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Blake Lapthorn Sees Record Results in Legal 500 Survey

Blake Lapthorn (Southampton, England) has once again been confirmed as one of the UK's leading law firms, with a record number of teams being ranked and moving up a tier in this year's Legal 500 survey.

The survey regards the firm as a 'leading heavyweight' that provides broad coverage across the South East and is well known in Hampshire. The firm has also performed strongly again in the survey's London rankings.

16 of Blake Lapthorn's service lines have this year been given top tier rankings for the South East region and the firm's rankings in London have also seen continued progress with teams being placed highly and, in some instances, for the very first time. These comprise areas such as aviation; mediators; commercial contracts; M&A: smaller deals up to £50 million; franchising and intellectual property.

In total, 39 teams and sector groups at Blake Lapthorn have been recommended in the survey’s league tables including areas such as aviation; clinical negligence; commercial litigation; mediation; commercial property; corporate and commercial; licensing; debt recovery; insolvency; public sector; franchising and intellectual property.

A number of the firm's sectors have maintained their top tier rankings from last year, which include areas such as agriculture; charities; commercial property/litigation; construction; employment; health and safety; licensing; pensions; personal injury; personal tax, trusts; education and tax.

Areas where the firm's teams are singled out for particular praise include:

Banking and finance – Blake Lapthorn acts for the likes of Barclays, HSBC and Santander, providing ‘concise and quick advice’ and a ‘practical approach’ on finance matters. The ‘knowledgeable’ Kath Shimmin has ‘good business acumen’, and the ‘flexible and proactive’ Richard Eldridge ‘thinks on his feet’.

Charities – Alison Talbot is ‘committed, responsible and very perceptive’.

Commercial litigation – Blake Lapthorn provides a ‘Rolls-Royce service’ and ‘unsurpassed advice’. ‘One of the best solicitors’, Jonathan Lloyd-Jones has an ‘extraordinary grasp of facts, and a remarkable analytical mind and knowledge of the law’. Chris Potts ‘combines a quiet façade with a steely aggressive side’ and has a ‘tactical brain’, and Richard Humphreys ‘delivers the right blend of commercial and legal advice’.

Commercial property – Delivering ‘prompt responses’, Blake Lapthorn’s client base includes developers and several Oxford colleges. The ‘very good’ Andrew Miscampbell recently advised Deutsche Bank on the property holdings of one of its subsidiaries. Liam Desmond has ‘sound technical knowledge’ and expertise in charity retail work, advising Age UK and Northmoor Trust. Blake Lapthorn’s team is ‘extremely professional’ and ‘cares down to the smallest detail’.

Corporate and commercial – One of the best law firms in the region, Blake Lapthorn has a ‘broad range of skills and depth of experience across all areas of business’ and fields a ‘responsive’ corporate team in Oxford, which can call on region-wide resources for support where necessary. Corporate finance expert Edward Lee is ‘straight, honest, highly intelligent’ and ‘contactable day or night’. Nicola McConville has a ‘pragmatic approach’. Providing an ‘excellent level of service’, Blake Lapthorn’s ‘cracking’ team acts for Blade Dynamics, South East Seed Fund and David Lloyd Leisure. The ‘very wise’ Manoj Styche-Patel is a ‘good problem solver’ with ‘vast breadth of experience’.

Crime – Blake Lapthorn’s ‘first-class’ team specialises in motoring cases, including cases involving drink and dangerous driving, speeding, and accidents. John Mitchell heads the regulatory team, and the ‘very experienced’ Philip Somarakis leads the motoring offences team.

Employment - ‘Very quick and pragmatic’, Blake Lapthorn fields an ‘excellent team of employment lawyers’. Jim Whiter is a ‘really robust and responsive lawyer’. Blake Lapthorn delivers ‘practical and pragmatic advice tailored to clients’ needs’. Max Craft is an ‘outstanding employment law practitioner’ with a ‘calm, measured and assured manner’. The ‘extremely pragmatic’ Marianne Pieterse and Sarah Peacock are also recommended, along with highly rated barrister Tim Forer, who recently joined from Clarke Willmott LLP.

