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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 > London > Dispute resolution > Professional discipline > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Professional discipline
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Bevan Brittan LLP recently acted for several professional regulatory bodies across a range of sectors, including the Bar Standards Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, as well as the Architects Registration Board (ARB), Insolvency Practitioners Association and The Financial Reporting Council. Highlights include acting for the ARB in the prosecution of disciplinary proceedings involving registered architects, including a sole practitioner architect who did not hold current professional indemnity insurance in respect of his practice and who, during the course of enquires, gave an untrue account of his insurance position. The group is led by Birmingham-based Adam Kendall and Virginia Cooper in London; Cooper regularly advises clients on powers, jurisdiction and minimising the prospects of challenge, as well as advising them during judicial review challenges. Other notable advisers are senior associates Johanna Davies in Bristol and London's Amy Tschobotko and associate Genevieve Bushell. Davies handles complex SRA investigations and prosecutions, including Financial Stability cases involving major law firm collapses and high-profile cases concerning the involvement of solicitors in high-yield investment fraud schemes. Former consultant Rosemary Rollason left to found her own practice.

Blake Morgan LLP is best known for acting for regulators, particularly in the fields of healthcare, legal, education, accountancy, engineering, architecture and surveying. Eastleigh-based Bradley Albuery heads the regulatory practice group and has over 15 years' experience in professional disciplinary work; Albuery led advice to a healthcare regulator investigating a case in which a registrant was charged and acquitted of gross negligence manslaughter; this was believed to be the first time in this regulator's history that it had to consider the fitness to practise of a registrant whose alleged omissions were said to have contributed to the death of a patient. The practice also acted for Social Care Wales in investigating and presenting a case against a social worker, which included allegations of historical sexual abuse and failing to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with clients. Nick Leale is the London professional regulatory head; Leale 'delivers extensive knowledge in a thoughtful, measured manner that non-legal people can understand - he also fully considers the human factors played out within regulatory frameworks and reflects those considerations when advising those undertaking investigations'. The senior associates to note are Guy Micklewright, whose 'knowledge of case law is second to none and who provides robust representation at disciplinary hearings', along with Antonia Dowgray, Christopher Pataky, James Danks, Cassandra Scarbrough and Antonia Dowgray.

BLM 'retains a core of highly skilled and experienced professional disciplinary lawyers whose abilities are second to none; they are able to call upon a breadth of experience across a range of disciplinary areas, including before the major professional disciplinary bodies such as the GMC and GDC, as well as experience in the criminal courts on behalf of healthcare professionals whose alleged misconduct also amounts to criminal offences'. The practice acts for healthcare clients throughout the UK and Ireland; it recently represented a former medical director at UC24 in a General Medical Council investigation and Medical Practitioners Tribunal hearing into allegations that he failed to action over 150 test results, reports and letters in his practice as a GP and failed adequately to manage his responsibilities as medical director. The key London partners are Rosie Shapiro, whose practice encapsulates clinical negligence claims, professional discipline and regulatory and judicial review and is 'extremely bright and analytical, sees straight to the point, has excellent client handling skills, and gives clear advice'; and recently promoted partner Adam Weston, who 'has a calm, reassuring manner and can defuse what are often stressful situations for his clients'. In Manchester, head of the firm’s professional discipline and regulatory practice group Clare Chapman 'has considerable experience in challenging cases, with a personable style that belies her immense talents'; Katie Costello is 'known for her insight and no-nonsense approach and provides strength and depth to the team, having successfully practised in this field for many years'; and Lisa Jones is 'switched on and gets to grips with a case with ease'. Other recommended advisers include Cardiff-based Jane Lang, who heads the healthcare advice and inquest practice group; while former head of the health and care sector Juliette Mellman-Jones became Medico legal director of the MPI Group.

