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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 > South East > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

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The 'professional, friendly, readily available and reliable' private client department at 'strength-in-depth firm' Birkett Long LLP provides 'outstanding service and relevant, timely advice'. The practice covers elderly client work, long-term care planning, tax efficiency, wills, powers of attorney and Court of Protection work, as well as domestic and international estate and trust administration advice. Clients recommend 'straightforward, calm and knowledgeable' team head Claire Read and 'friendly and caring' wills, trusts and probate partner Emma Clarke, both based in Chelmsford. Associate Ben Parmenter is Clarke's counterpart in Colchester and Liz Jones specialises in long-term care planning and NHS retrospective claims. The practice can refer clients to other departments as necessary, including corporate and commercial, agriculture and estates and the group's independent financial advisers division.

'Long-established firm' Birketts LLP's 'extremely strong, friendly and approachable' private client team 'fully understands its area of law' and 'edges ahead of the competition due to its outstanding reputation and client-oriented approach'. Domestic and international succession and tax planning, including wills, trusts, probate and foundations, as well as powers of attorney and deputyship matters, form the department's core expertise. The practice is renowned for advising farmers, landowners, industrialists and entrepreneurs, in addition to banks and trust companies. Partner Tim Galloway and associate Susan Young are the key contacts in Chelmsford.

The 'first-class' private client department at 'well-respected, good all-round firm' Giles Wilson LLP 'has the depth of experience to deal with all aspects of private client work'. Particular focus areas are wills, trusts and probate and tax planning, as well as special protection services for elderly and vulnerable clients, including community care packages and equity release, setting up and managing disabled persons trusts, advice against financial exploitation, assistance with reclaiming care home fees and power of attorney matters. Partner Melinda Giles, who 'is able to deal with the more unusual aspects of private client work', is recommended.  Team lead Daniel Curnock became partner in July 2017, a few weeks after Pippa Bavington was promoted to associate solicitor. Court of Protection executive Carol Etherington and 'personable, professional and efficient' solicitor Chantelle Bradley are other names to note.

Palmers' private client department comprises 12 fee earners who handle matters relating to wills, probate, tax, succession and estate planning, trust creation, powers of attorney and the Court of Protection, as well as residential care issues. In a recent highlight, associate Helen Jago advised an estate regarding an investigation concerning multiple shareholdings in listed companies and potential assets in Pakistan, as well as regarding the transfer of an unregistered UK property to a Canadian resident beneficiary. Lee McClellan in Basildon and Tim Steele in South Woodham Ferrers are the contacts on partner level, while associate Jonathan Saunders, consultant Chris Mowat and solicitor Viju Chhagan are other key members.

The private client practice at Tees Law provides 'a good overall service and appropriate advice', assisting domestic and international clients with wills and succession planning in business and agriculture, probate and relief claims, lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters, as well as lifetime tax planning and the creation, administration and termination of trusts. A highlight of 2017 was the advice provided to a private individual regarding the structuring of their multi-million-pound business, farming and personal assets in order to secure their second wife and childrens' future. Chelmsford-based team lead Ian Johnston, associates Oli Budino and Heather Fuff, and solicitor Hayley Weston are the names to note.

The 'thorough, efficient and reliable' private client department at Thompson Smith and Puxon 'exhibits a high degree of professional experience and capability' with 'a caring and considerate side' and a willingness to 'go the extra mile' in order to 'provide a comprehensive and timely service'. Focus areas include will preparation, probate, trusts, tax and succession planning, registering enduring powers of attorney, and Court of Protection matters, as well as asset preservation relating to long-term residential or nursing care requirements. A large proportion of clients have a business or agricultural background. 'Sharp-minded, sympathetic and hardworking' Fiona Ashworth, who 'has a wealth of experience', leads the practice from the Colchester office and is a main contact for elderly and farming clients. In October 2017, 'friendly and persevering' Robert Ashworth and 'conscientious, sympathetic and efficient' Aileen Hirst, who 'has a practical grasp of problems and solutions', joined Clacton-based Sarah White at associate level. Clients further recommend 'exceptionally professional and caring' solicitor Adina Milleare.

