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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 > Insurance > Personal injury: claimant > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal injury: claimant
  2. Leading individuals

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Irwin Mitchell is ‘a real powerhouse of a firm’ and ‘a very strong performer and market leader’. The practice handles cases involving serious injuries such as brain and spinal cord injury and fatal accidents, in addition to asbestos and mesothelioma claims. The firm works with local charities, support groups and the medical community providing advice for asbestos victims. James Davies heads the practice and is ‘a very shrewd tactician who is well respected in the profession’. He concentrates on catastrophic brain injury, spinal injury, amputations and orthopaedic injuries acting for children, teenagers and adults, especially those who lack the capacity to manage their own affairs. The ‘truly excellent’ Virginia Chalmers leads the team dealing mainly with asbestos disease claims. Deborah Rose (‘pragmatic, hardworking and brilliant with clients') handles claims involving serious injuries. Isabelle Selley focuses on asbestos claims. Recent work includes acting in several mesothelioma claims and also in relation to serious injuries sustained from road traffic accidents.

Royds Withy King handles claims involving, brain injury, spinal injury, chronic pain, complex regional pain syndrome and amputations. It also deals with asbestos claims and industrial disease, cycle accidents, equine and animal cases, and fatal accidents. The team is ‘outstanding’ and ‘the depth of knowledge and experience shown by all the solicitors is impressive’. Partners Stuart Brazington and Louise Hart head the team. Brazington specialises in severe brain injury and spinal cord injury cases. Hart is ‘caring, competent, well-organised and highly effective’, and focuses on amputation, complex orthopaedic injuries, facial injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain, in particular Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Senior associate Mark Hambleton who is ‘punctilious in case preparation’ specialises in claims involving cycling and motorcycle accidents, defective products and animals. Recent highlights include representing a client injured at work with a circular saw, the client had part of his hand amputated, the defendant admitted liability and interim payments were agreed to fund prostheses and other treatment.

Thompsons Solicitors LLP handles claims arising from workplace accidents, industrial disease and catastrophic injuries involving brain injury, amputation, spinal cord injury and fatal accidents. It also handles claims concerning upper limb disorder, deafness and vibration related injuries. Lisa Gunner heads the team and conducts her work with ‘skill, knowledge and tactical nous’. Nicholas Seymour specialises in high-value accident claims and industrial disease cases and is noted for his ‘experience, expertise, professionalism and the ability to resolve issues as and when these arise’. The firm also acts in sexual abuse claims and recently represented a client in relation to a historical claim of abuse against a leading football club. Other recent work includes representing a warehouseman in relation to a workplace accident whereby the claimant was knocked over by a defective forklift truck. Unite the Union, Unison, The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, The Public and Commercial Services Union, The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers and the Fire Brigades Union are all clients.

The ‘highly professional and well-respected' practice at Clarke Willmott LLP specialises in serious injuries such as child and adult brain injuries, brachial plexus and shoulder injuries, spinal cord, amputation injuries and fatalities. Chris Thorne replaced Martin Pettingell as head of the serious injury and medical negligence department. Pettingell is ‘a highly professional person’ with ‘an in-depth knowledge of his area of expertise and always offers his clients extreme courtesy and respect’. Partner Lee Hart specialises in spinal and brain injuries and also has experience in the niche area of claims involving animals, horses in particular. Hart is ‘calm, measured, intelligent, unflappable and client focussed’. The ‘personable and approachable’ Stephen Trump focuses on paediatric and adult severe brain injuries and amputations.

Enable Law represents clients across the UK in personal injury claims involving spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputee and multiple injuries. Juliette Clarke heads the personal injury team from the Plymouth office, she specialises in claims with life-changing injuries and attempts to ensure early rehabilitation, she also deals with military-related claims. The firm is corporate partners with the Child Brain Injury Trust through which it receives referrals. It also acts on behalf of patients abused in nursing or care homes in group litigation cases. The firm led on Cornwall NHS Trust group litigation and the Winterbourne View group litigation, representing many clients who lack mental capacity. Recent cases include claims involving dangerous driving, road traffic accidents, assault, asbestos and workplace accidents. Robert Antrobus is also recommended.

Lester Aldridge LLP is ‘an established regional firm with a solid practice’. It represents clients in claims involving serious and life-changing injuries including spinal injuries, brain injuries, clinical negligence, amputation and military personnel claims. Practice head Tim Blackwell is ‘extremely efficient, well prepared, has sound judgement and gives the client a great sense of reassurance’. He specialises in catastrophic injury cases and also acts as a professional deputy. The multi-lingual team is ‘very highly rated’ and provides ‘a focused personal service that the bigger firms do not match’. Associate Stephen Norris ‘explores every detail for his clients’ and is ‘willing to go the extra step’. Recent claims have included a severe traumatic brain injury following a road accident and a mesothelioma case.

