Joint Managing Partner and Head of Corporate and Commercial Law
Penny trained at City of London law firm, Mayer Brown and qualified into the Corporate Group in 1994 where she handled a mixture of Corporate and Commercial work for blue chip companies and household names. From there she went on to head up the UK In-House Legal team for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for e-commerce provider, GE Information Services where her responsibilities included setting up Joint Ventures with local partners throughout the EMEA region and licensing e-commerce solutions.
In 2004 she went back into private practise as a partner at C J Hough LLP, advising of all aspects of Corporate and Commercial work. Penny has spent the last 5 years working as a Consultant Lawyer prior to joining up with Verona Cocks to set up Paddle & Cocks LLP.
Penny advises on all aspects of Corporate & Commercial law including:
- Acquisitions, Disposals and Mergers
- Group Restructuring
- Corporate Finance
- Private Equity
- Shareholders’ and Partnership Agreements
- Company incorporation
- Technology and Media
- Development Agreements
- Supply Agreements
- Terms of Business
- Intellectual Property & Software/App Development & Licensing
Recent work includes advising:
- on the de-merger of a law firm;
- on an asset purchase of the business of the provision of independent ambulances to private patients, private health care providers and the National Health Service
- a Skiwear company on first round private equity funding;
- a national print and distribution company on the implementation of GDPR;
- on the sale of Intellectual Property of a well known design brand in the lighting sector.
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A. E. Verona Cocks
Joint Managing Partner and Head of Commercial Dispute Resolution
Verona qualified in 1998 having done an internship with a law firm in the United States. She practiced in the Midlands for 12 years working for Martineau Johnson LLP, where she was an associate, and culminating with her appointment as the 100th partner and head of Commercial Dispute Resolution and Insolvency, a department she developed from scratch, in the Midlands offices of a now top 45 national firm, Weightmans LLP. Verona then joined Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP, a niche banking and finance firm in Watford and London, where she was a partner for 4 years acting for major city banks and financial institutions. In 2014 Verona joined Coodes LLP to develop and head up its Commercial Dispute Resolution department and for the last 2 years she has been working as a Consultant Lawyer for Setfords and Michelmores, before founding Paddle & Cocks LLP, with Penny Paddle.
Verona has a wealth of experience in commercial dispute resolution and insolvency litigation. She has acted for a range of private sector clients from SMEs to FTSE 100 companies with household names as well as organisations in the public sector. In addition, Verona has represented financial institutions including banks, asset finance houses and subprime lenders. Her expertise includes complex contractual disputes, partnership disputes, banking and finance litigation, fraud, shareholder disputes, injunctive relief and mediation. She advises on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency including undervalue and preference claims, wrongful trading and ROT disputes. She deals with property and agricultural disputes in relation to recovery of land, agricultural banking disputes, and disputed farm tenancies, as well as construction and engineering disputes. In respect of the latter examples include the malfunction of a combined heat and power unit, defective transformers for powering vast complexes and product liability for the supply and fitting of a defective switchboard in an electrical installation.
- partnership, company and contractual disputes, warranty claims
- banking and finance disputes
- shareholders’ actions
- commercial property litigation (including commercial landlord & tenant and agricultural disputes)
- insolvency – administration, liquidation, bankruptcy
- intellectual property disputes
- commercial defamation
- construction and engineering disputes
- enforcement of foreign judgments and cross jurisdictional claims
- Described as “tactically astute” by the Legal 500, 2010 edition
- Verona is a Fellow of R3 Business Recovery Professionals and a former member of the Institute of Directors
- One of four finalists nominated for Commercial Solicitor of the Year 2009 and Commercial Solicitor of the Year 2010 at the Birmingham Law Society Awards
- Shortlisted finalist for Woman in Law in the Woman of their Way Awards 2010
- Referenced in Sealy & Milman’s Annotated Guide to Insolvency
- Reported cases include Fresh ‘N’ Clean (Wales) Ltd v Miah (2006) LTL 3/10/2006(breach of fiduciary duty, dishonest assistance, carousel fraud) and Fresh ‘N’ Clean (Wales) Ltd v Miah  All ER (D) 368 (Apr) carousel fraud, civil procedure, application of CPR Part 14 (judgment on admission)
- Member of the Law Society and Cornwall Law Society
Sarah qualified as a solicitor with Clarke Wilmott in Taunton after many years running her own business. She has specialised in all manner of commercial property transactions acting for individuals and companies in the acquisition, disposal and lease of property including factories, commercial premises, farms and investment portfolios of residential property all over the country.
The types of transactions Sarah can advise on include the grant or taking of commercial leases, acting for the client and/or the lender in commercial refinancing of property including bridging finance and crowd funding arrangements, dealing with licences to alter, rent deposit deeds, consents to assign leases, option and overage agreements and most other non-contentious property matters. She can also advise on leases where there is an option to purchase the freehold and other property investment strategies such as purchasing property to use as HMOs for instance.
Sarah also frequently acts in the sale or acquisition of small businesses such as catteries, children’s day nurseries, beauty salons etc where a share or asset purchase agreement is required in addition to the underlying property transaction.
Recognising that commercial clients have tight diaries to manage, Sarah is happy to speak with and, if appropriate, meet clients outside of the usual business hours to accommodate a smooth transaction.
Outside of her legal life, Sarah spends time with her family, riding and travelling.
Justine Benbough has been a qualified solicitor for over 20 years. She joined Paddle & Cocks as a Consultant in June 2018 having been a Consultant Solicitor since 2012. Prior to that she had worked for Stevens & Bolton LLP for just under 6 years and had been head of litigation at Alywins Solicitors.
Justine undertakes a wide range of property litigation including commercial landlord & tenant disputes, such as LTA 1954 Act advice, renewal of and opposing business tenancies, breach of lease repairing covenants, non-payment of rent, dilapidations and forfeiture. She also deals with residential possession claims, boundary disputes, adverse possession, contentious trusts and co-habitation disputes.
Justine is happy to discuss fixed fee charging arrangements depending on the nature of the dispute.