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Weightmans - Liverpool
  • 100 Old Hall Street
  • Liverpool
  • Merseyside
  • UK
  • L3 9QJ
  • Tel:0845 073 9900
  • Fax:0845 073 9950
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • Senior Partner Dan Cutts
  • Managing Partner John Schorah
  • Total staff 1339

THE FIRM Weightmans is a top 45 law firm with 9 offices, employing more than 1330 people. The firm has grown rapidly because of its focus on two key aspects of its business: its clients and its people. The firm’s people are determined to achieve the best result for its clients. The firm monitors results to provide value that can be measured – ensuring its clients come back time and time again and that the firm is their preferred choice of legal service providers. As such the firm recognises the importance of its people enjoying what they do. That’s why it is committed to creating a friendly and inspiring working environment.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK The firm’s practice is structured into three key areas – insurance, commercial and public sector.
In brief:
■A formidable reputation and heritage in insurance in which it is a leading national player.
■A substantial and diverse range of commercial services for public sector bodies, large institutions, owner managed businesses and PLCs.
■An impressive reputation in the public sector market, acting for many local, police and fire authorities and a range of NHS trusts.
■A full family and private client service including: wills, tax, probate and residential conveyancing.
■A national firm with international reach with an extensive informal network of law firms in most foreign jurisdictions courtesy of its membership of Legalink.

THE CLIENTS The firm’s clients include insurance companies, public sector organisations, UK PLCs, multinational companies, public sector organisations, education establishments, private individuals, SME’s and other managed businesses.

MARKET SECTORS Education, fire, healthcare, insurance, information technology, leisure and retail, local government, manufacturing, marine and transit, media & entertainment, owner managed businesses, police, professional services, property, risk & reinsurance, social housing, transport & logistics, utilities. Weightmans provides specialist legal services. For further details on how Weightmans can help you, please visit www.weightmans.com.

  • Commercial Tim Lang
  • Insurance Kieran Jones, Rob Williams
  • Public Sector Andrew Cooper


  • 2nd Floor,
  • 6 New Street Square,
  • New Fetter Lane,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4 3BF
  • Tel (020) 7067 4506
  • Fax (020) 7067 4501
  • DX 310 London/Chancery Lane
  • First Floor,
  • Three Piccadilly Place,
  • Manchester,
  • Lancashire
  • UK
  • M1 3BN
  • Tel (0161) 233 7330
  • Fax (0161) 233 7331
  • DX 743520 Manchester 65
  • First Floor, City Plaza,
  • 47 Cannon Street,
  • Birmingham,
  • West Midlands
  • UK
  • B2 5EF
  • Tel (0121) 632 6100
  • Fax (0121) 632 5410
  • DX 13035 Birmingham 1
  • Peat House,
  • 1 Waterloo Way,
  • Leicester,
  • Leicestershire
  • UK
  • LE1 6LP
  • Tel (0116) 253 9747
  • Fax (0116) 253 6101
  • DX 719592 Leicester 17
  • Riverbridge House,
  • Anchor Boulevard,
  • Crossways,
  • Dartford,
  • Kent
  • UK
  • DA2 6SL
  • Tel (020) 7822 1900
  • Fax (020) 7822 1901
  • DX 146000 Dartford 9
  • Email : info@weightmans.com
  • 1 Royal Court,
  • Tatton Street,
  • Knutsford,
  • Cheshire
  • UK
  • WA16 6EN
  • Tel (01565) 634234
  • Fax (01565) 652711
  • DX 22959 Knutsford
  • Email : info@weightmans.com
  • The Hub,
  • 70 Pacific Quay,
  • Glasgow,
  • Glasgow City
  • UK
  • G51 1EA
  • Tel (0845) 073 9900
  • Fax (0845) 073 9950
  • DX GW 73 Glasgow

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Instructed on a wide range of technology and construction professional negligence matters. Regularly acts on behalf of insurers on construction claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A good, solid firm providing a good service." 

Work highlights Advised Lambert Smith Hampton in litigation in the TCC brought by the Bank of Ireland. The case concerned a £7 million dispute over a negligent valuation.

Notable practitioners  

Quentin Fox is highly regarded by clients as "technically competent, commercially astute and good with strategy." Market sources say he is "an exceptionally talented lawyer who is very good at what he does." 

Significant clients HCC International Insurance, HCC Underwriting Agency, WSP CEL, AMEC Earth & Environmental, WR Berkley.

Employment - Midlands

Basic facts about the department
- Office locations ranked: Birmingham 

What the team is known for Offers a broad range of employment law capabilities to clients within the public and private sector. Comes recommended for its strengths in areas including social housing, healthcare, and local government. Also maintains a strong client base in the hospitality and food industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team is very accommodating and commercial in its approach, and produces good solutions which enable strategic decisions." 

