Firm Profile > Nelsons Solicitors Limited > Leicester, England

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

Charities and not-for-profit Tier 1

Nelsons Solicitors Limited’s ‘very efficient' group 'operates with knowledge and understanding’ of a broad range of charities. It demonstrates strength in employment, property, IT, trusts, financial, corporate and education matters. James Coningsby heads up the ‘very helpful and pleasant team’, which is also active in charity-related court proceedings and mediations.

Practice head(s):

James Coningsby 

Other key lawyers:

Chris Adams; Richard Grosberg


Craig Staten-Spencer is very engaged with our work and fully focused. He works efficiently, communicates well and is very supportive‘.

The team is well briefed , competent , polite and efficient at all times‘.

Richard Grosberg and Craig Staten-Spencer  are well informed and provide advice that can be relied on‘.

Contentious trusts and probate Tier 1

Lawyers at Nelsons Solicitors Limited have ‘a breadth of specialist knowledge’, which is evidenced across all forms of contentious trusts and probate litigation. Recent work included a number of high-value Inheritance Act matters, will disputes and estoppel claims. Kevin Modiri leads the team, which includes recently promoted partner Lewis Addison (who is a member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists). Associate Lewis Hastie is also a key figure.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Modiri;

Other key lawyers:


There is seamless coordination between fee earners when necessary‘.

A reliable, robust, firm which fights its client’s corner effectively‘.

Lewis Hastie is a good and effective solicitor, who is proportionate and effective in his approach to cases. He works hard for his clients

Family Tier 1

Nelsons Solicitors Limited has an excellent reputation in financial relief cases involving high-net-worth individuals and complicated child-related proceedings. The ‘focused, pragmatic and well likedKelvin Henderson, who leads the family department, specialises in divorces, financial disputes between cohabitees and pension matters. His team also has specialist expertise in marriage annulments and pre- and post-nuptial agreements. The children law practice is led by Melanie Bridgen, who handles stranded spouse, wardship, surrogacy and step-parent adoption cases, among others. Clients include entrepreneurs, business owners, company directors and private individuals from the farming sector. Gareth Protheroe, a specialist in Children Act proceedings, recently made associate.

Practice head(s):

Kelvin Henderson; Melanie Bridgen;

Other key lawyers:

Victor Collins; Emma Davies; Gareth Protheroe;


They are well known for public child care work and domestic violence cases‘.

Kelvin Henderson is very highly regarded. He is a worthy opponent, focussed, pragmatic and well liked‘.

Melanie Bridgen is a feisty, experienced child care lawyer who goes the extra mile for clients‘.

‘Gareth Protheroe is very knowledgeable and  approachable‘.


Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant Tier 1

Bruce Williams is a key name at Nelsons Solicitors Limited, providing clients with a ‘wealth of experience and a calm nerve’. He is reputed for his handling of acquired and traumatic severe brain injury cases for children, including birth injury claims. The team is knowledgeable about a broad range of severe and catastrophic injuries on both the personal injury and clinical negligence fronts, including spinal and orthopaedic injuries. Multi-party actions and inquest-related litigation are also areas where the group demonstrates a proven track record. Lisa Preece heads up the team, which comprises of ‘experienced and shrewd litigators', who are noted for their 'excellent client care’.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Preece

Other key lawyers:

Julie Walker; Matthew Olner; Bruce Williams


Lisa Preece is excellent at building a strong case by getting the details right’.

Dianne Collins is highly experienced and effective‘.

Bruce Williams’ style is quiet, calm and assured. He works economically, without inflating costs. He knows the field of clinical negligence like the back of his hand and applies his experience accordingly‘.

Commercial litigation: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's practice in Leicester is led by Jon Roberts, who has 30 years of commercial dispute resolution experience. Roberts acts as a solicitor-advocate and trial advocate, and distinguishes himself in complex, multimillion-pound High Court litigation.  Simon Trees is another partner in the team, whose varied workload includes professional negligence cases, commercial contracts disputes and corporate and personal insolvency litigation. Trees has a notable specialism in property litigation.

