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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 > West Midlands > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Jennie Wheildon - Wright Hassall LLP

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in West Midlands 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


FBC Manby Bowdler LLP¬† is known for its ‚Äėdedication to client satisfaction‚Äô, with expertise in succession planning, family law and dispute resolution. Sarah Baugh¬†co-heads the practice and focuses on property and business-based agricultural matters. Fellow practice head Steven Corfield¬†also specialises in agricultural law, with a notable skillset in restructurings, succession planning and contentious matters. Tom Devey¬†is ‚Äėextremely prompt with any requests‚Äô and possesses ‚Äėa wealth of knowledge on a broad range of land and agricultural law‚Äô.¬† Other key figures include¬†Suzanne Tucker, who is known for her ‚Äėknowledge of planning law‚Äô; town planning specialist Niall Blackie; probate claims expert Craif Ridge; and Brian Aikman, who works on agricultural litigation.

Lanyon Bowdler¬†is ‚Äėthe go-to firm in Herefordshire and surrounding areas for agricultural and private client work‚Äô, with ‚Äėan excellent client base‚Äô and ‚Äėstrong and deserved reputation‚Äô. Managing partner Brian Evans¬†leads the team and is highly experienced in agricultural disputes. Other notable names include Andrew Evans, who specialises in property matters; Andrew Pegg, who is an expert in contentious and debt recovery issues; and town and country planning expert David Brammer, who possesses ‚Äėprecise reasoning‚Äô and ‚Äėdetailed understanding‚Äô.

Lodders Solicitors LLP¬†has ‚Äėa justifiably strong reputation in agriculture and estates‚Äô and handles complex landlord and tenant matters.¬† Practice head James Spreckley¬† ‚Äėcombines detailed analysis‚Äô with ‚Äėan impressive grasp of how best to deliver key strategic objectives‚Äô. He has expertise in land acquisition and disposals, landlord and tenancy issues, and diversification matters. Jane Senior¬†is an expert in property and land disputes, who is a 'combative operator' and 'fights for her clients'. Other key figures include: property development specialist Mark Miller; tax and succession advice expert Ian Flavell; and Nick Rowe¬†, who specialises in employment and transactional matters. The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, The RD Turner Trust (Arley Estate) and Top Spec Feeds are key clients.

Wright Hassall LLP¬†is ‚Äėextremely quick‚Äô, ‚Äėpro-active‚Äô and ‚Äėutterly diligent‚Äô with ‚Äėan unrivalled knowledge around matters associated with development and reinvestment‚Äô. Paul Rice¬†¬†heads the team and is an expert in regulatory matters, particularly on the preparation for Brexit. Alex Robinson¬†heads the farm and estates group and handles non-contentious property matters,¬†¬†while Dawn Reynolds¬†focuses the contentious side.Senior associate Jennie Wheildon¬† also specialises in property and has ‚Äėan iron core‚Äô, ‚Äėa very pleasant manner‚Äô and ‚Äėwill go above and beyond for her clients and will get the deal done‚Äô. ¬†Other notable names include senior associate Tom Romecin¬†, who focuses on landlord and tenant disputes; senior associate Fiona Martin¬†, who is experienced in land agreements; and¬†Mercedes King-Jones¬†, who specialises in farming-related divorces.

Hatchers Solicitors LLP¬†is ‚Äėtraditional‚Äô, ‚Äėwell established ‚Äėand ‚Äėreliable‚Äô, with ‚Äėa broad spectrum of specialisms‚Äô. Agricultural specialist Val Edwards¬†leads the practice and has ‚Äėa ‚Äúcan do‚ÄĚ attitude‚Äô, is ‚Äėa good communicator‚Äô and ‚Äėgoes the extra mile to get the right result‚Äô. She recently advised a landed estate on the sale and distribution of land following the life tenant‚Äôs death. Property expert David Philips¬†regularly works on land acquisitions, disposals and leases. Georgia Wakeley¬†focuses on wills and probate matters and has a ‚Äėdepth of knowledge‚Äô. Matthew Bowering¬†also works on property matters and is ‚Äėpro-active‚Äô, ‚Äėa good communicator‚Äô and ‚Äėa safe pair of hands‚Äô. Helen Cowley¬†¬†is an expert in the purchase and sale of woodlands. Esther Richards¬†was recently promoted to senior associate and focuses on contentious work. Assistant solicitor Jennifer Woods¬†is also an expert in disputes.

