Meet the Lawyers
Adrien Herbert has 12 years’ experience as an in-house legal counsel and qualified in 2011 when working in broadcast media, at NBCUniversal in London. After almost six years with NBCUniversal, she joined UCAS in 2014 on a contract and spent two further years with the education sector service provider, concentrating on commercial contracts, IT, data protection and outsourcing.
Law is Adrien’s third career, having spent nine and fifteen years respectively, in publishing and marketing consultancy.
Why I like working with SMEs:
“SME’s face some very particular challenges when dealing with ‘bigger beasts’ in commerce. It’s incumbent upon a good legal advisor to understand the risks and to offer appropriate advice, which will ensure a necessary level of protection for companies often operating in a more ‘entrepreneurial’ phase of development. Experience of working in many such businesses has been of real benefit to me when advising my clients.”
Alla Fairbrother is an experienced and effective solicitor with clear business focus and many years of legal expertise supporting businesses of various sizes and industries.
Alla has provided legal support to businesses on various areas of law and has broad UK based international experience in all types of legal matters concerning a particular business, with more in-depth experience in commercial / business law, including:
- Reviewing, drafting and negotiating a broad range of commercial contracts
- Confidentiality agreements, NDAs and CDAs
- Supply of goods and / or services contracts
- Purchase agreements, both direct and indirect
- Distributor and dealer agreements
- Supply, installation, commissioning and some construction contracts
- Franchise agreements
- Research, development and student sponsorship agreements
- Some licensing agreements
- Marketing support – contracts, advertising, review of materials
- Initial stages of disputes with customers, suppliers and quality / product liability related disputes
- Compliance – competition, anti-bribery, export controls, product compliance
- Data protection
- Some company secretarial and corporate matters
Alla’s experience includes various sectors and companies, including Cummins Ltd (automotive, manufacturing, engineering, sales, distribution and service support industry), ADT Fire and Security Plc / Tyco (fire and security, manufacturing, sales, installation and service support), Burger King Ltd (franchising and retail/ food industry) and Electronic Arts Ltd (independent interactive software games manufacturer and distributor) and support to such business functions as the Directors and Management, Sales, Marketing, Strategy, Acquisitions, Purchasing, Communications, Finance, HR, EHS, Quality, Research, Development, Engineering, Compliance and other functions.
Alla qualified as a solicitor in 2009 having completed her in-house training contract with a secondment to Eversheds’ London office and is also a Russian lawyer since 2002.
In her own words…
“I am passionate about providing practical, useful and timely legal support to small and medium businesses where I can focus on what’s really important to my client’s business and make an effort to really understand specific objectives and goals so that I can see legal issues from their prospective.”
Amna Ahmed qualified as a solicitor in 2005, having trained at a prominent City firm. She then went on to work with a large US software company and gained significant experience in IT law as well as general commercial matters. Some of the contracts she has advised on include:
- Software licenses
- ASP agreements
- SaaS agreements
- Hosting contracts
- Escrow agreements
- Professional services agreement
In her own words…
“I enjoy the intellectual rigour of practical problem solving combined with the knowledge that I am making a real difference to a client’s business.”
Andrew Smith has 17 years’ experience in banking and finance, corporate and commercial law.
Andrew qualified at Deacons, a top 10 firm in Sydney then worked in the Banking and Finance Unit at Addleshaw Goddard in London from 1997 to 2002 acting for banks on structured property finance deals and large projects. He was appointed partner at Ashfords gaining broad experience in commercial contracts, corporate finance and banking. In 2011 he started an ABS law firm for Prydis, a group of financial advisors and chartered accountants building a legal team to deal with a broad range of business and private client work.
Since 2012 Andrew has worked in the SME market in the West Country. His clients are generally owner managed and family businesses.
In Andrew’s own words…
“It is vital not to look at a company in isolation but rather as a wealth generation vehicle for owners and families. I keep their interests in mind and try to always see the bigger picture. Helping smaller businesses can be tough as they cannot waste vital cash on professional fees so advisers need to work efficiently and cleverly. However seeing businesses grow and developing relationships with owners is the most satisfying part of being a lawyer.”
Andrew Waddell has over 10 years’ experience as a specialist tax lawyer.
A law graduate of the University of Leeds and College of Law York, Andrew trained with Eversheds, before joining Lovells Tax Department (now Hogan Lovells International) in 2007.
Appointed as a Senior Tax Associate following Lovells merger with Hogan and Hartson, Andrew has advised on a broad range of tax issues with a particular focus on real estate transactions and corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Andrew went on to advise High Net Worth clients as a specialist tax consultant in 2013, before founding his own SRA regulated tax law firm, Winslows Tax (www.winslows.co.uk). Winslows Tax works alongside LawBite to ensure that a specialist team of City trained tax lawyers are always at the disposal of LawBite’s SME clients.
In Andrew’s own words:
“It’s important that all start ups and SMEs have access to quality tax advice from the very outset of their journey, to ensure that the right decisions are made to allow the business to grow efficiently and reach its ultimate potential. Decisions that are made even prior to starting a new business can have an impact for years to come and even play a role in the eventual sale of successful businesses. It’s crucial that entrepreneurs are given the right tax support to help them achieve their goals .“
Arran Dowling-Hussey has 14 years’ experience as a commercial Barrister.