Practice head(s):

Jon Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Lewis Addison; Simon Trees

Commercial litigation: Nottingham and Derby Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited has a sizeable presence in the East Midlands, fielding 17 practitioners (including six partners) in its Nottingham and Derby offices. In addition to acting for local clients, it also advises entities based further afield nationally as well. Its practice head in Derby is Cathryn Selby, who has more than 23 years of commercial litigation experience, and includes group actions and other large-scale litigation. Also based in Derby is Kevin Modiri, who handles a varied workload of professional negligence claims, insolvency litigation, partnership disputes and breaches of contract, among other matters. In Nottingham, seasoned practitioner Chris Adams is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Chris Adams (Nottingham); Cathryn Selby (Derby)

Other key lawyers:

Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's recent work has included advising developers on high-value developments and strategic land projects, as well as undertaking refinancing work for institutional lenders and assisting pension scheme trustees with property acquisitions. The team also handled mandates for local and national retailers, and also charities and other voluntary sector clients, and educational establishments.  The firm offers extensive coverage of the Nottingham and Derby markets, with specialist teams being based in both areas. Riaz Dudhia is the overall practice head.

Practice head(s):

Riaz Dudhia


Riaz Dudhia has built a team of exceptional competence and commerciality

Its team is approachable, knowledgeable and refreshingly easy to deal with, compared to some. It has a wide variety of expertise and inspires confidence that, if it is instructed to deal with a matter, it will do so promptly and efficiently

Key clients

Redrow Homes East Midlands Limited

Fairgrove Homes Limited

PKF Cooper Parry LLP

Giant UK Limited

Carlton Street Trading Limited

Intelligent Money Limited

Talbot & Muir Limited

Corporate and commercial: Nottingham and Derby Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited had an uptick in transactional work in 2018, with the firm acting for clients such as SMEs, listed companies and multinational organisations. Nottingham team head Duncan Taylor and recently promoted partner Alice Rees have expertise in acquisitions and disposals, shareholders’ agreements and secured lending transactions. In the commercial sphere, Harpreet Sandhu and associate Shelley Litchfield advise clients on supply and distribution agreements, collaboration agreements and IP licensing, e-commerce documents and franchising. The corporate group in Derby is led by David Kaplan, whose experience of negotiating complex deals includes those with a cross-border dimension.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Taylor (Nottingham team head); David Kaplan (Derby team head)

Other key lawyers:


An approachable team with comprehensive knowledge, which works in an efficient manner

All team members respond to questions with clarity and without delay. Alice Rees has excellent knowledge, is approachable and clients feel supported by her

Key clients

Badgemaster Limited

Premier Moves Limited

The Fostering Foundation

Ekkosense Limited

iCandy World Limited

Midland Lead Limited

Monarch Acoustics Limited

Navmii Holdings Limited

Nottingham Rugby Limited

Gill Marine Limited

Murphy & Son Limited

Easy Pre-Orders Limited

The Double R

Gas Container Services Limited

PKF Cooper Parry

Power Electronic Measurements

Debt recovery Tier 2

Associate Simon Key heads up Nelsons Solicitors Limited's five-lawyer practice, which focuses on handling bespoke (rather than volume, process-driven) business-to-business debt recovery mandates from commercial clients, and particularly excels in pre-action collections. The firm had a strong 2018 in this space, adding 74 commercial clients to its existing portfolio.

