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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > East Midlands > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Agriculture and estates clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Hewitsons’ ‘exceptional’ team counts large landed estates and major agricultural producers among its clients and ‘understands the issues affecting farms and agricultural estates’. The ‘accessible’ Gareth Williams jointly heads the practice with Denise Wilkinson in Cambridge. Senior solicitor Stephanie Dennis is also recommended. In an illustration of the uptick in development-related mandates, Williams recently advised a client on the sale of a property to two house builders, involving seven landowners who had previously entered into a promotion agreement through which the promoter had obtained a planning permission for the sale of the land for residential development. Williams also led in assisting a landed estate client with the surrender and re-grant of an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy. Clients include Merton College, Oxford, Castle Ashby Estate and Cubley Estate.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s expertise covers agricultural tenancies, minerals leases, and sales and acquisitions of land and easements. Practice head Françoise Vandale handles options and leases in connection with wind farms and a broad spread of utilities and telecommunications work at the intersection with agricultural law. David Wood specialises in inheritance tax and capital gains tax advice, including deeds of variation of estates as well as gifts and leasebacks of chattels. Andrew Fearn is now a consultant.

The ‘excellent’ team at Roythornes Solicitors handles a varied caseload covering commercial property mandates, sustainable energy projects, joint ventures, common agricultural policy work, dispute resolution and succession and tax planning for farm businesses. Poultry business structures and land transactions are areas of particular strength. Julie Robinson heads the team from Alconbury, which includes ‘highly experienced’ litigator Tim Russ, who ‘has excellent judgement’ and ‘brings specialist agricultural expertise to bear on trust and estate issues’; litigation ‘heavyweight’ Alan Plummer; vegetable and potato production expert Simeon Disley; and property specialist Tom Foottit. Foottit recently advised a client on a phased disposal of a substantial agricultural and equestrian estate, involving among other things issues with the Rural Payments Agency. Paul Thompson joined from Freeths LLP .

The ‘thoroughly professional team’ at Wilkin Chapman LLP demonstrates strength across a range of agricultural law and estates matters, including litigation, tax and trusts, employment and family law. Practice head Catherine Harris is especially well-versed in large-scale transactions, farming subsidies and agriculture environmental schemes, tenancy matters and succession and restructuring work. Acquisition specialist Flora Bennett and property and energy expert Jonty Pearson are noted alongside litigator Andrew Holt who is ‘unstinting and meticulous in his work’. Recent highlights include advising Bray and Sons as landlord on the negotiation and grant of a 25-year lease of a property for the purpose of using it for development and an anaerobic digestion plant. Other clients include Stourton Estates.

The ‘excellent’ Arnold Thomson is noted for providing ‘specialist and practical guidance to landowners and occupiers on a wide range of agricultural and development matters’.  The ‘personable and professional’ team has expanded its spectrum of work from its core expertise in agricultural property and rural estate mandates to commercial and residential property and wills, probate, tax and trusts matters. The team’s deep bench includes head of agriculture Mike Thomson, ‘very knowledgeable’ residential property expert Matt Hawkins, and newly promoted director and chartered legal executive Kate Austin. Christine Simkins and Nadiya Virani-Bland are names to note for commercial property and private client work, respectively.

Praised for its ‘first-class service’, BHW Solicitors' practice focuses on development work, covering s106, promotion and option agreements, property acquisitions and disposals, tenancy work and succession planning. Renewable energy agreements and secured lending in relation to agricultural property are other key strengths. ‘Very professional and thorough’ practice head Kate Chorley recently acted alongside Ian Sanders, who joined from Nelsons Solicitors Limited, on the sale of land to Keller New Homes for residential development. James Coles and Sons, Boolers and Moneything Capital are also clients.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and diligent’ team assists  individuals, corporations, trusts, charities, central government agencies and other public sector bodies with high-value land transactions and energy-related mandates, in addition to advising on regulatory and tax matters. Robert Wofinden and William Colacicchi head the team, with Richard Barlow providing key support in environmental matters. Barlow assisted the Welsh government with the issuing of a remediation notice to a landowner who had dug a pond on an area of alkaline fen, a site of significant conservation importance, thereby breaching the Environmental Impact Assessment Wales Regulations 2007. Other clients include the Belvoir Estate, Natural England and The National Trust. Catherine Rustomji’s recent arrival from DWF bolstered the group’s charity expertise.


Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Charities and not-for-profit clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Browne Jacobson LLP has significantly strengthened its charity capability with the arrival of new practice head Catherine Rustomji from DWF. The team handles the full range of charity-related work, including governance issues and the establishment of family and corporate foundations. Rustomji led advice for Caring for Life on the legal structures of the group and the subsequent incorporation of the charity as a company by limited guarantee. William Colacicchi is also recommended. Rustomji’s arrival brought a large number of new clients, including the North East Theatre Trust, who have joined the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster and Skill Force Development on the client list.

Noted for its ‘personal and accountable’ approach and for its ‘attention to detail and efficiency’, Freeths LLP acts for a national client base and is able to assist with a vast array of matters, including governance, fundraising and commercial agreements, as well as offering expertise in dispute resolution, employment and real estate. ‘Supportive’ practice head Robert Nieri, who recently made director, stands out for his ‘vast professional knowledge’. The British Psychological Society, Carers Trust East Midlands and The Nottinghamshire Hospice are also clients.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited provides ‘excellent service at all levels’. Practice head James Coningsby is particularly noted for his property expertise, although the team handles employment, corporate and education matters, as well as contentious and non-contentious probate and trust mandates. Court of Protection specialist Richard Grosberg is also recommended. Clients include the McNally Browson Foundation which the team advised on its obligations under trust and charity law, and the Nottingham Industrial Museum, which instructed the group to assist with ongoing charity advice and administration services. The National Space Centre and the Congregational Federation are also clients.

Hewitsons' practice demonstrates ‘competence and professionalism at all levels’. Its clients span the charity, social enterprise and education sectors, for which it handles projects, joint ventures, acquisitions and restructurings. Grant-making and sports charities also generate a significant portion of the caseload. Practice head Chris Knight ‘excels at his remit’ and was recently part of a team that assisted the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust with a multitude of issues, including lease agreements, charity law and intellectual property in the context of the client succeeding to the role of occupier and operator of a historic house and grounds in Northampton. Other clients include RSPB, Canal and River Trust and King’s College Cambridge.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP advises grant-making and government-funded charities on registration, administration and governance issues. The group’s wide-ranging experience includes complex corporate transactions, including collaborative and partnering agreements and the use of commercial and charitable subsidiaries, on top of governance reviews, policies and procedures and regulatory matters such as compliance with the Regulatory Framework. Andrew Wilkinson, whose core specialism lies in contentious trusts and probate, heads the team, which includes wills, trusts and probate expert Mark Dunkley. The client list features World Horse Welfare and Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Contentious trusts and probate clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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‘Justifiably regarded as the best firm in the East Midlands’, Freeths LLP ‘has a clear understanding of its clients’ needs and aims, and is relentlessly focused on achieving those aims’. ‘Offering a good balance of technical knowledge, approachability and a pragmatic stance’, the group demonstrates particular strength in high-value litigation, including claims under the Inheritance Act, will challenges, removal applications and Court of Protection work. ‘Top-class litigator’ and practice head Mark Keeley ‘commands universal respect in this area’. Director Rachel Gaffney ‘is a star in the making’.

‘A strong regional practice’, Nelsons Solicitors Limited handles a broad range of trusts and probate litigation, including claims under the Inheritance Act, will disputes and capacity issues. Key figures include practice head and ‘very able lawyer’ Kevin Modiri and ‘considered and calm’ associate Lewis Addison, a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists. Recent work includes representing a client in a claim under the Inheritance Act, assisting another client with a will challenge and defending a client against claims in relation to property ownership.

