Bath’s top lawyers have been named in the latest Legal 500, the annual guide that gives a region-by-region breakdown of the UK’s best-performing legal firms and individuals.
The respected publication says this year law firms across the South West have on the whole continued to thrive in an increasingly challenging market dominated by highly-competitive conditions.
The annual directory says the regional market experienced “another tough year in 2012, with the economic uncertainty in the UK making for a difficult and fast-changing legal environment”.
The Legal 500, widely regarded as one of two definitive guides to the sector, names Bath firms Thrings and Withy King among the ‘regional heavyweights’ of the South West – a list dominated by Bristol firms.
It describes Withy King as “well known for its work for high-net-worth individuals and SMEs” while it says of Thrings: “Despite downsizing in Bath, (the firm) has great expertise and coverage along the M4 corridor”.
Withy King is named among the South West’s top firms for insurance in the areas of clinical negligence (claimant) and personal injury (claimant).
In clinical negligence, the firm fields more than a dozen specialist clinical negligence lawyers, according to the guide. It says the ‘hugely experienced’ Simon Elliman heads a team that includes Paul Rumley, ‘an excellent clinical negligence lawyer whose capacity for hard work and eye for detail are unrivalled’.
In personal injury the firm ‘provides an excellent service for clients with personal injury claims’. Practice head Louise Hart has recently handled a number of cases involving chronic pain. Stuart Brazington ‘understands brain and spinal injuries and the complexities they generate’.
Thrings is named as a third-tier South West firm for personal injury (defendant) work with litigator Andrew Herridge singled out for his expertise.
Stone King heads the regional league table for its charity and not-for-profit work with an ‘outstanding’ charity and social enterprise team is at the heart of the firm’s work, and is a real force nationally. Team head Michael King is ‘well known for the depth of his knowledge of the sector’, and associate Alexandra Whittaker is ‘very approachable’. They recently advised an international religious order on its restructuring, and also assisted a charitable company with its new constitution.
Thrings is ranked joint second for corporate and commercial work along the M4 Corridor (outside of Bristol), with three other Bath firms – Mogers Solicitors, Stone King and Withy King – all in the third tier.
The Legal 500 says: “Acting for clients such as Honda and HSBC, Thrings ‘superb’ lawyers provide ‘genuine, sound advice’. Practice head John Davies has ‘the knowledge and tenacity to ensure that deals get done within a tight deadline’. Alex Pyatt recently joined from Withy king.
Tom Webb’s team at Mogers Solicitors acts for clients such as RBS and Oval Homes. The lawyers are ‘very good at listening to and delivering what the client wants’.
Stone King’s corporate and commercial practice benefits from the firm’s pre-eminent reputation in the education and charities sectors, acting for clients such as Dulwich College and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Roy Butler is a key contact.
Withy King “has seen some changes recently, with Alex Pyatt leaving for Thrings and Simon Clegg joining the team, with a background as an adviser to and senior executive in a range of media and technology businesses. David Cavaliero leads the team.”
Stone King, Thrings and Withy King are also ranked among the top firms for commercial litigation along the M4.
Stone King has a team of ‘very pleasant people to do business with’, led by the ‘highly responsive’ Paul Sutton, who is ‘able to offer differing possible courses of action’. The firm has a pre-eminent reputation in the charities and education sectors.
Thrings’ team, led by Simon Holdsworth, has niche expertise in automotive, defence and aerospace disputes. David Patterson is ‘hardworking and imaginative’; and Andrew Herridge ‘achieves success for his clients in the most difficult cases’. Clients include Citipost AMP and Intrinsic Financial Services.
Withy King is commended for its commercialism and tailored service. The team recently represented Bath RFC in complex trust proceedings over the ownership of assets. Chris Kane and Philip Banks-Welshare recommended along with Jessica Bent Jessica, who is ‘excellent in IP and IT cases’.
Withy King and Stone King are ranked joint first for employment law on the M4 Corridor. Nick Watson’s team at Stone King acts for a number of educational institutions, and recently hired John Clarke, former head of employment at Maitland Walker, says Legal 500.
At Withy King, employment head Malcolm Gregory is a ‘first-class negotiator’ who delivers ‘great technical advice in a calm and authoritative manner’. The team acts for blue-chip corporate clients and individuals.
The Legal 500 identifies the following Bath lawyers among its leading individuals practising in the South West:
- Andrew Braithwaite – Thrings (Intellectual property)
- Peter Cusick – Thrings (Agriculture and estates)
- John Clarke – Stone King (Education)
- Simon Elliman – Withy King (Clinical negligence)
- Michael King – Stone King (Charities and not-for-profit)