Work highlights Advised Whitbread on a review of the company's car policy with a view to limiting the qualification criteria, affecting around 1,000 employees, in order to improve transparency and consistency in the administration of this employee benefit.

Advised Tragus with regards to business immigration support and training.

Notable practitioners  

Head of the department and key contact is Tim Lang.

Significant clients Glh Hotels Management, Halfords Autocentres, Nuffield Health, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays.

Family/Matrimonial - Midlands

What the team is known for Can call on strength from across its network of offices when handling matrimonial finance matters for international clients. Growing reputation in prenuptial agreements and mediation.

Notable practitioners  

Fiona O'Sullivan heads the firm's family team and concentrates her practice in the area of matrimonial finance, with particular expertise in prenuptial agreements and pensions. Sources regard her as "a worthy opponent" who "knows her cases back to front."

Tania Derrett Smith has a growing reputation for her ability to handle complex financial remedy cases including those with trust elements and related children's proceedings. Sources say: "Her client care is second to none."

Banking & Finance - North West

Basic facts about the department

- 5 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester, Liverpool

What the team is known for Recognised for its work in public sector finance, which includes a diverse portfolio of highly publicised local projects. Continues to receive instructions from significant corporate clients and several prominent banks. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very good at leading legal discussions and are extremely good at keeping me in the loop, referring me to decisions I need to make and the greater implications of those decisions." 

"They offer professionalism and expert knowledge of banking and structured finance, as well as commercial issues."

What's new? New panel appointments include The North West Evergreen Fund.

Work highlights Advised Santander on the provision of £2.28 million facilities in connection with the development of the Rail House, Liverpool. 

Advised Liverpool City Council with regards to its provision of a £1.25 million term loan to an SPV established for the purpose of developing the Littlewoods Building. 

Notable practitioners  

Head of the department Mike Yardley is admired by peers, who concur that he "is a genuinely nice guy" who thoroughly "knows his stuff." Clients believe he handles his leadership role seamlessly: "He co-ordinates and pulls everything together internally. His communication skills are excellent, which is why he is able to effectively liaise with the rest of his team." 

Significant clients North West Business Finance, Flourish Capital, University of Bradford, Bibby, Bangor University.

Construction - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester 

What the team is known for Works on significant regional projects and exhibits particular expertise in energy and infrastructure matters. Also acts on major redevelopments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I consider Weightmans' service to be excellent. This is due to their responsiveness and speed and due to the accuracy, weight and credibility of their advice."  

Work highlights Advised Transport for Greater Manchester on a number of issues relating to the Metrolink extension.

Advised Willmott Dixon on contracting and risk management matters across several projects, including leisure facilities, a retail scheme and an extension of Pinderfields Hospital in Yorkshire.

Notable practitioners

Charles Tomlinson is head of the construction and engineering department. He leads on a range of transactional and contentious matters for the team including a number of large infrastructure and building projects. Sources consider him "very good at strategy of projects and disputes." Clients regard him as particularly "helpful with delay issues, which are very difficult to resolve in construction."

Consultant Kenneth Salmon is an expert in contentious and non-contentious building and engineering. He is also an experienced mediator.

Significant clients Peel Ports, Ask Developments, The Co-operative Group, LandProp, Emcor UK.

Corporate/M&A - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 12 partners 
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for A growing, full-service corporate practice operating in Manchester and Liverpool, acting for local SMEs and small listed companies. Active in sectors such as transport and education, alongside notable work with start-up technology companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are a comprehensive practice able to cover all areas. They are attentive and responsive, and do a thorough job."

"Very responsive, speedy and efficient." 

What's new? Robert Turnbull joined the Manchester office in 2013 from DWF.

New client wins include Manchester City Council, Southampton University and IKO Holdings.

Work highlights Advised marketing and communications client Hasgrove on the sale of digital marketing subsidiary Amaze to marketing group St Ives, and Hasgrove's subsequent delisting from the AIM market.  

Acted for builders' merchant Huws Gray on the acquisition of construction materials company JF Beale.

Notable practitioners  

Former corporate team head John Schorah has extensive experience of the North-West transactional market, with particular focus on the media and technology sectors. He is the firm's managing partner.

Paul Raftery leads the Manchester corporate practice, and "is an extremely capable lawyer, who has the rare ability to think legally and commercially." He has wide-ranging activity on significant acquisitions and funding transactions, including advising numerous multinational corporations.

Robert Turnbull joined the Manchester team from DWF in July 2013. Sources appreciate his ability "to guide his clients through sticky, pressurised situations, by focusing on the most important issues." Lately, he advised the management team of executive recruitment company Armstrong Craven on its private equity-backed buyout from parent company Work Group.

