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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 > Professional negligence > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Professional negligence
  2. 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

Find out which law firms are representing which Professional negligence clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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With a ‘richly deserved reputation’, Clyde & Co LLP is a ‘leader in the field of professional negligence’ and defends claims against all classes of professionals in the UK and worldwide. Its advice is ‘excellent and pragmatic’ and it ‘deals with the other side courteously, firmly and clearly’. The London team, which works closely with the firm's Manchester, Oxford, Leeds and recently opened Bristol offices, is led by Andrew Blair, who is ‘completely unflappable, highly respected and has a flair for imaginative thinking in terms of resolving complex claims’. Tom White defends claims against professionals in the property, construction and IT sectors and successfully defended CBRE in relation to a claim by Dunfermline Building Society arising out of a 2007 valuation of a residential development site in Reading. Sarah Clover, who is ‘technically excellent, responsive and gets to grips with the detail of a case’, specialises in lawyers' professional liability, and Richard Harrison, who heads the lawyers’ liability group, specialises in all areas of claims against English solicitors and barristers. Neil Jamieson, who is ‘diligent, meticulous and known for his mastery of case detail’, defends solicitors, accountants, actuaries and surveyors against claims; construction liability group head Richard Moody has a ‘proven commercial and technical track record’; Simon Konsta defends claims against property, accounting and technology professionals; Stuart Hall represents accountants, financial institutions and D&O insurers; James Roberts heads the accountants' liability group; and Fergal Cathie, who is ‘robust, resolute and good in a fight’, handles complex disputes and regulatory investigations involving professionals in the legal and financial services sectors. Mark Sutton, who is ‘excellent at the technical detail’, Bryn Hodges, Helen Rowlands, Jonathan Brown and of counsel Andrew Forsyth are also recommended, as are senior associates May Ahmed and William Glynn, and legal directors Chris Dunlop, Karen Boto and Nicole McKinnon. Notable hires include Tim Crockford from Gowling WLG, and Mandip Sagoo and Angus Duncan from Mayer Brown International LLP. Ian Peacock, who joined from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, and John Eastlake, who joined from Kennedys, are based in Bristol.

CMS is regularly instructed on a range of high-value claims, with particular expertise in disputes involving construction, financial, legal and brokers’ negligence. Martin Fox and Monica Lesny specialise in construction professional indemnity claims; Lesny is advising design and build contractor Geoffrey Osborne in relation to a claim following a fire at Marlborough House, and also led advice for the joint administrators of Sixty UK in a case brought by its liquidators for alleged negligence in the conduct of an administration. Stephen Netherway heads the financial institutions insurance sector group; Alex Denslow is the insurance group head; Cheryl Gibson specialises in advising construction professionals and insurance brokers; Zoe Burge is active in disputes relating to solicitors, insurance intermediaries and accountants; Stephen Tester handles construction and engineering disputes; Simon Garrett focuses on disputes involving financial services companies and other professionals, particularly solicitors, IFAs, insurance brokers, accountants and other financial services professionals; and Anna Crew heads the solicitors’ negligence team. Maxine Cupitt, senior associate Thomas Pangbourne, and of counsels Jenny Williams, Neil Beighton, Sarah Hyde and Martin Davis are also noted. Ed Foss heads the team, which spans the firm's Bristol and London offices.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s expertise spans the cyber, construction, legal, technology, finance and insurance sectors; the team is instructed by clients such as Zurich, Aviva, XL Catlin, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, TalkTalk, McLaren Construction and Markel. The ‘brilliant’ Ross Risby is defending a $100m claim against a boutique London law firm which is alleged to have conspired with the directors of a Gibraltarian investment company to siphon off investor funds for private objectives; he is also defending a claim brought against a QC arising from failed litigation against Port of London Authority and Hutchison Whampoa. William Allison, who heads the D&O and financial institutions group; professional risk team head Patrick Hill, who routinely advises insurers on claims against technology companies; Michael Blackburne and Mark Roach, who head the construction practice; cyber and data risk group head Hans Allnutt; accountancy head Richard Highley; Phil Murrin, who is experienced in claims against solicitors; and Matthew Olorenshaw, who recently joined from DWF and handles construction-related cases, are also key members of the team, as is Duncan Strachan, who recently joined from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold LLP, and is advising a London market reinsurer on its involvement in the programme of reinsurance for Bancolombia. Julian Miller, who is ‘highly intelligent’ and ‘excellent at spotting the key issues’; Graham Ludlam; and senior associates Sarah Crowther and Mark Healing are also recommended. Consultant Trevor Chamberlain heads the professional liability practice.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP houses a ‘dedicated team which has unquestioning willingness to go out of their way to meet requests without hesitation’ and provides ‘complete and comprehensive advice with a quick and thorough grasp of the matter’. The team handles insurance, legal, financial, technology and construction-related disputes and regularly acts for insurers, brokers and blue-chip clients in both claimant and defendant professional negligence cases. Chris Bushell is defending Amber Fund Management against a £53m claim brought by Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales and Alan Watts is advising PwC on a number of professional negligence matters, including defending it against a claim brought by a British entrepreneur and a claim that it was negligent and/or in breach of contract in respect of legal services provided to the claimant. Barbican Insurance and Marsh are also clients. Paul Lewis is ‘brilliant in professional indemnity claims involving pensions’ and heads the firm’s global contentious insurance and reinsurance practice; David Reston is a ‘first-class litigator who you want on your side in complex difficult disputes’; Sarah McNally has ‘excellent attention to detail and delivers on very speedy turn-around times’; and Mark Shillito heads the US and UK dispute resolution department. Tom Leech QC , Harry Edwards, who ‘gives clear advice and is very responsive’, John Corrie and senior associates Antonia Pegden and James Rickards, who recently joined from Outer Temple Chambers, are also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is a ‘high-class outfit’, which provides ‘client-friendly, commercially minded, legally sound advice and fights tenaciously for its clients’. It acts for and against a range of professionals, with particular expertise in claims against solicitors, actuaries, other pension professionals, property professionals, insurance brokers and accountants. The team is acting for Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation in its Solicitors Act cost assessment proceedings against Dechert LLP in relation to £11m of fees incurred. Willis Group Holdings is also a key client. Department head Nicholas Heaton has a ‘great eye for detail and is very pragmatic’; he specialises in substantial claims against lawyers, professionals involved in pensions schemes, and accountants. The ‘indomitable’ Angela Dimsdale Gill has a ‘wealth of experience, tactical nous and detailed legal knowledge’ and stands out for her expertise in pensions-related disputes. Ruth Grant handles disputes for a variety of commercial clients and is noted for cross-border mandates. Senior associate Nathan Sherlock is a ‘very bright associate with a maturity and performance in advance of his years’.

