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Agriculture and estates

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  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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‚ÄėA strong regional firm with a depth of experience and knowledge‚Äė,¬†Ashtons Legal¬†is ‚Äėvery good in every aspect and I would wholeheartedly recommend them for their expertise and professionalism‚Äė, says one client. Another describes ‚Äėa well-located and well-resourced private client-orientated firm with very strong competence in all areas of the law affecting farmers and landowners'. Practice head Jonathan Long¬†in Bury St Edmunds (who has 'unrivalled local knowledge and a clam, unflappable demeanour')¬†and Cambridge-based partner¬†Jeanette Dennis¬†are ‚Äėvery able practitioners with an abundance of experience to go with their obvious technical knowledge; both amply demonstrate how to apply that knowledge and experience in a private family context where care and attention is needed to add to professional capability'. They acted for¬†Suffolk Farming Family Partnership in the ¬£25m sale of land for development.¬†Dennis and associate Rebecca Gatens, who together assisted¬†Suffolk Agricultural Consultants with 17 agricultural tenancy matters in 2017 ranging from grazing licences to farm business tenancies, ‚Äėhave a strong grasp of the market and the issues affecting agriculture'. Simon Cunningham¬†has advised farmers, landowners and agricultural businesses across East Anglia for more than 20 years. He recently acted for agricultural lenders including Clydesdale Bank, Lloyds Bank and HSBC on finance transactions.

At Birketts LLP¬†‚Äėthe service levels cannot be faulted and the appropriateness of advice is exceptional‚Äô. The firm has one¬†of the largest specialist agriculture teams in England and from its four offices it serves a national client base on diverse matters including¬†ecclesiastical law, public access issues, aggregates extraction and management, renewable energy projects and taxation, as well as agricultural property transactions. Among its clients are¬†Norwich Diocesan Board of Finance,¬†National Westminster Bank,¬†Suffolk Wildlife Trust and¬†HSBC Bank, as well as many landowners across the UK. Practice head¬†Jack Royall¬†handles property matters including¬†landlord and tenant cases, partnership and succession planning, farm sales and diversification projects. He recently handled the review and documentation of shooting, stalking, farming, grazing and cropping arrangements on a multimillion-pound estate. The deep bench of talent includes¬†Neil Sparrow, who handles farm sales and matters involving¬†capital tax and estate planning, wills and trusts;¬†Christopher Coupland¬†who leads the firm‚Äôs agricultural banking team and also deals with property transactions;¬†property specialist¬†James Dinwiddy¬†;¬†Nigel Farthing¬†who has a¬†national practice dealing with public rights of way, commons and town and village greens; legal director¬†Stuart Jones¬†who advises¬†landowners and mineral operators on the development and management of mineral deposits; and¬†legal director¬†Rachel McKillop-Wilkin¬†who deals with property and succession issues.¬†‚ÄėExcellent communicator‚Äô¬†and senior associate¬†Sophia Key¬†in Norwich is praised for her ‚Äėperseverance, quality advice and¬†great knowledge and understanding of all matters associated with agricultural land and farms'.

Hewitsons is 'well-placed to advise on all agricultural and rural matters' and it 'provides a high level of advice which represents great value for money'. The firm is on the National Farmers' Union panel for Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk, and has a nationwide client base that includes mixed estates, major producers of cereal, potatoes, herbs, vegetables and livestock, and some of the largest conservation landowners in the UK. Practice head Denise Wilkinson 'demonstrates a broad depth of knowledge and is always pragmatic and astute; her ability to grasp the matter, provide focused advice and get the job completed without any fuss are a testament to her negotiating and advisory skills'. One client notes that 'she is particularly good at understanding clients' objectives and thinking outside the box'.  She recently advised a client on an option agreement for a fracking project, and concluded the purchase of a plot of conservation standard grassland. Clients also praise the wider team, which include Charles Stevens , who handles acquisitions and disposals including some renewable energy projects; consultant Charles Hewitson, who handles trust matters for agricultural clients; regulatory specialist Deborah Sharples; James Lawrence for commercial contracts; property litigator Natalie Minott; and Lucinda Brown, who handles contentious farming trust and probate matters.

Howes Percival LLP primarily acts for substantial landowners, trusts and partnerships in agricultural property matters, estate and farm management, tax structuring and development land transactions. The agriculture practice has a busy caseload of farm and estate deals, long-term funding transactions for farms and rural properties including banking work, investigations and registrations of complex unregistered titles, and options, conditional contracts and overage agreements for landowners. Head of estates Catherine Scott leads a practice that combines specialist knowledge of agricultural law with an in-depth understanding of the complex tax issues that affect the rural sector. Scott is a specialist agricultural lawyer with extensive experience in advising farmers and landowners on property, trusts and tax matters. She recently acted for the shareholders of Aspall Holdings Limited on a major corporate transaction. Her workload in 2017 also included advising numerous agricultural tenants on the reorganisation of their tenancies under the Agricultural Holdings Act, and assisting landlords of agricultural tenancies with Case B notices to allow for vacant possession of land for development. Head of tax Stuart Maggs is a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association and handles strategic planning, management and tax mitigation for trusts, partnerships and companies. Director Katharine Danks plays a key role in the practice and works closely with Scott. Together they handled the complex sale of an estate under terms of two trusts. Consultant Jeremy Heal retired.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†is 'excellent in all areas' and has strong practitioners in both Cambridge and Norwich. The firm is 'in a different league' compared to its competitors, according to one client, who highlights its¬†‚Äėexceptional service‚Äô. Another describes ‚Äėa¬†highly professional multi-disciplinary firm with¬†a deep understanding of the law'.¬†Agribusiness is one of the firm's key sectors and it handles the full range of rural land matters including some of the highest value and most complex deals nationally.¬†Practice head¬†Michael Aubrey¬†acted for Albanwise in its ¬£21m purchase of a village and 2,000 acres of farmland in North Yorkshire. He leads a practice of which¬†one client remarks 'my experience is the same as with any of the London Magic Circle firms'. The firm acts for¬†traditional farming clients, landowning Cambridge and Oxford colleges, pension funds, prestigious landed estates and large agribusinesses such as Greenyard and Farmcare.¬†Agricultural property specialist¬†Amanda Tagg¬†in Cambridge and associates¬†Nicola Dernieand¬†Louise Butcherin Norwich are highly recommended. They ‚Äėprovide reasoned, sensible advice in a concise and understandable way to ensure the correct decisions can be made'.¬†Tim Ryan¬†is a key partner and he advised a farm company¬†on the surrender¬†and grant of five agricultural tenancies in Yorkshire.¬†'Skilled, pragmatic and empathetic' senior associate¬†Dawn Chapman¬†is ‚Äėvery supportive as well as professional and efficient; she is reassuring, cheerful and empathetic'.¬†Associate Matthew Hesketh, who regularly deals with agricultural estate and farmland sales and purchases, 'provides customer-focused service', and¬†associate Denis Costello¬†is 'well-rounded and knowledgeable in minerals and waste management property matters, providing unambiguous advice'.

Roythornes Solicitors climbs to the top tier having recently opened a new office in Alconbury, which lies between Cambridge and Peterborough and sits close to many of the firm's numerous farming clients. The firm's head of agriculture Julie Robinson is located there, though the entire team works between all of the firm's offices depending on clients' needs. The firm has 'a depth of experience with agricultural matters and is both reliable and practical', according to one client. Robinson and associate Kirsten Rimmer have 'great technical knowledge of the Agricultural Holdings Act and other relevant legislation, and they deal well with the family issues; both operate with a combination of confidence and sensitivity, which is appreciated by clients'. Rimmer, who is a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, recently acted in the £3m sale of a farm specialising in egg and poultry meat production, which involved complex negotiations with three landowners and a change of the purchasing entity midway through the deal. She also handled the £3m sale of a farming partnership in Kent. Among Robinson's highlights was advice to multiple parties involved in a land pooling transaction for more than 750 acres, which involved understanding of agricultural subsidy and environmental scheme implications.

Taylor Vinters¬†is ‚Äėa well respected firm with a wide variety of expertise‚Äė and it provides ‚Äėpractical, knowledgeable and sound advice on rural matters, particularly land and property sales and agricultural tenancy issues'. The firm has a large roster of¬†rural clients, including some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial agricultural business in the region, and the agriculture practice advised on several large-scale promotion projects last year including urban extension and new-build¬†developments in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk.¬†Adrian Horwood-Smart¬†and¬†Rupert Melville-Ross¬†are the key contacts and they have particular expertise in strategic and complex tax issues and high-end property transactions respectively.¬†Melville-Ross and Agricultural Holdings Act expert¬†Andrew Williamson¬†are ‚Äėparticularly good in agricultural law and offer concise practical and sensible advice‚Äė. One client notes that Williamson has 'excellent all round knowledge and is very calm, efficient, responsive and easy to deal with'. Real estate associate¬†Louise Moore¬†is recommended for¬†complex and high-value transactions including residential development projects, option agreements and agricultural tenancies. The practice acted for¬†John Ferguson and Bloomfields Racing Ltd in the sale of a large site near Newmarket consisting of¬†equine stables, yards, flats and training grounds, and assisted a large landed estate in Suffolk with a ¬£7m privately negotiated, off-market land swap with a neighbouring estate. Another highlight saw Williamson deal with the ¬£6.5m corporate restructuring and transfer of a large Norfolk farming business.

Barker Gotelee's practice handled the sale and purchase of numerous farms and plots of land for residential and commercial development including several renewable energy projects. This included advising many landowners whose land plays a role in a substantial offshore wind turbine project to bring green power from the North Sea to the National Grid. Its work also includes assisting clients with the surrender and re-grant of existing secure agricultural tenancies to secure full relief from inheritance tax. Head of both the property and the agriculture and estates practice Andrew Nicholson  has specialised in agricultural law for more than 25 years and is highly recommended for complex property matters. Clients describe him as 'very good in terms of both ability and speed of service'. Key partner Toby Pound focuses primarily on agricultural land matters and has nearly 40 years' experience in commercial property. He recently handled the sale of 35 acres of agricultural land in the West Midlands for a commercial development.

'No stone is left unturned' at Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds, where the agriculture and estates practice has a good reputation among regional land agents. It frequently handles farm sales and purchases, Settled Land Act estates work, agricultural tenancy issues, succession planning and taxation including agricultural and business property advice. Director and practice head Jonathan Mathers does 'an absolutely super job; he has excellent attention to detail and huge knowledge when it comes to property purchases' and the lawyers in his team are 'all superb'. Corporate finance partner Neil Walmsley specialises in the acquisition, disposal, financing and restructuring of businesses and rural enterprises. Employment specialist Selene Holden deals with agricultural issues including disputes over family succession, licences for power lines, problems with farm managers, issues caused by land contamination, and development of agricultural land. Property litigator Andrea Nicholls, chartered tax adviser Wayne Perrin and corporate partner Mark Daly also play key roles in the practice. A highlight for the practice was its work for a new farming company in its £16m purchase of a premier estate in Suffolk.

