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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

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’s ‘professional and efficient’ eight-partner agricultural team is headed by the highly rated Steven Corfield and has handled matters involving partnership restructurings, succession planning and retirement disputes. On the contentious side, family law specialist Elizabeth Cleverley represented a wife in a dispute with her husband regarding valuation evidence and questions of liquidity, while associate Suzanne Tucker assisted Brian Aikman with a partnership retirement dispute revolving around the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1986. Non-contentious highlights for Sarah Baugh included advising on the maximisation of inheritance tax relief on a substantial farming estate, and handling the documentation and negotiation of an option to lease of an energy barn. Tom Devey advised on the acquisition of a dairy farm. The practice’s Telford office was recently strengthened by the arrival of employment specialist Julia Fitzsimmons from George Green LLP, and solicitor Anna Russell joined the Shrewsbury office from Mortimers Solicitors.

Clients find the service at Lanyon Bowdler to be ‘excellent – 10/10’. The team, led by managing partner Brian Evans from the Shrewsbury office and including Hereford-based associate Jon Clifford, advises on a range of agricultural matters for rural clients including dispute resolution, and property and family issues. In a recent highlight, dispute resolution practice head Andrew Pegg is acting for a herder in negotiations with DEFRA for a settlement payment in in the event of having to slaughter livestock due to a TB infection. Property development expert Andrew Evans acts for clients such as Oaklands Farm Eggs on a wide range of non-contentious matters. Associate Ruth James left the firm to take up a position as legal counsel for Müller. Other clients include the NFU, the Oswestry and District Agricultural Society, and the Wynnstay Group.

Agricultural work lies at the core of Lodders Solicitors LLP’s practice, with clients rating its team, led by the ‘efficientJames Spreckley, as ‘experts in this area and difficult to beat’. Spreckley handled several high-value land sales, while Mark Lewis led the advice on the liquidation of a large estate following a familial dispute between the two owners. In other real estate related highlights, the firm acted for a breed society client on planning issues related to the development of some of its land, and Ian Flavell is acting for a large landed estate in connection with a tax planning exercise in favour of the owner’s son. On the contentious side, Jane Senior represented a tenant farmer in a dispute with his landlord who served an eviction notice to the tenant alleging breach of covenant. The firm’s real estate team recently recruited Mark Miller from Wright Hassall LLP, who advises clients on large-scale development schemes. The Jockey Club, the RD Turner trust, and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers are all clients.

Wright Hassall LLP’s agricultural team acts for clients in land transactions, estate and tax planning and disputes, and represents both tenants and landlords in contentious challenges and notices to quit under the Agricultural Holdings Act. Department head Paul Rice acted alongside associate Sarah Beer on the restructuring of a farming and touristic estate involving a substantial third party investment and two 20-year leases. Farming team leader Alex Robinson acted for a consortium of purchasers of a landed estate, which involved advising on secured lending, tax planning, and an investigation into a disused tip. Other highlights for the team including acting alongside the firm’s construction and tax lawyers for a farming family with regards to a diversification strategy consisting of building an anaerobic digestion facility, and is currently acting as counsel to the Royal Agricultural Society of England in connection with the amendment of its constitutional document and by-laws. Associate Jennie Wheildon has strong experience acting for charities with regards to property transactions.

Kate Smith leads Knights Professional Services Limited’s agricultural team in the West Midlands. She acts for a diverse range of businesses and prominent families, with special emphasis on tax and succession planning and land settlements. Brona Simmonds and associate Ben Brassington are also key contacts.

Peter Snodgrass leads Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s agricultural team and clients appreciate his ‘down-to-earth knowledge and approachable nature’. He is supported by litigation expert Richard Thorpe, employment law specialist and legal director Alan Dark, and Catherine Walker, who is noted for her family law experience. Recent mandates include Walker’s work on divorce proceedings between a farmer and his wife, and Dark’s advice to a company with regards to a redundancy complicated by the client’s wish to maintain a commercial relationship with the employee while terminating his employment and his tenancy of a cottage on the farm premises. Andrew Ford recently joined DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Under the leadership of consultant Simon James and probate expert Marie Tisdale, Ansons assists clients with conveyance work, partnership agreements, developments and trusts. Recent highlights include advising three farming families on promotion agreements, tax suspension provisions, sales by tranches, and a collaboration and equalisation agreement; and handling a sale of land for development conditional on planning. Associate Neil Faunch specialises in land acquisitions, easements, drainage and environmental issues; he recently acted for a client in a land disposal matter complicated by pre-existing overage arrangements. Consultant David Anderton, associate Jon Rowley and head of commercial property Adele Wakefield are also key contacts.

Hatchers Solicitors LLP’s agricultural team is headed by Valerie Edwards, who also heads the firm’s commercial property practice, and is supported by dispute resolution head and associate Esther Richards. Non-contentious highlights included advising farming clients with regards to high-value property transactions, development projects, and tax issues. On the contentious side, Richards and assistant solicitor Jennifer Woods advised clients on partnership disputes, a complicated contentious probate claim, and property litigation. Solicitor Georgia Wakeley, who works in the wills and probate team, is also recommended.

Clients of MFG Solicitors LLP rate associate Helen Gough, whose ‘contentious work is particularly strong with an outstanding knowledge of agricultural tenancy law’. She works alongside department head Iain Morrison, the ‘highly competent property lawyerJustin Travelyan Parker, and ‘very approachable, professional and thorough’ associate Nicholas Playford, who works in the Telford office. Other key names include Bromsgrove-based head of rural disputes Kirsten Bridgewater and consultant James Quinn. All named individuals are based in Worcester unless specified otherwise.

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


Clients of Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP rates its lawyers, who ‘bring huge knowledge, experience and understanding of the sector, are highly responsive and apply sound business sense’. Associate Edwina Turner demonstrates ‘outstanding knowledge on charity matters’ and has a wide-ranging charity clients base covering the faith, leisure and health sectors. Other key figures include senior associate Shivaji Shiva, who leads the practice and advised on Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity on its compliance with the newly-published governance code for sports in the UK. She also acted for Cycling UK in a comprehensive governance review and rebranding exercise. Senior associate and commercial property specialist Dominic Curran assisted MIND with the expansion and development of its premises in Stratford, while public sector housing expert Richard Brooks acted for Sense on construction issues, including a land swap and liaising with the river and canal trust, related to the development of its national multi-sensory site in central Birmingham. Senior associate and ‘respected, highly experienced solicitor’ Phil Watts handles constitutional and structural issues for charity clients.

