Firm Profile > HCR Hewitsons > Northampton, England

HCR Hewitsons

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

HCR Hewitsons' 'highly skilled' agriculture, food and rural business team acts for a national client base ranging from substantial landed estates and charities to major agricultural producers. The practice frequently handles high-value and complex land transactions, as well as development work, for farmers and landowners. The group is notably growing its presence in the renewable energy sector, and is increasingly involved in solar farm projects. Practice head Gareth Williams leads a 'highly competent team of property lawyers'. Associate Stephanie Dennis is another key individual.

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HCR Hewitsons have strength in depth, allowing them to provide a good level of advice to mutual clients in matters relating to agriculture as well as the promotion of land for development, subsequent sale and tax advice.’

Gareth Williams leads a highly competent team of property lawyers and achieves a good balance between delegation to colleagues and remaining personally available to provide clear advice direct to clients and fellow professionals concerning complicated property matters.’

A highly skilled team that works together providing a broad range of technical advice promptly and pro-actively. The team working and consistently high standard of service surpasses any other similar teams in other firms.’

My dealings were with Stephanie Dennis and she was always very professional. If I couldn’t speak to her she would always ring me straight back.’

Key clients

Merton College

Wistow Estate, Leicestershire

Bedford Estates (Woburn)

Compton Estates (Castle Ashby and Warwickshire)

Homes England

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

HCR Hewitsons' team, which has an 'in-depth understanding of the charity sector', advises a wide range of corporate and educational charities, as well as non-profit organisations. It demonstrates expertise in converting charities into charitable incorporated organisations, as has been evidenced by its handling of related mandates for clients such as Psoriasis Association and Care & Repair Limited. With former practice head Chris Knight departing for VWV, legal director Virginia Henley now manages the team.

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Virginia Henley is approachable, knowledgeable, explains herself clearly and listens to her clients’ needs and wishes.’

A relaxed and friendly approach combined with an in-depth understanding of the charity sector.’

The whole team is extremely knowledgeable but also quick to respond with the answers and give complete support.’

Key clients

Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust

Psoriasis Association

Oundle School

Community Spaces Northampton

Northamptonshire Association for the Blind

Jesus Army Charitable Trust

Sir Thomas White’s Northampton Charity

Northamptonshire Choral Foundation

Becketts and Sargeants Educational Foundation

Bedfordshire Charitable Trust

Trustees of the Wilson Foundation

Kathleen and Michael Connolly Foundation

Woburn Estate / Woburn 1986

Thomas Christie Almshouse and Relief in Need Charity

Northamptonshire ACRE

Davidge Usher Trust

Northamptonshire Industrial Training Association

The Good Loaf CIC

Nottingham Castle Trust

Roger and Jean Jefcoate Trust

Sports Chaplaincy UK

Kelmarsh Trust

Lamport Hall Preservation Trust

Headway Northampton

The Combined Harpole Charitable Trust

Will Woodlands

Frederick and Phyllis Cann Charitable Trust

Thomas and Rosemary Greenhalgh Charitable Trust

The Henry and Elizabeth Lineham Fund

The Finnis Scott Foundation

Maidwell Hall School

Care & Repair (Northamptonshire)

Hospital of St John the Evangelist & of St Anne in Okeham

Irchester Youth Centre Trust Fund

Jesus Fellowship Church

Northamptonshire Corporate Parenting Ltd

Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust

Screen Northants Ltd

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 1

HCR Hewitsons's 'approachable and attentive' team, which is based in Northampton, is particularly well-regarded for its expertise in cross-border litigation, technology disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, and professional negligence claims. In addition, it is also well-versed in insolvency cases, finance disputes and a wide variety of regulatory matters, touching upon areas such as competition law and advertising standards. With over thirty years of experience in the field, Dominic Hopkins specialises in disputes concerning commercial contracts, professional negligence and technology/IT. Senior associate Stephen Cole is an expert in regulatory disputes and commercial disputes, often spanning multiple jurisdictions.

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‘HCR Hewitsons’ team has a high degree of expertise in diverse areas, catering for, by way of example, high-tech clients on the one hand and traditional agricultural clients on the other. I find it a pleasure to work for them, and have observed the high regard in which they are held by their clients.’

‘The team have a niche in IT related disputes, with particular expertise in business systems and automation software and retail related systems.’

‘All my dealings with the firm have been very good – they always deliver expert advice and guidance to help us make good legal and commercial decisions.’

‘Dominic Hopkins demonstrates a very thorough understanding of the litigation process and provides very clear and understandable advice.’

Commercial property: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 1

With sector specialisms in retail, healthcare and education, HCR Hewitsons'reliable and consistent' team focuses on commercial and residential developments, asset and portfolio management, and strategic land acquisitions. In addition, the firm is well-placed to advise clients on projects arising from the government's Oxford-Cambridge Arc initiative, which includes major investment in infrastructure in Milton Keynes and Northampton. David Wells, whose practice is split between Northampton and Milton Keynes, specialises in acquisitions of commercial units, and commercial landlord and tenant law. Marc Carter advises developers on all aspects of commercial projects. Patricia Kempson and Claire Howard-Amos are also recommended.

