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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 > Human resources > Health and safety > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Who Represents Who

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Addleshaw Goddard’s ‘excellent team’ is led by the ‘extremely able’ Erin Shoesmith, who is regularly called on to assist corporate clients and individuals facing prosecution or investigations by the police, HSE and other authorities. Highlights included achieving a significant reduction in the fine imposed in a matter concerning hand-arm vibration syndrome, and assisting another client in relation to an investigation and prosecution by the HSE for a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. Key clients include Build-A-Bear Workshop, Britvic Plc and Britvic Soft Drinks and Speedy Hire. Managing associate Lee Hughes is also recommended.

BLM’s team is recommended for its handling of fatal accident investigations and high-profile inquests, with a strong presence in the manufacturing, construction, public and care sectors. It’s impressive roster of clients include Zurich Insurance, Warburtons and QBE. Helen Devery has ‘excellent communication skills and is able to fully relate to clients from the boardroom down’. Natalie Puce is also recommended, as as is associate Nick Gianferrari, who is ‘proactive when dealing with the prosecution authorities and as a result places himself in a position where he regularly secures better than expected results for his clients’.Sally Hancock is best known for her work on police and regulatory body investigations, prosecutions and inquests.

Chris Morrison heads the team at Clyde & Co LLP and is noted for his ‘ability to communicate at all levels of the organisation and provide considered and measured advice’. The The team provides ‘balanced technical and commercial advice, which ensures that clients are best placed to respond and protect their organisations during any investigations’. It continues to represent a company and two of its directors in a corporate manslaughter charge following the death of an employee. In another significant matter the practice successfully represented the ride operator at Alton Towers who released the carriage on the ‘Smiler’ ride which subsequently crashed and caused devastating injuries. Other key clients include Royal and Sun Alliance, Airbus, Asda, NFU Mutual and Sports Direct.

DWF provides ‘exceptional levels of service, and its highly responsive and supportive team goes above and beyond’. Steffan Groch is ‘one of the industry leaders in the sector, with a proven track record of success’. Vikki Woodfine is ‘not afraid to stand up and fight for her clients’. Gary Smithhandles sensitive matters in a professional way and remains contactable at all times’. The firm also has a crisis management service that is ‘absolutely first-class; it provides exceptional support in very difficult circumstances’. The ‘very accessible’ team regularly acts in cases following major incidents involving issues such as corporate manslaughter, fatalities and serious injuries. The team has particular strength in the energy, retail, transport and construction sectors to name but a few and counts Premier Foods, Hovis, Cape Industrial Services and Scottish Power as clients. Recent work includes acting for a major client in a police and HSE investigation following a lifting accident, which involved an international product recall and related notification requirements.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team is ‘very practical, responsive and proactive and has real experience of how to manage incidents and investigations’. The ‘immensely experiencedKevin Bridgestruly understands what corporate clients need at the highest level’; he leads a ‘very strong team’ that has real strength in depth with some ‘very capable associates’. Recommended individuals include ‘very thorough’ senior associate Zoe Betts, and associates Emma Evans (‘very knowledgeable’) and Gareth McManus. The retail, construction, energy, manufacturing, financial services and care homes sectors are all key areas of strength for the team, which is handling eight fatal accident cases in addition to other matters such as a corporate manslaughter investigation and matters arising out of the high-profile Crossrail construction project in London.

The ‘very effective’ Rob Elvin leads the team at Squire Patton Boggs, which has ‘excellent knowledge and is thoroughly prepared and professional’. Elvin is praised for his ability to ‘cut to the chase and put across the details of the case in an easy to understand way. He had a calming effect on our team as we were highly nervous about going into court’. The diverse practice does a large amount of complex corporate defence work and has been busy advising on a broad range of matters such as suicide in the workplace, security and terrorism related risks. Other areas of expertise include advising on accident investigation protocols, modern slavery and child safety in addition to product safety at work. It was pleased to secure some excellent new clients wins such as Joseph Gallagher and UBH International to add to its client base of household names such as the NEC Group, Clintons Cards and Cancer Research UK. Highlights included securing a favourable outcome for its client in a local authority prosecution over a landlord’s responsibilities regarding gas appliances at a tenanted pub.

Philip Moy, Richard Green and the ‘thoroughly preparedSimon Parrington are the key figures at Hill Dickinson LLP, whose broad practice has considerable expertise in a number of sectors including construction, retail, logistics, and healthcare.

Key figures at Keoghs LLP include David Walton, who is ‘tremendously experienced and has seen it all before; he gives realistic advice and has the ability to cut through the rubbish and identify the points of real merit’. Also recommended are Suzanne Drinkwater, who is ‘experienced, conscientious and great with clients’; and Neena Sharma, who takes a ‘pragmatic view of cases, gives informed advice, is street-wise, well informed and very good at her job’. Associate Heather Vyse is ‘able to consume vast amounts of information very quickly’ and assistant solicitor Bill Dunkerley is a ‘star of the future; he is always willing to go that extra mile for clients’.

Osborn Abas Hunt is praised for its ‘excellent client care and fantastic in-depth knowledge ’, with clients singling out Madeleine Abas, who is described as a ‘recognised expert in H&S law who strives to achieve the best outcomes for her clients’. The practice has been highly active defending organisations and individuals nationally at substantial trials, acting in appeals of enforcement notices and securing decisions of no further action for its clients. Key mandates included representing a company in a five-week trial at Wood Green Crown Court in a prosecution by the HSE following a serious accident in which a glazing operative was crushed by in excess of a tonne of glass units. Other clients include Pochins and Serco.

Weightmans LLP attracts praise for its combination of ‘superb commercial awareness when advising on complex H&S matters, with an ability to give a good strategic overview which is perfectly matched with the clients’ needs’. Associate Dewi Ap-Thomas is the key figure in Manchester. The team recently represented East Riding Borough Council at an inquest following the death of a motorcyclist which the family alleged occurred as a result of poor street lighting and an inappropriate approach to parking restrictions in the area. HM Area Coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

Brabners LLP’s ‘highly professional team’ includes the ‘intelligentLachlan Nisbet, who is praised for ‘handling matters calmly’. The group is regularly called on to advise on matters arising from serious incidents, from internal investigations and discussions with the regulator, to attending PACE interviews through to acting in prosecutions by the HSE and local authorities. Key clients include Ashland Specialty Chemical Company and Jungheinrich UK.

DAC Beachcroft LLP fields a team of ‘talented individuals who achieve good outcomes for their clients’. Consultant Iain Moore advises on all aspects of risk for insurers, captives and self-insureds.

At Pannone Corporate LLP, the ‘very experienced’ Tristan Meears-White regularly defends businesses under investigation by the HSE and local authorities, in addition to advising clients on crisis management, managing legal risk and formulating health and safety compliance and corporate governance solutions.

Slater and Gordonis making significant strides in health & safety’, with clients singling out the ‘first-class’ Helen Simm as a ‘very hardworking and committed lawyer’. The team represented a company and its director during an investigation and prosecution by the HSE following a fatal incident at a demolition site.

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Legal Developments in North West for Health and safety

  • Companies should plan now to minimise their pension protection levy

    The amount that pension schemes have to pay to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) for the year 2006/07 may have increased by as much as five times the previous year's levy. Employers who ultimately bear the cost of many pension schemes will need to make plans now to ensure the levy payable for the year 2008/09 is kept to a minimum.
    - Stephenson Harwood

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