Kennedys has recently bolstered its insurance department with several key hires from Mayer Brown International LLP, including the former head of its London insurance and reinsurance group, David Chadwick, Tim McCaw and the ‘excellent’ Ingrid Hobbs. The team handles disputes involving professionals from the insurance, financial, legal and construction sectors, among others. Martin Chesher heads the UK-wide solicitors’ defence group and defended Travelers and its insured solicitors against a claim brought by the Connaught Income Fund Series 1 (in liquidation) in relation to sub-lending between the claimant and a now defunct bridging lender in reliance on certificates of title issued by the insured solicitors. Tom Stapleton acted for Wilkins Kennedy and its insurers, RSA, AIG and QBE, in a high-profile dispute relating to an overseas property investment scheme. Simon Gibson regularly defends solicitors, brokers, surveyors and construction professionals; Catherine Shuttleworth ‘leaves no stone unturned’ and is a ‘tenacious and highly knowledgeable lawyer’, who is particularly noted in legal sector claims; and David Wilkinson acts for solicitors, valuers, pension fund trustees and accountants. Fleur Rochester, Christopher Butler and senior associates Laura Hurst and David Robinson are also recommended. Jeremy Riley, who is based in Manchester, and John Bruce head the team. Former team co-head John Eastlake joined Clyde & Co LLP.

Mayer Brown International LLP defends sensitive and high-profile professional negligence claims, often with an international element, for clients such as QBE, Kier, Beazley, AIG and Knight Frank. Jim Oulton is defending two BDO partners against allegations of negligence and dishonesty made in relation to the administration and sale of a hotel, and is defending HW Fisher & Company against allegations of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, among others. Tom Duncan, who regularly handles construction-related professional indemnity claims, continues to advise Costain and its insurers on a number of issues which have arisen at three microbiological treatment plants and four IVC plants in Manchester, which are part of a £4bn waste-to-energy project; he is also advising Costain and its insurers on a case relating to paving at the Port of Felixstowe. The ‘unflappable and very commercial’ William Glassey is a ‘rare mix of technical legal knowledge, gravitas and practicality’; he heads the department with Michael Regan, who is noted for construction and engineering disputes alongside the ‘brilliant’ Sally Davies. Sean Connolly handles disputes involving a range of accountancy, legal, investment banking, property management and design consultancy professionals, chartered surveyors, and insurance and reinsurance brokers; Jonathan Stone is active in construction and engineering disputes; and Matthew Williams, James Morris, and Hannah Cartwright are key senior associates. Lindsay McQuillian left the firm for an in-house role and Ingrid Hobbs joined Kennedys in 2018.

