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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 > Northern Ireland > Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant
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BLM is singled out for its ‘strong, established, experienced presence’ in insurance matters; the team acts for insurer clients in a range of matters, including catastrophic injuries, employers’ liability and professional negligence claims. A key client for 2017 has been NFU Mutual, which the team defended in a claim arising from a road traffic accident involving a head-on collision, causing serious spinal injuries to a passenger. Peter Campbell  leads the team and attracts praise for his ‘high level of technical skill and experience’. Head of office Cormac Fitzpatrick is well known for advising on medical negligence cases.

Kennedys provides a ‘top-class’ service assisting major insurers and private hospitals with catastrophic clinical negligence and personal injury claims, including occupational and industrial disease cases, failure to diagnose/delayed diagnosis, medical disciplinary proceedings, and motor claims. Employers’ liability and medical negligence matters have been key areas of activity in 2017; recent work includes defending a hospital in an ear surgery injury case. The ‘very practical’ practice head Amanda Wylie is ‘extremely hardworking’ and ‘leaves no stone unturned’. Wylie is also well known for her niche practice in defending marine insurance companies in catastrophic injury matters. Senior associate Megan Boyd and solicitor Ian Martindale are key names in the team.

In July 2019 DAC Beachcroft officially launched in Northern Ireland via a takeover of Belfast firm McKinty and Wright. The deal followed a three-year 'best friends' relationship between the firms, with seventeen fee earners, including six partners, becoming part of the international firm. The 'highly skilled and extremely professional’ team provides a ‘first-rate service’ and has notable expertise in industrial disease claims, as well as public and employers’ liability matters, catastrophic injuries, motor claims and medical negligence. 2017 saw the firm successfully defend insurance company Resolute against a legacy asbestos claim and, in another matter, act for Northern Ireland Water in a personal injury claim allegedly caused by defective street furniture; the claim was suspected to be fraudulent and was later dismissed. Key clients include AES Insurance, Marks & Spencer and RSA Insurance Group. Sean McGahan  leads the team, which includes ‘unflappable’ senior partner Lester Doake  (‘the “go to” lawyer for difficult personal injury cases’); Louise Butler , who is ‘very capable, diligent, dependable, realistic and accurate’; Kevin O'Hagan, who ‘exhibits very good judgement’; and the ‘very focused’ Aisling Mellon, who garners praise for her ‘drive and ability’. Associate Catriona McCorry  is ‘very intelligent and always exhibits a common-sense approach’.

Tughans’ clinical negligence and personal injury team is ‘exemplary in every aspect’, according to one client. Practice head Kathy McGillie  has expertise in defending employers in catastrophic and life-changing injury claims, including asbestos and mesothelioma matters; policy coverage cases are another core strength. Neil Smyth (‘his engagement with clients is excellent’) and Neil Cahill are key names for employers’ and public liability matters; both have experience acting for clients in claims arising from accidents that occur while abroad. The ‘very professionalAndrew Anthony  leads on healthcare and clinical negligence matters; recent work includes delayed diagnosis/failure to diagnose claims and high-value GP negligence cases. Alistair Wilson, who garners praise for his ‘excellent legal advice’, is another key name and is known for representing healthcare professionals in clinical negligence claims.

Arthur Cox Belfast’s core strength lies in handling employers’ and public liability cases, particularly for corporates and insurers; recent work includes defending industrial paint company AkzoNobel in a number of legacy asbestos claims. The firm has also been acting for AXA in a number of legacy deafness claims and is representing medical devices companies in product liability claims. Key clients include Zurich, Chubb Insurance and Zimmer Bioment. Chris Ritchie leads the team.

Industrial disease claims, catastrophic motor accidents and employer and public liability cases are key areas of instruction for Carson McDowell’s personal injury and healthcare practice, which is also adept at handling high-value healthcare claims. Claire Harmer, who is highly recommended for her expertise in industrial disease and inquests, heads the personal injury practice; the group represents companies in catastrophic injury and related criminal investigations. Recent clients include Faraday Insurance and Riverstone Insurance. Senior associate Catherine Carton has experience in defending clients in personal injury litigation resulting from motor claims and industrial disease cases, and senior associate Niall Skelton is well versed in representing the Motor Insurance Bureau in road traffic accident claims. On the healthcare side, Roger McMillan , who is singled out for his ‘superb client care’, heads the team, in which Jacqueline McAleese  (‘hardworking and a tough negotiator’) is a key name for defending medical and dental practitioners and clinicians in litigation, and is well known for representing the Medical Protection Society.

John McKee Solicitors has a solid track record in representing clients in high-value personal injury cases, including claims involving minors, employers’ liability matters, and road traffic accidents. Other cases have involved clinical negligence matters concerning negligent anaesthetists. Chris Ross and Leonard Edgar are the key partners; solicitor Aoife Duffy is another name to note.

Lacey Solicitors provides ‘excellent service’ and expertise, primarily in the personal injury field. The practice is well versed in high-value road traffic accident cases, many concerning catastrophic injury or death, as well as public liability claims arising out of sporting events. Highlights included defending an insurance company in High Court proceedings arising from a shooting accident in a gun club which resulted in the loss of an eye; the claim was covered by the gun club’s insurance policy. Terence Lacey (‘always accessible and very knowledgeable’) heads the practice alongside Damian McGeady, who has been working out of the newly opened Derry office. Solicitor Ruaidhrí Austin  is also recommended.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin has a ‘very well run, professional and dedicated’ defendant insurance practice with a solid track record in handling employers’ and public liability disputes. The group is well known for representing a range of insurers in catastrophic injury cases resulting from accidents at work and motor accidents. Highlights included the firm defending the Irish Cycling Federation in a claim arising from an accident in a road cycling race where a competitor was knocked off their bicycle when a horse jumped from a field next to the track. RSA Insurance and AIG Insurance are key clients for the firm. Michael King leads the team. William Cross retired in 2017. 

Johnsons Solicitors’ defendant insurance practice attracts praise for its ‘significant depth of knowledge’ in employers’ liability claims involving catastrophic injury cases. In 2017, the team successfully defended Moy Park in a €20,000 personal injury claim involving an alleged shoulder injury caused by a collision with an industrial trolley; the claim was struck out. Other key clients include Aviva and Prestige Underwriting. Managing partner Kenneth Alexander Chambers (‘an excellent negotiator’) leads the team and David Craig attracts praise for his ‘excellent advice on liability matters’.

Joseph Napier is the name to note at Napier Solicitors for handling employers’ and public liability claims. Past instructions for the team include noise-induced hearing loss cases and catastrophic injuries. BT is a key client of the firm. Associate solicitor Maria McCloskey is another key name and is well known for her experience in representing large UK-based employers in employers’ liability claims concerning catastrophic injuries.

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