Commercial litigation: Birmingham in West Midlands

DLA Piper

Attracting praise for providing a 'city-standard service at a fraction of the cost', DLA Piper stands out for its breadth of experience in national and international disputes. The North West litigation and regulatory group functions as part of the national practice led by Neil Bowker, with the Birmingham team (which is headed up by Nicholas Bamford) singled out for its particular strength in corporate litigation, international arbitration and fraud and financial misconduct disputes. Bamford is a name to note for the latter, while the 'absolutely outstanding' Phillip Kelly counts civil fraud, technology and outsourcing disputes among his areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Bamford; Neil Bowker

Other key lawyers:

Phillip Kelly

Testimonials

DLA’s commercial litigation practice in Birmingham provides a ‘City standard’ service at a fraction of the cost. Fast, responsive and knowledgeable.’

I’ve been impressed by the ability of the DLA team as a whole efficiently to progress a number of complex parallel work streams and to prioritise tasks in order to meet difficult deadlines.

Broad depth of expertise with the ability to handle both major pieces of litigation and more day to day disputes in a pragmatic and commercial way.

Nick Bamford is a stalwart of commercial litigation. He has seen it all. Always goes the extra yard for his clients.

Phillip Kelly is phenomenally bright, articulate and hardworking.

Nick Bamford is clear-minded, collaborative, incisive, and practical.

Phillip Kelly is absolutely outstanding. He is very easy to work with, has excellent judgement and has the ability effectively to manage a team under pressure. Phillip is always completely on top of the detail. He is also very good at anticipating issues that are likely to arise in the litigation (rather than reacting to problems as they emerge).’

Nick Bamford is a very astute tactical adviser who cuts through issues in a clear and concise manner. He is particularly adept at managing an arbitration/mediation session and is pro-active in achieving a good commercial result for his client.

Key clients

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Renova Industries Limited

HSBC Plc

Iniciativas Bioenergeticas S.L.

Department for Transport

Angus International Safety Group Limited

Ngali Holdings Limited

David Wilson Homes Limited

Compass Contract Services (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in ‘The Magnox Inquiry’, an inquiry into the failure of a £7bn contract for the decommissioning of 12 nuclear power sites, the procurement process for the contract, the litigation brought by a unsuccessful bidder for the contract and the subsequent termination of the contract with the successful bidder.
  • Acting for Renova Industries in the British Virgin Islands in a complex dispute with Emmerson International Corporation (and associated companies) relating to a joint venture agreement.
  • Acted for Iniciativas Bioenergeticas (a leading Spanish manufacturer of Biofuels) in a cross-border trade dispute with a global petrochemical and oil products trader.

DWF

With 'great international connections', DWF's international arbitration and litigation practice has a strong focus on the CIS region, with particular experience in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The team specialises in representing oligarchs and another ultra-high-net-worth individuals in disputes involving fraud allegations and corporate raids. It also handles complex contentious matters in the banking and finance, energy and technology sectors and counts shareholder disputes as a key growth area. Group head Andrew Leach also leads the firm's Russian and CIS desk and has a breadth of experience in cross-border litigation and arbitration. Darren Kenny has particular expertise in commercial fraud matters, while director Ben Griffin is carving out a niche in commercial agency disputes.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Leach

Other key lawyers:

Darren Kenny; Ben Griffin

Testimonials

Great international connections with lawyers and businesses in the CIS region.

They have exceptional experience in fraud work, particularly with a CIS element. This allows them to understand and respond to the motivations and concerns of clients, and to convert that into a winning strategy for litigation.

The litigation group at DWF Birmingham is made up of a team of excellent lawyers who are as capable as any top London law firm which I have previously worked with. The team has impressive knowledge and experience of civil procedure and litigation, and uses that knowledge and experience to its clients’ tactical advantage.

Andrew Leach and Ben Griffin are very available; they are smart and sharp litigators.

Darren Kenny has a excellent sense of strategy – he can see where and when to apply pressure in order to maximise the prospects of success in a case and he has a talent for spotting the best points to gain traction with a judge. It inspires confidence to work with him.

Darren Kenny is a real technical genius. By far the best commercial litigator that I have ever worked with.

