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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

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Catherine Fearon - Brabners LLP
    • Josephine Morton - Brabners LLP
    • Lisa Robotham - Brabners LLP
    • Sarah Rogers - Forbes Solicitors
    • Thomas Starkey - Weightmans LLP
    • Kirsty Varley - Forbes Solicitors
    • Tom Wainwright - Trowers & Hamlins LLP
    • Matthew Wilson - Weightmans LLP

Brabners LLP acts for regional and national registered providers across the full spectrum of matters; the team has a home ownership conveyancing team, handles a range of housing management and litigation work, and is active across the full range of property, and landlord and tenant litigation. Alistair Fletcher is 'extremely experienced and incredibly knowledgeable'; Ian Alderson heads the housing and regeneration department; Angela Clearkin heads the development team; and Rupert Gill provides corporate, regulatory and governance advice. Senior associates Josephine Morton and Catherine Fearon, who handle contentious housing management work, and Lisa Robotham, who handles non-contentious real estate mandates, are also singled out.

Practice head(s):Alistair Fletcher; Ian Alderson; Angela Clearkin; Lisa Robotham; Andrius Roos; Peter Barlow

Other key lawyers:Catherine Fearon; Suzanne Gregson; Rupert Gill; Josephine Morton

Testimonials

The quality of provision of this firm makes it the leading specialist firm in Liverpool, and a clear leader in the North

Ian Alderson is first class, reliable and delivers pragmatic advice

Rupert Gill is excellent at providing commercial advice that finds a practical solution in a regulatory environment in order to achieve the stated  objective whilst minimising risk

Key Clients

Liverpool Mutual Homes (now Torus62)

Helena Partnerships (now Torus62)

Golden Gates  (now Torus62 )

Regenda

The Riverside Group

Leeds Federated

Progress Housing

Adactus Housing Association

Chorley Community Services

North West Housing Services

Cobalt

Eldonian

Work highlights

  • Advised on the amalgamation of Liverpool Mutual Homes Limited with three registered providers within the Torus Group to create Torus62, one of the largest registered providers in the region.
  • Advised on a significant regeneration transaction for the council, involving a key city centre site.
  • Advised on a high-value acquisition of affordable housing on a mixed-use development by the Jigsaw Group.
  • Advised Liverpool Mutual Homes (now Torus62) on a £20m investment in a key landmark site.
  • Advised Prima Group on its conversion to community benefit society and exempt charity status.

Specialist housing firm Croftons Solicitors LLP is 'first-rate' for social housing work; it handles a broad spectrum of work across housing and leasehold management, property and development, governance and regulation, and is regularly instructed by a number of regional and national registered providers.  The 'experienced' Arthur Chapman jointly heads the property team with Julie Loggenberg and the 'exceptionally able' Melanie Dirom  is head of housing and leasehold management. Jo Loake  is head of governance and regulation and Simon Leighton is the overall department head and managing partner.

Practice head(s):Simon Leighton; Melanie Dirom; Arthur Chapman; Julie Loggenberg; Bob Agnew; Jo Loake; Helen Kevens

Testimonials

The firm offers specialist social housing sector expertise

Key Clients

Jigsaw Group (prev Adactus)

Trafford Housing Trust

Salix Homes

Plus Dane

Muir Group

Irwell Valley Housing

Victory Housing

Calico

Guinness Partnerships

Arawak Walton

Arcon

Aspire Housing

Work highlights

  • Advised Salix Homes on a landmark Court of Appeal case that will clarify the law around expired possession orders and rent arrears.
  • Advised a consortium of six registered providers, in a joint project with Manchester City Council, to provide much-needed homes for homeless and vulnerable families in Manchester.
  • Advised Salix on a complex section 20 consultation matter relating to major improvement works on four high-rise tower blocks.
  • Advised Victory Housing Trust, which was seeking possession of a property because of a breach of tenancy and anti-social behaviour.
  • Advised North Wales Housing, which was seeking mandatory possession of a property due to allegations it was being used for Class A drug use.

Forbes Solicitors offers 'specialist' social housing advice across litigation, property, corporate, leasehold, development, employment, procurement and governance matters. The team acts for a raft of registered providers across the region and beyond. Jennifer Hankinson heads the housing and regeneration property team and Stuart Penswick heads the housing litigation team. The practice, which is praised for being 'very reactive to urgent issues', also includes Lachlan McLean and Shirley Faragher. Recently promoted partner Lucie Cocker stands out for her contentious expertise, while Sarah Rogers, who specialises in housing management, tenancy enforcement and anti-social behaviour, is also noted. Kirsty Varley recently joined from Croftons Solicitors LLP as an associate solicitor.

