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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 > Wales > Real estate > Social housing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Led by the 'very well-known' property litigator¬†Si√Ęn Jones¬†and also able to all upon the expertise of practitioners with a focus on social housing work from across the firm's real estate, finance, employment and commercial teams, Blake Morgan LLP¬†'s 'friendly and approachable' multi-disciplinary team has an excellent reputation among many of the most significant housing associations in the country including United Welsh Housing Association and Coastal Housing Group. Jones also handles work outside of Wales including recently successfully securing civil injunctions on behalf of Waltham Forest Housing Association brought against a mixture of tenants and visitors to a block of flats. On the non-contentious front, Louise Howells¬†is 'very experienced at social housing work', particularly as it relates to regeneration and development projects; she recently acted for Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust on the acquisition of affordable housing units at Chinnor in Oxfordshire. Penri Desscan¬†is recommended for housing association-related procurement work.

The only Welsh law firm to be appointed to the Central Housing Investment Consortium framework in England and Wales, the 'very knowledgeable' team at Hugh James provides 'extremely thorough advice with the clients' best interests at heart'. Active across a range of matters for an impressive roster of clients including Cardiff Community Housing Association, Coastal Housing Group and Melin Homes, as well as advising on core issues impacting on the sector (including advice on acquisitions and redevelopment projects, procurement and commercial contract matters, and housing management issues), the firm is also able to tap into the expertise of practitioners from across other complementary practice areas including commercial property and employment to provide a very comprehensive coverage. 'Someone you want in your corner', the 'approachable and client-focused' senior associate Bethan Gladwyn  has 'authoritative knowledge of the regulatory environment' and heads up the housing management practice. She recently advised Cynon Taf Housing Association in the defence of a claim for disrepair brought by an assured tenant of the association. 'Thorough and extremely hardworking' associate Rhodri Thomas  'has a great rapport with clients' and regularly works alongside Gladwyn on housing management matters. The arrival of Richard Macphail , who joined from Blake Morgan LLP in June 2017 adds further weight to a team that also includes 'excellent' consultant David Roberts, who has a 'top reputation' in the market, and Iwan Jenkins, who regularly handles construction matters in the social housing sector.

At Acuity Law, the 'personable and approachable' Damien Cann and 'excellent' Jonathan Geen are noted for their ability to provide innovative funding solutions in the sector. Geen handles a significant amount of work for Mears Group including recently advising its housing management arm on a novel transaction in Eaton Green, Luton which involved it taking an operational lease for the provision of Exempt Accommodation for homeless households through a further leaseback arrangement with Luton Borough Council. Other clients include Cadwyn Housing Association, Sapphire Homes and West Sussex County Council.

Benefiting from 'vast industry knowledge', Clarke Willmott LLP provides 'practical and commercial advice' to an impressive roster of housing associations and lenders including United Welsh Housing Association, Taff Housing Association and Principality Building Society. The team is particularly noted for its 'excellent reputation' for handling financing within the sector where both Fraser MacRae and Vicky Kells provide 'practical and knowledgeable advice'.  Both lawyers recently advised Principality Building Society on the provision of a £20m term loan to the Welsh Housing Partnership 2. Bethan Evans is also recommended.

Recognised by one client as 'the leading Welsh firm providing social housing advice and is the "go-to" set for social housing providers', Darwin Gray LLP provides an 'excellent service', across housing management, property and employment issues, to an impressive roster of clients including United Welsh, Valleys to Coast and Community Housing Cymru. 'Very experienced' team head Neil Morgan  is 'very calm under pressure and has excellent judgement', particularly in relation to advice on anti-social behaviour issues. Recently promoted to associate level, 'rising star' Kate Heaney  is 'considered in her approach and very well-liked by clients'.

Headed by Susanne Bradley, Geldards LLP 's multi-disciplinary group handles a wide range of work within the social housing sector including on property, finance, litigation and employment matters. The team is particularly recognised for its 'strength on development issues', and in this regard, senior associate Harriet Morgan regularly handles work for housing associations on residential and mixed use developments. Morgan recently advised Newydd Housing Association (1974) on the purchase of three public houses to be developed for mixed use residential and leisure purposes. Liz Ganderton has particular expertise advising on property finance in the social housing sector. Clients include Cadarn Housing Group, Curo Group and Pembrokeshire Housing Association.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors provides 'thorough, clear and concise advice' to tenants across a broad array of contentious work including reviews, appeals and judicial review proceedings relating to homelessness, disrepair, succession for tenants and neighbourhood disputes. 'Highly motivated' team head Heather Iqbal Rayner provides an 'excellent service' to individuals, many of whom are vulnerable (including those with mental health and learning conditions) and is praised for 'her willingness to go the extra mile for her clients'. Rayner is currently representing a defendant (as one of a group of defendant travellers) in a defence to possession proceedings brought by the local authority arguing that they unlawfully trespassed on the land. Relying on human rights defences, the case is set for trial in 2018 and could bring important clarification defining the status of new age travellers - so far undefined in law - and confirm the status of trespassers. Lynda Reid is also recommended.

Under the leadership of Ann Thomas, Morgan LaRoche represents a growing number of registered social landlords across a range of work including on development and secured lending mandates. Company and commercial head William Barletta also has experience handling financing work within the social housing sector.

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