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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 > North West > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

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

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Charles Hansford - Brabners LLP
    • Rupert Jackson - Brabners LLP
    • Richard Williams - Knights plc

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in North West 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.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Aaron & Partners LLP 's ’ team is ‘highly rated’. Practice head Simon Ellis heads an excellent team and David Harries  is well regarded for his work on rural diversification schemes. The group attracts praise for its ‘particular expertise in the renewables sector’. Richard Forrester  regularly advises landlords and tenants on all aspects of the Agricultural Holdings Act. In addition the private client team is well placed to assist farmers and rural landowners on inheritance tax and other financial planning issues. Recent highlights included continuing to advise John Holford Charity about the mineral rights for sand extraction over farmland in East Cheshire. It is also advising Dŵr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) on a proposed extension of water treatment works. This work entails advising on a development over common land just outside the Snowdonia National Park. Other key clients include Chester Zoo, Denbighshire County Council and Chester Diocesan Board of Finance. The skilled team advises on all of the issues that affect farms, farm partnerships, estates and local authorities. It is also adept at advising on opportunities for alternative energy such as wind turbines.

At Brabners LLP Rupert Jackson  is praised for his ‘rapid and considered responses’. Charles Hansford and associate Helen Ryan  ‘are always able to provide a range of solutions to the various problems that arise on an agricultural estate. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience they can draw upon and they provide their advice in a ‘user friendly’ way’. Hansford is ‘particularly excellent on mineral rights and makes sure that every aspect is considered and covered – he leaves no stone unturned’. He also routinely advises on all types of commercial property issues including landlord and tenant, sales and acquisitions, corporate support and the development of renewable energy projects. Jackson is vastly experienced at advising on land management and on landed estates. He regularly acts for individuals, trusts and companies on a broad of issues on estate management such as on complex rights, title, renewable options and all other matters that affect rural holdings.

Michael Ward  heads the department at Hibberts LLP  following Edward Nutting's departure. The department is known for its specialist skills in transactions where there is unregistered title and is adept at advising on other matters such as tax planning, options and all types of tenancies, licenses and occupation agreements. The practice also advises on easements, wayleaves, above ground installations and on mineral rights. Highlights included acting for numerous major farming/dairy operators and organisations in relation to their farming businesses and on their diversification needs, and handling complex succession cases for both landlord and tenants. Ward acted in a high-value Inheritance Act claim in the High Court with attendant satellite litigation that revolved around land swaps and the removal of hostile trustees. David Young has retired.

Amanda Freeman   heads a ‘very amenable, knowledgeable, sensible and well-informed’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP  that ‘overall provides a very high level of service’. Freeman has many years of experience of dealing with a wide range of private client matters for its rural clients with particular expertise in acting for high-net-worth individuals. The ‘very experienced’ Andrew Chapman  is ‘always available and is very quick at getting his head around complex problems. He then produces good solutions and is also very nice to deal with’. Chapman routinely advises rural landowners and farmers on a myriad of property issues including on the development of land for residential development and on diversification issues. He also frequently advises on the granting of option agreements, on the sale and purchase of land and on the granting of easements over land. The ‘knowledgeable and approachable’  Jane Tenquist has significant experience of dealing with divorces that involve farms, agricultural land, trusts and businesses and Andrew Brown  regularly advises on partnerships, LLPs, shareholder agreements and group reorganisations for its rural clients.

The rural team at Napthens LLP advises on the full range of personal and commercial matters under the leadership of Andrew Holden. The department has various areas of expertise with lawyers who focus on planning/private client, property and commercial issues. Holden has considerable experience of all aspects of land and agricultural property transactions including agricultural tenancies and sales by auction and tender. In addition he routinely deals with the leading agricultural banks and has been busy advising on sales, purchases and re-mortgages of land of all values. He is also well regarded for his work for developers and landowners on renewable energy projects.

Butcher & Barlow LLP   has a ‘very capable team that is led by experienced and well-known partners’. At the helm is Mike Bracegirdle who has ‘first-hand knowledge of farming matters and can explain things clearly. We have a great deal of faith in his judgement’. The ‘very experienced’ Graham Gigg  has a ‘good reputation and is unsurpassed in his knowledge of this field’. The department has particular expertise in advising land owners in relation to the sale of agricultural land for residential development in Cheshire East and is also well-regarded for its advice on succession planning. It works closely with a number of local accountants.

JWK Solicitors  handles the full array of agricultural matters from farm tenancies and grazing licenses through to environmental and welfare issues for a range of clients nationwide. Anthony Collinson  has ‘comprehensive knowledge of his chosen field and is a very good communicator’. The team is also adept at handling high value and complex matters often with an international dimension. It acted as trustee of a farm estate and several residential properties. On this matter it successfully negotiated a settlement with the advisors of the deceased life tenant and with the Revenue. In another highlight it advised its client who owned a landed estate about various works of art of national interest that were held in the estate.

SAS Daniels LLP  handles a diverse range of legal services to farmers with particular expertise in energy, construction and a niche specialism in regulatory food law. The practice routinely handles the buying and selling of agricultural land, advises on agricultural tenancies as well as on easements for landowners and on unregistered agricultural land. It is also adept at advising on unregistered agricultural land and on the surrender of Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies. In a recent highlight the team assisted a landowner who needed advice on various matters such as a promotion and sale agreement and a pension scheme. Helen Gowin, James Goddard and senior associate Hannah Leese  are recommended.


Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  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
    • Graeme Hughes - Brabners LLP

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in North West 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.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Brabners LLP has the ‘very best charity lawyers in the North West; the level and breadth of expertise is second to none across a whole range of issues’. The ‘very pragmatic’ Stephen Claus is a ‘recognised leader in this field. He is calm, collected and immensely knowledgeable, with real insider knowledge of charities law and how the Charities Commission works’. Associate Graeme Hughes is ‘very professional and accommodating. His pragmatism, sound advice and wisdom facilitate the smooth managing of complex matters’. Property partner Angela Clearkin frequently assists on property transactions relating to charity matters. The ‘exemplary’ team works with charities and third sector clients as well as registered providers (housing associations). It also has particular expertise in advising high-net-worth individuals and sports personalities on their charitable giving with many charitable foundations of sports clubs. It also advises a range of other charities that undertake activities relating to sport. Robert Nieri recently joined as partner from Freeths LLP in the East Midlands.

