Chambers’ 2013 Rewards Ashfords’ Continued Focus on Client Service and expansion of its Specialist Skills Base

Ashfords LLP has further enhanced its reputation and client standing over the past year according to the latest 2013 Edition of Chambers, the highly respected reference bible for legal services throughout the UK, published today (2nd November).

Chambers is renowned throughout the legal profession for its qualitative and quantitative research and editorial independence. Compiled from many thousands of interviews with lawyers and their clients, it represents the authoritative guide to firms and individuals both regionally and nationally.

Commenting on the latest rankings, Garry MacKay, Partner and Head of Commercial Services at Ashfords LLP, said:

“It is very rewarding to see Ashfords’ continued focus on service quality, both as a firm and as individuals, receiving such positive independent endorsements from clients and commentators across the region and further afield. These latest rankings are evidence of the breadth of talent and specialist skills we have within the firm, and we anticipate further focussed growth in the coming year as we expand our specialist services offering regionally and nationally.”


  • Individual rankings for 29 Fee Earners, three more than last year;
  • 1st Band Rankings in 15 Practice areas and for 15 individual Fee Earners;
  • Sport – Horse Racing & Equestrian achieved 1st Band Ranking UK-Wide;
  • 2nd Band Rankings in  five Practice Areas and for  seven Fee Earners;
  • Band promotions for  nine Fee Earners;
  • New Band entries for  four Fee Earners;
  • Five other Fee Earners recognised;


The Banking & Finance practices in both Exeter and surrounds and Plymouth and surrounds maintained their Band One status. In Exeter, the team is seen as “proficient in commercial banking work, asset finance debt structuring and restructuring, and it has a notable real estate finance offering.” The team is active in advising major lenders including HSBC, Clydesdale Bank and Handelsbanken as well as companies such as Centrax and The Una Group. In Bristol, the team is led by Clare Brewer where the client base includes National Australia Bank, Handelsbanken and Westrock with clients describing the practice as “very professional and solid, providing consistent and sound advice”. The Plymouth practice “enjoys a strong reputation for its ability to perform complex work including loan facilities, financial regulatory advice and counselling on security documents and arrangements”. The team additionally has expertise in the marine and transport sectors. David Heard is highlighted as a “key contact”.

Ashfords’ Construction Practice based in Exeter is again awarded a Band One ranking and is “known for its expertise across a range of public and private sector matters, and is currently acting for a number of major utility companies including south West Water”. Another major focus for the practice is its local authority work, with the team receiving instructions from bodies such as Exeter City Council and Devon County Council. Individual practitioners highlighted include the “first rate” Stephen Homer who heads the department and is “widely recognised as a market leading construction lawyer”. Mark Manning also features as having “an excellent reputation for his work in construction law”

The Corporate/M&A team in Exeter and surrounds has maintained its Band One position, described as “well established as one of the premium offerings in Exeter and the South West region. Commentators praise the team as “very helpful and amenable”. Transaction highlights include representing Centrax in relation to a joint venture valued at over £100million for the worldwide provision of power barges. Simon Rous is singled out as a “highly regarded practitioner. In Bristol and surrounds, the Corporate/M&A team is admired by clients for making complex matters simple, with one observer noting the team is “pragmatic, commercial and straightforward.” Andrew Betteridge is “admired for his private equity and venture capital expertise”.

Ashfords’ Employment practice is awarded Band One status for both Exeter and surrounds and Plymouth and surrounds, and the Practice Group is well known for its strengths in representing public sector clients. The group represented a significant number of London Local Authorities, including London Borough of Lambeth. The team also acts for clients from an array of private sector industries on senior executive severance, TUPE transfers and tribunal claims. Commentators commend the Group for its “up to date knowledge of the industry” and its “responsive client service. Key individuals within band 1 include Charles Pallot and Rhiain Lewis.

The Horse Racing and Equestrian team has again achieved Band One ranking UK wide, and is seen as “one of the clear leaders in equestrian law.” The practice represents both jockies and regulatory bodies and regularly appears in disciplinary panel hearings before the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) and other national racing bodies. One commentator stated “we have been nothing but totally impressed; they are so efficient, so knowledgeable, and they are just at the top of their game,” Rory MacNeice, as head of the team and a former professional National Hunt jockey, is singled out with peers describing him as “very decisive, extremely articulate during hearings and very easy to understand.”

