Law firms and individuals recognised in 2023 Legal 500 rankings

Gorvins team, from left: Christian Mancier, Andrew Curwen, Mark Deverell, Claire Beaumont, Martin Hoare

Simpson Millar’s North West-based education, personal injury, and clinical negligence teams have, again, been recognised by the Legal 500 UK 2023 Guide, with family law partner, Cara Nutall, also listed as a leading individual within her field.

The firm, which has offices in Liverpool, Manchester and Lancashire, received a total of 10 recommendations, including recognition for its work in the Court of Protection, and representing clients in matters relating to Civil Liberties and Human Rights.

In the North West Simpson Millar’s education team, which draws on in depth experience of education law and social care issues, secured a Tier 2 ranking.

Its personal injury team, which focuses on catastrophic injury, industrial disease, employers and public liability, and road traffic accidents, secured a Tier 3 ranking, and its clinical negligence team, which handles the full range of medical negligence cases including cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, brain injuries, eye injuries and birth injuries, received a Tier 4 ranking.

Cara Nuttall

Partner, Cara Nutall, who helps clients with all aspects of family law such as divorce, financial settlements and child arrangements, and who is particularly well known for her expertise in complex child law and fertility law, was also ranked as a leading individual.

Simpson Millar’s CEO, Greg Cox, said: “The latest Legal 500 results are indicative of the hard work and dedication of our legal teams, and our wider support teams.

“We are very proud to have secured continued recognition in such a prestigious directory, and particular congratulations goes to those colleagues who have been individually named for their efforts in delivering expert legal advice in their fields, and to opening up the law for our clients.”

Full service Law firm JMW has again been recognised by legal 500 across all the relevant practise area, with 6 being ranked as top tier.

JMW’s Manchester family, clinical negligence, personal injury, wills, trust, tax and succession planning and business crime and regulation teams were all ranked in Tier 1 in their respected practice areas.

The firm was also recommended in 14 practise areas across the board with 17 leading lawyers.

Michael Chapman, JMW

They include Peter Grogan, Ian Lewis and Mike Rainford from the business crime and regulation team, joint heads of family law in Manchester Michael Chapman and Elspeth Kinder and head of family law in Liverpool, Bev Jones, Alison Parry in contentious probate, Gavin Jones head of restructuring and insolvency, Stephen Taylor Heath, head of sport, Eddie Jones, Angharad Hughes and Sally Leonards from clinical negligence and Megan Christie-Copeland, who is head of Court of Protection,

Steve Morris, head of commercial litigation and David Pickering, head of private client, were both ranked in Legal 500’s Exclusive Hall of Fame.

JMW also had 10 next generation partners across commercial property,  personal injury, clinical negligence, family, wills, trust and tax, media and crime and fraud.

There were also three rising stars for the firm.

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester-based, Gorvins solicitors has retained top tier rankings for three of its practice areas and has five of the firm’s solicitors listed in the exclusive elite ‘Leading Lawyers’ list as well as 14 practice areas recommended.

The retained Tier 1 area rankings are: Commercial property; corporate and commercial; commercial litigation for elsewhere in the North West

Gorvins has five solicitors in the exclusive ‘Leading Lawyers’ list including Andrew Curwen, head of corporate commercial, Mark Deverell, managing partner and head of litigation, Martin Hoare, head of commercial property, Christian Mancier, partner in the corporate commercial team, and litigation partner Guy Lightowler. In addition, a total of 20 lawyers have been recommended in the Legal 500 UK 2023 editorial.

Mark Deverell said: “The Legal 500 is our industry’s pivotal benchmark and for Gorvins to be recognised across so many sectors is testimony to the efforts of our team and what we’ve delivered over the past year.

“We pride ourselves on the service we provide and strength of our relationships with clients, and to have the standards of our work acknowledged like this identifies our outstanding achievements for us and across the industry.”

The 2023 guide also sees Gorvins achieve recommendation for the following practice areas: Debt recovery, insolvency and corporate recovery, employment (for both employment and employee/union firms categories), personal injury and clinical negligence (claimant), professional negligence, private client, (contentious trusts and probate, family and personal tax, trusts, and probate), property litigation and intellectual property.

