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North West

Transport - ranked: tier 2


DWF advises clients on regulatory transport matters and motor prosecutions. Areas of expertise include fatal rail incident and hearings before the traffic commissioner. The firm's team also advises on logistics, road haulage and cabotage. Clients sectors include government, automotive, rail, maritime and logistics.

Practice head(s):Vikki Woodfine; Joanne Witheford; Lee Foulser; Nigel Teasdale; Jonathan Moss

Key Clients

Booker plc

Wincanton plc

Insure-the-Box (Insurer)

Midland Metro Limited


RSA (Insurer)

QBE (Insurer)

Morgan McLernon (part of Culina Logistics Group)

Virado Transport Limited

Work highlights

  • Guided the incorporation and success of two European operations - logistics company Vlantana and transport company Virado - into the UK market.

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North West: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Liverpool
Corporate and commercial: Liverpool - ranked: tier 2


DWF represents a range of clients including SMEs and large corporates on corporate and commercial matters. Areas of expertise include M&A, private equity deals, negotiation of agreements, outsourcing arrangements as well as  asset and real estate management and licensing matters.  Paul Rimmer, Paul Attwood and Ben Cooke, who was recently promoted to partner, head the team. Senior associate James Cashman is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Paul Rimmer; Paul Attwood; Ben Cooke

Other key lawyers:James Cashman

Key Clients

Inflexion Private Equity

Marks and Spencer Plc

Livingbridge Private Equity

Optionis Group

ACC Liverpool Group

Liverpool John Moores University

Burton's Biscuits

National Museums Liverpool

Hobs Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Burton's Biscuits on the sale of its chocolate manufacturing plant.
  • Represented Inflexion on the creation of Comparison Technologies Limited.
  • Acting for Hobs Liver Limited in its disposal of Hobs on-site Limited.
  • Advised on the acquisition of First Freeland Limited and First Five Projects Limited.
Leading individuals

Paul Attwood - DWF

Paul Rimmer - DWF

Next Generation Partners

Ben Cooke - DWF

Rising stars

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Corporate and commercial: Manchester
Corporate and commercial: Manchester - ranked: tier 2


DWF acts for local, national and international clients on capital markets, M&A, private equity transactions and commercial matters. The 'robust' and 'commercial' team represents private equity houses, management teams, listed companies and nomads and brokers. Key client sectors include financial services, retail and technology. Craig Chaplin, Jonathan Robinson, Frank Shephard and James Lonsdale head the team. Lisa Stavropoulos is also recommended. Stuart Crook joined as associate from Stephensons Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):Craig Chaplin; Jonathan Robinson; Frank Shephard; James Lonsdale

Other key lawyers:Alasdair Outhwaite; Vicky Thomas; Darren Ormsby; Richard Meehan; Bradley Martin; Craig Chaplin; Jonathan Robinson; Frank Shephard; James Lonsdale; Lisa Stavropoulos; Stuart Crook


Commercial, detailed and  with a thorough understanding of the issues.' 

Unafraid to be robust’.

Good partner engagement, very hands on’.

Very commercial and focused on adding value beyond just legal advice’.

Key Clients

Arlington Industries Group Limited

Sovereign Capital

Moneyplus Group Limited

Optionis Group

Redx Pharma plc

Equiniti Group plc

Inflexion Private Equity Partners

Waterland PE

Lloyds Development Capital

NorthEdge Capital

Livingbridge LLP

Aurelius private Equity


RMS International Limited

Fluent Money Group Limited

Carpenter Technology Corporation Inc

Sofology Limited

Healthcare Communications (UK) Limited

Velocity Composites plc

Scapa Group plc

Together Money

Endless LLP

Palatine Private Equity LLP

Blue Bay Travel Limited

Zeus Capital Limited

finnCap Limited

Tatton Asset Management plc

Assura PLC

Vivona Brands Limited

Comparison Technologies Limited Group


NWF Fuels plc

James Cropper plc

Mission Mars Limited

Zeus Group Limited

Serco plc


Wincanton plc

Manchester City

Manchester United


Morrisons Supermarkets


British Cycling

Tangle Teezer

Mini-cam Enterprises Limited

Lookers plc

Now Healthcare Group Limited

Cardinal Maritime Limited

Zuto Holdings limited

Belle Vue aces Speedway



Marks and Spencer

Work highlights

  • Corporate acquisition of Aquila Holdings Limited by Equiniti.
  • Represented the shareholders of LPW Technology Limited on the £65m sale of LPW Technology Limited to New York Stock Exchange-listed Carpenter Technology Corporation
  • Acting for the Shareholders of Mission Mars in relation to a £10.5m investment in the company by Business Growth Fund.
  • Acting on the £30m acquisition of the holding company of Stratford Healthcare Centre.
  • Advised Schweiter on its £92m acquisition of Lucite Acrylic Sheet.
Leading individuals
Next Generation Partners

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Corporate tax
Corporate tax - ranked: tier 2


DWF 's 'proactive team'  is adept at handling all aspects of employee incentives and share schemes, as well as providing transactional tax advice to corporates and private equity houses on investments, restructurings, disposals and management incentives. Other areas of expertise including drafting and negotiating tax schedules. The firm also advises on real estate-related tax such as stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and advises on the construction industry scheme (CIS). Newly promoted partner James Cashman heads the team.

