Business Leader’s South West legal guide

Legal | Reports | South West

Throughout the journey of your business you will need to take legal advice, but your requirements will be different for different parts of the growth cycles. As you scale-up and launch new technology; the type of advice you need will change.

This guide from Business Leader Magazine will review some of the leading firms in the South West and focus on some of their core specialisms via different verticals.

Legal Firm in Focus


What have Thrings has been up to in 2019?

We’ve been involved in some great deals, among them: assisting the financing of significant retail developments in Bristol and the South West; securing finance for Stonewood Builders to develop 38 new homes in Wiltshire and; supporting the ever-evolving shared economy by closing a first round of funding for innovative ‘pay per stay’ insurer, Guardhog.

In terms of M&As, the acquisition of specialist packaging manufacturer Honeywood by top-20 South West growth company, Wasdell Group, was a standout corporate transaction for us.

What have been your key achievements?

Career progression is something most people aspire to and it’s integral to Thrings’ success. We were therefore delighted to announce our largest ever round of promotions this autumn, adding three partners, a legal director, six associates and eight senior associates (a brand new role for the firm).

We actually received a double endorsement for our approach to recruitment, training, learning and development this year. Firstly from the AllAboutLaw Awards, where we’ve been shortlisted in six categories and, secondly, from our exceptional rankings in the Legal Cheek’s ‘Firms Most List’, which assesses the UK’s top firms from a trainee and junior lawyer perspective. We came out particularly well for training opportunities, quality of work offered, peer support, partner approachability and work-life balance.

What are your thoughts looking ahead into 2020?

Our relationships with key national and South West banks and lenders have been going from strength to strength. Thrings’ expert Banking, Finance and Secured Lending team will be building on that, with exciting collaborations already on the horizon.

We’ll be continuing our great work with the tech sector and fully embracing the world of blockchain and cryptoassets, swotting up as a firm to help our clients seize new opportunities (and mitigate the risks). We’re also looking forward to seeing TechSwindon, Switch on to Swindon’s new initiative, come to life, with our own Head of Commercial (and Tech), Kate Westbrook, doing her bit as part of the steering committee.

What is going to make an impact on the legal profession in the next year?

Blockchain! It’s not just about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The technology is going to shake up every sector, including our own. Smart contracts have arrived and we expect them to take off in a big way.

Sector Focus: Technology

Roxburgh Milkins

At Roxburgh Milkins, we provide business focused corporate, IT and commercial legal advice, with a personal approach. Our 15-year strong track record of supporting growing companies includes sales of owner managed businesses, private equity transactions, MBO’s and raising capital along with advising on IT, data protection and commercial law. All our advice is down-to-earth, pragmatic and driven by our clients’ commercial objectives.

We have a regional interest and experience in tech, with clients listed as ones to watch in the South West by Tech 100, PwC scale up programme and SETsquared. For example, clients this year include Blu Wireless, i4C, TalkLife, Learning Science, KETS and Complete Control. However, our clients are nationwide and increasingly international.

We are ranked as a top tier firm in legal directories and as a group we have been described as “perceptive, personable and responsive, with a good understanding and respect for growth”, offering business led advice and solutions.

Looking ahead, we are getting more involved in supporting growing tech businesses ready to scale up and take the next step for their growth. We are also keen to develop the expertise in the region through incubators, supporting UWE entrepreneurship students and building local networking groups such as Women in Corporate. We also have a carefully selected group of trusted avisors who can work with us to provide additional support in tax, employment, property and corporate finance.

Why not give us a call if you need practical advice that goes beyond the legal tick boxes?

Burges Salmon

Our technology lawyers have been involved in working with new technologies and the challenges they present for over 20 years, supporting our clients to stay ahead of the curve. We regularly work with innovative start-ups and SME companies, telecoms companies, outsourcers and cloud providers, software solution providers and payment systems operators and providers.

Emerging technology is disrupting traditional models of service delivery and communications. Our multi-disciplinary team of technology lawyers are adept at providing pragmatic and commercial advice.

Our technology commercial lawyers advise on the technology transaction and licensing agreements needed to underpin and commercialise the next generation technologies. Our regulatory lawyers provide advice on the evolving UK legislative framework and the compliance requirements of technology companies delivering into highly regulated sectors. Our corporate lawyers advise on domestic and cross border mergers and acquisitions, equity investments and joint ventures in the technology sector.

The work we undertake is often international in nature and we specialise in multiparty, multi-jurisdiction licensing and implementation solutions.

Sector Focus: Real Estate

Osborne Clarke

Our integrated team of experts advise developers, investors, occupiers across a broad of residential-led assets classes, developments (from mid-sized to strategic regeneration) and complex structures and partnerships. Our fully rounded team of real estate experts are well placed to help clients see and capture opportunities other businesses might miss or dismiss.

Whilst our residential expertise is firmly grounded in mid-to-large scale build-to-sell projects, our team is also future focussed and has expertise in market leading resi-led mixed-use and institutional investor backed Build-to-Rent market.

Meade King

Meade King’s Commercial Property team draws upon a wealth of experience that its solicitors have acquired over many years, in some cases decades, across a wide variety of practice areas.

Whilst all members of the team deal with typical commercial property transactions such as sales and purchases, lettings and financing, some have more specialist sector expertise in areas including development, investment property management, charities and healthcare.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Taking a real estate project from the ground up to create new homes, offices, shops or a school, is a major undertaking, and it’s rare to find a team like the experts at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, who can advise you on every aspect of the project.

Bringing together commercial and residential property expertise with construction experience, planning, property finance, quantity surveying, property litigation and commercial law skills, the team offers a complete end-to-end service for projects of all sizes, from a new higher education college to a lease renewal.

The 70-strong team can support real estate projects of all kinds; Matt Hayes, who is head of the firm’s Real Estate team said: “We do keep our ears to the ground, so we know how the market is shifting and while we are lawyers first and foremost, our involvement in the South West means that we hear about changes and opportunities.”

Sector Focus: Manufacturing


The Manufacturing team at Michelmores forms a core part of our offering and has a long history of providing specialist advice to businesses in the sector. We look to build long-term relationships with our clients and act for a full spectrum of UK and international manufacturing clients, from household names through to smaller owner-managed businesses. Cross-border work forms an important part of what we do, so we work collaboratively with an established network of overseas lawyers to support our clients.

Sector Focus: Employment

Barcan + Kirby

Within the team, we have three employment law solicitors who advise both employers and employees on a variety of legal issues arising out of the employment relationship. For employer clients, we can provide HR advice, draft contracts and agreements, as well as dealing with more complex matters such as tribunal proceedings. We can also help with a wide range of employee related issues.

Sector Focus: Energy


Foot Anstey has one of the fastest growing energy practices in the UK. Its clients are businesses looking to grow in grid battery storage, electric vehicle technology, smart grids, cloud data and payment technology. Head of Energy is Chris Pritchett and the team have a long-standing interest in data, and how energy data can drive business growth. Chris recently contributed to an Energy Data Taskforce report, which advised the Government on realising a modern, digital energy system.

Sector Focus: Corporate Advisory

Royds Withy King

Royds Withy King’s Corporate Advisory Team advises regional, national and international businesses on the full spectrum of corporate matters. With specific expertise in the financial services, technology and health and social care sectors, and a particular focus on working with business owners with an entrepreneurial mindset, we are the natural fit for forward-thinking, dynamic businesses and industry disruptors.

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