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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 > South East > Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Crime: general
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Blackfords LLP‚Äôs ‚Äėsenior, established and talented team‚Äô¬†is ‚Äėamong the best‚Äô for criminal defence matters.¬†The sizeable team, includes 15 solicitor-advocates, handles cases nationally. Its caseload includes murder, GBH, sexual crimes, child abuse, kidnapping and drugs offences, many of which attract intense media interest. Co-head¬†Trevor Francis¬†is handling a case of historic rape where new DNA evidence has been discovered. Fellow co-head Gary Bloxsome¬†¬†is ‚Äėa very tough criminal litigator, excellent in the police station and in persuading the police not to proceed‚Äô.¬†Diana Payne, who heads the general crime team, and litigation executive¬†Anne Marie Geraghty¬†‚Äėare both excellent, serious crime practitioners‚Äô.

From its Uxbridge base, the team at IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) team, which includes solicitor-advocates, handles a caseload that includes allegations pertaining to murder, sexual offences, serious violence, kidnapping and firearms. Team head Joanne Gibbons  is acting for a carer who is accused of attempted murder and is also representing a defendant in a large-scale drugs importation case. In other work, the team which includes noted practitioners Eddie Tang and Caroline Dunne, is handling cases concerning allegations of historic sexual offences, manslaughter and robbery.


GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates

GT Stewart is a specialist crime firm that deals with crime at all levels, offering clients a very high standard of client care. The firm undertakes mainly publicly funded work, although it is developing an increasing private client base.

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The 'outstanding' team at Reeds Solicitors is highly valued for its 'dedication to its clients and for having a good eye to clients' additional needs including mental health issues and other vulnerabilities'. Solicitor-advocate Stuart Matthews and Julian Richards are highly regarded and 'extremely good at mastering large and complex cases, with good advocacy skills and exceptional client care'. Other team members include solicitor-advocate Abigail Ashford and 'excellent advocate' and barrister Alistair Grainger. The team has a blend of criminal, prison and family law expertise, assisting both public and privately funded clients. It handles challenging cases concerned with homicides, large-scale drugs offences, sexual crimes and fraud.

Criminal law is a core focus for the 'excellent' team at Taylor Haldane Barlex Solicitors LLP, which is a key name for 'the more serious cases including rape and murder, and is a very impressive regional firm that is easily comparable to top London firms'. Practice head Peter Barlex is 'approachable and realistic in the advice he gives to clients' and is someone 'who leads from the front and is a tactically astute litigator with an abundance of trial experience'. Other key names include Matthew Taylor  and Russell Haldane. The team handles cases that are frequently subject to intense media attention, including allegations of sexual assault, terrorism (disseminating terrorist material via social media), hacking under the Computer Misuse Act and murder.

ABV Solicitors is 'an excellent all round firm that is able to deal with any type of criminal case and is fast developing a very strong private defence practice'. It handles cases including sexual offences, 'revenge porn', drugs-related charges, conspiracy to kidnap and large-scale immigration offences. Its work extends to extradition proceedings arising from European Arrest Warrants. Akhtar Ahmad heads the department and Hanisha Godhania and  Sunita Mehta  are other key practitioners.

Gullands Solicitors handles a broad range of criminal and regulatory matters. Its caseload includes murder, GBH, historic rape offences and sexual assault. It handled a case concerning health and safety offences and gross negligence manslaughter in the construction industry, and is defending an individual on charges of the possession and making of indecent images including Category A films. John Roberts heads a team that includes Andrew Clarke, who specialises in health and safety matters, often involving death and serious injuries, and Patrick Bligh who has a general criminal practice.

Jerman Samuels & Pearson LLP¬†is one of 'the best criminal firms in Essex'. The team has expertise across the gamut of criminal work, including serious drug-related offences and murder as well as money laundering and fraud cases.¬†The team is led by the highly experienced Mark Jerman, Mark Pearson¬†and¬†Simon Samuels,¬†the latter¬†'engenders loyalty from his clients in the Magistrates Court due to diligence and hard work'.¬†The team has extensive advocacy experience and the ‚Äėvery astute‚Äô Ian Clift¬†is highlighted for his advocacy skills. In recent work, it has undertaken cases of conspiracy to import Class A drugs; an investigation of an individual ¬†for alleged terrorism offences and the high profile McVicar case concerning manslaughter and armed robbery.

Nick Titchener and Stephen Halloran jointly head a sizeable team at Lawtons Solicitors, which has a strong regional and growing national criminal law offering. It deals with cases concerning complex sexual offences including charges related to indecent images, sexual abuse, historic sex crimes and rape. Its workload also includes cases concerning drugs-related conspiracies (including drug smuggling and possession), murder and other violent crimes and firearms offences.

