Amna Ahmed qualified as a solicitor in 2005, having trained at a prominent City firm. She then went on to work with a large US software company and gained significant experience in IT law as well as general commercial matters. Some of the contracts she has advised on include:
- Software licenses
- ASP agreements
- SaaS agreements
- Hosting contracts
- Escrow agreements
- Professional services agreement
In her own words...
"I enjoy the intellectual rigour of practical problem solving combined with the knowledge that I am making a real difference to a client's business."
Richard Beckwith is an experienced litigator, having qualified as a solicitor in 2007. He has specialist expertise in construction disputes, commercial law and ADR.
Richard started his career at a regional Norfolk firm qualifying into the commercial litigation department. Richard subsequently worked for the construction practices at Hill Dickinson LLP and Taylor Vinters where he acted in a range of contentious and non contentious construction matters.
Richard subsequently joined the legal department of SThree plc, a multi national recruitment company, where he advised the company on litigation and commercials matter. Since 2015, Richard has combined work as a solicitor with practice as a mediator and mediation advocate.
Richard’s has experience in a range of disputes including commercial litigation, regulatory investigations and construction litigation (including construction adjudication). Combining litigation and mediation skills, Richard is able to advise on a range of solutions to disputes, form how to negotiate a settlement to taking the matter to trial (if necessary).
Carla Caroli has over 10 years’ international experience in contract negotiation and contract management mainly in the construction, infrastructure, energy and oil and gas sectors. Carla is dual qualified (Brazil and England) and has worked in blue chip companies and law firms in Brazil and at CMS Cameron McKenna in UK and has contributed in a wide range of public and private projects and tender proceedings.
Carla is extremely business oriented and passionate about understanding clients’ needs and finding the best legal advice to help their business flourish safely. Carla has always been known as a lawyer who “adopts” the projects she works in and gives the extra mile to make them achieve their full potential in a pragmatic and customer oriented approach.
Her vast experience with big projects has helped her notice that many suppliers of products, services and innovations to such projects are SMEs which do not have affordable access to good legal advice and contract management expertise.
In her words “I want to use my expertise to help these entrepreneurs perform just like the big players. Assisting them in understanding their rights and obligations and safely reaching the next level of growth and excellence became my passion.”
Katy Dissen qualified as a solicitor in 2012 and has gained experience working in the property department of a large city firm. Prior to that she studied History at The University of Nottingham and Law at Kaplan University London.
She has acted for a number of FTSE100 companies, as well as developers, banks and other corporates. She has experience in a wide variety of real estate transactions, including real estate finance and the disposal and acquisition of commercial property. As well as all aspects of real estate investment, including sales and purchases.
In addition she has a wide range of experience working with SME's assisting them with all aspects of landlord and tenant matters, lease negotiations, completion, surrenders, wayleaves and general property queries.
In Katy's own words: "Working with small business owners is so much more rewarding than working with larger corporations as you are able to help people realise their business ambitions in a very tangible way by creating a friendly and efficient working relationship that is tailored to each clients specific needs."
Arran Dowling-Hussey has 14 years’ experience as a commercial Barrister.
Arran has been in full time practice as a Barrister in Dublin since 2003. He has also been called to the Bar in Belfast and London and has been associated with a number of chambers in the London area since 2007. As he is admitted in three jurisdictions he has often been briefed in cases that have a multi-jurisdictional element to them including but not limited to offering advices on which is the proper forum for any dispute. Arran is noted for his experience in construction and ADR related work and also has significant experience in commercial, employment, landlord and tenant cases and professional negligence disputes.
In Arran's own words...
“I am keen to help clients resolve their problems as quickly and expeditiously as possible and where appropriate draw on a heavy background in Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, each dispute has to be considered on its own merits and the resolution of some disputes will be best served by traditional litigation. It is important to me to work to deadlines that well meet the needs of clients and to be clear as to the legal costs that clients are exposed to as a dispute progresses.”
Adrien Herbert has 12 years’ experience as an in-house legal counsel and qualified in 2011 when working in broadcast media, at NBCUniversal in London. After almost six years with NBCUniversal, she joined UCAS in 2014 on a contract and spent two further years with the education sector service provider, concentrating on commercial contracts, IT, data protection and outsourcing.