Practice head(s):James Cashman


The team are extremely proactive’.

James Cashman is extremely supportive and responsive; he is easy to work with, is technically strong in his subject matter and represents the firm very well in client meetings’.

There are not many tax professionals in the legal market in the North West, James Cashman is therefore uniquely placed to provide both tax and legal advice to clients’.

Key Clients

Inflexion Private Equity

Pepsico Inc

Redx Pharma PLC

Equiniti Group PLC

LPW Technology Limited

Argon Groupe

North Edge Capital

Adidas (UK) Limited

Keywords UK Holdings Limited (Keywords Studios PLC)

Work highlights

  • Advised Inflexion private equity on the simultaneous buyout and merger of UK Web Media Limited and Energy Helpline Limited to create an independent price comparison site through Comparison Technologies Limited.
  • Advising Redx Pharma Plc on employee incentives.
  • Advising and assisting on the tax aspects on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Aquilia Group Holdings Limited.

  • Advised LPW Technology Limited and shareholders on tax aspects relating to the exercise of US and UK share options and the subsequent disposal of the entire issued share capital of LPW Technology Limited to Carpenter Technology Corporation.
  • Advising Argon Groupe on the tax aspects of the acquisition of Crimson Consulting (UK) Limited.

Next Generation Partners

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EU and competition
EU and competition - ranked: tier 1


DWF specialises in advising on EU state aid, EU procurement, EU funding and regulatory matters. The firm has been undertaking an increasing number of instructions in UK merger control work and in 2018 notified three mergers through the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA). Other areas of expertise include cartels, EU funding disputes, judicial reviews, and providing advice around the European regional development fund (ERDF) and Brexit.  Jonathan Branton , who splits his time between Leeds, Manchester and Brussels, heads the team. Senior associate Jay Mehta is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Branton

Other key lawyers:Jay Mehta

Key Clients


Liverpool City Council & Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund & The Arts Council

Burtons Foods

Cornwall Council

Maven Capital Partners

Birmingham City Council/ Finance Birmingham

Dairy UK

Barnfield Group

Manchester City Council & Greater Manchester Combined Authority

National Exhibition Centre Ltd



Leeds City Council

Dransfield Properties


Liverpool John Moores University

Lancaster University

Manchester Growth Company

Wirral Borough Council

Serco Plc

Work highlights

  • Long running complaint before the European Commission alleging anti-competitive conduct by third parties.
  • Handling a variety of difficult State aid issues for the major lottery fund allocations nationwide.
  • State aid advice against delivery of major fund for industrial collaborations, plus miscellaneous advice for other large public funding situations
  • State aid and related advice against delivery of major fund for stimulation of economic growth in the Merseyside region.
  • Advising in merger control notification and clearance by the Competition & Markets Authority
Leading individuals
Rising stars

Jay Mehta - DWF

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North West: Crime, fraud and licensing

Crime: fraud
Crime: fraud - ranked: tier 2


DWF 's sizeable fraud and financial crime department also draws on experts based across the firm's UK network of offices. It advises on regulatory compliance matters such as civil, criminal, cyber breach, data breach and fraud, including pension, life, occupational and insurer fraud. It also handles personal injury fraud covering motor and employers liability. Lorraine Carolan, who is based nationally, is the firm's national financial crime and fraud team head.

Practice head(s):Lorraine Carolan

Other key lawyers:Ritchie Irvine; Nigel Teasdale; Joel Heap; Jamie Taylor; James Pinder; Ben Johnson; James Stevens; Colin Bushell 


The team provides expertise on a broad range of topics, which makes it the obvious one-stop shop.

James Pinder is approachable and his advise is solid and dependable; he has a wealth of experience and expertise, and a willingness to work with clients to innovate

The team is client focused and ensures that all work and tasks required to be undertaken are done so promptly and in consultation with right experts required for the case


Key Clients


LV General Insurance


NFU Mutual




Insure the Box



Work highlights

  • Acted for Markerstudy in defending claims made by two claimants which were found to be fundamentally dishonest.
  • Advised Insure the Box on a groundbreaking case which involved the use of telematics data to uncover a fraudulent claim.
  • Advised Liberty on the identification of fraud practices against a doctor, who was imprisoned.
  • Acted for company A on a significant fraud involving erroneous reversal of direct debit payments.
  • Instructed by bank A to deal with an insider large-scale fraud.

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Licensing - ranked: tier 2


DWF is experienced in handling licensing mandates across the food, sports, hospitality and retail sectors and the team regularly advises on matters across the UK. Senior associate David Crank who is 'very experienced' heads the team.

Practice head(s):David Crank

Key Clients

Colcaster SARL Group

Battersea Power Station Project

Village Hotels

Manchester Metropolitan University

Powerleague Group

Starboard Hotels

Earlsdon Holdings


Work highlights

  • Advised Battersea Power Station Development on licences to allow tenants to trade in licensable activities and facilitated the development of the retail and leisure element of the first phase of the Power Station development.
  • Advising Village Hotels on on-site licensing requirements and on the application for new licences as it increases the size of its hotel portfolio.
  • Advising Powerleague Group on the licensing aspects of a CVA for the operational business Powerleague Fives Limited, which included working with the client and accountants to ensure that the premises licences remained live by transfer of portfolio of licences as the CVA was activated to allow continued trade.

