DWF > Belfast, Northern Ireland > Firm Profile

DWF
42 QUEEN STREET
BELFAST
BT1 6HL
Northern Ireland

Real estate > Commercial property Tier 2

DWF undertakes a full spread of real estate work for clients from sectors such as hospitality, telecoms, leisure and manufacturing. It also has a particularly strong reputation in the retail industry, with it acting for local and national retailers on the management of their property portfolios in Northern Ireland. Elsewhere, other drivers of the firm’s real estate work include housing development and land regeneration, insolvency-related property work and landlord and tenant matters. In 2020, department head Julie Galbraith acted for the Herbert Group on the sale of over 150 leasehold assets across Northern Ireland, England and Scotland, including 147 trading KFC sites.  Mark Tinman and Kirsty Mairs are among the other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Julie Galbraith

Other key lawyers:

Mark Tinman; Kirsty Mairs; Tomás McLaughlin; Lauren Kennedy; Kathleen Gillespie; Graeme Corry; Conor Kerr

Testimonials

‘Mark is very commanding when around the table with all stakeholders.’

‘DWF(NI) are an excellent firm. They are client focused and take a personal interest in their clients and their businesses. They seek to offer ever widening sectoral advice to ensure the client feels all their legal needs can be looked after in a consistent and personal manner under one roof.’

‘On an ongoing basis, Mark delivers good solutions in a timely fashion, always focusing on the commercial outcome for his client. Marks experience within the industry and his knowledge of our business results in him being an important part of our team.’

‘The DWF team is multi faceted and delivers quality service and advice in an efficient manner. Importantly, and what sets them apart from their peers is their ability to provide ‘actual advice’. In my experience too many practices, simply sit on the fence, outline the options, and let the client decide.’

Key clients

Herbert Group

Titanic Properties/Quarter Limited

Marks and Spencer

Lidl

BT

EE Limited

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL)

Killultagh Properties

PWD Developments

Menarys

David Samuels Properties

Mayfair Developments Limited

Debenhams

Work highlights

  • Advised Herbert Group on the sale of its multi-site KFC franchise operation to the Issa Brothers’ EG Group
  • Advised Titanic Properties Limited on the sale of the Amazon logistic hub in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast.
  • Advised Lidl on the acquisition of eight new stores in Northern Ireland, in 2020 including advising on the planning and licensing matters.

Transport > Travel Tier 2

DWF is a highly respected insurance defence firm and has been very active in road traffic accident claims, particularly in mainland Europe. The team has also acted on cases whereby UK-headquartered companies are made liable for employers' liability cases by subsidiaries in foreign jurisdictions. Sara-Jane Eaton jointly leads the practice and focuses on road traffic accident claims, with particular strengths in issues surrounding Brexit and the Rome II Regulation; she is well placed to handle such matters thanks to her fluency in French and German. 'Brilliant' practice co-head Claire Bowler has a similar skillset in handling road traffic accident cases and has recently advised on incidents in Spain, France and Austria.

Practice head(s):

Sara-Jane Eaton; Claire Bowler

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Knapp

Testimonials

‘Claire Bowler is a standout solicitor in this field – the star in the market in my view. She is a brilliant solicitor, tactician and litigator. Client’s flock to instruct her. Her technical knowledge is superb but added to that she has the ability to run the most complex, high-value cases – always generally with a great outcome for her clients. Truly exceptional.’

‘The team provides a first-class service, combining heavyweight legal expertise, top-quality client care and sound commercial judgement.’

Key clients

Generali

Van Ameyde

MS Amlin

Hastings Direct

QBE

RSA

The Markerstudy Group

Travellers

LV=

HDI Global

Mannheimer Versicherung AG

Wuerttemburgische Versicherung AG

Zurich Rechtschutzversicherung AG

Gefion AS

Ergo Hestia

Work highlights

  • Advising a German insurer in relation to complex jurisdictional issues and applicable law arising from a serious road traffic accident in Germany, where German law applies.
  • Advising a Polish insurer in relation to a complex brain injury claim arising in Poland, where Polish law applies.
  • Advising the insurer of an Italian hotel in relation to serious injury claim arising in Italy.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Liverpool Tier 2

DWF combines strong transactional work with a broad commercial offering, advising a number of national retailers on carrier agreements, outsourcing, product licensing, and online platforms. Commercial head Ben Cooke is a noted commercial contracts practitioner, and maintains relationships with the firm's retail clients alongside a number of other FTSE 250 companies. The corporate team is now led by director Liz Clark.  Managing partner Paul Rimmer is active in transactions, advising major corporates and private equity funds on high-value transactions, including several national private equity-backed transactions on behalf of London-based funds. Paul Attwood retired.

Practice head(s):

Liz Clark; Ben Cooke

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team react extremely quickly to our requirements. They are always solution led and in addition the communication with us is in plain English.’

 

Key clients

Homebase

AS Watson

Ocado Retail

Burton Biscuits

Optionis Group

Inflexion Private Equity Partners

Aurelius Private Equity

Prefequity

Pact Coffee

ACC Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores University

Elvie

Work highlights

  • Advised Ocado Retail on the sale of its online pet business, Fetch.co.uk.
  • Advising Homebase on the outsourcing of its website fulfilment with The Hut Group.
  • Advised AS Watson (Superdrug, Perfume Shop and Savers) on its e-carrier agreements.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Manchester Tier 2

DWF stands out for its expertise in the private equity and financial services spaces, advising a number of regional and national funds and companies on major acquisitions and disposals, including many with international elements. In commercial work, the firm is strong in telecoms and technology, with strong related regulatory capabilities. The corporate team is led by Frank Shephard, an experienced private equity, capital markets, and corporate finance practitioner, with Jonathan Robinson also a consistent private equity dealmaker. James Lonsdale heads up the commercial team, specialising in long term supply and distribution agreements. Directors Vicky Thomas and Catherine Harrison are noted for their transactional work and IP licensing expertise respectively. Craig Chaplin has moved to a non-legal role, while Lisa Stavropoulos is now general counsel at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Frank Shephard

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

BT PLC

Sovereign Capital

Moneyplus Group Limited

Optionis Group

James Halstead plc

Equiniti Group plc

Inflexion Private Equity Partners

Waterland PE

Lloyds Development Capital

NorthEdge Capital

Livingbridge LLP

Aurelius private Equity

Prefequity

RMS International Limited

Cardinal Maritime Group Limited

Swizzels Limited

Zuto Holdings Limited

Velocity Composites plc

Scapa Group plc

Together Money

Endless LLP

Palatine Private Equity LLP

Reebok International Limited

IWG plc

Zeus Capital Limited

finnCap Limited

Tatton Asset Management plc

Assura PLC

Missguided

Wincanton Plc

NVM Private Equity LLP

Munnelly Group plc

Bollington Wilson Limited

Entertainment Magpie Group

Arthouse Limited

Daisy Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Waterland Private Equity on its investment into Integrated Medhealth Communication Group.
  • Advised Sovereign Capital Partners LLP on their take private acquisition of Murgitroyd Group Plc.
  • Advised Sovereign Capital Partners LLP on their acquisition of Zenitech.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 2

DWF advises corporates and private equity funds on tax elements of major M&A and investments, including structuring and tax schedules, alongside regular advice on employee share schemes and senior incentives programs. The firm also works with household name retail clients on tax aspects of landlord and tenant issues, developments work, and acquisitions. The team, led by James Cashman, works on a regional and national basis, as well as regularly handling cross-border tax issues and matters on behalf of international investment funds.

Practice head(s):

James Cashman

Key clients

Inflexion Private Equity

Sovereign Capital

WPEF VII Holding Cooperatief W.A (Waterland Capital)

Velocity Composites PLC

Equiniti Group PLC

Adidas (UK) Limited

Airsweb Limited

James Halstead PLC

Digitalbox PLC

Horizonte Minerals PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Project Ophelia Bidco Limited on the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Coveyancing Alliance Limited from ULS Technology PLC.
  • Advised Horizonte Minerals on the implementation and drafting of a new Long Term Incentive Plan for senior executives.
  • Advised the management team and other shareholders of Airsweb Limited on the disposal of their shares in Airsweb Limited and Safety Management Software Limited and roll over in to shares in Eco Online AS.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: fraud Tier 2

The fraud and financial crime team at DWF is best known for its work for insurers, relating to motor, casualty and property damage claims. Lorraine Carolan is national head of the department and is noted for her financial risk expertise. Counter-fraud expert Stuart Poole jointly heads up the Liverpool practice with Jewels Chamberlain, who advises insurers on combatting spurious soft tissue and whiplash claims resulting from claims farming.

Practice head(s):

Lorraine Carolan; Jewels Chamberlain; Stuart Poole

Testimonials

‘Genuinely innovative and collaborative approach. Their continuing work in profiling claimant representatives by combining data and market knowledge is unmatched in the market.’

‘Jewels Chamberlain is extremely proactive but also careful to listen to what we need and to provide a bespoke service.’

Key clients

LVFS

LV=

Amazon

Aviva

NFU Mutual

QBE

Markerstudy

RSA

Insure the Box

Covea

Ageas

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of numerous insurer clients, investigating no-contact road traffic accidents featuring claimants driving mopeds/motorcycles with suspect solicitors, engineers and feeder companies in various locations.
  • Advised Insure the Box on uncovering a fraudulent claim through novel use of telematics data.
  • Acted for insurer company Markerstudy, defending claims made by two claimants who were found to be fundamentally dishonest.

Dispute resolution > Banking litigation Tier 2

DWF's finance litigation team attracts praise for its 'excellent sector knowledge' with expertise in finance litigation, FCA regulated motor vehicle recoveries work and fraud mandates. The firm recently acquired alternative legal service provider Mindcrest, which adds the ability to offer clients bespoke IT solutions, including handling volume claims, and quantum analytics capabilities. National practice head John Perez and Ritchie Irvine specialise in asset finance litigation and fraud disputes, while the 'outcome-focused' Ben Johnson's practice spans retail banking, payment services and asset finance claims as well as data breach disputes. Associate Mahesh Vara is praised for his 'excellent strategic approach to recoveries'.

Practice head(s):

John Perez; Ritchie Irvine; Ben Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Mahesh Vara; Dominic Jones

Testimonials

‘Excellent service and expertise – industry knowledge is second to none.’

‘The finance litigation and regulation team at DWF LLP has excellent sector knowledge, awareness of regulatory changes impacting the sector and offers practical and cost effective strategies. The individuals we deal with are very accessible and communication is always straightforward and leads to practical outcomes.’

‘Industry awareness coupled with intimate product knowledge and understanding of exactly what is required in the everchanging regulatory environment.’

‘DWF have an excellent knowledge of the industry. Instructions and requests are dealt with punctually. They provide clear and concise advise.’

‘Ritchie Irvine and the DWF team are a pleasure to work with and support my business. Their approach is always aligned to protect the bank with getting successful outcomes while being conscious of cost, time and effort. The relationship we have with DWF is strong and a key enabler for us to keep using them from our legal panel.’

‘Ritchie Irvine is our main contact however the full team including Mahesh Vara & Dominic Jones are fantastic and always available to support. You can always go to them with ‘daft’ questions which they never refer to as daft. Their knowledge and expertise is essential support to my business.’

‘Ben Johnson – very approachable and outcome-focused. Mahesh Vara – excellent strategic approach to recoveries and always very practical in his advice.’

‘Ben Johnson provides fast and pragmatic legal advice. His experience in the financial industry is absolutely essential to solve problematic situations.’

Key clients

Lloyds Banking Group, including Lloyds Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc and Lloyds Commercial Finance.

Aldermore Bank Plc

Santander Consumer (UK) plc trading as Santander Consumer Finance.

Shawbrook Bank Limited

Metro Bank Plc

RBS Group, including National Westminster Bank Plc

Brown Shipley & Co Limited

PSA Finance UK Ltd

UK Asset Resolution Limited (UKAR), including Bradford & Bingley plc, Mortgage Express and NRAM plc (formerly called Northern Rock plc).

Money Barn

Barclays Partner Finance

NextGear Capital UK Limited (part of the Cox Automotive Group)

Elavon Financial Services DAC

Payvision BV

Employment > Pensions Tier 2

DWF's pension practice counts professional trustees, pension providers, and household name employers amonst its clients. The team provides advice on matters such as winding-up schemes and risk management; it also handles contentious pension issues, such as disputes around equalisation. Elsewhere, the practice is active in assisting with the pension aspects of corporate transactions. Senior associate Sinead Sheehan leads the team, and is praised by clients for her 'clear and pragmatic advice'.

Practice head(s):

Sinead Sheehan; Colin Greig

Other key lawyers:

Lucinda Burgoine

Testimonials

‘Impressive market reach across pension advisory and pension litigation gives this team a cutting edge.’

‘Sinead Sheehan has that rare talent, mastery of detail, and sees the big picture. Lucinda Burgoine – Jeeves-like unhurried haste, calm in the face of pension legal life’s never-ending storm.’

‘Sinead Sheehan and Lucinda Burgoine display an excellent attention to detail. They make an excellent team and provide thorough, commercially focussed advice in a timely manner.’

‘Sinead Sheehan provides clear and pragmatic advice, achieving the best outcomes for her clients. ’

Key clients

WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Trustee of the Princes Pension Scheme and the Princes (1977) Pension Scheme

Trustee of the Edmundson Electrical Group Pension Schemes

Bentley Motors Limited

Work highlights

  • Providing a range of ad hoc legal advice to Morrisons PLC and advising Safeway Limited in equalisation proceedings.
  • Advising the Trustee of the Princes Pension Scheme and the Princes (1977) Pension Scheme on business matters including obligations and ongoing responsibilities under GDPR, application and implementation of Lloyds Banking judgment and GMP equalisation, and MNT and general trustee arrangements.
  • Providing the full range of pensions advice to the Edmundson Electrical Group, including multiple different pensions arrangements.   Advice including ad hoc advisory matters from GMP reconciliation and adherence of new employers, in addition to project work including benefit specification advice and consolidation of pension scheme documentation.

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant Tier 2

Projects, energy and natural resources > Energy, project finance and PFI Tier 2

DWF acts for a combination of high-profile private and public sector clients, including local authorities, energy companies, banks, and other financial institutions, handling an array of major national and international projects, particularly within nuclear and renewable energy. Practice head Darren Walsh joined from DLA Piper in early 2020, and is widely recognised for his expertise in international nuclear energy projects, and innovative renewable energy schemes in areas such as green hydrogen and solar. Catherine Haslam heads up the firm's solar team, and is a leading figure on wind, solar and biomass projects, advising developers, funders, and investors. Jonathan Branton provides expertise on competition and state aid issues, while senior associate Melissa Hutchinson is noted for her work on battery storage projects.

Practice head(s):

Darren Walsh; Catherine Haslam; Jonathan Branton

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

ScottishPower Group (including ScottishPower Energy Retail, ScottishPower Energy Networks, SP Transmission, ScottishPower Generation, ScottishPower Energy Management and ScottishPower Renewables)

Yorkshire Gas and Power

Yingli Namene Solar Limited & Yingli Green Energy Europe GmbH

Doosan Power Systems SA

Whitbread Group plc

Vensys Energy AG

Canary Wharf Group

Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council and Moray Council

Dundee City Council and Angus Council

South Staffordshire plc

Steag energy solutions GmbH

Discovery Park Limited

Farm Energy Partnership LLP

United Utilities Renewable Energy Limited

Quartzelec

WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc

Marks & Spencer plc

Places for People

Essar Oil

MRC Global

Ansaldo Nuclear Limited

Q-Park

Welsh Government

Franklin EV Limited

Cavendish Nuclear Limited

Ryse Hydrogen Limited

Mostyn Sea Power

Work highlights

  • Advising Ryse Hydrogen on the development of a 13,000 kg/day green hydrogen production facility that will be co-located with an on-shore wind farm in the UK.
  • Advising Aberdeen City Council on the rollout of a district energy scheme.
  • Advising Lloyds Bank on a £100m financing of a series of battery energy storage sites (“BESS”) and gas peaking plants across the UK.

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property Tier 2

DWF works with a diverse range of clients on contentious and non-contentious intellectual property issues, with particular expertise in brand exploitation and IP strategy advice. The team also has a dedicated IP litigator in Asima Rana, who specialises in IP infringement claims and cross-border IP disputes. Non-contentious and commercial IP matters are led by James Lonsdale, who advises clients in the retail, sports, manufacturing, and food sectors on issues such as patent and trade mark licencing. Director Catherine Harrison is another key name, advising household name clients on licensing and other specialist commercial issues. Craig Chaplin moved to a non-legal position within the firm.

Practice head(s):

James Lonsdale; Asima Rana

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Harrison; Sean Caldwell; Rachael Burke

Testimonials

‘The team, led by Sean Caldwell, is very approachable and always on hand when needed. The advice received is both technically and commercially sound. They really understand what we are trying to achieve and help us to get there.’

‘Rachael Burke is a pleasure to work with. She is always quick to respond and her advice is clear and succinct. She is commercially astute and is a safe pair of hands in negotiations. I would not hesitate to recommend her to others.’

‘The team has a very good understanding of the clients need – they very quickly learn how the client want things to be done and what is important for the client. After a very short time I felt comfortable letting the team take the lead in the negotiations because they knew what my priorities was.’

‘James Lonsdale: To the point and extremely good at explaining complex challenges in a way that everyone understand. He also has a unique ability to come up with simple solutions in situations where challenges could easily be escalated.’

 

Key clients

Daky International Limited

Private Individual

Barrett Steel Limited

JLG Group Plc

Gateshead Council

Paul Hartmann AG

Cultureshift Communications Limited

Quantum Base

IIM+ PTE Ltd

Homebase

Work highlights

  • Represented Daky International Limited in successfully resolving a claim for trademark infringement against Debenhams following their major brand relaunch in 2019.
  • Advised IIM+, providing strategic and deal-specific advice in respect of innovative technology to enable passengers to watch live-stream content during air travel.
  • Advising Homebase on its three-year licensing arrangement with Hearst UK.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

The private capital team at DWF is most commonly instructed by high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs with private wealth and estate planning issues. The practice focuses particularly on assisting businesses and the family interests behind them; the group's close co-operation with the corporate and tax departments ensures that the offering is well placed to advise its entrepreneurial client base. The firm regularly deals with complex and cross-border probates, including those involving agricultural property, international and high value assets. The Newcastle office fields national practice head Jon Gould, and associate Laura Murphy is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Jon Gould

Other key lawyers:

Real estate > Commercial property: Newcastle Tier 2

DWF is distinguished by its prowess in investment and portfolio transactions, as well as real estate finance work; an area where practice head Richard Lomax has a wealth of experience. Other areas of specialism include development and regeneration projects, for which managing partner Adam Heather is a key contact. Lee Pickett also regularly takes the lead on investment and regeneration matters in the housing sector. The department’s client portfolio is wide-ranging, spanning regional and national property and investment companies, asset management companies, corporate occupiers, registered housing providers and councils, among others.

Practice head(s):

Richard Lomax

Other key lawyers:

Adam Heather; Lee Pickett; Kelly Pearson

Key clients

Advance Northumberland

Cable Properties & Investments

Hanro Group

Home Group

LXi Reit

Northumberland Estates

Places for People

Siglion

Thirteen Housing Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted Hanro Group with the purchase, development, pre-letting and forward sale of a new office development in the centre of Durham City.
  • Advised Prudhoe Estates LLP on the acquisition, development and letting of a retail park at Prudhoe, Northumberland.
  • Acting for Places for People Living+ on a rolling programme of acquisitions of dwellings for supported housing use.

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 2

DWF's UK-wide debt recovery offering is regularly taken up by finance sector players in particular, but also by clients from the utility and real estate sectors. Alongside its capabilities handling volume instructions covering various types of debt such as (motor) finance, utility and property finance, clients also benefit from the firm's dispute resolution offering, most notably from its capabilities in finance litigation. 'Dedicated, hardworking and knowledgeable' debt recovery and finance expert Ricky Cannon heads the team.

Practice head(s):

Ricky Cannon

Other key lawyers:

Naomi Pryde

Testimonials

‘DWF are always thinking about their client’s point of view. We have found them reactive, creative and diligent on all matters of our work. We couldn’t speak more highly of them.’

