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Commercial litigation: Manchester in North West

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard's Manchester-based team has 'the bandwidth to deal with the big-ticket litigation whilst having the human touch that inspires confidence'. The group counts competition litigation as a growth area, for which national practice head Mark Molyneux and legal director Samantha Haigh are names to note; it is currently acting for the Road Haulage Association in the high-profile truck litigation follow on damages claim before the CAT. Procurement disputes are among the team's other specialisms, for which legal director Clare Dwyer and managing associate Paul Rowley are noted, while Susan Garrett (who has particular experience in disputes concerning offshore jurisdictions including Mauritius and Jersey) excels in IT disputes and leads the firm's e-disputes practice. The group also has a growing business protection group led by Nicholas Ashcroft, who works alongside the firm's employment team to advise on the prevention of unlawful competition, enforcement of restrictive covenants and protection of employer's confidential information. The disputes practice has notable cross-border experience which includes a specialist Africa Business Group and international arbitration expertise.

Practice head(s):

Mark Molyneux

Other key lawyers:

Susan Garrett; Nicholas Ashcroft; Samantha Haigh; Clare Dwyer; Paul Rowley; James Currie

Testimonials

‘A great team of lawyers. They are technically brilliant and collaborate seamlessly in providing a fantastic service to clients. They have the bandwidth to deal with the big ticket litigation whilst having the human touch that inspires confidence.

‘Mark Molyneux (partner) – Has a great strategical mind and leads the team superbly. Highly respected.

‘Samantha Haigh (legal director) – takes ownership of matters and delivers solutions.’

James Currie (associate) – very proactive and produces high-quality work.’

‘Clare Dwyer is a first-class lawyer, has very good judgment and is absolutely unflappable. She gives her clients excellent service and practical commercial solutions to their problems. Her instructions are always a pleasure to receive and she is great to work with. I recommend her very highly.

Paul Rowley is a Managing Associate and a sold performer in the AG Manchester team, hard working and tenacious.’

‘Mark Molyneux: Has tremendous experience and very good at reading the other parties (and their counsel) in the litigation. Samantha Haigh: Great litigator and extremely pleasant to work with.’

Key clients

The Road Haulage Association Limited

NKT Group

PZ Cussons

The Co-operative Group

Manchester Airport Group

Office Depot Group

Solvay Group

Bestway

Diageo

Wolseley

Work highlights

  • Defended six companies in the NKT group in three claims seeking follow-on damages in connection with the European Commission cartel decision relating to the supply of high and extra high voltage power cables.
  • Acting for CIS General Insurance Limited (CISGIL) in a claim against IBM in the Technology and Construction Court (QBD) relating to IBM’s alleged wilful default and wrongful purported termination of its IT implementation and 10 year managed services contract for a new end to end IT operating platform for CISGIL.
  • Acted for Geobear Infrastructure Ltd, a company specialising in ground engineering, in a claim against a former employee of the company for breach of restrictive covenants after the former employee resigned to work for a competitor.

DLA Piper

With 'superb commercial litigators', DLA Piper's Manchester team excels in M&A disputes, private equity and corporate reorganisations and has a growing reputation for contentious data protection matters. Practice head Andrew Smith focuses on corporate disputes while, for data work, the group benefits from the addition of legal director David Cook from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. The team also attracts praise for its 'extensive knowledge of the energy sector' and counts the technology, food and retail, engineering, transport and infrastructure industries among its other sector specialisms. Jonathan Eatough is known for his 'calm, strategic approach' in a range of matters spanning technology, procurement and corporate and commercial disputes, while legal director Philip Williams and senior associate Leontia McArdle focus on corporate disputes and group litigation respectively. Senior associate Charlotte Leith's arrival from the firm's Dubai office added international arbitration expertise to the Manchester team.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Smith

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Eatough; Philip Williams; David Cook; Leontia McArdle; Charlotte Leith

Testimonials

‘Commanding position in the Manchester market; great strength in-depth.’

‘Terrific team, would strongly recommend for expertise, very detail- and results-oriented.’

‘Superb commercial litigators: very experienced in high value litigation and arbitration, a sophisticated outfit, and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Andrew Smith (Partner)- strategic, very quick on the up-take, good fun to work with. Jonathan Eatough (Partner)- strategic, excellent commercial sense, no-nonsense. Charlotte Leith (Senior Associate) – strong analytically, good fun to work with.’

‘Jonathan Eatough – partner, calm strategic approach, rigorous, and sees the important points in a dispute. Charlotte Leith – senior associate, definitely a rising star, very thoughtful and thorough, and brilliant soft skills.’

‘Andrew Smith was our main contact, and I highly recommend him.’

‘Andrew Smith is the lead partner we have worked with who has proved to be a trusted and valuable advisor. Andrew has helped us through many complicated and difficult cases generate a high rate of success.’

Key clients

Information Commissioner’s Office

The Liverpool Football & Athletic Club Limited (LFC)

OBN Private Jet Limited

Portaltech Reply Limited

ScottishPower Energy Retail Limited

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP

GHD

Work highlights

  • Represented the principal shareholder of a California-based LLC in a complex series of connected disputes regarding shareholder rights and obligations, directors’ duties and partnership law which required consideration of English and US company law.
  • Advised the ICO on Operation Cederberg (the investigation into data analytics in political campaigns) which related to the activities of Cambridge Analytica, GSR and Facebook, and is the largest data privacy investigation of its kind.
  • Represented OBN Private Jet Limited in the High Court in proceedings valued at $30m in relation to the purchase and financing of a private jet in 2019.

DWF

DWF's 'commercially focused' Manchester commercial litigation team has an impressive client base including key players across the telecoms, utilities and energy, public, food and drink, and retail sectors. The group is developing a specialism for defending data breach group actions with Andrew Harris being a key name to note; he represented W M Morrisons Supermarkets before the Supreme Court in a claim brought by over 10,000 individuals. It also launched a 'Breach Counsel' product, a crisis management service that combines experts in contentious and non-contentious data and cybersecurity issues to manage and mitigate risks. The group counts procurement litigation as another area of specialism, where it benefits from the experience of acting for both public sector clients and private sector claimants. 'Great negotiator and tactician' Joel Heap is experienced in procurement litigation, as well as corporate disputes and pensions litigation. The team is led by Lee Norman, who counts professional negligence and breach of employment contract disputes among his areas of focus, and includes director Daniel Williams and senior associates Michelle Maher and Benjamin Johnson.

Practice head(s):

Lee Norman

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Harris; Joel Heap; Daniel Williams; Michelle Maher; Benjamin Johnson

Testimonials

‘Very commercially savvy firm which has a very strong commercial litigation practice.’

‘Leading litigation team in the country – very commercially focused with clear strategies to get the clients into the best position they can be.’

‘I have worked with Andrew Harris over several years. Innate ability to get to the heart of the dispute and very effective communicator especially in correspondence. Means that you can feel confident that he is a working member of the team.’

‘Joel Heap – SUPERB – great negotiator and tactician – sees through all the detail to the clear route through. You want him in your corner.’

‘Lee Norman – great lawyer who commands respect from all who deal with him. The man you want on your side when you’re in litigation because he has every base completely covered.’

‘Despite having no prior knowledge of our business model, the team very quickly grasped how our business operates and our key objectives in trying to resolve a very tricky issue. We contacted DWF out of the blue when we needed urgent support, including potential injunction proceedings, and – despite having no previous relationship with our business – they were incredibly responsive, going above and beyond right from the off.’

‘Joel Heap and Michelle Maher have both been brilliant. I’ve really appreciated their pragmatic approach, combining astute legal advice and practical suggestions and their transparency on fees. Most of my dealings have been with Michelle and I’ve really enjoyed working with her – she has been very invested in this case and helped steer us through a very frustrating and potentially costly situation with great patience and professionalism.’

