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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
  • Number of partners 155 
  • Total staff 1265

THE FIRM Weightmans is a top 45 law firm with offices in Birmingham, Dartford, Glasgow, Knutsford, Leicester, Liverpool, London and Manchester, employing more than 1200 staff.
The firm offers a substantial and diverse range of commercial services for public sector bodies, large institutions, owner managed businesses and PLCs.Weightmans has a formidable reputation and heritage in insurance and has an impressive reputation in the public sector market acting for many local, police and fire authorities and a range of NHS trusts.Weightmans also offer a full family and private client service including wills, tax, probate and residential conveyancing.
Weightmans is a national firm with international reach with an extensive informal network of law firms in most foreign jurisdictions courtesy of its membership of Legalink.

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF WORK The firm’s practice is structured into three key areas – insurance, commercial and public sector.
Weightmans has a formidable reputation and heritage in insurance litigation in which the firm is a leading national player. Weightmans handles all sizes of claims for many leading insurers and their clients across a broad range of disciplines and in all offices. From handling slips and trips to professional negligence work, untangling reinsurance disputes, running strategic litigation and test cases and help with the challenges posed by the MOJ reforms it provides a full-service to the industry and its insureds. However, the firm’s activities are not restricted to traditional measures.With designated rapid processing teams and third party assistance innovations, it is investing in technological and process partnerships to enable clients to deal with the challenges ahead. Key clients include Zurich, MIB, Co-Operative Insurance, AXA Corporate Solutions and AIG.
Weightmans commercial business comprises teams specialising in corporate transactions, commercial contracts (including IT, media, data protection and intellectual property), commercial dispute resolution, debt recovery, employment, real estate, construction and engineering, corporate manslaughter, health and safety prosecution and defence. The firm’s work in these areas has shown significant growth in the last three years. The firm has a strong family law and private client service with a formidable reputation in the market. Clients of the commercial business line include public companies, privately owned institutions and owner managed businesses as well as public sector and regulatory bodies.
The firm has a strong and fast growing reputation in the public sector market, acting for many local, police and fire authorities, all offering a wrap-around support service covering all local authority work.Weightmans acts for several large local authority consortia and help individual local authorities across the country. It also has specialist expertise in Fire authority work and is expanding its offer for schools and other education bodies. Weightmans’ Police Team is the largest in private practice in the UK and the only to be appointed to all four lots of the National Police Framework.
Weightmans’ national Healthcare Team has been undertaking NHSLA clinical negligence work since 1998 and has been on the NHSLA panel since 2001. The firm’s Healthcare Advisory Team advises around 150 NHS clients and undertakes work on behalf of a number of consortia. The team consists of legal specialists with expertise in clinical negligence, healthcare law, mental health law, primary care law, NHS and public law, employment law, property law and contract and commercial law.

  • Corporate Paul Raftery
  • Media & IP John Schorah
  • Commercial Litigation & Debt Recovery Andrew Cox
  • Employment Stuart Jones
  • Health & Safety David Lewis
  • Clinical Negligence & Healthcare Richard Jolly, Vicky Morris, Tony Yeaman
  • Professional Negligence Mike Grant
  • Insurance Litigation & Defendant PI Kieran Jones
  • Public Sector Simon Goacher
  • Commercial Property Karl Jackson
  • Construction Charlie Tomlinson
  • Social Housing Sian Evans
  • Transport Chris Ball
  • Police Martin Forshaw
  • Shipping Phil James
  • Family & Private Client Carole Atkinson
  • Competition Laurence Pritchard
  • Information Technology Sean Crotty
  • Insolvency Michael Green
  • Procurement Martin Vincent
  • Real Estate Litigation Sian Evans
  • Partnerships Richard Corran


  • 2nd Floor,
  • 6 New Street Square,
  • New Fetter Lane,
  • London,
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • EC4 3BF
  • Tel (020) 7822 1900
  • Fax (020) 7822 1901
  • First Floor,
  • Three Piccadilly Place,
  • Manchester,
  • Lancashire
  • UK
  • M1 3BN
  • Tel (0161) 233 7330
  • Fax (0161) 233 7331
  • DX 743520 Manchester 65
  • St Philips Point,
  • Temple Row,
  • Birmingham,
  • West Midlands
  • UK
  • B2 5AF
  • 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 Business Park,
  • 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

Professional Negligence - London (Firms)

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

What the team is known for Routinely instructed by insurers on construction disputes. Advising on negligence claims related to significant projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client: "Weightmans' service is excellent. Members of the team are always willing to be flexible to provide the service required."

