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United Kingdom > South East > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Blake Morgan LLP’s team has a strong track record across all areas of dispute resolution, including partnership disputes, professional negligence, asset recovery, and commercial and contractual disputes. Highlights included acting for Griffins in a series of fraud claims totalling £8m brought against companies involved in VAT carousel fraud. Key figures include practice head Chris Potts, who has extensive experience in High Court litigation; Stephanie Walls, who handles all types of commercial disputes; and James Bessey, who is recommended for construction matters.

Mike Robinson’s team at Boyes Turner includes senior associate Stephen Baker, who is praised for his ‘impressive preparation and analysis’; he is ‘very tenacious when required, but ultimately pragmatic in his approach’. Also recommended are Rowan Turrall, who is ‘brilliant in highly stressful situations’; and Ally Tow, who ‘is very thorough in addressing each development’. Highlights included acting for Zimmer in a multi-party product liability case totalling £8m.

Clarkslegal LLP’s ‘high-quality’ practice is ‘particularly strong in commercial and property litigation’. Practice head Antony Morris is singled out for his experience in trade, IT, professional negligence and property disputes, and Christopher Tayton is recommended for his handling of IP, pensions and product liability disputes, among other matters. Highlights included defending Strategic Procurements (UK) against a £9m High Court claim brought by a former employee.

Penningtons Manches LLP has ‘a strong track record of seeking innovative solutions on behalf of clients’. Matthew Martin is assisting All Saints with its commercial and brand protection matters. Emma Davies is ‘driven, efficient and approachable’, and Alex Fox is commended for his ‘strong tactical acumen, which ensures a robust and effective running of the case’. Rustam Dubash has taken over as head of the practice from David Pritchard, who retired in October 2015.

Highlights for Pitmans LLP’s ‘responsive, commercially savvy and client-friendly’ group included acting for XMA in High Court proceedings brought by InTechnology totalling £1.2m. Tim Clark heads the practice, which includes insolvency practitioner Suzanne Brooker, ‘responsive, flexible strategic thinker’ Phil Smith, and Sue O’Brien, who has notable cross-border experience. Other clients include Thames Water, Westcoast and Toshiba.

Clients of Shoosmiths LLP’s ‘pragmatic’ team note its ‘acute awareness of the commercial pressures that the client operates under’ and for its ability to ‘always delivers clear, practical solutions’. Practice head Stuart Little handling a range of IP and commercial litigation matters for clients including Volkswagen, British Gas and Associated British Foods. Commercial insurance specialist Paul Eccles and retail-focused Fleur Turrington are also recommended.

At Field Seymour Parkes LLP, practice head and newly promoted partner Tom Maple handles a wide range of commercial disputes, with a particular focus on the automotive sector. Joe Lott heads the property litigation team, which recently represented Gold Property Development in a contractual dispute over a North London site. Bill Dixon is also a key figure.

Freeths has solid experience across a range of industries insurance, government, real estate and technology. Duncan Crine and Sarah Foster are recommended alongside Andrew Dashwood-Begg, who is ‘particularly good at handling cases involving difficult points of law’.

Gardner Leader LLP’s team ‘punches well above its weight’ and provides ‘excellent assistance in highly complex, multi-jurisdictional cases’. Department head Chris Felton is ‘very bright, a real strategist who gives 110% for clients’, and ‘is able to explain complex legal issues in simple terms’. Michelle Di Gioia focuses on High Court litigation and regulatory matters.

Osborne Clarke combines ‘sound, accessible and commercial advice with a great appreciation for the bigger picture’. Practice head Peter Sheppard is ‘an excellent commercial litigator with strong strategic skills’ and ‘always goes the extra mile’. ‘Superb practitioner’ Michael Bell is the key contact for tax issues.

White & Black Limited’s ‘brilliantly responsive’ team is noted for its ‘great understanding of the client’s goals’ and for its ‘pragmatic and cost-effective approach’. Henry Mendus heads the group, which acts for a range of public figures, corporations and institutions, primarily within the technology sector. Senior associate Victoria Wright’s ‘focus on the commercial outcome of the matter inspires confidence’.

Philip D’Arcy heads the team at Blandy & Blandy LLP, which also includes contentious insolvency expert David Murray and associate Jessica Irwin. Key clients include Miele, University of Reading and RAW Technology.

Brethertons LLP acted on behalf of Chelsea Harbour in a £4m dispute concerning service charges, obtaining a favourable finding on the majority of issues. Debbie Phillips heads the group, which includes Sioban Calcott.

Emma Banister Dean is the key contact at Knights Professional Services Limited, and is ‘incredibly thorough and determined to get a favourable outcome for the client’.

Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors is able to give ‘sound and considered advice at short notice’ and provides ‘great value for money’. Key figure Jonathan Davies ‘is calm and collected in the face of adversity’, and has extensive experience in personal injury, insolvency and contentious probate cases. Carlton Rae is recommended for fraud and property law.

Litigation boutique Emmerson Law is led by Simon Emmerson, who ‘really understands the dynamics of litigation’. The firm has notable experience handling claims arising from commercial contracts and economic torts.

The ‘responsive and pragmaticSteven Maier is the key figure at Maier Blackburn LLP, which continues to act for The Tolkien Estate in a high-value claim against Warner Bros concerning merchandising rights. Oxford University Press, Simon & Schuster and Marvel Entertainment are also clients.

Spratt Endicott is ‘very professional in its approach’. Practice head David Whiting has ‘a vast wealth of experience’ and is ‘a safe pair of hands in any contentious matter’. Shamsher Pangu recently handled a number of contentious probate matters.


Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  2. Leading individuals

Charles Russell Speechlys LLPcan match the big London names and provide an excellent result’. Highlights for ‘tactically superb’ practice heads Duncan Elson and Stephen Burns included Elson’s representation of Fiat Chrysler on several terminations of authorised dealerships, and Burns’ handling of an unfair prejudice shareholder dispute. Senior associate Jamie Cartwright is also recommended.

David Bennet and Tim Foley lead Clyde & Co LLP’s practice, which has acted for clients such as Virgin Atlantic and Ericsson. Bennet represented Apache North Sea in a wilful misconduct claim against Talisman under a joint operating agreement, while Foley acted for RTS Contracts in a dispute with a former client.

Noted for its ‘very good quality of advice’, Stevens & Bolton LLP’s team is led by Richard King and supported by the ‘sharpMichael Frisby and Sarah Murray, who is ‘good at advising cost-effective strategies’. The team handled several disputes in the technology and aviation sectors, including Montise Create’s claim against Formula E for breach of contract.

DMH Stallard LLP has handled multiple cross-border disputes in the aviation and banking sectors and spanning countries such as the US and Portugal. Highlights for ‘commercially astute’ practice head Simon Elcock included representing BDO LLP in several breach of contract disputes.

Thomas Eggar LLP merged with Irwin Mitchell, bringing on board commercial litigation head Robert Kenyon and his team. Martin Cross acted for a representative of a group of retail investors in a dispute arising from the liquidation of ARM Asset Backed Securities SA. Other clients include Lloyds Bank and Nuffield Health.

asb law LLP’s team is noted for its ‘personal service and good judgement’. Led by Lyndsey Ratcliffe, it is a regular fixture in insurance claims and commercial court proceedings.

Cripps LLP represented Diamond Point International in a damages claim for breach of design right, and acted for several UK and cross-border clients in contractual disputes and court appeals. Managing associate Joanna Ford and Ed Weeks are recommended.

Joseph Kean heads the four-partner practice at Mundays LLP, which defended Premier Coatings against several complaints made by customers regarding waterproofing products. Oliver Jackson was promoted to partner.

Rawlison Butler LLP provides ‘an excellent, prompt service’ to clients including Swarovski and Suzuki. Head Stuart Evans and Clive Lee are recommended.

TWM Solicitors LLP’s clients include Shilton and Lodgecrest. The ‘always excellent’ Eileen Barry heads the practice, which include newly promoted partner David Hitchcock.

Kamal Aggarwal and Nicholas Horton lead the team at Thomson Snell & Passmore, which acts for clients including Motorline Holdings and Faithdean.

At Whitehead Monckton, the well-regarded Adrian Robbins heads the team, which acted in several cross-border cases.


Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals

Key names in B P Collins LLP’s ‘excellent’ team includes ‘formidable adversaryMatthew Brandis, Craig Williams, who is ‘a consistently strong, highly dedicated and tactically astute litigator’, and Nick Hallchurch, who is strong on shareholder and partnership disputes. Clients include Biffa Waste Services and Norgine.

Dentons’ team provides a ‘first-class service’ and further cemented its position with the arrival of Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP’s banking litigation team in February 2016, including Tim Constable, Steven Mills and Clare Stothard. The team is developing a niche in sports litigation through James Fairbairn, who ‘has great instincts as a litigator and knows the right buttons to press with the other side to aid the right result’. Highlights included representing a Chinese football club in bringing appeals before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Helen Simpson is ‘extremely impressive’.