Key clients

Serco Plc

BT Plc

British Airways Plc

W M Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Countrywide Plc

Lambert Smith Hampton Limited

JCB Group

Zedra Trust Company (Jersey) Limited (trust company of Oliver Cookson)

Comparison Technologies Limited

Durham County Council

CMAC Group UK Limited

Softcat Plc

British Growth Fund Private Equity

Safeway Limited

Electricity North West

Bradford City Council

Essar Oil Plc

James Cropper Plc

Money Plus Group

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended W M Morrisons Supermarkets Plc in the first ever data protection group litigation claim brought by over 10,000 individuals and concerning a potential claimant cohort of 100,000 individuals. Involved untested legal issues which created new law in a landmark Supreme Court judgment.
  • Acting on behalf of British Airways Plc in respect of the well-publicised cyber-attack and data theft in 2018, which potentially affected several hundreds of thousands of individuals. This case is likely to be the first data group action under GDPR and as a result will involve a number of untested legal issues.
  • Acted for Durham County Council (DCC) in its successful reverse summary judgment relating to a claim for damages and declaratory and injunctive relief arising from alleged unlawful state aid regarding DCC’s arrangements for its collection of commercial waste which was undertaken in competition with Max Recycle.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's commercial and corporate litigation team is a popular choice for high-value disputes involving both national and North West corporates. The group has particular experience across a number of key sectors, including the diversified industrial, chemicals and aviation industries, which are among Matthew Taylor's areas of specialism. The practice is also a popular choice for reputation management and business protection litigation (including breach of restrictive covenant disputes) for which Michael Clavell-Bate and recently promoted Phil Duignan are the respective partners to note. Taylor and Clavell-Bate jointly lead the team, which includes legal director Thomas Whitfield and principal associate Luisa Zukowski, who combines litigation and international arbitration experience.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Taylor; Michael Clavell-Bate

Other key lawyers:

Phil Duignan; Thomas Whitfield; Luisa Zukowski

Testimonials

‘The people at this practice are fantastic. Speed of response is excellent, working style is very attentive and detailed. Technology is good. When I work with Phil Duignan I feel like he’s in-house. He very rapidly can understand and process new and changing events. He’s an exceptional lawyer.’

‘Phil Duignan is truly exceptional in all areas. His response time (even out of hours) is the fastest I’ve seen in litigation (almost immediate). He can rapidly process quickly changing and very complex events and alter the litigation plan accordingly. He also understands people well and is able to extract the required outcomes in his communications with the other side. He’s humble, honest, smart and efficient.’

Key clients

Director of the Serious Fraud Office

DXC Technology

Daisy Group

INEOS

Premier Park

Swissport

Johnson Controls Inc

Very.co.uk

Assa Abloy

Fanatics

Work highlights

  • Acting for several owners of a multi-billion pound property estate in London in a £70m claim against their former asset managers who managed the property estate for over 15 years relating to allegations that the defendants were complicit in a fraud perpetrated by the claimants’  representative in dishonest breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Advising Agena Bidco Limited, a sovereign capital private equity business, in a substantial warranty claim against the sellers of UK Car Park Management.
  • Advised Fanatics in a High Court claim brought by McLaren Racing alleging breach of a supply and distribution agreement arising from non-payment and a counterclaim for wrongful termination and breach of the exclusivity provisions of the same agreement.

Brabners LLP

Independent North West firm Brabners LLP has an 'extremely professional' commercial litigation team known particularly for its expertise in sports, recruitment and partnership disputes. The 'experienced' practice head Jeff Lewis works across these specialisms, while Andrea James and senior associate James Stewart are noted for healthcare sector disputes and contentious healthcare regulatory work, and Helena Davies has particular property and telecoms litigation expertise. Senior associate Oliver Andrews leverages his experience as a former corporate lawyer in unfair prejudice petitions and partnership disputes, while associate Lucy Craven is developing a niche in media and defamation law.

Practice head(s):

Jeff Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Andrea James; Helena Davis; Oliver Andrews; James Stewart; Lucy Craven

Testimonials

‘Brabners are an extremely professional, competent and able firm, with partners who are contactable at all times, including out of business hours, and who provide a broad range of skills always deployed in a timely manner. They provide a first-class comprehensive legal service with a commercial appreciation of the realities of the business world, and our various and specific requirements. Their use of technology throughout this difficult Covid circumstance is to be applauded, ensuring there hasn’t been a time when a meaningful meeting couldn’t be held avoiding delay.’

‘We have utilised Brabners on several occasions and I find the firm to be very open, pragmatic, and commercial with their advice. Although they (in my mind) have grown to be a large legal practice, I have found that they make us feel comfortable discussing smaller legal matters as much as the larger cases which of course we would hope not to have too many, but those things make a huge difference.’

‘Good solid attention to detail.’

‘Jeff Lewis: experienced, offering calm and sound advice in a relaxed manner.’

Key clients

Panasonic Manufacturing (UK) Ltd

Veka Recycling Ltd

Well Pharmacy/Bestway National Chemists

Leicester City FC

Barnsley FC

Restore plc

Warrington Borough Council

Nichols plc

Sharpe Search & Selection

Faltec Europe Ltd

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council

British Swimming

Work highlights

  • Acted for the vendors of Quat-Chem Ltd in a dispute for payments due under a Share Purchase Agreement with the purchasers, Neogen Europe, securing the dismissal of Neogen’s counterclaim (having previously obtained summary judgment for payment of retention-monies).
  • Representing the UK sponsoring employer of a large pension scheme in a professional negligence claim worth in excess of £20m.
  • Acted for two GPs in fitness to practice prosecutions pursued by the GMC following an undercover ‘sting’ by the BBC’s Panorama programme, helping to get the allegations dismissed and allowing the doctors to remain in unrestricted practice.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP‘s dispute resolution practice is particularly strong for TMT, healthcare and insurance sector litigation and attracts praise for its ‘commercial approach and strategic management‘ of cases. Practice head Jan Levinson specialises in IT and outsourcing disputes and corporate litigation, while the ‘outstandingHarald Loeffler focuses on contractual and tortious claims. The group is also developing a reputation for cybersecurity and data breach issues, for which associate Shanaka Wijetunge is a key contact. Other associates to note include Andrew Martin, who has particular experience in the sports sector, and Jo Dumphy, who counts the IT, insurance and healthcare industries among her sector specialisms.

Practice head(s):

Jan Levinson

Other key lawyers:

Harald Loeffler; Shanaka Wijetunge; Andrew Martin; Jo Dumphy; Warren Kemp; Emma Garrett; Rebecca Weir

Testimonials

‘The team at DACB have been a pleasure to work with. As much as 2020 has thrown up challenges and obstacles to success, the team at DACB have become adept at constantly reacting and responding to the ever-changing landscape.

The commercial approach and strategic management of our case was handled particularly well and fundamentally allowed us to make quick decisions through the process.

‘The accessibility of partners and the team were exceptional, both during normal working hours and non-working hours. The personable approach and general communication has been exemplary. Special mention to: Warren Kemp, Emma Garrett, Rebecca Weir.

‘Jan Levinson – strong commercial acumen, pragmatic approach and excellent communication.’

‘Jan Levinson – Very clever, level-headed and excellent commercial judgement.’

‘There is Harald Loeffler, who is outstanding in the field and his expertise is very important for our business.’

Key clients

BUPA

Former Home Secretary, the Right Honourable Charles Clarke and family

DHL

Deluxe Property Holdings Limited

BT Group

Manchester United Football Club

MoneyGram International Limited

RSA

Internorm

Knights Solicitors

Information Commissioner’s Office

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Maher Group in a two-week trial in the Business and Property Courts in Manchester concerning a high-value claim involving a string of complex allegations and alleged various breaches of duty against the client brought by a third trustee.
  • Appointed by the Court as independent supervising solicitor on the execution of a search order obtained by Calor Gas against Knights Solicitors, which is understood to have been the first ordered case obtained under Covid restrictions.
  • Advised Manchester United Football Club on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures/options that may be taken to ensure that licensable activities can be undertaken safely and in accordance with the government’s guidance and rules on social distancing etc; especially in light of fast-changing and various different lockdowns.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP‘s commercial litigation practice has a broad disputes offering and particular experience in contractual and shareholder disputes, procurement litigation and misuse of confidential information claims. Christopher Tyrrell – who offers ‘pragmatic legal advice, which has real commercial applications‘ – leads the team alongside Fiona Parry in Liverpool. Iain Campbell is popular among higher education sector clients and is increasingly building a reputation for handling competition disputes, while legal director and professional support lawyer Moya Clifford counts breach of contract and negligence disputes among her areas of expertise. For reputation management, defamation and IP disputes, recently promoted legal director Andrew Little is noted.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Tyrrell; Fiona Parry

Other key lawyers:

Iain Campbell; Moya Clifford; Andrew Little; Laura Scott

Testimonials

‘The team really went above and beyond what I have experienced before to deliver a great service in difficult circumstances. The team is one of the leading teams in the UK and yet their fees are extremely competitive.’

