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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 > Pensions > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Pensions
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Addleshaw Goddard's pensions group represents blue chip corporates, key regional businesses and trustee boards in a range of both contentious and non-contentious matters. Rachel Rawnsley heads the national pensions practice, and is supported by Jade Murray, Susan Garrett and Rachel Uttley in the Yorkshire region. The practice is instructed by Saga plc on a cross-border matter consulting staff on amendments to pension schemes. In another work highlight, the team advised WPP 2005 on the £150m buy-in transaction of all pensioner and deferred liabilities with Pension Insurance Corporation, involving five defined benefit schemes. The team has also been engaged by the trustees of a number of pension schemes to provide data protection advice prior to the implementation of the GDPR. With particular experience in both the education and retail sector, key clients of the group include the trustees of the University of Sheffield and the University of Leeds pension schemes, in addition to the trustees of the Asda Group Pension Scheme and Asda Pension Plan and the Co-operative Group. The team also has experience representing clients in the manufacturing, financial services and institutions, and energy and utilities industries.

Boasting 'excellent service, knowledge, and strength in depth' Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP > Leeds's 'outstanding' pensions team is described as offering 'London expertise at regional rates'. The 'particularly impressive' Richard Shelton  heads up the team which is instructed by large well known companies, public sector clients and large insurers. The team is bolstered with the arrival of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP , formerly at Squire Patton Boggs , Leeds, who led advice to US healthcare logistics company Owens & Minor on UK pension issues arising from the company's $710m acquisition of Halyard Health’s healthcare consumables business. In this matter the team leveraged the firm's international expertise to handle pensions and termination indemnity issues in Honduras, Thailand, Germany and France. Head of the pensions litigation department, Claire Carroll  is a key name to note for contentious matters. Principal associate Gemma Hanley  is also singled out for her 'exceptional knowledge' of energy sector pension schemes. Hanley has expertise representing utility companies and advises Anglian Water Services on a broad range of pensions issues. There have been some changes to the team include the departure of Simon Evans to DLA Piper UK LLP.

The pensions and long-term savings department at Pinsent Masons LLP, headed up by Jacqui Timmins, handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious pensions matters. Tom Barton leads the firm's national defined contribution pensions group, with key clients including the Manitowoc Pension Plan, the Nobia Pension Plan and the Schneider Electric DC Trust. The practice also has expertise representing large companies and defined benefit schemes, master trusts and financial services firms. The team acted for the trustees of the Hickson UK Group Pension Scheme to deliver a consolidation of the highly complex scheme rules. In another work highlight, it is also instructed by the trustees of the Croda Group Pension Scheme to advise on investment of the schemes substantial assets. The group also boasts a strong dispute resolution practice, Andrew Masterson and Julian Sladdin are key names to note for pensions litigation.

The pension department at Squire Patton Boggs is regularly instructed by public sector clients and not-for-profit organisations, in addition to companies and insurers. London-based +Clifford Sims heads the national practice taking over from Catherine McKenna !Leeds who continues to handle matters from the Leeds office. The Leeds-based team also boasts the addition of Elizabeth Graham !Leeds from the firm's Manchester office. Graham continues to advise the trustees of the Northern Powergrid Group of the Electricity Supply Pension Scheme on several matters. In another key representation McKenna and Graham are leading advice to the trustees of the Pentair UK DB Scheme on complex covenant and security issues. Additional changes to the team include the promotion of Jane Briggs !Leeds  to director, and Anthea Whitton's departure to Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP.

The 'commercial, sensible and reasonably priced' pensions department at Walker Morris LLP provides 'a strong professional service combining good technical knowledge of the law with commercial acumen'. Jo Ratcliffe heads the team which continues to act as Capita Group's sole pensions legal adviser. In another work highlight, the practice provided UK pensions advice to Selecta in connection with its acquisition of Pelican Rouge. The group also has extensive experience handling a range of disputes, with Gwendoline Davies leading the pensions litigation team. In addition to acting for large companies and trustees the practice was recently instructed by Northumbria Police Authority. The 'exceptionally bright and personable' Craig Looker  and 'very experienced' Ruth Bamforth were recently promoted to director. Looker is highlighted for his 'excellent capacity to bring innovation to a situation', and Bamforth is recommended for her 'calm approach and skill for contextualising matters'.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP has a 'professional, knowledgeable and personable' pensions practice is praised for its 'candour and approachability'. The team is known for acting for trustees and employers across a spectrum of matters and additionally has experience representing public sector pensions. It is instructed by the £0.5bn Aviva Master Trust and is advising its trustees on defined contribution transfers and GDPR compliance. Head of department +Leigh Holmes has particular expertise handling buy-ins and buy-outs and was recently instructed in the restructuring and winding-up of several schemes. Another key name to note is +Raymond Ainscoe, highlighted for his 'personable style and thorough approach'. Changes to the team include the promotion of the 'extremely knowledgeable' +Rebecca Cooke to consultant and the departure of Maragaret Allison.  

'Standout boutique' ARC Pensions Law opened its Leeds office in May 2017, and 'made a big impact' with its 'user-friendly and solutions oriented approach'. The practice comprises of a 'well-established team of senior lawyers' and is headed up by Vikki Massarano and Kate Payne, who were both previously at DLA Piper UK LLP. The 'quality outfit' attracts praise for its 'thoughtful, clear and concise advice' to both companies and trustees in both disputes and on non-contentious matters. The 'extremely personable' Massarano has been described as 'an industry leader' and has particular experience advising on pensions aspects of corporate transactions. Payne has expertise advising trustees and employers on a full spectrum of pensions matters, including scheme mergers and benefit changes. Legal director Max Ballad , also previously from DLA Piper UK LLP, is singled out as being 'technically very strong'.

The 'excellent' pensions team at CMS has 'good industry knowledge' and offers clients 'clear and concise advice'. The 'pragmatic and commercial' John Hanratty heads the pensions practice for the North and has particular expertise advising on public service pension schemes. Hanratty, alongside senior associate +Jayne Firth, is instructed by the NG Bailey Group to advise on pension arrangements for its defined benefit scheme and master trust. The team recently advised the client on the risk management relating to flexible retirement options for members. In an example highlighting the firms capabilities in contentious matters, Richard Wilson is representing Dr Raffi Baghdjian in a dispute arising from an alleged miscalculation of a NHS Pension Scheme.

The pensions practice at DLA Piper UK LLP is now headed up Andrew McIlhinney (who was previously based at the firm's Liverpool office) following the departure of the former team to establish ARC Pensions Law. The practice regularly advises trustees, sponsoring employers and scheme providers on full spectrum of pensions matters. The group acted for the trustees of a Carbon Black Manufacturer's Occupational Pension Scheme on the buy-out of all benefits and additionally advised, post-closure, on trustee liability. In another work highlight, the team handled all pension issues arising from Link Group's purchase of Capita Asset Services. In Leeds, McIlhinney is joined by the 'very pragmatic and practical' Simon Evans, formerly at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, and associates Hannah Watson and  David Molyneux who joined from DWF and Squire Patton Boggs respectively. The practice is also bolstered by pensions litigator David Young.

Highlighted for its 'quality of advice, reliability and client focus' Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's pension team represents companies, such as IBM and Northern Powergrid plc, in a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Headed up by Newcastle-based Martin Poore, the department includes Alex Rodger in the Leeds office. The practice advised Procter & Gamble on the pension implications of the $12.5bn sale of its beauty brands to Coty Inc and acted for Signet Group in relation to the closure of its defined benefit scheme.

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