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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 West > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Bristol > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Bristol
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Burges Salmon LLP has a large team, which serves a sizeable roster of national and international clients. It has a notable specialism in transport sector disputes; the scope of the work includes rail, bus, motor and marine matters. In addition, the team excels in contentious work involving financial services, agricultural and rural affairs, energy, intellectual property and pensions. David Hall leads the group, which includes highly rated associate Brian Wong. Wong focuses on transport, regulatory and public law matters, and also handles complex corporate disputes.

Practice head(s):David Hall

Other key lawyers:Kari McCormick; Michael Ward; Sian Edmunds;

Testimonials

'Burges Salmon understands the needs of clients and business, but they remain a partner-led law firm delivering personal service and going the extra mile'

'They adopt a very sensible and pragmatic approach to complex commercial litigation'

'A team that has the qualities of the leading London firms'

'Brian Wong is a very smart, engaging and committed solicitor who always understands the detail and strategy of case'

'Brian Wong has significant judicial review and general commercial litigation expertise'

'Kari McCormick is tactically astute and quickly grasps the bigger picture'

'Suzanne Padmore is an experienced litigator who is very practical'

'Owen Jones is very thorough'

'Sian Edmunds is an excellent litigator, tactically astute and prepared to have a scrap'

'David Hall is an outstanding commercial litigator; his ability to get stuck into the detail whilst retaining a big picture view was outstanding. An absolute pleasure to work with'

Key Clients

FirstGroup Plc and Subsidiaries

John Lewis/Waitrose

BBC

Virgin

Coca-Cola HBC

Crown Commercial Service Panel

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

PRISA (Promotora de Informaciones)

The Crown Estate

Celtic Energy

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as representative of the existing creditors in respect of a CVA implemented by MF Global UK.
  • Advised administrators in £500m insolvency disputes following administration of Zinc Group.
  • Represented Ludlow Street Healthcare Limited in a dispute against the former CEO relating to alleged unauthorised diversion of money.
  • Acted for a state-owned Plc in a claim arising from alleged breach of warranty/fraudulent misrepresentation following acquisition of a UK waste treatment business.
  • Advised Mazars as liquidator on a claim against the former owner of an insolvent engineering company.

Clarke Willmott LLP's team covers commercial litigation in multiple areas, such as agriculture, banking, defamation, financial services and intellectual property. The firm also handles contentious issues involving niche areas, such as classic cars and commercial agents regulations; practice head Alex Jakubowski is a noted expert in the latter area. It is also a first port of call among clients in the energy and natural resources sector.

Practice head(s):Alex Jakubowski

Other key lawyers:Richard Moore; Ed Halden; James Marshall; David Stedman

Testimonials

'Top-flight commercial team that has real strength in depth'

'Excellent technically and tactically, and a real pleasure to work alongside'

'Excellent service, the best in the south west'

'Key strength to Clarke Willmott is that they really think through the issues in a case so that they then focus on what the client needs'

'Alex Jakubowski is technically and tactically superb, a real heavyweight powerhouse of a commercial litigator'

'Alex Jakubowski sets a course and then achieves his client's goals'

'Richard Moore has excellent judgement generally, knows how to build and maintain a first-rate relationship with clients and knows when to get involved in the detail and when to let counsel get on with it'

'I would single out Ed Halden for his stellar written work and willingness to take responsibility'

'I was impressed with David Stedman, a solicitor advocate who handled a number of difficult interim applications in the case; he is mature beyond his years'

Key Clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Arbuthnot Latham

Secure Trust Bank

Hodge Bank

Burford Capital

Wellesley Finance

China Industries Limited t\a “Wow! Stuff”

National Farmers Union

Roland DG

Work highlights

  • Acted for Absolute Solvents in a claim arising from damage caused from a fire at a chemical waste plant.
  • Represented Icescape Limited in an action at the Patents Court concerning a declaration of non-infringement and counterclaims for alleged infringement.
  • Representing Resman AS in an infringement claim against Tracerco Limited, regarding the client's patent for complex monitoring technology.
  • Representing Oscar Mayer in a claim against an energy broker over an allegedly fraudulent account of secret profits.
  • Defending Molson against a claim brought by Close alleging the client misrepresented the existence and transfer of ownership of vehicles for the purchase of a lease hire agreement.

