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



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

Leading individuals

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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.

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