‘They have a great portal with easy access to all case information and documents. Back-up resource for English legal work has also been made available to us should it be required due to Covid. The people are all a pleasure to work with.’

‘No one is as knowledgeable or as passionate as Ricky Cannon.

‘The DWF debt recovery team is truly fantastic and assists us with all of our needs and requirements. Their knowledge and drive to succeed is to be both welcomed and valued.’

‘Ricky Cannon is dedicated, hardworking and knowledgeable.

‘Always readily available and aware of latest position on cases of significant interest.’

‘The DWF team has a can-do attitude and innovative approach to debt recovery. They are proactive in suggesting solutions, highlighting the best commercial outcome coupled with risk factors. They are responsive, always putting their clients’ needs first and will go that extra mile, whether that be in producing bespoke reports at haste or to assist with understanding complex points of law.

Key clients

Scottish Water Business Stream

Santander Consumer Finance

Barclays Partner Finance

Moneybarn

Intrum

Startline Motor Finance

Hyundai Capital UK Ltd

Specialist Motor Finance Limited

Shawbrook Bank Limited

NextGear Capital UK Limited

Aldermore Bank Plc

Arkle Finance Limited

PSA Finance UK Ltd

Sun Belt Rentals

The Royal Bank of Scotland

Park’s Motor Group

Work highlights

  • Providing recovery support to Santander Consumer (UK) Plc, including pre-legal collection management, litigation, enforcement management and post-legal collection management services.
  • Providing Startline Motor Finance with national recovery services, which includes the management of a multi-million pound debt portfolio in Scotland.
  • Provides Sunbelt Rentals with volume debt recovery support in Scotland.

Employment > Pensions Tier 2

DWF provides employers and trustees across various sectors with transactional and restructuring support and with advice on investments, benefit transfers, wind-ups and compliance matters. Led by June Crombie, the team also advises insurers on pension scams.

Practice head(s):

June Crombie

Other key lawyers:

Colin Greig

Testimonials

‘June Crombie is a dependable source of guidance on all legal matters which arise. She frequently attends our meetings but whether in attendance or not she is aware of what we are dealing with and is happy to be involved where the trustees feel her input would add value. I have worked with many legal firms over the years.’

‘We greatly value June Crombie’s dependable advice when we need it.’

‘The team provides a very thorough service delivery with clearly laid-out advice provided in a timely manner. The teams work closely and constructively with other advisers (actuaries and accountants) to provide a coherent joined up service to the client.’

‘I’ve worked closely with Colin Greig and June Crombie over the past year on various issues on different clients and found them both to provide clear, detailed and structured advice on a range of issues. They work very constructively with others in the adviser group and are an integral and valued part of the client team. The detail and clarity in their communication gives every confidence that there is no stone unturned in the advice they provide. Both have an excellent profile in the Scottish pensions consultancy market.’

‘An excellent team who gives practical advice on a complex pension matters. The advice is always very clear and geared to the specific needs of the client.’

‘The individual partner I deal with is very approachable and knowledgeable. He has a very good and calm manner which gives his clients reassurance.’

Key clients

Cornwall County Council

Church of Scotland

Cigna 2000 UK Pension Plan

Mowi Scotland Limited (formerly Marine Harvest Limited)

Q-Park Limited

Mattioli Woods plc

Aliter Capital LLP

Shareholders of Laser Transport International Limited

Element Materials Technology Group Limited

Glennon Brothers Timber Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Cornwall Council on the pensions aspects of the procurement and completion of the largest waste collection and cleansing contract in the UK, including a novel pensions arrangement as part of a significant and complex arrangement.
  • Advised Q-Park Limited on the pensions aspects of a £16m contract relating to the development of two multi-storey car parks for an NHS Trust.
  • Supporting AC TGP I Limited on the pensions aspects of an acquisition.

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 2

DWF has ‘long experience in the field of professional negligence, in particular negligence claims against solicitors and advocates’. Collaborating closely with the firm’s London office, the group, which is led by 'great leader' Alison Grant, is frequently instructed by major London-based insurers and brokers. In addition, it has seen an increase in construction-related claims, regularly acting on behalf of architects, engineers and D&B contractors. Other names to note are Lindsay Ogunyemi, who is particularly well-versed in complex tax-related negligence claims, as well as 'construction expert' Andrew McConnell, who was promoted to director in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Alison Grant

Testimonials

‘I have an extremely strong working relationship with DWF LLP, Scotland in Glasgow. They are very professional and have amazing levels of expertise in all areas relating to Professional Indemnity Claims.’

‘Andrew McConnell is their construction expert and I would be more than happy for Andrew to work on any of our constructions related claims no matter the size or how complex the claim might be.’

‘Lindsay Ogumyeni would be my go to for accountants and other related services claims. Lindsay is very experienced and competent in this area.’

Alison Grant runs the team and is a great leader.’

‘DWF are highly regarded in this field. The team, headed by Alison Grant, has long experience in the field of professional negligence, in particular negligence claims against solicitors and advocates (barristers).’

‘Alison Grant is simply one of the best solicitors working in this area in Scotland, and has a wealth of experience. She and Andrew McConnell, a member of the team, are quick to identify the important issues in the case and to concentrate their efforts on these to get the best outcomes possible for the insured.’

‘The real strength is the leadership of Alison Grant. She is vastly experienced, pragmatic, highly skilled and friendly too.’

‘Director Lindsay Ogunyemi has been our lead contact for many years. She has an excellent knowledge of her market. She also has great “people skills” showing great empathy to clients. Her advice is solid and commercially astute.’

Real estate > Commercial property: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 2

DWF fields a multidisciplinary team, which services an international client base on matters in both Scotland and England. It handles a large amount of investment and development deals, and stands out for its high-profile retail clients, which it advises on leasing and insolvency matters. It also handles matters in the logistics, education, energy, leisure and tourism, and public sectors. The team is headed by David Ratter, Chris McLeish and Kevin McGlone.

Practice head(s):

David Ratter; Chris McLeish; Kevin McGlone

Other key lawyers:

Geoff Stansfield; Iain McHardy; Iain McLean

Testimonials

‘Chris McLeish gets on well with all of us and manages the DWF team effectively, He understands what is important to us and is pragmatic. We don’t like our lawyers to spend time point-scoring and Chris avoids doing this.  He makes sure that the team takes the same approach.  He is proactive in managing transactions for us.’

‘The team is well integrated and we know them well’.

‘They operate well as a team and understand how we work as a business’.

‘We work to agreed fee scales with the team, so billing is very rarely a contentious matter.’

Key clients

Babcock Group

Mileway / Blackstone

McAleer & Rushe

Aberdeen City Council

Shell

Costa

Whitbread/Premier Inn

Next

Marks and Spencer p.l.c.

Hermes Parcelnet

Mowi (Marine Harvest)

M7

David Samuel Properties

Apollo Real Estate Investments

Lake Merritt Hotel Group

Jet 2

C&C Group (Magners & Tennents)

Buxani Group

Seacare Hotel Group

Kenworth Student Living

Muthu Hotel Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Potter UK Bidco on the Scots law aspects of the real estate, finance, construction, planning, corporate and tax aspects of its £500m acquisition of Hansteen Holdings Plc.
  • Advised M7 Real Estate on the £8.5m acquisition of Galabank Business Park.
  • Acted as Scottish counsel for M7 Box + II in connection with a £300m UK multi portfolio acquisition of 19 retail warehouses.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Crime: general Tier 2

The nationally based criminal defence team at DWF sits within the firm's commercial insurance group, taking on work from its insurance company clients. In Bristol, the team led by Neil Millard has significant experience in investigations and criminal prosecutions arising from road traffic offences, as well as matters relating to corporate and gross negligence manslaughter and wilful neglect. Associate Jessica Murphy is noted for representing clients in police custody and before the magistrates' and Crown Courts.

Other key lawyers:

Work highlights

  • Represented a defendant who was originally charged with causing death by dangerous driving in a week-long trial at Merthyr Crown Court, which resulted in the client’s acquittal.
  • Represented a farm worker charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving, after an unsecured hay bale fell from his trailer, in a trial at Exeter Crown Court.
  • Represented a defendant charged with causing death by careless driving following a fatal collision with a motorcyclist at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court.

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence; defendant Tier 2

The team at DWF acts for insurers, defending claims arising in the South West and South Wales, and working closely with the firm's regulatory and compliance group in relation to civil claims and criminal defence matters. Catastrophic injury cases are an area of expertise for practice head Claire Gribben, a solicitor-advocate, who is also an expert in neuroimaging and technological rehabilitation. Senior associate Adrian Southwood, who is highlighted for his 'pragmatic and timely advice', is another core team member, with a specialism in employers' and public liability matters, and expertise in accidents occurring on public and private rights of way.

Practice head(s):

Claire Gribben

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

Adrian Southwood provides an immediacy of service which I value but try not to abuse! He is terrier-like in his pursuit of the facts and will deploy them tactically to maximum advantage. There is also an innate understanding of the commercial realities which is essential to anyone acting for defendant insurers. He will give pragmatic and timely advice to enable cases to be fought or settled.’

I work with Adrian Southwood who is prepared to go that extra mile for me on my cases. He thinks outside the box and has some very intuitive ideas.

Key clients

Direct Line Group

Covea Insurance

Allianz Insurance

Halfords

Beaufort Underwriting

Aviva Insurance

Pritchards

NFU Mutual Insurance

Employment > Health and safety Tier 2

David Egan heads the regional group at DWF that frequently works alongside its national team on some of the most high-profile health and safety investigations in the country. Other members of the team include associates Caroline Depledge and Simon Naylor. The department receives regular instructions from significant clients to act in some major cases that are brought by the HSE, local authorities and police forces. It receives a steady flow of instructions from both insurers and directly from large corporates across a wide range of sectors such as energy, retail, transport and education as well as healthcare, construction, local government and manufacturing.

Practice head(s):

David Egan; Steffan Groch

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘I have been hugely impressed by Simon Naylor who is operating at a level way beyond his years’.

‘The team is very good at managing document heavy, complex regulatory cases. The lawyers have brilliant attention to detail and work collaboratively with clients to achieve the best results possible’.

‘Simon Naylor is a real rising star of the regulatory world. His client care is exceptional. He has been excellent at helping manage an extensive disclosure process which has been ongoing for a number of years’.

Caroline Depledge is a great associate going places.  David Egan – the oracle for environmental law. The whole firm is very strong in H&S and environmental work. Great to work for’.

‘Very impressive team with outstanding knowledge of H&S. Caroline Depledge is brilliant with clients from the director to the man driving the deliveries- a keen sense for law and always on top of the facts’.

‘The team has been very proactive in supporting us on a complex, high-profile matter, working closely with us to achieve our objectives’

‘Simon Naylor has  worked exceptionally well with us, demonstrating professionalism, perseverance, innovation and dedication to help us deliver high quality product to very tight timescales’.

Key clients

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

QBE

Chubb

Zurich

Direct Line

Allianz

RSA

NFU Mutual

Starr Underwriting

Work highlights

  • Advising the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea during the ongoing public inquiry and criminal investigation following the fire at Grenfell Tower.
  • Advised Dhesi Sweets Centre Ltd in relation to a fatal incident after a worker fell from a mezzanine floor level whilst loading a trailer with product.

Public sector > Local government Tier 2

DWF distinguishes itself through its expertise in complex litigation involving local authorities, including historic abuse claims, professional negligence cases and disputes under the Human Rights Act. The team is also well known for advising clients on procurement and state aid arrangements. Gruop co-head Melanie Williams primarily handles the investment and funding aspects of development projects, while fellow co-head Derek Adamson specialises in advising public sector bodies in connection with health and safety issues, including contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Derek Adamson; Melanie Williams

Other key lawyers:

Denise Brosnan

Testimonials

‘DWF’s local government team is second to none. They are organised and extremely good in terms of their tactics and knowledge of the law itself.’ 

‘Derek Adamson – an absolute reservoir of information and experience at the very highest level.’ 

‘Derek Adamson provides superb strategic leadership.’

‘Denise Brosnan provides overall leadership in relation to local authority work. She inspires real confidence and trust from the claims handlers and insurance officers and always collects the evidence in a really meticulous and complete fashion. She knows which cases to fight. Derek Adamson also does a significant amount of local authority work at a really high standard.’

Key clients

Coventry City Council

Urban Growth Company

Walsall Council

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Leeds City Council

West Midlands Combined Authority

Newcastle City Council

Wolverhampton Council

Cornwall Council

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Manchester City Council

London Borough of Greenwich

Birmingham City Council & Finance Birmingham

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Work highlights

  • Represented Coventry City Council in a major professional negligence claim against the council’s social services department.
  • Representing Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council in connection with all issues of civil liability arising from the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017.
  • Advising Walsall Council in respect of one of the largest remediation and reclamation projects in the region, which concerns the brownfield site known as Phoenix 10.

West Midlands > Transport Tier 2

With particular strength in the aviation, shipping and railway sectors, DWF  handles major transport projects in the region. It is also experienced in insurance litigation, including personal injury and automotive insurance claims. Darren Kenny leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Darren Kenny

Employment > Health and safety Tier 2

DWF is singled out as 'one of the leading health and safety teams in the North' and its regulatory, compliance and investigations practice regularly handles high-profile inquests and investigations for a mix of insurer and corporate clients. Leeds-based Paul Matthews oversees the team, which acts on contentious and non-contentious matters across the construction, manufacturing, transport and food and drinks sectors. Mark Thompson is the key name for criminal litigation, while senior associate David Chant represents clients in police and local authority investigations. At the associate level, Sophie Parkin handles serious fatality cases.

Practice head(s):

Paul Matthews

Testimonials

‘I have been working with DWF for several years now and I am very impressed with their professionalism and high-quality staff. The team works in a very collaborative way and it is comforting to know that no stone is ever left unturned in finding the right solution in order to provide the best possible advice. The spirit and camaraderie between the team is good and conducive to a positive and inclusive working environment. The use of in-house and external case-specific technology is also very helpful. Overall, a top quality team.’

‘Mark Thompson is an outstanding Director and his attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile is impressive.’

‘The team have been very professional and cohesive in their approach. Always available to discuss issues as they arise and giving an independent source of advice and support.’

‘Proactive and professional. Guided us through a situation that none of our team had experience of. Available to have meetings at short notice to discuss matters.’

‘One of the leading health and safety teams in the North is DWF based in Leeds. It is part of the internationally recognised DWF national Health and Safety team.’

‘The star individual within the team is Sophie Parkin.’

‘Very knowledgeable and approachable. Luckily we don’t have to call on them often, but if we do we know that they are a “safe pair of hands”, will get to the point and also not require constant instructional updates – they know their job and know what we need & have the ability to get on with what is necessary.’

‘Paul Matthews is very knowledgeable, assured and very approachable, sees the bigger picture.’

Key clients

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Electricity North West

Kwik-Fit

NFUM

Aviva

RSA

Direct Line

QBE

Aon Insurance Brokers

HDI Global

Cranswick Food Group

Work highlights

  • Representing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in relation to the Public Inquiry and ongoing criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police, following the Grenfell Tower fire.
  • Advised Treanor Pujol Limited in relation to a triple prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive and a Coroner’s Inquest.
  • Advised Wernick Hire Limited in relation to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and a Coroner’s Inquest.

Insurance > Professional negligence: defendant Tier 2

Maintaining an impressive client portfolio that includes AIG Europe and Zurich Insurance, the team at DWF is led by Matthew Reynolds. The team is best known for defending a wide range of professionals (including solicitors, accountants, insurance brokers, architects and surveyors) in various professional negligence claims. Adept at handling multi-party, multi-million pound cases, it is also widely recognised for handling defamation claims on behalf of insurers - this work encompasses commercial claims made against SMEs and those involving local newspapers and news organisations. Grant WalkerMalcolm Rogers (recently promoted to director) and Paul Metham (a new hire from Plexus Law) are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Reynolds

Testimonials

‘The team has senior people involved appropriately on complex cases which means that thorny issues are considered from the outset. There is a good understanding of clients’ needs as well as a focus on avoiding claims where a practical solution can be found. Early contact with counsel on complex cases has also enabled innovative solutions to be explored in order to resolve issues before a formal claim begins. ’

‘Paul Metham is a fantastic professional negligence lawyer, with an easy manner and a collaborative approach to managing complex cases. I would recommend Paul to any defendant, whether insured or uninsured, because he thinks deeply about the individual circumstances of his clients and has a good sense of practical and innovative options to manage risk.’

‘An excellent team: very knowledgeable, practical and efficient.’

Key clients

AIG Europe Ltd

Allington Hughes Law

Arch Insurance Company

Argo

Armour Risk Management

AXA XL

Canopius

Chubb

CNA

Hiscox Underwriting Limited

Keebles LLP

Liberty Speciality Markets

Lupton Fawcett LLP

Markel (UK) Limited

MS Amlin

QBE

Starr Underwriting Agents Limited

Travelers

Zurich Insurance Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Markel in relation to a £16m insurance policy coverage dispute.
  • Advised Keebles (now Knights) in relation to the defence of a multi-million pound professional negligence claim.
  • Advised T R Collier & Associates in relation to a professional negligence claim for £33m.

Public sector > Local government Tier 2

DWF recruited projects partner Allison Page, the former head of DLA Piper‘s Leeds office, to grow its public sector real estate and infrastructure office. Andrew Flounders assists with major public development projects. Another key figure is Alexander Rose, who is an expert in state aid, procurement and EU funding and financial instruments. Planning specialist Helen Robinson is also of note. Colin Murray leads the nationwide local government practice from the Manchester office, while Jonathan Branton is head of public sector and also leads the competition practice.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Branton; Colin Murray

Testimonials

‘The DWF team is highly experienced in all aspects of construction, regeneration, preparing development agreements, procurement and associated ad hoc needs such as state aid assessments.’

‘We have always found DWF to be helpful in clearly explaining legal and commercial considerations, and timely in their responses.’

Key clients

Bradford Council

Wakefield Council

City and County of Swansea Council

South Tyneside Council

Kirklees Council

Cumbria County Council

Durham Council

Gateshead Council

Darlington Borough Council

Sunderland City Council

Leeds City Council

Hull City Council

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

North Yorkshire County Council

Newcastle City Council

Homes England

West Yorkshire Combined Authority (& Leeds City Region LEP)

Work highlights

  • Advising Bradford Council on their One City Park project involving a competitive dialogue procurement in order to select a property developer to deliver new office accommodation, and other development in a scheme with an estimate value up to £35m.
  • Advising Wakefield Council on a proposed £11m grant funding application from the private sector to regeneration Rutland Mills. Advised on procurement, state aid, public law matters, real estate and planning.
  • Advising South Tyneside Council on its procurement of a development partner to deliver a £200m mixed-use development.

Real estate > Planning Tier 2

At DWFAndrew Batterton is UK head of planning and compulsory purchase; he joined from DLA Piper in 2021, significantly bolstering the firm’s offering in infrastructure planning and compulsory purchase.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Batterton

Testimonials

‘DWF’s breadth of knowledge and sector experience is an asset.’

‘The team’s local government experience in planning from having worked in-house is invaluable in providing advice to local authority clients. They are responsive and provide a valuable lead on working through problems and issues where support is needed, providing holistic advice that deals with the application and practical reality of the matter.’

Key clients

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Blackpool Council

Conwy County Borough Council

Brighton Marina Limited

United Utilities

Shell

BT

Advance Northumberland

Cumbria County Council

Wigan Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advising the Royal Borough of Greenwich on the Charlton Riverside development, including the delivery of infrastructure to unlock development in Charlton Riverside Woolwich Exchange, the use of CPO powers and on the delivery of a large mixed use redevelopment.
  • Advising Brighton Marina Limited in respect of an appeal for non-determination for its hybrid application for the second and third phases of the Brighton Marina Outer Harbour development (mixed use residential and commercial including affordable housing).
  • Advising Wigan Council on the delivery of the North Leigh Project.

