Hall Of Fame

Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Professional negligence

Browne Jacobson LLP made a splash in the Manchester professional negligence scene in mid-2022 with the hire of a sizeable team from BLM ahead of its merger with Clyde & Co. The group, which is led by Jason Nash alongside fellow partner Michael Appleby, has a strong presence in the insurance and reinsurance market, acting for household name insurers, and also has expertise in defending negligence claims against solicitors.

Professional negligence in North West

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co acts for a number of large insurers and underwriters, advising on solicitors’ and accountants’ professional indemnity matters as well as work in the construction, healthcare and life sciences fields. The team is led jointly by James Preece, who focuses on lawyers’ professional indemnity; construction sector specialist Louisa Robbins; and Ben Parks, who has notable expertise in education sector and local authority work. Other names to note include Martin Paxton, who joined the firm from DAC Beachcroft LLP in February 2023, and consultant Iain Fraser.

Practice head(s):

James Preece; Louisa Robbins; Ben Parks

Other key lawyers:

Sam Godding; Anne-Marie Morgan-Barrett; Iain Fraser; Martin Paxton; Sam Godding; Alexandra Charlton; James Preece


‘Louisa Robbins and James Preece are the pre-eminent professional negligence practitioners. Their recent acquisition of Martin Paxton – another very well respected partner in this area – only strengthens the team further. James is smooth as silk but always up for the fight; Louisa is the iron fist in the velvet glove and as on top of the details as any lawyer anywhere.’

‘As one of the 2 Equity Partners in the Team, Louisa Robbins understands more about the world of surveying than some surveyors themselves. She advises in an accessible, commercial manner and is always thoroughly prepared for meetings/mediations/hearings with an elephantine memory for key details.’

‘James Preece is first rate in the field of professional negligence. He consistently provides technically sound and clear strategic advice.’

Key clients




Pen Underwriting





WRB Underwriting

Zurich Professional and Financial

Work highlights

  • Representing an independent tester and its insurers in a £20m claim for alleged breach of contract and negligence in respect of services provided in relation to the construction of a mental health hospital facility in the North East of England under a PFI scheme.
  • Acting for the insurers of a number of insolvent installers of cavity wall insulation in the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising several firms of solicitors and their insurers on the buyer-funded developer claims being farmed by claimant law firms on CFA models.


DWF acts on professional negligence claims covering a range of sectors including construction and development, IP, and life sciences. Building safety and defective residential property is a key specialism of the practice. Practice head Andrew MacLeod has 30 years of experience in this field, often defending insurance companies against claims by policyholders. Paul Dally specialises in representing architects, engineers and surveyors. Director Hilary Harrison provides coverage advice for insurers, in particular in connection with D&O insurance matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew MacLeod

Other key lawyers:

Paul Dally; Hilary Harrison


‘First class.’

‘Andrew MacLeod is outstanding.’


Kennedys‘ professional indemnity team handles a broad cross-section of work across a number of sectors, with particular strength in cladding claims and architects’ disciplinary matters. The practice is jointly led by coverage and policy disputes expert Jeremy RileyClaire Bushen, whose client base predominantly comprises solicitors and accountants; construction sector specialist Tom Handley; and Hannah Williams, who is experienced in a range of matters including D&O and white-collar crime. Associates Lucy Suddaby and Geoffrey Shreeve, who respectively offer specific knowledge of professional negligence matters in the sport and IT sectors, are also key.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Riley; Claire Bushen; Tom Handley; Hannah Williams

Other key lawyers:

Geoffrey Shreeve; Lucy Suddaby


‘Managed by industry favourites Jeremy Riley and Claire Bushen, the team has gone from strength to strength in the past ten years. Jeremy and Claire have recruited and trained a number of very able juniors.’

‘Jeremy Riley has an exceptional ability to resolve the most testing of claims. Tom Handley has a solid understanding of the construction profession and the technical issues that arise. He is unphased by the most complex of technical issues and delivers clear advice.’

‘The team are very client and outcome focused. Commercially aware and not unduly process orientated.’

