Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP > Bournemouth, England > Firm Profile

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

Dispute resolution > Commercial litigation: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 1

With 'excellent litigation strategy skills, and really effective negotiation skills', Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP's dispute resolution practices offers 'a highly streamlined and cost-effective approach to commercial dispute resolution'. The 'innovative' Lauren Day focuses on high-value contractual disputes and leads the practice alongside William Fox Bregman. Bregman's clients receive 'the full benefit of his wealth of commercial litigation experience' which includes a focus on financial services claims and gambling disputes, which are also among Paul Kanolik's areas of expertise. The senior associate ranks (which include the 'unflappable' Caroline Palacio, who 'has a wealth of experience in insolvency matters', and the 'practical, highly intelligent and ruthless' Clair Phillips) was bolstered with the addition of Damon Watt from Tollers LLP, who brings insolvency and commercial litigation experience.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Day; William Fox Bregman

Other key lawyers:


‘Ellis Jones is one of the best litigation firms in Dorset, Hampshire and the south-west. They have an excellent regional reputation, but deserve even wider recognition. It has an excellent breadth of subject-matter coverage, with particular strengths in Banking and Finance, Insolvency, Employment and Commercial work. At all levels the fee earners provide wonderful client engagement.’

‘Caroline Palacio (head of Insolvency) has a wealth of experience in Insolvency matters and has developed an impressive following with insolvency practitioners. She is unflappable and knows the subject inside out. Clair Phillips is excellent on Commercial and Construction matters; she can identify the core of a dispute and take the bull by the horns.’

‘Maria Evans finds creative and cost-effective solutions rather than simply running up legal costs. She always ensures Counsel has everything required to achieve the right outcome. She is comprehensive, empathetic and knowledgeable.

Clair Phillips is able to achieve exceptionally fast results for clients without sacrificing quality or attention to detail. Instructing Clair in a dispute will ensure your opponent is constantly under pressure until the dispute is resolved. She is practical, highly intelligent and ruthless.

‘Intelligent, innovative, great team leadership skills, deft client handling, excellent value for money. Well-balanced use of counsel to achieve the best value for money for clients. Excellent litigation strategy skills, and really effective negotiation skills.’

‘Lauren Day has a knack for dealing with clients with difficult or demanding needs, managing expectations and providing reassurance and confidence so the client feels entirely comfortable – and she gets results. She has great team leadership skills and uses counsel effectively in the best interests of the client. She is flexible and innovative, and nothing is too much trouble.’

‘Ellis Jones are a successful regional practice that are capable of conducting high value commercial claims against central London firms. I was impressed by their client service and sensible approach which leads to good outcomes for their clients.’

‘William Fox Bregman gives his clients the full benefit of his wealth of commercial litigation experience. Ellis Jones offer a highly streamlined and cost-effective approach to commercial dispute resolution.’

Work highlights

  • Advised an individual in connection with fraudulent transactions culminating over a decade.
  • Acting in group litigation relating to HBOS Reading Fraud and the criminal activities of others, recovering in excess of £1.5m.

Employment > Employment: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 2

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP offers a solid blend of HR and traditional employment law services and is particularly regarded for its work involving education and charity employers. The team provides ongoing support on matters including restrictive covenant disputes, union arrangements and recruitment procedures, and advises both employers and employees on issues in the workplace including LGBT discrimination. Kate Brooks leads the team from its Bournemouth office, advising on TUPE transfers and crafting HR strategies, working alongside the wider firm's corporate law team.

Practice head(s):

Kate Brooks


‘The team at Ellis Jones are always fantastic whoever you speak to. Very helpful, extremely knowledgeable and immediately know you can trust them with their ethics & morals in right place.’

‘Kate Brooks is absolutely fantastic at providing support both for businesses requiring support and guidance whilst being realistic how the true business world works and also, helping personal clients.’

‘Ellis Jones has been my go-to solicitors relating to all HR-related concerns.’

‘Kate Brooks is outstanding. She is very knowledgeable and is an asset to the company. Very approachable and always has the most up to date accurate HR information ’

Key clients

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Rubicon People

The Bishop of Winchester Academy Trust

Old Dairy Farm Nursery

Landmarc Estates

Work highlights

  • Providing employment law and HR services for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
  • Providing Rubicon People with ongoing HR advice.
  • Providing specialist HR advice for The Bishop of Winchester Academy Trust.