Significant clients Sonoco, ANS Group, Amcol International, Bibby, InjuryLawyers4U.

Employment - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 16 partners
- 38 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester, Liverpool

What the team is known for Sizeable and distinguished practice offering employment advice, particularly on complex and high-profile contentious matters. Attracts an impressive clientele, including local authorities and corporations.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The firm presents a very professional image. It is are strong in providing sound advice in a broad variety of matters."

"The team is responsive, comprehensive in its knowledge base, yet succinct in its advice. It also has a real understanding of the public sector."

What's new? Successfully acted on behalf of Littlewoods on a backdated pension rights claim by former and existing part-time workers. 

Notable practitioners  

Mark Hatfield is well known for giving excellent advice to a wide range of employers including large public sector organisations, SMEs and educational establishments. He is also a distinguished advocate before employment tribunals.

Martin Edwards has a long-standing practice advising employers in both the public and private sectors. He handles the employment aspects of high-profile corporate transactions such as mergers and transfers.

Significant clients Co-operative Group, The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Thomas Cook Airlines, North West Legal Consortium, Halton Borough Council.

Family/Matrimonial - North West

What the team is known for Advises on the full spectrum of family law issues, from prenuptial and cohabitation agreements through to financial provision on divorce. Renowned as specialists in complex financial remedy claims, including those involving trust elements.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I have found them very approachable and commercially astute, and they provided pragmatic advice."

"I think it is an extremely efficient practice which gives its clients a first-rate service."

Notable practitioners  

Carole Atkinson heads the family team and is renowned for her broad-ranging expertise and strong advocacy skills. Sources say she is "careful to analyse all the problems" and is "very thorough and detailed in her analysis of cases." She also earns praise for her responsiveness, with one source reporting: "I would rate her client service extremely highly."

Emma Collins leads the Manchester team and is widely regarded as a safe pair of hands across a broad range of family issues, including alternative dispute resolution and cohabitation cases. Clients appreciate her pragmatic approach, with one noting: "She takes a realistic position and provides sound advice, making a difficult situation easier to cope with."

Market sources say Tina Dunn is "approachable, pragmatic and tenacious" in her handling of financial matters, particularly those with commercial elements. One peer describes her as "extremely sharp," while another deems her "a formidable force who knows her stuff."

Fiona Davidson is a collaborative lawyer known for her expertise in handling complex financial disputes involving substantial assets as well as company or trust elements, both nationally and cross-jurisdictionally. Sources say she is "thorough in her preparation and very good with clients - she provides a great deal of reassurance."

Information Technology - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool 

What the team is known for Typically acts for local authorities, public bodies and insurance industry organisations on high-value procurement deals and outsourcings. Also acts for software suppliers on development contracts.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I'm very pleased with them. They are very responsive and practical, giving you the pros and cons and their recommendation. Everything they've done has been done to a good quality."

What's new? Laurence Pritchard joins from DWF.

Work highlights Advised Wolverhampton City Council on a managed services agreement for its Urban Traffic Control Common Database project, procured in collaboration with six other local authorities.

Acted for Derbyshire County Council on a procurement contract for a new social care online case management service. 

Notable practitioners

Sean Crotty is a key contact.

Significant clients Insurance Fraud Bureau, AXM Venture Capital, Golden Gates Housing Trust, Motor Insurer's Bureau, Liverpool Mutual Homes.

Litigation - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Ranked office locations: Liverpool

What the team is known for Respected Liverpool practice offering a partner-led service in increasingly high-profile matters. Areas of practice include pensions fund disputes, fraud claims and involvement in well-publicised defamation matters. The team is well versed in representing clients from major institutions to public sector authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very professional, yet down-to-earth and approachable. They are also very forward-thinking on issues such as fee arrangements."

"They were very responsive, and nothing was too much trouble."  

Work highlights Represented a professional footballer in a claim against architects and builders worth £350,000 relating to construction issues and professional negligence. The dispute was settled following mediation.

Defending Bibby Group against a breach of contract and breach of duty claim by the former finance director of a subsidiary company. The matter, worth £7.1 million, involved a forensic audit of the company's accounting, and resulted in summary dismissal. 

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Cox is the key contact.

Significant clients Hoover Candy, Baker Tilly, Barratt Homes, BDO, Ben's Cookies.  

Professional Negligence - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Liverpool 

What the team is known for Highly regarded team offering specialist advice on high-value negligence claims. Frequently retained to defend professionals in the construction and legal sectors, including solicitors, barristers and engineers. The team has well-known mediation expertise.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have an entirely practical approach to problem solving and always listen to their clients' needs and concerns."