MFG Solictors LLP¬†¬†‚Äėrepresents great value for money when judged against the quality and depth of the advice given‚Äô with significant strengths in transactions, tax, disputes, regulations, and diversification matters. Practice head Iain Morrison¬†has expertise in transactional , advisory and contentious matters, and is ‚Äėapproachable‚Äô and ‚Äėlooks to find sensible solutions to complex issues'. Property transactions specialist¬†Nick Playford¬†is ‚Äėan extremely personable and able adviser‚Äô, with ‚Äėan excellent grasp of the law‚Äô and ‚Äėcan see the practical solutions that best fit the client's situation‚Äô. Tom Bell¬†is ‚Äėhighly professional yet very approachable‚Äô and recently advised¬†Whitbourne Estate on the lease sporting rights to a third party on the client‚Äôs land. Agricultural tenancy specialist Helen Gough¬†advised on the grant of an AHA Tenancy for a farmhouse and 47.55 acres of land. Alexandra Phillips¬† is experienced in farm business and tenancy matters, and¬† ‚Äėworks tirelessly to come up with solutions‚Äô, and ‚Äėalways responds quickly and with relevant knowledge‚Äô. Agricultural solicitor Hannah Taylor¬†is regularly involved in property-related matters. She advised the Trustees of KRH James on the ¬£1.5m sale of Broadfield Court.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP¬†has ‚Äėgood common sense‚Äô and ‚Äėa pragmatic approach‚Äô with expertise in transactions, regulations, disputes, tenancies and telecoms. Practice head Peter Snodgrass¬†is ‚Äėa first class communicator‚Äô and ‚Äėalways ensures all the "t"s are crossed and the "i"s are dotted‚Äô. He is an expert in property, tenancy and partnership agreements, and recently advised National Grid on farm business tenancies and equine leases.

Ansons¬†is led by Simon James, who is ‚Äėboth knowledgeable and pragmatic in his advice‚Äô and ‚Äėalways willing to respond as quickly as possible to queries or requests‚Äô. He focuses heavily on diversification and tax planning matters. He is assisted by commercial property specialist Richard Saum¬†and private client expert Marie Tisdale. Also recommended are¬†David Anderton¬†and Neil Faunch¬†, who both work on planning and environmental law

Knights plc  is led by Kate Smith   who has notable expertise in tax and succession planning and land settlements. Brona Simmonds is also a key figure and handles mainly transactional matters.

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in West Midlands 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


Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP ' work in this sector covers regulatory, governance, employment and financing matters, with notable expertise working for national federations and sports charities. Senior associate Shivaji Shiva heads the practice and recently advised the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity on its compliance with the Code Governance Code for Sport. He also advised Cyclists’ Touring Club on its governance review and re-branding. Property specialist Dominic Curran advised Broadening Choices for Older People on refinancing two of its care homes. Anna Dabek is heavily involved in employment matters in this space, as is Matthew Wort . Other key figures include senior associate Phil Watts, who is experienced in charity law, and Edwina Turner, who is experienced in charity and corporate governance matters.

Mills & Reeve LLP is headed by Neil Burton who specialises commercial, governance and constitutional work. Principal associate Adam Williams  focuses on governance work and recently assisted Stratford Town Trust with restructuring its separate charitable entity the Arts House. Social finance expert Neil Pearson worked with Resonance on developing a new social funding model. Also recommended is pensions expert Clare Grice, who advised RSPB on its pension scheme.

VWV's  work in this space focuses predominantly on commercial and employment matters. Consultant Frances Anderson  focuses on commercial aspects relating to creative arts entities, and recently advised The Birmingham Repertory Theatre on its agreement with Birmingham City Council for the joint provision of conferencing and event services. Employment specialists Kathy Halliday  and Jane Byford  are also notable names.

Lodders Solicitors LLP is led by Mark Lewis, who has extensive experience in governance, constitutional, restructuring and general charity law. He advised Crop-Innovations on constitutional matters and the establishment of a charitable incorporated organisation. He also assisted The Grand National Archery Society on constitutional reviews to ensure its adheres to best practice in relation to UK sport. Other notable names include property specialist Steven Baker, corporate and commercial expert Victor Matts and Michael Wakeling, who focuses on dispute resolution.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP  handles a range of work for charities is particularly strong in the education sector. Stratford-based Rachel Gwynne is a key figure and is an expert in corporate and governance matters. Claire Laird in the Solihull office is also a key figure and regularly advises trustees on their requirements and duties. Birmingham-based Anne Tromans  focuses on the establishment and ongoing administration of charites.

Thursfields Solicitors is led by senior associate Jenny Smith, who has extensive experience in advising on governance and commercial issues for charities. Senior associate James Monk recently joined from Eversheds, and specialises in employment matters. Senior associate Jane Rudge is also recommended and focuses on commercial work. Deaf Direct, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Worcester Volunteer Centre are key clients.

Wright Hassall LLP  is highly active in this space with a client roster that includes Leonard Cheshire Disability, The Royal Agricultural Society of England and British Dressage. Senior associate Keith Ainsworth  is a key figure and is an expert in corporate matters. Monica Macheng  focuses on the healthcare and housing sectors and recently advised Penderels Trust on its plans to dispose two of its offices and purchase a larger single unit. Also recommended is Martin Oliver , who specialises in inheritance disputes. Prisca Bradley  has joined Hedges Law .

The core areas for Band Hatton Button LLP  in this space are charity law, employment and property. Haydn Jones  heads the team and is particularly strong on property and corporate matters.  Daniel Blood  is also a key figure and handles property and landlord and tenant issues. He also acts as a clerk for the Nicholas Chamberlaine School Foundation.

Browne Jacobson LLP¬†is led by charity law specialist Catherine Rustomji, who has extensive experience in governance and regulatory matters. She assisted The James Charities with the appointment of a corporate trustee and advised Age UK South Staffordshire on governance and constitutional matters. William Colacicchi¬†is also an expert in charity law and recently advised Baron Davenport ‚Äės Charity on the status of permanent endowment investments and options available to the trustees. Also recommended are property specialist Robert Wofinden¬†and charities solicitor Vickie Hair.

The ‚Äėexcellent‚Äô Pinsent Masons LLP¬†advises charities, universities and corporate foundations, with clients that include University of London, London School of Economics and University of Sussex. Director Chris Thomas¬†leads the team, with notable strengths in tax and governance matters. Janet Hoskin¬†is also a key name, with particular expertise in tax, governance and structuring matters.

Senior associate Malford Harris  leads the team at Thomas Horton LLP  and is an expert in charity,  corporate and commercial law. Also recommended are chairman Matthew Horton  and commercial specialist Jeff Taylor .

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in West Midlands 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


FBC Manby Bowdler LLP is 'extremely good in terms of its response times, efficiency, accessibility, subject knowledge, advice and understanding'. Craig Ridge  leads the team and is 'excellent at cutting through the family wrangling' and 'able to distill complicated factual situations into a succinct case'. Another key figure is the Telford-based family law specialist Philip Cowell , who is 'extremely efficient' and 'quick to respond' . Also recommended is associate Kimberly Mears and STEP practitioner Margaret Rowe .

MFG Solicitors LLP provides a service that is 'second to none' and specialises in probate disputes. Robert Weston  leads the team and 'is very reassuring with clients', and 'is someone who looks to find a resolution to problems'. Litigator Suzanne Lee  is 'very understanding' and provides 'a truly excellent service'. Also recommended is Robert Pearce , who is an expert in inheritance claims, and Andrew Chandler, who is 'very diligent' and has 'a good knowledge of this area'.

The 'driven' and 'professional' Sydney Mitchell LLP is led by Kamal Majevadia who is a 'caring, straight-to-the-point person' who 'tells it like it is' and 'manages your expectations'. He is particularly known for disputes on estates with a cross-border or commercial aspect. Shirley-based Tracy Creed  is also a key figure, with notable strengths in probate, trusts and estate planning.

Higgs & Sons  'very well regarded across the Midlands', with 'a team boxing well above its weight with the high quality of work being undertaken'.Julia Lowe  leads the team and specialises in contentious matters. Another key figure is Beth King-Smith , who focuses on will, trust and executor disputes, and is 'technically very good', 'smart', 'commercial', 'practical', 'savvy' and 'well-connected'. 

The 'superb' Thomas Horton LLP  is 'extremely professional and polite', focusing predominantly on probate claims and civil litigation. James Sommerville  heads the practice and is 'professional','timely','efficient','polite',' respectful' and 'very restrained'.

Irwin Mitchell  is an 'excellent practice' working on claims pertaining to will validity, construction of wills and redemption. Gavin Faber is 'an outstandingly good litigation solicitor', with 'great confidence' and 'a good eye for detail'.  He is assisted by associate solicitor Ashleigh Carr, who is 'a truly smart cookie' with 'kindness coupled with sheer brilliance'. Also recommended is Michelle Chapman who is also experienced in will,trust and estate disputes.

Knights plc is led by Jessica Neyt , who is an expert in will, trust and inheritance disputes. Other noteworthy names include: Lindsey Howland  who advises on estate and trust-related disputes and property specialist Richard Jones.

Lanyon Bowdler is led by associate Claire Vale who has a strong reputation in probate disputes, financial provision claims, applications to remove executors and rectification claims. Other key figures include assistant solicitor Jemma Land and litigation assistant Mandy Brookfield.

The 'excellent' Mills & Reeve LLP has strong expertise in will validity and inheritance claims. David Catchpole specialises in trusts and probate disputes and is known for his 'first class knowledge' and ability to 'explain things simply'.

The 'well organised' and 'forward thinking' Thursfields Solicitors¬† is led by¬†Mark Pittaway¬†¬†, who is 'approachable' 'honest' and 'uses clear English' and 'tries to keep the ‚Äúlegal jargon‚ÄĚ to a minimum'. He recently advised on a fraudulent will as well as a breach of duty against a family member. Tim Lawrence¬†advised on an inheritance act claim, estate dispute¬†and the challenging of the capacity of an individual to make a will. Civil litigation solicitor Pam Deol¬†is also recommended.

Wright Hassall LLP has an 'excellent grasp of the subject legally', 'a highly developed and successful approach to evidence gathering' and is 'utterly committed to its clients'.  Practice head Martin Oliver specialises in inheritance disputes whose 'tactical ability and commitment to achieving the optimum outcome for his clients is second to none' and his clients 'always know he is in the battle with them, shoulder to shoulder every step of the way'. Gemma Carson has extensive experience in both disputes involving  inheritance and wills. Senior associate Anna Sutcliffe focuses on contentious probate and inheritance relating to estates, and has 'an excellent analytical mind and a strong deep understanding of the law'.