Burnetts Solicitors has also been highly rated, with a total of 10 recommended practice areas, five lawyers listed as leading individuals, five next generation partners and four rising stars.

Burnetts, which has offices in Cumbria and Newcastle and is one of the largest law firms in the North, had five of its departments achieve top tier rankings in the guide: Corporate, dispute resolution, medical negligence & serious injury, agribusiness and commercial property.

The corporate team receives praise for being a “fantastic team that applies strong commercial thinking and strategy to legal negotiations”. Michael Walby and Vaughan Jones are singled out as a “great team who provide a professional service backed up by great advice”. Michael Walby also retains his status as being the only corporate lawyer in Cumbria named as a leading individual.

The dispute resolution team is described as having “a significant presence in Cumbria and the North”, leading individual James Johnston is described as “intelligent, careful, responsive to client aims”, while Johnny Coulthard is said to be “a key practitioner with a broad practice” and Georgina Nicholls is recognised as a rising star.

On the medical negligence and serious injury team, Spencer Knaggs and Michelle Armstrong are named as next generation partners and the team is described as specialising in “high value clinical negligence matters as well as serious personal injury cases such as brain and spinal injuries”.

Legal 500 describes Burnetts’ agribusiness team as being “fine-tuned” and “notable for its expertise in secured lending on land and agribusiness assets”. Agricultural tenancy specialist Joanne McKenzie and “capable, direct, brilliant” Richard Miller are both named as leading individuals while Diane Barnes receives recognition as a rising star.

Helen Hayward and Robbie Mather in Burnetts’ commercial property team are named as next generation partners and Rebecca Davidson is singled out as a rising star, with the team praised for its “excellent personal service” and its “competence, capability and capacity”.

On the family team, Simon Mortimer is named as a leading individual, while in banking, Sarah Willshire is recognised as a next generation partner and Rebecca Joy is named as a rising star.

Nick Gutteridge, Burnetts’ managing partner, said: “The Legal 500 rankings are highly respected and based on extensive research and – importantly – client feedback, so to have so many of our teams and individuals recognised for their expertise and commitment makes us incredibly proud.”

Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall Solicitors (WHN), which has eight offices across Greater Manchester and Lancashire, is celebrating success after strengthening its presence in the Legal 500.

Michael Shroot

The firm has retained its sought-after places in the North West region rankings for both commercial litigation, and corporate and commercial law, while it has also secured an additional accolade for its property litigation work.

The publication has also singled out five WHN specialists for their success, including Michael Shroot and Sara Beaumont who have been cited for their specialist dispute resolution and commercial litigation expertise.

Elsewhere, Daniel Long has been listed as a recommended lawyer alongside praise for his property litigation knowledge, with Eleanor Longworth making her first appearance in the guide as a rising star due to her “huge depth of knowledge about every element of property litigation”.

Corporate and commercial law specialist Paul Matthews, who also appeared in the 2022 guide, has been recognised for his “experience with share and asset sales and acquisitions, shareholder and partnership agreements, and company reconstructions”.

CEO, Michael Shroot, said: “Being named in the prestigious Legal 500 is an incredible endorsement of the quality of our work and team members. It is a huge honour and true testament to the strength and depth of our specialists’ expertise here at WHN.”

In Harrison Drury’s 2023 Legal 500 directory listing, the firm’s commercial litigation team is noted for its expertise in “agricultural disputes and sports disciplinary matters … alongside contractual, partnership and professional negligence mandates”. Client testimonials describe a firm that “punches above its weight in commercial litigation” and is “very cost effective, but with great delivery of results”.

For the second year in a row, Helen Griffin, from the firm’s commercial litigation team, has been named as a rising star. Samantha Faud, who joined the firm earlier this year, is also listed as a rising star for licensing.

John Chesworth, executive chairman at Harrison Drury, said: “This is the fourth year running we’ve been listed in the Legal 500 and each year we are gaining more recognition for both our specialisms and the quality of our individuals.”

The commercial property team is described as having “a passion for client outcomes” and “a genuine feeling they care”. The team’s lawyers are “extremely dedicated to their work and consistently contactable”.

