Addleshaw Goddard's Leeds office has gone from strength-to-strength over the course of the last 12 months, advising on the majority of the region's most significant transactions – testament to the city having the UK’s most rapidly growing legal market.
Recognised as one of the city's Top 5 in L500, and being the largest legal partnership in the city, the Firm's Leeds teams have continued to increase market share and income, despite political uncertainty, with highlights including:
- Advising on one of the largest property mandates in the energy sector: AG's Real Estate team advised National Grid on the sale of its UK Gas Distribution Business, which included the transfer of over 10,000+ properties, hive-out and separation of regulated and non-regulated assets. The project, which integrated technology, flexible resource and legal project management, three key strands of AG's Intelligent Delivery approach, saw the team work collaboratively with National Grid to create a multi-functional, bespoke, on-line platform, which allowed 200+ users from four panel law firms, National Grid, surveyors, valuers and others, to input data via a workflow system – saving the client at least £1m in legal fees;
- Ranked as one of the most active dealmakers in the Yorkshire market by Experian: AG's Corporate team advised on key M&A and PE transactions in excess of £2bn, including advising on the sale of 3i and LDC’s stakes in MKM building supplies, to Bain Capital. The hugely complex deal involved the simultaneous sale of equity interests held by branch directors at each of MKM's trading subsidiary companies;
- Advising on a fundamental stage of the Government's plans to update and modernise Great Britain's energy system: AG's Infrastructure, Projects and Energy team advised SSE Energy Supply Limited on the contractual framework governing the next tranche of its smart meter rollout programme, which aims to offer a smart meter to 53 million homes and businesses across GB by the end of 2020;
- Ranked tier one in Chambers & Partners 2018 as a 'market-leading practice': AG's Banking team advised HSBC on its £100m revolving credit facility with Supermarket Income REIT Plc, supporting the group's acquisition plans.
- With one of the most dominant disputes practices in the region, AG's tier one litigation team has also starred: starting the year winning a $48m international arbitration award for an overseas client, the team has also defended Diageo from a £55m claim by SAP, and now has an unrivalled track record in software licencing claims, having since been approached by a number of global organisations to assist them in multi-million pound disputes with IT suppliers. 2017 has also seen AG prominent in litigating the European truck cartel, found by the EU to have involved major European truck manufacturers in price fixing over a 14 years period. Teaming with transport specialists Backhouse Jones and Exchange Chambers, AG has been instructed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to bring claims in a ground-breaking collective action on behalf of 2500+ clients.
Focused on retaining and recruiting top talent in the region, the Firm has:
- Brought in key lateral hires including Glenn Sharpe, an experienced Planning lawyer, and Pete Wood, a market-leading dealmaker;
- Launched a Solicitor Apprenticeship programme for the first time, and taken on three solicitor apprentices in Leeds, as part of a longstanding commitment to forging alternative career pathways into the legal profession through award-winning apprenticeship initiatives;
- Promoted 18 of its lawyers across the office, making five to Legal Director and a further 13 to Managing Associate, and also retained 81% of its trainees Firmwide.
Head of the Firm's Leeds office, Simon Kamstra, said: "Our teams in Leeds have shone over the past year. Our reputation for providing a first-class service to our blue-chip client base means we consistently dominate the local market, and our continued growth means we are the leading Firm in Leeds, as it vies for its position as the largest city in the UK for Legal Services outside of London."
Coinciding with the successes of the past year, the Firm is also celebrating its first anniversary in 3 Sovereign Square, a premium office development situated at the heart of the city's business community.
A key component of the South Bank regeneration, 3 Sovereign Square comprises 80,000ft of premium office space and retail units, and AG signed the 17 ½ year lease for three and a half floors, alongside offerings from the Co-op and Caffè Nero.
Simon continued: "The outstanding design, facilities and layout of 3 Sovereign Square has boosted our collaborative culture, as well as allowing us to attract leading talent, and has given us an impressive new presence in the heart of the city."