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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: The West Country > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: The West Country
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Michelmores LLP acts for regional, London-headquartered and international clients. Its team stands out in matters concerning corporate breakdown, insurance coverage, intellectual property, reputation management, professional negligence and international enforcement. Jonathan Kitchin, who was recently promoted to practice head,  has experience of handling disputes with a nexus to the financial services sector at High Court level. In a notable development, Charles Courtenay (a qualified barrister with contentious IP expertise) recently joined from Latham & Watkins LLP. Senior associate Jayne Clemens is a go-to for reputation management claims and advice on defamation issues. She is also experienced in handling professional negligence cases and contractual disputes.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Kitchin

Testimonials

'Responsiveness, attention to detail, commercial awareness, longstanding relationship and an understanding of our business and how we work'

'Bill Duncan is a very experienced lawyer able to manage any type of dispute'

'Jonathan Kitchin is very astute, pragmatic and a measured commercial adviser, relied upon as very much an external extension of our Group Legal Resource'

'Jayne Clemens is efficient, says things as they are and does not skirt around issues and takes no prisoners'

'Jayne is knowledgeable in her specialist field and that is exactly what I want in any solicitor I contract'

Key Clients

The Lord Chancellor (Legal Aid Agency)

Intelsat Global Sales & Marketing Ltd

Gemalto  UK Limited

RGL Management Limited

Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (the Met Police)

Landmark Information Group

Haynes

Truprint

CRUX Asset Management

LEBC Group Limited

Jessops Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Legal Aid Agency in action to recover sums paid to Blavo & Co Limited as a result of claims made on the legal aid fund for mental health work, which could not be substantiated.
  • Representing Intelsat Global Sales & Marketing Limited in international contractual disputes, including the negotiation of settlement terms, the enforcement of High Court Judgements overseas and advising on local enforcement measures.
  • Advising Gemalto UK Limited (as winning bidder) in a bid protect by De La Rue relating to the production of new British passports.
  • Ongoing representation of a client in relation to corporate, employment, real estate, regulatory and dispute matters, including defending proceedings brought by a former employee alleging breach of bonus agreement.
  • Representing a client in arbitration proceedings relating to a contractual dispute over maintenance issues.

Stephens Scown LLP features prominently in contentious disputes across a number of different forums, including in the ADR sphere (mediation, adjudication and arbitration) and the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court. The team handles a number of cross-border matters, many of which are connected with jurisdictions in Europe and Asia. Exeter-based Catherine Matthews jointly leads the team with Toby Claridge and Davina Haydon of the Truro and St Austell offices respectively. Key areas of sector expertise for the group include marine, energy, mining and minerals, and charities.

Practice head(s):Catherine Mathews

Other key lawyers:Toby Claridge; Davina Haydon; Brian Dolan

Testimonials

'Stephens Scown has grown significantly in the past few years'

Key Clients

Viridor Waste Management

IMERYS Minerals Limited (formerly English China Clays)

Portland Stone Firms Limited

St Austell Brewery Company Limited

Stormfront Retail Limited

Ashfords LLP attracts clients from across the country and represents them in the firm's core areas of corporate litigation, commercial contracts disputes and professional negligence claims. The varied workload includes shareholder and director disputes, corporate sales disputes, franchising agreements and claims against solicitors and accountants. Practice head Andrew Perkins primarily focuses on shareholder litigation and commercial contract disputes.

Practice head(s):Andrew Perkins

Other key lawyers:Charles Hattersley;

Testimonials

'Broad range of skills to deal with all types of fee disputes. Experts in the local County Court and practical in dealing with issues'

'Cut straight to the commercial heart of an issue, and presented a clear strategy to resolve it. Not afraid to suggest a bold approach based on good judgement'

'They undertook a fairly complicated litigation case to successful completion'

'Gruffyd Davies is an excellent team leader. He provides sound technical advice but is also sensible and commercial when dealing with issues. Calm and pragmatic even in the face of provocation by the opposite side'

'Andrew Perkins is a great combination of professionalism and relaxed manner. Tough when required, but very empathetic with core business issue. Would use again and recommend without hesitation'

'Jason Squire was the solicitor we used, and he was absolutely excellent in the organisation and diligence preparation of the case together with its supporting documentation. We cannot praise him enough'

Key Clients

Post Office Limited

Ultimate Finance Group Plc

TJX Europe Limited (TK Maxx)

Flybe Limited

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Europe Limited

James Wibberley

Andrew Brown

Work highlights

  • Assisting Turkish company Metmar with enforcing a London arbitration judgement in favour of the client in Ghana, Togo and Nigeria in order to obtain full recovery of interest and costs.
  • Defended insurance broker Ward Associates against a liability claim and subsequent appeal by the claimants.

