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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North West > Real estate > Social housing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Brabners LLP fields a ‘dedicated and knowledgeable’ department with a ‘first-class reputation’ for providing ‘a full range of services’ to housing providers, including property and development, governance, housing management, corporate finance, banking, procurement, construction, and disputes. In an illustration of its ability to draw on its extensive corporate expertise alongside social housing credentials, the firm is advising Pierhead Housing Association on the proposed move by Leasowe Community Homes from Your Housing Group to become a subsidiary of the client. It is also acting for The Riverside Group in an anti-social behaviour case which resulted in an immediate possession order being obtained after a two-day trial in the County Court; and advised Halton Housing Trust in connection with a supported housing scheme at Ashton Green. The team, which is praised for its ‘breadth and depth’, is headed by Alistair Fletcher, who also leads the governance team. Other key figures include housing management head Ian Alderson; Rupert Gill; Angela Clearkin and Peter Barlow, who head the development team; and Nigel Williams, who leads the home ownership team. Also recommended are senior associate Josephine Morton, who is ‘very intelligent, sharp, and always spots the key legal issues amongst the mass of information’; and associate Catherine Fearon, who is ‘very strong on cases involving a mental health element’. The team has been bolstered by several arrivals including consultant Suzanne Gregson, who joined from DWF and is a specialist in anti-social behaviour and tenancy management; and senior associate Lisa Robotham, who joined the development and home ownership team from Capsticks LLP. Thomas Starkey recently left the firm to join Weightmans LLP.

Croftons Solicitors LLP fields an ‘adaptive’ and ‘knowledgeable’ team whose specialist social housing advice ‘instils confidence in the client’. Its wide-ranging expertise spans housing and leasehold management, property and development issues, commercial real estate matters, and procurement, employment, governance and regulatory advice. Highlights included acting for Salix Homes in a nuisance case against a complainant; representing One Vision Housing (Sovini Group) in a matter involving injunction proceedings against a tenant displaying anti-social behaviour; advising Trafford Housing Trust on a site acquisition for a flagship development of 94 homes; and assisting The Regenda Group with a complex land purchase for a flagship £21m development that will form part of Peel Holding’s high-profile Liverpool Waters regeneration scheme. Managing partner Simon Leighton heads the team, which includes Jo Savage, who is ‘really engaging and knowledgeable’ and heads the governance and regulation team; head of housing management Melanie Dirom, who is noted for her ‘flexible approach’; property team head Arthur Chapman, who is ‘very considered and reassuring’; Julie Loggenberg, who handles development site acquisitions and regeneration schemes; and Bob Agnew. Clients also single out senior associate Kirsty Varley, who is experienced in anti-social behaviour.

Clients rate Forbes Solicitors for its ‘prompt action’, ‘flexibility’ and ‘very customer-focused approach’. The firm handles the full range of matters for housing associations, including litigation, property, corporate, leasehold, development, employment, procurement and governance matters. The team acted for Soho Housing in possession proceedings related to a flat in Central London, and represented Riverside Group in an inquest following the death of a resident at a hostel. Together Housing, Guinness Partnership, Trafford Housing Trust, Community Gateway and Shoreline are also clients. Stuart Penswick heads the housing litigation team and specialises in housing management, asset management and leasehold. Other key figures include the ‘brilliant’ Lucy Worrall, who heads the housing and regeneration property team; projects team head Daniel Milnes; housing management specialist Lachlan McLean; and Jonathan Holden, who is noted for employment matters. Also recommended are recently promoted partners Shirley Faragher and Ruth Rule-Mullen, and ‘very experienced’ associate Sarah Mansfield, who joined from BLM.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s ‘skilled and responsive’ team ‘excels’ at social housing work, handling the full range of matters including regeneration and development projects, regulatory and governance matters, joint ventures, investment and funding. Highlights included acting for the Homes and Communities Agency on the appointment of a mortgage administrator to deal with the overarching management and administration of the HCA's grant-funded equity loan portfolio; and advising Accent Group on its Fit for the Future project, which included the consolidation of its three stock-owning RPs into a single landlord. It also advises Sovini Group on a range of matters, including its acquisition of the Carroll Group, and a group restructure. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Mike Gaskell heads the ‘well-respected’ team and advises on constitutional, governance, and regulatory matters. Other key figures include Janet Winrow, who leads on major regeneration schemes; Adrian Bode, who specialises in complex social housing property transactions; Kate Bouchier, who advises on major development and regeneration projects; the ‘very able’ Suzanne Benson, who specialises in major projects and heads the credit and FCA regulatory practice, as well as the sales and homeownership team, which advises on sales and leasehold management transactions; and Richard St John Williams, who acts for registered providers, local authorities and private sector clients on affordable housing matters. Also recommended are Lynn James, who recently joined from DWF and is noted for contentious property matters, and Melanie Comer, who heads the real estate finance security team.

