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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 Midlands > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the East Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the East Midlands
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the East Midlands clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


The ‘very capable’ team at Freeths LLP ‘has a very commercial outlook’ and handles a varied caseload that spans shareholder and partnership disputes; breaches of director’s duties; commercial contract disputes, including procurement challenges; property litigation; and professional negligence claims. It also handles claims related to restrictive covenants and has particular strength in the construction, financial services and insurance sectors, the last of which recently saw an increase in instructions. ‘Very practical’ practice head Mukesh Patel ‘is very good with clients’ and leads an expanded team following the recruitment of director Emma Anderson  from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. Simon Baigent  and 'very thorough' associate Richard Fitzmaurice are also recommended. The client list consists of a mix of local, regional and national clients including Mazars and Campbell Soup.

‘A market leader in Leicester’, Gateley Plc’s practice is adept at handling domestic and cross-border commercial disputes and professional negligence claims and acts for a varied list of clients that ranges from multinational corporations and major UK-based public and private companies to family-owned businesses and individuals. The transport and logistics, media and financial services sectors are key areas of focus for the practice, which is headed by Chris Greenwell, who is viewed as 'a doyen in the East Midlands market'. Also recommended are newly promoted legal director Claire Herbert, who ‘handles difficult situations with care’ and ‘has an excellent manner with clients’, and Gail Whyte.

Hewitsons' wide-ranging disputes expertise covers professional negligence claims, trusts and charity proceedings, company, shareholder and partnership disputes, and insolvency litigation. Real estate, agriculture, technology, financial services and plant and equipment hire are all key sectors for the practice, which is headed by Dominic Hopkins, whose track record includes numerous instructions involving cross-border elements. In a recent example of the group’s ability to assist with international matters, the team represented a defendant in a commercial court claim related to the commercial property sector, involving two non-British European jurisdictions.

Howes Percival LLP has a strong focus on the automotive and food and drink sectors, but also also acts for clients in the manufacturing, minerals and mining, transport, waste and retail sectors. Key figures include practice head Geraint Davies, who has notable strength in property litigation, and Satnam Chayra, who handles shareholder, director and partnership disputes, in addition to property litigation. Welcome Break Group, HM Revenue & Customs, Molins and Getronics Services (UK) are all clients.

Spearing Waite LLP excels not only in High Court and County Court litigation, but also in alternative dispute resolution methods, including arbitration and mediation. The team's wide-ranging expertise covers corporate disputes, including warranty claims arising from corporate transactions; unfair prejudice claims under section 994 of the Companies Act; partnership disputes;  contractual disputes in relation to supply chains and restrictive covenant breaches; and financial mis-selling and professional negligence claims against accountancy, legal and architectural firms. The ‘very approachable’ Jonathan Wheeler heads the practice, which includes newly promoted partner Phillippa O’Neill and Piet van Gelder. Van Gelder recently acted for Universal Piling and Construction in a final account claim regarding piling and civil engineering works at Ilkeston Station, successfully bringing enforcement proceedings against Galliford Try to obtain payment for part of the works. Other clients include Completely Independent Distribution and Casepak.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP fields a ‘very good’ team that provides ‘a fantastic service’. Professional negligence litigation and contentious trusts and probate work are key areas of activity for the practice, as is the education sector, where it acts for clients in contractual disputes, judicial review proceedings, discrimination and defamation claims as well as in regard to data protection claims. IT and intellectual property expert Martin Noble leads the team, which includes  ‘clever, calm and very well-organised’ legacy and trust specialist Andrew Wilkinson, ‘whose considerable experience allows him to tackle even the most complex disputes with ease’ and who stands out for his ‘excellent client-handling skills and maturity beyond his years’. Recent work includes acting for Willow Automotive and Van Extras in trade mark and passing off proceedings in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in relation to a spray-on polymer coating, which involved brand splitting issues in addition to the permissible use of a sign for descriptive purposes. The practice also acts for Crick-Smith (a new client), Darlington Building Society, Cambridge Weight Plan and Bostik.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited fields a wide-ranging practice and has a strong track record in assisting with complex high-value High Court litigation. The Derby-based Cathryn Selby heads the team whose main practitioner in Leicester is Jon Roberts who distinguishes himself from his competitors through his extensive advocacy experience. Roberts’ specialisms include commercial contract litigation, professional negligence claims, partnership disputes and civil fraud. Expertise in trusts, probate and property litigation comes from associate Lewis Addison.

