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3 Verulam Buildings has a growing expertise in restructuring and insolvency matters, drawing on the set's established strengths in banking and finance, civil fraud and general commercial litigation. The set is well regarded for its handling of contentious commercial insolvencies, and recent work for its tenants includes acting for the defence in Phones 4u v Vodafone, a high-value claim brought by the administrators of the insolvent Phones 4u. Members are instructed in cases at both a domestic and international level, and are regularly called upon to act for insolvency practitioners in high-value, cross-border recovery actions. The set's enviable client list includes several insolvent financial institutions, liquidators and major corporates.
Client service: "The clerks are all really friendly, good on fees and open in their communications, which makes them very easy to work with." "The clerks are courteous and effective." Stephen Penson and Stuart Pullum are joint senior practice managers.
Adrian Beltrami QC
Acts for insolvency clients as part of his broader commercial practice, which also encompasses banking, financial services and fraud. He is known for his expertise in handling domestic work, while he is equally adept at handling multi-jurisdictional concerns.
Strengths: "He has a huge brain and is and a really calm, effective advocate." "An outstanding and highly regarded barrister."
Recent work: Instructed by Lehman Brothers Holdings to advise and represent the company in the waterfall disputes concerning the distribution of surpluses within the Lehman estate.
A junior who is recognised for her high-quality contribution to a number of high-profile insolvency cases. She demonstrates expertise across the board, regularly acting in matters such as shareholder disputes, wrongful trading litigation and misfeasance claims. She is called on by a diverse client base that includes large corporates, banks and government bodies.
Strengths: "A very experienced practitioner." "She's a real fighter."
Recent work: Instructed in Fons v Pillar, a high-value misfeasance action concerning the sale of a high-profile retailer.
Ewan McQuater QC
Renowned barrister who is regularly instructed in big-ticket insolvency cases. His broader areas of associated expertise include commercial dispute resolution and civil fraud, among others. He is adept at handling matters with an offshore slant, regularly appearing in courts in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man.
Strengths: "He is a very, very clever man and a really great advocate - the full package."
Jamie Riley QC
Especially well regarded in the area of corporate insolvency. He is equally adept at handling domestic and offshore cases, and has featured in a number of significant matters. He is regularly instructed by international investment funds and leading banks, predominantly appearing in the High Court.
Strengths: "He is very efficient and produces well-rehearsed arguments which allow him to get effective results in a cost-effective manner." "He has a great brain and is a great advocate."
Recent work: Acted for Eliezer Fishman, an Israeli tycoon who was made bankrupt in the largest ever bankruptcy in Israel with debts of around USD1.2 billion.
Matthew Hardwick QC
Roundly praised by market commentators for his strength in court and his client service. He habitually appears in both contentious and non-contentious insolvency cases for a diverse range of clients. He is a go-to for offshore insolvencies and has noted experience handling disputes in the British Virgin Islands.
Strengths: "He is very well organised and takes the clients through the process in a painless fashion - he is very to the point and organised."
Recent work: Instructed in Edgeworth Capital (Luxembourg) SARL v Derek Quinlan, high-value bankruptcy proceedings arising out of the financing of the Marme Group of companies and their acquisition of Santander's office complex in Madrid.
An esteemed practitioner with a broad-ranging practice. He regularly handles high-value, major insolvency disputes, demonstrating particular skill in matters containing a fraud element. His insolvency practice is complemented by his broader expertise in financial services matters.
Strengths: "He is responsive, articulate and prepared to think outside the box - he's a very able senior junior." "He takes a creative and pragmatic approach to finding sensible solutions."
Recent work: Acted for the liquidators in Re Bannergable, a £2 million unlawful return of capital case.