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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 > Real estate > Construction > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

DAC Beachcroft LLP's substantial Newcastle-based construction team handles mandates at the top of the market in the North East and across the country. Particular areas of expertise include the education sector, where clients include a number of public bodies, while the group also services a number of major housebuilders and, increasingly, energy sector clients. The group is co-led by Warren Kemp, who handles contentious matters, and James Harrison, who leads the non-contentious practice. Specialising in procurement, Roddy Gordon is also recommended alongside construction and engineering disputes lawyer Stephen McLellan.

Practice head(s):Warren Kemp; James Harrison

Other key lawyers:Roddy Gordon; Stephen McLellan

Key Clients

South Tyneside Homes / South Tyneside Housing Ventures

Newcastle City Council

Bellway Homes

Taylor Wimpey UK

Criterion Capital

Work highlights

  • Acting for Bellway Homes in site acquisition and development of new headquarters.
  • Acting for Newcastle University on the re-development of campus buildings (c.£60m project cost).
  • Acting for Durham County Council on largest and most complex development ever undertaken in Durham.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP handles the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious construction work, drawing on the firm's office network to advise local and international clients. In addition to its more traditional practice, the group also has a niche in offshore, decommissioning and subsea work. Simon Lewis leads the team, focusing on dispute resolution for public and private sector clients alike. Managing associate Andrew Clough is noted for complex construction litigation, while on the non-contentious side, Simon Rowland is recommended for developments.

Practice head(s):Simon Lewis

Other key lawyers:Simon Rowland; Ian Atkinson; Andrew Clough; Ruth Davidson


'The team is proactive, efficient and pragmatic regarding their approach to achieving contract award on individual schemes'

'As a local authority client, you always feel confident instructing the firm in relation to property matters, because everyone in the team is very technically competent'

'Simon Rowland provides excellent service and professional advice'

Key Clients

Education and Skills Funding Agency


Newcastle City Council

Bellway Plc

IKEA Properties Investments

University of Durham

Work highlights

  • Advised the Department for Education/Education and Skills Funding Agency since 2010 to the current date on its capital programmes. The work has predominantly seen the delivery of new and refurbished schools across the country and in the period 2010-18 the firm has worked on over 550 school projects, 75% of which have been delivered in the last three years.
  • Continues to advise Newcastle City Council on the landmark refurbishment of a prominent city centre building. The Civic Centre is a Grade II star listed building located in the city centre of Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Advising Durham County Council on the procurement of its new Civic Headquarters project.

The focus at Muckle LLP is construction and engineering projects, serviced by a team well-versed in contentious and non-contentious work. The team is led by Public Private Partnership and joint venture expert Lucilla Waugh, whose clients include public sector procurers and private sector contractors. 'Extremely knowledgeable' senior associate Adam Aston leads on a number of projects.

Practice head(s):Lucilla Waugh

Other key lawyers:Adam Aston


'Very knowledgeable construction team that have a clear understanding of the frequently used construction contracts and, as a result, are able to provide clear explanations of how the contracts work and the effect of amendment'

'Adam Aston is always well prepared and grasps quickly the risks associated with projects'

'Pragmatic advice in very complex areas with a problem solving approach'

Key Clients

The University of Newcastle

Jersey Electricity plc

Mandale Group

McAleer and Rushe

Clouston Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for the University of Newcastle on the design and construction contracts for their new £16m indoor sports facility in Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Acting for Aura, the lead consultant appointed for the refurbishment of Newcastle Civic Centre, which is to become a hub for government agencies in the North East.
  • For Stephenson Quarter Developments, prepared and successfully negotiated a full suite of construction documents with the government and local authority’s legal teams. These documents (which included building contracts, a suite of professional appointments, collateral warranties and guarantees) were essential in order to protect the developer’s interests and secure funding for the scheme.
  • Conversion of PFI-built Walker Technology College to an academy within the Tyne Coast College multi-academy trust, the merger of South Tyneside and Tyne Met colleges.
  • Advised Mandale Group on a range of refurbishment projects across the UK; leisure accommodation and a range of residential apartments to meet the UK’s housing demand.

Sintons LLP's group (which is overseen by former quantity surveyor Alex Rayner) is instructed on contentious and non-contentious construction and engineering matters by a mixture of developers, contractors, funders and consultants. In terms of disputes, it handles construction litigation, including for over-runs and defect liability.

Practice head(s):Alex Rayner

Other key lawyers:Matthew Pexton; Andrew Noble

Key Clients

Northumbrian Water/NWG Commercial Solutions

Greggs plc

The Auckland Project

Cussins (North East)

The Auckland Project

Work highlights

  • Acting for NWG Commercial Solutions Ltd in connection with the design, build and operation of a new wastewater treatment plant in Gibraltar for Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar.
  • Advised Tolent Construction Ltd on the building contract for the completion of the Vaux Brewery Site in Sunderland, which had been commenced by Carillion.
  • Advising The Auckland Project on its construction contracts for the transformation of Bishop Auckland.
  • Advised Jerram Falkus Construction Ltd on the construction documents in connection with the design and construction of a mixed-use scheme.
  • Acting for Greggs Plc in connection with its national bakery refurbishment programme, including the design and construction of a new build distribution centre at Solstice Park, Amesbury.

