Fladgate LLP has continued to be highly rated by Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession 2016, with a number of the firm’s partners ranked as leading individuals.
What the team is known for: Strong practice that advises on a range of complex disputes and transactions in sectors as diverse as renewables, retail and residential. Has a varied purchaser-side client list.
Work highlights: Advised Chorus Group on the £35 million fit-out contract for the Shangri-La Hotel in the Shard. Acted for Brighton i360 and Marks Barfield Architects on the documentation for an observation tower on Brighton’s seafront. The £33 million project will employ a range of foreign and domestic contractors.
Notable practitioners: Department head Gillian Birkby’s expertise runs the full gamut of construction, including procurement, construction contracts and disputes. Alan Erwin specialises in front-end work, where he is active in the hotel, retail, infrastructure and process plant sectors amongst others. Alan Woolston “has a pragmatic character and can convey legal issues in layman’s terms,” according to commentators. He advises on both front-end and back-end construction projects.
Significant clients: Ocado, Innisfree, Go Ahead Group, Hitachi Zosen Inova, Moto Hospitality.
Corporate/M&A: Lower Mid-Market
What the team is known for: International-flavoured practice handling a wide range of transactions, with recent experience in the technology, financial services and real estate sectors. Notable representation of hotels and developers.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “Excellent and client-driven with senior partners leading from the front in the management and delivery of transaction advice.” “Outstanding value for the quality and depth of legal advice provided.” “What stands out is the interpersonal relationship and feeling that you are working with peers and friends but also professionals.”
Work highlights: Represented various offshore groups in the acquisitions of Camden Lock Market and 50% of shares in Camden’s Stables Market. Advised AIM-listed Mentum on its £27 million acquisition of the gold and copper exploration and development operations of Robust Resources in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Notable practitioners: Grant Gordon is head of the corporate department and a key contact.
Significant clients: Adventurous Journeys, LiteBulb Group, Audioboom, Handpicked, 4C Hotel Group.
Commentary: Nicholas Tsatsas of Fladgate LLP is praised by respondents for his skill in handling both negotiation and litigation. Sources describe him as “always quick to respond and clear at explaining approaches,” adding: “He does not just recite the law, but gives a practical interpretation and guidance.”
Leading individuals: Nicholas Tsatsas
Commentary: Steven Mash of Fladgate LLP regularly works on complex fraud cases. He is “able to consume details better than anyone in the profession,” according to one source, while another praises his ability to “deal with complex law and complicated facts.”
Sophia Purkis of Fladgate LLP “has an overwhelming ability to grasp and use detail to guide strategy and always positions her clients in the best place.” She is noted for handling cases that cross over between fraud and professional negligence.
Hotels & Leisure
What the team is known for: Typically acts for developers and owners in the sector. Advises on a range of asset types including cinemas, restaurants and sports facilities.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They’re a very hands-on firm whose focus is on generating client loyalty. They have a commercial approach and look for longevity in their client relationships. They are down-to-earth, approachable and good at explaining things in a non-legal way.” “They have always been very efficient. They are very responsive and we like the individuals there.”
Work highlights: Advised Merlin Entertainments on projects at Alton Towers Resort, including new themed accommodation lodges and several treehouses. Represented Four Pillars Hotels in the disposal of its portfolio, which includes six hotels in Oxfordshire, to a Starwood Capital-affiliated fund.
Notable practitioners: Head of department Julian Lewis is a key contact.
Significant clients: Akkeron Hotels, Hush Brasseries, Lowy Group, CIMC Development, Ecclestone Square Hotel.
Commentary: Ella Leonard of Fladgate LLP heads the firm’s investment funds practice. She brings her corporate background to bear on a host of issues for her fund clientele, particularly when structuring portfolio acquisitions of real estate assets.
Philip Turner of Fladgate LLP advises a diverse client base of high net worth individuals, fund promoters and property investment companies on an array of tax and transactional matters. He displays particular know-how in the area of offshore fund structures.