Andy Leach is a great blue sky thinker, coming up with novel and effective ideas to drive litigation forward. He has a deep understanding of the position of his clients and is also an efficient and effective manager of his team – ensuring that the right individuals deal with the right parts of a case.

Andrew Leach is an experienced partner who, whilst handling overall strategy and tactics and client management, gets stuck into the detail of a case when needed.

Ben Griffin is focused, easy to work with and has excellent judgment as to where to focus on in a case.

Key clients

Sergey Fedotov

W Nagel (a firm)

Alex Shnaider (Canada’s youngest billionaire)

The West Midlands Combined Authority

Novelis

Jamtoff Trading

E-PPL

London Luton Hotel BPRA Property Fund LLP

Shaviv Strategy and Campaigns Ltd

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a £26m claim and worldwide asset freezing order against Russian tycoon, Sergey Fedotov.
  • Successfully represented W Nagel (a firm) in a $4m claim against a world-leading diamond company, which generated four reported judgments and created new law on the Commercial Agents Regulations and obtaining information from debtors.
  • Successfully acted for London Luton Hotel BPRA Fund LLP in a multi-million pound claim against HMRC following a 16-day hearing relating to the conversion of a pilot training centre into a Holiday Inn hotel. The reported judgment is the first ever judgment on tax relief under Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA).

Fieldfisher LLP

Fieldfisher LLP has a strong reputation across a breadth of contentious domestic and cross-border matters and counts manufacturing, engineering and IT disputes, procurement disputes, agency claims, international arbitration and competition litigation among its specialisms. For the latter, practice head Jonathan Hofstetter is the key contact, while Ann Benzimra is highlighted for her IT and manufacturing sector expertise. Other names of note include Jim Sharkey, Adam Sturt and Larry Coltman for multi-jurisdictional fraud disputes, injunctive relief and contentious credit insurance matters respectively; recently promoted partner Stephen May is a name to note for regulatory and public law issues.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hofstetter

Testimonials

Fieldfisher’s Birmingham office handles top-tier commercial litigation and I have found them to be particularly strong in commercial fraud cases.

The commercial litigation team are London city solicitor quality- with some individuals certainly magic circle quality. They handle massive international litigation, for clients who care nothing about the geographic location of the legal team, but only about the quality, and Fieldfisher have it in buckets.

Extremely capable team, able to adapt flexibly to meet the demands of large-scale, multi-jurisdictional litigation. Particularly noteworthy has been the pace at which the team has worked, to accommodate some extremely short deadlines imposed by Tribunals in seeking to deal with very high value litigation. There is an impressive depth of knowledge across multiple fields, including broad commercial practice, shipping, commodities, energy, and international law.

A key strength of Fieldfisher’s litigation practice in Birmingham is that it can leverage the resources of the broader Fieldfisher network but with a service more tailored and personalised to the client. I found that the different functions and partners engaged worked seamlessly together without any ‘London bias’ that is sometimes prevalent in other firms. Absolutely Tier 1 advice on a very complicated piece of competition law litigation.

Adam Sturt is pragmatic, bright, dedicated, and a pleasure to work with.

Adam Sturt is very capable and client focused. Quick thinking and intellectually impressive.

‘Stephen May provides practical, down to earth advice with a good sense of humour. Able to distil complicated legal concepts into easily digestible parts appropriate for individuals operating at all levels of a client’s business. My biggest compliment is that Stephen “thinks like a client”, understands the big picture and does not waste time (or client’s money) on unnecessary or immaterial matters.

Ann Benzimra is very approachable, and always helpful. She has a good grasp of who are the best barristers for particular matters. She does her best to seek the best outcome for the client.

Key clients

Achilles Information Limited

Live Nation Music (UK) Limited

DS Smith Plc

DS Smith Packaging Limited and Total Marketing Support Limited

Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Ltd

AXL Media Limited

PlanET Biogastechnik GmbH

Work highlights

  • Representing Achilles Information in a competition law dispute against Network Rail.
  • Acting for Live Nation Music in a public procurement challenge against the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and The Royal Parks relating to the recent award of a six-year contract (from 2020) to operate and manage the internationally renowned Hyde Park Music Festival.
  • Defending a high-net-worth individual in a $1.9bn claim brought by PrivatBank.

