Wake Smith Solicitors’ investment and commitment to staff recruitment, training and culture has reaped rewards in the latest Legal 500 rankings – the national benchmark for the best of the legal profession.
Key individuals highlighted in the report, which ranks the leading law firms and individuals nationally and by region for personal and corporate work, include John Baddeley, Duncan Shepherd, Nick Lambert, Liz Shaw, Holly Dobson, Mark Serby, Terry Regan, John Vallance, Kate Lax, David Brown, Lindsey Canning, Alison Gaddes, Suzanne Porter, Andrew Vidler, Neil Salter, Paul Gibbon, Lisa Davison, Damien Donnelly and Ben Spencer.
The established Sheffield-based company features in 12 practice areas for South Yorkshire and Sheffield within Yorkshire and Humber region.
They include corporate and commercial; dispute resolution – commercial litigation; banking and finance; employment; clinical negligence and personal injury; personal tax, trusts and probate; commercial property, property litigation, intellectual property and IT and telecoms and family law.
Nick Lambert, chairman at Wake Smith, said: “The Legal 500 is a benchmark for legal firms throughout the country and an important gauge of how each is performing and competing within a region.
“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 and we are delighted to have retained our hard-earned rankings.
“It is a testament to our staff recruitment, training and culture that the Legal 500 has again seen fit to single out for recognition so many of our key practice areas and individual lawyers. Wake Smith has always been a full service law firm as well as a people-focused business and it is this inclusive familial approach that makes us who we are.”
Wake Smith’s clinical negligence team, lead by Terry Regan, is highlighted as exceptional and known for undertaking claims of the highest complexity with a very big skill base and determination to provide an exceptional service to clients.
Commercial litigator Nick Lambert is described as exceptionally calm, sensible and thoroughly pragmatic providing excellent insight into his cases, analysing the issues with precision and with a keen eye for detail, while colleague Mark Serby is described as a seasoned practitioner and an excellent tactician and property-focused director Liz Shaw has great interpersonal skills, excellent legal knowledge and a clear communicator.
Wake Smith’s corporate team, highlighted as superb in the report, gains praise for its banking and finance work including acting for banks on transactional issues, drafting bespoke facility agreements and advising on security requirements.
Family solicitors Lindsey Canning and Alison Gaddes attract praise for offering a good value, high quality service that is efficient and timely, being regularly instructed in complex divorce and separation proceedings, requiring advice on the division of often high value and varied assets.
Wake Smith’s personal tax, trusts and probate team, headed up by Suzanne Porter who took over the role of head of the department from Andrew Vidler, is praised for delivering excellent service and great client outcomes.
With an increased client portfolio, commercial property director Neil Salter is noted for his expertise in retail investment and regeneration mandates. Clients also singled out Paul Gibbon, who handles property disposals and acquisitions in office and industrial sectors; Lisa Davison, who advises on the sale, purchase, funding and management of mixed use properties; residential development specialist Damien Donnelly, and Ben Spencer, who acts for landlords and tenants with retail property portfolios.
The professional and client-focused property litigation team is highlighted as providing genuinely excellent well-documented and timely advice with in-depth industry knowledge and unbreakable discipline.
Director John Baddeley heads up the TMT work at Wake Smith whose experience encompasses IP licensing work, IT contracts and commercial agreements. Baddeley also regularly assists e-commerce and IT solution providers and sectors include the manufacturing, games development, digital media, health and telecoms sectors.
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 20 directors.