Law is Adrien’s third career, having spent nine and fifteen years respectively, in publishing and marketing consultancy.
Why I like working with SMEs:
“SME’s face some very particular challenges when dealing with ‘bigger beasts’ in commerce. It’s incumbent upon a good legal advisor to understand the risks and to offer appropriate advice, which will ensure a necessary level of protection for companies often operating in a more ‘entrepreneurial’ phase of development. Experience of working in many such businesses has been of real benefit to me when advising my clients.”
Jane Houldsworth specialises in a wide variety of commercial contracts and has advised in-house lawyers, procurement teams and commercial managers regarding a full range of commercial agreements across a number of different sectors, including: education, retail, travel, tobacco, technology and IT. As well as working in private practice for a large national firm, Jane has also gained in-house experience having previously undertaken secondments to a FTSE 100 FMCG company and separately a software communications company.
Jane clearly and succinctly breaks down legal issues and provides commercially focused advice on the contractual legal risks facing businesses. Her experience includes: advising, drafting and negotiating manufacturing, licensing, research and development, exclusivity, franchise and selective distribution agreements; drafting terms and conditions and advising on e-commerce issues.
Jane really enjoys working for SME’s. In her own words:
“When working with start-ups and SME’s you have a real opportunity to contribute and assist in the development of a business by analysing and, where possible, minimising legal risk, while highlighting potential opportunities to add value to a business. You have the opportunity to work with individuals with real passion and insight in what the business is trying to achieve and the enthusiasm is wonderful. It is incredibly rewarding.”
Joanne Lezemore has over 20 years’ experience in civil litigation, consumer law and employment law.
Having spent the start of her career in civil litigation in London’s West End, Joanne moved to Which? Legal Services where, for a period of 10 years, she advised on all aspects of consumer law to members, the organization and third parties. She made regular TV and radio appearances and was known internally and across media as the “Consumer Champion”.
When working at Which? Joanne became very aware that there were few avenues that small businesses could obtain quality but affordable legal advice.
Having spent many years dealing with clients at a distance, Joanne is committed to providing expert legal advice in way that suits her clients.
In Joanne’s words “there are so many websites and organization that offer consumer advice, but these are very much targeted at the individual consumer, rather than the businesses offering the service. The rights of the parties are so heavily weighted in the consumer’s favour, so I can help businesses in ensuring that they are fully aware of their obligations and provide the right information and redress (where applicable) to consumers, but also how they can deal with claims from consumers. In the long term, this saves businesses time money and reputation”.
Andrew Waddell has over 10 years’ experience as a specialist tax lawyer.
A law graduate of the University of Leeds and College of Law York, Andrew trained with Eversheds, before joining Lovells Tax Department (now Hogan Lovells International) in 2007.
Appointed as a Senior Tax Associate following Lovells merger with Hogan and Hartson, Andrew has advised on a broad range of tax issues with a particular focus on real estate transactions and corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Andrew went on to advise High Net Worth clients as a specialist tax consultant in 2013, before founding his own SRA regulated tax law firm, Winslows Tax (www.winslows.co.uk). Winslows Tax works alongside Lawbite to ensure that a specialist team of City trained tax lawyers are always at the disposal of Lawbite’s SME clients.
In Andrew’s own words:
“It’s important that all start ups and SMEs have access to quality tax advice from the very outset of their journey, to ensure that the right decisions are made to allow the business to grow efficiently and reach its ultimate potential. Decisions that are made even prior to starting a new business can have an impact for years to come and even play a role in the eventual sale of successful businesses. It’s crucial that entrepreneurs are given the right tax support to help them achieve their goals .“
Jane Webber has 23 years of experience gained in private practice and in-house with both international and SME businesses.
Jane’s expertise lies in providing pragmatic, commercially focused solutions for clients, having had wide ranging experience in:
- Business critical Commercial Contracts including IT, software, supply, distributor, agency and confidentiality agreements; bespoke agreements such as car leasing and CCTV agreements and tender reviews;
- National and International Franchising; and
- All areas of Commercial Property particularly Landlord and Tenant and Residential Development.