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North West: Dispute resolution

Banking litigation
Banking litigation - ranked: tier 2


DWF advises major banks and finance houses on PPI mis-selling, cyber and external frauds, regulatory compliance and multijurisdictional litigation. Other areas of expertise include possession claims, mortgage fraud, professional negligence, operational loss claims, recovery claims, and fraud prevention and detection. John Perez heads the team, while senior associate Daniel Fitzgerald is also recommended. The team was boosted in September 2018 by the arrival of finance litigator Ben Johnson from DLA Piper UK LLP.

Practice head(s):John Perez

Other key lawyers:Daniel Fitzgerald; Ritchie Irvine; Ben Johnson; David Wood

Key Clients

Lloyds Banking Group, including Lloyds Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc and Lloyds Commercial Finance

Shawbrook Bank

RBS Group, including National Westminster Bank Plc

Nationwide Building Society

Aldermore Bank Plc

Santander Consumer (UK) plc trading as Santander Consumer Finance.

FirstRand Bank t/a MotoNovo Finance.

KBL European Private Bankers SA

UK Asset Resolution (UKAR), including Bradford & Bingley plc, Mortgage Express and NRAM plc (formerly called Northern Rock plc).

Arkle Finance

PSA Finance UK Ltd

Redstone Mortgages

Brown Shipley & Co


Together Money (formerly Lancashire Mortgages/Blemain)

Bank of Cyprus UK

Work highlights

  • Advised on a claim brought by a company on behalf of an individual using a champertous assignment, for damages in excess of £71m in relation to an allegation of conspiracy and collusion with the landlord and local council to deprive the company of the benefit of a high-end London property by way of a sale by receivers.
  • Acting for a payday lender in respect of a wave of alleged mis-selling claims relating to the affordability of payday loans.
  • Assisting a number of finance houses facing vehicle mis-selling claims in a new wage of claims, akin to the PPI mis-selling claims, involving vehicles supplied on finance terms to retail customers.
Rising stars

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Commercial litigation: Liverpool
Commercial litigation: Liverpool - ranked: tier 1


DWF is adept at handling contractual and company disputes including reach of warranty disputes, indemnity claims and shareholder and partnership disputes. Other areas of expertise include professional negligence, Judicial Review, competition, directors' disqualification, contentious probate, arbitration, procurement litigation and injunctions. Key client sectors include telecoms, utilities and energy, public sector, food and drink, retail and education. Andrew Whalley, Graham Dagnall and Matthew Stoll head the team, and Whalley has been leading the firm's work for O2/Telefonica on a £300m claim against Ofcom. Director Chris King and senior associates Helen Otty and Lyndsay Crowder-Barton are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Andrew Whalley; Graham Dagnall; Matthew Stoll

Other key lawyers:Chris King; Helen Otty; Lyndsay Crowder-Barton

Key Clients

Telefonica UK Limited (O2)

Burton’s Foods Limited

Stage Capital (formerly NBGI)

Crown Paints Limited

giffgaff Limited

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Limited

Liverpool John Moores University

Chess ICT Limited

Lloyds Banking Group

Liverpool City Council

Work highlights

  • Acting for O2 in its claim for restitution of annual licence fees paid to Ofcom in respect of wireless telegraphy licences. Similar claims have also been brought by the other mobile network operators against Ofcom with a combined claim value of more than £300m.
  • Advised Liverpool City Council on complex breach of contract claim relating to waste services contract for the Liverpool city region.
  • Advised on complex dispute concerning deferred consideration/adjustment to purchase price dispute under SPA.
  • Advised Burton's Foods Limited on complex nuisance claim against developer of new housing estate.
Leading individuals
Rising stars

Chris King - DWF

Helen Otty - DWF

Lyndsay Crowder-Barton - DWF

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Commercial litigation: Manchester
Commercial litigation: Manchester - ranked: tier 1


DWF's advises nationally recognised brands, major north west businesses and high net worth individuals, with a particular specialism in sectors including utilities and energy, food and drink, retail and education. The firm aims to differentiate itself from its peers by taking a more proactive approach to sharing the cost of litigation, offering conditional fee agreements and damages based agreements via its Fundlit service. Lee Norman heads the team, while Andrew Harris, Steve Morris, Nicole Burton and Joel Heap - who 'has outstanding commercial acumen and is fantastic with clients' are also recommended.

Practice head(s):Lee Norman

Other key lawyers:Andrew Harris; Joel Heap; Steve Morris; Nicole Burton; Claire Graham; Zoryana Jurczyszyn; Daniel Williams; Benjamin Johnson; Asima Rana; Michelle Maher


'This is a strong team with a great presence in the region, doing some excellent work. Their presence and reach has expanded in recent years, making them one of the top firms doing commercial litigation outside of London. '

‘Joel Heap is a very experienced and savvy litigator who has the right balance of caution and aggression’.

