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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 > Real estate > Construction > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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'Excellent on all counts', Blake Morgan LLP's construction practice has 'knowledge and experience of construction law that is second to none; advice provided is always appropriate and specific to the needs of the client, and the team has great strength-in-depth'. It acts for public and private sector purchaser and contractors across a number of sectors, including retail and leisure, energy, health, local and national government, banking and education. Non-contentious highlights included acting for Bouygues UK on the reconfiguration of its contracting supply chain following its acquisition mod Leadbetter Construction and Denne Construction, and advising Victoria Quay Estate on the proposed development of a 400-berth marina in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, which involved negotiating a suite of construction consultation appointments along with other construction issues arising from the ongoing development. On the disputes side, the practice is acting for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in a series of issues and disputes arising from the Pennine Reach project, which formed part of the transport infrastructure improvements as part of the Northern Powerhouse, including the termination of the original contractor and issues relating to alleged defamatory statements. Richard Wade heads the team, which includes James Bessey, Catherine Melis and Jessica Tresham.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's construction practice provides a service that is 'nothing short of excellent; the lawyers are entirely knowledgeable and prompt in all of their dealings, and produce work of great quality'. Its clients span a range of industry sectors, including healthcare, where it acts for clients such as Caring Homes Group; transport, where it regularly handles cross-border mandates; energy, where it acts for the Energy Technologies Institute; and education, among other areas. In an illustration of its multi-jurisdictional workload, practice head David Savage is acting for the Bahrain government's Ministry of Transport & Telecommunications on the procurement strategy for a $1bn redevelopment of Bahrain airport. Other recent highlights include advising Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre on the design and construction of a replacement slipway to mitigate the effects of the Thames Tideway Tunnel works; and assisting Caring Homes Group with ongoing advice on the client's care home portfolio, including its recent acquisition of a 60-bed care home in Surrey. Senior associate Andrew Keeley is 'superb; his breadth of knowledge, calm under pressure, ability to crystallise the nub of disputes and communication skills puts clients at ease'. Also recommended are Kate Knox, who specialises in non-contentious construction and engineering law, and Fiona Thomson, whose expertise covers retail, office, hotel and residential accommodation developments.

Clarkslegal LLP's clients highlight the 'extensive knowledge' provided by the construction team, which comprises 'knowledgeable and helpful lawyers who work with clients to achieve their end goal; care is taken to ensure that instructions are clear and that the level of advice is commensurate with clients' requirements'. The practice acts for suppliers and purchasers, including contractors such as B Mackin Construction and Optimum, on the full range of major projects work, from procurement and project contracts tender drafting and procedures, and joint venture structures, to dispute resolution. On the contentious side, the practice acted for Blanchard Wells in a claim against its concrete supplier arising from the supply of incorrect concrete mix in breach of specifications for an important construction contract at Leatherhead Golf Club. Non-contentious highlights included advising Sunglen Properties on a joint development that will provide accommodation for 186 students, and assisting a specialist design and build catering contractor on a review of the proposed terms of contracts for a number of multimillion-pound projects. The 'very pragmatic' David Rintoul heads the practice; he is rate for 'caring a great deal about both his clients and providing an excellent service'. He leads a team that includes Ruth Wilkinson, who joined in 2017 from CMS and 'gives sensible, pragmatic advice'; Stephen James, 'an excellent litigator' who provides 'clear and easily digestible advice'; and Hannah Mycock-Overell, who is 'very switched on and commercial'.

Dentons provides 'an exceptional level of service', with clients citing the firm's 'in-depth industry knowledge and good experience in most sectors'. It is highly active in construction disputes, where it acts for contractors such as Vinci Construction and Galliford Try. On the non-contentious front the practice is regularly called on to advise on major projects in the commercial, retail, leisure, rail, energy and high-end residential arenas.  In a recent highlight Jane Miles (who is 'able to come up with innovative ways to deal with difficult issues') acted for Taylor Wimpey on the construction aspects of the redevelopment of a 6.25-acre development site, which was acquired from Royal Mail and has planning permission for 681 residential units as well as retail, office space and public space. Other highlights included advising Kier on the development and letting of a multi-phased, multi-tenanted retail, leisure and trade development in Reading, which has involved advising on the procurement methods and the phasing of building contracts; and advising Great Western Developments on the construction aspects of the project to transform the former Royal Mail sorting and post office site adjacent to Paddington Station. On the contentious front, Gurbinder Grewal (who is praised for his 'intimate knowledge of the details of the case and timely, appropriate advice') is acting for Geofirma Soils Engineering in £30m multi-party court proceedings relating to the defective design and construction of a warehouse in Cheshire. Grewal jointly heads the contentious practice with Akin Akinbode, who has an extensive track record in engineering and construction disputes.  Esther McDermott ('a pleasure to work with') is also recommended.

