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One of the leading practices.

Band 1 DLA Piper UK LLP Sources agree that DLA Piper is one of the region's outstanding practices and boasts "a good strong team."

The team enjoys an excellent relationship with the Big Four accountancy firms and has a place on most leading bank panels. The firm recently acted for PwC and the Bank of Scotland as administrators of a property holding company which holds bingo halls across the UK.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Huw Dolphin is highly regarded for his non-contentious restructuring and insolvency practice. He recently acted for HSBC and BDO in relation to the furniture retailer Soda Living. John Sullivan frequently acts in domestic and multi-jurisdictional contentious restructuring. John Jeffreys is a favourite with clients, who say: "He gets things done quickly and efficiently." He has a particular expertise in real estate restructuring and insolvency.

Eversheds LLP Interviewees praise the team at Eversheds for its considerable experience in the restructuring and insolvency sector which makes it "one of the leading practices" in the West Midlands. The firm enjoys a strong domestic bank panel presence as well as carrying out multi-jurisdictional work. The firm acted for PwC on the administration and disposal of The British School of Motoring.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources say Gemma Curtis fosters "great client relations and really works hard to achieve their aims." Others say: "She is easy to deal with and sees the issues quickly." She led the firm's work in relation to The British School of Motoring.

Meanwhile clients enthuse that Andrew Jordan is "clearly a good lawyer who doesn't flap under pressure." They add that he "gets things done" and is "a pragmatic lawyer to deal with." Brian Rawlings enjoys a well-deserved reputation in the market for his technical abilities in the sector.

Band 2 Gateley The team continues to impress market sources in the region, who say it is "an excellent out-fit." As one of the largest teams in the region it caters to the full range of restructuring and insolvency matters. The firm also has a dedicated corporate recovery team which acts for an array of clearing banks. Interviewees say: "They are very commercial in the mould of being good lawyers who get business deals done."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers are quick to praise Brendan McGeever as "a great lawyer who really stands out." He is also a firm favourite with clients, who say he is a pleasure to work with. Meanwhile Mark Wilson is hailed as "a specialist on the litigation front." He recently acted for the administrators of an automotive manufacturer in a successful claim against its former administrators.

Martineau The team at Martineau continues to impress clients, who say: "They are very good at applying expertise from different areas to get the job done." The firm caters to the full range of restructuring and insolvency matters and frequently acts for banks and financial institutions.

The team has recently been advising Deloitte in connection with the administration of the Wordsworth Group. "They are always approachable and commercial-minded. They go the extra mile for the client," say sources.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients admire Ian Baker, saying he is "very cerebral and has a fantastic grasp of the law." His in-depth understanding of corporate and banking issues makes him much sought after. Clients say Sam Payne takes a "really commercial approach" and consequently "delivers pragmatic solutions."

He possesses expertise in the full range of contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency matters. Meanwhile Helen Readett wins plaudits for her "responsive and commercial" practice.

Sources say she is lovely to work with but "can be tough when she needs to be."

Squire Sanders Hammonds Peers and clients alike say that the firm has "a fantastic contentious and non-contentious team" that boasts "real strength in depth." The firm handles a broad range of corporate restructuring and insolvency matters and has a strong presence on clearing bank panels.

Recent high-profile highlights include acting for the administrators of Super Aguri F1, a motor racing team.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients say Devinder Singh is "very business-savvy and builds relationships well." Market sources are quick to say: "He is a standout insolvency lawyer." Stephen George is a firm favourite with clients who say he stands out thanks to his "considerable experience, excellent client service and commercial and pragmatic advice." He leads the team at the Birmingham office. Daniel French is well regarded for his particular specialism in real estate-related insolvency.

Band 3 Irwin Mitchell Sources say the firm has "a very good team which is a pleasure to work with." The firm has a strong insolvency and liquidation practice which it matches with expertise in property insolvency and Law of Property Act (LPA) receivership issues. It advised PwC as administrators of Williams & Son Limited and as LPA receivers for the relevant property assets.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Bennett leads the insolvency team in Birmingham.

Pinsent Masons The team frequently acts on behalf of banks and the Big Four accountancy firms in transactional restructuring and insolvency matters. The firm recently acted for KPMG as the administrators of the Western Corrugated group of companies. The team's clients include Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds TSB.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Market sources admire Alastair Lomax as a technically skilled insolvency lawyer. He led the way on the firm's advice on the administration of Western Corrugated.

Shakespeares The team at Shakespeares is establishing itself as a firm favourite with clients, who say: "It's a fantastic team" with great "strength in depth." The team handles the full spectrum of restructuring and insolvency work with a particular strength in the contentious side of the sector.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources enthuse that Andrew Taylor is "very commercial and pragmatic" as well as "reliable and enjoyable to work with." He leads the team at the firm.

Shoosmiths The team continues to enjoy extensive expertise in retail insolvency in addition to its general corporate restructuring and insolvency practice. Recent highlights include advising on the administration of department store chain Vergo Retail. Sources say: "It is a very commercial firm."

KEY INDIVIDUALS James Keates is admired as a "very good dynamic lawyer." He led the way on the Vergo Retail transaction.

The Wilkes Partnership LLP Sources say the team here consists of very skilled lawyers who can always be relied on to "do a good job." The firm handles all aspects of restructuring and insolvency.

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Cleary is "an excellent insolvency practitioner." Meanwhile John Cooper "always delivers a fantastic personal service."

Wragge & Co LLP The firm is a well-established presence in the market with extensive experience of non-contentious restructuring and insolvency matters. Recent significant highlights include advising the administrators of Legion Group and Legion FM.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Vicki Conway is hailed by peers as a "very good insolvency lawyer." She led the way on the Legion Group work.

Band 4 Clarke Willmott LLP Clients say the firm has an impressive and "very proactive team." The team handles the full range of restructuring and corporate and personal insolvency.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients say Stephanie Slinn has "a can-do attitude, moves things forward and she keeps you updated." She leads the team at the firm.

Harrison Clark This Worcester-based practice handles a wide range of insolvency matters. The team has extensive experience in both corporate and personal insolvency.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources admire Jonathan Whitbread as a skilled and personable lawyer who is great to work with.

Leading Firms Band 1 DLA Piper UK LLP Eversheds LLP Band 2 Gateley Martineau Squire Sanders Hammonds Band 3 Irwin Mitchell Pinsent Masons Shakespeares Shoosmiths The Wilkes Partnership LLP Wragge & Co LLP Band 4 Clarke Willmott LLP Harrison Clark Leading Individuals Band 1 Dolphin, Huw DLA Piper UK LLP McGeever, Brendan Gateley Singh, Devinder Squire Sanders Hammonds Band 2 Baker, Ian Martineau S Conway, Vicki Wragge & Co LLP Curtis, Gemma Eversheds LLP S George, Stephen Squire Sanders Hammonds Jordan, Andrew J Eversheds LLP S Taylor, Andrew Shakespeares Wilson, Mark Gateley Band 3 Cleary, David The Wilkes Partnership LLP Cooper, John The Wilkes Partnership LLP Jeffreys, John DLA Piper UK LLP Keates, James Shoosmiths Lomax, Alastair Pinsent Masons Payne, Sam Martineau Rawlings, Brian Eversheds LLP S Readett, Helen Martineau Sullivan, John Christopher Philip DLA Piper UK LLP Whitbread, Jonathan Harrison Clark Up-and-coming individuals French, Daniel Squire Sanders Hammonds Slinn, Stephanie Clarke Willmott LLP


James Keates Alastair Lomax Huw Dolphin
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 24, 2011
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