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‘The firm has sound commercial knowledge and a willingness to get deals done in a timely and cost effective manner.’

Key clients

Oastlodge Limited

United Learning Group

Merger Investments Limited

City of Cambridge Education Foundation

IMT Aviation Limited

Lightdoor Limited

Cheaney Shoes Limited

Medigold Health Consultancy Limited

Ardent Hire Solutions

A W James

Levitt Bernstein Associates Limited

Wimbledon Property Holdings Ltd /Marchmont Investment Management Limited

Bright Horizons Family Solutions Limited

XPO Transport Solutions UK Ltd

Community Spaces Northampton (charity)

Corporate and commercial: Elsewhere in East Midlands Tier 1

HCR Hewitsons' clients include SMEs and large domestic and international corporates. Its 'outcome driven' team has a strong track record of acting for selling shareholders on high value transactions, as well as handling company restructurings. The firm is also well-equipped to advise clients on a raft of commercial transactions, particularly in the technology and IP fields, where Kevin Fletcher has a wealth of experience. 'Outstanding solicitor' David Browne is involved in a high volume of acquisitions and disposals, often focusing on the healthcare and automobile sectors. Neil Harpham has notable expertise in lending and project financing.

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‘Small enough to give a very personal service but big enough to have all the experts available when you need them.’

‘We used the firm for the sale of our company and they were meticulous, ensuring our shareholders were protected to the full and aware of what the transaction meant to them personally. They were a great team to work with.’ 

‘The team are empathetic and possess the intellectual ability to understand client objectives, needs, personalities and emotions during high pressure commercial deals.’

‘Excellent rapport and credibility building skills with the other side, coupled with firm but fair negotiating skills.’ 

‘Neil Harpham has been there and seen it all. Nothing phases him and whilst many left field issues come up, Neil will always have a calm strategy to proceed taking out the panic when emotions can be running high.’

Key clients

Shareholders of Working Transitions Limited

T Groocock & Co (Rothwell) Limited

Transend Solutions Limited

Perrys Motor Sales Limited

Medigold Health Consultancy Limited

Hi-Force Limited Group plc

Fencor Packaging Group Limited

Intamac Systems Limited

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 1

The private wealth practice at HCR Hewitsons demonstrate strong expertise in inheritance tax planning, administration of trusts and landed estates, among other matters. The 'extremely knowledgeable' and 'professional' team works closely with the firm's rural, charities, contentious probate and planning teams to offer clients cohesive advice. Clare Colacicci has a strong reputation in the field and Catherine Ball and Antonia Cooper are also noted. Practice head Daniel Curtis in Cambridge specialises in tax and succession planning.

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The team is extremely knowledgeable, professional and timely in providing advice. They are unique in that they look at a situation from a practical perspective as well as a legal one and will listen to the comments from other professionals. Professionals working together are key and HCR Hewitsons are very good at doing this.’

‘Very efficient and responsive.’

Stability within the organisation combined with a reassuring level of competence and deep subject matter expertise.’

Antonia Cooper, Eric Wardle and Clare Colacicchi all equally efficient and easy to understand.’

Employment Tier 2

The employment practice at HCR Hewitsons is highly capable across a wide range of matters, with a particular strength in solving TUPE issues. The team works closely with the corporate finance team by providing TUPE advice and guidance on terminating/negotiating employment contracts in the context of M&A. Practice head Nick Hall 'offers pragmatic, commercial advice'. Clients praise the team's 'can-do attitude' and 'prompt' results.

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Nick Hall understands our business extremely well and offers pragmatic, commercial advice. He responds to queries quickly and respectfully.’

Very open and have a ‘can-do’ attitude. Clearly very professional and they were extremely helpful.’

A very diverse spread of solicitors offering good quality advice.’

Fast, responsive and attentive to our needs.’

Prompt and professional and as you would expect, excellent attention to detail.’

Key clients

Travis Perkins PLC and its subsidiaries

Perrys Motor Sales Limited

Medigold Health Consultancy Limited

Mace Limited

VolkerWessels Limited

WF Education Group Limited/WF Education Group Holdings Limited

Biogen (UK) Limited

The Good Loaf CIC

Telford Holmes PLC

Royce Lingerie Limited

The Institute of the Motor Industry

Trustees of Trumpington Village Hall

Harvard Bioscience Inc.

Medical Research Network Limited

Agriculture and estates Tier 1

'The team is responsive and provides top-quality advice in an efficient and cost-effective manner,' remarks a client of HCR Hewitsons, which has 12 partners across its offices. The bulk of the practice is in Cambridge, where practice head Denise Wilkinson and key partner Charles Hewitson are the lead practitioners. They handle tax, trust and succession issues for rural clients; options, contracts and promotions for landowners; and property matters for a nationwide client base of farmers, landed estates and large agricultural businesses. Legal director James Frankland is also recommended.

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The team is responsive and provides top-quality advice in an efficient and cost-effective manner. It believes in building long-term relationships and is always prepared to go the extra mile.

