Hall Of Fame

Firms To Watch: Professional negligence

Browne Jacobson LLP launched a professional indemnity practice in Manchester in spring 2022 with the hire of former Clyde & Co practice head Jason Nash.

Professional negligence in North West

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co merged with Clyde & Co in July 2022. The team defends claims brought against lawyers and surveyors as well as professionals within the construction, finance and emerging professions. The practice also offers expertise in insurance coverage and disciplinary action. Co-heads James Preece and Louisa Robbins lead the team; former Clyde & Co practice head Jason Nash left to join Browne Jacobson LLP in spring 2022.

Practice head(s):

James Preece; Louisa Robbins

Other key lawyers:

Sam Godding; Anne-Marie Morgan-Barrett; Ben Parks; Iain Fraser

Testimonials

‘There is no firm in the world of prof neg claims with a higher profile or better client base than Clyde & Co. The North West office flies the Clyde flag with distinction and delivers incredible value for money considering the quality of work provided.’

‘Louisa Robbins is the hardest-working partner in the prof neg world, and nobody has a bigger or more distinguished case load than her. She never misses a detail, is beloved by clients, counsel and her team, and leads from the front.’

‘Louisa Robbins leads an excellent team of lawyers.’

‘James Preece always seems to be on top of his game.’

‘James Preece is one of my favourite solicitors to work with.’

‘Louisa Robbins is a highly tenacious advocate and has a truly awesome capacity to master the detail of complex technical matters.’

‘Sam Godding is extremely bright, hard-working and flexible in his approach. I would rate him as a fast up-and-coming junior who is rapidly growing in experience and stature.’

‘Anne-Marie Morgan-Barrett always appears extremely well prepared and ready to answer questions and express opinions whenever appropriate.’

Key clients

Carpmaels & Ransford

Work highlights

    DAC Beachcroft LLP

    DAC Beachcroft LLP defends claims against all ‘traditional’ professionals, including solicitors, insurance brokers and design and building contractors. The team also handles negligence claims against ’emerging’ professionals, such as those within the media and IT sectors. The practice receives a large number of coverage instructions, often following cyber-attacks and security breaches. Practice head Ian McConkey and Martin Paxton offer expertise in claims brought against solicitors, brokers and construction professionals. Associate Lyn Crawford advises insurance clients on CAR/EAR and liability claims, arising on construction and engineering projects.

    Practice head(s):

    Ian McConkey

    Other key lawyers:

    Martin Paxton; Lyn Crawford

    Testimonials

    ‘Martin Paxton is absolutely stellar – clever, with great client management skills.’

    ‘Ian McConkey is excellent.’

    ‘Huge profile and industry reach. High quality for astonishingly reasonable cost.’

    ‘First class knowledge and expertise combined with commercial approach; never losing sight of what is in the client’s best interest.’

    ‘Good team, knows market well, has good quality clients.’

    ‘Martin Paxton is switched on and has nice bedside manner.’

    ‘Martin Paxton is very easy to deal with and manage to provide succinct updates and explanation on the most complex of claims.’

    Key clients

    QBE European Operations

    Travelers Insurance Co Limited

    Zurich Insurance plc

    Tokio Marine HCC

    Great Lakes SE

    Allied World Assurance Company

    AmTrust

    Liberty Mutual Insurance

    HSB Engineering Insurance Limited

    Swiss Re.

    Work highlights

    • Acted in the defence of a £20m plus claim brought by a group of high-net-worth individuals following the discontinuance of a claim against their former investment bankers.
    • Acted  for the directors of an insolvent group of companies in defence of a claim in excess of £1m brought by the administrators.
    • Advised on the defense of an £8m plus claim against pre-cast concrete manufacturers following issues at a new build transport interchange.

    DWF

    DWF’s professional indemnity team defends claims brought against all professionals, including solicitors, surveyors, insurance brokers, technology and media consultants, and accountants. The department specialises in high-value, multi-party claims involving architects and engineers. The practice also advises on insurance policy coverage matters, including coverage advice to insurers in relation to claims on architects and contractors’ professional indemnity insurance policies. Andrew MacLeod heads the team, while director Hilary Harrison provides coverage advice to insurers, in connection with directors and officers insurance matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Andrew MacLeod

    Other key lawyers:

    Hilary Harrison

    Testimonials

    ‘High quality, but down to earth professional negligence team which balances the sophistication of commercial litigators with the streetfighting skills of insurance solicitors.’

