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



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 all aspects of disposals, acquisitions and agricultural tenancy issues. David Harries and Simon Ellis are recommended.

Brabners LLP’s practice ‘understands the needs of rural and agricultural clients’ and stands out for its ‘excellent attention to detail’. The ‘extremely thorough and knowledgeable’ Charles Hansford and associate Helen Ryan are ‘really impressive’.

Hibberts LLP recently acted in a number of significant dairy/mixed farm sales and purchases with vacant possession and sitting tenants. Edward Nutting heads the department, which includes the ‘very experiencedDavid Young.

Myerson Solicitors LLP provides a ‘high level of knowledge and expertise’ and acts for farming partnerships, families and individuals on a wide range of agricultural property issues. Chris Porter ‘listens to his clients’ needs and comes up with practical and timely solutions’.

Napthens LLP has ‘one of the strongest agricultural teams in the region’. Andrew Holden is ‘extremely knowledgeable’.

Anthony Collinson heads the team at JWK Solicitors, which advises on a broad range of issues affecting farmers, estate owners, landlords, tenants, rural communities and businesses.

Slater and Gordon’s ‘experienced team has good technical knowledge that provides timely answers’. The ‘efficient’ Paul Makinson and the ‘extremely thorough’ Huw Davies are recommended.

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

At Brabners LLP, team head Stephen Claus stands out for his ability to ‘find a way through the maze of charity regulations’. The ‘first-class’ team provides ‘clear, pragmatic and timely advice’ to charities and social enterprises, educational institutions and religious bodies. Associate Graeme Hughes is also recommended.

Manchester-based Chris Gee and Liverpool-based Chris King are the key figures at DWF, which is seeing an increasing shift to more international and offshore work. Clients include trustee companies, private banks, charitable trusts and individuals.

Graham Wood leads the ‘knowledgeable team’ at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP, which is noted for its ‘very strong charity law expertise’. Clients include the Stoller Charitable Trust and DanceSyndrome.

Pannone Corporate LLP’s cross-departmental charities and not-for-profit unit advises charitable and other social enterprise clients on a wide variety of issues. Steven Grant and Udo Pope are recommended.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP is skilled at handling mainstream charity law work in addition to advising charities on areas such as real estate, litigation and employment. Clients include the National Coal Mining Museum. Pervinder Kaur and Yorke Eaton are well regarded.

Michael Young is the key contact at Hibberts LLP, which acts for a number of charitable bodies.

Hill Dickinson LLP advises a broad range of charitable and not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises on issues such as governance, fundraising and group structuring. Mark Fitzgibbon is a key contact.

Paul Knight leads the cross-disciplinary team at Mills & Reeve LLP.

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The ‘very strong team’ at Mills & Reeve LLP regularly advises on disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions against trustees and executors, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Families and Dependants) Act 1975 and related claims over lifetime transactions. It also acts in contested legacy matters for a number of charities. The ‘very capable’ Simon Pedley ‘handles a wide range of high-value disputes’.

Pannone Corporate LLP acts for claimants, executors and beneficiaries on a variety of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Team head Nicola Marchant ‘explains everything very clearly and puts her clients at ease’. Senior associate Jonny Scholes is ‘very efficient’.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP is noted for its specialist advice on the use of trusts in a commercial context and advises high-net-worth individuals and families on significant national and regional business succession and planning. Yorke Eaton is singled out for praise.

Brabners LLP is particularly experienced at advising on the validity of wills, trusts and claims for the provision of dependents. Senior associate Simon Morris has ‘great attention to detail and a superb memory – he is able to recall the tiny details of very complex cases’.

The ‘responsive and very knowledgeable’ team at DWF is adept at handling complex trust and probate disputes – often with a cross-border element – in addition to advising professional trustees and trust companies on the administration of trusts, bankruptcy and other issues. Key figures include Chris Gee, who is ‘calm under pressure’ and Chris King.

Gorvins Solicitors’ ‘totally professional, approachable and sympathetic team’ includes Christine Thornley and senior associate Michael Smoult, who ‘work tirelessly’ for their clients.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP acts for owner-managed businesses, family businesses and high-net worth individuals. Andrew Weinberg, the ‘well-regardedGraham Wood, and Cyril Rose regularly act in the most complex and high-value disputes.

Myerson Solicitors LLP is ‘large enough to employ solicitors with a broad range of expertise but not so big that the lawyers cannot collaborate to achieve the best outcome for the clients’. Solicitor Ben Wilsonleaves no stone unturned’ and is recommended alongside Adam Maher.

Slater Heelis LLP attracts praise for its team of ‘technically very able and competent practitioners’. Rebecca Sharp left the firm in June 2016.

Aaron & Partners LLP had another busy year advising on contested wills, trusts and estates. The well-regarded Clive Pointon heads the practice.

