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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 > Personal tax, trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Browne Jacobson LLP is praised by clients for the ‘range and depth of its expertise’. Led by the ’extremely accessibleLucy Worwood, the department is engaged by business owners for succession advice and ownership structuring, and it also assists large estates with business, agricultural and tax issues, including the maximisation of the benefits of business and agricultural relief for inheritance tax purposes. Additional pillars of the practice are offshore trusts and trust structuring.

Practice head(s):Lucy Worwood;

Other key lawyers:William Colacicchi;, Wenna Thompson;


'Browne Jacobson provide legal expertise across all sectors, both public and private and have excellent teams who specialise in their own specific fields. Their size enables them to offer more expansive advice and knowledge than some smaller firms'.

'Browne Jacobson LLP provide a first class service. Their work as a team is seamless and they are meticulous with the detail, their response times are excellent with strong industry knowledge'.

'Lucy Worwood has the skill of explaining even complicated legal issues in simple English, and is meticulous with the detail, never failing to dot an 'i' or cross a 't'. Her work is always of the highest standard'.

'They have excellent knowledge of complex trusts'.

'Wenna Thompson is friendly, knowledgeable and applies a pragmatic common sense to the application of the law.'

The ‘very professional’ team at Geldards LLP, which 'thinks outside of the box’, advises entrepreneurs who have amassed their own wealth on legacy planning and wealth preservation. Accountants, professional tax advisers and financial advisers are also among the firm's clients. Erica Thomson, who is an expert in wealth preservation and tax planning, jointly leads the practice alongside Jaclyn Barnes. Barnes specialises in trust creation, the administration of complex probates and lifetime tax and estate planning.

Practice head(s):Erica Thomson; Jaclyn Barnes;


'Erica Thomson is very approachable, on your side and quick to respond to queries'.

'Erica Thomson is extremely professional, personable, competent and knowledgeable'.

Work highlights

  • Represented the client in the administration of an estate of £4m assets in five jurisdictions.
  • Represented the client in the administration of her late father’s £4m estate; the father was non-resident and the majority of the assets were located in Switzerland.
  • Representing the trustees in the administration of two trusts totalling £8m.
  • Represented the client in establishing a family investment company.
  • Advising client with business assets on estate planning and business succession and protecting family wealth for next generation.

The ‘extremely professional’ practice at Hewitsons has maintained an ‘excellent local reputation over numerous years’. Inheritance tax planning, trust reorganisation and administration, overseas assets and capital gains tax are among its specialist areas. The ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘thoroughClare Colacicchi is a standout name and is highly recommended for trust, tax and property advice in relation to landed estates. She is also an expert on capital taxes. Associate Antonia Cooper is active in a broad range of private client matters and is valued for her 'knowledge' and 'professionalism'.

Practice head(s):Daniel Curtis;

Other key lawyers:Clare Colacicchi; Catherine Ball; Carolyn Bagley; Antonia Cooper;


'Strong attention to detail. Always quick to respond to queries and easy to make appointments. Excellent reputation locally over many years'.

'They are caring and understanding. Relate well with individual needs'.

'Antonia Cooper and Catherine Ball's knowledge is valued and they are professional throughout'.

'Clare Colacicchi is most efficient, thorough, very approachable and trustworthy'.

'Clare Colacicchi is always willing to help and advise. She makes one feel at ease and makes sure any issues are clearly explained'.

Rothera Sharp Solicitors fields a ‘friendly, approachable and professional’ team. Illustrative of its breadth of expertise, it advises on asset protection, will execution, estate administration, trusts, inheritance tax and tax planning. Practice head Jayne Smith has specialist knowledge of probate, powers of attorney and the Court of Protection; her team is particularly reputed within the charity sector.

Practice head(s):Jayne Smith;

Other key lawyers:Christina Yardley; Karen Hayward;


'They are caring, respectful and work with the client so that the customer experience is excellent. They are responsive and follow up on matters and always do it with warmth and a smile'.


Work highlights

  • Advised client on an estate worth £1.3 million where a deed of variation enabled them to claim an additional nil rate band and save the estate £50,000 in inheritance tax.
  • Advised clients on an estate where there was a dispute over ownership of a property left in a will to The National Trust with a successful outcome.
  • Advising the daughter of the deceased, whose family had been administering his £1.9 million estate for more than two years in the belief he had died without issue, to take over the administration and pursue her rights as sole beneficiary.