Noted for its ‘particular expertise in agricultural estates’, Roythornes Solicitors focuses on will disputes, proprietary estoppel claims, Inheritance Act claims and trust disputes, often involving generational issues. Court of protection matters are another key area. Practice head Tim Russ ‘is an excellent lawyer to have on your side in a difficult situation’ and recently advised a claimant on a proprietary estoppel claim regarding a Yorkshire farm that had been settled tentatively in mediation, but has now moved on to Chancery division.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP's group provides ‘a fantastic service’ that covers will disputes and Inheritance Act claims, trusts disputes and court of protection work, as well as will construction and rectification claims and related professional negligence claims. Cross-border contentious probate work is another specialism. Under the leadership of Andrew Wilkinson, who ‘stewards his practice exceptionally well’, the team advises a varied client base that includes accountants, farmers, landed estates, professional trustees and charities such as World Horse Welfare and Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home.

The ‘well-respected’ team at Gateley Plc collaborates closely with the firm’s private client department and was joined in 2017 by legal director Fiona Debney from Clarke Willmott LLP. The caseload consists mainly of complex disputes and related professional negligence litigation, with a track record that ranges from pursuing a claim against an executor for devastavit to the removal of a non-cooperative trustee of a will trust. Practice head Chris Greenwell’s team includes newly promoted legal director Claire Herbert , who ‘has particularly sound judgement, which helps achieve sensible and pragmatic resolutions to disputes’.

The ‘excellent’ Smith Partnership offers a wide spread of experience spanning breach of trust and financial abuse claims, contested wills and removal of executors, as well as demonstrating strength in cohabitation disputes and claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act. ‘Exemplary’ associate Jak Ward heads the team and combines ‘excellent communication skills’ with ‘consummate legal acumen’. Recent work includes assisting the cohabitee of the deceased with a claim for provision from the deceased’s estate, acting for an applicant on a trusts of land dispute, and advising the executors of an estate on allegations against the validity of a home-made will, successfully obtaining issuance of a grant to the executors.


Family

Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Family clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Freeths LLP is especially active in divorce matters and cases involving complex financial issues, international assets, or trusts. Childcare arrangement applications and, more recently, pre-nuptial agreements for high-net-worth individuals are other active areas for the practice, which is headed by Judith Speed, who is ‘a highly experienced, well-regarded financial remedy practitioner’, ‘incredibly competent and a pleasure to deal with’. Speed’s track record includes acting in a dispute arising from a corporate restructuring of multiple companies owned by a family, with the allocation of assets as the main point of contention.

The ‘fantastic’ team at niche family practice John Hooper & Co impresses with its ‘overall exemplary level of service’ and for providing ‘a level of attention and professionalism that begins at the very top of the practice and percolates right to the very foundation of the business’. The practice has a clear focus on divorce matters, cohabitation separation cases and disputes involving children. Key figures include founding partner John Hooper, who is ‘a good communicator with the ability to think strategically’; senior associates Timothy Quincey and Philippa Sanderson, ‘who goes above and beyond’; and associate Maria Coster, ‘who is extremely proficient at identifying her clients’ main concerns’.

Langleys Solicitors LLP's matrimonial and childcare units handle a comprehensive range of family law matters, from divorce and cohabitation cases to public and private law cases regarding children, with public law instructions forming the bulk of the caseload. Other areas of strength are instructions pertaining to domestic violence, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as mediation and collaborative law.  'Highly capable family lawyer' Emma Lawler, practice head John Conlon and Alison McGowan are the key figures. Recent work includes a divorce case involving a business and assets in the US and France, and a case involving a child who had suffered head injuries while in foster to adopt placement.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s ‘well-regarded’ team ‘has a strong family law offering’ with financial relief cases and complex children proceedings at the heart of the caseload. Acting primarily for high-net-worth individuals, often in cross-jurisdictional mandates, the group demonstrates strength in a vast array of matters, including cohabitation disputes, a specialism of the ‘absolutely brilliant’ Kelvin Henderson who succeeded Jayne Chilvers as practice head. ‘Highly regarded childcare practitioner’ Melanie Bridgen is the head of the children law team. Victor Collins, ‘very solid all-rounder’ Emma Davies and associate Layla Babadi are also noted.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP offers a ‘professional and comprehensive service’, delivering work that is ‘of the highest quality’. The group is particularly strong in resolving financial disputes, especially for high-net-worth individuals, but also demonstrates strength in disputes involving children. Andrew Breakwell, ‘a national figure in family law’, acted for the husband in the high-profile financial remedy case of Chai v Peng, a cross-border matter involving Malaysia. Nottingham practice head Caroline Elliott ‘combines expertise and experience with a sharp sense for tactics’. Associate partner Katherine Marshall, who heads the Leicester team, ‘finds creative solutions for her clients at every stage of the process’. Newly promoted legal director Sonia Bachu ‘is a tough and strategic litigator and has superb client-care skills’.

