Hewitsons is a heavyweight corporate and commercial practice, which also offers the services of a large private client department.
The firm has grown through its policy of high investment in senior personnel. Hewitsons presently has 44 partners and 120 lawyers in total, delivering services regionally, nationally and internationally. Hewitsons has established a leading reputation in many specialist areas of law, such as company & commercial, intellectual property, commercial litigation, employment, construction, commercial real estate and planning & environment. Its private client department is one of the largest outside London.
Hewitsons does not believe in rigid departmental structures; instead, multi-disciplinary teams of lawyers are brought together as required to act on particular matters and transactions, so maximising the responsiveness to clients' needs, which are frequently industry or sector specific.
Hewitsons acts for a wide range of clients, including businesses at all stages of development from start-ups to listed companies. These businesses are active in a wide range of sectors, covering knowledge- and research-based industries including biotechnology and clean-tech, through property holding, development and construction, to the more traditional manufacturing and agricultural industries. The firm's clients also include banks, insurance companies, educational establishments, local authorities and other statutory bodies.
The firm handles all types of corporate and commercial work, including Stock Exchange listings, capital reorganisations, mergers and acquisitions, management buy-outs, and buy-ins, private equity, corporate finance and employee share schemes. There is continued growth in demand for the firm's intellectual property advice from sectors such as computer software and hardware, biotechnology & pharmaceuticals, globally branded businesses, and multi-media. Hewitsons also has recognised expertise in UK and European competition law. The firm operates a dedicated pensions team provides an additional resource to corporate clients, both in the context of due diligence in mergers and acquisitions and in advising on existing and proposed pension schemes.
The firm's employment team is particularly active, as this specialist area witnesses continuing changes to UK and European legislation. The team handles matters including employment contracts, confidential information, health and safety, the employment implications of business transfers, redundancy and other forms of termination of employment, restructuring, discrimination and industrial action.
The dispute resolution specialists handle the contentious work of the firm's commercial and private clients. It is noted for its success in substantial commercial and contractual disputes, landlord & tenant litigation, and banking litigation, and increasingly on pre-action advice and mediation.
The commercial property department advises on the full range of real estate and construction matters, including property development, portfolio management, land acquisition and disposal, funding and joint ventures. The department has a national reputation for its planning & environment work. A dedicated team advises on the development potential of land and the impact of planning restrictions, contaminated land liabilities and waste management issues, as well as preparing & submitting planning applications and advocacy on appeals.
The firm is also noted for its agricultural practice, which represents landowners, farmers, farming companies and landed estates, handling land management, acquisitions and disposals, agricultural and farm business tenancies and licenses, development options and environmental liabilities. The private client department advises clients including private individuals, private and public charities and also independent schools and hospitals on matters such as regulatory affairs, tax planning, wills, trusts and probate.
Membership of Law Exchange International has enabled Hewitsons to assist its clients in their international dealings; the firm frequently works with other member firms in cross-border advice and transactions which may require a mix of the areas of expertise descibed above.