Martineau at a Glance


  • “The standard of work and profile of clients”
  • Trainees get lots of responsibility early on “Positive work culture”


  • “The level of pay compared to other firms”
  • It’s hard to get the more popular seats
  • No canteen in the office

The Buzz

  • “Solid”
  • “Not much known”

About Martineau

Martineau has deep roots in its hometown of Birmingham. It also plays on the national and international stages; with an office in London and membership in both Multilaw, a worldwide network of law firms, and State Law Resources, a network of firms across North America, the firm's reach extends well beyond the Midlands.

Generations of experience

Martineau boasts nearly two centuries of history, with roots that go back to 1828 when Arthur Ryland first launched his practice in Birmingham. In 1852 Ryland partnered with Thomas Martineau, and in 1874 J.B. Carslake joined the firm, which became known as Ryland, Martineau & Carslake. Current partner Hugh Carslake is a descendent of J.B. Carslake; in fact, the firm has housed generations of both the Martineau and Carslake families over the last century. In 1987 Ryland Martineau merged with Johnson & Co, another longstanding Birmingham firm. In 2000, the firm, then known as Martineau Johnson, opened an office in London. In 2008, the firm dropped "Johnson" as part of a rebrand and became known simply as Martineau.

Leaders in education

One of the firm's leading practices is education, and its client roster includes more than 80 universities and colleges across the country. Martineau helped found the University of Birmingham in 1900, and the university remains a client. The firm is active on the conference circuit and has developed a separate website dedicated to its education sector clients ( Legal work in this sector spans the firm's specialisations, including property deals and corporate/corporate finance work.

Energy experts

Other strong practices include the corporate group, which focuses particularly on private equity and venture capital. Martineau acts for many of the largest banks in the country. The firm also focuses on energy and climate change as developing areas, and is active across all energy sectors from nuclear through electricity and sewage to wind power. Martineau is a founder member of the Legal Sector Alliance and even has its own climate change website ( One niche area that unites two of the firm's key strengths, private equity and environmental law, is its work for clean-tech companies. Martineau frequently advises these companies on equity and debt financing in connection with investments in environmental infrastructure projects. For example, the firm advised on investments involving Closed Loop London (operating the UK's first plant to recycle PET plastics into material for food packaging).

Recent News

Next stop: Brussels

In October 2011, Martineau announced the launch of a Brussels office after teaming up with German law firm Becker Büttner Held (BBH) in a strategic collaboration. BBH provides legal and consulting services to companies in the energy and infrastructure sectors, and recently set up its own office in Brussels. The office will be staffed by Senior Partner Andrew Whitehead, who currently heads up Martineau's energy practice, and will be joined by two more partners: Peter Manford, who leads the firm's commerce group, and James Dilley, who leads the competition and procurement team.

Who loves the sun

Martineau's expertise in both the investment and renewable energy markets came into play when the firm took on a series of solar power projects for Octopus Investments, a City-based fund manager. As of July 2011, Martineau had advised Octopus on 10 separate solar photovoltaic (PV) projects across the country. The projects, for which the individual investments range from £2 million to £15 million, will have a combined capacity of approximately 50MW and represent one of the largest private equity investment schemes in UK solar sector..

Handle with care

In April 2011, Martineau advised Prism Medical UK on its £0.8 million acquisition of Movement 2, a Leicester-based provider of home care patient moving and handling equipment, servicing and repair. Prism Medical UK is the British arm of Prism Medical, a Canadian-based company that provides specialist equipment for the safe moving, handling and bathing of the mobility disadvantaged within their homes, long-term care or acute-care environments.

Power surge

In October 2010, utility services company South Staffordshire acquired Omega Red from the private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital. Omega Red is a specialist in the design, installation and maintenance of electrical earthing and lightning protection systems. Martineau advised South Staffordshire, which provides services to UK water and sewage utilities and local authorities.

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No 1 Colmore Square
Birmingham B4 6AA
Phone: +44 (0)870 763 2000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing partner: William Barker
  • Total No. Attorneys 2011: 145

Major Office Locations

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom