Gardner Leader LLP was listed again in the Legal 500 – 2017 listings as a “Leading Firm” with having 12 practice areas recommended in the Legal 500 tables, 24 recommended lawyers & 2 of them being named as “Leading Individuals” in their respective practice area. Read through the links below to find out more details about the listings from each practice area.
The ‘very professional’ department at Gardner Leader LLP acts for companies across a range of sectors, and new clients include Campion Willcocks and Molly Maid. The ‘highly recommended’ Diane Yarrow joined the Maidenhead and Newbury offices from B P Collins LLP and recently advised Progressive Technology on its merger with Innovate 2 Make. The firm’s recent mandates also include private equity investments, employee buyouts and acting for investment vehicles and consortium funders on numerous acquisitions. Newbury and Maidenhead-based Richard Buckeridge is also recommended alongside managing partner Derek Rodgers and ‘very knowledgeable and efficient’ practice head Greg Humphreys, who is dual-qualified in South Africa and the UK. At senior associate level, employment expert Michelle Morgan arrived from Freeths LLP.
Leading individual(s): Chris Felton
Gardner Leader LLP’s ‘caseload is exceptional and would be the envy of any City firm’. ‘Cornerstone of the team’ and practice head Chris Felton defended a private client in a cross-border probate dispute regarding the validity of a will concerning assets worth millions. Property litigation head Michelle Di Gioia, who ‘inspires a real team ethos’ by ‘going above and beyond for clients’, defended Swynson and its owner in a Supreme Court appeal against liquidated accountants Lowick Rose LLP, which questioned whether the repayment of loans by a borrower released or reduced the liability a negligent adviser has to a lender based on the principal of res inter alios acta. Clients also include Managed Legal Solutions and Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. Andrew Shipp was promoted to associate, and at senior associate level, Hilary Messer leads the litigation team in Maidenhead and Violetta Falla joined the firm from RPC. Caroline Watson became a partner at Thrings LLP.
Gardner Leader LLP’s growing client list includes Gillespie Lavelle Morrison and a number of high-net-worth individuals. Senior associate Michelle Morgan was a key hire from Freeths LLP. Senior associate Julie Taylor was particularly active in representing employees; a recent highlight saw Taylor bring a race discrimination claim against the employer of a high-net-worth individual regarding their dismissal and participation in a high-value equity scheme.
Gardner Leader LLP provides ‘a very thorough, partner-led service, doggedly supporting clients in often difficult circumstances’. Key specialisms include risk management, compliance and health and safety litigation, and the team handles complex instructions concerning investigations and prosecutions by the HSE. Notable clients include Natures Way Foods and Race Interiors; the team is advising the latter on its health and safety policies following its prosecution and sentencing. The ‘thorough, pragmatic and practical’ Michelle Di Gioia, who heads the practice, is ‘a safe pair of hands who will fight to the nth degree for the best results’. Senior associate Julie Taylor advises a range of individuals and small to mid-sized businesses.
Recommended Lawyers: Alastair Goggins
Specialising in birth asphyxia claims, Gardner Leader LLP’s clinical negligence practice ‘devotes considerable time and attention to its cases and also develops sensible relationships with the opposition’. Alastair Goggins in Newbury is the key contact and ‘has a very calm manner combined with dogged persistency and breadth of litigation experience’. He recently acted for a child who was starved of oxygen during labour due to a delay in her caesarean section delivery.
Gardner Leader LLP’s personal injury practice is based in Newbury and Maidenhead and has developed niche experience in transport accidents, including railway (e.g. the Ladbroke Grove rail crash) and aviation disasters (e.g. helicopter crashes in Afghanistan), for which the lawyers act for claimants at inquests. Team lead Alastair Goggins represented a claimant who sustained nerve damage in her neck and shoulder as well as constant pain during her work with adolescents who have learning difficulties; the matter settled for £50,000. Andrew Shipp, who became an associate in July 2016, undertook a case worth up to £75,000, where the claimant was injured by a motorcycle which did not stop at a pedestrian crossing and ran over her foot, leading to both psychological symptoms and deep corns in her feet. Senior associates Judith Rountree and Tara McInnes are other key lawyers in the team.
Gardner Leader LLP’s ‘excellent, friendly and approachable’ team ‘responds quickly to all queries’ and ‘understands that charities view legal problems differently to commercial businesses, which is a huge help in getting matters resolved’. ‘Knowledgeable professional’ Alastair Goggins heads the practice; he recently represented United Christian Broadcasters in a claim regarding the proceeds of a £1m estate donated to several charities. Other key figures include corporate partner Greg Humphreys, inheritance protection expert Robert Jobson and health and safety practitioner Michelle Di Gioia. The team gained a number of new clients in the last year, including the British Skin Foundation, Henley Women’s Regatta and One Small Step Trust.
Leading Individual: Alastair Goggins
Gardner Leader LLP is ‘an excellent firm – well resourced, and easy to deal with’. The group acts for a mix of private individuals and local and national charities, and recently advised United Christian Broadcaster in a dispute regarding the proceeds of an estate donated to several charitable organisations. Alastair Goggins is ‘a good listener, and is able to advise clients in a constructive fashion’.
Gardner Leader LLP’s ‘strength is in the relationship it builds with clients, who are often vulnerable individuals’. Practice head Seona Myerscough handles care proceedings and is ‘very thorough and easy to work with’. Collette Bailey and Jenny Buchanan focus on financial matters and act for high-net-worth individuals in divorce and relationship breakdown matters. Child arrangement matters and special guardianship orders feature among the team’s recent caseload.
At Gardner Leader LLP, recently promoted senior associate Niamh Minihane and the ‘exceptional’ Penny Wright, who made partner, are the main contacts for mental capacity matters, an area of work that has recently increased for the firm. Wright has ‘the ability to humanise what can be an extremely difficult time for clients’ and her expertise also includes cross-border tax planning and charitable trusts work. Jolyon Barton leads the ‘experienced’ practice and has been active in estate administration, non-domicile issues and intestacy matters. Meanwhile, Robert Jobson’s recent caseload included inheritance tax and trusts with multimillion-pound property and business assets. David Finnerty was promoted to associate.
The ‘excellent’ Gardner Leader LLP has ‘sufficient strength in depth’ and expanded its development work by hiring former BrookStreet des Roches partner Suki Hardy, who handled the development of barn conversions and live/work units for Rivar. Senior associate Joanna Bullard arrived from Darbys Solicitors LLP and handled a broad range of work, including advising on property warranties and titles. With ‘expert local knowledge that is the key to obtaining a successful outcome’, practice head Greg Humphreys is well respected and recently handled various lease matters pertaining to construction and fit-out work. Key figures also include Jolyon Barton, who leads the inheritance protection practice, and Maidenhead and Newbury-based Richard Buckeridge. Other clients include Newbury Building Society, J & J Carter and a restaurant chain.
Gardner Leader LLP’s team is praised for its ‘creative approach’; it is ‘quickly able to assess a complex dispute, implementing an efficient strategy which results in a favourable outcome for the client’. Highlights included acting for a Plc in a breach of statutory duty claim, and representing a religious society in an enfranchisement and lease renewal matter. Alastair Goggins heads the team, which includes Hilary Messer, who ‘is highly approachable and able to plot effective routes through unconventional disputes’.