"They are always prepared to think outside the box, particularly in a mediation context." 

Work highlights Engaged by WR Berkley to advise on a high-value claim against a firm of engineers and surveyors relating to a pre-purchase survey and the failure to flag up structural issues in a 19th-century building being used as offices.

Advised Inter Hannover in relation to a solicitors' negligence claim brought by a large number of former council tenants and relating to Right to Buy schemes.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Gaul is respected for his experience in this field. He is frequently retained to defend professionals in the legal sector and has advised on significant cases. He regularly works with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund and has recently advised on a claim against counsel who advised a client against pursuing a wrongful birth claim.

Mickaela Fox is described as "extremely knowledgeable and professional" and concentrates her practice on defending solicitors' negligence claims. She is recognised for her aptitude in this area with one client noting: "She is clearly an expert in her field."

Mike Grant handles a variety of negligence claims against professionals, although predominantly deals with construction-related claims. He is especially well regarded for his extensive mediation experience, with one peer saying: "What stands out is his ability as a mediator and taking part in mediation without bringing counsel in to take over. He is more than capable to handle it himself."

Significant clients Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund, Libra Managers, Hannover, Liberty, Travelers.

Real Estate - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 13 partners
- 39 other lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for Broad sector expertise, with significant experience in regeneration projects, retail and education. Represents public and private sector clients on commercial property work including development matters for regional and national house builders.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their advice is always very clear and they're all very good at translating legal language into understandable language." 

"Flexibility, listening to customer needs, and the ability to bring some vision to what we're trying to achieve."

What's new? New client wins include Pets @ Home, Landprop Holdings and Reform Energy.

Work highlights Advised Peel Land & Property on various agreements concerning its flexible office space development at The Quay, Princes Dock.

Acted for the Co-operative Group on matters concerning store developments across its various divisions.

Notable practitioners  

Department leader Karl Jackson is praised for his communication skills, with one client commenting: "He is very good at explaining what are fairly complex legal situations for me to understand." He works on large-scale development and regeneration, and continues to advise Greater Manchester Arts Centre on its HOME arts centre. 

Clive Bleasdale is credited as "creative, with an eye for detail" and a "very commercial" approach. He focuses on city centre redevelopments, portfolio management and office leasing. Recent work includes representing Bruntwood in relation to its £100 million Liverpool property portfolio.

Significant clients Barratt, Anglesey Aluminium Metal, Royal Mail Group, Phoenix Life, David Wilson Homes. 

Real Estate Litigation - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for Well known for handling lease renewals, dilapidations claims, and matters arising out of rent arrears and tenant insolvency. Highly regarded for managing clients' substantial asset portfolios.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are amicable and professional."

Notable practitioners  

Sian Evans handles both residential and commercial real estate litigation issues and has appeared before the Leasehold Valuation and Lands Tribunals as well as the High Court. She is highly regarded for her representation of housing associations.

Peter Hall possesses "great wider knowledge of dilapidations, making him a great go-to person for specific queries," according to sources. He has additional strength in lease renewals and termination, tenant insolvency and right of way disputes.

Significant clients Royal Mail, The Post Office, Peel Holdings, London Metropolitan University, RSA.

Restructuring/Insolvency - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool

What the team is known for Regularly instructed on a wide range of turnaround and insolvency matters. Maintains a particular focus on personal insolvency.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're involved; they're willing to take a lot of time ensuring what they are doing for you is right."

Work highlights Instructed by the Metalboxonians Sports & Social Club Committee to assist with the club's complex insolvency with an asset base of £450,000.

Acted for McKenzie Goldberg Johnson as trustee in bankruptcy to a husband and wife, and advised on the possession and sale of their domestic and overseas properties valued at a total of £2 million.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Green is the national head of the firm's restructuring/insolvency group. Sources describe him as a "dedicated" solicitor who is "extremely knowledgeable in his area."

Significant clients Baker Tilly, Deloitte, Mazars, Bibby Distribution, Hoover Candy.

Social Housing - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office location: Liverpool

What the team is known for A strong choice for housing management mandates for social landlords, including antisocial behaviour and welfare reforms. Advises on governance, funding and development projects, alongside outsourcing and procurement for public authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The service is absolutely first-class, especially on the disputes side, due to a high level of expertise and quick response times for turning round queries."

Work highlights Advised Liverpool Mutual Homes on an antisocial behaviour injunction against a tenant who was aggressive to staff and contractors working on the property. 

Assisted Galliford Try Partnerships North with its acquisition for development of land at Digmoor, in Skelmersdale.

Notable practitioners  

Sheila Whitton has a long-standing reputation for social housing work. Her work includes site acquisitions, development and regeneration projects.