John Chesworth

The corporate and commercial team is recognised for its “transactional expertise that spans the software development, manufacturing, leisure, agricultural, and retail sectors”. It is noted that the team “is extremely approachable and explain complicated issues in a user-friendly way for clients.”

The firm’s listing for its insolvency and corporate recovery work praises the “excellent level of service” and lists James Robbins, a dual qualified solicitor and insolvency practitioner, as possessing “a wealth of knowledge that is second to none.”

Harrison Drury’s property litigation team is praised as “enthusiastic and collaborative” with a “a fresh can-do attitude” as well as having “true expertise in property related matters”.

The firm’s recommended lawyers are Jack Stephenson, Tim Grover and Kerry Southworth (corporate and commercial); Nick Booth, Matt Astley and Sean Gibbs (commercial litigation); James Robbins (insolvency); Amanda Marwood, Naomi Fell, Lara Watts, Simon England, Wendy Newbury, Mike Fetherstone and Hannah Hughes (commercial property); and Colin Fenny, Hasin Amin, Joe Mitchell and Alex Walmsley (property litigation).

Liverpool-based specialist property solicitors JB Leitch has retained Tier 3 status in the new rankings for property litigation for the third consecutive year.

Legal director, Phil Parkinson, has been awarded rising star status for a fourth consecutive year, with senior associates Katie Edwards and Camilla Waszek recognised as “excellent” and recommended as key lawyers.

The ranking further consolidates JB Leitch’s standing as a leading provider of specialist expertise in the area of property management and leasehold law, sitting alongside some of the largest regional and national firms.

Camilla Waszek

Underpinning this recognition are a host of testimonials from the firm’s commercial clients, which position it as “an invaluable asset for any large corporate landlord” and “a highly regarded outfit … an excellent practice and set up”.

Director Jonathan Leitch said: “This is fantastic news for the firm and for the entire team. As in previous years, what makes this ranking particularly significant is that these generous client comments illustrate the talents of our team and recognise the innovation and value we continually work hard to deliver.”

Bond Turner was placed in this year’s rankings under ‘personal injury: claimant’ for its teams across Liverpool and Bolton.

Associate and head of large loss (Bolton), Hamida Khatun, said: “It is extremely pleasing to be recognised for the work we do. I am particularly grateful to my team members and all of our clients and referees who took the time to participate in the research and provide feedback.

“The recognition is a testament to the talent we have at Bond Turner given the strict criteria and research undertaken by Legal 500 to assess the capabilities and strengths of firms across the world.”

Almost 40 lawyers at Chester-based Aaron & Partners have been mentioned by name in the new Legal 500 list.

Among this year’s achievements were the corporate and commercial and dispute resolution departments being ranked in the top Tier 1 status, with a further 16 practice areas also gaining ‘recommended’ status in the guide.

The 38 lawyers, who are located across offices in Chester, Manchester and Shrewsbury, received a combined total of 47 individual rankings in different categories.

Three of the firm’s partners all retained their place on the Legal 500’s prestigious leading individuals list. They were Stuart Scott-Goldstone, corporate and commercial partner, David Harries, head of planning, energy, environmental and regulatory, and John Devoy, dispute resolution partner.

Nick CLarke

The next generation partner contingent included two lawyers, with Ben Mason, employment law partner, and corporate and commercial partner Jamie Hawley retaining their places from last year.

Family law partner, Simon Mawdsley, Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu, a senior associate handling contested wills, trusts and estates, and employment law solicitor, Debbie Coyne, also kept their positions on the rising stars list. The trio were joined by Layla Barke-Jones, a dispute resolution partner, who made the list for the very first time.

Nick Clarke, senior partner at Aaron & Partners, said: “Looking in detail at the rankings, there are so many extremely positive results and our teams and individuals have done incredibly well.”

Aaron & Partners’ corporate and commercial team retained its Tier 1 status, with Stuart Scott-Goldstone commended for continuing to develop the firm’s expertise in the technology, renewable energy and care sectors. The team was highlighted for being “quick to respond, extremely proactive and (giving) clear, concise and commercial advice”.

The other Tier 1 ranking was for the firm’s “highly regarded” commercial litigation offering which was highlighted for its “excellent service (and being) very knowledgeable in commercial finance, mortgages, private contract (and) landlord disputes”.

