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The Legal 500: 2021 Listing

30-09-2020


Our legal experts have managed to secure their positions in the 2021 The Legal 500 listing once again as a Leading Firm with 11 practice areas recommended in the Legal 500 tables, 3 Leading Individuals, 1 Rising Star and 21 Recommended Lawyers in their respective practice areas. Read through the links below to find out more details about the listings from each practice area.

Corporate and Commercial

The team operates in a ‘commercial and uncomplicated manner’, advising start-ups, owner-managed businesses and investors. Greg Humphreys leads the team and is experienced in matters involving retail, industrial, licensed, leisure and office premises, supported by Diane Yarrow and Derek Rodgers.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Diane YarrowDerek Rodgers;

Testimonials

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Commercial Litigation

The team provides ‘legal expertise far above its station‘, advising a mix of private and corporate clients in corporate and commercial disputes as well as civil fraud. ‘No-nonsense litigator‘ Chris Felton focuses on complex, multi jurisdiction litigation and international arbitration at a commercial and interstate level. Michelle Di Gioia advises on shareholder and director disputes. Alastair Goggins leads the disputes team, while Maidenhead-based senior associate Michael Axe is recommended. Noor Kadhim joined the firm in 2019 and brings rare expertise in contentious art law.

Leading individuals

Chris Felton

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

  • The personal touch of having a small practice which is transparent and quick to respond.”
  • Chris Felton is a match for any City litigator.”
  • The team is very committed to the cases in which they are instructed. Somehow they always find the time to fully deal with and concentrate on the matters at hand. Cases are dealt with in a cost-conscious manner, regardless of the quantum involved.”
  • Michelle Di Gioia – great communicator and tactician with excellent clients”
  • Chris Felton is an inventive and knowledgeable partner, who at all times is on top of his case.”
  • They punch above their weight in terms of the quality of work they undertake and their responsiveness is second to none.”
  • Michael Axe has an excellent knowledge of franchising, he also has a very commercial outlook and can match the legal aspects of the case with the requirements of the business.”

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Employment

The team assists with all employment matters, including complex litigation and senior executive exits. Senior associate Julie Taylor  is the sole practitioner and specialises in discrimination claims and technical TUPE disputes. Former co-lead Michelle Morgan  departed for Shoosmiths LLP in 2019

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

  • “Julie Taylor responded quickly to our needs and supported us throughout. She was reassuring and understanding, listened with care and empathy and delivered the information and advice we needed. She was at all times totally professional and I would have no hesitation in approaching Julie again for advice, and probably will!”
  • The emphasis is on being personal. They have worked hard to make a connection with local businesses. There is a high level of care and attention and you feel that the team wants to help you.”
  • I am always impressed by the standard of service and communication provided by the employment team. I have worked with Julie Taylor for a number of years on a variety of employment matters. I particularly value that Julie always responds promptly to my enquiries and trust her to provide her advice in the context of the bigger picture.”
  • Very thorough and you can always trust that they take the time to understand the situation before providing practical and realistic advice.”

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Health and Safety

The team’s health & safety team advises high-profile corporate clients on a full range of compliance, risk management and litigation matters. The team regularly advises on regulatory issues, as well as acting for clients in investigations and prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive. Practice head Michelle Di Gioia is one of the preeminent names in the region, and advises a number of  longstanding construction and manufacturing clients on a full range of issues.

Leading individual

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Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant

the team’s clinical negligence practice advises on the full spectrum of matters for clients, with specialisms in fatalities and inquests work, led by litigator Alistair Goggins. The team also includes senior associate Andrew Shipp, who has over twenty years of experience acting in personal injury matters and is recommended for claims involving mental health injuries in the workplace.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

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Charities and not-for-profit

The team advises charitable trusts, royal charter companies, community benefit societies both nationally and in the Newbury area. It also advises start-ups, independent schools, and faith-based charities on charity formation and registration, regulatory compliance, dispute resolution, and Charities Act compliance. Practice head Alastair Goggins regularly acts in contentious matters involving trust disputes including validity, financial provision, and the removal of trustees. Diane Yarrow advises on constitutional and governance issues, mergers and restructurings. Penny Wright advises charities on compliance with the requirements of the Charities Act. Richard Buckeridge also comes recommended.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

  • “Joined-up thinking and team-working.”
  • “The whole team functions smoothly and efficiently, from the reception area through to the partners. They are friendly, responsive and efficient, offering sound advice and support.”
  • “This firm always behaves in a professional but friendly manner. They have a range of staff who have expertise in the many varied aspects of life’s problems.”
  • “Penny Wright is exceptional in her manner, knowledge and efficiency. She is proactive and looks at problems from every angle before offering advice, which is invariably accurate. She listens and summarises problems very coherently.”

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Contentious trusts and probate

The team at Gardner Leader LLP has a track record of work advising clients on the validity of wills for multimillion-pound estates, Court of Protection matters, and matters involving negligent executors, especially in regards to appearances in the High Court. Practice leader Alastair Goggins , a ‘stand-out legal and tactical analyst’, is an expert in contentious matters involving will and trust disputes, estoppel claims, and the removal of executors and trustees.

