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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 > East Anglia > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Cambridge > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Cambridge
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLP¬†provides 'very pragmatic service, giving the best advice for clients, promptly with honest advice and sensible fees'. The firm has established itself as one of the leading litigation practices in Cambridge with a talented team that acts not only for some of the biggest regional clients, but also handles a growing stream of cases with international aspects. Practice head¬†Laurence Weeks¬†'always gives the best advice' and has a broad-ranging practice that includes cases involving fraud, banking, defamation and contract law. Senior associate Maria Peyman¬†¬†devotes much of her practice to contentious intellectual property matters, but her commercial litigation practice also encompasses¬†software disputes and breach of data protection rule claims. Also recommended is associate¬†Naomi Westcott¬†who worked with Weeks on a complex High Court fraud case for Powerscourt Services Limited, which included freezing orders, injunctions and strike-out applications. The case was successfully settled. They also worked together on a ¬£600,000 claim brought by¬†Roundshield Partners Limited concerning¬†deal fees for financing transactions. Harsco Metals, Wybract Limited and Just Recruitment are also among the firm's clients.  

Mills & Reeve LLP 'offers an excellent service to clients in commercial litigation matters, which are handled robustly on clients' behalf and the issues are always well thought through', says one barrister who notes that 'the calibre of the lawyers is high and they are always a pleasure to be instructed by'. Jamie Wheatley leads the practice and has 'a strong intellect coupled with sound commercial judgement, and he appears popular with clients and a real pleasure to work with'. The firm's other stars include Gary Attle who focuses on public law and clients note his 'exceptional experience and wisdom' adding that he is 'a delight to work with'; associate Lino Di Lorenzo , who handles corporate recovery and general commercial litigation, is 'incredibly capable, definitely one to watch for the future; his analysis is impressive and he provides clear, intelligible and practical advice'; 'capable litigator' and principal associate Douglas McDonald ; and principal associate Alison Garrett , who is known for 'strong commercial guidance during settlement negotiations'. Di Lorenzo helped Wheatley and principal associate Helen Prandy pursue a $7.6m breach of contract and misrepresentation claim for client 1st Class Legal Limited in Chicago, US. Another highlight saw Duncan Astill handle a £3m dispute for NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group. Consultant and head of the North America desk Graeme Menzies  is also recommended. Monika Sobiecki moved to Dentons.

At¬†Taylor Vinters¬†‚Äėvalue for money is strong and response times in litigation are good'.¬†Clients regard the practice as 'professional, responsive, effective and good value for money'. The firm's focus on entrepreneurial clients sees it frequently act for international technology companies, and its office in Singapore is generating a growing caseload from clients with business interests Asia. The litigation practice also has a large rural client base that includes some of the UK's largest agricultural businesses, and it also handles contentious matters for many Cambridge colleges. Practice heads¬†Luke Hibbert¬†is a highly regarded litigator with a caseload that encompasses regional, national and international matters involving companies in the technology sector. Highlights for partner¬†Gareth Dickson¬†included the defence of a $2m breach of contract claim brought by a multinational retailer against a Singapore-based¬†retail solutions technology business.¬†The firm's rising star associates include the 'responsive and business-minded'¬†Victoria Sandell¬†and the ‚Äėvery attentive and always helpful'¬†Beth Price.¬†Clients also praise 'client-friendly, realistic'¬†associate¬†Jonathan Davies¬†as 'a good communicator and an effective litigator with a¬†good appreciation for "the possible‚ÄĚ in litigation and a sensible approach to getting the best deal for a client'. A barrister notes that¬†'his candour is impressive, and I admire his ability to be frank with clients about not only the legal strengths and weaknesses of a case, but also the commercial realities'. Merz Pharma, Jockey Club Estates and¬†Speciality Produce Limited are among the firm's clients.

The litigation practice at Ashtons Legal is 'highly experienced and client-focused'. Practice head Michael Frape is described as 'a pragmatic and experienced solicitor who is not afraid to tell the client how it is'. One barrister notes that he is 'a tenacious litigator, robust in opposition and realistic in advice'. The Cambridge office plays a central role in a dispute resolution practice that works as a single team across the firm's many regional offices, and which is highly respected for its work in contract and partnership disputes and contentious financial services matters. Frape, who is a qualified mediator, specialises in complex and high-value commercial disputes for clients ranging from public companies to private individuals, with a particular focus on shareholder disputes and directors’ duties, as well as a strong practice for warranty claims, partnership disputes, contractual claims, and professional negligence. He recently handled a shareholder dispute involving a mobile phone advertising company, and assisted a company in its pursuit of a claim against an external adviser concerning fees.

Hewitsons is 'an excellent firm with a very pragmatic and effective approach to litigation'. 'It ranks high amongst provincial firms of a similar size and nature, offering a full range of services, whilst retaining an individual and responsive approach to clients' remarks one barrister. Simon Biggin, whose litigation experience spans more than 30 years, and senior solicitor Stewart Morrison are 'skilled litigators who are delightful to work with and have sound tactical judgment; they are very approachable and remain calm under pressure'. The dispute resolution practice not only has a long-standing reputation in the Cambridge market, but also acts for clients from across the UK and in Europe, Africa, Israel and the US. A key highlight for Biggin and Morrison was their work for a landed estate in a judicial review test case concerning a decision of the Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs relating to a substantial penalty imposed for alleged breaches of the Cross Compliance Requirements of the Common Agricultural Policy. They also handled a complex dispute for a farming partnership arising from the importation of vegetable plants into the United Kingdom from Holland.

Howes Percival LLP recruited a new litigation partner to build up its commercial litigation offering in Cambridge. Michael Green, who was previously head of the London disputes team and national head of restructuring and insolvency at Weightmans LLP, has more than 20 years' experience in commercial disputes. His practice has an emphasis on company and shareholder disputes, warranty claims, partnership advice, restraint of trade matters, technology claims and contract disputes, alongside his insolvency litigation work. His growing caseload included acting for motor industry franchise Bowker BMW in a £1.4m compensation claim against against a utility company arising from statutory works. He is currently advising Frampton Worldwide Ltd on a £500,000 technology claim against a large bakery customer relating to the design, manufacture and supply of an industrial food line.

At Tees Law, 'the commercial litigation team is comprehensively excellent', according to one barrister who adds that 'the lawyers' instructions are always precise and thorough, and they provide counsel with a complete and proper understanding of the case; their conduct is always highly professional and measured'. Senior associate Sara Stabler leads the team and she 'always impresses with her understanding of a case, and her judgment on litigation strategy is stellar'. One client remarks that she is 'extremely knowledgeable, thorough, timely, efficient and courteous; I would also highlight her tenacity'. Stabler has 20 years' experience in commercial litigation and her caseload includes complex contract disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, alongside her contentious trusts and probate practice. A recent contract dispute involved a client who had purchased an historic racing car from an estate, with a connected contract with a mechanic to rebuild the vehicle but who did not complete the work satisfactorily.

Woodfines LLP¬†is recommended by clients for ‚Äėthe breadth of its team, response times, commercial awareness and expertise‚Äė. Newly promoted partner Maria Koureas-Jones, who moved to Cambridge from the firm's Bedford office, is ‚Äėvery positive in her approach‚Äė and is the new head of commercial litigation for East Anglia. She is praised for being 'great with clients; sensible but tough when needed' and leads a team of three fee earners. She is regularly instructed by a company in the storage industry to handle disputes involving High Court Enforcement Officer or bailiffs, and she is currently pursuing a cross-border claim for a client who lost money to potentially fraudulent investment advisors.

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