Legal fraternity basks in latest Legal 500 recognition

Gorvins Solicitors equity partners

Law firms throughout the North West are celebrating their inclusion in the latest Legal 500 series that analyses law firms across the world. It assesses strengths across more than 150 jurisdictions and incorporates feedback from 300,000 clients worldwide.

Among them, Stockport-based Gorvins Solicitors is celebrating the 2024 results of the Legal 500 series within which the performance of its practice areas and individual solicitors have once again been recognised.

The firm has retained a tier 1 ranking within three service areas: Corporate & commercial, commercial property and commercial litigation services, grading it among the best in the UK within these fields.

Alongside this, a total of 25 lawyers are ranked in the listing, with seven being name-checked as ‘leading lawyers’, with Claire Beaumont (Partner and Co-Head Commercial Property) and Gary Boyd (Partner and Head of Military & Serious Sports Injury Claims) being recognised as such for the first time.

Rowan Uren, a senior associate in the corporate & commercial team, is also categorised as a ‘rising star’.

As well as tier 1 categorisations for three practice areas, an additional 10 practice areas are ranked in the findings.

The firm was also labelled ‘one to watch’ for its road traffic defence team within the fraud, crime and licensing category and achieved marked improvements within the field of technology, media & telecoms moving up a tier from last year’s rankings.

Managing partner, Mark Deverell, said: “The Legal 500 is the global ‘who’s who’ of our industry and we’re beyond pleased with the 2024 results.

“To see so many individuals name-checked alongside top-tier categorisation for three practice areas, for the fourth year running, is wonderful and a testament to everyone’s hard work and dedication.”

Gorvins and its solicitors achieved recommendations in the following practice areas: Corporate & commercial, Commercial property, Commercial litigation, Litigation – debt recovery, Employment – employee/trade unions, Contentious trusts, Tax, trusts & probate, PI and clinical negligence – claimant, Insurance – professional negligence, Family, Property litigation, Employment and Technology, media & telecoms.


Chris Bishop

Slater Heelis has been recommended in 10 practice areas, had five of its employees listed in the elite ‘leading lawyers’ group and had a further 24 recommended throughout the rankings for their stand out contribution in practice.

For the first time ever, the company has also been recommended for its Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate practice (entering at tier 3), while its Family offering has been rated tier 2 for the seventh consecutive year. For the second year running, the crime and regulatory team, with Rachel Flecher at the helm, has also been noted as a ‘firm to watch’.

Managing partner, Chris Bishop, said: “It is amazing to be recognised as a firm in 10 practice areas but to then also have so many individual employees feature for their outstanding expertise and service makes me so incredibly proud.”

Simon Wallwork (Corporate) and Mark Heptinstall (Family) are both celebrating six consecutive years as ‘leading individuals’, while Ken Salmon (Construction and Engineering) celebrates his fifth year of the accolade. Tricia Robinson (Family) and Jay Lafinhan (Property) also make the jump from their ‘next generation partner’ ranking in 2023 to ‘leading individuals’ recognition, which firmly places them in an elite group.

A further 24 Slater Heelis employees were mentioned in the rankings, 18 of which are featuring for the very first time. The firm’s property litigation department has the most recommended individuals with John Gorner, Mike Carter, Veronica Howley and Dan Leone making their list debut, joining head of the department and partner, Daniel Stern who has been recognised every year since 2017.

Chris added: “We’ve had a real recruitment drive in the last few years and spent a lot of time ensuring we are bringing in the best brains in the business and I think the results of this year’s Legal 500 rankings are a real testament to this investment in our people.

“This year we celebrate 250 years in business and aim to reach the major, and rather fitting, milestone of 250 employees by the end of the year. Our mission today remains the same as it was in 1773 – to provide the very best legal advice in our field and so The Legal 500 2024 rankings mean a lot to all of us and validates that we are achieving what we set out to all those years ago and what we will continue to do.”


From left: Simon England, Malcolm Ireland, Nick Booth, John Osborne, Helen Griffin, James Robbins, John Chesworth, Sean Gibbs, Samantha Faud, Hannah Hughes

Harrison Drury has had a record number of its people recognised in the influential annual guide to the UK’s top legal firms and lawyers.

The firm has 28 ‘Recommended Lawyers’ in the 2024 edition of the Legal 500 publication, up from 22 last year.