EU and competition – The ‘excellent’ team at Blake Lapthorn regularly acts on dawn raids and OFT investigations, as well as general compliance issues. Practice head John Mitchell is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and ‘excellent at managing client relationships’.

Insolvency and corporate recovery - Following a transitional period, Blake Lapthorn has re-established a formidable practice, with knowledge that is ‘second to none’. Adrian Owen is ‘very commercial’. Asset-based lending specialist Chris Willison in London is ‘technically excellent’.

Licensing - Phil Crier’s ‘all-round excellent’ team at Blake Lapthorn advises leading retailers and companies on licence applications. London-based Jon Wallsgrove has ‘excellent knowledge’.

Personal tax, trusts - The ‘very well-informed’ James Antoniou heads up the practice at Blake Lapthorn. The team delivers ‘knowledgeable, helpful and competitively priced advice’. The ‘friendly, approachable, sensitive and knowledgeable’ team at Blake Lapthorn advises on estate administration, trust management, and French property matters. Practice head Rachel Brooks handles mental capacity and Court of Protection cases. Senior associate Catherine Paget is an ‘adept negotiator’.

Family - Blake Lapthorn has ‘high standards and levels of experience in family law’, with ‘proactive, approachable and effective’ partner Christine Plews singled out for her ‘shrewd and thorough advice’ delivered with ‘unflappable calm’.

Personal Injury - Blake Lapthorn’s ‘very knowledgeable and well-respected’ team advises on a range of complex and high-value cases. Practice head Claire Howard and Alison McClure are both ‘excellent’, and recently secured a £7.2m settlement in a severe head injury case.

Clinical Negligence – John White’s team at Blake Lapthorn is ‘fantastic on all levels’, and advises clients on a range of matters, including brain injury, birth accidents and complex delays in diagnosis claims. Work highlights included a £9m case involving a late delivery that resulted in cerebral palsy.

Specific praise for London includes:

Corporate and commercial - Martin Kay at Blake Lapthorn ‘understands the client’. The seven-partner team is valued for its ‘outstanding business acumen’.

Licensing - The three-partner licensing practice at Blake Lapthorn is praised for its ‘fantastic level of knowledge’. Phil Crier and Jon Wallsgrove are recommended for their ‘experienced’ and ‘personal’ approach.

Mediators - Jonathan Lloyd-Jones, the Oxford-based chairman of Blake Lapthorn, is praised for his ‘good style of connecting not only with solicitors but also claimants. He reads people and situations well, which often leads to a settlement’. Clients also commend his persistent approach: ‘if a claim has not resolved at the mediation, Jonathan will always go the extra mile to see whether or not he can assist in resolving the claim thereafter’.

Professional discipline - Key clients for the ‘impressive team’ at Blake Lapthorn include the Association of Accounting Technicians and the Access Dispute Committee. Notable individuals include Christopher Alder, who is ‘highly recommended’; Nick Leale; Southampton-based Stephen Murfitt; and the ‘knowledgeable’ Bradley Albuery, who heads the eight-partner team.

Employment - At Blake Lapthorn, practice head Alexandra Bonner and the ‘highly efficient’ Bridget Wood offer ‘direct, clear, and to-the-point’ advice.

Franchising - Blake Lapthorn’s lawyers have ‘extensive knowledge of franchising, and are involved at many levels in various organisations within the industry’. Clients commend the ‘knowledgeable, professional’ Sheilah Mackie.

Intellectual property - The ‘prompt, pragmatic and commercial’ Simon Stokes and his team at Blake Lapthorn advise financial services, higher education and public sector clients on technology and digital media issues.

Walter Cha, managing partner at Blake Lapthorn said: "Our strategic objective is to be the firm of choice for clients. It is, therefore, pleasing to see that what we have done in recent years has been recognised and commended in the Legal 500 survey. We shall continue to build our capacity and capability for the benefit of our clients."