At Ward Hadaway, the team has substantial experience advising private sector clients on a range of commercial, industrial and residential projects, but is also instructed by a wide variety of public sector procurers, including local authorities, healthcare providers and educational establishments. Expertise also includes heavyweight disputes in the engineering space for clients in the energy sector. Veteran construction lawyer Tim Craig heads the department.

Practice head(s):Tim Craig

Other key lawyers:Paul Reekie; Alan Ross; Neil Williamson


'The team at Ward Hadaway is both responsive and pragmatic in their advice'

'Tim Craig and Neil Williamson are proactive and responsive, offering us pragmatic practical solutions rather than giving generic neutral advice'

Key Clients

McAleer & Rushe Group

Newcastle Science Central LLP

Sage UK plc

Arch (Development Projects) Ltd/Advance Northumberland (Developments)

The Co-Operative Academies Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising McAleer & Rushe Group, a leading national property development and construction group, in connection with a large number of hotel, office, student accommodation and residential developments throughout the UK.
  • Providing construction advice to Newcastle Science Central Management LLP in connection with the development of each part of the Newcastle Helix site and the infrastructure works in relation to the Master Plan.
  • Advising Sage UK plc in relation to the front-end consultancy appointments for the proposed refurbishment of their UK headquarters.
  • Advising the University of Buckingham in relation to the drafting and negotiation of the building contract and professional team appointments and ancillary collateral warranties from the consultants, contractor and sub-contractors for a new £8m academic facility in the University grounds known as The Vinson Centre.
  • Acting for Advance Northumberland (Developments) Ltd in relation to a number of matters including the drafting and negotiation of a £35m building contract for a proposed new build County Council headquarters and ancillary documents.

Watson Burton LLP stands out for its construction and engineering litigation capabilities; a strength validated by cladding expert Richard Palmer's representation of one of the participants in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Outside of that, the group has expertise in statutory and contractual adjudication, litigation before the Technology and Construction Court, domestic arbitration proceedings and alternative dispute resolution. Adjudication expert David Spires leads the team.

Practice head(s):David Spires

Other key lawyers:Richard Palmer; Anne-Marie Knight; Bal Manak


'Their stand out quality is their business understanding and their tailoring of advice to provide the right answer for the businesses'

'The team has a strong local knowledge of the North East "village"; they are flexible and customer-focused'

'David Spires and Bal Manak's individual attention to detail, knowledge and experience, together with their communication of the merits and various options available, is clear and simple which makes business decisions easier to make'

Key Clients

Applebridge Construction



Sunderland City Council

Black and White Engineering

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Sunderland City Council in its claim against the main contractor (Balfour Beatty) appointed to design and build a flagship leisure complex and Olympic-sized swimming pool concerning defects that have arisen at the complex, including permanent deflection of the roof, serious water ingress and condensation issues.
  • Representing a core participant at the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry (“GTPI”).
  • Contemporaneously advised and acted on behalf of two civil engineering contractors in their challenge to the public procurement of a framework agreement for civil engineering works by a local authority for works packages worth up to £500,000.
  • Acting for Wellspring who have agreed with Leeds City Council to take a lease of three new school sites which are to be constructed by the council in three separate phases for social, emotional and mental health provision.
  • Provided legal support to Applebridge Construction Limited in its role as agent for the joint administrators of a civil engineering company to pursue a seven-figure claim against a national housebuilder.

Hay & Kilner's contentious construction expertise includes adjudication proceedings and mediation. The group's clients include design teams, main contractors and sub-contractors, as well as funders on collateral warranties. The department is led by consultant Martin Soloman, who has vast experience in disputes.

Practice head(s):Martin Soloman

Other key lawyers:Jan Rzedzian


'The team has impressed with their professionalism and depth of knowledge in construction law'

'Regular and prompt communications with Clients and experts continually advising on all of the current position'

Key Clients

IKM Testing UK

Howard Russell Construction

G A Smith

Arrowbuild & Civil Engineering

Groundwork Services (Durham)

Work highlights

  • Represented a specialist sub-contractor client, Groundwork Services (Durham), in a successful adjudication against the main contractor on a large commercial project in the North East.
  • Acts for Heat-Air, a specialist main contractor, in relation to its dispute with an employer over the installation of a renewable heating system in a large care home.
  • Acts for P Plunkett (Tiling Contractors), a sub-contractor, in relation to its dispute with the main contractor on the construction of a leisure centre involving a heavily amended NEC3 form of contract.
  • Acts for Arrowbuild & Civil Engineering Limited, a civil engineering sub-contractor, in relation to its dispute with a PLC main contractor over works governed by an NEC3 subcontract to a major university sports park development.
  • Acts for R J Utility Services Ltd, a utility infrastructure specialist sub-contractor, in various multi-party disputes with a main contractor in relation to contractual indemnities.

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