The national charities team at Mills & Reeve LLP attracts praise for its ‘excellent’ service. In Birmingham, social finance expert Neil Pearson joined the practice from Gowling WLG, bringing strength in advisory work for social investors. Senior trust and probate manager Tony Evans is ‘always available and helpful, with a broad range of experience’; his clients include the West Midlands Chest Fund, which he advises on day-to-day governance issues. John Grundy and senior associate Adam Williams assisted an NHS trust with a will subject to restrictive conditions, and acted for the Island Project in a detailed review of its governance document, which led to recommendations for the updating of its memorandum. The team also handles pensions-related matters through Clare Grice, who is overseeing the proposed closure of a charity’s defined benefits scheme and its move to a defined contributions scheme. Other notable clients include The British Council, The Wellcome Trust and Big Society.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)’s charity team is known for its ‘quick response times and in-depth understanding of the sector and its legal issues’. Employment partner Kathy Halliday acted alongside the team in Bristol on the reorganisation of King Edward VI School’s six academies into a single multi-academy trust. Real estate specialist Anne Holmes acted for a religious organisation in a complex property transaction, and assisted a parish-based charity with a review of 50 freehold and leasehold titles. Other highlights include consultant Frances Anderson’s work on an exclusive trade mark licence, involving detailed advice on intellectual property and risk management issues. On the contentious side, Jane Byford represented a not-for-profit client in connection with allegations of bullying brought against a longstanding senior executive. Other notable clients include The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Beacon Centre and the Ashdell Schools Trust.

As well as being highly professional’, lawyers at Lodders Solicitors LLPare also enjoyable to work with’, with clients singling out team head Mark Lewis, who ‘makes light work of what can otherwise often be problematic and stressful’. The team acts for religious charities, agricultural charities, breed societies, sporting bodies, and care home clients on the full range of legal matters. Lewis recently advised longstanding client Archery GB on governance issues, ensuring its practice was compliant with UK Sports regulations; and assisted the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs with its incorporation as a charity. In other highlights, the team acted for the Imagineering Foundation on drafting documentation relating to an endowment, and acted for the Manufacturing Technologies Association on the consolidation and streamlining of numerous automotive-related charities for which it acts as a lead trustee. Other notable clients include the Addington Fund, Garden Organic and the Heart of England Foundation Trust.

The Solihull-based Clare Laird heads the charities practice at Shakespeare Martineau LLP, which ‘holds a strong reputation in this area’, according to clients. The ‘technically excellent’ Anne Tromans attracts praise for her ‘strong attention to detail’; she provides day-to-day advice with regards to accounting, governance and administration matters, often working closely with the firm’s corporate and commercial property teams. Lesley Davis is advising a higher education client with regards to an endowment issue. Also recommended are associate Hannah Tait and legal director Hugh Carslake.

Thursfields Solicitors’s ‘courteous and knowledgeable’ team ‘quietly goes about its business, letting their work do the talking all while giving clients the confidence they need’. The arrival of Jenny Smith from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP brings particular expertise in acting for faith-based charities, hospices and medical support charities. She is supported by director and Court of Protection specialist Steve Pitts in Kidderminster, and Worcester-based practitioners Tony Gibb, who specialises in commercial property law, and Gareth Burge. As head of employment, Michelle Chamberlain regularly handles disputes on behalf of charities. Recent work has revolved around governance and professional regulation issues – namely in connection with succession issues following the retirement of a senior director and grant funding options for capital projects – as well as providing training to sporting bodies with regards to historic abuse claims.

Wright Hassall LLP’s charities practice includes regulatory expert Prisca Bradley who ‘has a "can-do" attitude and is not unduly tempered by caution’; she recently joined the firm from Darbys Solicitors in Oxford, while associate Alison Pearce joined from Teacher Stern LLP. In an illustration of its sporting credentials, the team is assisting the English Schools’ Football Association with its process of incorporation into a charitable organisation. Other notable clients include British Dressage, Leonard Cheshire Disability and the Ley Community. Rachel Gwynne joined Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Haydn Jones heads Band Hatton Button LLP’s charities practice, which acts for clients such as the Coventry School Foundation, OCR and Ambulances Services Charity. The team advises on amendments to charity schemes to adopt total return accounting policies and guides clients through the incorporation procedure with the Charity Commission. On the property side, the group assists clients with high-value transactions. Other key contacts include Nick Button and Mark Ridley.

The charities and not-for-profit sector continues to be a key focus area for FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, with clients singling out Stuart Rea in Shrewsbury for his ‘depth of knowledge on charitable legislation’. He leads the team, which includes associate David Raymont, who acted for two registered faith charities on property matters and various Albermarle and Cy-pres schemes. Other highlights included advising a children’s hospice on the merger of part of its business into the mainline charity following changes to corporation tax and gift aid rules, and acting on behalf of an education trust and its trustees in connection with a new charity commission scheme. The practice also advised on the setting up of a new charity and on the incorporation process for an estate management association.

According to clients, Pinsent Masons LLP is ‘approachable and develops a deep understanding of its clients’ needs’. In Birmingham, senior associate Chris Thomas is handles a wide array of governance and tax matters, including investment structures and fundraising. Recent highlights include acting for a Russell Group university on the review of its gift acceptance policy and the updating of related documentation, and representing a university in a dispute with the donor of a scholarship fund who wanted the funds to be returned to him, which concerned the legal differences between a contract and a trust.

At Thomas Horton LLP, senior associate and head of charity services Malford Harris advises on all aspects of charity law, including creation and incorporation processes, governance and tax matters, and regulatory issues and investigations. Recent work revolved around the conversion and formation of charitable incorporated organisations, providing ongoing advice on conflict of interest issues, and expanding the firm’s services to almshouse charities. Other key figures include chairman Matthew Horton and Jeff Taylor, who heads the commercial department.

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


Key figures at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP include the Wolverhampton-based Craig Ridge, who heads the contentious trusts and probate practice and has a strong specialism in high-value and complex multi-party probate claims. In recent work, the team handled a trust deed rectification matter, which involved professional negligence proceedings; the removal of a personal representative on the grounds of breach of fiduciary duty; and a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975. Associate Kimberly Mears handles Inheritance Act matters and is recommended alongside family partner Philip Cowell and STEP practitioner Margaret Rowe, both based in Telford.

