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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 > Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Linda Millband - Thompsons Solicitors LLP

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Barratts Solicitors fields a ‘highly respected’ and ‘first-rate’ team that ‘puts its clients at the heart of the very personal service it provides’ and ‘shows complete commitment to its cases’. The group excels in complex personal injury and clinical negligence litigation, with a strong focus in maximum severity cases, including fatal claims and cerebral palsy cases and matters with a cross-jurisdictional component. On the personal injury side, the department has a strong track record in matters involving brain and spinal injuries, often offering an early assessment of cases and experience in securing accommodation needs, therapies and other rehabilitation measures. On the clinical negligence side, the team is especially well-versed in cases involving damages sustained at birth, often obtaining multimillion-pound awards. Clinical negligence regarding cauda equina syndrome, spinal abscess, GP negligence and surgical mismanagement form a particularly large part of the caseload. The firm also fields a dedicated Court of Protection team led by legal executive Julie Greenwood. Personal injury expert Ed Myers and clinical negligence specialist Alison Brooks, ‘who cares passionately about her cases’, jointly lead the practice. The other key players are Julie Hardy, Debra Morris, David Tomlinson and the ‘particularly strong’ Emma Zukowska.

Freeths LLP’ ‘simply exceptional’ team is ‘highly professional and knowledgeable’ and ‘has a top reputation for brain injury litigation, especially for brain injuries to children’. Its wider personal injury and clinical negligence caseload includes catastrophic injury cases such as spinal cord injury, and surgical, oncology and birth injury matters. The ‘incredibly experienced’ Jane Goulding ‘is an exceptional lawyer with vast knowledge in the field of catastrophic injury; she inspires trust in her clients and tirelessly fights to obtain the best outcomes in often very difficult and complex situations’. Goulding heads the personal injury practice, and Jane Williams leads the clinical negligence practice ‘with empathy and great legal skill’. Consultant Paul Balen is in charge of the group’s high volume in inquest work and specialises in multi-party actions, recently leading in the multi-party action against North Staffs NHS Trust.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's ‘excellent’ team provides ‘a first-class service for claimants’. The ‘highly specialised and dedicated’ group is noted for its particular expertise in the more serious cases, such as birth, brain and spinal injuries. Multi-party actions are an area of particular strength, as is inquest-related litigation. Lisa Preece  (‘a shrewd tactician’) leads the team, which includes the ‘vastly experienced and unflappable’ Bruce Williams, who has a sizeable personal injury caseload and is ‘a top performer in the field of clinical negligence’. Chris Stansfield and the ‘knowledgeable and efficient’ Julie Walker are other key personal injury practitioners. On the clinical negligence side, Matthew Olner ‘is highly experienced and a safe pair of hands in more complex cases’, with ‘a good knack for settlement and strategy’. Associate Baishali Clayton ‘is a real fighter’ and recently represented a client in a clinical negligence case concerning the death of the client’s baby after doctors made a two-inch deep cut into the baby’s skull during a caesarean section, causing the baby to haemorrhage.

The ‘highly efficient’ team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP ‘provides a very high standard of service’ and assists with a broad range of personal injury and clinical negligence work. On the personal injury side, spinal and head injuries, amputations, back and joint injuries and asbestosis are areas of particular expertise. On the clinical negligence side, the team demonstrates particular strength in birth injuries and broader gynaecological injuries, oncology and orthopaedic surgery instructions, ophthalmology and cardiology as well as in GP negligence, care home negligence and dentistry – showcasing the team’s continued focus on expanding the clinical negligence offering. ‘Very able litigator’ and practice head Robert Rose ‘is passionate about getting the best results for his clients’. ‘Calm under fire’, Neil Clayton ‘is very empathetic in dealing with his clients’ and ‘fights his client’s corner hard, but always manages to maintain good and constructive relationships with his opponents’. Clayton’s recent caseload saw him represent a client whose lung cancer had not been diagnosed on time, thereby significantly reducing the client’s life expectancy. Personal injury experts Steven Baylis and Kathryn Hart are also recommended.

