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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 > Insurance > Personal injury: defendant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Index of tables

  1. Personal injury: defendant
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

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Rising stars

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BLM 'remains a top-tier firm' serving the needs of the insurance industry in the context of catastrophic injury claims. Apart from major insurers, corporate clients as well as public sector entities seek the practice's advice on the full-range of personal injury matters, including accidents at work, motor claims as well as disease, public liability and fatal cases. The London casualty team is headed by Matthew Ford, who has a substantial track record defending complex and large loss claims across a range of industries, namely construction, retail, manufacturing and travel. Leading disease specialist Michelle Penn leads the occupational disease group; while the catastrophic injury team, which handles claims of the utmost severity often including cross-border elements, is under the supervision of Antony French. The team is regularly instructed to advise on spinal cord injuries, amputation cases, high-value chronic pain claims, as well as brain injury cases, for which Claire Collins is noted as a subtle brain damage specialist. High-profile group litigation related to sexual/physical abuse and bullying cases are the key areas of expertise for Michael Pether, who has a strong reputation for claims concerning local authority and institutional liability.

Practice head(s):Michelle Penn; Matthew Ford

Other key lawyers:Claire Collins; Michael Pether; Nick Pargeter; Nigel Lock

Testimonials

'One of the biggest players in the insurance market, handling personal injury claims across the whole range of sectors. They are a leading firm in handling non-recent abuse work for defendants, including public authorities, schools, religious organisations and sports bodies.'

'Great industry experience, professional approach, genuine commitment.'

'They can be guaranteed to provide sound and pragmatic advice which will ensure that their clients achieve the best outcome in what are sensitive and difficult cases.'

'The defendant insurance team at BLM provides not just efficient and tenacious defence of litigation, but also delivers this in a commercially astute and pragmatic way. They have wide knowledge and understanding of the insurance market and an awareness of the need to ensure that reserves are properly assessed and monitored.'

'The team from a claimant perspective is always robust, professional and whilst acting in their insurance client's best interests throughout, are nevertheless understanding of the impact injuries can have.'

'Vanessa Latham is outstanding in dealing with work-related stress claims.'

'James Chambers has a clear view of where a case should go and will always achieve that end for his client.'

'Caroline Craigie has great experience and tenacity. Her unflappability stands her in good stead and she is ably assisted in her work by Nicola Warren.'

'Michael Pether has two decades of experience in claims concerning local authority and institutional liability for sexual and physical abuse. There are few if any solicitors in the defendant insurance arena with more experience.'

'Claire Collins has mastered the balancing act of supervising her team whilst retaining an in-depth knowledge of her files. She provides excellent balanced advice.'

'Andrew Williamson is always on top of his brief and the provider of realistic advice.'

'Antony French is a very commercial operator who weighs up the economic balance of cases very well.'

Key Clients

Allianz Insurance

Aviva

AXA

Chubb

Hiscox

Liberty Mutual Insurance

QBE Insurance

Zurich

MS Amlin

Work highlights

  • Acting for Pro Global in a group action of 31 claims from former pupils of an independent school who alleged they were subjected to excessive corporal punishment, physical and emotional abuse.
  • Acting on behalf of Hiscox & Inter Hannover in a claim regarding an employee that sustained a severe head injury while removing asbestos from a garage roof.
  • Representing Middlesbrough Borough Council at the accountability and reparation public hearing regarding claims arising from allegations of abuse at Stanhope Castle School in the '60s and '80s
  • Acting for Direct Line Group in a claim regarding a road traffic collision in which the claimant alleged he suffered a minor traumatic brain injury.
  • Assisting QBE in contempt proceedings on the basis of dishonesty following a dismissed claim regarding an injury sustained in the workplace on the rail track.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is, according to one client, 'the stand-out personal injury defendant firm' and fields a 'knowledgeable' team of lawyers with wide-ranging expertise across high-value motor and other catastrophic injury claims, complex employers' and public liability cases, international matters, and the full array of disease work. Heavyweight names from the insurance, corporate and public sectors feature prominently in the practice's client list.  David Knapp is noted for his advice offered to public entities; while Tania Sless excels in employers' liability, high-value motor and international claims. Head of strategic litigation Andrew Parker advises on emerging issues in the injury and insurance fields, such as the whiplash reform and discount rate. The motor injury team includes Michelle Traxler, while Adrian Cottam's expertise encompasses catastrophic brain, spinal injury, amputations and chronic pain claims. Tom Walshaw is a key name for public sector work and has longstanding experience in complex liability claims.

