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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Private client > Agriculture and estates > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Hewitsons’ ‘exceptional’ team counts large landed estates and major agricultural producers among its clients and ‘understands the issues affecting farms and agricultural estates’. The ‘accessible’ Gareth Williams jointly heads the practice with Denise Wilkinson in Cambridge. Senior solicitor Stephanie Dennis is also recommended. In an illustration of the uptick in development-related mandates, Williams recently advised a client on the sale of a property to two house builders, involving seven landowners who had previously entered into a promotion agreement through which the promoter had obtained a planning permission for the sale of the land for residential development. Williams also led in assisting a landed estate client with the surrender and re-grant of an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy. Clients include Merton College, Oxford, Castle Ashby Estate and Cubley Estate.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s expertise covers agricultural tenancies, minerals leases, and sales and acquisitions of land and easements. Practice head Françoise Vandale handles options and leases in connection with wind farms and a broad spread of utilities and telecommunications work at the intersection with agricultural law. David Wood specialises in inheritance tax and capital gains tax advice, including deeds of variation of estates as well as gifts and leasebacks of chattels. Andrew Fearn is now a consultant.

The ‘excellent’ team at Roythornes Solicitors handles a varied caseload covering commercial property mandates, sustainable energy projects, joint ventures, common agricultural policy work, dispute resolution and succession and tax planning for farm businesses. Poultry business structures and land transactions are areas of particular strength. Julie Robinson heads the team from Alconbury, which includes ‘highly experienced’ litigator Tim Russ, who ‘has excellent judgement’ and ‘brings specialist agricultural expertise to bear on trust and estate issues’; litigation ‘heavyweight’ Alan Plummer; vegetable and potato production expert Simeon Disley; and property specialist Tom Foottit. Foottit recently advised a client on a phased disposal of a substantial agricultural and equestrian estate, involving among other things issues with the Rural Payments Agency. Paul Thompson joined from Freeths LLP .

The ‘thoroughly professional team’ at Wilkin Chapman LLP demonstrates strength across a range of agricultural law and estates matters, including litigation, tax and trusts, employment and family law. Practice head Catherine Harris is especially well-versed in large-scale transactions, farming subsidies and agriculture environmental schemes, tenancy matters and succession and restructuring work. Acquisition specialist Flora Bennett and property and energy expert Jonty Pearson are noted alongside litigator Andrew Holt who is ‘unstinting and meticulous in his work’. Recent highlights include advising Bray and Sons as landlord on the negotiation and grant of a 25-year lease of a property for the purpose of using it for development and an anaerobic digestion plant. Other clients include Stourton Estates.

The ‘excellent’ Arnold Thomson is noted for providing ‘specialist and practical guidance to landowners and occupiers on a wide range of agricultural and development matters’.  The ‘personable and professional’ team has expanded its spectrum of work from its core expertise in agricultural property and rural estate mandates to commercial and residential property and wills, probate, tax and trusts matters. The team’s deep bench includes head of agriculture Mike Thomson, ‘very knowledgeable’ residential property expert Matt Hawkins, and newly promoted director and chartered legal executive Kate Austin. Christine Simkins and Nadiya Virani-Bland are names to note for commercial property and private client work, respectively.

Praised for its ‘first-class service’, BHW Solicitors' practice focuses on development work, covering s106, promotion and option agreements, property acquisitions and disposals, tenancy work and succession planning. Renewable energy agreements and secured lending in relation to agricultural property are other key strengths. ‘Very professional and thorough’ practice head Kate Chorley recently acted alongside Ian Sanders, who joined from Nelsons Solicitors Limited, on the sale of land to Keller New Homes for residential development. James Coles and Sons, Boolers and Moneything Capital are also clients.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and diligent’ team assists  individuals, corporations, trusts, charities, central government agencies and other public sector bodies with high-value land transactions and energy-related mandates, in addition to advising on regulatory and tax matters. Robert Wofinden and William Colacicchi head the team, with Richard Barlow providing key support in environmental matters. Barlow assisted the Welsh government with the issuing of a remediation notice to a landowner who had dug a pond on an area of alkaline fen, a site of significant conservation importance, thereby breaching the Environmental Impact Assessment Wales Regulations 2007. Other clients include the Belvoir Estate, Natural England and The National Trust. Catherine Rustomji’s recent arrival from DWF bolstered the group’s charity expertise.

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