‘One of the leading firms in the Midlands’, Smith Partnership handles financial issues arising from relationship breakdowns. The healthcare sector involving care homes or dental or medical practices is a particular area of expertise, thanks to ‘very experienced’ and ‘highly regarded’ practice head Ruth Jones. ‘Extremely compelling advocate’ and head of childcare Muctar Johal ‘is highly respected in the field of child protection’. Johal specialises in public childcare law and regularly handles instructions involving adoption orders, guardianship, child arrangements, and the death, injury, abuse or rape of children. The ‘fantastic’ Peter Dadswell ‘presents clients' cases with a succinctness and clarity that gets to the crux of issues quickly’, recently leading advice on a divorce matter involving complex business structures, self-administered pension schemes and significant assets.

Turner Nicholson offers expertise in financial disputes and cases involving children, with an emphasis on divorce and pre-nuptial cases. The group primarily advises entrepreneurs, city professionals, academics and landowners. Founder and name partner Brigid Turner and Helen Taylor are the main contacts.

Wilkin Chapman LLP’s ‘professional and engaging’ team provides ‘excellent’ advice, focusing on financial cases that range from divorces of high-net-worth individuals, especially farmers, business owners and divorces involving trusts, to military divorces, specialising in cases involving Armed Forces pensions. Both ‘personable’ and ‘honest’ practice head Lisa Boileau and Mark Carlton, who ‘handles cases with the utmost efficiency and expertise’, are family law arbitrators; Boileau is also a mediator. The team is on the panel of the National Farmers’ Union. Andrew Wareing retired.

The ‘outstanding’ Banner Jones Solicitors fields a family law team that handles the full spectrum of cases spanning divorce and civil partnership dissolution, collaborative law, cohabitation agreements, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as change of name deeds and deeds of separation. Domestic violence is another key area. On the care side, the group specialises in adoption and guardianship, abductions, and a broad range of children-specific issues, often in instructions containing a cross-border element, though the client base is largely regional. The ‘intelligent, astute, persuasive and committed’ Helena Downing ‘handles cases with sensitivity and commendable wisdom’ and directs the care team. Former practice head Toby Netting  joined Switalskis Solicitors in May 2018.

Cartwright King specialises in financial remedy cases for high-net-worth individuals, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and disputes regarding children, including overseas relocation matters. Additional areas of strength include separation and divorce proceedings, and cohabitation breakdowns. Senior associate and family mediator Adrian Rose heads the practice, which includes head of care Chet Desai, whose specialisms include non-accidental injury cases, fabricated illness, severe neglect and sexual abuse, and matters with cross-border elements. Hugh Young retired.

Flint Bishop LLP’s well-respected family team mainly acts for high-net-worth clients whom it assists with financial issues and child arrangements. The group’s client base extends beyond the regional borders to include national and international clients, with work often involving a multi-jurisdictional component; recent instructions have involved the jurisdictions of Hong Kong, New Zealand, Dubai, Qatar and Spain. ‘Highly experienced’ practice head Kirpal Bidmead is ‘hugely experienced’ with ‘a calming presence’. Janine Hobday, who recently made senior associate, ‘is a rising star’ ‘blessed with a no-nonsense approach to her cases'.

‘One of the best in the Midlands’, the ‘outstanding’ Geldards LLP team ‘has strong technical knowledge coupled with a practical approach’, offering the full spectrum of family law services, including family mediation, collaborative law and family arbitration. Financial remedy cases form the core of the caseload, but the group also excels in pre- and post-nuptial agreements. ‘Exceptional matrimonial solicitor’ Fiona Apthorpe, also a Deputy District Judge with a private family ticket, directs the practice, with senior associates Claire Dean, ‘who goes the extra mile for clients’, and Ben Lawson, who ‘combines intelligence with efficiency’ and ‘is one to watch for family law in the Midlands’, providing key support.