Practice head(s):John Goodman; David Knapp; Tom Walshaw; Tania Sless

Other key lawyers:Andrew Parker; Michelle Traxler; Adrian Cottam; Andrew Sheppard; Danielle Singer

Testimonials

'They are all very adept at dealing with all manner of high-value personal injury cases and are very pragmatic, commercial and personable too.'

'They have the breadth of expertise, knowledge and personnel that makes them fitted to deal with cases at all levels, including the most serious and valuable cases.'

'The team has handled some of the leading cases on liability, including occupational stress claims, occupiers and employers' liability. Willing to fight cases on behalf of insurers and their clients.'

'The police team is prepared to roll up its sleeves and get stuck in and is focused on getting the best outcome for the client - the team is extremely supportive of the police service.'

'David Knapp is a really strong defender of the police but does not let this cloud his advice.  He draws on a very strong knowledge and experience of police claims and is robust when necessary.'

'Tom Walshaw has recently handled a hugely important claim, his strategic and technical skills played a large part in a very successful outcome.  He has a good rapport with witnesses and does not step back when the going gets a bit rough.'

'Tania Sless has an amazing grasp of detail, outstanding judgement.'

'Danielle Singer has excellent and sound judgment.'

'Andrew Parker is a fountain of knowledge regarding the industry and legal developments.'

'Michelle Traxler and the team she runs is efficient and effective. The advice given is transparent and realistic.'

Key Clients

Zurich Insurance

Allianz Insurance

Admiral Insurance

NFU Mutual

AXA Insurance

Ministry of Defence

Royal and Sun Alliance

Tokio Marine Kiln

Aspen Insurance UK Ltd

Marks & Spencer plc

Covea Insurance

David Lloyd

Samworth Brothers

MS Amlin

Barbican Insurance

NFU Mutual

Cardiff Council

Ashtead Plant Hire

Travelers

Thames Valley Police

Work highlights

  • Acted for Admiral Insurance in a catastrophic injury claim pleaded at just under £11m.
  • Acted for Admiral Insurance in defending a claim involving injuries sustained to a pedestrian following an assault at the side of the road.
  • Acted for EUI in defending a claim involving a motorcyclist who suffered a brain injury.
  • Acted for the London School of Economics defending a £5m plus claim for stress at work.
  • Successfully defended Bristol City Council against a claim alleging that the council failed to erect safety railings in relation to the death of a cyclist who fell into the docks and drowned while cycling along the harbourside.

DWF 'is one of the market leading defendant firms' for catastrophic injury and large loss, and also fields other specialist teams advise insurers on occupational health and industrial disease, as well as motor traffic accidents and public liability cases. The practice has particular strength in claims involving spinal injury and paralysis, amputation, fatal accidents and severe brain injury. Claire Bowler heads the international claims team and has a proven track record acting for UK and European insurers in claims of the utmost severity, including those with multi-jurisdictional elements. Graham Dickinson leads on catastrophic injury work, while John Lezemore's expertise includes 'invisible illnesses' cases, such as chronic pain claims. Recently promoted partner Rhys Sanchez is active across the full array of severe injury cases, but stands out for his depth of knowledge in complex brain injury cases.

