Devonshires recommended as a Top-Tier Firm, with over 30 key lawyers mentioned, in latest Legal 500 rankings

The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2023 rankings recommend Devonshires as a Top-Tier Firm across a number of practice areas and mention over 30 of our key lawyers.

In summary, our rankings note:

We have also secured Tier 1 Rankings for our Social Housing Practices in London and Yorkshire and the Humberside and are listed as a ‘Firm to Watch’ for our work within the Technology, Media and Telecoms practice area.

You can read the full Legal 500 write-up for each of our ranked practice areas below.

We are delighted with these results and to see so many of our lawyers named. A huge part of the research involves client feedback and we want to say a massive thank you to all our clients who took part in the research and for their complimentary testimonials, which reinforce our team and service delivery approach.


Debt recovery (London) – Tier 1

Devonshires Solicitors LLP retains its market-leading position for debt recovery, maintaining a steady flow of instructions spanning from the UK and internationally. Spearheaded from London by Robert Edge and Jim Varley , the full-service practice has demonstrable strength acting for financial institutions, large multinational firms, city-based SMEs and local authorities in pursuing payment from debtors and contentious insolvency related matters, particularly, forensic recovery. The team has a track record in recovery services across the recruitment, retail and construction sectors, which is enhanced via its secure debt collection portal designed to give real-time updates on cases. Ann Dixon is the name for high-level recoveries pertaining to commercial contracts and corporate disputes.

“The debt recovery team provide an excellent end to end service for their clients, working tirelessly to ensure their needs are met and the desired results achieved. The team have the ability to provide a commercially orientated fast, efficient and effective service enabling clients to focus on the running of their own business rather than spending excessive time and money pursuing outstanding debts.”

  • Leading Individual: Robert Edge
  • Other Key Lawyers: Jim Varley and Ann Dixon


Social housing: finance (London) – Tier 1

Devonshires Solicitors LLP is particularly known for acting on the borrower side of social housing finance matters and is hailed for the ‘detailed knowledge and understanding‘ of the sector. The practice frequently advises the largest registered providers in the UK on the raising of debt finance, the issuance of own name bonds, private placements and borrowing from specialised social housing funds or local authorities as well as the charging of property as securities for loan facilities. ‘Knowledgeable, personable and practical‘ Julian Barker heads the banking and capital markets team, and specialises in all types of finance options for registered providers. Sharon Kirkham is the head of the securitisation team and has a specialism in providing advice on the property aspects of giving security. Gary Grigor, Chris Drabble, Alice Overton, Andrew Cowan and Natalie Swales are further key practitioners with specialisms in the financing arrangements of mergers, property charging issues, bond issues and constitutional social housing matters respectively.

“The Devonshires team is highly responsive with an in depth knowledge in their areas of expertise. That knowledge is then translated with a commercial focus into easy to understand explanations and instructions for their clients. The team has an excellent understanding of when to raise points of detail that need to be addressed and when to focus on the commercial big picture that their clients are trying to achieve.”

  • Leading Individual: Gary Grigor
  • Hall of Fame: Julian Barker, Andrew Cowan, Chris Drabble, Sharon Kirkham
  • Rising Stars: Natalie Swales
  • Next Generation Partner: Alice Overton


Social housing: local authorities and registered provider – Tier 1

Devonshires Solicitors LLP fields ‘a wide range of experienced partners who can assist with matters that arise across the affordable housing and RP sectors‘. The team acts for a plethora of housing associations and registered providers on social housing issues and can and boasts ‘great strength in terms of areas of expertise and levels of experience‘. Andrew Cowan specialises in banking and governance work in the social housing sector. ‘Fantastic‘ Donna McCarthy heads the housing management and property litigation team and is particularly experienced in acting in public law, human rights, and Equality Act challenges, while Sharon Kirkham heads the property charging work. The cross-departmental team also features banking specialist Julian Barker, dispute resolution lawyer James Dunn, construction specialist Mark London as well as Triya Maicha, Neil Toner and Jonathan Corris, who head the real estate and projects team. The unit was further strengthened with the arrivals of Matthew Waters, Gemma Bell and Katie Fung. Former housing management and property head Nick Billingham retired in April 2022 but continues to support the team on a consultancy basis.

“The Devonshires team has great strength in terms of areas of expertise and levels of experience. It means that work can be allocated to someone with the right area of expertise and the right level of experience. The Devonshires team is the best in these respects in the sector. If I was in a management role in a social housing provider, Devonshires would be my first point of call for legal issues.”