Gowling WLG

The commercial litigation team at Gowling WLG operates as a single team across Birmingham and London and benefits from a diverse client base ranging from West Midlands-based to global companies. It has a number of sector specialisms including the insurance and IT sectors for which Samantha Holland and Patrick Arben are the respective contacts to note. Regulatory crime expert Andrew Litchfield heads up the group which also includes Davinia Gransbury, who focuses on civil fraud, corporate governance and insolvency disputes; Andrew Smith, who excels in contentious contractual matters; and Tom Price, who is particularly strong for international arbitration proceedings and jurisdictional disputes. Andrew Nugent Smith, who was particularly active in the automotive sector, left to establish the London office of US firm Keller Lenkner.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Litchfield

Testimonials

Exceptional case management, flexibility and proactiveness.

Great communicators, proactive, passionate, an extension of our in house team.

Key clients

Co-Operative Energy Limited (part of the Midcounties Co-operative group)

Amec Foster Wheeler plc and other Amec group companies

Tarmac Building Products Limited

Bastug Metalurji Sanayi, A.S.

Stadco Limited (subsidiary of Magna International Inc)

The Royal Parks Limited

GIC Private Limited

Sopra Steria Limited

M Group Holdings Limited

AS Watson

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

CBRE

CPC Group Limited

GKN Limited

The Hut Group Limited

Hub Residential Limited

Independent Office for Police Conduct

Kingspan Insulation Limited

Magna International Inc

National Car Parks Limited

NHS Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group

Sanctuary Housing Association

Spirit Aerosystems (Europe) Limited

Taylor Wimpey UK Limited

Transport for London

M Group

Nomad Foods

Sanctuary Housing

National Car Parks Ltd

NHS Rushcliffe Combined Commissioning Group

Civica

Capgemini

Specialist Computer Centres

Rigby Group

CACI

HMRC

Sanctuary Housing Association

Wilmington

Dyson

British Red Cross

Work highlights

  • Acting for Co-Op Energy in a series of connected disputes arising out of its acquisition of Flow Energy Limited from Flowgroup PLC (which subsequently went into administration).
  • Represented Amec Foster Wheeler plc and other Amec group companies in multiple sets of proceedings subject to a group litigation order. The disputes related to an organisation known as ‘The Consulting Association’, which was alleged to have blackmailed thousands of construction workers between 1970 and 2009.
  • Defending Tarmac Building Products in a High Court claim for the supply of allegedly defective building materials to Pariter UK LLP (trading as Creation Flooring).

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has impressive local, national and international disputes expertise and frequently works cross-office particularly with its national and wider European network. Adam Fisher is highlighted for automotive, IT and outsourcing, and fraud disputes, while Rich Lloyd focuses on the industrial engineering, energy and utilities sectors. Other areas of specialism include media and sport sector disputes, reputation management issues and public inquiries and investigations; for the latter Sarah Jones is a name to note. Fisher, Lloyd and Jones jointly lead the Midlands team alongside Nottingham-based Louise Howarth.

Testimonials

‘Made me at ease from the first meeting and quick to respond to queries throughout the process, always putting as much detail into a response as required and upfront.’

‘Down to earth, approachable, good listeners and lateral thinkers.’

‘Efficient, responsive, pragmatic. Good people skills, focused on establishing relationships based on trust.’

‘Clear advice delivered in a straightforward manner.

Key clients

Pendragon plc

Npower

ADT Fire & Security

Thames Water

Rolls Royce

John Lewis Partnership

Microsoft

National Grid

Severn Trent

Mitchells & Butlers

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc (“EIO”)

Telford & Wrekin Council

The Haemophilia Society

Interserve Group

Oakley Capital

Vestey Foods

Work highlights

  • Acting for Thames Water in a contractual dispute with Castle Water relating to an agreement for the supply of water and waste water services to 1.2m retail customers in the UK.
  • Representing Interserve Group in an outsourcing dispute in the  High Court against Sopra Steria relating to the provision of critical IT services provided by Sopra Steria to Interserve.
  • Defended National Grid plc in a High Court claim brought by Economy Energy relating to a contract for National Grid to deliver and install smart meters for Economy’s entire 235,000 customer base.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP's regulatory, public and commercial disputes team assists its clients with a range of UK and cross-border matters and benefits from a strong international arbitration practice. Practice head Steve Allen frequently handles shareholder and product liability disputes with particular experience in the automotive, advanced manufacturing and technology sectors. Other names of note include principal associate Anthony Minnis, who counts energy, technology and healthcare among his sector specialisms; and senior associate Phil Hutchinson, who focuses on sports litigation.