Greenwoods GRM¬†has a long track record of advising clients in the farming sector, but it formalised its agriculture rural business practice in early 2017 with the hire of strategic land development partner¬†Jeremy Stanton¬†from Roythornes Solicitors. ‚ÄėWe have used the firm for many years and it has always provided valuable legal advice‚Äė, remarks one client who reports ‚Äėexcellent response times, business acumen and value for money‚Äė.¬†Head of property disputes Caroline Gumbrell¬†and¬†rural affairs and property solicitor Emily Pumfrey¬†are described as ‚Äėefficient and reliable‚Äė. Corporate and commercial partner Alastair Gunn¬†also has a key role in the practice, handling¬†corporate transactional matters including MBOs, MBIs, share and asset disposals and acquisitions, and group reorganisations for rural clients. Gunn and Pumfrey recently advised RE Evans Farms on the ¬£12m strategic acquisition of a 1200-acre site in Pembrokeshire comprising two dairy farms.

Hunt & Coombs LLP calls on lawyers in its property and private client departments to advise on the sale and purchase of farms and land, and to support clients with complex trusts and probate issues involving agricultural assets. The practice is a key adviser to landed estates in the region and in 2017 it assisted those clients in refinancings with a combined value in excess of £10m. Head of the commercial and property practices Anna Spriggs in Peterborough is the key contact and her work includes site acquisition and assembly and disposal, as well as deals involving clawbacks and overage provisions. She recently acted for a selling landowner in negotiations with prospective developers for a new, 200-acre residential project. She frequently advises The Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance on matters including agricultural tenancies. Senior associate Edward Taylor is an experienced corporate lawyer who deals with business restructuring in the agricultural sector. In Oundle, land and estates specialist Peter Izod also handles high-value residential and commercial development projects.

'I can’t fault the service I have received - fast responses and good explanation in simple terms of what we need, how long it will take and what it will cost', says a client of Steeles Law. 'The firm's agricultural knowledge and experience shows through the advice given' notes one client who recommends associate and head of the wills, probate and tax team Karen Bacon, who frequently advises on farming partnership matters and agricultural land sales. Bacon also leads the agriculture practice and clients describe her as 'knowledgeable, easy to work with, efficient and very good at keeping in touch' and remark upon her 'calm and reassuring manner that gives confidence'. She recently advised a retired farming couple on inheritance tax planning. She also assisted a client with an auction pack for sale of a building plot, which included obtaining a release from an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy. Property partner Michael Fahy frequently handles farm sales and 'always responds quickly and accurately'. He recently advised on the the granting of an option by an agricultural client to a well-known local housebuilder for residential development. Corporate partner Nigel Lubbock also plays a key role in the practice.

Tees Law brings together a strong mix of practice areas and skilled lawyers to serve its rural client base, which includes small family farms, rural estates, large agricultural businesses, landowning consortiums and agricultural bodies. Its work for these clients encompasses estate and succession planning, land development and diversification projects, employment advice, dispute resolution, business restructuring, and the sale and acquisition of commercial enterprises. The firm is a member of the NFU legal panel. Private client partner Catherine Mowat leads the agriculture practice and has nearly 20 years' experience in estate planning for rural clients. She works closely with property partner James Dowson and head of disputes Sara Stabler. Mowat recently acted as an executor of a multimillion-pound estate with large holdings in the agriculture sector, which required complex inheritance tax and succession planning issues, including advice on agricultural property relief and business relief.

Blocks has a large and well-established client base in the agricultural sector and acts for numerous farmers and landowners in energy projects and the sale of development land. It also has a growing workload of promotion agreements and options with developers for large-scale development of agricultural land, and its private client practice handles estate planning and trusts matters to help rural clients owning land with development potential to minimise their tax exposure. Managing partner Gerry Field acts for many multi-generational farming and landowner families in Suffolk and he is secretary for Hadleigh Farmers Association. His recent work includes a £2m sale of agricultural land, a highly complex farm purchase, and advice on an option agreement involving two family trusts.

The agricultural and rural affairs team at Buckles Solicitors LLP focuses primarily on land and property transactions, as well as single farm payment issues. Head of commercial property Michael Rabbett is the key contact and he regularly acts for farming businesses. Property partner Michael Blank, who is a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, also plays a key role in the practice. Last year, he handled the £950,000 sale of a farm with arable land for the family of a deceased farmer in a deal that included simultaneously procuring the assignment of an agricultural tenancy of the land to the purchaser to obtain vacant possession, and ensuring that the tenant transferred Basic Payment Scheme entitlements benefitting the land to the purchaser.

Butcher Andrews acts for many local farmers and landowners around Fakenham and Holt, and further afield in East Anglia, in property sales, farm tenancies and diversification projects. Managing partner and commercial property specialist Anne Kirby advises on agricultural property matters including leasehold issues, green energy projects such as the leasing of land for wind turbine and solar park developments, and commercial lettings. She also advises on farming partnerships, wayleaves, shooting and sporting leases. Head of property Chris Hoxley also plays a key role in the practice and is best-known for diversification and farm tenancy matters. The firm's highlights from 2017 included acting for the Rutterford farming family in the sale of land for diversification, and assisting the Duncan family partnership on the sale of land for development.

The agriculture practice at Fraser Dawbarns has a growing client base of agricultural businesses seeking advice on corporate and commercial matters, as well as property sales and estate management. Head of commercial Daniel Ball recently advised on a major battery storage facility development for a rural client. Head of private client Harleen Hanson also plays a key role in the practice. Partner Kieren Cross also handles trusts and estates matters for agricultural clients, often involving cross-border assets. Tony Cheetham and Silke Trevor are recommended for the land sales and tenancy matters.

Leathes Prior has a strong rural client base of land-owning and agricultural clients, to which it provides value-added advice on tax, trusts and estates matters. Senior partner and head of the firm's private client team William Riley has more than 30 years' experience acting for clients in trusts, probate and property matters. The practice also calls upon the litigation experience of Mike Barlow who leads the dispute resolution department and brings more than 20 years' experience to the table. Regulatory and defence practice head Tim Cary, lead commercial property partner Rob Sibley, litigator Darren Bowen, employment partner Sarah Appleton and litigation associate Polly Langford also play key roles in the practice.


Bloodstock

Index of tables

  1. Bloodstock
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Mark Edmondson - Edmondson Hall

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Bloodstock clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Edmondson Hall is based in Newmarket and is, therefore, located at the heart of the UK's equine industry. The firm provides specialist advice on the full range of equine and bloodstock law, which includes supporting clients with the sale or purchase of horses, foal share and syndication agreements, and contentious matters arising from those transactions such as veterinary negligence claims. It counts among its clients professional jockeys; show jumping, dressage and three day event competitors; horse owners; trainers; bloodstock agents, insurance agents; veterinary practices; and several stud farms. Mark Edmondson, who is chair of the Newmarket Festival, is the key contact and is best known for his work on matters relating to unbeaten racehorse Frankel, which earned the reputation of world’s best thoroughbred. He recently handled the move of Decorated Knight to Irish National Stud. Litigator Deborah Hargreaves and former Director of the British Horseracing Authority Justin Wadham are recommended.


Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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At Birketts LLP 'the overall level of service is excellent and the team is extremely knowledgeable, showing an in-depth understanding of the issues'. The firm acts for more than 400 charity clients, advising on charity law, ecclesiastical law, corporate matters including mergers, compliance, endowments, disputes, commercial property and retail, social enterprise structures, academy conversions, trustee powers and employment law. Senior associates Sara Sayer and Liz Brownsell lead the practice. Brownsell was a member of the Charity Law Association Working Party that consulted on the new Charity Governance Code. Sayer and legal director Erika Clarke have particular expertise in public procurement and state aid, advising on contentious and non-contentious matters arising from projects and collaborations. Commercial property partner Gavin Acheson advised Trust for London on the £11m acquisition, refurbishment and letting of premises in London, which was let to an independent creative media higher education college. Associate Amanda Timcke, who joined from Birkett Long LLP, is also recommended for property matters. Senior associate Kitty Rosser in the corporate and commercial team, who is a recognised expert in data protection and the GDPR, is 'particularly good and easy to work with, she gives clear explanations'. Also recommended are James Hall and Stuart Jones for ecclesiastical matters, and senior associate Clare Hedges for employment law.

Firm-wide, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acted for more than 250 charities in 2017, most notably in the education, health, regeneration, mental health and grant-giving sectors. The firm has significant expertise in advising research institutions and grant makers on matters including governance, international giving, social investments and tax. The Cambridge office is home to lawyers who play significant roles in the national practice, including Glynne Stanfield, who is the lead partner in the firm's UK governance and external relations practice, as well as head of the international education group. He is known for his advice to charity and not-for-profit clients on complex governance issues, joint ventures and mergers. Principal associate and charity law specialist Stephen O’Reilly has a broad client base in the health, social care, education and scientific research sectors and frequently helps with the registration of new charities, the release of permanent endowment restrictions, mergers, interaction with the Charity Commission and trustee matters. He recently assisted with the registration of the Alan Turing Institute as a charity. Turning Point and the Dementia Research Institute are also among his clients. Associate Elen Griffiths, who was recently seconded to the Royal College of General Practitioners, has a central role in the practice. The practice's highlights included assisting the Royal Society of Chemistry with its benevolent fund and defining the powers of its trustee, which included advice on Charity Commission guidance.

The firm-wide charities team at¬†Hewitsons¬†is led from Northampton by Chris Knight, and the Cambridge office is home to highly experienced practitioners including rural and property partner¬†Denise Wilkinson, whom clients describe as¬†‚Äėclear-thinking and excellent at spotting risks in land transactions'. The practice has more than¬†400 charity and education clients, among which are¬†RSPB, Canal and River Trust, United Church Schools Trust, United Learning, The Henry Moore Foundation, The Rothschild Foundation, The Thalidomide Trust and Veterans‚Äô Aid, as well as¬†numerous¬†Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Wilkinson recently acted for a nationwide conservation charity in complex property matters relating to reclamation land. This included negotiating a lease from a charitable trust. Senior¬†solicitor¬†Martyn Robinson¬†handles charity formation, amendments to governing documents, incorporations and re-structuring, mergers, academy conversions, and dealings with the Charity Commission. He recently worked with Knight on behalf of long-standing client YMCA Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on its merger with YMCA Suffolk to create YMCA Trinity Group. Planning and environment specialist¬†Deborah Sharples¬†frequently deals with property, planning and and governance issues, and¬†Colin Jones¬†handles construction matters for clients in the not-for-profit sector.

Mills & Reeve LLP is known for 'very prompt response times and it can be relied on to meet deadlines and produce high-quality and considered input that balances depth of expertise and pragmatism'. Practice head Neil Burton 'rates very highly and is very helpful'. With senior associate and charity law specialist Mark Ashton he assisted Francis Crick Institute with setting up a trading subsidiary, as well as advising on endowments and fundraising. Sarah Seed leads a charity fundraising group that handles high-value bond issues and smaller schemes for schools and other charities. Caroline Dean and principal associate Lucy Whipps are recommended for property matters and clients praise their 'excellent experience and ability to ensure that transactions are progressed as expediently as possible'. Dean provided early-stage advice to John Innes Centre on a proposed £250m building at Norwich Research Park. Principal associate Dona Ardeman in the corporate team is 'a valuable partner - very able, thorough, pragmatic and responsive'. 'Very approachable and clear' principal associate Patrick Gass in Cambridge is recommended for employment law matters. He worked with partner Nicola Brown on a commercial agreement for an international science and education charity. Contested legacy specialists David Catchpole and Lucy Howard, and property partner Nick Finlayson-Brown are among the other lawyers who contribute to the practice.