‘Hill Dickinson offer a full client service with good use of resources for complex cases and some commercially astute personnel in high profile cases.’

‘HD has an excellent team. The key differentiators for us were response time and sound commercial guidance, which is so fundamental in securing the right outcome, and balancing the risks/costs associated with different courses of action.’

‘Chris Tyrrell and Laura Scott are readily available to deal with issues arising out of litigation and are very efficient in the preparation of contested hearings.’

‘Of note is Partner Chris Tyrrell. His dedication to the case was clear and very much appreciated. He is a leader in his field. He provides pragmatic legal advice, which has real commercial application. He is definitely my go-to person in any litigation. He leads by example and has a great team working to the same high standards. He is always mindful of the legal costs, which is welcome change.’

‘Chris Tyrrell who now heads up the commercial team in Manchester is very astute with a good brain and switched on to giving strong commercial advice and getting to grips with multi-faceted cases. Andrew Little and Alex Smith are also very strong on taking a commercial approach and a good work ethic.’

‘Hill Dickinson has a very efficient litigation team representing claims against NHS bodies, particularly in the field of public procurement.’

Key clients

Medicines Discovery Catapult Limited

Transport for Greater Manchester

Iggesund Paperboard (Workington) Limited & Trustees of the Iggesund (UK) Pension Scheme

H.J. Enthoven Limited/the Trustees of the H.J. Enthoven Pension Scheme

NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group; NHS England (North) Yorkshire & the Humber; and North of England Commissioning Support

Hyde Park Finance Limited

NSS Cleaning Limited

University of Salford

NHS England

Work highlights

  • Acted for Medicines Discovery Catapult in a multiparty procurement challenge brought against two companies forming part of the ‘Lighthouse Laboratories’ testing network and the Department of Health, as well as a judicial review claim, relating to the procurement of PCR software for the Covid-19 testing programme.
  • Representing the University of Salford as a core participant at the current inquest/public inquiry following the Manchester bombing.
  • Acting for a significant minority shareholder in City District (the owner of the national restaurant brand Fazenda) in a dispute between various founding partners of the company relating to how it is managed, board representation and certain agreements entered into between the parties.

JMW Solicitors LLP

JMW Solicitors LLP's sweet spot lies in acting for listed and unlisted plcs, SMEs and high-net-worth individuals in a range of commercial disputes; it also has an impressive reputation in sports sector disputes, with practice head Marc Yaffe a key name for high-profile individuals and companies in this space. The team is increasingly recognised for acting for claimants in data protection group actions. Other areas of expertise include corporate disputes (which are a focus for Steve Morris and Michael Kennedy), professional negligence and contentious construction matters, which are among Mark Jones' specialisms, and public law and judicial review proceedings, for which Oliver Wright is a name to note. The 'commercially astute' Graham Small is highlighted for his breadth of commercial, insolvency and fraud disputes experience, while Claire Brown's expertise includes contractual and professional negligence issues.

Practice head(s):

Marc Yaffe

Other key lawyers:

Steve Morris; Michael Kennedy; Mark Jones; Oliver Wright; Graham Small; Claire Brown; Rebecca Young; Richard Wolff; Jason Harwood

Testimonials

‘The practice might be 80 partners plus but they operate with large firm services and efficiently in a way that makes you feel the comfort of small medium firm.’

Highly responsive and each team is about getting results. Not once have I seen anything to suggest that they will waste money litigating in correspondence.’

‘I value every bit of advice I get from Insolvency to litigation to personal injury. Each partner knows where their expertise stops and they always ensure that you get an expert in the field you need. I can mention three partners that stand out: Marc Yaffe, Richard Wolff, Jason Harwood. These three are in no particular order exceptional in all their work.

‘My point of contact is Graham Small. Whilst he is an excellent commercial litigator I have also found Graham to be a great problem solver who understands the clients needs and how to achieve a good outcome. This can straddle corporate and insolvency issues as well as formal litigation proceedings. He is somebody whose judgement I trust and he quickly gains the confidence of the people I am working with.’

‘Ability at every level of their team means that they are the busiest and one of the best commercial litigation practices in Manchester. The ethos of the firm and the team is the client and providing a service that is geared to that. They offer the complete package in terms of not only dealing with the dispute that you find yourselves in but providing a consideration from all angles.’

‘Mike Kennedy – one of the best litigators around – has experience of every kind of litigation and if he’s on your side the other side won’t like it but for all the right reasons. Mark Jones – loves a difficult case.’

Rebecca Young – an ability that belies her years. She is the best litigator of her level I have dealt with. She will be a superstar partner and litigator of the future. Complete command of every aspect of her case and sets and commands the very highest standards from those who work with her.’

‘Commerciality is understood and embraced. Whilst other firms often just quote law or give law lectures, JMW give advice including a good balance between the law and commercial practicalities.’

Key clients

United Utilities Water plc

JD Sports Fashion plc

Ground Rent Income Fund plc

James Halstead plc

MTC Works Limited

Urban Splash

Shipbuilding Asia Ltd

Controlled Solutions Group Ltd

TIC Group Ltd

Matrix Telematics Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing the owners of Beetham Tower in Manchester in a £26m dispute with Blue Manchester Limited who lease the first 22 floors of the building to the Hilton Hotel Group involving claims for breach of repairing covenants and issues with regard to the types of remedial work necessary.
  • Acted for MTC Works in challenging the Ministry of Justice’s decision to award a £243m prison contract for the new HMP Wellingborough prison to another bidder.
  • Acted for Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser in a Judicial Review challenge of the Government’s coronavirus Tier 2 and 3 restrictions in respect of the hospitality industry. The claim was brought on conventional public law grounds as well as breaches of the human rights act and the equality act.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Praised for being 'always one step ahead', Pinsent Masons LLP's 'simply brilliant' commercial litigation team has a breadth of experience in national and international corporate, contractual and regulatory disputes and counts the sport, travel, healthcare, technology and infrastructure industries among its areas of specialism. For IT and sports sector clients, practice head Julian Diaz-Rainey, who has a breadth of cross-border expertise, is highlighted. Other names to note include 'very accomplished tax adviser and litigator' Steven Porter and senior associates Katie Hancock (who has particular experience in contract disputes, warranty claims and breach of confidence claims) and 'exceptional litigator' Andrew Mitchell.

Practice head(s):

Julian Diaz-Rainey

Other key lawyers:

Steven Porter; Andrew Mitchell; Katie Hancock

Testimonials

‘They are simply brilliant.’

‘Very proactive. Always one step ahead.’

‘I have to specifically mention our partner Julian Diaz-Rainey here. It’s enough to say that he is a trusted adviser and we value his input highly.’

‘Steven Porter: a very accomplished tax adviser and litigator. Very hard working. I constantly recommend him to my clients.’

‘Andrew Mitchell – an exceptional litigator.’

Key clients

Manchester City Football Group Limited (“MCFC”) and City Football Group Limited (“CFG”)

HCMT Limited

Travel Counsellors Limited

World Athletics

Work highlights

  • Defending HCMT Limited in a guarantee claim bought by NALMA, an Irish National Asset Management agency, in relation to a property transaction our client was involved with over a decade ago with Anglo Irish Bank, in respect of the development of Teville Gateway Limited.
  • Defending Travel Counsellors in a claim brought by Trailfinders Limited against the client and four of its franchisees, who were former employees of Trailfinders. The claim alleges that the franchisees have unlawfully misused confidential client information and passed it to Travel Counsellors.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs' Manchester commercial litigation team is particularly popular among clients in the manufacturing, technology, financial services and recruitment sectors. The latter is a growth area for the practice which is increasingly handling restrictive covenant disputes. The team is also increasingly active in contentious reputation management matters— where Peter Lees is highlighted — and data protection and cybersecurity disputes, for which the 'exceptional' practice head Victoria Leigh is the name to note; Leigh also maintains a strong pensions litigation practice. Other names to note include regulatory expert Rob Elvin, and director Mike Caird and senior associate Rebecca Green, who both have broad experience in corporate and commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Victoria Leigh

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Taylor; Peter Lees; Rob Elvin; Mike Caird; Rebecca Green

Testimonials

‘This practice are extremely knowledgeable, very responsive and remained professional at all times. Billing was completely transparent. Great diversity in the practice.’

