Our teams provide specialist expertise and collaborate closely with one another to meet the full spectrum of your needs whether for business or for you personally. Each of our clients can expect consistent access to the partners and consultants of our firm, who lead knowledgeable groups of lawyers, united by a shared ethos and a powerful sense of purpose.
As head of the Corporate and Commercial Team Deborah uses her vast experience to advise her clients on all types of corporate transactions including mergers, acquisitions and disposals. Deborah's work also includes advising on business structures and restructuring, corporate finance, exit planning, joint ventures, family investment companies and commercial contracts. In addition, Deborah provides general advice and support to key decision makers so they have the guidance required to make the best decisions for their companies. Deborah's expertise means that she is able to deal with businesses of all sizes from SMEs to PLCs, and no matter what sector they operate in or whether they trade nationally or internationally. She also advises clients based outside the UK on business and transactions within the UK.
Deborah handles both small scale and multimillion pound transactions and has recently worked on a variety of transactions including, a large number of share transactions which have involved investments into private companies as well as outright sales and purchases (including groups with international subsidiaries), a Management Buy-Out, business asset acquisitions including purchases from administrators, national and international joint ventures and mergers, refinancing, shareholder, partner and LLP member arrangements and legal issues relating to business planning and strategy as well as insolvency issues affecting businesses, directors and shareholders.
She is involved with businesses at every stage of development and her recent work has also included putting in place and advising upon structures for new and existing business ventures and initiatives (including international trading and structures) and dealing with reorganisations.
What others say about Deborah:
Deborah and her team at Eaton Smith handled the recent sale of our family business exemplary showing 100% commitment to the lengthy transaction without faltering on their support both legally and personally. The attention to detail in what was a complicated business deal meant that I felt in safe hands and the understanding and guidance offered throughout made it easier for me to comprehend the complexity of the legalities which were completely out of my comfort zone. I had complete trust in Deborah and the team and the dedication shown throughout meant I never felt alone or vulnerable in what was a stressful and emotional time. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Deborah Melluish and the team at Eaton Smith.
Vicky is a Partner at Eaton Smith.
Vicky has considerable knowledge and experience in commercial property transactions which spans a diverse range of requirements for businesses in a variety of industry sectors. Vicky's previous work in this area includes disposal and acquisition of sites for development purposes whether for commercial, retail or residential use (including disposals and acquisitions as a result of options, pre-emptions and conditional contracts), commercial sales and purchases of property, secured lending and providing support on the property aspects of corporate transactions. She has dealt with multiple small businesses, commercial landlord and tenant matters and in particular has experience of the care homes sector.
The vast experience that Vicky has enables her to represent businesses and a variety of organisations across a broad spectrum of different sectors.
Alison joined Eaton Smith in 2006 from the Sheffield based firm Tofields where she was the Corporate Partner. As a Partner in our Company Commercial Team, Alison specialises in the acquisition and disposal of companies of all sizes. She has the expertise and determination to complete complex and problematic deals in a tight timescale working closely with the firm's clients and their accountants and bankers/investors to achieve their aims as swiftly and smoothly as possible.
Her vast commercial experience and expertise means that she also advises on business sales and purchases, joint ventures, venture capital investments, corporate finance and re-financings, shareholders and partnership agreements, Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) schemes, exit planning and providing strategic advice to SMEs.
Since joining Eaton Smith, Alison has advised on and led numerous share deals at purchase prices ranging from hundreds of thousands of pounds up to £15.3M. She has also advised on complex Management Buy-Outs, business sales and purchases and several joint ventures and re-financings.
Alison works with Chris Taylor in relation to the corporate aspects of our video game work, in particular on investments and share subscriptions in growing game development studios.
What others say about Alison:
We were selling our 173 year old family business to a private equity backed buyer. Eaton Smith had been our company and family solicitors for many years and so we trusted them to act for us on the sale of our company.
Alison and the team she put together had the right skill set and experience for the size and type of our transaction and the team perfectly matched my approach to the deal. She empathised with the legal and also emotional attachment the family had with our business which I do not think you would get with a larger firm and we appreciated Eaton Smith's understanding and patience.
Quite quickly into the process we realised that we were facing a huge international law firm including multiple lawyers in each of its corporate, property, due diligence and other teams, two international accountancy firms dealing with the acquisition, and taxation aspects, the Buyer's in-house legal team and also their in-house financial, legal, retail, property and employment due diligence teams and I was impressed by how Alison and her due diligence, property and employment teams were not fazed by this opposition.
