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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 > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the North > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Elizabeth Black leads the practice at Baines Wilson LLP following Martin Stafford’s move along with consultant Isobel Milburn to JWK Solicitors. Black, who joined the firm in late 2016 from Taylors, is highly regarded for her shareholder dispute expertise. Other key figures include Katherine Sibley, who regularly handles construction and engineering disputes and also has arbitration and mediation experience; barrister Nigel Gowling, who is recommended for rural and agricultural litigation; and associate Caroline Rayner, who is noted for her construction litigation expertise. Recent highlights for the department include acting for an individual in a professional negligence claim against the client’s former solicitors and handling a commercial property dispute for a landlord regarding terminal dilapidations and break notice provisions.

Burnettshandles top-notch litigation thoroughly, positively and with a truly pragmatic approach’. Areas of expertise span land and property disputes, agriculture-related issues and disputes in the education sector. ‘Authoritative and intelligent’ senior associate James Johnston leads the team and attracts praise for his ‘good tactical judgement’. His recent work includes acting in a multimillion-pound shareholder dispute, handling a construction dispute relating to a defective roof, and acting for an agricultural business in an unpaid fees claim against a farming partnership. Highlights for associate Rob Winder included representing an individual in property litigation and acting for a school in recovering unpaid school fees. Consultant Sally Johnson joined the firm in 2016 from an in-house position at the Competition and Markets Authority and the ‘intellectual and assertive’ Patricia Hall retired from the partnership, but remains as a consultant.

At Endeavour Partnership LLP, department head Lee Bramley is highly regarded in the insolvency space, regularly advising clients on contentious insolvency issues; he also has expertise in property litigation, contractual disputes and contentious probate. Farming and trust expert Paul Bennett is the key name for mediations, arbitrations and commercial tribunals; he recently advised a family on a discretionary trust issue. Other key practitioners include Alex Smith, who was promoted to the partnership in 2016 and is head of the firm’s property litigation department; associate Ged Flanagan, who handles shareholder disputes, professional negligence claims and product liability matters; and legal executive Nick Dent, who represents Teesside clients in commercial disputes, IP issues and contentious insolvencies. Dent also heads the firm’s mediation practice.

Jacksons Law’s clients ‘can’t recommend it highly enough’ for it ‘client care, professional approach and outstanding expertise’. The practice’s client base ranges from individuals and SMEs to national organisations spanning the energy, construction, agricultural and healthcare sectors. Toby Joel heads the department, which includes newly promoted partner Inderjit Gill, who is noted for his expertise in contract disputes, shareholder litigation, injunctions and professional negligence disputes; solicitor Angie Papprill, who is recommended for contentious construction issues; solicitor Michael Sproates, who handles contractual breaches and consumer disputes; and consultant Les Brown. Recent work includes contract breaches, fraud issues, property litigation and professional negligence claims.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s clients praise ‘one-of-a-kind litigator’ Alison Leith, who balances ‘adeptness at client management and at managing the facts and issues of a complex case’ with ‘the ability to step back and see the bigger picture’. Leith’s recent mandates include tax litigation, litigation arising from contract terminations, injunctions, and property-related disputes. Kenton Bazeley is singled out for his ‘excellent legal and commercial advice’, which is ‘always suitable for the situation and takes into account what the client wants in the long run’; he primarily acts in property and insolvency-based litigation. Solicitors Gemma Smith and Helen Lyne are recommended for property litigation.

Archers Law LLP’s ‘extremely competitive team’ is led by the ‘excellent’ Angela Torrance, whose areas of expertise span shareholder disputes, breach of contract litigation, insolvency issues, debt recovery mandates, professional negligence claims and contentious trusts and probate. Recent highlights for Torrance include acting for a client against a former employee relating to potentially libellous comments, representing an insolvency practitioner in wrongful trade claims and repayment issues, and advising a funeral director on debt recovery matters. Robert Irons is recommended for partnership disputes and other employment litigation, regularly acting on contract breaches, negligence claims and disciplinary and grievance procedures. Richard Flounders regularly handles insurance litigation and property litigation; he acted for a client in a dispute relating to a dilapidations claim.

A solid choice in the region’ with ‘a first-class and efficient service’, Cartmell Shepherd’s ‘gem of a practice’ is led by the ‘very knowledgeable’ Peter Stafford, who attracts praise for his ‘practical and strategic approach’, and for his ‘personal and easy-going, yet incredibly professional manner’. Stafford is highly regarded for his agricultural knowledge and contentious trust and probate expertise; he is continuing to act for a farming client in proceedings against a national animal feed company. Other key practitioners include Mark Aspin, who focuses on property litigation and employment mandates and is ‘able to hit the nail squarely and succinctly on the head every time’; Caroline Smith, who regularly handles family disputes; and the ‘highly approachable’ Stephanie Johnson, who recently acted for a limited company in a breach of contract dispute.

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