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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP has ‘a very knowledgeable and helpful team’, which has recently assisted with the restructuring of a large family farming business. It also advised on the dissolution of a farm partnership. Steven Corfield heads the department, and Tom Devey and Sarah Baugh are recommended.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s team, which is headed by Kate Smith, has expertise in farming partnerships, tenancies and licences, and agricultural litigation.

Lodders Solicitors LLP appointed a new head of department, James Spreckley, who arrived from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. It also added Jane Senior to the team from Wright Hassall LLP, while Caroline Nemecek was promoted to partner. Alex Robinson moved to Wright Hassall LLP. The team handled the sale of a number of estates in 2015.

Wright Hassall LLP’s lawyers are ‘excellent communicators with both fellow professionals and clients’ and the team represents the Royal Agricultural Society of England, Cotswold Farm Park and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers. Paul Rice heads the team, which recently welcomed Alex Robinson from Lodders Solicitors LLP.

At Lanyon Bowdler, the team’s ‘strength is its understanding of farming issues’. Practice head Brian Evans is a ‘conscientious and diligent lawyer’. David Brammer and Jon Clifford joined from Shakespeare Martineau LLP and Clarke Willmott LLP, respectively.

MFG Solicitors LLP’s clients include Top Barn Farm, Hawkins Estate and S & A Soft Fruits and Wrekin Shell Mouldings. Head of the department is Iain Morrison, who is recommended, as is Helen Gough.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP specialises in tenancies, sales and purchasing, disputes, and shooting leases. The key contacts are Peter Snodgrass and Richard Thorpe. David Brammer joined Lanyon Bowdler and James Spreckley departed for Lodders Solicitors LLP.

Simon James leads the team at Ansons Solicitors Ltd, which deals with all aspects of agricultural law. David Anderton is, according to one client, ‘a master tactician in negotiation and brings clarity to documentation’.

Brethertons LLP’s team works with a range of rural businesses, including farms, food producers, forestries and fisheries. The key contact for the practice is Steven Neasham.

Hatchers Solicitors LLP acts for a number of landed estates and advises on sales, purchases, and disputes. Val Edwards heads the department and new recruit Jennifer Woods is also recommended.

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP’s team is led by Shivaji Shiva, of whom clients say: ‘his legal advice is very good and his client relation skills second to none’. The team has special expertise in the areas of social housing, education and faith-based charities.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s clients are drawn from the arts and culture, animal welfare and scientific research spheres. A particular highlight for Neil Burton’s team in 2015 was being appointed to The Royal Shakespeare Company’s legal panel. Keith Dudley joined from Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards provides an ‘excellent depth of knowledge and quick responses’ and counts the Soil Association, Stonewall and The Forest Trust among its clients. The team has a focus on faith charities and bodies within the education sector. Con Alexander leads the team from Bristol, and Penelope Byatt is recommended.

DWF’s team is headed by Leeds-based Catherine Rustomji. Clients include The Royal British Legion, Birmingham YMCA and National Children’s Bureau.

Lodders Solicitors LLP works with faith-based charities, agricultural groups and sporting bodies, including the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and Archery GB. The department is headed by Mark Lewis, who advised the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers on governance matters.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s Lesley Davis is ‘an exceptional leader of her team’, which represents clients involved in education, healthcare and animal welfare. Keith Dudley joined Mills & Reeve LLP and Catriona Attride went to Gateley Plc.

A recent highlight for Wright Hassall LLP was advising WCS Care Services on the acquisition of land for development and construction of a new care home. The team, led by Rachel Gwynne, has also advised The Pony Club and British Dressage. Monica Macheng joined from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP.

Simon James, who heads the team at Ansons Solicitors Ltd, is ‘highly regarded by trustees for his knowledge of the sector and the proactive advice he provides’. The team assists in all charitable issues, including compliance with charity commission requirements, contract negotiations and dispute resolution.

Band Hatton Button LLP’s clients include Coventry School Foundation, City College Coventry, and Coventry and Warwickshire YMCA. The team is headed by Haydn Jones, who is praised for his ‘careful and methodical approach’ and ‘very good service’.

