Rising Stars

Professional negligence in South West

Beale & Co

Beale & Co specialises in defending professionals active in the construction and education fields as well as the legal and financial sectors against claims. Based in Bristol, the practice also counts a number of leading insurers among its client base. Joe Eizenberghas a great deal of knowledge of insurance law’ and leads the team together with Joe Bryant, who regularly acts on behalf of lawyers, insurance brokers and insurance companies. Giles Tagg left for DAC Beachcroft LLP in August 2023.

Practice head(s):

Joe Eizenberg; Joe Bryant

Other key lawyers:

David McArdle


‘Very knowledgeable about the professional indemnity insurance market and professional indemnity claims in general. A friendly team which is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Joe Bryant is a very friendly person to work with, and very familiar with the workings of the insurance market. Joe Eizenberg has a great deal of knowledge of insurance law, and friendly to work with.’

‘The team at Beales have excellent technical knowledge and excel when it comes to delivering results.’

‘Joe Bryant has always provided a service a cut above the rest, with clear concise advice, amazing support and a personable experience.’

‘The team benefits from a lack of red tape in this sphere. They are large enough to be market leaders and have garnered an excellent reputation but not too large as to become bogged down by the usual red tape of a larger organisation.’

‘Joe Eizenberg is exceptional in his approach. He can be everything to everyone and what I mean by that is that he is adept at tailoring his approach to his audience. He can be very down to earth for the person on the street but can also have a very technical and detailed discussion if his audience dictates.’

‘Technical ability apart, Joe Eizenberg is an absolute pleasure to deal with, and his approach definitely rubs off on the more junior members of his team who are also great to work with.’

Key clients





Arthur J Gallaghers


Everest Re




WR Berkley

Miles Smith


Work highlights

  • Acting in the defence of an architect and their professional indemnity insurer in relation to multi-party dispute involving claims of c. £50m.
  • Acting in the defence of an accountant/auditor and their professional indemnity insurer in relation to claims of c. £10m arising from alleged breaches of the Financial Reporting Standards and other accounting irregularities.
  • Acting in the defence of an insurance broker in relation to a claim for c. £10m from an insured following the failure of the insured’s policy to respond to a claim.

Burges Salmon LLP

Hailed as ‘a leading player in the professional negligence field’, Burges Salmon LLP‘s predominantly claimant-side practice possesses particular strength in lender-side and pensions professional negligence claims. The group, led by Andrew Burnette, is also known for its expertise pertaining to private wealth claims. Pensions-related disputes are handled by Justin Briggs and Suzanne Padmore, with the latter frequently acting on behalf of trustees and employers in claims against pension scheme advisers. Senior associate Kelly Whittaker acts for businesses and financial institutions in multi-party professional negligence disputes.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Burnette

Other key lawyers:

Justin Briggs; Suzanne Padmore; Kelly Whittaker


‘Burges Salmon are a leading player in the professional negligence field, having been involved in key cases over the years.’

‘Justin Briggs and Suzanne Padmore are two partners who I have worked with. Both are approachable, very knowledgeable and practical as well as being available for conversations, discussions and meetings.’

‘Justin Briggs is a very experienced litigator with excellent sector specific knowledge – especially in pensions. He always seems to make the right calls in negotiations.’

‘Kelly Whittaker punches well above her weight for someone of her PQE – excellent knowledge of the CPR and manages large and complex cases very well.’

