The Wilkes Partnership > Birmingham, England > Firm Profile

The Wilkes Partnership
B3 2RT

Private client > Family: Birmingham Tier 2

The Wilkes Partnership frequently advises professionals and their spouses in addition to owners and their spouses of owner-managed businesses. Aaron Keene is on the Law Society’s Family Law Panel and is a collaborative lawyer. Ruth Harrison-Byrne leads the childcare team and is a member of the Children Panel. Harrison-Byrne receives complex instructions from parents, other family members and on behalf of children and is currently advising on a number of non-accidental injury cases as well as several cross-jurisdictional matters. Associate Sian Kenkre is experienced in surrogacy and assisted fertility cases.

Practice head(s):

Aaron Keene; Ruth Harrison-Byrne

Other key lawyers:

Sian Kenkre; Gail Hope


Ruth Harrison-Byrne is a class act – an absolutely brilliant strategist who knows exactly how to handle really difficult situations. She is a highly effective solicitor who really has the ear of her opponents, client and legal team. She has a piercing intellect which she deploys to good effect. It is truly appropriate to say that she is razor sharp and uses it to spot the strengths and weaknesses in her client’s case. She is an indefatigable and detail-oriented solicitor.’

A specialist, high-end firm without unnecessary airs and graces. Aaron Keene is a Birmingham institution, an absolute gentleman and a leading light of the local legal community. Sian Kenkre is brilliant and has a particular talent for reassuring clients for whom the process can, at times, seem very daunting‘.

‘Sian Kenkre is a highly skilled and client focused solicitor. She is a really talented, charming and understated talent. She has a real charm and careful controlled approach to her cases. She is very smart and tactical but also provides a strong supportive base for her clients going through emotional times. She is far too modest to sing her own praises but the results she achieves and the happiness of her clients shine through‘.

‘Legal executive Samantha Hodson is technically brilliant and commercially minded. She is erudite, likeable, and charming and looks to secure a practical outcome for the client. She is a safe pair of hands who instils absolute confidence in her clients‘.

‘Gail Hope is praised for her diligence and drive on children matters, along with her eagle eye for detail which make a huge difference on how cases shape up‘.

Aaron Keene offers an efficient, commercial and modern approach to deal with all of the issues clients encounter during divorce or relationship breakdown and often deal with high-net-worth individuals‘.

Corporate and commercial > Corporate and commercial: Birmingham Tier 3

The The Wilkes Partnership delivers ‘superb advice across a range of matters’, catering to a roster of corporate clients, their owners and funders. Department head Gareth O’Haraleads by example’ when acting on transactions, both local and national, placing particular emphasis on the automotive sector. The ‘technically excellentRick Smyth is highly proficient in mid-market corporate finance, M&A, private equity and investment transactions whereas Kate Hackettstands out’ for her reorganisation, asset and share transactional and general company law prowess.

Practice head(s):

Gareth O’Hara

Other key lawyers:


‘The senior people are all top-notch technically, but beyond that they always bring valuable insights and practical, commercial advice to difficult deal situations based on their extensive experience. Outstanding at working collaboratively with other professionals to deliver the best outcomes for clients.’

‘Rick Smyth is technically excellent but also pragmatic and smart – invariably able to find a solution to any tricky situation (legal or non-legal) based on his extensive commercial experience. I am always totally confident introducing a new client to Rick and his team.’

‘Well established and experienced team, who offer good value compared to some larger firms. Easy to deal with during the pandemic, with a combination of calls, virtual and where rarely needed face to face meetings.’

‘Ready and easy access to all involved including partners who actively led the work. Friendly and knowledgeable people.’

‘The capabilities and level of knowledge is exceptional.’

‘True customer facing and dedication and always willing to offer solutions ’

‘Rick Smyth is the consummate professional and over the years has totally restored my faith in the legal profession, despite he obvious success he also finds time to work hard at various charity fund raising activities.’

‘Gareth O’Hara leads by example, is not afraid to get stuck in and help all sides work towards an agreement. Keeps it simple, gives his opinion and reasoning and works with all parties towards an agreement.’

