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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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