Keoghs LLP

Keoghs LLP specialises in the defence of claims against construction professionals, solicitors, brokers, IFAs and vets, as well as acting on behalf of such clients in professional disciplinary hearings. The firm is also regularly instructed by insurers to represent their policyholders in litigation, arbitrations and ombudsman referrals. Practice head Ruth Lawrence is a highly experienced construction claims specialist. Sarah Naylor is an expert in professional indemnity claims with a notable focus on the veterinary profession and stock brokers. Christopher Stanton and Jonathan Anslow are also integral to the practice, with the latter having key experience in multiparty claims. The ‘sharp and tactically astuteRachel Blair, who predominately works on construction claims, was promoted to partner in March 2023.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Lawrence

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Naylor; Christopher Stanton; Jonathan Anslow; Rachel Blair; Joanna Case


‘The professional negligence team at Keoghs have excellent specialist knowledge of this market and an in-depth understanding of the construction industry and the commercial realities of their clients’ business.’

‘Ruth Lawrence: very experienced and extremely knowledgeable about the professional negligence market, she also brings a calm head and unerring judgement to her cases. She is very astute and exactly the person you want on your side.’

Rachel Blair was recently (and very deservedly) made partner. She is an excellent lawyer, sharp and tactically astute, and works extremely hard for her clients.’

Key clients



Arch Insurance

The Veterinary Defence Society

Amtrust at Lloyd’s

CNA Insurance

Armour Risk Management


Travelers Insurance Company Ltd

Talbot Underwriting


Tesco PLC

John Lewis & Partners

Argo Global

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP is well versed in defending legal professionals against negligence claims, with such cases making up a significant proportion of the practice’s workload. The firm also handles a high volume of claims against insurance brokers and construction professionals, as well as D&O claims. The practice is jointly led by Niall Innes, who specialises in defending legal professionals, including in disciplinary investigations by the BSB and SRA, and construction sector expert Ben Hardiman. Principal associates Emma Harrison and Sarah Rose are also key.

Practice head(s):

Niall Innes; Ben Hardiman

Other key lawyers:

Emma Harrison; Sarah Rose


‘Outstanding practice on every level. Advice, service and administration are all first rate.’

‘Niall Innes sets the standard by which I judge professional negligence solicitors.’

‘Common sense, no-nonsense advice, have become a real go-to for our organisation and have now five separate matters for us on technical high-value claims.’

‘Ben Hardiman has a vast amount of experience, he’s responsive, contactable and just gets our outlook and responds accordingly. That is rare to find. Ben has the ability to break down complex legal arguments which then allows us to respond and act accordingly to ensure the best possible outcome.’

‘Very diligent, approachable and consistent.’

Key clients

American International Group (AIG)

Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Limited


Pen Underwriting

International General Insurance

W /R / B Underwriting

HCC Tokio Marine



Manchester Underwriting Management

Weightmans LLP

Representing a number of large multinational insurance companies including Zurich and Tokio Marine, Weightmans LLP specialises chiefly in claims against solicitors and construction professionals. Practice head Mickaela Fox is very experienced in high-value professional indemnity claims, with further expertise in trusts, property, taxation and fraud-related work. Co-head of the team Mike Grant has a strong track record in alternative dispute resolution and also provides ongoing advice on insurance and risk issues. Alex Marler is a specialist in construction sector professional negligence claims and has specific expertise in insurance coverage matters such as policy response and declinature, aggregation, and the pursuit of subrogated claims. Principal associate Pamela Freeland focuses on professional indemnity insurance in the legal sector and D&O insurance claims.

Practice head(s):

Mickaela Fox; Mike Grant

Other key lawyers:

Alex Marler; Pamela Freeland; Sarah Irwin


‘Weightmans Liverpool office professional negligence team is a go-to practice for defendant solicitors’ negligence claims. They provide an excellent service to their clients.’

‘Mickaela Fox, Pamela Freeland and Sarah Irwin are stand-out performers. Mickaela Fox goes the extra mile for clients and is first rate when it comes to providing exceptionally clear advice on solicitors’ professional negligence claims. Mickaela is assisted regularly by either Pamela or Sarah both of whom maintain the high standard of service.’

‘The professional indemnity team who we deal with are efficient and responsive at all times. The service we get from Weightmans is the Rolls Royce service. Nothing is too much trouble and the team are extremely knowledgable in their area of law and give advice with confidence.’

‘Mickaela Fox is an excellent litigator; when you have Mickaela on your side you know things will turn out well. Her attention to detail and her knowledge of anything you refer to her is second to none. She is straightforward and is not frightened of challenging the other party on any matter irrespective of its technicality and complexity. She is a shining star.’

‘The team are commercially minded whilst still ensuring key arguments are identified and run to the best of their ability. Effective and considered, the team provide a high-level service with the client’s aims at the core of everything they do.’

