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Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  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 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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

From the firm's Guildford office, Barlow Robbins LLP is 'competing with market-leading London firms, all while delivering excellent value for money'. The  team of 'dedicated not-for-profit specialists' acts for a number of international, national and regional charities on the full range of charities issues, with developing expertise in niche areas such as data protection and legacy issues. Recent highlights include assisting Compassion International, a US-based charity that operates in 25 countries, on data protection obligations affecting its its affiliates and field offices within the European Union, as well as advising the charity on its liability under UK fundraising regulation. The practice also acted for Chinthurst School Educational Trust on its merger with an independent school, and advised Lloyds Banking Group on new security arrangements over the properties of Churcher's College in Petersfield as a result of the incorporation of the charity. Gordon Reid heads the practice and is highlighted for his 'quick and clear responses and genial manner'. Also recommended are Helen Harvie, who handles a range of structural and governance issues on behalf of charities, social enterprises and independent schools; Joanna Lada-Walicki, whose expertise covers employment and pastoral issues; dispute resolution specialist David Foster; and Mark Lucas , who regularly advises on commercial issues for charitable organisations.

Cripps LLP fields a 'highly professional, diligent and knowledgeable' practice that is praised for its 'commitment to the charities sector'. The firm's clients cover the waterfront of charitable and not-for-profit arenas, including art, culture and heritage; education; social housing; and healthcare. It also acts for a number of religious charitable organisations, such as The London Diocesan Fund, for which it handles the full range issues arising from its property portfolio. On the education front, the practice acted for The University of Kent (a longstanding client) on the development of a new college consisting of 801 new student bedrooms and a central social hub building. Other highlights included acting for The English National Ballet, a new client for 2017, on the relocation of its main headquarters, which involved negotiating the construction documents relating to the fit-out of its new headquarters. Kate Arnold heads the team, which includes Andrew Harbourne, who acts for a number of religious, education and affordable housing sector clients, and Peter Scott, who is praised for his ability to 'analyse all sides of complex problems and provide very practical and commercial advice'.

Freeths LLP is 'a very personable firm that does not baffle clients with legal terms and always has their interests in mind'. The charities team is praised for its 'strong breadth of experience', with team head Robert Nieri singled out for his 'well-rounded knowledge, good understanding of clients and ability to always meet expectations'. The practice acts for more than 260 charities and not-for-profit organisations, including Cancer Research UK, Oxfam and RSPB, on matters ranging from formations and registrations, property work and employment, to contentious and non-contentious legacy work. Issues arising from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have been a key theme throughout 2017, with the firm acting for RSPB on its GDPR compliance programme and opt-in campaign. Nieri's expertise covers governance issues, commercial agreements, fundraising and disputes. Also recommended are contentious trust and probate specialist Sarah Foster , Lesley Pollock, who handles charity property matters, and Nigel Roots. Angela Bowman joined Shoosmiths LLP in December 2017.

Blake Morgan LLP acts for a wide range of charities, not-for-profits and social enterprise programs, including the RSPCA, Oxfam and British Red Cross, on M&A transactions, issues arising from creating and amending Royal Charters, and restructuring charitable groups and trusts, among other matters. It also acts for a number of Diocesan authorities, including Portsmouth Catholic Diocesan Trust, for which the team recently handled a large-scale academy conversion project. Other highlights included advising Portsmouth Sailing Trust on a proposed merger with the Simpson Sailing Foundation, and assisting The Sailors' Society with a range of governance, commercial and fundraising matters. Ben Brice heads the team following Christopher Williams' departure to Geldards LLP.

Blandy & Blandy LLP attracts praise for its 'excellent industry knowledge and timely responses'. The practice acts for a number of national charities and not-for-profit organisations, including Genetic Disorders UK and The Institution of Structural Engineers, as well as local charities on the a range of charities matters, with an emphasis on mergers, demergers, joint ventures, collaborations and amalgamations. Practice head Nick Burrows ('approachable, knowledgeable and a good communicator who is able to explain complex issues clearly') assists clients with governance, trustee and constitutional matters, among other areas.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is rated for its 'excellent all-round expertise in charities work'. The practice covers the full range of charities law advice, from property, employment and commercial work to dispute management, for a variety of global and national charities and not-for-profits, including household names such as Barnardo's and Cancer Research UK. Recent work includes assisting the former client with the management of its property portfolio, which involved advising on acquisitions, disposals and licences for alterations. The practice also acts for the Save The Children Fund on property issues. Duncan Elson, who is noted for his track record acting for a schools and religious charities, and Ben Smith, who regularly acts for charities and not-for-profit organisations, head the practice, which includes non-contentious charities expert Sally Ashford and tax specialist George Duncan. Kate Parkinson joined VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards).

Debenhams Ottaway's charities team is praised for providing 'appropriate advice on a timely basis at a reasonable price', and is considered 'a local leader' among clients. The practice acts for a number of well-known local and national charities, including The St Albans Diocesan Board of Finance and Crohn's and Colitis UK, on a broad range of issues spanning trusts, employment, property and litigation. It also advises a number of independent schools on their charitable status. In an illustration of the practice's track record providing commercial advice to charitable organisations, it recently assisted Crohn's and Colitis UK with the creation of a consultancy agreement template for freelancers and consultants who act on behalf of the charity, and reviewing and amending two contracts for services in relation to a media campaign. Practice head Nicholas Turner for his 'practical approach and ability to spot potential problems'. He is ably assisted by real estate specialists Ruth Boulton and Jonathan Foy, and senior associate Andrew Yates, who provides corporate advice to incorporated charities.

Furley Page Solicitors fields a 'very competent and efficient' charities team that is praised for its 'clear advice, attentive service and excellent value for money'. Aaron Spencer ('deals quickly and efficiently with all issues') leads the practice, which acts for a number of healthcare and ecclesiastical organisations on formation and governance, taxation, employment, and disputes matters. Clients include The Almshouse Charity of Wynn Ellis, for which Gary Wootton advises on the administration of the charity, including agreeing the annual budget with the trustees of the charity; and Maynard & Cotton's Almshouse, which Spencer advises on governance matters and works with the trustees on the management of the charity. Also recommended are employment specialist Amanda Okill and Anthony Chester, who handles charitable company formations and mergers.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) draws its charities and not-for-profit offering from across the firm's property, corporate and commercial, employment and dispute resolution practices, enabling it to handle the full range of issues for its clients, which include national charities. The practice has particular strength in depth in the regulated care sector and acts for a number of medical charities, including Arthritis Research, on governance, regulatory and commercial issues. Practice head Paul Ridout recently advised that client on its merger with Arthritis Care. Other recent highlights include advising CLIC Sargent Cancer Care for Children on a suite of agreements with fundraising partners, including a contract for a three-year partnership with WM Morrisons; and assisting a care home provider with the sale of registered nursing home business. Also recommended are Rosie Brass, who is noted for her regulatory and governance expertise, employment specialist Justin Govier, and Paul Kite, who handles disputes.

Penningtons Manches LLP fields 'a strong team with a lot of experience in this area of law, particularly contentious charity law work'.  Alison Talbot (whose 18 years' experience in charity law and governance matters gives her 'a great depth of knowledge') leads a team that includes Philip Collins, whose 'very strong knowledge of contentious probate issues relating to charities enables him to get to the route of issues quickly'. They were joined in 2017 by Andrew Mackie from Bircham Dyson Bell,  who has an extensive track record of charity law advice, with particular experience of NHS charity regulation and work for charities governed by Royal Charter. The practice combines strong charity and social enterprise credentials with support from practice areas such as commercial property, employment and dispute resolution to provide a wide range of services to clients including the NSPCC, Dementia UK and Save The Children. Recent highlights include advising Hearing Dogs on its merger with Hearing Link and providing advice to the trustees of a social housing provider on their powers to enter into a transaction for the acquisition of a parcel of land for development in central London. The practice has also assisted more than 35 regional and national charities with revisions to their constitutions.

Clients are 'very pleased with the service provided by' Thomson Snell & Passmore 's 'very responsive and professional' practice, which draws on expertise from the firm's corporate and commercial, employment, property, dispute resolution and private client departments to provide 'effective, operational and watertight advice'. The 'knowledgeable, efficient' James Partridge  advises charities on regulatory compliance, fundraising, converting from unincorporated to incorporated organisations, and charity and academy mergers. Other key figures include employment expert Nick Hobden (who is noted for his 'quick, clear and sound advice'), Douglas Skilton, who handles regulatory investigations and disputes, private client head Nicola Plant and senior associate Penelope Edgar. The firm was appointed to The Charity Bank's legal panel to advise on its funding activity, recently assisting it on a £2.25m loan to a environmental charity to acquire and develop a community asset property from a local authority.

Birketts LLP fields 'an extremely knowledgeable team with an in-depth understanding of the issues facing the charities sector'. Its clients consist of more than 400 charities and not-for-profit organisations, including The Stroke Association, for which the practice handles matters ranging from charity mergers and incorporations and fundraising regulatory compliance, to real estate and contentious legacy issues. The practice is headed by Sara Sayer, who has an extensive track record handling disputes and public law matters. She is ably supported by commercial property partner Gavin Acheson, and senior associate and immigration specialist Clare Hedges. Brownsell acts for Amnesty International on on a range of contracts with professional fundraisers and commercial participants. Other recent highlights include acting for Trust for London on the acquisition, refurbishment and letting of central London premises for letting to an independent higher education college; and assisting the Institute of Fundraising with a national bespoke training programme concerning the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation on charities.

Boodle Hatfield LLP acts for charities on their charitable initiatives, and for high-net-worth individuals on their philanthropic ventures. In an illustration of the practice's workload for the latter group of clients, Oxford-based Eleanor Sepanski was part of a team advising a well-known philanthropist based in Switzerland on reviewing a non-charitable Liechtenstein law trust whether the trust's assets could be validly applied for charitable purposes in the UK. In another key mandate, Natasha Hassall advised a Swiss corporate on the establishment and ongoing governance of a UK corporate charitable foundation.

Clients of Field Seymour Parkes LLP are quick to praise the firm for its 'informed, clearly stated and timely advice; it always gives the impression that the client is highly valued'. The practice acts for Royal Charter organisations, schools and universities, property management companies, and sports clubs on a range of issues arising from their day-to-day operations. Key figures include Caroline Airey, who is noted for her 'depth of knowledge and experience in this area - she is always personable, available and clear with her advice'. She recently acted on the winding up of the Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes Club and the distribution of its assets.

Gardner Leader LLP's charities and not-for-profit practice is 'excellent in all areas', with clients singling out Alastair Goggins for his 'prompt responses and understanding of clients' needs - he communicates in plain English and keeps clients updated'. Goggins leads the team, which handles the full range of charities issues for national and local charities, including charity formation and registration; governance and constitutional matters; regulatory compliance; employment law; and dispute resolution.

Hewitsons acts for more than 400 charities and education-sector clients, including the RSPB, Canal and River Trust, and a number of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Chris Knight leads the practice from the firm's Northampton office and is supported by Martyn Robinson in Cambridge, whose expertise covers charity formations, governance, and mergers. Recent highlights include advising Bedford College on the transfer of all assets from Tresham College to the client following the dissolution of Tresham College, in addition to advising the same client on a new loan facility secured against the property assets from the transfer.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP is particularly well known for providing support to sporting charities such as The Sussex County Sports Partnership Trust on the full range of corporate, commercial, employment and property issues. It also assists a number of small charities with their directors' and trustee duties, employment issues, and other day-to-day issues, as well as acting for larger charities. Recent highlights include advising the Ansty Village Centre Steering Committee on the establishment of a new charitable incorporated organisation and merging of the activities of the village hall, social club, cricket club, football club and their respective assets into the new organisation. Bruce Hayter acts for a number of local sports organisations and is recommended alongside real estate expert Richard Cripps and Alan Zeal.


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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

A 'market leader' for contentious trusts and probate work, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP fields a practice that is 'very approachable, understanding and sensitive to their client’s needs;  legal knowledge and expertise is first class'. Duncan Elson heads the department and is noted for his 'huge wealth of experience and ability to achieve extraordinarily good results for his clients, both in court and in ADR'. Also recommended are Edward Birrell, who joined in February 2017 from Mourant Ozannes and is 'wise beyond his years'; Court of Protection expert Samantha Ewing, who joined in May 2017 from Irwin Mitchell and whose 'in-depth knowledge and strong negotiating skills inspires confidence'; and Rebecca Piper, who is noted for her track record acting for charities in contentious legacy work. The practice handles the full range of contentious work, with notable expertise in family business disputes and cross-border matters involving multiple foreign jurisdictions. Other key figures include Katelyn Silver, who is noted for her ability to 'explain complex legal issues clearly'.

Cripps LLP is 'one of the regional leader for contentious trusts work', with clients singling out the practice for its 'practicality, pragmatism and ability to manage client expectations during difficult circumstances'. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and family businesses, for which Russell Simpson and his team handles the full range of contentious probate and trust matters, from Inheritance Act claims to issues of testamentary capacity and cases involving multimillion-pound estates and offshore assets. Other key figures within the team include the 'excellent' Philip Youdan, who is noted for his 'high level of integrity'; Myles McIntosh, who is 'affable but to the point, and whose advice is well balanced and straightforward';  Dino Sikkel, who is noted for his 'practical approach to difficult matters' and 'eminently sensible advice'.

'A top-flight firm with a national profile', Freeths LLP's team is 'a really good option for serious contentious litigation'. The practice covers the full range of contentious trust work, including Inheritance Act claims, challenges to the validity of wills, Court of Protection matters and estoppel claims. Sarah Foster heads the practice and is noted for her 'wealth of experience in the field, which she can draw on to secure good results for clients'. Other key figures include Sally Goodger, who is 'highly experienced, always communicates clearly and remains calm under pressure'; Rosalyn Shepherd, who 'always fights for the clients' best interests'; and Paul Brown, who is 'very thorough and able to take a good tactical view of a dispute'. Angela Bowman joined Shoosmiths LLP.

Irwin Mitchell's dedicated contentious trusts and probate team 'can go toe to toe with any other specialist litigators in the country; its size and the resource it is able to deploy on cases is impressive to behold'. It has an extensive track record handling high-value and complex disputes for individuals, entrepreneurs, business people, banks, executors, trustees, charities and beneficiaries. The practice handles probate disputes involving issues of validity, testamentary capacity, undue influence and rectification claims; family provision claims; professional negligence claims arising from defective defective trust instruments and wills; proprietary estoppel claims against estates; and statutory wills and Court of Protection matters. Practice head Paula James 'wastes no time in getting straight to the point and finds the shortest distance to a solution no matter how tough the journey'. Senior associate Stephen Ireland is 'particularly proactive when it comes to gathering evidence and always has the client's wider interests at heart'. Samantha Ewing joined Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

B P Collins LLP attracts praise for its 'thorough knowledge of the practice area and ability to identify issues quickly to work towards a resolution that is in the best interests of the client'. The practice's expertise encompasses the full range of contested probate cases, including Inheritance Act claims, disputes involving the validity and interpretation of testamentary documents, the removal of personal representatives, and disputes arising from the administration of trusts and estates. Craig Williams 'always keeps the client’s objectives in mind and is pragmatic and practical in his approach to the legal issues'. Matthew Brandis is also recommended.

Barlow Robbins LLP attracts praise for its 'ability to marshal the relevant issues in a case quickly and efficiently, its practical and commercial approach, and its attention and responsiveness to clients' needs and risks'. The practice's wide-ranging workload covers disputes related to the validity of wills and trusts, Inheritance Act claims, professional negligence claims, and Court of Protection claims, among other contentious trust and probate matters. Practice head Scott Taylor 'cares passionately about his clients and their cases, and provides a stellar service '. He is ably supported by David Foster and Lisa Green, who is 'very good at guiding clients through complex matters'. Recent work includes acting for the daughter of a millionaire financier who died in 2013 in a high-profile dispute concerning his purported last will; the client disputed the validity of the will and sought the removal of the executors and trustees.

Brachers' reputation in this area was further strengthened by the recruitment of the 'redoubtable' Deborah Cain, who is 'a very experienced and thorough contentious trusts and probate lawyer'. working closely with the firm's private client department, the practice acts for clients in the full range of contentious trust matters, including disputes concerning the validity of wills, Inheritance Act claims, disputes between executors, trustees and beneficiaries, and proprietary estoppel claims.

Gardner Leader LLP is 'a forward-thinking, proactive firm with a good grasp of the technical, legal and practical issues that often arise in this area'. The firm's 'very strong litigation team' has been active in a number of trials, ranging from matters such as proving a will in solemn form, to committal proceedings arising from a trial concerning a fraudulent will where a number of witnesses admitted to not telling the whole truth during cross examination. Recent work includes representing two siblings who had been appointed as executors of their late mother's estate in a case against their sibling, who was also an executor of the estate, arising from the sibling's refusal to disclose details of the will or let them see a copy. The practice also acted for the fiancé in an Inheritance Act claim brought against the estate of their deceased partner. Practice head Alastair Goggins 'has a thorough knowledge of the law in this technically complex area, but also understands the commercial realities of the case and the client’s practical requirements, enabling him to give the best possible advice'. Tara McInnes joined Shoosmiths LLP.

Griffith Smith LLP fields a 'well-established' contentious trusts and probate department headed by Abha Pandya, who is noted for her 'very effective and persuasive style, and for her ability to deal with matters extremely swiftly and efficiently'. The practice acts for high-net-worth individuals and estates on a range of disputes, including cases concerning testamentary capacity and claims under the Inheritance Act.

Mundays LLP attracts praise for its 'brilliant service, excellent attention to detail and thoroughness', with Julie Man singled out for her 'attention to detail and great customer service'. Other key figures include  Stephen Morris, who is praised for his 'sound litigation and good strategy'. He heads the contentious probate practice, which handles a wide range of high-stakes disputes, often involving cross-border matters.

Shoosmiths LLP provides 'exemplary advice and support, provided in understandable terms and at rates which represent excellent value for money given the quality, speed and clarity of information and advice provided'. Rose Donoghue heads the team in the South East, which was joined in 2017 by Tara McInnes from Gardner Leader LLP, and in 2018 by Angela Bowman, who joined from Freeths LLP and who is noted for her expertise in contested legacy disputes. Recent work includes acting for the claimants in a claim for construction/rectification of the deceased's will, which involved questions over whether a clause in the will left all property to the clients or whether it was just the freehold interest in the property.