‘Sound, sensible, practical advice.’

‘Victoria Leigh was exceptional. She was extremely responsive to all emails and phone calls and all her advice was carefully thought through. I felt completely at ease and knew I was in safe hands.’

‘Very efficient and business-like service. Clear, sensible, and pragmatic advice. Provide excellent and timely support to a counsel team.’

‘Anthony Taylor demonstrates great commercial acumen, ability to think outside the box, and imagination in solving difficult legal problems.’

‘Quick review, response and advise where time is essential. Solid ability to pull other skill types (IP, Corporate, Commercial etc) into one platform.’

‘Rebecca Green – very good at commercial litigation support.’

‘Victoria Leigh, SPB Manchester. I’ve worked in-house for seven years and have trouble finding local counsel to address needs and assume control with little to no day-to-day direction without overstepping and leading without concern. Victoria does this well and I see her as a strategic ally and business partner as opposed to us having a client/customer relationship.’

Key clients

Co-op Group

Studio Retail Group

Manchester Building Society

Cullum Detuners Ltd

STVA UK Limited

DNOW Inc

MAN Energy Solutions

Assetz SME Capital Limited

GBG Plc

Fresh Property Group

Work highlights

  • Representing Manchester Building Society in the Supreme Court in a professional negligence claim against Grant Thornton.
  • Acting for a representative member of the Cobb Europe Pension Scheme in a claim seeking rectification and clarification of the validity of various deeds and resolutions of the scheme.
  • Acted for the majority shareholders of a care home business in a shareholder dispute.

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher's 'excellent and well-resourced' dispute resolution practice excels in corporate, civil fraud, professional negligence and contractual disputes. The 'fantastic' Ian Austin leads the team, which includes James Lappin — who counts business disputes, professional negligence claims and sports law among his specialisms — and Chris Gee, who joined the team from Knights plc and added particular expertise in professional negligence, restrictive covenants and business protection disputes. Director Daniel Sheehan is noted for commercial and corporate litigation including warranty and shareholder disputes.

Practice head(s):

Ian Austin

Other key lawyers:

James Lappin; Chris Gee; Emma-Kate Hargreave; Barry Sharples; Craig Arrowsmith; Mark Fairclough; Daniel Sheehan

Testimonials

‘It is an excellent and well-resourced team.’

‘Fieldfisher are quick off the mark and think creatively from the outset to achieve a timely resolution. Their billing is fair and transparent and they are quick to engage leading technical experts to obtain the evidence that tips the balance.’

‘Ian Austin is the doyen of dispute resolution law in the North West. He is fantastic.

‘James Lappin has an impressive ability to think strategically while never missing an opportunity for a tactical play to advance his client.’

Mark Fairclough is an excellent associate who works hard and delivers results.’

‘Craig Arrowsmith is our day-to-day contact who works for James Lappin – Always available to offer advice and understands our businesses needs and tailors his approach to each client accordingly.’

‘James Lappin and new recruit Chris Gee are both commercially savvy and excellent lawyers. They provide cost-effective and hard hitting DR service.’

‘Barry Sharples has a keen eye and doesn’t take any nonsense from the other side.’

Key clients

Olympus Keymed

Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Limited (‘Betfred’)

Aviva Life and Pensions

Allied London

Kellogg

Walker Smith Global

JD Williams

JLA

The Solicitors Regulation Authority

Co-Op Service Group

CIS General Insurance

Flat Cap Hotels

Assetz Capital

Capify plc

Marpol Security

The Regulator of Social Housing

Brita

Interstate Hotels

UD Software

Digbeth

Quantuma

Karen Millen / Oasis / Warehouse / Coast

Qatar National Bank

Perkier Foods

ABM Technical

Restore plc

Workgroup

Venn Group

Fleximize

Fixings & Toolings Limited

Key Integrated Services

N Brown Group

Firstport Limited

Burford Capital

Inenco

Time Group

Palador Properties

Investment Property Marketing Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for shareholders in defending a £7m fraud claim concerning alleged breaches of warranties and allegedly inflated company accounts.
  • Acted for a businessman in a professional negligence action in the UK and other related proceedings across numerous jurisdictions, in relation to the total loss of a significant investment in a Guernsey-based pension scheme.
  • Acted for 320 Claimants across the UK and Europe in relation to a very substantial claim (circa £50m) concerning a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a company in London – CWM Limited. Civil proceedings have been instituted in the Cayman Islands.

Kennedys

Kennedys' team of 'very skilled and economic litigators' handle the full range of commercial litigation with particular expertise in financial services and insurance sector disputes, partnership and shareholder litigation and disputes arising from real estate developments. The group is experienced in handling cross-border disputes and enforcement work, where it is able to leverage the firm's global footprint. Alison Loveday leads the practice and has particular experience in financial and banking litigation, shareholder and board room disputes and contested employment claims. Other names to note include Andrew Davidson, Reuben Berg and Ian Mendelsohn, who all have experience in a breadth of corporate and commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Alison Loveday

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Davidson; Reuben Berg; Ian Mendelsohn

Testimonials

‘Very good use of technology, very skilled and economic litigators.’

‘I have worked with Ian Mendelsohn for nearly twenty years on a variety of different matters. Ian is a brilliant lawyer, combining technical knowledge with commerciality. He has integrity and really cares about his clients.’

‘Andrew Davidson (senior associate) is a very experienced commercial litigator with first rate commercial property experience. Excellent with client relationships.’

‘What has delighted me about Kennedys is the client focus – I still feel as valued a client and the fee earners whom I have worked with seem to have retained the same flexibility, and be empowered, to have discussions on how our working relationship should be structured.’

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP handles a full range of contractual and corporate litigation with particular experience in food, agribusiness, sport, charity and private wealth disputes. Richard Dawson-Gerrard, who is popular among food, agribusiness and pharmaceuticals clients, and Simon Pedley, who is experienced in the sports and charity sectors, jointly lead the practice. The group frequently handles cross-border work, with particular experience in German disputes, for which principal associate Sandra Morrison (who is dual-qualified in England and Germany) is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Richard Dawson-Gerrard; Simon Pedley

Other key lawyers:

Sandra Morrison; Rachael Somerset

Key clients

Super League (Europe)

Phoenix Healthcare Distribution Limited

West Midlands Ambulance Service

Laila’s Fine Foods Limited

VetPartners Group

British Medical Association

Birdlife International

University of York

The Prince’s Trust

Work highlights

  • Acting for a company and its founding shareholders and executive team, in responding to a £2m claim and an emergency injunction brought by a former employer in the waste industry, alleging breach of contract and unlawfully competitive behaviour.
  • Acting for defendants in a complex and wide-ranging breach of warranty claim and counterclaim arising from the sale of a food business, with total value circa £9.4m.
  • Acting for IMS (Global Solutions)  in a complex cross-border dispute with a German company in connection with the manufacture and delivery of large offshore containers, with total value circa €4m.

Pannone Corporate LLP

Pannone Corporate LLP's 'pragmatic, commercial and realistic' litigation and dispute resolution team has particular experience in the industrial, manufacturing, retail, IT, telecoms and recruitment sectors. 'Skilled and technical lawyer' David Brown handles corporate, commercial and civil fraud disputes and leads the team, which includes 'very experienced commercial litigator' Paul Jonson. Martin Pennington and Jonny Scholes were recently promoted to partner and associate partner respectively.

Practice head(s):

David Brown

Other key lawyers:

Paul Johnson; Alexandria Winstanley; Sarah Bazaraa; Martin Pennington; Jonny Scholes

Testimonials

‘Excellent communicators within the team. Pragmatic, commercial and realistic.’

‘Pannone have expertise in recruitment associated litigation and despite their expertise and resources, they manage to provide an extremely competitive service in terms of their pricing.’

