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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 West > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Stone King LLP has expanded its already vast charity practice, with over 150 new clients across the national sector group. The firm also has longstanding arts and heritage clients - such as The National Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arnolfini Museum, and the National Maritime Museum - and faith clients, including 11 Church of England Dioceses, seven Roman Catholic Dioceses, and over 50% of the Roman Catholic religious orders in the country. The firm has recently acted on hive-offs for English Heritage and the Royal Parks charity and the National Citizenship Service. The firm’s liveries and City corporations practice has also increased, with the addition of The Vintners' Foundation to The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, The Worshipful Company of Farmers and The Corporation of Trinity House. In addition to acting for many military charities – such as the RAF Sports Federation, the Army Families Federation, and the National Army Museum - the firm has reinforced its specialism in charities that operate colleges for young people with special educational needs. The ‘excellent, knowledgeable and proactive’ head of the practice Tim Rutherford splits his time between Bath and London, bringing expertise in faith organisations, in particular Roman Catholic charities, as well as almshouses. Senior associate Alexandra Steffensen is also highly recommended; she is acting for The Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth Generalate in its support for a €27m redevelopment of its care homes in Ireland; and is advising RSPCA Bristol and District Branch on implementing a new fundraising brand and governance review. Consultant and ex-partner Michael King retired in May 2018.

VWV advises various national charities, such as Citizens Advice, Volunteering Matters, City & Guilds London Institute and Education Development Trust, as well as, increasingly, charitable independent schools such as Eton College and Christ's Hospital School. The firm also advises faith charities, including the Diocese of Gloucester, the Diocese of Truro and several regional synods of the United Reformed Church. Con Alexander acts for charities, academies, schools and universities, as well as social enterprises across the charity and not-for-profit sector. Emma-Jane Dalley has particular expertise in advising independent schools and further and higher education bodies, as well as charities on franchise projects overseas. The charity team made two hires in late 2017: Paul Voller joined as partner from London firm Bircham Dyson Bell in October, bringing particular expertise in the corporate and commercial aspects of the charity sector, and associate Kate Parkinson joined from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP in November. Senior associate Rachel Tonkin and associate Laura Chesham are highly recommended.

John Toth and Kerry Morgan-Gould head up the Ashfords LLP charity practice, which acts for many significant national charities. London-based Toth is ‘particularly patient, as well as being experienced and supportive’, and specialises in non-contentious work. Tiverton-based Morgan-Gould, who was promoted to partner in September 2017, advises on claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 and on legacy administration issues. Associate Lara Moore, who is also recommended, has a focus on advising charities with coastal interests and assets on all aspects of maritime licencing and regulation.

The charity practice at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is led by Christopher Page, Julia Cox, and consultant Mike Scott. Page acts for a broad range of charity clients, including those with significant landholdings. Cox has broad charity law experience, including in relation to start-ups, dealing with the Charity Commission, trustee liability  and incorporations. Scott specialises in advising companies limited by guarantee, charitable incorporated organisations, and chartered bodies and their trading companies, and has experience in dealing with everything from mergers to restructurings. Associate Penelope Byatt is also highly recommended.

Foot Anstey has ‘an excellent reputation in the charity sector, and is industry leading in terms of providing in-house legacy management support.’ Anna Phillips heads up the firm’s charity property practice and specialises in advising charities, social enterprises, housing associations, exempt accommodation and healthcare providers in freehold disputes, commercial and residential landlord and tenant disputes, business lease renewals and property-related professional negligence. Lucy Gill is a ‘very professional, ambitious and creative lawyer’, and as head of the legacy and trusts disputes team is a key contact. New client Great Ormond Street Hospital recently instructed the firm to advise on an estate of which it is sole residuary beneficiary; other key clients include RSPB, RSPCA, Age UK, and Save the Children. Senior associate Alex Rogers is experienced advising on trust disputes with a Jersey connection. Senior associate Emma Facey is also highly recommended.

Michelmores LLP is ‘particularly strong’ in trust- and property-related charity matters. Tony Cockayne , who leads the disputed wills team, specialises in contentious probate but also ‘works wonders in charity governance matters where a pragmatic strategist is required’. Senior associate Barny Croft’s caseload covers all aspects of disputed wills, disputed trusts, proprietary claims, claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 and administration disputes, and led the firm’s successful tender to become the sole provider for Cancer Research UK's contentious trusts and probate work, estimated to generate 50 new instructions per year. Martin Follett is an expert in ecclesiastical law, which often has a strong charity component. Senior associate Edward Porter and associate Andrew White are also highly recommended.

