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

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DAC Beachcroft LLP has a large and evolving presence in Leeds, with heavy volumes of work and a breadth of expertise marking it out as a top player in the regional market. The firm undertakes work across the whole spectrum, from severe and catastrophic injuries to motor cases, as well as claims in emerging areas such as accidents involving animals, amputations and chronic pain. The latter is an area of expertise for Andrea Drew, who was promoted to partner in mid-2018. Catastrophic injury specialist Owen Rees left to join DWF later in the year.

Practice head(s):Vicky Hilton; William Potts; James Tallant

Other key lawyers:Andrew Drew

Key Clients

Allianz Insurance

Aviva Insurance

AXA Insurance

HDI-Global

Markel

NHS Resolution

Zurich Insurance

Work highlights

  • Represented the defendant in an employers' liability spinal injury claim, achieving a settlement on the basis that the claimant's injury alleged spinal injury (which was causing him to use a wheelchair) was the manifestation of symptoms of a psychological condition and would resolve on the conclusion of the litigation.
  • Secured an indemnity from a contractor whose workmanship had led to the claimant suffering a brain injury when struck by falling roof tiles.
  • Settlement achieved for mesothelioma claimant securing payment of ongoing treatment.

DWF's 'technically strong and vastly experienced' team has a particular focus on insurance clients, offering an extensive portfolio of services. The practice’s legal offering is enhanced by a 24/7 crisis response service, an in-house accident reconstruction engineer and a team of medical rehabilitation managers, while the firm also boasts an in-house advocacy team, forensic accountants and specialist legal costs draftsmen to provide a more rounded service to clients. In late 2018 the practice received a significant boost with the arrival of Owen Rees from DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Practice head(s):David Rogers; Richard Parker

Other key lawyers:Owen Rees

Testimonials

'Other firms do not have the same extent or depth of knowledge and experience.'

'A close-knit team operating to high standards and producing consistently good results.'

'They are highly motivated to deliver a quality service - conscientious with an obvious pride in their work.'

'Strong technically and strong negotiators - robust where appropriate but also commercially aware.'

'Daniel Jordan is definitely a name to watch out for. He is professional, articulate and strong in all areas - an outstanding ambassador for the future of DWF.

'Paul Davies is very well respected and will always go the extra mile to get a result. He is absolutely passionate about his job and always puts the client first.'

'Paul Greaves is experienced, respected and understands client needs and always delivers excellent service.'

'Glyn Jones is respected throughout the world of insurance for his experience, his sureness of touch and his quickness to grasp the commercial realities of any claim.'

I have done a lot of work with Richard Welsh (senior associate). He is an excellent lawyer with great litigation instincts.

Helen Elsworth

quite exceptional service provided seamlessly and always provides value for money

Key Clients

Ageas

Tesco

QBE

LV

Aviva

HDI

Liberty

Gallagher Bassett

DLG

Department of Transport

Work highlights

  • Represented a professional rugby union club in litigation brought by a former player for concussion suffered during play. Achieved discontinuance of the action.
  • Acted for an insurer in defending a case of alleged micro diffuse axonal injury with loss of capacity. The dispute was settled for a third of the damages claimed.
  • Advised on a strike-out of claim worth potentially £500,000 as an abuse of process.
  • Represented the Department for Transport at trial on an asbestos related case pleaded at worth in excess of £2m.
  • Represented Ageas Insurance in relation to a dispute as to whether there was a binding settlement at stage 2 of the MOJ portal for low value personal injury claims.

Kennedys' Sheffield-based practice comprises of a variety of teams with specific competences. Disease, motor, child abuse and neglect and emergency services are a few of the practice areas covered for an ever-increasing client base of local authorities, public bodies and retailers, among others. The firm also has a strong focus on innovation and technology, with members of the personal injury department involved in innovative projects such as the development of an online litigation management system, KLAiM, and an incident investigation tool, @Scene. The hugely experienced Suzanne Liversidge  heads up the Sheffield office.

Practice head(s):Suzanne Liversidge

Other key lawyers:Niall Edwards; Cameron Clark

Testimonials

'Work is always done in an efficient and timely manner. Advice is clear and knowledge of the appropriate law is very good.'

'The strong core team is reliable and have a great deal of expertise in their subject areas. They are friendly but professional and believe in building relationships with clients so it becomes a real team effort.'

'The team has excellent strength in depth. There is always someone available who can assist. They take the time to get to know you and have the personal touch when investigating claims. They give sound commercial advice. They are very supportive with witnesses.'

'Angela Merad has considerable experience - she is very thorough in her investigations; she is very efficient and her advice is clear and concise.'

