‘This is a great partnership that uniquely offers the social housing provider a one stop shop in terms of advice and client management’ – The most recent Legal 500 directory has been published, and we are delighted to have maintained our previous rankings and to have received excellent feedback!
You can read the full Legal 500 breakdown of each of our ranked practices below.
Social Housing: Finance – Tier 1
Julian Barker and Sharon Kirkham lead Devonshires Solicitors LLP’s banking and property charging teams respectively, which offer ‘high-quality support and advice’. The firm undertakes a particularly significant amount of work for registered providers, although other key clients include lenders, investors and Welsh and Scottish registered social landlords. The group has experience of assisting registered providers with securing debt finance from banks and building societies, bond issuances and private placements, among other matters. Andrew Cowan is noted for his ‘sheer breadth of experience in the social housing sector’. Chris Drabble and Gary Grigor regularly advise on security requirements of refinancings and private placement bond issues; both practitioners advised on one of the social housing sector’s first SONIA-indexed revolving credit facilities. Alice Overton is noted for her work on debt securities, bond issues and private placements.
‘The team are always on hand to answer questions and help, which is an excellent level of service.’
Debt Recovery – Tier 1
Devonshires Solicitors LLP’s growing debt recovery practice is seeing an increasing number of instructions originating both in the UK and abroad. The group focuses on providing a one-stop solution for clients who are pursuing payment from debtors, with strong expertise in substantive correspondence, County and High Court claims. The team had a particularly busy year in insolvency matters, with a particular emphasis on forensic recovery, contentious insolvency, administrations and voluntary arrangements. Robert Edge and Jim Varley co-head the department, which makes use of a proprietary debt collection portal that enables it to compete with debt collection agencies, and which offers the client a direct and secure platform to monitor and manage their practice.
‘The team at Devonshires provide a superb service. They do the basics of debt recovery well; make recoveries quickly, and provide full transparency on costs.’
Social Housing: Local Authorities and Registered Providers – Tier 2
The social housing practice at Devonshires Solicitors LLP has a number of key areas of strength, including governance and corporate, real estate and projects, housing management and securitisation. Andrew Cowan and Jonathan Jarvis handle governance work and are experienced in the registration of new for profit registered providers. Banking partner Julian Barker and property charging specialist Sharon Kirkham advise on the financing aspects of mergers. ‘Stand out’ partner Nick Billingham and the ‘invaluable’ Donna McCarthy advise social landlords on contentious and non-contentious matters. Neil Toner, Jonathan Corris and Triya Maicha lead the real estate and projects department having taking over from Paul Buckland. Construction partner Mark London is another key lawyer.
‘An outstanding social housing practice. All the best clients and amazing solicitors. They can cover all bases and have superb knowledge.’
Construction: Contentious – Tier 4
Known for its strength in disputes involving social housing, residential and mixed-use developments, Devonshires Solicitors LLP acts on behalf of private developers and local authorities. The team is led by Mark London, who has been heavily involved in fire safety and building defect claims in the wake of the Grenfell Tower inquiry. Matthew Cocklin and Michael Wharfe are also recommended for their experience in tall building-related claims.
‘A highly capable, very user-friendly team, with an especially good (and deserved) reputation in the social housing construction sector and PFI housing schemes.’
Fraud: Civil – Tier 4
Devonshires Solicitors LLP has broad dispute resolution experience, with particular expertise in fraud, cross-border investigations, regulatory work and PFI disputes. The ‘very understanding team who have a great approach to their work’ is led by James Dunn, who specialises in fraud, regulatory and inquiry work.
‘I have worked with a number of firms and the innovative thinking and problem resolution is by far the stand out for Devonshires.’
Construction: Non-contentious – Tier 5
Well known for its work in the housing sector, Devonshires Solicitors LLP offers support to social housing providers, local authorities, funders and public and private sector developers on construction matters. The team has been particularly active in advising owners of tall buildings regarding Grenfell-related remediation work. Asif Patel leads the non-contentious team, offering a full range of services.
‘They are quick to understand our needs, drawing experience from other projects with us so there is no duplication of advice and fees. They are committed to deadlines.’
Commercial Litigation: Mid-market – Tier 6
Devonshires Solicitors LLP has a large client following among housing providers, and it is a leading name for housing disputes. In addition, other drivers of work include matters relating to insolvency, debt recovery, fraud and private finance initiatives. One of James Dunn’s specialisms involves acting for regulators in litigation. Philip Barden handles commercial disputes for entities in sectors such as banking, insurance and shipping, among various others.
‘An incredibly deep understanding of our organisation and our business, but more so our ethics and values, which is testament to their ability to support us through legal engagements.’