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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 > Dispute resolution > Debt recovery > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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Bond Dickinson LLP fields a team of ‘true debt recovery experts’ led by Bristol-based Stephen Dilley. The ‘fearless’ Sue Pattie is a key name in the firm’s Newcastle office and is praised for her ‘ability to fight their corner until the bitter end’; she advises both public and private sector clients, with particular expertise in the education and charity sectors, and recently acted in a cost recovery issue arising from an insolvency. Notable areas of expertise for the team include asset investigations and reporting, tracing absconder debtors, enforcement issues and claim drafting. The team’s client roster spans a combination of SMEs, regional and national corporate clients, and charities and regional companies; key names include British Gas Trading, the Insolvency Service, A-one+ Integrated Highways Services, Tyneside Food Services and Doncaster Bloodstock Sales. Legal executive Helen Vaughan is experienced in mediation and negotiation processes, summary judgment applications and enforcement procedures.

Beverley Oliver leads the department at Muckle LLP, which is ‘always willing to go the extra mile’ and has a ‘professionalism that is unmatched’. Oliver attracts praise for her ‘very efficient, reliable and friendly approach’ that adds to the firm’s ‘first-class service’. The practice is highly regarded for its experience recovering unpaid invoices; Oliver recently led advice to Wear Referrals in multiple recoveries of unpaid veterinary invoices. Other clients include Anglia Telecoms and Tutti & Co. Paralegal Charlotte Dickinson is ‘a great ambassador for the firm’ and is ‘always offering professional and helpful advice, which is reflective of her in-depth industry knowledge’.

At Ward Hadaway, Steven Petrie primarily acts on a range of corporate and personal insolvency issues for insolvency practitioners and accountants. Petrie’s work for insolvency practitioners covers advice to businesses facing financial difficulties with debt and cash flow problems, assisting directors with their duties and handling insolvency issues for landlords. Petrie also regularly defends individuals and companies. Paralegal Debbie Bird has notable experience in debt recovery matters related to the construction and supply industries, and acts for electrical suppliers, surveyors, property managers, private schools, car dealerships and letting agents.

Building on the firm’s strength in Scotland, Aberdein Considine’s new Newcastle office (established in late 2016) ‘has already developed an excellent reputation in the region’ thanks in part to its ‘outstanding service, which consistently meets clients’ expectations’. Rob Aberdein, who splits his time between Newcastle, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, leads the practice, which acts for a range of SMEs, banks, high street retailers, and FTSE 100 companies, including Lloyds Banking Group, Leeds Building Society and Nationwide Building Society. The three-partner group includes Matthew Wightman, who joined from an in-house position as deputy chairman at Ascent; and Thomas Lillie, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP. Solicitor Vicki Alexander is singled out for her ‘good eye for detail’.

BHP Law’s department is led by Leigh Ferguson, who joined the firm in 2016 from Watson Burton LLP. The practice advises on contract agreements, credit management and contentious debt recovery matters. The team has been particularly active for landlords and companies on recovering debts from tenants and guarantors. The firm also acts for insolvency practitioners, private individuals and charities. Recent work includes representing client in enforcement orders including attachment of earnings, freezing injunctions and the possession and sale of properties. Associates Graham Tyler and Rosie Woodward, who is recognised for her experience recovering debt from tenants, are also recommended.

Jacksons Law’s practice is headed by Toby Joel and features a number of key practitioners in solicitors Angie Papprill and Michael Sproates, and legal executive Alison Binns. In a recent highlight, Binns advised on the recovery of debt arising from unpaid invoices, while Sproates acted in the recovery of outstanding rent. Joel recently handled an international debt recovery mandate. The group’s client roster ranges from individuals to national companies such as Darlington Building Society; the team was recently appointed by the latter to act on all its mortgage possession and arrears recovery work.

Clients praise Short Richardson & Forth’s ‘knowledgeable and to-the-point’ team, which ‘produces outstanding results in a pragmatic and effective way’. The team acts for solicitors, recruitment agencies, construction hire and supply companies, letting agencies, landlords and SMEs on a wide range of issues including unpaid invoice matters and unpaid rent recovery. Other areas of expertise include winding-up and bankruptcy petitions, letters before action, credit control process reviews and enforcement actions. Tim Berg leads the group, which includes associate Alexandra Withers and ‘truly brilliant’ paralegal Jenine Martin.

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