Bates Wells Braithwaite

Bates Wells Braithwaite is a full-service commercial City law firm working with a wide range of clients, large and small, across a variety of sectors.

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Bates Wells Braithwaite is a full-service commercial City law firm working with a wide range of clients, large and small, across a variety of sectors — from established businesses, charities and social enterprises to innovative start-ups and high-profile individuals.

We stand out as a law firm — combining practical, commercial legal expertise with the deep understanding of the third sector that comes from working with more charities and social enterprises than any other UK firm. We are not only recognised as the leading charity law firm in the UK; we are also ranked in the major UK legal directories for our excellence across many of our specialist practice areas.

The firm has grown consistently over the years both organically and through lateral hires. In particular, our corporate and commercial team has expanded significantly over the last few years and we still have the largest team of charity and social enterprise lawyers.

With some 234 staff and 33 partners, we are large enough to provide a complete range of commercial legal services yet small enough to be able to provide a personal service to every client. We are rated by Chambers UK as one of the best law firms in the UK for our client service, which we take extremely seriously.

Our charity and social enterprise team works with more charities than any other law firm in the country, with clients ranging from household-name charities to innovative start-ups and from international networks to local community groups. As part of our commitment to our clients, we also spearhead legal reforms that affect the whole charitable sector, including: the rewriting of guidance on political campaigning; the negotiation of sustainable development as a charitable purpose; and the right for most charities to buy trustee indemnity insurance for their trustees. Click here for more information on charity.

BWB has combined its expertise in social finance, company start-up, financial services and corporate finance to establish a dedicated crowdfunding service. Our crowdfunding service provides advice to promoters and investors in a variety of ‘direct finance platforms’ that allow consumers to invest, lend and provide finance to individuals and enterprises over the internet. We use the umbrella term ‘crowdfunding’ to include crowdinvesting, crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. Click here for more information on crowdfunding.

BWB’s public benefit specialisation is particularly engaged, in combination with our expert sector knowledge, in all areas of education. Our education practice has developed rapidly in recent years through our implementation of education policy linked to the promotion of public service reform. This includes: the creation of academies; the establishment of free schools; the reorganisation and development of higher and further education institutions as service-providing charitable enterprises, maximising commercial opportunity; inter- and cross-sector collaborations, consortia and franchising; joint ventures and shared services; and the engagement of educational institutions with social enterprise and the promotion of public benefit social value. Click here for more information on education.

As the leading charity, social enterprise and not-for-profit firm in the country, we have been privileged to act for some of the best-known environmental organisations and campaigners in the UK for many years. Our environment practice includes not only work with leading charities and environmental organisations, but working with businesses and organisations that are addressing their environmental impact as a business-critical issue. Our clients in the charity, social enterprise, local government, business and finance sectors are developing exciting new business models and exploiting new technologies to address some of the biggest issues of our time. We are also working with a significant number of individuals to create community-owned renewable energy schemes. Click here for more information on environment.

Equity capital markets
London remains one of the world’s pre-eminent markets for raising capital for companies due to the flexible regulatory framework and sophisticated investor community. As the global downturn finally eases, we look forward to an increase in activity as the movement from fixed income to equity continues. We advise on the full range of equity capital market (ECM) transactions, including: listings on AIM, the Official List, the High Growth Segment (of the Main Market) and ISDX; secondary issues; structuring capital market transactions; takeovers (whether by way of public takeover offer, scheme of arrangement or reverse takeover); mergers, acquisitions and disposals for listed companies; and corporate governance and regulatory compliance. Click here for more information on ECM.

Faith-based organisations
BWB has a wealth of experience of advising faith-based organisations from across the spectrum of different faiths. We also advise and work with inter-faith and umbrella organisations in the sector. We have a genuine interest in and commitment to the faith-based sector. Pooling the expertise of employment, charity, property, immigration and dispute resolution lawyers, we have brought together a multidisciplinary team to meet the demands of this sector most effectively. Click here for more information on faith-based organisations.

Film and television
Our team of specialist lawyers advises a wide range of clients on the whole range of film and television legal matters, including film financing, music, sponsorship and advertising. In film, we have a particular strength in alternative funding and financing models and coming up with innovative solutions for our clients. In TV, we are increasingly advising on television formats and the development of TV projects. You will find our enthusiasm refreshing as well as our ability to assess issues from a film and programme maker’s point of view. Click here for more information on film and television.

Health and social care
We provide a comprehensive legal service to clients in the health and social care sectors and are recognised for our expertise by both the leading legal directories, Chambers UK and The Legal 500. The health and social care markets are complex and throw up a variety of challenging legal issues for providers of all types and sizes. We offer practical, commercial and strategic advice across the spectrum of providers, always aiming to provide effective solutions to help protect our clients and their interests. Click here for more information on health and social care.

