Firm Profile > Mills & Reeve LLP > Leeds, England

Mills & Reeve LLP

Family: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 1

Mills & Reeve LLP stands out for its knowledge of complex financial arrangements, with the team's expertise encompassing multi-jurisdictional disputes, trust structures, inherited wealth, pensions and marital agreements. Philip Way leads the practice and heads up the firm's Leeds office; he is also an expert on the pensions aspects of divorce. Clients also praise senior associate Claudia Gilham, who has growing expertise in cohabitation cases and private children matters; and principal associate Ellie Foster, who handles financial arrangements and pensions issues.


Mills & Reeve is easily one of the leading firms in the region for family work and fields a team of experts who clearly know what they are doing‘.

Philip Way is undoubtedly a leading individual in the field‘.

Ellie Foster is incredibly thorough and professional in her approach‘.

Claudia Gilham is a fantastic family solicitor who gives commercial and practical advice and is professional and approachable. She is really building a name for herself in the region‘.

Professional negligence: defendant Tier 1

Mills & Reeve LLP's Leeds team specialise in professional negligence litigation for defendants and their insurers, handling work in sectors including financial services, construction, engineering and medical product liability. The department routinely acts for large professional firms in claims against insurance brokers, pensions and construction professionals and lawyers.

Key clients

Pen Underwriting

Travelers Insurance Company (recent appointment to core panel)

Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund

XL Catlin Insurance

CNA Hardy Insurance (panel reappointment)

Navigators Pro

AmTrust Europe

International Insurance Company of Hannover

Chancery Pii

Agriculture and estates Tier 2

Following the departure of Julia Rangecroftto Shulmans LLP, Mills & Reeve LLP’s agriculture and estates team in Leeds is now led by principal associate Andrea Newman. Newman, who was previously based in Cambridge, has 16 years’ post-qualification experience and is well versed in high-profile transactions, such as large scale development projects for institutions and landowning charitable trusts. Other highlights of the work carried out by the practice include diversification projects and joint ventures.

Key clients

Coutts & Company

Wellcome Trust

The Countryside Restoration Trust

Farmcare Trading Limited

Northumbrian Water Limited

John Innes Foundation

Commercial property: Leeds and West Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Tier 3

Mills & Reeve LLP has a full service real estate team which advises on national and international property projects. The firm has a range of clients including investors, developers, land owners, institutional and local authority funds and corporations. The team is led by Simon Sherwood, who focuses on real estate investment, with a particular expertise in primary healthcare development work. Real estate represents roughly a third of Mills & Reeve's total turnover, demonstrating the significance of the practice to the wider firm.

Key clients

Consolidated Property Group

Harmony Bridge

Encon Insulation

The British Library

Brookgate Property

Ridgeon Group

London House Exchange

DB Cargo

General Practice Investment Corporation


Education Tier 3

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP has continued to grow on the back of the firm's hire of former Pinsent Masons LLP international universities head Martin Priestley in early 2018. Priestley focuses on education sector commercial projects and international joint ventures, while Mark Pearce is the key name for IP-related issues at universities, and principal associate Poppy Short has experience in governance and structuring issues.

Key clients

University of York

University of Durham

Northumbria University

Nottingham Trent University

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 3

Mills & Reeve LLP's private client team acts for UK and international families, estates, trustees and companies, with a specialist team under the national direction of Leeds partner Andrew Playle, who holds the STEP Advanced Certificate in Family Business Advising and is an expert in trusts, wills, tax, probate and related structuring advice. The team also has expertise in succession planning, lasting powers of attorney and acting in Court of Protection matters. Julia Rangecroft left to join Shulmans LLP in early 2019

Corporate and commercial: Leeds, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Tier 4

The team at Mills & Reeve LLP is frequently instructed on a range of mid-market transactions, with key sectors including the technology, food and agribusiness, healthcare and private wealth industries. Practice head Paul Johnson counts a range of private and public companies as clients and has recently been increasingly active in the insurance sector. Martin Priestley joined from Pinsent Masons LLP to head up the commercial team, bringing education sector expertise.

Key clients



Rema Tip Top

WH Ireland

Servoca Plc

Kings Security Systems

YFM Equity Partners

Alliance Medical



Intellectual property Tier 4

With technology, life sciences and education sector expertise, Mills & Reeve LLP is instructed on a range of intellectual property matters ranging from advising on the protection of rights in corporate transactions to representing clients in high-profile patent litigation. Mark Pearce heads up the national practice from the Leeds office and has experience in both contentious and non-contentious matters.

Key clients

Nottingham Trent University

Cambridge University Hospitals Trust

University of West London

Tekmar plc

Fox International Group Limited

Premia Solutions Limited

The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Spomb Fishing Limited

IT and telecoms Tier 4

The commercial, IT and IP team at Mills & Reeve LLP has particular experience advising central government, education sector and healthcare sector clients on IT projects; it also assists growing technology businesses. The group is jointly led by commercial lawyer Martin Priestley and IP specialist Mark Pearce, who splits his time between the Leeds and Cambridge offices.

