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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 > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Addleshaw Goddard receives ‘full marks across the board’ from clients, who single it out as ‘responsive, pragmatic and commercial with deep technical know-how’. Key individuals include head of international arbitration Simon Kamstra, who is ‘a first-class lawyer'; commercial litigation team head Bill Gilliam, who is ‘a consummate professional and manages to blend by-the-book legal advice with real world application and behaviour to help bring any dispute to a swift and effective solution’; and Sally Emerton, who leads the Northern litigation team and the financial services group and ‘takes a no-nonsense approach’. The team handles high-value complex litigation at a national and international level across multiple sectors with particular expertise in the energy, IT, industrial, transport and health sectors. Kamstra recently represented Scottish and Southern Energy in its support of a judicial review challenge against Ofgem relating to the statutory basis for charging for connections to the national grid by electricity distributors, and Gilliam defended Diageo in a case brought by SAP alleging unauthorised use of its software by Diageo’s customers and sale representatives via third party software. Louise Dobson, who made legal director in 2017, is recommended for health and pharmaceutical matters.

Noted for its ‘incredible industry insight’, DLA Piper UK LLP is ‘unquestionably a top-tier firm’; the disputes practice is ‘easily one of the best in the region but can also hold its own on a national level against the London firms’. David Young leads the practice and is ‘an outstanding lawyer who compliments great intellect with exceptional judgment and has the vision to tell you how to win a case strategically and the raw talent to ensure the win’. Young’s recent highlights include acting for roughly 4000 members of IBM’s final salary pension plan in a case concerning IBM’s decision to close its final salary scheme. Paul Stone is also a key name to note; he recently represented Merseytravel in a challenge brought by Bombardier Transportation to a procurement contract initially awarded to Stadler and acted for Birmingham City Council in a dispute relating to a PFI contract. BBC, British Airways, Heineken, Nisa Retail and Shire Oak Quarries are also clients. Simon Kenyon is the key contact for technology disputes and senior associate Kathryn Ford is ‘very bright and always goes the extra mile to get things done’.

Gary Pellow and Richard Matthews lead Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘organised, friendly and approachable’ practice, which also fields TMT dispute specialist James Hyde, energy litigator Mark Howarth, principal associate Deborah Polden, who ‘works to get the best results for clients’; and senior associate Ed Williams, who specialises in IT disputes and public procurement challenges. Recent highlights for Hyde include representing the Canal & River Trust in the Court of Appeal in a case regarding the price to be paid by Thames Water for water abstracted from a waterway owned by the trust. The practice also acted for an automotive part manufacturer in claim in the High Court arising from a fatality on a French motorway, and defended a Middle Eastern oil company in an arbitration relating to the sale of gas under a long-term gas sales agreement. Other mandates include acting for Theakston Estates in a limited liability partnership dispute and representing a Middle Eastern state in an arbitration regarding contracted trade. Vodafone, Specsavers, DHL and EDF are also clients.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘incredibly reliable’ team provides ‘clear and concise advice’ thanks to its ‘excellent industry knowledge and technical expertise’. Department head Andrew Masterson is ‘brilliant’; he handles product liability, pensions and IT disputes. The team also includes James McBurney, who is ‘commercially minded and a pleasure to work with’; Julian Sladdin, who leads the firm’s universities disputes practice, and legal director Louise Nahon, who ‘quickly absorbs complicated facts and gives great advice with a clear strategy’. In a recent highlight, McBurney acted for Hamad M Aldrees & Partners in a claim against Rotex Europe relating to the supply of allegedly deficient mineral separating units; other work includes Sladdin defending the University of Sheffield in a claim brought by a former student who was removed from a course due to homophobic comments made on social media, and acting for Birkbeck College, University of London in multiple disputes with its former Executive Dean including a Part 8 claim relating to the College’s decision to suspend and dismiss the individual.