Legacies and probate disputes
BWB’s legacies and probate disputes team is made up of experienced lawyers from a range of disciplines, including charity and social enterprise, dispute resolution, corporate and property. The team specialises in advising a wide range of international, national and local charities, as well as private individuals, on legacies and associated disputes. We have a wealth of experience to draw on, meaning quick and competitively priced advice for our clients. Click here for more information on legacies and probate disputes.

Membership organisations and trade associations
With our multidisciplinary team, we have particular expertise in advising membership organisations, including trade associations. Our solicitors provide trade associations with practical, enterprising and commercial advice across a wide range of legal disciplines based on a detailed understanding of the sector. Our clients cover a wide spectrum of commercial and non-commercial activity from large businesses and regulatory bodies to not-for-profit organisations, charities and other social enterprises ranging from national concerns to local, owner-managed businesses. Click here for more information on membership organisations and trade associations.

Public and regulatory
Our strong and long-standing reputation in this area of law is recognised by both Chambers UK and The Legal 500directories, which rank us as leaders in public and regulatory law. BWB’s public and regulatory law team provides practical and strategic advice and representation for its clients. We have extensive experience in a wide variety of public and regulatory law cases, acting for both regulators, charities/not-for-profit and private-sector organisations and individuals. Our experience on both sides of the fence makes us uniquely placed to offer effective advice to all our clients. Click here for more information on public and regulatory.

Public services and mutuals
‘Spinning out’ from the public sector, whether from the NHS, local government or central government, is a process on which we have been advising for many years. Setting up a social enterprise or mutual to run public services is often described as a challenging, difficult step to take, but some routes are easier than others. Our aim is to give clear, definitive advice that solves problems rather than creates them. We have worked closely with government in this area having been consulted by the Department of Health and the Mutualisation Taskforce (and are currently mentors on the Cabinet Office Mutual Pathfinder programme). We have pioneered innovative approaches in this area including the Community Interest Company. Click here for more information on public services and mutuals.

Social enterprise
BWB has been at the heart of the social enterprise sector for more than 20 years. From working with the Fairtrade Foundation in the early 1990s to advising the Social Stock Exchange in 2011, we have advised many of the sector’s most innovative organisations. We initiated the concept of the Community Interest Company (CIC), a new legal form for social enterprise. We helped government develop the idea, worked on the legislation and drafted the model constitutions for the CIC Regulator. Our team’s involvement in the sector goes wider than legal expertise: team members lecture widely, provide specialist training, campaign for the sector and contribute to books and publications. Many of us have extensive personal involvement as trustees and directors of charities and social enterprises. Click here for more information on social enterprise.

Social finance
BWB has been at the forefront of the social investment market for more than two decades. We represented the Bishop of Oxford in the 1991 case that established the ability of charities to engage in socially responsible investment. In 2002, we advised on the establishment of Charity Bank and later on CAF-Venturesome. Today, we remain at the cutting edge, advising Big Society Capital and other clients on leading social investment transactions and innovations. A social investment is an investment made for a financial and a social return: a way of investing money while creating positive value for society. In a UK context, it is more often than not an investment into a civil society organisation. It is a growing area of investment activity and will form an increasingly important source of income for charities and social enterprises in the years to come. Click here for more information on social finance.

The sports team offers a co-ordinated and streamlined service to ensure that the best possible advice is given to a broad mix of clients. We are recommended as a leading practice in The Legal 500 and Chambers UK legal directories and are delighted to have been selected as part of the Legal Panel Framework for National Governing Bodies. We are innovators in the sector and initiated the CASC, which has significantly reduced the tax burden for amateur clubs. Above all, we are sensitive to what motivates and drives people in the world of sport, so we can ensure that our advice focuses on the current issues you are facing, while always bearing in mind any long-term ramifications. Click here for more information on sports.

The ever-changing and fast-paced technology sector requires lawyers who have an in-depth understanding of the challenges and needs of the sector. We have worked with clients from a wide array of backgrounds and always approach technology law issues from a commercial and practical perspective. Technology is one of the fastest growing of our specialist sectors. This specialisation is rooted in the experience and interest of our team, which has worked on the full range of transactions and mandates that technology clients are likely to encounter. Our technology team participates actively in numerous technology-orientated business groups and are members of Intellect and the Society for Computers and Law. Click here for more information on technology.

Theatre and arts
Our experienced theatre and arts team is ranked as a first-tier firm by both The Legal 500 and Chambers UK legal directories. We advise across the whole arts industry, providing practical, effective advice to our varied clients. A number of our team are board members of leading arts organisations, which enables us to bring a unique perspective to our legal work with the sector. Our engagement with the whole arts sector also includes a range of other activities and we are regularly called on to provide comment and articles, as well as lecturing and leading workshops, seminars and training. Click here for more information on theatre and arts.


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