The ‘excellent’ team at Wilkin Chapman LLP provides ‘very good service’ and is ‘equally at home in the High Court as in the County Court’. The team collaborates closely with other departments in the firm, particularly the agriculture and estates, commercial property, corporate and commercial and tax, trusts and probate departments.  Andrew Holt heads the practice, which includes the ‘robust and straightforward, yet personable’ Jonathan Stork, who is ‘highly efficient and gets to the nub of the issue’. Holt specialises in judicial review, noise nuisance, breach of contract and financial services litigation as well as in professional negligence claims, while Stork has particular expertise in defamation claims, misuse of personal information, breaches of confidentiality and data protection laws and human rights. Recently promoted partner Joshua Briggs is also recommended. Clients include The National Farmers Union, Branston, T W Logistics and Lamex Foods.

Chattertons handles partnership disputes, construction claims and professional negligence litigation, with a focus on instructions from the agricultural, leisure and education sectors. The practice is headed by David Rogerson, a mediator and specialist in professional negligence claims, and includes Robert Clark, Patrick Cordingley and Ben Ellis. The firm is mainly present in Lincolnshire where it has multiple offices, but also has a wider East Midlands presence. Recent work includes representing an individual in a dispute with a former business partner, acting for the trustees of a discretionary will trust in a dispute with the only living beneficiaries, and acted for construction contractors in a claim for breach of collateral warranties.

Langleys Solicitors LLP acts for commercial and private clients and demonstrates particular strength in contentious trusts and probate work; shareholder, partner and director disputes; and professional negligence claims and construction disputes. Practice head Graeme Stenson has niche expertise in relation to noise nuisance and the granting of planning permissions for wind turbines. He also handles intellectual property disputes and judicial review matters.

Wilson Browne is experienced in shareholder and contractual disputes, professional negligence claims and property litigation. Insolvency-related matters are another area of strength. Traditionally serving a client base from the Northamptonshire and Leicestershire markets, the team has broadened its geographical scope and now assists a national clientele, especially with regard to property disputes. Professional negligence specialist John Gordon took on the role of practice head of the commercial litigation team following former practice head Kevin Rogers' appointment as head of the firm’s overall commercial offering. Recent highlights include acting for in a case concerning vehicle sales and property disputes, and defending a technology sector client against a significant minority shareholder protection claim involving an international component. In an illustration of the practice's logistics sector credentials, the group acted for United Pallet Networks in relation to contractual liabilities disputes. Speedpac is also a client.

Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Browne Jacobson LLP's 'outstanding practice' is praised for its ‘very pragmatic, conscientious and tactically smart’ advice and ‘ultra-responsive and very commercial’ service. The ‘first-rate’ group handles high-value litigation, both at a domestic and international level, for clients from a diverse range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, financial services and IT and utilities. Practice head and ‘highly experienced litigator’ Dominic Offord  acted alongside London-based practitioners Nick Pontt  and Derek Bambury  for the trustee of the consolidated SIPA liquidation of Bernard Madoff in relation to a High Court claim and international investigation aimed at several individuals and entities connected with two funds which channeled large amounts of money into BLMIS, the key vehicle in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme, seeking equitable and statutory relief through claims in dishonest assistance and under the Insolvency Act 1986. Noted for his ‘superb client and team management skills’, Jonathan Tardif  ‘brings a sharp legal mind to bear on complex issues whilst maintaining an unflappable, affable and charming demeanour’. Tardif recently put his ‘forensic eye for detail and passion for service delivery’ to use for a leading luxury fashion retailer in its defence against a claim brought by SAP in relation to alleged under-licensing of SAP software dating back to 2011. Vision Express, Staffline and Hiscox are also clients.

The ‘strong’ team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a focus on the diversified industrials, utilities and energy and sports and media sectors. Practice head Steve Dunseath specialises in industrials-related litigation ranging from the engineering and aerospace to the automotive and chemicals sectors. Recently promoted legal director Louise Howarth, who is known for her ‘tactically sound advice’, is in charge of the utility and energy sectors, where the group handles statutory challenges, civil claims in the High Court and large-scale regulatory investigations. The practice recently acted for Pendragon in a civil fraud claim against a former employee in relation to a £2.5m theft which saw the team not only obtain a worldwide freezing injunction and a restraining order against the defendant, but also successfully recover a large proportion of the stolen funds. Other clients include Johnson Controls, Severn Trent Water and Ecclesiastical Insurance Office.

Flint Bishop LLP ‘combines a robust commercial approach with excellent client-handling skills’. The ‘well-respected’ team ‘punches well above its weight’ and acts for a heavyweight client base that includes government agencies and other public-sector bodies as well as large public and private companies, both domestic and international. The ‘hugely charismatic’ Qamer Ghafoor is ‘a very good negotiator and litigator’ and has ‘a strong tactical sense’. Other key players include senior partner Andrew Cochrane, Nick Wells and Lorna Truman. In a recent highlight demonstrating the firm's ability to leverage its personal injury strength, the team defended Haven Insurance Company against a claim brought by a firm of solicitors for payment of costs following a settlement of personal injury claims between Haven Insurance Company and a claimant without provisions for legal costs, involving issues of equity, and the legal basis of the insurance industry’s portal scheme and pre-action protocols, which has reached the Supreme Court. The group also represented the Food Standards Agency in multiple High Court and County Court claims for recovery of sums in excess of £1m.

