Firm Profile > Lester Aldridge LLP > Bournemouth, England

Lester Aldridge LLP

Commercial litigation: Dorset and South Wiltshire Tier 1

Lester Aldridge LLP's team has particular expertise in the marine, defence and financial sectors, where it is active in both High Court litigation and arbitral proceedings. Multiple cases handled by the firm recently have had an international dimension; Michael Veal handles the majority of the cross-border disputes undertaken by the firm. Practice head Kate Stewart has particular expertise in property litigation.


Well balanced division of work between hard-working associates and good partner oversight. Excellent visibility of fees for clients throughout. Highly organised and focused on delivery of high-quality product to clients

Ben Kerley is hardworking and diligent with good organisational skills, operates at a higher level than his years of experience suggest

Chris Evans has excellent client skills and care, and runs a tight ship

Commercial property: Dorset and South Wiltshire Tier 1

Lester Aldridge LLP's commercial property work is centred on sectors such as healthcare, leisure, telecoms, housebuilding, and ports and marinas. The practice demonstrates strong capabilities in the acquisition and sale of freehold and leasehold properties, sub-leases, portfolio management and investment transactions, among other matters. ‘Brilliant lawyerSuki Samra, who leads the Bournemouth-based team, assists landlords and property investors with landlord and tenant work and enfranchisement. Mark Benham is also highly recommended.


A remarkable depth of knowledge

The team is very strong and provides highly efficient advice

Suki Samra has built an excellent reputation in the field

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Santander UK



Bargate Homes

Bloor Homes

Merck & Co.

Captiva Homes

Marina Developments

Care South

CHG Holdings

Meyrick Estate


Yorkshire Building Society t/a Norwich & Peterborough Building Society


Lloyds Bank

Fragrance Group

Corporate and commercial: Dorset and South Wiltshire Tier 1

Lester Aldridge LLP acts for national and international clients on the full range of corporate and commercial matters, and also retains strong links with SME clients in the local Dorset area. Corporate M&A has been a continuing area of growth, with transactions growing in both size and volume. In addition, a rise in cross-border work has been epitomised by foreign funds work coming in to the UK. Grant Esterhuizen specialises in both corporate and commercial law, and is able to assist clients with joint-venture agreements, M&A and commercial contracts, invariably on a cross-border level.

Key clients

Wessex Petroleum Limited

Osprey Europe Limited

Ceuta Holdings Limited

Langham Industries

Bill and Sally Stone

Nick Sanders and Mile Stevenson

BKP Waste & Recycling Limited

Intrum UK Limited

Quality Care Group Limited

Quantum Group

Employment: Dorset and South Wiltshire Tier 1

Lester Aldridge LLP retains strong links with clients in the Dorset area. It provides ongoing employment advice to employers, senior executives, directors and shareholders, and high net worth individuals. The firm also has an expanding client base outside of Dorset, with it generating work from instructing parties based in Hampshire, Wiltshire and London. Catharine Geddes and Kevin Barnett are the key names in the team, which is adept in contentious and non-contentious matters.


Great depth of experience in all areas of Law. This enables the employment law team to be able to respond to a very wide area of queries

The size of the employment law team means that I know them very well and they know me and my organisation

I consider this team to be by far the most credible and professional that I have worked with

Catharine Geddes is extremely professional, yet very easy to talk to and gain a clear understanding of what advice she is giving

Catharine takes time to really drill down to the situation and gives excellent support that is naturally aligned to the lower level of risk that our organisation prefers to work at

Key clients

Curtiss Wright Group

Ceuta Holdings Limited

Data Installations and Networking Services Limited T/a Data Techniques

Osprey Europe Limited

FRP Advisory LLP

Moorfields Advisory Limited

Dorset Wildlife Trust

Global Maritime Consultancy Limited

Health and safety Tier 1

Lester Aldridge LLP predominantly focuses on regulatory and business crime, and undertakes prosecution work principally for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but also acts for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and local authorities. Practice head Michael Veal is a well-known name in the health and safety sphere, and handles prosecutions for the HSE throughout the South West of England and South Wales. In addition, the firm also defends commercial clients and public bodies in investigations and health and safety trials.