Denise Wilkinson is exceptional, she provides the very highest level of advice in a practical and fully engaged manner. Her manner and delivery ensures her work is completed quickly and always on time and to budget.

An excellent team with the ability to deal professionally with a wide range of complex and strategic matters.

Denise Wilkinson is extremely knowledgeable on a wide range of legal matters. She is very thorough in her advice, Denise always provides a pragmatic solution and gives consideration to the wider picture and the impact on our business.

James Frankland was contactable, helpful and explained things very well.

Denise Wilkinson is an excellent solicitor – capable, knowledgeable , and willing to go out of her way to assist her clients.

Key clients

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

The Philpot Family and Associated Companies

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge Tier 1

'From the front desk to senior partners it has a thoroughly approachable and professional team,' remarks a client of HCR Hewitsons. The firm, which has a chartered accountant leading on trust administration and tax returns, handles the full range of private client work including the administration of multimillion-pound estates. The 'sensible, pragmatic and knowledgeable' Daniel Curtis leads the practice. Tax and succession planning specialist Bernadette O’Reilly 'brings a very human, personal touch to the process'. Trust partner Elizabeth Davies and 'sensitive, yet professional' associate Kelly Wardell are also recommended.

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From the front desk to senior partners, HCR Hewitsons has a thoroughly approachable and professional team.

Kelly Wardell [took] time to fully understand the circumstances under which we were meeting. She was sensitive, yet professional when my father passed away and we were dealing with his will.

My wife and I are also having our wills updated and POA sorted out via Kelly Wardell and she has been extremely thorough discussing all aspects of this and covering all options and considerations. This has made the whole process very straightforward.

I believe the company has specialist departments that can cover all the areas that are relevant to my legal and tax needs. This makes my life easier and also makes me comfortable that I’m getting good advice.

We dealt with Bernadette O’Reilly. She managed to make the meetings light-hearted, interesting and, dare I say it, enjoyable, while maintaining a completely reassuring professionalism. Bernadette was also very flexible and understanding about my wife’s disability, including ensuring that witnessing and signing was as easy as possible. Bernadette brought a very human, personal touch to the process.

We have found that this firm is very approachable and is able to assist in all areas without the need to go to other specialists.

All the individuals we have had dealings with have a very professional positive helpful and friendly approach: Jennifer Koch, Daniel Curtis and Mary Beasley.

I worked with a partner, Daniel Curtis, whom I had first met in my capacity as a trustee of a charity which received a bequest from an estate that he was administering. I found him sensible, pragmatic and knowledgeable. He was a natural choice when my wife and I needed personal assistance with our wills and estates, and he did not disappoint.

Commercial litigation: Cambridge Tier 2

HCR Hewitsons has a four-partner practice that has significant expertise in public procurement, public law, EU regulatory cases, judicial reviews and professional negligence. The firm acts for large business and high-net-worth individuals in and around Cambridge, though it has a growing flow of work from outside the region. Through its links with the National Farmers’ Union, the firm is instructed in numerous high-value agricultural disputes. Simon Biggin and senior associate Stewart Morrison are the names to note.

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Key clients

National Farmers’ Union

Commercial property: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

The Milton Keynes commercial property team at HCR Hewitsons advises on all stages of large development projects, such as residential plots, schools, commercial offices, and community facilities. It has frequently negotiated complex conditional contracts, promotion agreements, and development agreements. The department has recently diversified to work for residential developers and landlord and tenant work. Head of real estate for Northampton and Milton Keynes David Wells specialises in investment sales in light industrial sectors, as well as commercial landlord and tenant matters. Yvette Morgan is known for her work advising developers on mixed-use development projects and large-scale housing. In June 2019, Simon Wain joined as partner from Shoosmiths LLP.

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Key clients

British & American Tobacco

Homes England

AW James Ltd.

S.O.L. Services Ltd.

KPG Services Ltd.

Kirkby Diamond

Olney Properties Ltd.

Vantage Events

Richard Utley Ltd.

Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust

Bedford College (FE)

Booya Investment Ltd.

Levitt Bernstein Associates Ltd.

Wimbledon Property Holdings Ltd.

United Learning Group

Commercial property: Cambridge Tier 2

HCR Hewitsons is 'a long-established, traditional business packed with high-class lawyers who offer a good, traditional, modest but highly competent and joined up service'. It has substantial development expertise in large and complex projects, notably in the leisure and residential sectors. It also acts for numerous clients in the hi-tech and life sciences arena. Strategic land investment is another key workstream for the practice. James Simpson leads a three-partner practice and along with Graeme Sampson handles development, strategic land, investment and financing matters. Sampson also advises on landlord and tenant matters. Up-and-coming partner Susanne Hinde and senior associate Ceri Riddell are also recommended.

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It has a breadth of commercial knowledge across the team. The team works in a unified manner, providing prompt action and responses.

Graeme Sampson and Joe Taylor provide great advice and teamwork.