Key clients

Azets Accountants

Johnsons Cars Limited

Fitzgerald Contractors Limited

Farillio Limited

BGF plc

Star Events Group Limited

Smarts Specialists Plumbing Limited

MBG Global Brands GmbH

Cotswold BMW

Wesleyan Bank Limited

Dennis Eagle Limited

Aston & Fincher



Epyx Ltd


J S Wright

HIA International Limited

Ricor Limited

Carter Environmental/Refrigeration

Niclen GmbH

STABILA Messgeräte Gustav Ullrich GmbH

Böcker AG

TruVenturo GmbH

Polytec AMR GmbH & Co KG

German Christmas Company Limited

Huber Car Park Systems International GmbH

Pravida Bau GmbH

TwentyFive 8 Management Company

The Service Response Group

Wow! Stuff

Strongs Plastics

Work highlights

  • Advised on £20m investment into start-up bank GBB by the Teesside Pension Fund.
  • Advised Easy Autocentres on the sale of its business to Goodyear UK for an undisclosed sum.
  • Sale of RSM Partners, a globally recognised and world leading specialist in IBM mainframe security and infrastructure services.

Finance > Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 3

The Wilkes Partnership has a dedicated business recovery and turnaround team fronted by ‘charismatic’ department head David Cleary; he advises all stakeholders, including officeholders, directors, shareholders and creditors, on all components of corporate insolvency and restructuring matters. Cleary's expertise is complimented by the contentious prowess of Andrew Garland and John Cooper, well-versed in substantial reviewable transactions as well as relevant property, business and asset disposals.

Practice head(s):

David Cleary

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Garland; John Cooper; Emma Hutchison


‘The insolvency team at Wilkes go above and beyond to ensure the job gets done. ’

‘David Cleary and Emma Hutchinson always provide an efficient and commercial service. They have an ability to advise on the nuances and technicalities of insolvency law whilst balancing the commerciality of real world insolvency work.’

‘This practice has worked well during the challenges of the pandemic, and i have not seen the speed of quality of the progression of my cases affected. They have a unique way of cutting through the issues, both in terms of their advice and being commercial in their approach.

‘Andrew Garland is tremendously detailed in his analysis and thought process, but not to the extent of losing commercial focus. He is great to work with, collaborative and usually one step or more ahead of me!’

‘John Cooper is thoughtful yet efficient and moves cases along proficiently. He has a loyal following of IPs which demonstrates his user-friendly approach and capability.’

‘David Cleary is really clever, seeking and finding solutions for almost impossible cases.

‘Emma Hutchison is a good and clear lawyer retaining the abiality to balance legal advice with commerciality.’

‘David Cleary is charismatic and modest. He would never admit it, but he is really rather good intellectually too.’

Key clients


Begbies Traynor

Rendle & Co


K J Watkin

Butcher Woods

Muras Baker Jones

Poppleton & Appleby (Birmingham)


Advantage Commercial Finance Ltd

Manolete & Partners

RGI Insolvency

FRP Birmingham

RSM Hull



CVR Global

TRI Advisory

Cirrus Professional Services

Ballard Business Recovery

Private client > Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Kevin Lynch leads a team at The Wilkes Partnership that specialises in the resolution of contentious probate disputes – most of the disputes are litigated in the Chancery Division of the High Court. Typical cases it has worked on include probate claims, professional negligence claims against solicitors in the preparation of wills as well as trust disputes. Associate Jack Ackrill continues to deal with a wide range of disputes.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lynch

Other key lawyers:


I have found both Kevin Lynch and Jack Ackrill very easy to talk to in layman’s terms, and found them very understanding and will go above and beyond in order to make sure that I as a customer fully understand and appreciate the process which has been needed to bring this dispute to a conclusion. I would without a doubt fully recommend both of them to friends who find themselves requiring property dispute advice’.

‘This firm has good strength in depth and broad expertise being able to draw on top quality private client expertise to back up the contentious probate/trusts function. The lawyers also have an excellent grasp of the factual detail in any given case and are very savvy tactically when mapping out their approach to litigation’.

‘I have been instructed by Kevin Lynch and Jack Ackrill. The former is very bright and is particularly good at reading the key underlying issues/motives of his opponents. This makes his tactical advice to his own clients very effective. Jack has great attention to the detail and is excellent at executing strategy. Both are quick decision makers and immensely practical ’.

‘This is one of the provincial firms with a dedicated team of expert contentious probate practitioners. Kevin Lynch has excellent judgment and expertise in contentious probate and property disputes’.