Practice head(s):Stuart Penswick; Daniel Milnes; Jonathan Holden; Lachlan McLean; Shirley Faragher

Other key lawyers:Lucie Cocker; Jennifer Hankinson; Sarah Rogers; Kirsty Varley

Testimonials

'The firm has a knowledgeable and experienced team.'

'Individuals within the team are approachable and provide options for consideration with clear advice'

'Jennifer Hankinson provides great assistance and delivers advice clearly and within agreed timescales'

Key Clients

Together Housing

Guinness Partnership

Riverside

Trafford Housing Trust

Community Gateway

Linconshire Housing Partnership

Mosscare St Vincent's (MSV)

Onward

EMH

ONGO

Regenda

Progress

Work highlights

  • Represented specialist leasehold management association Onward Housing Group in First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) involving over 200 respondents.
  • Instructed by Together Housing to pursue possession proceedings against a vulnerable tenant causing ASB, who was diagnosed with MS and who was in a wheelchair.
  • Advised Southway Housing Trust on back-to-back purchase of a brownfield site for the sum of £500,000 under the terms of a development services agreement.
  • Instructed by Together Housing Association Limited to consolidate their suite of Right to Buy and Right to Acquire documentation.
  • Assisted Southway with their ‘back to back’ acquisition of a site in Manchester.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP is engaged by a raft of housing associations and local authority clients on a gamut of issues with expertise across housing management, regulatory, governance, joint ventures investment, finance and funding work. The team is also experienced in development and regeneration projects in the sector. Housing and regeneration head Suzanne Benson also heads the consumer credit and FCA regulatory practice, and leads the sales and home ownership team. The 'brilliant' Richard St John Williams, Janet Winrow, who leads on major regeneration schemes, and Melanie Comer, who heads the real estate finance security team, are also noted. Senior associate Tom Wainwright  handles governance, corporate and contracts work.

Practice head(s):Suzanne Benson

Other key lawyers: Richard St John Williams; Janet Winrow; Melanie Comer; Tom Wainwright; Ru Anwar; Louise Robinson

Testimonials

The team stands out for its strong social housing sector knowledge

It has the ability to set out complex issues in a clear manner

The team's flexibility means that it can respond to fast changing situations

Melanie Comer is an exceptional lawyer

The team has an exceptional grasp of issues facing the sector

Key Clients

Homes England

Great Places Housing Group

Trafford Housing Trust

Onward Group

Community Gateway

The Guinness Partnership

Clarion Housing Group

South Liverpool Homes

Bromford Housing Group

WM Housing Group

Peabody Trust

Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust

Accent Group

Wirral Partnership Homes (t/a Magenta Homes)

Rowlinson Construction

Your Housing

Stockport Homes

Hightown Housing Association

Cross Keys Homes

Network Homes

Heylo Housing

Orbit Grouo

South Yorkshire Housing

Work highlights

  • The team is advising on the establishment of a joint venture between the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and ten members of the Greater Manchester Housing Partnership.
  • The real estate finance security team advised on all the property work for the amalgamation of Peabody Trust, Gallions Housing Association and Family Mosaic Housing.
  • The team provided grant funding agreement advice to Homes England on its project to invest grant funding to deliver up to 32,000 housing starts on site by March 2021.
  • The team was instructed to act for Onward Homes on the acquisition and development of a site in Liverpool.
  • Acted for Stockport Homes Group on the acquisition of the Tatton Cinema site in Gatley, Stockport from Dickens Group.

BLM regularly represents social landlords in housing management matters, and it stands out for its litigation expertise. The team handles a range of mandates involving anti-social behaviour, disrepair, housing fraud, inquests and regulatory matters. The practice has recently broadened and is also able to offer property and commercial advice to social housing clients, which includes advising on development and regeneration projects, acquisitions, finance and governance matters. Matthew Hyam in Liverpool leads the housing management and litigation team and commercial advisory head Stephen Lintott is experienced in housing projects.

