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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 > Yorkshire and the Humber > Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: fraud > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Crime: fraud
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Rising stars

  1. 1

Rahman Ravelli stands out nationally for its fraud work, with substantial expertise in white-collar crime, corporate crime, money laundering and tax evasion. The group also has a niche specialism in deferred prosecution agreements alongside a key international element to its practice, regularly handling global fraud investigations. The 'hugely knowledgeable' Aziz Rahman leads the practice, legal director Nicola Sharp specialises in fraud, civil recovery and business crime work, senior associate Lorraine Gallen handles MTIC fraud matters, and legal director Syedur Rahman - 'a creative thinker who goes the extra mile' - has notable cryptocurrency experience.

Practice head(s):Aziz Rahman

Other key lawyers:Nicola Sharp; Lorraine Gallen; Syedur Rahman

Testimonials

'Rahman Ravelli is undoubtedly the leading fraud firm in the area. It has a nationwide profile and has developed an excellent international white-collar crime pre-charge and litigation team. The extent and jurisdictional reach of the practice makes it close to unique in the North'.

'The team is uniquely close knit and inter-supportive and is able to pool complementary skills and experience to the ultimate benefits of its clients. It has expert and admirable client-handling skills, and focused and foresighted strategic awareness'.

'The firm is the leader in the field for high-value and complex civil fraud and criminal fraud proceedings in England'.

'The team is a tightknit group focused on the intersection between criminal law and civil work. Small enough to be nimble but with enough depth to handle the best cases'.

'Aziz Rahman is a standout practitioner with exceptional inter-personal skills who is able to see the heart of the case at a very early stage and prepare a strategy that gets exceptional results'.

'Aziz Rahman is hugely knowledgeable and a real fighter in protecting clients' interests'.

'Associate Nicola Sharp is a star in the making. She handles cases extremely well, has a determined approach to litigation and is never fazed no matter how complex the case'.

'Syed Rahman is a creative thinker who goes the extra mile.'

'Syed Rahman is a favourite of clients and has a charming manner. He is a master of detail and lavishes care and attention on even the smallest point to good effect.'

'Syedur Rahman is incredibly down to earth and hard working. He is a real grafter who entirely devotes himself to his cases. He is probably one of the most driven solicitors I work with.'

Work highlights

  • Acting for a corporate with offices in over 40 countries in an SFO global bribery and corruption investigation in the energy sector.
  • Conducting a corporate wrongdoing investigation involving a FTSE 100 company and GCC country companies.
  • Representing a former executive in an SFO and DOJ investigation into multi-jurisdictional bribery and corruption in the Guralp Systems case.
  • Representing a financial services company and senior executives in a multi-agency (SFO, NCA, HMRC, Pension regulator) multi-jurisdictional investigation into a £100m+ pension liberation fraud.
  • Acting for a US company in a worldwide corporate investigation involving the FBI, Interpol and other international enforcement agencies into large-scale cryptocurrency fraud.

ABR Solicitors handles national and international investigations and prosecutions for individuals and company clients. Notable areas of expertise include fraud and regulatory defence, white-collar crime and tax and VAT fraud. Rob Rode - 'a dynamic force of nature who wins unwinnable cases through sheer belief and effort' - heads up the team, which also includes Tony Murphy and Proceeds of Crime Act expert Andrew Stewardson.

Practice head(s):Rob Rode

Other key lawyers:Tony Murphy; Andrew Stewardson; Matt Goode

Testimonials

'Rob Rode leads the team with panache and is a force to be reckoned with'

'ABR has a very strong reputation and handles considerable amounts of heavyweight work'.

'ABR is a serious fraud player in the North of England and is one of the go-to firms. It fields very experienced solicitors who provide a brilliant service. No one in Leeds has great expertise'.

'ABR is a clear leader in the Leeds area for fraud work. It has built up a track record of being involved in the biggest and most complex cases, and its thoroughness and attention to detail is often commented on'.

'Rob Rode is a standout person in the field. He is the driving force behind the firm and is a dynamic force of nature who wins unwinnable cases through sheer belief and effort'.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

ABR Solicitors

ABR solicitors is a niche fraud, crime and regulatory practice with its head office in Leeds. It also has offices in Liverpool, York and London. ABR is committed to operating in a digitalised court process.

