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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 > Dispute resolution > Debt recovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Debt recovery
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

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Blake Morgan LLPis outstanding in this field, not only in its success rate but also in its approach to debtors and clients’. As well as handling debt recovery matters for commercial businesses in the environmental, recruitment and software sectors, the practice also adept with vehicle finance cases, advising multiple international automotive brands as well as vehicle financiers on a full range of debt recovery issues. The practice acts as sole provider of debt recovery legal services to Mercedes Benz Financial Services, and has acted for it on various debt actions, injunction applications at High Court level, and fraud cases. It also continues to assist Hitachi Capital Business Finance and Toyota Financial Services with several return of goods matters. The 35-lawyer team is based out of the Portsmouth office and headed by Sadak Miah. Elizabeth Bowden is also recommended.

Brachers is rated for its ‘excellent industry knowledge’. The team’s specialism lies in consumer credit recoveries and portfolio management services within the financial services sector, but also focuses on the full spectrum of debt recovery matters including compliance issues, managing high-value debt portfolios and litigation for a range of commercial clients in the healthcare, education and banking sectors. Michael Oatham heads the litigation team, where Robert Thompson and the highly regarded Graham Wallis have experience in project management, Chancery matters and insolvency litigation. Lisa Mann joined in October 2016 as a compliance officer from Ambelson.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team ‘is extremely reliable in fraught situations’. The firm has been advising a client on its portfolio of sub-prime motor finance agreements, including litigation for claims and return of goods orders. Its client list includes lenders, debt purchasers and corporates in the energy and financial services sectors; ABN Amro Lease, Close Brothers and Creation Consumer Finance are all notable examples. Karen Savage, who joined the team in May 2016 as head of department from Lester Aldridge LLP, ‘is personable, responsive and extremely knowledgeable in the area’. She leads a team that includes Paula Swain and recoveries managers Stephen Eastley and Jade Souch - Jonathan Grigg left to head the dispute resolution practice at Boyes Turner.

Spratt Endicott is ‘excellent on all counts’; the team ‘takes the time to understand the client’s business and requirements’. In 2016 the team advised on a range of debt recovery matters including multiple bankruptcy orders, credit policies and high-value debt portfolio management. It acts for clients in the telecoms, finance and automotive sectors, including debtors and lenders. The firm also has a notable international debt collection presence, with relationships with debt collectors abroad as well as acting on debt collection matters in the UK for international clients. The highly regarded Martin Hughes is head of commercial recoveries and is ably supported by director Richard Gwynne and associate Peter Gardner, who is ‘very professional and approachable’.

Brethertons LLP attracts praise for its ‘very hands-on approach, with experienced lawyers taking lead roles in the work’. The firm is particularly singled out for its work in property management debt recovery; highlights included advising Trinity Estates on multiple debt recovery matters involving ground rent charges, as well as assisting the credit control team at SDL Bigwood on its debt portfolio, including reducing its service charge arrears from debtors. Other highlights included recovering unpaid charges for clients, project management matters and debt recovery litigation. Coca Cola Enterprises, Pitney Bowes Finance and Scanlans are also recommended. Associate Siobhan Calcott and Fiona Hewitt, who joined in May 2016, are ‘astute, good with clients, efficient and have good judgement’. Department head Shaun Jardine, Alison McCormack and Debbie Phillips are other key names in the team.

DMH Stallard LLP’s team is ‘very client-focused’ and includes a number of ‘specialists in the field’. Repossession matters, high-value debt portfolio management and recovering sums from lenders are some of the matters that the team undertakes for clients. It advised Stiles Harold Williams on various debt collection matters relating to its property portfolio, including assisting with debt collection relating to deceased debtors. It also advised Moore Stephens on its credit control system, often involving collecting debt from other jurisdictions. Other clients include BDO, Strutt & Parker, CAE STS and FDM Group. Key figures include Nigel Marchant, who is ‘very approachable and helpful’, and the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Kelly Mills.

Judge & Priestley LLP handles general debt recovery and collections as well as having a subrogated recovery presence – the team assists clients in the public, insurance and finance sectors on council tax recoveries, overpaid housing benefit recoveries and debt portfolio management, among other matters. Its notable work with local authorities extends to advising on residential debts and home care debt collection. It is also a part of an international network of debt collection agencies. Joint practice leaders Rachel Addai and Mark Oakley are recommended alongside Uday Patel, and Robert Davis and Mark Younger, who have ‘good business acumen and are efficient lawyers’. Mark Bailey joined the team from Empingham Ltd as director of collections in October 2016.