Practice head(s):

Steve Allen

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Minnis; Phil Hutchinson

Testimonials

‘The team is always ready to help, involving other practices if needed on numerous complex issues. We appreciated receiving prompt feedback and updates on the matter.’

‘We especially recommend Steve Allen and Phil Hutchinson for their extremely professional approach on providing options on challenging cases.’

Key clients

Imecon Engineering S.R.L

Robert Bosch Limited t/a Bosch

Simba Sleep Limited

Ideal Shopping Direct Limited

Triumph Motorcycles

Immunocore Limited

Horiba Mira Limited

The Parts Alliance Limited

Swissport

Centrica

SilverRail Technologies UK

Work highlights

  • Acted for a large NHS Trust, and successfully achieved a commercial settlement, in a complex dispute with an energy and utility provider which had covered a number of the trust’s sites.
  • Represented Alfa Bank (the largest private bank in the Ukraine) in a dispute concerning the breach of a facility agreement and default of a significant loan. Following obtaining a judgement, assisted the client with enforcement of the order in Russia by preparing relevant expert witness evidence for the foreign proceedings.
  • Represented a leading Turkish bank in the recovery of monies owed by a debtor company and its shareholders including in obtaining a freezing order and undertaking necessary enforcement proceedings.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's litigation and the regulatory team stands out for its cross-border expertise and broad roster of private and public sector clients. Practice head Jim Richards counts commercial fraud and procurement challenges among his areas of specialism, while Andrew Herring handles civil fraud and asset recovery disputes and has particular advanced manufacturing and technology sector experience. Legal directors Jason Kirwin and Faye Moore (who attracts praise for her 'tenacity and attention to detail') both have broad commercial litigation expertise. Jonathan Fortnam left the team to Aston University.

Practice head(s):

Jim Richards

Testimonials

The leading firm of fraud lawyers in the West Midlands. While not cheap they provide imaginative and cost effective solutions to some difficult problems.

The strongest team in Birmingham city centre with strength in depth and lots of experience of large scale commercial litigation. Technically strong and very commercial in their approach.

Andrew Herring is deeply knowledgeable and user friendly. A good partner in a fight!

Legal director Jason Kirwin is very clever, takes a commercial approach and shows great commitment to clients and their causes.

Faye Moore’s tenacity and attention to detail is superb. She is meticulous and brings relevant challenge to each stage of the case. Her work is exemplary.

Key clients

MLS (Overseas) Limited

ISS UK Limited

E.ON UK PLC

London Borough of Haringey

IMI plc

IMS World Publications Limited

Hill & Smith plc

APG Cash Drawer Limited

DG Robson Mechanical Services Limited

MML Capital Partners Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a European Governmental Agency as the claimant in highly complex multi-party London Commercial Court proceedings to recover £1.5bn in losses arising from one of the largest alleged frauds discovered in Europe.
  • Defended Bosch Rexroth (a subsidiary of Bosch UK Plc) in a claim brought by Leadec Limited (formerly Voith Industrial Services Limited) relating to Bosch’s allegedly defective design and installation of a robotic production line at General Motors/Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port manufacturing facility.
  • Defended the University of Brighton in a public procurement claim issued by a failed bidder in connection with the £165m student accommodation development at its campus.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP is well-equipped to handle the breadth of corporate and commercial disputes and counts manufacturing, finance, IT and telecoms among its sector specialisms. The group has a strong West Midlands presence, which is primarily based in Birmingham and also includes offices in Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon. Mark Beesley has particular experience in claims for injunctive relief and leads the practice alongside Barry Jervis. Beesley, Jarvis and James Woolstenhulme have similarly broad commercial litigation experience, while Andrew Adams and legal director Claire Burrows are highlighted for their energy and rail sector expertise, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Mark Beesley; Barry Jervis