Key clients

Maritime & Coastguard Agency

Premia Solutions Limited

University of York

University of Leeds

University of Surrey

Bytemark Limited

WH Ireland Limited

Bango Plc

Mills & Reeve is a top UK law firm with offices in six key UK cities; London, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester and Norwich. The firm’s experience speaks volumes but it’s an ambitious, collaborative culture that drives the business.

The firm: Mills & Reeve’s staff thrive on developing great relationships and love helping clients find solutions to their legal challenges with a combination of smart advice, outstanding service and a passion for hard work. A talented workforce and proactive approach is complemented by a commitment to always offering value for money.

The firm’s lawyers work with household names in the UK and internationally. They count companies like Barclays, the University of Cambridge and AIG among their clients – as well as a unique mix of high-net-worth individuals, multinational corporations, start-ups and public sector organisations.

Clients have access to a worldwide network of trusted partners for international advice. Lawyers are used to working on and managing projects spanning international boundaries.

Types of work undertaken: The firm is proud to have created an innovative legal environment, with expertise spanning ten key sectors: health, private wealth, education, insurance, charities, agriculture, real estate investment, food and beverage, sport and technology.

Health and care: Mills & Reeve acts for more than 100 NHS providers and commissioners, as well as some of the biggest independent health providers in the UK. Its lawyers are recognised experts in health law and work with major organisations such as the Department of Health.

Private wealth: Mills & Reeve works closely with clients to offer smart advice for complex trusts and tax issues. Its family lawyers offer mediation, collaborative law and arbitration, or if court is unavoidable, complex litigation.

Education: Mills & Reeve is a nationwide leader in education law. Its team of 140 education specialists helps over 120 organisations with a broad range of legal challenges, covering issues like international collaborations, campus developments and regulatory issues.

Insurance: Mills & Reeve works with some of the UK’s leading insurance companies, offering a broad experience base to tackle a wide range of legal challenges – including market disputes and reinsurance claims, and issues relating to counter-fraud and employment.

Charities: Mills & Reeve’s 140-strong team of specialists include some of the UK’s most renowned authorities on charity law. Clients include Macmillan Cancer Support, the Wellcome Trust and the British Council.

Food and agribusiness: from farm to fork, those involved in the food and agribusiness sector face a range of challenges. Mills & Reeve understands the issues involved with experience of advising businesses from farmers and landed estates to major food processors and retailers.

Real estate investment: Mills & Reeve has extensive experience in handling issues ranging from significant transactions to day-to-day asset management. Its team of more than 100 lawyers has helped clients like Trinity College Cambridge and Lend Lease.

Sport: Mills & Reeve’s lawyers have more than 50 years of experience in advising clients across a wide variety of sports. The team is headed up by Mark Hovell, who is a well-respected industry spokesman and is one of a select few arbitrators appointed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Technology: Mills & Reeve’s technology and life sciences team has a strong reputation for providing clear and proactive advice. They regularly offer guidance on issues like information technology and intellectual property.

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing partner Claire Clarke
Senior partner Justin Ripman
Food and agribusiness Michael Aubrey
Charities Neil Burton
Corporate Kevin Lowe
Commercial Greg Gibson
Disputes Jamie Wheatley
Education Gary Attle
Employment David Mills
Family Nick Stone
Food and agribusiness Craig Hodgson
Health and care Jill Mason
Insurance disputes Stephen King
Insurance Neil Davis
Private tax Chris Belcher
Private wealth Andrew Playle
Projects and construction Raith Pickup
Real estate investment Charles Staveley
Real estate Beverley Firth
Sport Mark Hovell
Technology Kevin Calder
Photo Name Position Profile
 Matthew Liston  photo Matthew Liston
 Andrea Newman  photo Andrea Newman
 Andrew Playle  photo Andrew Playle
 Philip Way  photo Philip Way
Number of UK partners : 131
Number of other UK fee-earners : 500

The Lex 100 Verdict

Mills & Reeve 'promises a good work/life balance without having to compromise on high-quality work'. With the ability to do 'six seats as opposed to the traditional four', trainees benefit from 'great exposure to multiple practice areas', which ensures an informed decision upon qualification. 'The collaborative, friendly culture' was unanimously voted the best thing about the firm. Respondents also enjoyed the open-plan office, working very reasonable hours, and the opportunities to liaise directly with clients from early on. Newbies say there is an 'expected dip in salary compared to similar firms because of the benefit of a having a decent work/life balance' but many felt that it 'didn't match the cost of living, particularly in Cambridge'. Furthermore, the 'lack of secondment opportunities', as well as the 'variance in supervision between departments' also upset some respondents. Others relished the opportunity to 'manage several transactions with minimal supervision' which made them feel trusted to deal with their own workload. Indeed, having 'high involvement in high-profile cases' such as 'attending and winning an appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice', gave applicants 'a real sense of responsibility and value' which is why many chose to apply to Mills & Reeve in the first place. As expected, 'bundling', 'admin tasks' and 'not being given much supervision' were less favourable experiences. However, many appreciated the proactive CSR committee and look forward to being part of the annual 'charity challenge'. Impressively, Mills & Reeve has earned six Lex 100 Winner medals this year. If you want to be part of an 'ambitious, collaborative and inclusive' firm whilst 'benefitting from high-calibre clients', apply to Mills & Reeve.