Key Clients

WM Morrison plc

The Insolvency Service (an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

United Utilities

Serco Group

Safeway Limited

Essar Oil UK Limited

Perspective Financial Group Limited

Manchester United Football Club

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Munnelly Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for the defendant in the Wm Morrison payroll group litigation, a civil claim brought by employees and former employees of Morrisons whose confidential data was put into the public domain in 2014 by an ex-employee.
  • Advised Perspective Financial Group Limited on its application for an urgent interim injunction to protect the client's legitimate business interests following a threat by an exiting director to divert customers, contrary to post-termination restrictions not to solicit or deal in this way.
  • Successfully defending a £2m-plus claim against Insurance & Legal Services Limited for alleged breach of a commercial contract in a six-day trial in the High Court.
  • Acting for Safeway in respect of a highly technical dispute concerning the operation of its pension scheme.
  • Acting for the owner of and companies within the Munnelly Group, in respect of a highly contentious claim against a former managing director/employee who had departed the business in acrimonious circumstances.
Leading individuals

Joel Heap - DWF

Steve Morris - DWF

Rising stars

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North West: Finance

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3


Operating across the firm's Liverpool and Manchester offices, the team at DWF stands out for its corporate banking expertise; it regularly acts for borrowers and lenders, and boasts a growing alternative lender client base. Public sector finance and automotive sector finance mandates are particular areas of expertise for the department. The team is headed by James Szerdy and includes Paul Brown who acts for lenders and borrowers on both public and private sector funding.

Practice head(s):James Szerdy

Other key lawyers:Paul Brown; Eleanor Cook; Katherine Tyas; Alasdair Mackinnon


James Szerdy has a strong reputation in the market

Paul Brown is experienced in public sector finance matters

Key Clients

National Westminster Bank/RBS


Santander UK

Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank

Homes and Communities Agency


NextGear Capital UK

First Rand Bank

Blue Motor Finance

Lombard North Central

Nationwide Building Society

Work highlights

  • Advised NWF on the negotiation of the renewal of its banking facilities.
  • Represented Greater Manchester Housing Fund (Manchester City Council) on an £11m development finance facility.
  • Represented Progress Housing Group on the amendment and restatement of its core finance facilities.
  • Acted for Homes England on range of transactions to fund residential developments.
  • Advised HSBC Bank on the provision of finance to an existing client.
Leading individuals

James Szerdy - DWF

Next Generation Partners

Alasdair Mackinnon - DWF

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Insolvency and corporate recovery
Insolvency and corporate recovery - ranked: tier 4


DWF handles contentious and non-contentious instructions and regularly acts for banks as well as accountants and agents on complex insolvency and restructuring matters. The team regularly assists directors of distressed businesses and is noted for its experience in handling administrations involving substantial property assets. Personal insolvency work is also a key area of expertise and this work is led out of the firm's Liverpool office where Katharine Lawrenson is based. In Manchester, director Julie Agnew is recommended.

Practice head(s):Finella Fogarty (London)

Other key lawyers:Julie Agnew; Katharine Lawrenson; Amy Crighton; Heather Morris


The team stands out for its direct accessibility at relatively short notice, and for the personal interest that is shown.

Julie Agnew explains items in straight forward terms and interprets the legalese

Julie Agnew is been approachable with a style that puts people at ease

The team is pleasant to deal with and delivers a great experience

Key Clients



Dunham & Dean

The Authentic Food Company

Russell Taylor Group

Begbies Traynor

The Insolvency Service



Speedy Hire



Work highlights

  • Advised The Authentic Food Group and its directors on the closure of a group company and in relation to the creditor position.
  • Represented Platts Garage on a sale of business.
  • Advised the administrators in relation to the funding of trading administration and the disposal of business.
  • Advised Music Magpie on its acquisition of distressed Granger Games stock from administrators.
  • Advised  the official receiver as liquidator to Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK.

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North West: Human resources

Employment - ranked: tier 1


DWF provides strategic advice to national and international bluechip clients across a range of sectors including retail, education, outsourcing and insurance. The firm's significant national and international reach enables it to effectively handle complex employment work such as significant restructurings, redundancies and large-scale TUPE exercises. The team is also involved in employment disputes in Court of Appeal as well as a number of Employment Appeal Tribunal cases. Joanne Frew took over leadership of the Manchester team on her promotion to partner in February 2019, while Tim Scott leads the practice in Liverpool.

Practice head(s):Joanne Frew; Tim Scott

Other key lawyers:Kirsty Rogers; John Keeble; Jamie Campbell; Nigel Cousin; Jessica Jones; Sinead Donnelly


'DWF's industry and sector knowledge is second to none. I am extremely confident in the advice they provide and they're open to discussion and debate. Their broad geographical reach has been a bonus as we've internationalised our business.'

'With DWF you gain the benefits that you associate with a large legal firm but you also receive a personal tailored service from their partners and teams.'

'Jon Keeble is fantastic  - I have absolute faith in the advice he gives.'

'Tim Scott is a very experienced lawyer with a wide range of knowledge. He is very balanced and thoughtful.'

'Joanne Frew is exceptional - available at all times, clear and concise in her advice and explains all angles of the issue to enable the client to assess the decision.'

'Kirsty Rogers is pragmatic, knowledgeable and always available and she and her team take time to understand our business and the likely challenges we face. She is hugely personable and always keen to get the right result, even when that means a difficult conversation is required. She is very adept at managing key stakeholders in our business and in navigating politics smoothly.'