Practice head(s):Steven King; Claire Bowler; Graham Dickinson

Other key lawyers:John Lezemore; Paul Greaves; Rhys Sanchez; Catherine Kober

Testimonials

'The DWF team is fantastic: it takes on important cases, seeking to uncover insurance fraud where there is cogent evidence of it, and runs its cases in an efficient manner.'

'It has a level of knowledge and understanding beyond compare and is known throughout the industry as leaders.'

'One of (if not the) top firms in the defendant insurance market, a vast pool of talent with a sharp commercial mindset, capable of servicing all needs for defendant insurers.'

'Some excellent individuals in personal injury litigation with a breadth of expertise in dealing with claims in all jurisdictions worldwide.'

'Rhys Sanchez leads a very experienced and knowledgeable team which deals with serious and catastrophic work. Rhys and his team are meticulous and have a fine eye for detail.'

'Rhys has an invaluable range of experience in dealing with both UK and cross-border disputes; he is always available when required and is commercially focused, personable and adept at putting clients at ease.'

Key Clients

MS Amlin

Markerstudy

LV

First Central

Travelers

Canopius

Aviva

DLG

Work highlights

  • Acting for SompoCanopius Managing Agency in dismissing a claim regarding a head injury, on the basis that the defendant did not owe an employer's duty of care to the claimant.
  • Represented MS Amlin in criminal and multimillion-euro civil proceedings brought in France as a result of a serious road traffic accident.

The liability division at Kennedys 'manages a prodigious' caseload of the highest value and 'most technically challenging' claims and is instructed by a range of leading insurance companies. Severe brain injury claims, including those concerning locked-in syndrome, vegetative state and altered consciousness, are the key areas of strength for Mark Burton, who is also recognised as 'a market-leading specialist in technology' and its application to the care and rehabilitation of the catastrophically injured. Charles Martin excels in cases of the utmost severity, namely those involving spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, while Stephen Foster has a particular specialism in the defence of amputation claims.

Practice head(s):Mark Burton

Other key lawyers:Mark Burton; Charles Martin; Joe McManus; Joanne Kelly; Stephen Foster

Testimonials

'The team at Kennedys has a very good understanding of not just the legal aspects of a particular claim but also the commercial and economic. It has, with increasing regularity, identified the correct claims to run to trial and our success rate at trial using Kennedys is very high.'

'Kennedys is a longstanding player in the defendant personal injury sector. It has an excellent understanding of complex injury claims and always provides a robust and forensic defence of claims.'

'Its advice is always tailored to the size and complexity of the claim and it is always looking for innovative ways to resolve claims.'

'It is head and shoulders above its competitors in this marketplace in terms of the breadth of its expertise at all levels of seniority, its commitment to technology and pushing the boundaries of the law and its results in resolving complex and high-value injury claims.'

'Mark Burton drives innovation in claims handling and the use of rehabilitative technologies in catastrophic injury claims.'

'Charles Martin is a highly experienced and robust litigator who is prepared to take matters to trial to secure the best outcome for the client and protect itsreputation in the sector.'

'Joanne Kelly as supervising partner of the team we use at Kennedys stands out, she provides exactly the service we need and has a very good understanding of our business.'

Key Clients

Chubb

Acromas

Aspen

Enstar

Axis

Allianz

Canopius

Newline

CNA Hardy

Allied World

PSV Claims Bureau/Stagecoach

AmTrust

Travelers Worldwide

Work highlights

  • Representing the excess insurers in The X Children v The Minister of Health & Social Service, that has a combined claim value of between £210-332m, and is considered to be one of the largest personal injury claims in European legal history.
  • Acting for Acromas Insurance Company Ltd in an utmost severity claim concerning a teenager who suffered brain injuries and was left quadriplegic following a road traffic accident.
  • Assisting NFU Mutual with a claim and rehabilitation package regarding a Hungarian claimant who suffered a severe amputation.
  • Representing Haven Insurance as the insurer of a car driver who used the vehicle as a weapon to run over his girlfriend, who was left severely brain injured.
  • Represented Aspen Insurance UK in an employers' liability claim, where fundamental dishonesty was alleged and the claim was dismissed in its entirety.