Tozers Solicitors LLP delivers ‘excellent knowledge’ of the sector. Clients include Farming and Countryside Education, which the firm recently advised on all legal aspects of its successful merger with Linking Environment and Farming, including due diligence, drafting and negotiating the detailed merger agreement; and the Apostolic Prefecture of the Falklands (and other South Atlantic Islands), on behalf of which the firm established a new UK charity (a CIO) in unusual circumstances to manage funds retrieved for what is in effect a Roman Catholic Diocese operating over a very wide area overseas. Head of the practice James Evans arrived from Foot Anstey in January 2017, and has since led the team to build client relationships with Dartington Hall Trust, Marine Biological Association, Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education, Society of Chief Librarians, and the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust. Evans is ‘easy to talk with, explains things simply and has an excellent knowledge’, and specialises in advising on charity start-ups and registration, governance and constitutional issues, corporate transactions such as mergers, joint ventures and restructures, commercial agreements, and funding and trading arrangements. Richard King is ‘very personable, ethical, honest, wise, frank, and delightful to work with’, and advises charities on all aspects of charity law, including formation, mergers and collaborations, compliance issues, fundraising, legacies, property, tax and Charity Commission investigations.

‘Excellent across the board’, Wilsons has a particular strength in legacy work. The firm acted for the three charities (Blue Cross, RSPB and RSPCA) in Ilott v Mitson, the first-ever case considered by the Supreme Court under the Inheritance Act 1975. Key clients include Help for Heroes and Action on Hearing Loss (previously known as RNID).  Clients praise the team for its ‘neat balance of a depth of legal and charity experience, which is deftly applied to complex situations’. Head of the practice, legal director Gillian Fletcher, advises on all aspects of charity law and governance, including the restructuring of charities, breaches of trust and, increasingly, compliance issues. Fletcher, along with James Johnson are credited as ‘well considered, practical, prompt, timely, polite and completely professional’. Peter Jeffreys focuses on charity legacy administration and the resolution of problem estates for charities, and has a special interest in dealing with cases of probate fraud for charities.

Lester Aldridge LLP is one of ‘the strongest in the local area’, with the ‘highly respected and effective partner’ Geoff Trobridge leading the practice’s registration, charitable status, governance and regulatory work. Trobridge’s ‘knowledge is immense’ and his experience as an in-house lawyer with the Charity Commission ensures that he can provide ‘excellent practical advice’. Clients include British Heart Foundation, The Stroke Association and The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust Limited.

Willans LLP delivers ‘an excellent service’ and specialises in charity property dispute resolution and acting on behalf of national charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support and Scope. Alasdair Garbutt was promoted to partner in June 2017, and has since won the firm all of the real estate work for Shelter (after previously advising on half its real estate portfolio) as well as all real estate work for Victim Support. ‘Very prompt and effective’, Garbutt also leads the work for Marie Curie and Sue Ryder. Associate Caroline Leviss left the firm in October 2017. Nigel Whittaker heads up the department.

The team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has grown, with two junior hires over the last year who focus exclusively on advising the charity sector. Clients include the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Crisis UK, National Energy Action, National Trust, RNLI, and United Synagogue. The firm also advises Historic England on employment matters, including difficult grievance matters involving senior employees and complex TUPE issues arising from the ending of service supply arrangements. Recent work also includes advising the Academy of Medical Sciences on two large international grant-making programmes; an appointment as interim manager for Cardiff Sixth Form College; and acting on the £10.2m incorporation of the Stone Family Foundation from a charitable trust to a charitable company limited by guarantee. The latter was led by Mark Woodward, who heads up the practice along with Robert Drewett.

Solicitor Doris Woo joined from Browne Jacobson LLP to head up the charities team at BPE Solicitors LLP. Clients include The Smallpeice Trust, the UK's largest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education charity, which the firm is advising on a merger with The Arkwright Scholarships Trust, including the novation of significant contracts and TUPE obligations. Senior associate Sarah Lee is 'consistent in her utterly professional approach', providing 'clear, thorough and concise' advice.

Stephens Scown LLP is a ‘leading firm for charities and not-for-profit work in the county’. Senior associate and practice head Helen Furneaux  is ‘very reliable and good at explaining issues to clients in terms that they can understand’; she advises charities on restructuring and the use of trading subsidiaries, governance issues, large-scale grant-funded projects, mergers and setting up charitable incorporated organisations.

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