Leading individuals

Testimonials

  • “Gardner Leader is a growing regional practice with a strong contentious trust and probate practice led by Alastair Goggins. He is an experienced and empathetic lawyer who knows the area well.”
  • Alastair Goggins is friendly and professional, a great communicator, and I admire his moral principles. He makes time for clients and he says it as it is.”
  • Alistair Goggins is a very impressive litigator. His analytical skills are extremely good. He is calm under pressure, gives measured and sound advice to clients. This is a department that punches far above its weight and matches many central London firms in its service.”
  • Alistair Goggins is a stand-out legal and tactical analyst.”
  • “Gardner Leader has an extremely good contentious trust and probate team, headed by the excellent and very experienced Alastair Goggins. The team combines a thorough knowledge of the relevant law (in a highly technical area) with a good feel for the practical and commercial realities of a case. Their client handling is excellent. They have dealt with some very interesting and high profile cases in recent years. They also benefit from being one specialist team within a larger firm, which gives clients ready access to expert advice in other relevant areas such as property and corporate law.”
  • Alastair Goggins is a first-class lawyer, with a wealth of experience. He has a detailed knowledge of the technical law, an excellent feel for negotiation and litigation tactics and he gives good clear advice based on the commercial realities of the client’s situation. He is confident and efficient, and has a very good relationship with his clients.”
  • There is strength and depth to each team. All members of the team are friendly and approachable and experts in their field.”
  • Alastair Goggins has great experience in inheritance dispute work. He is approachable and respectful of his clients and guides them well through the legal process.”

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Family

The ‘professional and diligent‘ team offer the full breadth of family law advice on issues including divorce, pre/post nuptial agreements, public and private children law matters and Schedule 1  Children’s Act mandates. Seona Myerscough leads the practices and is a ‘great ally‘ to her clients;  she has a particular specialism in acting for adolescents and young people within the care process.  Newly-promoted partner Simon Fisher  has considerable experience in mid to high net value financial matters, often involving complex assets and international elements. Jenny Buchanan  is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

  • “Committed to providing constructive support to those going through the difficult time of divorce or separation.”
  • “Simon Fisher has been outstanding. He has guided me through the entire process. It has not been easy at all, with hidden assets and  property outside of jurisdiction but he has been exemplary in his approach and has treated my family and myself with great respect and sensitivity. I have recommended him to family and friends who have been given the same impeccable service.”
  • The team were friendly, approachable and demonstrated good communication between departments. I needed both the family law and conveyancing departments to act on my behalf. I felt assured that these departments worked well together and alongside each other.”
  • “Seona Myerscough is highly professional and sensitive to the underlying issues that often affect parents within public law proceedings. She can therefore be clear about expectations, while remaining respectful of families.”
  • “No matter the work, they are open, honest, able to look at the longer term goals and guide appropriately with tact. The communication across the firm and out to clients is first rate whatever the situation.”
  • “Simon Fisher offers a unique blend of pro-active and empathetic support and is not afraid to think outside the box to find constructive proposals, which are equitable and sustainable. Simon is committed to achieving this in a non-confrontational manner and always mindful of the needs of his clients.”

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Personal tax, trusts and probate

The team’s ‘care and consideration of clients in distressing circumstances is second to none‘. With a full service private client team, much of the work is multi-jurisdictional, including advising on domicile and other international estate planning issues. Practice head Jolyon Barton manages large estates, often on behalf of high profile public figures, preparing wills, LPAs and discretionary trusts. Robert Jobson operates a broad practice and acts as a trustee for complex high-value family trusts. Penny Wright advises the elderly and those with capacity issues. Senior associate Niamh Minihane leads the Inheritance Protection team in the Maidenhead office.

Rising stars

Niamh Minihane

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

  • Solicitors who add value rather than process instructions of clients. They always challenge preconceived ideas of what steps should be taken.”
  • “On the basis that technical knowledge is a given, it is Jo Barton’s bedside manner that sets him apart. His style is very calm and reassuring, which is appreciated. He deals with the legal and emotional aspects exceptionally well.”
  • They balance human care and empathy with providing the very best advice, adapted to each client’s need, their background and stage of life. I particularly respect the team and the practice for becoming Dementia Friends.”
  • Penny Wright has a caring, calmness to her whole demeanour, which acts to dissipate high emotion and bring focus to client meetings in a kind manner. She acts to advise, but also support clients emotionally to reach decisions most appropriate to them.”

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Commercial Property

The team advises on complex acquisitions and financing arrangements, investments, joint ventures, commercial leasing and extensive development projects from its Newbury and Maidenhead offices. In Newbury, Greg Humphreys leads the team and has particular experience in advice relating to property transactions for restaurant businesses; Suki Hardy‘s experience encompasses acquisitions, disposals, leasing and development of land. In Maidenhead, Richard Buckeridge is ‘honest, respectful and understanding‘ in advising on sales and purchases, property investment and management, leases and property-related commercial contracts. Joanna Bullard is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

  • The team at Gardner Leader were quick to understand the issues and highly pro-active and efficient throughout the whole sale process. They instilled a sense of confidence that they were always on the case and acting in my best interests.”
  • Good team support given in a number of areas relating to the sale of business and farmland, with in-house specialists advising on complicated issues.”
  • Greg Humphreys was excellent to deal with and handles all matters very quickly, with clear communication throughout. He is very knowledgeable and uses his vast experience to find the most suitable solutions.

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Property litigation

ncreasingly acting for commercial landlords, the team’s property litigation team specialises in mortgage repossession claims. The wider litigation team is led by Alastair Goggins, while Michelle Di Gioia heads up the property litigation sub-group. Notable recent work includes defending a respondent in the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber in a case of adverse possession.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

  • Gardner Leader is a strong and growing regional firm with several property litigation specialists amongst its number. The solicitors there are friendly, well-informed and efficient.”
  • I have worked frequently with Alastair Goggins, Michelle di Gioia and Andrew Shipp in Gardner Leader’s property disputes team. All of them are first-rate, good lawyers and commercially savvy and a pleasure to work with.”

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