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CMS’ well regarded-practice is jointly headed by ‘excellent tacticianChris Horsefield, George Lubega, and Carl Dray. Lubega has a depth of expertise in judicial reviews, disputes involving local and central government and the NHS, and is also involved in cross-border contentious matters across a range of industry sectors, including technology, healthcare, financial, real estate, transport, oil, food, manufacturing and engineering and insurance. Recent highlights include defending global industrial services provider Cape against claims brought by insurers Aviva, Zurich and the RSA Group, regarding insolvency, contract, insurance and product liability law. Other work includes defending Qatar Airways against a sexual assault claim made by a passenger, and defending an investment management services company against breach of warranty and indemnity claims brought as a result of asbestos found in a property sold by the client. Senior associate Mark Gudgeon was part of a team handling a contractual dispute for a biomass-fired CHP project designer and the project funder. James Henson joined Langleys Solicitors LLP.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s team ‘offers fantastic value for money’ and is known for its strengths in telecoms litigation. Practice head Richard Norman is ‘an absolute pleasure to work with’; he is supported by IT litigator Ashley Mott, mining and minerals specialist Michael Wright, and senior associates Mick Lawlor and Barney Connell, who are ‘highly trusted advisors’. The team also has strengths in handling cross-border litigation and international arbitration, competition-related investigations, construction and engineering disputes. Norman and Wright were part of a team that defended a claim for mining subsidence damage for Wentworth Woodhouse. Norman also acted for a local football club in bringing a claim against its former catering services supplier, and defended a media client against claims of breach of copyright, confidence and contract that involved cross-border issues. Mott was involved in a cross-border dispute for a high-net-worth family, concerning breach of contract allegations relating to various high-profile real estate development opportunities, and also defended a client against fraud allegations related to an AIM-listed real estate fund established to invest in high-profile developments abroad. Other clients include Boots, Primetals Technologies, Tata Communications and Verizon.

Irwin Mitchell has ‘one of the top commercial litigation teams in Yorkshire’ and its practice is led by property and commercial litigation specialist Steven Beahan. Dorrien Peters specialises in high-value disputes with a particular focus on the manufacturing sector, and senior associate James Berry ‘works stupendously hard and is clever and easy to work with’. The group handled an IT dispute for a healthcare client concerning the development and implementation of a £4m business critical insurance enterprise system, and acted for a financial services client in a high-value commercial dispute concerning a student property development portfolio. Other work includes representing a client in the manufacturing industry in obtaining a freezing injunction against a former employee who had stolen money, and defending NewGreen Services against a breach of contract claim made by a group of social housing associations, which concluded through mediation. Other clients include Westfield Contributory Health Scheme, MGS Technical Plastics, Macalloy, Evenort and Arc Legal Assistance. DAS and esure are new clients.

Freeths LLP’s team is ‘able to drive work forward’. The ‘superbJames Hartley heads the practice and is ‘proactive and a safe pair of hands’; he is experienced in handling financial litigation, international arbitration and complex cross-border disputes. Lindsey Clegg, who has expertise in aviation and banking disputes, and senior associate Dean Hill joined from Addleshaw Goddard and Genus Law respectively. The team is handling a group action damages claim against the Post Office regarding a computer system fault that allegedly resulted in individuals paying alleged shortfalls, and is defending Onur Air a dispute pertaining to the lease of an aircraft engine by an Irish lessor.

Michael Peacock leads the practice at HLW Keeble Hawson, which includes Andrew McKenzie-Smith, Sarah Burton and Giles Searby. The team acts for manufacturing clients, as well as handling contentious IP issues, professional negligence and property litigation matters, and landlord and tenant disputes. Recent highlights include acting for an online gift company in a dispute involving its warehousing contractor; representing a technology company in a dispute with a Russian university and a Russian-based engineer arising from a joint venture; and representing shareholders in an unfair prejudice claim brought by various non-director shareholders.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited has a longstanding reputation in the market. Key names in practice head Nick Lambert’s team include Mark Serby, Holly Dobson and Elizabeth Shaw. Shaw, who gives ‘cases her full attention and provides a top-quality service’, is acting for a property company in a potential negligence claim against its former solicitors regarding land worth in excess of £1.5m. Lambert recently handled a £10m civil fraud claim arising from the acquisition of a company forging components for use in the sub-sea oil and gas industry, and is also representing a private client in a professional negligence claim against solicitors responsible for drafting a will for an estate with multimillion-pound assets. Dobson is acting for a client in relation to the Hillsborough Inquest.

Bell & Buxton’s team, led by Emma Digby, handles a variety of work including contract disputes, shareholder disputes, and negligence claims. The team recently advised Saras, a charity that operates a refuge for vulnerable women via a contract with Sheffield City Council, in a dispute with other Sheffield-based women’s charities regarding a procurement process. Other highlights include defending an IP rights claim regarding misuse of an accreditation logo, and pursuing a claim for a signage company for payment of an outstanding invoice, which also involves defending a subsequent counterclaim for a breach of contract and is ongoing.

Taylor & Emmet LLP’s team is best known for handling disputes in the retail automotive sector. ‘Very impressive’ practice head Rob Moore has expertise in corporate and contentious insolvency matters, and Paul Smith handles high-value commercial contract disputes. Recent work includes defending longstanding client Carrs of Sheffield against a claim brought by its former Italian agents under the Commercial Agents Regulations and pursuing a high-value professional negligence claim against a solicitors’ firm. Other highlights include advising Hydro X on the protection of confidential information following former employees’ move to a competitor businesses, which included assistance with enforcing restrictive covenants in employment contracts and representing the client in pursuing a claim for consequential losses.

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