Arran has been in full time practice as a Barrister in Dublin since 2003. He has also been called to the Bar in Belfast and London and has been associated with a number of chambers in the London area since 2007. As he is admitted in three jurisdictions he has often been briefed in cases that have a multi-jurisdictional element to them including but not limited to offering advice on which is the proper forum for any dispute. Arran is noted for his experience in construction and ADR related work and also has significant experience in commercial, employment, landlord and tenant cases and professional negligence disputes.
In Arran’s own words…
“I am keen to help clients resolve their problems as quickly and expeditiously as possible and where appropriate draw on a heavy background in Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, each dispute has to be considered on its own merits and the resolution of some disputes will be best served by traditional litigation. It is important to me to work to deadlines that well meet the needs of clients and to be clear as to the legal costs that clients are exposed to as a dispute progresses.”
Ashley Gurr is an experienced Solicitor who has represented SME clients for many years in the fields of Commercial Property, General Commercial and Employment Law.
After completing Law School, Ashley joined a highly-regarded, full-service Solicitors firm in North Worcestershire, where he quickly progressed from Trainee Solicitor to Assistant Solicitor, and then on to Associate Solicitor, spending almost 5 years there across two spells. During this period, Ashley predominantly worked with SME clients, and he developed a very good understanding of their needs and requirements. Accordingly, he developed his reputation as an astute Solicitor with a keen eye for detail and genuine commercial awareness.
In 2012, Ashley set up his own successful niche Law Firm in the North Worcestershire / South Birmingham area, which specialised in Commercial and Employment Law. Following an impressive period of growth and client-wins, in 2014 he merged his practice with his previous Firm to widen the services offered to his clients. As a result of the merger, Ashley became Partner in charge over the Commercial, Commercial Property and Employment Law departments. Following a takeover of the Firm in 2018 by a regional Legal 500 firm, Ashley became a Consultant Solicitor.
He also has post-qualification experience working as an In House Lawyer at a FTSE 250 international consultancy group, advising on Commercial Contracts, and at a FTSE 100 multi-national utility giant, in a Contract Strategy role.
The bulk of his experience on the Commercial Property side lies in commercial Leases and freehold acquisitions and disposals, ranging from retail premises, licensed premises, industrial units and offices etc. He has experience of working for both Landlord and Tenant, and is particularly good at negotiating appropriate Lease clauses to safeguard his clients.
On the General Commercial side, Ashley has experience in bespoke Contracts, Business Formation, Standard Terms and Conditions, Business Sales & Purchases and also Partnership Agreements and Shareholder Agreements etc. Finally, on the Employment side, Ashley has acted for both SME and Senior Employee clients on matters ranging from Settlement Agreements (including in particular negotiating terms for Senior Directors), Redundancies, Grievances, Tribunal Claims, ACAS Settlements and everything in between.
In his own words:
“I enjoy getting under the ‘skin’ of a client’s business to truly understand it, so that I can really add value and provide precise, commercially-centric advice fitting their specific business and its circumstances.”
Asia Heczko has over 16 years’ experience in commercial law, 8 of which she spent in-house in the financial services sector.
Asia qualified at Norton Rose (a top 10 London City firm), before moving in house to the commercial arm of the Ministry of Defence in 2006 where she worked on international arrangements, large scale projects and public procurement. In 2011 Asia moved to the financial services sector gaining extensive experience in large scale outsourcing projects (BPO/IT/facilities management), a wide range of commercial transactions, technology, (licensing, development, cloud computing) data privacy, regulatory compliance and intellectual property across several organisations including Nationwide Building Society, Zurich Insurance, Barclays and the challenger bank Aldermore.
Asia is described by clients as pragmatic, approachable and solution orientated with the ability to see the bigger picture.
Areas of expertise include:
- Technology – cloud, licensing and software development
- Outsourcing – BPO/IT/facilities management, services and supply contracts
- Consultancy and professional services
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Data privacy and security
- Marketing and sponsorship agreements
- Regulatory compliance (Solvency II/SYSC 8/MiFID II/ EBA Guidelines)
- General commercial and business advice
Why I like working with SMEs:
“I found working in the SME market extremely rewarding due to the positive impact and difference I can make to the business, helping them to achieve their goals by mitigating risk and finding pragmatic solutions to problems. I particularly enjoy negotiating contracts to achieve a more favourable and balanced position for the business and developing relationships with my clients.”
Asif Khan is a solicitor with experience in finance (including regulatory compliance), corporate and commercial law. Asif also has a deep understanding of the legal and governance issues affecting AIM companies.
In addition to working in-house as legal counsel, Asif has performed the roles of Compliance Officer and MLRO at an FCA regulated investment firm.
Examples of recent work in-house include:
- Introducing a new holding company by way of a scheme of arrangement and de-listing the company from AIM;
- Completing multiple tender offer buybacks;
- Overseeing remediation arising from an FCA Skilled Persons Review.
In his own words:
“Having worked in-house for 5 years, I understand the financial pressures entrepreneurs face. I enjoy providing SMEs with cost-effective, commercial legal advice and knowing that I can be a part of their success.”
Barbara Jamieson is qualified in Scotland, New York and California, and has worked at top Scottish law firms Maclay Murray and Spens LLP and Brodies LLP. Barbara also spent three years working in-house at investment management firm Martin Currie, advising on financial services and commercial contracts.
Barbara has experience in financial services (asset management, funds and regulation) and contract negotiation and contract management (including IT contracts and dealing with GDPR issues).
