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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 > Real estate > Social housing > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Batchelors has firmly established itself as 'a top-ranked firm in social housing, and rightly so; the firm fields a team of leading practitioners that provides the highest quality of customer service'. Its expertise encompasses high-value acquisition and development of affordable housing, as well as handling high-profile and complex anti-social behaviour, tenancy fraud, leasehold and shared ownership, and tenancy review matters. The practice was bolstered in 2017 by the recruitment of Melinda Dix, who joined from Bovis Homes' in-house legal team in October 2017 and housing litigation specialist Sevim Devlin, who joined from Housing Law Services in September 2017, in addition to the establishment of a dedicated plot sales and shared ownership team. Recent work includes acting for Swan Housing Association in obtaining a without notice injunction against a son who was the main carer of a resident in an elderly pensions sheltered scheme in order to address drunken and anti-social behaviour affecting other tenants. Thaine Wilson heads the practice and is 'a wonderful leader, very hardworking and completely and impressively at ease with this area of law'. Also recommended are Andrew Harmer; the 'extremely knowledgeable' Gavinder Ryait, who 'has a real tactical eye for the best way forward for her clients'; Leo Stevens, who is 'able to advise on a variety of areas and always responds quickly'; Anne Nurse, who provides 'clear, accurate advice on complex site acquisition matters'; Mary Martil, who heads the leasehold management team; and Nick McKnight.

Capsticks LLP is 'an extremely impressive and conscientious firm', with its social housing team singled out for providing 'excellent drafting skills,  professional advocacy and a focus on resolving issues in the most cost-effective was possible'. The sizeable practice handles the full spectrum of social housing matters, from procurement and planning to housing management, development and regeneration, and is noted for its niche in healthcare.  Recent highlights include acting for a registered provider in a scheme to acquire 48 affordable units over several phases, acting for four landlords on a project to address the issue of hoarding by residents, and acting for Sovereign Housing in obtaining a without notice injunction including an exclusion order against a tenant's partner. Practice head Michael Owen is 'extremely knowledgeable with an affable character guaranteed to make any training session a pleasure'. He is recommended alongside Jennifer Bennett, the 'very proactive' Kevin Steele, and Mike Regan, who specialises in large-scale stock transfers between registered providers and leases in the supported housing sector.

Penningtons Manches Cooper has a longstanding track record acting for housing associations and local authorities covering the full range of social housing advice, from home ownership matters to securitisation, portfolio management and acquisition and development work. The practice is continuing to expand its client base, with Network Housing, Winchester City Council and Shoreditch Housing Association all new clients for 2017. Recent highlights include acting for Southern Housing Group on ongoing issues arising from the Bow River Village development, including the acquisition of two adjacent development sites for a total consideration of £31m; acting for Thames Valley Housing Association on the review of its shared ownership lease and sales guides, which involved reducing the timescales between the issue of sales contract packages to exchange of contracts; and assisting Paragon Asra Housing with title reviews to assess their mortgageability, potential value related restrictions and any compliance concerns. Linda Storey heads the team and acts for clients including Metropolitan Housing Trust. Also recommended are Andrew Casstles, who specialises in property development and regeneration, construction and procurement specialist Peter Massey, and Eugene Wojciechowski, who focuses on employment matters.

Blake Morgan LLP attracts praise for its 'responsive, thorough service and sound knowledge in the area'. The practice is active across the full spectrum of social housing work, including advising on housing led regeneration, complex mixed-use, mixed-tenure developments, employment issues, and governance matters. In an illustration of its ability to handle construction matters, Richard Wade acted for Peabody Trust in obtaining an urgent without notice prohibitive injunction arising from an adjoining owner demolishing its property in contravention of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Kate Silverman took over as head of the practice following John Russell's retirement in April 2017.

Specialist social housing firm Housing Law Services  provides 'an outstanding service' to a client base comprising registered providers. Key figures include Tim Crook, who has particular strength in property litigation, Julie Allen, who has more than 20 years' experience acting for social landlords in housing management issues, and Lawrence Talbot, who is 'always willing to help, and delivers his service with a smile'. Allen led the team acting for Sovereign Housing Association in possession proceedings against mother and daughter tenants who were involved in drug dealing at the property, while Crook acted for Optivo in defending a claim by private property owners alleging they had been granted an easement in respect of parking in one of their car parks due to prescription.