Key Clients



Ladbrokes Coral

Finsbury Food Group Plc

Arrow XL / Yodel

Redx Pharma plc

Wincanton Plc

Kier Group Plc

SGS United Kingdom

Newsquest Media Group


Autism Initiatives


Total Fitness


Watkin Jones Group

European Wealth Management Limited




Work highlights

  • Advised Total Fitness Health Clubs on its investigation into allegations of race discrimination and harassment made by a member of a club branch against a number of other members, as well as against the club itself.
  • Advised a multi-site education establishment in a high profile and potentially costly dismissal involving issues of safeguarding, disability discrimination and reputationl risk.
  • Representing a healthcare company in a tribunal claim brought by an employee seeking a declaration of terms and conditions following a TUPE transfer.
  • Acted for the successful defendant in a Court of Appeal hearing relating to rights of disabled litigants in Employment Tribunal proceedings.
Leading individuals

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Health and safety
Health and safety - ranked: tier 1


DWF's health and safety team acts in some of the largest cases for major clients nationwide, and is frequently involved in cases resulting from major incidents including corporate manslaughter, fatalities and very serious injuries. The firm's clients are drawn from a wide range of sectors, including energy, retail, transport, education, healthcare, construction, hotels and manufacturing. Steffan Groch and Vikki Woodfine are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):Steffan Groch; Vikki Woodfine; Gary Smith

Other key lawyers:Simon Belfield; Joanne Witheford


'Top level technical knowledge, allied with excellent service both for insured clients and insurers'.

'James Roden, Joanne Witheford and Vikki Woodfine are three top notch lawyers. Always go the extra mile, no matter what time of day'.

'An excellent group of like-minded professionals; commercially minded as well as operating at the top of their game.'

'Highly professional and go above and beyond what would normally be expected when delivering the service to all of their clients.'

Key Clients

Premier Foods PLC

Hovis Ltd


Severfield PLC

Booker PLC

Wincanton PLC

Fusion Insurance Services Ltd

Faraday Insurance

Work highlights

  • Instructed to act for a large food manufacturer following a serious accident involving a subcontractor.
  • Successful defence of specialist water jetting company following a serious accident during contract works.
  • Instructed to act for a large utilities company in relation to a fatal accident.
  • Instructed to act by a national high street discount retailer following the fatal injury of a delivery driver.
Leading individuals
Rising stars

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Immigration - ranked: tier 1


'True expert' John Dorney leads DWF's business immigration department, which acts for household name businesses including multinationals and other FTSE 100 and AIM-listed companies. While the team advises on all aspects of immigration law, a mainstay of the practice is the securing of Home Office sponsorship licences and subsequent assistance in respect of migrant sponsorship applications, coupled with advice on Home Office reporting obligations. The team also regularly acts for high-net-worth and skilled migrants in respect of Tier 1 investor, Entrepreneur and Exceptional Talent Visa applications.

Practice head(s):John Dorney

Other key lawyers:Roxanne Buckley; Emily Snape


'Excellent in-depth knowledge and a UK-wide base means that there is always a professional available when required.'

'The level of knowledge that has been provided by this team demonstrates they are true experts in this area.'

'John Dorney is both proactive and reactive - his attention to detail has helped us be successful on first application and we are very grateful to him for his attentiveness.'

'John Dorney is a true expert in this subject matter and explains it in such a way that is easy to understand - he is a trusted partner.'

Key Clients


AirPlus International (Part of Lufthansa)


Aviagen Limited

Gruppo Campari

Impellam Group plc

Liberty Living PLC

Stephenson Group

Vesuvius PLC

Western Thermal Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Western Thermal Limited in securing Home Office sponsorship licence.
  • Represented Gruppo Campari in securing Home Office sponsorship licence.
  • Securing European permanent residency for AirPlus International's head of HR and subsequent assistance with British citizenship application.
Leading individuals

John Dorney - DWF

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Pensions - ranked: tier 1


Manchester partner Tim Green - 'the complete pensions lawyer' - is national head of pensions at DWF, which is known for its proficiency in pensions litigation, particularly in relation to the distressed market and pensions restructurings, as well as advising on complex multi-employer pension schemes. The department has expertise across a number of sectors such as retail, transport, utilities and insurance. 'Technically superb' senior associate Sinead Sheehan is well-regarded for her 'excellent eye for detail'.

Practice head(s):Tim Green

Other key lawyers:Sinead Sheehan; Jane Smith


'The DWF pensions team is a leading player in pensions, both nationally and in the North West. They have a stellar client list that most firms in the field would envy, and have been involved in many of the most significant cases or deals in recent years.'

'Tim Green is the complete pensions lawyer - he has a very commercial outlook combined with great technical know-how. His drive and vision make him extremely popular with his clients, his team at DWF and with other professionals.'

'Sinead Sheehan has an excellent eye for detail and is technically superb.'

'Tim Green is omnipresent, omniscient and always willing to help all the parties achieve the right answer

'Jane Smith loves the white heat of the negotiating room. A first rate front line operator.'

'Sinead Sheehan gets the toughest assignments, laughs at the adversity and brings home the best results for her grateful clients.'