Paul Kite’s team at IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) handles business critical disputes that are frequently at an international level, and has particular strength in commercial fraud. Sarah Jackson is ‘an excellent negotiator who has a level-headed but powerful approach to litigation’. Clients include Renault UK and Cummins Power Generation.

SA Law LLP’s ‘first-class’ team is jointly headed by Robert Ryall, who ‘instils confidence and exudes professionalism’, and Tracy Lacey-Smith, who is ‘a super tactician’. ‘Intelligent, strategic and level-headed’ senior associate Nathanael Young recently represented a client in defamation proceedings. Simon Walsh, who is ‘always prepared to go the extra mile’, was promoted to senior associate in 2015.

At Debenhams Ottaway practice head Luke Harrison is ‘a high-quality and experienced commercial litigator’. The group is acting for Pharmacina in a case pertaining to an alleged repudiatory breach of a distributor contract.

Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors LLP’s ‘excellent litigation department’ is representing the claimant in a dispute pertaining to a breach of a joint venture and / or licence agreement. Key names include Kenneth Stangoe, Trevor Coward, Guy Brooks, Mairead McErlean and Richard Millard.

Highlights for Sherrards Solicitors LLP’s ‘professional’ practice included franchising disputes, property disputes and banking litigation. Paul Marmor is leading on the development of the firm’s international litigation offering.

Shoosmiths LLP’s Paul Kirkpatrick attracts praise for his ‘excellent strategic thought and creative solutions’. Recent highlights included acting for a client in a breach of contract dispute. Associates Harriet Campbell and Sarah Ingram are also recommended.

EMW Law LLP is increasingly handling disputes in the waste and recruitment sectors. Damon Watt, Karen Young and Mark Rondel are the key names. Clients include Vax and Inter MK.

Experienced litigatorSimon Hobbs leads Freeths’ team of ‘very experienced lawyers’, which acts for clients including Niftylift and Whitbread.

Highlights for Machins Solicitors LLP included representing the respondents in an unfair prejudice action at the High Court. Neil O’Callaghan’s team includes John Carter and Janice Young.

At Taylor Walton LLP, practice head James Carpenter acted for the claimant in a judicial review of a decision not to validate a planning application. Tracy Harris is another key contact. Andrew Knight retired from the law in October 2015.

Tees Law’s ‘excellent’ team is singled out for its ‘pragmatic and timely solutions’. Key names include Justin Robinson and the ‘unflappableDarren Perks, who focuses on property disputes.


Commercial litigation: Hampshire

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Hampshire
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Bond Dickinson LLP stands out for its ability to service complex litigation efficiently. Practice head Tom Beezeris incredibly clear and responsive’, and is recommended alongside Ian Newcombe and Gavin Matthews. The team defended the Post Office against allegations by its former agents that its systems were defective. Other clients include British Gas and Sainsbury’s.

Blake Morgan LLP successfully defended NHS England against allegations of breach of statutory duties, and represented the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the intervention and closure of Blavo & Co’s offices. Susie Dryden heads the three-partner team, which includes Richard Portlock and Jill Bainbridge.

Irwin Mitchell merged with Thomas Eggar LLP in 2015, bringing the legacy firm’s four-partner team in Hampshire led by Andrew Jackson (who is ‘brilliant at seeing the bigger picture’) and Hannah Clipston. The practice has an extensive track record in disputes for clients including Lloyds Bank and Gamma Telecom. Stephanie Beckett is ‘a real dynamo’.

Clarke Willmott LLP acted for Lendy on a possession order concerning a nursing home that had defaulted on loan repayments, and defended Bandai against a compensation claim. Owen Williams heads the team, which includes senior associate Greg Hughes and solicitor Cathy Harris.

Ian Dawes heads the team at Coffin Mew LLP, which includes associate Michael Ellis. Clients include Hungryhouse Holdings and Saxlund International. James Russell left to form his own automotive company.

Moore Blatch LLP acted for Monitor Audio in an appeal against HMRC’s decision that the client was not entitled to R&D relief. Claire Haverfield is a key contact. Paul Whitaker left the firm.

At Paris Smith LLP, practice head David Eminton ‘is an excellent litigator who understands the law’. Clive Thomson and Mike Pavitt are also recommended.

Pitmans LLP acted for JDI Dating in a contractual dispute with a customer service outsourcing company. Other clients include HCR Group and Cranbourne Holdings. Practice head Rick Munro and director Sylvia Yendall are recommended.

At Shoosmiths LLP, ‘pragmatic’ head Jonathan Grigg advised on several cross-border cases in 2015. Clients include Southampton Football Club and Cepia HK.