Key clients

PSGS Trust Corporation Ltd

Astrel 1 UK Loan S.A.R.L & Others

Ten Financial

Work highlights

  • Advised Astrel 1 UK Loan S.A.R.L & others on a surveyor negligence claim against a firm regarding the overvaluation of two neighbouring mansions in St James’ Park, London, which stood as security for a £30m bridge-to-sell loan.
  • Represented the Trustees to the Robert Horne Group Pension Scheme in a claim against a pensions consultancy and an international law firm stemming from errors committed in the closure of a defined benefit scheme to future accrual and in implementing other scheme changes.
  • Instructed by Ten Financial LLP and its principal in connection with claims brought by two former clients in the Commercial Court regarding failed investments.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP handles professional negligence cases on behalf of claimants, where the firm acts for private individuals and corporations in areas such as accounting, banking, construction, and financial services. Multi-party actions are another key strength for the practice under the leadership of Alex Jakubowski, who is particularly well versed acting in claims pertaining to development finance. Agriculture and rural property work forms part of Esther Woolford‘s portfolio, while Philippa Hann focuses on matters relating to the financial services sector. Stephen Searle left the firm in January 2023 for an in-house position.

Practice head(s):

Alex Jakubowski

Other key lawyers:

Esther Woolford; Philippa Hann; David Stedman


‘One of the most well-balanced teams in the business. They have someone who can do everything and resource their cases appropriately.’

‘Alex Jakubowski – Knows how to push the right buttons at the right time to get a result.’

‘Efficient and nice to deal with.’

‘David Stedman is intelligent, thorough and detail oriented.’

Key clients

Arbuthnot Latham

Arum Capital

Gooch and Housego plc

ESP Colour Ltd

Fablex 2000 Ltd

JZ Flowers international

Kal Tire

Lloyds Bank

The Cornish Bakery Shops Ltd

Solihull Moors Football Club

Wellesley Finance Ltd

West Tower Management Ltd

Wolffkran Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Arum Capital in a claim against a valuer for negligent overvaluation of a care home development site.
  • Represented Wolffkran Ltd in a claim relating to negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Representing British Steel Workers in a class action on behalf of British Steel workers who were wrongly advised to transfer out of the British Steel Pension Scheme between 2016 and 2018.

Clyde & Co

The team at Clyde & Co handles claims against lawyers, brokers and financial, pensions, and construction professionals and is mostly active on the defence side. Jim Taylor acts as practice head, having accumulated in-depth experience in disputes including multi-party claims. Philip Evans is experienced in defending educational institutions, engineers, and IT consultants, among others. Claims related to the financial services and pensions spaces are a particular area of expertise for legal director Toby Rouse.

Practice head(s):

Jim Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Philip Evans; Toby Rouse


‘The team at Clyde and Co are pragmatic and responsive – always seeking out an early commercial solution.’

‘Jim Taylor is great – very approachable, commercial, knowledgeable and pleasant to deal with but has a no-nonsense and direct approach when engaging with the other side. A great combination!’

‘Consummate professionals. Technical expertise on the litigation process is a given.’


With a ‘sensible and commercial approach’, CMS‘ insurance and reinsurance group regularly acts on behalf of policyholders and high-profile insurers in professional negligence claims across a number of professions, including the financial services and construction arenas. Under the leadership of Ed Foss in London, the Bristol-based team encompasses construction specialist Cheryl Gibson as well as Zoe Burge, who is particularly experienced in matters pertaining to D&O, financial services, and solicitors issues. Tristan Hall is another key member of the practice and splits his time between Bristol and London.

Practice head(s):

Ed Foss

Other key lawyers:

Cheryl Gibson; Zoe Burge; Robert Jones; John Enoch; Tristan Hall; Adrian Hurlock


‘Excellent knowledge of the industry and all members of the team really understand our business. Technical knowledge is therefore very strong. This is combined with sensible and commercial approach.’

‘The reporting from this practice is impeccable. They are clear, concise where necessary and provide sound recommendations and reserves at all times.’

‘Tristan Hall and Adrian Hurlock are two members of CMS that I could not speak more highly of. Their skill set and technical knowledge is incredible.’