Charity, social enterprise and not-for-profit work is a core part of¬†Stone King LLP's national practice, which operates across five offices in the UK. Cambridge is a key hub¬†in the firm's work for clients such as¬†Access Aspiration,¬†Advocacy For Older People In Greenwich,¬†Age UK Sevenoaks Tonbridge & District,¬†Ambitious About Autism and¬†Army Families Federation.¬†Robert Meakin¬†is the lead partner in Cambridge and has more than 25 years' experience in this niche area of law. His recent work includes successfully representing Cambridge Islamic College in a ¬£5m tribunal appeal against the Charity Commission, which challenged the body's power to direct a change of name. He also acted for an international Roman Catholic order that operates care facilities for older people on matters arising from ‚ā¨27m in secured borrowing from AIB that it used as financial support for its operations in Ireland.

The focus of the charities practice at Taylor Vinters changed last year with the departure of Caroline Eade, who joined the in-house legal team of a faith-based charity. As a result, the firm's work is less geared towards the religious sector and its client base now comprises mostly science and technology-based charities. Christine Berry now leads the 'an innovative and entrepreneurial' multi-disciplinary team, which brings together charity specialists and experts in the areas of employment law, property, corporate and commercial, and dispute resolution. The firm hired Chris Willis Pickup, who was previously head of litigation at the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Berry, who is a founder-trustee of the Desmond Elliott Charitable Trust, works closely with commercial and IP specialist Patrick Farrant, commercial real estate head Helen Mutucumarana, and data protection expert and senior counsel Rachel Ashwood . Associates Emma Millar and James Boyle are also closely involved with the practice. The firm recently acted for veterinary research charity Animal Health Trust in the £2.5m sale of its headquarters, as well as providing employment and governance advice. Another highlight saw Farrant and Mutucumarana advise dementia charity Alzheimer's Research UK on its expansion in Granta Park and on governance matters. The firm also counts the British Pharmacological Society and Teenage Cancer Trust among its clients.

Associate Victoria Robinson leads the charities practice at Greenwoods GRM, where a multi-disciplinary team acts for regional and national charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations. The practice handles re-organisation, the formation of subsidiaries, joint ventures, mergers, investments, constitutional documentation, employment, data protection and property matters for these clients. Head of the employment and employee benefits team John MacAulay recently acted for a well-known charity in tribunal proceedings brought by former employees. Robinson and head of corporate David Woods handled membership matters for a new charity client. Senior solicitor Ann-Marie Clow led a team that advised St John Ambulance on its national property portfolio. Regulatory team leader Kathryn Gilbertson and property partner Stephen Illingworth also play key roles in the practice.

Howes Percival LLP provides 'excellent service and prompt responses; all fee earners have sound knowledge and are good value for money'. Several of the firm's partners act as charity trustees and have experience in governance issues. The multi-disciplinary practice draws on the firm's private client, employment, property and estates groups to handle all aspects of charity formation, mergers, restructuring and administration. Head of estates Catherine Scott is the key contact and acts as trustee of a large grant-making charity with endowed and investment property. One client praises corporate and commercial partner Nathan Horton, associate and employment law specialist Nicola Butterworth , and property and education director Nicola Curle  for their 'excellent knowledge of their subject matter and their ability to respond promptly'. Richard Lovett is also praised for his specialist knowledge of the charity sector. Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, Theatre Royal Norwich, The Woodland Trust and YMCA Norfolk are among the firm's clients.

Hunt & Coombs LLP¬†is 'good, professional and thorough'. Head of charities Paddy Appleton¬†advises numerous charities on the drafting, amendment or interpretation of their constitutions and their registration with the Charity Commission. He also supports them in tax planning matters.¬†Diocesan registrar and head of the firm's commercial team¬†Anna Spriggs¬†has ‚Äėa high level of drive and integrity; she is discreet with a good sense of priority'.¬†Spriggs and Lynn Ayres¬†¬†are trustees of Peterborough Cathedral Development and Preservation Trust.¬†Private client partner¬†Henry Anstey¬†and¬†family law specialist¬†Denis White¬†also play key roles in the practice. Last year, the firm acted for¬†Peterborough Diocesan Board of Finance in¬†complex covenant releases and reverter provision, the statutory disposal and management of glebe land, commercial leases and licences for church and educational use, and options and promotion agreements for development sites at Earls Barton, Moulton, Kings Sutton and Kettering.

Leathes Prior calls on the expertise of partners in a diverse range of practice areas to meet the needs of clients in the charities sector. The private client department plays a central role and senior partner William Riley, who is head of wills, trusts and estates, is the main contact. Newly promoted partner Tessa Bonser, who specialises in wills and estate planning, estate administration and probate matters, also plays a key role in the practice. Several charities use the firm's subscription-based Employmentor service, which provides access to legal materials and advice on HR matters, and the employment team led by Dan Chapman frequently advises charities on more complex HR matters. The corporate and commercial practice led by Paul Warman also handles many operational and governance matters for clients in this sector. The firm counts Active Norfolk, Healthwatch Norfolk and The Great Hospital among its clients.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors in Norwich formed its charities practice two years ago under the leadership of highly regarded family partner Neale Grearson, who calls on specialist commercial and property lawyers including Hugh Berridge, Jade Tinney and Michael Olmer. The firm's work encompasses the formation of charities, advice on trustee compliance and responsibilities, mergers, corporate law advice, commercial property transactions, employment and HR matters, and dispute resolution. Among its clients are The Benjamin Foundation, Christian Endeavour Holiday Centres, Julian Support and Samaritans. Tinney recently assisted a large regional charity in connection with the transfer of a school in Great Yarmouth and the related grant of a sublease over the property from which the school operated.

Steeles Law has many high-profile charity clients and its recent caseload has seen it act for Ethical Property Foundation, Rightforsuccess Trust and Consortium Multi-Academy Trust. Litigator and managing director Stephen Drake plays a key role in advising the firm's charity clients and is a trustee of Age UK Norfolk, Jesse’s Anchor and The Dove Charity, among others. Property partner Michael Fahy is another prominent figure in the practice and he recently handled the asset transfer of a listed building from a London local authority for community use. He is also currently advising a national charity on its negotiations with Suffolk County Council for commercial leases on properties for use as accommodation for carers.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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The contentious trusts and probate practice at Birketts LLP is one of the few in the region to have a dedicated team of specialists working in this area of law. Commercial litigation partner Paul Matthews is the key contact and he draws on the 14 years' experience of ACTAPS member and senior associate Bernadette Baker who is recognised as a leader in her field. She recently advised the son of a deceased man who changed his will shortly before he died to change the division of property, which included a multimillion-pound farming business, between his children. Litigation associate Susannah Catchpole also plays a central role in the practice. She worked with Baker on a complex matter in which a firm of solicitors had failed to transfer a multimillion-pound property into a trust before the owner's death. The practice advised the deceased's daughter on tax mitigation strategies.

At Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds the advice is 'clear and concise'. 'The level of service is first-rate', according to one client who adds that 'the lawyers have a very thorough knowledge of litigation'. Another views the firm as having 'a standout East Anglian practice capable of carrying the fight to the best known London firms and winning'. In Michael Batty's litigation department the 'professional and diligent' Ben Fox  is a rising star who exhibits 'great attention to detail and is well organised, concerned for clients' welfare and shows considerable perseverance'. 'His strongest point is his determination to obtain an acceptable and satisfactory outcome for his client; he does not run out of steam', remarks one client. Consultant and ACTAPS member Kate Chandler 'has that instinctive insight into personalities that all top private client litigators need, along with a determination to see her clients through to the winning-post'. The recruitment of respected litigator Rob Adam from Ashtons Legal adds yet more experience to the practice. The firm recently advised on the removal of an executor from a multimillion-pound estate.

Hewitsons has 'a very competent team in this specialist area' and one barrister notes that 'the Cambridge office has a first-rate team that matches any specialist team in London'. Lucinda Brown, who leads the contentious trusts and probate practice and is a full member of ACTAPS, and senior solicitor and associate ACTAPS member Kate Harris are 'outstanding lawyers - efficient, knowledgeable and with a keen appreciation of an individual client’s problems in this difficult area of the law'. Brown's recent work included acting for private charitable trust in its defence of a claim under the Inheritance Act for reasonable financial provision brought by the widow of a deceased former Olympic rower. The case involved a property portfolio of farmland and residential property in Northamptonshire, and the practice secured a favourable settlement for the charity. Brown also acted for an adult child of a deceased man in her defence of a claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate by one of her sisters. The practice minimised the payment to the claimant.

Mills & Reeve LLP¬†is known for ‚Äėexcellent response times, in-depth knowledge of the UK legal system, timely advice and a pragmatic approach‚Äė. ACTAPS member¬†David Catchpole¬†leads the team from Norwich and concentrates purely on contentious trust and probate matters. Principal associate¬†Lucy Howard¬†is a rising star and clients comment on her 'excellent service, advice and attention to detail'. The practice¬†deals with disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors, claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 and related claims concerning lifetime transactions. Its clients consist of¬†high-net-worth individuals and estates, as well as¬†charities involved in contested legacy matters. Catchpole recently acted for the executors and trustees of a complex ¬£1m estate against which three claims were made.

Clients of¬†Buckles Solicitors LLP¬†report a ‚Äėdown-to-earth approach to giving legal advice‚Äė. The firm has ‚Äėa very substantive and multi-skilled practice that still maintains a friendly feel‚Äė. Mediator Paul Branch¬†has more than 30 years‚Äô litigation experience and is 'a highly effective lawyer who balances technical dispute resolution knowhow with pragmatic, sensitive realism; he can handle a highly emotional dispute with great care'. One barrister remarks that 'he¬†has an extremely sensible approach to litigation, he knows what arguments are going to impress judges, and he is a very calm and reassuring presence for clients'. ‚ÄėOpen and honest‚Äė senior solicitor Alex Burch¬†is 'a really sensible, hardworking and reliable operator, who is keen to achieve the best for the client'.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors has a highly experienced practice head in 'efficient, professional and knowledgeable' partner Tammy Parnell, who has been handling litigation and family law for 15 years and has more recently become an associate member of ACTAPS. Litigation partner and mediator Philip Lumb has a broad practice that encompasses personal injury and clinical negligence cases alongside a growing caseload of contentious trusts and probate matters. Consultant Michael Olmer, who has more than 35 years' experience in this niche area of law, is able to handle cross-border cases involving European law, as well as matters under English law. Parnell and Lumb recently advised the beneficiary of a contested will on their entitlement, including the occupation of a property.

Tees Law¬†has 'excellent knowledge and a good team with a balanced ¬†but firm approach and a realistic outlook on the prospect of success'. ‚ÄėI was highly impressed with the quality of the service‚Äô, remarks a client of senior associate, ACTAPS member and higher court advocate Sara Stabler, adding that ‚Äėthe speed of response to emails suggested that she had no other clients and that this matter had her undivided attention; she was proactive in her dealings with the other parties and appeared to have a very good grasp of the litigation processes involved'. Stabler has spent more than 20 years handling contentious trusts and probate matters, and regularly receives referrals from leading chambers and well-respected law firms when conflicts arise. Her recent highlights include a probate and constructive trust dispute between children of a deceased father and his second wife concerning a high-value estate in which the children have raised a challenge to the will and a proprietary estoppel matter in respect to the transfer of a property.

Ashtons Legal lost its key partner Rob Adam to Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds, but it retains expertise in the area of contentious trusts and probate thanks to partner Polly Stephenson in Ipswich. She advises executors and trustees, claimants and defendants in matters relating to both small and multimillion-pound estates. She is currently acting for an executor in a claim against a carer who stole almost £350,000 from the deceased prior to death in an estate with a value of more than £1m. She is also handling a claim against the solicitor of a deceased person who used the money from the estate for his own purposes. Solicitor Bee Belby handles cases involving clients in the agricultural sector.