The 'professional, timely and efficient' private client department at Wortley Byers LLP 'keeps clients well informed throughout the process', applies 'prompt internal communication' and provides 'invaluable, appropriate advice'. Its range of work covers tax, trusts and probate. 'Professional, prompt and understanding' inheritance tax, Court of Protection and elderly client specialist Nicola Healy and 'knowledgeable, compassionate and quick-minded' property and trust expert John Southan are recommended. Head of private client Anne Ellis handles residential conveyancing. Solicitor Herman Cheung joined from Gepp & Sons Solicitors LLP in November 2017, bringing experience in Court of Protection work, among other areas. Poh Shan Chong retired in June 2017.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors' private client team 'is a respected and growing force in the market', 'punching above its weight' and 'offering services beyond most firms' capabilities in this area'. The client base consists of high-net-worth, elderly or vulnerable individuals in the local area who require advice on wills, trusts, powers of attorney, domestic and international probate, personal taxes and care funding matters. There is a strong connection to the firm's medical negligence and personal injury practices, which is applied through the establishment and management of personal injury trusts and professional deputyship work. Managing partner Andrew Flannagan heads the team and recently dealt with a £1.4m estate where the owner was deceased and had not submitted any annual tax returns, which led to a significant amount of forensic work. Clients recommend the second key partner Lesley-Ann Mayhew, 'a very capable performer' who 'works well across a team of lawyers from other departments' and 'explains difficult concepts with great ease'. Associates Tony Brownlie and Alison Hon, as well as solicitor Jayne Kesbey, are other individuals to note.

The private client department at Ellisons Solicitors is 'valued' for 'providing a professional service and expertise in all matters of law' to its client base of high-net-worth individuals and local business professionals. The main focus areas include tax planning and probate administration, as well as lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection and elderly client matters. A recent highlight was the representation of executors in the administration of an estate worth £3.5m, involving multiple properties, investments, a trust and life assurance policies. Clients recommend 'very experienced, friendly and amenable' managing partner and practice lead Tim Logan and  solicitor Chloe Baldwin, who is 'eager to learn' and often assists Logan on his matters. Personal injury trust expert Jeanette Hollington and Clacton-based associate Gina Westbrook are other key team members.

The 'excellent' private client department at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP is 'one of the most innovative in the Colchester area' and provides 'an extremely good service'. It specialises in representing elderly and vulnerable clients who need support with social services and their home and care needs, while also covering the traditional will, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection and long-term care planning advice. The 'extremely competent' department lead Susanne Grimwade, who 'has a firm grasp of her matters and is quick to respond', is recommended. In 2017, she dealt with the administration of the estate, worth over £1m, of a mother who had died young and left two small children; the case involved property repossession proceedings, liquidation of assets and effecting the communication between the trustees and the childrens' estranged father. Associate Amy Burton also handles matters concerning high-value estates. Andrea Godfrey made partner in 2017, and Sarah Rankin became an associate in April 2018.

Jefferies Essex LLP's two-lawyer private client department is considered to be 'excellent and very personal'. It handles matters concerning wills, probate, professional executorship, lasting powers of attorney, trust management, inheritance tax planning, Court of Protection applications and elderly or vulnerable client work. 'Knowledgeable, honest, highly professional and empathic' FCILEx Gill Tobin is recommended. Solicitor Kirsty Bone is another main contact.

The private client practice at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP in Westcliff-on-Sea and Billericay covers wills, trusts and estates, inheritance tax planning, and lasting powers of attorney, as well as matters involving elderly clients and the Court of Protection. Recent highlights include the estate administration for a deceased farmer who left two farms, one trust and a range of other assets, which involved relief claim negotiations with HMRC, as well as the representation of a client who made an application to reseal a grant of probate issued in Queensland, Australia. Partner Caroline Cole and senior associate Lee Hibell are the names to note.

The 'solid, knowledgeable and experienced' private client team at Pinney Talfourd LLP provides a 'very good level of service' and 'appropriate advice', and has 'great understanding of the client's needs', 'making them feel confident in their undertakings and keeping them informed at all times'. The practice also 'puts a lot of effort into making the company approachable to new clients through excellent customer service'. Will preparation,  tax and business succession planning, securing financial support for second marital partners, establishing nil-rate band discretionary trusts, lasting powers of attorney and deputyship applications are some of the department's key areas of work. Clients recommend 'outgoing and very approachable' practice lead Matthew Edwards,'professional, personable and calm' senior associate and 'trust expert' Kristian Croad, 'empathic' senior associate Jill French,'exceptionally organised' solicitor Nicholas Conway and 'sympathetic and easy-to-get-on-with' solicitor Christopher Dickinson.

The 'efficient and professional' private client practice at Rainer Hughes 'responds quickly to queries and instills confidence in clients'. Will creation with cross-border elements, lasting and enduring powers of attorney, Court of Protection deputyships, probate, financial deputyship, estate and asset management, trusts and deeds of gift are the core areas of expertise. A recent highlight was the registration of an enduring power of attorney after the long-standing client lost capacity, involving full-time care, complex medical requirements and managing previously regular deeds of gift to the client's daughters. 'Understanding, approachable and clear' main solicitor Michael Casson is recommended for his 'thoroughness, availability and skill'.

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