The annual report, in its 15th year, recognises the achievements of the leading firms driving change in the legal sector.
Mills & Reeve received a “standout” mention in the response to the coronavirus pandemic category for its Life Questions app. Available free to NHS workers, Life Questions allows users to put their affairs in order quickly and efficiently in case they became sick during the pandemic. After answering a series of questions, they are directed to an advice page that gives a simple, plain English summary of their legal position. The user can then seek further legal advice via the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners website or can download basic documentation including a Will, a guardianship appointment or a Lasting Power of Attorney.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Chris Belcher a partner in our Private Wealth team, had a conversation with his wife, a GP working in a coronavirus hotspot. The discussion made him realise there was no easy, or free, way for front-line workers to put documentation in place to protect themselves if they became ill. Since the app was created in April in just eight days it has been downloaded over 2,000 times.
Justin Ripman, Mills & Reeve senior partner, said: “Chris’s quick thinking and leadership is a great example of our drive for agility. The success of the app has made us feel, in a very small way, part of the collective response to the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Mills & Reeve was also highly commended for its work with long-standing client Urban&Civic, on the grant of planning permission for a former Ministry of Defence base. The development in Waterbeach, just outside Cambridge, is being transformed into a new community with 6,500 new homes, a primary and secondary school and parks.
A project of this scale has by its nature long-term objectives and the legal team needed to ensure that the Section 106 agreement, a legal agreement between the developer and local authority, did not impede delivery of Urban&Civic’s long term vision for the new community.
Peter Seaborn, partner at Mills & Reeve, said: “Urban&Civic has a very clear goal in transforming this old military barracks into a new and thriving community. It was vital that we approached the negotiations innovatively to create a set of principles and protocols which can be applied in a future context.”