Jane’s focus is always to achieve solutions in a clear and concise manner.
Why Jane likes working with SMEs:
“I am passionate about helping SME’s grow and increase profit by providing sensible, results-driven solutions based on an understanding of business needs and priorities. I love teamwork and my aim is for small and medium sized businesses to feel that I am a trusted advisor, collaborating with them on their desired commercial outcomes. I gain great job satisfaction from enabling SMEs to have access to affordable legal advice so that they can create new opportunities for both their business and the individuals working within the business.”
Annelie Carver is a solicitor qualified in England with over 16 years’ experience in advising a wide range of businesses from start-ups to full list public listed companies.
Most recently, Annelie was General Counsel and Company Secretary for Flybe Group plc. In this role, Annelie was a member of the Operating Board of Flybe and was also the Company Secretary for the Flybe Group companies, the Audit Committee, Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee. Annelie was the first in-house lawyer at Flybe and the first female member of the Operating Board. Annelie set up a legal team at Flybe and advised on a wide range of corporate, commercial and corporate governance matters.
Prior to this position, Annelie was a partner in two large regional law firms. In these roles, Annelie advised private companies, listed companies, public sector bodies, partnerships, LLPs and start-up businesses on a wide range of company, corporate, commercial and contractual matters.
Annelie has particular experience in advising on shareholder and investment agreements, the sale and purchase of companies and assets, drafting of partnership, joint venture and LLP agreements, drafting terms and conditions for commercial arrangements and advising on supply agreements for the sale and purchase of goods.
Annelie has worked with businesses in a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, care, technology, aviation, travel, leisure, hospitality, care and energy and renewables.
Elizabeth Comley is an experienced solicitor with a wide-ranging commercial background and broad expertise within the business sector.
Elizabeth qualified in 2007 and moved straight into working on the Corporate Team for a FTSE 10 Energy Company, BG Group. Elizabeth gained broad experience providing both routine and high-level advice across all the group functions on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters.
Elizabeth was appointed Lead Counsel in 2010 and was the lead-lawyer on various large projects including acquisitions, disposals, re-structuring and debt finance. Elizabeth also became Manager of the Indirect Contracts & Procurement Legal Team, managing a busy team of lawyers in relation to a wide range of commercial contracts.
In 2015, Elizabeth moved to working for Slater & Gordon as Senior In-House Counsel, where she assisted the senior management team and group functions with a wide range of post-acquisition integration issues including general commercial, corporate finance and company law work.
Why I like working with SMEs
“Working within a business gives you the best understanding of the role a lawyer plays in achieving a desired commercial outcome – I am experienced in that dynamic and genuinely enthusiastic about making clear, affordable and good quality legal advice accessible to smaller businesses. My aim is to apply my sound business and legal knowledge to benefit and add real value to SMEs.”
Hannah Ives is an experienced corporate and commercial lawyer who has worked in both private practice and in house. In private practice she has worked on public and private company transactions including company reorganisations, share and asset sales, refinancing, public offers and take privates.
More recently, Hannah was Head of Legal at Nord Anglia Education where she was responsible for the group’s legal activities both in the UK and overseas and worked on acquisitions, disposals, refinancing, restructuring, investments and also day to day matters such as tenders, commercial contracts and company secretarial matters.
Hannah is an English qualified solicitor but also has wide ranging experience of cross border transactions and has worked on legal matters in China, Russia, the UAE and various European jurisdictions. She has hands on experience of preparing businesses for sale from a legal perspective helping to achieve the best value for a business sale.
Jeff McGeachie has been qualified for over 20 years and has spent most of that time working in large international law firms based in London. He is a company commercial solicitor and specialises in helping entrepreneurs develop and sell their businesses, also advising on commercial contracts.
He has a particular interest in the technology and leisure sectors in particular e-commerce and digital media. Jeff is currently involved in corporate work for sports businesses, direct media and PR clients and the launch of a new financial trading platform.
