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Agriculture and estates

Aaron & Partners LLP continues to act for both owners and tenant farmers on land acquisitions, disposals and agricultural tenancies, advising clients such as Denbighshire County Council, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Mostyn Estates. Team head Richard Forrester is recommended, as is Simon Ellis.

Brabners LLP’s ‘experienced' team advises on both contentious and non-contentious agricultural issues, including sale and purchase, succession, and environmental matters. Ross Shine heads the team, which also includes Helen Ryan and consultants Rupert Jackson and John Withinshaw, all of whom are recommended by clients.

Recent work for the team at Hibberts LLP includes advising on a number of high-value farm sales and purchases. It also advised on contentious work involving partnership dissolution and land disputes. Tom Price and Michael Ward are recommended for disputes, with David Young heading the team.

Knights Solicitors LLP enters the rankings after its acquisition of Hill Dickinson LLP’s Chester office, where recent work includes advising a large local estate client regarding minerals across North Wales and the Wirral. Team head Richard Williams joined from Walker Smith Way Legal.

Cullimore Dutton acts for landowners, estates and farmers. David Mason and Rory Lee are singled out for praise by clients.

At JWK Solicitors, Anthony Collinson heads the team.

The ‘excellent' Richard Lloyd leads the team at Myerson Solicitors LLP.

Andrew Holden leads the ‘first-class' team at Napthens LLP.

Martin Gillibrand is recommended at Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand.

Known for its farming client base, the team at Walker Smith Way Legal is led by Huw Davies following the departure of Richard Williams to Knights Solicitors LLP.

Charities and not-for-profit

Led by the ‘experienced' Stephen Claus, Brabners LLP advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters for charities, social enterprises and ecclesiastical charities. Clients include Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, Professional Footballers’ Association Charity, and Manchester United Foundation.

DWF’s ‘excellent' and ‘thorough' department provides ‘specialist advice' on the full range of matters including governance and constitutional issues, structuring, incorporation and trustee duties. It provided governance advice to The Manchester Grammar School Foundation, and acted for Kirklees Active Leisure. Recommended individuals include Richard St John Williams, Kevin Jaquiss and Ross Griffiths.

The ‘knowledgeable, committed and supportive' department at Pannone Corporate LLP operates a cross-departmental charities department, where clients include Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust and UK Biobank Limited. Steven Grant heads the team, and is recommended along with Udo Pope.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s ‘top-notch' team advised Coleg Harlech WEA on the implications of a merger with another educational institution. Simon Ellis heads the team.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP advises its high-net-worth client base on charitable trusts, and commercial clients on the establishment of charities. Yorke Eaton is singled out for praise.

Hill Dickinson LLP acts for a range of small-to-medium-sized organisations and social enterprises, recently advising clients such as the Big Life Group and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society. Mark Fitzgibbon is recommended.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP advised a regional charity on the restructuring and transfer of property, as well as the relevant Charity Commission approval. Graham Wood leads the team.

Contentious trusts and probate

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s contentious offering is experienced in high-value trust matters. Yorke Eaton is singled out.

Richard Bate heads the team at Brabners LLP, which is noted for its contentious probate experience. It also advises on matters regarding wills and provision of dependants. David Tournafond is recommended.

The ‘experienced' team at DWF recently acted on a high-value will dispute, and also advised on a significant inheritance tax matter. Paul Davies is recommended.

Aaron & Partners LLP advises on a range of high-value contentious matters. The ‘experienced' Clive Pointon leads the team.

Gorvins is recommended for its expertise in disputed estates, and also advises on Court of Protection matters. Valerie Bown is singled out.

The ‘thorough' Sean Williams is recommended at Hill Dickinson LLP. Jane Lee joined from Pannone LLP, and is experienced in contentious offshore trusts and tax matters.

Andrew Weinberg and Cyril Rose at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP are recommended for contentious inheritance and probate work.

Linder Myers LLP advises on contentious wills, probate, trusts, tax and land matters. Alastair Brierley heads the department.