Value for money: "The team is really good at providing value for money advice on construction matters." 

Work highlights Defended the estate agency and surveyors Salter Rex on the alleged overvaluation of a number of properties.

Notable practitioners  

Quentin Fox has the rare combination of being "technically good whilst at the same time being commercially and strategically sound." He has carved out a reputation for himself in defending architects, engineers, and other construction professionals.

Significant clients HCC International Insurance, HCC Underwriting Agency, WSP Cel.

Employment - Midlands

Basic facts about the department

- Office locations ranked: Birmingham

What the team is known for Expertise in the leisure and hospitality industries, to which it offers dedicated HR services. Also active in the education and social housing sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "What's different about them is their level of commerciality: they take an incredibly commercial approach."

Technical ability: "Consistent service, and the thing I like about them is I can speak to a specialist. I asked a question that had specialist elements and they were quick to bring in the right people."

Work highlights Advised Pretemps on claims made under the Agency Worker Regulations.

Performed a policy and procedure review for Guoman & Thistle Hotel Management and provided training for managers based on these new guidelines.

Notable practitioners  

Tim Lang is head of the Birmingham employment team

Significant clients Coventry Building Society, Housing 21, Whitbread Group, Nuffield Health, TGI Friday. 

Banking & Finance - North West

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for Sustains a solid practice with a strong focus on real estate finance. Notable for its expertise in marine and insurance work.

What's new? Weightmans gained new clients TxtLoan and Finance Wales.

Work highlights Acted for Pochin's on the £1 million sale of Pochin Concrete Pumping to Alcedo.

Advised First Step Group on its negotiations to obtain a loan facility from the Homes & Communities Agency.

Notable practitioners  

Mike Yardley is the head of department and was lead partner on the majority of the team's significant transactions this year. He is well liked by his peers and retains a strong client base across the North West.

Construction - North West

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

What the team is known for A well-respected practice with a strong regional presence. The team is known for its work in the education and transport sector.

What's new? New clients include Willmott Dixon, Matrix Control Solutions and the University of West London.

Work highlights Advised Ask Developments on construction contracts in connection with the development of the £200 million Cultural Hub in Manchester.

Acted for Peel Ports on a range of contractor agreements relating to the construction of a deep water port in Liverpool.

Notable practitioners  

Charles Tomlinson is well regarded by peers and heads the construction team at the firm. He leads on key transactional and contentious matters, and his clients include the University of Liverpool and Transport for Greater Manchester.

Kenneth Salmon is a consultant in the team. He is active on contentious matters and is experienced in litigation, mediation and arbitration.

Significant clients DCT Civil Engineering, Capita, Amec Earth & Environmental Limited, Co-operative Group.

Corporate/M&A - North West

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

What the team is known for Undertakes transactional work on behalf of regional SMEs. Known for representing start-ups in the technology sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Availability: "They were always available to us and would respond at all times, even on the weekend."

Clarity: "They were very good at putting advice in layman's terms."

What's new? Simon Wallwork has joined the corporate team as part of the firm's acquisition of Semple Fraser's Manchester office.

Robert Turnbull joined the firm from DWF in 2013.

Work highlights Advised Bibby Marine on the acquisition of Osiris Hydrographic and Geophysical Projects.

Represented Blue Fountain Systems in an equity investment in Scraperwiki.

Notable practitioners  

John Schorah is, according to one client, "pragmatic, easy to follow and possessed of a firm understanding of the commercial realities that underpin our business."

Paul Raftery heads the corporate practice group at the firm. He recently advised Greater Manchester Arts Centre on the merger of the Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company.

Robert Turnbull focuses his corporate practice on joint ventures and M&A. Clients describe him as "calm, bright and very experienced." He joined the firm from DWF in 2013.

Significant clients Bangor University, Liverpool City Council, Capita Insurance, Blue Fountain Systems.  

Employment - North West

Basic facts about the department

- 16 partners nationwide
- 36 lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for Equally active in the private and public sectors, with a strong focus on retail, hotels and leisure as well as maintaining a solid NHS client base.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Dedicated support: "They are very helpful and get back to me very quickly. If they don't know the answer, they'll go and find out. It's very much a partnership approach."

Reputation: "A major force to contend with." 

Work highlights Acts as sole representative of Royal Mail Group in employment tribunals nationally.