From her experience in-house, Barbara has developed a client-focused approach, concentrating on commercial issues, in a pragmatic manner that clients enjoy and appreciate.
In her own words…
“I enjoy working with small and medium-sized businesses, providing pragmatic advice that is easy to understand, and that can be implemented easily into day-to-day activities. No business wants to be overwhelmed with legal jargon and hit with huge legal bills – I deliver work to a high standard, in an efficient manner, in a way that you can understand”.
Belinda Naiken-Payne qualified as a Barrister in England and Wales in 2002, and as a Barrister in Mauritius in 2004. She has worked in and advised a number of businesses in the UK and Mauritius.
Belinda combines specialist knowledge of commercial law with substantial practical experience of concluding commercial transactions in the UK and across EMEA and AMER. She has also provided training on a range of legal issues in Mauritius and in the UK. She has extensive experience of advising on Commercial Law, Employment Law and International trade, covering a range of industries including software, facilities management, rail infrastructure, gaming, online betting, the hotel and hospitality industry, as well as the ICAC, the Mauritius equivalent of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.
Carla Brannan is a dual-qualified (South Africa and England) commercial solicitor with more than 10 years’ experience working in both private practice and in-house settings. Carla has worked across a number of sectors, with the majority of her experience having been gained in hospitality, retail and leisure companies.
Carla has strong skills in contract drafting, vetting and negotiating and providing post-execution contract support and is accustomed to supporting executive decision making by providing commercially pragmatic legal advice.
Carla has worked in-house for both large corporate entities and for SMEs and start-up entities and over the last few years of her career, Carla has taken a preference to working for SMEs.
Why I like working for SMEs…
“From a work perspective, there is nothing more rewarding than feeling part of a small team who value your input and advice. So often, solicitors are put in a box and labelled as people who create more problems and don’t give practical advice. Working for SMEs is a game changer in this regard – solicitors are now trusted and respected to help SMEs grow and flourish.”
Carla Caroli has over 10 years’ international experience in corporate and commercial matters, contract negotiation and contract management in a wide range of sectors including technology, construction, infrastructure, energy and oil and gas. Carla is dual qualified (Brazil and England), has a Master’s Degree in Commercial Law by the University of Cambridge. She has worked in blue chip companies and law firms in Brazil and at CMS Cameron McKenna in UK.
Carla is extremely business oriented and passionate about understanding clients’ needs and finding the best legal advice to help their business flourish safely. Carla has always been known as a lawyer who “adopts” the projects she works in and gives the extra mile to make them achieve their full potential in a pragmatic and customer oriented approach.
Her vast experience with big projects has helped her notice that many suppliers of products, services and innovations to such projects are SMEs which do not have affordable access to good legal advice and contract management expertise.
Carla is also a LawBite Lawyer Manager and is responsible for promoting LawBite’s ethos, policies and high standards across all LawBriefs to ensure clients have the same outstanding service no matter who they work with.
In her words “I want to use my expertise to help these entrepreneurs perform just like the big players. Assisting them in understanding their rights and obligations and safely reaching the next level of growth and excellence became my passion.”
Clive Rich is a highly experienced entertainment and digital media lawyer, who has also successfully run digital businesses for companies such as Sony and Bertelsmann.
A qualified barrister, he has been a lawyer for almost 30 years and has drafted and crafted contracts for a broad spectrum of multi-nationals, major organisations and brands, including Yahoo, Apple, Napster, SanDisk, Myspace and the BBC.
He has also previously run his own legal practice, Rich Futures Ltd in association with the Top 30 UK law firm, Olswang LLP, representing a variety of technology companies and SMEs.
Diane Pearce is a qualified Solicitor with over 16 years’ experience in advising businesses ranging from small owner managed businesses to large companies. She is passionate about business and uses her insight to provide comprehensive and commercial advice to find business-focused solutions.
She advises on a broad range of commercial issues including the drafting of commercial and IT contracts, general business advice, service and supply contracts, terms and conditions, business protection, intellectual property strategy, software agreements, shareholder/director disputes and employment issues.
Her work encompasses drafting and advisory work, to litigating in the Courts and undertaking Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). As an experienced litigation lawyer, Diane uses her key skills to find commercial solutions from the outset to avoid the incursion of unnecessary client costs. She also regularly undertakes her own advocacy.
Dorothy Delahunt is a legal, compliance and regulatory strategy consultant and Chief Legal and Compliance Officer for London Derivatives Exchange group (LDX). Previously Ms Delahunt was General Counsel for Global Markets Exchange group and worked in senior positions for blue chip financial institutions and energy sector in New York City and London. Following a career in the US government, Ms Delahunt began her practice at a global legal firm in New York City, New York. Her legal expertise covers, but is not limited to, company law, general commercial law and regulatory law, information technology and intellectual property, including software licensing.
Emma Wood is dual qualified in the United Kingdom and the United States, having completed her requirements for admittance to the Law Society of England and Wales, and most recently, the New York Bar. Emma is a legal professional with broad experience in corporate governance and commercial law having spent 6 years with a FTSE 100 company specialising in the security service industry.
Emma has worked on a variety of complex and routine legal matters involving contracts, bid solicitations, proposals, internal corporate agreements and corporate documentation. She has also advised businesses with a view to minimise risk and find expedient solutions, while facilitating business transactions. In addition, Emma has extensive experience drafting contract language and leading and facilitating negotiations with clients. Emma is process-orientated and relishes drafting and filing the corporate documentation required for small and medium businesses.