A long-established, traditional business packed with high-class lawyers who offer a good, traditional, modest but highly competent and joined up service.

They show dedication and hard work. The client is put first, which sounds pretty obvious but is so often not the case with law firms.

HCR Hewitsons demonstrates great care when considering client’s risk. Its advice is set out in a clear way with straightforward recommendations.

Ceri Riddell provides commercial property advice. I have worked with Ceri on licence to alter documents and her assistance has greatly been appreciated when navigating complex clauses, including the latest energy efficiency regulations.

Astute commercial lawyers and great people to work with. They are sensible, proactive and get the job done.

I have worked with a number of the firm’s commercial lawyers over many years. They have all been knowledgeable, responsive and good to have on your side. James Simpson and Ceri Riddell are standout examples.

They value the client relationship and view matters from the clients perspective. They are technically very good and always willing to offer practical and pragmatic solutions.

Ceri Riddell communicates well and is a good listener, which is not always apparent in lawyers! She is good technically and is happy to offer workable solutions to difficult problems.

Key clients

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Anglian Country Inns Limited

Cambridge Investment Partnership LLP

Darwin College, University of Cambridge

Dernford Group

Downing College, University of Cambridge

European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Hill Residential Limited

Homes England

HTS Estates Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc

Pembroke College, University of Cambridge



Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Svenska Handelsbanken

Swiss Laundry Limited

The Chesterford Group

The Howard Group

Turnstone Estates Group

Construction Tier 2

HCR Hewitsons has a single construction team across its offices that handles a diverse range of projects in the education, charity, real estate, engineering and energy sectors. Among its clients are commercial and residential developers, manufacturers, contractors, investors, Oxbridge colleges, the Government’s housing agency Homes England, national charities, private schools and education trusts, architects and engineers. The practice is led from outside the region, but managing partner Colin Jones in Cambridge is a key player in high-value projects. Solicitor Sardeep Gill is recommended for both advisory work and contentious matters.

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Their friendly and accessible approach is vital. I have known a range of the legal professionals at the practice for a number of years and they offer clear and straightforward advice. I also like their development programme where they perpetually seem to be bringing through new professionals and giving them support to become future leaders of their profession. They also do a lot of work with the local community and their senior partners are involved in a range of key industry groups.

Colin Jones has been an important component in many of the project teams I have put together over the years. His non-confrontational and pragmatic approach means that negotiations with other consultants tend to go very smoothly.

Key clients

Osborne Developments

British Institute of Interior Design


Homes England

Skako Concrete A/S

Construction Tier 2

HCR Hewitsons advises clients across a diverse range of sectors, working for leading commercial and residential developers, manufacturers, contractors, investors and leading national charities. Simon Wain joined the practice from Shoosmiths LLP in June 2019 and is particularly experienced within the energy sector. He is also a specialist in construction insurance work. Tim Richards leads the practice and has 35 years' experience advising clients on the full range of construction and procurement law issues.

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A W James

British Institute of Interior Design


Homes England

Velocity 1

Perrys Motor Sales

Osbourne Developments Limited and Osbourne Construction

Mettler-Toledo Safeline X-Ray

Colmore Tang Construction


Springfield Faarm


City and Country

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 2

'The firm provides excellent, in-depth specialist advice,' says a client of HCR Hewitsons who remarks that lead partner and ACTAPS member Lucinda Brown is 'an excellent lawyer who provides realistic advice and advances her client's case robustly'. The firm long focused on this area of law and has a team dedicated to handling challenges to the validity of wills, breach of trust claims, Inheritance Act claims, rectification of wills and trust documents, contentious Court of Protection matters and the financial abuse of vulnerable adults.

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The firm provides excellent, in-depth specialist advice.

Lucinda Brown is an excellent lawyer who provides realistic advice and advances her client’s case robustly.

Corporate and commercial: Cambridge Tier 2

Clients praise the 'excellent client service, responsiveness, appreciation for business considerations and cost-effectiveness', of the team at HCR Hewitsons. 'The team finds an excellent balance between paying good attention to detail while keeping a sensible commercial view of any points at issue', remarks another. Corporate partner James Lawrence, technology specialist Andrew Priest and business services head Emma Shipp lead the five-partner practice, which handles a broad range of corporate work for the larger corporations and businesses including acquisitions, disposals, reorganisations and financing. It has particular expertise in the technology, life sciences, property development and agribusiness sectors. Up-and-coming partner Laurence Evans is also recommended.

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Excellent client service, responsiveness, appreciation for business considerations and cost-effectiveness, billing transparency, and industry knowledge/expertise.

The team finds an excellent balance between paying good attention to detail while keeping a sensible commercial view of any points at issue.

Broad legal knowledge and experience makes them helpful and responsive on a range of subjects raised. Partner James Lawrence and senior solicitor Charlotte Bull have worked as an excellent team for us.

We have been working closely with the firm for many years. Consequently they have acquired an in-depth knowledge, not only of our businesses in the UK, but also about how we prefer to work with external counsel. In combination with second-to-none legal and commercial capabilities this has been a winning formula.