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘first-rate team consistently puts the client first’ with ‘a good understanding of risk combined with commercial awareness and strong legal advice’ making it ‘easily one of the go-to firms in the North East’. Group head Simon Miller !Leeds is ‘vastly experienced and excellent at assessing the commerciality of litigation’; he handles national and international disputes. Clients also praise Lucci Dammone !Leeds as ‘experienced, commercially sensible and pragmatic’; he recently acted for Contact Print and Packaging in a claim against its insurer following the failure of a printing press at its Stockport site and represented Contact Originators in a claim against The Intouch Group regarding failure to transfer software licences, which breached the terms of an asset purchase agreement. Tesco, The Mansions Group, Trinity Mirror and Acorn Mobility Services are also clients. Other noteworthy individuals include senior associate Simon Lucas !Leeds, Victoria Leigh !Leeds, who focuses on pensions and financial services disputes, shareholder issues and data protection matters; Anthony Taylor !Leeds, who leads the financial service litigation team; and Rob Elvin !Leeds, who handles environmental and health and safety work. Jason Blakey !Leeds joined from DWF in 2018.

‘A first-class litigation boutique’, Stewarts Law LLP is ‘easily one of the best for litigation outside of the Magic Circle’ fielding ‘a strong team with a sense of purpose’ that is ‘undoubtedly the premier firm in Yorkshire, maybe even nationally’. The group is highly regarded for its experience in cartel damage claims, financial services disputes, fraud matters and investigations. Mo Bhaskaran, who ‘strikes the right balance between aggression and realism’, leads the department, which also fields the ‘tenaciousKate Pollock, who is ‘efficient and a popular team leader for competition work’; the ‘absolutely brilliantJonathan Sinclair and senior associate Nick Haworth, who is ‘a savvy litigator with a bright future ahead of him’. Highlights included Pollock representing multiple corporates in cartel actions relating to interchange fees charged by MasterCard on debit and credit card transactions, Sinclair acting in cartel actions against Visa relating to interchange fees and Ian Gatt QC representing Iiyama in damages proceedings relating to a cathode ray tube cartel. Marks and Spencer, Wm Morrison, Home Retail Group and B&Q are also clients. Martin Walsh made partner in 2018.

Walker Morris LLP ‘stands out from other firms in the region in terms of quality of work and the quality of the professionals within its team’ who are ‘head and shoulders above the rest and are always right on the money with their commercial acumen and sound legal advice that brings a certain creative flair to proceedings’. Recent mandates include acting for Visage in an interim injunction application, acting for Begbies Traynor as liquidators of Changtel Solutions in a High Court claim against a former director regarding allegations of fraud, and defending Trinity One in a case brought by York City Council relating to a commuted sum payment regarding the provision of affordable housing units. The team also represented Adler & Allan in a dispute relating to counter-pollution control costs following the capsizing of a fishing vessel carrying toxic pollutants in Dartmouth Harbour, and acted for in economic loss claims arising from disruptive passengers. The ‘incredibly confident and experiencedGwendoline Davies leads the group, which also includes the ‘genuinely excellent’ Malcom Simpson, Nick Lees, who has ‘a deep understanding of the law’; and director Lynsey Oakdene, who is ‘constantly focused on the needs of clients’. -David Williams joined Clarion in 2017.

Simon Young heads Clarion’s department, which includes IT and outsourcing specialist Dominic Higham, Roger Hutton, who handles pre-insolvency-related work; insolvency specialists Ryan Millmore and Alice Pratt, and Esther Kirwan, who focuses on IP disputes. David Williams  joined the group from Walker Morris LLP and bolstered its international litigation offering; he has notable expertise in project and joint venture disputes in Africa particularly in the oil, pharmaceuticals, distribution, IT and telecoms sectors. Recent highlights for the practice include Higham acting for Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust in claims arising from a contract with Atos regarding the implementation and maintenance of a system critical to patient care, representing Wilton UK in a claim against Banks Group arising from a joint venture agreement for the development of a site near Durham, and acting for Caddick in litigation relating to a block of residential apartments in London Docklands including associated professional negligence claims against its former solicitors. Associate Kayleigh Fantoni joined from McCormicks in 2017.

