Professional recognition for area’s top lawyers

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 1 Dec 2017

GRIMSBY’S leading law firms have been recognised within the prestigious 2017 Legal 500 publication.

The profession’s ‘bible,’ it gives advice on the performance of practices, citing strengths and ranking in tiers of expertise.

Both Wilkin Chapman and Bridge McFarland feature.

For Wilkin Chapman, it has been ranked in 16 practice areas, four of which are Tier One – the very highest you can get.
It includes the firm’s family department, with partners Mark Carlton and Lisa Boileau singled out for leading the team with a ‘solid track record’.

The commercial property department is named for its ‘thorough and knowledgeable’ team, with debt recovery also cited – as an area that displays ‘strength, innovation and experience’.

Agriculture is also a strong area, with the Legal 500 noting how it provides ‘outstanding’ support in a number of areas, including farm diversification and in the renewables sector. Partners Catherine Harris, Flora Bennett, James Lloyd and Jonty Pearson are all mentioned in the Tier One accreditation.

Other individuals mentioned include senior solicitor, Jonathan Baker, who is in the personal injury and clinical negligence team, and praised for combining a ‘sharp, analytical mind with an excellent eye for detail’.

Just last year, Mr Baker was one of the youngest law professionals in the country to be awarded Law Society accreditation, aged just 28. 

He said: “There is no doubt the work of our team can be complex and challenging. However the rewards are most certainly there, when we help people to seek some answers and closure for what can have been a devastating time in their lives. A lot of people also come to us with the determination to act to ensure what they have been through is not experienced by anyone else. Policies can be changed and while it does not alter what has happened to that individual, it can change the future for others.”

Chief executive Des Mannion said: “These rankings are based on totally independent client research and as a result this news is further testament to the fantastic work carried out by all at the firm.

“Coming on the back of yet another appearance in the UK Top 200 (ranked 106th) proves the ability of all within Wilkin Chapman to provide excellent client service, while developing to support the changing needs of businesses both regionally and nationally,” he added.

Bridge McFarland has 11 of its specialist lawyers recognised across five practice areas, with two second tier, a third tier and two fourth tier ratings. 

The survey recommends it for its work on behalf of clinical negligence and personal injury claimants. There are individual references to department head Ian Sprakes, Danielle Barney, Stephen Lambert, Lorraine Taylor, Lynsey Furley, as well as Leanne Keating for claims involving industrial accidents and diseases, and for Kathryn Hudson, singled out for her expertise in claims involving injured seafarers and in handling serious and fatal injuries arising from motorcycle accidents.

James Burrell is recommended for work on cases involving brain and spinal cord injury and amputation. The guide highlights their efficiency in assisting people with “maximum severity” clinical negligence and personal injury claims.

It reports: “Bridge McFarland’s clinical negligence clients recommend the practice without hesitation. It provides an excellent level of service and support, and timely and appropriate advice throughout the case’s lifecycle.”

Lorraine is praised for her “combination of professionalism and ability to make the client feel valued.”

Senior partner, Stephen Lambert, said: “Bridge McFarland has a strong reputation in clinical negligence, personal injury, employment law and litigation. Our team have specialist accreditations in their particular field and this prestigious accolade properly reflects their dedication to achieving the very best for our clients who are always put at the centre of the process.”

Bridge McFarland is recognised in Hull and East Yorkshire for dispute resolution in the area of commercial litigation and for human resources in the employment field.

Specifically, there are recommendations for Rob Ripley in dispute resolution and for Lee Whiting and Nicola Barrass in human resources.

The guide says Rob is “highly regarded” as head of a dispute resolution practice which “has a strong team that inspires confidence in clients.” It adds that the employment law practice “covers the full spectrum of employment law matters, including handling team moves, restrictive covenants and trade union and industrial action issues.”

TUPE transfer issues are described as a “particular strength” of the team, with Lee, as department head, recommended for sector expertise in transport and logistics, healthcare and construction, and Nicola described as a “key figure” with a strong track record handling multi-party litigation around TUPE.

Rob Ripley said: “I’m incredibly proud of our commercial team, many of whom have been personally named in the Legal 500 for their work at Bridge McFarland. The fact that we are already being ranked alongside firms who have been around for well over 100 years and that we have been recognised by our clients and the local business and professional communities in this way is a remarkable achievement.”

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