Clients of MFG Solicitors LLP for its ‘absolutely outstanding commitment to service’. Practice head Robert Weston – who is described as ‘most approachable, considerate, courteous and professional’ – and Suzanne Lee are experienced litigators and exclusively focus on contentious probate work. Recent work includes handling several Inheritance Act disputes, applications to the Court of Protection, and defending clients in claims of financial abuse or misappropriation of estate assets. Andrew Chandler is also recommended.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s contentious trusts and probate team is based in Shirley and demonstrates ‘sound knowledge of the law, which it applies for the practical benefit of the client’. The team, led by Kamal Majevadia (who ‘is very thorough and applies a good commercial approach to his cases’) handled an Inheritance Act dispute in which a significant portion of the assets was held overseas. Solicitor Hayley-Jo Lockley supported the team in obtaining a grant of probate, forcing the removal of caveat and removing an individual from the deceased’s property, and led on the advice on the recovery of monies due to a client as per the deceased’s will. Tracy Creed is also a key contact.

According to some clients, ‘no other firm in the contentious trust and probate area come close’ to Higgs & Sons for its ‘quality and professionalism’. Julia Lowe heads the practice, which includes associate and ‘tenacious litigator’ Beth King-Smith, whose ‘client care is second to none’ and who is ‘very proactive in protecting against litigation and ensuring that each claim is put through as forcefully as possible’. Recent highlights include handling a number of high-value disputes, including Inheritance Act claims involving significant overseas assets, alongside private client partner Peter Gosling. Other key names include Lucy Obrey.

At Knights Professional Services Limited, Jessica Neyt handles contentious trusts and probate work for claimants, trustees and executors. The team is supported by Lindsey Howland, who handles contentious and non-disputes private client work, and property litigation practitioner Richard Jones. All named individuals are based in the Stoke-on-Trent office.

Clients rate Thomas Horton LLP’s contentious trust and probate team as ‘experienced, well-regarded, very patient and good listeners’. James Sommerville, who heads the firm’s employment and dispute resolution practices, ‘can be hard-hitting and soft-hitting as the situation dictates’, and ‘understands this is an area of law which evokes strong feelings’. His recent work includes handling disputes revolving around uncooperative estate executors, applications for grant of probate, and the validity of wills and claims against estates.

One client rates Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham team as ‘one of the best in the region’, and another singles out Gavin Faber as ‘an extremely safe pair of hands on the helm’. Recent work includes representing the deceased’s step children in an Inheritance Act 1975 claim against the deceased’s natural children as well as the beneficiaries and executors of the estate; and advising on a complicated dispute involving a Court of Protection order and a breach of fiduciary duties through fraud. Clients appreciate associate Douglas Houghton for his ‘steady and calm approach and insight’.

Lanyon Bowdler’s ‘highly capable’ lawyers attract praise for their ‘combination of in-depth tax knowledge with good litigation experience’. The team is headed by ‘clear-headed litigator’ and associate Claire Vale, who ‘will go the extra mile to advance her client’s case’. Bases in the Shrewsbury office, she works closely with the firm’s private client and Court of Protection departments to act for clients, including a large number of farmers and landowners, in disputes regarding Inheritance Act issues, proprietary estoppel, and questions of testamentary capacity. Assistant solicitor Jemma Land recently joined the Shrewsbury office.

John Grundy is the key contentious trusts figure in Mills & Reeve LLP’s Birmingham office. He acts for domestic and international high-net-worth individuals in all aspects of estate and tax planning, including Court of Protection work and lasting powers of attorney. Matthew Hansell specialises in estate management and protecting assets against tax charges and divorce proceedings. Also recommended are senior associate Adam Williams and trust and estate practitioner Claire Nash.

Thursfields Solicitors’ contentious trusts and probate practice primarily handles breaches of trust, Inheritance Act claims, and issues revolving around executors and testamentary capacity. Commercial services director Michelle Chamberlain leads the practice and is supported by Mark Pittaway, who advised the named executrix on a fraudulent will case, and Tim Lawrence, who handles claims for claimants and defendants. Newly promoted senior associate Pam Deol is also recommended. Tracey Ashford recently left the practice to join a firm in Gloucestershire, and property litigation solicitor Stefania Bennett departed for Gowling WLG.

Wright Hassall LLPhas real strength and depth’, according to clients, who single out team head and ‘a determined litigator’ Martin Oliver. He specialises in high-value inheritance disputes and recently represented Heather Ilott before the Supreme Court regarding her Inheritance Act claim against her deceased mother’s estate for reasonable financial provision. Gemma Carson, who regularly handles disputes relating to farming estates, attracts praise for her ‘clear appreciation of the economic and legal merits of any claim’. Clients also recommend senior associate Anna Sutcliffe who is ‘tough, tenacious and has a good rapport with clients’ and dedicates her time exclusively to contentious trusts and probate work.

Family: Birmingham

Index of tables

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

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 LLPis one of the leading firms in family law in the West Midlands’, according to one client, and ‘has the experience and capacity to handle the most complex of cases’. Elizabeth Wyatt and Jas Tamber, who ‘brings a pragmatic solution to the case’ and specialises in child care work, jointly lead the team, which was joined by senior associate Helen Mottram from a niche family law practice. The practice handles complicated childcare and matrimonial matters, including financial disputes, wealth protection and cohabitation issues. Senior associate Elisabeth Howe is an experienced mediator and leads on complicated financial issues following the breakdown of relationships. Fellow senior associate Maria Ramon represents clients in high-value litigation with a specialty in child work. The firm also has niche expertise in sensitive issues involving female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and surrogacy and fertility. Senior associate Julie Bevan recently retired.

Lodders Solicitors LLP merged with Birmingham-based Divorce and Family Law Practice in July 2017, bringing into the fold a family practice that is well respected in the West Midlands marketfor its handling of financial remedy and divorce proceedings on behalf of high-net-worth individuals. Beverley Morris and Joan Price jointly head the team, which includes associate solicitor Caroline Dresden, assistant solicitor Amy Parker, and Vivienne Middleton, who is noted for her focus on private child care work. Morris is noted for her hands-on approach to advocacy, and Price sits as a deputy district judge.

According to one client, Mills & Reeve LLPsimply has the whole package’. The ‘simply superbMarc Saunderson heads the practice and is ‘a force to be reckoned with’ in financial matters. He is supported by senior associate Hayley McCormack, who has a strong track record in leave-to-remove cases, often involving an international element. Principal associate Katherine Kennedy led on a highly contentious financial remedy case involving proceedings regarding hostility under the Children Act, and assisted Saunderson in wealth protection work. In an illustration of the practice’s ability to handle cross-border work, senior associate Aasha Choudhary acted alongside Saunderson in a high-value divorce involving foreign assets and jurisdictional issues.

