Stars at the Bar
The Stars at the Bar have proved their excellence across a range of practice areas.
Jonathan Crow QC (4 Stone Buildings)
Jonathan Crow QC is a “superstar” commercial barrister who is described by interviewees as “a definite standout” and “a one-man phenomenon.” Lauded by interviewees as “an incredible advocate who can turn his talents to anything,” he commands respect for his expert handling of complex banking and finance, offshore and administrative and public matters, in addition to fielding considerable strength in restructuring and insolvency, civil fraud, commercial chancery and company disputes. Crow’s advocacy skills are highly praised by both his instructing solicitors and other counsel, with a source noting: “At Supreme Court and Court of Appeal level he really holds the court’s attention and you can see the respect he has. He’s a fantastic presenter of complex cases and has a very elegant phrasing in his submissions.” In addition to garnering praise for his courtroom skills, Crow is also consistently lauded for his “understanding of the commercial needs of the client” and his ability to “give difficult commercial advice which is pragmatic and sensitive to his clients’ needs.” He is considered a top choice for the most complex and challenging of cases and is a regular fixture in the UK Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, as well as several overseas courts. His recent work includes acting for Kathryn Ma Mai Fong, the widow and executrix of the estate of a late billionaire timber and oil tycoon in a cross-jurisdictional multi-million dollar dispute, and Haven Insurance v Gavin Edmondson Solicitors, a test case heard before the Supreme Court. One interviewee sums up the thoughts of many when saying: “He is pure excellence and the best in his field. He’s extremely composed, knowledgeable, intelligent in his approach to cases, and has total command of his advocacy and the papers.”
Robert Miles QC (4 Stone Buildings)
The “extraordinarily bright” Robert Miles QC continues to be one of the most lauded silks at the Commercial Bar today. He is widely regarded as a go-to barrister for the most complex and high-value banking and finance, civil fraud, company, commercial chancery and restructuring and insolvency disputes, exemplified through his involvement in cases such as Autonomy Corporation v Dr Michael Lynch, and Singularis Holdings v Daiwa Capital Markets Europe. “He impresses with his judgement, his ability to hold the court’s attention and his overall team leadership,” according to one instructing solicitor, while another notes that “the amount of preparation and attention to detail he puts into cases is dwarfed only by his ability to turn that preparation into a case strategy – he is on another level in his ability to synthesise facts.” A regular fixture in the highest courts both in the UK and in several other jurisdictions, Miles’ advocacy skills also draw praise from interviewees, who describe him as “a meticulous, strong and powerful advocate,” adding that “he’s unflappable and has a real authority in court.” Others report that “he has the confidence of the court in a way that you have to see to believe, and his advocacy is like poetry – he is one of the best barristers at the Bar by a mile.”
Dinah Rose QC (Blackstone Chambers)
Dinah Rose QC is an outstanding human rights and public law barrister who is lauded by interviewees as “a real tour de force and a testament to the quality of the legal profession as a whole.” Impressed sources dedicate significant time to praising Rose’s skills in court, describing her as “a fiercely intelligent and formidable opponent” and “an excellent cross-examiner,” noting that she is “widely accepted as the finest advocate of her generation.” In addition to impressing with her prowess in the courtroom, Rose is also “very pragmatic and able to see cases from the client’s perspective,” according to sources, who go on to add: “She always brings the human side to meetings rather than just showing her knowledge, and her ability to connect with the client is unparalleled.” An established leader in the fields of employment, civil liberties and human rights and administrative and public law, Rose is regularly instructed in the most challenging and significant cases in these spheres and is a popular choice for disputes with far reaching consequences. Examples of her recent work include R (Law Society) v Lord Chancellor, a judicial review of the Lord Chancellor’s decision to cut criminal legal aid, and Aslam v Uber, a high-profile case concerning the classification of Uber drivers as workers.
