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DWF LLP

Manchester

DWF LLP - Liverpool
  • 1 Scott Place
  • 2 Hardman Street
  • Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • UK
  • M3 3AA
  • Managing Partner Andrew Leaitherland
  • Number of UK partners and directors 358

The Firm Described by market commentators as “blazing a trail”, DWF is one of the UK’s largest law firms and has an award-winning reputation for client service excellence and effective operational management.
Independently ranked 1st of all top 20 law firms for the quality of its legal advice and joint 1st of all national law firms for its service delivery and responsiveness, DWF has recently been named ‘Best Managed National Firm’ at the Managing Partners’ Forum Awards for Management Excellence 2014, which recognise management excellence in professional services firms across Europe.
Employing over 2,500 people across 12 locations in the UK & Ireland, the firm has core strengths in corporate & banking, insurance, litigation and real estate, and in-depth industry expertise in six chosen sectors including central & local government; energy & industrials; financial services; retail, food & hospitality; technology; and transport.
DWF is focused on delivering client service excellence to all of its clients, which include major household names and FTSE-listed companies such as adidas, Barclays, De Vere Group, Greene King, Leeds City Council, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Whitbread and Virgin Trains.

What Others Say About DWF: Won ‘Best Managed National Firm’ and ‘Best Financial Management’ (Managing Partners’ Forum Awards for Management Excellence 2014); Andrew Leaitherland won ‘Management Partner of the Year’ (Legal Business Awards 2014); Independently ranked 1st of all top 20 law firms for the quality of its legal advice and joint 1st of all national law firms for its service delivery and responsiveness (Legal Week Client Satisfaction Survey 2013); and won ‘Best Major Project’ for DWF’s merger with Cobbetts (Lawyer Management Awards 2013).

Offices Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Preston.

    Contacts
  • Central & Local Government Jonathan Branton
  • Energy & Industrials Andrew Symms
  • Financial Services Andrew Gregory
  • Retail, Food & Hospitality Hilary Ross
  • Technology Tim Leeson and Andrew Whalley
  • Transport Jonathan Moss
  • Corporate & Banking Alasdair Peacock
  • Insurance Paul Berry
  • Litigation Graham Dagnall
  • Real Estate Nic Crocker

Branches

  • 1 Scott Place,
  • 2 Hardman Street,
  • Manchester,
  • Lancashire
  • UK
  • M3 3AA
  • Tel (0161) 603 5000
  • Fax (0161) 603 5050

Banking & Finance - Liverpool and surrounds

Basic facts about the department

- 4 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester, Liverpool

What the team is known for Recognised for its capabilities advising on real estate finance, social housing finance and property development funding. Also possesses a thorough understanding of the niche area of BPRA (Business Premises Renovation Allowances) schemes. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a good team in finance. They deliver when they say they will, they're pragmatic and they can explain complex matters in a straightforward fashion."

"They were willing to liaise with our client's lawyers to keep the deal moving forward and demonstrated quite a rare level of input and experience."

What's new? The team won an impressive array of new clients this year, including Chrysalis and NextGear Capital UK, as well as public sector clients Manchester City Council and Warrington Borough Council, and non-profit client Progress Housing Group.

Work highlights Advised Innospec on the UK aspects of the financing for its acquisition of two US chemical companies, funded by £200 million in facilities provided by a syndicate of banks.

Acted for an array of banks and funds in connection with a number of substantial BPRA scheme financings. 

Notable practitioners  

Head of the North West banking team Jonathan Edwards recently played a prominent role on several transactions involving difficult cross-border components. One client notes: "He's excellent. Very good at focusing on the key issues, drawing them to our attention and giving us his insight so we can make an informed decision. He also takes care of the details that he knows we don't need to concern ourselves with, which is something we really value."

James Szerdy has a healthy reputation in the local market and is well regarded for his knowledge of asset finance. One client had this to say: "He impressed me on the first deal we did with him and he's impressed me on every deal he's done ever since." 

Helen Corner retains a devoted client following in the local market for her expertise in banking and finance matters. One client states: "She's very down-to-earth, pragmatic and sensible. She will get the deal done without forgoing her clients' needs and input."

Significant clients NatWest, RBS, Santander, Barclays, NAMA.

