The lucrative field of banking is attracting a host of names to watch. Mark Western and James Chesterman from Weil Gotshal & Manges' London operation are praised for gaining “the confidence of clients so quickly” after the office opened in 1995.

Staying with the US firms, Anthony Ward at Shearman & Sterling is rated by a rival lawyer, who says: “He is a name you come across on the acquisition side very regularly and is beginning to develop his reputation.”

Several of Clifford Chance's younger banking partners are mentioned – including Mark Stewart and Peter Kilner – as “good people coming through and being acceptable to the top clients”.

Gideon Moore, who recently joined Linklaters & Alliance from Dibb Lupton Alsop, is tipped to be one of the top banking practitioners. One lawyer says: “With the Linklaters brand he is going to be a force in the years to come.”

Associates picked out as those to keep an eye on are Liz Jones at Norton Rose – “just very good at what she does” – and Arlena Filiowicz, an in-house lawyer at Merrill Lynch, described by one lawyer as “really outstanding”. Simmons & Simmons associate David Roylance is deemed “particularly good” at structured finance.

A rival lawyer says Lorna Rand, corporate finance associate at Wragge & Co “will be an outstanding partner and they are mad if they do not make her one”. He adds she is “very smart commercially, gets the big picture but also gets the detail”.

Slaughter and May's corporate finance partner Andrew Ryde, who made partner a couple of years ago, is recommended for being “lively, punchy and a good lateral thinker”. Fellow Slaughters corporate partner Jeff Twentyman is seen as “bright and a tough negotiator”.

Garretts corporate and commercial partner Andrew Smith is described as “the sort of person you want next to you when you are in a real mess.” Baker & McKenzie corporate partner Jane Hobson is also recommended by a rival lawyer as one to watch.

Charles Russell partner Lisa Mayhew is described as a rising star by a number of employment leaders. One says she is very highly regarded, while another adds: “She carries a lot of responsibility and does some of her own advocacy as well – very competent and impressive.”

Ellen Temperton and John Evason at Baker & McKenzie are both ones to watch, with Temperton having acted on what is thought to be the largest ever wrongful dismissal action brought in the UK for a US multinational, and is said to have “handled it extremely well”.

Karen Seward at Pinsent Curtis is picked out for her strong work building up the firm's City office, with one leading employment lawyer describing her as “excellent at discrimination law”. Finally, Geoffrey Mead, recently appointed head of employment at Warner Cranston, is widely tipped to continue his meteoric rise.

Sally Lovett at Clifford Chance comes widely recommended by various heads of property departments. Described as “a top-class performer” and “very able”, she is known for development work and deemed excellent at dealing with complex cases.

At Ashurst Morris Crisp, senior assistant Richard Vernon is said to have the right approach. One leading practitioner says: “He gets the right deal without throwing up lots of irritating points.”

Among the more established partners, Chris Morris at Freshfields is widely tipped for greater things, with one leader saying he could soon make head of department. He led the team when HSBC took over one million square feet at Canary Wharf at the end of last year and is described as “someone who is coming more and more into the marketplace”.

Paula Hodges at Herbert Smith is highly commended for her work on energy and telecommunications litigation, while her colleague Christa Band is also “very good – she has worked on a number of big victories and is developing a reputation”.

At Ashurst Morris Crisp, Graham Webb stands out. “He does commercial litigation and he has been a partner for about five years.

“He is doing a good job and is definitely one to watch in the future,” says a litigation leader.

Others tipped for greater things include Jonathan Warne at Nabarro Nathanson and Michael Bennett, who is doing well for Linklaters in Hong Kong. “He is extremely practical and perceptive about commercial issues,” says a rival lawyer.

Russell Jones & Walker's Paul Kitson is “getting to be a name to watch out for” in personal injury, having worked on a number of ground-breaking cases in his specialist areas of road traffic accidents and sports injuries.

And at the firm's office in Birmingham, Jeffry Zindani is very good on the multiparty actions scene. “I was very impressed with his drive,” says one top PI lawyer.

Elsewhere, Jane Wright at Irwin Mitchell “understands the issues involved well” after initially qualifying as a physiotherapist, while Sarah Harman, sister of former social security secretary Harriet, has her own firm in Kent called Harman & Co. She is tipped by a number of leaders as “quickly becoming more established”.

Media and entertainment stars of the next century include SJ Berwin partner Jackie Hurt, described by Olswang partner David Bouchier as “very pleasant to deal with but forceful,” and “lively, dynamic with a great will to win” by another partner. Fellow SJ Berwin partner Tim Johnson is seen as “very effective”.

Marriott Harrison partner Phil Rymer, who advises US film producer Working Title, is described by his peers as “pleasant and good to work with”. Lee & Thompson partner Reno Angodiades acts for film producers and is described by one lawyer as a “very good guy indeed”.

Two rising stars at Olswang are partner Charles Moore and senior assistant Jane Moore, tipped by insiders as next in line for partnership because they “get the deal done”. Richards Butler partner Michael Maxtone-Smith is tipped as one to watch along with extremely well regarded senior assistant Karen Hogarty, described as “incredibly able and very quick and efficient”.

The rising stars in EU competition law are Ralph Cohen of SJ Berwin, who has “two strings to his bow”, advising on both anti-dumping and competition law.

Lovells partner Lesley Ainsworth is “very astute and has an excellent client touch”, while rivals say Slaughters partner Laura Carstensen has a “frightening capacity for simplifying complicated issues”.

Denton Hall partner Polly Weitzman “has flourished in the last year”, acting on cases like BSkyB's Office of Fair Trading investigation into collective selling of exclusive rights in Premier League football.

Insolvency stars of the next millennium include Matthew French, who recently joined Lovells as a partner from Wilde Sapte. He is described by rivals as “bright and pleasant” and “very imaginative and creative”.

Clifford Chance partner Adrian Cohen raised his profile by acting for KPMG on the Yardley receivership. He is described as “reliable” by one partner at a rival firm, and “tough but good to work with and very practical” by another.

Lovells' Hong Kong partner Joe Bannister is also one to watch say industry sources, who cites his work on the BCCI insolvency. Allen & Overy Hong Kong partner Mark Sterling also receives considerable praise.

In IT/IP, Herbert Smith partner Andrew Rich is described as “very thorough” and a rising star in the bio-tech life sciences sphere.

For e-commerce “with entertainment clothes”, partner Mark Haftke at Bird & Bird is one to watch and Simmons & Simmons partner Rowan Freeland is seen as “an excellent operator”. Wragges partner David Barron is “switched on” while Needham & Grant partner Adam Cooke is also making a name for himself and is described as “a nice guy and a good operator”.

Beachcroft Wansbroughs partner Jonathan Radcliffe is recommended by one leading practitioner as “an up and coming patent man”.

Bristows partner Penny Gilbert has also been identified as a rising star of IT/IP.

Barristers to watch out for in 2000

There are many barristers with the potential to become the next Jonathan Sumption QC or Gordon Pollock QC, but only a few will actually make it.

Laurence Rabinowitz, a senior junior of 12 years' call from One Essex Court, is widely touted, by way of various cliches, as being simply “the future”.

Also at One Essex Court, Daniel Toledano is another “exceptionally bright young thing” while Bankim Thanki and Craig Orr of Fountain Court and Joe Smouha of Essex Court are three more names frequently repeated as “the brightest, most user-friendly and vigorously hard-working stars” at the commercial bar. At Brick Court Nicholas Green QC, who took silk in 1998, and David Anderson QC, a 1999 Queen's Counsel, are a step ahead of the rest. Other senior juniors who will soon be joining the upper echelons of the bar include Paul Goulding at Blackstone Chambers, public lawyer Ben Emmerson at Doughty Street Chambers and reinsurance specialist Christopher Butcher at 7 King's Bench Walk.

Moving one step up the ladder to barristers who have already taken silk and are beginning to excel at the highest level, names such as Mark Hapgood QC and Mark Howard QC from Brick Court Chambers crop up regularly.

Geoffrey Vos QC, head of chambers at 3 Stone Buildings, Ian Mill QC, an exceptional commercial and entertainment lawyer at Blackstone Chambers, Andrew Hochhauser QC of Essex Court and Mark “not a Grabiner, but probably a Sumption” Barnes QC of One Essex Court are the ones most in demand.