At Fosters, experienced litigation partner Chris Fielding has more than ten years' experience in this area of law and works closely with the firm's highly-rated private client team to handle a growing caseload for personal representatives and beneficiaries, as well as other litigants pursuing action against estates. He secured a favourable settlement in an £80,000 claim under the Inheritance Act for a client who was written out of the deceased’s provisions upon death only days before passing away, and he settled a complex dispute at mediation involving an estate with assets valued in excess of £1.5m. Another case saw him act for beneficiaries in a claim based on disputed allegations that the testator lacked testamentary capacity and was subjected to undue influence.

Contentious trust and probate matters are a key element of the litigation practice at Fraser Dawbarns, where head of dispute resolution Neil John is recommended. Associate Janet Lane plays a key role in the practice and she recently acted for a client claiming as both beneficiary and executrix of her father's will in a case concerning whether a gift comprised both property and land. The case settled shortly before trial. Lane also acted for a client with a beneficial interest in a property who ultimately received full value after its sale.

Leathes Prior has both a strong private client department and a bench of talented litigators, which combine to create a highly respected contentious trusts and probate practice. The firm frequently handles lack of testamentary capacity claims, challenges to wills, inheritance claims, claims against executors and matters involving undue influence or lack of knowledge and approval. The practice, which is led by talented litigator Darren Bowen, handles cases through negotiation as well as litigation. Newly promoted associate Sabina Haag, whose experience in property disputes is greatly valued in contested wills and probate cases, and solicitor Calum Paterson also play key roles in the practice.


Family

Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Louise Ballantyne - Hunt & Coombs LLP
    • Victoria Cole - Kerseys Solicitors
    • Alexandra Gooden - Taylor Vinters
    • Janet Raeburn - Kerseys Solicitors
    • Clare Sharpe - Fosters

Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLP¬†is 'a standout firm' and its highly experienced, 12-lawyer family practice acts for many high-net-worth individuals across East Anglia, in London and from overseas. It has notable expertise in complex finance and children matters, frequently involving multi-jurisdictional issues,¬†and is known for its skill in drafting bespoke prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. All fee earners in the practice are members of Resolution and the firm handles all approaches to family disputes including litigation, mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.¬†Oliver Gravell, who was among the first collaborative lawyers in the UK, leads the practice and counsel notes that he¬†'knows the answers; he has great experience and superb judgment, and clients are calmed by his calm approach and gravitas'. Among the firm's senior associates¬†Katie Beaven¬†is best-known for complex and high-net-worth financial settlements and¬†Children Act matters;¬†Roopa Ahluwalia¬†frequently handles¬†divorce, separation, nuptial agreements, and¬†complex children matters; and¬†Juliet Harvey¬†is vice chair of Resolution's national committee.¬†The practice recently hired¬†Elisabeth Sneade¬†from¬†Tees Law, who is¬†‚Äėparticularly supportive emotionally and structurally‚Äô.

Cambridge Family Law Practice's¬†five partners all provide ‚Äėexcellent service, prompt responses and a good understanding¬†of the issues‚Äė. The partners are 'all extremely knowledgeable, thorough and great to work with'. The firm handles high-value cases for¬†clients in East Anglia and in London, as well as those living overseas.¬†Simon Bethel¬†is 'knowledgeable, hardworking and determined while always giving realistic advice'.¬†Sue Varty¬†'displays a determination to pursue the client's interests; she is a pragmatist, determined to find solutions'. 'Highly intelligent and fierce litigator'¬†Tricia Ashton¬†is 'an excellent listener in a field of law which is fraught with emotion and stress; her calm and clear advice has been invaluable in guiding clients¬†with positive and constructive options'.¬†Gail Marchant-Daisley¬†is 'hugely respected - calm, experienced and measured in all she does'.¬†Adam Moghadas¬†handles many cases involving children and 'has¬†an excellent temperament for that area; he is really adept at calming the situation and cutting through all the emotion'.

'A¬† regional superpower',¬†Mills & Reeve LLP¬†is ‚Äėvery effective in high-value divorce cases with complex financial elements‚Äė, with one client stating it has¬†'by far the best family team in the Eastern region; the client care is second-to-none and it continues to provide an amazing Rolls-Royce service'. The firm's¬†'unbeatable team' includes the ‚Äėsmart, effective, incisive and devastatingly effective'¬†Nick Stone¬†in Norwich, who is 'a pleasure to deal with, clearly at the top of their profession, he understands the full emotions of the process and is extremely adept at navigating complex cases‚Äė. He handled a matrimonial case involving financial assets in excess of ¬£60m.¬†'Simply the best family lawyer in Cambridge', according to one barrister,¬†Caitlin Jenkins¬†in Cambridge 'has a good client manner; she is at the forefront of new family law developments, never seems rushed and is always friendly and courteous'. She has 'a wonderfully calm and warm approach with razor-sharp legal skills; she is very clever and strategic and has a national reputation which is second-to-none'. Principal associate¬†George Sprague¬†'has the perfect combination of acuity and emotional intelligence'. Also recommended are principal associates¬†Hannah Wilson¬†(who is 'clever, determined and really cares about her clients; she is a great negotiator and litigator') and¬†Frances Bailey¬†(who has 'very good client care skills'), and¬†senior associate¬†Rachel Brand.¬†

Taylor Vinters¬†is ‚Äėoutstanding, always on the ball,¬†supportive, empathetic, adaptable, pragmatic, energetic and always in your corner as a client'. Clients remark that practice head¬†Jackie Wells¬†and senior associate Alexandra Gooden¬†¬†are 'very smart, highly professional and polished individuals who are very astute and analytical; they are strategic as well as tactical in their approach and are seldom caught off balance'. One barrister says of Wells that 'for high-value, complex financial cases with international elements she¬†fights hard for her clients and goes above and beyond in client care'. Another says of Gooden that she is 'as good as any London-based associate I have worked with -¬†highly¬†intelligent, extremely hardworking and a very safe pair of hands'. She recently acted for the former wife of an entrepreneur based overseas whose former husband had misrepresented his income from multimillion-pound corporate transactions. Senior associate and collaborative lawyer¬†Sylvia Haigh¬†is also recommended for¬†her advice to professionals on divorce and pre-marital agreements, and for her expertise in cohabitation matters. Clients also praise¬†Rachel Bevan¬†for family law matters with an international element.

Ashtons Legal¬†is ‚Äėas good as any London firm‚Äė, according to one client who remarks that it is ‚Äėvery good value for fees and has good relationships with top counsel‚Äė. One barrister remarks that the firm is¬†‚Äėfirst-rate, a leading player in East Anglia'. The practice has a broad client base across the region but has particular expertise in advising clients with substantial assets including land and trusts. Stephen Williams¬†leads the practice from the firm‚Äôs Ipswich office and is ‚Äėa very safe pair of hands,¬†very responsive and empathetic, and good on law and strategy‚Äė. One source remarks that he is ‚Äėexcellent with clients, efficient and pragmatic'. He advises on¬†financial matters relating to divorce and separation for both married and unmarried couples, especially those with a background in business or agriculture.¬†He also undertakes children‚Äôs work and is a member of the Family Panel, the Children Panel, the Advanced Family Panel, Re-unite and Resolution.¬†Partner and trained collaborative lawyer¬†Mary Pearce¬†in Bury St Edmunds¬†specialises in the financial aspects of breakdowns in marriages or cohabitation arrangements. Consultant¬†¬†Brenda Head¬†in Ipswich has 17 years' experience and is a family mediator.

Buckles Solicitors LLP¬†'has a highly effective family department which has well-known expertise, attention to detail and looks after its clients very well indeed'. The firm has a busy caseload of¬†complex financial matters, trust work, international matters, and agricultural cases involving complex land ownership and farming business interests. Practice head¬†Lyn Brisley¬†is 'a very good lawyer with very good people skills and very good judgement'.¬†Roger Gurney¬†is regarded as ‚Äėone of the nicest family lawyers you will ever meet ‚Äď kind, calm and a good team player‚Äô. He is described as 'great with clients, fighting their corner every inch of the way; he is decisive and very calm in a crisis'. Associate Donna Sandall¬†is 'extremely committed to her work and her clients; she is very reassuring in very difficult times', according to one barrister.¬†Associate Helen Saggers¬†is also recommended.

Butcher Andrews is 'the leading family team in North and West Norfolk', according to one client who notes that the practitioners are 'good advocates of the collaborative approach'. 'Rainmaker' and Resolution-accredited practice head Adney Payne focuses on advanced financial provision and financial advocacy matters. He 'gives robust and wise advice'. Collaboratively trained partner Butcher Andrews, whose broad practice includes niche expertise in cohabitation issues, 'provides sound legal advice in a compassionate and supportive way'. She is currently advising a client with multimillion-pound matrimonial assets on the break-up of a long marriage. Litigation executive Jean Curtis has 40 years' experience with the firm and is recommended for matrimonial work and Children Act cases.

Gotelee Solicitors is seen by many as having one of the foremost family law departments in Ipswich, though it also supports clients across Suffolk thanks to its presence in Woodbridge, Hadleigh and Felixstowe. Practice head Helen Stuart has more than 20 years' experience in advising high-net-worth clients on divorces, particularly in cases where the primary asset is a family-run business. She recently represented a local business owner in protracted divorce negotiations. For ten years, Stuart has also sat as as a part-time Deputy District Judge in East Anglia, which has seen her frequently attend the Divorce Unit in Bury St Edmunds, which processes divorce petitions for the whole of the South-East of England. Key partner Ivana Radovic, who works from both the Ipswich and Hadleigh offices, is secretary of the local Resolution Group and the Suffolk & North Essex Law Society. She is now a trained mediator. Associate Samantha Markham , who is a committee member of the local Resolution Group, is also recommended for divorce, children and financial cases.

At¬†Hunt & Coombs LLP¬†‚Äėthe overall level of service is excellent, and the advice is appropriate and made in good time‚Äė. 'This firm appears to be at the very top of the market for family work in Peterborough', according to one client. The firm has the largest family practice in the city and it handles both private and public law cases. It acts in¬†high-value private matrimonial finance cases and has¬†expertise in farming matters, business assets, pensions, pre-nuptial agreements and Trusts of Land cases. The ‚Äėvery knowledgeable and supportive'¬†Farhana Butt¬†leads the family practice and 'knows when to move a case to the next level; she considers all possible outcomes and always provides sound advice that guides clients to make good decisions'. 'Very experienced, insightful and wise' senior partner and head of private client¬†Denis White¬†has ‚Äėimmense knowledge and experience; he is particularly good at supporting those who are new to the role of Children‚Äôs Guardian‚Äė.¬†Edward Owen¬†is ‚Äėa determined, realistic and able advocate in care proceedings; he¬†is¬†committed to getting as good an outcome as possible and does so with undaunted good grace'. Senior solicitor¬†Louise Ballantyne¬†is 'intelligent and conscientious,¬†with a commitment to fair and proper outcomes in difficult cases'. Solicitors¬†Sophie Scotcher¬†and¬†Giuseppe Pingerna¬†¬†are also recommended.