Practice head(s):

Simon Key


The team at Nelsons is very helpful, supportive and prompt in responding to any problems

Insolvency and corporate recovery Tier 2

Active in both corporate and personal insolvency work, Nelsons Solicitors Limited has a strong profile in the East Midlands market, and fields insolvency and restructuring experts in each of its offices in Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. It also undertakes a significant amount of work for London-based clients. Rachel McCahill succeeded Simon Trees as practice head during 2018, with Trees maintaining an active practice, handling contentious matters for insolvency practitioners and trustees in bankruptcy. McCahill, who advises on administrations, liquidations, bankruptcies and misfeasance actions, has both defended and pursued actions against directors in connection with issues such as disguised remuneration and the recently introduced Loan Charge. Other practitioners to note are Chris Adams and Derby-based Kevin Modiri, with the latter highlighted for his expertise in complex bankruptcies.

Practice head(s):

Rachel McCahill

Other key lawyers:


‘The strength of the Nelsons team across the whole East Midlands places them as one of the top firms to work with.’

‘Simon Trees and Rachel McCahill are true giants of the insolvency world in the East Midlands.’

‘Simon Trees provides a high quality service, achieving consistent results.’

‘Duncan Taylor is a pleasure to work with, his client service is of the highest standard.’

‘Simon Trees and Rachel McCahilll command the stage and offer sage advice in a practical and commercially effective way.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory LLP

Kennway Francis Limited

The MacDonald Partnership

Smith Cooper

Menzies LLP

Blades Insolvency

Bridgewood Financial Services Ltd


Elwell Watchorn & Saxton LLP

PKF Cooper Parry

Berley Chartered Accountants

Mazars LLP

Intellectual property Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's contentious practice is led by Emma Ward, who has specialist knowledge of the technology, manufacturing and fashion industries. The firm advises clients on the full range of related work from strategy and specification through to prosecution and opposition proceedings. Harpreet Sandhu, who is the head of the non-contentious practice, assists clients with intellectual property ownership, exploitation and protection issues.

Practice head(s):

Emma Ward; Harpreet Sandhu;


‘Emma Ward is probably the most competent solicitor I have ever dealt with.  She has the rare combination of high-level strategic thinking, careful attention to detail, and meticulous preparation’.

‘Emma Ward is exceptional in all areas; she is very helpful and knowledgeable’.

IT and telecoms Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited excels in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Leading the contentious practice is Emma Ward, who assists clients with all aspects of software-related claims, including copyright, breach of confidence and database rights. On the non-contentious side, key contact Harpreet Sandhu handles outsourcing and IT projects, licensing and maintenance, software development, ownership, online sales, data protection compliance and IP-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Emma Ward; Harpreet Sandhu;

Personal tax, trusts and probate Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited provides high-net-worth clients and partner organisations with planning options in relation to inheritance tax. Also among its caseload is high-value trust administration work, independent investment advice and asset protection. Jane Sutherland serves as the overall practice head. The firm is also home to a dedicated Court of Protection team, which is led by Richard Grosberg.

Practice head(s):

Jane Sutherland;

Other key lawyers:

Richard Grosberg; Helen Salisbury; Nadia Faki; Craig Staten-Spencer; Catherine McCannah;


The team is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. They have always answered queries promptly‘.

Helen Salisbury and Craig Staton-Spencer are both experienced, explain things clearly and thoroughly and do additional research when required. Both are friendly while remaining professional‘.

There is excellent communication with all members of the team. If one is off then always someone to help‘.

‘Richard Grosberg is highly knowledgeable and experienced. He is able to see the whole picture and provides proactive advice‘.

Catherine McCannah on wills and inheritance tax issues has always been a pleasure to deal with and I have been impressed by the amount of homework she has obviously done prior to each consultation‘.