RPC’s ‘practical’ team is active in disputes across the legal, construction, technology, cyber and financial sectors. The team is defending Marsh in a £50m claim brought by NatWest relating to the placement of its public liability policy and is advising several major insurers on regulatory issues and various complaints made against a self-invested personal pensions operator. Aviva, AIG, Libra and Barbican are also key clients. Tim Bull heads the professional and financial risks team; Paul Castellani is ‘outstanding’; Alexandra Anderson heads the construction insurance team, where Alan Stone is also active; Simon Greenley is regularly instructed on capital markets and financial services disputes; Nick Bird has an ‘eye for detail’ and is ‘sound on strategy’; James Wickes handles claims against financial professionals and institutions; and Simon Laird is head of insurance. Senior associate Laura Stocks focuses on solicitors’ negligence, while Tom Green, who is also a senior associate, handles construction-related disputes. Legal directors Alison Clarke and Rachael Healey are also recommended. Karen Morrish recently joined from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold LLP. The department is based across the firm’s Bristol and London offices.

Simmons & Simmons provides the ‘highest level of technical knowledge in professional negligence matters’ and is regularly instructed in cases against accountants, lawyers, actuaries, construction professionals, financial advisers, brokers, IT consultants, surveyors and valuers. Team head James Pollock ‘gives superlative tactical guidance to ensure minimal wasted time or effort and ensures appropriate and speedy responses to any questions; you want him on your side’. Pollock is defending CMS in a £65m claim brought by a former client of the firm, Mr Alexander Mayr, and two of his companies in relation to a French investment undertaken in 2011. AIG, Starstone, KPF, Lockton Companies and MS Amlin are also clients. Colin Passmore is experienced in claims relating to accountancy professionals; Simon Hilditch is ‘first-rate’ and is noted for his expertise in finance-related mandates; and Felix Zimmermann specialises in defending professional negligence claims against insurance brokers, construction professionals, accountants and solicitors. Emily Monastiriotis is ‘practical, legally astute’ and ‘thoroughly understands the construction industry’, and Bristol-based managing associate Jonathan Spencer is also active in construction disputes. Managing associate Sherry Goodman-Smith is also recommended.

Taylor Wessing LLP boasts a ‘highly regarded and experienced team with real strength in depth, particularly for claims involving auditors and accountants’; it focuses on complex, high-profile claims and regulatory investigations, and acts for both claimants and defendants. Team head Andrew Howell and Julian Randall are ‘outstanding litigators’; Howell is ‘good with clients and managing large teams on the most complex cases’ and Randall has ‘a brilliant mind and an eye for the killer point’. Stephen Flaherty is ‘quiet, measured and meticulous’. Howell and Flaherty led advice for PwC and one of its retired partners in relation to disciplinary complaints brought by the Financial Reporting Council following its investigation into the audit of Connaught; Randall is advising PwC on Irish litigation brought against the firm by the administrators of Quinn Insurance. Laurence Lieberman is experienced in claims against financial institutions, and senior associates Stuart Broom, James Bryden and Stephanie High are also key members of the team.

Beale & Company Solicitors LLP is a ‘leading specialist firm’ with a ‘fantastic reputation for construction sector cases’. It is also active across legal and financial sector professional negligence disputes. Aviva Insurance UK, RSA, Kier Group and Chubb are clients. Stephen Reilly, who ‘understands the important issues at stake early in the process’, represented ERC Accountants & Business Advisers and its insurer in a £1.5m professional negligence claim arising out of alleged negligent financial advice relating to tax mitigating schemes. Practice head Antony Smith is a ‘real star in this field’ and is ‘extremely knowledgeable, tactically astute, and has excellent judgement’. Damian McPhun, who is noted for his experience in financial sector disputes, ‘cuts to the important issues, has a great bedside manner, and gives clear and concise advice’. Construction insurance group head Ian Masser is ‘commercially savvy and gives sensible advice’. Nathan Modell, Sheena Sood, who ‘brings huge energy, strategic awareness and dedication to her cases’, and associates Joanna Lewis, who ‘really gets to grips with the factual and technical issues’, and Kristina Vongas are also recommended. Ed Anderson has joined Browne Jacobson LLP.

The team at BLM is made up of ‘true specialists in professional negligence’, handling disputes in the property, public, construction, education, legal and financial sectors, among others. It is also noted for claims involving trade unions and regulatory bodies; team head Elliot Pound is advising UNISON and Zurich on a claim concerning employment law advice given in relation to difficulties experienced by Leicestershire County Council relating to the 2015 general election count. Pound is also advising the University of East London and RSA on a claim brought by an international student. Michael Harvey is representing an international insurer which was the victim of a large-scale fraud concerning its involvement in a scheme for solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance. Richard Wilkins defended solicitors accused of making a will which was argued to be invalid for want of capacity, and acted for the Bar Standards Board in a claim by a practising QC disputing its handling of a complaint from another barrister. Martin Jensen is a ‘brilliant, instinctive lawyer’, who shows ‘courage, a very high degree of intelligence and calmness in difficult circumstances’, and Alex Traill is ‘sensitive to the requirements of all stakeholders, while being technically very thorough’. Keith Lonsdale and Michael Salau specialise in construction sector mandates. Ross Baker is also recommended, as are associates Geneviève Rich, Andrew Layton-Morris and Katherine Heath. Peter Stockill joined Penningtons Manches LLP in 2018, and Charlotte Capstick left the firm.