Key clients

Henkel Nederland BV

Henkel Ltd

nPower

General Dynamics UK Ltd

TNA Europe Limited

Hayward Tyler Limited

Knorr-Bremse Rail Services (UK) Limited

Staffordshire University

Bamford Trust Plc

Addmaster UK Limited

Alliance Surgical Plc

Don-Bur (Bodies & Trailers) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Knorr-Bremse in a breach of contract dispute involving the supply of parts under a key global supply agreement.
  • Successfully represented the University of Cambridge in defending judicial review proceedings (relating to the interpretation of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Human Rights Act 1998 and of Strasbourg jurisprudence) initially in the High Court and later the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising Peter Brotherhood Limited on a potential injunction for the delivery up and securing the delivery of critical equipment from a sub-contractor.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP's disputes practice attracts praise from clients for providing 'magic circle quality at regional prices' and excels in general commercial litigation, cyber breach matters and phone hacking disputes. The group also has a growing international arbitration practice, for which 'exceptional' practice head Alex Bishop is a key contact. Bishop is also an experienced litigator and counts the IT, retail, leisure and manufacturing industries among her sector specialisms. Mark Elder and Roger Potgieter are highlighted for phone hacking litigation and asset-finance disputes respectively, while associate Kate Draper's expertise spans corporate and commercial litigation, debt recovery issues and international arbitration.

Practice head(s):

Alex Bishop

Testimonials

Hard-working, competitive pricing, and willing to go the extra yard for clients.

They provide magic circle quality at regional prices. The partners are excellent, and the associates first rate. Shoosmiths are able to compete with the best firms on very substantial cases. The quality of the work they are picking up now reflects their quality as a firm.

The team is led by Alex Bishop who is an exceptional lawyer. She is technically very capable but with a very strong understanding of what is commercially important for our business.

Alex Bishop is a good leader of the department; willing to roll her sleeves up and get stuck into a case.

Will Carr is bright and personable.

Alex Bishop: she’s outstanding. She provides superb leadership, her team and clients love her (rightly so), she’s an excellent tactician and a very good lawyer. She’s a first-rate choice for any big case.’

Will Carr (associate): he’s everything one could want in an associate – clever, hard-working, a team-player, delightful, and full of idea.

Kate Draper (associate): she’s a star – and would be a star in any top UK law firm.

Key clients

Travelodge PLC

Next PLC

easyHotels PLC

Aramark

East End Foods

Glide Utilities Limited

Chinguitel S.A

Work highlights

  • Represented an African telecoms operator in two international arbitrations relating to a breach of contract dispute.
  • Acted for an international travel operator in a contractual dispute in which the other side sought a declaration to establish the foundations of a multi-million pound claim.
  • Acted for Danielle Lloyd in her dispute with News Group Newspapers Limited concerning her phone being hacked.

Squire Patton Boggs

The litigation team at Squire Patton Boggs combines expertise in acting for national and global companies with a strong local presence, particularly in the automotive, aerospace, logistics and manufacturing sectors. The group has experience in a range of cross-jurisdictional matters, with a niche in disputes with elements in the Middle East. Practice head Simon Garbett is strong for supply chain and product liability disputes in the manufacturing and automotive sectors, while Garon Anthony and Ian Skinner are highlighted for pensions and IT sector disputes respectively.

Practice head(s):

Simon Garbett

Other key lawyers:

Garon Anthony; Ian Skinner

Testimonials

SPB has a unique ability to bring true top-quality legal expertise down to a local level. Its lawyers are both professional and collaborative. Importantly, SPB can deal with even the most complex challenges on behalf of their client by combining legal expertise with pragmatic business savvy.

They really make the effort to understand the client and be part of the team so that their advice is truly commercial, accurate and capable of using right away with the business.

Provide practical and commercial solutions.

I have worked particularly with Garon Anthony. I found him to be a highly dedicated lawyer who tirelessly worked to achieve the best possible result for his client. He had an in-depth knowledge of his client’s business and legal history and is thus able to give detailed and importantly practical instructions.

Key clients

Trustee of the Jaguar Land Rover Pension Scheme

Dalata Hotel Group plc

GSH, Inc.

