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DAC Beachcroft LLP


DAC Beachcroft LLP - London
  • Portwall Place
  • Portwall Lane
  • Bristol
  • Bristol
  • UK
  • BS1 6NA
  • Senior Partner Simon Hodson
  • Managing Partner Paul Murray
  • Number of UK partners 222
  • Number of other UK fee-earners 1208

The Firm DAC Beachcroft is a leading international legal business. With over 2,300 people, the firm offers one of the most comprehensive UK legal networks, combined with coverage across Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia-Pacific. The firm provides a full-service across the full range of industry sectors, and is a market leader in health, insurance and real estate. With a flexible approach to resourcing, the firm applies the right mix of legal, commercial and process skills to deliver the right outcome at the right price, for each clients’ individual needs.

Principal Areas of Practice DAC Beachcroft works with clients in a select range of industry sectors, including construction, financial institutions, public sector, retail and hospitality, technology and telecoms, and are market leaders in:
Insurance: The firm’s insurance experts provide a full-service offering, covering both claims and advisory, across the complete spectrum of services from systemised to bespoke. The firm offers a truly market-driven response to client needs, and work with almost all of the world’s leading insurance companies.
Health: Widely recognised as the leading adviser to the UK health and social care sector, the firm’s team of healthcare experts work with the full range of NHS providers and commissioners. The firm also advises independent and public sector providers, suppliers and investors internationally across all disciplines.
Real Estate: The firm’s leading team of real estate experts work with businesses for whom real estate is an investment asset and for whom occupational real estate is a strategic priority. In particular, this includes residential and commercial property companies, investors, funds and lenders.

International As an international law firm DAC Beachcroft provides one of the most comprehensive UK legal networks operating from ten locations in England, Wales and Scotland.
The firm’s legal experts work with clients throughout Europe from offices in Ireland and Spain, as well as working closely with leading law firms in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden.
The areas of work that the firm are expert in include commercial, competition and regulatory, corporate, dispute resolution, employment and pensions, healthcare and clinical risk, personal injury and claims, public law, and real estate.
Furthermore, DAC Beachcroft has offices in Singapore and New Zealand, which are a fully integrated part of the firm’s global team, providing both domestic and international support in particular to insurance clients. The firm also has a close relationship with Malaysian law firm Gan Partnership, based in Kuala Lumpur, providing insurance and reinsurance clients with a combination of DAC Beachcroft’s experience within the international insurance and reinsurance sector and Gan Partnership’s Malaysian law capability and first-class commercial and dispute resolution capabilities in Malaysia.
With market-leading insurance and dispute resolution practices in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Spain, and local lawyers based in its London office, DAC Beachcroft is uniquely placed to advise throughout Latin America. This provides the firm with an unrivalled local presence in the three most important LatAm Insurance markets. Additionally, the firm has developed in Brazil a close working relationship with JBO Advocacia and Wongtschowski & Zanotta who specialise in corporate and commercial work and have worked with JBO Advocacia for a number of years. The firm also works with a network of leading local lawyers in other key LatAm jurisdictions, including Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Uruguay.
Within India, the firm works closely with leading Indian business law firm KS Partners (formerly Khaitan Jayakar Sud & Vohra) which has a presence in New Delhi and Mumbai, enabling DAC Beachcroft to provide its major international clients operating in India with a high quality and consistent service from both a domestic and international perspective.
The firm also has a further relationship with Canadian firm McCague Borlack, enabling it to provide a comprehensive service for major insurer clients on both sides of the Atlantic and as an international member of the Harmonie Group, DAC Beachcroft has extensive coverage throughout North America and Europe. Furthermore, in January 2014, the firm opened a representative office in New York in order to deliver our multi-jurisdictional insurance, international litigation and arbitration capabilities

  • Insurance David Pollitt
  • Health Nigel Montgomery
  • Real Estate Michael Bothamley
  • Construction Michael Blackburne
  • Financial Institutions Nick Gibbon
  • Public Sector Stephen Hocking / Judith Barnes
  • Retail & Hospitality Sue Jenkins
  • Technology & Telecoms Tim Sewart / Reg Dhanjal
  • Claims Solutions Bill Paton
  • Corporate & Commercial John Willaims
  • Dispute Resolution Wendy Hopkins
  • Employment & Pensions Paula Cole
  • Global David Pollitt
  • Real Estate Robert Lee


Construction - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Well known for construction-related professional negligence matters, as well as work in the health sector. Also has recent experience of utilities and waste-to-energy projects.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have an excellent pool of resources in different specialisms."

"They are an integral part of our team. They are placing risk where it can be best managed and interpreting the risks into a contract."