DWF’s ‘first-rate’ team is particularly noted for its experience across construction, financial services, pensions and legal sector claims. Tim Barr defended AIG and its insured, Follett Stock, against a £1m professional negligence claim brought over the failure to bring proceedings against the claimant’s former solicitors for alleged negligence in relation to the execution of a will and an agreement entered into in 1997. Michael Robin and associate Chris Lewis represented a law firm and its primary layer insurer, QBE, in a £1.1m claim brought by a property development company. Joanne Staphnill, Robin and Lewis represented a leading law firm and its primary layer insurer, Chubb, in a £34m claim brought by a company in liquidation and its liquidators. Harriet Quiney is a ‘good strategic thinker’ and is experienced in professional indemnity disputes in the financial services and pensions sectors; John Bennett is experienced across disputes involving solicitors, barristers, accountants, IFAs and patent agents; Peter Campion and Mark Klimt are particularly experienced in construction claims; and Simon Gildener handles cases in the financial sector. Andrew Davis, Sheona Wood, John Groome, director Jonathan Hyde and recently promoted partner Eileen Pathiraja are also recommended, as are senior associates Tom Mungovan, Joanna Batchelor and James McKay. Peter Sewell heads the team. Antony Marsh retired; Jacquetta Castle and Joseph Arazi departed for in-house roles; Matthew Olorenshaw joined DAC Beachcroft LLP; Simon Durkin joined Weightmans LLP; and Alexandra Goddard also left the firm.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has ‘excellent technical breadth and experience’ and stands out for its expertise in claims against insurance brokers, accountants and pension advisers. Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, Aon, HCC International Insurance Company, KPMG, XL Catlin and Lockton Companies are among its clients. Claire Carroll regularly defends claims brought against pensions professionals, trustees and advisers, and is acting for a global consultancy and the trustee of one of its occupational pension schemes in a potential professional negligence claim in relation to the possible overpayment of tax-free lump sums to more than 100 members of an occupational pension scheme. Practice head Simon Brooks, who has a ‘good understanding of the law and a common-sense approach to legal issues’, is experienced in claims against insurance brokers, lawyers, accountants and construction professionals. Matthew Allen handles claims involving finance professionals and Paula Gaddum is active across claims involving accountants, solicitors, construction professionals and brokers. Jennifer Miles and Frank Thompson are also key members of the team, as are principal associates Kate Hill and Christopher Ives, who is based in Manchester, and senior associate Naz Gauri.

Fieldfisher is active in a range of professional negligence mandates across the legal, construction, property, finance and tax sectors. Hartley Foster is representing the claimant in an £8m claim against McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP for fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. Owen Talfan Davies’ ‘factual and legal analysis is always spot on’ and he is noted for his experience in real estate-related professional negligence cases; commercial dispute resolution head Colin Gibson is active in cases relating to accountants and financial advisers. Antony Phillips, who heads the real estate team; Jonathan Ray-Smith, who is experienced in financial sector claims; Simon Moore, who handles disputes involving high-net-worth individuals; Louise Elmes, who heads the contentious construction team; Tony Lewis, who handles fraud and finance-related cases; and George Gillham, who is active in cases involving tax advisers, are also key members of the department. Associates Vanessa Wilkinson, Hannah Piper and Jamie Mangan are noted, as are Manchester-based office managing partner Ian Austin, James Lappin and associate Daniel Sheehan.

HFW receives praise for its ‘strong’ department, which handles high-value and complex claims against accountants, auditors, brokers, insolvency practitioners, financial intermediaries and institutions, surveyors, architects, engineers and lawyers. It is also experienced in negligence cases relating to marine surveyors and marine salvage work. Professional negligence head Andrew Bandurka is regularly instructed by leading insurance and reinsurance brokers on complex matters, often with a cross-border element; he handles lawyers' professional indemnity coverage disputes and is also instructed on architects' and surveyors' negligence cases. Jonathan Bruce is often instructed by Latin American reinsurance brokers; Costas Frangeskides handles a range of brokers, solicitors and property transaction claims; Christopher Cardona is global head of insurance and reinsurance; Christopher Foster defends significant claims against solicitors; and Adam Strong defends claims against solicitors, architects, insurance brokers, surveyors and IFAs. Nigel Wick and senior associate Rupert Warren are also recommended. David Robinson is now a consultant.