Aaron & Partners’ commercial property team, specialising in residential development, secured lending, renewable energy and agricultural estates, was among those to be ranked in Tier 2. Partner and head of real estate, Emma McGlinchey, was described as “delivering work to the highest standard”.

Ranked at the same Tier 2 level was the family team. Described as “experts regarding financial matters concerning relationship breakdown”, head of the team, Richard Barge was highlighted for being a “really incisive, tenacious and good-humoured family lawyer”.

The employment team, ranked in Tier 3, was highlighted for its frequent work in high level investigations. Head of employment, Helen Watson, employment law partner Claire Brook, and senior associate, Debbie Coyne, were all singled out for praise, with the latter described as having provided a “truly exceptional personal service”.

The transport department, which specialises in handling mandates for transport operators as well as advising on regulatory issues and strategic compliance matters, was also listed in Tier 3.

Transport consultant Tim Culpin was described as an “experienced advocate”, while the team was described in testimonials as the best the author had ever worked with.

In the contentious trusts and probate category, led by partner James Wallace, Aaron’s was ranked as a Tier 3 firm. Among those highlighted for praise was Clive Pointon, described as “highly regarded for his work in Court of Protection and LPA disputes, as well as disputes involving inheritance tax problems”.

Senior associate, Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu, was also noted for his expertise in farming and agriculture-related disputes. Testimonials described the department as “absolutely brilliant”.

The firm’s insolvency and corporate recovery department was ranked as Tier 4, and described as providing “strong” services from its Chester office, acting for a mixture of banks, administrators and insolvent corporations. A testimonial praising the department said the team “have a great breadth of knowledge and consistently delivered the work we needed both professionally and on time”.

Clarke Willmott has been recognised as a Top Tier firm in the 2023 Legal 500 guide.

It received prestigious Top Tier rankings for 11 of its specialist practice areas, up one from last year’s results.

The Manchester office of the firm has continued to be named as a Top Tier firm in intellectual property and was named in Tier 2 in a further three specialist practice areas: Personal tax, trusts and probate, social housing and IT and telecoms.

Additionally, two partners in the Manchester office have been listed in the elite ‘leading individuals’ list, the Legal 500’s guide to outstanding lawyers – Roy Crozier for intellectual property and Lindsay Felstead for social housing. Senior associate Andrew Stone made the ‘next generation partner’ list for his work in intellectual property.

Roy Crozier, who is also head of the Manchester office, said: “This guide features the best of the best so to receive such impressive results again this year really showcases our strength.

“The Legal 500 is among the most prestigious industry guides and rankings are partly based on client feedback which is a great indication of the quality of our work and the services we provide.

“The recognition reflects the time we invest in developing relationships with our clients, our high level of service and our great people.”

TLT has 15 practice areas ranked in the 2023 edition.

Graeme Orchison

The rankings saw the firm’s employment practice ranked Tier 1 for the third year in a row. Teams such as banking and finance, commercial litigation, insolvency and corporate recovery, and local government also moved up a tier, showcasing TLT’s strengths and expertise in these areas.

A total of 14 lawyers from TLT’s Manchester office were ranked individually with Liz Cotton and Matthew Forrest newly ranked as ‘leading individuals’ and Kate Beech newly ranked as ‘rising stars’.

The rankings reflect the strength of TLT’s full-service offering in the region, recognising areas including employment, banking litigation, intellectual property, IT and communications, real estate, commercial litigation, restructuring and insolvency, pensions, planning and environment, banking and finance, commercial litigation, construction, local government, health and safety, and property litigation.

Graeme Orchison, partner and location head for TLT in Manchester, said: “The Legal 500 rankings are a reflection of the hard work and dedication the entire team in Manchester puts in to deliver outstanding results for clients and the firm.

“The rankings are a fantastic acknowledgment of our continued investment in the growth and development of the team, which has really paid dividends”.

TLT is ranked in 72 submission areas across England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the Legal 500 UK rankings 2022, with eight lawyers listed in the ‘hall of fame’, 34 as ‘leading individuals’, 10 as ‘next generation partners’ and 10 as ‘rising stars’.

