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Chambers and Partners UK guide to the legal profession

Chambers and Partners 2017

Leigh Day has once more received a glowing recommendation from the Chambers and Partners UK guide to the legal profession 2017, with a top-band ranking in eight areas of practice. In addition, twenty-five Leigh Day partners have been recognised as leading individuals in their fields of expertise, four of whom, Martyn Day, Claire Fazan, Russell Levy and Richard Stein, have been ranked as ‘Star Individuals’.

Administrative and public law

Within administrative and public law Leigh Day maintained its band 1 rating from last year. Team is known for representing claimants and campaigning groups in the full range of domestic and international administrative and public law cases. A notable emphasis on access to justice, including securing funding for legal proceedings and remedies for victims.

Sources state: "We appreciate their attention to detail and their expertise across a wide range of legal areas." 

"They are absolutely spot on at spotting a problem and acting strategically. They are all exceptional."

Individuals: Richard Stein (star individual), Jamie Beagent (band 2), Sean Humber (band 3), Rosa Curling (star associate).

Richard Stein receives stellar praise, with sources describing him as "a legend in public law, who has taken on some of the most important cases in his generation." Commentators also note that "he is a great lateral thinker who is also pretty fearless. He is not afraid to take on really difficult cases which may seem difficult to win and then he goes on to win them. The range of work that he does is extraordinary." 

Jamie Beagent is described as "brilliant: a joy to work with, very level headed, sensible and gets good outcomes for clients. He has a sensible approach focused on clients." His experience includes challenges against immigration detention and planning decisions.

Sean Humber has particular experience representing prisoners in a diverse array of administrative and public law challenges. Interviewees note: "Sean is an extremely intelligent lawyer who has vast experience. His ability is matched by his work ethic and his determination to see things through until completion."

Rosa Curling focuses her administrative and public law practice on domestic and international claims arising in the context of national security. Sources state that "she is incredibly committed and brilliant, both tactically and substantively. She brings such valuable insight, and amazing strategic oversight on cases."

Civil Liberties

Civil Liberties was also awarded a band 1 rating. The team is known for serving an international client base of charities, NGOs and individuals in human rights cases within UK borders and around the world. The firm's practice is comprehensive in scope, with areas of focus ranging from the rights of protesters to trafficking. 

Sources state: "I am continually impressed by the quality of their advice and services, their ingenuity and their attention to detail. They do not shy away from difficult or contentious matters, and always fully take on board the interests of their clients."

"They're thorough, and good at thinking creatively about how to get the best result for the client." 

Individuals: Richard Stein (band 1); Jamie Beagent (band 2); Rosa Curling (star associate), Merry Varney (associate to watch); Sean Humber (band 2 prison law); Benjamin Burrows (band 3 prison law). 

Commentators highlight Richard Stein's "impressive quality of advice," his "ingenuity" and his "attention to detail," commenting that "his instinct is hard to beat." His practice typically involves matters in fields such as free speech, the rights of protesters and the environment.

The "formidable" Jamie Beagent is "very good with clients and thinks outside the box," and is known by sources for his "good tactics and good instincts." Free speech and protesters' rights issues feature heavily in his work, as do cases relating to immigration and detention.

Rosa Curling is "very creative and sees a lot of new opportunities," and is "conscientious, thorough and responds well under pressure," clients note. Her diverse portfolio includes cases relating to forced removal, the death penalty and the war on terror.

Barristers report that Merry Varney is "creative, very proactive and a real delight to work with," with "excellent client-care skills." She is often seen in the context of inquests and cases involving vulnerable adults, including claims for compensation.

Sean Humber focuses his work on the domain of prisons, tackling associated human rights, discrimination and healthcare issues, along with general healthcare and confidence cases. He "gets a good grip of a case and makes it work logistically," sources say.

According to commentators, Benjamin Burrows' "work is of the highest standard." He "explores every angle" and is praised for his "impressive tactical approach." His prison law caseload ranges from wrongful imprisonment and discrimination to health and social care concerns.

Clinical Negligence - claimant

Individuals: Claire Fazan and Russell Levy (star individuals); Henry Dyson and Steve Jones (band 1); Nicola Wainwright and Suzanne White (band 2); Olive Lewin (band 3).