'Able to handle the most complex and substantial cases', Capsticks LLP is 'a go-to firm for major regulators'. The regulatory division, led by John Witt and Mark Whiting, who is 'a leader in this area', and supported by Daniel Purcell and James Penry-Davey, is highly rated for its professional discipline expertise in the healthcare and legal services markets. Penry-Davey 'has huge experience in the field, excellent judgment and is brilliant with demanding clients'. In a matter involving 37 patients and a number of complex issues, the team recently acted for the General Dental Council in a case against two dentists, which concerned numerous allegations of clinical failings as well as inappropriate claiming of dental activity units in respect of treatment provided to patients. Also highly rated is Nimi Bruce, who 'understands how to get complex cases into a manageable form'; and senior solicitor Anna Holdsworth 'has a great manner with clients and is very calm under pressure'. The associates to note are Kate Steele and Mark Rogers; and with a view to growing the firm's work involving the regulation and professional discipline of police officers, it hired Hugh Giles from the Metropolitan Police Service, where he was director of legal services.

Fieldfisher is 'really excellent in this field; its lawyers' knowledge is outstanding and its advice is practical and delivered on time'. The practice acts for over 40 different regulators across health, sport, surveying, policing, finance and law, as well as higher education institutions that offer courses of study in regulated professions. It recently acted for the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care in a range of statutory appeals it has conducted against decisions of healthcare regulators that it considers to be insufficient for the protection of the public. Manchester-based Sarah Ellson has specialised in professional discipline for over 18 years and 'has unrivalled experience and wisdom'; and London's 'proactive and pragmatic' senior partner Matthew Lohn, whose 'sector knowledge and network are outstanding and who provides real-time legal and strategic advice', chairs the firm's supervisory board'. Alix Rejman is a highly regarded director; senior associate David Northfield 'has excellent business knowledge and experience of the sector' and associate Louise Sivey is 'attentive and provides solid advice and guidance'.

Hempsons' 'excellent team is meticulous in its work and always does its best for clients'. The practice was recently active in all the key healthcare regulatory and disciplinary tribunals, representing the full range of public bodies, defence organisations and their members and private individuals; its representative work includes complex investigations involving the Police, Coroner, NHS Protect, Health and Safety Executive and professional regulators and related civil litigation. The national professional discipline head is Chris Morris, who is 'a top-quality lawyer who has vast experience, excellent strategic acumen and an impressive grasp of the detailed legal aspects of this field'; Manchester-based Katherine Sheldrick , who is the northern team head, 'handles difficult clients with real skill, and is straight talking and knows the law inside out'; and Tania Francis 'commits herself to clients' cases, while her previous professional experience as a doctor gives her particular insight into which points are worth pursuing'. Other recommended advisers are Anne Ball, who leads the crime and regulatory team that advises NHS bodies and healthcare practitioners in relation to criminal law and specific investigations by the Police, Coroner and General Medical Council; and Taiyaba Waheed, who is 'calm and industrious, and able to distill a large amount of material down to the central points that matter'.

Kingsley Napley LLP's 'lawyers are responsive, cases are always investigated to a high standard and they have great and detailed knowledge of relevant legislation and its application in this field'. The regulatory practice uniquely spans the healthcare, finance, education and legal service sectors and its work is complemented by the firm's criminal, dispute resolution and public law departments, with the practice's work covering fitness to practise proceedings for regulators and complex defence advice for regulated individuals. It acted for the Health and Care Professions Council in a case involving a registered sonographer facing complex and technical allegations, which included failures to scan women appropriately. Head of the regulatory team Nicola Hill is 'excellent'; the 'fabulous' Iain Miller is 'incredibly accessible, knowledgeable, thoughtful and pragmatic in his approach'; and Julie Matheson leads the team’s regulatory defence work for financial professionals and firms. Other recommended individuals are Julie Norris and Melinka Berridge and legal counsel Laura Ryan, while the key senior associates are Jenny Higgins, Lucy Williams, Sarah Harris , Shannett Thompson and Hannah Eales.

Penningtons Manches LLP's Nicole Curtis is focused on healthcare and veterinary matters; and Geoffrey Hudson is recommended for matters involving veterinary surgeons but is also well known in the pharmacy sector. In addition, the firm has a long history acting for major healthcare regulators, frequently representing regulators in judicial review claims and statutory appeals. In other areas, the team acted for the Farriers Registration Council  in a highly sensitive appeal to the High Court against a decision of the Disciplinary Committee of the FRC; this followed a high-profile disciplinary case  involving the Queen’s farrier and bullying allegations. It also represented the Solicitors Regulation Authority in prosecuting a solicitor in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for alleged failings in dealing with a large claim against a client. Katrina Wingfield is an experienced consultant and associate Neil Wilks works mainly for statutory regulators, investigating allegations of serious professional misconduct in the veterinary, farriery, human healthcare and legal professions. Former senior associate Hein Le Roux left the firm to emigrate to Canada.