Family: Birmingham

Index of tables

  1. Family: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals: 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 Family: Birmingham clients in West Midlands 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


Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP¬†¬†‚Äėundertakes the heaviest of care cases‚Äô, and is ‚Äėmarket leading matrimonial finance work.‚Äô Elizabeth Wyatt¬†heads up the private client team and has strong expertise in divorce proceedings. Jas Tamber¬†leads the children team and is an expert in complex childcare cases. Senior associate Elisabeth Howe¬†is also a key figure and has strong experience in divorce proceedings, civil partnerships and separations. Also recommended are senior associates Helen Mottram¬†and Maria Ramon¬†as well as associate Nev Zaki, who are all experts in children‚Äôs law.

Irwin Mitchell is 'a class act' with 'strength in depth across the team' and 'boasts a number of the most talented and knowledgable family lawyers in the West Midlands'. Clare Wiseman  leads the team and has 'a formidable reputation in the world of Birmingham family law'.  Her cases include representing a high profile sports professional on divorce proceedings worth an estimated £11m. Wiseman is assisted by recently promoted partner  Sarah Balfour , who is an expert in pre and post-nuptial agreements. Balfour acted before the Court of Appeal for Karen Hart in divorce proceedings over assets worth around £9m. Matrimonial specialist solicitor Mark Hands is 'extremely well organised','utterly dedicated to each case' and 'ridiculously hard-working'.

Lodders Solicitors LLP  is led by Beverley Morris, who has extensive experience in complex financial cases. She recently represented Graham Mills on his appeal to the Supreme Court regarding the periodical payments he is obliged to pay to his ex-wife. She also acted on a divorce for the wife whose husband owned a property development company which complicated financial proceedings. Other key members of the team include: associate Caroline Dresden, who has a similar focus on high value divorce proceedings; associate Vivienne Middleton, who has expertise in both financial and children cases; and associate Christine Williams, who advises on matrimonial issues. Also recommended is solicitor Amy Parker, who regularly assists Morris with her cases.

The 'extremely good' Mills & Reeve LLP  is 'simply superb' at family finance and 'extremely accomplished' at children act disputes. The team is led by Marc Saunderson who, according to some, is 'the best family law partner is Birmingham'. He predominantly focuses on high value matters, and 'knows the law inside out', 'has an amazing work ethic' and 'always gets good results'.  Other key figures include: principal associate  Katherine Kennedy , who is 'a first class family lawyer' and 'a true professional'; senior associate Aasha Choudary, who has 'bags of common sense' and 'a great nose for getting a good deal'; associate Louise Spalding, who is 'a rising star', 'very clever' and 'wise beyond her years'; and principal associate Hayley McCormack, who is 'superb with both cohabitation disputes and children act cases'.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP runs the gamut of family law matters, with a keen interest in international and high value disputes. Zahra Paban co-leads the team and regularly represents high net worth individuals in financial remedy proceedings, while fellow practice head Mary Kaye focuses on complex children matters. Catherine Walker is based in the Stratford office and is an expert in complex divorce cases, as is newly promoted director Fiona Farrell. Other key figures include: senior associate Marie Kilgallen, who is experienced in wealth protection as well as pre and post nuptial agreements; associate Charlotte Clewes, who is notably strong in trust law; and solicitor Elizabeth Scriven.

Baches Solicitors LLP is 'a very strong firm' who is 'well-organised' and provides 'an excellent service for its clients'. Managing partner Jo Johnson heads the childcare team and Lindsey Newell heads the matrimonial team.  Johnson brings 'knowledge', 'experience' and 'sensitivity'  to her cases with 'an ability to communicate effectively with parents'. Newell is 'highly competent', 'tenacious' and 'approachable'. Jill Darbyshire is also a key figure in the childcare team. Also recommended are Lucie Taylor and Rebecca Littleford, who 'equally demonstrate their excellent working knowledge and commitment to working sensitively with parties'.

Benussi & Co Limited is known for its specialisation in high value family finance matters.  Key figures at the firm include: Helen Jane- Arnold, who is 'outstanding' and 'a very safe pair of hands'; and Denise McKenna, who is experienced in international matters. Diane Benussi is also a noteworthy name.

Clarke Willmott LLP provides 'high quality financial remedy work which is expertly handled' and is also highly skilled in children-related work. Practice head Rayner Grice is an 'excellent technical lawyer with equally good client care skills', focusing predominantly on financial and children matters. Chartered legal executive Caroline Young 'provides excellent support' to Grice and has a similar focus on complex relationship breakdowns.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors has expertise in matrimonial and children cases, with notable strengths in cross-border disputes. Krina Parmar  has extensive experience handling public law children cases, with a strong focus on marriage protection orders and child abduction. Director Richard Gray is also a key figure and specialises in complex public law childcare cases. Also recommended are solicitors Adam Bloodworth and Rupinder Jagdev, who are both experienced in advising on relationship breakdown cases.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys is led by Kevin Harris-James, who specialises in high-value and complex divorce cases, which regularly encompass an international aspect. Senior associate Victoria Fellows is also a name of note, with a strong skillset in finance and children cases.