Private finance initiative (PFI) Tier 2

At Nelsons Solicitors Limited, a cross-practice team advises energy sector clients on various matters, such as property issues (leases and licences, deeds of easements), corporate work (such as acquisitions and disposals of interests in energy companies) and employment law matters. Contentious work is another area of activity. Martin Jinks in Derby is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Martin Jinks

Professional negligence Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's client roster includes high-net-worth individuals, sports professionals and property businesses. It handles claims against solicitors and barristers, financial advisers, insurance brokers, surveyors and architects, among others. It has a notable specialism in defending professionals against claims where there is no insurance cover in place or where cover has been reserved. Although it predominantly acts for claimants, the team is also engaged by insurance companies on the defendant side. Daniel Brumpton heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Brumpton

Other key lawyers:

Cathryn Selby; Chris Adams

Property litigation Tier 2

Nelsons Solicitors Limited has a well-established reputation in property litigation, as is reflected by its ability to consistently win new work from regional and national clients. Its practice has gone from strength to strength under the leadership of team head Simon Waterfield, whose sole specialism is in property disputes; there has been a notable increase in work from developers. Boundary and easement disputes are among the drivers of activity for the firm, which also sees a strong flow of commercial landlord and tenant matters, such as contentious lease renewals, forfeiture disputes and dilapidations cases. Traveller eviction cases are another notable area of activity.

Practice head(s):

Cathryn Selby (head of dispute resolution, Derby); Simon Waterfield (head of property litigation, Nottingham)


Simon Waterfield is not only a very decent individual, but he is also very commercial

Nelsons’ approach is always commercial, and you are always left with the feeling that its team is giving you the right advice, rather than the advice that feathers its own nest

Key clients

Helier Limited

Chevin Homes (Ashbourne) Limited

W Westerman Limited

Abode Hallam Limited

Intelligent Money Limited

Banking and finance Tier 3

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's banking and finance team in Leicester was recently bolstered by the return of Chris Rees from Howes Percival LLP . Rees advises banks, other finance providers and borrowers on real estate investment and development finance, acquisition finance and general secured and unsecured lending, among other areas. Also based in Leicester is Simon Trees, who heads up a specialist finance litigation team, and has won a string of new mandates from clients such as SME Asset Finance Limited and Ultimate Asset Finance Limited. James Coningsby is also another key figure in Leicester. Derby-based David Kaplan acts for banks in the asset-based lending sector. Michael Lodge in Nottingham is the overall practice head.

Practice head(s):

Michael Lodge


‘Very good firm with a wide skillset at partner level’

‘Michael Lodge is an excellent banking partner’

Key clients

National Westminster Bank Plc

GS Developments Limited

The Royal Bank of Scotland

Svenska Handelsbanken

Prime Life Limited

Ultimate Asset Finance Limited

Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited

Commercial property: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 3

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's James Coningsby, the firm's lead partner in Leicester, has extensive expertise in a wide range of development projects taking place in cities nationwide, including residential, retail and mixed-use schemes; recent mandates have involved projects in Leicester, Sheffield and Sunderland, among other locations.  He is also active in the social housing sector. Other facets of Coningsby's practice include sale and leaseback transactions, secured lending transactions and property acquisitions and disposals. With more than 28 years of commercial property experience, Coningsby's presence in Leicester enhances the firm's commercial offering in the East Midlands generally; the firm also fields specialists in Nottingham and Derby.

Practice head(s):

Riaz Dudhia (Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:

James Coningsby (Leicester)

Key clients

Cambridge and Counties Bank Limited

Abode Hallam Limited

Aimrok Retail Limited

Aimrok Development Limited

GS Developments (Leicester) Limited

Ruddle Merz Limited

Petit Forestier UK Limited

National Space Science Centre

IMAP Student Limited

Trafalgar Global Limited

Corporate and commercial: elsewhere in the East Midlands Tier 3

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's ranks in Leicester have been bolstered by the return to the firm of Chris Rees (who has 18 years of transactional experience) from Howes Percival LLP. Rees works alongside Davinder Jaspal and associate Ziaur Rahman to assist clients with corporate acquisitions and disposals, mergers and demergers, joint ventures and corporate governance issues. Private equity transactions are another mainstay of the practice. Commercial partner Harpreet Sandhu (whose practice is split between Leicester and Nottingham) is knowledgeable about supply and purchasing agreements, franchise agreements, outsourcing and licensing agreements, among other matters. Allied with practitioners based in Nottingham and Derby, the Leicester group has a notable presence in the East Midlands region.