‘The Wilkes Partnership is rapidly developing its expertise and capabilities in this discipline. It enjoys a strong reputation regionally in various areas of civil litigation, and is cementing it in this one also. The team is numerically small but punches above its weight, given the reputation of Kevin Lynch and the successes of Jack Ackrill (who is achieving much more than would be expected for someone of his level. This includes national recognition for his work)’.

‘Kevin Lynch is acutely switched-on to the needs and interests of his clients. He is an impressive operator who has brought clear success and reputation to the Wilkes’ litigation offering in a very short order of time. Whilst the contentious probate team is numerically small, it manifestly punches above its weight. Its future is cemented by the acquisition of Jack Ackrill (a very clever young lawyer who has a lot to offer)’.

Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Based out of its three offices in Birmingham and Solihull, The Wilkes Partnership advises clients across the West Midlands and further afield. Andrew Hasnip has an established reputation for his work on trusts, complex inheritance tax planning as well as estate work. Ellie Holland has a similar focus in addition to advising on succession planning matters for business owners. Ann-Marie Aston leads the Court of Protection offering.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hasnip; Ellie Holland

Other key lawyers:

Ann-Marie Aston; Philip Harrison; Sophie Fenn


‘The team has great cohesion and you always get the feeling that it is easily working within its capabilities. Andrew Hasnip explains everything in a very easy to understand way and is never anything other than helpful and is patient in providing explanations of specific details. A polished professional’.

‘Philip Harrison’s advice has always been well informed, carefully considered , clear and practical. His past experience in working with corporate transactions has added value to individuals with business interests. I would thoroughly recommend Mr Harrison’.

‘Sharp, focused and responsive’.

‘Philip Harrison is an outstanding professional and will always go the extra mile’.

‘Its strengths lie in being able to deal compassionately and swiftly with challenging situations’.

‘A caring attitude to even the smallest of issues. Easy access to the person dealing with the matter at hand. Quality of knowledge and user friendly approach’.

Employment Tier 5

James Leo leads the department at The Wilkes Partnership in Birmingham. Leo primarily advises on contentious matters and has many corporate clients. The group acts mostly for employers as well as senior executives on the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment matters and has particular experience in TUPE, discrimination, business immigration and restrictive covenants. Senior associate Pam Sidhu advises on all areas of employment law for mainly employer clients.

Practice head(s):

James Leo

Other key lawyers:

Pam Sidhu; Jaspaul Dubb; Sarah Begley


‘My contact at the Wilkes Partnership was Jas Dubb. He explained very clearly to me the merits of my case and he was always quick to respond to any matters I wished to raise with him. He remained in close contact throughout the negotiations and always called me when he had agreed to do so. A final outcome was mutually agreed and I was very satisfied’.

‘The team was very responsive and helpful from my first enquiry. Jas Dubb was particularly helpful, he was able to understand the situation quickly and give honest opinions’.

‘Meetings held were highly professional and focused in comfortable and modern surroundings. Expert advice was provided. My interface was with Pam Siddhu, who I found to be expert in her field of employment law. She provided me with practical advice and support. She was flexible in terms of her availability and approachable at all times’.

‘We find Pam Sidhu and her colleagues to be highly professional in all aspects from our initial contact, review discussions, outcome and billing. Pam is always flexible with her availability, especially when urgent advice is required’.

‘We have always found Pam to be friendly, efficient, very knowledgeable and patient. Pam explains all the possible issues in a way we can fully understand, so we can make the right decisions for both the employee and our company. I would not hesitate to recommend Pam to any person/company seeking HR and legal advice’.

‘Jas Dubb has been exceptional in providing advice, support and signposting to other teams within Wilkes to ensure the client receives the best possible advice ’.

‘Jas Dubb took time to understand my circumstances and then clearly explained the position I was in and the options available to me. In doing so, he was able to convey very technical legal information but in a way that made it clear to me. The actions he took put my mind at rest that I was taking the right actions which in the long run have worked out very well for me’.

‘I worked with Pam Sidhu She is great – very talented, professional, organised honest and thorough. She is always available and delivers on time. I greatly enjoy working with her and I recommend others work with her as well’.