Read more…

Irwin Mitchell is noted for its white-collar litigation practice, which handles criminal liability, compliance and multi-jurisdictional investigations for a range of corporate clients. Internal investigations, bribery and corruption issues are also key strengths of the team. Paul Haycock leads the department and excels in criminal and regulatory investigations.

Practice head(s):Paul Haycock

Other key lawyers:Emma Windle; James Newall

Testimonials

'Paul Haycock is an elder statesman of the fraud world. He is an obvious name to call on when in trouble, and conducts himself with honesty and integrity'.

'They have key expertise in this area and see the big picture.'

Depth of experience. IM have worked on many of the major fraud, financial services, cartel and money laundering cases and done so to an exceptionally high standard. Added to this experience, within the team is an almost unparalleled experience of defending murder, rape, drugs and organised crime cases over many decades. This means that they are not only able to bring to bear a depth of experience, but that they can provide a full service to corporate clients where individuals end up facing general crime allegations.

'Every member of the Irwin Mitchell crime team prepares each case thoroughly. They have an astounding ability to work through large volumes of material and prepare working schedules which make their cases accessible. They are very hardworking and their criminal trial preparation more closely resembles what one would expect from a highly funded civil case. This is the work model the team adopts no matter the case.'

'Paul Haycock, Emma Windle and John Davies will all do everything needed on a case, are proactive and team players - they bring real value.'

Boutique firm Opus Law provides a tailor-made service to clients nationally across high-value and complex fraud issues including investigations or charges from authorities. The 'tenacious and persistent' Ben Jones and the 'robust and straight-talking' Sarah Batty jointly lead the team; Jones also has expertise in terrorism cases.

Practice head(s):Ben Jones; Sarah Batty

Testimonials

'Opus Law is passionate about delivering the best possible service to clients and genuinely cares about the outcome for them. Its approach is thoughtful and bespoke at all times which means it continually punches above its weight'.

'Ben Jones is tenacious, persistent and a genuine market leader in terms of technical and commercial knowledge and connections in the market'.

'Opus Law is an unusual form in that it is able to maintain a high level of work across both privately funded and legally aided work. It employs excellent staff and is deeply committed to providing a 24/7 service'.

'Opus Law is an outstanding firm in criminal fraud work. It is able to attack cases and identify issues remarkably quickly. Every team member is extremely able and efficient and has good judgment'.

'Ben Jones is a mover and shaker in the region, credited with attracting good quality fraud cases. He cuts though complex issues with ease and has a brilliant client focus'.

'Ben Jones is outstanding - a rainmaker, a workaholic and an exceptional legal mind. He travels the length and breadth of the country with a degree of client care that is unparalleled and his clients trust him and hang on his every word. Every member of the Bar he works with covets him jealously because every case from him is high-quality work, beautifully prepared and thoroughly investigated'.

'Ben Jones has a loyal following of clients due to his commitment, old-fashioned nous and no-nonsense approach'.

'A fantastic firm that has a very diverse base of work, from serious fraud to terrorism.'

'Ben Jones is a most impressive individual - he is friendly, well organised, professional, delightful with clients and professional in his advice.'

Sarah Batty is robust and straight-talking, which clients appreciate, and is an expert in the analysis of material scheduled by the Crown in high value money fraud cases.'

'Ben Jones instinctively knows how to defend in criminal trials and get the best results. He has a natural understanding of how the system works. He is calm and never gets flustered - he is the go-to man for any criminal case.'

'Great team - fully dedicated and committed.'

Key Clients

1511 Sports Agency

Work highlights

  • Represented a client in a fraud prosecution relating to allegedly falsely claimed tax repayments and a large-scale facilitation of bogus visa applications.
  • Acted for an accountant in a multimillion-pound VAT fraud case.
  • Represented a client against charges of failing to declare income and associated overpayment of benefits offences.
  • Defending a client against money laundering allegations.
  • Acting for a clients in an alleged conspiracy to import raw prohibited steroid powders, manufacture the powders and sell the end product, a Class C drug, via the internet. Defendants were also charged with conspiracy to launder the proceeds.