Shoosmiths LLP's key presence in this space is in financial proceedings cases, with the practice also having a growing workload of childcare cases. Neil Hobden leads the team and has a strong background in complex divorce proceedings. He is assisted by associate Sushma Kotecha, who focuses on high net worth mediation cases. Other noteworthy names include associates Rebecca Calden-Storr and Adam Maguire, who both focus on the financial elements of family breakdowns.

The 'excellent'Sydney Mitchell LLP  focuses on complex matrimonial disputes and childcare arrangements. Karen Moores is a key contact and is known for her 'compassionate' and 'understanding'  manner. Mauro Vinti is also recommended and advises on all aspects on relationship breakdowns.

Complex matrimonial cases has been a mainstay of Weightmans LLP's work in this space. Consultant Fiona O'Sullivan has extensive experience in matrimonial disputes, particularly on aspects such as pensions, assets, cross-border issues and pre-nuptial agreements. Associate Tania Derret-Smith is also a key figure and specialises in divorce cases.

Financial and childcare cases are two key areas of focus for Cartwright King . Family solicitor Karen Brennan leads the Birmingham team and has notable expertise in handling divorces, separations, pre-nuptial agreements, nullities and financial remedies. Childcare solicitors Carol Clleland and Fiona Bowen are also noteworthy names.

Family: elsewhere in the West Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Family: elsewhere in the West Midlands
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Rachel Adams - Brethertons LLP
    • Hannah Nicholls¬† - Thursfields Solicitors

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Family: elsewhere in the West Midlands clients in West Midlands 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


Brethertons LLP  is 'a leading regional firm' with 'a growing and deserved national reputation as specialist family lawyers'. Linda Jones  co-heads the team and is notably strong in advising on divorce-related financial issues. Fellow practice head Simon Craddock  is a an expert in complex children cases and recently advised on a damages claim from a child who had been left in the care of an allegedly unfit parent by the local authority. He also acted on a case on behalf of a child who was wrongfully removed from one of her parents and moved to the USA.  Associate solicitor Rachel Adams  specialises in matrimonial finances and is 'determined', 'intelligent', 'efficient' and 'compassionate'. Associate solicitor Kim Lehal  is an expert on cases involving international child abduction, forced marriages and honour-based violence.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP 's family law cases typically fall into the categories of being highly complex or of high value. Anne Thompson  leads the team and is an expert in handling ancillary relief cases.  She recently acted on a complex divorce where both parties were in business together. Philip Cowell  focuses on high-value financial cases and is 'extremely efficient' and 'quick to respond'. He recently advised on a matter involving the validity of a prenuptial agreement. Senior associate Harbinder Gosal  is notably strong in handling privately funded divorce and matrimonial finance cases. She represented interveners on a case where the wife alleged that the husband transferred property to the client in an attempt to dispose his assets. Senior associate Sarah Millington 's work mostly concerns the financial aspects of relationship breakdowns, and is  'professional', 'effective'  and 'good at communicating'. Cohabitations expert Sara Morton  is also a key figure, whose recent work involved the court freezing the husband’s assets in order to prevent him from depriving the wife of her claims.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys '  'excellent' family practice is 'extremely experienced in the subject area'  and 'completely familiar with current thinking and new developments'. Andy Caldicott  leads the team and is known for his 'efficient yet caring attitude' and 'eminently sensible approach', with expertise in family disputes involving finances and children. Nadia Davis  heads the Worcester office and focuses on high value divorce proceedings as well as pre and post nuptial agreements. The 'wise', 'experienced', 'warm' and 'attentive' Brenda Spain  has expertise in all aspects of family, with particular strengths in domestic abuse cases. Also recommended are Clare Whittaker , who is particularly strong on special guardianship orders, and Robert Beaumont  who has extensive experience in advising on cohabitation settlements.

Higgs & Sons 'goes above and beyond for its clients' and regularly advises on financial and child-related proceedings. Matrimonial matters specialist Philip Barnsley leads the team and has a 'focused','understanding' and 'strategic' approach. Claire Darley is an experienced mediator with a similar focus on finance cases. Other notable names include associate Rhian Gray, who specialises in matrimonial disputes, and associate Kelly Perks, who is experienced in child arrangements.

Mercy Messenger 's repertoire in family law includes financial proceedings, children cases, property issues, domestic harassment and violence cases, as well as pre and post nuptial agreements.  Name partner Mercy Messenger  leads the team and is supported by David Messenger and associate Gemma Fenton.

For some, the family department of MFG Solicitors LLP  is 'one of the strongest family departments in the West Midlands'. The Kidderminster-based practice head Claire Backler  has expertise in children and financial proceedings and brings  'a maturity' and 'a calm sureness of touch to her caseload'. Katherine Tippetts works for high net worth individuals on has 'a calm and measured approach' and 'really knows her stuff'. Worcester-based Gurdip Kaur Brring similary focuses on the financial aspects of matrimonial disputes. Bromsgrove-based Alison Webber has 'an empathetic, client-focused approach', and is 'excellent at building working relationships in particularly difficult and sensitive cases'. Associate  Rupinder Nandra is 'energetic', 'dedicated' and 'her clients can trust to pursue her goals with well-calculated care and vigour.'

