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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

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Addleshaw Goddard handles a wide range of high-value work for ultra- and high-net-worth clients, entrepreneurs, trust companies and international individuals, advising on the administration of estates, wills and trusts on matters including domicile, residence, IHT, dual taxation, foreign assets, asset protection and family trust restructuring. The firm is also regularly involved in complex cross-border matters, advising both executors and trustees. 'Stand-out' partner Yorke Eaton heads the team, and is highly regarded for his capital tax planning advice to entrepreneurs and business owners.

Practice head(s):Yorke Eaton

Testimonials

'The team is proactive in managing relationships with their clients, focused and they regularly go the extra mile to deliver on service.'

'Their technical knowledge across the team is strong but delivered with personality, something not all tax advisors achieve.'

'Yorke Eaton's ability to understand how his clients' business interests align with their personal objectives is excellent. This combined with his deep technical knowledge and eye for detail makes him the stand out partner in the region.'

'The breadth of experience within the team is very strong, which makes the overall offering very powerful.'

'Yorke Eaton is a very capable partner - he is pragmatic and a problem solver, helping clients effectively.'

'Joe Cobb is a great member of the team - he works well with clients and is able to flex his style to be effective with client personalities.'

Key Clients

NFU Mutual

Work highlights

  • Advising NFU Mutual on their internal policies for dealing with bereavement, vulnerable customers and powers of attorney.
  • Acting for the executors of a substantial and contentious international estate, with assets in the UK, Jersey, Gibraltar, Portugal and Thailand, which includes issues of domicile, residence, the applicability of various inheritance tax reliefs, dual taxation, foreign assets and a potential claim from the widow.
  • Provided asset protection and tax planning advice to a high-net-worth individual and his family and business, working closely with our corporate colleagues in reviewing and restructuring both company and trust assets held within the family and the impact on family governance protocols, shareholders agreement and articles of association.
  • Advising two individuals in their personal capacity on wills, trusts and tax planning following the sale of their business.
  • Advising a client on a family trust structure (with a significant holding in a UK plc) previously based in New Zealand.

The team at Brabners LLP is 'second to none' when dealing with complex, high-value trusts, estates and succession issues. Practice head Duncan Bailey is adept at handling trust and tax planning matters, and has recently been involved in very high-profile estate issues garnering national media coverage. The team also includes Louise Scholes, who leads the team out of the Liverpool office, and Manchester-based Steven Appleton who is described by clients as 'first-rate' and 'very talented'.

Practice head(s):Duncan Bailey; Louise Scholes; Steven Appleton; Stephen Marriott

Testimonials

'There is nothing the team cannot handle. The team is well run and as professional as they come.'

'Duncan Bailey is a class act. He is the go-to man for high-net-worth individuals in the city and beyond. He goes the extra mile for clients.'

'The team at Brabners is second to none when it comes to dealing with the complex issues that wealthy families face in today's increasingly complex world.'

The team at DWF undertakes the full gambit of private client work but has particular strength in advising business owners and high-net-worth individuals on domestic and international asset management, as well as on wills, IHT and succession planning. Director Christopher Noel joined from Addleshaw Goddard in late 2018 as head of private capital, bringing 'a level of additional service quality and technical knowledge' to the team.

Practice head(s):Christopher Noel; Jon Gould

Testimonials

'Christopher Noel is an excellent addition to the team. He brings a level of additional service quality and technical knowledge to the team as well as a significant degree of understanding of the importance of client service and relationships that the wider team will benefit from.'

Work highlights

  • Acting as and representing the trustees of a substantial and valuable trust, holding a large portfolio of property in Kings Cross, London and further afield.
  • Advising the trustees of a large and substantial landed estate, with a valuable estate company, stately home and business/agricultural assets.

Hill Dickinson LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals and businesses on both domestic and cross-border matters, with a particular focus on succession planning. The practice, which displays 'excellent professionalism', provides high quality advice, characterised by a strong tax element. Fionnuala Kenny heads the team which includes legal director Susan Sherry, who is 'on a different level to competitors'.

Practice head(s):Fionnuala Kenny

Testimonials

'Exceptional professionalism, very good knowledge and approachable from both a professional and client level. From assistant to partner level excellent service.'

'Susan Sherry's knowledge seems on a different level to competitors.'

'Friendly and easy to deal with team.'

'All key staff have a professional approach.'

