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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 > North West > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1
    • Hannah Carter - Brabners LLP
    • James Stocker - Napthens LLP

Napthens' rural practice comprises five fee earners who dedicate 100% of their time to the sector, handling work relating to farms, land, property and estate planning. The team is complemented by lawyers from the firm's litigation, employment and wills and estate planning teams. Head of rural Andrew Holden, who has strong connections in the agricultural community, specialises in land and agricultural property transactions, while associate James Stocker has recently come to the fore as key contact for a number of established clients.

Practice head(s):Andrew Holden

Other key lawyers:James Stocker


'The team has a good background knowledge of the agriculture industry and give confidence that they understand what you are asking.'

'The team are also good at explaining things in plain English without complicated legal phrasing so that you are fully aware of the advice that is being given.'

'The members of the team have been with the practice for a number of years and so build up relationships with their clients - they are willing to fit around your own schedules.'

Aaron & Partners LLP acts for partners and shareholders in farming and other agriculture related businesses on partnership and shareholder disputes, while also advising on the development of agricultural land and the acquisition of land for utility projects. The practice is led by real estate head Simon Ellis, who works alongside planning, energy, environmental and regulatory head David Harries. One of the team's particular areas of expertise is the development of land for mineral exploitation and waste management, as well as renewable energy projects.

Practice head(s):Simon Ellis

Other key lawyers:David Harries

Key Clients

Dŵr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water)

Mostyn Estates

Denbighshire County Council

Chester Zoo

Chester Diocesan Board of Finance

John Holford Charity

Work highlights

  • Advised Dŵr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) on the proposed extension of water treatment works involving the development of land near Snowdonia National Park.
  • Advised The North of England Zoological Society on the purchase of farmhouse outbuildings and former council land.
  • Advising the John Holford Charity on mineral rights for sand extraction over the charity's farmland in East Cheshire.
  • Acting for Welsh Water on a large-scale registration project involving voluntary registration of all Welsh Water assets and rights from North Wales to South Wales.

Brabners LLP advises some of the largest and most prestigious landowners in the UK, including a range of major corporates, with the firm's key clients overseeing a combined total of hundreds of thousands of acres of land. The firm also has sub-specialist expertise in areas such as minerals, equine, succession and family trusts. The team is led out Liverpool by agriculture and landed estates head Rupert Jackson, whose top 10 clients have assets in excess of £2bn, alongside the 'immensely practical and reassuring' Charles Hansford, whose clients include the largest landowner in Scotland. Other key members of the team include the 'thorough and meticulous' Helen Ryan and legal director Hannah Carter.

Practice head(s):Rupert Jackson

Other key lawyers:Charles Hansford; Helen Ryan; Hannah Carter


'Hardworking, conscientious and welcoming. The team provides a clear, concise and relevant service. You feel secure and can trust their judgement.'

'Charles Hansford is fast, effective and importantly approachable throughout his handling of any matter. He has a broad range of experience which makes him a useful go-to contact for any legal query.'

'Helen Ryan is thorough and meticulous in achieving the objective for the client and her persistence and attention to detail has paid dividends on various projects I have worked on with her.'

Key Clients

Associated British Foods plc

Peel Holdings plc

SED Recycling Limited

British Sugar Plc

AB Agri Limited

ABF Grain Products Limited

ABF Properties Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised a private individual on the lease of a ten-acre site for a solar panel farm to supply a neighbouring industrial single user site with renewable energy, requiring sensitive discussions between the land owner, the developer, the occupier of the development site and the occupier of the industrial site.
  • Advised a private individual on the proposed development of a 38-acre site for a solar panel farm.

Butcher & Barlow LLP's agricultural team provides a broad range of legal services, working in tandem with property, corporate and litigation colleagues based in the same office. The practice, which has particular expertise in succession planning and the sale of agricultural land for residential development, is headed up by the hugely experienced Mike Bracegirdle, who set up the Gadbrook Park office in 2014, since when it has enjoyed a year-on-year fee revenue increase of 20%.

Practice head(s):Mike Bracegirdle


'Excellent to communicate with - if you do not understand anything, they explain; if you have concerns, they sort them out. They get on with the job, so much so you are made to feel like you are their only client, which is what everyone wants.'

'Breadth of knowledge. Attention to detail. Local. Contactable.'

'The agricultural team gets to understand you and your farming business. They work closely with other agri professionals in order to help you with a variety of your business needs.'

'Very proactive in their approach to clients and getting matters satisfactorily completed.'

'A very knowledgeable, professional & approachable practice. Above all, very efficient in their execution of tasks in comparison to other firms.'

'The firm is effective in providing clear and helpful legal advice.'

'The business has a strong reputation within the marketplace which continues to grow given their ability to deliver a cost-effective service.'

'Specific areas of strength include communication, planning and organising and delivering work ahead of schedule deadlines.'

'Very professional in dealing with questions - open, honest and always made us feel informed'

'The team has a vast knowledge of a lot of different areas - they have very experienced solicitors who always pass their full knowledge to younger members of staff in the practice,'

'Partners have experience and the ability to resolve issues and work to tight deadlines.'

'Everything Mike Bracegirdle does for us is to the highest standard; done thoroughly but in the quickest time possible - we know he is working 100% for us. He treats you as an individual, not like any other client. He keeps you up to date without you even having to ask, so you know he is always doing his best for you.'

'It has been a joy to work with Zoe Paton-Crockett on a number of matters. Zoe is knowledgeable and always thorough and thoughtful'

'Mike Bracegirdle does not wait for things to happen and is not afraid to pick up the telephone to make sure cases are progressed.'

'Jonathan Aldersley has great attention to detail and makes sure that matters are completed expeditiously.'

'Mike Bracegirdle's approachable nature and straightforward attitude have always stood out to me. The efficient manner in which he deals with queries is faultless.'

'The team is professional and well-prepared, making for an excellent working relationship and for a high standard of service for the client or clients.'

'John Hyatt and Graham Gigg both provide an extremely high level of service and professionalism.'

'Mike Bracegirdle always goes the extra mile to get things sorted - he has a vast knowledge of agricultural property and always knows the best ways to deal with matters.'

'Graham Gigg is a well liked, charismatic individual that clients like to deal with.'

Key Clients

Booth Charities

Work highlights

  • Advised on complex negotiation of a farm purchase subject to existing Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy, to be tax efficient to both parties in the transaction.
  • Advised on sale of part of a charged farm in a short timescale to ensure client could qualify for tax relief.
  • Advised on succession planning and farming business structure on an estate valued at over £2m.
  • Advised on full review of land holdings and new business structure of a farming enterprise valued at over £10m.
  • Advised on negotiation of Agricultural Property Relief in a complex farming estate relating to three farms, all in the same ownership and subject to a Farm Business Tenancy.

Myerson Solicitors LLP's practice comprises lawyers from the firm's family, commercial property, corporate commercial, wills, trusts and probate and construction departments. The agriculture department is led by private client head Amanda Freeman, who acts for rural clients and high net worth individuals across agriculture businesses. Key recent matters for the firm have included disputes over lease renewals, estate administrations, and family disputes involving farmland.

Practice head(s):Amanda Freeman

Hibberts advises farming and dairy businesses, handling complex succession cases for landlords and tenants, as well as farm sales and purchases. Its specialist skills include transactions involving unregistered title. Dispute resolution head Michael Ward leads the team while also handling the full range of agriculture-related litigation. Other work includes tax planning, tenancies, occupation agreements, easements and mineral issues.

Practice head(s):Michael Ward

DTM Legal LLP's practice centres around advice to large landed estates, while the firm also acts for wind farms, gas storage facilities and other infrastructure developers, as well as high net worth individuals, for who it handles estate management and tenancy issues. The practice has secured a number of new clients over the past year, with much of the firm's key work handled by Paul Makison and Stephen Lunt.

Practice head(s):Anna Duffy

Key Clients

E A Reed & Sons (Cheshire)

T W Kinsey (Cheshire)

Kronospan (Chirk)

Stuart Roberts

ADAS (part of RSK Group)

Cheshire Young Farmers

SAS Daniels LLP's agricultural team sits within the firm's private client practice, offering a range of legal services for farmers, including land sales, partnerships, renewable energy and tax and succession issues, as well as divorce and litigation matters. The team is led out of Chester by James Goddard, who made partner in late 2018, alongside estate administration and probate head Helen Gowin in Congleton.

Practice head(s):Helen Gowin; James Goddard

Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Brabners LLP¬†is considered 'the leading firm in the North West for expertise in the charity sector'. The ‚Äėdedicated and experienced team‚Äô handles highly complex matters led by the ‚Äėdiligent‚Äô and ‚Äėattentive‚Äô Stephen Claus, who also has experience in ecclesiastical law. Associate Graeme Hughes¬†is also recommended. Robert Nieri¬†joined from Freeths LLP¬†in September 2018.

Practice head(s):Stephen Claus

Other key lawyers:Robert Nieri; Graeme Hughes


'Up to date knowledge of the sector and great experience of the Charity Commission and their thinking. The fact that they look after so many charities means that they have a wide view of the sector and trends.'

'The team offers a bespoke service and are very accommodating and understanding of organisational context and complexities.'

'Graeme Hughes provides sound, pragmatic advice and attention to detail, whilst understanding the organisation's requirements.'

Key Clients

Addiction Dependency Services

Alexandra Palace Organ Appeal

An Hour for Others


Autism Initiatives

Campaign to Protect Rural England North Yorkshire

Carers Trust East Midlands

Chester Visual Arts


EMDR Association

Everton in the Community

Fisheries Society of the British Isles

Work highlights

  • Advising Chester Visual Arts on the conversion of the organisation from a community interest company to a charitable company.
  • Continuing advice to the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation in relation to a range of matters.
  • Working with the Michael Carrick Foundation to introduce a standard grant making framework so as to ensure it is able to appropriately monitor its charitable application of funds.
  • Advising Passion for Learning CIC on the conversion of the organisation from a community interest company to a charitable incorporated organisation using legislation introduced in 2018.

Known for its 'expertise in arts and culture as well as charities law' the team at Counterculture Partnership LLP is praised for being 'informed, professional and easy to work with'. The 'patient, empathetic and supportive' Keith Arrowsmith leads the practice, acts across a diverse range of areas handling matters relating to charity registrations, cultural tax relief and fundraising regulations. Sarah Bailey, former head of legal at The Tate, joined the team in March 2018.

Practice head(s):Keith Arrowsmith

Other key lawyers:Mark Roberts; Sarah Bailey


'The firm combines in-depth knowledge as well as an empathy for us as an organisation.'

'Essential experience of the challenges our sector faces, and the development of practical and pragmatic solutions.'

'Experienced and highly credible team who are always prepared to provide bespoke quality help and guidance.'

