CONSTRUCTION'S TOP three law firms have extended their lead over competitors, according to the UK's most authoritative guide to the legal profession.
The Chambers Guide, which is published this week, ranks London-based Masons, Cameron McKenna and Rowe & Maw as the industry's leading legal firms. These 'City' practices are the ones most commonly used by the largest construction companies to settle disputes, tackle international work or help put together mega-deals.
Two firms have disappeared from the 'leading' category. Bristows Cooke & Carpmael fell out of the rankings after the departure of its construction team and Fenwick Elliott has been demoted to 'highly regarded', with the guide expressing concern that its reputation relies too heavily on senior partner Robert Fenwick Elliott.
However, Chambers also has some bad news for some of the leaders. The guide, which is based on over 4,000 interviews with lawyers and their clients, suggests that while Masons senior lawyers are 'superb', 'many of the foot soldiers are average'. It also questions how Rowe & Maw's reputation will survive the departure of is most respected lawyer, Tony Blackler.
The number of leading individual lawyers also drops - by one - from eight to seven. Still in the number one spot is Masons chairman John Bishop. Joining the top echelon is another Masons partner, Phillip Capper, and Dick Shadbolt, whose expertise - particularly in international work - earns him a place alongside the City's heavy-hitters, despite being based in Reigate.