The 'highly capable' team at Hugh Jones Solicitors has considerable expertise in dealing with vulnerable and disabled clients, and has recently been involved in a number of high-profile cases that could have a significant impact on the sector. Practice head Hugh Jones' 'breadth of knowledge and common sense' set him apart from competitors, while Elizabeth Hughes is recommended by clients as a 'trusted pair of hands'. The firm also has growing experience in deputyship matters, acting for a number of clients in this area, with a wide geographical spread. Senior associate Chris Gallagher is particularly well known for management of complex contested matters in the Court of Protection.

Practice head(s):Hugh Jones; Elizabeth Hughes

Other key lawyers:Chris Gallagher; Danielle Carter

Testimonials

'Liz Hughes has provided excellent service. She is calm and knowledgeable.'

'Hugh Jones Solicitors are exceptional. They really care about their clients.  I can't praise them enough.'

'There is strength in depth among the firm's tax and probate practice; the individuals are approachable and provide a great client service.'

'Hugh Jones' experience, breadth of knowledge and common sense are the key qualities that stand out to me.'

'Liz Hughes is very competent and efficient.'

'Elizabeth Hughes is a trusted pair of hands.'

'It is a delight to work with Danielle Carter who evidences a fantastic team approach and doesn't shy away from difficult client issues.'

'Danielle Carter is absolutely outstanding.'

JMW Solicitors LLP acts across a broad range of estate and trust administration work including advising on complex will restructurings, charitable trusts, estate planning and succession of trusts. A number of recent cases have involved a cross-border element, with the firm advising clients whose estates include assets in the US, Australia and the Middle East. Clients frequently include family business owners, landed gentry and high-net-worth individuals. Leading the personal law team in Manchester, Tasnim Khalid displays 'outstanding knowledge', and advises a large number of non-domiciled clients.

Practice head(s):Tasnim Khalid

Other key lawyers:Elaine Roche; Paul Gotch

Testimonials

'Broad range of knowledge throughout the team, excellent service.'

'Tasnim Khalid has excellent interpersonal skills and explains things in a jargon-free manner.'

'Elaine Roche is an expert with empathy.'

'Talented, and technically very good.'

'Tasnim Khalid and Paul Gotch have outstanding knowledge and customer relationship skills.'

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP predominantly advises business owners and their families on a wide range of trust and estate planning matters, including foreign taxation, succession planning, complex family disputes, and trust restructurings. The team has particular expertise in setting up and managing personal injury trusts. Partner and head of the team Graham Wood, who is 'technically very sound', specialises in tax and trusts law and handles a number of high-value estate planning cases.

Practice head(s):Graham Wood

Testimonials

'Paul Bricknell is able to communicate very well with clients and deal effortlessly with areas that are often sensitive. He has very high levels of technical expertise.'

'Technically very sound but with a pragmatic and commercial approach to problem solving.'

'Down to earth and approachable.'

Key Clients

Recommended advisor to clients of Lombard Odier Private Bank, Geneva

Recommended advisor to clients of UBS Private Bank, Zurich

Recommended advisor to clients of Lombard Assurance, Zurich

Recommended advisor to clients of Castlegate Financial Management Ltd

Recommended advisor to clients of Swisspartners

Stoller Charitable Trust

Park Charitable Trust

DanceSyndrome Charity

Manor Retail Ltd

Crown Oil Limited

The 'outstanding and thoroughly professional' Tony Hall leads the 'technically excellent' team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which advises a number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their families on a wide range of trust and estate planning matters. The firm also advises family business owners on succession issues, and is currently involved in several complex estate issues, some with a cross-border element. The team includes senior associate Charlotte Shaughnessy, who has experience acting for high value estates, including claims for business property relief and agricultural property relief from inheritance tax.

Practice head(s):Deborah Clark; Tony Hall; Zahra Siddiqui

Other key lawyers:Charlotte Shaughnessy

Testimonials

'The team in general is of the very highest quality, sticklers for detail and always one step ahead.  They are a notch above other firms I have dealt with, in terms of technical ability.'

'Tony Hall is the best trust lawyer I have ever met, by a country mile. He is personable, knowledgeable and approachable. Altogether an extremely competent lawyer and a true expert in his specialist field.'

'The firm has a reputation for technical excellence in the marketplace.' 

'Tony Hall is an outstanding individual with a thoroughly professional approach.'

