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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 > Insurance > Professional negligence > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Professional negligence
  2. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Rachael Healey - RPC

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CMS acts in professional negligence claims and disputes in relation to directors and officers liability insurance (D&O), cyber, construction, financial, physical risks, and reinsurance. Although mainly acting as defendant it also undertakes some claimant work in relation to recovery actions on insurers. London-based  Ed Foss and Cheryl Gibson head the team. Gibson specialises in resolving high-profile cases through adjudication and mediation, her clients include brokers, engineers, architects and surveyors. Zoe Burge  focuses on insurance coverage disputes and solicitors professional indemnity. Simon Garrett splits time between the London and Bristol offices and specialises in financial negligence cases often with an international element. Senior associate Nicholas Medniuk  joined from Clyde & Co LLP . Clients include QBE, Channel Syndicate, Chubb, Axis, Pembroke, CNA Hardy, Liberty and WR Berkley.

DAC Beachcroft LLP acts for businesses in the legal, surveying, financial services, insurance broking and construction sectors in D&O insurance and title indemnity insurance claims. Marcus Campbell and Helen Faulkner head the Bristol team, which includes Caroline Cherry, who was promoted to partner and heads the claims handling team. Helen Staines led on defending claims of under-settlement of miners' vibration white finger (VWF) claims. Another highlight includes acting for Zurich Insurance in defence of a discrimination and defamation claim brought against a university students’ union by a student. The firm also acted for Aviva in relation to a restrictive covenant indemnity policy, successfully applying to the Upper Chamber Lands Tribunal to alter covenants on a development site. Other clients include QBE Europe, Markel International Insurance Company, XL Catlin Insurance, AmTrust Europe, Libra Managers and Cushman & Wakefield.

RPC defends insurers and their insureds in the full range of claims from high-volume, low-value to complex cross-border, high-value matters. It also conducts regulatory and disciplinary work, acting for a large number of professional firms. Another area of expertise is policy coverage issues, specifically in relation to design and construct policies. Simon Laird heads the department, which includes Jeremy Barnes, who specialises in financial services matters; Peter Mansfield, who specialises in defending construction professionals, solicitors and surveyors; Robert Morris, who focuses on policy coverage issues; and Will Sefton, who specialises in representing directors facing liquidator claims and unfair prejudice matters. Alan Stone recently defended surveyors Watts Group against the Bank of Ireland in a negligence and breach of contract claim. Legal Director Rachel Healey has a particular focus on claims against pensions professionals such as trustees, administrators and actuaries.

Burges Salmon LLP acts mainly for claimants in professional negligence cases. It is particularly adept making claims for lenders and has experience advising in various sectors such as financial services, legal, pensions, construction, environmental, energy, accountancy, tax, actuarial, IT and fund management. It also advises on cases of cyber-security breaches and regulatory interventions. The ‘highly recommended’ Andrew Burnette heads the team; he is ‘in complete control of his cases’ with ‘a strategic overview and an eye on the client’s commercial imperatives’. Partner Kari McCormick focuses on financial services disputes and in particular negligence claims against FS regulated firms. Justin Briggs focuses on disputes and litigation in relation to pensions, trusts and tax. He recently advised HR Trustees in a claim against Aon Consulting which related to errors in the closure of a defined benefit pension scheme. This led to an increase in liabilities for the client, the value of the case is estimated to be £30m. Other clients include Co-operative Bank, Nationwide Building Society, Nomura International, Volvo Group UK and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Clarke Willmott LLP advises corporate clients, private client’s insurers and trustees on a range of professional negligence issues. It mainly acts for claimants but also undertakes defendant work. It acts in claims against professionals such as solicitors, barristers, financial advisers, financial planners, banks, architects, surveyors, valuers, auditors, land agents and tax advisors. Recent highlights include acting for RQ Capital against Robert Simpson in relation to a case of a property that was overvalued by around £12m. Another highlight includes acting for Great Lakes Reinsurance and Burford Capital in a negligence claim against Penningtons Manches, this related to negligent advice given during litigation. Philippa Hann gives ‘consistently clear and correct strategic and technical advice’. She focuses on financial litigation and is experienced in the High Court claims and alternative dispute resolutions (ADRs). Alex Jakubowski heads the team and specialises in contractual disputes, financial services disputes, commercial agency disputes and IT disputes. He has ‘a good level of knowledge’ and is ‘tactically aware’. Clients include Arbuthnot Latham, Lloyds Bank, Julian Hodge Bank, West Bromwich Building Society and NFU.

