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  1. Professional negligence
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β€˜A market leader for professional negligence’, Clyde & Co LLP acts for a heavyweight insurer client base that includes Zurich, Travelers, Markel, QBE, Aviva and Allianz. β€˜Very thorough’ team head Sarah Clover β€˜truly appreciates the sensitivities involved’. She is ably supported by the β€˜simply outstanding’ Simon Konsta, Andrew Blair (who is β€˜a very impressive operator’), and Richard Harrison, who heads the lawyers’ liability group and β€˜always provides clear advice’. Also recommended are Gaby Kaiser (who is singled out for her β€˜talent for getting into the detail’), Neil Jamieson, James Roberts, who heads the accountants liability group, construction liability group head Richard Moody, and the β€˜excellent’ Fergal Cathie. Recent hires include Mark Sutton, who joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP; Gordon Walker, who joined as a result of its merger with Simpson & Marwick; and Simon Lampier, who joined from his own consultancy business. Tom White was promoted to partner.

Mayer Brown International LLP is β€˜an outstanding player in professional negligence’. The firm fields a β€˜very responsive’ team with β€˜a good level of partner involvement’ and which is noted for its experience in complex, high-value matters acting for clients including QBE, Kier, BDO LLP, Markel, and Costain. Michael Regan and William Glassey lead the practice, which includes Sean Connolly, who has β€˜a fantastic reputation’; Jim Oulton, who β€˜always has time for his clients’; and the β€˜excellent’ Lindsay McQuillian, β€˜focused’ Ingrid Hobbs and β€˜very knowledgeable’ Mandip Sagoo. Clients also recommend Angus Duncan, for his β€˜in-depth expertise’, and Sally Davies and Tom Duncan, who are β€˜fantastic on construction-related matters’.

CMS’ β€˜commercial’ team is β€˜always willing to go the extra mile in terms of service’. Based across its London and Bristol offices, the team acts for a range of insurers including Beazley Syndicate, QBE, ACE, Chubb and Brit. Ed Foss heads the team, which includes the β€˜exceptional’ Martin Fox; Monica Lesny, who is β€˜always on top of the detail’; Stephen Tester, who β€˜will spot the points that others will miss’; the β€˜brilliant’ Belinda Schofield; and Zoe Burge. Also recommended are Stephen Netherway, who heads the financial institutions practice, Anna Crew, who heads the solicitors professional indemnity team, and Alex Denslow, who heads the insurance sector group. Cheryl Gibson and Simon Garrett are also key names.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s β€˜thorough and hardworking’ team is active across a number of sectors including financial services, insurance, legal, construction, accountancy and pensions, where it acts for insurers as well as blue-chip corporates. The β€˜very commercial’ Paul Lewis leads the global contentious insurance and reinsurance practice, which includes David Reston, who is β€˜astute, industrious, and very down to earth’, Tom Leech QC, and the β€˜exceptional’ Ian Gatt QC. Sarah McNally and Harry Edwards were recently promoted to the partnership.

Hogan Lovells International LLP fields a β€˜very impressive’ and β€˜well-respected’ professional negligence team that is particularly noted for its experience in the legal, accountancy, pensions, property and insurance sectors. β€˜Top-notch’ team head Nicholas Heaton β€˜can hone in on the most important issues in a case’, and is ably supported by Angela Dimsdale Gill, who is β€˜experienced, unflustered, extremely able and an outstanding negotiator’, and Ruth Grant. Senior associate Nathan Sherlock is β€˜always completely on top of the case’.

Kennedys’ β€˜responsive’ team has β€˜excellent industry knowledge’. The firm is on RSA’s construction panel and recently acted for the client and its insured chartered accountants on a claim brought by Harlequin Property and Harlequin Hotels & Resorts regarding an investment scheme. John Eastlake and Manchester-based Jeremy Riley head the team, which includes the β€˜pragmatic’ Martin Chesher, β€˜highly regarded’ Simon Gibson, Catherine Shuttleworth, who has β€˜a great reputation’, Tom Stapleton, and David Wilkinson. Fleur Rochester joined from Hill Dickinson LLP in February 2016 and Matt Andrews is now based in the Sydney office.

