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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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Baines Wilson LLP has a wide-ranging commercial litigation practice headed by Elizabeth Black, who is experienced in handling breach of contract claims, claims arising from commercial supply and distribution agreements, warranty claims as well as partnership and shareholder disputes. Associate Caroline Rayner is best known for dealing with employment-related work. Recently, the team represented a shareholder in a claim for unpaid dividends, and acted for a landlord of a commercial property in a dispute over terminal dilapidations and break notice provisions. In March 2018, Katherine Sibley moved to Napthens LLP and barrister Nigel Gowling joined Wayman & Long.

Burnetts is a ‘good-quality regional firm’ that fields a team of ‘excellent lawyers’ who provide ‘a very strong service’ and ‘excellent commercial advice’. Senior associate and team head James Johnston is singled out for his ‘great legal knowledge’ and is praised as being ‘good at seeing ways through a client’s problem and achieving a good outcome’. Recently, he represented a West Cumbrian businessman in a shareholder dispute, and advised a Lake District school on its construction claim pertaining to a defective roof. Consultant Sally Johnson advised a property developer on a multimillion-pound claim for arrears brought by a private finance company, while senior legal executive Rob Winder acted for a public sector client in the recovery of over £30,000 from a commercial client. Winder is also experienced in property litigation work.

The ‘strong’ team at Endeavour Partnership LLP stands out for its ‘commercial acumen’. The team has experienced particular growth in disputes in the construction sector where ‘sharp mind’ Alex Smith, who is also noted as being ‘hardworking and tactically astute’, regularly leads on construction and real estate-related disputes. He acted in a number of adjudications and enforcement proceedings arising from disputes over several developments. ‘Highly intelligent and business-focused’ commercial disputes and insolvency team head Lee Bramley is ‘well connected in the Teesside business community and gets to the nub of a case quickly’; he is best known for handling contentious insolvency work, including winding up petitions, as well as advising on claims against directors and assisting company directors faced with disqualification proceedings. The ‘experienced and well-respected’ Ged Flanagan is the key contact for contractual and tortious disputes; he was promoted to the partnership in August 2017 and also handles international arbitral proceedings, including those pertaining to Iran business matters, and mediation. Other instructions include family partnership and shareholder disputes.

Jacksons Law acts for for a wide range of clients, spanning individuals and SMEs to national organisations in the energy, IT, agriculture, manufacturing, property, finance and healthcare sectors. Commercial litigation and debt recovery team head Toby Joel acted for acted for the UK’s largest cable producer, in pursuing claims against a foreign cable manufacturer following the delivery of defect cables to several of the client’s customers, and represented Northern Powergrid in liability claims against Network Rail resulting from the damage occurred to some of its riverbed cables as part of an exploratory drilling exercise undertaken by the defendant. As well as its expertise in dealing with contractual disputes and damage claims, the team also handles partnership and boundary disputes, negligence claims and contentious landlord and tenant matters. In the property space, the team has been acting for two landowners in several ongoing disputes with a neighbouring landowner over the access to pheasant shooting grounds. Solicitor Angie Papprill is singled out for her ‘friendly and professional manner’ as well as for her ‘outstanding knowledge and quick response times’.

Archers Law LLP’s ‘high-quality and responsive’ team is led by the ‘very calm, professional and personable’ Kenton Bazeley, who provides ‘robust advice’ and joined the firm from Tilly Bailey & Irvine in 2018. He is best known for his property and insolvency litigation capabilities including landlord and tenant work. ‘Very knowledgeable and experienced litigator’ Angela Torrance ‘has the ability to anticipate the likelihood of problems occurring and provide solutions against them’. She handles a diverse mix of disputes for claimants and defendants including professional negligence claims (particularly against solicitors and accountants), shareholder and breach of contract disputes, as well as contentious probate matters. In other work, the team assists insolvency practitioners with various matters including wrongful trading, retention of crown monies and preference claims, and advises lenders on the recovery of debts. Solicitor Richard Flounders ‘is always willing to work hard for clients’.

With five offices in Cumbria and Northumberland, Cartmell Shepherd utilises its extensive regional reach to act for commercial, private and agricultural clients, including large companies and high-net-worth individuals. In conjunction with the agriculture and commercial property departments, the team frequently handles contentious property, trusts and probate work, while the practice is also well versed in dealing with negligence claims and contractual disputes alongside disputes between shareholders, directors and partners. ‘Bright, personable and experienced’ team head Mark Aspin acted for a director and shareholder in a dispute with other directors over a shareholders agreement, and, with a specialism in insolvency-related work, he also acted for a number of directors of an insolvent company, in defence against a breach of contract claim brought by a former client. ‘Extremely experienced’ managing director Peter Stafford is another key individual of the team.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine acts for public and private sector clients in a wide range of commercial disputes such as breach of contract and tax matters, injunctions and judicial reviews as well as professional negligence claims. Clients praise the ‘strong’ team for its ‘excellent service level’ and ‘very good response times’. Recent instructions include pursuing claims for damages arising from the wrongful termination of a contract, assisting a client with the application for a judicial review of a VAT exemption, defending a client against the claim of breach of competition law, and defending another client against claims of the unlawful and illegitimate use of confidential information. ‘Shrewd and practical commercial litigator’ Alison Leith heads the team ‘with a disarmingly relaxed style’. Kenton Bazeley moved to Archers Law LLP  in 2018.

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