Leathes Prior receives record number of rankings in the 2012 edition of Legal 500

The 2012 edition of the Legal 500, considered to be the leading independent guide to the legal profession, was released today.

Leathes Prior has this year received its record number of rankings – testament to its growing reputation as a leading firm not only in Norwich and East Anglia but in many areas of specialism, nationally.

The past 12 months have proved exciting times for the firm as it continues to enjoy the success of its traditional, core commercial and private-client services coupled with its range of innovative, niche specialisms.  The Legal 500 reports that clients speak with consistency about the firm’s partner-led ethos, its approachable and dynamic manner and the cost-effective nature of its services.

One particularly noteworthy entry is for the dispute resolution team, praised as “honest, straightforward and extremely accomplished”.  Headed by partner Mike Barlow, cited as “a leading light for his knowledge and ability”, alongside the highly recommended partner Darren Bowen, this team continues to provide impressive results, as evidenced recently by the work undertaken AgChemAccess Limited.

Strengthening the commercial offering and reinforcing Leathes Prior’s client-focused approach is the corporate and commercial team, which includes the “excellent” partner Peter Sheppard – who “acts as if he is a member of the client’s team” – and the highly experienced partner Paul Warman, who “works hard in his client’s best interests”.

Taken alongside the highly specialist IT and intellectual property teams, where solicitor Kitty Rosser is said by the Legal 500 "to enjoy a developing reputation, clients’ commercial affairs are in safe hands."

The firm’s real estate team, praised for being “always approachable and prompt” and “very good value”, has had an extremely busy year, with partner Rob Sibley and the “timely and professional” associate Chris Hoxley singled out.

In addition, the “confident and pragmatic approach” taken by the firm’s agricultural and estates team has taken it from strength to strength, with Rob Sibley, senior partner William Riley, Darren Bowen and associate Paul Oldershaw praised for their “vast experience”.

Leathes Prior’s property litigators have had a hugely successful year, with Darren Bowen praised for his “attention to detail”.

The firm’s “very strong” employment team has had another impressive year, with partner Dan Chapman and associate Katie Franklin reported to be “extremely quick, thorough and efficient” in the provision of proactive and commercially-astute advice to clients of an increasingly national presence, such as Fowler Welch Coolchain, British Horseracing Authority, CVS Vets, the Education Travel Group and Caterham F1.  Recently appointed partner Paula Lawn continues to head the impressive claimant-orientated unit.

The “highly organised” Mr Chapman has also added breadth and expertise to the sports law team, which has a growing client base acting for a number of football clubs, regulatory bodies, motorsports teams and leading sports individuals, and has recently launched a football agency division under its Full Contact brand.

Other noteworthy niche areas the firm has continued to develop over the past year include healthcare and education.  The healthcare team has been praised for being “genuine and enthusiastic” in the provision of its advice on multi-million-pound contracts in the healthcare sector, and the education team provides “exemplary service and extremely quick responses”.

In the field of insolvency and corporate recovery, partner Adam McCaw’s team said to be “practical, technical and calm in a crisis”, and the debt recovery team, where “responses are prompt, advice is sound and the team is honest and straightforward”.

The firm has a longstanding expertise in private-client work, providing focused support to individuals during times when professional support is needed most.   Hazel Gill (partner and head of the personal tax, trusts and probate team) is commended for being a “terrific listener”, whose “knowledge, efficient and people skills are admirable”, and Alisdair Douglas (partner and head of the family team) has “a full grasp of what needs to be done”, with his team being “easy to deal with, polite and courteous”.

Leathes Prior’s charities team “responds quickly and gives good support” and is said to have “great awareness and understanding”.

The firm’s regulatory offering is headed by partner Tim Cary, who is said to be “superb” and “outstanding” and able to compete and often outperform City of London rivals.  In the specialist areas of crime, health and safety, licensing and transport, Tim and his team are praised for being “extremely thorough” and for their “ease of access to partner-led advice, and strong focus on customer service”.    

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