Work highlights Advised MW High Tech Projects on the engineering, procurement and construction contract for a £70 million waste-to-energy project.

Acted for Bristol Water after a framework contractor working on network maintenance went into administration.

Notable practitioners  

Benjamin Thornycroft is head of department and a contractual and procurement specialist. He acts for a range of public and private sector clients. One client states: "He is able to overcome problems, offer solutions and deliver results whilst at the same time being a very pleasant person to work with."

Ben Thomas specialises in non-contentious construction advice, including waste-to-energy projects. He is described as "exceptionally diligent."

Significant clients Aviva Insurance, Catlin Insurance, Deeley Freed Estates, Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Mail.

Corporate/M&A - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Particularly known for its work in the healthcare sector. Its practice includes equity fundraisings and restructurings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They met all of our deadlines and the deadlines of the target company to make sure we completed the deal in a very expeditious manner."

"Their advice was clear and understandable."  

Work highlights Advised Zebra Technologies on its USD25 million investment into ZBD Displays, now called Displaydata.

Assisted Ocean Thermal Energy with a fundraising of £8 million and an ongoing £110 million project debt and preference raise for Baha Mar.

Notable practitioners  

Peers say department head John Williams has a "very good reputation." He has recently been involved with a number of equity fundraisings, including Ocean Thermal Energy's £8 million fund-raising.

The "unflappable" Michael Pearce's practice includes equity fundraising and corporate governance issues. Clients reserve particular praise for his dedication to their matters.

Significant clients Shore Capital, St. James's Place, MITIE, McAfee, Spire Healthcare.

Employment - South West

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

What the team is known for Significant experience in employment cases involving market-leading financial services, healthcare and public sector entities. Well versed in transactional and contentious employment matters, including High Court litigation and complex industrial action cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers were very valuable at the early stages of our project - they were keen to make sure the plan was the right one, which made it run smoothly. The team on the project really understood our business."

"They give very sensible and pragmatic advice and they are first-rate in terms of client service."

What's new? Added clients including Bristol Music Trust, The Bar Council and South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to its roster.

Work highlights Assisted Lancashire County Council with the complex employment law issues associated with the letting of a contract to a third party.

Advised the Bristol Music Trust on the employment aspects of its takeover of the Bristol Arts & Music Services.

Notable practitioners  

Alex Lock remains a standout employment practitioner, noted for his extensive experience of contentious employment matters. Clients are forthcoming in their praise of his practice: "Straightforward and honest - he tells it like it is, including what the potential pitfalls are, and where I can take risks. He has got to know my style of work. He also knows how to nicely slaughter the opposition in a tribunal - it's impressive!" 

Katy Horner impresses clients with her healthcare-focused employment practice, offering experience of medical disciplinary cases, complex restructuring programmes, and industrial action matters involving front-line medical staff.

Significant clients Everything Everywhere, Vodafone, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Zurich, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

Environment - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Significant expertise handling matters such as contaminated land, waste and regulatory issues. Acts for clients across areas such as insurance, education, health and property.

Work highlights Represented Hanson and CDF (Chipping Sodbury) in an appeal against HMRC charging the aggregates levy on materials to create a development platform in an exhausted section of quarry.

Advised Linden & Wates Developments on environmental issues in its proposed redevelopment of the Frythe building in Hertfordshire.

Notable practitioners  

Anne Harrison receives praise for her "intelligent and practical approach to cases. She has a very good understanding of the whole process and she's very client-oriented." Her practice covers work including prosecutions and transactions for clients in property and health.

Significant clients Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Taylor Wimpey, Crest Nicholson, Anderson Group, Zurich.

Information Technology - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 17 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Noted for its expertise in healthcare sector IT procurement and outsourcing. Also handles significant transactional issues for commercial clients, typically on the purchaser side. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"DAC Beachcroft not only understand what we need to do, but can see things from our perspective and become part of the team."

"They have the expertise. They are safe hands for any level of complexity and any scale of deal."

Work highlights Advised East Sussex County Council on a £30 million procurement project for a unified voice and data centre.

Acted for radiology information system provider Healthcare Software Systems on IT contracts with NHS bodies.

Notable practitioners 

Helen Simpson acts for NHS bodies and suppliers of software to the healthcare sector on transactional matters. Clients regard her as "very bright and straight to the point."

Alan Pratt leads the TMT group. He typically advises purchasers on software transactions and IT outsourcings. Clients say: "He is particularly good at understanding what the client's issue is, putting himself in our shoes and making sure we're protected in the right way."

Significant clients Fidelity, UDG Healthcare, Vertex, AXA, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS.