    ‘Andrew McLeod is truly outstanding. ’

    ‘Hilary Harrison is excellent – very thorough and strategically minded.’

    ‘The team is dedicated to finding a commercial solution for their clients and will go the extra mile to ensure that.’

    ‘Hilary Harrison is an excellent associate who is approachable, clear and diligent.’

    Work highlights

      Kennedys

      Kennedys’ professional indemnity team has pan-sector expertise, handling claims across the construction, financial services, insurance and legal industries, amongst others. The practice has observed growing instructions in high-value cladding claims, architect’s disciplinary matters and insurance policy coverage issues. Practice head Jeremy Riley, also national head of professional indemnity, regularly advises insurers on coverage issues and policy disputes. Co-head Claire Bushen is noted for her work relating to traditional professions, specifically the well-renowned solicitors and accountants practice. Tom Handley and Hannah Williams complete the management quartet, recognised for handling claims against construction professionals and advising insurers in relation to complex coverage and monitoring issues, respectively.

      Practice head(s):

      Jeremy Riley; Claire Bushen; Tom Handley; Hannah Williams

      Testimonials

      ‘Jeremy Riley is right at the top of the professional liability and insurance market.’

      ‘Hannah Williams is extremely impressive – a brilliant partner.’

      ‘Claire Bushen  is an extremely friendly, open and intelligent person.’

      ‘Jeremy Riley provides us with a fantastic service. He is empathetic, but also proactive in moving matters forward to our desired conclusion.’

      Work highlights

        Keoghs LLP

        Keoghs LLP concentrates on defending claims against construction professionals, solicitors, brokers, IFAs and vets. The team also acts for insurers, representing their professional policyholders in litigation, arbitrations and ombudsman referrals. Ruth Lawrence heads the team and specialises in defending high-value and high-profile construction claims. Sarah Naylor defends claims against construction workers, veterinary surgeons and FCA-regulated professionals. Christopher Stanton is noted for handling matters involving lawyers, brokers, accountants and financial advisers. Jonathan Anslow focuses on multi-party construction claims, while senior associate Rachel Blair is another name key to note.

        Practice head(s):

        Ruth Lawrence

        Other key lawyers:

        Sarah Naylor; Christopher Stanton; Jonathan Anslow; Rachel Blair

        Testimonials

        ‘The Keoghs professional negligence team is experienced, calm under pressure and extremely thorough.’

        ‘Ruth Lawrence has a wealth of experience and is really prepared to test the strength of a point with you, and to try to anticipate the other side’s next move.’

        ‘Rachel Blair is bright and responsive, with an impressive maturity and forceful written advocacy for her client’s interests.’

        ‘Sarah Naylor is very bright, diligent, personable, excellent with clients.’

        ‘They have great strength in depth with some first-rate lawyers and excellent client contacts. They manage to get to the core of the issue at hand and have proved to be superb in handling very complex, multi-national professional negligence cases.’

        ‘Chris Stanton is an outstanding individual in the field of professional negligence. He has a very clear picture of what is going on, can look past all the small issues and focuses on the big picture, never losing sight of the overall goal of satisfactory and fair solution for all parties.’

        Key clients

        RSA

        The veterinary Defence Society

        Amtrust at Lloyd’s

        CNA Insurance

        Armour Risk Management

        Prosight Lloyd’s Syndicate 1110

        Argo Global

        Riverstone

        Arch

        Talbot Underwriting

        Work highlights

          Mills & Reeve LLP

          Mills & Reeve LLP defends claims made against legal professionals, construction professionals and insurance brokers, and collaborates closely with the litigation team. The practice also works on directors and officers claims, as well as acting for insurers on policy coverage issues. Practice head Niall Innes deals with cases brought against legal professionals. Co-head Ben Hardiman specialises in advising clients who are involved in construction disputes and also handles claims for insurance brokers relating to directors and officers policies.

          Practice head(s):

          Niall Innes; Ben Hardiman

          Testimonials

          ‘Consistently first rate. Communication, advice, administration all spot on and delivered by a team of outstanding lawyers.’

          ‘Niall Innes is outstanding. First rate legal advice, commercial, and always a pleasure to deal with.’

          ‘Extremely knowledgeable, professional and efficient. Able to deal with matters for us on very short notice and able to decipher large amounts of information to then be able to guide us on next steps.’

          ‘All individuals we deal with are extremely professional and efficient and also very friendly and approachable, which is a great asset.’