TWM Solicitors LLP is 'among the few Surrey-based firms with genuine expertise in the field', with the firm fielding a team of 'subject matter experts' that can handle 'complex, multi-faceted cases in an efficient manner'. Guy Perkins is 'a seasoned professional, excellent at what he does - he invariably gets good results for clients, who know that they are in good hands'. Perkins leads a team with an extensive track record in cases involving Inheritance Act claims; claims concerning the validity and execution of wills; the removal of executors; contested deputyship; and statutory will applications. Recent work includes acting for a client whose partner had died with net assets valued at approximately £4.5m, in a claim for reasonable financial provision, which involved complex issues related to the deceased's domicile.

Adams & Remers is 'a solid regional firm which has been building its practice in this area' in the three years since the arrival of Lloyd Junor and Ashton Davies ('both very experienced and pragmatic lawyers').  Junor has more than 20 years' experience handling contentious trust, probate and estates work on behalf of beneficiaries, trustees, executors and administrators. Recent work includes acting for minor beneficiaries on the removal of a professional trustee arising from their failure to properly appreciate the terms of the trust and needs of the beneficiaries.

Clients of Birkett Long LLP single out its contentious trusts and probate practice for its combination of 'a high level of professionalism with empathy and consideration', with practice head Amanda Smallcombe attracting praise for her 'pragmatism, knowledge and realistic negotiating style'. The team's experience covers the full range of inheritance disputes, including claims under the Inheritance Act, claims concerning breach of trust, unauthorised spending, and undue influence, and estoppel claims. Smallcombe recently acted as the litigation friend to minor children, while John Fawcett acted for the applicant in a case contesting the validity of a Health and Welfare LPA with cross application relating to the applicant’s suitability to act as attorney under an EPA.

Birketts LLP provides 'efficient and knowledgeable advice, given in a timely and compassionate manner'. Daden Hunt heads the practice, which includes the 'very personable, compassionate'  Marie Batchelor, who is noted for her 'efficient service and great knowledge'. Hunt and Batchelor's recent work includes acting for the trustees of a trust created under their late grandfather's will in a claim by the adopted children of the clients' relative for entitlement to a proportion of the trust.

Blake Morgan LLP's practice handles a range of disputes, including contentious legacy matters on behalf of national charities, Inheritance Act claims involving estates worth in excess of £1m, and Court of Protection work involving children, young adults and elderly clients. Stephanie Walls heads the team and brings more than 30 years' experience handling contentious probate matters.

Blandy & Blandy LLP's practice handles disputes concerning the validity of trusts and wills, the interpretation or rectification of trust instruments, breach of trust, and Inheritance Act claims. Philip D’Arcy heads the practice and acted in a claim by one of three brothers in a claim to recover £500,000 on behalf of his late father's estate, which had been removed from the father's accounts shortly prior to his death. Other recent work includes acting for a longstanding client in issues arising from the administration of his father's estate by the surviving spouse, and acting for the widow in a claim against the estate by the deceased's former spouse in connection with alleged unpaid maintenance pursuant to a financial order.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP's contentious probate practice works closely with the firm's family and private client department, enabling it to offer 'a depth of specialisation that is comparable to much larger London-based firms'. The firm further strengthened its capability with the recruitment of the 'knowledgeable, practical'  Katharine Riley from Freeths LLP, who has more than 20 years' experience handling complex and high-value disputes concerning the validity of wills, proprietary estoppel claims, disputes concerning mutual wills, executors and trustees, and Inheritance Act claims. She leads the team, which includes Sue Baker, who has an extensive track record in Inheritance Act claims, challenges to wills and Court of Protection mandates.

Giles Wilson LLP handles an array of contentious probate matters, with an emphasis on issues involving financial abuse, undue influence and dependency claims. Melinda Giles has a well-established reputation for handling complex cases where there has been financial abuse, and regularly represents vulnerable clients in probate cases. Philip Giles and Daniel Curnock are also recommended.

Neale Turk fields 'a polite, prompt, professional and knowledgeable team' that 'keeps clients informed of any incoming issues; its ability to provide a clear, unwavering strategy backed up with evidence and exceptional knowledge of contentious probate is highly reassuring'. Charlotte Searle heads the practice and provides 'a five-star standard of service - she ensures that clients understand what is happening and are kept updated with all possible outcomes at every step'. She leads a team that includes Andrew Green, who is noted for his 'relaxed and knowledgeable approach; he takes the time to get to know his clients and establish the best approach to take'. The practice's expertise covers claims under the Inheritance Act; disputes regarding the validity of wills; professional negligence claims in relation to advice given on wills, probate or trusts; removal of personal representatives and trustees; disputes regarding Court of Protection matters; and trust disputes.

Nockolds Solicitors is 'an excellent regional firm with a strong offering in this area'. Daniel Winter is 'an extremely good, energetic lawyer' with more than 13 years' experience acting for high-net-worth individuals on a range of trusts and probate disputes. He heads the practice, which handles will validity claims, Inheritance Act matters, breach of trust claims and professional negligence cases.

Clients of Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP find the service provided by the contentious trust and probate practice to be 'thoroughly professional, sympathetic, never overbearing, and knowledgeable; the response time is normally 24 hours, if not quicker, and the advice is always helpful and not intimidating.' Practice head Alan Foster is 'a very experienced contentious probate solicitor who provides sound, practical advice focusing on the needs of the client'. He leads a team with a strong track record acting for high-net-worth individuals in contentious probate matters involving high-value estates, some with assets exceeding £15m in value.

Spratt Endicott is 'a good Oxfordshire-based firm with an impressive client list and some seriously knowledgeable practitioners'. Key figures include David Endicott ('an extremely experienced private client lawyer who cares passionately about his clients') and David Whiting ('a thoughtful litigator with an eye for detail'). Also recommended are Lucy Gordon, who handles a range of contentious probate, estate administration, personal tax, succession and post-death tax planning issues, and Tom McInerney, who acts for clients on Inheritance Act matters, proprietary estoppel claims, and issues concerning validity of wills.

Tees Law fields a team of contentious trusts experts who 'respond quickly to queries with sound, well-informed advice based on expert knowledge'. Practice head Caroline Metcalf is singled out for her 'exceptional legal clarity and ability to communicate in a highly effective and personable manner'. She leads a team that has an extensive track record in complex cases arising from estates, inheritance issues, trusts and wills, as well as Inheritance Act cases, Court of Protection applications and cases involving mental capacity issues. Recent work includes acting for a client in a claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate of their late mother, which involved complex issues arising from a number of legacies in the will.

Woodfines LLP handles a wide range of contentious trust and probate matters, including validity disputes and claims under the Inheritance Act; acting for beneficiaries applications to the High Court for removal of executors or trustees arising from breach of trust or non-administration of estates; and professional negligence cases related to wills and probate. Keith Jones Heads the practice and has particular expertise in professional negligence and contested will and probate claims. Hannah Johnson is also recommended.


Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Index of tables

  1. Family: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
  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: 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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

B P Collins LLP  is 'one of the premier firms outside London for high-net-worth divorces', and its family division provides 'an exceptional level of service, professional advice, and a proactive approach to dealing with other parties'. The practice is a regular fixture in complex cases involving high-value assets and complicated trusts, businesses or tax structures, as well as disputes regarding arrangements for children, assets or properties with cross-border elements. Practice head Sue Andrews is 'extraordinarily tenacious in fighting a client's case'; she has extensive experience in complex financial remedy matters, often handling matters involving overseas assets, trust arrangements, complex pension arrangements, or sizeable property portfolios. Other key figures include Claire Filer, who has notable expertise in matters involving complex trust structures, and Fran Hipperson, who is 'excellent at identifying the real issues and resolving what could be very acrimonious and fraught negotiations, whilst maintaining the highest level of professionalism throughout'.

Clients of IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett)'s family rate its 'outstanding service and approachable and personable manner which puts clients at ease during stressful situations'. Areas of expertise include acting for high-net-worth individuals in divorce cases involving assets ranging from £2m to £10m; pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, co-habitation agreements and pre-civil partnership agreements; and representing children in private law cases in disputes involving contact and residence arrangements following the breakdown of parental relationships. Amanda Melton heads the practice and 'combines exceptional professional knowledge with strong interpersonal skills - her straight-talking approach and honesty about the potential pitfalls of a case inspires confidence'. Other key figures include Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, who is 'articulate, sensible and compassionate', and Vicky Preece, who has more than 15 years' experience representing children and other family members in care cases.

For family matters, Rayden Solicitors is 'the best firm in the local area (and beyond) by a wide margin'; clients 'always come back with positive reviews of the firm and recommend it wholeheartedly and without reservation'. The firm's clients are medium-to-high-net-worth individuals based nationally, in London or abroad, spanning industries including commerce, television, fashion and media. It is particularly well regarded for its track record in children and financial work, with Katherine Rayden ('a real name in family law') and Emily Watson ('calm, thorough, with a great eye for detail') singled out for these areas. Other key figures include Julian Bremner ('easy to talk to, approachable and pragmatic'), whose broad practice covers financial disputes and pre-nuptial agreements involving multiple jurisdictions; Priya Palanivel, whose 'thorough knowledge of the law ensures she can deal with any issue strategically and effectively'; and Paula Butterworth, who has extensive experience in complex divorce proceedings, jurisdictional issues and Children Act proceedings.

SA Law LLP has cultivated 'a well-deserved reputation for being extremely approachable and friendly - it stays on top of legal documents, is hugely client focused and builds excellent relationships'. The family practice has wide-ranging expertise covering complex and sensitive children-related cases, and financial cases involving international elements, trusts, company structures, and holding companies in England and abroad. The practice is headed by Marilyn Bell, who has a wealth of experience handling high-value, sensitive financial cases and matters involving children, and is 'very sensitive to the needs of clients'. Bell leads a team that includes. recently promoted partner Ruth Abrams, who handles international cases, including obtaining and enforcing worldwide freezing orders and international relocation cases; and Kiran Beeharry, who is noted for his 'extraordinary work ethic and willingness to fight very hard for his clients'. His track record includes advising on complex issues arising from divorce and civil partnership breakdowns involving unique and high-value assets.

Blaser Mills  fields an 'excellent' family department that provides 'a first-rate service', particularly in relation to public law care work - the firm fields a separate team handling complex childcare cases involving emergency protection orders, care proceedings, discharge of care orders, as well as connected work such as adoption and special guardianship. On the private family side, the practice handles complex high-net-worth financial matters, with assets often exceeding £2m, and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Jolene Hutchison, who heads the family and divorce team,'always offers clear, sensible advice and is not afraid to fight a case robustly, if needed'. Denise Herman heads the childcare team and is 'an excellent solicitor who knows her subject matter and the law backwards'. Also recommended are the 'very clear-headed, thorough and focused' Anna Ferro, and Naim Qureshi, who provides 'sound advice at all stages of the litigation process'.

Debenhams Ottaway fields 'a very high-quality family law outfit' that is noted for its 'ability to offer a good service to those with a limited budget'. The practice advises on the full range of family law work, with an emphasis on high-net-worth and complex financial cases and divorce proceedings, as well as cases involving children, often with international issues. Helen Young heads the practice and 'runs a very tight and happy ship'. She has more than 20 years' experience handling multimillion-pound cases, as well as advising on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial proceedings and issues involving children. Also recommended are Richard Gilbert, who has 'a sound knowledge of the law, provides pragmatic advice and has an excellent bedside manner'; Belinda Strange, who regularly handles high-value and complex issues for London-based clients; and Adam Paterson, who is 'hardworking, client friendly and has very good judgement'.

Hawkins Family Law fields 'a very professional team that delivers a high-class service and has strength-in-depth from senior to junior level'. Managing director and team head Jo Hawkins provides 'clear and accurate advice and moral support through often testing times for her clients; she focuses on deriving the best long-term outcome for her client and other parties'. The practice has particular strength financial matters, including divorce and ToLATA proceedings. Other key figures include Loraine Davenport, who has strong collaborative law expertise and handles complex children cases and high-net-worth ancillary relief matters; Annabel Hayward, who focuses on complex financial provision and co-habitation matters; and Stacey St Clair.

Machins Solicitors LLP's public law family team is particularly well regarded for children law work, in which it 'regularly obtains superior results for its clients'. Its expertise covers standalone applications for special guardianship orders, international adoption, and High Court cases involving non-accidental injuries, death and sexual abuse. Liz Oldham heads the practice and is 'simply the best children lawyer in the area - she has just the right balance of judgement and tenacity'. In addition to handling public law cases for parents and children, Martin Oldham also undertakes private law cases where a guardian is appointed to represent children. Sarah Ashby is 'hardworking, dedicated and fights hard for the rights of her clients'.

Collins Solicitors handles a range of family law matters, from divorce and separation disputes including ancillary relief cases, to children law matters. Managing partner Paul McGinley is the key contact.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors is 'a well-established and respected firm that provides a high quality of work in an efficient and friendly way'. Its expertise covers divorce and matrimonial cases, with notable expertise in representing domestic abuse victims under legal aid and mediation, as well as ancillary relief expertise. It also handles public law and cross-border issues concerning children, and has niche shari'ah-law expertise. Key figures include Ravi Kaur Mahey, who is 'hardworking, committed to clients and ensures they get the best representation they can'.

Garside & Hoy's specialist family law practice is headed by the highly-rated Bernadette Hoy who has extensive experience of all aspects of relationship breakdowns including complex financial and children matters. She is skilled in mediation and is a collaborative lawyer in addition to handling cases that go to litigation. Senior solicitor Andaleeb Khandaker is a member of Resolution and has expertise in children matters, separations and financial settlements with a focus on complex children cases. The team's representative work includes assisting a couple resolve their relationship breakdown by way of a collaborative process despite there being children issues and substantial assets involved. Its cases also involve issues of domestic abuse and contested care proceedings.

Nockolds Solicitors is 'a professional outfit with a strong emphasis on compliance and client care'. Lynn Cowley heads the practice, which includes Peter Dodd and Karen Pritchard; collectively they are praised for their 'determination, proactivity and ability to achieve the best possible results for clients in a proportionate and cost-effective way'. The 'pragmatic and knowledgeable' Pritchard handles divorce proceedings, for medium-to-high-net-worth clients, private children matters, pre-and-post-marital agreements and cohabitation matters, and Court of Protection work. The practice is also noted for having extensive collaborative expertise, and regularly handles cross-border issues, including enforcement and recognition of orders outside the UK as well as foreign orders inside the UK.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's family team attracts praise for providing 'thorough, precise and well-informed advice given in a calm and empathetic way', with clients noting that they 'feel supported all the way through very difficult proceedings'. The practice handles all aspects of family law, with an emphasis on high-value financial cases and complex children matters. Key figures include Jane Charlton, who is 'well-informed and keeps on top of all pertinent issues - she gives clear advice in an empathetic yet highly professional manner'.

Taylor Walton LLP's clients rate the firm for its ability to 'strike the right balance between flexibility and taking a firm line where necessary'. The practice acts for high-net-worth clients on a range of family disputes, as well as handling complicated financial issues involving family trusts, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and cohabitee disputes relating to children and property. Aileen Hartnett heads the team and has an extensive track record handling family law issues, including high-net-worth financial issues arising from divorce and collaborative work. The 'very reassuring and supportive' Ben Twitchen is also recommended.

Tees Law is growing its family law practice, adding three solicitors to the Bishop's Stortford office in 2017, including Elizabeth Gale, who joined in March 2017 from Withers LLP and has extensive experience acting for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth financial cases, often involving complex international business structures, remuneration and benefits schemes and trusts. Her expertise compliments the practice's track record in financial matters involving estate planning and farming land, financial remedy proceedings involving property, and matters involving overseas assets. Other key figures include Sally Powell, who heads the practice and is noted for her collaborative law expertise; and David Redfern, who handles complex financial issues.

At Woodfines LLP, John Egan handles high-net-worth financial claims and cohabitation disputes. John Leadbeater's expertise covers all divorce proceedings, high net-worth family finance cases and childcare issues. Sonia Topiwala is also recommended.


Family: Essex

Index of tables

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

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The 'considerate and reassuring' family department at 'successful and established firm' Birkett Long LLP 'makes clients feel in very good hands' and provides a 'very professional but caring service', 'exceeding others in expertise, responsiveness and client care'. The collaboratively and Resolution-trained team covers high-net-worth divorce, financial remedy and private law children matters, as well as cohabitation disputes. The 'highly organised, endlessly patient and knowledgeable' Philip Hoddell, who 'has excellent rapport with clients' and 'phenomenal attention to detail', heads the Colchester practice. 'Fantastic and easy-to-talk-to' South Essex team lead Lisa Collins and 'helpful and understanding' divorce specialist Melanie Loxley both became partners in June 2017. Other noted individuals include 'capable and friendly' solicitor Muntech Kaur in Basildon and collaborative lawyer Francesca Cozens. Colchester-based solicitor Samantha Ellis handles both financial remedy and international private law children matters.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP's family practice uses collaborative law, arbitration and mediation as dispute resolution techniques, and engages in divorce, financial remedy, private and public law children, domestic abuse, international child abduction and cohabitation matters. Arbitrator and team lead Simon Osborn, mediator Kate Taylor, Resolution specialist Charlotte Knappett and public law children expert Rachel Earnshaw are the key members.

'Pre-eminent, business-like regional firm' Pinney Talfourd LLP is 'one of the best firms for matrimonial finance in Essex'; the 'professional, ambitious and experienced' family team 'provides second-to-none client care' and 'manages all details in a meticulous and timely manner'. High-net-worth financial remedy matters, including cross-border cases, are the department's specialty, in addition to Children Act and special guardianship applications, cohabitation, separation, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. 'Experienced and well-respected' practice lead Catherine Polli 'combines sharp intellect with an easy manner' and 'over-delivers against client expectations', while 'outstanding' partner Michael Sheville is 'highly skilled at helping in complicated financial matters' and 'impresses with his case management'. Clients further recommend 'pragmatic' Claire Spurgeon, who has a 'steely resolve', 'calm and balanced' Catherine Loadman, 'extremely able strategist' Sarah Tsindides , and 'practical, realistic and personable' partner Sebastian Burrows, as well as 'knowledgeable and tenacious' senior associate Sue Nash and 'ferociously bright' associate Jennifer Herbert.