Homeserve Plc (and group companies such as Checkatrade)

Mazars Financial Planning

Brooks Macdonald Plc

Marston’s Plc

SAICA

Cambridge & Counties Bank

Blackburn Rovers FC

Freeths LLP

The commercial dispute resolution practice at Freeths LLP combines its growing West Midland presence with the ability to draw upon its national and international platforms. It has particular experience in breach of contract, director and shareholder, professional negligence and pensions disputes and counts complex fraud claims as a growth area. Practice head Richard Coates and Louise Wilson both have broad litigation experience, while Alex Johnson, who joined from Squire Patton Boggs, specialises in engineering and construction disputes.

Practice head(s):

Richard Coates

Other key lawyers:

Louise Wilson; Alex Johnson

Testimonials

A very well organised and efficient team. Work is resourced at the right level and all of the team are bright and engaging.’

Louise Wilson is an excellent litigator with sound judgment, and very nice to work with.

Louise Wilson is the lead partner. Louise is very bright and innovative, I have complete trust in her advice. Louise is also very engaging which makes working with her a positive experience. Louise knows exactly who within the wider team is the right person for the specific job in hand.

Key clients

Aldi Stores Limited

Inchcape Retail Limited

The National Exhibition Centre Limited

Short Term Finance Limited

Jaguar Land Rover Retail Board

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc's commercial disputes team attracts praise for its 'robust and pragmatic approach' and has particular manufacturing, retail recruitment and sports sector expertise. The group is particularly active in restrictive covenant and breach of confidentiality disputes, as well as professional negligence claims, contentious shareholder and corporate governance matters, and procurement disputes. Stephen Goodrham leads the team, which includes sports sector specialist Neil Warner.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Goodrham

Other key lawyers:

Neil Warner; Michael Ward

Testimonials

Confident, measured and approachable. There’s always a plan. I used another firm before engaging Gateley, that was always putting out fires and on the backfoot. With Gateley, we immediately turned the situation around and started pressing the other side.

The team has a very robust and pragmatic approach to litigation and prides itself on getting great results. It has fantastic resources to deal with extensive disclosure issues and top-notch conference venues across the country. The team has unquestionable expertise in the preparation and conduct of heavy litigation.

Tough litigators and very well-respected in the local market. Known for working on large matters with high-profile clients.

Stephen Goodrham and Michael Ward, from the initial consultation I felt more at ease and that I had engaged a professional company. The first words from Michael Ward, were ‘you have a great case and if I was the other side, I would be looking to settle ASAP.’ Stephen throughout the proceedings was tenacious yet utterly professional and approachable.

Steve Goodrham is the key name in this team – pugnacious, very hard-headed yet at the same time utterly commercial.’

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP has notable expertise in civil fraud and cybercrime litigation, arbitration and investigations. Practice head Mark Kenkre focuses on fraud disputes including those involving breach of fiduciary duties, fraudulent misrepresentation claims and inter-company collusion elements. In addition to fraud, Helen Briant counts contentious charity sector and contested probate matters among her areas of expertise, while Jamie De Souza has particular manufacturing and engineering sector experience.

Practice head(s):

Mark Kenkre

Testimonials

Trowers & Hamlins are a solid mid-tier commercial litigation outfit. They’ve got experienced and responsive lawyers with good instincts. Although the offices are based in the West Midlands, Trowers often ends up in litigation in the High Court in London. I would recommend for mid-size disputes requiring a good, responsive team.

Very solid team. Knowledgeable in what they do. Fraud and data protection in particular.

Helen Bryant is an excellent partner who manages her team well.

Jamie De Souza is a very keen and engaged associate. Anticipates upcoming hurdles in the litigation. He also has a relaxed, easy-going manner.

Solicitor Joanna Barwell is a good efficient associate.

Mark Kenkre is very measured and assured in front of clients.  Easily wins their confidence.

Key clients

Rotam Agrochemical Company Limited

St Vincent European General Partner Limited

Charity Commission – Island Health Trust

Swimming Teachers’ Association Limited

Protec International Limited

Huntcourt Limited – Nite Nite

Citizen Housing Group

Sovini Group

Charity Commission – Rhema Church London

Charity Commission – Island Health Trust

Firmbank Plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for Standard Aero Limited in its multi-jurisdictional investigation following allegations of financial mismanagement in relation to its contract with the Ministry of Defence.
  • Representing the Department of Health in its follow on damages claim against GSK and others with a claim value in the region of £100m.
  • Acted for a global agrochemical company in a breach of contract dispute against an Austrian company.