Representative Merger and Acquisition transactions include: the acquisition of Crystal Palace FC by Simon Jordan; the acquisitions of Navico and GeoAcoustics by Kongsberg AB; the sale of recruitment consultant Newman Personnel; the sale of Lancaster Office Cleaning Company; and a MBI in relation to SM Contracts Limited.
His work in the ecommerce sphere includes: the launch and sale of the personal email company; the launch of digital identity management concern Midentity; and the launch and subsequent sale (to the ECB) of the website Play-cricket.com.
Yasaman (Yassi) has over four years of experience advising and assisting clients with complex legal issues mainly relating to mental health and criminal laws. She can also advise on a wide range of property law matters including registered or unregistered land and commercial leases.
In particular, Yassi assists with the following type of queries:
- Whether or not a tenancy is covered by Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
- Contracting out procedure for commercial leases
- Termination and renewal of tenancies by way of service of statutory notices
- Landlord’s ground of opposition to the renewal of a protected lease
- Availability of compensation to tenants on termination of its lease
- Drafting and amending repair clause in a lease
- Key features of a repair clause and an insurance clause
- Landlord’s remedies where a tenant breaches its obligations under a lease
- Analysing and advising upon the term and break clauses, covenant to pay rent, service charge alteration provisions, use (or user) provisions and the need for and key provisions in, a licence to alter and a licence to change use
- Rent review and alienation
Yassi is an ADR Accredited Civil & Commercial Mediator. She has a good working knowledge of duties and responsibilities of directors as she is a non-executive director and council member at the British Parachute Association Ltd.
Belinda Naiken-Payne qualified as a Barrister in England and Wales in 2002, and as a Barrister in Mauritius in 2004. She has worked in and advised a number of businesses in the UK and Mauritius.
Belinda combines specialist knowledge of commercial law with substantial practical experience of concluding commercial transactions in the UK and across EMEA and AMER. She has also provided training on a range of legal issues in Mauritius and in the UK. She has extensive experience of advising on Commercial Law, Employment Law and International trade, covering a range of industries including software, facilities management, rail infrastructure, gaming, online betting, the hotel and hospitality industry, as well as the ICAC, the Mauritius equivalent of the UK's Serious Fraud Office.
Hannah Newell has practiced in commercial and corporate law and she has worked both in private practice and more recently in house.
Hannah takes a proactive and diligent approach and her ‘can-do’ attitude is a great asset to small businesses and start-ups. Her advice is clear, methodical and pragmatic and she takes great pleasure in problem-solving. Her approach is client-focussed and commercially aware.
In practice she has specialised in the negotiation and drafting of commercial contracts, company asset and share sales and Dispute Resolution, both civil and commercial.
Hannah has recently worked in house for a business consultancy company dealing with all company secretarial matters and commercial contracts including distribution and licence agreements and a large amount of cross-jurisdictional work. She has also assisted in the international expansion of the business and dealt with the franchising of business products to individuals overseas. This has included the drafting of translation contracts and sponsorship agreements. Hannah also has experience of negotiating confidentiality agreements with high profile individuals speaking at company events.
Following her academic legal training (2001-2003) and prior to qualifying as a solicitor, she worked in the Lloyds and London Insurance market.
Amy qualified as a solicitor in 2005. She has always worked in house and after qualifying went in to Banking and Finance working for JPMorgan Chase Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Mizuho Corporate Bank. She also worked in commercial law for a time for some large commercial companies and gained a wide range of experience negotiating and drafting commercial contracts including NDAs, Service Agreements and Software Licences.
In her own words…
“I enjoy helping small businesses as having set up one myself and being in the process of setting up another it's invaluable to get help from people you get on well with and don't charge the earth. Helping someone with their small business feels much more of an achievement than helping a large corporation as you know you are making someone's dream/idea into a reality. People have been amazing in helping me with mine, and I want to be able to help others with the skills I have that are of use to them.”
Louise Paull is an experienced employment lawyer providing clients with commercial, practical advice on a full range of employment-related matters.
She advises on contentious and non-contentious matters working with employers on the legal issues arising in relation to the recruitment, day-to-day employment and dismissal of staff, including drafting contracts of employment, staff handbooks and policies, cultural and family-friendly issues, equal opportunities, diversity and discrimination matters, sensitive issues around the termination of employment, including disciplinary, conduct and capability issues, negotiating severance packages and settlement agreements, collective and individual redundancies, unfair dismissal, breach of contract, business transfers and TUPE issues.