Impressed sources say department head Sian Evans is "straight-talking and decisive, which gives you confidence in her advice." She is especially highlighted for her work on leaseholder disputes, as well as disrepair and tenancy enforcement. Regarding her litigation practice, sources say: "She gives personalised and high-quality litigation advice."

Significant clients Knowsley Housing Trust, Regenda Group, Symphony Housing Group, Your Housing Group.

Environment - The North

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Wide-ranging practice covering all aspects of environmental law, from regulatory compliance and transactional advice to contentious matters and enforcement undertakings. Experienced in advising clients in an international context, particularly on WEEE regulations.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We have been very happy with the level of service that we have received and feel that the firm offers straightforward advice at competitive rates."  

What's new? Simon Colvin joins the firm from Pinsent Masons as head of department.

Work highlights Worked on behalf of Anglesey Aluminium Metal in relation to a renewable energy biomass power station, and the remediation and sale of the site.

Acted for Insituform on the negotiation of an enforcement agreement for a water pollution offence arising from a failed infrastructure project.

Notable practitioners  

Simon Colvin is a well-respected environment specialist, experienced in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious issues. He advises an array of public and private clients on regulatory compliance matters, and Environment Agency investigations and enforcement undertakings. Market sources describe working with him as "a very positive experience" due to his "unflappable, calm and pragmatic" approach.

Ray Clarke offers broad expertise relating to both contentious and non-contentious matters. Sources say: "He has a vast experience of the environment sector. He's a very down-to-earth and personable chap as well, which helps when dealing with both our staff and third parties." He has advised clients on regulatory and planning law, and issues relating to waste and minerals.

Significant clients Peel Holdings, Barratt, Co-operative Group, Insituform, Royal Mail Group, TEG Environmental.

Clinical Negligence - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 38 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Maintains a strong reputation in the clinical negligence market as a leading defendant firm well versed in handling complex, prominent, high-value matters. Focuses on serving the public sector and continues to handle a large number of group actions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The standard of service is excellent. Tony Yeaman runs a very tight ship and the performance of his team is consistently of a high standard. He also has a highly motivated group of lawyers in the department who are proactive in offering seminars and training."

"Weightmans excels in this area of work. They always deliver what is asked of them and we are extremely pleased with the service that they provide." 

What's new? Secured by W. R. Berkley as providers of a medico-legal helpline to Integrated Dental Holdings.

Won a place on the NHSLA's clinical liability panel.

Work highlights Successfully defended a duty of care claim brought against Public Health England in connection with a large-scale outbreak of E. coli at Godstone Farm in 2009 that infected 93 people.

Acted for Bedford Hospital NHS Trust in relation to a wrongful birth claim arising from the trust's alleged failure to notice spina bifida on a routine scan.

Notable practitioners  

Vicky Morris is the firm's client partner for the NHSLA. She is praised for her commercial awareness, responsiveness and conscientious approach to her work. Recently she has been defending high-profile organ transplant claims brought against the NHS after two patients contracted cancer from donated kidneys. 

Department head Anthony Yeaman is singled out as a highly experienced clinical negligence lawyer whose "knowledge of the local healthcare environment is second to none." Commentators describe him as "exceptionally client-focused" and appreciate that he "immediately understands the needs of his healthcare clients."

Sarah Ellington is well regarded for her clinical negligence practice. She has considerable experience in working on behalf of the NHS and primarily focuses on complex clinical negligence actions.

Former doctor Melanie Isherwood enters the rankings this year after earning widespread praise amongst peers as a "sensible" and "pragmatic" clinical negligence lawyer, lauded for her attention to detail. Her specialist areas of focus include high-value birth injury matters, claims involving deliberate self-harm and those arising from hospital-acquired infection.

Richard Jolly has over a decade of experience in defending NHS trusts against clinical negligence claims, with a particular emphasis on birth injury and spinal injury matters. He chairs the firm's inquest group and is recognised by market sources as a "good, sensible, attentive lawyer." 

Vanessa Splaine has earned a reputation in this market as a "very efficient solicitor" who "works well with the claimant solicitor" by adopting a "very sensible approach" to cases. Sources are impressed, remarking that she is "not the easiest of opponents because nothing gets past her."

Rena Field heads the firm's London team. She is recognised as an expert on obstetric claims, including hypoxic birth injuries and wrongful birth cases. She is further noted for her experience relating to group litigation.

Beth Buchanan is a long-term specialist in clinical negligence and healthcare law. She represents a number of NHS trusts and health regulators, and is particularly commended for her deep knowledge base regarding catastrophic injury claims arising out of birth trauma.

