Birketts recognised as regional heavyweight by Legal 500

Published: 17/09/2015

The Legal 500 rankings (released 16 September 2015) recognise Birketts LLP as one of the strongest law firms in the East of England with 31 ‘top-tier firm’ rankings. In total the firm received 53 recommendations. Additionally, 23 lawyers are listed in the elite 'leading lawyers' list (including members from all four core disciplines - corporate and commercial, property, dispute litigation and private client) and a total of 89 lawyers are recommended. Birketts is recognised as a regional heavyweight in East Anglia and the South East.

Commenting on the results, CEO Jonathan Agar said: "Birketts has been recognised by Legal 500 as a legal heavyweight in the region for some time now.  The firm remains committed to its East Anglian roots but attracts clients locally, nationally and internationally by virtue of the high level of personal and technical service on offer, coupled with the competitive charging rates it is able to sustain. All of our partners and staff remain committed to further strengthening Birketts’ enviable reputation for providing an exceptional client service at competitive rates.”

Highlights from this year’s Legal 500 rankings 


Corporate and Commercial - The ‘superb’ team at Birketts LLP provides ‘a very responsive service, excellent advice, and a wide range of expertise’. The ‘highly reliable’ Rafael Ruiz advised on the sale of The Dental Directory to Integrated Dental Holdings, one of the UK’s largest dental services providers. 

Banking and Finance - Birketts LLP is ‘a very strong and responsible firm, with a commercial attitude and strength in depth’. Mark Henry and senior associate Nicholas Burt are ‘commercial, knowledgeable and hands on’. 

Commercial Litigation - ‘First-class firm’ Birketts LLP ‘provides excellent service’. Laurence Weeks (‘excellent reputation, puts clients at ease’) acted in a £1.4m ToLATA claim. ‘Tenacious’ senior associate Sara Sayer has ‘considerable experience in partnership disputes’. 

Insolvency and corporate recovery - Birketts LLP ‘has strength in depth and provides commercial and clear advice, good value and first class service’. 

Commercial Property - Clients ‘would not hesitate in recommending’ the team at Birketts LLP. The department is also recommended for its strategic land practice and real estate finance matters.

Planning - Birketts LLP ‘gives commercial, targeted, expert advice’.

Property Litigation - Birketts LLP provides ‘City experience at Norfolk rates’. The ‘accomplished and hardworking’ John Scannell, who acted in a multi-million pound High Court matter, forms ‘a perfect team with brilliant technical lawyer’ Simon Woodhead. Richard Eaton, ‘tenacious litigator’ James Robinson and rising-star senior associate Charlotte Wormstone are all recommended.

Construction - Birketts LLP has ‘a very good team’ of ten construction specialists across four offices. Andrew Rush and senior associate Ruth Sunaway advised on a £3m dispute over delays and alleged variations, and on an adjudication concerning extension of time requests regarding a major project. Clients include McGee Group. 

Employment - Birketts LLP is ‘friendly but professional, and understands the issues well’. Jeanette Wheeler, Matthew Newnham (‘very knowledgeable and helpful’), Catherine Johnson, Matthew Potter (‘highly recommended’) and Abigail Trencher are ‘probably the leading lawyers in the area’. Clients include RAL Ltd and Betfair. Tim Tyndall joined from Penningtons Manches LLP.

Immigration - Birketts LLP has ‘in-depth knowledge of the field’, with ‘great immigration lawyer’ Janice Leggett attracting considerable praise from clients; her client roster includes Betfair, which she advises on the full range of immigration issues. 

Agriculture and Estates - ‘Outstanding firm’ Birketts LLP is ‘one of the best for rural matters’. Jack Royall (‘assists farming clients well’) helped establish a £90m landholding company. Chris Coupland advised on a £7m agricultural-land lease. Estate planner Neil Sparrow, property lawyers Rachel McKillop-Wilkin and James Dinwiddy (‘copes well when thrown a curveball’) are all recommended. 

Charities and Not for Profit - Senior associate Sara Sayer (‘a delight to work with’) leads Birketts LLP’s ‘prompt and customer focused’ team, which includes public procurement expert Erika Clarke and ecclesiastical law specialists James Hall (‘responsive and efficient’) and Stuart Jones. Highlights include a £12m tax matter for a school. 

Personal tax trusts and probate - ‘More client friendly than most’, the lawyers at Birketts LLP are ‘abreast of changes to the law as they happen, and quick to answer even complex queries’.[In Cambridge] Caroline Stenner advises high value estates, including one valued at over £100m. Experienced senior associate Catherine Bacon joined. [In Ipswich] Charles Boscawen has over 25 years’ experience in wills, trusts and tax. He advised on tax matters for a £5m estate. Louise Long leads the probate team and excels in IHT matters. [In Norwich] Neil Sparrow advises agricultural clients on high value estate, probate and tax matters. Senior associate Lorna Spear represents many landowners and farmers. 

Family - Birketts LLP ‘provides excellent service that is professional and sensitive’. Oliver Gravell advises many London based clients, and acted in one of the region’s first arbitrations. Senior associates Katie Beaven (‘reassures clients through difficult times’), Ginny Colman and mediator Deborah Lloyd are recommended. Melanie Wilson’s [who leads the Chelmsford] department at Birketts LLP acts for company directors and shareholders, as well as high-net-worth individuals and their partners. The team handles all facets of family law, including issues involving companies, tax, pensions and foreign assets. 

Social Housing - Birketts LLP is ‘at the top table for social housing work’. Peter Goddard’s team counts Flagship Housing, Orbit Group and Iceni Homes among its clients. Goddard advised East Thames Group on a multi-million pound regeneration project. Commercial property partner John Scannell is recommended. 

Transport and shipping - In Alex Davey’s shipping, logistics and international services team at Birketts LLP, barrister Laura Thomas is ‘much respected by competitors’. Clients include P&O Ferrymasters and the Road Haulage Association. Employment partner Matthew Potter advises many transport businesses. On the shipping side, dry shipping litigation specialist Nicholas Woo ‘has very good commercial knowledge and is a master tactician’. His client base spans the UK, China, Korea, India and the Middle East. Woo, Davey and Henry Adams regularly represent charterers in multi-million pound disputes. 

Health and Safety - Birketts LLP provides ‘prompt responses, profound knowledge and targeted advice’. Barristers Laura Thomas (‘sympathetic, frank and assiduous’) and Matthew Gowen are experienced in defending regulatory and HSE matters, including a recent multiple fatality at a construction site. 

Intellectual Property - Birketts LLP is ‘especially good in the area of IP’, which makes up much of Matthew Atkins’ disputes practice and Quentin Golder’s work for early-stage technology companies. Trade mark attorney Katherine Shadbolt prosecutes UK, EU and international cases. The ‘straightforward, patient and honest’ Kitty Rosser joined from Leathes Prior. 

To find out more about the legal service that Birketts provides and discover how Birketts can assist you, watch our short video


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