The 2018 Legal 500 Guide has been published and we are delighted to have secured a new ranking for Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP).
We are also pleased to have increased our Clinical Negligence (claimant) ranking, and to have maintained our strong positions in six key practice areas.
Legal 500 provide independent, trusted and intensively-researched rankings of law firms in the UK and beyond and provide a reliable guide to the best firms to consult on a wide range of different legal areas and client sectors.
A full list of our rankings in this current edition can be viewed below:
Projects, energy and natural resources: Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP) – ranked Tier 4
Paul Buckland ‘s team at Devonshires Solicitors LLP acts for contractors, public sector entities and project sponsors in financing and capital market transactions, and was recently strengthened by the arrival of Robert Turner from Dentons. Greenwich Leisure appointed the group to advise on its community hub and stadium regeneration project in York, and Kris Kelliher was part of the team assisting London & Quadrant on its acquisition of 51% of Barking Riverside to form a joint venture with the Great London Authority. In other highlights, the group is overseeing the procurement of PFI social housing for Woking Council and Philip Barden is currently litigating several contractual disputes.
Insurance: clinical negligence: claimant – ranked Tier 3 (previously Tier 4)
Devonshires Solicitors LLP is a ‘practical firm that takes an interest in the needs of each client’ and offers a ‘shrewd awareness of the risks of litigation and routes to effective resolution’. The firm has ‘a well-established, conscientious and knowledgeable team’ and ‘represents great value for money’. Nick Grant has more than 18 years of experience in a wide variety of complex and high-value claims. Other notable individuals include Karen Cathcart and the ‘detailed and sensible’ Katie Hughes.
Social housing: finance – ranked Tier 1
At Devonshires Solicitors LLP, ‘the strength of the team lies in its deep knowledge of the highly regulated environment surrounding social housing’. For some clients, that expertise makes that the team ‘the go-to firm for registered providers’ involved in any variety of fund raising exercises, from debt capital markets issuances and private placements, to borrowing activities from funds and local authorities. Capital markets highlights have included Julian Barker advising Martlet Homes on a £400m A+ rated bond issuance, and acting for Aldwyck Housing Group in relation to a £40m private placement. In the bank lending space, a team including Andrew Cowan advised Your Housing Group on seven new and restated facility agreements totalling £457m. Similarly, Barker and Sharon Kirkham assisted Hyde Housing Association with a £760m refinancing transaction, which involved restructuring debt and various swaps with five separate banks. Further, Gary Grigor advised The Riverside Group on two new facilities and one restated facility with HSBC Bank, Svenska Handelsbanken and Barclays Bank totalling £200m. The firm also has an active property charging practice led by Richard Sharpe and Saghar Roya, which acted for L&Q to help secure two separate £500m bond issuances. Chris Drabble specialises in security-related transactions and heads the firm’s Leeds office.
Social housing: local authorities and registered providers – ranked Tier 2
Devonshires Solicitors LLP has ‘incredible command of the housing sector’ and specialises in advising housing associations on corporate, real estate and funding matters. The team has been instructed in several high-profile mergers in the housing sector, which included real estate head Neil Toner was part of a team advising London & Quadrant (L&Q) on its £505m merger with Gallagher Estates. Toner also assisted L&Q with its 51% stake acquisition in the Barking Riverside. Also in the development space, James Lyons, Elad Yasdi and Jonathan Jarvis advised Warrington-based Your Housing Group on its proposed joint venture with a Chinese-backed renewable energy group and a Spanish construction company for the multibillion-pound development of 25,000 low-carbon modular homes. Similarly, Jonathan Corris is advising Hyde Group on a £400m housing-led regeneration scheme at Rochester Riverside. Other key contacts include Nick Billingham, Gareth Hall and Andrew Cowan, who have advised clients such as Paragon Community Housing, Asra Housing Association, Amicus Horizon and Veridian on key mergers in the sector. Julie Bradley retired, but Robert Turner and Daniel Moan joined from Dentons and Kingsley Napley LLP, respectively.
Construction: contentious and non-contentious – ranked Tier 5
Large-scale developer and housing association specialist Devonshires Solicitors LLP is led by Mark London, who advises on all aspects of construction law with a particular emphasis on contentious work and the Party Wall Act. The team recently acted for Shepherds Bush Housing Association in a £4.5m delays dispute arising from a mixed commercial and residential scheme in the heart of Hammersmith, successfully obtaining an adjudication seeking a declaration that the contractor was not entitled to any further time or money. It also acted for Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, including supervision of investigation into the circumstances and cause of the fire. Clients also include Trafford Housing Trust and Lea Valley Developments Limited.
Debt recovery – ranked Tier 2
The established team at Devonshires Solicitors LLP handles all forms of debt recovery for clients that include City SMEs, banks, financial institutions, local authorities and government agencies, providing ‘an excellent level of service’. Other key contacts include Jim Varley and Robert Edge, both of whom are veterans of the area.
Fraud: civil – ranked Tier 4
Devonshires Solicitors LLP acts for a range of clients and has a particular focus on housing associations and regulatory authorities such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Philip Barden heads the team. James Dunn recently acted for the SRA in the closure of Neumans LLP which was closed after improperly claiming from Central Funds in respect of a Defendant’s costs order.
Dispute Resolution: Commercial litigation – ranked Tier 8
Devonshires Solicitors LLP’s large following of housing providers are the firm’s broad base of clients; the practice’s typical disputes work includes fraud, cross-border investigations, regulatory work and private finance initiative disputes. The names to note are Philip Barden and James Dunn.