Manchester-based Sean Williams leads the team at Hill Dickinson LLP, which includes Fionnuala Kenny in Liverpool.


Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Brabners LLP is singled out for its ‘meticulous preparation, and the highest possible standards of advice and client care’. The team specialises in advising high-net-worth individuals in financial remedy cases where there are complex asset structures, and representing parents in children proceedings. Paula Milburn is ‘extremely thorough’ and Helen Marriott is highlighted for her track record in divorce cases.

DWF has a ‘thoroughly professional team that is always available and very attentive to its clients’ needs’. It advises high-net-worth individuals on a range of issues including divorce, financial claims and disputes involving children. Standout individuals include the ‘very experienced and knowledgeable’ David Pickering, Beverley Jones, who is ‘fabulous with clients’, and the ‘energetic’ Elspeth Kinder, who ‘manages to secure excellent outcomes for her clients’.

Irwin Mitchell’s ‘very knowledgeable and compassionate’ team ‘provides fantastic advice’. Led by the ‘simply brilliant’ Ros Bever (who is ‘very caring with an impressive level of attention to detail’), the ‘top-quality team’ acts on a range of major disputes and complex money cases. It successfully represented two clients in the Supreme Court and represented two high-profile appellants in the Court of Appeal.

At JMW Solicitors LLP, the ‘very practical and approachableCatherine Jones jointly heads the department with Beth Wilkins. The team is experienced in complex and high-value family and matrimonial cases. James Brown and Sam Hall left the firm to establish their own practice.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘knowledgeable team provides very well-rounded advice’. The ‘very professionalNigel Shepherd has a ‘great eye for detail’ and is recommended for his financial remedy work. Also recommended are Alison Bull, for family mediations involving business owners; and ‘very efficient’ principal Associate Andrew Moore. Robin Charrot left the firm to set up his own practice.

Slater and Gordon’s team ‘really knows its stuff’ and regularly advises on large and complex family law cases. The firm also fields a well-regarded children team. Key figures include the ‘very clever and experienced’ Andrew Newbury, ‘capable and focusedAmanda McAlister, Fiona Wood, ‘calm and sensibleBeverley Darwent, and ‘meticulous’ Vicki McLynn.

Weightmans LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable team’ advises high-net-worth individuals on a broad range of issues, often with an international dimension and involving onshore and offshore trusts. It also has particular expertise in pre and post-nuptial agreements. Carole Atkinson leads the team, which includes Fiona Davidson, Fiona Turner and Emma Collins, who are ‘incredibly sensible’.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s ‘very responsive’ team predominantly advises high-net-worth individuals when relationships break down. Lorraine Saunders is ‘very measured and calm’ and head of department Richard Barge is especially recommended for his work on pre and post-nuptial agreements.

Farleys Solicitors LLP advises on all aspects of marital agreements, divorce, children law and domestic abuse. ‘Very capable and efficient’ practice head Antonia Love has ‘extensive knowledge of family law’.

Hill Dickinson LLP’s team stands out for its ‘efficiency and speed, which are second to none’. The team has particular expertise in pre-nuptial agreements and is ‘exceptional for matrimonial finance’. The ‘experiencedTricia Cottrell and ‘calm’ senior associate Joanne Raisbeck are recommended.

James Maguire & Co stands out for international child law matters and for financial ancillary relief. The ‘extraordinarily clever’ James Maguire is recommended.

Laytons advises on all areas of family law including divorce, children issues and pre-marital agreements. Head of department Christine Barker is ‘highly experienced, well prepared and adopts a no-nonsense approach to provide sensible solutions’.

SAS Daniels LLP’s four-partner team provides ‘clear advice and is very responsive’. Shelley Chesworth jointly heads the team with Nicola McInnes, who is praised for her ‘high level of attention to detail’. The ‘knowledgeable and empathetic’Angela Moores is also recommended.

Pauline McNamara heads the team at Cassell Moore and covers a range of matrimonial and children law issues.

Helen Shirbon heads the team at Forbes Solicitors, which focuses on complex matrimonial cases, children law matters and issues of domestic violence.

Gorvins Solicitors is experienced in all aspects of matrimonial matters, from children law to cohabitation disputes, and has niche expertise in police divorce work. Practice head Sally Leaman is ‘highly conscientious and excellent with clients’.

Tony Broadley heads the team at Linder Myers, which advises high-net-worth individuals and regularly acts on cross-jurisdictional family matters. Karen Leadbetter ‘fights hard for her clients’.

Key figures at Myerson Solicitors LLP include the ‘calm, thorough and tenaciousJane Tenquist and senior solicitor Nichola Morris, who is ‘always very well prepared’.

Slater Heelis LLP is noted for its ‘excellent advice and sensitive management of clients’ needs and expectations’. Practice head Mark Heptinstall is singled out for his cost-effective approach to client issues.

