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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 > Scotland > Insurance > Personal injury: defender > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Personal injury: defender
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BLM’s ‘excellent’ team handles the spectrum of personal injury defence for a mixture of insurers and insured corporates, including occupational illness and disease, abuse, catastrophic injury and road traffic accident (RTA) claims. Recent work for ‘very helpful and knowledgeable’ occupational disease specialist, Andrew Gilmour, included acting for the defender, on the instruction of BAI Claims Services, in a high-value claim involving fatal silicosis; leading to the abandonment of the action due to deficiencies in liability evidence and medical causation. Gillian Rushbury acted for the defender in an employers’ liability action brought by an employee who had sustained catastrophic injuries after an accident at work, in which a significantly reduced settlement was achieved in negotiations out of court. In a complex multi-jurisdictional action, Greg MacDougall is representing the defendant in a complex fatal accident claim involving a holidaymaker who fell and sustained serious injuries whilst in Egypt. The practice is jointly headed by Karen Dance, Ian Leach and Gillian Rushbury.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s ‘justifiably well-regarded team’ is noted for its ability to handle complex and high-value personal injury claims for insurers and insured corporates with ‘peerless flexibility and good communication’. It has ‘good expertise within the catastrophic injury arena’, in addition to a well-established anti-fraud department. The ‘highly experienced and extremely professional’ Carly Forrest stands out for being ‘tenacious in defence of client interests, while recognising when a pragmatic approach is required’. Forrest was instructed by a major insurance company to represent its insured, with respect to a criminal prosecution and concurrent civil claims arising from the death of a child in a swimming pool; the insured party was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to certain health and safety breaches, whilst the civil claims were negotiated out of court, leading to a significantly reduced settlement. Catherine Currie possesses ‘a firm grip on the big picture’, and handles a mixture of RTA, employers’, public and product liability cases. The ‘technically excellent’ Garry Ferguson specialises in complex high-value and fatal injury claims. Stephen Bryceland leads the practice.

Clyde & Co LLP’s team is highly rated for its personal injury defence work, and noted for its ‘diligence, decisiveness and sensitivity’ and ability to provide ‘real value for money’ to insurers and privately insured clients. The firm handles claims across the spectrum of the practice, such as catastrophic injury, large loss, disease, as well as RTA and fraud matters. It has a number of panel appointments for major national insurers, including Axa Liability Management. Gordon Keyden and John Reid were instructed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau in connection with a claim brought by the victim of a hit and run accident who suffered severe injuries, leading to a substantially reduced settlement after negotiations involving shared liability. Andrew Constable handled the defence of a bus company whose driver was accused of causing serious injuries to the claimant, who had stepped in front of the client’s bus; a case in which the defendant was absolved and awarded costs. Gilles Graham and the ‘technically excellent’ Calum Mathieson are also recommended. Graeme Watson leads the practice.

Brodies LLP has ‘one of the best teams on the local market’, which is led by Elena Fry, who is ‘extremely sharp, pragmatic and has a commanding presence’. The group represents self-insured businesses and public bodies in the range of personal injury claims and is on the panel for a number of major insurers operating in Scotland. The team has a strong anti-fraud offering, and regularly acts for insurers in defending against fraudulent claims. Highlights included successfully defending a Scottish Housing Association against a class action brought by tenants and former tenants in relation to a variety of neurological and psychological symptoms allegedly arising from solvent contamination from the foundations of their properties; a claim that was subsequently defended at appeal. The ‘vastly experienced’ Duncan McLean is ‘methodical and instils confidence in his ability to deal with whatever he is given’, and has a particular focus on maritime claims. Malcolm Mackay is another key practitioner; Duncan Mawby joined from BTO Solicitors LLP and Peter Demick left the team for Kennedys in September 2017, whilst Craig Watt joined the practice in March 2018 from CMS.

Burness Paull LLP’s ‘excellent’ team predominantly advises insured corporates and public sector bodies on the spectrum of personal injury claims, with a particular experience in aviation and disease work, in addition to strong sector expertise in oil and gas. The group is retained to defend a range of litigated and non-litigated public and employers’ liability claims made against Taylor Wimpey, including work-place related injury, occupier’s liability allegations and general personal injury connected to the client’s construction mandates. It is also the sole adviser to SSE and Scotia Gas Networks in connection with claims relating to industrial injuries, such as noise induced hearing loss and industrial diseases. Other notable clients include John Wood Group and Kier Group. Legal director William Cole is recommended for providing ‘very thorough preparation of cases’ and ‘very good analysis of evidence’. Ewan McIntyre leads the team.

DAC Beachcroft Scotland LLP’s team has ‘an excellent pedigree’ and stands out for its ability to ‘maintain extremely high levels of performance and service standards’. The firm is on the panels of a number of high-level insurers and acts for a number of corporate insured clients. The ‘confident, astute and sensible’ John Maillie is noted as ‘a truly top lawyer’ and possesses a wealth of experience in complex and catastrophic personal injury cases. Andrew Ireland is an ‘extremely capable solicitor advocate’ who specialises in complex casualty claims and coverage issues. Claire Newcombe has extensive anti-fraud expertise, and leads on the firm’s role as the sole counter-fraud provider to Aviva. Recent highlights include major RTA cases, liability investigations and fatal asbestos exposure claims. Associate Isla Taylor is also recommended.

