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Irwin Mitchell Reveals Outstanding Business Legal 500 Rankings

Business Rankings Improve In 11 Areas


Irwin Mitchell’s reputation for delivering first-class business legal services received a significant boost today after it recorded another impressive performance in the latest Legal 500 tables.

Across the UK, Irwin Mitchell saw 11 teams within its Business Legal Services division improve their ranking position within the annual independent legal directory, with the firm being listed as a leading ‘Tier 1’ provider in seven areas.

Following the success of the previous year when the firm’s business team improved its rankings in eight sectors, Irwin Mitchell is now ranked as a top three firm in 30 of Legal 500’s business related categories.

Niall Baker, Chief Executive of the Business Legal Services team within Irwin Mitchell, said: “These latest Legal 500 results are outstanding and clearly reflect a great deal of hard work from all our teams during what has and continues to be a tough economic environment.

“It is also very pleasing to see that the investment that we have made in bringing in new, high calibre teams and people in the areas of real estate, corporate and employment is paying dividends. This will continue and I look forward to seeing continued improvement in our rankings.”  

Many of Irwin Mitchell’s established business teams performed strongly in the guide. The firm’s commercial litigation department retained its number one spot with key contact Steve Beahan receiving praise for being ‘outstanding at grasping the nuances and different dynamics of cases’.
The Birmingham team, headed up by Mark Elder, continued it improvement – moving from Tier 6 in 2010 to Tier 2 this year.

Head of commercial litigation in Leeds, Nick Bates, was described as being ‘knowledgeable and highly professional’. Practice head in Manchester, John Lord was described as ‘tenacious’ with ‘exemplary judgment’, whilst Jeremy Marshall in London was also highly rated.

Within the ‘Dispute Resolution: Debt Recovery’ sector, the firm retained its number one spot within the London, Glasgow and Manchester offices.

The firm’s Regulatory and Criminal Group recorded some very strong results too. In London, Irwin Mitchell was ranked number one in the ‘White Collar Crime’ category, with partner Kevin Robinson referred to as ‘undoubtedly one of the best’. In the area of Financial Services, Irwin Mitchell improved its position, whilst in the corporate crime category; Sarah Wallace’s work was described as being of the ‘highest quality’.

Across Yorkshire, the firm was ranked number one in the ‘Crime’ category, whilst in the North West, Dan Stowers was described as being ‘head and shoulders above his peers’.

Highly regarded lawyer, David Egan, received praise for his work acting for clients facing prosecution from the Environment Agency. This resulted in the office being awarded a number one ranking in the ‘Human Resources: Health & Safety’ category. 

Within the Corporate and Commercial arena, Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office was described as providing ‘informed, timely, and practical advice’’, whilst in Leeds, the team were said to be ‘very user friendly’ offering ‘excellent advice to clients’. The London team retained its ‘Tier 2’ ranking in the ‘Mergers & Acquisitions (deals up to £50m)’ category - with the guide recognising the quality of new additions and highlighting the ‘strong legal knowledge’ and ‘supportive’ approach provided.

The firm’s ongoing investment in the business team continued to drive progression in the firm’s real estate and employment rankings.

Tom Flanagan, who joined the firm at the beginning of 2011, is referred to as a ‘master of the field’ with ‘excellent judgement’. Irwin Mitchell in London registered in this category for the first time in 2011 and this year saw a significant rise up the rankings to ‘Tier 3’.

Also within employment, the Birmingham team, headed up by the ‘very practical’ Fergal Dowling, improved its position.

The high profile appointment of a 20-strong real estate team from SJ Berwin, including prominent department head, Jon Vivian, resulted in the firm’s London office being ranked in the Commercial Property and Construction categories for the first time in 2011. This year the firm increased its ranking again along with an additional first time entry in the guide’s Property Finance category.

Other real estate teams across the country received praise too. The firm’s Leeds and Sheffield offices retained their high positions, with the latter being described as having a ‘heavyweight team’. Commercial property specialist, Paul Firth, who was regional managing partner at DLA, received special praise and was named as a ‘leading individual’ within Yorkshire. In Birmingham, Oliver Martin’s ‘extremely experienced and commercial’ approach resulted in the office receiving a ‘Tier 2’ ranking for Planning.

John Pickering, Group Chief Executive at Irwin Mitchell, added: “These latest Legal 500 results are extremely impressive. They cement our position as one of the leading law firms in the UK and provide an important platform as we continue to develop the business toward our vision of becoming the legal brand of choice.”

Irwin Mitchell, which celebrates its centenary this year, recently announced that it had become one of the first companies to be approved as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and the first to be granted multiple ABS licences.

The announcement coincided with the appointments of Glyn Barker, the former Vice-Chairman UK of PricewaterhouseCoopers, as Chairman of Irwin Mitchell’s parent company, IMCO Holdings Ltd, and Mel Egglenton as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the company’s Audit Committee, a role he previously held with accountants KPMG.

In recent months, Irwin Mitchell has announced a series of high profile appointments to its business division. In July 2012, the firm announced the appointment of prominent finance partners, Andrew Watson and Jon Bew, along with construction and engineering partners, Julie Morrissy and Steven Bate. Most recently, Matt Ainsworth joined the Sheffield Corporate team from DLA Piper as partner