          ‘Ben Hardiman and his team perform admirably, clean and concise relatable advice in plain English.’

          ‘Very talented team that has a wealth of experience. They are very personable and diligent.’

          ‘Ben Hardiman is a great lawyer. He is very comprehensive and manages to deal with competing interests in a professional and calm way.’

          Key clients

          AIG

          Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Limited

          Allianz

          Pen Underwriting

          IGI

          WRB

          HCC Tokyo Marine

          Travelers

          Work highlights

            Weightmans LLP

            Weightmans LLP‘s professional risk department specialises in defending claims made against solicitors and construction professionals, in particular architects, engineers and design and build contractors. The practice also acts for a number of high-profile insurers. Mickaela Fox heads the team, with expertise in solicitors’ and valuers’ indemnity claims and regulatory work. Co-head Mike Grant and Alex Marler focus on defending claims against construction professionals and insurance coverage work. Associate Pamela Freeland is recommended for dealing with professional indemnity claims.

            Practice head(s):

            Mickaela Fox; Mike Grant

            Other key lawyers:

            Alex Marler; Pamela Freeland

            Testimonials

            ‘Very good allrounders, who can turn to any aspect of professional indemnity work.’

            ‘Mike Grant is a consummate team leader who commits the time and effort to bring on young lawyers, whilst handling demanding clients and workload.’

            ‘Mickaela Fox is a top notch lawyer and class act. Unafraid to take on complex, difficult cases and navigate a way through.’

            ‘I think Weightmans has a notably cohesive and well-run team. They respond to requests for help and information really quickly and in comprehensive detail.’

            ‘Mike Grant is a leading light in heavy duty professional negligence claims. His wealth of experience gives him both perception and perspective: he sees three moves ahead and clients love him for it.’

            ‘Pamela Freeland is one of the strongest professional negligence associates I have ever worked with.’

            ‘Mickaela Fox is an exceptional lawyer; she is very clear and concise in her advice.’

            ‘Mickaela Fox is absolutely outstanding. She gets to grips with any claim you give her very quickly.’

            Key clients

            Tokio Marine HCC

            Markel

            Wren

            WSP

            Hamilton Underwriting

            AmTrust

            Hiscox

            Zurich

            HDI

            Work highlights

            • Acted for one of eight search providers sued, along with a local authority, by 106 claimants in a case where it is believed that the specific issues in contention have never before been dealt with by the English courts.
            • Defended HDI, the insurers of Heatwave Energy Solutions, who are alleged to have been negligent in their pre-installation surveying of properties before retro-fitting cavity wall insulation (CWI), and then in the work itself.

            Addleshaw Goddard

            Addleshaw Goddard handles professional negligence claims for commercial clients, including those made against trustees of pension schemes, insurance brokers and solicitors. The team deals with matters relating to the banking and construction sectors and acts for lender clients in relation to negligence and fraud claims made against solicitors and surveyors. Nick Ashcroft heads the team alongside Susan Garrett, who is recognised for her work on claims that involve pensions, tax and trusts. Victoria Pool acts exclusively for policyholders in coverage disputes.

            Practice head(s):

            Nick Ashcroft; Susan Garrett

            Other key lawyers:

            Victoria Pool

            Testimonials

            ‘Deal with very high-value cases despite being in a regional office.’

            Key clients

            Toyota Material Handling UK Limited

            Trustees of the BT Rolatruc Group Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

            Brian Sullivan

            Work highlights

            • Handled claim against former advisors alleging errors in the administration of the scheme and the provision of incorrect advice around equalisation of benefits resulting in the significant increase of the scheme’s liabilities.

            FS Legal

            FS Legal, a litigation boutique, advises claimants in relation to tax negligence and professional services disputes. Julia Norris heads the team, with expertise in tax-related claims. Co-head Kit Sorrell is an experienced litigator, specialising in claims against financial and tax advisors involving tax avoidance and mitigation schemes. Legal directors Nicola Stanley  and Christine Newton  are recognised for handling claims for banks as well as clients in the manufacturing, engineering and construction sectors, respectively.

            Practice head(s):

            Julia Norris; Kit Sorrell

            Other key lawyers:

            Nicola Stanley; Christine Newton

            Testimonials

            ‘Christine Newton’s knowledge of the law regarding the claim was first class, always supplying me with information on where the case stood all the way through the case.’

            ‘FS Legal have carved out out a niche specialisation in professional negligence claims against accountants, IFAs and tax advisers.’