Kennedys is adept at defending professional negligence claims against professionals such as solicitors, barristers, accountants and construction professionals. It also deals with D&O claims, professional indemnity claims, property, fire-related claims and negligence in relation to food product testing. It acts for UMAL, advising universities on claims and regulatory matters. Other clients include Pen Underwriting, Bar Mutual, Towergate, Aqueous, RSA, IGI and Allied World. Sarah Cornish heads the team and specialises in representing solicitors and other professionals. Simon Combe focuses on the construction sector, Andrew Crocombe deals with accountants and financial advisers. Angela Horne specialises in claims against barristers and medical professionals. Senior associate Laura Mellstrom is ‘especially good on coverage’ and ‘easy to deal with’. Joanna Makin joined the firm as senior associate. Highlights include representing a property developer in relation to a negligence claim which involved fire-related fatality. The firms has ‘a good skill level’ and ‘a wide variety of experience’.

Osborne Clarke advises on negligence cases for accountancy practices, pension providers and construction companies. It conducts claimant and defendant work for accountancy firms with a bias toward the defendant side. With regards to pension providers it advises on high-profile and high-value claims for trustees and companies, usually against investment advisers, pension providers, solicitors and actuaries. In relation to construction and property-related negligence the firm conducts litigation and advises on claims against surveyors, valuers, engineers, architects and contractors. Leona Briggs heads the team and has a commercial approach to resolving disputes. Tom Ellis is experienced at defendant and claimant work and has a client focus in the accountancy sector. Clare Robinson specialises in claimant work against solicitors, accountants and surveyors. Charles Crowne deals with claims against accountants and financial advisers and Paul Matthews deals with complex high-value pension’s litigation. Clients include Lloyds Banking Group, Wincanton, Harrods Bank, Midas Retail, VocaLink, Manitou, Sotheby's Grant Thornton.

TLT is 'a very strong performer' that handles a broad range of professional negligence matters including those relating to fraud, insurance coverage disputes and regulatory issues. The practice specialises in claims in the financial services, corporate, pension and construction sectors. Neil Franklin  jointly heads the team and is ‘intellectually incisive, inspiring complete confidence in clients’. He is assisted by co-head Richard Hall , who specialises in high-value claims against solicitors, valuers, surveyors, accountants and IFAs. The ‘excellent’ team delivers ‘great customer service’ and is ‘very easy to deal with’. Recent highlights include taking over 76 professional negligence claims from a city firm, these were in relation to solicitors and surveyors who acted for a lender in retail mortgage transactions, the claims were valued at around £7m. Another highlight includes acting for a high-net-worth individual in a claim against two firms of solicitors whom the client alleges did not carry out the necessary work in order to achieve a fair settlement in her divorce. Clients include Royal Bank of Scotland Group, UPS, Lloyds Bank, WHSmith, Fitness First, Northview Group and Avon Rubber plc.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP focuses on defending accountants, barristers, brokers, construction contractors, engineers, estate agents and IFAs in professional negligence claims. The Bristol-based practice is led by partner James Robins, who is particularly adept at handling high-value complex cases that involve property professionals. Ian Peacock left the firm for Clyde & Co LLP and Gary Oldroyd left for Browne Jacobson LLP. Clients include AIG Europe (UK), Liberty Mutual Insurance and Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund.

Ashfords LLP provides advice on a broad range of professional negligence issues, specialising in claims related to banking, bloodstock, construction, solicitors, accountants and financial advisers. It acts for banks in claims against surveyors, solicitors and project managers in relation to overvaluations, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. In construction the firm advises claims in relation to negligent design, cost advice and project management. It also advises on claims against solicitors including cases of negligent breach of confidence and failure to advise clients. Recent highlights include representing Riva Properties in a high-profile case against a leading architect who failed to design a five-star hotel at Heathrow airport within budget, the matter was valued at £3.6m. Other Clients include Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank and Exeter City Council. Rory MacNeice heads the team and is ‘a natural litigator with a flair for strategy’ who ‘approaches claims with a balanced blend of commerciality and pragmatism’. Victoria Bonnet  handles property-related claims.