The team Lester Aldridge is responsive and friendly with a real depth of expertise

My dealings with the team have always been simple and straightforward. The H&S department clearly knows what it is doing

This is a totally professional and hard-working team who know what they are talking about and are respected by everyone for that

I work a lot with Michael Veal. He is a fantastic lawyer with a great depth of knowledge of his subject. He thinks deeply about his work and provides sensible, commercially-sound advice to his clients. He is tactically astute and works extremely hard

Michael Veal is very well regarded. He provides significant input into the decision-making processes, the securing of relevant evidence and strategy

Michael Veal is widely recognised to be one of the pre-eminent Health and Safety Lawyers. His knowledge of the law is hugely impressive, but he also has sound judgment and a pragamatic approach. Unlike many solicitors in this field, he is not distracted by the technical aspects of the evidence but quickly identifies what is important to the successful resolution of the case

Michael Veal is a powerhouse of knowledge – both in practice and procedure as well as the law. He is always fully seized of all the case facts and knows how to get the best results. Other lawyers and judges know they can trust him and know that he will work tirelessly to achieve aims. He gives realistic advice on outcomes where necessary

Key clients

Health & Safety Executive

Maritime & Coastguard Agency

Torbay Council

Family Tier 2

Lester Aldridge LLP undertakes financial remedy cases, advises on pension and tax structuring and is experienced in drafting and negotiating pre-nuptial agreements as well as declaration of trust and cohabitation agreements for the protection of assets. The firm is also specialised in private children law and is involved in international children cases that encompass disputed contact, residence and surrogacy aspects.

Health Tier 2

Active across the whole healthcare sector, Lester Aldridge LLP's team stands out nationally for its notable expertise in health and social care regulation. Its varied client base includes NHS organisations, care homes and agencies, supported living services, children’s homes and specialist learning disability and mental health providers. The health team is regularly instructed by equity funds and lenders on high-value transactions. Another pillar of the practice involves representing clients during regulatory investigations, as well as professional misconduct and criminal proceedings; Laura Guntrip is a key contact in this space. Peter Grose heads up the team, which also includes Susan Cowan.


Highly regarded on the local market

Key clients


Lifeways Community Care

National Fostering Agency

Graham Care

Registered Nursing Home Association

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

The Kent Autistic Trust

National Care Association

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Medical Health NHS Trust

Personal injury: claimant Tier 2

Lester Aldridge LLP advises on claims arising from severe injuries such as brain and spinal injuries. Other cases involve clinical negligence, road accidents, marine accidents as well as amputation cases. The practice is also experienced in handling claims arising from injuries sustained in a workplace. The ‘extremely efficient and well-prepared’ practice head Tim Blackwell assists with the securing of rehabilitation funds and advises families of injured individuals.


‘Tim Blackwell has a sound judgment and gives the client a great sense of reassurance.

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 3

Geoff Trobridge heads the practice at Lester Aldridge LLP and advises on charity registrations, charity mergers and restructuring, trustees’ duties and liabilities, fundraising regulations and charity disputes. The practice also assists with legacy protection, risk management and contentious Court of Protection cases. The firm is additionally experienced in the review of charity governance and the role of charity members.

Key clients

Care South

Autism Wessex

Kent Autistic Trust

Lewis Manning Hospice

Solent Mind

Macmillan Caring Locally

The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust

Help and Care

Prama Foundation

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP specialises in contested will, trust and probate cases, which regularly involve cross-border aspects. The firm represents charities, care homes, high-net-worth individuals and wealthy families in contentious estate administration disputes. The firm also specialises in acting for vulnerable clients and disputes concerning the mental capacity of elderly clients. The firm also handles sensitive Court of Protection cases.

Debt recovery Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP advises both businesses and individuals on the recovery of secured and unsecured commercial and personal finance, recovery of assets, consumer and credit disputes, financial fraud and leasing regulations. The firm has a notable specialism in bulk recoveries of both debts and assets, from pre-legal collections to litigation. Ann Lloyd heads up the team.

Professional negligence Tier 3

Principally acting for claimants, Lester Aldridge LLP assists with professional negligence claims against accountants, property surveyors and independent financial advisers, which involves claims arising from aggressive and illegal tax schemes. Practice head Kate Stewart specialises in the negligent construction of properties and regularly advises on claims against architects and project managers. The practice also has expertise in claiming against solicitors in relation to breach of duty.