Financial services is a core specialism at DAC Beachcroft LLP, which counts a number of market-leading insurers as clients. In addition, the team regularly acts for some of the largest financial advice networks in the UK. Elsewhere, the firm has a strong reputation in other general, commercial litigation. The practice has had an increase in data-related disputes, including those with a regulatory overlay. The group also has expertise in contentious matters connected with the healthcare, energy, life sciences and telecoms sectors. Ben Daniels and Daniel Preddy jointly head up the practice. Martin Langley is another key figure with experience of high-value litigation.

Practice head(s):Ben Daniels; Daniel Preddy

Other key lawyers:Rebecca Smith; Simon Thomas; Martin Langley

Testimonials

'We know that DAC Beachcroft is very strong in the financial services space'

'DAC are competing with leading London firms in the litigation space'

Key Clients

Zurich Insurance plc

AXA UK plc

St. James's Place Wealth Management Group

Hiscox

Arthur J Gallagher

Equifax

Bupa

Western Union

Wonga

Openwork

Work highlights

  • Defended Hiscox Limited against the first ever prosecution of an insurance company by the Information Commissioner, in an alleged breach of the Data Protection Act.
  • Represented Trustees in 'M v St Anne's Trustees Limited'.
  • Acting for Rockfield Oil and Gas Limited against Hess Ghana Exploration Limited in a claim for alleged breach of contract.
  • Assisted Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust in connection with the termination of and threats of proceedings in connection with a dispute between several NHS Trusts and Healthcare Environmental Services (HES).
  • Defending financial advisory firm Carpenter Rees Limited in Ingenious and Scion tax scheme litigation, which involves claims brought by in excess of 400 professional sportsmen and high net worth individuals against more than 100 defendants including the scheme operators, banks, sports agents and professional advisers.

Osborne Clarke has a substantial international practice, and regularly acts for clients across Europe and Asia. Its contentious work follows the firm's sector specialisms of technology, energy and financial services, with the team acting for household name clients. In the technology sector, the firm has a particularly strong capability in contentious data protection and cybersecurity work, including matters involving data breaches and investigations; Charlie Wedin is the key name in this area, and has handled contentious technology cases for heavyweight international clients. Peter Clough is a highly respected litigator in the energy, technology and financial services spaces, with Russia/the wider CIS region, India and Asia being areas of focus.

Practice head(s):Leona Briggs

Other key lawyers:Peter Clough; Charlie Wedin; Tom Ellis

Testimonials

'A first-class team that operates a London-based approach but with incredible value'

'Impressive team all-round, with great strength in depth'

'Serious commercial outfit with a great balance of skill, value and commitment'

Key Clients

RWE Npower

Vodafone

Oath (formerly Yahoo!)

Creo Medical plc

PwC

Pernod Ricard

First Utility

Western Power Distribution

The AA

Dell

Work highlights

  • Acting for Dell Emerging Markets (EMEA) Limited in a dispute and counterclaim against IB Maroc concerning an alleged failed IT project in Morocco.
  • Defending Automobile Association Developments Limited against a breach of contract claim brought by The Parts Alliance Limited.
  • Representing Western Power Distribution (South West) Limited in litigation arising from the severing of a client’s undersea electricity cable by the anchor of a Norwegian owned vessel.
  • Acting for Northampton Borough Council in a claim against the former directors of Northampton Town Football Club regarding illegible payments.
  • Defending clients based in various countries in a dispute relating to an alleged conspiracy to defraud Russian claimants, customers of Promsvyaz Bank.

Thrings LLP fields a number of specialist dispute resolution teams, which are structured around the firm's core strengths in areas such as general commercial litigation, construction and engineering litigation, and agriculture litigation. Although the firm primarily acts for clients from the South West, it also national and international clients on cross-border disputes. Practice head Alastair Govier is particularly active in financial services and pensions litigation, as well as shareholder and partnership disputes.

Practice head(s):Alastair Govier

Other key lawyers:Russell Reeves; Mark Cullingford

Key Clients

National Friendly Society

Stonebridge Colleges (Publishing) Limited

Lovehoney

Learn Direct

Tavistock Financial Limited

Teleperformance

AirTanker Services Limited

Winscribe Inc.