Northern Ireland > Dispute resolution Tier 3

DWF is best known for its work in professional negligence claims, with additional expertise in handling contractual disputes and property and financial services litigation. Mark Taggart, who is praised for his 'practical legal knowledge and good tactical judgement', sits at the helm of the practice and has been highly active in advising the Law Society of Northern Ireland on professional negligence claims, in addition to handling commercial litigation and debt recovery actions.

Practice head(s):

Mark Taggart

Testimonials

‘The practice is part of a major international firm, yet retains its roots in and connection to the Northern Ireland legal scene.’

‘Mark Taggart is first class on detail, client relations and litigation strategy. He is approachable, a team player and responsive.’

‘DWF’s Northern Ireland practice offers a strong commercial and banking litigation service. They offer sound legal and practical advice to clients, focused on meeting their needs through litigation or negotiation as appropriate.’

‘Mark Taggart has strong practical legal knowledge and good tactical judgement. There is a consistency of quality inherent in the organisation.’

Key clients

Law Society of Northern Ireland Master Policy Insurers

Bank of Ireland

Allied Irish Banks

NFUM

RSA

BT

Mobile Broadband Networks Ltd

Lidl NI

Hiscox

Keltbray

Work highlights

  • Defended an architect on behalf of the RSA in a negligence claim valued at £8m.
  • Defending solicitors in a negligence claim valued at £7m on behalf of the Law Society of Northern Ireland master policy insurers.
  • Defending a test provider in a judicial review concerning the timing of P7 transfer tests.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

At DWF, Belfast office managing partner Ken Rutherford  has over 25 years of insolvency experience. He has a strong track record advising insolvency practitioners in Northern Ireland on a broad cross-section of matters, such as appointments, the realisation of assets, asset recovery and creditor claims. In addition, Rutherford undertakes a significant amount of work for banks. Under his leadership, the practice is noted for its high level of involvement in restructurings and insolvencies with a nexus to the retail, food and hospitality industries. Rutherford works with James Morrison, who acted as lead counsel to KPMG on the administration of Joe Media.

Practice head(s):

Ken Rutherford

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘DWF (Northern Ireland) LLP has a strong profile acting for commercial lenders and insolvency practitioners in this area. The team have good client relationships, and are able to offer sound legal and practical guidance, aiming to deliver the best outcome for the particular circumstances of the case.’

Key clients

KPMG

RSM

BDO

Bank of Ireland

Allied Irish Banks

HNH

NextGear UK

Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Pepper Group

Cavanagh Kelly

Work highlights

  • Advised KPMG on the administration of Joe Media.

Real estate > Construction Tier 3

DWF's practice is led by newly-promoted partner David McNiece, who is experienced in undertaking both contentious and non-contentious construction matters across the UK and Ireland. His work ranges in scope from contract negotiations to dispute resolution. McNiece is particularly knowledgeable about the NEC form of contract, and he is noted for his advice to clients from both the public and private sectors. On the contentious side, McNiece is experienced in representing clients in a wide variety of settings, notably litigation, adjudications, mediations and arbitration proceedings.

Practice head(s):

David McNiece

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 3

DWF's recent work included major fraud cases, as well as international construction, energy and telecoms disputes, and shareholder and transactional claims in the Commercial Court. Jonathan Isaacs leads the London commercial litigation team, which includes Richard Twomey, who is active in international disputes in the financial services, energy and technology sectors. Jonathan Moss is experienced in cross-border commodities, shipping and logistics-related litigation. Support at director level is provided by 'very good' barrister Emma Walker and Joshua FinemanNatasha Gunney is an experienced senior associate. In Birmingham, Andrew Leach is the head of the CIS desk. Darren Kenny is a commercial fraud disputes specialist.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Isaacs; Richard Twomey

Testimonials

DWF has an excellent spread of knowledge and expertise across a huge range of commercial litigation sectors, including all aspects of financial services, insurance and investment activity.

Of all the legal firms I have worked with in the past, DWF has earned my most tremendous respect, appreciation and trust – specifically for their professionalism, transparency and consistent availability.

Very collaborative, available, professional, well organised and straightforward.

They are extremely energetic and responsive.

Jonathan Isaacs is a fantastic lawyer and strategist, who knows how to deliver bad news to his clients in the least painful way.’

Richard Twomey has excellent energy and tactical experience.

Emma Walker is a very good barrister, with a keen eye on the detail and all its moving parts.

Director Joshua Fineman is a stand out at the firm. He is very hardworking and good at managing clients, and able to offer practical advice while looking at the bigger picture of a case – Joshua is always thinking beyond just the brief and provides additional value.

Key clients

Wincanton

Just Cash Flow

Active Energy Group

Lidl

Ocado

Serco

Chart Industries

Paramit Corporation

Amazon

Ghouse Akbar

Rinse

Western International Market Traders Association

Mercantile Port & Logistics

Arcadia Group

Dispute resolution > Commodities disputes Tier 3

DWF, which is a strong choice for commodities disputes, is a key adviser to marine insurers, P&I clubs, shipowners and cargo owners. The key partners at the firm are David Abbott (head of the global risks group) and 'knowledgeable, pragmatic and highly responsive' head of marine and trade Jonathan Moss. Moss frequently handles high-value disputes for international traders, bespoke commodities houses and shipping industry clients. Matters concern losses, cargo theft, piracy, charterparties, bills of lading, ports and terminals.

Practice head(s):

David Abbott; Jonathan Moss

Testimonials

‘Jonathan Moss is the MVP of the practice, and the reason it stands out. Jonathan Moss is knowledgeable, pragmatic and highly responsive. His breadth of experience is invaluable when dealing with complex cross border disputes. He is ably supported by an excellent team.’

Jonathan Moss has a very good commercial understanding. He gives practical advice.’

‘Excellent knowledge of our industry. Proactive.’

‘Very pragmatic lawyers.’

Key clients

Sahara Energy

Vallis Group Ltd, previously Vallis Commodities Ltd

PS Maritime

Targray International

Nimex Petroleum

GP Global Group

Berkshire Hathaway Specialist Insurance

Travelers

Chaucer

UK P&I CLUB

Insurance > Insurance and reinsurance litigation Tier 3

The London market and global risk team at DWF is noted for its expertise in reinsurance matters and handles cases across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as the US and Europe. The group handles matters involving property, energy, product liability and business interruption claims. Practice head David Abbott has experience in reinsurance matters, while John Groome handles casualty and property claims and Jonathan Moss acts for clients in commodities and shipping litigation. Antony Woodhouse is noted for his work in the Bermuda market and Iftikhar Ali handles construction and energy claims. Former global head of insurance at InceKiran Soar, is a key contact in the team.

Practice head(s):

David Abbott

Testimonials

‘Jonathan Moss is a world class shipping insurance lawyer. He has expertise in both wet and dry shipping matters – as well as commodities. His team has detailed knowledge of issues faced in a wide range of jurisdictions. One unique feature is that Jonathan, and certain members of his team, have physically been on-the-ground in both the Asian and African continent. He/they really know what’s going on where we operate. As well as having a dedicated team, Jonathan’s firm has huge resources and are able to upscale at a moment’s notice to deliver results.’

‘The European links within the DWF organisation are a strong asset to the team, as is the association with DWF Claims who offer solutions that dovetail with the legal services. In comparison with other similar organisations, work product is received in a prompt and timely manner, budgets are closely managed, and reports are clear and well structured.’

‘Excellent knowledge of the insurance industry.’

‘Jonathan Moss is a standout lawyer, with extensive experience and an impressive practice. He has a commercial approach, mixed with in-depth knowledge of the law. Jonathan’s language skills are of huge value with cases arising from the African continent. I would describe Jonathan as a go-to shipping lawyer.’

‘John Groome has been a long term contact within the organisation, his pragmatic and practical approach to resolving disputes is excellent. His ability to refer appropriate matters to a team of lawyers with multijurisdictional abilities is of particular benefit.’

‘Antony Woodhouse is a leading individual.’

Key clients

Hamilton Group

Canopius

AXA XL

QIC

Talbot Underwriting

RSA

Chubb

Markel

Liberty Specialty

Zurich Insurance

Insurance > Product liability: defendant Tier 3

DWF acts as a trusted adviser to national and international insurers and companies which are active in the automotive, aviation and manufacturing industries, as well as from the energy and life science sectors, among others. The team is well versed in advising on the civil and criminal aspects of compliance and litigation matters. The key contacts are Peter Barnes, who has a specialism in dealing with Japan-related queries; Hilary Ross and Dominic Watkins. Charlotte Kelly was promoted to partner in early 2021.

Practice head(s):

Peter Barnes; Hilary Ross; Dominic Watkins

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Strong individuals with expert global knowledge and capability.’

Key clients

RSA Insurance Group

QBE

Aviva

Chubb

HDI Global

Zurich

Travelers Insurance Company

MS Amlin

Direct Line Group

Pret A Manger (Europe) Limited

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Company, Tokyo

Tokio Marine Kiln Insurance

Tokio Marine HCC

Halfords Group Plc

H Young Holdings Plc

Scania

Markerstudy

Chairo Technology

QVC

Homebase

C&C Group

Lidl

Tangle Teezer

PepCo

Misguided

Arcadia

Work highlights

  • Instructed by various London market insurers to advise on coverage issues arising out of high-profile multi-district pharmaceutical litigation in the United States.
  • Acting for an airline and its London market insurers to advise on metallurgical turbine failure in a passenger jet and associated losses arising globally.
  • Advised Chairo Technology on a project to determine the regulation of highly innovative women’s health products (marrying technology and devices) to ensure compliance globally.

Public sector > Local government Tier 3

DWF advises local authorities on a range of matters, including governance, public pensions, and social housing. Mark Whittaker defends local authorities on personal injury claims and policy coverage issues, while insurance expert Perry Hill acts for schools . Caroline Sanders is an expert in social care debt recovery cases, as well as advising local authorities on public liability insurance claims; Katrina Boyd is noted for her defence of civil claims regarding the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Practice head(s):

Mark Whittaker; Perry Hill

Other key lawyers:

Risk advisory > Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity Tier 3

In January 2020, Stewart Room joined DWF to co-head the team alongside James Drury-Smith and JP Buckley; later in 2020, a number of Room’s previous team at PwC LLP also joined the practice. Room brings a wealth of global data protection and cybersecurity expertise to the practice, which is already renowned for handling the contentious aspects of high-profile data breaches. Drury-Smith is recommended for compliance matters and the implementation of privacy governance models, while Buckley handles strategic and operational compliance matters.

Practice head(s):

Stewart Room; James Drury-Smith; JP Buckley

Testimonials

‘They have exceptional experience in data protection and privacy in the retail sector’.

‘It is a pleasure to work with the team’.  

‘James Drury-Smith is extremely competent and experienced’.

‘James Drury-Smith is very responsive and always available to provide clear and concise advice’.

‘JP Buckley is a rare lawyer – the type who can deliver rock solid legal work and opinions that go to the heart of what a company requires’.

‘Stewart Room is a high energy, deep subject matter expert’. 

‘Stewart Room is disciplined, pragmatic, and focused on excellent client service’.

‘Impressive technical and legal knowledge, a focus on excellent client service and a determination to deliver an agile response’.

Key clients

Visa Europe Limited

Virgin Media Limited

Centrica plc

Missguided Limited

Ocado Retail Limited

Tysers Insurance Brokers Limited

Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc.

Flixmedia Limited

NHS Digital

Swissport GB Limited

Yum Restaurant Services Group LLC

WM Morrisons Supermarkets Plc

British Airways plc

BT Group plc

Markerstudy Insurance Services Limited

Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited

Comparison Technologies Limited

Johnson Matthey plc

Pet Health Inc.

Yopa Property Limited

Reckitt Benckiser Group plc

Equiti Capital UK Limited

Severn Trent Water Limited

Greater Manchester Travelcard Limited

Work highlights

  • Appointed to Virgin Media’s legal panel in 2020, providing support on all aspects of data protection and cyber security, such as international data transfers, directing marketing and Data Subject rights.
  • Successfully represented Morrisons in landmark litigation relating to the employer’s vicarious liability for the data breaches caused by an employee.
  • Developed models for the legal delivery of cookies and other online tracking technologies for a global adtech service provider.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Licensing Tier 3

In DWF's Liverpool office, senior associate David Crank  heads up the licensing team, acting for a range of clients including pubs, restaurants and hotels on obtaining and maintaining licences for the supply of alcohol and regulated entertainment.

Practice head(s):

David Crank

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 3

With a presence on a range of significant bank panels, DWF is well placed to act for notable lenders in the region; the firm is also instructed by corporate borrowers and public sector clients. The large team comprises practitioners in both Manchester and Liverpool. Team head James Szerdy has experience in all aspects of secured and unsecured lending transactions, and Paul Brown contributes expertise in public sector finance work; he recently advised on the funding of emergency Covid loans for SMEs in the region.

Practice head(s):

James Szerdy

Other key lawyers:

Paul Brown; Eleanor Cook

Testimonials

‘Good quality people, very pleasant and helpful, pragmatic and always try and get a deal done. Take a view rather than stick to rhetoric.’

‘DWF Law Manchester provide excellent support and cohesion to complete matters in a timely manner.’

‘James Szerdy provides proactive and practical support to help move forward at pace and with precision.’

‘James Szerdy – Always reachable and a pleasure to work with. Delivers against required deadlines.’

Key clients

National Westminster Bank/RBS/ RBSI

Lloyds Banking Group

HSBC Bank PLC

Santander UK plc

Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank

Secure Trust Bank plc

Lendinvest

MotoNovo Finance Limited

NextGear Capital UK Limited

Close Brothers

NWF plc

Manchester City Council

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Salford City Council

North West Evergreen Fund

Progress Housing Group

LXi REIT Plc

Home REIT Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Lloyds Banking Group on its funding to the Cartwright group of companies and the issues arising out of the administration of the manufacturer including negotiations with the transferee of the leasing business.
  • Acted for Greater Manchester Combined Authority on the establishment of a £10m funding line via GC Business Finance for the emergency funding of central-government supported loans to SMEs under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, including the preparation, negotiation and completion of bespoke funding documentation and overseeing first drawdown.
  • Advised RBS International on a £30m facility (with a £30m accordion facility) to an offshore property investment unit trust.

Real estate > Commercial property: Liverpool Tier 3

DWF’s ‘highly professional, responsive and pragmatic‘ team takes on matters ranging from asset management to  property finance work. As a part of the firm's multidisciplinary public sector team, it is also involved in a wide array of high-volume development schemes for local authorities. Practice head Julie Simms draws on more than 17 years of experience, while director Helen Thomas contributes expertise in property investment and management including lease negotiations as well as landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

Julie Simms

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Highly professional, responsive and pragmatic. Flexible fee structures. All matters completed within the agreed budget.’

Key clients

Wirral Borough Council

Wigan

Borough Council

Conwy County Borough Council

Costa

Unity Trust Bank plc

HHGL Limited

Survitec Group Limited

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Liverpool City Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Homes England on significant regeneration projects together with day-to-day advice on a number of real estate acquisitions, disposals and easement transactions.
  • Advising the Costa Team in relation to all North West and North East acquisitions and also on the national Travel acquisitions.

Real estate > Commercial property: Manchester Tier 3

DWF stands out for its work managing the portfolios of household name clients such as Costa and adidas both nationally and beyond. Following Anita Gupta’s departure to Knights plc in December 2020, Paul Inman lead the team, which is praised for ‘thinking outside of the box when needed and reacting proactively’. David Frankland contributes strengths in the residential and student sector, while Naveen Gupta specialises in corporate occupier work, portfolio management and high value acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

Paul Inman

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘DWF continually provide expert advice in all property related matters and ensure we do not enter into any agreements/clauses which would be detrimental to the business. They think outside of the box when needed and react proactively to ensure matters are dealt with efficiently and correctly.’

‘All individuals I have dealt with have always gone the extra mile to ensure timely and correct advice is given.

‘Naveen Gupta – stand-out, responsive, friendly and informal. Rachel Lawler – Sound commercial advice, matters are dealt with quickly and without fuss.’

Key clients

Costa

Premier Inn/Whitbread

BT/EE Limited

adidas

Assura

Homebase

Greene King

Shell

Wincanton

Speedy Hire

Work highlights

  • Acting as exclusive legal property advisors to Costa Coffee in England and Wales. Acting on all aspects of real estate – acquisitions, disposals and portfolio management.
  • Acted in respect of EE Limited’s Special Projects sites, dealing with contracts for the installation of its electronic communications equipment in airports, public buildings, hospitals and shopping centres including the agreement for the installation of distributed antenna systems at Manchester, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Gatwick Airports and drafting and negotiating contracts for the installation of electronic communications apparatus at Sellafield, the Scottish Parliament and the RIBA award-winning Bloomberg building.
  • Acting for Assura, one of the UK’s leading investors in primary healthcare premises, in the acquisition and development of GP premises around the UK.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Edinburgh and Glasgow Tier 3

DWF’s corporate and commercial team handles M&A deals for blue-chip clients in Scotland and further afield. The practice has a strong focus on the retail, food and drink, hospitality, tech, sport and financial sectors. Paul Pignatelli co-leads the team and brings experience in private equity and investment work, restructuring, joint ventures and corporate governance. Executive partner for the Edinburgh office Wayne Lawrence jointly heads the team and handles commercial contracts, outsourcing, and collaboration and strategic partnership agreements.

Practice head(s):

Paul Pignatelli; Wayne Lawrence

Other key lawyers:

Gary MacDonald; Tom Maxwell; Gemma Gallagher

Testimonials

‘DWF have such a diverse capability that we were provided with every area of support needed from the moment of appointment’.

‘The team worked together and were mindful of the impact from other areas’.

‘The quality of advice was excellent and in these times of lockdown, the use of legal technology was invaluable’.

‘Paul Pignatelli is very responsive and manages the team extremely well’.

‘The whole team were very professional and capable’.

‘The team handles work efficiently and has supported us on a number of small M&A deals over the years’.

‘This is a full service law firm and has the capability to provide European support where required’.

‘They are incredibly responsive and take a pragmatic and commercial approach to deals’.

Key clients

Element Materials Technology Group Limited

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Lunar JV Finance (Apollo Asset Management Group)

Maven Capital Partners UK LLP

C&C Group plc (owners of the Tennents, Magners and Bulmers brands)

Mowi Scotland Limited (formerly Marine Harvest)

Capita plc

Custodian REIT plc

Mattioli Woods plc

Event Scotland

Visit Scotland

Falkirk Football Club

Zonal Retail Data Systems

Grahams the Family Dairy

Scottish Golf

Aliter Capital LLP

LDC

Cirrus Response Group Limited

Ambassador LB Holdings Limited

Sponge Group Limited

Ipsum Group Limited

North SP Limited

Martley NAH Limited

Edwin James Group Limited

Trossachs Distillery Limited (t/a McQueen Gin)

Swan Group plc

Glennon Brothers Timber Limited

Sterling Furniture Group

Seacare Hospitality

Perle Hotels

Thistle Healthcare

Moray Council

West Lothian Leisure Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for long-term client Cirrus Response in its Series A equity investment of £5.25m from BGF.
  • Acting for Element Materials Technology Environmental UK Limited on its acquisition of EnviroDat Limited.
  • Advised Sponge Group Limited in relation to two key acquisitions and investments to grow the PE-backed, digital learning provider.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 3

DWF’s Scottish tax offering sits within the wider UK team and services a wide range of clients, from SMEs to blue chip companies. The Scottish team is working increasingly closely with its counterparts in Europe to cater to post-Brexit tax issues. It handles M&A and private equity-related tax matters and is headed up by Jon Stevens in Birmingham. Caroline Colliston is the key name in Scotland.

Practice head(s):

Jon Stevens

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Element Materials Technology Group Limited

Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Lunar JV Finance (Apollo Asset Management Group)

Marks & Spencer plc

Mowi Scotland Limited (formerly Marine Harvest)

Capita plc

Custodian REIT plc

Mattioli Woods plc

Event Scotland

Visit Scotland

Costa Coffee

Zonal Retail Data Systems

Grahams the Family Dairy

Aliter Capital LLP

Sponge Group

LDC

Cirrus Response Group Limited

Ambassador LB Holdings Limited

Ipsum Group Limited

Edwin James Group Limited

Swan Group plc

Glennon Brothers Timber Limited

Sterling Furniture Group

Perle Hotels

Martley NAH Limited

Work highlights

  • Providing share scheme and tax advice in relation to the exercise of options in relation to the sale of stock imagery specialist, Alamy to PA Media Group for an undisclosed sum in February 2020.
  • Providing tax transactional support in acting for Element on its acquisition of EnviroDat Limited (an industry leading UKAS and MCERTS accredited environmental testing provider).
  • Providing specialist Scottish land transaction tax advice to a wide range of real estate clients including Marks & Spencer, Costa, WH Smith, BT plc and others.

