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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 > Human resources > Health and safety > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Clyde & Co LLP's 'genuinely excellent' practice is led by 'regulatory genius' Chris Morrison in Manchester and includes Rod Hunt, who acts for clients in the energy, construction and manufacturing sectors; and legal director Mark Brookes. The department also saw substantial expansion in 2017 following the recruitment of multiple lawyers from Slater and Gordon including legal director Helen Simm, and was further bolstered by the recruitment of Jennette Newman and Jonathan Edwards from BLM in 2018. Recent highlights include representing Martin-Baker Aircraft Company in a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution relating to a fatal accident following the failure of a Red Arrows Pilots' ejection seat, acting for Realm Properties as manufacturer in an investigation relating to the death of a child after a queue barrier fell on its head, and acting for SR & RJ Brown in a corporate manslaughter prosecution regarding a fall from a work-at-height project in a working quarry. Airbus, Sports Direct, Axa and Aldi are also clients.

Fiona Gill leads DAC Beachcroft LLP's 'solid and well-regarded group', which excels in criminal investigations for corporate and gross negligence manslaughter, and regulatory offences including fire safety, product safety and environmental breaches. Gill is experienced in regulatory mandates, policy development and inquest issues, while Colin Moore handles investigations. Moore's recent highlights include defending IS Europe and one of its directors in health and safety and gross negligence manslaughter prosecutions following a pedestrian struck by a metal frame falling from a construction site, and acting for a company in an investigation relating to an explosion of a subterranean petrol tank which killed a sub-contractor. The firm's insurer client base includes Aviva, Zurich and Allianz.

DLA Piper's 'market-leading team' leverages its national footprint to advise domestic and international clients including Tata Steel and Airbus Helicopters; the team is representing the latter in a fatal accident inquiry relating to a helicopter crash in which 10 people died. Sheffield-based team head Teresa Hitchcock 'deserves her recognition as the best health and safety lawyer in the UK' with a 'candid, precise and personable approach'; she assisted Keller Group with the development of its global health and safety guide. Other key names include Manchester-based John Gollaglee, who focuses on contentious regulatory issues; legal director Ailish Oxenforth in Sheffield, who handles non-contentious and advisory work; and newly promoted partner Alastair Clough, who is recommended for transactional matters.

DWF's 'excellent' department is 'a go-to team for high-profile and complex cases' with recent mandates including Hilary Ross leading advise to the Motor Sports Association in a Fatal Accident Inquiry relating to the death's of spectators at two motor rallies held in Scotland, and transport specialist Vikki Woodfine advising Wincanton on legal compliance issues including protocol development. Booker Group, Arcadia Group and Marks & Spencer are also clients. Ross and retail, food and hospitality expert Dominic Watkins jointly lead the London group, while Manchester-based Steffan Groch heads the firm's regulatory team and advises companies, directors and managers on HSE prosecutions and handles corporate manslaughter issues.

With 'real strength in depth across the board', Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's 'leading practice' handles national and international health and safety issues with a high-profile corporate client base encompassing Siemens, EDF Energy and Centrica. Kevin Elliott leads the group nationally from Leeds; he recently acted for a national property management company in an investigation related to the death of a member of the public who was hit by falling shopping centre debris during a storm. Clients also single out the 'brilliant' Paul Verrico, who acted for Tarmac Marine in a prosecution for a breach of Maritime Asbestos legislation; David Young, who is 'excellent' and Tim Hill, who advises energy, chemical and manufacturing clients.

'A leading firm in the area', Kennedys 'stands out nationally as simply the best' with 'unrivalled strength in depth and expertise' combining 'exceptional legal knowledge with outstanding practical trial experience'. Key names in the 'brilliant' defence department include Richard Crockford, who is 'wise, tenacious and tactically brilliant'; Daniel McShee, who is 'a superstar with encyclopaedic health and safety knowledge'; and David Wright, who is 'highly commercial and exceedingly clever'. Recent mandates include representing Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation in the public inquiry and criminal investigation relating to the Grenfell Tower fire, acting for B&A Contracts in an investigation into an explosion at Chevron's oil refinery which killed three employees, and defending Harsco Group in a prosecution arising from a fatal incident at Tata Scunthorpe Steel Works.