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP offers a variety of contentious services to its individual, trustee and charity clients based in the South West. The team's particular expertise includes Inheritance Act of 1975 claims, will validity disputes, trust disputes and proprietary estoppel claims. Lauren Day leads the firm from its Bournemouth office, representing high-value clients in will disputes. Victoria Riddleston also brings a broad range of experience, including in Court of Protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Day

Other key lawyers:


‘Approachable. Friendly but professional.’

‘Victoria Riddleston was always willing to discuss any points I made and treated me with respect. I felt that we worked as a team rather than her having all the knowledge and me, just doing as she advised.’

‘The quality and expertise of the team at Ellis Jones has been second to none.’

‘Lauren Day has been extremely supportive whilst dealing with a contentious probate case. Her approach and knowledge have reassured us at difficult times and she takes time to explain everything when issues can be quite complex. If there are any problems It is comforting to know Lauren is only a phone call away. She has gone above and beyond supporting us.

‘An excellent team of south coast based lawyers, doing excellent work in this area and as good as anything going on in London.’

‘Victoria Riddleston is an excellent lawyer who handles client’s cases with sensitivity, purpose and direction. Lauren Day is an efficient and effective team leader with a very good instinct for cases and how to achieve client objectives.’

Private client > Family Tier 2

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP handles a wide variety of family law matters, including complex children's cases, high-value financial issues, and international and domestic abduction cases. The team also has a notable fertility offering, led by Suzi Denton, which advises on surrogacy, donor issues, co-parenting and fertility treatment law. Deborah Leask and Sean McNally lead the practice from its Bournemouth office, specialising in complex financial and children's matters respectively. Katie Taft brings a particular specialism in working with international children's relocations. Recently promoted partner Ian Butterworth became a deputy district judge in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Leask; Sean McNally


‘A strong and experienced leadership team of Sean McNally and Deborah Leask with highly able junior members who are well known and respected in Bournemouth and surrounding areas. Able to deal with financial remedy, children disputes and international abduction. Friendly, diligent and able.’

‘An unrivalled reputation in the area of Family Law. They have an experienced team with a personable approach, but they cut right to the heart of the issues in a no-nonsense approach. ’

‘Sean McNally – extremely knowledgeable with a robust yet pragmatic approach to cases.”

“Katie Taft – a confident and effective advocate with excellent attention to every detail.’

‘Ellis Jones is a truly excellent firm with a very strong and deserved reputation for excellence in family finance. I would regard them as the leading firm in Bournemouth by some distance.’

‘Deborah Leask is a wonderful solicitor, who is liked and respected by everybody. Her long experience allows her to assess a case quickly and provide excellent service and advice. she is comfortable with even the highest net-worth cases and always works very hard and with great sense. Sean McNally is a top-performer and again is very experienced and highly respected. He is full of excellent pragmatic advice and clients love him. Ian Butterworth is a forensic genius and leaves no stone unturned. He has a nose for seeking out dishonest opponents!’

‘One of the few, exceptional international children law firms outside of London. Frequently instructed in high profile and legally complex cases. They balance that with an excellent, local children practice and effortlessly combine the two.’

‘Sean McNally and Deborah Leask spent many years at top London firms before relocating to Dorset. They offer a high tier service at a very competitive rate. They run an impressive team.’

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 3

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP's 'consistent and responsive' business services department is highly experienced in M&A; practice head Neil Cook specialises in care home transactions locally and nationally and 'understands commercial issues'. 'Very knowledgeable' associate Abi Sinden is building a strong retail and e-commerce practice, while veteran transactional lawyer Hugh Craig focuses on equity investments.

Practice head(s):

Neil Cook

Other key lawyers:


‘The Ellis Jones legal team are second to none. Having used their services across a broad spectrum of legal matters both privately and for my business, I have found them to be consistent and responsive as well as innovative and proactive.’

One call or email always results in a swift response and immediate direction to the specialist solicitor for the matter concerned.’

‘They are a well-established firm with a good breadth of knowledge and service offering.’

‘Neil Cook has specialisms in the care sector and, having had his own business previously, understands commercial issues as deals take place.’

