The 2021 edition of the legal guide Chambers and Partners has recognised a record number of Keystone lawyers as experts in their chosen fields. The directory identifies and ranks the most outstanding practitioners in over 180 jurisdictions throughout the world.

A full list of Keystone’s rankings and recognised practitioners, in the current edition, can be viewed below:

Aviation: Regulatory – UK-wide – Band 1

The “fantastic” Hugh O’Donovan wins praise from commentators for his focus on aviation regulatory issues, with strength in multi-jurisdictional matters. “I have always found him to be clear in his explanation of the issues and what the options are,” says a source.

Charities – UK-wide – Band 4

Robert Meakin has a focus on assisting religious charities and faith-based organisations. In addition to governance and structural matters, he advises on contentious issues involving the Charity Commission.

Construction – South West – Band 2

Louise Garcia routinely advises contractors, developers and engineering companies on both contentious and non-contentious aspects of construction projects. She can assist with projects of all sizes and has particular strength in matters concerning transport and infrastructure.

Construction – South West – Band 2

Martin Howe regularly advises an array of clients, including local authorities, universities and contractors, on contractual and procurement aspects of commercial and residential developments. “He is clear-sighted, robust and pragmatic in his advice”, said one source.

Construction – South West – Band 3

Neel Mehta joined the firm from Ashfords in 2020. He regularly advises clients on the construction aspects of large-scale development projects, including procurement strategy and contract negotiation.

Corporate/M&A: Mid-Market and Private Equity – West Midlands – Band 2

Edward Dawes offers his clients well-honed expertise in both commercial and corporate transactions. He is experienced in assisting with acquisitions, takeovers and flotations.

Defamation/Reputation Management – UK-wide – Band 5

Gerard Cukier is highlighted for his record of handling complex defamation and privacy issues, frequently on behalf of media industry companies and high-profile individuals. A source commented: “he’s very good at managing clients and is very measured and calm.”

Employment – Midlands – Band 2

Nicholas Jew has a litigation-focused employment practice and helps clients faced with tribunal and High Court claims. He is notable for his work on disputes involving executive-level employees including terminations, discrimination claims and injunction proceedings. Sources say, “he has a reputation for being a robust litigator and he enthusiastically pursues litigation on behalf of his clients. He goes the extra mile” with another adding “he knows his way around the law and he is pragmatic, practical and supportive.”

Employment: Employer – London (Firms) – Band 4

Rob Eldridge is esteemed for his practice encompassing a full range of employment work. His expertise spans contentious High Court claims and policy and advisory matters.

Employment: Senior Executive – London (Firms) – Band 4

Alexandra Carn is acknowledged for her expertise in the financial services sector. Her expertise in handling employment issues is broad and includes advising on everything from terminations to TUPE. “She’s very bright, committed and calm under pressure,” commented a source. Another added: “she has a very deep knowledge of employment law and is definitely someone that you want on your side” and “she does a fantastic job.”

Employment: Senior Executive – London (Firms) – Band 2

Paul Daniels represents executives in complex employment disputes including whistle-blowing, dismissals and discrimination. He has notable experience acting for senior figures in the sport and financial services sectors.

Employment: Senior Executive – London (Firms) – Band 2

Alistair French offers notable expertise advising senior executives on complex exit agreements. He is well versed in employment matters in the financial services sector. A source said, “he’s really fantastic and very responsive.” Another commented, “he’s a clever and dynamic individual.”

Employment: Senior Executive – London (Firms) – Band 3

Jane Wheeler routinely advises senior employees from a broad range of industries. She is skilled at restrictive covenants, tribunal claims and dismissals.

Family/Matrimonial – London (Firms) – Band 3

Susan Apthorp represents clients involved in complex divorce and financial remedy proceedings, often with multi-jurisdictional issues. Her practice extends to such child-related matters as relocation and Schedule 1 disputes.

Fraud: Civil – UK-wide – Band 3

Robert Lawrie is a barrister and head of the fraud team. He handles complex commercial disputes involving serious allegations of fraud, along with associated asset recovery measures, representing companies, shareholder groups and individuals. Praised by sources who said: “he defends his clients’ interests in a commercial and practical way”, “Robert is very sound and knowledgeable. He is also very good with clients and takes the time to look after them” and “he is fantastic.”

Gaming – UK-wide – Band 3

Richard Williams is noted for his ability to act on contentious gaming matters, as well as advising on operating licences. His client base includes start-ups, casinos and software developers. “Richard is a great communicator and his passion for the industry shines through,” said a source. Another commented: “I was very impressed with Richard, in terms of his industry knowledge and response times.”

Insurance: Mainly Policyholders – UK-wide – Band 2

Jane Harte-Lovelace represents policyholder clients in disputes with insurers and brokers, as well as providing advice on policy review. She has particular strength advising on construction and property-related claims. A source commented, “she is extremely knowledgeable, very accommodating and works hard to reach a satisfactory resolution,” and “an absolutely excellent insurance lawyer.”

Insurance: Contentious Claims & Reinsurance – UK – Band 5

James Crabtree receives praise from interviewees for being an “extremely detail-oriented solicitor who is exceptionally focused on client service.” He primarily represents reinsurers in claims and coverage disputes, as well as advising more broadly on issues pertaining to reinsurance contracts.

Intellectual Property – North East – Band 1

Will Sander is held in high regard for his practice as both a solicitor and a chartered trademark and design attorney. He is well versed in licensing and all kinds of IP disputes, including trademark, designs and copyright infringement litigation. “Will is great – he always provides very succinct, commercial advice and is available when needed,” said a source.

Intellectual Property – South West – Band 2

Jessica Bent advises well-known brands and emerging innovators on contentious and commercial copyright and trade mark matters. She has a significant client following in publishing, with one client commenting: “Jessica is extremely professional, knowledgeable and pragmatic.”

Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation – London (Firms) – Band 4

Rebecca Halford-Harrison has a wide-ranging IP practice encompassing patent, trade mark and copyright disputes. She is particularly recommended for litigation concerning chemicals and electronics technologies. “Rebecca is commercially minded and gives sensible, risk-adjusted advice,” says a source.

Licensing – London – Band 2

Gareth Hughes represents prominent clients across London including hotels, bars and clubs. He combines his impressive licensing expertise with a wealth of experience in planning law to advise on a broad range of complex licensing issues.

Licensing – London – Band 2

Niall McCann‘s practice involves acting for high-end clients in the hospitality and entertainment sectors. He frequently advises on licensing applications. One interviewee said: “Niall has a wealth of knowledge on the topic and his experience and contacts are invaluable. His advice is always framed within the relevant legal framework, but where he makes a difference is his local knowledge and the strategic input. He is very approachable, accessible and helpfully proactive when dealing with applications,” and “whether taking on big or small cases, he handles it with poise, professionalism and calm.”

Licensing – London – Band 1

Andrew Wong is highly regarded for his work for clients in the entertainment and hospitality sectors. He advises on licence applications and regulatory compliance. “He is exceptional in his commercial approach and astuteness. He thinks like an entrepreneur and acts like a can-do lawyer. He’s superb and innovative in his approach to difficult cases,” said a source.

Life Sciences: Transactional – UK-wide – Band 3

“Phenomenal” Vicky Clark advises on research, licensing and collaboration agreements. Her clients include an array of emerging companies working at the forefront of innovation in the sector.

Offshore: Corporate & Finance – Isle of Man – Band 2

Sally Cranshaw is well regarded for her work advising financial institutions, investment managers and corporate entities on real estate finance matters. An interviewee commented, “she is excellent, has a great understanding of client requirements and is always efficient.”

Offshore: Corporate & Finance – Isle of Man – Band 3

Geoff Kermeen sustains a broad practice encompassing both corporate and finance elements. His clients include financial institutions and private equity funds. “He is excellent, responsive and commercial,” said a source. Another commented: “He is very approachable and provides timely, commercial advice.”

Offshore: Dispute Resolution – Isle of Man – Band 2

Gillian Christian is noted for her broad disputes practice where she acts on a variety of matters including professional negligence, liquidation and contentious trust issues. A interviewee commented: “Gillian is incredibly proactive, she delivers her advice in a modern and clear way, and she always works to find a solution,” and “she is extremely knowledgeable.”

Partnership: Contentious – UK-wide – Band 3

Peter Garry has great depth of experience advising clients in the legal and financial services sectors on complex partnership negotiations and disputes.

Pensions – London (Firms) – Band 5

Monica Ma has a broad pensions practice and often works with clients on deficit issues and benefit changes.

Professional Discipline – UK-wide – Band 4

Jonathan Greensmith possesses considerable experience in defending solicitors and law firms facing an array of misconduct and disciplinary allegations. He also advises clients on regulatory compliance and policy matters.

Professional Negligence: Mainly Claimant – North East & Yorkshire – Band 2

Jonathan Watmough acts for clients in claims against a variety of professionals, including insurance brokers, solicitors and accountants. “He has a concise and clear communication style and demonstrates total attention to detail,” one client reveals, adding: “Above all, he gave us the genuine belief and confidence to progress our claim.”

Real Estate Litigation – London (Firms) – Band 5

Andrew Tugwell is noted for his skills as a litigator and arbitrator. He acts for a host of clients including real estate agencies, hotels and investors. A client said: “He is always available and offers good, balanced and well-considered advice and opinions.” Another added: “He is very knowledgeable and is able to deal with complex matters with ease.”

Sport: Horse Racing & Equestrian – UK-wide – Band 2

Rachel Flynn‘s wide-ranging equestrian law practice sees her advice on contentious work, such as veterinary negligence and contractual disputes, as well as commercial and regulatory issues. Clients say: “She gives good, practical advice and she provides quick responses.”

Practice rankings

Licensing – Band 2

Keystone’s licensing team represents a range of clients from the restaurant, hotel, hospitality, sport and entertainment industries. Offers broad licensing, enforcement and compliance expertise. Often acts in contentious hearings.

One client said: “They are personable, responsive and have a good understanding of the gambling industry and regulatory framework.” Another adds: “My experience has been excellent. I cannot fault their knowledge, ability and professionalism in licensing.”

Notable practitioners: Andrew Wong, Niall McCann, Gareth Hughes and Richard Williams

Construction South West – Band 4

Keystone’s able team of lawyers advise on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Assists contractors, developers and other clients with construction projects in a range of sectors including hospitality, education and energy. Handles contractual negotiations as well as representing clients in adjudications and other dispute resolution proceedings.

Notable practitioners: Louise Garcia, Martin Howe and Neel Mehta