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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 West > Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Dorset and South Wiltshire > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commercial litigation: Dorset and South Wiltshire
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Brendan Herbert - Laceys

Rising stars

  1. 1

Specialist areas of Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP include property, banking and finance and insolvency litigation, in addition to handling injunction applications and judicial review claims. A particular niche area of note is gambling litigation, where the firm assists clients in bringing claims against betting companies. Department co-head William Fox Bregman, based in Christchurch, is experienced in the banking and finance space, where he primarily represents commercial and individual clients against banks and other financial institutions. Fellow co-head and Bournemouth-based Lauren Day is noted for her experience in handling high-value contractual disputes for property developer clients.

Practice head(s):Lauren Day; William Fox Bregman

Other key lawyers:Paul Kanolik


'The team shows great commitment to its clients'

'Working with one of the partners, Lauren Day, and her team of associates and assistants, has shown how thorough and reliable the practice can be during litigation. They produce good analysis of court proceedings and through understanding of CPR. As counsel they are a pleasure to work with and make my job much easier'

'Lauren Day has excellent judgment, is very bright and has great interpersonal skills'

Key Clients

Linda Sydenham-Baker

Ashley Faull and Vistra Trustees (Jersey)

Shaftesbury Town Council

Mr Bleach

Work highlights

  • Represented a property developer involving a mis-sold interest rate hedging product with the Bank distressing the debt position.
  • Acted for the claimant in a High Court claim against a major high street bank regarding alleged breach of duties.
  • Acted for a property developer in a dispute with a major high street bank, regarding a mis-sold interest rate hedging product and a breach of contract in relation to a loan.
  • Represented the client in defence of judicial review claim relating to the sale of Shaftesbury Cattle Market

Lester Aldridge LLP's team has particular expertise in the marine, defence and financial sectors, where it is active in both High Court litigation and arbitral proceedings. Multiple cases handled by the firm recently have had an international dimension; Michael Veal handles the majority of the cross-border disputes undertaken by the firm. Practice head Kate Stewart has particular expertise in property litigation.

Practice head(s):Kate Stewart

Other key lawyers:Michael Veal; Chris Evans


'Well balanced division of work between hard-working associates and good partner oversight. Excellent visibility of fees for clients throughout. Highly organised and focused on delivery of high-quality product to clients'

'Ben Kerley is hardworking and diligent with good organisational skills, operates at a higher level than his years of experience suggest'

'Chris Evans has excellent client skills and care, and runs a tight ship'

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in a claim following the insolvency of an arbitration claimant.
  • Advising a client bringing a claim alleging substandard work and subsequent damage.
  • Defending a client in claims of overstated costs, breach of contract and defamation.
  • Acting for a client in a claim for alleged breach of distribution agreements by a water filtration company.

Steele Raymond LLP, which handles the full range of disputes for local clients, has had a notable increase in property litigation, construction litigation and professional negligence mandates. Peter Rolph (who has over 36 years of commercial litigation experience) heads up the team, which was strengthened by the arrival of Lauren Hayes from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. Hayes covers a wide range of commercial disputes, with a particular specialism in contentious intellectual property matters. Hannah Dare is recommended for her property litigation expertise, which includes landlord and tenant disputes and applications under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

Practice head(s):Peter Rolph

Other key lawyers:Lauren Hayes; Hannah Dare


'Very experienced in dealing with all kinds of commercial disputes, and can be relied upon to proceed with a case in a sensible and proportionate manner'

'Very practical and good with people, excellent at understanding the client's needs and finding the best way to achieve the best possible outcome'

'They act pragmatically and advise you on the options and likely costs'

'The core team has been together for many years and have a good understanding of our business and the problems that we face. They handled matters in a competent, professional manner whilst remaining approachable at all times'

'Peter Rolph is a highly experienced litigator who takes a practical approach'

'Alice Toop is organised and very thorough'

'Peter Rolph has an excellent legal and commercial brain'

'I have found Peter to be careful, efficient and knowledgeable of the area; he steered a difficult claim with great sensitivity and expertise. He was ably supported by Alice Toop'

'I have found all the individuals I have dealt with to be outstanding. Always available to explain legal procedures in layman's terms and their advice has been invaluable'

'Peter Rolph and Alice Toop have been exceptional, so helpful and knowledgeable in their dealings with me, I cannot praise them highly enough'

'Peter Rolph and Alice Toop were extremely friendly and listened to my problem; as a result, one already felt at ease'

'Partners Peter Rolph, Tim Stone, Paul Longland and Jennifer Rogerson embody the capabilities that we value in the firm'

'Lauren Hayes joined the team relatively recently but has achieved some excellent results for us'

'Nikki Gates has handled work for us for many years with considerable success'

Key Clients

Selwood Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in a claim against a former director for recovery of unauthorised payments and loans to himself and associated companies.
  • Acted for a client in contractual dispute over scaffolding work.
  • Assisting a client in a professional negligence claim against former solicitors arising from defective drafting of a Sale & Purchase Agreement and recovery of costs.
  • Acted for a client in a contract dispute regarding repair and renovation of structural staircases at a major leisure centre.
  • Trademark opposition case where the client challenged the right of third parties to register a similar trademark.

