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As the leading guide to law firms and solicitors in the UK, The Legal 500 highlights law firms and leading individuals that demonstrate strong technical ability, as well as a reputation for handling complex, innovative deals and a clear investment for the future.

In this year’s edition, 13 of the areas of law in which we operate are ranked – an excellent recognition of the breadth and depth of our services and market expertise. These include:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Corporate and commercial
  • Debt recovery
  • Employment
  • Insurance (personal injury and clinical negligence: defendant)
  • Licensing
  • Professional negligence
  • Property litigation
  • Public sector (education)
  • Real estate (commercial property)
  • Family
  • Personal tax, trusts and probate
  • Contentious trusts and probate

‘Top Tier’ recommendations

Our Dispute Resolution team has retained its ‘Top Tier’ status for commercial litigation for the eighth consecutive year. This achievement follows another successful 12 months for the department who are noted for having a ‘hardworking and determined’ practice representing large domestic and international clients in complex disputes, including High Court cases and judicial reviews, relating to areas such as fraud, product liability, insurance law and professional negligence.

Chief executive, Qamer Ghafoor, has retained his ‘Hall of Fame’ status for commercial litigation, one of only two lawyers in the whole of the East Midlands to be awarded this honour. One client testimonial described Qamer as “a tour de force: charismatic: clever, hardworking and absolutely client-focused”.

Also recommended was ‘strategic litigator’ Nick Wells, who was noted for his work in regularly representing clients in High Court litigation in various areas, including cases concerning EU law and property litigation. Nick received praise for having a “good eye for technical and legal detail, whilst remaining focused on commercial objectives”.

Our Debt Recovery team also retains its ‘Top Tier’ status for the third consecutive year, having established a national reputation for its volume work pursuing debts on behalf of large companies in the business-to-business (B2B) lending space, particularly in managing debt collections for multi-branch building supplies and hire firms.

Practice head and lead client partner, Qamer Ghafoor, is noted for his ‘wealth of expertise in credit control and debt recovery’. Debt recovery manager, Natalie Lloyd-Nash, who has been recognised as a ‘Rising Star’ having stood out for her ‘strong advocacy skills and her key role developing and maintaining client relationships.’

First-time recommendations

Reflective of our strong credentials in the education arena, the firm has been ranked in the public sector for this first time this year. Spearheaded by Louise Easthope, the Education team has gained recognition for an excellent record in academy conversions and was also recently appointed to a University of Derby panel.

Noted for its sector specialisms in retail and leisure, our Commercial Property team has retained its recommended status for Nottingham and Derby but has also been recognised in the wider East Midlands region for the first time this year.

Practice head, Ian Beardmore, is described to have a ‘strong track record of assisting developers with all stages of commercial projects, including site assembly and funding’. Christine Owen is also named as a key lawyer and is praised for her ‘notable expertise in executing land promotion and collaboration agreements’.

A record number of our lawyers have received first-time recommendations in this year’s rankings. These include:

  • Louise Easthope, Partner & Head of Employment
  • Paul Sabin, Commercial Property Partner
  • Nigel Partridge, Insurance Litigation Partner
  • Simon Brian, Employment Partner
  • William Bowler, Senior Corporate & Finance Associate
  • Natalie Lloyd-Nash, Debt Recovery Manager
  • Freya Bradley, Commercial Property Associate

Other key recommendations

Chairman and senior partner, Andrew Cochrane, has once again been recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ for licensing and leads a team that is noted for its extensive expertise in all aspects of alcohol and entertainment licensing, including the tenanted pub market.

Raj Sumal, Jonathan Gilbert and Nigel Partridge are all ranked this year as recommended lawyers for the Insurance Litigation team, a practice which handles a wide range of matters involving complex insurance disputes, MIB technical committee cases, fraudulent personal injury claims and claims involving catastrophic injuries.

Our Corporate & Finance and Commercial teams are described as an ‘efficient and pragmatic’ practice, with David Miller, Martyn Brierley, Rachel Bennett and William Bowler all recommended.

The firm’s employment practice is highlighted for having a strong offering and recognised for its work in Employment Tribunal litigation, education, charities, general commercial and corporate support. Practice head Louise Easthope is described by several sources as being ‘fantastic’. Simon Brian is also named as a key lawyer.

Our private client teams both received very positive recommendations again this year.

Kirpal Bidmead, who heads up the Family & Matrimonial team, is noted for specialising in advising on complex financial disputes for high-net-worth clients. She is also recognised for her expertise in wealth preservation, advising clients with family businesses, farms and international trusts.

Practice head of the Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team, Claire Rudkin, has developed a growing family disputes practice and has strengthened its contentious probate and litigation capabilities. Claire is assisted by senior associates William Harper and Kirsten Wood who are both named as key lawyers.

Key quotes from The Legal 500 – UK 2021 edition

The Legal 500’s commentary is based on extensive research, which includes speaking with key clients and associated professionals for each of our recommended practice areas, forming the basis of the quotes published in the final directory.

Commercial litigation

“Flint Bishop has a strong team which combines legal acumen and a robust and commercial approach to litigation.”

“Nick Wells has a good eye for technical and legal detail whilst remaining focused on commercial objectives.”

“Qamer Ghafoor is a tour de force: charismatic: clever, hardworking and absolutely client-focused.”

Corporate and commercial

“The team is accessible, provides quick responses to queries, and helps with complex issues.”

“Martyn Brierley is an exceptional lawyer who understands our requirements and is always looking out for our end goal.”


“They are able to give on-point advice and their response to any issue that arises is fantastic. I am confident with the advice they provide me as well as giving me a good understanding of the situation and the legal elements attached to the situation. In particular, their partner Louise Easthope is fantastic and is always at hand to provide our organisation excellent legal advice and also give us confidence in her knowledge of the law. Her communication skills are absolutely excellent both over the phone and through email.”

‘Flint Bishop is extremely good at keeping its clients up to date with new legislation by holding regular update sessions for its clients to attend. They are informative but also give you the opportunity to discuss and listen to other companies’ issues and learn from them how to deal with situations you may not have had. Flint Bishop get back to you extremely quickly which when you are in a situation you need to have answers quickly they give that support which is excellent. The team are extremely approachable and friendly which makes you feel at ease.”

Property litigation

“There is strength and depth of knowledge within the team. They provide a high level of customer service, and they are helpful, approachable and able to respond quickly to difficult and complex situations.”

Personal tax, trusts and probate

“Kirsten Wood has been outstanding. She has answered emails promptly and in detail, answering clearly so that an ordinary person can understand what is going on. She has always been polite and empathetic to my personal circumstances and she has been very efficient in getting the job done which has relieved me of a great deal of unnecessary anxiety at a time when nothing was as it was. I cannot thank her enough.”

Chief Executive, Qamer Ghafoor comments on the firm’s achievement:

“It is very encouraging to see that a record number of the firm’s practice areas and lawyers have been recognised in The Legal 500 this year.

“The success of our firm would not be possible without the support from all of our staff. I would like to thank everyone for their continued commitment and hard work that they put in on a daily basis.

 “I am very proud of all of my colleagues who have been noted for their excellent work and especially pleased for those who have been recommended for the first time this year.”



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