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2019 Legal 500 results!

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This year's Legal 500 results are in! The Legal 500 is an annual directory that rates and ranks lawyers and law firms across the different specialisms within which they work. They interview clients and business partners, printing their testimonials alongside their rankings.

We have 4 listed as elite leading lawyers in 5 areas:

4 next generation partners:

4 rising stars:

26 further lawyers are also recommended in the directory.

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Commentary of our teams from legal 500 below:

Corporate and commercial: Essex - Ranked Tier 2

Birkett Long LLP's corporate and commercial practice is led by Tracey Dickens, who 'stands out' for her corporate finance work, national and international transactional experience and restructuring matters. The team has expertise in a range of sectors including banking, healthcare, intellectual property, and education. The 'impressive' David Wisbey advises investors and businesses on corporate finance, M&A and commercial law. Tim Field is also recommended.

Client testimonials:

'Tracey Dickens and her team are outstanding. They are knowledgeable, responsive and above all, pragmatic which is just what we need from our legal advisers.'

'The team is a pleasure to work with. They are responsive, competent, well-organised and deliver their services efficiently.'

'Tracey Dickens, David Wisbey and Peter Allen give a first-class service. They have a knowledgeable and pragmatic approach that focuses on getting things done.'

Commercial litigation: Essex - Ranked Tier 1

The 'pragmatic and sensible' commercial litigation team at Birkett Long LLP advises on a wide range of commercial litigation, negligence, and IP matters across a variety of industry sectors. The firm provides 'sensible and realistic advice' to its corporate clients and is routinely instructed on high-value and complex dispute claims. Chelmsford-based Peter Allen and Keith Songhurst are recommended for their deep insight in contractual disputes and property litigation respectively.

Client testimonials:

'Keith Songhurst is very amiable and has consistently given clear well-thought-out advice, which has resulted in matters being satisfactorily resolved.'

'Peter Allen has provided excellent advice and counsel in a number of commercial disputes; he is quick to understand the commerciality of the situation and control the process to an efficient conclusion and resolution.'

Insolvency and corporate recovery - Ranked Tier 3

With particular expertise in contentious recovery work, the insolvency practice at Birkett Long LLP 's Colchester office has built a reputation in the region acting for both companies and individuals in nil-asset recovery actions. The team is also known as a 'directors friend', specialising in defending directors facing proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. Led by Kevin Sullivan, who has 20 years' experience in the field of contentious insolvency law, the team works for directors, partners, sole traders, creditors, debtors and bankrupts and their spouses, on a wide range of corporate and personal insolvency-related issues.

Client testimonials:

'Extremely prompt response, very practical & good commercial advice. Excellent value for money.'

'Kevin Sullivan is a fantastic lawyer who has guided me through some very difficult decisions and still continues to do so.'

Employment: Essex - Ranked Tier 1

The Colchester employment practice at Birkett Long LLP is led by the 'exceptional' Martin Hopkins and skilfully handles a wide range of employment matters including representing employers in significant employment tribunal cases - a particular area of focus for Hopkins. Julie Temple rejoined the team at the beginning of this year from a niche employment firm. Her expertise includes advising higher education institutions and large companies on matters including GDPR compliance and gender-pay reporting. Reggie Lloyd handles employment-related litigation and represents both claimants and respondents.

Client testimonials:

'The team at Birkett Long has a calmness in their approach. Their advice is concise, to the point and takes account of any risk. You know you're in good hands.'

'Very honest, very capable - I can't rate them highly enough.'

Personal injury: claimant - Ranked Tier 3

Birkett Long LLP handles a range of multi-track personal injury matters from employer liability to fatality claims. Key figures in the practice group include Chelmsford-based Nadina Edmondson and Colchester-based Tracy England, who are leading the high-value matters related to work accidents and occupational disease claims.

Client testimonial:

'This is a team of professional and friendly partners and staff that take time to understand your specific requirements and tailor the advice'

Agriculture and estates- Ranked Tier 2

The team at Birkett Long LLP has a broad and deep expertise in agriculture and estate-related matters, including succession tax planning, trust creation, administration and winding up of trusts, property transactions, fishing rights and grazing licences. It also advises on partnership agreements and corporate structures and nuisance and negligence claims. Caroline Dowding heads the practice. Associates Emma Coke and Katie Gibson-Green are also recommended.

Client testimonials:

'A sound knowledge of clients' affairs and prepared to advise on all matters relevant to the client  - bringing in specialists for detailed work'.

'For a regional practice, Birkett Long has one of the largest and best known private client departments in the Essex area'.

'Fantastic all-round team which have superb technical knowledge but more importantly offer a great service and know the importance of maintaining the client relationship with the clients we recommend'.

'I always feel they act in my best interests when they are dealing with any matter - large or small. I feel I am treated like an individual that matters and the attention to detail is excellent'.

'Caroline Dowding is approachable, empathetic, supportive, and explains things in a way the layperson can understand'.

'Emma Coke is outstanding in her diligence and gives excellent advice. She always deals with matters swiftly'.

'Katie Gibson-Green is a real asset to the practice'.

'Both Emma Coke and Caroline Dowding have been very kind and patient - always explaining things in great detail if I do not understand. I trust both of them implicitly and feel I am a valued client - not something I have felt with other firms of solicitors before'.

