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The Legal 500 2020: Wilberforce is “in the Premier League”

Published: Tuesday 1 October 2019

The latest edition of The Legal 500 UK has been released and Wilberforce has had another successful year. We have three top-tier set rankings and are recommended as a leading set in a further eight practice areas. We have achieved a record 139 barrister rankings this year including 12 new entries.

Praise is also directed at our staff, with 13 individuals in the clerks’ room singled out. A summary of our recommendations is below and full coverage in the 2020 guide can be found here.

Leading set rankings

  • Charities
  • Commercial litigation
  • Company and partnership
  • Fraud – civil
  • Insolvency
  • Offshore
  • Pensions
  • Private client: personal tax
  • Private client: trusts and probate
  • Professional negligence
  • Property litigation and agriculture

Set Overview

The Rolls-Royce of pensions sets’ and sitting ‘right at the top of the tree when it comes to big-ticket trust matters’, Wilberforce Chambers is in ‘the Premier League’ of Chancery sets with ‘the strength and depth you would expect of a chambers of its calibre’. Chambers is also developing its reputation as ‘a top-class’ property set and reinforcing its leading positioning in the offshore market where its ‘top-notch’ and ‘collaborative’ members are considered ‘thought leaders’, particularly in the Cayman Islands where ‘a number of its QCs have begun to make their mark’. Further strengthening chambers at the top end, James Bailey QC took silk in 2019. Clients appreciated the set’s one-day commercial and trust litigation conferences which is ‘of an excellent quality’. ‘Always a pleasure to deal with’, practice director Nicholas Luckmanhas no rival’ at the Bar. Together with head practice manager Mark Rushton, Luckman runs ‘a very slick operation’ that befits the calibre of the set’s members. The ‘fabulous’ clerking team ‘delivers a service with professionalism and integrity’. ‘Forever going above and beyond’, senior practice manager Fraser Geddes is recommended for his ‘helpful, can-do approach’. ‘He is incredibly client-focused and will always do everything he can to accommodate.’ Also worthy of a special mention is senior practice manager Danny Smillie, who is ‘excellent, and goes the extra mile’. Practice manager Stewart Cameron is ‘a delight to work alongside. Extremely polite, impressively organised, and responsive to boot. You get the sense nothing is too much trouble for him, and he will do all he can to deliver the highest quality service’. Solicitors have also been ‘particularly impressed’ by practice manager Ben Rippengale. The ‘exceptionally helpfulAndrew Barnes has recently been promoted to senior practice manager and, judging from solicitor feedback, this was a shrewd move by chambers (‘His clerking is second to none and he has been an absolute asset to the team; he’s excellent – responsive, helpful, and has a genuine understanding of the teams he works with’). Antonia Matthew has also been promoted to practice assistant. In addition to the internal promotions, the team has recently expanded too with new practice managers Jessica Edson and Conor Michaels arriving from Keating Chambers and 4 Pump Court respectively, junior clerk Georgia Pilbro arriving from Doughty Street Chambers alongside Francisco Iannuzzi and Jake Walker in their first clerking roles. Hayley Eustace is the set’s marketing and business development manager.