A recent highlight for FBC Manby Bowdler LLP was advising Lichfield Diocesan Trust on general charitable matters and on aspects of ecclesiastical law. Stuart Rea is the practiced head, and the ‘responsive, knowledgeable and pleasantDavid Raymont is also recommended.

Knights Professional Services Limited assists with setting up new charities, applying for schemes from the Charity Commission and providing trustees with training. Jenny Hampson is the key contact.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team has niche expertise in charity law as it applies to universities, and its clients include University of Warwick, University of Sussex and University of Gloucestershire. Practice head Janet Hoskin provides a ‘good level of technical expertise and is good at building long-term relationships with clients’.

Thomas Horton LLP’s department head Malford Harris advises on all aspects of charity law, including formation, registration and governance matters. Recent highlights include acting for three charities that merged to form a large regional charity.

Contentious trusts and probate

A recent highlight for FBC Manby Bowdler LLP was advising a client who acted as the executor and beneficiary of an estate with assets in the UK and another jurisdiction. Department head Craig Ridge and solicitor Kimberly Mears are recommended.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s team, led by Jessica Costello, specialises in large, complex estates and all forms of inheritance planning and asset protection.

MFG Solicitors LLP provides a ‘superb service’, according to one client, and the head of its practice, Robert Weston, is ‘exceptional’. The team acts for beneficiaries and defendants of claims as well as executors.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s team ‘offers sound practical advice to the lay client’, according to one source. Recent work includes settling two substantial claims under the Inheritance Act valued at £22m. Kamal Majevadia heads the department.

DWF clients include The Pony Club, Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust and Barclays Investment and Wealth Management. The team recently acted in a multimillion-pound case involving allegations of trust fund mismanagement. Department heads are Helen Briant and Keith Mills.

Thomas Horton LLP’s team is ‘experienced, knowledgeable and well regarded by clients’ and acts for beneficiaries, executors and trustees. Practice head James Sommerville ‘gives firm advice when needed and is never afraid of his opponents’.

Irwin Mitchell’s team handled a high-profile matter for the family of a man who died while abroad, which led to a complex case involving businesses and assets in three jurisdictions. Gavin Faber leads the practice.

Claire Vale heads the team at Lanyon Bowdler, which acted for a client whose brother died and left 50% of the house they owned together to an animal charity.

The lawyers in Mills & Reeve LLP’s team provide ‘first-rate advice and are always accessible’. Norwich-based David Catchpole is head of the department nationally, and John Grundy is a key contact in the Birmingham office.

Thursfields Solicitors advised on and helped to settle a dispute arising from a client’s right to reside in her deceased partner’s property following his death. Mark Pittaway heads the team, which grew through the recruitment of associate solicitor Tracey Ashford.

At Wright Hassall LLP partners Martin Oliver and Gemma Carson, and senior associate Anna Sutcliffe, have extensive experience handling contentious probate matters, including high-profile inheritance disputes and matters concerning high-value estates and professional negligence.

Family: Birmingham

Index of tables

  1. Family: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP’s recent work includes handling the dissolution of the civil partnership of a public figure. According to one client, the team ‘provides the highest-quality legal services in Birmingham’. Team leader Elizabeth Wyatt and childcare law specialist Jas Tamber are both highly recommended.

Benussi & Co is a ‘niche firm offering a “Rolls-Royce” service’. Recent matters for the firm include acting for applicants with substantial wealth and assets in divorce proceedings. Diane Benussi is the senior partner, and Helen Jane Arnold and Sue Leach are also highly regarded.

Headed by Joan Price and Beverley Morris, Divorce and Family Law Practice handles all aspects of familial law. Associate solicitor Caroline Dresden is also recommended.

Blair Allison’s team specialises in children’s welfare cases and is led by the well-respected Grant Bird, who one client says is ‘possibly the best childcare lawyer practising in the Birmingham courts’. Associate Baldish Khatkar is recommended.

Kevin Harris-James heads the department at Harrison Clark Rickerbys; he specialises in assisting professional footballers with marital issues. Birmingham-based associate Anna Taylor is also recommended.

