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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 West > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Next generation lawyers

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Stone King LLP’s ‘incredibly strong practice’ is best known for its work with leading cultural, arts, education and faith organisations; it acts for over 200 of the country’s largest charities including the National Trust, the British Heart Foundation, the Stroke Association and the Royal Photographic Society. The team is ‘well versed in its subject matter and provides timely, detailed responses to issues raised’. Tim Rutherford, head of the national charity and social enterprise sector group, has a strong track record in advising faith organisations, particularly Roman Catholic charities. Noted for his ‘sharp, incisive mind and pertinent, focused and relevant contributions’, his highlights included assisting St Lawrence’s Hospital with deregistration from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and advising it on establishing a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) to ensure the protection of limited liability for the trustees. Highly regarded consultant Michael King is advising Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of St Martha on the civil law of the international religious orders, and the unification of the two religious orders under Roman Catholic canonical law. Senior associate Alexandra Whittaker is noted for her commitment to ‘finding a range of practical solutions that apply the"black and white" of legal advice effectively to a client’s particular situation’. Helen Tucker, who recently joined from Ashfords LLP, is also a key contact. All of the individuals mentioned above split their time between the Bath and London offices.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’ has an outstanding track record in handling complex issues such as mergers, insolvencies, group reorganisations and staff restructurings, including redundancies. It acts for an impressive list of independent schools as well as academies, however it is also very active for clients from the health and social care, faith and arts sectors, including the United Reformed Church Retired Ministers’ Housing Society, the Institute of Cancer Research, UCAS, Royal College of Nursing, and Prodigal Arts. The practice advises on all legal aspects related to governance, employment, property, state aid, intellectual property, data protection, commercial considerations and disputes. The highly regarded Con Alexander leads the team, which includes Emma-Jane Dalley, who specialises in advising on strategic projects and on franchise projects overseas. They both assisted St Christopher’s School (which was facing insolvency and closure of its business) in finding a solution that protects the long term future of its beneficiaries. Other highlights included acting on the restructuring of a UK charity by migrating it from the UK to another EU country and advising the National Star Foundation on the acquisition of a care home. Clients praise the team for its ‘quick response times’ and ‘excellent in-depth understanding of the sector’. Senior associate Rachel Tonkin, who has notable experience in incorporating existing charities and creating new ones, is also a key contact.

Salisbury-based firm Wilsons acts for a broad range of not-for-profit organisations in a variety of sectors, including schools, armed forces and care homes. It advises on legacy administration issues, including ex gratia claims and dealing with difficult executors, and assists charities with probates as well as estate and trust administration. Peter Jeffreys specialises in charity legacy administration and the resolution of troubled estates for charities. He also represents charities in Court of Protection cases. Recent highlights include successfully defending claims against estates on behalf of a number of charities.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is particularly active in trustee liability and Charity Commission matters. The group is praised for its ‘quick response times’, ‘excellent charity governance knowledge’ and ‘practical as well as commercial advice’. Julia Cox successfully advised the prospective trustees of a new charitable trust with their application to the Charity Commission, while Christopher Page (who splits his time between London and Cheltenham) assisted an educational charity with re-mortgaging and securing a multimillion-pound loan against charity land, also acting on the redevelopment and sale of land. Another recent highlight saw the team representing a national charity in a contractual dispute with an IT and electronic system provider. Penelope Byatt, a recent hire from VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards), is singled out for her ability to ‘resolve technical charity law issues quickly, sensibly and in a straightforward manner’.

Foot Anstey’s team is now led by Lucy Gill following the departure of James Evans who joined Tozers Solicitors LLP in January 2017. The group’s strength lies in legacy administration expertise, advising clients such as Scope and Age UK. Gill advised The Brooke on its appointment as executor to two estates and assisted Truro High School for Girls with the establishment of a trading subsidiary through which the school plans to channel its commercial letting of facilities. Other instructions include a will validity claim, the removal of the executor of an estate, and a misleading and false report dispute. Anna Phillips is advising Broadway Lodge on a number of matters related to the provision of addiction treatment services. Eden Project, Royal Shakespeare Company and Family Action are other clients.