Practice head(s):Matthew Hyam; Stephen Lintott

Key Clients

Urban Splash

First Choice Homes

The Riverside Group

Halton Housing Trust

Places for People Group

Peaks & Plains Housing Trust

Wolverhampton Homes

Clarion Housing Group

Sanctuary Housing Group

Phoenix Community Housing Group

Onward Homes

Work highlights

  • Represented Wolverhampton City Council (via Wolverhampton Homes) in a case against joint tenants, who were were protagonists in a serious and sustained campaign of anti-social behaviour against neighbours which rendered the neighbouring property un-lettable.
  • Defended Clarion Housing Group in a claim for disrepair, harassment, discrimination and personal injury, which was dismissed.  
  • The team successfully obtained a closure order and an extension to a closure order due to ongoing anti-social behaviour affecting vulnerable tenants in the locality.
  • The team successfully obtained a possession order at the first hearing against an introductory tenant who had been engaging in serious and prolonged anti-social behaviour at the property.
  • The team successfully obtained two linked injunction orders at a contested trial against a tenant and her partner, following a stabbing on a London estate.

Clarke Willmott LLP stands out for its housing management practice where it acts for numerous registered providers. It is noted for its expertise across anti-social behaviour, possession, policy and fraud issues. It advises on tenancy agreements, and it handles tenancy and leasehold disputes and complex disrepair claims. National housing management head Lindsay Felstead, who is national head of housing management, is singled out for praise.

Practice head(s):Lindsay Felstead

Testimonials

Lindsay Felstead takes the time to understand her clients' needs and the way in which they work

Lindsay Felstead is able to communicate her advice in a clear, straight-forward manner

They team displays excellent knowledge and advice in case management

Key Clients

Regenda Homes

One Manchester

South Liverpool Homes

Halton Housing Trust

Trent & Dove

Housing Plus

Connexus

Stafford & Rural Homes

Staffordshire Housing

PA Housing

Work highlights

  • Represented Plus Dane to obtain an outright order for possession against notorious tenants who had engaged in serious anti-social behaviour.
  • Obtained a possession order against trespasser whose mother (tenant) had gone into a care home.
  • Advised on a review of policy and procedure on right to buy.
  • Represented Trent and Dove to secure injunctions on a without notice basis against three youths and three adults following continued anti-social behaviour and a reported assault.  
  • Represented South Staffordshire HA in obtaining an injunction order, including an exclusion from home and power of arrest, against a tenant who had threatened a neighbour with a knife.

Pinsent Masons LLP acts for a range of housing sector clients such as landowners, registered providers, residential developers, local authorities, funders, grant givers and contractors. The team is adept at handling public-private housing partnerships and is experienced in structuring public sector joint venture vehicles. It is regularly instructed on complex housing and regeneration schemes, where team head Helen Robinson  is active, and the team also boasts strong planning expertise for projects in the sector.

Practice head(s):Helen Robinson

Other key lawyers:Scot Morrison; Mike Pocock; Melanie Grimshaw; Sarah Thomas

Key Clients

Homes England

HIMOR (Carrington)

Manchester City Council

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council

Morgan Sindall Investments

London Legacy Development Corporation

Folkestone and Hythe District Council

Keepmoat Homes

Crawley Borough Council

Rowlinson Construction

Work highlights

  • The team continues to advise HIMOR on the redevelopment of the former Shell refinery at Carrington.
  • The team acted for Manchester City Council on the Northern Gateway project, which included securing an investment partner for one of the largest urban regeneration opportunities in the UK.
  • Advised Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund on the delivery of its second Housing Investment Fund.
  • The team is advising two local authorities jointly procuring a private sector partner to deliver a major regeneration and housing scheme.
  • Advised Morgan Sindall Investments on a public-private sector partnership with Hertfordshire County Council to deliver 6,000 homes over 15 years.

Weightmans LLP acts for housing associations on a range of property management matters; it is noted for its experience in handling issues arising out of anti-social behaviour and handles claims for disrepair and possession. The team also offers pensions, corporate, corporate governance, commercial, employment, contentious construction, development and regeneration work, home ownership, landlord and tenant, and securitisation matters. Sian Evans heads the team, which includes associates Matthew Wilson, who recently joined from Clarke Willmott LLP, and Thomas Starkey, who heads the real estate division of the social housing practice.

Practice head(s):Sian Evans

Other key lawyers:Matthew Wilson; Thomas Starkey; Gary Jones; Karen Neald; Tom Collins

Key Clients

The Sovini Group

Jigsaw Housing Group

Torus Housing  Group

Forviva( City West)

Halton Housing Trust

Clarion Housing Group

The Guinness Partnership

Regenda Housing Group

Pierhead Housing Association( Prima Group)

Plus Dane Housing Group

Gentoo Homes

Calico Homes

Stockport Homes

Weaver Vale Housing trust

Work highlights

  • Provided advice on ongoing acquisitions and dispositions of OSUK’s PRS portfolio, land for development and open market sale.
  • Advised on One Vision Housing’s HCA acquisition and development programme.
  • Advised on Halton Trust’s HCA acquisition and development programme.
  • Advised on R-Haus Living’s ongoing acquisition programme of tenanted PRS stock
  • Advised Chorley Community Housing on a disrepair claim.

