It’s ‘directory season’, and SA Law is off to an excellent start! Every year, the two key independent legal research bodies – Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 – undertake in-depth analysis of the UK legal sector, and produce their findings in October and November.
The Legal 500 research was published today, and SA Law has done extremely well, with all departments ranked as leaders in their field, and 15 of SA Law’s legal experts singled out for their excellence.
“This has been a high-profile year for SA Law, particularly with our recent shortlisting for The Law Society Excellence Awards, and being a double-award-winner in the Hertfordshire Digital Awards,” comments Managing Partner Steve Ryan. “As always, we are extremely grateful to all the clients and intermediaries who agreed to be interviewed by the Legal 500 researchers. Your support and feedback means a huge amount to us, and helps us to improve our services year-on-year.”
Here are some highlights of the 2017 editorial coverage in The Legal 500:
SA Law LLP ‘attracts superb clients, punches above its weight and is very commercially astute’. The firm is handling an increasing volume of cross-border litigation and arbitration, representing foreign parties in high-value multi-jurisdictional disputes, and has notable experience representing clients in arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. The practice recently handled a number of real estate and banking litigation matters, and also handles sports-sector mandates. Leading figures include Tracy Lacey-Smith, who is rated for her ability to ‘focus on the crux of the problem whilst avoiding extraneous issues’ and who combines ‘strong benefit analysis with practical advice and sound commercial judgement’; Robert Ryall, who has significant expertise in the construction, sports, energy and power sectors; and senior associate Nat Young, who is ‘highly knowledgeable and immediately puts the client at ease’. ‘Outstanding commercial litigator’ Simon Walsh is also a key practitioner, and is praised by clients as being ‘quick, clever and unfailingly professional’.
Corporate and commercial
The ‘knowledgeable, professional and helpful’ team at SA Law LLP has ‘a genuine dedication to its clients, and delivers an excellent level of service’. The firm has a strong presence in the Herts market, handling large-scale transactions across a range of sectors including healthcare, sports and IT. Recent work included supporting Ocado’s in-house commercial team with a number of instructions regarding agency agreement negotiations, among other matters, and acting for two private individuals on their sale of a majority shareholding in Emas Pharma. Chris Wilks is a key partner along with Peter Goodman, who has a niche specialism in the sports and entertainment sectors, advising a number of sporting celebrities and institutions on day-to-day commercial matters.
SA Law LLP provides ‘a service which is excellent in every detail’, with ‘great response times, sound industry knowledge and advice appropriate to the sector where the client operates’. The team has notable specialisms in the employment agency and education sectors, and regularly advises on immigration and employer protection. In a recent highlight, the group achieved a successful settlement with an employee on long-term sick leave who alleged unlawful deduction of wages and holiday pay, along with race and disability discrimination. The firm is also advising a well-known higher education establishment, which was the subject of a Home Office inspection where several non-compliances were observed, primarily related to non-EEA students working over maximum permitted hours; the team successfully secured permission for the client to retain its sponsorship license. Practice head Chris Cook is currently acting for a cosmetics and pharmaceuticals manufacturer in connection with a company-wide reorganisation, a matter involving several tribunal and potential High Court claims for unfair dismissal, gender and disability discrimination and breach of contract. Senior associate Keely Rushmore manages relationships with several longstanding clients, including St Paul’s Cathedral.
SA Law LLP has ‘an excellent reputation in the area of family law’, and the team is ‘professional, knowledgeable and sensitive to the needs of its clients’. The practice is noted for its expertise in complex and sensitive child-related cases, and also handles financial matters, international relocation and civil partnership breakdowns. The ‘phenomenal’ Marilyn Bell heads the practice, advising on high net-worth financial cases, multi-party childcare matters, domestic violence and public children law matters. ‘Rising star’ Kiran Beeharry is ‘very good with finance-related cases, particularly those involving companies and pensions’, and Ruth Abrams focuses on matters with an international element.
Marilyn Bell says: “We continue to work hard to provide an exceptional service to clients, delivered with sensitivity and understanding. The Legal 500 result proves that the time we invest in continually improving our service has a direct positive impact on our clients.”
Clients of SA Law LLP’s ‘hardworking team’ cite its ‘willingness to explain issues in a readily understandable manner’ and ‘ability to assist and guide the client to obtain the best possible results’. The practice has strong expertise in real estate finance and property development, advising on high-value deals in the banking, charities, healthcare and media sectors. Examples of recent work include advising Uavend Norris Castle on its high-value acquisition of Norris Castle on the Isle of Wight, a purchase involving the historic building and 200 acres of surrounding land. The team also assisted Uavend Taymouth with its acquisition of Taymouth Castle in Scotland for redevelopment into a hotel and conference centre. The practice is co-headed by Steve Kenneford, who specialises in residential property matters, and Terence Ritchie, who is recommended for property finance.
SA Law LLP’s Lynsey Newman acts for a range of clients with national portfolios including Mackays Stores, PHS Group and Exertion Media, advising primarily on development disputes, restrictive covenants and rights to light. Highlights included representing Mackays Stores in a claim for a new lease at its Crowborough store, and the team also continues to advise Tulsesense on the contentious and non-contentious aspects of its property portfolio, including several collective enfranchisements.
SA Law LLP specialises in advising Premiership and England-level footballers on various aspects of family law, and also acts for a range of other advisers including agents, IFAs and accountants on commercial law, contract negotiation, immigration and property investment issues. Key figures include practice head Robert Ryall, who has significant expertise in motor sports and football litigation, with a track record in disciplinary tribunals at both Premier League and Football League levels; Peter Goodman, who advises primarily on contract drafting and negotiation in the motor sports sector; and Steve Kenneford, a residential property expert who acts for a number of high-profile celebrity and sporting names on high-value property transactions.