Litigation - Bristol and surrounds

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

What the team is known for General commercial litigation offering, combined with core expertise in the financial services sector. Acts for a number of large insurers and investment banks.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They look at matters objectively and with a good degree of impartiality in order to give the best advice."

Work highlights Represented Equifax in an appeal arising from a £600,000 professional negligence dispute.

Assisted DTZ with recovering £5.1 million of mistaken payments from various sources.  

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Ben Daniels concentrates his practice on the financial services and telecoms sectors. He has particular expertise in fraud and urgent injunction work. Clients appreciate his pragmatism and "focus on practical solutions," with one commenting: "He's very good at isolating the critical issues."

Dan Preddy specialises in financial services litigation, regulatory investigations and FSA enforcement. He has expertise in cross-border disputes and arbitration.

Head of the firm's international insurance group David Pollitt has extensive experience handling international disputes. Others in the market comment:"He is extremely savvy, knows what he's talking about and is a tough opponent."

Significant clients Vodafone, Zurich, AXA, St James's Place, Royal Mail.

Planning - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Represents a broad array of clients in significant residential, retail and infrastructure mandates. Highly regarded for its depth of expertise in developments in the healthcare sector.

Work highlights Represented Torfaen County Borough Council in a Section 106 agreement relating to a call-in by the Welsh Ministers of a coal extraction and land remediation project.

Acted for Crest Strategic Projects on the Tadpole Farm mixed-use scheme in North Swindon.

Notable practitioners  

Anne Harrison is "pretty pragmatic - you know there's going to be a sensible dialogue with her," say interviewees. She is highly regarded for her handling of complex negotiations and significant mandates in a wide spectrum of areas.

Significant clients Deeley Freed Estates, Crest Nicholson, Taylor Wimpey, Linden Homes, NHS Property Services.

Professional Negligence - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 17 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Pre-eminent practice which handles a varied and mixed caseload, with a wealth of recent experience on lender and solicitor claims. Other areas of expertise include construction professionals, financial services and property consultants.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They do an excellent job of client handling and they are good at providing extra services."

"The firm is outstanding and gives us the the attention we need."

Notable practitioners  

Marcus Campbell has a strong reputation in the field with a wealth of experience on insurance broker cases. He frequently works with market-leading insurers including recent work with Markel, Zurich and Catlin.

Helen Faulkner leads the firm's highly successful claims handling unit. She is praised by sources for her work in that area, with one noting her as being "extremely efficient and making claims very easy."

Helen Staines is an experienced practitioner who predominantly works on negligence claims against solicitors. Her recent caseload includes a number of claims relating to the Right to Buy.

Marcus Thomson is an experienced practitioner who routinely works with insurers on large-scale, sensitive matters. He specialises in allegations of negligence by solicitors. Sources describe him as an "excellent technical lawyer."

Phillip Roberts is a qualified civil engineer and specialises in construction-related negligence claims. One impressed source remarks: "You always feel like you are getting two professionals for the price of one. He can think like a builder on technical and complicated litigation."

Significant clients Aviva, Zurich, DTZ, QBE, Libra Managers.

Real Estate - Bristol and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 32 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Particularly active in the house builder market on residential developments and strategic acquisitions. Also noted for its asset management practice, acting for several major shopping centre clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're proactive and commercially aware, and they don't see their job as just ticking boxes. They understand the client's need to get the deal done and they facilitate that."

"Exceptionally good at delivering on time."  

What's new? Gained Taylor Wimpey as a client.

Work highlights Acted for Santander on numerous commercial property lending matters, involving investment and development finance of an approximate total of £100 million. 

Acted for Curo Group on its acquisition of a former Ministry of Defence site in Fox Hill in Bath.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Bothamley is frequently instructed by public and private clients on major development projects. Sources comment that he is "a very able lawyer."

Head of department Graham Brothwood is respected by peers for his landlord and tenant work, and specialises in commercial development. His clients include EE and Carillion Richardson.

Significant clients Westfield Group, Linden Homes, Clarks Shoes, Zurich, Lend Lease.

Real Estate Litigation - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 4 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Notable strength in retail work, boasting an impressive array of clients. Handles work including strategic portfolio asset management, lease enforcements, rent reviews and lease renewals.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They're excellent - they really think around problems." 

Work highlights Assisted Westfield Group with several asset management issues for Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City and Merry Hill including advice on lease enforcement, lease interpretation and high-value rent reviews.

Acted for Johnson Service Group on project managing and disposals concerning the downsizing of the Project Tree retail estate.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Nicholas Knapman is described by sources as "a fantastically hard-working, considerate and thorough litigator." He is well versed in representing retail clients in areas such as rent reviews and lease terminations.

Significant clients Lend Lease, EE, Clarks Shoes, Zurich, Brighthouse.

