Our Directors

Our legal team is led by the three directors, Philip Lythgoe, David Caplin and James McDermott who are recommended as having an “ability to inspire client confidence which is second to none, borne in part through experience but also through a clear sighted determination to secure the best possible outcome for their clients,” in the latest edition of the Legal 500 clients guide to the UK legal profession. They have enormous experience in dealing with complex criminal cases often involving many thousands of pages of evidence.

David Caplin


chambers and partners leading individual

David is the fraud lead director for the firm, always carrying a caseload of some of the most serious fraud cases in England and Wales from early enquiry stage to the defence of prosecutions.

He has been identified by clients and fellow professionals over the last ten years as a leading criminal lawyer in his field.  He has been described by Chambers and Partners guide to the legal profession as “a masterful performer in heavyweight cases” and by the Legal 500 clients guide to the UK legal profession as a “fantastic tactician who really cares about his clients.”  His varied experience means he is equipped to deal with all aspects of a criminal case from advice and representation in interview to advocacy before the Higher Court. He prides himself on his ability to negotiate effectively always acting with the utmost discretion and sensitivity and firmly believes that for many clients their reputation is as important as their liberty.

Philip Lythgoe


Phil’s career has moved smoothly from commercial practice to serious criminal defence work in which he has specialized since 1990 particularly in complex paper heavy cases.  On the way he has built up an enviable network of professional contacts including forensic experts, IT specialists and leading barristers to ensure always that all clients have a personally tailored defence team of the highest quality.  His ability to identify the salient points in any case, no matter how complex, at the early stage is second to none.

He is described in the Legal 500 as “highly capable in all areas of criminal work and exercises fine judgement throughout a case.” He was one of the first solicitors to obtain the Higher Courts qualification entitling him to practice in all Magistrates and Crown Courts in England and Wales and is one of the most respected and well recognised criminal solicitors in the North West of England.  He sits on the Manchester Law Society Crown and Magistrates Courts Committee. He is both Managing Director and supervisor for the practice

James McDermott

Associate Director

James joined Cunninghams in 2009 bringing with him invaluable experience from commercial legal practice and the Health & Safety Executive.  As a result of his outstanding contribution to Cunninghams Solicitors development he has risen through the ranks to become director within a relatively short period of time.  James has maintained a substantial case load of serious crown court matters throughout his time at Cunninghams and has been involved in some of the highest profile criminal cases in England and Wales. He is also qualified to represent clients in all Crown Courts.

James has a comfortable and easy going relationship with clients belying his reputation as a fierce and vigorous opponent in court. He is described in the Legal 500 as being “very sensitive to his clients needs and extremely supportive.”