The 'competent, efficient and friendly firm' Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors consists of 'capable, helpful and committed family law solicitors' who are particularly recommended for their niche expertise and 'great client service' in 'non-accidental injury and complex child abduction matters', while also being a general 'one-stop shop for matrimonial, cohabitation, and public and private children matters'. Other focus areas include financial remedy, divorce, TOLATA claims, adoption cases, civil partnerships and same-sex marriages. Collaboratively trained practice lead and 'stand-out practitioner' Joyti Henchie 'undertakes the most complex work to an exceptionally high standard', especially in her recent representation of a wife in contested multi-million-pound divorce and financial remedy proceedings in the High Court, which concerned the client's decree nisi application and subsequent financial distribution of matrimonial assets, including properties and business profits. Henchie is further noted for 'being on top of every issue' and having 'great tact and patience with vulnerable clients who have difficulty in giving instructions'. Clients further recommend 'efficient, organised and motivated' associate Louise Eady, 'sympathetic and down-to-earth' solicitor Stephanie Holmes, who 'provides good and solid advice', and 'dedicated, hardworking and enormously personable' newly qualified solicitor Sara Roddis. Chartered legal executive and mediator Sarah Canfield joined from Shepherd Harris & Co in September 2017.

The family practice of 'extremely reputable firm' Birketts LLP 'has a wide range of experience, knowledge and specialism, as well as a professional approach'. The former includes high-net-worth divorces, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and financial settlements, in addition to Children Act matters such as removal from jurisdiction and domestic violence cases. The key members, 'excellent and empathetic communicator' Emma Brunning and 'pragmatic child relocation specialist' Louise Buttery, further practise collaborative law. Company directors, shareholders and medium- to high-net-worth clients form the typical client base. After former practice head Melanie Wilson retired in 2017, Ipswich-based partner Oliver Gravell took over the position as department lead.

Ellisons Solicitors' family department undertakes family litigation, collaborative law and mediation relating to matters such as divorce, property disputes between unmarried couples, dissolution of civil partnerships, financial remedies, disputes about children, TOLATA claims and domestic violence injunctions. Nicky Coates, who leads the department and is a  financial divorce claims and pre-nuptial/cohabitation agreement specialist. Accredited associate Lisa Dawson and Children Act matter expert MaryCarmel Langley are the key contacts.

The 'experienced, competent and capable' family practice at the 'very good' Tees Law has a 'hardworking, client-focused' approach and 'trains its lawyers diligently'. The team is particularly recommended for its 'incredibly fast response times, high business acumen, amazing industry knowledge and attention to detail'. Divorce, separation, financial and domestic abuse proceedings are the main focus areas, with additional niche experience in national and international child abduction and cohabitation disputes, as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements. Recent highlights include the representation of a husband, who was primarily based in Saudi Arabia, in high-net-worth divorce proceedings involving historic allegations of domestic abuse dealt with by the criminal courts. 'Calm, helpful and supportive' key practitioner Joshua Coombe, who 'gives sensible advice', is supported by senior legal executive Sue Buxton-Smith. Solicitor Donald Fraser left in 2017 to work as a consultant for two firms in Hertfordshire and London.

The 'excellent and vastly experienced' family practice at 'well-established firm' Wortley Byers LLP has a 'pragmatic and highly professional approach' and a 'long-standing, exceptional reputation' of 'representing clients in a patient, conciliatory and effective manner'. Collaboratively trained partner and mediator Louise Margiotta handles divorce and financial remedy disputes involving substantial wealth, family businesses, company directors and inherited wealth, in addition to private and public law children and domestic abuse matters and the negotiation of marital, civil partnership and separation agreements. She represented a husband who was paraplegic and had complex medical needs in £1.6m financial remedy proceedings involving a large property portfolio. Solicitor Caroline Andrews joined from Giles Wilson LLP  in 2017 and brings niche expertise in fertility and surrogacy matters.

The 'highly competent, personable and dedicated' practice at Baxter Harries 'is a rising star in the area of private family law, particularly regarding LGBT work, and has an established, very strong reputation in public family law', with 'depth across the board' and 'a budding international practice'. With its acquisition of MWP Solicitors in October 2017, the firm expanded its geographical reach to Basildon, while the practitioners are still mainly located in Ongar. 'Experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic' department lead Deborah Baxter covers all areas of children law, such as matters concerning child death, sexual abuse, serious physical injury, international law and parenting disputes, including LGBT parents. Public children law specialists Craig Tipper, who is an 'excellent advocate' and 'has a real hunger to achieve the best for his clients', and 'outstanding professional' Laura Carr, who is 'fantastic with clients who have learning difficulties' and has a 'second-to-none attention to detail', were promoted to partner in September 2017. 'Supportive and knowledgeable' medium- to high-net-worth divorce and financial remedy expert Joanne Thomas became an associate in January 2018.

The 'thorough' family practice at 'very established firm' Holmes & Hills 'has specialist personnel at a very high level' and 'is best known for its excellent client care, as well as supportive but appropriately robust advice'. The department exclusively handles private law matters, including children and financial proceedings, as well as cases involving criminal behaviour, mental health aspects or actions by police and social services. 'Highly professional and tenacious' team lead Carol Toulson specialises in matrimonial assets advice and divorce litigation, 'instilling confidence and achieving amicable settlements through sensitivity and patience', while 'steadfast and competent' collaboratively trained solicitor Sue Wardropper undertakes both financial and children-related matters. 'Efficient and organised' solicitor Rosalyn Kinsley is best known for her track record in handling child arrangements.

Jefferies Essex LLP's 'highly competent and knowledgeable' family department 'has a real sense of team commitment', 'offers real depth' and is especially known for 'representing children in complex care proceedings'. Other areas of work include national and foreign adoption, removal from jurisdiction and relocation, surrogacy and wardship. 'Extremely experienced, focused and well-prepared' practice lead Stella Young, who is 'the go-to children panel solicitor for technical or unusual public law cases' and 'a mine of information', and 'hardworking' children matter specialist Anne-Marie Rainsford, who 'goes the extra mile for clients', are recommended. Another name to note is the 'realistic and practical' deputy head Karen Dovaston, as the main contact for divorce finance, marital agreements, property ownership disputes, and money claims relating to children and family arbitration.

The family department at Mullis & Peake LLP underwent major staff changes in early 2018, as previous main practitioner Joanna Toloczko left for Meaby & Co. The practice is now led by 'highly experienced, genuinely caring and approachable' financial claims specialist Roisin McCorry, whose firm McCorry Connolly entered a merger with Mullis & Peake LLP in February 2018. At the same time, the practice also welcomed senior associate Angela Sharma from Sackvilles, who covers financial disputes for married and cohabiting couples, as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and solicitor Jessica Thrower from Sternberg Reed, who has a special interest in cohabitation disputes and children matters. Other focus areas in the department include private children law and independent advocacy across different aspects of family law.

The 'approachable, knowledgeable and easy-to-deal-with' family lawyers at Palmers are considered to be 'very competent, thorough and helpful, with a strong presence in court'. Focus areas include divorce, civil partnership dissolution, financial remedy, cohabitation, Schedule 1 Children Act, domestic violence and private law children proceedings, as well as independent advocacy and the drafting of pre- and post-nuptial agreements. A recent highlight was the representation of a wife in a six-figure divorce and financial case, involving a petition for unreasonable behaviour and non-molestation and occupation orders against the husband. 'Clear and concise' Thurrock-based team lead Surjit Verdi and 'professional, understanding and prompt' Kim Mansfield are recommended. Tanya Dodo in Basildon and Kevin Double in South Woodham Ferrers are other names to note.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP's family practice is best known for acting in divorce, cohabitation and financial remedy proceedings, advising on other financial applications, and drafting pre-nuptial agreements, as well as handling private law children, domestic abuse, adoption, child abduction and special guardianship matters. In a recent highlight, the team successfully represented a husband in financial remedy proceedings, which were complicated by a High Court Chancery Division action concerning a property portfolio and fishing lake that the client owned. Partner Christopher Wall, senior associate Melanie Steeples and associate Lauren Larkin are the main contacts.

The 'exemplary' family team at Sternberg Reed is 'very dedicated and efficient, with good insight into clients' positions, but a realistic outlook towards possible achievements'. It handles both private and publicly funded matters, including instructions involving children, financial remedy and cohabitation proceedings.  A recent highlight was the representation of a wife in a financial dispute and contested children proceedings against a husband who made it difficult to provide complete financial disclosure and was potentially involved in criminal investigations. 'Committed' practice lead and children dispute lawyer Elizabeth Bendall, 'effective strategist' Gordon Reed, who specialises in public law children cases and also serves as a recorder in the Crown Court, and 'thorough, passionate and commercially minded' deputy district judge and mediator Julian Beard, who mainly handles financial matters, are some of the key partners. Cohabitation trust dispute expert Andrew Crossley and family mediator Frances Anderson are other names to note. Senior associate Yvonne Snow has specialist knowledge of cohabitation disputes.

The 'very good' family department at Cunningtons 'provides a well-rounded, cost-effective service to clients'. Focus areas include divorce, separation finances, arrangements for children, conveyancing, and child relocation, as well as drafting pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements. 'Experienced' Chelmsford-based team lead Katie Beer handles separation and conveyancing matters for unmarried couples, as well as cohabitation agreements and trust deeds. She assisted a father with his emergency application against the mother, who tried to take their child to live in a non-Hague Convention country, and application for an order to spend time with the daughter, despite violence allegations made against him by the mother. In Wickford, 'approachable, knowledgeable and clear' senior associate Louise Paynter is best known for 'instilling confidence in her clients', who instruct her in financial and asset-related disputes, as well as domestic abuse cases. Partner Jill Wiggins is based in Braintree and specialises in private and public law children matters.

In February 2018, 'competent, efficient and accurate' senior associate and mediator Joanna Toloczko, who is recommended for her 'common-sense approach and technical excellence', joined Meaby & Co from her previous firm Mullis & Peake LLP in order to establish a family practice in the Chigwell office. She represents medium- to high-net-worth individuals, such as professionals, investors and business owners, in their divorce, civil partnership, financial relief and property matters, as well as drafting nuptial and cohabitation agreements for them. In a recent highlight, Toloczko acted for a man in Children Act Schedule 1 proceedings concerning financial provision for his child and settlement of a property for the benefit of the child; the case also involved a child arrangement order.

The 'organised, efficient, compassionate and reputable' family practice at 'well-established, good local firm' Thompson Smith and Puxon 'deals with numerous areas of family law' and 'maintains a consistently professional approach with clients'. In terms of adult representation, areas of expertise comprise divorce and separation, cohabitation, same-sex relationships, injunctions, and pre-nuptial agreements, as well as business and property aspects. The practice also engages in matters concerning children, including residence, contact, parental responsibility, prohibited steps and specific issue orders. Clients recommend 'diligent' collaboratively trained solicitor Alison Cantor, who handles financial matters, agreements, and Court of Protection work, as well as working together with the firm's conveyancing team. Practice lead Marcus Price in Clacton-on-Sea and associate Shelley Cumbers, who is both Resolution- and collaboratively trained, are also core members.


Family: Hampshire

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLP¬†has extensive experience in resolving the financial consequences of relationship breakdowns, especially concerning high-net worth cases involving business and land owners, where it is able to call upon the firm's wider tax, corporate and real estate expertise as needed. It employs alternative dispute resolution means such as mediation and arbitration and also handles children-related disputes and domestic violence. The ‚Äėknowledgeable and responsive' Simon¬†Burge¬†provides ‚Äėgood, pragmatic advice‚Äô and Rachel¬† Giles¬†and associate and trained mediator Sarah¬†French¬†are also key members of the team.

Moore Blatch LLP's team¬†can handle the full spectrum of family law matters, including nuptial agreements and broader wealth protection where corporate and other assets are involved and is increasingly advising on overseas assets. It is also well regarded for its private children practice and has a strong collaborative and mediation offering.¬†Debra Emery¬†heads the team and has expertise in both matrimonial finance and children issues as does associate Katy Barber,¬†who is ‚Äėutterly calm and unflustered and with excellent judgement.‚Äô¬†Jan Galloway, who¬†is increasingly assisting with family assets located overseas, is ‚Äėexcellent at client relationships; very good at looking at the big picture and is skilled at mastering complex factual cases‚Äô.

Paris Smith LLP¬†has arguably¬†‚Äėthe number one matrimonial finance team in Hampshire with great depth of experience and talent‚Äô. The team acts on very high-value matters, often in the tens of millions of pounds. It frequently acts for family clients in settling financial disputes, often where corporate and off-shore assets and trusts are involved as well as agricultural land trusts. ‚ÄėThe hugely talented‚Äô Frank Prior¬†heads the team, which also includes the ‚Äėalways brilliant‚Äô Huw Miles, who¬†is collaboratively trained and ‚Äėis tenacious in getting the best deals for his clients‚Äô and ‚Äėlooks for a collaborative outcome but is able to argue a point if necessary‚Äô. Neil Davis¬†is able to draw on his ‚Äėvery long experience of performing at the top level and handling the biggest cases'. Rachel Osgood¬†¬†and Sarah Passemard¬†¬†are also highly regarded.

Coffin Mew LLP¬†handles financial remedy cases involving on- and off-shore property, trusts and pensions, contested children cases and nuptial agreements. ‚ÄôImpressive family lawyer‚Äô Julie-Ann Harris¬†joined the firm as head of department in February 2018 from Steele Raymond LLP. Stuart Duncan,¬†who is noted for his ‚Äėgood client care‚Äô, and senior associate Bryan Scant¬†are also noted. Chris Upfield¬†has retired and Sally Pike¬†left to join Thrings LLP¬†in September 2017.

According to one client, ‚Äėthe overall level of service is excellent‚Äô from the Basingstoke-based Phillips Solicitors¬†and ‚Äėit¬†is well known within the Hampshire area for family law work‚Äô. Howard Gardener¬†is ‚Äėfirst class, prompt, confident and totally effective‚Äô. He heads a team that handles the full¬†spectrum of contentious and non-contentious family law issues for¬†local and overseas clients, ranging from nuptial and co-habitation agreements to financial remedy matters and children cases. Many of the team are collaboratively trained including Robert Parker, who is ‚Äėa standout lawyer, always conscientious and meticulous, and who considers a case from all angles‚Äô. Mediator Hayley¬† Eachus¬†is also a key member of the team.

The team at¬†Trethowans LLP¬†encourages alternative dispute resolution options and all team members, who are collaboratively or mediation trained,¬†‚Äėhave the same ethos and provide an unrivalled¬†service to their clients‚Äô. The group assists with all types of private children and surrogacy matters, as well as handling high-value financial disputes. Head of department Andrew Mercer¬†‚Äėstands out and is a star‚Äô and Grant Cameron¬†is highlighted for ‚Äėusing both litigation and ADR to achieve the best outcomes for his clients‚Äô.¬†Emma Wilders-Pratt¬†and Juliet Mayhew,¬†who has ‚Äėvery good client skills and undertakes ADR but can also be a tough litigator where necessary‚Äô, are also noted.

Irwin Mitchell's family work is led by Katharine Shaw whose experience spans complex, private financial and children cases which often have a cross-border aspect. Recent work includes handling a dispute concerning the international relocation of a child involving a non-Hague Convention country, and acting in a financial remedy case with assets owned via a partnership structure. Shaw, who is assisted by solicitor Jelena Korobkova, also advises on pre-nuptial agreements and acts in cases where assets are located abroad.

At Larcomes, Mark Tooley and Julian Quartermain are dedicated to child care and Court of Protection cases. The duo act for parents, guardians and local authorities in cases that frequently involve domestic violence, child abuse, mental health issues and other causes of incapacity. Sandra Phillips focuses on private children matters, including residency, contact, special guardianships and private adoption.

Thrings LLP is increasingly attracting complex and high-net worth divorce cases often with company and shareholder issues. It has noted expertise in relation to nuptial and cohabitation agreements, as well as contested financial arrangements and disputes concerning the living arrangements of children including cases under the Hague Convention. It also handles cases where significant pensions are in issue. Sally Pike, who joined the firm in September 2017 from Coffin Mew LLP, 'is up with the best of them', and team head Matthew Kellow's practice includes a specialism in Hague Convention cases.


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

Find out which law firms are representing which Family: 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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Clients report that Barlow Robbins LLP¬†'has an experienced family team and in particular offers an excellent family mediation service‚Äô and that ‚Äėwhile fighting hard for its clients it provides realistic advice‚Äô. The group handles the gamut of complex financial and children cases including¬†a range of Children Act, abuse and abduction matters. Head of department¬† Judith Ball¬†has considerable experience, especially in complex financial cases involving nuptial agreements, trusts and pensions. Together with senior associate¬†Mandy Spring, her recent work includes resolving a finance matter concerning properties in three jurisdictions and which had proceedings pending overseas. The ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô Joanna¬†Farrand, who leads the children's team is ‚Äėproactive and collaborative to work alongside‚Äô and experienced mediator Karen Barham¬†‚Äėis very innovative in her approach to difficult disputes which invariably result in a sensible settlement‚Äô.  

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP,¬†'the overall level of service is exceptionally high and advice is strategic but is in line with common sense‚Äô. The team attracts high-net-worth and often well-known clients where substantial assets and the need for discretion are paramount. It also handles nuptial agreements and proceedings under the Children Act. Shona Alexander¬†jointly heads the team with Karen Wilsher,¬†who is singled out as ‚Äėan outstandingly good lawyer who has good client skills and is able to build rapport with even the most difficult of clients‚Äô. Senior associate William Rollin¬†is a ‚Äėfirst-rate‚Äô lawyer ‚Äėwho can navigate the most complex legal situations‚Äô, and fellow senior associate Felicity Chapman¬†specialises in collaborative lawyer and handles both financial and children's issues arising from relationship breakdowns.

Cripps LLP¬†is ‚Äėa top tier firm, from the quality of the work it attracts, to the quality of the solicitors dealing with the work‚Äô. Alex Davies¬†is ‚Äėa top-class act, who inspires confidence and achieves excellent outcomes for clients‚Äô and is also credited with having ‚Äėbuilt up a brilliant team‚Äô. The group handles heavyweight financial remedy matters together with children disputes including the removal of children from the jurisdiction and abuse cases. Arbitration and mediation are also offered as are fixed fee arrangements. ‚ÄėTough negotiator‚Äô Vanda James¬†handles the gamut of issues arising from relationship breakdowns and ‚Äėhas the experience to deal with the most difficult cases with ease‚Äô. Katy-Louise Allen, who is collaboratively trained and qualified as a mediator,¬†‚Äėis incredibly pragmatic and is amazing with clients‚Äô and associate Helen Fisher¬†is considered ‚Äėa real up-and-coming solicitor‚Äô.

Led by Miranda Green, Mundays LLP‚Äôs team is ‚Äėefficient, professional, considerate and personable with excellent knowledge in the area of family law‚Äô. It assists clients with high-value financial matters as well as children law issues, especially those with cross-jurisdictional complications and matters involving overseas assets. It also advises on nuptial agreements, tax and pension advice and its team includes mediators and collaboratively trained practitioners. Judith Fitton‚Äôs expertise ranges from financial investigations, including those relating to overseas assets to assisting cohabitees following relationship breakdowns. Collaborative lawyer Sarah Duckworth¬†is a trained mediator and is appreciated for ‚Äėrecommending the best approach to take at all times while being kind and considerate during stressful times‚Äô. Rachel Lemon¬†is also noted for her private law children and financial disputes expertise.

According to one client, Stevens & Bolton LLP's team is 'a beacon of quality'  and'the client’s best interests are at the centre of its values'. The team handles all aspects of family breakdowns, including divorce and civil partnership dissolution, financial arrangements and proceedings, nuptial agreements and children's law matters. Its work often involves cross-border complications involving residency or assets in various jurisdictions. Nicola Harries, who heads the team, is'calm and professional and provides good advice' and clients 'trust her judgement'; she is a key name for high-value relationship breakdowns, often involving complicated financial proceedings. Other key practitioners include collaboratively trained Caroline Gordon-Smith, whose expertise spans both financial and children's law work, and senior associate Grace Parker-White; the duo are'constructive throughout the process with a view to the de-escalation' of the conflict.

Thomson Snell & Passmore¬†Tunbridge Wells's team is ‚Äėhighly rated for the quality of its work and client care‚Äô skills. The team is noted for its commitment to resolving conflicts through collaboration and mediation in the course of handling the full range of financial issues arising from relationship breakdowns, nuptial agreements and children law issues, especially those relating to domestic and overseas relocation. The ‚Äėsensible, bright and pragmatic‚Äô team leader, Joanna Pratt,¬†recently handled a number of prenuptial agreements concerning some tens of millions of pounds as well as children law matters. Desmond O‚ÄôDonnell¬†is ‚Äėa¬†calm, focused mediator‚Äô and collaborative lawyer and mediator Kirstie¬† Law¬†‚Äėis a great negotiator‚Äô. Sarah Judd¬†handles a range of financial and children law matters and is also noted.

From its offices in Crawley and Maidstone, asb law LLP's group handles financial remedy matters, children work and wealth preservation via nuptial and cohabitation agreements for local clients including business owners. It works in conjunction with the private client team headed up by Ellen Lambert  and provides tax, trusts and property advice to its high-net-worth clients. Associates Gail Brooks, Jackie Judd and Anna Scales are handling a number of contentious cases including a contested divorce where there was an attempt to remove children from the family home without consent. The well-regarded Stephen Smith joined the team from Brachers in February 2018 as a consultant.

Brachers¬†fields¬†'a good strong team‚Äô from its Maidstone base. Its recent work includes substantial nuptial agreements, a complex relocation case, domestic abuse and matrimonial cases with complicating international aspects including the removal of children from the jurisdiction. Financial cases often involve businesses and trust structures, where it is able to draw on the firm's tax, commercial and property experts. ‚ÄėFantastic lawyers‚Äô Mei-Ling Nab¬†and Mark Leeson¬†jointly head the team and associate Sophie Read¬†undertakes both Children Act and financial proceedings.

From its main base in Brighton, Family Law Partners¬†has a strong commitment to resolving financial and children disputes through collaboration, mediation and arbitration. The firm is also involved in the development of specialist technology for use by both clients and lawyers. The team‚Äôs recent work includes a multi-million pound divorce case using the arbitral process and which involves overseas assets and children issues. It is also handling disputes pertaining to pre-nuptial agreements, child residence and relocation issues. Robert Williams¬†primarily handles financial remedy cases with a focus on¬† arbitration; ‚Äėfirst-rate, empathetic family lawyer'¬†Alan Larkin¬†focuses largely on challenging financial remedy cases and collaborative lawyers Lisa Burton-Durham¬†and Gemma Hope¬†are active in both children and financial cases.

At Jones Nickolds, the team provides¬†‚Äėimmediate response times, is hugely intelligent, pragmatic and vastly experienced in all aspects of family law‚Äô and has ‚Äėa¬†very collaborative‚Äô approach. Founding partners Claire Nickolds¬†and Lisa Jones¬†‚Äėare excellent lawyers and know their stuff.' and 'are sensible but no push overs‚Äô. The specialist, substantial team handles all aspects of divorce and other relationship breakdowns including private children work, co-habitation and nuptial agreements. Many of the practitioners are collaborative lawyers and mediators including¬† Rachel Woodd,¬†who¬†is ‚Äėa fabulous mediator and sensitive in handling difficult clients'. Gemma Irving¬†is another noted lawyer as is Mai-Ling Ho,¬†who joined the team from Camilla Baldwin¬†in January 2018. Laura Smail¬†provides ‚Äėsensible and pragmatic advice from the outset and is good at progressing cases to settlement‚Äô.

Penningtons Manches LLP¬†fields a team that is ‚Äėvery able and in turn very strong‚Äô. It routinely attracts cases involving multi-million pounds of corporate and other assets, trusts and pensions, including those located in overseas jurisdictions as well as nuptial agreements and child location disputes. Veronica¬†Gilmour, who leads the team ‚Äėhas a superb reputation' and 'a combination of intellect, soft skills and gravitas‚Äô. She frequently assists international families where high-stakes assets are located in various jurisdictions and often where divorce proceedings had taken place in other countries.¬†Rachel¬†Donald, who is considered ‚Äėwithout doubt a star of the future‚Äô, handles complex financial remedy matters, wealth protection and child arrangement disputes. Senior associate Laura Hughes¬†and associate Lee¬†Henderson¬†are highly recommended for their excellent client handling skills.

TWM Solicitors LLP's team, while¬†focused on collaborative law and mediation, is experienced in Family and High Court proceedings. Its work traverses financial settlements often involving family businesses, trusts and offshore assets, nuptial agreements and Children Act disputes. Practice head Sarah Cornes, who is based in the Wimbledon office, stands out for her ‚Äėimpeccable professionalism, tenacity and discretion‚Äô and Demelza Patricio, who is based in Reigate, is ‚Äėcalm under pressure while providing clear, pragmatic advice‚Äô. Sarah Bostock¬†and Louise Connolly¬†are also highly regarded, as is the highly experienced Lindsey Alexander, who ‚Äėis excellent at setting expectations‚Äô.

Warners Solicitors¬†has expertise in high-value financial remedy cases frequently involving cross-border complications together with tax advice. It also handles nuptial agreements, cohabitation disputes and the related children issues. The group is ‚Äėvery good with clients, maintaining a high quality of work while being costs conscious‚Äô. It also has ‚Äėstrength at all levels with a good band of excellent associate solicitors offering good value for money‚Äô. Practice head Rayma Collins, Matthew Aves¬†and Charles Tennant, together with the ‚Äėastute and sensible‚Äô associate Alice Scambler,¬†are noted as is Philip Raggett, who is a key name¬†on the tax and trusts sides.

Adler Family Law Solicitors LLP¬†is a niche practice that is ‚Äėa highly respected and forward thinking‚Äô. Its clients include well-known and high-net-worth individuals and it frequently handles divorce cases where an extensive range of assets and business interests are in issue in the UK and overseas. The team also has expertise in handling cases of child relocation or abduction. Charlotte¬†Adler¬†‚Äėis an exceptional talent, has the ability to get to the heart of the issue quickly and is able to deliver difficult messages effectively‚Äô. The ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô Nicola¬†Beale¬†is experienced in dealing with the range of financial and children issues arising from relationship breakdowns.

Blackfords LLP's family group ‚Äėcombines hard work with legal acumen, dedication and excellent judgement', and is led by¬†Nicola¬†Chamberlain. The team handles a range of financial matters arising from family breakdowns and has a particular focus on children work, both private and public and including care proceedings. The team is also able to draw on its well-respected criminal practice to assist with related criminal charges. The team also handles adoption cases outside the jurisdiction and child abduction cases.¬†Helen¬†Worden¬†‚Äėis calm, methodical and brings rigorous challenges to cases‚Äô and Elizabeth¬†Cape Cowens¬†is ‚Äėa highly effective lawyer‚Äô.

Following its merger with Rawlinson Butler in mid-2017, DMH Stallard LLP¬†fields a team whose work ranges from nuptial agreements, financial remedy proceedings often with competing jurisdictional claims, to children matters such as residency or removal from the jurisdiction. It also tackles enforcement proceedings where financial obligations are not met or there is non-compliance with court orders. Mediator Robert Worthing¬†has a focus on financial resolution cases as well as inheritance and property disputes between unmarried partners. The ‚Äėsupportive and knowledgeable‚Äô Nigel¬† Winter¬†has some 20 years of experience in assisting high-net-worth families following breakdowns. Senior associate Marwa¬† Hadi¬†is also noted for being ‚Äėclear and concise and very approachable‚Äô.

Morrisons Solicitors LLP¬†is highly regarded for financial remedy and private children work. It acts for high-net-worth individuals and has a specialism in cases where small- to medium-sized businesses and pensions are involved. Practice head Stephanie Calthrop-Owen, who provides¬†‚Äėvalue for money and the advice of a seasoned professional‚Äô,¬†handles a range of complex financial disputes, often with overseas complications together with relocation and related children matters.¬†Senior associate and qualified mediator Anne McAllister¬†assists clients with settling financial issues resulting from relationships breakdowns. Emma Newman¬†joined Stowe Family Law LLP¬†in September 2017.

Stantons Solicitors¬†'is extremely good, efficient, sympathetic and helpful‚Äô in advising on the range of issues arising from relationship breakdowns. Its work focuses on negotiating financial settlements, including property and pensions, and it also handles disputes including those involving assets abroad, hidden assets and the residency of children. Jan¬†Stanton¬†‚Äėhas a wealth of experience' and ‚Äėunderstands the need for empathy but also has a steely approach that means you feel reassured that she will fight your corner, firmly but fairly‚Äô.

Boys & Maughan¬†has expertise ‚Äėacross the whole field of family law‚Äô and is well regarded for ‚Äėits¬†commitment to its clients‚Äô and for ‚Äėproviding realistic advice‚Äô.¬†Jonathan¬†Da Costa¬†leads a team that handles matters ranging from property division, pension issues and financial remedy proceedings as well as children matters including those involving care proceedings and abuse cases. It also has well-honed collaborative law and mediation capabilities. Mary-Joyce Insaidoo¬†is another key member of the team.

Clarkson Wright & Jakes acts for mid- and high-net-worth individuals or their partners in financial remedy cases involving substantial assets and pensions, some located abroad. It also handles Children Act applications relating to various child living arrangements. Claire Schneck is experienced in financial remedy disputes, TOLATA and children matters and Kevin Bristow's work includes cohabitation and nuptial agreements, civil partnership disputes and children matters.

At¬†Coole Bevis LLP, the¬†‚Äėskilful, thorough and dedicated‚Äô team provides¬†advice that is ‚Äėgenuinely faultless‚Äô. It handles the spectrum of divorce and financial proceedings often including offshore assets and trust funds. Its children work covers representing children and guardians in care proceedings, removal from the jurisdiction and Child Arrangement Orders. Practice¬†head Susan Knight¬†‚Äėhas a huge wealth of experience in this field‚Äô and her advice is of a 'high calibre' and Charlotte Youdan¬†‚Äėis thorough and precise and an excellent advocate‚Äô. Associate Helen Evennett¬†is highlighted for her experience in children matters including care proceedings and has ‚Äėan excellent rapport with clients‚Äô and fellow associate Claire Parsons¬†is ‚Äėextremely efficient and has a keen eye for detail‚Äô.

Dawson Hart¬†¬†‚Äėhas a recognised expertise in high-value financial cases representing professionals and business people from all sectors‚Äô. Practice head Mahie¬† Abey¬†‚Äėhas an excellent grasp of the law, is very client¬†focused and deals with complex situations with skill and a clear grasp of the issues'. Caroline Bourn‚Äôs collaborative law practice is highlighted together with her ‚Äėgrasp of details combined with a very approachable manner‚Äô. In addition to handling the financial issues arising from divorce and the breakdown of civil partnerships, the team also resolves Children Act issues and children residency matters.

Griffith Smith LLP¬†fields ‚Äėan excellent team‚Äô and provides ‚Äėgreat value for money'. The group advises on all issues arising from relationship breakdowns including those relating to tax, trusts and real estate matters. Susan¬†Hayes‚Äô expertise covers both privately and publicly funded financial and children matters with a focus on wealth preservation, and ‚Äėshe is a stand out financial remedies solicitor in Sussex‚Äô.¬†Sue¬†Diplock, whose¬†expertise includes public and private children disputes, is collaboratively trained and Marcella¬†Helm¬†is also noted, especially for her children law work.

Mayo Wynne Baxter LLP¬†handles the full range of disputes in this space and its workload ranges from nuptial agreements, financial settlements and TOLATA matters to issues related to domestic violence and private children arrangements and special guardianships. The team provides ‚Äėa consistently high quality service to a wide client base‚Äô. Charles Le May¬†is ‚Äėa very experienced family practitioner, who is well liked by his clients who can safely put their lives in his hands‚Äô.¬†Zoe Summers¬†'fights hard for her clients for the best possible outcomes‚Äô and Tia¬†Clarke¬†impresses with her ‚Äėrealistic advice‚Äô.

rhw Solicitors¬†is ‚Äėa highly respected local firm‚Äô that has a ‚Äėpragmatic' approach and is 'knowledgeable without being aggressive'. The team handles¬†financial matters, which involve on- and off-shore assets, real estate assets and trusts, as well as residency and children abduction cases and matters involving domestic violence. Head of department¬†Elizabeth Leah¬†is ‚Äėa hugely experienced family lawyer, an excellent communicator and a skilled negotiator‚Äô, who is ‚Äėwell supported by junior staff‚Äô. Qualified mediator¬†Samantha Jago¬†stands out for ‚Äėbeing able to reach a commercial and sensible compromise‚Äô.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP¬†is recognised for its strong private client offering, which blends family, trusts, probate and tax expertise. The team handles a range of financial remedy cases especially where company assets and trusts are concerned, including those located overseas. The ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô Alan¬†Foster, who ‚Äėis good with clients and always takes a pragmatic approach‚Äô, heads the private client department; associate Helen¬†Noble,¬†who is a mediator and collaborative lawyer, undertakes a range of financial and children matters and, together with senior legal executive¬†Maria¬†Steele-Williams,¬†provides ‚Äėan exceptional service‚Äô.

At Starke & Co,¬†‚Äėthe overall level of service is exceptional‚Äô¬†and, under the leadership of Andrew¬† Delo, ‚Äėthey have gone from strength-to-strength‚Äô. The team handles an array of financial remedy cases following relationship breakdowns together with children issues. Delo is ‚Äėfearless in his negotiations and as good an advocate as he is a solicitor‚Äô. Sue Jago¬†‚Äėbrings great experience to a thriving team‚Äô and Kate Elliott¬†‚Äėis a forward thinker who makes no decision without first contemplating all the potential consequences and fiercely protects her clients‚Äô interests‚Äô.

Stowe Family Law LLP¬†is ‚Äėan excellent firm that is very strong in both Children Act matters and in financial remedies‚Äô and fields ‚Äėa young and dynamic team‚Äô. The ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô Emma Newman¬†joined the Esher office from Morrisons Solicitors LLP¬†as managing partner in September 2017 and the Tunbridge Wells office is headed by¬†Kate Rayner,¬†who is ‚Äėvery knowledgeable, fair minded and easy to work with while also direct and straight talking‚Äô.¬†Holly Lamb¬†, who is also based in Tunbridge Wells,¬†is ‚Äėadept at providing realistic and timely advice‚Äô. Its client base includes several who are resident overseas and it handles matrimonial disputes involving complex, high-value assets. It also assists clients with nuptial agreements, co-habitation and children issues.

ThomasHaywood Solicitors's team provides ‚Äėa bespoke service to its clients‚Äô, which largely comprise high-net-worth individuals, and it is adept at advising on matters where family businesses, trust structures and overseas assets are involved. Sarah¬†Haywood¬†is ‚Äėa master tactician‚Äô and ‚Äėoutstanding family lawyer‚Äô, who handles complex children disputes in addition to financial matters, and consultant Juliet>¬†Franklin¬†is also noted for her expertise in complex children matters and financial disputes.

The team at Whitehead Monckton is led by Dawn Harrison, who is experienced in financial provision, pensions, co-habitation law and children matters. The practice has expertise in collaborative law and frequently acts for high-net-worth clients, often advising on international assets and business interests. It also assists with children matters, including handling contested child arrangement orders. Graham Jones is a mediator who handles the gamut of family law matters.


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

Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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'Specialist family firm' Barrett & Thomson¬†is ‚Äėa safe pair of hands with a great wealth of experience, offering a great service‚Äô. Practice head Claire Fitzgerald¬†is recommended by one client as ‚Äėone of the most professional and trustworthy solicitors I have had the pleasure of engaging with, with a great outlook on life‚Äô. Her experience covers both private and public law matters, including care proceedings, leave to remove cases and adoption matters. The firm is ‚Äėvery strong in all areas‚Äô, including high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings, separation agreements, the freezing of assets and various other matters. Other key team members include Tanya Melville¬†(‚Äėprovides sensible and sensitive advice to vulnerable clients in a crisis‚Äô),¬† Sue Scott¬†¬†(‚Äėgives advice with a great deal of pragmatism born from experience‚Äô) and Sabha Butt¬†¬†(‚Äėhighly competent and thoroughly prepared advocate‚Äô).

The team at Blake Morgan LLP¬†provides ‚Äėan excellent overall level of service‚Äô. Head of practice Christine Plews¬†is a ‚Äėvery experienced and dedicated family lawyer‚Äô, who ‚Äėalways strives to achieve for her clients‚Äô. Plews is recognised for advising high-net-worth individuals on divorce and cohabitee disputes and business asset division, as well as cross-border cases relating to children or multi-jurisdictional assets. Senior solicitor Laura Bennett¬†‚Äėlistens well, is empathetic, very knowledgeable, and a very good person to have on your side‚Äô, and senior associate Catherine Morgan‚Äôs ‚Äėprofessionalism is exceptional‚Äô. Senior associate James Davies¬†joined at the end of 2017 from Field Seymour Parkes LLP.

'Well-run firm' Blandy & Blandy LLP¬†has ‚Äėstrong, solid staff who are willing to go the extra mile with a very quick response time‚Äô. Practice head Andrew Don¬†gives ‚Äėexpert advice, timely information and action, and empathy‚Äô; he and solicitor Alice Cummins¬†are recommended for ‚Äėgiving calming and solid advice in very trying circumstances‚Äô. Highlights included Claire Dyer¬†and firm chair Brenda Long¬†advising the wife on financial remedy proceedings in a complex asset situation. Shashi Sachdeva¬†joined the team as a consultant solicitor, having previously been a partner at Thomas Eggar and¬†Penningtons Manches LLP.

'Extremely good' Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors' ‚Äėhighly competent and dedicated team‚Äô is ‚Äėan excellent choice for those who want realistic advice without paying the earth‚Äô. Anne Deller¬†(‚Äėwonderful to work with‚Äô; ‚Äėalways approachable and incredible level of knowledge‚Äô) and Kate Grant¬†(‚Äėapproachable, pragmatic and fierce advocate‚Äô) jointly head the team. Deller deals with complex cases involving companies, trusts and international properties and represents clients in complex children cases, while Grant advises on cases including high-net-worth divorces and financial cases and complex matters arising from relationship breakdown between cohabitees. Other notable team members include Nick Rodriguez¬†(‚Äėpassionate about his clients and always willing to go the "extra mile‚ÄĚ‚Äô), senior consultant Sarah Benfield¬†(‚Äėtechnical, available, incredibly hard-working and would be anyone‚Äôs safe "port in a storm‚ÄĚ') and senior associate Rekha Joshi¬†(‚Äėempathy with clients who need reassurance but is not afraid of giving strong, sensible and sound advice‚Äô).

'Star solicitor' Rachael Oakes¬†heads the ‚Äėteam of driven and passionate lawyers‚Äô at Freeths LLP,¬†which acts 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 ‚Äėvery helpful and efficient‚Äô senior associate Gemma Nicholls-Webber.¬†Oakes is recommended as being ‚Äėhugely impressive, formidable, very good with clients and well respected by the judiciary‚Äô, acting for high-net-worth individuals in matters regarding cross-border assets, businesses, complex trust structures, tax and pensions. The ‚Äėwidely respected‚Äô Claire Cobert¬†specialises in CMS appeals, Children Act matters and school appeals for parents, as well as traditional financial and children cases. ‚ÄėEfficient, professional yet friendly, and incredibly knowledgeable‚Äô senior associate Elizabeth Stocker¬†works primarily on family financial and children cases.

Penningtons Manches LLP¬†is ‚Äėan outstanding firm offering real quality to rival the top end of the London market‚Äô. The family practices in the firm‚Äôs Reading and Oxford offices are headed by¬†Kerry Fretwell¬†and Jane Mitchell¬†respectively.¬†Fretwell specialises in acting for high-net-worth individuals on a range of cases, including financial settlements between unmarried parents, and acting for intervenors, while Mitchell is widely considered to be the go-to person for financial cases and disputes regarding child arrangement orders. ‚ÄėTenacious fighter and good lawyer‚Äô Ruth James' practice¬†focuses on resolving financial settlements between separating couples and arrangements for children. Also noted are senior associates Claire Clarke¬†('very dedicated and goes the extra mile for her clients') and Bethan Thomas¬†(‚Äėamazing; she is patient, kind and considerate, with her knowledge and expertise particularly reassuring‚Äô) and associate Stuart Webber¬†('a measured and reassuring lawyer').

Brethertons LLP¬†possesses ‚Äėexperts in the field‚Äô of family law and provides a ‚Äôten¬†out of ten level of service‚Äô. Sally Clark¬†heads the Bicester practice and Simon Craddock¬†leads the Banbury team, with both teams working cohesively on regional, national and international caseloads. Recent key areas of instruction have been in relation to financial remedies for high-net-worth individuals in divorce cases, legal funding orders, significant leave to remove cases and same-sex divorce and dissolution of civil partnerships. Other important team members include senior associate Matthew Montanaro¬† and associates Gemma Kelsey¬†and Katie Phillips.

The '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 team is headed by the ‚Äėhugely able and determined‚Äô Sue Baker,¬†who specialises in high-value financial cases and private Children Act cases. Michelle Mann¬†is a ‚Äėmasterful tactician and strategist; an astute lawyer with a very thorough approach‚Äô, dealing mainly with high-value financial disputes in divorce and separation. Associate Lindsay Davies¬†is noted for advising on high-value matrimonial finance and cohabitation cases. Natasha Ord¬†joined the team from family law boutique Blanchards Law, while James Davies¬†left to join Blake Morgan LLP.

Gardner Leader LLP's experienced team is led by practice head Seona Myerscough , who specialises in child care work and is highly regarded by guardians and sought after by parents for representation. Jenny Buchanan  specialises in the resolution of financial issues in divorce and relationship breakdown, alongside her role as a finance partner for the firm and member of its management board. The team was strengthened in 2017 by the hire of senior associates Suzy Hamshaw from Charles Lucas & Marshall and Simon Fisher  from Bells Solicitors into the firm’s Newbury and Maidenhead offices respectively. Longstanding partner Collette Bailey retired from the partnership and the firm at the end of 2017.

'Very capable' family law firm K J Smith Solicitors has a number of offices in the Thames Valley area, located in Henley-on-Thames, Reading, Windsor and 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 extensive experience in all areas of family law, including the resolution of middle and high-net-worth financial matters and private law children matters. Senior solicitor Amanda Phillips-Wylds is noted for her expertise on resolving mid- to high-value financial disputes on divorce. 

Royds Withy King¬†has ‚Äėsensible, practical lawyers who represent their clients well‚Äô and is noted for its advice in the financial remedy and private children law areas. ‚ÄėExcellent‚Äô practice head Simon Bassett's expertise includes divorce, separation, financial matters, cohabitation and financial claims under the Children Act. Mark Phillips¬†is strong for financial matters, and is recommended as ‚Äėparticularly knowledgeable and well-prepared; he is able to develop strong relationships with his clients‚Äô. Solicitor Monicka Rai¬†(‚Äėcalm and measured; she represents her clients effectively and is a pleasure to deal with‚Äô) specialises in private children matters, including removal from jurisdiction and parental alienation cases. Andrew Nellist¬†recently joined from Hedges Law¬†and James Stonham¬†retired from practice.

The 'excellent' Spratt Endicott¬†is ‚Äėvery responsive with clear communication, quick responses, clear and transparent billing and excellent value for money‚Äô. The family practice is headed by ‚Äėoutstanding solicitor‚Äô Patrick Mulcare,¬†who ‚Äėmixes the best of the new and the old of the profession‚Äô, with particular expertise in divorce cases concerning complex and high-value financial matters. Associate and mediator Gemma Davison¬†heads the firm‚Äôs dedicated mediation offering, predominantly focusing on the financial aspects of relationship breakdown. Davison is recommended for her ‚Äėprofessionalism, knowledge and understanding‚Äô. Other figures of note are ‚Äėintelligent, no-nonsense barrister‚Äô Justine Cadbury¬†and associate and childcare law expert Sandeep Sandhu¬†('listens carefully and goes the extra mile for her clients').

The family law practice at Hedges Law¬†is led by Nicola Poole,¬†who ‚Äėhas great experience in children disputes‚Äô, and also has expertise in complex high-net-worth financial remedy cases, disputes over inherited wealth, variation of maintenance cases and prenuptial agreements. Other figures of note in the practice include Carrie Rudge,¬†who is strong for divorce cases and has considerable experience of resolving arrangements for children, and Laura Mortimer,¬†who ‚Äėhas proven herself to be extremely capable at handling financial remedy cases ‚Äď she is thorough and well organised‚Äô.

The ‚Äėincredibly sensible and down to earth‚Äô Maria Mulroe¬†heads the 'very good' Herrington Carmichael LLP¬†family law team.¬†Mulroe divides her time between Wokingham and Camberley and is noted for her expertise in settling complicated financial matters and advising on children-related work, including complex, cross-border matters. Mulroe is assisted by a team of ‚Äėconscientious and dedicated younger solicitors who are rising stars‚Äô, most notably ‚Äėvery hard-working and meticulous‚Äô associate Danielle Bentley,¬†who advises on leading work for high-net-worth individuals and has a strong grasp of complex family finance issues.

Boutique family law firm¬†Leiper Gupta Family Lawyers Ltd (LGFL Ltd)¬†delivers a ‚Äėfirst-class personal service‚Äô to clients ‚Äėwho demand a high standard of service and who can afford to pay for that service but do not wish to instruct the usual London or City firms‚Äô. The main contacts at the firm are¬†Rita Gupta¬†(‚Äėclients love her and she has a certain gravitas that instills confidence; she is a class act) and¬†Anne Leiper¬†(‚Äėformidable litigator‚Äô who ‚Äėfights the client's corner without compromise‚Äô). Gupta focuses on Children Act mandates, while Leiper specialises in high-net-worth and complex financial work. The firm has been handling variation of maintenance and capitalisation proceedings, adoption matters, leave to remove cases and various other issues.

The 'excellent'¬†Pitmans LLP¬†team is headed by Matthew Heyworth,¬†who specialises in all aspects of family law, including divorce, matrimonial finances and children matters, and routinely acts on cases involving complex asset holdings such as business interests, assets held in trust, multiple properties and foreign assets. Heyworth is recommended for his ‚Äėvery good listening skills, being thorough in meetings and managing a smooth process‚Äô. The team has been strengthened in recent times by the hires of senior associates Claire Burton¬†(‚Äėexceptional practitioner; she is organised and efficient‚Äô) and Tanya Dhillon.

Reeds Solicitors has developed a sophisticated family law practice, having originally been renowned as a criminal defence firm. Firm director Rod Fowler leads the Oxford office family law team and is personally noted for his work representing clients in public and private family law cases, receiving instructions regularly both from private individuals and from child care professionals. The practice also handles divorces and separations, care proceedings matters and financial claims.

Professionals, high-net-worth individuals and high-profile clients instruct ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô 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¬†‚Äėresponds quickly and effectively to deal with any issues raised‚Äô. Tracey O'Dwyer¬†was promoted to associate and utilises ‚Äėa great combination of professionalism, knowledge and support‚Äô 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.


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

Index of tables

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

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

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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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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B P Collins LLP fields an 'excellent' personal tax team that leverages the firm's overall strength in private client work to provide a holistic service to its high-net-worth client base. Capital tax planning is a particular strength for the team, which also handles trust and estate administration (often involving cross-jurisdictional elements), estate planning and Court of Protection matters. Craig Williams heads the practice and is noted for his expertise in contentious inheritance disputes and litigation arising form the validity of testamentary documents. 'Diligent, efficient' senior associate Lucy Wood is also recommended.

Blake Morgan LLP's projects practice provides 'a very good service - response times and value for money are particularly strong areas'. Headed by Penny Rinta-Suksi (who 'knows her subject area well and provides proactive and commercial advice'), the practice has an extensive track record handling leisure, housing, health and education PFI and PPP projects, as well as advising on secondary market work. Recent highlights include acting for Places for People Leisure on the development of new software with its software partner to enable better tracking of users of the client's leisure facilities; and advising Fenland District Council on a leisure management procurement for four sites, which is being undertaken under a PPP solution. Other key figures include Stephen Tainsh, who is noted for his healthcare-sector expertise, Bruce Potter, who advises a number of public-sector entities, and Simon McCann, who splits his time between Reading and Cardiff and has more than 20 years' experience advising local government and public-sector bodies.

Debenhams Ottaway attracts praise for its 'outstanding service - the team is swift, effective and extremely knowledgeable'. The practice advises on a wide range of personal tax matters, from inheritance tax and estate planning, setting up and administering trusts, and probate and estate administration, to lifetime planning matters including assisting with lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection and professional deputyship work, and elderly care work. Practice head Susan Glenholme handles all aspects of private wealth management including wills, tax planning, probate and estate administration. Also recommended are Claire Sharp, who manages a number of trusts ranging from life interest trusts to large discretionary trusts; and Nicholas Turner, who is praised for his 'real commitment to and understanding of client needs'.

Hewitsons provides 'the highest standard of service and professionalism', with clients singling out Carolyn Bagley for her 'analytical approach and ability to explain complex legal issues in simple terms'. The practice's expertise covers  inheritance tax planning, trust reorganisations, tax reliefs on charitable donations, capacity issues relating to lifetime gifts and wills, the administration of estates (often involving overseas assets) and capital gains tax planning, among other matters. Recent work includes advising on regulatory issues related to trusts, the winding up of trusts after death, and lifetime gift planning to help children onto the property ladder. Other key figures include Clare Colacicchi, who regularly acts in conjunction with the firm's agricultural practice to advise on issues related to landed estates.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) fields 'a highly efficient' tax team that 'always responds promptly to queries and provides up-to-date and insightful information'. The merger with Turbervilles in January 2018 has added further depth to the already strong practice, which handles the full range of personal tax matters, with notable expertise advising non-domiciled clients on drafting trusts and wills in relation to UK assets. It also works closely with the firm's personal injury practice to advise on deputy applications. Jacqueline Almond heads the practice and is 'particularly good at grasping clients' needs and always goes to great lengths to handle every request'.

Noted for offering a 'one-stop solution to any legal issues', Sherrards Solicitors LLP is regularly called on by its international clients to handle wills, estate and tax planning. The 'responsive, communicative' practice also advises on the establishment of life interest trusts, offshore and charitable trusts, disabled and discretionary trusts, and excluded property trusts. The 'very knowledgeable' Nicole Marmor heads the practice, which includes Carrolle Harris, who specialises in handling issues related to vulnerable adults and children.

Shoosmiths LLP handles the full range of wealth protection matters for its high-net-worth clients, including providing corporate and real estate support where trusts or executors are involved. Charlotte Dunn heads the national practice and is noted for her track record in Court of Protection and lasting powers of attorney issues.

Clients of Taylor Walton LLP are quick to praise the firm for its 'exemplary advice and good depth of knowledge', with practice head Richard Crocker singled out for his ability to 'foresee any issue and act on it efficiently and diligently'. Recent work includes resolving a long-running probate with s double trust inheritance tax planning scheme, which involved the negotiation of a settlement with HMRC, the winding up of the scheme and the reclamation of pre-owned assets tax paid by the client. Also recommended are Alex Drake, who is 'pragmatic and solutions-oriented and who gives clear and intelligible advice'; and Alison Voyce, who has an extensive track record advising on tax planning and succession issues.

Woodfines LLP is refocusing its personal tax practice on complex estate planning work for high-net-worth clients, following the recruitment of Stephen Patch, who joined in 2017 from Taylor Vinters and now heads the practice. He brings his expertise in tax, trust and estate planning to the practice, which includes Nigel Ashton, who has a strong focus on issues concerning mental health, particularly in the elderly; Mikhala Leak, whose expertise covers Court of Protection, wills and lasting powers of attorney, and inheritance tax planning, among other matters; and Mike Cox, who has an extensive track record in wills and probate matters.

Clients of Blaser Mills are 'extremely pleased with the level of service' provided by Minesh Thakrar and his personal tax team, which achieves 'a very useful balance between cost and level of service'. Thakrar ('very easy to deal with and inspires confidence in clients') brings extensive experience in personal injury matters, complementing his expertise in lasting powers of attorney, inheritance tax mitigation and probate, and issues affecting the elderly. Other key figures include Jonathan Gallop, who is noted for his ability to 'provide advice in a clear and concise manner which is easy to understand'; and Sara Rendell, who 'goes the extra mile to explain the salient points of any issue in terms with clients can understand'.

Longmores Solicitors LLP 's expertise covers inheritance tax planning on behalf of land and business owners, and assisting elderly and vulnerable clients with will preparation, Court of Protection and lasting powers of attorney matters. Richard Horwood is the key contact.

Machins Solicitors LLP's personal tax and probate expertise covers inheritance tax planning for high-net-worth clients, including preparing trusts; preparing wills for sports people and musicians; advising farmers and other commercial clients on the use of trusts for tax mitigation and tax relief purposes; and administering several multimillion-pound estates. Practice head Nic Pestell is praised for his 'no-nonsense approach and ability to advise in a non-intrusive manner'.

Nockolds Solicitors advises its high-net-worth clients on the full range of private client matters, including will preparation wealth management including inheritance and capital gains tax planning; Court of Protection work including applications for deputyship, statutory wills and appointment of funds; and high-value estate administration. Practice head Peter King is particularly noted for his contentious trust and probate expertise.

Tees Law attracts praise for its 'swift, efficient, friendly yet professional, appropriate and relevant' service. Cathy Izzard heads the practice, which acts for a large high-net-worth client base on the administration of high-value estates, often with an international or agricultural dimension. It also manages a sizeable portfolio of trusts, and acts for a number of high-profile charities. Nicola Haver is 'a good listener and quick to sum up what needs to be done'.


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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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The 'professional, friendly, readily available and reliable' private client department at 'strength-in-depth firm' Birkett Long LLP provides 'outstanding service and relevant, timely advice'. The practice covers elderly client work, long-term care planning, tax efficiency, wills, powers of attorney and Court of Protection work, as well as domestic and international estate and trust administration advice. Clients recommend 'straightforward, calm and knowledgeable' team head Claire Read and 'friendly and caring' wills, trusts and probate partner Emma Clarke, both based in Chelmsford. Associate Ben Parmenter is Clarke's counterpart in Colchester and Liz Jones specialises in long-term care planning and NHS retrospective claims. The practice can refer clients to other departments as necessary, including corporate and commercial, agriculture and estates and the group's independent financial advisers division.

'Long-established firm' Birketts LLP's 'extremely strong, friendly and approachable' private client team 'fully understands its area of law' and 'edges ahead of the competition due to its outstanding reputation and client-oriented approach'. Domestic and international succession and tax planning, including wills, trusts, probate and foundations, as well as powers of attorney and deputyship matters, form the department's core expertise. The practice is renowned for advising farmers, landowners, industrialists and entrepreneurs, in addition to banks and trust companies. Partner Tim Galloway and associate Susan Young are the key contacts in Chelmsford.

The 'first-class' private client department at 'well-respected, good all-round firm' Giles Wilson LLP 'has the depth of experience to deal with all aspects of private client work'. Particular focus areas are wills, trusts and probate and tax planning, as well as special protection services for elderly and vulnerable clients, including community care packages and equity release, setting up and managing disabled persons trusts, advice against financial exploitation, assistance with reclaiming care home fees and power of attorney matters. Partner Melinda Giles, who 'is able to deal with the more unusual aspects of private client work', is recommended.  Team lead Daniel Curnock became partner in July 2017, a few weeks after Pippa Bavington was promoted to associate solicitor. Court of Protection executive Carol Etherington and 'personable, professional and efficient' solicitor Chantelle Bradley are other names to note.

Palmers' private client department comprises 12 fee earners who handle matters relating to wills, probate, tax, succession and estate planning, trust creation, powers of attorney and the Court of Protection, as well as residential care issues. In a recent highlight, associate Helen Jago advised an estate regarding an investigation concerning multiple shareholdings in listed companies and potential assets in Pakistan, as well as regarding the transfer of an unregistered UK property to a Canadian resident beneficiary. Lee McClellan in Basildon and Tim Steele in South Woodham Ferrers are the contacts on partner level, while associate Jonathan Saunders, consultant Chris Mowat and solicitor Viju Chhagan are other key members.

The private client practice at Tees Law provides 'a good overall service and appropriate advice', assisting domestic and international clients with wills and succession planning in business and agriculture, probate and relief claims, lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters, as well as lifetime tax planning and the creation, administration and termination of trusts. A highlight of 2017 was the advice provided to a private individual regarding the structuring of their multi-million-pound business, farming and personal assets in order to secure their second wife and childrens' future. Chelmsford-based team lead Ian Johnston, associates Oli Budino and Heather Fuff, and solicitor Hayley Weston are the names to note.

The 'thorough, efficient and reliable' private client department at Thompson Smith and Puxon 'exhibits a high degree of professional experience and capability' with 'a caring and considerate side' and a willingness to 'go the extra mile' in order to 'provide a comprehensive and timely service'. Focus areas include will preparation, probate, trusts, tax and succession planning, registering enduring powers of attorney, and Court of Protection matters, as well as asset preservation relating to long-term residential or nursing care requirements. A large proportion of clients have a business or agricultural background. 'Sharp-minded, sympathetic and hardworking' Fiona Ashworth, who 'has a wealth of experience', leads the practice from the Colchester office and is a main contact for elderly and farming clients. In October 2017, 'friendly and persevering' Robert Ashworth and 'conscientious, sympathetic and efficient' Aileen Hirst, who 'has a practical grasp of problems and solutions', joined Clacton-based Sarah White at associate level. Clients further recommend 'exceptionally professional and caring' solicitor Adina Milleare.

The 'professional, timely and efficient' private client department at Wortley Byers LLP 'keeps clients well informed throughout the process', applies 'prompt internal communication' and provides 'invaluable, appropriate advice'. Its range of work covers tax, trusts and probate. 'Professional, prompt and understanding' inheritance tax, Court of Protection and elderly client specialist Nicola Healy and 'knowledgeable, compassionate and quick-minded' property and trust expert John Southan are recommended. Head of private client Anne Ellis handles residential conveyancing. Solicitor Herman Cheung joined from Gepp & Sons Solicitors LLP in November 2017, bringing experience in Court of Protection work, among other areas. Poh Shan Chong retired in June 2017.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors' private client team 'is a respected and growing force in the market', 'punching above its weight' and 'offering services beyond most firms' capabilities in this area'. The client base consists of high-net-worth, elderly or vulnerable individuals in the local area who require advice on wills, trusts, powers of attorney, domestic and international probate, personal taxes and care funding matters. There is a strong connection to the firm's medical negligence and personal injury practices, which is applied through the establishment and management of personal injury trusts and professional deputyship work. Managing partner Andrew Flannagan heads the team and recently dealt with a £1.4m estate where the owner was deceased and had not submitted any annual tax returns, which led to a significant amount of forensic work. Clients recommend the second key partner Lesley-Ann Mayhew, 'a very capable performer' who 'works well across a team of lawyers from other departments' and 'explains difficult concepts with great ease'. Associates Tony Brownlie and Alison Hon, as well as solicitor Jayne Kesbey, are other individuals to note.

The private client department at Ellisons Solicitors is 'valued' for 'providing a professional service and expertise in all matters of law' to its client base of high-net-worth individuals and local business professionals. The main focus areas include tax planning and probate administration, as well as lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection and elderly client matters. A recent highlight was the representation of executors in the administration of an estate worth £3.5m, involving multiple properties, investments, a trust and life assurance policies. Clients recommend 'very experienced, friendly and amenable' managing partner and practice lead Tim Logan and  solicitor Chloe Baldwin, who is 'eager to learn' and often assists Logan on his matters. Personal injury trust expert Jeanette Hollington and Clacton-based associate Gina Westbrook are other key team members.

The 'excellent' private client department at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP is 'one of the most innovative in the Colchester area' and provides 'an extremely good service'. It specialises in representing elderly and vulnerable clients who need support with social services and their home and care needs, while also covering the traditional will, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection and long-term care planning advice. The 'extremely competent' department lead Susanne Grimwade, who 'has a firm grasp of her matters and is quick to respond', is recommended. In 2017, she dealt with the administration of the estate, worth over £1m, of a mother who had died young and left two small children; the case involved property repossession proceedings, liquidation of assets and effecting the communication between the trustees and the childrens' estranged father. Associate Amy Burton also handles matters concerning high-value estates. Andrea Godfrey made partner in 2017, and Sarah Rankin became an associate in April 2018.

Jefferies Essex LLP's two-lawyer private client department is considered to be 'excellent and very personal'. It handles matters concerning wills, probate, professional executorship, lasting powers of attorney, trust management, inheritance tax planning, Court of Protection applications and elderly or vulnerable client work. 'Knowledgeable, honest, highly professional and empathic' FCILEx Gill Tobin is recommended. Solicitor Kirsty Bone is another main contact.

The private client practice at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP in Westcliff-on-Sea and Billericay covers wills, trusts and estates, inheritance tax planning, and lasting powers of attorney, as well as matters involving elderly clients and the Court of Protection. Recent highlights include the estate administration for a deceased farmer who left two farms, one trust and a range of other assets, which involved relief claim negotiations with HMRC, as well as the representation of a client who made an application to reseal a grant of probate issued in Queensland, Australia. Partner Caroline Cole and senior associate Lee Hibell are the names to note.

The 'solid, knowledgeable and experienced' private client team at Pinney Talfourd LLP provides a 'very good level of service' and 'appropriate advice', and has 'great understanding of the client's needs', 'making them feel confident in their undertakings and keeping them informed at all times'. The practice also 'puts a lot of effort into making the company approachable to new clients through excellent customer service'. Will preparation,  tax and business succession planning, securing financial support for second marital partners, establishing nil-rate band discretionary trusts, lasting powers of attorney and deputyship applications are some of the department's key areas of work. Clients recommend 'outgoing and very approachable' practice lead Matthew Edwards,'professional, personable and calm' senior associate and 'trust expert' Kristian Croad, 'empathic' senior associate Jill French,'exceptionally organised' solicitor Nicholas Conway and 'sympathetic and easy-to-get-on-with' solicitor Christopher Dickinson.

The 'efficient and professional' private client practice at Rainer Hughes 'responds quickly to queries and instills confidence in clients'. Will creation with cross-border elements, lasting and enduring powers of attorney, Court of Protection deputyships, probate, financial deputyship, estate and asset management, trusts and deeds of gift are the core areas of expertise. A recent highlight was the registration of an enduring power of attorney after the long-standing client lost capacity, involving full-time care, complex medical requirements and managing previously regular deeds of gift to the client's daughters. 'Understanding, approachable and clear' main solicitor Michael Casson is recommended for his 'thoroughness, availability and skill'.


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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Blake Morgan LLP is, according to one client, 'the leading firm in our area when it comes to large and complex cases' and provides an 'exemplary' service. The team has notable expertise in wealth protection and its clients range from private individuals, business owners, including farming and landed estate owners, to families and executors. The team has considerable experience in probate, trust administration, Court of Protection and tax matters and is able to draw on the firm's wider real estate, family and commercial expertise when required. Helen Bunker heads the group together with Simon Treherne, who combines 'great knowledge with being balanced and objective and very on the ball'. Other key names include Douglas Smith, who is 'a true expert with a helpful attitude'; director Jessica Wiltshire, who has 'deep knowledge in the areas of wills, trusts, and all associated tax planning'; associate Darren Price, who combines 'professional skill with a kind' manner; and senior associate Jonathan Sleep, who joined from Coffin Mew LLP and is noted for his 'excellent legal insight and for being very good with clients'.

Coffin Mew LLP's team, which is led by Annabelle Vaughan, stands out for its 'strong private client department and strong capability across a range of disciplines'. The team advises on wills, the preparation and management of trusts, probate, inheritance tax planning and Court of Protection work, and acts for a range of high-net-worth business owners and families and frequently advises on complex estates that include overseas property. Portsmouth-based Stacey Keech  is 'a delight to work with', has 'an excellent bedside manner' and the 'ability to think strategically and develop plans that can solve client's issues'. Associate Rachel Evans has 'a very good knowledge of the law' and is 'very fair, and very keen to seek justice'. Jonathan Sleep  departed in March 2017 to join Blake Morgan LLP.

Barry Adamson heads the team at Moore Blatch LLP, which has expertise in administering estates with assets in overseas jurisdictions, complex wills and trusts, and tax planning. It undertakes the full range of tax and private client matters including succession planning, wealth protection and trust work together with related tax advice and areas such as care fees planning. Carla Brown is a noted senior partner. Fiona Heald leads the Court of Protection team; associate Alison Lloyd is head of probate and associate Philip Whitcomb acts for rural and farming clients. The team has recently made several new hires including Roger Crouch, Aimee Dooley-Cox and Benjamin Williamson; the trio joined in July 2017 following the firm's merger with Calvert Smith and Sutcliffe.

The team at Paris Smith LLP provides 'good advice' and assists clients across all aspects of complex trusts, the administration of estates, tax issues and tax planning and Court of Protection work. Practice head Nick Turner is 'very approachable and provides sound advice'; he advises high-net-worth clients on trusts, succession and related tax issues. Jason Oliver, who specialises in contentious probate and trust cases and Isabel Deverill, who is based in the Winchester office, joined from Parker Bullen LLP in May 2017 and August 2017 respectively. Elizabeth Power and William Hadley, who is able to 'explain very clearly any legal jargon and provide all the various options', were made-up to partner in January 2018.

Penningtons Manches LLP¬†'s advice is 'highly rated' and its¬†'charges are reasonable for the quality of advice and service offered'. The team has extensive expertise in trusts law, including that with an international aspect, and contentious issues such as the¬†removal of trustees and disputes between trustees and beneficiaries. Its private client and tax practice handles the full range of advisory and disputes matters, assisting high-net-worth families resolve conflicts, preserve wealth and plan succession. The team acts for a number of high-profile clients and highlights included acting for an American family in¬†an international burial dispute as well as handling trust and estate issues. Practice head¬†Michael Cash's 'knowledge is first rate and he has a calm reassuring manner about him'. Other noted team members include Henrietta Mason, Si√Ęn Hodgson¬†and Sarah Lee.

Phillips Solicitors' team is 'knowledgeable and practical in this area' and provides 'an excellent level of service' and is 'very informative at every step of a long process'. Caroline Wallis, who heads the department, 'is a smart, experienced solicitor who is very easy to work with' and the 'enthusiastic and knowledgeable' Sian Lias and Hannah Clark are also noted. The team advises on wills, probate, inheritance tax planning and lasting powers of attorney. It also specialises in assisting elderly clients and undertakes Court of Protection work.

Senior associate Naomi Neville heads Shoosmiths LLP's wealth protection team in the Solent office, which is led nationally by Charlotte Dunn, who is based in the firm's Milton Keynes office. The group advises high-net-worth clients (including lottery winners) and business owners on the full range of private client services, including assisting with disputes over wills, the administration of estates, including those with overseas assets, the creation of trusts and tax efficient structures. It is also able to draw on the firm's wider expertise in corporate and real estate matters.

Thrings LLP's team 'combines a very high degree of technical competence with pragmatic problem solving skills and the Southampton office is very strong'. Fiona Kellow heads the team, Rachel Brooks is 'a very strong trusts and estate practitioner' and Carol Ward is another core practitioner. Clients include farmers, wealthy land owners, business people and families and the team's expertise spans complex trust and business structures, the administration of estates, wills and probate disputes. It is also noted for its tax expertise. 

Trethowans LLP fields 'an excellent and very reliable' team and is 'a great firm to work with'. Mihiri Gajraj  is 'experienced and incredibly knowledgeable' and Elizabeth Webbe focuses on tax efficient structures particularly in relation to wills and trusts, including tax issues relevant to overseas assets. Clients include high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs and it has notable expertise acting for farmers and other land owners. Succession planning, the administration of estates and contentious probate are other areas of expertise.


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

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  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: 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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Cripps LLP is acknowledged for its 'great strength and depth in the private client area' and 'its excellent performance and broad approach'. The team, which also includes chartered tax advisers and trust and probate managers, advises on tax, trusts, succession planning and the administration of estates. Clients include high-net-worth and well-known individuals and company owners. Key names include practice head Myles McIntosh, Anne Lewis, who is highlighted for her 'superb client-handling skills' and Chris Wilkinson . Jessica Jamieson, 'who demonstrated depth of knowledge and was able to explain concepts very well', consultant Simon Leney and managing associate Stephen Horscroft, who is noted for 'his broad knowledge, infinite patience and great wisdom', are other names to note.

The 'first-class' team at Stevens & Bolton LLP is 'terrifically responsive' and 'quickly grasps the essence of the matter and provides clear, timely and commercial advice'. Practice head Stuart Skeffington provides 'advice which is of the standard expected from the very top City firms, but at a fraction of the price' and Rosie Todd is also in demand as a 'go-to adviser'. The team assists with all areas of private client work, including succession planning, tax and tax regulatory and trust matters concerning complex, high-value estates, as well as international tax advice for non-domiciled residents. It advises high-net-worth individuals, business owners and trustees including those based offshore. Other key team members include Nick Acomb, Daryl Fox  and senior associate James Lister, who heads the contentious trusts and probate division. Matthew Carman left private practice in September 2017.

Thomson Snell & Passmore's team is 'excellent', 'very professional' and provides 'high-quality advice'. It advises high- and medium-high-net-worth families, farm and estate owners and business people on the range of private client matters including tax planning, trust management and contentious probate matters. It frequently deals with complex business structures and estates which include overseas assets. The 'practical and service-oriented' Nicola Plant heads the group and Helen Stewart focuses on probate issues and is noted by a client for having 'a knowledgeable and friendly approach in dealing with emotional issues'. Stuart Goodbody leads on trust management work and Mark Politz, who is 'bright and perceptive', heads the tax planning practice. Tax expert Christopher Walkeris 'very approachable and always provides clear, unambiguous advice'.

Adams & Remers has 'an outstanding personal tax, trust and probate department'. The team advises on the gamut of private client work, including taxation and complex trust matters which frequently involve issues of domicile and overseas assets as well as Court of Protection cases. Practice head Bibi Fortin Lees 'provides a Rolls-Royce service which the best known firms in London would find hard to match'. Other noted practitioners include Francis Nation-Dixon, who is 'very knowledgeable about anything legal with financial or trust complications', and Simon Mitchell. 'Solution-driven' consultant Amanda Epstein joined the team from Coole Bevis LLP in September 2017.

asb law LLP acts for a wide range of clients including business owners and wealthy families and individuals and is known for its experience in advising both residential and commercial property investors on tax issues. The team assists clients with complicated trusts and estates, succession and tax planning, asset protection and wills and probate matters. It works with corporate and other colleagues as needed. Ellen Lambert heads the department, Glen Miles has a focus on assisting vulnerable people, including advising on Court of Protection applications and deputyships, and associates Eleanor Gadd and Lana Fodor are other key practitioners.

Barlow Robbins LLP 's team is valued for its 'high level of efficiency, communication skills and for providing value for money'. The team, which operates from the firm's offices in Surrey, provides a comprehensive private client service ranging from contentious probate and trust matters and Court of Protection work to estate and tax planning and estate administration. It acts for UK and overseas high-net-worth individuals, and frequently advises on matters involving assets in other jurisdictions. Practice head Tim Adams is 'very approachable, experienced and astute and highly accomplished at getting the job done'. Senior associates Samantha King, Jeremy Duffy and Scott Taylor are other names to note.

The team at Brachers is 'knowledgeable and professional' and provides 'pragmatic' advice. The group acts for an impressive range of clients including high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as business-, landed- and agricultural estates owners. It handles the gamut of advisory and contentious matters pertaining to tax and succession planning and the administration of estates and family trusts. Christopher Eriksson-Lee, who heads the department, is 'very client focused and easy to work with and is alive to the issues that matter most'. Other key names include consultant Simon Palmer, senior associates Justine Sloover and Mary Rimmer and Deborah Cain, who joined in April 2017 from Griffith Smith LLP and heads the firm’s contentious trust and probate department. Solicitor Amy Lane is 'personable, empathetic, professional and thoroughly effective'.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP's team, which is 'approachable and highly skilled', provides a full service private client offering. In addition to its expertise in contentious and non-contentious trusts, estates, tax planning and wealth preservation, it can also draw on the firm's real estate, family and corporate experts as needed. Practice head Sally Ashford is noted for her  'excellent client skills' and 'for working extremely hard to get the right results for her clients and for being a pleasure to work with'. Duncan Elson, who heads the litigation and dispute resolution team, handles a range of complex trusts and estates disputes. Richard Honey, who is noted for handling highly complex estate matters in an 'extremely effective and timely' manner, and Gareth Walliss are other key team members,

Coole Bevis LLP's team 'is great to work with - efficient and knowledgeable' and 'wants to ensure the best outcomes' for clients. Private client practice head Jenny Murphy has a specialism in Court of Protection work, Richard Bates is 'diligent and meticulous' and provides 'considered and pragmatic advice', Catherine Fromant is 'personable' and Alex Bowers is also noted. The team advises on the full range of private client matters including high-net-worth estate and tax planning and multi-jurisdictional estate administration with clients ranging from individuals to companies and not-for-profit organisations.

Lorna Fairbairn leads the team at DMH Stallard LLP, which is particularly noted for its 'responsive' partners and for providing 'value for money'. Fairbairn's broad expertise spans the drafting of wills and estate planning and advising families and business owners on safeguarding their business assets. The team also handles probate issues, the creation and administration of trusts and Court of Protection work. Claire Carberry, Bryan Dean and Michael Derrick are other key practitioners. Senior associate Fiona Higgott is 'very responsive' and 'is able to  think outside the box when required'.

Furley Page Solicitors' team provides 'incisive and straightforward advice'. The team undertakes estate planning, the management of trusts, and Court of Protection matters. Recent work includes advising on various commercial property issues relating to a development and foreign assets pertaining to an estate where all of the estate had been left on a discretionary trust basis. The team is also handling complex probate cases and a range of tax issues. Harvey Barrett heads the group, and Aaron Spencer and Sarah Bogard are other key names. Associate Joshua Williams is 'able to convey technical information to clients in a way that engages with them, rather than baffles them with technical jargon'. Alexandra Gordon, who is dual qualified- she is also a chartered tax adviser, is 'a go-to contact and a fountain of knowledge'. 

Irwin Mitchell's team, which is based across the firm's Chichester and Crawley offices, is, according to one client, 'highly skilled, professionally innovative, reactive and proactive'. The group advises business owners and wealthy individuals on succession planning, wealth preservation and a full range of tax advice. It advises on a broad range of trust matters including creation, restructuring and administration and also has expertise in pension death benefit issues. Michael Taylor heads the department; Caroline Shelton is noted for 'her intellect, total attention to detail and creative suggestions and advice'; Anthony Nixon 'has a wealth of experience and can immediately grasp the issue at hand and provides clear and practical advice'; and Darran Fawcett heads the trust administration and compliance team. Senior associate Vicky Day is 'a highly intelligent lawyer who is on top of the latest changes in legislation but also has the ability to deliver technical and legal situations in plain English'.

The sizeable team at Morrisons Solicitors LLP is led by Holly Chantler and also includes Jane Forbat,  Kellie Williams-Jauvel and Christopher Hughes. It undertakes the full range of private client work with a strong focus on assisting elderly and vulnerable clients and Court of Protection work. In addition to drafting and administering trusts and wills, the team also advises on succession planning, the protection of UK and overseas assets and the mitigation of tax.

The 'excellent' team at Penningtons Manches LLP is 'prompt to respond and compassionate in its interactions with beneficiaries' and has 'a wide area of expertise with specialists in all required sectors'. Guildford-based Liz Garvey, who heads the team, is also a director of PennTrust, he firm's trust management company, and frequently acts as a trustee on large family trusts. Senior associates Cecelia Ward and Hannah Gearey, who is valued for 'keeping on top of many areas of business', are other names to note. The team was further boosted by the arrival of senior associate Elizabeth Nicholas, who joined from Macfarlanes LLP in January 2017. The group handles complicated cases involving family and business trusts, wills and probate matters and unusual Court of Protection cases. 

TWM Solicitors LLP is 'superb' and has 'a high-quality team' that includes 'clear and accurate' communicators that provide an 'excellent' service. It assists local families, business owners, entrepreneurs and land owners with issues of wills, the administration of trusts and estates, often with international complications, as well as Court of Protection matters. Practice head Allison Crossman provides 'clear and sound advice on sensitive family matters' and Nigel Harding is another key name. Senior associate David Lunn is noted for his ability to 'interpret clients' wishes and affairs in a sympathetic and understanding manner'. The group is also able to draw on the specialist expertise of two chartered tax advisers, Caroline Foulger and Stephanie Sharpe; the latter heads the tax department.

The team at Batchelors provides an 'overall level of service that is really excellent'. It assists families, business people, executors and trustees with all aspects of probate, intestacy, trusts, lasting and general powers of attorney and tax planning. It deals with a variety of disputes concerning the validity of wills including contested statutory wills. The group also undertakes Court of Protection applications. Nick Stotesbury and Sarah Hickey, who, according to one client, 'conducted matters with dignified professionalism and provided objective, balanced and extremely well-informed advice', jointly head the team. Edward White 'has deep, comprehensive knowledge and always gives meaningful and accurate advice and recommendations' and assistant solicitor Annmarie Jones is also noted.

Lesley Rushton, who is 'wholeheartedly recommended for her depth of knowledge and her tact and discretion', heads the private client team at Girlings, which provides a 'fantastic' service. The team's expertise spans wealth preservation and tax advice; drafting of wills; estate administration and probate matters. Clients range from entrepreneurs and landowners to individuals. The firm also has a  dedicated Court of Protection team that offers assistance to vulnerable clients. Other key practitioners include Charlotte Nock, Chris Neeve  and Amanda Wilson. Tax expert Joanne Beale joined the team in September 2017 and specialises in income and capital gains tax matters. Managing partner Andrew Watson leads on contentious probate issues.

Griffith Smith LLP's team advises a range of high-net-worth individuals, including those with substantial farming and commercial assets, on wills, trusts, estate administration and tax planning matters including inheritance tax issues. Clients include those that are UK-domiciled with overseas assets and non-domiciled clients with assets based in England. Nadia Cowdrey heads the team, Emma Weir focuses on the protection of elderly clients and Simon Rozzier's practice spans probate work, estates with international elements and Court of Protection work. Consultant  Adrian Bell is another name to note.

The team at Herrington Carmichael LLP 'acts with great integrity and professionalism' and 'combines in-depth knowledge and precision with a very friendly, helpful manner'. The team draws on the firm's commercial, disputes and real estate expertise to advise on estate planning, trusts, wills and probate matters, as well as inheritance and capital gains tax issues. Its recent work has included an acrimonious probate dispute and handling a complex case concerning the domicile of a late client. Practice head  Anthony Tahourdin is ' very impressive' and managing partner Frankie Tierney is praised by clients for her 'knowledge and efficiency' and her ability to resolve family disputes. Other noted lawyers include Paul Denza, Minnaar Badenhorst and the 'exceptional' Andrew Smith, who specialises in Court of Protection work. Rachel Burnett is also noted for being 'very knowledgeable on trusts and the drafting of trust instruments'.

Mundays LLP fields a team of 'knowledgeable and empathetic' solicitors. It handles the full range of private client services including tax planning, estate administration, and complex trusts matters. It has expertise in advising on international tax matters and assets in overseas jurisdictions. Julie Man, who has 'incredible attention to detail and patience', heads the private wealth team and Stephen Morris leads on contentious probate work. Sarah Noake is another key team member.

Renaissance Legal is a niche private client firm that provides 'excellent' work 'within sensible time frames' and 'truly understands the issues that families come across and the challenges they face'. The group has notable expertise in the protection of disabled and vulnerable people in the context of wills, trusts and powers of attorney. The team's broad expertise covers all aspects of trusts law, estate administration, end of life care planning and related tax matters. Managing director Philip Warford is appreciated for 'his superb people management skills' and both he and Katherine Miller are 'understanding and extremely knowledgeable in their field'. Associate Clare Finn is also a key member of the team. 

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP's team combines 'good business acumen with a broad area of knowledge' and 'rates very high on the value for money chart' and is therefore 'a very effective alternative to the London firms'. It fields a number of specialist teams that focus on probate and estate administration, estate planning, tax and trusts, later life and Court of Protection matters. Max Wright is 'a first-rate lawyer and a pleasure to deal with' and is valued for his 'discretion and sensitivity' in his management of clients. Alan Foster, who leads on contested probate matters, is 'very responsive'. Ian Best and Rich Risino, who was promoted to the partnership in October 2017, are also key practitioners.

Elliot Lewis leads the team at Thackray Williams LLP and frequently advises on complex wills for high-profile, business and other high-net-worth clients. The team assists with tax planning, especially inheritance tax, trusts, will structures and intestacy matters, which frequently involve property and other assets located overseas. Zahra Kanani, Anthony Macey and Claire Lovis are other core team members.

The 'excellent' team at Warners Solicitors provides a comprehensive private client service encompassing estate planning, tax planning, the creation and administration of trusts, and power of attorney and Court of Protection matters. In addition to acting for high-net-worth individuals and families, the team includes specialists who can assist elderly and vulnerable people, including with obtaining deputyship orders. Mary Shaw heads the group and Philip Raggett is acknowledged as an expert on tax planning, especially inheritance tax and matters related to trusts. Gail Hall has broad private client expertise and is noted for 'having an extremely good way of dealing with clients and providing advice in a way that is clear and understandable'.


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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Blandy & Blandy LLP's¬†private client team gives a ‚Äėvery good level of service‚Äô and is highly regarded for its work in wills and estate administration, trust and estate planning, tax, and powers of attorney, while recently expanding its ability to service Court of Protection matters with the hire of specialist solicitor Jemma Pyne¬†from Slater and Gordon. Firm managing partner and team head¬†Jonathan Gater¬†has been instructed on a number of complex estate administrations, as well as continuing to assist with Court of Protection matters. Caroline Casagranda¬†advises on tax planning, wills, probate and estate administration. Casagranda‚Äôs recent highlights include acting on the administration of an estate passing to a minor beneficiary and advising on the effects of lifetime gifts for inheritance tax purposes, co-ordinating her advice with that of Australian lawyers and UK accountants. Other important figures for the team are consultant and tax and estate planning expert Graham Benwell¬†and dispute resolution solicitor and notary public Philip D'Arcy¬†for contentious probate instructions.

‚ÄėLeaders in their field‚Äô, the private client team at Boodle Hatfield LLP¬†has an ‚Äėexcellent offering‚Äô with ‚Äėa particularly collegiate approach to working‚Äô. The team is primarily known for its work with landed estates, family businesses and offshore trusts on complex succession arrangements and tax planning, frequently of a multi-jurisdictional nature. Oxford office head Fiona Graham¬†(‚Äėengaging, with an eye for detail‚Äô) advises a range of UK and non-UK domiciled high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) on tax, trust and succession matters, and has been advising a valuable landed estate in the South West on a strategic tax plan for the estate following the death of its patriarch. Natasha Hassall¬†(‚Äėvery competent, with very clear thinking and good technical and client skills‚Äô) advises on long-term estate planning and has niche expertise in assisting with heritage property issues, with a recent highlight seeing her advise the trustees of a major estate on a complex strategic restructuring, which required complex analysis of various reliefs and considerations as to valuation. Senior associate Eleanor Sepanski¬†has expertise in charity matters, offshore structures, and cross-border tax and estate planning, and receives a considerable number of referrals from US law firms.

The ‚Äėoutstanding‚Äô team at Field Seymour Parkes LLP¬†possesses experts in wills and estate planning, estate administration, trust administration and Court of Protection issues. Practice head Sue Vandersteen¬†advises on the preparation of wills and trusts and administration of trusts, wealth preservation, inheritance and estate planning, while also possessing experience on issues peculiar to charities, partnerships, LLPs and farming estates. The ‚Äėcompassionate, efficient, professional and approachable‚Äô Rob Crowther¬†handles tax planning for complex estates, lasting powers of attorney, estate administration and Court of Protection work, among other matters, while also specialising in contentious probate matters. Tax partner Phillipa Roles¬†works within the private client team to achieve appropriate tax planning solutions for business owners and corporate clients. Other key team members include consultant Katherine Riley, senior associate Mandy Clarke¬†and associates Caroline Whitaker¬† and Jasmine Walsh.

Freeths LLP¬†has a ‚Äėhugely experienced and knowledgeable team, but without the expense of a London firm‚Äô; it is renowned for its advice on trusts and tax for HNWIs, complex probate and trust administration, and Court of Protection matters, among others. National private client practice head Nigel Roots¬†‚Äėruns a team of excellent individuals who deliver great results‚Äô, with his time split between the firm‚Äôs Oxford and London offices, acting for major educational institutions, landed estates and clients requiring multi-jurisdictional advice. Oxford office private client head Jane Maitland¬†‚Äėis experienced and gives sound practical advice‚Äô, acting for HNWIs, company directors, farmers and academics on estate planning, as well as acting as executor and trustee of estates and trusts and as a court-appointed administrator in contested estates. Managing partner Sarah Foster¬†is highly recommended for contentious trust and probate work.

Blake Morgan LLP¬†handles a broad range of succession and tax services out of its Oxford office, assisting clients with inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning, high-value estate administrations, and complex will drafting, and advising owner-managed businesses on the link between their business interests and family affairs. The team also specialises in applications for grants of representation. James Greig¬†specialises in trusts, high-end probate and inheritance tax planning, with niche areas of specialism including section 11 IHTA maintenance trusts and advice on the restructuring and termination of trusts. ‚ÄėVery thorough and efficient‚Äô associate Alison Craggs¬†leads the Oxford wills team, while senior associate Kate Allred¬†and associates¬†Philip Allen¬†and Kathryn Woodward¬†are other important team members. Solicitor Robert Mulvany¬†recently joined from Morrisons Solicitors LLP.

The 'excellent' Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors¬†has ‚Äėexceptional industry knowledge‚Äô and is ‚Äėconsistent in its service delivery, with no surprises or missed deadlines‚Äô. ‚ÄėKnowledgeable and helpful‚Äô head of tax planning, wills and probate¬†Peter McGowan's 'approach is sensible, straightforward and thorough'. McGowan specialises in inheritance and capital gains tax planning, will drafting and all aspects of trust and estate administration, and has a significant involvement with the firm‚Äôs specialist contentious inheritance team. Stephanie Rose¬†specialises in wills, probate and estate planning, with further expertise in advising clients on eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare and local authority-funded care, and is recommended as ‚Äėcourteous, helpful, professional and efficient‚Äô.

‚ÄėVery knowledgeable and efficient‚Äô senior associate¬†Caroline Van Zyl¬† heads¬†Penningtons Manches LLP's¬†Oxford office private client and tax team and specialises in all matters relating to estate planning, succession, tax and trusts. Van Zyl receives a considerable number of instructions from clients with overseas interests or foreign domicile considerations. Senior associate¬†Louise Lewis¬†joined the firm in May 2017 from¬†Blake Morgan LLP¬†and holds detailed knowledge of complex estate and trust administration and tax planning, while also receiving instructions to draft wills, set up trusts and put in place powers of attorney. Associate¬†Iain Managhan¬†is noted for his advice on mental capacity issues, with recognition for his expertise as a member of STEP‚Äôs global steering committee for mental capacity.

The 'excellent'¬†Royds Withy King¬†team is headed by the ‚Äėthoughtful and helpful‚Äô¬†Tom Gilman,¬†who is recommended for his ‚Äėexcellent advice‚Äô and ‚Äėvery good client manner‚Äô. Gilman principally advises on estate planning for private individuals and families and on complex trust structures, while also acting for the trustees of local hospice Helen & Douglas House. Associate¬†Jan Tyley¬†has experience in offshore tax and trust structures, particularly in US-related matters. ‚ÄėPerceptive and personable‚Äô¬†¬†Bridget Maier¬†‚Äėgrasps complex matters swiftly and is very good at dealing with challenging family situations‚Äô. Solicitors¬†Chris Wilson¬†and¬†Ellen Boesen¬†are other names of note at the firm.

The 'first-class' Spratt Endicott¬†provides an ‚Äėexemplary‚Äô service, with ‚Äėexcellent knowledge and appropriateness of advice‚Äô. ‚ÄėExperienced‚Äô managing director David Endicott¬†‚Äėhas a fantastic understanding of private client issues and tax‚Äô, and gives ‚Äėclear and simple answers, with a lack of legal jargon when responding to technical questions‚Äô. Endicott deals with high-value and complex instructions relating to wills, trusts, charities and personal tax for a broad range of clients. Director Lucy Gordon¬†is ‚Äėknowledgeable and very prompt with her advice and delivery‚Äô, with ‚Äėextremely good client-facing skills‚Äô. Gordon spends a significant part of her time focusing on elderly client law. Tom McInerney¬†leads the team in Bicester and is ‚Äėextremely personable‚Äô. Solicitor Emma Rolfe¬†recently joined the team in the firm‚Äôs Bicester office, having previously been with Campbell Law Solicitors.

Providing ‚Äėsuperb advice‚Äô, the members of the team at¬†Boyes Turner¬†are recommended by one client as ‚Äėprobably the most understanding, amenable and efficient, dedicated, diligent and competent practitioners we could have asked for‚Äô.¬†Paul Lowery¬†heads the wealth protection practice at the firm, while¬†Ruth Meyer¬†leads the Court of Protection group. Lowery is supported by associate¬†Sophie Martin, whose ‚Äėstrength is her depth of knowledge and her personality; nothing is too much trouble for her‚Äô. Recent work for the department includes advising on wills, estate administration and domicile issues.

With ‚Äėvery capable, experienced and competent staff‚Äô, Gardner Leader LLP¬†is recommended for its ‚Äėquick response times‚Äô and ‚Äėpersonal and friendly touch‚Äô. Practice head Jolyon Barton¬†has a broad practice, advising on inheritance tax and capital gains tax mitigation, wills drafting, trust creation, Court of Protection matters and powers of attorney. The ‚Äėvery friendly, knowledgeable, calm and excellent with clients‚Äô Robert Jobson¬†advises on all aspects of inheritance planning, and regularly assists with the establishment of new trusts and the administration of existing trusts. Penny Wright¬†has ‚Äėan incredible depth of knowledge and a wealth of experience‚Äô, which includes wills, probate, charitable trusts, and complex international estates and domicile issues. Wright and senior associate Niamh Minihane¬†are the key contacts for mental capacity matters. The team was strengthened in 2017 by the hire of senior associates Marie Verney¬†and Richard Mead. Senior associate David Finnerty¬†is noted for his specialism in assisting clients with questions surrounding their digital assets.

The 'exemplary'¬†Herrington Carmichael LLP¬†private client team provides ‚Äėan outstanding level of service with prompt signposting and referrals to other team members as required‚Äô. Areas of specialisation for the practice include estate administration, lifetime tax and estate planning, and work with elderly and vulnerable clients, including Court of Protection matters. ‚ÄėVery impressive‚Äô practice head¬†Anthony Tahourdin¬†provides ‚Äėtimely, detailed, relevant and helpful responses‚Äô, while being ‚Äėvery friendly and approachable‚Äô. Litigator¬†Robert Syms¬†joined the practice in June 2017, bringing experience of applications for substitution or replacement of executors, claims under the Inheritance Act, and advice on mental capacity and undue influence issues in connection with wills. Senior solicitor¬†Paul Denza¬†specialises in detailed advice on complex tax and trust problems. Solicitors¬†Andrew Smith¬†and¬†Faye Smith, both¬†‚Äėdependable and trustworthy professionals‚Äô, are noted.

‚ÄėAlways keeping the client informed‚Äô,¬†Irwin Mitchell¬†offers ‚Äėcourteous, appropriate, prompt and efficient service‚Äô with ‚Äėtransparent costings‚Äô. Practice head¬†Sarah Phillips¬†‚Äėis the consummate professional with the bonus of a caring nature‚Äô. Phillips specialises in advising business owners, entrepreneurs and other individuals on complex wealth preservation, taxation and succession considerations.¬†Andrew Parry¬†joined the practice from¬†Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans¬†and leads on a number of matters for landed estates requiring tax planning considerations alongside colleagues in the firm‚Äôs property, company/commercial and family law teams. Senior associate¬†Stewart Stretton-Hill¬†specialises in mental capacity matters, advising attorneys and deputies on relevant tests, applicable duties and powers under the Mental Capacity Act¬†and Court of Protection applications.

The 'efficient and well-run' Brethertons LLP¬†‚Äėgoes that extra mile dealing with sensitive matters‚Äô. Daniel Boyle¬†joined the firm in August 2017 as wills, trusts and probate area practice head. Boyle has a particular interest in lifetime tax planning and a background in advice to farming families and lifetime inheritance tax planning with property, while also handling Court of Protection and professional trusteeship matters. Senior associate Emma Stewart¬†('professional, yet friendly') and associate Sophie Wales¬†are both noted.

The specialisms of the Pitmans LLP¬†private client team include advice to wealthy families on UK and offshore assets and trusts, complex probates, insurance and pensions-based trust/tax advice and planning, probates with Inheritance Tax Act claims over land, and estates with real property and other assets in several jurisdictions. The practice is led by the ‚Äėparticularly knowledgeable and very experienced‚Äô David Ainslie,¬†who is singled out for inheritance tax, succession planning and other private client matters. Sheilagh Magee¬†specialises in complex UK and cross-border probates, with one notable instruction seeing her handling the UK probate for a former pop star with a California will and trust conflicting with a UK will. Alexander Morgan,¬†recently promoted to senior associate, specialises in will drafting, complex inheritance tax returns and administering estates.

Shoosmiths LLP¬†acts for a range of clients on trusts and estate planning instructions, including business owners, sports personalities and wealthy individuals, while notably being seen as the ‚Äúgo to‚ÄĚ adviser for high-value lottery winners.¬†Melissa Maple¬†divides her team between the firm‚Äôs Reading and London offices and heads the firm‚Äôs wealth protection team in the South, advising farming, agricultural, business and entrepreneurial clients on estate, succession and tax planning. Charlotte Dunn¬†heads the firm's national wealth protection practice.

‚ÄėOutstanding‚Äô niche private client firm¬†The Burnside Partnership¬†advises on wills, trusts, probate, inheritance tax planning, estate administration, powers of attorney, deputyships and Court of Protection matters; its practitioners are recommended as ‚Äėexperts in their field, providing high-quality advice‚Äô. Name partner and founder Anna Burnside¬†‚Äėis calm, thorough and knowledgeable‚Äô, with ‚Äėa very high level of legal expertise, combined with practical common sense and flexibility‚Äô. Burnside and Fiona Wheeler¬†(‚Äėa pleasure to work with‚Äô) are cited as having ‚Äėclient service which is second to none; every client is valued equally and treated with sensitive and genuine compassion‚Äô.


Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

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

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 david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Boodle Hatfield LLP's agriculture and estates team is 'a leader in its field'. It provides 'top-quality, practical and user-friendly advice' to high-net-worth individuals and landowners (including more than 80 landed estates) on the full range of agricultural and rural business matters. The practice has been particularly active in providing advice to young entrepreneurial heirs and owners of landed estates on tax-efficient business ventures, and continues to provide probate, tax structuring, succession planning and rural conveyancing advice. The 'excellent' Fiona Graham handles a wide array of work for UK and non-UK domiciled high-net-worth individuals; her recent work includes advising a landed estate in the Home Counties on a change of trustees and the introduction of a nominee structure to administer the land and make it less onerous to change the trustees in the future, as well as advising on the tax structuring of development land on the edge of the estate to ensure it is kept in trust for the benefit of the owners' children. Natasha Hassall's expertise covers asset protection and devolution issues, capital tax planning, and advice related to onshore and offshore trusts, tax planning and wills.

Cripps LLP is widely regarded as a 'go-to firm for agriculture and estates work', with the practice providing 'an excellent, fast and reliable service' to a number of high-net-worth individuals and landed estates. It handles a wide range of agricultural and rural issues, from buying and selling farms, to handling issues involving rights of way, development, options and overage agreements, to stamp duty land tax. Key figures include the 'hugely experienced' Sally Firby (who 'will not stop until the job is done'); Darren Philpot, whose 'care and attention cannot be faulted - he is always at the end of the phone to answer any questions'; and Nick Fagg, who joined in September 2017 from Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP.

Freeths LLP attracts praise for its 'excellent grasp of agricultural law', with clients singling out practice head Iain Davis ('approachable, very knowledgeable and supremely efficient'), Samantha Leigh ('highly knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile') and the 'hugely efficient' Sarah Duffy as key figures among the sizeable team. Also recommended are tax, probate and trusts specialist Jane Maitland, Balvinder Jaj, who is noted for his focus on greenfield and brownfield site developments and agricultural lending, and Lesley Pollock, who specialises in the acquisition and disposal of country houses. In an illustration of the practice's agricultural property expertise, Duffy led the team assisting with a grant of promotion agreement over 25 acres of land near Didcot, Oxford, as well as acting on the acquisition of adjoining land and the negotiation and grant of an option agreement with the county council in respect a school expansion site. In another highlight, Leigh assisted the trustees of a landed estate with the letting of a listed manor house, including advising on the consequences of the removal of the land from a stewardship scheme and sale of entitlements.

Irwin Mitchell's agriculture and estate practice 'has emerged as a leader in this field in the South East', with clients singling out practice head James Pavey for his ability to combine 'a fantastic eye for detail, strong strategic and tactical nous, and a passion for client care'. The practice, which is formed of the merged teams from legacy firms Thomas Eggar and Berkeley Law, comprises  specialists who act for private, commercial and institutional clients in the rural sector, including 38 landed and agricultural estates on the full range of agricultural matters, from high-value tax planning advice to routine property management work. Recent highlights include acting for Denbies Wine Estate on the sale of development land forming part of a large rural estate; and advising a registered charity on the sale of a 15th century listed house in 22 acres of parkland, which involved handling planning issues related to its listed status and compliance with the Charities Act regarding the surveyor's report. Pavey's expertise encompasses public and private law advice on behalf of rural landholdings, high-net-worth individuals and institutional landowners. Also recommended are Iain MacLeod, who acts for large estates as well as smaller estates and farms; James Letchford, who relocated to the firm's Gatwick office in 2017 and acts for landowners in development matters; Andrew Parry, who has significant expertise in lifetime and post-death tax and succession planning; and senior associate Nicola Gooch, who handles rural planning and environmental matters.

'A market leader in the field', Warners Solicitors is 'a professional, friendly firm whose staff are knowledgeable and trustworthy'. Headed by Steve Colville, the agriculture and estates practice handles the full range of work in this area, from advice on the purchase and sale of farms, estates and grouse moors, and landlord and tenant work involving rural property, farms and estates, to contentious work including disputes of sporting rights, boundaries and other land disputes. It also has unique expertise in criminal and regulatory work affecting farms and estates, including defending against wildlife, farming, shooting and hunting related investigations and prosecutions. Recent work includes acting for a master of the Crawley and Horsham Hunt who was prosecuted under the Public Order Act following alleged threats towards a high-profile hunt saboteur. Criminal and regulatory law specialist Tim Ryan led on that matter and is recommended alongside disputes specialist Michael McNally and associate Samantha Bradburne.

Birkett Long LLP is praised for its 'broad and deep experience and expertise', which makes its agriculture and estates team 'as good and in many cases better than others in the region'. The practice is headed by the 'very knowledgeable and helpful' Caroline Dowding, who 'finds exactly the right balance between professionalism and approachability'; she has wide-ranging expertise covering taxation, succession planning, partnership agreements, powers of attorney, and trusts and probate. Other key figures include the 'extremely thorough' Emma Coke, who is noted for her track record handling agriculture-related transactions; Bruce Ballard, who advises individuals on tax planning; and Katie Gibson-Green. The practice continued to act in a dispute related to a historic agricultural tenancy regulated under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, which settled in mid-2017 with consent to assign negotiated on behalf of the client and the landlord conceding its proprietary estoppel claim.

Birketts LLP's agriculture and estates team acts for farmers and landowners on freehold sales and purchases, agriculture and commercial diversification, tenancy issues, renewable energy projects, family business structuring, partnerships, and wills, trusts and estate planning. Jack Royall heads the practice and handles an array of property-related work, including landlord and tenant matters, as well as land acquisitions and disposals and advice on renewable energy projects. Other key figures include Annabelle Rout, whose expertise encompasses refinancings and agricultural tenancy work, among other property-related matters; and Leo McMahon, who is noted for his focus on farming partnership matters.

Blake Morgan LLP's team handles the full gamut of agricultural law issues for national and local clients including families with landed estates, landowners, farmers, agricultural businesses and a variety of trusts, partnerships, corporate bodies and institutions involved in the rural sector. Areas of expertise include tax and trust advice; strategic planning and restructuring; advice relating to renewable energy projects; assisting with employment issues including contract farming agreements and farm business tenancies; rural land issues, including equine property; and advising farmers and rural landowners on development issues. Oliver Sowton heads the practice, which includes Caroline Lindon-Morris.

Brachers' 'knowledge of agricultural matters is very good - the team always responds quickly with appropriate technical and pragmatic advice'. The firm has longstanding relationships with clients including Hadlow College, East Malling Trust, Kent County Agricultural Society and landowning families, for which it handles overage, conditional contracts and promotion agreements, among other matters. headed by the 'very knowledgeable' Sarah Webster, the practice was strengthened by the recruitment of Deborah Cain from Griffith Smith LLP, Mary Rimmer from Stephens & Son incorporating Parry's & Baillie, and Emma Harris from asb law LLP. Christopher Eriksson-Lee is also recommended.

Furley Page Solicitors' agriculture and estates team is rated by clients for is industry knowledge, which enables it to 'rapidly get up to speed when faced with novel challenges - advice is thorough and well considered, with appropriate consideration given to clients' concerns'. Senior associate and practice head Ethan Desai is singled out for his 'thorough and perceptive approach'; he acts for agricultural and rural clients in general property matters, and is noted for his renewable energy and development expertise. He works alongside Christopher Wacher to handle a range of agricultural diversification matters, including advice on land promotion agreements and other residential development opportunities. Recent highlights include acting for TG1 Holding on its acquisition of Thanet Growers Three, which involved advising on a complex title relating to the UK's largest greenhouse complex, located in north Kent.

Knights is 'a solid and well-established performer' in the agriculture and rural sector, with clients singling out the practice for its experience in defending agricultural occupiers - 'whether the issue be related to planning permission, compulsory or private acquisition, nuisance, alternative energy proposals or bad neighbour development, the firm is a focused and efficient provider of specialist advice to the agricultural sector'. Name partner Matthew Knight is 'a very experienced, well-informed and urbane operator who inspires client confidence'; he works alongside the 'meticulous, clear and thorough' Peter Burfoot, who 'brings a sensible approach to difficult cases'. The practice's clients include the National Farmers' Union, Tenant Farmers' Association and the National Gamekeepers' Organisation, for which it operates legal helplines for its members. Recent work includes acting for Hook & Son in a dispute with Southern Water concerning its right to cut off a sewerage connection for the disposal of effluence from farm buildings owned by the client.

Moore Blatch LLP fields a 'very knowledgeable' rural services team that provides 'good, honest advice, delivered with impartiality and that can be trusted as correct'. Headed by Edward Whittington ('pleasant to work with, able to navigate his way through any problem, and with integrity by the bucketload'), the practice handles the full range of agricultural law matters, with an emphasis on assisting landowners with the sale of land to developers. Other areas of work handled by the team in 2017 included agricultural tenancy advice, tax and trusts advice, employment advice, and inheritance tax succession issues. Philip Whitcomb and Sarah Jordan are also recommended.

Spratt Endicott's agricultural law team is praised for its 'efficient and professional' service and for its ability to 'meet all deadlines and go beyond the call of duty at times when required'. The practice is headed by Christopher Goldingham, who is noted for his 'calm, ordered approach and excellent advice'. Goldingham's expertise covers all aspects of agricultural law, as well as property development matters. Other key figures include David Endicott, who is 'truly outstanding within his field'.

Tees Law is noted for its 'strong presence in the region and good depth within the team'. Headed by the 'effective, pro-active and user-friendly' David Miller, the practice handles a wide-ranging workload (covering acquisition and disposal of farm land and estates, tenancy advice under the Agricultural Holdings Act and Farm Business Tenancy regimes, and strategic land arrangements, among other matters) for private landowners and family-owned agricultural businesses both small and large. It also acts for a number of agricultural bodies, including the National Farmers' Union and Country Land and Business Association. In an illustration of the firm's track record handling farm sales and acquisitions, Miller acted alongside Sarah Pateman on the purchase of more than 290 acres of land in Cambridgeshire, which involved advising on overages for the benefit of DEFRA and the transfer of Basic Payment Scheme entitlements including a retention provision and re-letting of the land under a new farm business tenancy. Also recommended are Govan Bramley, who regularly advises landowners on strategic land agreements.

Woodfines LLP attracts praise for its 'practical advice and ability to meet essential deadlines'. The firm's multi-disciplinary team handles the full range of issues for rural and farming clients, from commercial, rural and agricultural land matters, to providing tax, trusts and probate advice. Key figures include agriculture and rural property head Charlotte Benjamin, who regularly handles agricultural land sales and purchases, as well as diversification matters; John Egan, who heads the family department practice and acts for high-net-worth individuals in financial claims, often involving substantial estates; and Stephen Patch, who joined the firm in 2017 from Taylor Vinters.

Adams & Remers fields a team of 'exceptionally knowledgeable and skilful agriculture and estates lawyers' who are 'all easy to work with, helpful and reliable'. The 'no-nonsense' Katherine Haslam heads the practice, which acts for owners and managers of landed estates and farms on a range of issues, with recent growth in option and promotion agreements and refinancings. Recent work includes acting for a longstanding client on the first registration of unregistered land forming part of the Estate, which involved research into manorial rights and  manorial waste; and assisting with the purchase of farmhouse, outbuildings, cottages and farmland for the purposes of the client's new farming business. Also recommended are senior partner Robin Illingworth , who is noted for his 'common-sense approach and extensive experience', and partner James Turner , who is 'particularly good at sorting out complications in a practical and commercially viable way'.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP acts for farmers and landowners on the full range of agricultural law services, from transactional property matters to advising on tax matters and on farming regulation, subsidies and countryside stewardship. Diversification of farming activities has been a key theme over the last twelve months, with the practice assisting with sporting rights, the letting of light industrial units, the establishment of farm shops, as well as the installation of solar farms and anaerobic digesters. Recent highlights include advising on the gifting of farmland to the client's son, which was subject to agricultural property relief, as well as on the gift of a commercial yard to be held in a discretionary trust. Hazel Eccles re-joined the practice in October 2017 from Freeths LLP; she leads the agricultural team, which includes James Burgess, who has more than 30 years' experience in agricultural property matters, Sarah Wray, who acts for high-net-worth individuals and farmers on disposals and acquisitions, and Kelsie Essenhigh.

Gepp & Sons Solicitors LLP has an extensive track record advising on the development of farm land, farm tenancies, financing, property acquisitions and disposals, and rights of way issues, among other agricultural law matters. Edward Worthy is the name to note.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP has a longstanding track record advising farmers and rural business owners in Sussex, Kent and beyond on issues concerning the rural business communities in the region. Key figures include Richard Cripps, who is regularly called on to advise on issues stemming from the acquisition and sale of rural property, from secured financing transactions to shareholder and partnership agreements; and Bruce Hayter who has more than 30 years' experience working with farming clients across the South East.

Clients rate Thompson Smith and Puxon as 'a professional firm with an excellent knowledge of all matters relating to agriculture and estates', with Kerry Addison singled out for her ability to handle matters with 'the utmost tact and diplomacy'. The practice's agricultural law expertise encompasses advice on commercial and real estate issues, as well as estate planning, taxation and succession issues. In 2017, the team acted for landowners and developers on site acquisitions and disposals totalling £120m in value; assisted with agricultural tenancy matters including surrenders and regrants; and advised farmers and agribusinesses on employment issues ranging from restructuring and redundancy exercises to disciplinary procedures. Practice head Stephen Firmin 'takes the time to ensure that the client's objectives are fully understood and tailors advice to achieve those objectives'.

Thomson Snell & Passmore draws on expert practitioners from across its private client department to handle the full range of commercial and residential conveyancing, corporate transactions, employment matters, and disputes for landowners, estates, landowning trusts, tenants and developers. Sue Lister heads the team and has an extensive track record handling agricultural and rural property sales and acquisitions, as well as handling farm tenancies and agreements, renewable energy leases and projects, among other matters. Other key figures include real estate expert Gilbert Green, and head of probate Helen Stewart, who regularly handles high-value estate administration matters.

Whitehead Monckton handles a range of agricultural matters, from tax and succession planning to farm acquisitions and disposals. Real estate expert Robert Coombe and tax specialist Stephen Beck are the names to note.


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