The ‘expert' David Catchpole heads the team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which advises on the validity of wills, trustees and executors, and inheritance claims. The practice also acts for a number of charities involved in contested legacy matters. Simon Pedley joined from Pannone LLP.

With a ‘down to earth' and ‘pro-active' approach, Nicola Marchant heads the team at Pannone Corporate LLP, and acts for claimants, executors and beneficiaries in contentious matters.


DWF’s ‘first-rate' department has ‘superb mastery of detail, but never loses sight of the bigger picture' and is led by the ‘forthright' David Pickering and Lesley Smythe, who specialises in high net worth divorce matters. Associate Beverley Jones is ‘a rising star'. The ‘remarkable' Pauline McNamara joined Cassell Moore Solicitors in May 2013.

Irwin Mitchell’s three-partner team is ‘prepared to go the extra mile' and noted for its work for high-net-worth individuals, including cross-border divorce cases and complex children issues. Team head Ros Bever is ‘incredibly skilled and delivers excellent client care'; Louise Halford is ‘very knowledgeable at cross-border and children matters'; and Fiona Turner is ‘excellent'.

Praised as ‘commercial and pragmatic', the team at Mills & Reeve LLP offers an ‘exceptional level of service' to clients. It advises on complex, high-net-worth, finance cases, often with a cross-jurisdictional element, and is particularly noted for its experience in ADR. Key individuals include the collaboratively trained Nigel Shepherd, who is ‘excellent to have on your side'; Alison Bull, who was promoted to partner and is praised for her ‘outstanding eye for detail'; and Robin Charrot, who is ‘very experienced'.

Weightmans LLP offers specialist advice in financially complex cases, and is rated for its ‘excellent response times and thorough knowledge'. Team head Carole Atkinson is singled out for praise alongside Fiona Davidson, who is ‘very personable and understands the needs of the client'; Emma Collins, who has ‘excellent attention to detail'; and the ‘highly regarded' Tina Dunn.

At Brabners LLP, team head and family law arbitrator Helen Marriott is ‘very experienced', advising on issues such as pre-nuptial agreements and complex divorces. Lindsay Yateman is ‘a skilled negotiator', and Paula Milburn is also recommended.

Gateley ‘combines deep understanding of business with pragmatism' and advised on a number of high-value divorce settlements. Team head Elizabeth Hassall is ‘calm in a crisis and has a fantastic grasp on financial matters', and associate Esther Edmondson is also recommended.

With ‘strong expertise', Hill Dickinson LLP’s representative matters included a complex multi-jurisdictional post-marriage agreement. Team head Tricia Cottrell is recommended.

Catherine Jones and Beth Wilkins head the four-partner team at JMW Solicitors LLP, which is recommended for its expertise in high-value ancillary relief, with notable expertise in children’s law, co-habitation and pre-nuptial agreements. James Brown and Sam Hall are the other key contacts.

James Maguire & Co specialises in family law and is noted for its international expertise. With ‘a discreet manner which is both loved by clients and very effective', James Maguire‘heads a formidable team'.

Laytons’ family and matrimonial team is led by Christine Barker, supported by Emma Gill. Both are recommended by clients.

The ‘first-rate team' at Pannone, part of Slater & Gordon‘delivers a top quality service' and ‘has an excellent reputation, particularly for divorce work'. Liz Cowell’s ‘judgement cuts through the fog', and team head Andrew Newbury is ‘superb'.

At Slater & Gordon, team head Amanda McAlister is noted for her ‘strong commercial awareness'. Sarah Thompson is recommended for ancillary relief matters.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP’s ‘outstanding team looks out for the needs of the client'. Department head Mike Devlin is recommended alongside the ‘friendly and understanding' Amanda Rimmer, who leads the matrimonial team, and Andrew Mountain, head of the children law team.

Aaron & Partners LLP has ‘excellent industry knowledge' and ‘strong client care skills'. Team head Richard Barge is recommended.

Team head Pauline McNamara joined Cassell Moore Solicitors from DWF, and leads ‘an excellent team' that advises on matters including international relocation, high-value ancillary relief and Children’s Act cases.