Bury-based Butcher & Barlow features in the Legal 500 for the sixth consecutive year.

It has been recommended for the legal services provided in 10 practice areas, including Top Tier rankings again for the agriculture and estate team and commercial property team, and a first time ranking for personal injury.

The firm also has a total of 28 lawyers – the most it has ever achieved – mentioned by name, recommended for their standout contribution to their respective practice areas.

Mike Bracegirdle, head of agriculture and Zoë Paton-Crockett, partner in commercial property, held on to their top accolades of leading individual and next generation partner.

Jonathan Aldersley, Rachel Martin, Greg Porter

The inclusion of the personal injury team for the first time was a particular high point and partner Greg Porter, who heads up the personal injury team, said: “This is great recognition for the whole team who work incredibly hard, with real passion and dedication.”

Providing a broad range of personal and commercial services and with 10 offices across the North West, Butcher & Barlow underwent a rebrand in 2022 and has doubled in size in the past 10 years, now boasting 31 partners, more than 46 additional lawyers and staffing figures in excess of 170.

Rachel Martin, who heads commercial property, said: “We never take our position for granted and work extremely hard to maintain our high standards. I am really proud of the work and the commitment the team has shown and very pleased that it has been recognised in this way.”

Senior partner, Jonathan Aldersley, said: “We are extremely proud to have ranked in The Legal 500 again, with more recommended lawyers named than ever before.”

Manchester-based Express Solicitors has been named in the Legal 500 for the 12th consecutive year.

The firm is featured for both personal injury and clinical negligence, ranking alongside other leading and national firms.

Practice heads mentioned are senior partner and head of occupiers and public liability claims, Daniel Slade, Richard Lowery, partner and head of employers’ liability and Kimberley Kirkby who is also a partner and head of road traffic accident claims.

Cases handled by Express Solicitors that were of particular note in reaching the decision to rank were claims for catastrophic brain damage, severe neurological injuries and an above knee amputation following failed surgery.

Jon Andrews

A published testimonial from a barrister interviewed for the 2023 rankings by the Legal 500 reads: “Express Solicitors have a keen eye for detail in a personal injury claim. In my experience, they investigate each claim to the fullest extent and are not afraid of the challenge of a difficult case.”

The firm is particularly pleased to see employers’ liability partner, Jon Andrews, ranked as a ‘next generation partner’.

He said: “I do consider it a privilege to spend my professional life helping injured people and training and developing young lawyers to carry on that same work. Since joining Express solicitors it has been a pleasure to engage in a business devoted to this work and focused entirely on achieving the very best results for claimants.”

Managing partner, James Maxey, said: “We are working hard to build strength in depth in all legal departments and deliver the best possible results for our clients, with the aim to be ranked even higher in the next Legal 500 within the fields of personal injury and clinical negligence.”

Slater Heelis has 16 of its solicitors listed in the Legal 500 rankings for 2023, and, for the first time, it was named as a firm to watch for the work of its crime team, in acknowledgement of its recent achievements on a number of high profile cases.

Simon Wallwork, head of corporate and commercial, and Mark Heptinstall, head of family, both celebrate their fifth consecutive year as leading individuals, with Ken Salmon, consultant solicitor in construction and engineering, achieving his fourth consecutive leading individual recognition.

Chris Bishop

Also receiving special recognition for a fourth consecutive year is Patricia Robinson, who has been named next generation partner in recognition of her outstanding work as a partner in the family team.

John Gorner, consultant solicitor for dispute resolution, and Vicki McLynn, partner for family, have been ranked in the Legal 500 2023 for Slater Heelis, having both joined the firm in 2021 with many years of experience. Their achievements highlight the firm’s success in its recent staff acquisitions, it says.

Singular commendations across numerous practice areas also demonstrated the firm’s broad range of expertise.

The dispute resolution team was praised for having three members recognised on the list, with Lauren Adams being nominated for the first time.

Chris Bishop, managing partner, said: “We are extremely proud of each person who has been acknowledged in the Legal 500, as well as of our entire team, which works tirelessly every day to support the fantastic work we do for our clients, one another, and the community. These awards demonstrate the abundance of legal talent in our firm – of which I am very proud.”