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Firms To Watch: Professional discipline

Boutique professional discipline and employment law firm Cole Khan Solicitors LLP was launched in May 2021 by former Irwin Mitchell partners Emilie Cole and Shazia Khan.
Leigh Day has developed unique experience in professional discipline through its successfully defence of itself (and three of its solicitors) against a high-profile and costly investigation, prosecution and appeal by the Solicitors Regulation Authority between 2014 and 2018.

Professional discipline in London

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP's 'collaborative, flexible and always available' practice is widely respected for its representation of over 20 professional regulators, particularly in relation to healthcare, legal, education, accountancy and engineering. Overseeing the firm’s contracts with several professional regulatory bodies, London and Reading-based Nick Leale is regulatory business group head; Bradley Albuery, who divides his time between London and Southampton, leads the professional disciplinary offering, consistently managing complex investigations and presenting cases before Fitness to Practise (FtP) and Conduct and Competence committees; and Graham Miles in Cardiff is a client relationship partner for Teaching Regulation Agency, Education Workforce Council (Wales) and Social Care Wales. At legal director level, Delme Griffiths regularly appears as an advocate in fitness to practise proceedings; Antonia Dowgray is a healthcare disciplinary specialist; James Danks has approximately a decade of experience in assisting regulators and respondents with disciplinary proceedings; and Guy Micklewright acts before disciplinary tribunals in the healthcare, accountancy, legal, teaching and engineering sectors. Experienced partner Clare Strickland returned to the firm in May 2021 from the NMC, where she was deputy director of FtP.

Practice head(s):

Nick Leale; Bradley Albuery

Other key lawyers:

Graham Miles; Delme Griffiths; Antonia Dowgray; James Danks; Guy Micklewright; Samantha Hatt; Matthew Corrie

Testimonials

The team is collaborative, flexible and always available for discussion on any casework issue.

One of the strengths of the team is the ability to adapt to increased demand, sometimes at short notice.

We have particularly valued the positive collaboration with the team at Blake Morgan when dealing with the challenges of progressing casework during the pandemic, and now as we work through our recovery plans.

Key clients

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Health & Care Professions Council

General Pharmaceutical Council

General Dental Council

NHS England

Social Care Wales

Teaching Regulation Agency

Education Workforce Council (Wales)

Architects Registration Board

Institution of Mechanical Engineers

General Osteopathic Council

General Optical Council

Security Industry Authority

Royal Institute of British Architects

Work highlights

  • Retained by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for several years, following competitive tender processes, for complex investigations of nurse and midwife misconduct.
  • Retained by the General Pharmaceutical Council for several years, following competitive tender processes, for complex investigations involving pharmacy professionals.
  • Appointed to assist the Health & Care Professions Council with a backlog of fitness to practice investigations, including a large number of serious, complex cases.

BLM

BLM's highly experienced professional discipline team is widely respected for its representation of healthcare professionals in Performers List procedures, investigations by the General Medical Council (GMC), and hearings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), General Dental Council (GDC), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and General Optical Council (GOC). In Manchester, Clare Chapman leads the firm’s professional discipline and regulatory practice group; and Katie Costello has longstanding experience in acting for healthcare professionals. Also integral to the group are Cardiff-based Jane Lang, who heads the healthcare advice and inquest practice; and London's Rosie Shapiro, who represents healthcare professionals before the regulators, and medical crime team head Adam Weston. Notable associate-level support is provided by Lee Biddle, who defends healthcare professionals; regulatory and disciplinary specialist Ewan Bright; Max Ekstein, who assists with complaints involving psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists; and healthcare professional expert Rebecca Gowling.

Practice head(s):

Clare Chapman; Rosie Shapiro; Jane Lang

Other key lawyers:

Katie Costello; Adam Weston; Lee Biddle; Ewan Bright; Max Ekstein; Rebecca Gowling; Laura Smith

Testimonials

They are all extremely professional and knowledgeable in this field.

Very client friendly and able to supply the full array of services that clients now expect; they also have a very useful ‘Intelligence Department’, which often investigates matters that other firms cannot.

Jane Lang is relentless in her support of her clients, and nothing is ever too much trouble; and she handles often difficult issues with charm and humour.

Katie Costello is a hands-on and pragmatic lawyer; she has a real flair for knowing what will work for clients in any given situation and pushes her point with skill and determination.

Adam Weston is very good with clients and far more able than his years would suggest.

Clare Chapman is extremely able, thorough, hardworking and supporting of both clients and others.

Rosie Shapiro is very thorough and cerebral while at the same time realistic and practical in her approach to cases.

Rosie Shapiro and associate Lee Biddle have both provided me with expert assistance for a range of cases, and at all times the advice provided has been excellent, timely, and often provided out of hours or on Bank Holidays without complaint.

Key clients

Medical Protection

Dental Protection

Well Pharmacy

National Pharmacy Association

Care UK

All Med Pro

Abbey Legal Protection

Asda Opticians

Boots UK

Specsavers Optical Group

Federation of Opthalmic and Dispensing Opticians

Vision Express

Hiscox

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

Howden Group

Optical Express

Capsticks LLP

Capsticks LLP‘s approximately 80-strong regulatory division recently conducted over 400 professional disciplines in a 12-month period, including in the healthcare, police and legal services sectors; and the practice has grown significantly through its April 2021 recruitment of a highly experienced team from Bates Wells, comprising partner Nicole Curtis, a healthcare, veterinary and equine expert, consultants Katrina Wingfield and Geoffrey Hudson, and associate Neil Wilks. Mark Whiting has overall responsibility for the team’s work with recently acquired client Social Work England; Daniel Purcell consistently leads on work for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA); and James Penry-Davey leads the regulatory team. Other highly rated practitioners are Nimi Bruce, who specialises in sexual misconduct cases; Hugh Giles, a former director of legal services at the Metropolitan Police Service; SRA expert Mark Rogers; and Kate Steele, who supervises professional disciplinary investigations on behalf of regulatory bodies. Legal director Ian Brook and associates Anna HoldsworthKeziah Pearson and Jenny Wood are also experienced advisers.

Practice head(s):

James Penry-Davey; Mark Whiting

Other key lawyers:

Nicole Curtis; Daniel Purcell; Mark Rogers; Kate Steele; Katrina Wingfield; Geoffrey Hudson; Hugh Giles; Nimi Bruce; Neil Wilks; Ian Brook; Anna Holdsworth; Keziah Pearson; Jenny Wood; David Collins; Louise Culleton; Hannah Pilkington; Adelita Thursby-Pelham; John Tippett-Cooper

Testimonials

The team provides leading national-level depth and breadth of experience and knowledge in the field.

Outstanding services in all the key areas required by statutory regulators, striving to meet modern regulatory expectations from case investigation through to advocacy and appellate litigation.

The team provides ongoing training for clients, and is actively involved at the national level in providing support for other regulatory professionals.

The team is professional, accessible and collaborative.

Very responsive to feedback and suggestions regarding continuous improvement to make the client experience better.

Nicole Curtis is a first-class, nationally-respected leader in the field, both as advisor and advocate; and her outstanding intellect and natural common-sense ability enable her to provide reliable, clear, quick and efficient advice to her clients in all areas of professional regulation.