Work highlights

  • Acting for the recently appointed professional independent administrator of the estate of the late Mrs Cadogan, appointed by court order during bitter litigation between the two former executors
  • Acted for an Oxbridge College in defending a potential claim by relatives of the deceased, who are alleging (a) that the college is under a moral obligation to pass some of its legacy to them and should apply to the Charity Commission for permission to do so, and (b) that they have a claim in proprietary estoppel. That part of the claim has now been compromised.

Myerson Solicitors LLP handles a variety of trust and estates issues including the administration of estates, deputyship issues, wills and estates succession planning, and inheritance tax mitigation. Amanda Freeman heads the team which includes the 'simply superb' Bik-ki Irving, who has recently handled the  highest value trust administered by the firm, and senior solicitor Clara Staunton, who deals with a number of clients with complex matters including issues on domicile and estate planning.

Practice head(s):Amanda Freeman

Other key lawyers:Clara Staunton; Bik-ki Irving

Testimonials

'Clara Staunton is an exceptional private client lawyer. She combines a natural rapport with clients, with an ability to articulate complex matters in a straightforward manner.'

'The firm has a range of specialists who work extremely well together and complement each other efficiently and effectively.'

'Bik-ki Irving is simply superb. Very quick to respond, very knowledgeable and open to suggestions. She has excellent negotiation skills.'

'Amanda Freeman is friendly, approachable and knowledgeable and makes clients feel at ease.'

'Bik-ki Irving was exceptionally efficient and helpful.'

The team at Butcher & Barlow LLP undertakes a high volume of work for business owners and high-net-worth individuals on a range of matters including wills, powers of attorney, Court of Protection and general administration of estates. The firm also has particular expertise in agricultural work, offering a bespoke service in estate planning for farmers. Practice head Christopher Hopkins, who has an 'impressive depth of knowledge', leads the team which includes the 'competent and tenacious' Jessica Shore and 'exceptionally reliable' Jim Whitaker.

Practice head(s):Chris Hopkins

Other key lawyers:Jessica Shore; Jim Whitaker

Testimonials

'The firm was very efficient and prompt.'

'The team are extremely approachable with excellent communication skills.  They are able to explain very technical issues in a clear succinct way.'

'Jessica Shore's competence and tenacity to achieve a successful result was outstanding.'

'The team has been professional, friendly, informative and caring. The support team have been efficient, speedy with responses, and readily available.'

'Chris Hopkins' depth and breadth of knowledge was impressive and his manner friendly and professional.'

'Jim Whitaker is extremely efficient and exceptionally reliable.'

Work highlights

  • Advised on estate involving both free estate and a family discretionary trust, both of which had an interest in land with the potential for development, which has now been realised.
  • Advised on a high value estate with issues of inheritance tax,  jurisdiction and cross department involvement with regard to a potential dilapidations claim for commercial property.
  • Advised on administration of a large estate, with life interests in two trust funds and claims for agricultural relief and business relief.

Gorvins Solicitors regularly acts for family business owners and high-net-worth individuals on complex and high-value matters relating to wills, disabled beneficiaries and Court of Protection issues. The team is led by Christine Thornley, who has particular expertise in succession planning, and includes newly promoted partner Michael Smoult and senior associate Tasoula Addison.

Practice head(s):Christine Thornley

Other key lawyers:Michael Smoult

Work highlights

  • Complex estate matter where the deceased was a member of an LLP family business and an inheritance due to him is non-recoverable due to a fraudulent trust corporation.
  • Advised a family in respect of the estates of a father and son who died within three months of each other and were part of a farming partnership.
  • Provided estate planning for husband and wife owners of multimillion-pound business, including advice on wills incorporating a discretionary trust for assets attracting business property relief for IHT.
  • Advised on complex estate administration case which included a personal guarantee against executor together with difficult beneficiaries.
  • Acted as administrator in an estate where the family had been fighting for years over which will was correct and who should act in the estate.

Linder Myers advises high-net-worth individuals and businesses on a range of matters including estate planning, wills, probate and administration of estates and tax planning. Private client head Andrew Cusworth is an experienced Court of Protection deputy, and handles a large number of personal injury trusts. Megan Christie, who leads the Court of Protection team, specialises in complex cases with vulnerable and disabled clients.

