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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 > Real estate > Social housing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Josephine Morton - Brabners LLP
    • Kirsty Varley - Croftons Solicitors LLP
    • Matthew Wilson - Clarke Willmott LLP

Who Represents Who

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Brabners LLP is singled out as ‘one of the leading firms for social housing’ and offers a full service to social housing providers with expertise across property and development, governance, housing management, corporate finance, banking, charities, construction and construction disputes, employment, pensions, commercial contracts and health and safety work. Transaction highlights include acting for Helena Partnership on the acquisition of 294 units in St Helens and West Lancashire from Arena Housing Group and Manchester and District Housing Association; and advising Liverpool Mutual Homes on the £20m acquisition of land in a back to back transaction with developer, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Liverpool Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Trustees for a 100 unit extra care facility and 70 affordable homes. To further demonstrate the team’s ‘in-depth knowledge of the sector’; it successfully obtained an access injunction for Liverpool Mutual Homes against a tenant pursuing a housing disrepair claim but failing to allow access for repairs to be completed; acted for Derwent & Solway Housing Association in respect of its amalgamation with Two Castles Housing Association to form Castles & Coasts Housing Association; and advised The Riverside Group on the formulation of its Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Procedure for use in supported housing. Alistair Fletcher is ‘brilliant’ and heads the housing and regeneration department and Ian Alderson leads the housing management team; both are ‘expert and incisive’. Rupert Gill leads on corporate, governance and regulatory work in the housing and regeneration sector; Angela Clearkin is experienced on land acquisitions and sales; Peter Barlow specialises in development and regeneration work; senior associate Josephine Morton and associate Catherine Fearon have an ‘excellent reputation for high-quality, realistic advice and high-quality case preparation’. Consultant Suzanne Gregson is also recommended as is senior associate Lisa Robotham who co-heads the home ownership team.

The ‘quality’ team at specialist housing and regeneration firm Croftons Solicitors LLP is active across governance and regulation, development, housing and leasehold management, employment and procurement. Head of governance and regulation Jo Loake has a ‘breadth of knowledge on governance and regulatory issues’ and led advice for The Regenda Group on its corporate structure, in relation to commercial subsidiaries and adding of new group members. Property head Arthur Chapman advised Adactus Housing Group on the £8m purchase of part of a social club site in Ellesmere Port for a mixed tenure affordable housing development. The ‘experienced and responsive’ Julie Loggenberg handles property and development matters and continues to advise The Regenda Group on a £21m complex land purchase for a flagship development as part of Peel Holdings’ Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme. Melanie Dirom  leads the ‘excellent’ housing management team and senior associate Kirsty Varley regularly advises on anti-social behaviour and gang-related activity. Managing partner Simon Leighton is also noted as is Bob Agnew who heads the commercial property team and associate solicitor Danielle Gatcliffe who heads the residential conveyancing team. Associate Bhaven Chauhan recently joined from Addleshaw Goddard.

Forbes Solicitors attracts praise for its ‘broad range of knowledge around employment and culture within the social housing sector, and it brings that understanding into the advice it gives’. The team handles an array of mandates for housing associations and is active across litigation, property, corporate, leasehold, development, employment, procurement and governance matters. Together Housing, Guinness Partnership, Riverside, Trafford Housing Trust, Community Gateway, Shoreline and Boston Mayflower are clients. Key figures include ‘very experienced’ housing litigation team head Stuart Penswick; the ‘brilliant’ Lucy Worrall, who heads the housing and regeneration property team; Lachlan McLean, who heads the complex case and leasehold team; employment head Jonathan Holden, who has a ‘certain presence that provides assurance to the client’s decision-making process’; and housing management team head Shirley Faragher, who has a ‘vast amount of technical knowledge’. Also recommended are Tim Hollingsworth, who handles transactional work; And commercial head Daniel Milnes. Key associates include Jennifer Hankinson, who was recently promoted, and specialises in housing and regeneration property law; Sam Gorrell , who assists clients on anti-social behaviour and other breaches of tenancy; the ‘professional and approachable’ Sarah Rogers; and Lucie Cocker, who specialises in housing and asset management. Sarah Mansfield is also recommended.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s team handles a range of social housing mandates which includes regulatory, governance, joint ventures, investment and funding work and it is noted for its experience on large development and regeneration projects. Highlights included advising on the establishment of Bamboo Estates, a joint venture by Magenta Living and Torus 62, to let residential property on the open market; assisting ForViva with a borrowing and refinancing deal, which included acting as UK counsel on its debut US private placement and advising on the refinancing of the group's existing bank facilities; acting for Southway Housing Trust on the purchase of its head office on Princess Road in Manchester; and advising Two Castles Housing Association on its amalgamation with another registered provider. The team is also advising the Homes and Communities Agency on the Help to Buy equity loan programme. Housing and regeneration head Suzanne Benson specialises in major projects such as strategic land acquisitions, joint ventures and regeneration, and also advises on the development of homeownership products. Mike Gaskell is active on constitutional, governance and regulatory matters. Also recommended are Janet Winrow , who leads on major regeneration schemes; Adrian Bode , who specialises in complex social housing property transactions; Richard St John Williams, who acts for registered providers, local authorities, and private sector clients on affordable housing sector mandates; Lynn James, who handles property litigation; Melanie Comer, who heads the real estate finance security team; and senior associate Tom Wainwright , who specialises in governance, corporate and contracts work. Kate Bouchier has joined Manchester City Council.

