Big fish in a sea of talent

With such an abundance of talent in professional negligence, the juniors rated particularly high praise, writes Matheu Swallow. Matheu Swallow is a freelance journalist.

With professional negligence covering such a broad spectrum of work, the names recommended are too numerous to mention. But certain chambers with a broad base of rated individuals stand out.

In terms of juniors 22 different chambers are mentioned. Selection criteria, aside from the obvious prerequisites of intelligence, good advocacy skills, good paperwork turnaround and the complexities of a given case, a lot depends on barristers' “user-friendliness”.

This is defined as involving the ability to integrate in a team, client skills and a developed understanding with the practitioner concerned.

Leading sets for London practitioners include 4 Pump Court where David Sears is a “good team player”, Allen Dyer is both “easy to work with” and “good with clients” while Oliver Ticciati and Jeremy Nicholson are “meticulous in preparation”. Also highly rated are Nigel Tozzi, Peter Hamilton and Simon Henderson for their “good sense approach”.

At the “very friendly” 4 Paper Buildings (Harvey McGregor QC), Michael Pooles stands out as does Lawrence West-Knights. Also praised at this set are Derek Holwill,who is especially liked by insurance clients, Mark Simpson, Julian Picton, Patrick Lawrence, Anthony De Freitas and Francis Bacon.

John Powell QC is leader of the very reputable 2 Crown Office Row where Roger Stewart is “hassle-free”, Fiona Sinclair is tough and very popular, Simon Monty is a “good common law junior” and Paul Parker, Sue Carr, Simon Russen, Hugh Evans and Mark Cannon are all well thought of, while Andrew Stafford is described as “clever and extremely pleasant”.

3 Verulam Buildings has “strength in depth”, especially rated is the “very able and excellent in conference” Rory Phillips while Andrew Sutcliffe, Clive Freedman and David Waksman are also mentioned.

Other rated chambers include 7 King's Bench Walk where the “fiercely clever” Christopher Butcher stands out as does Julia Dias who is “equally bright and effective on her feet”. Solicitors say 2 Temple Gardens has “good all-rounders”, notably John Snell who shows “lots of promise”.

Martin Bowdery “takes a robust view” and is one of those praised at Atkin Chambers along with David Streatfeild-James and Manus McMullan. Brick Court receives numerous mentions particularly the “up and coming” Alec Haydon and Dr Michael Bools.

Housing specialists in construction work and highly rated, is Keating Chambers where Peter Coulson manages a quick turnaround on cases and is “easy to work with”. Marcus Taverner is also praised as “astute” and does a lot of work on standard form contracts.

Fountain Court, although criticised for sometimes being too expensive has quality juniors. Adam Tolley comes “unreservedly recommended” and Paul Gott and Bankim Thanki are among the others praised, while Timothy Howe is “very bright and pleasant to work with”.

Among the individuals winning praise are Mark Lomas, a senior junior at Littleton Chambers, David Blayney at 13 Old Square who is “very good at skeleton arguments”, the “clever and user-friendly” Charles Manzoni at 39 Essex Street and Malcolm Stitcher at 199 Strand who possesses a “phenomenal knowledge of the law and is very, very on the ball”. Ian Swan is a “good all-rounder” at 2 Crown Office Row, the chambers of Graeme Hamilton QC, with Simon Howarth and John Greenbourne also recommended. Andrew Simmonds at 5 Stone Buildings is “very highly-regarded” and from Essex Court Chambers, Simon Bryan is recommended as both a junior and a leader for insurance work while Graham Dunning is praised for his auditors' negligence work. Sean Brannigan at One Essex Court, the chambers of Paul Norris, is endorsed as “extremely bright and vigilant”.

Charles Turnbull at Wilberforce Chambers is described as “clever, leaving no stone unturned”. Robin Knowles at 3-4 South Square is “intelligent, diligent and helpful”.

Also earning a mention and perhaps symptomatic of why, with so many talented individuals, certain people are picked out from the crowd is the well respected Hugh Tomlinson at New Court Chambers because he is “pleasant to deal with, very bright and has a very good sense of humour”.