Traditionally renowned for private client work, Wilsons acts for a number of high net worth individuals in commercial disputes. Also notable is that its practice is seeing a growing amount of work from local charities. Practice head Ben Thornton leads both the commercial and property litigation departments. Debbie Ashenhurst is skilled in contractual, commercial and corporate disputes; claims often involve allegations of unfair prejudice, breaches of contract, defective goods and breaches of restrictive covenants, among others.

Practice head(s):Ben Thornton

Other key lawyers:Debbie Ashenhurst; Jennifer Martindale


'Excellent team covering a wide range of legal areas. They have considerable expertise in company law and their general commercial litigation capability is excellent'

'They are professional and determined'

'Jayna Patel was absolutely excellent, completely on the ball with a clear understanding of the legal issues and fantastic organisational skills. I was really impressed by her client-handling'

'In the company law sphere, I have worked with Debbie Ashenhurst who impressed me with a calm, logical approach and general common sense. She clearly knows the law as well'

'Jenifer has been a great support over the case in hand. her ability to adapt to the issues we have regarding the case is commendable'


Key Clients

Holland Park School

Optaglio A.S.

Gurr Johns Limited

Luxury Clothing Limited

Pure Pastures Limited

Pudsey Diamond Limited

Chartered Institute of Taxation

Work highlights

  • Provide ongoing support to Holland Park School on reputation management.
  • Advise Optaglio A.S. on varying disputes, including ICC arbitration concerning the design, supply and delivery of a waste water plant.
  • Acted for the shareholder of Electronic Components Company in a highly contentious shareholders' dispute resolved by the purchase of the other party's shareholding.
  • Advised a shareholder in relation to a claim against the majority shareholder for breach of contract and unfair prejudice.
  • Represented a client in defence of a claim alleging breach of contract relating to the supply of goods.

Blanchards Bailey LLP primarily acts for owner-managed and family-owned businesses in the local Dorset area. Key specialist areas include contentious construction, manufacturing and residential property matters. The firm also handles professional negligence claims and contractual disputes.

Practice head(s):Paul Dunlop


'Claire Southway was professional and gave good advice that was in our interest'

'We were new customers to this practice and found all dealings to be very professional'

Key Clients

Spirit Circuits Limited

Vanessa Taylor

CMS Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Defended a local SME construction firm against a breach of contract claim worth £35,000.
  • Acting for Spirit Circuits Limited, both as the defendant and claimant, in contractual disputes relating to allegedly defective products and trade finance facilities.
  • Represented a residential property agent in defence against claim brought by a landlord for an alleged breach of contract .
  • Acted for a client in pursuing a breach of contract claim against an eCommerce company.
  • Representing a construction company in a breach of contract dispute against a sub-contractor over incomplete works.

Frettens LLP's practice head Michelle Hayter has a strong reputation in the dispute resolution field, with her specialisms including insolvency litigation, directors' disputes and acting for social housing providers. Property litigation is predominantly handled by Carl Geary. The firm recently opened up a new office in Ringwood, which is led by Hayter.

Practice head(s):Michelle Hayter

Other key lawyers:Carl Geary

Key Clients

Primetower Properties Limited

Julian East

Work highlights

  • Represented a client in a dispute over a parking area, involving land ownership matters.
  • Representing a client in defence of an alleged breach of LLP agreement and breach of statutory duties.
  • Assisting a client in a complex dispute involving alleged breach of directors duties and misappropriation of funds by the director and shareholder.
  • Representing a developer in a dispute with a leaseholder who alleges non-compliance with building regulations.
  • Acting for a client in bringing a claim against a former employee for alleged beach of restrictive covenants.

Laceys has a strong capability in property disputes; practice head Mark Timberlake is noted for his expertise in landlord and tenant disputes. Elsewhere, the firm's workload also includes cases involving the marine, IP and financial services sectors. Recently promoted partner Brendan Herbert has recently represented private individuals in contractual disputes and trademark infringements.

Practice head(s):Mark Timberlake

Other key lawyers:Brendan Herbert


'The strengths of the firm are their wide-ranging abilities as a practice coupled with the in-depth knowledge they have of our business'

'Sam Freeman, Jonathan Ogden and Brendan Herbert are responsive and detailed in their advice'

Work highlights

  • Defended a client against a claim related to the functionality of certain platforms the client had worked on.
  • Acted for a client in a claim for unpaid returns under an investment agreement.
  • Represented a client in a case of suspected fraud, to return two properties which had been transferred out of the client's ownership.
  • Handled in a trademark dispute on behalf of the trademark holder and prevented a market competitor from committing infringement.
  • Representing a client in a dispute over aircraft costs and obligations.

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