Birketts LLP acts for many of the largest farming families, landed estates, businesses and entrepreneurs in East Anglia, as well as many clients from further afield. From business succession planning to wills and probate, from trusts administration to tax structuring, the firm provides a comprehensive range of private client services. Lorna Spear is the key contact. The firm hired legal director Helen Cordingley and senior associate Hayley Pettitt from Hansells, where they were head and deputy head of the private client department.
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich in East Anglia
The 'enthusiastic and engaging' team at Howes Percival LLP 'has an exceptional depth of knowledge and provides good, reasoned advice with the right answers not the ones you may want', remarks one client. From domestic and cross-border estate planning to inheritance tax advice, from setting up trusts to handling complex probate issues, Catherine Scott's practice handles the full range of private client work. Stuart Maggs, whom one client calls 'the Gandalf of tax, trusts and anything complex ', Tom Lawrence and Jonathan Wortley are all vastly experienced partners.
‘The firm has an exceptional depth of knowledge within the team, providing good, reasoned advice with the right answers not the ones you may want. It has a mix of personality types to suit all clients and generally an enthusiastic and engaging team.‘
‘Stuart Maggs is the Gandalf of tax, trusts and anything complex. Catherine Scott is cool, calm and fiercely bright. Katherine Danks is a machine who just gets it done. Katie Easter has youthful enthusiasm and a very keen mind.‘
‘They provide value for money with excellent knowledge and skills.‘
‘Stuart Maggs absolutely knows his stuff and provides value for money advice with minimum of fuss. Stuart is able to make difficult structures simple to follow and understand.‘
‘A diverse team full of individual strengths but which works as a team. As a result, the sum of the parts is greater than that of each individual.‘
‘Jonathan Wortley is incredibly experienced, approachable and immensely knowledgeable.‘
‘An excellent, client service-oriented firm, delivering client-specific and focused advice.‘
Mills & Reeve LLP acts for a broad spectrum of clients ranging from traditional landed estates to entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals across the globe. Its specialist landed estates practice has a track record that extends back more than a century, and it advises three of the four largest landed estates in Norfolk. Another niche area - alongside its broad palette of trusts, will and probate matters - is its work for land consortia. Virginia Edgecombe, Gregory Laming, Justin Ripman and Lauren Parker are recognised leaders in their field. Principal associate Elizabeth Field and senior associate Alexandra Clark are also recommended.
‘Apart from the requisite technical skills, the firm encourages collaborative working amongst its team members on a national basis. Mills & Reeve team members are very approachable and are quick to respond.’
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors
The team at Clapham & Collinge Solicitors is 'easy to work with, knowledgeable, economically priced and accessible'. The firm has one of the largest private client practices in Norfolk and practice head Lin Whitehead is 'meticulous and practical, a pleasure to work with'. A STEP member, she also handles clinical negligence claims, which sees her act in Court of Protection matters and as deputy for personal injury trusts. Ben Lowe handles family, personal injury trusts and charitable trusts, and the administration of estates worth up to £50m. Senior lawyer Lauren Abbs is also recommended.
‘Lin Whitehead’s team gives her excellent support and was always on hand to help out with any queries I had.‘
‘Lin Whitehead is very good with clients, meticulous and practical, a pleasure to work with.‘
‘Very easy to work with. The firm has very professional and competent staff who offer an excellent service at very reasonable prices. I have recommended them to other colleagues too. We are all very impressed with this firm.‘
‘Easy to work with, knowledgeable, economically priced and accessible.‘
‘The team are all very professional, knowledgeable, approachable and friendly. Customer service is always at the heart of what they do.‘
‘Lin Whitehead is truly exceptional in how she deals with her clients, and is always ready to take the time to speak to me if needed.‘
- Advising high-net-worth clients with a property portfolio of 34 properties, including private, residential, commercial and agricultural properties.
- Appointed as Panel Deputy for a client after the client was admitted to hospital having lost capacity following numerous admissions for psychotic episodes. The client is now living independently, with the assistance of support workers.
- Acting for the Trustees of a Settlement created in the 1960s, involving complex issues relating to the appointment by the Trustees of company shares worth many millions of pounds.
Fosters handles every aspect of private client work from wills to lasting powers of attorney, from Court of Protection applications to tax and estate planning. It also advises on care home fees. Senior associate Lisa Glynne, who now leads the practice, and Rachel Chiarotti are the main contacts. Partner Stephen Green, whose primary focus is personal injury and clinical negligence, also plays a key role in the administration of their estates and ongoing trusts.
‘Very friendly professional service.’
‘Team means team at Fosters. They support each other including community activities where the company gives support without financial gain. I have witnessed the confidence they show in each other.’
‘They accept your objectives without question and offer ideas in how they will be successfully achieved. All communication is clear, open and straightforward.’
The 'enthusiastic and empathetic' practice at Spire Solicitors LLP is based around its Norwich office, but operates through seven offices throughout Norfolk. Alisdair Liddle, who has 'wisdom and a practical attitude gained over many years', leads one of the largest private client practices in the country, providing a comprehensive suite of services. Newly promoted senior associate Teresa Callender is among the talented lawyers in the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘They are enthusiastic with sound knowledge and are empathetic to client requirements. The Spire private client team provides a high service quality and value both in terms of advice and fee.’