Thursfields Solicitors  provide 'a first class service' in family law with strong capabilities in financial proceedings and children cases.  Director Shane Miller leads the team and is a specialist in matrimonial disputes who is 'very competent', 'switched on' and 'has a knack of finding the right solutions to cases'. Director Nigel Davies focuses on financial proceedings, and is 'extremely experienced' and 'a very safe pair of hands'. Also recommended is associate Laura Williams, who is experienced in relationship breakdown cases, and associate Kelly Pougher, who works on financial proceedings and is 'a tough litigator' and 'gives realistic advice to her clients'. Pougher also has 'the ability to fully understand and articulate clearly issues concerning children with special educational needs'. Hannah Nicholls  is also a key figure and specialises in child arrangements.

Wright Hassall LLP has 'an outstanding team of top drawer family solicitors'. Peter Lowe heads the private client group and is skilled in both financial and children-related proceedings. Justin Creed leads the matrimonial team and is 'a first class lawyer', whose 'unfailingly affable demeanour belies real toughness'. Also recommended is Mercedes King-Jones  is 'a brilliant operator' with 'a refreshing "no nonsense" approach'.

Band Hatton Button LLP works across all aspects of family disputes, with particular strengths in mediation. Tracy Cross  leads the team and is an experienced mediator on both divorce and separation cases. Helen Bowns recently joined Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Beswicks Legal's broad practice works on both financial proceeding and complex childcare cases. The practice is headed by Sarah Johnson  and Sarah Jones . Johnson is an expert in all aspects of relationship breakdown cases  and highlighted for her 'listening skills' and 'ability to keep clients positive'. Jones is similarly skilled in these areas and has worked on a number of high value and complex matrimonial disputes. Also recommended is consultant Fiona Craig  who handles financial proceedings cases which often involves safeguarding assets and earmarking pensions.

Duncan Watts LLP specialises in family law and has 'extremely experienced and knowledgeable legal professionals who are equipped with not only legal expertise but also offer a friendly and approachable service'. Martin John-Croom co-heads the practice and is an expert in children-related matters who 'continuously demonstrates his professionalism and expertise with family law matters'. Fellow practice head Joanne Elizabeth-Connor focuses on financial matters and regularly acts as a mediator.

Lanyon Bowdler is 'excellent for family finances and private children disputes' with 'a great team around them at all levels of experience and expertise'. The Ludlow-based partner Colin Spanner leads the team and 'is well regarded' and has 'a keen eye for detail'.  He works on a range of family matters, but is particularly strong on complex children cases. Telford-based Sue Hodgson is an expert in matrimonial matters and child disputes, and is 'a superb negotiator' with 'a no-nonsense approach'. The Shrewsbury based associate solicitor Lisa Grimmett is also recommended and works for high net worth individuals on financial claims.

Aaron & Partners LLP  works almost exclusively on relationship breakdowns for high net worth individuals. Richard Barge leads the team and advises on separations, divorces as well as pre and post-nuptial agreements. He is also regularly involved in cases with a cross-border element. Senior associate Sandy Edwards has a similar focus on high net worth relationship breakdowns, with additional expertise in complex children cases. Also recommended is Richard Barge who similarly specialises in the financial aspects of relationship breakdowns.

Alsters Kelley LLP  is led by Erica Kemp, who is  'very clever', 'pragmatic 'and 'has great client care skills'. She is an expert in complex ancillary financial matters and regularly acts as a mediator. Michelle Guest also focuses on  financial matters and also has additional expertise handling private law children cases. Other key figures from the Worcester office include: solicitor Helen Morton, who handles the financial aspects of separations; and  associate solicitor Catherine Stephens , who is an expert in child protection issues. The Nuneaton office includes Emma Piff, who is an expert in financial and children matters, and public law specialist Adrian Bannister.  Leamington Spa-based Lisa Blizzard  is experienced in public law cases.

George Green LLP is headed by Mark Vandaele  who is an 'excellent technical lawyer' and focuses primarily on divorce proceedings for high net worth individuals, with additional  expertise in advising on pre and post nuptial agreements.

Knights plc  has a broad family law practice with particular strengths in handling divorces, wealth protection and co-habitation agreements. The team is led by Martin Ridings  who regularly represents high -net worth individuals on relationship breakdowns. Also recommended is senior associate Andrew Hall  whose work focuses complex children cases.

Pickerings Solicitors  perform 'consistently high quality work' in public family law, with a care department that 'provides a high level of conscientious service'.  The practice is jointly lead by Susan Davies, who focuses on high value divorce cases as well as pre and post nuptial agreements.  Fellow practice head Richard Westley specialises in children cases, particularly on care proceedings. Also recommended are consultant solicitor Graham Pegg and solicitor Rachel Burchill, who both regularly advise on surrogacy issues.