RPC has β€˜a fantastic reputation’ for professional negligence work and its expertise spans legal, technology, construction, surveyors and financial negligence. AIG, Aviva, AXIS, QBE and Markel are clients. Tim Bull heads the team, which includes Nick Bird, who is noted for his β€˜in-depth knowledge’; Paul Castellani, who is β€˜excellent on claims involving lawyers’; the β€˜very experienced’ Alan Stone, who is particularly noted for construction-related cases; and the β€˜outstanding’ Alexandra Anderson. Also recommended are the β€˜brilliant’ Simon Greenley and Simon Laird. James Wickes was promoted to partner in 2015, while Alex Hamer recently retired.

Simmons & Simmons’ β€˜technically strong’ team has extensive experience in claims against accountants, actuaries, lawyers, brokers, construction professionals, IT consultants, surveyors and valuers. Key figures include the β€˜outstanding’ James Pollock, who heads the team; the β€˜excellent’ Colin Passmore, who is particularly noted for accountants claims; Emma Kendrick-Jones, who attracts praise for her β€˜broad skill-set’; Simon Hilditch, who is singled out for his β€˜exceptional mind’; and Carol Hewson, who is recommended for her expertise on real estate cases. Clients also recommend of counsel Jeremy Roberts and managing associate Felix Zimmermann. Of counsel Iftikhar Ali recently joined from Signature Litigation LLP.

DAC Beachcroft LLP attracts praise for its β€˜very high-quality service’ and β€˜strength in depth’. The team advised two former partners of accountants Kingston Smith & Partners LLP and their professional indemnity insurers in High Court proceedings. Trevor Chamberlain heads the department, which includes William Allison, who is β€˜first rate for finance-related instructions’; Michael Blackburne, who heads the construction practice; Julian Miller, who is noted for pension and financial litigation; and the β€˜very knowledgeable and commercial’ Patrick Hill. Also recommended are Richard Highley, who leads on accountancy-related matters; Hans Allnutt, for his β€˜excellent data privacy skills’ ; Philip Murrin, for his β€˜exceptional talent and commitment’; and Evi Hava, who is noted for solicitors’ negligence matters. Mark Sutton joined Clyde & Co LLP.

Antony Marsh’s β€˜effective’ team at DWF acts for clients including Novae Insurance Company, Amlin, Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund and Chubb. The β€˜excellent’ John Bennett, β€˜very able’ Andrew Davis and β€˜quick, commercial’ Harriet Quiney (who β€˜gives sound advice’) are also recommended, as are Alexandra Goddard, for financial services and pensions advice, and the β€˜highly regarded’ Joseph Arazi. Other key individuals include Peter Campion, Mark Klimt, Matthew Olorenshaw, Peter Sewell and Jacquetta Castle. Simon Durkin was promoted to partner in 2015.

Stephenson Harwood delivers β€˜thorough’ and β€˜well-thought-through’ advice, and is praised for its ability to β€˜focus on the key issues’. It defended Deloitte LLP on a case brought against it by singer Sade’s former manager for breach of duties. The team is jointly headed by Roland Foord (who has β€˜vast experience’) and Stephen Roberts (who stands out for his β€˜academic approach, but also for his ability to see the wood from the trees from a business perspective’). Andrew Myers, Tony Woodcock and Richard Garcia are also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s β€˜professional and responsive’ team is led by Nick Bradley, who β€˜always provides sound, practical legal advice’. The team advises on a range of high-value pensions, tax, technology and infrastructure professional negligence matters. Key work included acting for Dunbar Assets on a portfolio of ten professional negligence claims against chartered surveyors. Isabel Nurse-Marsh is β€˜incredibly well organised’, β€˜very litigation savvy, and has a great feel for her cases’. Also recommended are Colin Read, who is experienced in engineering and construction; the β€˜excellent’ Stuart McNeill; and Manoj Vaghela.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s β€˜exceptional’ team focuses on complex and high-profile disputes and regulatory investigations. The practice is particularly noted for its expertise in accountancy matters; notable work included defending PwC in a Β£1.6bn claim arising out of the collapse of sub-prime lender Cattles and its trading subsidiary. Key figures include the β€˜very talented’ Julian Randall, Andrew Howell, who is noted for his β€˜in-depth expertise’, and Stephen Flaherty.

BLM defends a broad range of professionals including lawyers, estate agents, surveyors, construction professionals, accountants, auditors, banks, local authorities, and trade unions. Elliot Pound heads the team and has β€˜an encyclopaedic knowledge of the advisory landscape and the regulatory environment’. Pound is ably supported by consultant Charlotte Capstick, who is β€˜an extremely experienced and capable lawyer’; Martin Jensen, who has β€˜the ability to cut through complex problems and find lateral solutions’; Peter Stockill, who is β€˜an energetic and effective litigator’; and the β€˜knowledgeable, skillful and innovative’ Michael Harvey. Richard Wilkins, Michael Salau, Keith Lonsdale and Alex Traill are also recommended.

