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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 > West Midlands > Dispute resolution > Debt recovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Debt recovery specialist Coltman Warner Cranston LLP serves a varied commercial client base that includes major retailers, energy companies and financial services institutions. Besides issuing a high volume of winding up petitions, the team was also highly active in the credit insurer space, with litigation executive Stuart Cranston advising various credit insurers on retention of title claims on behalf of their insureds following the collapse of one of the UK's largest distributors of quality auto parts. Cranston also represented one of the leading credit insurance companies in the International Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial Court in cases relating to policy advice, possible policy avoidance and the declinature of claims. The practice is led by Larry Coltman, whose work encompasses contested insolvencies, primarily on behalf of creditors, and large retention of title claims. Legal executive Anna Lucking ‘deals with requests quickly and efficiently’.

Gowling WLG’s practice is probably best known for its work on asset finance recoveries, with practice head Greg Standing regularly active on behalf of the likes of Credo Asset Finance and CIT Vendor Finance. Standing is also highly recommended for his motor finance expertise. Another name to note is senior associate Katie Molloy, who represented American Express Payment Services Europe in a claim arising from a large debt incurred by a high-net-worth cardholder against a Saudi national. The team also handles a large quantity of insolvency work and represents the Insolvency Service acting against disqualified directors in order to recover costs from disqualification proceedings, as well as former bankrupt individuals in order to recover pension funds. Another avenue of work is recovery arising from Consumer Credit Act regulated lending. Ian Weatherall focuses on group litigation issues and insolvency matters for lenders such as HSBC.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice reported an increase in foreign claims in 2016, partly as a result of securing international work for various new clients. The team’s specialisms include credit management, Consumer Credit Act matters, property matters and all methods of enforcement, including High Court enforcement, charging orders, and third-party debt orders. Stratford-based Jayne Gardner and Alan Hamblett lead the team, with the latter commended as being ‘efficient, knowledgeable and very helpful’. The practice’s wide-ranging client base takes in public sector bodies, as well as international companies and professional associations such as Mazars, UPS and ICAEW.

Wright Hassall LLPprovides an excellent level of service, including support across all areas of the debt recovery process’. In 2016, the practice had strong client growth in sectors such as SME, finance and car parking, and in one example of work, it successfully appealed a judgment on behalf of a car park operator in which the judge at first instance found that it did not have the authority to issue parking charge notices on an area of land. Head of practice Phil Wilding has significant experience in debt purchase and debt recovery in the areas of banking, government, parking and insurance, and regularly acts for clients such as Cabot Credit Management, ZZPS and Marlin Financial Services.

Service is extensive and timely’ at Beswicks Legal, where clients include an independent private school, an international storage company based in the US and various insolvency practitioners. The team covers a full range of debt recovery areas, including dishonoured cheque claims, credit control, enforcement proceedings and bankruptcy proceedings. Head of practice Richard Anderson has a ‘very high success rate’ and is ‘very balanced, pragmatic and totally reliable’.

Gateley Plc’s practice focuses on recovery work for clients in the asset finance and leasing sector, and regularly advises in relation to motor and truck finance, the leasing of yellow plant and agricultural machinery, and office equipment and telephony. The team is also experienced in unsecured lending and real estate secured lending, and acts for clients in the secondary debt buyers’ market. Head of practice James Baird has particular expertise in title investigations and fraud cases and has been busy on a number of multi-jurisdictional and cross-border asset recovery matters for clients such as Arkle Finance and Shawbrook Bank. Baird is also advising on litigation arising from a billion-dollar debt purchase.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team ‘really believes in providing advice rather than just marking up documents and always makes itself available at short notice’. The practice focuses on advising motor finance lenders, leasing companies and banks on the recovery of financed assets. In recent work examples, Roger Potgieter represented Close Brother Motor Finance in various matters, including recovering money under a vehicle stocking agreement, and also recovery following the termination of a wholesale funding facility with a motor dealer. Head of asset finance litigation Melanie Chell divides her time between Birmingham and Northampton and acts for clients such as ABN Amro Lease and Tesco Bank.

Band Hatton Button LLP continued to be active in a variety of debt recovery mandates for commercial clients, insolvency practitioners and private schools. Examples of work included acting in the collection of a contract invoice debt of £323,000, which was recovered in full following serving of a statutory demand, and assisting a new client with the collection of residential care home fee arrears. John French has a substantial caseload of residential possession claims for private landlords, including the enforcement of arrears judgments. Head of department Jonathan Wilby and litigation executive Alan Mattocks are the main contacts.

DWF assists a wide range of general commercial, financial services and public sector clients with debt recovery, and has particular expertise in acting for major retailers, insurers, local authorities, and water utilities companies. The practice covers both debt and asset recovery and enforcement actions and has a growing international collections operation. Director Neil Jinks focuses on credit management and cross-border enforcements. The team secured a number of new clients in 2016, including Scottish Water Business Stream.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s practice has a strong insolvency aspect, with practice head Gareth Ruddock acting for insolvency practitioners in the collection of book debts for insolvent companies and obtaining orders for possession and sale of bankrupt’s property. The team is also well versed in assisting corporates such as Carillion and RVB Investments with recovery work, and recently secured new commercial clients in the telecoms and real estate sectors. Other avenues of work include debt enforcement following the sale of residential and commercial property within the UK, and dealing with interpleader claims. Debt recovery manager Emma Northall and litigation executive Victoria Murray are also names to note.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s practice takes in consumer and commercial debt recovery in areas ranging from recovery of rent arrears to insolvency proceedings, including statutory demands, bankruptcy and winding up petitions. Legal executive Geoff Hill is now the key contact following Kerry Davies’ move to Jolliffe & Co LLP. Hill has significant experience in all aspects of debt recovery, including insolvency, and deals with clients ranging from private schools, hospitals and telecoms companies to breweries, letting agents and entertainment companies on claims up to and over £100,000.

Lanyon Bowdler’s ‘enthusiastic team wants to get results and always provides advice that is in context’. In 2016, the department expanded its scope of work to include recovery of rent and possession of property under assured shorthold tenancies, and also the defence of small claims. The practice is led by Andrew Pegg, who has ‘very good knowledge of the agricultural industry’, and legal executive Sian Samuel, who is singled out for her ‘intuition, motivation and "can-do" attitude’. Samuel’s recent caseload included acting for Viessmann Refrigeration in the successful settlement of a claim for £21,000, and also recovering service charge and water charges for the Rowans Estate.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s ‘very efficient’ team has a ‘light touch’ and is led by Kamal Majevadia, who is ‘adept at spotting the wood for the trees and combines this with a user-friendly sense of humour for very experienced officeholders such as liquidators, who are his staple clients’. Majevadia’s recent caseload includes acting on behalf of the administrators of Blakemores in relation to the collection of several large debts from former clients. Another name to note is insolvency specialist Leanne Schneider-Rose, who leads on debt recovery matters for business lenders such as AIB Group (UK) and West Bromwich Commercial. The practice also acts for secondary lenders on mortgage repossessions.

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