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



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Addleshaw Goddard has a ‘hardworking team’ led by the ‘extremely knowledgeableYorke Eaton, who is ‘as comfortable dealing with landed multi-generational families as he is with serial entrepreneurs; he builds strong relationships with clients’. He is well regarded for his capital tax planning advice to entrepreneurs, ultra and high-net-worth individuals and their families. Managing associate Christopher Noel ‘quietly gets on and impresses clients’. The team regularly advises on complex trust issues and is increasingly working with international individuals and trustees of offshore trusts on a myriad of issues such as UK residence, domicile and tax issues. The team continues to act for a variety of banks, trust companies and large corporate/institutional clients and has recently acquired some new and large commercial clients.

Duncan Bailey is a key member of the strong team at Brabners LLP which includes newly promoted partner Louise Scholes, who is experienced in court of protection work and acts as a professional deputy. Mark Feeny is recommended for his work on tax planning and trusts in addition to wills and estates. The team continues to act for inter-generational families and regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on complex estate planning issues, wills, trusts, family investment companies and Court of Protection matters. The team was joined by the ‘knowledgeable, clear, articulate and personableSteven Appleton from Laytons. Richard Bate is now at Weightmans LLP.

Sean Williams heads the team at Hill Dickinson LLP with a ‘sound common sense approach that is backed up by good legal knowledge’. He is recommended for his work on capital tax planning for UK-domiciled and non-UK-domiciled clients in addition to other areas such as succession planning for owner-managed businesses. Other members of the ‘experienced and responsive team’ include Fionnuala Kenny, who is skilled at advising wealthy clients on trusts and succession matters; and Paul Baker, who is recognised for his work on offshore tax planning and is adept at advising on domicile and residency issues in particular. The team also works with various high-profile people in the retail, politics, entertainment and sports arenas on matters such as asset protection in a matrimonial context, and routinely works with the family team on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements.

Hugh Jones Solicitors has an ‘immensely experienced team’ that is described as ‘one of, if not the premier legal practices dealing with Court of Protection work and acting for those with compromised mental capacity in England and Wales’. Hugh Jones is ‘able to get to grips with complicated issues quickly and painlessly’, and Carol McBride is ‘equally at ease whether discussing sensitive matters with fellow professionals, family members or others who are involved in the life of disabled parties’. The firm ‘combines the personal touch with real in-depth knowledge and expertise’. Other key members of the team are Rachel Dobson and solicitor Thomas Young, who is an ‘up-and-coming star in the world of Court of Protection’. Solicitor Fiona Ludkin is also ‘competent, flexible and very professional’.

Graham Wood heads the team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP. He attracts praise for the ‘considerable lengths he is willing to go to find a realistic solution and is excellent at explaining complex matters well in a way that is understood by all the parties’. The ‘conscientious’ Paul Bricknell (a senior associate) provides ‘sound advice’. Associate David Chambers has a ‘good ‘bedside manner’ that enables him to support and guide vulnerable clients’. The team predominantly advises business owners and their families, and is experienced at advising clients on the disclosure of undisclosed funds held in offshore locations. The team has also recently undertaken some complex trust structure work for a number of property structures with values between £10m and £70m.

Mills & Reeve LLP fields a ‘first-class, very helpful and very knowledgeable team’. Tony Hall has a ‘knack of explaining complex issues in an easily digestible format for advisers and clients alike’. The ‘outstandingZahra Siddiqui is ‘very knowledgeable and develops an excellent rapport with her clients; she quickly understands their needs and finds appropriate solutions for them’. Deborah Clark is recommended for her work on family investment companies, and senior associate Charlotte Shaughnessy has a ‘wide range of experience and cares a lot about her clients’. The team provides wealth and estate planning advice for high-net-worth clients and regularly advises on complex estates and trusts as well as on the establishment of family investment companies.

Aaron & Partners LLP provides an ‘excellent service with very quick turnaround times and clear advice’. Clients appreciate the ‘continuity of personnel and the fact that the team is not large – this enhances rather than detracts from the relationship’. Clive Pointon, who is a Court of Protection deputy, is ‘clear, incisive, realistic, good-humoured and patient’. James Wallace also provides ‘excellent support’ and is especially recommended for his work on disputes involving wills, trusts and estates. The team regularly deals with complex financial situations for high-net-worth clients and has been busy assisting a number of business owners with high-level capital tax planning.

At DWF the ‘level of knowledge and expertise is excellent, giving clients complete confidence that they are getting the right advice’. Paul Davies is a key member of the team and consultant Alan Sturrock is ‘very caring and explains matters very well’. Senior solicitor Nicola Birchby is ‘most efficient and exceedingly helpful’ and associate Rebecca Clarkegives clients complete confidence that they are in good hands’. The practice advises on the full gamut of private client work but has a particular focus on supporting business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth families with assets in the UK and overseas.

The ‘excellentChristine Thornley at Gorvins Solicitors leads a ‘responsive and incisive’ team that ‘quickly absorbs the facts, presents solutions and then provides advice that is tailored to each client’s circumstances’. The ‘knowledgeable, personable and friendly’ Valerie Brown ‘deals with queries very promptly’ and ‘excellent’ associate Tasoula Addison is ‘empathetic and reliable’. It expertise encompasses providing advice on wills, trusts, lasting powers of attorney, in addition to estate planning and administration, to a range of clients from the local community. It has been busy advising on trust planning issues for families with disabled children as well as protecting clients with dementia.

