LEGAL 500: High praise for city’s corporate lawyers

Corporate and commercial expertise: John Baddeley
Corporate and commercial expertise: John Baddeley
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Sheffield has no shortage of corporate lawyers - with seven firms making it into this year’s Legal 500 survey.

DLA Piper is the only ‘Tier One’ practice in South Yorkshire, with Richard May showing ‘commercial acumen and understanding of the end result’.

He leads a four-partner team known for its ‘strength in depth’.

As well as enjoying an increase in equity capital markets work, the team has also been active in mergers and acquisitions and advised Integrated Dental Holdings on the acquisition of Dental Directory.

Richard May has just stepped down after four years as office managing partner to concentrate on his position as DLA Piper’s global head of manufacturing and as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice.

He is replaced by Petra Billing, partner and head of property litigation in Sheffield and Birmingham.

Roger Gough leads on the commercial side, and acted for Tata Steel in relation to its joint venture for the establishment of the Materials Processing Institute.

Praised as being ‘knowledgeable, detail-oriented and always extremely responsive’, the team at Irwin Mitchell is led by Andrea Cropley, who advised on the £11.75m sale of Crash-Worth to Innovation Group.

The rapidly expanding practice has seen a number of client wins, with the ‘outstanding’ Matt Ainsworth acting for new client Ask4 on its £21.5m disposal to Darwin Private Equity.

Alex Ross’ team at Bell & Buxton has grown following the firm’s merger with Morton Price, and now benefits from Richard Morton and Stephen Price’s niche experience in the entertainment sector.

Ross acted for the seller in the sale of W D Steel Company, and new team member Morton advised on the demerger of a firm of chartered accountants.

Lauded for delivering on its ‘promises, timescales and costs’, Taylor & Emmet LLP’s team is led by Peter Crawford, who advised The Floow on a 15 per cent equity investment by the Direct Line Group.

Another key deal was advising the former directors of Jordans Cereals on their buyout of EOM.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited’s corporate offering continues to see a rise in instructions, despite the loss of Michelle Hayward to an in-house position.

Duncan Shepherd’s team includes John Baddeley, whose corporate workload is complemented by commercial expertise; he advised manufacturing clients such as Wera Tools and PMS Diecasting on a range of commercial agreements.

Wake Smith, which has been established in Sheffield for more than 200 years, is leaving offices on Clarkehouse Road, opposite the Botanical Gardens, and Campo Lane, behind Sheffield Cathedral.

It is taking Grade ‘A’ offices in the Velocity V1 tower on Tenter Street in a move scheduled for 2016 described as a “pledge of future commitment to the city.” It employs 100, including 46 ‘fee earners’.