Sheridan Gold LLP fields 'excellent lawyers' with 'extensive experience in construction law'. Clients particularly single out the 'significant partner input, which is often not provided in the bigger firms'. The firm acts for national and international contractors and sub-contractors, as well as developers on a range of construction and engineering matters. Jonathan Gold and Peter Sheridan are 'intellectually savvy, analytical and have broad experience'. Gold has more than 18 years' experience in construction matters, and Sheridan more than 25 years' experience in construction and engineering disputes.Jane Ryland is also recommended.

Stevens & Bolton LLP fields an 'excellent' team of construction specialists that provide advice that is 'second to none'. Clients single out practice head Stephen Rockhill his training as a chartered engineer, giving him 'a unique ability in drafting and negotiating contract and warranty documents, as well as an unrivalled understanding of the practicalities of the construction process'. His track record covers contentious and non-contentious procurement and contractual construction matters. Other key figures include Michael Frisby, who handles disputes in a range of sectors including manufacturing, IT and insurance; Claire Perry, who handles a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters; and Kimberley Eyssell, who joined in 2017 from Kennedys and who has notable expertise rail-related disputes. Eyssell recently acted for Michael J Lonsdale in a series of adjudications concerning sums due to a sub-consultant, and represented specialist cladding sub-contractor Century Facades in a dispute against Vision Homes. On the non-contentious side Rockhill is advising the Institute for Cancer Research on a large laboratory at its Sutton site, which involved ensuring the construction documentation took into account issues the client had experienced on previous projects. Ben Willis joined the team in 2018 from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP.

Cripps LLP fields a 'professional and well-resourced' construction practice that handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious construction matters, with an emphasis on regeneration and urban renewal projects. In an illustration of its track record in major regeneration projects, the practice is continuing to act for Slough Borough Council on the £1bn regeneration of Slough, which involves a £27m library, an £8m football stadium for Slough Town FC, and most recently four new leisure centres, the refurbishment of a number of schools and several housing and infrastructure developments. Other highlights included assisting the English National Ballet with the relocation of its headquarters to London City Island, which involved negotiating the construction documents relating to the fit-out of the new HQ; and acting for Kato Kagaku Co on the refurbishment of the Aldwych Quarter in London, for which Andrew Harbourne led the team handling the completion of the appointment and construction documentation for the work on the north west wing in 2017. James Lee heads the practice and is 'a great construction lawyer who offers practical and commercial advice in a timely manner, and achieves a good balance between protecting the client's interests and commercial acceptability'. Contentious construction expert Nitej Davda is also recommended.

Hewitsons acts for developers, contractors and consultants on a range of commercial, residential and infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on the education sector. In an illustration of is track record in education sector related construction mandates, practice head Tim Richards was part of a team advising Mansfield College, Oxford on a teaching and student accommodation project, which involved handling all the construction documentation, and acted for the Woolf Institute on a project to develop a new HQ at Westminster College, Cambridge. Other recent highlights include advising MK Gallery on the expansion of its exhibition space to accommodate a range of new facilities including a cinema, performances and events, historical and contemporary exhibitions and a café. Colin Jones and Lorna Carter are also recommended.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) fields a team of 'extremely well-qualified, very professional, highly knowledgeable and courteous' construction specialists who provide 'exceptional advice and outstanding value for money'. Clients include major housebuilders, contractors and mixed-use developers on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters, with notable strength in commercial real estate and the engineering sector. On the contentious front, practice head Paul Brampton ('very formidable and clear thinking') acted for O'Loughlin Leisure in a dispute concerning construction cost overruns, allocation of sale proceeds, and alleged defects brought against the development company, with which the client entered into a joint venture agreement to sell and develop leisure facilities in South London into apartments and commercial premises. Non-contentious highlights included advising Heathrow Top on the conversion and extension of an existing office building in Heathrow to deliver a 244-bedroom Marriott hotel, and assisting with Aviva Insurance on the redevelopment of St Helen's Square in the City of London, the third largest open space in the City. Steven Hayward has wide-ranging expertise in contentious and non-contentious construction matters and is recommended alongside consultant Ross Humphries.