Construction - Manchester and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners (3 Manchester)
- 12 other qualified lawyers (10 Manchester, 2 Liverpool)
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Active in procurement, contract drafting and dispute resolution work for public and private sector clients. Additional capabilities in construction insurance matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are very prompt at dealing with issues as they arise and they do what the client wants to do, as in they listen and do not just do what they want to do."  

Work highlights Acted for Liverpool City Council on a dispute with a contractor, concerning demolition works and landscaping in Stanley Park.

Advised KPMG on a large office development at One St Peter's Square in central Manchester.

Notable practitioners  

Paul O'Kane is the firm's national department head. He focuses on some of the team's largest projects and disputes. Interviewees praise his "very personable and down-to-earth" style.

Significant clients St. Modwen, Bruntwood, Peel Holdings, Brookfield Construction, Cape.

Corporate/M&A - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners in the region
- 1 director in the region
- 1 consultant in the region
- 13 other qualified lawyers in the region
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for Advises listed and private companies, as well as private equity investors, on the full range of corporate transactions. Broad experience includes sector focus on technology, retail and financial services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They take a very commercial view to ensure we receive the appropriate advice, resulting in solutions that work for all parties."

"They got us over the line in a transaction with incredibly tight timescales. They were always very helpful, accommodating and pragmatic in their approach."

What's new? Paul Rimmer joined the firm to head the Liverpool practice from DLA Piper in 2013.

Work highlights Acted for investor Renovo Group on its £19 million acquisition of Ultimate Finance.

Represented testing, inspection and certification company SGS in its acquisition of MIS Environmental and MIS Testing.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Rimmer took up his role as head of the Liverpool team after joining the firm from DLA Piper in 2013. He receives widespread recognition from market sources for his stellar private equity practice, with outstanding experience of high-value transactions across the region.

Manchester-based private equity expert Jonathan Robinson is revered by commentators for his market-leading practice. Described as "a first-class act in terms of doing deals," he frequently acts for many of the region's most prominent investors, such as assisting LDC with the substantial sale of Green Sky Energy to E.ON Connecting Energies.

Frank Shephard heads the firm's North West corporate offering, and receives strong recognition for his public companies expertise. Clients describe him as "very commercial, focused on the points that matter and good at managing a deadline." Recent case highlights include advising financial outsourcing provider Equiniti Holdings on its acquisition of Killik Employee Services.

Up-and-coming Manchester partner Nicola Frost enters the rankings this year, following praise from interviewees for her growing presence on significant private equity mandates. This included advising NVM Private Equity on its £7 million investment in the MBO of furniture manufacturer Buoyant Holdings.

Significant clients MoneyPlus Group, James Halstead, Key Capital Partners , Optionis, Conviviality Retail.

Employment - Liverpool and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester, Liverpool

What the team is known for Impressive team with a substantial national presence handling all employment law matters. Areas of expertise include TUPE and unfair dismissal cases in industries such as education, leisure and retail.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"This a well-informed and commercially minded team with strong national coverage."

What's new? New client wins include Persona Vue, University Hospital South Manchester and Knauf.

Work highlights Represented a former employee of Crystal Palace FC in the Employment Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, following their dismissal after the club went into administration in 2010.  

Represented The Manchester College in relation to an appeal against an Employment Tribunal and EAT decision of automatic unfair dismissal.

Notable practitioners  

The well-regarded Philip Harman acts for employers across a wide spectrum of employment law including matters arising from large-scale reorganisations and executive departures. Also represents senior employees in the Employment Tribunal.

Renowned employment lawyer Tim Scott is praised by clients for his service and communication skills: "He is very knowledgeable but completely approachable; I can ask him anything and he gives his answers in a manner I can understand."

Jamie Campbell works on contentious and non-contentious matters, handling a range of issues such as diversity, TUPE and redundancies. Also excellent working on matters such as high-value discriminations and discriminations.

Kirsty Rogers' practice covers whistle-blowing, discrimination and High Court injunction work. Sources describe her as "very efficient and commercially minded."  

Leading light Andrew Chamberlain's distinguished practice encompasses all areas of employment law including termination, restrictive covenants and TUPE. "He is an outstanding employment lawyer," enthuses one client. He recently joined the team from Addleshaw Goddard LLP.

Significant clients Iceland Foods, Securitas, Equiniti, Impellam, Alternative Futures Group.

Family/Matrimonial - North West

What the team is known for Stellar reputation for its advice in relation to all aspects of family breakdown, including complex financial proceedings, residence and contact issues and child abduction. Additional capabilities in pre and post nuptial agreements, particularly in relation to high net worth individuals and media personalities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The support they gave me was fantastic. Everybody I came across had the same values. A very professional company."