Key clients

Stratasys Solutions Limited

Caeser LLC

German Christmas Company Limited

BTC Activewear Limited

Harding Brothers (Retail) Operations Limited

Agility Risk & Compliance Limited

Techpro Events Limited

Croma-Pharma GmbH

Techsil Holdings Limited

Fountains Forestry Limited


Eneco UK Limited

Gibson Technology Limited

Farillio Limited

McCann Erickson Central Limited

Ramfoam Limited


Johnson Cars

Leslie Nunn

Sara Williams

Osborne and Little

Simple Recruitment Services

Spa Elite Limited

Myco Installations Ltd

Levenes Solicitors

Malcolm Cumber

HR Depot, Franchisee/Director

Antony Pearce

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act on all employment law matters for several years for BTC Activewear Limited.
  • Advising Levenes Solicitors on all aspects of HR and employment law.
  • Defended an Employment Tribunal claim in relation to employment status saving the respondent almost £90,000 as the claimant was unable to pursue his claims.

Real estate > Commercial property: Birmingham Tier 5

The Wilkes Partnership caters to a client roster of both local and national clients. The 'extremely pragmatic and commercial' Tim Coplestone and Mark Hodgson are the key contacts in Birmingham; the former hones his focus on development, refinancing and restructuring, investment, portfolio and site assembly matters while the latter is a specialist in property matters within the leisure, motor trade and retail fields, predominantly catering to a client base of OMBs.

Practice head(s):

Tim Coplestone; Mark Hodgson; Andrew Watts


‘They are a good fit with our business and its requirements.’

‘Tim Copplestone is always ready to assist – he is extremely pragmatic and commercial in his approach to real estate matters.’

‘A full service practice with good access to partners without the big firm price tag.’

‘Mark Hodgson provides practical advice and seeks to find a way to get things done. A regular “phone a friend” when additional help is required.’

‘Easy to contact and always return calls and emails. They make you feel wanted and important to them.’

‘Tim Coplestone is a people person who is easy to communicate with and understand. He also assists in planning future courses of action to achieve a required programme. He has built an excellent support team around him.’

‘Mark Hodgson is always approachable, provides cost effective solutions and protects your position in negotiations.’

‘Experienced solicitors who are always willing to provide a commercial view on potential risks arising from a transaction, rating the risk and providing practical solutions.’

Key clients

Wesleyan Bank

Rigby Group Plc

Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited


Wesleyan Assurance Society

Gallan Developments

Avon Capital Estates

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Avon Homes in connection with a six plot development in Coventry with plot prices circa £175,000.
  • Acted in a complicated secured lending transaction over a specific phase of a large regional retail park. The case involved advising the client, a high street bank, on an unusual ownership structure and resolving security concerns/issues and providing innovative solution in conjunction with borrower’s solicitor.
  • Advised a major insurance company on the purchase of a major HQ office building and grounds at a price of £15m as part of the investment portfolio of a major insurance institution.

Real estate > Planning Tier 5

The Wilkes Partnership has forged a prominent reputation for NHS-related planning matters, catering to a client roster of large NHS Trusts and CCGs, SME developers and individuals. Practice head Leenamari Aantaa-Collier runs a caseload encompassing contentious and non-contentious matters alike, namely applications, enforcement matters, injunctions, planning obligations and appeals.

Practice head(s):

Leenamari Aantaa-Collier


‘The planning team is experienced and dedicated in this firm, with a high level of specialisation.’

‘Leenamari Aantaa-Collier is extremely experienced and knowledgeable.  Good understanding of related regimes, planning and licensing and environmental protection. Highly specialised in hospital trust s106 agreements, almost a unique practice.’

‘The team scores really strongly for technical knowledge, first-class customer service and informed and measured advice.’

‘Leenamari Aantaa-Collier has always given us a very high quality service, combining excellent advice, care and attention with tenacity and a real passion for the law. Her understanding too of strategy and business combined with her legal knowledge makes for a very complete skillset.’

Real estate > Property litigation Tier 5

The Wilkes Partnership is proficient in all forms of real estate litigation, from real property and developers matters through to contract, professional negligence, trust and equity land interest disputes. Kevin Lynch, the team’s practice head, is especially knowledgeable of restrictive covenants, dilapidations and tenancy matters; he is supported by Katie Briggs who is the point of contact for several of the group’s prominent commercial landlord and tenant clients.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lynch

Other key lawyers:


‘I find the Wilkes team to be unusually conscientious, giving a very bespoke and boutique service to each of their clients. The impression I get is that they treat their clients like a traditional high street firm would treat its faithful clients, but bring along a serious commercial clout.’

