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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 > Insurance > Clinical negligence: claimant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Clinical negligence: claimant
  2. Leading individuals

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Irwin Mitchell’s clinical negligence practice is spread across its Leeds and Sheffield offices and is ‘among the best in its field in this region; it consistently meets the highest standards in terms of expertise, experience and client care’. Headed by Julianne Moore in Sheffield and Rachelle Mahapatra (‘a national leader in her field’) in Leeds, the practice handles cases of the utmost severity and complexity, including birth, spinal and brain injury cases; cases involving amputation arising from the development of diabetes; and cases involving sepsis, spinal surgical negligence, wrongful birth and late diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In an illustration of the firm’s ability to handle maternal injury cases, Mahapatra acted in a £1.7m claim in which the claimant suffered a cardiac arrest after giving birth to her daughter due to the negligent management of symptoms, including severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. In another key matter, the ‘very experiencedSarah Coles acted in a claim for delay in diagnosis and treatment of sepsis resulting in lower and upper limb amputations, in which the firm obtained £4.5m in damages for the claimant. Other key figures include Sheffield-based partners Tom Mather (who ‘goes out of his way to take great care of his clients and who always provides useful insight’) and Sarah Rowland, ‘an experienced litigator who impresses with her tactical skills’; and the ‘efficient, caring’ Rachel Roach in Leeds. At associate level, Georgina Houston is ‘patient, thorough and unfazed by the complexities of a case’.

The merger of Mintons Solicitors and Lester Morrill to form Minton Morrill brings together two highly respected claimant clinical negligence practices with an extensive track record handling high-value, maximum-severity clinical negligence claims. Julia Morrillhas vast experience in handling the most difficult severe brain injury cases’, and Simon Mintonhas excellent relationships with many in the field and can often agree interims by consensus, which makes the claim run more smoothly’. The firm has a particularly high profile for handling cases involving children injured at birth and for severe brain injury cases; in an illustration of the former, consultant Charles Gillott acted for the claimant, who suffered a neonatal neurological illness leaving him severely disabled; the case was particularly complicated due to the client’s mother being a child in care of the local authority when she gave birth to him and who, upon becoming an adult and therefore no longer in care, applied to the Family Court to set aside the care order in respect of the claimant. Other key figures include Sahida Patel, who is ‘very responsive, efficient, intelligent, professional and organised’.

Atherton Godfrey Solicitors has a highly rated clinical negligence practice based in Doncaster, which handles claims involving birth injury, misdiagnosis, oncology, GP care and fatality, and is one of a small number of local firms with the ability to handle birth injury cases under contract with the Legal Aid Agency. John McQuater heads the wider litigation department, which encompasses clinical negligence and personal injury; his recent work includes acting for a one-month-old child in a claim that they suffered permanent brain damage due to the incorrect fitting of an external ventricular drain. Christopher Noble heads the clinical negligence team and has expertise covering birth injury claims and cases involving incorrect or substandard treatment in general surgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, accident and emergency, general practitioner care, vascular surgery and obstetric care. Noble recently acted in a claim alleging failure to carry out spinal examination or refer to the orthopaedic team for assessment, resulting in the claimant being rendered paraplegic.

Simpson Millar LLP’s well-respected clinical negligence practice is particularly adept at handling high-value and complex obstetric claims involving cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy, an area in which it is considered ‘one of the leading firms’. Lisa Swales attracts praise for her ‘hard work and dedication to clients’. The practice supplements its clinical negligence expertise with the ability to provide a rounded client care service, drawing on the firm’s expertise in social care, education, rehabilitation, Court of Protection and financial matters. Other key figures include Kay Barnes, who joined from Jordans. Neil Fearn joined Pryers Solicitors LLP in May 2017.

Stewarts Law LLP’s clinical negligence practice in Leeds has ‘all the advantages of being able to draw on the training and experience of a large London firm, whilst being readily available to Yorkshire claimants’. Frank Pinch (‘very experienced and a safe pair of hands’) heads the department, and is supported by ‘very able and intelligent’ senior associate Gabrielle Ross, who is singled out for her ‘first-rate client care’, as well as associate Anna Higham and new associate Esther Wilkinson, who joined from Irwin Mitchell. The practice has a core focus on claims involving catastrophic brain and spinal injuries, particularly where the injured person has severe difficulty adjusting to their disability. Pinch’s expertise covers niche areas such as cauda equina syndrome.

The ‘hugely experienced’ clinical negligence team at Switalskis Solicitors was significantly strengthened by the acquisition of a team of clinical negligence specialists from HLW Keeble Hawson. The expanded team, which now covers sites in Sheffield and Huddersfield, has a strong reputation for its handling of maximum-severity cases, particularly those involving birth injury and cerebral palsy. Suzanne Munroe heads the clinical negligence team in Huddersfield and attracts praise for her ‘experience, willingness to fight for her clients, and sound tactical judgement’. Janet Baker leads in Sheffield and is noted for her extensive track record in complex birth injury claims. Other key figures include Sarah Tipton Walker, who ‘is not afraid to take on the most difficult cases’, and Georgina Peckett, whose expertise covers amputation, Erb’s palsy and maternal injury cases. Munroe led a team including Jim Gladman and Claire Garrity in representing the family in an inquest arising from the death of a teenager due to complications arising from undiagnosed epilepsy.