Judge & Priestley LLP attracts praise for its 'outstanding overall level of service; all of its solicitors have many years of experience and excellent breadth of knowledge between them'. Areas of expertise encompass housing management litigation, including matters relating to possession, neighbour disputes, disrepair and anti-social behaviour; leasehold management, where it acts for a number of local authorities on leasehold and service charge issues; and housing development, where it acts for a number of registered social landlords and charities. In an illustration of its track record acting for London local authorities, the practice acted for the London Borough of Lambeth in obtaining an injunction order against a leaseholder for breach of lease, and acted for the same client in forfeiture proceedings for outstanding service charge arrears and costs. Key figures include Nitika Singh, who heads the practice and has wide-ranging experience in property litigation; Pamela Bachu, who is noted for her 'can-do attitude and and responsiveness'; and Mark Oakley, who is singled out for his 'understanding of the practical applications of the work clients undertake'.

Perrin Myddleton fields 'very knowledgeable solicitors who take ownership of matters, deliver on time and go the extra mile'. The practice acts for a sizeable roster of regional housing associations and local authorities on a wide range of social housing matters, including advising on joint ventures, strategic agreements and flagship developments. On the development front, the practice acted for Origin Housing on a large-scale residential development consisting of the redevelopment of the former Queen Elizabeth II Hospital site in Welwyn Garden City. In an illustration of its work for local authorities, Simon Braun acted for London Borough of Havering in an action for possession on the grounds the tenants were not occupying the flat in question as their only or principal home. Other key figures include Frederick Perrin, who heads the practice has more than 40 years' experience acting in commercial property and social housing development acquisitions and commercial leasing; and Sanjeev Shah, who handles development acquisitions, site assembly work and development funding.

Clarke Willmott LLP fields a social housing team that is noted for its 'good depth of knowledge and expertise'. The practice provides a holistic service to social landlords, covering property acquisitions and disposals and housing management disputes. Tim Miles  acted for Isle of Wight Council on the acquisition of 12 units for use as assisted housing for long-term disabilities, which was complicated by the fact that the land being developed was owned by the council and was being developed as a joint venture with a national housing developer. In another key mandate, Sarah Orchard acted for United Communities in obtaining a possession order of a social rented property on the grounds that the tenant attempted to start a fire within his kitchen. Other key figures in the Southampton team include Lisa Guelfi and Anne Jones.

Cripps LLP advises registered providers, housebuilders and affordable housing divisions on the full range of social housing matters,  including site acquisitions, development and funding, regeneration schemes and shared ownership leases. Andrew Harbourne is the key contact.

DMH Stallard LLP's social housing practice has established 'a well-deserved reputation for quality of service and approachability'. Its expertise spans the full spectrum of housing management services, from possession claims and anti-social behaviour matters, to disrepair claims and public law and policy advice. It also provides acquisition, regeneration and development advice to clients including registered providers and local authorities. Emily Wood acted for a local authority client in a claim for possession of a three-bedroom house following the death of the tenant, but which was occupied by the tenant's daughter and her adult son. Other key mandates included acting for Orbit Group on the acquisition of the affordable housing element on a mixed joint venture scheme, and acting for Golding Homes on the acquisition and construction of affordable housing dwellings as part of a larger housing development site. Tina George is also recommended.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors attracts praise for its 'robust practical approach to case management and client management'. The sizeable housing law team regularly acts for social tenants in defending against possession and unlawful eviction cases, with housing law specialists who are 'at the top of their game'. Key figures include Manjinder Kaur Atwal, whose expertise encompasses landlord and tenant disputes, housing disrepair, homelessness, and bringing reviews and appeals relating to local authority housing decisions.

EMW Law LLP's social housing team has a particular focus on acting for housing associations on development and acquisition matters. Recent highlights include advising Aragon Housing Association on its acquisition of 17 affordable housing units from a large national developer, and acting for Howard Cottage on its purchase of 19 affordable units in three phases, both of which involved s106 agreements. The practice also acted for Watford Community Housing Trust on the purchase of a brownfield site to be developed into two blocks of residential flats. Caroline Hayward leads the social housing team, which includesJoe Soul, who handles healthcare related social housing matters; and construction specialist Michael Chilton.

The social housing department at Marsons Solicitors handles the full range of housing and asset management policy and procedure for registered providers with large mixed tenure estates such as the Riverside Group, Hexagon Housing Association and Network Housing Group. Bernadette Reid heads the practice and handles housing litigation and management matters, including anti-social behaviour, in addition to advising on tenancy agreements and housing management policies.

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