Michelmores LLP has ‘genuine charity expertise’, especially in the education and faith spaces, and is particularly strong in property-related matters. Exeter-based disputed wills team head Tony Cockayne defended a charity in a claim which was brought by the children of a deceased parent regarding the deceased’s estate which was left to the charity. Senior associate Barny Croft specialises in legacy-related disputes where he acts for charities as well as individuals. He also recently assisted a well-known charity with its restructuring process aimed at maximising available funds and prospective income streams. Associate Andrew White is ‘an accomplished and incisive lawyer’ who successfully combines a charity practice with private client work. Bristol-based Sandra Brown heads the private wealth team and advised a charity on succession planning for the retiring and new trustees, also advising its trustees on their obligations under charity law.

Devon-based firm Tozers Solicitors LLP significantly bolstered its practice with the hire in January 2017 of James Evans from Foot Anstey to co-head the team with Richard King. Evans’ expertise includes advising on mergers, collaborations, governance and constitutional matters, while King regularly handles issues relating to compliance, fundraising, legacies, property, tax and Charity Commission investigations. The group’s recent instructions include establishing a number of CIOs for Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship and advising an academy trust on the re-brokering of two schools to separate new academy sponsors. Property specialist Vernon Clarke and commercial litigator Stephen Jennings are also recommended.

Lester Aldridge LLP is singled out for its ‘timely responses’, ‘commercial and practical advice’, ‘client-focused approach’, ‘excellent knowledge of charity law’, and ‘ability to best handle the charity commission in various circumstances’. ‘Highly experienced’ practice head Geoff Trobridge has ‘a commercial outlook and direct personal experience of working at the Charity Commission’. He acted for Careway Trust on a £1.25m sale of care homes. The contentious trusts and probate team, which includes Victoria Jones, represents a number of national and regional charities in protecting their charitable legacies; recent highlights include representing a national health charity in an urgent contested statutory will application in the Court of Protection. The practice also handles mergers and restructuring projects. The British Heart Foundation, the Stroke Association and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are clients. Geoff Thomas retired in 2017.

Willans LLP’s ‘experienced’ team is now led by the commercial property specialist Nigel Whittaker with Margaret Austen moving to a consultant role. The team continues to advise a number of national and regional charities on all areas of charity law; representative clients include Shelter, Macmillan Cancer Support, Cheltenham Festivals and the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Whittaker is assisting Scope with leasehold transactions and various freehold sales, and, in a separate matter, acted on the transfer of a charity from unincorporated to charitable incorporated organisation, which involved the transfer of over 50 properties and the registration of this portfolio at the Land Registry. Senior associate Caroline Leviss joined from Stone King LLP in October 2016. Associate Alastair Garbutt is recommended for commercial property matters.

BPE Solicitors LLP acts for, among others, high-profile third sector organisations, which healthcare sector specialist Jo Bewley assists with property-related matters, and recently founded local charities. Recent highlights include advising Lilian Faithfull Homes on its acquisition of Royal Court Care, acting for Meningitis Now on contractual disputes and assisting Blue Cross on its acquisition of a new lease for an animal rehoming and advice centre. Practice head Helen Martinelli is ‘responsive and helpful’ and employment law specialist Sarah Lee ‘gives clear and considered advice’, ‘leaveing no stone unturned’.

Bond Dickinson LLP is particularly active in projects and partnerships, fundraising, trading, charitable trust issues, and providing governance advice on constitutional matters and regulatory compliance. In 2016, practice head Mark Woodward advised Hargreaves Lansdown on the formation of a charity and accompanying governance issues, and acted for the Stone Family Foundation on its incorporation from a charitable trust to a charitable company limited by guarantee. Other recent highlights include advising Bristol Charites on the acquisition of the Former Bowmead EPH site from Bristol City Council and representing a well-known charity on residential property occupation disputes. Employment specialist Tim Woodward and property litigator James Rees are other names to note.

Stephens Scown LLP’s recent instructions include advising a regional branch of a national charity on the closure of a care home operated by the charity, advising another charity on setting up a subsidiary trading company and acting for a charitable entity on the governance issues following the merger with a smaller charity. Senior associate Helen Furneaux, who heads the charities team, is ‘clearly a specialist in the charity sector’ who is noted for her ability to ‘explain complex issues in terms that can be understood’. The Jean Sainsbury Animal Welfare Trust, Charitable Giving, Cornwall Animal Hospital and Cool Earth Action are clients.

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