Key Clients

WM Morrisons Plc

Trustee of the British Steel Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Carillion Pension Schemes (10+ schemes in PPF assessment period)

Trustees of the Nottingham City Transport Pension Fund

Trustee of Standard Life DC Master Trust

Trustee of the Christie, Manson & Woods PLSA

Pension Protection Fund

Burton's Biscuits

Trustee of the Princes Pension Scheme and the Princes (1977) Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Edmundson Electrical Group Pension Schemes

Bentley Motors Limited

Princes Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Safeway on the Safeway v Newton equalisation proceedings referred by the Court of Appeal to the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union, a case which concerns equal pay for equal work between the sexes.
  • Advising the Old British Steel Pension Scheme Trustee on benefit structures and the compensation to be provided under the PPF following the Tata Steel restructuring deal.
  • Advising the Carillion Pension Schemes Trustee on the consequences of insolvency of Carillion on its 11 pension arrangements including compensation and passage of the schemes through PPF assessment periods.
  • Advising the Trustee of the Nottingham City Transport Pension Scheme on the full range of business as usual pensions issues.
  • Providing trustee advice to the Trustee of Standard Life DC Master Trust in relation to transfers into the scheme.
Leading individuals

Tim Green - DWF

Rising stars

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North West: Insurance

Personal injury: defendant
Personal injury: defendant - ranked: tier 1


Paul Berry is at the helm of DWF's national insurance team, which comprises a broad personal injury practice, handling catastrophic injury claims and large loss matters such as fatalities, serious brain and spinal injuries, to occupational health and industrial disease cases and motor traffic accident claims. The department also has a dedicated counter-fraud team led by Jamie Taylor. Ian Slater, who heads up the Manchester insurance practice, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Paul Berry

Other key lawyers:Rob McKee; Nigel Teasdale; Ian Macalister; Simon Mather; James Roden; Mark Treacher; Tom Higson; Simon Denyer; Patrick McBrien; Daren Charlton; Ian Slater; Dave Young; James Pinder; Jamie Taylor; Andrew O’Connell; Stuart Poole; Graham Smith; Carl Graham; Giles Kellner; Fiona Matthews Sarah Mir David Woolley Hannah Fitzgerald

Key Clients



QBE ( longstanding)

Markerstudy Group



Groupama ( longstanding)



Equity Red Star

RSA ( longstanding)


Leading individuals

Ian Slater - DWF

Paul Berry - DWF

Next Generation Partners

Jamie Taylor - DWF

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Professional negligence
Professional negligence - ranked: tier 1


The practice at DWF, which is led by Andrew MacLeod, holds panel places for many of the UK's largest general professional indemnity insurers and syndicates. The team has particular strength in handling high-value, multi-party construction-related  cases, but also has a track record on claims involving other professionals such as solicitors, insurance brokers, accountants, surveyors stockbrokers and IFAs. Other areas of expertise include D&O/management liability claims as well as breach of contract, IP and cyber claims in the IT and media sectors. Senior associate Nathan Penny-Larter is recommended.

Practice head(s):Andrew MacLeod

Other key lawyers:Mark Jenkyn-Jones; Paul Dally; Michael Pease; Nathan Penny-Larter; Hilary Harrison


'A very strong team, with good leadership and some excellent senior associates such as Nathan Penny-Larter. They are able to deal with complex issues quickly and efficiently, and this includes both coverage and defending the substantive allegations of negligence.'

'Nathan Penny-Larter is a standout individual. You want him on your side. He has a broad client base and experience of both insurance, and different areas of professional negligence; works ferociously hard, is clever and is responsive and a pleasure to deal with.'

Work highlights

  • Acting for an architect in a claim relating to high rise student accommodation cladding.
  • Advising an international bridge engineering consultancy on a £22m claim.
  • Acting for a specialist façade contractor on a £12m claim.
  • Represented solicitors sued in connection with the handling of a murder trial.
  • Representing an architect's practice in a £1.2m planning dispute.
Rising stars

Nathan Penny-Larter - DWF

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North West: Private client

Contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1


DWF's team, which is split across the firm's Manchester and Liverpool bases, handles complex trust and probate disputes, often with a cross-border element or issues of jurisdiction or domicile. The firm's clients include trustee companies, private banks, charitable trusts and private individuals. The practice was strengthened in late 2018 by the arrival of director Christopher Noel, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard to lead the private capital team in Manchester. 'Clever, practical' senior associate Daniel Williams is well-regarded by clients.

Practice head(s):Christopher Noel; Christopher King; Daniel Williams


'The team have a very practical approach - they have a great deal of commercial expertise and very good client handling skills.'

'Daniel Williams is excellent - clever, practical, very good with difficult clients.'

'Daniel Williams is objective, assertive and efficient - he also shows compassion and empathy in dealing with sensitive matters.'

Rising stars

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Personal tax, trusts and probate
Personal tax, trusts and probate - ranked: tier 1


The team at DWF undertakes the full gambit of private client work but has particular strength in advising business owners and high-net-worth individuals on domestic and international asset management, as well as on wills, IHT and succession planning. Director Christopher Noel joined from Addleshaw Goddard in late 2018 as head of private capital, bringing 'a level of additional service quality and technical knowledge' to the team.

Practice head(s):Christopher Noel; Jon Gould


'Christopher Noel is an excellent addition to the team. He brings a level of additional service quality and technical knowledge to the team as well as a significant degree of understanding of the importance of client service and relationships that the wider team will benefit from.'

