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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 Midlands > Crime, fraud and licensing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Crime: fraud

Index of tables

  1. Crime: fraud
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Kevin McGrath - Smith Partnership
    • Richard Nelson - Richard Nelson LLP
    • Sundeep Soor - Cartwright King

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Steve Kirby - Cartwright King

Cartwright King undertakes the full spectrum of fraud and asset forfeiture cases on both the domestic and international fronts. Practice head Sundeep Soor is highly recommended while senior associate Steve Kirby, an expert on all elements of financial crime, is also a key name. The group is home to considerable experience in handling high-profile SFO prosecutions and possesses notable expertise in complex tax matters, duty evasion, money laundering, cyber fraud, corruption and fraudulent trading.

Practice head(s):Sundeep Soor

Other key lawyers:Steve Kirby

At Smith Partnership, managing partner Kevin McGrath heads the business defence practice and is ‘sympathetic to the client’s requirements and makes himself available at all times’. The firm leverages its full-services capabilities to advise clients on the ways in which fraud proceedings can affect other aspects of their business, with the practice’s lawyers often acting as part of multidisciplinary teams in tandem with specialists in other areas such as insolvency, employment and commercial property. McGrath is a specialist in Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings with other areas of expertise including VAT fraud, corruption and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Practice head(s):Kevin McGrath

Other key lawyers:Beth McGovern


'An excellent firm of solicitors providing assistance to both companies and individuals with regard to white collar fraud such as tax evasion'

Crime: general

Index of tables

  1. Crime: general
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Hailed as ‘efficient and committed’, the ‘always professional team’ at Smith Partnership has particular expertise in cases involving homicide, drugs conspiracies, serious sexual assaults and the defence of youths and the vulnerable. Practice head Andrew Oldroyd has expertise in relation to motoring prosecutions and is also renowned for his defence of prosecutions brought by agencies such as the Health and Safety Executive, local councils and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Practice head(s):Andrew Oldroyd

Other key lawyers:Kevin McGrath; David Cusack


'They have always been accessible for young people'

'They meet the needs of the client'

'Smiths are my go-to choice of firm'

Work highlights

  • Defence of a private individual on charges of death by careless driving
  • Defence of a private individual on allegations of import and supply £66m worth of Class A drugs
  • Defence of a private individual on charges of domestic murder
  • Defence of a youth client facing allegation of S18 wounding
  • Defence of a private client charged of engaging in sexual activity with a child family member

Cartwright King handles a wide range of criminal defence work such as cases involving murder, rape and drug offences. Paul Wright heads the practice, which also advises on firearm, shotgun licence and taxi licence appeals, and is home to a dedicated motoring department headed by Imogen Cox and Andy Cash.

Lawyers at boutique firm Forrest Williams are noted for their ‘exceptional communication under difficult circumstances’. The ‘very professional’ and ‘highly experiencedSteve Williams serves as practice head and his team ‘manages expectations very well, often exceeding them’. The recent caseload includes various sexual offences while additional areas of expertise include motoring charges, fraud, regulatory investigations and disciplinary proceedings.

Practice head(s):Steve Williams


'They care and are always available if you need them'

'Clients always deal with the same people and build up strong relationships'

'Their attention to detail and client care really set them apart from their competitors'

'They make sure someone appropriate and informed on the case sees you as soon as possible'

Work highlights

  • Defended a private individual charged with numerous allegations of sexual assault
  • Defended a private individual charged with assaulting a neighbour
  • Defended a private individual charged with two allegations of rape
  • Defended a private individual charged with drink driving

At Johnson Astills, clients are represented at all court levels, with the firm’s in-house solicitor-advocates frequently taking a lead role. Helen Johnson heads the practice, which has particular expertise in acting for defendants on the autistic spectrum or with learning difficulties. The team’s extremely broad caseload encompasses sexual, driving, trading standards, regulatory and drug offences along with fraud and child neglect.

Practice head(s):Helen Johnson

Other key lawyers:Michelle Harding


'This firm consists of tremendously capable women who work as a team. They have a broad mix of skilful advocates, academic lawyers and a professional team of paralegals and solicitors.'

'A unique firm who pride themselves in employing women in what has traditionally been a male preserve.'

'In the current climate of cutbacks and solicitor indifference to their lay clients I found this firm to be refreshingly different - committed, caring and wise.'

Work highlights

  • Secured the acquittal of a defendant on a highly publicised  joint enterprise murder at the Old Bailey in October 2018.
  • Secured the acquittal of a defendant in a murder case at Leicester Crown Court.
  • Secured acquittal of the defendant in a high-profile rape trial at Leicester Crown Court.
  • Represented a defendant at Leicester Crown Court in a high-profile fraud case involving the proceeds of a Lee Rigby charity.

