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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
    • Deborah Britstone - 3D Solicitors
    • Gary Broadfield - Barnfather Solicitors
    • Alan Greenidge - Slater and Gordon
    • Alex Preston - Olliers

Who Represents Who

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Burton Copeland LLP   is a ‘go-to firm for crime in Manchester.’ Among the sizeable team, Louise Straw  is the ‘best of the best, with a fantastic reputation in high-profile sex cases and historic abuse cases’. Also recommended are the  ‘hardworking and quietly efficient' Jonathan Wall, Nick Terry, whose ‘dedication is unsurpassed’, Daniel Weed  (‘very knowledgeable on police law’) and consultant Mike MacKey, who is ‘excellent at understanding the nuances and mechanics of a criminal case’. The ‘top-notch’ team handles the full spectrum of criminal law from serious and organised crime through to regulatory work, road traffic and other areas such as murder, hacking and forgery in addition to burglary offences.

At DLA Piper UK LLP, department head John Gollaglee has extensive experience in all aspects of investigations and the prosecution of contentious corporate crime such as corruption, corporate killing, dishonesty and tax evasion. The team routinely acts for companies and their senior management in the most complex matters both locally, nationally and internationally. Examples of its cross-border capabilities have included advising a UK-based company on its anti-bribery and compliance programme in China. Other key members of the team include consultant Richard Smyth  and senior associate James Moss .

According to some, Farleys Solicitors LLP ‘sets the benchmark for other criminal firms’. The ‘very experienced’ Paul Schofield, the ‘exceptional’ Laura Walmsley, and Bridgette Hibbert  are all recommended, as is Jonathan Taylor, who predominantly handles Magistrates Court cases. The practice advises on a substantial proportion of serious and complex cases throughout the country such as homicides, major conspiracies to import and supply drugs, serious frauds and extradition. It continues to hold its long-running contract with the Legal Aid Agency. The ‘highly rated’ team is routinely instructed by other lawyers by way of referrals and by unions (such as the Professional Footballers Association) to represent its members. In a substantial matter that attracted a considerable amount of media interest the group defended a client charged with murder, which involved evidence from Southern Ireland and Pakistan.

Garstangs Cartwright King LLP's team ‘is sought after by clients facing cases of the utmost gravity, providing first-class advice and advocates that are second-to-none’. Mike Garstang  ‘has excellent judgement and a vast amount of experience’; he is recommended alongside the ‘very smart’ Richard Cornthwaite. The ‘very dedicated’ Michael Balmer  regularly represents clients at the police station and the Magistrates’ Court and is also a qualified higher courts advocate. The practice routinely acts for professionals and company directors who are facing the criminal justice system for the first time and a high proportion of its cases are privately funded. Cybercrime is a particular area of expertise. Richard Holliday joined from Olliers. Gary Broadfield joined Barnfather Solicitors.

LHS Solicitors LLP  has an ‘extremely good team with some excellent individuals at a junior level’. The ‘straight-talking’ Gareth Martin attracts praise for his ‘ability to speak to clients in plain and simple language’. Martin has been heavily involved in advising members of the Fostering Network, and advises the Federation of Small Businesses on various types of offences ranging from health and safety, environmental, and trading standards through to licensing issues.  Deirdre Scott  is a key contact in the professional discipline department and acts for a range of regulated professions with a specific focus on police law. Active clients include the Police Superintendents Association and G4S Staff Association.

At Olliers, Matthew Claughton specialises in representing high-net-worth individuals in a wide range of criminal offence areas. He is rated as 'a brilliant tactician, who makes things go away with the minimum of fuss’ and is well regarded for his work in defending allegations of fraud, serious crime and sexual offences. The team includes the ‘practical’ Stacey Mabrouk, who heads the general Crown Court department and is ‘always mindful of achieving the best outcome for the client’. Mabrouk’s caseload involves allegations of violent assaults, serious sexual offences and drug offences involving possession, production and supply. Alex Preston  is also recommended for her work in serious crime and inquests. Clients include solicitors, accountants, doctors and other healthcare professionals in addition to politicians and prison governors. Key work included securing the acquittal of a healthcare professional who faced allegations of sexual assault. The group has also developed niche specialisms in defending serious sexual allegations and in acting for clients with autism. Matthew Corn handles complex proceeds of crime and confiscation matters and has appeared in high-profile cases involving fraud, drugs importation conspiracies and terrorism. Richard Holliday is now at Garstangs Cartwright King LLP  .

