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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 > North West > Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Crime: general
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Michael Balmer - Garstangs Cartwright King LLP
    • Gary Broadfield - Garstangs Cartwright King LLP
    • Deborah Britstone - LHS Solicitors LLP
    • Alan Greenidge - Slater and Gordon
    • Alex Preston - Olliers

Who Represents Who

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Burton Copeland LLP is praised for its β€˜no-nonsense approach and for its ability to tell clients the situation as it is, without the flannel’. Mike Mackey, who is a well-known name for his work on serious/organised crime, road traffic and regulatory crime in particular, β€˜brings a very great level of preparation and commitment to the cases he works on’. Mackey led for the Police Federation on the widely reported case against a retired police superintendent involving historic sexual abuse in North Wales care homes. The team is also acting for the British Cycling’s lead physiotherapist in relation to an ongoing investigation by UKAD. Other recommended individuals include Gwyn Lewis and Louise Straw, who has developed a strong reputation representing individuals in cases involving historical sexual abuse and sexual offences.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s β€˜first-class’ team is praised for its β€˜impeccable preparation and ability to always achieve the best outcome for clients’. Practice head John Gollaglee is described as a β€˜down-to-earth partner who remains very calm and does not get easily flustered’; he β€˜has great industry knowledge and awareness of court practice and procedure, and is an incredible tactician who immediately puts clients at ease’. Other key team members include Richard Smyth, associate James Moss, and senior associate Poppy Williams, who is β€˜always fully prepared’. The practice acts primarily for corporate clients on a diverse range of issues, from internal investigations through to trade export compliance and sanctions. Highlights included achieving a favourable outcome for a client facing prosecution by the Environment Agency relating to a serious pollution incident. It also represented a major client in parallel prosecutions stemming from street works.

Farleys Solicitors LLP’s team of β€˜true experts’ includes the β€˜outstanding’ Paul Schofield and the β€˜very impressive and knowledgeable’ Bridgette Hibbert, whose β€˜advice is always accurate’. The β€˜immensely reassuring’ Schofield has been active in a number of major fraud and money laundering cases and is known for his skill at gathering defence materials in foreign countries. Hibbert is vastly experienced in all aspects of serious and complex fraud, money laundering and confiscation proceedings and has developed considerable niche expertise in high-value Trading Standards cases. Jonathan Taylor is also recommended for his work in mainstream and general crime and Sian Hall is noted for her skill in fraud, regulatory and serious crime. Solicitor Laura Walmsley is β€˜meticulous – she has a knack for detecting and unpicking flaws in the prosecution case and is the solicitor every defendant would want on their side’. The practice’s key highlights included a number of substantial and serious drugs importation/supply conspiracies.

A β€˜truly excellent criminal defence firm’, Garstangs Cartwright King LLP β€˜has a hardworking team’ that is praised for its β€˜great integrity and willingness to go the extra mile for clients’. Mike Garstang heads the general crime team and is a β€˜superb advocate’ who is β€˜calm, experienced, very patient and tactically strong; he is a solicitor who seems not to have any weaknesses’. Richard Cornthwaite is β€˜a very clever tactician who quickly detects any weaknesses in the prosecution case and is great with clients’. The practice handles the full spectrum of criminal matters and is particularly known for its considerable expertise in the niche area of cybercrime, where some clients consider it to β€˜have no equal in the North West’; Gary Broadfield β€˜oozes intellectual prowess and expertise in this area’. The β€˜immensely clever’ Michael Balmer is also recommended.

LHS Solicitors LLP’s β€˜highly efficient team’ attracts praise for its β€˜great commitment and skill’. Key figures include Deborah Britstone, who is β€˜unbelievably hardworking, bright and personable – she is very much on the up and is very highly thought of’; and Gareth Martin, who is rated for his β€˜complete dedication to his clients’. The β€˜highly intelligent’ Deirdre Scott has niche expertise in professional discipline and is described as β€˜a determined and a tough fighter when needs be’. The practice handles a broad spectrum of serious sexual offences, murder and serious violence and drugs cases. Recent work includes successfully representing a retired chief superintendent who was charged with misconduct in public office, perjury and perverting the course of justice. The team also acted for a defendant who was charged with conspiracy to rob articulated lorries at motorway service stations. Graham Neyt is another key contact. Ian Lewis is now at JMW Solicitors LLP.