The ‚Äėreliable, practical and trustworthy‚Äė team at Kerseys Solicitors¬†is known for 'very good service and good response times'. The firm handles the full range of family work but is best known for cases involving¬†financial provision in divorce and separation,¬†and children matters. Department head¬†Clare Thomas¬†is ‚Äėvery reassuring and easy to talk to, and provides sensible advice‚Äė.¬†Elaine Webb¬†'has an extremely sensible approach to often highly emotive issues, and consistently offers excellent advice; her calm approach and extensive knowledge set her apart from her competitors'. She recently acted for a client with mental health issues seeking contact with her children. Newly promoted partner Janet Raeburn¬†is 'punctual, professional, compassionate and precise; she is¬†kind, courteous and understanding, and¬†maintains a high standard of service at all times'.¬†Victoria Cole¬†is another rising star in the practice and consultant and¬†accredited mediator Rosemary Carter¬†is also recommended.

The family practice at Prettys Solicitors LLP is 'excellent - it covers family law with huge experience, knowledge and sense'. One clients believes that it is 'certainly one of the best, if not the best, in Ipswich for family law'. 'The key issues are always identified and sound advice is given to the lay client,' remarks one barrister who believes that 'its family law department provides an excellent service to its clients'. 'Impressive' collaborative lawyer Georgie Hall leads the practice, in which all lawyers are trained mediators and experienced litigators. Newly promoted senior associate Georgina Rayment has been a family law specialist and mediator for more than a decade and clients describe her as 'a superb lawyer, very good at early appraisals of cases; she gives extremely good advice, fights her corner well and is respected and liked in the local courts'. Her recent work includes cases involving accusations of domestic violence, coercive behaviour and custody rights. Both Matthew Clemence, whose clients include high-profile individuals in sport and media, and Victoria Mayhew are now associates.

Steeles Law is praised for providing 'clear and accurate advice'. Associate Amanda Owens in Norwich leads the family department in which associate Emma Alfieri  in Diss is highly recommended. 'Their treatment of clients is exemplary and they are lovely people and have hearts of gold', says one client. Another rates Owens '10/10' and describes her as 'personable and empathetic with incredible knowledge of the finer points of law, good at getting to the root issue in a timely manner and explaining the legalities in simple terms'. The firm climbs the ranking on the basis of its close-knit team that handles an increasing volume of high-value cases. Owens recently acted for a mother who had been served with an application from her ex-husband and the father of her four-year-old child for a Child Arrangements Order and a Prohibited Steps Order. The acrimonious case, which involved allegations of rape and cross-border elements, was successfully resolved. Alfieri, who works with clients in the Diss area and the South Norfolk and north Suffolk border, specialises in Children Act and financial remedy cases, which last year included a divorce matter in which the couple's combined assets totalled £2.3m.

Vardags has built an increasingly substantial presence in the market in the two years since it opened its Cambridge office and it has a reputation for 'top-quality representation'. The firm built a stellar reputation in London and the Cambridge office carries the strength of that brand into the East Anglian market, giving clients access to support from both a financial forensic team and a media, privacy and defamation team. The 'knowledgeable, persistent' Arron Bortoft, who has 25 years' experience in family law, is 'a highly experienced and diligent operator, having practised at the top end of financial remedy work for many years; he is tireless in fighting his client's corner'. He specialises in proceedings relating to high-net-worth finances, property, private children work and enforcement. Bortoft is leading the team acting for Li Quan in the international tiger charity case in the High Court, which involves a post-nuptial settlement concerning complex international assets valued at up to £50m.

Woolley & Co, Solicitors has a unique model that brings together a network of 23 senior family law practitioners, of which four are based in East Anglia. 'The service is very good and the lawyers know their stuff and are professional, courteous and prompt', says one client. Another praises the firm for 'outstanding service and timely, appropriate, knowledgeable and supportive advice'. Karen Agnew-Griffith in Thetford is 'down-to-earth, no-nonsense and doesn't suffer fools; she was totally in my corner and acted for me appropriately, very efficiently, and kept me informed every step of the way', remarks one client. The 'knowledgeable and approachable' Abby Smith  in St Neots 'completely understands and sympathises with difficult and very challenging situations'. Also in St Neots, Tamara Glanvill is a respected advocate in high-value cases. Nick Wiseman in Great Yarmouth has 22 years' experience in family law and he specialises in domestic and international divorce cases involving complex financial and pension arrangements as well as disputes around children.

At Clapham & Collinge Solicitors¬†‚Äėall members of the family team go out of their way to make clients feel comfortable; the lawyers are welcoming, practical and positive, with a real commitment to getting the best outcome for all parties‚Äė. The 'very friendly and approachable lawyers are keen to provide advice in a non-technical way, so that the lay client has a full understanding of how the law applies to their situation'. 'Instructing the firm is a "no-brainer" because it is¬†undoubtedly the best firm in Norwich for family work' according to one referrer. 'Knowledgeable and kind'¬†practice head Neale Grearson, who is a collaborative lawyer, Resolution member and founding member of the Good Divorce Group, is ‚Äėa great listener and genuinely cares about his clients, going out of his way to support them through every stage of the process; he advocates a non-confrontational approach'. He recently handled complex TOLATA proceedings involving a portfolio of rental properties in Suffolk as part of divorce proceedings. Solicitor Caroline Eaton¬†is¬†'respectful, understanding,¬†hardworking and enthusiastic'. Partner¬†Tammy Parnell¬†is also recommended. Caroline Ashmole left private practice.

FM Family Law is a niche firm that focuses purely on divorce, family law and mediation. It has a team of four specialist family lawyers and mediators in its offices in Cambridge and Norwich, led by founding partner Fiona McLeman who has more than 20 years' experience in divorce, financial settlements, children matters and mediation. Senior associate Christina Hale works with McLeman in Cambridge and is a committee member of Cambridge & West Suffolk Resolution and a committee member of Cambridge & Ely Children’s Contact Centre. The firm's other partner is Sue Bailey, who has handled family law matters for the last 12 years, and who leads the Norwich office. She works with Karen Fox, who has more than 30 years' experience as a family lawyer and mediator.

The family practice at Fosters has experienced lawyers who handle divorce and ancillary relief cases, and both private and public law children matters. Lucy Simpson leads the practice, which calls upon the experience of Iain McClay, who has 27 years' experience in family law. The firm frequently deals with divorce cases involving high-net-worth individuals, which last year included a case with assets valued at £8m. It also acts in children matters involving complex medical evidence relating to injuries. Newly promoted partner Clare Sharpe regularly represents parents in private and public law children matters including those with an international element. The firm's significant matters from last year included representing a respondent husband in a case involving disputed future earnings of between £100k pa and £1M pa in order to limit his maintenance liability.

Fraser Dawbarns handles all aspects of family law from pre-nuptial agreements to complex financial matters. Senior partner and head of family law Deborah Allen in King's Lynn 'creates an atmosphere of calm and security allowing what is a traumatic process to be carried out efficiently and in her clients best interests'. She recently represented the financially weaker party in a multimillion-pound pre-nuptial agreement case. Managing Partner Melinda Smith in March represented a client in divorce proceedings issued in two jurisdictions involving pensions with total assets exceeding £2m. 'Practical and down-to-earth lawyer' Rebecca Woodley in Downham Market is 'passionate about getting a good result for her clients, for whom she works tirelessly; she is thorough and meticulous in her approach, yet sensitive and compassionate when dealing with clients'.

Greene & Greene¬†is ‚Äėoutstanding ‚Äď the advice is practical and well considered, and the lawyers¬†guide rather than instruct and are delightful to deal with on a personal level‚Äė. One client remarks that the firm ‚Äėgave a London standard of advice and care but in a more approachable, accessible and affordable setting‚Äė.¬†'Of the firms I work for in Bury St Edmunds and the wider Suffolk region, it is unmatched in terms of the service it offers to clients' says one barrister. Managing partner and head of family law¬†Stuart Hughes¬†leads¬†the ‚Äėvery efficient, strong team‚Äė and is praised for his ‚Äėrealistic, pragmatic and accurate advice and strong character'. 'He possesses the ability to provide sensible and forthright advice whilst simultaneously being a robust advocate for his client‚Äôs cause', says a client. He recently negotiated a favourable settlement through mediation in a divorce involving a property developer with substantial non-matrimonial property.¬†Melanie Pilmer¬†is ‚Äėcandid without bluntness and honest without insensitivity; she has a first-rate grasp of the law¬†and¬† takes the heat and emotion out of any given situation'. Solicitor¬†Emily Woodhouse¬†is recommended for cases involving children.

Howes Percival LLP has a highly experienced partner in Amy Walpole who leads the family practice. The firm climbs the ranking and has invested to expand the team in Norwich, with solicitor Laura Clay-Harris recently joining from Marshall Hatchick Solicitors to work alongside Walpole and Sophie Key. The practice focuses primarily on high-net-worth cases involving divorce and dissolution, financial negotiations, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation issues and Children Act matters. It also calls on the firm's strong property practice to advise on the division of assets following the breakdown of relationships. Walpole, who is a member of the Norfolk Collaborative Practice Group, recently acted for the respondent in matrimonial and financial proceedings involving high-value property and business assets.

'A good firm with solicitors who are confident and easy to work with',¬†Tees Law¬†has a strong presence in the Cambridge market. The firm lost the head of its family practice when¬†Elisabeth Sneade¬†joined¬†Birketts LLP¬†in 2018,¬†but clients still report that it the department remains¬†‚Äėavailable at any time, comforting but most of all extremely patient‚Äė and one prominent solicitor remarks that it has 'a strong reputation and works in a collaborative way'. Collaboratively trained associate¬†Deborah Hargreaves¬†has a broad practice that includes¬†specialist expertise in¬†complex and sensitive cases involving children and financial matters. She recently advised the ex-wife of a man with substantial assets on obtaining the release of funds for the purchase of a property.

Blocks has a large client base across Suffolk for private client and family matters, which include divorce and separation, financial remedy work for high-net-worth individuals, Children Act matters and pre-nuptial agreements. Partner Demelza Butler is collaboratively trained and leads the practice. She recently handled a very complex and contentious matrimonial matter for a farming family, which involved issues of land ownership, children, family trusts and significant wealth. Legal executive and Resolution mediator James Simpson is also recommended.

Cozens-Hardy LLP¬†in Norwich is ‚Äėa very solid and sensible firm with a very strong family department with strength in depth, which covers both public and private law‚Äė.¬†The firm has a 40-year history of family law and has three vastly experienced senior lawyers. Collaboratively trained senior principal¬†Jane Anderson¬†is recommended for private matrimonial work and is ‚Äėcalm, constructive and very supportive of her clients‚Äė.¬†Principal¬†Sandra Nunn¬†¬†‚Äėhas a very good reputation in the public law area and is known for her skill and expertise'. Principal¬†Iain White¬†is recommended for¬†childcare matters and high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings.

The family practice at Hegarty LLP consists of six lawyers across the firm's offices in Peterborough, Stamford and Oakham. Associate Chris Brown is skilled in cases involving division of assets and resources after divorce or separation. Solicitors Jane Tatlock, Julia Weber and resolution-accredited  Pavinder Khela handle high-value family law cases, divorce and separation matters, matrimonial finances, cohabitation agreements, prenuptial agreements and child arrangement orders. Family law executive Carl Russell has more than 40 years' experience and legal executive Lesley Knight is recommended for domestic violence and Children Act matters.