Louise most recently worked for Berwin Leighton Paisner in its employment team. She spent time on secondment with IMG, a major international sport and artist management business, as its sole in-house employment lawyer, and has worked for BT in its in-house legal team.
Diane Pearce is a qualified Solicitor with over 16 years’ experience in advising businesses ranging from small owner managed businesses to large companies. She is passionate about business and uses her insight to provide comprehensive and commercial advice to find business-focused solutions.
She advises on a broad range of commercial issues including the drafting of commercial and IT contracts, general business advice, service and supply contracts, terms and conditions, business protection, intellectual property strategy, software agreements, shareholder/director disputes and employment issues.
Her work encompasses drafting and advisory work, to litigating in the Courts and undertaking Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). As an experienced litigation lawyer, Diane uses her key skills to find commercial solutions from the outset to avoid the incursion of unnecessary client costs. She also regularly undertakes her own advocacy.
Clive Rich is a highly experienced entertainment and digital media lawyer, who has also successfully run digital businesses for companies such as Sony and Bertelsmann.
A qualified barrister, he has been a lawyer for almost 30 years and has drafted and crafted contracts for a broad spectrum of multi-nationals, major organisations and brands, including Yahoo, Apple, Napster, SanDisk, Myspace and the BBC.
He has also previously run his own legal practice, Rich Futures Ltd in association with the Top 30 UK law firm, Olswang LLP, representing a variety of technology companies and SMEs.
Keith Richards has been qualified as a barrister for over 30 years and as an accredited mediator since 2009. He is currently involved in regulatory work in a variety of markets including aviation, rail, construction, renewable energy, the professions and business ethics, advising businesses on compliance with consumer law and with a wide variety of regulatory requirements. Keith has extensive experience of the leisure industry with particular focus on travel, transport, and hospitality. His specialist expertise covers a range of areas, including disability and equality rights and sustainability.
As a Mediator, Arbitrator and Adjudicator his involvement in dispute resolution stretches back over 25 years. He served as a Senior Lawyer at Which? where he was involved in the early development of UK and EU policy on ADR, and helped the Government to reform the UK civil justice rules to put ADR at the heart of the process. He also worked with the European Commission to develop the practical operation of a European wide extra-judicial network for cross-border disputes. And during his time as Director of Consumer Affairs and Professional Development at ABTA – The Travel Association, he oversaw the development of the most successful consumer arbitration scheme in the UK and scrutinised the outcomes of many thousands of mediated and arbitrated travel disputes.
He has many year’s experience providing legal advice to both corporates and consumers, and has amassed a large portfolio of casework as a mediator, adjudicator, conciliator and arbitrator in commercial and consumer disputes in a variety of complex sectors. This combination of experience as an ADR practitioner and of being in the forefront of developing ADR policy means that Keith understands the crucial role ADR plays in delivering redress by way of a quick, balanced, efficient and cost-effective process and leaves the parties feeling confident that the outcome is fair.
His personal dispute resolution style has been described as ‘balanced, practical and thoughtful’ and his key experience is in successfully resolving conflict in emotionally-charged and often seemingly intractable cases ranging across banking, construction, health, communications, funeral services, transport and housing disputes.
He is also one of 22 Ombudsman Services Business to Business Preferred Mediators.
Simrit has over 12 years’ experience working in the area of commercial property. She has worked in-house, in private practice and also in the public sector. Through this she has gained experience of working with many different types of clients and can easily adapt to the specific needs of each person or company she deals with.
Simrit has experience of working on a wide variety of property matters including freehold and leasehold transactions. She has conducted her own caseload in relation to negotiating, drafting and completing commercial leases of various types of property, Surrenders, Licences, Assignments, Agricultural Tenancies, Leases of open space areas and community facilities; negotiating and completing utility easements and wayleave agreements; asset acquisitions including conducting all necessary searches and title investigations prior to purchase; asset disposal including auction sales and dealing with the preparation of the legal documentation.