BLM represents social landlords in housing management matters, and is particularly strong in contentious matters involving anti-social behaviour and on cases involving youths and vulnerable individuals. Disrepair and housing fraud matters are also a key area of focus. The team acted for City West Housing Trust in a possession case at the Court of Appeal, and represented Wolverhampton City Council in a closure order where tenants were engaging in criminal activity. It also advised Places for People in an issue relating to disrepair. Golden Gates Housing Association, EMH Homes and Sheffield City Council are also clients. The ‘first-rateMatthew Hyam heads the team, which includes associate and advocate Chris Larkin.

Praised for its ‘personal approach’, the team at Clarke Willmott LLP regularly delivers housing management advice to private registered providers, including handling possession, anti-social behaviour, breach of tenancy, tenancy fraud, injunctions, policy, disrepair and lease drafting matters. The team acted for Adactus in an accelerated possession claim, and represented Plus Dane Group in a longstanding fraud and sub-let case. Halton Housing Trust, Equity Housing Trust and South Liverpool Homes are also clients. Head of the housing management and asset team Lindsay Felstead is ‘very knowledgeable’, ‘manages to get her clients’ aims and objectives across in a fair and transparent manner’ and ‘is also able to communicate in non-legal jargon so that case information can be digested and decisions can be made easily’. ‘Effective and efficient’ associate Matthew Wilson is ‘very adaptable and committed’ and is ‘passionate in achieving the best possible results in terms of outcome, and negotiates cases commercially’. John Cox joined Bevan Brittan LLP in Leeds.

Pinsent Masons LLP acts for landowners, residential developers, local authorities, funders, grant givers and contractors on transactions in the sector and ‘is very experienced in estate regeneration for local authorities’. Its expertise spans residential planning, residential structuring, tenant rights and housing litigation, and acts for clients including the Homes and Communities Agency, which the team advised on the roll-out of starter homes as a new tenure of affordable housing. The team is also advising a number of London boroughs on high-profile projects to regenerate housing stock. Senior associate Helen Robinson heads the housing team in Manchester, and leads the firm’s relationship with the Homes and Communities Agency in the North West. Also recommended are Nicola Buchanan, who leads on contentious property matters, and Michael Pocock.

Weightmans LLP’s ‘responsive’ and ‘available’ team advises housing associations, groups and consortiums and is praised for its ability to handle contentious matters in the sector. It advised Liverpool Mutual Homes on possession proceedings following the criminal conviction of a joint tenant and also advised the client on the establishment of a development company to procure building works. It is also acting for Halton Housing Trust on the acquisition and development of a former school site used for the construction of 100 dwellings in Cheshire. Team head Sian Evans is ‘first-rate’ and specialises in property litigation, advising on housing management, including anti-social behaviour and disrepair matters. Associate Thomas Starkey joined from Brabners LLP in November 2016, while Sheila Whitton joined Primas Law in 2016.

Slater and Gordon’s social housing practice has expertise in development projects for both private sector and housing providers and on funding arrangements. It is advising First Choice Homes Oldham on a development agreement and related documentation for the acquisition and delivery of its new office building in Oldham Town Centre, and continues to advise Urban Splash on the Park Hill project in Sheffield, which involves the delivery of new homes, as well as a commercial and community space. It is also advising McCaul Homes on the variation of a HCA funding agreement. Social housing head Stephen Lintott advises social housing clients on property and charity law issues. Principal lawyer Samantha Blackburn is also recommended.

The housing and regeneration team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP acts for housing associations on a range of matters and has developed a niche practice assisting supporting living sector clients. Keyworkers Housing Association is a client. David Baybut heads the practice, which includes the ‘excellent’ Kate Bullen, who leads on property and development matters; Louise Hebborn, who leads on housing management matters and is experienced in injunction proceedings and boundary disputes for registered providers; the ‘knowledgeable’ Philip Richardson, who is noted for employment matters; and recently promoted partner Chris Graves.

Specialist housing firm Knox Ellis Solicitors attracts praise for its ‘in-depth knowledge and understanding of social housing issues’. The firm handles a range of matters including anti-social behaviour, housing management, and estate, leasehold and asset management. Parkway Green Housing Trust, Impact Housing Association, Trafford Housing Trust and Magenta Living are clients. Tom Knox handles housing and asset management matters and Sarah Ellis advises on anti-social behaviour and housing management matters. Knox and Ellis are ‘hands-on’, ‘calm and professional’, ‘always provide sound advice in a manner that is clear to understand’ and ‘understand the bigger picture’. The ‘very professional’ Andrew Pearson and senior associate Ian Larkins joined the team in 2016.

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Legal Developments in North West for Social housing

  • New ‘ROE Bill’ draft published

    Following from the recent public outcry regarding the lack of ‘transparency’ in the UK property market, a new ‘ROE Bill’ draft has now been published.
    - Hudson McKenzie

Legal Developments in the UK

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Press Releases in the UK

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