The overall level of service at Shakespeare Martineau LLPis exceptional’; according to one client, ‘there is an embarrassment of riches as far as talent goes’. The ‘fiercely intelligent and pragmatic’ Zahra Pabani leads the Birmingham practice alongside private capital group head Mary Kaye; they are supported by associate Fiona Farrell, who ‘is equally skilled with money and children’ and handles complicated divorce proceedings involving business or other significant financial assets. Charlotte Clewes was recently promoted to associate and is especially strong in trust law.

Clients consider Benussi & Co Limited to be ‘one of the standout family law firms in Birmingham’ and single out its ‘personal and attentive client care’. Legal director and ‘polished performerHelen Jane Arnold is ‘sensible, experienced and pragmatic’ and works alongside Denise McKenna, who specialises in cross-border litigation. The firm represents high-net-worth individuals with regards to financial remedy proceedings and private law child cases. Diane Benussi is also recommended.

Blair Allison is particularly well regarded for its work for children’s guardians and individuals needing representation in public law proceedings. Practice head and ‘excellent solicitorGrant Bird is praised for his ‘legal knowledge and common-sense approach’. He recently advised on three high-profile child death cases. Other key mandates for the team included representing a father in care proceedings concerning allegations of terrorism, acting for several children in a murder case filed against their mother, and handling a complex cross-border financial remedy matter. The team recruited associate Cathy Price, who has strong experience in financial and child law related to the breakdown of relations, and ‘extremely good advocate’ and assistant solicitor Matt Cannan from Price Mistry. Associates Angela Houston and Baldish Khatkar are also highly recommended.

Irwin Mitchell’s family law practice in Birmingham is led by Clare Wiseman (whose ‘personal charm and work ethic permeates the whole department’) and ‘is large enough that it can call on genuine specialists in distinct areas, but not so large that it is disparate’. Wiseman acts for-high-net worth individuals and is supported by senior associate and Sarah Balfour, who specialises in complex cases involving wealth protection both at home and overseas. Nicola Walker is advising a client in a high-profile appeal alleging the High Court judge prevented her from pursuing a claim for sharing with regards to pre-nuptial wealth. Newly promoted associate Mark Hands attracts praise for his ‘reliably thorough preparation’.

Baches Solicitors LLP is ‘a very strong and well-prepared firm able to deal with the full range of issues that may arise in family law’. Managing partner Jo Johnson is singled out for her ‘experience and ability to engage with adults and children’, as is solicitor Rebecca Littleford, who specialises in care and private law cases. The matrimonial team is headed by the ‘highly competent, tenacious and approachable’ Lindsey Newell, who has particular expertise in high-value financial matters involving international assets. Jill Darbyshire leads on childcare work. Other key names include ‘level-headed’ consultant Lucie Taylor, who represents children, parents and other relatives in public and private law proceedings.

According to one client, Clarke Willmott LLP is ‘one of the best law firms in Birmingham for private law children cases’ and its lawyers ‘know exactly what they are doing’. Rayner Grice leads the team and is ‘calm and sympathetic, but very straight-talking’; she works closely with the firm’s other teams, including the serious injury practice, to advise on the various issues that may arise from relationship breakdowns. Legal executive Caroline Young ‘always has the client’s best interest at heart’; she assists Grice in matrimonial matters involving physical or sexual abuse, wealth protection, and child welfare.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors provides legal aid advice on domestic and cross-border child care matters, and also handles private law with a particular niche in forced marriage protection orders, domestic violence and child abduction cases. Shazia Saliheen recently represented a father whose children had been illegally taken to Somalia by their mother and sought to obtain an inherent jurisdiction and female genital mutilation (FGM) protection order, while Richard Gray’s work involved complex private and public law proceedings involving elements of domestic abuse and substance addiction. Solicitor Rupinder Jagdev took the lead on a case involving serious non-accidental injuries to a child placed in the care of her aunt who had no immigration status in the UK. Solicitor Adam Bloodworth and Krina Parmar are also key contacts.

Greens Solicitors Ltd recruited new practice head Georgina Burrows and solicitor Susanne Leach from Benussi & Co Limited, adding a private matrimonial law practice to the firm’s traditional legal aid work. Recent work includes representing a vulnerable child alleged to be the victim of abuse by nine perpetrators but who wished not to pursue criminal charges, and advising on divorce proceedings for a couple which had previously divorced and re-married before the financial settlement of the first divorce had been completed, a matter which involved overseas property assets and domestic pension elements. The team’s childcare workload included acting for clients with regards to Hague Convention proceedings and the novel point of surrogacy law.

The family team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys is jointly led by Andy Caldicott in Hereford and Kevin Harris-James in Birmingham; Harris-James has an extensive track record in landmark family cases and is noted for his expertise in Hague Convention matters. Also based in Birmingham, office head Lucy Barr recently acted for a client in separation proceedings with his girlfriend. Other key work included representing the husband in financial remedy proceedings in the Central Family Court, which involved overseas assets and substantial pension, business and property assets and which was further complicated by a disagreement on the length of the marriage.

Shoosmiths LLP’s Neil Hobden is praised for his ‘exceptional knowledge, proactive nature and exceptional service’. He heads the firm’s national family practice from Birmingham, which has particular expertise handling financial matters regarding the breakdown of relationships, often involving a cross-border element. Associate and accredited mediator Sushma Kotecha heads the firm’s national mediation team from the Nottingham office and has a notable focus on servicing Asian clients. Other recent cases involve international child relocation and wealth protection work. Associates Adam Maguire and Sylvie Sarabia are also recommended.

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, Karen Moores leads the firm’s family team alongside Mauro Vinti, who works out of the Shirley office. The partners are supported by legal executive Jayne Gregg, who is ‘very positive and firm with her advice’. Recently, the team represented clients in the Birmingham family court in connection with financial remedy and child arrangement proceedings. Solicitor Teresa Mannion joined the firm in Shirley from Alsters Kelley LLP, while solicitor Kelly Pougher joined Thursfields Solicitors.

Very industrious, energetic and competent’ consultant Fiona O’Sullivan heads Weightmans LLP’s family practice in Birmingham, which ‘cannot be faulted for the level of service received’. O’Sullivan provides clients with ‘invaluable advice’ on the financial aspects of relationship breakdowns, including business assets and pensions issues. Associate Tania Derrett-Smith recently led on domestic and cross-border divorce and financial remedy proceedings for several clients. The team’s caseload also includes private law child work, guiding clients through pre-nuptial agreements and the variation and capitalisation of periodic payments.

Philip Rea and Karen Brennan jointly lead the Birmingham branch of Cartwright King’s national family law practice and specialise in financial remedy cases, private law child work in connection with divorces, and wealth protection. Associate Carol Clelland has expertise in private law child work and represents children either directly or through their guardian; she acted in care proceedings involving a mother known to social services through association with risky elements and a history of domestic violence. Other recent mandates include representing a high-profile father in an application for a child arrangements order, and handling a high volume of contested financial remedy cases.