At Kuit Steinart Levy LLP  ‘everything it does is cooperative, innovative and the team is prompt at responding to all our queries’. Practice head Graham Wood  has a ‘great understanding of charities law and has immense clarity of thought and invaluable technical expertise’. The team advises on the full range of issues such as on the establishment of new charitable trusts, companies and other entities, charity governance and constitutional issues as well as contested legacies and gift aid advice. The firm is also skilled at advising charities on commercial contracts, commercial property, disputes and on employment issues. Newly promoted partner Lauren Clyne  advises on charity law issues such as on the establishment of new charities. The team continues to advise the Stoller Charitable Trust on all its legal requirements, and acts for DanceSyndrome,  is a charity aimed at enabling the learning disabled to lead and participate in dance classes.

Pannone Corporate LLP advises a large number of charitable and other social enterprise clients. Senior associate Gareth Birch  ‘responds quickly to queries and has a detailed knowledge of the various issues’. Birch acts for several charities on the acquisition and disposal of retail property together with general portfolio management and also deals with the property aspects of charity restructuring. He also routinely advises the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Blackpool and North Lancashire branch on various issues. On charity matters Karl Williams  (a partner in debt recovery), senior associates Sarah Bazaraa  and Jonny Scholes  and associate Alexandria Winstanley  (all three of whom specialise in dispute resolution) ‘display an excellent work ethic’. Other key clients include Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust, Manchester Foster Care Association and Big Life Group.

The ‘very knowledgeable and extremely personable’ Yorke Eaton  at Addleshaw Goddard  is ‘able to put difficult or complicated issues across to clients in a manner that they understand’. Yorke has wide experience of advising charities on a host of issues including on the establishment and registration of new entities, governance and trustee issues. The team continues to advise NFU Charitable Trust on issues such as commercial contracts, charity land transactions, restructuring issues and dealing with other ad hoc queries. Other active clients include Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Bedingfield’s Trust and National Coal Mining Museum.

Counterculture Partnership LLP   ‘responds promptly to inquiries and gives timely and relevant advice’. Keith Arrowsmith is a ‘very calm, sympathetic and efficient adviser’. It acts for a number of major clients such as Children’s Media Conference, Youth Music Theatre, Manchester College and the National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries.

Michael Young heads the department at Hibberts LLP. The group specialises in complex charity and unregistered conveyancing. In these matters it is assisted by the firm's agriculture and commercial property departments.

Hill Dickinson LLP acts for a broad range of large, medium and small charitable and not-for-profit organisations as well as social enterprises on various matters such as constitutional issues, governance and employment matters. It also advises these entities on group structurings, fundraising, trading and compliance issues. Mark Fitzgibbon has a strong profile in the North West third sector community. Jeff Middleton advises various charities on employment related matters. Paul Baker advises private clients on tax-efficient philanthropy (such as the creation and administration of private charitable trusts) and Luke Green  frequently advises academy trust company clients on charitable issues. Significant clients include Big Life Group, Amnesty (UK) Group, BHA for Equality and the Manchester Literature Festival.

The ‘knowledgeable’ Paul Knight at Mills & Reeve LLP leads a cross-disciplinary charities team in Manchester. He provides ‘realistic solutions and pragmatic advice. He also takes the time to understand the client’s business and to listen to you as a client’. An impressive roster of clients include BBC Children in Need and the Manchester Young People’s Theatre.Mark Hovell has been leading the advice to the Greater Manchester Sports Partnership (GreaterSport aims to change lives through physical activity and sport). Recently the team has advised GreaterSport on sponsorship terms and has provided specialist charity law advice for inclusion in a report by GreaterSport to a football club on the club’s options for creating a new charitable foundation.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • David Bondt - JMW Solicitors LLP
    • Simon Morris - Brabners LLP
    • Jonny Scholes - Pannone Corporate LLP

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in North West 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.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP  provides ‘both cutting edge and outstanding advice’. Simon Pedley  and associate Ben Reeves  are both ‘excellent’. The ‘efficient and effective team’ deals with disputes about the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors as well as claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Other areas of expertise include advising on other claims about lifetime transactions and advising charities involved in contested legacy matters. The team is adept at handling substantial trust disputes both for onshore and offshore individuals and institutions. It is continuing to advise the executors of the Summers Estate about a very complicated handwritten homemade will. The first issue was whether the will was valid. The two remaining areas of dispute relate to difficult questions of interpretation about the various legacies and also determining the correct recipients of the residuary estate. In another substantial matter it is acting for the recently appointed independent administrator of the estate of the late Mrs. Cadogan who was appointed by court order during bitter litigation between the two former executors. The team is also acting for an Oxbridge College in defending a potential claim by relatives of the deceased.

The team at Pannone Corporate LLP  provides ‘exceptional levels of service’ and ‘detailed and thorough advice at all times’. The ‘extremely helpful and tenacious’ Nicola Marchant heads the practice and provides ‘concise advice that is solution focused; she is both measured and objective in her approach to resolving difficulties’. Senior associate Jonny Scholes is ‘excellent; he is quick to respond and is a real team player’. The practice represents clients both nationally and from abroad on a wide range of issues including contested claims to replace trustees and executors as well as advising on the rectification of trust deeds. Other key areas of expertise include advising on disputes between cohabitees of property about the correct beneficial ownership of property and on applications to court for guidance/directions by trustees and executors. Director Jane Shaw  joined the team from Hill Dickinson LLP .

Addleshaw Goddard  ‘offers a reliable service in contentious trusts and probate matters. The team makes sure that all the aspects of a case are covered to get the best result possible. It is an excellent choice in the North of England for trust and probate matters’. Yorke Eaton  is an ‘experienced private client lawyer with exceptional client handling skills’. Eaton has extensive contentious trusts and estates experience especially in relation to high-value and complex family trusts and landed estates. He also has considerable expertise in multimillion-pound Beddoe applications, variation of Trust Act applications and trusts disputes generally. The ‘efficient and conscientious’ Christopher Noel (a managing associate) ‘gets the job done’. The practice also regularly draws on the expertise of other departments such as the professional negligence, partnership and civil fraud units and as a result is well placed to handle cross-border litigation. It also has a growing practice in acting for charities in the defence of substantial claims under the 1975 Act.

