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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 > Finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Banking and finance

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Banking and finance clients in North using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Muckle LLP’s full-service practice rates as ‘one of the best for service level and commerciality’, and is recognised for its lender-side capabilities; it is on the panels of Atom Bank, HSBC, Svenska Handelsbanken and Santander, among others. In a recent highlight, practice head Louise Duffy (who is ‘incredibly detail oriented, communicative and professional’) advised Lloyds Bank on a £60m revolving credit facility to a housebuilder. On the borrower side, Duffy acted for Newcastle University on the £100m property development funding for the redevelopment of its student accommodation and the construction of an urban sciences building. It is also assisting Kitwave Group with a refinancing and fundraising matter. The team is highly regarded for its expertise in financing issues, particularly in the shipping, social housing, education, healthcare and real estate sectors. Other key figures include Stephen McNicol, who has ‘an excellent reputation in the field’; Kevin Maloney, who ‘provides invaluable advice’; and senior associate Nicola Nutley, who is experienced in healthcare and registered provider funding mandates.

The team at Ward Hadaway is led by the ‘extremely accessibleJulie Harrison, who has ‘an excellent and well-deserved reputation in the region’ and ‘presents advice in a clear, concise manner, free of jargon’. Clients rate the ‘genuinely brilliant’ team for its ‘professionalism, responsiveness and focus’. Harrison’s highlights included advising North East Finance on the extension of the Finance for Business North East Initiative, bringing its total funds up to £159m; and assisting Santander with the provision of a facility to Gainford Hotels for its acquisition of the County Hotel. Corporate partner Imogen Holland attracts praise for her ‘superb leadership in complex transactions’; she recently acted for Rivers Capital Partners on multiple funding rounds into Hyperdrive Innovation Holdings, and assisted Newcastle City Council with various loans made to regional arts and culture organisations. The ‘extremely thoroughSimon Errington is recommended for secured lending transactions and property finance. Barclays, Lloyds Bank, FW Capital and North East Local Enterprise Partnership are also clients.

Highlights for Bond Dickinson LLP included advising Manitowoc on a £1.2bn credit facility; assisting Grainger with its acquisition of Kew Bridge Court Guernsey, which involved £225m of term and revolving facilities; acting for CIMC Developments on the funding of its new hotel in Manchester; and handling Santander’s financing of Inn Collection Group’s acquisition of Durham Vale Developments and Commissioners Quay Blyth. Real estate specialist John Ralph and Leeds-based secured lending expert John Connor jointly lead the group, which handles a broad range of financing work including acquisition, property and corporate finance; debt restructuring; and asset based lending. The team’s clients span national banks, corporate borrowers, government departments, public bodies and local authorities; CIMC Capital, Bellway and Vertu Motors are noteworthy examples. Key figures at associate level include Kirsty Kullar, who counts HSBC and Grainger as clients, and Peter Hugill, who joined the team from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

Watson Burton LLP acts for a mixed borrower and lender client base, which calls on the firm to handle a range of matters spanning general corporate lending, asset backed lending, acquisition finance, venture capital and private equity funding, and restructuring. Duncan Reid heads the practice and is recognised for his strength in private equity; his recent highlights include advising Camerons Brewery and The Head of Steam on a £30m refinancing and acting for WHP Facilities on an investment from Enact. The firm is also on Lloyds Bank’s panel, with loan facilities and recently advised it on security structures, compliance issues and bank funded purchases. Wear Inns, Business Growth Fund and Northstar Ventures are also clients. Other key team members include Paul Wigham (who specialises in venture capital transactions and made partner in 2016), property finance expert Libbie Henderson, and Julie Farrell-Knowles, who focuses on real estate matters.

Phil Broadhurst leads Hay & Kilner’s department, which is singled out for its regulatory compliance expertise alongside its work on commercial property finance, security arrangements and portfolio refinancings. In a recent highlight, Broadhurst advised an Italian bank on FCA regulatory compliance issues, particularly regarding UK mortgage portfolios; he also regularly provides consumer credit advice to lenders, motor finance companies and mortgage brokers. Paul Taylor, Nicola Tiffen and Richard Freeman-Wallace are key names for commercial property issues, while Neil Harrold focuses on insolvency matters and Jonathan Waters and Mark Adams handle corporate lending work.

Recent highlights for the ‘excellent’ department at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP include advising Station Hotel on the £50m refinancing of its existing bank debt through a new facility from HSBC; acting for Minhoco 35 on facilities connected to its acquisition of five companies in the Hotel Collections Group; and assisting Lugano Group with the refinancing of its national land and property portfolio and an asset backed development facility. Paul Hughes heads the department, which includes commercial property finance expert Ryan Bannon, private equity specialist Peter Robinson, who joined from gunnercooke LLP in 2016, and John Nicholson, who recently led advice to Northern Bear on a revolving credit facility from Yorkshire Bank. Royal Bank of Scotland, Metnor and Popular Care are also clients.

