Notable for its international reach and focus on complex work, Eversheds LLP has a ‘very strong team’ acting for clients such as Barclays, HSBC and National Australia Bank. Head of department Chris Busby provides ‘clear, commercial and pragmatic advice’. He has led on a number of high-profile matters, including providing strategic advice on PPI litigation claims and advising four high street banks on FSA regulatory issues. The team acted for a major bank on a £50m-plus lending fraud case involving a large portfolio of companies.
Wragge & Co LLP’s diverse practice advises on the full spectrum of issues, from Consumer Credit Act litigation to fraud loss recovery. The team is advising Black Horse (part of the Lloyds Banking Group) on its strategic defence against a series of PPI mis-selling claims brought by claims management companies. Other clients include Merrill Lynch Bank of America, Lombard North Central and Aurora Leasing. Greg Standing and Ian Weatherall are well regarded.
Shoosmiths acts for clearing banks, specialist mortgage lenders, and asset and receivables finance providers. Richard Ellison heads the department, and Melanie Chell is recommended on the asset finance side. The team attracts a steady flow of work advising lenders on their ability to pursue third party loss recovery claims. It also advises lenders on a range of defended matters and on customer complaints arising from the enforcement of defaulting mortgages.
Squire Sanders LLP’s ‘accessible’ Simon Garbett has ‘great technical knowledge’, and senior associate Garon Anthony is ‘incredibly bright’. The team advises on the full range of contentious issues in the financial services sector, from FSA investigations to pensions disputes, and is handling the defence of more than 400 PPI mis-selling claims. Clients include Namulas Pension Trustees, Professional Independent Advisers and Zenith Provecta.
Commercial litigation: Birmingham
Commercial litigation: Birmingham
DLA Piper UK LLP’s team is ‘very well resourced, with highly competent fee-earners and support staff’’; key figures include the ‘proactive’ Nick Bamford and the ‘personable’ Neil Bowker, who has a ‘very sharp mind’. It receives instructions from major UK businesses and multinational corporations, regularly advising on cross-border disputes. It continues to advise Porton Capital and Ploughshire in a £41m claim against 3M, set to be heard in the Court of Appeal. Other active clients include Compass, Serco, Dignity and Swissport. The team is also experienced in mediation and arbitration.
Eversheds LLP provides a ‘first-class service’. It has considerable expertise in the energy and utilities sectors, advising clients such as National Grid and Severn Trent. It is also renowned for its experience in inquiries and investigations. It is advising Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Public Trust in the inquiry regarding Mid Staffordshire Hospital. Other major clients include the Volvo Group UK and Dover Harbour Board. Chris Busby is a ‘master tactician’, and the ‘very knowledgeable’ Mark Surguy is recommended on the fraud side. Diane Bennett left to join Harvey Ingram LLP.
Hill Hofstetter LLP’s team is ‘commercially minded and extremely client friendly’. It is experienced in complex and high-value litigation, and Jim Sharkey is recommended for offshore cases. The firm is advising a Norwegian subsidiary of a leading German multinational in an UNCITRAL arbitration; and is also advising a leading US pharmaceutical group in the defence of product liability claims. Jonathan Hofstetter is ‘very smart’, and Ann Benzimra ‘explains complex matters in simple layman’s speak’. Stephen Barker has left the firm.
Pinsent Masons LLP is acting for NJK Holdings in a large claim involving cross-border issues for the recovery of loans and stock promised to a US-based private equity house. Other clients include Avon Cosmetics, Siemens, UBS, and numerous universities. The ‘commercial’ Greg Lowson (a qualified mediator and solicitor advocate) is recommended; Jonathan Fortnam is rated for his work on international commercial cases and substantial tax disputes; and Jim Richards is an experienced defamation lawyer. The team provides ‘consistently prompt responses’.