Howes Percival LLP is ‘exceptionally good at both financial remedy work and private child disputes’. The ‘commercially minded and professional’ team focuses on advising high-net-worth individuals, especially on matters involving businesses, landed estates, tax and cross-jurisdictional issues. The team’s broad gamut of expertise ranges from divorce and civil partnership dissolution to living together agreements, grandparents’ rights and pension arrangements on divorce as well as separation agreements, pre- and post-nuptial agreements and cohabitation disputes. The practice also has expertise in collaborative issues. Key figures include practice head Justine Flack, who recently made partner and whose specialisms include instructions from clients in the agricultural sector, and ‘sensible, calm and yet incredibly robust’ solicitor Alishia Marrocco.

Rothera Sharp Solicitors’ ‘well-known’ practice enjoys ‘an excellent reputation’ and assists with both private and public law family issues. The team shoulders a varied caseload ranging from divorce and separation to collaborative law, adoption, care and guardianship to cohabitation and instructions regarding other unmarried relationships. The main practitioners are ‘very experienced’ practice head Paul Cobb, ‘highly respected children lawyer’ Ann-Marie Bowman, whose instructions predominantly come from children’s guardians, and Joanne Millward who is especially active in cases involving relationship breakdowns such as divorces with businesses or pensions to split. Associate Ruth Tyas has developed a specialism in cases involving transgender-realignment surgery, taking over this part of the portfolio after the retirement of Celia Lacey.

The ‘excellent’ Spearing Waite LLP specialises in advice for high-net-worth individuals, regularly on matters involving shareholdings, overseas assets or pensions, but also fields a strong practice in disputes involving children, including international relocation; domestic abuse cases, cohabitation instructions and civil partnerships. Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are another key area. The ‘very experienced’ Swati Somaiya directs the team and brings ‘professionalism, diligence and toughness’ to her cases.

Roythornes Solicitors impresses with ‘an excellent service level’ and assists with a broad spectrum of family law issues, but distinguishes itself from competitors through its track record in advising on high-value cases involving farming families. Issues in relation to company and partnership assets, farming assets and pension assets form a regular part of the team’s caseload. Practice head Nick Ingrey brings ‘a very practical and sensible approach’ to cases; associate Victoria Hope is ‘determined, supportive and patient’. Associate John Boon is also recommended. The recent caseload saw the team act in multiple farming cases, Inheritance Act instructions and cases involving children, namely child arrangements orders and a case involving allegations of drug and alcohol use by a parent.

The ‘organised, efficient and proactive’ team at Sills & Betteridge LLP stands out from competing firms through its strong focus on emergency injunction work and offers a vast array of divorce and childcare experience, including specialist expertise in forced marriage and honour-based violence, international child abducation, domestic violence and private children law. Mediator and practice head John Mitchell, Helen Derry, ‘extremely capable advocate’ Chrystal Theofanous, the ‘fiercely effective’ Mo Hayes, and associate Victoria Rowson are among the key practitioners. Recent highlights include representing a mother in an international child abducation instruction after she had fled with her two children from Hungary to the United Kingdom to escape abuse from the father, involving a psychological assessment of the children and High Court proceedings.

Wilson Browne Solicitors’ ‘reassuring’ team provides ‘excellent advice’ on a broad variety of family law matters, with practice head Sally Robinson, the ‘knowledgeable and thorough’ Helen York and Edward Rawlins, who is also a mediator, as the main advisers. Finance issues arisen from divorces and other separations, injunctions regarding non-molestation and occupation, cohabitation agreements, and pre-nuptial agreements are as much part of the caseload as childcare arrangements, including guardianship, and issues specifically facing same-sex couples. The firm offers clients a dedicated childcare team under the lead of Deena Tate. Clients are mainly high-net-worth individuals, including business owners; public sector workers, farmers and other working professionals, making the client base varied in the wealth and assets at stake.