Notable practitioners  

Martin Edwards is often engaged in complex business transactions and is renowned for his expertise in the field and technical proficiency.

Mark Hatfield represents various public and private sector establishments and is active within a number of industries including healthcare. 

Significant clients Bibby Group, The Co-operative Group, Liverpool Mutual Homes, Housing 21, Whitbread.

Family/Matrimonial - North West

Basic facts about the department

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

What the team is known for Well established as a leader in this field across the North West. Offers specialist advice on a full range of family matters, from contested, high-value financial proceedings to prenuptial agreements, cohabitation disputes and private law children matters from offices in Manchester, Liverpool and Knutsford.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)  
Client service: "I appreciated their professional yet compassionate attitude, attention to detail, and their evident experience in the field."

Bench strength: "They have a very broad spectrum of solicitors and are far from generic in their approach, which is a very good strength for a firm."

Notable practitioners  

Carole Atkinson is head of the family team and works out of the Liverpool office. She specialises in high-value financial proceedings, often with international elements, and has an increasingly active practice advising on premarital agreements. She also sits as a Deputy District Judge.

Emma Collins is widely praised as being incredibly hard-working and intelligent. She leads the team in the Manchester office, and focuses her own practice on complex financial and children disputes. She is collaboratively trained, and is highly regarded by her clients for her representation of her interests in their cases.

Tina Dunn is described by peers as "proactive in representing her clients" and also operates out of the Manchester office. She has a particular expertise in complex financial matters, often with notable business and company law implications.

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 Developing practice focused on non-contentious work. Works with a range of public and private sector clients across the UK.

Work highlights Advised Derbyshire County Council on a social care IT system procurement.

Acted for Cybertill in the preparation of its standard conditions for its cloud e-business service.

Notable practitioners  

Sean Crotty is the head of department.

Significant clients Motor Insurers' Bureau, Derbyshire County Council, Insurance Fraud Bureau, Cybertill, Wirral MBC.

Litigation - North West

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

What the team is known for Represent sophisticated clients across a broad array of complex disputes. Recognised for strength in insurance matters and real estate litigation as well as public sector expertise.

Work highlights Acting on behalf of a claimant investor in a £6.5 million fraud action against a property developer involving misappropriation of funds.

Represented John Morphet and Waterloo Place Property Fund in a breach of trust matter against the managers of a £13 million investment scheme for a large Edinburgh hotel.

Notable practitioners

Michael Green has notable experience in IT and technology claims. Sources note he "always has a clear plan of the strategy he is going to use in order to extract the result required."

Significant clients Bibby Distribution, Baker Tilly, Link Direct, WSR Recycling, SHS International.

Professional Negligence - North West

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

What the team is known for Handles a large number of high-value claims, frequently for high-profile clients. Clients benefit from a varied group of specialists offering quality advice, particularly on construction matters.

Notable practitioners  

Patrick Gaul is praised extensively, with peers expressing their "highest regard for him," and describing him as "very sharp, very capable" and "a lawyers' lawyer." Clients find that there is "a real integrity and humanity about him. He has a real feel for the human side of the case and the foibles of individuals. He's a pleasure to work with – a real man of integrity."

Mike Grant heads the department and the construction team, and deals with top clients within this sector. He has been busy handling a number of high-value claims of late.

Mickaela Fox has recently been focusing on claims involving solicitors and lenders. A personal highlight is a recent instruction by a top firm that involves highly intricate issues.

Significant clients Bar Mutual, Travelers, Marketform, Hannover, Libra.

Real Estate - North West

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

What the team is known for A strong offering in residential development work, advising notable house builder clients. Also has sector expertise in the areas of retail, finance and regeneration, and has the capability to serve healthcare clients.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They fully understand the business and our varying needs and requirements on each legal matter, which makes them a very valuable member of my team."

What's new? New client wins include Glyndwr University and London University Purchasing Consortium.

Work highlights Advised Greater Manchester Arts Centre on its proposed move to new premises in First Street, Manchester.

Advised Bruntwood on all aspects of managing its £100 million, 11-building property portfolio in Liverpool.

Notable practitioners

Clive Bleasdale advises public and private sector clients on large-scale commercial property developments. He also has expertise in site acquisitions, leasing and property management work.

Karl Jackson leads the real estate team. He works on all aspects of non-contentious commercial property matters and is an acknowledged expert in urban regeneration.

