Our legal experts have managed to secure their positions in the 2019 Legal 500 listing once again as a Leading Firm with 11 practice areas recommended in the Legal 500 tables, 2 Leading Individuals and 23 Recommended Lawyers in their respective practice areas. Read through the links below to find out more details about the listings from each practice area.
Or visit the Legal 500 official page for more details.
Gardner Leader LLP is ‘very good in terms of response times and also thoroughness of following up on outstanding items’. The team recently expanded with the hire of senior associate Sarah Samuel-Gibbon, who focuses on advising clients in the technology, media and telecoms sectors, and commercial associate Ami Bhatt, who has a specialism in owner-managed businesses and SMEs in the IT, real estate, telecoms and health sectors. Commercial lawyer Greg Humphreys heads the practice out of the firm’s Newbury office alongside managing partner Derek Rodgers, while Diane Yarrow and Richard Buckeridge are the key figures based in the Maidenhead office.
Leading individual(s): Chris Felton
Gardner Leader LLP’s practice ‘punches well above its weight, providing a very attractive client proposition: City-quality advice at provincial charging rates’. Chris Felton ‘is as able as any City litigator; he has invaluable litigation instincts coupled with great knowledge and experience, especially in international litigation and arbitration’. Felton successfully had claims of around £160,000, which were brought against two clients in their roles as partners in HLM Properties, struck out as an abuse of process. Michelle Di Gioia acted for litigation funder Managed Legal Solutions in respect of a security for costs application valued at £6.8m as part of the Seroxat group litigation, with an outcome which is set to have wide-ranging implications for litigation funders. Clients also include Swynson Limited. Senior associates Hilary Messer and Violetta Falla and associate Andrew Shipp are also noted members of the team. Solicitor Katie Dyson joined the team in January 2018 from Simmons & Simmons, adding her expertise in complex commercial disputes and financial litigation.
Senior associates Michelle Morgan and Julie Taylor head up Gardner Leader LLP’s employment practice. Recent highlights include Morgan revisiting and amending employment contracts and service agreements for new client Premier Pipeline and Taylor handling constructive unfair dismissal and unusual disability discrimination claims. The team has niche expertise in advising agricultural estates in Hampshire and Oxfordshire on their diverse workforces and the incidental complexities including tied accommodation and agricultural workers.
Gardner Leader LLP fields a ‘strong, supportive team that provides high-quality support and advice in often extremely difficult and urgent circumstances’. The regulatory practice has an extensive track record in investigations and prosecutions brought by the HSE, and is handling a growing number of mandates stemming from companies seeking advice on risk assessments and compliance. Practice head Michelle Di Gioia (‘pragmatic, dogged and determined – a lawyer you definitely want on your side and not your opponent’s’) recently acted for Race Interiors on its health and safety policies following its prosecution by the HSE. The ‘hardworking, calm and user-friendly’ Julie Taylor is also recommended.
Recommended Lawyers: Alastair Goggins
Gardner Leader LLP’s clinical negligence team is ‘very professional and has good communication’; it is particularly experienced in handling birth asphyxia claims. The ‘excellent’ team lead Alastair Goggins represented a child, who was starved of oxygen during labour and was delivered by emergency caesarean section with no heartbeat or respirations, in a claim against a hospital trust involving delay and miscommunication in proceedings, as well as a lack of swift action upon CTG traces, which caused the baby to suffer life-changing injuries.
Gardner Leader LLP’s personal injury team has niche expertise in transport accidents and disasters, road traffic collisions and various aviation accidents. The practice also handles claims involving physical and psychological workplace injuries. Associate Andrew Shipp acted for a claimant who damaged their wrist and shoulder after falling over a box at work, leading to surgery and other treatments, as well as representing a man who was hit by a car, suffered internal bleeding and had to be brought back to life twice on his way to the hospital. Partner Alastair Goggins serves as head of dispute resolution.
Featured Lawyers: Alastair Goggins.
Gardner Leader LLP’s charities and not-for-profit practice is ‘excellent in all areas’, with clients singling out Alastair Goggins for his ‘prompt responses and understanding of clients’ needs – he communicates in plain English and keeps clients updated’. Goggins leads the team, which handles the full range of charities issues for national and local charities, including charity formation and registration; governance and constitutional matters; regulatory compliance; employment law; and dispute resolution.
Leading Individual: Alastair Goggins
Gardner Leader LLP is ‘a forward-thinking, proactive firm with a good grasp of the technical, legal and practical issues that often arise in this area’. The firm’s ‘very strong litigation team’ has been active in a number of trials, ranging from matters such as proving a will in solemn form, to committal proceedings arising from a trial concerning a fraudulent will where a number of witnesses admitted to not telling the whole truth during cross examination. Recent work includes representing two siblings who had been appointed as executors of their late mother’s estate in a case against their sibling, who was also an executor of the estate, arising from the sibling’s refusal to disclose details of the will or let them see a copy. The practice also acted for the fiancé in an Inheritance Act claim brought against the estate of their deceased partner. Practice head Alastair Goggins ‘has a thorough knowledge of the law in this technically complex area, but also understands the commercial realities of the case and the client’s practical requirements, enabling him to give the best possible advice’.
Gardner Leader LLP’s experienced team is led by practice head Seona Myerscough, who specialises in child care work and is highly regarded by guardians and sought after by parents for representation. Jenny Buchanan specialises in the resolution of financial issues in divorce and relationship breakdown, alongside her role as a finance partner for the firm and member of its management board. The team was strengthened in 2017 by the hire of senior associates Suzy Hamshaw from Charles Lucas & Marshall and Simon Fisher from Bells Solicitors into the firm’s Newbury and Maidenhead offices respectively. Longstanding partner Collette Bailey retired from the partnership and the firm at the end of 2017.
With ‘very capable, experienced and competent staff’, Gardner Leader LLP is recommended for its ‘quick response times’ and ‘personal and friendly touch’. Practice head Jolyon Barton has a broad practice, advising on inheritance tax and capital gains tax mitigation, wills drafting, trust creation, Court of Protection matters and powers of attorney. The ‘very friendly, knowledgeable, calm and excellent with clients’ Robert Jobson advises on all aspects of inheritance planning, and regularly assists with the establishment of new trusts and the administration of existing trusts. Penny Wright has ‘an incredible depth of knowledge and a wealth of experience’, which includes wills, probate, charitable trusts, and complex international estates and domicile issues. Wright and senior associate Niamh Minihane are the key contacts for mental capacity matters. The team was strengthened in 2017 by the hire of senior associates Marie Verney and Richard Mead. Senior associate David Finnerty is noted for his specialism in assisting clients with questions surrounding their digital assets.
The ‘highly competent, professional and commercial’ Gardner Leader LLP provides a ‘superb overall level of service’ for property matters. Practice head Greg Humphreys (recommended for ‘his patience in explaining the pros and cons of clients’ options and ways forward’) is acting for developer Rivar on the sale of 32 residential flats and the ancillary creation of a management company and leases thereto. Development specialist Suki Hardy (‘relentlessly protects clients’ interests and continuously demonstrates her knowledge and expertise’) acted for Rivar in relation to a section 106 planning agreement for a substantial development of 157 dwellings. Richard Buckeridge handled the sale of two day nurseries and of an eye surgery in Harley Street. The team enlarged with the hire of associate Nadeem Ahmed from Browns Solicitors.
Gardner Leader LLP’s clients find the firm’s property litigation ‘very enjoyable to work with’ and rate its ‘high-quality, commercial property litigation advice’. In an illustration of its growing reputation in the market, the team was recently appointed to the panel of a national building society to handle all property-related claims, including mortgage repossessions, and has experienced an increase in the number of instructions concerning adverse possession claims. The practice is acting for clients with an interest pursuant to an option to purchase land that is subject to a restrictive covenant preventing building on the land in question. Key figures include Alastair Goggins, who is ‘a commercially savvy and effective litigator’, and the ‘pragmatic, dogged and determined’ Michelle Di Gioia.