Clarke Willmott LLP has a strong capability representing clients based in the South West in agricultural litigation. The firm also represents SMEs in a wide range of matters. Practice head Greg Saunders has a particular specialism in shareholder disputes and restrictive covenant injunctions, among other areas.

Practice head(s):Greg Saunders

Other key lawyers:Esther Woolford

Testimonials

'Strong breadth and depth of experience. Certainly towards the top of the mid-size regional firms in the area. Very strong expertise in key regional areas, such as agriculture'

'Excellent quality of work'

'Instructions prepared in a orderly fashion and sent in good time'

'Always someone in the team available to speak to'

'The team are very polite and easy to speak to'

'They are a very responsive and well organised team, and a pleasure to work with'

'Bonita Walters is tenacious and very diligent in her work. Always goes the extra mile for clients'

'Greg Saunders is a steady hand at the helm, very experienced and instills confidence in clients'

'Robert Mullen is a rising young talent, very hard working and tactically astute'

'Sarah O'Grady is experienced and solid, she has a wonderful client manner and a real depth of knowledge'

'Esther Woolford is a standout lawyer, responsive to her clients and attentive to the needs of a case. She goes the extra mile to deliver the best outcome'

Key Clients

NFU

AHCI Limited

Supercat Limited

G-A-Y Group Limited

Bridgwater & Taunton College

Sydenhams

Work highlights

  • Representing a number of NFU members in contractual disputes relating to Hire Purchase contracts and excess payments.
  • Acted for a number of families, who suffered from flooded farmland, in a dispute against the Environment Agency.
  • Represented AHCI Limited in dispute over inducement of employees to
  • Acted for Sydenhams Limited in a dispute against former advisors and auditors alleging professional negligence.
  • Acting for a client in a product liability dispute.

Foot Anstey has a significant presence in the media and entertainment sector, and represents clients in high-value disputes in this area. In addition, the firm has strong links with the publishing sector, and the team also regularly acts for high-profile clients in this space, including in cross-border matters. Steven Richards, who is the key contact in the Exeter office, undertakes corporate disputes, banking and financial services litigation and contentious insolvency.

Practice head(s):Steven Richards

Other key lawyers:Peter Singfield

Testimonials

'The team are very responsive, extremely commercial and provide exceptional support to our business'

'Sarah Harding, Sian Phillips and Steven Richards all provide day to day support and service and do so brilliantly'

Key Clients

Sky

LCD Publishing Group

Hitachi Capital

Royal Academy of Dance

HEP Verwaltung

H. Westons & Sons Limited

Kawasaki Precision Machinery

Welcome Break

Connect Group

Work highlights

  • Represented LCD Publishing in an alleged force sale of properties dispute relating to FCA reviews and consequential loss claims.
  • Acting for dairy farmers in dispute arising from investment in a robotic milking system, which is allegedly unfit for its purpose.
  • Ongoing advice to Signet Trading Limited, including on a dispute with a US-based data services organisation over the decision to close a UK data centre.
  • Representing Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc as the claimant in a dispute alleging that the asset is unfit for purpose and contractual breaches.
  • Defending Atlantic Trampolines and others against claims alleging breaches of duty and misfeasance.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP represents clients in commercial disputes, aerospace litigation, professional negligence actions, social care cases, insolvency-related disputes, insurance matters and property litigation. Clients include companies, charities, housing providers, local authorities and individuals. The Exeter-based team often works closely with other offices in the firm's network to provide a comprehensive service across the UK. Practice co-head Paul Keeling is notably experienced in professional negligence cases and property litigation, while fellow co-head Kathryn Insall has focuses on contentious commercial matters in the manufacturing, aerospace and technology sectors.

Practice head(s):Paul Keeling; Kathryn Insall

Testimonials

'The firm are particularly responsive to client needs, they provide value for money and operate at the highest standard within the legal profession'

'They provide knowledge without excessive pricing'

'Quick response. Willingness to work outside normal business hours to get the job done; the organisation functions well as a team'

'Associate Maria Dunn is very professional and effective in dealing with issues and responsive to client needs'

'The team has good knowledge and are keen to assist'

Key Clients

Flair Airlines Limited

TAG Farnborough Airport Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a leading housing developer in a dispute with a  leading estate management organisation over under-performance of various groundwork and maintenance contracts.
  • Acting for an airline in High Court proceedings commenced by a Lithuanian lessor for sums owed under five lease agreements entered into between the parties.
  • Acting for a German manufacturer in a contractual dispute against a Devon-based engineering company.
  • Acting for a national care provider and their insurers in relation to a jury inquest engaging article 2 of the ECHR.