Taylor & Emmet LLP’s clinical negligence practice is highlighted for its ‘extremely thorough and user-friendly approach to both professional and lay clients’. James Drydale heads the department and is ‘extremely good at isolating the medical issues and focusing on the relevant facts’. He is ably assisted by the ‘extremely well-prepared’ Paul Fouad, who successfully represented a claimant at trial in a claim arising from surgery to her feet, which resulted in a judgment in the client’s favour and a £150,000 damages award. Other recommended individuals include Camilla Attwood.

For many, Wake Smith Solicitors Limited is ‘a go-to firm for clinical negligence matters; advice is always precise and well set out’. Terry Regan (who attracts praise for his ‘sympathetic and patient handling of cases’) heads the practice, which includes John Vallance; collectively they bring more than 50 years of experience handling clinical negligence claims involving brain injury, cancer, product liability, cosmetic surgery and the Human Rights Act. Vallance is ‘the epitome of the clinical negligence lawyer; knowledgeable, committed, industrious and prepared to go the extra mile for his client’. Regan and Vallance are ably assisted by Holly Dobson, who is noted for her inquest advocacy expertise, and Kate Lax, who is ‘an excellent junior solicitor; hardworking, dependable and efficient’. Recent work includes acting in a five-day trial involving an elderly woman who suffered brain injury following a cardiac arrest in hospital, which resulted in a damages award amounting to £122,000.

Harrowells Solicitors attracts praise for its ability to provide ‘good, clear instructions’ and for its ‘excellent preparation of cases’. Richard Wood heads the team, which handles a range of clinical negligence cases involving brain and birth injuries, delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of cancer, and spinal injuries. Other key figures include Kim Daniells.

Howells is among a small number of firms in the region able to handle clinical negligence cases under contract with the Legal Aid Agency. Michelle Gyte leads the team, which is noted for its success in settling claims across the value range involving novel areas, including prison healthcare, mental health care and human rights, the last of which has involved bringing clinical negligence claims under the Human Rights Act. The firm also has an extensive track record in wrongful birth claims, cases involving children and protected parties, misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis matters, and cerebral palsy cases. Tania Harrison is the other key figure; her expertise covers surgical injuries and fatal accidents, as well as cases involving delayed diagnosis of cancer.

Founded by Ian Pryer (whose track record includes multimillion-pound brain-damage-in-birth cases), Pryers Solicitors LLP is ‘a very effective firm with very high standards; it is a very tight ship and inspires confidence that it will get the best result possible for its clients’. The firm has a dedicated product liability practice that is ‘especially good for product liability and clinical negligence cases involving prosthetic hip implants’. Richard Starkie, who leads the product liability department, is singled out for his ‘fusing of great intellect and tactical nous and for his first-rate knowledge of hip-related anatomy and physiology’. Also recommended is the ‘bright and very personable’ Robyn Hawxby, whose wide-ranging expertise encompasses spinal cord injuries, neurosurgical issues, cancer and injuries of maximum severity. Neil fearn joined the practice from Simpson Millar LLP in May 2017.

Bridge McFarland’s clinical negligence clients recommend the practice ‘without hesitation; it provides an excellent level of service and support, and timely and appropriate advice throughout the case’s lifecycle’. Lorraine Taylor heads the practice and attracts praise for her ‘combination of professionalism and ability to make the client feel valued’. The practice handles a range of cases, including those involving birth injury, brain injury, gynaecology, general surgery, gastroenterology and pressure sores. Taylor also specialises in inquest work. Lynsey Furley specialises in cauda equina cases and is also recommended.

The clinical negligence practice at Chadwick Lawrence LLP Solicitors attracts praise for its ‘thoroughness and clear advice’. Tony May heads the team, which includes ‘tenacious’ associates Carol Simpson and Michael Cotter, and Jacqueline Vance, who is singled out for her track record in spinal injury cases. May has particular expertise in cerebral palsy and other birth injury cases, often continuing to assist clients for many years after the conclusion of their case as a professional deputy.

Graysons Solicitors’ team of ‘excellent clinical negligence specialists’ was further strengthened by the arrival in March 2016 of Helen Donaghy from Simpson Millar LLP. She heads the team and brings significant expertise in birth, brain and spinal cord injuries. Other key team members include managing partner Peter Clark, whose track record includes handling inquests into fatal medical accidents, and Petra Heath, who ‘always goes the extra mile to provide the best service and secure the best possible outcome for the client’. Nikki Yavari acted for a 52-year-old who suffered an extravasation injury to his left hand and wrist; liability was disputed, leading to a trial in which Yavari achieved a damages award of £85,000, higher than the estimated value of the claim.

The clinical negligence practice at Hudgell Solicitors is spread across offices in Hull and Leeds, as well as in London, giving the firm a national presence in serious medical negligence cases. Chris Moore in Hull is singled out for his handling of complex brain injury cases, including cerebral palsy cases; he jointly leads the practice, which has a track record of handling clinical negligence cases under the Human Rights Act. The practice recently secured a six-figure damages settlement in a case in which a father of two died after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer three years after a growth was found on his bowel, which his doctors failed to tell him needed to be removed.

Morrish Solicitors LLP’s clinical negligence practice acts for a range of claimants, including an expanding list of trade union clients and their members, on cases involving fatalities, birth injuries, cosmetic surgery and dental negligence. Duncan Gardiner heads the practice from the Bradford office, which is the sole holder of the legal aid franchise for clinical negligence work in the Bradford area. Associate Jane McBennett is also recommended.

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