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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



Index of tables

  1. Personal injury: defendant
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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BLM is a 'market leader for defendant personal injury in all areas'. Its expertise runs the gamut of personal injury matters, from catastrophic injury and occupational disease cases to motor, rail industry, abuse, travel and public sector cases. Clients include major insurers such as DLG, Aviva, Allianz, Hiscox and Hastings. The 'proactive and energetic' team 'always meets clients’ expectations' and is noted for its 'good value for money' and 'well-informed, careful and constructive advice'. Matthew Ford heads the London casualty team and regularly acts for insurers, brokers and corporate clients in class actions, fatal accidents and catastrophic injuries. Michelle Penn heads the occupational disease team in London; she has a longstanding reputation for handling cutting-edge cases and assists clients with reviewing the strategy in their handling of occupational disease cases. Other key figures include Claire Collins, who has more than 16 years' experience handling high-value, complex cases, including spinal, brain injury and amputation cases; the 'exceptional' Nick Pargeter, whose expertise encompasses complex policy coverage issues, disease claims and test litigation; Nigel Lock, who is noted for his 'calm and unruffled presence' and who has particular expertise in deafness and HAVS claims; and Anthony French, who heads the London catastrophic injury team and is 'the port of first call for amputation cases'.  Jonathan Edwards and Jennette Newman joined Clyde & Co LLP, Victoria Kennedy joined DAC Beachcroft LLP and Jenny Moates retired.

'One of the leading firms in this area', DAC Beachcroft LLP  offers 'excellent service' and has 'a long track record for handling claims effectively'. The practice handles the full range of PI cases, from high-value motor claims, complex employers’ and product liability matters, to disease, care home and international work. Clients include major insurers such as Zurich, Allianz, AXA, Admiral and Aspen, as well as individual corporate clients and government bodies such as the Ministry of Defence. The practice was strengthened further by the arrival of 'top-level solicitor' Victoria Kennedy and Emily Osborne from BLM. They join a team that includes Andrew Parker, who has a longstanding reputation of handling strategic litigation for a range of insurers; David Knapp, who is particularly active in handling public sector claims; and Tom Walshaw, who specialises in cases concerning social services and abuse claims. Other key individuals include Michelle Traxler, Adrian Cottam and Patricia Baxter.

DWF  is one of 'the largest catastrophic defendant personal injury departments in the UK' and their 'knowledge and advice is first rate'. They specialise in international claims, severe and subtle brain injury, spinal injury and paralysis, amputation, chronic pain and fatal accidents. They believe they have “technical excellence and a commercial approach'. Their clients’ list is 'extensive and growing' and includes major insurers like Aviva, Amlin, DLG, RSA, Markerstudy, Ageas and Canopius.  Claire Bowler and Graham Dickinson  are key figures in the team, which includes Peter Goodwill and Peter Murray, who are 'very experienced and realistic in their approach' and have a 'good regard to the economic realities of claims settlements'.

'True market leaders', Kennedys acts for an intimidating roster of insurance clients as well as corporates and public sector bodies, and is praised for its 'top-quality legal service' and “excellent client care'. In a landmark matter, Joe McManus acted for AIG before the Supreme Court in a case which setted out the basis that claimants injured abroad can claim damages in England and Wales. In another key mandate Roger Jones acted for the defendent's insurers, Aviva, in a claim brought by a company director and volunteer at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games who suffered an accident causing long-term disability; the case resulted in the first High Court decision on the meaning of fundamental dishonesty under Section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. Tracy Head leads the casualty team and focuses on complex stress and large loss/catastrophic injury cases; she recently settled a claim for periodical payment order for £11m and an £8m carbon monoxide poisoning claim. Senior associate Stephen Foster handles a range of cases including those involving brain and spinal injuries, fatal accidents and motor coverage. Stephanie Rogerson specialises in handling inquests arising from death in custody.

Clyde & Co LLP  attracts praise for 'excellent level of service' and 'unparalleled level of expertise in motor claims'. The practice acts for insurers, syndicates, corporate and public sector organisations and is on the panel of key insurers such as AXA, Chubb and Zurich Insurance. It was joined by Jennette Newman and Jonathan Edwards from BLM in May 2018; they bring extensive expertise in catastrophic injury and employers' liability claims, respectively. Kevin Bitmead heads the casualty team in London and specialises in catastrophic injury claims, motor and employers’ and public liability cases. The 'outstanding' and 'proactive' Damian Rourke handles employers' and professional liability cases and is 'able to explain complex points of law in a straightforward manner'. Newly promoted partner Tony Cawley is 'excellent with clients' and a 'real pleasure to work with'. Charles Brown left the firm in May 2017.