With offices in London, Leeds and Cardiff, RadcliffesLeBrasseur has specialist teams for corporate investigations, healthcare professionals (including doctors and dentists) and solicitors regulation. Alex Leslie  is the head of the healthcare professionals team and his main area of work is advising professionals working in the NHS on regulatory, disciplinary, employment and ethical issues; and Nigel West  is the commercial litigation and solicitors regulation head and advises legal professionals and practices on the disciplinary process surrounding Solicitors Regulation Authority investigations and Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) proceedings and appeals. Other names to note are Susanna Heley, who specialises in regulatory law and professional disciplinary work for solicitors and other legal professionals; Stewart Duffy , whose specialist work involves regulatory and disciplinary matters for doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals; and consultant Linda Lee, who frequently acts in SDT proceedings. 

Bates Wells Braithwaite 'provides excellent response terms and is one of the best in terms of acumen and knowledge'. The multi-disciplinary team covers the  breadth of the professional disciplines, including accountancy and health and social care. It is also retained as the sole legal adviser to The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Compliance Officer, which disciplines MPs for abuses of the expenses system; and it recently acted for the Council of the Inns of Court (COIC), the body that regulates barristers, in an application for an injunction brought by a barrister against COIC, seeking to prevent it from disbarring him from the profession. Former deputy registrar of the General Optical Council, Melanie Carter 'has a superb practice and often acts as a legal assessor for various regulators'; and for over 15 years has sat as a legal assessor for The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Emma Dowden-Teale was promoted to the partnership and a significant proportion of her practice relates to the regulation of professionals in the healthcare and education sectors; consultant John Trotter is a former partner of the firm who acts on behalf of accountancy bodies; and promoted to senior associate in 2017 Claire Whittle, is 'a rising star who is extremely bright, hardworking, thorough and a brilliant drafter'.

Clyde & Co LLP 'provides excellent response times and available partners, and clients are convinced that the quality at partner level is reflected in the team's associates'. The practice's expertise covers a number of sectors, including medical and healthcare, legal, accountancy, property, insurance and financial services.  The team defended a leading agricultural law solicitor (PW) in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), followed by a successful appeal in the Administrative Court, which overturned an SDT order striking PW off the roll. The department heads are Claire Petts, who regularly defends health professionals. including doctors, dentists and opticians, in disciplinary proceedings; and the 'extremely easy to work with and incredibly responsive' Fergal Cathie, who has a particular focus on complex disputes and regulatory investigations involving professionals, particularly in the legal and financial services sectors. Richard Harrison heads the firm’s lawyers’ liability group, Sarah Clover chairs the executive of the firm's UK professional and financial disputes team, and James Roberts heads the firm's accountants' liability and disciplinary group. Sam Holden  is a highly regarded legal director and Tim Crockford and consultant Judith Duffin  were hired from Gowling WLG and BLM, respectively.

CMS is 'an outstanding firm that combines its very considerable expertise with first-rate case preparation and client care skills'. The practice acts on behalf of both the prosecution and defence in professional disciplinary proceedings in relation to doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, surveyors, dispensing opticians and ophthalmologists. On the defence side, the team represented a nurse facing serious allegations concerning clinical care to two patients, including administering medication orally to nil-by-mouth patients, the removal of vital signs monitors and the failure to complete patient documentation appropriately. The professional discipline and regulatory team heads are Sheffield-based Chris Horsefield, who 'has excellent judgment in high-profile cases' and Manchester-based Rachel Cooper, who is 'very knowledgable on the details of a case and indefatigable in pursuing client’s interests'. The 'always calm and focused rising star' Katie Henderson is 'an extremely intelligent, hardworking associate with an exceptional eye for detail and immaculate case preparation'; and Natasha Ricioppo  joined as associate in 2017 from the GMC in-house legal team.