At Brabners LLP  recommended partners include Jeff Lewis  and Paul Lunt who are based at the Manchester and Liverpool offices respectively. Senior associate Simon Morris  is also well-regarded. Morris has a ‘very sound grasp of very complex and convoluted facts together with a good knowledge of the applicable legal principles'. Morris recently advised executors in relation to claims for breach of contract, misrepresentation, constructive trust and promissory estoppel against an estate. In another matter he has been instrumental in resolving complex Inheritance Act claims where minors have been involved. The ‘excellent’ team covers all areas of commercial litigation with specialist expertise in contentious probate specifically on the validity of wills and trusts and on claims for the provision of dependents.

DWF  fields a ‘strong team with excellent industry knowledge’. The ‘very competent’ Chris Gee  and ‘hardworking and thorough’ senior associate Daniel Williams  ‘get a very good grasp of complicated situations and are both realistic in their advice and expectations’. Chris King regularly advises trustees and executors of estates in addition to acting for beneficiaries of trusts and estates and insolvency professionals. Associate Paul Maddock  ‘gives concise and accurate advice’. Its client base includes trustee companies, private banks and charitable trusts such as Hawksford Trustees Jersey and Rathbones Brothers plc as well as private individuals. Its work increasingly has an international and offshore dimension.

Gorvins Solicitors' private client practice routinely works with its litigation, corporate and commercial teams to help clients and is well placed to handle the full range of complex and high value matters. The group regularly advises on issues surrounding fraudulent wills, invalid wills where there are issues of mental capacity at the time of the writing of the will and on problems with executors and trustees. It also handles complex cases where a client leaves an estate but certain assets may have been transferred to other people before the deceased passed away. Mark Deverell and Christine Thornley  are key partners in the practice. Senior associate Michael Smoult  often advises on contentious estates, disputed wills and Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 claims.

Litigation partner Andrew Weinberg at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP  heads the team. Other key members of this specialist group include litigation solicitor Sharon Kelly . Head of tax and probate is the ‘excellent and highly experienced’ Graham Wood  and on the tax side Paul Bricknell regularly advises on contentious trust and estate matters, including inheritance tax issues. The team’s clients are predominantly owner-managed businesses and their owners, family businesses and very high-net-worth individuals. The team is skilled at advising on all aspects of large and complex disputed estates.

Myerson Solicitors LLP   is an ‘expanding firm with an increasing presence in this area’. It is one to watch. The team undertakes a large number of Inheritance Act cases together with complex trusts and private client litigation. Head of team Helen Thompson  ‘puts clients at ease and is bang up to date with the law’. The ‘experienced’ Adam Maher  'guides his clients through a notoriously difficult and technical area of law with skill. He has a knack of explaining difficult concepts in a way that clients find easy to follow’. Thompson has undertaken numerous contentious Court of Protection matters and along with senior solicitor John Lambe regularly advises on proprietary estoppel claims. The team has been retained on 150 active and complex contentious probate cases.

Shoosmiths LLP's  team has a particular specialism in contentious Court of Protection work and has been instructed in numerous multimillion-pound statutory will disputes. In an unusual case that was widely reported in the press the team was instructed in relation to a burial dispute. Ashes from a third party had been buried in the client’s plot and an application for exhumation was made. The application was successful and Daventry District Council was ordered to pay the costs. Adam Draper   is ‘extremely knowledgeable and negotiates well on his clients’ behalf’. He has a ‘good mix of technical knowledge and practical gumption’.

Helen Brown  heads the department at Slater Heelis LLP  and has a large caseload acting on behalf individuals and trustees. Brown advises on issues ranging from the validity of wills and undue influence to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Chris Bishop,  who advises high-net-worth individuals on complex and high-value trust and probate disputes, is ‘approachable and friendly, yet means business when he needs to’. The practice routinely advises on complex disputed wills and trusts as well as on undue influence claims which often involve family companies and businesses.

Clive Pointon   heads the department at Aaron & Partners LLP  and James Wallace leads the contentious probate part of the team. David Mann is ‘quick, efficient and a good communicator’. Wallace specialises in the resolution of disputes involving wills, trusts and estates. He has particular expertise in dealing with challenges to wills, often on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or fraud. He also represents individuals and estates in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

JMW Solicitors LLP’s ‘contentious estates team is technically sound and offers good value for money for individuals, trustees and executors alike’. Senior associate David Bondt  is ‘approachable and friendly’ and garners praise for his ‘extensive knowledge and keen eye for detail’. Recent highlights include securing a settlement in a complex disputed will trust arising from a disagreement between its client (as the beneficiary of the life interest in a property under the trust) and the trustees regarding the terms of the trust and the obligations of the trustees.


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

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Family clients in North West 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.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Brabners LLP  fields ‘an excellent team of exceptional solicitors’ ‘ably led’ by the ‘very thorough, sensible and intelligent' Helen Marriott. Marriott ‘manages very large and complex cases calmly and efficiently; she always sees the bigger picture and does not get embroiled in trivial issues’. Senior associate Joanne Radcliff 'puts clients at ease immediately and conveys detailed legal concepts in an easy to understand manner ‘. Solicitor Leanne Instrall  is ‘calm and gives clear advice’. The department acts for high-net-worth individuals who are business owners, sports and media personalities, lottery winners as well as owners of landed estates and beneficiaries of trusts. It also regularly acts for parents in private law children matters where there are complicated issues of alcohol/drug addiction or allegations of abuse. There is frequently an international element to this work.

Hall Brown Family Law's ‘dynamic practice is at the top of its game; despite its small size it is more than an equal to the much larger and more established firms’. The ‘unflappable’ James Brown  ‘wins the confidence of his clients and the respect of his peers. He sees straight to the issues and gives each case 100%’. The ‘phenomenally bright’ Andrew Newbury is ‘hugely practical and takes really good care of his clients’. Sam Hall  is an ‘excellent strategist and is hard to beat; she is a top-rate lawyer who also has unrivalled experience in matrimonial litigation at the highest level’. Associate Laura Guillon  is ‘exceptional - a name to look out for in future years’. The team handles the most high value cases – current cases range from £10m to in excess of £300m. It is also well equipped to deal with high-profile divorces that generate significant media interest.

