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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 > Yorkshire and the Humber > Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Crime: general
  2. Leading individuals

ABR Solicitors' work encompasses cases involving murder, terrorism, drug offences, sexual assaults, theft, violent offences, dangerous driving and historic crimes. The group also has notable experience in animal welfare cases and other types of motoring offences. Rob Rode - 'a fearless advocate who does his utmost for his clients' is the main contact in the Leeds office, which recently acquired the former criminal team at O'Garra's.

Practice head(s):Rob Rode


'ABR Solicitors is the stand-out firm in Yorkshire with strength in depth throughout the team, which provides a fantastic service to its clients'.

'ABR is a clear leader in the Leeds area for general criminal work and has built up an enviable reputation over the years by looking after clients and fighting their corner'.

'ABR is a national firm with strong Yorkshire values and qualities'.

'Rob Rode is the lead partner and a fearless advocate who does his utmost for his clients. His cases are well prepared and he goes the extra mile'.

Cartwright King handles the full spectrum of criminal issues including assaults, theft, drug offences, cyber crime, murder and manslaughter, racially aggravated offences, terrorism and extradition. Cheryl Weir regularly handles matters in the Magistrates' Courts.

Other key lawyers:Cheryl Weir


GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates

GT Stewart is a specialist crime firm that deals with crime at all levels, offering clients a very high standard of client care. The firm undertakes mainly publicly funded work, although it is developing an increasing private client base.

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Howard & Byrne advises clients on local, national and international criminal matters spanning murder, child abuse, sexual assault and rape. Managing partner and 'lawyer's lawyer' Kevin Blount leads the team, which also includes the 'charismatic and driven' Colin Byrne, who has notable expertise in extradition matters; Jacky East, who leads the prison law practice; and Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks, who has experience in animal welfare cases.

Practice head(s):Kevin Blount

Other key lawyers:Colin Byrne; Jacky East; Lee-Anne Robins-Hicks


'Howard & Byrne is exceptionally diligent and hardworking and is highly deserving of the status it has in the local, national and international market'.

'Colin Byrne is a skilled advocate and a firm but diplomatic negotiator. He is an exceptional lawyer, incredibly hardworking and has a significant reputation among his peers'.

'Colin Byrne is charismatic and driven and uniquely experienced in international criminal defence'.

'Kevin Blount is a lawyer's lawyer. He is particularly astute and brings a great deal to the tactical aspects of defending complex crime.

'Colin Byrne and Kevin Blount go the extra mile for their clients. They are first-class lawyers and they care'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for multiple defendants in a drugs conspiracy case targeting a drug gang responsible for providing class A drugs.
  • Defending an individual against historic child abuse prosecutions and current abuse allegations.

Howells handles the full range of criminal defence work including homicides, drug offences and historic sex abuse matters with notable expertise in extraditions, youth crime, public order law, cases with a civil liberties, human rights or mental health dimension; prison law and judicial reviews. Chris Wong heads up the practice, Kathryn Lill has expertise in cases involving vulnerable adults and children, and Rotherham-based Mary Rose Macadam is noted for her youth court and prison law work. John Gibson advises on serious crime matters and inquests, and Francis Edusei is an in-house barrister.

Practice head(s):Chris Wong

Other key lawyers:Kathryn Lill; Mary Rose Macadam; John Gibson; Francis Edusei


'The team at Howells is very friendly, approachable and efficient. It has a wealth of experience and prides itself on the fantastic level of service that it provides to clients'.

'All of the people in the team are very thorough in the preparation of cases, have very good judgement and great client care'.

Irwin Mitchell's regulatory and criminal investigations group focuses on defence work and has recently handled burglary cases, violent and sexual assault matters, historical sexual abuse, drug offences and road traffic incidents. Team head Paul Haycock divides his time between Sheffield and Manchester, while senior associate Emma Windle is a key name for white-collar crime.

Practice head(s):Paul Haycock

Other key lawyers:Emma Windle


'Irwin Mitchell work to an exceptionally high standard, and have almost unparalleled experience of defending crime cases over many decades. This means that they are not only able to bring to bear a depth of experience, but that they can provide a full service to corporate clients where individuals end up facing general crime allegations.'

'Every member of the team prepares each case thoroughly. They have an astounding ability to work through large volumes of material and prepare working schedules which make their cases accessible. They are very hardworking and their criminal trial preparation more closely resembles what one would expect from a highly funded civil case. This is the work model the team adopts, no matter the case.'

McCormicks represents clients locally and nationally across all areas of crime, with particular expertise in regulatory matters and road traffic cases. Peter Minnikin took over as practice head from Geoffrey Rogers in early 2019 and is experienced in serious drug offences, while Rogers focuses on fraud work.

Practice head(s):Peter Minnikin

Other key lawyers:Geoffrey Rogers


'McCormicks has a very strong practice for dealing with serious crime, in particular financial fraud and heavy drug cases'.

'Peter Minnikin is a very industrious and well-organised solicitor'.

Work highlights

  • Acted for an individual arrested on charges relating to a large drugs conspiracy involving organised crime groups from Teesside and Manchester.
  • Represented an elderly lady with mental health problems, who was charged with the attempted murder of her husband.
  • Defended an individual allegedly involved in a large drugs conspiracy from a Manchester organised crime group with firearm elements.
  • Defending an individual charged with section 18 wounding and child abduction following an incident in which multiple complainants were stabbed and a vulnerable child was allegedly abducted.
  • Acting for an individual charged with attempted kidnap and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

At Switalskis Solicitors, the criminal practice has substantial experience defending vulnerable individuals including young people and defendants suffering with mental health problems; the team has specific practitioners specialising in these niche areas. Michael Devlin heads up the group, Jim Littlehales is an in-house barrister, and Rob Fones has expertise defending clients accused of sexual offences.

Practice head(s):Michael Devlin

Other key lawyers:Jim Littlehales; Rob Fones


'Switalskis is efficient, professional and courteous, and looks after its clients by keeping them well informed of proceedings, giving practical advice and ensuring cases are well prepared in good time'.

'The individuals are quick to respond to requests and keep in regular contact with their clients, showing a caring commitment'.

Work highlights

  • Acting for a young man who was acquitted of a violent incident linked to a murder.
  • Defending a man charged with attempted murder.
  • Acting for a man arrested for possession with intent to supply cannabis.
  • Defending a man accused of witness intimidation.
  • Representing a vulnerable client convicted of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

GT Stewart Limited has notable expertise advising vulnerable clients, particularly those with mental health problems, and handling complex fitness to plead issues; it also fields specialist youth court and appeals teams. Patricia Walker heads up the group and is noted for her experience representing young clients.

Practice head(s):Patricia Walker

Wilford Smith specialises in defending high-profile sexual offence prosecutions and acts on other criminal prosecutions including homicides, manslaughter cases, gross misconduct issues and drug trafficking offences at a regional level with additional national work. Rebecca Smith-Bains leads the team, which also includes Stephen Smith, who acts for government officials, the police and the armed forces; and Peter Large, who has experience in trials with vulnerable defendants and witnesses.

Practice head(s):Rebecca Smith-Bains

Other key lawyers:Stephen Smith; Peter Large


'The team at Wilford Smith treats clients with respect, no matter the accusation, and is well organised in large cases'.

'Rebecca Smith-Bains is thorough in her presentation with outstanding client care'.

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