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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 > Insurance > Personal injury: defendant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal injury: defendant
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Lauren Gosnell - BLM
    • Jamie Taylor - DWF

Rising stars

  1. 1

BLM's substantial personal injury defence team has considerable expertise across the whole spectrum of cases. Jonathan Clay and Joanne Francis jointly lead the practice, which acts for a wide range of clients in the public sector, as well as charities, SMEs and multinational companies across sectors including retail, leisure, construction, manufacturing and the motor industry. Key team members include Andrew Kerr, Ruth Graham, David Spencer, while four lawyers were promoted to the partnership in the team during 2018 - Lauren Gosnell, Louise Stubbs, Steven Lynch and David Rainey. Associate Nicola Overmire is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Clay; Joanne Francis


'Vast experience across the industry, with an unrivalled team of partners.'

'David Spencer has an ability to get to the heart of complex issues of liability and quantum. Vast and almost unique knowledge of motor sports claims '

'Andrew Kerr has an unrivalled experience of catastrophic value PI claims.'

'BLM are a leading practice for defendant insurance. Their partners have genuine strength in depth, which cascades down through more junior associates.'

'Andrew Kerr is unflappable, highly intelligent and modest. He has excellent commercial judgement and attention to detail. If anyone sued me I'd want him on the job.'

'Gill Rothwell is quietly spoken but tenacious. Huge experience, great technical skills and almost psychic ability to predict settlement values.'

'Victoria Jackson is a rising star, superb at covering the proliferation of noise claims.'

'Very personable, with an excellent combination of diligence and approachability.'

'BLM's Manchester office is the first port of call for almost all major insurers. In catastrophic injury work they are adept at engaging with claims at an early (pre-action) stage and are able to ensure that claims are sensibly and swiftly dealt with, sometimes even before proceedings have be issued. The partners and associates have a strong team of junior solicitors and paralegals supporting them.''

'Andrew Kerr has a really good grasp and tactical awareness of how catastrophic injury claims work, and is able at an early stage to co-operate with claimant solicitors and work out route maps to both sides obtaining the necessary evidence to be in a position to consider settlement as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. He is determined and unflappable.'

'Lauren Gosnell is really on top of her case load, knows the details of each one inside out and is enthusiastic and determined to get the best outcome in each case.'

'Louise Stubbs instills her clients with complete confidence in her professional ability and her approach to cases. She is determined when it comes to a fight.'

'Nicholas Thorne is calm and measured, and strikes up good working relationships with his opponents.'

'Andrew Williamson and Nicholas Thorne are bright and capable with excellent capacity to deal with the swings and roundabouts of the litigation process, and good knowledge of their field. The same applies to Alison Noonan and Danielle Worrow.'

'David has an in-depth knowledge of the motor sports sector - he is popular with clients as he provides robust, tactically sound and practical advice to maximise success for those he represents.'

'The team has a wealth of experience in dealing with high value personal injury cases.'

'Sally Whalley is an excellent PI lawyer. She has outstanding interpersonal skills, and knows how to prepare, and to win, a case.'

'The team has a solid background of work in this area which is passed on through the generations. Their practice and procedures are highly organised to assist in bringing out the best from each individual but also assist in analysis of cases at greater depth.'

'BLM's strength is founded upon their specialisation and deep knowledge of the insurance sector upon which they focus. They have excellent, seasoned, experienced professionals providing active, hands on solutions rather than a number of their process led competitors who are content, rather than outcome, led.'

'Stuart Furniss, Elizabeth Wallace and Lauren Gosnell are class acts in terms of identifying key issues, garnering the requisite evidence and advancing cases efficiently, while managing their insurers clients expectations. They provide prompt and accurate service to the clients and know the best occasions on which to involve counsel prior to any settlement meeting, medication or trial.'

'Luisa Lamb is particularly knowledgeable and a great leader for the Manchester team.'

'Lauren Gosnell goes the extra mile for her clients. She has the ability to hold her nerve and remain focused on the real issue in a case when unexpected developments occur.'

'Paula Jefferson: She is hugely experienced in abuse cases, acting for a wide range of religious institutions and their insurers. She does so with tact and good sense.'