Deborah Bannister continues to be regarded as an up-and-coming figure in the clinical negligence market. Her notable areas of expertise include catastrophic injury claims, birth injuries, surgical negligence and fatal accidents.

Rachel Kneale maintains her reputation as a pre-eminent practitioner in this field. One source identifies her as "the quantum queen," while others commend her in-depth knowledge and pragmatic approach towards defending claims.

Significant clients NHSLA, Medical & Dental Defence Union of Scotland, AIG Europe.

Court of Protection - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London, Liverpool

What the team is known for Handles the spectrum of Court of Protection health and welfare matters for a large number of NHS trusts and local authority clients. Particularly valued by clients for its cost-conscious approach to court proceedings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a real sense of what local authorities need in terms of legal advice and representation, have very good, thorough judgement, and know their stuff inside out."

"It's not just the technical support, it's also keeping us constantly updated and giving us that sense of being looked after throughout the process. The support they provide is really exceptional."

Notable practitioners  

Mental healthcare specialist and department head Kiran Bhogal "absolutely knows her stuff and is very quick at responding," report clients. A district judge and solicitor advocate, she is also singled out for her impressive courtroom style: "She's a terrific advocate, very calm and very good with witnesses."

Contented clients of Morris Hill note that "he is very approachable and nothing is too much trouble for him. His advice is always accurate and insightful." A highly experienced practitioner, he is considered "one of the best in the Court of Protection field in the North West."

Significant clients Barnet & Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

Education - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Growing bench advising numerous universities on a range of topics, including construction projects, student complaints, tender offers and procurement matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I consider Weightmans' service to be excellent. This is due to the responsiveness – often out of business hours – and the accuracy and credibility of its advice."

Work highlights Advised the University of West London on construction, property and fund-raising matters relating to a £45 million redevelopment of its main campus.

Acted for Bangor University on construction and development issues in connection with a £35 million arts and academic facility.

Notable practitioners  

According to impressed clients, Martin Vincent is "able to explain very complex legal matters and procedures in an easy-to-understand format." He specialises in advising on procurement issues.

Significant clients London Metropolitan University, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool University, University of Central Lancashire, Staffordshire University.

Health & Safety - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, London, Birmingham

What the team is known for Maintains a fine reputation for its regulatory work, acting for both the prosecution and defence. Regularly works with a broad range of clients from the public, commercial and insurance sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're ahead of the curve because they are able to keep abreast of the changing times out there."

"User-friendly and very approachable." 

Work highlights Acted for Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in a high-profile prosecution following the death of a diabetic woman.

Defended a client on grounds of gross negligence manslaughter in relation to the fatality of a very experienced diver, following the use of a new piece of scuba equipment. 

Notable practitioners  

David Lewis is representing the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in a major prosecution brought forward by the HSE, regarding the death of a woman. Clients particularly appreciate his "ability to really hold an audience." 

Christopher Green principally concentrates his practice on incidents of fatality or major injury on road or railway, and in the workplace. Market sources commend his expertise and "rate him very highly."

Crispin Kenyon has worked on high-profile cases covering a variety of contentious commercial activity. Commentators describe him as "a very thoughtful tactician, and an extremely competent and compelling cross-examiner."

Dewi Ap-Thomas is currently working for a client in a sensitive case that risks reputational damage. Sources commend his people skills, saying: "He has the ability to really hold an audience and their concentration," and he provides "compelling presentation."

Significant clients JCB, Emcor, Jaguar Land Rover, Kimberly-Clark, AIG.

Healthcare - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 12 partners
- 40 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Liverpool

What the team is known for Regularly retained by public and private healthcare providers and regulatory bodies to advise on a broad range of matters. Notable focus on employment law issues, advising NHS trusts and staff on complex discrimination cases. Also strong on inquests, inquiries and judicial reviews.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team is very knowledgeable, friendly, quick and always available."

What's new? New clients include NHS Blood and Transplant and NHS Shared Business Services, as well as several NHS FTs. 

Work highlights Representing Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT in the Hillsborough Inquests.

Acting for Mid Staffordshire NHS FT on a prosecution following the high-profile public inquiries into the Trust.

Notable practitioners 

Kiran Bhogal is recognised as a leading practitioner who is often retained by public healthcare bodies to represent them in high-profile and complex cases, including inquiries and judicial reviews. She has significant expertise in mental health issues and human rights.

Anthony Yeaman leads the team and has over 20 years' experience in this field. He focuses his practice on advising NHS bodies on a broad range of issues, including major NHS inquiries, group litigation and judicial reviews.

Significant clients Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS FT, Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS FT, Birmingham Childrens Hospital NHS FT, Dudley Group NHS FT, Mersey Care NHS Trust. 