Clients regard Roythornes Solicitors as a ‘market leader in the regions in which it operates’. Noted for its land and farming focus, the team specialises in estate administration involving agricultural and business assets as well as will preparation, capital tax planning, Court of Protection matters, Stamp Duty Land Tax advice and business succession. The elderly client sector is also a key strength, with the group possessing expert knowledge in managing incapacity. Names to note are Elizabeth YoungJarred WrightSarah Banner and Paul Thompson.

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Young; Jarred Wright; Sarah Banner; Paul Thompson;


'Jarred Wright is an exceptional private client lawyer with a particular emphasis on farmers and landed estates'.

' A well focused team on the clients requirements and ability to be pro-active in their approach'.

'Good working relationship and sensible practical advice from the relevant partners and associates'.

'They fully understand the objective of their client instructions and help in a number of ways to achieve that objective'.

Work highlights

  • A technical estate matter dealing with life interests and advising executors.
  • A very complex probate application requiring expertise in the foreign domicile status of the deceased.
  • A complex £2m estate which required the set-up of a trust to protect the assets for one of the beneficiaries.
  • A detailed will and LPA matter which on investigation required the amendment of partnership  agreements to ensure clients were not penalised.
  • Advice was given in respect of the complex SDLT provisions of Schedule 15 Finance Act 2003 on a proposed £25m land purchase.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP acts for a wide range of clients, such as high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and families with inherited wealth. The scope of its work is also varied, spanning wealth management, tax planning, trust creation and administration, high-value deputyships and succession planning. Also notable is that farming clients value the team's expertise in Agricultural Property Relief and other sector specific areas. Suzanne Leggott and Virginia Harvey jointly lead the practice which includes the highly recommended Sarah Brack, a specialist in assisting elderly and vulnerable clients in addition to Court of Protection matters.

Practice head(s):Suzanne Leggott; Virginia Harvey;

Other key lawyers:Paul Horton; Mark Dunkley;

Actons’ practice is ‘characterised by understanding, professionalism, speed and efficiency’. Mandy Kelly heads up 'an extremely competent team' and her knowledge of trust and estate planning is 'outstanding’. The team is also well-regarded for wills, Court of Protection matters, Powers of Attorney, elderly client issues and tax planning. Clients ‘cannot speak too highly’ of recently promoted associate Bindiya Patel.

Practice head(s):Mandy Kelly;

Other key lawyers:Bindiya Patel;


'An effective, well-managed practice'.

'Mandy Kelly is concise, hands on and effectively very good in her client relationship'.

'Actons provide a very personal service to their clients and in particular with regard to the private client team who deal with trusts and wills'.

Work highlights

  • Dealing with all aspects of a multi-million pound, complex estate from the early and unexpected death of the deceased to the conclusion of the administration.
  • Dealing with a multi-million pound UK estate with international assets.
  • Administering a self-created, multi-million pound trust created by a high-net worth client.
  • Hospital bed will involving extra safeguards to ensure client had capacity and was not swayed by family members.
  • Dealing with a £1m+ value UK estate with a significant business element.

Flint Bishop LLP routinely acts on tax planning for high-net-worth individuals, and it also covers wills, estate administration, probate, trusts, Court of Protection and elderly client matters. Led by Claire Rudkin, the practice is increasingly active in cross-border matters and represents business owners, entrepreneurs and farmers, among others.

Practice head(s):Claire Rudkin;

Other key lawyers:Kirsten Wood; Will Harper;


'They are very professional, very knowledgeable, always meet their deadlines and always stay in touch'.

'Kirsten Wood is absolutely first class in terms of knowledge, timeliness of preparing the complex documents and advice'.  

Freeths LLP fields dedicated teams for tax and estate planning, trust administration, probate and wills. Trusts and inheritance tax are also core strengths, as is estate administration, including matters with a cross-border element. Scott McKittrick heads up the practice, which was bolstered in 2018 by the arrival of senior associate Charlotte Royal from Browne Jacobson LLP ; she adds to the team’s strengths in technical trust and tax issues.

