Tenacious and often media targets, top fraud lawyers command respect from all sides, discovers Grania Langdon-Down
Fraud lawyers need to be tenacious, prepared to stay the distance in a long campaign, and courageous in defending clients who are often portrayed by the press as public enemy number one. So say two specialists in white collar crime: partner Tony Woodcock of Stephenson Harwood and Louise Delahunty, a partner at West End practice Peters & Peters.
Woodcock adds: “You also have to be realistic about what you can achieve at the end of the day.” While large City firms became interested in fraud when commercial crime hit the big time with the Guinness case in 1990 and opened fraud departments, many have since closed them.
Delahunty says: “One of the problems was that with their premier client base, they ran into major problems of conflict.”
The white collar crime legal market is dominated by four firms: Kingsley Napley, Peters & Peters, Burton Copeland and Simons Muirhead & Burton.
However, while a handful of names appear to have a monopoly on the big cases, many other fraud specialists are also singled out for praise by fellow lawyers.
This list is not intended to be exhaustive and does not include those profiled in the Maxwell trial legal cast list.
Aileen Colhoun, Magrath & Co: “Well able to handle complex cases and sometimes very difficult clients. Good grasp of detail.”
Burton Copeland partner Jeffrey Bayes: “Very practical and down to earth, looks like a wise old owl with his glasses.”
Simons Muirhead & Burton partner Anthony Burton: “Good all-rounder. Charismatic, some might say glamourous. Softly spoken and compassionate.”
Peters & Peters assistant David Corker: “Analytical approach. Police background gives added edge.”
Peters & Peters partner Louise Delahunty: “One of the up and coming stars. A hustler and a bustler.”
Peters & Peters partner Joanne Rickards: “Very competent and tenacious. A name to watch.”
Kingsley Napley partner Deborah Gehm: “Newish to the scene, but extremely bright and unflappable. Good on regulatory work.”
Stephen Gilchrist, name partner at Gilchrists: “Media pundit, smooth talking and very sharp.”
Simons Muirhead & Burton partner David Kirk: “Excellent lawyer, very good bedside manner with clients.”
Burton Copeland assistant Catherine Mather: “Experienced, been on the scene for a long time.”
Simons Muirhead & Burton associate Katie Sparks: “Something of a newcomer, but proving very able.”
Simons Muirhead & Burton partner Brian Spiro: “An extremely clever young man. Another member of the Manchester Mafia.”
Stephenson Harwood partner Tony Woodcock: “Pleasant, quiet manner. A good sense of humour and well worth listening to.”
Peters & Peters partner Julia Balfour-Lynn: “Cool, calm, efficient and mature, very good on the regulatory side.”
Other names which feature on the highly recommended list include: Christopher Murray, a partner at Kingsley Napley, name partner Colin Nott at Hallinan Blackburn Gittings and Nott, Philip Joseph, an assistant at Gilchrists, Michelle O’Neill, an associate at Peters & Peters, and Karen Peacock, an assistant at Burton Copeland.
As far as counsel for fraud cases are concerned, some of the barristers who come highly recommended include:
Anthony Arlidge QC, 5 King’s Bench Walk: “A wonderful jury advocate with a real common touch.”
Jonathan Caplan QC, 5 Paper Buildings: “Very bright and engaging. Very attractive and works hard.”
David Cocks QC, 5 King’s Bench Walk: “Very experienced. Can produce fireworks if required.”
David Evans QC, Queen Elizabeth Building: “An extremely entertaining advocate. Very good with clients.”
Anthony Hacking QC, 1 King’s Bench Walk: “Very experienced on the prosecuting side.”
Michael Kalisher QC, 1 Hare Court: “A very good all-rounder. Tenacious prosecutor and suave defender.”
John Mathew QC, 5 Paper Buildings: “Very sensible, experience just oozes out of him. He knows how to handle judges and commands a lot of respect from the bench.”
Roy Amlot QC, 6 King’s Bench Walk: “Cerebral.”
Anthony Scrivener QC, 2-3 Gray’s Inn Square: “Very hard working. In terms of judgment and as a man to work with, he’s really sound and very nice – only wonder if he takes too much on.”
Anthony Shaw QC, 4 Brick Court: “One of the best young silks. Very pleasant, capable and computer literate. Ideal for fraud cases.”
David Whitehouse QC, 3 Raymond Buildings: “Marvellous jury advocate, great attention to detail.”
Nicholas Purnell QC, 36 Essex Court: “He’s top drawer with a logical approach to paperwork. He does his preparation and has a modern approach. He does not operate by the seat of his pants.”
Names to watch among juniors include:
William Boyce, Queen Elizabeth Buildings: “Very clever, wonderful with clients.”
Tania Bromley-Martin, 3 Raymond Buildings: “New to the scene, but highly recommended.”
Alex Cameron, 3 Raymond Buildings: “Very, very conscientious, nothing passes him by. Has a very good manner.”
Mark Ellison, Queen Elizabeth Buildings: “Very fine criminal barrister. Gets his mind round the details very quickly and presents complex points of law and issues of fact very concisely. Not flowery.”
Peter Kyte, Queen Elizabeth Buildings: “Brilliant jury advocate, great flair.”
Campaspe Lloyd-Jacobs, 3 Raymond Buildings: “Very capable, one to watch.”