Practice head(s):Andrew Cusworth; Megan Christie

SAS Daniels LLP advises a broad range of clients on long-term care funding, inheritance tax planning, trusts and personal taxation, as well as complex and high value estates, including estates containing trusts, foreign property, business property and agricultural property. Justine Clowes, who specialises in wills and wealth planning, with a particular focus on mental capacity work, heads the team which also includes the 'very approachable and professional' Helen Kelly.

Practice head(s):Justine Clowes

Other key lawyers:Helen Kelly

Testimonials

'Helen Kelly and Jayne Heywood are very approachable, helpful and professional.'

'The firm's communication is exceptional and makes for very smooth working.'

Weightmans LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals and business owners on a range of matters including but not limited to wills, succession planning and lifetime trusts. Richard Bate leads the wills, trusts, tax and probate team nationally and specialises in tax mitigation and assisting business owners and those with more complicated family arrangements and asset structures with succession planning and wealth protection. John-Paul Dennis, who leads the team out of Liverpool, regularly acts as a deputy and attorney for vulnerable and elderly clients.

Practice head(s):Richard Bate; John-Paul Dennis

Aaron & Partners LLP advises on the administration of charitable trusts, inheritance tax mitigation, estate restructuring and wills and estate planning. Clients include a number of high-net-worth individuals as well as various charitable trusts. The 'precise and proactive' Clive Pointon offers experienced advice as a Court of Protection deputy, receiving a considerable amount of referral work with a wide geographical spread, and is described by clients as 'a delight to work with'.

Practice head(s):Clive Pointon

Testimonials

'Clive Pointon is delightful to work with.'

'Clive Pointon's precise and proactive professional approach imbued an absolute confidence in the advice he has provided.'

The newly established private wealth team at BLM , which was launched in 2018 with the hire of practice head James Bereford from Slater and Gordon , provides advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, trustees and family businesses on matters including wills, estate planning, inheritance tax planning, LPAs, asset protection and probate. The firm has particular expertise in advising families with disabled children and vulnerable individuals.

Practice head(s):James Bereford

The team at Clarke Willmott LLP, whose 'breadth of knowledge is second to none', is very experienced in advising on general succession issues and inheritance tax and asset protection planning for business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth families. With the recent acquisition of a three-strong team from DWF, the firm now boasts the expertise of 'fiercely intelligent' Paul Davies as its new practice head, alongside 'technically astute' senior associate Nicola Walker and the 'excellent' Emma Collins.

Practice head(s):Paul Davies

Other key lawyers:Nicola Walker; Emma Collins

Testimonials

'Paul Davies' technical expertise is exceptional.'

'Nicola Walker is exceptional in her attention to clients.'

'Emma Collins is excellent.'

'This is one of the only private client teams in Manchester with charisma and personality; as well as being both highly professional, efficient and client-focused.'

'The breadth of knowledge within the team is second to none, notably on tax matters where they are by far and away the most capable and credible at handling complex matters for families.'  

'Paul Davies is fiercely intelligent.'

'Nicola Walker is approachable and technically astute and a stand out individual within an already impressive Clarke Willmott practice.'

The 'extremely efficient' team at DTM Legal LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals, business owners and landed estates on trusts, succession planning, domicile issues, estate administration and powers of attorney. The firm advises a number of clients with foreign property interests, with particular expertise in advising on will drafting and tax planning with a cross-border element.

Practice head(s):Amanda Bailey

Testimonials

'The team is extremely efficient.'

'Amanda Bailey is excellent in her knowledge and superb in her explanations.' 

'I cannot praise Amanda Bailey enough - her manner and professional approach is exceptional.'

Work highlights

  • Advising Poulton Hall Wall Garden Trust on charitable trust options.
  • Acting for a client on the administration of her late husband’s estate and her own personal estate planning.

The team at FDR Law possesses 'impressive knowledge, efficiency and integrity',  handling the full range of matters covering will drafting, estate administration, complex trusts, powers of attorney, Court of Protection, IHT planning and succession planning. Head of team Ian Sydenham 'exhibits the highest standard of client service and care', and regularly advises the firm's highest value clients and estates.

Practice head(s):Ian Sydenham

Testimonials

'A trusted, reliable and dedicated law firm.'

'Kristel Clarke is exceptionally committed.'

'FDR's client service has been impeccable and their level of knowledge and expertise is of the highest quality.'

'Ian Sydenham exhibits the highest standard of client service and care.'

'FDR Law has impressive knowledge, efficiency, integrity and clarity of practice. Enquires are always dealt with with expedience and professionalism.'