Niche family firm Woolley & Co, Solicitors delivers an ‘excellent’ service level and specialises in divorce and matrimonial matters for British expats, high-value financial settlements involving pensions, business interests, and properties, both domestic and overseas, annulment matters and disputed divorce and nullity cases, as well as, on the children law side, implacable hostility mandates and other complex instructions. ‘Standout lawyer’ Michelle Brammer, Andrew Robotham and Kate Butler are recommended.


Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate clients in East Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Browne Jacobson LLP is praised for its ‘first-class advice’, its ‘ability to work seamlessly as a team', and its 'meticulous attention to detail’. The ‘top-shelf’ practice handles wealth structuring for business owners and advises on a wide range of legal issues specific to landed estates, including business, agricultural and tax matters related to the administration of landed estates. Trust structuring, including offshore trusts and structures, are another string to the group’s bow. Key figures include practice head William Colacicchi, Wenna Thompson, and the ‘extremely approachable’ Lucy Worwood, whose work ‘is always of the highest standard’. Stephen Howe, who recently made legal direcor, is also recommended. The team’s client base is mainly composed of families and family trusts, but also includes individuals.

Geldards LLP fields a ‘highly professional’ practice that combines ‘pragmatic advice’ with ‘excellent client service’. The ‘outstanding’ practice has a strong track record in advising major national lottery winners, assisting financial advisers and accountants, and handling instructions from entrepreneurs who have created their own wealth. ‘Efficient and immensely knowledgeable’ practice head Erica Thomson advises on estate administration and the creation of trusts and their management. Jaclyn Barnes ‘has a great manner with clients’ and specialises in tax planning, trusts and high-value estates, including matters involving cross-jurisdictional issues.

Hewitsons ‘inspires confidence in the quality and depth of its advice’ and is praised for its ‘attention to detail’ and ‘expeditious handling of matters’. The team's varied caseload often involves matters at the intersection of traditional private client work and agricultural and charity law. Inheritance tax planning, trust reorganisations and administration, landed estates and heritage property, and the administration of complex estates are all key areas of activity. Matters often involve an international element such as non-UK resident trusts, family members not domiciled or resident in the UK, or non-UK assets. Daniel Curtis leads the team from Cambridge, with senior partner Clare Colacicchi, who ‘has very good communication skills’, Catherine Ball and ‘very able’ senior solicitor Antonia Cooper the main practitioners in the Northampton office. Senior solicitor Rachel Hawkins joined from Wilson Browne Solicitors. Recent highlights include advising on tax anti-avoidance Reverter to Settlor rules, on a historic chattels loan agreement, and creating discretionary settlements to hold an investment property company.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s ‘exceptional service level’ and ‘strength-in-depth’ make it a popular choice for clients seeking inheritance tax advice or assistance with trust administration and a broad range of other asset protection issues. Jane Sutherland took over as practice head from Andrew Birchall who joined Gamlins Solicitors. The firm also fields an investment management group, now headed by financial adviser John Stanley, and a Court of Protection team under the lead of Richard Grosberg. Helen Salisbury made partner.

Rothera Sharp Solicitors’ wills and probate team has wide-ranging expertise covering asset protection and estate administration, trusts, Court of Protection matters as well as inheritance tax and tax planning work. The management of high-value trusts, succession advice for owner-managed businesses, wills and lasting powers of attorney make up a significant portion of the caseload. Practice head Jayne Smith, Jeremy Allen and Karen Hayward are among the main practitioners. Christina Yardley arrived from Actons.