Commentary: Bree Taylor joined Fladgate LLP from Memery Crystal in June 2015. She specialises in shareholder and company disputes and is “very thorough and clear in explaining things.” One happy client comments that “she really put her whole soul into this: she immersed herself in the material, became completely absorbed by the case and unlocked the optimal approach.”
Leading individuals: Bree Taylor
Commentary: Mark Harnett of Fladgate LLP enjoys a strong development planning practice. His clients include the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company. One interviewee comments: “He is very calm and very strategic and enormously user friendly.”
Leading individuals: Mark Harnett
Commentary: David Way of Fladgate LLP is a seasoned private client practitioner. He is regularly involved in tax planning, estate structuring and cross-border succession matters.
Leading individuals: David Way
Commentary: Simon Brew of Fladgate LLP is a seasoned practitioner with extensive expertise in all kinds of negligence work including claims against legal and construction professionals. Sources comment: “He has a wide range of skills and expertise and a very strong relationship with the Big Four.”
Leading individuals: Simon Brew
Real Estate: Mainly Mid Market
What the team is known for: Continues to grow and diversify, working on complex portfolio transactions and investment matters for institutional clients, high net worth individuals and well-known companies. Maintains a strong presence in the hotels and residential spaces.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “A very good customer focus and eye for detail.”
What’s new?: Daniel Polden has joined the team from Locke Lord (UK) LLP.
Work highlights: Acquired a significant hotel development site in Shoreditch on behalf of Highgate Hotels. Assisted CNM Estates with its £53.5 million purchase of Tolworth Tower.
Notable practitioners: Richard Kaufman advises clients on real estate investment and finance. He is regularly retained by overseas clients, particularly Israeli investors. Daniel Polden covers a wide span of pure real estate and finance transasctions. A source says: “Daniel is commercially driven, understands his clients and their objectives, and is supportive and constructive in the way he handles negotiating on their behalf.”
Significant clients: Camden Market Holding Corp, Cathedral Group, Madison, CIMC, Soho Estates.
Real Estate Finance
What the team is known for: Cross-disciplinary practice which co-ordinates with various teams including corporate, construction and finance regulation. Experienced in several sectors, with much recent work concerning hotels.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They have the ability to get deals done and will take a very commercial approach to the legal side. They provide a very cost-effective service.”
What’s new?: New clients include Development Securities and Hodson Developments.
Work highlights Advised Camden Market on a total of £230 million in refinancing provided by Nomura, which comprises of senior and mezzanine debt. Represented the owners of Aldgate Tower in central London on funding arranged by Starwood European Finance.
Notable practitioners: Kim McMurray has substantial experience in the field, with recent instructions involving refinancing and acquisition finance. Sources say she “goes to the heart of the matter and is fiercely protective of her client, doing legal project management like no one else.”
Significant clients: Alpha Real Capital, Tritax, United Mizrahi Bank, Europe Arab Bank, Bank of Ireland.
Leading individuals: Kim McMurray
Real Estate Litigation
What the team is known for: Known for its expertise in the telecoms sector but also handles significant work in the leisure industry. Frequently advises on vacant possession strategy and on matters relating to complex commercial and residential developments.
Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients): “They work hard but have a wonderful culture; they are human and fun to work with. They have a high level of technical knowledge and a tactical approach.”
Work highlights: Acted for the Trustees of the will of the First Lord Brocket in the case brought against the tenant of Brocket Hall due to disrepair, rent arrears and unlawful chattel usage.
Notable practitioners: Thekla Fellas is a well-known name in telecoms-related real estate litigation. Sources say she is “friendly, active and well respected.” Alison Mould frequently acts on matters involving retail and leisure sites. Interviewees say she is “very good at cutting to the commercial quickly and making sure you target your arguments during litigation.”
Significant clients: Soho Estates, Camden Market, London Diocesan Fund, Origin Housing, Go-Ahead.