‘I have found Alisdair Liddle to have a wide knowledge which, with his wisdom and a practical attitude gained over many years, has served me and the clients I have introduced to him well.‘
'The advice has been very helpful and practical', says a client of Steeles Law, while another describes a practice that is 'professional, effective and efficient but, more importantly, extremely personable'. The firm advises clients across Norfolk and Suffolk and further afield on the full range of private client matters. Partner Karen Bacon is 'always available, very professional and approachable'. She has a particular focus on the needs of clients in the agricultural sector. Principal solicitor Amy Taylor is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘I found the firm to be responsive, capable and to the point with its advice.‘
‘I have worked with two individuals from the firm and have found that I can speak to them as a layman and not have to deal with confusing legalese by way of response. Both individuals have been open to my ideas and thoughts within the framework of legality.‘
‘I have used Steeles several times and have always found them exceptionally helpful. The advice I have had has been very helpful and practical. I have no hesitation to recommend them.’
‘Karen Bacon has advised me on several property and probate matters. She seems to always be available and is very professional and approachable. I very much appreciate the help and advice she has given me and the family.‘
‘The firm has very confident and helpful personnel. They are always adapting to requirements of customers. They understand the importance of individual requirements.‘
‘I have used this practice for a number of years. I have always been impressed by their helpfulness on first contact and their continued willingness to ensure that issues are resolved speedily and, where necessary, with a degree of empathy that ensures a client who may be stressed and in need of support is not left feeling isolated.‘
‘Legal executive Catherine Savvas, who dealt with my late wife’s estate, was always helpful and very thorough. My questions and concerns were dealt with speedily and effectively. And I was kept in touch with progress and the timescales I was given for matters to be dealt with were adhered to. Catherine’s understanding of my and my children’s emotional fragility at the early stage of the execution of my wife’s Will was all that we could wish for.‘
‘Professional, effective and efficient but, more importantly, extremely personable in that they help you understand the matter in hand and feel comfortable with the process and outcome.‘
‘They are personable, professional and willing to listen and consider alternative options. They ensure that the process is understood and answer a range of questions with patience and integrity.‘
The private client practice at Ashtons Legal is led from Cambridge by Lynn Wicks but senior solicitor Louisa Bradberry and paralegals Loren Clapham and Chloe Meakin in Norwich draw on the experience of the firm-wide practice to advise clients in Norfolk. The firm handles complex multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning and probate matters, with a particular niche in French legal affairs.
‘The communication was good with regular updates. When contacting the practice I was always happily surprised at how quickly I was recognised and how quickly the issue I had phoned about was already understood. From the start a sensible end date was given that turned out to be correct. I was treated in a familiar way, but professionally, which created a pleasant working relationship. Ease of vehicle access put the practice above one I have used in the past, not having to drive into the city to find parking, then pay exorbitant prices for the pleasure.‘
‘Chloe Meakin and Loren Clapham were both confident in the process of winding up an estate, finalising bills and debts. The gaining of probate was something I was unfamiliar with, but I was confident in their abilities. My previous experiences with solicitors have been either rushed or annoyed with my lack of understanding, this along with a certain aloofness. So again it was refreshing to be dealing with younger less starchy staff.‘
‘All of Louisa Bradberry’s team were very professional and delivered an excellent service. A special mention had to go to Chloe Meakin who always responded to my queries in a swift and timely manner.‘
‘Louisa Bradberry’s service was exceptional. She demonstrated that she was extremely knowledgeable and delivered her recommendations in a very clear, precise and easy to understand way. She answered all my questions in a very thorough manner both during the initial meeting and via follow up phone calls. I was very impressed that she had been suitably briefed by other colleagues from other departments about my situation before we met, so that she could tailor her advice to me accordingly. She even came into work when she was meant to be on leave so that I could have final documentation signed before the Christmas shut down! I would highly recommend her.‘
'The friendliness combined with professionalism of all the staff with whom I had contact was excellent,' remarks a client of Cozens-Hardy LLP. Well known in the Norfolk market for trusts, probate work, estate planning and personal tax, the practice is led by STEP member Michelle Collins, who also advises clients based in London and overseas. Associate Claire Nelson provides 'a superb and clear service'.
Other key lawyers:
‘I found the Wills and Power of Attorney processes to be managed in a personal manner with everything explained perfectly. The friendliness combined with professionalism of all the staff with whom I had contact was excellent.‘
‘Everything was dealt with professionally and promptly within the timescale promised. The solicitor with whom I dealt was Claire Nelson who provided a superb and clear service.‘
JG Poole & Co. LLP
JG Poole & Co. LLP has a new Norwich office and joins the ranking this year having hired partner Margaret Smith from Birketts LLP in early 2020. 'It is a highly competent and caring practice with a very strong customer focus,' remarks a client. Another describes Smith, who has 35 years' experience in this area of law, as 'very commercial and to the point with her advice'.
Other key lawyers:
‘It is a highly commpetent and caring practice with a very strong customer focus.‘
‘Both Margaret Smith and Ginny Coleman in their respective fields take an extremely pragmatic view to provide effective solutions for clients.‘
‘The team is small, but flexible. Due to this you are guaranteed to have partner Margaret Smith working for you, rather than a junior.‘
‘Margaret Smith has dealt with updating my will and letter of wishes, and put in place a children’s settlement. She was very commercial and to the point with her advice, I was always able to get hold of her when needed.‘