Geldards LLP is noted for its automotive sector strength, and the team is growing its IT, healthcare and agricultural litigation credentials. Jonathan Butler defended Vision Express against misrepresentation allegations made by former joint venture partners and also acted in counterclaims aimed at enforcing personal guarantees. In an illustration of the firm's construction litigation capabilities, Paul Hackney led the representation of a school in regard to claims against multiple parties based on the defective construction of roofs and monitoring and evaluation systems.  Nino Simone, whose key specialisms include shareholder disputes and contentious intellectual property work, heads the practice. Other clients include PSA Peugeot Citroen, Great Plains UK and Pendragon. Consultant Stephen Woolley retired.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s ‘excellent’ team has notable expertise in construction, debt recovery, insolvency, professional negligence, IT and intellectual property and commercial property disputes, leveraging the firm's wider practices in these areas where necessary. Headed by Cathryn Selby, the group is especially well placed to handle professional negligence and construction claims, though Selby also has a strong track record in handling disputes concerning commercial contracts, financial services, insurance and unfair prejudice. The ‘extremely pragmatic and efficient’ Simon Trees is noted for his specialism in insolvency-related work and commercial property.  Chris Adams is also noted.

‘Phenomenal in every respect’, Freeths LLP has ‘a strong and respected presence in the East Midlands’, fielding a ‘close-knit team’ that impresses with its ‘outstanding depth of knowledge’. The group is ‘very well-regarded in insolvency matters’, but also excels in instructions pertaining to breach of contract, professional negligence and breach of trust, as well as complex tax schemes and commercial fraud in a domestic or cross-jurisdictional context. The practice is led by Graham Greenfield, who has ‘vast depth of experience and knowledge’, Jonathan Jefferies and the ‘outstanding’ Guy Berwick, and includes ‘conscientious’ associate Jade Flint, who ‘is a safe pair of hands’. Greenfield and Flint represented two defendants in connection with proceedings brought by Towergate Financial concerning the sale of shares to the claimant. Other mandates included acting for Bio Dynamic in potential claims against Veolia Environmental in relation to the delivery of incorrectly categorized waste to one of Bio Dynamic’s anaerobic digestion plants, causing the plant to be closed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, leading to substantial loss of profit. The Administrators of Central Nottinghamshire Clinical Services, The Way Ahead Group and Bell & Chennells are additional clients.

The ‘impressive’ team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP delivers ‘clear and practical advice’ and focuses on litigation in sectors including energy, education and banking and finance. Particular strengths include equine law and litigation arising either from the theft of confidential or commercially sensitive data or from the setting up of competing companies. ‘Standout lawyer’ and associate partner Tim Speed, who recently moved from the Birmingham to the Nottingham office, represented West Bromwich Commercial in its long-running dispute with a guarantor regarding the non-payment of liabilities and allegations of misrepresentation. Legal director Steven Skiba took the lead acting for two defendants in a disputed share purchase agreement, a matter involving new law regarding cashflow insolvency, which eventually settled before the end of the trial. Martin Noble  in Leicester heads the East Midlands dispute resolution team. Professional negligence expert and legal director Kendal Litherland is also recommended. Michelle O’Brien left the firm.

Noted for its ‘very good response and service levels’, Smith Partnership has particular strength in property litigation and litigation regarding breweries, both specialisms of practice head and mediator Russell Davies, who attracts praised for his ‘experience, honesty and understanding of situations from a legal and personal perspective’. Professional negligence, debt recovery, transport and contentious trust and probate are additional areas of strength.

Actons' ‘responsive’ department provides ‘good commercial knowledge’ and handles a broad spread of commercial litigation for a clientele that includes international companies as well as SMEs and individuals. Newly promoted partner Caroline Bowler  specialises in equine law, professional negligence and property disputes, while practice head Victoria Dunstall  focuses on insolvency-related litigation. Key support comes from associates Rosalind Keen, Annabel Whittaker and Daniel Harley, whose arrival from Fraser Brown has bolstered the firm’s property litigation offering. Recent highlights include representing an individual in a claim against a veterinary surgeon in relation to a pre-purchase examination carried out on a show-jumping pony, and acting for two individuals in the negotiation of settlement agreements and an employment tribunal claim connected to their exits from a business.