Geoffrey Hudson is an outstanding solicitor, who provides exceptionally clear and detailed advice on cases, particularly those that are very complex and challenging – he always provides us with a first-class service.

Neil Wilks is very much moving from the one-to-watch category into being a name to ask for; he has considerable experience in the field, which, when combined with his obvious intellect, provides his clients with the full range of legal services, enabling his clients to meet all the demands made of them.

Key clients

Social Work England

Solicitors Regulation Authority

General Dental Council

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Teaching Regulation Agency

General Chiropractic Council

General Optical Council

Bar Standards Board

General Osteopathic Council

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

Farriers Registration Council

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Social Work England in a case where the social worker had accepted money from a survivor of the Grenfell tragedy and failed to maintain professional boundaries.
  • Acted for the General Dental Council in successfully dealing with a complex complaint that a dentist had provided sub-standard care to nine patients.
  • Successfully prosecuted, on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, a high-profile City solicitor accused of dishonesty.

Clyde & Co LLP

The 'very hands-on' team at Clyde & Co LLP covers a wide range of professional disciplinary matters alongside the firm's professional liability defence work; and the team's sector expertise includes medical and healthcare, legal, accountancy, property, insurance and financial services, while particularly noted for its defence of professionals. The healthcare regulatory and disciplinary team, led by Claire Petts, represents healthcare practitioners facing investigations; Fergal Cathie acts for professionals in high-profile cases before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT); James Roberts heads the accountants liability, regulatory and disciplinary group; and Tim Crockford acts in disciplinary proceedings against auditors and accountants. Also integral to the group are Richard Harrison, who heads up the lawyers’ liability, investigations and regulatory group; professional liability specialist Sarah Clover; and accountants’ liability expert Andrew ForsythSam Holden, Tabitta van NouhuysJonathan Lawrence and Michael Clark are the legal directors to note, while senior associate Padi Dolatshahi represents healthcare professionals in regulatory investigations. Partner growth includes Penrose Foss joining in February 2021 from RSM (where she was GC), the 2020 hire of Joanna Bower from Capsticks LLP, and the recent elevation of Niya Phiri to partner. Rising star Stephen Hooper joined from Hempsons in March 2021.

Practice head(s):

Fergal Cathie; James Roberts; Claire Petts

Other key lawyers:

Tim Crockford; Richard Harrison; Sarah Clover; Andrew Forsyth; Penrose Foss; Joanna Bower; Niya Phiri; Judith Duffin; Sam Holden; Tabitta van Nouhuys; Jonathan Lawrence; Michael Clark; Natalia Jeremiah; David Milner; James Gyselynck; Laurel Forde; Jonathan Lawrence; Michael Clark; Stephen Hooper; Padi Dolatshahi

Testimonials

The most experienced and successful team in this field. Critically, they have deep experience of taking matters to fully contested complex hearings, which they make look easy – it isn’t.

A very hands-on firm and incredibly approachable despite their size and superb reputation.

Perhaps the best firm around for professional discipline cases involving solicitors.

The team is knowledgeable, hardworking and committed to the client’s interests.

Richard Harrison is a market leader for professional negligence and discipline and investigations, especially as regards solicitors – astute and wise, brings a huge amount of expertise and knowledge to the case, and a reassuring presence in difficult matters.

Fergal Caithie instils confidence in clients and reads the tribunal well.

Andrew Forsyth is a remarkable and outstanding lawyer, who has unbounded energy and is immensely likeable.

Joanna Bower is incredibly knowledgeable and skilful at providing a second-to-none service for clients.

Key clients

PricewaterhouseCoopers

KPMG

Grant Thornton

RSM

Deloitte

BDO

Spire Healthcare

MDDUS

Medical Protection Society

Dental Protection

Over 50 NHS trusts

Premium Medical Protection

Hempsons

Hempsons' highly-rated, national regulatory, crime and professional discipline team comprises 24 specialist lawyers following its January 2020 merger with Eastwoods, which added Surjit Dubb, who acts for professionals in disciplinary proceedings; Adam Smith, who has a longstanding focus on regulatory defence work; and senior consultant Simon Eastwood, the 'doyen and master of this area of work'. The practice acts for clients in the health and social care sectors, as well as other professional areas such as sports, police, fiduciaries and corporate executives; and it routinely acts in complex investigations. The London team further fields: Chris Morris, who represents clinicians in proceedings before their regulatory bodies; Tania Francis, who assists healthcare professionals with regulatory and criminal investigations and proceedings; and Sharon Cooney, a healthcare regulation specialist. In Manchester, Katherine Sheldrick has over 20 years’ experience in defending professionals in disciplinary proceedings; Anne Ball, senior partner since January 2021, is a healthcare expert; and associate John Fitzpatrick defends healthcare regulatory investigations. Over in Harrogate, Hannah Stephenson, a partner since 2019, also defends healthcare professionals before their regulatory bodies.

Practice head(s):

Tania Francis; Katherine Sheldrick

Other key lawyers:

Surjit Dubb; Adam Smith; Simon Eastwood; Chris Morris; Tania Francis; Sharon Cooney; Katherine Sheldrick; Anne Ball; Hannah Stephenson; John Fitzpatrick

Testimonials

This team has successfully incorporated the Eastwoods team.

Depth and breadth of expertise with excellent practical advice.

Practical advice that is tactically astute.

A sensible team that is good at calming down demanding and difficult professional clients.

The team at both the London and Manchester offices provide a premier service for doctors and dentists facing disciplinary and criminal proceedings. Their knowledge of the law in this area is second to none, coupled with first-rate clinical knowledge; and their expertise in overlapping jurisdictions (professional discipline, medico-legal crime and inquests) make the firm extremely cost effective.

Simon Eastwood is the doyen and master of this area of work.

Surjit Dubb is first class.

Anne Ball and Katherine Sheldrick have a real presence- they give calm, clear advice and have superb tactical skills; and associate John Fitzpatrick excels in drafting.

Key clients

Medical Defence Union

NHS England

Dental Defence Union

CQC

UK Haemophilia Centres Doctors Organisation

Police Federation of England and Wales

The Association of British Dispensing Opticians

Work highlights

  • Acted for the United Kingdom Haemophilia Centre Doctors’ Organisation in an independent public statutory inquiry, established to examine the circumstances in which men, women and children were given infected blood and infected blood products.
  • Represented a consultant who was reported to the GMC in relation to 11 allegations of sexual misconduct against three members of the nursing staff.
  • Represented a GP before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in relation to an allegation of a sexually motivated examination of a colleague.

Kingsley Napley LLP

Kingsley Napley LLP consistently acts for both individuals and corporations in serious, complex, high-profile cases across all the regulated sectors; and has worked with some of the largest UK regulators for over 50 years. Heading the regulatory team, Nicola Hill acts for many of the statutory healthcare, professional service and educational sector regulators; Iain Miller has an excellent reputation for advising law firms and legal regulators; Melinka Berridge is the firm's lead partner for several of the firm's regulatory clients; Julie Norris' practice centres on law firms and their partners; and Julie Matheson leads the financial regulatory practice. The second line of strong advisers includes Sarah Harris, whose experience includes acting for leading regulatory bodies in high-profile and complex cases; head of the regulatory team of advocates, Hannah Eales, and medical and dental sector specialist Shannett Thompson, who were both elevated to the partnership in 2020; and senior associate Jessica Clay, 'an absolute star'.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Hill

Other key lawyers:

Iain Miller; Melinka Berridge; Julie Norris; Julie Matheson; Sarah Harris; Hannah Eales; Shannett Thompson; Jessica Clay

Testimonials

Good knowledge of the area, good grasp of commercial realities, and great for their understanding of the needs of their clients and the challenges they face in the regulatory space.