In the past year, I’ve been working closely with both Mark Elmslie and Andrew Priest on a rather sensitive matter. They both stand out as truly professional advisors. In addition, they are both more than capable of strategic thinking just as they have the ability to keep calm and focused in tense situations. As a client, you feel comfortable to succeed knowing that they are on your team.

An expert team of different, complementary individuals. Their style tends to be interactive with a phase of information and context gathering before they make specific recommendations. I think that is a great way to understand the client’s needs and customise the solution rather than just roll out standard template documents – which is what some legal firms seem to do. Their billing is also very visible and easy to review and they represent superb value for money.

Bill Thatcher is gentle in nature but shrewd. He puts the client at ease and uses his excellent intellect and communication skills to identify the client’s needs and their exact legal solution. He also writes legal documents in clear, legal language which is easy to understand by the client and third parties. Bill is always on time and is appreciated for his professionalism and clear legal contracts.

We have always received very practical and relevant advice. In the past, we have often dealt with firms who give you the absolute legal position without taking into account the commercial reality of the situation. They have a great balance between detailing the legal position and working with us to find a commercially suitable solution.

Laurence Evans has supported us on various corporate matters including MBOs, partial share disposals and share restructures. We have always found him very helpful, informed and supportive.

Andrew Priest provides excellent contract advice which is key to our business where we work with some very high-profile, large organisations, which can be a struggle as an SME.

Their ability to adopt a commercial stance is appreciated and they aren’t afraid to suggest difficult options to find a way through the negotiations. The team has a practical, hands-on approach.

Laurence Evans is always prepared to go the extra mile to get the job done and has excellent availability.

Key clients

Quartix Holdings Plc

KisanHub (UK and India)

VKR Group (owner of Velux brand with HQ in Denmark)

Konsolidator Group (HQ in Denmark)

Nuformix Plc

Hill Residential Limited

Spirol Group, Inc. (HQ in USA)

Silverwell Technology Limited

Homes England

Bf1 Systems Limited

Geostructural Solutions Limited

Lesko Group

Proteinlogic Limited

Employment Tier 2

Across its network of four offices HCR Hewitsons has four employment partners, two of whom are based in East Anglia. The practice is led from Northampton, but the 'exceptionally responsive and extremely helpful' Valerie Lambert and Elizabeth Swinburn are the key partners in Cambridge. 'The team is exceptionally responsive and very clear and practical in the advice offered,' remarks one client. The firm handles high-profile High Court litigation, including restrictive covenants, confidential information and breach of fiduciary duty disputes, as well as advising on business reorganisation, TUPE transfers, Employment Tribunals and a host of day-to-day matters.


The team is exceptionally responsive and very clear and practical in the advice offered. They have advised us on a wide range of employment issues and we are very satisfied with the advice and service provided.

Normally, I deal with Valerie Lambert who is a partner in the employment practice. I find her exceptionally responsive, extremely helpful and her advice is very clear and practical. She also manages our cases very well and provides excellent value for money.

Valerie Lambert has provided very pragmatic employment law advice on numerous occasions.

‘It is the team itself that makes the practice unique and in my experience they are extremely approachable and have detailed knowledge of their clients old and new. The strength of the practice in this area shines from Valerie Lambert, who consistently demonstrates up to the minute knowledge of employment law and a delightfully direct no fuss approach.

The team is very well resourced and extremely adaptable, able to act with great speed and precision when issues arise that require assistance from legal professionals in other areas, for instance in assessing the criminal liability of an employee, director or the corporate entity itself.

I have been extremely impressed with Valerie Lambert in particular but also all that I have come across in her team whilst working on the matter. I would not hesitate to recommend HCR Hewitsons to any company or individual seeking advice or representation in this field. More junior members of the team are exceptionally well trained and encouraged to play an active part in the work of their more senior colleagues.

Valerie Lambert’s presentation, both in writing and in person, is excellent. She inspires confidence in her clients and in other legal professionals and she is a joy to deal with. Her written instructions are superb: precise and include all relevant information. She responds instantly to communications and takes great care to include more junior members of her team in the work and discussions which results in a very cohesive team sharing a wide body of knowledge. I particularly value her ability to get to the point and have a frank discussion about the issues to be resolved. Clients are extremely well served by her.’

Always up-to-date with the changing climate of employment law, particularly with COVID-19 and getting a clear understanding of the mixed messages from the government.

We use the services of Valerie Lambert who is always clear and precise in the advice given, working to very tight deadlines to meet the demands of our business and is always available to deal with any employment issue we have in our companies.

Intellectual property Tier 2

HCR Hewitsons in Cambridge 'understands the client's needs and customises the solution rather than just rolling out standard template documents', remarks one client. The firm acts for small businesses and major multinationals, as well as Cambridge University Colleges and academics in both non-contentious and contentious IP matters. Practice head Andrew Priest and experienced IP partners Bill Thatcher, who handles R&D agreements and other commercial IP matters, and Mark Elmslie, who mainly handles disputes, are highly recommended.