Key Clients

Southbank Sinfonia

Children’s Media Conference

British Youth Music Theatre

The Clay Foundation

NUS Students’ Union Charitable Services

National Operatic and Dramatic Association

Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust

Community Transport Association UK

Cornwall Museums Partnership

Voluntary Action Sheffield

National College for Creative and Cultural Industries

Creative and Cultural Industries Ltd

Work highlights

  • Provided charity law, governance and company secretarial services to the British Youth Music Theatre for its rebranding and move to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
  • Ongoing and sometimes urgent advice to the National Operatic and Dramatic Association and its member organisations on theatre related legal issues.
  • Governance advice to The Clore Leadership Programme and its fellows.
  • Advised Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust in relation to its role in the £50m redevelopment and restoration of Buxton Crescent.

Mills & Reeve LLP's cross-discipline charities team, which acts for more than 250 charities and continues to attract new clients, is committed to helping them achieve their commercial goals while maintaining high ethical standards and managing their reputation. Paul Knight, who jointly leads the team with Simon Pedley, was promoted to partner in June 2018. Senior associate Rona McPherson is also recommended.

Practice head(s):Paul Knight; Simon Pedley

Other key lawyers:Mark Ashton; Rona McPherson; Sarah Whyman



'Very knowledgeable and experts in their field.'

'This team's strength is their commitment to meet our deadlines with expert advice provided on a full range of commercial contracts and data protection matters.'

Key Clients

British Council

BBC Children in Need


Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Big Lottery Fund

Greater Manchester Sports Partnership

Advance HE

Snowdonia National Park Authority

The Mountain Training Trust

Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Pannone Corporate LLP has a cross-departmental charities and not-for-profit team which brings together commercial, procurement, corporate governance, finance, real estate, IP, IT, dispute resolution and employment expertise. The department, under the leadership of Steven Grant, advises a large number of charitable and other social enterprise clients on a broad range of issues, from  registration to corporate structures through to transfers and dissolution. Bill Dunkerley joined as director from Keoghs LLP in December 2018.

Practice head(s):Steven Grant

Other key lawyers:Jack Harrington; Nicola Marchant; Fiona Hamor; James Wynne; Sarah Bazaraa; Alexandria Winstanley; Gareth Birch; Stephen Mutch


'A very experienced legal firm - the support we receive is second to none.'


Key Clients

The Road Safety Trust and its trading subsidiary UKROEd Limited

Manchester Sport and Leisure Trust

Big Life Group

PRS For Music

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Wythenshawe Forum Trust Limited


Manchester Community Centre

Manchester Foster Care Association


North West Community Services Ltd

UK Biobank

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR)

Greater Manchester Community Basketball


At Addleshaw Goddard, private capital partner Yorke Eaton is known for his expertise in advising charities on a wide range of matters such as the establishment and registration of new entities, governance and trustee issues, commercial contracts, charity land transactions and restructuring issues. The department also advises banking clients on the taking of security over charity land and assets.

Practice head(s):Pervinder Kaur (Leeds)

Other key lawyers:Yorke Eaton

Key Clients

National Coal Mining Museum

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Bedingfield's Trust

NFU Charitable Trust

Led by the Nottingham-based Catherine Rustomji, Browne Jacobson LLP offers the full range of services to its clients in the charity sector. The team has recently seen an increase in instructions relating to governance and the establishment of corporate foundations. Kerren Daly advises on employment-related charity work, while Dominic Buckley handles property-related charity matters.

Practice head(s):Catherine Rustomji

Other key lawyers:Kerren Daly; Dominic Buckley


'Catherine Rustomji is warm, friendly and a safe pair of hands.'

Key Clients


Pharmacist Support

West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity

UK Coaching

The Running Bee Foundation

Breathworks CIC

Disabled Living

Droylsden Little Theatre

High Peak Theatre Trust

Kidneys for Life

The Manchester Young People’s Theatre Limited (Contact Theatre)

Railway Benevolent Fund

Early Break

Charities Trust

Yorkshire Cancer Research

Work highlights

  • Advising longstanding charity client Pharmacist Support on a range of matters from charity governance and best practice, to employment compliance and property arrangements
  • Advised West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity on the transition arrangements from one legal structure to another and related advice concerning property ownership.
  • Serving as exclusive legal adviser to Birtenshaw on matters including charity law and governance, employment and HR, property and commercial issues.

Michael Young leads the department at Hibberts LLP, which focuses on complex charity and unregistered conveyancing work. In these matters it is assisted by the firm's agriculture and commercial property departments.

Practice head(s):Michael Young

Hill Dickinson LLP acts for a diverse range of large, medium and small charitable not-for-profit organisations as well as social enterprises across sectors including health and education, offering advice on a range of matters covering corporate, property and governance, among others. Mark Fitzgibbon enjoys a good reputation in the local market, while Jeff Middleton advises charities on employment-related matters. Paul Baker advises clients on tax-efficient philanthrophy while schools head Luke Green works with academy clients.

Practice head(s):Mark Fitzgibbon; Jeff Middleton; Paul Baker; Luke Green

Key Clients

Big Life Group

Greenwich Leisure Limited

The People’s Trust (Greece)

Delta Philanthropies

Parkwood Holdings Limited

Manchester Literature Festival

Amnesty (UK) Group



New Brighton Cricket & Bowls Club

Led by Graham Wood, Kuit Steinart Levy LLP's practice provides a comprehensive service for charities and not-for-profits, with particular expertise in the establishment of new charitable trusts, Charity Commission registration and governance and constitutional matters. The team also advises charities in relation to commercial contracts, commercial property and employment disputes.

Practice head(s):Graham Wood

Other key lawyers:Lauren Clyne

Key Clients

The Stoller Charitable Trust

The Morris Feinmann Home Charitable Trust


Mivke Charitable Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised DanceSyndrome on taxation, governance and compliance issues.
  • Advised on all of the legal arrangements for the Stoller Charitable Trust, which has been involved in the establishment of the UK’s first proton beam therapy centre.

Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

DWF's team, which is split across the firm's Manchester and Liverpool bases, handles complex trust and probate disputes, often with a cross-border element or issues of jurisdiction or domicile. The firm's clients include trustee companies, private banks, charitable trusts and private individuals. The practice was strengthened in late 2018 by the arrival of director Christopher Noel, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard to lead the private capital team in Manchester. 'Clever, practical' senior associate Daniel Williams is well-regarded by clients.

Practice head(s):Christopher Noel; Christopher King; Daniel Williams


'The team have a very practical approach - they have a great deal of commercial expertise and very good client handling skills.'

'Daniel Williams is excellent - clever, practical, very good with difficult clients.'

'Daniel Williams is objective, assertive and efficient - he also shows compassion and empathy in dealing with sensitive matters.'

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP advises a roster of high-profile clients on disputes over the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors, breach of trust and Inheritance Act claims, handling high-profile Court of Appeal cases and significant trust disputes involving offshore individuals and institutions. Simon Pedley, who heads up the team across the national firm's northern offices, has a long-established reputation of acting for very high net worth individuals, charities, Oxbridge colleges and trust companies.

Practice head(s):Simon Pedley

Work highlights

  • Acting for the executors of the Summers estate in relation to an extremely complicated handwritten homemade will.
  • Acting for the recently appointed professional independent administrator of the estate of the late Mrs Cadogan, appointed by court order during litigation between the two former executors. The estate comprises London properties worth £13m.
  • Acted for an Oxbridge College in defending a potential claim by relatives of the deceased; challenging the fees of one of the estate’s professional executors, as well as handling other related administration issues.

The 'impressive and extremely helpful' team at Myerson Solicitors LLP has an exclusive focus on contentious trust and probate work, handling high-value, complex cases. The practice has seen turnover grow by a third over the last year, with headcount in the team now up to six. 'First-class litigator' Helen Thompson leads the team, which also stands out for its use of bespoke case funding arrangements such as deferred fees, fixed fees and conditional fee agreements.

Practice head(s):Helen Thompson; Adam Maher


'The contentious trust and probate department is the equal of the larger Manchester firms. It is well resourced and in Helen Thompson has an able and experienced lead partner.'

'Myerson has a significant breadth of experience and willingness to both advise and assist clients for the best possible outcome.'

'The team has an uncompromised dedication to delivering exceptional customer service, which is second to none in my experience across the North West if not the UK. Clients are treated as individuals and very much made to feel part of the team.'

'The legal team have the rare ability of combining strong legal knowledge, procedural and strategic acumen but delivered with client care and overwhelming compassion in what are often difficult or testing circumstances.'

'The firm has particular expertise and experience in dealing with Inheritance Act claims, as well as niches in spousal claims and claims involving complex and financially and personally challenging disabilities.

'Experienced, approachable and capable. This is a team that offers a varied skillset which it applies appropriately to individual cases.'

'The team is committed to getting excellent results for clients. They work closely and are supportive creating a very productive and happy working environment.'

'The firm's team combines excellent technical knowledge with a strong work ethic.'

'This firm is very responsive and communicates very effectively in a timely manner.'

'Myersons put the client at the heart of the case and work tirelessly to achieve the right outcome.'

'Quick to respond and efficient in dealing with enquiries.'

'A great firm and great lawyers.'

'Clear understandable advice from approachable solicitors.'

Eleanor Clarke was exceptional in every aspect of dealing with my case - she made me feel at ease throughout my case.

'Helen Thompson is knowledgeable and experienced. She relates well to her clients and is a first rate negotiator with a good understanding of her clients needs and the insight to be able to see solutions where others would not.'

'Helen Thompson has a practical attitude and energises the clients for each round of dispute resolution, and gives them the ability to pursue a positive conclusion to their issues.'

'Helen Thompson is a first-class litigator. She works tirelessly; consistently demonstrating her dedication to achieving the best possible outcome for her clients by going the extra mile. She puts clients immediately at ease and is an excellent communicator. Her strong understanding of the law enables her to identify with surgical precision the issues in any given case from the outset. She has seen it all and is not phased by difficult or obstructive opponents.'   

'Eleanor Clarke's confidence combined with practical focus ensures that her clients are always in a very safe pair of hands.'

'Stephanie Ewan is wise beyond her years - no doubt an up-and-coming star of trust and probate litigation. She has a strong intellect, eye for detail and passion for client care. Her calm demeanour hides the fierce litigator inside, who is always determined to achieve the best possible outcome for often disadvantaged or vulnerable clients.'

'Adam Maher, the leader of the commercial litigation team is quietly spoken but has an iron determination to promote his client's interests.'

'Helen Thompson is approachable and charming, but has an excellent mind and a proven determination to get to the bottom of complex cases.'

'Stephanie Ewan has an exceptional eye for detail.'

'Helen Thompson goes above and beyond for clients - a very skilful litigator. She offers clients a first class service - she is tough and will fight the client's corner to achieve a good result.'

'Helen Thompson is particularly impressive.'

'Helen Thompson is approachable, sympathetic and knowledgable. Her no-nonsense approach is very reassuring.'

'Helen Thompson is professional, pragmatic and sensible.'

'Helen Thompson is cool and calm under pressure. She knows her stuff.'

'Helen Thompson has the ideal mix of approachability, compassion and empathy together with a sound understanding of the matter at hand and the ability to objectively advise.'

Key Clients

St Ann’s Hospice

Work highlights

  • Advised on a claim by a surviving spouse against the estate of his late wife under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

The team at Pannone Corporate LLP advise on mid and high net worth estate and trust disputes, representing national and international clients as well as those in the North West. The key members of the team include Nicola Marchant, whose 'energy and application inspires confidence in clients', and Jonny Scholes, who was recently promoted to to the role director. Director Jane Shaw's non-contentious tax expertise adds another string to the practice's bow.