Slater and Gordon fields a ‘top-class team’ that includes ‘hard-hitter’ Richard Black, who provides an ‘exceptional service to police officers facing criminal prosecution’; the ‘dedicated’ Jonathon Enston, who  ‘leaves no stone unturned’ in fraud, business crime and regulatory cases; Rachel Adamson, who joined from Stephensons Solicitors LLP  and is a  ‘major force’; and the ‘tenacious and hardworking’ Alan Greenidge. The team has particular expertise in police law and acts for clients including the Police Federation as well as private individuals. It regularly represents police officers facing criminal investigations or misconduct proceedings and in sensitive cases such as shootings, fatal road traffic collisions and deaths in police custody. It also handles a large number of professional misconduct proceedings.

The ‘tenacious’ Sean Joyce  is a Higher Court Solicitor Advocate and heads the  regulatory and criminal justice department at Stephensons Solicitors LLP . Joyce is ‘one of the top criminal solicitors in the North West and really fights for his clients’. The department assists clients nationwide and is ‘particularly recommended for its miscarriage of justice work’. Joyce is praised for his health and safety work for individuals and businesses and for his advice on road transport issues. The ‘highly experienced and knowledgeable’ Correna Platt  is a ‘fearless advocate’ and heads the serious crime and defence team. The ‘skilled and dedicated’ Mike Pemberton  manages the civil liberties and public law department and senior associate Colin Rawson garners praise for his ‘excellent communication skills’. The team has six high court advocates and assists clients on various matters such as SRA interventions, prison law matters and inquests. In a case that attracted a considerable amount of media interest, the team secured an acquittal for its client after two retrials. The client had been charged with murder and complex issues were considered at trial such as self-defence, reasonable force and adverse inference. Rachel Adamson  is now at Slater and Gordon .

Tuckers Solicitors   ‘continues to set the standard for the defence of serious cases’, and specialises in defending fraud cases in addition to advising on regulatory matters, civil liberties and prison law work.. Leigh Wright heads the proceeds of crime and complex case unit in Manchester and has a ‘commanding presence’. The ‘calm and reassuring' Jill Eastwood is experienced at representing clients facing serious allegations such as murder, rape or the importation of drugs. Franklin Sinclair regularly represents his clients in the Magistrates and Crown courts and is ‘very good for high-value and complex cases’ . Stuart Sutton  has an excellent reputation for defending people who are charged with sexual offences.Key work included successfully defending its client who was alleged to have been involved in the transportation of a large amount of cocaine and cannabis. The firm has a number of Legal Aid VHCCs in progress encompassing terrorism, fraud, drugs importation and distribution as well as murder and serious armed robberies and conspiracies to rob cases.

AGI Criminal Solicitors  is an ‘excellent criminal firm that does its best to protect the rights of its most vulnerable clients’. Key members of this small legal aid practice include Yasmin Aslam, who is described as an ‘outstanding legal aid lawyer’ and praised for her ‘attention to detail and her good practical use of the law’. The ‘tenacious and clever’ Aslam is a solicitor advocate who specialises in general crime, serious crime, fraud and extradition law. Michael Levy  is also a solicitor advocate and is recommended for his work in serious crime. Solicitor Baljit Singh  is ‘very professional, supportive and knowledgeable throughout a case'. The team is currently defending a young defendant who is accused of street robbery through using an imitation firearm.

Brian Koffman & Co has a broad criminal practice that advises on matters as diverse as murders, firearms and drug conspiracies. It has substantially increased its volume of privately funded motoring work for which Brian Koffman   has developed an excellent reputation. The firm represents a range of professional clients, business people and those working in the sport and entertainment industry. It receives a steady flow of instructions for fraud related work, money laundering, applications for forfeiture and the seizure of property under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The team is advising the defendant who is charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving. In another significant matter it is advising its client who is subject to an ongoing police investigation involving allegations of possession of indecent images and causing or inciting sexual activity with a child.

The ‘excellent’ team at Cunninghams Solicitors  is praised for its ability to provide ‘careful and realistic advice’. David Caplin ’s ‘attention to detail is impressive ‘and Philip Lythgoe  is ‘highly capable in all areas of criminal work and exercises fine judgement throughout a case’. Associate James McDermott  is ‘very sensitive to his clients’ needs and extremely supportive’. The department is adept at defending allegations of serious and organised crime throughout the country and frequently advises on diverse matters such as fraud, complex drugs and gangland homicide. Other areas of expertise include high-value confiscation and restraint proceedings, and acting for clients who are based abroad and are facing criminal investigation or prosecution in the UK.