Wragge & Co LLP’s large team provides ‘sound and clear advice’, and acts for household names such as the London Stock Exchange, Sotheby’s, Mercedes Benz and Eurotunnel. It continues to develop its international litigation and arbitration practice, and is acting for Peter Ho and Sam Gover in proceedings with the Cyprus-based IKOS Group. It also advised Synergy Classic in a dispute arising from a $90m investment in an AIM-listed company. Andrew Manning Cox and James Gordon are highly recommended.
Cobbetts LLP has a diverse practice spanning corporate litigation, mediation, offshore trusts and international disputes. It is currently acting for Russian clients in an action in the energy sector valued at $2.85bn, and also acts for Virgin Trains and Barclays Wealth. Keith Mills’ advice is ‘second to none’; Andrew Leach is ‘very experienced’; and Richard Whittingham is ‘very responsive’.
Gateley’s Stephen Goodrham is a ‘safe pair of hands’. The team acts for a broad range of plcs and privately owned companies. Highlights included advising a leading distributor of cabling infrastructure, networking products and electronic security on issues arising out of large supplier contracts; and advising a well-known football club on the termination of key commercial contracts.
Irwin Mitchell’s team ‘inspires confidence’. Mark Elder adopts a ‘real hands-on approach’, and has experience in achieving urgent injunctive relief and advising on search orders. The team also advises on reputation management issues, and is representing Nigel Waterson in pursuing a claim against two defendants who published articles describing him as an ‘expenses scandal MP’. It receives a steady flow of instructions from HSBC.
Mills & Reeve LLP has particular expertise in the oil and gas sector. The team is acting for Helvetia Wealth (Liechtenstein) in relation to a £1.9m claim brought against it following the purchase of two financial services companies based in the UK. The group has also been involved in various complex disputes, including a number of product liability claims. Clients include a major energy company. The ‘reliable’ Steve Allen is recommended, and associate Jonathan Nixon is a ‘local star to watch’.
SGH Martineau LLP has significant sectoral experience in education, energy and banking. It represents nPower in a range of disputes with large commercial entities about the supply of electricity; and also advises BSkyB. It recently represented Birmingham (Wholesale) Fresh Produce Association and others in obtaining injunctive relief against Birmingham City Council preventing the closure of the Birmingham Wholesale Markets. Andrew Adams leads the group.
The service provided by Shoosmiths is ‘Magic Circle quality, but at a much more acceptable price’. It advised Birmingham City FC on manager Alex McLeish’s move to Aston Villa FC, and continues to receive high-value instructions from names such as Roadchef, Next and Thorntons. It also has a growing practice in the education and energy sectors. Alex Bishop provides ‘clear and practical advice’.
Squire Sanders LLP advises national and international clients across a range of sectors, most notably banking and finance, automotive, manufacturing, retail and insurance. The team is advising QMH UK in a range of commercial disputes, and other clients include Hill & Smith and The Birmingham Assay Office. Simon Garbett ‘goes more than the extra mile’, and senior associate Garon Anthony is ‘incredibly professional’. The team is regularly involved in cross-border disputes.
Hilary Harrison heads the ‘responsive’ group at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, which is particularly experienced in social housing, local government, voluntary, health and social care, and provides ‘pragmatic’ advice. The practice successfully obtained a review of the Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2011 for its client, UK Recyclate, after initiating judicial review proceedings.
DWF LLP has niche expertise in product liability and insurance policy interpretation, acting for an impressive client base of insurers, such as Zurich, and large corporate clients, such as Severn Trent and Jaguar. The ‘commercially switched-on’ Derek Adamson heads the team, and Roger Coates’ knowledge is ‘staggering’. Caroline Coates is a ‘very impressive negotiator’.
Harvey Ingram LLP has been advising Braintree Leisure in a £6.5m breach of contract claim against a well-known high street bank. Other clients include Easy Air Conditioning and new gains Thomas Vale and Vision Express. Barry Jervis is ‘calm under pressure’.
Shakespeares defended two individuals in injunction proceedings brought against them by a large plc media company of which they were former directors. Mark Beesley, an accredited mediator, heads the team, and Sundeep Ladwa is a ‘strategic thinker’. The team acts for Birmingham City University and United Trust Bank.
