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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 > Human resources > Immigration > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Immigration
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Aston Bond handles the full gamut of immigration matters, including work permits, marriage and business applications, asylum and settlement in the UK, and also undertakes a range of humanitarian and human rights-related issues. The group recently assisted a client in a matter where a spouse was denied entry into the UK, and also advised an individual on an asylum application where the client was the subject of numerous human rights violations, successfully winning an asylum appeal and an entry clearance for the client’s child, despite a previous shoplifting conviction. Key individuals include barrister Ravinder Kaur, a well-regarded figure who deals with asylum, entry clearance, appeals before the tribunal and High Court and business immigration for a range of individual and corporate clients. Notable clients include Domino’s Pizza and Shipleys Food Service.

The ‘first-class’ team at Birketts LLP is ‘practical and knowledgeable’, providing ‘fast, efficient advice which helps greatly with many immigration matters, including sponsorship and work permit issues’. The group supports employers seeking to recruit workers from outside the EU, advises on sponsor license and visa applications, acts for high net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs, and also advises on various individual matters including spouse and ancestry visas, naturalisation applications and permanent residence. Recent highlights include advising EFP-ME UK on a sponsor license application alongside several personal immigration matters, and assisting Paloform World with the establishment of a branch office in the UK, making appropriate visa applications for the sole representative. Practice head Janice Leggett provides ‘top-notch’ advice on the full range of immigration matters, with a particular specialism in UK commercial film production, and senior associate Clare Hedges has significant experience handling sponsor revocations, Tier 2 applications and the prevention of illegal working. Other active clients include Blancco UK, Midgard and the Gelber Group.

Clarkslegal LLP’s ‘responsive, knowledgeable, helpful and personable’ team is ‘always prepared to go the extra mile to verify information on behalf of the client’, and is ‘excellent on all international matters’. The firm acts for major corporate clients and employer sponsors, advising on all aspects of business immigration including UK visas, sponsorship licenses and enforcement notices, and also acts for Tier 1 investors entering the UK market on international recruitment and the transfer of senior employees. Practice head Monica Atwal specialises in advising businesses on the global transfer of staff, most notably at director level, along with their families. Afeefah Shabbir, who is ‘a subject matter expert and is exceptional in her role’, advises multinational corporates and private sector clients across a range of sectors on investor visas, European Economic Area (EEA) residence cards and various other immigration issues. Highlights included advising Carillion on responses to civil penalty notices, the employment termination of a Tier 2 sponsored migrant, and several Tier 2 visa applications. The group also advised Jardine Motors Group on bringing a foreign national over to the UK, and on the individual’s eligibility for business visitor visas.

The ‘pragmatic and responsive’ group at Penningtons Manches LLP provides ‘a comprehensive level of expertise, a consistent quality of support’ and ‘prompt and thorough responses with just the right level of detail’. Recent work includes advising Oxford Nanopore Technologies on several immigration issues, including enquiries for a Tier 2 sponsor, the recruitment of a remote worker in France, and the drafting of an invitation letter for a business visitor, and assisting Ocado with several right to work queries related to EEA family rights. ‘Scrupulous and professional’ senior associate Duncan Bain has ‘a great wealth of knowledge’, is ‘completely approachable’ and ‘always demonstrates tremendous empathy, breaking down complex matters into simple language and allowing the client to make an informed decision’. The group also has significant expertise acting for individuals on permanent residence, spousal visas and asylum applications, and increasingly advises on the Brexit risks facing EEA migrants.

Stevens & Bolton LLPs team provides ‘a commercially-focused service which is excellent on all levels’ and the team ‘is good a working to tight deadlines’ and ‘is always quick to respond’. The practice has strong expertise in business immigration, most notably in Tier 2 matters, and also advises on investor, spouse and EEA family permits, permanent residence, indefinite leave to remain and naturalisation applications. Practice head Kerry Garcia advises a mix of employer and individual clients on the full range of business immigration issues, and senior associate Adam Landy is ‘a great support – highly personable, and easy to have a good working relationship with’. Hghlights included acting for Asahi UK, formerly part of Miller Brands, in a sponsor license application following its acquisition by Japanese brewing company Asahi, liaising with the Home Office and successfully obtaining the licence under a tight timeframe. Other key clients include Kia Motors, WhiteHat Security, CipherCloud and Nosce Education Consultancy.

B P Collins LLP assists a number of businesses with obtaining sponsor licenses and hiring migrant employees under the points-based system, and also advises EU nationals on their position following the EU referendum. Senior associate Chris Brazier heads the practice, advising on various immigration rules impacting UK businesses, and also handles matters related to permanent residence and British citizenship. Employment expert Kathryn Fielder is the other key figure; she has significant experience dealing with business immigration matters, having recently assisted with securing the status of a domestic worker employed by a royal family. In another highlight, the team handled an application for a UK ancestry visa for an Australian national, successfully enabling the client to move to the UK with their partner. New client wins include Metdist Enterprises, Bic UK and White Light, and Bestway and Hawkins\Brown are among the firm’s longstanding clients.

