Shakespeare Martineau recognised as top large employer nationally

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Full-service law firm Shakespeare Martineau – as part of legal and professional services group Ampa – has been named one of the top 100 best large companies to work for in the UK by Best Companies.

  • Ranked 61 in top 100 best large companies

  • Ranked 12 in top 25 law firm

  • Ranked 25 in top 75 East Midlands companies

  • Ranked 25 in top 75 West Midlands companies

  • Ranked 33 in top 50 large London companies

BCA2022_company_2star

The Best Companies lists are the highest regarded league tables for great places to work – recognising business’ commitment to employee engagement and positive culture. Rankings are produced based on an independent and anonymous survey of people within the business.

Ampa brands were also awarded Best Companies’ second-highest standard two star accreditation – representing ‘outstanding’ levels of and commitment to workplace engagement.

Last year was Ampa’s first time being involved in the awards – ranking 58 in the top 100 Midlands companies and 42 in the top 75 large London companies.

It is truly fantastic to have achieved recognition as a top large employer nationally, as well as in law, the East Midlands, West Midlands and London, which is testament to our positive, passionate and authentic culture.

Ben Buckton, chief marketing and people officer at Ampa

Last year, we featured on three lists and it is incredible to have retained and, in some cases, significantly improved our places on these league tables while also ranking so high nationally too.

“We are also delighted to have received such high levels of engagement from our people and a two star ‘outstanding’ accreditation. Our people are our greatest assets, greatest advocates and what we are all about. They drive our business forward and by investing in them, their ambitions, development, and wellbeing, we are able to provide the best service and outcomes for our clients.

“The insights we’ve gained from the B-Heard survey, alongside our own regular internal Pulse feedback, helps us keep our commitment to continuous improvement as we strive to be one of the most empowering and inclusive workplaces in the UK.

Ampa, which has pending B Corporation status, is proactively looking for like-minded businesses to join the group. All Ampa brands are recruiting lateral hires and teams.

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Ben is part of our Main and Exec Boards, and as Chief Marketing & People Officer (CMPO), he is responsible for our people, customer, commercial and marketing strategy.

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We build on our Scots law offering with dual-qualified appointment

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Leading full service law firm Shakespeare Martineau has built on its Scots law offering with the appointment of a new dual-qualified legal director.

With almost 10 years’ experience working in Scotland, Nicky Grant has joined the firm’s commercial real estate team and will be based in Edinburgh.

He has a breadth of experience across all areas of commercial property, including acquisition and disposals, commercial leasing, commercial developments, managing investment properties, acting on utilities and energy projects, corporate assist work, acting on behalf of healthcare providers, and real estate finance.

Prior to his new role, Nicky spent seven years at Edinburgh-based Dickson Minto after completing his property-focused traineeship at Raeburn Christie Clark & Wallace in Aberdeen. He obtained dual qualification in 2018.

Nicky said: “I am thrilled to have joined Shakespeare Martineau at such an exciting time and key stage in the firm’s expansion as it further establishes a presence in the Scottish market. The firm is extremely ambitious and forward-thinking both in terms of growth and the way it invests in its people.

Commercial real estate law has always been my passion, largely due to the challenges that fast-paced, high-volume transactional work presents. I am looking forward to working with and growing the team in Scotland and creating new, long-lasting relationships with clients north of the border.

Nicky’s appointment comes after Shakespeare Martineau announced it is set to take on its first ever Scottish trainees. The law firm is looking to recruit two trainees into the commercial sector within its Scottish practice – one to start later this year and another in 2024.

Amal Kaur, partner at Shakespeare Martineau (Glasgow) LLP, said: “As businesses increasingly expand their operations across the UK, we are frequently asked to advise our clients on Scottish and cross-border transactions. We continue to provide tailored Scots law services to our clients and are investing internally in quality training to expand our resources.

I am really excited to welcome Nicky to the firm as a new senior appointment. He has a wealth of commercial experience and will be a great asset to our growing team. Based in Edinburgh, Nicky has a network of connections in Scotland to grow our practice even further and his dual-qualification means we can seamlessly transact in both jurisdiction for our clients – saving them valuable time and money.