Property litigation Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP’s property litigation department is led by Kate Stewart, who has extensive expertise in a wide range of general real estate and landlord and tenant disputes. Stewart's experience includes possession claims, dilapidations, service charge disputes and enfranchisement matters. Stewart's team works closely with the wider real estate group to advise developer clients on contentious matters. In addition, it also provides support to the ports and marinas department, as well as the care team.


The team can provide litigation advice on a wide range of property disputes

Everyone on the team is always very focused on achieving the best commercial outcome for clients’

Kate Stewart is always available on the other side of the phone to handle any challenge that is directed her way

Key clients

Marina Developments

The McCarthy & Stone Group

Big Yellow

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 4

Lester Aldridge LLP has expertise in international estate transfer, domestic and offshore tax planning, the establishment and structuring of trusts for vulnerable individuals, as well as in wealth planning, business succession issues and cross-border wealth transfer between high-net-worth individuals and family members. Other key clients include charities, which the team regularly advises on regulatory aspects and the structuring of assets.

Shipping Tier 1

The 'highly approachable' marine department at Lester Aldridge LLP provides a full service to shipping clients. The scope of its work includes assisting clients with the sale and purchase (and related financing) of yachts and superyachts, and also advice on sponsorship agreements and contracts. In addition, the group acts for clients in charterparty disputes, commodity disputes and security actions. It also handles investigations and prosecutions brought by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch/Maritime and Coastguard Agency for alleged regulatory offences Russell Kelly is the practice head.


Lester Aldridge’s Southampton office has a number of marine financial specialists who are highly approachable and easy to work with on transactions‘.

Russell Kelly is always on hand to guide us through complex marine transactions; he will identify potential problems early which saves time‘.

Russell Kelly is like an additional member of my team and is highly respected in the sector.’

Commercial property: Hampshire Tier 2

Lester Aldridge LLP's strengths in the real estate sphere are illustrated by the fact that its team has experience of handling development site acquisitions for clients such as McCarthy & Stone Plc and Care South. Property finance is another driver of activity, with the firm generating work from a number of clearing banks. Its team also has significant experience of managing property portfolios for clients in the marine, healthcare and telecommunications sectors, among others. Practice head Roger Wooley is the name to note for development projects, development agreements and disposals.

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Santander UK

Monzo Bank


Bargate Homes

Bloor Homes


Captiva Homes

Marina Developments

Care South

CHG Holdings

Meyrick Estate


Aldermore Bank

Norwich & Peterborough


Lloyds Bank

Fragrance Group

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

With 'a good mix of technical knowledge and practical application', the Insolvency and Corporate Recovery team at Lester Aldridge LLP's Southampton office joins tier 2 this year. Led by the 'first class' Nick Keitley, the practice is best known for its non-contentious work, acting mainly for insolvency practitioners. The practice has a particular focus in advising and assisting on the appointment of administrators acting on trading administrations and insolvency transactional work.  With 13 years’ of experience advising exclusively on corporate restructuring and insolvency matters, Melia Hirst is another key name to note.


‘Experience and knowledge is excellent. Very easy to work with collaboratively.’

‘A good mix of technical knowledge and practical application.’

‘Nick Keitley and Melia Hirst both have a wealth of experience and provide sound advice.’

‘Nick Keitley is a first class legal mind.’

Key clients

JWS Business Recovery

Moore Stephens

Peter Hall Limited

Portland Business & Financial Solutions

Smith & Williamson

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group

James Cowper Kreston


Begbies Traynor


Planning Tier 3

Lester Aldridge LLP's planning department is led by housebuilding specialist Tom Alder. Although the team is particularly well-known for acting for residential developers, it also advises clients in the ports, marinas and care sectors. Areas of expertise include negotiating planning and infrastructure agreements, as well as CIL advisory work. On the contentious side, the team advises clients on judicial reviews.


The team is very approachable and provides excellent advice and support on projects‘.

Tom Alder and Lucy Stevens provide a high quality service while remaining friendly and maintaining a strong team-wide work ethic’. 

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Bargate Homes

C&G Properties Plc

Poole Harbour Commissioners

Lymington Harbour Commissioners

Big Yellow Self Storage

Cavanna Homes

Lester Aldridge is a full-service law firm with offices in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. The firm’s core practice areas are real estate, litigation, private client and commercial services, which it delivers regionally, nationally and internationally.

The firm:

Lester Aldridge offers something to clients that other, larger firms do not: a genuine partnership. Client satisfaction is reflected in the growth it has experienced, seeing revenues increase steadily. Big name clients include Ceuta Holdings, Lloyds Bank, Marina Developments, Moore Stephens and Monzo Bank.