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An expert team of different, complementary individuals. Their style tends to be interactive with a phase of information and context gathering before they make specific recommendations. I think that is a great way to understand the client’s needs and customise the solution rather than just roll out standard template documents – which is what some legal firms seem to do.

Their billing is very visible and easy to review and they represent superb value for money. They understand how to structure commercial deals in our sector such as R&D collaborations, patent option agreements, patent licence agreements and much more.

Bill Thatcher. Gentle in nature but shrewd. He puts the client at ease and uses his excellent intellect and communication skills to identify the client’s needs and their exact legal solution. He also writes legal documents in clear, legal language which is easy to understand by the client and third parties. Bill is always on time and is appreciated for his professionalism and clear legal contracts. He also has a board expertise in the type of contracts needed for our sector (biotechnology/life sciences).

Mark Elmslie has a very good knowledge of IPReg’s rules and procedure.

Mark Elmslie has a calm and considered approach to disputes.

IT and telecoms Tier 2

HCR Hewitsons in Cambridge provides 'excellent client service, responsiveness and cost-effectiveness, as well as industry knowledge and expertise', says a client. The firm has veteran lawyers who are well-versed in IT and contract law, and who advise global IT companies as well as those based in the local technology hub. They act for suppliers and purchasers of IT services on compliance, software development, licensing, distribution, contracts, outsourcing and much more. Andrew Priest and Bill Thatcher have each been dealing with non-contentious IP and IT matters for 30 years. Clients praise Thatcher's 'responsiveness, sophistication, practicality and deft negotiation skills'.

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Excellent client service, responsiveness, appreciation for business considerations and cost-effectiveness, as well as industry knowledge and expertise.

Our contacts feel like natural extensions of our in-house team. Their advice is sophisticated but practical; timely but unhurried. We rely on them for more than just commercial support; we often turn to them for recommendations and general advice about industry trends or new developments.

More than an accomplished legal adviser, Bill Thatcher is a resource for the development of our company’s business practices, a sounding board for our new ideas and, in many ways, a mentor to our in-house team. His responsiveness, sophistication, practicality and deft negotiation skills make Bill an invaluable part of our team.

Pensions Tier 2

HCR Hewitsons has a well-established specialist pensions practice that acts for employers and trustees of private sector occupational pension schemes throughout the country and across a wide range of business sectors. It has significant experience in public sector pensions, particularly involving the local government, healthcare and education sectors. Legal director and practice head Christopher Nuttall is primarily based in Northampton, but regularly works from the firm's three other offices including Cambridge. 'The service is exemplary and advice is provided very quickly and in a pragmatic and clear style,' says a client.

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A good-quality service at costs that clients find reasonable.

Chris Nuttall always strives to give a full response, often widening the response beyond the narrow scope of the initial question, to ensure clients are fully taking into account all relevant aspects.

The service is exemplary. Advice is provided very quickly and in a pragmatic and clear style, making it very easy for the recipient to understand.

Chris Nuttall is very accessible and he is prepared to provide explicit guidance on legal aspects and their implications, rather than just giving a pure legal meaning response.

Value for money, good, sound well thought out advice delivered in a cost-effective way. Great advice without the huge bills. Exceptional value where you are on a tight budget.

We value Christopher Nuttall’s well considered opinion, well structured and clear advice and the fact that he does not overlay the advice with too many legal references.

The speed, pragmatism and comprehensive nature of the advice provided is commendable.

The firm shows pragmatism – anticipating likely questions that will be asked. It is approachable and clear in its advice.’

I have worked with the firm for many years, specifically its pensions practice. They are experts in all pensions matters and have supported several trustees of defined benefit schemes. They are always happy to help no matter the size of the job, they provide pragmatic solutions for clients, they provide excellent value for money and are prepared to quote fixed fees. Their expertise is supported by having other practices within the firm.

Chris Nuttall is a friendly lawyer who always goes the extra mile for you. He explains his advice carefully. He has excellent legal and technical knowledge combined with a pragmatic approach.

Key clients

Biochrom Limited

T Groocock & Co (Rothwell) Limited

Permastore Limited

Trustees of the Velux Co. Ltd Retirement Benefits Scheme

United Learning Trust

Visit Cambridge & Beyond

Trustees of the Superior Pension Fund (Greenery UK Limited)

Trustees of the AT Oliver & Sons Ltd Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

Trustees of the Sortex Final Salary Scheme (Buhler Sortex Limited)

Perrys Group Limited

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx Tier 2

The private client team at HCR Hewitsons specialises in advising both local and international clients on a broad range of areas, including inheritance tax planning, wills, trust reorganisation, and the administration of complex estates. Members of the team frequently collaborate with teams from other practice areas to provide a fully integrated service. Practice leader Carolyn Bagley is 'very experienced' in matters such as inheritance tax planning, trust reorganisation, and capacity issues relating to wills and lifetime gifts. Partner Kerri Pellington-Woodrow joined in January 2020 from Greenwoods GRM.

Practice head(s):


Professional, expert, customer focused and approachable. Carolyn Bagley’s expertise on managing private clients wealth and providing services that ensure clients affairs at the end of life are managed in a tax efficient way. Always available to answer questions and queries.’