CFH Docmail Limited

SLR Consulting Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in a Supreme Court appeal related to the enforcement of an international arbitration award.
  • Representing a farming family in a Court of Appeal trial related to a farming partnership.
  • Continuing to advise the director of a listed Plc in relation to shareholder rights and a dispute with the board of directors.
  • Acting for the client in the first-ever modern slavery civil case, with total claims valued at ca. £9m.
  • Defending multiple professional negligence claims arising out of advice relating to the investment of pension funds using self-invested personal pension products and unregulated overseas property investments.

TLT regularly acts for blue-chip clients in the commercial and financial services sectors, with its experience of handling complex and reputationally-sensitive issues coming to the fore in litigation, arbitration and mediation. International arbitration work, in particular, is a notable area of growth. The practice is jointly led by Chris Owen and Jonathan Hoey; Owen focuses on commercial matters, while Hoey is a specialist in financial services disputes and investigations. Other key areas of the practice include the retail, leisure and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):Chris Owen; Jonathan Hoey

Other key lawyers:Ed Fiddick; Victoria Mabbett;

Testimonials

'We felt that Chris Owen really engaged with our company and our problem, and that he sincerely had our best interests at heart. He was not a "generic lawyer", but a person we could relate to. Also he was very reliable in his promises and very quickly reacted whenever we needed ad-hoc advice.'

Key Clients

French Connection

Metropolitan Police

DDN Storage

WHSmith Plc

Matthew Clark Bibendum

Inchcape Plc

Tamura Europe

Fitness First

RBS

Furrer + Frey

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of the Indian Government in a dispute with Pakistan concerning monies held in British bank accounts, namely the 'Hyderabad Funds'.
  • Defending Byron Hamburgers Limited in High Court contractual claims brought by former facilities management provider.
  • Acted for the Trustees of the Wandel & Goltermann Retirement Benefits Scheme in connection with a Part 8 claim.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's multidisciplinary practice has seen continued growth since practice head Stephen Dilley joined the firm in 2016. Commercial disputes and regulatory matters comprise the bulk of the team's work, although the firm is also seeing a notable growth in contentious renewable energy work. In addition, the firm demonstrates strong capabilities in other sectors, such as manufacturing, retail, financial institutions and insurance.

Practice head(s):Stephen Dilley

Work highlights

  • Defending Post Office Limited against a group action claim relating to the alleged defectiveness of the client's IT accounting system.
  • Acted for a client in a retailing dispute concerning withheld goods.
  • Representing a client in claims of breach of directorial duties and payment of unlawful dividends.
  • Advising a client on recovery of assets following fraud committed by an employee.

Bevan Brittan LLP is best known for handling disputes arising from the delivery of public infrastructure, which encompasses the IT, technology and energy issues associated with such projects. Its key clients include healthcare sector manufacturers, large purchasers of outsourcing services and energy and waste companies. Department head Emily Heard is recognised for her expertise in procurement litigation and judicial review.

Practice head(s):Emily Heard

Other key lawyers:Fran Mussellwhite; Wesley O'Brien

Key Clients

Ontix Ltd

SRCL Ltd

Sysmex UK Ltd

Oxford University

Wychavon District Council

G4S Secure Solutions

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust

Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Shropshire Council

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

Work highlights

  • Advising SRCL on challenging the decision of NHSE to award a clinical waste collection contract to another provider.
  • Represented Sysmex (UK) Limited in a claim against Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in relation to a service contract.
  • Defended Shropshire Council against a claim brought by Skiers Lodge regarding the client's decision to exclude the franchisee from a tender process on the basis of its perceived poor financial standing

Humphreys & Co.'s areas of specialism on contentious matters include commercial transactions, civil fraud and breaches of fiduciary duties, defamation claims and IP disputes. The firm is adept at handling cross-border litigation; Paul Wong Chun Yi is dual-qualified in UK and Singapore law. Robert Humphreys is the practice head.