At Trethowans LLP, Richard Cook is noted for his ‘strong instincts’. Clients include Ladbrokes and Toys R Us.


Commercial litigation: Essex

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Essex
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Birkett Long LLP’s team, led by the ‘excellentPeter Allen, delivers ‘complete satisfaction’ to clients, who value its ‘well-researched’ advice. Highlights included acting for BEW Electrical Distributors in a breach of warranty dispute arising from an asset purchase agreement.

Birketts LLP’s ‘outstanding’ team handles a range of matters, from representing clients in shareholder disputes to managing claims arising from omnibus contracts and licensing agreements. The ‘exceptionalDaden Hunt has been defending Elektron Technology against a £2m derivative claim.

At Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP, ‘supreme tactician’ James Burkett acted in a £30m claim arising from shareholder disputes over the removal of the company’s CEO and alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.

Nick Hatchett leads the group at Wortley Byers LLP, which attracts praise for its ‘strategic approach to difficult litigation’. Also recommended are the ‘hardworking’ and ‘versatile’ Sarah Stanyer and Wendy Beach, who ‘fights her client’s corner really hard’.

Ellisons Solicitors’ ‘well-established and respected’ team continues to act for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. Lee Pearce and Graeme Wallington are recommended.

The ‘efficient, proactive and knowledgeable’ Clive Tant heads the practice at Palmers. Adam Davis has been promoted to partnership.

Stephen Eccles at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors secured a favourable ruling for Carbon Smart in a breach of contract case before the Court of Appeal.

Leanne Philp at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors is noted for her clear grasp of the technicalities of commercial litigation.

The two-partner team at Jefferies Essex LLP is led by Sarah Mitchell and represents a number of large businesses in Essex.

Fiona Colwell leads the ‘practical, efficient and responsive’ group at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP.

At Rainer Hughes, Sanjay Panesar is a ‘good strategist who can pull a big team together’.

Tees Law’s practice is particularly active in the property sector. David Perry is the key figure.

Thompson Smith and Puxon’s Sharon Auton regularly handles consumer disputes. Judith Winward is also recommended.


Debt recovery

At Blake Morgan LLP, Sadak Miah attracts praise for his ‘exceptional industry knowledge regarding motor finance’. The group is also renowned for its debt purchase work. It continues to act as a sole legal adviser to Mercedes Benz Financial Services.

The team at Brachers is led by Michael Oatham and specialises in consumer credit recoveries and portfolio management services. Robert Thompson is praised as ‘extremely knowledgeable’, particularly in the area of consumer credit agreements.

The ‘excellent’ group at Shoosmiths LLP is led by Waine Mannix, who took on the role from Richard Gwynne, who joined Spratt Endicott. The practice’s expertise ranges from business-to-business trade recoveries as well as secured and unsecured commercial lending recoveries.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Spratt Endicott provides ‘an excellent service’. Richard Gwynne joined the team from Shoosmiths LLP. Martin Hughes leads the practice.

Brethertons LLP’s practice is renowned for its work in the property management sector. Shaun Jardine and Debbie Phillips are key contacts. Karen Adams joined the team from Blake Morgan LLP.

Judge & Priestley LLP’s Mark Oakley is praised for his ‘excellent industry knowledge’. Rachel Addai and Mark Younger regularly act for local authorities and corporate entities, and the group specialises in recovering subrogated insurance claims.

Boyes Turner has been pursuing over £1m in claims for H Young. Senior associate Ally Tow is a key contact.

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Stephen Burns has expertise in automotive claims and auction law. Clients include British Car Auctions and We Buy Any Car. Duncan Elson heads the practice.

Ed Weeks and Mike Scott lead the team at Cripps LLP, which continues to act for the Treasury Solicitor and Paye Stonework & Restoration.

The group at DMH Stallard LLP is led by Simon Elcock and is well versed in leasehold debt recovery. Clients include Moore Stephens, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and Medway Council.

Lovetts Ltd’s team is led by Michael Higgins and recorded collections comprising more than £40m in 2015.

The ‘responsive and commercial’ team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors has been assisting Publications International with many claims. The ‘knowledgeable and efficient’ Stephen Eccles is recommended.

Suzanne Brooker heads the ‘approachable’ and ‘responsive’ group at Pitmans LLP, which acts for commercial and corporate entities as well as regulatory and public bodies.

stevensdrake’s practice is led by the ‘excellent’ Marie Moffatt. In addition to handling business-to-business collections, the group is also highly active in the motor finance industry.

Graeme Weir heads the team at Thackray Williams LLP, which advises on personal and property debt, and specialises in misappropriation of equipment and the law of conversion in the baking industry.


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