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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 > South East > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Essex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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The five-partner commercial litigation department of Birkett Long LLP covers court cases, as well as arbitration, adjudication and mediation proceedings. Key areas include real estate, engineering, financial services, agriculture, intellectual property and general company, shareholder and director disputes. In a major highlight, the team defended four family members against a £45m breach-of-warranty claim from a company that they sold shares from their own business to. Another matter related to the representation of an events company in a planning dispute with a London borough council, which refused to give planning permission for redevelopment after the client had entered into a long-term lease and invested £10m. Valeo Group of Companies, Flakt Woods and BEW Electrical Distributors form part of the active client roster. Chelmsford-based partners Peter Allen and Keith Songhurst, as well as Kevin Sullivan in Colchester, are the main practitioners. Marc Thurlow rejoined the team in June 2017 from London firm Bolt Burdon, where he had worked since 2012.

The 'well-run' litigation department of Birketts LLP provides 'extremely good value for money' and is able to 'focus on a good commercial outcome'. Its key strength lies in commercial disputes between international companies. In 2017, practice lead Daden Hunt represented three individuals as company shareholders in a six-figure repayment claim in relation to an asset purchase agreement for a book of insurance which the claimant bought from the defendants. The team also continues to advise the German entity Maack & Company on pre-merger approval court applications for a combination between several German and English companies. The client base also includes Elektron Technology. Associate Marie Batchelor is 'very quick to identify the issues at hand and give clear, tailored advice'.

The 'positive and capable' Rainer Hughes is recommended for providing a 'consistently reliable and professional service' and being able to 'discuss the issues from all sides'. Mainly engaging in international litigation and ADR matters, the team is most experienced in advising wholesale businesses and enforcing cases across multiple jurisdictions. Recent highlights include the representation of US company Premier Products as claimant in an English court proceeding against Dubai-based Access Global Trading regarding a £2.69m contract dispute. Another focus area of 2017 was the defence of alcohol wholesalers against HMRC, for example in relation to non-payment of duty claims and the latter's wholesaler registration scheme. 'Excellent' practice lead Sanjay Panesar 'combines ability with a fun personality'. The 'personable' Craig Smith, who has a 'straight-talking, down-to-earth approach', and 'pure-quality strategist' Anita Punpher are also recommended.

The commercial litigation practice at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP  consists of four key solicitors who resolve contractual, professional negligence, regulatory and shareholder disputes. The team serves a number of industries, such as the banking and construction sectors. Consultant solicitor and mediator Christopher Yemm handles personal injury, as well as inheritance and will disputes, while Kevin Boorof 's main focus areas are civil and family law litigation. Lawrence Adams is responsible for tenancy and other types of property litigation. Another niche area of expertise is sports litigation, which is primarily covered by solicitor Jason Torrance. James Burkett retired in 2017.

The 'knowledgeable, in-depth and quick-to-respond' litigation team at Jefferies Essex LLP  'has developed in strength and experience, attracting challenging work beyond its size' and giving 'clear, concise and relevant advice' to 'enviable large corporate clients', especially from the motor manufacturing and dealership sector. The lawyers handle disputes relating to M&A transactions, commercial contracts, professional negligence and franchise agreements. 'Seasoned litigator' and trained mediator Mark Rothman, who 'resolves litigation issues in the briefest time and achieves excellent results', continued to represent New Dawn Tax Partnership and more than 400 high-profile individual clients in a £10m tax-loss claim against HMRC in the High Court. Head of department Sarah Mitchell, who 'shows a very high level of understanding and knowledge of her client’s business', acted for a motor dealer as claimant in a six-figure breach-of-contract dispute with a software and digital solutions provider. Clients further recommend 'impressive legal brain' Duncan Bennington, who represented the majority shareholder as defendant in a petition dispute with the minority shareholder, following a claim for the latter's removal as company director.

The 'superb, very professional and helpful' litigation practice of Wortley Byers LLP delivers 'a strong performance, a good balance of pragmatism, first-rate response times and a reasonable pricing dynamic'. It covers a range of services, including contract and negligence disputes and banking, employment, property and insolvency litigation, as well as general contentious corporate management and partnership matters. Review Hotels, Brentwood School, Bank of Cyprus and Donald Moody Investments feature in the current client base. The 'approachable' Nick Hatchett 'explains the matter at hand very concisely' and 'manages contentious situations very well'. The second key partner is the 'very competent, measured and thoughtful' Wendy Beach, who 'brings years of experience to her role' and has an 'impressive ability to assimilate information and draw conclusions'. 'Responsive' employment specialist Sarah Stanyer is also recommended.

The 'thoroughly impressive' litigation team at BTMK Solicitors 'goes from strength to strength' by 'providing clear advice' and being 'very accessible and client-friendly'. Focus areas include contractual, shareholder and professional negligence litigation and mediation. Recent highlights include a partnership and shareholder dispute between an individual and a property management company concerning several completed projects and the retrieval of repatriation monies, which resulted in a five-day trial. It was handled by the 'commercially focused' Nitin Khandhia, who also enforced a Californian arbitration award in the High Court for client Voltage Pictures regarding a $435,000 film and distribution rights dispute with an English company. The 'straight-talking' Adam Fleming acted for the owner of a jewellery business in a claim against her former partner via a freezing injunction, after he had removed sums in excess of £300,000. Employment litigation partner Fiona McAnaw is another key member of the team. Solicitor Nadia Fabri joined from Pinney Talfourd LLPin January 2018.