Clyde & Co LLP is a popular choice for domestic and international insurers, large corporate clients and public sector organisations in cases regarding serious injury and disease litigation. The team has strength in dismissing exaggerated or fraudulent claims, as well as defending class actions. Practice head Jennette Newman has extensive experience in casualty and motor claims, while Tony Cawley handles catastrophic injury claims arising from employers' and public liability matters, as well as complex occupational stress, workplace harassment and bullying claims. Multi-party claims, utmost severity cases and fatal incidents are all areas of expertise for Leanne Conisbee.

Practice head(s):Jennette Newman; Jonathan Edwards; Tony Cawley

Other key lawyers:Leanne Conisbee

Testimonials

'Clyde & Co is an excellent city practice offering exceptional service for our company across a broad spectrum of business requirements.'

'Strengths and key capabilities are the knowledge and experience of the team in handling and defending personal injury claims in a practical and economic way.'

'Its customer focus is excellent and you feel that you are in safe hands when it is conducting legal cases on your behalf.'

'It has a very strong team of practitioners who are able to handle a variety of challenging cases.'

'Jennette Newman and Leanne Conisbee are highly competent in the area of defendant personal injury litigation and regulatory work. Their experience in handling claims in these fields is excellent. Their customer service is superb.'

'Leanne Conisbee has great attention to detail and a pragmatic approach to the cases she handles.'

Plexus Law is regularly instructed on catastrophic injury and large loss claims, complex employers' liability matters and public liability cases. The firm also fields one of the leading occupational disease teams, and provides in-house services to a number of insurance clients. Anthony Baker, who specialises in work-related stress claims and is experienced in cross-border litigation, leads the casualty team, which also includes group actions' expert Michael Gwilliam. Joanne Pizzala predominantly acts for UK Motor insurers handling high-value claims, but is also experienced in dealing with cases involving sport injury.

Practice head(s):Anthony Baker; Michael Gwilliam; Steve Phillips

Other key lawyers:Joanne Pizzala; Philip Tracey

Testimonials

'The team is excellent at subtle brain injury claims and chronic pain cases.'

'Jo Pizzala is unquestionably one of the very best defendant PI lawyers in the country.'

'Jo Pizzala is a litigator with outstanding negotiation skills and attention to detail.'

'Anthony Bushell is an exceptional practitioner with an excellent grasp of all aspects of personal injury litigation.  He has the skill to assimilate information and communicate his recommendations to clients in a clear, concise and efficient manner.'

Key Clients

QBE

AIG

Tesco

Ageas

Swiss Re

Capita

Balfour Beaty

Aspen

Mears

RPC has a proven track record of handling complex personal injury cases, that usually involve life-altering injuries, namely amputation and brain injury. Practice co-head Gavin Reese's expertise includes cases involving stress and chronic pain claims. Nick McMahon's specialisms cover health and safety regulation, but he is also experienced across high-value severe injuries and group actions. Catastrophic as well as fatal injury claims are key areas of activity for Steven Aitken.

Practice head(s):Gavin Reese; Nick McMahon; Dorothy Flower

Other key lawyers:Steven Aitken

Testimonials

'The insurance team at RPC is extremely engaging. It does not operate in the volume market but is more of a boutique operation and meets the needs of the smaller insurers extremely well.'

'More than a match for the bigger firms, they get good results in catastrophic PI claims through a mixture of hard work and experience.'

'The team is approachable and is always happy to provide advice.'

'The RPC team maintains a good relationship with the claims team, and ensures that contact is maintained and any issues are swiftly addressed.'

'Gavin Reese is the go-to partner in the catastrophic PI team.  An extremely engaging and commercial individual.'

'Steven Aitken is thorough, sensible and approachable.'

