The Legal 500 Highlights: Paris Smith LLP – ‘Excellent, no-nonsense approach’

    Corporate & commercial

    Sean Davies heads a team at Paris Smith that provides ‘an overall level of service that is excellent‘. Davies stands out for ‘his impartiality, along with his breath of experience in the owner-managed sector and no-nonsense approach‘. In addition to the full range of M&A and commercial work, the group can also draw on the expertise of the firm’s banking, property and litigation teams.

    Highlights included acting for the management team of Churches Fire Security on an investment package valued at £40m provided by Lyceum Capital Partners and assisting EDC Communications, backed by US private equity firm Mill Road Capital, on the sale of Elvis Communications to Next Fifteen Communications Group. Other key names include Jonathon Roy, Michael Moore, commercial contracts expert Crispin Dick, and Richard Atcherley. The team was further enhanced by the arrival of Amanda Brockwell from Coffin Mew LLP.

    Commercial litigation

    Paris Smith‘s team is ‘very responsive and provides excellent and nuanced advice‘. Well-respected practice head David Eminton is well-known for his focus on real estate and insolvency litigation. Recently promoted partner Christopher Holliss and solicitor Shelley White win praise for their ‘fantastic service‘ and Jason Oliver, who joined the team in May 2017 from Parker Bullen LLP, is ‘responsive to ideas and doesn’t jump to (expensive) conclusions‘. The team is further enhanced by insolvency expert Mike Pavitt. It acts for an impressive range of clients in contract disputes in the recruitment sector, as well as in a range of other diverse sectors. The team represented an international fashion company in a dispute with a Canadian distributor concerning breaches of an agency agreement, which was valued at £1.4 million, and also acted for a private client in a £2.1m negligence claim against a GP.

    Banking & finance

    Paris Smith provides ‘a level of service that is excellent in all areas; the team is quick, efficient, extremely knowledgeable, pragmatic and provides good value for money‘. James McNeil heads the practice and is rated for his ‘ability to speak in layman’s terms, meaning he can effectively cascade legal messages and requirements to clients‘. Acquisition, asset, project and real estate finance are all areas of expertise for the practice, which has strong relationships with a number of retail banking groups such as Santander and HSBC, as well as regional corporate borrowers and higher education institutions. Recent highlights include advising RB Sport and Leisure Holdings on the refinancing of The Ageas Bowl, which involved the negotiation of a new finance lease with Eastleigh Borough Council. Also recommended are acquisition finance expert Jonathon Roy and real estate finance specialist Clare Lee.


    The team at Paris Smith represents both employers and employees and is a popular choice due to its breadth of expertise, which covers advisory and disputes work. It has a focus on the education, transport and logistics sectors and handles such matters as director exits, restrictive covenants and a range of discrimination cases. Clive Dobbin, who leads the team, successfully acted for a client in a dispute where 15 employees brought an action at the employment tribunal concerning the application of TUPE rules. David Roath has extensive expertise in dealing with employment cases, especially those concerning director exits, restrictive covenants and whistleblowing. He routinely conducts his own advocacy and is also a mediator. Claire Merritt was promoted to partner in January 2018, and the team was further enhanced by the recruitment of associates Tabytha Cunningham and Charlotte Farrell, who joined in 2017 from Coffin Mew LLP.

    Commercial property

    Paris Smith‘s team stands out for its ‘commercial and pragmatic approach‘ and ‘its response times’ and ‘attention to detail‘. Mark Howarth heads a team that handles the gamut of real estate, planning and finance matters. Joanne Spittles is valued for her ‘clear, concise and prompt responses‘; Edward Watson, who specialises in property finance, was promoted to the partnership; and associates Lisa Busby and Sean Hogan are ‘excellent‘. In one highlight, the team advised Bargate Homes on innovative deal structures pertaining to a number of developments valued at more than £50m. It also acted for the former owners of Linton Fuel Oils on the sale of a site to Taylor Wimpey, which had a conditional planning agreement for the construction of over 100 new homes and a commercial space.