Beale & Company Solicitors LLP has a strong construction professional indemnity team that is noted for its β€˜excellent industry knowledge’ and for its ability to β€˜grasp the wider picture’. The firm also advises on financial and legal matters for a client base that includes HCC International, Aviva Insurance UK and IFA Solutions. Antony Smith leads the team, which includes Damian McPhun, who β€˜considers the issues at hand carefully’; the β€˜clever and hardworking’ Ed Anderson; and Sheena Sood, who is β€˜very client focused’. Heidi Kapadia and senior associates Ian Masser and Nathan Modell are also noted. Stephen Reilly joined the team from CNA Hardy.

Bond Dickinson LLP successfully advised Starstone and Beltec on a construction case. Standout individuals include the β€˜fantastic’ Emily Monastiriotis, the β€˜technically very good’ Simon Gildener, Hannah Cane, who provides β€˜practical and clear advice’, Ross Baker and the β€˜very professional’ Sushma MacGeoch. Jane Williams and legal director (and β€˜robust litigator’) Dan Hall are also recommended.

Eversheds LLP’s β€˜commercially astute’ and β€˜efficient’ department is led by Simon Brooks and advises on matters involving insurance brokers, accountants, lawyers and construction professionals. Key individuals include Matthew Allen, Paula Gaddum and Claire Carroll, who is β€˜thorough and very diligent’. Jeremy Irving joined DWF.

Holman Fenwick Willan’s β€˜diverse’ practice provides a β€˜seamless service’ on negligence cases concerning brokers, lawyers, accountants and surveyors, and also handles E&O defence work. James Clibbon (who is β€˜great with clients’) leads the team, which includes David Robinson, who β€˜obtains excellent results’; Nigel Wick, who β€˜handles cases with real verve’; and the β€˜fantastic’ Andrew Bandurka. Also recommended are Paul Wordley, John Barlow and Graham Denny. In 2015 Christopher Cardona joined as insurance group head from Chadbourne & Parke (London) LLP.

The β€˜impressive’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright has β€˜a wealth of experience in commercial litigation’ and acted for Guidance Hotel Investment Company on a matter concerning a MENA property portfolio. The β€˜calm and authoritative’ Susan Dingwall heads the team, which includes the β€˜first-rate’ Liam O’Connell; Chris Warren-Smith, who β€˜focuses relentlessly on the objectives of the client’; the β€˜excellent’ Ffion Flockhart; and the β€˜practical’ Melanie Ryan. Paul Morris and Kirsty Hick are also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP houses a β€˜fantastic’ team with β€˜strong’ experience in professional negligence cases. Clients include Mott MacDonald, QBE and The Griffin Insurance Association. Department head Nick Speed has a β€˜fantastic reputation’ and is supported by the β€˜outstanding’ Patrick Beale, Margaret Campbell, who is noted for cases concerning brokers and solicitors, and the β€˜extremely knowledgeable’ Charles Hewetson.

The β€˜commercial’ team at Ashurst is noted for its financial sector focus; key mandates included advising Cattles and Welcome Financial Services as sub-prime lenders on a high-profile claim against PwC for audit negligence. Department head James Levy is β€˜a tenacious, intelligent and measured leader’

Fieldfisher advised on a case against former property solicitors for failing to properly review and advise on a break clause in a head lease. Colin Gibson, Jonathan Ray-Smith and Simon Moore are recommended. In 2016 James Lappin joined the Manchester office from DWF and Vivien Davies joined from Edwin Coe LLP.

Gowling WLG’s β€˜knowledgeable’ team is advising the trustees of the Β£2bn Philips Pension Fund and Philips Electronics on a claim against Aon Hewitt and AllianceBernstein. Team head Jane Howard has β€˜great client skills’ and advises on claims involving accountants and auditors. James Gordon and Ian Gordon are also recommended. Andrew Nugent Smith was recently promoted to partner.

Ben Ogden leads the β€˜focused’ team at Ince & Co, which defended Travelers, RSA, Novae, Canopius, Omega, Atrium and Markel as the insurers on proceedings by the assured owner of a superyacht following extensive fire damage. Chris Jefferis heads the insurance group, which includes the β€˜first-rate’ David Rutherford and Simon Cooper. Nilam Sharma left the firm in 2015 to join Keystone Law.