At Olliers, Richard Holliday is acting for a defendant in a large-scale drugs conspiracy case. He is recommended alongside Matthew Claughton, who specialises in defending sexual offences and secured acquittals in all of his five cases in this area. He is currently representing a defendant facing a 56-count indictment. The β€˜clever, tough but sensible’ Alex Preston is representing a high-profile politician being investigated by the police in respect of historical rape allegations. Preston is a β€˜defender through and through and provides a β€˜private client’ quality of service even in publicly funded cases’.

Slater and Gordon provides an β€˜excellent service; all communications are dealt with promptly, professionally, and the team is very knowledgeable’. The practice has a β€˜justifiably impressive reputation’ thanks to its β€˜high-calibre lawyers who are all industrious, dedicated and tenacious’. Richard Black is β€˜one of the most experienced solicitors around and is renowned for his defence work for police officers’. Also recommended are associate Alan Greenidge, who β€˜represents his clients to the highest standards’, and Paul Reddy, who has a β€˜deserved reputation for his private client motoring offences practice’. Solicitor Chris Fallows is β€˜emerging as a strong presence in police and private client criminal work’. The team has particular expertise in police law – the Police Federation is a major client, and the team regularly represents police officers facing criminal investigations or misconduct proceedings. It also has substantial experience in representing individuals in criminal investigations stemming from work-related deaths and road traffic matters.

For some, Stephensons Solicitors LLP β€˜leads the way nationally in human rights and civil liberties litigation ’. The β€˜very well-regarded and long-established legal aid firm’ impresses by virtue of its team’s β€˜efficiency and grasp of the essentials of every case’. Sean Joyce leads the team, which includes Mike Pemberton, whose β€˜good humour and the mastery of the detail of their cases immediately puts clients at ease’. Correna Platt and Rachel Adamson are β€˜outstanding performers who are extremely thorough, are committed to their clients and who bring a very great level of preparation and commitment to the cases they work on’.

β€˜Up there amongst the very best in the North West’, the team at Tuckers Solicitors includes senior case worker Jill Eastwood, who is β€˜among the best for criminal defence matters’, and Leigh Wright, who heads the proceeds of crime and complex case unit. The team, which is praised for its ability to β€˜always provide an excellent service to clients’, specialises in criminal defence, fraud, regulatory, civil liberties and prison law work. Other key figures include Franklin Sinclair, who represented a defendant charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, blackmail, assault and perverting the course of justice, successfully securing his acquittal. In another complex matter, Wright is representing a defendant in a Β£30m money laundering and duty evasion case over the illegal importation of cigarettes and alcohol, which involves related litigation in Spain. Solicitor Stuart Sutton defends clients accused of sexual offences and has represented clients charged with sexual assaults, rape, offences against children and those who have made pornographic images.

AGI Criminal Solicitors fields an β€˜efficient and switched-on team’ that covers the full range of serious and more general crime, with particular skill in extradition matters. Highlights included representing a defendant in a case concerning rape, sexual assault, grooming and trafficking of three girls between the ages of 14-18. Yasmin Aslam and Michael Levy are both well-regarded.

Brian Koffman & Co handles a wide range of matters including murders, firearms and drug conspiracies, and has substantially expanded its volume of privately funded motoring work, for which Brian Koffman has developed an excellent reputation. The practice recently represented a taxi driver who was charged with Section 18 wounding and causing serious injury by dangerous driving. In another matter the team represented a client who was investigated by the police in relation to allegations of historic sexual abuse; the investigation lasted for two years before the police and the CPS determined that there should be no further action.

Cunninghams Solicitors attracts praise for its β€˜personable approach and willingness to go the extra mile for its clients’. David Caplin heads the team, which includes director Philip Lythgoe, whose β€˜client-handling skills are second to none’, and solicitor James McDermott, who is β€˜incredibly hardworking, organised and down to earth’. The firm has an extensive track record handling cases concerning serious organised crime, such as large-scale drugs conspiracies, people trafficking and murder, as well as having demonstrable skill in handling high-value confiscation and restraint proceedings. Recent work includes acting in a people trafficking and related money laundering conspiracy case involving the alleged facilitation of the unlawful immigration of a large number of individuals to the UK by an organised crime unit. In addition the group is defending two members of a significant organised crime group who are alleged to have distributed vast quantities of controlled drugs throughout England and Wales.