Key clients

Acapella Syndicate 2014


Channel Syndicate

CNA Hardy


MS Amlin

AEGIS Managing Agency Limited



W R Berkley Insurance (Europe) Limited


Work highlights

  • Defending an international engineer and their insurers in £36m litigation involving multiple parties concerning the construction of a large-scale abattoir.
  • Representing insurers and a solicitor in a multi-million-pound claim that relates to theft of client money by a solicitor.
  • Defending a broker against a claim concerning the placement of run-off cover relating to a $5m dispute.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

The professional negligence team at DAC Beachcroft LLP is commended for its ‘exceptional individual lawyers’ and ‘commercial knowledge’. Working closely with the firm’s Newport office, the Bristol-based practice advises professional and financial risk insurers in addition to professional services clients active in a broad range of sectors. Graham Briggs and Marcus Campbell are noted for their experience with D&O insurance matters. while Kylie Poyner focuses on defending commercial surveyors and educational institutions. Giles Tagg, specialist for disputes in the construction space, joined from Beale & Co in August 2023. Helen Staines retired in May 2023.

Other key lawyers:

Marcus Campbell; Caroline Cherry; Nick Hillyard; Graham Briggs; Philip Roberts; Charlie Bending; Kylie Poyner; Tessa Rook; Rebecca Smith; Giles Tagg


‘The DAC team are very good. They have a good strength in depth and their junior associates are very good.’

‘Graham Briggs – Really supportive.’

‘Marcus Campbell and Caroline Cherry: Legal knowledge. Commercial nuance. Good results.’

Key clients

Aviva Insurance (Corporate & Specialty Risks)

Zurich Financial Services

QBE Europe

Markel International Insurance Company

Axa XL

AmTrust Europe

Knight Frank

Liberty Insurance

Travelers Insurance


Work highlights

  • Advising a surveyor client in relation to investigating the merits and handling the defence of a claim alleging the overvaluation of a development site.
  • Represented a college and successfully applied to strike out a claim for race and sex discrimination by a mother and her two children.
  • Acted for an independent primary school in respect of a claim brought against it in the SEND Tribunal alleging that a pupil had been discriminated against on the grounds of disability and excluded as a result.


DWF handles claims brought against the full array of professionals including surveyors, engineers, solicitors, and accountants. The practice's work encompasses dealing with policy coverage matters and disciplinary proceedings, and the group can draw expertise from other practice areas such as the family law and planning teams. Simon Mason, a ‘leader in his field’, heads up the practice and has significant experience defending professionals against negligence claims. John Eastlake remains a go-to contact for names in the legal and construction sectors, while Ian Welland counts IFAs, stockbrockers, and accountants among his clients.

Practice head(s):

Simon Mason

Other key lawyers:

John Eastlake; Ian Welland; Alexandra Cartwright


‘The DWF Professional Risks team have a very strong reputation in their field and consistently demonstrate unrivalled in-depth expertise of negligence matters.’

‘We consider DWF Solicitors to be in the front rank of solicitors in this field, and we often recommend their appointment to insurers for our clients.’

‘Simon Mason has specialised in the area of liability claims against accountancy professionals.We have always found Simon to be incisive, insightful and to be sensitive to deeper issues reaching beyond the immediately obvious.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for RSA (as well as other insurers) in the FCA Business Interruption litigation which went to the Supreme Court.


RPC is experienced in investigating, defending and settling professional negligence claims, where the firm is active on behalf of an enviable client roster that includes global insurers and their insured. Rhian Howell acts as head of the Bristol office and focuses on defending solicitors and barristers against negligence claims. Matters relating to pensions are frequently handled by Rachael Healey, while Ben Goodier is a first point of contact for clients in the construction sector. Will Sefton‘s specialist areas include acting for solicitors and directors.

Practice head(s):

Rhian Howell; Will Sefton; Ben Goodie; Robert Morris; Dan Guilfoyle

Other key lawyers:

Rachael Healey; David Allinson; Kirstie Pike; Scott Ashby; Claire Revell


‘A quality group of lawyers with a superb understanding of and reputation within the professional indemnity market.’