This is a very exciting time for Shakespeare Martineau in Scotland. I am also pleased to congratulate our real estate associate Aller Dawlat on dual qualifying into Scots law. He will be a great asset in supporting our volume utilities team, with his existing wealth of experience in the sector.

Shakespeare Martineau is proactively seeking talented people to join the firm on its growth journey, including mergers, team recruitment and lateral hires nationally.

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Amal is our dual-qualified Partner having many years of combined experience North and South of the border.
She has worked both within core real estate and the renewable energy sector.

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Hayward Tyler Fluid Handling acquires Transkem Plant

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Shakespeare Martineau’s Birmingham office has supported Hayward Tyler Fluid Handling (HTFH) – part of Avingtrans’ process solutions and rotating equipment division – with its acquisition of Transkem Plant Limited, which manufactures mixers and agitators for blue chip companies.

The deal will see Transkem’s operations move 14 miles south from Hillington, near Glasgow, to HTFH’s site in East Kilbride. The firm’s managing director Stuart Gibson will head up the new combined operation under the HTFH brand.

Full service law firm Shakespeare Martineau acted on behalf of HTFH, including through its Scottish property expert Amal Kaur.

Corporate partner Keith Spedding, who led the deal, said: “It has been a pleasure to once again support our long-standing client Avingtrans, this time via its process solutions and rotating equipment division. For more than a decade, we’ve seen the firm implement and progress its strategy and we’ve been able to support this with our international, corporate and MedTech expertise.

The acquisition brings together two respected names in the processing industries – helping to expand their offering for new and existing customers across the globe.

HTFH designs, manufactures and services performance-critical electric motors and pumps to meet the most demanding of applications for the global energy and chemical industries.

Austen Adams, managing director of Avingtrans’ process solutions and rotating equipment division, said: “Transkem is well-known for designing and manufacturing specialist mixers for the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, food and beverage industries.

This fits neatly with HTFH’s expertise producing pumps and valves, as well as our in-house mixer testing capabilities. By consolidating the two businesses, we can expand our offer for new and existing customers around the world, becoming a more rounded fluid handling provider and creating a strong foundation for future growth.

Jennie Davis and the Shakespeare Martineau team did another excellent job.

Transkem, which was founded in 1934, is a founding member of the Fluid Mixing Process Group at Cranfield University – playing a key role in the development of the fluid mixing design guide, which remains the basis of mechanical mixer designs to this day.

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Keith advises companies (both public and private), partnerships and their owners on all aspects of corporate and partnership law.

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COP26 - Round up of week 1

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A few reflections on COP26 after week 1 in Glasgow, by head of energy Andrew Whitehead

First, you don’t have to be in the blue or green zones to find some great events going on around the city, and beyond.  And Glasgow has plenty of venues to meet up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a coffee, which is just as well as there are plenty of clients and contacts coming and going.

So, what are people talking about?

Well, beyond the big headline announcements around methane emissions, deforestation and carbon reporting, and looking to the energy sector, there are some recurring themes.

First, hydrogen surely has an important role to play, not just for heating homes and cooking, but as a substitute for natural gas in industrial processes and as a transport fuel.   In fact, some say the hydrogen economy in 2050 could be the size of the oil and gas industry now. Our gas network companies are doing some vital work in this area, to develop demonstration projects to prove the concept and ensure our existing pipeline system is up to the job of safely conveying hydrogen at high pressure.

We are proud to be working for clients in this area on the cutting edge of research and development, a great example being the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), at the University of Birmingham, which is showcasing at COP next week its HydroFLEX hydrogen-ready passenger train, an exciting collaboration with Porterbrook.

What will be interesting is how hydrogen networks supplying homes will play out against the government’s drive to install electric heat pumps.  It feels like a VHS/Betamax technology battle, but actually there must be a place for both; heat pumps on their own are not going to be sufficient.  What seems clear is that developing hydrogen, at least initially, around industrial clusters, is a good start.  These can bring together production and demand, and utilise carbon capture and storage, allowing a transitional space to deploy so-called ‘blue’ hydrogen as a kick start to the eventual sustainable development of green hydrogen production.

This holistic approach to creating a circular carbon economy has also been a theme in discussions around how we can decarbonise the “hard to abate” energy intensive industries such as cement, steel and chemicals.  This is a vital nut to crack, as emissions from the industrial sector account for over 35% of overall emissions.  And the challenge is not just one of decarbonising energy usage, but also to address the emissions associated with the industrial processes themselves.