Incredible depth of knowledge of regulatory law – and, more importantly, up-to-date and practical experience of regulators and their expectations.

Julie Norris is highly composed and intellectual – an absolute leader in her field.

Melinka Berridge is extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of regulatory law, and this extends to a remarkable knowledge of even the minutiae of the many cases on which we instruct the team to take forward. She is always approachable and available to offer advice when we need it and always prepared to go the extra mile.

Iain Miller, Julie Norris and senior associate Jessica Clay are all outstanding – easy to deal with, fabulous with clients, and fantastic for detail and the bigger picture.

Iain Miller rightly deserves his reputation as a doyen; he is not only a fountain of knowledge, but extremely user friendly and a delight to work with. He also sets the tone for everyone in his team – they all, as a result, recognise the human element in professional discipline, which is absolutely key, and do the best job possible.

Julie Norris and senior associate Jessica Clay are the best team I have worked with in terms of human intelligence and strategy. Compassion and emotional intelligence are a much under-used quality in the profession and they both have it in abundance.

Jessica Clay has an amazing eye for detail and brilliant practical knowledge – an absolute star in her field who combines industry know-how with excellent judgement and superb all-round knowledge of the law.

Key clients

Baker McKenzie LLP

Architects Registration Board

Education Workforce Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for Baker McKenzie in proceedings brought against it by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, in a case which was the subject of extensive coverage in both the legal and mainstream press.
  • Acted for the Architects Registration Board in an investigation into an allegation of unacceptable professional conduct against architect Philip Syborn, and presented the case before the Professional Conduct Committee.
  • Acted for the Education Workforce Council in investigating an allegation of unacceptable professional conduct against headteacher Neil Foden, and presented the case before the Fitness to Practise Committee.

RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP

At the forefront of professional discipline work, RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP is 'full of excellent lawyers', who cover all regulated sectors and professions through specialist teams for healthcare professionals, solicitors and legal services regulation, and police disciplinary work. Frequently leading complex matters before the GMC and GDC, the 'extremely knowledgeable, articulate and experienced' Sam Flew heads the healthcare professionals team; commercial litigation head Nigel West also leads the solicitors regulation practice; and Leeds-based Tom Nutter heads the firm's police disciplinary/regulatory work. Also key to the practice are Susanna Heley, who represents solicitors, partners and employees in professional disciplinary matters; and Stewart Duffy, a specialist in disciplinary matters for healthcare professionals, who is dual qualified in medicine and law. At consultant level, Linda Lee is a former president of the Law Society of England and Wales; and Alex Leslie represents NHS professionals in disciplinary matters.

Practice head(s):

Sam Flew; Nigel West; Tom Nutter

Other key lawyers:

Susanna Heley; Stewart Duffy; Linda Lee; Alex Leslie; Alistair Hewitt; Simon Kernyckyj

Testimonials

Full of excellent lawyers, from the more junior end of the spectrum to the more senior partners.

They are all extremely professional and knowledgeable in the field, and rightly occupy a special standing in this area of law.

Excellent partners who run cases to a very high standard and head up great teams of juniors.

Very client friendly, and able to supply the full array of services that clients now expect.

They know the professional discipline area of law inside out, and are at the top of their game when it comes to defending practitioners.

They are always quick to respond to queries and will go above and beyond to help.

Excellent strategic and legal analysis of regulatory and disciplinary issues concerning solicitors.

Sam Flew is extremely knowledgeable, articulate and experienced, and always capable of seeing both what is possible but also what is realistic.

Bates Wells

Bates Wells' multi-disciplinary team covers the entire gamut of professional discipline. The practice consistently acts for leading health and social care bodies, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Farriers Registration Council, and accountancy-related regulators; and it has notable strength in acting for representative bodies and membership organisations with professional discipline functions. A significant proportion of Emma Dowden-Teale’s practice involves the regulation of professionals in the healthcare and education sectors; and former General Optical Council (GOC) deputy registrar Melanie Carter, has longstanding private practice experience in representing the GOC and the GDC, in addition to recently leading work for both the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and newly-established Social Work England. Providing key support is senior associate Claire Whittle, a public and regulatory lawyer, whose specialisms include professional discipline. In 2021, former partner Nicole Curtis, consultants Katrina Wingfield and Geoffrey Hudson, and associate Neil Wilks joined Capsticks LLP.

Practice head(s):

Emma Dowden-Teale; Melanie Carter

Other key lawyers:

Claire Whittle

Testimonials

The team is accessible, efficient, and works within agreed timescales.

They were able to assimilate a great deal of information before formulating the legal response, and I was impressed with the professionalism, efficiency and service I received – would recommend them highly.

They are very approachable and engaged, and just as happy to let you bounce ideas off them as much as produce formal advice.

Great at understanding our values and culture, along with expertise in all the areas where we need advice.

All the individuals who’ve worked for us are knowledgeable, courteous and professional, and they provide a good service and good advice whenever we need it.

Melanie Carter is highly experienced and very approachable.

Melanie Carter is very knowledgeable and collaborative in sometimes difficult situations. I would not hesitate to recommend her in the disciplinary field that we worked in together.

Melanie Carter is highly capable and gives sound legal advice.

Key clients

Social Work England

Architects Registration Board

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

General Osteopathic Council

General Pharmaceutical Council

General Optical Council

Farriers Registration Council

Council of the Inns of Court

Chartered Institute of Legal Executives

Insolvency Practitioners Association

Royal Institute of British Architects

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

The Compliance Officer of Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

British Psychoanalytical Society (incorporating the Institute of Psychoanalysis)

Royal College of Nursing

British Psychotherapy Federation

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council

International Psychoanalytical Association

Work highlights

  • Rewriting the Architects Registration Board’s investigation and disciplinary practice rules.
  • Acting for Social Work England in a number of High Court challenges involving fitness to practise matters.
  • Acts for The British Psychoanalytic Council, a professional association for the psychoanalytic profession, on an ongoing basis.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Acting for several leading public and third sector regulatory bodies in the UK, Browne Jacobson LLP has substantial experience across a range of disciplinary/regulatory matters, including disciplinary investigations, presentation of matters before professional conduct panels, and acting as legal adviser to statutory committees. The firm was recently reappointed as legal provider and prosecutor to the Teaching Regulation Agency, and has been assisting NHS England with regulatory matters relating to the Performers Lists, as well as conducting Performers Lists matters that are before the First Tier or Upper Tribunals. Leading trial advocate Fiona Butler, in Nottingham, heads the firm's team of barristers and advocates; and 'outstanding' London-based Ros Foster consistently acts for regulatory and healthcare clients. The strong second line of practitioners includes 'truly exceptional advocate' Ben Bentley, and Samantha Paxman, who was made partner in May 2021 and is 'effective in disciplinary matters.'