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

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’s family practice is led out of the Rugby office by Linda Jones and is supported by associate Rachel Adams, who works closely with Jones on complex matrimonial finance work involving high-value assets or difficult circumstances. They recently handles a complex case pertaining to the wife’s entitlement to business assets.

The family team at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP handles complex, high-net-worth divorce matters, and expanded its offering with the recruitment of associates Sarah Millington from Hatchers Solicitors LLP and Harbinder Gosal from QualitySolicitors Davisons in the Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton offices respectively. The Telford-based Anne Thomson handles pre-nuptial agreements and recently represented a client in the Court of Appeal, while associate Joanne Vernon leads the firm’s child law practice and acted for the wife of a high-profile individual with regards to the relocation of their children. Philip Cowell and Elizabeth Cleverley, who has strong experience in acting for farming clients, are also recommended.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys has ‘a good team at all levels’, led by Andy Caldicott and Kevin Harris-James, who recently acted for a well-known actor with regards to a pre-nuptial agreement. Senior partner Jonathan Brew has particular expertise in high-value claims and is regularly supported by solicitor Samantha Hulse and associate Anita Hennessey, both of whom ‘ensure that their client’s case is clearly and effectively put before the court’. Brenda Spain’s caseload included child matters, namely regarding issues pertaining to the proposed relocation of a child from England to South Africa, and financial issues related to child welfare.

Clients find Higgs & Sons to be ‘absolutely first-class’ and defined by ‘expert advice promptly delivered’. The family law practice is led by Philip Barnsley and was recently strengthened by the arrival of Claire Darley from Shakespeare Martineau LLP and Sioned Hetherington from Brendan Fleming. Barnsley’s team specialises in wealth protection and recently advised on pre-and-post-nuptial agreements, collaborative divorce and separation agreements. On the childcare front, Daley acted for a couple on their application for a special guardianship order, and handled a complex case involving international child relocation law, an emergency prohibited steps order and issues of radicalisation. Adam Maguire departed for Shoosmiths LLP and Hannah Nicholls joined Thursfields Solicitors.

The Kidderminster-based Claire Backler is ‘an exemplary individual’ and leads MFG Solicitors LLP’s ‘very well-organised and supportive’ family law outfit. The team works closely with the firm’s agricultural and family business clients and advises mainly on the financial issues arising out of collaborative separation, relationship breakdown, co-habitation, and pre-and-post-nuptial wealth protection. Gurdip Kaur Brring is currently advising a client with regards to divorce proceedings involving a substantial teacher’s pension, and acted for the fiancée of a high-profile sports personality in a pre-nuptial agreement. Alison Webber, who is based in Bromsgrove, and Robert Pearce in Kidderminster are also recommended.

Mercy Messenger is a niche firm specialising in all aspects of family law with a strong focus on family businesses in the context of divorce proceedings. Practice head and financial remedy expert Mercy Messenger is supported by David Messenger and associate Gemma Fenton, both based in the firm’s Solihull office. Recent work includes advising a wife on a Schedule 1 claim seeking to secure a lump sum payment from the sale of the jointly-owned property even though the respondent did not have the monetary status that would make him a typical target for such a claim. Fenton also led on an application for an interim order for sale in a case where the husband and his family were deliberately delaying and obstructing the valuation and transactional process of a derelict farm.

According to some, Thursfields Solicitors’s family team is ‘one of the best legal practices in the area of family law’. The ‘conscientious and very down-to-earthShane Miller (who attracts praise for her ‘combination of good legal knowledge and good sense’) leads the team, which expanded with the recruitment of Laura Williams from Hallmark Hulme, Hannah Nicholls from Higgs & Sons, Kelly Pougher from Sydney Mitchell LLP, and Alex Mansfield from George Green LLP. Recent work includes handling complex financial remedy applications, contesting wealth protection agreements and sensitive Children Act cases involving allegations of domestic abuse and cross-border abduction. Solicitor Sonali Obhrai left the firm.

Clients ‘cannot speak highly enough of the service received fromWright Hassall LLP, and single out matrimonial team leader Justin Creed for his ‘immense empathy’. His specialty lies in resolving complex, high-value financial matters involving farms, overseas assets, pensions and family-owned businesses. Creed is supported by Peter Lowe, who heads the firm’s private client practice, and Mercedes King-Jones, who has developed strong expertise in the rural sector. The team handled a high volume of financial disputes and financial remedy proceedings on behalf of high-net-worth clients, and advised a father on an application for the determination of the issue of his child’s education and change of residence. Solicitor Assmiea Hussain is also recommended.

Band Hatton Button LLP’s ‘extremely efficient and reliable’ family law practice is led by ‘fantastic listener and communicator’ Tracy Cross. The practice handles the full range of family law services, including care, and recently acted in high-value matrimonial finance cases involving inheritance issues, business assets and post-separation disputes. Recent children law matters included successfully obtaining a residence reversal in favour of its client whose children were born post-separation and whose mother refused to co-operate after the court’s decision. Other key contacts include experienced advocate Peter Martin and Helen Bowns, both of whom are also partners in the family team.

Duncan Watts LLP’s family law team consists of Resolution-accredited and mediation-trained lawyers Martin Croom, who handles complex financial matters in the context of divorce proceedings and children law cases, and Joanne Connor, who also sits as a first-tier tribunal judge. Solicitor Lindsey Patrick is also recommended.

Knights Professional Services Limited handles all aspects of family law including divorces, wealth protection, contentious children matters and co-habitation agreements. Martin Ridings leads the practice and specialises in financial settlements following the breakdown of relations for high-net-worth clients including business owners, entrepreneurs and landowners. He is supported by senior associate Andrew Hall, who is experienced in complex child matters, including removal from jurisdiction cases.

Lanyon Bowdler’s family law practice acts for a strong rural client base and is headed by Colin Spanner, who splits his time between the Ludlow and Hereford offices and advises on wealth protection, financial disputes and children matters. The Telford-based Sue Hodgson has expertise in sensitive child disputes and recently represented clients with regards to applications for primary care base changes and cross-border relocation issues. Spanner, assisted by associate Caroline Yorke, acted on several high-value financial disputes, including one involving a jointly-owned property abroad which became a point of contention as the respondent attempted to put his assets beyond the client’s reach. Senior associate Lisa Grimmett regularly assists clients with collaborative matters.

