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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 > Public sector > Local government > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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The team at Addleshaw Goddard provides an ‘excellent service and has a breadth and depth of knowledge that inspires confidence that matters will be taken care of properly’. The ‘exceptional’ Michael O’Connor is recommended for his ‘willingness to listen to his clients and then also produce very high-quality work’. The firm has ‘sound expertise in all of the specialisms required in drafting these contracts whether they be financial, legal, procurement or TUPE’. Legal director Rob Thompson provides ‘concise and accurate advice and crucially can be relied on to deliver on time’. The team has an excellent reputation for its work on major outsourcing and partnership transactions both locally and nationally, and has a strong reputation for defending local government in high-value procurement claims. Another area of expertise is its work on renewable projects for local governments, many of which involve a mix of public and private sector finance. It was appointed to advise Stoke City Council on a proposed variation and refinancing of its pathfinder street lighting PFI Scheme (which it originally advised on in 2002/2003). It also advised Cheshire East Council on various matters relating to its contracts with BT for the provision of superfast broadband.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and dependable’ team includes Liam Cowell, who is well known for his work in infrastructure and project finance transactions, and attracts praise for his ‘excellent, client-focused approach’. The ‘very commercial and pragmatic’ Sarah Bell is ‘skilled at joint venture advice’ and Peter Brook is well regarded for his work on complicated commercial and technology contracts for public sector clients. Legal director Gemma Cowap is ‘very talented and good at structuring agreements’. The team advises local government clients on a broad range of issues such as planning, real estate and pensions. Highlights included advising Cheshire West and Chester Council on a major city regeneration project and acting for Sefton MBC in the defence of over 100 claims being made under Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973. Other clients include The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, Liverpool Vision Limited and Knowsley MBC. At DWFJonathan Branton, Michael Mousdale and Colin Murray are recommended for their work in procurement projects. The firm is strong on diverse matters such as advising on large outsourcing of public services and on major regeneration projects. It is also skilled at advising on contentious matters. The team assisted Cornwall County Council on its procurement of an operator for 15 of its leisure centres. It also advised South Tyneside Council on its procurement of a development partner to deliver a £200m mixed-use development on an iconic brownfield site. Other clients include Serco, Royal Borough of Greenwich and Stockport MBC.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is a ‘genuine full-service firm with strong individuals and good partner engagement’. Jackie Heeds is praised for her ‘ability to deliver complex projects’. She regularly advises funders together with public and private sector clients on PPP work and other long-term contractual arrangements for infrastructure projects. Ian Barker is highly regarded for his work on complex and high-value regeneration and development projects. The team has been advising London and Continental Railway Limited on the Mayfield Regeneration Project, which encompasses a £550m office, retail and leisure development in the Mayfield Quarter of Manchester. In another significant matter it is advising Liverpool City Council on a multimillion-pound procurement. This is a new advertising venture for the building, operation and maintenance of 15 large format digital advertising screens at various highway locations across the city of Liverpool. Other significant clients include London Borough of Lambeth, Transport for Greater Manchester and Sunderland City Council.

Scot Morrison at Pinsent Masons LLP is well regarded for his experience in structuring public sector joint venture vehicles and partnership structures involving local authorities and other government bodies. The team is currently advising the Homes and Communities Agency on a number of sites throughout England and Wales for the purposes of affordable housing. In another high-value matter it is advising London Borough of Wandsworth on the creation of a joint venture to deliver a landmark regeneration scheme in the Winstanley and York Road Estates, which will deliver new housing, community, leisure and commercial uses on a key London transport hub within a designated housing zone.

The ‘helpfulSimon Goacher heads the department at Weightmans LLP and is praised for his ‘comprehensive knowledge of local government law’. The large team advises on a broad range of issues, from regeneration projects to big employment projects. It advised Oldham Borough Council during an investigation into a complaint that a member of a local council had been convicted of offences of downloading abusive images of children. In another significant matter the team advised Flintshire Council on its strategic housing and regeneration partnership to enable the council to appoint a partner to deliver social, affordable and market housing in the county. Other major clients include North West Legal Consortium (which has over 40 local authorities).

BLM is described by some as ‘a leading firm for abuse claims’. It acts for local authorities and institutions including charities and religious groups and is praised by its ‘sensitivity to the needs of clients in this difficult area of litigation; where cases need to be settled it does so at the first opportunity, however where cases need to be fought the firm will do so’. Under the leadership of Paul Tarne and Mark Eisen, the team also receives plaudits for its work in claims for misfeasance and malicious prosecution. It is also skilled at advising on social housing, inquests, personal injury and regulatory work. The team successfully defended a claim that was brought against Gwynedd Council by a cyclist on a remote highway in the mountains in North Wales who was thrown over his handlebars when he encountered a large chunk of tarmac. The claimant proceeded to the Court of Appeal where his claim was dismissed.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s work spans the full range of local government requirements, from constitutional and governance advice to projects and litigation. In Manchester Jan Levinson is recommended for commercial litigation and Alison Key for real estate matters. The group has been advising Bolton MBC on its disposal of a former multi-storey car park to a private sector developer. In other highlights it acted for Oldham Borough Council in connection with an agreement for the development of a residential site in Oldham.

Senior associate Sarah Swan is a key contact at Hill Dickinson LLP’s multi-disciplinary team. She is a ‘very experienced litigator who identifies the issues at an early stage and is able to get the best outcome for her clients either through settlement or where the claim has merit by taking the case to trial’. The team has been supporting the in-house legal team at Rochdale Borough Council on a range of issues from procurement, pensions, and commercial contracting to constitutional/governance issues. Having previously acted for Chorley Borough Council on its acquisition of the town’s main Market Walk shopping centre in 2013, it is now advising it on the ambitious development plans to extend the shopping centre to incorporate a cinema, flagship retail store and restaurants.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP has a broad practice with one of the largest child care teams in the North West – numerous members of staff are appointed to the Children Panel. Its commercial property team has been appointed to various panels, including the West Yorkshire framework agreement for general property matters, and Philip Richardson is adept at advising local authorities on employment matters. Its housing team frequently represents tenants, local authorities and social housing landlords.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP advises on the full array of public sector matters. Recommended partners include Mike Gaskell, who specialises in social housing, constitutional, governance and regulatory matters, as well as leading on major projects. Suzanne Benson is another key contact and is skilled at advising on regeneration, joint ventures and on the outsourcing of management services in addition to the development of intermediate home ownership models. The group is advising Cheshire West and Chester Council on the redevelopment of approximately 10 acres near Ellesmere Port, which will transform a largely derelict site into prime retail, leisure and commercial properties. Other clients include Amey, Wolverhampton City Council, North Norfolk District Council and Gloucester City Homes.

The ‘very practical and responsive’ Mark Barker heads the team at Squire Patton Boggs. He specialises in development work, with a particular emphasis on complex and strategic regeneration projects and large-scale development transactions. Highlights included advising Preston City Council on the redevelopment of the City’s indoor market for a leisure led scheme, which will have a multi-screen cinema, high-quality restaurant units and a multi-storey car park. It is also advising Warrington Borough Council and its development manager, Muse Developments, on the comprehensive regeneration of Time Square in Warrington.

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