At COP26 we heard from many businesses who are doing the right thing and leading from the front, and we have also heard from our own government on its plans to ramp up carbon reporting to improve transparency.   Critical here will be how each of us as individuals embrace making the right consumer choices – which will often not be the cheapest – in order to stimulate demand for low or zero carbon products and services.

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There is also plenty of talk at COP26 on the role of nuclear.   Large scale nuclear has been given a boost recently with the new finance bill which will allow developers to share construction risk by guaranteeing a pre-build revenue stream.  For smaller “modular” reactors, constructed offsite in purpose-build factories, Rolls Royce reckon that, from the early 2030s, they can turn out two a year on current projections, in time more.  These could be a game changer for nuclear – at 430MW each, one is enough to power a city the size of Leeds.

The electrification of heat and transport is of course going to involve a seismic shift in how our power system works, and indeed that transition is well underway.  In its role as system operator, National Grid is already using a host of new balancing tools to “keep the lights on”, and in due course to keep many of our homes warm and our cars on the road.  And those tools are deployed alongside sophisticated weather forecast modelling and digital optimisation technology. This is no straightforward task; the UK government has committed to a zero carbon power sector by 2035, consistent with the 6th carbon budget, and National Grid is working ahead of the curve to ensure that, over the next four years, it will be able to operate the system without fossil fuels whenever there are sufficient renewables running.   The company has been innovative in this space, and one of the themes of COP26 has been to find opportunities to share best practice and ideas with other system operators around the world.

And this theme of collaboration has been a recurring one.   Look no further than the North Sea, where the UK expects to meet the bulk of its 40GW offshore wind ambitions, but these ambitions sit alongside those of countries like Norway, Denmark and Belgium.   Brexit and politics is not getting in the way of genuine international collaboration where we have shared objectives with our neighbours, the most recent example being the subsea electricity interconnector between the UK and Norway, the world’s longest.  This and the other interconnectors need to be optimised alongside planned offshore wind and other energy projects to create an integrated whole which delivers secure and efficiently delivered energy where it’s needed.

And this is where, once again, it comes right back to the individual.  These big projects need local buy in; they typically involve new cables, convertor stations, substations and other onshore infrastructure, and so the benefits and the bigger picture need to be clearly explained and understood.

But isn’t that the case also for the climate change challenge itself? If we are to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees, we each of us need to make some hard and difficult choices about how we live our lives. People don’t take kindly to being told what to do; far better to explain and win hearts and minds.

For me, that’s been the recurring question over the course of this opening week at COP26; are the world’s politicians brave and bold enough to commit to what’s needed and back themselves to make the case for change when they go back home next week?

Andrew Whitehead, Senior Partner & Head of Energy

A lot rests on the shoulders of our politicians, who must start thinking and acting long term.  And we need to reverse the recent trend of isolationism because the climate change threat will only be solved by collective action in a spirit of generosity, trust and compromise. We have heard during COP26 that we don’t lack availability of global finance which can be raised and deployed in developing and implementing the necessary solutions.  What we risk seeing is a failure of governance, and at this late hour, with the stakes so high, that cannot be allowed to happen.

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Andrew is a specialist energy regulatory and contracts lawyer, who works with a range of utility and developer clients and funders to help them manage regulatory and legal risk in a fast-moving and complex environment.

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Energy & Water Law

We’re exceptionally proud of the deep-rooted energy and water specialisms we have here at Shakespeare Martineau. As one of our priority areas for investment and growth, much of our time and resource is focused upon these related (and converging) sectors, ensuring we are at the forefront of industry developments and are best placed to make a positive difference to our clients.

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Scotland Law

Building on our Scots law offering with new dual-qualified real estate partner

Amal Kaur has joined the commercial real estate team as a new dual-qualified partner. With over 14 years’ combined experience of Scots law and English law, Amal has an impressive track record and a wealth of experience within the real estate sector, acting on behalf of several high-profile clients - from larger funds to social enterprise bodies. As well as working within core real estate on matters such as landlord and tenant matters, asset management and sale and purchase work, Amal also has vast experience within the renewable energy sector, including combined heat and power (CHP), district heating network and solar projects. 