Family: Essex - Ranked Tier 1

The family team at Birkett Long LLP has broad expertise in skillfully handling high-value and often complex divorce, child arrangement matters, and financial remedy proceedings. The team is led by the 'committed and driven' Lisa Collins. Recent work highlights include a cross-border property development matter which was headed by Colchester-based head, Philip Hoddell, who is noted for his 'sharp focus'. Basildon-based Muntech Kaur is commended for her 'fantastic advice'. 

Client testimonials:

'The team is strategic, pragmatic and - most importantly - honest and straightforward about the legal risks, costs and related issues.'

'Philip Hoddell provides very calm, straight-talking, business-like advice. He brings gravitas and commands confidence.'

'The team inspires confidence due to their knowledgeable and extremely reputable practice.'

'Birkett Long is a remarkable practice, which has gone from strength to strength.'

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex - Ranked Tier 1

The five-partner team at leading regional firm Birkett Long LLP provides clients with a wide and far-reaching service that covers all aspects of wills, tax, trust creation, and international trust advice. Working across three offices, the cross-practice team works together to deliver an 'excellent and efficient service'. Emma Clarke, who oversees the South Essex wills, trusts & probate practice, is regularly engaged in high-value matters and international advisory work. Other core members include private client head Claire Read, newly-made up partner Ben Parmenter who heads the wills, trusts & probate team in Colchester, and the 'diligent' Amanda Smallcombe, who provides expertise on contested trust and probate work.

Client testimonials:

'Birkett Long provide a practical approach to this sensitive work and ensure great attention to detail. They are prepared to go the extra mile to assist their clients.'

'Amanda Smallcombe delivers outstanding care to her clients and is a delight to work with. A strong and very intelligent solicitor.'

Education - Ranked Tier 4

Birkett Long LLP is a prominent name in Essex for education cases. It offers a multidisciplinary team including employment, commercial, and disputes lawyers, as well as education and charity law specialists. The firm is particularly notable for its work on academy conversions, as well as the combination of academies into multi-academy trusts. Thomas Emmett is the key education contact.

Health - Ranked Tier 1

Birkett Long LLP provides a multi-disciplinary service to a range of health care clients and the team includes members of the firm's commercial property and corporate teams alongside others. The firm has a particularly strong presence in the care home space, providing a full service to sector clients. Practice head Tracey Dickens specialises in advising healthcare clients on corporate and commercial matters, making the firm a key presence in Essex for healthcare clients.

Commercial property: Essex - Ranked Tier 2

The 'extremely strong, knowledgeable and responsive' firm Birkett Long LLP 'is well recognised for its commercial property work' and has a 'keen interest in supporting local clients and their businesses'. Special expertise exists in development and construction, investment and secured lending matters, while the majority of clients come from the education, healthcare, public and environmental sectors. Key examples are London Southend Airport, University of Essex, Healthcare Homes, Flakt Woods and Braintree District Council. Navigator Terminals Thames and Herald Property Investments instructed the department for the first time in 2017, and the team was also appointed to the Lloyds Banking Group commercial banking pass-through panel. 'Outstanding' partner Emma Wraight advised E Wall as seller of a tenanted industrial site to Bellway for development. Also recommended are 'no-nonsense' partner David Rayner and 'knowledgeable and communicative' associate Daniel Sturman. Melanie Bache heads the overall practice.

Construction - Ranked Tier 4

Birkett Long LLP acts for contractors, sub-contractors, surveyors, engineers, architects and developers on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, from drafting bespoke construction contracts, handling consultants' appointments and collateral warranties, and advising on development agreements and options to purchase land, to adjudications, mediations, arbitration and litigation. Recent highlights include acting for Orchard Barns Kindergarten and its pension fund on the conversion of its barn into a day nursery. On the disputes front the practice acted for C&W Industrial Roofing Services in an adjudication relating to an unpaid valuation. It also acted for a bank on the financing for the conversion of a former petrol station site to a residential development. Peter Allen heads the practice and has wide-ranging expertise in construction contracts. Keith Songhurst regularly acts for local authorities, property developers, and construction and engineering companies on construction disputes. David Rayner, Justin Stock and Martin Hopkins are also recommended.

Contentious trust and probate - Ranked Tier 3

Birkett Long LLP handles the full range of inheritance disputes, which includes will disputes, Inheritance Act claims, proprietary estoppel claims, and cases involving breaches of trust and undue influence. Illustrative of its international reach, the firm has recently acted for clients based in Australia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the US. Practice head Amanda Smallcombe is recommended for contested wills and probate disputes.

Client testimonials:

'Everyone that helped on my case was very efficient and helpful; this is an excellent firm for dealing with disputed wills'.

'I do not hesitate to recommend cases to Amanda Smallcombe; she always demonstrates enormous pragmatism and empathy and is willing to explore methods of resolution that are not always obvious'.

'The team members complement each other and work well as a unit to deliver results for the client. Their responsiveness under time constraints is excellent'.

'Birkett Long takes a practical approach and demonstrates great attention to detail. The team is prepared to go the extra mile to assist its clients and work well with fellow professionals'.


The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.