Harrison Drury’s family law specialism has been recognised by the Legal 500 for the first time, joining the dispute resolution, commercial property, corporate and commercial, insolvency, and property litigation teams which have all been established in the list for several years.

As well as its 28 recommended lawyers, three of the firm’s experts have gained the coveted ‘leading individual’ status, with Simon England from the commercial property team, Malcolm Ireland from the licensing team, and James Robbins from the insolvency team all achieving the ranking.

Hannah Hughes from the commercial property team has been ranked as a next generation partner, while Helen Griffin (dispute resolution) and Samantha Faud (licensing) have retained their rising star status.

Executive chairman, John Chesworth, said: “We’re very proud to have had even more of our people recognised by the Legal 500 this time and it marks a fifth year of continuous improvement in terms of both individuals and specialisms being ranked.

“Each year we must prove that not only do we have the experience and expertise within our chosen legal areas, but also that we’ve gained outstanding results for our clients and offered them the highest levels of advice and service. We’re incredibly thankful to our clients for their support in helping us to achieve this.”

In Harrison Drury’s 2024 Legal 500 directory listing, the firm’s dispute resolution team is said to demonstrate “remarkable people skills” and an “extraordinary capability rarely seen outside of large city practices to strategise on large complex problems”.

The commercial property team is praised for its “strong reputation” and its “consistently high value workload” and “cross-border capabilities.”

The corporate and commercial team is described as “going above and beyond, leaving nothing to chance”, while also gaining plaudits for its “transparency, responsiveness and legal knowledge”.

Meanwhile, Harrison Drury’s insolvency and corporate recovery team “takes time to understand the needs of the case, working parameters and desired outcomes” demonstrating “a wealth of knowledge both of legalities and real-world processes”.

The property litigation team is praised for its “capable, professional and experienced lawyers who are easy to communicate with” and its “pragmatic and sound commercial advice presented in a friendly, plain-speaking manner.”

The family team is noted for its experience in handling complex cases, including those involving farms and family wealth. The team receives praise for being “extremely factual but at the same time very understanding” and for being “committed to finding the best outcome for the children, with a child-centric approach at the core”.

Finally, the firm’s licensing team is recognised as being “a very friendly and helpful team who go the extra mile to provide a unique and quality service” which brings with it a “vast amount of industry experience relevant to our needs.”

The firm’s ‘recommended lawyers’ in the Legal 500 are: Dispute resolution – Nick Booth, Sean Gibbs, Matthew Astley, Helen Griffin. Commercial property – Simon England, Naomi Fell, Hannah Hughes, Nicola Beneduce, Amanda Marwood, Lara Watts, Wendy Newbury, Danielle Leeming, Lucy Beachell, Jackie Bate. Corporate and commercial – Jack Stephenson, David Edwards. Insolvency – James Robbins, Peter Barlow. Property litigation – Colin Fenny, Joseph Mitchell, Alex Walmsley, Zoe Taylor. Licensing – Malcolm Ireland and Samantha Faud. Family law – John Osborne, Janine Hutson, Emma Panchal, Rebecca Patience.


Peter Swinburn

The Manchester office of national law firm Clarke Willmott has ranked highly with both practice areas and individual lawyers named.

The guide recommended the Manchester office in eight practice areas including social housing, family, personal tax, trusts and probate, construction and corporate and commercial, which rose from tier 4 to Tter 3 this year.

Manchester lawyers were also individually named in the guide with Lindsay Felstead in social housing listed as a ‘leading individual’ and Matthew Wilson, also in social housing, named as a ‘next generation partner’.

Chief executive, Peter Swinburn, said: “We are especially pleased to receive top tier rankings in no less than nine practice areas across the firm.

“The Legal 500 is a well-respected and prestigious industry guide, one that both industry insiders and clients use as a measure of quality and professional legal services. Rankings are partly based on client feedback which is a great indication of the esteem in which we are held.”

He added: “The recognition reflects the time we invest in developing relationships with our clients, our high level of service and our straightforward approach.”

Nationally, Clarke Willmott received Top Tier rankings in nine practice areas and recommendations in 46 practice areas. Four Clarke Willmott lawyers are named in the ‘hall of fame’, 18 are named as ‘leading individuals’, nine as ‘next generation’ lawyers and 10 as ‘rising stars’. A total of 119 lawyers are recommended in the guide.