Practice head(s):Nicola Marchant


'A strong group of very able lawyers.'

'Extremely professional and immediately put me at ease.'

'Jane Shaw and Nicola Marchant are exceptional practitioners - together they have a depth of experience in dealing with high value, complex contentious trust and probate issues. It is the combination of their knowledge and personal qualities that distinguish the firm from its competitors in the Manchester market.'

'Very conscientious and helpful - nothing is too much trouble.'

'The team is accessible, friendly, firm when they need to be with a tactical ability that is first rate.'

'Very helpful and proactive.'

Nicola Marchant's energy and application inspires confidence in clients -  she is a very good communicator.'

'Jonny Scholes has good grasp of realities of cases and has a strong rapport with clients which means that he is able to get to the nub of the dispute.'

'David Brown is a very able lawyer; he is very attuned to the commercial objectives of his clients.'

'Jonny Scholes is exceptional. He helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life with patience, kindness, a professional attitude and knowledge I immediately knew I could trust and rely upon on.'

'Jane Shaw is very capable - she has a no-nonsense approach and an ability to deal with difficult people effectively. Her focus is on getting the right outcome for clients in the most efficient way possible and works tirelessly to achieve that.'

'Jonny Scholes, Elizabeth Walsh and David Carmichael were amazing, I cannot recommend them more highly for their work. Their knowledge and understanding is unbelievable.'

'Nicola Marchant is first class.  Her technical knowledge is excellent. She identifies the issues and addresses them swiftly and cost-effectively; she is responsive, decisive and pragmatic. Very personable and a pleasure to deal with.

'Nicola Marchant is very approachable, knowledgeable, good-humoured and deals with matters promptly.'

'Nicola Marchant has a great deal of experience in the sector, and is responsive and proactive and always willing to give a view on something prior to being instructed.'

'Johnny Scholes is very helpful, careful and offers sensible commercial advice.'

Addleshaw Goddard draws on the firm's full services capabilities to complement its practice, with professional negligence, partnership and civil fraud specialists regularly called on to collaborate with the contentious trusts team. The firm's national and international scope also enables it handle complex cross-border trust litigation. The team is led by the 'enthusiastic and dedicated' Yorke Eaton, whose practice includes advising trustees on their duties and liabilities in relation to their business assets.

Practice head(s):Yorke Eaton


'The team is very experienced in private client matters and has excellent technical expertise.'

'Yorke Eaton is very enthusiastic and dedicated to getting the best for his clients.'

Brabners LLP's contentious trusts and probate specialists work hand-in-hand with the firm's top-rated family and personal tax team, advising high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals on their UK and international assets. The practice regularly advises on disputes over wills, estate administration, inheritance claims and Court of Protection and Charities Act proceedings. Liverpool legal director Simon Morris, who is described as 'a real rising star', is responsible for the firm's wills and probate claims website, which serves as a free information resource on probate litigation.

Practice head(s):Paul Lunt; Jeff Lewis

Other key lawyers:Simon Morris


'The team at Brabners is top drawer. They are true specialists who really know their stuff. They are client and outcome focused.'

'The Brabners team is responsive and well prepared and also good at judging what the clients needs are.'

'Simon Morris is the go-to man in Liverpool. He is very easy to deal with and really looks after his clients. A real rising star.'

The team at Gorvins Solicitors combines wills, trusts and probate experts with lawyers from a pure disputes background, advising on cases involving fradulent wills, Inheritance Act claims and questions over mental capacity. Christine Thornley jointly heads up the contentious trusts and probate team with senior partner Mark Deverell. The team was boosted during 2018 by the arrival of senior associate Julie Burgess from Weightmans LLP.

Practice head(s):Christine Thornley; Mark Deverell

JMW Solicitors LLP's team, which operates as part of the commercial litigation practice, handles a range of contentious private client matters including Inheritance Act claims, disputes over wills, executors and trustees, and claims for breach of trust. Recent roles for the firm have included acting for the defendants in the long-running dispute over the Yorkley Court farm estate, which involved the eviction of eco-farming squatters. Senior associate David Bondt left to join BBS Law in late 2018.

Practice head(s):Marc Yaffe


'A capable contentious trust and probate department.'

'Alison Parry is a standout partner - she is thoughtful and incisive, with a good sense for what will drive litigation forward.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on an Inheritance Act claim for a client whose father died after a motorbike accident on a practice run while training for the Isle of Man TT race.
  • Acting for the defendants in the Yorkley Court farm estate trust dispute, which centres upon establishing who the beneficiaries of the estate are as well as challenging the conduct of the trustees who have been administering the trust.
  • Advising on a complex Inheritance Act claim and alleged trustee negligence action involving the interests of a minor.
  • Advising two children of the deceased, who died intestate, in a dispute over the administration of the estate.

The practice at Shoosmiths LLP is part of the wider firm's personal advisory arm, which accounts for one fifth of its total fee income. The team acts for corporate and charity clients as well as high net worth individuals, handling work such as trust disputes, validity disputes and Inheritance Act cases. The practice is led by Adam Draper - seen as 'one of the leading lights in contentious probate and trust work in the north west' - and also features 'up and coming star' solicitor Andrew Bishop. The practice aims to differentiate itself by offering flexible funding options such as conditional fees and payment on conclusion arrangements.

Practice head(s):Adam Draper

Other key lawyers:Andrew Bishop


'National coverage but with a local presence and expertise to back that up.'

'Friendly, supportive, helpful.'

'An excellent and committed team.'

'The Shoosmiths team enjoy a good reputation within this specialist area, combining a high level of legal knowledge with a practical approach.'

'Adam Draper has exceptional knowledge in the field, and is an astute and extremely good lawyer. He is very strong tactically, and strikes up an immediate rapport with clients.'

'Adam Draper is one of the leading lights in contentious probate and trust work in the north west. Excellent knowledge and a great solicitor to work with.'

'Andrew Bishop is a tremendously hardworking, knowledgeable up and coming star of this area.'

'Adam Draper and his team will put themselves out to help and are good listeners and very supportive and will help in any way, I can't praise them enough.'

'Andrew Bishop is one to watch - definitely a star of the future.'

'Adam Draper runs a strong team with an ability to turn work around in record time, and get right to the heart of complex matters.'

'Adam Draper is highly experienced in litigating private client matters. He shows great empathy for lay clients and is a tenacious fighter for the best possible results for them.'

Work highlights

  • Assisted a client in a spousal claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 against the estate of the deceased husband, a well-known and successful property developer in Wales.
  • Assisted the client in a spousal claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 against the estate of the deceased husband, the son of Lady Wilton, who was married to the 7th Earl of Wilton.

Aaron & Partners LLP's practice is led by wills, trusts and tax head Clive Pointon and James Wallace, who advises clients on both the litigious aspects of contentious trust and probate work as well as the taxation and estate planning consequences of judgments and settlements. The department, which also gives expert evidence on Court of Protection disputes, offers alternative funding arrangements for clients including conditional fees and damages-based agreements.

Practice head(s):Clive Pointon

Other key lawyers:James Wallace

Butcher & Barlow LLP offers the full spectrum of services to high-net-worth clients, covering all types of disputes in this area, advising executors, beneficiaries, trustees and others challenging the validity of wills. The team is headed up by Sandbach-based Samuel Dale, who handles both contentious and non-contentious work.

Practice head(s):Samuel Dale


'Very helpful and approachable.'

'High quality service with all the benefits of a high street practice.'

'A firm which combines the local touch with a strong team across its offices.'

'Butcher and Barlow has great strength in this area with a number of excellent practitioners in trusts and probate work. They bring together the expertise of a larger firm with the personal service of a family solicitor and take trouble to ensure that all client needs are met.'

'Strong partners, typically raised up through the ranks, with an impressive knowledge of clients' backgrounds and legal needs.'

'Samuel Dale is attentive to detail and not afraid run difficult arguments to successful conclusions.'

The practice at DTM Legal LLP is led by trained mediator Duncan McAllister, who has built up the firm's offering in this area since joining the firm in 2014. The firm's specialisms in this area include breach of trust claims, estates disputes and claims in relation to property, with much of its work coming from referrals from other solicitors in Chester, North Wales and the Wirral.

Practice head(s):Duncan McAllister


'Duncan McAllister is incredibly helpful and understanding.'

Forbes Solicitors has grown its presence in this area on the back of the hire of contentious trusts and probate head Ben Wilson in 2017. The team, which has now grown to three full-time members, acts for clients on a local, national and international basis, and offers alternative funding arrangements such as conditional fee agreements, deferred fees and fixed fees.

Practice head(s):Ben Wilson; Michael Chambers


'A strong regional firm - prepared to fight their client's corner while always giving realistic advice.'

Ben Wilson is a good negotiator.'

'Ben Wilson is very well-informed and pragmatic.'

Work highlights

  • Advised on high value and complex trustee dispute involving charitable assets valued at £10m.
  • Acted for adult child in claim being brought out of time under the Inheritance Act 1975 against estate worth £1.1m.
  • Acting for adult children, dependants and spouses in various separate claims against estates under the Inheritance Act 1975.
  • Acting for three trustees of a will trust worth around £500,000 on breach of trust.
  • Defending claim brought against a £450,000 estate under the Inheritance Act.

Gateley Plc's two practitioners in this area, Janine Allen and senior associate James Seed, handle work including Inheritance Act claims, professional negligence claims relating to estate planning and will validity disputes. Allen's practice is complemented by her broad experience in healthcare sector litigation, while Seed has a particular focus on high-value contentious trust and probate disputes.

Practice head(s):Janine Allen; James Seed

Chester boutique Jolliffe & Co LLP handles contentious probate matters including disputes over the validity of wills and Inheritance Act claims, with solicitor-advocate Andrew Bartley and 10-year qualified associate Clare Wainwright leading the bulk of the firm's work in this area.

Work highlights

  • Representing a claimant in contesting the validity of a codicil to his father’s will relating to land farmed by the family farming partnership.
  • Representing a disabled adult child in an Inheritance Act claim.
  • Advising the executors of an estate worth tens of millions of pounds on four Inheritance Act claims.
  • Instructed to challenge a will on the grounds of lack of capacity, due execution and/or want of knowledge and approval.
  • Advising on a claim for negligence against trustees and a financial adviser.

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP's sizeable team combines probate and litigation expertise, advising on all types of challenge to the validity of wills, including 1975 Act claims. The team’s client base - which increasingly includes national clients as well those in the firm's northwest heartlands - are predominantly owner-managed businesses and their owners, family businesses and very high-net-worth individuals. The practice is led by Andrew Weinberg, who has been a partner at the firm for around 25 years.

Practice head(s):Andrew Weinberg

Other key lawyers:Graham Wood


'The firm's understanding of the personal aspects of work makes them unique -  the empathy they show and the feeling  hat they are with you throughout is commendable.'

'The firm is very unique as the managing partners are very hands-on and stay close to the client.'