Sydney Mitchell LLP ‘regularly holds its own with much bigger City law firms’. It acted in a £12m breach of confidence claim for a wholly-owned Japanese subsidiary, and in a £13m dispute against HMRC which was listed for a three-week hearing. Dean Parnell ‘gets to the nub of issues fast’.
Bevan Brittan LLP is heavily engaged in public services disputes, acting for a range of local government authorities and NHS trusts. Other clients include the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Lloyds Banking Group. Adam Kendall is recommended.
Blakemores’ primary contact is Eddie Flanagan. The team has a particular focus on automotive and asset finance litigation.
Associate solicitor Cassandra Bates is the primary contact at Dass Solicitors. She is experienced in advising on injunctive proceedings.
The Wilkes Partnership advises on a broad range of disputes and ADR options. Clients include owner-managed businesses, and national and international organisations. Nigel Wood is the key contact.
Weightmans LLP ‘gets the job done’. Highlights included acting for an international servicing company in a contractual dispute worth £26.5m, and acting in a multi-jurisdictional dispute worth £1.8m. Associate Peter Brewer is the main contact.
Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Commercial litigation: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
Beswicks Solicitors LLP has a large team and a diverse practice, with notable expertise in sports-related disputes. ‘Thorough’ practice head Graham Neyt is an ‘able negotiator’; Stephen Taylor is ‘very organised’; and Matthew Simmonds has been promoted to partner. The firm advised Twyford Bathrooms in a claim against RAK Ceramics UK alleging infringement of various unregistered design rights. Other clients include Burnley FC and JCB Group.
FBC Manby Bowdler LLP has a team of 18 dedicated litigators, and acts for household names including Carillion, Marston’s and Savills. Practice head Guy Birkett ‘does not sit on the fence’, and Brian Aikman provides ‘clear explanations’. The firm acted for a minority shareholder in a complex unfair prejudice petition; and for the applicant in injunction proceedings and a related damages claim for over £2m.
George Green LLP has a diverse practice, and experience in complex litigation. It recently advised De Montfort Fine Art in a claim for damages resulting from a breach of a supply agreement; the case went to the Court of Appeal. Other key clients include West Bromwich Commercial and a major player in the international scrap metal and recycling industry. The ‘excellent’ Neil Williams, an accredited mediator, has considerable experience in handling search orders.
Harrison Clark LLP has the ‘experienced and very competent’ Richard Morgan (a deputy district judge) and Andrew Cave. The team has considerable adjudication and mediation expertise, and counts Tarmac and British Red Cross as clients. Recent highlights include negotiating the settlement of a shareholder dispute for a major client, and acting in tax dispute arising out of a charitable donation. Newly promoted partner Elizabeth Beatty is an ‘astute lawyer’.
Higgs & Sons is a ‘professional and sleek outfit, while retaining its friendly atmosphere’. The ‘reliable’ team handles a diverse caseload, recently acting in product liability, passing off and negligent misstatement cases. Clients include Saint-Gobain, Avis Rent A Car, and London and Cambridge Properties. Julia Lowe is decisive and articulate’, and Gavin Faber is ‘first class’.
Knights solicitors llp acts for Pizza Hut UK, Dualit and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Highlights included advising a firm of accountants in a £900,000 dispute. The team has notable minerals expertise, and acted in a number of claims under the Commercial Agency Regulations. Andrew Davidson heads the team and is a ‘safe pair of hands’; and Richard Jones’ advice is ‘clear and concise’.
Wright Hassall LLP’s five-partner practice is highly rated. The team is acting in a £2.4m claim for Daventry and District Housing Association in a ten-day trial in the High Court, and also acted in two substantial arbitrations and had three cases in the Court of Appeal in 2011. Consultant Andrew Spooner is ‘very experienced and very calm’, and practice head Sarah Perry is also recommended. Active clients include Tumble Tots UK and British Showjumping.
At Freeth Cartwright LLP, Stephen Hadley recently acted for a substantial owner-managed business which had to be taken back into family control following a substantial fraud by its former managing director. Associate solicitor Tim Calloway is also recommended.
Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited is ‘very proactive’, with the ‘calm and commercially aware’ Harminder Sandhu recommended. The team acts for a large number of manufacturing and construction companies, and has considerable experience in minority shareholder claims.
The ‘very commercially aware’ Brian Evans leads the team at Lanyon Bowdler, which is a panel firm for the NFU Legal Assistance Scheme. Evans continues to act for Dodd Group (Midlands) and other group companies on payment disputes. Andrew Pegg recently advised Zwanenberg Food UK in a major dispute.
The ‘dynamic and results-driven’ Patrick Tedstone leads the team at ORJ Solicitors LLP. The firm acted for the claimant in a warranty dispute under a share purchase agreement, in Puricore plc v Misonics Inc.
Alsters Kelley LLP’s team works closely with the firm’s commercial and private client departments. Associate John Simister is the main contact.
Ansons LLP’s focus is on construction, IP and commercial property disputes. The team continues to advise Marston’s. Associate Martin de Ridder is the primary contact.
At Martin Kaye LLP Solicitors, Graham Davies leads a team handling cases ranging from product liability matters to shareholder disputes. Andrew Oranjuik, who has a ‘great eye for detail’, joined from Harvey Ingram LLP.
Recent work for QualitySolicitors Talbots includes assisting a national accounting network organisation in a dispute over an agency and marketing agreement. Derek Simmonds is the contact partner.
At Thursfields, the ‘knowledgeable’ Mark Pittaway ‘genuinely seems to care’. The team advises insolvency practitioners on issues such as unfair prejudice and wrongful trading, and has expertise in mediation.
Specialist debt practice Coltman Warner Cranston LLP acts for leading retailers and the UK’s largest electrical wholesaler. The team is ‘thoroughly professional’, with ‘approachable’ practice head Larry Coltman noted for his ‘sound advice’. He has been involved in a large number of contested insolvencies, primarily for creditors. The firm regularly advises on creditor bankruptcy petitions, compulsory liquidations and retention of title claims.
Knights solicitors llp is receiving an increasing volume of instructions in overseas debt and insolvency actions. Andrew Davidson provides ‘sound advice’. Clients include Slater Harrison, K3 Technologies Group and Keele University.
SGH Martineau LLP acts for a wide range of clients in the energy and education sectors, among them nPower and the University of Warwick. The group is appointed by insolvency practitioners such as Mazars to assist in the recovery of large and small portfolios of unpaid book and ledger debts in liquidations and administrations. Practice head Andrew Adams and senior associate Debbie Beet are recommended.
Shoosmiths handles recoveries litigation for a large number of the major lenders dealing with secured, unsecured, commercial and consumer lending. Melanie Chell heads the ‘very competent’ team, which has particular expertise in invoice financing and asset financing. Jason Morris joined from Shakespeares, while Joanne Davis is now at DWF LLP.
Wragge & Co LLP’s service levels are ‘exemplary’. Its client base is predominantly in the finance sector, and includes Lloyds TSB Asset Finance and Amber Homeloans. The team has particular expertise in Consumer Credit Act regulated lending, and it has a niche in the asset finance and motor sectors. The firm was reappointed to the London Borough of Croydon debt recovery panel. Greg Standing is an ‘excellent negotiator’.
Wright Hassall LLP advises diverse clients including finance houses and credit unions, with Sarah Perry and Phil Wilding the key contacts. The team provides the full spectrum of advice from recovery of debt prior to any legal action to debt recovery overseas. Gill Payne has left the firm.
The ‘tenacious and very commercial’ Richard Anderson heads the team at Beswicks Solicitors LLP. Major clients include Insolvency Practitioners Direct, Thompson Wright Accountants, and Afford Bond.
Shakespeares’ clients include insolvency practitioners, lenders and invoice financing clients such as RBS Invoice Financing. It secured a substantial debt recovery for Aldermore Invoice Financing and a successful book recovery for PKF. Tim Lawrence is the contact partner.