Practice head(s):

Chris Rees

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Prime Life Limited

Nucleus Commercial Finance Limited

Nucleus Property Finance Limited

Ultimate Asset Finance Limited

Nucleus Cash Flow Finance Limited

Nucleus Business Advance Limited

Cambridge & Counties Bank Limited

4Syte Trade Finance Limited

4Syte Structured Finance Limited

4Syte Limited

Education Tier 3

Nelsons Solicitors Limited has a varied workload, which includes academy conversions, misconduct and grievance investigations and contractual disputes. Practice head Laura Kearsley is an expert in all forms of discrimination (including sex, disability, race and religion), industrial relations and discipline and grievance issues, among other employment issues. Other members of the team advise clients on GDPR and corporate affairs. The client base comprises of various schools, academies and education providers, as well as teachers and other employees.

Practice head(s):

Laura Kearsley;

Employment Tier 3

Laura Kearsley, noted as 'extremely competent and professional', leads the practice at Nelsons Solicitors Limited. Acclaimed for her ‘thorough knowledge’, she is an experienced Employment Tribunal advocate who specialises in industrial relations and whistleblowing. Unfair dismissals and TUPE matters also form the recent caseload as do a number of sex, race and age discrimination claims. Laura Evans and Peter Nicholson recently joined the team, arriving from Your HR Lawyer and Spearing Waite respectively. Andy Jamieson retired.

Practice head(s):

Laura Kearsley

Other key lawyers:

Lindsey Harrison-Grimes


Nelsons has always been quick to understand our needs and provide clear guidance on the most practical approach to some of the employment related matters we face

Laura Evans is always very efficient, approachable and able to guide us with clear instruction

The employment department is very responsive, offering pragmatic legal solutions to some very complex issues

Amazing communication, very clear, concise and in terms that I understood. No jargon, or technical terms, just simple advice on the facts

Peter Nicholson has been a rock throughout the whole process. He provides clear advice and outlines strategies with all available options, and he also supplies back up information on his advice and why he has suggested what he did

Laura Kearsley is thorough and always on top of the case. She really goes the extra mile for the client



Nelsons was formed in 1983 as an independent partnership with Tim Hastings and two other solicitors in a small Nottingham office. Since then, we have grown to become one of the leading law firms in the East Midlands with offices in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, providing support and advice to businesses, individuals and families with their legal and investment needs.

In June 2017, Nelsons’ succession plan was announced which saw Partner Stewart Vandermark become Chief Executive. Tim Hastings, who had been Chief Executive since 2003, became Chairman and remains a member of the board, working alongside Stewart.

Empowering You

At Nelsons, we look to empower our clients, give them a voice, fight for them, help them to seek justice and steer them through the complex legal issues they face. The desire to push ourselves forwards to better serve our clients has been a constant throughout our evolution.

We’ve grown both organically and through several strategic mergers and acquisitions across the East Midlands. In 1999 and 2000, we expanded into Derby and Leicester and in just 18 months acquired seven local firms. The firm’s last acquisition was the historic Derby firm Moody and Woolley in April 2015.

We have always looked to challenge the traditional norms often associated with the legal industry. In 2010, we were one of the first law firms in the region to become a Limited company. Then in 2014, we were granted Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status, which allows our employees who aren’t solicitors – such as those in the management, conveyancing and investment management teams – to become partners.

Our specialist experience and the depth of our resources enables us to offer services to other solicitors in our region through Fusion Legal, a referrals and support network for law firms.

