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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 > Pensions > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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  1. Pensions
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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DLA Piper UK LLP fields 'undoubtedly one of the best pensions team in the North West'. Highlights included advising the trustees of a large company in the chemical industry on various matters such as answering a number of queries from members and advising on a complex consolidation of the rules in addition to advising on investment documentation. Ben Miller ‘consistently produces truly excellent work of the highest quality’ and Jeremy Harris  is ‘superb on pure pensions law but is well able to bridge the gap across to the commercial side if required’. Claire Bell is ‘very competent and exceptionally capable’. Other key clients include the Trustee of the Jacob's Bakery Retirement Benefit Scheme, the Trustees of the Navigator Terminals UK Pension and the Life Assurance Plan. The Trustees of the Warburtons Pension and Life Assurance Plan and the Trustee of the Svitzer Marine Pension Scheme are also major clients.

The ‘very efficient’ Ele Lovering  leads the team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP , which has ‘real strength in depth both nationally and internationally’. Simon Daniel  ‘combines excellent technical knowledge with a strong commercial awareness’.  Charmian Johnson  has extensive experience of advising trustees and companies on a diverse range of pension issues.  Helen May  is a ‘very able and technical lawyer with strong presentation skills; she is very thorough and does not easily get fazed by technical questions even where there is not an easy answer’. Both are principal associates. Legal director Sarah Lown  is ‘practical and knowledgeable’ and associate Scott Rorke is praised for his ‘excellent organisational skills’. The practice is advising the Trustees of two of INEOS’s largest pension arrangements on a proposal from INEOS to close the schemes to future accrual. Once closed to future accrual significantly all active members of the Scheme on the closure date will become ‘special deferred members’ in the scheme and will receive enhanced levels of spouse, incapacity and death benefits. Manchester Airport Group Pension Schemes is another key client.

The ‘very highly regarded’ Stephen Scholefield  heads the department at Pinsent Masons LLP . Scholefield advises trustees and employers on both strategic and day to day legal and governance issues, and specialises in complex reorganisations, buy-ins and buyouts as well as advising on schemes in distressed situations and on long-term strategic planning. The team's blue-chip client base includes financial institutions and pension providers as well as pension schemes and their employers. Pippa Read is recommended for her work with trustees and employers. Senior associate Robert Tellwright advises a number of insurance companies on buy-in and buyout transactions and routinely advises trustees, employers and financial institutions on other areas such as benefit changes, scheme mergers and restructuring in addition to complex funding arrangements. The team advises Balfour Beatty Pension Fund on a wide range of issues such as advising on an asset backed funding and security arrangements, on member communications and on investment matters. It also advises the trustees of two Royal Ordnance pension schemes on various issues such as scheme documentation, benefit security and member disputes.

At Squire Patton Boggs David Griffiths is ‘able to translate complex technical issues into sensible advice’ and advises employers and trustees on a myriad of complicated pension issues. Victoria Leigh  is also recommended for her work on the contentious side. The broad practice regularly advises on issues such as corporate rescues, scheme closures and overseas pension schemes. It has a strong market presence in public sector pensions particularly in local government pension scheme issues. During the past year the team has worked as trustee on a major scheme with cross-border implications and has been dealing with a full range of pension scheme trustee business including assisting with two scheme actuarial valuations. Other active clients include Denholm Pension Scheme, Fenwick Limited Superannuation Fund and Holland & Sherry Pension & Life Assurance Scheme.

The ‘omnipresent’ Tim Green  at DWF  is a ‘great lawyer who understands his clients’ needs – he is a natural and tenacious problem solver who has the magic touch with clients’. He advises trustees, sponsors, government bodies and providers on the full range of pension issues both contentious and non-contentious. He has particular sector expertise in retail, energy, nuclear, transport, public and the charitable sectors. Senior associate Sinead Sheehan  has significant experience advising clients on a wide range of pensions issues including legal and regulatory compliance as well as liability management and pension scheme restructurings. Highlights included advising the Trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme in a matter that has been widely publicised in the press and concerns 130,000 members of the £15bn pensions scheme. Other key clients include 2020 Trustees Limited, Edmundson Electrical Ltd and Ladbrokes Coral Plc.

The team at Gateley Plc is led by the ‘very professional’ Patrick Kennedy and is ‘extremely experienced and focused’. Kennedy works on all aspects of pension law including advisory, transactional and trustee appointment. Stuart Evans has particular expertise in master trusts and works on many schemes to which Entrust Pension Limited has been appointed as trustee. Highlights included advising the trustees of the Usdaw staff superannuation fund on an internal dispute over a complaint by a member of the scheme.  Andrew Cawley joined the team as a consultant from KPMG Law, while Suresh Bhatt is now at gunnercooke LLP.

Hill Dickinson LLP 's  team has strength in advising on closing schemes to future accrual and severing the final salary link (the team is adept at acting for companies and trustees alike). The group is also skilled at advising on scheme wind ups and scheme restructuring. It is currently advising Vynova Runcorn Limited and its German parent on the closure of future accrual of benefits in the EVC UK plan and the Ineos Chlor Pension Fund respectively. Other key clients include Swissport GB Limited, Tote (Successor Company Limited (Betfred) and Keysight Technologies UK Limited. The ‘proactive, measured and practical’ Barry Gibb and Paula Warnock  are recommended.

Brabners LLP's highlights included advising an alliance of employers in the Scottish Solicitors Staff Pension Fund on how to negotiate their exit from the fund and how to manage the substantial liabilities of the fund. Clients include global corporations such as Toyota and Ingersoll Rand and well-known UK companies such as Travelodge and Peel Ports. The ‘very responsive and helpful’ Ian Mylrea  is ‘completely dedicated to his clients’. Andrew Ashley-Taylor is another recommended member of the team and joined from Irwin Mitchell.

Paul Carney   at Shoosmiths LLP  advises on all aspects of pension law and has considerable experience in public service pension schemes. Associate Alexandra Ventham  routinely advises corporate and trustee clients on all aspects of pension law. The team also advises on other matters such as risk management within schemes, scheme mergers and the closure of schemes to future accruals. Clients include the Trustees of the AH Marks Pension Scheme, the Trustees of the Nufarm Pension Scheme as well as Markem-imaje Limited.

Weightmans LLP  has an ‘excellent team’ under the leadership of the ‘well-known and sensible’ Mark Poulston. Poulston has particular expertise in handling the pension aspects of corporate transactions as well as on scheme redesign and terminations. He also frequently advises on life insurance matters. Jane Marshall  is well regarded for her work where matters span employment and pension law such as public sector outsourcing and pension scheme changes. The team is advising the Equality and Human Rights Commission (a principal employer of a defined benefit occupational pension scheme) on the winding up of the scheme. Other clients include Liverpool Hope University, Pochin’s and the Football Pools.

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Legal Developments in North West for Pensions

  • 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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