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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 > Human resources > Health and safety > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Health and safety
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Lukas Rootman - CMS

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The health and safety team at CMS, led by Lukas Rootman, is recommended for its 'punchy, timely, real world and on point advice'. The team regularly advises corporate clients in investigations and prosecutions, inquests and non-contentious matters such as strategic reviews and compliance advice. Rootman provides an 'outstanding service' which 'inspires confidence in times of internal pressure and stress', and has experience handling complex, high-value and multi-jurisdictional matters. Carl Dray is also instructed in criminal and civil safety related work and has particular expertise in defendant insurance matters.  The department is experienced in acting for multi-national companies across a range of industries, including retail, energy, waste management and property. Costco, ASOS, Veolia, Biffa and Grosvenor are all clients of the practice which has recently also been instructed by Valero and Vita Group. 

The safety, health and environment team at DAC Beachcroft LLP  comprises of 'excellent, streamlined health and safety experts' praised for their 'breadth of knowledge and experience'. The team receives instructions from major insurance sector clients such Aviva, Alliance, Zurich and AXA. It is also experienced in representing companies, including new clients Tata Chemicals Europe, Atkins and DB Cargo UK. The 'extensively experienced' Chris Baranowski is 'confident and assured and thorough in his approach' and is particularly known for handling corporate manslaughter matters and health and safety investigations by the Police and HSE. Tracey Longfield has particular expertise in defending both individuals and organisations in criminal proceedings and also has 'exceptional knowledge of the healthcare sector and how it is regulated'. The team also benefits from the addition of  Kirsty Gomersal's 'excellent technical grasp of the subject area' and 'eye for detail' following her arrival to the team from Clyde & Co LLP. Gomersal has experience handling multi-jurisdictional matters in the US and Scotland and jointly heads the team alongside Longfield and Baranowski. With 'huge attention to detail, excellent knowledge base and sound judgment', recently promoted associate Matthew Breakell has been regarded as being 'one to watch'.

DLA Piper UK LLP's¬†health and safety practice offers integrated¬†contentious and non‚ÄĎcontentious representation and is adept at delivering¬†general risk management and ongoing advice as well as defending clients in¬†investigations and prosecutions. Sheffield-based Teresa Hitchcock¬†heads up the national safety, health and environment practice and leverages her extensive experience as a¬†senior environmental and health and safety regulator in local government in advising clients¬†in both large and small businesses and in the public sector. In addition to having a strong national practice, the team is able to utilise its international office network to provide a global service. The team is currently representing Keller Group plc in producing a comprehensive health and safety guide that is compliant with local law across many jurisdictions. The team is also instructed¬†by Natural Environment Research Council, Pfizer and Fenner plc. Legal director Ailish Oxenforth¬†is a¬†key name to note in the Sheffield office, and has acted in matters requiring complex advice as well as in high-profile investigations. Stuart Ponting¬†departed to the practice to join Walker Morris LLP.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's national health and safety practice is headed by Kevin Elliott and handles contentious and non-contentious health and safety matters, including consulting on policy and compliance and advising on training of clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Paul Verrico, based in the Leeds office, led a team representing Tarmac Marine in its prosecution by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for a breach of Maritime Asbestos legislation. The team achieved a significantly reduced fine for its client in this matter. Additionally, a team led by Newcastle-based Tim Hill represented Greencore Grocery in police and HSE investigations following a contractor fatality. In an example of the practice's advisory work, the team was instructed by a large UK power company in relation to reviewing contracts, procedures and risks.

Pinsent Masons LLP Leeds's health and safety practice is 'among the best' in the region. It acts for corporate clients in both contentious matters as well as in preventative ongoing and regulatory advice.  The 'conscientious and clever' and 'ultra-efficient' legal director Sarah Taylor heads the 'outstanding' health and safety team based in Leeds, which also affords the support of the firm's national practice led by Kevin Bridges. With Taylor's 'wealth of retail related safety experience, clients have considered her to be at the 'top of her game' in relation to the retail and food sector. The team's reputation has resulted in new client wins in this industry, as well as continued instructions from well-known brands such as Asda Stores. Other clients include William Hill, Aida Engineering and Balfour Beatty.

The 'massively effective' health and safety group at Addleshaw Goddard is recommended for its 'profound attention to detail, coupled with an acute awareness of client’s requirements and superb litigating and negotiating skills'. The practice forms part of the wider corporate crime team and is predominantly known for defending clients in crisis management situations. It acted for Accrol Papers in relation to an investigation following injuries sustained by an employee, and successfully reduced the perceived culpability of the company from high to medium, resulting in a significantly reduced fine. In addition to representation of clients in investigations and prosecutions, the team is becoming increasingly involved in providing ongoing compliance advice. The 'bright, well-organised, knowledgeable' Erin Shoesmith was recently promoted to partner and heads the national health and safety team. Britvic Soft Drinks, and United Utilities Water are all clients.

Paul Matthews heads the regulatory, compliance and investigations team at DWF, which has been instructed in some of the most high-profile health and safety investigations and prosecutions in the UK. The team handles matters for national companies such as Kwik-Fit and Poundworld as well as regional clients such as Electricity North West. It has also acted for a charity in a corporate manslaughter investigation, and routinely represents individuals. The practice recently advised a senior manager in relation to an investigation by the police, in conjunction with the HSE, for corporate manslaughter, health and safety and fire offences. Other key names to note include senior associates Sarah Smith, who joined the team in March 2018 from Irwin Mitchell, and Mark Thompson. Thompson is a criminal defence lawyer and since joining the team in January 2017 has represented individual directors and employees, in addition to assisting in defending high-value claims and investigations. 

