Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 are the prominent independent research journals that assess law firm capabilities based on completely impartial research into the legal profession. They publish the results of their research on an annual basis.
Chambers & Partner 2018
The following are extracts from Chambers & Partners research
What the team is known for: Notable development expertise, particularly in the residential sector, and the ability to handle a variety of investment matters. Also equipped to advise on landlord and tenant issues. Works with a range of clients, including banks, charities, developers and retailers.
Strengths: One commentator says: “They are switched-on, and understand development issues and a client’s long and short-term needs.” Another adds: “It is a strong, energetic and commercially aware team.”
Notable practitioners: David Ashton is an accomplished investment and development expert. He deals with commercial and residential property, and is instructed by clients in both the public and private sectors.
Corporate and M&A
What the team is known for: Regional firm with expertise across the entire spectrum of corporate work, acting on behalf of clients from a wide range of sectors, including insurance, telecoms, healthcare, retail and construction. Able to provide a full corporate service for both national and international clients.
Strengths “Their client service levels are very high, their commerciality is excellent and they major on providing value for money,” says a client. Clients praise the team for being “very quick, precise and commercial.”
Alan Zeal handles a range of sophisticated corporate transactions, including MBOs and buyins as well as M&A. Market commentators are quick to praise his “very practical and no-nonsense” approach.
Bruce Hayter heads the corporate department and provides M&A advice to those in the construction, insurance and telecoms sectors. Sources say: “He has very strong and deep client relationships, and a good depth of knowledge.”
Tim Sadka is highly experienced in both domestic and international M&A transactions. Impressed commentators note: “His ability to articulate in the law the often complicated needs of his clients is remarkable.”
Family and Matrimonial
What the team is known for: Well known firm which remains popular with clients for divorce and financial remedy proceedings. Has the resources to offer mediation and collaborative law services, as well as representation in traditional litigation. Well placed to handle divorces involving trusts issues and offshore assets. Able to provide a rounded service with complementary expertise in wider private client law.
Strengths: Sources say: “They are very organised and have great client care.”
Notable practitioners: Senior partner Alan Foster maintains a healthy reputation for finance-related matrimonial matters. He has particular experience in advising clients on cases involving trusts and companies.
Legal 500 2017
The following are extracts from Legal 500 research
Corporate and commercial
Rix & Kay ‘is excellent on all counts’ according to clients. The team advised on restructurings, TUPE transfers and restrictive covenant matters, and handles unfair dismissal claims, employment termination disputes and discrimination issues. The practice also works closely with the corporate team to advise on the employment aspects of acquisitions and divestments. The department includes Bruce Hayter and solicitor Amy White, who is ‘extremely competent and professional’.
Agriculture and estates
Rix & Kay Solicitors handles the full breadth of rural and agricultural matters for both businesses and private individuals, and has a strong presence in the farming, horticulture, viticulture and food production sectors. Practice head Richard Cripps specialises in commercial property, handling the financing and property aspects of mergers and acquisitions.
Charities and not-for-profit
Rix & Kay provides ‘excellent advice, a great service and good value for money’. The firm is known for its expertise in acting for sporting charities, and also advises a range of local and international not-for-profits on the full array of corporate, commercial, property and employment issues. Bruce Hayter acts for a number of sporting charities and conservation projects, Alan Zeal advises on takeovers, mergers and joint ventures, and Richard Cripps is the key figure for property-related matters.
Contentious trusts and probate
Rix & Kay offers ‘a broad range of services’, and ‘the level of expertise within the firm ensures that nothing is missed, and that the full range of options is identified and explored’. The practice is led by the ‘unflappable’ Alan Foster, who has strong expertise in claims concerning inheritance, as well as handling mediation and complex financial cases involving trusts.
Rix & Kay ‘is a very strong firm with good inter-departmental support’, according to clients. Its financial remedy work extends to asset management matters and wealth protection issues, and is adept at handling Children Act proceedings and child abduction cases. Department leader Alan Foster ‘gives sounds advice and is very efficient’; he is assisted by associate Helen Noble, who is ‘wise, sensible and compassionate’, and Maria Steele-Williams, who is ‘very dedicated and steadfast’.
Personal tax, trusts and probate
According to clients, Rix & Kay ‘is able to comfortably handle matters often dealt with by the large London firms’. It has particular expertise in capitals gains tax and inheritance tax matters, non-contentious probate issues and high-value estate administration; the team is also adept at handling Court of Protection matters involving vulnerable or mentally incapacitated persons. It also has a notable contentious private client department. Team leader Max Wright ‘is knowledgeable and thorough’ and Partner Rich Risino, who joined from Irwin Mitchell in August 2016, ‘is approachable and practical’; Ian Best and Alan Foster are also recommended.
Rix & Kay is noted for its ‘very good value for money and excellent turnaround times’. The practice is experienced in lease agreements, development matters and infrastructure issues; it advised clients in the retail and leisure sectors on acquisitions and disposals, mixed-use developments and refinancing matters. The team also works closely with the private client and dispute resolution teams for agricultural estate issues and property disputes. The ‘speedy and knowledgeable’ David Ashton heads the department, which includes managing partner Richard Cripps and property portfolio management expert William Keating.
Rix & Kay advises a range of construction companies, subcontractors and developers on contested payment applications, defects claims, adjudications and court proceedings. In a recent highlight, the group represented a client in a dispute with a building owner regarding a loft conversion project, seeking costs for complete demolition and rebuilding.
Rix & Kay’s ‘excellent’ team is praised for its ‘efficient service, strong advice and good value for money’. The firm advises a mix of grassroots clubs and high-profile sports personalities on the full spectrum of corporate, commercial, employment and property issues, and also has a strong track record in dispute resolution. The team regularly advise clients on various employment and volunteer-related matters, and recently assisted with the establishment of a village centre and a charitable incorporated organisation, a matter involving the merging of a village hall, a social club, a cricket club and a football club into a new charitable organisation. Key figures include Bruce Hayter, who heads the team and advises on commercial and intellectual property issues; Richard Cripps, who specialises in sports sector corporate and M&A transactions; and Amy White, who provides ‘extremely competent, timely and professional’ advice.