Irwin Mitchell strengthened its showing in this area with the addition of Clare Wiseman from George Green LLP. Notable work included seeking financial remedy for its client in a divorce case involving assets valued in the millions, and acting for a client in an overseas shari’ah law divorce. Nicola Walker heads the department.

Mills & Reeve LLP has represented clients in cases involving substantial wealth and also in cases involving assets in multiple jurisdictions. The team has ‘strength and depth and is able to comfortably deal with any issue that may arise’. Practice head Marc Saundersonbuilds empathy with clients and has first-rate judgement’.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP has recently acted in a number of relationship breakdowns of high-net-worth individuals and their partners. Zahra Pabani is ‘head and shoulders above all the other financial remedy lawyers’, according to one client.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s practice is headed by Rayner Grice, who ‘provides an excellent service for her clients’. Recent work for the team includes managing the estate of a man who died intestate and who had no formal records in his country of origin, and where there were competing claims for inheritance.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team focuses on the financial implications of relationship breakdowns. Recent work includes representing an international footballer whose wife filed for divorce.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s Karen Moores (who ‘maintains excellent rapport with clients’) runs a ‘first-rate legal team, which is hardworking and always contactable’. Mauro Vinti is also recommended.

Weightmans LLP handles all aspects of relationship breakdowns, as well as wealth protection, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Recent highlights include the resolution of a case involving an overseas trust with a substantial value but with uncooperative trustees. Fiona O’Sullivan is ‘a first-class and astute lawyer who is both well respected and feared as an opponent by her professional colleagues.Carole Atkinson heads the practice.

Cartwright King handles all aspects of family law and financial remedy, but the team is particularly well known for its work in public law children’s cases. Clare Butterfield is ‘adept at dealing with cases involving international and cross-jurisdictional issues’.

Family: Elsewhere in the West Midlands

The ‘fast, efficient and excellent’ team at Brethertons LLP is headed by the ‘professionally superb, personally sensitiveLinda Jones. The practice has acted in a number of complex divorce proceedings, such as those with spouses who seek to obfuscate the true value of their wealth and assets. Rachel Adams and Emily James are also recommended.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s team specialises in marital breakdown, co-habitation, children’s issues and nuptial agreements. Telford-based Anne Thomson heads the department, and Fay Rothery, who works in the Wolverhampton office, is also recommended.

Kevin Harris-James leads the ‘enormously well-respected’ department at Harrison Clark Rickerbys. His team acted for a number of high-profile clients, including advising a Premier League footballer on his divorce and assisting a well-known actor with a prenuptial agreement. Andy Caldicott, Jonathan Brew and Brenda Spain are recommended.

Higgs & Sons’ team handles divorce and financial settlements, prenuptial agreements and children’s matters involving high-net-worth individuals and disputes involving family businesses. Phillip Barnsley heads the department and Hannah Nichols* is noted for being ‘empathetic, responsive and motivated to put people first’. *In August 2016, Hannah Nichols left to join Thursfields Solicitors and Claire Darley joined from Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

Duncan Watts LLP provides ‘an overall excellent service’. Joint practice heads Martin Croom and Joanne Connor focus on collaborative process and mediation in relation to divorce and relationship breakdown issues.

MFG Solicitors LLP’s team is led by Gurdip Kaur Brring, who specialises in farming divorce cases and complex business structures, and Bromsgrove-based Alison Webber, who focuses on financial arrangements of divorce and cohabitation disputes.

The ‘very responsive and timelyMercy Messenger team advises wealthy individuals and family businesses. Associate Gemma Fenton is ‘a very safe pair of hands with very high standards in her work’.

The team at Thursfields Solicitors focuses on divorces and financial matters relating to relationship breakdowns. Shane Miller is a key contact, and Paul Gammon is also recommended.

Wright Hassall LLP provides ‘sound, realistic advice to manage clients’ expectations’, and represents high-net-worth individuals, senior executives and business owners. Practice head Peter Lowe specialises in farming cases; and ‘formidable opponentJustin Creed has a specialisation in farms, rural businesses and overseas assets.

