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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 > Insurance > Clinical negligence: defendant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Clinical negligence: defendant
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • John Sheath - Brachers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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The clinical negligence department at Brachers is ‘a strong player in the field’ with ‘good experience and expertise in the medical issues underlying birth trauma and spinal injury claims, providing early and realistic advice’. The team further handles cosmetic surgery, oncology and ophthalmic cases. Recurring clients include the Medical Defence Union, the Dental Defence Union and Specsavers Optical Group. ‘First-class solicitor’ and ‘meticulously thorough’ team lead Scott Alexander, who ‘has good judgement and is strong on client relationships’, focuses on high-value and ophthalmic claims, while John Sheath represents clients at inquest and in regulatory matters, where he gives policy advice and supports during inquires, judicial reviews and criminal prosecutions. Also recommended are the ‘conscientious’ associate Harriet Humphrey, the ‘sensible’ solicitor Frances Cutler, who specialises in surgical and orthopaedic work, and the ‘professional’ associate Dana Ellis. Recent highlights include Alexander’s successful representation of the Medical Defence Union in a ₤1m claim against a doctor regarding a hip examination which was claimed to be inadequate, as well as in a claim against GP defendants concerning a failure to diagnose and treat an infant’s pneumococcal meningitis. Sheath advised a doctor of the MDU who was named as an interested party during an inquest over the suicide of a patient who suffered from hypertension, depression, cardiac and acute prostatitis.

The ‘strong’ clinical negligence team at DAC Beachcroft LLP in Winchester ‘provides an excellent service delivering honest, frank and well-informed advice’. Team head Matthew McGrath, Heather Durston-Hillyer and Anthea Lane, who was promoted to partner in May 2016, are ‘always smart, organised and punctual at court attendances’. The practice represents public clients, such as the NHS Litigation Authority and the Medical Defence Union, private sector clients, including medical malpractice insurers and private hospitals, as well as surgeons against orthopaedics, breast surgery and product liability claims. The ‘incredibly able and supportive’ McGrath specialises in brain injury, while the ‘very sound and reassuring lawyer’ Durston-Hillyer handles birth injuries (such as cerebral palsy) and other catastrophic injuries in adults and children. In addition to similar birth injury cases, the ‘engaging and pragmatic’ Lane handles dental claims. Durston-Hillyer represented the NHS Litigation Authority and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust against a claim concerning a delay in the treatment of cauda equine, which was discontinued by the claimant after evidence had been presented in the form of medical record entries. McGrath defended the same client against alleged negligent care of the claimant (now an adult) as a newborn, which led to a brain injury, while Lane won a trial regarding surgical mismanagement during an orchidectomy which caused a haematoma.

BLM’s clinical negligence practice delivers a ‘very good level of service overall with sound advice’ and is described as ‘committed’ and ‘a very safe pair of hands’. Practice lead Joe Wakefordis an experienced defence solicitor who is strong on client relationships’, representing insurers, care homes, individual professionals, NHS Trusts and the NHS Litigation Authority. He is joined by Stephanie Castell, who advises on cerebral palsy and related postnatal injuries as well as spinal and brain injuries. The fields of product liability, pathology, genetic screening and group litigation are relatively new developments in the practice.

The clinical negligence team at Gordons Partnership LLP in Guildford advises medical defence organisations, private hospitals, insurers and individual practitioners, and undertakes a considerable amount of regulatory, disciplinary, professional conduct and inquest work as well as criminal proceedings. Representing medical professionals in proceedings and inquests falls within the purview of former doctor Leigh Taylor, who also advises on data protection and consent issues. Team lead Charles Atkins focuses on catastrophic injuries and multi-party claims, with a specialisation in spinal surgery matters. Iain Pickering handles cases of similar complexity that involve general practice, obstetrics and surgery, while Alison Harden has experience in neurology and psychiatry.

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