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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Anglia > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Norwich > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Norwich
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  4. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Leading individuals (region-wide)

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Clients report ‘excellent service from the entire team’ at Mills & Reeve LLP, which is ‘very on the ball, efficient and knowledgeable – well worth the money’ and ‘every bit as good as some of the best London firms in terms of quality and tenacity’. ‘Clever, insightful and robust’ lead partner Rachel Higgs attracts praise for her ‘robust, no-nonsense views on how to tackle a case; her advice is top quality in comparison not only to regional firms, but also City firms’. Associate and ‘superb counsellor’ Jenny Williams is also recommended. Higgs and Williams are acting for Able UK, NWG UK and their shareholders in a £49m breach of contract claim against a firm of accountants. In another highlight, the team represented independent employment agency Jark in potential breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy and breach of contract claims after regional managers set up a competing enterprise taking the entire workforce and all of their customers to the new business. The team also represented a client in three sets of proceedings against the purchaser of shares in an investment company.

Birketts LLP has ‘a very good offering’ thanks largely to veteran litigators Paul Matthews and Max Roessler, both of whom have excellent reputations in the local area. The experience at partner level is backed up by the team’s strength in depth across litigation and alternative dispute resolution at other levels of seniority. Senior associate Robert Tiffen, who ‘quickly gets to the nub of the issue and is commercial in his outlook’, is highly recommended and clients note that ‘he never sits on the fence but instead provides useful advice’. Matthews defended a claim brought by Capital Insurance Services against client Andrew Wood concerning alleged mis-selling practices and their validity under the terms of an indemnity provided under a sale and purchase agreement. The £2.8m case is awaiting judgment in the Supreme Court. Tiffen recently acted for a high-profile client in a high-value claim concerning the termination of a sponsorship agreement.

The retirement of veteran litigator and former senior partner Andrew Barnes from Howes Percival LLP saw Alison Kirby take over stewardship of the dispute resolution team. The practice, which can on a number of experienced litigators and an accredited mediator, handles complex and high-value matters across the UK and overseas. Kirby is a leading light in insolvency matters and regularly acts for HMRC. She has 20 years’ trial experience including acting in numerous High Court cases. Gordon Simpson, who was promoted from associate to director in 2016, ‘provides excellent service and is very supportive and fair’. The firm’s highlights included acting for a client in the renewable energy sector in a dispute concerning finance arrangements and interest payments on multimillion-pound loan facilities. Simpson also acted for healthcare-sector client in a partnership dispute exceeding £100,000 in value. Other clients include Richardsons Leisure and Anglia Free Range Eggs.

At Leathes Prior, team head Mike Barlow and solicitor Polly Langford form a credible team handling a wide range of high-value commercial matters, particularly in the area of shareholder and partnership disputes. Associate David Richards, who has a particular specialism in contentious construction matters, frequently advises contractors and employers on high-value commercial disputes. Martin Plowman is widely regarded as one of the region’s finest mediators and he is now in charge of the firm’s specialist mediation division, which has a strong track record in local, national and international matters. Barlow and Langford acted for the local entrepreneur behind an indoor trampoline park in a dispute with fellow shareholders who tried to exclude him from the business. Through mediation a settlement was agreed whereby the client sold his shares for £100,000 plus interest. The team also acted for Countrywide Signs Limited in a dispute over the termination of contractual agreements.

Clients of Rogers and Norton are ‘consistently impressed with the commercial awareness’ demonstrated by the team, which is ‘quick to respond and has always added value’. Key figures include partners Phil Kerridge (who is ‘a valuable source of advice and experience’) and Peter Hastings (who is ‘highly valued, especially on complex cases’); and solicitor Elizabeth Gibson (who ‘shows a pragmatic approach to dispute resolution and always works very hard for clients’). Kerridge continues to advise the UK’s largest home improvement company Anglian Windows on a range of litigation and regulatory matters. Hastings successfully brought a breach of contract claim before the Mercantile Court on behalf a global energy company, recovering £1.5m in damages for the client. He also acted for a national leisure company in striking out a claim and application for an injunction to prevent the client from terminating a contract.

At Steeles Law, ‘the service provided and advice given is always good, relevant and comes at a reasonable cost’. Barrister Tom Bailey leads the five-lawyer team; his extensive experience has enabled him to build a credible practice in both civil and commercial litigation. The firm acts for a range of public, private and commercial clients including local authorities and charities and Bailey has a particular specialism in commercial agency claims. Debt recovery specialist Denise Traube often supports Bailey’s commercial litigation practice and they recently represented Savings Advice Limited on cost proceedings following the successful conclusion of litigation against a well-known energy company. Highlights included acting in a breach of contract claim for a leading commercial agent involving the termination of a service contract without notice by a large US-based toy manufacturer and distributor.

Clients recommend Clapham & Collinge Solicitors for ‘the breadth and depth of knowledge in the commercial litigation team’. The firm has four offices across East Anglia but Norwich is the main hub for its dispute resolution practice, led by respected litigator Mark Kermez. Clients also recommend consultant Philip Lumb, who majors on insurance and property litigation but also plays a key role in the wider commercial litigation team. The firm acted in two cases for a client in the foodservice sector involving commercial litigation, employment and personal injury claims. Other highlights included acting in a High Court application on behalf of a client alleged to have misrepresented investments in companies based in the UK and the Cayman Islands. The firm also successfully undertook a complex case regarding unpaid invoices and counterclaims of negligence. Sarah Cattermole left the firm to pursue a career in property management.

The dispute resolution team at Fosters is led by veteran litigator Adrian Newborough and Chris Fielding, who both have extensive experience in High Court and County Court matters. Newborough’s varied caseload included defending a firm of accountants against a claim relating to tax advice given to a client who disposed of land assets, and representing a director and majority shareholder in a dispute against a co-director and minority shareholder that concerned complex equitable claims. Fielding’s highlights included defending a complex breach of contract claim that includes a counterclaim on the basis of misrepresentation and misstatement; acting for a company operating in the oil and gas industry in a claim for non-payment of retention bonus; and representing a group of companies facing a potential claim arising from an associated share purchase dispute.

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