Osborne Clarke LLP provides 'top-class representation and guidance' and 'outshines some of its competitors with the quality of its advice'. Team head Mary Lawrence is 'hugely experienced' and regularly handles crisis management situations and contentious health and safety issues. Other key individuals include Katie Vickery, who is 'practical, pragmatic and an excellent strategist'; Catherine Wolfenden, who leads the regulatory group; legal director Breige Murphy, who handles personal injury-related matters; and senior associate Jo Forbes, who focuses on the healthcare and retail sectors. The team is also highly regarded for its international health and safety expertise and acting for clients in high-risk sectors including the energy, transport, construction and infrastructure sectors. Example clients include RWE Npower, Barratt Homes, EDF, Wales and West Utilities and SSE.

Kevin Bridges leads the national team at Pinsent Masons LLP, which has 'an outstanding reputation in the health and safety field' and is 'undoubtedly one of the top firms in the space'. Clients praise Bridges as 'a top performer' who is 'analytical, astute and an absolute pleasure to work with'. Scottish team head Laura Cameron and Sean Elson are also names to note; Cameron regularly handles crises and regulatory investigations for corporate clients and Elson recently represented a lift manufacturer in a HSE investigation and coroner's inquest relating to the death of a girl who was trapped in a domestic lift. Other clients include Kier Group, Intu Properties, Morgan Sindall and Capita. Kizzy Augustin joined Russell-Cooke LLP.

BCL Solicitors LLP 'has an excellent reputation for its health and safety work' and 'receives full marks for its client service, professionalism and responsiveness'. The team fields practice leader and 'rare find' Guy Bastable, who focuses on corporate crime, crisis management, director liability and contentious matters and is 'very down to earth and incredibly responsive'; newly promoted partner Richard Reichman, who is 'extremely thorough and appreciates the big picture issues'; and senior associate Tom McNeill, who is 'endlessly reliable'. The team's expertise encompasses corporate manslaughter cases, food safety issues, fire safety work and environmental offences.

Burges Salmon LLP 'stands out for its transport expertise' and is 'easily one of the best for health and safety mandates in the rail sector'; London and South Eastern Railway and FirstGroup are clients. The group is also highly regarded for its construction expertise with recent highlights including acting for a large construction company in a HSE investigation following a road bridge collapse. Ann Metherall heads up the department and is 'an excellent lawyer and safe pair of hands with unmatched experience'; other key individuals include transport team head Chris Jackson, who is a risk specialist; food and agri-business expert Sian Edmunds, and 'extremely able' senior associate Matt Kyle, who 'is shrewd, conscientious and thinks deeply about his cases'.

Jan Burgess and Lukas Rootman co-head the team at CMS, which advises clients ranging from individuals to multinational companies across a variety of sectors including real estate, construction, infrastructure, waste, chemical and oil and gas. Rootman handles contentious and non-contentious health and safety matters on a national and international level including HSE investigations. Olivia Jamison is recommended for environmental liability, regulatory compliance and risk transfer mandates.

At Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, the 'superb' department is 'commercially astute, legally knowledgeable and deeply resourced' with 'exceptionally experienced lawyers who are highly capable negotiators and have the ear of the HSE'. Howard Watson leads the practice; clients praise him as 'a superstar lawyer' who is 'immensely knowledgeable, thorough and a great tactician'. Watson's recent work includes advising Chevron on an investigation following an explosion at one of its refineries which resulted in four fatalities and multiple injuries, acting for BAE Systems in multiple investigations relating to the death of two servicemen following the misfiring of a tank gun, and representing SIG as cladding supplier to Grenfell Tower in the public inquiry and the police and HSE investigations. BP and Perenco are also clients. Rod Fletcher is also a name to note.

Plexus Law's 'strong regulatory law team' is 'first-rate in its client care and technical knowledge' and 'cannot be praised highly enough for the way it treats its clients'. Group head Philip Tracey is 'genuinely brilliant' and handles corporate and gross negligence manslaughter cases. Clients also single out the 'excellent' Damon Burt, who focuses on employer liability and public liability claims and recently represented Tata Steel in a sentencing fine challenge in the Court of Appeal; Anthony Baker, who is 'a fantastic lawyer with exceptional technical skills' and handles prosecutions arising from catastrophic and fatal accidents; and Anthony Bushell, who is 'tactically astute and incredibly professional in everything he does'.

RPC's 'well-established and dedicated department is a first port of call for corporate and insurer clients' and has 'a growing presence in the health and safety arena' thanks to the 'brilliant leadership' of practice co-heads Gavin Reese and Nick McMahon; clients praise Reese as 'clever and tenacious' and single out McMahon as 'highly experienced and easy to work with'. Reese's recent work includes acting for a lift installation company in a HSE and police investigation following the death of an employee who sustained crush injuries and representing United Grab Hire and its director in a HSE prosecution following a fatal accident. McMahon acted for a construction company in an asbestos-related issue and represented a senior hospital manager who was investigated following a patient's suicide. XL Catlin and Faraday are also clients.

Squire Patton Boggs 'always provides an excellent service with second-to-none guidance and outstanding experience' across HSE investigations, compliance work, regulatory issues and transactional mandates. Rob Elvin leads the team from Manchester and focuses on corporate defence work; he recently acted for Suez Recycling and Recovery Tees Valley in an HSE prosecution following an accident at an energy-from-waste facility and represented Ontime Automotive in an investigation relating to a fatal accident. Other key individuals include David Gordon, who focuses on the chemical sector; legal director Gary Lewis, senior associate Robert Biddlecombe and associate Laura Clare.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's 'extremely effective' team has 'first-class response times, clarity of advice and appropriateness of communication' leading to a 'well-deserved reputation in the field'. The group's expertise spans HSE investigations and prosecutions, judicial reviews and compliance issues. Jon Cooper and Stuart Wardlaw jointly lead the national team; clients praise Cooper as an 'outstanding solicitor whose attention to detail and tactical insight are second to none'. Recent mandates include assisting the HSE with the ongoing investigation and prosecutions arising from the fatal Pembroke Oil Refinery explosions, acting for Carlsberg in a HSE investigation following an ammonia gas leak at its brewery, and representing Squibb Group in a HSE prosecution relating to the alleged exposure of employees to asbestos during a school refurbishment. Babcock International Group, Sainsbury's Supermarkets and B&Q are also clients.

At Blackfords LLP, department head Gary Rubin is 'a star from start to finish' with 'excellent tactical skills and unrivalled experience'. Highlights for Rubin include acting for a tram driver in an investigation following a tram crash in Croydon in which seven people died, representing a machine worker in a gross negligence manslaughter investigation following the fatal injuring of another worker, and working with Gary Bloxsome to act for Martinisation and one of its directors in an investigation following a double fatality in which a balcony collapsed killing two and injuring six others. Trevor Francis and consultant Philip Williams are also recommended.

Gowling WLG 'demonstrates a high level of professionalism at all times' and provides 'good advice based on sound knowledge'. The team has notable expertise in the construction, quarrying, aerospace, food, local government and health sectors; clients include Bakkavor Foods, Starbucks, the London Borough of Croyden and Bloor Homes. Team head Andrew Litchfield is 'very thorough and provides pragmatic advice in a balanced way'; his experience includes accident prevention advice, investigations, inquests and litigation. Principal associate Michael Hafen is also recommended.

Jonathan Grimes leads the 'excellent' team at Kingsley Napley LLP, which 'has real expertise defending individuals and directors charged with health and safety offences' and is increasingly acting for corporate clients. Criminal lawyer Grimes receives praise for his 'great attention to detail and extremely savvy approach'; he regularly acts for clients in police and HSE investigations, inquests and in the criminal courts. Melinka Berridge is also a name to note; she is a member of the firm's regulatory team and acts for clients in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Norton Rose Fulbright's practice provides 'an excellent level of knowledge and service' across fatal and major accident investigations, corporate manslaughter prosecutions, corporate governance issues, product liability work and transactional support. Department head Caroline May is 'extremely responsive and able to give practical and relevant advice'; she has substantial experience advising on the corporate response to accidents and occupational health and safety issues. Clients include Energizer Holdings, Reckitt Benckiser and IMI. Other key names include consultant Jacqui O’Keeffe and of counsel Lucy Bruce Jones.

Shoosmiths LLP has 'a very strong team, which punches above its weight' and is 'building on the reputations of its market leading practitioners' - team head Roy Tozer and Charles Arrand; Tozer is 'the king of the health and safety world' and Arrand has 'buckets of experience forged over many years making him one of the country's best regulatory lawyers'. Recent highlights for Tozer include representing a contractor in an investigation following an injury during a tower block refurbishment project and acting for a large retailer in multiple workplace accident investigations. Philip Ryan and Hayley Saunders are also recommended.

Crispin Kenyon is the key name to note in Weightmans LLP's London office while David Lewis leads the national regulatory services team from Leeds. Kenyon recently acted for J Cullen Thermals, an asbestos surveying company in a HSE prosecution alleging a defective survey that had failed to identify asbestos in a building; he is also active in the construction, waste management, printing, transport, care and manufacturing sectors. Further clients include Bibby Distribution, Formation Construction and GLL.