Lester Aldridge is a growing firm whose breadth of service continues to broaden. Formed following the merger of two large Bournemouth firms in 1988 (with origins tracing back to 1796); in 2007, it changed status from a traditional partnership to that of a limited liability partnership, and is a “go to” firm, which has proved to be attractive to partners from other firms.

Lester Aldridge has been accredited with the Law Society’s Lexcel Quality Standard since 2007.

Types of work undertaken:

Real estate: the firm’s extensive property team span sectors including commercial development, care, residential and lending, investment and retail, with expertise to handle a wide range of property issues, from development projects, management and investment, buying and selling properties, landlord and tenant issues, to planning, environment and construction. It also has expertise in the niche areas of ports and marinas, waterside developments and assisted living.

Dispute resolution: Lester Aldridge’s experienced team covers a broad range of general commercial litigation, as well as working for clients in specific industries, handling everything from emergency injunctions to mediation and high court litigation in areas as diverse as debt collection and multi-million cross-jurisdictional claims.

Corporate & Commercial: The team handles an array of corporate work for a diverse client base. Particularly noted for its M&A work, the team regularly advises clients on other company and commercial issues, including joint ventures, IT and IP licensing, competition law and restructurings. The team also acts for international, national and regional clients in many sectors, including charities and the third sector.

Litigation & Recoveries: Lester Aldridge’s team has a proven track record in providing effective advice to banks, building society, finance houses, leasing companies and insolvency practitioners. It specialises in the recovery of secured and unsecured commercial and personal finance, as well as asset recovery.

Marine: LA Marine is the specialist shipping and marine law team of Lester Aldridge, providing expert advice and practical solutions to the commercial shipping, logistics, superyacht and leisure marine industries. LA Marine deals with all aspects of maritime law, from non-contentious matters to collisions, charterparty issues, bill of lading disputes, demurrage claims and personal injury.

Healthcare: One of the leading areas of expertise at Lester Aldridge and one for which the firm has a national reputation. For over 20 years, members of the specialist healthcare team have been specialising in the regulation of health and social care services, regularly acting for independent social care providers, independent hospitals, NHS Trusts and GPs. The team also acts for children’s homes, schools and fostering agencies.

Employment: As one of the leading employment teams in the south, the team provides specialist advice on all areas of employment law, acting for international, national and major regional employers in all sectors. The team supports HR and senior management in dealing with a multitude of employment issues, from drafting service agreements, employment contracts, employment policies and handbooks, to advising on tribunal claims, redundancy programmes and TUPE-related matters.

Private client: The firm offers a full range of services for individuals, with specialists in wills and estates, tax planning and trusts, contentious probate, community care, residential conveyancing, family, employment, personal injury and medical negligence. The international private client team supports both professionals and private individuals across a range of global estate planning and administration matters, including a specialist medallion signature guarantee service.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chairman Roger Woolley
Managing Partner Matthew Barrow
Litigation and recoveries Ann Lloyd
Charities and social enterprise Geoff Trobridge
Corporate and commercial Grant Esterhuizen
Dispute resolution and property litigation Kate Stewart
Employment Catharine Geddes
Family Jane Porter
Healthcare Laura Guntrip
LA Marine Russell Kelly
Personal injury Tim Blackwell
Real estate Mark Benham, Suki Samra
Private Client Kurt Lee
Regulation & business crime Michael Veal
Restructuring & Insolvency Nick Keitley, Melia Hirst
Shipping & logistics Linda Jacques
Number of UK partners : 45
Solicitors & associates : 55
Other fee earners : 107
Law Society of England and Wales
MSI Global Alliance

CLIENT: Private individual
COMPANY/FIRM: Lester Aldridge
TESTIMONIAL: “I recently instructed Lester Aldridge to act on my behalf regarding a family dispute matter. The firm and in particular, Victoria Jones who personally handled my case, proved to be extremely professional, knowledgeable and efficient at all times… Because of Victoria’s skill I had a very successful outcome to my case and I have no hesitation in highly recommending her and Lester Aldridge.”

CLIENT: Private individual
COMPANY/FIRM: Lester Aldridge
TESTIMONIAL: “That is the perfect response – timely, easy to understand, answers all my queries and with clear reasoning… It backs up my reasoning for saying how brilliant it is having you and the Lester Aldridge team by my side as support.”