‘Mickaela Fox excels in establishing thoughtful strategy solutions, especially in complex high-value claims. She provides excellent value for money, both in terms of the underlying claim and also her own fees.’

‘Weightmans are leading practitioners in the field of professional negligence. They specialise in acting for professional indemnity insurers and acting in respect of professional negligence claims against legal practices.’

Key clients

Tokio Marine HCC




Hamilton Underwriting





Work highlights

  • Acting for one of eight search providers sued, along with a local authority, by 106 home-owner claimants aggrieved not to be warned of a planned major road project before purchasing homes on a newly-built estate.
  • Acted for a barrister and arbitrator in a case which which related to an alleged contract to exchange plots of land for gold.

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard handles professional negligence work across the construction, property and general commercial litigation sectors, acting for both companies and HNWIs. The practice is jointly headed by Nick Ashcroft, a commercial litigator handling professional negligence claims against solicitors and valuers, and Victoria Pool, who specialises in representing policyholders in coverage disputes involving professional indemnity. Susan Garrett, who leads the firm’s pensions litigation team, is also key in this space, with her work including representation of scheme trustees in claims against former advisors.

Practice head(s):

Nick Ashcroft; Victoria Pool

Other key lawyers:

Susan Garrett


‘The dispute resolution team at AG are the pre-eminent dispute resolution team in the North West. That is reflected in their strength in depth, in the quality of their work, in the management and supervision that they provide and in the high level and value of the cases on which they are instructed.’

‘Victoria Pool – a newly appointed partner who has enormous drive and courage. Destined for the top. Nick Ashcroft – de facto head of the team in Manchester. Excellent client skills, driven, innovative and commercially minded.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a company and the trustees of a pension scheme in a professional negligence claim against a former advisor.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP is instructed by a range of well-known multinational insurance companies, including Swiss Re, Great Lakes and Tokio Marine. Experienced practice head Ian McConkey represents these clients in a range of professional negligence claims, particularly against solicitors, brokers, valuers and company directors. He is supported by construction and engineering disputes specialist Lyn Crawford. Martin Paxton left the firm in Febuary 2023, joining Clyde & Co.

Practice head(s):

Ian McConkey

Other key lawyers:

Lyn Crawford


‘Ian McConkey – a smart, modern thinking lawyer.’

‘Ian McConkey is a highly skilled operator and fantastic to deal with.’

Key clients

QBE European Operations

Travelers Insurance Co Limited

Zurich Insurance plc

Tokio Marine HCC

Great Lakes SE


Liberty Mutual Insurance

HSB Engineering Insurance Limited

Swiss Re



Work highlights

  • Acting for a national firm of solicitors and insurers in relation to a £48m professional negligence claim in Scotland.
  • Acting on behalf of Chubb and the directors of an insolvent group of companies alleged by administrators to have been in breach of duty in managing the business.
  • Acting on behalf of AXA XL in a claim against them for age discrimination.

FS Legal

Boutique litigation firm FS Legal has a strong record in professional negligence disputes; standout recent work includes acting for the defendants in FCA v Steel & Foster, an important case in the pension transfers space. Joint practice heads Kit Sorrell and Julia Norris are recommended for their experience in handling claims against financial advisors and tax advisors. Legal directors Nicola Stanley, Christine Newton and John Colvin support.

Practice head(s):

Kit Sorrell; Julia Norris

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Stanley; Christine Newton; John Colvin


‘Excellent attention to detail and timescales coupled with a deep knowledge of client drivers produce an outstanding service with a high level of commercial success.’

‘Kit Sorrell provides full commitment to, and understanding of, a client’s needs and objectives. He is one of the best negotiators I have worked with in complex mediations. He is more than ably supported by Christine Newton in her grasp of the main points of litigation and management of the in-house and external team.’

‘Very commercially focussed. Good strong team able to communicate in straightforward terms. Overall, excellent.’

‘The following have all been outstanding: Julia Norris and John Colvin.’

‘The team keeps me updated in a timely manner and it leaves me with the confidence that their pursuit for a successful outcome is always uppermost. The upfront communication of costs and their negotiation in achieving the best value for money is commendable.’

‘The high level of dedication and compassion that Julia Norris has shown is comforting in what has been a very stressful time. She brings a personal touch to the proceedings along with uttermost professionalism and expertise.’