DAC Beachcroft LLP's 'very good team' is able to leverage its in-depth knowledge of the financial , healthcare and local authority sectors when handling professional disciplinary instructions. Manchester-based Christopher Briggs' 'strengths are that he digs into a case and is prepared to work at the coalface when others might try and delegate; he is also meticulous in recording instructions and detailed proofs'. Briggs represents medical practitioners in both civil and regulatory matters. In Bristol, Stephen Hocking is a public and regulatory lawyer specialising in financial services-related professional discipline matters, particularly in the public sector; Dan Preddy is noted for Financial Reporting Council (FRC) cases; London's Richard Highley specialises in representing directors and officers in the accountancy and financial services sectors in relation to high-profile FRC cases; and Clare Hughes-Williams in Newport represents the interests of solicitors facing complex prosecutions brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Eastwoods recently hired consultant Kate Williams from RadcliffesLeBrasseur; she is experienced in preparing defence cases for General Medical Council (GMC) and General Dental Council (GDC) hearings from . The practice has a well-established reputation as a specialist firm for disciplinary defence work, predominantly on behalf of healthcare professionals. It has also expanded its scope to advise professionals in sectors that include sports, police, fiduciaries and corporate executives. The team defended a dentist facing a GDC investigation into multiple clinical failings over a number of years, including failures to diagnose and treat caries, inappropriate prescriptions of antibiotics, failures to refer, and widespread record-keeping inadequacies. Senior partner and team head Simon Eastwood specialises in representing healthcare professionals; he has successfully represented numerous clients facing investigations by regulatory bodies such as the GMC and GDC. Adam Smith represents numerous professionals in regulatory matters, from assistance throughout a regulatory investigation and initial stages, to provision of observations, gathering of evidence and preparation for substantive hearings; and Surjit Dubb acts for professionals in regulatory and disciplinary matters at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, GMC, GDC and NHS Trust Disciplinary matters. Stephen Hooper is an experienced associate.

Acting for leading professional bodies as well as firms and individuals involved in disciplinary proceedings, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is 'excellent for City-related problems and its service is first class overall; the advice is always well thought through and delivery by the team is reliable and seamless'. The practice is well known for its strengths in both public law and financial services disciplinary work and the majority of its work was recently in the financial and accountancy sectors; it acted for a multinational professional services firm in relation to a professional disciplinary investigation being conducted by the executive counsel to the Financial Reporting Council, which involved reporting to the (then) FSA on a multinational investment bank's compliance with the FSA's client asset rules. Andrew Lidbetter heads this practice area and he has experience of prosecuting, defending and advising adjudication committees in disciplinary cases, in addition to revising disciplinary schemes and judicial reviews; Rod Fletcher's clients include senior city executives under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority and also individuals subject to investigation in the police, legal, financial, healthcare and ecclesiastical sectors; and Nusrat Zar'gives calm, clear advice whether on general strategy or specific issues'. Of counsel Jasveer Randhawa  is also highly regarded.

Russell-Cooke LLP is highly rated for its 'breadth of experience and range of understanding of a huge number of different regulators across the whole gamut of professionals'. The practice has considerable experience dealing with disciplinary and regulatory matters and proceedings for a number of regulated professionals and regulatory bodies, including solicitors, barristers, healthcare professionals, architects, accountants and charity trustees. It acted for a solicitor  in disciplinary proceedings brought by the SRA; the allegations involved taking advantage of a vulnerable client, lending money to a client on unfavourable terms, and conflict of interest. Practice head Matthew Bosworth is 'unflappable and a very effective defender'; Peter Cadman is 'a very good choice for any solicitor in difficulty, but also represents accountants, doctors, and sports figures'; senior partner John Gould 'thinks very carefully and provides good leadership'; and Paolo Sidoli is 'a fighter'. On the senior associate side, recently promoted Michael Stacey is 'a person of outstanding ability, dedication and care', Michael Colledge 'impresses', and Andrew Pavlovic is also an experienced adviser.