'Streamlined and efficient personal injury lawyers dealing with defence cases in a cost effective manner.'

'Stuart Furniss is focused and very able.'

'BLM has populated their Manchester office with the best PI lawyers in the north west. As a result it is not unusual for insurers to send catastrophic claims to BLM's Manchester office even where the claim has no north west connection. All of the lawyers are extremely hard working and know their stuff as well as, and in some cases better, than anyone else.'

'Andrew Kerr has the intellectual ability to master the most complex claims - clients love his calm and authoritative approach.'

'David Spencer is an absolute master at client handling, right at the top of his game and an instinctively good lawyer.'

'Lauren Gosnell is probably the hardest working solicitor I know and will always put the client's needs at the top of the agenda, as well as having the know-how to manage a multimillion-pound claim.

'Chloe Davies is utterly reliable and a crucial part of the team.'

'BLM Manchester are probably the biggest firm in the NW handling Defendant PI work across the full spectrum from catastrophic injury to industrial disease to motor claims. The firm offers nothing less than a gold standard service. It has absolutely the right balance between a dynamic commercial approach to its cases and old school client care. It has unrivalled technical expertise and insight into industry developments and how to best advance their client's cause in those matters.'

'Ruth Graham is a wise head with bags of experience whom the insurer clients warm to and can trust.'

'Ruth Graham has huge experience in the sector and is very pragmatic and results-oriented.'

'A dynamic team with a broad range of knowledge and great depth of experience to deal with large loss claims. The partners are very much hands on and spend a lot of their time working on the cases.'

'Stuart Hardy is client focused and a great team leader. He has a brilliant grasp of the technical and commercial realities of litigating complex legal disputes.'

'Andrew Kerr has an excellent mind and an eye for detail.'

'Nicholas Thorne has a calm, reassuring manner that instills confidence.'

'David Spencer is robust and a good litigator.'

'Karen Redmore has excellent technical and legal knowledge and good sense of judgment.'

'There are few firms that can match their personal injury, regulatory, and insurance knowledge in the field of motorsports accident litigation.'

'David Spencer is highly experienced, and has the ability to cut through cases and see past the irrelevant detail. A seasoned negotiator who's never intimidated. I'd want him on my side.'

Key Clients











JW Lees

Karro Food Group



Ringway Jacobs


Thames Valley Police




Peel Ports




Network Rail







Aspen Risk




The personal injury defence team at Clyde & Co LLP is well known for delivering innovative solutions in cases involving the most serious injuries and providing strategic disease litigation. David Wynn predominantly deals with asbestos-related, carcinogenic and chemical poisoning claims for insurers and multinational companies, while Chris Murray focuses on complex personal injury litigation in respect of road traffic accidents, employers' and public liability. James Dadge and Peter Whitehead are also key names. Damien Rourke, who specialises in defeating fraudulent claims, relocated from the firm's London office to Manchester in late 2018.

Practice head(s):David Wynn; Peter Whitehead; Chris Murray; Mark Hemsted; Damien Rourke; Rob Muttock; Siobhan Mullins

Other key lawyers:James Dadge; Judith Martin; Kate Duffy; Chris Eccles


'Mark Hemsted and his team provides valuable support with our motor personal injury defendant litigation work. Clyde & Co are utilised to support our business in view of their extensive knowledge of the motor injury claims legal environment.'

'Mark Hemsted has an in-depth understanding of our business and our commercial requirements. He provides our claims management team and case handlers with both a professional and personal support across a wide range of subjects.'

'Chris Murray is a great force behind the team. Kate Duffy is also an excellent tactician and a great leader.'

'Working with Clyde & Co is a very positive experience. Clyde & Co have a team which consistently strong. When something crops up outside their field they can pull in other resources from elsewhere in the firm, both efficiently and swiftly and in a way which is unparalleled in my experience.'

'Chris Murray has a relaxed but professional manner which makes him easy to work with. He has a knack for spotting the cases requiring investigation. He knows his cases well but delegates effectively and has respect for his team. His team is talented from the most junior trainee up. They get things done.'