Insurance > Personal injury: defender Tier 3

DWF attracts plaudits for its counter-fraud offering, which is overseen by Jill Sinclair, who ‘achieves some outstanding results’. The team includes Andrew Lothian, who specialises in defending insurers and self-insured entities against catastrophic injury and fatal claims. Another key individual is Lynne Macfarlane, who undertakes a wide range of defence-side insurance litigation, with work ranging from employers' and public liability cases to road traffic and product liability claims. Senior associate Julia McDonald also handles a large number of motor claims.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Lothian; Jill Sinclair; Lynne Macfarlane

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘What makes DWF Scotland unique is their tailored approach – they know our business well and listen to their client. They have considerable expertise and will achieve best outcomes as well as coach and advise.’

‘Andrew Lothian is very supportive, always responds quickly, very clear advices, will take time to explain options if complex and or have queries. Jill Sinclair is very engaging and willing and excellent advising on fraud detection and prevention.’

‘DWF Glasgow’s counter fraud team have a great knowledge of not only the law, but of the jurisdiction that they operate in and are able to give great insight.’

‘Jill Sinclair is incredibly knowledgeable and approachable, always making time to take queries from our handlers and provide advice wherever requested. Jill achieves some outstanding results, often managing to get rid of spurious claims very early in the litigation process.’

‘Lynn Macfarlane was invaluable in dealing with several complex and highly unusual personal injury cases. Her practical awareness and understanding of the law and procedure was exceptional. Lynn was attentive and diligent and was always on hand to assist with developments in the case on a daily basis.’

Key clients

RSA

Aviva

Zurich (Zurich Commercial, Zurich Municipal, Zurich Global Corporate Risks, Zurich Engineering and Zurich Risk Services)

Markerstudy

QBE

Tokio Marine Kiln

Tesco

Travelers

MS Amlin

Ageas

Work highlights

  • Advising on a number of catastrophic injury and high profile accidents at work and occupiers liability claims
  • Acting for Zenith Insurance plc, Covea Insurance plc & other insurance clients in counter fraud strategies used to identify fraudulent claims, prove the fraudulent behaviour and encourage claims to be abandoned, resulting in subsequent savings for clients.
  • Acting for a major insurer in relation to a fatal claim arising from Covid 19 in a care home, offering advice and assistance on liability, causation and quantum.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 3

Handling landlord and tenant disputes, including dilapidation claims and insolvency-related matters, constitutes a key element of DWF's property litigation offering which extends to Electronic Communications Code issues alongside crofting and planning-related disputes. Its client base centres around real estate and retail sector players but also includes public sector bodies alongside telecommunications providers and energy and hospitality clients. Solicitor advocate Naomi Pryde heads up the commercial litigation team and is qualified in Scotland, England and Wales, and the Republic of Ireland, making the team an attractive choice for cross-border mandates.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Pryde

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Gaskell; Emma Forrester

Testimonials

‘Very personable’

‘Naomi Pryde is legally astute and full of personality. A delight to work with.’

‘Good in-depth knowledge of the sector. Very knowledgeable of the sector. They have a sharp focus on the issues which are in dispute.’

‘Very keen to ensure the delivery of the best advice to clients from both a practical and legal perspective.’

Key clients

Lunar Greenock (SARL)

Mileway Real Estate (UK) Limited

Marks and Spencer plc

Mobile Broadband Network Limited

EE Limited

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Limited

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)

Aberdeen City Council

Grahams The Family Dairy Limited and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Limited

M7 Real Estate Investment Partners V Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lunar Greenock SARL in two commercial actions pertaining to a property and planning dispute relating to a defective highway bridge running directly over the client’s shopping centre properties.
  • Acting for United UK Propco 8 SARL in two separate court actions in which the tenant is seeking orders for declarator that the leases have been brought to an end and that sums of rent and service charge should not require to be paid.
  • Advised the Highland Council on a judicial review action raised by Wildland Limited, a company owned by Scotland’s biggest landowner, challenging the client’s decision to approve the plans of Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for a £17.3m spaceport at the A’Mhoine Peninsula.

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant Tier 3

The newly formed Southampton practice at DWF is led by Stuart Giddings, Rachel Coombs, and Sarah Parker, who joined from Keoghs in a large team move in late 2020. It has particular expertise dealing with complex claims involving severe brain injuries, fatal accidents, and chronic pain, arising primarily out of motor, employer’s and public liability. The trio are supported by a team of senior associates including Helen Champion and Elspeth Fenton.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Giddings; Rachel Coombs; Sarah Parker

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

LV=

Direct Line Group

Aviva

Employment > Health and safety Tier 3

Focused on providing support in criminal cases, the team at DWF handles a wide variety of health and safety matters working as part of a highly regarded national team. The team defends insurers and insureds during investigations, inquests and prosecutions, with routine matters including willful neglect, gross negligence and corporate manslaughter. Bristol-based Neil Millard frequently represents insureds in cases that involve multiple fatalities. Lee Foulser heads the national practice from Manchester.

Practice head(s):

Lee Foulser

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘They are extremely professional and thorough lawyers. The team provides exceptional service to both corporate and individual defendants.’

‘Neil Millard is an exceptional lawyer.’

‘The team at DWF is highly organised. The attention to detail continues during their conduct of the case, with a real emphasis on client care. ’

Key clients

RSA

LV

Allianz

NFUM

Aviva

Ageas

DAS

DLG

Work highlights

  • Acted for a business accused of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 after an employee suffered an amputation in machinery.
  • Represented a teaching assistant/lifeguard following a near-drowning incident at a school for children with complex health and learning disabilities.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Birmingham Tier 3

Delivering a service ‘comparable to London firms’, DWF’s practice is co-headed by Mark Gibson, a lawyer thoroughly experienced in MBOs and MBIs, acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures in addition to corporate governance and reorganisation matters; he enjoys strong connections in Russia and the CEE region and is supported by ex-DLA Piper partner John Campion, who has significantly ramped up the group’s equity capital markets focus following his arrival in January 2020. Ben McLeod is the key point of contact for commercial matters, directing a clear-cut focus towards IT and outsourcing projects. Key sectors include hospitality and leisure, technology, financial services and industrials.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gibson; John Campion; Ben McLeod

Testimonials

‘Ben McLeod runs a small but efficient team who have successfully got under the skin of some complex and strategically essential procurement projects this year.’

‘Ben McLeod is accessible, personable and pragmatic.’

‘Service is exceptional. We trust them 100% no matter what bumps in the road we come across. They are professional and expedient and more than happy to take on a heavy burden.’

‘John Campion is knowledgeable, patient and able to draw on a bottomless pit of dynamic, experienced and energetic team. First-class service, ahead of his London based peers and at a rates as a fraction of those adopted in the City. ’

‘Best in class service which is comparable to what you would get from a top tier London firm.’

‘John Campion understand our business, is extremely knowledgeable and is a very pragmatic lawyer. He is very good at explaining complicated issues in simple terms.’

Key clients

Keywords Studios plc

Zedra Trust

Hunters Property plc

Richard Harby Callis, Stuart Grist & Mario Cirillo

Avro Energy Limited

Lewis Morgan

MAC Waste Management UK Limited

Silentnight Group Limited

Severn Trent PLC

Serco Limited

Skytek Limited

British Telecommunications PLC

EE Limited

A.F. Blakemore & Sons

Work highlights

  • Acted on Keywords Studios’ secondary fundraising to raise £100m by way of a placing on AIM using a Jersey cashbox structure.
  • Acted for Zedra Trust as selling shareholder in the £5.4bn IPO of THG Holdings plc, one of the largest tech IPOs of 2020.
  • Acted for Hunters Property plc on its £25m recommended takeover by The Property Franchise Group plc.

Crime, fraud and licensing > General crime and fraud Tier 3

DWF fields a large and experienced team that works across all sectors of fraud and financial crime. The group acts for nine large composite insurers as well as the Lloyds market, corporates and self-insureds and has substantial experience in other sectors such as financial, technology, retail and logistics. Lorraine Carolan advises on all areas of financial risk and fraud. Mike Henman represents motor insurers in the defence of fraudulent third-party and first-party claims. Miles Hepworth has extensive expertise in counter-fraud and claims validation and in the defence of suspected fraudulent insurance claims.

Practice head(s):

Lorraine Carolan; Miles Hepworth; Michael Henman

Testimonials

‘Excellent results, forward thinking’.

‘Miles Hepworth is knowledgeable, flexible, and easy to deal with’.

Key clients

LVFS

LV=

Amazon

Aviva

NFU Mutual

QBE

Markerstudy

RSA

Insure the Box

Covea

Ageas

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended the defendant insurer and policy holder on a complex case that was brought by the claimant for damages arising out of a road traffic accident.
  • Successfully acted for the insurer in relation to two separate cases and settled both cases  and secured a significant saving for its client.
  • Acted for an insurance company in a ground breaking case involving the use of telematics data to uncover a fraudulent claim which saved its client a substantial sum of money.  

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 3

DWF has a growing reputation in sizeable accountancy negligence claims that supplements its historic expertise in claims against construction professionals and public authorities. The Birmingham team has strong relationships with some of the UK’s leading insurers and has substantial niche expertise in areas where professional negligence overlaps with other areas such as criminal law, health and safety and public law.  Derek Adamson specialises in insurance policy interpretation and in mesothelioma, abuse, legionnaires disease and product liability claims. Paul Donnelly handles a wide range of claims too.

Practice head(s):

Derek Adamson

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Paul Donnelly provides excellent tactical and legal knowledge, and is prepared to fight legally novel cases very hard. All done under the excellent oversight of Derek Adamson’.

‘Paul Donnelly and Derek Adamson are stand-out partners. They never let anyone down and always go the extra mile to achieve the client’s goals’.

Key clients

Zurich

Birmingham City Council

Gallagher Bassett

Munich RE

Coventry City Council

Solihull MBC

Travelers

AXA XL

Axis Capital

QBE

Ecclesiastical

Work highlights

  • Advising Prestige E A Limited and Zurich Insurance Plc about a gas explosion that caused catastrophic burns to the tenant of a flat. The claim for injuries was against the building owner and chartered surveyors ( the client). Surveyors were project managers on a refurbishment project. The firm is acting on the personal injury claim and also a health and safety prosecution against the surveyors. In addition the team is also dealing with a claim by the property owner for repairs to the building after the explosion.
  • Instructed to act for the local authority (Birmingham City Council/AIG) and its social services department in relation to a claim arising out of their alleged negligence in the performance of their social services function. In particular, the three sibling claimants alleged that they were exposed to significant mis-treatment and physical abuse at the hands of their family and ought to have been removed sooner.
  • Advising Coventry City Council, AIG, Munich RE, Gallagher Bassett, Zurich in what is thought to be the largest known failure to remove claim ever brought; a case which will likely produce groundbreaking law in the area of causation surrounding neurodevelopment specific to learning disabilities.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

The team at DWF frequently deals with capital tax planning, the preparation of wills, trusts and lasting powers of attorney in addition to estate and trust administration. It is also adept at advising on family investment companies, limited partnerships and family offices for its large and varied client base and is part of a strong national offering. Jon Gould leads the national private capital team from Newcastle. In the Birmingham office, Roger Williams is another key figure; he has considerable experience in private client and real estate work for HNW individuals in addition to considerable expertise in court of protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Jon Gould

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Personal service in a digital age – very prompt service’.

‘Roger Williams is always happy to go the extra mile to help’.

Real estate > Environment Tier 3

A team with ‘strength in depth and excellent lawyers’, DWF's foremost fields of activity include pollution incidents, waste offences and trade effluent discharges; the firm offers  a 24/7 crisis response service to support clients through the early stages of incidents. On the non-contentious front, it supports clients on all aspects of applicable legislation and corresponding business risks including product safety, Brexit implications and producer responsibilities. Team head David Egan is ‘especially good at dealing with regulators and getting a satisfactory result’ and is able to call upon over 20 years of experience in defending clients against Environmental Agency and local authority-led proceedings.

Practice head(s):

David Egan

Testimonials

‘The team has strength in depth. They are excellent lawyers who deliver work which is practically focused in a timely manner and are always responsive and a pleasure to work with.’

‘David Egan leads the team. He gets to the nub of problems quickly and is good at dealing with regulators and getting a satisfactory result.’

Key clients

BT plc

Severn Trent plc

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

3M plc

Cadent Gas

HSBC

Lidl

Ocado

James Hartley (Scrap Metal) Limited & Stephen Haynes

Work highlights

  • Providing environmental legal support to the BT Group, reporting to the Head of Environmental Legal.
  • Routine support to Severn Trent in respect of the environmental issues that arise from their function as a statutory water and sewerage undertaker.
  • Advising on the development of 16.5 hectares of brownfield land owned by WMBC and Homes England.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 3

At DWF, the corporate tax practice has a focus on real estate finance and development work, and is led by John Toon. The multidisciplinary group handles inward and outward M&A work and private equity investment matters for clients including local authorities, property developers and charities.

Practice head(s):

John Toon

Projects, energy and natural resources (including PFI) > Infrastructure and energy Tier 3

DWF’s energy practice, which includes real estate development specialist Guy Rusling in Leeds, works across the electricity, gas, water and renewables sectors, handling a number of domestic and cross-border matters across EMEA for clients operating in the construction, manufacturing and property arenas. Recent instructions include acting for an energy company in an ICC arbitration in France pertaining to the conversion of a coal-fired power station to biomass. Darren Walsh joined from DLA Piper and heads up the firm's power and utilities group; Allison Page also joined from DLA Piper in late 2020.

Practice head(s):

Guy Rusling 

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Allison Page is fantastic.’

Key clients

ScottishPower Group (including ScottishPower Energy Retail, ScottishPower Energy Networks, SP Transmission, ScottishPower Generation, ScottishPower Energy Management and ScottishPower Renewables)

Yorkshire Gas and Power

Yingli Namene Solar Limited & Yingli Green Energy Europe GmbH

Doosan Power Systems SA

Whitbread Group plc

Vensys Energy AG

Canary Wharf Group

Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council and Moray Council

Dundee City Council and Angus Council

South Staffordshire plc

Steag energy solutions GmbH

Discovery Park Limited

Farm Energy Partnership LLP

United Utilities Renewable Energy Limited

Quartzelec

WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc

Marks & Spencer plc

Places for People

Essar Oil

MRC Global

Ansaldo Nuclear Limited

Q-Park

Welsh Government

Franklin EV Limited

Cavendish Nuclear Limited

Ryse Hydrogen Limited

Mostyn Sea Power

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Ryse Hydrogen to assist with the development of a 13,000 kg/day green hydrogen production facility that will be co-located with an on-shore wind farm in the UK.
  • Advising Aberdeen City Council on an energy scheme to supply council owned buildings and housing association and car home properties.
  • Acting for Lloyds Bank on a £100m financing of a series of battery energy storage sites and gas peaking plants across the UK.

Real estate > Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

James Speed leads the property team at DWF, where he advises institutional investors on forward funding transactions, portfolio management, investment transactions and all aspects of development work. Newly-promoted partner Helen Balliger is another notable individual at the firm, which is also prominent in regional regeneration schemes, real estate finance transactions and landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

James Speed

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Q-Park Limited

Caddick Group plc

Moorfield Group

Countrywide Group plc

Custodian REIT plc

Countrywide Plc

Wykeland Group

Rivington Land Limited

Peveril Securities Limited

LXi REIT plc

Mileway/Blackstone

Sterling Capitol

Oakgate Group plc

Moda Living

Palmer Capital Partners

M7

ReInvest Asset Management S.A.

Work highlights

  • Advising Caddick Developments on site assembly and sale of the £100m GDV development site for Wakefield515 to Panattoni. This is the largest speculative development in the north for a decade.
  • Advising on the mainstay of the entire England and Wales asset management portfolio work for Mileway, the leading last mile logistics real estate company in Europe.
  • Advised Sterling Capitol Plc on completion of JV with PLP for a 100 acre industrial and logistical scheme at Capitol Park, J28 M62, Leeds and submission of planning with a value of circa £120m GDV.

Yorkshire and the Humber > Transport Tier 3

At DWF, the transport practice handles a steady stream of road transport regulatory work, and is able to leverage the firm's wider capabilities, particularly on insurance matters, to provide a full service to clients. Led in Leeds by David Chant, who acts for a range of transport sector clients, the group advises on contentious mandates, public inquiries and regulatory proceedings. Mark Thompson assists with road traffic matters, and associate Sophie Parkin represents individuals and companies in criminal investigations. The team also works with the firm's offices across the North West.

Practice head(s):

David Chant

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘David Chant is the solicitor in charge of my case. From my very first meeting with David l really did think he was excellent, he was very direct from the start outlining the implications of the case that could be formed against me and the possible outcomes. I really appreciate his very matter of fact attitude to all the aspects involved in my case and I always feel whenever we have a meeting that he is always giving me the full details of the proceedings.’

‘DWF gave straightforward, timely and actionable advice, appropriate to our situation. The sense of DWF working in partnership with our organisation and understanding our circumstances is really strong, and this is something that is important to us.’

‘Mark Thompson was my direct contact with DWF in relation to our concern. Mark was available to discuss the situation with me at the start and to work with me to create a plan of action. He was personable and it was easy to talk through our options with him. He was honest and open in advising which might be the best option for us in the situation and in supporting us with the action we needed to take.’

Key clients

NFU Mutual

Corporate and commercial > M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m Tier 1

DWF is highly active in the small M&A space, leveraging its global resources to advise on an array of cross-border transactions. The firm's recent workload is testament to its strength across numerous sectors, most notably in the insurance and technology industries. The London team is led by Patrick Eaton, who acts for many of the firm's high-profile retail and insurance clients. Laurence Applegate is noted for his real estate private equity work, while Justin Edgar acts for various blue-chip corporates on domestic and cross-border transactions. Raeesa Chowdhury is recommended for her broad experience within the insurance and financial services sectors. Frank Shephard leads the national group.

Practice head(s):

Frank Shephard; Patrick Eaton

Testimonials

‘Leader in their field for deals of this size. Understand our business inside out.’

‘Paddy Eaton is a fantastic lawyer. Understands our business and knows what risks we can and can’t live with.’

‘Excellent legal advisory service for small to medium size insurance deals.’

‘I have been grateful for having Paddy Eaton and Raeesa Chowdhury work on various acquisitions since 2019. They are patient, knowledgeable, and collaborative. They always work tirelessly to ensure that my team and I are provided with the highest standard of deliverables. Truly dedicated professionals.’

‘A well organised team which operated seamlessly notwithstanding the challenges posed by lockdown.’

‘Pragmatic and genuinely fun to work alongside.’

‘Justin Edgar is approachable, practical, and great to work with.’

Key clients

Ocado Retail Limited

Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd

Cordia International Zrt. (part of the Futureal Group)

Keywords Studios plc

The DMW Group (now Credera)

CentralNic Group plc

Shareholders/management team of Ross Trustees Limited

PSC UK Holdings Limited

Catalis Group (Testronic Laboratories)

DNA Payments Group

Costero Holdings Limited

PSC Insurance Group Limited

Aprirose Limited

Alumno Group Limited

Ares Management Limited

Cordia Homes

ESO Capital Partners

CSM Sport and Entertainment

VCCP Media

Flybondi Holdings

Hineni Capital Ltd

Laytrip Holdings

Moda Living Limited

MM!The Party (Holdings) Ltd

SF Management S.à r.l.