Alex Smith, partner managing director of infrastructure and specialist markets, said “Amal is bringing a huge amount of knowledge and specialisms to the team. Her dual-qualification and experience means that, in addition to having a commercial understanding of the varying challenges our clients face in England & Wales and Scotland, we can seamlessly transact in both jurisdictions for our clients, cutting out the jargon and saving them valuable time and money.” 

Andrew Whiteheadpartner and head of our energy team, added “Amal’s experience of renewable energy compliments the diverse specialisms and services we already provide to our clients in this sector. The breadth and depth of our experience means we’re excellently positioned to support and help our clients, wherever they’re based.  

Read more about the real estate work we do for some of our energy clients; Last Mile Infrastructure Group and Statera Energy Ltd. 

Scots law experience

As businesses increasingly expand their operations across the UK, we are frequently asked to advise our clients on Scottish and cross-border transactions. With Amal joining the real estate team as a dual-qualified lawyer, we are able to advise on Scots law commercial real estate, renewable energy and real estate finance transactions.  

We’re welcoming Shakespeare Martineau (Glasgow) LLP into the legal marketplace – authorised and regulated by the Law Society of Scotland. Although a separate legal entity, Shakespeare Martineau (Glasgow) LLP very much shares the same purpose, vision and values as Shakespeare Martineau LLP; it’s all about collaboration and a real partnership ethos.  

Our continued investment in our client services and national presence ensures that we are there working alongside our valued clients across the UK – helping them to unlock their potential in both life and business.  

Getting to know Amal…

What has it been like joining a new firm during lockdown?

A challenge that many of us are encountering is the absence of the ‘coffee point conversation. Not only is this a good way of building bonds with colleagues, it’s also a means of picking up on what’s happening work-wise for other people in the office.  However, fully embracing the current situation, I’ve been the special guest on team video calls across all of our business areas.  

Working remotely and being restricted in how we meet clients and referrers has certainly changed how we maintain connections with the business market.  I have seen how we, clients and others can seize the opportunity to strengthen relationships by talking to each other more - rather than emailing!. To learn more about the people we work with will, in the long term, enable better understanding of our clients’ goals, requirements and growth opportunities, so that working relationships can thrive. 

It is refreshing to see a law firm actively promoting individuality and the importance of being yourself.  Lockdown has enabled us to prioritise our well-being, openly addressing mental health and ensuring that team meetings have a social element too.

What are the top two highlights of your career so far?

Obtaining my dual qualification and being able to adapt in practising across two jurisdictions - having previously worked in both Glasgow and London. 

And obviously joining Shakespeare Martineau as a partner with the exciting role of growing our Scottish practice with my new colleagues. 

What does a typical weekend look like for you?

Work is where it’s easy to be structured and organised, which is more than I can say for my weekends (I have a 3 year old and 1 year old to keep entertained!)  

Our typical weekend outings have been restricted during lockdown, but it’s provided the opportunity to explore the nearby parks and become more creative with outdoor play – harking back to the days when I was a child! 

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The team in the Nottingham office advised on the funding requirements and the heat supply arrangements together with all of the property and development requirements for the scheme.

SHARC will use its innovative wastewater heat recovery technology to generate the heating and cooling services for the Clyde Gateway’s future occupiers.

Duncan James, head of the Nottingham office, who led on the project, said:

“Helping SHARC with this project has been a brilliant experience and it is excellent to see local businesses involved in major UK regeneration projects, such as the Clyde Gateway. Our team – including a Scottish-qualified lawyer – has a wealth of experience advising on renewable and energy projects and has relished the opportunity to work with such a key player in the energy industry.

“We are seeing an increased appetite for energy companies and energy entrepreneurs to seek out advice on projects and funding requirements away from London and to tap into the wealth of talent that the East Midlands has to offer. Businesses in the region are doing great things and we wish SHARC every success in its further work on the Clyde Gateway.”

Russ Burton, chief operating officer of SHARC, said: “We are delighted to have reached financial close on this scheme and were very grateful for the support of Duncan and his team in guiding us through the contractual process.

“With a growing appetite in the UK for district energy services using renewable technology this is a key project for the SHARC team in demonstrating international best practice to the wider energy management community we are supporting throughout the UK, but particularly in Scotland.”