'Louise Bedford is very competent and I entirely trust her judgement.'

'Dan Couldrey has developed so much over the last couple of years and is real partner material. He is enthusiastic, extremely helpful and knowledgeable.'

Key Clients

Costco

Endsleigh Insurance Services

Mitie Group Plc

Veolia Environmental Services Ltd

Arcadia Group Ltd

Cleveland Potash Limited

Gallagher Bassett

AA

Arla Foods

Riverstone Management Ltd

Nottinghamshire Tramlink

West Midlands Combined Authority

Aspen

Work highlights

  • Advised on a claim against an independent body for assault and battery, loss of liberty, loss of business and psychiatric damage. At court, the claimant failed to beat Kennedy’s low Part 36 offer and was awarded only £6,000. The claimant was ordered to pay our costs.
  • The claimant made a claim for £850,000, claiming she had developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as a result of having to lift heavy boxes of folders. Kennedys pleaded fundamental dishonesty.

Plexus Law’s Leeds office is its largest in the UK, and it deals with the majority of the personal injury claims that the firm takes on nationally. Its wide client base includes a number of major insurers and corporates, as well as public sector clients and government departments, most of which are assigned a dedicated team on the basis of its experience and suitability. Anthony Baker  is head of the team and specialises in work-related stress claims.

Practice head(s):Anthony Baker

Other key lawyers:Chris Foulkes; Sally Richmond; Gary Petterson

Testimonials

'A no nonsense, practical approach - advice is clear and confident. Case preparation is performed with skill and efficiency. Their litigation is conducted with insight and good judgement.'

'Anthony Baker and Jarrod Parker are sensible and effective litigators with a direct, no-nonsense manner.'

'Anthony Baker gives commercially excellent advice and considers all aspects of the matters before giving an opinion. He always strives to deliver the best result for clients.'

'Tom Silson is a subject matter expert for local authority Highways Act claims.'

'Associate Tom Middlebrough understands our business - he is an excellent relationship builder.'

Key Clients

QBE

AIG

Tesco Stores Limited

The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

DLG

Barclays

Honda

Ocado

H&M

Whirlpool UK Appliance Ltd

UK Power Networks

Viridor

Bolton County Council

KCOM

Galliford Try

Dyer & Butler

XL Catlin

WR Berkley Offshore

Work highlights

  • Advised a construction company whose employee developed laryngeal dystonia following an electrical fire during a construction project.
  • Acted for a defendant in a case wich saw a £1m claim for functional neurological disorder settled for £15,000.
  • Defeated a £250,000 claim by successful strike out application.
  • Acted for a large white goods manufacturer in relation to a large claim following a fire at a public house in Wales.

Insurers, corporates and public bodies alike tap into BLM’s expertise for advice on various types of claims, such as those involving fatalities, severe bodily and spinal injuries and stress. The firm also operates a catastrophic injury group led by Andrew Hibbert , comprising of nine sub-groups, each focusing on specific strategies to tackle catastrophic injury related topics such as periodical payments orders, subtle or severe brain injury, court of protection and mental issues. The firm also provides a specialist costs recovery unit.

Practice head(s):Henry Kirkup

Other key lawyers:Arion Jones

Key Clients

Fusion Insurance Services

Towergate Commercial Underwriting

Asda

Zurich Insurance plc

Pen Underwriting plc

Liberty

One Insurance Limited

Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

Sompo International

Work highlights

  • Advised on a case in which the claimant, who was employed by defendant, had dropped a cling film holder onto her arm. She alleges she suffers complex regional pain syndrome but the defendant’s evidence suggested the claimant has developed a somatoform disorder.
  • Claimant was driving a landrover with an extending platform fitted to the back, when he overturned the vehicle going around a bend.
  • Claimant alleged she had been hurt whilst on ride at defendant’s theme park.
  • Acted on behalf of a manufacturing company in a claim relating to an upper limb injury claimed to have developed as a consequence of the claimant’s employment. The case was successfully defended to trial.
  • Instructed in claim for damages for brain injury and internal injuries by celebrity following charity bike ride.

CMS's 2017 merger with Nabarro and Olswang significantly ramped up the number of lawyers at the firm with expertise in personal injury defendant work, spread across six UK offices in Sheffield, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Bristol, London and Glasgow. The practice does not act for insurers, and as a consequence, does not feature on panels as a matter of choice. The team's forte is acting for large self-insureds on life science and healthcare claims, especially legacy disease (asbestos related), psychiatric injury, stress and noise induced hearing loss claims; the energy sector is another key area for the firm. Carl Dray  heads up the personal injury offering in Sheffield.