DWF’s ‘highly regarded, competent and professional team of solicitors’ provides insurers and insured businesses with ‘incisive analysis, full and thorough advice’. The full-service defendant personal injury practice spans catastrophic injury, large loss, occupational health, industrial disease and abuse claims, in addition to a substantial counter-fraud offering. Andrew Lothian ('a safe pair of hands') leads the insurance practice, and is noted for his ‘tremendous depth of both knowledge and experience’, which he applies ‘effectively and communicates well’. ‘A clear leader in insurance litigation’, Jill Sinclair heads the firm’s counter-fraud offering. Amongst a variety of major counter-fraud operations, the group successfully represented LV= in a case following a ‘cash for crash’ scheme involving three fictitious car crashes, leading to the conviction of nine fraudulent claimants. The senior associate and ‘great counsel’, Caroline Coyne is another key practitioner, with extensive experience in high value catastrophic injury claims.

Harper Macleod LLP’s team is noted for its ability to ‘get to the heart of the issue’ and its ‘focus on what the litigation really hinges on’. Experienced litigator, Elizabeth Mitchell, leads the practice and specialises in handling high value, complex claims for major insurers.  The ‘extremely committed, knowledgeable’ Suzanne McGarrigle ‘provides clear, pragmatic advice’ and is ‘a pleasure to work with’. Heather Calderwood has vast experience in all aspects of personal injury and related claims for insurance clients and private individuals, including fatal claims, catastrophic injuries and employer liability. The group is on the panel for a number of major insurers, including Direct Line Group, Admiral Insurance and Acromas Insurance Company.

Anderson Strathern has a team of ‘very competent and capable solicitors’ and is able to ‘provide the advice and support to busy clients’ the team handles personal injury defence for a range of insured businesses, but predominantly represents insurance companies through panel appointments. It also acts for public sector bodies, including as sole provider to the Scottish Prison Service. The ‘determined litigator’ senior associate Dominic Scullion is well regarded by clients and peers alike, and stands out for providing ‘quality service’ to clients. Jonathan Guy leads the practice, has experience acting for insurers in large loss and complex claims, including catastrophic injury, fraud, disease, multiple fatality and indemnity and policy coverage claims. Senior associate Sarah Phillips is also highly rated.

CMS provides clients with ‘a good standard of measured, proportionate advice, timely correspondence with opposition lawyers and all relevant parties involved in any claim’. It has particularly strong energy sector coverage, in which it has extensive knowledge of industrial disease legislation and expertise in fatal claims. Practice head, Colin Hutton, successfully defended a major energy client against a claim raised by an employee following injuries sustained in an explosion, arguing that the employee failed to adhere to established protocols and utilise the provided safety equipment. Hutton also defended Imperial Chemical Industries against a complex cross-border action brought in the Scottish courts by the family of a former employee who died from an asbestos-related disease allegedly acquired entirely in England; leading to the dismissal of the claim on the grounds that it was time-barred. Senior associate Craig Watt left the practice for Brodies LLP in March 2018.

Kennedys combines ‘understanding of the client’s business’ with ‘good knowledge of the legal environment in Scotland’ to defend the variety of personal claims. The team was joined by ‘thorough and professional’ Peter Demick , whose focus is employers’ liability and public liability claims, in September 2017. Dual Scottish and English qualified Rory Jackson leads the team and has considerable experience in handling claims for insurers and insured corporates. Senior associate Clare Crawford is noted for providing ‘good advice and strategy’ and her ability to ‘progress cases efficiently’.

Ledingham Chalmers LLP has particular expertise in counter-fraud, catastrophic and fatal claims (including employer liability, disease, and RTA cases) in addition to defending claims against local authorities. The group is jointly led by John Chalmers, Graeme Edward (who is ‘extremely pragmatic’) and the ‘determined and tenacious’ Victoria Leslie, who has ‘a strong track record of fantastic results’. Sarah Morris has extensive public and private sector experience and recently defended Midlothian Council, via TopMark, in connection with two claims emanating from an incident in which teachers assaulted a pupil with special needs, leading to a finding that the client was not liable. Morris is defending a local authority in a stress at work claim brought by an employee.

Morton Fraser’s team has particular expertise in defending industrial disease claims for a variety of insured businesses and a number of major public sector bodies, including the Scottish and UK governments. The practice is led by the ‘particularly good’ solicitor advocate, Jenny Dickson, who is ‘highly experienced and extremely professional, organised and hard-working’. Amongst a number of mandates for the client, group is currently defending the Ministry of Defence against complex fatal claims following the death by suicide of a soldier. It is also defending a large central government department against an action brought by the family of the decease, who died as a result of lung cancer caused by occupational exposure to asbestos, in a case complicated by the fact the victim was a smoker. Senior associate, Jennifer Thomson is another key contact, and joined the team from Clyde & Co LLP in August 2017.

Weightmans LLP’s team is led by the experienced litigator, Douglas Keir, who acts for insurers, adjusters and insured businesses and specialises in defending high value motor, employer and public liability claims in both the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session. Pamela Stevenson has extensive experience defending industrial disease claims across a variety of sectors, most notably in asbestos and carpal tunnel actions. The group also represents a number of local authorities, including Glasgow City, Inverclyde, West Lothian and Fife. Seonaid Busby handles a number of RTA matters and is currently representing the accused party, on behalf of AIG, in a fatal accident inquiry into the death of a driver following a motor collision.

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