Specialist firm Knox Ellis Solicitors, which was acquired by MSB Law LLP in November 2018, is a 'specialist housing law offering'. It is instructed by registered providers and local authorities on a range of housing management mandates. It is noted for its experience in anti-social behaviour disputes, as well as disrepair, tenancy, leasehold and asset management work. Tom Knox provides 'clear and comprehensive advice' and barrister Sarah Ellis is 'dynamic, driven, knowledgeable, professional and supportive, and is an excellent advocate'. Senior associate solicitor Louise Murphy is also a key figure.

Practice head(s):Tom Knox; Sarah Ellis

Other key lawyers:Louise Murphy

Testimonials

The team is enthusiastic, approachable, knowledgeable and professional

The team provides a seamless service

Sarah Ellis is a strong, tenacious advocate who prepares cases diligently and presents them effectively.

Key Clients

Arches Housing

Arcon Housing Association

Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council

Brighter Futures

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council

Care Housing Association

Cheshire West and Chester

City South Manchester Housing Trust

Clarion Housing Association

Community Gateway Housing

Connect Housing

Eastlands Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised a private registered provider on the potential recovery of grant funding.
  • Provided guidance to a private registered provider of social housing on  whether signatures from tenants could be obtained using electronic means during the sign-up procedure.
  • The team was instructed by a private registered provider of social housing on rent setting and its rent policy.    
  • Obtained an injunction against ‘persons unknown’ after a key client’s high-rise blocks were taken over by Class A drug users and drug dealers.
  • Advised a client on an abortive right to buy transaction and a potential inheritance and succession claim.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP acts for a number of housing associations and local authority clients on a range of issues such as policy, asset transfers, disrepair and possession, and has experience in cases involving anti-social behaviour and tenancy breaches. The team is also experienced in supported living developments, where Chris Graves is noted. Louise Hebborn  leads on housing management matters and David Baybut heads the real estate department.

Practice head(s):David Baybut; Louise Hebborn; Philip Richardson

Other key lawyers:Gary Jackson; Chris Graves; Jonathon Waterhouse

Key Clients

South Liverpool Homes

Fairhome Group

Leeds Housing Federation

My Space

Bespoke Supportive Tenancies

Houses for Homes

Partners Foundation

Kirklees Borough Council

Ist Enable

Enabling Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Fairhome Group on the acquisition of a new-build residential apartment complex in Colchester with a lease granted to a housing association on completion.  
  • Advised on asset transfer.
  • The team advises a number of developers on the acquisition of and set-up of residential developments.  
  • The team advises South Liverpool Homes on a range of matters where the association is the landlord.  This includes undertaking routine replies to leasehold enquires, and the receipt of notice of assignment of charge.  
  • The team acts for South Liverpool Homes on the sale of properties to tenants pursuant to the right to buy and the right to acquire statutory processes.

Capsticks LLP continued to expand its housing capabilities with the takeover of Whiteheads Solicitors in October 2018. The North West practice, which operates as part of the firm's national team, is noted for its housing management expertise, acting for housing providers on matters involving anti-social behaviour, tenancy fraud and human rights issues, as well as land and service charge cases. Former Whiteheads director Paul Lloyd heads the team.

Practice head(s):Paul Lloyd

Other key lawyers:Ian Larkins; Natalie Hurst

Testimonials

The team is very reliable and the advice given is always helpful and consistent

The team goes out of its way to be helpful, and has excellent working knowledge of cases

Its approach to cases and preparation is always thorough

Key Clients

Onward

Leeds Federated

Stonewater

Great Places Group

ForViva

Jigsaw Group

Mosscare St Vincent

Muir Group

Broadacres

Johnnie Johnson

Work highlights

  • Weaver Vale issued an injunction and possession case due to the way the tenant had left the property, both of which were granted.
  • Advised and represented Onward on more than 50 disrepair cases.
  • Villages Housing Association instructed the team to obtain without notice injunctions on an emergency basis against seven youths and one adult in the Youth Court, securing eight injunctions.
  • Advised Great Places Housing Group which sought possession on allegations of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs against the defendant.  
  • Represented Jigsaw Group in relation to a possession case.

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