Key Clients

Axa Insurance



Riverstone Insurance

Pro Insurance Solutions



InterEurope AG

Work highlights

  • Defending a claim for Pro Insurance Solutions that exposure to diesel fumes and ammonia had caused asthma.
  • Defending a high value fatal mesothelioma case for Resolute brought by relatives of a deceased former employee.
  • Helped NFU Mutual to secure the dismissal of a claim for a serious injury on a point of abuse of process.
  • Advised Catalina Re on a groundbreaking approach to chronic pain claim which saved 99% of the sum claimed.

Paul Berry is at the helm of DWF's national insurance team, which comprises a broad personal injury practice, handling catastrophic injury claims and large loss matters such as fatalities, serious brain and spinal injuries, to occupational health and industrial disease cases and motor traffic accident claims. The department also has a dedicated counter-fraud team led by Jamie Taylor. Ian Slater, who heads up the Manchester insurance practice, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Paul Berry

Other key lawyers:Rob McKee; Nigel Teasdale; Ian Macalister; Simon Mather; James Roden; Mark Treacher; Tom Higson; Simon Denyer; Patrick McBrien; Daren Charlton; Ian Slater; Dave Young; James Pinder; Jamie Taylor; Andrew O’Connell; Stuart Poole; Graham Smith; Carl Graham; Giles Kellner; Fiona Matthews Sarah Mir David Woolley Hannah Fitzgerald

Key Clients



QBE ( longstanding)

Markerstudy Group



Groupama ( longstanding)



Equity Red Star

RSA ( longstanding)


Forbes Solicitors is recognised for its work advising local authorities on casualty and highway claims. The department also has expertise in the defence of fraudulent claims for insurance clients and is involved in high profile historic abuse cases. Other areas of activity include the handling of high value personal injury claims and employers' and public liability claims for large national retail chains. Key names in the department include Chris Booth, Paul Geldard, Kella Bowers, Elizabeth Bower, Ridwaan Omar and Andrew Ellis.

Practice head(s):Chris Booth; Paul Geldard; Kella Bowers; Elizabeth Bower; Ridwaan Omar; Andrew Ellis

Other key lawyers:Lucy Harris; David Mayor


'Andrew Ellis is an excellent partner - he always has time for everyone no matter who they are or level of experience. He ensures everyone understands his opinion and proposals for proceeding with a detailed level of clarity. '

'The team is well regarded by their clients and have a strong position in the market in this part of the country.'

'Kella Bowers is an expert in child abuse, child sexual exploitation and local authority negligence claims; clear and forthright in her advice; commercial and pragmatic in her approach to claims.'

Key Clients


Gallagher Bassett

Cooperative Group

Cunningham Lindsay international t/a Sedgwick

Lloyds Syndicate 2525

SportsCover Europe



Guinness Partnership

Riverside Housing

Kepak Group


Work highlights

  • Successful defence of a coordinated group of highway claims against Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, having identified fraudulent activity.
  • Representing Rotherham MBC in a potential group action resulting from institutional abuse within an adult care centre.
  • Defence of fraudulent highways claim for Bury Council with QOCS being overturned.
  • Defence of public liability claim as a result of injury during a football match.
  • Represented the Local Authority in their handling of the Rochdale child sexual exploitation cases.

Gordon Davidson and Martin Stockdale jointly lead Kennedys' personal injury defence department. Davidson is adept at assisting local authorities with their employers and public liability claims as well as their disease claims, while Stockdale leads the counter-fraud team, which acts for a mix of insurers, public sector clients and corporates, handling work which often has an international element. The team has expertise in a number of sectors such as leisure and hospitality, sport, construction, manufacturing, transport and logistics. Richard McKeown and senior associate Ian Ford are also key individuals.

Practice head(s):Gordon Davidson; Martin Stockdale

Other key lawyers:Richard McKeown; Christopher Oldfield; Paula Garvey; Ian Ford; Scott Nightingale; Katherine Totty; John Mackenzie; Chris Stubbs; Robert Ashurst; Michael Bickerstaffe; Nicola Smith; Paula Leece


'A growing team with excellent strategic skill in the most complex and challenging injury claims for insurers.'

'Gordon Davidson is the stand-out individual. A legal colossus. Vastly experienced, hugely affable and universally liked and respected by clients and opponents alike. One of the last true gentleman solicitors.'