Sintons LLP fields a ‘strong and experienced team’ whose ‘excellent ethos, helpful approach’ and ‘very customer-focused’ service means that ‘clients trust its advice implicitly’. The department, which is led by the ‘incredibly personable’ Jane Meikle, has a strong reputation for real estate finance and corporate refinancing. Chris Welch advised Gainford Hotel and Gainford Care on the financing of its acquisition of a new hotel site. Other clients include Svenska Handelsbanken, Accelerating Growth Fund and 3R Land & Property. The team is also on the panels of Lloyds Bank, AIB Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, National Westminster Bank and Santander. Mark Dobbin and Laura Peace are recommended for real estate finance matters and Matt Collen handles corporate lending transactions.

Jacksons Law attracts praise for its advice to lenders and borrowers on secured loan issues relating to investment property portfolios, as well as its advice on the financing aspects of land acquisitions for the purposes of residential and commercial development. Practice head Geoff Skeoch specialises in secured lending across a range of sectors including industrial, office, retail, leisure and health. Managing partner Jane Armitage is recommended for her expertise in mortgage financings related to developments and property portfolios. Erica Turner regularly advises on secured lending matters and Tony Wentworth handles the corporate aspects of commercial lending mandates including debentures and guarantees. Recent highlights include advising on a £10m re-mortgaging and several property financings.

Craig Malarkey heads the practice at Tilly Bailey & Irvine, which includes John Walters, consultant Martin Levinson and associate Andrew Beattie. Malarkey and Walters regularly advise on security matters and on corporate governance issues. Levinson works primarily on real estate financing and Beattie’s experience covers commercial and agricultural property work. The practice, which acts for lender and borrower clients, recently advised Svenska Handlesbanken on a facility for a flagship retail development in Northallerton, and handled several agriculture financing matters for national banks and specialist lenders.

Insolvency and corporate recovery

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency and corporate recovery
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Insolvency and corporate recovery clients in North using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘truly exceptional’ team attracts praise for its combination of ‘excellent legal advice and commerciality’ with ‘all-round brilliant service’. Key members include Julian Gill, who has particular expertise in contentious asset recovery issues; John Pennie, who focuses on insolvencies; the ‘technically very strongPeter Maxwell; and Sally Dallow, who is recognised for her expertise in investigative work, asset recovery and public interest matters. Highlights included acting for the Insolvency Service on the winding up of multiple UK and international companies, advising Smith Electric Vehicles on the implications of the insolvency of its UK subsidiaries and related administrator appointments, and working with KPMG on the Kilfrost Group’s restructuring, which involved the sale of it US business. Lloyds Banking Group and Santander are also clients; Gill advised the latter on the restructuring of its facilities to a care home group. Managing associate Gerard McTernan is recommended for non-contentious insolvency and restructuring mandates.

A market leader in the region’, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP fields ‘an intelligent, supportive and proactive team’ that is ‘never afraid to seek out complex solutions’. The ‘highly experiencedPaul Dutton leads the practice and attracts praise for his ‘very practical approach’; Dutton’s recent highlights include advising Joseph Rhodes Group on a restructuring and the placement of part of the group into administration, and acting for Cleveland Tontine on the accelerated sale of a hotel and restaurant business. In another key mandate, Dutton acted alongside Birmingham-based Andrew Jordan for Grant Thornton as administrators of St John’s on the Hill School, which involved a pre-packaged administration sale. HSBC, Clydesdale Bank, Tesco Bank, Santander and PWC are also noteworthy clients. Consultant Peter Cranston specialises in non-contentious matters and Leeds-based senior associate Andrew Black leads the group’s work on investigatory, contentious and personal insolvency issues. Lemi McAuley and Victoria Procter (both senior associates in Leeds) focus on insolvency procedures and real estate finance restructurings, respectively.

Clarke Mairs LLP is ‘an excellent firm, which provides a first-class and superb service’ and which attracts praise for its ‘knowledge, practicality, approachability and friendliness’. Susan Mairs and Paul Rushworth (who is many clients’ ‘first point of contact’) jointly lead the department; Mairs focuses solely on contentious issues while Rushworth handles a mix of contentious and non-contentious mandates. The ‘brilliantly impressiveFred Banning is also recommended for insolvency litigation. Recent highlights include advising a liquidator on various claims against a former director, acting for a trustee on the bankruptcy of a property developer and financial adviser, and assisting two proposed administrators with a company voluntary arrangement and potential administration. The team’s client roster spans large regional companies, banks, SMEs, owner-managed businesses, directors and high-net-worth individuals.