Emma is passionate about great service and providing legal advice in clear non-legalese. In her words:
“I want to provide a helpful and approachable service to SMEs to assist them navigate the sometimes overly complicated and ambiguous areas of company and commercial law, in order to reach the best and simplest solutions for my clients.”
Hannah Ives is a highly experienced corporate and commercial lawyer who has worked in both private practice and in house. In private practice, she worked on public and private company transactions including company reorganisations, share and asset sales, refinancing, public company work/listings and private equity deals.
More recently, Hannah was Head of Legal at Nord Anglia Education, an International Schools business, where she was responsible for the group’s global legal activities. She worked on corporate matters for the group and also handled issues such as tenders, establishing schools in new jurisdictions, commercial contracts, licensing, IP, company secretarial matters and managed relationships with external law firms (a role which gave her valuable insight into a client’s objectives when purchasing legal services).
Hannah is qualified in England and Wales but has wide ranging experience of cross border transactions and has worked on legal matters in China, Russia, South Korea the UAE and various European jurisdictions. She has significant experience of preparing businesses for sale, including preparation for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
Hannah has also established and successfully run two small businesses herself while taking a break from the law to have children, so has first-hand experience of some of the issues and the pressures facing new enterprises.
Throughout her career Hannah has enjoyed working with entrepreneurs, business owners and managers to help them minimise risks and optimise value by providing proactive, commercial and solutions orientated advice.
In her own words:
“I get immense satisfaction in supporting businesses of all types develop and grow by looking to foster close relationships with clients, which allows me to deliver tailored and appropriate advice”.
Hannah Newell has practiced in commercial and corporate law and she has worked both in private practice and more recently in house.
Hannah takes a proactive and diligent approach and her ‘can-do’ attitude is a great asset to small businesses and start-ups. Her advice is clear, methodical and pragmatic and she takes great pleasure in problem-solving. Her approach is client-focussed and commercially aware.
In practice she has specialised in the negotiation and drafting of commercial contracts, company asset and share sales and Dispute Resolution, both civil and commercial.
Hannah has recently worked in house for a business consultancy company dealing with all company secretarial matters and commercial contracts including distribution and licence agreements and a large amount of cross-jurisdictional work. She has also assisted in the international expansion of the business and dealt with the franchising of business products to individuals overseas. This has included the drafting of translation contracts and sponsorship agreements. Hannah also has experience of negotiating confidentiality agreements with high profile individuals speaking at company events.
Following her academic legal training (2001-2003) and prior to qualifying as a solicitor, she worked in the Lloyds and London Insurance market.
Hugh Mulley is a City trained corporate and commercial solicitor with over 20 years’ experience acting for clients across the business spectrum. He has a background in major London Law Firms, including a period of 4 years working as a lawyer in the Middle East, and was head of the corporate commercial group at a leading Hertfordshire Law Firm.
Hugh advises clients on a wide range of corporate commercial matters, including private company share and business sales and purchases, shareholders and joint venture agreements, corporate restructures and general commercial agreements.
Hugh’s experience has ranged from advising on multi million Pound transactions with an international dimension to advice on the restructure of family owned businesses. His diploma in Corporate Finance gives an extra dimension to the service that he provides.
In his own words…
“It’s inspirational to work with agile, risk taking, entrepreneurs who are passionate about their businesses and to get to understand those businesses in order to give common sense, practical, advice that adds value.”
Jamie Magill has 15 years’ experience in dealing with banking and finance related disputes and litigation. Jamie qualified at DAC Beachcroft LLP in 2006 before moving to HBOS plc and Eversheds LLP to act for banks, finance houses and insurers in respect of financial disputes. During this time Jamie took cases up to the Court of Appeal (namely the bank charges litigation) and was also involved in some topical Judicial Review proceedings (in respect of FCA complaint handling rules). While acting primarily against consumers, Jamie was also involved in matters involving SMEs and owner managed businesses.
Jamie has spent the last 5 years working as a lawyer for a number of SMEs primarily in the claims management and technology space.
In his own words…
“It is critical to understand the pressures facing small businesses and to give effective, timely and cost-effective advice in context. An exhaustive rendition of the law will not always help. Central to this is to develop relationships with key stakeholders including funders, customers, introducers and to intimately understand not only the business model but the sector itself.”
Jane Houldsworth specialises in a wide variety of commercial contracts and has advised in-house lawyers, procurement teams and commercial managers regarding a full range of commercial agreements across a number of different sectors, including: education, retail, travel, tobacco, technology and IT. As well as working in private practice for a large national firm, Jane has also gained in-house experience having previously undertaken secondments to a FTSE 100 FMCG company and separately a software communications company.
Jane clearly and succinctly breaks down legal issues and provides commercially focused advice on the contractual legal risks facing businesses. Her experience includes: advising, drafting and negotiating manufacturing, licensing, research and development, exclusivity, franchise and selective distribution agreements; drafting terms and conditions and advising on e-commerce issues.
Jane really enjoys working for SME’s. In her own words:
“When working with start-ups and SME’s you have a real opportunity to contribute and assist in the development of a business by analysing and, where possible, minimising legal risk, while highlighting potential opportunities to add value to a business. You have the opportunity to work with individuals with real passion and insight in what the business is trying to achieve and the enthusiasm is wonderful. It is incredibly rewarding.”