NewLaw Solicitors specialises in catastrophic personal injuries such as brain injury, spinal injury, orthopaedic injury and amputation, it also deals with road traffic accident claims and fatalities. Another area of expertise is psychological injuries such as trauma, PTSD and depression. Jo Darlington is a lead brain injury specialist and deals with catastrophic injuries representing adults, children and those who lack capacity. She is ‘a force to be reckoned with’ and has ‘a huge reservoir of experience and knowledge’. Associate Richard Wargent specialises in road traffic accident claims and high-value catastrophic injury claims. He is ‘exceptionally client focused’ and ‘a determined litigator’. The firm operates ABS law firms such as Carol Nash Legal Services, FMG Legal, BMA Law and Your Law. Clients include the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and National Accident Helpline. Recent highlights include acting for a client involved in a complex motorcycle accident which resulted in a fatality, the claim was settled for £750k.

Slee Blackwell specialises in advising clients on Animal Act cases, particularly dog bites and also road traffic accidents and sexual abuse claims. Recent cases include recovering £30,000 for a dog bite victim who had had the tip off his nose bitten off by a neighbours dog. Another highlight includes successfully recovering compensation for a vet who was attacked and bitten on the face and arm whilst undertaking an examination of a dog at work. The firm has also dealt with historic abuse cases against schools, local authorities, churches and the Scouting Association. It also advises on cases against care homes involving substandard care, suffering and injury. Partner and practice head James McNally is highly ‘responsive’, providing ‘expert legal advice around the area of animal law in the UK’ with ‘genuine concern for the welfare of his clients’.

VWV advises on serious injuries, road traffic accidents, industrial diseases, workplace accidents, fatal accident claims and professional negligence claims involving personal injury. The firm ‘ensures that their client’s needs are truly at the heart of what they do’. Jan Markland  heads the practice and specialises in cases involving marine and air accidents, stress and pain disorders and fatalities. Jon Webster  focuses on head injury and spinal injury work.Jonathon Peacock  is regarded nationally for high-value catastrophic injury work. His areas of specialism are ‘numerous’ and ‘his strategic and innovative approach to cases benefits all clients he works for’. Recent highlights include settling a claim for a client with a serious brain injury sustained as a baby in a road traffic accident, the claim was settled for over £6m. The firm has ‘a collection of extremely high calibre lawyers who each bring something different to the team’.

The ‘exceptionally good’ practice at Ashfords LLP handles a range of claims including personal injury, road traffic accidents, accidents abroad, accidents involving animals, aviation accidents, employers, public and product liability, occupational and industrial disease and fatal accidents. Stephen Walker  heads the practice and specialises in high-value personal injury and Court of Protection cases. Flora Wood  is ‘highly professional’ and ‘applies herself assiduously to obtain the best possible outcome for the client’. Elizabeth Johnson is ‘very experienced’ and ‘a sensible and effective negotiator’. Jason Squire  is also recommended.

Barcan+Kirby LLP fields a team of ‘approachable and hardworking’ lawyers who represent clients in complex injury claims such as severe traumatic brain injury, back and neck injuries, amputation, road traffic accidents, workplace accidents, psychiatric injuries and fatal accidents. Head of department Bill Willcocks  has ‘a wealth of experience and fantastic client care’. The ‘knowledgeable and approachable’ Adrian Stone specialises in brain and cauda equina injury, product liability and fatalities. Myfanwy Buckeridge  (‘very clever, hardworking and gets good results’) focuses on brain injury, spinal injury and fatal accident claims. Samantha Castle  (‘thorough, sensible at making decisions and great to work with’) deals with accidents at work, road traffic accidents and public liability.

‘Experts in the field’ Coles Miller Solicitors LLP advises on brain and spinal injuries, road traffic accidents that occur abroad, sporting injuries, amputation, dental negligence and CICA claims. Managing partner and head of department Adrian Cormack specialises in complex brain injury cases and catastrophic injuries such as tetraplegia. He is ‘very experienced and knowledgeable’ and ‘deals with matters in an expedient fashion’. Partner Christopher Whittle deals with personal injury litigation and has a particular focus on dental treatment, sports injuries and accidents at work. The department supports clients by helping them maintain a lifelong income through personal injury trusts. The firm provides ‘clear and thorough instructions’ and has ‘professional and experienced office staff’.

Humphreys & Co. acts for national and international clients, specialising in industrial disease and in particular asbestos and mesothelioma claims. It deals with mostly terminal claims but also damages in relation to asbestos-related cancer claims, asbestosis and pleural thickening on both a provisional and final damages basis. Partner Stephen Burbidge  heads the department, he ‘puts a considerable personal effort into each client’s case and to helping clients to cope with their terminal illnesses’. Consultant Peter Montgomery is also recommended. The firm offers a ‘fantastic, efficient, friendly and professional service’.