Lauren Clyne has always and continues to stand out - she understands the needs of the family from more than simply a lawyer's perspective. Lauren also understands how the individuals she has to work with at a client level operate - she knows instinctively when to chase politely, when to demand more aggressively and when to leave it for a more appropriate time.

'The team will always tell clients what they need to hear, which is not always the same as what they might want to hear.'

'Graham Wood is consistently our go-to person for sound, pragmatic advice.'

At Slater Heelis LLP, managing partner Chris Bishop advises high-net-worth individuals on complex and high-value trust and probate disputes, with the wider team acting for clients including executors and administrators. Former team head Helen Brown left to join Paris Smith LLP at the end of 2018.


Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The 'outstanding' team at Brabners LLP offers a range of services to high-net-worth clients, which include world-class sports stars, covering matters from high-value divorces to pre-nuptial agreements and child matters. The 'first-rate' Helen Marriott leads the team, while another name to note is the 'excellent' Joanne Radcliff who has a 'fantastic manner with clients', as well as senior associate Natalie Dickson, who has 'excellent knowledge and experience' of divorce and settlement applications.

Practice head(s):Helen Marriott

Other key lawyers:Joanne Radcliff; Natalie Dickson


'A very strong team with keen and efficient junior members. Always on the ball with key legal and procedural developments.'

'The team has exceptional knowledge, experience, and expertise.  They are very personable and build trusting relationships with clients. '

'I regularly recommend clients to the family and private teams at Brabners and we are confident they will receive a top class service.'

Hall Brown Family Law has a wealth of experience of advising on high-value financial remedy cases, matters involving children and pre/post-nuptial agreements for a range of clients including high-profile athletes. Practice head James Brown, who  is 'personable, pragmatic and approachable', has a particular focus on divorce and high-net-worth financial remedy proceedings. Other names to note are Andrew Newbury , a 'true star in Manchester matrimonial law circles' and 'excellent all-rounder' Sam Hall, while the team also continues to benefit from the huge experience of Beth Wilkins. Senior associate Laura Guillon is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):James Brown

Other key lawyers:Izzy Walsh; Andrew Newbury


'An excellent boutique Manchester city centre matrimonial firm offering the highest calibre of individual lawyers who all work together superbly as a team.'

'Approachable and pragmatic, very joined up approach - you get the impression everyone in the team communicates and works together.'

'James Brown is on the ball, personable, pragmatic and approachable.

'Andrew Newbury has tons of experience, which means he can deal with anything.'

'James Brown brings ability, and sound judgement to each case. His relationships with his clients are exceptional, striking the perfect balance between professionalism and approachability. James is not afraid to give tough advice where required.'

'Andrew Newbury is a true star in Manchester matrimonial law circles. What he does not know about matrimonial finance is not worth knowing. He has a great manner with clients and shows true steel in his approach to opponents.'

'James Brown has a true intellect combined with great street wisdom and a tough approach where necessary. Currently at the top of his game.

'Sam Hall is an excellent all-rounder with great client care. A steady and inspiring lawyer to have at your side.'

The well-regarded family team at Irwin Mitchell work on a wide range of family-related matters, ranging from trusts to international prenuptial agreements, and is often brought in to 'rescue' complex cases from larger firms when tactical rethink is required or where mistakes have been made. The 'dynamic' Ros Bever, who heads up the national divorce and family team, is well-known for her track record of Supreme Court successes, and has built a strong profile as a go-to lawyer outside of London. The 'first-rate' Nathaniel Groarke is another name to note, while Hannah Saxe is a up-and-coming associate who gives 'pragmatic and realistic advice' to her clients.

Practice head(s):Ros Bever; Nathaniel Groarke; Katie McCann


'Ros Bever is very dynamic and incredibly hard-working. She is an excellent rainmaker, supplying her first-rate team with high quality work.'

'The team are very approachable, available to answer queries and to offer support.'

'The Irwin Mitchell team are focused on achieving the right solution for the client. They are energetic in delivering this to their clients and their ability to work as a team is unrivalled.'

'Ros Bever goes beyond above and beyond for her clients - she is always available to them, always there to deal with their concerns, no matter how large or small.'

'Ros Bever is stand-out in her dynamic, go-getting approach.'

'Hannah Saxe is a very sound matrimonial lawyer, she really knows her stuff and gives pragmatic, realistic advice.'

'Ros Bever is an astonishingly competent lawyer. She holds the facts of each of her complex cases in her head, and has an extraordinary grasp of detail.'

'Nathaniel Groarke is a first-rate lawyer with excellent client-handling skills.'

'Ros Bever is a dynamic head of department and a real star in the national firmanent. David Lister is superb with clients and a natural talent for grasping the issues in the case.' 

Work highlights

  • Acted for a mother in her application to relocate to Malaysia. She wanted to return to the teaching profession after her daughter was born. As all of her experience is international, she was unable to obtain employment in the UK.
  • Advised a wife on a set-aside case after she discovered her husband, who she was divorcing, was a bigamist who had falsified documents and kept undisclosed accounts.
  • Acting for a wife in litigation relating to massive rising debt as a consequence of undertakings given in original proceedings in 2011 while the parties awaited the sale of the former matrimonial home and a Spanish villa.

The 'extremely knowledgeable, proactive and helpful' family team at JMW Solicitors LLP works on high value financial remedy cases that are often complex and span multiple jurisdictions. Practice co-head Elspeth Kinder is praised for her 'pragmatic, commercial approach' when handling complex cases and regularly advises clients on pre and post nuptial agreements. David Pickering is recommended for his excellent record on financial matters, while other names to note are the 'dedicated' Katie Lowe and associate Emma Benson.

Practice head(s):Elspeth Kinder; Michael Chapman; Beverley Jones


'A large specialist team which treat clients as individuals and which goes the last mile to secure their client's best interests.'

'This firm has a very strong reputation in this field. They are extremely knowledgeable, proactive and helpful with a great service.'

'The team are very dedicated to providing the very best advice with regards to family law. Their knowledge of the fertility industry is fantastic and they are approachable and professional.'

'Cara Nuttall fights her client's case hard, whether it is a good or bad case. Never gives up.'

'Michael Chapman stands out, he's always incredibly helpful, efficient and approachable, with a great understanding of family law.'

'Elspeth Kinder has a pragmatic, commercial approach to handling complex financial cases and being very good with clients. Katie Lowe has a wealth of experience and is dedicated to helping clients move forward in difficult circumstances.'

'Beverley Jones is always on hand to provide excellent advice and client support. She is extremely knowledgeable and always goes out of her way to provide support and advice to healthcare professionals.'

Work highlights

  • Representing Tania Richardson-Ruhan in complex High Court proceedings to secure her share of c£200m assets on divorce; the assets also being the subject of related chancery proceedings.
  • Representing Charmaine De Souza (previously Rothschild) in complex financial remedy proceedings.
  • Acting for a mother in leading decision within which the interaction between competing wardship and Hague convention issues is determined by the court.

The team at Maguire Family Law are 'highly experienced' and regularly act for well-known clients on high value financial remedy matters as well as complex pre-and post-nuptial agreements. 'Extremely knowledegable' practice head James Maguire, who founded the firm in 2010, is regarded as 'a superb lawyer and a superb leader', while another name to note is Denise Moran, who was promoted to partner in 2018 and is known for her expertise in divorce cases.

Practice head(s):James Maguire; Henry Venables


'Maguire Family Law is a highly experienced private client team with genuine approachability and has a reputation in the area that very few firms compare to. Sensitivity, attention to detail coupled with fair and competitive pricing are all high markers of the team.' 

'Very good people to do business with. They are caring, skilful, and professional. They have very good people throughout, and those people are loyal. Their firm is also supremely sustainable because it is run like a very good business.'

'James Maguire is a superb lawyer and a superb leader. He is calm, balanced, likeable, and caring for his staff.'

'James Maguire is very experienced and a good figurehead.'

'Denise Moran is knowledgeable and good with client handling.'

'Jennifer Curtis always has a thorough understanding of the case and is emphatic with clients.'

'Kirsten Tomlinson not afraid to state her case in a skilful manner.'

'James Maguire is extremely knowledgeable, approachable and very helpful in all matters. He is always clear, calm and reassuring which is critical in this area.'

'James Maguire is very level-headed and inspires confidence.'

Mills & Reeve LLP, which is regarded as being 'one of the leading teams in this area of law', regularly advises on high-profile matters, including representing Resolution, the largest family justice organisation, on a pro bono basis at the Supreme Court hearing of high-profile divorce dispute Owens v Owens. Alison Bull is recognised for her 'innovative, excellent knowledge' and Nigel Shepherd has 'relentless commitment' to delivering family law reform. Another name to note is Rose-Marie Drury, who is a 'rising star in every respect'.

Practice head(s):Alison Bull; Nigel Shepherd


'The family team is generally regarded amongst its peers as being one of the leading teams in this area of law. They attract high-quality work and have a number of experienced and talented lawyers. Their commitment to alternative dispute resolution is one of their more unique strengths.'

'Committed, innovative and hardworking.'

'They are forward and innovative thinkers with a can do attitude. They are thinkers as well as efficient do-ers. Alison Bull is a standout partner who is innovative, has excellent knowledge and skill and is completely committed to guiding clients to a good outcome.'

'Nigel Shepherd's commitment to family law reform, and improving the family justice system for both practitioners and clients, is relentless.'

'Alison Bull has a top class legal mind with a detailed grasp on the complexities of family law. Alison is also an innovator, leader and first class mediator, her constant and consistent client-focused attitude ensures a favourable outcome for all who engage her to act on their behalf.'

'Rose-Marie Drury is a rising star in every respect, has the soft skills required for the role but the tenacity to drive the best results for the client - not to be underestimated.'

The family team at Weightmans LLP specialises in high value complex matters for high-net-worth individuals and clients, with the firm's work often spanning multiple jurisdictions. Practice head Carole Atkinson has particular expertise dealing with offshore trusts and complex cases, while Fiona Davidson is a specialist in dealing with financial matters. Another name to note is associate Rachel Lim, who has acted on several cases involving overseas assets for clients.

Practice head(s):Carole Atkinson

The family team at Aaron & Partners LLP have a 'depth of knowledge' and are 'very proactive' in their dealings with clients, which include business owners, professionals, sportsmen, land owners and wealthy retirees. The team is led by the 'excellent' Richard Barge who heads the Chester office and regularly works on high value and complex matters including nuptial agreements. The 'very reliable' Lorraine Saunders is another name to note, specialising in high-net-worth cases including offshore trusts and complex financial agreements. Senior associate Simon Mawdsley is also well regarded.

Practice head(s):Richard Barge


'Very proactive, with good communication skills. Transparency in dealing with clients.'

'The depth of knowledge in the team led by Richard Barge is excellent.'

'Lorraine Saunders has great empathy with clients, and makes them feel relaxed and confident in her abilities.'

'Lorraine Saunders is very reliable - her advice is measured, realistic, to the point and gave me confidence.'

'Richard Barge is an excellent solicitor - always incisive, ready to stand up for his client but equally sensitive to the realities of any case, and able to steer his clients towards pragmatic and sensible settlements.'