Restructuring/Insolvency - South West

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Bristol

What the team is known for Provides wide-ranging insolvency and restructuring advice to its international client base. Draws upon complementary expertise in tax, banking and employment to offer clients a full-service approach.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team provide a superb level of service; proactive, thoughtful and cost-effective."

"They offer unparalleled client care, and their technical service is of exceptional quality." 

"As a group, they have a deep understanding of what drives client satisfaction."

Work highlights Advised the administrators of the seven companies in the Unity Mining Group on the group's restructuring and sale.

Advised the administrators of Bristol Foundation Housing on the restructuring of the company's debts and finances and its subsequent exit from administration.

Notable practitioners  

Sources highlight Giles Hindle for his "thoughtful and commercial approach" as well as his "concise and sensible advice." He acts in corporate insolvencies and restructurings, representing a range of clients, one of whom particularly rates him for his "rigorous analysis" of issues.

Kevin Hawthorn is praised by market sources for his "commercialism, client care skills and technical know-how." He represents clients in contentious and non-contentious insolvencies, as well as personal bankruptcies, and is recognised as a "tenacious litigator."

Significant clients KPMG, Cork Cully, Leonard Curtis, Royal Mail Group, Eaton.

Employment - National Leaders (outside London)

What the team is known for An impressive practice with notable employment teams located throughout England. Regularly works with both public and private sector clients, with its work for the latter focused on handling a broad range of matters for NHS trusts. Its private sector clients include blue-chip companies such as EE, Zurich, Royal Mail, McDonald's and Unilever. Ranked offices in Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

Notable practitioners  

Sue Jenkins is the main contact for the firm. 

Clinical Negligence - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 11 partners
- 65 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acts for numerous insurers in the private market as well as the NHSLA and MDU in connection with complex, high-value clinical negligence claims. Has developed a strong track record for its handling of prominent group actions, including product liability cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"It's a very knowledgeable team, which is quick to respond and very accessible."

"They are the shining example of how to run a defence case." 

What's new? In May 2013, the firm's healthcare team secured places on all three of the NHSLA's clinical liability, non-clinical liability and healthcare, regulatory and disciplinary panels.

Work highlights Instructed on behalf of the NHSLA to defend a claim brought against Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust regarding alleged hospital negligence for the untimely discharge of a patient who proceeded to set himself on fire and in consequence suffered an above-knee amputation. 

Notable practitioners  

Matthew McGrath continues to be respected as "top of the tree" in clinical negligence, commanding universal respect for his first-rate technical abilities. He is an expert on both clinical negligence and health service law. 

David Weatherburn is a long-standing representative of the NHSLA and various health clients in the private sector. Commentators hold him in high regard, noting that he "runs a proactive and efficient team."  

The firm's health sector leader, Nigel Montgomery, is commended for his work on behalf of the NHSLA and other medical defence bodies. He has wide-ranging expertise relating to cerebral palsy claims, oncology, paediatrics and plastic surgery.

Paul Taylor focuses on catastrophic injury claims, such as birth injuries, spinal injuries and fatal accident cases. Peers praise the high quality of his work, and describe him as a "very experienced" and "pragmatic" practitioner who "prepares thoroughly" and "runs his cases well."

Heather Durston-Hillyer's areas of focus include wrongful birth claims and birth injury matters relating to cerebral and Erb's palsy. She frequently acts on behalf of NHS trusts and health authorities, as well as the MDU and private health companies.

Head of the firm's Bristol department, Rachel Roberts-Jenkins commands respect as a clinical negligence specialist who "applies her own mind" to claims. She has considerable experience handling high-value, multiple defendant and birth injury cases.

Simon Wortley has "dozens of years of experience" in defending clinical negligence claims and is a particular expert on cauda equina cases. Simon leads the firm's Manchester team.

Significant clients NHSLA, MDU, Dental Defence Union.

Projects - UK-wide

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

What the team is known for Notable depth across the social infrastructure field. Represents a range of clients, including public sector bodies, in areas such as education, health and prisons. Also experienced in the waste and transport fields.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're superb - very responsive, and they work to tight timelines. They're a really trusted resource within our organisation's commercial decision-making."

"They provide accuracy and speed of response, and we're very happy with the quality of work produced."

What's new? New client wins include Department of Health, Rochdale Metropolitan Council and Centro.

Work highlights Advised MW High Tech Projects UK on a £70 million energy-from-waste project.

Advised the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the implementation of and variations to a PFI project.

Notable practitioners 

Martin Cannon heads the department and is a key contact.

Significant clients Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, SGP Property & Facilities Management, Bradford City Council, Somerset County Council, Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council.