Significant clients Co-operative Group, Peel Holdings, Barratt, Royal Mail Group, David Wilson Homes.

Real Estate Litigation - North West

Basic facts about the department
-1 partner
-6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Provides national portfolio management advice, and advises a key client base on all contentious property matters, including landlord and tenant disputes, lease issues and dilapidation claims.

What's new? Associate Peter Hall has joined the firm. 

Recent client wins include the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Notable practitioners 

Sian Evans's practice is divided between residential and commercial clients. She is particularly adept at handling social housing matters, and is recognised for her stellar expertise in housing management.

Peter Hall recently joined the firm as an associate. He has a broad litigation practice and primarily represents commercial clients.

Significant clients The Co-operative Group, Royal Mail Group, Post Office, RSA, Bibby Distribution.

Restructuring/Insolvency - North West

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

What the team is known for Strength in insolvency and turnaround matters. Particular expertise in personal insolvency cases. Regularly provide distressed corporate clients with advice on restructuring, turnaround and insolvency issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Industry knowledge: "Very impressive, particularly in the insolvency recovery market where we would certainly call on their expertise again."

Work highlights Advised on a winding-up petition for London Authorities Mutual, and subsequently acted for the provisional liquidators of the company.

Advised Baker Tilly as liquidators of The Fire and Rescue Authorities Mutual, on various aspects related to the liquidation including the winding-up process and the exit from liquidation.

Notable practitioners  

Clients and peers agree that Michael Green "is a good solid lawyer" with a high profile in the Liverpool market. He was lead partner on the London Authorities Mutual case.

Significant clients Deloitte, Mazars, BDO, Begbies Traynor, Leonard Curtis.

Social Housing - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool

What the team is known for Governance, finance, employment and transactional expertise in relation to housing clients. Widely noted for its strong housing management practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Responsiveness: "Speed and turnaround time are great strengths for them."

Industry knowledge: "They know social housing really well and provide solutions from a position of authority and experience."

What's new? A wide array of new panel appointments, including Housing 21 and North West Housing Services.

Work highlights Continues to act for Arena Housing Group on all employment and housing management matters, recently achieving the client's first anti-social behaviour injunction against a shared ownership leaseholder.

Acted for Halton Housing Trust in its purchase of land for the development of housing for those requiring additional care.

Notable practitioners  

Team head Sian Evans is described as "really pragmatic" and "someone you can rely on to take strategic decisions." She recently led a team that obtained anti-social behaviour injunctions for Arena Housing Group. "She can smooth out any issue and is very, very-quality focused," said one client. 

Transactional property lawyer Sheila Whitton also receives praise. "She's really devoted to this sector," states one source, while another simply put it: "I know I can rely on her." Recent work highlights include property acquisitions for a national provider.

David Percival boasts more than two decades of experience working in this sector. He focuses his practice on development projects and has recently acted for Halton Housing Trust and Golden Gates Housing Trust on land acquisitions for development. Sources say he is "super responsive" and has "long-standing experience in the sector."

Significant clients Liverpool Mutual Homes, Knowsley Housing Trust, Regenda Group, Symphony Housing Group, Guinness Partnership.

Since publication, David Percival has joined Clarke Willmott LLP

Clinical Negligence - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 27 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations recommended: London, Birmingham, Liverpool

What the team is known for Particularly well regarded for cases of a high-profile, sensitive nature. Enters the top tier of the Chambers rankings following a strong year acting for a wide range of defence organisations, including numerous group action cases.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "This firm gives me everything I want - there is an approachability that is consistent across the team, and they give quick advice."

Technical ability: "Weightmans offers the whole package! What we look for is quick advice, but not off-the-cuff. We are always confident in the advice we are given."

What's new? In May 2013, the firm won a place on the NHS Litigation Authority's clinical liability panel following a competitive tender.

Work highlights Represented a prominent medical defence organisation in a £500,000 claim concerning the prescription of carbamazepine during a mother's pregnancy, allegedly leading to her child developing injuries.

Acted for the Health Protection Agency in a series of claims stemming from a major outbreak of E.Coli 0157 at Godstone Farm, Surrey, in 2009.

Notable practitioners  

Sarah Ellington rises to the top band of this year's rankings after receiving widespread admiration for her clinical negligence practice. Sources are quick to praise her, saying: "She's excellent – she's very intelligent and gives practical advice." She works closely with a broad range of medical defence bodies.