Neil Davis leads the team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which provides β€˜top-quality advice from experienced individuals’ and handles legal, financial and construction claims, as well as technology and insurance broker cases. XL Catlin, Pembroke Managing Agency and Amlin UK are clients. The β€˜talented’ Nicolas Oldham heads the construction and engineering risks team, and head of financial claims Virginia Hickley is noted for her β€˜thorough and sound judgement’. Paul Spibey and consultant Harriet Strevens are also recommended.

Plexus Law is β€˜very strong in the field of professional negligence’. It successfully acted for Capita Group on a pensions dispute. ACE, AXIS, Collegiate, Liberty are Partner Re are clients. Key individuals include Peter Court, who has β€˜good commercial judgement’; the β€˜very committed’ Simon Beckwith; the β€˜thorough and careful’ Mark Ratcliff; Gary Thwaites, who is β€˜an experienced litigator’; and Gary Wicks, who is β€˜absolutely excellent’ and β€˜gets a real grip on a case’.

Neil Trayhurn leads Triton Legal (formerly Robin Simon LLP)’s β€˜hugely knowledgeable’ team, which β€˜gives pragmatic and commercially focused advice’. It successfully defended Baker McKenzie LLP and its indemnity insurers on a claim by its former client, Symrise. Also recommended are Michael Robin, who is β€˜a leader in his field’, Tim Barr, who is β€˜a rising star’, and the β€˜first-rate’ Joanne Staphnill.

Weightmans LLP’s β€˜thorough and tenacious’ team advises on construction claims, claims against IFAs and on cases involving property professionals, valuers and surveyors. Quentin Fox is β€˜calm, measured, and technically and strategically strong’. Ed Lewis provides β€˜sound legal advice, delivered with commercial acumen’. Other key figures include Robert Crossingham, who is β€˜sensible, hardworking and has excellent judgement’, and Liverpool-based Mike Grant, who heads the team and is a β€˜pragmatic, commercially sensitive and highly effective tactician’.

Withers LLP regularly defends barristers on the instruction of the BMIF, and also acts for claimants on cases against accountants, valuers, insurance brokers, architects and solicitors. Christopher Coffin has β€˜an extraordinary skill in guiding cases from beginning to very end’ and is β€˜realistic, but not afraid of the fight’. Associate Caroline Thompson has β€˜a quick grasp of the detail’ and special counsel Eleni Polycarpou is also recommended.

Bird & Bird LLP’s β€˜experienced’ department advises on a range of professional negligence cases, including finance, construction and real estate. Jonathan Speed and Sophie Eyre are the key contacts.

Browne Jacobson LLP provides β€˜very timely, accurate and succinct advice’ to clients such as Hiscox, Bar Mutual, Chaucer and Aon Claims Solutions. Michael Howard, Jim Hobsley and Jonathan Newbold are recommended alongside team head Derek Bambury. Jonathan Corman joined Fenchurch Law in 2015.

Clifford Chance LLP’s β€˜well-drilled department has the flexibility to cover the most complex, high-value professional negligence disputes’. The β€˜incredibly clever’ Philip Hill and β€˜heavy-hitting, street-smart litigator’ Stephen Surgeoner lead the team, which includes Roger Leese.

Edwin Coe LLP is praised for its β€˜unrivalled expertise in pursuing claims against insurance brokers’, and acts for claimants and defendants in a wide range of commercial insurance matters. Michael Whitton heads the team, which includes Roger Franklin and Nicola Maher, who has β€˜nerves of steel and is good at dealing with challenging claims and clients’.

Hill Dickinson LLP advises on cases in the technology, construction and legal sectors and is increasingly active in cyber-related instructions. RSA, Aviva, Aspen Insurance, First Title and ProSight Specialty Insurance are clients. Jamie Monck-Mason, Dileep Pisharody and Andrew Schutte are recommended. Fleur Rochester recently joined Kennedys.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s clients include EY and KPMG. Matthew Lawson and Simon Willis are the key contacts.

Slaughter and May’s β€˜highly-rated’ department advises on complex matters across a range of sectors including finance, legal and pensions. Efstathios Michael has a β€˜fantastic reputation’ and is recommended alongside team head Deborah Finkler.

The β€˜knowledgeable and responsive’ team at TLT has developed a strong professional negligence practice and is particularly noted for its expertise in the financial sector. It is advising Barclays Bank on a claim against a firm of valuers. Andrew Lyon and Peter Richards-Gaskin are β€˜excellent’.

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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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