Weightmans LLP

The commercial dispute resolution team at Weightmans LLP is led by Mark Surguy, who is recognised for his strong commercial fraud practice and e-discovery expertise. The group is also singled out for its strong insurance sector experience. Senior associate Emma Birch who specialises in financial services litigation and manufacturing disputes, moved to Sydney Mitchell LLP.

Practice head(s):

Mark Surguy

Testimonials

‘The Birmingham team at Weightmans are extremely professional and very responsive and a pleasure to work with. I have found that their advice is measured and well judged and they have given me great confidence.’

‘We used Weightmans on one matter and the team, led by Mark Surguy, delivered a positive result for us.’

‘Mark Surguy is analytical, thorough and takes a balanced approach in respect of likely outcomes. He communicated a complex case exceptionally well to a layman.’

Key clients

UK Trucks Claim Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising UK Trucks Claim Limited on its application for a collective proceedings order which, if granted, will allow it to bring a class action on behalf of the victims of the trucks cartel against MAN, Volvo, DAF, Daimler and IVECO.

Bell Lax Limited

The commercial disputes practice at Bell Lax Limited acts for SME businesses and individuals as claimants and defendants in a range of litigation. Practice head Richard Kerry specialises in insurance and professional negligence litigation, while Peter Lax's expertise spans commercial, professional negligence and construction disputes. Solicitor Jo Wright attracts praise for her 'good commercial judgment'.

Practice head(s):

Richard Kerry

Other key lawyers:

Peter Lax; Jo Wright

Testimonials

The team has experience of significant sized project-related disputes. They are a go-to team in their fields.

My view is that Bell Lax (BL) are a progressive firm with proactive and client-centric fee earners. They are quick to engage, have strong commercial experience and focus on outcomes.

Richard Kerry – clients trust him and he brings focus to cases.

Jo Wright is diligent, conscientious and finds the devil lying in the detail in every case. She gives calm, assured and practical advice and gives clients a truly personal and dedicated service.’

Richard Kerry is a talented lawyer with great instincts and insight. He can give forthright advice when needed and will fight a client’s corner fearlessly.

Richard Kerry is a very authoritative and well-respected name around the region. Jo Wright is a diligent associate and has good commercial judgment.

Tight-knit team which regularly punches above its weight in terms of client base. Low cost base compared to city centre practices, but equivalent quality in a variety of disputes.

Small firm with a good depth of experience and easy to work with. Think ahead on their case load / proactive. Always see the bigger picture.

Key clients

RGB P & C Limited

RGB Plastering Limited

Blue Fish Water Management Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented RGB Plastering in adjudication proceedings relating to a contractual dispute with a subcontractor.
  • Acted for Blue Fish Water Management in a wrongful termination of contract claim.
  • Defended RGB P&C Limited in an adjudication claim brought by a steelworks subcontractor.

Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan LLP's commercial litigation practice has a strong specialism in public infrastructure-related disputes, including IT-related matters, particularly in the healthcare, energy, waste and defence sectors. Adam Kendall, who counts private and public sector organisations among his clients, leads the Birmingham practice, which frequently works cross-office with individuals based in Bristol and London.

Practice head(s):

Adam Kendall

Testimonials

‘They are a very effective team when it comes to public commercial work, particularly in relation to NHS contracts where their knowledge and expertise is matched by few other firms. They work well across offices and provide excellent service.’

Key clients

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust in a £4.5m breach of contract claim brought by a contractor.
  • Defended the St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a High Court claim issued against it by one of the UK’s leading heart surgeons for alleged breach of contract and unlawful exclusion following an investigation into alleged misconduct by the claimant.

BLM

BLM is praised for its strong insurance sector expertise and also handles disputes for corporates, particularly in the manufacturing sector. The group has been increasingly active in fraud and recovery claims with a focus on asset tracking and injunctive relief issues. Julian Smart has particular experience in this area and jointly heads up the team alongside Caroline Kane, who specialises in property damage litigation, and payment disputes expert Jagdeep Hayre.

Testimonials

They have done a wonderful job for us and come up with unique ways of solving very complex problems. The team is easily accessible, on call whenever the need has arisen. They have great insights and knowledge and I couldn’t be happier with them.