Practice head(s):

Fiona Butler; Ros Foster

Other key lawyers:

Ben Bentley; Samantha Paxman

Testimonials

Outstanding expertise and knowledge of regulatory matters, with advice that is always strong and valued.

Highly experienced in the regulation of teachers.

Browne Jacobson’s professional discipline practice is market leading, and the team’s expertise in education matters, in particular, is unrivalled – they have true strength in depth, with excellent senior counsel (including partner Ben Bentley) and junior fee earners alike.

Ben Bentley is a truly exceptional advocate, possessed of a razor-sharp brain, a light touch, a fair mind, and a reasonable but persuasive manner that is highly effective with panels/tribunals.

Ben Bentley is very pleasant to deal with.

Ros Foster has real expertise and knowledge, and is assiduous in furthering our interests.

Ros Foster is outstanding and a real expert in this field, who gives considerably of her time, and makes it clear that she is on our side- she is also able to provide advice quickly and accurately.

Samantha Paxman is a robust advocate, who is effective in disciplinary matters.

Key clients

The Teaching Regulation Agency

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

The Professional Standards Authority for Health & Social Care

The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority

NHS England

The Pensions Regulator

The Care Quality Commission

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

Chartered Institute of Building

Qualifications Wales

CMS

'With an abundance of experience in this field', CMS' team acts for both the prosecution and defence in professional disciplinary proceedings, public inquiries, criminal proceedings and inquests, in addition to advisory work concerning regulatory bodies; and its defence work for healthcare registrants has increased notably of late. Manchester-based Rachel Cooper, who advises corporate clients on regulation within the UK in the health, social care and education sectors, heads the professional discipline and regulatory team alongside Sheffield's Chris Horsefield, who regularly represents the Medical Defence Union (MDU) in defending its doctor members in public inquiries, GMC proceedings, coroners' inquests and trust investigations. Also integral to the group are Yvonne ScreeneKatie Clarke and Natasha Ricioppo, who were recently elevated to partner, of counsel and senior associate respectively.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Cooper; Chris Horsefield

Other key lawyers:

Yvonne Screene; Katie Clarke; Natasha Ricioppo

Testimonials

Professional and extraordinarily hardworking, and with an abundance of experience in this field – no stone is left unturned in the case preparation.

The firm has led the way in collaborative joint ventures with barristers’ chambers to win tenders for Fitness to Practice work for regulators, including the GOC and GPhC, by offering an end-to end service; and the demarcation of responsibility works very well, and is far superior to other firms that attempt to do both case preparation and advocacy themselves.’

The team is exceptionally well led by Rachel Cooper, and the employees are enthusiastic and very hardworking.

Rachel Cooper is a bundle of inexhaustible energy and leads the team from the front. Her excellent commercial sense, and drive to win new clients has been a major part of CMS’ success in this area.

Rachel Cooper continues to stand head and shoulders above others in the field. She supports her team but also drives them hard to deliver; and she is ably seconded by of counsel Katie Clarke. Together they have expanded the work CMS do in this area, and have secured important contracts with new clients.

Rachel Cooper is the most impressive tender bid presenter in her profession; and she gets the best out of her staff by a combination of personal example and involvement, making her an exemplary team leader.

Of counsel Katie Clarke and senior associate Natasha Ricioppo are bright, efficient and hardworking advisers who are bound to progress rapidly because of their outstanding ability.

Natasha Ricioppo is always on top of the cases, with a sharp eye for detail and a good tactical brain.

Key clients

Medical Defence Union

General Pharmaceutical Council

General Optical Council

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Medical Protection Society

Chubb

Outcomes First Group (the National Fostering Agency)

University of Glasgow

Work highlights

  • Received instructions from the MDU to assist many senior/prominent (and now mostly retired) clinicians in connection with the Infected Blood Inquiry.
  • Appointed to the General Pharmaceutical Council’s panel and now in receipt of regular instructions to investigate cases and present them at hearing.
  • Assisted Google with drafting a policy for medical practitioners employed by Google, to remind them of their professional regulatory obligations in a number of areas, including conflicts of interest and promoting of products.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP has longstanding experience in representing medical practitioners in disciplinary proceedings. The practice also focuses on the financial services sector, as well as public law and local government-related matters. Healthcare specialist Christopher Briggs' practice includes acting for doctors and dentists in disciplinary proceedings before the GMC and the GDC; Stephen Hocking is the firm's public sector head; Richard Highley leads the accountancy service line; and Louise Wiltshire represents healthcare professionals before their professional regulators. The associates to note are Christian Carr, who acts in disciplinary proceedings brought by healthcare regulators; and Caroline Dean, who focuses on defending medical practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Briggs; Stephen Hocking

Other key lawyers:

Richard Highley; Louise Wiltshire; Christian Carr; Caroline Dean

Testimonials

‘Mature, experienced, balanced advice.’

‘Richard Highley is very thoughtful and tactically astute.’

Key clients

Medical Defence Union

Zurich

ARAG

WR Berkley

Themis

Fieldfisher

Fielding one of the largest specialist professional discipline groups for over 25 years, Fieldfisher is best known for acting for over 40 different regulators across health, sport, surveying, policing, finance and law, as well as higher education institutions offering study courses in regulated professions. 'Standout lawyer' Sarah Ellson, who divides her time between the Manchester and London offices, co-heads the regulatory group alongside John Cassels in London, where former regulatory head Matthew Lohn specialises in advising both regulators and regulated entities. At non-partner level, the London office showcases director Carina May, who acts for a range of clients in regulatory and professional discipline matters, and has experience in the healthcare, finance and legal sectors; and senior associate Tom Crawford, who has broad experience in professional disciplinary matters. In Manchester, associate Jonathon Bell's practice includes defending transport managers before the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Ellson; John Cassels

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Lohn; Carina May; Tom Crawford; Jonathon Bell; Michael McCag

Testimonials

Very collaborative, responsive, easy to access and solution focused.

Fieldfisher has a wealth of experience in the professional regulatory and disciplinary field.

They act for a range of different regulators, and it is precisely this cross- fertilisation of current legal developments and good practice that is so beneficial to smaller regulators.

Able to advise quickly and efficiently.

Sarah Ellson is a standout lawyer with phenomenal knowledge of case law – encyclopaedic! She is also wise and calm, and thinks outside the box with the ability to simplify difficult facts and problems.

Sarah Ellson seeks to build long-term relationships with her clients, and to understand clients’ needs and pressures.

Excellent work, particularly from Sarah Ellson and associate Jonathon Bell.