Paul Chaisty QC (Kings Chambers)
Paul Chaisty QC is highly regarded for his expert handling of a wide range of complex commercial disputes. With seven top-tier rankings in this year’s guide, he is undoubtably a standout barrister on the Northern Circuit. He is lauded by interviewees, who note that he has “a brilliant mind” and describe him as “the best commercial lawyer in Manchester.” He is particularly well regarded for his representation of a wide range of clients in complex negligence disputes across the legal, financial and property sectors, and is praised by one instructing solicitor as “the standout QC in the North for professional negligence matters.” He is also a go-to barrister for difficult and high-value banking and finance, partnership and chancery matters, as well as real estate disputes and contentious insolvencies and restructurings. While interviewees draw significant attention to Chaisty’s courtroom skills, describing him as “a tenacious advocate” who is “devastating in cross-examination,” several sources are also keen to highlight his commercial acumen and client-oriented approach, cementing his reputation as a true client’s barrister. “His commercial insight is invaluable when developing strategies for complex disputes,” according to one impressed interviewee, while another adds: “He’s very good with clients, never talks down to anyone and makes sure everyone is on the same wavelength.” Perhaps Chaisty’s appeal is best summarised by this comment from one instructing solicitor: “He’s the perfect silk – he’s hard-hitting in court but still very down to earth, pragmatic and always focused on getting the best result possible for the client.”
Mark Howard QC (Brick Court Chambers)
Mark Howard QC is known across the Bar as an “absolutely stellar” silk who retains a position “at the very top of the profession.” He is often called upon to handle the most complex and highest value cases heard in the Commercial Court. Several sources refer to Howard as a “superstar,” with one interviewee putting him “in another class at the Commercial Bar.” He is a top choice for banking litigation, as well as energy-related disputes, professional negligence cases and a wide variety of insurance work. Numerous instructing solicitors at leading commercial law firms, as well as fellow barristers, praise Howard for his superb advocacy in the Commercial Court and in extremely challenging Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases. Howard's skills in the courtroom strike fear into the hearts of his opponents, and his reputation as a “fight to the death” silk who is “just terrifying, and a devastating cross-examiner” stretches far and wide. As one interviewee puts it, “if you want one of the super top silks and are going to trial, then Mark Howard QC has to be on your list.”
Clare Montgomery QC (Matrix Chambers)
Lauded for her “firm, clear and practical advice,” Clare Montgomery QC also receives praise for having “an exceptional ability to spot issues” and for her “brilliant strategic nous.” A star individual in both our general crime and financial crime rankings, Montgomery’s skill and expertise in criminal defence is roundly praised by her peers, of whom one says “she deserves every accolade.” Also recognised as an “international crime specialist” she frequently handles cases with complex jurisdictional elements, including extradition requests and POCA proceedings. “Clare is legendary for extradition work,” one peer remarks, while an instructing solicitor credits her with “unrivalled expertise in cross-border criminal and regulatory enforcement.” She also demonstrates a ready command of the interplay between civil and criminal law, handling fraud and public law cases and providing impeccable advice on issues relating to civil liberties and human rights. Sources are full of praise for her advocacy, describing her as “incredible to watch” and “fearless in court,” while also commending her as a silk with “an unerring eye for the detail and a reassuring client manner.”
Hugh Sims QC (Guildhall Chambers)
The “unbelievably bright” Hugh Sims QC is truly a star of the Western Circuit, whose seven band one rankings in our guide demonstrate that he really can “turn his hand to anything.” Sims is equipped to handle an exceptionally broad range of commercial matters, which has earned him a huge following among instructing solicitors in Bristol and beyond. “He is the best commercial barrister in the South West,” says one repeat instructor, adding: “He seems to be universally approved of across the firms in the region.” Both instructing solicitors and opposing counsel commend his exceptional advocacy, which he applies in banking disputes, insolvency cases and a wide range of company and commercial work. Much to the delight of his clients, Sims’ brilliance does not stop him being “an amazingly nice man,” and he continues to be regarded as a “very down to earth silk.” He is able to deploy his much-admired composure to defuse tension when faced with challenging cases, and anxious clients are soothed by the fact that he is “so relaxed and calm that he seems almost horizontal.”
Bankim Thanki QC (Fountain Court Chambers)
Bankim Thanki QC possesses a “superstar reputation,” a client list that reads like the Fortune 500 and an incredible track record in eye-wateringly difficult cases. He is firmly established as a star of the Banking Bar and continues to attract instructions for multi-billion pound cases in the UK and several offshore jurisdictions. Thanki is known as one of the country’s top “super silks,” but he is nonetheless “extremely easy to work with” and “remarkably humble and willing to give airtime to even the most junior member of the team,” which earns him repeat custom from a number of the UK’s biggest law firms. Thanki’s authoritative style means that “courts have the highest respect for him,” and this year’s interviewees describe his advocacy as both “gracious and tenacious.” His recent work includes advising a swath of international banks on complex finance disputes, as well as handling a wide variety of civil fraud, insurance and other commercial cases. He has been head of Fountain Court Chambers since October 2018.
David Perry QC (6KBW College Hill)
A longstanding “legend” of the criminal Bar, David Perry QC is widely hailed for his virtuosic handling of the most serious general and financial crime for both the prosecution and defence, and has also built a well-founded reputation as a POCA luminary. Clients consider him a “superstar,” who is “one of the most well-rounded overall experts in his field.” He continues to handle an eye-wateringly formidable caseload in which he is routinely instructed by multinationals, corporate directors and government bodies. Perry regularly appears before all levels of the UK and European judiciary, and is admitted to the Bar in a number of overseas jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands. He is particularly highly regarded by market commentators for the intellectual firepower he brings to criminal appeals. As one dazzled solicitor reports, he is “simply one of the finest legal minds in the country, and an appellate genius.” Elsewhere, Perry is described by one distinguished commentator as “the god of criminal judicial review,” though his esteemed public law practice also extends beyond the criminal sphere, as exemplified in recent administrative actions scrutinizing UK foreign policy or the actions of the police. He also possesses significant experience in extradition law, having advised the UK government on the subject.
John Randall QC (St Philips Chambers)
John Randall QC is a stalwart of High Court advocacy and enjoys an uncontested position as the star of the Commercial Bar in Birmingham. “He stands apart from others practicing at the Midlands Bar,” according to impressed sources, who describe him as a barrister who “can turn his abilities to any kind of case” and “a match for the very best people in London.” Other sources “could listen to his advocacy all day,” adding: “The intellectual analysis he applies to his cases is second to none.” Randall is well established as a go-to silk for many of the core areas of chancery and commercial law, and holds band one rankings in partnership, company, professional negligence and real estate litigation. He regularly attracts instructions in all these areas from corporate clients throughout the UK and further afield, including international banks and property companies. Randall’s superlative command of technical legal issues has frequently led to his involvement in some of the more significant test cases in his fields of expertise, including Cobbetts v Hodge, on fiduciary duty, and the recent Supreme Court case of Regency Villas Title v Diamond Resorts, on easements. In the words of one instructing solicitor, he is “brilliant with the law, brilliant with the facts and brilliant with the judges.” The source continues: “He masters every line of his brief and deploys the material to devastating effect in court. Applications that seem lost causes before John stands up are famous victories by the time he sits down.” Randall is also admitted to the Bar in two Australian jurisdictions.
Lesley Anderson QC (Kings Chambers)
The “best silk in Manchester,” and undoubtedly one of the most formidable counsel in the North, Lesley Anderson QC appears at the top our rankings in no fewer than six practice areas. She is regarded across the Northern Circuit and beyond as a true commercial and chancery heavyweight, which is reflected this year in her recognition as a Star Individual in our commercial dispute resolution rankings. Chambers also recommends Anderson as an expert in insolvency, partnership, real estate and professional negligence work. Sources describe her as a “super advocate,” who is “very sensible but prepared to fight passionately for her clients.” They applaud her “devastating cross-examination,” “technical excellence” and “air of authority”; in short, she is “a brilliant all-round lawyer” who is popular with clients and judges alike. Anderson’s standing in the field can be demonstrated by her recent appearance for the winning party in Gavin Edmondson Solicitors v Haven Insurance Company, an important Supreme Court case concerning the enforceability of the solicitor’s equitable lien. Her enviable experience in courtroom litigation is supplemented by a previous career in legal academia, as well as her appointment to the bench in the Chancery Division. Despite such glittering achievements, Anderson “never lives off her reputation,” according to one instructing solicitor: “She always reads absolutely everything in the case and knows it better than you do.”
Joe Smouha QC (Essex Court Chambers)
It would be difficult to overstate Joe Smouha QC’s reputation for excellence at the Commercial Bar. Described by one source as “a bit of a god,” he maintains five top-tier rankings in our guide with expertise across the spectrum of commercial, banking and fraud cases, as well as arbitration. His advocacy skills, which are “second-to-none,” combined with his wide-ranging technical knowledge, wit and sense of humour make him one of the most sought-after barristers in England and Wales. As a leading civil fraud practitioner, he has recently been called on to act for Amanda Staveley in her hotly anticipated USD1 billion claim against Barclays Bank, a case relating to emergency fundraising by the bank at the height of the financial crisis. In addition to regularly appearing before the High Court and Court of Appeal in London, Smouha has considerable experience of handling matters in several offshore jurisdictions, and has participated in several high-profile cases in the Caribbean. His standing as a leading figure in international arbitration sees him instructed in a wide range of matters, and he has significant experience of handling disputes under ICSID, LCIA and ICC rules. As an arbitrator he is known for his “brilliant mind and great commercial acumen.” One of our sources this year remarked: “When I need a real heavyweight, I go to Joe Smouha QC.”
Laurence Rabinowitz QC (One Essex Court)
Market sources are emphatic in their praise for Laurence Rabinowitz QC’s broad commercial practice. He is “supremely intelligent and exceptionally persuasive,” says one of our interviewees, while others add that he is an “out-and-out whizz kid” and a “superstar” who is “superlative in every respect.” An “absolutely first-rate” litigator and “outstanding advocate,” he has star rankings in our commercial dispute resolution and banking and finance tables and has a wealth of experience acting in the appellate courts, including the Supreme Court. He is “always on the short-list” for energy disputes, according to solicitors, who consider him to be one of “the stars of the oil and gas Bar.” His other rankings include a top-tier position in international arbitration, where he is seen as the “go-to person,” and a band one place for civil fraud, where he “dominates the field.” His recent fraud cases include representing HP in its high-profile claim against the founder of Autonomy, Mike Lynch. One theme that emerges in his feedback this year is his “unbeatable client-manner”; market sources are quick to say that “clients love him.” As one solicitor remarks: “Some barristers start to fall away when they get to the top, but he just gets better. He is absolutely the top individual at the Bar.”
Nigel Giffin QC (11KBW)
A “doyen of the Local Government Bar,” Nigel Griffin impresses with his “encyclopedic knowledge of procurement law.” Known as an “intellectual colossus” with a “wealth of experience” and a “razor sharp intellect,” he earns wide-spread praise for his in-depth knowledge of the public sector, with one solicitor telling us that “for public law issues there is nobody who can touch Nigel.” He is once again ranked in the top tier in five of our ranking tables, earning the highest accolades for public procurement, administrative and public law, community care, education and local government. In court he is known for his “attractive and succinct style of advocacy” and is “superb on his feet,” according to our interviewees. Market sources were quick to highlight his recent work for the successful appellant in Faraday Development Ltd v West Berkshire Council, a case heard in the Court of Appeal which centered on the relationship between development agreements and public procurement processes. He also represents clients at tribunals and in this context is known for his “immense ability to marshal vast quantities of historic documentation.” Across all his areas of practice he maintains an excellent reputation. As one solicitor puts it, Giffin is “thorough, client-friendly and completely on top of his game.”
David Streatfeild-James QC (Atkin Chambers)
David Streatfeild-James QC is one of the most accomplished practitioners handling construction disputes, and this year marks a decade since he was first star-rated by Chambers and Partners. The esteem in which he is held is clear from this comment by a market source: “He is highly intelligent, a very polished performer, a fantastic advocate and definitely one of the stars of the Bar.” He is instructed on many of the weightiest and knottiest cases in the field, a recent highlight being his representation of a joint venture comprising of CVU, Colas, Volker Highways and Aecom in a dispute concerning a PFI framework agreement for the provision of highway maintenance services in central London, which culminated in a two-week TCC trial. Further to his star ranking for construction, he has long-standing band one ratings for the related categories of international arbitration and professional negligence. Streatfeild-James receives similar approbation for his work on energy and natural resources cases, and information technology disputes, for which he has also been awarded band one ratings for many years. Sources who have worked closely with him note that in spite of his seniority he is happy to “roll his sleeves up” and muck in on case preparation, and that in court he “has a very nice manner with the tribunal and is very good on his feet in a gentle, persuasive manner.” Another source made a fine summary of the standing and qualities that mark Streatfeild-James out as a star of the Bar: “He is truly magnificent and should be at the top of every shortlist when shopping for a silk, no matter the size or value of the dispute. He is astronomically intelligent, with an ability to grasp both the breadth and the detail of a dispute in short order. He’s an advocate of the very highest calibre.”
Alan Steinfeld QC (XXIV Old Buildings)
“Authoritative, hugely confident and very charismatic,” Alan Steinfeld QC has for decades been a source of inspiration and leadership to clients, leading solicitors and his fellow barristers in cases spanning an impressive range of legal disciplines. Ranked in nine Chambers and Partners categories, Steinfeld “is supreme,” or for our purposes band one-rated, in partnership, trusts and both commercial and traditional chancery. Sources remark on his “deep, vast and incredible experience of trusts” and describe him as someone who “understands LLPs and partnerships inside out.” He has also been awarded rankings for many years in commercial dispute resolution, company, offshore, civil fraud and restructuring and insolvency law. He recently acted for the defendants in Carlyle Capital and Others v Conway and Others, a breach of contract and fiduciary duties dispute arising out of the failure of a US hedge fund incorporated in Guernsey. Sources are impressed by Steinfeld's “uncanny ability to make the extraordinarily complicated seem perfectly straightforward,” and those who have worked with him say that, while “you can feel his brain whirring, he is very patient and communicates well.” A “brilliant and forthright” performer, he is renowned as “a very skilful advocate” who exudes “a real authority when he speaks – you instantly listen to what he says.” All in all, as one market source puts it, “if you really need a big gun, you're not going to get better than Alan; he commands the utmost respect in the court, has an incredible brain and he can pull rabbits out of hats.”
Richard Drabble QC (Landmark Chambers)
Richard Drabble QC is quite simply one of the most talented and influential public lawyers of the last forty years. He is ranked by Chambers and Partners across an impressive eight practice areas, and sits in the top band for four, namely administrative and public law, civil liberties and human rights, local government and social housing. He is also recognised as a leading silk in the fields of environment, European, immigration and planning law. One source asserts that “he is undoubtedly the leading expert on social security law and so he has a tremendous chronological reach when analysing cases.” Testament to this was his recent instruction to act for the appellants in a challenge to the second version of the benefits cap argued before the Supreme Court. Another recent highlight, indicative of the esteem in which he is held, was his role in a successful constitutional challenge to Trinidad & Tobago's Sexual Offences Act, which prohibited consensual homosexual acts. Sources who have seen him in action speak of his “great gravitas and control of the court” and his “calming and considered” approach to advocacy. Others observe that “he is very thorough, knowledgeable and knows how to pitch realistically, always presenting his case to judges in a very attractive manner.” Away from court, sources “like dealing with him because he is thoughtful and gives real confidence to clients.” Drabble is also thought of as a 'lawyer's lawyer' in the best possible sense as he is “very popular with juniors and a master of his material, with many years of experience doing cutting-edge cases.” Perhaps it is best to leave the last word to a particularly authoritative source, who says: “Richard is an eminent silk of long standing who has done absolutely fantastic human rights work over the course of his career; the cases he does are all extremely important."
Brian Green QC (Wilberforce Chambers)
“Private client oracle” Brian Green QC is held in high esteem by clients for his “unequivocal and practical advice” on a range of different subject matters. He is adept at handling pensions, tax and trusts cases. He is held in exceptionally high regard for his expertise in chancery matters and is rightly praised as “the most rounded of all leading counsel at the Chancery Bar.” Irrespective of the matter he is handling, sources are quick to highlight the multitude of skills he brings to proceedings, with commentators noting that he “effortlessly combines sharp analytical skills with a powerful sense of having seen it all before.” Interviewees remark that he is “masterful in his approach,” with both “beautifully phrased” written work and the ability to be “extremely persuasive on his feet and in conference.” Sources also highlight Green’s insight, appreciating the fact that he “takes time to look behind the questions asked and provide an intelligent response,” which enables him to “see through the issues amidst a complex set of facts.”
Patrick Gibbs QC (3 Raymond Buildings)
Instructing solicitors hail Patrick Gibbs QC as “a brilliant lawyer and a commanding silk with a disarming manner,” adding that “he is particularly adept at dealing with difficult clients.” Gibbs is widely renowned for his criminal defence expertise, and is regularly called upon to represent individuals and corporate entities in both financial crime and serious general crime cases. Gibbs is also often instructed on behalf of police officers and other professional or high-profile individuals in complex professional discipline matters, and frequently represents clients in public inquiries and inquests. Sources say he brings a “real touch of magic” to proceedings and laud his “focus, clear-thinking and remarkable advocacy.” Particular praise is reserved for his cross-examination skills, with one fellow barrister saying: “Patrick is one of the best cross-examiners I’ve ever seen. There is never a word out of place - he is charming, effective and tough when he needs to be.” In addition to this, instructing solicitors commend him for his client-oriented approach, noting that he provides a “Rolls Royce service” and “is always consistent and a great team player whom clients really love.”
Philip Jones QC (Serle Court)
“Heavyweight chancery silk” Philip Jones QC is widely renowned for his top-level company and partnership law expertise. His broad commercial practice sees him taking on civil fraud cases as well as disputes relating to restructuring and tax matters, and he is also regularly called upon to advise on complicated offshore issues. Jones wins considerable praise for his user-friendly approach in complex cases, including from his peers at the Bar, one of whom says: “In addition to being technically excellent, Philip is able to explain matters in a way which lay clients understand and which puts them at ease.” Instructing solicitors agree, with one adding: “He has a supreme intellect but can make complicated points simple and provides excellent commercial advice.” This also extends to his ability to “communicate complex and difficult concepts to a judge,” though this is not the only respect in which he impresses in court. One impressed solicitor describes him as “modern, responsive and communicative counsel” and goes on to say: “In a case that constantly threw up surprises, he was unflappable and stayed steady with his eye on the long-term strategy. He was extremely well-prepared for trial and is an impressive cross-examiner, but he also holds no airs about himself and is enjoyable to work with.”
David Foxton QC (Essex Court Chambers)
Head of Essex Court Chambers David Foxton QC is, according interviewees, “rightly regarded as a star at the Bar,” and is held to be “a go-to advocate for the biggest, most complex cases.” He has a multi-faceted commercial practice as demonstrated by the diverse range of practice areas in which he is recognised in our guide this year. He maintains a place in the upper echelons of the London market, which is reflected in his band one rankings in banking, commercial dispute resolution, energy, insurance and international arbitration. He is viewed as “a big hitter” who is “consistently extremely impressive” and “always at the top of his game.” As one would expect of a silk of his calibre, Foxton is widely viewed as being outstanding on his feet. One fellow silk calls him an “elegant barrister” who combines “charm and a prodigious work ethic,” whilst a junior peer says he is “deeply impressive in court.” His standing in the market is exemplified by the fact that the UK government sought him out to lead its challenge to Bank Mellat’s claim for sanctions-related damages. His work in such high-profile cases no doubt led one interviewee to characterise him as “probably the best appellate advocate at the Bar today.”
Mark Cawson QC (Exchange Chambers)
Sources describe Mark Cawson QC as a “very experienced and technically strong silk who gives off a real air of calm in even the most high pressured of situations.” A leading name on the Northern Circuit, he is well known – and highly ranked – for his expertise in insolvency and banking law, as well as in commercial dispute resolution, professional negligence and chancery. Commentators highlight his “mastery of the detail,” “superb legal knowledge” and “calm and pragmatic approach,” with one interviewee praising him as “a real quality lawyer who can make the complex seem simple.” Cawson also receives praise for his courtroom skills, with sources describing him as an “extremely persuasive” advocate who “commands the court’s respect” and has “real credibility in front of judges.” Further credit is given to his “personable” nature and ability to “bring out the best in members of his team”; he is also “very good with clients.”
Michael Fordham QC (Blackstone Chambers)
“Eminent public lawyer” Michael Fordham QC is “a great intellect and a powerful advocate,” according to sources, who credit him with “a forensic attention to detail, coupled with a pragmatic and bold style that gets instant buy-in from clients.” Fordham holds the remarkable distinction of being recognised as a star individual in three of our categories, namely administrative and public law, civil liberties and human rights, and immigration. His deep public law and regulatory knowledge further extends to cases concerning EU law and environmental issues. Fordham receives considerable praise for his ability to manage the most complex of cases. In the words of solicitors, “his ability to grasp huge amounts of factual information is breathtaking, and if you’re looking for a creative argument, he is the person to go to.” His courtroom ability also impresses, with one source describing him as “one of the smoothest and most effective advocates, whose charming conversational style of advocacy removes the adversarial element from a case and makes him a lawyer of unique ability.” Furthermore, Fordham is admired as a barrister who “really cares about his clients and cases, and who puts everything into his work.”