'Very professional and understand their customer's requirements. The practice brings confidence and assurance that our, the customer's interests are protected.'

'The team at Kennedys in Manchester provide an excellent service. They are extremely thorough, bring a high level of expertise to each claim, but are also commercially and tactically very astute. The team is structured in a way that enables the senior fee earners to delegate where appropriate to more junior members of the team who are always bright, enthusiastic and extremely efficient which is always really helpful. The team, in keeping with the firm, are also innovative in the way in which they provide their legal services to their clients.'

'The individuals I work with all have a very high level of technical expertise. They are particularly good at determining those cases which need to be fought and do so tenaciously. Equally they are also adept at recognising early the cases where a degree of pragmatism is going to be required to get the best overall outcome for the client. They build and maintain strong relationships with their clients and are a pleasure to work with.

'Chris Oldfield and Richard McKeown are vastly experienced and are well known to stand out within this practice area.'

'The team are keen to engage with us on what approach we like to take with our personal injury claims. They consider the bigger picture such as brand reputation and customer service as well as providing clear, helpful legal advice. We almost see the team as an extension of our own in-house legal team which is great.'

'Richard McKeown is very friendly and approachable and goes above and beyond to provide a high standard of legal service and advice.'

'Richard McKeown has a true passion for defending claims but also is realistic and does not raise hopes of success where there may be loopholes in our defence. He has a common sense approach which is rare these days, and looks at whether our clients contractual expectations are realistic.'

'The team are dedicated to establish a second to none, working relationship with ourselves and the client. They are both personable, yet professional, which makes the relationship dynamic and efficient. By fully understanding the needs, and working relationship of the client, this enables all round satisfaction.'

'Richard McKeown has extensive knowledge, charisma and dedication.'

Key Clients

Hilton Hotels

JD Wetherspoon Plc



MJ Gleeson

British Cycling

Marston’s Plc

TCS Claims (Endsleigh)

UK Athletics

Virgin West Coast Trains

The Go Ahead Group

Keoghs LLP's large team acts for many of the leading UK insurers, including nine of the top 10 UK motor insurers, as well as a variety of self-insured clients, commercial companies and public sector organisations. The group handles a good mix of claims comprising motor, disease, catastrophic injury and insurance fraud. The department's abuse team, under the leadership of Alastair Gillespie, acts on behalf of insurers, religious organisations, schools, charities, sporting clubs and public organisations. Andrew Underwood specialises in serious and catastrophic injury cases, while Mark Whalley, Damian Ward and Emma Spencer are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Don Clarke; Gary Fitzpatrick

Other key lawyers:Andrew Underwood; Mike Pope; Alastair Gillespie; Damian Ward; Sarah Swan; Ian Carroll; Ben Leech


'The team in Manchester and Bolton are grounded diligent, practical and easy to work for.'

'Emma Spencer stands out for her all round common sense. Mike Pope and Mark Whalley are sound, experienced hands who know what they are doing. They are all well supported by a stable team.'

'Really experienced team who have huge level of experience in dealing with claims arising out of alleged child sexual exploitation.'

Key Clients




Hastings Direct




Direct Line Group


Work highlights

  • Represented Barclays through Royal & Sun Alliance on a potentially precedent-setting Court of Appeal decision on vicarious liability for an independent contractor.
  • Acted on behalf of South Yorkshire Police in relation to a group of civil claims arising from alleged child sexual exploitation between 1994 and 2011.
  • Acted on behalf of AIG, Zurich and RSA in a case where the judge handed down what is believed to be the first judgment on the issue of PPOs as a mechanism for funding future immunotherapy in mesothelioma claims.