‘Pannone Corporate has lawyers at the top of their respective disciplines and a client base to match. Customer service is a key ethos at the firm with a high degree of partner involvement ensuring the client gets the service it needs. Electronic document management and searching ensures that key documents are identified early in the case.’

‘Alex Winstanley is particularly responsive and offers sensible suggestions.’

‘David Brown is a skilled and technical lawyer with a wide range of experience to assist clients. He offers logical, practical advice with a strong sense for diplomacy making him often an invaluable sounding board for our business.

‘Paul Johnson – very experienced commercial litigator; heads his team with quiet efficiency.’

‘David Brown and Sarah Bazaraa have been incredibly professional throughout. Both have taken the time to listen to our views and have given, clear and robust advice whether that agrees with our own view or not. The quality of the work produced is also very clearly of the highest standard.’

Jonny Scholes is a strong team player who has successfully overseen the firm’s work for a substantial recruitment group. I have worked on a number of these cases and have noted that he is adept at keeping on top of all the individual cases while co-ordinating them with the wider client strategy.

Key clients

Ardagh Group

SGS Group

Iceland Foods Limited

Ryder plc

Tradebe Group

Sibelco UK Limited

SMG Europe

L’Oreal

Boohoo.com

NG Bailey

DHL Express

Brother International Europe Ltd

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP’s 'exceptional' litigation team is particularly strong for shareholder disputes, unfair prejudice petitions, breach of contract litigation and warranty claims. Professional negligence specialist Carole Spiller heads up the regional practice, which includes Robert Jones, who has a broad practice; Damian Carter, who is a key contact for owner-managed businesses; Richard Corran, who counts corporate litigation and restrictive covenants actions among his areas of specialism; and legal director Josh Conroy, who is noted for procurement and education disputes.

Practice head(s):

Carole Spiller

Other key lawyers:

Robert Jones; Damian Carter; Richard Corran; Josh Conroy; Jessica Kraja; Matthew Fox

Testimonials

‘The Weightmans team have been exceptional in performing our complex work in all aspects, including but not limited to liaison with other professionals, senior counsel, disclosure, ATE, and litigation funding.’

‘The team are so dedicated and knowledgeable; not just in law (although they are highly knowledgeable in that aspect too), but also in strategy and how to best handle situations. I have worked with other legal firms before but none as dedicated as Weightmans. They have been with me since the start of my case and have put my mind at ease at every step of the way.’

‘They are a quality outfit who can be relied upon to produce good quality work at a reasonable price point, meaning they can take cases that wouldn’t be viable for International firms.’

‘Damian Carter. A firm and clear grasp of the litigation key factors with an innate ability to compile and manage a team close-handed to produce exceptional and consistent results. A truly first-class professional.

Jessica Kraja. An exceptional solicitor with significant attention to detail which has delivered great results. Very highly recommended.

Matthew Fox: a unique, very clear understanding of the legal parameters in complex cases. Able to deliver on time, every time. Dependable and reliable.’

‘Robert Jones – one of the leading litigators around who has seen and done it all in terms of litigation. Respected by clients and opponents alike and someone you want in your corner if you are facing and heavy and difficult litigation.’

‘Carole Spiller, Partner. Good sector knowledge and very responsive.’

Key clients

Business Energy Solutions Limited

Chiesi Limited

Anixter Limited

Acasta European Insurance Company Limited

Be Caring Limited

Costcutter Supermarkets Group Limited

BES Utilities Holding Ltd and Smart Choice Metering Ltd

NHS Blood & Transplant (‘NHSBT’)

116 Cardamon Limited

Slush Puppie Limited

Topmark Claims Management Limited t/a TMS

Solent University Southampton

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sovini Group

Co-operative Group

Corning Limited

NEUPC Limited

South Ribble Borough Council

Lancaster University

Lucideon Group Limited

Clarity Travel Management

Manchester Metropolitan University

The Open University

Work highlights

  • Acting for Acasta Europe Ltd and Acasta European Insurance Company Ltd which are providers and underwriters of insurance in respect of a dispute with a broker in relation to the provision of staff absence insurance to schools and a £5.5m claim for misrepresentation/breach of contract.
  • Acting for a petitioning creditor in unfair prejudice proceedings where the respondents have issued in excess of 4bn swamping shares to dilute the petitioner’s 26% interest in a company valued in excess of £25m to 0.075%.
  • Defending Be Caring Limited in High Court proceedings to seek to prevent its resources from being diverted from assisting the most vulnerable in the face of the pandemic.

BLM

BLM's 'broad commercial litigation offering' spans general commercial dispute work and includes specialists in property litigation, professional negligence claims, financial litigation, healthcare litigation and partnership disputes. The firm has a strong reputation for insurance sector disputes, for which Catherine Mangham is the contact to note, while the 'outstanding' Craig McAdam leads the non-insurance practice which includes the 'vastly experienced' Nick Gee and Clare Durkin.

Practice head(s):

Craig McAdam; Catherine Mangham

Other key lawyers:

Jacob Broughton; Clare Durkin; Joanne McCartney; Nick Gee; Rubina Alam

Testimonials

‘BLM litigation team in Manchester offers a first-class service to its clients both locally and on a nationwide basis.’

‘Broad commercial litigation offering – responsive to client wishes and needs; determined in pursuit of their aims.’

‘Craig McAdam is an outstanding leading partner who allows his support team to work on cases alongside stakeholders; litigants, counsel, experts and funders/insurers. Calm and collective, Craig is precise and detailed in his communications.’

‘Jake Broughton is especially impressive and very easy to deal with.’

Rubina Alam is a hard-working associate solicitor who provides good support to Nick Gee.

‘Nick Gee – vastly experienced in commercial litigation, decisive, effective communicator with both clients and opponents.

Claire Durkin – highly attentive to client’s aims and pursuing them.’

Joanne McCartney is someone who prepares instructions thoughtfully, is engaging to discuss cases with, and is always good at honing in on the key aspects of the case and grasping what the issues are.’

Key clients

Sainsbury’s

Travelodge

Mission Mars

Urban Splash

Schuh Ltd

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Winlink

Work highlights

  • Acted for a director of two companies in a breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy against nine co-defendants for the lost opportunity for £12m profit.
  • Acting for a  broker, Winlink Marketing, in a multi-million pound claim for commission against Liverpool football club relating to an introduction/sponsorship agreement.
  • Acting for a shareholder in a claim for enforcement of restrictive covenants in a shareholders agreement.

CMS

CMS marked its arrival into the Manchester disputes market with the high-profile recruitment of Hill Dickinson LLP's former head of commercial litigation Geraldine Ryan in May 2020. With 'the gravitas to deliver difficult messages in a robust way', Ryan brings experience in a range of high-value disputes including reputation management issues - an area which the firm is well-known for. The team also counts data protection and cybersecurity issues (for which senior associate Daniel Keating is a name to note), IT disputes, sports law issues and breach of confidence claims among its areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Geraldine Ryan

Other key lawyers:

Emma Lewis; Daniel Keating; Rachel Boyle

Testimonials

‘A very solid team with outstanding experience, providing a calm but knowledgeable evaluation of the issues, sorting “the wheat from the chaff” to help the client focus on the winnable arguments and not be distracted by emotive issues which are simply a distraction, displaying discipline in always responding to the client in a timely manner and presenting the arguments cogently, controlled, non-histrionic rebuttals to defendants’ or respondents’ advisers, retaining the moral and ethical high ground at all times in all third party dealings, displaying integrity in the way they assess issues and put the arguments across, good judgment and analytical skills – recommendable without reservation!’

‘It is good to have a “hands-on” partner in Geraldine Ryan who has great experience and an excellent reputation and who is very well supported by associate solicitors such as Rachel Boyle. No detail is ignored or skated over and there is an enthusiasm to help and get the result being sought rather than simply go through the motions, the CMS team “owns” the case – they are as passionate as the client and have a will to win for the client.’

‘The commercial litigation team of CMS is now led by Geraldine Ryan. I have personally used Geraldine for high profile and high value litigation over many years. Geraldine is now building a strong team around her and is enthused to have the opportunity to mould a team in her image.’

