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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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The established personal injury practice at DAC Beachcroft LLP continues to receive high value instructions from insurers, as well as directly from companies, to defend claims. The practice acted for Zurich Insurance in successfully defending a employer's liability claim arising from alleged chronic pain syndrome following manual handling during the course of employment. David Williams led on this matter which was discontinued following evidence given by the team. Owen Rees, Ruth Winterbottom and William Potts jointly head up the department, which includes a specialist disease team - led by Potts nationally - and a specific casualty pre-litigation service group led by James Tallant. Rees and Winterbottom both regularly represent insurers and companies in catastrophic injury claims.

Considered 'a premier league defendant insurance firm' DWF has a 'strong regional centre' in Leeds. With a 'high level of knowledge and tactical acumen in dealing with large injury claims', the department defends clients in catastrophic injury cases, occupational health matters, fast track and multi track matters. The group also includes dedicated insurance fraud practice led by Paul Holmes, who, alongside associate +Marsha Crosland, successfully acted for LV in contempt of court claims against nine individuals for conspiracy to defraud the insurer. 'Excellent lawyer' Glyn Jones heads up the practice which has been instructed by insurers Aviva, Tesco Insurance, as well as the Department of Transport. For 'clear, concise and robust advice' David Rogers is a key name to note in catastrophic injury claims.

Highlighted for 'great strength in depth' and 'excellent value for money' Kennedys has been described as 'one of the best' for defendant personal injury work. Suzanne Liversidge heads up the practice which is instructed by corporates, insurers and public bodies on a range of matters. The department's motor team, led Niall Edwards, focuses on the defence of high value road traffic accident work, with Edwards being particularly experienced in handling cases of the utmost severity and complexity. The group also has a strength in disease litigation, dealing with both volume and complex claims. Cameron Clark leads the disease team and with 'impressive depth of knowledge and expertise' Helen Snowball leads a team representing local authorities on a range of claims. The firm is also highlighted for its strength in the retail sector (with clients including Arcadia Group, Costco and Debenhams), the team is instructed on employers’ and public liability work and workplace claims in this industry.

The 'highly competent, efficient and proactive' personal injury practice at Plexus Law is highlighted for its 'high quality, pragmatic advice and robust resistance to weak or manufactured claims'. With a focus on casualty, motor, disease, fraud, large loss and policy, the department acts for both insurers and individual corporate clients. The team additionally acts for public sector clients and receives instructions from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. The 'particularly astute and thoughtful lawyer' Anthony Baker heads up the casualty practice, which includes Chris Foulkes, who tends to handle insurance litigation claims, and Sally Richmond who is known for defending motor claims. The team is instructed in occupational disease claims, and recently successfully represented AB Inbey UK in defending a claim of injury resulting from alleged high levels of noise. Head of the counter fraud practice Gary Petterson was recently promoted to the partnership.

Noted for its 'strength in depth', BLM's 'very professional team' is highlighted as being 'extremely strong, particularly in disease litigation but also employers’ liability more generally'. The 'practical and experienced' practice head Henry Kirkup attracts praise for his 'commercially minded approach and ability to manage high value litigation efficiently and effectively'. Arion Jones is another key name to note, and defends clients in high value and complex cases, including chronic pain, severe orthopaedic and fatal accidents. Clients include both insurers, corporates and public bodies, with the firm receiving instructions from Hiscox, Aspen Risk Management, Thomas Cook and Bradford Metropolitan Council.

The health claims team at CMS acts exclusively for self-insureds, including national and multi-national corporates as well as public bodies. Carl Dray heads up the practice and continues to lead a team representing the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy in a multi-million pound group litigation order. In another work example, the team is instructed by Tarmac in a complex claim following the death of a 22 year old with mesothelioma. This matter raised issues of causation, cross-border elements as the deceased was a resident in Spain at time of death, as well as contractual liability arising from company mergers. Other key names to note include consultant Gareth Watkins for large scale group litigation and senior associate Tim Riordan, who has particular expertise advising on the defence of industrial disease claims.

Forbes Solicitors' ' professional, approachable and reliable' personal injury practice attracts praise for its 'traditional client-centric personal service'. The team is experienced representing local authorities and is highlighted for its  'good public sector industry knowledge'. Chris Booth was instructed by Conwy Council in a case brought by school employee who alleged injury following an accident at work. The department acting for Asda Stores in a claim from an employee who fell from the top of a delivery vehicle when attempting to retrieve a hat. Head of the retail sector focused insurance work, David Pickford, led a team in this matter which successfully argued that the employee was acting outside the scope of his employment, reinforcing an earlier Court of Appeal decision. Booth, who leads the fraud and disease teams, jointly heads the insurance practice alongside Siobhan Hardy who is considered 'very good in providing strategic support'.

The 'excellent, pragmatic and commercial' personal injury practice at Gordons LLP acts for companies and insurers defending claims, and has a significant strength in the retail sector. Rachel Hudson heads up the team and regularly handles defendant insurance work in the retail, distribution and industrial sectors. Lisa Brough led a team instructed by Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc and successfully defended a claim providing evidence leading to the case, which had a potential value of £100,000, being discontinued. B&M Retail, Congregational & General Insurance plc and Hermes Parcelnet are all clients of the practice.

The 'truly client-focused' personal injury group at Langleys Solicitors LLP is described as being 'a stand out performer for litigation and negotiation outcomes, and in value for money'. In a high profile matter, Huw Edwards is instructed by MS Amlin following a fatality at a zoo when an employee of the insured company was attacked by a tiger. The team handled the pre-inquest review and will continue to act in the upcoming inquest. Highlighted for 'client care, strategy and team development', practice head David Thompson is experienced in handling catastrophic work, multi-party claims and claims involving complex liability disputes. Head of the team's public sector cases, Carol Dalton attracts praise for her 'care and sensitivity in respect of social care, schools and difficult injury claims'. Another key name to note is Rebecca Howitt who heads the regulatory sub-team. Changes to the team include promotion of the 'tenacious' Sean Riley to partner.

The substantial personal injury department at Weightmans attracts praise for its 'strong understanding of the commercial objectives of the insurer clients' and regularly defends large loss, commercial insurance, motor, fraud, local government, casualty and costs claims. The practice, headed up by Blaise Smith, is described as 'very good, particularly in respect of employer's liability claims'. Smith has significant experience handling high profile, high value and complex claims and acts exclusively for insurers, with a focus on catastrophic claims. Other key names to note include Jim Byard, the 'commercially astute' Iain Davison and Lindsay Staddon for occupational disease claims, insurance fraud matters and high value, large loss cases, respectively. Clients include Zurich, AIG, Leeds City Council and Durham County Council.

The 'niche firm' BC Legal focus on occupational disease matters and have been described as being 'one of the market leaders in defendant disease litigation'. The team is jointly led by Gary Brankin and Darren Goldthorpe, who focus on claims arising from asbestos exposure, and noise induced hearing loss cases, respectively. Brankin is singled out for his 'shrewd tactical awareness' and handles high value and complex matters. Another key name to note is Hajinder Gill who also handles asbestos-related litigation.

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