Practice head(s):Scott McKittrick;

Other key lawyers:Nigel Cullen OBE; Charlotte Royal;

Langleys Solicitors LLP is home to an ‘excellent trust and probate team’. It is acclaimed for its ‘in-depth knowledge of inheritance tax’, particularly in relation to the agricultural sector and business relief. It also has expertise in capital gains tax and onshore trusts, as well as elderly client and Court of Protection work. David Wood and Amy Allison lead the practice, which is also sought out for complex wills. Amanda Voakes departed to join Chattertons.

Practice head(s):David Wood; Amy Allison;


'Amy Allinson  is brilliant. Hester Mills is exceptional'

'David Wood has a wealth of knowledge in inheritance tax, planning and private client work. He can engage with clients, helping them to understand the actions being taken, whilst providing an overall professional pragmatic approach to IHT and will planning'.

Work highlights

  • Dissolving a trust including farmland, potential development sites and a farming business.
  • Advice concerning restructuring of land holdings and the creation of a new partnership.
  • Inheritance Tax Planning including properties in Scotland.
  • Complex probate and administration of estate consisting of farmland and a share in a farming business.
  • Advising Trustees and administration of three high value family trusts,

Nelsons Solicitors Limited provides high-net-worth clients and partner organisations with planning options in relation to inheritance tax. Also among its caseload is high-value trust administration work, independent investment advice and asset protection. Jane Sutherland serves as the overall practice head. The firm is also home to a dedicated Court of Protection team, which is led by Richard Grosberg.

Practice head(s):Jane Sutherland;

Other key lawyers:Richard Grosberg; Helen Salisbury; Nadia Faki; Craig Staten-Spencer; Catherine McCannah;


'The team is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. They have always answered queries promptly'.

'Helen Salisbury and Craig Staton-Spencer are both experienced, explain things clearly and thoroughly and do additional research when required. Both are friendly while remaining professional'.

'There is excellent communication with all members of the team. If one is off then always someone to help'.

'Richard Grosberg is highly knowledgeable and experienced. He is able to see the whole picture and provides proactive advice'.

'Catherine McCannah on wills and inheritance tax issues has always been a pleasure to deal with and I have been impressed by the amount of homework she has obviously done prior to each consultation'.

Wilkin Chapman LLP is home to a team of ‘accessible lawyers with the right expertise and a practical approach’. Renowned for its agricultural and trust knowledge, the practice also assists clients with estate planning (specifically in relation to family succession), asset protection, tax mitigation and mental capacity issues. The practice also acts for a number of vulnerable and elderly clients, supporting them on care provision issues. Lisa-Jane Howes heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):Lisa-Jane Howes;

Other key lawyers:Imogen Fay Holmes; Emma Carr;


'Keen interest and attention to detail in identifying and managing requirements and meeting expectations with a view to building relationships and delivering results'.

'Imogen Fay Holmes has a natural empathy and adapts her approach to suit client needs'.

'Imogen Fay Holmes is conscientious, knowledgeable in the administration of trusts and estates and very prompt in replying to any correspondence or queries.  She is also very approachable, uses plain English and understands the requirements of charities, making her very easy to deal with'.

At Wilson Browne Solicitors, core pillars of the practice include the administration of estates, trusts and tax planning, powers of attorney and wills. Its team also has specialist knowledge of the charity sector, where it acts as trustee and clerk to trustees in relation to various charity-related trusts. The group, which is led by Neelam Maher, also acts for a number of elderly clients. Court of Protection matters are another strength, with the firm having a dedicated department in this area.

Practice head(s):Neelam Maher;

Other key lawyers:Vicki Pearce;


'They are approachable, understanding, compassionate and fair'.

'Always a friendly relaxed approach, which suggests no time restraints.  Followed by a professional informative advice if needed'.

'Vicki Pearce and the team within the private client department take time to understand the client's requirements, situation and provide clear and focused advice'.

'The Court of Protection team has a much better command of health and welfare matters than other CoP teams who practice solely as Deputies'.

'Vicki Pearce is efficient and hugely professional at all times'.

Work highlights

  • Complex estate administration with contentious intricacies.
  • An intestacy matter with unknown beneficiaries and administrators.
  • Acting as trustees in relation to a 50% share of a property whilst the other 50% remains in contentious proceedings.
  • Administration of intestacy estate involving 28 beneficiaries.
  • Estate administration with missing beneficiaries.

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