‘Geraldine Ryan is very dynamic with a fantastic work ethic, and astute commercial approach to complex matters. I would highly recommend her and she has a very personable down-to-earth approach to cases.’

‘Have found when dealing with the CMS team that they are decisive and give definitive advice which they are prepared to stand behind unlike many other firms have dealt with who tend to “hedge” with their advice. They are also efficient both in terms of delivery and their use of all modern technology for communications.’

‘Seamless integration of team members in delivering the overall solution, consistency of advice and depth of insight. Quality of advice probably the best I’ve received in over 25 years dealing with professional advisory services. Thought through, insightful, challenging but with appropriate value judgements and taking into account complex commercial context.

‘Geraldine Ryan – the gravitas to deliver difficult messages in a robust way that provides a strong contextual backdrop, well argued rationale and with the clarity advice to demystify the legalise for the layman. Emma Lewis – already a trusted adviser.’

Key clients

Liverpool Airport Finance Limited (part of the Peel Holdings Group)

R Group Limited

Beacon Technologies Limited

Design Build Limited and Stadt Und Hof Properties Limited

Gym King Limited

Beluga Group Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Liverpool Airport Finance finance group in £6.5m sale and purchase agreement dispute.
  • Acting for a former Uber executive in relation to proceedings commenced in the US District Court Central District of California by Vanguard Logistics Services.
  • Acting for a major high street leather goods manufacturer in a multi-million-pound shareholder dispute.

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc’s dispute resolution practice handles a range of corporate and commercial litigation including multi-party and cross-border disputes and has particular expertise in the healthcare and sports sectors; recently promoted partner Nick Murrills (who also counts reputation management among his areas of focus) is noted for the latter. Sarah Sabin handles a breadth of corporate and commercial disputes and leads the team, which includes ‘excellent’ partner James Seed.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Sabin

Other key lawyers:

Nick Murrills; James Seed

Testimonials

‘A good team – the individuals that I have met manage to combine lots of experience with a humble attitude.’

‘James Seed is excellent, he is knowledgeable, honest, straightforward and doesn’t shy away from telling you things you need to hear. He is also a very nice chap.’

‘James Seed is an excellent lawyer who always gives measured advice of the highest standard. He has helped our company on two occasions out of tight corners.’

‘Very knowledgeable and approachable.’

‘Solicitor and practice gives the client confidence they know what they are doing.’

‘James Seed – a highly able lawyer, excellent with clients and a skilled negotiator. Highly experienced in injunctive matters.’

Key clients

United Kingdom Cheerleading Association

RVA Surveyors Limited

City Football Group

International Federation of American Football

Everton FC

Worldwide Foods Chain of Supermarkets

Vision Linens Limited

The British Sub-Aqua Club

Salts Healthcare Limited

Crep Protect Limited

HTI Toys UK Limited

Authenticated By Limited

North West Counties Squash League

132 Harley Street Limited

ROC Search Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for RVA Surveyors Limited in litigation affecting the application of its business model and specifically the interpretation of legislation in connection with Damages Based Agreements (DBAs) and Claims Managed Services (CMSs).
  • Acting for Alpha Panareti Public Limited, a Cypriot property developer, and one of its directors in defending a class action issued in England in 2011 by many hundreds of purchasers of its properties. Defending against allegations of purported mis-selling.
  • Assisting North West Counties Squash League, the largest squash league in the world, with a range of issues including heading up the league’s disciplinary panel.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP's commercial litigation team is particular well-known for handling contractual, shareholder and partnership disputes, product liability claims and contentious probate issues. Recently, the group has been assisting clients with Covid-19-related issues, including business interruption insurance claims, supply chain interruptions and frustration of contracts. IP litigator Bruce Jones took over as practice head from Andrew Weinberg, who retired. Other names to note include the 'thoughtful and analytical' Damian Bailey and 'impressive operator' Peter Kaye. Recently promoted 'bright and effective litigator' Phillip Warburton is the key senior associate to note following Kathryn Parrish's departure to Glaisyers LLP.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Jones

Other key lawyers:

Peter Kaye; Phillip Warburton; Damian Bailey; Richard Wilson

Testimonials

‘Damian Bailey – a thoughtful and analytical lawyer who is tenacious in his dealing with opponents. He drafts his correspondence with care and precision, articulating difficult concepts with ease and clarity.

‘During lockdown I have been particularly impressed by how quickly the department adapted to remote working separated from each other and secretarial staff. There is an excellent team ethos and it was clear to me from the start that the team were focused on ensuring their clients continued to receive the same high level of service. E-bundling was seamless and the available technology used to its maximum to ensure that clients were not prejudiced by the unforeseen events.’

‘Damian Bailey gave excellent, professional service.’

Peter Kaye – an impressive operator with clients. Peter ensures that the clients are engaged with every step in the litigation process and remain appraised at all times. He is quick to adapt to any change in his opponent’s stance and fights his client’s corner without fear or favour.

Richard Wilson – measured and conscientious. Rick is maturing into an excellent lawyer who is perceptive and intuitive. He is hardworking and is a future leader of the team.

‘Phillip Warburton is a bright and effective litigator.’

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP's 'hardworking, client-friendly' dispute resolution and litigation practice handles a range of contentious commercial and corporate issues including contractual, supply chain, company and shareholder disputes and insurance litigation. 'Hugely experienced and clever tactician' Kath Livingston leads the team and counts commercial litigation and reputation management issues among her areas of focus. The 'exceptional' Jonathon Crook joined the team from Gorvins Solicitors, adding a breadth of experience in the financial services and technology sectors, while insurance policy disputes expert Richard Marshall was promoted to the partnership. 'Up and coming' senior associate Sylwena Sempa has experience across a range of commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Kath Livingston

Other key lawyers:

Richard Marshall; Jonathon Crook; Sylwena Sempa; Matthew Brown

Testimonials

‘Shoosmiths has a hard-working client-friendly team. They respond promptly and understand their clients’ businesses well.’

‘An exceptional firm of solicitors.’

‘Kath Livingston is hugely experienced and a clever tactician.

‘Richard Marshall. Able to see through the fog that invariably envelops complex commercial disputes: very focused and quick to spot the issues of central importance to the commercial interests of his clients. Always goes the extra mile for his clients.’

Matthew Brown. Sharp as a pin and one to watch for the future.

Sylwena Sempa has great attention to detail and is up and coming.’

‘Jonathon Crook is an exceptional lawyer bringing huge experience to the firm. Excellent with clients, steady in litigation and firm with opponents. Bags of confidence which is entirely justified.’

‘Jonathan Crook: a strategic, lateral thinker. Goes the extra mile.’

Key clients

Rentsmart Limited / Thinksmart Limited

MD Insurance Services limited

Lendy Limited (In Administration) / RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

Speedy Asset Services Limited

PSB UK Limited

Comparethemarket.com (BGL Group)

Hoover Limited

PAG Asset Preservation Limited

The Gym Limited

Continuum (Financial Services) LLP

Anwyl Homes

Work highlights

  • Acted for Rentsmart Limited in a Commercial Court claim against The Carphone Warehouse following a dispute about the marketing of Rentsmart’s finance products to support Carphone customers’ smartphone purchases.
  • Sole UK legal adviser to Hoover Limited for product liability claims.
  • Acting for a client in a £1.74m breach of trust claim against a solicitor’s firm following a third party’s fraudulent misappropriation of loan funds.

TLT

TLT's 'very approachable and practical' commercial dispute resolution team advises on a range of contractual, corporate and public law litigation. Emma Flower, who is popular among retail, fashion and luxury goods sector clients, leads the team alongside Julien Luke, who counts the utilities, leisure, telecoms and recruitment industries among his sector specialisms. Jon Hainey and Claire Graham both have experience in private sector and public law disputes, where they act for and against local authorities and central government.

Practice head(s):

Emma Flower; Julien Luke

Other key lawyers:

Jon Hainey; Claire Graham

Testimonials

‘Approachable and involve the right people from the start of the process.’

‘Very approachable, practical and explained things in a language I understood. Clear approach and very good at keeping updated.’

‘Solid team with quick response.’

‘The strength of this practice and why it is my team’s go-to firm for dispute resolution advice is its ability and experience but, more importantly, its availability and willingness to assist – not just with those matters which will generate significant fees but those small queries which crop up. The advice we receive is always commercially focused, actionable and unambiguous.’