The ‘outstanding’ department at Mills & Reeve LLP ‘punches well above its weight’; it handles claims across the legal, financial and construction sectors, as well as claims involving insurance brokers and tech sector professionals. Collegiate Claims, IGI and CNA Hardy are clients. Department head Neil Davis is a ‘robust and effective litigator’; Nicolas Oldham, who ‘explores every avenue to resist ambitious claims’, heads the construction and engineering risks team; head of financial claims Virginia Hickley is ‘first-rate’; and ‘impressive’ consultant Harriet Strevens is also singled out for praise. Recently promoted partner Eric France and principal associates Lisa Taylor and Tom Filby, who is ‘very bright’, are also key contacts. Paul Spibey has joined Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Norton Rose Fulbright is praised for its ‘friendly and collaborative approach’ and is best known for its experience in the financial services sector, advising on a range of high-value claims involving financial institutions, asset managers, solicitors, accountants, actuaries, insolvency practitioners, stockbrokers and insurance brokers. Beazley, Brit, Hyperion, Liberty Specialty Markets and Lloyds Banking Group are clients. Ffion Flockhart is defending Keoghs LLP and its professional indemnity insurers against a £127m fraud and conspiracy claim brought against it and two other solicitors' firms by Accident Exchange, a credit hire company. Liam O’Connell has a ‘calm but authoritative style of delivery’; Kirsty Hick is ‘fantastic’; and Susan Dingwall stands out for her ‘in-depth experience’. Corporate tax specialist Angela Savin; Lesley Browning, who handles pensions-related matters; head of tax for Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Brazil Dominic Stuttaford; property litigation head David Stevens; and Paul Morris, who focuses on banking and finance-related disputes, are also recommended, as are Katie Stephen, Michelle George, Jon Ogle and Adrian Mecz, who joined the team as a result of the merger with Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and senior associates Simon Radcliffe and Helen Fairhead. Deirdre Walker is now based in the firm’s Dubai office.

Pinsent Masons LLP represents claimants and defendants in disputes across the financial services, pensions, construction and TMT sectors. Legal director Michael Fletcher is representing a UK-based company in the renewable energy sector in a £3m claim against its former solicitors, and Jonathan Fortnam is acting for a pension scheme employer and its trustee company in a £6m claim against its former solicitors. Ben Fairhead focuses on pensions-related disputes and is representing the trustee of a defined benefit pension scheme in a £1m negligence claim against a well-known pension scheme administrator, in relation to numerous transfers of members’ pension funds to an overseas pension scheme. Jim Richards is acting for two group companies in a £2.6m claim against its former auditors. Stuart McNeill regularly handles finance-related professional negligence disputes; ‘while charming to deal with’, pensions litigation head Isabel Nurse-Marsh is a ‘no-holds barred litigator’; Colin Read is active in construction sector mandates; Ian Birdsey is experienced in the TMT sector; and Neal Morris leads the global construction advisory and disputes team. Legal director Chamika Hand and senior associate Danielle Williamson, who is experienced in tax-related claims, are also recommended. Michael Fenn, who is the litigation and regulatory head, and insurance head Nick Bradley lead the team.

Reed Smith LLP is active in disputes across the financial, technology, construction and legal sectors. The team is advising a number of insurers on €1bn-worth of claims relating to the collapse of part of the Cologne Metro in 2009. It also defended a surveying company in three professional negligence claims regarding alleged overvaluations of high-end residential properties in and around London. Nick Speed, who is experienced across construction, engineering and technology sector disputes, heads the team along with Jane Howard, who ‘always demonstrates considerable knowledge and experience, is always tremendously supportive and really rolls her sleeves up and gets involved’ and ‘fully understands the accountants' indemnity market’. Also noted are deputy head of the London insurance recovery group Margaret Campbell, who is a ‘tenacious litigator’, and Charles Hewetson, who is an ‘excellent adviser and litigator’. Of counsel Eleanor Chapman, who was recently promoted, and senior associates Louise Ioannides and Simon Greer are also key members of the department.

Stephenson Harwood’s ‘experienced team’ is ‘very switched on, very able’ and provides ‘excellent commercial advice’ for claimants and defendants across a range of professional negligence disputes. The team is representing the National House-Building Council in a £41m claim against its former auditor and tax adviser, PwC; advising Mark Weiss Limited and Mark Weiss in a $10.8m case against Sotheby's relating to the sale of a painting which is now alleged to be a forgery; and acting for Mercer, Sedgwick Noble Lowndes and Sedgwick Financial Services in a £10m pensions tax negligence case arising out of the Sea Containers chapter 11 insolvency proceedings. Among the team, Andrew Myers is noted for property-related disputes; regulatory litigator Tony Woodcock is ‘excellent’; the ‘incredibly clever’ Richard Garcia is active in finance-related disputes; Helena Berman is ‘absolutely first-rate, brings a huge amount to any case’ and is active across a range of pensions, trusts, legal and tax-related cases; and recently promoted partner Kate Cordery has ‘plenty of energy and verve and is a clear thinker who inspires confidence’. Senior associates Guy Harper and Paul Hollands are also recommended. Roland Foord and Stephen Roberts, who is ‘very commercial, bright, is able to see the wood for the trees’ and is ‘not afraid of arguing his point in the most charming of ways’, head the team.