In her own words…
“I like working with SMEs because I come from a family that has always run various businesses over the years. I also run a small business myself. I therefore know first-hand how much it means to put your ideas into practice. I like to help people in this process using my knowledge and skill base to turn their ideas and dreams into a reality. I find this very rewarding. I also enjoy fostering constructive and productive working relationships.”
Andrew Smith has 17 years’ experience in banking and finance, corporate and commercial law.
Andrew qualified at Deacons, a top 10 firm in Sydney then worked in the Banking and Finance Unit at Addleshaw Goddard in London from 1997 to 2002 acting for banks on structured property finance deals and large projects. He was appointed partner at Ashfords gaining broad experience in commercial contracts, corporate finance and banking. In 2011 he started an ABS law firm for Prydis, a group of financial advisors and chartered accountants building a legal team to deal with a broad range of business and private client work.
Since 2012 Andrew has worked in the SME market in the West Country. His clients are generally owner managed and family businesses.
In Andrew's own words...
“It is vital not to look at a company in isolation but rather as a wealth generation vehicle for owners and families. I keep their interests in mind and try to always see the bigger picture. Helping smaller businesses can be tough as they cannot waste vital cash on professional fees so advisers need to work efficiently and cleverly. However seeing businesses grow and developing relationships with owners is the most satisfying part of being a lawyer.”
Laura Symons is an English qualified solicitor with experience working in both private practice and in-house. She has advised a wide range of businesses, with a particular focus on start-ups and the media and entertainment sector.
Laura specialised as an intellectual property lawyer at London law firm, Harbottle & Lewis LLP. Her work involved advising clients on a broad spectrum of commercial matters, as well as brand protection issues such as copyright, infringement disputes and trade mark registration and opposition.
Laura also spent some time on partial secondment at Microsoft, as well as several months working in-house on secondment at Virgin Atlantic Airways. In these roles, she advised clients on a variety of contractual and commercial matters, including terms and conditions, confidentiality agreements and service and supply contracts.
Since recently relocating to Montreal, Laura has undertaken various legal consultancy work in a freelance capacity, including for SME HeySuccess Limited and fintech start-up Meridex Inc.
Laura has worked with businesses in a wide range of sectors, including theatre, publishing, digital media, sponsorship, travel, technology, aviation, education and sport.
In Laura’s own words...
“My aim to deliver commercially astute legal advice in an easily digestible format, tailored to the budget of the client.”
Gaile Walters has more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer both working for the government and in the private sector. She qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales and worked as a senior lawyer at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), at the cutting edge of regulatory development and compliance at a crucial time in the life of the organisation.
Gaile is an expert in all things food and drink, being a food entrepreneur herself. She successfully runs her own Italian/Jamaican fusion street food enterprise - Mangia876. As a small business owner she understands the nuts and bolts of the sector and the pressures small businesses are under to comply with complex regulation while creating good food. Her expertise lies in providing regulatory 'health checks' and food business related contract reviews. This enables clients to maintain safe business practices while establishing solid business agreements which protect their businesses.
Adam Welsh is an experienced litigator with specialist expertise in complex finance disputes, professional negligence and sport/media.
Adam started his legal career in the City at legacy Charles Russell LLP where he trained, and later qualified into the commercial dispute resolution team. After five happy years at Charles Russell, Adam moved to Addleshaw Goddard LLP in London, later moving to the Addleshaw's office in Manchester. Adam has experience acting for a variety of clients (from high net worth individuals to FTSE 100 businesses) on a wide range of commercial disputes, with specialist expertise in financial services and professional negligence.
Adam is passionate about start-up businesses and regularly advises fast growth businesses on legal and commercial matters. Adam has advised start-ups and SME clients in a variety of sectors including fashion, fintech, sport, education and social enterprise.
In Adam's own words:
"Working with start-ups and SME clients, you really can make a significant difference to their businesses. Cost effective, commercial advice is so important to smaller businesses and I really enjoy working closely with founders and business owners. Helping client's overcome obstacles and seeing them succeed is without doubt the most rewarding part of being a lawyer. I love it."