Work highlights

  • Acting as and representing the trustees of a substantial and valuable trust, holding a large portfolio of property in Kings Cross, London and further afield.
  • Advising the trustees of a large and substantial landed estate, with a valuable estate company, stately home and business/agricultural assets.
Next Generation Partners

Christopher Noel - DWF

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North West: Projects, energy and natural resources

Energy - ranked: tier 2


DWF stands out for its experience across electricity, gas, water and renewables, nuclear, district energy and heating and battery storage projects. It acts for public and private sector clients including developers, funders and investors, on domestic and international mandates. The team also handles energy sector disputes as well as EU and competition matters in the sector. Catherine Haslam is head of solar and Andrew Symms, who is based across the Leeds and Manchester offices, handles energy sector projects.

Practice head(s):Andrew Symms; Catherine Haslam; Steve Morris; Christian Hellmund; Jonathan Branton

Other key lawyers:James Lupton

Key Clients

ScottishPower Group (including ScottishPower Energy Retail, ScottishPower Energy Networks, ScottishPower Generation and ScottishPower Renewables)

Whitbread Group

Gildemeister energy solutions (part of the DMG Mori Group of Japan)

Vensys Energy

Essar Oil


Canary Wharf Group

Discovery Park

United Utilities Renewable Energy

Yingli Green Energy Europe (part of Yingli Green Energy of China)

Yingli Namene Solar

Work highlights

  • Advised ScottishPower on the 1800 MW ‘Damhead Creek Unit 2’ combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) project in Kent.
  • The team advises Vensys Energy on all UK and Irish onshore wind projects.
  • The team continues to act for Whitbread on construction matters, including managing the framework agreements for its team of consultants and contractors.
Leading individuals

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North West: Public sector

Local government
Local government - ranked: tier 1


DWF 's multi-disciplinary local government team stands out for its specialist state aid and public procurement expertise, as well as its experience in regeneration and infrastructure projects and insurance mandates. The team also advises public sector clients on loan funding projects. EU and competition head Jonathan Branton and Colin Murray, who are based across the firm's Leeds and Manchester offices, jointly head the team. Bradley Martin is recommended as a rising star.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Branton; Colin Murray

Other key lawyers:James Lupton; Paul Brown; Bradley Martin; Jay Mehta

Key Clients

Wirral Metropolitan Council

Liverpool City Council

Lancashire County Council

Wigan Council

Cheshire and Warrington LEP

South Tyneside Council

Cornwall County Council

West Lindsey District Council

Bradford Council

Wakefield Council

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Wrexham County Borough Council

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Hull City Council

Leeds City Council

Birmingham City Council & Finance Birmingham

Work highlights

  • Advised Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council on a £500m regeneration project,  which includes the delivery of 500 new homes; the Tower Road Project; the delivery of a golf course, new hotel, new road, and new residential properties; and the development of a Maritime Knowledge Hub and new offices.
  • Advised Liverpool City Council Matter on its 'Parklife' project, which involves the refurbishment and upgrading of four new football facilities across Liverpool.
  • Advised Lancashire County Council on the delivery of the Samlesbury Enterprise Zone, and also advised the client on advised on the Judicial Review of Defra's decision to end the entitlement of LCC to receive Revenue Support Grant as a result of the early termination of the PFI arrangement.
  • Advised Wigan Council Matter on the North Leigh Project and on the provision of a new medical centre.
  • Advised South Tyneside Council its procurement of a development partner for a £200m mixed-use development.
Leading individuals
Rising stars

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North West: Real estate

Commercial property: Manchester
Commercial property: Manchester - ranked: tier 3


DWF provides 'timely and commercial advice'; the team is noted for its expertise across retail, hotels and leisure, public, telecoms, energy, social housing and technology sector real estate mandates, and regularly acts for occupiers, developers, public sector clients, and investment clients and funders. David Frankland is experienced in hotel and leisure sector mandates, Naveen Gupta is noted for his retail sector expertise and Catherine Haslam is experienced in telecommunications property law. Anita Gupta heads the Manchester team and Paul Inman heads the firm's North West real estate practice.

Practice head(s):Anita Gupta

Other key lawyers:Paul Inman; David Frankland; Naveen Gupta; Catherine Haslam; David Walton; Katherine Heywood; Rachel Lawler; Alicia Renshaw


'The team offers a breadth of expertise and is available to deal with any specific needs.'

'Anita Gupta delivers pro-active advice.'

'The team works great together, and is always on hand to deal with queries promptly and with great knowledge.'

'The team is very approachable, which is a charming strength to have compared to other firms.'

'Rachel Lawler is brilliant in her field; she is straight talking and commercial.'

Key Clients


Whitbread Plc/Premier Inn

EE Limited

The adidas Group

United Utilities

Greene King

Primus Property Group

Speedy Hire

Peel Holdings

Work highlights

  • The team advised on EE Limited's special projects sites, which includes dealing with the installation of its electronic communications equipment in sports stadia and arenas.
  • The team advises Costa on an exclusive basis on all property work across England, Wales and Scotland.        
  • Advised Odeon Cinemas on its head office relocation to Ask Properties First Street Scheme in Manchester.
  • The team acts for The adidas Group on all of its real estate portfolio matters, which has included acquisitions, disposals, asset management in the UK, as well as strategic advice on real estate and construction aspects across Europe.
  • Advised Lancashire County Council Pension Fund on the pre-let of a 76,000 sq ft property, following a £10m re-development.
Leading individuals

Anita Gupta - DWF

Paul Inman - DWF

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Construction - ranked: tier 4


DWF handles a range of construction matters across the hotel, leisure, retail, manufacturing, industrial, commercial and housing sectors. The team is instructed by local authority clients on major regeneration projects. It offers both contentious and non-contentious expertise. Department head David Vayro, who is 'first-rate', is based in Manchester and is ably supported by associate Gemma Wilson and recently promoted senior associate Ragene Raithatha.