"They have very good practitioners." 

Notable practitioners  

Lesley Smythe predominantly handles high net worth divorce cases, pre and post-nuptial agreements and private law child matters. She is known as a formidable opponent, with sources reporting that "she fights her client's corner very hard."

David Pickering is renowned for his depth of experience across a spectrum of family issues. A "first-class" practitioner, he instils confidence in clients and peers alike. One source remarks: "If I was getting divorced I would go to David."

Beverley Jones is quickly making her mark in complex financial matters, and wins praise for her "meticulous eye for detail," "phenomenal preparation," and "practical approach." Sources describe her as "a star in the making."

Information Technology - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners (4 Manchester, 2 Liverpool)
- 7 other qualified lawyers (6 Manchester, 1 Liverpool)
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for A leading North West team, regularly instructed on large-scale projects and outsourcing matters. Provides particular expertise in data protection issues. Retail is another area of strength.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a balanced mix of senior, mid-level and junior lawyers so that they can resource projects in the most cost-effective way."

"I've had a fantastic experience and I wouldn't go anywhere else."

What's new? Michael Mousdale joins the firm from Trowers & Hamlins.

Work highlights Advised Arena Convention Centre Liverpool on the development of three websites, including negotiating web development agreements.

Assisted Liverpool John Moores University with a number of IT matters, including collaborative agreements and software sharing contracts.

Notable practitioners 

Craig Chaplin is the head of the technology team, and advises on high-value IT transactional matters. Clients say he has a "proven track record of handling big outsourcing deals."

IT projects specialist James Lonsdale is described by peers as "motivated, committed and hard-working." One client says he is a "very good calming influence and takes the time to think through what we need."

Significant clients Sanef, Halfords, Morrisons, Palm Recycling, The Co-operative Group, Oldham MBC.

Intellectual Property - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for High-quality representation of leading brands on a broad array of non-contentious IP issues. Also has a good and growing contentious practice.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A big presence in Manchester and Liverpool and a really good range of expertise."

"Very commercial, with a strengthened litigation side and a lot of good young talent coming through."

What's new? Robert Roper has retired from the Manchester practice. New clients include Jaguar Land Rover, Pearson Group and 3M. 

Work highlights Advised British Cycling, the UK's governing body for cycle sports, on its future branding and marketing strategy and reviewed its proprietary IP ownership of Olympic cycle designs.

Acted for Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool on a number of IP issues, including opposing a trade mark application made by O2 relating to the mark 'Priority'.

Notable practitioners  

Liverpool-based Paul Attwood's broad IP capabilities include expertise on trade mark issues and sponsorship and endorsement deals. Clients particularly respect his commercial awareness with one noting: "I don't need to decode anything I tell him, because he's taken the trouble to come over and learn about it.

James Lonsdale of the Manchester office is especially experienced in the handling of licensing and brand protection issues for clients who include companies in the education, food and financial services sectors. He is "clever and commercial," and "a very capable good guy who knows his stuff," sources say.  

Significant clients Burton's Foods, Halfords, Iconix (Umbro), Liverpool John Moores University, Tangle Teezer.

Litigation - Liverpool and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- Ranked office locations: Manchester, Liverpool

What the team is known for An expanding litigation practice with a solid reputation in Manchester and Liverpool, adding to the depth of services and resources already offered to a high-profile client base. Instructions from clients including those in the public, education and retail sectors. Areas of specialism are known to be insurance and professional negligence.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have always been very responsive and understanding of our position."

"They have established themselves as a leading litigation firm in Manchester."

"A very solid, reliable team."  

Work highlights Representing Langstone Leisure in a professional negligence matter involving the former managing director of the company, and his liability with respect to the funding by the company of legal proceedings brought by the liquidators of Aqua Design.  

Successfully defended Leeds City Council against two claims related to the council's termination of of a procurement process. The matter concerned a well-publicised project, and the claim was worth over £35 million.

Acted for FC United during an individual's attempt to reverse the decision by Manchester City Council to allow the client to develop a new football stadium. The appeal process was expedited and permission to appeal was denied.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Harris is known to be retained for high-value matters that are likely to reach trial stage. He is well regarded by his peers for excellence in minority shareholder disputes particularly, being rated as "an excellent commercial litigator." His clients range from public-private partnerships to directors and partners.   