The Freehold Corporation

Management Team of Wheelhouse Advisors Limited

Abysse UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Ocado Retail, the joint venture between Ocado and M&S, on the disposal of its pets business, Fetch, to Paws Holdings.
  • Acting for ASX-listed PSC Insurance Group Limited on the acquisitions (in whole or in part) of: 1) Abaco Insurance Brokers Limited; 2) Trust Insurance Services Limited; 3) Absolute Insurance Brokers Limited; and 4) Turner Financial Services Limited.
  • Advising one of the AIM Market’s largest companies Keywords Studios on its M&A programme in 2020 and 2021, acting on the acquisitions of: 1) Coconut Lizard; 2) Maverick Media; 3) Indigo Pearl; 4) Jinglebell Communication Sàrl; and 5) Tantalus Media.

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 1

The recoveries department at DWF acts for clients such as blue-chip and FTSE 100 companies, household-name retailers and supermarkets, as well as central government departments and local authorities. Its work focuses on pre-legal collections, litigation, enforcement and insolvency work. Also notable is that the firm recently added new services and client-centred initiatives on credit control, white-labelling and strategic enforcement in connection with Covid-19-related matters. The practice is jointly led by national head of recoveries David Scottow, Kevin Feehan and Jeffersen Gledhill. James Perry left the firm.

Practice head(s):

David Scottow; Kevin Feehan; Jeff Gledhill

Testimonials

‘They are always easy to speak to and approachable in their tasks. They will give you clear guidelines of what they want in terms of input to get the maximum output with as minimal data as possible. They have regular catch-ups with the client, so you know that they are always on the end of the phone.’

‘Kevin Feehan is always approachable. He and his team will keep communication throughout the year and nothing is too much effort. They are always looking to make things easier for the client and will collate data and results to benchmark against financial output. Friendly and polite manner makes them different from the competitors.’

Key clients

Fleetcor UK

Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd

High Court Enforcement Officers Association

Controlaccount PLC

Hirestation Ltd

DX Network Services Limited

Marks And Spencer Plc

Asda Stores Ltd

WM Morrisons Supermarkets PLC

Scottish Water Business Stream Ltd

British Telecommunications Plc

Tesco Stores Limited

Genle Limited (GoTo Auctions)

Work highlights

  • Providing consultation services on Adverse Financial Information, defended claims and County Court Judgments (CCJs) obtained against them by consumers.
  • Providing consultation services for metropolitan district council in respect of increasing in-year Council Tax collection.
  • Advising a number of trustees on strategy for recovery of overpayments made to deceased members, including from: Deceased, including obtaining permission to proceed in the absence of any person representing the estate; Personal Representatives; Beneficiaries; and Third parties, suspected of fraud.

Employment > Health and safety Tier 1

DWF's health & safety team covers all aspects of the field, offering compliance advice and litigation expertise nationally. The firm's regulatory practice includes enforcement defence, judicial review cases, as well as working with the government to support changes in the law. Steffan Groch and Dominic Watkins lead the the group, with Watkins a member of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Better Regulation panel. Key sectors for the team include food/retail, energy, transport, and construction/manufacturing, with the firm maintaining a equal split of insurer/ large corporate clients. Hilary Ross' expertise is primarily in strategy planning for large corporates, and she has a record of successfully keeping her clients from prosecution.  Ross also sits on the BEIS Better Regulation panel.

Practice head(s):

Steffan Groch; Dominic Watkins

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Outstanding team with great experience of major cases.’

‘DWF are one of the market-leading firms in this competitive field.’

‘They have a great deal of expertise across the range of regulatory, criminal and inquest work, including health and safety, product safety and food safety.’

‘Simon Belfield is a joy to work with; brilliant at organising and supporting a team’

They really get to know the business, its operation, the how and what.’

‘The expertise available in the subject area is second to none.’

‘Dominic Watkins is very impressive, handling extremely high profile food safety and health and safety cases. He is tenacious, looking to put his client on the front foot wherever he can.’

‘Steffan Groch has an incredible dedication to client service.’

Key clients

Arcadia

Booker Plc

C&C Group Plc

William Morrisons Plc

Lidl (UK) GmB

M&S Plc

Chelsea & Westminster Council

Costa Coffee

RSA

NFU Mutual

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea on the morning of 14 June 2017 following the fire at Grenfell Tower, which tragically caused 71 fatalities. Lawyers across DWF’s national team were assembled to support the client during one of the most complex and high profile safety cases for a generation.
  • Advising a supermarket on all aspects of its COVID strategy to ensure the safety of its employees and customers and ensure the measures met the different laws and guidance across the UK.
  • Defending Arcadia in relation to the fatal accident of a child in a Topshop store.

Insurance > Personal injury: defendant Tier 1

The 'first class' offering at DWF 'has the depth of experience that makes it one of the leading firms in this competitive market'. The department is well placed to handle complex cross-border litigation and defend claims arising out of motor, employers', public and products liability. The 'talented' team comprises specialised practitioners with 'extensive knowledge in their respective fields'. Steven King heads up the London catastrophic injury and large loss group, focusing particularly on brain injuries, tetraplegia, paraplegia and amputations; other key contacts for maximum severity cases include Rhys Sanchez and Graham Dickinson. Claire Bowler and Sara-Jane Eaton oversee the international claims department, which is noted for its 'unparalleled language skills and understanding of the EU insurer market'. John Lezemore and Daniel Jordan take the lead on chronic pain and subtle brain injury work, respectively. Mark Whittaker heads a practice that handles a wide range of contentious cases for county councils and London boroughs.

Practice head(s):

Steven King; Mark Whittaker

Other key lawyers:

Claire Bowler; Graham Dickinson; John Lezemore; Paul Greaves; Rhys Sanchez; Daniel Jordan; Seema Bains; Daniel Mitchell; Sara-Jane Eaton; Gurbir Tethy

Testimonials

‘DWF is a leading insurance defence team. It has experienced partners and fee earners and is training its up and coming lawyers well, such that they retain their skills as they progress. It has the depth of experience that makes it one of the leading firms in this competitive market.’

‘DWF are truly a top tier defendant personal injury outfit.’

‘I think many insurers would regard Graham Dickinson to be one of the best defendant personal injury solicitors in the country – a brilliant solicitor, litigator and tactician who I regard as being amongst the very best. Graham has a very loyal following and handles the heaviest cases. Steven King is another superb solicitor and litigator.’

‘The individuals with whom I work are dedicated to providing a first class service and have extensive experience and extensive knowledge in their respective fields.’

‘DWF lead the field in their handling of chronic pain and subtle brain injury claims under the management of John Lezemore and Daniel Jordan respectively. Both combine technical excellence with creative, problem solving skills to produce good results. Their passion for the work is obvious and their enthusiasm and drive infectious.’

‘Technical excellence, attracting talented technical and commercially minded lawyers with undeniable understanding of the insurance market.’

‘Graham Dickinson, Claire Bowler and Gurbir Tethy are excellent both in their preparation and tactical awareness. Graham is regarded as the doyen of the insurance sector with his many years of experience.’

‘Unparalleled language skills and understanding of the EU insurer market and comparative law enables practical and time sensitive advice to be given. Very reliable team with strength in depth.’

Key clients

RSA

Aviva

The Markerstudy Group

QBE

Direct Line Group

Travelers

MS Amlin

Ageas

Tokio Marine Kiln

QIC

LV=

Generali

Van Ameyde (UK)

Hastings Direct

HDI Global

Mannheimer Versicherung AG

Wuerttemburgische Versicherung AG

Zurich Rechtschutzversicherung AG

Gefion AS

Ergo Hestia

Canopius

Corporate and commercial > EU and competition Tier 1

DWF handles the full range of competition and EU-related matters, including CMA and international merger filings, state aid and public procurement proceedings Its work includes litigation, and regulatory issues relating to Brexit. Another area of focus for the firm in 2020 was access to COVID-19 subsidies in areas such as construction and infrastructure. The team is led by the 'truly outstandingJonathan Branton  and Colin Murray, who offer international state aid and public funding expertise, and notable local government and public procurement capabilities respectively. Also noted is senior associate Jay Mehta, a specialist in state aid and public sector work, and director Alexander Rose, who has extensive expertise in public funding.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Branton; Colin Murray

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘DWF are simply the best Subsidy control and State aid practice outside the City of London. They have unrivalled experience acting for applicants for subsidy and subsidy granting bodies, right across the board, large and small. They have also acted in a number of court cases both for and against subsidy awarding bodies. ’

‘Jonathan Branton heads the practice in this area. He is truly outstanding in his knowledge of subsidy control and State aid law. He is highly experienced, very clever and knowledge and ruthlessly pragmatic in his approach. Clients love his down to earth approach.’

Alexander Rose is a former government lawyer specialising in this field, who has also spent time working for the European Commission. He is deeply knowledgeable, has real practical insight into the workings of government and is also a very pragmatic practitioner.

Key clients

Homes England

Advanced Propulsion Centre

Autocab

Serco

Maven Capital Partners LLP

LJMU

The Arts Council

National Lottery Heritage Fund / National Lottery Community Fund

Liverpool City Council & Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Wigan Council

Wirral Borough Council

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Manchester City Council

Glennon Brothers (Timber)

Barnfield Construction Limited

Redsun Developments Limited

Manchester Metropolitan University

Medicines Discovery Catapult

EnergieSprong UK

Durham Council

Work highlights

  • Advised for PepsiCo on securing CMA clearance for its acquisition of Pipers Crisps.
  • Advised the Irish Government on a state aid audit carried out by the European Commission, including putting in place measures to demonstrate the compliance of subsidies during the delivery of the funding programme.
  • Advising Homes England on the compliance of multiple funding programmes

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Liverpool Tier 1

DWF represents major regional businesses and high-net-worth individuals in high-value and complex litigation, including damages and financial claims, shareholder and partnership disputes, and breach of warranty claims. Of particular note is the firm's telecoms sector expertise where it has been involved in major national decisions relating to the industry. The team is led by Andrew Whalley, who handles heavyweight contractual and commercial disputes alongside cross-border and regulatory issues, Graham Dagnall, who has expertise in disputes in the food and professional services sectors as well as litigation funding, and Matthew Stoll, who takes the lead on insured litigation. Chris King handles pensions, trust and probate disputes.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Whalley; Graham Dagnall; Matthew Stoll

Other key lawyers:

Chris King; Lyndsay Crowder-Barton

Testimonials

‘The size and breadth of the DWF litigation team is impressive, meaning that there is very little that they cannot handle. There is an excellent band of Directors and Senior Associates, who provide plenty of support for the more junior fee earners. That means that, from a client perspective, a dispute is handled effectively and with the appropriate level of resources. The firm’s technology and systems has seen them work equally effectively through the Covid pandemic. ’

‘Very able team with the ability to take on a wide range of disputes for major commercial clients such as banks and insurers. ’

‘Chris King’s team is very strong and well led. His associates can run litigation effectively and cost efficiently with Chris’ strategic input from time to time.’

‘A top tier service for the most demanding commercial and public law litigation but at excellent value for many.’

‘Andrew Whalley is not only a wise lawyer but has an acute understanding of the practical and strategic demands of litigation and great skill at assembling and managing the right solicitor-counsel team for the job.’

‘I had not previously worked with this team at DWF and I was really impressed. They were very efficient and practical in their approach and worked closely with counsel and the client.’

‘I have worked with the team on a very substantial matter and have been impressed by their organisation, commitment to the client (a major multinational) and the consistency in quality of work produced by the associates. ’

‘Andrew Whalley – impressive attention to detail, and positive strategic leadership of a large team on a very complex matter.’

Key clients

Telefonica UK Limited (O2)

Burton’s Foods Limited

Stage Capital (formerly NBGI)

Crown Paints Limited

giffgaff Limited

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Limited

Liverpool John Moores University

Chess ICT Limited

Lloyds Banking Group

ACC Arena Liverpool Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented O2 in two ground breaking Court of Appeal cases flowing from the claim for restitution of annual licence fees.
  • Represented Burton’s Foods in relation to business interruption / loss of profit claim against Barratt Homes for flooding caused by the development of adjacent land.
  • Representing a manufacturing client in a case regarding a significant data breach caused by the systematic downloading of personal data, confidential information and business critical IP by an ex-employee.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Manchester Tier 1

DWF's 'commercially focused' Manchester commercial litigation team has an impressive client base including key players across the telecoms, utilities and energy, public, food and drink, and retail sectors. The group is developing a specialism for defending data breach group actions with Andrew Harris being a key name to note; he represented W M Morrisons Supermarkets before the Supreme Court in a claim brought by over 10,000 individuals. It also launched a 'Breach Counsel' product, a crisis management service that combines experts in contentious and non-contentious data and cybersecurity issues to manage and mitigate risks. The group counts procurement litigation as another area of specialism, where it benefits from the experience of acting for both public sector clients and private sector claimants. 'Great negotiator and tactician' Joel Heap is experienced in procurement litigation, as well as corporate disputes and pensions litigation. The team is led by Lee Norman, who counts professional negligence and breach of employment contract disputes among his areas of focus, and includes director Daniel Williams and senior associates Michelle Maher and Benjamin Johnson.

Practice head(s):

Lee Norman

Testimonials

‘Very commercially savvy firm which has a very strong commercial litigation practice.’

‘Leading litigation team in the country – very commercially focused with clear strategies to get the clients into the best position they can be.’

‘I have worked with Andrew Harris over several years. Innate ability to get to the heart of the dispute and very effective communicator especially in correspondence. Means that you can feel confident that he is a working member of the team.’

‘Joel Heap – SUPERB – great negotiator and tactician – sees through all the detail to the clear route through. You want him in your corner.’

‘Lee Norman – great lawyer who commands respect from all who deal with him. The man you want on your side when you’re in litigation because he has every base completely covered.’

‘Despite having no prior knowledge of our business model, the team very quickly grasped how our business operates and our key objectives in trying to resolve a very tricky issue. We contacted DWF out of the blue when we needed urgent support, including potential injunction proceedings, and – despite having no previous relationship with our business – they were incredibly responsive, going above and beyond right from the off.’

‘Joel Heap and Michelle Maher have both been brilliant. I’ve really appreciated their pragmatic approach, combining astute legal advice and practical suggestions and their transparency on fees. Most of my dealings have been with Michelle and I’ve really enjoyed working with her – she has been very invested in this case and helped steer us through a very frustrating and potentially costly situation with great patience and professionalism.’

Key clients

Serco Plc

BT Plc

British Airways Plc

W M Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Countrywide Plc

Lambert Smith Hampton Limited

JCB Group

Zedra Trust Company (Jersey) Limited (trust company of Oliver Cookson)

Comparison Technologies Limited

Durham County Council

CMAC Group UK Limited

Softcat Plc

British Growth Fund Private Equity

Safeway Limited

Electricity North West

Bradford City Council

Essar Oil Plc

James Cropper Plc

Money Plus Group

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended W M Morrisons Supermarkets Plc in the first ever data protection group litigation claim brought by over 10,000 individuals and concerning a potential claimant cohort of 100,000 individuals. Involved untested legal issues which created new law in a landmark Supreme Court judgment.
  • Acting on behalf of British Airways Plc in respect of the well-publicised cyber-attack and data theft in 2018, which potentially affected several hundreds of thousands of individuals. This case is likely to be the first data group action under GDPR and as a result will involve a number of untested legal issues.
  • Acted for Durham County Council (DCC) in its successful reverse summary judgment relating to a claim for damages and declaratory and injunctive relief arising from alleged unlawful state aid regarding DCC’s arrangements for its collection of commercial waste which was undertaken in competition with Max Recycle.

Employment Tier 1

DWF is highly experienced in acting for household name clients in both contentious and non-contentious employment matters. The practice's employment tribunal work includes representing clinets union-backed claims and discrimination, and it also handles internal investigations into alleged employee wrongdoing. In 2020, the team was active in helping large multinationals respond to COVID-19, advising on the furlough scheme and the closure of stores. Joanne Frew leads the team from the Manchester office, where Kirsty Rogers is another key partner. Tim Scott in Liverpool is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Frew

Other key lawyers:

Kirsty Rogers; Tim Scott; Sinead Donnelly

Testimonials

‘The Employment Law team have provided a proactive and pragmatic support service over the past 12 months. In a period where being responsive has been essential, the team have provided immediate insights, information, links to other key professionals, and where information does not exist, opportunity for discussion and creation of options from first principles. Employee Relations issues have been dealt with pragmatically and COVID 19 challenges from lock down, work from home, shielding, testing, vaccinations and return to work have all been fully supported by this uniquely blended and highly responsive team.’

‘Kirsty Rogers continues to provide exceptional client support for all employment related issues. Dominic Watkins has been a responsive source of information around COVID and has provided insights and discussion to guide our thinking on key areas. Simon Belfield also provided helpful advice around vulnerable individuals. Kirsty stands out as having invested time in understanding our business and thinking about the best other colleagues to provide appropriate support. She is never shy of looking for someone more experienced in the matter in hand if this is not her area of direct expertise and her judgement is highly valued.’

‘The team, in particular Tim Scott, are extremely responsive and willing to deal with both large employment issues and matters of clarification.’

‘I work with Tim Scott and have for many years. He is adept at tailoring advice to what is asked and pragmatic. Tim’s style is laid back and pouts you at ease and he makes himself readily available when needed.’

‘Tim Scott and his team are very knowledgeable in the area of employment law. They are very professional and always able to help regardless of how complex the case is. The DWF Team work alongside my HR team to manage any complex tribunals. We work in partnership with the team to achieve an outcome that is satisfactory to our businesss. ’

‘We work closely with Tim Scott and Jamie Campbell at DWF both are very friendly, knowledgeable, articulate and gives me confidence in the advice that I receive. ’

Key clients

Dixons Carphone Warehouse Plc

10X Technologies Services Ltd

Ocado Retail Limited

BT

Travelers Insurance

Munnelly Group plc

adidas

Watkin Jones Group plc

Finsbury Food Group plc

Newsquest Media Group

Lloyds of London

LJMU

Serco

Lifeways

Allvotec Limited

Impellam

Chemring Group PLC

SGS United Kingdom

Work highlights

  • Advising Munnelly Group of Companies in relation to compatibility of worker status under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the status of contractors for employment law and tax law purposes under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS).
  • Engaged by Society of Lloyds to roll out an education programme on Culture and Non Financial Behaviour including obligations and consequences of businesses following numerous damaging news articles, various whistleblowing and harassment complaints and scrutinisation by the regulators.
  • Providing Serco an innovative virtual secondment arrangement to cover an in-house employment counsel role, providing great cost efficiency and more senior level support for the client whilst enabling DWF to flex up or down the available resource as required.

Employment > Health and safety Tier 1

DWF's 4-partner team offers extensive experience in advising clients on complex health and safety matters. On the non-contentious side, the practice provides detailed advice on complying with regulations, and it is also highly active in helping clients to respond to investigations and prosecutions. The team's contentious work includes some of the most high-profile matters in this area, including matters involving the police, the HSE and the CQC. The practice is active across a range of sectors, with Vikki Woodfine counting care, education and transport companies amongst her clients. Steffan Groch leads DWF's global regulatory, compliance and investigations team, with director Gary Smith another key contact. The practice has an able bench of associates, with Amanda Lea and Joanne Witheford handling high-profile inquiries and investigations.

Practice head(s):

Steffan Groch; Vikki Woodfine; Gary Smith

Other key lawyers:

Simon Belfield; Amanda Lea; Joanne Witheford

Testimonials

‘DWF in the North West is one of the powerhouses in delivering practical advice and solutions to clients in Health and Safety.’

‘Vikki Woodfine: Tenacity could be her middle name! Won’t take no for an answer, always on the side of the client. Gary Smith: Nothing is ever too much trouble where clients are concerned.’

‘Without doubt the leading health and safety team in the North West is DWF based in Manchester. It has real strength in depth from top to bottom which has resulted in attracting clients involved in the highest profile cases. Importantly, every client gets the same Rolls Royce treatment, whether they are a large corporate looking at a substantial fine or a simple manager facing individual prosecution. I have been particularly impressed by DWF’s positive approach to its staff’s wellbeing, specifically those coming back to work after maternity. This is reflected in the attitude of the staff who are willing to go the extra mile. A leader in its field.’