Vicky Morris is a highly regarded clinical negligence lawyer at Weightmans, drawing accolades for her responsive and communicative nature in particular. She moves up in this year's table thanks to her wide-ranging caseload, involving numerous high-value, complex defences.

According to interviewees, Anthony Yeaman is "rightly well regarded, as he provides an outstanding service" to his clients. He is the national leader of the Weightmans clinical negligence team, and brings over 25 years of healthcare law experience to the practice.

Rena Field remains a respected figure in the clinical negligence field, with extensive experience of obstetric cases.

Sources state that Beth Buchanan has "a formidable grasp of detail, and keeps to the bigger picture" in clinical negligence cases. She remains an active figure in the market.

Deborah Bannister enters the rankings this year as a rising star of the clinical negligence field, thanks to her "personal, professional and knowledgeable" approach to cases. She brings over 13 years of experience in high-value, multi-claimant cases to the team.

Vanessa Splaine is a well-respected individual based in the firm's London office. She is particularly knowledgeable of complex birth injury and surgery cases.

Rachel Kneale recently joined the team from Hempsons. She is strongly recommended by commentators for her clinical negligence practice. She is particularly known for her expertise in complex birth injury cases.

Significant clients Health Protection Agency, MDDUS, NHSLA, AIG Europe. 

Education - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Expertise in a wide range of areas, such as employment, procurement, property, construction, IP, student matters and corporate governance. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "They provide quick, efficient responses."

Industry knowledge: "A good understanding of client requirements." 

Work highlights Acted for Liverpool Hope University during a significant reorganisation exercise affecting nine departments.

Advised Glyndwr University on constitutional issues affecting the reorganisation of its student guild. 

Notable practitioners  

Clients praise Martin Vincent for his responsiveness and comment that "his advice is excellent." He is experienced in handling a wide range of matters in the education sphere, especially litigation and procurement concerns.

Significant clients Bangor University, Liverpool University, London Metropolitan University, SOAS, Queen Mary, University of London.

Health & Safety - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 3 partners
- 7 qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acts for a wide range of clients, including insurers, manufacturers, energy companies and public agencies. Experts spread across several offices act on inquests, police investigations and prosecutions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Commercial awareness: "The market leaders for innovative health and safety training."

Industry knowledge: "They have served us well and provided a high standard of advice."

Work highlights Advised port operator Stanton Grove on HSE proceedings following the injury of an employee at Tilbury Docks.

Acted for Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council concerning an alleged breach of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005.

Notable practitioners 

Crispin Kenyon had a lead role on the HSE v Stanton Grove matter. "He provided us with excellent service and advice through his knowledge of the subject matter," said one delighted client. Sources say Kenyon is "thorough and effective."

David Lewis chairs the firm's nationwide regulatory group. He acted as lead solicitor for Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council on an alleged breach of the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. Sources describe him as an "able and sensible health and safety litigator."

Christopher Green is applauded as "he definitely looks after his client," "he knows his stuff inside out and he has an astute approach to client representation." He advises public bodies and retailers.

Dewi Ap-Thomas was part of the team defending Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council. "He is always able to provide quality advice," according to clients.

Significant clients Kimberly-Clark, Cammell Laird, Emcor, JCB, Zurich.

Healthcare - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Highly specialised in public sector representations, including NHS governance issues, risk management, litigation and trusts establishment. Frontrunner for services improvements and regulatory matters, as well as medical negligence.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "They are very well organised and decent people to work with."

Industry knowledge: "Their strength is their practical and expert knowledge of healthcare matters, and dealing with problems and meeting department deadlines."

Work highlights Represented Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in a jury inquest into the death of an individual in police custody.

Notable practitioners  

Kiran Bhogal chairs the London healthcare team and has built up expertise in handling judicial review, regulatory issues, inquests and treatment decision challenges for public sector clients. According to sources, she "prepares work very well, is always of high calibre and is extremely reasonable to deal with, even on difficult subjects."

Anthony Yeaman heads the firm's healthcare practice nationally and has advised public sector healthcare clients on various matters, including NHS inquiries, regulatory issues, judicial review and group litigation. 

Significant clients CQC, Professional Standards Authority, Nuffield Hospitals, University Hospitals Bristol FT, Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Healthcare - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 6 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Liverpool, Birmingham, London

What the team is known for Supports NHS bodies on a wide range of mental health-related issues, with particular focuses on judicial reviews, inquests, emergency treatment and investigations. Increasingly instructed on prison health inquests.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Clarity of advice: "Weightmans is excellent, responsive, timely and provides information with the right level of detail."