Practice head(s):Robert Humphreys

Other key lawyers:Paul Wong Chun Yi

Testimonials

'There is a real dedication to the client's cause, they will do whatever it takes to get the client into a position where a positive outcome can be secured'

'Real continuity of lawyers working on the case; one lawyer with overall responsibility and a detailed understanding of the case as a whole'

'Paul is a very diligent lawyer, who is meticulous in agreeing the scope of counsel's instruction prior to work being done. He has a good command of the file'

'Paul is a tenacious fighter for his client's interests who is prepared to put in considerable time and effort working through all the issues that is needed in order to win disputes'

'Robert Humphreys is a partner with a huge amount of experience, good judgement on tactical issues and a real feel for the commercial imperatives and realities of any dispute'

Work highlights

  • Represented a client, who was defending a multimillion claim, which involved allegations of earning secret commissions and fraud.
  • Defended an individual, who was chairman of a branch of a political party, against a defamation claim brought about by a tweet.
  • Representing a client in a substantial claim against her all-risks transit insurance policy.
  • Representing an investment company in a claim worth more than £2m for breach of a joint venture agreement.
  • Represented a specialist product manufacturer in a claim for malicious statements against its products.

VWV provides litigation support in relation to general corporate and commercial disputes, and is particularly active in procurement, energy and utilities, charities and healthcare matters. Its excellent reputation ensures that it generates work from regional and national clients. Ed Husband, who leads the UK team from the Bristol office, has particular expertise in disputes related to financial distress and business breakdown.

Practice head(s):Ed Husband

Other key lawyers:Ben Holt; Nick Martindale

Testimonials

'VWV have a great team working ethos, working together collaboratively especially well. They have a vast range of knowledge and specialists which means you can get insight and advice quickly. They are approachable, friendly and understand that sometimes advice needs to be given in an understandable way to non-legal professionals'

'We have worked with other firms and found VWV to be much better'

'The team has a broad range of experiences across practice areas, allowing them to draw upon these in complex commercial cases; for example those including company, property or trust law issues'

'I have found them to be extremely good with clients, ensuring that the right advice is given in a measured and supportive way. They are also excellent at handling difficult opponents'

'Ben Holt is strong on commercial litigation when in need of a claim. Ben has been the voice of reason when dealing with issues we felt had the potential to impact our reputation'

'Ben is intuitive about what a commercial company should and shouldn't be doing when having to manage a crisis or issues where the law can support'

'Ben Holt is a superb partner, he keeps abreast of the detail, whilst ensuring that the overarching strategy is implemented efficiently. He is not afraid to tackle the knotty issues which crop up in litigation and has a wonderful manner with clients'

'Sarah Perry managed difficult opponents and a tight litigation timetable skillfully and calmly'

Key Clients

EDF Energy

Certsure LLP

Merthyr (South Wales) Limited

The Department of Education Sport and Culture (Isle of Man)

Corona Energy

The Bar Council

Brandon Hire

Begbies Traynor

Reading Borough Council

University of Greenwich

Work highlights

  • Acted for Merthyr / Gwent Investments Limited / Gwent Investments Limited in a number of disputes, including injunctive proceedings, arbitration proceedings over production-related rent and alleged wrongful termination of a haulage contract.
  • Acted for University of South Wales in an appeal against accreditation decisions.
  • Advising University of Greenwich (UoG) on a number of reputation management issues arising from data breach incidents, which have been highly-publicised.
  • Acting for a local authority in a professional negligence claim.
  • Acting for a major office fruit supplier, pursuing claim for supply of goods and defending a counterclaim for alleged unlawful termination.

Ashfords LLP acts for both regional and blue-chip national clients in IT contractual disputes, retail disputes, professional negligence cases and contentious financial services cases. The firm's panel appointment with Lloyds Bank sees it handle claims against professional advisers, such as solicitors and valuers. Practice head Rory Mac Neice has experience of representing sporting clients at regulatory hearings, including matters involving allegations of match fixing and doping.

Practice head(s):Rory Mac Neice

Other key lawyers:James Morrison

Key Clients

Post Office Limited

Environment Agency

Lloyds Bank Plc

Bank of Scotland Plc

Ultimate Finance Group Plc

Race Course Association Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented the Environment Agency in claims brought by flood victims relating to negligence and nuisance.
  • Acted for a client in a claim against a national firm of surveyors concerning the significant overvaluation of a number of children's care homes.
  • Represented a foreign client in a claim against an English-registered supplier.
  • Represented a client in a contractual dispute against a software supplier in relation to the technical specification of the products supplied.
  • Acted for a client in relation to a mortgage fraud.

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