Ward Hadaway is best known for acting for business owners, entrepreneurs and high-profile individuals. Martin Karran and Michael Chapman are the primary contacts.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

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

Clients of Addleshaw Goddard LLP appreciate the firm’s ability to combine corporate and private client expertise; for some, ‘there is no other firm in the North West that provides the breadth of expertise to deal with complex family and business arrangements’. The ‘practical and commercialYorke Eaton acts for a wide range of clients, from young entrepreneurs to established landed families.

The ‘technically excellentMark Feeny leads a ‘very strong’ team at Brabners LLP that provides a ‘thoroughly professional, personal and friendly service’ to regional and national clients. Key figures include the ‘vastly experiencedDuncan Bailey, Paul Lochery, who is singled out for his ‘outstanding knowledge of the complexities of trust and tax planning’, and Richard Bate, who advises owner-managed businesses, wealthy individuals and a number of high-profile sportsman on estate planning issues.

The ‘excellent’ Sean Williams leads the ‘strong team’ at Hill Dickinson LLP, which advises on wills, trusts, capital tax planning and contentious and non-contentious trust and estate administration. Also recommended are Fionnuala Kenny, who is ‘technically very astute’, and Jane Lee and Paul Baker.

Hugh Jones Solicitors’ ‘exceptionally knowledgeable’ team handles a range of trust law matters, including court of protection and issues involving mental capacity. ‘The team is able to deal with discrete issues cost-effectively and always puts the client first’. Hugh Jones is ‘top class’.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP fields a team whose ‘specialist expertise in probate and trust work can rival the work of the top London firms’. The team is adept at handling complex multi-jurisdictional work and acts for a number of internationally renowned sportspersons. Practice head Graham Wood is ‘exceptionally personable and well regarded’.

Mills & Reeve LLP fields ‘one of the most capable departments in the North West’. Tony Hall is ‘brilliant technically but can explain difficult areas of law in a simple and understandable way’. Also recommended are the ‘charming and approachableZahra Siddiqui and Deborah Clark.

At Aaron & Partners LLP, ‘turnaround is always quick, the advice given is clear and appropriate and there is continuity in the personnel doing the work’. Clive Pointon is ‘clear, realistic, patient and good humoured’. Senior associate James Wallace is also recommended.

DWF’s ‘approachable and friendly’ team regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals across the region and nationally. Tax planning and asset protection remain a key focus of the practice. Paul Davies and associate Susan Sherry are recommended.

Gorvins Solicitors fields a team of ‘local and experienced specialists’ that advises on trusts, lasting powers of attorney, estate planning and administration. Valerie Brown is ‘very approachable, efficient and responsive’, and is recommended alongside practice head Christine Thornley.

JMW Solicitors LLP’s ‘responsive team’ advises family business owners and landed gentry on inheritance tax and succession planning and on the application of agricultural and business property reliefs from inheritance tax. Practice head Elaine Roche and the ‘practical and down-to-earthTasnim Khalid are recommended.

Linder Myers is recommended for its Court of Protection work in addition to advising on personal tax, probate and tax planning. It regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals, landowners and farmers. The ‘very knowledgeableAndrew Cusworth is recommended.

The ‘pragmatic and responsive’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP is skilled at advising on complex tax planning issues and the administration of high-value estates (including those with foreign property) and trusts. Amanda Freeman is ‘quick to grasp complex issues and distil them succinctly’. Bik-ki Irving joined the team from SAS Daniels LLP.

At SAS Daniels LLP, team head Justine Clowes specialises in mental capacity work, care funding and older client issues. The ‘very knowledgeable and helpful’ Helen Kelly is recommended for her trusts work. Bik-Ki Irving is now at Myerson Solicitors LLP.

Slater and Gordon’s ‘well-rounded, capable team always looks for the most cost-effective solution for its clients’. Kate Brassington and James Beresford are names to note.

Paul Horton at Weightmans LLP provides a ‘professional and friendly service’ and is especially recommended for his inheritance tax advice. Also recommended among the ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ team are senior associate James Knowles, who is ‘keenly focused on the relevant issues and their impact on clients’, and department head Carole Atkinson.

Forbes Solicitors advises on the full spectrum of private client matters, from tax and estate planning to drafting wills and trusts. It has a particular focus on elderly client matters. Associate Patricia Prescott is recommended.

London-based Ian Burman heads the ‘knowledgeable’ team at Laytons, which handles all aspects of personal tax, trusts and probate for a number of the region’s wealthiest business owners, enterpreneurs and celebrities. Manchester-based Steven Appleton and Liz Braude are also recommended.

At Slater Heelis LLP, Chris Partington is recommended for his court of protection expertise. Rebecca Sharp left the firm in June 2016.

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