Kitsons LLP's team in Torquay is particularly active in property-related disputes, a significant number of which are connected with the leisure industry. James Cross, who heads up the Torquay office, has a particular emphasis on multi-party debt recovery disputes, and commercial and residential property litigation. David Turner heads up the Exeter office, where the practitioners excel in financial services disputes, insurance claims and mis-selling disputes. Turner is a key figure in education sector matters, and he has also represented clients in claims against banks.

Practice head(s):James Cross; David Turner

Testimonials

'The team always offers common sense advise that really adds value and helps businesses resolve often very knotty, sensitive issues'

'They may provide you with alternative choices but always recommend the best option'

'David Turner provides sensible, no-nonsense, commercial advice. He understands his clients' businesses very well and always gives invaluable, down to earth, practical litigation advice for the real commercial world'

'David is amenable and available to advise, often at the drop of a hat'

Work highlights

  • Represented Staffordshire County Council in a £1 million damages claim in restitution against Siemens Plc.
  • Representing a defendant in a claim of alleged breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Acting for a primary school in a bringing a claim in restitution for £100,000 against Xerographics Plc.
  • Representing ADMP UK Limited in a dispute with the ex-Chair, who was dismissed due a conflict of interest.
  • Representing a client in a professional negligence case against a former financial adviser.

Minehead-based Maitland Walker LLP has a focus on multi-party litigation, and it has a strong track record in representing groups of individuals against large corporations and financial institutions. The firm also has a growing commercial property litigation department. Name partner Julian Maitland-Walker heads up the team. Senior associate Sheree-Ann Virgin has represented clients in cases involving the pharmaceuticals, transport and public sectors.

Practice head(s):Julian Maitland-Walker

Other key lawyers:Sheree-Ann Virgin

Key Clients

Sheppard & Co

Creative Horizons & others

Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club

Talarius / RAL Limited

British Association of European Parallel Distributors

Design Central (Bath) Limited t/a DC Activ

QED Engineering Limited

GT Promotions Limited t/a City Slots

Michael Anning

Work highlights

  • Represented 107 overseas claimants in a professional negligence and breach of retainer case against Scott Fowler Solicitors.
  • Defending Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club against a trade mark infringement case brought by Lifestyle Equities.
  • Acting for an individual in a professional negligence case against former solicitors.

Porter Dodson LLP handles work for both regional and London clients, as well as those located further afield internationally. Key workstreams include commercial disputes, insurance disputes, insolvency-related cases and professional negligence matters. Stephen Wray, who heads up the team in Taunton, has vast experience of acting for private clients and high net worth individuals. The group in Yeovil is led by associate Anusheh Burcher, who specialises in disputes in the aviation, construction and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):Stephen Wray

Other key lawyers:Anusheh Burcher

Testimonials

'The firm's commercial litigation team has a breadth of experience that you would normally only expect to find in a firm based in a substantial provincial city'

'Anusheh Burcher is a real rising star and somebody to look out for'

Key Clients

Comfy Living Limited

Holdsworth

Yule

Dorset Build & Maintenance Company

Holt

Knapp Stud

Hunt & Duff

Work highlights

  • Represented Comfy Living Limited in defence of breach of contract claim by DX Network Services and in pursuit of its multimillion pound counterclaim owing to withdrawal of service.
  • Representing James Holdsworth/Quantum Project Management Limited in multimillion pound unfair prejudice claim.
  • Representing a client in arbitration and subsequent appeal regarding regarding an alleged variation to the Shareholders Agreement in which the mechanism for valuing each shareholders shareholding was varied.
  • Representing Knapp Stud in relation to dispute with business partner regarding the import of Spanish horses for sale in the UK.
  • Representing a client in a multimillion pound dispute arising from the sale of business and representations made by the client during the pre-contract period.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's Plymouth team acts for multinational blue-chip clients, local SMEs and owner-managed businesses in disputes across a number of sectors. Key areas of strength include energy, insurance, financial services, transport and retail. Practice head Gareth Kagan has notable experience of cross-border fraud cases and anti-avoidance transactions in the Court of Appeal. Luke Holmes was recently promoted to managing associate.

Practice head(s):Gareth Kagan

Other key lawyers:Luke Holmes

Key Clients

Post Office Limited

Network Rail Infrastructure Limited

British Gas Trading Limited

Agricultural Mortgage Corporation

Renewable Energy Assurance Limited

AIG

Plymouth University

Plymouth Community Homes

Liverpool Victoria (LV=)

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