Leading the way

We feature in The Lawyer’s UK 200 Annual Report of the UK’s largest 200 law firms, and in the last 12 months have won the following awards:

  • Large Law Firm of the Year at the Leicestershire Law Society Legal Awards 2019
  • Large Law Firm of the Year at the Derby & District Law Society Awards 2019
  • Solicitor of the Year (Dianne Collins; Personal Injury) at the Derby & District Law Society Awards 2019
  • Deal of the Year with Fairgrove Homes at the East Midlands Brick Awards 2019
  • SME Deal of the Year at the Insider East Midlands Dealmakers Awards 2019

We were also shortlisted for The Lawyer Awards 2018 as Law Firm of the Year: The Independents – South and Midlands.

Committed Excellence

We are committed to the concept that all aspects of our operations and services should be of the highest quality and are accredited by Lexcel. This quality mark recognises the commitment of everyone at Nelsons to providing clients with the superior service, which they are entitled to expect.

Our Expertise

We have expertise in commercial and personal law, investment management as well as market-leading online services.

  • Business services cover all aspects of banking and finance and corporate services.
  • Expertise also covers commerce and technology, commercial property, construction and engineering, franchising and intellectual property.
  • Nelsons has one of the largest disputes and debt teams in the East Midlands.
  • Commercial disputes expertise includes contract claims, fraud and asset recovery, IP matters, partnership disputes, and shareholder and director disputes.
  • Nelsons also specialises in debt recovery, pre-legal services, corporate and personal restructuring and insolvency, property litigation and professional negligence.
  • Personal disputes are a particular area of expertise, including contract claims and inheritance claims.
  • The HR and employment team focuses on all aspects of employee rights and workforce management issues for business clients.
  • Accident claims are a particular specialism, including accidents in public places, road traffic accidents, asbestos claims, brain and head injuries, defective products and group actions.
  • Clinical negligence is also a major area of expertise.
  • Nelsons’ family team is one of the largest in the East Midlands, with expertise including divorce and separation, domestic violence and matters relating to children.
  • Our private client team advise on residential care planning, powers of attorney and Court of Protection issues.
  • All aspects of wills, trusts and probate, as well as residential conveyancing, are specialisms.
  • Investment management expertise covers the full range of financial strategies and planning including cash flow modelling and specialist pension advice.
  • Nelsons also advises clients based in the charities, education and health and care sectors.

In June 2018, we launched our fresh vision and values to capture who we are and where we are heading and internally communicated this to ensure that every employee clearly understands our how, what and why; including our 3 and 10 year targets. In January 2019 we launched our new brand which reflects our vibrant, dynamic and innovative personality.

We have strategic projects in place and are not only looking to achieve growth, but continue to empower our clients and employees in fresh ways relevant for the modern world.

Department Name Email Telephone
Chief Executive Stewart Vandermark
Chairman Tim Hastings
Head of Corporate Services Alice Rees
Head of Dispute Resolution Cathryn Selby
Head of Family Law Kelvin Henderson
Head of Personal Injury Lisa Preece
Head of Private Client Jane Sutherland
Head of Real Estate Riaz Dudhia
Head of Employment Law Laura Kearsley
Head of Investment Management John Stanley
Photo Name Position Profile
 Lewis Addison  photo Lewis Addison Partner. A member of Nelsons’ dispute resolution team and based in our…
 James Coningsby  photo James Coningsby Partner. James specialises in all types of commercial property law matters, including…
 Emma Davies  photo Emma Davies Partner. Emma specialises in family law cases and advises on divorce and…
 Laura Kearsley  photo Laura Kearsley Partner and head of employment and education. Laura has a strong reputation…
 Rachel McCahill  photo Rachel McCahill Partner. Insolvency specialist working on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious insolvency,…
 Matthew Olner  photo Matthew Olner Partner. Areas of practice include all clinical negligence claims with specialist expertise…
 Chris Rees photo Chris Rees Partner. Experienced corporate and banking lawyer specialising in all types of corporate,…
 Jane Sutherland  photo Jane Sutherland Partner and head of wills and probate. Since qualification, Jane has specialised…
Number of UK partners : 37
Number of other UK fee-earners : 100