At Draycott Browne Solicitors managing director Shaun Draycott  is praised as an ‘astute and effective criminal lawyer who is supported by an extremely experienced team’. The ‘dedicated, hardworking and no-nonsense’ Robert Mann  is another key member of the team, as is associate Beth Mantel, who  has a ‘fine legal and analytical mind’. The team acts for public and privately funded clients on all aspects of crime, fraud, serious crime and FCA investigations, and has represented a number of high-profile clients on various criminal matters.

The ‘experienced team’ at Forbes Solicitors  has a ‘well-established reputation for excellent client care’. Both Daniel King  and Craig Liversidge are ‘superb, accomplished, well-respected and highly skilled’. The practice is among the largest criminal legal aid providers in the country and also assists private paying clients on a nationwide basis, often representing the principle defendant in multi-handed conspiracies. The team routinely advises on large-scale conspiracies to defraud, international drug trafficking offences and all aspects of sexual offences. It also has significant expertise in cybercrime cases and in people trafficking cases. Recent work includes successfully defending a number of significant cases involving allegations of modern day slavery.

Irwin Mitchell  is particularly experienced in fraud and financial crime but also advises on serious general crime and on complex regulatory issues. Head of team Paul Haycock is increasingly advising on corporate internal inquiries and on protecting the interests of corporate clients who are subject to various inquiries from regulatory authorities and prosecuting bodies. Emma Windle  is another key member of the department. Recent work includes successfully defending a client been charged with inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature securing the acquittal of its client after trial in a case concerning a large-scale regional conspiracy to supply drugs locally.

At JMW Solicitors LLP department head Peter Grogan is ‘fully on top of every detail’. Clients have ‘every confidence’ in Evan Wright, who ‘works so well with barristers, experts, defendants and all other solicitors who are involved in the case’. Mike Rainford  ‘continues to justify his excellent reputation, which he has built up throughout the years’. Ian Lewis  is also recommended. The team routinely deals with serious crime ranging from sexual offences and murder to domestic violence. Key work included acting for a professional charged with causing death by careless driving, and acting for a businessman facing allegations that he had serially assaulted his wife during the course of their marriage.

Keoghs LLP  fields a ‘great team of solicitors of varying levels of seniority’ that is well regarded for complex road traffic fatality cases and for its work in relation to health and safety infringement cases. Neena Sharma has ‘exceptional experience in serious driving cases - she is one of the best around for driving offences’. Also recommended are David Walton  and Suzanne Drinkwater, who acts for corporate clients and individuals who are being investigated or prosecuted by various regulatory bodies. Other members of the ‘strong team that delivers proactive advice’ include associate Heather Vyse and solicitor Rekha Sharma  who has a ‘very positive work ethic’. Clients include Zurich, LV=, Swissport, Allianz and Methodist Housing Association.

MSB Solicitors  has a ‘very competent and successful team that looks after its clients extremely well, without losing any of the necessary sense of proportion’. Head of the team Sean Sexton  is ‘outstanding, committed, energetic and knowledgeable. He instils confidence in his clients and works tirelessly on their behalf’.Andrew Pearson  a consultant Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Court Criminal Proceedings) has a ‘well-deserved reputation for fighting hard but fair. The way in which he deals with clients with autism and their families is a joy to behold. His approach is the classic ‘iron in velvet glove’ charming and courteous to all but quietly determined to achieve the best results he can’.Paul Gallagher  is also recommended – he predominantly represents clients in serious crime ranging from murder to drug importation conspiracies and has particular expertise in telephone cell site evidence.

3D Solicitors  is a ‘firm that is going places’. The boutique practice was founded in 2017 and specialises in regulatory, professional discipline and criminal law (with a particular emphasis on offences of a sexual nature). Daniel Berke was formerly at LHS Solicitors LLP   and is described as being an ‘extremely competent all-round criminal practitioner with strong experience of both defending complex trials and private prosecutions. He leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice’. The boutique also hired rated next generation lawyer Deborah Britstone from LHS.

At ABR Solicitors, Tony Murphy  ‘stands out for his outstanding client care and for being extremely hardworking’. Murphy has represented numerous clients throughout the country in relation to all aspects of criminal law including motoring offences, murder, theft and conspiracy to defraud. Julie Murphy  is ‘particularly adept at isolating the core details of a complex case’ and Claire Wardle  is ‘very hardworking and professional with her clients’.

The criminal team at Brabners LLP is led by Lachlan Nisbet as part of the wider regulatory team and is praised for its ‘superb standards of service which the team carries out no matter how big or small the client’. Nisbet has ‘good knowledge of his cases and the law’. The department handles a range of matters for high-net-worth clients as well as sports personalities, educational institutions, banks and major businesses. Firearms licensing work is a particular specialism.

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