I have worked with many of the team on a variety of cases. Carolyn Bagley is my main contact: she is obsessive about service to the client and always puts client needs, objectives, and concerns ahead of anything else.’

Excellent communication skills in explaining difficult technical concepts. Very good practical advice to solve difficult problems. Very good up to date technical ability. Attention to detail is excellent and they have a co-ordinated approach. Good listeners and strength in depth. Timely advice and responses.’

Carolyn Bagley displays team skills and is exceptionally good at making clients feel at ease and translating technical jargon into practical, common sense and an in understandable format.’

Their technical skills are outstanding. They respond promptly and are very efficient. Carolyn Bagley is very experienced and knowledgeable. She is also an extremely nice person who is easy to deal with.’

Very experienced and knowledgeable private client team compromising many talented individuals. Carolyn Bagley has excellent technical knowledge and an analytical approach. She possess the ability to explain complex legal issues in simple terms to clients.’

This practice is efficient, practical, experienced, very client orientated and unique in my experience. The whole organisation rolls out smoothly like a well oiled machine and seems to be able to call upon an expert in every field of legal requirement.’

My experience of Carolyn Bagley has shown her to be hard working, professional, meticulous, informed and courteous.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

The charities, education and social enterprise group at HCR Hewitsons is led by Virginia Henley from Northampton, where much of the practice is based. Nevertheless, it calls upon the Cambridge office for specific support in key practice areas. Property partner James Simpson and employment partner Elizabeth Swinburn frequently advise charitable institutions. Elizabeth Davies and associate Emma Satterley in the private wealth practice also contribute their expertise.

Practice head(s):


The firm provides an efficient service.

There was strong performance by the partners. Good technical knowledge is expected but availability remains a key issue. The matters we were dealing with took considerable time but it was great to have a consistent team with good handover knowledge to below-partner staff.

They showed tenacity and skilful guidance not just to define the project but to ensure all parties were aware of their responsibilities.

Key clients

University of Cambridge


Julia Norris Trust

Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry

Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants


YMCA Trinity Group

The Varrier Jones Foundation

The Papworth Trust

Wood Green Animal Shelters

The Ann Howsden Charity

Max Perutz Fund

Ward’s Charity or The Church Lands

Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre

HertsCam Network

Conservators of the River Cam

Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Girton Town Charity

Goldbeck Consulting

Stratton Community Farm CIC

Clayton Charitable Trust

Sutasoma Trust

Trumpington Village Hall

Probert Charitable Trust

East of England Agricultural Society

The Injured Jockeys Fund

Cambridge University Jewish Society

Stephen Perse Foundation

Cambridge University Engineers Association

Property litigation Tier 3

HCR Hewitsons in Cambridge handles both commercial and residential property disputes, including matters for high-net-worth individuals, corporates and rural landowners. Legal director Rachel Sims, who joined from Steeles Law, now leads the practice following the departure of former practice head Natalie Minott to Harrison Clark Rickerbys. Sims deals with landlord and tenant disputes, tenant insolvency, dilapidations, forfeiture, lease renewals and contested break options, and claims for breach of covenant.

Practice head(s):


Rachel Sims dealt with most of the dispute. She was professional in her manner, quick to answer my emails, and put into force restrictions on hedges and so forth when threats from the neighbours were received.

Public sector Tier 3

The Cambridge office of HCR Hewitsons is home to a multi-disciplinary team that supports the firm's education practice, which is led from Northampton. The firm advises schools and FE and HE colleges, which call on the construction, IP, IT, data protection, commercial contract and litigation expertise in Cambridge. Managing partner Colin Jones and technology partner Andrew Priest are among the main practitioners.

Other key lawyers:

Hewitsons is a leading law firm that treats each of its clients on an individual basis, advising businesses, individuals and institutions. Hewitsons operates UK-wide, delivering a broad range of high-quality specialist legal services through its groups of solicitors and via its international network, LawExchange International.

The firm: Hewitsons operates out of locations in Cambridge, London, Milton Keynes and Northampton, from which its teams provide a well-tailored and co-ordinated service to clients. The expertise and professional approach of the firm’s personnel are equal to the quality expected from national practices but with the added advantages that the firm’s strategic locations bring in terms of cost-effectiveness and pertinent local knowledge.

The international dimension of Hewitsons’ service is strengthened through LawExchange International, the association of pre-eminent legal practices, which Hewitsons founded in 1994. Member firms throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East provide their clients with informed legal knowledge within each respective national jurisdiction, and excellent service with global reach through the deeply integrated LawExchange network.

Hewitsons has the size and depth of resources, combined with commercially-minded and innovative approaches to client service, to ensure delivery of a high quality service that meets its clients’ legal requirements comprehensively and consistently adds value.

Types of work undertaken: Hewitsons provides a broad spectrum of services for the business community, public sector bodies, private clients and educational and charitable entities, encompassing all aspects of corporate, commercial, property and employment law, from non-contentious negotiations and advice through to dispute resolution and litigation. The firm offers in addition a higher number of specialist services (for example pensions, sport and technology law) than most firms of comparable size.

