The new edition of Chambers UK 2014 Guide to the UK Legal Profession ranks 31 firms of solicitors in the category “Defamation/Reputation Management” in 5 separate bands and 69 individuals in 6 separate bands. Different views can be taken about these rankings – some are uncontroversial but some are downright eccentric.
It might be thought that some busy and successful practitioners are, inexplicably, in lower bands whilst some with very modest practices are more highly ranked. Readers will be disappointed to discover that we do not intend to give our views on which is which.
The four firms included in Band 1 will, however, come as little surprise:
It is interesting to note that one of these firms is a largely “claimant focussed” (Carter Ruck), one almost exclusively defendant focussed (RPC), with the other two still managing a mix of claimant and defendant work (although, in recent times, Simons Muirhead & Burton have done a greater proportion of defendant work than previously).
Band 2 has an interesting mixture of firms
- Atkins Thomson
- Collyer Bristow LLP
- David Price Solicitors & Advocates
- Harbottle & Lewis LLP
This has more of a “claimant” orientation – although, in recent times David Price’s has done more high profile defendant than claimant work. Many observers were surprised to see Schillings – so long one of the pre-eminent claimant firms – fall to Band 2 this year.
In terms of individual solicitors, the description of RPC’s David Hooper as a “Senior Statesman” and Keith Schilling as the single “Eminent Practitioner” is not entirely surprising – although the difference between the two categories may not be entirely clear.
There may be more argument as to whether Band 1 is a full list of the leading practitioners – although less about those actually included:
- Dan Tench (Olswang)
- David Price (David Price Solicitors & Advocates)
- Keith Mathieson (RPC LLP)
- Mark Thomson (Atkins Thomson).
- Nigel Tait (Carter-Ruck)
- Niri Shan (Taylor Wessing LLP)
A number of the “ranking decisions” in relations to Bands 2 to 6 are difficult to follow – with some very senior and experienced practitioners in lower bands.
There is also a Guide to the Bar – with the slightly different title of “Defamation/Privacy” (presumably on the basis that Barristers are not involved in the “management of reputations”).
For Barristers Chambers, Band 1 consists, unsurprisingly, of 5RB (soon to move to 4/5 Grays Inn Square though, we believe, keeping the old name) and One Brick Court. In Band 2 there is Doughty Street Chambers and Matrix Chambers (though, after publication three practitioners from the former moved to the latter).
In terms of individuals Andrew Caldecott QC is ranked in the “Star Individual” category under silks, with 10 silks in Band 1, 5 in Band 2 and two in the “new silk” category. There are two juniors in the “Star Individual” category Catrin Evans and David Sherborne with 6 juniors in Band 1, 8 in Band 2, 5 in Band 3, 7 in Band 4 and an “Up and Coming” list of 4.
We do not know whether clients – who are the intended beneficiaries of this directory – actually read it or whether it benefits the practices of those who are mentioned. We would, nevertheless, like to congratulate those who have found favour with Chambers this year. For those who have not, don’t worry, there is always the 2014 Legal 500 (for their 2013 rankings for solicitors see here and for barristers here).