The team at Ansons Solicitors Ltd is led by Susan Davies, who is ‘a highly experienced matrimonial solicitor with great client care skills’. The team handles all aspects of divorce and civil partnership breakdowns, nuptial agreements and disputes involving children, and has a strong focus on collaborative practice.

Band Hatton Button LLP assists clients with a full range of family matters. Practice head Tracy Cross is ‘extremely empathetic and knowledgeable’.

Knights Professional Services Limited’ team is led by Martin Ridings and acts on instructions on all aspects of family law, including divorce, financial remedy agreements, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and disputes involving children’s custody.

Lanyon Bowdler acts in all aspects of family law. A notable recent matter was the successful application for adoption by clients acting as foster carers. Colin Spanner heads the practice and Sue Hodgson was promoted to partner. Peter Flint retired.

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Higgs & Sons’ team specialises in wealth preservation and estate planning. Practice head Nick Moxon focuses on estate and tax planning for directors and shareholders. Peter Gosling, who is also recommended, deals with wealth planning for high-net-worth individuals and families. Solicitors Claire Whittall joined the team from FBC Manby Bowdler LLP and Richard Stone joined from Lanyon Bowdler.

Lodders Solicitors LLPoffers excellent service to clients’ and focuses on tax and estate planning, as well as care and capacity matters for the vulnerable and elderly. Department head Martin Green and chartered tax adviser Eamonn Daly are recommended, and Louise Igoe was promoted to equity partner.

Mills & Reeve LLP represents high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs, providing wealth planning and tax structuring services. Practice head Matthew Hansellhas superb legal expertise which he applies with apparent ease and speed’, and John Grundy is also endorsed by clients. Gary Barber retired.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP advises on trust administration, elderly client advice and landed estates. One highlight for the team was advising on setting up a family investment company for a client who is worth nearly £200m. Lesley Davis worked on that matter. Davis and Clare Laird are key contacts in the team.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP’s team was boosted by the arrival of James Hall from Meridian Private Client and Lisa Whitehouse from Higgs & Sons, and by the promotion to partner of Donna Holmes. The practice advises on inheritance tax issues, pension trusts and Court of Protection issues.

The team at DWF, which is led by Roger Williams, focuses on asset protection, complex probates and all manner of matters for high-net-worth individuals.

Julie Burn, practice head at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, acts as deputy to a number of clients who have impaired faculties due to medical, traffic or workplace injuries. Advising on personal injury trusts and Court of Protection issues are particular strengths. Sophie Yates is recommended.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s team specialises in succession planning, and tax and trusts. Charles Jones and Lindsey Howland are key contacts.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s team handles complex Court of Protection issues, administration of estates, and elderly client care and care work. It is described by one client as ‘a quality firm with in-depth specialist know-how’. Tracy Creed and Sue Capstick are key contacts.

Wright Hassall LLP has a niche specialism in estate planning for farmers and rural landowners, and also carries out succession planning for entrepreneurs and business owners. John Rouse heads the team.

Marie Tisdale, practice head at Ansons Solicitors Ltd, ‘demonstrates a thorough knowledge of all aspects of inheritance tax and the probate system’. Tisdale has expertise in agricultural estates and also provides specialist tax advice.

Recent work for Lanyon Bowdler includes assisting a client with setting up a discretionary trust and reviewing his and his partner’s wills, having sold a business for an eight-figure sum. The ‘very personableEdward Rees is head of the practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP represents commercial, corporate healthcare and property investment trusts, as well as non-resident and non-domiciled individuals. Clients include Scottish Widows, Standard Life and Royal London. Janet Hoskin heads the team.

The ‘very sound and efficient’ team at QualitySolicitors Mander Hadley has particular strengths in Court of Protection matters, including lasting and enduring powers of attorney, and family trusts and settlements. David Webb heads the department and Andriy Buniak is also recommended.

The ‘very responsive and helpfulQualitySolicitors Talbots specialises in Court of Protection applications, international estate planning and trust structures. Adrian Mabe heads the practice, and Melanie Blackburn is ‘technically skilled and has a lovely manner with clients’.

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