‘They are a forward-thinking firm. It is refreshing to have a range of experts on hand and available in any area. They have teams of people with an array of skills, ranging from trainees to expert partners, which demonstrates that they are all for the people, whether you are looking for a career in the field of law or a client looking to tap in to their resource.’

‘They build relationships on a personal level, not only to get to know you, but this helps gets to know your business and its needs. I deal with Abigail Sinden on a very regular basis. She is very knowledgeable in her field and a truly amazing person.’

‘Hugh Craig and Neil Cook have brought a focus to the development of a restructuring of our business, which will help to enhance structures and compliance going forward.

Hugh Craig brings many years of experience and contacts to discussions of complex issues.

Key clients

Wessex Retail Limited

Not Just Travel (Agency) Ltd

Amanda Harrington London Limited

Intertec-Hess GmbH

Science for Sport

Work highlights

  • Advising Wessex Retail on the purchase of 200 convenience stores over the next five years.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Though it offers experience on a variety of matters including wills and comprehensive tax advice, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has a notably strong trust practice. Carla Brown heads up the Bournemouth-based team, focusing on the firm's high-value client base. It has also recently welcomed Chris Pemberton from Trethowans LLP - he primarily works with farmers and landed estates.

Practice head(s):

Carla Brown

Other key lawyers:


‘Good quality firm with excellent response times and expertise to handle a diverse range of needs to fit the requirements of high-net-worth individuals ’

Work highlights

  • Providing holistic local legal services for a wealthy couple, their children and their international companies.
  • Advising on cross-border will planning for a couple with complicated domicile, residency and family issues.
  • Advising on estate administration involving complex farm site, sale to a developer, associated trusts and estate and tax planning for a family.

Real estate > Commercial property: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Tier 3

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP's core areas of activity are residential and commercial development, property management, secured lending and portfolio growth. The group also works closely with the firm's corporate department in property due diligences and other relevant work. Timothy Sharpley has know-how in restrictive covenants, while Matthew Clake is well versed in landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Sharpley; Matthew Clake


‘Ellis Jones are very responsive and ready to support their clients with professionalism, energy and focus. Ellis Jones are the complete legal firm and certainly the best that I have dealt with in business.’

‘Matthew Clake deals with all of our property transactions and he deals with this demanding volume of work with humour, professionalism and innovation. Matt is always at the end of a phone to offer quick advice and really does think about what is right and fair for his clients. A standout legal partner.’

‘Personal service.’

‘Special mention of Matt Clake who is my main contact and the reason why I use Ellis Jones. Good ability and responds quickly with requested information.’

Key clients

Local Property Developer

Regional Property Developer

Owner/Occupier and Investor

Retail Chain

Property Investor

Work highlights

  • Advised a regional property developer on the purchase of a development site.

The Firm

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is a leading independent law firm located in Dorset and Hampshire in the South of England and in London. The firm offers a wide range of services to individuals and businesses, with a focus on SME and owner managed businesses.

  • Managing Partner – Nigel Smith
  • Number of Partners – 19
  • Number of Fee Earners – 67

Ellis Jones prides itself on delivering excellence and professionalism with personality. They have been recognised in The Times Best Law Firms 2020 and are ranked year on year in the Legal 500 and listed in the Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide.

Principal Areas of Work

Commercial Litigation

Ellis Jones Solicitors’ Commercial Litigation team has a wealth of experience advising businesses and individuals on a wide range of disputes. Its national reputation and wide-ranging referral network sees it act for SMEs, charities and individuals across a range of complex and high-value disputes.

Comprising of 19 lawyers, the team incorporates Dispute Resolution (Tier 1 Legal 500 2022), Banking & Finance litigation, and contentious insolvency. It is headed by Partners William Fox Bregman, Lauren Day (Leading Individual Legal 500 2022),  Paul Kanolik (Key Lawyer Legal 500 2022) who has niche experience in bringing claims against betting companies, and Senior Associate Caroline Palacio, who has a wealth of experience in insolvency matters.

The team’s Banking & Finance offering has recovered in excess of £60 million for clients since it was established in 2012 and the Firm has recovered over £3.8 million from various betting operators in relation to gambling disputes over the last two years.


The Family Department (Tier 2 Legal 500 2022) is the largest team of family mediators/collaborative lawyers in Dorset, committed to achieving accreditation by Resolution (a national family lawyers’ association) through rigorous testing on legal, strategic and procedural knowledge. Partner Sean McNally is a collaborative lawyer and trained mediator with experience in handling a wide range of family law matters. Both Deborah Leask and Ian Butterworth are accredited specialists in complex high value financial cases and Deborah is also an accredited specialist in pensions.