Weightmans LLP is 'immensely committed to providing the best service available, working above and beyond expectations'. The practice is well known for healthcare-related disciplinary issues; acts for all the medical defence organisations and is highly regarded for complex cases before the General Medical Council and General Dental Council; and regularly advises defence organisations on NHS Performers’ List and Health Service Ombudsman matters. The team also assists with barrister conduct work and is regularly involved in the judicial review of decisions of the Legal Ombudsman, who makes findings against barristers. It acted for the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, a statutory body charged with reviewing decisions of the health and social care regulators, which challenged a decision of the Professional Conduct Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council; the case involved allegations of improper strip searches carried out upon two vulnerable patients while detained in a mental health unit. Liverpool-based Richard Jolly was recently appointed as national head of healthcare advisory; Patrick Gaul is recognised for defending barristers in professional conduct matters before the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court; James Rowley in Manchester is 'incredibly skilled in all areas of medico-legal law and is excellent in difficult and complex cases'; London's Robert Crossingham acts mainly for professional indemnity insurers, although he also advises private and commercial clients in relation to disciplinary and uninsured matters; Simon Turner is 'very able'; and consultant John Mitchell 'has great judgment, is hard working and thinks about the best way of doing a case'. Regularly receiving instructions from major medical defence organisations, Mitchell is recommended for his representation of doctors and dentists. Also highly regarded is solicitor Joanne Harrison, who is 'very much a rising star in medical law and very sharp, confident, articulate and knowledgeable'.

As well as defending private individuals facing professional discipline allegations, the 'first-rate outfit' at Bindmans LLP also acts for members of the public pursuing allegations of poor regulation by regulators. The team acted for the sole equity partner of a London law firm, accused of defrauding the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) by submitting fraudulent invoices and attendance notes, making unjustified claims for interpreters, and charging the LAA fees for casework wrongly carried out by interpreters; the matter also involved the Solicitors Regulation Authority and allegations of breach of principles of the Solicitors Code of Conduct and dishonesty. The 'superstar' John Halford and Shah Qureshi are the team heads. Kate Goold's criminal law practice involves advising clients facing professional discipline investigations that relate to criminal prosecution. Other key names are senior consultant Selman Ansari and associate Peter Daly. Former associate Nick Fry joined the British Medical Association.

Browne Jacobson LLP 'has a very distinguished, and highly capable set of professional discipline practitioners'. The practice is the sole legal provider to the Teaching Regulation Agency; it also regularly advises NHS England on regulatory matters relating to the Performers Lists (PL) and has conducted a number of PL matters that have been before the First Tier or Upper Tribunals. It acted for the National College for Teaching and Leadership in the prosecution of a teacher for making homophobic remarks in front of a number of vulnerable pupils. Nottingham-based Fiona Butler is lead partner for a number of the firm’s professional disciplinary clients; Ros Foster in London has substantial experience in the disciplinary sphere; and barrister Ben Bentley is 'a class act who is wise beyond his years and who has an easy and natural manner in and out of the hearing room that ensures good relationships, while trust is built with defence teams and panels alike'. The associates to note are Louisa Atkin, who is 'an outstanding, balanced lawyer', the 'very experienced and safe pair of hands' Ian Perkins, and Samantha Paxman. Gerard Hanratty joined in Manchester from Capsticks LLP.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is 'uniquely placed to deal with the plethora of issues that arise during cases'. The healthcare team is best known for its work advising pharmacists and pharmacy owners, including fitness to practise proceedings, particularly before the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC); acting at NHS tribunal hearings, administrative law and judicial reviews, and health sector crime; and advising other healthcare professionals on professional discipline matters, including doctors and dentists. The firm also has expertise in acting for sports governing bodies in disciplinary proceedings as well as major cases where the integrity of sport is threatened by corruption, doping or betting; and in 2018, it merged with sports law boutique Couchmans. Recent work included advising a pharmacist who faces fitness to practise proceedings brought against him by the GPhC for allegedly acting dishonestly. Guildford-based healthcare regulatory head Noel Wardle  'provides clear measured advice in his cases and has fantastic knowledge of pharmacy law and practice'; and David Reissner appears regularly as a solicitor advocate at NHS hearings and in fitness to practise proceedings at the GPhC. Also in Guildford, legal director Rachel Warren is 'a fantastic solicitor who provides clear, timely legal and practical advice and is the sort of solicitor every client hopes to get'; and Susan Hunneyball is a highly regarded senior associate. Jonathan Ellis joined Northridge Law.

Murdochs Solicitors 'provides an excellent service in terms of immediate responses and does not disappoint clients'. The practice is experienced in defending solicitors and other legal professionals facing regulatory investigation and disciplinary proceedings. Senior partner Andrew Blatt 'has extensive experience and knowledge of professional conduct matters and clients just know they are in capable and reliable hands and that he will try to get the best possible outcome'. Other highly regarded advisers are Nicholas Trevette and senior consultant Robert Forman.