We were very impressed with Alison and her teams commitment and dedication and their ability to identify the fundamental issues to fight over, amongst the multitude of points raised by the Buyer and the speed with which they did this against huge corporate, due diligence and property teams.
We were also impressed by the communication between the Eaton Smith Teams and ourselves and also our accountant and how they worked tirelessly for four months and did not miss a single deadline.
We would have no hesitation in recommending Alison, her Corporate and Commercial Team and Andrew Pedley.
To sum up we would say that Eaton Smith are big enough to cope and small enough to care.
Adele is a Partner and Head of the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team. She has worked in the legal profession for over 25 years and competently handles a wide range of claims for clients who have been involved in accidents or have suffered negligent medical treatment. Adele’s caseload involves a variety of complex cases encompassing serious injuries and widespread medical issues.
Adele is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) with accredited status as a Senior Litigator and is an accredited member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel.
Adele prides herself on offering friendly, helpful advice and uses her experience to support clients through their claim journey.
Chris is a Partner in the Company Commercial Team at Eaton Smith.
Chris spends much of his time advising on and preparing agreements across a broad range of commercial areas including terms and conditions of sale and purchase, confidentiality, data protection, intellectual property, prize promotions, joint ventures and he also deals with tenders. His work has led to agreements involving businesses in, amongst other countries, America, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Japan and Australia.
For further information on our Commercial Law services, please click here
In addition to commercial work, Chris conducts sales and purchases of both assets and shares and also provides assistance to others in the Team during substantial corporate transactions.
Just some of the work that Chris has been involved in includes:
In relation to issues specific to the video games sector, Chris is also able to prepare or advise on issues concerning, amongst other things:
For more information on our video games work, please click here
Eaton Smith is also able to provide advice in this area regarding employment, dispute resolution/mediation and debt recovery.
Chris came to the Team after spending six years as a Paralegal with DLA (now DLA Piper) in Leeds prior to qualifying in 2005.
What others say about Chris:
Yet another example of why Chris Taylor at Eaton Smith is a great set of eyeballs on our company activity. The intentions of Chris are always impeccable and appreciated. He has provided unsolicited advice and continues to look after our interests and has expressed an availability to act should we need to instruct further. I rarely get the opportunity to commend someone for their input to our daily business but thought that this should be mentioned. I am extremely pleased to be dealing with Chris on such matters.
Let’s face it, deciding on a solicitor is a bit of a gamble, but fortunately, we found Chris.
Understanding the legal landscape is daunting, and I would not have secured our deal without him. He is a fountain of legal knowledge that goes well beyond the black and white mentality you often find. I discovered very early on that Chris is first and foremost a genuine person, who also happens to be an incredible solicitor. Chris has a unique way of getting results, by delivering practical information, combined with strategic moves and overall empathy. His style is subtle, focused and precise, which genuinely helped us carve out a deal with little to no resistance.
I can’t emphasise how important this is, as Chris never lost sight of our needs, and he always had a sense of momentum with a constant view of completion in mind. Chris is top of his game and is a rare breed of AAA solicitor who also goes that extra mile for you. It’s honestly been a pleasure, and I will continue to collaborate with Chris for all our company affairs.
- A Client
The moment we realised that we'd need someone to prepare a legal document for us, there was no real argument as to who. We've both seen how proactive you are in our industry and how willing you are to help at times of need, so you were literally our first logical choice.- IndieHound
I have to say this is a work of art, reads exactly as I wanted. Thank you very much for your work on this, it's been a joy in a way I thought legal stuff could never be.
Thank you also for your excellent comments in the email. I appreciate your taking the time to educate me along the way and not just provide a final document. You're a joy to work with, thanks!
May I take this opportunity of thanking you, Chris, for all of your help and patience during the last few weeks. You have been most helpful dealing with and doing your utmost to understand our business and accepting facts which to you must have seemed incomprehensible. Again, a very big thank you from all the family for the manner in which you carried out this sale.
Philip is Head of our Dispute Resolution team and is an experienced Dispute Resolution Solicitor who is guides clients through contractual and other disputes. Having had significant Trial experience, he has both applied for and responded to applications for Injunctive relief and understands the necessity for swift decisive action at the early stages in Litigation. Philip is a strong believer in Alternative Dispute Resolution and is an experienced advocate at both mediations and all parties meetings.