Roythornes Solicitors regularly assists with the administration of high-value estates involving agricultural and business assets. Succession planning expert Elizabeth Young heads the team, which was strengthened with the arrival of Paul Thompson from Freeths LLP. Jarred Wright, whose specialisms include handling partnership restructuring, company reorganisations and Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies matters for landed estates, landowners and food and farming businesses, and Sarah Banner, whose core areas of work include the creation and registration of charitable trusts, are also noted. Recent work includes assisting the executors of a deceased farmer with the administration of the deceased’s estate, involving agricultural property relief and business property relief.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP ‘operates as an excellent team’ and advises high-net-worth individuals on a broad gamut of issues, ranging from assistance for landed estate clients, including estate management, to high-value deputyships, capital tax planning and trust management. The ‘exceptionally competent’ Mark Dunkley heads the practice, which includes key practitioners Suzanne Leggott, who is ‘outstanding in her knowledge and client service’, and the ‘very approachable’ Virginia Harvey who ‘always creates an excellent professional relationship with her clients’.  Stephen Woolfe became a consultant for the firm while Paul Horton joined from Weightmans LLP. Sarah Brack made associate. The caseload includes regular referrals from private banks, investment managers and accountants.

Actons ‘provides excellent comprehensive service with a personal touch’. The ‘very professional and trustworthy’ team advises on the full range of will, trusts and probate work, often collaborating with the firm’s corporate and commercial departments to better service owner-managed and family businesses. ‘Exceptional’ practice head Mandy Kelly ‘is very thorough’ and ‘always goes beyond the remit’ and solicitor Bindiya Patel ‘has an open approach with clients, excellent knowledge in her field and empathy, often dealing with difficult situations’. In addition to assisting the executor of a multimillion-pound estate with the execution of a will, the group also assisted a high-net-worth individual with estate planning and will preparation, involving children-related inheritance issues. Christina Yardley joined Rothera Sharp Solicitors.

Flint Bishop LLP’s ‘exceptionally approachable’ team is especially active in high-value estate administration, but also excels in advice for non-UK clients with estates in the UK and domestic clients with assets abroad. Trust registration, administration and management is another main area of work. Claire Rudkin is the head of the team and a trusts and inheritance tax specialist. Key support comes from senior associate Kirsten Wood whose specialisms include wills and estates containing business assets.

Freeths LLP specialises in trusts, the administration of domestic and cross-border estates, inheritance tax advice and estate planning, both national and international, as well as instructions in relation to wills. The firm also has a dedicated Court of Protection team. Scott McKittrick now heads the team in the Nottingham office after Paul Thompson ’s departure to Roythornes Solicitors.

Langleys Solicitors LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable and efficient’ team is experienced in inheritance tax advice and succession planning, acting primarily for farmers and owners of landed estates, but also has a strong track record in assisting with issues pertaining to trusts and estates. Inheritance Act claims, probate claims, and proprietary and promissory estoppel claims are other key areas. David Wood and Amy Allison jointly head the practice, which includes Amanda Voakes, whose specialisms include elderly client work, and senior associate and Court of Protection expert Lisa Gray. Andrew Fearn  is now a consultant.

The ‘excellent’ team at Wilkin Chapman LLP is especially well-versed in estate planning, including issues in relation to family succession, asset protection, tax mitigation and mental capacity; and estate and trust administration. With its agricultural sector specialism, the client base contains a significant number of farming families, but also includes business owners and lottery winners in addition to vulnerable and elderly clients whom the group assists with care provision matters. Practice head Lisa-Jane Howes and  Imogen Holmes are the main contacts, with Sharon Plumtree, notary public Jim Judge and senior solicitor Emma Carr also recommended.

Fraser Brown’s expertise spans wills, inheritance tax advice and succession planning in addition to experience in estate administration and instructions in relation to trusts. Laura Mackin and Edward Cursham are the key advisers.

Wilson Browne Solicitors’ group demonstrates strength in estate administration, tax planning and trust-related work, in addition to advising on wills and charity formation and registration. Neelam Maher leads the team, with Vicki Pearce in charge of the care funding and Court of Protection group. The ‘tremendous’ Jayne Murray, who ‘goes above and beyond expectations’, and Jane Forsyth are also recommended. Rachel Hawkins joined Hewitsons.

Spearing Waite LLP offers ‘excellent service’ and has recently strengthened its expertise in trusts-related work and estate administration, including cross-jurisdictional elements, with the arrival of associate Julie Cook from Flint Bishop LLP. Cook jointly heads the practice with associate Marie Cooper. The practice also handles wills, inheritance tax and Court of Protection work and succession planning for family businesses. The group also has experience in care home planning.


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