contentious matters.

Stephen Homer is noted for his ability "to convert legal documents into simple terms." Stephen is described as being "very calm and professional" by clients and is the head of the department at the firm.

Sarah Ziff is active on contentious and non-contentious matters. She regularly assists with some of the practice's leading mandates.

Significant clients Exeter City Council, South West Water, Mansell Construction, Sutton Harbour Holdings.

Corporate/M&A - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 15 partners 
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol, Exeter

What the team is known for Established South West firm provides corporate advice from its four offices in the region. Particularly active on peer-to-peer investment platforms.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "Very commercial and fast - cost-effective."

Market standing: Peers praise the firm's strong corporate practice and base of national clients.

What's new? Rebecca Dury and Christopher Dyson were promoted to partner. Stuart Mathews joins the firm from the Met Office. James Lyons joins from Trowers & Hamlins. Koichiro Nakada joins from Rochman Landau.

Work highlights Advised Ombu Group on its £22.5 million investment in waste water facilities provider Bluewater Bio International.

Advised crowdfunding platform Crowdcube on investment and share subscription issues.

Notable practitioners

Chairman and head of corporate Simon Rous acts for a wide range of businesses, from start-ups to multinationals.

Described as a "good venture capital lawyer" by peers, Andrew Betteridge advised technology fund Eden Ventures on its USD24 million investment in Ninian Solutions.

Christopher Dyson is described as "very good and very responsive" by clients. He specialises in private equity and venture capital.

Simon Staples acted on the sale of Virtuoso Advertising to XL Marketing. One of his peers says of a recent deal: "He was technically and tactically very good. If I was his client I'd be pleased with the job he did."

Plymouth-based David Heard specialises in acting for providers of crowdfunding platforms. Clients say: "He knows the sharp end of funding work."

Significant clients Wessex Exploration, Dillistone Group, Viridor Waste Management, Centrax, Antech.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Acts for employers and employees alike on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. An impressive reputation of working with the public sector, especially local government. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "We always use them for our employment matters, big and small."

What's new? Howard Lewis-Nunn and Tanya Gruneberg recently joined the firm from Rochman Landau.

Work highlights Successfully represented the London Borough of Newham against a claim of sexual orientation discrimination, constructive unfair dismissal and whistle-blowing.

Advised NYnet on the procurement of broadband infrastructure, including the application of TUPE and other employment issues.  

Notable practitioners  

Charles Pallot is deemed an "exceptionally good adviser" for his work across employment law. One source comments that "he is reliable and a safe pair of hands – there is not much that would faze him."

Significant clients Bishop Fleming, Cheltenham Primary Care Trust, Brent Housing Partnership.

Family/Matrimonial - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- Office locations ranked: Taunton, Tiverton  

What the team is known for Handles a wide range of family matters including high-value matrimonial finance, prenuptial agreements and cohabitation disputes.

Notable practitioners

Rachel Daniells is a key contact in the Taunton office.

Information Technology - South West

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

What the team is known for Comprehensive IT offering, encompassing outsourcing, procurement and implementation projects.  

Work highlights Advised North Yorkshire County Council on procurement contracts for a major project to roll out next-generation broadband in remote districts of the county.

Continuing advice to market-leading mobile payment service provider CreditCall on a range of commercial contracts and regulatory issues.

Notable practitioners  

Garry Mackay heads the firm's commercial services practice and is esteemed for his work in software development, licensing, outsourcing and support services agreements, often for large cross-border projects.

Mark Lomas is rated for his "highly commercially aware" approach to IT matters. He heads the firm's IT and IP practices. and handles complex, multi-jurisdictional projects with a focus on energy and utilities clients.

Intellectual Property - South West

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

What the team is known for High-quality international trade mark protection work and noted expertise in transactional IP matters, particularly within the technology sector.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They have a really good understanding of our business and the response time is excellent. They always e-mail back very promptly."

Client service: "They give clear, precise advice, react promptly to our enquiries and offer proactive support to our company."

What's new? Recent panel appointments include Cornwall Council, North Yorkshire County Council and Sensus USA.  

Work highlights Advised the Thank Heavens Partnership on the sale of its registered designs and trade marks portfolio to a USA-based corporation.

Advises online retailer Wasabi Frog for its worldwide trade mark filing, prosecution and infringement claims.

Notable practitioners

Mark Lomas is head of the team and is best known for his work in transactional matters. One client noted that "he was very strategic in thinking and came across really well." He was lead partner in the Thank Heavens IP sale.

Carl Steele maintains a broad IP practice and regularly handles both contentious and non-contentious matters. He is best known for his work involving trade marks, and is the relationship partner for the firm's work for Wasabi Frog. Clients note that he "works well under pressure" and is "very knowledgeable."

Significant clients University of Plymouth, L'Artisan Parfumer, Youngs International, Toffee Rivers Entertainment.

Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Taunton

What the team is known for Attracts high-quality and high-value work. Advises local, national and international clients. Noted for expertise in utilities and acting for public sector bodies, as well as in product liability, company and franchising disputes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "The team is always prompt, efficient and punctual."

Work highlights Advising South West Water on regulatory matters.

Notable practitioners  

Team head Antony Lee has expertise in areas including commercial contract claims, and international banking disputes, product liability claims and jurisdiction disputes. His clients include Gemalto, Viridor Waste Management and Torbay Care Trust.

Andrew Perkins has particular expertise in commercial contracts and franchising and partnerships. Sources say he is "an extremely good litigator."

Rory Mac Neice specialises in sport, with a focus on horse racing. He also advises on product liability, regulatory issues and negligent and fraudulent transactions. Clients say: "He is commercial, pragmatic and personable. He gets what clients want."

Significant clients Centrax, Gestmin, Cannon Care Home Group, Stonehaven Healthcare, London Borough of Croydon.

Planning - South West

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

What the team is known for Frequent recipient of instructions from house builder clients, local authorities and private clients on the full range of planning matters. Handles contentious and non-contentious issues including planning application negotiations, injunctions and judicial reviews.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Very good; knowledgeable, useful and speedy."

Bench strength: "We're impressed with the personnel they have there."

Work highlights Acted for South Gloucestershire Council on two 500-dwelling developments, at Park Farm, Thornbury and Peg Hill, Yate.

Acted on the phased developments at Newquay Growth Area for the Duchy of Cornwall Consortium, delivering 500, 200 and 800 homes across the three sites.

Notable practitioners

John Bosworth heads the planning department. Clients say: "His experience of dealing with planning matters is excellent."

Graham Cridland acts for Linden Homes, amongst others. Clients commend Graham's "good standing in the local region for planning work" and describe him as "very well connected."

Significant clients Wainhomes, Bloor Homes, Poltair Homes, Linden Homes, Persimmon Homes.

Private Client - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 2 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Tiverton

What the team is known for Strong on matters relating to landed estates and agricultural interests. Additional strengths in tax planning and estate administration, with an increasing profile for contentious trusts and probate.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of service: "They can handle any of my needs in various areas of law and always give me confidence."

Client service: "They certainly have a better and more sympathetic approach than larger firms."

Notable practitioners

Michael Alden maintains his focus on estate planning and tax mitigation. Clients assert that "he is conscientious, level-headed and eager to explain things in a way that we can understand." 

Robert Horsey enjoys a strong reputation as a contentious trusts practitioner. Sources attest that "he is helpful, obliging and thoughtful. His advice is always pragmatic." 

Real Estate - South West

Basic facts about the department

- 14 partners 
- 18 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Exeter

What the team is known for Frequently instructed on acquisitions and disposals of development land for house builders and landowners. Also noted for work in the public services sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "They're at hand so we get our advice quickly; we have a good working relationship." "We get face time with them quickly."

Efficiency: "A well-organised firm. You don't get a disjointed answer, you get a rounded answer."

Work highlights Advising Exeter City Council on the £200 million-plus redevelopment of the Exeter Bus and Coach Station site.

Acted for Five Directions on the acquisition of the Plymouth Pavilions site for £83 million redevelopment.

What's new? Caroline Frampton, Patricia Negus-Fancey and Jonathan Wiese joined the firm from Rochman Landau.

Notable practitioners 

Andrew Rothwell specialises in development. One peer siad: "He's my nemesis really! H e's the one to watch – he's very charming with a very easy way, and he stands head and shoulders above the crowd."

Clients praise head of department Tim Heal for "good sound commercial advice, and he's personable – you can develop a good strong relationship with him."

James Heath acts on a range of property development matters, specialising in property financing. He recently advised on the redevelopment of the Theatre Royal Plymouth. He recently joined the firm from Foot Anstey.

Significant clients Airgen Renewables, The Courtney Group of Companies, Sovereign Housing Association, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, Landmark.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 4 solicitors
- 1 consultant
- Office locations ranked: Exeter, Taunton

What the team is known for Enjoys an excellent reputation for real estate litigation in the South West. Team operates on a cross-office basis, giving it an impressive geographic reach. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "It's a good firm with a mixed practice, as they do both big work and some smaller work."

Value for money: Sources praised the firm's transparency in billing and its value for money.