Schofield Sweeney’s ‘commercially excellent’ team saw substantial growth recently following the recruitment of tax litigator Leo Jones-Rowe from LCF Law, financial services specialist Matthew Fidler from Stewarts Law LLP, and construction litigator Gary Ashton from Hawkswell Kilvington Limited. They join team co-heads James Staton and Alistair Kennedy; Staton is ‘incredibly professional’ and Kennedy is ‘a go-to litigator who is someone you definitely want fighting your corner’. Kennedy’s recent work includes defending an Isle of Man trustee company in litigation relating to sale proceeds from the public listing of a company on AIM, and acting for Menston Action Group in judicial review proceedings regarding a proposed Barratt Homes development including sustainable drainage issues. Other work includes Staton defending three former company directors in a dispute brought by a former director regarding allegations of conspiracy and collusion and breaches of directors’ duties; and Fidler defending a Guernsey property company in a banking claim arising out of a group restructuring and corporate sale. Closegate Hotel Group, A Share Greener and Bebe Clothing are also clients.

At 3volution Limited, team head Tim Stone ‘goes above and beyond to meet the client’s needs’; he recently acted for Print Express Partnership in a dispute with Asendia regarding a postal services contract and defended the Great Northern Envelope Company in a defamation claim regarding statements made in meeting minutes. Stone also has notable expertise in pensions-related disputes, professional negligence issues, shareholder disputes and warranty claims. FP Processing, Sharrow Organic Supplies, Goldfinch Entertainment, Tech Search Associates and the Trustees of Thorntons Pension Scheme are also clients. Other noteworthy practitioners include IP litigator Sara Ludlam and associate Samantha Wragg, who has particular experience in professional negligence actions, financial services claims, pensions disputes and defamation issues; clients praise her as ‘extremely efficient and able to put the client in a strong negotiating position’.

Gateley Plc‘s ‘absolutely excellent’ group has substantial expertise across the housebuilding, retail, energy, education and procurement sectors; recent mandates include defending Persimmon in a group action brought by 69 residents who allege that that sea-facing windows in a new apartment block on Swansea Dock have experienced water ingress, acting for Repsol Sinopec Resources in a contract dispute with One Sub Sea regarding equipment, and acting for the University of Leicester and St George’s, University of London in judicial review proceedings against students. The ‘practical and commercially mindedGerard Khoshnaw leads the team, which also fields Andrew Johnson, who is ‘a safe pair of hands and incredibly creative in his thinking and strategizing, which gives momentum to matters’; Simon Ingham and Gavin Winter.

Stephen McVey and Andrew Breckenridge jointly lead Gordons LLP’s team and specialise in commercial litigation and banking litigation respectively. The firm is ‘easily one of the best for clients in the retail space’; it recently defended a volume discount retailer in a contract dispute brought by an IT supplier and also counts Wren Kitchens, Nisa Retail, Pavers and Original Factory Shop as clients. Other recent mandates include acting for Houston Vessel Manufacturing in a claim for breach of exclusivity and supply agreements regarding specialist marine equipment supplied to a distributor, representing a liquidator in claims for recovery of payments made by a former law firm now in liquidation, and acting in a partnership and shareholder dispute following the dissolution of a partnership. Debt recovery specialist Graeme Davy, food and drink expert Mark Jones and Frances Mitchell, who acts for lender clients, are also names to note. -James Laycock joined Irwin Mitchell and -Matthew Howarth joined Shoosmiths LLP in 2017.

