What is the Legal 500? Primarily a reference tool for buyers of legal services, the Legal 500 has developed over the past 25 years into the largest and most in depth survey of the UK legal market, with researchers analysing the practices of more than 1,000 law firms across the UK.

Understanding the firms themselves is only one part of the research undertaken by the Legal 500 teams. Ultimately it is client opinion that matters. Firms submit details of client referees to the researchers and these are taken up and form a vital component of a firm’s evaluation.

September 2016: The Legal 500 has once again highlighted the expertise and commitment of Essex-based law firm Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP). The firm has once again retained Legal 500 recommendations in eight practice areas:

Corporate and Commercial: Recommended Lawyer Mary Anne Fedeyko is singled out for “good business acumen and legal experience. She advised E.S.C. (Europe) on the £2.1m sale of its share capital.” Her colleague Nick Mayles is also recommended

The team “provides well researched legal advice on a wide variety of corporate matters, and as well as Recommended Lawyers Mary Anne and Nick includes Claire Powell and Caroline Nicholls. The team’s clients range from start-ups and SMEs to large PLC companies.

Commercial Property: Stephen Firmin and his team take care of clients’ commercial and agricultural land and property transactions and work closely with Mary Anne and her team as part of a complete service TSP provides for its business clients.

Stephen, who is a Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, has extensive technical expertise in the handling of commercial and agricultural land and property acquisitions, disposals and related development transactions, such as option and pre-emption agreements, and advises the firm’s substantial portfolio of agricultural clients, not only in connection with property, but also related taxation and commercial questions.

The team was strengthened in 2015 with the addition of Mark Rowlands and Kerry Addison.  Kerry undertakes all types of general commercial property work but specialises in development and planning, rural matters for farmers and landowners (such as promotion and option agreements) and property portfolios and refinancing.

Employment: Ranked in the top four in Essex, “Thompson Smith and Puxon’s practice assists employees as well as employers on a retainer and ad hoc basis.” The team, which includes Sam Welham, is led by Richard Porter who “specialises in discrimination claims.” In 2015 the Legal 500 recommended the team for its “exceptional client service”.

The team provides a broad spectrum of legal advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law, from contracts of employment and disciplinary procedures to tribunals, redundancy and severance. Richard works closely with and supports HR professionals, managers and business owners, not only when they have an employment issue, but also on an ongoing basis to prevent difficulties from occurring. He hosts a number of workshops during the year, aimed at ensuring clients are kept up to date with the many and various changes that occur in employment law and can discuss issues that are commonly encountered in the workplace.

Wills and Estates: In 2016 the Legal 500 says the team at Thompson Smith and Puxon “provides an outstanding service to its clients.” Both team leader Fiona Ashworth and Solicitor Robert Ashworth are praised as being renowned for their “great depth of knowledge and experience.”

Fiona, a qualified member of both Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), brings extensive experience, advising clients on their Wills and succession planning, Powers of Attorney (LPAs and the registration of EPAs), the administration of estates, tax and trust matters and Court of Protection applications.

Fiona’s farming background (she grew up on a farm and is married to a farmer) has helped her to develop an agricultural client base, and she works closely with Stephen and the agriculture team in this area .

Family and Divorce Law: The TSP Family team, headed by Marcus Price, deals with all aspects of family law including marriage and relationship breakdown, financial and property disputes, and issues involving children. All of the solicitors in the team are members of ResolutionShelley Cumbers, who joined the team in 2014, and Alison Cantor are both Resolution trained Collaborative lawyers, and Marcus and Alison are Law Society and Resolution Accredited Family Law specialists.

Clinical Negligence: In 2015 the Legal 500 reported that clients remain “overwhelmed by the fantastic service” they receive from Recommended Lawyer Julian Wilson . In 2016 Julian is once again recommended and the Legal 500 highlights the work that the team undertake “managing claims and inquests against psychiatric health practitioners and institutions.”

They also handle a full range of claims, both in the North Essex region, where the firm is based, and on a national basis. These include cases relating to delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment, childbirth, psychiatric and orthopaedic claims. The team also has a wealth of experience dealing with high value cerebral palsy claims.

Julian, who has over 25 years experience pursuing claims, is a member of the AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) referral panel, and also a Law Society Accredited Clinical Negligence Specialists.

When ranking law firms that undertake clinical negligence work the Legal 500 assess firms across the whole of the South East area of the UK, so, to be recognised as one of the leading firms for clinical negligence in this area and one of the top two firms in Essex is extremely pleasing.

Personal Injury: TSP is pleased to retain its personal Injury recommendation in 2016. As with the Clinical Negligence team, the Legal 500 ranks firms which undertake Personal Injury work across the whole of the South East area of the UK.

Led by Steve Webb, who, along with Clare Sheeran is one of two Law Society accredited Personal Injury specialists at TSP, the team has many years’ experience helping accident victims with their claims across a wide range of areas, but in particular with high value, catastrophic claims.

Dispute Resolution: TSP is pleased that in 2016 the hard work and commitment to its clients of the Dispute Resolution team has once again been recognised. Recommended Lawyer Sharon Auton “regularly handles consumer disputes” and colleague Judith Winward is also recommended. In 2015 the firm’s service in this practice area rated as “second to none”.