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26 September, 2019 - 08:58 By Tony Quested

Cambridge law firms, barristers and IP aces excel in 2020 Legal 500 rankings

The soaring excellence of Cambridge and East Anglia law firms, barristers chambers and patent & TM attorneys shines through the 2020 Legal 500 rankings published online this evening.

The new Legal 500 guide underlines why Cambridge and East Anglia legal expertise is now in such high demand from UK and international clients.

In the realm of the Rumpoles, Fenners Chambers in Cambridge – or the Chambers of Paul Hollow to give it its Sunday sobriquet – is again feted as East Anglia number one and top tier for the whole of the highly competitive South East region. 

It is an astonishing achievement to have sustained No.1 status for so many years – and to have added to its quality personnel and legal reach in its near 50 year history.

In terms of our best law firms, Birketts has most East Anglia number one rankings for the first time in The Legal 500 history, overtaking Mills & Reeve which has less offices locally.

Behind those two brilliant practices, most number one rankings are achieved by Ashtons Legal, Greenwoods GRM, Howes Percival, Hewitsons, Gotelee and Buckles.

In the high-octane world of Trade Mark and patent attorneys JA Kemp’s increasing success from its expanding office in Cambridge is another notable notch in the technology cluster’s advisory belt. The firm, despite record competition, achieves Top Tier rankings for both TM and Patent work.

Among our magnificent legal fraternity, Mills & Reeve and Birketts are being pushed hard across a raft of disciplines by Business Weekly recommended firms – chiefly Hewitsons, Ashtons Legal, Howes Percival, Eversheds Sutherland, Greenwoods GRM, Penningtons Manches Cooper, Buckles and Barr Ellison.

All these firms supply several of the guide’s leading individuals and ‘next generation lawyers’ and rising stars – solicitors and firms tipped for the top on client recommendations.

Life science, high technology and Intellectual Property advice are all strong suits for Cambridge as it scales globally and here our partner law firms excel. For biotech, The Legal 500 again rates Taylor Wessing top. Mills & Reeve and Penningtons Manches Cooper are joint second. 

For IP work, Mills & Reeve is stand-alone number one with Birketts, Eversheds Sutherland and Penningtons Manches Cooper sharing tier 2 slots.

Mills & Reeve is again stand-out number one for IT and Telecoms work with Birketts, Eversheds Sutherland and Hewitsons sharing Tier 2 places and Ashtons Legal and Greenwoods GRM achieving highly creditable Tier 3 positions.

Because this area of expertise is so crucial to the continued growth and investment of Cambridge hi-tech and life science companies, it is worth noting The Legal 500’s recommendations regarding leading individuals.

Kevin Calder of Mills & Reeve, Simon Crossley of Eversheds Sutherland and Quentin Golder of Birketts are all top-rated and special mentions are made of Tom McGuire of Taylor Vinters, Andrew Priest of Hewitsons and Peter Wainman of Mills & Reeve. Lawyers from Mills & Reeve, Greenwoods GRM and Birketts share three of four Rising Stars places.

In the crucial realm of Corporate Law advice, Mills & Reeve and Birketts are rated the top two in Cambridge with Hewitsons and Penningtons Manches Cooper earning second tier rankings.

Leading individuals in this segment are Helen Drayton of Penningtons Manches Cooper, Quentin Golder of Birketts and James Lawrence of Hewitsons. Laurence Evans of Hewitsons and Jonathan Greenwood of Mills & Reeve are rated as Nextgen tips for the top while Nick Burt of Birketts is named a Rising Star. 

The Legal 500 East Anglia editorial overview notes the increasing importance of the East Anglia legal expertise to the global growth of the cluster.

The guide writes: “East Anglia's diverse economy has remained healthy in the face of external economic and political trends with sectors such as real estate, technology and agriculture providing a steady stream of work for law firms in the region.

“The most prominent local players include Greenwoods GRM and Buckles Solicitors, both of which have recently expanded through mergers, while Mills & Reeve, which has its roots in Norwich and Cambridge, is continuing to build a strong national reputation and is highly regarded across a wide range of practice areas. Other key firms include Birketts, Howes Percival, Hewitsons and Ashtons Legal.”

• Business Weekly’s ‘The Law Lords’ supplement, currently being finalised, features in-depth analysis of The Legal 500’s guide to the best law firms, barristers and TM/Patent attorneys in the East of England. 

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