‘The Wilkes Partnership is a firm replete with knowledgeable, responsive and approachable lawyers, offering commercially aware litigation and other legal services, which holds its own against some of the best medium-sized London firms but at regional prices.’

‘Kevin Lynch is a partner to reckon with: an expert tactical litigator brimming with commercial savvy and the drive to achieve the best deal for his clients.  Kevin is ably supported by Katie Briggs, who is an associate to watch. She is diligent and has a excellent legal and practical instincts for finding the right solution to the client’s issues.’

‘Very personable and efficient team with good technical knowledge and pragmatic approach to the conduct of litigation.’

‘Kevin Lynch is an outstanding communicator with a very good client care.  He is a good lawyer who understands how to get the best for his client.’

‘The real estate litigation team is a key player in the Midlands market. Led by Kevin Lynch, a lawyer with serious dynamism and nous, it has a strong collection of litigators of various levels of experience. Lynch’s leadership in recent years has been seriously impressive, in that he has brought on and cemented a team of regional reputation within a very short period of time.’

‘Katie Briggs is really great to work with – she is really capable and engenders a lot of client trust thanks to her diligence and her approachable manner. She manages quite a varied case-load, and as a result she is well able to pick the right fights.’

The Wilkes Partnership are an award winning, full-service, UK law firm operating from the Midlands region with offices in central Birmingham and Solihull.

Our expert solicitors specialise in a wide range of legal services for both businesses and individuals.

Choosing a solicitor is an important decision and client satisfaction is at the core of everything we do. Our aim from the outset is to become trusted advisors to our clients and consistently provide legal excellence at every opportunity.

For our business clients, both national and international, we provide leading-edge legal support in company and commercial, M&A and corporate finance, employment, real estate, planning and environment, property litigation, commercial litigation, commercial recovery, insolvency services.

For private individuals, we provide a full range of legal services including wills, trusts and probate, tax planning, residential conveyancing, dispute resolution, court of protection, notary services, personal injury and clinical negligence and family law.

Corporate Gareth O' 233 4333
Private Client Ellie 733 8000
Family Aaron 233 4333
Residential Conveyancing Amanda 733 8000
Private Client Andrew 233 4333
Personal Injury Annmarie 233 4333
Business Recovery & Turnaround David 233 4333
Employment James 233 4333
Dispute Resolution Gavin 233 4333
Contentious Probate & Property Litigation Kevin 233 4333
Planning Leenamari 233 4333
Dispute Resolution Simon 233 4333
Real Estate Tim 233 4333
Leenamari Aantaa-Collier  photo Leenamari Aantaa-Collier Partner & Head of Planning
Ann-Marie Aston  photo Ann-Marie Aston Partner & Notary Public
David Cleary  photo David Cleary Partner & Head of Business Recovery & Turnaround
John Cooper  photo John Cooper Partner
Tim Coplestone  photo Tim Coplestone Partner & Head of Real Estate
Gavin Evans  photo Gavin Evans Partner
Andrew Garland  photo Andrew Garland Partner
Kate Hackett photo Kate HackettPartner
Ruth Harrison-Byrne  photo Ruth Harrison-Byrne Partner
Andrew Hasnip photo Andrew HasnipPartner & Head of Private Client
Mark Hodgson  photo Mark Hodgson Partner
Amanda Holden  photo Amanda Holden Partner & Head of Residential Conveyancing
Ellie Holland photo Ellie HollandManaging Partner
Aaron Keene  photo Aaron Keene Partner & Head of Family
James Leo  photo James Leo Partner & Head of Employment
Kevin Lynch  photo Kevin Lynch Partner
Gareth O'Hara photo Gareth O'HaraSenior Partner & Head of Corporate
Jeremy Parkin  photo Jeremy Parkin Partner
Bryan Poultney  photo Bryan Poultney Partner
Rick Smyth  photo Rick Smyth Partner
Simon Thomas  photo Simon Thomas Partner
Andrew Watts  photo Andrew Watts Partner
Annmarie Wilde  photo Annmarie Wilde Partner & Head of Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence