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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 > South East > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in South East 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


Boodle Hatfield LLP is β€˜a sound private client firm’ with β€˜an exceptional depth of expertise’, which provides β€˜lucid and succinct advice as quickly as the client needs’. The team advises high net-worth individuals on investments into landed estates, country houses and farms, and undertakes the full range of agricultural work including tax planning, charitable ventures and the sale and purchase of agricultural land. Key practitioner Fiona Graham is β€˜always prompt in addressing questions’ and β€˜can explain difficult legal and taxation concepts in a way that is understandable to a layman’. Natasha Hassall has β€˜great attention to detail’, and advises on onshore and offshore trusts, tax planning and wills. Key clients include Grosvenor, Bedford Estates and the Wates Group.

Cripps LLP advises on the full gamut of issues in the agricultural sector including land sale and purchase, contract and share farming agreements, tax planning and grazing agreements, and also has a niche expertise in Stamp Duty Land Tax and its implications. The firm recently advised on a number of high-value property and estate acquisitions across the South East region, and also handled various sales of land for development and residential use. Notable individuals include Sally Firby, who specialises in high-value farm and country estates; Darren Philpot, who is noted for his expertise in financial tax planning in relation to estate acquisitions; and Peter Scott, who advises on inheritance tax. Evremond Estate is a key client.

Freeths LLP provides β€˜a comprehensive legal service to estate and rural property owners’, and has β€˜great attention to detail, and an appreciation of long-term client relationships’. The firm’s industry expertise spans the charities, education, professional services and insurance sectors, among others, and the team regularly handles the acquisition and disposal of farms, landed estates, woodlands and other agricultural assets. Practice head Iain Davis is β€˜a leading expert who is well qualified in landed property matters’; he recently advised an Oxford college on the grant of a building license with associated tax, construction, overage and property provisions. In another highlight, the β€˜practical and professional’ Sarah Duffy advised a farming family on the Β£10m sale of a 22 acre development site in Oxfordshire to a national housebuilder. Other leading figures include Jane Maitland, who β€˜provides wise counsel and a calm approach in difficult circumstances’, Samantha Leigh, who is β€˜conscientious, thorough and technically spot-on’, and Balvinder Jaj.

The β€˜top-notch’ team at Irwin Mitchell acts for a mix of farming companies, private individuals and institutional and charity clients, and has significantly bolstered its client base following its recent merger with regional firm Thomas Eggar LLP. Recent highlights include representing an individual in a dispute with Mid Sussex District Council, a matter regarding planning permission for the sale and development of a green space in West Sussex, and the firm also acted for Trenport Investments in opposing an application by the British Horse Society, which aimed to upgrade footpaths and bridleways across a 3500-acre estate in Kent. James Pavey heads the practice, advising primarily on land development potential; β€˜ultimate professional’ Richard Venables Kyrke is β€˜easily accessible to talk matters through’ and β€˜identifies potential problems quickly, advising the client accordingly’; and Anthony Nixon is recommended for tax and trusts matters.

Warners Solicitors provides β€˜an excellent service’ and β€˜explains all concepts simply in a user-friendly language’. The group advises on the full range of non-contentious property work and regularly handles the sale and purchase of farms, estates and grouse moors, and also advises on criminal and regulatory work over sporting rights, boundaries and other related land disputes. In a recent highlight, the firm assisted the executors of a will with the administration of a Β£1.5m estate in East Sussex, a matter handled by governance and charities expert Gail Hall. Other key figures include Steve Colville, who β€˜is able to effectively reassure the client in difficult matters’; Michael McNally, who acts for hunts, landed estates, farms and equestrian racecourses; and Tim Ryan, who specialises in country sport, animal welfare and firearms licensing. Samantha Bradburne is also a key name to note. Active clients include the Masters of Foxhounds Association, and the Association of Masters of Harriers and Beagles.

Birkett Long LLP’s β€˜competent’ team β€˜undertakes all work in a timely manner and with great attention to detail’, and β€˜offers sound knowledge which is clearly explained to the client’. Key areas of expertise include succession and tax planning, trust and estate administration, property transactions, diversification and land ownership disputes. The firm also regularly acts for farms and landowners, advising on the full spectrum of matters across the South East. Practice head Caroline Dowding is β€˜very approachable, knowledgeable and capable of explaining complex concepts in layman terms’; Bruce Ballard is β€˜excellent on the trusts, wills and planning side’, and Mark Wrinch is β€˜diligent, well prepared and a very competent litigator’.

The β€˜highly competent’ team at Birketts LLP has β€˜very sound knowledge, great attention to detail’, and β€˜always explains everything clearly to the client’. Key areas of expertise include the sale and purchase of freeholds, agricultural commercial diversification, tenancy issues and renewable energy projects, among others. Jack Royall heads the department and advises on landlord and tenant matters, succession issues and planning. Associate Annabelle Rout deals with agricultural tenancy work, advising on easement grants for access, pipes and wires across agricultural land, and Leo McMahon handles sales, purchases and commercial lets for farming clients.

Blake Morgan LLP’s team advises on the full range of agricultural finance, diversification and land matters, providing tax and trust advice to commercial enterprises, estates and farms, handling renewable energy projects and assisting with sales, purchases and acquisitions of various types of land. Real estate partner Oliver Sowton is the key name to note along with tax planning specialist Douglas Smith, and employment law practitioner Sarah Peacock. Senior associate Caroline Lindon-Morris is recommended for sale and purchase matters, and also advises on the property and corporate aspects of farm diversification.

Brachers provides β€˜a high quality service’, and the team β€˜responds quickly, and has superb sector-specific knowledge’. The practice retains a solid longstanding client base of landowners, farmers and land-based businesses, and advises on the full scope of matters, including overage, agricultural tenancies, tax planning and disputes. The firm is currently advising East Malling Trust on all property matters arising from its merger with the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, including the reorganisation of the Trust’s estate and the securing of ten new leases covering land-based research, farming and laboratories. Sarah Webster is the key figure along with probate and estate planning lawyer Christopher Eriksson-Lee. Hadlow College and Kent County Agricultural Society are also clients.

The β€˜reliable’ group at Furley Page Solicitors acts for a mix of landed estates, charities and investors, and has significant renewable energy and development expertise. Senior associate Ethan Desai heads the practice, having joined the firm in January 2016 from Blake Morgan LLP; Desai specialises in rural property and development work, and recently advised St Nicholas Court Farms on its Β£5m purchase of a commercial arable holding in East Kent. In another highlight, the β€˜highly knowledgeable’ Christopher Wacher assisted G H Dean & Company with various legal agreements regarding the installation of an 18MV solar array.

Knights has β€˜a good following amongst landowners in the South East and nationwide’, and has β€˜a strong and tenacious commitment to the interests of the client’. Recent work included representing two individuals in a dispute over a lapsed access to adjoining fields, and assisting several clients with planning, judicial review claims for listed buildings and development rights issues. Senior partner Matthew Knight β€˜has achieved many successful outcomes thanks to his tough negotiating manner and willingness to go the extra mile’. Peter Burfoot β€˜knows the subject area well’ and β€˜offers realistic advice’.

The β€˜professional and diligent’ team at Spratt Endicott provides β€˜a good quality legal service’ and has β€˜an excellent reputation in the field’. The practice is noted for its expertise in rural property, and has recently advised a range of estate owners, investors and lifestyle buyers on uplift arrangements and planning issues. Key figure Christopher Goldingham is β€˜approachable and knowledgeable’; David Endicott advises private individuals on trusts, personal tax, planning and charities issues; and Andrew Woods has significant expertise in development and strategic land transactions. Howard Meakin is the name to note in Bicester.

Whitehead Monckton provides β€˜an excellent service across a wide range of matters’, β€˜good response times’ and β€˜a great depth of specialist knowledge’. The practice has a strong focus on tax and trusts issues and real estate advice, including planning support and agricultural occupancy matters. Highlights included advising F D Attwood & Partners on the site assembly of a 450-unit residential development building on a farmland site, assisting with permission issues and access over woodland. The β€˜strong team’ includes property expert Robert Coombe and Stephen Beck, who specialises in inheritance tax and wealth management.

Adams & Remers has recently advised on a number of option and promotion agreements, and is increasingly acting for local authorities on the sale of amenity land. The firm also handles work in relation to landed estates, farming partnerships, viticulture and listed property, and has increasingly advised new and existing clients on refinancing matters. Practice head Katherine Haslam has notable expertise in dealing with large-scale estates, and Robin Illingworth is the other key individual.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is β€˜a well-respected firm in the landed estates and agricultural sector’, and has β€˜an impressive breadth of knowledge, with strong specialist expertise and a high level of understanding’. The group advises on tax, trusts and succession issues, estate management and landed estate and rural property transactions, and has a strong client base of private individuals and estate owners. Sally Ashford heads the private client practice, where property litigator David Haines is also a key figure. Jonathan Thompson has β€˜a clear grasp of matters impinging on agricultural legal affairs’, and β€˜is skilled at handling complex and sensitive client relationships’.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP is β€˜excellent on all counts’, advising a mix of farming and landowner clients and major agricultural estates on development agreements, tax efficient trust structures, partnerships and renewable energy installations, among other matters. The firm recently advised Atlantica Investments on the Β£800k purchase of a farm in Kintbury. Practice head James Burgess β€˜understands clients’ needs and is very adept at explaining legal concepts in simple terms’. Sue Vandersteen handles tax, trusts and estate planning matters, and Sarah Wray acts for high net-worth landowners on all aspects of land law. Other notable clients include Monksmead Farms and Mapledurham Estate.

Gepp & Sons Solicitors LLP is noted for its strong farming practice, its key areas of expertise including the development, sale and purchase of farm land, land registration and farm tenancies, housing and mortgages. Highlights included advising on the de-merger of a family farming company, and acting for several individuals on the Β£4m acquisition of farm land, successfully handling the financing and the property title issues. Edward Worthy is the key name to note; he has substantial experience dealing with all aspects of commercial and agricultural matters.

The β€˜experienced and highly professional’ team at Moore Blatch LLP provides β€˜a great level of service’, and is β€˜commercial, responsive, sure-footed and client-focused’. The practice advises on all aspects of rural business, including agricultural trusts and taxes, farm and land acquisitions, tenancy advice and estate management. The team has notable expertise in acting for landowners in land sales to developers, and also receives strong mandates from the housebuilding sector. Practice head Edward Whittington is β€˜reasonable, commercial and sensitive to client needs’, and Philip Whitcomb is also recommended.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP handles the full breadth of rural and agricultural matters for both businesses and private individuals, and has a strong presence in the farming, horticulture, viticulture and food production sectors. Practice head Richard Cripps specialises in commercial property, handling the financing and property aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and Nick Fagg advises rural-based clients on property, commercial and tax issues.

Tees Law has β€˜a great breadth of experience’ and β€˜a strong depth of dedicated expertise in the appropriate legal sectors’. The firm has a strong reputation in the farming sector, where it advises on the full array of issues including the acquisition and disposal of development sites, joint ventures and promotion and option agreements. The team also has significant cross-border expertise, frequently managing international estates for private individuals. David Miller, who is the key name to note, advises on acquisitions, disposals and tenancies along with diversification projects and renewables.

Thompson Smith and Puxon has recently advised a number of developers and landowners on the sales and acquisitions of various development sites. The team also acts for landlord and tenants on all lease-related matters, advises farmers on succession and estate planning, and handles the commercial aspects of rural businesses, including joint ventures and supply agreements. The practice is headed by Stephen Firmin, who has extensive expertise in all land-related transactions. Mary Anne Fedeyko specialises in corporate and commercial matters, and Richard Porter is recommended for employment matters.

Thomson Snell & Passmore provides β€˜a comprehensive legal service’ and β€˜deals with clients in a professional and competent manner’. The group’s wide-ranging client list includes landowners, estates, tenants and developers, and the firm advises on the full array of issues including land sales and acquisitions, renewable energy projects, development sites and planning matters. Key figure Sue Lister is β€˜thorough, efficient and always available when necessary’, and β€˜is well able to mix professionalism with empathy’. Gilbert Green specialises in development and agricultural property, and Helen Stewart handles planning and tax issues, and has significant experience in managing multijurisdictional estates.

Woodfines LLP’s β€˜excellent’ practice has β€˜a strong understanding of wills, tenancy agreements and purchases in the agricultural sector’. Recent work included acting for farmer clients in Bedfordshire in connection with a promotion agreement for residential development on farmland, a matter valued at Β£2m. The group also deals with probate and estate planning, and regularly handles commercial matters for businesses and rural landowners. Charlotte Benjamin heads the practice where Brian Bennett, Andrew Buckley and John Egan are also key figures.

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in South East 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


Blake Morgan LLP is noted for its expertise in the charity retail, healthcare and education sectors, and regularly advises a range of charities and not-for-profits on M&A transactions, joint ventures, restructurings and social enterprise matters. Recent highlights included acting for the British Red Cross on a number of acquisitions, disposals and lease renewals, and providing general advice on the client’s property portfolio. The team also advised St John’s Winchester Charity on the employment aspects of its care home, Devenish House, including a number of compulsory redundancies, and assisted Age UK Oxfordshire with a number of HomeShare agreements. Key figures include Claire Lamkin, who specialises in disputes involving commercial and residential property, senior associate Anna Larbi, who β€˜provides practical and sound advice in property matters’, and Stephanie Walls, who acts for charities in challenges to legacies, trusts and donations. Chris Williams heads the practice.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP provides β€˜a gold-standard service’, offering β€˜clear and focused advice and a good application of wider experience’. The firm counts a number of national and global charities and not-for-profit organisations as its clients, some key names including Samaritans and Cancer Research UK. The team acts for Save the Children on all aspects of the management of its leasehold property portfolio, advising on acquisitions, renewals and disposals. The practice is headed by the β€˜vastly experienced’ Duncan Elson, who β€˜has managed a huge range of disputes in his time, and is always calm and accommodating’. Other key figures include tax and succession expert George Duncan; Sally Ashford, who advises on legacy administration and campaign literature; and Ben Smith, who advises charity clients on the full range of employment matters. The β€˜knowledgeable, trustworthy and professional’ Kate Parkinson is also a name to note.

The β€˜excellent’ team at Freeths LLP has β€˜a good breadth of knowledge’ and β€˜is always prompt to respond to queries’. The practice handles all aspects of contentious and non-contentious legacy work along with formation and registration matters, property advice, M&A activity, employment matters and commercial disputes. Longstanding clients include Cancer Research UK, Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the British Psychological Society, and the firm recently added the Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust to its roster. Practice head Angela Bowman acts for charities in contentious trust and probate matters, and the β€˜helpful and knowledgeable’ Robert Nieri advises on governance issues, commercial agreements, fundraising and dispute resolution. Nigel Roots is also a key figure, advising on tax and trust planning.

At Barlow Robbins LLP, the β€˜well-resourced and technically able’ team has β€˜a detailed knowledge of the subject matter, is easy to contact, and is good at liaising with trustees and working with staff’. The firm is notably strong in the independent schools sector, providing specialist advice on charity law and handling the full range of operational matters including safeguarding, press regulation, data protection and employment. Highlights included advising the Catholic Women’s League of England & Wales on various commercial and governance matters, and acting for Salisbury Cathedral School on its Β£1.5m acquisition of a neighbouring competitor. Department head Gordon Reid is β€˜a highly capable lawyer who never allows matters to drift’, and other key figures include employment law expert Joanna Lada-Walicki, dispute resolution head David Foster and corporate lawyer Mark Lucas. Other notable clients include WWF UK, RSPCA and Shooting Star Chase.

Blandy & Blandy LLP provides β€˜a welcoming and friendly service’ and β€˜good value for money’. The firm has strong expertise in the education sector and acts for a growing number of national and global charities, advising on mergers and de-mergers along with operational and regulatory issues. Highlights included advising the University of Reading on the promotion of a new development site, assisting the client with the application for planning permission on land valued at Β£60m, and acting for a guidance provider to young people on the outsourcing of its IT provision. Practice head Nick Burrows β€˜explains matters clearly to those with a non-legal background’, advising not-for-profit clients on the full range of issues including joint ventures, public procurement, fundraising and intellectual property matters. Other clients include Career Connect, Genetic Disorders UK and Adviza.

Cripps LLP is notably strong in the education, social housing, religion and healthcare sectors, and also receives significant mandates from its arts, culture and heritage clients. The firm advises on the full breadth of matters including charity formation, M&A activity, risk management and compliance issues, and also handles trustee training and Charity Commission investigations. Recent work included advising URC Thames North Trust on its acquisition of a new-build church in Hemel Hempstead, and acting for Shepway Sports Trust on the appointment of professionals in relation to a building contract for a multi-storey skate park, a project valued at Β£10m. Kate Arnold heads the charity practice, providing governance and regulatory advice, and property lawyer Andrew Harbourne is the other key figure.

Debenhams Ottaway’s team has β€˜a clear understanding of the charity and not-for-profit sector’ and β€˜offers a knowledgeable approach to the wide range of issues affecting the industry’. Key areas of focus include employment, trusts, property law and litigation matters, and the team also advises a number of independent schools on charitable status and commercial operations. In a recent highlight, the firm acted for Crohn’s and Colitis UK on its formal name change, and also advised The Hubbard Trust on an application to the Charity Commission to establish a scholarship fund that provides grants to articled clerks for postgraduate studies abroad. Nicholas Turner heads the practice, and is β€˜an approachable and knowledgeable lawyer’, who β€˜provides the best service to his clients and helps them succeed’. Ruth Boulton advises charities on commercial property transactions, and Jonathan Foy is also a name to note. Other key clients include the Museum of St Albans, Childwick Trust and the Royal National Rose Society.

Furley Page Solicitors’ team provides β€˜prompt and pragmatic advice’, and is β€˜consistently up to date with current developments within the sector’, advising charities on all aspects of their operations including start-up, governance, employment and tax matters and commercial disputes. Highlights included advising The Sir Roger Manwood Trust on the development of new almshouses in Canterbury, acting for longstanding client Maynard & Cotton’s Almshouse on all aspects of its governance and management, and advising The Whitstable Non-Ecclesiastical Charities on the management of nine properties. Practice head Aaron Spencer β€˜has great experience in the sector’ and is β€˜backed up by an excellent team’, which also includes employment lawyer Amanda Okill, corporate practitioner Tony Chester and Nicholas Andrews, who specialises in almshouse charities.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) has β€˜an in-depth knowledge of the sector and a good understanding of each client’s specific subject areas’. The team has notable expertise advising faith-based and medical charities, and regularly handles commercial real estate matters, regulatory work and employment issues. Practice head Paul Ridout recently advised Brentwood Ursuline on its Β£7m restructuring of assets, and also assisted Chartered College of Teaching with various governance and commercial partnership matters. Other key individuals include Justin Govier, who specialises in employment issues, and Paul Kite, who is the name to note for corporate and commercial work. Other active clients include the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy, Hospital Saturday Fund and Teenage Cancer Trust.

Boodle Hatfield LLP’s wide-ranging practice advises corporates, family businesses and individuals on major philanthropy projects, and has a growing client base of charities and not-for-profit organisations. The team has significant tax and trusts expertise, and regularly advises clients on financial management issues. Eleanor Sepanski is the key figure, advising on governance issues, CSR planning and tax and trusts matters. Recent work included advising the Empathy Museum on its registration as a charitable organisation. The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre is also a key client.

DMH Stallard LLP’s clients include domestic and international charities, educational institutions and registered providers of social housing. The team advises on M&A activity and other corporate matters, employment law, business immigration and real estate transactions, and also retains a strong dispute resolution practice. Practice head Rustom Tata specialises in employment law and is supported by Simon Bellm, who advises not-for-profit organisations on employee relations and structural change issues. Tina George is the name to note for real estate matters along with Anne Milne, who deals with non-contentious commercial property matters and property finance transactions. Highlights for the team included advising Change Grow Live on various employment matters including license negotiation, TUPE issues and questions regarding medical record disclosure. Other active clients include YMCA DownsLink Group, Family Mosaic and the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s team β€˜always responds quickly’ and β€˜applies original thinking to help the client break new ground’. The practice advises a broad range of organisations including sports clubs, parish councils, schools and charities, advising on the full range of corporate, tax and employment issues surrounding the not-for-profit sector. Corporate solicitor Caroline Airey is β€˜outstanding – hardworking, efficient and highly capable’, and Philippa Roles is highly regarded in the field of tax, advising charities on VAT, Gift Aid and stamp duty issues. In a recent highlight, the practice defended John Madejski Academy against an equal pay claim arising from a TUPE transfer involving approximately 180 claimants. Other significant clients include Fara Enterprises, Potterspury Lodge Trust and St Neot’s.

Gardner Leader LLP’s β€˜excellent, friendly and approachable’ team β€˜responds quickly to all queries’ and β€˜understands that charities view legal problems differently to commercial businesses, which is a huge help in getting matters resolved’. β€˜Knowledgeable professional’ Alastair Goggins heads the practice; he recently represented United Christian Broadcasters in a claim regarding the proceeds of a Β£1m estate donated to several charities. Other key figures include corporate partner Greg Humphreys, inheritance protection expert Robert Jobson and health and safety practitioner Michelle Di Gioia. The team gained a number of new clients in the last year, including the British Skin Foundation, Henley Women’s Regatta and One Small Step Trust.

At Gullands Solicitors, the charities department advises on the formation, establishment and dissolution of unincorporated charities, the repossession of almshouses, M&A activity and Charity Commission inquiries, among other matters. The firm recently acted for the trustees of Ashtead United Charity in a case considering the legal status of almshouse residents, a matter involving feudal law and the Human Rights Act, and also advised Holding Homes and Maidstone YMCA on the purchase of freehold land for the construction of a new community centre. Practice head Blair Gulland specialises in matters related to almshouses and the legal implications faced by trustees; Philip Grylls has extensive experience in property-related disputes; and Amanda Finn handles contentious and non-contentious employment matters for a range of Kent-based charities.

Hewitsons’ β€˜highly capable team’ has β€˜sound industry knowledge’ and provides β€˜fast responses’ to its wide-ranging client base, advising on the full gamut of matters including transactional activity, joint ventures and restructurings, along with grants, governance and administration work. Construction expert Tim Richards recently advised Veterans Aid on the development of a new hostel to be built with the government funds raised from the Libor scandal, along with donations from London City Hall and various fundraising campaigns. The firm also acted for St Andrews Healthcare on the construction of a mental health facility for young people with mental illness, autism and learning difficulties. Department head Chris Knight advises charities on a range of commercial and regulatory issues, and recent arrival David Wells is recommended for real estate matters. Other clients include The Kelmarsh Trust, Paradise Wildlife Park and Visit Cambridge and Beyond.

The β€˜approachable and knowledgeable’ team at Penningtons Manches LLP has β€˜established its excellence in the not-for-profit sector’ and β€˜has attracted strong support from a number of important national charities’. The practice has picked up a number of local and international charities as clients and has notable strength in the education sector, advising a range of schools, colleges and higher education institutions on the full range of issues affecting the not-for-profit sector. Highlights included assisting a national charity with a full review of its policies and procedures, including governance structures and commercial contracts, and advising a hospital charity on the steps required to become independent from its local NHS trust. Practice head Alison Talbot is β€˜a hugely respected and effective leader’, and senior associate Philip Collins is β€˜tenacious, imaginative, and has an absolute commitment to his clients’ cause’.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP provides β€˜excellent advice, a great service and good value for money’. The firm is known for its expertise in acting for sporting charities, and also advises a range of local and international not-for-profits on the full array of corporate, commercial, property and employment issues. Highlights included assisting The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust with an expedition project to increase conservation efforts for the Bewick Swan, advising on employment matters along with sponsorship, confidentiality rights and intellectual property. Managing partner Bruce Hayter acts for a number of sporting charities and conservation projects, Alan Zeal advises on takeovers, mergers and joint ventures, and Richard Cripps is the key figure for property-related matters. Active Sussex and Antsy Village Centre Steering Committee are also clients.

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s team advises on the establishment of charitable trusts and companies and handles the full range of employment, property and corporate matters. Recent work included acting for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice on a commercial participator agreement between the client and an independent travel agent, and advising the Royal Horticultural Society on an agreement to acquire a fifth garden in Bridgewater. The firm is also active in the education sector, advising various schools on mentoring and business simulation programmes. Stuart Skeffington heads the practice, and has substantial experience in the establishment and administration of charitable organisations. Commercial law expert Beverley Flynn is the other key figure.

Thomson Snell & Passmore advises a broad mix of charities on organisation formation, trustee duties, funding options, dispute resolution and property matters, and has a strong presence in the education sector. Highlights included advising East Malling Trust on its high-value takeover of East Malling Research, a matter involving insolvency, pensions and trustee duty elements, and acting for Avante Care & Support on its acquisition of care homes from Bexley Council. The firm advises on the full range of employment matters for key client North Kent College, including handling a recent tribunal claim brought by a former lecturer on the grounds of discrimination. James Partridge is the key contact for corporate and commercial matters, and Douglas Skilton handles dispute resolution. Nick Hobden heads the practice.

Whitehead Monckton has a strong client base of Kent-based charities, advising primarily on charity law governance issues including trustee’s duties and charitable structures. Highlights included acting for Gravesend Cricket Club on its charity registration, advising The John Graham Trust on a lease for a parcel of land for the construction of an all-weather pitch, and assisting Hawkhurst Community Trust with permanent endowment and charity governance issues. Associate solicitor Kate Broadfield heads the practice. Janet Goode handles acquisitions, disposals and reorganisations, Kerin Speedie advises on tax issues, and Vicky Stoodley specialises in planning work. Other notable clients include Homeless Care, Canterbury Archaeological Trust and King’s School Rochester.

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in South East 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


Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is β€˜top of the range in its field’, and the team β€˜has an unwavering commitment to its clients, excellent knowledge and a no-nonsense approach’. The firm receives mandates from numerous major charities, advising on trust, probate and charity litigation along with contentious Court of Protection matters. Litigation partner Duncan Elson is β€˜a statesman of the field’ and β€˜can smooth over troubled disputes with a calm word’, and practice head Graeme Kleiner is β€˜known for handling complex international trust disputes, fighting for his clients with great tenacity while never losing sight of the pragmatics of trying to reach a commercial deal’. Cancer Research UK is a key client.

Cripps LLP has β€˜a very strong contested trust and probate team’ and is β€˜especially good in property matters’. The firm acts for a mix of high net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and family businesses, and advises on the full range of wills, inheritance and trust and estate-related disputes. Practice head Myles McIntosh is β€˜an excellent practitioner who can remain objective in all issues’, and other key figures include the β€˜proactive’ Philip Youdan and Russell Simpson, who handles high-value probate and Inheritance Act claims.

The β€˜excellent’ team at Freeths LLP β€˜always answers emails and phone calls promptly’ and is β€˜conscious of costs, and of providing value for money’. The practice deals with the full range of litigation claims including removal applications, estoppels claims, Court of Protection work and claims under the Inheritance Act. Practice head Sarah Foster β€˜always sees the bigger picture’ and is β€˜able to come up with new angles and solutions as the case evolves’. Angela Bowman acts for a number of national charities, advising on probate actions and other disputes involving wills, including claims where the mental capacity of the deceased is in question. Aimee Fleet is β€˜empathetic’ and offers β€˜sound, practical advice’, and Sally Goodger is also a name to note.

Irwin Mitchell’s β€˜first-class’ practice acts for professional trustees and trust corporations along with private individuals, panel deputies and charitable organisations, advising on the full range of domestic and international disputes. Key figure Paula James is β€˜intelligent, efficient, organised and easy to work with’, and has notable expertise advising on complex trusts and professional negligence cases. Samantha Ewing handles will and probate disputes involving the Inheritance Act and will forgery, and also specialises in Court of Protection work.

β€˜High-quality local firm’ B P Collins LLP is β€˜very knowledgeable in the specialist field of trusts and probate’ and β€˜can provide the client with a good range of options and potential claims’. The team has experience handling all aspects of contested probate disputes, advising on inheritance matters, personal representative removals, estate administration and the validity of testamentary documents. Practice head Craig Williams β€˜finds a calm and analytical approach while inspiring confidence in the client’ and β€˜displays real skill in his presentation of cases to opponents and mediators’. Matthew Brandis is β€˜a very strong negotiator who combines a thorough understanding of relevant laws with commercial realism and tactical nous’.

Barlow Robbins LLP has β€˜a great range of clients’ and β€˜sufficient strength and depth to deal with matters which overlap with other areas, most notably with charities and partnership disputes’. Key specialisms include will validity disputes, claims under the Inheritance Act, trustee and executor replacement, and disputes arising out of statutory wills, lasting Powers of attorney and deputyships. The β€˜diligent, practical and well-informed’ Scott Taylor has β€˜a very broad knowledge of contentious probate’, and Lisa Green β€˜balances being extremely personable with strong technical acuity’. David Foster heads the practice.

Gardner Leader LLP is β€˜an excellent firm – well resourced, and easy to deal with’. The group acts for a mix of private individuals and local and national charities, and recently advised United Christian Broadcaster in a dispute regarding the proceeds of an estate donated to several charitable organisations. Alastair Goggins is β€˜a good listener, and is able to advise clients in a constructive fashion’, and newly promoted partner Tara McInnes is β€˜a tenacious litigator who brings a pragmatic and commercial approach to her cases’.

Griffith Smith Farrington Webb LLP is β€˜a strong firm in the local market’ and is β€˜well-placed to deal with contentious trusts and probate issues’. Nadia Cowdrey advises on wills, trusts estate administration and tax planning. Deborah Cain joined Brachers in June 2017.

The β€˜knowledgeable practitioners’ at TWM Solicitors LLP β€˜always look to protect their clients from the risks of litigation, but are also willing and able to take the fight to the other side’. Guy Perkins specialises in contentious probate and Court of Protection cases, and is β€˜experienced and capable, and has an excellent way of dealing with clients’. Senior associate Candy Stockton is the other name to note, bringing β€˜a valuable dispute resolution background to the trusts and probate team’.

The β€˜effective and professional’ team at Adams & Remers is β€˜well able to handle high-quality work, always remaining unruffled by any developments in litigation’. The β€˜extremely knowledgeable’ Lloyd Junor heads the practice, which advises on challenges to will validity, claims for reasonable provision from an estate, financial abuse investigations and breach of trust claims. The β€˜flexible, pragmatic and personable’ Ashton Davies is the other name to note.

Birkett Long LLP’s β€˜thriving practice’ has β€˜a strong expertise in contentious trusts and probate’ and β€˜builds good relationships with clients’. Key figure Amanda Smallcombe has β€˜a combination of technical ability and sensitivity’ and β€˜is particularly excellent with vulnerable clients’, her areas of expertise include contested probate, Court of Protection work and inheritance disputes. Adrian Livesley is the other name to note, advising on all aspects of property, tax, trusts and wills disputes.

Birketts LLP is noted for its strong cross-border practice, advising on trust administration and disputes, inheritance claims, fraud allegations and matters involving human rights. Practice head Daden Hunt recently advised two individuals in a matter where adopted children claimed entitlement to a proportion of a trust, a case involving trust interpretation and human rights considerations. Associate Marie Batchelor is the other name to note.

The β€˜impressive team’ at Blake Morgan LLP β€˜handles a broad mix of work’ and β€˜has a very well-established private client base’. The firm specialises in handling legacy instructions from national charities, inheritance claims, and professional negligence matters arising from succession and estates. Practice head Stephanie Walls is β€˜an experienced litigator with a deep knowledge of the area who gives clear and considered advice to clients’.

Blandy & Blandy LLP has β€˜a practical but rigorous approach which gets results at a proportionate cost’. The group advises high net-worth individuals and executors in trust and will validity disputes, breach of trust claims, sham trust cases and disputes involving charities and inheritance issues. Practice head Philip D’Arcy is β€˜an experienced and shrewd lawyer’ who gives β€˜excellent advice and realistic expectations’.

Brachers has β€˜an excellent contentious trusts and probate team’, which offers β€˜great advice at affordable prices’. The practice handles applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, trusts disputes and challenges to wills, along with Court of Protection matters and challenges to enduring powers of attorney. Practice head Alexander Wilson is β€˜efficient, friendly and accessible’, and β€˜his advice is always on point and well-reasoned’. Deborah Cain joined the team in June 2017 from Griffith Smith Farrington Webb LLP.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s β€˜strong private client department’ provides β€˜very good specialist advice in contentious probate’. Practice head Katharine Riley, who is β€˜immensely experienced’ and β€˜has a good knowledge of charities’, advises on will validity, proprietary estoppel claims, mutual will disputes and the removal of executors and trustees, among other matters. Sue Baker specialises in Court of Protection work and claims regarding inheritance, and Bill Dixon is also a noted.

β€˜High-quality firm’ Giles Wilson LLP has β€˜a good reputation in the area’, advising on the full gamut of trusts and probate matters and representing clients at all court levels. β€˜Excellent practitioner’ Philip Giles, who has β€˜good legal acumen combined with fantastic emotional intelligence’, handles high-value probate actions alongside family law matters. Practice head Melinda Giles advises on negligently drafted wills, estate settlement and disputed probate, and associate solicitor Jonathan Hodge is also recommended.

Mundays LLP’s team provides a β€˜sensible, pragmatic and friendly service’, and is β€˜highly professional when it comes to difficult issues’. Practice head Julie Man advises high net-worth individuals on the full range of private client work, and is β€˜very reassuring, immediately grasping the problems at hand’. Stephen Morris specialises in contentious private wealth matters.

The β€˜excellent practitioners’ at Nockolds Solicitors are noted for their expertise in claimant and defendant-side will validity claims, professional negligence matters related to will drafting, breach of trust matters and claims concerning inheritance. Key figure Daniel Winter has β€˜a solid reputation in the area’ and β€˜obtains excellent results for clients across a range of trusts, probate and Court of Protection matters’.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP offers β€˜a broad range of services’, and β€˜the level of expertise within the firm ensures that nothing is missed, and that the full range of options is identified and explored’. The practice is led by the β€˜unflappable’ Alan Foster, who has strong expertise in claims concerning inheritance, as well as handling mediation and complex financial cases involving trusts.

The team at Shoosmiths LLP β€˜shows good practical judgement and tactical awareness’ and β€˜quickly identifies the issue, providing clear and persuasive instructions to counsel’. The practice specialises in Court of Protection and attorney disputes, while also acting for high net-worth individuals on the full range of contentious probate work. Rose Donoghue heads the department, and has strong experience in working with charities.

Tees Law provides β€˜a thoroughly professional service’ and β€˜has an excellent understanding of the law within this practice area’. The β€˜professional, reactive and diligent’ Caroline Metcalf has notable experience in using mediation and joint settlement meetings to resolve cases, and regularly handles contentious trust and probate claims alongside property and commercial disputes. Sara Stabler and associate Katie Latham, who has notable experience handling claims under the Children and Families Act 2014, are the other key figures.

Woodfines LLP advises on the full array of wills and probate disputes, and has recently defended claims regarding inheritance and acted for various clients in challenges to will validity. Litigation partner Keith Jones heads the practice, and Hannah Young has strong experience handling trusts and estate-related matters, as well as probate, wills and inheritance disputes.

Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

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  1. Family: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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β€˜Fantastic lawyer’ Christine Plews heads Blake Morgan LLP’s practice, which is well respected for family finance work related to divorce and cohabitee disputes and business asset division, as well as cross-border cases relating to children or multi-jurisdictional assets. The firm’s β€˜level of service is excellent’, and associate Catherine Morgan’s β€˜professionalism is exceptional’; she is β€˜excellent’ in civil partnership proceedings, private Children Act cases and advising on pre-nuptial agreements, among other matters. A recent highlight saw the team act for an individual in a major case that successfully challenged an arbitral award arising from a divorce dispute. The firm is also recommended for mediation.

At Blandy & Blandy LLP, β€˜experienced’ practice head Andrew Don qualified as a children law arbitrator in 2016 and is praised for β€˜making clients feel completely at ease’. The majority of the team are mediators, including recently promoted firm chair Brenda Long, who routinely acts for high-net-worth individuals with Don. The team is β€˜always prepared to listen and discuss the merits of different options’ and its recent caseload included financial remedy and international divorce proceedings involving high-value assets, cohabitee property disputes and pre-nuptial agreements as well as pension sharing orders and spousal maintenance matters. Claire Dyer is also recommended.

Freeths LLP β€˜provides the quality of service that would be expected of a Magic Circle firm’ in complex and niche areas such as IVF, surrogacy and divorce cases relating to farming and agricultural matters, which is an area of strength for senior associate Gemma Nicholls-Webber. Rachael Oakes heads the β€˜top-class practice’ and β€˜is a formidable lawyer’, who acts for high-net-worth individuals in matters regarding cross-border assets, businesses, complex trust structures, tax and pension-related issues. Her varied caseload also includes children matters and pre and post-marital agreements. Lawyer and mediator Claire Colbert is β€˜exceptionally good’ and β€˜extremely hard working’ in family cases including in Child Maintenance Service appeals and Children Act relocation matters. Private financial dispute resolution hearings, divorce and Children Act proceedings were among recent mandates for the practice, where Elizabeth Stocker made senior associate. Helen Taylor departed to Turner Nicholson.

β€˜Matrimonial lawyers do not come much better’ than practice co-head Jane Mitchell at Penningtons Manches LLP, where she is widely considered to be the go-to person for financial cases and disputes regarding child arrangement orders, often involving international elements. Kerry Fretwell jointly leads the team alongside Mitchell and is β€˜very good in reading the case and people involved’. Also of note are Ruth James (β€˜very thorough in the preparation of evidence and careful in her case management’), senior associate Bethan Thomas (β€˜extremely down to earth and capable’), senior associate Claire Clarke (an β€˜impeccable’ adviser in children and family financial proceedings), and associate Stuart Webber (β€˜a measured and reassuring lawyer’, who β€˜gets to grip with issues quickly and incisively’).

Barrett & Thomson is β€˜a well-established and leading firm’ for children law, with particular expertise in cases involving sensitive allegations such as non-accidental injury and sexual abuse. Practice head Claire Fitzgerald β€˜goes over and beyond the expectations of a solicitor’ and has β€˜immense experience’ in private and public law matters, including care proceedings, leave to remove cases and adoption matters. The firm is β€˜very strong in all areas’ including high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings, separation agreements, the freezing of assets and various other matters. Representing vulnerable adults that have experienced domestic violence or have mental capacity issues is another core strength of the practice. Solicitor Tracey Haynes stands out for her β€˜excellent communication skills’ and senior solicitor Sue Scott is β€˜very knowledgeable’ and β€˜understanding’.

Brethertons LLP fields β€˜a competent and caring team of committed lawyers, who work tirelessly to get the best outcome for families’. Sally Clark heads the Bicester practice, while Simon Craddock leads the Banbury team. Craddock has β€˜top-level expertise’ in international child abduction cases but his β€˜knowledge across family law knows no bounds’; he has been particularly active in Hague Convention proceedings with associate Gemma Kelsey, who is β€˜one to watch for jurisdictional matters’. Key figures also include solicitor Anna Pugh, who β€˜works immensely hard for her clients’, and associate Matthew Montanaro. The firm experienced an uptick in divorce proceedings, civil partnership dissolution disputes and surrogacy cases. Other areas of expertise include leave to remove, cohabitee and care proceedings.

The β€˜modern and forward-thinking’ team at Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors delivers β€˜an impressive standard of professionalism across the board’. Under the leadership of β€˜formidable litigator’ Anne Deller and Kate Grant, who is β€˜robust, independent, personable and measured’, the practice β€˜punches above its weight’ in Children Act cases, international child abduction disputes, pension sharing orders, financial remedy and other matters. Nicholas Rodriguez made partner and his expertise includes special guardianship orders and leave to remove cases. Senior consultant Sarah Benfield β€˜is a towering authority’ and someone that β€˜clients want in their corner during a tough situation’. Associate Ruby Tufail and solicitor Joanne Backwith are also recommended.

The β€˜excellent’ team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP has niche expertise in armed forces pension sharing orders and excels in high-net-worth financial work, including pre-nuptial agreements, dividing cross-border property assets, separation agreements and protecting business assets in divorce cases. The practice also has extensive experience in private Children Act cases as well as child abduction and leave to remove matters. Practice head Sue Baker is β€˜a very safe pair of hands’, who remains β€˜calm and good natured under pressure’; Michelle Mann is β€˜an excellent lawyer with strong technical skills’; and senior associate James Davies β€˜combines a great eye for detail with pragmatism and commerciality, which is an essential combination for operating at the top level’.

Gardner Leader LLP’s β€˜strength is in the relationship it builds with clients, who are often vulnerable individuals’. Practice head Seona Myerscough handles care proceedings and is β€˜very thorough and easy to work with’. Collette Bailey and Jenny Buchanan focus on financial matters and act for high-net-worth individuals in divorce and relationship breakdown matters. Child arrangement matters and special guardianship orders feature among the team’s recent caseload.

K J Smith Solicitors grew its presence across the Thames Valley with a new office in Abingdon. Founded by Kerry Smith, the firm specialises in private client matters and handles everything from cohabitation disputes and divorce financial settlements to Children Act proceedings. Jason Lazard has been handling multi-jurisdictional divorces involving worldwide property portfolios and high-net-worth divorces on behalf of financially dependent spouses. Recently promoted associate Samantha Archer is recommended along with chartered legal executive Chris Sutton, who divides his time between Henley-on-Thames and Abingdon. Other personnel changes saw the firm hire senior solicitor and Windsor office head Amanda Phillips-Wylds, who also works out of the London office, from Morrisons Solicitors LLP.

Royds Withy King’s recent caseload included a healthy diet of cross-border mandates involving pre-nuptial agreements and financial remedy disputes relating to spousal maintenance claims, tax matters and business assets. The β€˜genuinely collaborative, honest and compassionate’ Mark Phillips is recommended for financial matters. Practice head Simon Bassett’s recent work includes pension sharing orders, DNA testing and financial claims under the Children Act. Associate Anne Davies leads the children team and has β€˜a very steady, meticulous and humane approach’ to care proceedings, private disputes and adoption cases. Andrew Nellist recently joined from Hedges Law and James Stonham retired from practice.

Spratt Endicott β€˜provides sound legal advice and represents clients with a constructive and forward-focused approach’. Practice head and β€˜absolute class act’ Patrick Mulcare is β€˜a tough litigator who takes no prisoners’ in financial remedy cases, the dissolution of civil partnerships and other family disputes. Associate Gemma Davison (β€˜a real star in the making’) arrived from Johnson & Gaunt Solicitors to head the firm’s dedicated mediation offering; she handles financial work for married and cohabiting couples, public and private pension sharing orders and spousal maintenance, among other matters. Experienced barrister Justine Cadbury was another significant hire and is highly regarded along with solicitor Sandeep Sandhu, who specialises in children matters and β€˜always provides clients with the best advice’. Solicitor Naheed Taj is now with Shoosmiths LLP.

Herrington Carmichael LLP is β€˜faultless in every area’ and impresses with its β€˜strong and united team’, which routinely acts for high-net-worth individuals. Dividing her time between Wokingham and Camberley, department head Maria Mulroe delivers β€˜extreme professionalism, patience and frankness’ in financial cases relating to business and overseas assets. Solicitor Danielle Bentley (β€˜a good lawyer with great potential’) joined the practice from CH-R Family Solicitors. Recent work for the β€˜dedicated lawyers’ include Children Act matters, cross-border divorces and financial remedy proceedings.

The β€˜intelligent and assured’ Rita Gupta and Anne Leiper are the main contacts at Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers Ltd (LGFL Ltd), where they β€˜pursue their clients’ interests with tenacity and without fear’. Leiper specialises in high-net-worth and complex financial work, while Gupta focuses on Children Act mandates. The firm, which recently relocated from Eversley to Reading, works to an β€˜exceptionally high standard’ and has been handling variation of maintenance and capitalisation proceedings, adoption matters, leave to remove cases and various other issues.

Professionals, high-net-worth individuals and high-profile clients instruct β€˜excellent’ boutique firm Tony Roe Solicitors in the full range of children and financial matters, including Children Act proceedings, divorce cases and pension sharing orders. Providing solid experience in cross-border work, Tony Roe β€˜responds quickly and effectively to deal with any issues raised’. Tracey O'Dwyer was promoted to associate and utilises β€˜a great combination of professionalism, knowledge and support’ in cohabitation, divorce and children work. Solicitor Tracy Jefferis, who is dual-qualified in Australia and the UK, is adept in family finance and private children law, including child arrangement orders.

Turpin & Miller LLP is highly recommended for public children law but its extensive private caseload includes cross-border separation proceedings and a range of divorce matters. Dividing her time between Oxford and Reading, department head Emily Boardman also leads the public law and adoption team and is a β€˜safe pair of hands’ for care proceedings relating to non-accidental injury, death and sexual abuse allegations. Ruth Hawkins leads the private law and mediation practice and is β€˜committed to her work and clients’ in care, adoption, wardship and matrimonial cases. Consultant Melanie Barnes β€˜is one of the top solicitors in the country’ for international child maintenance claims and recently promoted partner Irena Osborne specialises in international work concerning care proceedings and child abduction. Helen Bishop became a permanent consultant in the firm.

Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

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  1. Family: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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According to clients, Barlow Robbins LLP β€˜has the feel of a provincial firm, but the quality of advice is equal to top London outfits’. The team frequently advises on high-value financial remedy proceedings, domestic and child abuse cases, and wealth protection matters including pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. The firm also undertakes a notable amount of international work, including advice on enforcing child arrangement orders, child abduction cases and cross-border financial asset management. The client base is comprised of clients in the South and London, with international clients based in Europe, Australia and Canada among others. Judith Ball heads the practice, which includes Joanna Farrands, who is β€˜very calm under pressure while dealing with some of the most complex cases’, and senior associate Mandy Spring, who is β€˜very personable with clients and has good technical knowledge’. Helen Habershon (also a senior associate) is another name to note.

Clients rate Charles Russell Speechlys LLP as β€˜a top-tier law firm that provides excellent advice and service’. It is well-versed in financial matters arising from divorce proceedings, including advising clients on onshore and offshore asset management, tax issues arising from business assets, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and financial remedy proceedings. The team’s experience in children cases extends to international relocation disputes, domestic and sexual abuse issues, and child abduction cases. Its client roster includes high-net-worth individuals and commercial business owners in the South East region and London, extending to international clients in Europe and beyond. Shona Alexander, who joined from Forsters LLP in May 2016 and is β€˜a very hard litigator who provides exceptional skill’, jointly heads the practice with Karen Wilsher, who is β€˜sensible, efficient, hardworking and approachable’. They are ably supported by β€˜efficient, caring and sensible’ senior associate William Rollin and Felicity Chapman (also a senior associate) who β€˜cuts through the very most complex cases with ease’.

Cripps LLP β€˜has considerable depth of knowledge on family law issues’, according to clients. With a strong background in handling complex and high-value divorce proceedings, pre-nuptial agreements and tax issues for clients, the firm also frequently undertakes children cases including Children Act proceedings, child abuse matters and internal relocation agreements. The firm also fields trained mediators and collaborative lawyers, plus the firm’s property, private client and corporate teams provide advice on offshore and onshore asset protection, tax issues and trust management. The firm’s client roster features national and international clients. Department leader and high-value financial remedy specialist Alex Davies, cross-border finance expert Vanda James and senior associate and wealth protection specialist Katy-Louise Allen (who joined the firm in June 2016 from Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP, are all recommended.

Mundays LLP β€˜always provides an extremely professional service’. The practice assists with financial matters concerning onshore and offshore assets, financial remedy proceedings and contested spousal maintenance agreements. It also handles children matters involving alternative family structures and Children’s Act litigation. The practice is also well-versed in alternative dispute resolution methods, with several team members as trained mediators and collaborative solicitors, and regularly handles pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements involving multi-jurisdictional assets and international relocation applications. Former practice head Graham Coy left to join Stowe Family Law LLP in August 2016, with Miranda Green now leading the department. Also recommended are Judith Fitton, who β€˜is thorough, to-the-point, very focused and clear’, collaborative lawyer Sarah Duckworth, and private law children disputes expert Rachel Lemon.

Stevens & Bolton LLP is β€˜a thorough and professionally managed team of individuals, progressive in outlook and pragmatic in approach’. Its highly regarded financial work includes experience in handling high-value divorce proceedings, pre-nuptial agreements and spousal maintenance conflicts, plus the team is well-versed in child arrangement order applications, Children Act disputes and sexual abuse cases. With a client base that extends through the South East region into London and internationally, the roster features high-net-worth individuals, guardians and commercial business owners. The real estate, tax, trusts and commercial teams frequently collaborate with the practice on asset management matters, wealth protection mandates and trust management issues. As well as extensive ligation expertise, the outfit includes several trained mediators and collaborative lawyers for alternative dispute resolution methods. The team is led by Nicola Harries who β€˜is incredibly thorough and a real tactician’; other recommended lawyers are Caroline Gordon-Smith who β€˜is attentive and sympathetic to client needs and progressive in problem-solving’, the β€˜professional, knowledgeable and efficient’ senior associate Elen Stritch and senior associate Grace Parker-White β€˜who has a keen eye for detail’.

At Thomson Snell & Passmore, wealth protection matters such as pre-nuptial agreements, multi-million pound financial remedy proceedings and advising on agricultural asset protection are some of the matrimonial financial matters the firm undertakes. Its family work includes alternative family structure advice, Children’s Act disputes and abuse cases. Mediation and collaborative dispute resolution are key areas of the practice alongside litigation in all major family courts, plus the firm’s international remit of work concerns multi-jurisdictional business and property management as well as international relocations applications for families. The practice also cross-refers to the private client, tax, property and commercial teams in the firm when necessary for multi-disciplinary matters. The practice has a strong regional client base and includes national and international clients in its roster, which is largely comprised of agricultural families, high-net-worth individuals and business owners. The β€˜outstanding’ Joanna Pratt heads the department, which also includes senior associate Desmond O’Donnell who β€˜is a formidable opponent’. Trained collaborative lawyer and mediator Kirstie Law plus children proceedings expert Sarah Judd are key contacts.

asb law LLP frequently advises on wealth preservation matters such as cohabitation agreements, financial divorce proceedings and pension advice on the financial side of family law. It also assists with public law children’s cases involving child relocation, sexual abuse and shared custody arrangements. Mark Rennie leads the practice and is adept at handling disputes concerning unmarried couples, international freezing injunctions and inheritance issues. The six-lawyer team also includes associate and ancillary relief expert Jackie Judd, as well as solicitor and judicial separation proceedings specialist Anna Scales.

In 2016, Brachers advised on wealth protection matters, including pre-nuptial agreements, onshore and offshore asset management issues, and complex financial remedy proceedings. It also has a strong public children law capability, which involved assisting with contact order matters, Children Act cases and internal relocation disputes. The β€˜excellent, bright and tenacious’ Stephen Smith leads the practice, which includes Mei-Ling McNab, who is β€˜well-prepared, robust and has excellent client-management skills’; Victoria Toy, who β€˜knows papers back to front’; matrimonial finance expert Mark Leeson; and associate Sophie Read.

Clients consider Family Law Partners to be β€˜outstanding on all counts’. The team is well-versed in matrimonial financial matters involving property and commercial asset management, tax issues arising from divorce proceedings and wealth protection matters including cohabitation agreements. Its children law caseload extends to advising on child arrangements orders, child relocation applications and disputes, adoption matters and Children Act cases among others; the firm frequently represents guardians and families based in the UK and internationally. Robert Williams is β€˜professional, dedicated and thoughtful’ while senior associate Lisa Burton-Durham β€˜takes a team approach and is committed to her work’; Alan Larkin is also highly regarded. Senior associate Gemma Hope joined the practice from Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP in January 2017 and Julian McEvoy left rhw Solicitors in December 2016 to head the firm’s newly opened Guildford practice. Linda Lamb left to establish her own practice.

Jones Nickolds β€˜is a solid family law firm, with a good reputation in traditional family law and dispute resolution’. Financial remedy proceedings for high-net-worth individuals, Children Act disputes and post-nuptial agreements were frequent features of the firm’s workload in 2016; other areas of expertise including international tax matters, maintenance order disputes and international commercial and property asset management. It client base is focused on the South region and London, with international clients from the US and Europe also featuring on the roster. Key figures include Claire Nickolds, who is β€˜pragmatic, direct and clever, championing the interests of her clients with great skill’; the β€˜calm and determined’ Lisa Jones; Laura Smail, who is β€˜immensely practical in her approach’; and Rachel Woodd, who is β€˜absolutely excellent, extremely bright and very capable’. The β€˜excellent’ Gemma Irving was made partner in January 2017.

TWM Solicitors LLP is β€˜a consummate example of an approachable firm for people wanting excellent client care, good advice and well-run cases’. The full-service practice focuses on financial remediation and children matters, and frequently undertakes onshore and offshore management advice, spousal maintenance disputes and cohabitation agreements. The practice has also seen increased activity in wealth protection, including pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and foreign divorces for international clients. Clients single out Sarah Cornes, who is β€˜unflappable and determined, with boundless energy’; Lynn Child, who is β€˜wise and a great judge of character and human relations’; Demelza Patricio; and the β€˜outstanding’ Sarah Bostock.

Warners Solicitors is β€˜a smooth, professional machine that really fights its client’s corner’. Asset management, high-value financial remedy proceedings and wealth protection such as pre-nuptial agreements are all mainstays of the practice, which also frequently handles Children Act cases, cohabitation disputes and consent order applications, with several team members trained as mediators and in collaborative law proceedings. Rayma Collins heads the team, which includes the β€˜unflappable’ Matthew Aves, who is noted for his β€˜strong technical ability’, and newly promoted partner Charles Tennant, who is β€˜thorough, with good attention to detail; he knows his stuff’. Philip Raggett is another key contact.

Adler Family Law Solicitors LLP β€˜is a strong firm with a good reputation’. Onshore and offshore asset management, pre-nuptial agreements and alternative family structures are all areas of expertise, as are child abuse cases and child abduction matters. Its client base focuses on high-net-worth individuals, high-value property holders and business owners. Key figures include Charlotte Adler, who β€˜combines a calm, empathetic and approachable manner with a clear and commercial mindset’; she is recommended for high-value matrimonial disputes. Solicitor Nicola Beale is also well regarded.

The team at Blackfords LLP attracts praise for its β€˜commitment to its clients and tenacious approach’. It has a primary focus on children and care work, with a substantial track record in Children Act matters and internal relocation agreements; child abduction cases, abuse matters and adoption disputes are all areas of expertise. The team also has a strong background of handling cases involving European jurisdictions, leveraging the firm’s strong crime practice where necessary. Penelope Moult left the firm, with newly promoted partner Nicola Chamberlain taking over as head of the practice. Helen Worden β€˜has a strong sense of justice and is incredibly thorough in her case preparation’.

For some, Morrisons Solicitors LLP is β€˜a first-rate firm for all aspects of matrimonial finance and private children work’. It is adept at handling cross-border financial remedy proceedings, spousal and child maintenance disputes, and wealth protection matters including cohabitation agreements. The team also undertakes Children Act disputes, shared arrangement mandates and internal relocation matters. Department leader Stephanie Calthrop-Owen β€˜is very efficient and professional’; she is ably assisted by associate Anne McAllister, who β€˜knows her stuff incredibly well’, and senior associate Emma Newman, who is β€˜an excellent communicator’.

Penningtons Manches LLP fields β€˜a highly effective family department which has great expertise, attention to detail and looks after its clients like royalty’. Alternative family structure arrangements, high-value financial remedy proceedings, cross-border asset management and Children Act disputes are all key features of the practice, which services a national and international client base. Practice head Veronica Gilmour β€˜fights the client’s corner every inch of the way’; she is ably supported by associate director Rachel Donald, who joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in January 2017 and who is noted for her β€˜sympathetic approach and good judgement’; and senior associate Laura Naser, who is β€˜very switched-on and forward-thinking’.

DMH Stallard LLP merged with Rawlison Butler LLP in 2017, bringing the legacy firm’s expertise in financial remedy proceedings, shared care arrangements and cross-border Children Act cases. Its financial expertise extends to wealth protection, asset management and overseas property advice for national and international clients, including high-net-worth individuals, business owners and trustees. Robert Worthing is noted for his particular expertise in handling claims with an international element. Other key figures include collaborative lawyer Nigel Winter and associateMarwa Hadi, who β€˜is very thorough in her preparation but always has an eye for the reality of a case’.

Stantons Solicitors β€˜is always thorough in its knowledge, level of service and provision of information’. The firm focuses on handling high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings, asset management and property issues, and Children Act disputes and internal relocation matters. Practice head Jan Stanton specialises in complex pensions matters and property cases; she is assisted by senior solicitor Jayne Garvie, who is β€˜professional, fair-minded and thinks through every angle’.

Whitehead Monckton β€˜is a good firm that works hard to achieve the best for its clients’. The team consists of trained collaborative lawyers and mediators as well as litigators who frequently handles the full spectrum of family matters including cohabitation agreements, cross-border asset management issues and enforcement of contact applications. Practice head Dawn Harrison is singled out for her β€˜excellent, pragmatic and calm’ approach. Also recommended are Daniel Bennett, whose β€˜total professional commitment is exceptional and the quality of care is quite unique’; and Graham Jones, who is β€˜very affable, professional and eager to assist’.

The team at Boys & Maughan β€˜is friendly, dedicated and hardworking’. In 2016 the practice advised on spousal maintenance applications, high-value financial remedy proceedings and cross-border asset management for clients in the South East, London and Europe. Its extensive litigation expertise is complemented by the team’s trained mediation and collaborative law capabilities. The β€˜compassionate, intelligent and forward-thinking’ Jonathan Da Costa heads the department, which includes Mary-Joyce Insaidoo who is recommended for domestic violence cases. Trevor King retired in March 2017.

Clarkson Wright & Jakes is adept at handling the full spectrum of Children Act matters, asset management and protection issues, and cohabitation issues. It also has experience in handling cross-border issues involving property assets held abroad and international child relocation disputes. The team also has the ability to advise on mediation and collaborative law cases for a client base that includes high-net-worth individuals and business owners. The Orpington-based practice includes department leader cross-border financial remedy expert Claire Schneck and cohabitation agreement professional Kevin Bristow.

Coole Bevis LLP’s β€˜team provides a highly professional yet empathetic service’. In 2016 the practice advised clients including guardians, high-net-worth individuals and asset owners on high-value property transactions in divorce proceedings, pension disputes and special guardianship orders with a cross-border element, among other matters. The team is also known for its work in public law family matters and care proceedings concerning vulnerable or mentally incapacitated persons. Practice head and trained collaborative lawyer Susan Knight β€˜is highly experienced, sensitive and able’; she is ably supported by experienced advocate Charlotte Youdan and Children Act specialist Helen Evennett.

Dawson Hart β€˜is a very experienced firm with a long track record of handling sensitive family disputes’. With a primary focus on matrimonial finances, the team frequently assists with international asset protection as well as spousal and child maintenance disputes for high-net-worth clients, while its public law children work extends to child abuse cases and leave to remove orders. Department head Mahie Abey β€˜makes a difficult job looks easy’; β€˜he is highly intelligent, experienced and efficient’. The β€˜efficient, knowledgeable and very supportive’ Caroline Bourn is also recommended.

Griffith Smith Farrington Webb LLP is well-versed in handling matrimonial finance mandates including wealth protection matters such as pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and tax issues arising from divorce proceedings. It also handles Children Act disputes and care cases. As well as having ample experience in litigation, the team assists with mediation and collaborative law matters. Head of department Susan Hayes β€˜is a master of her subject; insightful and highly responsive’. Solicitors Sue Diplock and Marcella Helm are also recommended.

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP β€˜provides an excellent service to its clients’. In 2016 the firm advised on cohabitation disputes, alternative family structure matters and financial remedy proceedings for clients spanning the South East and London; vulnerable persons, high-net-worth individuals and commercial business owners all feature on the roster. Practice leader Charles Le May β€˜is a brilliant and experienced solicitor in all areas of family law’; he is recommended alongside deputy head of department ZoΓ« Summers, who was promoted to partner in 2016.

McMillan Williams’s expertise covers cross-border financial remedy proceedings, child abuse cases and supervision order disputes for a client base that includes international residents, high-net-worth individuals and guardians among others. The team has extensive expertise in litigation and alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration and collaborative law. Nicola Jones-King heads the practice and focuses on sexual abuse and injury cases. Other notable names include accredited mediator Caroline Landes and adoption expert Karen Davies.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP β€˜is a very strong firm with good inter-departmental support’, according to clients. Its financial remedy work extends to asset management matters and wealth protection issues, and is adept at handling Children Act proceedings and child abduction cases. Department leader Alan Foster β€˜gives sounds advice and is very efficient’; he is assisted by associate Helen Noble, who is β€˜wise, sensible and compassionate’, and Maria Steele-Williams, who is β€˜very dedicated and steadfast’. Michael Hayes left the firm in August 2016 to join 5 Pump Court and Julia Dyson departed for Wannops LLP in April 2016.

Starke & Co β€˜runs a first-rate service for its clients, with an approachable and professional manner’. The team assists clients with alternative family structures, financial remedy mandates and Children Law disputes. The firm’s client base includes high-net-worth individuals, guardian and trustees for high-value trusts among others. Firm director Andrew Delo β€˜is experienced, quick-witted and can think outside of the box’; he is ably assisted by Sue Jago and Kate Elliott, who joined the firm in January 2017 from Rayden Solicitors.

ThomasHaywood Solicitors β€˜is a niche family law practice providing excellent advice to clients’. Matrimonial finance matters and children cases are mainstays of the practice, which handled cross-border property and asset management matters, freezing injunctions and leave to remove applications in 2016. The β€˜very experienced’ Sarah Haywood leads the practice, which includes β€˜dynamic and empathetic’ consultant Juliet Franklin.

Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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B P Collins LLP is β€˜a leading family firm within the region’ and β€˜has the expertise and depth of experience to deal with cases where the assets are significant and the issues are complicated’. The group specialises in all types of financial disputes, and is increasingly advising on prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Practice head Sue Andrews, who handles complex financial remedy matters, is β€˜an exceptional lawyer and a formidable opponent’, who β€˜inspires confidence and builds trust through her advice and insights’. Other key names include Claire Filer, β€˜a reliable and dependable solicitor who can comfortably advise on very complex finance cases’, and Fran Hipperson, who has strong expertise in Children Act cases, and matters involving inherited assets, third party interests and businesses.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)’s β€˜dedicated team of specialist family lawyers’ provides β€˜an efficient service to its clients, always acting in their best interests and being appropriately assertive’. The group handles high-value divorce work and has significant childcare expertise, regularly advising on private law cases and acrimonious disputes involving the Children Act. Other areas of expertise include matrimonial property issues, Court of Protection matters and cross-border financial cases. Practice head Amanda Melton is β€˜a great communicator’ and β€˜has an excellent instinct for what the judge will do’, and senior solicitor Vicky Preece is recommended for complex childcare and adoption cases.

Family law specialist Rayden Solicitors provides β€˜an outstanding service with clear communication every step of the way’, and β€˜has a very healthy attitude towards alternative dispute resolution, making genuine attempts to progress matters by way of ADR if possible’. The group acts for medium to high net-worth individuals, advising on the full breadth of divorce matters, financial disputes and Children Act proceedings. Well-regarded figure Katherine Rayden heads the practice, and is β€˜excellent in dealing with complex financial disputes with an international element’. Julian Bremner is growing his focus on high-value arbitrations as part of the firm’s new alternative dispute resolution practice, and Paula Butterworth specialises in obtaining injunctions under the Family Law Act 1996. Also recommended are Emily Watson and recently promoted Priya Palanivel.

SA Law LLP has β€˜an excellent reputation in the area of family law’, and the team is β€˜professional, knowledgeable and sensitive to the needs of its clients’. The practice is noted for its expertise in complex and sensitive child-related cases, and also handles financial matters, international relocation and civil partnership breakdowns. The β€˜phenomenal’ Marilyn Bell heads the practice, advising on high net-worth financial cases, multi-party childcare matters, domestic violence and public children law matters. β€˜Rising star’ Kiran Beeharry is β€˜very good with finance-related cases, particularly those involving companies and pensions’, and Ruth Abrams focuses on matters with an international element.

Blaser Mills provides β€˜a thoroughly professional service’, advising on the full range of family, divorce and childcare matters, and has significant expertise in high-value financial matters. The practice is co-headed by Jolene Hutchison, who β€˜provides sound, realistic advice at the earliest juncture’ and whose β€˜tenacity and experience is always evident in her handling of financial remedy and private children law cases’. Denise Herman, who is the other leading practitioner, specialises in public law care proceedings, acting for parents and children in sensitive cases involving non-accidental injuries, neglect and fabricated illness.

The β€˜talented team’ at Debenhams Ottaway provides β€˜sound, solution-focused advice’, acting for high net-worth individuals in complex financial cases and divorce proceedings. The practice also advises on cases involving the children of separating couples, and has significant cross-border expertise. Department head Helen Young is β€˜an impressive solicitor with a good focus on effective case strategy’, and senior associate Richard Gilbert β€˜argues his corner with a logical and reasoned approach’, and β€˜has a calm and reassuring manner which immediately puts his clients at ease’. Belinda Strange, who advises London-based clients on complex family issues, is also noted.

Hawkins Family Law is β€˜an excellent family firm which goes the extra mile for its clients’, and the team is praised for its β€˜well-honed communication skills and insightful advice’. Key areas of focus include high-value financial matters and divorce cases, and the recent arrival of Stacey St Clair has brought significant cross-border, international relocation and child abduction expertise to the group. Practice head Jo Hawkins is β€˜an immensely good judge of character’ and β€˜litigates firmly but fairly’. The other key figure is Loraine Davenport, who focuses on high net-worth ancillary relief.

Collins Solicitors advises clients on all divorce and separation disputes, including ancillary relief cases and matters for high net-worth individuals, and the practice is also strong in Children Act work. Key figures include managing partner Paul McGinley, who advises on public and private children matters, divorce, finance and domestic violence injunctions; and Will Collins, whose expertise includes personal injury and family law.

Garside & Hoy’s β€˜knowledgeable and goal-driven’ group provides β€˜excellent response times and good value for money’. The team has notable expertise in financial settlements, particularly where foreign assets and jurisdiction issues are involved, and highlights included acting for a client in multi-jurisdictional divorce and financial proceedings involving Iran and the UK. The β€˜highly experienced’ Bernadette Hoy heads the practice and is β€˜meticulous, pragmatic and determined’; she has β€˜an extensive network of contacts within the legal profession’ and β€˜a great ability to turn challenging situations around in a relatively short space of time’.

Longmores Solicitors LLP is β€˜a highly competent regional firm’ which provides β€˜proactive and proportionate advice’, and the team’s β€˜wealth of experience allows them to achieve terrific outcomes for their clients’. The practice focuses on mid to high-value financial cases, private children matters and nuptial agreements, and also regularly advises on cohabitee disputes. Team head Anna Baptist β€˜leaves no stone unturned’ and β€˜balances diligence with keeping a close eye on the proportionality of any course of action’. Tracey Dargan is the other key practitioner, and is β€˜a proactive lawyer who goes above and beyond to deliver the right advice to clients facing personal challenges’.

Machins Solicitors LLP’s β€˜professional, knowledgeable and experienced’ team β€˜provides an excellent service to all of its clients’, and is β€˜very easy to work with’. The practice is noted for its expertise in child-related cases, handling applications for special guardianship orders, international adoption and high-cost cases involving non-accidental injuries, among other matters. Practice head Liz Oldham has β€˜an outstanding demeanour and level of professionalism at court’; Martin Oldham represents parents and children in both public and private law cases; and Sarah Batha is recommended for complex matters involving non-accidental injury and sexual abuse, along with foreign adoption proceedings.

Nockolds Solicitors’ β€˜competent and reliable’ team advises high net-worth clients based in London on financial matters, often with an international element, and also acts for bankers and directors in family issues involving business arrangements. The team also assists with the transfer of assets abroad, and provides mediation services in cases involving children. Key figure Lynn Cowley has notable expertise in dealing with property and assets based in Spain, and also advises on cohabitation and pensions issues. Peter Dodd is β€˜a solution-oriented mediator’, who has β€˜a practical, lateral-thinking approach’ and handles high net-worth divorces, child-related issues and inheritance-related disputes. Zen Thompson is recommended for divorce proceedings, civil partnership issues, cohabitee rights and financial matters arising from relationship breakdown.

Pictons Solicitors LLP has a strong reputation in financial matters arising from divorce and separation, and is experienced in dealing with family trusts, business valuations and foreign assets. Additionally, the team advises on pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and has solid expertise in children’s issues. Qualified family mediator Siobhan Rooney is the main practitioner, representing clients in local courts and advising on separation issues. Other key individuals include managing partner Sukh Saini, who focuses on financial matters, and Amy Chesterfield, who specialises in divorce and dissolution, transfer of tenancy and pension assets.

The β€˜responsive and knowledgeable’ group at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is praised for its β€˜empathetic and professional’ approach, and for β€˜providing a high standard of technical advice’. The practice specialises in high-value financial cases, advising on the valuation of international property, inherited assets, farms and pre- and post-marital agreements. Clients include a mix of company directors, business owners, solicitors and medical professionals, among others. Key figure Jane Charlton β€˜pays great attention to detail’ and is β€˜timely, responsive and well-prepared, and has a lot of gravitas when settling complex matters’.

The β€˜strong family department’ at Slater and Gordon β€˜always goes the extra mile’ and β€˜identifies the key issues at an early stage, adopting a solution-focused approach to achieving the clients’ aims’. The firm acts for clients in mediation, collaborative law forums, arbitration and financial dispute resolution hearings to resolve the full range of disputes including divorce proceedings, civil partnership dissolutions and financial settlements, and also has a strong record in child-related matters. Hannah Cornish β€˜works incredibly hard for her clients, deftly navigating difficult opponents’; her specialisms include international issues and contested relocation matters. Former group head Caroline Watson joined Shoosmiths in September 2017.

Sumner & Tabor Solicitors’ team is β€˜very responsive’ and β€˜determined to meet the needs of its clients’. The practice primarily advises high net-worth individuals, its client base including a mix of bankers, business owners and entrepreneurs, and it regularly utilises mediation, arbitration and collaborative law to settle complex financial remedy cases. The team is headed by β€˜expert leader’ Kathryn Ainsworth, who is β€˜forward-thinking and really has her finger on the pulse of each case’. β€˜Excellent mediator’ and β€˜collaborative practitioner’ Richard Phillips, who joined from IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) in 2016, brings significant dispute resolution and family law expertise to the department.

Taylor Walton LLP’s team deals with the full range of family-related disputes, including those related to family trusts, cohabitee issues, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and contact and residence issues in relation to children. Practice head Aileen Hartnett specialises in high net-worth divorce proceedings and collaborative work; Ben Twitchen advises on separation and children matters; and Natalie Hughes is recommended for issues involving a cross-border element.

Tees Law is β€˜a well-known and highly regarded practice in the region’ and provides β€˜an excellent service to a consistently high standard’. Key areas of specialism include financial matters involving estate planning and farming land, financial remedy proceedings involving property, and matters involving overseas assets. Practice head Sally Powell β€˜provides sensible, hands-on advice’ and β€˜always achieves the best result for clients while keeping the other party closely in mind’. β€˜Commercially aware lawyer’ David Redfern, who stands out for his β€˜patience and excellent judgement’, is also noted.

The β€˜excellent’ team at Woodfines LLP β€˜builds trusted relationships with its clients’ and β€˜can guide them through difficult and painful legal areas with compassion and professionalism’. Department head John Egan undertakes the full range of matrimonial work including private children’s law, Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 applications and financial remedy matters; John Leadbeater advises on divorce proceedings, high net-worth family finance cases and childcare issues; and Sonia Topiwala is recommended for forced marriage and High Court jurisdiction matters.

Family: Hampshire

Index of tables

  1. Family: Hampshire
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Moore Blatch LLP fields a β€˜top-drawer’ family practice that is praised for its β€˜good commercial acumen and eye for detail’. The practice is well-versed in wealth protection matters, including cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements, financial remedy arrangements and commercial asset management issues, drawing on the expertise of the firm’s strong corporate and commercial teams when necessary. It also has extensive expertise in private law children matters, particularly concerning contested proceedings and matters involving either national or international relocations, and is recommend for cases that intersect with tax and trusts mandates. Clients include high-net-worth individuals and agricultural business owners. Debra Emery leads the team in Hampshire and is β€˜thorough and robust in her negotiations, whilst being pragmatic and collaborative in seeking solutions’. She is an expert in business asset management during divorce settlements and is an accredited collaborative solicitor and mediator. Clients also single out matrimonial finance specialist Katy Barber, who β€˜is a reliable and thoughtful adviser’.

Paris Smith LLP is β€˜a very strong regional firm’, which clients single out for its β€˜good-quality work and pragmatic, solution-based approach'. The team, which is based in Southampton and Winchester, is known for its work in matrimonial matters and intersecting commercial issues including financial matters arising from divorce proceedings. The practice is also well-versed in pre-nuptial agreements, asset management issues, tax mitigation mandates and cohabitee disputes and is noted for its focus on mediation and collaborative law work. It has an extensive track record advising UK clients on offshore assets and foreign clients on multi-jurisdictional property issues. Department head Frank Prior is β€˜a clever tactician who doesn’t miss a trick’; he is ably supported by Huw Miles, who is β€˜supremely confident; his attitude cows weaker opponents’. Other key names include Neil Davies, whose β€˜calm demeanour hides a first-class tactician’, Rachel Osgood and Sarah Passemard.

The β€˜excellent’ practice at Blake Morgan LLP regularly handles financial remedy matters; wealth preservation advice including pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements; onshore and offshore asset management; and tax matters. Children cases are another area of strength; its expertise includes international relocation matters, alternative family structure issues and Children Act cases. The team includes trained collaborative and mediation lawyers and works alongside the firm’s well-regarded private client, dispute resolution and corporate teams when necessary. Its client base largely focuses on the South and includes high-net-worth families and business owners. The β€˜superb’ Simon Burge, who is known for handling high-net-worth cases, leads the department, which includes Children Act expert Rachel Giles and associate and trained mediator Sarah French.

Coffin Mew LLP provides β€˜straightforward advice and quick response times’. The team undertakes a full range of financial family matters including high-value asset protection, onshore and offshore asset advice for international clients, and financial remedies applications for clients in the South. Its children work extends to advising on contested Children Act proceedings, sexual assault cases and acrimonious shared care arrangements among others. Collaborative and mediations matters are a frequent feature of its workload, and the practice also specialises in armed forces pensions work, with senior partner Chris Upfield leading on these matters. Sally Pike heads the department and attracts praise for her β€˜calm and constructive approach’; she is recommended for high-value pre-nuptial agreements and divorce settlements. She is ably supported by senior associate and accredited mediator Tina Day as well as solicitor Rachel Evans.

Phillips Solicitors is a β€˜truly professional one-stop shop’. Its expertise extends to all areas of family work including financial remedy proceedings, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and international asset management. The firm is also strong in family matters concerning children and frequently advises on cohabitation arrangements, child relocation issues and contested cared share agreements. Its client base focuses on the South, with a growing roster of clients in London and based outside the UK. Firm director and accredited mediator Howard Gardener β€˜is an astute and excellent advocate’. Also recommended are senior associate and trained collaborative lawyer Robert Parker, who β€˜ensures he is always working in the client’s best interest at all times’ and β€˜goes that extra mile’; and Hayley Eachus, who is recommend for financial matters.

Trethowans LLP is praised for its β€˜very professional conduct of cases and immensely supportive approach to clients’. It advises military personnel, business owners and high-net-worth individuals on financial matters, including financial remedy situations, offshore and onshore asset protection, and contested maintenance matters. The practice also has a strong offering in children law issues such as shared arrangement agreements, internal and international relocation orders and Children Act litigation. Practice leader Andrew Mercer is β€˜a bright, practical and commercial lawyer’, and Emma Wilders-Pratt β€˜combines the perfect balance of strength and determination to get the very best result’. Grant Cameron and Juliet Mayhew are also recommended.

Larcomes focuses its family practice on public law children work and spanning international relocation disputes and shared care arrangements. More specialist areas of expertise that the practice undertakes include child abuse and child sexual abuse cases, police protection order applications, and cases involving vulnerable or mentally incapacitated persons. The firm’s client roster includes local authorities and guardians. Mark Tooley has extensive experience in litigation and is recommended alongside Julian Quartermain, who specialises in Court of Protection applications, and department head Sandra Phillips -

Family: Essex

Index of tables

  1. Family: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Family: Essex clients in South East 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


Clients consider the family law practice at Birkett Long LLP to be β€˜first class in all aspects of legal advice and direction’, delivering β€˜faultless communication and professionalism’. Under the leadership of the β€˜honest, compassionate and knowledgeable’ family and collaborative lawyer Philip Hoddell in Colchester, it focuses mainly on financial remedy issues resulting from divorce and separation as well as related private child law aspects. Cohabitee disputes and cross-border matters also form part of the team’s expertise. Hoddell, who β€˜combines knowledge with caring’, is supported by the β€˜brilliant, responsive and accurate’ team head of the South Essex offices (Basildon and Chelmsford), associate Lisa Collins, whose specialism lies in children matters. This niche area also benefits from Samantha Ellis’s experience in cross-jurisdictional private child law. Liz Jones moved into the firm’s wills, trusts and probate department, while Ella Johnson joined Pinney Talfourd LLP and Louise Buttery joined Birketts LLP in Chelmsford. The team welcomed Colchester-based associate Melanie Loxley back after a 20-month career break in September 2016 and the Basildon office hired solicitor Muntech Kaur from Duncan Lewis Solicitors one month later.

The family law practice at the β€˜excellent and well-organised premium firm’ Birketts LLP in Chelmsford is β€˜well placed to deal with complex financial remedy cases and employs joined-up thinking across departments’, as the lawyers β€˜have perfected the art of client confidence and trust’. The β€˜highly experienced’ practice lead Melanie Wilson is β€˜a tough negotiator who is determined to fight for her clients’, handling divorce and financial remedy proceedings which often contain corporate aspects due to some of the clients being company directors or shareholders. Also recommended is β€˜intelligent and efficient’ senior associate Emma Brunning, who β€˜cuts through the facts with precision and at light speed’ and, in addition to supporting Wilson on cases, has developed niche expertise in cohabitation agreements and can also advise on offshore assets, investment properties and children matters involving hostile parents. Another area of advice are pre- and post-nuptial agreements. In April 2016, the team hired Louise Buttery from Birkett Long LLP, who brings specialist knowledge in disputes regarding the internal and external child relocation and related safeguarding issues, as well as in separation and domestic violence.

With six partners and 17 additional fee-earners across Colchester, Chelmsford, Billericay and Clacton on Sea, Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP’s β€˜very open and up-front’ family law practice is one of the largest in the region. The team handles broad areas such as divorce and family finances, but also has niche expertise in areas such as domestic abuse, psychological and physical violence against children, guardianship, international child abduction, cohabitation as well as fertility and surrogacy cases (a specialism of Charlotte Knappett in Chelmsford). Additionally, Colchester-based partners Simon Osborn and Kate Taylor have a track record in alternative dispute resolution, with Osborn acting as a family arbitrator and Taylor’s experience as a mediator. Apart from the β€˜honest but firm’ Osborn, clients also recommend β€˜thorough’ Lisa Tuckwell and β€˜calm, considerate and unflaggingly supportive’ Jane Wilson, who specialises in matters concerning matrimonial finances and collaborative law. Associate solicitor Rachel Earnshaw handles all cases involving child law, but has niche experience in special guardianship orders and matters with international aspects. The β€˜highly efficient and professional’ family law practice at Pinney Talfourd LLP has β€˜a solid reputation’ and β€˜continues to go from strength to strength in terms of the quality of its work’, providing β€˜excellent representation for its clients’. The team in general - and the β€˜highly competent, driven and able’ leader Catherine Polli (β€˜a master tactician’) in particular - focuses on financial remedy matters often involving international assets, businesses or property portfolios. The β€˜pragmatic’ Michael Sheville in Upminster β€˜is conscious of every trick in the book which might be perpetrated by the opponent’ and β€˜very client-focused’. While handling financial matters, TOLATA claims and other child law cases, he has special expertise in managing asset dissipation risks. The β€˜fantastic’ Brentwood-based Claire Spurgeon β€˜is particularly good at providing clarity and giving a realistic view on client expectations’ and specialises in representing clients living abroad, advising on child abduction cases and cross-border property transactions. β€˜Being extremely good with vulnerable and anxious clients’, the β€˜inventive and intelligent’ Catherine Loadman undertakes both financial remedy and TOLATA matters as well as child arrangement orders. Also recommended are senior associates Sarah Tsindides (who β€˜has the ability to establish trust early on’ and β€˜is thoughtful and supportive’) and Sebastian Burrows (who gives β€˜pragmatic but sensitive advice’). Associate Jennifer Herbert, who possesses β€˜the perfect combination of excellent lateral thinking and a calm, reasoned and reassuring approach with her clients’, joined the Hornchurch office from Mackrell Turner Garrett in February 2016. Most of the partners also advise on cohabitation as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements.

The β€˜highly experienced’ family law practice at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors in Loughton and Harlow provides β€˜excellent client care’ and is β€˜able to represent clients in family finance work, private law children work and care work to an extremely high standard’. β€˜Standout lawyer’ Joyti Henchie, who also practises collaborative law, is β€˜down to earth and extremely conscientious’, β€˜going above and beyond the call of duty for her clients and making them feel well supported’. Together with β€˜efficient and organised’ Louise Eady and newly qualified solicitor Stephanie Holmes, Henchie undertakes financial remedy and child law matters such as child protection, separation, TOLATA claims, civil partnership as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Eady has a particular focus on cohabitation and divorce finances, having represented a wife regarding her financial remedy application worth several millions of pounds and defended a property owner in a cohabitation dispute. Another highlight for Henchie was the representation of a mother in a sexual abuse claim concerning her underage daughter, which involved complicated medical evidence. Solicitor Tanya Foster joined the Harlow office from Townsend Family Law Solicitors in December 2016.

The β€˜straightforward, sensible and practical’ family law department at the β€˜respected firm’ Ellisons Solicitors is β€˜particularly good at financial divorce work and Children Act matters’. The β€˜confident and focused’ Nicola Coates in Frinton on Sea leads the practice with β€˜an outstanding wealth of legal and practical experience as well as amazing client skills’. Also recommended are β€˜highly approachable’ chartered legal executive Jane Snook and β€˜imaginative’ associate Lisa Dawson in Colchester, whose β€˜grasp of detail and facts’ enables her to represent clients in contact and residence disputes and who has further experience in cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements, as well as injunctions, child protection and TOLATA matters. Solicitor MaryCarmel Langley is the lead contact for Children Act proceedings.

The β€˜long-established’ family law practice of β€˜well-organised and reliable firm’ Tees Law has β€˜strengths in fairness, integrity and a lack of provocation’ and is β€˜a shining example of what family law should be’. The β€˜dynamic, efficient and well-respected’ practice head Joshua Coombe in Chelmsford is β€˜a safe pair of hands when dealing with financial cases’ due to his β€˜straightforward and decisive approach’, while Children Act proceedings expert Donald Fraser is β€˜a passionate and strong advocate for his clients’, providing β€˜sensible and pragmatic advice’. Coombe also handles divorces, the breakdown of civil partnerships, cohabitation and nuptial agreements, domestic abuse and child arrangements. A recent highlight for him was the representation of a husband who owned a business jointly with his wife as well as a third partner with a minority share during the separation proceedings and financial settlement. He also advised a female client on a TOLATA and Children Act claim after the separation from her partner, involving assets worth around Β£2m. Fraser successfully defended another client against a Prohibited Steps of Order application made by her former husband in regard to their ten-year-old son, which also included a demand to surrender the client’s Tajikistanian passport indefinitely and an order for the child to live with him. Additional matters concern family trusts, agricultural estates, pension rights and the relocation of children.

The β€˜very settled and experienced’ family law team at the β€˜impressive firm’ Jefferies Essex LLP in Southend-on-Sea is β€˜highly respected and well organised’, with a particular strength in care proceedings and cases relating to children (including adoption, guardianship and representing mentally vulnerable clients) and domestic violence and abuse. The lawyers also engage in international family work such as foreign adoption, wardship and removal from jurisdiction and relocation. β€˜Diligent’ practice lead Stella Young β€˜excels in public law work’ and has a specialty in non-accidental injury cases and matters involving large groups of siblings. Her deputy is assistant solicitor and family arbitrator Karen Dovaston (β€˜an outstanding solicitor of the highest calibre with great communication skills and judgement’) who handles most of the divorce, financial and cohabitation matters as well as drafting pre- and post-nuptial agreements. β€˜Meticulous’ associate Anne-Marie Rainsford β€˜goes above and beyond for her clients’, focusing on care proceedings and private disputes over children.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP provides a β€˜small but effective’ family law team β€˜with access to ancillary practices such as inheritance law’. Clients receive access to services such as divorce, cohabitation and financial proceedings, while the lawyers additionally handle private law children cases, domestic abuse matters as well as adoption, residence and special guardianship. Christopher Wall in Billericay assists with private children law disputes and financial remedy applications resulting from divorce, while FILEX Annette Lowen in Westcliff-on-Sea has an exclusive focus on all kinds of matters related to children as well as vulnerable adults. Department head Sybilla Agasee is also an accredited mediator and collaborative lawyer. Assistant solicitor Lauren Larkin is recommended for her β€˜tactical skill’. Recent highlights include the assistance of a father with a child arrangement order and prohibited steps application made against the mother due to allegations of neglect and welfare concerns regarding their ten-year-old son, as well as the representation of a husband during financial remedy proceedings where the wife tried to dispose of the family home without the client’s knowledge or approval. The Westcliff-on-Sea team welcomed associate Melanie Steeples from Grayfords LLP in July 2016.

Clients β€˜feel in safe hands’ with Sternberg Reed’s β€˜committed’ family department and identify its particular strength in representing β€˜vulnerable clients in difficult situations’. The team consists of 14 members who work across three offices in Barking, Grays and Romford. The β€˜efficient and sensible’ Soulla Kokkinos in Barking specialises in public law children and domestic abuse matters, while her co-leader Elizabeth Bendall focuses on representing children, parents, grandparents and guardians in disputes. The financial aspects of family law are handled by Andrew Crossley, while Frances Anderson in Romford is a family mediator across the spectrum. The partners are supported by two consultants, public children law practitioner Gordon Reed and financial relief lawyer Julian Beard, as well as senior associate Yvonne Snow, who β€˜has a great client manner’, and additional solicitors.

Mullis & Peake LLP’s practice in Romford β€˜carries out its family work to a high standard’. The team consists of the β€˜experienced, efficient and caring’ Joanna Toloczko, who is also a β€˜well-respected’ mediator, and paralegal Jenny Waite. While Toloczko specialises in financial relief matters, Waite handles private children law as well as straightforward divorces. Toloczko represented a husband who owned a large portfolio of investment properties regarding the divorce proceedings and financial relief application submitted by his wife and also settled pension negotiations worth Β£2m for another client. Waite advised a father in relation to a child arrangement order, including cross-allegations of substance abuse as well as criminal assault investigations.

Palmers β€˜is an excellent firm that provides efficient and competent advice for a reasonable cost’ in matters such as divorce, financial remedy, cohabitation, nuptial agreements, private law children matters (including special guardianship), civil partnership dissolution and domestic violence. Team head and β€˜excellent’ associate solicitor Surjit Verdi in Thurrock β€˜gives clear and sound advice’. Also recommended is paralegal Kim Mansfield who β€˜is adored and trusted by the local clients’. Solicitor and mediator Gordon Johnson sits in the Basildon office, while consultant Kevin Double works out of South Woodham. Verdi and Mansfield both handled separate financial relief matters, while the team also represented clients regarding trust of land applications, consent order enforcement and child arrangement orders.

Thompson Smith and Puxon’s family law team is based in Colchester and Clacton on Sea and, while having a particular focus on cohabitation disputes and pre-nuptial agreements, also undertakes matters regarding divorce, injunctions, same-sex relationships as well as financial remedies, property or business issues, and children disputes. Marcus Price is the team lead and primary contact for the Clacton office, and is supported by Colchester-based collaborative lawyers: solicitor Alison Cantor and associate Shelley Cumbers.

The family practice at Wortley Byers LLP in Brentwood covers all kinds of matters from marital agreements to separations and children issues. The key person is β€˜dedicated, sincere, competent’ and recently promoted associate solicitor Louise Margiotta, who also trained as a collaborative lawyer and mediator and specialises in negotiating and drafting agreements, high-value financial matters and international matters concerning private and public children law. Her recent highlights include the representation of a client who sought advice on personal assets as well as the removal of his ex-wife as a director and company secretary from his business after the divorce. She also settled a separation case (in which the husband had medical health issues) by conducting a series of β€˜without prejudice’ roundtable

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 clients in South East 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


β€˜A leading firm that is capable of providing comprehensive advice on a wide range of issues’, Boodle Hatfield LLP has recently been particularly active in advising non-domiciled individuals on succession planning, inheritance tax and trust structures that comply with new UK taxation laws. Head of the Oxford office Fiona Graham is β€˜an experienced lawyer who provides a top-class service’ and β€˜leaves clients feeling very reassured and well taken care of’ when assisting with tax, trust and succession matters for landed estates, UK trusts and family businesses. Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are also clients of the firm. The β€˜extremely bright and knowledgeable’ Natasha Hassall has β€˜the ability to explain complex issues clearly’ and shines in a variety of matters, including capital tax planning, asset protection and complex trusts. Recently promoted senior associate Eleanor Sepanski is β€˜on the ball’ and has expertise in charity matters, offshore structures, and cross-border tax and estate planning, placing an emphasis on US instructions.

The β€˜outstanding’ team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP advises business owners, estates, trusts and charities as well as families, high-net-worth individuals and agricultural clients on a range of matters. Led by Sue Vandersteen, the practice has expertise across the board, handling work involving succession planning, discretionary trusts and estates with extensive multi-jurisdictional and agricultural assets, among other matters. Tax practice head Philippa Roles is assisting an offshore trust company with a particularly complex matter relating to the transfer of an assets regime and the vulnerability of a historic arrangement established under the trust, which includes advice on inheritance tax and cross-border trust structures with international beneficiaries. The β€˜compassionate, efficient, professional and approachable’ Rob Crowther handles tax planning, lasting powers of attorney, estate administration and Court of Protection work, among other matters. Senior associate Mandy Clarke is also recommended, as is consultant Katharine Riley, who joined as head of the contentious probate practice from Henmans Freeth (now Freeths LLP).

The team at Freeths LLP combines β€˜local expertise and regional strength’ with β€˜appreciation of long-term client relationships’. The recent workload saw the team restructuring estates and trusts, handling capital gains tax structuring, advising on offshore structures and assisting with estate planning. Singled out for her β€˜professionalism, sincerity and immense knowledge’, Jane Maitland acts as an executor and trustee and is also a Court of Protection appointed deputy for vulnerable clients. National practice head Nigel Roots also leads the charities team and β€˜provides the technical skills and experience’. Managing partner Sarah Foster is highly recommended for contentious trust and probate work.

Recent mandates for Blake Morgan LLP include advising on intestate estates, deed of variations, mental capacity issues and multi-jurisdictional trusts. β€˜Very good’ practice head James Greig is the name to note for probate, powers of attorney and Inheritance Tax Act matters, while β€˜very thorough and efficient’ associate Alison Craggs leads the Oxford wills team. Senior associate Kate Allred is also recommended, as are associates Philip Allen and Kathryn Woodward, who is a qualified Notary Public. Louise Lewis is now a senior associate at Penningtons Manches LLP.

The advice provided by Blandy & Blandy LLP is β€˜always excellent and practical’. High-net-worth individuals, multimillion-pound trusts and estates, and the owners and directors of family and owner-managed businesses retain the practice, which is led by joint managing partner Jonathan Gater. Also recommended are consultant and tax and estate planning expert Graham Benwell and Caroline Casagranda, who advises on tax planning, wills, probate and estate administration. On the contentious side, joint managing partner Philip D'Arcy is the primary contact. The firm recently established a Henley-on-Thames office following its acquisition of Collins Dryland & Thorowgood LLP, which added real estate and private client partner Luke McMath into the team, who also works out of Reading. Senior solicitor Louise Nelson also joined from Shoosmiths LLP.

Praised for providing a β€˜reliable’ service, Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors has recently advised high-net-worth individuals on a range of cross-border matters, including protecting business assets, tax matters, and estate planning and administration. The β€˜helpful and knowledgeable’ Peter McGeown leads a team that includes Stephanie Rose, who has notable strength in advising elderly and vulnerable clients as well as their families, carers and trustees. Other key contacts include senior associate Anita Prymak and associate Alison Cross. Emma McCarthy is now a legal director at Gateley Plc.

At Spratt Endicott, managing director and department head David Endicott has β€˜a style that is definitely client led’ and utilises his β€˜vast wealth of knowledge and experience’. Lucy Gordon β€˜genuinely cares for her clients’ needs and getting the best outcome for them’ in matters concerning tax planning, probate, estate administration and succession. Court of Protection work also increased for Gordon, who has strength in advising elderly clients. Recently promoted associate Tom McInerney leads the team in Bicester and is β€˜extremely personable’. Solicitor Julia Routen is β€˜professional, knowledgeable, understanding and patient’.

Boyes Turner’s department comprises two specialist teams: Paul Lowery heads the wealth protection practice and Ruth Meyer leads the Court of Protection group. Recent work for the department included advising on wills, estate administration and domicile issues. Associates Sophie Martin and Emma-Jane Kurtz are also highly experienced. Caroline Wallis departed to Phillips Solicitors, associate Jenny Watson joined Mercers Solicitors and solicitor Joanna Staerck moved internally to the education team.

At Herrington Carmichael LLP, practice head Anthony Tahourdin has a β€˜broad depth of knowledge’ and advised on setting up charitable trusts, capital gains tax issues and various other matters. Tahourdin’s team includes β€˜extremely methodical and professional’ solicitor Paul Denza, who has been handling intestacy, powers of attorney and inheritance tax work. Solicitor Minnaar Badenhorst joined the firm from Harrison Clark Rickerbys and leads the elderly and vulnerable client practice, while solicitor Andrew Smith is the primary contact for Court of Protection matters. All named solicitors split their time between the Wokingham and Camberley offices.

Providing advice that is β€˜clear, sound and easy to understand’, Penningtons Manches LLP’s expertise spans estate administration, tax planning, asset protection, Court of Protection work, contentious probate and trustee matters. The team is also experienced in cross-border matters. β€˜Very knowledgeable and efficient’ senior associate Caroline van Zyl leads the team and her recent workload includes advising on wills, deputyship and inheritance tax. Associate Iain Managhan is another key contact along with β€˜very knowledgeable, patient, caring and flexible’ senior associate Louise Lewis, who brought her niche expertise in digital assets from Blake Morgan LLP. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and charities.

β€˜Engendering complete confidence’ in clients, Royds Withy King’s team is led by Tom Gilman, β€˜a highly regarded and respected practitioner’, who is β€˜first class’ for estate planning, complex trust structures, powers of attorney and Court of Protection work. Associate Jan Tyley has experience in offshore tax and trust structures, particularly in US-related matters. Solicitors Ellen Boesen and Bridget Maier are also names to note, as is Christopher Wilson, who joined from HMG Law LLP.

Simon Berry is the principal contact at Clarkslegal LLP for estate administration, wills, powers of attorney and trusts mandates. Senior solicitor Stuart Hyden has expertise in a wide array of matters, including mental capacity cases and Court of Protection applications. The firm’s expertise also includes advising on asset protection, acting for elderly clients, handling agricultural matters and business succession planning.

At Gardner Leader LLP, recently promoted senior associate Niamh Minihane and the β€˜exceptional’ Penny Wright, who made partner, are the main contacts for mental capacity matters, an area of work that has recently increased for the firm. Wright has β€˜the ability to humanise what can be an extremely difficult time for clients’ and her expertise also includes cross-border tax planning and charitable trusts work. Jolyon Barton leads the β€˜experienced’ practice and has been active in estate administration, non-domicile issues and intestacy matters. Meanwhile, Robert Jobson’s recent caseload included inheritance tax and trusts with multimillion-pound property and business assets. David Finnerty was promoted to associate.

The team at Irwin Mitchell β€˜adopts an approach that makes clients feel that they and their needs are of paramount importance’. The β€˜caring and attentive’ Sarah Phillips heads the practice and advises business owners, entrepreneurs and senior executives on various matters, including wealth preservation, tax and succession planning. Senior associate Stewart Stretton-Hill’s β€˜manner inspires confidence in clients’; he handles lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications and deputyship for elderly and vulnerable clients, as well as wills, probate and tax planning matters. Julian Chadwick retired from practice and Sarah Roberts joined Coffin Mew LLP as a senior associate.

Pitmans LLP’s practice is led by the β€˜particularly knowledgeable and very experienced’ David Ainslie, who is singled out for inheritance tax, succession planning and other private client matters. High-net-worth individuals, family trusts, non-domiciles and high-profile clients instructed the practice in matters relating to substantial business assets, probate, pension policy trusts, wills and estates that have not been administered. Sheilagh Magee was promoted to partner and is also recommended for providing a β€˜fantastic’ service.

Personal tax, trust and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trust and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  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 Personal tax, trust and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex clients in South East 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


According to clients, Cripps LLP β€˜manages to combine being a commercial outfit while still delivering a very personal and individual service’. Inheritance tax planning, high-value estate administration and trust management are key areas of the practice, which also handles a variety of wealth protection matters. Recent work includes advising on the establishment of a Β£6m investment company, and advising on the sale of a Β£1.5m multi-use agricultural estate, which involved advising on the tax structure for the transaction. The team’s international expertise extends to advising clients on their onshore and offshore assets, non-domicile tax issues and advising on mitigating capital gains tax among others. Landed estate expert Simon Leney heads the team, which includes tax planning specialist Anne Lewis, whose β€˜wisdom, experience and business acumen are of a very high standard’; and managing associate Stephen Horscroft, who is β€˜professional, reassuring and approachable’. Kate Arnold, Jessica Jamieson, Mary-Anne Gribbon and Chris Wilkinson are also recommended.

Stevens & Bolton LLP β€˜is a first-class firm’ that handles the full remit of private client matters, including succession planning, business restructuring and estate management for clients business owners, landed families and high-net-worth individuals. The team also works closely with the firm’s tax, litigation and real estate departments on contentious and non-contentious matters. Stuart Skeffington leads the team, with experience in onshore and offshore tax structuring, international succession issues and probate. Other key figures include the β€˜very professional, thoughtful and responsive’ Rosie Todd, who was promoted to partner in May 2016 and has particular expertise in handling tax matters and tax planning for entrepreneurs; and Matthew Carman, who was promoted to partner in May 2017 and is β€˜an outstanding private client lawyer with the ability to handle the most complicated of mandates’. Probate and estate administration practice head Daryl Fox, who is β€˜an outstanding practitioner’, and the β€˜vastly experienced’ Nick Acomb are other key names. Senior associate James Lister joined the team from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in March 2017 to head the firm’s trust litigation practice.

Thomson Snell & Passmore is highly recommended by clients for lasting powers of attorney matters and complex will drafting; the team, based in Tunbridge Wells, also regularly assists with the establishment of family investment companies, high-value estate administrations, and succession planning for multi-generational families. Tax is another mainstay of the practice; recent work includes assisting clients with inheritance tax planning, capital gains tax and international tax matters. The practice is also active in Court of Protection cases. Nicola Plant, who took over as department head in July 2016 from estate administration specialist Simon Brown, β€˜is knowledgeable and experienced in her field’. She is ably assisted by head of probate Helen Stewart, who is β€˜calm, focused and very clear in what she says’; Mark Politz, who heads the tax planning team; and head of trust management Stuart Goodbody. Christopher Walker joined the firm from Adams & Remers in July 2017.

asb law LLP β€˜always puts the client first’. The team advises on onshore and offshore assets, trust management and inheritance tax issues for a range of clients that include estate holders, non-domiciled individuals and landed families. It also frequently collaborates with the family practice on private client matters, including estate administration issues. Ellen Lambert leads the team from the Maidstone office, with experience in handling high-net-worth estate administration, landed estate trust planning and trust administration. Also in Maidstone, Glen Miles specialises in advising vulnerable people, including handling Court of Protection applications and asset protection. Crawley-based associate Eleanor Gadd heads the tax planning and estate sub-team. Solicitor Jane Scott is recommended for her expertise in trust and Court of Protection matters.

Adams & Remers is β€˜renowned for its specialism in this field’. Key areas of strength for the Lewes-based practice include advising high-net-worth individuals and their families on succession planning, high-value estate management and personal tax compliance matters. The team’s expertise also covers a range of private client matters including tax planning, probate and complex will drafting. Its client roster includes families with landed estates and business owners in the South East and London. Francis Nation Dixon is recommended for trusts issues; tax expert Simon Mitchell and estate planning specialist Rose Macfarlane are other names of note. Former head of department Christopher Walker left the firm to join Thomson Snell & Passmore in July 2017 and tax manager Richard Mencner joined in 2016 from private bank Hoare & Co. Bibi Fortin-Lees and Amanda Epstein joined from Coole Bevis LLP.

High-value estate administration affairs, complex will drafting issues and lifetime trust management matters are all mainstays of the practice at Barlow Robbins LLP. The firm also has strong expertise in international tax planning, capital gains tax concerns and inheritance tax planning for multi-generational families. Its Court of Protection work is notable; the team has previously advised on contested deputyships and power of attorney matters. Clients include landed families, non-domiciled individuals and business owners among others. Estate management expert Belinda Sanders leads the practice, which includes Tim Adams, who specialises in wealth protection and tax planning. Senior associate Jeremy Duffy joined the firm from Rooks Rider Solicitors LLP, specialising in asset protection for international clients.

The practice at Brachers regularly advises landed and multi-generational families, high-net-worth individuals and agricultural business owners on high-value estate administration matters and lifetime planning, with a particular focus on agricultural estates. As well as undertaking a full range of private client matters, the practice is also strong in Court of Protection issues and has substantial expertise in tax issues such as inheritance tax planning. Christopher Eriksson-Lee, who took over as head of practice from Simon Palmer, who retired in May 2016, has expertise in handling agricultural asset protection, inheritance tax mitigation and estate administration. Also recommended are Stephen Smith and senior associate Justine Sloover, who heads the trusts administration team and β€˜does a very thorough job’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s Guildford-based team β€˜has all the resources and quality of its London colleagues’. Clients recommend the firm for complex will drafting and inheritance tax planning; other areas of expertise include multimillion-pound estate administrations, Court of Protection applications and wealth protection for high-net-worth individuals. Non-contentious department leader Sally Ashford is β€˜a very well-respected and pragmatic lawyer’ and dispute resolution head Duncan Elson is β€˜the go-to person in the region for family legacy and trust disputes’. Senior associate Gareth Walliss (who is β€˜everything one could hope for in a professional adviser’) is also recommended.

Coole Bevis LLP’s merged with Woolley Bevis Diplock LLP in April 2016, creating a 20-lawyer outfit that acts for high net-worth individuals on estate advice, complex probate matters and inheritance matters. The team is regularly called on to advise on beneficiary and estate matters in France, the USA and Australia among other jurisdiction. Jenny Murphy heads the team, which includes Alex Bowers, who provides advice on powers of attorney, will drafting and inheritance tax planning. Richard Bates joined the firm in October 2016 from Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP, bringing specialist later life expertise and a client list of care-home owners and management teams. Helen Maddison-White is another name to note. Bibi Fortin Lees and Amanda Epstein joined Adams & Remers.

The β€˜excellent’ team at DMH Stallard LLP focuses on estate administration, financial planning and probate issues. Its tax experience includes assisting with inheritance tax matters, tax mitigation as well as onshore and offshore assets. The firm is also known for its Court of Protection work, particularly on applications for deputyships and powers of attorney. The practice advises clients across the UK as well as those based in the South East and London. Michael Derrick is recommended as β€˜friendly, professional, courteous and empathetic’; Lorna Fairbairn and Richard Pollins are also highly regarded. Other key names include Claire Carberry, consultant Belinda Butler-Smith and Bryan Dean.

The β€˜extremely knowledgeable and client-focused’ team at Furley Page Solicitors regularly advises on matters relating to the Inheritance Act, Court of Protection applications and trust management. High-value estate administration is a key area of the practice, which is also adept at handling international private client matters involving offshore assets and non-domiciled tax issues. The β€˜professional and empathetic’ Harvey Barrett leads the team, which includes solicitor Alexandra Gordon, who β€˜is knowledgeable, engaging and is able to put across information in an easily digestible manner’. Also recommended are senior solicitor Nicola Hopper (who β€˜has a calm and considered approach’), Aaron Spencer, vulnerable client head Nicola August and Sarah Bogard.

Morrisons Solicitors LLP fields a β€˜highly professional’ team that regularly handles probate matters, estate administration for agricultural and commercial properties, and complex will drafting. Court of Protection work is another significant aspect of the practice, which regularly handles the drafting of deputyship applications and powers of attorney submissions. Its tax work is also noteworthy, having assisted with inheritance tax matters and capitals gains tax issues in 2016. Holly Chantler leads the team, which includes the highly regarded David Kingham and senior associate Jessica Greenhall, who β€˜carefully ascertains the facts and devises workable solutions’. Deputy practice head Jane Forbat, legal director Christopher Hughes and consultant Rod Cowles are other key names.

Penningtons Manches LLP attracts praise for providing β€˜an excellent and extremely knowledgeable service’. Trust establishment and management matters, probate issues and advice relating to onshore and offshore assets are all key focuses for the team, which leverages the firm’s commercial, property and dispute resolution teams where necessary. International tax matters are another mainstay of the practice, including advising on UK tax issues for non-domiciled clients, inheritance tax assistance and personal tax matters for high-net-worth individuals. Its client base includes landed families, high-net-worth individuals and international clients. Department head Liz Garvey β€˜leads her team very well’; other key figures include senior associate Hannah Gearey, who is β€˜very knowledgeable and has great empathy for complex client situations’; senior associate Cecelia Ward, who is β€˜a walking textbook and able to find a solution to any problem’. Associate Vanessa Riley is also recommended.

According to one client, TWM Solicitors LLP β€˜is first-class in every aspect of its work’. The firm undertakes the full spectrum of private client matters, including wealth protection, lifetime trusts advice and high-value estate administration. Its tax work includes personal tax mitigation assistance, inheritance tax advice and capital gains tax matters. The well-regarded Allison Crossman leads the team, which also senior associate Michelle Leggett who β€˜delivers advice in a clear and easy to understand manner’ and the β€˜impressive’ Duncan Mitchell-Innes. Other key names are Paul Bradley, Nigel Harding and Adrian O’Loughlin.

The team at Batchelors attracts praise for combining β€˜efficient, knowledgeable and friendly service with sound and accurate advice’. Its expertise spans estate administration, succession planning and capital gains tax matters for high-net-worth individuals, landed families and vulnerable persons. Clients also recommend the firm for complex will drafting and probate matters. The department is led by Sarah Hickey, who β€˜is very knowledgeable in her area of law’, and Nick Stotesbury, who β€˜understands how to instruct experts’. Also recommended are Edward White, who β€˜puts clients’ needs first’ and the β€˜helpful and courteous’ Annmarie Timlin.

Girlings is β€˜an incredibly professional law firm’ with wide-ranging expertise of complex will drafting, trust and asset management, and estate administration. It also has a noteworthy tax practice that advises on inheritance tax planning, offshore tax matters and capital gains tax mitigation. Agricultural business owners, landed families and high-net-worth individuals all feature on the client roster. Practice head Lesley Rushton β€˜combines an approachable, friendly manner with professionalism and expertise’; she is assisted by the β€˜extremely professional, courteous and knowledgeable’ Charlotte Nock and the highly regarded Chris Neeve.

β€˜A strong player in this field’ according to clients, Griffith Smith Farrington Webb LLP handles a range of wealth management and protection issues, as well as non-contentious probate matters and estate administration. The Brighton-based team includes β€˜organised, efficient and effective’ practice leader Nadia Cowdrey.

Inheritance tax planning, asset management and estate administration are all mainstays of Herrington Carmichael LLP’s private client practice. The team also has experience in international private client matters including advising on capital gains tax mitigation for foreign and non-domiciled persons. Clients include landed families and titled individuals in the South East. Anthony Tahourdin leads the department.

Irwin Mitchell handles the full range of trust matters, including trust management, establishing high-value trusts and trust restructuring matters. The team is also adept at tax matters such as person tax mitigation and inheritance tax advice, the team also handles Court of Protection applications including powers of attorney submissions. High-net-worth individuals, landed families and business owners make up the team’s client base. Caroline Shelton leads the team, which is split between the Chichester and Gatwick offices; Michael Taylor, Darran Fawcett, Catherine Angel and Anthony Nixon are all key contacts. Amanda King-Jones and Patricia Woolgar retired.

Mundays LLP advises on inheritance tax planning, high-value estate administrations and trusts management matters for high-net-worth individuals. Other areas of expertise include complex will drafting, offshore and onshore assets management, and international tax matters. Practice leader Julie Man β€˜is reassuring and immediately grasps the issues’; Stephen Morris and senior associate Julia Jaggin are other key contacts.

The β€˜prompt, knowledgeable and courteous’ team at Quality Solicitors Howlett Clarke handles the full spectrum of private client work including agricultural estate administration, complex will drafting, cross-border probate advice and inheritance tax, among other issues. Its client base comprises high-net-worth individuals, landed families and business owners. Key figures include consultant John Brewins, who β€˜is very knowledgeable of all aspects of law’, and probate executive Joanna Dixon, who heads the practice. Louise McKay left for an in-house counsel position in August 2016.

According to clients, Rawlison Butler LLP’s β€˜knowledge, professionalism and client service is outstanding’. The team handles trust restructuring issues, inheritance tax planning matters and estate administration for high-net-worth individuals, commercial and agricultural business owners, and multi-generational families. Digby Armstrong leads the wills and probates team, which is based in Horsham. Head of trusts Robert Knight β€˜has a wealth of experience and an excellent manner with clients’; he is recommended for tax issues, while senior associate Fiona Higgott is recommended for trusts matters. Barbara Matthews is another contact.

Renaissance Legal β€˜is an outfit that is in full command of its sector expertise’, according to clients. Estate planning, inheritance tax concerns and trusts management advice are all areas the firm, although its tax, trusts and probates work for which it is best known. The firm has a particular specialism in Court of Protection matters, including deputyship applications. The β€˜professional, caring and thorough’ Philip Warford leads the team, which includes Katherine Miller who β€˜demonstrates an excellent knowledge of her subject’.

According to clients, Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP β€˜is able to comfortably handle matters often dealt with by the large London firms’. It has particular expertise in capitals gains tax and inheritance tax matters, non-contentious probate issues and high-value estate administration; the team is also adept at handling Court of Protection matters involving vulnerable or mentally incapacitated persons. It also has a notable contentious private client department. Team leader Max Wright β€˜is knowledgeable and thorough’ and associate Rich Risino, who joined from Irwin Mitchell in August 2016, β€˜is approachable and practical’; Ian Best and Alan Foster are also recommended. Richard Bates left to join Coole Bevis LLP in October 2016.

Thackray Williams LLP’s private client team, which draws from the expertise of the property and dispute resolution teams when necessary, advises on a range of matters including inheritance tax planning, trusts restructuring issues and Court of Protection applications. It has extensive experience acting on issues involving mentally incapacitated persons and is well-versed in deputyship and powers of attorney cases. Elliot Lewis leads the department, which includes probate specialist Anthony Macey, contentious probate expert Jane MacLeod and complex wills and trusts specialist Jill MacMahon.

Warners Solicitors’ β€˜response times are second to none’, according to clients. The firm is best known for its Court of Protection work, which includes advising on deputyship issues and assisting with probate matters; other areas of expertise include complex will drafting, personal tax mitigation advice and multimillion-pound estate administration mandates. The client roster is largely comprised of high-net-worth individuals and agricultural business owners. Mary Shaw heads the practice from the Tonbridge office. Also recommended are CGT planning expert Philip Raggett and specialist will expert Gail Hall.

Whitehead Monckton frequently advises on issues concerning wealth management and protection, trust restructuring, and high-value estate administration for clients including high-net-worth individuals, commercial and agricultural business owners, and landed families. The firm regularly provides inheritance tax planning advice and works closely with the firm’s family and property teams for multi-disciplinary matters. Kerin Speedie is leads the practice, and is ably supported by tax specialist and managing director Stephen Beck as well as wills expert Garry Warman and probate specialist Katie Broadfield, who was promoted to partner in October 2016.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx clients in South East 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


B P Collins LLP’s β€˜knowledgeable’ team provides β€˜an excellent level of service’ and β€˜always keeps the client up-to-date with probate procedures’. Key specialisms for the team include trust and estate administration, elderly client advice and Court of Protection work, as well as lifetime planning and the preparation of wills. Practice head Craig Williams is noted for his expertise in contentious inheritance disputes, and regularly deals with claims against the validity of testamentary documents. Other names to note include senior associate Lucy Fisher, who is β€˜very approachable and accommodating, quick to respond to requests’ and β€˜can transmit information in a clear manner which is easy to follow’, and Vicky Johnson, who advises on cross-border assets.

Debenhams Ottaway has β€˜the expertise to deal with complex legal issues in a straightforward and accessible manner’, and the group β€˜takes the time to communicate its advice effectively, ensuring that the client understands what is being recommended and why’. The firm advises clients on inheritance tax, estate planning, trust administration and probate, and also has strong expertise in lifetime planning matters including lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. Department head Susan Glenholme, who is β€˜a smart lawyer who is very personable and approachable’, advises a range of high net-worth clients both nationally and globally. Claire Sharp specialises in elderly care, and manages a significant number of trusts containing multifarious assets.

Hewitsons is β€˜one of the premier firms in its area’ and its team β€˜deals with all queries quickly and efficiently, completing each matter as smoothly as possible’. Supported by its charities and rural departments, the team handles the full range of private client issues, including inheritance tax planning, trust reorganisations, heritage property matters and lifetime gifts and wills. Carolyn Bagley, who is β€˜an impressive communicator with exceptional emotional intelligence’, is β€˜proactive in teasing out potential problems, inventive with solutions’ and has β€˜an extensive knowledge of tax and trusts laws’. Clare Colacicchi is the other key practitioner.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) has β€˜an excellent reputation in its field’, and its β€˜competent team of solicitors’ provides β€˜a professional and efficient service at every level, from initial contact to client meetings and all the way through to completion’. The practice has strong expertise in international matters, frequently advising on UK and foreign tax issues, the drafting of wills and trusts and the administration of foreign estates. Personal injury trusts are also a niche area of specialism, and the team has extensive experience handling Court of Protection and power of attorney issues. Practice head Jacqueline Almond is β€˜a dedicated, professional and approachable individual’, who is β€˜particularly knowledgeable when it comes to will writing’.

Sherrards Solicitors LLP provides β€˜excellent advice which is given without delay, communicated properly and always tailored to suit the client’s needs’. The practice is noted for its strong international client base, advising private individuals across Russia, India and the Middle East on will preparation and tax and estate planning. The team also handles a broad range of trust work, assisting with the establishment of life-interest, charitable and disabled and discretionary trusts. Nicole Marmor heads the practice, and is praised for her β€˜extremely competent manner’.

The team at Shoosmiths LLP has β€˜a broad range of experience and expertise’, its client base including a mix of business owners, lottery winners, celebrities and wealthy retired individuals. The practice advises primarily on trust and estate planning, and also handles matters such as will drafting, trust rearrangement and lasting powers of attorney. Practice head Charlotte Dunn is β€˜a true expert’ and β€˜is very personable, with great attention to detail’. Melissa Maple joined from Hedges Law.

Taylor Walton LLP is β€˜excellent in all respects’, providing β€˜timely responses, valuable advice and effective solutions to unusual requirements’. Practice head Richard Crocker advises on tax planning and high-value probate matters. Other key figures include the β€˜professional, personable and responsive’ Alison Voyce, who advises high net-worth clients on tax and succession concerns; Steven Hamilton, who deals with the creation and administration of trusts, probate and property-related matters; and Alex Drake, who has β€˜a very practical approach to all issues’.

Woodfines LLP’s β€˜knowledgeable’ team β€˜builds a trusted relationship with its clients’ and β€˜can be relied on with complete confidence’. Key areas of expertise include will drafting, estate administration, inheritance tax and Court of Protection matters. Practice head Mike Cox has β€˜a wide knowledge of the practice area, and responds to all questions with congeniality, patience and ease’, and senior associate Esther Marchant is β€˜clear and concise, outlining all relevant information and making a difficult process easy’.

Blaser Mills advises on administration, tax planning and lasting powers of attorney, drafts and reviews wills and also has strong expertise in handling Court of Protection applications. Minesh Thakrar primarily focuses on wills, inheritance tax mitigation and issues affecting the elderly.

The β€˜highly capable’ team at Longmores Solicitors LLP is noted for its expertise in inheritance tax planning, particularly on behalf of land and business owners, and also regularly acts for elderly and vulnerable clients on will preparation, Court of Protection work and lasting powers of attorney. Practice head Richard Horwood has β€˜an agile and incisive mind’ and β€˜a sound grasp of relevant legislation, along with a real commercial awareness’.

At Machins Solicitors LLP, recent work included preparing wills for several well-known sports personalities and musicians, advising high net-worth clients on trusts and inheritance tax planning, and administering a number of high-value estates. Nic Pestell heads the department, advising domestic and overseas clients on wills and taxes, and associate Nigel Gibson-Birch is the go-to figure for residential conveyancing matters.

Nockolds Solicitors has strong expertise in all aspects of private client work, most notably in the administration of estates with business and agricultural assets. The firm also handles Court of Protection applications, all trusts-related matters and will preparation and wealth management. Peter King heads the β€˜efficient’ practice.

Tees Law provides β€˜a very good service’, specialising in the administration of high-value estates with international and agricultural elements. Cathy Izzard heads the private client practice, and is noted for her expertise in the interactions between French and English law. Senior associate Patrick Green specialises in wills, trusts and probate work, and solicitor Aisling Kelly, who is β€˜excellent’, stands out for her β€˜high level of care in cases involving elderly individuals’.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Hampshire

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Hampshire
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Hampshire clients in South East 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


Blake Morgan LLP attracts praise for the β€˜impressive breadth and depth of legal talent’ housed within the team, whose β€˜expertise and depth of capability is excellent’. It advises on high-value estate administration and tax planning matters, as well as a variety of trust work including trust administration, insolvency and restructuring matters. The firm is regularly instructed by European clients to advise on their UK interests, and leverages expertise in Court of Protection and agricultural and commercial matters to provide a full-service offering. Helen Bunker and Simon Treherne lead the practice following the departure of former head Rachel Brooks to Thrings LLP. Also recommended are Douglas Smith, whose β€˜knowledge and corresponding advice is of a very high level’, Nicholas Buckman, who is β€˜extremely professional and very knowledgeable’, and Rachel Giles. Legal director Jessica Wiltshire joined from Clarke Willmott LLP.

Moore Blatch LLP is β€˜excellent on all fronts’. Tax planning, including succession matters and inheritance tax advice is an area the firm excels in; it also regularly handles probate issues and matters involving vulnerable or mentally incapacitated persons. The team also advises international clients on tax planning, offshore assets and investments into UK assets among others. Practice head Carla Brown β€˜has a good knowledge of the topic and presents articulate and relevant options’. She is assisted by senior solicitor Philip Whitcomb, who is noted for his β€˜friendly but professional approach’, the β€˜experienced and knowledgeable’ Tom Lacey, Fiona Heald, who is a key contact for Court of Protection work. Barry Adamson, joined in December 2016 as head of private client from Irwin Mitchell. Joyce Bradbeer retired.

Paris Smith LLP is adept at handling high-value estate planning and administration, inheritance tax planning and complex trust management matters. Clients include national and international high-net-worth individuals, which the firm regularly advises on domiciliation issues and international tax planning. Working in conjunction with the firm’s sizeable dispute resolution department, the firm assists clients with contentious private client matters. Nick Turner heads the team in Southampton, which includes associate and Court of Protection specialist Elizabeth Power. The Winchester office, which was opened in December 2015, has associate William Hadley as the key contact.

According to clients, Penningtons Manches LLP’s β€˜level of service is second to none’. The team advises national and international clients on succession planning, high-value estate administration, obtaining court orders for executor actions and trust management. The team also has experience in Court of Protection orders for vulnerable persons, as well as handling offshore asset management and international tax planning matters. The β€˜indomitable and formidable’ Michael Cash heads the practice; he β€˜consistently provides sympathetic and helpful advice’. Senior associate Henrietta Mason, who joined the team in January 2016 from Withers LLP, β€˜is whip-smart, direct, and pulls no punches’. Also recommended are associate Nicola Hibbert, who is β€˜accessible, knowledgeable and a good communicator’; and senior associates SiΓ’n Hodgson (who is a β€˜first-class lawyer’), Sarah Lee and Nyree Craig. Craig joined from Taylor Wessing LLP.

Clarke Willmott LLP regularly advises clients on a full range of private client matters including high-value estate administration, particularly for landed estates, inheritance tax planning and complex probate matters. It also specialises in advising on matters involving vulnerable or mentally incapacitated clients, and works closely with the firm’s family and property teams to provide clients with wide-ranging international tax planning expertise. Former head of department Kelly Greig left to join the Chichester office of Irwin Mitchell and Jessica Wiltshire departed for Blake Morgan LLP. Senior associate Rupert Thompson, who joined in December 2016 from Letchers Solicitors, now heads the team, assisted by Anthony Fairweather and Carol Cummins.

Coffin Mew LLP advises clients on the full spectrum of private client matters, including capital gains tax planning, complex will drafting and trust management. It has a particular focus on high-value estate matters, including estate administration, estate restructuring and contentious issues involving agricultural estates and property portfolios as well as assets located in the UK and abroad. Jonathan Sleep heads the practice in Southampton, which includes associate Roz Wyeth and solicitor Stacy Keech, both of whom are adept at handling powers of attorneys issues, probate matters and inheritance tax advice.

Phillips Solicitors’ Basingstoke practices services national and international clients, advising on lasting powers of attorney matters, Court of Protection applications, trust management and asset protection. It also provide advice on capital gains tax matters and inheritance tax planning. Former practice head Michael Le Fort left for a counsel position at Southampton City Council, with solicitor Caroline Wallis taking over the department. She is ably supported by solicitor Jane Erlam.

The β€˜excellent’ Shoosmiths LLP is recommended by clients for its work drafting wills, handling trust management issues, and on powers of attorney matters. Other areas of expertise include inheritance tax planning and tax mitigation, as well as high-value estate administration. The practice is also complemented by the firm’s commercial and property practices, which provide additional support in estate management. Practice head Charlotte Dunn is noted for her expertise advising high-net-worth and high-profile individuals on trust management matters and Court of Protection applications. Associate Naomi Neville, a specialist in wealth protection, is also recommended.

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex clients in South East 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


The wills, trust and probate practice at Birkett Long LLP is based in Colchester and Chelmsford and β€˜demonstrates a wholly professional yet highly personal approach to any work entrusted to the team’, making it always β€˜attentive to the client’s needs’. Claire Read’s β€˜positive "can-do" attitude’ assists her in her mitigation, trust creation and administration work, which sometimes contains international aspects. Bruce Ballard and Caroline Dowding in Colchester have a specialisation in the agricultural and farming sector, where they advise families on their wills, succession planning and tax mitigation. Liz Jones, who joined internally from the family department, undertakes long-term care planning, especially for elderly clients, and also liaises with local social service authorities, hospitals and charities in order to make retrospective claims against the NHS. Associate Ben Parmenter heads the team in Colchester and deals with high-value tax and estate planning as well as will execution.

The private client department at Birketts LLP in Chelmsford β€˜is excellent across the board’ and β€˜a pleasure to deal with’, creating a β€˜balance of technical ability, practical advice and reasonable cost’. β€˜Technically strong and personable’ Tim Galloway focuses on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional planning work regarding wills, trusts, probate and foundations, typically resulting from citizenship, marriage or assets based abroad. Families in the agricultural sector, high-net-worth individuals and businesses are also on his client list. Solicitor Nicola Nottidge frequently assists Galloway in his matters. Associate Susan Young handles UK succession and tax planning work, including powers of attorney and deputyship, and is β€˜very patient and clear on explaining legal aspects’. Additionally, she represents trust companies based nationally and abroad regarding trust management. Mike Rowland joined Seddons.

The practice at β€˜long-established firm’ Palmers β€˜provides solutions to fit individual needs’. Lee McClellan in Basildon, who β€˜puts forward multifaceted solutions to clients’, and Tim Steele in South Woodham Ferrers are the key advisers in the respective offices. Consultant Chris Mowat is also recommended for his β€˜ability to demystify legal matters in order for solutions to be readily understood’. The team undertakes a broad range of work, including wills, lasting powers of attorney, estate planning and administration, Court of Protection, inheritance tax as well as trust creation and administration. Steele also handles contentious probate and Inheritance Act claims, while solicitors Viju Chhagan (based in Thurrock) and Georgina Leighton advise clients on care fees and other services for elderly clients. Helen Jago recently handled issues of domicile, succession, valuation and grant of probate extensions in relation to two estates with property and wills in Spain and England. The new additions to the team during the second half of 2016 were solicitors Kate Middleton from Hattens Solicitors and Mediators in Thurrock and Siobain Moore from Blaser Mills and Marissa McKenzie in Basildon.

Clients describe Thompson Smith and Puxon’s private client department as β€˜approachable, efficient, knowledgeable and empathetic’, β€˜working well as a strong team’ and having β€˜impressive dedication to the client’. Team lead Fiona Ashworth is β€˜always knowledgeable and gets on well with clients’ and has a β€˜good but strict work ethic’. Apart from wills and succession planning, powers of attorney, tax, trust and Court of Protection work, Ashworth specialises in supporting elderly and agricultural clients. Sarah White, who became an associate in 2016, β€˜maintains good communication’ with clients and is β€˜extremely resourceful and very committed’. Also recommended is the β€˜professional, organised and sympathetic’ solicitor Aileen Hirst. Pragna Chhagan joined from Atkins Thomson in February 2016.

Wortley Byers LLP is an β€˜extremely competent, professional and efficient firm’ that fosters β€˜good liaison between departments’ and provides an β€˜exceptional combination of people skills, ability and hard work’. The β€˜supportive, knowledgeable and confident’ Nicola Healy works across the field, but has particular expertise in estate planning and administration (including wills and intestacy) and is β€˜good with elderly and high-net-worth clients’. Also recommended are the β€˜knowledgeable and personable’ trust and estate planning expert Poh Shan Chong and β€˜capable’ head of private client Anne Ellis. The β€˜patient and approachable’ John Southan, who specialises in private client matters involving property and also handles deputyship applications, was promoted to associate level in 2016.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors’s private client department has β€˜a good strong team with a wealth of experience’. The team advises high-net-worth, elderly and mentally vulnerable clients on wills, trusts, powers of attorney and probate, as well as funding for care fees by local authorities. Additionally, Andrew Flannagan and Lesley-Ann Mayhew act in professional deputyships (often in connection with personal injury or clinical negligence claims). The β€˜hugely knowledgeable, creative and unflappable’ Mayhew is β€˜entirely winning in her professional approach’ and is also recommended for her Court of Protection expertise. Flannagan recently represented clients in their grant of letters of administration application regarding the payment of insurance money to the deceased’s partner in a situation where no will had been made. Associate Tony Brownlie advised clients on issues regarding the drafting as well as interpretation of wills and trusts.

Ellisons Solicitors’ private client department spans Colchester, Clacton on Sea, Frinton and Dovercourt. Managing partner Tim Logan undertakes both non-contentious and contentious wills, administration, probate, inheritance tax planning, trusts, assets, Court of Protection and lasting powers of attorney work, while Jeanette Hollington specialises in personal injury trusts and acting in the interest of vulnerable or handicapped clients. Associate solicitor Gina Westbrook is the key contact for the Clacton office, handling a similar range of matters to Logan and also providing legal assistance in this field to dementia patients. Most of the clients are high-net-worth individuals and their relatives or representatives.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP’s private client department is β€˜very good and efficient’, advising on probate, wills and lasting power of attorney matters in the commercial and agricultural sectors. The team also provides access to attorneys outside of business hours, free home visits to elderly clients, virtual meeting facilities and walk-in clinics once a week. Colchester-based head of team Susanne Grimwade also takes care of high-net-worth estates, equity release, trusts, Court of Protection and later-years advice, while solicitors James Bird and Sarah Rankin provide further experience in conveyancing. The β€˜very knowledgeable, helpful and compassionate’ associate Amy Burton in Chelmsford has a specialisation in advising on estates with foreign jurisdiction. Andrea Godfrey in Clacton was promoted to associate in 2016.

Giles Wilson LLP in Leigh on Sea and Rochford has a β€˜thoroughly dependable and excellent local practice’ that is appreciated for its β€˜customer care and solid performance’. In 2016, the team appointed Daniel Curnock from Harold G Walker as head of private client, who specialises in cross-border matters. The β€˜knowledgeable, efficient and empathetic’ senior partner Melinda Giles is β€˜prompt and clear in her advice’, handling Court of Protection work, high-value estates, tax and trust issues. She recently acted as executioner of a discretionary trust created from the will of a deceased company director which involved settlement negotiations, a grant of probate application and the Court of Protection. Helen Martin specialises in matters involving property, while assistant solicitor Pippa Bavington is experienced in tax issues with high-value estates and trusts. Court of Protection specialist Carol Etherington joined from Mullis & Peake LLP.

Jefferies Essex LLP’s private client department provides an β€˜outstanding level of service’ in the drafting of wills, LPAs, management of trusts and Court of Protection applications, with a special focus on estate administration. In the latter field, the β€˜approachable and knowledgeable’ FCILEx Gill Tobin undertakes professional executorship and provides a full administration service for personal executors, as well as representing clients in grant of probate and letters of administration applications. The client spectrum ranges from high-net-worth individuals with assets abroad and the life tenants and remaindermen of will trusts, to elderly clients who need help managing their financial affairs through the Court of Protection. Tobin is β€˜committed to providing clear legal advice and service to clients’. Solicitor Kirsty Bone qualified in the past year and advises on LPAs, will drafting and grant of probate applications.

The private client department at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP is based in Westcliff-on-Sea and Billericay. Caroline Cole specialises in drafting wills and managing trusts and estates as well as elderly client, Court of Protection matters and inheritance tax planning, while associate solicitor Lee Hibell also undertakes administration and lasting power of attorney cases. The team recently assisted a client with the preparation of their will and now acts as executors to the estate, acting on business property relief claims and the auctioning off of company assets (resulting from winding-up). The lawyers also handled an estate containing assets in the UK and abroad. Another highlight was a Court of Protection matter arising from a personal injury, involving deputyship applications.

Pinney Talfourd LLP’s private client team in Upminster, Brentwood and Hornchurch has a β€˜good reputation’ for being β€˜professional, friendly and helpful’ and providing β€˜excellent value for money’. The lawyers have particular experience in the creation of different types of discretionary trusts for financial security and in relation to tax and care fee minimisation. Head of department Matthew Edwards advises on estate administration with cross-border elements, business and property relief claims, intestacies and missing beneficiaries, as well as the drafting of wills and other agreements with a focus on asset protection. Senior associates Claire Buttress and Kristian Croad also handle lasting power of attorney matters and deputyship applications, with Croad having a further specialisation in cases for elderly clients and trust management. Associate Jill French, who works on power of attorney management files and elderly client cases, is recommended for her β€˜valuable local and professional knowledge, attention to detail, empathy and pragmatic approach’. Edwards recently advised a married couple on their mirror wills containing their matrimonial home, savings and trading company shares worth over Β£2m, resulting in the creation of a discretionary trust for the company shares without the application of inheritance tax, as well as a cross-option agreement containing life cover payments on all shareholders’ lives which would be paid out equally among them. Newly qualified solicitor Nicholas Conway joined the Brentwood office in September 2016.

The private client department at Tees Law advises on a range of matters, with a focus on estates and will drafting. Chelmsford-based head of team Ian Johnston, who was promoted to senior associate in 2016, advises on estate planning and administration involving pre-emptive rights. Assistant solicitor Oliverio Budino also advises on estate planning as well as structuring matters in the charitable sector, with clients including a charity for people suffering from sight impairments. Associate Heather Fuff is based in Saffron Waldon and previously represented a client during pension negotiations with the HMRC. Assistant solicitor Hayley Weston re-joined in May 2016, after working as a college law lecturer and school governor. She recently advised a client on intestacy provisions which threatened their inheritance since their partner had died without a will, and also handled a matter concerning French succession rules.

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