Notable practitioners 

Exeter-based Sian Gibbon heads the department and is particularly well known for her social housing work. According to one client: "She is very clear-thinking, her advice has been good, and she is a good person to have on board."

Robert Horsey is a well-respected expert in contentious trusts work. He has good expertise in the field and often handles land disputes.

Significant clients Biffa Waste Services, Penhaligons, Wainhomes (South West) Holdings, Persimmon Homes, London Borough of Croydon.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

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

What the team is known for Solid offering across a variety of corporate and personal insolvency matters. Noted for a niche specialism in asset tracing and cross-border insolvency work.

Work highlights Acted for the liquidator of Slogget & Perry on a matter relating to a beneficial interest held in trust for properties in Spain, which required an innovative legal approach to circumvent the fact that Spain does not recognise trusts.

Acted for Schlegel Automotive Europe, the German subsidiary of a Japanese manufacturer in relation to the sale of surplus stock, negotiations with the administrator and issues relating to goods manufactured to an anticipated order.

Notable practitioners  

Alan Bennett is noted for a strong grasp of insolvency law and considerable experience in the market. Sources say he is "able and thorough in his advice and responses."

David Pomeroy, head of insolvency and restructuring at the firm, is based in its Bristol office. Sources say he offers advice that is "very clear and concise."

Significant clients Albert Goodman, Bishop Fleming, CRS Warner Kugel, Francis Clark, Richard J Smith. 

Social Housing - South West

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

What the team is known for Handles housing litigation and tenancy management as well as property and development work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "There is always someone who has that particular specialism; they also have good local knowledge and are proactive."

Clarity of advice: "They are good at offering advice that is clearly understandable."

What's new? Sovereign Housing Association is a new panel win.

Notable practitioners  

Department head Sian Gibbon receives praise for her housing management experience and outstanding client relations. Sources add: "She is incredibly quick on the uptake - knowledgeable and tactically astute." 

Associate Joanne Young stands out for her property litigation work.

Significant clients Alliance Homes, The Guinness Partnership, Plymouth Community Homes, Knightstone Housing Association, Tor Homes.

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Exeter, Bristol, London, Plymouth, Taunton, Tiverton

What the team is known for Focus on contractual and governance advice, with noted strength in public sector employment litigation, academy conversions and regeneration schemes. 

Work highlights Advising North Yorkshire County Council, Herefordshire Council and Gloucester County Council on all aspects of their respective broadband access programmes.

Represents Cornwall Council in construction procurement contracts relating to various engineering works.

Notable practitioners

John Bosworth is a key contact.

Significant clients London Borough of Lambeth, Cornwall Council, Homes and Communities Agency, Somerset County Council. 

Shipping - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Astute service in the superyacht and vessel sale and purchase fields.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
 Client service: "I am really happy with the service. I get a one-to-one service; you really feel it is your own law firm."

What's new? The London office gained a new maritime partner in Jonathan Sharp, who joined from Browne Jacobson.

New clients for the practice include Atlantic-Med Marine.

Work highlights Acted for Deutsche Bank Nederland as mortgagees, in connection with the repossession, arrest and subsequent disposal of a number of vessels.

Advised Société Générale subsidiary Compagnie Générale de Location d'Equipements on several high-value yacht transactions.

Notable practitioners 

Charles Hattersley served in the Royal Navy before coming to the law, giving him deep insight into the issues faced by clients in this area. He led on the Deutsche Bank Nederland work. Sources praise him as a keen, effective and client-oriented practitioner, who is "very aggressive" and gets "very good results for clients."

Significant clients Green Marine, Quay Marinas, Pequod Associates, Exe Shipping, Alsford Page and Gems.

Sports Law - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 1 other qualified lawyer

What the team is known for Strong regulatory practice acting for both defendants and regulatory bodies on disciplinary matters, anti-corruption and anti-doping cases. The firm regularly acts for riders on commercial agreements such as licensing, sponsorship and product endorsement. It also has extensive experience in bloodstock matters.

Work highlights Acted for racehorse trainer Jim Boyle in a BHA enquiry alleging that he 'milkshaked' a horse in his care following a positive dope control.

Representing jockey Sylvester de Sousa in a successful appeal against the decision to suspend him arising out of a race incident at Sandown Park Racecourse.

Notable practitioners  

Rory Mac Neice is described as a "dominant solicitor in horse racing and one clients go to as a first port of call." He is especially active in regulatory matters, for which he is highly regarded by peers, and is praised as "a tactician who does the very best for his clients."

Significant clients AP McCoy, Kieren Fallon, Frankie Dettori, The Racecourse Association, British Harness Racing Club.