Farleys Solicitors LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals including CEOs, business owners and sports personalities, with the firm's work often taking on an international bent. The team has recently grown to 12 lawyers now practising family law across its north west offices, handling matters covering divorce and financial remedy cases, including complex Schedule 1 Children Act applications. Team head Antonia Love regularly represents high-net-worth individuals in divorce cases.

Practice head(s):Antonia Love


'The people I worked with at Farleys were professional and knowledgeable and helped me get the best outcome for my case - communication was excellent.

The team at Hill Dickinson LLP have a 'friendly, efficient and razor sharp approach' to advising clients, which include high-profile individuals, sports personalities and key individuals at national companies. Joanne Raisbeck heads the team after being promoted to legal director in 2016 and specialises in high-net financial matters and pre/post-nuptial agreements.

Practice head(s):Joanne Raisbeck


'Friendly, efficient and razor sharp approach.'

'Though a global firm can seem intimidating they themselves are not. I found everyone I came into contact with approachable, professional and clearly understood the situation and my needs. They are friendly and helpful and would highly recommend their services to others.'

'Hill Dickinson deal with high value complex cases with professionalism and the highest quality of service. Whilst the team is small it is envied.'

'Sarah McCarthy is bright and hardworking. She gives clients realistic and constructive advice. She gives 110% and is personable, approachable and clients love her.'

'Joanne Raisbeck is a very good lawyer and her thoroughness and tenacity knows in my view no equal locally.'

'Joanne Raisbeck is, in my opinion, the pre-eminent family lawyer in Liverpool. Her work ethic, commerciality and desire to do the very best for her client is second to none.'

'Sarah McCarthy is excellent, very knowledgable and understanding. Clearly explained the divorce process. Very efficient, always returned phone calls and emails.'

'The team is headed by Joanne Raisbeck, whose experience and knowledge in the field is second to none.'

The family team at Laytons LLP routinely acts for high-net-worth individuals throughout the north west on matters such as divorces and post-nuptial agreements, including several matters worth upwards of £10m. Team head Christine Barker is recognised for her experience in matrimonial finance and is often sought out by high-profile figures with complex financial issues to be resolved.

Practice head(s):Christine Barker

The 'responsive and motivated' family team at MSB Law LLP have a 'wide breadth of knowledge and experience in family law matters', handling high-value financial remedy matters, as well as cases involving children and care proceedings. 'Exceptional' practice head Emma Carey is well-regarded for her specialist experience in domestic matters while another name to note is Emma Palmer, who is recognised as a 'stand-out international children's lawyer'. The firm recently expanded its capabilities via a merger with eight-strong local firm PMC Family Law, a deal which saw PMC founding partner Pauline McNamara come on board as head of private client family.

Practice head(s):Emma Carey


'A responsive and motivated team of family solicitors who have a wide breadth of knowledge and experience in family law matters. The standards of legal advice and court advocacy is excellent whilst also retaining a human and personal link to clients needs.'

'The individual solicitors in family law are highly motivated, knowledgeable and maintain clear communication throughout the case.' 

'Hard-working, knowledgeable and prepared to go the extra mile.'

Work highlights

  • Represented child Alfie and parents Tom Evans and Kate James on application by Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to withdraw treatment.
  • Represented respondent mother in application to return child to England involving two international conventions.
  • Represented a father when the local authority could not ascertain a placement to meet his child’s complex needs, resulting in the child being kept in Alder Hey Hospital with 24-hour guards.
  • Represented respondent mother in applications to reunite mother and children after local authority prevented daughter leaving England and father prevented sons leaving Sudan.
  • Represented a mother on a re-hearing of a finding of fact with regards to unsafe findings made in relation to exceptional and complex medical issues.

The family team at Myerson Solicitors LLP is 'well-respected and acts for a wide range of clients', with 'articulate and efficient' practice head Jane Tenquist handling complex financial matters for high-net-worth clients and negotiating pre-nuptial agreements. Another name to note is the 'meticulous' Nichola Bright, who 'always gives well balanced advice' to clients, particularly in fertility and surrogacy issues.

Practice head(s):Jane Tenquist


'The team are well respected and act for a wide range of clients including professionals and business owners. The firm are making strides in developing their expertise in surrogacy and fertility law.'

'Jane Tenquist has a strong history of working collaboratively with great results for clients. Sarah Whitelegge is pragmatic and very empathetic to clients needs.'

'Jane Tenquist is very knowledgeable, deals with matters efficiently and is very supportive.'

'Jane Tenquist is an extremely approachable and is professional in her line of work. She is articulate and very efficient.'

'Nichola Bright is a meticulous lawyer who always gives well balanced advice. She has an empathy for her clients which ensures they feel that they are in safe hands.'

The 'efficient, thoughtful and professional' family team at SAS Daniels LLP is spread across its four Cheshire offices, but the firm has in recent months begun to receive more work from further afield, with more instructions coming in from Shropshire, Birmingham and Leeds. The 'professional and intelligent' Shelley Chesworth, 'a little gem amongst lawyers', heads up the team, while fellow partner Denise Woodward has a 'professional, realistic and informative touch'.

Practice head(s):Shelley Chesworth


'Shelley Chesworth has impressed me highly - she is a little gem amongst lawyers. She is always on hand to reassure and give good advice, no matter how busy she is. She goes beyond what she needs to and has even took time to advice and reassure out of office hours and weekends. She does a brilliant job for a fair price, not taking advantage of the situation to make money. She is very professional and very intelligent.' 

Slater Heelis LLP's family team, which 'packs a punch in the local market', handles a broad range of work including matrimonial finance and disputes involving children and property. Key clients include sports and media personalities, business owners with complex company structures, CEOs and high-net-worth individuals. Mark Heptinstall heads the family department and specialises in high-net-worth complex cases, 'fighting his client's corner without compromise'. Patricia Robinson is also recommended for her 'good judgement' on cases, particularly for difficult children disputes, and her work is 'always meticulous'.

Practice head(s):Mark Heptinstall


'A first rate family team for divorce, children and financial matters. Strong leadership and a true team ethos permeates the department and you get a real sense of how committed each and every member of the team is across the board. Colleagues value their clients as individuals and one another and what they bring to the table.'

'Slater Heelis pack a punch in the local market beyond the size of their team. They are highly regarded, impressively well managed and yet manage to ensure that clients are provided with sensible and realistic advice, to avoid litigation for litigation's sake.'

'Tricia Robinson is a top calibre matrimonial finance lawyer, normally working on high end and difficult cases. Tricia has excellent people skills and her work is always meticulous: a pleasure to work with.'

'Patricia Robinson is fantastic. Knowledgeable, supportive, went beyond and above everything required. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her.'

'Phillip Rhodes is a rising star. He has an extremely strong work ethic, delivers and excellent service to clients without any compromise. His preparation is meticulous and approach is measured.'

'Mark Heptinstall is a force to be reckoned with - he fights his client's corner without compromise.'

'Patricia Robinson delivers an excellent service. She has good judgement and is very approachable.'

The family team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP represent clients encompassing children, parents, couples, guardians and local authorities in all aspects of family and children law. Victoria Gethin, who now heads the department after taking over from Mike Devlin in 2018, specialises in complex children and domestic abuse matters. Senior associate Tim Gailbraith specialises in complex care proceedings, acting for parents, family members, and local authorities on a range of cases including adoption and child abduction

Practice head(s):Victoria Gethin; Amanda Rimmer

The family department at Forbes Solicitors is split into two areas of expertise; public and private law. The public team handle matters relating to children via guardians and Cafcass, while the private law team has expertise in representing private clients in high-net-worth cases relating to finance and divorce-related proceedings, in addition to matters concerning children. Team head Rubina Vohra  is 'highly regarded' and is an 'extremely talented lawyer who works hard to deliver an outstanding service to her clients'. Judith Wright  is a 'stellar practitioner' and a 'compassionate and a skilled tactician'.

Practice head(s):Rubina Vohra

Other key lawyers:Judith Wright


'The team offers a pragmatic approach to litigation that looks for solutions and focuses on the bigger picture.'

'The team is stocked with consistently good lawyers who do not drop the ball. They have some truly exceptional solicitors who infect the team with their enthusiasm and have trained them well.'

'This team can be relied upon to provide strength in depth and sensible advice to clients'

Linder Myers' family team advises on all aspects of relationship breakdowns, with key clients including business owners and professionals such as doctors, dentists and lawyers. Former practice head Colin Davies recently left to join Kuit Steinart Levy LLP; the team's senior practitioners are now head of childcare and family Diane Cogan and principal lawyer Sarah McCarthy.

The founding team at McAlister Family Law previously worked at Slater and Gordon before breaking away to form a niche family law practice in late 2017. The team specialises in divorce and private children work and provides a full-service offering, appealing to a wide range of clients, not just those from the high-net-worth market. The firm's children law team has three divisions: private, public and local authority and has a specialist divorce and finance team, and an international division. 'Hardworking and diligent' founding partner Amanda McAlister leads the team.

Practice head(s):Amanda McAlister

Other key lawyers:Liz Cowell


'For a relatively new firm, McAlister has an excellent knowledge of the market place and a impressive range of clients. McAlister has leading knowledge of representing uniformed services within matrimonial proceedings as well as high profile clients in the North West. McAlister are formidable opponents for any of the leading firms across the country.'

'I have worked with a number of, or all the solicitors in the family team for a number of years. The team has always been very professional, knowledgeable and approachable. I have always enjoyed working with the team and had confidence in their advocacy. It is my view what makes this team unique is their availability regardless of the hour when needing to seek advice.'

'Excellent new firm with a wealth of experience in public law proceedings.'

Slater and Gordon's family team handles a range of divorce and financial matters in the north west, as well as on an international level. The firm regularly acts for high net-worth individuals including professional sportspeople, captains of industry, entertainers and their spouses. Lorraine Harvey heads the team while also advising high-net-worth clients on complex financial matters. Amy Dawber joined the firm in 2019 from Forbes Solicitors.

Practice head(s):Lorraine Harvey

Stowe Family Law LLP is one of the UK's largest dedicated family law firms, and its north west team has recognised experience in dealing with cases involving businesses, trusts and international aspects. The team, which is spread across offices in Altrincham, Manchester and Wilmslow, also has experience of cases involving Islamic law, and offers a bespoke service to north west clients. Helen Miller, head of the Altrincham office, 'shows outstanding commitment to her clients'.

Practice head(s):Helen Miller (Altrincham); Gareth Curtis (Manchester); Lesley Smythe (Wilmslow)


'Although the firm has a national presence, the team retains a 'local' feel.'

'An excellent team that delivers an excellent service to clients. As a team they work cohesively together to diver a first-rate service to clients. Cases are meticulously well prepared and the quality of care provided to clients is high. They are amongst the market leaders.'

'Helen Miller shows outstanding commitment to her clients.'

'Jenny Reddy is a one to watch - she is exceptionally hard working, fights her client's case fearlessly and robustly and ensures that she delivers.

'Camilla Burton-Baddeley is hardworking and passionate about her cases. She delivers a top-rate service to her clients.'

