Providing the personal touch

Although several lawyers in the regions say they go to London for senior counsel, there seems to be no shortage of compliments for local silks. In personal injury and medical negligence, good client contact is essential and many lawyers prefer to appoint local counsel to facilitate more face to face dealings. The following list of names are those mentioned by leading lawyers in the respective regions.

The North West is well represented with top quality silks in the field, mostly concentrated in Manchester and Liverpool.

Again, the all leader set Byrom Chambers, with offices in Manchester and London, receives several plaudits. Giles Wingate-Saul QC and David Allan QC are described as "outstandingly good" and Caroline Swift QC as "very capable".

Also in Manchester, Michael Redfern QC, at 28 St John Street, is commended, as is new silk this year, Tim Horlock QC, who is based down the road at 9 St John Street. And Stephen Grime QC, at Deans Court Chambers, is singled out for the second year running.

In Liverpool, Bill Braithwaite QC, at Exchange Chambers, is often recommended, often by lawyers outside the region who are impressed by his handling of medical negligence cases. One says: "I am very glad I instructed him. He was very supportive, nothing was too much trouble."

For the defence, the "instinctively bright" new silk Andrew Edis QC, at 14 Castle Street Liverpool, is highly praised. "He has the ability to reduce complex litigation to the absolute core, which is very important," says one satisfied customer. Nigel Gilmour QC, at Peel House Chambers, who acts for the defence in both personal injury and medical negligence cases, is said to have similar qualities.

As for the North East, Simon Hawkesworth QC, at York Chambers in York, is recommended as "very sound".

At 33 Park Place in Wales, Wyn Williams QC is praised for his defence counsel in both medical negligence and personal injury work. He is described as "sensible, down to earth, and straightforward with clients".

Both Harry Wolton QC and Gareth Evans QC at 5 Fountain Court in Birmingham are viewed as setting a good example in their chambers' specialist personal injury section. Solicitors are full of praise for their professionalism and for their ability to "get on with the job".

Next door, at 3 Fountain Court, Peter Andrews QC is considered to be a leading local silk, and 1996 silk Patrick McCahill QC at Priory Chambers is also recommended.

Moving into Nottingham, Robert Owen QC and William Woodward QC, at 24 The Ropewalk, both receive considerable praise for being "thorough, conscientious and clever".

Not surprisingly, given the proximity to the capital, lawyers in the South East and East Anglia tend to instruct senior counsel in London. However, in the South West, a handful of silks based in Bristol are singled out. Adrian Palmer QC, at Guildhall Chambers, is considered by one lawyer to be "the best silk in Bristol for personal injury work" on both the plaintiff and defendant side.

But those who praise Roderick Denyer QC at St John's Chambers and 1995 silk Mark Evans QC at All Saints Chambers may beg to differ.