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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 > Wales > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1
    • Paul Lindsey - Howells Solicitors
    • Vlad MacDonald-Munteanu - Hugh James

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Rachel Morris - JCP Solicitors

One of the few firms in Wales providing a standalone contentious probate offering, Hugh James' 'talented' two-partner team has the 'depth of resources' to provide an 'excellent service' that accommodates both institutional and private client needs. The 'kind of lawyer you would recommend to a true friend in need of help', team head Roman Kubiak 'leads by example' and excels at handling high-value cross-border probate disputes. The 'outstanding' Matthew Evans regularly handles litigation within his broad-ranging private client offering; he has a particular focus on handling complex agricultural and proprietary estoppel cases. Associate Vlad MacDonald-Munteanu is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Roman Kubiak

Other key lawyers:Matthew Evans; Vlad MacDonald-Munteanu; Richard Adams; Eleanor Goodridge


Hugh James has made themselves into the leading firm for this work in south Wales, and with a national presence.

The team consistently delivers an exceptional service

Where possible the team attempts to negotiate constructively

Roman Kubiak's star continues to ascend. He is clever, knowledgeable, fiercely competitive and disarmingly charming. An exceptionally good ally and an extremely dangerous opponent.

Roman Kubiak is a well known individual who brings a clear and focused approach to the practice and makes a significant contribution to thought leadership in the industry.

The intelligent Richard Adams provides a first-class service

Eleanor Goodridge is an up and coming associate who is doing really well managing her own case load as well as being part of a team that works on the bigger cases.


Work highlights

  • The firm is advising a cohabitee in relation to an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim, interim relief and proving a lost will in an estate.
  • The firm is representing the spouse and director in relation to cross-jurisdictional trust and estate dispute.
  • Advising charitable beneficiaries regarding the construction of a conditional charitable legacy, specifically as to their right of alienation.
  • Representing adult child in claim for reasonable financial provision and on the basis of a proprietary estoppel in relation to a £500,000 bond.
  • Representing the husband of deceased in claims for reasonable financial provision and to set aside will against estate with assets in Jersey, France, Switzerland and Austria.

Berry Smith has a growing reputation for handling contentious probate work and receives a regular flow of standalone mandates, as well as referrals from other professionals, including accountants, independent financial advisors and other solicitors. 'An extremely effective litigator', Simon Care  has developed significant experience across a wide range of cases including challenging wills on the ground of capacity / want of knowledge and approval, removal of executors, estoppel claims and claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975.

Practice head(s):Simon Care and Iwan Doull

Work highlights

  • Acting for the client in an ongoing contentious probate dispute with the client’s brothers.
  • Defending two individuals, as executors and beneficiaries of the estate of their late uncle, in a threatened claim against their uncle’s estate by a third party with whom their uncle was apparently having a relationship.

Benefiting from the expertise of two partners with a real focus on contentious trusts and probate work, Howells Solicitors has an excellent reputation in the market, as is reflected by the amount of third party referrals it receives, in addition to standalone mandates from many high-net-worth south Wales-based individuals. 'Very well-respected' team head Laith Khatib has expertise across the gamut of contentious probate matters, and represents both claimants and defendants on cases involving will validity.  Paul Lindsey  also has a thriving reputation in the market and is appreciated for his ability 'to put clients at ease and to explain the process without recourse to unnecessary legalese'.

Practice head(s):Laith Khatib

Other key lawyers:Paul Lindsey


Has historic strength in the area which appears to be growing

Laith Khatib gets excellent results for his clients

Paul Lindsey is something of a rarity in this field in that he is able to advise clients in connection with both contentious and non-contentious private client matters.

The 'well-informed' team at JCP Solicitors provides 'very transparent advice' to charities and private clients on complex trust disputes, as well as challenges to the validity of wills and claims pursuant to the Inheritance Act 1975.  'Knowledgeable and hardworking' team head Richard Howells has a thriving reputation in the market and has recently generated particular market recognition for handling farming proprietary estoppel cases. As well as regularly working alongside Howells on his cases, associate Rachel Morris  has developed a particular niche for handling cohabitee trust property disputes.

Practice head(s): Richard Howells

Other key lawyers:Rachel Morris


The team provides a comprehensive service

Richard Howells is very well-informed

Richard Howells is a highly able and personable solicitor in this firm, with a good range of clients and work.

Under the guidance of associate Laura Alliss (who was recently appointed as a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists), Douglas-Jones Mercer continues to build up a thriving offering for personal representatives, trustees and beneficiaries, in their capacity as either defendants or claimants. Particular areas of expertise include advising clients on claims regarding the improper execution of wills and in relation to fraudulent wills.

Practice head(s):Laura Alliss

At Neath-based firm Hutchinson Thomas, the 'level-headed' Simon Thomas  is 'very well-respected' for his contentious probate expertise which he deploys to good effect on behalf of clients seeking to challenge the validity of a will, as well as in relation to claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975.

Practice head(s):Simon Thomas

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