With a niche focus on fraud and financial crime work, Ashmans Solicitors handles high-value fraud work, money laundering matters and VAT fraud. Imran Ali and Raja Atif Afzal jointly head up the practice, which now works in tandem with the firm's newly opened London and Sheffield offices.

Practice head(s):Imran Ali; Raja Atif Afzal

Other key lawyers:Sajid Majeed; Zahid Majeed

Testimonials

'Ashmans is a leading player in Yorkshire for serious fraud work'.

'Raja Atif Afzal is well known regionally for his ability in fraud work and has wide-ranging knowledge'.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a defendant in an alleged 'cash for crash' conspiracy.
  • Represented one of nine defendants in an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Acted for a defendant who was charged with conspiracy to convert criminal property.
  • Representing a university graduate charged with fraud and money laundering offences.
  • Defended a client in a private prosecution over allegations business-related fraud to the sum of approximately £1m.

Cartwright King handles a variety of fraud and financial crime matters including investigations and prosecutions brought by multiple agencies, bribery and corruption matters, counterfeit fraud, benefit fraud and cyber crime. The 'tenacious' Mark Fowler and senior associate John Speight are the key contacts.

Other key lawyers:Mark Fowler; John Speight

Testimonials

'Mark Fowler and John Speight have a wealth of experience that few can match. Clients would trust each of them with any serious fraud issues they came up against'.

'Both Mark Fowler and John Speight are tenacious and have fantastic attention to detail'.

'Mark Fowler will give his all and leave no stone unturned'.

Cohen Cramer's fraud expertise encompasses missing trader intra-community and carousel frauds, money laundering matters and POCA cases, as well as substantial knowledge of all forms of tax fraud. John Goodwin - 'a solicitor of the highest quality' - leads the department, which recently expanded with the recruitment of consultant Michael O’Garra from O'Garra's.

Practice head(s):John Goodwin

Other key lawyers:Michael O'Garra

Testimonials

'Cohen Cramer is an excellent all-round firm with particular emphasis on white-collar crime. A credit to the region'.

'John Goodwin is a solicitor of the highest quality who is respected over many years by judges and practitioners. His reputation attracts high-quality work across the white-collar spectrum'.

'Cohen Cramer has a strong client base across the North East and North West thanks to excellent client care and attention to detail'.

'John Goodwin has a very good reputation with clients and other law firms, and demonstrates excellent leadership'.

'John Goodwin and Michael O'Garra have over 60 years experience between than and clients struggle to think of any type of case they have not dealt with. They are impressively accessible and extremely efficient. They are well loved by their clients and the firm has an astonishing 24/7 mentality'.

Howard & Byrne's criminal defence practice fields specialists in fraud and financial crime, who represent clients locally, nationally and internationally from the firm's York base. The 'industrious and knowledgeable' Kevin Blount leads the group, which also includes 'charismatic and driven' senior partner Colin Byrne, who handles cross-border matters in jurisdictions including Europe, US, Russia and the Middle East.

Practice head(s):Kevin Blount

Other key lawyers:Colin Byrne

Testimonials

'Howard & Byrne is a proactive and hardworking firm, which provides quality representation and cares about its clients'.

'The team is exceptionally diligent and hardworking and is in the detail of all matters, It is highly deserving of the status it has locally, nationally and internationally'.

'Howard & Byrne is an established York firm with a national and international reach. At its core, it represents the people of York and North Yorkshire facing criminal allegations. However, through the hard work and determined approach of the partners, it has carved out a national reputation in fraud'.

'Howard & Byrne specialises in complex and difficult fraud cases, and has an international practice, which clients literally come from all over the UK to instruct them. It fights for clients and has a level of attention to detail that is frankly amazing'.

'Colin Byrne is very hardworking and has excellent judgement'.

'Kevin Blount is industrious, knowledgeable and ensures all cases are properly prepared and that clients needs are met throughout the criminal process'.

'Colin Byrne is an exceptional lawyer; there is no wonder he is attracting cases from all over the UK'.

'Colin Byrne is charismatic and driven and uniquely experienced in international criminal defence. Despite this, he retains a clear supervisory role over his team, and ensures quality of service. Kevin Blount is a lawyer's lawyer. He is particularly astute in matters of fraud and money laundering and brings a great deal to the tactical aspects of defending complex crime'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the the lead defendant in a 24-defendant indictment in Greece, which relates to alleged bribery payments to doctors in return for their use of specific products. It relates to the Johnson & Johnson deferred prosecution agreement in the US in which the company paid $77m to the US authorities.
  • Acting for a defendant in a multimillion-pound fraud case.
  • Acting for one of 15 men involved in £12m diversion fraud matter.

Peter Minnikin heads up the criminal department at McCormicks after taking over the role from Geoffrey Rogers in 2019. Minnikin's practice covers money laundering and ponzi frauds, while Rogers focuses on complex commercial and white-collar fraud work.

Practice head(s):Peter Minnikin

Other key lawyers:Geoffrey Rogers

Work highlights

  • Acting for an individual in matters relating to offences under the Consumer Protection Regulations and the Companies Act.
  • Defending an individual in a fraud matter with related abuse of position elements.
  • Acting for an individual accused of benefit fraud.

Howells' team is noted for its complex fraud and very high cost case work, with practice head Chris Wong has experience in cross-border matters. The group also has expertise in white-collar crime and judicial reviews.

Practice head(s):Chris Wong

Jeremy Scott leads the regulatory and corporate defence department at Lupton Fawcett, which acts on the full range of mandates including fraud work, POCA proceedings and cash forfeiture matters. The Yorkshire-wide team defends corporate clients and individuals on all elements of investigations and prosecutions including policy issues, regulatory breaches and crisis management. The York-based Jonathan Cripwell focuses on regulatory prosecutions.

Practice head(s):Jeremy Scott

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Cripwell

White-collar crime is a relatively new area of work for Shoosmiths LLP's Leeds practice, which has established itself in the region under the 'dynamic' leadership of Dan Stowers after opening a base in the city in late 2016. The team primarily handles investigations and prosecutions for a client roster spanning individuals, corporates, partnerships and charities; it also has a substantial non-contentious corporate advisory element. Roy Tozer focuses on regulatory breaches.

Practice head(s):Dan Stowers

Other key lawyers:Roy Tozer

Testimonials

'Dan Stowers is without doubt most dynamic lawyer in his field, understanding the issues immediately and how to address them'

'The team work tirelessly for the benefit of their clients. They have the exceptional ability to focus on the real issues'

'They meet each challenge with a can-do attitude, leaving you feeling that they are in control despite what the other parties are trying to do.'

'Dan Stowers is clearly in control of his cases. He has the exceptional ability of both being able to have a well reasoned overview of a case as well as having all the details at his fingertips. This means that you feel that he is truly providing the best representation for his client.'

'Dan Stowers is an exellent lawyer who brings the full benefit of his 20 years' experience in the tactical approach he takes to cases. He has extensive experience of fraud, but also regulatory matters and is going from strength to strength in representing clients pre-charge or at the point of internal investigations.'

Work highlights

  • Defending an individual in a Serious Fraud Office prosecution relating to allegations of systematic bribery to secure foreign contacts.
  • Acting for a third party in a judicial review challenge against the Serious Fraud Office relating to a criminal prosecution.
  • Representing an individual in a Serious Fraud Office investigation into Tata Speciality Steels.
  • Advising Pure Office on its obligations relating to compliance with anti-money laundering legislation.

Wilford Smith focuses on high-profile criminal cases across the North, including defending criminal and fraud prosecutions. 'Exceptionally hardworking and dedicated' group head Rebecca Smith-Bains and senior partner Stephen Smith - 'a South Yorkshire legend in both crime and fraud' - are key names for general fraud and tax and VAT fraud matters, senior associate Mark Bates is a former detective chief inspector, and Jon Ford has expertise in case involving mental health issues

Practice head(s):Rebecca Smith-Bains

Other key lawyers:Stephen Smith; Mark Bates; Jon Ford

Testimonials

'Wilford Smith has recently expanded at a time when many firms are contracting, which is no doubt a reflection of where they now sit within a competitive market'.

'Wilford Smith fields an exceptionally talented team of fraud lawyers, which appears across the country in the biggest and most complex fraud cases and achieves impressive results'.

'Rebecca Smith-Bains is exceptionally hardworking and dedicated, leaving no stone unturned. She understands the detail of her clients' cases and will fight all the way to achieve the best possible outcome'.

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