Simpson Millar LLP acts for private clients and trade unions in personal injury and industrial disease claims involving asbestos, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, occupational cancer, hand arm vibration/ vibration white finger, dermatitis, industrial deafness, repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome. Gavin Evans heads the department and has ‘substantial asbestos experience’. Partner Helen Grady is ‘superb with clients and really knows her stuff'; she specialises in asbestos, mesothelioma, lung cancer and pleural thickening claims. Recent work includes concluding a mesothelioma claim for a woman who was exposed to asbestos in the 1970s and 1980s in her workplace. Emma Costin left the firm.

Trethowans LLP specialises in complex high-value catastrophic injury cases such as head and spinal injury, orthopaedic injury and multiple injury claims. It deals with accidents at work, occupiers' liability, fatal accidents, public liability, industrial disease claims and road traffic accidents. Gavin Lane heads the team and specialises in employer’s liability cases and asbestos-related claims; he has ‘huge experience and technical expertise’. Partner Chris Whitely specialises in catastrophic injury cases and is ‘very experienced’ with ‘a reassuring gravitas’. Workplace injury specialist Rhiannon Daniel is ‘outstandingly good’ and ‘committed to achieving the best for clients’.

Wards Solicitors LLP handles a broad range of personal injury matters such as road traffic accidents, accidents at work, CICA claims, product liability claims, accidents caused by animals and accidents abroad. It also acts in claims involving the police, local authorities, sexual abuse claims, occupational stress, harassment and catastrophic injury. The 'diligent'  Alison Underhill heads the team and is praised for her ‘excellent eye for detail’. She is supported by 'very experienced' partner Helen Boyd and associate Angela Carnell, who joined the team.

The ‘very professional and capable’ practice at Battens Solicitors Limited handles a broad range of personal injury claims such as workplace accidents, industrial disease, road traffic accidents, traumatic brain injury, psychiatric injuries and fatal accidents. The firm also assists with the establishment of personal injury trusts. Senior associate and team head Kate Golding focuses on claims involving brain injuries, spinal injuries and severe lower limb injuries. She is ‘thorough, conscientious and works hard for her clients’. Recent work includes acting for a client who was injured in a road traffic accident, sustaining a back injury, fibromyalgia and psychological injuries; the case was settled for a six-figure sum.

Coodes Solicitors' expertise covers road traffic accidents, accidents at work and public liability claims, handling cases varying in severity from slips and trips to fatal accidents. The firm often words under Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs). Tim Goldburn heads the practice.

Dutton Gregory LLP handles personal injury claims ranging from road traffic accidents, brain injury, spinal injury, orthopaedic injury and psychiatric trauma, to public liability cases and fatal accidents. Team head Joanna Gatehouse specialises in catastrophic injuries and has dealt with many claims for children. Recent cases include acting for a client who had an accident at work and sustained severe facial injuries, loss of sight and as a result suffered from depression and PTSD, which required extensive rehabilitation and occupational assistance.

Festival Law (Cheltenham) Limited  Cheltenham is a niche practice specialising in personal injury such as road traffic accidents, accidents on holiday, assaults, animal injury claims and fatal accidents. It also focuses on medical negligence matters such as injuries at birth, dental negligence, cosmetic surgery and GP compensation. Another area of expertise is industrial disease, It is particularly adept at handling asbestos-related claims. Ann Marie Whelan specialises in multi-track cases. Julia Briano focuses on high-value industrial disease cases.

GA Solicitors  provides advice on a broad range of personal injury matters including asbestos and mesothelioma cases, brain injury, cycling and motorcycle accidents, chronic pain disorder injuries, product liability, dental negligence, psychological injury and fatal accidents. It acts against local authorities in public liability cases, the MoD in cases involving injured servicemen and employers in negligence cases. The team is led by partner Matthew Sheather who focuses on high-value personal injury litigation, he is ‘very experienced, capable and efficient’. Partner James Walsh specialises in multi-track personal injury litigation, in particular in relation to industrial disease, he is ‘a sound tactician and procedurally astute’.

Nash & Co has a small team dealing with personal injury claims focusing on road traffic accidents, neurological injury, workplace accidents, noise and vibration claims, work-related neck and upper limb disorders, and fatal accidents. Other areas of expertise include industrial disease, particularly asbestos-related cases, environmental claims and claims arising from poisoning. Mike Sheirs heads the practice, he is ‘a good lawyer’ and ‘progresses his cases to conclusion confidently and properly’. The firm is ‘well respected for personal injury work’, it often acts against the MoD and has ‘a great niche in military claims’.

‘Well known and well regarded’ Trowers & Hamlins LLP advises on a range of personal injury claims such as road traffic collisions, public liability, employers' liability, claims involving animals, product liability and fatal accidents. Partner James Browne heads the team and specialises in catastrophic injuries, he is ‘Intelligent, sensible, and hard-working’ and ‘does the very best for his clients’. He has recently advised on cases involving amputation, brain injury, psychological injury and anosmia. The team is ‘extremely professional’ and ‘deals promptly with all aspects of requests’.

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