Litigation department head Joel Heap is considered to be "an incredibly commercial person, with great nous" who is an "excellent" litigator. His experience of commercial litigation includes involvement in disputes arising from corporate transactions and company law.

National litigation head Graham Dagnall leads the team, and is considered to be "a very respected and technically strong litigation lawyer." He utilises his corporate and commercial litigation experience and knowledge when representing institutional clients in disputes arising from issues such as sale of business.

James Lappin is noted as an "obvious standout" individual who offers excellent commercial advice. Clients appreciate his practical and sound understanding of their business, and the commercial value he brings to high-stakes disputes.

Steve Morris has a strong reputation as a litigator who is at ease with high-value matters. One source says he is "probably the best commercial litigator I have ever worked with." His practice features a wide range of dispute matters and varying representation, including high-profile clients involved in breach of contract allegations.

Jon Hainey specialises in commercial and public law matters, with a wealth of experience in disputes such as insolvency, procurement and professional negligence. He is praised as having "a fantastic eye for detail, while maintaining an eye on the bigger picture. A pragmatic strategist."

Significant clients Cartwright Coach Builders, Odyssey Reinsurance Group, Derwent Holdings, Telefonica UK (O2), Crown Paints. 

Pensions - Liverpool and surrounds

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Acts for clients from a range of sectors including transport, energy and retail. Advises trustees and employers on a range of pensions management issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I can't speak highly enough of their attention to detail and absolute commitment to the cause."

"We have been impressed by the totality of their support."

What's new? New clients include the Trustee of the Swatch Group UK Scheme, Electricity North West and Liverpool Vision.

Work highlights Acted for Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals on negotiations concerning scheme funding arrangements.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Ashley-Taylor "provides wisdom, guidance and support," market sources report. He heads the pensions team in Manchester and has significant experience advising clients on the full range of scheme matters.

The "pragmatic and thorough" Tim Green "is very good at managing expectations and delivering on time," comment clients. He works with clients on scheme advisory and transactional challenges.

Significant clients Trustees of the Ingersoll Rand Holdings Limited Retirement Benefits Plan (1974), Trustee of the Nottingham City Transport Limited Pension Fund, Bacardi-Martini, Trustee of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association Retirement Benefits Scheme, Bibby Holdings.

Private Client - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for North West powerhouse known for its advice to high net worth individuals, including complex tax planning, asset protection cases and cross-border probate, in addition to its specialist expertise in Court of Protection work. Further highlighted for the size of the team, which enables it to handle a wide variety of matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"DWF has very good technical knowledge, and great service delivery. Some of the other firms might have a couple of good technicians, but their service delivery falls down. DWF can manage clients' expectations and relationships very well."

What's new? Alan Sturrock, previously a partner at Addleshaw Goddard in Manchester, has joined DWF as a consultant.

Notable practitioners  

Susan Sherry operates out of the firm's Liverpool offices, providing advice on wills, trust planning, inheritance tax mitigation and Court of Protection matters. Commentators say: "I have total confidence in Susan's ability. She puts the clients at ease, avoids the use of jargon, and isn't afraid to challenge the client when appropriate whilst remaining professional." 

Paul Davies leads the firm's Liverpool private client team, and is particularly respected for his skill in taxation cases, especially with regard to non-domiciled individuals. Sources describe him as "concise and clear," adding: "He doesn't overcomplicate things for the sake of it. He's not afraid to give an opinion either. He's not afraid to tell a client that they're barking up the wrong tree."

Geoffrey Shindler is one of the most respected private client solicitors in the North West of England. Clients say: "If you are looking for an expert in trusts and estate planning, Geoffrey is your man."

The "excellent" Alan Sturrock is heavily involved in trusts work, and advises high net worth clients from various industries on succession planning and tax mitigation matters.

Real Estate - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 16 partners
- 35 other lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for Broad real estate offering with experience in telecommunications, stadium developments and social housing. Represents both public and private sector clients and frequently acts on behalf of financial institutions and investment groups.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very proactive, very client-driven with an understanding of client pressures, and they're holistic in their advice."  

"Very commercially savvy, can-do attitude and keen to get deals over the line."

What's new? New client wins include City Link, Wagamama and Hansteen.

Work highlights Acted for Kennedy Wilson on its £250 million purchase of the Britannica Portfolio.