‘Emma Flower: she provides straightforward, commercially focused advice in a way that makes our lives as in-house counsel easier. She always takes time to understand our business – that should be a given but it isn’t and Emma stands out for that.’

Emma is an excellent legal adviser. I have absolute confidence in her legal knowledge and abilities and she combines this with a very pragmatic and commercial approach.

‘Emma is a stand-out commercial external adviser as she understands my senior management team and our business so her advice is always tailored and not ‘out of the textbook’. She is friendly and approachable and well-liked by our team, who all have full confidence in her.’

Key clients

Boohoo

Examworks UK Limited

JD Sports Fashion Plc

Insolvency Service

SIP Car Parks (1) Limited

Sutton Creative Limited

Radiology Management Solutions

Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy on the matter of Aston Darby Group Limited and Drake Estates Property Company Limited, successfully winding the companies up in the public interest given they had secured millions of pounds worth of investments from members of the public using misleading sales tactics.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and successfully shut down Dow And Jones Limited in the public interest in the High Court of Justice.

Ward Hadaway LLP

Ward Hadaway LLP's 'dynamic' commercial disputes team has a breadth of experience in corporate and contractual litigation and ADR. Newcastle-based Peter Hornsey leads the team, which in Manchester includes 'strategic powerhouse' Nichola Evans, who has particular experience in the insurance, public and health sectors. Managing associate Melissa Munday joined from boutique firm Transport Law Ltd, adding particular expertise in the transport and cargo sectors.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hornsey

Other key lawyers:

Nichola Evans; Melissa Munday

Testimonials

‘A thorough and in-depth understanding of their practice areas. A flexibility that enables them to be readily available to meet the unexpected challenges that often occur in litigation.’

‘The Manchester team are dynamic. They have excellent client management whilst, at the same time, maintaining great relationships with counsel and experts to ensure that the litigation team are joined up throughout. The team are affable and down-to-earth with a broad and growing practice.’

‘Nichola Evans – vastly experienced in her field, a strategic powerhouse with fantastic client handling skills. Has a knack of being able to translate a complex and often challenging legal situation into a strong negotiating position.’

‘Nichola Evans – Approachable, amiable, extremely knowledgeable in legal and tactical matters.’

Melissa Munday – Dedicated and hardworking. Able to familiarise herself with complex matters quickly.

‘Nicola Evans is a standout partner, particularly in fraud work. Very easy to get on with and with a first class legal brain. Melissa Munday is an excellent associate.’

Key clients

Styled by Susie Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the sports agent / manager of MMA fighter, Michael Bisping in a dispute relating to commission payments owed under a management agreement.
  • Represented Styled by Susie in disputes relating to defamatory comments posted on various social media sites including Mumsnet, Facebook and Tattle.

Glaisyers LLP

Glaisyers LLP's 'dynamic' litigation department is 'highly regarded throughout the city for its SME work'. 'Exceptional commercial litigator' and practice head David Jones frequently acts for high-net-worth individuals and handles international regulatory disputes, while Daniel Fitzgerald attracts praise for his 'experience of banking and finance litigation and professional negligence issues'. The group has continued to grow with the promotion of Alison Rocca, who has a breadth of corporate and commercial litigation expertise, and the addition of 'genuine star' senior associate Kathryn Parrish from Kuit Steinart Levy LLP.

Practice head(s):

David Jones

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Fitzgerald; Alison Rocca; Kathryn Parrish

Testimonials

‘Glaisyers is a dynamic team to work with.’

‘Glaisyers Disputes Resolution Team is highly regarded throughout the city for its SME work. The department is very much complimented by its other commercial departments, particularly Property and Corporate.’

‘David Jones is an exceptional commercial litigator who has worked on disputes of all types and sizes – often in the High Court. He is relentless in advancing his clients’ interests, but not aggressive for the sake of it, and is brilliant at finding a commercial angle that gets results without necessarily needing to fight all the way to trial.’

Kathryn Parrish has only recently joined the firm as a senior associate, but is a genuine star in the making in commercial disputes and insolvency matters. No-one fights harder for her clients and she is highly skilled at seeing new angles to litigation problems.

‘Daniel Fitzgerald – has huge experience of banking and finance litigation and professional negligence issues in that field in particular. He is excellent with clients and gets results.’

David Jones – Able to attract and retain clients of the highest calibre. Gives clear, pragmatic advice.’

‘David Jones heads the team and is a real leader. He elicits a strong sense of loyalty from his staff and the firm’s clients.’

‘David Jones is hard-working and enthusiastic.’

Key clients

URTU

Smart Platforms

Property Alliance Group

Knutsford Town Council

Lowri Beck Services Ltd

Moneything Capital

ETL Holdings (UK)

Broadoak Finance

Assetz Capital

Chemiteq Ltd

Tyne Bank Ltd and Bushido Capital

Cynergy Bank

Croma

Work highlights

  • Acted for Chemiteq Ltd in a contractual dispute with its distributor including a significant counter claim.
  • Acted for a private individual in a substantial breach of confidence and employment contract claim, with losses estimated at £11m.
  • Acted for Industrial North West in a dispute with its lender, Fairfield, which included challenging an administration appointment, the associated professional fees and an application to the court to release security over the remaining properties and cash in the business.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's commercial dispute resolution practice has particular experience in commercial litigation in the financial services, retail, technology and manufacturing sectors. Led by 'standout commercial litigator' and 'formidable opponent' Duncan Hope, the group also has growing experience representing creative and digital sector clients, for whom associate Ailsa Anderson is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Hope

Other key lawyers:

Ailsa Anderson

Testimonials

‘The team is easy to reach: communications with the matter partner are smooth and direct. Good sector knowledge was displayed.’

‘The team are extremely approachable and take the time to understand your business needs as well as the legal issue to ensure the advice given is tailored and appropriate.’

‘Duncan Hope is a standout commercial litigator, able to engage with the client and rapidly understand the context of their dispute. He communicates well, ensuring all members of the client team have the information they need to participate. He listens to advice and considers it in context, acting accordingly.’

‘Duncan Hope is a highly experienced and very focused company-commercial litigator. He has a wide range of experience in the Business and Property Courts and can be relied on to be a great solicitor and a formidable opponent.’

‘Communications are direct and professional; partners and associates work as a cohesive team; billing is automated, concise and easy to use.’

‘Duncan Hope, Partner, and Ailsa Anderson. Associate Solicitor, worked as a team which meant as a client I had 24/7 coverage for all situations that arose throughout my legal dispute. Not only were they both extremely professional, they were both very empathetic to my personal situation and really understood the motives and drivers behind the situation which meant they were always able to provide clear, concise and unbiased advice to me throughout the whole process. I was very impressed with both of them and would highly recommend them both individually and as a team.’

‘IM is about the team. They are a people practice with real values. They recruit and develop people for their values and abilities.’

‘Duncan Hope is the partner that stands out for me. He has a quiet unassuming manner but a brain that is agile, sharp and informed. He quickly gets to understand your problem and your angles and desires. You quickly trust that he has understood you and that he will give you the best advice that he can. He explains the good and the bad of the situation and the risks of the options available. I recommend him to anyone.’

Work highlights

  • Acted as the independent expert’s legal adviser in a dispute regarding a £70m share purchase agreement(SPA), which included providing advice about the court’s approach to the interpretation of the SPA when a complex dispute arose between the buyer and seller about whether or not contingent consideration of £5m should be paid.
  • Acting for claimant property investors in a proposed group claim against several conveyancing solicitors.
  • Acted for a company in a dispute concerning a share purchase agreement (SPA) following its purchase of two companies and a number of subsidiaries. The issues in dispute were whether the completion accounts were binding and whether the parties had complied with the obligations under the SPA.

Prosperity Law LLP

'Progressive firm' Prosperity Law LLP's commercial litigation practice acts for a range of executives, SMEs and multinationals and has 'plenty of clout and knowledge' across a range of disputes. Edward Smethurst, who handles corporate and regulatory disputes, jointly leads the team with corporate litigator Andrew Farrell. 'Fantastic' insolvency litigator Simon Gerrard was recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Edward Smethurst; Andrew Farrell

Other key lawyers:

Simon Gerrard; Jonathan Jacobs

Testimonials

‘Partners have a good pedigree at this fledgling firm.’

