BOUTIQUE FIRM OF THE YEAR - CITY

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WINNER: Cooke Young & Keidan

Cooke Young & Keidan was established in 2009 as a disputes-focused practice built on a team of partners, all of whom formerly worked at large City firms. Not surprisingly then, the winner of this year's Boutique Firm of the Year is “punching above its weight”, according to judges of this category, who added the firm had “an impressive line-up of quality work”. Cooke Young & Keidan is carving out a niche acting against financial institutions which are existing clients of large City firms and has the appetite and technical ability to do so. Judges commended this approach, saying the firm is “very smart to exploit the gap in the market where firms “don’t take on the banks”. One added that this approach is “a truly smart play which I hope clients will continue to reward”.

The firm is currently acting for Guardian Care Homes on its £40m claim that Barclays manipulated Libor, listed by The Lawyer as one of its top 20 cases for 2013. The trial is set for October and is the first to be brought before English courts. It is also acting for Texan hedge fund organisation Highland in its $100m claim against RBS for, among other matters, fraud. Cooke Young & Keidan is growing at a rapid rate, with workload up by 50 per cent over the past year. The firm's first lateral hire was that of partner Philip Rubens, former head of dispute resolution at Finers Stephens Innocent, in September 2012. It has followed that with multiple associate and newly-qualified hires. One to watch.

About Michael Page Legal

Michael Page Legal is proud to sponsor the Boutique Firm of the Year - City award. A new award category to The Lawyer Awards, it recognises the importance that boutique firms have in the legal market.

Boutique firms continually compete with London City firms and this award recognises the quality of work that these firms undertake.

We have an experienced team of consultants that specialise in mid-tier and boutique firm recruitment, and have a proven track record in assisting these firms in finding the best talent in the market. To recruit talented legal professionals, or to progress your legal career, please get in touch with Michael Page Legal to find out how our local expertise and global networks could add value.

We congratulate the finalists for this award.

2ND: Maurice Turnor Gardner

The private wealth boutique was established in 2009 and has Allen & Overy's private client department as its roots. It has almost doubled in size in the four years since launching and now offers two strategically relevant areas to its client, real estate and trust dispute resolution.

One judge commended the firm for its attitude towards its clients: “This firm still offers this type of legal service in the face of the current hegemony for 'rich equals evil'. The level of clients and wealth planning entrusted to this firm suggests that this is not your average personal client firm.”

Another emphasised the tact and skill needed in this branch of law, saying that the work “requires more than just skill (and) good client management, it requires consistent high quality advice and output (plus the ability to read minds, nuances and patience)”.

3RD: Corker Binning

Criminal fraud and crime firm Corker Binning's client list over the past year includes Vicky Pryce, Shrien Dewani, Libor suspects and numerous journalists arrested in Operation Elveden. The firm comprises of 16 fee earners, including seven partners. Turnover rose to £3.6m in the year to April 2012. It remains committed to legal aid, which makes up around 25 per cent of cases taken.

One judge awarded the firm the ultimate accolade, saying: “If I were ever in trouble, I’d want them to represent me.” The judge added: “This firm is evidently passionate about what they do and seem to be the go-to firm for serious crime and crime that’s public...a rough calculation of PEP suggests that this firm really is not in this for the money.”

Finalists

  • CM Murray
  • Harrison Grant
  • Kemp Little
  • Richard Max & Co