Wake Smith reinforces legal heavyweight status

Wake Smith Solicitors reinforced its position as a legal heavyweight in South Yorkshire with seven recommendations in The Legal 500 United Kingdom 2016 – the national benchmark for the best of the legal profession.

The established Sheffield-based company features in 11 practice areas for the Yorkshire and Humber region including corporate and commercial; dispute resolution – commercial litigation; banking and finance; human resources – employment; clinical negligence and personal injury; personal tax, trusts and probate; commercial property, property litigation and intellectual property and IT and telecoms.

Solicitors highlighted in the report, which ranks the leading law firms and individuals nationally and by region for personal and corporate work, were Mark Serby, John Baddeley, Duncan Shepherd, Nick Lambert, Holly Dobson, Andrew Vidler and Terry Regan.

The firm’s company commercial team boasted a strong regional mergers and acquisitions workload for 2015.

Highlights for director John Baddeley included advising the management team of Red Industries on an MBO, and assisting Spencer Coatings Group with its acquisition of the Independent Coatings Group. Director and head of company commercial Duncan Shepherd leads the ‘highly competent’ team.

The commercial litigation team was praised for giving practical and commercial advice, with an eye on the realities of each case, primarily advising SME clients in the local region. The ‘straightforward, clear and thorough’ Nick Lambert, chairman of Wake Smith, recently advised a global mountaineering expedition company in claims against its insurers.

Wake Smith’s strong employment team which  is led by Mark Serby, acts for SMEs as well as senior employees leaving their current employment. The team ranked second in the region confirming a well-deserved place against international law firms. Clients recommended the ‘exceptional’ Holly Dobson, who represents employers in discrimination claims in employment tribunal litigation.

The ‘very patient’ Terry Regan leads Wake Smith’s ‘extremely efficient’ clinical negligence team, which advises on a wide range of matters, including cancer and cosmetic surgery cases. The team has moved up the rankings from last year with its increasing specialist work.

Andrew Vidler’s personal tax, trusts and probate team has particular expertise in inheritance tax issues, lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. Andrew is also registrar for the Anglican Diocese of Sheffield.

The company’s commercial property team also ranked second in the region with solicitors Paul Gibbon and Lisa Davison joining the team in 2015 to handle an increasingly diverse and complex workload.

John Baddeley, director at Wake Smith, said: “Sheffield is attracting an increasing amount of legal work from the South Yorkshire region and further afield. We have won high profile instructions and continue to work for businesses and individuals with the interests of our clients at the forefront.

“Although individuals have been highlighted here, Wake Smith is an exceptional team and our move into one office this year has allowed us to build on that team work and improve efficiencies which can only be good for the client.

“The Legal 500 results underpin our diligence and have confirmed our ability to attract, and retain, specialist solicitors across a broad range of practice areas.”

Law firms only appear in The Legal 500 ranking tables and commentary on merit. It is purely based on whether  The Legal 500 researchers believe the firm is good enough for inclusion.

The Legal 500 is based on feedback from 250,000 in-house peers and access to law firms’ deals and confidential matters, which are independently assessed by researchers. The resulting tables rank the firms, and also provide commentary to help individuals judge which firm might be right for them.

Wake Smith has been established in Sheffield for more than 200 years and employs more than 100 staff including 46 fee earners and 18 directors. It moved to Sheffield city centre’s Velocity 1 in January 2016.

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Mark Serby

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