Ashurst is regularly instructed by financial services sector clients on a range of disputes involving audits, actuarial matters, funds, major projects, legal and pensions work. ‘Thoughtful’ team head James Levy, who ‘really cares about his cases’, led the advice to Daiwa Capital Markets Europe in a $200m case alleging breach of duty and dishonest assistance by Singularis Holdings. Levy also advised Gala Coral Group on a £2m claim brought by the wife of a former high-stakes sports gambler at Gala, alleging a breach of duty of care. Other clients include NRAM, Cattles and Welcome Financial Services. Lynn Dunne and consultant Edward Sparrow are also key contacts.

Browne Jacobson LLP delivers a ‘truly customer-focused and highly personal service’. Key mandates included defending a solicitors' firm against a £65m claim arising out of one of the largest divorce settlements ever in the UK; defending a QC and the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund against a claim which alleges negligent pleading of a statement of case in litigation against accountants; and defending a firm of patent and trademark attorneys and insurer PAMIA in a claim alleging failure to protect design rights in several jurisdictions worldwide. The ‘exceptional’ Nottingham-based Jonathan Newbold is head of the financial and professional risks group; Michael Howard specialises in professional indemnity claims made against construction professionals, insurance brokers, accountants and solicitors, and is also experienced in cases involving green engineers, IT contractors and recruitment consultants; Ed Anderson, who recently joined from Beale & Company Solicitors LLP, is ‘prompt with his advice and thorough in his analysis’; Jim Hobsley acts for solicitors, barristers, accountants, surveyors and patent and trade mark attorneys; associate Rhys Davies is active across policy coverage cases and defends claims involving insurance brokers, solicitors and surveyors; and head of business and professional risk Derek Bambury is also recommended.

The ‘highly efficient’ team at Ince & Co regularly defends claims brought against professionals and their insurers, with a focus on acting on behalf of solicitors and insurance brokers. The team also acts for ship surveyors and managers in maritime negligence disputes. Ben Ogden represented individuals insured with Chubb in $16m-worth of claims brought against two former directors relating to the 2011 liquidation of the South of England P&I Club. Ed Broking, Griffin Insurance Association, International Transport Intermediaries Club and LAMP Insurance are also clients. Ogden and Simon Cooper head the team and senior associate Christopher Crane is also a key contact. Chris Jefferis moved to an in-house role.

Plexus Law is a ‘very experienced firm with a wide range of expertise in professional indemnity matters’; the team regularly handles cases arising from claims against legal and financial professionals and is also active in claims against surveyors and valuers. The team represented Champion Consulting and its insurers in a £130m claim alleging negligent tax advice. It also represented QBE, the professional indemnity insurer of a financial adviser which had become insolvent, in case which examined the construction of exclusion clauses in policy wordings. Peter Court is a ‘wise head with huge experience’; he is ‘unflappable and calm under pressure’. Simon Beckwith is a ‘thorough and very able litigator with particular expertise in claims concerning financial professionals; he has a first-rate legal brain’. Mark Ratcliff handles a range of claims against accountants, actuaries, IFAs, insurance and mortgage brokers, trustees of occupational pension schemes, fund administrators and managers. Recently promoted partner Alasdair Dick specialises in defending claims against accountants and tax advisers and is a ‘real fighter who will go the extra mile to dig up a document or formulate a point for the benefit of his client’. ‘Excellent lawyer and shrewd strategist’ Gary Wicks heads the construction team and Gary Thwaites is also noted for construction-related professional negligence cases.

The team at Weightmans LLP is ‘very attentive and is certainly developing its industry knowledge’; it delivers ‘commercial and pragmatic advice, which doesn’t shirk from the realities of litigation’. The team handles a range of construction sector claims, claims against IFAs and claims against property professionals. It defended R T Financial Services UK, on the instructions of its professional indemnity insurer, Argo, against a £1.2m claim for allegedly negligent financial advice. Aspen Risk Management, AXA Insurance UK, CFC, Channel and Liberty are also clients. Quentin Fox regularly handles claims against clients in the construction industry, claims against financial advisers and policy coverage disputes. Ed Lewis is an ‘excellent negotiator’ and is instructed on claims across the construction, technology and professional services sectors. Robert Crossingham is noted for his expertise in handling disputes relating to property and financial transactions. Associate James Denison has ‘very detailed knowledge of construction law and is able to explain complex matters in a simple way which is easier to understand and digest’, and associate Paul Lowe is ‘very commercial and pragmatic’. Associate Ian Lavelle is also a key contact. Liverpool-based Mike Grant is national head of professional risk and is noted for his expertise in the construction sector.

