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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 > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Browne Jacobson LLP's 'outstanding practice' is praised for its ‘very pragmatic, conscientious and tactically smart’ advice and ‘ultra-responsive and very commercial’ service. The ‘first-rate’ group handles high-value litigation, both at a domestic and international level, for clients from a diverse range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, financial services and IT and utilities. Practice head and ‘highly experienced litigatorDominic Offord  acted alongside London-based practitioners Nick Pontt  and Derek Bambury  for the trustee of the consolidated SIPA liquidation of Bernard Madoff in relation to a High Court claim and international investigation aimed at several individuals and entities connected with two funds which channeled large amounts of money into BLMIS, the key vehicle in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme, seeking equitable and statutory relief through claims in dishonest assistance and under the Insolvency Act 1986. Noted for his ‘superb client and team management skills’, Jonathan Tardif  ‘brings a sharp legal mind to bear on complex issues whilst maintaining an unflappable, affable and charming demeanour’. Tardif recently put his ‘forensic eye for detail and passion for service delivery’ to use for a leading luxury fashion retailer in its defence against a claim brought by SAP in relation to alleged under-licensing of SAP software dating back to 2011. Vision Express, Staffline and Hiscox are also clients.

The ‘strong’ team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a focus on the diversified industrials, utilities and energy and sports and media sectors. Practice head Steve Dunseath specialises in industrials-related litigation ranging from the engineering and aerospace to the automotive and chemicals sectors. Recently promoted legal director Louise Howarth, who is known for her ‘tactically sound advice’, is in charge of the utility and energy sectors, where the group handles statutory challenges, civil claims in the High Court and large-scale regulatory investigations. The practice recently acted for Pendragon in a civil fraud claim against a former employee in relation to a £2.5m theft which saw the team not only obtain a worldwide freezing injunction and a restraining order against the defendant, but also successfully recover a large proportion of the stolen funds. Other clients include Johnson Controls, Severn Trent Water and Ecclesiastical Insurance Office.

Flint Bishop LLP ‘combines a robust commercial approach with excellent client-handling skills’. The ‘well-respected’ team ‘punches well above its weight’ and acts for a heavyweight client base that includes government agencies and other public-sector bodies as well as large public and private companies, both domestic and international. The ‘hugely charismatic’ Qamer Ghafoor is ‘very good negotiator and litigator’ and has ‘a strong tactical sense’. Other key players include senior partner Andrew Cochrane, Nick Wells and Lorna Truman. In a recent highlight demonstrating the firm's ability to leverage its personal injury strength, the team defended Haven Insurance Company against a claim brought by a firm of solicitors for payment of costs following a settlement of personal injury claims between Haven Insurance Company and a claimant without provisions for legal costs, involving issues of equity, and the legal basis of the insurance industry’s portal scheme and pre-action protocols, which has reached the Supreme Court. The group also represented the Food Standards Agency in multiple High Court and County Court claims for recovery of sums in excess of £1m.

Geldards LLP is noted for its automotive sector strength, and the team is growing its IT, healthcare and agricultural litigation credentials. Jonathan Butler defended Vision Express against misrepresentation allegations made by former joint venture partners and also acted in counterclaims aimed at enforcing personal guarantees. In an illustration of the firm's construction litigation capabilities, Paul Hackney led the representation of a school in regard to claims against multiple parties based on the defective construction of roofs and monitoring and evaluation systems.  Nino Simone, whose key specialisms include shareholder disputes and contentious intellectual property work, heads the practice. Other clients include PSA Peugeot Citroen, Great Plains UK and Pendragon. Consultant Stephen Woolley retired.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s ‘excellent’ team has notable expertise in construction, debt recovery, insolvency, professional negligence, IT and intellectual property and commercial property disputes, leveraging the firm's wider practices in these areas where necessary. Headed by Cathryn Selby, the group is especially well placed to handle professional negligence and construction claims, though Selby also has a strong track record in handling disputes concerning commercial contracts, financial services, insurance and unfair prejudice. The ‘extremely pragmatic and efficient’ Simon Trees is noted for his specialism in insolvency-related work and commercial property.  Chris Adams is also noted.

