The Legal 500: The best lawyers in Sheffield judged

Michele Phillips, office head at Lupton Fawcett, is a leading individual
Michele Phillips, office head at Lupton Fawcett, is a leading individual

Yorkshire’s legal sector continues to thrive, with a buoyant market and active transactional workload that has so far weathered the storm of the looming presence of Brexit.

It is attracting a steady stream of investment through property developments, substantial construction work and infrastructure projects, with further investment promised through the government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative, which aims to boost economic growth in the North of England and encourage greater diversification across the region.

Sheffield continues to be a hub for manufacturing work and is very strong in corporate and commercial activity, which includes mergers and acquisitions, franchising and intellectual property.

Highly rated firms include Keebles, Lupton Fawcett, Irwin Mitchell, Taylor and Emmet, Wake Smith, DLA Piper and CMS.

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Michele Phillips, office head at Lupton Fawcett LLP is among those hailed a ‘leading individual’ while Matt Ainsworth of Keebles (the new name for HLW Keeble Hawson), is a ‘next generation lawyer’.

Other key figures include Neil Large, who leads the Lupton Fawcett team, Keebles managing partner Paul Trudgill, who focuses on M&A and MBO work and Roger Dyson, who acts for SMEs and owner-managed businesses.

Laurence Gavin heads the practice at Irwin Mitchell and ‘has a good knowledge of complex issues paired with advice that is always well researched’.

Taylor & Emmet department head Rob Moore primarily acts for SMEs in the Yorkshire region and is supported by solicitor Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Wake Smith Solicitors Limited’s ‘superb’ team is led by Duncan Shepherd, while John Baddeley is also a name to note and is experienced in mergers and restructurings.

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The Legal 500 is a major guide to law firms and the source for The Star’s supplement.

Researchers speak to lawyers and clients to produce the annual report on developments in the legal market.

Its recommendations are based on what clients say and the opinions of thousands of lawyers and details of cases and transactions.

A spokesman said: “The only way a law firm can get into our ranking tables and commentary is on merit - if our researchers think it’s good enough for inclusion. It is not possible for a firm to buy its way into the editorial.”

Firms are ranked by criteria including technical ability for the most complex and innovative work, prestigious clients, in-depth capability beyond star’ partners, capacity for the biggest cases and market share.”

Sheffield is renowned as a manufacturing hub which is reflected in its legal strengths. Corporate and commercial work, commercial litigation, corporate tax and employment law.

Other areas reviewed by the Legal 500 include personal injury. Irwin Mitchell, Keebles, Lupton Fawcett and Wake Smith all receive a glowing mention.

Top tier Irwin Mitchell’s personal injury team is split across the Leeds and Sheffield offices and has ‘a well-deserved reputation for excellence’. Taylor & Emmet’s department head Jonathan Stittle has expertise in serious head injuries, paraplegia, industrial diseases and fatal accidents. The ‘excellent‘ personal injury practice at Wake Smith is headed up by Terence Regan. The department includes chartered legal executive David Brown, who is recommended for his ‘thoroughness‘.

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