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Spotlight on BPEs Commercial Property Team Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

In 1888 Eliza Orme became the first woman to achieve a law degree in England at University College London. A little over thirty years later in 1919 the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 was passed, allowing women to enter the legal profession. In 1962 Dame Elizabeth Lane was appointed first female judge in the County Court and the first female High Court Judge in England. Until early 1990 men dominated the legal profession. Now women make up over half of practising solicitors. 

On International Women’s Day 2023, we reflect on the work of women not only in the law but in our own workforce. Women make up 70% of our staff in our commercial property team and today we introduce and celebrate those women in commercial property who have a combined total of over 150 years’ experience in the law:


Antonia Shield is our managing partner who has built her career working with notable brands including Superdry, Golden Tulip Hotels, Pure Gym & Wyevale.

Jo Bewley heads up our commercial property team and specialises in the healthcare sector on acquisitions and disposals of care & nursing homes and GP surgery developments as well as acting for specialist banking teams.

Nicky Corner specialises in property investment for the logistics sector working with companies who have large property portfolios accumulating the £20 million bracket or more.

Senior Associates

Cara Forrest is a Senior Associate in the team and has experience in all aspects of commercial property and deals with a wide variety of property types including retail, office and warehouse space.  She acts for both landlords and tenants in leasehold transactional work, freehold acquisitions and disposals and works with Local Authorities in transactional property work. Additionally, Cara deals with development work and Overage and Option Agreements.

Kate Fountain is a Senior Associate in the team and, although she handles all aspects of commercial property work, she specialises in landlord and tenant work in the office, retail, leisure and logistics sectors.  Kate has recently been instructed to act on behalf of a developer acquiring multiple sites across the UK by way of option agreements and conditional agreements for long leases to develop these sites as crematoriums.  Kate also regularly acts for various occupational retail tenants with their expansion plans across the UK.

Georgiana Applegate is a senior associate in the commercial property team and has recently returned to work following her second maternity leave. Georgie enjoys acting for a variety of long standing clients of the firm on a range of real estate matters. Recent and current projects include purchasing local mixed use premises, completing new leases of industrial units, and assisting landlord clients in their property management matters nationally.

Associates & Solicitors

Natalie Betteridge is an Associate who works with a range of clients across the investment, development and hospitality sectors. Recent work includes the acquisition of a country pub for a very well-known Cotswold duo and selling a large area of land subject to an overage agreement to a developer. In addition to her technical skills, Natalie co-ordinates all of the Property team’s press and social media comms.

Stacey Woolmer is a solicitor in the team and predominantly acts for privately owned property investment companies dealing with multi-let buildings across retail and office sectors. Stacey has recently completed five leasehold transactions of the same shopping complex bringing their ground floor retail occupancy to 100% and their overall unit occupancy to 87%.  

Chartered Legal Executive

Jamie Gay supports the team in all aspects of SDLT and post completion formalities. Her role is varied and covers tasks such as preparing and submitting SDLT forms for freehold and leasehold transactions and submitting registrations to HM Land Registry.

Trainee Solicitor

Olivia Gladstone joined the Commercial Property team for her second seat at the beginning of this month. Olivia said, ‘I am really looking forward to my seat in Commercial Property and having the opportunity to learn from leading women in the profession’.


Paige Skudder joined the team in August 2022 as a paralegal. Paige reflected on her experience in the team stating, ‘I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to join the biggest team in the firm to learn from some of the most knowledgeable women in the field. This experience has put me in great stead to commence my training contract in September 2023’.

Susannah Grove joined the team as a paralegal in June 2022. Susannah stated, ‘the support offered by the women in the Commercial Property team is invaluable in confidence-building, and seeing the confidence and knowledge that other women in the team have has been a great example to me’.


Joanne Harvey has been a secretary in the team for over 20 years and supports the fee earning team in all aspects of file opening, dictation and billing.

Madeline Blake joined the team in September 2022, she said ‘The secretarial team in Commercial Property are amazing, especially the fact that all of us are women; we bring a sense of calmness to the fast-paced nature of transactions happening higher up! We just get things done and help things run more smoothly’.

These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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