Legal 500 recognises Blocks standing in the East of England legal market

November 5, 2018 10:21 am Published by

The Legal 500 UK 2018 rankings (released 29 October 2018) have recognised Blocks as a first class law firm in the East of England.

Blocks has been recommended across all of its core legal disciplines and all of the Firm’s partners have been singled out for excellence.

The 2018 rankings see Blocks move up the tiers in each of its practice areas which demonstrates its position as one of the leading firms in the East of England.

Commenting on the results, Managing Partner Gerry Field said: “This year’s Legal 500 has once again recognised Block’s commitments to its clients and offering legal services of uncompromising quality at a reasonable cost. This is our best directory listing to date and we remain committed to providing excellent customer service achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.”

Highlights from the Legal 500 UK 2018 rankings

Corporate and Commercial

Blocks is known for ‘good response times and sound advice‘. The corporate and commercial practice acts mainly for rural and SME clients, working closely with its commercial property and agricultural departments. Head of the corporate and commercial practice Andrew Fleming handles local, national and international matters for a diverse client base and has more than 30 years’ experience in this field of law. He advised partners in a regional agency of a national insurance broker brand on the establishment of a new business with funding arrangements that included overseas investment. He also advised shareholders in a multimillion-pound London-based media company on the sale of shares as part of a management buyout.

Licencing

Blocks in Ipswich calls on the experience of corporate and commercial partner Andrew Fleming and head of commercial litigation Graham Mead to handle a steady flow of applications for liquor, betting and gaming licenses. Andrew Fleming frequently handles licensing reviews for local businesses.

Commercial Litigation

At Blocks ‘the level of service is first class and, compared to other companies, excellent value for money’, according to one client. Practice head Graham Mead has ‘a straightforward and realistic approach at all times; he acts quickly, tells you what you need to know, and remains calm and calculated at all times‘. Graham Mead is a solicitor advocate with more than 20 years’ experience in dispute resolution, including complex breach of contract claims. He recently represented a client in a dispute with a contractor over expensive house renovations, obtaining full recission against the contractor.

Employment

Blocks in Ipswich has an experienced partner in the ‘highly responsive, supportive, robust, meticulous and pragmatic‘ Frances Barker, who is recommended for her ‘excellent practical approach with the emphasis on the law and the needs of the business‘‘The overall level of service is excellent and the advice always very practical‘, remarks one client. Another notes that ‘Frances is regarded as a leader in her field; she delivers very efficiently and produces best possible outcomes at prices which compare very favourably‘. She frequently acts for SMEs and high-value employees from the private and public sectors in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. One recent case involved assisting a senior company officer with allegations against him made by a malicious staff member, which involved aspects of the Official Secrets Act.

Agriculture and Estates

Blocks has a large and well-established client base in the agricultural sector and acts for numerous farmers and landowners in energy projects and the sale of development land. It also has a growing workload of promotion agreements and options with developers for large-scale development of agricultural land, and its private client practice handles estate planning and trusts matters to help rural clients owning land with development potential to minimise their tax exposure. Managing partner Gerry Field acts for many multi-generational farming and landowner families in Suffolk and he is secretary for Hadleigh Farmers Association. His recent work includes a £2m sale of agricultural land, a highly complex farm purchase, and advice on an option agreement involving two family trusts.

Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate

Blocks Ipswich provides ‘a very speedy service‘. The firm has grown its private client practice and Emma Woollard, who has 20 years’ experience and joined from Gotelee Solicitors in 2016, is ‘good at communicating and always helpful‘. The firm has a broad client base across Suffolk but has a particular focus on clients in the agricultural sector, which it advises on the full range of matters including wills, trusts, estate planning, probate, administration of estates, powers of attorney and Court of Protection deputyships. Emma Woollard’s highlights included handling the multimillion-pound estate of a deceased client with significant agricultural holdings.

Commercial Property

Andrew Fleming leads the ‘excellent, thorough and responsive‘ team at Blocks, which continues its 20-year role as legal adviser to a well-known commercial lender in the region. The firm advises many clients in the self-invested personal pension (SIPP) sector on property matters and frequently acts for rural businesses in property transactions, particularly light industrial farm unit lettings. Andrew Fleming recently acted for a client in the purchase of freehold commercial premises from the Crown following a disclaimer of freehold by a trustee in bankruptcy following an insolvency. This involved reconstitution of the title and new securities with ancillary put and call options, pre-emption rights, forfeiture of lease and the termination of old pre-emption agreement.

Family and Matrimonial

Blocks has a large client base across Suffolk for private client and family matters, which include divorce and separation, financial remedy work for high-net-worth individuals, Children Act matters and pre-nuptial agreements. Partner Demelza Butler is collaboratively trained and leads the practice. She recently handled a very complex and contentious matrimonial matter for a farming family, which involved issues of land ownership, children, family trusts and significant wealth. Legal executive and Resolution mediator John Simpson is also recommended.

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This post was written by Ed Manning