Philip has particular interests in contractual disputes, litigation arising out of corporate transactions, employer/ employee disputes and partnership disputes.
Examples of Philip's work in these areas are set out below:-
Advising a manufacturing client on the termination of a Partnering Contract with a sports governing body. This settled on confidential terms after negotiation;
Advising a client on the threatened termination of a catering contract for a music festival;
Advising a major food manufacturer on claims arising out of the termination of trademark licences. This settled on confidential terms following a mediation; and
Advising on the termination of a significant shared services contract. This settled on confidential terms following an all parties meeting.
Corporate Transactional Disputes
Advising a buyer on warranty and indemnity claims arising out of a share purchase agreement following a tax charge on matters occurring before completion. This settled following negotiation;
Attending an 11 day trial in the Chancery Division on a claim for breach of a relationship agreement following an admission onto AIM; and
Attending a 3 day Preliminary Issue Hearing for a seller dealing with whether a buyer had given adequate notification under a share purchase agreement.
Employer/ Employee Disputes
Advising an employer on action against two employees who had set up in competition in breach of their restrictive covenants and had placed fraudulent orders whilst still in employment. This settled on confidential terms following a without prejudice meeting;
Advising an employer on action against an employee on garden leave and his prospective employer for poaching clients, breach of confidence and breach of fiduciary duty including an application for injunctive relief against both defendants, delivery up of all confidential information and provision of information. This settled on confidential terms at a multi party mediation; and
Advising a former senior director on a claim for breach of confidence, conspiracy, breach of restrictive covenants and allegations of invoicing fraud including advising on a search order (on 1 hours notice), provision of information by affidavit and a potential freezing order application. This settled on confidential terms following negotiation.
Advising a General Practitioner in a Partnership dispute with his fellow Partners. This settled on confidential terms following a without prejudice meeting;
Advising a Recruitment Consultant in a Partnership dispute with his fellow Partners. This settled on confidential terms following a without prejudice meeting; and
Advising on a multi million pound farming partnership dispute that settled after a 5 day trial but before judgment was handed down.
Katherine is a Partner in our Family team. She qualified as a solicitor in 2008 and specialises in family law. She focusses on care proceedings and has significant expertise in this area. Katherine is very experienced in representing children, parents and carers in care proceedings. She is also a member of the Law Society Children Panel.
James qualified as a solicitor in September 2004, having trained at a then UK Top 100 law firm in the North East of England. In 2006, James joined a niche commercial practice in Newcastle upon Tyne, specialising in all aspects of commercial property, before joining another leading law firm based in the North East of England. Until recently, James has been a partner with a well-known South Yorkshire law firm specialising in commercial property, before joining Eaton Smith in April 2020 as a partner in our property department.
James has significant experience across all aspects of commercial property, including landlord and tenant work, acquisition and disposal, portfolio and estate management, commercial development, secured lending and property and development finance.
What clients have previously said of James:
“A superb service provided by James Burgess and his team. Constantly kept up to date and the transaction was completed efficiently. Would not use anyone else after such a positive experience. Thank you very much!”.
“James was very attentive and we knew he had our best interests in hand. Made buying and selling a lot less stressful knowing we had an excellent team supporting us”.
Chris joined Eaton Smith in June 2020 as Partner and to head the firm’s Residential Property Team. With more than a decade of experience, Chris has a passion for residential property and in particular in looking to guide clients through the process of buying and selling property in a straight forward and clear way, focusing on a positive moving experience.
He is an expert in residential property and is able to advise on all matters from sales and purchases, to lease extensions, re-mortgages and equity release matters. Chris acts for variety of clients, and is experienced in both urban and rural transactions, from town centre properties to unregistered country property brought to the market for the first time in decades.
Chris has previously worked as a branch manager for a large firm in York and as Head of Residential Property for a firm in Berkshire and so has a breadth of experience spanning Yorkshire and across the Country.
Jo joined Eaton Smith as Head of the Private Client Team in February 2021. Since qualifying as a Solicitor in 2009, Jo has dedicated her career to assisting clients with a broad spectrum of matters, including drafting bespoke Wills, Probate and Estate Administration, Inheritance Tax planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications.
Jo has been a member of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) since 2011. STEP is a worldwide organisation promoting excellence in the fields of Trust and Estate Administration. Jo is also a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) which is a national network of lawyers dedicated to providing support and assistance to older and vulnerable people.
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