Work highlights Advised Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust on an application to discharge a best interests assessment order.

Provided emergency advice to a city council and an NHS mental health foundation trust in relation to a submitted application for a writ of habeas corpus, as well as follow-up advice on subsequent damages claim.

Notable practitioners  

Kiran Bhogal heads the department.

Significant clients Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Dorset Healthcare University Hospitals NHS FT, South Essex Partnership NHS FT, Care Quality Commission, Oxleas NHS FT.

Insurance - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 73 partners
- 205 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: London, Birmingham, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for Strong expertise in property damage claims, with additional expertise in marine insurance, political risk and D&O claims. Notable geographic spread, with insurance practitioners spread across its UK offices.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Breadth of services: "The team is absolutely exceptional. They have a real depth of knowledge and a real cross-section of skill sets."

Notable practitioners  

Colin Peck has over two decades' experience in insurance and reinsurance matters, particularly the latter. He wins admiration from the market, with one source stating: "He is utterly committed and tireless in pursuit of his clients' interests. Nothing gets past him in terms of the law or the facts. He's been extremely impressive."

Francis Mackie is highly experienced in a broad range of insurance and reinsurance issues, including those related to political risk, D&O and energy. Sources compliment him as being "relentlessly good-humoured in the face of daunting tasks, and extremely good at handling vast amounts of data and then distilling it to its essence."

Significant clients Zurich, AIG, Ageas, Covéa Insurance, Co-operative Insurance.

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 23 partners
- 43 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Birmingham, Dartford, Knutsford, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester

What the team is known for Has a renowned capacity for litigation, and typically represents local authorities in relation to employment disputes and issues relating to austerity cuts. Transactional expertise includes advice on shared services and outsourcing matters, and establishing joint venture models for income generation.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Pragmatic advice: "The responses are always prompt. The advice is clear, helpful and practical. This reflects the extensive local authority experience within the firm." 

What's new? The team expanded with the arrival of Simon Goacher in 2013 as joint head of department. He brings considerable in-house experience of local authority matters to the table.

Work highlights Represented Derby City Council in a range of matters relating to equal pay measures.

Advises Cambridgeshire Police Authority on a strategic shared services partnership with other police authorities.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Graeme Creer is a nationally known figure in the public sector. He is an expert in governance issues. 

Significant clients North West Legal Consortium, Outer London Boroughs Legal Consortium, Surreywide Legal Alliance, Sussex Consortium.

Media & Entertainment - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for A leading practice in computer games, interactive content and social media matters. Well placed to serve technology clients in the North West and beyond.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "We are very pleased with their performance. We really appreciate the fact that they are readily available whenever we need them."

Work highlights Advised Side on a number of voice talent and motion capture contracts for various actors to guest on blockbuster games titles such as Total War: Shogun 2 and Forza Horizon.

Advised Playrise Digital on funding, licensing and contractor agreements to establish a new mobile games development studio.

Notable practitioners  

John Schorah brings in-house experience of gaming software development. Leading sources in private practice and in the computer games sector attest to his talents. 

Significant clients Ambient Studios, Leading Light Design, Playjam, Relentless Software, Voo Foo Studios.

Partnership - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 6 other fee earners
- Recommended office locations: Manchester, Liverpool

What the team is known for Strong roster of local professional partnership clients, particularly law firms and GP practices.

Work highlights Advised a partner from an insolvent legal practice partner seeking action against his legal advisers following his termination, alleging disability discrimination from the successor firm.

Represented two out of three partners from a law firm LLP in a dispute concerning the conduct of the third partner.

Notable practitioners

Liverpool-based Michael Green heads the department.

Significant clients SGI Law, Stocks Legal, H J Walker Sibia, Graystons Solicitors, Lees Solicitors.

Personal Injury - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 59 partners
- 205 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham London

What the team is known for Highly rated for its RTA work, particularly in complex and high-value catastrophic claims, and for its handling of cross-border claims. Also noted for its expertise in industrial disease and psychiatric injury cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "I've always been very impressed with the high quality of service and advice provided."

Technical ability: "On higher-value work they're very proactive, very sensible and pro-mediation."

Notable practitioners  

In the firm's Liverpool office, David Holt receives widespread acclaim for his handling of catastrophic cases arising from RTAs. He frequently provides strategic advice and guidance for the MIB, amongst others.