At Irwin Mitchell  ‘cases are exceptionally well prepared and clients are given a stellar service’. The ‘outstanding and truly excellent’ Ros Bever heads the team and ‘is remarkably down to earth, with a superior aptitude for family work’. Nathaniel Groarke  has a ‘great tactical brain and really knows what he is doing’. The team was joined by the ‘technically very competent’ Katie McCann  from Kuit Steinart Levy LLP . McCann is ‘very professional and yet retains a human touch’. Associate Jenna Lucas  is ‘strong and very sensible; she works hard to resolve matters well for her clients’. ‘Nothing fazes’ solicitor Lara Tucker  who is a 'rising star’. Senior associate Hannah Saxe has particular expertise in high-net-worth finances, complex children cases (involving internal/external relocation, modern family and fertility law) as well as cohabitation.

JMW Solicitors LLP is now ‘a real force to be reckoned with’ following the arrival of the  ‘excellent’ David Pickering ,Elspeth Kinder  and Beverley Jones from DWF. Kinder is praised for her ‘technical expertise’ and Jones is ‘extremely bright and personable’. They join an ‘amazingly strong’ team that includes the ‘superb’ Michael Chapman, whose ‘client skills are second to none’; The ‘astute and tenacious’ Cara Nuttal , who 'combines being a compassionate lawyer with being a gladiator for her clients in court'; and senior associates Katie Lowe, who is ‘professional, personable and competent’, and Holly Tootill. The full service family offering is regularly instructed on high-value and complex financial matters by high-profile individuals. It is also renowned for its work on surrogacy, child abduction and adoption. Clients include business owners, entrepreneurs, property developers, footballers, legal professionals and sports stars.

Mills & Reeve LLP fields a team of ‘very able individuals with the capability to handle involved and difficult cases’. Key figures include Nigel Shepherd, who is a ‘very calming influence’, and the ‘absolutely brilliant’ Alison Bull, who ‘never misses a point and is excellent at creating opportunities to find solutions’. The ‘pragmatic and very thorough’ Andrew Moore and Sue Brookes  (both principal associates) are also recommended, as is senior associate Rose-Marie Drury, who is ‘efficiency personified’. The team provides the full range of family services and has three mediators, five collaborative lawyers and one arbitrator. It acts for clients in high-net-worth and complex financial circumstances, frequently involving other jurisdictions. Other areas of expertise include drafting pre- and post-nuptial agreements in complex cases.

Weightmans LLP   has a ‘strong, reliable and intelligent team that looks to achieve the right result for the client’. Under the leadership of Carole Atkinson the team ‘continues to attract really good and high-value work’. Fiona Davidson  is ‘always very well prepared, very experienced and quickly grasps the key issues’. The ‘very sensible’ Emma Collins  is also ‘very able’. Associate Rachel Lim  is ‘conscientious and is always meticulously prepared’ and solicitor Matthew Taylor  is ‘excellent and thinks through cases very carefully to make very sound tactical decisions’. The group acts for high-net-worth individuals from the region and beyond and has particular expertise in pre- and post-nuptial agreements, the treatment of inherited wealth and offshore trusts. Other key specialisms include advising on cohabitation issues.

Aaron & Partners LLP fields a ‘highly professional team that is very well regarded for financial remedy matters'. It also has strength in agricultural family matters. Lorraine Saunders  is noted for her ‘friendly and supportive manner and very good attention to detail’. Head of department Richard Barge acts almost exclusively for business owners/shareholders or their spouses and regularly deals with cases where the assets and wealth are held offshore, in trusts and in complex pension schemes and company structures. Senior associate Katherine Livesey  is ‘very thorough; she carefully lays out all the options and implications for clients so that they can make a fully informed decision’. Livesey is also ‘exceptionally good for children work’. 'Very approachable' associate Simon Mawdsley is also recommended. The group is frequently involved in cases with an international element and as a result is well placed to advise on jurisdictional disputes and on foreign jurisprudence in family matters.

The ‘sensible and commercial’ Antonia Love heads the department at Farleys Solicitors LLP  and ‘really knows her stuff’. Love is highly experienced in financial remedies after divorce and frequently acts for high-net-worth individuals, footballers and business owners. The ‘excellent’ Tony Rebello  is experienced at advising on children’s law matters both public and private. Ian Brunt is also ‘highly skilled’ at advising on children law and care proceedings. The accomplished team acts for clients on a privately funded basis as well as in public law matters and supports vulnerable members of society through legal aid.

At Hill Dickinson LLP  ‘the level of service is excellent from start to finish; Nothing is too much trouble and information and costs are all made clear to at every stage of the process’. Department head Joanne Raisbeck combines ‘excellent technical knowledge with outstanding people skills’. ‘Pragmatic’ chartered legal executive Sarah McCarthy  is also recommended. Tricia Cottrell has retired. The group advises on a broad range of family law matters, with particular experience in areas such as financial remedies on divorce/dissolution, unmarried couples’ agreements as well as Schedule 1 Children Act applications.

Christine Barker  at Laytons LLP is ‘insightful and adopts a pragmatic approach to negotiation; she has the best interests of the family at heart’. The ‘really experienced and diligent’ Liz Bottrill has particular expertise in advising clients on complex financial matters where there are substantial business assets, multiple pension schemes involving complicated trust arrangements and resultant tax issues. The group routinely acts for celebrities and high-net-worth individuals. It has also considerable expertise in same-sex matters and acts for a growing number of fertility-related family and matrimonial issues.

Maguire Family Law   has an ‘all-round strong team – there is no deadwood at all’. James Maguire is ‘extraordinarily clever on financial remedy divorce work, international financial divorce work, child law and international child law’. Director Henry Venables and senior associate Jennifer Curtis ensure that ‘clients feel supported throughout; they take a sensible approach to negotiation and are always meticulously prepared’. Senior associate Denise Moran is ‘brilliant, intelligent, efficient and sympathetic’.

