Next Generation Partners

Crime, fraud and licensing: General crime and fraud in East Midlands

Cartwright King

Cartwright King operates from each of its Nottingham, Leicester and Derby locations, and maintains its preeminent position in the local market for high profile and complex cases involving, murder, drugs offences and sexual offences. The general crime team is co-headed by Chris Wall and James Bainbridge, who also leads the firms’ Crown Court department. London-based Laura Smith leads the national financial crime department, working in close tangent with her colleagues in the East Midlands; her practice focuses on serious fraud, proceeds of crime, extradition and court-martial proceedings. David Hallmark and Nicola Hunter are also top defence advocates.

Practice head(s):

Laura Smith; Chris Wall; David Hallmark; James Bainbridge

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Hunter


Approachable, down to earth crime team. Unafraid of challenging cases.’

‘CK has a broad range of experience and expertise in both general crime and fraud and its related spin offs into regulatory, POCA and asset recovery. Being a national firm provides local as well as national coverage which can be very helpful in particular cases.’

‘They are hard working, care about clients and put in a great deal of effort to assist the client all the way through the process. They work excellently in ensuring that the solicitor/client/barrister work in collaboration and as a collective unit and are to be applauded for this.’

Work highlights

  • Defending a company director in connection with an NHS Counter Fraud Authority investigation into the alleged falsification of testing documents submitted during a tendering process for contracts worth £300m.
  • Acting on behalf of a defendant charged in connection with the alleged murder of a suggested gang member where the motivation for the attack is suggested to be a disagreement between criminal gangs over the “county lines” trade in drugs.
  • Instructed by a Financial Advisor who is the focus of a wide ranging investigation by HMRC into the provision tax saving products featured in the Paradise Papers.

Smith Partnership

Andrew Oldroyd heads the criminal defence practice at Smith Partnership with the assistance of Kevin McGrath, who leads the corporate crime and fraud unit. Noted for its ‘great experience, technical ability and commitment‘ the firm takes on defence cases relating to homicide, drug conspiracies, sexual assault, motoring offences and prosecutions by various regulatory bodies. Other key contacts are David Cusack and Crown Court litigators, Vasanti Vaitha and Beth McGovern.

Practice head(s):

Kevin McGrath; Andrew Oldroyd

Other key lawyers:

David Cusack; Vasanti Vaitha; Beth McGovern


‘Huge presence in The Midlands for crime. Andrew Oldroyd partner takes the case on as though each client is a family member.’

‘Very strong criminal team, with great experience, technical ability and commitment.’

‘The combination of friendliness and professionalism – they are very approachable and do not give the impression of “judging” clients. They have a strong work ethic and far better respected than other firms in the local are with a high volume of Higher Court Advocates.’

Johnson Astills

An all-female run practice, Johnson Astills is headed by Helen Johnson and Michelle Harding, both ‘stand out individuals‘ with the ‘skill, knowledge and wherewithal to secure the very best outcome possible.’ Based in Leicester and Loughborough, the firm stands out for its ability to hold in-house trials, led by its three in-house Higher Court Advocates who conduct trials relating to serious sexual offences, multi-handed drugs cases and murder. Rebecca Barrowcliffe is the other key figure.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Harding; Helen Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Barrowcliffe


‘The team led by Helen Johnson provide the complete service right from the start. They are extremely thorough, very professional at all times and guide you through the legal process, in order, whilst preparing for process events along the way. ‘

‘The biggest strength of Johnson Astills is that all of the staff work as one and make you feel that you are the most important client that they have. They have fingers in many pies so a specialist in any field can be sourced to apply their expertise to any non legal matter that might crop up. Helen and Michelle have the skill, knowledge and wherewithal to secure the very best outcome possible and are professional and caring at all times.’

‘Helen Johnson and Michelle Harding are standing out individuals who go the extra mile.’

Richard Nelson LLP

Richard Nelson LLP is a boutique firm specialising in fraud and financial crime, professional disciplinary investigations and proceedings and serious sexual offences. ‘First class solicitors’ Jacqui Callan and Richard Etherington are its lead figures, both possess extensive experience representing clients across a broad range of criminal offences, with Etherington also experienced in military Courts Martial proceedings and Special Investigation Branch cases.

Practice head(s):

Jacqui Callan; Richard Etherington


‘Jacqui Callan and Richard Etherington stand out as first class solicitors.’

‘What distinguishes this firm is the level of service provided to clients. The team really go the extra mile and deliver quality advice sensitively and professionally.’

‘Jacqui Callan leads a great team. She brings a wealth of experience in defending serious sexual offences. Richard Etherington is a pleasure to work with. A useful sounding board who takes a practical approach to problems.’

‘This practice provides a first class legal service. The service they provide is literally second to none.’

‘Richard Etherington provides clients with great client care, approachable, personable, but also with well considered advice, he is an absolute go-to in terms of the quality of service he and his team provide to clients.’

Work highlights

  • AW: Richard’s client was one of the first offenders in England and Wales to have committed the then novel offence of “upskirting”
  • SI: Jacqui represented a company facing an investigation regarding product safety
  • JC: Richard’s client accused of sexual misconduct by his ex-girlfriend which she reported to their university

Forrest Williams

Steve Williams leads the practice at Forrest Williams, a boutique defence practice providing counsel in sexual allegation trials. It has distinct expertise in acting for those on the autistic spectrum with Williams also boasting a track record in conducting his own trials in the magistrates court.

Practice head(s):

Steve Williams


‘The team are tenacious, deeply knowledgeable of the law, and particularly good at finding the right specialist counsellors for more serious matters.’

‘Forrest Williams, as a whole, are overly caring, approachable, calm and dedicated. The most unique part of this firm is the one on one dedication on your case which ensures you don’t speak to several other team members, which causes confusion and potential upset. It’s a wonderfully personal service.’

Forrest Williams, and in particular Steve Williams, is a very professional whilst understated practice. It provides excellent service with a personal touch.’

‘This firm has dedicated staff who go the extra mile for their clients. They ensure that they provide service second to none tailored to meet the needs of each case. They have access to a range of experienced counsel and are adept at utilising their skillsets.’