Irwin Mitchell fields a team of ‘top-class litigators’ including practice head Alex Newman, who has notable experience in contentious IP and IT issues; James Laycock, who joined from Gordons LLP in 2017 and handles contract disputes, shareholder claims, professional negligence issues and contentious trust and probate work; senior associate Richard Payne, who focuses on the construction sector; and senior associate Emma Yates, who ‘leaves no stone unturned and is dedicated to doing the best job possible’. The team is also highly regarded for its expertise in franchising disputes and breach of warranty claims. Clients include Pirtek, Capita, Rubillion, Taskmaster and Handelsbanken.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s ‘excellent knowledge allows for effective and efficient advice that consistently produces the best outcomes’. Team head James Henson has ‘an understanding of the region and the law that is invaluable’ and handles civil fraud work, professional negligence actions and claims for breach of commercial contracts. Recent highlights include acting for the European Commission in a dispute with two liquidators and creditors regarding the ownership of unspent European Union grant monies, and representing Bauer Radio in a claim against Made Television relating to the breach of a supply agreement. Software Box, Electricity North West and Virgins Trains East Coast are also clients. Senior associate Elizabeth Turner is recommended for property litigation.

LCF Law is ‘commercially aware and gives practical advice to its clients’ thanks to ‘incredible strength in depth and sound legal knowledge’. The department, which is ‘one of those in the region that is becoming more and more noticeable’, is led by ‘excellent strategistCharles Abraham, who ‘thinks outside the box to find client-led solutions while still making sure the details are clear and the bigger picture is appreciated’; he has notable financial services and commercial agent regulation expertise. Other practitioners include Ragan Montgomery, ‘natural born litigator’ Jo Barnes and David Barker, who joined from Carrick Read (Leeds). The team recently defended a US-based corporation in proceedings arising from a claim by British Gas for unpaid gas and electricity charges, acted for a group of care homes in a claim against Yorkshire Bank relating to the bank’s rights to seek break costs, and represented a UK subsidiary of a global corporate in proceedings relating to unpaid electricity charges. Associate Roger Raper is also a name to note.

At Lupton Fawcett, the practice includes Jonathan Warner-Reed, who has a ‘very efficient, excellent and commercial mind’; Howard Rutter, who handles partnership work, shareholder disputes and contentious trusts and probate; property litigator Johanne Spittle and Jonathan Cripwell, who is experienced in civil fraud work and contentious probate matters. The practice also acts in professional negligence mandates, restrictive covenant and confidentiality disputes, defamation issues, fraud work, insolvency-related claims and injunctions. Seabrook Crisps, JCT600, SafeStyle, Yorkshire Cancer Research and Chaucer Foods are clients.

McCormicks’ ‘excellent’ practice has ‘exceptional customer service’ under the leadership of senior partner Peter McCormick, whose ‘excellent ability and knowledge of the sport sector really sets him apart’. The group is also active in the insolvency space and handles landlord and tenant disputes, fraud, partnership litigation and shareholder disputes. Clients also praise Philip Edmondson, who ‘is a genuine professional’. Recent work includes acting for the Premier League in a challenge to its ban of third party ownership of footballers’ economic rights; Rudding Park, Leeds United FC, GMI Construction Group and Oracle Finance are also clients.

As ‘a very strong firm with high-quality work’, Shulmans LLP is ‘one of the better mid-sized options in the region’ with ‘excellent all-round performance and well-experienced individuals who demonstrate technical knowledge and unmatched client attention’. The ‘efficient, thorough and experiencedRichard Wadkin is ‘a safe pair of hands’ and leads the recently reorganised team, which also includes IT specialist Mark Lumley, regulatory expert Lyn Dario, who focuses on environmental and health and safety issues; and associates Eleanor Stenson and Laura Hill, who are ‘excellent litigators with bright futures ahead of them’. The team recently acted for Montpelier Business Reorganisation in claims relating to the repayment of deferred consideration.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s ‘impressive’ practice regularly handles disputes in the financial services, chemicals, manufacturing and public sectors; recent clients include City of York Council, Lehman Brothers International (Europe), David Brown Gear Systems, Anpario and the Post Office. Team head Nick Mason is ‘a calm and effective manager of the team and sensible in his decision making’ and regularly handles international litigation. Clients also single out associate Tom Graham, who has ‘a good grasp of the detail’.

