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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 > Transport > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Paul Hirst, who heads the transport department at Addleshaw Goddard, is well regarded for his rail expertise and continues to raise the firm’s profile in this sector. Hirst led the team acting for Keolis/Amey Rail in its successful bid for a £500m contract to operate and maintain the Manchester Metrolink tram network. The Leeds team counts the Department for Transport among its clients, and recently advised the government department on the new rail franchise that will combine the current InterCity West Coast services with High Speed 2 services, and assisted it with the West Midlands direct award franchise, which involved negotiating a deal for the incumbent operator to operate the franchise until 2017 and preparation for the tender process. The team can also advise clients on asset finance matters and has been negotiating supplier contracts for Hitachi Rail Europe Limited with rail component manufacturers globally. Sara Gilmore has been advising Metroline on its bid for the London Overground concession. Other clients of the firm’s transport team, which works alongside the transport team in the London office, include British Airways, Associated British Ports, Network Rail and HS1 Limited.

The transport team at Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP in Hull is headed by Dominic Ward. The firm has historically acted for clients in the fishing and shipping industries and has extensive experience in acting for shipping clients both regionally and internationally. Ward has ‘strong knowledge’ in shipping and has led on a number of cross-jurisdictional matters, including a high-value logistics project involving the movement of oil modules, and on high-value shipping arrangement of a product from Asia to the US. Andrew Oliver is head of the firm’s sea fisheries, regulatory and marine environment and ship transactional and finance units and acts for leading players in the fishing industry regarding sea fisheries law. Oliver has had recent success in the Supreme Court, acting for Lynn Shellfish in a case relating to possession of fishing grounds in The Wash; he also acted for the Maritime Coastguard Agency in prosecuting a fishing vessel under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, relating to its unsafe operation leading to loss of life. Jeff Swales leads matters concerning goods vehicle and public service vehicle operators and drivers, and represents members of the Road Haulage Association as well as other road transport clients.

Leeds-based Robert Smith heads the Yorkshire division of DLA Piper UK LLP’s national transport department. The department is active in public transport, including heavy and light rail as well as buses, and has extensive experience acting on road and other infrastructure projects. Smith has been leading advice to the Department for Transport on the East Anglia rail franchise, on operational matters relating to the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project, and on matters relating to access for Crossrail services onto the Heathrow rail line used by the Heathrow Express and Connect. For Abellio, Petra Billing in the Sheffield office acts for all bus and coach divisions, advising on all property, litigation and construction issues relating to their depots and coach stations. The team was recently appointed to the Uber legal panel for EMEA, which will involve coverage of practice areas such as litigation, regulatory, property and employment. A cross-office team spanning London, Leeds and Sheffield continued to boost the firm’s presence in the aviation sector with work for British Airways; the team has been assisting with the migration of the client’s business from Gatwick’s North Terminal to the South Terminal.

Specialising in aviation, the Leeds team at Plexus Law provides a ‘very excellent service with value for money’. Led by Jarrod Parker, the firm continues to represent aviation insurers and their clients with a full range of claims; Chubb is a notable client in this regard, with the firm retaining a place on its aviation panel. Parker specialises in claims and litigation relating to aviation and aerospace, with a representative example being his representation of AIG as insurer to a pilot involved in an aircraft crash in Northern Ireland that led to permanent injury of a passenger. Parker has also been instructed by a separate insurer to defend claims put forward in accordance with the Fatal Accidents Act. Other work this year included representing an airport at an inquest into a passenger death, representing an airport in a liability investigation for damages sustained by a commercial aircraft, and being instructed by insurers to defend claims for damages to claimants’ aircraft. The team also has an impressive client list of international as well as UK airports, and, in addition, has been defending an insurer of UK airports against claims relating to incidents occurring within an airport. Solicitor Jennifer Dowley is another key name in the practice.

Richard Wadkin heads the road transport services department at Shulmans LLP. The team is best known for representing clients from the road traffic sector in public inquiries, and also provides general regulatory compliance advice. Recent public inquiry representations this year include assisting Northern Fallen Stock Limited respond to issues relating to conduct in operating centres, maintenance of vehicles and its MOT position on certain vehicles; advising Highgrove Beds Limited on practices, procedures and conduct; and assisting both Luxury Beds Limited and Stonehouse The Bed Company Limited with applications for a new operators’ licenses. The practice is experienced acting before the Traffic Commissioner, often representing drivers in conduct hearings, and also represents clients in appeals to the Administrative Appeals Chamber (Transport). In another notable matter, the team was instructed by a limited company to help implement an electronic driving license checking system, a matter led by Jim Wright from the employment team, who regularly works with clients in the transport sector. Alongside Wadkin, Wright has also been advising a goods vehicle operator on compliance obligations and employment law.

The transport team at Wrigleys Solicitors LLP in Leeds is a ‘go-to practice for operational rail matters’. Elizabeth Wilson, whose ‘approachability and clear advice is vital in a decision-making process’, leads the team and with her ‘expert and experienced colleagues’ acts for UK train operating companies as well as a national bus operator. Recent highlights include negotiating leases and completing documentation for licenses and other rights needed by a client at various stations across the country, and dealing with retail lettings for a client that included the use of highly specialised tripartite leases. The team has also been advising one client in respect to a new residential development above a station operated by the company, and how best to protect its interests, and another on legal documentation for a large-scale refurbishment project of a train station. Representative rail clients include South West Trains, East Midlands Trains and Virgin Trains East Coast. Property partner Paul Nash leads the firm’s work in the bus sector and the ‘tenacious and industriousRachel Meredith is recommended for commercial property matters in the transport sector, such as lettings.

Associate solicitor David Chant leads the ‘excellent’ transport practice at Langleys Solicitors LLP and acts for clients within the road and rail sector. The department advises haulage companies and bus operators in respect of operator licensing issues, including in public inquiries before the Traffic Commissioner. Recent highlights include advising a large transport operator at a public inquiry called in relation to a former transport manager, and assisting another client in an overloading incident that required a submission to the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. Chant is also instructed by clients who operate heavy goods vehicles to advise on matters such as driver hours, changes to licenses, and the granting of licenses. Chris Price has his own practice representing principal insured clients in the transport sector with personal injury claims brought by employees.

The ‘superb’ transport team at Weightmans advises hauliers, bus and coach companies, and operators of licensed commercial vehicles and has ‘big-firm clout to back up the service it provides’. Led by Gary Hodgson, the practice also represents transport clients in public inquiries. Recent highlights include representing a client in an investigation into fake drivers’ records, which is likely to go before the Traffic Commissioner. Day-to-day work includes regulatory matters stemming from operator license applications and procedures for variations of licenses, as well as compliance around DVSA regulations. The firm’s client list includes bus and coach operators First, National Express and Arriva, as well as road haulage client Brit European. The ‘bright, unflappable and fearless’ Rebecca Stanton also comes highly recommended, particularly for appeals.

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