Key clients

General Medical Council

Professional Standard Authority

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Teaching Regulation Agency

Nursing & Midwifery Council

Council for Licensed Conveyancers

General Optical Council

Taxation Disciplinary Board

RICS

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Professional Standard Authority in several important appeals, where the original sanction was found to be insufficient to protect the public.
  • Acted for the Teaching Regulation Agency in investigating over 145 teaching regulation cases.
  • Providing all round support to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers on disciplinary and enforcement cases.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Focusing on complex, high-profile and sensitive matters, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's professional disciplinary work complements the firm's leading administrative law, human rights and disputes practices; in a recent 12-month period, the majority of the team's work was in the financial, accountancy and legal sectors. The expertise of 'standout' practice head Andrew Lidbetter extends across a range of fields, such as accountancy, nursing and midwifery; Nusrat Zar's experience includes acting for a number of accountancy regulators; the broad practice of Tom Leech QC, who leads the firm's advocacy group, includes professional discipline matters; and David Reston's work for solicitors encompasses related professional conduct and disciplinary issues. At of counsel level, Jasveer Randhawa's experience includes disciplinary proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Lidbetter

Other key lawyers:

Nusrat Zar; Tom Leech QC; David Reston; Jasveer Randhawa

Testimonials

Exceptionally strong team dealing with financial services, accountancy and actuaries.

They can handle large-scale and complex investigations, and have exceptional knowledge of their area of expertise.

They understand the law from the inside out.

No stone left unturned in seeking a positive resolution of the issue.

Very sophisticated and detailed practice.

Andrew Lidbetter is a standout partner here – very knowlegable with great attention to detail.

David Reston is an exceptional adviser.

Nusrat Zar and Jasveer Randhawa are very good.

Key clients

Roger Jenkins

Baillie Gifford

TP ICAP

Pool Re

Pension Insurance Corporation

Ardonagh Group

Willis Towers Watson

Cabot Square Capital

Moorfield Group

BNP Paribas

Former non-executive directors of Carillion

Work highlights

  • Advising a former senior employee of Barclays Bank, on criminal, civil and regulatory matters, further to efforts by Barclays Bank to raise emergency capital at the height of the global financial crisis.
  • Advising former executive and non-executive directors of Carillion in the extremely high-profile insolvency of the Carillion Group, including acting in disqualification proceedings brought by the Secretary of State under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Handling substantial and complex cases involving the most serious allegations, Russell-Cooke LLP acts for professional and regulatory bodies, regulated businesses and individuals across a range of professions, including solicitors, barristers, healthcare professionals, architects, accountants, financial services professionals, charity trustees and teachers. Senior partner John Gould‘s experience includes several high-profile disciplinary proceedings; Matt Bosworth, acts for both regulatory bodies and individual members of professions; Michael Stacey‘s key areas are legal services, architects, accountants and charity trustees; and senior associate Andrew Pavlovic‘s experience includes acting for the SRA in influential and reported cases. Notable growth includes legal counsel Tom Bradford, who is experienced in professional discipline matters, rejoining in March 2021 from Freeths LLP, where he was a partner.

Practice head(s):

John Gould; Matt Bosworth

Other key lawyers:

Michael Stacey; Andrew Pavlovic; Tom Bradford

Testimonials

They are the best at professional discipline – these lawyers know their stuff.

The variety of experience and market penetration of Russell-Cooke is remarkable –  they quietly do the work without bragging about it on social media.

They bring a wealth of experience across numerous sectors to solving problems for clients, and are commercial, strategic and fighters when necessary. Their work covers nearly every conceivable profession – auditors, solicitors, architects, police officers, sportsmen, to name but a few.

Strength and depth within the professional discipline team, including excellent client trust building/rapport, strong expertise and experience (particularly of the SDT).

Excellent strategic judgement.

Matt Bosworth is calm, committed and a winner.

Michael Stacey is a very exciting recent addition to the partnership, with significant commitment to cases, excellent judgement and a delight to work with – invites trust from clients and supports counsel well.

Andrew Pavlovic is excellent. He understands that litigation and investigations can have a huge impact on mental health, so he is always cautious in how he communicates with clients.

Key clients

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

The Law Society of England and Wales

Solicitors Regulation Authority

Architects Registration Board

Sir Ian Andrews

Work highlights

  • Acted for a solicitor in high-profile disciplinary proceedings brought by the SRA concerning an instruction to draft a settlement agreement.
  • Acts for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy in professional disciplinary cases, particularly complex or sensitive cases.
  • Acted for a charity trustee in an appeal before the First Tier Tribunal against his disqualification as a trustee for a period of 15 years.

Blackfords LLP

Regularly representing clients at GMC, GDC, NMC, Social Work England and HCPC hearings, Blackfords LLP is particularly focused on the health and social care sectors. The practice also acts for police and police personnel in misconduct proceedings, and represents solicitors in SRA investigations, while growth areas include assisting football professionals facing sexual abuse allegations of a historic nature. Gary Rubin is a regulatory and professional discipline specialist; the broad practices of Trevor Francis and Gary Bloxsome include disciplinary proceedings; director Philip Williams acts for social care cleints; and solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson is 'particularly good with difficult and vulnerable clients'.

Practice head(s):

Gary Rubin

Other key lawyers:

Trevor Francis; Gary Bloxsome; Philip Williams; Jennifer Richardson

Testimonials

A very solid firm with a wide field of specialisms.

The team at Blackfords offer an excellent service to clients, not least because of the breadth and depth or their experience.

The junior members’ breadth of experience and practical advice are impressive, and they provide realistic advice and warn of the wider consequences.

Gary Rubin has a fantastic team ethic, and works closely with more junior members of the team to ensure that each case benefits from the experience of the team collectively – in my experience, this happens with all the cases, from the least to the most serious.

Gary Rubin is a very experienced partner, with an excellent strategic feel for large and complex cases.

Solicitor advocate Jennifer Richardson is a first rate lawyer, achieves outstanding results for clients, keeps us well informed, and provides exceptional client care.’

Jennifer Richardson is an extremely capable, diligent and personable solicitor advocate, who is particularly good with difficult and vulnerable clients.

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Agar Trust in NMC proceedings against several nurses, which concerned the care received by a mental health patient (both within hospital and in the community), who later committed suicide.
  • Represented a police constable in connection with a disciplinary/misconduct investigation concerning mortgage fraud, failure to declare business interests, failure to declare association with convicted person, and unauthorised access to the police computer system.
  • Acted for high-profile dietician Dr Sarah Schenker after she was reported to the HCPC by a fellow dietician, who had disagreed with her opinion on the effects of caffeine for weight loss.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP‘s ‘excellent‘ team advises across the spectrum of healthcare and sports regulatory matters. The healthcare team is best known for its regulatory assistance with NHS legislation and remuneration, Fitness to Practise proceedings, representation at NHS tribunal hearings, judicial reviews, and health sector crime; and on the sports side, the practice focuses on assisting organisations with regulatory, governance and integrity compliance. Edward Craig is a horseracing and polo specialist; legal director Rachel Warren is ‘tactically very good’; and senior associate Danielle Sharkey is ‘highly experienced in equine-related regulatory matters‘.

Other key lawyers:

Edward Craig; Rachel Warren; Danielle Sharkey

Testimonials

An excellent firm, with depth and breadth of experience in regulatory matters.

CRS is the premier legal team for pharmacy law. The team has an encyclopaedic knowledge of pharmaceutical regulations, which enables it to give fast, detailed and tactically astute advice in a number of different jurisdictions; and it is hugely experienced in defending both individual and corporate pharmacy clients.

The team is experienced and highly capable in integrity-related matters; and they are adaptable to our needs – without doubt a market leader in the area; and the firm’s method of electronic bundling is particularly impressive and not something that I have experienced with other firms over the COVID period – extremely easy to use.