At Aaron & Partners LLP senior associate and Shrewsbury office head Sandy Edwards is ‘a pragmatist who searches for and achieves resolution for her clients’. In recent work, the team acted for business owners and managers with regards to property and investment asset management issues arising from divorce proceedings, and handled a complex cohabitation dispute involving substantial rural properties. Lorraine Saunders is also recommended.

At Alsters Kelley LLP, the ‘advice provided is always highly appropriate and of unfailing quality’. Team head, trained collaborative lawyer and mediator Erica Kemp ‘always brings the important human element to the facts and has a sympathetic ear’. In Coventry, associate Catherine Stephens has strong experience in public law child care and High Court advocacy, while associate Emma Piff recently relocated to the Nuneaton office, joining associate Adrian Bannister, who specialises in public law.

Beswicks Legal’s ‘competent and efficient’ family team includes the ‘very knowledgeable and tenacious’ Amy Walklate, consultant Fiona Craig, who has ‘first-class knowledge of the divorce process’, and assistant solicitor David Lago. In recent highlights, the team represented a mother in the father’s application for a prohibited steps order as part of Hague Convention proceedings after she took her child to the family home in Majorca; and acted for a wife in a complex matrimonial finance dispute involving significant property and cash assets. The firm also acted in divorce proceedings where the husband had a serious alcohol dependency, and oversaw the application for a non-molestation order on behalf of a husband.

Associate Rachel Baker leads George Green LLP’s family law team from the Cradley Heath office and works closely with the firm’s private client and corporate teams to advise on matrimonial finance matters and wealth protection strategies. In Wolverhampton, the firm recently hired associate Mark Vandaele, who specialises in high-value divorces involving business structures and pension assets as well as contentious private law child work. He represented a wife in complex divorce proceedings where the husband owned interests in several businesses interlinked with family members and held a foreign property subject to a trust. Cradley Heath-based solicitor Jane Williams defended a husband whose wife left the family home with their infant child after having made serious allegations regarding his conduct.

Led by Nadia Davis, Martin Kaye’s family practice consists of four fee-earners and leverages the firm’s commercial client base, which includes entrepreneurs, business owners and executives. Davis regularly handles divorce cases involving high-value financial arrangements, business structures and pension assets, and is acting for a growing number of clients in the healthcare sector, including GPs and dentists, on wealth protection work, amongst other matters. Davis’ team also handles public and private law children work.

Pickerings Solicitors LLPhas excellent people at every level and attracts plaudits in the areas of child care and surrogacy’. Divorce and finance team head Susan Davies recently joined from Ansons and handles cohabitation agreements, divorce proceedings and wealth protection. Graham Pegg ‘commands a real respect from professional and lay clients’ and regularly handles surrogacy issues, adoption, contact and special guardianship law. He is supported by solicitor Richard Westley, who ‘has the making of an exceptional childcare solicitor’, and consultant Robina Boydon, who heads the firm’s children law team. Solicitors Rachel Burchell and Joanna Craddock are also recommended.

Woolley & Co, Solicitors’s lawyers ‘have a strong reputation in family law’, with clients singling out ‘sensitive but tenacious’ legal executive Rebecca Franklin, who is ‘excellent at handling clients and able to sort the true issues within a case’. She recently advised clients with regards to an unusual child contact case, a financial dispute regarding a mortgage-free matrimonial property, and represented a client threatened with injunction proceedings pertaining to high-value funds he had control over.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

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For some, Higgs & Sonsis the strongest firm in the Midlands outside of Birmingham’ for tax, trust and probate work. Nick Moxon, whose practice revolves around tax planning and trust administration, leads the practice, which includes the ‘thorough and ablePeter Gosling, who is rated by clients for ‘thinking through complicated issues and providing practical solutions’. He focuses on wealth planning issues for high-net-worth individuals, with particular expertise in the rural sector. Lucy Obrey and Robert Leek recently advised on the implementation of a family investment company and trust administration respectively. The partners are supported at associate level by STEP member Sarah Potter and wills and inheritance tax specialist Kate Newton.

Lodders Solicitors LLP’s private client practice is led by the ‘outstandingMartin Green and is supported by the ‘swift, accommodating and soundStephen Brignull, the ‘pragmatic and efficientSofia Tayton, and the ‘thoroughly pleasant and approachableLouise Igoe. High-net-worth individuals with considerable business interests make up a substantial proportion of the firm’s client base, for which it handles all private client matters with special emphasis on tax and estate planning, as well as care and capacity work. Ian Flavell provides advice to landed estates and historic houses; he acted for the owners of an estate in the North with regards to tax and estate planning ahead of the anticipated transfer of the property and its ownership to their son. Senior associate Jessica Beddows, formerly of Harrison Clark Rickerbys, joined the Straford-upon-Avon office while associate Natalie Smith joined the Cheltenham office.

Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘an excellent firm’ with a ‘very strong team’ led by national private wealth head Matthew Hansell, who is a ‘fine example of the complete family adviser'. The ‘very approachableJohn Grundy leads the Birmingham private client team and is supported by principal associate Sarah Wood and senior associate Adam Williams, who ‘can think on his feet and come up with innovative ideas’. The practice handles comprehensive cross-border reviews and restructurings of trusts and family businesses for wealthy international families. Wood advised a landed estate client on a restructuring to increase business property relief claim, while Grundy handled all private client work including tax and pension death planning for a former business owner. He also assisted a wealthy family with pre-and-post-nuptial agreements to facilitate estate planning and wealth protection.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP assists wealthy individuals, families, trustees and entrepreneurs with all aspects of domestic and international private client matters. The three-partner team is led by tax and wealth planning expert Clare Laird – who regularly advises lottery winners – in Solihull, and inheritance and wealth protection specialist Lesley Davis in Birmingham. Anne Tromans is currently handling the administration of a complex estate to maximise the potential inheritance for its residual beneficiaries, while Laird advised an individual based overseas with regards to their UK assets so that they may be passed to their children at their time of death. Associates Hannah Tait and Verity Kirby – who are based in Solihull and Birmingham, respectively – regularly support the partners with regards to Court of Protection matters and lasting powers of attorney.

Clients consider Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP to be ‘one of the few private client teams in the Midlands that combines expertise with a first-class service to clients’. In addition to providing the full range for private client advice, the firm also acts for vulnerable adults in Court of Protection work. Senior associate Alex Elphinstone ‘is very knowledgeable and well-connected’; he regularly handles wills and trusts for the disabled and manages overseas estates and assets. Associate Lisa Whitehouse is ‘a rising star with great technical knowledge and delivers a truly exceptional service’; she recently supported ‘superb technician’ and practice head Donna Holmes as an independent administrator for an estate in the context of a dispute between the executors and beneficiaries. The team recently recruited Clare Burke from Wright Hassall LLP. Senior associates James Hall and Sheree Green are also recommended.