I would like to highlight Caroline Kane for her wonderful work ethic, her in-depth knowledge of the law and of the subject mater each time. She has provided fantastic results based on simply working harder and knowing more than her opponents.

Julian Smart is an excellent lawyer that has done very well for us.

Key clients

Compass Group Plc

Affinity Water

Fujitsu Plc

European Risk Insurance Company hf

Birmingham City Council

Towergate Financial Group Ltd

Travelodge

AS Watson plc

Glen Dimplex Group

Allianz

Legal & General

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP’s dispute resolution team acts for a range of clients from owner-managed business and high-net-worth individuals to corporates and financial institutions. Practice head Peter Brewer specialises in contractual and shareholders disputes as well as professional negligence claims that arise from mishandled corporate litigation, while Paul Griffiths has particular experience in landlord and tenant disputes and in representing building societies.

Practice head(s):

Peter Brewer

Other key lawyers:

Paul Griffiths

Key clients

West Bromwich Building Society

Work highlights

  • Representing a global manufacturer of tyres in a dispute with a regional retailer relating to the breach of a contract for the supply of tyres.
  • Acting for Whitacre Management in a £5m breach of contract claim against Sainsbury’s Supermarket Ltd relating to a contract to buy land for development of a supermarket, retail park and  country park in East Anglia.
  • Representing a trade finance house in a claim against a guarantor on the basis of a breached trade finance agreement.

Knights plc

Knights plc acquired Birmingham law firm Emms Gilmore Liberson in late 2019.  Richard Cooper is highlighted for shareholder and partnership disputes and professional negligence claims, while Peter Adkins has a breadth of contentious experience spanning from contractual claims to unsecured finance and trade mark infringement disputes.

Practice head(s):

Richard Cooper

Other key lawyers:

Peter Adkins

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Sydney Mitchell LLP's commercial litigation team attracts praise for its 'competitive costs' and 'high levels of partner involvement'. Dean Parnell, who handles a range of commercial litigation and employment disputes, jointly leads the practice alongside Shirley-based Kamal Majevadia, who handles probate disputes involving commercial issues and company shares. 'Tenacious' senior associate Emma Birch joined from Weightmans LLP adding financial services litigation and manufacturing disputes experience.

Practice head(s):

Dean Parnell; Kamal Majevadia

Other key lawyers:

Emma Birch

Testimonials

My dealings with the team have always been excellent and they are able to provide concise legal advice which is pragmatic and always consider the commercial aspects of the case. They tend to specialise in different areas of commercial litigation which means that they are well placed to give advice on their particular areas of specialism. I find them equally as effective as much larger legal teams but feel the service they provide is more personal and they do seem to genuinely care about getting the best possible result for you.

A high-quality service comparable with much larger firms but very competitive costs, with high levels of partner involvement.

Every case is partner-led and total accessibility to a fee earner from day one, including mobile telephone numbers, is provided to each client. Nothing is too much trouble. Fees are fair and transparent and kept under review so that there are no nasty surprises. The team punch well above their weight locally and receive referrals from larger firms which is always a good sign of how well they are regarded, particularly Dean Parnell.

I have worked closely with Dean Parnell since 2009. He oozes confidence, knows everything about his client, the commercial realities of the case and how to win. He is creative in his thinking. Someone to have on your side rather than against you.

Emma Birch is tenacious and committed to her clients’ goals.’

My main point of contact is Dean Parnell who I consider to be a genuinely brilliant problem solver. Dean is able to combine great intellect with incredible creativity and this provides clients with the best possible litigation strategy which is not obvious to anyone until he mentions it. He is a great negotiator and tactically he always seems to be a few steps ahead of the opposition. If you want to have the best chance of getting the best result in a litigation matter then it is best to have Dean as part of your legal team.

Dean Parnell is a very well-known figure and combines a good knowledge of the law with a very commercial outlook and is highly regarded locally, frequently being asked to act as a court-appointed independent solicitor to supervise search orders.’

Work highlights

  • Represented the UK branch of a leading Italian automotive company in a breach of contract claim against a supplier in relation to a £40m contract for the supply of specialist machinery for use in a car manufacturing plant.
  • Acted for an organisation in a breach of contract claim.
  • Represented a client in a complex contractual dispute valued in excess of £1.5m, which involved injunctive relief.