            ‘Kit Sorrell is very much the grand old man of Manchester litigation; a fearsome opponent who takes no prisoners.’

            ‘Julia Norris is a highly specialised and competent litigator who achieves excellent results for her clients.’

            ‘Nicola Stanley is an experienced litigator with a strong background in financial services professional negligence.’

            ‘Kit Sorrell is a leading, senior practitioner known by all as having a robust and confident approach to litigation.’

            ‘Julia Norris is a quite outstanding solicitor who has garnered great experience in this field of practice.’

            ‘Kit Sorrell is hugely experienced, and undoubtedly one of the recognised leaders in the field, and together with Julia Norris they make a formidable team.’

            Key clients

            Paul Steel and Jackie Foster

            Mr Graham Knights

            Blackstar (Europe) Limited (in Liquidation)

            Work highlights

            • Acted for Paul Steel and Jaqueline Foster in a £7m claim brought by the Financial Conduct Authority.
            • Acted for Mr Graham Knights, a business man, and his companies, Evergreen Trees and Shrubs Limited and Knights Investment Management Limited, in two claims for a combined value of £1.6m.
            • Worked in partnership with Exchange Chambers and Grant Thornton acting for former clients of Blackstar (Europe) Limited (In Liquidation).

            Legal Risk LLP

            Legal Risk LLP is a niche firm, recognised for advising law firms as well as their insurers and regulators on professional indemnity insurance and professional disciplinary issues. The practice also handles professional indemnity matters in relation to high-profile M&As. Liverpool-based Frank Maher leads the team, with extensive experience defending fraud-related claims for insurers and advising clients who are dealing with compliance and insurance aspects of rogue partner and employee issues. Francis Dingwall co-heads the practice from the Oxford branch.

            Practice head(s):

            Frank Maher

            Testimonials

            ‘Professional, commercial, approachable and always available.’

            ‘Frank Maher is outstanding.’

            ‘Frank Maher oozes knowledge and expertise, and isn’t afraid to dive in and sort things out.’

            ‘The firm are truly experts in their field, they provide concise, practical advice which is always to the highest standard. They understand the pressures and concerns of running a law practice and are are able to provide essential advice quickly.’

            ‘Frank Maher has worked in the professional negligence field all his career, he is personable and approachable in a non-judgemental way. He deals with problems head on and provides expert advice.’

            ‘A highly experienced and professional firm that provides clear and accurate advice on extremely complicated matters.’

            ‘Frank Maher and Francis Dingwall are exceptional in their fields and deliver an excellent service at a competitive rate.’

            Work highlights

              Markel Law LLP

              Markel Law LLP represents a range of insurance divisions, recognised for defending professional indemnity claims and providing policy coverage advice. The practice is instructed by policyholders under legal expenses insurance policies, bringing professional negligence claims against solicitors, accountants and insurance brokers. The legal services business does not operate under the traditional partnership model, rather working within a more flexible structure. Mark Rankin heads the team, specialising in defending claims against policyholders in the emerging professions, such as the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. Co-head Christopher Burns offers expertise in construction disputes.

              Practice head(s):

              Mark Rankin; Christopher Burns

              Testimonials

              ‘This team is excellent at managing the expectations of insured and insurer alike and finding a resolution that everybody is happy with.’

              ‘Christopher Burns is a stand-out individual – he has an excellent way with clients that instills confidence in his advice and helps them to reach decisions in their best interests. Despite his seniority he is across the detail and hands-on.’

              ‘Having worked with many law firms over many years, Markel Law were amongst the best I have worked with.’

              ‘Mark Rankin is knowledgable, direct and focused on getting the best result. He is also one of the most responsive lawyers I have ever worked with, often meeting deadlines by working at anti-social times.’

              ‘Markel always act in a very professional manner and set out very clearly what they are to undertake for you. The team keeps you updated at regular intervals/milestones which is very helpful compared to other firms where my experience has been long periods of uncertain silence.’

              ‘I’ve found Markel Law to have a high level of technical knowledge and expertise, and their work has produced good results on several cases.’

              ‘Mark Rankin and Christopher Burns in particular are diligent, personable and enthusiastic about each individual case, I believe they bring more of a personal touch through ownership of the files and customer communication than many other solicitors.’