At Blacks Solicitors LLP, department head Luke Patel is ‘very client focused and is driven by getting the right outcome for his clients and always delivers an impeccable service’. Patel is also a member of the personal injury and medical negligence team, and recently defended personal injury firm GSD Law in claims brought by Allianz alleging systematic fraud and misconduct. The team primarily acts for owner-managed business and private individuals. Other names include James Teagle, Oliver Gross and associate Aimee Hutchinson, who is ‘extremely approachable and has an air of confidence that puts the client at ease’.

As part of the firm’s Northern team, DAC Beachcroft LLP’s practice includes team head Jan Levinson, Sydney Fulda and Harald Loeffler, all of whom split their time between Leeds and Manchester. The group is active in the healthcare space and Levinson focuses on IT and outsourcing disputes; he recently acted for Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in a contract dispute with its IT product licence provider. Lynne Young Associates, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are also clients. Leeds-based associate Tim Dennis regularly advises on procurement disputes.

James Hartley heads the department at Freeths LLP, which also fields Lindsey Clegg, who has ‘excellent attention to detail’; Hartley’s work includes group actions, competition work, finance litigation and professional negligence claims while Clegg regularly works on cross-border litigation. Hartley recently acted for over 550 sub-postmasters in a claim against the Post Office regarding damages incurred following a failure of the computer system resulting in staff having to repay sums in the form of alleged shortfalls, and Clegg represented Onur Air in proceedings arising from the catastrophic mid-flight failure of an aircraft engine leased by the client. Peerless Europe, North Tyneside Council and Travis Perkins Group are also clients.

In Harrowells Solicitors’ ‘highly commercial’ group, Richard Hugill is ‘extremely astute and a joy to deal with’, Paul Birkinshaw is ‘enormously experienced and fights with 110% commitment for his clients’ and team leader Simon Black is ‘excellent’. The practice is increasingly acting for national clients alongside its traditional client base of local corporates and high-net-worth individuals. It is also recognised for its expertise in the agriculture and horse racing sectors.

Recent highlights for Metis Law Limited include representing Yoo Group in proceedings arising from the construction of a hotel island resort in Malay, representing C21 London Estates in a liability claim and acting for SPV Gaia Ventures in a claim against Abbeygate Helical Developments relating to breaches of covenants in a property deed transfer. G4S Group, the Interparcel Group, Northern Powerhouse Developments and Sakura Partners are also clients. Rajat Sharma leads the department, which ‘punches above its weight’ and advises clients at a regional, national and international level.

Ramsdens Solicitors LLP’s ‘excellent’ group includes team head Steven Singh, whose expertise covers civil and commercial litigation; Jeremy Cook, who has notable experience in the manufacturing, environmental, health and food sectors. Property litigator Nick Armitage, ‘incredibly able’ employment specialist Hilary Garnett and Paul Booth, who is ‘a very tenacious litigator who remains cool, calm and collected no matter that situation’, are also names to note. The group is active in professional services litigation and agriculture disputes.

As ‘one the most knowledgeable firms in Harrogate’, Raworths’ ‘proactive, responsive and experienced’ team is led by Jonathan Mortimer, who ‘takes a lot of stress away from the client and handles cases with supreme confidence and a tactical approach that is difficult to match’; his expertise encompasses contract disputes, financial services claims, franchise matters, insurance litigation, partnership disputes and professional negligence claims. Clients also praise ‘quality act’ Matthew Hill, who ‘delivers commercially sound and well-considered advice’. Highlights included representing Financiere Mademoiselle Desserts in proceedings relating to fraudulent misrepresentation and warranty claims, and defending Technology Sciences in a breach of contract and negligence case.

Matthew Howarth leads the practice at Shoosmiths LLP following his recruitment from Gordons LLP in 2017; he has experience in shareholder and warranty claims, professional negligence issues, contractual disputes, financial services claims and pensions disputes. Recent highlights include defending the former managing partner of an insolvency practice in claims alleging breaches of duty, acting for a former partner of a solicitor practice in proceedings relating to breaches of a partnership agreement, and representing a manufacturer and supplier of welding and positioning equipment in trade mark litigation. Senior associate Emma Lowe is also a name to note; she joined from Genus Law in 2017.

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