Michael Shroot

A number of solicitors at North West law firm Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall Solicitors (WHN) have been personally recommended in the 2024 guide.

It marks the third consecutive year the firm has been recognised among the rankings.

WHN has retained its places in the rankings for the North West region for commercial litigation, property litigation and corporate and commercial law. In addition, the firm has gained recognition for the expertise of its commercial property and family law teams.

This year’s independent rankings have also seen more of WHN’s solicitors personally recommended for their expertise than ever before.

Ten solicitors from the firm have been recognised, including CEO Michael Shroot and director Sara Beaumont, who have again both been recommended for their ‘professional and efficient’ advice in dispute resolution as well as gaining recognition for their property litigation expertise.

Also recognised in the property litigation team, director Daniel Long was described as an expert at ‘the top of his game’ and associate Eleanor Longworth was again recognised as a rising star in the industry.

Directors Nicola Phelps and Daniel Boulton and associate Katie Hall have all been personally recommended as part of WHN’s ‘professional’ and ‘knowledgeable’ commercial property team.

Associate director Paul Matthews has again been recommended for his corporate and commercial knowledge.

In the family team, director David Connor has been recommended for his ‘proficiencies in divorce and cohabitation disputes, acting in cases involving hidden finances and pension structures’ with associate, Diane Matthews, also recommended.

Michael Shroot said: “Our reputation continues to grow on a national level, helping us to attract and retain both staff and clients.

“The Legal 500 is not only about rankings – it is also about the feedback given by clients about our service. The testimonials published this year show that our overarching philosophy is truly lived and breathed by staff across the firm. I am proud of those named in Legal 500 and their recognition is testament to the whole team.”

WHN Solicitors employs 110 staff across Greater Manchester and Lancashire and has offices in Accrington, Bacup, Bury, Blackburn, Clitheroe, Haslingden, Great Harwood and Rawtenstall.


Jeremy Orrell

Expanding on the firm’s previous rankings, a total of 22 SAS Daniels lawyers have been mentioned by name in the Legal 500 UK commentary for a ‘standout contribution to their respective practices’.

Two senior lawyers in particular received much-coveted recognition. Jeremy Orrell, CEO, business owner, partner and head of corporate has been honoured once again as a ‘leading individual’ and part of the ‘elite leading lawyers’ group, and is joined this year by Andy Booth, business owner, corporate partner and music industry specialist.

The firm achieved tier 1 ranking for its Corporate and Commercial department, listing it amongst the best in the North West in this area.

Several other practice areas have also been recommended, with SAS Daniels achieving rankings in Dispute Resolution, Employment, Family, Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate, Commercial Property, and a new entrant for this year – TMT (technology, media and telecoms).

Jeremy Orrell said: “The Legal 500 is regarded as the foremost legal directory and we are very happy that we have received such high profile acknowledgement of our firm’s commitment to ensuring a best-in-class client service once again.

“To have so many members of our team recognised by name and to maintain and extend our rankings across our practice areas is to be celebrated. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks and congratulations to all colleagues in the firm.”

SAS Daniels has offices in Stockport, Chester, Macclesfield and Congleton.


Robert Levy, left, and managing partner Steve Eccleston

Manchester commercial law firm, Kuits, has increased its number of ranked lawyers in the latest Legal 500 publication.

All of Kuits’ legal teams are ranked in the directory and the Licensing and Private Client team remain in the top tier. Forty one of their lawyers are ranked as recommended alongside six leading individuals, three next generation partners and four rising stars.

Robert Levy, executive partner at Kuits, said: “This reinforces our place as one of the best legal firms in the North West and the country. The feedback from our clients is excellent which is a result of our commitment to providing the highest level of legal and commercial advice to them.

“We’re proud that the hard work of our teams over the last 12 months has been recognised again.”


Carlos Lopez

Express Solicitors has achieved a tier 3 placement in the Legal 500 for both personal injury and clinical negligence.

Practice heads noted in the report are senior partner and head of Occupiers and Public Liability Claims, Daniel Slade, Richard Lowery, partner and head of Employers’ Liability, Kimberley Kirkby, partner and head of RTAs, and Carlos Lopez, partner and head of Clinical Negligence.