Birmingham-based partner Penelope Marshall is a recognised expert in cases against public authorities, regularly defending claims of significant value and technical complexity. One impressed source notes that she is "very good – she has unrivalled experience and judgement when it comes to public authority work."

Kieran Jones is highly regarded for his ability with disease claims, including cases involving mesothelioma and noise-induced hearing loss. He frequently represents Zurich in defence of personal injury claims.

Significant clients Ageas, Covea, Broadspire, Zurich.

Police Law - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Market-leading team in police defence law, offering the complete range of services to forces across England and Wales. Listed on all four National Police Improvement Agency panels.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Market standing: "They are the first people we go to because of their vast experience and ability to work on enormously complex litigation."

Client service: "They are very easy to work with, always bring a fresh approach to the table and are really user-friendly."

What's new? Appointed onto all four national framework panels for the provision of legal services to the police service.

Work highlights Acted for the Metropolitan Police Service defending the prosecution of misconduct proceedings arising out of Commander Dizaei’s criminal convictions for perverting the course of justice.

Represented Sussex Police on an Article 2 inquest into the death of Christopher Allen.

Notable practitioners 

Nick Peel is a key partner and is praised by clients for his "immense experience, shrewd analysis and ability to manage clients very well." Greater Manchester Police and Cheshire Constabulary are key clients and regular work includes high-value operational negligence and misfeasance claims.

Roger Johnston is a partner in the London office and advises South-East forces on risk management improvements. Recent work includes advice on the high-value Christopher Allen inquest.

John Riddell is described by clients as "measured, pragmatic and someone who provides sound advice." One commentator says his key strength is the ability to "put things into sharp focus and get the best results." He is currently acting for the insurers of South Wales Police in the litigation arising from the Lynette White murder case.

Martin Forshaw heads the department and gets unanimous praise from clients, with one commentator saying: "Everyone speaks about him. He has vast experience and is regarded as the number one in the market." Another client agrees he is "shrewd, approachable, and has the knowledge and understanding you need." He works on some of the most high-profile police defence cases in the national press, including James McCarthy v The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.

Hannah Walsh heads the London department, and clients agree she is "really easy to work with and a very helpful and thorough lawyer." Recent work includes advice on the high-value Christopher Allen inquest.

Significant clients Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester Police, North Wales Police, Merseyside Police.

Product Liability - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Proficient across a range of product liability issues, from everyday consumer wares to high-value engineering or construction products. Known for its expansion into injury-related and commercial construction product liability defence work.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Efficiency: "The team is led by an extremely experienced practitioner with a commercial and practical approach to litigation and is a good team to work with. They're on top of relevant issues and are businesslike and commercial in their approach."

Notable practitioners 

Brian Williams is a key contact here.

Professional Discipline - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department

- 10 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Liverpool, London, Birmingham 

What the team is known for Covers a broad spectrum of professional discipline and regulation. Areas include healthcare, police, solicitors, architects and education.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Weightmans provides an extremely professional service, whomever I speak to. The team is always knowledgeable, friendly and willing to help."

Work highlights Acted for the Metropolitan Police Service in misconduct proceedings arising out of former MPS Commander Ali Dizaei’s criminal convictions for misconduct in office and perverting the course of justice.

Notable practitioners  

The highly esteemed John Mitchell is described as "extremely thorough, conscientious and knowledgeable, with an interest in the medical sphere, as well as a grasp of the clinical dimension."

Tim Lang acts for the GMC, and also on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive and the General Teaching Council. He takes a particular interest in claims related to whistle-blowing.

Shipping - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for A broad practice, covering both litigation and commercial work, on a domestic and international basis. Notably strong advising on ports and terminals liability, and also has a wide range of clients, including operators, charterers and P&I clubs.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
Client service: "Weightmans demonstrates a proactive approach and flexibility."

What's new? New client wins include Ford and Peel Ports.

Work highlights Acted for Bibby Ship Management on a high-value tender for provision of ship management services to BP Exploration.

Notable practitioners 

Mike Burns had a lead role on the BP tender matter for Bibby Ship Management. According to one enthusiastic client: "His speed of delivery, his ability to understand what we want, and his ability to challenge and recommend contractual terms and content based on best practice – and to get the contract right first time – have been invaluable to us."

Significant clients Allianz Global & Specialty, AXA Insurance, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Peel Ports, Steamship 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.