The 'excellent' Ellisons Solicitors provides 'knowledgeable, speedy and cost-effective' litigation services, particularly in commercial, probate, insolvency, debt recovery and banking disputes. Recent highlights include the representation of Southbourne Trading Company regarding the successful dismissal of a winding-up petition from HMRC. The Ministry of Defence (Defence Infrastructure Organisation) and The Book Service/Penguin Books are regular clients. 'Friendly and professional litigator' Graeme Wallington has a 'sensible commercial approach to achieving the client's objectives'. He is supported by six solicitors, including Ceri Rogers and Scott Porter.

Mullis & Peake LLP's 'experienced, reliable and approachable' commercial litigation practice is a 'safe pair of hands for landlord and tenant matters'. Other areas of expertise include construction, leisure, hospitality and healthcare. 'Robust and effective litigator' Manzurul Islam became a senior associate and overall head of litigation, while Holly Minney, who mainly handles construction disputes, was also promoted to senior associate in 2017. Hollie Wright left for Hamlins LLP.

The commercial litigation department at Palmers provides a 'first-rate service level', with 'unmatched response times' and 'great cost-effectiveness'. It acts on a wide range of disputes within business divorce, including shareholder, partnership, transactional, intellectual property, debt recovery, contract, trust, public procurement and financial service litigation and mediation. In a highlight of 2017, the team represented a news publication company in a shareholder dispute with a global company that involved an unlawful attempt by the counterparty to remove a director, as well as counter-claims regarding unfairly prejudiced conduct, breach of duties and several non-payments of invoices and salaries. 'Rising star' Luke Morgan, who is 'tactical in his advice and gets to know his client', is recommended, as is solicitor Carla Jones. Consultant Clive Tant retired in August 2017.

During 2017, Pinney Talfourd LLP's commercial litigation team increased its presence in the industrial manufacturing, renewable energy and e-commerce sectors, while remaining in a stable position in the construction and financial service industries, as well as for insolvency-related disputes. The Kiani Group of Companies, Target Interior Projects, Bowmite and Smile Clinics form part of the active client portfolio. Practice lead Stephen Eccles, senior associate Bushra Elzubeir and associate Damian Pitts are the main contacts. Solicitors Amit Bansal  and Aishah Fazil joined from Giles Wilson LLP and Wortley Byers LLP, respectively.

The commercial litigation practice of Tees Law in Chelmsford stands out for its 'competent, timely and effective service, responsiveness and attention to client needs'. Its long-established expertise includes disputes regarding contracts, professional negligence, property and construction, and insolvency, as well as trusts and probate, while unjust enrichment and misrepresentation claims form new working areas for the team. In 2017, the lawyers represented the National Farmers' Union in connection with the administration of Wellgrain, mainly regarding compensation claims from farmers and in order to enforce a change in conduct of the administration. In another highlight, solicitor Holly McColgan led the representation of air travel equipment manufacturer AEM in a dispute with a Saudi Arabian company, which concerned the recovery of loaned goods held by a German company. Clients recommend 'thorough, professional and commercially minded' team lead David Perry, who is also a 'skilled mediator and superb tactician'.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors' commercial litigation team is best known for its work on property, tenancy, building, boundary and neighbour disputes, as well as breach of contract, debt recovery and wills and probate matters. A recent highlight was the representation of a private individual in a six-figure property transfer reversal claim before the Chancery Division due to professional negligence on the part of the responsible tax solicitors, which HMRC approved.  Leanne Philp  'has good instincts and can be relied upon to meet deadlines and get work done'.

The 'strong' litigation practice at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP's Westcliff-on-Sea office covers court, tribunal and mediation proceedings, as well as round-table meetings. The team gained experience in commercial supply, public procurement, debt recovery, insolvency, shareholder and asset disputes. Recent highlights include a seven-figure debt recovery claim, which also concerns a fraud action, brought by the firm's client against GE. The team further represented a cleaning company in a dispute with a sleeping shareholder regarding its business restructuring plans. 'Good strategic thinker' Fiona Colwell 'has an excellent manner with clients and focuses on their interests'. Lorraine Lancaster is the second key partner in the practice.

The commercial litigation department at Thompson Smith and Puxon 'consistently impresses with its significant breadth of skills, timely service and sound advice', 'making clients feel valued'.  Its key focus areas include tenancy, property lease, and wills and probate disputes, with additional contract, partnership, insolvency, debt recovery, professional negligence and defamation expertise. The 'pragmatic and supportive' Judith Winward 'takes a proactive approach to conflict resolution' and became an associate in 2017. The 'exceptional' Sharon Auton heads the practice.

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