RPC is 'notable for its experience in complex and challenging cases'. The team stands out for its insurance law expertise and although it occasionally acts for regulators, it predominantly conducts defence work in the firm's key areas of accountancy, healthcare, insolvency practitioners, financial services, and legal services. The practice is co-headed by Dorothy Flower  and the 'excellent' legal director Graham Reid . Amy Gallimore is also recommended. Richard Burger joined DWF.

Baker McKenzie is noted for its focus on the  focus on the financial and legal sectors. Joanna Ludlam's representative experience includes acting for two high-profile law firms in respect of separate Solicitors Regulation Authority regulatory investigations into their professional conduct; and acting for a global investment bank investigating whistleblower allegations relating to suspected bribery, money laundering and fraud being committed in Indonesia and Singapore. Jonathan Peddie is also a key figure.

Bankside Law's managing director John Williams heads up the professional disciplne and regulatory department. The group is best known for its defence of professionals, including health professionals, solicitors and accountants facing criminal and disciplinary proceedings; it is also regularly instructed by regulators in prosecuting disciplinary proceedings involving architects and solicitors, among others. Bill Wilson is an experienced director who is regularly instructed by a range of professionals who find themselves under investigation.

Blackfords LLP 'has a fabulous outfit that has made real strides in this area over the past few years'. The team has a particular strength in acting in matters where professional discipline matters overlap with ongoing or completed criminal investigations. It has a focus on the health and social care sectors as well as considerable expertise in representing serving police and Ministry of Defence police personnel in misconduct proceedings. In other areas, the practice acts for football professionals facing sexual abuse allegations of a historic nature; and represents solicitors in Solicitors Regulation Authority investigations. The team represented the registrant, a registered mental health nurse, in relation to allegations stemming from a fatality that occurred in a mental health unit. The 'first-class' Head of Regulatory Gary Rubin is 'a very talented lawyer who is tenacious and clever'; other key names are Trevor Francis  and Gary Bloxsome, while solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson is 'a smashing lawyer who is calm and assured and brilliant with clients'.

'Unhesitatingly recommended to anyone facing professional conduct proceedings', Brett Wilson LLP is 'knowledgeable, experienced and generally very capable in this area and offers a very personal service to its clients'. The practice is frequently instructed by solicitors and medical and other professionals in relation to Solicitors Regulation Authority investigations, Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal proceedings, General Medical Council and General Dental Council investigations and disciplinary proceedings, taxation disciplinary board investigations and proceedings, and Financial Conduct Authority matters. Nick Brett heads the team and solicitor Alistair Parker is 'an excellent solicitor who is committed, hard-working and knowledgeable and his advice is always considered and realistic'. 

Corker Binning is 'a very strong law firm and a pleasure to deal with'. It is frequently instructed to prosecute and defend regulatory and professional discipline cases brought by the Financial Reporting Council, Financial Conduct Authority and other financial regulators, including the Taxation Disciplinary Board and Takeover Board. Andrew Smith is 'an excellent lawyer, extremely bright and very efficient and practical in dealing with disciplinary and regulatory issues'; criminal defence lawyer Peter Binning is 'exceptional in everything he does'; recently promoted Claire Cross is 'a bright new star'; and Jessica Parker acts for individuals, financial institutions and companies in investigations and proceedings brought by prosecuting bodies.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's Cardiff-based Peter Jones leads the professional discipline practice; Trish D’Souza is a senior associate specialising in fitness to practise and education work; and principal associate Luisa Gibbons acts as legal adviser to the professional conduct panels and induction appeal panels of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). The team acted for the NCTL in a case involving two former headteachers and a deputy headteacher, each facing in excess of 20 core and 40 sub-allegations.

Gordons Partnership LLP has particular experience of acting for doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in fitness to practice investigations by regulatory bodies that arise out of performance, conduct and health allegations; appeals and judicial review proceedings; and NHS Performers List matters, including suspension, removal and conditional inclusion investigations and hearings. The principal advisers are Guildford-based Charles Atkins and Iain Pickering; consultants Rachel Margetts and Richard Creamer joined from BLM and Hill Dickinson LLP, respectively.

