Counting on the best

Banking and finance litigation continues to be a lucrative area for lawyers on both sides of the profession, and with the financial institutions having huge sums at stake, it is no surprise that when litigation arises, they want to instruct the best that money can buy.

Inevitably there is an area of overlap with the Commercial Bar. The leading sets in commercial law are also often cited as being strong in financial services and insolvency.

Again, the list of barristers is not exhaustive, but is based on the subjective recommendations of leading banking and financial sector practitioners.

The leading sets in this area include Fountain Court, Brick Court Chambers, Erskine Chambers, 3 Verulam Buildings, 3-4 South Square, One Essex Court, Essex Court Chambers and 20 Essex Street.

The majority of recommendations came from practitioners who predominantly use seniors. The junior's is role increasingly being taken over by in-house solicitor advocates who monitor the performance of leading silks.

There are the obvious high-flyer leaders line-up of commercial/banking and finance heavyweight silks named by the leading practitioners.

At Brick Court Chambers, Jonathan Sumption QC in particular stands out, rating numerous high recommendations, as does Christopher Clarke QC at the same set.

Richard Sykes QC at Erskine Chambers is 'very highly rated', and at Fountain Court Chambers (where the clerking also came in for praise), the names that are mentioned most often are Peter Goldsmith QC, and Peter Scott QC.

Other heavyweights in this area are Anthony Grabiner QC at One Essex Court Chambers, who 'although very expensive is a terrific team-player and very down to earth'; and Gordon Pollock QC at Essex Court, as well as Michael Crystal QC at 3-4 South Square.

At Fountain Court, Michael Brindle QC rates numerous recommendations and a number bemoaned the loss of Charles Falconer QC who has 'gone off to possibly higher things in the political arena'.

Across the generally well-regarded range of silks, another silk singled out is Andrew Smith QC, and recent silk David Railton QC is continuing to impress with a number of mentions, as well as Trevor Philipson QC.

And at 3 Verulam Buildings (formerly 3 Gray's Inn Place) another well-regarded set in this area is Richard Salter QC who is 'outstanding and ingenious' for banking work. Also mentioned at this set is Gregory Mitchell QC.

Also recommended at the same set is (brother of Tony, but 'that shouldn't be held against him') William Blair QC who 'has a fantastic brain' and 'of course, the very user-friendly' John Jarvis QC.

Nicholas Merriman QC and Nicholas Elliott QC are also singled out for mentions, and set head Neville Thomas QC 'certainly understands the subject'. Recent silk Ali Malek QC, continues to impress.

At Brick Court Chambers, Mark Hapgood QC 'is extremely bright and able, good on paper and on his feet'. Recent silk Mark Howard QC also rates a number of honourable mentions, as do Stephen Ruttle QC, Andrew Popplewell QC and George Leggatt QC. Richard Aikens QC is also noted.

Robin Potts QC also at Erskine Chambers is recommended in banking cases, in particular for taking the appellate cases to the House of Lords, while David Richards QC 'is outstanding, one of the best of the young juniors, and wonderful to work with'.

Richard Southwell QC at One Hare Court 'also carries clout' with Sir Patrick Neill QC for major House of Lords and Privy Council cases, provided his schedule and possible conflicts allow it, with the same remark being applied to Julian Malins QC.

At the same set Nicholas Padfield QC has also been noted, as has 'the very impressive' Stuart Isaacs QC at 4-5 Gray's Inn Square.

At 20 Essex Street, Iain Milligan QC is well-regarded from the chancery side, Edward Nugee QC and Jules Sher QC at Wilberforce Chambers are recommended in this area, as is Terence Etherton QC.

Another crossover from the chancery area is Hazel Williamson QC and Christopher Pymont QC at 13 Old Square headed by Michael Lyndon-Stanford QC.

At 4 Stone Buildings, Anthony George Bompas QC is 'extremely good, with practical solutions to difficult problems' and Philip Heslop QC is 'very committed'. John Brisby QC and Robert Hildyard QC are also mentioned.

Antonio Bueno QC at 5 Paper Buildings is also rated, as is Barbara Dohmann QC at 2 Hare Court who rates a number of enthusiastic mentions, as does Charles Flint QC. Charles Purle QC at 12 New Square, is said to be 'a genius, and great fun'.

At One Essex Court, Ian Glick QC is noted, and Elizabeth Gloster QC is very impressive as is Nicholas Strauss QC. Terence Mowschenson QC is 'extremely helpful and bright the silk to go to for slightly off-the-wall cases'.

Others standing out include Richard Field QC at 11 King's Bench Walk, and Christopher Carr QC at 1 Essex Court chambers. Anthony Boswood QC, is also 'very able and very highly regarded at Fountain Court chambers as is Nicholas Underhill QC, and Nicholas Stadlen QC.

Gabriel Moss QC at 3-4 South Square,'has a remarkable brain, is user-friendly and a creative problem-solver, and Richard Adkins QC, is noted. Also well-regarded here are Simon Mortimore QC and John Higham QC.

Other names that have come up are Geoffrey Vos QC at 3 Stone Buildings and Michael Burton QC at Littleton Chambers, Nicholas Patten QC at 9 Old Square, Timothy Saloman QC at 7 King's Bench Walk, Nigel Davis QC at 7 Stone Buildings, Anthony Temple QC at 4 Pump Court, and Philip Naughton QC at 3 Serjeants' Inn.