Plexus Law is 'excellent in all regards'. The practice's longstanding track record covers casualty, motor, disease, fraud, large loss and policy coverage claims, with clients comprising public sector entities such as the Metropolitan Police and MOD as well as multiple insurers and corporates. The team is led by Anthony Baker, who is 'fantastic with clients', and includes Joanne Pizzala, who focuses on cases involving catastrophic injuries arising from road traffic accidents, and Michael Gwilliam, who regularly handles group actions on behalf of tour operators. Manchester-based Philip D’Netto, who joined from DWF in 2018, is the head of catastrophic injury.

RPC's 'tremendously knowledgeable' team acts for major insurers such as XLCatlin, Faraday, Arch and Hiscox. Gavin Reese heads the personal injury practice and specialises in cases involving catastrophic injury, stress and chronic pain. Fiona Hahlo  ('the personification of calm under pressure') has a strong track record handling high-value catastrophic injury claims and 'the extremely diligent and hardworking' Steven Aitken focuses on fatal injury claims where he is 'always on top of legal issues'. health and safety head Nick McMahon is also recommended.

Weightmans LLP's clients include major insurers, local authorities and self-insured corporates, and is on the panel of a number of insurers including the Motor Insurers' Bureau.  The 'very experienced' and 'hugely knowledgeable' Elaine Chapman heads the London team and is highly active in large loss and technical claims involving brain injury, paraplegia and tetraplegia, and amputations and severe limb injury. David Johnson is 'a really good judge of the long-term strategy for a case'. His wide-ranging expertise covers cases involving severe head and spinal injury, amputation and fatal accidents. Nicholas Richards has a strong record acting for European and UK-based insurers in cases involving accidents abroad.

Browne Jacobson LLP ’s insurance department is particularly active in the health and social care sectors, and its strong local government expertise makes it a natural choice for local authority liability and social care claims. Clients include Gallagher Bassett International Ltd, Hiscox, Ageas/Tesco, Insurance London Consortium, NPS Wales and London Borough of Enfield. Leah Jones acted for the Environment Agency in a claim for workplace stress and bullying in which it was alleged to have caused the claimant to suffer severe psychiatric illness. David Maggs acted for Wigan Council in personal injury claims arising from allegations of historical abuse at an observation and assessment centre. Other key figures include Nick Parsons, who is noted for his track record handling claims against children’s and adults services departments, and James Fawcett, who specialises in employers’ and public liability claims.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ’s personal injury practice handles complex claims and group litigation for major corporate clients including Diageo, BP, Chevron and TXU. Howard Watson is currently acting for BP in relation to claims arising from the terrorist attack upon a gas plant in Algeria in 2013 in which the client was participating in a joint venture. Watson also acted alongside Damian Grave for Diageo in multi-party proceedings arising from the distribution of thalidomide in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Anthony Dempster handles a range of insurance and reinsurance litigation involving personal injury, product liability, environmental claims and professional negligence. Senior associate David Bennett is acting for the administrators of TXU in relation to asbestos claims brought against one of its group companies.

Keystone Law acts for insurers and local authorities including Zurich Municipal, Travelers Insurance Company Limited, and Allianz. In an illustration of the firm's local government expertise, the 'exceptional' Steven Conway acted for the London Borough of Enfield and its insurers, Travellers, in a personal injury claim involving a foster carer who was assaulted by a foster child, causing PTSD and depression; the claim was dismissed after a four-day trial. Cordelia Rushby has more than 25 years' experience handling complex claims, often involving cross-jurisdictional issues; she 'gets to the bottom of a problem suggesting a cure in a pragmatic manner'.'The methodical' Naomi Hatchard  is a 'great communicator'. Alex Penberty joined Keoghs LLP and David Beckenham joined Honda Motors Europe.

Hill Dickinson LLP is singled out for its expertise in handling cases involving crew and passenger accidents, sexual assault, class actions and fatalities throughout the marine sector. Clients include DFDS, P&O Ferries, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean Cruises. The firm is also on the BP Shipping and RSA Marine panels. Other areas of expertise include aviation, offshore and general travel. John Caddies heads the marine personal injury and regulatory practice and specialises in cases involving fatalities, catastrophic injuries, class actions, legionella, stress and asbestos claims. Other key individuals include Laura Dobbs, who has a track record of handling cases involving sexual assault, class action gastric illness and fatal accidents. Joanna Kolatsis left the firm to establish a legal consultancy business.

Ince handles a range of public liability claims in the transport, trade and energy sectors. It also acts for construction firms in mesothelioma claims. Recent work includes acting for the insurers in a complex claim under a pilot's loss of licence policy in which the insured lost their licence to fly for a major airline as a result of the removal of a cancerous tumour. John McGowan heads the department.

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Legal Developments in London for Personal injury: defendant

  • New revised guidelines for administrators in pre-pack sales

    Pre-pack sales by administrators are now used frequently enough for most people in business to be aware of them and many have come across them in their business lives. A small amount of controversy still attaches to pre-packs, but it is probably right to say that they are now an accepted part of the UK business scene as a useful means of rescuing a business in difficulty and preserving some or all of the jobs connected with the business.
    - Druces

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