Additionally, Michael Hardacre, a partner in the Occupier and Public Liability team who has recently joined Express from Slater & Gordon, has also been recommended in the list.

Carlos Lopez, a former barrister, who joined Express in March 2022, and brought with him his significant expertise in catastrophic injury clinical negligence work, regularly handles high value and complex work. He’s described in the report as “doggedly determined in the pursuit of his clients’ interests”.

Sarah Smith, senior associate solicitor, is noted as another key Express employee within the clinical negligence team as are Katryn Mercer, senior associate solicitor advocate (occupiers and public liability) and Jon Andrews, partner (employers’ liability).

Testimonials from the clients of Express Solicitors included in the report were: “The team are all very professional and helpful.”

“The practice is very experienced with good quality solicitors who are very knowledgeable and skilled in pursuing claims.”

“Key capabilities – knowledge, experience, strength in depth, well resourced.”

CEO, James Maxey, said: “We are thrilled to continue our tier 3 ranking in the Legal 500. Over the past year, we have succeeded in many complex cases, including several appeals that have been reported by the legal press, and helped to provide guidance to personal injury law practitioners.

“Our Trustpilot rating has stayed consistently high which means a great deal to us. We take on cases that other firms don’t and we get our clients the successful outcome they deserve. Being recognised in the Legal 500 again is testament to all the hard work that goes on across all the departments at Express.”


Nick Clarke

Aaron & Partners has recorded its best year in the legal industry’s most prestigious rankings, being rated once again among the country’s top firms.

Based in Chester, Aaron & Partners received 61 individual rankings in the Legal 500 guide – its most successful result ever.

Among this year’s achievements was receiving the ‘recommended’ status in 19 practice areas, with two ‘Firm to Watch’ listings – up from one last year.

The total of 61 individual rankings was split between 49 solicitors based across the firm’s three offices – up from 47 in 2022.

Nick Clarke, senior partner, said: “The annual release of The Legal 500 rankings is something we all look forward to and I’m delighted with this year’s results. ”

In total, five of the firm’s partners were awarded a place on the Legal 500’s prestigious leading individuals list. Stuart Scott-Goldstone, head of the Corporate & Commercial team; David Harries, head of Planning, Environmental, Energy and Regulation (PEER); and John Devoy, Commercial Litigation partner, all kept their places. Meanwhile Emma McGlinchey, partner and head of Real Estate, and Chris Mitchell, a partner in the Restructuring & Insolvency team, also made the list.

The next generation partner contingent included five solicitors from Aaron & Partners, with Corporate & Commercial partner Jamie Hawley retaining his place on the list. Meanwhile, Dispute Resolution partner, Layla Barke-Jones, Real Estate partner Joe Fletcher-Hunt, head of Family Law, Simon Magner Mawdsley, and Real Estate partner, Iwan Williams, were newcomers to the list.

Elsewhere, Contentious Trusts & Probate senior associate solicitor, Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu, Wills, Trust and Tax senior associate solicitor, Paul Caslin, and senior associate in the Employment team, Debbie Coyne, have been named on the rising stars list.


TLT has continued to grow its Legal 500 rankings in the North West, with 15 practice areas ranked in the 2024 edition of the directory.

Teams such as banking litigation, construction and property litigation teams moved up a tier, and a total of 12 lawyers from TLT’s Manchester office were ranked individually with Debbie Reynolds moving up a rank to ‘Next Generation Partner’.

Graeme Orchison, partner and location head in Manchester, said: “The legal 500 rankings are a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the entire Manchester team. Based, in part, on feedback from our clients the rankings are a fantastic acknowledgement of our continued investment in the growth and development of the team, which has really paid dividends.”


Paul Westwell

Bromleys Solicitors has been recognised as a leading family practice in the North West after being ranked as ‘A Leading Firm’.

The Greater Manchester firm was named as ‘One to Watch’ last year and it has been promoted to ‘A Leading Firm’ in family law.

Managing partner, Paul Westwell, said: “Here at Bromleys we are delighted to have been recognised for the exceptional standard of service and expertise demonstrated by our family team. This accolade clearly reflects the high esteem in which Olivia Bell and her team here are held by our clients and all those we continue to support and work with.

“The dedication and sheer determination of the team allows them to make a positive difference to the circumstances of all of those that they represent .”