MSB Solicitors   has a ‘genuine standing in the field of international children’s cases; the firm is able to litigate effectively and competitively in complex cases in the High Court in London against major London specialist practitioners’. The ‘always efficient, competent and knowledgeable’ Emma Carey  is ‘extremely impressive’.Emma Palmer  has ‘state of the art knowledge of abduction, jurisdiction and relocation cases’. Hayley Catteral  has a ‘calm and respectful manner’ and specialises in domestic violence and cohabitee disputes. The ‘excellent’ Wendy Eves  is a fully trained and accredited mediator and Sarah Achilles is ‘excellent’ – both are solicitors.

Myerson Solicitors LLP  has a ‘strong team’ that frequently works with affluent people in the Cheshire belt and is well-equipped to handle complex multi-jurisdictional issues. The family team provides ‘first-class advice that it delivers with empathy and care’. Jane Tenquist  heads the department with ‘confidence and flair’ and is ‘very skilled at high-value financial remedy work. She really fights her client’s corner’. Senior solicitor Nichola Bright  is ‘always very well prepared and has a good attention to detail whilst not losing sight of the bigger picture. She gives robust advice but always maintains good relationships with her clients’.

Shelley Chesworth   heads a ‘technically competent and approachable’ team at SAS Daniels LLP  that is ‘very well regarded in the North West’. Denise Woodward is a ‘very effective and very persuasive negotiator' with particular expertise in resolving financial disputes and children issues. Angela Moores  has a Resolution accreditation for high-value/complex financial settlements on divorce.

At Slater and Gordon the ‘very thorough’ Sarah Thompson  has experience in financial remedy cases where there are complex pensions and business assets including farms, companies, partnerships as well as trust and property assets often with an international dimension. Associate Kaleel Anwar  is ‘excellent’. Former head of department Amanda McAlister, Liz Cowell and Fiona Wood joined McAlister Family Law. Roland Humphreys is now at gunnercooke LLP.

Slater Heelis LLP   fields ‘a first-class team for children and money work’. The ‘very commercial’ Mark Heptinstall heads the team, which includes the ‘technically excellent and client-focused’ Phillip Rhodes, who is an accredited mediator and ‘has a wonderful way of putting clients at ease’. Consultant Kim Aucott  is ‘collaborative – but no pushover’. Newly promoted partner Patricia Robinson is ‘really fantastic, hardworking and an all-round great lawyer’. The team handles the full range of family law services such as advising on matrimonial finance, wealth protection, Schedule 1 Children Act cases as well as children disputes. Clients include sports and media personalities, business owners with complex company structures and high-net-worth individuals.

Nicola McInnes  heads the department at Gorvins Solicitors, which provides a ‘very personal service’. Associate Kerry Russell  garners praise for her ‘knowledge and her ability to answer any queries’. The team routinely handles divorce, separation and financial remedy orders as well as private children disputes, cohabitation disputes and pre-and post-nuptial agreements. Clients include business owners, directors, doctors, lawyers, financial advisers and teachers.

Linder Myers  deals with all aspects of relationship breakdown for married and unmarried couples. The team advises on financial and property matters including where assets are located or held offshore. It also advises on complex trust and pension arrangements and is well regarded for its work on child support issues. Tony Broadley is a ‘very safe pair of hands’ and Colin Davies  is also well-regarded.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP   has an ‘outstanding reputation in respect of family law’. Mike Devlin  is a ‘composed and thoughtful advocate who is always extremely well prepared’ and Victoria Gethin is ‘efficient and caring’. Amanda Rimmer  has particular expertise in high net-worth divorces and is ‘with her clients every step of the way’. Gwyneth John deals with all aspects of the law affecting children and is ‘extremely thoughtful and warm yet able to be assertive when needed’. Andrew Mountain  is a ‘powerful advocate with enormous experience’. Tim Galbraith  is a ‘very astute lawyer with a keen eye for detail who masters complex issues with ease and presents them simply and accurately to clients and professionals alike’. Nicola McDaid  is ‘energetic and committed’ and Jackie Price  is efficient and compassionate’ – Galbraith, McDaid and Price are senior associates. This is a team that is ‘well respected by other professionals and by the judiciary’.

Vardags has ‘already made a great impact having only opened in Manchester relatively recently’. The ‘incredibly hardworking’ Emma Gill  has ‘been doing some great work and is completely devoted to her clients’. Vicki McLynn  is ‘always on top of matters and is always well prepared; she is great with clients and retains a cool head under pressure’. The ‘terrific’ Naomi Rainey  is also recommended. The practice regularly represents clients with wealth between £10m and £350m. It has acted for the wives of international footballers and was recently instructed by George Kay (the husband of Kerry Katona) to act for him in divorce and financial matters.

Martin Karran  heads the team at Ward Hadaway . Karran advises on a wide range of complex family issues such as high-value financial claims which mostly relate to business and family assets but sometimes involve complex income structures for high-profile musicians and sports people. He is also skilled at advising on disputes over arrangements for children and has considerable expertise in parental alienation cases and on pre-nuptial agreements. Solicitor Sally Stanway  is a Resolution accredited family lawyer with particular experience in cohabitation cases in addition to complex financial remedy cases and claims involving family trusts.

Watson Ramsbottom  has a ‘fast paced and client-focused team that is one of the leaders for domestic violence cases regionally’. It has a ‘strong all-round family team that is also particularly strong in the area of children law’. ‘Nationally recognised’ Rachel Horman   has a ‘high profile and is committed to her clients’. Solicitors Stephanie Pollitt  and Sophia Isa  are also ‘very strong members of the team’. The group handles complex areas of family law and childcare frequently with an international dimension. It has considerable expertise in cases where there are mental health issues, gender, religious or cultural sensitivities as well as domestic abuse either through physical means or coercive control and other means of online abuse such as stalking, cyberstalking and harassment.

The ‘proactive and forward thinking team’ at BPS Family Law LLP  provides an ‘outstanding service’. The ‘very knowledgeable, caring and professional’ Caroline Swain  has the ‘ability to see through the chaff and pick out the wheat’. She and solicitor Karen Jones  are ‘fearless in taking on difficult cases. Swain is skilled at handling disputes involving multinational companies, overseas properties and inter-family financial structures and has particular expertise in non-disclosure cases.