Weightmans LLP has a very large defendant personal injury team, which, in addition to representing a vast number of local authorities and police authorities, acts for the majority of top insurers and numerous FTSE 100 companies. David Holt is client partner for the Motor Insurers' Bureau and focuses on non-indemnity insurance work and catastrophic injury claims, including spinal injuries, paralysis and serious head injuries, while Peter Forshaw is the firm's lead lawyer for casualty litigation, specialising in employers, public liability and product liability claims. Peter Wake has considerable experience defending injury claims that arise out of professional negligence allegations against social services as well as historical abuse claims. Roddy MacLeod leads the firm's stress team. Liam McGuire is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):Peter Forshaw; Liam McGuire; Peter Wake

Other key lawyers:David Holt; Victoria Coleman; William Quinn; Suzanne Milne; Roddy MacLeod; Chris Ball; Graham Dean; Louise Mutch; Katie Gemmell

Key Clients


Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB)

NHS Resolution

Cooperative Insurance

AIG Europe Insurance

Ageas Insurance

Tesco Insurance

Sabre Insurance

Collingwood Insurance

First Central Insurance

AXAXL Insurance

Travelers Insurance

Insure the Box

Liberty Mutual Insurance



Enterprise Rent A Car


Rolls Royce

DAC Beachcroft LLP's defendant personal injury team is continuing to expand its client base, which includes many of the leading UK insurers and self-insured corporates. Head of motor injury Craig Godding has extensive experience of dealing with complex road traffic, employers' and public liability claims, while the team also has strength in the defence of disease claims, particularly those relating to deafness. Corrine Sinker is in charge of the firm's casualty department and focuses on accident and disease work, with particular strength in dealing with complex asbestos cases. Kate Archer recently rejoined the firm as partner after six years at DWF.

Practice head(s):Craig Godding; Corrinne Sinker; Kate Archer

Other key lawyers:Peter Newstead; Naomi Marshall; Barrie Hall

At Horwich Cohen Coghlan, practice head Mark Woodall handles complex and high value claims comprising road traffic collisions, employers' liability as well as public liability. Woodall is also recognised for his work on personal injury claims with a foreign element. The firm acts for insurers, self-insureds and UK claims handlers for foreign insurers.

Practice head(s):Mark Woodall

Other key lawyers:David Horwich

Plexus Law has a strong track record across a wide array of personal injury claims including casualty, motor, occupational disease, fraud, employers' and public liability, with key clients including government departments and major corporates. Anthony Baker is 'a truly excellent lawyer with great knowledge', while Tim Short has particular strength in chronic pain and subtle brain injury claims. Other key names in the department are counter fraud head Gary Petterson, Philip D’Netto, who recently took up the leadership of the catastrophic injury team, and public sector head Andrew Steel, who works in tandem with Matt Smith and Louise Shaw. The team was boosted in early 2019 with the addition of two new partners - Stuart Clemson and Nadia Nahapiet, who joined from DWF and Clyde & Co LLP respectively.

Practice head(s):Anthony Baker; Tim Short; Gary Petterson; Philip D’Netto; Louise Shaw; Andrew

Other key lawyers:Andrew Smith


'The team approach the task of representing their clients with a great blend of enthusiasm and discipline.'

'Andrew Steel leads the team in a friendly and approachable manner. He is always available when needed and responds to all our requests in a clear and consistent manner, enabling us to share his advises on without further interpretation.'

'This is an outstanding team who couple robust attitude with pragmatism. They are equally comfortable in the trenches and engaging in sensible negotiation as the case may require.'

'Gary Petterson is fantastic with clients. He marries sound legal knowledge with the ability to communicate the strengths and weaknesses of a case to the client.'

'An excellent approach to cases with thorough knowledge of the relevant law and an adeptness at dealing with clients.'

'Anthony Baker is a truly excellent lawyer with great knowledge; hardworking and fantastic with clients.'

Key Clients



Tesco Stores Ltd


Swiss Re

Balfour Beatty

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Police forces including Merseyside and Lancashire

Work highlights

  • Represented a landlord at the behest of his insurers, Direct Group Ltd, in the defence of a claim brought by a property surveyor who fell through an open cellar hatch into a cellar whilst attending the landlord's premises to complete a pre-tenancy inspection and inventory. The claimant's case was dismissed.
  • Represented defendant Vax Ltd in the defence of a claim brought by a customer alleging his flooring was damaged by a vacuum cleaner manufactured by the client. The case was dismissed at trial.
  • Advised on a matter arising out of a road traffic accident in which the claimant was a passenger in a black cab which collided with an East Midlands Ambulance Service vehicle.

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Legal Developments in North West for Personal injury: defendant

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