The Legal 500 2016
The Legal 500 2016 has awarded Leigh Day top rankings in six main areas of its practice, with an impressive thirty-three solicitors recommended, and seven (senior partner Martyn Day along with Richard Stein, Claire Fazan, Russell Levy, Stephen Jones, Frances Swaine and Sally Moore) marked out as 'leading individuals’.
Administrative and public law
For some, Leigh Day has 'the best claimant practice in the country', which comprises 'experienced, talented and creative lawyers' such as Richard Stein (who 'knows exactly which point to press and has a great network of contacts') and Rosa Curling. The team, which advises NGOs and charities on litigation strategy and associated campaigning, is led by Sean Humber, who acted for Action on Smoking and Health in a judicial review challenge brought by four major tobacco companies against proposals to introduce plain, standardised packaging. Benjamin Burrows and Jamie Beagent are other names to note.
Leigh Day has 'one of the strongest human rights teams' in the market and is regularly involved in landmark domestic and international cases, such as Sean Humber's representation of prisoners refused voting rights. Sapna Malik and Daniel Leader have active international practices, with Malik representing a Pakistani national pursuing a claim against the Ministry of Defence alleging liability for unlawful detention and mistreatment while in US custody. Also recommended are Richard Stein and Rosa Curling, who are 'at the top of the tree in this field'; the 'intelligent and authoritative' Alison Millar; and Benjamin Burrows.
Clinical negligence - claimant
Leigh Day's team is headed by 'top solicitor' Russell Levy, and includes radiography specialist Suzanne White, 'meticulous investigator' Olive Lewin, and Nicola Wainwright, who is currently handling a number of brain damage and birth injury claims. Claire Fazan is noted for her handling of 'the heaviest cases with great intelligence'.
Leigh Day has a 'professional, responsive and efficient' team that recruited the 'fiercely bright and determined' Stephen Jones from Slater and Gordon.
Leigh Day's five-partner team routinely handles cases with a human rights angle and regularly acts in challenges to local authorities' failure to maintain or amend statements of SEN and EHC plans. Human rights specialist Merry Varney
made partner in April 2016. Richard Stein
, Rosa Curling
and Charlotte Skouby
are also recommended.
Employment: employee/union firms
The 'truly exceptional' practice at Leigh Day 'stands out as one of the top teams in the area' and 'consistently pushes the boundaries for employees in innovative ways'. 'Extremely hardworking' practice head Chris Benson is continuing to act for over 20,000 Asda employees in an equal pay claim. Clients also single out Emma Satyamurti, who 'leaves no stone unturned when fighting for her client', and litigator Michael Newman, who focuses on trade union mandates; both were promoted to the partnership in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The 'experienced, sensitive, knowledgeable and clear' Elizabeth George is also recommended.
Claimant specialist Leigh Day continued its involvement in major environmental litigation, with Martyn Day and Daniel Leader successfully acting for the Bodo community in a £55m settlement with Shell following an oil spill in Nigeria. Richard Stein is 'excellent at high-profile environmental judicial reviews', while Sean Humber has been active in cases relating to passive smoking.
Leveraging its strong human rights specialism, Leigh Day's team advises on prisoner healthcare matters and claims against hospitals with a human rights element. Richard Stein, Sean Humber and Emma Jones are the key names.
Personal injury - claimant
Leigh Day is considered by clients and counsel to be 'one of the best firms in the field of personal injury'. Sally Moore ('a powerhouse in the PI world') and Martyn Day jointly head the department, which has strong expertise in industrial disease, amputation and multi-party abuse and torture claims. Other key figures include Daniel Easton, who is 'a fantastic practitioner', and Harminder Bains, who is 'quite prepared to take on very difficult cases and issues'.
At Leigh Day, Clare Campbell is singled out for her 'impeccable knowledge of travel law litigation'.
Private client - Court of Protection
Leigh Day's key clients include relatives of protected individuals and charities (as interveners). It also regularly acts on behalf of the Official Solicitor, and has particular expertise in healthcare law. Frances Swaine and Sean Humber are recommended. Solicitor Kate Egerton is praised for her 'responsive and measured approach'.
Product Liability - claimant
'Pre-eminent in its field', Leigh Day's practice has particular strength in disputes relating to medical devices and white goods. On the medical devices front, Bozena Michalowska Howells (who is noted for her 'impressive levels of calm, practicality and determination') led the team representing approximately 350 claimants across the UK in the group litigation order alleging that patients implanted with prosthetic hips manufactured and marketed by DePuy suffered early revision and injury as a result. In an illustration of its work against white good manufacturers, Jill Paterson is representing the claimants in an inquest into a fire allegedly caused by a Hotpoint tumble dryer. Other key figures include Martyn Day, who 'remains the leading light in product liability', and Michelle Victor.
Travel - Personal Injury
Based across its Manchester and London offices, Leigh Day's personal injury team acts for claimants and impresses with its 'tenacity and attention to detail'. Clare Campbell and Sally Moore head the team, which includes Christine Tallon.