Corporate & commercial
Stevens & Bolton‘s team is ‘excellent’ for corporate M&A and commercial services work. It serves clients ranging from local start-ups, especially in the technology sectors, to international corporate clients including US investors. It advised the shareholders of e-Travel, which is based in Athens and has an office in Ireland, on its merger with Etraveli, a global online travel platform based in Sweden.
James Waddell leads a team that can ‘focus on the key issues’ even during tight time frames and Nick Atkins ‘is pro-active, responsive, easy to speak to and commercial in his approach to understanding the client’s needs’.
Joe Bedford and Ken Woffenden are highlighted for ‘their great understanding’ of clients’ commercial needs. Other core names include Jenny Robertson, highly experienced duo Richard Baxter and Keith Syson, and head of commercial Beverley Whittaker. Senior associates James Floyd and Oscar Horwich are also noted.
Stevens & Bolton has wide-ranging corporate tax expertise, with a particular focus on advising entrepreneurs, owner managers and SMEs on tax issues, including exit tax planning and equity incentive structures. The firm has continued to develop its capability in the latter category, with 2017 seeing it advise on a range of schemes, including EMI schemes, unapproved option schemes and employment-related incentive structuring for private equity transactions.
In a highlight matter, practice head Kate Schmit advised the management team of Thesis Asset Management on the tax aspects of the wealth management company’s £47 million sale to a buyer funded by a consortium of private equity investors as well as the existing management team.
The team was joined in 2017 by Jamie Crawford, who handled the tax aspects of Metropolis International’s acquisition of 11 former Emap business-to-business magazine brands, as well as the amendment of the company’s term and revolving loan facilities.
Stevens & Bolton advises on all aspects of employment and immigration law and counts senior executives as well as corporations among its clients. It has deep expertise in TUPE issues and works closely with in-house HR departments. It also handles the range of dismissal, discrimination and pay disputes, frequently before employment tribunals. Employment and immigration expert Kerry Garcia leads the team which includes Lloyd Davey, whose expertise encompasses data privacy as well as employment matters, especially within the technology and media sectors, and recently made-up partner Hannah Ford. Stephanie Dale left the legal profession in November 2017.
Stevens & Bolton fields an ‘excellent‘ team of construction specialists that provide advice that is ‘second to none‘. Clients single out practice head Stephen Rockhill, his training as a chartered engineer, giving him ‘a unique ability in drafting and negotiating contract and warranty documents, as well as an unrivalled understanding of the practicalities of the construction process‘. His track record covers contentious and non-contentious procurement and contractual construction matters.
Other key figures include Michael Frisby, who handles disputes in a range of sectors including manufacturing, IT and insurance; Claire Perry, who handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters; and Kimberley Eyssell, who joined in 2017 from Kennedys and who has notable expertise in rail-related disputes. Eyssell recently acted for Michael J Lonsdale in a series of adjudications concerning sums due to a sub-consultant, and represented specialist cladding sub-contractor Century Facades in a dispute against Vision Homes.
On the non-contentious side Rockhill is advising the Institute for Cancer Research on a large laboratory at its Sutton site, which involved ensuring the construction documentation took into account issues the client had experienced on previous projects.
Stevens & Bolton is recommended for ‘providing the same professional and high quality of service as the major international firms, for more reasonable fees and with some extra friendliness thrown in’.
The insurance, food and drink, and pharmaceuticals industry sectors are important for the practice, as indeed is IT itself. Beverley Whittaker heads the firm’s commercial and IT team and has expertise in a broad range of IT work covering outsourced services. In the past year Whittaker and Gary Parnell completed two global deals for the provision of cloud intranet services by client BrightStarr.
‘Highly competent and responsive’ partner Beverley Flynn and senior associate Charles Maurice have been advising SecurMed on a complex matter relating to the establishment of a medicines verification system for the prescription and supply of medicines in the UK. Maurice and fellow senior associate Oliver Kidd are noted as up-and-coming stars in the practice.
With ‘all the firepower of a heavyweight London firm’, Stevens & Bolton possesses an ‘excellent’ IP department who ‘know their stuff and are extremely efficient and pragmatic’. Practice head Tom Lingard and Charlotte Tillett are the key figures and are ‘first-class lawyers’ who are ‘a joy to work with’. Solicitor-advocate Lingard’s primary focus is on litigation but he also advises clients on complex IP licensing and transactional matters. Lingard is representing endurance event company Tough Mudder in a variety of brand and trademark enforcement matters, as well as in opposition proceedings in the UK IPO. Tillett heads the life sciences sector offering and has experience of contentious matters including pharmaceutical patent litigation, trademark and passing off disputes, copyright and designs litigation, and actions involving breach of confidence and defamation. Tillett is advising CI Plus on a complex claim in the High Court against Impex-Sat for breach of licence terms and circumvention of technical devices applied to copyright works, among other claims. Senior associate Elaine O’Hare has a particular expertise in the fashion and retail sectors, with recent projects including advising a leading French fashion house on a comparative advertising dispute. Communications practice head Gary Parnell is noted for his advice on IP-related matters concerning software solutions.