Senior solicitors Rachel Taylor and Gordon Holt are among the key names at Wilkin Chapman LLP. The team represents clients at the police station, youth, magistrates and crown court and also handles judicial reviews. Areas of specialisation include legal aid work and road traffic offences as well as regulatory matters ranging from health and safety prosecutions to environmental offences.


Index of tables

  1. Licensing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Rising stars

  1. 1

Lisa Sharkey heads the practice at licensing boutique Poppleston Allen and recently stepped up to the role of managing partner. Her team are cited as a ‘great bunch of lawyers’ who ‘lead the way’ on the full range of licensing matters. Jonathan Smith is well-regarded for alcohol licensing issues and Graeme Cushion  is a household name in the casual dining space. At associate level, Hannah Price  represents large corporate clients in relation to health and safety, food safety, trading standards and environmental law

Practice head(s):Lisa Sharkey

Other key lawyers:Andy Grimsey; James Anderson; Jonathan Smith; Graeme Cushion; Hannah Price

Key Clients

Mitchells & Butlers Leisure

Stonegate Pub Company

Pizza Express

Burger King


Bourne Leisure

Azzuri Group Limited

The Deltic Group

Amber Taverns


Work highlights

  • Working with the client to change conditions and increase capacity at some of its biggest venues.
  • Obtaining new premises licences for the client's three hotels developments in Leicester Square and Piccadilly.
  • Advising the client on all aspects of its licensing strategy during its Company Voluntary Arrangements.
  • Obtaining a new Premises Licence for the client's new 250 occupancy restaurant on Kings Road, Chelsea, despite opposition from a number of residents.

Flint Bishop LLP handles licensing matters on behalf of a wide range of clients with a particular focus on pubs and hotels. The group undertakes ordinary and expedited license reviews, major and minor premises license variations and transfer changes. The highly recommended Andrew Cochrane serves as practice head and his team also counts clubs, off-licenses and restaurants among its client roster.

Practice head(s):Andrew Cochrane

Other key lawyers:George Domleo

Key Clients

Star Pubs & Bars Limited

Marston’s PLC

Youth Hostel Association

Macdonald Hotels

Kew Green Hotels

Derby Brewing Company

Work highlights

  • Transfer of licences for circa. 1,850 pubs in England, Wales and Scotland for leased pub business of Heineken UK.
  • Review of premises licence brought by neighbours supported by the authorities.
  • Handling annual fee reviews.
  • Application for license variation upheld despite appeals from neighbours.

At Fraser Brown, practice head David Lucas handles the full range of licensing mandates, representing clients in the gambling, alcohol and entertainment sectors. Examples of work undertaken include applications for new premises licenses, applications for the variation of existing licenses and advice on legislation compliance.

Practice head(s):David Lucas

Other key lawyers:Joanne Soar;

Key Clients

Cashino Gaming Ltd

DHP Family Ltd

Mellors Group

Ego Restaurants Ltd

Fraser Capital Management Ltd

HB Leisure Ltd

Majestic Bingo Ltd

Tynemill Ltd

Ever So Sensible Restaurants Ltd

Pesto Restaurants Ltd

Work highlights

  • Application for new operating and premises licences.
  • Application for new premises licence for multi-million pound development.
  • Application for variation of premises licence pertaining to the construction of a new fan zone.
  • Application for variation of gaming machine permit.

Noted for its ‘positive, knowledgeable and passionate approach’, the team at Freeths LLP is traditionally adept in alcohol licensing matters and is increasingly advising on health and safety, trading standards and fire safety matters. Lisa Gilligan, ‘an experienced expert in the field’, helms the practice and is engaged for personal licenses, premises licences and DPS applications. She represents a client base which includes various bars, pubs, supermarkets and leisure businesses.

Practice head(s):Lisa Gilligan


'Lisa Gilligan is a trusted adviser who understands the client's business needs and has an excellent commercial approach'

'Lawyers are are extremely approachable and so make all interactions, particularly inquiries, very easy'

Key Clients

Aldi Stores Limited

Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars

Unique Hospitality


Davy’s of London

Butcombe Brewery


Laine Pub Company


Gangmasters Labour & Abuse Authority

Work highlights

  • Serving as sole legal provider to the client on licensing issues across its 800 stores in the UK.  
  • Acting for the client  in securing the licence for its Royal Festival Hall site.
  • Handling a range of license variation applications on behalf of the client.  
  • Ongoing support to the in-house legal team in relation to a range of regulatory and licensing matters.

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