Practice head(s):Carl Dray

Other key lawyers:Tim Riordan

Key Clients

AIG

Atos

Chubb

Coal Products Limited

Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy

Electric Insurance

Electrical Contractors’ Insurance Company

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

GE Aviation

GE Oil & Gas Pressure Control Limited

GE TIP

Imperial Chemical Industries PLC

Work highlights

  • Represented the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and Coal Products in defending group litigation from coke works.
  • Advised the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy on a matter concerning exposure to dust fumes which caused COPD, CB and death by lung cancer and for asbestos dust causing pleural thickening.
  • Advised leading building materials group Tarmac on a workplace accident claim.

The personal injury defendant department at Forbes Solicitors is geographically distributed between Manchester (fraud and disease), Blackburn (social services and abuse claims and complex claims) and Leeds. In Leeds, the 'extremely knowledgeable and passionate' Siobhan Hardy is joint head of insurance and head of retail, an area that has strong recent expansion with the addition of key national clients. The firm at large focuses mainly on the public sector, which represents 50% of its entire activity.

Practice head(s):Siobhan Hardy

Other key lawyers:Chris Booth

Testimonials

'Forbes by far outweighs other firms as their customer service is absolutely excellent.'

'Communication is fantastic and their desire to do the very best they can is always evident.'

'Their honesty, integrity and help to introduce a smarter way of working is admirable.'

Key Clients

Zurich Insurance

Travelers Insurance

AIG

Cunningham Lindsay Construction t/a Sedgwicks

SportsCover Europe

Lloyds Syndicate 2525

Gallagher Bassett

Arcadia

ASDA

Calderdale MBC

Coast and Country Housing

Doncaster MBC

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended a claim for Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council on causation grounds due to inconsistencies identified in the claimant’s case.
  • Successfully defended a highways claim for Newcastle City Council in which fundamental dishonesty was established.
  • Advised on an employer’s liability claim for Asda which alleged that the design and build of the store was such that the claimant was placed at unnecessary risk of injury from snowfall from the roof.
  • Successfully defended Oldham Council at trial in an alleged defective equipment claim, post the coming into force of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
  • Instructed to act in group of 80 personal injury claims arising out of allegations of Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham.

At Gordons LLP , the focus is on making the claims handling process as efficient as possible. By engaging a litigator at the front end of the process and getting legal input in the early stages, the team achieves better results for its clients and reduces costs. The firm, which has a longstanding relationship with key client WM Morrison Supermarkets, operates in sectors such as retail, manufacturing and logistics, with personal injury head Rachel Hudson leading on much of the practice's key work.

Practice head(s):Rachel Hudson

Other key lawyers:Lisa Brough

Testimonials

'The whole team work well together and give help and advice on how to improve the safety culture to reduce claims going forward.'

Key Clients

B & M Retail Limited

Integra Insurance Solutions Ltd

Hermes Parcelnet Limited

William Cook Limited

Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC

Heron Foods Limited

Work highlights

  • Successful defence at trial of a £1.5m injury claim

Langleys Solicitors LLP's recent organic growth has brought about a rebranding and an expansion into Manchester, where the new office will house eight to twelve insurance lawyers. The firm's York-based team is sought out by a national client base, both public and private, to deal with catastrophic and high profile claims, regulatory and counter-fraud matters. Practice head David Thompson is renowned for handling complex cases of chronic conditions, serious brain and spinal injuries, paraplegia, tetraplegia and amputations.

Practice head(s):David Thompson

Other key lawyers:Rebecca Howitt

Testimonials

'Unlike many corporate lawyers, Langleys understand economics and the importance of finding a simple solution to a complex matter.'

'Langleys have an excellent team who build good relationships with insurers and provide a first class service to match their bigger rivals. I really rate them very highly; the quality of their people and the service they provide easily matches their bigger rivals in the defendant PI market.'

'They are highly commercial and realistically minded. They understand insurers and their real priorities. They know how to provide swift valuations and swift solutions. Insurer clients speak very highly of their services.'

'Langleys have specialisms in a number of different areas and in each area, deal with cases of high value. They have an impressive client list and from the most junior associate to the most senior partner, deliver a knowledgeable, commercial, responsive and friendly service. For a relatively small firm in the north of England, they deal with a large number of significant cases and are the equal of any of the larger London firms. Their strength in personal injury is particularly marked.'

'Carol Dalton has an impressive knowledge of stress at work claims and is adept at dealing with the particular commercial and sensitive considerations of local authority clients. She is efficient and responsive, very approachable and is very adept at negotiating excellent settlements for her clients. She is very easy to work with and an excellent team player.'