Hewitsons has multidisciplinary sector-focused groups to target its services, and to meet its clients’ current and future needs. These include dedicated groups focused on agricultural food and rural clients, banking and finance, development, technology and clean-tech, charities, educational institutions, high-net-worth clients, owner managed businesses, real estate portfolio management and sport.

Hewitsons’ corporate and commercial teams are market leaders with extensive expertise in all areas, including M&A, buyouts, start-ups, equity and debt investments, IPO’s, share schemes and corporate reorganisations. The firm is highly regarded for its expertise in the technology field, particularly for intellectual property and ICT law issues, and has a dedicated employment law group and dispute resolution lawyers specialising in commercial and intellectual property matters.

The firm’s property services group has exceptional knowledge of and experience in property and development work, including commercial sales and leasing, options, capital funding, joint venture and consortium agreements and associated construction, public procurement, planning and environmental issues, both contentious and non-contentious. Clients include owners and occupiers, promoters, developers, end-users, investors and portfolio managers.

Hewitsons’ substantial and highly respected private wealth unit provides specialised advice on tax planning, charity and agricultural law, trusts and probate to individuals and trustees whose wealth derives from family companies, listed market and other financial investments, commercial and agricultural property and landed estates.

Department Name Email Telephone
Private Wealth Clare Colacicchi 01604 463317
Construction Colin Jones 01223 532731
Agriculture Denise Wilkinson 01223 532743
Banking and finance Neil Harpham 01604 463301
Charities Chris Knight 01604 463103
Corporate James Lawrence 01223 532716
Commercial Bill Thatcher 01223 532709
Construction Tim Richards 01908 247011
Dispute resolution Dominic Hopkins 01604 233233
Education Chris Knight 01604 463103
Employment Nicholas Hall 01604 463375
Information Technology Andrew Priest 01223 532746
Intellectual property Mark Elmslie 01223 532720
Pensions Christopher Nuttall 01604 463134
Private wealth Daniel Curtis 01223 461155
Public sector Tim Richards 01908 247011
Real Estate Development Claire Howard-Amos 01604 463323
Residential property Tim Middleton 01223 461155
Sport Ben Moorhead 020 7400 6578
Photo Name Position Profile
 Catherine Ball  photo Catherine Ball Partner in private wealth department in Northampton, specialising in wills, probates, tax…
 Tiffany Benson  photo Tiffany Benson Legal Director
 David Browne  photo David Browne Partner specialising in corporate acquisitions and disposals, banking and non-contentious insolvency. In…
 Marc Carter  photo Marc Carter Partner in commercial property business unit specialising in development and investment work,…
 Clare Colacicchi  photo Clare Colacicchi Consultant
 Stephen Cole  photo Stephen Cole Senior Associate
 Antonia Cooper  photo Antonia Cooper Senior Associate
 Helen Deady  photo Helen Deady Senior Solicitor
 Stephanie Dennis  photo Stephanie Dennis Legal Director
 Kevin Fletcher  photo Kevin Fletcher Head of commercial/technology unit in Northampton; main areas of work: commercial contracts,…
 Bryan Guest  photo Bryan Guest Associate
 Nick Hall  photo Nick Hall Partner and team leader of the employment team at the Northampton offices;…
 Neil Harpham  photo Neil Harpham Heads Hewitsons’ banking and finance group. Partner in corporate department, based in…
 Hauke Harrack  photo Hauke Harrack Senior Solicitor
 Rachel Hawkins  photo Rachel Hawkins Senior Solicitor. Rachel advises clients on a wide range of Private Wealth…
 Virginia Henley  photo Virginia Henley Legal Director
 Gemma Hill  photo Gemma Hill Associate.
 Dominic Hopkins  photo Dominic Hopkins Partner, commercial litigation and ADR with a particular emphasis on cross-border disputes…
 Claire Howard-Amos  photo Claire Howard-Amos Legal Director
 Patricia Kempson  photo Patricia Kempson Partner in Real Estate department, Northampton and Milton Keynes, specialising in all…
 Christopher Nuttall  photo Christopher Nuttall Head of Pensions
 Anne-Sophie Reynolds  photo Anne-Sophie Reynolds Associate
 Alexia Simon  photo Alexia Simon Trust Manager, Alexia deals with the administration of Trusts, ensuring tax compliance…
 Rachel Smith  photo Rachel Smith Associate.
 Jane Stebbings  photo Jane Stebbings Associate
 Alexandra Svennevik  photo Alexandra Svennevik Senior Solicitor. 
 Katie Wall  photo Katie Wall Associate
 Eric Wardle  photo Eric Wardle Chartered Accountant / Head of Trust Managemement
 Gareth Williams  photo Gareth Williams
 Kerri Woodrow  photo Kerri Woodrow Kerri is a Partner in the Private Wealth team, based in the…
Number of UK partners : 45
Number of other UK fee-earners : 95
English (fluent)
Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP)