The Legal 500 Highlights: Charles Russell Speechlys LLP – ‘Strong at partner, senior associate and associate level’

    Commercial litigation

    Charles Russell Speechlys’ team is considered ‘strong at partner, senior associate and associate level’. It handles a broad range of corporate and commercial litigation including product, supply, trusts and IP disputes and serves an impressive client base including Fiat Chrysler, ITV, and Wagamama.

    It is handling a range of disputes for Swiss Post and for long-standing client Walkers Chocolates. Duncan Elson, who heads the team, ‘is frighteningly on top of the law and his analysis of the weak points of ADR awards is fearsome‘. Jamie Cartwright ‘is very clear and precise and quickly identifies the key points and addresses them‘ and Stephen Burns ‘provides practical, commercial advice and is very effective in mediation‘.


    Charles Russell Speechlys‘ ‘amazing‘ team is entrusted with heavy weight advisory matters and disputes from sectors such as financial services, not-for-profit, and TMT including computer games. Ericsson, Zenium Technology Partners and Photo-Me International are among its clients. Its work spans matters ranging from corporate reorganisations and TUPE to discrimination and dismissal actions.

    In one highlight, it is advising Amundi Asset Management on areas such as restraints of trade, disciplinary matters and employment tribunal litigation. Nick Hurley, who heads the employment, pensions and immigration teams, is ‘a strategic superstar who has seen it all before and can always anticipate the other side’s next move‘. Ben Smith has a broad range of expertise and ‘personally commits to his client’s cause, offering constant reassurance and support‘.

    Other key lawyers include the ‘excellent‘ Andy Williams and associate Emily Chalkley, who is highly regarded for ‘her vast legal knowledge and fluency in best practices‘ and is ‘a true up-and-coming talent, who has a wonderful manner and intellect‘.

    Contentious trusts and probate

    A ‘market leader‘ for contentious trusts and probate work, Charles Russell Speechlys fields a practice that is ‘very approachable, understanding and sensitive to their client’s needs; legal knowledge and expertise is first class‘. Duncan Elson heads the department and is noted for his ‘huge wealth of experience and ability to achieve extraordinarily good results for his clients, both in court and in ADR‘.

    Also recommended are Edward Birrell, who joined in February 2017 from Mourant Ozannes and is ‘wise beyond his years‘; Court of Protection expert Samantha Ewing, who joined in May 2017 from Irwin Mitchell and whose ‘in-depth knowledge and strong negotiating skills inspires confidence‘; and Rebecca Piper, who is noted for her track record acting for charities in contentious legacy work.

    The practice handles the full range of contentious work, with notable expertise in family business disputes and cross-border matters involving multiple foreign jurisdictions. Other key figures include Katelyn Silver, who is noted for her ability to ‘explain complex legal issues clearly‘.


    Charles Russell Speechlys construction practice provides a service that is ‘nothing short of excellent; the lawyers are entirely knowledgeable and prompt in all of their dealings, and produce work of great quality‘. Its clients span a range of industry sectors, including healthcare, where it acts for clients such as Caring Homes Group; transport, where it regularly handles cross-border mandates; energy, where it acts for the Energy Technologies Institute; and education, among other areas.

    In an illustration of its multi-jurisdictional workload, practice head David Savage is acting for the Bahrain government’s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications on the procurement strategy for a $1 billion redevelopment of Bahrain airport. Other recent highlights include advising Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre on the design and construction of a replacement slipway to mitigate the effects of the Thames Tideway Tunnel works; and assisting Caring Homes Group with ongoing advice on the client’s care home portfolio, including its recent acquisition of a 60-bed care home in Surrey. Senior associate Andrew Keeley is ‘superb; his breadth of knowledge, calm under pressure, ability to crystallise the nub of disputes and communication skills puts clients at ease‘.

    Also recommended are Kate Knox, who specialises in non-contentious construction and engineering law, and Fiona Thomson, whose expertise covers retail, office, hotel and residential accommodation developments.

    Property litigation

    According to some, Charles Russell Speechlys is ‘streets ahead‘ for property litigation; its lawyers are ‘of the highest quality and also very approachable, with great knowledge and connections both internally and externally‘. Peter Levaggi heads the practice and is ‘an exceptional lawyer who combines amazing business acumen and knowledge with deep empathy‘. In an illustration of his strength in property insolvency matters, he is acting for the liquidator of Strobe 2 in a claim against the company’s former directors arising from losses suffered by the landlords of a number of commercial premises originally let to the company’s subsidiaries.

    Levaggi’s other key mandates included acting for the National Crime Agency in the repossession of property from a notorious criminal, which involved working with various statutory agencies and county enforcement to recover property pursuant to a confiscation order; and acting in the settlement of directors’ liabilities following the failure of legal expenses funder and claims manager Zuko Legal.

    David Haines (‘an analytical, practical lawyer who plays the long game in a dispute and has a great rapport with clients‘) is noted for his expertise in commercial landlord and tenant matters; he recently acted for M&P Enterprises in an appeal against a claim for an order terminating the tenancy of hotel premises in London. Richard Flenley has been highly active for property owners on HS2-related work.