  • Leading Individual: Donna McCarthy
  • Hall of Fame: Andrew Cowan
  • Next Generation Partner: Gemma Bell
  • Other Key Lawyers: Julian Barker, Sharon Kirkham, Mark London, James Dunn, Triya Maicha, Neil Toner, Jonathan Corris, Matthew Waters, Paul Buckland, Katie Fung, Lee Russell


Social housing (Yorkshire and the Humber) – Tier 1

The cross-departmental team at Devonshires Solicitors LLP is praised for its ‘gold-plated reputation in the social housing sector’ and acts for a range of registered providers, such as The Riverside Group, as well as numerous housing associations. Gary Grigor, who is noted for his expertise in financing arrangements and private bond issues, jointly heads the Leeds practice alongside Chris Drabble, who handles all aspects of security-related transactions. Elad Yasdi advises on development site acquisitions, property stock transfers and rationalisation projects, while Kirsty Thompson and Richard Anderson are also key contacts in the group.

“The team have extensive knowledge of the housing sector and deal with potential issues in a very proactive and innovative manner. From the top down, all members of the team are approachable and friendly and they work hard to build strong relationships with all areas of our team.”

  • Key Lawyers: Gary Grigor, Chris Drabble, Elad Yasdi, Kirsty Thompson, Richard Anderson


Fraud (London) – Tier 4

Devonshires Solicitors LLP has noteworthy expertise in acting for as well as against regulators in matters relating to fraud. Other areas of expertise are the housing sector and litigation against banks. The team’s expertise covers fraud, cross-border investigations and regulatory work. Philip Barden‘s experience also spans the insurance, IT, PFI and supply chain arenas. Practice head James Dunn has an accountancy background, and David Pack knows offshore jurisdictions well.

“The firm is a medium-sized firm which delivers a high quality service and reasonable cost.”

  • Key Lawyers: James Dunn, Philip Barden, Nikki Bowker, David Pack


Construction: contentious (London) – Tier 4

Devonshires Solicitors LLP offers advise to a range of clients, including public and private developers, local authorities and private sector clients. It is particularly well known for its strength in social housing and residential and mixed-used development matters. Mark London leads the team, and has strong expertise in fire safety and building defect claims for high rise buildings across the UK, alongside Matthew Cocklin. Meanwhile, Michael Wharfe focuses on disputes in commercial, insurance, engineering and construction matters.

“Mark London and Matthew Cocklin are backed up by excellent partners and associates. There are quality people from the top to the bottom of the team who produce first-class work that is “court ready”. It is unusual to have that kind of uniformity of quality.”

  • Key Lawyers: Mark London, Matthew Cocklin, Michael Wharfe


Construction: non-contentious (London) – Tier 5

Devonshires Solicitors LLP is well regarded for its advice to clients in the housing sector, often acting for social housing developers, local authorities, and private sector clients. The non-contentious construction team is led by Asif Patel, who regularly acts for clients across both the private and public sectors and is experienced in all forms of construction procurement.

“Excellent responsive service, completes tasks in line with agreed timescales, excellent advice provided, and looks for solutions to suit all.”

  • Key Lawyers: Asif Patel, Sasha Pirbhai


Commercial litigation (London) – Tier 6

Housing providers comprise a large part of Devonshires Solicitors LLP’s client base. In addition to day-to-day commercial disputes work, the ‘fantastic’ team focuses on insolvency, debt recovery, public inquiries and coroners inquests. James Dunn is a fraud, regulatory and inquiry specialist, while Philip Barden is a commercial disputes expert.

“If one is looking for practical advice and a competent firm that will bill you fairly and not go over the top, this is the ideal law firm.”

  • Key Lawyers: James Dunn, Philip Barden, Jim Varley, Stephen Netherway, Nikki Bowker, David Pack, Matthew Garbutt, Leah Kesby


TMT (technology, media and telecoms) (London) – Firm to Watch

Michelle Mullen leads the commercial IT practice at Devonshires Solicitors LLP, which has a strong focus on handling technology-related work for clients in the social housing sector.

Key Lawyer: Michelle Mullen


The latest news from Devonshires, sent to you direct.

Join our mailing list and find out what we’re up to and what we think about recent events and future possibilities.

Join our Mailing List