Irwin Mitchell is rated for its 'responsiveness and strength in depth'. The construction practice has a particularly strong profile in the education sector, and regularly acts for developers, contractors and consultants, as well as owners of residential property in London and of country estates on issues arising from construction projects. In an illustration of the growth in non-contentious work in 2017, the practice acted for developers Artisan Real Estate on the preparation and negotiation of professional appointments for proposed residential developments in Woolwich and Swanley. In a mandate demonstrating its education-sector credentials, the practice advised Lambeth College on all aspects of the proposed development of its campus in Vauxhall. The firm is also noted for its strength in construction disputes, and recently acted for Structure Consulting in adjudications and subsequent High Court litigation concerning claims for payment in respect of a project for the design and construction of a Lebanese food production and training kitchen facility. Practice head Mark Clinton ('a pleasure to work with') has more than 30 years' experience in construction issues. Sarah Evans and Izabela Arnold are also recommended.

Pitmans LLP handles a mix of non-contentious and contentious work for a range of clients including developers and housebuilders. It has a particular focus on marine engineering where it acts for ferry operators such as Red Funnel Group, as well as owners and operators of marinas on the south coast. It also regularly handles hotel refurbishment, valuation and refinancing mandates. Non-contentious highlights included assisting CVD diamond producer Element Six, part of the DeBeers Group, with upgrades and extensions to its existing facilities, and acting for CALA Homes on the refurbishment of its head office. On the disputes front, the practice acted for the Bookworth Group in claims brought by a series of residential developments, successfully representing Anglo-Malaysian architectural practice Space-Q Studio in adjudication proceedings in relation to a waste energy plant in Peterborough, and negotiating a favourable settlement on behalf of contractor Inside Out Developments related to a payment dispute. Practice head David Gwillim has more than 30 years' experience in construction law.

Birkett Long LLP acts for contractors, sub-contractors, surveyors, engineers, architects and developers on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, from drafting bespoke construction contracts, handling  consultants' appointments and collateral warranties, and advising on development agreements and options to purchase land, to adjudications, mediations, arbitration and litigation. Recent highlights include acting for Orchard Barns Kindergarten and its pension fund on the conversion of its barn into a day nursery. On the disputes front the practice acted for C&W Industrial Roofing Services in an adjudication relating to an unpaid valuation. It also acted for a bank on the financing for the conversion of a former petrol station site to a residential development. Peter Allen heads the practice and has wide-ranging expertise in construction contracts. Keith Songhurst regularly acts for local authorities, property developers, and construction and engineering companies on construction disputes. David Rayner, Justin Stock and Martin Hopkins are also recommended.

Clients consider Birketts LLP to field 'a City-quality construction team at regional prices - its lawyers are very friendly, hardworking and know how to get the best result for the client'. Andrew Rush (who has 'a no-nonsense approach and is very well liked') heads the practice, which includes Ruth Sunaway ('a standout construction lawyer who strikes the right balance between attack and commercial sense'). Rush and Sunaway have extensive track records handling litigation, arbitration and adjudication for, with Sunaway regularly acting in high-value claims before the Technology and Construction Court. Recent work includes defending Wilson Properties in an adjudication commenced by Hutton Construction. Senior associate Carolyn Porter handles a range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters.