Rachel Warren is tactically very good – clients will accept robust advice from her because they respect her and she is invariably right.

Danielle Sharkey is highly experienced in equine-related regulatory matters. Her knowledge and willingness to help with any matter is greatly appreciated – Danielle sees possible issues in cases that would otherwise go unseen, and is able to offer practical solutions.

Key clients

Greyhound Board of Great Britain

Ascot Racecourse

National Pharmacy Association

Work highlights

  • Acted for a pharmacist facing fitness to practise proceedings before the General Pharmaceutical Council.
  • Acting for a doctor who is facing a fitness to practise investigation by the General Medical Council.
  • Appointed by a major sports regulator to conduct investigations, including conducting interviews with relevant parties and producing a report, which includes recommendations in respect of potential breaches of the regulator’s rules.

Keoghs LLP

Keoghs LLP's professional discipline team has been representing healthcare professionals before their disciplinary bodies for over 40 years. Specialising in representing professionals, Ruth Lawrence heads the professional and financial risks team nationally; veterinary defence leader Sarah Naylor acts for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses in disciplinary proceedings; healthcare head Sian Davies is heavily involved in FTP issues; and Jason Howarth frequently represents medical practitioners at regulatory hearings before the GMC and GDC. Graham Taylor, who 'has a wealth of knowledge in this area', made partner in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Lawrence; Sian Davies

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Naylor; David Bowes; Jason Howarth; Graham Taylor; David Bowes; Alice Rendell

Testimonials

The team has a good knowledge of the law in this area, and therefore the advice and preparation for cases is thorough and strategic.

Works well as a team, engendering confidence in others when one member of the team is unavailable.

Approachable and flexible, making for an easy and relaxed working relationship while maintaining high professional standards.

Keoghs has made a real effort to focus talent and resources in this area; its professional discipline cases are partner-led in the true, engaged sense of the term. They also have deep relationships with their professional clients, and have made recent deliberate efforts to diversify the panel of counsel that they instruct.

Detailed knowledge of the subject matter and a willingness of partners to engage in the detail.

Shows an interest in the wider interests of us as a client, proactively suggesting and arranging training and engagement across wider teams, which strengthen relationships and make for improved productivity and ease of working – Sarah Naylor and Ruth Lawrence are key in leading and engendering this approach to the work undertaken for us.

Graham Taylor has a wealth of knowledge in this area; he grasps the key concerns in the case and deals with them head on.

Graham Taylor is committed to his clients and will go the extra mile – instructions provided to counsel are clear and well thought out.

Key clients

Veterinary Defence Society

RSA

Beazley

Murdochs Solicitors

The 'small, highly effective team' at Murdochs Solicitors has longstanding experience in focusing almost exclusively on defending solicitors and other legal professionals facing regulatory investigations and disciplinary proceedings. Practice head and senior partner Andrew Blatt, who 'focuses on delivering a great result', specialises in SRA investigations, SDT proceedings, and complex partnership disputes involving misconduct; 'extremely knowledgeable' senior consultant Robert Forman, who is 'very much a solicitor's solicitor', is an expert in SRA and SDT proceedings; and director Nicholas Trevette is 'incredibly reassuring'.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Blatt

Other key lawyers:

Robert Forman; Nicholas Trevette

Testimonials

This team really cares; they take the time to understand your issue properly. You never feel rushed and they always have your wellbeing at heart. As experts in this field, and with the firm only specialising in this area, they are technically excellent.

Good, clear, honest advice from a small, highly effective team. Clients benefit from a highly personalised service and specialist advice; and they know they can speak to the team whenever they need to, and get top-quality, up-to-the minute advice. I highly recommend them.

Dedicated almost solely to solicitors’ disciplinary matters, so that the team has a granular understanding of both the SRA and the SDT.

A real open, friendly approach that left me feeling very comfortable and able to ask any questions/float any ideas.

Andrew Blatt has very strong, deep knowledge of the SRA investigation process, and the rules and the case law surrounding it, as well as good communication, a down-to-earth approach, and knowledge of the case handlers at the SRA – he focuses on delivering a great result.

Andrew Blatt was excellent – guided me expertly through the process and helped achieve an outstanding outcome through his knowledge of the law and the regulator.

Senior consultant Robert Forman is very much a solicitor’s solicitor, and extremely knowledgeable and pragmatic in his approach.

Nicholas Trevette was personable and easy to talk to – always on the end of the phone and incredibly reassuring.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP

Stephensons Solicitors LLP's defence-only practice works across the accountancy, healthcare, education, financial services and legal services sectors; and it has specialist experience in defending cases of dishonesty and sexual misconduct, and handling cases concerning a practitioner’s mental health. The Wigan-based team consistently represents professionals in cases brought by professional bodies, including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, GMC, Financial Conduct Authority, and the SRA. Regulatory department head Carl Johnson specialises exclusively in professional discipline and regulation; and Laura Hannah has a mixed practice of professional discipline and Care Quality Commission work.

Practice head(s):

Carl Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Laura Hannah

Testimonials

The professional discipline team at Stephensons excels in being able to gain the trust of clients quickly and decide on the right strategy for the particular case.

Stephensons takes time to ensure that clients attend hearings with a clear understanding of the process and the possible outcomes; and the attention to detail and level of preparation for hearings shown by Stephensons is some of the best I have seen. This undoubtedly makes a huge contribution to the successful outcomes achieved for clients.

An extremely hardworking group of people who respond very quickly to client emergencies, and who have an in depth knowledge of both the professional regulators and the tribunals who police the professionals.

The team’s flexibility is such that resources are switched to cover work that requires additional resources, and they have a very good working relationship with expert witnesses across various disciplines.

Unlike some defence organisations, they are able to see the dispute clearly from both sides, and focus on what needs to be done in order to achieve the best outcome for the particular client.

Carl Johnson is extremely analytical and results focused – he drives his cases to achieve the end that most closely matches his client’s needs.

Laura Hannah is empathetic and very hardworking.

Weightmans LLP

Well known for healthcare-related regulatory and disciplinary issues, Weightmans LLP represents all the medical defence organisations; acts in complex cases before the GMC, MPTS, GDC and GCC; and is regularly involved in NHS Performers’ List and Health Service Ombudsman work. It also conducts barrister conduct work. National health sector lead, Richard Jolly, represents healthcare providers; Emlyn Williams handles healthcare-related conduct and disciplinary issues; London office head Tim Lang's practice includes professional regulatory work; Mickaela Fox is noted for complex, high-value cases; and Robert Crossingham assists with professional disciplinary and regulatory work.

Other key lawyers:

Richard Jolly; Emlyn Williams; Tim Lang; Mickaela Fox; Robert Crossingham; Michelle Garlick

Testimonials

Mickaela Fox combines outstanding technical knowledge with a warm, no-nonsense approach to complex, high-stakes professional practice disputes.

Key clients

Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland

Professional Standards Authority

MDU

MPS

NHS England

Royal Institute of British Architects

Work highlights

  • Acted for a registered chiropractor, in relation to a Professional Conduct Committee hearing for allegedly missing a patient’s back pain-related red flags.
  • Acted for a dentist in relation to a Professional Conduct Committee hearing for allegedely inappropriately prescribing medication containing penicillin to a patient, who said she had advised the dentist that she was allergic to penicillin.
  • Acted for a partner in a law firm in disciplinary proceedings brought by the SRA which related to a client account shortfall arising from non-payment of disbursements.