Woolley & Co, Solicitors has a strong reputation for family and matrimonial law expertise in the West Midlands, with notable strengths in advising on divorces involving British expatriates, annulments and implacable hostility. Solihull-based Richard England focuses on complex financial remedy matters and is 'very clever' and has 'a brilliant business’ mind'. Warwick-based Alison Ratchford has carved a niche in advising British expats experiencing relationship breakdowns.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

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

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Lucy Obrey  is the new practice head at Higgs & Sons , and  is particularly active in inheritance tax planning issues. She replaces Nick Moxon , who is still an active member of the team and an expert in trust administration and tax planning. Other noteworthy names include wealth planning expert Peter Gosling  and trust and tax planning specialist Robert Leek , who is similarly no longer working as a partner but is still active as a consultant.

The 'very professional' and 'efficient' Lodders Solicitors LLP  has expertise in wills, trusts, estate planning, probates and tax planning. Martin Green leads the team and has extensive experience in estate and succession planning. Stephen Brignull is an expert in estate and inheritance tax planning,  and Louise Igoe focuses on complex estates involving agricultural and business property. Other key figures include:  Sofia Tayton, who focuses on court of protection matters;  Ian Flavell, who specialises in estate and tax planning; John Rouse, who is notably skilled in capital tax planning; and Jessica Beddows, who is experienced in wills, powers of attorney and court of protection issues.

Mills & Reeve LLP  'delivers a consistent standard of high quality advice', with extensive experience in estate planning and wealth structuring. John Grundy  co-heads the practice and is 'very personable' with 'a gentle manner' and 'the ability to explain complex structures and planning in a language that clients understand'. Fellow practice head Matthew Hansall  is 'very professional','highly intelligent' and 'very personable'. Also recommended are principal associates Sarah Wood  and Adam Williams .

Shakespeare Martineau LLP  runs the gamut of tax, trusts and probate work. Clare Laird  leads the team and is an expert in tax and wealth planning.  Lesley Davis  is an expert in wealth protection and succession planning, and recently advised Npower Foundation on establishing a charitable foundation. Also recommended is Anne Tromans , who is an expert in estate and tax planning.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP  is 'very sound and competent' and provides 'sensible instructions'. Donna Holmes  leads the team and works with 'diligence', 'tenacity', 'professionalism' and 'a true commitment to her clients'. She regularly advises on wills, tax and estate planning. Senior associate Alex Elphinston  is 'technically sound' and 'knowledgeable' and has 'very strong attention to detail'. Also recommended are: senior associate James Hall, who focuses on tax planning; senior associate Sheree Green, who focuses on court protection issues; associate Lisa Whitehouse is an expert in wealth protection estate administration; and solicitor Clare Burke, who advises on wills and estate planning.

Roger Williams  leads the Birmingham team at DWF  and works alongside Manchester-based Paul Davies , who heads the team nationally. Williams is an expert in handling will preparations, estate administration, court of protection and powers of attorney issues.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP's repoirtoire in this space includes advising on community care, court of protection, disputed probate, as well as inheritance tax and estate planning. Julie Burn  leads the team and is an expert in court of protection and deputyship cases. Other key individuals include: Margaret Rowe , who is an expert in wills, probate and elderly client care issues; Andrew Vernon , who has a particular interest in complex inheritance tax planning; and associate Michelle Monnes-Thomas, who is experienced in community care matters.

Gateley Plc has 'a very strong presence in private client matters' and is particularly active in matters involving tax and estate planning for high-net worth individuals. Practice head Catriona Attride  is 'a really excellent lawyer' who 'combines common sense and a sense of humour with a really sharp intellect and a very strong grasp of the legal principles and their tax consequences'. She is 'well supported' by solicitor Alexia Haines and associate Hannah Turner .

Lanyon Bowdler  has a presence in both the Shropshire and Herefordshire area, with an offering that handles trusts, estate planning, powers of attorney and tax planning. Ludlow-based Giles Scott  leads the team and focuses on trusts, wills and inheritance tax work. Other notable names include Telford-based Edward Rees , Oswestry-based Kevin Thomas  and associate Neil Davies, who is based in Shrewsbury and specialises in court of protection matters.

The 'excellent' Sydney Mitchell LLP  is particularly strong in dealing with elderly client issues, with additional expertise in wills and estate planning, powers of attorney and administration work. Tracy Creed leads the team and has extensive experience in probate and trust matters.  Also recommended is Shirley based solicitor Nicholas Bennett , who focuses on will and probate issues, and solicitor Ravinder Sandhu, who is experienced in wills, trusts and probate issues.

Wright Hassall LLP 's wills,trusts and probate team is known for its 'prompt service' 'great knowledge' and 'understanding'. Tax specialist  Eamonn Daly  is a key figure and is 'extremely knowledgeable on the areas that he covers' and 'is able to impart and explain his expertise in a very clear and concise manner'. Other notable names include: Susan Floyd  , who focuses on complex capital tax planning; and inheritance disputes specialist Martin Oliver .

Ansons  is 'focused' and 'pragmatic' with 'excellent response times'. Director Marie Tisdale  leads the team and has particular expertise in handling probate matters for farmers. Also recommended is the 'outstanding' and 'extremely professional' associate Tracey Lane  and chartered legal executive Rebecca Taylor , who are both experienced in wills and probate matters.