Represented Whitbread in multiple site acquisitions for the launch of its 'hub by Premier Inn' brand.

Notable practitioners  

The "thoroughly charming" Mark Barker is rated for his "very calm, assured but assertive manner." He has significant expertise in major development and regeneration schemes. He is further highlighted for his ability to communicate well with peers, with sources stating that he is "very good to deal with and doesn't try and score points." 

The eminent Stephen Benson is "clearly very well respected and deservedly so." Clients hail his direct approach and ability to "formulate strategies which are straightforward and pragmatic." 

Sources describe Andrew Nichol as an "excellent, practically minded, commercial lawyer." He concentrates on property finance and investment work and has specific knowledge of BPRA funding. Recent highlights include advising Praxis on its investment acquisition of office block Dalmore House.

Significant clients EE, St. Modwen Properties, Adidas, Ashtenne Industrial Fund, Barclays Bank.

Real Estate Litigation - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Focuses on both commercial and residential real estate litigation matters, with particular strength in representing local authorities. Also well known for its breadth of expertise in property disputes in the telecommunications sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"They are strong. They have a good practice."

Work highlights Successfully represented a private individual in claims concerning negligence and nuisance against a builder and a developer, and in an appeal of a party wall award. 

Notable practitioners  

The "erudite" Alan Walker is adept at advising on commercial landlord and tenant disputes, dilapidations claims, service charge disputes and rights of way issues. His clients include local authorities, property developers, investors and clients operating in the telecoms industry.

Graeme Dixon heads the firm's Manchester real estate litigation team. His areas of focus include possession claims, boundary disputes and contested lease renewal claims. He also possesses notable expertise in mediation and ADR.  

Significant clients Speedy Hire Group, WHSmith, Great Places Housing Group, Symphony Housing Group, Matalan.

Restructuring/Insolvency - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Office location ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Broad knowledge of restructuring and insolvency law, with particular specialisms in property assets and the sale of property portfolios out of administration. Bolstered by its ability to pull in resources from across the wider firm.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"Their strengths are the quality of work and technical knowledge."  

Work highlights Advised Duff & Phelps on the sale out of administration of Concord Filing Products to Pukka Pads, which helped to secure approximately 150 jobs.  

Acted for BDO on the high-profile Allied Carpets administration, specifically in relation to a dispute over the ranking of the administration expenses. 

Notable practitioners  

Gavin Jones has a breadth of experience in restructuring and insolvency issues, with particular expertise in retail administrations. Clients find him "very impressive in terms of getting the issues ironed out."

Andrew Gregory sits on the strategic board and is national head of the firm's financial services group. Clients find him to be a "good, commercial lawyer," and add that he is "easy to get on with."  

Sean McGrath is a new addition to the team following the firm's acquisition of Cobbetts. He brings significant experience in distressed property workouts and is well thought of by peers. One source notes: "If we have a referral we would send it to him."

Significant clients KPMG, NAMA, Baker Tilly, Deloitte, RBS Invoice Finance.

Social Housing - North West

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Manchester

What the team is known for Excellent practice for housing litigation. Well placed to advise on governance, charitable status and group structures.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Their work is interesting and detailed, and they understand the contract in the round and can see the implications." 

Work highlights Advised the Halton Housing Trust on its loan restructuring with Lloyds Bank, alongside two private placements.

Advised Contour Homes as part of a bidding SPV on a PFI project with Manchester City Council.

Notable practitioners  

Richard St John Williams receives high praise from clients, who describe him as "an important asset for us in achieving our business goals and objectives." He is adept at handling governance issues, alongside partnerships and PFI/PPP projects.

Significant clients Great Places Housing Group, The Riverside Group, Symphony Housing Group, Together Housing Group, Your Housing.

Banking Litigation - The Regions

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 8 other qualified lawyers
- Office locations ranked: Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester

What the team is known for Acts for major lenders on a broad range of banking and insolvency litigation including recovery and fraud. Widely recognised for its work for asset finance lenders, with particular focus on property-related disputes, and for its niche expertise in the motor and aircraft industries.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're definitely very good. They manage to handle things with very few instructions from me, and they are all handled quickly."

"They're commercial and they know what they're doing." 

What's new? John Perez joins the Manchester office from Chafes Solicitors, bringing notable experience in motor finance disputes.

Work highlights Instructed in a professional negligence claim alleging deceit by solicitors acting for the borrower in a transaction to be secured on commercial property.