Healthcare - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended offices: London, Birmingham

What the team is known for Advises NHS trusts and other public bodies on a broad range of mental health law issues. Frequently engaged by clients to advise on homicide inquiries, judicial reviews and inquests. Also offers key advice in relation to the interaction between the Mental Health Act and the Mental Capacity Act.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We are really satisfied with the speed at which they respond and the advice that they provide."

"Terrific, all incredibly thorough, approachable and just really good people to support and represent you."

What's new? New clients include Dorset County Hospital NHS FT. The team was reappointed to the Shared Business Services Legal Panel.

Work highlights Advised Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS FT on the inquest into the death of a young student.

Represented Dorset Healthcare University NHS FT in the inquest into the death of an inmate of HM Young Offenders Institution Portland who committed suicide.

Notable practitioners  

Kiran Bhogal has a wealth of experience in this field and is recognised by both peers and clients for her excellent advisory work. She is often retained by public sector healthcare bodies and local councils to advise on inquests and Court of Protection proceedings. "She's fantastic," enthuses one client; "she really knows her stuff."

Significant clients Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Dorset Healthcare University Hospitals NHS FT, South Essex Partnership NHS FT, Oxleas NHS FT, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS FT.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners (contentious claims); 74 partners (volume claims) 
- 18 other qualified lawyers (contentious claims); 205 (volume claims)

What the team is known for Active at both ends of the market, with a growing reinsurance practice. Its expanding national volume practice regularly represents leading insurers. Fields a dedicated recoveries team, and a strong disease claims practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They are a pleasure to deal with. You feel like you are getting a bespoke service from them, which is quite refreshing."

"They offer fantastic value; you never hear the meter ticking over with them."

What's new? Francis Mackie joined the firm from Edwards Wildman.

Work highlights Represented the insurers in K2 Restaurants v Glasgow City Council, concerning the recovery of insurers' outlay under property insurance for damage that occurred in 1996.

Notable practitioners  

Colin Peck has a long-standing international practice with a particular focus on South America and Russia. Sources say: "He is fast-thinking and articulate, and has a great capability to analyse things from all angles with a focus on what is important." 

"Stalwart of the market" Francis Mackie has a very broad practice that covers both reinsurance and coverage work. He is renowned for his expertise in arbitrations, especially for marine, energy and political risk disputes. He counts numerous Lloyd's syndicates as frequent clients. Sources say: "Perseverance and attention to detail really make him stand out." 

Significant clients Zurich Financial Services, Motor Insurers' Bureau, AIG, HCC Underwriting Agency.

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 23 partners
- 43 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Liverpool

What the team is known for Acts for local authorities and local government consortia across England and Wales. Major instructions include advice on governance reviews, state aid issues and redevelopment projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Good value for money, and added value putting on excellent seminars."

Work highlights Advised Liverpool City Council in connection with development of St John Bosco Arts College, including negotiating development agreements and acquisition of land.

Acted for Carlisle City Council on selection of waste recycling companies using a services concession model and without a tender process.

Notable practitioners  

Graeme Creer is a consultant to the practice. He calls on extensive front-line legal experience via his previous in-house roles at a number of local authorities, giving him great insight into this practice area. His areas of influence include planning and real estate. Principal clients of his include Leicestershire County Council.

Significant clients North West Legal Consortium, EM Lawshare, Croydon consortium, West Yorkshire Legal Panel, Manchester City Council.

Media & Entertainment - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Liverpool-based video games experts, acting for studios and independent developers. Demonstrates expertise pertaining to social media, interactive content and apps, and has a wealth of experience in negotiating deals with major publishers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"There's a uniformity of service - they all seem to be on the same wavelength."

"They know what our environment is like and they understand the pressures."

Work highlights Acted for Side (UK) in relation to voice talent and motion capture agreements for several major video game titles, including 'Assassins Creed IV'.

Advised Nellyvision on the app licensing and development agreement relating to its 'About Time' app, inspired by the award-winning board game.

Notable practitioners  

Sean Crotty and John Schorah are the key contacts.

Significant clients Novarama Technology, Relentless Software, Playground Games, Nomad Games, Playrise Digital.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Liverpool

What the team is known for Renowned North-West firm, offering strong expertise in advisory and contentious partnership matters. Areas of strength include restructuring and insolvency, compliance and regulatory.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

Very nice people to work with. Good to work with, good listeners. They focus on your objectives, suggest a range of solutions and get good commercial outcomes." 

Work highlights Acting for Dures Partnership on a high-value partnership at will dispute.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Green is the key contact at the firm.

Significant clients SGI Legal, Lees Solicitors, Fletchers Solicitors, Graystons Solicitors, Scott Rees & Co.

