Hall Smith Whittingham LLP has high levels of expertise and professional achievement. This is no coincidence: the firm strives constantly for excellence.
The firm: The firm was formed in 2000 with the amalgamation of Arthur J S Hall & Co (Crewe) and Smith Whittingham (Nantwich), each firm highly regarded locally for their specialist expertise. Arthur J S Hall & Co specialised in family and litigation and Smith Whittingham specialised in agricultural, business and corporate work. Each firm also had strong private client work forged over many years. The merger enabled the combined firm to give up its criminal practice to concentrate on the extension and further specialisation of its other combined work areas. The firm is assured and confidently able to deal with all aspects of property, tax, succession planning and trust work to support its private clients, as well as all employer and employee work to support its business and corporate work.
Types of work undertaken: Hall Smith Whittingham has one sitting deputy district judges and one member with rights of audience in the civil higher courts.
The firm has three members of Resolution, two holding accredited specialist status, and two members of the Law Society’s Children Panel dealing with highly complex and difficult public law childcare issues.
Jane Wilson, senior partner, has been elected to represent 6,000 family lawyers on Resolution’s National Committee and is chair of the Domestic Abuse Committee. Jane is the author of the Law Society’s book on domestic abuse, Practice and Precedents, which has already been cited as authority in cases.
Both Jane and Kay Masters are family mediators and Kay is also a qualified collaborative lawyer in family work and has sat as a deputy district judge since 1999.
The development of Hall Smith Whittingham’s mediation service follows the firm’s philosophy of maintaining a high regard for developments and changes in family work and in all areas of the law.
The firm maintains strength of representation in family work, dispute resolution and litigation.
The commercial team deals with commercial development schemes and handles mergers and acquisitions, selling companies, management buyouts and takeovers, dissolutions and disputes. The commercial property department deals with commercial property for businesses and investors.
The probate, estate and trust team has members of Solicitors for the Elderly and Solicitor Trusts & Estate Practitioners. One of the team holds an ACTAPs accreditation as a specialist in handling contentious trusts and probate. The team advises on the drafting of wills, the creation of and administration of trusts, property and financial lasting powers of attorney, health and welfare lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications and the administration of estates. It also deals with elderly client issues, including advice on NHS Continuing Health Care assessments, care funding, care fees and asset protection measures, and care home agreements.
The dispute resolution team deals with court work, including contract and commercial disputes and injury claims and arranges mediation meetings where appropriate. The team have considerable expertise in employment law matters, including contracts, redundancy, dismissal and advice on discrimination.
Steven Coles has developed the firm’s residential conveyancing department into an efficient and friendly team that is highly regarded among local property professionals and with an excellent reputation. The department has accreditation from the Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
The firm has always been a front-runner in the development and use of IT in order to better promote its efficiency and service. It was one of the first locally to introduce an electronic accounting system (and even a fax machine!) and has maintained a forward-thinking approach to adopt the best useful developments. Some of its case management systems were written and developed in-house.
The firm offers the expertise provided by larger practices at moderate high-street cost. This helps to make it successful. The firm is proud of its reputation and avoids complacency with client satisfaction surveys. The results are published on its website. Over 97% of clients who respond (and most do) say they are sure to, or are likely to, recommend the firm to friends or family. Its significant source of new work comes from existing clients or client recommendations. Its business plan is based on quality and effective service. Its goal is client satisfaction, supporting its banner belief in fast, friendly and effective professionals.
Breakdown of work %Conveyancing 20
Dispute resolution 10
Corporate and agricultural 10
Private client 20
Number of UK partners 5
Number of other UK fee-earners 18
Above material supplied by Hall Smith Whittingham LLP.