This leading Dorset firm offers one of the largest dedicated commercial departments in the area, as well as a full service private client practice. It has particular strengths in personal and clinical injury, clinical negligence and freehold enfranchisement.
The firm: With offices in Poole, Bournemouth, Charminster and Broadstone, the firm’s 14 partners and around 110 staff count some of the region’s major businesses among their clients. The practice can chart its history back to the late 1920s when its founding member Howard J Cole began working at Poole solicitors, J W Miller & Sons as a legal clerk. He officially launched HFJ Cole in 1954, providing a full legal service for the people of Poole. The firm grew and, by 1972, there were three partners: Howard, his brother Arthur and Roger Senior. More solicitors were brought on board, amongst them Neil Meldrum and David Parfitt, who is now senior partner. In 1989 the firm merged with Poole-based firm Millers and thus Coles Miller was formed.
A merger with DTW gave the firm a new central Bournemouth location. It has responded positively to change, both in the marketplace and in technology. Coles Miller knows it is only as good as the people it employs and has invested in the very best legal advisers and support staff. It prides itself on providing a personal, efficient and cost-effective service for all of its clients. Coles Miller became a Limited Liability Partnership in 2006.
Types of work undertaken: The dedicated commercial department based in Poole and Bournemouth provides a highly experienced and knowledgeable team that regularly acts on behalf of local and national businesses, large and small. Expertise includes: commercial agreements and contract advice, company and business sales and purchases, company formations and business start-ups, flotations, franchise agreements, fundraising, venture capital and private equity, insolvency and joint ventures as well as management buyouts and buy-ins, mergers and acquisitions, minority shareholder rights, partnership and limited liability partnership agreements and restructuring businesses.
Commercial property expertise includes office, industrial, commercial, residential and retail properties as well as licensed premises. Franchises, investment property and financing, including mortgages and other secured lending, are dealt with as well as rent deposit deeds, legal charges, equity funding, landlord and tenant matters and all aspects of leases.
Dispute resolution expertise covers business recovery and insolvency, all types of commercial dispute, construction and engineering disputes, insurance, copyright, patents, trade marks, design rights and passing off, IT disputes, professional negligence claims against solicitors, accountants, surveyors and architects, property litigation, contractual disputes, competition law, product liability, health and safety law, fraud, shareholder and partnership disputes, environmental litigation and grant of overhead power cable easements. Employment law is a specialism including business reorgansation, TUPE matters, dismissal and discrimination. Specialist expertise is offered in the hotel and leisure and marine sectors.
For private clients, personal injury is a notable specialism. The team operates nationwide with expertise ranging from road accidents to brain and head injuries and asbestos claims, as well as claims on behalf of young children and the elderly. Clinical negligence is a major strength, including misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis (eg tumours, fractures), operation errors (eg hip/knee replacement), mismanaged labour, nerve damage, burns/laser surgery, DVT/pulmonary embolism, mis-prescriptions and allergic reactions, dental claims and product liability (eg faulty eye lens implant or failed prosthesis). Claims are commonly pursued against NHS hospitals, private hospitals, GP practices and other clinicians such as chiropractors and physiotherapists.
All aspects of residential conveyancing are handled including sales and purchases. For leasehold property, including flats, the firm is particularly well known for its expertise in buying the freehold and lease extension. All aspects of wills and estates are also dealt with and family law is a specialist area of expertise including divorce, separation and matters relating to children.
Coles Miller intends to maintain its track record of growth through organic expansion and perhaps through mergers and acquisition.
Other offices: Bournemouth, Broadstone, Charminster, Poole
Breakdown of work %
Personal injury 32
Residential conveyancing and leasehold property 23
Company commercial/conveyancing 8
Number of UK Partners 14
Number of other UK fee-earners 48
Above material supplied by Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.