The ‘prompt, courteous and creativeRoger Williams co-heads DWF’s private client practice with the Manchester-based Paul Davies and advises on wills, trusts, estate administration and Court of Protection work. In recent highlights, Williams acted as the trustee for several discretionary trusts for a wealthy couple looking to minimise the impact of inheritance tax on their estate, and acted for a client with regards to the severance of assets from an ongoing trust giving rise to complex arrangements in the context of the relationships between various beneficiaries.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s ‘excellent’ team ‘stands head and shoulders above the competition’, according to one client. Deputyship expert Julie Burn heads the practice in Wolverhampton, which has niche expertise in areas such as community care and Court of Protection. The ‘knowledgeable, professional, reliable and trustworthyAndrew Vernon focuses on high-value tax and estate planning for clients in the rural and renewable energy sectors. Margaret Rowe in Telford handled several international estate management matters involving significant business, property and cash assets, while Wolverhampton-based solicitor Will Jones led the advice on a client’s surrender of life interest in a property. Craig Ridge and Philip Cowell, based in Wolverhampton and Telford, respectively are also recommended.

Lanyon Bowdler is known to clients for its ‘excellent communication, prompt responses and reliability’. Giles Scott is based in the Ludlow office and heads the practice, which includes Kevin Thomas and Charles Almond – based in Oswestry and Hereford respectively – and associate Neil Davies, who heads the practice’s dedicated Court of Protection team. Recent highlights include advising an individual on the administration of his personal injury trust, which involved the setting up of a portfolio of investments and the acquisition of a property, and representing the executors in complicated estate succession matter. Assistant solicitor Lucy Speed is also recommended.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s clients find the wills, trusts and probate team, led by Tracy Creed, to be ‘extremely professional and efficient in all engagements and dealings’. The practice has substantial experience acting on behalf of vulnerable elderly clients in connection with care work and funding. Solicitor Ravinder Sandhu (whose ‘knowledge in this field is wide and deep’) recently assisted a client with the removal of an executor from an estate, and handled the administration of an estate according to a will, which was complicated by unclear paternity links and genealogical evidence. Clients also recommend ‘very good and helpful’ solicitor Nicholas Bennett, who is based in Shirley and acted for clients with regards to locating missing wills and applications for grants of probate.

Wright Hassall LLP strengthened its personal tax practice with the recruitment of Eamonn Daly from Lodders Solicitors LLP, and on the non-contentious side with the hiring of Susan Floyd from Knights Professional Services Limited. John Rouse specialises in advising farmers and landowners on estate and succession planning. In recent highlights, the firm oversaw tax planning for the legal counsel of a FTSE100 company, and acted for an estate involving valuable art, jewellery and property overseas. The team is supported by senior associate Anna Sutcliffe, whose caseload pertains to contentious probate and professional negligence claims related to estates; and Martin Oliver, who acts for charities on contentious work concerning inheritance tax and income legacy.

Clients rate the advice provided by Ansons as ‘clear, appropriate to clients’ needs, reflective of their wishes, and great value of money’. The team, which is led by Marie Tisdale (who attracts praise for her ‘friendly yet business-like manner’) services clients on the full spectrum of private client issues, including professional deputy and lasting powers of attorney cases. She is supported by senior associate Shelly Wainwright, who advises clients on a wide array of non-contentious wills and estates work, and legal executives Tracey Lane – based in Cannock – and Rebecca Taylor. Notable work included liaising with HMRC and financial institutions regarding inheritance tax on a landed property and significant equity assets, and locating a will pertaining to overseas assets. All named individuals are based in Lichfield unless otherwise stated.

Beswicks Legal’s private client department is based in Stoke-on-Trent and jointly headed by Howard Heath, who focuses on inheritance tax planning and elderly client care, and Kate Sutherland, who handles substantial wealth protection matters involving complex and delicate family complications. She represented a woman seeking to secure the care of her mother which was taken away from her following complaints made to the local authority. Qualified STEP member and solicitor Juliette Carter has strong experience in high-value tax issues and acted on the creation of a trust for a client who wanted recent proceeds protected from him.

At Gateley Plc, tax specialist and practice head Catriona Attride acts as a trustee and deputy on several high-value settlements, and has developed strong expertise in UK-to-US cross-border transactions. The team recently advised a lottery winner who established trusts and entrusted them to Attride. Alexia Haines supported Attride with regards to a longstanding lifetime interest trust including assets in Canada. Solicitor Hannah Turner assisted a successful business executive who relocated abroad in connection with establishing trusts in the US. Since publication, Fiona Debney has joined from Clarke Willmott LLP.

According to one client, Harrison Clark Rickerbysis the most effective and knowledgeable practice in the area’ and ‘efficient and up-to-date in terms of both advice and technology’. ‘Very competent’ department head Dawn Oliver ‘understands client requirements sympathetically and is commercially savvy’. She works alongside Shirley Rabbetts, who advises farmers on inheritance issues regarding agricultural property. The practice’s client roster mainly consists of wealthy landowners and high-net-worth individuals, for which the team handles the preparation and management of wills pertaining to investment portfolios, family trusts and appointing lasting powers of attorney to protect elderly and incapacitated clients.

Knights Professional Services Limited focuses its practice on succession planning and trust work. Charles Jones has strong experience in inheritance tax work and specialises in protecting personal and business assets through mitigation and implementing arrangements through wills and trusts. Other key contacts include Lindsey Howland, who specialises in high-value estate administration and handles potentially contentious work, especially in the context of property and family issues. She also acts for clients in the drafting of statutory wills and Court of Protection matters.

Key figures at MFG Solicitors LLP include Valerie Robinson in Kidderminster and Ludlow-based Peter Stephens, who has strong experience in the appointment of deputies and acting for the vulnerable. The team underwent some changes with Alastair Brierley becoming a consultant in Ludlow, and the promotion to associate level of Kim Scolari and Amanda Piper, in Telford and Worcester respectively, and Gill Browne in Kidderminster. Also based in Kidderminster, Tracy Ashby is advising on the terms of the partnership and the assets contained within the will of a former partner in a farming business, while Gary Priest, assisted trustees with regards to a property purchase abroad and manages an ongoing family trust containing high-value property and investment assets.