The ‘professional and sensitive’ Elizabeth Hassall Family Law at Elizabeth Hassall Family Law  is ‘caring and compassionate. She deals with things calmly and firmly and is a very polished solicitor and an excellent tactician. She is also an excellent negotiator’. This firm is one of the ‘‘go to’ firms for financial remedy proceedings’. Rebecca Muirhead  is ‘very motivated, professional and efficient. She is very well prepared and knows her files like the back of her hand’. Hassall’s caseload is very much based on high-net-worth individuals and the financial aspects either on the breakdown of a marriage or a cohabiting relationship.

Forbes Solicitors provides a ‘very personable and caring service'. Its sizeable team has extensive experience in children law (both public and private) and matrimonial finances, and is well equipped to deal with a wide range of work from small assets to high-value cases. For private law family matters head of team Rubina Vohra is ‘excellent and has a team that works hard to support clients extremely well’. Associate Judith Wright  is also recommended. Head of the public law team Helen Shirbon is best known for representing children in cases of exceptional complexity. Shirley Wignall adopts a ‘shrewd and common-sense approach- she is a force of nature with a reputation for being able to handle the most demanding clients in the most difficult situations’. Gill Carr  ‘combines technical expertise with a powerful punch in court’ –both are associates. Solicitor Alex Reid  is ‘always up to speed with issues on her cases and can recall a significant amount of detail easily’. It is a ‘well organised team with a core of highly experienced practitioners’.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP  has a ‘very good reputation for family work' and regularly deals with high-profile and celebrity clients. It is a ‘small but highly experienced team that is capable of dealing with the full spectrum of financial and children cases’. Associate Michael Gregory  is ‘excellent – he is pragmatic and very good at providing objective solutions’. Katie McCann joined Irwin Mitchell.

Janet Fleming   heads the team at Nexus Solicitors Limited and deals with all aspects of private family law specialising in financial settlements following divorce and cohabitation, usually involving substantial amounts of money, complex asset arrangements and international property. She is also adept at dealing with disputes over the arrangements for the children as well as issues between same sex couples.

PMC Family Law  has an ‘unrivalled reputation as a specialist boutique family law firm in Liverpool’. Head of department Pauline McNamara  is a ‘strong and experienced negotiator. She commands respect as an opponent and clients praise her determined approach’. She is ‘supported by a close group of fee earners who are a force to be reckoned with’. Caroline Hamilton  and John Owens  are ‘quickly gaining strong followings and substantial caseloads’. It acts for high-net-worth clients in multimillion-pound divorce settlements across the country and abroad. Other areas of expertise include advising on all aspects of private children law matters as well as advising on injunctive relief and the legal aspects of a breakdown in a cohabitee relationship.

Stowe Family Law LLP   has a ‘selection of dedicated and talented experts who will represent their clients in court when required but look for alternative solutions wherever possible’. The ‘very bright and hardworking’ Gareth Curtis  who moved from DWF ‘sees the wood from the trees and is great with clients’. Helen Miller  is a ‘positive and capable lawyer who takes special care of her clients’. New addition to the team Daniel Jones from Jolliffe & Co LLP  is  ‘prompt at responding, very efficient and effective’. Jennifer Reddy  has ‘an excellent manner with clients’ and Jason Stanley is ‘practical and approachable’.The group is experienced at dealing with complex matrimonial matters involving complicated assets, trusts and businesses often with foreign elements.

Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors has ‘very experienced practitioners who have unmatched attention to detail and are also adept as advocates’. The ‘highly experienced’ Susan Howarth has ‘a wealth of experience in complex cases’ with particular expertise in working with family finances. Victoria Poole  is ‘highly respected and competent’ and is well known for her work on domestic violence and children matters. Poole has her ‘clients’ best interests at the top of her priority list’. Solicitor Stephen Jones  is ‘extremely experienced and has a calm and sensible nature. He is realistic and is also a fine advocate’. Solicitor Jeanette Birch  ‘really listens to her clients’ needs and is able to manage their expectations well’. The practice has two specialist family mediators.

Butcher & Barlow LLP  has a ‘very strong team’ that has been bolstered by the recent arrival of Charlotte Beck  from KBL Solicitors LLP . Beck is a ‘sensible practitioner who understands her clients’ needs and puts those ahead of any view of profit’. Solicitor Abigail Smith is also an ‘excellent solicitor who is compassionate, supportive and very clear in her advice’. Caroline Cockill-Guy  an accredited mediator has a ‘lovely way with clients and gives them wise advice’. The team also regularly receives referrals to act on behalf of children from the Children’s Guardian.

Hibberts LLP fields a ‘reliable and sensible team of matrimonial solicitors that deliver an excellent service’. Chartered legal executive Ian Hamilton-Fey is a ‘very safe pair of hands and is marvellous with clients’. The team advises on the full array of matters with particular expertise in property and financial issues. It routinely deals with complex matters that affect its agricultural client base including dealing with partnerships, land, assets and family trusts. Solicitor Tony Dimelow  is known for his work in care proceedings.

KBL Solicitors LLP  has a ‘commanding presence in Bolton and is growing its family practice’ with the addition of Victoria Melling as the new head of department. Melling joined the firm from Stephensons Solicitors LLP. The ‘extremely thorough’ Melling is a ‘very safe pair of hands and a highly effective negotiator who leaves no stone unturned. She picks the right moment to have a fight and then fights as hard as she can when necessary’. The team deals with all aspects of divorce and family law including resolving finances post-separation, Children Act cases, protection from domestic abuse as well as pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements. Charlotte Beck joined Butcher & Barlow LLP.

McAlister Family Law   is a newly assembled matrimonial team comprising a number of heavy hitters formerly from other well-established Manchester firms - it is 'one to watch’. ‘Leading light’ Amanda McAlister, Liz Cowell and Fiona Wood all joined from Slater and Gordon. McAlister’s primary specialisms are dealing with complex pensions and divorce cases with an international element. Cowell is an ‘excellent communicator and is enormously experienced. She has a lot of commercial nous and brings great insights to each case that she handles’. The ‘thorough, hardworking and meticulous’ Wood is a ‘splendid lawyer with an uncanny ability to reality-check any situation’. Associate Charlotte Percy has a ‘wealth of experience and compassion'.


Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, 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

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The team at Addleshaw Goddard  ‘is without doubt the first team to turn to in the North West for an UNHW business owner’. It is praised for its ‘all-round knowledge and appreciation of the interaction between personal and business assets’. There is ‘real strength and depth in the team’ under the leadership of Yorke Eaton; Eaton and managing associate Christopher Noel are ‘both technically excellent and very knowledgeable’. Eaton specialises in complex trust issues and advising trustees on their duties and liabilities when dealing with business assets. Associate Joe Cobb  is also ‘very knowledgeable’. Highlights included advising NFU Mutual on its internal policies for dealing with bereavement, vulnerable customers and powers of attorney. The team has also been increasingly advising international individuals and trustees of offshore trusts on UK residence, domicile and tax issues.

Brabners LLP's practice is headed by the ‘highly rated, experienced and knowledgeable’ Duncan Bailey . Steven Appleton  is ‘technically gifted and has superb client-facing skills’. Associate Sue Mackintosh is ‘extremely competent’. Associate Emma Agamian and solicitor Alexandra Williams  are ‘technically gifted with very good client-handling skills’. ‘Knowledgeable and practical’ consultant Pamela Wilson is also recommended. The team continues to act for intergenerational families. and regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on diverse matters such as on complex estate planning issues, wills, trusts, family investment companies as well as on court of protection matters. Mark Feeny  deals with public limited companies and landed estate families and has considerable expertise in family investment companies. He also acts as a professional attorney executor and trustee.

Hill Dickinson LLP's ‘well-regarded team’ provides a ‘professional yet very personal service that makes clients feel at ease’. David Chinn leads the practice, which includes Fionnuala Kenny, who advises wealthy clients on all aspects of succession planning with a particular focus on trusts and settlements. Paul Baker specialises in capital tax planning for UK domiciled and non UK domiciled clients and on trust and estate administration. Baker also advises on complex wills, estate and succession planning for owner managed businesses and charities in addition to international tax planning for high-net-worth clients. Legal director Susan Sherry  is ‘very diligent and extremely focused on her clients. The team works with various high-profile people in the world of retail, politics, entertainment and sports on matters such as asset protection in a matrimonial context. It also works with the family team on pre- and post-nuptial agreements and on co-habitation agreements. Sean Williams  joined Gateley Plc .

Hugh Jones Solicitors' ‘service in mental capacity law is second to none; the firm genuinely understands the needs of vulnerable people and their families and carers and does all it can to meet their needs’. Hugh Jones  has a ‘depth of experience that is outstanding; he always ensures that his clients’ capacity is addressed’. Elizabeth Hughes  is ‘very knowledgeable of all Court of Protection matters and is always focused on getting the right outcome for the client’. Carol McBride has the ‘ability to deal seamlessly with challenging clients who have a brain injury; she is always measured, thoughtful and very understanding of the issues relating to litigation, family matters, capacity and the frustrations that clients experience’. Senior associate Chris Gallagher has ‘experience beyond his PQE – nothing is too much trouble’. Solicitor Rachel Dobson  ‘fills her client with confidence’.

The team at JMW Solicitors LLP  is ‘superb and very strong’. The ‘exemplary’ Tasnim Khalid heads the department; ‘her technical expertise is second to none and her personable nature is endearing’. Elaine Roche is ‘always calm, empathetic and extremely good at explaining clearly and in plain English what might otherwise be very complicated and full of legalese’. Highlights included acting as executors of an estate which was worth £7.8m and was left entirely to charity. The funds in the estate had come from several very valuable paintings that had been restituted to the family after they had been taken by the Nazis. The administration of the estate has now been completed and the funds have been paid out to various faith-based charities in the North West and overseas. Paul Gotch  is ‘very experienced’ at protecting clients who have been awarded compensation for a personal injury or clinical negligence claim through the use of a personal injury trust.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP  offers a ‘client-friendly, easy to understand service that is backed up with accurate technical knowledge and other departments within the firm to deliver a complete solution to whatever the clients need’. Graham Wood  is ‘highly skilled at drafting trust documentation; he has a very detailed knowledge and expertise in personal and trust tax issues and leaves no stone unturned’. Paul Bricknell has ‘superb attention to detail and the advice he gives is not just factually correct but more importantly always relevant to the particular circumstances at issue’. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Lauren Clyne  is also recommended as is associate David Chambers. Clients include a fifth of the North West Rich List including three of the top ten and a quarter of the top 20 family-owned businesses in the region.

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP  has a ‘broad spread of skills with superb attention to detail. The team can think quickly on its feet and explains complex matters in an easy to understand way’. Deborah Clark is ‘particularly highly regarded for her work in family investment companies’. The ‘tenacious’ Tony Hall  ‘seeks out answers to the most complex of problems; his knowledge is immense but just as important is his ability to convey solutions to clients on very complex issues’. The ‘highly experienced and professional’ Zahra Siddiqui can ‘translate the most sophisticated legal advice into client-friendly language’. Its focus is on wealth and estate planning for high-net-worth clients (often multi-generational) for the North West and beyond.

The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Clive Pointon  heads the team at Aaron & Partners LLP . Pointon has a ‘wealth of experience. He is friendly, approachable and offers suggestions about complex legal issues in an articulate and readily understandable way’. James Wallace  is ‘excellent in every way. He is very professional but also very personable and knowledgeable’. Capital tax work remains the mainstay of the practice. Pointon is also well regarded for his work as a court of protection deputy and is increasingly advising elderly retirees about repatriating foreign assets. The firm’s involvement in deputyship matters throughout the North and mid Wales remains significant.

DWF's team is headed by the ‘very strong’ Paul Davies, who is a qualified solicitor, accountant, tax adviser and member of STEP. The team handles the full gamut of private client work with particular expertise in supporting business owners/entrepreneurs and high-net-worth families with both UK and international assets on complex tax planning opportunities. The team is praised for its ‘timely and useful advice’. Consultant Alan Sturrock has retired.

Christine Thornley heads an ‘extremely competent and professional’ team at Gorvins Solicitors. Senior associate Tasoula Addison ’s ‘main strength is not only her experience and expertise in this field but the fact that she listens and cares about the people she represents who are often involved in a very emotional family disputes’. The team has been continuing to develop particular expertise in succession planning for business owners as well as trust planning for families with disabled children. In addition it is adept at advising on succession planning for sports persons as well as having considerable skill in dementia and court of protection work, contentious probate work and statutory wills work.