‘There are two stand out members of the team. The Partner and team leader Vicki Woodfine leads by example. She feels at home in both the boardroom and police station and fights like a tiger for her clients. She has instilled a very positive ethos within her team of high standards and client care. She should be in the top tier of the directories due to her detailed knowledge of the law and her outstanding understanding of court room tactics. She is a real star, particularly in the area of transport and logistics. Working closely with her is Joanne Witheford who has developed an enviable reputation in the transport sector. Her calm handling of sometimes difficult clients coupled with her comprehensive knowledge of the area makes her a go to lawyer in the sector.’

‘DWF Law made a great effort to quickly understand our organisation, our business, our culture and people. They worked well with our people from front line worker to the Senior Management Team, constantly maintaining excellent communication between us, their team and the insurance representatives. ’

‘In our case we had an accident leading to a fatality on site which is clearly just about the worse thing that can happen. What I appreciated most was how quickly they reacted in getting to site and helping us prepare for the inevitable scrutiny by the HSE. At a time of immense stress (which I felt personally and professionally) they did everything possible to support the business. This was obviously what they are experienced in and what their work is about, but nevertheless I feel they couldn’t have done more. To see a team of 4 arriving on site the day after such an accident is itself reassuring.’

‘Joanne Witheford was the solicitor assigned to my case and in my view has the excellent professional attributes of balancing the technical aspects with just the right degree of empathy that quickly cuts through to the key points. I was also impressed by the insight shown in quickly understanding the workings of the company systems and equipment which are not easy to comprehend for a third party with no previous knowledge of the business. ’

‘The team have a reassuring manner and take a thorough approach. I appreciate their innovative thinking which is always applied with good commercial sense to our legal issues.’

Key clients

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA)

Booker PLC

Wincanton PLC

Severn Trent Water

BT

Pen Underwriting

Tokio Marine Kiln Group Limited

Ecclesiastical

NFU Mutual

DAS Legal Expenses Insurance

Chubb Insurance Company

Hiscox Underwriting Limited

Amlin UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in relation to the Public Inquiry and Metropolitan Police criminal investigation arising from the Grenfell Tower fire.
  • Initiating Crisis Response to advise and support an industrial company in their response to a fatality and advising in relation to the HSE / Police investigation and inquest.
  • Acting as crisis ‘first responder’ to a large transport and logistics company following workplace incidents.

Employment > Immigration Tier 1

DWF counsels employers and individuals on a range on immigration matters, from handling applications for Home Office Sponsorship Licenses to assisting with Global Talent and Investor Visas. The team was particularly active in 2020 on matters related to Brexit, such as advising on the EU Settlement Scheme and the new points-based immigration system. Practice head John Dorney acts for a client base including major UK businesses and multinationals, and as well as advising on visa issues also provides assistance to employers on compliance with the 'right to work' regime.

Practice head(s):

John Dorney

Other key lawyers:

Emily Snape

Testimonials

‘The team is very capable.’

‘John Dorney is at the top of his game. He knows his stuff and keeps me, the client, always safe.’

‘Knowledgeable, can explain complex legal matters in ‘plan language’, true business partners.’

‘I have been working with John Dorney since 2012 and I have ensured that I continue to use him and the company at every company I work at (so far 3 multinational companies) He is a true gentleman, always ready to help and provide advice, clearly a subject matter expert.’

‘The lawyers you deal with are very knowledgeable in the immigration/visa field, but also give you very strong and sensible support and advice around the wider picture, looking at the wider implications getting it wrong (and right), can have on your business, and not just in terms of financial and reputational. ’

‘John Dorney has an absolute wealth of specialist knowledge, but doesn’t “baffle you with science”, explains everything in a language you can easily understand, and often points out opportunities that you may not have spotted yourself within the business.’

‘Every member of the team I have worked with have been helpful and knowledgeable. They are prompt at getting back to me when I ask them anything. They look at the issue in depth and the advice they have given me has been helpful.’

‘The response is extremely prompt and very precise. They always provide all the available options and also highlight the ones which are most relevant to the individual concerned. Despite the Covid pandemic, the quality of service was at its best.’

Key clients

adidas UK Limited

Doncaster Townsfields Squash Club

DWF Group PLC

Fusion Furniture Solutions Limited

Gruppo Campari

illycaffè

Impellam Group PLC

Liberty Living Group PLC

Majestic Wines PLC

Munnelly Group PLC

NES Global Talent Limited

Vesuvius PLC

Western Thermal Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of corporate clients in respect of Brexit, the EU Settlement Scheme, the new UK Points Based System and changes to “right to work checks”.
  • Providing urgent advice to a Home Office sponsor whose sponsorship licence had accidentally lapsed whilst still having visa migrants on the establishment.
  • Advising a professional sports club in respect of obtaining governing body endorsement for securing a Home Office sponsorship licence, and the further separate endorsement for the elite sports coach it was wishing to recruit (Both endorsements obtained).

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 1

The professional negligence team at DWF defends claims against all professionals, with specialisms including high value multi-party cases involving architects and engineers, as well as claims against solicitors, surveyors, insurance brokers, technology and media consultants and accountants. The team has strong relationships with major global and UK insurers and insurance brokers; it is well-regarded for giving ‘clear, commercial and pragmatic’ advice. Andrew MacLeod heads the practice and is well-known for his experience in claims against construction professionals and insurance brokers. ‘Tenacious’ senior associate Hilary Harrison is noted for providing insurers with coverage advice, particularly in relation to D&O insurance.

Practice head(s):

Andrew MacLeod

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Andrew MacLeod attracts work which would usually be sent to a London firm/office. No doubt this is a result of his legal skills and the high level of service which he provides. His analysis is shrewd, pragmatic and reflects the commercial realities. He is a delight to work with.’

‘A very strong, well-resourced team with a reputation for being a safe pair of hands.’

‘The team have a wealth of experience and are technically very strong. Their advice is always clear, commercial and pragmatic.’

‘Hilary Harrison has an excellent eye for detail. She is tenacious, and a safe pair of hands, and is able to get to grips with complicated technical points, while not losing sight of important commercial considerations.’

‘Andrew MacLeod gets quickly to the issues that matter and provides clear strategies.

‘The team at DWF provide an excellent service – they have a broad range of knowledge and work tirelessly to maintain very high standards. The work product reflects this. ’

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

DWF's 3-partner team advises clients on complex, high-value matters related to trusts and estates. The practice counts professional trustees and executors, such as banks, amongst its clients. In the area of probate, the team handles challenges to the validity of wills, incapacity claims, and complaints related to lifetime gifts. In relation to trusts, the team advises on breach of trust and fiduciary duty claims as well as allegations of professional negligence. Christopher Noel leads the overall private client practice, with Chris King and director Daniel Williams also key contacts. All three have broad practices in probate and trust matters. Senior associate Paul Maddock focuses on probate work and is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Williams; Christopher Noel; Chris King

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘A team with a wealth of experience in contentious trusts and probate work with the resources of a big city firm. Their client handling skills are excellent and there is a great deal of pragmatism in getting a good result for the client.’

‘Dan Williams is excellent – extremely pragmatic, good with difficult clients and a very good lawyer. ’

‘A friendly, personable team. Work together well and agreed early on who would be picking up what workwise to try to keep costs down. They take advice from Counsel only when required to help keep the costs down for me. They are straight talking and professional. They’ve shared work with me via Workshare which made it easier to work on my case together. ’

‘Martha Allen and Daniel Williams are my solicitors and they have worked on my complex case for a few years now. I have appreciated their advice and well written correspondences, them ensuring I am consulted and my opinion and input sought, with approval gained prior to submission. They have provided explanations where my knowledge has been lacking in certain areas, which has helped me better understand various steps along the way. Whilst my case has been extremely stressful for me, we have still managed to keep a sense of humour and I have found Martha and Dan quite supportive, in terms of them advising me that they are there to try and minimise the stress for me.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the Claimant Settlor of a Trust, containing assets in excess of £35 million, which is administered and settled by two trustees in Switzerland for a claim brought pursuant to the Variation of Trusts Act 1958.
  • Acting on behalf of the co-executor of a will against a further co-executor (both sisters and daughters of the deceased) in circumstances where the other joint executor has unilaterally taken control of the Estate and appears to have divested it of significant funds.
  • Instructed to act on behalf of several adult children of the deceased father in respect of (i) a Will made weeks before his death leaving his estate to one adult child (also named as executor) and his caretaker, and (ii) a lifetime transfer of property in Sri Lanka.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 1

DWF's private client team works alongside the firm's property, corporate and tax practices to provide ultra-high net worth clients with comprehensive advice on their estates. Many of the team's clients are entrepreneurs and business owners, whom it advises on matters encompassing the creation and administration of trusts and family investment companies, succession planning, and the creation of wills. A significant proportion of the practice's work involves globally-connected estates with overseas assets and trusts. Christopher Noel leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Jon Gould; Christopher Noel

Testimonials

‘Chris Noel is very approachable and has good market presence. A reliable advisor.’

‘Chris is technically very good. Always available and willing to make time. Trusted by clients. Good knowledge of a variety of areas. Commercially aware.’

Public sector > Local government Tier 1

DWF is highlighted for its strengths in infrastructure and urban regeneration schemes, and it is also adept in public procurement work; the latter is an area in which Colin Murray is recommended. Murray jointly leads the team with Jonathan Branton, who specialises in subsidy control, state aid and EU competition matters. Other key areas of work  include governance, health and safety, environmental and other regulatory advice for local authority clients. The practice also handles insurance work, defending claims for historical abuse and failures of social care, with a specialism in the recovery of outstanding care debt. Associate Bradley Martin focuses on public procurement and outsourcing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Branton; Colin Murray

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Client focus. Sensible pricing. Putting the client relationship before billing targets. Concentrating on the points that matter most. Accessibility – they promise to field their A-Team – and they deliver that in spades.’

Key clients

Wirral Borough Council

Wigan Council

Blackpool Council

Liverpool City Council

Transport for Greater Manchester

Lancashire County Council

Cornwall County Council

Conwy County Borough Council

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Bradford MBC

Wakefield Council

West Midlands Combined Authority

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Manchester City Council

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Lancashire LEP

Cheshire & Warrington LEP

TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > IT and telecoms Tier 1

DWF takes the lead on large-scale IT and telecoms projects, acting on a national basis for major clients, including international providers. The 'hands on' team also supports clients in major disputes, with Andrew Whalley leading on major telecoms regulatory cases and high-value litigation for household-name clients. The team is led by James Lonsdale, whose expertise spans  IT, telecoms, and outsourcing agreements and other IT contracts, and specialises in financial services and retail sector work. Senior associate Richard Meehan handles procurement contracts for major retailers and logistics providers, and director Catherine Harrison also offers broad expertise across IT and telecoms procurement and outsourcing. Craig Chaplin moved to a non-legal role.

Practice head(s):

James Lonsdale

Testimonials

‘DWF have always been extremely helpful. Teams seem to have a very strong relationship and other teams have been linked in to meetings to help resolve issues with short notice. DWF time scales are excellent. ’

‘Depth of knowledge surrounding the sector and an understanding of where the market is heading. Good use of technology and flexible to time constraints.’

‘Keen to collaboratively explore new Markets and innovation, in a progressive and pragmatic way. A balance between maintaining business-wide Compliance, but also providing a dynamic service to new commercial ventures.’

‘Very hands-on and felt like they were just an extension of the in-house team. James Lonsdale, partner, provided excellent service and support and was available when required, sometimes at very unsociable times’

 

Key clients

West Midlands Combined Authority

Barrett Steel Limited

ESG Global (Energy) Ltd (formerly Utilisoft Ltd)

Cultureshift Communications Limited

Telefonica UK Limited (O2)

Datamere Software Ltd

Neilson Financial Services Ltd

Lavanda Ventures Ltd.

Certas Energy UK Limited

Wincanton Plc

Neuven Solutions Limited

Santander Consumer (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • RepresentingTelefonica in defending a substantial claim  in the Commercial Courtfor specific performance and declaratory relief pursuant to a contract entered into between Telefonica and Qustodio Technologies S.L.U.
  • Advised Neilson Financial Services Ltd on its partnership with GoCompare.
  • Advising ESG on all of its contracts in relation to its supply to utility companies of software and related managed services in relation to both Smart and Dumb Meters.

North West > Transport Tier 1

DWF's practice in the North West is part of a larger international transport group that acts for government and private sector clients in the automotive, rail, maritime, aviation, logistics and retail industries. With the firm having a strong insurance offering in the North West, it is seen as a first port of call in related transport and motor claims. In addition, it provides support on regulatory, corporate and finance matters, among others. Vikki Woodfine specialises in transport regulatory and health and safety issues. Joanne Witheford has been leading the team's expansion into European markets. Nigel Teasdale leads the motor and fraud team, which handles both volume and high-value, complex defendant work for insurers.

Practice head(s):

Vikki Woodfine; Nigel Teasdale

Other key lawyers:

Joanne Witheford; Andrew Barton

Testimonials

‘The team’s strengths certainly lie in their knowledge of the sector and the commercial yet approachable outlook they have when dealing with clients.’

‘A hard working team of people who are particularly good lawyers with an excellent attention to their clients.’

‘Being a national firm, DWF has excellent and longstanding links with insurance companies and work hard to maintain the level and quality of service.’

‘I very much appreciate the team’s speed of response. It is crucial in cases in which our policy holders require immediate support, advice and representation.’

‘I enjoy working with Andrew Barton. I value his powers of analysis and clarity of presentation. His pays keen attention to detail. He prepares and advises thoroughly.’

‘Highly responsive, very kind and professional.’

‘DWF are an extremely professional and thorough firm that leaves no stone unturned. Meticulous detail in every case. They provide friendly and professional advice to clients and experts.’

Key clients

Booker plc

Wincanton plc

Morgan McLernon (part of Culina Logistics Group)

WM Morrison Supermarkets Plc

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGm)

BT plc

Severn Trent plc

NFU Mutual (Insurer)

Aviva (insurer)

RSA (Insurer)

QBE (Insurer)

Virado Transport Limited

Far Logistics Ltd

Dream Trans Eood

Motor Vehicle Transportation Ltd

MM Freight Limited

Umgedacht GmBH

West Logistics Gmbh

PDT Trans GmbH

Traynors Limited

Work highlights

  • Provided 24/7 crisis response support to one of the UK’s largest transportation and logistics businesses in relation to serious workplace incidents.
  • Advised a leading online retailer in relation to expansion of its transport operation into European markets.
  • Successfully represented a large national road transport company at public inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner, with no action taken against the licence and the company commended by the Traffic Commissioner for the systems it had in place.

Real estate > Social housing Tier 1

DWF has a first-class national affordable housing group led by Lee Pickett, with the majority of the firm’s housing specialists being based in Newcastle. The practice is distinguished by the unsurpassed strength of its public sector offering, an area in which its reputation is enhanced by appointments to the panels of clients of the calibre of Homes England. Regeneration scheme and residential development work are also areas of focus for the team. The group also regularly handles contentious issues for registered providers; Jonathan Smith is the key contact in this space. Senior associate Kelly Pearson is adept at advising registered providers on property transactions.

Practice head(s):

Lee Pickett

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Riverside Group

Places for People Living+

Places for People Homes

Progress Housing Group

Home Group

Thirteen Housing Group

Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust

Manningham Housing Association

South Tyneside Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Riverside Group on a golden brick development agreement with Miller Homes.
  • Assisted Thirteen Housing Group with the negotiation of development agreements with Countryside Properties for two Yorkshire housing schemes.
  • Advised Places for People Homes on stock rationalisation disposals of tenanted housing portfolios in Todmorden and Darlington.

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 1

DWF leverages its strong insurance sector connections to assist insurers, brokers and insured professionals in the defence of professional negligence claims and disciplinary complaints. The group made some significant hires in 2020, taking on veteran professional negligence lawyer Ian Welland from Reynolds Colman Bradley LLP and experienced insurance lawyer John Eastlake from Clyde & Co. The 'excellentSimon Mason leads the practice, with 'a wealth of knowledge and experience' in defence-side matters. Director Alexandra Cartwright is another standout lawyer with experience in claims across the professional services.

Practice head(s):

Simon Mason

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team are strong litigators who provide expert advice. They are also very commercially minded.

They are constantly considering new innovation and ways they can offer additional services to supplement, or in some cases avoid the need for full-scale legal disputes.’

‘Simon Mason is an excellent leader at DWF. He delivers cutting-edge dispute resolution services with a particular focus on financial and property professionals. His knowledge in his field is second to none, and he is always happy to share his wealth of knowledge and experience. Outside of disputes he is appointed on, he regularly provides us with advice notes and CPD sessions to keep us appraised of relevant events.’

Work highlights

  • Defending professional indemnity insurers and their insured solicitor against allegations of professional negligence in respect of three separate instructions.
  • Acting for an insurer and the insured solicitor in a multi-party action in the Business and Property Courts brought by the executrix of the estate of a deceased victim of fraud perpetrated by solicitors instructed in the conveyance of his property.
  • Acted on a claim brought by a developer against an insured quantity surveyor and contract administrator – one of six defendants – and eventually reached a settlement, after proceedings were issued but before significant steps were taken.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax Tier 1

The key pillars of DWF’s tax workload in the West Midlands are M&A, share schemes, private equity and a wealth of transactions referred from London, both national and international. Jon Stevens, a lawyer thoroughly experienced in real estate funds and cross-border M&A, is the key name locally and also spearheads the firm’s national practice; he is supported in Birmingham by associate Deborah Payne who has assumed the responsibility of developing the group’s share scheme practice.

Practice head(s):

Jon Stevens

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Excellent property tax knowledge, cutting edge in some areas.’

‘Jon Stevens is an exceptional lawyer, combing experience and knowledge with practicality.’

‘Jon Stevens is an extremely strong and clear advisor, with extremely timely advice.’

‘Ability to relay complicated issues in a very concise, clear and logical manner. ’

Key clients

London Luton Hotel BPRA Property Fund LLP

LXi REIT PLC

Home REIT PLC

Future Planet Capital UK Limited

Cordia Management Kft

Birmingham City Council

Whitbread Group PLC

Keywords UK Holdings Limited

Randal and Quilter Limited

The Freehold Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised London Luton Hotel BPRA Property Fund LLP on the cross appeals on the FTT’s decision in London Luton Hotel BPRA Fund LLP v HMRC, which was heard in November 2020.
  • Acted for Cordia Management Kft on the multi-million pound acquisition of Birmingham-based, PRS-specialist developer Blackswan Property Limited.
  • Advised Home REIT PLC on significant and complex real estate transactions, often exceeding £10m per transaction.

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Birmingham Tier 1

DWF's 'excellent international practice' handles a range of cross-border disputes, with a particular focus on Russia and the CIS region. The group is particularly well-known for handling cases with fraud and embezzlement elements. The 'inventive and pragmatic' Andrew Leach leads the group and is frequently instructed by ultra-high-net-worth individuals in Russia; he also counts BT, Severn Trent and Ukrainian Deposit Guarantee among his new client wins. Darren Kenny and director Ben Griffin (who has niche expertise in commercial agency issues) are other names to note for Russia and CIS region-related disputes. The group also benefits from an in-house forensic accounting team, which is particularly useful in high-value litigation, investigations and fraud disputes. Senior associate Matthew Goodwin joined from Wright Hassall LLP.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Leach

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The DWF Birmingham team is innovative, strategic, effective and good value. They are comparable in quality to much more expensive London firms.’

‘The Birmingham team have an excellent international practice which is unusual for a regional firm. They are clearly a tier 1 team and operate at a very high level.’

The firm is unique in various respects. It is a truly international firm with dozens of offices across the globe but still with the “value for money” offering, which is especially important for dispute resolution where the clients are concerned not to throw good money after bad. Moreover, the firm is listed on a stock exchange, which, yet again, allows it to offer alternative fee arrangements for the contentious work compared to the law firms incorporated as regular LLPs. Finally, the dispute resolution practice of DWF in Birmingham benefits considerably from their own in-house forensic team. That is very important for quantifying damages in complex litigation and arbitrations, for the internal corporate investigations, as well as for investigating fraud.’

‘Andy Leach is inventive and pragmatic. He sees the bigger picture of a case, and effectively manages his team to deliver the best results. Darren Kenny has a great strategic eye for where and when to apply pressure to win a case, combined with a relaxed and reassuring approach that makes him easy to work with. Ben Griffin has impressive legal knowledge is incredibly hard-working and has a good feel for where a case will go.’