The team at Blaser Mills Law 'is experienced and efficient' and 'genuinely cares about its clients'. The group acts for private clients including high-net-worth individuals but also handles legal aid work. Its recent caseload includes cases of death by dangerous driving; alleged sexual offences committed against minors; violent burglary; and the  importation of and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. Senior associate Daniel Martin heads the criminal defence department and is 'particularly good as he is calm and very thorough and achieves just and reasonable solutions'. Senior associate Benjamin Langley focuses on fraud cases.

Clarke Kiernan LLP Solicitors has expertise in general criminal law and prison law matters and 'is outstanding in the field of criminal law', where it fields a team 'that has a strong work ethic and commitment to its caseload' and that 'really does go the extra mile for clients'. Practice head Catherine McCarthy, who is highly experienced in general criminal and prison law, is 'a formidable solicitor, who is determined, skilled and utterly committed to her clients'. The team handles cases ranging from motoring offences to violent crimes and sexual offences. Managing partner Daniel Bonich heads the fraud, regulatory and complex crime department and handles a broad range of serious criminal law matters.

Gerard Maye Legal's team is 'careful, meticulous and robust in its work and approach'. Founding director Gerard Maye stands out for his 'strategic planning', 'gravitas' and for 'not being afraid to manage clients when they are in danger of acting against their best interests'. The firm handles complex cases of murder and other violent crimes, sexual offices and terrorism, many of which are high profile. It also handles fraud cases emanating from the HMRC and the SFO. Recent examples of its work includes representing defendants in cases involving the importation of fake pharmaceuticals and in a separate case the sexual assault of a child. James Warren and John Searby are other key team members.

GT Stewart Limited's team handles both publicly funded and private criminal defence work and is jointly led by Julie Ann Boyle  and managing director Greg Stewart. Stewart handles various cases of serious crime, especially appeals and reviews and has a focus on issues of youth justice. Other key team members include assistant solicitor James Foong. The team's recent work has included successfully defending a youth facing murder and manslaughter charges following the death of his stepfather. Other work included defending a number of sexual abuse offences, GBH charges and a death by careless driving case.

SVS Solicitors' team is 'consistently instructed in high-profile heavyweight general crime'. Managing director Sasha Sidhu is 'a standout lawyer who is tactically astute' and has 'a high profile, especially at the Central Criminal Court'. His broad practice includes particular expertise in defending gang-related crimes including murder. Other team members include Robert Johnson, who has a focus on white-collar criminal defence work, and Shenel Johnson, who oversees the firm's legal aid work. Its recent work includes cases concerning murder, possession of offensive weapons and firearms, drugs offences as well as a number of high-value fraud matters.

Woodfines LLP  has a broad practice that includes defending health and safety and environmental offences as well as broader criminal matters and fraud. It workload includes cases ranging from historic sexual assaults and conspiracy to import prohibited firearms and ammunition to a VAT fraud and serious health and safety offences. Mike Hayward heads the team and is supported by Michelle O’Garro, who has a focus on fraud and regulatory offences, Nathan Taylor-Allkins and Jane Anderson.

Levy & Co Solicitors 'is excellent in all respects of criminal practice and its expertise is evident throughout'. Its substantial team of experts operates from offices across Essex. Steven Levy, who is based in Witham, is 'a fine advocate with an effective court room presence' and is also noted for 'his dedication in pursuing justice for his clients and leaving no stone unturned in his consideration of a case'. Other senior partners include Evelyn Hicks in the  Clacton office and, Katie Armstrong-Mason, who is based in Braintree. Its recent work has included Crown Court cases of murder, rape, false imprisonment, GBH and arson, and it also handles fraud cases.

From its offices around the South East and in London Noble Solicitors has an established criminal, civil and family offering. The team, which acts for legally aided and privately funded clients, handles cases ranging from motoring offences to high-profile murders, sexual offences and other violent crimes. The team is also able to draw on its wider family and childcare expertise where family disputes and mental health issues are involved. Paul Millan heads the department and David Noble and Parm Sidhu are other core team members.

Sternberg Reed 'is one of the go-to firms on the eastern side of London' for criminal law matters. The team, headed by Ben Thomas, offers the full range of expertise in general crime and fraud matters. Recent work includes acting for clients charged with offences of conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life; an historic sexual allegation involving a teacher; and representing a young person charged with serious sexual offences. The team includes David Barbone 'whose dedication to his clients is outstanding' and associate partner Richard Cooper,  who is 'absolutely excellent' and 'has great judgement'. Consultant Kenneth Carr, who sits as a Recorder, is also noted.

Wells Burcombe LLP's team, which is based in the firm's St Albans and West Drayton offices, includes founding partners David Wells and Alan Burcombe; the latter is 'a shrewd operator at the height of his game'. The 'organised, hard-working and talented' Ravinder Khumra is another key member of a team that 'represents clients’ interests fiercely and works hard to get the best possible results'. It has expertise across fraud and general crime matters and has dealt with a number of heavy-weight, high-profile cases involving the alleged importation of firearms, human trafficking, murder and sexual offences.

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