‘The team was extremely professional. There was a huge amount of information to collate and everyone was very au fait with the details. I think the word ‘team’ cannot be underestimated with this company, everyone pulled together and I felt very much part of this team. I was reassured at all stages with any concerns I had and I was never put under any pressure.’

‘I was given a great degree of information and transparency. Things were explained to me in simple terms which was very reassuring. I was very impressed with Julia Norris and I felt she was living and breathing my case and certainly wanted the resolution that I wanted.’

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Mr Steel and Ms Foster to defend proceedings brought by the FCA, seeking an extension of the provisions of Section 382(2) FSMA to authorised IFA individuals.
  • Acting for Mr Graham Knights and his companies, Evergreen Trees and Shrubs and Knights Investment Management, in two claims for a combined value of £1.6m.

Legal Risk LLP

Legal Risk LLP covers sensitive professional negligence claims against lawyers and surveyors, including those involving implications of white-collar crime. Liverpool-based practice head Frank Maher specialises in representing high-profile law firms, including those based in the US, and has specialist expertise in fraud matters. Francis Dingwall assists from the firm’s Oxford branch.

Practice head(s):

Frank Maher; Francis Dingwall


‘The team at Legal Risk are first rate when it comes to knowledge, expertise and delivery.’

‘Frank Maher’s knowledge is outstanding and he is definitely someone you want on your team.’

Francis Dingwall is an expert in his field who is thorough and dependable.’

Markel Law LLP

Markel Law LLP is known for its handling of professional indemnity claims and provision of policy coverage advice. Practice head Mark Rankin is an experienced insurance lawyer who specialises in defending claims against policyholders in the the technology, media and telecoms sectors. He is supported by construction sector indemnity claims specialist Christopher Burns.

Practice head(s):

Mark Rankin

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Burns


‘Great service.’

‘Very knowledgeable, professional.’

‘Mark Rankin is a great problem solver.’

‘Christopher Burns has a good eye for detail on construction claims.

‘They have a wealth of experience across a number of areas and provide a specialised quality service to their clients.’

‘Mark Rankin provides an exceptional service and quality advice, he effectively prioritises his workload and, thanks to his efficiency, his fees are very reasonable. Mark is extremely knowledgeable, particularly in the area of cyber, where his expertise has been invaluable.’

‘Excellent understanding of our legal issues. Ability of Mark Rankin to present the facts to us in a way which allows us to make a judgement as to which direction to choose and the advantages and disadvantages of either.’

‘Mark Rankin – he has gone above and beyond for a significant period of time dealing with a particularly complicated individual and case with its origins going back a number of years.’

Key clients

Federation of Small Businesses

Markel (UK) Limited

Markel Legal Expenses Insurance

Markel International Insurance Company Limited

Galleon Marine Insurance Agency Ltd

Blind Veterans UK

Work highlights

  • Advising insurers on policy coverage issues in the context of an indemnity claim.
  • Defending a claim by a property development company in relation to alleged negligence in allowing planning permission to expire, with the resultant loss of the majority of the development opportunity, allegedly worth in excess of £1m.
  • Defending an IT support provider against a claim by a commercial UK airport alleging negligence and breach of contract following a cyberattack.

Gorvins Solicitors

Gorvins Solicitors acts on claims against legal professionals, architects, surveyors, valuers and more. The team is jointly led by managing partner Mark Deverell, who primarily works on claims regarding legal professionals in this space, and experienced litigator and arbitrator Guy Lightowler. Cases involving the negligent handling of property matters constitute a specialism for the firm.

Practice head(s):

Mark Deverell; Guy Lightowler


‘The team has a diverse range of experienced solicitors.’

‘Due to their experience they are well placed to make tactical and strategic decisions to benefit the client.’

Myerson Solicitors LLP

Myerson Solicitors LLP is known predominantly for its commercial litigation work, and is consequently involved in a variety of claims against solicitors, architects and accountants. The firm specialises particularly in claims against solicitors for negligent handling of wills and administration of estates, particularly when tax implications are involved. The experienced Tim Norman leads the team, supported by senior associate Suzanne Carr, who regularly handles professional negligence claims against solicitors in various legal areas including corporate, construction and IP.

Practice head(s):

Tim Norman

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Carr

Key clients

Larchwood Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Larchwood Investments in a professional negligence claim against former solicitors for failure to advise in connection with potential rent reviews which were activated.
  • Handling a claim against solicitors for negligently handling a disappointed beneficiary claim.