The ‘exceptional’ team at Withers LLP regularly defends claims against barristers and also represents claimants in disputes with a range of professionals such as solicitors, valuers, accountants, tax advisers, engineers and investment advisers. It represented claimants Hugo Page and Nigel Meares and the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund in their application for a further extension of a general civil restraint order. Christopher Coffin has ‘excellent client-facing skills, is extremely bright and able, and is commercially savvy’; recently promoted partner Eleni Polycarpou is ‘very intelligent and switched on’. Associates Caroline Thompson, Sinead Harris and Stephanie Balsys, who is ‘very efficient, hardworking and has good client relationship skills’, are also recommended.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s ‘commercial, responsive, pragmatic and approachable’ department regularly defends claims against solicitors, valuers, construction professionals, auditors, accountants, tax advisers, brokers, financial advisers, directors and officers, and financial institutions. It is also experienced in claims with an insolvency aspect. Insurance disputes head Sushma MacGeoch, a ‘natural born litigator’ and a ‘calm and impressive operator’, is defending a solicitors' firm and its insurer in the High Court against a £130m claim brought by Accident Exchange against various former directors of Autofocus and solicitors who dealt with road traffic accident claims; she is also defending a firm of solicitors in a $210m negligence claim arising from a share purchase agreement relating to Russian oil exploration licences. Construction insurance head Hannah Cane is ‘tough yet commercially astute’ and ‘incisive in her analysis’, and ‘goes out of her way to put the clients’ needs at the heart of the excellent service she delivers’. Jane Williams routinely handles claims against solicitors, brokers and accountants, and represented a firm of solicitors in a claim by a former client alleging that steps taken by the firm in connection with the sale of the client's company were in breach of trust and facilitated a fraud. Jonathan Drake is head of insurance, while managing associates Belinda Fox and David Rees Smith, who is a ‘real team player’, are singled out for praise, as is associate Lucy Murphy.

The team at Edwin Coe LLP is an ‘impressive outfit with a good track record of appearing for claimants in professional negligence claims’, and is 'not afraid of taking on the big guns’. It is particularly recognised for its ‘strong experience in brokers' negligence cases’. It represented Sartex Quilts and Textiles in a £3m claim against its insurers regarding matters arising from a fire at its premises in May 2011. Michael Whitton is ‘hugely experienced, a very tough negotiator and is not afraid to run matters to trial’ and has ‘the ability to present a claim efficiently’; Nicola Maher is ‘hungry and determined’; and head of insurance litigation Roger Franklin has ‘very sound judgement and is excellent with clients’, has ‘wide-ranging technical insurance knowledge and is able to advise in very clear and concise way’. Senior associate Kate Dwyer is also noted.

Healys LLP regularly acts for claimants in cases against solicitors, barristers, architects, surveyors, financial advisers and accountants. Department head Robert Johnson is ‘incisive and attentive, responding instantly to queries with clear answers and explanations’; he is advising two Cayman Islands-based companies in a £25m case against a firm of solicitors and its three individual partners. The ‘brilliant’ Jerome O’Sullivan is leading advice for the claimant in a £1.1m dispute against two firms of solicitors in relation to a fraudulent property transaction. David Bailey is experienced in acting for financial institutions in cases against solicitors and valuers and Adrian Taylor, who recently joined from Rosenblatt, is also noted.

As a result of the transfer of Hill Dickinson LLP’s insurance business to Keoghs LLP, the firm now has a presence in the professional negligence arena. The London team, which is led by Neil Trayhurn, features Dragos Stoica, Andrew Schütte and senior associate Dale Hilton. Head of professional indemnity Ruth Lawrence  and Sarah Naylor are based in Liverpool. Connie Cobb, who joined from Plexus Law, is also a key member of the team. The department regularly defends high-value professional negligence disputes across the legal, property, construction, cyber and electrical sectors. The team is also increasingly involved in coverage disputes, often with a cross-border element.

Dispute resolution boutique Signature Litigation LLP handles large, high-profile professional negligence claims, often with a cross-border element, for claimants and defendants. It represented Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation in a claim against its former solicitors' firm, Dechert LLP. Daniel Spendlove and Graham Huntley head the team, and Abdulali Jiwaji is also a key name.

TLT’s London-based claimant lender professional negligence practice works closely with the firm's Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Belfast offices. Team head Andrew Lyon advised a property developer in a £2m claim against a solicitor for failure to advise on the correct date by which a notice had to be served under a conditional contract and for failing to serve said notice by the correct date. Lyon also defended a major UK clearing bank against a £1m negligence claim for breach of duty of care. Peter Richards-Gaskin represented an Irish bank in a claim against solicitors for failing to ensure the bank obtained adequate security. Richards-Gaskin and Lyon also defended Coutts & Co and RBS in a £6m group action relating to the banks' involvement in lending money to well-known ex-professional sportsmen to invest in a Spanish property scheme. Legal director Nick Curling and associate Claire Kershaw are also noted.

Burges Salmon LLP’s predominantly claimant-focused practice operates across its London and Bristol offices and is noted for its experience in making claims on behalf of lenders. It also acts for private clients, companies and large financial institutions in claims against professional advisers across the banking, legal, pensions, construction, environmental consultancy, energy, accountancy and auditing, cyber, tax, brokerage, actuarial, IT and fund management sectors. The team is continuing to advise Nationwide Building Society on a £35m portfolio of claims arising from debts in its commercial lending book, concerning negligent advice provided by surveyors and solicitors in connection with commercial property transactions; it is also continuing to advise Nomura London Retirement Benefits Plan Trustee and Nomura International on a £10m claim against Mercer, examining the negligent drafting of pension scheme rules. HR Trustees, as trustee of the Robert Horne Group Pension Scheme, is continuing to instruct the team on a £30m claim against Aon Consulting. Department head Andrew Burnette is ‘commercial, effective and on the ball’; Justin Briggs is experienced in claims involving pension providers and consultants; Kari McCormick heads the financial services team; and senior associate Matthew Walker handles disputes in the construction, accountancy and financial services sectors.