The Information Technology practice has again been recognised with Band One status in Exeter and surrounds where it is seen as “a market leader in the region” with “considerable expertise in agreements and projects relating to app development, cloud technology, IT procurement, network management, software licensing and digital outsourcing” Clients include Thames Water and The Welsh Assembly. Mark Lomas is highlighted and “maintains an excellent reputation in the region” recently advising North Yorkshire County Council on a substantial broadband access project. In Bristol and surrounds, the firm’s three partner team “continues to make strides in IT and houses considerable expertise.” The team is awarded Band Two ranking while Group Head, Garry Mackay is given Band One individual status for having a “long-standing reputation in this market” and having recently led the team advising Thames Water Utilities on a software licence and Support Agreement and on its property searches portal.

The Real Estate practice in Exeter and surrounds maintains Band One status and is identified as “one of the largest and most accomplished groups in the region although it acts for clients across the UK.” One contributor commented ”We have gone to Ashfords for advice on unusual legal situations and they have never been stumped!” the Practice Group is also praised for its ability to draw on the firm’s cross-disciplinary strengths to deliver a truly full service to clients. Key individuals highlighted include Band One ranked who recently advised The London Development Agency on the sale of the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich and Department Head, Tim Heal who “has been helping to develop the team’s strength in the social housing sector.” Other clients include Persimmon Homes and Devon & Cornwall Police Authority.

The Real Estate Litigation teams in both Exeter and surrounds and Somerset are also ranked in Band One, where the firm’s six partner team is commended by sources for providing very efficient and highly professional services” in handling a range of commercial property matters including landlord and tenant issues, dilapidations, break options, lease renewals and rent reviews. Key clients include Biffa Waste Services and Penhaligons. Sian Gibbon, as Department Head is “always calm, professional and approachable” while Robert Horsey is described as “thorough but also able to explain things to clients in a way that they can understand.” Both are also awarded individual Band One rankings.

Other Band One rankings;

The “first class” Dispute Resolution team in Exeter and surrounds, maintained its position as a leading name in the dispute resolution market where specialisations include shareholder, director and partnership disputes as well as litigation concerning product liability. Key individuals include Department Head, Antony Lee, described by clients as “thoughtful and practical” and a “cerebral lawyer with his feet on the ground.” Andrew Perkins who has recently joined Ashfords’ Exeter office is also awarded Band One ranking.

The Intellectual Property Group in Exeter under Mark Lomas also gain top tier status where the firm has been “busy strengthening its IP practice Group.” Mark is “friendly, knows his stuff and is practical in his advice.”

The “outstandingPlanning team in Exeter and surrounds gains Band One ranking, handling work for local authorities on a regular basis and is also “sought out by utility companies and developers for planning guidance”. Major clients include Persimmon Homes and Thames Water. John Bosworth is much admired for his ability to “get straight to the point” and his awareness of technical issues.

Many contributors also agree that Ashfords’ Restructuring/Insolvency practice in Exeter is an “extremely successful regional practice”, continuing to advise on all corporate and personal insolvency matters. A recent highlight for the team was in assisting Stoneham & co with the bankruptcy of Ramrattan. Clients include PwC, KPMG and Bishop Fleming. Allan Bennett is praised individually for his tenacity, while David Pomeroy in the firm’s Bristol office is lauded for his “sound pragmatic advice”.


First Band

  • Angus Bauer – Tax (Exeterand surrounds)
  • John Bosworth – Planning (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Sian Gibbon – Real Estate Litigation (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Stephen Homer – Construction (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Robert Horsey – Real Estate Litigation (Somerset)
  • AntonyLee – Dispute Resolution (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Rhiain Lewis – Employment (Plymouthand surrounds)
  • Mark Lomas – Intellectual Property (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Rory Mac Neice – Sport: Horse Racing & Equestrian (UK-wide)
  • Garry Mackay – Information Technology (Bristoland surrounds)
  • Garry Mackay – Information Technology (South West)
  • Charles Pallot – Employment (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Andrew Perkins – Dispute Resolution (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Andrew Rothwell – Real Estate (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Simon Rous – Corporate/M&A (Exeterand surrounds)


Second Band

  • Michael Alden – Private Client (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Alan Bennett – Restructuring/Insolvency (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Andrew Betteridge – Corporate/M&A (Bristoland surrounds)
  • Graham Cridland – Planning (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Mark Lomas – Information Technology (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Mark Lomas – Information Technology (South West)
  • Mark Manning – Construction (Exeterand surrounds)
  • David Pomeroy – Restructuring/Insolvency (Bristoland surrounds)


Third Band

  • Tim Heal – Real Estate (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Robert Horsey – Private Client (Exeterand surrounds)
  • Andrew Worley – Franchising (UK-wide)


Also mentioned are:

  • John Birch: Senior Statesman (Construction);
  • Rebecca Dury: Associates to watch (Banking and Finance)
  • Simon Staples: Up and Coming (Corporate/M&A)
  • Joanne Young: Social Housing (Associates to watch)
  • Sarah Ziff: Construction (Associates to watch)