‘A sound firm with a strong brand image and great reputation in the market in which they operate.’

‘Will Sefton and Claire Revell are both experts in their field. Their calm and measured response is always appreciated at what can often be quite a troubling time.’

‘The whole team are extremely competent.’

‘A strong regional insurance practice with personable lawyers.’

‘Client-focused team who understand pressures that businesses are under when delivering professional services.’

‘Extremely friendly and approachable, solid reliable commercial advice, sensible.’

‘Friendly and approachable individuals. Supportive, really feel like they are on your side. Particularly Kirstie Pike, Scott Ashby and Will Sefton in Bristol.’

Key clients

Ince Gordon Dadds

Thomas Snell & Passmore

The Bar Mutual

Higgs & Sons, now Higgs LLP

Work highlights

  • Defending Reynolds Chartered Surveyors in a claim being brought by a retired valuer relating to two alleged negligent valuations.
  • Acted for Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP in a claim against it for negligence, corruption, fraud, material non-disclosure and perjury relating to long-running divorce proceedings.
  • Defending a client in the criminal prosecution brought against him in relation to his role as a trustee of a pension scheme, arising out of employer related loans and investments made by the scheme.


Kennedys has ‘a range of brilliant market professionals’ within its professional liability practice and draws on its expertise in the accounting, education, and construction sectors to handle claims against insurers and their insured. Helen Ager, whose experience encompasses D&O and coverage matters, leads the practice jointly with head of Bristol office Laura Hurst. The claims handling teams, active across Taunton and Bristol in the South West, are led by Vittorio Cinque. Legal director Danielle De Val left the firm for Browne Jacobson LLP in September 2022, while senior associate Michael Smale moved to the firm’s Dubai office a month later.

Practice head(s):

Helen Ager; Laura Hurst

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Johnston; Vittorio Cinque; Beth Cara


‘The Taunton and London team have a range of brilliant market professionals, any one of their partners would be a solid instruction on any professional negligence matter.’

‘Dedicated individuals who know the sector my organisation operates in.’

‘Very good relationship with and performance by Beth Cara.’

Key clients

























Work highlights

  • Representing two firms of solicitors in a claim stemming from a mortgage fraud on a property where identity theft of the owners meant the fraudsters were able to obtain bridging finance in excess of £2m.
  • Instructed by a number of insurers to act as sole defence solicitors on the “ground rent scandal”, including one test case.
  • Representing a firm of solicitors in a claim arising from a failed commercial litigation, involving technical arguments on a contractual matrix.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Accountancy and financial services, construction and real estate, as well as pensions are central pillars for Osborne Clarke LLP‘s professional negligence practice. Acting on behalf of both claimants and defendants, the team sports extensive expertise in regard to FCA and regulatory matters. Accountants and clients in the financial sector turn to Tom Ellis for his longstanding experience in defending them against professional negligence claims. Charles Crowne and associate director Katherine King are also key contacts for financial services litigation in addition to pension disputes.

Other key lawyers:

Clare Robinson; Charles Crowne; Katherine King; Paul Matthews; Tom Ellis; Tom Frapwell


‘OC are a very strong professional negligence practice, with particularly strong experience in defending accountancy firms in professional negligence claims.’

‘Tom Ellis and Tom Frapwell are strong individuals, great to work with from counsel’s perspective, and with good knowledge of the sector.’

Key clients


ARA Europe

BDW Trading Ltd

Scottish Widows

Grant Thornton

The Pension Protection Fund


Work highlights

  • Acted for PwC in defending a professional negligence claim brought against it in the Royal Court of Guernsey by a fund and its manager for which PwC acted as auditor.
  • Acted for BDW Trading Limited in a TCC multiparty litigation claim against two consultants (Design2E Limited and IDOM Merebrook Limited) and one sub-consultant (HM Geotechnics) for the failure to supervise and review the groundwork operations at a site which was formerly occupied by a quarry.