Jean Nweke qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales 10 years ago and since then has gained a vast amount of experience as a commercial lawyer. She trained in private practice but having realised early on that she wanted to be an in-house lawyer, her career has been exclusively in commerce and industry since qualifying.
Jean has worked as a legal counsel for global blue chip companies in the finance, telecoms, IT and travel industries. She has advised stakeholders at the operational and management levels on a range of projects throughout the EMEA region. Jean has an in depth knowledge of online marketing and promotions, as well as an understanding of the challenges and legal requirements of an entrepreneur in the digital age.
In Jean’s own words…
“I’m passionate about business and helping entrepreneurs in maximizing their potential whilst minimising their legal risk.”
Jennifer Cowan is a Scottish qualified solicitor with over 15 years of experience working in-house, in private practice and in the public sector. Jennifer is a highly skilled commercial lawyer and negotiator who has dedicated her career to contractual and commercial matters. Jennifer has highly developed client communication and consulting skills and has successfully delivered meaningful and practical solutions for clients on a broad range of contract terms and conditions for goods and services and related issues.
Jennifer also has extensive experience of advising clients on contract management strategies, online terms and conditions, contract risk management, procurement legislation, data protection, confidentiality, freedom of information and intellectual property matters.
Most recently Jennifer worked as senior in-house counsel in a financial services organisation. She also has experience in other sectors including telecoms and the public sector. This experience gives Jennifer valuable knowledge and insight into how many different organisations operate and the unique challenges they face.
As an in-house counsel, Jennifer instructed and managed relationships and budgets with external law firms and she therefore understands the importance of providing cost effective legal advice for clients.
In Jennifer’s own words…
“Taking risks is a natural part of any successful business. As a lawyer and trusted adviser my role is to help my client to proactively manage and mitigate their risks and maximise their opportunities by providing practical, solutions based, cost effective and targeted advice and support.”
Jessica Mumby is an experienced corporate and commercial lawyer who has worked both in private practice and in-house. The early part of her career was spent within the corporate team of a top 100 firm, working on a wide range of acquisitions, disposals and company reorganisations for both private and public companies, often with a cross-border element, and other day to day corporate and company secretarial matters. Jessica also completed a 12-month secondment to the in-house team of a FTSE 100 chemicals company.
She then spent over 8 years working as part of a small legal team for a listed non-life insurance acquirer and service provider, delivering day to day commercial advice to the business on a wide range of agreements (for example, services, non-disclosure, consultancy, shareholder, intra-group, software licence agreements), working on acquisitions and disposals, group reorganisations and carrying out project work such as preparation of the group for legislative changes (for example, GDPR). Jessica also has experience in internal project work such as reviewing and managing group exposure to guarantees and indemnities and reviewing and updating standard form documentation and has to day to day exposure to the full range of matters that affect businesses, such as disputes, employment and property matters.
Jessica is used to working with all levels of a business, including executive directors, and enjoys getting to the heart of what makes a business tick and understanding its commercial drivers in order to be able to deliver tailor made solutions that enhance a company’s way of working. She is passionate about delivering high quality legal advice in a format that is easy to digest and free from legalese and giving businesses the legal know-how in order to enable them to negotiate effectively with their clients and suppliers.
Joe Phelan is an experienced commercial property solicitor who has worked in some of the largest law firms in the North East and for one of the largest housing associations in the UK.
Joe has acted for clients ranging from individuals to Plc’s and NHS Foundation trusts and is highly experienced in dealing with commercial and residential conveyancing; real estate finance; and Landlord and Tenant matters.
In Joe’s own words:
“Having worked for a wide variety of clients, I particularly enjoy dealing with SMEs as often it involves dealing with people to whom the matter is more than just their job, but rather their livelihood and passion. I enjoy building relationships with businesses in order to understand their needs and provide clear, jargon free advice that is tailored to their specific commercial needs.”
Johannes Duminy started his legal career in South Africa in 1999 before qualifying as a solicitor in England in 2009. Johannes has over 10 years’ experience in both litigation and non-contentious commercial matters. Johannes’ litigation experience includes professional negligence claims, construction claims, financial services claims, property disputes, shareholders and partnership disputes, LIBOR claims and mortgage mis-selling claims. Johannes has litigated in forums such as the High Court, County Court, Small Claims Court, First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), European Small Claims Court and various Ombudsman forums including the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Pensions Ombudsman. Johannes also represented clients successfully in Mediation and adjudication.
On the non-contentious side, Johannes’ experience includes drafting and negotiating various commercial agreements and conducting company share sales and purchases.
Johannes has a very good understanding of the legal challenges faced by small or medium size businesses in the UK and across the world and he is committed to walking a road with his clients, no matter how big or small they are. Johannes believes that legal advice should not only be robust but also commercially viable and must make commercial sense.
In his own words:
‘’I am big fan of alternative ways to settle commercial disputes, whether through mediation, adjudication, ombudsman schemes or old fashion round table talks. I find that if you pick the correct forum and plan around this from the start you give yourself the best possible chance to reach an amicable settlement that also make commercial sense from a financial perspective.’’
Jonathan Hemmant is a senior employment and commercial services lawyer.
Qualifying as a solicitor in 2000 he has worked for almost all his career for full service City Firms or niche firms run by lawyers with a Magic Circle/US firm background, acting as the employment department head for two of the firms he has worked for, one of which he helped to establish.
Jonathan advises on a wide range of contentious and non – contentious employment law issues and also carries out commercial work, having particular expertise advising on arrangements for the provision of staff and services that fall outside of the standard employment model.