Represented the lender in a commercial property recovery where the borrower claimed there was mis-selling of a interest rate swap product. 

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Andrew Breckenridge is well respected in the market for being a "very capable and thorough" practitioner with vast experience in banking litigation. He advises a variety of lenders on the full range of financial services disputes, including professional negligence and recovery, and one interviewee hails him as "one of the best lawyers I've come across."

Graham Sidlow "always comes up with a reasonable solution," according to one source, while another adds that he is "very capable at dealing with the more complex situations." He is renowned for his handling of a broad range of financial dispute work on behalf of major financial institutions.

Significant clients Lloyds Banking Group, UK Asset Resolution, Honda Finance Europe, Santander, Goldcrest Finance. 

Competition/European Law - The Regions

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its state aid expertise. Frequently instructed to advise government bodies and corporate clients domestically and with regard to European regulators.

Work highlights Acted for Mexichem on an EC investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour by two companies in the automotive refrigerants market.

Continued to defend Liverpool City Council against allegations of improper state aid following its investment into a 'turnaround' cruises support facility.

Notable practitioners  

Jonathan Branton heads the EU and competition group, and has a good reputation for handling EU state aid law. Sources report that he's "very personable and good at explaining issues in easy terms."

Star associate Jayant Mehta has been involved in a number of state aid matters. Clients say: "He's very good at spotting the details that most wouldn't spot."

Significant clients Jaguar Land Rover, Birmingham City Council, Burtons Foods, Wirral Borough Council, National Exhibition Centre.

Education - UK-wide

What the team is known for Areas of expertise include employment, IT, IP, procurement and litigation. Acts for a range of universities and colleges in the North of England.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"Some of the best lawyers I have worked with; the responses are fantastic. I get good, pragmatic advice and they take the time to understand us and tailor their advice to meet our requirements."

Work highlights Acted for the National Union of Students (NUS) on contractual issues in connection with the establishment of an online training platform.

Notable practitioners

Kerren Daly is a key contact.

Significant clients Liverpool John Moores University, The Manchester College, Manchester Metropolitan University, The Newcastle College Group, Warrington Collegiate.

Education - UK-wide

This firm is classed as a "Other Noted Firm".

Other Noted Firms are firms that are active in this practice area but have not yet been ranked.

Local Government - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- Recommended office locations: Manchester

What the team is known for Notable for its work on a diverse range of local government work including large regeneration projects and advice on ethics and governance. The team also works with local authority insurers on a broad range of claims including debt recovery.

What's new? Michael Mousdale left Trowers & Hamlins in late 2013 to join DWF's Manchester office.

Work highlights Advised Bristol City Council on negotiation and procurement documentation surrounding the Bristol Arena development.

Acted for the defence on a number of equal pay claims brought by employees of Stockport MBC.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Mousdale enjoys a high profile for his public sector work, including public procurement matters on behalf of local authorities. Sources say: "He really is able to get the respect of clients and stakeholders, especially in the local authority context," and "he can speak their language, which is a far from universal skill in the sector." 

Jonathan Branton is a respected competition law practitioner who leads the firm's competition and EU practice. Sources describe him as a well-informed and effective adviser and praise his expertise in the specialist area of state aid.

Significant clients Walsall Council, Liverpool City Council, Leeds City Council, Cornwall Council, UK Commission for Employment & Skills.

Police Law - UK-wide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers
- Recommended office locations: Manchester

What the team is known for Respected police and prison law team handling a range of cases including allegations concerning police negligence and unlawful imprisonment as well as claims arising from detention centres and prisons.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are really excellent. You always feel like you're in the loop and kept updated on everything."

"Professional, reliable and extremely proficient in handling police matters."

Work highlights Acted on Blakely v West Midlands Police, representing the Chief Constable in a malfeasance claim alleging wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Represented Dick Fedorcio, a high ranking Metropolitan Police official, during the Leveson Inquiry, as well as in the preceding Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation. 

Notable practitioners  

Kieran Walshe's broad police law expertise includes representing clients in relation to misfeasance cases. Walshe heads the firm's commercial insurance team, of which the police law team is a part.

The "just excellent" Rachel Jones offers a broad police law expertise that includes cases of assault, misfeasance in public office, public inquiries and inquests. She recently defended private contractor Serco in a case alleging negligence, false imprisonment and assault.

Significant clients CMSL, Serco, G4S, West Midlands Police, Kent Police.