With an ‘excellent reputation for professional negligence’, TLT is noted for its work in the financial services sector, where the practice acts on behalf of high-profile banks and international corporations. The team is also active in matters relating to real estate, pensions, and tax issues. Practice head Neil Franklin is ‘an ever stable presence in the team’ and a popular choice for claimants and defendants alike. Senior associate Katie Hill regularly handles multi-party disputes brought against solicitors, developers and brokers.

Practice head(s):

Neil Franklin

Other key lawyers:

Sam McCollum; Katie Hill


‘The TLT team has an excellent reputation for professional negligence, and is one of the few remaining specialist finance professional negligence teams.’

‘The team knows their stuff and operate in a sensible and commercial way.’

‘Neil Franklin is an ever stable presence in the team, giving direction and technical input as one would expect. I get the impression that Neil is quite hands-on with cases/portfolios which is quite refreshing when compared to many partners.’

Key clients

Pullmaflex UK Limited and the trustees of the Legett and Platt UK pension scheme

Ashfords LLP

At Ashfords LLP, the professional negligence practice is well versed in acting for solicitors as well as clients in the banking, bloodstock and construction sectors. Rory Mac Neice in Bristol jointly heads up the team with Exeter-based Victoria Bonnet, who is often called upon to handle negligence claims pertaining to solicitors. Chris Freeman left the firm for an in-house position in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Rory Mac Neice; Victoria Bonnet

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Homer

Key clients

Lloyds Bank plc

The Bank of Scotland plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for a major high street bank in connection with a claim against solicitors for failing to advise the bank on the extent of the bank’s security over land.
  • Acting for a private client in a claim against a veterinary clinic for negligence in connection with a routine wind procedure to a racehorse.
  • Acting for a property leasing and management company in defending a debt claim brought by a waste management services company. The client has brought a counter claim in respect of poor performance of the services which led to an environmental spillage incident.

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP expanded its financial and professional risk practice in 2022 with the additions of legal director Danielle De Val and senior associate Joanne Lewis from Kennedys. Headed up by Gary Oldroyd, the practice specialises in advising solicitors, although its capabilities also extend to the construction and D&O spaces, among others. Claire Cornish is noted for her experience relating to policy coverage advice and the defence of solicitors against claims.

Practice head(s):

Gary Oldroyd

Other key lawyers:

Claire Cornish; Danielle De Val; Joanne Lewis; Nicholas Saunders

Lester Aldridge LLP

Focusing predominantly on the claimant side of professional negligence matters, Lester Aldridge LLP covers claims against solicitors, property surveyors and marine surveyors, among others. Under the leadership of Chris Evans, the practice also includes the ‘knowledgeable and experienced’ Rachel Gimson as well as property litigation specialist Kate Stewart. Michael Veal was appointed as district judge in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Chris Evans

Other key lawyers:

Kate Stewart; Benjamin Kerley; Rachel Gimson


‘A really good regional firm, with great lawyers and great clients.’

‘Rachel Gimson – she is experienced and knowledgeable, very easy to deal with. She has deep knowledge of the area and is very good with clients.’

Stephens Scown LLP

At Stephens Scown LLP, the professional negligence team works closely with the firm’s inheritance, trust disputes, and property litigation practices to provide advice to clients on a broad range of claims against insurance brokers, solicitors, and professionals working in property and construction. Devon-based Catherine Mathews has built up a niche in cyber fraud claims and leads the practice together with Cornwall’s Toby Claridge.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Mathews; Toby Claridge

Other key lawyers:

Richard Slater

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP‘s professional negligence team in the South West is embedded into the firm’s national insurance disputes team and handles matters ranging from pension disputes to regulatory investigations and disciplinary proceedings. James Robins is the key partner and is regularly engaged to defend solicitors, surveyors, accountants and insurance brokers against a variety of claims.

Practice head(s):

James Robins

Other key lawyers:

Susan Periselneris