FoodFinder South West
Westcountry's food and drink sector gets specialist law team

Westcountry's food and drink sector gets specialist law team

A new team of specialist lawyers is being set up to service the legal needs of the Westcountry's food and drink industry.

Regional firm Stephens Scown has taken the step of creating the sector-specific group to improve the level of service for clients by sharing knowledge, connections and experience across its three offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell.

The team will be headed up by Associate Simon Gawler (pictured centre with food and drink team) and will give legal advice on a range of business and personal matters. This includes setting up business structures, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, as well as dealing with commercial contracts, disputes, debt recovery, employment law, immigration, insolvency, property and planning.

There are more than 3,000 food and drink companies based in the South West employing over 37,000 people, contributing a combined turnover of around £5 billion annually. The sector has an increasingly important role in the regional economy, responsible for six per cent of the UK's total food and drink exports.

Stephens Scown's food and drink team has worked with leading producers and established brands in the Westcountry including St Austell Brewery, Doble Foods, Ocean Fish, Kelly's of Bodmin, Westaway Sausages, Piper's Farm, The Well Hung Meat Company, Skinners Brewery, Pebblebed Vineyards, Frobishers and Warrens Bakery.

Commenting on the launch of the new team, Simon Gawler said: "For us it's about providing the very best service we can. I believe that we offer something different. We take the time to get to know our clients without them having to pay for the privilege and we understand the issues they face. It means that we can pool our knowledge and experience and be more proactive coming up with ways to help.

"There's no passing around our clients - we look after them. There's one single point of contact who will pull in the right expertise when needed - this is all done behind the scenes, so the client gets a quick response from the person they know and trust," he said.

Simon added: "Food and drink is big business in the Westcountry and the industry's producers have a hugely important role to play in the regional economy, with a diverse range of needs. Our focus on this sector compliments our strong credentials in the rural marketplace, where many farmers and landowners have diversified into becoming producers, as well as tourism so it's a natural fit for the firm."

Stephens Scown has 30 partners and 230 staff and is one of the largest law firms in Devon and Cornwall.

Bill Clarke from Cornish Farm Dairy, added: "Over the last few years we've been determined to develop our quality and professionalism while investing in growth. Stephens Scown have been valuable advisers and it's reassuring to know that good advice is only ever a phone call away."

Adam Luck from St Austell Brewery, said: "Stephens Scown has always delivered the goods. Their specialist, no nonsense approach has enabled us to seal deals quickly and efficiently, time after time."

For more information about the food and drink team, contact Simon Gawler on 01392 210700 or email foodanddrink@stephens-scown.co.uk