Practice head(s):David Vayro; Andrew Symms (Leeds)

Other key lawyers:Gemma Wilson; Ragene Raithatha


'David Vayro is a knowledgeable construction lawyer and he communicates very efficiently.'

Key Clients


The Royal Bank of Scotland

Ashall Projects

M7 Real Estate

United Utilities

Manchester City Football Club

Work highlights

  • The team continues to provide Warrington Borough Council and Muse Developments with construction-related advice relating to the regeneration of the Bridge Street and Time Square area of Warrington.
  • Advising Ashall Projects (MB) on construction-related documentation, issues in relation to the demolition of existing buildings, and the design and construction of a hotel for occupation by major hotel operator.
  • Drafting and negotiating a full suite of construction documents for Starboard Hotels regarding the redevelopment of a multimillion-pound hotel in Ealing, London.
  • Representing adidas on various schemes across Europe where it is undertaking construction works.
  • Representing Manchester City Council on various matters in relation to the development of various housing schemes in Greater Manchester and also advice on the preparation of a building contract.
Leading individuals

David Vayro - DWF

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Property litigation
Property litigation - ranked: tier 3


DWF is instructed by developers, investors, retailers and local authorities on property litigation cases. Alan Walker leads the North West property litigation team and is noted for his telecoms sector expertise and  Jeremy Steele is instructed by retail and investor clients. Helena Davies has joined Brabners LLP.

Practice head(s):Alan Walker

Other key lawyers:Jeremy Steele

Leading individuals

Alan Walker - DWF

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North West: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms
IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1


DWF advises a roster of household name clients on IT and outsourcing projects, with a particular focus on the financial services, insurance and retail sectors. The practice has recently seen an increase in instructions from IT and telecoms suppliers. The 'extremely personable' Craig Chaplin heads the team and is experienced in advising on major IT infrastructure projects. James Lonsdale is adept at handling outsourcing agreements, acquisitions, licenses, and contracts. Andrew Whalley leads on disputes.

Practice head(s):Craig Chaplin

Other key lawyers:Andrew Whalley; James Lonsdale; Richard Meehan; Catherine Harrison


The team is focused on delivering commercial advice efficiently and cost effectively’.

Excellent industry knowledge’.

Craig Chaplin is leader in the field - he is extremely personable and focused on ensuring a first class service is provided’.

Key Clients

GiffGaff Limited

Telefónica UK Limited (O2)

Serco Group plc

Poundland Limited

South Staffordshire

Manchester City

WM Morrisons Supermarkets Plc

Cultureshift Communications Ltd

Nexus (Passenger Transport Executive for Tyne & Wear)

Manchester United Football Club

Quantum Base Limited

Fourth Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for O2 in its £300m claim for restitution of annual licence fees paid to Ofcom in respect of wireless telegraphy licences.
  • Advised Poundland Limited on the negotiation of a Europe-wide IT implementation project with Aptos.
  • Continued to advise Serco on a variety of IT matters including a variety of cloud solutions
  • Acted for Utiligroup in relation to its supply to utility companies of software and a managed service in relation to smart metering.
  • Assisted Quantum Base with the commercialisation of random number generator nanoscale quantum consumables.
Leading individuals

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1


DWF represents a raft of leading brands across sectors including manufacturing, retail, pharma, healthcare, technology, hospitality and food and drink. Areas of expertise include patents, design, copyright, trademark disputes, breach of confidence claims and cross-jurisdictional issues. 'Highly recommended' team co-head Craig Chaplin advises on IP acquisitions and disposals, research, development and licensing of IP rights and brand protection. Fellow co-head Asima Rana also leads the North West IP litigation practice.

Practice head(s):Craig Chaplin; Asima Rana

Other key lawyers:Catherine Harrison; Paul Attwood


‘The team are incredibly commercial and make a lot of effort to get to know the business’.

‘Catherine Harrison gives technically astute advice which fits the business - her ability to recall information is incredible’.

'This is a team with real strength in depth and they add value with their commercial approach.'

'Craig Chaplin is highly recommended. He is very user friendly and his service levels are excellent. He looks after clients well.'

'Ed Meikle is a very good IP litigator.'

'James Lonsdale is very good on the non-contentious side.'

'Cat Harrison is always impressive.'

Key Clients

Marks & Spencer

James Cropper plc


Tangerine Confectionary


Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc

Burton Foods Limited

Pepkor Europe Limited (Poundland)

Manchester City Football Club

Fix 8 Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Tangle Teezer’s management team on brand protection, distribution and other arrangements geared to preserve its integrity and reputation.
  • Advising Marks & Spencer on a range of IP matters including supply agreements for bespoke point of sale products, and agreements for the provision of product category range planning including the design of bespoke jewellery.
  • Advising James Cropper on various joint R&D projects.
  • Advising Lagardère Sports UK Ltd on a wide range of high-profile deals including mobile app development agreements for a Premier League football club.
  • Advised Muc-Off on its brand strategy and approach, specifically in relation to its Athlete Performance Range.
Leading individuals

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