The ones to watch

Ruby Sandhu tracks the careers of five rising stars at the Bar and finds out why their instructing solicitors rate them.

Timothy Fancourt

Professional achievements/associations:Chancery Bar Association

Areas of practice: Property, chancery anhd commercial litigation as well as advisory work, particularly commercial and residential property.

What others say about him:

Fancourt is described as an exceptional barrister, with an “excellent brain but also practical and commercial”. His approach is considered to be thorough and he never loses sight of the pertinent issues. He is confident and relaxed in his approach and excels in areas of law that are particularly complex.

One lawyer describes him as “sharp and succinct”, while another says: “With clients, Timothy is relaxed and feels no hesitation in simplifying a complex issue of law to layman's language.”

One lawyer remarks “Fancourt instils confidence and faith in his clients” and he is described as “someone you want on your team”.

Edwin Johnson

9 Old Square

Called to the Bar: 1987

Professional achievements/associations: Lincoln's Inn, Chancery Bar Association.

Areas of practice: Commercial property, landlord and tenant as well as bankruptcy and insolvency. General editor of Megarry's: The Rent Acts and author of Enforceability of Landlord and Tenant Covenants

What others say about him:

Lawyers describe Johnson as an “extremely capable and diligent barrister”. He inspires confidence and always has a good grasp of the facts of any given case.

His approach is extremely thorough and his attention to detail is stringent, resulting in a high standard in both his written advice and advocacy. He is also considered a “pleasant, reliable chap who is easy to work with”.

As well as a sound commercial approach, Johnson is considered practical and “always willing to go the extra mile”. Landlord and tenant cases have included Church Commissioners v Ibrahim, on the right to indemnity costs in leases, and Crown Estate Commissioners v Aberdeen Steak Houses Group, which dealt with the issues of break notices and the termination of business tenancies.

One lawyer concludes that Johnson is “conscientious, calm and successfully on track for the top”.

Caroline Shea

Falcon Chambers

Called to the Bar: 1994

Professional achievements/associations:

Chancery Bar Association, COMBAR. Contributor of legal articles to Property Week. Contributor to Woodfall's CD service.

Areas of practice:

Landlord and tenant, property litigation.

What others say about her:

Of all the names recommended in landlord and tenant law, Shea draws the most positive response from everyone who has worked with her.

The descriptions lawyers give regarding her approach to her work range from “quick” and “clever” to “first-rate with clients and very good in conferences”.

Another solicitor states: “She is head and shoulders above the rest of them.” Shea is “a modern barrister, and has no hang-ups about working with solicitors”.

One City solicitor says: “Caroline is a team player.” Others comment on her ability to get on with the business in hand, which she couples with an absolutely no-nonsense approach to all her work.

One lawyer at a top City firm insists she was most impressed with Shea's enthusiasm and approach and was certain that she would continue to be very much in demand.

Martin Rodger

Falcon Chambers

Called to the Bar: 1

Professional achievements/associations:

Chancery Bar Association, Agricultural Law Association, Professional Negligence Bar Association.

Areas of practice:

Commercial and agricultural property work including landlord and tenant, rent review and real property. Editor of Woodfall on Landlord and Tenant.

What others say about him:

Rodger receives enthusiastic responses from the lawyers he has worked with. One City lawyer describes him as “very thorough, wins cases”. Another lawyer is at pains to express Rodger's meticulous, thorough and considered approach to his work. Rodger is also commended on his ability to produce excellent skeleton arguments as a result of his knowledge and excellent command of the English language.

He is also at ease with difficult and complex legal issues, such as the question of set-off in a counter claim case, Inntrepreneur v Langton, being heard in the House of Lords, and the issue of the right to damages in the Courage v Crehan case, which is at the European Court of Justice.

Rodger is described as “Everybody's first choice for a junior barrister”. Lawyers note that his ability to thoroughly understand the issues in hand belies his title as a junior barrister. One lawyer claims: “He will go far.”

Timothy Dutton

Barnards Inn Chambers

Called to the Bar: 1

Professional achievements/associations:

Chancery Bar Association.

Areas of practice:

Property-related litigation with a strong landlord and tenant bias and other disputes in respect of commercial property.

What others say about him:

Dutton is described as “prompt and efficient”. This is further emphasised in his reputation of providing a “cost-effective service”.

One lawyer says that Dutton's previous experience as a solicitor in a top City law firm “certainly gives him an edge in his practice, especially in his ability to understand commercial reality”.

His experience in the City also provides a far more pragmatic appreciation of time limits and deadlines and Dutton is praised for his ability to respect this.

One lawyer says: “Timothy always produces things when he says he will, and is a very time-conscious individual.”

Dutton is described as having an excellent capacity of combining attention to detail, sound knowledge of the law and a thoroughly commercial approach to his work. And to top it all off, he is commended by colleagues for his role as an effective team player.

Dutton's recent successes include the well recognised case of Clarence Cafe v Comchester Properties that dealt with the difficult issue of peaceable entry.