Beale & Co specialises in acting for insurers and professionals in defence matters across a range of industries, with a focus on non-medical professions such as solicitors, barristers, brokers, accountants, surveyors, construction professionals and independent financial advisers. Recent highlights include successfully acting for respondents in the Supreme Court in the BPE v Hughes-Holland (Gabriel) case. Rhian Howell  heads the team and is ‘a very experienced and tough negotiator’. Partner Joe Eizenberg  is ‘technically first rate’ and ‘very down to earth’. Scott Ashby  was promoted to Partner. Associates Simon Matthews  and Rebecca Blaikley  joined the team. Giles Tagg is also recommended. Clients include RSA, Aviva, Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund, AmTrust Europe and AmTrust International Underwriters, Aspen Risk Management and CNAHardy.

DWF acts for insurers, insurance brokers and insured professionals in claims against professionals such as accountants, solicitors, surveyors, architects and engineers. It specialises in complex disputes in relation to technical engineering, construction, solicitors’ negligence and claims against accountants and actuaries. The ‘very reliable’ Simon Mason heads the team and is adept at advising on policy disputes and ADRs. He is supported by Peter Barnes who has experience in high-value technical professional indemnity matters. The team is ‘down to earth and approachable’ and ‘takes a pragmatic view considering the whole picture’. Recent highlights include successfully defending Harding Evans in the Court of Appeal against a former client who had not paid his fees and was attempting to claim damages, the matter was valued at around £1m.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys handles claims in the financial services, real estate and probate sectors for private individuals, SMEs and PLCs including banks and insurance companies. Adam Finch heads the team and specialises in complex financial disputes. The firm acted in a case against wealth managers Brewin Dolphin for giving negligent advice in relation to inheritance tax. This resulted in a much higher inheritance tax liablity payable by the client’s estate upon death than was expected. It also advised in a class action lawsuit for 26 claimants against a group of independent financial advisers in relation to the mis-selling of tax mitigation and saving schemes. The practice was joined by Clare Holford, Adam Barrett] and Edward Miller. Clients include Attivo Group, Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, Assured Futures and Paragon Bank.

Michelmores LLP acts in claims for and against professionals such as architects, chartered surveyors, solicitors, valuers and financial services professionals. Clients include SMEs, high-net-worth individuals, private investors and large private companies, for which it handles mis-selling disputes with regulatory implications, agricultural-related negligence and also veterinary negligence such as presale vetting of horses and valuation issues in relation to pedigree livestock. Simon Barnett heads the team, which includes Jonathan Kitchin, who specialises in financial and investment negligence and senior associate Jayne Clemens, who focuses on claims against solicitors and financial services providers. The team provides ‘an outstanding service’ and ‘thinks strategically and commercially’.

VWV handles disputes involving financial issues, business breakdown, contract disputes, corporate insolvency, securitisation and negligent administration of pension funds. Ed Husband heads the team and is supported by partner Ben Holt and senior associate Nick Martindale, who focuses on  insolvency litigation and liquidations. The firm acted for Platform Funding, a subsidiary of the Co-operative Bank in relation to a multi-party claim against solicitors who did not report a fraudulent sale and leaseback scheme. It also acted for Platform funding in relation to a negligent valuation report with regards to a residential mortgage.

Lester Aldridge LLP advises mainly claimants on professional negligence matters against solicitors, accountants, IFAs, property surveyors and marine surveyor’s negligence. The firm specialises in claims against accountants and IFAs with regards to aggressive tax schemes. Michael Giddins heads the team, he is adept at handling complex disputes which sometimes have multi-jurisdictional aspects, he has ‘excellent people skills’. Partner Michael Veal has ‘exceptional intellectual and analytical ability’ and ‘a modern, user-friendly style’. Partner Kate Stewart joined from Moore Blatch LLP.

Meade King LLP acts for private individuals and businesses in claims against conveyancers, insolvency practitioners, accountants, tax advisers and structural engineers. All team members are members of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA). John Vasey heads the practice.

Stephens Scown LLP mainly advises claimants on professional negligence claims against barristers, solicitors, legal advisers, surveyors, architects, valuers, project managers, accountants, IFAs, tax advisors, investors, bankers and veterinarians. It recently acted for a law firm in a professional negligence case in the High Court. Catherine Matthews heads the team, she handles all manner of professional negligence claims and has experience of pursuing complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service and other regulatory bodies.

Slee Blackwell acts for claimants in claims against solicitors, and is adept at handling cases of negligent will preparation and estate administration. Another area of expertise is acting in high-value claims against banks and financial institutions in relation to financial irregularities committed by financial professionals. It also deals with claims relating to ground rent issues on leasehold properties. Emma Slade heads the practice.

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