Blaser Millsis an excellent, client-focused firm with some outstanding practitioners’. The team is known for its work in representing commercial companies in contentious matters; it represented a consumables company in collecting £480,000-worth of debt from one of the client’s customers and acted for another client in a dispute with the claimant who alleged the client had undisclosed profits since 2008. Jackie Ray, who ‘is excellent with clients processes and management’, leads the department, which includes Gary Braathen, who ‘is a very accomplished tactician’. Legal executive Kirsty Hughes joined from Brethertons LLP.

At Boyes Turner, clients recommend the firm for debt recovery matters in the construction sector; it has further experience in the transport, property and technology sectors and works closely with the dispute resolution department for contentious debt recovery cases. The team advised H Young Holdings on hundreds of debt collection cases with an aggregate value of £1.6m. Other clients include Kelly Services and Madison, Animal, Leeda & Sportline. Senior associate and practice head Ally Tow ‘is excellent and always willing to help’. Jonathan Grigg joined to head the overall dispute resolution team from Shoosmiths LLP in July 2016; he has experience in cross-border debt recovery matters.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLPhas an excellent understanding of each client’s business’. The firm focuses on servicing commercial clients on the full spectrum of debt recovery needs, as well as having experience in property debt collection and finance defaults for debtors and lenders. The team continued to advise British Car Auctions on multiple debt recovery matters including unpaid fees and debt litigation. It also regularly assists ITV with debt recovery issues arising from programme and IP licensing matters, often involving cross-border litigation. Other clients include We Buy Any Car, Fiat Chrysler and Infor. The practice is led by the highly regarded Jamie Cartwright, who was promoted to partner in May 2016 and took over responsibility for the practice from Duncan Elson.

Clients of Cripps LLP rate the team for its ‘commitment to doing a good job’. It regularly assists clients in the maritime, property and logistics industries with rent and ground service charge arrears, repossession of property and debt recovery litigation. It continued to act for PAYE Stonework & Restoration on multiple debt collections and is assisting the Treasury Solicitor with debt recovery resulting from fees collected by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Prudential, Frog Diamond Drilling and COH Baines are also on the client roster. Ed Weeks leads the department and specialises in commercial debt recovery, while service manager Fiona Chamberlain is an expert in real estate debt collection matters. The well-regarded Simon Leney and associate David Morgan are other key names.

Boutique firm Lovetts Ltd advises clients in the software, recruitment and manufacturing sectors on high-value debt recoveries including debt portfolio matters and credit control issues. It excels in cross-border debt collection, either on matters in the UK on behalf of overseas clients, or debt recovery issues in another country. The 5-solicitor team, which is based in Guildford, includes Michael Higgins along with Charles Wilson and Paul McCulloch.

Moore Blatch LLPis very commercially aware and tailors its advice with maximising net recoveries in mind’. During 2016 the firm advised a number of clients on debt recovery matters for mortgage repossessions, unpaid invoice claims and cross-border litigation for unpaid sums. The firm also advises on insolvency matters and pursuing credit card debts for lenders. Clients include Moreton Smith, Bank of China and United Utilities. Mark Osgood heads the department, which includes Lisa Saxby; both are ‘technically excellent and commercially astute’, according to clients. Other key figures include Peter Worrall and Susannah Marsh, who ‘provide clear, thorough and concise advice’, and Sarah Watley.

Pinney Talfourd LLP attracts praise for its combination of ‘excellent, client-led service’ with ‘efficient and competent legal advice’. Operating within the firm’s dispute resolution department, the team advises on debt recovery concerning party wall awards, loan agreements and insolvency issues for clients in the property, development and construction sectors. The team represented Favorite Fried Chicken in a dispute with a franchisor concerning six years’ worth of unpaid fees following an initial franchising agreement. Stephen Eccles is recommended for ‘his professional acumen and attention to detail’; he leads a department that includes solicitor Nadia Fabri, who joined the firm in March 2016 from Jefferies Essex LLP, and Stephen Green.