CLIENT: Gary Day, McCarthy & Stone
COMPANY/FIRM: Lester Aldridge
TESTIMONIAL: “I would not hesitate to recommend Mark and the property team at Lester Aldridge. Having advised McCarthy & Stone on several hundred development sites around the UK, I believe their track record is second to none.”

CLIENT: Private individual
COMPANY/FIRM: Lester Aldridge
TESTIMONIAL: “It only remains to thank you and the whole team at Lester Aldridge for holding my hand and steering me through the unexpected twists and turns of this saga.  Your input, calm heads, empathy and grasp of the vast detail were very helpful, supportive and impressive for what has undoubtedly been an emotional journey for me.”

CLIENT: D. Wright
COMPANY/FIRM: Lester Aldridge
TESTIMONIAL: “I can only say my experience with the team and mainly Victoria Jones, was excellent… There was never a time when following a telephone call, or letter from LA, that I didn’t feel so much better. I found the service efficient, advice factual and clear, but delivered with great empathy.”

CLIENT: Debbie Beere, Dbeere Yachts
COMPANY/FIRM: Lester Aldridge
TESTIMONIAL: “Having known Louise Fuller in a professional capacity for over ten years, I can honestly say she always goes above and beyond with her work. The service Louise and Lester Aldridge provide us is second to none and I would always be confident to recommend their services to others.”

At Lester Aldridge, we believe in equality and diversity for everyone – employees, clients and the firm. As part of our overall commitment to equality of opportunity, we are fully dedicated to promoting a good harmonious working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

Our Equality and Diversity Committee is chaired by the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice (COLP) and consists of a group of Partners and Associates, together with the Head of Human Resources. The Committee meets regularly to consider equality and diversity issues throughout the firm, monitoring and reporting of diversity data, policy reviews and compliance with relevant legislation as well as identifying areas for improvement. The Committee reports regularly to the Managing Partner and the Group Leaders.

We have a diversity policy which we are committed to making effective and will take all appropriate steps to ensure everyone is treated fairly. We also encourage all staff to complete an optional annual diversity questionnaire.

In 2010, we became a signatory of The Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter. Like The Law Society, we believe this commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential to reflect the society we serve today. It makes business sense because it helps us to attract and retain the best talent, it enables us to understand and meet clients’ needs more effectively and so provide a better quality service.

Accordingly, we will:

· Strive to achieve best practice in our recruitment, retention and career progression practices as employers.

· Support the development of good diversity practice by collecting and sharing examples of practical activities that contribute to progress with other signatories.

· Assign responsibility for meeting our Charter commitments to a named, senior level individual.

· Work together to develop and adopt future protocols that support the practical implementation of the aims of this Charter.

· Annually publish the diversity profile of our UK employees and details of our work on equality, diversity and inclusion.

· Publish a joint annual report on the basis of a monitoring exercise to measure the impact of this Diversity and Inclusion Charter and its protocols. These reports will form the basis of regular dialogue with stakeholders, employees and clients.

The Lex 100 Verdict

Lester Aldridge boasts offices in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. Trainees were drawn to the firm's reputation as 'the best in the area' and for its sizeable presence in Dorset. Some of the trainees had previously worked for the firm, and had witnessed first-hand 'how approachable partners are' who 'really set the bar high'. Many agree that 'the culture at the firm is fantastic' as 'there is a real lack of hierarchy' and 'people always make time for you'. The 'hands-on' training at Lester Aldridge is appreciated by all, affording new recruits 'direct contact with clients' from the very first week. As a result, respondents feel 'fully involved in matters' and able to 'assist at all levels'. Trainees were happy about the 'local sandwich delivery at lunch' and rated the 'exposure to different areas of law due to the size of the firm' as one of the best things about Lester Aldridge. Less favourable comments related to the seat allocation process, as for one trainee this 'got changed at the last minute without any consultation'. Others complained about remuneration and benefits, claiming 'the salary could be better'. Understandably, worst moments included 'being nervous on the first day' but this was soon overcome by the help of 'friendly people'. 'Leading a client meeting' and 'attending court and mediations' were notable highlights, with newbies appreciating the level of responsibility and trust given to them early on. If you want to 'be involved with real work from the start of your training contract', then take a closer look at Lester Aldridge.