Bindmans LLP

Bindmans LLP's practice leverages the firm's public law, employment and crime expertise. Katie Wheatley is crime, fraud and regulatory head; John Halford has a broad professional disciplinary and regulatory practice; and Kate Goold defends doctors, nurses, teachers and solicitors. Former department head Elizabeth McGlone recently left to join Harrison Clark Rickerbys .

Practice head(s):

Katie Wheatley; John Halford

Other key lawyers:

Kate Goold; Robert Maddox

Testimonials

Bindmans is a leading name in this area, with a strong tradition of intellectual excellence and of vigorously pursuing their clients’ interests.

A strong and very committed firm, which is able to act in the most serious types of disciplinary case, where there might also be a risk of criminal proceedings, inquest or public inquiry – their team is able to cover all those bases.

Uniformly courteous, efficient, prompt and professional.

What was unique about the team was the efficacy of the team work. I never needed to repeat information – all information was passed on and they are professional and reliable.

The advice was absolutely correct, resulting in my achieving the best possible outcome and avoiding an unjust disciplinary outcome.

John Halford is excellent and analytical; he builds a diverse and collaborative team that is very client centred.

John Halford is one of the most thorough and imaginative solicitors I have ever met – he goes the extra mile to get the best for his clients.

Kate Goold has excellent judgement, is brilliant at planning ahead to avoid the rocks, and very good with anxious clients.

Work highlights

  • Acting for The Association of Child Psychotherapists on various individual professional regulatory and disciplinary matters.
  • Acted for the Good Thinking Society in challenging the decision by the Professional Standards Authority to grant reaccreditation to the Society of Homeopaths.
  • Acting for a professional in the healthcare sector facing regulatory disciplinary proceedings instigated by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Brett Wilson LLP

Brett Wilson LLP's 'brilliant' team frequently defends professionals, including solicitors, doctors, dentists and architects, in disciplinary proceedings brought by their regulator. Highly regarded team head Nick Brett defends regulatory investigations conducted by the SRA, GMC and GDC, with key support provided by experienced solicitor Alistair Parker. Brett recently represented former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP partner Ryan Beckwith in his high-profile misconduct case, successfully appealing the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal finding against him.

Practice head(s):

Nick Brett

Other key lawyers:

Alistair Parker

Testimonials

Involved in high-profile cases with amazing results.

The firm has a broad and growing reputation.

The team straddles various disciplines in a seamless way.

The team is very helpful, professional and comprehensible.

They treat every client with respect and care, and are always supportive. I would strongly recommend this firm to other clients.

The firm is very transparent about billing, and everyone we met was friendly, down to earth and committed.

Nick Brett is absolutely first rate. He has an extremely good eye for detail, is very approachable and down to earth, and very hard working; as a client, I could not have felt more supported by Nick and could not recommend him more highly.’

Nick Brett is very professional and helpful, will go extra miles in order to help clients, and always gives very good advice; he is also sympathetic and listens patiently. This firm and Nick are just brilliant – I would recommend them to anyone who needs legal help.

DWF

DWF's team defends professionals across the medical, legal, actuarial, accountancy and financial services professions. 'Exceptional lawyer' Richard Burger defends accountants and insolvency practitioners in professional disciplinary investigations; Tracy Sell-Peters defends doctors and other healthcare practitioners whose registration is called into question by healthcare regulatory bodies; while insurance specialist John Bennett is 'outstanding'.

Practice head(s):

Tracy Sell-Peters; Richard Burger

Other key lawyers:

Harriet Quiney; Simon Mason; Jonathan Hyde; John Bennett; Sheona Wood; Jo Batchelor; Sharon Buckham

Testimonials

DWF is a very capable and proper international law firm with a very strong London and regional presence.

A very impressive range of work.

Richard Burger has extraordinary levels of client care.

Richard Burger is an assiduous lawyer who will leave no stone unturned in his quest for justice for his client – he works very hard and is trusted by clients as a safe pair of hands.

The thing that makes DWF unique is Richard Burger – an exceptional lawyer and one of the few operating in the regulatory market who is genuinely a trusted advisor to regulators and individuals. He is hardworking, reliable, bright and an exemplary solicitor.

Richard Burger has an encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services and regulatory law, and a wealth of experience.

Richard Burger is a standout individual with an exceptional eye for detail and unparalleled dedication to his clients. His knowledge of the inner workings of regulatory agencies ensures that his clients can be confident of the best available result.

John Bennett is outstanding. He took the whole thing in his stride and became the broad shoulders, taking all the burden but without showing any of the stress – very impressive.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a GP in a fitness to practise hearing before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, in respect of a complaint referred to the GMC by a sports governing body.

Gordons Partnership LLP

Gordons Partnership LLP's 'totally fearless' team represents doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists in healthcare-related proceedings. Richard Creamer acts in matters before the GMC and GDC; Charles Atkins is experienced in sensitive cases and difficult witnesses; Iain Pickering represents doctors, dentists and pharmacists; and consultant Susan Hunneyball has 'a great client manner'.

Practice head(s):

Richard Creamer; Charles Atkins; Iain Pickering

Other key lawyers:

Susan Hunneyball; Joshua Morrison; Shelley Boyd

Testimonials

An in-depth knowledge of both their field and clients.

Very professional and totally fearless in taking on regulatory bodies that overstep the mark and threaten their clients.

A very efficient and cohesive practice that is quick to respond.

Richard Creamer is an excellent solicitor, who knows dental law and practice like the back of his hand – a go-to adviser.

The standout partner is Richard Creamer, who is easily accessible, approachable, supremely knowledgeable, and absolutely fearless in protecting his client.

When your back is against the wall, and your professional career and standing are being unfairly challenged by regulators, Richard Creamer is your friend, counsellor and fearless defender.

Susan Hunneyball has in-depth knowledge of the pharmacy sector, which benefits a wide range of clients facing fitness to practise/disciplinary issues, especially before the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Susan Hunneyball has a great client manner, which puts stressed clients at ease.’

Key clients

National Pharmacy Association

Hickman & Rose

Much of Hickman & Rose's work involves professional disciplinary representation of individuals, whom the firm also represents in criminal allegations. Experienced partner Andrew Katzen heads the team, which includes financial services-related professional discipline specialist Claire Wallace, and founding partner Ben Rose, who acts in defence-side professional misconduct allegations.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Katzen

Other key lawyers:

Claire Wallace; Ben Rose; Ross Dixon; Christopher du Boulay

Testimonials

Hickman & Rose is a superb firm that is populated by highly talented and hardworking solicitors, who are experts in their field.

Responsive, co-operative, and a genuine pleasure to have on your team.

They are collectively hard working, decisive and commercial, and instil confidence from the first moment you deal with them; and during the recent pandemic they adapted immediately to the world of remote working, remaining constantly available for urgent contact.

Hickman & Rose has particular strength in the criminal aspects of regulatory work.