Mander Hadley Solicitors’ private client team, which is rated as ‘excellent in all areas’, is led by David Webb, who is ‘approachable, trustworthy, knowledgeable, professional and reliable’. Associate director Caroline Dobson is ‘very professional, with a warm heart’ and contributes to the team’s specialism in acting for mentally incapacitated clients in deputyship and Court of Protection work. Other areas of expertise include the administration of estates and the drafting of wills, including managing cash, equity and property assets. Solicitor Andriy Buniak and executive Linsey Graham are also recommended.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, Janet Hoskin specialises in handling commercial trust matters and advising insurance clients on trust products. Key clients include Aegon, Simplyhealth and Scottish Widows. Senior associate Chris Thomas supports Hoskin and handles all areas of tax law for executives, including tax-efficient remuneration structures.

Senior associate Lynda Richards heads the Shrewsbury office at Aaron & Partners LLP; she is rated for her ‘outstanding knowledge’ and is ‘both punctual in correspondence and appointments’. The firm undertakes high-value tax and estate planning, and recently advised an individual with regards to substantial offshore trusts and prepared inheritance tax-efficient wills for clients with sizeable estates and property assets. Paralegal Jo Heath is also recommended.

At Alsters Kelley LLP, Neil Raiseborough heads the private client department from the Coventry office and primarily handles complex high-value estates administration and tax planning. He also acts as a deputy for several longstanding clients and is supported by solicitor Tanya Ghuman, who advises on the full range of private client work and specialises in will drafting, tax, and estate planning and administration.

Michelle Gavin heads Band Hatton Button LLP’s private client department, whose ‘experienced and knowledgeable lawyers respond promptly to requests for advice and provide clear and straightforward guidance’. Gavin ‘quickly establishes a clear understanding of her clients’ needs and takes a keen interest in their family affairs’, and assisted an elderly couple with regards to tax planning, lasting powers of attorney and health and welfare issues. The practice is supported by Charlotte Macalister and Christina Polychronakis, whio recently joined the practice. Jasmine Coles left the firm.

Brethertons LLP is ‘beyond excellent’ and its lawyers make ’all other solicitors look like trainees’, according to one client. Private client practice head Linda Jonescombines technical brilliance, steely determination and great emotional empathy’; she is supported by associate Anji Arkell, who manages the teams in Rugby, Bicester and Banbury. In recent highlights, Nadiya Virani-Bland acted as deputy for a woman who lost virtually all capacity in a car accident and represented her in a dispute against her husband who allegedly caused the accident. Solicitor Laura Stuart handles will drafting and estate administration.

Clarke Willmott LLP administers numerous estates, including those containing trading businesses, under the leadership of the Bristol-based Anthony Fairweather. In Birmingham, Matthew Parr has experience assisting newly wealthy clients with planning for the future through lifetime and will trusts; and legal executive Anne Gillespie specialises in estate administration. The team recently applied for a grant of probate with regards to a client’s wish to obtain a high-value property following its fall into disrepair at the hands of an incapacitated relative. Since publication, Fiona Debney has joined Gateley Plc.

At Emms Gilmore Liberson, Terry Cooper advises on the administration of estates, inheritance tax and trusts, and is assisted by director Stephen Gilmore and consultant Simon Denslow. Cooper recently advised on the inheritance tax implications of a majority shareholder’s sale of his shares to the directors of his company, who happen to be his sons. Gilmore is acting for a client with four high-value family trusts.

At GHP LegalVictoria Wilson in Oswestry specialises in non-contentious probate work and has extensive experience in the preparation of trust deeds, Court of Protection matters, and estate administration. Recent highlights include representing a previous personal injury claimant for whom Wilson now acts as a professional deputy, and administrating and preparing wills for high-net-worth individuals in the possession of substantial property assets.

George Green LLP’s private client practice attracts praise for its ‘sound advice and prompt responses’. Claire Pottinger and Louise Axford ‘deal promptly with queries and research matters when appropriate’. Pottinger specialises in the setting up of trusts, administrating estates, and setting up powers of attorney, predominantly for local business owners and managers; she recently advised a client with respect to the administration of an estate complicated by several factors, including failed potentially exempt transfers, assets which may potentially qualify for business property relief, and life policy trusts with missing deeds of appointment. Associate Anne Jenkin-Smith departed for HCB Solicitors, legal executive Sharon Rowley became self-employed, and previous practice head Emma Wing joined Linder Myers’s Shrewsbury office.

The lawyers at Pickerings Solicitors LLPdeliver their expertise at the correct price point’ and ‘the overall level of service is excellent’. Emma Harrison heads the wills and probate team and recently restructured a will, which involved the preparation of a lifetime trust for life insurance. She also advised an individual on the amendment of her will to allow her husband’s estate to fall into a discretionary trust to protect the vulnerable beneficiary. Harrison is assisted by solicitor Desmond Saunders, who has particular expertise assisting elderly and incapacitated clients with lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. Also recommended are legal executive Lucy Cooling and recently qualified solicitor Ahsley Latham.

Talbots Law’s speciality lies in Court of Protection work and cross-border estate administration. Director Adrian Mabe heads the firm’s trusts and estates department primarily from the Stourbridge office and handles the full range of private client work, including charity law and lasting powers of attorney. Other key names include directors Gillian Bowskill, whose client roster mainly consists of elderly and disabled individuals, and Melanie Blackburn, who splits her time between the Codsall and Wolverhampton offices.

At Shoosmiths LLPCatherine Elliott, who joined from Clarke Willmott LLP heads the practice in Birmingham and is assisted by associate Sarah Cairns. The practice handles the full range of private client matters, including cross-border estate management, care work, and the rectification of invalid deeds of appointment and retirement for various family trusts.

Thomas Guise Solicitors provides ‘a caring and comprehensive service; its advice reflects a strong knowledge of the area’. Key figures include Amanda Oakes, whose ‘positive, professional and cheerful approach is very reassuring’, and the ‘friendly and easy to communicate with’ Nicola Thomas. Thomas specialises in drafting wills and probate work, namely for Chinese clients with UK assets, while Oakes focuses on estate administration with property elements. Recent work includes drafting and amending wills, and acting on behalf of elderly and disabled clients in connection with lasting powers of attorney issues. Solicitor Zoe Dale recently joined the practice from Thomson & Bancks Solicitors and is recommended alongside director Wayne Thomas.

Michelle Hetheridge leads Thursfields Solicitors’s wills and estates department and has developed strong expertise in succession planning work. The team consists of director and care work specialist Steve Pitts in Kidderminster, and Worcester-based associates David Emery-Jones and Deborah Beal, who joined from Higgs & Sons. The firm recently advised on succession planning on behalf of a family-run business alongside the firm’s corporate group, applied to the Court of Protection to appoint Pitts as health and welfare deputy, and obtained grants of probate for high-value estates. Judith Bonegal retired in February 2017.

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