Carter Perry Bailey LLP is praised for its ‘tailored service’ and it delivers a ‘personal touch’. The team predominantly focuses on defendant matters involving accountants, architects, asset managers, banks, directors and officers, engineers, fine art valuers, insolvency practitioners, insurance brokers, letting agents, pharmacists, the police, property agents, public authorities and solicitors. It also handles claimant work for insurance entities. The ‘brilliant’ William Sturge is advising an insurer client on its coverage and response in connection with a claim made by a UK-based claimant against US and UK-domiciled directors and corporate entities. Department head Mark Aizlewood is advising a firm of structural engineers and its insurers on a claim for negligent design relating to the construction of a lagoon supporting an anaerobic combined heat power plant. Simon Thomas ‘maximises his client’s position in every case, even the most legally and technically complex; he remains calm under fire and always has a good solution to a problem’. Bernadette Bailey is ‘consummately professional and highly effective’ and associate Samantha Zaozirny is experienced in insurance and banking professional indemnity work.

The ‘highly responsive’ and ‘accessible’ team at Cubism Law specialises in representing claimants in high-volume professional negligence cases in the legal, financial, construction and property sectors, among others. Anjan Patel is ‘extremely commercial’, ‘clever and very determined’, and is ‘particularly sharp, focused and committed to achieving the best outcome’. Solicitors Avi Gordon, who is ‘very responsive and ensures a well-researched and thorough response at all times’, and Stephen Bane, who is noted for his financial services expertise, are also recommended.

Fladgate LLP is praised for its ‘excellent communication skills’ and the team regularly handles high-value claims for high-net-worth individuals and companies in disputes against solicitors, accountants and construction professionals. It also defends claims for clients such as Deloitte, the Medical Defence Union and Zurich. Team head Simon Brew acts for claimants and defendants in claims involving accountants, solicitors and construction professionals, and represented a Hong Kong-based company in a $1m claim against its former solicitors for professional negligence, breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract. Litigation head Simon Ekins, Janet Keeley, Sophia Purkis, Jonathan Hibberts and Digby Hebbard are also key members of the department.

The ‘very able’ department at Hamlins LLP acts for claimants in professional negligence cases against law firms, accountants, financial advisers, trustees, construction consultants, surveyors and civil engineers; clients include European Land & Property, Triple Point, Westminster Academy, VolkerFitzpatrick and ICF Group. Litigation head Amanda Burge is an ‘extremely tenacious litigator who treats every case as being her top priority and provides common sense and commercial advice in a short time frame’. Associate Laura Daly, who joined in 2017 from Dentons, is also recommended.

Irwin Mitchell represents claimants such as lenders, financial institutions, companies and private individuals, and is representing the claimants in a £20m claim against Alpha Bank and Bank of Cyprus. Representing Crocker Enterprises in a £4.3m claim for negligent contentious patent advice was also a key highlight. Practice head Jonathan Sachs is noted for his experience in lender claims and claims against tax advisers. Southampton-based Andrew Jackson is also a key contact, as is Birmingham-based senior associate Jane Anderson, who regularly acts for lenders.

The ‘strong’ team at Kingsley Napley LLP acts for entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals and corporate clients in claims involving solicitors, accountants, IFAs, trustees, and property and construction professionals. It also stands out for its experience in combined probate and professional negligence disputes. Team head Richard Foss is a ‘very experienced litigator’ who has ‘sound judgement’ and ‘excellent client skills’. Senior associate Mary Young is praised for her ‘great attention to detail’; she is ‘technically very sound’ and a ‘determined fighter’. Ryan Mowat and senior associate Jemma Brimblecombe are also key members of the department.

Penningtons Manches LLP’s ‘very professional’ team regularly acts for claimants in multi-party professional negligence claims. David Niven represented multiple claimants in a £6m action against an international solicitors' firm in relation to purchases of off-plan properties in two developments in Calabria, Italy; he is also representing various claimants in a £1.3m group action against a solicitors' firm, regarding losses arising out of failed off-plan transactions for the purchase of leasehold interests in hotel rooms and student accommodation in a number of failed property developments across Britain. Richard Marshall heads the international trade and commerce group and specialises in negligence and regulatory claims involving solicitors, accountants, architects and surveyors. Senior associate David O’Brien is also a key member of the team. Rustam Dubash heads the commercial dispute resolution team.

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Legal Developments in London for Professional negligence

  • 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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