Key Clients

AXA XL

Faraday

Weightmans LLP fields a team that specialises in providing advice to insurers, local governments and major commercial entities on the full spectrum of catastrophic personal injury and accident circumstances. Practice head Elaine Chapman has extensive experience handling cases concerning severe brain injury, spinal cord damage and amputations. Nick Richards has core strength in cross-border litigation and motor claims. Seva Singh is a key name to note for maximum severity injuries arising from road traffic accidents, employers' and public liability claims. Phillip Bratt regularly advises defendants on claims with challenging rehabilitation issues, and is experienced in severe brain damage and chronic pain injuries. David Johnson departed to DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Practice head(s):Elaine Chapman

Other key lawyers:Nick Richards; Seva Singh; Phillip Bratt; Patricia Williams

Key Clients

Zurich Insurance Plc

Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB)

Armour Risk Management

Work highlights

  • Represented the Motor Insurers Bureau in an uninsured passenger road traffic accident where the claimant was a minor with complicated drugs and alcohol history.
  • Advised Armour Risk Management on the £130k (costs inclusive) commercial settlement of a £3m personal injury claim arising from a road traffic accident where there was potential joint criminal enterprise.
  • Successfully acted for Armour Risk Management in a road traffic accident where a pedestrian was hit by a car, avoiding the payment of £3m for personal injury.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's personal injury practice focuses on providing advice to leading corporate clients from a range of sectors, particularly heavyweights in the energy field pertaining to serious injury claims and group litigation. The team is adept at handling both the civil claim and criminal prosecution that may arise from the same incident. Multi-party actions and catastrophic injuries specialist Howard Watson, who has notable experience of paraplegia and head injury claims, leads the department, which is frequently instructed on multi-jurisdictional matters.

Practice head(s):Howard Watson

Other key lawyers:Anthony Dempster; David Bennett

Key Clients

BP

Chevron

TXU

BAE

Diageo

Work highlights

  • Acting for BP in relation to the inquest following the 2013 In Amenas terrorist attack in Algeria and the resulting multi-party proceedings brought by the families of the deceased and injured.
  • Acting for Chevron in the police and HSE investigation following the explosion at Chevron's Pembroke refinery resulting in four fatalities and the resulting civil claims.
  • Acting for the administrators of TXU in asbestos claims brought against one of its group companies.

Keystone Law handles the full range of defendant personal injury matters arising from accidents at work, public liability issues, industrial disease and abuse. The team receives instructions from insurers, local authorities, self-insured organisations as well as income protection providers. Steven Conway is the go-to lawyer for local authority litigation and Cordelia Rushby stands out for representing defendants in substantial claims for psychiatric loss. The department also includes Naomi Hatchard, who has experience in claims involving foreign and multi-jurisdictional issues.

Other key lawyers:Cordelia Rushby; Steven Conway; Naomi Hatchard;

Testimonials

'Keystone Law has a high level of expertise, a willingness to engage and creativity.'

'Cordelia Rushby is always quick to respond, technically very competent and outstanding in face-to-face mediation.'

Key Clients

Allianz

Ipswich Borough Council

Travelers Insurance

Zurich Municipal

Top Mark Claims Management Limited

HDI Gerling SE

Work highlights

  • Represented London Borough of Enfield/ Travellers Insurance in the successful defence at trial of a suspected fraudulent employer liability claim valued at £40k.
  • Acted for London Borough of Harrow/Zurich Municipal in the successful defence of a high-value highway tripping case where the claimant sustained a serious fracture to the knee, requiring repeated surgery.

Browne Jacobson LLP has particular strength acting for clients from the public sector, notably those operating in the health and social care fields, in relation to claims that regularly involve sexual and physical abuse. The department is also well versed in employers' and public liability matters, stress at work cases, as well as fraudulent claims. The London team is led by David Maggs, who specialises in local authority insurance litigation and advises on risk management along with health and safety issues.

