Legal 500 success for WBD

November 8, 2020

Womble Bond Dickinson’s acclaimed corporate team keep transactions moving throughout COVID-19 pandemic.


Womble Bond Dickinson’s (WBD) corporate team have welcomed their recent success in this year’s Legal 500 (a leading guide to UK law firms, underpinned by client feedback), retaining its Tier 1 status with seven of its lawyers ranked on an individual basis, more than any other firm in the region.

  • Team leader, Ben Butler is noted as a Leading Individual alongside Robert Phillips and tax expert Jeremy Smith
  • Robert is also once again included in the Hall of Fame, together with Jamie Pass
  • Stacey Hall, Iain Pritty and Oliver Rickett are all noted as Rising Stars in the region

Ben Butler, head of the corporate team, says: “This recognition is testament to the hard work of the whole corporate team in successfully executing the exciting opportunities that our clients trust us with. It was fantastic to see our younger talent being recognised within the publication, as we are passionate about ensuring we have strength and depth at all levels of the team. We are all extremely proud to do the job we do, and it is very pleasing to have third party accreditation that verifies our ability to deliver to the very highest standards that our clients have come to know and expect from us.”

“We are all extremely proud to do the job we do, and it is very pleasing to have third party accreditation that verifies our ability to deliver to the very highest standards”

While COVID-19 has undoubtedly brought significant challenges to businesses, including those looking to complete transactions, this has not stopped WBD on continuing to deliver for its clients, and its corporate team has advised on the majority of the major transactions in the region since March, including:

  • Nasdaq’s investment in Newcastle technology firm Caspian
  • Mercia Asset Management’s investment in a breast cancer detection technology
  • the creation of Northern Accelerator’s Seed Investment Fund
  • the extension of a deal between retail giant Ocado and Northumberland robotics manufacturer Tharsus
  • advising Gordon Brown Law Firm on the sale of its conveyancing business to Simplify
  • acting for Carpetright on its acquisition of Keswick Flooring
  • the sale of the iconic Matfen Hall Hotel
  • advising on a major regional private equity
  • investment in the healthcare sector
  • Mercia Asset Management’s investment in Equiwatt Limited, a carbon reduction start-up
  • advising Newcastle-based recruitment group Nigel Wright on a management buy-out
  • advising Augean plc on the acquisition of the Ecocentre at Peterhead

Reflecting on the past six months, Ben added: “While we acknowledge that, since the outbreak of the pandemic, it has been a difficult time for many of our clients; the transactions we are seeing demonstrate the willingness of North East organisations to take bold steps in their quest to move forward, and also the continued appetite of investors, both domestic and international, to back our region’s leading businesses.

“It is great to see that this activity is flowing through all areas of our deals community. We continue to support a range of transactions, from multimillion pound private equity investments through to early stage seed-capital financing and start-up support through our WBD Accelerate programme.

This diversity of transaction size helps us to maintain a broad perspective on the overall deals market. “We have immense pride in our deep North East roots and unparalleled offering in the region. Newcastle remains our largest office (on both sides of the Atlantic) with around 450 partners and colleagues who are committed to playing their part in the future prosperity of the region. We are looking forward to continuing to support businesses of all sizes over the upcoming period; utilising the extensive resources and deep specialisms that we are able to offer as a UK top 20 law firm, continuing to help to drive the economic recovery of the region, and enabling our clients to deliver on their regional, national and international growth ambitions.

“Looking forward, we are pleased to have been bolstered by Simon Watts’ return to deal-making in the region. Simon is a pre-eminent corporate practitioner who is well known in the North East market. He was crucial in establishing our international collaborations with the US and further afield and, now that the WBD (UK) and WBD (US) combination is fully up and running, the international pedigree he brings will be of huge benefit to our local businesses.”

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