Kennedys ' 'extremely knowledgeable' regulatory defence team has been considered as 'outstanding' in health and safety matters. Praised for its 'excellent response times and value for money', the practice is best known for defending organisations and individuals under investigation. The team is experienced in handling matters from the date of an incident to, and including, trials. In a matter involving complex issues surrounding the liability of individual directors for the health and safety failings, it was instructed by a waste management company and its managing director in relation to a fatality, and another incident resulting in the amputation of a worker's arm. The practice is led by London-based Daniel McShee and includes the 'very approachable' senior associate Anna Naylor in the Sheffield office.

The health and safety team at Walker Morris LLP is praised for providing an 'incredibly efficient environment that is committed to excellent client care', and for having 'experienced solicitors with a real grasp on the practical realities of litigation for their clients'. In a complex and high-profile matter, the team is acting for a demolition engineer in a joint police and HSE investigation following the Didcot Power Station collapse which resulted in four fatalities. In this ongoing matter the practice has advised the client through interviews and investigations and will continue to represent the individual up to and including in any Crown Court trial. The team is also recognised for its ability to 'guide large organisations through complex litigation' and is also instructed by Arla Foods in a HSE prosecution. In addition to dealing with crisis management, incident response and major investigations the practice offers non-contentious, compliance and assurance advice. Jeanette Burgess heads the team, which was bolstered by the arrival of +Stuart Ponting from DLA Piper UK LLP. Ponting has the 'knowledge and experience to pick apart a case and rebuild it in his clients interests', and is particularly experienced acting for clients in the food, retail and construction and demolition sectors. With a 'brilliant client manner and impressive knowledge' senior associate +Claire Burrows has 'the flair to identify fresh, penetrative angles to best represent her client'.

Weightmans  Leeds' 'impressive' health and safety team is highlighted for its 'pro-active, first class advice' in contentious matters, including in investigations, inquests and prosecutions. Leeds-based'astute lawyer'David Lewis  heads the national regulatory services unit. Lewis has 'an immense knowledge in this area' and is instructed in a broad range of matters, from corporate and gross negligence manslaughter investigations through to sensitive jury inquests. The practice has expertise advising corporates, such as Jaguar Land Rover; insurer sector clients; public bodies, such as East Riding of Yorkshire Council; and charities. The team also represents individuals, and recently acted for an employee of Wakefield Council at an inquest following a fatality. In another work highlight, the group acted for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland and the Chief Constable for Cleveland Police in an audit and review following an application from the Professional Standards Department for access to telecommunications data.

The 'niche' health and safety team at Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP is known for its 'excellent' representation of clients in the shipping and transport space. The 'incredibly pragmatic' practice assists clients in investigations and prosecutions from the Police and agencies such as the HSE, MCA and the Environment Agency. The 'exceptionally practical' Andrew Oliver  has been highlighted as being the 'complete package' with 'few others having his experience and knowledge' of health and safety matters in shipping and transport. Litigator Jeff Swales  has a depth of experience handling inquests and prosecutions arising from fatal accidents across a range of industries. In addition to transport sector clients, the team also advises local, regional and national businesses in manufacturing, waste management, higher education and renewable energy.

BLM's safety, health and environment group sits within the firm's wider corporate risk team, and is experienced in handling regulatory matters for public and private sector clients as well as individuals. The team frequently acts for clients in investigations, inquests and prosecutions, including in cases of corporate manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter.  Clients include insurers, including Zurich Insurance plc, Towergate and Hiscox, in addition to local and national companies. The practice has particular experience advising on incidents arising from construction, engineering and manufacturing. Office head Henry Kirkup leads the practice and is 'great at getting to the heart of a case'. The 'reliable and hard working' associate Roxanne Udale is also recommended. Richard Clarke retired from the team.

With 'expertise of the highest calibre' the 'speedy and knowledgeable' health and safety team at Gateley Plc is 'excellent all round'. The team handles matters at all stages including providing initial crisis management advice in addition to advising on investigations and at inquest and prosecution. The practice represented Dr. Oetker (UK) in lengthy investigations and prosecution by the HSE arising from an incident involving a forklift truck resulting in life changing injuries. Birmingham-based Ruth Armstrong heads the national practice which includes the 'thorough and professional' Pauline Munro in the Leeds office. Recently promoted partner Monroe has significant expertise in advising clients in manufacturing, retail, food and construction and is additionally considered 'excellent and effective in areas of environmental'.

The team at Plexus Law 'give sound advice from the straight forward to the most complex' health and safety matters. Representing Whirlpool in the court of appeal on a matter relating to subcontractor fatality, the practice successfully received a fine reduction of 50% from the initial judgement. The team also acts for insurers, and was instructed by QBE in relation to the investigation and prosecution of Tata Steel UK by the HSE, following workers being exposed to a toxic and highly flammable substance. Other insurer clients include AIG, Chubb and Aspen. Noted for being 'proactive as well as reactive', the practice, as well as frequently acting in investigations and prosecutions, also provide ongoing compliance advice to clients. Practice head Anthony Baker 'leads his team exceptionally', and in addition to Chris Foulkes, has been considered to 'stand out' due to their 'vast experience'. Also recommended are 'exceptional lawyers' Jonathon Tetley and associate partner Ciaran Garnett, who is 'able to handle the most detail heavy cases'.

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