Barnes Harrild & Dyer is ‘a firm of dedicated and reliable solicitors, whose determination and confidence is exemplary’. The team regularly represents asylum applicants and victims of trafficking, and has a strong track record in handling cases before the Immigration Tribunal, through to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Other areas of expertise include unlawful detention claims, Children’s Act and care proceedings and business immigration matters. The ‘friendly and trustworthy’ Paul Turner is the key practitioner, and is praised by clients for his ‘honest advice, proactive encouragement and drive to succeed’.

The ‘strong team of consultants’ at Dentons provides ‘a very professional level of service, delivering appropriate advice on time and with sound industry knowledge’. The department handles all sponsor license and visa applications under Tiers 1, 2 and 5, and assists with sole representative of overseas business visas, settlement applications, citizenship and permanent residence matters. Highlights included advising a key client on the immigration aspects of its expansion of UK operations, obtaining sponsor licenses and work visas for Tier 2 general migrants; assisting Dataminr with securing Tier 2 intra-company transfer visas; and advising HiFX Europe on a possible ancestry visa route. Key practitioners include London-based Michael Bronstein, who heads the firm’s nationwide immigration practice and advises on the ongoing requirements imposed by UK visas; the ‘professionalVerity Buckingham, who ‘responds quickly and has a great knowledge of all relevant issues’; and associate Anjali Raval, whose recent work includes handling applications for the right to remain in the UK on the basis of marriage, along with applications for naturalisation and the registration of a child as a UK citizen. Other clients include Nebula Systems, Ambassadors Theatre Group and FirstPort.

Doyle Clayton is ‘excellent in all areas’, and ‘does a wonderful job supporting clients with employment law, immigration processes and law updates’. The team advises companies on sponsor licenses and Tier 2 applications, and also handles all issues regarding permanent residence, EEA applications, TUPE transfers and compliance and illegal working. Senior associate Victoria Burnip assists businesses in the technology, retail, fast food and textiles sectors with all aspects of business immigration, including strategic recruitment planning, sponsor license and naturalisation applications. Recent highlights include advising VAT and tax recovery company VATit UK on various immigration issues, most notably the recruitment of specialists who speak Afrikaans; advising a leading technology retailer on compliance issues, right to work, sponsor license applications and TUPE transfers; and acting for a financial planning and investment provider on the expansion of Tier 2 visas and sponsor licenses. Other key clients include Newton Europe, Celtra and RSi Retail Solutions. London-based Anita de Atouguia heads the firm-wide immigration practice, assisting a mix of multinational corporates, SMEs, start-ups and high net-worth individuals with the full spectrum of immigration matters.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors is known for its expertise in all aspects of personal immigration, frequently advising on publically funded immigration services for asylum, immigration detention, deportation appeals and EC law issues. The team also represents high net-worth individuals on points-based system applications and appeals, including entrepreneur and investor visas. The firm has a niche specialism in legal aid, and represents vulnerable clients in detained asylum cases, and in matters involving unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. In a recent highlight, the team represented several individuals in a multi-claimant judicial review that challenged the processing of the claimants’ asylum claim, a matter resulting in an Equality Act assessment being brought in by the Home Office. The firm also acted for an individual in a challenge to the refusal of an asylum claim on third country grounds, successfully obtaining permission from the Court of Appeal to stay all related cases pending the outcome. Practice head Bahar Ata has substantial experience representing clients at the High Court in judicial review cases.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP’s team has ‘a deep level of knowledge’ and ‘fully understands the moving parts concerning legal jurisprudence, government policy and international affairs’. The group has a strong reputation in legal aid for asylum and human rights matters, and frequently advises and represents victims of trafficking, receiving referrals from the Red Cross, along with other community groups and charities. The team also assists entrepreneurs with visa applications under the points-based system, advises businesses on sponsor license applications and assists individuals with spousal, unmarried partner and civil partner visa applications. Recent highlights include successfully advising an applicant on obtaining entry clearance for his wife, a Filipino national, following the refusal of a previous application. Associate Ashlee Campbell, who heads the practice, has ‘a huge breadth of experience and the ability to manage a whole range of cases, including asylum appeals from different parts of the world’.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) advises clients on Tier 2 sponsor licenses, sponsor management system compliance, audits and Schengen visas, among other matters. The group also assists with Tier 1 investor and entrepreneur visas, British Citizenship applications and residency documents for European citizens, and successfully acted for several clients in adverse immigration history matters and visa refusals. The team has a strong client base in the technology, pharmaceutical, retail and automotive sectors, and regularly works alongside its corporate, commercial and family teams to provide a full-service offering to its corporate and individual clients. Newly-recruited partner Richard Devall, who joined from Pitmans LLP, heads the practice, and is supported by associate Aleksandra Yuskina, who has strong expertise in all aspects of business immigration practices. The group recently advised Avata on several Tier 2 visa applications. Other key clients include Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Goodman Real Estate Adviser and Hytera.

At Pitmans LLP, key specialisms include obtaining visas for travel in the Schengen Area, sponsor license applications under Tier 2 and Tier 5, compliance and preparation for Home Office audits, and applications for indefinite leave to remain for business migrants wishing to settle permanently in the UK. Jonathan Gray heads the department following the departure of Richard Devall to IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett). Gray advises major corporates and SMEs on immigration strategies, complying with sponsorship duties, right to work checks and applications under Tier 2 of the points-based system, and has notable expertise acting for technology, oil and gas and entertainment sector clients. The firm also advises on EU immigration issues in the hospitality sector arising from Brexit.

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