Howard Kennedy LLP 'has good industry knowledge and insight in this area, meaning the advice is balanced and appropriate; and the firm provides a high level of partner attention supported by associates who have a firm grasp of detail'. The practice is focused on representing solicitors in investigations launched into their conduct by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; defending barristers against various allegations of misconduct; and defending accountants and other financial service professionals in disciplinary proceedings. Business crime and regulatory head Ian Ryan ('calm, but with a steely side') is experienced in acting both for and against professional regulators. Other key contacts include Joel Leigh and senior associate John Martyn.

Irwin Mitchell 'has a highly competent professional discipline practice within a national firm'; and it has particular strength and interest in financial discipline matters. Sarah Wallace is 'bright, hardworking and a well-regarded professional discipline expert who always tries to get the best results for clients'. The key senior associates are the 'very clever' Tina Lakhani and Emma Windle, who is noted for professional disciplinary practice in the healthcare and legal sectors; and barrister Craig Weston's professional disciplinary practice is focused on the medical profession.

Keoghs LLP hired a professional and financial risks team from Hill Dickinson LLP in late 2017, including Jonathan Anslow, who defends construction professionals in disciplinary proceedings, and legal directors Tony Wilson and Gillian Nevin. The disciplinary team represents veterinary professionals facing charges of serious professional misconduct and it has specialist knowledge of equine-related matters. The healthcare team is experienced in the specialist private medical sector. Former healthcare head Sian Davies left for Plexus Law.

Legal Risk LLP's 'service is excellent in terms of both response times and depth of knowledge'. The practice represents law firms and individual solicitors when they face investigation or disciplinary action from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT). It acted for a law firm and several partners facing disciplinary proceedings in the SDT, which involved allegations of serious breaches of the SRA Accounts Rules. Liverpool-based Frank Maher is 'in a league of his own', Sue Mawdsley is 'excellent' and Francis Dingwall in Oxford is 'very knowledgeable, competent and nuanced'.

Mayer Brown International LLP has particular strengths in relation to solicitors and accountants and the disciplinary inquiries upon which it advises are often conducted in parallel with other regulatory investigations and actual or threatened civil litigation. William Glassey heads the department and has a particular emphasis on defending claims against solicitors, barristers, pensions actuaries and property professionals. Tim Shepherd was promoted to counsel in 2018.

McCormicks' practice includes advising accountants on disciplinary proceedings brought by both the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Peter McCormick OBE is a sports regulatory specialist, who also regularly represents solicitors and firms of solicitors that are the subject of investigations or prosecutions by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; Peter Minnikin has developed a portfolio of disciplinary work including medical practitioners, physiotherapists and work for the agricultural charity; and senior associate Sara Morgan is particularly focused on registered pharmacists.

The 'dedicated, experienced and client-focused' Nottingham-based Richard Nelson LLP 'fights hard for clients but is realistic on outcomes and good client care'. Senior partner Richard Nelson is 'extremely patient and pays great attention to the detail of the case and consistency of the advice he provides'. Nelson  leads a team, which includes Cardiff's Steve Roberts, that specialises in Solicitors Regulation Authority defence work; and managing partner Marie Dancer, who is 'calm, considered yet determined in her approach', heads up a team of lawyers representing healthcare professionals, as well as teachers and accountants, before their regulatory bodies.

'One of the strongest firms in the North West in relation to professional discipline', Stephensons Solicitors LLP is 'first class and the team is friendly, knowledgeable and houses very good lawyers'. Carl Johnson, who was appointed head of the firm’s regulatory department in 2018, has successfully defended cases before professional disciplinary bodies and his client base includes chartered accountants, doctors, dentists and legal professionals; Johnson's 'strengths and qualities are his ability to work on a range of complex cases across many practice areas and his attention to detail is impressive'. Other key members include Sean Joyce, who has developed a niche practise defending professional sportsmen; recently promoted senior associate Alison Marriott, who is 'a first-rate litigator with a clear understanding of a vast array of regulators'; and Laura Hannah, who was made associate and is 'an excellent lawyer with strong knowledge and client care skills'. Former team head Rachel Adamson left for Slater and Gordon.

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