The team is known for superb specialist clinical negligence team with an outstanding reputation for the quality of its advice and client service skills. Offers market-leading expertise on a variety of serious claims including spinal and brain injury cases. Additionally noted for its campaigning on access to justice and patient safety issues.

Sources say "Their hallmark is that they're excellent with the client and really work with them. I think they are really outstanding."

"Probably the top claimant firm in the country in my judgement. They've got an outstanding team." 

"One of the most well-organised and innovative firms." 

Practice head Russell Levy is recognised as an "outstanding litigator" who is "hugely committed to his clients." He has amassed a great wealth of experience in clinical negligence matters, representing claimants in a range of matters including brain injury and birth injury claims.

Claire Fazan is an "absolutely marvellous" practitioner hailed by her commentators as an "outstanding clinical negligence lawyer," and recognised for her "superb judgement." She is highly expert in handling cases pertaining to infant brain injuries and obstetric negligence.

Henry Dyson maintains a strong reputation in the clinical negligence arena, with sources calling him a "top-notch" practitioner. He has expertise in various areas including birth injury cases and adult brain injury claims involving alleged negligence by both public and private physicians.

Suzanne White is an experienced clinical negligence practitioner who is admired by her peers for having "very good litigation instincts." She is noted for her inquest work, appearing on behalf of families. Sources say: "She's very dynamic and very persistent, and a real pleasure to work with."

Nicola Wainwright is an expert on complex cases relating to injuries and diseases suffered by children, including cerebral palsy and meningitis. She is highlighted by sources as "thorough and intelligent in her preparation of complicated cases." 

Olive Lewin is sought after for her significant expertise in this field, supporting claimants in high-value clinical negligence matters ranging from cerebral palsy claims to adult brain damage cases. One enthused source describes her as "fearless and determined, and wonderful with clients."  

Stephen Jones of Leigh Day enjoys a tremendous reputation among interviewees. "He is a really brilliant lawyer in clinical negligence because he knows the medicine, knows the law and is vastly experienced," enthuses one observer. "He has a great eye for detail and is very forensic," says another interviewee, adding: "He has a great tactical brain and I would trust his advice on any element of proceedings."

Education: individuals

The team is known for sophisticated human rights practice with a strong emphasis on education matters including admissions and exclusions reviews and SEN/EHC plans before the First-tier and Upper Tribunals. Routinely instructed by children and parents of children with SEN and disabilities as well as NGOs and charities.

Sources say: "They provide a good, forensic approach to cases and raise good arguments."
 
Charlotte Skouby frequently advises parents of children with SEN in complex human rights appeals and judicial review cases. Observers note that she "has a good relationship with clients." 

Employment: Employee & Trade Union

Individuals: Chris Benson (band 1); Emma Satyamurti (band 3)
 
Market-leading employment team noted for its capabilities in representing group claimants. Praised by interviewees for its representation of individuals against large businesses.

Sources say: "They would be my top firm. Very bright, clever and knowledgeable of the law, with a real client focus."

"Really good, very approachable, and you never feel silly asking a basic question. Very thorough, responsive and efficient. They knew how to use my time effectively and were very good at helping me control my costs."

Head of employment law Chris Benson is a "very good lawyer" focusing on disability, equal pay and pensions claims. He advises trade unions and individual clients on a range of complex discrimination, harassment and equal pay issues. "He knows equality law inside out," reports a source.

Emma Satyamurti specialises in discrimination and whistle-blowing cases. A source praises Satyamurti for "having good judgement and being very bright," adding: "She can run good complex legal arguments and take a pragmatic approach as to what is in the clients' best interests."

Environment

Individuals: Martyn Day & Richard Stein (band 1), Sean Humber, Daniel Leader, Richard Meeran and Shubhaa Srinivasan (band 2)

The team is known for offering extensive resources and expertise in international group claims. Has an impressive breadth of experience, including in relation to actions involving communities in developing countries. Often works with high-profile NGOs and action groups on cases of environmental damage.