Whilst he has acted for large household name clients, including the Bank of England, Jonathan particularly enjoys acting for SMEs/owner managed businesses, including start-ups.
In his own words…
“I respect entrepreneurs and enjoy forming a close working relationship with them, gaining a real understanding of their various businesses, then having a hand in contributing towards their success. I have first-hand experience of the pressures that those managing SMEs work under, particularly in respect of often emotionally charged staffing issues, and understand the need for precise, timely, cost-effective and above all commercially focused guidance, identifying solutions not just problems.”
Katy Dissen qualified as a solicitor in 2012 and has gained experience working in the property department of a large city firm. Prior to that she studied History at The University of Nottingham and Law at Kaplan University London.
She has acted for a number of FTSE100 companies, as well as developers, banks and other corporates. She has experience in a wide variety of real estate transactions, including real estate finance and the disposal and acquisition of commercial property. As well as all aspects of real estate investment, including sales and purchases.
In addition she has a wide range of experience working with SME’s assisting them with all aspects of landlord and tenant matters, lease negotiations, completion, surrenders, wayleaves and general property queries.
In Katy’s own words: “Working with small business owners is so much more rewarding than working with larger corporations as you are able to help people realise their business ambitions in a very tangible way by creating a friendly and efficient working relationship that is tailored to each clients specific needs.”
Keith Richards has been qualified as a barrister for over 30 years and as an accredited mediator since 2009. He is currently involved in regulatory work in a variety of markets including aviation, rail, construction, renewable energy, the professions and business ethics, advising businesses on compliance with consumer law and with a wide variety of regulatory requirements. Keith has extensive experience of the leisure industry with particular focus on travel, transport, and hospitality. His specialist expertise covers a range of areas, including disability and equality rights and sustainability.
As a Mediator, Arbitrator and Adjudicator his involvement in dispute resolution stretches back over 25 years. He served as a Senior Lawyer at Which? where he was involved in the early development of UK and EU policy on ADR, and helped the Government to reform the UK civil justice rules to put ADR at the heart of the process. He also worked with the European Commission to develop the practical operation of a European wide extra-judicial network for cross-border disputes. And during his time as Director of Consumer Affairs and Professional Development at ABTA – The Travel Association, he oversaw the development of the most successful consumer arbitration scheme in the UK and scrutinised the outcomes of many thousands of mediated and arbitrated travel disputes.
He has many year’s experience providing legal advice to both corporates and consumers, and has amassed a large portfolio of casework as a mediator, adjudicator, conciliator and arbitrator in commercial and consumer disputes in a variety of complex sectors. This combination of experience as an ADR practitioner and of being in the forefront of developing ADR policy means that Keith understands the crucial role ADR plays in delivering redress by way of a quick, balanced, efficient and cost-effective process and leaves the parties feeling confident that the outcome is fair.
His personal dispute resolution style has been described as ‘balanced, practical and thoughtful’ and his key experience is in successfully resolving conflict in emotionally-charged and often seemingly intractable cases ranging across banking, construction, health, communications, funeral services, transport and housing disputes.
He is also one of 22 Ombudsman Services Business to Business Preferred Mediators.
Kim Knox is an experienced employment lawyer, having worked with a large regional law firm for several years on a wide range of employment issues. That has included the drafting of documentation such as contracts of employment, settlement agreements and disciplinary procedures; advising in respect of conducting disciplinary and grievance hearings and other HR matters; negotiating and advising SME’s how best to defend tribunal claims; dealing with commercial matters such as TUPE matters; advising Company’s on sensitive matters such as reorganisations and redundancy procedures as well as advising SME’s how best to defend tribunal claims; dealing with commercial matters such as TUPE matters; advising Company’s on sensitive matters such as reorganisations and redundancy procedures as well as advising them as to how best to deal with everyday issues such as sickness absence and performance.
For the last 6 years, Kim has worked as a consultant solicitor advising clients of various law firms in Devon and Somerset on a number of employment related issues.
In Kim’s own words…
I qualified as a Solicitor 15 years ago, and throughout that time I have specialised in solving employment law problems. I have seen many situations that could have been avoided if the employer had been able to take advice at an early stage, and so I am dedicated to finding the best practical solution for my clients as quickly and commercially as possible.
Laura Symons is an English qualified solicitor with experience working in both private practice and in-house. She has advised a wide range of businesses, with a particular focus on start-ups and the media and entertainment sector.
Laura specialised as an intellectual property lawyer at London law firm, Harbottle & Lewis LLP. Her work involved advising clients on a broad spectrum of commercial matters, as well as brand protection issues such as copyright, infringement disputes and trade mark registration and opposition.
Laura also spent some time on partial secondment at Microsoft, as well as several months working in-house on secondment at Virgin Atlantic Airways. In these roles, she advised clients on a variety of contractual and commercial matters, including terms and conditions, confidentiality agreements and service and supply contracts.
Since recently relocating to Montreal, Laura has undertaken various legal consultancy work in a freelance capacity, including for SME HeySuccess Limited and fintech start-up Meridex Inc.
Laura has worked with businesses in a wide range of sectors, including theatre, publishing, digital media, sponsorship, travel, technology, aviation, education and sport.
In Laura’s own words…
“My aim to deliver commercially astute legal advice in an easily digestible format, tailored to the budget of the client.”
