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Focus on the restructuring and insolvency team at Clarke Willmott

Our dedicated teams work hard to look after clients, whatever their legal needs. Our broad expertise across the firm means that anyone of our lawyers has access to a network of experts who can be recommended to ensure you are receiving the best holistic legal care at the right time.

In this series, we’re showcasing the individuals who make up our talented team. We’re speaking with our legal experts to learn more about their areas of expertise, what they enjoy most about their work, and how they work together to provide exceptional legal care to our clients.

Clarke Willmott’s insolvency team have a presence in a Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Southampton, but serve all of our offices and is made up of 10 specialist insolvency experts with a combined experience of over 100 years.

We spoke to National Head of Restructuring and Insolvency, Martin Askew, and Partner Ken MacLennan to find out more about their Restructuring and Insolvency team at Clarke Willmott and to learn more about the work they do to support clients.

Tell us about the restructuring and insolvency team at Clarke Willmott

The team is a standalone insolvency practice that deals with the contentious and non-contentious aspects of restructuring and insolvency law, supporting and acting for directors, insolvency office holders and all other stakeholders in a distressed or insolvent entity.

We provide specialist services and advice to a varied client base, whilst a significant proportion of our work does involve a formal insolvency of an entity in financial distress, our offering/expertise is not limited to insolvent or distressed entities.

The team advises does advise distressed and/or insolvent entities, but it also advises boards, (proposed) insolvency officeholders and other stakeholders affected by the insolvency of another or concerned about the solvency of an entity or business upon which they depend or with whom they deal or contract. Directors, shareholders, creditors, landlords, debtors, SPV partners, investors, employees, lenders, suppliers, customers and/or buyers from insolvent entities can all expect an excellent service provided by genuinely specialist experts in their field.

In addition, we also provide restructuring advice and for our existing client working with our corporate and commercial teams offering advice on transactional risks and mitigative steps that can be taken to avoid those risks.

We can help struggling companies and individuals get the right advice when it is critically needed or advise other parties on how best to improve their position/mitigate risk in relation to the possible insolvency of another party or simply ensure they are protected from another party’s insolvency at a later date.

We have a wealth of contentious and non-contentious insolvency experience having successfully run and defended numerous claims and completed many transactions.

Part of our job is to identify risks and structure things in a way that makes our clients resistant to challenges at a later date

– Martin

Our clients describe us as being creative and innovative lawyers with in-depth knowledge and technical expertise. In 2020, Chambers reported that a client had described Martin as being “very creative, able to find every conceivable angle and dedicated to putting forward good and sometimes unique arguments”. More recently, Legal 500 2024 included a client’s comment “Martin Askew is probably one of the best solicitors I have ever worked with. His knowledge is unsurpassable”

For the 2024 editions, clients confirmed “Ken continues to provide an excellent, commercially minded and high-quality service offering in both contentious and non-contentious insolvency and restructuring services” (Legal 500 2024) and “Ken is “…very detailed and forensic. His instructions are highly detailed, thought through ad well laid out” (Chambers, 2024)

Why should a potential client choose your team?

Experience is paramount in the sector and our team possesses an abundance of it. Martin has worked in insolvency for over 30 years and Ken also contributes over 15 years of experience to our team. Partners Maz, Ruth and Steph Slinn also have a combined 50+ years of experience.

Our specialist insolvency team was established by Martin in 2001. Many members of the team have been trained by Martin himself and/or have been specialist restructuring and insolvency solicitors for the entirety of their qualified careers, resulting in the team boasting a level of expertise in the field that is second to none.

We are a highly experienced department; we are genuine specialists and the vast majority of the department have qualified into insolvency and done nothing but

– Martin

It can often be challenging for clients to find insolvency lawyers who can offer the best possible support and advice. This is because many law firms assign commercial litigators to insolvency claims or corporate solicitors to insolvency deals, but they may not always have the specific expertise needed. This is where our approach is different.

In many instances, contentious insolvency will be run by commercial litigators and non-contentious assignments by corporate lawyers; however, our team is much more specialised than that and works exclusively in the insolvency arena

– Martin

We are specialists in what we do and we do not dabble in other areas; neither will our colleagues. We will build an advisory team around the client’s specific requirements, and provide bespoke and commercial solutions that will achieve the client’s aims whilst minimising their risk

– Ken

Our team look at problems differently and that is because of our depth of understanding and knowledge of both the Insolvency Act, the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016 and relevant caselaw.

We appreciate that many do not like having to deal with legal problems, in particular formal court proceedings, and that the financial distress of an entity, like a ripple in a pond, can have far-reaching and negative effects on numerous connected parties, their businesses and livelihoods and their interests. It is also very stressful for all stakeholders and other parties who deal with a distressed or insolvent entity. We are sympathetic, understanding and commercial in our approach, all backed up by many years of specific cross-sector experience.

How do you work with other teams to support clients?

Most clients are not concerned with the internal structures of a law firm; they just need to know they are getting the best possible advice. Restructuring and insolvency affects many parties, which is why we so often call upon the expertise of other parts of the firm.

If you work with our Restructuring and Insolvency team, you may also require extra legal assistance. Our commercial property, construction, corporate and commercial, debt recovery, employment, intellectual property, litigation and property litigation teams work closely with the restructuring and insolvency team and can provide the necessary support to your business. You can always expect to receive unparalleled support and expertise, regardless of the team of lawyers you work with

How can clients get in touch with Clarke Willmott?

If you would like to find out more about how our Restructuring and Insolvency team can support you, please contact one of our lawyers directly, call us on 0800 652 8205 or request a consultation.

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Your key contacts

Martin Askew

Partner

Bristol and London
Martin Askew is a partner in Clarke Willmott solicitors’ Bristol Restructuring & Insolvency team specialising in insolvency and off shore trust entities.
View profile for Martin Askew >

Ken MacLennan

Partner

Bristol, Cardiff and Taunton
Ken MacLennan is a partner in Clarke Willmott’s Bristol Insolvency & Restructuring team and has a wide range of experience in corporate restructuring.
View profile for Ken MacLennan >

Meet our Insolvency team

With seven offices throughout England and Wales, Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with a local presence. Click to learn more about our wider team of legal professionals and how they can support you.

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