Sources say: "The firm has unique knowledge and expertise on business and human rights issues in complex corporate accountability cases despite the considerable risks involved. They have a high level of commitment to representing very vulnerable clients."

"The firm is able to see the bigger strategic picture in campaigning situations and there is no other firm I can think of that is able to provide this at the same level."

A founding member of the firm, Martyn Day specialises in group claims against large multinational corporations. He recently advised over 1,800 members of four communities near Chingola in the Copperbelt region of Zambia on environmental claims against Vedanta. He is known as "a very renowned lawyer in environmental claimant cases" who "really has a tremendous breadth of cases."

The "incredibly helpful" Richard Stein regularly acts on judicial review cases, often advising individuals and community groups opposing decisions made by local government. "He is one of the top environmental claimant solicitors in the country and very strong at representing a range of clients. He is very good at answering questions in specific detail," enthuses one impressed source.

Daniel Leader is a highly experienced barrister and partner who predominantly handles corporate accountability and international group claims. He represented the Ogale community in the Niger Delta in civil claims against Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary relating to long-term contamination of land and water due to oil spills. One client describes him as an "extremely intelligent, cerebral lawyer with a real passion for this area."

Sean Humber is described by clients as "an extremely intelligent lawyer who has vast experience" and someone who "has the rare ability to explain complex legal arguments to the layperson in ways they can easily understand." He regularly advises on water and air pollution claims.

Richard Meeran is "tenacious, highly experienced and has a fantastic ability to present the issues with real clarity," according to one source. He has spearheaded a number of international group claims against large multinationals and also advises on domestic environmental claims. 

Shubhaa Srinivasan displays "phenomenal handling of pressure," according to one source, while another notes: "She always seems to be so calm and in control." An experienced environmental litigator, she regularly advises on large international group claims against sizeable corporates.

Personal Injury - claimant

Individuals: Martyn Day (star individual); and Sally Moore (band 1); Sapna Malik and Daniel Easton (band 2), Harminder Bains (band 3). 

Illustrious claimant team regularly instructed to act in catastrophic personal injury cases against a range of parties, including governments, public bodies and large corporations. Areas of expertise include unlawful detention and torture, as well as high-level cycling injuries. Routinely instructed on multiparty and international mandates.

Sources report: "They are excellent and a pleasure to work with, even under difficult circumstances. The whole team was very sensitive and patient on a case which lasted a number of years. I have nothing but praise for the team and I would recommend them to anyone." 

"They're fantastic and superbly prepared as they do a large amount of work behind the scenes. They're highly efficient while involving you in any significant decision. They're just very good lawyers."

Head of the personal injury practice Sally Moore is an "exceptionally good" practitioner who is well known for her work on behalf of claimants with catastrophic injuries, including brain, amputation and spinal claims. One impressed client reports: "She handled the case excellently. She was very accessible, always up to speed on what was happening with the case, and pragmatic but imaginative in her approach. She clearly had our best interests in mind at all times."

Martyn Day is head of the firm's international group claims department and is known for representing individuals in claims against the UK government and corporations. He is currently leading the firm's work in a multiparty claim on behalf of 142 individuals in Sierra Leone who allegedly suffered serious personal injuries and human rights violations during a protest at the defendant's iron ore mine, which is located close to where they reside. Sources confirm that "he does such excellent and brave work."

Harminder Bains is a "brilliant" industrial disease and serious injury solicitor who is noted for her willingness to take on difficult claims: "She absolutely goes for it - she doesn't mind if a claim looks too risky if she thinks it's right."

Daniel Easton represents severely injured clients, with noted expertise in amputations, and mesothelioma and asbestos claims. Sources say: "He's an extremely dedicated man - no one knows more than him in terms of industrial disease," and observe: "He consistently gets good results for his clients."

Sapna Malik often acts for large groups of claimants in international personal injury cases and human rights cases against multinationals and organs of the state. Sources describe her as an "incredibly bright solicitor who plans her cases to perfection in a meticulous and strategic manner."