Katie Taft and Claudie Paddick are accredited in the field of Child Abduction and Children Law and act for parents across the world in international child abduction. They are included on the highly specialist ICACU panel. Katie is also recognised by the charity “Reunite” as an expert in this field. Ian sits as a Deputy District Judge and is a member of the Resolution specialist accreditation committee which oversees the accreditation scheme nationwide.

Business Services

The Ellis Jones Business Services team (Tier 3 Legal 500 2022) offers technical and practical advice in corporate and general commercial work with a dedicated Employment Law team (Tier 2 Legal 500 2022) lead by Partner Kate Brooks. Offering a solid blend of HR and traditional employment law services and is particularly regarded for work involving education and charity employers, as well as LGBT clients in discrimination cases. Specialist sectors include healthcare, E-commerce, IT, FCA regulated clients, Academies and Charities.

Neil Cook (Partner & Head of Department) is dual qualified, having been admitted as a US Attorney in New York and as a result deals with International transactions. Neil has also owned a care home and is able to provide specialist advice to the healthcare sector. The team have worked with clients overseas in many jurisdictions.

Wills, Trusts & Probate 

Partner, Carla Brown, heads the Wills, Trusts and Probate department (Tier 3 Legal 500 2022), highly regarded for its trust practice in particular, whilst also maintaining a very strong reputation for will writing, estate planning and estate administration. Carla was noted as “a master of her craft as a Private Client lawyer.”

The department handles a diverse range of needs to fit the requirements of high-net-worth individuals. Partner, Chris Pemberton, was noted in the Legal 500 2022 for his work with farmers and landed estates. Also within the department we have Private Client Consultant, Andy Kirby, who specialises in estate and tax planning for HNW & UHNW clients referred almost exclusively from a large network of SJP and other financial advisers. Richard Smith joined the firm as a Partner in 2021 and has a wide range of expertise including, Wills, Administration of Estate, Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Contentious Trusts & Probate

Awarded Tier 2 in the Legal 500 2022, the team’s work includes Inheritance Act claims, disputes concerning the validity of wills, estate and trust disputes, and proprietary estoppel claims. Lauren Day and Victoria Riddleston have been named as key lawyers in Legal 500 (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022), and Victoria has been named as an Associate to Watch in Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guide for the last three years (2019, 2020 and 2021).  The Contentious Trusts and Probate team has four specialist lawyers, with the quality and expertise of the team being described as “second to none”.


Ellis Jones are experts in both Commercial and Residential property. The Commercial Property team (Tier 3 Legal 500 2022) offer specialist advice in residential and commercial redevelopment, as well as property acquisitions and management. Partner Tim Sharpley has expertise in restrictive covenants and acts for a wide range of clients from management companies and land owners to large regional house builders with multi-million pound projects.

Partner Matthew Clake was recognised in Legal 500 2022 for approaching his volume of work with “humour, professionalism and innovation” and is highly regarded for his technical knowledge and proactive approach.

Partner Richard Tombs has 30 years experience covering most aspects of commercial and residential property legal work. The firm also has expert residential conveyancing lawyers who offer a first class service and specialise in all types of residential freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, ranging from first-time buyers to multi-million pound transactions.

Personal Injury

This highly qualified team deal with accident at work claims, road traffic and cycling claims, military personnel claims and clinical negligence. Partner and Head of Department David McWilliam has over 20 years experience in the field and sits on the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel illustrating his expertise.

Further niche services comprise Crime, Insolvency, Regulatory Law, LGBT+ services, Sports Law, Intellectual Property, Betting, Gambling and Gaming, and Fertility Law including surrogacy (domestic and international), this service is one that very few law firms provide both nationally and internationally.

Managing Partner Nigel Smithnigel.smith@ellisjones.co.uk01202 525333
Dispute Resolution Lauren Daylauren.day@ellisjones.co.uk01202 525333
Banking & Finance Litigation William Fox Bregmanwilliam.foxbregman@ellisjones.co.uk01202 525333
Partners : 19
Fee Earners : 67
Motor Accident Solicitors Society
Association of Tax Technicians
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)