Katie Willems

Principal Associate - Corporate

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"I am a corporate lawyer advising on business sales and acquisitions, with a special interest in assisting clients with franchised businesses.”

I have been part of the team at Higgs for over 10 years, having completed by training contract at the firm 2015.

I have considerable experience advising on all manner of corporate transactions, including share and business acquisitions and disposals, investments and MBOs, focussing on the sale and purchase of owner-managed businesses. I pride myself on working closely with my clients to deliver their deal efficiently and with a commercial approach.

I have a particular expertise in advising clients with franchised businesses and I am a key part of the firm’s Franchising Team.

I regularly work with franchisees from a number of prominent franchise networks in the UK, and we are a preferred supplier to many of these. This franchise re-sale expertise spans a number of different sectors, including quick service restaurants, property management and retail. These transactions include the purchase of franchised businesses from franchisors, franchisee to franchisee re-sales and the sale of franchised businesses back to the franchisor/closures, and I also act on the sale and acquisition of whole franchise networks.

Corporate transactions involving franchised businesses can be very different from non-franchised business sales, as each franchise network typically has its own process and documentation. I am able to guide franchisees through the process with the benefit of my franchising-specific experience.

I also advise on all aspects of company law for private limited companies.

Higgs LLP is an affiliate member of the British Franchising Association and am recognised as Rising Star by the Legal 500.


  • Advising on corporate transactions involving McDonald’s franchised restaurants since 2015.
  • Lead adviser on the sale of the Chozen Noodle franchise network, an Asian-inspired quick service restaurant chain with c.30 locations in the UK, in 2023.
  • Key part of the corporate deal team advising the sellers of Alwayse Engineering, a supplier and manufacturer of ball transfer units and an owner-managed family business, on their sale to Lifco in 2023.
  • Led the corporate deal team advising a large multinational on its acquisition of an owner-managed consumer servicing and maintenance business in 2023.
  • Led the corporate deal team advising Babcock Wanson, a major international provider of heating solutions, on its purchase of owner-managed Steam Plant Engineering in 2021.

More about me

Childhood career goal

To be like Ally McBeal (that show inspired a generation of lawyers!)

Most used app


Favourite food


Favourite book

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

"Katie Willems dealt with our business sale and I couldn’t recommend her enough. Was so helpful every step of the way and no question was too much. No objections to having to constantly ‘layman’ term everything for us"

Review Solicitors

“an absolute pleasure to deal with and certainly dealt with everything with due diligence and expediency”

Franchise owners

Meet the team