At Leathes Prior, the team of highly experienced family lawyers are all members of Resolution and frequently handle matters through collaborative law, as well as litigation. The firm is known for divorce and separation cases, financial settlement matters, cohabitation disputes, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and cases involving children. Leading light and practice head Alisdair Douglas, a Resolution-accredited specialist in advanced financial provision and private children law, is regarded as a highly accomplished family lawyer and he has support from associate Simon Willis, who frequently handles cases involving significant assets and complex arrangements such as family businesses. Solicitor Carla Morphett and legal executive Laura Savage are also recommended.

Rogers and Norton has a matrimonial team that comprises two senior solicitors and one trainee, who handle both litigation and family mediation. Practice head Kerry Rowell in Norwich is recommended for financial matters and clients remark that she is 'tenacious and shows good attention to detail'. Averil Ballam in Attleborough, who manages the firm's relationship with Norfolk Constabulary and provides specialist family law advice to police officers, is also highly recommended. Their recent caseload of complex matters included the blocking of a move by a mother who wanted to relocate for work. Another case saw Rowell successfully argue a case for parental alienation that resulted in the return of a child. Ballam negotiated a financial settlement for a police officer relating to his pension, in which his ex-wife's solicitor argued for support based on current pension value without consideration for the years the couple had been separated.

Woodfines LLP¬†‚Äėprovides good quality advice on family matters‚Äė and is ‚Äėa growing force in the Cambridge market‚Äė. The practice is 'extremely knowledgable and offers support and reassurance throughout a case'. Highly experienced collaborative lawyer Clare Pilsworth¬†(who is ‚Äėan excellent lawyer, strong at both financial remedies and private law Children Act cases‚Äė) and¬†Resolution-accredited legal executive Jackie Jessiman¬†are ‚Äėreliable, efficient and knowledgeable‚Äė. One client says of Pilsworth 'I cannot praise her strongly enough' and¬†other remarks that Jessiman is 'hardworking and understanding, very approachable and makes clients feel at ease'. The firm's recent caseload included divorce and financial remedy for a family with two teenage children, and high-value financial remedy matter settled through mediation.

The family practice at Barker Gotelee has an experienced partner and mediation specialist in Nicola Furmston, who has the support of associate Amanda Erskine. The firm has a growing client base in Suffolk and, increasingly, from London. It handles divorce and cohabitation matters for a broad range of clients, including numerous high-net-worth individuals, and provides specialist advice on financial matters including corporate structures, farms, pubs and trusts in the context of family law. Furmston recently acted for the husband in a complex divorce matter involving a family-run business and a portfolio of properties.

Edmondson Hall has a highly respected partner in Simon Gummer, who is head of family law. He has more than 40 years' experience in matrimonial litigation involving financial and property claims upon relationship breakdown, particularly in business and professional families, and in issues relating to children. He is described as 'excellent in his service, advice and expertise'. His caseload includes matters involving substantial assets and complex issues such as trusts, pensions and family businesses, and he regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals. He is trained mediator who increasingly handles cases using collaborative law.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Birketts LLP¬†has a full service private client practice that handles trusts, tax, succession planning and probate matters. It frequently advises¬†landowners, business executives, trustees and beneficiaries on domestic and offshore trust and tax issues, trust creation and administration, landed estates matters, wills and lifetime planning, inheritance tax and capital gains tax, and¬†Court of Protection applications.¬†Caroline Stenner¬†leads the practice and recently supported a board of trustees with a large shareholding in a family company on tax and trust administration. Senior associate¬†Catherine Bacon¬†is recommended for her tax and trusts work for non-dom and non-resident clients. Senior associate¬†Rachel Winter¬†has a strong following among the local business community and is recommended for¬†Court of Protection applications. Associate Kimberly Sayward, formerly of¬†Mills & Reeve LLP, is¬†‚Äėparticularly highly regarded as empathic and thorough'. Solicitor¬†Melissa de Carvalho¬†joined the team having completed her training contract at¬†Prettys Solicitors LLP.

Hewitsons¬†provides¬†‚Äėexcellent prompt, reliable and trustworthy service‚Äė. 'Its expertise in this area is excellent and it provides very practical advice', remarks one client. The practice administers a large number of trusts and has recognised expertise in tax planning and probate matters. Head of department Daniel Curtis¬†is ‚Äėextremely experienced and knowledgeable and is adept at asking pertinent questions, anticipating issues and suggesting solutions'.¬†He regularly advises family trusts on issues including succession planning, the establishment of limited liability partnerships, inheritance tax and property relief.¬†Elizabeth Davies¬†handles¬†estates with complex agricultural and business tax relief issues and is¬†‚Äėfirst class ‚Äď friendly, patient, good at explaining issues in an unhurried manner‚Äė.¬†Bernadette O‚ÄôReilly, who advises on trusts, tax, charities, probate and succession planning issues for UK and international clients, and associates¬†Emma Satterly¬†and Kelly Wardell¬†'provide an outstanding service with a huge amount of common sense and practical advice'. Clients also describe solicitor Elizabeth Herbert¬†as ‚Äėextremely pleasant, friendly, and up-to-date in her knowledge of international law; she gives¬†welcome and sound advice‚Äô.

At¬†Mills & Reeve LLP¬†‚Äėthe overall level of service is excellent from a well-qualified team that has many years of experience; they respond quickly and provide helpful and practical advice at a reasonable cost‚Äė.¬†Clients are ‚Äėimpressed with the quality of the advice and fairness of the fees‚Äė and one source remarks that it 'certainly punches above its weight in terms of the calibre of clients and the advice it gives; it is a London standard firm based in the provinces'. The firm advises many business owners, landowners, high-net-worth individuals, trusts and charities across East Anglia and beyond. Chris Belcher¬†(who has 'unrivalled knowledge of clients' needs and expectations') and ‚Äėquick-witted, clear and pragmatic‚Äė rising star senior associate Alex Hunt¬†are ‚Äėexcellent at understanding clients‚Äô needs quickly and providing appropriate advice; they make an effort to provide advice which is practical and easy to understand where matters might be quite complex, and apart from the expected technical expertise, they understand the requirement for a fast response‚Äė. Hunt has 'great in-depth knowledge of the taxation of non-domiciled individuals'. Kimberly Sayward¬†¬†joined Birketts LLP.

The team at Taylor Vinters¬†delivers¬†‚Äėvery high levels of service across the board‚Äė. One client remarks that¬†‚Äėthe overall level of service is excellent and the quality of advice regarding wills, trusts, general wealth management and inheritance tax issues is extremely helpful with a very high level of service'.¬†James Packer¬†is the key contact in Cambridge and clients remark that he is ‚Äėknowledgable, quick and concise, no fuss'. One¬†describes him as ‚Äėpragmatic, approachable and great to deal with'. Rural partner¬†Adrian Horwood-Smart¬†advises farming clients and large landed estates on¬†on strategic planning. Senior associate¬†Emma Parsons¬†is a rising star who handles complex estate planning and administers large estates for some of the largest landowners in the UK, as well as advising high-net-worth entrepreneurial clients in the technology sector. Senior associate and estate and tax planning specialist¬†Fiona Lewsey¬†is ‚Äėvery professional, proactive and helpful; she has a concise style and is always very lucid in her analysis of problem areas‚Äô.

At¬†Ashtons Legal¬†the lawyers are 'friendly, easy to talk to and clear in what they say, as well as knowledgeable about the areas in which they work'. High-net-worth estate planning expert and 'first-class lawyer'¬†Jennie Pratt¬†is the key partner in Cambridge and clients describe her as¬†‚Äėpatient and efficient; she has¬†excellent grasp of the situation¬†and is very discreet‚Äė. 'I have every trust in her very considerable legal abilities, her meticulous judgement and wise advice', says one client. Lifetime planning specialist Lynn Wicks¬† has a strong practice in¬†continuing care, statutory wills and other Solicitors for the Elderly matters. Clients note that she is 'warm and openly compassionate'.¬†Associates and STEP members¬†Christina Duck¬†¬†and¬†Gillian Brasher¬†are also recommended.

‚ÄėThe firm is very efficient in providing reasoned advice regarding probate and estate matters‚Äė, says a client of Tees Law, who also remarks that the team is ‚Äėgood at briefing clients as to what to expect‚Äė. Another notes that the service is 'exceptional - very efficient and professional'. As well as handling a large number of high-value estates, including those with¬†agricultural and international elements, the practice also¬†specialises in elderly client work, including long-term care planning and high value deputyships, and works closely with its top-tier clinical negligence department. Practice head¬†Catherine Mowat¬†'understands the need for the client to have time to consider options; she provides excellent service and clear analysis of available options'. Rising star and senior associate James Marsh¬†is¬†‚Äėefficient and delivers advice in a calm and comprehensive manner'. 'Extremely personable and thorough' associate Sarah Baber¬†'explains clearly every detail of the processes, making the process very simple and straightforward'. Solicitor¬†Angela Sewell¬†is also recommended.

The team at Woodfines LLP underwent significant change last year but it still retains an experienced and respected team of private client lawyers. Karl Dembicki moved to Buckles Solicitors LLP but Tim Addinell joined from Greenwoods GRM to work with veteran consultant Alun Butler and Esther Marchant, who has 30 years' experience in private client matters. The firm-wide practice is also led by a new recruit in the form of Stephen Patch who joined from Taylor Vinters. The firm handles the full range of wills, taxation, estate planning, trusts and probate work for high-net-worth individuals, business owners, academics and entrepreneurs. Addinell recently acted for an estate valued at more than £20m in a highly complex probate matter involving substantial shares and property.

‚ÄėFriendly and efficient firm‚Äė¬†Greenwoods GRM¬†‚Äėoffers a very good level of service to clients thanks to exceptionally professional and pleasant staff and partners who are very approachable and helpful‚Äė. Former head of private client¬†Tim Addinell¬†¬†joined¬†Woodfines LLP, so associate Kerri Pellington Woodrow, who works between the Cambridge and Peterborough offices, now oversees the department. STEP-qualified senior solicitor¬†Clare Harris¬†is ‚Äėaccessible, clear with her advice and reliable; she can explain the issues in layman‚Äôs terms'.¬†'The service provided has been excellent throughout', says one client who praises Harris for her 'very personal, empathetic and excellent professional approach'. She recently handled the administration of the multimillion-pound estate of a senior executive at a FTSE100 company.

Howes Percival LLP joins the ranking now that private client associate Amy Wallhead , who joined from Hewitsons, is permanently based in the Cambridge office. Wallhead specialises in the drafting of wills, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax planning, administering estates, and Deeds of Variation. She worked with litigation partner Michael Green  on a case involving the estate of a deceased bankrupt that included locating deeds for unregistered properties. In another complex matter, she advised an elderly client on rewriting her will after one of her children set up lasting power of attorney and withdrew large sums from her bank accounts. The firm is known for high-quality, bespoke tax and estate planning advice for high-net-worth individuals and for advice on family ownership and business relief matters for its large agricultural client base.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: elsewhere in East Anglia

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Ashtons Legal's¬†Bury St Edmunds office is home to a deep bench of talented private client lawyers led by¬†deputy CEO and head of individual services Alan Brown¬†who is 'very knowledgeable on all matters, straight-talking and easy to work with; he goes the extra mile'. The practice acts for professional, academic and agricultural clients across Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. It has niche expertise in supporting vulnerable clients and also in French law matters, with¬†Matthew Cameron¬†('very responsive and very efficient') handling property sales, inheritance issues, wills and tax for clients with assets in France.¬†The strong team of associates includes Elizabeth Dunn¬†who ‚Äėexplains the options in a relaxed and easy to understand way'; Faye Stolls,¬†who 'knows her subject well and is easy¬† to work with'; and Teresa Callender,¬†who is 'extremely approachable, friendly and efficient'.

Greene & Greene is 'very good, providing fast and helpful responses from a good selection of people able to provide specialist knowledge as needed'. One client describes the practice as 'first-class, always accessible, quick and efficient'. Head of department and STEP member Wayne Perrin, who is one of three qualified chartered tax advisors in the practice, is 'always available, approachable and capable of providing good information in a friendly and clear manner; he listens and then offers good clear advice'. He recently advised  a client on a tax-efficient succession strategy for a £12m estate. The practice is best-known for advice on taxation, but it has a broad client base for complex trusts, estates and probate matters. Solicitor and chartered tax advisor Nigel Scase is 'very knowledgeable regarding HMRC and acts with reasonable promptitude'. Jonathan Mathers, who handles agricultural and private client matters, and trusts and estates practitioners Martine Swaep and Ian Cottam are also recommended.

Clients are ‚Äėvery happy with the service‚Äė from Clapham & Collinge Solicitors, which continued to grow its private client team across Norfolk last year.¬†The firm hired¬†the 'kind and understanding' Laura van Ree¬†from Fosters¬†to lead the team in North Walsham. Clients describe her as¬†‚Äėempathetic, patient and extremely professional without being remote; she is¬†proactive with her advice whilst maintaining her kind and sensitive approach'. The ‚Äėfirst-class team that always¬†seems to go that extra mile in customer service‚Äô includes solicitor Gaynor Smith¬†and legal executive Lesley Ward¬†in North Walsham, and legal executive Susan Dawe¬†in Sheringham, where consultant Chris King, who¬†has more than 33 years' experience in wills, tax planning and trusts, is also recommended. The firm is highly regarded for work with elderly clients and all of its solicitors are qualified Dementia Friends.

Fosters¬†has a strong private client offering in Wymondham and clients remark upon the¬†'incredibly professional, sensitive and caring' team. Associate Lisa Glynne¬†, who also spends time in the Lowestoft office, is 'incredibly professional - she cannot be faulted', according to one client. She worked closely with the firm's litigators to mediate a husband's claim against an estate from which he had been excluded following¬†allegations of abuse by his deceased wife. Chartered legal executive¬†Angela Ireland, who joined from Steeles Law, is ‚Äėknowledgeable, friendly, understanding and efficient'. She is a member of STEP and has 15 years' experience in this field of law.

Fraser Dawbarns Downham Market is known for 'great response times, very professional business acumen and good value for money'. Clients praise the firm's 'excellent service and outstanding technical knowledge, provided on a timely basis' and remark that 'the firm is very efficient and approachable and the lawyers are always happy to chat over an issue'. Harleen Hanson in King's Lynn has 'a very professional and sensitive approach'. Kieren Cross acted for the executor of a large estate for which the will had been incorrectly drafted by the deceased. Associate Amy Pettitt has'excellent technical knowledge and approach to clients'. Pettitt and legal executive Sarah Lamb are 'attentive, sensitive and relate well to clients'. Legal executive Cath Collins has 'the ability to explain jargon in simple terms, with a friendly but business-like manner'.

Hunt & Coombs LLP¬†has a well-established private client practice in Peterborough and a strong presence across the region through its offices in Oundle, Huntingdon and St Neots. The practice is ‚Äėcompetitively priced, professional and approachable‚Äė and clients note that the lawyers are ‚Äėall friendly, helpful and demonstrate excellent client-facing skills‚Äė.¬†Head of probate Paddy Appleton in Oundle is ‚Äėlikeable and friendly and explains things simply;¬†he is very good with estate probate and agricultural issues‚Äô. He recently handled a ¬£3.5m probate matter involving assets in the US, a venture capital trust and an enterprise investment scheme.¬†Partner¬†Peter Izod¬†is recommended for matters involving elderly clients.¬†Associate¬†Fiona Prince¬†in St Neots joined the firm after a career break and has 18 years' experience in wills, probate and trusts law. Senior legal executive¬†Anne Dickens¬†in Huntingdon is also recommended.

Butcher Andrews in Fakenham handles the estates of numerous high-net-worth clients, many of which include substantial commercial or agricultural property. The tax, trust and probate team is highly experienced in creating tax-efficient structures for these estates, and advises on all matters concerning   inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax. Its work also encompasses the administration and winding up of trusts. Practice head Simon Underwood has ten years' experience in tax, probate and Court of Protection work, as well as the administration of complex trusts. He is supported by solicitor Sarah Parker, legal executive Cindy Grand and a trainee. The practice's recent work includes handling the UK element of a multimillion-pound, international estate, which required UK tax advice, the resealing of a foreign grant and the  determination of domicile.

Churchgates, which was formed following the management buyout of the Bury St Edmunds office of Grant Thornton in 2011 and gained approval to practice as a firm of solicitors in 2015, advises on tax and estate planning and investment portfolio management for owner-managed businesses, farmers, medical practices and private individuals. Two of its lawyers are chartered tax advisors, including head of private client Matthew Boardman. He recently handled estate and business planning matters for a farming family in which elderly parents were struggling with the management of financial reporting. Solicitor Suzanne Alston is recommended for work on UK trusts, tax and complex wills.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP in Lowestoft has two partners who handle private client matters. Robert Nicholson frequently advises high-net-worth individuals on trust and tax planning, and often handles the affairs of clients in the the farming sector with development land among their assets. Ella Nicholson has extensive expertise in wills, estate administration, trusts and taxation.

Roythornes Solicitors joins the ranking as its head of private client Elizabeth Young now spends a significant proportion of her time in East Anglia at the firm's new office in Alconbury. She is highly experienced in succession planning, both from a strategic business and intergenerational wealth perspective, and has been a member of the Court of Protection’s Panel of Professional Deputies a since 2001.  Like Young, STEP member and Fellow of the Agricultural Law Association Sarah Banner works across all four of the firm's offices and is skilled in the creation of wills, partnership agreements and trusts.

Spire Solicitors LLP has eight offices across Norfolk, through with it provides an extensive range of private client services. Jo Tinson in Watton handles both property and private client matters and her work includes trust administration for clients in the education sector. Associate Susannah Butterworth in Dereham is a member of STEP and Solicitors for the Elderly. She recently advised elderly clients on care provision and dealings with social services. Solicitor Rebecca Johnstone in Attleborough recently handled the affairs of numerous estates with international assets.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Ipswich clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Barker Gotelee's 'knowledgeable staff are polite and friendly, with in-depth knowledge of their subject'. Senior partner¬†James Skellorn¬†leads a private client practice that caters not only for many clients in the agricultural sector, but also for a growing number of high-net-worth individuals with family business interests. He recently acted for the executors of a multimillion-pound estate in a probate case that involved a complex arrangement of overseas assets. STEP-qualified partner¬†Nick Palmer¬†has 18 years' experience and is recommended for trusts, tax planning and care fees planning. 'Caring, passionate'¬†STEP-qualified associate Ann-Marie Matthews¬†is ‚Äėexcellent, very efficient‚Äė. Associate Gail Frankland¬†is ‚Äėenthusiastic, practical and does what she promises to do on time; she also has empathy,¬†strength and emotional resilience that enable people who deal with her to feel confident'. Probate and trust manager¬†Peter Gooch¬†is also recommended.

The 'highly competent and very responsive' practice at Birketts LLP is 'particularly strong in this area and a leader in local market for these services'. Head of probate Louise Long  is the key contact in Ipswich and clients describe her as 'personable, knowledgeable and very good with clients'. She specialises in estate administration and has extensive experience in dealing with multimillion-pound estates with complex family and tax issues involving negotiations with HMRC. Charles Boscawen has been at the firm for more than 30 years and has a large client base across East Anglia for will and estates work. 'Considered, pragmatic' senior associate Richard Guy  is 'happy to help and explain ideas and concepts to clients in words they understand, and he is not afraid to challenge preconceptions or perceived truths which are wrong'. Agricultural specialist Nigel Farthing also plays a key role in the practice. He worked with Long and Guy to handle the administration of the estate of an intestate man who had assets in excess of £2m.

Kerseys Solicitors¬†provides ‚Äėexcellent service and is¬†highly professional, always giving sound advice‚Äė. The lawyers ‚Äėgo above and beyond what is required of them‚Äė and one client remarks that they have ‚Äėextensive and specialist¬† knowledge in all areas, and the¬†value for money is far superior to other solicitors due to the speed at which they work to resolve matters and respond to queries'.¬†The practice handles the¬†drafting of wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, applications to the Court of Protection and¬†the administration of estates including those involving complex inheritance tax issues and high-net-worth individuals.¬†Peter Awad¬†leads the practice and he recently advised a client on the administration of a high-value discretionary will trust.¬†‚ÄėExtremely good and very prompt'¬†associate¬†Ross Burkitt, who moved from the litigation department to focus on wills and trusts, is ‚Äėefficient, polite, helpful and approachable; he makes the whole process easy'.Newly promoted partner¬†Tharani Thangavel¬†is highly recommended, as are partner Geoffrey Sutton¬†and consultant¬†Nigel Bonham-Carter.

Prettys Solicitors LLP is a highly respected firm in Ipswich and private client work is a mainstay of its practice. The firm is praised for its focus on client care and the breadth of its work, which includes cases involving mental capacity issues, high-net-worth estate planning, tax planning and trusts work. STEP member Zoe Hodge leads the practice and is best known for tax-efficient succession planning for individuals, business owners and agricultural clients. Last year, she led several high-value probate and trusts matters, often acting as a trustee. Solicitor and STEP member Nigel George has more than 30 years' experience in private client matters and has specialist skills in the area of dementia, mental capacity and end of life care. He is a member of the National Council of Palliative Care, the Alzheimer’s Society and a Dementia Champion. Solicitor Laura Parker is also recommended for estates and probate matters.

At¬†Ashtons Legal¬†the service is¬†‚Äėexemplary and without fault‚Äė. The firm is ‚Äėby far the best‚Äė, according to one client, while another describes the lifetime planning practice as 'professional, knowledgeable, friendly'. The firm handles tax and estate planning for the professional, academic and agricultural clients in¬†Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, often involving complex and multi-jurisdictional matters. The firm has a particular niche in French legal affairs.¬†Associate Louise Cardwell¬†is ‚Äėa rising star who should be fast-tracked to partner'. Rising star associate Janette Wand¬†is 'kind, gentle, helpful and a pleasure to work with'. Together they provide 'a holistic service with a real emphasis on attention to detail and client care'. She recently advised¬†a family with assets in excess of ¬£2m on trusts, wills and agricultural matters.

Gotelee Solicitors has a highly experienced private client partner in STEP member Peter Crix, who has more than 30 years' experience in this area of law. Crix recently took over the role of senior parter but remains closely involved in fee earning and continues his role as trustee of numerous and substantial trusts including a landed estate in Yorkshire, a portfolio of residential properties in London and a multimillion-pound fund for a disabled beneficiary. Associate Karine Jowitt is also recommended.