A key development at Beswicks Legal is the appointment of senior associate David Birchall  as its new practice head. Birchall joined from Scott Fowler and is an expert in estate planning matters. Consultant solicitor Howard Heath is an expert in inheritance tax planning, elderly care services, wills and probate. Other notable names include solicitor Juliette Carter, who specialises in estates.; wills and probate specialist Sarah Mellor ; and Kate Sutherland, who focuses on succession planning and elderly care services.

Dawn Oliver  heads up the private client team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys ' Worcester office and has extensive experience in this space. She advises on wills and estate planning for predominantly high-net worth individuals. Also recommended is Shirley Rabbetts , who specialises in advising on inheritance issues for farmers.

Mander Hadley Solicitors provide an 'excellent service' where all matters are dealt with 'compassion' and 'expertise'. The team predominantly handles deputyship, power of attorney, wills, estate planning and estate administration cases. Director David Webb  leads the team and is an expert in probate, estate administration and tax planning. Consultant Roger Pascall  is also a key figure and focuses on will preparation, powers of attorney and estate administration issues. Kenilworth-based Caroline Dobson  is 'clear' and 'concise',  and offers 'a warm and friendly service'. She predominantly specialises in wills, probate and older services.  Solicitor Andriy Buniak  is also recommended and has a similar focus on elderly care issues.

MFG Solicitors LLP's repertoire includes advising on estate administration, trust management, tax and court of protection matters. Based in Kidderminster are Valerie Robinson , who is an expert in advising on tax planning and provision for  disabled beneficiaries, and tax specialist Gary Priest. Ludlow-based Peter Stephen is notably strong in issues surrounding court of protection, powers of attorney, advising the elderly, and appointing deputies. 

Commercial and tax-specific trusts are the key focus of Pinsent Masons LLP , with a client list that includes Aegon, Scottish Widows and Simplyhealth. Chris Thomas  leads the team and works on insurance and banking-related commercial trusts. Janet Hoskin  is no longer a partner and acts as a consultant.

Senior associate Lynda Richards  is a key figure in Aaron & Partners LLP ' Shrewsbury office.  She specialises in tax, trust, estate and succession planning, and represents both individuals and trustees.

Leamington Spa-based Neil Raiseborough  leads the team at Alsters Kelley LLP, and has notable expertise in tax planning and estate administration. Also recommended is solicitor Tanya Ghuman , who is based in Coventry, and is experienced in advising on wills, estates and tax planning.

Band Hatton Button LLP  regularly advises on wills, inheritance tax planning, powers of attorney, probate, estates and trusts. Michelle Gavin  leads the team and is an expert in wills, trust and estate planning.

Brethertons LLP  announced a new practice head in 2017.  Daniel Boylen joined from Knights plc and is an expert in trusts, tax planning, court of protection, wills, estates and elderly care services. He is supported by associate Angela Arkel, who regularly advises on will, trust and probate issues.

Emms Gilmore Liberson is headed by Terry Cooper  who is 'practical', 'knowledgeable' and 'commercial' in all areas of trust and estate planning. Stephen Gilmore  is also a key figure and is an expert in advising on complex family trusts.

George Green LLP  is led by Claire Pottinger, who is an expert in tax planning matters and on the general administration of trusts and estates.

GHP Legal is skilled in matters pertaining to probate, wills and tax planning. Victoria Wilson heads the team and advises on capital gains tax , trusts and long-term care cost provisions.

Succession panning and trusts are two core areas of Knights plc 's practice. Charles Jones  is a key figure, who focuses on wealth protection and succession planning. Also recommended is Lindsey Howland , who is an expert in tax, trusts and estates.

The 'very good' and 'thorough' Pickerings Solicitors advises on will, trusts, powers of attorney, elderly client services, and provides 'excellent' inheritance tax planning advice. Emma Harrison  heads the practice and is highly skilled in wills and probate matters. She is supported by solicitor Desmond Saunders , who is notably strong in elderly client services, and the 'very efficient' solicitor Lucy Cooling, who joined from Mills & Reeve LLP in 2017 and is an expert in inheritance and capital gains tax.

Talbot & Co  is led by principal Tom Bramall , who predominantly focuses on probate, trusts, wills and tax.

Thomas Guise Solicitors  is a 'professional' and 'conscientious' practice who 'always provide an outstanding service'. Nicola Thomas  is 'able to engage and empathise with clients from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances', and 'always fulfils her duties and role to the highest level'. She specialises in wills, probates, estates and powers of attorney. Amanda Oakes  is an expert in administering estates and is 'very efficient' and provides 'clear and concise explanations'. Associate solicitor Zoe Dale  focuses on estate administration and will drafting.

Thursfields Solicitors   has 'high levels of knowledge' and provides 'understandable' advice. Director Michelle Hetheridge  heads up the team and is predominantly focuses on succession planning. Other notable names include senior associate Tracy Ashby , who specialises in elderly care issues, and associates David Emery-Jones , Deborah Beal  and Zoe Perry .

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