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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 > Personal tax, trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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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. 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.

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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