Banner Jones Solicitors impresses with an ‘outstanding’ and ‘very efficient’ team that focuses primarily on personal injury matters, but also demonstrates strength in clinical negligence. While the group offers a broad spectrum of expertise, including employers and public liability, diseases and physical and sexual abuse, the core focus areas are brain and spinal injuries and cases involving loss of limb or life. Executive director Simon Wright, who also directs the practice, is ‘a top-class personal injury and clinical negligence litigator’ who is ‘never flustered or outmaneuvered by his opponents’. Both Wright and executive director Robert Banner combine ‘intellectual rigour’ with ‘very good client skills’. Banner recently successfully obtained a substantial schedule of provisional losses for a client who had suffered an injury to the soft tissue in his foot when a heavy object fell onto it, leaving the client facing uncertain career prospects and with subsequent psychological symptoms.

Shoosmiths LLP’s ‘fantastic’ team provides ‘first-class service’ in both personal injury and clinical negligence. The key quartet includes Northampton practice heads Chris McKinney and Andrea Rusbridge, senior associate Sharine Burgess and ‘organised and knowledgeable’ associate Simon Towler. Between them, the group has extensive experience in brain and spinal injuries, amputations, cerebral palsy and fatality claims, handling complex claims across the value scale. In addition to successfully negotiating a six-figure settlement of a claim arisen from severe crush injuries in ankle and foot of a client involved in a motor cycle accident, the team also represented a prison officer who had suffered significant facial and psychiatric injuries when he was assaulted by a prisoner.

Thompsons Solicitors LLP ‘is a leader in the field for serious clinical negligence work’ and has a wealth of expertise and experience in advising individual claimants who have suffered life-changing injuries. ‘Very experienced’ national head of clinical negligence Linda Millband ‘has a proven record in the most complicated cases’ and led the representation of more than 500 women in the Ian Paterson case, which settled for £37m, and also successfully settled a £23m high-profile cerebral palsy case. A small team led by senior solicitor Neil Baines in Nottingham offers expertise in mesothelioma and catastrophic injury cases.

The ‘excellent’ team at Bridge McFarland enjoys ‘a very good reputation’ and is especially well-versed in a wide range of clinical negligence instructions, including birth and brain injuries, orthopaedics claims and surgical negligence. Ophthalmics, GP negligence, cauda equina syndrome and fatal cases are other areas of strength. The team is also able to assist with clinical negligence and personal injury cases involving Human Rights Act claims, representation at inquests, judicial review proceedings and cross-jurisdictional issues. The key practitioners are clinical negligence head Ian Sprakes, Danielle Barney, newly promoted senior solicitor Chris Green and associate Stephanie Capindale on the clinical negligence side. On the personal injury side, Kathryn Hudson is particularly experienced in instructions involving injured seafarers, fatal accidents, brain injuries, amputations and burn injuries.

JMP Solicitors provides a ‘fantastic service’ in a broad range of personal injury and clinical negligence cases, ranging from industrial disease, public and occupier’s liability to road traffic accidents, an especially significant part of the recent caseload. Managing director Ian Howard also specialises in accidents at work and fatal injuries, while senior associate Christine Bowerman is an expert in cases involving serious groin and head injuries as well as in claims arising from misdiagnoses of cancer and negligent dental care. Director and chartered legal executive Yvonne Carratt is another main adviser. Howard recently obtained a settlement with a hospital in which an elderly client had been attacked by a fellow patient with a fire extinguisher while recovering from an amputation, sustaining multiple fractures and psychological injuries.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s ‘extremely competent’ team has a clear focus on clinical negligence with a varied caseload that includes maximum severity cases alongside lower-value matters.  Practice head Andrew Cragg, associate Helen Rundle and associate chartered legal executive Helen Murphy, who is experienced in personal injury matters, form the heart of the practice, with Cragg’s recent work including a seven-figure cerebral palsy claim concerning sub-standard birth management and the successful settlement of a cauda equina syndrome case involving misdiagnosis. Additionally, Cragg settled a claim for a client who had suffered a dislocation of the hip because of a failed total hip replacement surgery. Former partner Sally-Ann Robinson works as a consultant for the firm.

Smith Partnership fields a ‘well-respected’ personal injury team that ‘provides excellent client care’ under the leadership of practice head David Clark, who has particular strength in asbestos claims. It also has a specialist clinical negligence department with Martin Bradbury at the helm. Road accident and criminal assault injury specialist Simon Rowley ‘has a very strong ability of putting clients at ease’. Associate partner Anna McLeod and ‘very experienced’ solicitor Patrick Booth , who ‘is meticulous in his approach to cases’, are also noted. Recent stand-out instructions include advising the widow and beneficiaries of the estate of a former client who died of mesothelioma and whom the team had advised on a compensation claim.

Wilson Browne Solicitors fields a particularly strong clinical negligence practice, but also has a strong track record in advising on multi-track personal injury claims. ‘Extremely knowledgeable’ practice head Louise Tyler ‘is at the top of her game’ and especially experienced in birth injury claims and client representation at inquests. Tyler recently advised the widow and executrix of a deceased on a technically complex claim against the employer sub-contractor and a main contractor in relation to the death of her husband in a work accident, including the representation at the subsequent inquest which led to a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive. Another stand-out instruction saw Tyler act for a client in a potential claim against Warwick Hospital NHS Trust regarding a knee arthroscopy.

For Actons, ‘client care is always at the forefront of its work’. Known for ‘not being afraid of taking on challenging cases’, the team is noted from its niche expertise in hair and beauty claims, claims involving children, dog attacks, and accidents involving horses, whilst maintaining a strong presence in general personal injury work including slips, trips and falls. Practice head Gary Chadwick ‘will fight tenaciously for a good outcome for his client’. Tom Payne, who is noted for his ‘excellent attention to detail’ and the ‘vastly experienced’ Heidi Gleadhill are other names to note. Recent work includes successfully negotiating a settlement for a client who had sustained injuries when tripping over a defective water maintenance cover, and acting for a client whose hair had been damaged by a hair salon.

Rothera Sharp Solicitors’ wide-ranging experience includes maximum severity cases, claims brought against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, road traffic accidents and employers’ and occupiers’ liability cases. Work, farming and sports related accidents are additional areas of focus, as are beauty accidents, children’s injuries and injuries sustained because of defective products. The ‘very knowledgeable and efficient’ Elisabeth Halls heads the practice, which includes qualified mediator Rebecca Emeleus.

Roythornes Solicitors' ‘thriving personal injury and clinical negligence department’ is adept at assisting with high-value claims and has developed a specialism in travel claims and claims brought against the Ministry of Defence. Sporting injuries, road accident injuries and cases involving public and employers’ liability are other areas of strength. Victoria Stevenson directs the practice that includes ‘highly competent’ senior legal executive Tim Edwards, ‘an experienced and commercially astute practitioner’, and associate Robert Dempsey, who ‘progresses his cases briskly’ and ‘sees through the key issues quickly’. The recent caseload saw the team advise a client who had sustained severe injuries as a consequence of a failed diagnosis of a cancerous cyst.

Spencers Solicitors fields a particularly strong practice in complex catastrophic injury claims and motor-related accidents, but the team also excels in industrial disease, employers’ liability and clinical negligence claims. The group’s main advisers are practice head Amy Smitheringale, ‘industry expert’ John Spencer ‘whose enthusiasm and knowledge provides insightful and balanced input across the spectrum’, ‘excellent’ serious injury litigator Emma Melia, who ‘adopts a very detailed approach to brain injury litigation and is very client-focused’, and the ‘knowledgeable and conscientious’ Andrea Ribchester-Hodgson , also a serious injury litigator. Under the supervision of Smitheringale, Melia recently advised a client who sustained lower back injuries in a traffic accident, leading to chronic pain and disability as well as psychological trauma.

Wilkin Chapman LLP’s ‘outstanding’ team specialises in clinical negligence, advising on the full severity gamut from low-value instructions all the way to cerebral palsy and maximum severity cases. ‘Tactically astute and procedurally brilliant’ senior solicitor Jonathan Baker is the key clinical negligence practitioner and ‘a real star’. Practice head Mark Robinson and military personal injury expert Tean Butcher are the main personal injury contacts.

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