Forbes Solicitors undertakes all types of criminal work, from motoring offences to murder trials and has considerable experience in sexual offence cases. Craig Liversidge is representing defendants charged with gangland murder and international drug trafficking offences. Recent successes included defending in a modern day slavery case that lasted for six weeks at Manchester Crown Court. In addition Liversidge successfully defended a gang member who faced an allegation that he had robbed 14 firearms. The team also represented the head of a Bolton-based organised crime group at Preston Crown Court in a case concerning a large-scale conspiracy to supply drugs.

Irwin Mitchell has particular expertise in fraud and financial crime but is also experienced in handling serious general crime and complex regulatory matters. Paul Haycock, who heads the team, is predominantly based in Sheffield but also operates out of Manchester and Leeds. Emma Windle is also recommended. Recent work includes defending an individual who was accused of being involved in an alleged bogus environmental tax avoidance scheme. In another significant matter it defended an individual accused of an online conspiracy to defraud that exposed a high street retailer to the risk of a loss of approximately Β£1m by virtue of the hijacking of online customer accounts.

The β€˜outstanding’ Peter Grogan heads the department at JMW Solicitors LLP, which is β€˜well regarded in the North West and nationally’. Other key figures include Mike Rainford and Evan Wright, who are β€˜highly thought-of for their work in fraud and complex crime’, and Ian Lewis, who joined the team from LHS Solicitors LLP. The practice continues to handle a diverse range of criminal matters, including representing an 18-year-old defendant in a multi-defendant murder by stabbing/beating in Manchester. In another matter the team represented a defendant in a case concering allegations of fly-tipping (contrary to the Environmental Protection Act), and secured the acquittal of a schoolboy accused of multiple counts of rape. Other clients include the Police Federation of England & Wales, JustPark, ParkingEye and Creative Parking Solutions.

Keoghs LLP fields a criminal team in the North West that attracts praise for its track record in motoring offences. The Motor Crime and Regulatory team handles all aspects of regulatory and motor crime prosecutions for individuals, businesses and many of the UK’s top insurance companies. Key figures include Neena Sharma, who has a β€˜wealth of experience, and is realistic and forceful in her approach’; the β€˜very knowledgeable’ David Walton, who acted for an individual who was investigated for gross negligence manslaughter following an explosion at a factory; and Suzanne Drinkwater, who β€˜works extremely hard for her clients and is devoted to her cases’. Drinkwater acted for a company that faced prosecution following a fatal fall from a height. Associate Heather Vyse is also recommended.

The practice at MSB Solicitors is headed by Sean Sexton, who is a β€˜real heavyweight in crime’; β€˜he likes nothing better than to roll up his sleeves and get involved from the earliest stages of a case right through to, very often, a successful conclusion’. Clients also single out Andrew Pearson, who β€˜excels in client care’. Sexton is currently representing a client arrested on suspicion of involvement in a large tobacco smuggling conspiracy. In addition he is representing a defendant in major confiscation proceedings concerning a conspiracy to supply controlled drugs over a four-year period.

ABR Solicitors has been busy defending clients in a diverse range of matters from terrorism, human trafficking, and drug conspiracy to gross manslaughter charges. In addition the team is known for its strength in motor crime and transport law. Rob Rode is recommended.

Abbey Solicitors handles a high volume of particularly challenging serious criminal work and has a successful track record of β€˜securing excellent outcomes for its clients’. Key figures include Nadeem Ullah, who is a β€˜fearsome defender – precise and incisive’; and Shahid Ali, who can β€˜seemingly distil a case from thousands of documents to a few issues and is both tactically astute and hugely effective’.

Brabners LLP has a β€˜first-rate crime practice and is especially accomplished in firearms licensing appeals’. Key contact Lachlan Nisbet is an β€˜excellent communicator, leaves no stone unturned, possesses a strong tactical awareness and prepares extensively for each case’. The team, which attracts praise for its β€˜unparalleled levels of client care and willingness to put in the long hours’, acts for privately funded clients including sports personalities, educational institutions, banks and major businesses.

Linskills’ team advises on the full range of serious crimes in addition to more general offences such as motoring and regulatory matters. Julian Linskill is recommended.

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