Phenomenal in every respect’, Freeths LLP has ‘a strong and respected presence in the East Midlands’, fielding a ‘close-knit team’ that impresses with its ‘outstanding depth of knowledge’. The group is ‘very well-regarded in insolvency matters’, but also excels in instructions pertaining to breach of contract, professional negligence and breach of trust, as well as complex tax schemes and commercial fraud in a domestic or cross-jurisdictional context. The practice is led by Graham Greenfield, who has ‘vast depth of experience and knowledge’, Jonathan Jefferies and the ‘outstandingGuy Berwick, and includes ‘conscientious’ associate Jade Flint, who ‘is a safe pair of hands’. Greenfield and Flint represented two defendants in connection with proceedings brought by Towergate Financial concerning the sale of shares to the claimant. Other mandates included acting for Bio Dynamic in potential claims against Veolia Environmental in relation to the delivery of incorrectly categorized waste to one of Bio Dynamic’s anaerobic digestion plants, causing the plant to be closed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, leading to substantial loss of profit. The Administrators of Central Nottinghamshire Clinical Services, The Way Ahead Group and Bell & Chennells are additional clients.

The ‘impressive’ team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP delivers ‘clear and practical advice’ and focuses on litigation in sectors including energy, education and banking and finance. Particular strengths include equine law and litigation arising either from the theft of confidential or commercially sensitive data or from the setting up of competing companies. ‘Standout lawyer’ and associate partner Tim Speed, who recently moved from the Birmingham to the Nottingham office, represented West Bromwich Commercial in its long-running dispute with a guarantor regarding the non-payment of liabilities and allegations of misrepresentation. Legal director Steven Skiba took the lead acting for two defendants in a disputed share purchase agreement, a matter involving new law regarding cashflow insolvency, which eventually settled before the end of the trial. Martin Noble  in Leicester heads the East Midlands dispute resolution team. Professional negligence expert and legal director Kendal Litherland is also recommended. Michelle O’Brien left the firm.

Noted for its ‘very good response and service levels’, Smith Partnership has particular strength in property litigation and litigation regarding breweries, both specialisms of practice head and mediator Russell Davies, who attracts praised for his ‘experience, honesty and understanding of situations from a legal and personal perspective’. Professional negligence, debt recovery, transport and contentious trust and probate are additional areas of strength.

Actons' ‘responsive’ department provides ‘good commercial knowledge’ and handles a broad spread of commercial litigation for a clientele that includes international companies as well as SMEs and individuals. Newly promoted partner Caroline Bowler  specialises in equine law, professional negligence and property disputes, while practice head Victoria Dunstall  focuses on insolvency-related litigation. Key support comes from associates Rosalind Keen, Annabel Whittaker and Daniel Harley, whose arrival from Fraser Brown has bolstered the firm’s property litigation offering. Recent highlights include representing an individual in a claim against a veterinary surgeon in relation to a pre-purchase examination carried out on a show-jumping pony, and acting for two individuals in the negotiation of settlement agreements and an employment tribunal claim connected to their exits from a business.

The ‘flexible and knowledgeable’ team at Fraser Brown is noted for its ‘excellent service’ and ‘exceptional attention to detail’. In addition to the group’s strength in property litigation, the team also handles construction, insolvency and debt recovery disputes. Senior associate Lloyd Smith joined from Teacher Stern LLP, bringing expertise in boardroom and shareholder disputes, fraud and disputes arising from corporate transactions and commercial contracts. Smith ‘goes the extra mile, thinks outside the box’ and ‘brings to the table a corporate yet approachable approach’. His recent caseload includes representing two defendants in a claim arisen from an abortive business venture to acquire, develop and sell property, involving allegations of fraud and issues in relation to profit sharing. Don Peel heads the practice. Daniel Harley joined Actons.

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