Practice head(s):David Maggs

Testimonials

'The team is at the forefront of keeping clients informed of case law, regulatory and legislation changes that may impact the industry, particularly public sector clients.'

'The group is approachable and readily available to offer advice and will listen to concerns and fully explore any issues.'

'Through the team's interaction with clients and with each other there is a family feel and that the group is all working to the same aim, to deliver an excellent service to clients.'

Key Clients

Hiscox

Municipal Mutual Insurance Limited

Gallagher Bassett

Ageas

Zurich Municipal

Liberty

Premier Insurance

Markel

Garwyn

Resolute

Insurance London Consortium

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Flintshire County Council, having successfully defended a claim for historical abuse on the basis of limitation.

Hill Dickinson LLP fields a team of specialist personal injury lawyers that handle claims within the marine sector, involving crew and passenger accidents, fatalities, sexual assault and group actions. The practice is instructed on the majority of disease claims in the ports and marine sectors, and predominantly deals with multi-jurisdictional cases where questions on choice of law are raised. The team is led by John Caddies, whose expertise spans catastrophic injury cases, stress and asbestos claims. Tony McDonach is the key point of contact for industrial disease cases concerning noise-induced hearing loss, while Laura Wilson's caseload includes brain injury cases, amputations, abuse and suicide claims.

Practice head(s):John Caddies

Other key lawyers:Tony McDonach; Laura Wilson

Testimonials

'Extensive knowledge in their respective areas, reliable and approachable and have a good understanding of our client needs.'

'This is a longstanding professional relationship and, as such, this firm has a deep knowledge of our company's business and history which enables them to provide a level of service that we would be unlikely to find elsewhere.'

'The stand out quality of the personal injury team at Hill Dickinson is their sheer breadth of knowledge and expertise, coupled with their straightforward advice which makes them a go-to firm of lawyers.'

'The comprehensive knowledge and the thorough analysis John Caddies provides on occupational illness claims is unrivalled.'

'John is always extremely responsive and accessible and his advice is always thorough and clear. He has negotiated very effectively for us on settlements and always delivers the best possible result.'

'Tony McDonach possesses a wealth of experience, specifically in the defence of noise-induced hearing loss claims, has a unique gift for setting out the weaknesses of a claimant's case and the hurdles that they may face in pursuing their claim ensuring that many cases go no further.'

Key Clients

Associated British Ports

Hutchison Ports

BP Shipping Limited

DFDS

Carnival

Royal Caribbean Cruises

P&O Ferries

Louis Hotels

UK P&I Club

West of England P&I Club

Generali

Maersk Shipping Company

Shipowners Mutual P&I Club

RSA

Gard P&I Club

Swedish Club

Steamship P&I Club

London P&I Club

Work highlights

  • Represented Compre Group/Bothnia International Insurance Company Ltd in a Court of Appeal case involving a claim by an opponent insurer for a contribution from the client in the context of a Fairchild mesothelioma settlement.
  • Representing Camomile Lines plc in a claim where the High Court rejected the claimant's application for a declaration in relation to future immunotherapy treatment.

Ince fields a personal injury team that undertakes the complete spectrum of low- to high-value public liability claims in the aviation, shipping and construction industries. Mesothelioma claims, cross-border matters, as well as catastrophic injury and group actions are key areas of activity for the practice. Practice head John McGowan is a go-to specialist for claims arising from incidents in lifts, travelators and escalators.

Practice head(s):John McGowan

Testimonials

'The team is conscious of the client's needs and ways of working as opposed to delivering a 'one size fits all' approach.'

'John McGowan is very aware of the end game (rather than adopting a very procedural approach which is not helpful in resolving claims). He is very thorough, personable and easy to work with.'

Key Clients

Kone plc

IF P&C

Anglo American

A2 Sea Group

Tidewater

Irish Ferries

AXA XL

CNA Hardy

Tulip Ltd

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