Andrew Katzen is a guru of regulatory issues – a superb technical lawyer who is a great strategist and enormously experienced in dealing with a range of regulatory bodies.

Andrew Katzen is a careful, thoughtful and insightful lawyer.

Ben Rose deals with very high-profile cases, is respected by peers and the judiciary, and brings his impeccable client-handing skills to every case he takes on.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the former finance VP of Autonomy, which was acquired by Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2011, in relation to HP’s accusing of Autonomy’s senior executives of a major revenue recognition fraud.

Howard Kennedy LLP

Howard Kennedy LLP's 'excellent' team is regularly instructed by corporations and senior executives facing regulatory investigations, with solicitor disciplinary work a particular growth area for the practice. Team head Ian Ryan regularly acts for solicitors (usually partners) from City firms, and 'hands-on partner' Joel Leigh is a barrister defence specialist.

Practice head(s):

Ian Ryan

Other key lawyers:

Joel Leigh

Testimonials

Excellent in relation to lawyers’ liability and professional conduct matters.

Tactically strong, advancing arguments that others would not think to advance.

A dedicated and diverse team that delivers a client-focused, first-class service.

A really good group of highly personable solicitors, who are on top of a case and strong on work before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Ian Ryan is very strong – a good tactician.

Ian Ryan knows the SDT back to front, is very good for tactical considerations, and very engaged.

Clients are in no doubt at all that Ian Ryan is on their side and knows exactly how to fight their corner.

Joel Leigh is a very hands-on partner with good judgement.

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the former head of HR at international firm Baker McKenzie, who faced two allegations relating to the conduct of an internal investigation.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell represents regulated professionals from the financial services, healthcare, legal, accountancy, police, actuaries, osteopaths and education sectors. Shah Qureshi is London employment and professional discipline leader, and senior associate Craig Weston is 'brilliant'. In May 2021, former partners Shazia Khan and Emilie Cole left to co-found Cole Khan Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Shah Qureshi

Other key lawyers:

Craig Weston; Tina Lakhani

Testimonials

A dynamic team with a broad skillset, particularly when assisting those that are the subject of regulatory investigation.

Great for depth of experience – the team draws on criminal litigation experience to an exceptionally high standard.

Every member of the professional discipline team prepares each case thoroughly, and has an astounding ability to work through large volumes of material and prepare working schedules that make their cases accessible.

They are very hardworking and their trial preparation more closely resembles what one would expect from a highly-funded civil case – this is the work model the team adopts no matter the case.

Irwin Mitchell has a very efficient and hardworking team.

Craig Weston is brilliant in terms of strategy and loyalty, and he is very, very clever.

Key clients

Police and Medical Appeals Boards

British Dental Association

Work highlights

  • Successfully assisted a consultant plastic surgeon with a Maintaining High Professional Standards (MHPS) investigation and GMC issues, which led to a return to clinical practice.
  • Acted for the director and compliance officer of a wealth management firm, under Financial Conduct Authority investigation, in relation to large scale pension mis-selling allegations.
  • Acting for British Dental Association members on disciplinary matters, including fitness to practice and conduct issues.

Legal Risk LLP

Legal Risk LLP represents law firms and individual solicitors in SRA investigations and disciplinary action, as well as in SDT matters. In Liverpool, Frank Maher covers transactional advice, litigation and disciplinary proceedings, and Sue Mawdsley is an anti-money laundering specialist. Oxford-based Francis Dingwall 'provides thoughtful, authoritative advice on difficult SRA/ethical issues'.

Practice head(s):

Frank Maher; Sue Mawdsley; Francis Dingwall

Testimonials

They take the time to understand our needs before helping us to apply their advice in a practical way.

Highly regarded experts who provide a responsive and impressive service.

Niche, independent firm with go-to lawyers for professional indemnity matters.

Excellent up-to date knowledge, and an approachable, user-friendly team.

Frank Maher’s advice is always pragmatic and commercial, and the response times are exceptional.

Francis Dingwall is a safe pair of hands – he knows his stuff.

Francis Dingwall always provides thoughtful, authoritative advice on difficult SRA/ethical issues, which helps us to navigate them successfully.

Sue Mawdsley is a very experienced and knowledgeable lawyer. We have found her to be enthusiastic, helpful, thoughtful and persuasive. She also has an eye for detail.

McCormicks

McCormicks is best known for football-related disciplinary work, but also acts in SRA investigations and SDT defence work. Peter McCormick OBE is a sports-related regulatory and disciplinary expert and has recently been serving as interim head of the Football Association; Peter Minnikin acts for medical practitioners, physiotherapists and the Yorkshire Agricultural Society; Philip Edmondson is litigation services head; and senior associate Sara Morgan represents pharmacists.

Practice head(s):

Philip Edmondson; Peter McCormick OBE; Sara Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Peter Minnikin

Testimonials

Excellent litigators who are pragmatic, thorough, technically good, and value for money.

They are definitely a go-to firm in this field – their knowledge and integrity are impressive.

Peter McCormick OBE leads this work, and his team has a really strong reputation in this area, particularly in relation to sports matters.

Key clients

National Pharmacy Association

The Premier League

Professional Game Match Officials

Leeds United FC

Sport Resolutions (UK)

Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Solicitors Indemnity Fund

Liverpool FC

CEDR

IDRS

Work highlights

  • Represents solicitors and firms of solicitors that are the subject of investigations and/or subsequent prosecutions by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
  • Acts for the National Pharmacy Association in its members’ disciplinary proceedings.
  • Acts for the Premier League in professional disciplinary matters.

Richard Nelson LLP

Richard Nelson LLP offers UK-wide representation to individuals and organisations in professional disciplinary proceedings, covering the legal, accountancy, teaching and medical professions. Senior partner Richard Nelson leads the group, which includes managing partner Marie Dancer, who heads the medical and teaching regulatory teams, and the 'kind, supportive and availableSteve Roberts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Nelson; Marie Dancer; Steve Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Rees

Testimonials

The practice is unique because of the team’s careful, sensitive and robust advice.

The firm has made a market for itself in professional discipline, and since its success in the healthcare space it has expanded into other regulated areas.

Very easy to contact, always someone to talk to, and very helpful reception staff – clear communication throughout the process.

Richard Nelson and his team are passionate about what they do and extremely knowledgeable in their field.

Richard Nelson is a very safe pair of hands and a reassuring adviser to have by your side.

Steve Roberts has a reassuring and straightforward approach. I would definitely recommend him for his exceptional knowledge, skills and professionalism.

I dealt with Steve Roberts directly throughout- from the moment I made my first enquiry to the conclusion, he was kind, supportive and available.

Marie Dancer is a standout fee-earner for professionals facing disciplinary hearings.

RPC

RPC's professional practices group generally acts for clients who are regulated (rather than the regulators), with the team particularly focused on the legal services, architectural, healthcare and accountancy sectors. Recently promoted partner Graham Reid is a legal services industry expert, while Robert Morris in Bristol provides further partner-level support.

Practice head(s):

Graham Reid; Robert Morris

Testimonials

RPC is our go-to-firm.

They are unfailingly accessible, responsive and to the point.

Thorough, detailed, and with careful legal analysis.

Graham Reid is fantastic – thorough, thoughtful and mindful of the commercial as well as the legal issues.