Beale & Company Solicitors LLP 'has a growing presence in the health and safety arena' with 'solid commercial advice and a team that is always approachable'. Key individuals include practice leader Sheena Sood, who is 'tactically astute', and associate Joanna Lewis, who is 'very reliable'. The team is notably experienced in incidents arising out of construction projects; clients include Peter Lind & Company, WYG Group, Ramboll Group, the Building Engineering Services Association and the Association for Consultancy and Engineering.

Bevan Brittan LLP's public sector strength remains prominent with a client list encompassing NHS trusts, local authorities and housing associations. Adam Kendall leads the department and regularly handles prosecutions, prohibition and improvement notices, and HSE and police investigations. The team also includes Stuart Marchant, who primarily focuses on the health and social care sectors, and Simon Lindsay, who also handles matters for healthcare clients and has a particular interest in sharps injuries.

The 'highly impressive' Helen Devery leads the team at BLM following Jennette Newman's departure to Clyde & Co LLP. Leanne Conisbee is the key contact in the firm's London office; she regularly defends companies and individuals in regulatory investigations and prosecutions. The practice also handles compliance and enforcement work and represents clients in inquests. Aviva, Allianz, Fusion and Regis Mutual Management are example clients. Jonathan Edwards also joined Clyde & Co LLP and Victoria Kennedy joined DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Key practitioners in Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's department include team head Craig Baylis and associate director Jeremy Bark. The practice has substantial experience in fire safety and asbestos-related mandates and acts for clients including banks, utility companies, property developers, and leisure industry companies; examples include the National Grid, Marriott Hotels, Whitbread and Bvlgari Hotel. The group also handles inquests, fatal accident cases and enforcement issues.

Stephen Shergold and Malcolm Gunnyeon jointly lead the national team at Dentons; clients praise Shergold as 'one of the best lawyers you will find, with an astute commercial mind'. Other key individuals include Helen Bowdren, who is a 'clever and committed lawyer', and consultant Sam Boileau, who 'has a keen brain and an excellent eye for detail. The group is active in the oil and gas, waste, food, technology and rail sectors and regularly handles the health and safety elements of corporate transactions; Bowdren and Gunnyeon recently advised PwC and the official receiver of Carillion's insolvency on the related health and safety issues, and Bowdren assisted Group One Automotive with the health and safety due diligence related to its acquisition of Beadles Group.

Fieldfisher advises on the full spectrum of health and safety matters including the establishment and maintenance of health and safety systems, criminal investigations and Corporate Manslaughter Act and Health and Safety at Work Act offences. Andrew Sanderson heads up the practice and is noted for his transport and defence sector expertise; other key individuals include travel specialist Rhys Griffiths, Sarah Ellson, who focuses on the health and social care sectors; and Darren Smith, who regularly defends HSE prosecutions. The National Security and Resilience Consortium, All Transport and Logistics and Mediaforce Group are clients.

As 'an excellent niche firm with a good reputation in the field', Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP 'offers a complete service to companies and individuals alike' and 'really puts in the effort to get to know its clients and their business environments'. 'Star practitioner' Michael Appleby leads the group and is 'a real tactical genius' and a 'mastermind against the HSE'; other key individuals include Mark Scoggins, who is 'a true battle-hardened campaigner and fully dedicated to his clients'; and Charlotte Waters, who is a construction specialist and is 'a pleasure to work with'. Clients include Balfour Beatty, OCS, Biffa Waste and Southern Water.

Tuckers Solicitors' 'rounded and experienced' team is 'a strong performer in health and safety law' and regularly acts for the HSE; recent highlights include acting for the HSE in prosecuting a company following a fatal incident in which an individual was hit by a falling window frame and assisting the HSE in a prosecution arising out of an incident relating to a reversing dustcart. Jim Meyer heads up the practice and is 'a stand-out lawyer with vast experience'; clients also praise senior associate Julia Thomas, who is 'on top of her game and is extremely fair in her approach to defendants'.

Boutique firm Turnstone Law is 'quite simply excellent' and 'punches above its weight' thanks to 'an honest and thoughtful approach' from a team of 'very professional and helpful individuals who know exactly what they're doing'. Practice head Simon Joyston-Bechal 'brings a unique and fresh approach to the practice area' and is 'easily able to assimilate information and articulate concise and clear summaries'. His experience encompasses incident investigations, prosecution defence and liability avoidance. The practice also has a team of barristers to draw from with Valerie Charbit being a key name to note.

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  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

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