Leaders of the premier division
25 June 1996
Leading solicitors are looking for barristers who can get to grips with medical terminology and have a good bedside manner. The following are considered to have those qualities. This list is not exhaustive and is based on the subjective recommendations of leading PI and medical negligence practitioners.
One of the silks mentioned most frequently is the "terrific" Daniel Brennan QC who is also chair of the Personal Injury Bar Association and is based at 39 Essex Street.
At the same set, Edwin Glasgow QC and Richard Davies QC are also highly rated; Davies in particular is "very good on asbestos-related cases".
At Old Square Chambers, fellow silks who are singled out are John Hendy QC and John Melville Williams QC.
Another set with a number of well-regarded silks is 3 Serjeants' Inn where chambers head Adrian Whitfield QC, John Grace QC, Nicola Davies QC and Robert Francis QC all receive numerous mentions. They are described as "good at getting to grips not only with the law but also know their medicine, having done the background research on all the medical aspects".
One of the problems mentioned by solicitors is that most of the outstanding juniors in these fields have taken silk recently. This is certainly true of other "first choice silks", including Laura Cox QC at Cloisters who "has good judgement, is very intelligent and is great in court", and at the same set Brian Langstaff QC who is described as "extremely sympathetic, and very good on industrial law".
For medical negligence, Augustus Ullstein QC at Bedford Row Chambers, 29 Bedford Row, headed by Evan Stone QC, is also in demand, as are Robin Stewart QC set head at 199 Strand and Peter Andrews QC at the same chambers.
Another recent silk who has been noted is Edward Faulks QC at No. 1 Serjeants' Inn.
And at 4 Paper Buildings Jean Ritchie QC is said to be "first rate", as is James Badenoch QC at 1 Crown Office Row, where set head Robert Seabrook QC gets a recommendation as well.
Also at 1 Crown Office Row are Stephen Miller QC, said to be "one of the leaders in the field who has appeared in many of the cutting-edge cases", and Robert Owen QC and Terence Coghlan QC who are named as the counsel to instruct.
Another chambers head and set which many solicitors rate highly are Kieran Coonan QC at 6 Pump Court. And head of chambers at 12 King's Bench Walk Ronald Walker QC is also acknowledged as experienced in this field of practice.
John Cherry QC and George Pulman QC at 1 Temple Gardens are both singled out for mention. And Andrew Prynne QC at Roger Henderson QC's set at 2 Harcourt Buildings has also impressed.
At Devereux Chambers, Jeffrey Burke QC, a name which "springs to mind" for PI and medical negligence work, "is good at analysing the issues and has rapport with clients".
At Patrick Phillips QC's set at 2 Temple Gardens, recent silk Benjamin Browne QC is "brilliant all-round, he can absorb the paperwork and knows his subject and is good on his feet".
As with other specialist and technical areas, medical training is an obvious advantage, which is why counsel who are also doctors or have had medical experience are in great demand in this area of practice.
Dr Michael Powers QC at One Paper Buildings has "consistently impressed, and can't be beaten". Also making their mark at the same set are Michael Spencer QC and recent silk William Stevenson QC, who "knows his subject and how to deal with the opponents and is an old hand at impressing the judges".
Other counsel who have impressed include Michael Brent QC at 9 Gough Square, Christopher Purchas QC at Raymond Kidwell QC's set at 2 Crown Office Row, and Christopher Gardner QC at Lamb Chambers, who is said to be "very effective as a leader".