Louise Paull is an experienced employment lawyer providing clients with commercial, practical advice on a full range of employment-related matters.
She advises on contentious and non-contentious matters working with employers on the legal issues arising in relation to the recruitment, day-to-day employment and dismissal of staff, including drafting contracts of employment, staff handbooks and policies, cultural and family-friendly issues, equal opportunities, diversity and discrimination matters, sensitive issues around the termination of employment, including disciplinary, conduct and capability issues, negotiating severance packages and settlement agreements, collective and individual redundancies, unfair dismissal, breach of contract, business transfers and TUPE issues.
Louise most recently worked for Berwin Leighton Paisner in its employment team. She spent time on secondment with IMG, a major international sport and artist management business, as its sole in-house employment lawyer, and has worked for BT in its in-house legal team.
Lucy Du-Jones has over 10 years’ experience in the commercial contracts space, specialising in tech, FMCG and SME support. Having qualified in the UK in 2013, Lucy has spent her career working in Hong Kong and London for in-house multi-nationals and private practice. Lucy is a commercial contracts lawyer with a specific focus on tech, FMCG (sales/marketing/procurement) and data protection.
With a particular passion for start-ups and SMEs, Lucy started her own consultancy in 2015 providing commercially oriented advice to SMEs on commercial and contractual matters. Lucy is efficient, productive, commercial minded and enjoys providing practical and business oriented legal support to SMEs.
Marilee Owens-Richards has over 10 years of experience in IP, IT and commercial law. Marilee qualified in the US (New York State) in 2007. She moved to the UK and qualified in England and Wales in 2009. She has experience working with a range of clients from small businesses to large multinational corporations. Since 2012 she has worked with Monotype, Ericsson and Epicor. She is available to consult for a range of IP and IT matters.
In her own words:
“I love seeing the creativity and dedication of small business owners and then helping them protect their innovations and using them for business growth.”
Mark Tunstill qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and worked at major international City firms in Paris and London.
He handles all types of commercial and civil litigation for SMEs. He is a keen proponent of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, in appropriate cases.
In Mark’s own words:
“As a businessman and SME owner myself for more than two decades, I am fully attuned to the needs of those in business such as stable cashflow and sourcing good, practical, value-for-money professional services including law and accountancy.”
Moray Hughes has considerable experience in dispute resolution and litigation and has dealt with a wide range of disputes of a domestic and international nature with a particular focus on transport, insurance, trade and energy as well as other contractual disputes. In addition to his general troubleshooting and negotiating skills, he has a robust commercial approach to disputes and problems together with an ability to think laterally and find practical solutions. He has worked in the City of London for many years and has also practised in Australia and Hong Kong. He qualified at Norton Rose and has worked in a number of City of London firms over the years, including Hill Dickinson and Simmons & Simmons.
In Moray’s own words…
“Having acted for many SMEs in various sectors and gained a deep understanding and experience of their businesses over the years, I am always impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity which their owners have. I am also well aware of the risks involved particularly if SMEs have legal problems and disputes which can be of a domestic and/or international nature. These can be time consuming and costly, and it is important to approach them on a personal, practical and cost-effective basis.”
Rachel Robinson has over 20 years’ experience of providing company commercial law advice, including drafting contracts, data protection and competition law to organisations of all sizes, ranging from FTSE100 companies to owner managed small business.
Starting off her career in the commercial law team of an international technology company before moving to the private practice in the City for a few years practicing Competition law, Rachel then moved to Lloyds’ of London providing regulatory and commercial advice on issues such as data protection, competition law and commercial contracts. Moving to the South West of England with a young family meant a move back to private practice, advising SMEs on a wide range of commercial issues including data protection, public procurement competition law, merger control, commercial contracts including standard trading terms, franchise and distribution agreements, and anything else which hit the “to do list”.
After 7 years of private practice, Rachel moved in-house again for 5 years to a heavily regulated FTSE 250 utility company, helping the business achieve regulatory merger clearance on two mergers whilst preparing for a radical shakeup of the industry’s retail and wholesale markets. Most recently Rachel has been advising both this PLC and a number of SMEs on GDPR compliance.
Rachel has worked with businesses in a wide range of sectors including utilities, waste management, renewable energy, retail, health, manufacturing, and the leisure and tourism industries.
In her own words…
“I like to get to know how businesses tick, which is why I’ve spent about half of my career working in business. This gives me a great overview of issues faced, and a range of workable solutions. Just because a business might be smaller, doesn’t mean that it can’t be as sophisticated and dynamic as the bigger businesses. SMEs might not have the same budgets as PLCs but they usually face the similar demands on their teams and resources and are often more flexible and light of foot in their response, which makes working with SMEs so interesting and enjoyable.”
Raza Naqvi is a qualified solicitor with post-qualification experience in banking and finance matters at the London offices of a Magic Circle law firm. He has advised both medium and large-sized borrowers and institutional lenders in relation to their financing matters. He has also advised on regulatory compliance matters financial services industry (particularly banking).
In his own words:
“I enjoy exploring and developing legal solutions within the SME commercial context. I am particularly interested in the growth journey of SME’s and the individuals forming the team behind these. Collaborating with such teams in growing their business really interests me and being able to assist them with problem solving as their legal questions become more complex. I’m also interested in developing technology based legal solutions for SME’s to reduce their regulatory and compliance requirements.”
Since qualification in 2005, Rebecca Briam has gained significant experience in leading corporate and general commercial matters having trained and worked at firms in the City of London. She advises on a wide variety of corporate matters including mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, group reorganisations, joint ventures, partnerships, shareholders agreements and general commercial agreements.
Rebecca has worked in-house, advising a private equity backed company on multiple acquisitions in the healthcare sector.
In her own words…
I really enjoy working with SMEs because you truly get to understand the client’s business as a whole and can make a real difference to that business. I find it interesting working with and advising the key decision makers and understanding what drives their business strategy so that my legal advice can take this into account.
Simon Newman is a barrister providing a full range of advice and advocacy services to clients across different business fields. He engages in the full range of civil and commercial litigation, and has particular experience advising on contractual documents, insurance policies and statements of case in litigation. He advises on commercial, chancery, insolvency, and insurance matters, and has investigated and reported on complaints for regulatory bodies.
Prior to practice Simon worked in Government, dealing with regulatory issues particularly in the legal field. He currently accepts instructions from the Government Legal Department and has advised London Borough Councils in respect of complex frauds.
Simon enjoys working with small businesses and experiencing the drive and ambition of the sector. He also realises how important early stage legal advice is to businesses as a way of affording more costly pitfalls in the future in a tough business environment. Simon is keen to see small businesses succeed and hopes to be able assist them and join them on their journey to success.
Simrit has over 12 years’ experience working in the area of commercial property. She has worked in-house, in private practice and also in the public sector. Through this she has gained experience of working with many different types of clients and can easily adapt to the specific needs of each person or company she deals with.
Simrit has experience of working on a wide variety of property matters including freehold and leasehold transactions. She has conducted her own caseload in relation to negotiating, drafting and completing commercial leases of various types of property, Surrenders, Licences, Assignments, Agricultural Tenancies, Leases of open space areas and community facilities; negotiating and completing utility easements and wayleave agreements; asset acquisitions including conducting all necessary searches and title investigations prior to purchase; asset disposal including auction sales and dealing with the preparation of the legal documentation.
In her own words…
“I like working with SMEs because I come from a family that has always run various businesses over the years. I also run a small business myself. I therefore know first-hand how much it means to put your ideas into practice. I like to help people in this process using my knowledge and skill base to turn their ideas and dreams into a reality. I find this very rewarding. I also enjoy fostering constructive and productive working relationships.”
Steven Janes has over 20 years’ experience as a corporate and commercial lawyer specialising in legal issues and transactions in business, commerce, finance and start-up projects. In recent years much of his work has been as an in-house adviser, giving him a valuable perspective on the issues that matter to business owners and managers.
Steven worked in private practice with major global law firms in the UK, Europe, America and Asia, and as head of a team of 10 lawyers at a large UK business service group. He brings extensive knowledge from areas such as business acquisitions and sales, commercial and investment projects, government procurement and financial services to meet the needs of his clients, who are generally owner-managed businesses, SME’s and larger privately-owned companies, covering a broad cross-section of industrial, services and financial business.
Steven started his career at Freshfields, subsequently working at two other major global firms in the UK, France and Asia, before moving to UK regional firms, then into in-house roles.
Steve has particular experience in the financial services, services outsourcing and logistics sectors. Steven’s recent work has involved advising an innovative aviation manufacturing project, an alternative credit provider, an equity crowd-funding platform and a blockchain-based digital archiving business.
According to one client:
“Steven is well organised, has good communication skills and has always approached work for our company in a positive manner with professionalism and clear commercial awareness…”
Tina Benson is a versatile and effective Chartered Legal Executive with a continuous track record of success, gained from some 30 years’ in private practice, legal consultancy and in-house roles.
She commenced her training at Veale Wasbrough and Russell Jones and Walker in Bristol practicing exclusively in personal injury claims for claimants. She later joined Wansbroughs, Leeds, where she continued to work with injured claimants and brought claims against the NHS for medical-negligence. Tina then moved to the West Country and switched sides to work exclusively for liability insurers when she defended claims against the NHS and public entities. She defended many cases to Trial. In 2013, Tina joined the in-house legal team of a FTSE 250 utility Company, with over 2000 employees, resolving numerous disputes.
Tina has an extensive understanding of dispute resolution and litigation processes and has acquired significant experience of working with senior business stakeholders on issues including property, contracts, customer complaints, debt recovery, negligence, costs, mediation, personal injury, disease (including mesothelioma), clinical negligence and nuisance.
Tina is proud of her career as a Chartered Legal Executive but she’s very down to earth. She likes nothing more than to get stuck in on behalf of her clients. Tina is calm and likes detail, she’s not phased by any of her opponents. She has an open, tenacious and persuasive communication style. She is a capable advocate before district judges, with years’ of experience in mediation, negotiation of settlements and advice on strategy to get the client the best settlement she can.
Tina is passionate about honesty, integrity and great service and provides legal advice in clear non-legalese. In her words:
“I want to provide my clients with a bespoke solution after reviewing prospects against legal costs. Often the costs of litigation get over looked. Settlement at any cost is bad for clients because the legal costs can outweigh the sum in dispute. I offer a helpful and approachable service to SMEs to assist them to navigate the confusing dispute environment in order to reach the best and most cost-effective solutions at the right cost. That said, I like nothing more than getting a case to Court if the other party is not cooperating and we have tried to get them to engage. So many parties simply assume disputes will go away – in this financial climate they seldom do, so early Advice from a litigator will save money later”.