Personal Injury - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 62 partners
- 199 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Birmingham, Liverpool

What the team is known for Offers significant expertise in areas including occupational disease and serious and catastrophic injury claims, with particular strength in cases involving RTAs. Also handles fraud work and international claims.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their market insight is particularly strong. They challenge key issues and they have specialist disease units." 

"One of the best technically – they're very commercial and good at developing their own lawyers."

Work highlights Successfully defended Sabre Insurance on appeal in preventing substitution in a case relating to an RTA in Romania.

Acted for Quinn Insurance in a major case arising from an RTA in Manchester, defending claims against a driver killed in the accident.

Notable practitioners  

Key partner David Holt is described as "a man at the top of his game. He's a leading authority on MIB insurance matters and he has expertise in persistent vegetative states." He has significant experience in catastrophic work arising from RTAs.

Penelope Marshall is based in Birmingham and is well versed in public authority work. Her practice includes significant experience of representing authorities in catastrophic claims.

The "always excellent" Kieran Jones is director of insurance for the firm. Based in Liverpool, his practice centres on occupational disease work.

Significant clients Zurich Financial Services, Motor Insurers' Bureau, AIG, Ageas, Covea Insurance.

Police Law - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Leicester, Liverpool, London

What the team is known for Leader in the field with an impressive team of experienced litigators acting for police forces in matters ranging from judicial reviews of police practice to inquests and cases involving human rights issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their advice is really clear and constructive. They're quick to come back to you on anything, and they set their advice out consistently. They're also really good at offering training on various developments."

What's new? New clients include the British Transport Police and the police forces of Essex, West Yorkshire, Cumbria and Dorset.

Work highlights Advised the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on a case brought by the Critical Mass protest group. At issue are claims of assault, unlawful detention and the validity of 'kettling' as a police crowd control measure.

Instructed in an inquest into the death of a man who had taken prescription medicine before being taken into custody.

Notable practitioners  

John Riddell is a standout individual in the area, and is engaged to defend police clients in connection with the highest-profile claims. His extensive experience gives him strong knowledge across the range of police misfeasance and malpractice matters. Sources describe him as "a very intelligent, academic lawyer."

Martin Forshaw handles the full spectrum of defendant-side police law matters including public inquiries and cases concerning stop and search powers. Market observers attest that he has "a keen eye for detail and a good overview of the police sector."

Nick Peel is "an excellent lawyer and very experienced in work with Greater Manchester Police," comment market observers. Peel's clients also include the Cheshire and North Wales forces.

Hannah Walsh is said to "give very concise and clear advice." Walsh is based in the firm's London office and led the firm's work in connection with Passmore & Others v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (CMP), concerning the arrest of participants in the Critical Mass cycling protest prior to the Olympic Games. 

Significant clients Metropolitan Police, Sussex Police, Merseyside Police, Greater Manchester Police, Lancashire Constabulary.

Product Liability - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Established practice across multiple areas including automotive, retail and healthcare work. Counts major insurers and blue-chip corporates among its clientele, advising on recall and risk management issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)  

"They have always employed experienced and knowledgeable staff on our matters who have great technical ability and are prompt in their advice. They value the relationship and go the extra mile for us."    

"They tenaciously fight our cases, but are very conscious that the company's brand and reputation are on show and they act accordingly."  

Notable practitioners  

Fiona East heads the practice and is a key contact.

Professional Discipline - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Liverpool, London, Birmingham

What the team is known for Respected for its regulatory defence work in the healthcare and legal services sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very responsive and very flexible." 

Work highlights Acted for the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund in an application for judicial review on behalf of a disbarred lawyer. This related to procedures used by the Bar Standards Board in disciplinary proceedings.  

Notable practitioners  

John Mitchell handles complex misconduct cases arising in the healthcare and legal sectors. Sources praise his conscientious approach.

Tim Lang handles healthcare disciplinary matters. He is described as "collegiate and intellectually strong."

Significant clients Professional Standards Authority, Care Quality Commission, Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust, Metropolitan Police.

Shipping - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office location: Liverpool

What the team is known for Advises ports, shipowners and ship operators on litigious and non-contentious contractual issues. Also acts on wet shipping matters.  

Work highlights Advised Peel Ports Group on the £380 million Liverpool 2 Port Development Project.

Acted for Sunderland Marine on issues arising in the aftermath of the sinking of the 'Wacker Quacker'. 

Notable practitioners  

Mike Burns advises shipowners and operators on a range of matters, including carriage of goods by sea and bill of lading claims. He also advises on transactions such as the sale and purchase of vessels.

Significant clients Allianz Global & Speciality, Bibbly Line Group, Isle of Man Steam Packet, Groves John & Westrup, Sunderland Marine Mutual.  

Social Housing - West Midlands

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.