The ‘flexible and knowledgeable’ team at Fraser Brown is noted for its ‘excellent service’ and ‘exceptional attention to detail’. In addition to the group’s strength in property litigation, the team also handles construction, insolvency and debt recovery disputes. Senior associate Lloyd Smith joined from Teacher Stern LLP, bringing expertise in boardroom and shareholder disputes, fraud and disputes arising from corporate transactions and commercial contracts. Smith ‘goes the extra mile, thinks outside the box’ and ‘brings to the table a corporate yet approachable approach’. His recent caseload includes representing two defendants in a claim arisen from an abortive business venture to acquire, develop and sell property, involving allegations of fraud and issues in relation to profit sharing. Don Peel heads the practice. Daniel Harley joined Actons.

Debt recovery

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Debt recovery clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Flint Bishop LLP specialises in advising large national brands on the management of volume B2B recoveries. The team stands out through its single-solution recovery option, assisting not only with outsourced credit collections, but also offering a legal recovery service, including representation in related disputes. Clients include several high-profile names such as Yell, Contract Natural Gas and LexisNexis. UK Mail has instructed the team to act as sole debt recovery partner. Chief executive Qamer Ghafoor and Nick Wells are the main contacts.

Shoosmiths LLP ‘is in the top tier for debt recovery’ and ‘combines volume capability with the breadth of technical capability of a full-service law firm’. The team acts for banks and other lenders, debt purchasers and businesses across the UK, and demonstrates strength across a wide range of debt, including asset finance, consumer and corporate secured and unsecured lending, invoice finance and mortgage shortfall, as well as trade debt. Jim Taylor heads the East Midlands practice and is ‘an excellent and practical lawyer’. Also recommended are Melanie Chell, Stuart Montgomery and ‘super-efficient’ associate Louise Kitchen, who ‘regularly delivers great commercial outcomes for her clients’. In an illustration of the practice's FCA authorisation for debt recovery and debt administration, the team was appointed to handle live portfolio management and collections work for consumer motor finance company, Oodle Financial Services. Wendy Rainbow joined IPSEA.

Wilkin Chapman LLP’s core areas of expertise are local authority debt recovery, utility debt recovery, commercial debt recovery and credit union debt recovery, but the team also offers specialist strength in bankruptcy and winding up petitions as well as order for sale applications to enforce charging orders. Key figures include practice head Chris Grocock, Mark Taylor and Matthew Dix. The practice acts for several local authorities, including the London Boroughs of Haringey and Bexley, as well as multiple credit unions, including the Transave Credit Union, which the group advised on the recovery of unsecured loans from member across the UK, with a focus on regulatory and compliance issues regarding loan agreements and the development of recovery strategies. Other clients include Maria Mallaband Care Group, Canal & River Trust and Qpark.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited delivers ‘excellent service’ and focuses on providing B2B debt recovery advice to commercial clients nationwide. Associate Simon Key heads the practice, which recently attracted a number of new clients, partly thanks to its specialism in international debt recovery matters. Clients include businesses based outside the UK, English companies doing business abroad, and residential landlords.

Smith Partnership impresses with ‘exceptional service’. The private education and consumer goods sectors are mainstays for the practice, which advises private nurseries and acts alongside banks for their private education clients. The group also handles mandates in the manufacturing, construction, finance, telecommunications and brewing industries. Claire Twells, who ‘interacts exceptionally well with clients’, heads the department, which includes ‘tenacious’ litigation executive Sharon Davies and litigation executive Andrew Hambleton. The team recently assisted the University of Leeds with the recovery of a debt from Genelux, an Indianapolis company, related to an agreement between the university and Genelux to provide staff training for Genelux in the university’s laboratories.

Actons is noted for its expertise in the retail, real estate, architecture, education and professional services sectors. Victoria Dunstall heads the practice, which includes litigation executive Yvonne Thomas. In a typical example of the team’s expertise in the intersection between debt recovery and insolvency law, the pair recently acted for a litigator in recovering a £35,000 debt due to the company in liquidation. Another stand-out instruction saw both practitioners assist a trustee in bankruptcy with obtaining possession of a bankrupt’s jointly owned property, involving third party claims and securing funds under an insurance policy. Clients include FHP, Killarney Homes and L & S Accountancy Services.

Brady Solicitors has a clear focus on the recovery of service charge and ground rent arrears and acts for an impressive list of clients from the real estate sector such as BNS and Atlantis Estates, as well as new clients Westbury Residential and Savills. Jonathan Watts leads the practice, which includes managing director Clare Brady. Recent highlights include a high-value multi-action case involving mortgage fraud and substantial arrears, and a mediation case for Sterling regarding £130,000 of service charge debts from a commercial tenant.

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