The Legal 500

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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Aaron & Partners LLP advises owners and tenant farmers on matters including disposals, acquisitions and agricultural tenancies. David Harries and Simon Ellis are recommended.

Led by Rupert Jackson in Liverpool and Charles Hansford in Preston, Brabners LLP’s ‘personable’ team is noted for being ‘thorough in the details’. The practice covers sale and purchase transactions, agricultural tenancies, and environmental issues. Ross Shine is singled out, as is associate Helen Ryan.

Headed by the ‘excellentDavid Young, the team at Hibberts LLP advised on farm sales and purchases, succession issues, auctions and easements, and partnership dissolution and land disputes. Tom Price and Michael Ward are singled out for praise on the contentious side.

Knights Professional Services Limited is experienced in land purchases, leases and disposals, and assists agricultural landowners in relation to estate management matters and renewable energy developments. It also advises on the registration of sporting and mineral rights. Team head Richard Williams has ‘a great reputation’.

Tony Collinson heads the team at JWK Solicitors, which has ‘wide and deep knowledge’.

At Myerson Solicitors LLP, team head Chris Porter was promoted to partner, and is ‘easy to talk to and very quick to assess problems’.

Andrew Holden leads the team at Napthens LLP, and works across the firm’s Blackburn and Penrith offices.

The team at Walker Smith Way Legal Part of Slater and Gordon is led by Huw Davies. Paul Makinson was promoted to partner.

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Stephen Claus’ ‘pre-eminent’ team at Brabners LLP assists charities and social enterprises, educational institutions and religious bodies on contentious and non-contentious matters. Claus is ‘fantastic’, and solicitor Graeme Hughes is ‘very accessible and professional’. The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO) and Autism Initiatives UK are clients.

DWF is instructed by clients such as Manchester Grammar School Foundation and The MS Society, and covers governance and constitutional issues, and assists on structuring, incorporation and trustee duties. Richard St John Williams joined Trowers & Hamlins LLP in May 2015, and Kevin Jaquiss is now a consultant.

Led by Steven Grant, the ‘strong’ department at Pannone Corporate LLP acted for clients such as UK Biobank, Northwards Housing, Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust, and Wythenshawe Forum Trust. Udo Pope is also recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP, as well as handling mainstream charity law work, advises charities in areas such as real estate, litigation, employment and insolvency. Yorke Eaton is singled out for praise.

Hill Dickinson LLP is instructed by small and medium-sized charity clients such as Big Life Group, Durand Academy Trust and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society. Mark Fitzgibbon is recommended.

Graham Wood leads the team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP, which acts for Stoller Charitable Trust and DanceSyndrome, among others.

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

With ‘a strong reputation for contentious trusts and probate work’, the team at Mills & Reeve LLP covers disputes over the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors, and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, as well as advising charities on contested legacy matters. It acted for entrepreneur Brian Kennedy in a high-profile trust dispute. Simon Pedley is ‘a careful and intelligent litigator.

Pannone Corporate LLPalways keeps the client informed and up to date’. Nicola Marchant is ‘empathetic to the needs of the client, and possesses an approachable manner and a warm character’. The team acts for claimants, executors and beneficiaries in claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, and assists estates in contentious probate matters.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s team acts for clients such as Funeral Services Limited, The Co-operative Group, HSBC Trust Company (UK), and Barclays Bank Trust Company. Yorke Eaton is ‘personable, highly responsive and effective’.

The ‘well-established’ department at Brabners LLP has experience in areas such as the validity of wills and trusts, and claims for provision for dependants. Jeff Lewis heads the team, and Richard Bate is ‘first rate’.

DWF acts for professional trustees and trust companies in relation to wills, probate, powers of attorney, and complex inheritance matters, and ‘provides clear direction’. Chris King is ‘clear and balanced in his advice’, and Paul Davies and team head Joel Heap are also recommended.

Gorvins Solicitors is praised for its ‘quick response times and detailed advice, explained fully’. The practice is led by Mark Deverell and Christine Thornley, who is ‘very experienced and easy to talk to’.

The team at Aaron & Partners LLP has ‘a significant presence’ in the market, and is led by Clive Pointon, who has ‘in-depth expertise’.

Sean Williams leads the team at Hill Dickinson LLP, which includes Fionnuala Kenny and Jane Lee.

Led by Andrew Weinberg, Kuit Steinart Levy LLP acts for owner-managed businesses, family businesses, and high-net-worth individuals. Cyril Rose is ‘fantastic’, and Graham Wood is also recommended.

The ‘timely’ and ‘very responsive’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP includes Tim Norman and Adam Maher.

Team head Rebecca Sharp at Slater Heelis LLP is ‘excellent’, and Helen Brown is ‘a gritty litigator who is equally adept at handling clients and opponents’.

At Stephensons Solicitors LLP, associate Heather Korwin-Szymanowska is ‘exceptionally well prepared and well informed’.


Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

DWF’s ‘strong and committed’ team ‘provides a very effective professional and personal service to clients’. It acts for high-net-worth individuals on a range of matters including divorce, financial claims, disputes involving unmarried couples, and children matters. Department head David Pickering ‘has great technical ability and conducts himself in a pragmatic and approachable manner’; and promoted partner Beverley Jones has ‘significant experience and leadership abilities’, gives ‘informed, sound and realistic’ advice, and provides ‘sympathetic support during stressful proceedings’. Lesley Smythe left the firm.

Led by ‘incredible talentRos Bever, the team at Irwin Mitchellwill go the extra mile for clients’ and has ‘achieved monumental success’, acting in a range of high-profile disputes and complex money cases, often involving significant property portfolios and multi-jurisdictional issues. Fiona Turner joined Weightmans LLP, and Louise Halford left in January 2015 for A&N Care Solicitors.

JMW Solicitors LLP has an ‘outstanding’ team of ‘renowned family law specialists’ with expertise in complex and high-value family and matrimonial cases; they ‘will all fight your corner’ and display ‘skill, insight and tenacity’. Catherine Jones and Beth Wilkins are ‘incredibly experienced’; James Brownleaves no stone unturned’; and Sam Hall is ‘first rate’.

Led by Nigel Shepherd, the ‘personable and approachable’ three-partner team at Mills & Reeve LLP is rated as ‘one of the best in Manchester for family work. Its expertise includes complex finance cases and matters with an international element, and it has ‘a growing reputation for mediation’. Alison Bull’s ‘enormous intellect is more than matched by her street wisdom’, and Robin Charrot is ‘excellent’.

Slater and Gordon’s ‘slick and efficient’ practice was significantly enhanced by the arrival of the group from Pannone, which ‘seals an awe-inspiring team’. It is recommended for large and complex family law cases, and has specialist expertise in areas such as surrogacy and international adoption. The ‘intuitiveAndrew Newbury heads the department. Liz Cowell is ‘massively respected in the North West’; Amanda McAlister is ‘an excellent team leader’; Sarah Thompson is ‘very capable’; Beverley Darwent is ‘very client focused’; and Fiona Wood is noted for her ‘pragmatic advice, robust responses to the other side, and good overall case management’.

An ‘incredible force in family law’, Weightmans LLP has ‘a team of very efficient, intelligent, expert lawyers’, who are ‘very able’, particularly on technically and financially complex matters. Carole Atkinson is ‘calm, sensible and well organised’ and ‘at the top of her game’; Emma Collins is ‘first class’; Fiona Davidson is ‘extremely professional and understanding in her approach’; and Tina Dunn is ‘a very thoughtful lawyer with exceptionally good client care skills’. The highly praised Fiona Turner joined from Irwin Mitchell.

Brabners LLP has ‘a very thoughtful, intelligent team dedicated to getting the very best for its clients’; ‘the merits of a case are analysed clearly and kept under constant review’. ‘Outstanding’ regional team head Helen Marriott has ‘superb knowledge’, and Paula Milburnpresents every one of her clients’ cases without leaving unturned any stone that may advantage them’. Lindsay Yateman joined Hillyer McKeown in July 2014.

At Hill Dickinson LLP, department head Tricia Cottrell is experienced in complex financial remedy work and prenuptial agreements. Associate Joanne Raisbeck ‘has a strong following and is on top of her game in terms of financial work’.

Niche firm James Maguire & Co is ‘thoroughly well prepared and easy to work with’. James Maguire ‘is a real details man, and has a calm presence that works very well with clients’.

At Laytons, department head Christine Barker is ‘extremely well regarded’, and Emma Gill is ‘tenacious in her dealings with tricky legal issues and helpfully no-nonsense in her approach’.

Noted for its ‘strength in depth’, Stephensons Solicitors LLP has ‘a truly professional approach’. Noted ‘expert’ Mike Devlin heads the department, with Andrew Mountain and Amanda Rimmer leading on childcare and matrimonial matters respectively.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s practice is led by the ‘excellent’ Richard Barge, and includes Lorraine Saunders, who is also recommended.

Cassell Moore’s department is led by the ‘brilliant’ Pauline McNamara, and covers a range of matrimonial and children law cases.

Farleys Solicitors LLP advises in relation to marital agreements, divorce, children law and domestic abuse. Team head Antonia Love has ‘a commanding knowledge of the law’, is ‘pragmatic and realistic when pitching her case’, and ‘takes no prisoners’.

Helen Shirbon heads the team at Forbes Solicitors, which focuses on complex matrimonial cases and children law matters. Associate Judith Wright has ‘consummate skill and forensic rigour’.

Gorvins Solicitors is experienced in matrimonial matters, including private children law disputes,divorce matters and prenuptial agreements, and has a niche in police divorce work. Team head Sally Leaman ‘stands out for her calm and reassuring approach’.

Linder Myers LLP’s ‘extremely professional and knowledgeable’ department is led by Tony Broadley, and advises on high-net-worth divorces, and on children matters. Colin Davies and Sarah McCarthy are recommended, along with associate Karen Leadbetter, who has ‘exceptionally strong negotiation skills backed up with years of experience in handling difficult proceedings’.

Shelley Chesworth and Nicola McInnes head the department at SAS Daniels LLP following the departure of Shelley Hesford, who was appointed as a District Judge. Denise Woodward is noted for ‘her commitment to resolving family disputes in a mature and civilised fashion’.

Ward Hadawayis making big strides in the Manchester matrimonial scene’, with a ‘first-rate’ department led by Martin Karran and Michael Chapman, who is ‘one to watch’.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Led by Mark Feeny, Brabners LLP’s ‘proactive’ and ‘forward-thinking’ department delivers ‘exceptional client service’ and acts for a growing client base of high-net-worth individuals, family-owned businesses and landed estates. Manchester team head Richard Bate is ‘very personable and approachable, and able to explain complex planning to clients in a way they understand’. The ‘brilliantStephen Marriott heads the Preston-based team. In Liverpool, Duncan Bailey is ‘very well prepared’ and senior associate Louise Scholes is ‘first class’. Paul Lochery joined as a consultant, through the firm’s acquisition of Lawson Coppock & Hart; David Tournafond is now with Bermans.

Hill Dickinson LLP shows ‘good technical knowledge and sound commercial thinking, with a view to finding solutions’. Led by Sean Williams, who ‘has the ability to understand the client’s real needs’, the team advises on wills, trusts, capital tax planning, and contentious and non-contentious trust and estate administration. Paul Baker is noted for his ‘clarity of thought and advice’, and Jane Lee and Fionnuala Kenny are also singled out for praise. Mike Quinn is now a consultant.

The ‘personable and approachable’ team at Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘one of the strongest in the region’. It is led by the ‘outstanding’ Deborah Clark, and includes Zahra Siddiqui, who ‘has the ability to converse with clients at all levels, and to get across complex information in a clear and concise manner’. Tony Hall is ‘first rate’.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is led by Clive Pointon and noted for high-value tax and estate planning work.

The ‘extremely knowledgeableYorke Eaton heads the team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, which has a focus on the owner-managed and family business sector, advising on capital taxes and succession planning. It also acts for a number of institutional clients.

At DWF, team head Paul Davies’ ‘multi-disciplined background and pragmatism provide solutions, guidance and planning that are workable and tailored’. Consultant Alan Sturrock is also recommended. Geoffrey Shindler retired in 2014, and former department head Graham Ball joined Irwin Mitchell in March 2015.

The team at Gorvins Solicitors is ‘very approachable and caring, and certainly puts its clients at the heart of everything it does’, acting in areas such as succession planning, trust planning for families with disabled children, and statutory wills. The practice is led by Valerie Bown and Christine Thornley, who is ‘compassionate yet sensible when having to make difficult decisions’. Consultant Moira Percival is also noted.

Excellent niche practiceHugh Jones Solicitors focuses on specialist Court of Protection, mental capacity and private client work. ‘A real leader in his field’, Hugh Jonesreally knows his clients and what the issues are’. At senior associate level, Carol McBride is ‘intelligent, helpful and reassuring’, and Elizabeth Hughes is ‘outstanding’.

JMW Solicitors LLP’s ‘highly experienced’ team is led by Elaine Roche, who acts for SMEs and sports and media personalities. Senior associate Tasnim Khalid has ‘an excellent understanding of client needs and expectations’, and is experienced in Shari’ah-compliant matters.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP is ‘outstanding’ on international matters, and has particular expertise in the UK Swiss Tax Co-operation Treaty, the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility, and other areas of offshore asset disclosure. Robert Levy, Graham Wood and Cyril Rose are recommended.

Highly rated for its in-depth Court of Protection expertise’, the team at Linder Myers LLP is ‘highly experienced and provides a professional service’. Simon Heapy is ‘an excellent practitioner’, and Andrew Cusworth is ‘outstanding’.

As well as advising on estate administration, wills and wealth planning, SAS Daniels LLP is ‘excellent for Court of Protection work’, and experienced in care fee funding matters, including NHS funding claims. Team head Justine Clowes and Bik-ki Irving are recommended. Lawrence Tudin has retired.

Led by Andrew Newbury, Slater and Gordon has ‘an outstanding Court of Protection department’. Lucy Nicol is ‘first class’, and Gillian Hitchen and Richard Copson are also noted. Former team head Liz Braude joined Laytons in January 2015.

Paul Horton’s ‘experienced’ team at Weightmans LLP is noted for its expertise in trusts and tax planning, complex wills and offshore matters.

Forbes Solicitors welcomed the arrival of Patricia Prescott from Latimer Lee LLP in February 2015. Associate Victoria Motley is also recommended.

Knights Professional Services Limitedplaces great emphasis on the client’s service level and the overall experience’. Senior associate Rachel Watkinson now heads the team, after the departure of Ian Sydenham to FDR Law.

Ian Burman heads the team at Laytons, which is ‘very approachable, with a comprehensive grasp of the subject matter and relevant law’. Steven Appleton is ‘a delight to deal with and ever patient, with very good client skills, a depth of legal knowledge, and an ability to spot potential problems’. The ‘very experienced’ Liz Braude joined from Pannone in January 2015; Philip Laidlow is now with Gateley Plc.

Myerson Solicitors LLP assists high-net-worth clients in tax planning matters, and is also active in the administration of high-value estates. Amanda Freeman heads the team.

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