At JMW Solicitors LLPElaine Roche leads a ‘strong’ team that routinely advises family business owners and landed gentry on inheritance tax and succession planning, as well as on the application of agricultural and business property reliefs from inheritance tax. It deals with complex estate and trust administration work (as well as acting as professional executors and trustees) and frequently advises on cross-jurisdictional matters. It is also skilled at advising on multimillion-pound Court of Protection orders, statutory wills, mental capacity issues and lasting powers of attorney. Senior associate Paul Gotch is ‘reassuring and always tries to bring matters to a swift conclusion’.

Laytons’ ‘excellent team explains matters without a trace of pomposity’. Liz Braude is praised for her ‘professionalism, knowledge and clear advice’. It acts for a number of the region’s wealthiest individuals including business owners, entrepreneurs and board-level FTSE directors. Steven Appleton joined Brabners LLP.

The team at Linder Myers is adept at handling the full array of trusts and estates work and regularly advises on tax planning and estate matters for farmers and landowners, in addition to handling issues affecting the elderly. Andrew Cusworth is experienced in advising on tax planning, wills and trusts. He is also a panel deputy in the Court of Protection and acts as a litigation friend for individuals with impaired mental capacity, in addition to being a trustee of a number of charitable trusts.

Myerson Solicitors LLP has a ‘professional and effective team that is always well prepared’. Amanda Freeman heads the practice and has a ‘great depth of knowledge; she has dealt with some very difficult and challenging situationsand has good back up within the team’. Senior solicitor Clara Staunton is ‘very thorough and very approachable, and is keen to help and to understand clients’ needs’. Bik-ki Irving is also recommended. The team advises on a wide spectrum of issues for high-net-worth individuals and families, incliuding inheritance tax mitigation and advising on complex family structures, trusts and estates.

SAS Daniels LLP has a ‘very knowledgeable, competent and professional team that looks to understand each client’s specific needs and provide solutions accordingly’. Helen Kelly, who heads the trusts team, is ‘extremely knowledgeable and provides clients with the confidence that she will do an excellent job for them’. Justine Clowes heads the private client team and has a particular expertise in mental capacity work, care funding advice and older client issues. The practice advises on the administration of complex and high-value estates involving foreign assets or agricultural/business property. In addition it is adept at advising on wealth planning for a variety of clients such as the preparation of wills for parents of children with learning difficulties.

Slater and Gordon has a ‘client-focused team’ that is headed by the ‘technically excellent’ James Beresford, who is ‘great with clients’. Associate Simon Egan is also singled out for praise as a ‘diligent lawyer who genuinely cares for his clients’. The Chester-based team is renowned for its expertise in dealing with long-term tax planning and trusts for landed and farming families, while the Manchester-based team is known for advising parents with disabled children. The group works in conjunction with its Court of Protection department in helping clients with a disability and also works frequently with the personal injury and clinical negligence departments. The practice also provides a wills service for large trade unions.

Weightmans LLP has a ‘great base of private wealth clients’. Senior associate James Knowles is ‘very approachable and knowledgeable and is willing to go that extra mile for his clients’. Knowles advises wealthy clients on estate and inheritance tax planning issues, business succession planning and domicile issues. He has a particular focus on will planning and lifetime planning, in addition to advising on lasting powers of attorney. He also frequently deals with deputyship applications. The team has a key focus on advising business owners on how to structure their wealth through wills, lifetime trusts, and cross-option or other such arrangements. Carole Atkinson is a key member of the department, which was joined by Richard Bate from Brabners LLP. Paul Horton left the practice to join Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Forbes Solicitors has a ‘client-focused team’ that is led by associate Patricia Prescott, who is ‘compassionate when dealing with vulnerable clients’. The team advises on wills, personal tax, probate, trusts and estates, as well as tax and business succession planning. It regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals such as landowners and farmers.

Hibberts LLP has a ‘switched-on team particularly on agricultural property issues’ under the leadership of Anne Walley. It advises wealthy clients from both landed and commercial backgrounds on all aspects of probate and Court of Protection work. The department also handles complex trust matters and personal lifetime income tax affairs. The practice is also recommended for its work on contentious matters.

JWK Solicitors’ ‘efficient team’ includes director Sarah Murphy, who advises on probate matters and is noted for her specialism in elder client work; ‘she provides a caring service to the local community’. Murphy successfully represented a client at court without counsel in a rare application to the Court of Protection for a personal welfare deputyship order for an adult incapacitated person.

MLP Law LLP is ‘highly competent and is able to deal with a variety of complex cases in wills, probate and estate planning’. Lesley Sullivan and solicitor Rachel Eley are both ‘very personable and have a good working knowledge of the various estate planning issues that clients face. They clearly explain everything in layman’s language’. The team’s recent workload includes handling complex estates and drafting deeds of variation to mitigate inheritance tax.

Napthens LLP is ‘very strong in this area and has an excellent and efficient team’. Practice head Kathryn Harwood has a ‘vast amount of experience and technical ability, combined with a good understanding of what her clients need’. Solicitor Melissa Taylor has an ‘excellent knowledge of agricultural law and is great with the firm’s farming clients’. The department is divided into specialist teams such as wills and estate planning, court of protection and probate.

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Legal Developments in North West for Personal tax, trusts and probate

  • New ‘ROE Bill’ draft published

    Following from the recent public outcry regarding the lack of ‘transparency’ in the UK property market, a new ‘ROE Bill’ draft has now been published.
    - Hudson McKenzie

Legal Developments in the UK

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