Helen Shirbon heads the team at Forbes and is recommended for children matters and complex divorce cases.

Linder Myers LLP is well-regarded for matrimonial matters, with both Colin Davies and Sarah McCarthy recommended. Janet Fleming joined Nexus Solicitors in May 2013.

SAS Daniels LLP is noted for its ‘prompt response times' and ‘can-do attitude'. Shelley Hesford heads the department and is ‘highly regarded', while Shelley Chesworth is ‘first-rate'.

Slater Heelis LLP is experienced in cases involving complex finance matters, with team head Mark Heptinstall recommended. Mike Hamlin retired in March 2014, and Kate Rayner rejoined Stowe Family Law LLP.

Marilyn Stowe at Stowe Family Law LLP is ‘first-class'. Kate Rayner rejoined from Slater Heelis LLP.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Led by Mark Feeny, who is recommended for succession planning, the ‘dedicated' team at Brabners LLP advises a number of high-net-worth individuals, family-owned businesses and landed estates. Richard Bate and Stephen Marriott lead the private client teams in Manchester and Preston respectively. Duncan Bailey is ‘very reliable' and David Tournafond is ‘exceptional'.

The team at DWF is ‘extremely knowledgeable and tremendously professional', acting for high-net-worth clients on matters including complex wills, tax planning, trusts and probate. Team head Graham Ball, tax specialist Paul Davies and consultant Alan Sturrock are all recommended.

‘One of the leading lights for wills, trusts, tax and probate matters', Hill Dickinson LLP provides a ‘distinguished service' for a client base that includes business owners, farmers and landowners. Paul Baker, Fionnuala Kenny and Mike Quinn are recommended. Jane Lee joined from Pannone LLP, and is noted for offshore trusts and tax matters.

Led by the ‘efficient and smart' Deborah Clark, Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘a cut above the rest' and provides ‘proactive and innovative advice'. Tony Hall specialises in wills, trusts, and inheritance tax planning, and has an ‘impressively deep technical understanding', while Zahra Siddiqui advises on tax efficient wills and is noted for her ‘ability to turn complex affairs into easy-to-digest solutions'.

Liz Braude heads the team at Pannone, part of Slater & Gordon, with Lucy Nicol leading the Court of Protection unit. Gillian Hitchen is recommended.

Clive Pointon, team head at Aaron & Partners LLP, is ‘very knowledgeable and an excellent communicator'.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP provides ‘consistently high quality advice' and acts for owner-managed and family businesses, and corporate and institutional clients. Team head Yorke Eaton is ‘extremely personable' and ‘very reliable'.

The ‘incredibly efficient and easy to work with' Elaine Roche and Ged Wilson are recommended at JMW Solicitors LLP. The team advises on the full gamut of issues, as well as shariah-compliant estate planning.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP’s Robert Levy has notable experience in tax investigations. The ‘excellent' Graham Wood heads the team.

The ‘hardworking' Paul Horton heads the team at Weightmans LLP, which is recommended for its expertise in inheritance tax and capital gains tax, and in complex cross-border matters.

Forbes advises on the full range of matters including trust arrangements and business succession planning. Associate Victoria Motley heads the team.

Gorvins has developed expertise in succession planning for business owners; trust planning, particularly for families with disabled children; contentious probate work; and statutory wills work. Valerie Bownand Christine Thornley head the team. Consultant Moira Percival utilises ‘professionalism, integrity and insight'.

Knights Solicitors LLP’s department is led by Ian Sydenham, who is praised for his ‘clear and concise approach'.

The ‘very technical' Andrew Cusworth has a ‘calm and confident manner', and heads the team at Linder Myers LLP, which is particularly noted for its Court of Protection expertise.

Amanda Freeman heads the ‘very knowledgeable' team at Myerson Solicitors LLP.

SAS Daniels LLP’s ‘large team of specialists' is noted for its ‘professional approach', and has expertise in wills and wealth planning, estate administration, probate and trusts. Justine Clowes heads the team.

The ‘well-organised team' team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP is led by Tom Bridge. Rob Gore was made partner in 2013.

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