‘Andrew Leach is not just technically strong with great legal knowledge, he possesses commercial sense, and is equipped with practical solutions for his clients.’

‘Darren Kenny is pragmatic and very good at finding clear and workable solutions to the complex procedural and technical issues that arise in large-scale litigation.’

Fergus Kiely – efficient and responsive.

Ben Griffin: one of the most thoughtful lawyers I have ever met. Extremely to the point. He is the engine and the clock of the team.

Key clients

BT

Severn Trent

Cornwall Council

The West Midlands Combined Authority

Novelis

Munnelly Group

London Luton Hotel BPRA Property Fund

Ukrainian Deposit Guarantee Fund

Delta Bank

IMEX Bank

Work highlights

  • Representing Ukrainian Deposit Guarantee Fund in a $1.2bn embezzlement/fraud claim against the former owners and management of two Ukrainian banks, Delta Bank and IMEX Bank.
  • Acting for a billionaire who was falsely accused by the Financial Times of being the ‘Russian money’ behind President Donald Trump.
  • Acting for BT in a £65.2m claim against HMRC to reclaim VAT paid by BT on supplies in the 1970s and 1980s to BT’s customers who failed to pay BT.

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant Tier 1

DWF has a first-rate and full service national defendant personal injury offering that spans motor, casualty, disease, catastrophic injuries, public sector and abuse claims. Derek Adamson is vastly experienced in diverse areas such as mesothelioma claims, legionnaires’ disease and local authority work. Lorraine Carolan is a key member of the superb fraud practice along with Michael Henman and Miles Hepworth. Charles Ashmore has a wealth of experience in handling injury claims of the utmost severity. Paul Donnelly is adept at dealing with sensitive cases involving children, sexual abuse and chronic neglect cases. Denise Brosnan has a focus on personal injury claims that involve stress, bullying and harassment in the public and blue light sectors.

Practice head(s):

Derek Adamson; Charles Ashmore; Lorraine Carolan; Lionel Marcus

Other key lawyers:

Michael Henman; Miles Hepworth; Paul Donnelly; Denise Bronsnan; Jayne Doore; Samantha Chambers

Testimonials

The Birmingham office is extremely well regarded in the marketplace in the West Midlands and increasingly nationally, led by Derek Adamson‘.

DWF is the increasingly dominant force in the defendant insurance market. Its presence and prestige is derived from the supreme ability of the lead partners who, without exception, combine attention to detail, commerciality and a compelling strategic sense. They know precisely how to outflank their opponents; they know how to secure an advantageous compromise; they know exactly what to do effectively to exploit the strengths in their client’s case‘.

In any one generation of insurance litigators, there are only ever a handful of market leaders. One such market leader is Charles Ashmore. A towering figure in the industry, Charles stands out because of his rigorous analysis of the issues, both legal and technical, the intellectual firepower he brings to bear in pursuit of his clients’ cases and his exceptional judgement which tells him exactly how far to push an argument. He is an opponent whom claimant lawyers respect and dread in equal measure‘.    

Charles Ashmore remains a big hitter, but special mention should go to Jayne Doore too, whose diligence and industry mean clients receive the very best service. Extremely proactive insurance practice servicing some of the biggest names in the game‘.

The department is efficient, well-organised and effective. It attracts good-quality work and, in my experience, provides clients with an excellent service. Paul Donnelly is extremely capable, well-organised and affable. He is a strategic and tenacious negotiator. He brings clear-minded common sense to each claim. He has excellent communication skills, with a proven track record in complex PI claims‘.

Denise Brosnan does very high quality local authority work.‘.

‘Standout partners are Paul Donnelly (particularly for his age truly excellent tactical ability, and an uncommon level of intelligence), Derek Adamson (a real big-hitter with unparalleled experience) and Denise Brosnan (who runs a very tidy ship with public authority practice)‘.

Paul Donnelly is one of the best defence solicitors operating in this field. Samantha Chambers is excellent at marshalling the detail and facts and hugely hardworking‘.

Key clients

RSA

Aviva

Zurich

Markerstudy

QBE

Covea

Argo

DLG

Travelers

MS Amlin

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Ageas

Work highlights

  • Acting for Coventry City Council, Zurich Insurance, AIG, Munich Re in the largest failure to remove claim ever pleaded. The case will produce ground breaking law in the area of causation surrounding neurodevelopment specific to learning disabilities and is likely to become the leading case on the circumstances in which a duty of care is owed by a local authority in the conduct of its social care function.
  • Acting for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in connection with the personal injury claims (and the public enquiry) arising from the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017.
  • Acting for QBE/Stepping Stones School in the inquest into the death of Frankie Thomas.

Corporate and commercial > EU and competition Tier 1

At DWF, the EU and competition practice is singled out for its expertise in state aid matters, and is able to handle cross-border work facilitated by its substantial European network. Practice head and dual UK and Irish qualified practitioner Jonathan Branton  handles an assortment of competition matters for blue chip companies and local authority clients. The core national group includes Dimitris Sinaniotis in London who supports on large regional mandates and Newcastle-based Alexander Rose, who is the contact for EU funding and subsidy control work. Recent highlights include obtaining significant CMA clearances for financial services clients and EU investigations. Public procurement expert James Lupton in Manchester is also of note.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Branton

Testimonials

‘The team has an up to date knowledge of the changing state aid rules as we have exited the EU. I have confidence that their opinions will be accepted by those in authority.’

‘Jonathan Branton and Alexander Rose have unique experience of operating in Brussels and writing state aid rules for the UK. This is very comforting for clients relying on their advice.’

‘The DWF team work closely with us on complicated projects and understand the commercial requirements of these projects. They work with us to achieve these goals.’

Key clients

Homes England

Irish Government

Advanced Propulsion Centre

Autocab

Birmingham City Council & Finance Birmingham

Serco

Maven Capital Partners LLP

University of Leeds

Caddick Construction

National Lottery Heritage Fund / National Lottery Community Fund

Liverpool City Council & Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Leeds City Council

Hull City Council

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

CEG Group

Highgrove Plc/ GMI Construction

Marshall Construction

Wykeland Limited

Wakefield Council

Medicines Discovery Catapult

EnergieSprong UK

Durham County Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Leeds City Council on the £600m Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund, rolled out in May 2020 following a surge of Covid-19 cases and deaths in care homes.
  • Advised the Arts Council on state aid issues relating to the £1.57bn emergency Culture Recovery Fund.
  • Instructed by the Irish Government to assist with respect of a special audit of its entire programme of European Regional Development Funding (2014-20) for compliance with state aid.

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery Tier 1

The recoveries department at DWF has the expertise to handle the full range of matters including collections, litigation, enforcement work and insolvency issues. National head of recoveries David Scottow has experience assisting a range of clients from local authorities and government bodies to national blue-chip corporates and financial institutions with debt litigation and insolvency work. Other key contacts include Kevin Feehan and Jeffersen Gledhill.

Practice head(s):

David Scottow; Kevin Feehan; Jeffersen Gledhill

Key clients

Fleetcor UK

Sainsburys Supermarkets Ltd

High Court Enforcement Officers Association

Controlaccount PLC

Hirestation Ltd

DX Network Services Limited

Marks And Spencer Plc

Asda Stores Ltd

WM Morrisons Supermarkets PLC

Scottish Water Business Stream Ltd

British Telecommunications Plc

Tesco Stores Limited

Genle Limited (GoTo Auctions)

Work highlights

  • Advising an energy, technology and communications sector client on consultation services on adverse financial information and defended claims and County Court Judgments obtained by consumers.
  • Acting for a metropolitan district council in respect of increasing in-year Council Tax collection.
  • Advising a number of pensions trustees on the strategy for the recovery of overpayments made to deceased members.

Insurance > Personal injury and clinical negligence; defendant Tier 1

Catastrophic injury head David Rogers, occupational heath head Richard Parker and fraud & technical insurance head Paul Holmes are the key partners for defendant personal injury in DWF's Leeds office. The firm's strong bench of lawyers advise insurers and self-insured businesses in areas such as manufacturing, engineering, automotive, construction, leisure and retail, and is regarded as 'the leading brain injury and serious injury insurer firm in Yorkshire'. The firm's 'Connected Services' division enables clients to access in-house medical and rehabilitation specialists, a forensic accountancy arm, costs specialists, advocates and document management services.

Practice head(s):

David Rogers; Richard Parker; Paul Holmes

Other key lawyers:

Owen Rees; Lisa Collins; Helen Elsworth; Paul Banks

Testimonials

‘David Rogers is a very experienced litigator in this area with particular expertise in multimillion-pound brain injury cases. He is a subtle and effective advocate on behalf of wide range of defendant clients and has impressive tactical awareness.’

‘David Rogers is a thoughtful solicitor with a good flexibility of mind.’

‘Owen Rees and Lisa Collins at two of the most respected fee earners around.’

‘The office is the leading brain injury and serious injury insurer firm in Yorkshire and the north east.’

‘Paul Banks is an extremely able lawyer who heads up the office. He has an excellent reputation with insurer clients. He is approachable and has a good tactical brain.’

‘The person who stands out most is Helen Elsworth. She has a great deal of experience, is very used to handling clients sympathetically but firmly and is one of the most efficient solicitors I know.’

‘DWF are undoubtedly one of the market leaders in defendant personal injury work. Engaging and have their finger on the pulse of legal and market matters. Very knowledgeable and adaptable team. Very effective to work with.’

Key clients

Aviva

QBE

Ageas

Tesco

LV=

Liberty

NFU Mutual

HDI

Gallagher Bassett

DLG

Department of Transport

British Telecommunications Plc

LVFS

Amazon

Markerstudy

RSA

Insure the Box

Covea

Work highlights

  • Acted for LV= in successfully obtaining committal proceedings/suspended prison sentences against nine individuals involved in a crash for cash scheme.
  • Represented Allianz in a claim in 2018 for an alleged noise induced hearing loss injury sustained from 1986 and 1993.

Dispute resolution > Professional discipline Tier 4

DWF's team defends professionals across the medical, legal, actuarial, accountancy and financial services professions. 'Exceptional lawyer' Richard Burger defends accountants and insolvency practitioners in professional disciplinary investigations; Tracy Sell-Peters defends doctors and other healthcare practitioners whose registration is called into question by healthcare regulatory bodies; while insurance specialist John Bennett is 'outstanding'.

Practice head(s):

Tracy Sell-Peters; Richard Burger

Other key lawyers:

Harriet Quiney; Simon Mason; Jonathan Hyde; John Bennett; Sheona Wood; Jo Batchelor; Sharon Buckham

Testimonials

DWF is a very capable and proper international law firm with a very strong London and regional presence.

A very impressive range of work.

Richard Burger has extraordinary levels of client care.

Richard Burger is an assiduous lawyer who will leave no stone unturned in his quest for justice for his client – he works very hard and is trusted by clients as a safe pair of hands.

The thing that makes DWF unique is Richard Burger – an exceptional lawyer and one of the few operating in the regulatory market who is genuinely a trusted advisor to regulators and individuals. He is hardworking, reliable, bright and an exemplary solicitor.

Richard Burger has an encyclopaedic knowledge of financial services and regulatory law, and a wealth of experience.

Richard Burger is a standout individual with an exceptional eye for detail and unparalleled dedication to his clients. His knowledge of the inner workings of regulatory agencies ensures that his clients can be confident of the best available result.

John Bennett is outstanding. He took the whole thing in his stride and became the broad shoulders, taking all the burden but without showing any of the stress – very impressive.

Work highlights

  • Acted for a GP in a fitness to practise hearing before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, in respect of a complaint referred to the GMC by a sports governing body.

Employment > Pensions: dispute resolution Tier 4

The key names for pensions litigation at DWF Law LLP are national commercial litigation head Joel Heap, who is based in Manchester, and London partner Richard Twomey. Heap has been leading the firm's team advising WM Morrisons on the high-profile Safeway v Newton case concerning the Safeway Pension Scheme. On the non-contentious side, the firm has seen a number of departures in recent years, with former lead partner Amanda Banister leaving in May 2021 to join Dalriada Trustees as a professional trustee; the firm subsequently recruited Marcus Fink, who has significant experience as consultant at a series of top firms.

Practice head(s):

Joel Heap

Other key lawyers:

Insurance > Clinical negligence: defendant Tier 4

Under the leadership of Tracy Sell-Peters, the practice at DWF brings a 'pragmatic' approach to a wide range of neurological, orthopaedic and paediatric claims. The firm regularly leverages its expertise in regulatory, criminal, disciplinary and inquest law to successfully resolve claims. Other core team members include Will Marshall, Joanne Staphnill and Vicki Swanton.

Practice head(s):

Tracy Sell-Peters

Testimonials

‘All fee earners are responsive when emailed and across the team there is a wide range of skills and knowledge. Matters are well placed depending on skillsets. Fee earners are always polite and professional. Approaches to matters are often pragmatic and commercial with a sound focus on resolving claims.’

Key clients

Argo Global

RenaissanceRe

Paragon International Insurance Brokers Ltd

Axis Managing Agency Ltd

Acacium Group

W/R/B Underwriting Ltd

HCA

Alliance Medical Indemnity

Hiscox

Newline Group

Insurance > Insurance: corporate and regulatory Tier 4

DWF is highly active in handling M&A for brokers and intermediaries; Mel Sims  and Justin Edgar are among the key contacts in this space. On the regulatory side, clients turn to the firm for advice on the implementation of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR), as well as other complex issues. Elsewhere, the firm has a strong specialism in advising insurers and brokers on financial crime issues; Richard Burger is a noted expert in this area, particularly in relation to the Bribery Act.

Practice head(s):

Richard Burger; Mel Sims

Other key lawyers:

Paddy Eaton; Justin Edgar; Raeesa Chowdhury

Testimonials

Excellent legal advisory service for small to medium sized insurance deals.’

I have been grateful for having Paddy Eaton and Raeesa Chowdhury work on various acquisitions opportunities with me since 2019. They are patient, knowledgeable and collaborative. They always work tirelessly to ensure that my team and I are provided with the highest standard of deliverables. They are dedicated professionals.’

Richard is highly regarded across the London and Lloyd’s insurance markets, where he is considered as preeminent in his field. Richard is incredibly smart, hard-working and dedicated. He is tenacious in securing the best outcome for his clients, and his regulatory expertise is second to none.’

Led by partners that are practical, commercially aware, sensitive to client budgets and focused on doing a great job efficiently.’

Richard Burger has great integrity and is singularly driven to do his absolute best for his clients. In a tight spot, he is one of the people I would call.

Richard Burger is one of the best regulatory investigation lawyers in the City. He cuts to the quick and manages his teams with a firm but decisive manner. He gets results and never fails to provide a very high quality service.’

Mel Sims: Very few transactional lawyers combine excellence with a thorough understanding of the insurance market and decades of experience buying and selling brokers and insurers.’

Key clients

Randall & Quilter II Holdings Limited

PSC Insurance Group Limited

PSC UK Holdings Limited

Costero Holdings Limited

Turner Financial Services Limited

Direct Insurance Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Randall & Quilter on its acquisition of Inceptum Insurance Company Limited.
  • Advised PSC Insurance Group Limited on its acquisitions of Abaco Insurance Brokers Limited and Trust Insurance Services Limited.
  • Advised Costero Holdings Limited on its acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Mar Risk Services Limited and its subsidiary companies.

Insurance > Professional negligence Tier 4

DWF advises insurers on claims made against professionals in the construction, property, accounting and legal sectors. The practice also has an in-house accountancy team. John Bennett has particular expertise defending claims against solicitors, as well as accountants, IFAs and patent agents. Harriet Quiney focuses on disputes and regulatory investigations in the financial services and pensions arena. Mark Klimt is active in defending major architectural firms.

Practice head(s):

John Bennett; Harriet Quiney; Mark Klimt

Other key lawyers:

Sheona Wood; Jonathan Hyde; Joanna Batchelor

Testimonials

‘Whether as individuals or as a team they are first-class people to have on your side.’

‘Very efficient, reliable and a team that has a wealth of experience in insurance and professional negligence.’

‘I have found working with the team an easy and stress-free experience. They are extremely efficient and knowledgeable, know what they want and ask for it in good time whenever possible. They are friendly and approachable and respond rapidly to any queries and work extremely well together.’

‘The two partners I have worked with, Jonathan Hyde and John Bennett, both have really strong industry knowledge and client management skills. They are also a firm where the partners have a proper substantive involvement and understanding of the case.’

‘John Bennett is particularly strong and experienced on barrister’s negligence cases. He understands the details and has really sound assessment of the prospects of success, and clearly very strong judgement. Jonathan Hyde also has very sound judgement and tactical awareness.’

‘Joanna Batchelor is a fantastic day to day support throughout the case, very knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Jonathan Hyde is extremely knowledgeable, efficient, approachable and friendly.’

‘Harriet Quiney is an excellent litigator who gets straight to the heart of the issue and works to her clients’ objectives in an unserving manner.’

Key clients

Hiscox Underwriting Limited

QBE

Travelers

AXA XL

Zurich Insurance

Starr Underwriting Agents Limited

Liberty Speciality Markets

CNA

Argo

Arch Insurance Company Limited

AXIS

Bar Mutual

Work highlights

  • Defending a law firm against an £84m claim by its former client, a property developer, for advice given in connection with a claim against a large national bank.
  • Defending a top 50 law firm in connection with a £50m claim by a former client, a property development company, for advice given in connection with the acquisition, development and attempted sale of a large block of prime real estate in London.
  • Defending a multi-disciplinary property consultancy in relation to a £15 m claim by a large developer for the alleged failure to notice construction deficiencies when the consultancy was acting as Employer’s Agent.

Transport > Shipping Tier 4

DWF is regularly instructed by insurers and their insured clients in litigation, particularly in relation to disputes concerning cargo and ship damage. The practice is also increasingly active in the superyacht space, advising clients on the purchase of these vessels, as well as associated litigation. Led by global transport head Jonathan Moss the practice frequently handles matters connected with Europe, Africa and Asia. Director Peter Olymbios and senior associate Radhika Ruparelia are also key contacts in the team.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Moss

Testimonials

‘One of the key strengths of the team is that they don’t just know about shipping. They know about the insurance underlies it and the international trade/commodities elements. Their clients benefit from a breadth of knowledge which pure shipping firms cannot provide.’

‘Jonathan is keenly aware of the commercial risks and costs involved in litigation. He wants repeat business and not a one-off case from a client. And he gets it because of this. Peter Olymbios is an excellent litigator with a calm manner, which inspires confidence from clients and team members alike.’

Jonathan Moss is a world class shipping lawyer. He has expertise in both wet and dry shipping matters, as well as commodities. His team has detailed knowledge of issues faced in a wide range of jurisdictions. One unique feature is that Jonathan, and certain members of his team, have physically been on the ground in both Asia and Africa.’

Key clients

Travelers Marine

Chaucer Marine

MS Amlin

Thomas Miller

Morrisons

GP Global

Vallis Group Ltd

Sahara Energy

Berkshire Hathaway

British Telecom

Work highlights

  • Representing Vallis Group and their insurers in a claim involving the shipping and subsequent theft of a large amount of metals from a warehouse in Morocco, North Africa.

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 4

DWF hired director Stuart McCann from Pinsent Masons LLP in March 2020 to head up its practice, following the departures of Alan Walker and Jeremy Steele for Knights plc. McCann has expertise in a wide range of sectors, including retail and infrastructure, In addition, he acts for public bodies. Another key member of the team is senior associate Thomas Armstrong, who has expertise in telecoms litigation, and acts for major broadband and mobile network operators.

Practice head(s):

Stuart McCann

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team is very experienced in Electronic Communications Code litigation.’

‘I have worked with Stuart McCann on several cases over the last couple of years, and have found him to be very impressive. He always does a great job for his clients, and the quality of his instructions is very high.’