Susan Howarth & Company Solicitors is a niche family law practice which acts for a wide range of both private and public law family clients. The firm has experience in dealing with emerging legal matters, such as cases involving internal relocation and disputes regarding the children of same-sex couples. Team head Susan Howarth 'has all the experience, good sense and legal expertise to be a true star in the field'.

Practice head(s):Susan Howarth


'The practice almost has a family feel about it, in which I mean, you are made to feel part of the family. The company has a background where individuals have worked in social support, thus giving them a unique perspective to family practice and law with a helpful serving of compassion.'

'I was never made to feel like a 'client' - I always felt supported and that my case was important. I felt listened too, and whenever I needed urgent advice, they made sure that I was able to speak to somebody quickly - a real personal touch.'

'A reliable, hardworking team who work efficently and with great care.'

The family team at Vardags represents prestige clients with high-value assets, including international and Premier League footballers. The team specialises in high-net-worth and complex matrimonial cases, and during the past year the team has grown from four to 14 members of staff. Practice head Emma Gill specialises in divorce and matrimonial finance and acts for clients including CEOs of multimillion-pound companies.

Practice head(s):Emma Gill

Ward Hadaway's family team has a strong reputation for its work for successful business figures, entrepreneurs and sports stars, with a track record of advising on financial remedy cases and matters involving children. Martin Karran heads the team and also handles a wide range of complex financial claims relating to business and family assets.

Practice head(s):Martin Karran

The niche family law team at BPS Family Law LLP is led by 'top notch solicitor' Caroline Swain, who acts on contested divorces involving disputes over trusts and other financial matters, often involving multimillion-pound sums. The firm aims to set itself apart from others with its use of fixed fees for divorce and bundling, as well as agreements with clients for costs to be paid upon settlement.

Practice head(s):Caroline Swain


'A dynamic, specialist boutique family law practice in Hale, outside Manchester city centre, where there is a high demand for this sort of service.'

'BPS Family Law are breath of fresh air. I was kept informed of all correspondence, advised each step of the way and was very pleased by the transparent and detailed approach to client billing.'

'Caroline and her team provide a hands-on, personal service which sets them apart from the larger, corporate firms.'

'Caroline Swain is very down to earth and willing to give realistic advice to clients, even if unpalatable.'

'Caroline Swain is a top notch solicitor. Not stuffy nor judgemental, Caroline cuts to the heart of the case in hand and always has your best interests in hand. Caroline is an extremely approachable and practical individual and ensures her clients understand what can realistically be achieved.'

'Caroline Swain - a superb combination of having the eye for detail and great worldly wisdom. Knows exactly how to give clear advice to a client.'

'Caroline Swain conducts client conversations in a very relaxed manner. She answers questions and provides feedback that may not always be welcomed, but it is practical, honest and ultimately helpful in achieving the desired outcomes.'

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented respondent following divorce of 25 years which resulted in the applicant’s financial claims being dismissed, despite a significant disparity in wealth.

Clarke Willmott LLP works with a diverse range of high-net-worth clients, handling complex matters relating to divorce and wealth protection, as well as issues regarding family business arrangements. The firm also has expertise in private law children matters. Chris Longbottom 'leads the team with experience and authority'.

Practice head(s):Chris Longbottom


'The people I have dealt with have been extremely friendly, helpful and understanding of my situation.'

They make dealing with legal issues easy with their easy-to-understand approach

'Chris Longbottom is very approachable and personable.'

'The family law team invest in every single client -  they make you feel like you're the only client that matters'

'Chris Longbottom is extremely knowledgeable about his sector of expertise, particularly in divorce law. He finds it easy to identify with clients and uses his previous case experience well to outline to clients how he can add value.'

'Chris Longbottom leads the team with experience and authority. He has an excellent relationship with his clients and the service he provides goes above and beyond in terms of the support and dedication he offers to clients.'

'Emily Barcilon is a rising star. She has a clear eye for detail and adopts a thorough approach to case preparation. This, teamed with her calm and personable demeanour makes her an excellent choice for family clients. '

'Chris Longbottom is a well-known, highly experienced family lawyer.'

The family team at Gorvins Solicitors 'punches above its weight' and provides a bespoke one-to-one solicitor/client relationship to its clients. The team routinely handles family matrimonial matters while also boasting a specialism in police family law. Associate solicitor Kerry Lees-Russell is 'a favourite with clients'

Practice head(s):Nicola McInnes


'Kerry Lees-Russell is a very knowledgeable solicitor. She is professional, friendly and approachable.'

'Kerry Russell stands out for her strong but calm approach. She is a favourite with clients who appreciate her warm, friendly manner and ability to incisively analyse the issues in a case in order to deliver favourable results.'

'Nicola Fraser works very hard for her clients and is adept at turning difficult cases round positively. She delivers with a consistently commercial and practical approach.'

'Although a small team it has excellent associates and punches above its weight.'

gunnercooke LLP provides a 'very personal and bespoke service' to individuals with a one-on-one client focus. The firm has significant experience in complex divorce proceedings and finance matters. Practice head Roland Humphreys, who joined from Slater and Gordon in early 2018, has 'particularly well honed and sound judgement' and expertise in matrimonial finance, as well as highly complex cross-border child arrangement matters.

Practice head(s):Roland Humphreys


'A very personal, bespoke service backed up by the resources and support of a large organisation with a wide range of expertise. This flexibility enables each case to be dealt with in the way which is right for the individual client.' 

'Roland Humphreys is the most outstanding family lawyer that I have come across in over 35 years of practice. He has particular expertise in dealing with high-net-worth money cases including agricultural businesses and companies. He has a good grasp of detail but is also very commercially aware and practical.' 

'Roland Humphreys has particularly well honed and sound judgement to detect quickly and effectively the strengths and weaknesses of his client's cases. Once instructed his commitment and determination to obtain the best outcome is absolute and unwavering. His strengths are his legal knowledge and his personalised client care approach and willingness to tell his client 'how it is' throughout his engagement.'

The family team at Jolliffe & Co LLP offers a full range of commercial and private client services, with a client base consisting of high-net-worth individuals, business owners and other high-profile professionals. The team has been strengthened by the arrival of practice head Elizabeth Hassall in 2019, who previously ran Elizabeth Hassall Family Law. Hassall leaves 'no stone unturned and has a keen eye for detail while maintaining the highest standards of client care.'

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Hassall


'Elizabeth Hassall is an excellent matrimonial lawyer, with a keen eye for detail. She is knowledgeable and the consummate professional.'

'Elizabeth Hassall's measured approach allows her clients to feel confident that they are in good hands and that they matter. Elizabeth's wise advice delivered in her calm manner is invaluable.'

'Elizabeth Hassall has recently relocated to Chester from Manchester and this is a significant addition to the Chester 'set'. Elizabeth leaves no stone unturned and has a keen eye for detail whilst maintaining the highest standards of client care. Elizabeth is commercially astute and acts for an array of wealthy business people with often complex corporate structures and significant income.'

The family team at KBL Solicitors LLP, which is is led by the 'calm and confident' Victoria Melling, 'consistently punches above its weight on family matters', helping high-net-worth clients to reach complex financial settlements in matrimonial proceedings. The team also advises on pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements, Children Act cases and other issues arising from relationship breakdowns.

Practice head(s):Victoria Melling

Other key lawyers:Ceri Thomas


'This tiny department consistently punches above its weight on family matters. Led by the calm and confident Victoria Melling and ably assisted by Ceri Thomas, early growth is highly likely to be built upon in coming months and years as the department gains ground locally.'

'The practice has a very able and accomplished family department who have worked together for a significant amount of time as a team - which brings strength to what they offer. They support and compliment each other in their experience and areas of interest and expertise.'

'Well placed to provide a great local service with a high level of skill and professionalism matching the city firms in Manchester.'

'Victoria Melling revels in the challenge of working with her clients to get the best, cost-effective outcome for them. Her clients value her advice and expertise.'

'Ceri Thomas is passionate and compassionate about her work with families and someone who is versatile, organised and has an eye for detail which flows into her client care and compliments her legal work.'

'Victoria Melling always has a very professional, determined but fair approach - she clearly stands up for her clients.'

Key Clients


The team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP cover the full spectrum of family law issues but is predominantly known for matters involving divorce and wealth protection. On the financial side, the team advises on trust arrangements, including those held offshore, complex business arrangements and significant property assets. The team's client base comprises high-net-worth individuals, including sports personalities and individuals from wealthy families. 'Very capable and approachable' senior associate Michael Gregory now heads the team after previous department head Katie McCann's departure for Irwin Mitchell. The team was also recently strengthened in 2018 by the arrival of former Linder Myers family law head Colin Davies.

Practice head(s):Michael Gregory


'Kuits are known for their expertise in high net worth cases. Their attention to detail is meticulous and, unlike some other firms, they give realistic and sensible advice from the outset with a view to early negotiated settlement with a view to minimising the emotional and financial costs inherent in contested proceedings.'

'A niche but very well regarded team that benefits from a lot of cross-referral work from within the firm.'

'Michael Gregory is the face of Kuits family team. He displays qualities in abundance and in addition he has great client care skills - a supreme be side manner. He instills confidence in his clients who feel they have someone on their side.'

'Michael Gregory and associate Madelaine Hailey really stand out. Michael deals with not only financial cases, but is developing an increasingly bigger surrogacy practice. Madelaine concentrates on finance matters primarily.'

Nexus Solicitors Limited's family department primarily advises on financial disputes and child arrangements following relationship breakdowns. The Manchester team acts for a diverse client base of both national and international scope, which includes international businesspeople, well-known local figures and celebrities, as well as leading figures in sectors such as health, finance and public service.

Practice head(s):Janet Fleming

Work highlights

  • Acted for a wife in divorce proceedings where the relevance of the husband’s hitherto hidden intention to undergo transgender reassignment surgery was in issue, not least in relation to his resulting loss of employment.
  • Successfully acted for the female partner in an unmarried relationship, who had allowed her partner to invest £1m of her assets, only to find that he had done so in his sole name.
  • Acted for a husband, a wealth tax adviser whose fortunes had been affected following high profile tax avoidance schemes being attacked by HMRC, which was widely reported in the national press.
  • Acted for an international businessman with multimillion-pound assets, securing a settlement which was designed to meet his former wife’s need for a home and an income stream rather than providing her with the equal share of his capital assets she had requested.
  • Acted for several well-known media figures in cases which involve disputes over the financial arrangements for their children as well as attempts to limit the amount of time that they can spend with their children.

The family team at Shoosmiths LLP specialises in complex matters involving children, as well as other disputes involving international elements. The firm regularly acts for high-net-worth clients regarding the distribution of marital and non-marital assets, and has an in-house forensic accountant to assist in identifying business interests and hidden assets. The 'committed and focused' and 'thoroughly professional' Anita Shepherd heads the team.

Practice head(s):Anita Shepherd


'Anita Shepherd and her team provide a comprehensive and sensible approach to family law disputes. Advice is given early on and in a practical and effective manner. Overall, the family team provide an exceptional legal service.'