Blocks provides 'a very speedy service'. The firm has grown its private client practice and Emma Woollard, who has 20 years' experience and joined from Gotelee Solicitors in 2016, is 'good at communicating and always helpful'. The firm has a broad client base across Suffolk but has a particular focus on clients in the agricultural sector, which it advises on the full range of matters including wills, trusts, estate planning, probate, administration of estates, powers of attorney and Court of Protection deputyships. Woollard's highlights included handling the multimillion-pound estate of a deceased client with significant agricultural holdings.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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The practice at Howes Percival LLP & Norwich is 'efficient, extremely knowledgeable, client-oriented and excellent at working with other professionals to provide the client with the complete service'. The firm is known for providing high-quality bespoke planning and strategic advice in complex situations to high-net-worth individuals, families and trusts. Specialist agricultural lawyer Catherine Scott leads the estates team and regularly advises farmers and landowners on tax-efficient property structures, estate planning and trust-related matters. One client remarks that head of tax Stuart Maggs and Richard Lovett, who specialises in tax planning for large family trusts, 'have a greater level of technical expertise than their peers in respect of particularly complex or unusual issues'. CIOT-accredited Stuart Maggs is also recommended for advice to high-net-worth individuals on complex technical issues arising from wills, tax planning and estate administration. Another key partner is Jonathan Wortley, who has 37 years' experience in private client and property matters. One complex matter dealt with by the practice in 2017 involved making provision for an estranged child to prevent an Inheritance Act claim involving a multimillion-pound estate.

The ‚Äėextremely competent‚Äė practice at¬†Mills & Reeve LLP¬†makes it 'a firm of choice for complex private client matters'. It has 'excellent strength in depth and provides careful, well-considered and comprehensive advice'. For high-net-worth individuals and landed estates the firm provides 'very good tax knowledge and careful tax planning advice that is not overly aggressive, and all of the lawyers are very good handling clients'. Virginia Edgecombe¬†has 'great depth of experience and is a safe pair of hands'. She leads a four-partner practice that includes newly promoted partner Lauren Parker, who is 'very good on technical tax points especially Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax'; senior partner Justin Ripman, who¬†acts for a large number of landed estates across the UK; and private tax specialist¬†Gregory Laming. Laming and principal associate Elizabeth Field¬†have¬†‚Äėa thorough understanding of the issues, an up-to-date knowledge of relevant legislation and case law, and the ability to merge the two in an effective and challenging way‚Äė. One client remarks that Field 'displays great knowledge in the area of trusts and estates and demonstrates a good ability to get on with clients'. 'Bright and sensible' associate Alexandra Clarke¬†is also recommended.

The Norwich office of Birketts LLP is a key part of the firm's cross-office private client practice, which handles wills and lifetime estate planning for farm owners, landowners, industrialists and entrepreneurs across East Anglia and further afield. It also deals with complex and disputed probate, including those with cross-border elements, as well as trust administration, tax advice, Court of Protection matters and the management of elderly clients' affairs. The vastly experienced Lorna Spear is the key contact. She frequently focuses on the needs of agricultural clients and acts for numerous landed estates and high-net-worth farming families. She works closely with agricultural trust expert Jack Royall. Senior associate Ruth Pyatt joined from Steeles Law to add experience in a broad range of private client matters, with a particular focus on cross-border and elderly client matters. Partner Neil Sparrow advises high-net-worth clients and landed estates on complex tax and trust matters, including a recent succession planning matter for a multimillion-pound estate. Senior associate Margaret Smith has more than 30 years' experience in this field of law.

Clapham & Collinge¬†has a ‚Äėvery capable and professional team that is friendly, approachable and happy to deal with all sizes of client‚Äė. The firm is a member of Norwich City Dementia Action Alliance with Age UK Norwich, and its broad range of work includes acting for families of clients with dementia. One client describes the firm as ‚Äėthe best solicitors I have worked with ‚Äď always very efficient, professional and friendly, and always willing to go that extra mile‚Äô. Leading light and head of one of Norfolk's largest private client departments¬†Lin Whitehead¬†‚Äėtakes good care of her clients and has a first-class team‚Äė. Ben Lowe¬†handles the full range of private client work and has 'a good knowledge of trusts and tax law, particularly in relation to agricultural property, and has a very deft touch with clients'. The firm also has many talented junior lawyers including solicitors Lauren Abbs¬†and Jennifer Nash. Whitehead frequently acts as Panel Deputy for clients in care homes or who have lost capacity to handle their own affairs.

At¬†Fosters, the team is ‚Äėexcellent and good value for money‚Äė. ‚ÄėThe service is excellent, communication is great, help and support are always there and the expertise is very comforting‚Äė, says a client who praises the ‚Äėfriendly, clear, concise and thorough'¬†Trina Worden. She handled a complex probate matter in which the deceased had not completed income tax returns for five years, resulting in detailed investigations of income sources, negotiations with HMRC and the submission of multiple returns. Senior associate¬†Rachel Chiarotti¬†is also recommended. She acted for a woman who excluded her husband from her will on the day of her death. The experienced practice has a growing client base that includes many high-net-worth individuals, and generates new relationships through its legal partnerships with Norwich City Football Club and the Eastern Landlords Association.¬†Laura van Ree¬†¬†left the firm to join Clapham & Collinge Solicitors¬†in North Walsham.

The practice at Rogers and Norton is 'extremely professional, efficient, personable and always sensitive to clients’ needs'. The firm is known for the management of several Norfolk estates, complex will drafting, tax planning, trust formation, advice to high-net-worth estates and Court of Protection matters for clients in East Anglia and abroad. The wills and probate practice, led by legal executive Wenke Lie-Critchley and solicitor Louisa Shailes, has 'a wealth of experience and the lawyers are all very knowledgeable, approachable and helpful; they are patient and extremely good at explaining things in a clear way, checking that clients understand and putting them at ease'. Solicitor Laura Rumsey works with clients suffering mental incapacity and is 'incredibly knowledgeable within her field and has always gone above and beyond to provide a first-rate service'. Legal executive Barbara Pond is 'very good at communicating with people and explaining  complex issues; she is also very organised and deals with enquiries efficiently'.

At¬†Steeles Law¬†‚Äėthe overall level of service is excellent, everything at every stage is explained in full‚Äė and clients report that they receive¬†‚Äėthe best advice possible at a competitive price‚Äė. One remarks that the firm is 'excellent, efficient and professional with knowledgeable responses to queries and a warm individual approach'. Another sees the firm as 'extremely welcoming and friendly and the work is timely, efficient and thoroughly professional; everything is always explained clearly and carefully'. The firm has six fee earners and is supported by a company commercial team that advises family businesses on succession planning.¬†Associate and practice head Karen Bacon¬†is ‚Äėexcellent ‚Ästvery knowledgeable and very patient, professional and efficient'. She has more than 30 years' experience and leads a team that clients praise as¬†‚Äėfriendly, helpful, easy to contact‚Äė. She recently handled a high-value probate matter involving a complex estate with properties abroad. 'Courteous and patient, efficient and knowledgeable‚Äė associate Amy Taylor¬†provides 'a first-class, professional service'. Paralegal Katherine Bearman¬†is¬†‚Äėextremely conscientious, knowledgeable, patient, thorough and an absolute pleasure to deal with'.

'I have always found the service to be very good and have never had any complaints with them', says a client of Cozens-Hardy LLP. The private client team attracts complex and high-value trusts, estate planning and probate matters from clients based in Norfolk, London and Europe. STEP-accredited principal Michelle Collins, who is highly regarded by her peers, leads a team of eight fee-earners. The team, particularly associate Lisa Greeves, is 'polite, helpful and considerate'.

Leathes Prior has a large and technically skilled private client practice led by the vastly experienced William Riley, who has more than 30 years' experience in this field of law. Newly promoted partner and STEP member Tessa Bonser specialises in wills and estate planning, estate administration, trusts, probate and matters relating to the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection. She is also a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and handles many cases for senior clients. Associate Barrie Baker has nearly 30 years' experience in private client matters. Solicitors Claire Woolliscroft and Bethany Slaughter are also recommended.

Spire Solicitors LLP has one the largest private client teams in Norwich with a client base that extends across Norfolk. Practice head and STEP member Alisdair Liddle handles all aspects of private client work but has a particular focus on will, trusts and matters involving elderly clients, especially those relating to the funding of NHS continuing care. He also handles the affairs of many clients in the farming sector. Also recommended is solicitor Bronwyn Bailey, who deals with estate administrations, wills, estate planning, lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. She recently acted as administrator of a multimillion-pound estate that includes a portfolio of London properties.


Personal tax, trusts and probate: Peterborough

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Buckles Solicitors LLP¬†has ‚Äėa¬†very big, multi-skilled practice that is still very approachable and with a down-to-earth approach‚Äė. The firm has the largest private client practice in Peterborough. Head of private client Stephen Duffy, who focuses primarily on care home fees matters, and¬†associate Rebekkah Cooper¬†are described as ‚Äėaccountable, friendly, open, honest and very straight-talking‚Äė. Duffy continues to¬†successfully challenge several local authority assessments and to protect estates from care home fees and the costs of long-term care.¬† Duncan Jackson, who is now the firm's CEO and works between the Peterborough and London offices, is a highly respected wealth preservation specialist, whose practice focuses mainly on inheritance tax planning and trusts for ultrahigh-net-worth clients. He recently acted for British and Irish clients living in France on inheritance tax matters relating to properties in France and Spain with a value of ¬£2m.¬†The firm hired Suzanne Evans¬† from Greenwoods Solicitors LLP¬†to lead its Court of Protection practice, as well as bringing extensive experience in wills, powers of attorney, trusts and the administration of estates. STEP-qualified Charles Applegate,¬†senior associate Sallyann Short¬†and head of probate Beverley Diamond¬†are also highly recommended.

Greenwoods GRM¬†has ‚Äėfirst-class people in a great team who are on the ball‚Äė. The firm handles the full range of private client work including wills, trusts, estate planning and administration, and Court of Protection matters, and it has several STEP-qualified lawyers. Head of the private client department Kerri Pellington-Woodrow¬†‚Äėexplains things to clients in simple language and is incredibly helpful, empathetic and approachable'. Her recent highlights included¬†advising the trustees of an accumulation and maintenance trust of which part had become a¬†qualifying interest in possession following the Finance Act 2006. She was also appointed by the Court of Protection to act as finance deputy for a client with severe brain injury.¬†¬†'I was very pleased with the level of service and the quick response', says a client of consultant Trevor George. Senior solicitor Anna Turner¬†is also recommended for the administration of complex estates.

‚ÄėSolid, reliable and very traditional firm'¬†Hunt & Coombs LLP¬†has a private client department that is ‚Äėcompetitively priced, professional and approachable'. The firm's wills, tax, trusts and probate practice operates seamlessly across all of its regional offices and Peterborough is home to a key partner in¬†Henry Anstey, who¬†‚Äėgenuinely cares about his clients and how much he saves them'. He is a STEP member and his broad practice includes many matters for elderly clients. He¬†is praised for being 'excellent in long-term care issues and complicated wills and trusts'.¬†Senior solicitor¬†John Wright¬†and solicitor¬†Andrea Harrod¬†are also recommended. Last year, the practice handled the estate of a successful businessman with substantial shareholdings and corporate trusts. This involved a complex valuation and¬†Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act claims.

Hegarty LLP is known for its knowledgeable and experienced private client lawyers, particularly those dealing with probate matters for high-value and complex estates, many of which have cross-border elements. Another key strength is its work on estate planning for high-net-worth individuals with agricultural and business assets. Greg Baker leads the practice and has 20 years' experience in complex wills, probate, powers of attorney, care fee funding issues, continuing NHS healthcare issues and personal capital taxation matters. STEP-qualified associate Jo Wild is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and her work for elderly clients includes wills, powers of attorney, probate and care fee planning. Solicitor Emma Carter is also recommended.


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