Pitmans LLP is praised for its ‘great business and industry knowledge’. The practice is known for its work in commercial and residential debt recovery, including service charges arrears and liability order impositions, for national and international clients in the retail, health, property and construction sectors; it also acts for lenders as well as debtors. Donna Goddardruns an excellent team of committed advisers’ that includes Suzanne Brooker, who is ‘very professional and understanding’, Rick Munro and William Richmond-Coggan.

stevensdrake fields a ‘proactive’ team that advises on recovery of goods, debt portfolio management and legal recoveries, as well as regulatory and compliance issues. It also regularly undertakes debt collection litigation and works closely with the firm’s dispute resolution department on contentious matters. Clients are based in the leisure, financial and motoring sectors. Harry Tumber heads the department, which includes the highly regarded Gavin Pickering.

Thackray Williams LLP’s ‘cases are prepared to the highest standard’ according to clients. It acted for Secure the Bridge in a dispute with a former Premier League football club chairman concerning £125,000 in debt, and assisted a property management company with managing its debt portfolio, which included 130 outstanding service charge debts. Other clients are in the leisure, hospitality and construction sectors. The Bromley-based practice is headed by Graeme Weir ‘combines meticulous case preparation with a commercial pragmatism which serves his clients particularly well’; he specialises in property debt recovery and debt collections for clients in the baking industry. Andrew Raby and Vikki Herbert are also recommended.

Dentons focuses on commercial and property debt recoveries, with notable experience managing debt portfolios and advising clients on mortgage repossessions. It is particularly strong on financial debt recovery and assists with recovering unsecured loans and mistaken payments. The team also works closely with the financial services disputes team for contentious matters and has experience in regulatory and compliance issues. Swift Group, West Bromwich Building Society and Kensington Mortgages are on the client roster. Jackie Hanlon leads the volume recoveries team and is ably supported by mortgage recoveries practice head Katherine Hardman.

Furley Page Solicitors attracts praise for its ‘great knowledge of the industry’. It represented an individual in a dispute with a former business associate to collect debts arisen from an unpaid loan. Other areas of expertise include property debt recovery such as rent and service charge arrears as well as international commercial debt collection. Senior partner Peter Hawkes now heads the team following the departure of senior associate and former practice head Richard Ludlow to Francis Wilks & Jones. Also recommended are Natasha Biggs, who ‘gives clients real confidence’ and ‘has a strong knowledge of the law’; George-Crofton Martin; and legal adviser Alex Hargrove.

Knights Professional Services Limited is adept at handling a full spectrum of debt recovery matters for clients. Its expertise extends to commercial debt recovery, including late payment issues and compensation costs, as well as consumer debt recovery. It also undertakes property debt collection including rent arrears, service ground charge rent arrears and mortgage issues. Joanne Gardner-Boyes is a key name in the practice, with experience in debt litigation and insolvency matters.

Machins Solicitors LLP frequently assists property management clients with service charge arrears and advises commercial clients on debt recovery litigation and portfolio management. The firm is also known for its work in recovering sums relating to Consumer Credit Act agreements and has a specialty in handling insolvency matters. Commercial litigation and insolvency expert Neil O’Callaghan heads the team, which is based in Luton and a part of the firm’s dispute resolution practice.

The team at Morrisons Solicitors LLP combines its commercial and property litigation expertise with its volume debt recovery work. Previous expertise includes advising on commercial debt recovery such as litigation for unpaid bills, non-payment for services performed and invoice-based debts. Its property debt recovery work has covered a full range of litigation for insolvency as well as ground service charge and rent arrears. Clients are in the construction, engineering and utilities sectors among others. Catherine Fisher heads the dispute resolution team and is recommended alongside senior associate Sally Hutchings and Graham Halsall.

T G Baynes represents clients in all forms of debt recovery litigation work, including repayment of arrears for property litigation, unpaid invoices cases and defaulted loan repayment matters. The team also has experience in handling fraudulent issues arising from debt collection, regulatory and compliance cases. Clients include debtors, creditors and lenders in the construction, property and finance sectors. Michael Clark leads the team and is experienced in the intersection between debt recovery and civil litigation; he is ably assisted by Emma Lee, who specialises in insolvency work.

Trethowans LLP is praised for its ‘excellent level of service’. It regularly advises on debt recovery issues in the finance sector, recovering unpaid invoices, and pre-litigation matters. The team advised North Middlesex University Hospital Trust on enforcing thousands of private parking debt collections in 2016, as well as assisting Van Ameyde UK on pre-litigation claims concerning compensation for delayed flight claims under EU regulations. Other clients include Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, James Hay Partnership and Amey. Associate Louise Boyle, who ‘is very knowledgeable and helpful’, and Chris Whiteley lead the team, which includes Kelvin Farmaner and Ian Singleton.

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