              Key clients

              Federation of Small Businesses

              Markel (UK) Limited

              Markel Legal Expenses Insurance

              Markel International Insurance Company Limited

              Galleon Marine Insurance Agency Ltd

              Work highlights

              • Advised insurers in relation to policy coverage regarding an indemnity claim involving high-profile parties, including issues surrounding application of the insuring clause, policy exclusions, breach of policy terms and conditions and the duty of fair presentation under the Insurance Act 2015; securinga decision in insurers’ favour at binding Alternative Dispute Resolution.
              • Defended a claim by a property development company in relation to alleged negligence in allowing a planning permission to expire, with the resultant loss of the majority of the development opportunity – allegedly worth in excess of £1,000,000.
              • Defended a claim by a commercial UK airport alleging negligence and breach of contract following a cyber attack; losses put at in excess of £3,000,000.

              Shoosmiths LLP

              Shoosmiths LLP advises clients on construction and product liability professional negligence claims. The practice is also recognised for representing individual claimants. Richard Marshall leads the practice, recognised for handling matters involving defective product design which has resulted in catastrophic damage. Managing associate Matthew Brown is another key team member, working on claims against architects and surveyors.

              Practice head(s):

              Richard Marshall

              Other key lawyers:

              Adam Draper; Matthew Brown

              Key clients

              AmTrust Europe Limited

              MD Insurance Services Limited

              HSB Engineering Insurance Limited

              Haier plc (Hoover)

              Volkswagen

              Compare The Market

              Work highlights

              • Acted on behalf of PSB UK Limited defending professional negligence allegations at the Grenfell enquiry.
              • Lead AmTrust Europe’s defence on a £14m professional negligence claim against Wilmott Dixon.
              • Represented Hoover in a claim concerning defective design.

              Gorvins Solicitors

              Gorvins Solicitors defends complex professional negligence and liability claims against legal professionals, surveyors, valuers, architects, accountants and insurance brokers. Co-heads Mark Deverell and Guy Lightowler are regularly instructed in professional negligence matters primarily concerning legal advisors and surveyors. David Guest completes the management team.

              Practice head(s):

              Mark Deverell; David Guest; Guy Lightowler

              Testimonials

              ‘Gorvins is a large firm of solicitors, so benefits from being able to provide the reassurances that come with instructing a large firm, but at the same time the accessibility, transparency and regular communication helps make the process less daunting for private clients.’

              ‘The service we have received from Guy Lightowler has been ideal for our needs.’

              Work highlights

                Myerson Solicitors LLP

                Myerson Solicitors LLP’s claimant-focused professional negligence team is recommended for handling claims against solicitors, architects, accountants, as well as those relating to property. Recently, the practice has received a rise in claims for solicitors’ negligence in regards to drafting wills and administration of estates.  Tim Norman heads the department and handles cases involving a range of professionals. Senior associate Suzanne Carr is another key member of the team.

                Practice head(s):

                Tim Norman

                Other key lawyers:

                Suzanne Carr

                Testimonials

                ‘Myerson do good work in this area, and their experience shows in their litigation technique.’

                ‘Tim Norman is a real heavy-hitter in professional negligence work.’

                Key clients

                Holden Homes (North West) Limited

                Larchwood Investment Limited

                Novopacs USA Inc

                Work highlights

                • Acted for Larchwood Investments Limited in connection with professional negligence claim against former solicitors for failure to advise in connection with potential rent reviews which were activated resulting in client having 6 figure back rent liability.
                • Acted for Straits Mill Partnership in connection with professional negligence against a well-known national property consultant and estate management firm.
                • Acted for Dr Mohammed Shamsuz in claim against an architect practice for failing in its duty of care relating to the design of a floor slab for a residential development.

                Pannone Corporate LLP

                Pannone Corporate LLP is primarily a claimant practice, handling matters lodged against a wide range of professionals, including tax professionals, accountants, solicitors, architects and surveyors. The professional negligence team, which operates within the wider commercial litigation group, is led by a senior trio comprising Paul Jonson, Martin Pennington and David Brown.

                Practice head(s):

                Paul Jonson; Martin Pennington; David Brown

                Testimonials

                ‘Small, but perfectly formed team, skilled in commercially flavoured professional negligence claims.’

                ‘Martin Pennington is a hard-working details man, whom clients trust implicitly.’

                ‘Paul Jonson is a smooth supervising partner with a keen commercial eye.’

                ‘This firm has plenty of experience of heavyweight professional negligence claims, particularly in the financial services, accountancy and tax sectors. You can always rely on them to prepare their cases very thoroughly at all stages.’

                ‘Paul Jonson is a very experienced heavyweight commercial litigator experienced in commercial professional negligence work.’

                Work highlights