EMW Law LLP's construction practice combines 'good legal advice with a practical approach and in-depth industry knowledge'. Clients include developers, housebuilders, social housing providers, contractors and consultants, which the practice advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters. Recent highlights include advising 21 Construction on contract terms for for several projects in and around London, with values ranging from £3m to £15m, assisting Adobe Systems Europe with drafting and negotiating the building contract and consultation appointments for fit out and refurbishment works related to the lease of two floors of the White Collar Building in London, and acting for Scania on the design and construction of a new headquarters in Milton Keynes. Practice head Michael Chilton is 'a safe pair of hands with a great deal of industry knowledge and a calm manner'. Derryn Rolfe is also recommended.

BrookStreet des Roches fields a construction and engineering team that is 'extremely knowledgeable of the relevant law and has a deep understanding of clients' business needs, enabling it to anticipate their needs and flag key points very early in negotiations'. The practice handles a range of work related to commercial property developments, from procurement issues, construction contracts and professional appointments to construction disputes. It is continuing to provide ongoing advice to MEPC Silverstone GP on a development project adjacent to Silverstone race track, most recently acting on the construction of a campus made of fourteen industrial units at the park totalling 125,000 sq ft. Other recent work includes acting for Arcadia Group on a garment handling process plant to be installed in a new warehouse building in Northamptonshire; acting for a client on professional appointments for a large mixed-use development in Battersea in London; and acting for the tenant, 3M, on office and laboratory leases, which involved handling agreements lease, landlord and tenant works. The 'very responsive' Joe Bellhouse heads the team and is 'an extremely reliable source of technically sound, commercially sensible advice'.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's practice in Southampton is best known for handling non-contentious mandates for the firm's national clients. Recent highlights include advising contractor Faithdean on a variety of contracts the client is planning to enter into with developers for a number of schemes, primarily in London. Simon Lewis leads the team nationally, which also acts for developers pension funds, education establishments and railway infrastructure companies. In another key mandate, the team advised longstanding client B&Q on construction issues related to its property portfolio, as well as assisting the client on framework agreements with construction suppliers. Ben Willis joined Stevens & Bolton LLP in 2018.

Brachers has a track record handling contentious and non-contentious construction matters for developers and contractors. Michael Janney left the firm in 2017.

Howes Percival LLP acts for developers, institutional landowners, banks, occupiers, contractors and consultants on a range of contentious and non-contentious construction matters. Recent highlights include assisting Barwood Capital with drafting a bespoke suite of construction documents to be used on a series of future developments; acting for Ford Retail on construction issues related to the refurbishment of the client's existing leasehold dealership in Epsom; and drafting and negotiating all construction documentation on behalf of Welcome Break Group in relation to the procurement of Fleet Service Station. Philippa Hebbard heads the practice and is noted for her non-contentious expertise.

Mundays LLP's track record includes advising developers, tenants, lenders and contractors throughout the project lifecycle, and maintains a strong client base of corporate and high net-worth clients across the South East region. Pippa Beesley joined Bevan Brittan LLP in 2017.

The construction team at Palmers 'punches well above its weight' and has a strong track record in high-value, complex disputes. Recent work includes acting for Pole 2 Pole Scaffolding in an arbitration brought against Squibb Group concerning a contract for the supply, erecting and dismantling of scaffolding, and acting for Camway Contracts in three disputes relating to works carried out under a JCT minor works building contract. Practice head Adam Davis is 'a true construction specialist with the ability to get to the heart of a case quickly'.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP handles a variety of contentious and non-contentious construction work for developers, sub-contractors and construction companies, including issues arising from contested payment applications and defects claims. Francis Wallace heads the practice and has a longstanding track record in construction disputes, often involving an international dimension. Associate Alistair Rustemeyer is noted for his marine sector expertise.

Thomson Snell & Passmore attracts praise for its 'in-depth knowledge of the construction industry'. The practice acts for developers, funders, contractors, sub-contractors and professional consultants on the full spectrum of construction matters, with an emphasis on on high-value, multi-party disputes. Recent work includes acting for a European aparthotel company on a major refurbishment of its London aparthotel, which involved drafting all relevant construction documentation, as well as handling a dispute with the contractor. Chris Whittington heads the construction practice and has a 30-year track record advising on procurement methods and negotiating building and engineering contracts, as well as construction disputes. Recently promoted partner Chris Kirby-Turner has a particular focus on professional negligence claims against designers and contractors.

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