Personal Injury - industrial disease

Individuals: Daniel Easton and Harminder Bains (band 1); Vijay Ganapathy (up and coming)

The team is known for being highly respected industrial disease practice offering first-rate representation to claimants suffering from asbestos-related diseases. Features prominently in headline disease cases and retains strong links to support groups and non-profits catering for those with mesothelioma.
 
Sources state: "An excellent team from senior partners to junior lawyers. The go-to firm for asbestos-related disease."

"A very effective, timely and knowledgeable team." 

According to sources, co-head of the firm's asbestos and mesothelioma team Harminder Bains is a "tenacious and effective" solicitor. They go on to say that "she's great - so compassionate and really goes the extra mile."

According to sources, Daniel Easton is "incredibly committed," "extremely measured" and "extraordinarily hard-working." He is routinely instructed on some of the most complex and high-value disease claims. One satisfied client reports: "He was very knowledgeable of mesothelioma, having dealt with other successful cases, and he was extremely patient and understanding when dealing with all members of our family."

Vijay Ganapathy focuses on industrial disease claims, particularly asbestos-related illness work. Sources say: "He's enormously hard-working, incredibly knowledgeable and very committed to doing the best for his clients." 

Product Liability - claimant

Individuals: Martyn Day and Bozena Michalowska Howells (band 1); Jill Paterson & Michelle Victor (band 2), Tom Jervis and Chris Haan (associates to watch). 
 
The team is known for being deep bench of claimant lawyers handling significant product liability work including major multiparty and cross-jurisdictional litigation. Equipped to handle a wide range of product-related matters, from litigation arising from faulty medical devices and consumer goods to claims regarding injuries suffered as the result of clinical trials for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

Sources state: "They are really very much on top of it from the claimant side: they are knowledgeable about the issues, they've got the right experts lined up and they've got relationships with defendant solicitors so they know what kinds of claims to take and how to process them quickly to get a good result."

"I liked that they spoke to me in a language I understood, and that they kept me informed. They were extremely understanding and very respectful as well."

The "superb" Martyn Day is a renowned claimant lawyer who continues to be involved in significant product liability actions such as the ongoing thalidomide litigation. He is described as a "really super lawyer" by sources. 

Bozena Michalowska Howells is an "extremely good" and "technically impressive" lawyer who is recognised for her strong leadership of various metal hip cases. She specialises in group litigation arising out of faulty pharmaceutical and medical devices, with particular emphasis on orthopaedic products.

Jill Paterson has a broad product liability practice that encompasses major claims relating to household products and white goods in addition to those related to medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Sources credit her as a "good tactician" who is "incredibly knowledgeable, with good judgement and a good fighting spirit."

Michelle Victor is described by sources as "hyperefficient" and "incredibly hard-working." She is an expert in consumer law and has considerable experience representing clients during group actions that often span multiple jurisdictions. She has notable expertise in claims arising out of faulty consumer goods as well as severe food poisoning cases.

Thomas Jervis has a growing profile in the product liability market and has recently been involved in a range of high-profile cases concerning faulty medical devices and consumer products. "Our experience working with him has only been positive," says a client, continuing: "He is very knowledgeable in product liability, he explains the pros and cons at every stage of the process and is a very polite and conscientious person. He is also very personable and easy to speak to."

Chris Haan continues to be involved in significant group actions, notably the ongoing thalidomide litigation. "I have nothing but praise for Chris," enthuses one client, who continues: "He has an excellent manner and keeps me well informed of progress and always responds to the many questions I have in a timely fashion." very committed to doing the best for his clients."

Travel - claimant

Team is known for exclusively representing claimants and is often sought out for complex travel cases involving jurisdiction and applicable law issues. Particularly skilled in handling catastrophic injury claims arising from cycling accidents, RTAs and employment abroad. Typically acts for clients against major insurers and corporations.

Sources state: "I always felt as though I was in good hands. The lawyers made me feel very comfortable with how they explained very complicated things to me."

"The team is good at keeping the client fully informed during a long and complex process. Meetings are efficient but sensitive and unhurried."

Clare Campbell wins praise for her "ability to get the best out of clients through forging relationships with them" and her "first-rate knowledge of all areas of travel law." She is often instructed by claimants on sensitive cases involving catastrophic injury, usually following RTAs.

 

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