'Anita Shepherd is amazing. Communication is always clear, she is concise and she clear in what she is discussing, but also has a genuine care regarding the outcome for the client'

'All members of staff are very driven and the work ethic is at the forefront.'

The family team at Watson Ramsbottom specialises in complex areas of family law including online abuse and use of technology in stalking, cyberstalking and harassment cases. Rachel Horman is 'outstanding in her field' and regularly deals with domestic abuse cases. Stephanie Pollitt advises clients on all areas of domestic violence and children law.

Practice head(s):Rachel Horman; Stephanie Pollitt; Jonathan Leach


'A very knowledgeable and responsive practice which gets real results for clients.'

'Very knowledgeable public and private law children, domestic abuse, forced marriage and stalking team with a national reputation for the work they do. Committed fee earners throughout the team from senior solicitors like Rachel Horman and Stephanie Pollitt through to junior members at trainee level.'

'Rachel Horman, Stephanie Pollit and Sharon Short are all knowledgeable in their field of expertise and are dedicated to their work and giving a good service to their clients.'

Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Addleshaw Goddard handles a wide range of high-value work for ultra- and high-net-worth clients, entrepreneurs, trust companies and international individuals, advising on the administration of estates, wills and trusts on matters including domicile, residence, IHT, dual taxation, foreign assets, asset protection and family trust restructuring. The firm is also regularly involved in complex cross-border matters, advising both executors and trustees. 'Stand-out' partner Yorke Eaton heads the team, and is highly regarded for his capital tax planning advice to entrepreneurs and business owners.

Practice head(s):Yorke Eaton


'The team is proactive in managing relationships with their clients, focused and they regularly go the extra mile to deliver on service.'

'Their technical knowledge across the team is strong but delivered with personality, something not all tax advisors achieve.'

'Yorke Eaton's ability to understand how his clients' business interests align with their personal objectives is excellent. This combined with his deep technical knowledge and eye for detail makes him the stand out partner in the region.'

'The breadth of experience within the team is very strong, which makes the overall offering very powerful.'

'Yorke Eaton is a very capable partner - he is pragmatic and a problem solver, helping clients effectively.'

'Joe Cobb is a great member of the team - he works well with clients and is able to flex his style to be effective with client personalities.'

Key Clients

NFU Mutual

Work highlights

  • Advising NFU Mutual on their internal policies for dealing with bereavement, vulnerable customers and powers of attorney.
  • Acting for the executors of a substantial and contentious international estate, with assets in the UK, Jersey, Gibraltar, Portugal and Thailand, which includes issues of domicile, residence, the applicability of various inheritance tax reliefs, dual taxation, foreign assets and a potential claim from the widow.
  • Provided asset protection and tax planning advice to a high-net-worth individual and his family and business, working closely with our corporate colleagues in reviewing and restructuring both company and trust assets held within the family and the impact on family governance protocols, shareholders agreement and articles of association.
  • Advising two individuals in their personal capacity on wills, trusts and tax planning following the sale of their business.
  • Advising a client on a family trust structure (with a significant holding in a UK plc) previously based in New Zealand.

The team at Brabners LLP is 'second to none' when dealing with complex, high-value trusts, estates and succession issues. Practice head Duncan Bailey is adept at handling trust and tax planning matters, and has recently been involved in very high-profile estate issues garnering national media coverage. The team also includes Louise Scholes, who leads the team out of the Liverpool office, and Manchester-based Steven Appleton who is described by clients as 'first-rate' and 'very talented'.

Practice head(s):Duncan Bailey; Louise Scholes; Steven Appleton; Stephen Marriott


'There is nothing the team cannot handle. The team is well run and as professional as they come.'

'Duncan Bailey is a class act. He is the go-to man for high-net-worth individuals in the city and beyond. He goes the extra mile for clients.'

'The team at Brabners is second to none when it comes to dealing with the complex issues that wealthy families face in today's increasingly complex world.'

The team at DWF undertakes the full gambit of private client work but has particular strength in advising business owners and high-net-worth individuals on domestic and international asset management, as well as on wills, IHT and succession planning. Director Christopher Noel joined from Addleshaw Goddard in late 2018 as head of private capital, bringing 'a level of additional service quality and technical knowledge' to the team.

Practice head(s):Christopher Noel; Jon Gould


'Christopher Noel is an excellent addition to the team. He brings a level of additional service quality and technical knowledge to the team as well as a significant degree of understanding of the importance of client service and relationships that the wider team will benefit from.'

Work highlights

  • Acting as and representing the trustees of a substantial and valuable trust, holding a large portfolio of property in Kings Cross, London and further afield.
  • Advising the trustees of a large and substantial landed estate, with a valuable estate company, stately home and business/agricultural assets.

Hill Dickinson LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals and businesses on both domestic and cross-border matters, with a particular focus on succession planning. The practice, which displays 'excellent professionalism', provides high quality advice, characterised by a strong tax element. Fionnuala Kenny heads the team which includes legal director Susan Sherry, who is 'on a different level to competitors'.

Practice head(s):Fionnuala Kenny


'Exceptional professionalism, very good knowledge and approachable from both a professional and client level. From assistant to partner level excellent service.'

'Susan Sherry's knowledge seems on a different level to competitors.'

'Friendly and easy to deal with team.'

'All key staff have a professional approach.'

The 'highly capable' team at Hugh Jones Solicitors has considerable expertise in dealing with vulnerable and disabled clients, and has recently been involved in a number of high-profile cases that could have a significant impact on the sector. Practice head Hugh Jones' 'breadth of knowledge and common sense' set him apart from competitors, while Elizabeth Hughes is recommended by clients as a 'trusted pair of hands'. The firm also has growing experience in deputyship matters, acting for a number of clients in this area, with a wide geographical spread. Senior associate Chris Gallagher is particularly well known for management of complex contested matters in the Court of Protection.

Practice head(s):Hugh Jones; Elizabeth Hughes

Other key lawyers:Chris Gallagher; Danielle Carter


'Liz Hughes has provided excellent service. She is calm and knowledgeable.'

'Hugh Jones Solicitors are exceptional. They really care about their clients.  I can't praise them enough.'

'There is strength in depth among the firm's tax and probate practice; the individuals are approachable and provide a great client service.'

'Hugh Jones' experience, breadth of knowledge and common sense are the key qualities that stand out to me.'

'Liz Hughes is very competent and efficient.'

'Elizabeth Hughes is a trusted pair of hands.'

'It is a delight to work with Danielle Carter who evidences a fantastic team approach and doesn't shy away from difficult client issues.'

'Danielle Carter is absolutely outstanding.'

JMW Solicitors LLP acts across a broad range of estate and trust administration work including advising on complex will restructurings, charitable trusts, estate planning and succession of trusts. A number of recent cases have involved a cross-border element, with the firm advising clients whose estates include assets in the US, Australia and the Middle East. Clients frequently include family business owners, landed gentry and high-net-worth individuals. Leading the personal law team in Manchester, Tasnim Khalid displays 'outstanding knowledge', and advises a large number of non-domiciled clients.

Practice head(s):Tasnim Khalid

Other key lawyers:Elaine Roche; Paul Gotch


'Broad range of knowledge throughout the team, excellent service.'

'Tasnim Khalid has excellent interpersonal skills and explains things in a jargon-free manner.'

'Elaine Roche is an expert with empathy.'

'Talented, and technically very good.'

'Tasnim Khalid and Paul Gotch have outstanding knowledge and customer relationship skills.'

Kuit Steinart Levy LLP predominantly advises business owners and their families on a wide range of trust and estate planning matters, including foreign taxation, succession planning, complex family disputes, and trust restructurings. The team has particular expertise in setting up and managing personal injury trusts. Partner and head of the team Graham Wood, who is 'technically very sound', specialises in tax and trusts law and handles a number of high-value estate planning cases.

Practice head(s):Graham Wood

Other key lawyers:Paul Bricknell; Lauren Clyne; David Chambers


'Paul Bricknell is able to communicate very well with clients and deal effortlessly with areas that are often sensitive. He has very high levels of technical expertise.'

'Technically very sound but with a pragmatic and commercial approach to problem solving.'

'Down to earth and approachable.'

Key Clients

Recommended advisor to clients of Lombard Odier Private Bank, Geneva

Recommended advisor to clients of UBS Private Bank, Zurich

Recommended advisor to clients of Lombard Assurance, Zurich

Recommended advisor to clients of Castlegate Financial Management Ltd

Recommended advisor to clients of Swisspartners

Stoller Charitable Trust

Park Charitable Trust

DanceSyndrome Charity

Manor Retail Ltd

Crown Oil Limited

The 'outstanding and thoroughly professional' Tony Hall leads the 'technically excellent' team at Mills & Reeve LLP, which advises a number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their families on a wide range of trust and estate planning matters. The firm also advises family business owners on succession issues, and is currently involved in several complex estate issues, some with a cross-border element. The team includes senior associate Charlotte Shaughnessy, who has experience acting for high value estates, including claims for business property relief and agricultural property relief from inheritance tax.

Practice head(s):Deborah Clark; Tony Hall; Zahra Siddiqui

Other key lawyers:Charlotte Shaughnessy


'The team in general is of the very highest quality, sticklers for detail and always one step ahead.  They are a notch above other firms I have dealt with, in terms of technical ability.'

'Tony Hall is the best trust lawyer I have ever met, by a country mile. He is personable, knowledgeable and approachable. Altogether an extremely competent lawyer and a true expert in his specialist field.'

'The firm has a reputation for technical excellence in the marketplace.' 

'Tony Hall is an outstanding individual with a thoroughly professional approach.'

Work highlights

  • Acting for the recently appointed professional independent administrator of the estate of the late Mrs Cadogan, appointed by court order during bitter litigation between the two former executors
  • Acted for an Oxbridge College in defending a potential claim by relatives of the deceased, who are alleging (a) that the college is under a moral obligation to pass some of its legacy to them and should apply to the Charity Commission for permission to do so, and (b) that they have a claim in proprietary estoppel. That part of the claim has now been compromised.

Myerson Solicitors LLP handles a variety of trust and estates issues including the administration of estates, deputyship issues, wills and estates succession planning, and inheritance tax mitigation. Amanda Freeman heads the team which includes the 'simply superb' Bik-ki Irving, who has recently handled the  highest value trust administered by the firm, and senior solicitor Clara Staunton, who deals with a number of clients with complex matters including issues on domicile and estate planning.

Practice head(s):Amanda Freeman

Other key lawyers:Clara Staunton; Bik-ki Irving


'Clara Staunton is an exceptional private client lawyer. She combines a natural rapport with clients, with an ability to articulate complex matters in a straightforward manner.'

'The firm has a range of specialists who work extremely well together and complement each other efficiently and effectively.'

'Bik-ki Irving is simply superb. Very quick to respond, very knowledgeable and open to suggestions. She has excellent negotiation skills.'

'Amanda Freeman is friendly, approachable and knowledgeable and makes clients feel at ease.'

'Bik-ki Irving was exceptionally efficient and helpful.'