'Will Jones is an outstanding partner, who produces consistently good results for clients. He is a pleasure to work with.'

'Tom Spring is a very bright and articulate lawyer. He always performs at the highest of standards. His instructions are a step above the rest and he performs at a consistently excellent level.'

'Huw Edwards is a really first rate defendant PI lawyer who is superb with clients and has a very tactical and grounded approach to litigation. Fantastic to work with.'

'Will Jones is an excellent partner who is fantastic to work with.

'Emma Cahill is probably the best associate I deal with across all of the defendant personal injury firms. Incredibly hardworking and assiduous as well having an excellent knowledge in the field.'

'David Thompson provides a prompt service and delivers excellent results. His work is detailed and thorough - an invaluable resource.'

Key Clients

Syndicate 2525

Everest Syndicate 2786

Builders Direct S.A.

DTW 1991 Underwriting Limited

Brit Global Specialty

Tokio Marine Kiln

RiverStone Insurance (UK) Limited

UK General Insurance

Rural Insurance

Aspen Insurance

North Yorkshire County Council

AmTrust

Pen Underwriting

Probitas 1492

Tokio Marine HCC

Vodafone Ltd

Aioi Nissay Dowa

Lyndon Scaffolding plc

City of York Council

Work highlights

  • Represented the defendant, Grafton, in a criminal prosecution, securing a fine of £70,000 against a guideline fine of up to £750,000.
  • Represented the defendant, Brit Global Specialty, in an HSE prosecution, following a fatal accident, securing a fine of £45,000 against a potential starting point for the fine of £950,000.
  • Secured the strike out for Dual Specialty Risks of a claim with potential of around £200,000 following the claimant’s procedural failings.
  • Represented defendant security company RiverStone Insurance in a claim for around £850,000 against allegations that unnecessary and excessive force was used to restrain him.
  • Secured the strike out of a claim for RiverStone Insurance on the grounds of fundamental dishonesty, recovering the defendant’s costs.

The practice at Weightmans breaks down into eight personal injury practice areas: disease, large loss, commercial insurance, motor, fraud, local government, casualty and costs. The large team in Leeds acts for leading insurer clients, whose volumes of claims often require a separate group of individual lawyers exclusively assigned to them. Dealing with the full spectrum of injury, local government, social welfare, property and disease claims, the firm also represents numerous FTSE 100 companies, PLCs and large private and public organisations. Team head Blaise Smith works on cases up from County Court to the Supreme Court.

Practice head(s):Blaise Smith

Other key lawyers:Jim Byard; Iain Davison; Lindsay Staddon

Key Clients

AIG

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Durham County Council

Leeds City Council

Markel

Zurich

Work highlights

  • Advised on fatal mesothelioma assessment of damages in the RCJ in November 2018, acting for major EL insurer.
  • Advised on chronic pain/fibromyalgia type claim from a road traffic accident.
  • Instructed on behalf of a local authority client’s social services department to defend a claim of alleged sexual exploitation whilst in care.

BC Legal is a boutique occupational injury firm which defends insurers, corporate bodies and local authorities in personal injury litigation. While the market has been consolidating in the hands of bigger players, the firm is seeing more high-profile and higher value catastrophic litigation claims. Department heads Gary Brankin and Darren Goldthorpe are not partners, but share in profit derived from their clients, translating into significantly lower hourly rates.

Practice head(s):Gary Brankin; Darren Goldthorpe

Other key lawyers:Harjinder Gill

Testimonials

'BC Legal covers all aspects of personal injury claims but their in-depth knowledge of disease claims is both detailed and educational.'

'A niche firm of quality.'

'Excellent technical knowledge of the issues facing insurers in the occupational disease arena combined with a good commercial awareness adds up to good 'common sense' advice. Excellent client care, always prepared to go the extra mile, whether providing informal advice on minor of issues to detailed consideration of major strategic issues.'

Key Clients

BAI Claims Services

Generali

Compre

MMI

Enstar

IMI PLC

CPA Adjusting

Croda PLC

Work highlights

  • Acted in the Court of Appeal on the instruction of Zurich and Resolute Management on a strategic costs point on recoverability of defence costs from the claimant's damages.
  • Acted for BAI Claims on the successful defence of a claim for thickening of the pleura of the lung.
  • Acted for BAI Claims in the High Court disputing the recoverability and mechanism of payment, of pioneering immunotherapy treatment for cancer of the lung.
  • Instructed by Generali to defend a claim for carpal tunnel syndrome caused by tool usage.
  • Advised CPA Adjusting/Zurich on a claim for chest symptoms from cleaning fluids on sandwich boards.

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