Key clients

EE Limited

Costa Limited

Premier Inn Hotels Limited/Whitbread Plc

BT Plc

Greene King Limited

Severn Trent Water Limited

The Adidas Group

Speedy Hire Plc

Peel Holdings

Lancashire County Council

HHGL Limited t/a Homebase

Shell UK Limited

Liverpool John Moores University

Work highlights

  • Advising EE Limited on a dilapidations claim made against it in respect of its former occupation of office premises in the Bristol area. The claim is for approximately £4 million.  It involves complex issues of valuation under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927, supersession, causation and technical engineering issues.  
  • Advised on the landmark case law decision EE Ltd and Hutchison 3G UK v Meyrick 1968 Combined Trust of Meyrick Estate Management.  The first ever case on the new redevelopment ground of opposition available to landlords under the Electronic Communications Code to oppose the grant of a new code agreement to code operators.
  • Instructed to act on an exclusive basis for Costa Limited in England, Wales and Scotland in relation to all real estate litigation matters. This involves providing daily advice in relation to over 2,500 stores in the UK with an acquisitions target of over 100 per annum (the client being one of the most acquisitive retailer in the UK).

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation Tier 4

DWF has a strong profile for work in the real estate, property and construction space leading to regular instructions from retailers, developers, housebuilders and energy sector players, while various corporates and financial institutions also instruct the team. Team head and solicitor advocate Naomi Pryde - 'a true star in the Scottish firmament' - is qualified in Scotland, England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland, and as such is well placed to handle Scotland-based and cross-border disputes associated with commercial contracts, the operation of corporate entities and shareholder rights.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Pryde

Other key lawyers:

Ricky Cannon; Jonathan Gaskell; Emma Forrester

Testimonials

‘Naomi Pryde is unsurpassable. She is the most resilient, unconquerable, determined and driven lawyers that I know.’

‘Impressive leadership under the formidable Naomi Pryde.’

‘Naomi Pryde is technically excellent and commercially astute, and an excellent leader of the team.’

‘Naomi Pryde is a true star in the Scottish firmament. Poised, enthusiastic, doggedly determined and very persuasive. Knows absolutely everybody.’

‘The DWF team is dynamic and innovative. They are highly attentive both to client needs and to those of the counsel team.’

‘Naomi Pryde is the stand-out individual. I have worked with her on several cases, and she is a 100% litigator. She is always on top of the detail of the case.’

‘Very focused on delivering a top-quality responsive service to clients. They are very keen on ensuring it is the most useful advice for clients’ business needs.’

‘Dual qualified partner-led expertise’.

Key clients

Santander Consumer (UK) Plc

Lunar Greenock SARL

Marks and Spencer PLC

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Limited

Grahams The Family Dairy Limited and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Limited

The Highland Council

Mobile Broadband Network Limited

Shawbrook Bank Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Marks and Spencer in relation to Court of Session interim order pertaining to a keep open clause contained in its commercial lease.
  • Represented Grahams The Family Dairy Limited and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Limited on second appeal against the decision of Scottish Ministers to deny planning permission to develop a site at Airthrey Kerse. Following representations, the Scottish Ministers accepted that they had erred in law.
  • Advised the Highland Council in a judicial review action raised by Wildland Limited, a company owned by Scotland’s biggest landowner, challenging the Highland Council’s decision to approve the plans of Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for a £17.3m spaceport at the A’Mhoine Peninsula.

Finance > Banking and finance Tier 4

Richard Holmes is DWF’s key contact in Birmingham for banking and finance matters; he is principally focused on commercial real estate and hospitality finance, both development and investment-related, and enjoys a prominent reputation for distressed property transactions. A distinguished of note is the group’s tendency to act for challenger banks in addition to alternative and non-bank lenders.

Practice head(s):

Richard Holmes; Iain Shurwood

Key clients

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

Lloyds Banking Group

Unity Trust Bank plc

ICICI Bank

Nationwide Building Society

West Bromwich Commercial Limited

NM Rothschild & Sons Limited

Ashall Group of Companies

LendInvest Limited

Cannock Developments

Work highlights

  • Advising a lender on a £25m term loan facility secured against a portfolio of English and Scottish properties.
  • Acting for a syndicate of lenders in connection with a £34m term loan facility secured against a portfolio of properties.
  • Advising a syndicate of lenders on the restructure of three development finance facilities exceeding £40m .

Real estate > Commercial property: Birmingham Tier 4

Melanie Williams spearheads DWF’s global real estate sector from Birmingham, leveraging her track record in local authority-led regeneration schemes and prowess in tax-driven, real estate fund matters; she also leads the firm’s hospitality practice and is frequently instructed on hotel-related acquisitions, refurbishments and developments. Charlotte Ward and Stephen Hickling are also active in the retail space where the team handles acquisition, development and letting matters at shopping centres and other retail venues.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Williams; Toby Askin; Charlotte Ward

Testimonials

‘A team that is committed to problem solving for the client and to bring new ideas to how to solve historic issues. DWF is willing to use technology and invest in digital platforms to make our portfolio accessible for all of our law firms and business colleagues.’

‘There is real enthusiasm to try and work through issues with us and try to help solve the problem, whilst keeping the fees to the level that has been quoted to us.’

‘The team invests the time to understand what we need from their firm. In particular, they have produced a dashboard that allows all parties to see exactly where we are with all cases.’

‘The stand out member of the team is Melanie Williams – she makes things happen.’

Key clients

Welsh Government

First Panattoni

Clearbell Capital

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

Whitbread plc

Solihull MBC and Urban Growth Company

Ashall Developments

Fairview Hotels Limited

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels PLC

Assura Healthcare

States of Jersey

Severn Trent Water Plc

BT plc

Debenhams Retail Limited

Work highlights

  • Negotiated the contracts to enable Interstate to step in as the new management company for all 31 of Jupiter Hotels’ UK properties.

Crime, fraud and licensing > Fraud: civil Tier 5

The full-service fraud practice of DWF covers the key areas of forensic accounting, analysis of assets and regulatory advice, as well as litigation. The firm also utilises its international presence to assist with multijurisdictional fraud case. Richard Twomey leads the team and has experience recovering assets and defending allegations of fraud.

Practice head(s):

Richard Twomey

Other key lawyers:

Tarik Sharif; Joshua Fineman

Testimonials

‘All I can say is that their work has been utterly outstanding’.

‘Richard Twomey is incredibly hard-working, conscientious and entirely driven to get the best result for his clients’.

‘The team comprises of a very strong group, with each individual bringing something important and unique to the table. In general, the firm has a strong infrastructure team able to operate across a full range of work from cross-border litigation to financial and legal analysis of tracing claims’. 

‘The team is very responsive, detail orientated and can tactfully manage complicated and multijurisdictional cases’.

‘The team has incorporated efficient ways of communicating and collaborating during the Covid-19 pandemic through the use of platforms whereby we can share documents and hold conference calls’.

‘Richard Twomey (partner) and Tarik Sharif (associate) are hard-working, detail orientated, technical and knowledgeable and they are always providing sound and considered advice to the client’.

‘We have primarily dealt with Joshua Fineman and Richard Twomey. We have been very satisfied with our cooperation with both of them, whom I regard as very professional and pleasant to cooperate with. They are both able to handle very complex legal issues in an efficient and highly qualified manner. I think they are both among the best within their area of expertise’.

Key clients

The DWF Defendants in the SKAT Litigation

Ukrainian Deposit Guarantee Fund

Shokat Dalal

John Harriss

Delta Bank

IMEX Bank

Real estate > Commercial property: investment Tier 5

DWF's varied roster of clients includes multibillion dollar funds, investment houses and fund managers. With it being prominent in large transactions, the team's expertise spans all manner of assets, such as offices, hotels, data centres, retail premises and care homes. Andrew Edwards co-heads the practice with James Froud. Mark Shepherd advises on matters such as direct and indirect real estate investments, as well as joint ventures.

Practice head(s):

James Froud; Andrew Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Good national coverage which supports cost effectiveness across the practice compared to pure London based firms.’

‘Mark Shepherd has very strong understanding of property and development fundamentals and is able to bring clarity of thought and structure to the associated contractual complexity from planning through to funding and construction.’

‘The team are always on hand to help.’

‘DWF excel in all areas and rarely do not solve a problem, great attention to detail and speed of response. Nice people to deal with, very real and speak plainly and which results in clarity and ease of decision making. Best firm I have worked with in my 38 working in real estate.’

‘Excellent knowledge and wide skill set from all staff and partners, depth of resource and ability enviable.’

‘DWF provide sound commercial property advice with a commercial understanding of our business. They have huge experience in retail and hospitality so understand the specific property requirements. DWF has created a core team to support our internal team, which helps foster strong working relationships.’

‘Both legal and business approach. Clear explanation of the theorical and established risks. Capability to involve other legal field when required such as employment law or ligitigation lawyers.’

‘James Froud is a pleasure to work with, always available, pragmatic, an excellent communicator and commercially astute.’

Key clients

BT

M7 Real Estate

Mileway

Ares

Corum  XL

Fiera Real Estate

LXi REIT

Investec

Nuveen Real Estate

Freehold Corporation

Squarestone

Hargreaves

Home REIT PLC

Cordia Blackswan

Evans Randall

Panattoni

Real estate > Construction Tier 5

Employment Tier 5

Kate Meadowcroft heads a well-respected practice at DWF that frequently supports its corporate, commercial and regulatory teams on transactions. It has a broad range of sector expertise with particular experience in healthcare work. The group acts for an extensive range of healthcare providers and social care providers. Meadowcroft works with various private and public sector employers on contentious and non-contentious matters and has particular expertise in advising on large-scale change management projects. 

Practice head(s):

Kate Meadowcroft

Testimonials

‘Kate Meadowcroft brings a human response to really difficult situations. She applies the law with consideration and expectation of a how a whole range of outcomes will be affected’.

 

Key clients

BUPA

South Staffordshire Water plc

Henry Riley

Secure Trust Bank PLC

West Midlands Combined Authority

Cook Medical Group

Fylde Coast Medical Service

Minor Weir and Willis

Severn Trent Water PLC

Sievert AB

Work highlights

  • Advised Sievert AB on the closure of the company’s UK operation following a restructuring which resulted in the relocation of its operations to mainland Europe.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Tier 5

At DWF, the corporate team handles a mix of domestic and cross-border M&A and equity capital markets work. Lester Wilson leads the group and advises on fundraisings, takeovers and large disposals for clients including SMEs and national businesses. Jon Marriott is singled out by clients for his 'great balance of detail with commercial acumen', and solicitor Amelia Mackie focuses on takeovers and acquisitions. The team has been strengthened with the arrival of partners Jonathan Procter and Wendy Harrison from DLA Piper, who bring decades of expertise across international acquisition work and equity capital markets issues.

Practice head(s):

Lester Wilson

Testimonials

‘We use the DWF team at Leeds a lot for M&A, HR enquiries and property and lease management. We find we get a high quality experience at an out of London value. It really works for us.’

‘Led by Lester Wilson our main contact – who is always available. A good and responsive team.’

‘Responsiveness and accessibility to clients needs and timetable coupled with first class technical ability and strong commercial skills and experience to deliver the clients’ objectives.’

‘Organised, on the ball, aware of traps as before they arise, helpful as regards planning steps needed to be taken incorporating a matrix of issues and have a team of sufficient ability to cover any and all matters. Excellent.’

‘Lester Wilson (partner) and Amelia Mackie (solicitor). Both first class, always available and capable of drawing on wide depth of colleagues so matters all dealt with correctly on on time. Thorough understanding of issues that matter and able to focus the other side on valid matters rather than endless rabbit holes.’

‘We work with Jon Marriott, he has a great balance of detail with commercial acumen that helps ensure that we cover of the finer points that make the difference and don’t get lost on arguing over minor points which carry little risk.’

Key clients

Countrywide plc

Ascot Lloyd

Hunters plc

Lambert Smith Hampton

Learning Technology Group plc

Morrisons Supermarkets plc

Allay Claims

Nick Dunning Associates

Lomond Capital

Zinnwald Lithium plc

Woodbois Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Hunters Property plc on the takeover of Hunters Property plc by The Property Franchise Group plc by way of a scheme of arrangement.
  • Advising Zinnwald Lithium plc on a reverse takeover, fundraising and spin out.
  • Advised Premier Financial Management Limited on its disposal to Socium Group Holdings and rollover management equity issues.

Dispute resolution > International arbitration Tier 6

DWF's UK international arbitration team handles a significant volume of matters involving investor-state arbitrations and construction, energy and telecoms disputes. Leading the UK arbitration group, Richard Twomey's practice has a special focus on Pakistan, while Antony Woodhouse is an insurance sector expert, Stefan Paciorek focuses on international arbitration proceedings in the technology and energy sectors, and senior associate Natasha Gunney's experience includes arbitrations under the ICSID, LCIA and ICC rules. In Birmingham, Andrew Leach is Russia and CIS desk head.

Practice head(s):

Richard Twomey

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Leach; Antony Woodhouse; Darren Kenny; John Groome; Jonathan Moss; Tarik Sharif; Natasha Gunney; Ben Griffin; Stefan Paciorek

Testimonials

‘Very user friendly and diligent team.’

‘Richard Twomey is first class – calm, reassuring and hugely detail oriented.’

‘Effective at having an eye for long-term strategy and a commercial approach.’

‘I have worked predominantly with Andrew Leach and Ben Griffin. Andrew Leach – engaging, novel and effective thinker, with a commercial approach. Always trying to do the best for his clients. Ben Griffin – conscientious, user-friendly, always available, responsive, and very through.’

‘Skilled, knowledgeable team members who give clear advice and guidance to clients. Reliable and great availability.’

Key clients

Trafigura Pte

Doosan Power Systems

Doosan Babcock

Work highlights

  • Acted for Trafigura Pte in a claim for insured and uninsured losses, following the loss of a cargo after an explosion and fire in an oil terminal in Johor, Malaysia.

Real estate > Property finance Tier 6

'Responsive and forward looking', the real estate finance team at DWF is adept at acting for bank lenders and handling work including development finance and portfolio funding, with a particular focus on student accommodation and hotels. The team also benefits from the firm’s national presence. The 'excellentSimon Elphick and Brendan Slack lead the practice, and Iain Shurwood and Stewart Anderson, who joined the firm from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in April 2020, are also team members of note.

Practice head(s):

Simon Elphick; Brendan Slack

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Capable, engaging lawyers whose advice is received on time and budget.’

‘Responsive and forward looking.’

‘Longstanding and knowledgeable property team with wide market experience.’

‘Simon Elphick is personable and highly professional, providing straightforward advice on transactions and clearly articulating key risks.’

‘Simon Elphick is excellent in his field of property and construction. Highly capable, delivering clear, timely advice.’

‘Having worked with Simon Elphick for a number of years, he makes himself available when required to discuss issues and formulate solutions.’

‘Simon Elphick has a proactive approach to solving problems and shows attention to detail. He always keeps the client advised of the transaction status, bringing in additional resources and expertise as necessary.’

Key clients

NatWest Group

Santander UK

Lloyds Banking Group

Barclays

Fortwell Capital

Employment > Employers Tier 7

Headed up by Helga Breen, DWF's London employment team is particularly active in the financial services, insurance and professional services sectors. It has notable strengths in cross-border and domestic HR projects, internal investigations, financial services regulation issues, team moves, High Court disputes, and executive recruitment and exits.

Practice head(s):

Helga Breen

Other key lawyers:

Ingrid Nixon

Key clients

BT

British Medical Association

Chesterfield Insurance Brokers Limited

Collinson Group Limited

Cushman & Wakefield

Endeavour Mining Corporation

Guidepoint Global Inc.

Places for People Leisure

Wolters Kluwer Group

UK Anti-Doping

Dispute resolution > Debt recovery

Led by Gareth Ruddock, FBC Manby Bowdler LLP handles debt collection work for creditors in various industries, with an emphasis on the real estate sector. Associates Jonathan Moss and Emma Northall regularly support Ruddock on a wide range of debt collection mandates involving businesses and high-net-worth individuals.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Ruddock

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Emma Northall is very friendly and very professional and I really value what she does for us. She gives excellent advice on debt collection.’

‘Gareth Ruddock is who we use for advice and any difficult claims we may have. He is very professional but friendly, ensuring I can understand the advice he gives us. Would highly recommend.’

‘FBC have an excellent team, very approachable. Always my first choice solicitors.’

Key clients

Savills (UK) Limited

Muras Baker Jones Limited

BCRS Business Loans Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising and representing Savills (UK) in connection with various claims for commission following the sale of both residential and commercial properties within the UK.
  • Advising and representing BCRS in relation to the pursuit of unsecured and secured corporate loans, which involves claims against directors under guarantees.
  • Acting for various insolvency practitioners regarding the collection of book debts for companies that are either in administration or liquidation.

Email: enquiries@dwf.law Website: www.dwfgroup.com Tel: 0333 320 2220

The firm: DWF is a listed legal business with an award-winning reputation for client service excellence, effective operational management and innovation. The company became the first main market premium listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2019. DWF has been named by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s most innovative legal businesses and has been independently recognised for its quality of legal advice, service delivery and responsiveness.

DWF’s strategy is to offer clients an integrated legal management approach through three streamlined and efficient global divisions of Legal Advisory, Mindcrest and Connected Services.

Legal Advisory is DWF’s traditional law firm arm. The division provides commercial intelligence and deep sectoral experience to deliver premium legal advice to clients.

Mindcrest is an established and well-known brand that provides outsourced and process-led legal services through which DWF standardises, systematises, scales, and optimises legal work.

Connected Services is DWF’s collection of products and business services that enhance the Group’s legal offerings. The division complements the Legal Advisory and Mindcrest teams through the provision of non-legal services such as claims management, costs and regulatory consulting.

Together, the three divisions support DWF’s single Integrated Legal Management approach through which DWF seamlessly combines any number of these services to deliver bespoke solutions to its clients with efficiency, price certainty and transparency. This approach enables DWF to offer solutions that combine traditional law firm services with new, modern legal and business services relevant to today’s companies, and the challenges and opportunities they face.

DWF employs over 4,000 people across 30 key locations and has steadily grown its international presence in response to client demand.

In 2019 and 2020, DWF expanded its international footprint by opening a new office in Warsaw, Poland and acquired Mindcrest Inc. to establish offices in Chicago and New York, USA, and Pune, India. DWF also acquired RCD in Spain and now has offices in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, Spain as part of its strategic growth plans.

DWF was the first UK legal business to achieve the ‘Disability Confident’ accreditation, which highlights the firm as an inclusive recruiter of disabled talent, and is a Top 30 Employer for Working Families. The business also has its own charitable enterprise, the DWF Foundation, a registered charity aimed at providing funds and support to local charities and programmes focused on education, employability, health and wellbeing and homelessness.

Practice area contacts
Legal advisory: Paul Rimmer
Mindcrest: Mark Qualter
Connected services: Jason Ford
Public sector: Jonathan Branton
Energy: Slava Kiryushin
Financial services: Martin Pugsley
Retail, food and hospitality: Dominic Watkins
Technology: Stewart Room
Transport: Jonathan Moss
Insurance: Claire Bowler
Real estate: Melanie Williams

International offices: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Qatar, Poland, Spain, UAE, USA

*USA, *Colombia, *Panama, *Argentina, *Turkey, *South Africa, *Portugal.
* Associations

Chairman: Jonathan Bloomer
Managing partner and DWF Group CEO: Sir Nigel Knowles
Number of UK partners: c. 230
Number of qualified lawyers in the UK: c. 905

UK offices
Belfast: 42 Queen Street, BT1 6HL
Tel: 028 9023 0230 Fax: 028 9024 4644

Birmingham: One Snowhill, Snow Hill Queensway, B4 6GA
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Bristol: 120 Redcliff Street, BS1 6HU
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Edinburgh: No. 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, EH3 9QA
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Glasgow: 103 Waterloo Street, Glasgow, G2 7BW
Tel: 0141 228 8000 Fax: 0141 228 8310

Leeds: Bridgewater Place, Water Lane, LS11 5DY
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Liverpool: 5 St Paul’s Square, Old Hall Street, L3 9AE
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

London: 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3AG
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Manchester: 1 Scott Place, 2 Hardman Street, M3 3AA
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440

Newcastle: Central Square South, Orchard Street, NE1 3AZ
Tel: 0333 320 2220 Fax: 0333 320 4440