The team at Butcher & Barlow LLP undertakes a high volume of work for business owners and high-net-worth individuals on a range of matters including wills, powers of attorney, Court of Protection and general administration of estates. The firm also has particular expertise in agricultural work, offering a bespoke service in estate planning for farmers. Practice head Christopher Hopkins, who has an 'impressive depth of knowledge', leads the team which includes the 'competent and tenacious' Jessica Shore and 'exceptionally reliable' Jim Whitaker.

Practice head(s):Chris Hopkins

Other key lawyers:Jessica Shore; Jim Whitaker


'The firm was very efficient and prompt.'

'The team are extremely approachable with excellent communication skills.  They are able to explain very technical issues in a clear succinct way.'

'Jessica Shore's competence and tenacity to achieve a successful result was outstanding.'

'The team has been professional, friendly, informative and caring. The support team have been efficient, speedy with responses, and readily available.'

'Chris Hopkins' depth and breadth of knowledge was impressive and his manner friendly and professional.'

'Jim Whitaker is extremely efficient and exceptionally reliable.'

Work highlights

  • Advised on estate involving both free estate and a family discretionary trust, both of which had an interest in land with the potential for development, which has now been realised.
  • Advised on a high value estate with issues of inheritance tax,  jurisdiction and cross department involvement with regard to a potential dilapidations claim for commercial property.
  • Advised on administration of a large estate, with life interests in two trust funds and claims for agricultural relief and business relief.

Gorvins Solicitors regularly acts for family business owners and high-net-worth individuals on complex and high-value matters relating to wills, disabled beneficiaries and Court of Protection issues. The team is led by Christine Thornley, who has particular expertise in succession planning, and includes newly promoted partner Michael Smoult and senior associate Tasoula Addison.

Practice head(s):Christine Thornley

Other key lawyers:Michael Smoult

Work highlights

  • Complex estate matter where the deceased was a member of an LLP family business and an inheritance due to him is non-recoverable due to a fraudulent trust corporation.
  • Advised a family in respect of the estates of a father and son who died within three months of each other and were part of a farming partnership.
  • Provided estate planning for husband and wife owners of multimillion-pound business, including advice on wills incorporating a discretionary trust for assets attracting business property relief for IHT.
  • Advised on complex estate administration case which included a personal guarantee against executor together with difficult beneficiaries.
  • Acted as administrator in an estate where the family had been fighting for years over which will was correct and who should act in the estate.

Linder Myers advises high-net-worth individuals and businesses on a range of matters including estate planning, wills, probate and administration of estates and tax planning. Private client head Andrew Cusworth is an experienced Court of Protection deputy, and handles a large number of personal injury trusts. Megan Christie, who leads the Court of Protection team, specialises in complex cases with vulnerable and disabled clients.

Practice head(s):Andrew Cusworth; Megan Christie

SAS Daniels LLP advises a broad range of clients on long-term care funding, inheritance tax planning, trusts and personal taxation, as well as complex and high value estates, including estates containing trusts, foreign property, business property and agricultural property. Justine Clowes, who specialises in wills and wealth planning, with a particular focus on mental capacity work, heads the team which also includes the 'very approachable and professional' Helen Kelly.

Practice head(s):Justine Clowes

Other key lawyers:Helen Kelly


'Helen Kelly and Jayne Heywood are very approachable, helpful and professional.'

'The firm's communication is exceptional and makes for very smooth working.'

Weightmans LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals and business owners on a range of matters including but not limited to wills, succession planning and lifetime trusts. Richard Bate leads the wills, trusts, tax and probate team nationally and specialises in tax mitigation and assisting business owners and those with more complicated family arrangements and asset structures with succession planning and wealth protection. John-Paul Dennis, who leads the team out of Liverpool, regularly acts as a deputy and attorney for vulnerable and elderly clients.

Practice head(s):Richard Bate; John-Paul Dennis

Aaron & Partners LLP advises on the administration of charitable trusts, inheritance tax mitigation, estate restructuring and wills and estate planning. Clients include a number of high-net-worth individuals as well as various charitable trusts. The 'precise and proactive' Clive Pointon offers experienced advice as a Court of Protection deputy, receiving a considerable amount of referral work with a wide geographical spread, and is described by clients as 'a delight to work with'.

Practice head(s):Clive Pointon


'Clive Pointon is delightful to work with.'

'Clive Pointon's precise and proactive professional approach imbued an absolute confidence in the advice he has provided.'

The newly established private wealth team at BLM , which was launched in 2018 with the hire of practice head James Bereford from Slater and Gordon , provides advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, trustees and family businesses on matters including wills, estate planning, inheritance tax planning, LPAs, asset protection and probate. The firm has particular expertise in advising families with disabled children and vulnerable individuals.

Practice head(s):James Bereford

The team at Clarke Willmott LLP, whose 'breadth of knowledge is second to none', is very experienced in advising on general succession issues and inheritance tax and asset protection planning for business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth families. With the recent acquisition of a three-strong team from DWF, the firm now boasts the expertise of 'fiercely intelligent' Paul Davies as its new practice head, alongside 'technically astute' senior associate Nicola Walker and the 'excellent' Emma Collins.

Practice head(s):Paul Davies

Other key lawyers:Nicola Walker; Emma Collins


'Paul Davies' technical expertise is exceptional.'

'Nicola Walker is exceptional in her attention to clients.'

'Emma Collins is excellent.'

'This is one of the only private client teams in Manchester with charisma and personality; as well as being both highly professional, efficient and client-focused.'

'The breadth of knowledge within the team is second to none, notably on tax matters where they are by far and away the most capable and credible at handling complex matters for families.'  

'Paul Davies is fiercely intelligent.'

'Nicola Walker is approachable and technically astute and a stand out individual within an already impressive Clarke Willmott practice.'

The 'extremely efficient' team at DTM Legal LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals, business owners and landed estates on trusts, succession planning, domicile issues, estate administration and powers of attorney. The firm advises a number of clients with foreign property interests, with particular expertise in advising on will drafting and tax planning with a cross-border element.

Practice head(s):Amanda Bailey


'The team is extremely efficient.'

'Amanda Bailey is excellent in her knowledge and superb in her explanations.' 

'I cannot praise Amanda Bailey enough - her manner and professional approach is exceptional.'

Work highlights

  • Advising Poulton Hall Wall Garden Trust on charitable trust options.
  • Acting for a client on the administration of her late husband’s estate and her own personal estate planning.

The team at FDR Law possesses 'impressive knowledge, efficiency and integrity',  handling the full range of matters covering will drafting, estate administration, complex trusts, powers of attorney, Court of Protection, IHT planning and succession planning. Head of team Ian Sydenham 'exhibits the highest standard of client service and care', and regularly advises the firm's highest value clients and estates.

Practice head(s):Ian Sydenham


'A trusted, reliable and dedicated law firm.'

'Kristel Clarke is exceptionally committed.'

'FDR's client service has been impeccable and their level of knowledge and expertise is of the highest quality.'

'Ian Sydenham exhibits the highest standard of client service and care.'

'FDR Law has impressive knowledge, efficiency, integrity and clarity of practice. Enquires are always dealt with with expedience and professionalism.'

The 'very friendly and practical' team at Forbes Solicitors advises on wills, probate, trusts, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection, estate and inheritance tax planning and business succession planning, for high-net-worth individuals including landowners and farmers. The practice - which is led by Jane Burbidge, who rejoined the firm in early 2019 - has a particular focus on Court of Protection applications and regularly acts for vulnerable and disabled clients.

Practice head(s):Jane Burbidge


Harrison Drury & Co has a strong and experienced team advising high-net-worth individuals and vulnerable clients on matters including complex asset structures. The firm handles highly complex and sensitive cases, often including a cross-border element. The team demonstrates an excellent understanding of estate and tax planning issues and includes practice head Eve Carter, 'tenacious litigator' Edward Stanley, and Jan Wright who is praised by clients for 'immediately instilling trust and confidence.'

Practice head(s):Eve Carter

Other key lawyers:Edward Stanley; Jan Wright


'Jan Wright has a wealth of experience and information.'

'Edward Stanley is a tenacious litigator who approaches litigation in an extremely thorough and measured way.'

'Eve Carter is an excellent lawyer.'

'Jan Wright is an outstanding individual who immediately instils trust and confidence.'

'Edward Stanley is exceptionally knowledgeable and approachable.'

Chester firm Jolliffe & Co LLP prides itself on its longstanding relationships with a variety of clients, ranging from individuals and entrepreneurs to charities and trusts, offering a bespoke, commercially focused service. Private client head Hugh Butler , who 'instills confidence' and is 'thoughtful and thorough' leads the team.

Practice head(s):Hugh Butler


'Friendly and understandable approach with emphasis on problem solving.'

'Jolliffe & Co is efficient, approachable and well informed.'

'Everyone at Jolliffe & Co is extremely friendly, but professional.'

The team at MLP Law LLP has expertise in administering high-value estates, including advising on ways to mitigate or avoid inheritance tax and dealing with complex assets. The team also has experience in cases that have international elements. Team head Lesley Sullivan 'stands out from other solicitors' due to 'her ability to make you feel as if you are part of the MLP family'.

Practice head(s):Lesley Sullivan


'We received first class service from MLP Law - the team headed by Elizabeth Wilkinson were both professional and caring throughout.'

'Lesley Sullivan and her team always complete any work in a timely, professional and personal manner.'

'I always feel the advice offered by Lesley Sullivan is consistent, timely and in the detail one would expect from a professional solicitor. Why Lesley stands out from other solicitors is her ability to make you feel as if you are part of the 'MLP family'. The resulting feeling when leaving a meeting with Lesley and MLP is not one of being overcharged but that you have been given good value for your money.'

The team at Napthens LLP has an array of expertise and knowledge, 'bringing big law firm expertise to Lancashire while retaining the personal touch', according to clients. Kathryn Harwood heads the department which specialises in wills and estate planning, Court of Protection matters and probate work. The firm works for a number of family owned companies, farmers and wealthy individuals across the region.

Practice head(s):Kathryn Harwood

Other key lawyers:Charlotte Rumsey; Laura Jackson; Elizabeth Byrne


'The team is extremely knowledgeable and take time to give you detailed advice.'

'The private client team at Napthens are committed to listening and achieving their client's goals. The team stands out from other firms in the North West due to the specialisms of the lawyers.'

'Charlotte Rumsey is extremely approachable and proactive.'

Key Clients

Office of the Public Guardian

The 'first class' Jane Shaw leads the private client team at Pannone Corporate LLP, which advises mid- and high-net-worth individuals on structuring wealth and estates and succession planning, including tax efficient wills, trusts and family investment companies. Shaw frequently acts for high value clients and families, and also specialises in advising non-domiciled clients on IHT planning and mitigation.

Practice head(s):Jane Shaw


'Jane Shaw is first class. She gives practical, proactive advice on complex problems, and is totally solutions driven.'  

'Jane Shaw is an expert in her field.'

'Jane Shaw is extremely knowledgeable.'

Slater and Gordon advises on all aspects of private client work, including preparation of wills, trusts, lasting powers of attorney and the administration and taxation of estates and trusts. Clients include high-net-worth and complex estates, often involving trusts and assets abroad. Former practice head James Bereford left to join BLM in mid-2018.

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