The ‘technically very strong’ team at Linder Myers  is praised for its ‘excellent client management skills coupled with its timely advice –crucially it keeps to deadlines’. Practice head Andrew Cusworth is ‘absolutely at the top of his game; he is very sensible, remains very calm and is brilliant at finding solutions to the most intractable of problems’. Cusworth deals with high-net-worth individuals and complex estates but is also a panel deputy. He splits his time between private client and court of protection work. Associate Gareth Williams  is STEP qualified and has ‘excellent people skills and delivers a first-class service to all clients’. The team acts as executors and trustees on a large number of estates including estates that are high value and with foreign assets.

Myerson Solicitors LLP   has a ‘professional and client-focused’ team. Head of department Amanda Freeman has ‘experience that is second to none and she provides a very good and no-nonsense service at a fair price’. The ‘very professional, kind and supportive’ Bik-ki Irving  has ‘fantastic knowledge of her field which she always communicated to me very efficiently’. The ‘very personable and practical’ Clara Staunton  is ‘able to prioritise things well and is prompt at responding’. The ‘exceptionally professional, solution focused and realistic’ team has three STEP qualified lawyers. It advises on a wide spectrum of issues to high-net-worth individuals and families such as inheritance tax mitigation and on complex family structures, trusts and estates.

SAS Daniels LLP   is ‘large enough to have the expertise in-house but not too large to lose the personal touch which is so important to clients. The team is technically extremely capable and all team members have an excellent bedside manner’. The ‘extremely professional’ Justine Clowes  heads the team, which includes the ‘helpful, skilled and personable’ Helen Kelly, the ‘very friendly and efficient’ Helen Gowin, and associate Victoria Timothy. Solicitor Genevieve Powrie  ‘takes the time to help to find the best solutions for people’. The group advises on the administration of complex and high value estates where there are foreign assets or agricultural/business property. It is also skilled at advising on wealth planning for a variety of clients including advising on the preparation of wills for parents of children with learning difficulties.

Slater and Gordon has considerable expertise in dealing with long term tax planning and trusts for landed and farming families and for advising parents with disabled children. It also provides a wills service for large trade unions and works closely with its large personal injury and clinical negligence departments. James Beresford  heads the team and has considerable expertise in dealing with the administration of estates and advising clients on drafting wills, lasting powers of attorney and on trusts.

The team at Weightmans LLP  was strengthened by the arrival of Richard Bate from Brabners LLP; Bate, who heads the department, has a particular specialism in tax mitigation and assists business owners and those with complicated family arrangements/ asset structures on succession planning and wealth protection. He is a professional trustee of numerous family trusts and acts as an attorney for elderly clients. James Knowles is also recommended for his specialism in providing capital tax planning advice to high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs.

Butcher & Barlow LLP  provides a ‘great level of service with a friendly and caring attitude’. Head of department Chris Hopkins  ‘puts things across to his clients in simple and straightforward terms, providing quality and well-thought-through advice and recommendations’. Hopkins is involved in the management of a number of trust funds totalling several million pounds. Philip Jennings assists with estate and tax planning for high-net-worth individuals and is a ‘good communicator who operates to the highest ethical standards when dealing with a vulnerable client’. Mike Bracegirdle is particularly strong on planning for agricultural clients and ‘can explain legal procedure in a way that makes it easily understandable and therefore less stressful’.

Forbes Solicitors has a ‘very efficient and knowledgeable’ team led by recently promoted partner Patricia Prescott. Prescott ensures that ‘clients are well looked after and that the team provides a service to a very high standard’. The team advises on wills, personal tax, probate, trusts and estates as well as on tax/business succession planning. It also regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals including landowners and farmers. Prescott also regularly advises on lasting powers of attorney, court of protection matters and on all aspects of elderly client issues.

The ‘very approachable and responsive’ Kathryn Harwood  heads the department at Napthens LLP . ‘She takes the time to understand what clients want to achieve and then offers solutions’. Harwood advises clients on various matters such as reducing the liability to inheritance tax as well as planning for long term care and the succession of family businesses. She routinely advises landed estates. Senior associate Charlotte Cooper  is also recommended. The team’s ‘response times are excellent’.

DTM Legal LLP  provides a ‘very professional service’ under the leadership of the ‘very approachable and knowledgeable’ Duncan McAllister . Associate Amanda Bailey  is ‘technically very competent and pays close attention to detail. She builds up an excellent relationship with her clients’. McAllister has advised on a number of cases for overseas beneficiaries. Bailey has advised on a large matter where the estate is approximately £6m. On this matter she has established a family investment company and has advised the whole family on their wills, tax planning, lasting powers of attorney, tax planning for a holiday home and on business property relief.

Hall Smith Whittingham LLP   has a ‘highly professional, speedy and supportive team’ with Alison Greatbanks at the helm. She along with solicitor Hugh Lewis-Morgan (who is ‘prompt and is very good at keeping people informed’) both ‘put people at their ease, are knowledgeable and patient in presenting information to people’. Angela Lewis  is also recommended. The department is regularly instructed on the full spectrum of issues including court of protection applications, challenging care fees, inheritance tax planning as well as general elderly care issues.

Hibberts LLP  advises on all aspects of probate and court of protection work as well as on complex trust matters and personal lifetime income tax issues under the leadership of the ‘knowledgeable’ Anne Walley . Walley has a particular interest in dealing with the administration of estates. The team works closely with the agricultural department and also does a significant amount of contentious probate work including advising on complex testamentary capacity issues and on Inheritance Act claims.

JWK Solicitors provides ‘sound person-centred advice which it gives in an efficient and sympathetic manner at a reasonable cost’. Sarah Murphy has a ‘calm and unhurried manner which is reassuring when dealing with older clients. She is a clear communicator too’. Murphy has a financial and welfare attorney appointment for a retired model and actress of stage and screen who now lacks mental capacity. The team has also been instructed to administer the estate of a UK national whose executors and beneficiaries are residents of New Zealand and the USA respectively.

Lesley Sullivan  heads a ‘professional’ team at MLP Law LLP . Sullivan advises business owners on how to structure their wills in a tax efficient way and regularly works closely with the corporate department to ensure that the company documents tie in with the clients’ wills. She also provides estate planning advice to wealthy individuals including advice on the establishment of lifetime trusts. She routinely advises and administers high value trusts and estates.


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