‘Prosperity’s quick growth and relative flexibility make them an excellent firm to deal with. Partners are consistently available and willing to deal with the issues brought to them and are not caught up in office politics, which is incredibly refreshing. They’re focused on the commercial aspect of the work brought to them and the resulting honesty can often result in lower fees and quicker outcomes.’

‘Simon Gerrard is a fantastic solicitor and incredibly commercially minded. His tenacity over contentious matters makes him a genuine asset to the firm backed up by his legal expertise. I have no hesitation contacting Simon regardless of the size of the matter or its complexity as I know he will gladly deal with it all.’

‘Progressive firm. Small enough to give a personal service but have plenty of clout and knowledge.’

‘I have worked with Andrew Farrell for many years. He is friendly and approachable as well as having an excellent grasp of the law and will get to the heart of a dispute.’

Key clients

Hope Capital Limited

Kay Johnson Gee

Path Business Recovery

DS Insolvency

Trafalgar Insurance

Beechfield Brands

We Do Rentals

Energy Finder UK

Palladium Insurance

Precious Glimpse

Q-railing Europe GMBH Holdings

Urban Zoo Studios Limited

Mulholland Spence Accountants

Matthew Montgomery & Co

G & O Foods Ltd

C & C Insurance Brokers Ltd

Shine Source Footwear (UK) Ltd

R & M Roofing Supplies Ltd

Woodstream Finance Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for three individuals in a shareholder dispute between family members where the assets owned by the company are worth approximately £9m.
  • Acting for a leading short-term bridging loan lender in a growing portfolio of claims, which consists of a mixture of pursuing borrowers that have defaulted on loan facilities and professional negligence claims against chartered surveyors who are alleged to have excessively over-valued property acting as security for the loan facilities.
  • Instructed by Kay Johnson Gee to pursue claims on behalf of insolvency practitioners appointed in respect of insolvent companies.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP's 'commercially astute' dispute resolution team has 'considerable experience' representing both private and public sector clients in commercial, procurement and media disputes. General commercial litigator Steve Dunseath and Dan Butler, who counts procurement disputes among his areas of focus, jointly lead the team, which includes senior associate Adam Berman, who is noted for media and reputation management disputes, including defamation, privacy and data protection issues. The group also has contentious insolvency matters expertise which was bolstered by the arrival of senior associate Seb Lang from Knights plc.

Practice head(s):

Dan Butler; Steve Dunseath

Other key lawyers:

Adam Berman; Ellie O’Sullivan; Seb Lang

Testimonials

‘Excellent people who go out of their way to meet client needs. Commercially astute. Good negotiating skills. Good value for money compared to London based lawyers.’

‘Highly qualified with considerable experience in their field. Highly motivated to get best results for the client. Excellent people skills.’

‘Very responsive team. Thorough expertise and professionalism. excellent quality of material delivered.’

‘Adam Berman and Steve Dunseath – both individuals are easy to access, available, creative, provide high-quality advice and good value for money.’

‘This team is smart, commercially responsive to clients’ needs and works tirelessly to achieve appropriate commercial solutions for its clients.’

‘Dan Butler is a very able partner, good at client management and a great leader of his team. He is skilled at general commercial matters and public procurement, which is high octane litigation not for the faint-hearted or the unskilled and he has bags of the necessary steel and a wealth of experience.

Dan is ably assisted by Ellie O’Sullivan, an associate who is going places – clever, energetic, hardworking and already punching beyond her years PQE’

‘A personable team. Understands business and deals with us at a level we fully understand. Always respond swiftly. Trowers are a great support and addition to our business.

Key clients

United Technology Corporation

University of West London

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)

Honeycomb Group Limited

Your Housing Group

Great Places

Integrated Dental Holdings Limited (t/a MyDentist)

Caprice Holdings Limited

UK Container Maintenance Limited

Caring Homes Group Limited

RSM Restructuring & Recovery LLP

Quantuma LLP

West Midlands Combined Authority

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

Work highlights

  • Acted for United Technology Corporation in taking possession of an aircraft at Manchester Airport and dealing with insolvency issues, airport liens and other matters arising from the administration of Flybe.
  • Advised West Midlands Combined Authority on the administration of Accessible Transport Group which operated bus services throughout the West Midlands, including the Ring & Ride service.
  • Representing Lee Valley Leisure Trust in procurement litigation.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP's commercial and private client litigation team acts for owners, directors and shareholders of plcs, SMEs and financial institutions in a range of disputes including shareholder, contractual, defamation and breach of confidential information litigation and asset recovery issues. John Flint leads the team and is particularly active in the financial services, renewable energy, sport and technology sectors.

Practice head(s):

John Flint

Key clients

National Union of Mineworkers

JGMT Limited

REL Capital Limited

Capital Growth Group Limited

REL Storage and Logistics Limited

Super Fund LLC

Trailstream Limited

Westbourne Property Management Limited

Modularwise

Selective Investment Services

Oathall (UK) Limited

Fast Dispatch Transport Limited

Pulse Fitness Limited

Derbyshire Flooring Contractors Limited

Premiserv Limited

Benoit Properties International Limited

McCollum Consultants Limited

Penny Irrigation Limited

Tecnicas Reunidas UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in a claim against Organisation International Energie Mines (an international mining organisation based in Paris) for an alleged breach of an agreement to repay to NUM funds recovered by IEMO in a long running legal battle in France and England & Wales against a former senior executive of NUM.
  • Acting for an IFA in a complex and high-value dispute against Norland Managed Services Limited (now part of CBRE Group) and Friends Life Pensions, following the alleged breach of a retainer relating to the provision of group personal pension and life scheme administration and advice, breach of fiduciary duty and estoppel by convention.
  • Acting for an individual in a fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of warranties of a Share Purchase Agreement dispute relating to the purchase of a road haulage business.

Farleys Solicitors LLP

The 'very commercially aware' litigation team at Farleys Solicitors LLP counts shareholder disputes, breach of contract claims, intellectual property disputes, commercial landlord and tenant issues and professional negligence claims among its areas of specialism. The 'exceptional' Daniel Draper leads the team and is popular among sport sector clients. Associate partner Rebecca Fairclough is noted for complex debt recovery claims, contractual disputes and professional negligence litigation.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Draper

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Fairclough

Testimonials

‘The team is very commercially aware, so as to able to advise the client as to the risk/reward of a particular course of action. They have great tactical awareness and are able to foresee issues before others.’

‘Daniel Draper is the stand-out partner and individual at the firm. Dan is an exceptional lawyer who possess an impressive level of commercial awareness across a number of sectors.’

Ralli Solicitors

Ralli Solicitors' commercial dispute resolution group has 'depth of knowledge and experience' in a range of corporate and commercial litigation. The 'commercially pragmatic' Christian Eagle leads the team, which counts partnership and contract litigation, real estate disputes, insolvency issues and debt recovery work among its areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Christian Eagle

Other key lawyers:

Allan Kornbluth; Sam Pepper; Polly Hill

Testimonials

‘The commercial dispute resolution team is particularly astute at looking at the bigger picture. As well as having a good grasp of any legal issues, they are always keen to take a commercial approach as to what is in the best interest of the client.’

‘Well-resourced client focused team.’

‘Depth of knowledge and experience ensures confidence in the quality of the service provided.’

‘Brilliant and in-depth advice and expertise from Allan Kornbluth who has always given our case referrals a lot of time and effort along with clear and concise communication.’

‘Christian Eagle – Amazing attention to detail – has the ability to latch on to what is relevant and use to the best advantage of the client.’

Polly Hill – very capable – a good person to have on the team.’

‘Chris Eagle – wide-ranging litigation experience with a great feel for a case.’

‘Christian Eagle – incisive, commercially pragmatic whilst doing the best for the client, good lawyer. Sam Pepper – strong team player, robust, very good with clients.’

Key clients

Creativityetc Limited

Hall Brown Limited t/a Hall Brown Family Law

IMS Euro Ltd

B2B1 Print & Packaging

Moore Global formerly Moore Stephens International Ltd

Gullco International UK Limited