Muckle LLP’s team (which is ‘very good on all counts’) is led by Andrew Cawkwell, who ‘combines excellent legal skills with a relaxed attitude that always gets the right results’. Cawkwell recently advised Northpoint Associates as trustees of Bedes World on compliance with its fiduciary obligations, and led advice on the appointment of joint administrators of Hydrofit Alliance and the subsequent sale of Hydrofit Alliance and its assets to Altec Hydraulics. Cawkwell was also involved in the rescue and restructure of Darlington Football Club. Associate Kelly Jordan recently acted for KC Engineering Bearings on its acquisition of KC Engineering and its assets from administrators, and advised on the appointment of joint administrators of Autoweld Systems and the subsequent sale of the company’s assets. Other clients include Svenska Handelsbanken, Leather Matthews Restructuring, KPMG, Baldwins Restructuring & Insolvency and RSM Restructuring Advisory.

Ward Hadaway provides clients with ‘unrivalled support’ that it ‘knowledgeable, proactive and innovative; advice will always be solid and reliable’. Practice co-heads Jane Garvin and Steven Petrie are ‘clear regional leaders’; Garvin has a notable focus on corporate advisory and recovery issues, and Petrie is highly regarded for his insolvency expertise. The department has notable experience in contentious matter and. recently acted for Begbies Traynor in its role as liquidator of Crawford Parcels, which involved a transaction at undervalue claim. The firm also acted for Deloitte as administrators of a group of manufacturing companies and assisted a manufacturer with its position following the administration of Austin Reed. Petrie also led advice to a joint trustee relating to the bankruptcy of a non-registered dental practice. Associate Gemma Jackson is recommended for non-contentious corporate transactions. Other clients include Baldwins Restructuring & Insolvency, Baker Tilly Creditor Services and KPMG.

Endeavour Partnership LLP’s ‘excellent’ four-partner practice is viewed by many as ‘peerless in the Teesside area for insolvency and corporate recovery work’, thanks in part to its ‘phenomenal success rate’. Lee Bramley (who attracts praise for his ‘commercial and straight-forward approach’) leads the team, which has ‘an exceptional reputation’ for contentious insolvency matters. Other key team members include employment head Stephen Elliott, who is recommended for employment-related insolvency issues; Jamie Brown, who focuses on property-related mandates; and corporate and commercial team head Nik Tunley, who is the key name in the group for non-contentious work.

Recognised for its expertise in corporate recovery, Hay & Kilner’s group works closely with many of the firm’s other departments and covers a wide range of issues, including insolvency-related asset and business sales, investigations and asset recovery procedures. The department’s clients span insolvency practitioners, secured and unsecured creditors, investors, and company directors. Neil Harrold leads the group, which includes Rodney Jones, who is recommended for contentious matters.

Jacksons Law’s ‘technical, competent and practical’ department is well-versed in insolvency mandates, regularly acting for insolvency practitioners. The ‘commercial and technically strong’ Stephen Wiles leads the team; his recent highlights include advising on asset disposals, matters arising from liquidations, and several administrations. Other areas of expertise include defending claims made by liquidators or trustees, business protection and restructurings, and advising on voluntary agreements on behalf of administrators, liquidators, receivers, bankruptcy trustees and supervisors.

John Nicholson leads the department at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP and has notable expertise in non-contentious corporate recovery and insolvency issues, with particular emphasis on sales and acquisitions of distressed businesses and corporate restructurings. Nicholson’s recent highlights include advising Cairn Hotel Group on its acquisition of Stoke Place Hotel via a new subsidiary; assisting the joint liquidators of Practical Compounds with the sale of its assets following insolvency; and acting for the joint administrators of MGM Precision Engineers on several asset sales. Begbies Traynor, RSM Restructuring Advisory and Tait Walker are also clients. Other key practitioners include debt recovery and contentious insolvency specialist Stewart Irvine; Paul Hughes, who focuses on transactions vulnerable to challenges due to insolvencies; and Peter Robinson, who is recommended for non-contentious insolvencies.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine is ‘a very professional firm’ that ‘handles all matters extremely well’ and has ‘exceptionally broad knowledge and a friendly approach’. The department’s client base spans SMEs, individuals, lenders, landlords, debtors and insolvency practitioners. ‘Excellent litigator’ Kenton Bazeley leads the group and ‘is a real asset to the team’; clients rate his ‘ability to handle any situation that arises due to his up-to-date and current expertise’. Also recommended are Craig Malarkey, who was promoted to the partnership in 2016 and handles a range of commercial restructuring and insolvency issues; associate Sara Garnett, who regularly handles real estate-related insolvency work; and Theresa Carling (also an associate), who provides employment support to the firm’s insolvency recovery practice.

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