The 'very friendly and practical' team at Forbes Solicitors advises on wills, probate, trusts, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection, estate and inheritance tax planning and business succession planning, for high-net-worth individuals including landowners and farmers. The practice - which is led by Jane Burbidge, who rejoined the firm in early 2019 - has a particular focus on Court of Protection applications and regularly acts for vulnerable and disabled clients.

Practice head(s):Jane Burbidge

Testimonials

Harrison Drury & Co has a strong and experienced team advising high-net-worth individuals and vulnerable clients on matters including complex asset structures. The firm handles highly complex and sensitive cases, often including a cross-border element. The team demonstrates an excellent understanding of estate and tax planning issues and includes practice head Eve Carter, 'tenacious litigator' Edward Stanley, and Jan Wright who is praised by clients for 'immediately instilling trust and confidence.'

Practice head(s):Eve Carter

Other key lawyers:Edward Stanley; Jan Wright

Testimonials

'Jan Wright has a wealth of experience and information.'

'Edward Stanley is a tenacious litigator who approaches litigation in an extremely thorough and measured way.'

'Eve Carter is an excellent lawyer.'

'Jan Wright is an outstanding individual who immediately instils trust and confidence.'

'Edward Stanley is exceptionally knowledgeable and approachable.'

Chester firm Jolliffe & Co LLP prides itself on its longstanding relationships with a variety of clients, ranging from individuals and entrepreneurs to charities and trusts, offering a bespoke, commercially focused service. Private client head Hugh Butler , who 'instills confidence' and is 'thoughtful and thorough' leads the team.

Practice head(s):Hugh Butler

Testimonials

'Friendly and understandable approach with emphasis on problem solving.'

'Jolliffe & Co is efficient, approachable and well informed.'

'Everyone at Jolliffe & Co is extremely friendly, but professional.'

The team at MLP Law LLP has expertise in administering high-value estates, including advising on ways to mitigate or avoid inheritance tax and dealing with complex assets. The team also has experience in cases that have international elements. Team head Lesley Sullivan 'stands out from other solicitors' due to 'her ability to make you feel as if you are part of the MLP family'.

Practice head(s):Lesley Sullivan

Testimonials

'We received first class service from MLP Law - the team headed by Elizabeth Wilkinson were both professional and caring throughout.'

'Lesley Sullivan and her team always complete any work in a timely, professional and personal manner.'

'I always feel the advice offered by Lesley Sullivan is consistent, timely and in the detail one would expect from a professional solicitor. Why Lesley stands out from other solicitors is her ability to make you feel as if you are part of the 'MLP family'. The resulting feeling when leaving a meeting with Lesley and MLP is not one of being overcharged but that you have been given good value for your money.'

The team at Napthens LLP has an array of expertise and knowledge, 'bringing big law firm expertise to Lancashire while retaining the personal touch', according to clients. Kathryn Harwood heads the department which specialises in wills and estate planning, Court of Protection matters and probate work. The firm works for a number of family owned companies, farmers and wealthy individuals across the region.

Practice head(s):Kathryn Harwood

Other key lawyers:Charlotte Rumsey; Laura Jackson; Elizabeth Byrne

Testimonials

'The team is extremely knowledgeable and take time to give you detailed advice.'

'The private client team at Napthens are committed to listening and achieving their client's goals. The team stands out from other firms in the North West due to the specialisms of the lawyers.'

'Charlotte Rumsey is extremely approachable and proactive.'

Key Clients

Office of the Public Guardian

The 'first class' Jane Shaw leads the private client team at Pannone Corporate LLP, which advises mid- and high-net-worth individuals on structuring wealth and estates and succession planning, including tax efficient wills, trusts and family investment companies. Shaw frequently acts for high value clients and families, and also specialises in advising non-domiciled clients on IHT planning and mitigation.

Practice head(s):Jane Shaw

Testimonials

'Jane Shaw is first class. She gives practical, proactive advice on complex problems, and is totally solutions driven.'  

'Jane Shaw is an expert in her field.'

'Jane Shaw is extremely knowledgeable.'

Slater and Gordon advises on all aspects of private client work, including preparation of wills, trusts, lasting powers of attorney and the administration and taxation of estates and trusts. Clients include high-net-worth and complex estates, often involving trusts and assets abroad. Former practice head James Bereford left to join BLM in mid-2018.

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