The ‘professional’ team at BLM ‘responds quickly’ and represents social landlords in housing management and litigation and is particularly noted for its experience in tackling anti-social behaviour. Cases involving disrepair and housing fraud are also key strengths, and the team is increasingly acting on complex development projects and funding. The ‘knowledgeable’ Matthew Hyam heads the housing management and litigation team and acted for The Riverside Group on a possession case; defended Clarion Housing Group on a case involving allegations of disrepair, breach of human rights, personal injury, disability and racial discrimination; and was instructed by Wolverhampton Homes on a closure order following a referral from social services in relation to the exploitation of a vulnerable tenant. Halton Housing Trust and Sanctuary Housing Association are also clients. The arrival of Stephen Lintott and a team from Slater and Gordon, has enhanced the firm’s ability to handle property transactions and development projects.

Clarke Willmott LLP acts for a range of social landlords, including registered providers and local authorities, on housing management, and is experienced in tackling anti-social behaviour, advising on tenancy and leasehold disputes and complex disrepair claims, as well as tenancy agreements and policy matters. It advised Paragon Asra Housing on possession proceedings against a tenant who was suspected of sub-letting their property; advised Adactus Housing on a dispute with a managing agent as to regarding fire safety obligations; and advised South Liverpool Homes on an injunction and claim for possession. Stafford & Rural Homes, South Staffordshire Housing Association and Equity Housing are also clients. Key figures include Lindsay Felstead, who is national head of housing management, and associate Matthew Wilson.

Pinsent Masons LLP is regularly instructed by landowners, residential developers, local authorities, funders, grant givers and contractors on large-scale housing transactions and the team regularly advises on strategic joint ventures in the sector. The team advised Manchester City Council on the Northern Gateway Project, which will deliver 10,000 new homes, which includes a significant proportion of social housing, and advised Matrix Homes, a joint venture between Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, on a new housing investment fund. It acts for Homes England on several projects and is advising it on several sites in the region for the delivery of new homes and affordable housing. Recently promoted partner Helen Robinson regularly advises on complex housing regeneration schemes and planning specialist Michael Pocock is also recommended. Senior associate Ann Draper specialises in residential development schemes and Nicola Buchanan is now a practical development lawyer. Senior associate Paul Pinder recently joined from CMS .

Weightmans LLP’s expertise spans housing management, employment, development projects and employment matters. The team is advising Open Solutions (OSUK) on housing management issues and acquisitions and dispositions, and is acting for City West Housing Trust on new leasehold premises in connection with the appointment of City West to manage Cheshire West and Cheshire Council’s housing stock in the Ellesmere Port area. The team is also advising clients such as One Vision Housing and Halton Housing Trust on its acquisition and development programme, and acted for Liverpool Mutual Homes on injunction proceedings against a tenant. Department head and property litigator Sian Evans focuses on housing management and is 'very knowledgeable and cuts through difficult matters with sound and commercial advice'. Associate Thomas Starkey heads the real estate division of the social housing practice and acts for social housing and local authority clients in development and regeneration work in addition to home ownership, landlord and tenant and securitisation matters. Also recommended are Gary Jones, who advises on corporate governance and commercial matters; Jane Marshall, who handles pensions and employment work and associates; Lee Rogers, who handles employment matters; Dei Harries  specialises in pensions work; and Tom Collins, who advises on construction matters for clients in the social housing sector.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP has a ‘pragmatic approach’ and delivers ‘timely advice’. It acts for registered providers and is noted for its niche expertise in advising clients in the supported living and sheltered housing sector. The team is also active across property acquisitions and disposals, finance, dispute resolution, regulatory, housing management, debt collection and commercial work. The team advises South Liverpool Homes on re-sales of leasehold property and development agreements, advised Kirklees Council on the disposal of land for residential development to a registered provider of social housing, and advises Fairhome Group on the delivery of supported living schemes. David Baybut leads the team, which includes Kate Bullen, who specialises in commercial property and residential development; Louise Hebborn, who handles disputes; Alistair Gregory, who leads on debt collection matters; employment specialist Philip Richardson; and Chris Graves , who is experienced in supported living developments.

The ‘extremely professional and customer focused’ team at specialist outfit Knox Ellis Solicitors demonstrates an ‘in-depth knowledge of the social housing sector’ and it acts for registered providers and local authorities on a range of leasehold and housing management, estate and asset management, anti-social behaviour matters. Eastlands Homes Partnership, Wirral Partnership Homes, New Progress Housing Association and Irwell Valley Housing Association are clients. Tom Knox has an ‘eye for detail and engages well with clients’ and Sarah Ellis provides ‘clear and user-friendly advice, even on the most complex cases’; together they ‘leave no stone unturned in achieving positive outcomes’. Senior associate  Ian Larkins  is ‘professional, knowledgeable and confident’. Associate solicitors Emma O’Hare and Louise Murphy recently joined from Keoghs and Nicholls Lindsell & Harris. Andrew Pearson joined Blackpool Borough Council.

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