Hot 100: Philip Young, Cooke Young & Keidan

Philip Young’s diverse practice has gone from representing Asia’s richest woman, the late property tycoon Nina Wang, to taking on one of the world’s richest banks, Barclays.

Young left Baker & Mackenzie in 2007 to join pre-Stewarts Law merger Masseys, then moved again to help found boutique firm Cooke Young & Keidan with former Bakers colleague Gerald Cooke and ex-Masseys Marc Keidan.

Last year the firm positioned itself into a “rather exciting” position in the financial disputes sector.

Young’s warm, unassuming manner – his clients wax lyrical about a chatty, empathetic, personable approach – lends itself well to the good guys versus bad narrative that has underpinned a successful 2012.

He represented US hedge fund Highland Capital on its action against RBS at the start of the year and concluded the year with some big early blows for client Guardian Care Homes in its Libor misselling case against Barclays.

“We believe it is still the first case alleging Libor manipulation to reach the courts in the UK and to that extent it is seen by many as a test case,” says Young.

“The instruction of Clifford Chance on the other side reflects the seriousness of the allegations and we are looking ahead to the trial in October next year.”

Young says this case shows how smaller litigation boutiques with lower overheads have a genuine place among the major litigation practices in the City, and there is a clear market available with many of the larger firms conflicted out by being on the panels of big banks.

“2013 is going to be another boom year for financial litigation – there are still a lot of issues to be worked out. More people will bring claims as they reach the end of their limitation period.”

Young adds with a smile: “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”